On the education of a girl.

My brother graduates from University today. Years ago when he was about seven, my parents came home to find my brothers name in muddy three foot high letters on our white house. They assumed it was me, because who would write their OWN name in mud on their own house? My brother.  If there is a story that summarizes the incredible, honest and gentlemanly nature of my brother, it is that he will only ever write his own name in mud, while ensuring he helps you write yours in gold. I couldn’t want for a better, more selfless, kind man as a brother – congratulations.

However, seeing as how this is always all about me, I figured that’s a good enough segway to wrap up the story of my undergrad.

I really was all set to write out this nice recap of my journey through my undergrad and I was ready to tell you all about those moments where I realized that this was what I loved. I was going to tell you, in certainly sentimental terms that I have been carefully planning, about it. Because really, I tell you about passing out on my couch wrapped in a linen napkin. I should be able to tell you about the serious stuff.

Then I realized there was a far more important story to tell you, one that tells most of the story about my undergrad, but in far more interesting terms. I think it’s called an allegory. Or extended metaphor. Not sure. I may have missed that class.


Four years ago I moved back here from India with my brother. Like all good children coming from far away places to a locale with an unstable rental market accompanied by an anxious mother, we moved into residence. Keeping in mind this was essentially my first serious kick at the academic can (applying to be a paramedic/international spy/document forger notwithstanding), please note that I had not yet plumbed the depths of my burgeoning love of the bottle (just joking mom – good times..).  I thought myself to be far and above the usual din and dissaray produced by 13 floors of students intent on drinking a large town dry. You know, even though I was entering school at the same time as my brother, 3 and some years my junior. Bravo.

I met Stephanie that year, whom to this day is a dear and lovely and sweet friend who knows what only Vegas should know about me. Namely (but certainly not exclusively), the time that we made an amuse bouch out of a bottle of tequila (each) before midnight. (And bars close at 3am). I remember drinking.. and drinking.. and there was a little thinking, where I thought “This is a lot of drinking”. Then there was Steph’s hand, pulling me into the crowd, dancing and whooping and climbing fire escapes (fire escapes? Who puts fire escapes in a bar!) and dancing on said fire escapes and doing shot after shot. Somewhere after midnight when we picked the last of the limes from our teeth and the lint from our pockets we realized we didn’t have any money, any money at all, with which to get our sorry selves home. So we stumbled down two flights of  stairs (stairs? Who puts two flights of stairs in a bar?) and ran into a man.

Who looked like Colonel Sanders.

Steph grabbed my hand, looked dead into this man’s eyes, and with what I can only hope was a true lust and dedication to designated driving, told him that we’d make out for 20$ for a cab. To which he responded “I will give you 500$ to come home with me.”

We ran. I assume home.

I never really went back to that bar, never discovered where the huge rectangle shaped bruise on my side came from (fire escape?), and I never drank tequila again. I am to this day, however, friends with Stephanie. Lest I ever run for political office, she needs to be on my side.

Four years later. I was slated to present my thesis project in front of a panel of professors at 4pm. At 3:30 a much respected proffessor (and much of a friend I think) saw me litterally turn green with nerves. So he bought me a coffee. We smoked a cigarette. And then, bouyed along by another proffessor and friend we walked to his office where he unceremoniously presented me with a bottle of “liquid courage”.

Tequila. You siren.

“There are no glasses,” he explained, “Hopefully you don’t mind sharing with me and Dr. X.” He cracked the top of the bottle. “And Andrea,” he said, “You know about fashion. Don’t you think Dr. X looks a bit like Colonel Sanders today?”

I took a swig, and nodded. It was the first time in four years I had been able to take a drink of tequila without vomitting into my lap. I passed the thesis with style and grace, and a burn in my stomach that seemed appropriate and cautionary:

“You only get to be here once,” it seemed to say. “So learn to drink tequila, love your friends ferociously and stupidly, learn hard and fast and with love and lust, devour books and time with the same respect. Do what makes you the most nervous and the most afraid and what touches you in your soul. In the end, when you do it right, there will still be mysteries to solve. Like those seven herbs and spices.”


So there you go. Bounded on both sides by tequila and Colonel Sanders. A degree. xoxo


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8 responses to “On the education of a girl.

  1. as it should be 🙂 congratulations!

  2. Oh darling, your writing floors me every time. I’m so proud of you. You’re so strong, so smart, so remarkable.

    On another note, I can’t handle my tequila nearly as well as I did in university. Maybe it’s just one of those life things.

  3. I think this is my favorite thing you’ve written. It made me smile.

  4. Sigh (of satisfaction). Oh the yarns you spin. I love this!

  5. work hard, play hard…it’s the way to live!

    congratulations! 🙂

  6. LOL Can I stand up and applaud you at my work? I love this story – you’re such an outstanding writer and such an outstanding lady.

    And you’re also far braver than I am. If I ran into someone who looked like Colonel Sanders once I might never recover, let alone running into two people that bore his resemblance.

  7. p.

    When I graduate? I will shout “Suck it bitches!”.

    You are so poetic.

  8. Tim

    It’s hard to think that you’re finished there. On one side I’m sad to see you move on, but at the same time very proud of and happy for you.
    I’m excited for the future and for what you will bring to this world, and contrary to Dr. X, I have a feeling you will be one thinker who doesn’t have to be dead to be good!
    good luck

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