I Apparently Go To College To Play With Dirt

, by Zoë Gulliksen

For those of you that don't know, I'm a senior at Rutgers University (good luck trying to find me, the school is enormous) and I'm majoring in Creative Writing with a minor in Organizational Leadership. Most of the time I ignore the people in my classes and do what I have to do to get the hell out of college. Usually I'm subjected to ridiculous human nature (as is typical in a college atmosphere) and this morning was no different.

I'm taking a Romantic Politics class, which is not romantic nor extremely political. We mostly sit around talking about Thoreau, society, current movements, and recently abstract art. In today's class we learned about interacting with art. To be in the moment to make art with ordinary things. To take a desk and make it unordinary by sitting in it, by coloring it, by covering it in mud. I can sign my name on this desk and make it extraordinary art just because I say so.

Alright, whatever.

In order to make us understand this concept, a woman was a guest speaker and had us do exercises. She actually made us get up out of our seats and interact with each other. (Goddamnit) This woman split us into two groups. One group was each handed a cup, with one cup filled to the brim of water. Then they were instructed to stand somewhere in the room. The person with the filled cup fo water had to go to another individual on the other side of the room and fill their cup with the water while announcing your name out loud. And continue indefinitely.

Meanwhile, the other group was given a bucket full of leaves, rocks, and garbage. We were told to make "art" with these random soggy dirty things. As each one of us took a leaf out of the bucket, we had to say "Begin. Then whenever we each decided, we could say "End" and others had to dismantle the "art" you just created.

Overall, it was ridiculous and seemingly pointless. I muttered under my breath "God I hope there isn't poison ivy in here." Of course that started a series of nervous laughter while the water cup people in the room rolled their eyes at this pointless exercise. This was art? This is what I was paying over $10,000 a year to do?

So what did I learn? I interacted with my classmates where as before we all just sort of ignored each other. We bonded over the annoyance of having to play with dirt and pass water around the room.

Fantastic. Can I have my degree now?


  1. Oh, brother...Sorry you had to put up with that, Zoë! I always hated that kind of pointless nonsense, too.

  2. I sense the frustration, but it is a good exercise, part of the college experience is meeting and interacting with new people. You're probably incredibly comfortable with your circle of friends, and would always have fun with them, but then interaction with total stranger is a whole new experience and another ball game completely.

    I understand your big city attitude of keeping to yourself, I come from an even bigger city so trust me I understand. but once you get your degree and are released into this world you'll have to find ways to interact with people you don't know be it to get ahead in life, job interviews, talking to that random stranger across the room you're dying to know better cause he's been buried in the Silmarillion for the past two hours at starbucks etc.

    You want to be a writer and a writer needs to experience more to be able to write better-at least that's how's it's worked for me so far- being enclosed to one aspect (your close circle of friends) is rich in many aspects, but still lacking in others.

    That exercise got you to write an entire blog post (read: got you to write) for a writer anything that gets you to write is a good thing. it might have not been artistic to play with leaves and dirt, because the art was in the human interaction. because at the end of the day art is about the human experience.

    Sorry for the long comment and the assumptions I made to get my point across if any of them were wrong my bad.

    I've been through art school my self at my digital art final I made the class play rockband and got an A so I understand how some pointless things can be called art. your point of view is great but look deeper into it, and that's how you'll learn more from it