On life, love, and college selection, my thoughts:
Blogger: Donovan Dennis
The great Californian John Steinbeck once wrote of my home state, “I’m in love with Montana. For other states I have admiration, respect, recognition, even some affection. But with Montana it is love. And it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it.”
Thus, it’s a hard case to make for moving from one of the loveliest places in the West to the state deeply rooted as the source of all evil for every Montanan: California. As astonishing as it may sound, however, I found it within myself to temporarily abandon the 22nd coldest city in the United States (Great Falls, MT), pack up, and join the masses migrating to Los Angeles.
Much to my surprise, I found a community strikingly similar to my own (sans frigidity of course). Though deep within the heart of urban Los Angeles, Eagle Rock’s Beach Boys-era diners mirror the after-church breakfast joints from Sundays growing up, while trips to the neighborhood barbershop mimic boyhood haircuts with my dad back home. Throw in the San Gabriel Mountains for a dramatic background, and it’s practically Montana with palm trees. Except with Manhattan Beach, and LA Live, and Old Town Pasadena, and every other attraction that makes living in Los Angeles rather thrilling.
Now for the inevitable introduction (you will master this during your first two days at college): My name is Donovan Dennis, and I’m a sophomore proudly hailing from Great Falls, MT. After embarking on the odyssey of college selection, my rationales for choosing Oxy were twofold, and particularly spontaneous. By December of senior year, I’d finished thirteen ridiculous college apps (all large, exclusive East Coast schools) and closed the Princeton Review for good, swearing I’d never re-enter the tumult again. But, during winter break while enduring swimming doubledays, I decided I couldn’t give up competitive swimming. So I called Shea Manning, now my coach, then one of my last shots at college athletics. After two brief phone calls and a picture of Oxy’s snow-free outdoor pool in December, I applied Early Decision II truly on a whim.
Thankfully, I couldn’t be more pleased.
Still a member of the Men’s Swim and Dive team, I also work for the Occidental Weekly as the Communications Director and was selected as a senior editor for the newly established Occidental Undergraduate Law Review. Right now, we’re in the height of swim season, and my quadmates and I (I live in Norris Themed Housing with seven of my teammates) have accepted the unrelenting chlorine smell lingering throughout our several rooms.
I declared as a History major last year, and I’m taking some of the more popular courses this semester, recently becoming a near-expert in the histories of western medicine and the French Revolution as well as the music of Africa, all while maintaining novice status in French.
Advice for you undecideds: Oxy is a special place—no other liberal arts college, or really any other college in general, can be compared to us. Nowhere else will you find students applying the lofty principals of Rousseau to water access rights in southern California during their spin class. Or rushing from a day at the beach to Carmen at the LA Opera. Or using economic theory to analyze mac and cheese bite consumption at the Cooler.
I could waste more space in futility trying to explain it, but it’s difficult to analyze love when you’re in it. Surf’s up from Eagle Rock. Enjoy the pictures.