7 Excuses I’ll Make For Not Blogging

Hi there.

So… it’s been a while.

Here are some excuses I have for not blogging:

1) Grad school

2) Student teaching

3) Grading papers

4) Lesson planning

5) Stress

6) PACT

7) Grad school

But really, I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to open up a word document and get typing. I often think about writing up my thoughts and posting them, but I don’t. I guess part of me thinks it’s a waste of time, and I don’t have time to waste (my YouTube history would argue otherwise). But it’s not a waste of time. Writing makes me happy. In times of stress it can be easy to push away the things that make you the happiest, even if you just end up mindlessly procrastinating.

I can’t guarantee that I’m going to start blogging regularly again (let’s be honest, it was never very regular). But in this very moment, I’m doing something that makes me happy. Maybe I’ll do it again soon.

Long Distance

Grad school has brought me many new challenges, stuff I never had to deal with as an undergrad. Most noticeably, maintaining a long distance relationship – or any relationship for that matter.

I’ve had to deal with homesickness and feeling lonely. But this feels different. I change my mind about my boyfriend on a daily basis. Granted, I wasn’t 100% happy with how our relationship went this summer. I felt like I didn’t see him enough and he felt like we saw each other all the time. It’s a little bit more complicated than that (at least to me… but then again, I never even told him that I felt like that) but that’s the easiest way to describe it.

For the first few days after I moved away I was too caught up in the excitement and nerves of starting something new. Then I started to miss him, really intensely at times. But before long I started getting annoyed. I felt (and still feel) like he wasn’t taking any initiative. He never called me, he never suggested we Skype. If we did Skype it was because I suggested it. We still texted daily, but it didn’t feel like enough. (I’m writing this all in the past tense, but really I still feel the same in many ways)

I thought that I was finally not missing him anymore. And that scared me. Because I haven’t seen him in nearly 6 weeks and if I don’t miss him then I figure that maybe I don’t love him anymore. Maybe I’ve felt ignored for too long, maybe my feelings have changed.

But then I got a voice mail from him, and the sound of his voice just made something in me crumble. And I’m right back to where I was at the very beginning: missing him.

My ever changing feelings are starting to drive me crazy. Sometimes it’s even hard to concentrate on my school work (granted, some of the readings are so boring). And sometimes (right now) I just need to get my feelings written down so that I can try to sort through them. I haven’t come to any conclusions, but I’ve organized my thoughts. And sometimes that’s all that you can do.

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.

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…

Am I Happy? (Thoughts One Year After Graduating)

Over the past few months I’ve often thought that I’m happier than I’ve ever been before. And in some ways I am. I have a boyfriend for the first time in my life and I’m so in love that I feel like I’m going crazy. When we’re together, I’m having a great time. But are those moments enough for me to say that I’m truly happy?

I graduated from college one year ago and moved home to return to my summer job at the sandwich shop while I looked for a more permanent job. But twelve months later, I’m still here with my parents. Still working in that damn sandwich shop. The only change is that I’m now in a relationship… with someone who is still in college and who lives a five-hour drive away. Some nights, that feels like no difference at all.

I look back at pictures from college and my time studying abroad, and sometimes they make me smile. But a lot of the time they make me really sad. I haven’t seen most of my good friends from college since last August, and I haven’t seen those who I wasn’t as close to since graduating. The random greetings on Facebook just don’t seem to be enough to sustain a friendship, especially when I live too far away to visit.

There was a time – pretty much all of high school – when I didn’t have any friends at all, and I was incredibly lonely. Now I’m back in this town that I tried so hard to escape, and I feel like I’ve lost all of the friends that I worked so hard to gain over the past few years. I have my boyfriend and I keep in touch with two of my closest college friends via Facebook message, and that helps. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but it feels like it’s going in that direction.

It’s like I took fifty steps forward over four years, and now I’ve taken twenty steps backwards in one year.

When I think about college, I think about all that I’ve lost. How I used to live, and how I live now. I miss nights in my friends’ apartment watching crappy movies and spilling red wine on the white carpet. I miss English club meetings on Monday nights, talking about our favorite books and movies. I miss pep band on Saturday afternoons and cheering for our team even though the sport makes no sense to me. I miss late night chats with my roommate about every strange topic imaginable.

I miss it all more than I can say.

But I think I’m finally starting to move in the right direction again. If I’m not happy now, I’m on my way to getting there again.

I’ll be starting grad school in two months, and it cannot come soon enough. It took a long time for me to make the decision to return to school and pursue a career in education. But now that I’ve decided, I’m one hundred percent certain that it is what I want to do – and that it is what I should do.

The Things That Are Bothering Me

Once again I am blogging when I should be going to bed. But something is bothering me, and I can’t even really pin down what it is. But I know that it’s something because I’m listening to a single sad song on repeat. That’s always a sure sign.

It could be that I’m unsure about my decision to apply to grad school. A year from now I could be working toward a Master’s degree and student teaching at a high school. I’m certainly not ready for that right now, and I can’t see myself being ready in a year. I still look like a high schooler! How am I supposed to teach them?

It could be that I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. There’s no manual on how to apply to grad school (ok, there probably is, but it is not in my possession and I don’t have time to read it). I emailed three professors asking for letters of recommendation, and the only one to respond basically said that I was doing it wrong. I didn’t even know there was a way to do it wrong!

It could be that despite the possibility of going back to school, the reality is that I’m still working a dead-end, soul-draining job in a sandwich shop. And I still feel like a failure. And I still don’t know when I’ll be able to quit.

It could be that even though I’m the closest I’ve ever been to being in a relationship, I don’t know if I really want it anymore. And I’m frankly worried that I’m incapable of loving someone in a romantic sort of way. I like this guy, but I’m already starting to get bored and we’re not even official. And this whole long-distance thing is already wearing me down.

It could be that I’m mad at myself for not trying harder, or being more persistent, or sticking to my goals, or having more self-control. I’m not applying for many jobs. I’m not keeping my room even moderately clean. And I’m not losing any weight.

I’m happy… but I’m also unhappy.

There are a lot of possibilities for great things to happen. But nothing great is actually happening right now. And I feel like it’s all my fault.

I’m… Going Back to School?

After months of trying to decide what to do with my life I have finally made a decision. Ok, so I still don’t know for sure what I want to do for the rest of my life. That’s a tough question for a 22 year old. But I’ve decided on something to do for the next couple of years that won’t drive me absolutely crazy.

Law school is out. Pursuing a career in publishing is out (at least for the next 2 years). And working in a deli for the rest of my life was never in.

So, what’s next?… Grad school. A master’s degree in education with a single subject teaching credential, to be specific.

I never planned on going to grad school. And the more my mom pushed the more I resisted. I never planned on becoming a teacher. But now that I’ve given it some thought I’m surprised it took me so long to come to this resolution. I think a big part of it was stubbornness. My mom was a kindergarten teacher for several years and I was determined to do something that no one in my family had ever done before. Plus, I always found it annoying that everyone just assumed I would want to be a teacher when I told them that I was studying English. I didn’t want to be a cliché.

Since it took so long for me to finally make my mind up, I’ve only got about six weeks to get everything together for the application process. It’s way more complicated than I ever imagined. Test, letters of recommendation, essays, volunteer experience, and more tests. It’s going to be a busy six weeks for sure.

But one of the things I’m thinking about most right now is what I want to do differently now that I’ve already done the whole college experience once. I had a great four years at my alma mater, the best years of my life so far. I feel like I’ve left part of my heart there. I don’t have many regrets because I would never want to change the way things turned out. But there is certainly a lot I know now that I did not know then.

By the time I graduated I felt like I had finally just gotten the hang of it. I finally knew how to make friends and keep them. I finally knew how to take chances and try new things. I finally knew how to love myself and the people around me. College was a learning experience in more ways than I could ever count. So this time around I want to do everything that I wish I had done before. Now, I just need to figure out exactly what those things are.

Wishy Washy – Life After College

            I am not a decisive person. I hate making decisions. And as a senior in college, I’ve got some BIG decisions to make over the next few months. Mainly: what am I going to do for the rest of my life?!?!?!?! To narrow it down a bit, my current struggle is to decide whether or not I should go to law school. I thought I shared my two trains of thought on the situation. Maybe it will help sway my opinion so I can at least make some sort of decision.

            Anti Law School Thoughts: Law school is a three-year commitment, and it seems like everyone who goes through it hates it with a passion. I read very slowly, there is no way I will be able to handle the work load in my classes, let alone the actual work load of a practicing lawyer. What if I drop out after a year or two? What if I don’t drop out and I can’t find a job? What if I find a job and I hate it for the rest of my life? What if I’m the worst lawyer in the history of lawyers? What if I become corrupt, or am forced to defend something or someone whom I am fundamentally opposed to? I already have a whole lot of student debt, and I will have way more if I go to law school. I might get a high paying job, but I might not get a job at all – and I may be stuck working in the grocery store deli for the rest of all eternity. I might hate law school and not make any friends or have any fun for three solid years and always regret not trying to find a job in publishing. What if I sign up to go to law school and then by some highly unlikely turn of events I am accepted for an amazing internship that I might apply for in a field that I might love. And the worst possibility: by choosing law school I might miss out on a truly life-changing experience – finding my dream career, falling in love, going where life takes me and seeing what happens.

            Pro Law School Thoughts: I am smart and strong and capable of achieving more than anyone expects of me – including law school. Pretty much everyone besides my mom tells me I’d make an awful lawyer and I want to prove them wrong. Not every lawyer is of the obnoxiously opinionated variety and refuse to keep their mouth shut. Nice people can be lawyers too. What do I really have to lose? No matter what the outcome, I will leave law school more knowledgeable and better educated. I’m already thousands of dollars in debt, might as well quadruple it and in doing so increase my chances of actually being able to pay off those loans before I’m ready to ship off to a nursing home. I could actually make a difference as a lawyer. I could study Intellectual Property law, or animal rights, or a dozen other things which could actual be pretty interesting. I could be a lawyer for a few years, and write novels in my spare time. If I really want to be a writer, I need a day job to pay the bills. And the best possibility: by choosing law school I might find my dream career, fall in love, take a risk and end up with a fantastic life I never knew I wanted.

Well, I’m not sure anything is clearer to me. Some days I feel totally gung-ho about the whole idea, and other days I feel one hundred percent certain that it is not the path I should take. Can you tell which mood I’m in today?