College Lessons and Things

And there it goes…

It occurred to me last night that I am not only into single digit class days, but I only had to attend three more classes before graduation. I can count those on my fingers. That’s how close to graduation I am. And then this morning I went to one of those classes. So now, I’m down to two.

Graduation is terrifyingly close, but it’s so exciting at the same time. And then I wonder what happened to my college years. Where did they go?

Four years ago, I was preparing to graduate high school. I was thrilled to begin college. I was ready to be done with petty high school drama. I was nervous, of course, because college was a totally different beast, but this is what I spent 12 years of school preparing for. I was ready.

Three years ago, I wondered where my freshman year went. I was thrilled to begin my summer vacation a month earlier than my family. I was ready to live, if only for a semester, with my best friend. I was nervous about the prospect of studying in London six months later, but I was ready. I just did a whole year of college on my own. Could three months in London really be that different? I was ready.

Two years ago, I came home from London, changed for the better. I officially decided to declare my major. I was thrilled to come back to a job I loved in the fall. I was entering the second half of my college career with no idea what my plans were, but that didn’t phase me. Life was going to sort itself out and I would be ready.

One year ago, I realized I needed to start figuring things out (like getting a driver’s license) so I could get things together in terms of internships to graduate because all of a sudden, graduation looked much closer than it had. So I spent the summer working on that because that was step one and I wanted to be ready when fall came.

Half a year ago, still without a driver’s license, I was pretending everything was fine. Graduation is still a long time away. Plus, there were only nine hours left to complete my degree. I’d take those, I’d do my three internships, it would all work out fine and I would be ready.

And today. Today, it did work out fine. I am taking the nine remaining hours and I am almost done with my internships. But today, I also wonder where the last four years went, because I don’t feel ready.

Real grown-ups always talk about how life just passes you by if you let it. They talk about enjoying every day. When you’re a kid, you don’t really understand. Every day seems like a lifetime. And then you start college (and enter a time warp) and all of a sudden you get it. All of a sudden, the years just pass you by. One day it’s January and the next it’s April. And you’ve blinked, and there goes college.

Time for the real world. I’m [almost] ready.

My London Adventure

“Do You Wanna Build A Snowman?”

Absolutely not, because I’m in London and it’s beautiful and not snowy.

This weekend, we spent Saturday in Greenwich, which is where time starts. Lemme tell you a little about Greenwich.

First of all, the Prime Meridian is there (that’s the line that splits the Easter and Western hemispheres). So, you can be in two hemispheres. Like this:

I’m 95% sure my right foot is in the East and my left foot is in the West.

And let me tell you why this is so valuable. So back in the day, before phones and clocks and things, sailors needed to tell how far East-to-West they were. They’d already figured out the Equator and North-to-South, but since they couldn’t tell how far East-to-West they were, they could never pinpoint exactly where they were. This made for extra dangerous travel.

So they figured out time could help determine where they were. If the world in 360° (which it is because that’s how circles work), and we do a full rotation in 24 hours, by doing some magical math they figured out that every 1° was equivalent to 4 minutes. So, that’s really helpful. If you know what time it is at home, and you know what time it is where you’re at, some math will tell you where you’re at. But, since there were no digital clocks, and all of their clocks were based on rotation (or something, my teacher was confused and did a kinda terrible job explaining it) being out at sea messed up the time “at home.” So then they tried using the stars, but for that they needed charts and they built the observatory, which is where we went this week. And eventually, when we figured out time zones would be a great idea, we started in Greenwich because that’s where the Royal Observatory is.

So, we took cute pictures on the Prime Meridian…

Very cute, girly picture on the Prime Meridian with some of my new friends!
Harrison’s First Timekeeper: “This timekeeper took five years to build. In 1736, it was tested on a sea voyage to Lisbon and back. Harrison was very seasick, but the timekeeper worked. It was the most accurate sea-going clock.”- From the plaque in the museum

…went through the museum about time…

Greenwich
Lisa, Clarissa, Katie, and me enjoying the sun and the grass!

…and then spent about an hour taking pictures and enjoying the sun.

Let me tell you something about spring in London. It’s so different from spring at home, probably because [usually] our winters are significantly more mild than they are here. But, here, this winter has been the wettest in a very long time, so while we haven’t been frozen, we have been wet. And that isn’t fun. And we had a few genuinely nice days. Like, 55° and clear and sunny. And it’s amazing what the sun does for our spirits and our moods.

Spring in London is beautiful. Sunday, when we finally got going (which took until after noon), we went and read outside in the sun. And everyone and their dog (literally; there are lots of dogs in London, and they’re well-behaved) had the same idea.

So we sat in the sun, Lisa and Clarissa and me, and read our books and listened to the people around us. And that was really cool for me because in London, like I imagine any big city, people just ignore each other. I always feel very isolated from the people around me on the tube or the bus or on the sidewalk. And being in the park this weekend, while no strangers came up to me and made small talk (there was one case where some boys were playing football- or for us Americans, soccer- and they accidentally kicked the ball toward us; the older one told the younger ones to apologize and when I told them it was fine, he laughed and told me to not tell them that, “don’t give them ideas” or something like that), I felt like we were more a part of something. More a part of the life.

At home, that’s always a thing. I never feel isolated from the people around me. Telling a complete stranger “hi,” while walking through the grocery store is normal. And here it really isn’t. Everyone kind of goes on doing their own thing. But it seemed like being in the park changed that. And that is amazing.

My London Adventure

Quite A Morning

I’m sure we all remember the shenanigans from Saturday. Well, in the hustle and bustle, I pulled my Oyster Card (it gets me on any tube and any bus in the city) out of my wallet and put it in my purse, so it would be easier to get to. And when I got out of the station I just stuck it back it in my purse.

It was a long, late night, so yesterday was spent in my apartment in my PJs. All. Day. And last night when I took a shower, I had the thought, I need to pull my card out of my purse because I’m taking my other one to class tomorrow. And then I had almost the same thought again this morning. But I forgot and threw my wallet and tablet and keys into my purse.

Now, rush hour in London is just not fun. And one of the stations where we had to transfer lines is, not one, but three stations all connected. And the platforms we needed were on opposite ends of the station. So we left at 8:45, which gave us more than enough time to get to the right place by 9:30.

We walked the 10 minutes to the station and I opened my wallet and guess what? No Oyster Card. And I had just been so proud of myself because I made so many other good decisions. I put my thermals on. I remembered a hat. I had a yogurt for breakfast. I was doin’ so well. And then I forgot my card.

So I took my happy behind back to my flat and grabbed my card. I was leaving here at 9:05. Everyone else planned on leaving well before 9. I hustled back to the station and got onto the train for my one stop. I got off and there were 4 escalators (2 up and 2 down) I needed to use to get on the right platform. So, since I was running late, I did something I swore I would never do because I hated when my mom did it: I walked down the escalators. And then, when I got to the two up escalators, I walked up them (which is only slightly better than the St. Paul’s catastrophe). And I was worn out, let me tell you. And it occurred to me, halfway up the last escalator, that this class was about to be at least 2 hours of walking and standing (which, in case we are confused, meant I was gonna be miserable).

So, I got to the platform, glanced at the map and saw the I managed to make it to where I was supposed to be. I even saw Dr. Holcomb and his boys on the train that was leaving (and that meant I made good time because I saw them leaving as I was running back to my flat). I got on the next train, and I was so proud of myself, until I had the fleeting thought, The train Dr. Holcomb was on just went the direction this train is coming from, so this can’t possibly be going the right way, quickly followed by, Nah. I already checked the map.

That’ll teach me not to check twice. I got on the train going east and I needed to go west. So, I got off at the next stop and I could see the other platform across the train tracks. So I looked for a sign to show me the direction I needed to go and there was nothing. Just one that showed the “Way Out” (their signs here don’t say Exit; there are Fire Exits and there are the “way out;” just thought you ought to know). So I grabbed a janitor and asked her how to get on the right platform. And she told me to go up the stairs and go right.

So I finally got on the right platform and the train came I could relax a little. And I got to my stop and hopped off and walked up the one flight of stairs (thankfully) and didn’t see anyone. And then a whole new wave of panic hit me because I had no idea where to go from the station and what if they left without me and oh man.

But, never fear. They were right outside the station. And they hadn’t started class yet, which meant I wasn’t late.

And I wasn’t even too cold standing in the frigid wind (all that running around and stair climbing will get your blood pumping), so it all worked out. Sorta. I am really sore, but I was probably gonna be sore anyway. I did spend all morning climbing around Tower Hill.

College Lessons and Things

College Lesson #33: Don’t Let Perfection Paralyze You

The lady who came to speak to us in Chapel last week talked to us about a lot of stuff.

She told us that all her life she was a perfectionist, because she thought the if she managed to keep everything together, and everything looked good on the outside, everything would be okay. And in her trying to make things perfect, she missed some of the important things. One day, she was driving and got into a car accident and was paralyzed from the chest down.

And she realized that her life now is fuller than it ever was. And she told us to not let the “ideal perfection” paralyze us.

I think that is an important sentiment for everyone. Sometimes, we want everything to work out just the way we want and we get so caught up, we get stuck. How frequently do you start a project and decide that it wasn’t working out like you planned and you just stop and decide you’ll work on it later? Does it ever really get done? Why do you think that is?

It’s because we glorify perfection. But, if you finished, what would you learn?

Don’t get me wrong, I love when things work out the way I plan, but sometimes they don’t. And instead of getting caught up on the little things, we need to accept it and move on. Sometimes, what you think was wrong will  grow on you. Or you’ll learn something new. What people used to think were failures are now super important. And sometimes, what we thing is really super important, really isn’t a big deal.

Perfection can paralyze us. It can stop us from doing what needs to happen. Don’t let it.

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.


Daily Prompt

Family Dinners

Today’s Daily Prompt is to write about something you miss from home.

At home, family is supposed to come first. That should be a given. A home is made by the people who are in the house and all that jazz (I really do believe that, by the way.)

In my house, when I was growing up, we did family dinners every night. Real family dinners. Not take out in front of the TV. Not fast food in a restaurant. Not freezer dinners. Real food, cooked by my parents all sitting around a table, talking. (I mean, we sometimes did TV dinners and we sometimes went out, but that was always a treat: birthday, good grades, a new movie that we all wanted to see, that sorta thing.) Even when Dad couldn’t be home because he had training (he’s a firefighter, it’s kinda a big deal), Mom and the kids ate together. And let’s be real. I don’t actually remember all the conversations we had at dinner. But I know we had dinner, that’s the important thing. And honestly, some of my best family memories were from dinners (or immediately following dinner. Joe John has Colurciello Dance Parties, some of the funniest things I have ever seen.)

Even when we got older and more involved in school and whatever else, dinner was an important function in our household. And let me just commend my parents: that was a challenge; kudos to you guys. Because in my family, I can’t really remember a time when we weren’t going in four directions, every night. But for about an hour a night every night, we stopped what we were a family and nothing else.

Also, phones were never allowed at the table (not that we had phones at a very young age…). At dinner there were no electronics at the table. Period (except some people think they are above this rule now cough cough). Even when we go out to dinner, if we take a picture and post it to Facebook, you put your phone away when you’re doing. There is no texting. For the most part, we don’t even really take calls during dinner.

To this day, I really hate eating alone. Like, when I was up at school, I was here by myself for about a week and a half and I think there was constant movies going because I couldn’t eat without people talking. And my roommate and I sit down, pretty much every night to eat together. And, let me be honest, lately, it’s been in front of the TV. But we’re eating together.

And that’s what I miss. Because dinners were important. And I intend to make them important in my household.

Daily Prompt

Unplugged

Today’s Daily Prompt is about unplugging and taking a break from technology.

Sometimes it’s important to take a break from technology.

I remember senior year, Mrs. D (she was my AP Lit teacher) had us do a project where we gave up technology for…I think 24 hours, or maybe a weekend, something like that. If we had a paper that needed to be typed or whatever, we were allowed to use computers for that, but that was supposed to be the extent of it. I remember freaking out because I don’t own a watch, so I didn’t know the time. But, at some point I realized it was kinda nice to not have to worry about missing things (I’m also pretty sure I had like no texts because no one really texts me, anyway). Everything is sort of different, all of sudden you realize, life still goes on, even without everyone knowing your every thought and what you did every minute of every day. And learning that was probably the best thing she could have taught us.

I still do that sometimes, not for that amount of time, but I do. It’s sometimes good to call it quits with the internet.

Personally, I think the internet leads to a lot of problems simply because people do things without thinking (thank goodness I know when I need to remove myself). Don’t get me wrong, I love the internet as much as the next American teenager. I like keeping in touch with family and seeing old friends and making fun of people (don’t get offended, it happens and you know it). But sometimes, you just have to stop.

Besides, as much as I like typing, and I do, I really do (name that movie reference…Pitch Perfect), sometimes it’s good for me to see things on paper. See, when I blog, I have something specific (or maybe less specific; I know I’m a little scatter-brained) that I want to write about: a prompt, or an idea, or a lesson I learned, or a person I like or don’t, that kind of thing. And because I know other people are probably going read it, it’s different. Don’t get me wrong, I still express myself, it’s just a little different. And I still write, with a pen and paper, when I feel like that’s what I need. And it’s good for me in a different way than blogging.

Even more than that, with the internet, it seems like privacy has gone out the window. If I don’t want to share my life with you, don’t worry about it. Some things are just private and I think with social networking sites, we feel obligated to share with the whole world. And I am not about that life. So, sometimes an internet hiatus is healthy, I think.

Read a book. Write a letter. Draw a picture. And take the pressure off.