2011 resolutions and outcomes:

            Make at least 3 new friends: Success! I was feeling a bit lonely at the start of the year, but I was really able to connect with people in a way I’ve never been able to in the past. Having friends is fun!

            Keep my grades up: I got my first Bs of my college, but I still have a strong GPA and I’m proud of the work I’ve done these past two semesters.

            Get in better shape: I didn’t stick with my plans for diet and exercise, but I am in better shape and I love my body more than ever. I’m finally seeing myself as a beautiful person.

            Lose at least 20 pounds: That would have been nice, but I did lose about ten pounds. I should have done more, but I’m on the right track.

            Get at least one boyfriend, date, or kiss: Fail. I’m as inexperienced in the art of seduction as a four year old. I really wanted something to happen this year, but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. I know I say this every year, but I have a really good feeling about 2012. All the boys better look out, because I’m on the prowl!


2012 resolutions:

            Have a blast in England: I have a million goals for my upcoming semester studying abroad in England, but this pretty much covers it. I want to have a good time. I’m shy and I don’t get out much, I haven’t had the conventional college experience so far – In 2½ years I haven’t been to one party with alcohol. I love the life I have at college now, but I want to try something new for a few months.

            Take better care of myself: Now that I have to go grocery shopping for myself, I have no excuse for eating junk all the time. I need to cut back on diet soda and all things sugary. And I need to remind myself that the gym is not hell.

            Send in at least 3 short stories for publication: I’ve already written them, they just need one more round of revision. Then I need to take a deep breath and send them in, I’ve got nothing to lose.

            Get at least one boyfriend, date, or kiss: It is going to happen this year! I’m going to England for 6 months, and I am going to snog a British boy no matter what it takes!


Thowing Away the Papers of my Life

            I was cleaning my room the other day (it’s about time, trust me) and I came upon a box of stuff from high school – which I guess only ended two and a half years ago, but it feel like such a long time ago. I had kept all of my notes, my papers, handouts, quizzes, everything that had anything to do with school. To be honest, this is still a habit of mine. I hate to throw anything away – but I’m trying not to become one of those crazy hoarders you see on TV – but I really hate to get rid of my school stuff.

            I held a stack of history notes the size of a novel in my hand and grudgingly placed them in the trash with one final look. It suddenly became clear in that moment why it was so hard for me to part with these messy pieces of paper and why I had kept them all along: school was my whole life.

            In high school I had no friends. I had no social life. My family life was dramatic in all the wrong ways. I never went to a single party, I went to the movies with “friends” a grand total of three times in four years, I spent every lunch period in the library alone. I wasn’t living the life I wanted to live, except in one category: school. Well, not really school in its entirety, but school-work. School includes all of the lunches spent alone, awkward dances that I attended dateless, failed friendships that I was unable to make happen. School-work was what I was good at: pen to paper, quiet thinking, studying, reading. Still to this day, I’ve never been as good at anything as I am at school-work.

            But today my life is so much more complete than it was just three years ago. I have a life outside of the words I write and the exams I take. I still love school, but now I also love spending Friday nights with my roommate at the movies, and Saturday nights in the Pep Band, and Monday nights talking about books with my English club friends. I love my life so much more now than I did then. I hope that with this new-found happiness, letting go of my college school work will be easier, because school isn’t my whole life anymore.

What I learned this Semester – College Lessons

What I Learned this Semester

            I didn’t have a great semester, but I learned a lot (about life). That’s what college is all about: learning. Here is a list of what I learned (I’m really going to try to keep it brief this time):

1)      Don’t get obsessed with boys and Facebook stalk them for two years. Especially if you don’t see or talk to them. It’s not good for you.

2)      Some people are really sensitive.

3)      I am not the only fairly normal twenty year old female who has yet to experience her first kiss. I know at least three people in the same boat. The media makes me feel like a freak, but most people I know are single and some are virgins.

4)      Sometimes you have to make your own decision, even if it is rash. I decided on a whim not to continue with the honors program at my school and it was the best choice I made all year.

5)      Coffee is actually quite good when it has mass amounts of chocolate. But don’t drink it at 9pm unless you plan on being up all night.

6)      Thongs are just as uncomfortable as they sound.

7)      In most cases, when writing an essay you should try to take a side the professor would take. This is utter crap, but 90% of the time professors are not as open-minded as they say they are.

8)      It’s OK to make bad decisions sometimes. I’m finally realizing that the safe choice isn’t always the best choice. And even a bad choice can be good if you learn from it. Just don’t do anything that could get you killed, I will stick by that.

9)      Don’t push people away. Unfortunately, I’m still not sure how to do this.

10)  Friends are immensely important, no matter what your mom says. Whether you will be friends for a month or eighty years, your friends will change your life.

The most important thing you will learn in college is how to live the rest of your life. I really feel like I’m learning the lessons I will need to know to be the person I want to be. And I’m having quite a lot of fun too!

What I Wish I’d Known Before Starting College

Right now I should be doing homework, which leads me to #1:

  1. Don’t procrastinate. Everyone knows this, and pretty much everyone ignores. I can’t count the number of times I have wanted to kick myself for making that same mistake over and over again. This semester I have had way too many nights staying up till 4am doing homework. My real advice on this subject would be to keep track of everything that is due, that way you at least know what you are procrastinating on. Also, if you have a class in which you are supposed to write weekly papers that are only collected like once a month, write them weekly, do not put them off until the night they are do (I’ve had personal experience, in case you couldn’t tell).
  2. Grocery shopping is hard. It is my third year college, but my first year living in an apartment, so it took me a while to figure this out. I still haven’t figured out the right amount of food to buy and I still think grocery shopping with my roommie is a bit awkward. It’s hard to know when to spilt the cost, when to just divvy up the groceries, and when to put your foot down. I don’t like the same food as my roommate. I’ve wanted to buy pasta all semester (because it is cheap and easy) but I haven’t because she is a pasta fiend and I do not want to eat her pasta, but if I go to buy any she will tell me not to because she has pasta in the cabinet. And she looks at me like I’m crazy when I buy whipped cream.
  3. Go to class. Everyone is going to tell you this, and odds are you won’t listen. Just remember that you are paying to go to class. Not going to class is like throwing away very expensive movie tickets… sometimes to a very bad movie. But still.
  4. Don’t tell your roommate every little thing that bothers you about them. Only mention things that are really going to cause a problem or drive you nuts. I still don’t know why my roommate is so bothered that I don’t immediately throw the cardboard toilet paper thing (what is that even called?) in the recycling as soon as I switch the roll. Is it really so bad that it sits in the cabinet for a month? On the other hand, if something is really bothering you, try to bring it up gently before it becomes a major issue. My roommie likes to open all of the blinds before I get dressed even though she isn’t even going to be in the room. It is really starting to piss me off.
  5. Headphones. Wear them. No matter how much your roommate tells you that your music/ TV show/ movie is not distracting them while they are trying to study, they are lying. It is so easy to wear headphone, so just do it. Same goes for condoms (just thought I’d throw that in).
  6. If your sleep schedules don’t match, be courteous about it. I’m going to stop complaining about my roommate for a minute, because I’m completely guilty of this. She goes to bed at 11pm every single night (which, honestly, is a bit ridiculous), but I would stay up between 1am and 3am on any average night and as late at 5am when I had important essays due. Your dorm should have a lounge or a laundry room where you can go. Also, don’t go to bed at 11pm every night.

OK, that’s probably it for now. I may post another one of these next fall, and maybe I won’t complain about my roommate as much. College really is a fun and unique experience, so enjoy it!

Being 20: Thongs, Coffee, Seductive Cigarettes, and Growing Up

            Today I acted my age for the first time in my life. I’m always shocked to find that I am older than most of my friends in college (whether by a few months or a few years) because I perpetually feel like I am sixteen, when I am actually twenty. I honestly do not know why I feel this way, and I’m not going to try to figure it out. But today I decided that I’m going try to change it.

            Today I bought a thong. It’s times like these when I remember why I love having a completely anonymous blog. There is no chance in hell that I am telling anyone about my little shopping venture. I realize that this shouldn’t be a big deal, but it is to me. And I even purchased them without blushing, although I did go out of my way to find a female cashier and I couldn’t quite make eye contact.

I suppose this landmark achievement on its own isn’t enough to make me a real adult (or even a real college student – I don’t think I’ll be a real adult for a while), but it got even better. At the end of class – the last day of my favorite class of the year: creative writing – after our professor had left, several of us sat around drinking soda and just talking. Well, not just talking, we were actually all making out with each other… Just kidding! We weren’t even touching, I just couldn’t resist. But we were in fact talking about mushrooms and promiscuous teachers. Definitely not my typical conversation – as such, I wasn’t really contributing, just listening and looking thoroughly surprised.

I left class with one of my close friends and I guy from class. As we all talked he smoked a cigarette and I drank soda from a paper cup. In that moment I couldn’t help but feel like I could be walking back from a party drinking beer from a red plastic cup. That’s just how it felt. Every step full of possibility and energy.

I could suddenly see why it was possible to romanticize cigarettes. The smell, which would usually make me cough and roll my eyes in disgust, floated lightly through the air and I was mystified by the fact that I hadn’t even noticed him pull out the cigarette and light it. It was just suddenly there, between his rough fingers, as if it had always been there. And there was something seductive about the way that he held it to his lips.

I said goodbye to this guy and felt like we were on even turf. I never feel like that with guys, ever. I always feel like they are these otherworldly beings who know so much more than me. Tonight, I felt like we were just two college students. I can’t believe I felt like this with a guy who smokes cigarettes, talks about mushrooms and acid, studies philosophy, and towers over me by at least a foot. Not that all any of those things are something to aspire to.

After we parted, I went and bought a cup of coffee and returned home to blog. And I haven’t spoken to my mother in two whole days (kind of a personal record). So, I’m feeling pretty mature right now.

I kind of like the feeling of being twenty. I think I would like to feel like this every day.

Thanksgiving with my Family: Realizations over Vodka and Pita Chips

My family celebrated Turkey-day with 30 of our closest relatives, 4 dogs running all over, and two massive bottles of vodka. It had its ups and downs. I had two fairly major realizations in the pinnacles of those ups and downs. I’ll start with the down first, because everyone likes to end on a high note (which do you want first, the good news or the bad? Everyone chooses bad, don’t they?).

My little brother got extremely drunk on Thanksgiving night. My older cousins had been drinking all day, and my little brother foolishly joined in and went way too far. I came home from dropping my cousins off at a bar and I found my brother in my room (he was staying in my room while our relatives were over) sitting facing a corner rocking back and forth, completely covered with sweat and incoherent. He had thrown up all over the brand new carpet. I was so pissed, but I was more worried. I just embrace pissed more easily than I do worried. My mom cleaned him and his mess up and got him to go to sleep, after much more vomiting. I barely slept that night, partly because I was still fuming and partly because I got up every hour to make sure he was still breathing (I’m paranoid like that).  I’m pretty pissed about the whole thing (pissed at my cousins not telling him to slow down, my parents not noticing how much he was drinking, him for being a complete and utter idiot – it’s not the first time I’m seen him dangerously drunk). But I’m most angry because I’m pretty sure he learned nothing from this, I’m pretty sure he’ll do it again. And that thought gnaws at me like nothing else. I’m afraid he’s going to end up killing himself.

But there is something else that’s bothering me about this incident: I could easily put myself in the same position. My brother and I aren’t all that different. When we were little and my dad would get really drunk, my brother and I would hide in our room and we swore we would never drink. Or course, we were just kids then, but I still don’t drink. I’ve given up on the “never”, but I hope that when I do drink I won’t take it that far. I’m afraid that if I start drinking I might not be able to stop. I know this seems slightly illogical, but it’s not from my point of view. I’m very shy, and I feel very awkward in social situations. If I start drinking and it makes me feel good, I’ll want to keep feeling good.

I guess this would be the time to tell you about the one time I did choose to drink. It was only a few months ago, at my cousin’s wedding (my cousins are a bad influence, in case you didn’t notice. But in all fairness, most everyone in my family is a bad influence). My cousins were all drinking shots and margaritas (which they offered me, and I declined), so they left their champagne on the table. The table was empty and I was sick of being the only one not drinking, so I drank every glass of untouched champagne at the table. And then the ones at the next table. They were cleaning up by now, so they were taking all the glasses off the tables. I know it sounds like I drank a lot, but I really didn’t. They were small glasses; I drank each one in one gulp. I did not get drunk. My chest was warm and my head felt light, I was talking kind of loud. I must have had a bit of a buzz because I was having a full conversation with someone who I had never spoken to before (although, she was my cousin) and I willingly danced with my mother. But I could tell the effects had worn off a few hours later and I felt no type of hangover.

So, this incident was not in and of itself frightening. What scares me is that I don’t know how much I would have drunken if I had the opportunity. If they hadn’t been getting rid of the drinks would I have drunken all of the champagne? I drank them quite thoughtlessly, all in a matter of a few minutes. What if I had been drinking shots? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I may find out soon. I will be studying abroad in England next semester and I really do want to go to the pubs with my new friends and have fun (if that’s what they want to do). But I want to know that I won’t go crazy and drink myself into a stupor. My older brother jokes that I will come back a full-fledged alcoholic. I laugh, but I’m secretly terrified that he might be right

Well, enough with being a downer. I actually had a really good Thanksgiving, if I just forget about my brother. It was really neat having a few people from my dad’s side of the family over, we usually just celebrate with my mom’s side because they live closer. I don’t see my dad’s side of the family very often at all. We went to my cousin’s wedding last summer, it kind of turned into a family reunion of sorts, and that was the first time in nine years that I’d seen many of my cousins, a few aunts and uncles, and my grandma on my dad’s side of the family. It was a really strange experience, because we all lived together in a house for a few days. And since then I’ve been seeing a lot more of those relatives. One of my uncles and his daughter visited us for a few days after the wedding. Another uncle came a month later. And now we had my aunt, uncle, and their son and daughter over for four days of Thanksgiving break. Yes, they were a bit wild. But it really was nice. It’s nice to see where my dad came from. It’s nice to see his most love-able quirks reflected in someone else, and it’s nice to know that he didn’t collect all of his annoying habits of his own accord. And I feel like I’m seeing a different side of myself also. I know my mom’s family. I know how I fit in with them, I know how we are similar and how we are different, I know what I got from my mom, and I thought I knew what parts of me were just me. But now I can see that some of those parts come from my dad’s family. And I can see parts of myself that I never saw before because I wasn’t looking through the right lenses, so to speak.

At one point I sat around the kitchen table with my brothers and cousins and we all just mindlessly ate the pita chips my mom set in the middle of the table and we joked back and forth and laughed. It was simple and easy and it felt right. That’s what family is.