“Hey, Shalli, come here! John wants to ask you some questions!” I tell Andy Moniaci that I am talking her and to please stop screaming down the McLean hallway at night. She repeatedly says, “Don’t actually put that in the article” or “This is off-record” or “Wait, let me start that sentence again,” but she does eventually talk about herself. “I’m a part of Res Life, an RA in Prassel. I’m a Trinity Tour guide and a student ambassador. And, uh, just a junior.” She trails off and we laugh. I ask her if she actually is a student. “Oh, my major is history. I’m thinking about minoring in business. Hopefully, I’ll do the education program and get my Masters of Arts in Teaching.”
A blanket is wrapped around Erin Rand in her supposedly cold room. “I’m an international affairs major (emphasis in German) and a history major. What else do I do aside from school things? I work for the journal, 1966.” She then tells me to follow them on Tumblr and that everyone else should too. “I also write. A lot. Less so recently because I’m trying to get a job and get into grad school. Which is stressful. I’m applying to a Masters in Publishing program at two schools.” It seems that her two majors was incongruous with her post-undergraduate plans. “Yeah”¦ I started at Trinity being very concerned about getting a degree that would be practical. I felt like the English department can teach you the conventions of writing, but they can’t teach YOU how to write. That’s a pretty personal thing and something you have to explore yourself. After some exploring this summer, I realized I want to do something I really, really love instead of just what I like.”
“My dream job is to be a child life specialist.” I ask Andy what that job entails. “So they help the family and the patient cope with what is happening with patients who have serious illnesses. They guide the patients, and the family, through what’s happening and what will happen next.” The motivations and factors behind even the most seemingly insignificant decisions are extensive, sometimes unconscious and unique to each person, but I still ask her if she knows why she wants to do this. “I volunteered at a hospital and was telling a patient about what a day was like at this summer camp I worked at. We would play kickball, go swim at Moody Gardens or run around and play games. After I finished, he looked at me and said, “˜I wish I could play duck-duck-goose.'” There was this silence as Andy looks at her feet, or at something else far beyond her feet or the hallway or school. She clears her throat and starts talking again. “That was hard. We take for granted so many little things, and none of these kids had any choice or fault in this. We don’t think about getting up and moving around or playing duck-duck-goose.”
Erin says she writes so I was curious as to what she writes. “I do Nanowrimo. You write a novel in a month and it’s complete crap. It’s especially hard when you’re in college and have two jobs but Nanowrimo forces you to set aside a few hours a day – which is a lot – to just write. That’s better than not writing. I’m actually bummed. I can’t do it this year. The first time in 7 years I won’t be doing it since I almost don’t have any free time.” I ask her if her dream job is writing novels. “It doesn’t really matter what writing I do. I could be writing for a magazine or just anywhere as long as I wrote a lot. Though, in the back of my mind, I do see myself writing books in a cottage with just enough interaction with the world to stay grounded. Nice and quiet solitude. Or living in the city.” I stop her there because those two things are complete opposites. “I know but that’s really where I see myself. One or the other. Plus, public transportation is super important. I have bad luck with cars.”
“I’ve seen first hand the hardships and struggles that patients and their families go through. If I can make that struggle a little bit better, that would be”¦ great. I feel like people tend to forget that patients don’t have any opportunity to be a kid. I don’t know. It’d be awesome. It’d be cool. Not cool. It’d be better than cool.” The clock strikes midnight. Andy stands up and leaves to sing happy birthday to a friend.