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The Sleepless Nights of Graceland (A Retrospective from a Sleep Deprived Senior)

The Sleepless Nights of Graceland (A Retrospective from a Sleep Deprived Senior)

I find it ironic that I’m currently working on a Graceland University retrospective after staying up for 27 hours straight. All-nighters and Graceland University will be forever tied together as “soul mates,” just as the likes of Romeo and Juliet. But what is it about Graceland that causes everyone to lose their sleep? Surely, it’s not the difficulty of classes, because just about every teacher on this campus are about as leaned back and chill as it comes, but I suppose I’m only talking about that from an English, film, and theater background, (the embodiment of laid back and coolness, in case you were wondering). I thank the heavens that I didn’t bother with any kind of Chemistry class that I keep hearing so many good things about. I suppose with those kinds of classes, it’d be hard not to experience one, two, three, or eighty all-nighters, but I don’t believe that’s the main reason for the lack of sleep at Graceland University. Nah, I think it lies on something else entirely. You see, even though Graceland University is located in a small town with absolutely nothing to do… there’s SO MUCH to do.

Sure, you have every Graceland-sponsored event, and the awesomeness that make up those. You have your IMs and the energy that goes along with highly-competitive sports. The competitive nature here almost makes these games more fun to watch than the actual sports! You also have your COSA-sponsored events that make your typical weekends dramatically more fun with the silly off-beat BINGO nights, or their special Crazy COSA Campouts where we chill out and play games all night. But you also have those special Holiday events with COSA, like the “Bee” my Valentine get together, or the not-so-scary but still awesome haunted houses! Heck, even ASC has some awesome special events like that over-the-top Silent Library. Yes, these special events surely take up our time and bring out wonderful memories. But I don’t know, I don’t think anybody is truly losing any sleep for these events. Especially since they’re mostly done by midnight. So where else could it be?

Often, I look back to my first tour of the campus back in the summer of 2011. I came down during free private college tour week, and during this time I went to three different schools. Honestly, if I was a gambling man, I probably would have predicted that one of the other two schools would have sold me before this school that laid out in the middle of nowhere, Iowa. What could there be possibly to do in such a town like Lamoni? To my surprise, I was mostly right. The town itself is okay, but there really isn’t much to do. However, the campus completely took me by surprise, as it was awesome to see the quirkiness of this school shine out through many of the activities (previously listed) but what stood out to me was the legend of the all powerful bell. Yes, THE bell. My tour guide explained to me that the bell was one of the most sought after prized possessions of Graceland University. The individual houses would stay up late at night to compete over painting the bell with their hall colors. Ah yes, this is the main culprit for staying up all night. It has to be.

Okay okay, the bell wasn’t even around for half of my collegiate career. Staying up all night in order to stop Agape from painting the bell wouldn’t have been on any of our priority lists in the countless sleepless nights of Lamoni. No, I surely place the blame on the main idea that made painting the bell so appealing in the first place. The idea that makes all the IM games so competitive, the reason that makes all these Graceland sponsored events so goofy in the first place: The House System.

My fondest memories of Graceland will always be of my Closson bretheren sitting around in one of our rooms and discussing some sort of inappropriate and unimportant topic. The ways our creativity would blend together in these moments always brought out some of the wackiest images. The “what ifs” situations became so outlandish that just about every night I would have trouble breathing due to the relentless laughing attacks. Being around these fine gentlemen has made these four years, through the good and the bad, more than worth it. The heartbreaks, the great achievements, the lame Jason Smith assignments, the late night Kum ‘n Go breaks, all of it bearable, possible, and amazing because of my friends- no, family- on Closson House. And how was staying up 27 hours pounding my head to find the right way just to say this about my House? Well, that’s worth it too.

Thank you Graceland, for this opportunity to meet these people. Thank you Closson, for be the best you can be.

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About Kirk Peterson

Kirk Peterson is a film, theatre, performance studies and English major from Urbandale, Iowa. His main focus is film, but he has occasional love affairs with other forms of visual storytelling like graphic novels, video games, and theatre. Some of Kirk's favorite filmmakers are some of the more obvious picks like Nolan, Hitchcock, Kubrick, Gilliam, and Spielberg as well as some lesser popular artists like Kevin Smith and Richard Linklater. With all this, he has a hard time finding a film that he doesn't enjoy in at least one way or another. Kirk also enjoys being with his friends on Closson and especially loves to engage in off the wall conversations. Oh, and Batman.

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