Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Change of Pace

I originally wrote this blog post about a week ago as a rant about life. Nothing had been going my way. I wasn't able to secure funding for a program, my room was a wreck, homework sat undone, emotions raged from anger to sadness to happiness to frustration, stress was at an all time high, and I didn't feel like doing a thing...

Now, a week later, that blog post is still written, but it's not posted. I realized that it wasn't up to anyone but me to turn that around. I forced myself to do something. Anything. But I didn't know what that something or anything was. Last weekend was Homecoming at school. I was on-call, and didn't really think much would happen... Or so I thought. Friday and Saturday weren't bad. I worked on some homework, chatted with people, did rounds, etc.

I went to bed around 12:30, 1:00 on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Little did I know my life (as well as a ton of other peoples') was about to be thrown a 360. I got a call at 3 AM that shots were fired at a party off-campus an hour earlier. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. A young man who doesn't attend my school was killed, and a few others were wounded. The campus was in shock and lockdown. We're in a small town college. None of us ever saw something like this happening.

However... that next week (this week) was a complete turnaround for me. And I'm so happy. I have been in an incredible mood all week. What's a little odd about this is that I had no idea what caused this turnaround until last night. I realized that I'm thankful for the little things. I'm realizing that those are what is making me who I really am. The little things turn into the big things. The things I want to remember for the rest of my life.

I've got amazing friends and family. My grades are really good. And I work with some amazing people. I've made memories this year I don't want to soon forget, whether it's lunch with the gang, chatting with residents... Or even the fire alarm going off right after I got out of the shower (t-shirt + shorts + wet hair = freezing cold Cary). It's been an amazing year so far, and I can't wait to get even more out of it.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

89 credits: Redux/Edit

[Edited to cut out things I've already posted and forgot, and to add some new]

As I type this, I've realized in the past few days how truly dependent I am on technology. I usually write my blog posts on a 13.3" MacBook, and can easily see all I've written. Tonight (unless you consider it morning), I'm tapping away on a touchscreen keyboard on my iPod Touch. After my Mac's inverter (what lights the backscreen) finally flickered out, I was admittedly none too pleased. I use my Mac for everything (well, almost everything): email, homework, outlines, essays, taking online quizzes, watching Lost (you know, the essentials).

Anyhow... This realization gave me a lot of time to reflect on some things, since I wasn't distracted by the lure of looking up that "one more thing" online (which, if you're anything like I am, turns into five, ten, twenty more things if I'm not careful). Anyway, I was doing a total overhaul of my room on Sunday. I moved furniture, cleaned, organized, did laundry, and got a lot done. It was really satisfying to get so much done in so little time. I finished everything in about an hour and a half, or thereabouts.

While I was cleaning, I came across the distribution sheet of classes needed to complete my major, in the recommended four year sequence. I set it aside, promising myself to look it over and fill it out when I was done cleaning. After hanging up my last shirt in my closet and putting the last towel on the pile, I picked up the sheet again.

There were classes I had taken, and, of course, those I have yet to take. Upon completing what I could on the sheet (I wrote in the grades I had received for those classes I've already taken), I made a startling revelation: I have attempted/completed 74 credits so far, and I'm in the first semester of my junior year. I'm currently taking 15 credits. This means that I will have 89 at the close of this semester. For those who aren't following, that means I am one single credit hour away from having as many credits as a senior in their first semester would have.

This, in all honesty, scares me in a way. I still need 31 credits to get to the 120 needed for my degree... But when I graduate, I'll have 131 or thereabouts.

Now, as I lay here typing this in my room as a CA, I can honestly and earnestly say that I'm glad that I had a crazy freshman year. It forced me to realize that that isn't what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

In those two years since my freshman year, I've grown as a person at a rate I didn't even know was possible. Admittedly, I've had wonderful professors and I've had horrible professors. I've lost friends and gained new ones. I didn't know what it was like to have my heart broken and healed. I learned to move on from my past. While I can't totally erase and start new again, there will always be those marks on the chalkboard of my life. They've made me stronger. I'm wearing my battle scars with pride, physically and emotionally.

Until this year, I didn't realize that a single group of friends could be so hilarious, supportive, wonderful, and simply amazing. I've laughed harder these past few months than I had in a really, really long time. I feel like I've known these friends for my entire life.

Now, I think I finally am getting to know who I really am as a person: physically, emotionally, etc. It's been a bumpy road of self-discovery... And it's not over yet.

My current career goal is to work in Human Relations or Organizational Development (as of right now).

Could things change? Absolutely.

And for the first time in a really long time, I'm okay with that - and I couldn't be happier.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Mindset of the Mindset (from ACUHO-I)

I guess I should first say that the ACUHO-I is The Association of College & University Housing Officers - International serving housing professionals. I read their blog, get e-mail updates, etc. It's an interesting way to look at res life elsewhere (and they also have an internship program I'm looking into).

One particular blog post of theirs caught my eye earlier. They mentioned what's called the Beloit Mindset List, which is described as "provid[ing] a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall" (

Below is a selection of items taht have been on past lists (in bold, with dates), and some of my thoughts regarding them.

Nothing like a nontraditional blog post, eh?

Few in the class know how to write in cursive (2010).
I can honestly say, I learned how to write cursive in 2nd grade. Never really used unless I had to. However, now that I'm in a class that takes 5-7 pages of notes (front/back) a class, it's used all the time in there.

South Africa's official policy of apartheid has not existed during their lifetime (2002).
I learned about apartheid in 6th grade, and wrote a report about it. It was definitely an interesting thing to learn about. I've always enjoyed history, and this was part of that.

Smoking has never been permitted on U.S. airlines (2006).
Well, this one is definitely obvious, but I've got relatives (including my dad) who remember when it was still allowed.

They have never feared a nuclear war. "The day after" is a pill to them -- not a movie (1998).
I try to keep up on the news the best I can. I still see the fear that some people hold as far as war goes. I suppose the same fear is with pregnancy with college students.

There has always been Diet Coke (2001).
Hahaha. Yep. I know some people who are addicted to the stuff. To which I say, ew. Regular or nothing for me.

This generation has never wanted to "be a Pepper too" (2002).
I'm guessing this is referring to Dr. Pepper. I don't drink the stuff, and don't really care to try it.

When they were born, Madonna was still a radiant woman holding a beatific child (2001).
Considering I'm not a Madonna fan, I don't know how to comment on this one.

Harry has always known Sally (2003).
I still have yet to see "When Harry Met Sally...," so this one's not really applicable in a sense.

Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess. (2010)
And an interesting singer, at that...

Males do not carry a handkerchief in a back pocket (2002).
This is true...

Dilbert has always been ridiculing cubicle culture. (2007)
My dad appreciates Dilbert, since he works in a cube. I want to go into HR, and I appreciate it as well. We always ask each other if we've read it yet that day.

There have always been non-stop flights around the world without refueling. (2003)
This still blows my mind that this is possible.

Margaret Thatcher has always been a former prime minister. (2009)
Yep. At least in my 20 years of being here.

They have never used a bottle of “White Out.”
I've used it. I had to make sure it was on my supply list this year because I knew I'd be using it.

Secondhand smoke has always been an official carcinogen. (2010)
That it has. Sad, really.

They have never needed a prescription to buy ibuprofen. (1999)
Considering I don't buy meds, I don't usually think about this kind of thing, but it's interesting to think about.

Oprah has always been a national institution. (2001)
Honestly, I'm really not an Oprah fan (sorry all you Oprah-lovers).

Woodstock is a bird or a reunion, not a cultural touchstone. (2000)
My first concert was filled with performers from Woodstock (Jefferson Airplane, Country Joe McDonald, and Tom Constanten from the Grateful Dead). I know what it is, and I can't even imagine how epic it must have been.

They may never have heard of an 8-track, and chances are they’ve never heard or seen one. (1998)
I know what it is, where my dad has some, and I don't recalled if he's played it or not. (One of the awesome things about having a dad who doesn't like getting rid of things).

A “45″ is a gun, not a record with a large hole in the center. (2000)
Similarly, my dad's got a bunch of records, so I do know what it is... And now he just needs the needle for his record player so that I can listen to them!

Big Brother is merely a television show. (2002)
Not a fan of the TV show, but I really liked the books 1984 and Brave New World.

Gas stations have never fixed flats, but most serve cappuccino. (2008)
Haha, so true... Thank goodness for the kindess of strangers and AAA.

Their lifetime has always included AIDS. (1998)
Sad, but true...

John Lennon and John Belushi have always been dead. (1999)
And, yet, I'm still a fan of both. :)

The Soviet Union has never existed and therefore is about as scary as the student union. (2006)
Bwahaha. My dad went to Russia when it was the USSR in 1970, and I love hearing his stories.

They don’t know who Mork was, or where he was from. (1998)
I know who he is, but not where he's from (is it Mars?)

Nobody has ever responded to “Help, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” (2009)
All this makes me think is the senior video from my senior year of high school.

They never saw the shuttle Challenger fly. (2005)
Can't say that I have.

They never “rolled down” a car window. (2007)
Oh, the memories of my mom's old Honda Accord...

There have always been ATM machines. (2000)
Yep. Not really too much else to say besides that.

They have no idea how big a breadbox is. (1999)
I think my grandparents might still have one.

Electronic filing of tax returns has always been an option. (2008)
I think I can remember my parents sending one via mail before e-filing was possible.

Wayne Gretzky never played for Edmonton. (2005)
I'm a football fan, not hockey.

Leasing has always allowed the folks to upgrade their tastes in cars. (2010)
Haha, so true...

Retin-A has always made America look less wrinkled. (2006)
Not quite sure how respond to this one, as I just tell my mom that wrinkles go where smiles have been.

For daily caffeine emergencies, Starbucks has always been around the corner. (2005)
Unless you're in small town Cali. Haha.

Large fine-print ads for prescription drugs have always appeared in magazines. (2003)
This is true...

Babies have always had a Social Security Number. (2009)
Yup. I don't remember not being asked for one for job purposes, applying to college, etc.

The blog article can be found here:

What are your thoughts?

Comments = always welcome.