In SHOUSE, we have a wall dedicated to the posters for all the shows, choir concerts and a capella performances each of us have either been in or worked on this year. Oh, and there’s a Beyoncé collage, but I guess that’s what happens when you live with the flawless Reeve Johnson… I have been trying to figure out how to write this retrospective for weeks now but have struggled because, well, for one, I’m a terrible writer to begin with, but also because epitomizing my incredible experience at Vassar in a short piece of writing seemed to be impossible. It wasn’t until I sat down in the Target chair I bought freshmen year and looked at this wall of posters that I realized why I love Vassar so much: all of the wonderful things I had the opportunity to do outside the classroom. Though I will always be thankful for the deeper academic understanding of how our world works that I received because of my academic education here at Vassar, nothing will ever be able to match how much I grew personally and the people I met through doing extra curriculars here.
VSA: Doing VSA taught me so many practical skills. Even though most of the time I was ready to cry, scream, and vomit all at the same time, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. There are so many parts of my time on the VSA that are unforgettable: the start of the bias incidents happening in Davison, Harvestfest, study breaks, endless meetings, Beyoncé Mug Night, the Pre Org system, Meet Me in Poughkeepsie and so many others. It was a rollercoaster, but I got the opportunity to work with and get to know so many people who helped me develop important practical life skills that I’ll take with me into the job world (if I ever find one of those job things, that is). Also, doing House Team/VSA was where I met SHOUSE, which basically means that if I didn’t do VSA, such classics as Jumanji McPhee, Pretty Shurts, Kappa Kappa Sarah, Smansion and Melanie Harrison Directs never would have happened…
FWA: I’ve always loved theater. Doing FWA, though, taught me how to appreciate theater. See it as an outlet for creative energy and an opportunity to produce all different types of art. Oh and fierce belting…Can’t forget the fierce belting. It all started on that fateful night in Acrop when Legally Blonde was birthed and turned into a crazy 4 months of callbacks with 20 people screaming “Oh my god you guys” at Anna and my faces, dying Jessie’s hair blonde (and I mean REALLY blonde), and fitting 23 people and a dog in the Shiva. Then it all ended with Rent, a production full of ridiculous tech, some weird lines (“Noooooooo”), blue spandex, and most importantly: so much heart. That cast and crew gave everything they had to that show and I will always respect and be inspired by their passion. The people I met through doing FWA are some of the most talented and dedicated people I’ve ever met in my entire life. Their love of theater pushed me to take myself more seriously and explore my creative side, which are two things that I struggled with before coming to Vassar, but now could not feel more natural.
Beauty and the Beats: I don’t even know where to begin with this one. It’s funny that randomly auditioning for an a capella group my second semester senior year would lead to one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my time at Vassar (wow can’t believe you guys made me sing in front of people). It was a semester full of cool butts, Bumble Bee Tunas, Chris Brown turning, and unnecessary riffs. I met 10 people that I cannot believe I only knew for one semester. I don’t even know how I made it through 3.5 years of college without these incredibly talented and hilarious people inspiring and pushing me to achieve my full potential. Funny how you can meet people who will change your life at the weirdest times.
At the end of the day, Vassar taught me to take risks – do all the things I want to do and open myself up to the wonderful people I meet because of those things, a lesson I will always be beyond grateful for. SHOUSE, Claire, Steven, Jessie, Hannah, Brielle, The Beats, the cast/crews of Legally Blonde and Rent, Professor Cann, 2011-2012 Davison House Team, 2011-2013 VSA Councils, and so many countless others – Thank you so so so much for everything you’ve given me the past 4 years. Because of you all I was able to learn about myself and grow so much. You’ve all changed my life.
— Doug Greer is an Africana Studies Major with an Education Correlate and he was the Davison House President, Vice President for Activities and FWA Treasurer.