Writing 101

12 Reasons Finding a BFF is the Most Important Thing you do in College

College is about finding yourself and finding your better half. And I’m not talking about a significant other, because that is not a thing I have found yet. Nor am I looking, for the record. Boys are a lot of work and I’m not real ready for that yet. But I have found my best friend.

  1. She’ll be with you through the hardest finals you take. Then, when you decide to ceremonially burn the 100+ flashcards you painstakingly made to study, she’ll be there for that too.
  2. When you decide you need a mental health day and email into class “sick,” she’ll bring you soup and Disney movies to recuperate your illness.
  3. When you want to hide from all the people, she’ll come find you and hide with you, because she certainly doesn’t want to socialize.
  4. She’ll listen to you study and let you “teach” her things she has no prior knowledge or interest in to make sure you’ve got it for that big test this week.

    Me at anatomy: “The leg bone is connected to the knee, bone which is connected to the other leg bone.” Rose at anatomy: “That’s your tibia and fibula and patella and femur.” (I definitely just Googled that.)
  5. When you decide you want to single-handedly fund the profit of a movie by seeing it four times, she’ll go with you every time.

    Pitch Perfect and Pitch Perfect 2
  6. When you decide you want to do fun and exciting things on the weekend, she’ll be the first phone call you make. And also when you wanna lay on the couch and watch movies and eat nothing but chocolate and junk food all weekend, she’ll be there for that too.
  7. Speaking of phone calls, that’s a thing you’ll do. All the time. “Hi, I missed you, I haven’t seen you all day, I wanted to check on you. Are you too busy to talk?” And she’s not because she’ll make time to talk to you for at least 20 minutes (or maybe 3 hours. Whatever works.)
  8. She’ll convince you to watch movies you would never have watched under any other circumstances, and then when the stupid sad movie makes you cry, she’ll make you laugh to make up for it.

    Yup, she made me watch Titanic.
  9. She will actually make you laugh all the time, because you’ve been friends for more than three years and you have an endless stream of inside jokes that you can now communicate with a look, because you wouldn’t want everyone who can hear you to think you’re crazy.

    This is a thing that has actually happened. The boys won’t play Catchphrase/Taboo with us anymore.
  10. Speaking of crazy, you both are. But it’s okay because it’s the same kind of crazy. And potentially you make plans to be roommates in the crazy house if either of you ever actually loses it.
  11. She’ll keep track of your life even better than you actually can, because you do the same for her, and between the two of you, you’ll do okay with life.
  12. You’ll make future plans, and she’ll be there. It isn’t even a question.

College is one of the most exciting parts of life, and finding someone to support you and do it with you is one of the best feelings in the world.

My London Adventure

For Good

Wicked

Last night we went to see Wicked as our “end of semester treat.” And this week marks a lot of lasts. We had our last art class. We took our theater final. Our semester is quickly winding down.

And this semester has taught me a lot. I mean, I learned about London and its history (more than I like, if we’re being honest). I learned about Children’s Literature. I learned about Art and Theater. But I really learned about life.

I learned about the unfamiliar. I learned to cope with living with 5 other girls. I learned about grocery shopping. I learned about a different way of life.

And I met some of the most wonderful people on the way.

At graduation, 2 years ago, a few girls sang this song. And I had never seen Wicked, so I never really had a context for this song. Lemme give you some context. In the musical, Elphaba meets Glinda and they are stuck as roommates. They eventually become best friends and this song a duet is near the end of the show, when they have gotten over their differences and are parting ways forever. So, woah, go graduation. Good choice, ladies.

But, in context of this semester, I know I have made a few really close, really strong relationships. And I also know I will never see most of these people again. And for some of them, that’s not such a bad thing. I know it isn’t going to be bad for me to never see them again. They taught me what they needed to teach me, and that’s that.

I think it’s valuable to learn that. Sometimes, you just have to let people go, because they weren’t meant to be in your life forever. And if you learn what you were supposed to from them, they never really leave, because your relationship with them was fruitful.

My flatmates taught me so much. They taught me patience (which is going to be an ongoing lesson, for a long time; but they did help it along). They taught me to bite my tongue. They taught me the  value of communicating. And that sometimes, you just have to walk away and cool off, all of which I knew, but needed to practice.

My roommates taught me to be confident when I get dressed up. And apparently it is okay for me to wear a mini-skirt and not look like an idiot. Not that I think I’ll be wearing them a whole lot. But apparently I can dress cute and not look dumb. And also, Ali was apparently right, and you have to wear mascara with eyeliner or your face doesn’t look right.

In addition, if nothing else, they taught me I don’t ever want to live the 5 people to whom I have no relation. 2 other people is a stretch. Not 5. Ever again.

My teachers taught me a bunch of things. Dr. Romig taught me about understanding Children’s books. And reminded me how much I love to read. I forgot how important it was to me because I was always so busy, that if I was reading, I knew I should have been reading a textbook, and Sneaky Gabi got around that by just not reading. She reminded me that reading is good for me and reading fixes my life.

Ian’s Theater class reminded me how much I love theater. I love the fun of it. I love watching it. And I need to do something with that when I get home. And I learned I can appreciate a show without loving it. And he taught us to express our opinions, which is not a thing we are frequently taught. He taught us that just because your opinion “might be rubbish, it’s your rubbish” and we need to be proud of that.

The Holcombs introduced me to all kinds of new foods I had no idea I liked, because I was so sure I didn’t like them. Uhm, hello. Try new food. You won’t always like it (fish and chips) but you might be pleasantly surprised (Thai food). And Mrs. Dr. Holcomb gave me some pointers for studying, because that is a skill I am still honing.

My new friends reinforced my feelings about family dinners (which have always been a big thing in my family).  That needs to be a thing for me, always. That’s a deal-breaker. We need to eat together, and talk. Not just eat in front of a movie or show or a phone. Dinner is a good time to socialize. But don’t talk to me with a mouthful of food, because that’s gross. And I learned all kinds of new games for a night in. That’s been wonderful.

And I learned how much my parents taught me, how much they instilled in me: good manners; intelligence; common sense. You don’t show up to someone’s house to eat without something to contribute. You always offer to help with the dishes, even if no one else does. You say please and thank you. If you go to someone’s house and they serve you something you’ve never had, you try it and pretend to like it, even if you don’t; you can always get something when you get home. You look both ways, twice when you cross the street. Pay attention to what’s going on around you. Don’t be a space cadet.

So, to everyone who had a hand in my education, formal or informal, I thank you. I do believe I have changed for the better. I have grown this semester (though not physically, because some of us haven’t grown since 7th grade). Thank you. And if this is good bye, good luck.

College Lessons and Things

College Lesson #34: Communication, communication, communication

So, this week, I had to be a real RA for the first time all semester. Now really, that’s a lie. I’m always a real RA. I like to think I take good care of my residents and all that. But I had my first real problem this week.

This actually started last week when I was doing room checks. One of my girls came up to me on my way home and mentioned that her and her roommate were not getting along. I checked my phone, because it buzzed and my generation is just obsessed with our technology. And her roommate had texted me and said essentially the same thing. And I just about flipped out on life because I had about a million things going on that needed to be done.

But I took a breath and went and talked to my RD. Who basically told me to just do the room check.

So I got up there and these girls were not happy with each other. And I felt dumb, because I hadn’t really noticed the problem. Like, come on RA pay attention.

Any way. I told them that I wanted them to give each other some space and I would be back up on Monday and we were gonna figure out whatever was bothering them. And was that room check awkward. Talk about tension you can cut with a knife.

So I went up there Monday and sat them in the living room and told them to find three things that were good and everything that wasn’t working. (That was my roommate’s suggestion.) And then I sat there for twenty minutes while they wrote. Like, dang guys, I didn’t know things were that bad.

And then I went through their lists and asked them questions and started finding some solutions. And after about twenty minutes of winging it with these lists, we figured out it was a communication issue.

Girl number one wasn’t in the mood to hang out with her roommate and that made girl number two think she was mad at her, so she was doing everything with that in the back of her mind. When girl number one snapped out of it, girl number two wasn’t talking to her so she thought she was mad at her.

Like. Are you kidding me?

So, what I learned, is that communication is important. In everything we do. So, talk to the people around you. Really communicate. And you can avoid this chaos.

College Lessons and Things

College Lesson #31: Complaints ≠ Change

It has come to my attention that there are just some complainy people (that’s a word now; I said it and that’s how new words happen) in the world. And that’s fine. You wanna complain about the mile-long to-do list you’ve got going, or the stuff you’ve gotta fill out, or the twelve tests you’ve got this week, or the people around you, go for it. More power to you that you know what’s wrong in your life. So happy for you. Now, go complain somewhere else. Out of my earshot.

I am not about that life. I try so hard to see the positive side of things. And even if I don’t, because honestly, I don’t always, I know, or figure out, how (I recognize I’m still learning; shhh, don’t tell my parents that)  to fix it. And I know my complaining isn’t going to change anything. Complaining might make me feel better. I recognize the occasional need to vent. But I know it doesn’t change a thing.

Last year in my developmental psych class we read about a thing called “corumination.” Corumination is when friends repeatedly mull over problems and negative emotions together. This is more common in women, for sort of obvious reasons. This is a problem because, in addition to prolonging negative feelings, it can lead to making the problem worse. The general consensus among those who discussed it was that it can be helpful in moderation.

Now, why in Heaven’s name did I just go on a rant about concepts in psychology. Well, I’m so glad you asked (thanks Dr. Crawford, for your wonderful lecture techniques rubbing off on me; I appreciate it. For everyone who does not attend my school or has not taken his class, Dr. Crawford is the Dean of the College of Christian Studies and my Old Testament class; his lectures usually have some form of what I just said in them, sometimes more than once).

Corumination and complaining are pretty close if you ask me. And they fall into the same bucket. In moderation, complaining is fine. Get someone to empathize with you. Feel better about your problems. And fix them. Because (and I’m about to drop a wisdom bomb on you, so brace yourself) WE’VE ALL GOT PROBLEMS. And they are all so important to us. And that’s great. But complaining isn’t going to fix them.

Getting off your rear and fixing them is going to fix them. So. Fix it. Or stop worrying about it. Period.


REMEMBER THE TIME BLOG HOP

Petrified

This week’s challenge is to write about a time you were scared. But not Halloween.

I’ve always been scared of ridiculous things. Let’s be real. It always scared me to bring home bad grades to my parents (maybe because I never had much practice), or tell them I broke something. And movies used to scare me. I don’t especially like heights and I avoid roller-coasters. But let’s be real here. Those are awful stories. So, this week, I’m going to talk about my roommate, Roseanna, and how we scare each other on a regular basis.

Now, we have been friends since last year when we met and we hit it off. Like, peo

ple thought I lived with her last year because all the time we spent together was all over Facebook (I think I spent more time with her than with my boyfriend at the time). Anyway, we were bumming this year because we thought we weren’t going to live together, but, God works wonders and here we are, living together and loving it.

Anyway. We eternally scare each other because we are half deaf. I’ll walk in and scare her. Or she’ll walk in and scare me. Or we’ll be closer than we thought and we bump into each other. Or we try to be helpful and drop things and make a scary loud noise. Or, sometimes, one of us will be jammin’ and not hear the other one coming. Once, I didn’t close the door all the way and that scared her because she worried she’d find someone else in our apartment. Needless to say, we’re both kind of a mess.

And, I am by nature, somewhat jumpy. My little sister will consistently hide behind the couch and scare me and even when I know she’s there, I scream.

And, Roseanna swears her ankles pop, so at home she can never sneak up on anyone.

One night, a few weeks ago, I was getting ready for bed: taking out my contacts, brushing my teeth, all that jazz. And I heard her coming. And all of a sudden the foot steps stopped, so I figured she was in her room. And guess whose head comes around the corner? Roseanna. And what do I do? A very pitiful excuse for a scream. And then I laughed. Because that’s what I do when I’m nervous.

And I looked for Roseanna and guess who was no longer on her feet? Roseanna. She

was laughing so hard at me, she fell on the floor.

Apparently, I do a very convincing deer-in-the-headlights (it’s similar to the look she gets when I’m helping her study nutrition and can’t pronounce half the words or she tells me things that are not on her flashcards). And it’s very fun to look at. And now I am petrified when I hear her coming…

We are trying a thing where we announce ourselves, but more often than not, we f

orget, or we can’t hear. Suggestions are welcome…

 

Daily Prompt

Breathe

Today’s Daily Prompt is to write about a time when everything seemed to be going wrong and then you knew it would be okay. I have those on a regular basis. Here’s what they have taught me.

In this life, there are times when everything seems unbearably hard and like nothing is going to work out. As a college student, that happens all the time; more often than I’d care to admit, I think.

The thing that I have found to help me the most is to stop worrying. Sometimes, things are just out of our control and we have to understand that is the end of it.

That paper I should have started a month ago, got done, but I know it wasn’t perfect. That test I should  have studied for, it didn’t go very well. And that’s okay (though, not consistently, because I hear grades are important; so you really should try). At some point, you have to let go and recognize that, it’s done. Do better next time. Learn something about yourself. But move on.

I have days where I feel awful and like nothing is gonna get done and I’m not going anywhere, but if I think about it, the important things are taken care of. I have enough food; I have a roof over my head; I have the things I need. At some point, on every one of these days, it finally occurs to me that, somethings just don’t really matter. And when I hit that point, I know everything is going to be okay.

At some point, it also clicks that as rough as some days are, they will make wonderful stories at some point. One day, I’m going to laugh at how ridiculous it is that I worried about that thing or that person or that rule because they always seem so important at the time. And good stories are important.

Perks of Being a Wallflower One of my favorite movies, ever.
Idiot of the Week Blog Hop

No Technology in the Classroom?

This post is for the Idiot of the Week Blog Hop.

When I was in high school, our school had a strict “No technology in the classroom” rule. And, to be fair, that makes sense as a bunch of fifteen-, sixteen-, seventeen-, and eighteen-year-olds should not be trusted with their phones, because, in all honesty, even the good kids were gonna text their friends. And some teachers were really strict with it and some weren’t and that’s fine.

When I graduated high school, my aunt got me a laptop as a graduation gift. And I was super excited because I type faster than I write and, realistically, even if I transpose words or miss letters, at least the letters are English as opposed to “squiggly maybe letters” (I know most of you have never seen my handwriting and there is a reason for that. Like, sometimes, even I can’t read it). I have Microsoft OneNote on my laptop and I tried it in a couple of classes last fall and I loved it. Last spring, I used it every class to take notes on (except sign language, but there really aren’t notes to take in there) and I figured that would continue to be the plan.

I am currently enrolled in a class called Intro to Mass Media (as I’m considering a degree in Communications). On the first day of class, I pulled up the syllabus on my laptop and followed along with the teacher as she went over it. She mentioned that she usually doesn’t let people in her classes use their laptops but she would see how it goes. Now, I recognize that I am at a small school so in a class of potentially less than thirty, the actions of one person can be distracting. But this teacher also told us that she would prefer if we didn’t leave during her eighty minute class to go to the bathroom (like excuse me, I thought when I graduated high school, this was no longer going to be a problem; not that I often leave class because Honor’s Kid Gabi would just die, but you know). And also, while I’m ranting about her awful teaching techniques, she gives us “busy work” almost every night, in addition to the two big projects we have due at the end of the semester; not that I’m complaining about the extra grades, because that’s great, but I know she has better things to do with her time than read thirty papers about a movie that we decided had to be influential. The point of all that is I have a few other issues with her, but mostly, media is tied directly to technology and she is passionately against technology in her classroom.

Anyway, we have to put together a portfolio for the end of the semester and it has to have a resume in it. So, after we talked about it in class, I pulled up one I made in high school and fixed some of it and showed it to her one day after class. She gave me a few suggestions and then while I was packing up she mentioned that I use my laptop in class. Here’s how that conversation went:

Teacher: So, I know you use your laptop in my class to take notes. I usually don’t allow that.

Me: Yes ma’am. Is that a problem?

T: Well, no. It’s just that some students use it and it becomes a distraction. Now let me just be honest for a second, I have gotten on twitter in that class, but I’m flipping between that and my notes and I use Google to search relevant things and, honestly, if I miss something because I’m not paying attention, that’s on me. I am an adult. Anyway.

M: Would you like me to take notes with a pen and paper? Because that can be arranged. It’s just easier on my laptop because all my notes are indexed and when I’m studying, I just type in a few words and BAM, answers. Now, I know what we’re all thinking, but I was not being sarcastic. I was so serious. And trying to sound genuine.

T: Yes. And you’re using it for all the right reasons and I would never want to ask that of you. It’s just that it could become a distraction for the people behind you. Now, I know for a fact that the kid who sits behind me reads my notes over my shoulder when he misses things. But besides that, there really aren’t people behind me AND if anyone was behind me and they decided to look at my computer screen to see what I’m doing, that’s on them. If they’re watching me, they are clearly not taking notes. So at this point, I was really confused.

M: Would you like me to sit further back? Like, let me make a suggestion so she can tell I’m really not trying to make trouble.

T: No, I don’t want to move you. Did I mention she’s big on her seating chart too? Like, we’re all adults. There is no reason for that. I know Spencer, (he sits in front of me and is a giant. If he is allowed to sit there, I’m pretty sure my laptop is okay. Just saying.) uses his iPad. Do you have an iPad you could use?

M: Uh, no, ma’am. Now, I think a person needs one or the other. They perform mostly the same functions. But I don’t use an iPad because I hate trying to type on those things. But besides, that, iPads are expensive and break and I am just not about that life. I have all my notes on my laptop. That is what I intend to use.

T: Hmmm. Okay.

M: So what would you like me to do? Do you want me to take notes with paper and a pen?

T: I’m not sure. I’ll have to think about it.

M: Okay. Please, if it becomes a problem, let me know. Have a good day.

Needless to say, I was confused because that conversation was pretty much pointless. And also, we were four weeks into school and I think if it was really a problem, I should have heard about it before then…like six classes before this one.

So, this morning when I got up, I had an email from this teacher (as did the rest of the class, just to be clear, not just me, though I’m pretty sure she didn’t like me much after we had this conversation) that said “Hey, laptops are a distraction, please don’t use them in class.”

I was so infuriated. There is no reason in a MEDIA class we aren’t allowed to use our computers. She also mentioned nothing about iPads. But I know she is against phones. So I don’t really know what I’m going to do about that class, but I know my notes had lovely pictures on them today.

I am aware out Remember the Time Blog Hop topic is TEACHERS this week, but I have been fortunate to have some of the most wonderful teachers in my life and I would hate to see her lumped with them. But be on the look out for that soon.