Category: Student Life & Activities

The Great Snowball Fight of 2015

Friday night marked the first snowfall of the year. And did it snow! Behemoth snowflakes suffocated campus in thick packing snow, and sometime around 11:30 PM, I got a text from one of my friends: “Head outside in 3 mins for a lightsaber duel. We at the mall.” Already warm in my bed relaxing after a day at my internship, I grumbled but still climbed out of my toasty cocoon to layer up to see this promised duel. I trudged outside to the center of campus to see utter mayhem: my friends smacking each other with lightsabers, the “Star Wars” theme blaring out of one of my friend’s phones, and snowballs flying in every direction all across the snowy expanse.

My friends take a break from fighting the good fight for a photo op.

See, it’s an Elmhurst College tradition for all students to assemble in the mall during the first substantial snow and have a snowball fight. This year was somehow my first year participating in this tradition and I had a great time! Since I had been in the city all day, I hadn’t seen any of my friends yet that day, so it was so much fun to run around in the snow with them and lob snowballs together, and occasionally at each other, and forget all our grown-up responsibilities.

The squad in front of Hammerschmidt Chapel

After we all became exhausted, we assembled at a campus house inhabited by a few members of the friend group and drank hot chocolate and talked for a couple hours. We joked around and reveled in the upcoming Thanksgiving break and commiserated about the week of Finals that was not too long to follow. Even though I initially had to convince myself to separate myself from the soft embrace of my blankets to join everyone outside, I am so glad that I did. Sometimes the best memories happen when you force yourself to leave your comfort zone, or at least your warm room.

Prettiest campus or PRETTIEST campus?


Milling About

As I have mentioned in the past, I have found my “home,” so to speak, at Elmhurst College’s Mill Theatre. I am a student worker at the costume shop and many of my friends are theatre majors. This season has been so much fun so far, let me give you a quick recap:


I had a great time working on the Mill Theatre’s first production of the year: Godspell.  It was a hilarious and fun show with a great cast who sang and danced their hearts out up there on stage. The props, costumes, sound, and the performances and hard work made by all involved resulted in a thoroughly enjoyable show. It included current references that helped make the show fresh and increased its relatability and further encouraged engagement from the audience.

Godspell cast selfie!

I will qualify that although I love the production itself, I do not agree with the anti-cell phone message embedded in aspects of the show. I believe the argument against cell phones and mobile internet is, at its core, misinformed and does not consider the many advantages afforded by further accessibility of the internet. Although I do agree it is annoying when someone is paying more attention to their phone than the conversation in front of them, there are many merits to having such quick and convenient access to internet mobility. It affords easy access to new information, convenient resources to communicate with others to coordinate events and meet ups with friends when everyone has busy schedules, not to mention its assistance in creating productive and interesting debates on social media platforms that would perhaps not exist if it were not for portable internet. And this “anti-cell phone” view has been used as a way for older generations to attack Generation Y as they try to perpetuate the myth that we are a lazy and self-entitled generation.


But I will once again underscore how much I enjoyed being a part of this show. As you can see from my rebuttal, it did create discourse and thought and challenged the audience to consider the positives and negatives of the way our society views different issues and how some of the lessons taught hundreds of years ago still largely apply to the how we think and act today.


As I write this, the first round of performances for the play “You Can’t Take It With You” has concluded. But worry not! There are four more performances left of this hilarious show with an amazing ensemble cast! So much goes on in this play that it’s hard to synthesize it down to a sentence or two, but I’ll try anyway: A young woman lives with her large eccentric family in New York City and, after falling in love with the straight-laced executive’s son at the company she works for, has to try to make her lovably crazy family appear somewhat normal in order to impress her new boyfriend’s parents. Naturally, hilarity and misunderstandings follow. Also included is a very Russian ballet instructor, disastrous word association games, a boozy dirty-limerick-reciting actress, and some sock garters crafted by yours truly. Go see it!

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If you look closely, you can see my reflection and the aggressively hipster outfit I was wearing that day.

That Costume Crew Lyfe

This weekend I helped out one of my closest friends on campus in the costume shop for Mill Theatre’s upcoming musical Dames at Sea. She is an incredibly valuable asset for the costume shop, so naturally she brought me, a goofy world-class friend embarrasser with some hand sewing experience, probably to remind everyone how great she is.


Since I was (surprise) an exceedingly weird kid, I used to sew clothes for my stuffed animals. They were truly ghastly frayed garments that have fortunately been lost to the sands of time. Because, of course, I was forced to teach myself how to sew as to shield my eyes from my companions’ furry nakedness. Nonetheless, I was excited that this skill would be put to a non-creepy use.


I was started on helping sew sparkly trim on one of the dresses, which sounds pretty non-excruciating, right? Wrong. I spent three hours on this dress, sewing the trim on the cuffs, bottom hem, and neck. I stabbed myself innumerable times, mumbling some beautifully crafted expletives under my breath.


But all that said, I had a great time. Everyone there is so much fun, not to mention you get slap-happy after a little while, so everything becomes hilarious. I really regret not coming in and helping earlier, because although it is frustrating and very time consuming, there is a certain satisfaction in completing a project and knowing that you’ve done something that matters.


Photographic evidence of slap-happiness.

Photographic evidence of slap-happiness.

So when you go see Dames at Sea, (because, let’s be honest, you will because it’s amazing) I hope you look at those costumes and think of all the great people who spent countless hours putting all of them together.


Visit the Elmhurst College Mill Theatre web page for times and dates!


An Introduction

Let’s start with the basics:


Hi, my name is Kristen Gravelin and I’m a first year student at Elmhurst College. Feel free to call me Dr. Gravelin. I’m an English Lit major and am pursuing a minor in Philosophy. I’m an Honors student and I live here on campus on the third floor of Schick, which is a part of Honors Living. I also work at the Fitness Center on campus, which is hilarious in that I am about the least physically active person you’ll ever meet, other than my daily treks to and from my dorm room, which are completely against my will and what I consider a college-sponsored form of abuse. I’ve been petitioning for a chair lift since I’ve moved in. (But I will say my calves have become pretty sculpted from sashaying up and down three flights of stairs on a daily basis.)  Anyway, stay tuned as the saga unfolds. Any other terribly interesting facts about me are conveniently located in the About Me section.


The “So What?” Factor


Yeah, it’s great to have a blog, but so what? What’s the purpose? Well, on this blog I’ll talk about my Elmhurst Experience and all the aspects of it that make it unique. I’ll talk about my classes, dorm life, the Honors Program, Honors Living, personal observations about campus, and just generally being An Actual College Student and the ups and downs that come with it. And hopefully by talking about all these things I can, at the least, make college seem way less scary (spoiler: college is actually not scary at all, just takes a little adjustment). And at the most, hopefully I can show prospective students how great Elmhurst College is (or just small liberal arts colleges in general, because, spoiler: they’re pretty great). In addition to providing an account of the remainder of my freshman year at Elmhurst College, I’d be willing to try my best to answer anyone’s burning questions. First year of college can be tough, but I’d say over half of it is knowing what to expect. The other half is embracing the unexpected.