Most of the student body heads home for Thanksgiving, but since I’m from Chicago I tend to stay on campus and enjoy the comforting isolation. Some might find it a bit creepy to be the only person living on their floor for four days, but due to my being a hermit in training I look forward to this time each year more than I do Christmas. I get an immense feeling of liberation from inhabiting large spaces entirely alone, leading to many hours of singing as loud as possible and dancing in my undies, and maybe once without, in the hallway during my one-man parties. This year, however, I wanted to focus on developing some of my more socially acceptable skills. So whenever I wasn’t having my private bachelor parties, I found myself picking up my long forgotten flute.

While being the only male in high school band that played the flute amongst my petite female peers probably doesn’t seem like the coolest thing, I had a great time. Not only was this one of the few situations where I looked tall compared to everyone around me, I grew in height very slowly only to cap out still below average, but also playing the flute was exhilarating. Playing it requires more air and lung support than does the tuba, which I made sure everyone knew. I liked to pretend that this meant people were required to respect me for breaking gender stereotypes all while having powerful lungs to pipe people’s problems away.

It’s been four years since high school, but I still think fondly of those “glory days,” and although I only played for a little over a year, due to my issues with commitment, I naturally wanted to relive them. Normally, I’d be too lazy to go down to the practice rooms in the arts building, but with no one on my floor I didn’t have to. No one was subjected to listening to the two days of constant shrill squeaks I made, and I wasn’t subjected to receiving noise complaints. Despite still being at a very beginner level, my confidence as a wannabe musician has increased tremendously since I can now claim to play three instruments amateurly, including the cello and drums. I’ve walked away from this break knowing that for both me and my neighbors, my staying on campus was a win-win situation.