A Case of the Pre-Graduation Blues

Do you ever have those days where you keep doing things you shouldn’t be doing and you just keep thinking “what am I doing with my life”, but you just keep doing the same thing over and over even though it’s not making you feel good anymore? Well, I’m having one of those days.

So, instead of refreshing my Tumblr dashboard and checking my emails again, I’m going to turn on some music and blog about it. I’m not sure if that’s really any better, but I can already tell that my fingers have missed typing and it feels better than mindless scrolling.

I graduate in ten days, which I’m so excited about, but I’m just not happy. And I don’t know why. Maybe it’s just end of the semester stress, or maybe it’s because I don’t want to leave. Maybe I’m getting mad at all of my friends and frustrated with everything because that will make it easier to leave. I don’t want to do that.

I want to be brave and face everything head-first, even if that means more pain later. The future is fast-approaching, and I couldn’t run from it even if I wanted to – and maybe that is what I want. I really don’t know what I’m doing with my life, but reverting back to an angsty teenager is not an option.

I need to get my happy back, and I think that might just entail closing my internet browser and getting to work on my final essays. My typical reaction to the blues is a pint of ice cream and a night (or several nights) of complete immersion into the never-ending vortex that is YouTube, Tumblr, and Facebook. But I’ve tried that, and it’s not helping anymore.

I have ten days left as a college student, so I might as well enjoy my last ten days of essay writing. The internet will be there when it’s all over, and I’m sure that not long after these ten days pass I will be blogging about the blues again. But being sad because something so special and amazing has come to an end is so much better than being sad while you should be enjoying those last days of such a special and amazing experience.

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What Makes a Good Friend?

            Who hasn’t had problems with their best friend? No one, that’s who. I hope I’m also not the only one who occasionally thinks that maybe I shouldn’t be best friends with this person. When I first met my best friend I felt like this was a person I wanted to be friends with, I felt like we had a lot in common but also like we were different enough to be good for each other. At the present moment I’m feeling like we are similar in all the worst ways and have nothing important in common. I’m probably just saying this because I’m in a bad mood, but this is my completely anonymous blog – so I can say whatever I want.

            Why am I feeling like this right now? I’ll tell you why: there is a party on campus tonight and I want to go and she doesn’t. The party is literally a one minute walk from our apartment and it is school sponsored so it has a dance floor and games and stuff like that (so it’s not like some wild party). She claims that she doesn’t want to go because she has stuff to do and has work at 8am tomorrow. I’m not arguing with her or trying to convince her to go, I said it doesn’t matter to me (I couldn’t convince her to go if I tried). But the thing is, I keep wondering when she is going to go out of her comfort zone. I do it all the time (although it may not be so obvious to her, because my comfort zone is quite large). If she wanted to do anything – go to a dance, a party, an event – I would go with her, and I have. She has also gone to things I have suggested, but only if she already wanted to go. I just feel like we are in college!!!! We should not be getting eight hours of sleep every night (I don’t, trust me. But she gets like 8-11 hours of sleep a night!!). Having work at 8am is no excuse not to go and at least check it out! This is part of the reason why I wanted to study abroad next semester: I feel like I’m not getting the full college experience. I want to go to parties (occasionally), I want to participate in underage drinking (at least once!!), I want to be busy, stressed, sleep deprived (I’m totally succeeding at this! It’s not fun, but it feels more college-y than anything I else I do). I’m not in college to be a responsible adult; we have the rest of our lives for that. I want to live!

            The other, completely unrelated, reason why I’m mad at my best friend (who is also my roommate) is that she asked me today why I haven’t been doing any of my dishes lately. This alone doesn’t bother me, it’s fine that she called me out on it. I have been forgetful lately (but I by no means have completely stopped doing dishes. I forget to wash a plate here and there and leave forks in the sink occasionally) and have not been the best roommate lately. But I told her that I am extremely stressed out and I’ve just not been myself. I think I’ve been pretty understanding when she is stressed and freaking out. But I feel like since she takes antidepressants and goes to counseling she acts like anyone who doesn’t have an actual diagnosed reason for being upset isn’t actually capable of being legitimately stressed out. Like my problems don’t matter as much as hers because I’m supposedly more mentally stable. I know that I cannot accurately judge her on this issue, but I feel like she doesn’t realize that she is not the only one who has problems. We all have to deal with shit and we all get stressed. My feelings do matter, just as much as hers. I should be allowed to be stressed out and mess up every once in a while. Not to mention the fact that I am an English major and she is a science major, which also means that she thinks that I have way easier classes than her (I will be blogging about this soon, because it is driving me nuts).

            I guess I just want to end this horribly long rant with a question: what makes a good friend? Because I can criticize her all I want, but I know that I’m not a great friend either. I’ve been struggling with this for years, trying to figure out how to be a good friend, and I just can’t get it right. Maybe she doesn’t quite get it either. Maybe none of us do… or maybe it’s just me. I’ve seen many examples of really solid friendships. But I wonder how much of that just shows up on the surface and if there are really problems underneath the façade of smiling faces. We can’t all get along all the time. Maybe what really defines a friendship is how you make it through the periods when you can’t stand each other.

College, Stress, and Preparing to Study Abroad

            This semester is kicking my ass. I’m currently taking 20 units right now (anything over 18 is overload) and it’s just too much. By the time I get through Monday and Tuesday I’m a complete wreck and I still have to make it through the rest of the week! I know, there are people with real problems, but sometimes you just have to vent. Why does everything have to be so hard?

            Preparing to study abroad next semester is causing me more stress than anything else. I’m trying to figure out how to apply for a visa, I need to fill out yet another packet, I’m required to take a cross-cultural training class which is turning into a nightmare, and that’s all on top of the normal worries of traveling. I’ll need to buy a plane ticket, figure out what to pack, and figure out what my money situation is. I’m also worried that I won’t make any friends, wondering what the hell I’m supposed to do on a three-week spring break, imagining myself spending my 21st birthday alone in my room crying, and freaking out at the idea of getting on a plane for the first time. It’s just so much stress to add to my already full capacity.

            And that class I have to take, I could go on all day. The work load is insane, I can’t do anything right, everyone seems to know something I don’t, I’m pretty sure the professor hates me – and I’m not too fond of her, and I feel like the one point we are supposed to get is that we don’t want to be the stupid American tourist that everyone can recognize from fifty feet away. What is so wrong with that!? I’m an American. I wave to people when I see them, I give people thumbs-up all the time, I use words like “dude” and “bathroom”, I wear jeans and tennis shoes. As long as I’m not offending anyone or giving a bad impression of Americans I don’t see a problem. But my professor acts like the worst thing you can do is act like an American. I’m super excited to meet people from other nationalities, and I hope they are excited to meet me – as I am.

            I’m all for learning about the British culture and their values, customs, and way of life. And I do think it is a good idea to have a better idea of who I am as an American and an individual before I set sail. But I feel like we are over-preparing. I want some surprises; I don’t want to know what is around every corner. What’s the fun in that?

            Anyway, I’m done ranting about that class. I just want to say that this whole study abroad thing sure as hell better be worth it, because there is so much work just to get over there. And I know that once I make it there will still be more work. I fully expect to have the time of my life and to come home feeling like it was so beyond worth the effort. But that pessimist in my head cannot stop thinking of new ways that it could go wrong. I might not get to go at all, it’s definitely possible. I need to pass this class with a 75% – the lowest grade I’ve received in my two-year college education is a B+. But I’ve never had to do well before, it was always a choice. The mere fact that it’s no longer a choice is sending me into a panic. I’m usually an exemplary student, but I’ve been awful lately. I’ve been skipping readings, missing assignments, forgetting all sorts of things, and I even went to class without a pencil the other day! There is a pretty decent chance that I am actually failing that class at this moment. There is still a lot to turn in, but my chances of getting an A are pretty much non-existent. Good bye GPA.

            I guess that’s all I have to say. A bit anti-climactic, I know. Sorry. I’m pretty much going to be going into extreme homework mode now so that I can catch up and stop feeling like such a failure. I just have to make it through the next four weeks, and then I can breathe.

A Better Me Starts Now

            So, if you’ve been reading my blog you know that I’m a bit upset about my extreme lack of a love-life. I’m just so mad at myself for making the same mistakes over and over again and failing at every attempt I make to attract a guy. So, I giving up on guys for a while (no, I’m not “switching teams”) and focusing on myself. I want to become a better person, not so I can attract guys, but so that I can be totally happy without a guy. I’ve never been one of those girls who has thought that you can’t be happy unless you are in a relationship, and I never will be. But I have been really wanting a boyfriend (or a date, or anything really) and I’ve been feeling like maybe it will finally be my time soon (I’m twenty years old and have never been kissed). But I’m starting to think that it just isn’t in my cards right now. Someday maybe, but not now. So, I’m just going to try to put guys out of my mind and focus on making myself exactly who I want to be. And I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I’m still hoping that Prince Charming will find me when I least expect it. But I’m really trying not to allow that to become my focus, this is about me.

So here are my plans for becoming my best self:

  • Be a better student:  Stop procrastinating so much, balance my time, focus on getting straight A’s, and organize my notes and stuff.
  • Get into shape:  I went to the gym today and I’m hoping to make it a habit, I also need to stop eating so much crappy dorm food (like top Ramen and frozen pizza), and maybe cut back on my diet soda intake – but not really because I can’t function without my glorious caffeine.
  • Be a better friend and roommate:  Clean up my side of the room and try to remember to vacuum and take the trash out occasionally. Stop picking on my best friend, because we live together and sometimes we get on each other’s nerves and I’m usually grumpy because I stay up so late doing homework. Hang out with my friends more, and try to be a fun person to be around. Also, try to be more peppy during pep band – this might require more caffeine.
  • Be a better person:  Stop talking about people behind their back, stop Facebook stalking, be nice to everyone, try really hard not to be so argumentative, stop judging people before I get to know them, smile more.
  • Learn to dance:  I’ll never be able to dance like my peers, but I can at least kind of figure it out. Or just learn to let loose and rock the sprinkler (the one move I’m great at, but will not do in public).

I’m sure there are other things that I should work on, but for now I think I’ve got a full plate.

Have a Nice Day

            After three days of sleep deprivation, mass amounts of sugar and caffeine, and not showering (gross, I know) I’m finally back on track. Yesterday I was running on two hours of sleep, which is not very much fun in and of its self, but I had seven hours of class and I spent the entire rest of the day (until 2am) doing homework. It was probably my worst day of college yet. Today was so much better, even though I still had to spend hours catching up on work. But I feel so much better, and it’s not just because I got some sleep, ate some real food, and took a shower. The stress has lifted and I feel so much lighter. There is no longer a storm cloud hanging over my head.

            I guess I should tell you now: there is no point to this blog post. I just wanted to share with you my exhaustion and stress. How it sucked so bad yesterday, but today everything is good again. I hope you’re having a good day (whenever you read this). And if you’re not, I hope it gets better.

Buried in Homework

            So, this “blog every day in October” thing, it’s not working out so well, is it? I lasted for about 5 days, which isn’t too bad in my opinion. I would make up for the past 3 days that I’ve missed, but I’m currently buried in homework. I really shouldn’t be blogging right now. Due by Tuesday is a 20 page short story I’ve barely started writing, a 4 page essay on the history of England which I apparently know very little about, and 50 pages of reading. So, I’m definitely in over my head right now. For the next two days I will become a night owl and a hermit. Ok, well I’ve always been a bit of a hermit. I’ll try to post tomorrow, but no promises. Then I will hopefully get back on track, even though I’ll still be partially buried in school work.

            While I’m procrastinating, it might be fun if I shared with you the 8 tabs I have open in my internet browser:

1)      My school’s library website

2)      Wikipedia: History of England

3)      Pandora Radio (listening to The Pigeon Detectives)

4)      BBC – History: Romans

5)      Wikipedia: Braveheart

6)      Wikipedia: Hadrian’s Wall

7)      YouTube (watching Nerimon’s most recent video, I’m addicted)

8)      WordPress (about to post this)

This Semester is Kicking my Arse!

Today’s blog post comes to you in eleven parts, for no apparent reason.

1) Is “arse” technically a curse word?

2) I’m practicing my British lingo because I will (hopefully) be studying abroad in about nine months, and I will hopeful be going to the homeland… England! (ps that was a joke, I’m an American! When I bleed my blood comes out red, white, and blue! Oh… those are England’s colors too… or should I say colours.)

3) Sorry, I’m feeling a bit “cheeky” (is that the right word?)

4) It’s midnight and I’m a sleep deprived college student. That is my excuse.

5) Oh yeah, that leads me to the point of this blog: this semester is kicking my… well you know what I mean!

6) You’ve probably deduced this from my deteriorating state which can be observed in the previous 113 words (word count is awesome). I’m very stressed out.

7) Why don’t I go to bed? you ask. Good question… I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

8) Oh yeah, I’m a college student, we do stupid things. I may have a 3.98 GPA (yes, I’m bragging) but I still do stupid things. (Not sure why the 8 turned into a smiley face, but I like it! Or is that only on my computer?)

9) Oh yeah, back on topic: I want to curl up into a ball until the semester ends and then have my mommy and daddy pack up my things and take me home.

10) Really? No, not really! Have you ever been to college? It’s the best thing ever (so far)! Despite sleep deprivation, sickening amount of stress, boring food, lack of money, never-ending pile of homework, tests that take three hours, financial aid freak outs, professors who are seemingly Martians, roommates who sleep talk… where was I going with this? Oh yeah, despite the long, long list of ways in which college sucks I’m going to be really sad for this semester to end because I’ve had so many great times and met so many wonderful people. And I’m going to be exploding (ok, a bit of an overstatement) with excitement to return in the fall.

11) But first I have to survive the next two weeks.

Choosing a University to Study Abroad at is Stressing Me Out!

            It is so much easier to plan for something that is completely hypothetical. When I was researching study abroad programs a few months ago it was easy to find a school, make my decision, and fall completely in love with my plan. But that was before I was seriously thinking it would be an actual possibility. Now that I’ve met with a faculty advisor at my college to get things rolling it is much more difficult. I had to throw away my initial plan because I’m going with a different program, and I’m fine with that. The initial excitement about the school I had chosen began to wear off as the fear of such a venture started to creep in.

            So now I’m on the hunt once again! And now that it’s for real I’m finding it much harder. There are so many things to consider and so many aspects that seem so important. I’m going to apply to a program in which I choose a few school (1st choice, 2nd choice, etc…) and will be placed in one. So no matter how much research I do to choose the perfect school for me (out of about twelve choices in the UK) I might not end up going there. This is both frightening and exciting. There is a sense of fate guiding me to the school that is right for me (I know, this sounds like bs, but I’m going to call it optimism). Still, I’m going to make sure that all of my top three choices will be good places for me.

            Apparently I’m kind of picky, because so far I’m finding flaws in all of the schools. One of my number one worries: bars (pubs), drinking, and partying. Every school I look at has at least one bar on campus (some have two or three) and the students all seem to enjoy drinking and partying on a regular basis. I know, this shouldn’t worry me because despite the assumption that all college students in the US party and drink in excess I know this isn’t true. I’ve found my niche at my current college, almost none of my friends party and I’ve never even been offered a drink (although I’m at the point where I do want to experience a college party at least once). This may seem like a rarity, but I know plenty of people who don’t drink and aren’t pressured to. And if I do study in the UK I want to have at least one drink at a pub (“when in Rome”). I want to experience all the culture has to offer, and that includes going to a few parties. But I don’t want to return home after a semester abroad and be complete alcoholic (I know it’s not the most rational fear, but many people in my family have drinking problems, which is the number one reason I’ve stayed away from alcohol my whole life). So, basically, I’m worrying about something that is probably avoidable and will more than likely not be a huge issue. I have a feeling there will be much more unnecessary worrying to come in this process.

            As I’m coming to the end of my search (I only have a few days left to decide) I’m really beginning to realize the things that matter to me the most. I can’t avoid the drinking, and every school I’ve looked at seems to have at least a decent English program, so what really matters to me is how easy or hard it is going to be for me to make friends. I think this has always been my number one worry, and probably will be right up until I get there (actually, it will probably continue to be my number one worry right up until I’m back in the US and it’s all over). So the issues that I’m considering most in my decision are housing, orientation, and support for international students. Housing seems to be easy enough to figure out (and helped me cut a few colleges off of my list), but orientation information for spring semester is proving to be difficult. Many schools have great orientations for students studying in the fall, but seem to offer very little for those starting half way through the academic year in the second semester. I’ve searched the websites diligently and scoured the internet, but I’m still not getting all the information I want.

            Another aspect which I never even thought of before is actually playing a big role in my decision process: airport pickup. Ok, now I just seem finicky. But really, nothing sounds more scary than getting off of a plane at a major airport in a foreign country, going to a train to take you to the city, then finding a taxi to take you from the train station to the school, and then standing in front of this university with no idea of where to go. Add to this the facts that I’ve never been on a plane before, I’ve never even been in an airport, I’ve never traveled alone, and the most traveling I’ve ever done was a cruise to Baja California with my entire family. So the above scenario is absolutely terrifying to me. The university that has made it to number one on my list claims that they will pick you up from the airport, take you to the school, and help you settle in. Maybe they were exaggerating a bit on their brochure, but it sure does sound better than the alternative.

            So, these are the things that are concerning me as I make this important decision. If you are reading this and have studied abroad or are planning to I would love to hear about your challenges and experiences!

Confronting My Irrational Fear

            We all have something (or many things) which we are terrified of for no apparent reason. Others may think these fears are silly, and they probably are. There are many things which I’m afraid of, some with good reason and some not, but the thing that I’m am currently stressing about has had me worried for well over a year and I’m going to try to deal with it tomorrow (we’ll see if I actually follow through, I’m hoping that by blogging about it I will be more likely to go through with it).

            Tomorrow I’m going to ask a professor to be my faculty advisor. Not what you were expecting was it? I know it seems ridiculous to be afraid to ask a professor to do something for you that is part of their jobs, but it scares me nonetheless. I was assigned an advisor who is in the history department when I began college and she told me from the start I would need to switch because I’m an English major. I’ve been putting it off for a variety of reasons, although fear is the most prominent, but I can’t really avoid it any longer.

            Since I’ve been thinking about my problem a lot lately (and any time advising period is coming near) I’ve begun to wonder what exactly I’m so afraid of. After much deliberation I’ve decided it is a combination of two things: (1) fear of rejection, and (2) fear of being a burden. Neither of these are really great reasons to be afraid. I don’t think a professor would really outwardly reject me, that would be kind of mean, and I wouldn’t be any more of a burden than any of their other advisees. But still, no one wants to be a burden and no one wants to be rejected, or worse, taken in merely because the other feels they have no option.

            I guess realizing my fears and where they steam from might help me to see that nothing can really go wrong. Even if both of my fears are met the only consequence will be embarrassment, which I really hate, but it’s not like a life-or-death situation. Tomorrow I’m going to try to put my fears aside, take a deep breath, and ask someone for something. I’m going to stop allowing my fears to rule my life, one little step at a time.

Update: I waited a day to post this so I could tell you if I actually went through with confronting my fear. And I did!! All throughout class I kept reminding myself of why I needed to do this, both academically and because I don’t want this one thing to dictate my life. I want to know that I can overcome my fears, and this is just one more step on a long path to becoming a braver and less shy person.

            After class I forced myself to walk up to the teacher, there would be no turning back once I was at her desk. As soon as I started talking I could feel the blood rushing to my face and my cheeks quickly warming. The professor said yes and I was so relieved I had trouble paying attention to what she was saying to me. Something about paperwork, I’ll just have to figure that out later I guess. I left the classroom smiling and shaking like a leaf.

            It feels good to have that worry off of my mind. But more so, it feels good to know that I can be the person that I want to someday become: a strong, brave woman who isn’t afraid of taking a little risk.

Catching Up

            I really have a lot of stuff I need to catch up on this weekend! I’m only one week into my spring semester and I’ve already got reading to catch up on and notes I need to rewrite. My room is also perpetually messy and I need to catch up on sleep. But I’m getting the strange feeling that things are catching up with me, much more than I am catching up with things. I suddenly feel very stressed and homesick. I’ve only been back at school for a week, but I really miss my family (although I will admit this to no one).

            I went through a lot with my family while I was home for break. Half of our house was crushed by a massive tree while we were inside, and we were all so lucky to get out unharmed. But we were all shaken and scared and left feeling very vulnerable. We then lived together in a motel for three weeks. It was a very strange situation, and it’s left me feeling strange. I’ve always been a paranoid person and a worrier, but it’s gotten worse. I had a horrible nightmare last night in which my little brother was killed. It seemed so real that I found myself thinking “why can’t this all just be a nightmare?” And then I woke up and started crying. I worried about my family all day, even though I know they’re fine. And I really want to go home, but then I remember that home isn’t what it once was. It’s now a motel room, and in a few days it will be a rental house, and in about a year it will be a rebuilt version of our home of fourteen years.

            These are not things I gave much thought since the house was crushed and we were close to being crushed with it. I was just so happy we were all ok. But now that I’m back at college and away from my family and our destroyed house all these thoughts and worries are catching up with me. And I just keep thinking about how fast our whole world was flipped upside down, and how close we all were to death, and how that can happen at any moment of any day. It was sudden and unexpected, what if another sudden and unexpected event happens and we are not so lucky. I just want to know my family is safe, but I now know that the world is too unpredictable to ever know that for certain.