Georgia Grellier ’20 reflects on her experience as a transfer student, her life in Boston, and what she would tell her past self. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
“I’m really bad at making decisions. I wrote my college essay the night before it was due. I just applied to nine random schools that sounded fine — totally different places because I was like, ‘Okay, we’ll see where I get in.’
I got into Colby College and Kenyon College, so I was deciding between the two. I spend my summers in Maine as a camp counselor so I was like, ‘I like Maine. Everyone seems nice. It seems good.’ I didn’t really put that much thought into it. I was just like, ‘I’m going to Colby.’
It was really cold. It was super cold. It’s really dark. It’s -12 degrees for the whole week, and you’re like, ‘Okay. This is my life now.’
The culture there is also, like, everyone trying to show how rich they are. Also when racist things happened there, people didn’t care really. So I did three semesters and then I peaced out because my roommate also transferred, so I was like, I’m done with this.
I have a dumb lip tattoo that I got right before I left. It says ‘EXTRA’ on it. At that time it was a big slang thing, so it felt right. I am pretty extra, so it still feels right. It’s dumb but I’m also fine with it because it’s inside my mouth — people don’t really see it unless I show them. I thought it was going to fade in two years, but it’s been almost three and it’s not faded. Sometimes you can see the tip of it while I’m talking. I’m glad I didn’t get anything inappropriate because my dentist is really good family friends with my parents. It would’ve been a little weird.
Then I lived in Boston for a while. This makes people uncomfortable sometimes, but I was in a mental hospital there for a while. And it was hilarious, I would say. Obviously it was not great to be there, but also it was one of the funniest times of my life.
Everything that happened, I was like, this cannot be real right now. Right before I’d gotten there, there had been a bunch of drama in the unit I was in. Someone threw a Roku remote at someone else’s head. I got really into doing split stretches, but I kind of forgot about it after four days, so I didn’t get very far in my flexibility.
At some point when I left, all of my friends from there who had left were living in Boston still to see the clinics that they had been seeing, so I was like, might as well live here too. And my old roommates had either graduated from Colby or transferred to school in Boston, so they were all there too. It worked out really nicely.
So I lived there and first I worked at a smoothie place, which was fun. It was really hard though — we didn’t get paid that much.
I would make smoothies, and then if it was a smoothie that I liked, I would volunteer to go wash the blender after so I could eat it out of the thing in the back of the store.
I was 19, and I worked with this big clique of high school boys that were all best friends, and they were super funny. Whenever something dumb happened, like someone fell or did something stupid, they would write down the date and time that it happened, and we would then go back on the security cameras to watch it again.
Later I found out they were closing. My friend worked across the street at a cupcake store, where she didn’t do anything and was getting paid more, so she got me a job there.
It was really poorly run. It was a chain of five cupcake stores in Boston, and the owners were super rich. I don’t know how they were so rich because this cupcake store was not doing well at all.
They didn’t train us in anything. No one ever taught us how to do anything. Sometimes we’d just make things up about the cupcakes when people asked for the flavors — not that would threaten anyone’s life via allergies or anything — but kind of just invented things.
The dishwasher broke for a couple months, so we couldn’t wash the plates and cups in a way that the health inspector liked. He’d come all the time and be like, ‘You need to fix this dishwasher.’ We’d tell someone, but no one would do anything about it. We had mice. The whole operation was falling apart.
Sometimes there were no customers, to the point that I would be on my computer in the back, and my computer died once and I lived across the street, so I left the store and went and got my charger and came back and there was still no one.
I feel like it was a mob front. That’s my whole theory for the place, that it was money laundering or something, because we didn’t have any customers and these owners were so rich.
And one of the bosses was really creepy. He’d always come into the store and put his hand on my shoulder and be like, ‘Have you been a bad girl? Be a good girl.’ He only said that when his wife wasn’t around. But I was getting so overpaid there that I let it slide.
At some point I quit, and then my boss, because everyone was quitting, would call me months later and be like, ‘Can you work a shift?’
I lived in this little apartment that was really cute. I made a lot of sweet potatoes that year. I was really into sweet potatoes at the time — it was like a sweet potato a day, the little ones from Trader Joe’s. But they would take so long to cook, and my oven didn’t have the thing that tells you what temperature it is, so you have to wait a while and guess. So I had a few crunchy ones in there.
One time I had mice, probably because I’m kind of messy as a person, but my dad was like, ‘If you have one mouse, you’re going to have more. You have to go get some mouse traps.’ So I got mouse traps. I got back and set them, and then I started crying for three hours because I couldn’t stop thinking about the mice’s families, and I felt really sad. My mom found me some catch and release traps on Amazon, so I put those out instead. My dad was like, ‘What is wrong with you?’
Sometimes in the back of the building by the dumpster where I’d release the rats, there’d be someone smoking. That must’ve looked so weird, me carrying a mouse out in a little dome and setting it free. Such a good impression.
I thought I was going to go back to Colby in the fall, and then I was like, okay I’m not going back. I was really indecisive yet again, so I applied to 17 schools. I got into CC first I think, and so I went out to visit with my mom and I was like, ‘This seems cool,’ but wasn’t really invested in any particular choice.
It worked out really well because I really like it here. I found the school easy to transfer into because with the Block Plan, you only have to find one building on the first day, which is honestly huge. And then you only have one class to deal with, even if it’s a lot, and you’re not learning 1,700 different names in a day from going to different classes — you’re just learning a few and getting to know people a little bit better than you might if you were seeing them for an hour every three days. That was really nice.
I think for kid Georgia, I would want to tell her that nothing actually matters that much. Not in a depressing way, but it’s like, grades — you don’t need to plan everything. Your life and happiness matter way more than these other things you’re told to care about. It’s just not worth it. Sometimes you really stress, and you should go to bed earlier, basically.
And then also ‘ADHD is real. You should take your medication.’ I still go through phases where I’m like, ‘This is fake,’ and then I’m like, ‘why have I been so bad at school for two weeks? I wonder.’