The Power of a Year

by Connor Zimmerman


Poetry


Calendar with the words written underneath, "Today is the perfect day to be happy"
Photo courtesy of pexels.com

by Sam Pellman ’20

A year ago I was standing under the Eiffel Tower
Surrounded by unfamiliar faces
Some foreign, some similar to mine.

I used to panic about that moment
When I would be dropped into a foreign country
Alone without a single person to lean on.

But now all I think about is going back
And being that carefree and independent person I was
Even if it was just a quick three months.

A year ago I was unsure about my future
I’d spend hours anxious and worried
The future horrified me and I did anything to avoid it.

But now I look at it with excitement
As a new chapter, a new adventure
Full of new people and opportunities to grow.

A year ago I felt lonely
Like I had to deal with my problems on my own
And burdening people wasn’t an option.

But now I surround myself with people who care
People who want to see me do amazing things
And help me to become a better me.

A year ago I let little things bother me
I didn’t know how to take care of myself
And I didn’t want to grow up.

But now I see adulthood as a challenge
A challenge that I need
To reach parts of myself I don’t know exist yet.

A lot can happen in a year
Look back and think of who you were then and who are now
Self-growth is inevitable, but it’s up to you how you control it.

A lot can happen in a year
But for now, focus on what is happening in the here and now
Because before you know it, it’s a year from now.

And you’ve graduated and are looking back at college
Remembering those four years of growth you never knew could happen
All the friends who have now become your family.

But you’re a new and better you
With the most perfect of memories to look back on
And an appetite to see what the future holds.

Snowed in for the Holidays

by The Cowl Editor


Christmas


by Sam Pellman ’20

“I’ll never make it home!” she sighed. The schedule just changed from a two-hour delay to now four. The snow was falling hard at home. She looked at the TVs where the runways in NY were covered in white. “We haven’t had a white Christmas in years! Why does the weather decide to act up today of all days?” Michelle had been at the airport for five hours now. All she wanted to do was get home for Christmas. She had been away from home for four weeks now, traveling around Cambodia with her Habitat for Humanity group of friends. She had been building homes for families for the holidays and nothing made her feel better. Knowing that these families have a place to stay and be together for the holidays was the only gift she needed this year. Plus, maybe making it home. In all twenty-two years of her life, she never once missed Christmas at home. But things weren’t looking good. At this point she’d definitely be spending Christmas Eve at the tiny airport in Cambodia. She looked around. Everyone else looked sad as well. Some of them were her friends from the group. She was friendly with them and understood they felt the same way as her. An idea came into her head. She whispered to the people sitting around the gate, telling them to run into the cheesy airport stores and pick out a gift. If they were all going to be stuck in here for Christmas Eve, they might as well celebrate together. Soon everyone was on board with the idea and everyone ran into the stores quickly trying to find a decent gift for an anonymous someone. When everyone was ready, Michelle came up with a system to swap gifts with the person across from you. There were giggles and laughs as some people gave candy and chips as gifts, where others could only find neck pillows, iPhone chargers and coffee mugs. But it didn’t matter what everyone got as gifts, what mattered is no one looked sad anymore. Everyone was so distracted that they forgot they were in an airport on Christmas Eve. The hours passed by quicker, and soon it was time to board the plane. Michelle and everyone else would make it home for Christmas Day. And they all had a great Christmas Eve story to tell their loved ones when they arrived!

 

A bag of chocolates
Photo courtesy of needpix.com

Holiday Haikus

by The Cowl Editor


Christmas


Girl staring up at Santa riding in the wintery night sky on his sleigh
Photo courtesy of pixabay.com

 

Snow twirls and dances
Lights twinkle in the night sky
Santa’s beard glows white

by Gabriela Baron ’20

 

Christmas: the smells of
pine trees, nativities, old
issue paper. Home.

by Clara Howard ’20

 

A cosmic feeling
Not gifted, but loved by all
The sense of wonder 

by Connor Zimmerman ’20

 

The footsteps are low
I hear him gulp down the milk
His crunching is loud!

by Sam Pellman ’20

 

Cozy, cuddle, warm,
Lovers snug with fire, with more
Snow and laugh harder.

by Jay Willett ’20

 

The elves hard at work.
Stay jolly, merry, and bright.
The toys must get done. 

by Sarah Kirchner ’21

Who’s There?

by The Cowl Editor


Halloween


by Sam Pellman ’20

Today was a success! I found everything I needed and was finally heading to the car. I had been at the mall for two hours now just by myself, popping into different stores, leaving with lots of bags. There is no better feeling than going to the mall for a purpose and leaving with that purpose. It’s dark now. The sun was out when I arrived but seems to have completely vanished. I begin to walk through the parking garage, forgetting where I parked my car. Was I even on the right level? I could not remember for the life of me. I always hated parking garages, they freaked me out. This one was cold and dark. It was somewhat empty but I remember it being packed; I could barely find a spot earlier. There was not a soul in sight, even though the garage was massive. I began to breathe faster. Should I go back into the mall and collect my thoughts? It certainly isn’t a good idea to roam around a creepy parking garage alone. I clicked my keys hoping the lights on my car would go off. It was nowhere to be seen. I must be on the wrong floor. My heart was pounding and I felt goosebumps starting to form. What was that noise? I swore I heard distant footsteps.

The steps got closer and I began to walk faster. Where the heck was my car? I felt my skin turn white. I heard a laughter echoing through the garage.

“Who’s there?” I said aloud.

The laughing continued. I began to run frantically, trying to open my phone and call someone. As I ran I dropped my keys. But when I attempted to grab them they were gone. I looked up and saw my car a few hundred feet away, running, keys in the ignition: but no one inside. I dropped my bags and headed back to the mall. My heart was jumping out of my chest. I pushed at the door but it was locked shut. Tears started to form in my eyes.

“Please who’s there?” I mumbled, half to myself.

I closed my eyes. I heard the laugh again.

“It’s me,” they said. But I kept my eyes shut. I
 I didn’t want to see who it was.

Woman burying her head in her hands
Photo courtesy of Pexels.com

Fast Fiction: What Scares You the Most?

by The Cowl Editor


Features


A spider obscured by shadows
Photo courtesy of pexels.com

In 14 words or less “What Scares You the Most?” Go!

An email comes from the Bursar’s Office: tuition due by the first.
by Daniel Carrero ’23

The shower upstairs turns on, but I thought I was home alone…
by Sam Pellman ’20

Spider—crawls away, out of sight…lurks still in mind.
by Sarah McLaughlin ’23

To die alone and unloved.
by Elizabeth McGinn ’21

At night, you’re home alone. The power goes out. You hear a voice.
by Sarah Kirchner ’21

Neither graveyards, nor goblins, not even ghouls. Just my midterm grades from this school.
by Connor Zimmerman ’20

Sitting on the Porch

by The Cowl Editor


Poetry


by Sam Pellman ’20

It’s sunset and the mood is relaxed
I can hear the cars passing
The air is warm but I can feel it getting cool
For the moment, everything is calm

I can see others sitting on their porch
Talking and enjoying each other’s presence
Everyone is a neighbor looking out for each other
They welcome and are welcomed

Sitting on the balcony makes us feel on top of the world
So does being a senior
But everything is happening so fast
And time is just a concept that goes on and on
Never waiting for anyone

As I sit here I think of all the memories I’ve made
The good and bad, all of them with the people I sit with
These experiences have made us who we are
And now our time sitting on the porch is limited

But we have cherished our four years here
And will continue to sit on the porch, just in a different location
But as long as we are together
All is well

Our porch seems to be what is keeping us together
But it’s really our memories and our bonds
So for now we’ll let the porch be what is keeping us together
But we all know our future extends much further than this porch

A woman reflecting on her porch while looking off in the distance
Photo courtesy of Nora Johnson ’20

Magic

by The Cowl Editor


Creative Non-Fiction


by Sam Pellman ’20

I turned around one more time and swallowed back the tears that were forming. I’d be back in four months, but why did that feel like an eternity in this moment? No, I can’t cry, I won’t. The car ride was silent. No one knew what to say. I was leaving my home, my family, and my friends, and all I could try to think was that this will be good for me. I tried to have the excited airport feeling you have when you are heading off to a vacation, but excitement was the last thing I felt in that moment. I waved one more goodbye to my parents as I walked to the gate, not letting them see the tears in my eyes. I’ll be home soon…

Fast forward to the plane. My stomach was in knots and I could feel myself sweating from the nerves. I had to get off this plane, this was all too much. What is it going to be like? Will I remember how to use my French? Where am I going to live? Who am I going to meet? The thoughts were racing through my head, I felt myself getting sick. It was the middle of January, and the day had come to pack up as much of my life as I could fit in two suitcases and plop myself in a foreign country thousands of miles from home by myself. Wait, was I crazy? Who let me do this? This is so not me. Maybe I should just fly back home.

I got off the plane and thought I would feel instant magic. But guess what? That’s not the reality. The reality is that I was in a foreign country, in a huge airport, by myself, without a working phone or an idea of where to go. There was no magic. In fact, this felt like my worst nightmare. All I could do was breathe. If there is one thing I’ve learned in the past, it’s not to get my hopes up for an unrealistic journey. This was real life, and it was going to take some time. I followed the signs, even though some of the words were unfamiliar.

Paris would give me magic, but I had to be willing to let it.

I raced to the meeting spot and was helped by a professor from the program with getting a cab. The taxi driver didn’t speak a word of English which made me panic. There is no way I can survive here for four months with what seemed to be a language barrier I could never get over. I stared out the window. Paris was different from how I remembered it. Granted, the airport was forty minutes from the city itself, but I certainly didn’t feel magic when I looked at the buildings and roads in front of me. Don’t force it, I thought. It will come.

All I wanted to do was call my parents and tell them I was freaking out. Too bad my phone didn’t work. Why was I staring at it waiting to get a text or a call? And that’s when it happened. I looked up and saw it. The magic filled my lungs to the brim. We were driving right past the Eiffel Tower and as cliché as it was, I was relieved. This was the Paris I remembered. This was my home for the next four months and it was in that moment that the excitement I pushed so far back was finally beginning to break through. All this time I allowed myself to become so anxious and worried that I was forgetting the reason I came here. And that was to feel this magic every single day because it’s what I deserved and it’s what I needed. I needed a change, I needed an adventure. This was going to be good, and I couldn’t wait to see where my adventure was going to take me. Paris gave me magic, and I was ready to use it.

Eiffel Tower at night
Photo courtesy of www.pexels.com

To All the Faces I Forgot

by Portfolio Co-Editor


Poetry


by Sam Pellman ’20

Faces are passing
People are moving
I do not recognize these faces
I may never see them again
But for just a second they were in my head
And now they are gone

Everywhere we go, we see strangers
Sometimes we run into them again
Sometimes we make friends of them
But for those we don’t, do you think they’ll remember us?

Who are the strangers we remember?
Why do we remember them?
Is it their appearance or their voice?
Do we remember their smile or their laugh?
Every stranger has a story that is much deeper than what we see in front of us

woman stands out in a blurry crowd, looking up
Photo courtesy of fujixmad.photo.com

Every stranger has their own life
A life we will never know
We all have families, we all have stories
Some look happy, but are struggling with an internal battle
Some have had the best day of their life, others the worst
Maybe it is one’s birthday

Do strangers wonder about me when they see me passing by?
Do I make any one look twice?
Or am I just a face in a crowd
Along with the seven billion other faces that roam this earth

Some strangers stay in our minds, but only for a few days
Until they are just a face we saw
And a face we forgot
But to all those faces I have forgotten
I hope you’re living the story I’ll never know about
Because I’ll be out there living mine too.

A Day in the Kitchen

by Portfolio Co-Editor


Creative Non-Fiction


by Sam Pellman ’20

     It was a humid and sticky day. The clouds were just starting to move, and the sun was beginning to peek through. I parked in my normal spot and immediately felt the hot air on my body. “Ugh, can’t wait to sweat all day today,” I thought to myself, sighing. But, as much as the hot, sunny days sucked and I would sweat from my head to my toes, I’d rather it be a hot day than have it be raining and nasty. See, I work at an outdoor restaurant on the water—well, there is an inside, but it’s mainly outside seating—so of course, I make the most money when it’s nice out. On a rainy day, forget it; not a soul shows up. But on a beautiful summer day, even though I can’t breathe, the money is insane.

     It was 11 a.m., and only one other busboy, a waiter, and I were scheduled to open, which meant we had to set up the outside. This had pretty much become a habit for me. I had just closed last night and here I was again opening the next morning. The sun was glaring down, I could already feel the sweat on my back, and I hadn’t even gone into the kitchen yet. See, I work here as the “runner.” So I’m not waitressing, but I am the person who brings out your food. Unlike most restaurants, the waitresses and waiters here do not bring out the food…like, ever. It’s all me. I’m in the kitchen getting the tickets they send me and making sure everything is in order and that the food is leaving the kitchen in a timely manner. Although it doesn’t seem stressful, my responsibilities are key to the restaurant running smoothly. Without me, the food wouldn’t be out in time or go to the right tables. And when it gets busy…yikes. The cooks honestly turned out to be my best friends. We work as a team. I keep them on track and let them know who’s antsy and why. I knew today was going to be hectic. I was working a double, so I expected to be there until 9:30 p.m. “Just think about the money,” I struggled to remember with every shift.

     Something always happens to keep me from walking out and leaving, so today I was hoping something extra funny would happen. Then my coworker Brendan, the owner’s son, came in. Brendan is probably the sweetest boy I’ve ever met. On the other hand, his dad is the scariest man I’ve ever met. Brendan is my age, so I don’t mind working with him, and it makes the shift go by faster. He waits and runs, but always helps me in the kitchen if I’m the only one on for the day shift.

     The rush started at 12:30 p.m. We were moving pretty steady, the kitchen was working but not exploding, thank gosh. It was boiling in there—the thermostat read 110 degrees. Was I dripping? Yes, most definitely. Brendan was rushing around, but was helping me as much as he could. Then the skies all of a sudden began to darken and the clouds looked gray and ominous. I knew rain was coming. Luckily, lunch was just about over and there was only one table still chatting outside. Brendan just dropped the check and they were about to pay. The man slipped a 50 dollar bill into the holder, and just as he released it from his hand, the wind scooped it up and brought it all the way into the canal! I cringed when I saw the man’s face­—he looked horrified. There went 50 bucks. I know I’d be upset if that were me. But, Brendan being Brendan, had to save the day. And what does he do? He dives into the canal. Luckily I got it on video, because I knew all our coworkers would get a kick out of it in the group chat. Not so much his dad…The table gave him a round of applause and even let him keep the 50 dollars just for his act of heroism. Although Brendan has to live with the reality that we’re all afraid of his dad, he’s one of the most selfless people I know. I’m just lucky to have gotten to work with him for a summer and experience the craziness of “Smuggler Jack’s” each and every day.

Summer On The Island

by The Cowl Editor


Poetry


Island
Photo courtesy of hawaiilife.com

by Sam Pellman ’20

 

The sunlight struck her bed gently

She slowly opened her eyes and a moment of panic hit her heart

She glanced at her phone which read 11:16 a.m.

But then she remembered she was in her bed at home, in no rush to be anywhere

Maybe just the beach was waiting for her

 

She rolled over and threw on the first bathing suit she could find, her hair in a messy bun

Walking to the bathroom she didn’t once look in the mirror, but brushed her teeth quickly

She jumped down the stairs and grabbed an ice cold water, she knew she’d need it later

Her keys in her hand, she leaped out of the door into the car

 

Her beach chair was already in the backseat and so was her towel

She rolled every window down and adjusted her sunglasses

Her country playlist was already playing when she plugged in her phone

She whipped out of the driveway, the wind in her hair

 

The parkway exit quickly approached and she braced herself for the strong winds

She didn’t mind that it knotted her hair, its freshness felt amazing

She stuck her hand out of the window and sang along to her favorite Thomas Rhett song

The outside temperature read 77 degrees and not a single cloud was in the sky

 

It was in that moment she remembered why she stuck out all that hard work of the semester

So she could feel this exact feeling, the only feeling of bliss she’s ever known

Summer on Long Island is worth the freezing snowy and rainy days

It was worth everything to her

 

The air was warm and the sun was shining

Just for a moment everything was perfect

She soaked in the moment just as she planned to soak in the rays later on the sand

It was the days like these where she forgot about all the commotion in her life

And simply smiled at the idea of living a beautiful life.