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

Thoughts on Friendships and Growing Up

You know how in high school we would get this magical thing called Spring Break? Some families would go on vacations; others would be stuck at home because mom or dad had a full time job they couldn’t take time off from. And the kids who got to go on vacations would come back tan with tall stories about their wonderful times. It always seemed to me like those kids got the upper hand of Spring Break. They got to go on a break while the rest of us stayed home, with nothing more to do than visit Sonic late at night and go shopping at the mall just like any normal week.

 

But, the real Spring Breakers were at a disadvantage too. They would come back to school, completely out of the loop on what went on in the suburbs during the weeklong break. Oh, Jim and Pam are dating again? Sally the hopeless freshman got drunk? Those Spring Breakers didn’t know that any of this had happened in their time of absence. They saw friendships shift, allegiances switch, and suddenly they aren’t so sure how to navigate the testy waters of the high school social circuit. But, with a certain amount of time, they learn to float with the tide, and everything goes back to normal. But there are those few days that are spent halfway in the dark, wanting to scream, “What else don’t I know anymore?”

 

My parents never took me anywhere on vacation for Spring Break. Sure, there was that one Spring Break where we toured (2) colleges, or when I spent the whole break figure skating somewhere else. But, I never was totally in the “high school social circuit” when I was in high school. I have, however, noticed that this trend persists, not necessarily pertaining to spring break or high school, but throughout your whole life.

 

This summer was the first one I spent completely away from my home. I didn’t stay in close contact with my high school friends or my church friends. Nothing has changed drastically, but I do keep getting thrown for a loop when someone mentions something that I have no prior knowledge of.

 

It’s hard to enter back in to friend groups that you’ve been out of for a while. I had to, after spending a year of online schooling, when I came back to public high school. Those first few days back contained the most shy me I’ve ever been. But, as we grow up, and as our old best friends turn less and less “best”, we have to get used to this fading out of friend groups. If you aren’t constantly with someone, and you don’t purposefully maintain contact on a regular basis, your friendship will inevitably change. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s just life.

 

Whenever I make a new friend, I always assume that friend will be mine for life. And to a certain extent, it’s true. But it will fade. The “friendship light” won’t go out completely, but it may change. As I get older, I’m starting to realize that this just happens. In the past, I took it very personally and thought I had done something to make someone not want to be my friend anymore. Now, I know it’s all a part of growing up.

 

Friends change, rumors change, lives change. That’s just the way it is.

Missing the Mark

Have you ever applied to something and not gotten it? “Dear sir or madam, but we regret to inform you that…” emails can be the worst. They tell you one thing and one thing only: You’ve missed the mark. You didn’t make the cut. You haven’t succeeded yet.

Sometimes in life, we don’t get what we want. I’ve had my fair share of failed applications, botched interviews, and missed opportunities. It doesn’t mean we’re not good enough; it just means we’re not right for the part.

I spent a lot of my freshman and sophomore year applying to things that I didn’t get. Before I got to college, I didn’t really understand the merit of not getting something you applied to. I started to experience failure with the college admissions process. However, I was lucky. I got into the majority of the schools I applied to. The one I really wanted to get into? Not so much. The scholarships I applied to? Nada.

I entered college, expecting the same attention as high school. I was a good student, so I obviously would get the extra opportunities, right? Boy, was I wrong.

But I wasn’t the only one in that boat. College was a bigger sea, so the applicant pool was a lot larger, even for extra-curricular and volunteer activities. I applied to several programs that were only looking for a few students, and got turned down by all of them.

The next year, I realized that I had to start applying to internships, if I wanted to jumpstart my career. I luckily found my way into an on-campus job that turned into my internship for the summer, but I still applied to about 7 internships that I didn’t get into. To be fair, some were above my skill level, but the “recommended qualifications” never stopped me.

I’ve lived my life with the mantra that if I work hard enough and want it bad enough, anything is possible. Any road is possible. Any life that I want to live.

I still believe that to this day, but I know that with hard work and good expectations still comes failure. I have failed a lot more times than I have succeeded, but I haven’t given up yet. (I don’t plan on giving up any time soon.)

If you’re among the crowd of students without a job, an internship, or a worthy opportunity this summer, don’t worry. I was in your place every summer before this one. It doesn’t mean that you suck, or are a lousy applicant, or are “unfit to be a working adult.” It just means that you have more time to improve yourself.

So! Don’t spend the summer laying around, doing nothing. Pick up a book (or several) on a topic that interests you. There are tons of online courses available on nearly any subject in the world. Learn something new. There are even courses in programming languages that you can put on your resume (hint hint I wish I had time to do this. If you have the time, do it for me.)

Sadly, this does not mean binge-watching the new Orange Is the New Black season will become a skill you can put on your resume. It does, however, mean that you can focus on something you’re passionate about, which will impress college admissions counselors and job recruiters alike.

I always have too much on my plate, but that’s because I don’t stop trying to shove things on it. Sometimes, nothing on your plate is a worthier experience than having too much on it. So don’t worry if you didn’t land the perfect internship this summer. You can still make the most of it.

End of the Semester Reflections

Wow…where did this week go? Where did this semester go? Yesterday was the last day of classes, which should have been a joyous occasion. I, however, still had an assignment due at midnight, so I wasn’t as free to enjoy the release from classes as much as possible. Finals are upon us here at college, and everyone is super stressed out. The library switches over to being open 24 hours during finals, so I don’t anticipate leaving from here anytime soon (writing this blog is my study break currently).

At the end of every semester, I always end up reflecting on the things I did, what I wish I had done differently, how I could have been a better student, friend, or mentor..whether I want to think about such things or not. (I can’t help it, nostalgia is in my blood.)

Things I wish I had done differently:

    1. Gone to more club meetings. Allocating time efficiently is the most important skill you will learn at college. There will always be more things you want to do than what you have time for. I wish I had kept up attendance at church and Intervarsity, because my faith will always be important to me…but sometimes I let the need for a higher GPA get in the way of that.
    2. Paid more attention (in Macroeconomics). This class is hard…and the lectures were boring, but if we’re being honest here, that is one thing I wish I could redo if we started the semester over again. Hindsight is 20/20, right? But seriously, it’s so easy to go through the motions in college, and not be aware of the changing world around you. Keeping your eyes (and mind) open to everything that’s happening will make you a better citizen and allows you to educate someone else on some issue that is very prevalent in the world today.
    3. Taken leadership. There were some instances where I could have stepped up and taken charge, but I remained in the background, hoping that someone else would do it. I wish I had drawn up my confidence, put on my big girl panties, and taken that chance- but I didn’t. And I regretted it. This is going to be one of my goals for next semester- to be a stronger leader, even if the path looks uncertain and scary.

 

Things I’m proud to have accomplished:

    1. Joined a new club. I joined the International Relations Club this semester, and I could not be more excited. I discovered a new love for Model UN (those conferences are so  challenging and fun that I think I will be addicted to them for life), and this was a huge step out of my comfort zone- one that I’m so glad I took.
    2. Made new friends. I don’t like talking to new people. It’s scary. You don’t know if they’ll like you or not. It’s easy to be awkward in social situations. More often than not, I’ve been in a place where I didn’t know anyone, and sat awkwardly with eyes fixed on my phone, hoping that no one will talk to me while secretly hoping that I would be able to make a friend, somehow, through this telepathic communication I dreamed of. But, this semester I’ve worked on that personal skill of reaching out and making a new friend. And it has paid off in extraordinary amounts.
    3. Spent an entire day not doing homework. I’m one of those people who always has that itch to study- anytime, anywhere. This semester I spent one Saturday not studying at all. I didn’t open a textbook, I didn’t edit a paper, I didn’t think about the assignments I had to do the next day. It was so relieving and I’m so glad I spent that time to recharge myself. I need to remember to do this more often.

 

I have now (almost) finished 3 out of 8 semesters here at college. Only 5 remain, and I’m constantly afraid I’m wasting precious time. All I need to remember is that almost everything you do in college is preparing you for the future. Whether it’s studying, making new friends, gaining personal development skills- everything will pay off in the end, so you can’t really waste time. I’m content with what I did this semester, even if I do have regrets. The benefits greatly outweigh the costs. Therefore, it has been a positive experience (a little econ humor there..)

If you are like me and just finished classes and finals are looming nearer and nearer, congratulations and good luck! No matter what grade you get, at the  end of the day if you’re happy, that’s all that matters.

Now I’m off to study more. And more. And more. But, I’m happy with that. 🙂

 

Moving In Not Moving On

It’s that time…Yup. I finally moved in to college. Year two, here we go.

My room may be smaller and I may still have a hall style bathroom, but living in the sorority house is already worth it. Having a community of sisters constantly around you is one of the best things about being in a sorority, but I’ll talk about that at a later date.
I tried really hard this year to make my room match (interior decorating is NOT my forte), but I didn’t quite live up to my own expectations. Maybe pictures will come later once my art stops falling off the walls (#humidity).

Move in this year was a lot different from last year. I’m not a freshman anymore, so I didn’t have a scheduled time to move in, I didn’t have volunteers helping me move my stuff into my room, I didn’t have Orientation Aids in neon shirts saying hi to me over and over again. This year I fit everything into my Toyota Camry, which was a feat of itself because I overpack like craaazy. I drove up Saturday night, and a sorority sister and I unloaded everything in the dark. Compared to last year, this year’s move in was less exciting, but I’m a lot more excited this year than I was before.

I was a complete mess the week before freshmen move in. It felt like I was uprooting my life and transporting it [an hour] down the road. I was in tears packing, thinking that this was the last time I would see my house again, I was going to be an adult now, blah blah blah.

I felt like because I was starting COLLEGE, what’s supposed to be the greatest adventure of your life, the me that had grown up in that house, prior to graduating high school, no longer mattered.

People go to college to change their identity. Now that they’re out of their parents’ grip, they can be whoever they want to be. As for me, I liked who I was. I thought you had to be someone different in college, or at least someone better. I didn’t want to erase all of the memories I had made in high school, or forget all of the experiences I’ve had.

It took me a little while to get accustomed to college. But that didn’t happen until after I realized that I did not have to change.
Sure, you could say I’ve grown a lot in unexplainable ways since last year. I wasn’t distressed leaving home this time, in fact, by the end, I couldn’t wait to leave. Not because I don’t love my parents, but because of all the friends I had made at college that I couldn’t wait to see.

I’ve realized that moving in to college is NOT moving on with your life. Now, moving on implies that you’re putting the past behind you, forgetting all that you’ve done, and looking to the future. But leaving the past behind means removing every experience and instance that made you who you are today from your life. You’d be a blank slate. But I don’t think we should “move on” from high school. We all got accepted to a college, so we shouldn’t forget the person who we are that got accepted. (Note: I’m talking major personality changes, like if you were a total party-er in high school and want to not do that as much in college, then please commit to that!)

moving in not moving on

But my entire point here is that moving in is not equivalent to moving on.

I had to learn that the hard way; but at least I know that now.

I know most college freshmen are already moved in, but for those that may find this post and read it in the future, please trust me when I say that you don’t have to forget who you are at college.

Sunday Selfie

For many churches throughout my county, today is Graduation Sunday, where we recognize all high school seniors who grew up in the church who are graduating from high school. Some of my closest friends from church were in the grade below me, and are all graduating this week.

Some of them I remember meeting when I was a freshman. Now that I’m done with my freshman year of college, they are about to enter theirs. It’s really exciting and extremely sad at the same time!

I had a hard time going to college because half of my small group from church stayed at home (to finish high school). But now, all of us are going to different parts of the country for school. It’s harder to keep in touch when everyone is so spread out, but I guess that’s just what happens when you become an adult, right?

I never realized how much I would enjoy watching others grow up. It all seems so fun to look back on your own life and count all of the fun memories you’ve had, but I find it even more noteworthy to remember the events from another’s point of view.

Congratulations to all the high school seniors and soon to be graduates. In the words of Elle Woods, “You did it!”

College may not always be easy, but trust me: it will always be worth it.

 

My gorgeous friends, Olivia, Rachel, and Catherine

My gorgeous and graduating friends, Olivia, Rachel, and Catherine 

 

Happy Sunday.

 

P.S. Life lesson #451: One should always take silly Sunday selfies. 

 

Growing

Hello again! It’s been a little over a month since my last post…too long, in my opinion. However, the focus on school was necessary. The past month has been one of the most stressful months in my life…and for no particular reason other than it was just plain hard. However, it is done with now, like a lot of other things…

Friday was the last day of classes of my freshman year of college. It feels like I was just moving into this dorm, and in a week and a half I will be moved out. After final exams, I’ll have almost four months of freedom from this academically restraining life. But, like most “end of the ____” blogs, it’s time for some reflection.

I don’t think there’s one word that can accurately describe my entire freshman year…but this word tries to: Growth.

I have grown in more ways than I could possibly imagine over the past 8 months. I never imagined I would like living in a dorm…with 34 other people on my floor. I never imagined I would join a sorority. I never imagined I would learn to call this place “home”. I thought that starting college would be the start of the rest of my life. But, when I got here, I learned it wasn’t. As I mentioned in a previous post, college felt like high school without parents to me. But I’m slowly learning the point of college.

The reason that we go to college is to grow into adults. I mean, so many people have kind of told me this before, but it didn’t really click. I wanted to go straight from high school into “the adult life,” even though I have no inkling as to what the adult life even is. I wanted full responsibility for myself. Normal college kids didn’t. They wanted to study a little, have fun at the same time, but be able to rely on parents for things. Throughout my freshman year, I’ve learned to rely on my parents a lot. They’ve become some of the most important people in my life, and in my opinion, they weren’t always.

It just finally makes sense now. Now that one year out of four (or more) is over, I understand that it’s okay to have fun in college. I don’t have to make a 4.0 (even though I get morose when I don’t). I don’t have to study every. single. day. Maybe I’m falling into the peer pressure idea of “college is where the party’s at”, but honestly it feels a lot more freeing than the socialist mindset I wanted to have with: eat, sleep, study, repeat.

I’m still super dedicated to my studies. I still want the same things as I did 8 months ago for my life in the future. I’m not as changed as I was afraid I would become. But I 

It finally feels as if I’m growing into who I’m supposed to be. I don’t have all the answers, and I won’t. I never will. But at least I try to find them.

Freshman year was a whirlwind. I’m happy that I get to relax over the summer, but I am sad that I’m going to not be around so many amazing and talented people for a while. Some of my best friends now live 13 hours away. But I know, that when August comes around, they’ll all come back to college. And I can’t wait for that.