Musical Liberation

Have you ever been so happy and thoroughly enjoying yourself that you can’t stop smiling?
How about being so lost in the moment that the only thing you can focus on is the joy you are experiencing right then?

If you have, that’s wonderful. If you haven’t, don’t worry! There’s plenty of time to get on that. Because let’s face it, going through life day after day, week after week, year after year, only thinking about the future and worrying about everything that is coming up immanently can really stress you out. It sucks all the spontaneity and joyful surprises out of your experiences. And that just … sucks.

So that is why after going through this weekend and taking time to reflect, I decided I’d squeeze one more “usual” post in before writing something about Christmas at Loyola.

And let me just warn you: the things that got me grinning like a fool and living in the moment are not things I’d expect to lose myself in. Especially as one centered around the music my grandpa listens to (which I secretly love).

Can you hazard a guess? Yes? No? Maybe? Well, um, here goes:

SWING DANCING, BABY!

Yeah, who would have guessed I’d spend my Friday night with a great group of friends learning how to swing dance (at the Mobtown Ballroom) and then use those moves on the dance floor?

Prep for Swinging

It was SO MUCH FUN!!!! Seriously. I didn’t know how it would go, which is probably why I had such a great time, and even though I may not be the best dancer in the world, it didn’t matter. I learned lead (the guy part, because at first there weren’t enough guys), and spent a good two hours kicking up my heels with people who were truly enjoying themselves. Yeah, ok, it was a bit awkward at first because no one knew what they were doing, but by the end my roommate and I were twirling each other around and having a grand old time.

Some of Us

I wish I had more pictures of the action, but the lighting wasn’t that great and I didn’t feel like blinding people with my camera’s flash.

I will say that sitting between dances and being asked to dance kind of made me feel like I was in a Victorian romance novel. It sounds ridiculously cheesy, but I couldn’t help but think of Pride and Prejudice while chatting with my friends.

By the end of the night we all agreed we wanted to go again next semester, so I’m super excited for that!

Now, going along with this musical theme of entertainment, my Saturday night was spent in a similar manner, though not as physically draining.

CHORDBUSTERS!!!!

Anyone who goes to Loyola knows that at some point they have to go to this amazing concert hosted by the Chimes and Belles, the two a cappella groups here. I’ve mentioned them before, but then I’ve only seen them sing a few songs at a time. Not a two-hour concert of sketch comedy and fantastic renditions of pop music from all eras. My favorites were Sweet Disposition, Hey Ya, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, and All I Want For Christmas.

As I sat there in total awe of the Chimes’ ability to crank out high energy and high notes, I marveled at the human voice. It can truly do spectacular things. Those songs may not have given me the shivers (like Amazing Grace, goosebumps every time), but trust me when I say I couldn’t stop smiling.

It’s not very often I can shake all the worries I have going through my head and truly enjoy a leisure activity. Being able to do that this weekend was so freeing, I only wish I was able to experience it more often. But then again, would that reoccurrence take away from the appreciation of these special events?

I don’t know about that answer, but I do know that music has something to do with it!

Freedom to Dance And Other Inalienable Room Rights

I really hope no one ever goes by my window when I’m listening to music. Why? Because I will either a) be singing, or b) dancing, or c) a dramatic combination of both.

HmYes, you can dance tooJust Sing

My dance moves are akin to the awkward flailings of a seal powered by the enthusiasm of Gene Kelly. I’m not as hard core as Napoleon Dynamite, but I still tango across the common room with my roommate to The Muppets version of “The Habenera.”

For me, dancing as if no one is watching and singing as if the walls aren’t paper thin are how I get the crazy build up of tension out of my system. You know those people who jiggle their foot incessantly in class? That’s me (sorry guys!). So coming home and just belting Florence + The Machine’s “The Dog Days Are Over” or dancing to Passion Pit’s “Take A Walk” while cooking dinner is a kind of therapy.

Of course, I wouldn’t be able to do this without trusting my roommates.

Having a good room environment is essential to having a good college experience. Some people say they’re OK just being acquaintances with their roommates; it’s only a place to sleep, eat and keep your stuff, right? Well, it works for some people, but not me.

As a freshman last year, I was really freaked out about having a roommate. I have a sister, but there’s a huge age gap so I was basically raised as an only child. As move in day approached, I got more and more anxious about my roommate.

What if she thought I was weird? What if she had completely different tastes in music? What if she studied all the time, or didn’t study at all? What if Loyola’s survey screwed up and I got put with the polar opposite?

Luckily, my worrying was pointless.

Sharing an apartment with five other girls was definitely a culture shock, but it turned out to be really fun. Part of this has to do with the sense of community Loyola builds within its dorms.

I was in an Alpha class, so I lived on a floor with other Alpha/Collegium students, which provided a sense of commonality starting day one. Throughout the year, my floor kept its doors open and I got to know almost everyone in my hall. My neighbors and I would have family dinners or get together to watch Once Upon A Time or Psych. We even made a fake family tree! (If you ever hear a guy call me Nana, this is why)

Family Dinner Freshman Year! Different Familiy Dinner, but same food

Sadly, not everything was always peachy keen. My room had its moments of tension last year, and I’ve heard horror stories from friends who just didn’t click with their roommates (not just at this school).

Overall, I lucked out and had a really good roommate experience and I’m super happy it’s continuing. Yes, this year I got to choose my roommates and yes they are really good friends, but the comfort level of what is essentially my home hinges on the room dynamic.
I don’t want to give a secret recipe for success, because let’s face it, every room situation is different. But here is what allows me to dance and sing without a care in the world:

  1. The room is a judgement free zone.
  2. Conflict? Bring it up ASAP. Talking it over helps.
  3. Don’t be afraid to speak out, even if it’s to make a bad joke.
  4. You don’t have to be best friends, but it’s cool if you are.
  5. Share! Ask to share! Share without thinking! The fridge has only so many shelves.
  6. Listen. With an open mind.
  7. Hug and dance and sing.

'Cause I'm that cool (jk, I know my dance moves are ridiculous)