Finals: As Told By “The Walrus and the Carpenter.”

To my fellow college students,

The time has come,” the professors said
“To talk of many fears:
Of finals–and deadlines–and sleepless nights–
Of final grades–and–tears–
And why there’s so many things to do–
And whether I’ll see you next year.”

“But wait a bit,” the students cried,
“Before we commence with tests
“For some of us have more work to do
“And cannot give our best!”
“We’re worried!” Said anxiety
And began their cry-fest.

“A final paper,” the professors said.
“Is what we chiefly need:
“Pages and pages besides
Are very good indeed–
Now if you’re ready, students dear,
You can begin to plead”

“But oh, not us!” the students cried,
Turning a little blue.
“After such assignment, that would be
A dismal thing to do!”
“You’ll all be fine,” the professors said.
“Just follow all the clues.”

“It seems a shame,” the professors said,
“To end the year like this.
After we’ve taught them so much
And many classes missed.
The brain said nothing but
“This professor is getting pissed.”

“I weep for you,” the professors said:
“I deeply sympathize.”
With sobs and tears students started,
Their final exams with dread.
Continuing with bleary eyes
And sleepy, droopy heads.

“O students,” said the professors,
“You’ve had a pleasant run!
Shall I being see you here again?”
But answer came there none–
And this was scarcely odd, because
They were asleep. Every one.

The Generational Gap

I’m 22. Almost a senior in college. Tech savvy. Swimming in student loan debt. A millenial, actually.

It’s not so bad. At least I know there are many more like me. Wrapping up college, or already in the work force. Scared of joining the “real world.” Sick of hearing about how lazy and entitled our generation.

That’s the thing that bothers me most about being a millennial. Constantly being grouped together with the worst of this generation and labeling us all that way. Every generation at some point or another has been described as lazy, entitled, incompetent, etc. News flash, older generations will often see the younger ones as “ruining” something. It’s human nature to reminisce on old times, but don’t reject the new simply because it’s different. At some point, baby boomers and Gen X were the young folk and ruining things their parents thought were fine Rock music (Elvis), Woodstock, and the Civil Rights Movement scandalized the older generations of the time, but now are accepted and seen as part of our history.
In the same way, today’s generation of kids who have and will grow up in a world of technology are seen as self-absorbed, lazy, entitled, etc. And yes, unfortunately there are quite a few of those who are like that. But you can’t sum up an entire generation based on the actions of a few. This generation is very concerned with equal rights for all. We’re a generation who wants peace. We want to be inclusive. We’re concerned about mental health, social issues, the planet and creating a more sustainable world for future generations.
Please tell me how this makes us selfish and entitled.
This post isn’t about bashing the old for the sake of the new. And subsequently, we cannot embrace change simply for the sake of change. All I’m asking is we stop labeling large groups of people based on te actions of a few.
Millennials will forever change this world; whether that change be good, bad, or nuetral is up to us. We can help the older generations; after all, it will be us who take care of them as they age. Or we can continue to be harped on and will turn against all that is considered archaic or traditional.

Just as you prefer to be your own person, not hindered by misappropriated generational stereotypes, we long for the same.

Millenials aren’t the problem with this world. Nor are baby boomers or  Gen X. No one group of people is solely responsible for the turmoil in which we currently find the world.

We’re already at odds with one another based on clichéd archetypes that pit the old against the new. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The media claims older generations to be out of touch, but I don’t think that is true. Older generations have wisdom that only comes with living a long time. Younger generations have the benefit of looking at problems with a fresh set of eyes. Together we can begin to fix the void that drives these generations apart.

 

When Your Best Friend is No Longer Your Best Friend

You didn’t have a falling out. You still care for them. You just kinda drifted apart.

Occasionally you’ll send a “hey stranger” text but it never lasts long. You both have different lives now.

That’s okay.

Sometimes friendships are meant to last a lifetime. And sometimes they’re only for a season.

It’s particularly hard if the person in question is a friend from childhood. They not only represent your swept friendship, but also, many childhood memories.

You used to hang out/text/talk all the time. You always made time for them. You did everything together. Then something happened. You forgot to text back. Or she never called when she said she would. It’s nothing personal, life just got in the way. You think to yourself, “Did I do something wrong?”

The answer is no.

You did nothing. It’s just one of those things. Other friends or family members ask what happened. All you can say is, “we just drifted apart.”

Now, some people will say if you and a friend drift apart it’s because you don’t make time for them and because you don’t care. That’s not true.

Yes, you may have not forced yourself to make time for people, but if you have to force yourself into that, then maybe it’s not what you wanted deep down. Maybe, just maybe, you aren’t supposed to be besties anymore.

Maybe they went off to college, or moved to a different town. Maybe she got a boyfriend and started to neglect you. Regardless of the catalyst, your friendship dissolved. And despite the good memories the two of you share, it’s just not enough to continue the friendship.

You still care about her. Find old pictures on Facebook and laugh to yourself. You consider hitting the share button but think twice. Instead, you look at the life she has now and truly hope she’s happy. Even though she’s in a different life stage from you, you still wish them the best.

And maybe, just maybe, you’ll reconnect one day and pick up right where you left off.

 

Buying Textbooks in College: The Smart Gal’s Guide to Affording School (Short of Selling Your Soul or Blood)

Hello darlings!!

Sorry I’ve been unable to write. Ever since my internship ended for the summer I’ve been completely swamped binge watching New Girl on Netflix and packing up to head back to school. Same? Well, if you’re like me, you are probably preparing to go back to school here in the next few weeks. And if you’re like me, you threw up a little in your mouth when you realized just how much books are going to cost this semester. *Sheds tear*

Luckily, I have some good news and some tricks and tips to help pay for those expensive books you’ll probably barely crack open.

Trick #1 – RENT! Renting books saves you tons of money and keeps you from having to worry about selling your book to someone at the end of the semester. Amazon, Barnes and Noble (just to name a few) have many rental options and both carry many university textbooks. I saved over $300 last semester just by renting my textbooks from Amazon instead of buying them used from the bookstore.

Trick #2 – Know a Friend in the Same Class? Share the Book! Now, this trick only works if you have friends in the same classes. I would recommend knowing and trusting the person with whom you share the book, though. And while it’s a bit nontraditional, it’s something that has saved many of my friends lots of money. It works out well if you study better in groups, too.

Trick #3 – Trade With a Friend. Spring semester of my freshman year I needed an English book from a friend and she needed my New Testament book. Instead of selling to her, I simply let her borrow the book (notes included!) and used her English book. It was a win-win and saved both of us money.

Trick #4 – Scour the Local Ads. I know for a fact that most University have a trade/sell board posted in a common area where people can sell stuff they don’t want/need like futons, TV’s, books, etc. I found a book for a computer class I needed for only $40 whereas it was $150 in the bookstore. It not only saves you money but it also helps your fellow student as well.

Trick #5 – E-Books! Last semester I took a biology course where the textbook was written by my professor. Because she knew that books are ridiculously expensive, she added an e-book that came with the purchase of the access code. My professor said if we wanted to save money, we could simply buy the access code and use the e-book online instead of purchasing both the physical book and the access code. Total savings? Over $200 dollars!

Trick #6 – Utilize the University Library. Now, I don’t know if all library’s do this, but my college’s library had most general education textbooks for rent in the library. The service was free and the only snag was the rental period was for two hours. But if you only need the book long enough to read the required section and take meticulous notes, you could save hundreds of dollars without ever purchasing the book!

Trick #7 – Ask Your Professor if the Book is Necessary. Now, fair warning: most professional will be agitated if you ask this question without prefacing it with “Books are expensive, so I was wondering…” Many will assume you don’t care about their class so I would carefully observe their mood and behavior before even asking. Don’t make the mistake of labeling yourself lazy the first week of class. Do explain it’s simply a financial question. Ask your friends if they have taken the course (or if they know someone who has) if the book is needed. Most professors will say the book is needed, but many times you’ll glean all you need to know from class lectures. No joke, I once had a professor who would copy and paste from the book into the power-points. She even had the power-points available online to be printed off. Needless to say I felt I had wasted $170 buying that book.

So here are my tricks after four semesters in college. Hopefully one of these tips and tricks will help with the added expense of books. As the dorky saying goes, RT to save a life.

If you think of any other ways you’ve saved money on books, comment below!!

XOXO

Terrifying Womanhood

You hear about it on TV. The radio. The newspaper. Online magazine. “College fraternity under fire for yet another rape.” We’re shocked. We’re angered. We teach our daughters self-defense. Buy them pepper spray, rape whistles, guns even. But we don’t teach our sons to respect women’s bodies. To gain explicit consent before touching her. Even something as innocuous as a kiss can bring back terrible memories for a woman who has been sexually assaulted.

One in four women will be sexually assaulted in their college career. When I first heard this statistic I assumed it had to be grossly inflated. Unfortunately, as I continue my college life, more and more of my friends have told me things about them that fit this description. And that’s just sad. The statistic should be that no girls are ever hurt in this vile way.

People say that there isn’t a war on women, but I disagree. Women have been taken advantage of since the beginning of time. Think of your old history textbooks. Now think about the women in those books. Any time there was a war, women became spoils of war. They were violated, sold into slavery, married off, etc. These women were treated as property for men to use and dispose of.

The same thing happens when these college guys attack their female counterparts. If she’s drunk, she’s NOT asking for it. In fact, legally, a drunk woman cannot give consent. Rape and sexual assault of women is a blatant act of disregard for their feelings, body, and right to say no. Women don’t owe you anything. ESPECIALLY their body. It’s her body, her rules. And if she’s too scared to say no, it’s still wrong. If she’s scared to fight back, it’s still wrong.

We need to make it where girls feel safe walking around their college campuses alone. We can’t make it where they’re constantly terrified of life and living. “Just stay home,” is not a fair option for women. Often there are night classes, social events, walking to the cafeteria, etc.

See, the reason for this post is because last week while I was running I was catcalled. And it scared the absolute crap out of me. I was running on my CHRISTIAN CAMPUS and a guy rolled his window down, whistled and said something rude. Honestly, I wanted to call him every name in the book. How dare he yell at me? I’m not some piece of meat for him to perversely look at and enjoy. I am a woman who is working on getting healthy for me. Not so creepers can stare at my body and get off from it. But I didn’t yell back. I didn’t flip him off (even though I wanted to terribly). No, instead I kept running and ignored his words. About a block down the road, I had to stop cause I was shaking. My adrenaline was up, my heart was pounding, and I was fighting back tears (I cry when I get angry). I was mad. I was having a rather decent evening, and some a-hole had to come around and ruin it for me. Yeah, I could have yelled back. But that’s dangerous. He could have gotten out of his car and beaten me up. Rape me. Kill me. I was pretty defenseless. I had no weapon on me except my phone and my fists.

And that made me even more upset. I was completely at the mercy of a jerk. So I was forced to do what I didn’t want to: keep going, shake it off. Not let it affect the rest of my run. (It did.)

Now, I know the traditional responses to my verbal assault.

Well maybe you shouldn’t have been alone.

Maybe you shouldn’t have been wearing shorts.

Maybe you shouldn’t be out in the evening. You are a woman, after all.

Victim shaming. Yes, blame the woman. Adam did it in the Garden, and the rest of mankind followed suit. We’re taught to ask if the girl was drunk, wearing a revealing outfit, flirting with the guy beforehand, etc. NOT if she said yes.

If guys would only be 100% positive that the girl they are with is okay with anything going on this wouldn’t be a problem. Women shouldn’t have to be constantly vigilant. They should be able to enjoy themselves without thinking that they may be assaulted. I have many guy friends who I know if I was black-out drunk, would not take advantage of me. They wouldn’t do anything to me. I know I would be safe. Those are the kinds of guys we need. The type who know that yes means yes and no means NO.

Honestly, I know this blog post isn’t gonna change anything. But maybe it will. Maybe you’re reading this and for the first time realize how terrifying it can be for a woman to be catcalled. How powerless your words can make her feel. How she carries a knife on her now cause she’s scared.

Please don’t be that guy. Find out first if she’s okay with stuff going on. And if not, respect that decision and her body. Cause it’s hers to give. Not yours to take.

Stop and Smell the Roses

I have been extremely busy these past few weeks and have been unable to post anything. My apologies. Classes got crazy, and I have had to prepare a 15 page paper, a 10-13 minute group presentation and 6 page paper, an environmental science project and power point presentation, researching and writing a 8 minute persuasive speech on the illegal elephant trade, and (finally!) a 10 minute theater production (including furnishing costumes, writing the script, painting set pieces, and performing).

Needless to say, I’ve been quite busy. Despite it all, my stress level has been relatively low (a 6/7) and I’ve been enjoying my last few weeks of sophomore year. Which I find ironic, really. I am sitting on the threshold of halfway done with college, and I’m not stressed out about my impending doom. Honestly, I’m not.

That’s not to say I’m overly cocky or anything, I am simply confident in my abilities to succeed. I am determined to graduate school, on time, and with a good GPA. You could say I’m highly motivated. While al this is true, I just want to take a step back and remind myself (and all of you) to not get bogged down in the little details.

One of my favorite 80’s movies Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has an amazing quote about life. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” And I’m of the opinions that this quote is always of importance. Yes, Ferris was a goofy high school boy looking for some fun, but honestly, can’t we all relate to that? Take a break from our responsibilities and just let go?

So much of life is bogged down in the little details. Judging others for the money they do/do not make, clothes they buy/wear, etc. I honestly think if we all took a day to just chill out life would be so much more enjoyable. We work 40+ a week and then on weekends we feel the need to pretend we have a life and go out and do stuff. But honestly, sometimes I prefer to stay in and unwind. Don’t feel the need to pretend you have something. If people judge you for not going out and enjoying your so-called “life” then they’re who need to get a clue. Pretending to do anything isn’t healthy. If you need a break, take one.

Stop and smell the flowers on  the way to work. Enjoy the little things in life. Cause ultimately, it’s the little moments that make life beautiful .

Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Spoken of in a Blog Post

I’m 21 years old. I’m in the middle of the millennial generation and I share many traits with the Generation Z kids. As such, I’m very in turned with the techie culture and slang which often includes sayings such as “retweet” or “selfie.” Because of my age and where I live (on campus with other 17-23 year olds) I hear these things being said quite often. But one thing I hear often and just cannot stand is how judgmental girls are of each other.

A girl walks by and her dress is (by some standards) short. “God, she looks like such a slut.”

A girl posts a picture she thinks is flattering of herself on Instagram. “Ugh, did you see her picture? She looks like she lives in the tanning bed.”

A larger lady heads to the ice cream section of the cafeteria. “I think she needs to lay off the sweets and hit the gym instead.”

Now, we’re all guilty of this. I know I am. So many of us judge others and make comments we don’t think are harmful. We justify our harshwords by thinking that the girl we’re judging didn’t hear us. That it’s okay because nobody heard us. But that’s not true. Cause we heard ourselves say it.

A lot of times I’ll say something mean about a girl who’s eating  pasta and think, “well that’s why you’re fat.” Then I stop and realize how mean I sound. And I’m ashamed of myself. Embarrassed, really. It’s not my place to say anything about that girl’s eating habits. So where do I get the idea that what I’m saying is okay? Where do any of us get the idea it’s okay?

Why has society taught us to be so quick to judge? There’s an old quote that I love by Ian Maclaren (often wrongly attributed to Plato) “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

See, the girl we saw wearing the short dress has recently gone through a growth spurt and her dresses have gotten shorter. And even if she hadn’t, it’s NOT our place to say anything about how short or long her skirt is. It’s her body and her choice to clothe it. If it bothers you, don’t look.

The girl who posted a picture of herself to Instagram was crying in the bathroom earlier because someone called her ugly. Later, when talking to a friend, they told her to find a picture she loves of herself (self love, ya’ll?) and post it to instagram. So what if she’s tan? That’s none of your dang business. Does it bother you? Okay, examine why it personally offends you.

The overweight girl who is eating pasta is a vegetarian and there’s not a lot of choices in the caf for a veggie-eater. And your condescending look makes her feel worse about her body image. Consequently, she eats more to numb the pain. It’s a never-ending cycle. Your cruel looks do nothing for her.

You NEVER know what someone is going through. He just failed a test. She got fired from her job. His parents are getting divorced. She has to take out more student loans. Yes, people shouldn’t let others get to them, but sometimes when you’re already down, it’s difficult not to. Thus, we really need to be mindful of our words. If the person you are talking anout was standing in front of you, would you still say that? As the old saying goes,

“Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.”