Category Archives: College ramblings

September fog

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Yesterday was the first day of fall. Leaves are starting to crunch under my feet as I walk the sidewalks of MTSU, and their colors changing. I am not sure where the first month of school went. Not necessarily because of the speed, but more so everything that was crammed into September.

God has given me a lot of opportunities this past week, not to mention the month. This past week I got to attend the Associated Press Media Editors conference. The conference itself is a big deal considering some of the biggest editors in journalism were all congregating just thirty miles up the road from me, and I got to be apart of it. The Sidelines staff somehow put out two different papers this week, and I got my work published in the newspaper at the conference. I am not sure how the staff all survived.

Regardless, I have written or co-written three cover stories. The responsibility is fairly huge or at least in my eyes. Through writing these stories, I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about several issues such as health care, immigration, and religion. This past week, I sat in on an Islamic prayer ceremony, which was a complete culture-shock to this Southern baptist Christian girl. The experience was insightful though. To see some one else practice a different religion than one’s own is a valuable experience. An experience more Christians might want to consider subjecting themselves to simply because it lets us understand other people.

On top of my job, I do attend school believe it or not. I feel like I am drowning. Nothing is ever done, and there are not enough waking hours in the day to get ahead. Yes, I realize I am wasting writing a blog when I could be doing Latin. Judge away, but sometimes it’s essential to write for myself considering my words are always used now for publication.

More importantly, I realize how blessed I am. I have been through a lot of twists and turns this month regarding work and school, and sometimes I wonder why God allows me to do the things I do. Simply, I am just tired, and I now starting week 5 of school. I have no idea whats in store for October.

I hope I can handle whatever comes my way, and I know I will have to rely on God. I want to exceed in my grades, and I want to kick tail at my job. I want to be there for my friends, and maybe even go out and do something fun that doesn’t involve a deadline or schoolwork. Sometimes, I wish I could be a regular 19-year-old, but then I look at other people my age. Most times, I am find myself happy the way I am. Naturally, I am afraid of failure, and that nothing I do will be enough for my family, my friends, and my work. I guess that is how we all feel sometimes, or at least those of us that are pulled in a million directions.

I am not sure which direction I am headed down next, but I hope it’s the right one.

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Sweet summertime

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I am ready to be done. Stick a fork in me and let’s put this one in the books. I am ready for the next seven days to fly by. Well, sorta that is. To put it in simple terms, finals are coming up. We all know what that means.

I have been a horrible blogger. I even forgot my blog existed for a short while as all I have done for the past month and half has revolved homework, tests, reading, hitting deadline, missing deadline, and writing more stories than I remember.

Don’t get me wrong. I love college. Sometimes, I feel like my life goes faster than I can. This is the first time I have sat down and written for myself in I don’t know how long. While some many good things and blessings keep popping up in my life, I feel like I am slowly spiraling out of control. Yet, I don’t want anything to stop.

I am ready to be home for the summer. I am ready to sleep in my bed and have my own bathroom again. I am definitely ready for someone to cook me dinner every night, and I cannot wait to catch up on ten months worth of TV that I missed.

However, doing all these things means making yet again another transition. Another change. I am not fond of change. I love college so much. I love all the friends I have made while being at MTSU. I don’t want them to leave, and I don’t want to leave them. I enjoy having an office to be in every day. Not every college student has an office. I love studying and learning more about writing. Not mention, I simply love work. I never dread it.

But the long days of summer are approaching. I am ready but not. I am making the most of my summer at home as I want to learn to cook the pastry my grandmother always made. More importantly, I want to learn how to cook real food, so I don’t starve next semester. I want to paint, and I want to write, write, write, and write. And did I mention write? I want to read as well. You really should see the reading list I have. It’s huge. It would probably make you think I am the world’s largest nerd. Heck, maybe I am.

I want to camping with my best friends, watch endless episodes of our favorite TV shows, and have long nights laughing on my porch swing. I cannot be at college and home. The two worlds simply don’t mesh. Maybe there not supposed to do that. In fact, I might not love college if they did.

At least while I am home making the most of the time I have, I can begin to get excited about school again. I can even fall more in love with my job as a journalist if that is possible. I am looking forward to the summer. I want to spend time with friends I have barely got to spend time with these past two semesters. I cannot wait to see what my college friends do with their summers. I am excited about the summer and already excited to begin my second year.

But before I do any of that, two finals, one paper, and one presentation stand in my way. May 3 at 3:30 cannot come soon enough.

These are my people

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Most of the times I come home, I drive my car past my grandmother’s old house and her farm and think nothing of it. It’s just part of the scenery I have driven by my entire life. Today, though, I decided to drive my car on the old dusty path past the red barns and the silo and made a right. My mom told me yesterday that my cow had a new baby calf, and I wanted to see it.

I took my sandals off and walked barefoot through the pasture. The grass was still wet from last night’s rain, and I walked slowly to the fence row to see Survivor. Survivor is my red cow that my dad saved when I was about eight years old. He found her stuck in the swamp on the back of our farm. She was malnourished and close to death.

After he rescued her, Survivor became my pet. I bottle fed her back to health and watched her grow. I gave her shots, and I wanted so badly for her to play with me. I soon realized that cows don’t make the best of pets and that included baby ones, too. I remember I used to hop in her pen with her after I fed her in attempts to pet her. Looking back on that ten years later, I realize how stupid that was. Survivor could have trampled me. Thank goodness she was not too rambunctious for that.

I made it to the fence row today, and Survivor was way far down into the pasture lazily laying under a tree. I couldn’t see her cow from where I was standing, so I guess I will try the next time I am home. Defeated I walked back to my car, and I started to wonder about my grandparents. They farmed the grass and land beneath my feet for more than 50 years. I wonder what they would think of it now. More importantly, I wonder what they would think of me now.

Only my mom’s mom watched me grow up. My dad’s mom was already passed by the time I entered the world, and his dad died when I was seven. I barely remember him. My mom’s dad is only faint memory of Carmelo bars, tan skin and overalls. He died when I was four, so I never got to know the man I watched drive the tractor away to tend the land.

I am so different from all of my grandparents. No one in the family was a writer. I don’t think they cared about commas and grammar and breaking a top news story. I know my mom’s grandparents knew the South. My grandparents herded cows and grew crops. They raised tobacco, too. I remember being younger and wearing my overalls and claiming to be a farming kind of girl. I loved cows, and I always wanted to hop on the tractor with my dad. Occasionally, I got to help build a fence in the scorching June heat, and I remember getting to drive my dad’s old red Toyota pickup through the pasture at dusk to just check on things.

Now, I wear dresses and tights, and my fingers are glued to electronics half the time. My nose is usually in a book studying away, and the only barn I see is the one lone barn on campus for the ag kids.  I claim I am simply Southern. I don’t think I deserve the title of farm girl anymore.

Had my grandparents stayed alive longer than they did, I wonder if I would be any different. I wonder if I would want to live on a farm the rest of my life, or if I would still have the same desires I do now, which consists of writing other people’s stories every chance I get.

I love small town life. I love the fact that I grew up on a farm, and that I still have a cow. At almost 19, however, I am the point where I want to explore the world a little. I want to see and do things my grandparents didn’t have the opportunity to do. I am not sure what they would think of me as I am living on my own in what they would consider a big city. Who knows, they might think I am heathen.

I hope they wouldn’t though. I hope they would see themselves in me what ever little part they contributed. Despite that they are long gone, I know that I got all the traits I have from those before me. My sense of adventure had to come from somewhere. I am going to guess it is from dad’s dad. He was a skydiving, motorcyclist riding kinda guy.

My love for the acoustic guitar probably came from my mom’s dad. Mom told me he used to have one and pluck a string or two every now and then. What I would give to have played a song with him, or even just pick a few chords.

As for all my other traits, I am not sure. I know there is a piece of them within me, and perhaps the more I grow the more I will know what comes from who. Regardless of where I live someday whether it is where I grew up or somewhere else, I am proud of where I came from, and more importantly, I am proud of who I am came from.

The Journey Home

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Sitting and talking with Jane in her colorful crocheted hat and red jacket felt like any everyday conversation. You wouldn’t know that behind her glasses and New York accent that she was a tornado victim with a mental disability.

More unexpectedly, you wouldn’t imagine that she was teacher with her masters in education and once an elementary school teacher. However, here she and I sat at the Journey Home this evening after my BCM family served her and several others a meal. Jane was unemployed and a little down on her luck, something she wasn’t afraid to share with total strangers.

The Journey Home, the facility where Jane and I sat and bantered, is a safe haven where the homeless or people just down on their luck come to find  food and love. They serve meals regularly throughout the week, and this Monday the BCM decided to offer dinner for anyone who needed it.

When I walked into the building tonight with the rest of my group, I didn’t know what to expect. Sometimes, I don’t feel like being a people person, and today was one of those days. I wanted to serve, but I was tired and it had been a long Monday. So, I offered to serve the food instead of talk to people.

God surprised me, though. I thought I had gotten out of talking with people until we ran out of people to serve. I took off my clear serving gloves and threw them in the trash. That’s where I saw Jane talking to one of my friends. Her mouth was going a mile a minute, and she intrigued me.

Michael, the man in charge, urged us to go and sit with the people who were eating while they finished their meal. I was hesitant. I was not in the right mindset to deal with people today especially people who I thought were sad and depressed.

So, I sat down in a green plastic chair and introduced myself to the woman across from me. She was friendly and had a smile on her face. Her smile surprised me most of all. I was not anticipating it at all.

I caught her in the middle of her story, but I remained quiet and listened attentively. She had just reached the part about her backpacking all over the country. I thought to myself, “Wow, she’s backpacked all over the country?” My curious nature always wants to know how people are in down-trodden situations. So I sat, waiting, hoping to find my answer.

She concluded by telling my friend and I that her house was torn to splinters a few years ago in the Good Friday tornadoes. Her house may have been almost rebuilt, but her spirit and mind weren’t. Despite her smile, her tragedy left with her with a disability and hard times.

I left the Journey Home with a great realization. Not everyone who are in terrible situations are sad. Lord knows I would be sad, depressed and irritable if I had to deal with the life hurdles Jane did. However, she kept her chin high and was open to telling her story and testimony.

Everyone has a story and sometimes it’s only a matter of sharing. More importantly, it’s only a matter of someone to listen to you. I am thankful and humbled by her story. She gave me a gift. I may have given her something to eat, but she gave me the gift hope and renewed light in this world. A light that isn’t so easily blown out.

Spinning the dial

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As I have driven all over creation these past few months to and fro from Murfressboro, I have spun my radio dial a time or two, trying to find new tunes. Not only that, but I need some serious walking music. MTSU isn’t exactly a small campus when it comes to walking around.

My finger has skipped song after song in efforts to satisfy me. The over one thousand songs I have now weren’t cutting it. Something had to give. I had to find something new. Something that could keep my attention for more than ten seconds.

My ears experienced several different bands, and I think they like what they hear. I can’t study to the same tunes I did in high school all the time. If it is possible to grow bored from music, I certainly have, and I am hunting Pandora and Spotify high and low for something new.

The one perk of my newsroom is that we have all eclectic tastes. Our Pandora in the office is playing something different, and I always find my foot tapping to something I had never heard. Sometimes, the music even makes me want to dance but that is a different story.

So here are a few of my new favorite college tunes. Are you ready for this? Some how I don’t think you are.

1) Freelance Whales: I know what you are thinking. Whales? As in whales that swim in the ocean? Well yes, that is apart of the name. This quirky band got my attention last week as I awaited my editing class. My news editor introduced them to me, and we listened to them with the rest of the people in our class. The music itself has an eclectic sound with its Metrostation meets Mumford & Sons feel. This techno sound with a hint of banjo is just the right combination.

2) Explosions in the Sky: If you’ve ever seen the show or the movie “Friday Night Lights,” you are more than familiar with the instrumental song that seems to tug at your heartstrings and emotions. Months ago, I had researched to see who played the theme to the TV show, and I discovered that I liked the band as much as I the show. The instrumental sounds are soothing and are great for studying. Since most songs don’t have lyrics, I don’t sing along nor do I feel the need to dance. This is exactly why it’s perfect studying.

3) Death Cab For Cutie: Before you ask me where I have been the past few years if I am just now liking this band, hold your breath. I listened to Death Cab’s slow melodic music my freshman and sophomore years of high school. “I Will Follow You into the Dark” is one my favorite songs, and it has a beautiful meaning. However, this band just got swept under the rug, and I just let them fall off my radar screen. Until recently that is. One of my friends heard “Stay Young Go Dancing” on Pandora, and she liked it so much she played it for me. Now, I have fallen in love with the Codes and Keys, the album they produced in 2011. For the past few articles I have written, I type in Codes and Keys on my Spotify and hit play. My newest writing music muse.

4) Kate Nash: Singer songwriter Kate Nash has lifted my spirits these past few months. Here poppy sound and English accent have a way to make my bob my head along and want to sing. Except, I don’t have the English accent to sing along with her. I want to compare her to Sara Bareilles since they write about similar topics, but some of her lyrics are as bitter as Adele. However, Nash has the edge that makes my ears ever wonder why I thought she was mellow in the first place. Nonetheless, her witty music has found her way to my playlist. Not the best homework jams, but hey what’s a girl to do?

5) Foster the People: I know, I know. You are going to declare I only like them because of their hit song “Pumped Up Kicks.” Guess what? You’re right. That is what got me listening to them. That and I listened to that song so many times that I learned to play the acoustic version of the song. I don’t even know how to properly describe this band. They incorporate different elements to their music to get the right blend of beats. Call it what you want, but they made it to my list. It’s on my must buy, in fact. Hopefully, it will end up on my iTunes sooner than later.

Laundry room ramblings

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Between the fire alarms and alarm clocks, I never have time to write for myself. Work and school take up 90 percent of my time while the little sliver I have left is dedicated to my social life. Yeah, my social life is small. Don’t judge.

I feel like life has turned a 180 on me. I look back at last year, and I am simply amazed. God has obviously worked in my life. Never in my wildest thoughts would I have imagined that I would be sitting in my dorm laundry room writing a blog. I was unaware that any of the things that have taken place would have ever happened at all.

So, here I sit at a Formica blue table listening to the dryer hum as I wait for my towels. Doors are slamming, but people are quiet for the most part. It is Friday night after all, so the majority has already hit the party scene.

Before I could put my fingers to the keys tonight, the fire alarm went off in my building. I was merely thankful I was awake for this one instead of grudgingly sliding out of bed half asleep.

Usually, I am seething when the fire alarm goes off. It always disrupts something I am trying to accomplish such as this blog post for instance. However, this time I grabbed my brown leather jacket and walked outside. Since it’s not really winter, it’s not terribly cold. Actually,  it is bearable so I didn’t mind. I hate standing with the crowd so I ventured down the sidewalk to a quieter spot. I stood and I thought.

I love my new life here at MTSU. I truly do. But as I have just finished one incredible week, I find myself missing simple things.

I miss…

  •  having a window that opens in my bedroom.
  • my church family.
  • all the people I left back home.
  • taking naps every day after school.
  • sleeping in late.
  • playing a sport.
  • seeing my best friends every day, all day.
  • having time to read a book.
  • writing for myself.
  • random trips on Saturdays.

And to be honest, that’s about all I miss for the time being. It’s a pretty short list compared to a lot of others I make. In hindsight, I am one blessed girl if that is all I am lacking in life.

We all want the past to the extend, but I am really looking forward to the future. Right now, my future consists of a laundry buzzer and folding towels.  Oh, college life.