Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I'm one month away from being a college graduate. One month. The prospect of being a college graduate is simultaneously thrilling and terrifying. At the moment though, it's mostly just terrifying.

I've been receiving a formal education for as long as I can remember, unless you discount daycare and preschool. Starting in a month when someone asks me what I do, the answer will no longer have the simple answer I've been providing since I was old enough to garner the question: I'm a student.

AS long as I'm alive, that should be an acceptable response, but that's not how people usually look at it. For the past four years, it's been the expected answer. I've been the simplest, easiest to understand dictionary definition of it. Proof? The second entry in the Oxford English Dictionary applied perfectly to me:

Student: A person who is undergoing a course of study and instruction at a university or other place of higher education or technical training.
While it's true I'll no longer be undergoing a formal course of education, I don't think I'll ever stop being a student. Because the first entry in the O.E.D. seems to describe what I aspire to be, well, forever.
Student: A person who is engaged in or addicted to study.
Study: To apply the mind to the acquisition of learning, whether by means of books, observation, or experiment

I never want to stop learning. Ever. If I'm out there existing and I'm not applying myself to learning new things on a daily basis, then I'm failing myself.

When it comes to formal education, on paper, I've been incredibly fortunate. Though I don't think college rankings tell you all that much about the quality of education an individual person receives -- you can go to a "great" school and get a terrible education if you try hard enough, or, more accurately, don't try -- my degree is from a top tier university. If I pick up my diploma, head back to Chicago, and stop learning I'm not going to get anything out of my life. I'm smart enough to know that I'll spend the rest of my life learning new things. And I look forward to that.

Now that I've said that, I present to you a list of things I've learned about the kitchen while in school. Many of these things aren't transferable to other people.
  • I was spoiled with nice, heavy knives as a child. I can't function without a chef's knife that is too light or too dull.
  • All I need to be satisfied is a skillet, a spatula, oil, and (fresh-ish) eggs. Salt and pepper are nice. Vegetables are even nicer. Salsa is easier.
  • Drying racks are incredibly useful, as are dishgloves.
  • Canned (packeted?) tuna is a wonderful thing.
  • It's really easy to lose things in a fridge shared with someone who doesn't regularly clean their stuff out.
  • Buying groceries for one can be difficult. The deli counter is a valuable resource.
  • Condiments do in fact go bad.
I feel like most of that is actually pretty obvious, except for maybe the first two, which are really just things I learned about myself. (I don't do conclusions well.)