SCA hippies; college senioritis: anxiety!–College Memoirs: Life At Roanoke–April 1995, Part 5

Wednesday, April 26.  Since I didn’t have a morning class on Thursday, I could manage the two-hour drive to the next shire with Cugan for dance practice.  Around 4:30 he came to get me, going first to dinner, probably Burger King or Hardee’s.  It wasn’t a garb night, or night to dress in medieval clothes; that only came every first Wednesday of the month.

At the dance practice, I met such W– shire people as:

Abigail–who was once a hippie and still believed in/practiced free love.  She once offered to take away Cugan’s “innocence,” but he refused.

Jakob–her boyfriend at the time, now husband, who used to belong to a small SCA household called Weasels.  He hit on anybody, man or woman.  Cugan hoped that when Jakob called him cute, he didn’t mean it that way.

Cronan–a short young man with very long, brown hair, very sweet and easygoing, and whom I often talked and dance with.

Hillel–who was in Abigail and Jakob’s general age group, and used to be a DJ on a classic/modern rock station.

The group was lively and happy to see a newbie, so I felt like the favorite of the night.  Jakob taught me some of the steps.  Cronan probably led the group, as he did for at least a few years after.

The music was on tapes played on a portable stereo.  On these tapes, a man named Calvin said a dance’s name, then the music for that dance began to play.  The W– dancers usually said, “Thank you, Calvin,” having heard him announce every dance for who knew how many times.  (Cugan had gone to these dance practices for a couple of years already.)

The dances were not actually “period,” but English Country dances from a bit later.  Cugan even recognized one of them in a Jane Austen movie, probably Emma.

There were Road to the Isles (my favorite), a twirling dance; Hole in the Wall, a kind of line dance with couples exchanging partners and switching places; Trench Moor, which I thought was Trench War, and certainly looked like a war with its pandemonium; and a dance involving foot taps and twirls.  There were probably other dances as well.


From Wednesday, April 26 through Sunday, April 30, my day planner read “Thesis–type.”  The first draft or two had now been written and reviewed by Dr. Nelson.  I had to fix it up and, on Monday, give it to the teachers I chose for the review committee.

Though some teachers wanted a thesis to be about fifty pages, Nelson set my minimum length at about thirty pages instead.  I don’t remember why; maybe he wanted to eliminate the padding that students often do to fill long papers.

As I sat at my word processor, typing and proofreading, the TV-movie Joseph played on TNT.  It was an excellent movie.

I had my TV on in the study room so I wouldn’t miss it.  I didn’t have to come up with new ideas, after all.  Now that I’d already written my first few drafts, the rest was easy.  The thesis I feared for so long, turned out to be not nearly so bad.

Starting on Friday, April 28 or earlier, I decided to stay in S–, and now had to start looking for a place to live.  I thought I had my job already, not knowing how temping worked or that daily work was not guaranteed.  If anyone had told me this, it probably didn’t click.

My parents told me I should find a place that cost about $300 a month, and that I could use a certain dollar amount on my credit card for starting out.

I looked in the paper and called two places, but one landlady said the place was supposed to be for retirees (this was not mentioned at all in the ad).  And another landlady, who was preparing a place for communal living (you rent a room and share the kitchen and bathroom), said she’d call me when it was ready.  She never did call, however, even though she was supposed to call back in maybe a week.

Tara didn’t like the idea of driving me to potential apartments, even though I had no other way to get to them.  (Much later I learned that she, like me, had trouble driving.)

For the last few weeks of school, I was in a funk.  I felt I was supposed to find an apartment, and was told I needed to look for a more permanent job.  But with neither a car nor any idea of how to go about this, I felt helpless.

I’d make notes to myself to look for these, but a kind of mental block made it almost impossible.  I felt useless, hopeless, like a slacker who wouldn’t do what I was supposed to do.  Yet at the same time I couldn’t motivate myself enough to do it.

This hung over my head during Saturday D&D sessions, sapping my fun.

Much later I learned about NVLD, which explained all this, because NVLDer’s have trouble doing things that are unfamiliar, or dealing with new situations.  Two decades later, after two jobs and more life experience, I can deal with this much better.

Of course, this could also have been senioritis, as described here.  It’s different for college seniors than for high school seniors, because that comfy school life you’ve known for many years, will no longer exist.  Before, you knew what to do next: You’ll go to more school, and get good grades.  Now, you have to do what adults do: get a job, move out on your own.  And your friends will scatter around the state/country as they find new homes.

But at the time, I had no clue why I found this so difficult.  I froze.  I had no clue what kind of job I wanted.

I was a Writing major because I wanted to write novels.  I didn’t want to be a journalist.  What else was there?

There was nothing but school to put on my resume, and I didn’t know how to write one, anyway.  I had no way to get to town to go on interviews or look at apartments, except if I could convince Tara to drive me.

I had been so busy with classes, my thesis, and the various stuff in my social life, that I had neglected my future.

I had no clue what to do.  And graduation was in a few weeks.

Cast of Characters (Work in Progress)

Table of Contents

Freshman Year

September 1991:

October 1991:

November 1991:

December 1991: Ride the Greyhound
January 1992: Dealing with a Breakup with Probable NVLD
February 1992:

March 1992: Shawn: Just Friends or Dating?

April 1992: Pledging, Prayer Group–and Peter’s Smear Campaign

May 1992:

Sophomore Year 

Summer 1992:

September 1992:

October 1992–Shawn’s Exasperating Ambivalence:

November 1992:

December 1992:

January 1993:

February 1993:

March 1993:

April 1993:

May 1993:

Summer 1993: Music, Storm and Prophetic Dreams

September 1993:

October 1993:

November 1993:

December 1993:

January 1994:

February 1994:

March 1994:

April 1994:

Senior Year 

June 1994–Bits of Abuse Here and There:

July & August 1994:

January 1995:

February 1995:

March 1995:

April 1995:

May 1995: