Writer | Editor
Untitled design (7).png

Synthesis - Columns

From 2008 to 2015 I wrote a weekly column for Synthesis Weekly under the name Zooey Mae. What started as an outlet to review graphic novels and comic books evolved over the years to cover everything from pop culture to whatever menial event was happening in my life. Looking back, I think I spent much too much time regaling Chico with tales of my allergies. 

I Am A Pod

Originally published in Synthesis Weekly: May 2014

Do you ever have one of those days, where you forget how to live? I feel like my allergies have crescendoed to a point where I’m living the life of a subhuman. I am a pod. A congested, worthless pod. Today at work I had a tissue jammed up each nostril while I typed. I guess I’m just lucky that I work in a cubicle that hardly anyone ever walks past. Thanks to the allergies I’ve been running on just a few hours of sleep a night for longer than I care to remember. I take Benadryl every night, and usually just when the antihistamines are finally kicking in and I’m being lulled into a fitful sleep, my gentleman friend’s cat chooses that moment to come sauntering into the room, where he (without fail) will make his way to the top of my dresser and start knocking things off one by one. What a waste of a four-legged furry friend. On top of that nightly annoyance, it’s now the end of spring term, which means all those semester-long projects are finally due.

I feel like I almost have Chico State all figured out, and it only took… my entire time spent here. There’s so much that no one tells you when you enroll, or maybe they do if you’re 18 and you go there straight out of high school, just not if you go back to school in your late twenties after getting your AA at Butte then taking a few years off to really find yourself (see also: do a lot of drugs, convince yourself that you look great in overalls, watch Con Air a thousand times). One of the most useful nuggets I’ve gleaned is that online courses will almost always be better than actually having to go. The exception is if you find professors that are really great (Matt Blake & Aaron Quinn, I’m looking at you!). But really, what a waste of time going to class is. When there’s a set amount of hours that they’re required to fill each week, I find that inevitably classes devolve into an embarrassingly terrible amalgamation of professors assigning work that barely constitutes “busywork,” or class time spent indulging students who have an overabundance of opinions or stories, with either no real connection to the material or no discernable value to be gained from listening to them speak.

Last week I attended a class where literally the entire hour or so was spent discussing a bake sale. That isn’t to say that this highbrow discussion was being run by the professor. Instead it was hijacked by a set of overbearing students who seemed to delight in yell-talking over one another and debating the finer points of cookies vs. cupcakes. We are paying an obscene amount of money to be here, and this is what we are spending our time doing? Look, I want to learn. That’s why I’m there. But try as I may, I just can’t muster within myself the smallest inkling of energy to put towards giving a shit what my peers think. I am interested to hear what the professor has to say, that’s why I’m there. But please, for the love of Desmond Llewelyn, please stop the insanity. Also, why do the elevators in Tehama Hall always smell like a jar of old farts? Get it together, guys.

Arielle Mullen