Dear Diary,

In high school, I was somewhat of a celebrity in the athletic community. Starting my freshman year, I won “Most Improved Player” in two different junior varsity sports in three consecutive years. Obviously, I’ve heard the trash talk, as all great athletes do.

“You just stunk to start out, and got marginally better,” cried the haters.

But that talk never bothered me. All the greats have a never ending desire to improve. Just look at the Most Improved Player award in the NBA over the last few years: Pascal Siakam, Victor Oladipo, Giannis Antetokoumpo. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m waaaay too humble to compare myself to these superstars. I’m just simply passing along what I’ve heard. In 30 years, I’ll be able to show my kids my high school yearbooks, where the yellowed, timeworn pages will proudly name me as the “Giannis of JV soccer.” 

I don’t get a ton of opportunities to earn “most improved” awards in college, but I can name one area in which I absolutely deserve the recognition: dodging fellow lunch- and dinner-goers in Usdan. Every meal period, I run into the locker room (the upstairs bathroom by the registers), blast “Remember the Name” by Fort Minor five or six times, and get ready to dodge my way through the cafeteria. 

Last year, I had all the grace of a drunk duck. I’d smash into people in the Mongo line, trip over legs by Classics, and routinely face-plant as I turned the corner into Loud or Quiet Side. And don’t even get me started on the rush days, like Usdan Thanksgiving. It was always a question of whether, by the time I made it to the table, the mashed potatoes I picked up would remain on my plate or end up on somebody else’s shoes. My every waking day was the scene where Gabrielle spills nachos on Sharpay, played on repeat. 

But my talents certainly haven’t stuck to the status quo this year. Where I used to run blindly into the arms of the defense (literally, a defensive tackle on the football team I didn’t see coming), I now spin, duck, and dive away from any obstacles that pops up in front of me. I can calmly negotiate the pasta line, euro-step away from the first-year grasping for garlic bread, and still make it to Quiet Side before they run out of forks. With practiced poise, I can serve myself ice cream with little to no chance of dropping the chocolate-covered scoop into the strawberry barrel. In all regards, I’ve earned another award: Most Improved at Not Being a Public Hazard in Usdan.

I just wish someone would get started on making me that trophy.

-Drew Kushnir ’22

 

Dear Diary,

At approximately 11pm last weekend, my friend declared that she NEEDED to make fried dough. This was not a typical craving for the specific food, but rather, a desire to engage in the actual act of making fried dough. We scrounged together the ingredients leftover from making my birthday cake a few weeks ago and descended on the Clark kitchen. Fried dough is actually a very simple recipe that doesn’t take very long to make, but remember the deceptively obvious fact that frying oil is extremely hot. Don’t try and flip over the fried dough with your hand. Use a spatula. Like an adult. Also, shout out to the communal pans in the Clark kitchen, without you this endeavor would not have been possible. And, yes, we washed it before putting it back. Here is the recipe that we used:

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 

3/4 cups lukewarm water

  1. Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt. 
  2. Work in small cubes of butter using a mixer, or, if you’re a heathen like us, your hands.
  3. Stir in the warm water until the mixture is a sticky dough. 
  4. Let sit for 15 minutes to prove . If you’ve watched The Great British Bakeoff you know this is VERY important.
  5. Divide dough into small circles and heat up oil in frying pan.
  6. Lower one disc into the oil and fry for 60 seconds each side, or until golden brown. 
  7. Remove from oil and set on paper towels to cool.
  8. Top with tons of confectioners sugar, or maple syrup, cinnamon sugar or literally anything else sweet. 

-Katarina M. Grealish ’23

 

Dear Diary,

Last Monday, I awoke to a surprise: my phone, a trusty companion of four years, was refusing to connect to cell service. Apple support informed me that something had gone wrong in the latest software update, and I would have to back up my phone, wipe it, and reload it in order to re-establish the connection. 

I dutifully plugged my phone into my computer, opened iTunes, and prepared to start a backup, but my logical plan of action was quickly thwarted; my computer refused to recognize the existing data on my phone, asking if I wanted to restore my phone from a 2016 backup (absolutely not) or begin from factory settings. Neither of these seemed like viable options, so I set off to class with a weak WiFi connection and a resolve to enjoy my indefinite time off the grid. 

Around lunch time (approximately two hours after losing service), I caved. I researched my options and called the ITS Helpdesk to see if this would be something they could fix, which of course proved entirely ineffective because my phone could not connect to cell service. I headed to the Helpdesk myself. 

Upon arrival, I was greeted by students typing away on computers and iPhones, only one of whom seemed to actually be a Helpdesk employee. We tried to back the phone up to my computer, which again was ineffective, then tried to back it up to another student’s computer, which also failed. At this point, some of the other Helpdesk groupies reluctantly became involved, but even with the volume of our collective brain power, we could not figure out how to make the backup happen. 

So, it was decided: I would wipe my phone and reload it, and rely on Google photos as well as individual apps to hopefully continue to store the data I really needed. How often did I really look at my iMessages anyway? It would be a fresh start. I would reinvent myself. 

It was in this moment of resignation that a stroke of brilliance occurred. Tired, confused, frustrated, I held down the power button on my phone and turned it off. 

When I turned it back on five minutes later, I couldn’t believe my eyes. The cellular data was working. It was fixed. 

Reveling in my re-acquaintance with four bars of Verizon, I called my dad to tell him the news.

-Emma Smith ’22

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