Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Weirdest Dream I Have Ever Had

Last night, I had a dream. (As I am wont to do while sleeping.) This dream was probably the strangest one I have ever had. It involves exotic foreign lands. It involves a nuclear accident. It involves an incredibly random assemblage of people from my life. It involves the Indianapolis Children's Choir. It shall henceforth be called the Israeli Nuclear Emergency Choir Concert Dream, and here it is in its entirety, for your reading pleasure.

It's a beautiful summer day on the beach in Jerusalem. [Ignore any geographical inconsistencies. It's a dream, people. Suspension of disbelief.] After a long day of seeing the sights, I'm lounging under a beach umbrella with my fellow travelers. My fellow travelers, of course, consist of two boys from my senior class, the girl who is the sister of one and girlfriend of the other [everyone from Logansport now knows who these three people are], an extremely random girl from the graduating class above me, someone's parents, a few other assorted people, and a baby. We're enjoying our time on this very crowded beach when suddenly, city-wide sirens begin to sound. An official-sounding voice comes over a PA system and informs us all that there has been a biological/nuclear emergency and that we must all immediately go inside. In a panic, we pack up our beach gear and join in the crowd of people rushing toward the few buildings that the government officials are ushering people into. As we are walking, the baby of the group, who is just old enough to walk on his own, attempts to make his daring escape. While it would, under some circumstances, be fun or entertaining to watch him try to run away (since, after all, we have no idea whom this baby actually belongs to), our status of being in the midst of a biological emergency incites me to snatch him up into my arms, and we continue along.

We are led up a flight of stairs and in a side door of a building just up the hill from the beach. We walk through the building, past lockers, classrooms, and a general layout that puts me in the mind of a Catholic high school built sometime in - and slowly falling apart since - the 70s. During our remarkably long walk through the building, we cross paths with the Notre Dame women's basketball team. For some reason that I cannot explain, there are at least thirty girls on the team, and, besides Skylar Diggins, who is wearing her customary #4, they are all rocking #23 jerseys. The girls and I exchange waves and hellos, since they all clearly know that I go to Notre Dame, and this kinship bond brings us together in this time of nuclear emergency. At long last, we arrive at our destination within this school-bunker-building. In a move that somehow surprises no one, the room we enter is a near-perfect replica of the basketball arena of the JACC. The seats and ND logos printed around the place are spot-on. In fact, the place looks pretty much exactly how one would expect the JACC to look, were it transplanted into a dirty old high school in Jerusalem and also sliced in half. My travel crew sits down more or less together, because if any occasion didn't call for a group sticking together, it's a nuclear emergency.

 More people file in, and two things become evident. The first is that you are only allowed to hide out in this particular JACC-bunker if you have some connection with Notre Dame or, more generally, the state of Indiana. The second is that there are an abnormally huge number of people vacationing in Israel on this fine summer's day who have a connection with Indiana. Once everyone is seated, a man who apparently is the official emergency control man for this JACC-bunker heads down to the court to give everyone a short pep talk and generally keep us entertained. I look around and notice that the touring group of my parents' own Logansport Children's Choir would appear to be seated to my immediate right. Upon further investigation, I discover that it is actually the Indianapolis Children's Choir; they are just wearing pirated LCC uniforms, from which they have ripped out the "Logansport" embroidery and sewn in "Indianapolis." Apparently, in this strange alternate universe where I vacation in nuclear-war-torn Israel, choir-on-choir uniform violence is a thing. To our left is the entire directorial staff of the ICC, none of whom will acknowledge my presence, despite the fact that they definitely all know me. [Note: this actually happens in real life when I see them, too.] Behind them sits a small group of friends headed up by a young Alan Cumming. As we chat with them, it comes to light that young Alan Cumming is a close personal friend of our high school French teacher - a completely logical fact over which we immediately bond. Our emergency-control leader man continues telling jokes on the microphone. Young Alan Cumming continues telling us stories about our French teacher. The ICC kids, you know, probably sing or something.

While all of this is going on, I look out the wall of windows immediately beyond the court. Outside, the scene looks something like an excerpt from a bad apocalypse type movie. Cops and haz-mat suit guys are running around looking unproductive. I notice that the pools visible outside our building - of which there are around seven, for some inexplicable reason - still each contain ten or so "children." Because this is something I would think of in real life, I immediately realize that these "children" are actually robots planted in the pools to make it look like people are having fun. "Ohhhh," I think to myself, "Of course!"

At some point after all of this happens, an Inception-style transition occurs, and I am briefly in a magically clean, glittery New York City with two very random Folk Choir people. Where this fits into the rest of the story, I do not know, because in the blink of a metaphorical dream-eye, I am back in Israel. This time, the JACC-bunker has been converted to a concert hall. We have found a side entrance to the JACC-bunker and converted it to a mini-museum. A museum for what, you ask? The history of the Logansport (really Logansport this time) Children's Choir, of course! Because, in perhaps the most logical move of the whole ordeal, we have decided to hold the LCC 25th anniversary concert there. In Jerusalem. So I escort my grandmother - who, though she needs assistance to walk through a museum, has made the flight all the way to Israel for an hour-long concert - through the museum exhibit and into the JACC. I take my seat in the auditorium and watch the beginning of the proceedings. The auditorium is completely full, entirely of people from Logansport. While most of the people involved in the concert are wearing their LCC uniforms or are otherwise dressed formally, one of the emcees is dressed in a sexy witch Halloween costume. As far as I know, the nuclear threat is still ongoing and real, we've just chosen to survive it by staying inside and holding a choir concert.

Then, at the end of the dream, I meet a hot, rich Jewish supermodel who falls so deeply in love with me that he agrees to convert to Catholicism, and we live happily ever after.

Just kidding about that last part.

The end.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Curious Incident of the Carolers in the Nighttime

Yesterday afternoon, I was minding my own business in the car on the way to the Tippecanoe Mall when I received a text message. I guessed at some things this could have been - my RA sending me another picture of Kardashian book she'd bought herself, one of the many friends I haven't talked to in a while informing me I haven't talked to them in a while, or (most likely, since these are the only texts I ever really get) some Cass County Alert text - and opened it to discover that it was pretty much the last thing I could ever have guessed. The sender wasn't a surprise, but the message was: "Caroling tonight. Let me know if you're in."

Have you met me? Of course I'm in.

I agreed to bring carol books and was informed that, as the only person in the group with 19 solid years of caroling experience, I would be providing some serious help in orchestrating the evening. After wrapping up our very-last-second Christmas shopping trip and making a guest appearance as an alto at church choir practice, I headed over to caroling HQ. The (extremely) ragtag crew, assembled in the kitchen, consisted of a pair of bass-singing brothers; one soprano who sings melody like sopranos are supposed to on carols; one soprano (me) whose sole knowledge of Christmas carols is a set of descants that clash horrendously with Swing Choir harmonies; one alto who, as a non-Swing Choir alum, was sort of out of luck when we attempted Swing Choir arrangements; one poor guy who was never in choir at all and basically had to grab whatever notes he could find all night; and four tenors, who came armed with four different levels of recollection of Christmas carol tenor parts. We each took a carol book and one of the battery-operated candles the organizer's mom gave us, and, in our mini-army of Ford Escapes, we set off.

Our first stop being unsuccessful, we decided to give the Boulevard a shot. For my non-Berry readers, the Boulevard is one of Logansport's main streets and serves as the center of the neighborhood in town that is the most likely to agree with us that "the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear." Having arrived thus, we started on a remarkably convoluted walking path including, for my Logansport readers, both Roselawns, large swaths of North Pennsylvania, and the full intra-Roselawn distance of High Street. We stopped at our old gym teacher's house, my grandmother's house, the head football coach's house, and a handful of other unsuccessful spots (singing through the streets the entire time) before heading over - in our cars this time - to our last residential stop, our alto's grandma's house. After grandmother the second, we decided that, since it was well past 10 at this point, the only logical next stop was a flash mob at Walmart.

We loitered in Grandma's driveway for a while to plan, settled on "Let It Snow" as initiated by the non-me soprano, and headed to Walmart. We walked in, more or less separately, and awkwardly scattered throughout the apparel section. I was rifling through a rack of fantastic Christmas sweaters and noticing that our audience looked like it'd consist of some cashiers and maybe eight shoppers when the song began. We pulled it off way better than I thought we were going to do, scared a few high school dropout types out of the store with our Christmas cheer, and exited, accompanying ourselves with a far less stellar rendition of "Holly Jolly Christmas." Back at the Escape army parked outside, we congratulated ourselves on a job well done and decided we'd try it again over at McDonald's.

After arriving at McDonald's and seeing the clientele inside, we decided McDonald's was a bad idea.

The next stop we thought we'd try was the always-reliable Pizza Hut. The four cop cars parked outside were somewhat nerve-wracking, but we walked in anyway, mid-"First Noel." We sang all three verses and walked back out, to the applause of everyone present (except the cops). We walked next door to Applebee's and sang for the dozen or so people left at the bar, then wisely chose to jaywalk across Market Street to sing "Joy to the World" at KFC. Back in the cars, we headed over to China Lane and found, much to our chagrin, that it was closed. Since it was nearing eleven and we figured we wouldn't find many more caroler-friendly businesses in town still open, we decided to call it a night. We caravan-ed our way back to our organizer's house, where we traded all the most interesting stories of our Berry and post-Berry lives for three hours before going our separate ways. In all, it was the most ridiculous and wonderful night I've had in a long time - and if there's anything we learned from it, it's that these guys' lives could make a fantastic book. Boys, you may consider this my application to ghostwrite for you. I personally think this chapter would fit in just perfectly between, say, the Barlow Beater and Scotty-Kyle Fight One? So, you know, think it over. :) And if you ever want to go caroling again, let it be known that I am SO in.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Parties Stress Me Out

Upon reading this title, you may be thinking to yourself, "Sarah, how could you be stressed out by Christmas parties? You're 19 and you live in a single - you've never had to host a Christmas party in your life!" That is completely correct. Therefore, the stress these parties inflict upon me is even worse than you were thinking it was. I only have to be around them in order to practically start breaking out in hives. Call me a grinch if you want, but it's a simple fact: I rarely want to even touch Christmas parties with a 49 1/2-foot pole.

Let's start with college-style Christmas parties. As frequent readers of my blog and/or my friends know, parties in general are not really my forte. They're fun, don't get me wrong. But think of all the stresses involved! Who should I go with? What time should I get there? Will there be people there I know? What if the cabs at main circle don't have enough room for us all? So many questions. At Christmas, it's even worse. It's cold outside, so the question arises of whether to bust out the cute skirt and risk hypothermia or stay warm but settle for jeans. You have to deal with Christmas sweaters, too, which is complicated. Obviously, you can't repeat a sweater. At some point, you will be forced to borrow a sweater from someone else, meaning you now have to be extra-careful with it, because whoever you borrowed it from  probably has to return it to her grandmother. In other words, college Christmas parties are one giant hot mess of stress to deal with.

Then there are the Christmas parties of the rest of the world. You know the ones - you clean up the house or rent a space somewhere, you invite a bunch of people over, you make a table full of hors d'oeuvres, you throw on the holiday Josh Groban, and you hobnob for several hours. These parties are the worst of them all. As choir directors, my parents have two of these every year: one for the all-adults church choir and one for the high school show choir. This year, these two stress-fests happen to fall within three days of each other. My house is in full party-prep mode, and I am about ready to rip the perfectly-arranged garland off of our mantle and strangle myself. I don't even know if it's humanly possible to strangle oneself, but I'm game to give it a shot.

The church choir party is unquestionably the worse of these two. Now that I go to college "far away" in the "big city" of South Bend, these people only get to see me about three times a year, and this party is their only chance to actually have a conversation with me. And converse they do. They ask me how college is going. I never quite know how to answer that question. My grades are, like, pretty good or something, but I feel like a huge jerk if I actually tell them that. They already know everything about the choir I'm in, so I can't really tell them much about that. I have nothing to say to these people. Generally, the "Yeah, it's great" that I muster up probably leaves them thinking I'm completely miserable at college. Nope. I am only miserable here and now in my living room. This year's party was somewhat resurrected by the grandbaby that someone brought along, who was hobbling around being cute the whole time, but even that stressed me out - the baby's parents were in my high school graduating class. Thank you, cute baby, for the reminder that people my age are adults now or something, while I continue to be pretty much the farthest thing from "adult" that has ever existed. At one point in this party, somebody plugged their camcorder into our television, and I was forced to watch fifteen minutes worth of choir concert home video. At three points, I was so overwhelmed that I snuck away to my room for fifteen-minute Pinterest breaks. Tonight is the show choir party, and honestly, I'm too traumatized thinking about the last party to even think of anything witty to say about this one. The food's a little better for the 15- to 18-year-old set, so that's a plus. I still predict copious amounts of Pinterest-ing.

A few days ago, the children's choir sang - and I tagged along to take pictures - at a Christmas party that looked like a decent idea. It was populated by most of the rich people in town and held at the recently-opened local winery/let's-not-kid-ourselves-this-is-a-BAR. It was cool, I suppose. You wouldn't have to worry, as the host, about making the food or cleaning up the house or anything. However, you would have to worry, at the end of the night, a bunch of drunk forty-somethings somehow getting home and making a decent impression on their teeny-bopper babysitters. Ultimately, I feel like it'd be kind of like a college party, but it's socially unacceptable to show up in a reindeer sweater you picked up at Salvo. All around, then, this one still isn't ideal.

Family Christmas parties are an entirely different brand of "shoot me now," and I'll cross that bridge when I am inevitably forced to come to it. The moral of this story, though, is that I literally cannot deal with Christmas parties. When I grow up, I hope to eventually be rich enough to have people on my personal staff who can do things like plan parties FOR me, because I just don't think I can handle the stress of planning one on my own. So, future friends, remember: I will come to your parties. I will buy you nice presents. I will make you lovely Christmas cards from the DIY instructions I found during all those old Pinterest breaks. Just please, do not ask me to host next year.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Le Semestre En Rose

Hello again, dear readers. First, I would like to apologize for the lengthy break between my last post and this one. While I may not use study days for much real work, I do occasionally have to study during finals week itself. But now, my finals are over, and it's time for Law & Order SVU, sitting around doing nothing, and, of course, writing a new blog post. I figured that, as my third semester is now officially done, the only appropriate topic this evening was a semester review. And let me tell you, my semester has been pretty great.

(Also, in honor of the new Facebook layout, I've decided to write this one timeline-style.)

August 17: Move in. Approach death attempting to make with the twenty thousand trips up to the fourth floor carrying all of your earthly possessions. For the next four days, try unsuccessfully to balance Frosh-O staff with Folk Choir. Cry. Wonder why on earth you agreed to live on the fourth floor of this un-air conditioned, God-forsaken dorm.

August 24: Start classes. Realize that this academic semester may actually be less stressful than the last week.

September 2-4: Go to Iowa for your cousin's wedding. Swoon a lot over how cute everything is. Make mental note that you are not allowed to have navy blue bridesmaids' dresses at your wedding, because that has now already been done in your family. Shake fist at sky.

September 9: Walk around campus with Folk Choir sophomores. Sing for random lovers outside the library. Love your life so, so much. Remember this date three months later because you are so organized, you wrote it into your iCal. Shake your head at yourself three months later for being such a nerd.

September 20: Take your first theology exam ever. Realize that you are actually kind of good at theology. Laugh.

September 30: Go to Howard Hoedown. Sing obnoxiously/be exactly what Jenna Marbles discusses in "White Girls in the Club." Next day, go to Purdue for football game. Almost end up in a lynch mob because you brought your Purdue friend into the ND student section. Hit yourself for being an idiot. Lose your voice completely for the next week. Complain a lot about having no voice.

October 7-8: Totter for Water. Sit outside seesawing for 24 hours in inexplicable 85-degree weather. Despite how much fun this sounds like, it will actually slowly eat away at your soul. However, you'll take a lot of really cute pictures, so it will be worth it.

October 11: Take second Logic exam. Somehow get a 102/100. Laugh for a really long time. Remind yourself that this class is not real math.

October 22: Start blog. Your life is now infinitely better, and everyone finally realizes how hilarious you are. SCORE.

October 28: Commence Halloweekend. (Please see blog post.) The Monday after, write two papers in something like 5 hours. Get As on both of them anyway. Love your life.

November 10: Compete in Miss ND. Sing song about stalker-dom...with a lisp. Come in third. Wonder how on earth that just happened. Write a blog post about it anyway.

November 19: On day of BC game (last home game of the semester), start off with a lecture on John Paul II, then leave campus to go watch your sister's high school play. Complain a lot about it, but enjoy it anyway. Sleep in your own bed at home and laugh at everyone back in the dorms.

Somewhere around Thanksgiving: Realize that you might actually be obsessed with your RA...in the least creepy way possible. Talk with friends about "fourth floor magic." Recognize that you live in the best section in any dorm on campus.

December 10: Go to Glee Club concert. Swoon. Watch the quiet, tone-deaf people around you give you weird looks on the audience sing-along numbers.  Swoon some more. Decide on a whim to go to Glee Club House that night...on the Saturday of study days. Kick yourself a million times for doing this. Stop just short of regretting it, because you just watched the director of the Glee Club take a peppermint pattie, and that is the best thing you will ever witness.

December 14: Participate in spontaneous Just Dance party with most of the fourth floor on the night before your last final. Casually dominate. Absolutely demolish any hope of quiet hours, but don't bother caring, because the RA is right in there with you. Love your life SO. MUCH.

December 16: Go home after the best third semester of college probably ever had, two years to the day after receiving your acceptance letter from Notre Dame. Pat yourself on the back for your incredible timing. Write a blog post about it, because somehow over the course of this semester, that has become "what you do". Continue to complain that Time magazine has once again failed to name you Person of the Year. Wait for Christmas. And oh yeah...SLEEP.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Study Days Are a Joke

For the past few days, I've been sitting around, trying to think of something to write a funny blog post about. I had a few options in mind - personality profiles based on choice of study spaces, types of finals schedules and public reactions to them, the procrastinatory powers of Facebook - but it recently occurred to me that they all essentially shared a common theme: study days and what a total joke they are. For my non-Notre Dame readers, study days here consist of (for the totally unjust fall semester) the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before finals, when there are no classes and supposedly no official university events scheduled. The point is to give us students some extra time to study. The reality, however, is that it's three days of total mayhem and foolishness.

Let's start with the university's actual schedule during these three days. Lots of professors like to make their projects due during study days, and a good number of classes somehow even have study-day exams. So let's just throw the idea out the window right now that the only academic activity of this weekend is hours upon hours of reading and notecard making. Then there's the concert schedule. Pretty much every non-Folk Choir music group on campus has a concert at some point this weekend. The people in the concerts, then, are clearly a little busy. The guys in the Undertones have four concerts to sing in, for Christ's sake. This conflict with studying, of course, is not reserved for the performers, either. The Glee Club and the Undertones both have their winter concerts during study days, so God knows there is not a girl on this campus who won't be giving up a couple solid hours of study time to that beautiful, beautiful cause. There's a bunch of other things scheduled, too, but I'm too distracted listening to Under the Mistletones to remember what they are.

Then there's the unofficial events scheduled this weekend. Obviously, if you give a college campus three days without any real responsibilities but handling an impending sense of doom over the looming week of final exams, said campus will respond by scheduling more parties and going on more bar crawls than on any other weekend of the year. There's Thursday night, when classes are over but study days haven't technically begun. This, of course, means that everyone and their brother will decide that it is the perfect time to go out. "But like...there's no class tomorrow!" Then there's Friday and Saturday nights, which, you know, are Friday and Saturday nights. Furthermore, it finally snowed today, so everyone will feel the need to go out and celebrate by Tweeting about it excessively and, of course, getting out-of-their-minds drunk. Lots of people probably said at some point Friday afternoon that they're not going out tonight. Most of these people have probably since changed their minds, and are currently off wrapping up a pregame somewhere. (Note: I am not among that group. I'm sitting in my room, in sweatpants, writing a blog post. Oh, and I'm still not pregnant.)

Finally, there are, I'm sure, people somewhere on this campus who are actually getting substantial amounts of studying done during study days. Said people may think they are proof positive that study days are not a joke. Well, my friends, you would be wrong. The joke is, in fact, on you. There are a lot of people on this campus - far more than there are of you guys - who are going to get a decent amount of studying done this weekend while still spending plenty of time having fun, sleeping, and/or wasting time doing stupid stuff. A good number of the people who do study for these entire 72 hours will, inevitably, still manage to not do that well on their finals, which will suck. Also inevitably, there will be at least a handful of stupid jerks we'll all hate who will spend the majority of these three days totally obliterated and will still manage to get As on their finals. And come next Friday, we will all be done with our finals and going home, and life will move on regardless of whether you spent more time this weekend at Club Hesburgh or Club Fever.

So, this weekend, I intend to do moderate amounts of studying, do a lot of Facebook creeping, go to the Glee Club concert and a few meetings and stuff, and watch Chelsea Lately. (Actually, I'm doing that last one right now. And, for the record, one of the comedians just described a recent night of hers where the guy she was with showed up drunk and then made her pay for the cab, and the whole audience and even the sassiest of sassy people, Chelsea Handler, "awww"-ed and talked about how horrible it was. Please see my post "Dear Boys," and feel free to leave your "aww"s in the comments.) Then during the week, I have every intention of studying on the night before each exam and then leaving each successive one feeling more confident about it than all of you who studied all weekend. BOOM.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


So it came to my attention while I was sitting alone in my dorm room in my pajamas this afternoon that apparently, there's a rumor circulating that my eggo is preggo. Obviously, this is the single most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in my life. To be extremely clear, this rumor is completely, hilariously false. Allow me to tell you why.

Let's begin with a summary of my day today. It was a pretty exciting and atypical Saturday, you see, because I actually left my dorm. After a long night of Mrs. Doubtfire-watching last night, I got into bed, very much alone, and set my alarm for 10 am. At 10, my alarm went off, I laughed, turned it off, and went back to bed. At around noon, I finally rolled out of bed. By around 1:30, I had decided to finally change out of my pajamas...into sweatpants and a T-shirt, also known as essentially more pajamas. I sat in my room all afternoon, writing a sentence here and there of the paper I'm writing on the significance of the Resurrection, Facebook creeping through all the newly-minted Christmas profile pictures people have put up, and listening to the new CD released by the liturgical choir I sing in. Then I heard about this pregnancy rumor thing, laughed for a really long time, and went out to tell my neighbors. They, too, found it hilarious, and then invited me to make a Target and Panera Bread run with them. I agreed, and now we're back in the dorm, sitting in my RA's room as usual, listening to Justin Bieber and shopping for nail polish online.

This is the life that I live, people. Where a pregnancy fits into this equation, I do not know. But in case you still see room for it, let me tell you some more about how I live my life. I've gone to probably ten "real" parties - in my entire college career. Last night, I went out with my friends, dressed, as my dorm-mates claim, like a "sexy reindeer." This is not quite accurate. I wore a skirt for once. And a long-sleeved crewneck T-shirt. And antlers. And eyeliner, for about the third time this semester. Dream big. We went to one party - in a dorm - had a lovely time for about 20 minutes awkwardly standing in a corner and turning down drink offers, then came back to the dorm and, as I alluded to earlier, watched Mrs. Doubtfire. That's a pretty average "going out" night for me. During the week, every spare second I have between classes and homework (in case you've forgotten, I so happen to be an honors student at a top 20 university), choir practice, and meetings of my dorm's Spiritual Life Council is spent either on Facebook, sitting in my RA's room, writing this blog, or sleeping. (Alone.) There is nothing I am doing during my week that could possibly lead to me getting pregnant. TRUST ME.

They say that there's an ounce of truth behind every rumor. In this case, I'm not sure where on earth you're getting it. Maybe you think I look fat in my recent pictures on Facebook. Cool. Your prerogative. It's probably because my neighbor keeps peer pressuring me into eating cookies and cheesy breadsticks all hours of the day (you know who you are!). Maybe you read here on my blog all the brilliant insights I have on the male species and assumed they must all be falling at my feet. Nope. In all probability, whoever you are that made this up, you're kind of a creative genius. I'd be offended by this rumor if I weren't laughing so hard. I commend you on your ability to come up with this tale, because it is so comically far from the truth. You're pretty funny. So way to go. Next time you start a pregnancy rumor about someone, though, maybe go for a girl for whom a pregnancy could be a non-immaculate conception. Oh, and to anyone who heard this rumor and actually believed it? You are an idiot.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I Love Indiana

There. I said it. Technically, as those of you who follow me on Twitter know, I have now said it twice today. And I'll say it again. Like Buddy the Elf, "I'm in love, I'm in love, and I don't care who knows it!" I have spent most of my life hating my hometown and making fun of all that it and my state have to offer. I have recently realized, though, that while there is certainly plenty to make fun of, Logansport and, more broadly, Indiana, are actually pretty darn great.

It all began a few days ago when, as per usual, I was hanging out in my RA's room. The omnipresent crowd of girls was there, making cards or watching Friendzone or doing something equally girls' dorm-y. To fill a silence that had emerged, I was telling the latest ridiculous story to come out of my hometown. When I finished, my RA said something that surprised me but that immediately earned my agreement: "You love Logansport." I responded that I do indeed, and the conversation carried on. The exchange got me thinking, though. I cannot even begin to count the number of times, primarily (though by no means exclusively) in high school, that I have said, "I hate Logansport." Unquestionably, there is a lot there to arouse feelings of chagrin. Stories of meth addicts and idiot criminals frequently grace the pages of the grammatical-error-ridden Pharos-Tribune, each successive senior class is home to at least a large handful of teen moms, cowboys are shockingly common, and even the classy folk consider The Buckle haute couture and a trip to Myrtle Beach the ultimate in vacation luxury.

At the same time, though, there are many things about LA (consider the middle-school pun on "Logansport Area" resurrected) that, as my RA was apt to point out, I'm pretty obsessed with. For one thing, our mascot is the Berries. The Berries, people. Think about that for a minute. The best part about that - aside from the fact that our actual physical, costumed mascot is, inexplicably, Felix the Cat - is that there's an actual story to it (as there is for Felix, but whatever). It's a pun, see? The Loganberry is a real fruit! Logan Berries is, like, super clever! I cannot get enough of explaining that story to people. I also love the opportunities Logansport affords its residents simply by being a small town. I recall seeing a few  tweets lately from the whiny high schooler crowd complaining about Logansport being a "name game town." While I could understand frustrations with the honest drawbacks to such a system if they existed - which, I regret to inform you, they do not in this case - I LOVE that. I love that, on any day of the year, I can come home to Logansport and bring up the same names I've known since birth, with the same results. I love the fact that certain names will always be associated with basketball prowess at the various county schools and that certain families will almost always produce valedictorians or, alternatively, felons. I love that, according to an incredible genealogy website I recently discovered, my name appeared in the Pharos-Tribune over 100 times before my fifteenth birthday. I love the Shriners riding around on their little shriner-mobiles at every parade for the last 80 years. I love Voorhees photography, and B&K hot dogs, and All Saints Catholic School, and churros from the Panaderia. And yeah, I even love that my upbringing has provided the small-talk fodder of a sub-80% graduation rate, a seemingly plus-80% teen pregnancy rate, and a senior class from which probably half go to college. [Note: these statistics are coming from my own mind, they are not actual data of any kind.] Because how many of my Notre Dame classmates can say they went to a high school like that?

In short, the answer to that question is "not many." Tonight, though, I went to a meeting with a few who can. For another great thing about Logansport is that it's small enough to allow a student like me to earn an incredible scholarship that sent her to the school of her dreams. And for about 40 other ND students, Indiana did the same thing. I met tonight with some of the students here on the same merit scholarship as mine, and I left practically beaming. They reminded me of my love of the state of Indiana. I sat there and listened as we talked about the IU-Purdue rivalry, our respective hometowns whose locations, for once, no one needed to explain, and our high school's FFA Appreciation Weeks and Ride Your Tractor to School Days (note: LHS had neither of those, thank God). Indiana, as non-Indianan writers from Parks and Recreation to 13 the Musical have latched onto actively, is a model "country state." We're not as obnoxiously southern as an Alabama, and not quite as hopelessly rural as a Wyoming. We're just kind of there. At the same time, though, we casually have a top 20 university, the twelfth-largest city in the Union, one of the most universally respected Senators in history (it helps that he has in fact been in the Senate for most of the nation's history), and the right to claim celebrities from Michael Jackson to David Letterman to Cole freaking Porter as our own. (The absence of women from that list is a problem that will be ameliorated once I write my best-seller and/or become the next Chelsea Handler.) I love all the actually cool things about Indiana, and I love that I can say that I've achieved all that I have despite the fact that I've had to endure all the terrible things about it - including 7 or so years of attendance at the Indiana State Fair, which I am quite certain is akin to Chinese water torture. I'm confident that the only three football teams I will ever remotely care about are the Berries, the Fighting Irish, and the "how-did-this-happen" worst team in the league, the Colts. My home will forever be here on the banks of the Wabash, and, frankly, I'm happy about it.

In summation, the state of Indiana and the city-town of Logansport are probably two of my favorite things in the world. Much like yours truly, they're ridiculous and they're wonderful all at the same time. There's a good chance that the career path I plan on pursuing will more likely lead me to New York City than to New Albany. But if anyone ever tries to tell me I'm not as cool or as talented as a Californian or an east coast prep-school grad because I hail from the Hoosier State, I might just punch them in the face. After all, there's more than corn in Indiana. There's Indiana Beach, and there is Sarah M. Cahalan.