An Unfortunate Time to Fall Back in Love with Reading

I’ve always loved books. They are magic bound up in paper, and that’s how I think of them. A whole world can be contained in those pages, with people and lives and things that feel so real. It amazes me that those scratches on the pages can add up to something so powerful.

While I’ve always loved books, I have realized recently that I haven’t always loved reading. I certainly grew to love it in high school, when I spent all of my lunch periods in the library because I had no friends. The reading made me feel a little less lonely. But somewhere toward the end of college I lost that love.

I think I just came to think of reading as a chore. I read for class, not for fun. I often enjoyed the reading (when I actually did it instead of turning to SparkNotes), but I didn’t love it. I didn’t get lost in it.

I did occasionally read a book outside of what was required for class, but I was always doing it more because I thought that I should. I felt guilty for not reading. I was, after all, an English major and a fervent lover of books. It would take me forever to finish anything, and that was if I finished it at all. Last summer I started the first Game of Thrones novel, and it took me four months. Granted, it is a long book and I read really slowly. But four months is long for any book.

The book I just finished took me five days. And I did that while reading about five hours a day for my grad school courses. It’s strange to go from not reading at all to reading all day.

I can’t remember the last time I actually wanted to stay up late reading. But I had to make myself go to bed last night. I was mad at myself when I had to get up at 7am this morning, but it’s hard to be mad at yourself for doing something that felt so good. I finished the book tonight…instead of doing required reading. So I’m sure I’ll be mad at myself again tomorrow.

But it was just so beautiful. I cried when I finished it, not because it was sad, but because I loved it so much. I hugged the book, as if I was hugging the characters inside. (By the way, this book is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz… and it is fantastic! I highly recommend it to anyone who likes young adult fiction)

I didn’t just love the book though; I loved the process of reading it. Every second. It made me feel so many things. I got so lost in it at one point that I just looked around my room and thought for a second that it was Thursday afternoon and I should open the blinds… then I remembered that it was about 9pm on Wednesday.

This is all a problem though, because I just do not have the time to read for fun! Even reading this book for just the past five days was really irresponsible and it has put me behind. Not that I regret it, but I can’t afford to let it happen again. If I can’t read in moderation, then I can’t read at all. And the past few days have proved to me that I have even less self-restraint than I thought I had.

I’m so glad that I’ve learned to really love reading again, I just hope I can hold on to that love even as I trudge through dense texts on learning theories and schooling inequalities.

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200th Blog Post… How Did THAT Happen?!

I have been blogging for four years and four months. Holy cow.

I can’t help but think of how I’m different now than I was then.

In March of 2010 I was a freshman in college, now I’m in my second week of graduate school. A few weeks ago I would have told you that I was practically a different person than that shy girl in her dorm room. But now that I’ve thrust myself into an alarmingly similar situation, I’m finding that not all that much has changed.

Back in 2010 I struggled connecting with my roommate, now I’ve been living with a girl for two weeks and I don’t know anything about her other than her name… and that she calls her boyfriends A LOT.

In 2010 I hated eating in the cafeteria alone. Four years later, I still bring my food back to my apartment and eat alone in my room with the door closed.

The first two years of college felt really transformative. And now I can feel myself changing again. It’s a little unsettling. I thought I’d figured out who I was, and now I realize that I’ve got a lot more transforming to do.

Maybe that’s what life is about: constantly changing and redefining who we are – to ourselves and to the world. I guess that’s a good thing. But it’s scary.

In my education classes we’ve been talking a lot about learning. One approach to learning (an approach I really like) is that the learning process is about the struggle. If you are content and you have no problems or confusion, then you won’t learn. Basically, if you’re struggling then you’re learning something. So I must be learning A LOT.

I’m having a really tough time adjusting. I feel really isolated and I miss everyone. And sometimes I just feel like my brain is going to explode from all of the reading. But I know that I will come out of this stronger and smarter and, eventually, happier.

 

I want to sincerely thank anyone who has read my blog over the past four years. Even though I don’t post regularly, this blog has become a place where I can come to sort through my thoughts and share my ideas. In a way, learning to open myself up to strangers has helped me to be more open with the people in my life. I know that no one could ever gain as much from my blog as I have (and continue to), but I hope that you can take something from it.

Also: I’ve given my blog a little bit of a make-over! I’m still not sure about it; I really don’t like that I can’t put widgets on the side. But change is good! Let me know what you think!

Thanks for reading!!!!!!

Grocery Shopping Sucks – Grad School Problems

I went shopping on Saturday and spent $60. I went again on Thursday and spend another $30. And I still feel like I have no food!

It is really hard to stay on budget shopping for one person when you literally have nothing in your kitchen. I had to buy stuff like salt, pepper, oil, mayo, mustard, and salsa – none of which can be eaten as a meal. I hate that cooking requires so many ingredients. Even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich takes three ingredients, and that’s as basic as it gets. I have the necessities to make PB&J or cheese sandwiches, pasta with marinara, rice with soy sauce, or toast. That’s about it. And it gets old so fast!

Breakfast is easy. I can eat yogurt, fruit, or cereal. All of which require no effort and are quick and reasonably affordable (my idea of a perfect meal).

Lunch and dinner are a little bit more complicated. Not only do I have to make some sort of sandwich or boil some noodles or rice, but I also feel like I need a side dish. Apparently the only side dish I can make is… carrot sticks.

So basically every single meal is a sandwich and carrot sticks. Since my tastes are about as sophisticated as your average six year old, I really kind of like this combination. But not every single day (sometimes twice a day). I’ve gotten so bored that I’ve started putting salsa on my cheese sandwiches – and I totally love it!

The other sucky thing about grocery shopping is the actual shopping! I don’t really know anyone here yet and my apartment-mate might be invisible, so I have to go alone. The first time I went it took me a solid hour. I’m a pretty introverted person, but I just don’t enjoy walking around alone for that long feeling lost and confused. Every grocery store seems to have their own way of organizing things, and none of them make sense.

I’m pretty sure this is one of those things that will get easier (and cheaper) with time. And I’m already improving: tonight I got really adventurous and had a frozen pizza… with carrot sticks.

Procrastinating and Missing Him

It is 10pm, and I am supposed to be writing an essay! But instead I’m going to write a blog post… because I’m crazy. And boy do I feel crazy right now!

I just started graduate school a few days ago, and already I am having trouble with procrastinating. I literally just sat at my desk and watched Tarzan for an hour and a half. Bad idea. Not only because it was a waste of time, but because Disney movies are so sappy. And they make ME feel sappy!

In all honesty, I really did not miss my boyfriend for the first five days after I moved. I was wondering if I would ever start missing him or if maybe there was something wrong with me and I really didn’t love him as much as I thought I did. But it has finally hit me. And it’s hitting me pretty hard.

It’s not even that I’m lonely, which I kind of am. And it’s not that I miss kissing him or any of the physical stuff (ok, I DO miss all of that, but that’s only a small part of it). I just miss him. Talking to him, seeing him, telling him everything, holding his hand, being near him, even just being in the same room as him.

I guess there’s nothing I can do about it, except for wait. And maybe stop watching sappy Disney movies. And get back to work on that essay…

The Obsessive Procrastinator FINALLY Cleans Her Room

I’m 23 and I feel like I’m learning more about myself all the time. I’m so far from “having it all figured out”, and I will NEVER have it all figured out. But I did figure something out this month!

For a long time I’ve known that I have a bit of an obsessive personality. Everything from the way I crushed hard-core on the same guy for EIGHT years to the way I clean the counters at work has taught me this about myself. I prefer binge watching shows and can’t even see a point in eating just one scoop of ice cream. My father is a heavy drinker, so I’ve avoided drugs completely and have been very careful with alcohol because I just know that within myself there is that potential to become addicted.

For even longer I’ve known that I have some serious procrastination issues. I have always put homework off till the last minute. In college when we had midnight deadline, I literally submitted mine at 11:59pm. Every. Single. Time.

These two personality traits have led to many problems, one being the state of my room. My college roommate and best friend would call me a beginner hoarder. And I really couldn’t argue. My bedroom is huge, and completely filled with clutter: old school work, excess beauty products, clothes that date back to middle school, shoes that don’t even fit, and knickknacks galore.

I’ve been putting off cleaning it for pretty much my entire life. I would make it look acceptable, of course. But the closet was stuffed to the brim and I would hide stuff under my bed so it wouldn’t look so bad.

I have finally figured out how to get this impossibly daunting task done: I became obsessive about cleaning my room.

Almost every day for the past two weeks I have spent several hours in my room, sorting through boxes and ACTUALLY THROWING STUFF AWAY! I’ve thrown away six large bags and have donated two more two charity. I still have a lot of work to do and I should probably get rid of ten more bags of useless stuff. But I’m finally starting to see progress! It is a good feeling going to bed at night and looking around my room at the progress I have made.

I know that it’s not good to obsess over anything, but right now obsession is what I need. If I had just tried to clean my room a little bit at a time I would have never made any real progress. I need that driving force. I wake up in the morning thinking about those boxes. I start sorting through them in my pajamas before I’ve even brushed my teeth.

I’ve only got one more week to be obsessive, so it can’t do too much harm. I’m leaving to grad school next week! And I will be so relieved to know that when I graduate and get a great job (finger’s crossed) and move into my own place I won’t have to deal with packing up all of the crap I’ve collected over the last twenty-odd years. I’m not putting it off any longer!