September Update

This semester has gotten off to a rocky start. Professors, caring little about adjusting to the new school year, dove headfirst into course content with 100’s of pages of reading the second week of school. What a huge wake-up call that Junior Year was Here. Beyond the heavy workload I had destined myself for, I was really happy to be getting back to a normal routine. Back to spending hours at the library, and eating horrible cafeteria food, and being within walking distance of almost all of my friends.

 

I really wanted this semester to go off without a hitch. Without nights of stress or crying. But, life happens, and you just have to roll with it.

This past week was the worst week of my life. It felt unfair to have such a bad week at the very beginning of the semester, and it’s made me behind in my classes already. But, today is Monday, and I’m just going to pretend that last week didn’t happen at all.

 

Ignoring the bad things, here are the good things about today:

  • Apple cider is back at our campus coffee shop (hello, fall)
  • It’s not raining (yet)
  • Wearing a pink skirt makes me happy

 

Even though these things are so simple (and a little materialistic), sometimes they are the only things you can count on.

My car may be totaled, but at least I can still get my daily coffee. The enjoyment of simple things is necessary to outweigh the complex terrible ones.

 

No matter what else is going on, you have to be adaptable. This is something I’ve struggled with a lot of my life. I don’t like change (that much), and if something changes not according to my plan, I get very angry. When an entire week goes not according to plan, I get VERY upset. Even when everything else seems like it’s changing, I know these things will stay true: my friends will be there for me, and if they are busy, I’ll always have a chocolate croissant to comfort me.

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Moving Back: Junior Edition

Here we go again.

 

In 6 short days, classes start to begin my junior year at college. It is incredibly hard to believe that I have survived two full years of college so far. What’s even more surprising is that there are only two left. I wouldn’t say college has flown by, but I have enjoyed it a lot more than I expected to.

 

By their junior year, many college kids have apartments off-campus. At my college, lots of students still live in dorms through their senior year. As it happened, I moved back into a dorm yesterday. I will now explain the very detailed experience I had moving back in for my junior year of college (in an excruciatingly dramatic style). 

 

Now, I’m going to be really honest with how I perceived move-in to go. Moving into a new place is always very stressful for me. It never has to be, but I always want to get it done as soon as possible, and that’s not always feasible. Last year, I up and left home the night before I was planning on moving in and moved in with the help of my sorority sister under the cover of night. This year, I once again tread the path alone of move-in, except with an additional obstacle: a third flight of stairs.

 

I’ve never lived on the third floor. Freshman year, it was the basement. Sophomore year, second floor. Now, it’s only fitting that I live on the third floor. But goodness, I did not realize how much of a difference that extra 15 feet (upwards) makes.

 

However, before I even begun to think about how I was going to remove the strategically placed objects in my car to pack my entire life into my Toyota Camry, I had to check out the room first. I’m living with my freshman roommate again, but I have sworn off hall bathrooms for the rest of my life. I refuse to use a hall bath now, and as such, we have a suite style bathroom. This dorm building was just renovated, so I’m expecting it to be super spacious, neat, and pretty.

 

Now, the room is clean. The bathroom is very clean. But spacious is not a word to describe this room. Upon first glance, I freaked out. My quickest conclusions were: How is all of my stuff going to fit here? Why aren’t there more shelves? This bed is too high. Why is there no bathtub?

 

This realization that we had chosen an awful room (by my standards) to live in caused me to stress out even more. I had had such great plans for this room. This was going to be THE room, the one that depicts the converging personalities of two women through its interior design and apropos wall art. But, I set my standards too high, as usual, and so I freaked out.

 

(Seriously though, this room is not bad. My first (and second and third) instincts were that of repulsion, disgust, and disappointment in this living situation. But it’s not a horrible room. There are smaller rooms on campus. I could be homeless. It’s all a matter of perspective.)

 

Once I finally trudged every last box and pillow from my car up those three flights of stairs, I started thinking about the actual arrangement of the room. The minor details of where the beds and desks will go doesn’t seem important in the grand scheme of things, but in a college as stressful as this one, I wanted to create a space that I could just come back to at 2 in the morning and easily go to bed without disturbing my already sleeping roommate. So, the furniture positions are important.

 

It’s currently three in the morning, and I haven’t finished arranging everything yet. My roommate doesn’t move in for a few days, so I will figure it all out then. But, after having moved in to college 3 times, I’ve learned 3 important things about myself.

 

  1. You can’t expect too much.

I always want dorm rooms to be this quasi magical dwelling, but I have to take it at face value for what it is: a dorm room. I can’t expect an amazingly comfortable living place, because this school focuses on its academics more than its amenities.

 

  1. It’s only for a year.

You shouldn’t stress out about this because you’ll only be living here for an academic year, which, in reality, is only like 7 months total. None of this is permanent, like a real house, so you don’t have to withstand this torture forever (that is the torture of sharing a bathroom with 26 other girls).

 

  1. I will never be an interior designer.

I love disgustingly preppy rooms as much as the next girl. I wished I had the skills to make everything match, be monogrammed, and force others to understand you are the queen of dorm prep. No matter how much I want it to, my bedding will never match. The pictures I put on a wall will never be straight. I will always have mismatched pillowcases and crooked pictures. But, the crooked pictures display aspects of my personality, not only with their images but in that with crookedness comes the opportunity to fix the mistake. I don’t make it crooked on purpose, it just happens. But, I can fix it. Just like in life, when we make accidental mistakes because WE AREN’T PERFECT, we can fix them. The mismatched pillows, well, I just like too many colors.

 

In all honesty, I prefer my furniture to boast a purposeful function rather than follow the form that creates the ultimate envy. It’s just me. In previous years I tried in vain to make everything match. I would spend hours picking out a pillowcase- and in the end it wasn’t what I wanted. So, for all you movers (and shakers) out there that have this idea of The Perfect Dorm Room in your head, just throw it out the window. Dorm rooms will never be perfect, but they are an integral part of college. It’s sad that it took three years of stressed out moving in to realize this, but hey. Everyone has lightbulb moments at different stages.

 

If you’re still with me after this very detailed blog post about my moving experience, I applaud you and reward you a Reese’s Cup. Except I can’t really do that, because it’s over the Internet. If you have any insights you would like to share regarding college move-in, send them my way.

 

Okay, since you actually read this, here are some pictures of my mismatched pillows and crooked pictures that show my diverse interests and ambitions:

 

 

The bed that will never match.

The bed that will never match.

The desk that I count as clean.

The desk that I count as clean.

If you are moving in to college for the first time today or next week, don’t worry. You’re about to have the best time of your life. If your nerves still aren’t eased, read this

Throwback Thursday: The Digital Edition

Happy Thursday!

In honor of social media’s dubbed, Throwback Thursday, let’s take a trip down memory lane… What was your first computer?

I got my first computer, a Toshiba laptop, as a Christmas present in middle school. My dad found them really cheap during Black Friday, and bought both my mom and I one. Since then, I’ve gone through 4 laptops..I think? Usually a laptop will only last me about two years (a.k.a. I drop everything and never buy protective cases). But, why this sudden splurge into my past? Because I finally got a new laptop! 

If you follow me on instagram (@the_leighpster), you would see that about 6 weeks back, my laptop was holding on to one hinge. I honestly don’t know how it has survived this long (it still works!!), but the wires are coming out from behind and you can’t close it correctly. Suffice to say, I needed a new laptop like Britney Spears needed a new hairstylist in 2007. 

Now, I have to transfer all of my files from my old laptop to my new one. I’m not so certain how I feel about all this “Cloud Storage”, but I think I have to give it a chance… I had zero space left on my old laptop. And then I read this article by the Daily Beast, and it showed me the light…I AM a digital hoarder. 

I love collecting information. I love organizing files in color coded and cleverly named folders. But this problem has really gotten out of hand as of late. I want to save every article I read (which is really hard to do online..), so normally I keep articles in my browser for days at times, never closing them (or shutting down my computer…). 

It’s really funny to think about how quickly information passes in and out of our lives now, due to the internet. In an instant, I can read an article that was published in France. I can communicate with someone in China. Someone in India can read this blog post. Even though there’s so much information and communication happening between the people of the world digitally, we shouldn’t forget to put the laptop down and interact with an actual human. Or read an actual book. 

I believe that there is so much power in knowledge gained outside of the computer. As much as I love those free, online college classes you can partake in (what up Coursera.org), it’s no substitute from learning by experience. 

I know that I’m a digital hoarder and I love every part of it. But, sometimes it’s worth it to put away the computer. That article will be there tomorrow. The experience that I’m missing out while being glued to my computer screen, will not. 

Now stop reading this and go talk to a real living being! 

Do You Really Know Your Friends?

One of my “not resolutions” New Year’s resolutions is to really get to know my friends. Since entering college, I’ve made so many more friends than I ever thought possible. It really is hard to keep track of them all, and at times I feel guilty for leaving people out simply because I don’t have enough time in the day to think about them. So, for 2015, I am pruning my friends, separating the acquaintances from the best friends, letting friendships go for people I’ve grown apart from, and strengthening relationships with people who I yearn to know more about. (Sidenote: If you are my friend and are reading this, please don’t think I’m “dropping” you as a friend. It is 99.99999% likely that I am not and that we will continue to be better friends by each passing day. Never fear, friend Leigh is here.)

 

 I can know the “facts” of their life, their lists of favorites, what they want to do when they grow up, even horrible stories from their youth. But do I know the inner workings of their hearts? What makes them tick? Their deepest fears? If you’re hoping to strengthen relationships in 2015, here are a few uncomfortable questions you should ask your friends to get to know them better.

 

P.S. Don’t forget to share your answers too, so that they can do the same.

 

    1. What is one thing you’re insecure about?
    2. Who inspires you the most?
    3. What is your deepest wish in the world?
    4. Why are we friends?***** This one questions an entire friendship and causes you both to seriously think about whether a friendship is destructive or boosting to both individuals.
    5. Are you happy with your life?
    6. Do you have any regrets?
    7. Where do you see yourself (honestly) in 10 years?
    8. What are you most afraid of?
    9. What is a character trait you wish you had?
    10. What characteristic are you most proud of?
    11. What is your deepest guilty pleasure?
    12. What is one thing that no one knows about you?
    13. What is one thing that’s hard to admit to yourself?
    14. What brings you the most joy?
    15. What’s your favorite part of the day?

 

I love asking questions and being asked questions alike, so use these to guide your next conversation with a friend, whether it’s a friend you wish to be better friends with or if it’s a friend you feel you have drifted apart from. Take the initiative and strengthen that friendship to make 2015 the year of the friends.

 

Oy Vey

Oy Vey.

Do you ever have one of those days when the clock is ticking faster than normal?

That’s how it’s going to be for me until I leave for college (T minus 5 days!!!). I have been putting off packing for the longest time…and now I’m way behind on it.

My week last week felt crazy busy. I’ve definitely had weeks where I’ve been busier than I was last week, but it just felt like I was doing something all the time. There was always one more thing to do. An impromptu trip to Charlotte definitely alleviated some of the stress for the moment, but I’m now realizing that I have a TON of things to do this week before I leave.

Sometimes it feels easier to just take a nap instead of think about everything that has to get done. (Counter productive, I know…)

Most of my friends are already leaving for college. I’ve had to say goodbye after goodbye, which makes me think about the imminent goodbye in my future. (Not that it’s really goodbye, my college is only an hour away, so…it’s not that far.)

But, to all you college freshmen out there:

If you thought that packing for college was hard this year, it gets even harder next year.

College packing becomes more difficult for two reasons:

    1. You’ve done it once. You know you can pack everything in little time, therefore procrasti-packing occurs.
    2. You know that all of the stuff you crammed in your tiny dorm last year is unnecessary this year. So you have to weed out all of the things you didn’t use, contrary to your own belief that yes, I will indeed use that. Who cares if I didn’t iron a single article of clothing last year, I’ll be better about it this year. (You most likely won’t, so don’t even bother.)

I need to take my own advice…….but against my better judgment I’m still bringing my iron and ironing board.

    1. It will always feel like you’re missing something. And that feeling won’t go away until you’re all moved in to your new living space for the year. So it’s best just to ignore that feeling (as much as possible).

 

The bottom line: Packing is and will always be stressful. Moving is stressful. And to constantly re-move into college each year seems like a hassle (in my mind at least). But when I get super stressed about packing, I like to remember that at some point, I will be in my own house, settled, for an indefinite period of time and not have to think about moving for several long years in a row.

 

Happy packing, and good luck to all of those beginning their first year of college this week!

I Would Walk 500 Miles…

Well, no. I wouldn’t. But I would drive 500 miles, which is how many I seem to drive each week. Eep. Anyone else feel the pressure on my wallet?

But, due to all of this driving, I have accrued some good skills for my long car rides.

 

Eating in the car. A lot of my meals I do eat in my car, rather unfortunately. I haven’t managed how to eat with a fork or spoon yet, as I’m always scared the food will go EVERYWHERE if I do that, but leave me all the sandwiches, muffins, bananas, protein bars, Cheerios, etc, and I am a pro.

Singing full Broadway musicals. I love musicals. I’m not good at singing, but I love imagining I can. And in my car, with no one else around, I can definitely do that. So to whichever car that passes me (or is stuck beside me in DC traffic), my concert is for you. My favorites include Hairspray, Rent, Wicked, and Mamma Mia. Now it’s your turn to sing every part of a full length musical and tell me how it feels. It’s glorious.

Listening to only one song the entire trip. Seriously, I don’t know how I do it. That means I listen to a song an average of 35 times during my long two hour trips. But whether it’s Rhapsody in Blue or Who Loves You by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, I’m terribly content to listen to it on repeat forever.

Rapping Fancy by Iggy Azalea. I can hit every word. Every pause. I have it on lock. And it’s all thanks to long drives. Really, they should just give me a blonde wig because I am Iggy Azalea.

Choreographing dances or skating programs in my head. This one relates to the “listening to only one song the entire trip.” I just pray I can remember them when I actually need them.

Cars are great for thinking and figuring out life goals. I would include that in my list, but these are more of the things that entertain me when I don’t die from boredom in bumper to bumper traffic. Have you learned any skills for long car rides to keep you entertained and not dead in the side of a ditch? 

Summer Hair Tips

Ahhhh, summer. Long live those blissful, sunshine filled days spent solely outside in the warm rays… You don’t know what that is either? Good, I’m not alone.

I know a lot of girls who complain about the summer because of the humidity’s distressing effects on their hair. Because I live in Virginia, well, it’s humid for a good portion of the year. Humidity can ruin a good hair day…especially if you want your hair to do something other than its natural style.

How I feel about my hair most of the time

How I feel about my hair most of the time

For me, I’m returning to the skating rink for the summer, where there’s a different kind of humidity brought on by hot temperatures outdoors and cold temperatures indoors. Instead of praising the days spent outside in the sun, I’m now claiming “Long live the endless hours spent inside the skating rink.” On these long, sweat inducing days, my hair routine is as follows: Shower, brush hair, put hair in bun. Sometimes the hair gets dried. Other times if I choose to sleep for 20 more minutes instead…it doesn’t. But my hair stays in a bun ALL DAY. It’s just easier to not have to redo hair 5 different times. But when I finally get home and take my hair out of the bun and brush it…it’s a mess. If I want to go somewhere after skating, such as to the movies with my friends, there’s nothing else I can do other than putting it back up into some sort of ponytail nonsense. I’d really rather not look like a troll doll when going out in public (what happens when my hair is down).

So my healthy hair tips for the summer? Nonexistent.

If someone can teach me how to have healthy, manageable hair after a hard day of skating and exercising, please, let me know so I can share with the world.

If not, please wallow with me in hair induced pities.