Basically, I knew from the time I learned to read I needed to be an English major in college. I love to read and I love to talk about books — what major could suit me better? Unfortunately, Grinnell has this strange idea that you should have a well-rounded education, so they wouldn’t let me take only English classes. I had a lot of fun experimenting — taking classics, art history, or whatever I felt like. I knew I had already picked my major, so there was no pressure on my schedule.
When I first visited Grinnell, I was looking for ways to differentiate the College from other schools I had already been to. What was it about Grinnell that everyone said was so different and progressive?
For me, the answer was the school has a fake newspaper.
Sometimes in college residence halls, there are floors so great their inhabitants are designated by floor name. My first year, there were “those kids from Loose Second.” The next year, it was “those kids from D First.” I was always sort of mystified. How could people who had seemingly nothing but geography in common become so close?
Then, in my senior year, I moved to Read Second.
"These kids are truly barbaric!” my mind screamed as I walked into the child-infested art room of the local middle school. Fifteen paper planes were flying, a rental clarinet was honking, and scissors-wielding 10–13-year-olds were zooming across the room, reminding me more of Brownian motion than of an academic institution. I was a first-year and eager to rocket into the upper ranks of the learned and distinguished. This was my hell.
The year is 1984. The legal drinking age in Iowa rises to 21. The state’s largest vendor of beer, according to legend, loses three-quarters of its customers. Two years later, the Grinnell College campus pub closes.