Me (still trying to write a statement of purpose): I wonder if I can find a way to fit the Largo Argentina [1] into this essay? How about I just make it the title?
Roomie: They’d probably just assume it’s some kind of profound metaphor.
Me: Oh, but I could make it one – I’m a professional BS-er. See, the four temples in the Largo Argentina [2] OBVIOUSLY represent the four greatest Roman poets, and the respective depths of their foundations correspond to the overall amount of research conducted on each author to the present. Nevertheless, deeper foundations don’t necessarily mean a deeper understanding of each temple, just as a longer tradition of research doesn’t imply greater comprehension of each poet’s works…IF YOU WILL.
Roomie: If you can BS something like that off of the top of your head, I’d say you are ready for grad school.
Me: Ouch.
Roomie: Don’t worry, in a year, I’ll be doing the same thing you are, and wondering why…

This program has made me realize that some of my habits are not nearly as unusual as I worried they were. A number of people here seem to have an inclination towards creating symbolic meaning (based on some Classical reference) solely for amusement. I think the tendency stems from how much work we normally have to do to support arguments, and those moments of frustration and vicious self-doubt in which one questions whether her argument is, in fact, just complete BS.
Today, my art history class was at the Farnesi palace studying Mannerist frescoes. The personification Eloquentia was depicted with a parrot, and the professor said he had no idea why. Sooo predictably, I suggested that it was a reference to Ovid, Amores 2.6. Mannerist painters fuse Classical references with all their subject matter, so the suggestion was not particularly absurd, but my point is simply that it is easy to project your own associations onto…everything. I feel a little guilty about it because the professor liked the explanation. Why did it even need an explanation? Seriously, a parrot imitates speech – of course it is a decent symbol for Eloquence. Well, I wouldn’t call a parrot eloquent. Hence my pathological need to find an explanation in my own field.
Anyway, as a Classics major, I have developed some obnoxious idiosyncracies. For instance, whenever I listen to the song “Starseeds” by Love Outside Andromeda, my brain inserts “ἀφιστάμαι!!!” every time she says “I stand here away from you” in the refrain. Much to my relief, during the first week here, one of my hallmates, looking at a book titled The One from the Other, said, “You know, every time I see this book on the shelf, I think of that Greek word ‘ἀλλήλους.'” I think that, at that moment, I decided that this place was going to be okay. Of course, now I notice that book every time I walk by the shelf. Likewise, I am sure that my poor roommate will be stuck hearing the opening of “Fell in Love Without You” by Motion City Soundtrack my way:

Last night, I fell in love without you
I waved goodbye to that heart of mine beating solo on your lawn

It even rhymes, so you can back-up sing it in.


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