Community, the Capitol, and Central Hall

Every time I meet someone from Hillsdale College while out here in D.C., they always ask if I know [insert their friend’s name here].

Most of the time, I fall back on “I know the name, but not the person,” but the point has been made. Even here, hundreds of miles away, the Hillsdale community is strong. And when I say it is strong, I mean it’s almost obnoxious how many other Hillsdale students and alums are working or interning in the nation’s capitol.

I know it’s because I run heavily in the conservative culture here, but it seems like my alma mater is everywhere I turn. I meet someone from my school almost every week—a speaker at a lecture, someone on the street, a fellow church member. And although Hillsdale’s ever-growing presence is a sort of running joke in town, I am thankful for it.

Community takes on a new meaning when you’re in a city for the first time, and I am lucky enough to have one built in. I haven’t had to flounder for friends, because there is a whole dorm full of them quite literally a block from where I work.

There is something to be said for going it alone, to be thrust completely out of your element, but I think it is only possible to thrive on your own once your roots have been firmly planted. I am only beginning to understand my roots. I am only starting to learn what it means to be grounded in people and places and moments.

Nearly three months in D.C. has only shown my heart has not been uprooted, only transplanted.

This isn’t a post about school spirit. This is not about cheering at football games. This is not about bumper stickers or class shirts or banners.

This is about how I have buried my heart under the well-worn steps of Central Hall. This is about planting my hopes among the flowers of Arb, rooting myself in the blue and the white, finding my purpose among bustling Midwest halls.

This is about unspoken allies in the city.

No matter what internship or job brings someone here, we both understand what is like to struggle through American Heritage, to see the glow of Central Hall at sunset, to have your heart jump in fear (or excitement) when Dr. Arnn rounds the corner. It’s a shared experience that is irreplaceable, unexplainable.

Knowing there are others—many others—in this town who share these roots is a comfort. Seeing where they are now is an encouragement. Meeting them is a joy, if only because the unspoken becomes the spoken.

The friendships I form at school might fade. Details of classroom lessons will be replaced. But the sense of community will never disappear, no matter where I go.  Once a Charger, always a Charger.

So charge on, Washington. Charge on.

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An Update in Three Chapters

heard

Well, have you?

 

Consider this your update. It’s really more of me acknowledging I have not written anything in three solid months.

It’s not that there hasn’t been anything to write about. Quite the opposite, actually. So here it is: A Comprehensive Update on the Life of Jordyn Pair.

You’re welcome, grandma.

 

Chapter 1: Finding my (radio) voice

When I took a radio class last semester, I never expected it to be anything more than an obligatory rounding-out of my journalism skills. I never expected to take a second class, and I certainly never anticipated eventually taking charge of three separate shows.

That’s right, folks, Jordyn Pair is on the air.

Getting my first radio show, Have You Heard? on the airwaves was a long process, mostly due to my lack of diligence. I didn’t know who to talk to or how to edit what they said. But now you can hear the unusual stories, passions, and experiences of Hillsdale College students at seven in the morning, provided you are in town. Otherwise, you have to wait for the Soundcloud file to make an appearance on the Facebook page.

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Although I also produce The Devil’s Advocate, and will soon be hosting The Collegian Week in Review, my first show, Have You Heard? is my fun project. I’m in journalism to tell the unknown stories, and, at Hillsdale, that’s the not-quite-newsworthy-but-still-cool students. There might not be a news hook, but there is passion.

And, in my case, passion fed passion.

Although I have worked with words for so long, learning to work with them in audio format has been a new challenge. These shows are a different beast than ones I have approached before, but it’s a beast I love tackling.

The radio shows I work on are creative. It’s not just straightforward journalism, and they’re more personalized. Although journalism does occasionally lend itself to flexing artistic muscles, the radio shows I work on are more like a time for me to play. It’s a chance to sit down in front of a microphone and just have fun.

Chapter 2: Small town girl, meet big city

I have a love affair with travelling, but am rarely able to.

Which is why I am absolutely stoked that I get to spend the summer in Washington, D.C. After I finish a  two-week stint in Iowa for a journalism intensive, I will immediately turn around, cram everything I own (plus my parents and me) into a car, and drive down to D.C.

Although I am unsure of what my journalism internship holds, I’m thrilled to be in a town where the main occupant is not corn.

Yes, I am sharing a room. Yes, I will be stuffing myself into pencil skirts all summer. Yes, I will absolutely love every second of it.

And if you have any “Top Ten Places to Visit in D.C.” listicles, send them my way.

 

Chapter 3: The one where I write a million headlines

I have spent every Wednesday of the last year in the Collegian office. Apparently, I am a glutton for pain and the AP Stylebook, because that is where I am spending every Wednesday of this coming year, too.

Dearest readers/fellow students/grandma, meet the Hillsdale Collegian’s next News Editor.

Being an editor is difficult work. It’s long hours and managing new writers and harassing old ones. But it’s work that I will find fulfilling, rewarding, and so, so worth it.

 

I know my second two chapters are so much shorter than my first, but it’s only because they haven’t been fully written yet. This is just a preview of me throwing myself into the deep end of the journalism pool.

Pen to paper. Sink or swim.

 

A Letter to Boardwalk and Everyone in It

Today I move out of the little brown house on Manning Street and into the newly-refurbished Mauck Dormitory. 

It will be nice to have a properly-heated room. Less nice to have to share a bathroom with more than two other people. 

Still, I will miss this house, run-down as it was. Not because of my larger room or the abundance of community tea nestled on the top shelf of the kitchen, but because of the aggressive positivity that turned it into a home.

I am not used to having an abundance of female friendships. Growing up, I had my mom and a few close girlfriends. I have never been the girl that hangs out with 10 other girls at the same time. I’m not in a sorority. The last group of “girlfriends” I had was in early middle school. 

This means I have more intimate friendships with the girlfriends I do have, but it also means I spend a lot of my time with boys. 

Girl friendships are difficult for me. I despise doing the weeks, even months, of awkward friend-flirting, only to have the friendship fizzle. Sometimes, it’s because Things Happen. Sometimes not. Either way, it’s a wooing process, tiring and often fruitless. It’s left me a little jaded toward the idea of reaching out to make new girlfriends.

Living in Boardwalk changed that. 

I hadn’t originally planned on living in the house, but was offered a spot after my planned roommate bailed at the last second. I’m grateful now she did. 

I have never seen a house get along so perfectly. The living room was always littered with twinkle lights and candles. Some sort of baked good cooled on the kitchen counter at least once a week. When I wandered into the kitchen in the morning, still blurry-eyed and bed-headed, I was always greeted with at least one cheery “good morning!” 

Twelve girls in one house seems like a lot. It is. Every space in that house was crammed with something. Books, food, and homework, but also joy, laughter, and love. 

Don’t get me wrong. We weren’t gathering in the living room every night to giggle and swap makeup tips. But knowing there were others just down the hall who would be there for me, who would let me vent, and who I could support equally, that was exciting.

The women in Boardwalk showed me why female friendships that are unequivocally and passionately positive are of unmatched importance. Having such a positive experience with 11 other girls at once gave me the desire to once again pursue female friendships. They made me a better person, a more confident person, in just a semester.

So thank you, Boardwalk. A few twinkle lights and a little bit of a laughter made a little run-down house feel like home. 

Here’s to a new dorm, a new semester, and new friendships. Welcome to Mauck.