Tag Archives: college life

Sweet summertime

Standard

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.

Advertisements

These are my people

Standard

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

Standard

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.

2011 Highlights

Standard

There are only six more days until the year 2011 concludes. As usual, the old cliché of “where did the time go?” is on my mind. Because in all seriousness, where did it go? This time last year I was tuning the strings on my new Johnson guitar, and my only responsibilities consisted of nothing except finishing out the rest of my senior year.

Now, life is full of all sorts of responsibilities. College is a completely different world than high school. My life transformed, and it doesn’t seem real that only six measly months ago that I graduated high school in front 3,000 of my closest friends.

The year 2011 hasn’t been a piece of cake. Transiting wasn’t as effortless as I thought. Graduation itself was actually fast, and the last months of high school are all a blur of friends, breezing through homework, and tying up loose ends.

Here’s the highlight reel of 2011. The 12 highlights of the year thus far.

January: Snow days. Two simple words. The white fluffy fun visited Tennessee with a furry leaving me with one option: to play. I had some of the most fun with my best friends sledding down the snow-covered terrain and ramming into thorny bushes. I came away with snow burn and bruises. But hey, what’s a little pain?

February: Not that it will ever really matter, but I got into the top ten percent of my class. I got the 20th spot, too. It will never matter again in my life, and no one except maybe all the other people who snagged a spot will care. I guess it was just one of those accomplishments that will only potentially be remembered at my class reunion ten years from now.

March: The good–learning my newspaper was number one in the state. It was one of the best feelings of my senior year. It definitely is in the top five moments. The bad–the person who loved me, spoiled me through endless pots of macaroni and cheese, and was on my side no matter how wrong I was, passed away. And, I still miss her to this day.

April: What a blur. I did the prom thing. I finished up all my high school duties. In reality, I didn’t do a whole bunch of anything. Maybe that’s why it was significant.

May: I graduated with all the sashes I ever want. I didn’t fall in front of a very large crowd. I celebrated my 18th birthday with my friends. May came and went with much ease, not to mention a lot of goodbyes.

June: I’ll never forget walking on those cracked streets in the Memphis heat as I went door to door picking up children for bible club. Their faces are etched in my mind, and their stories are woven in my heart. I would do anything for those kids. I will go back to serve there one day. I just don’t know when.

July: Like Spongebob, I went stepping on the beach and watched the ocean waves crash on the shore. It’s always my favorite part of the summer. My mom and I always tease that we could be at the beach in eight hours when we feel like running away. One of those days, it will happen. No, I am not joking.

August: I finally left the little town that I have known all my life. It’s not like I went very far either, just thirty miles up the road. Sometimes, I wonder what it would be like to go further away. Nonetheless, I found myself walking the sidewalks of MTSU not knowing my place among all the people. Maybe I never will.

September: Only eight days after my first article published in my college paper, I managed to wind up with cover story. It landed in my lap. It was a God-thing, serendipity, an accident. I don’t really know what to call it, but it happened. I wrote the cover on an upcoming band that toured to our campus. It was the biggest story I’d ever done, and I got the entire band to sign my copy of the paper backstage before their performance.

October: Every girl deserves one perfect day out of this 365 day of the year, right? I don’t know what it was, but I had the perfect day in this month. My best guy friend from Bryan College came to visit. I managed to get all the work I needed to do that day, and I went with one my new good friends to an awesome worship service. I had the best interview of my life, and it was just an incredible day.

November: Two things: All Time Low concert and Thanksgiving Outreach. I finally got to see the band I had dreamed of seeing for the past four years. I had the best mosh pitting experience, and I held the lead guitarist’s hand (even if it was for just five seconds). I delivered meals to people who needed them, and I got to share the love of Christ. And of course, I couldn’t have a good adventure without getting lost along the way now could I?

December: This month is finally coming to a close. I finished my first semester of college. I got promoted to associate news editor of my college paper. I successfully lived on my own, and now I am back in my small, little town with all the same people. Christmas came and went. The wrapping paper is torn and already thrown away. I watched two of my new friends get baptized, and I had the blessing of helping with Operation Christmas Child. What more could I ask for?

As I ring in the New Year with my several friends in a week, I wonder what the new year holds. There’s no telling what God can do.

Christmas blues

Standard

It doesn’t matter what I’ve done this year, but nothing has put me in the mood for Christmas. Not Christmas music, not decorating, not buying new decorations, not buying gifts for people I love, not reading Christmas stories. Nothing. Nothing feels like Christmas. It feels like any other month of the year.

Yet, the calendar on my wall tells me otherwise, nagging me that Christmas is only 22 days away. To me that is crazy. How can it be Christmas already?

I remember when I was little bursting with anticipation the moment I would flip the page of my kitten calendar to December. I would pull out my VHS versions of Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer and a Charlie Brown Christmas, wishing and yearning for Santa to come down my chimney and put all the presents I want under the tree.

I loved watching my mother string the lights up on the Christmas tree, and I always loved turning all the lights out in my living room to  sit and stare. Watching all those colored lights twinkle on the tree made this time of year feel enchanted. It made my small green eyes gleam with excitement.  Everything about Christmas felt enchanted. It made me believe that the world could be magical.

I don’t know what has caused my Christmas funk. Maybe, it’s because I am older. Maybe it’s because my grandmother is gone. Maybe it’s because I am not home anymore. Or maybe this year has been so exhausting that I can’t force myself to really put myself in the Christmas spirit.

As I was listening to the radio on my drive home yesterday, the radio man said lots of people weren’t feeling it this year. At least I am not the only. The radio guy said watching Christmas movies was the solve-all answer to people’s lack of Christmas joy.

Given, I have yet to try his advice and prescription to remedy my spirit or lack thereof. It just doesn’t feel real. In my heart I know I want it to be real and magical. I wish I could have the heart of a child again where I all did was wish, want, and believe.

 

Mosh Pit 101

Standard

"Dedication takes a lifetime, but dreams only last for a night." ~All Time Low

You see all these people? Well, guess what. They were all behind me at the All Time Low concert. I never intended to be next to the cold barricade fencing all the crazy fans. However, I ended up that way with little to no effort. How you might ask? The answer to that friends is learning how to mosh pit.

I have been to a variety of concerts over time. Those that are standing, sitting, etc. I have been to a lot. I went to the 30 Seconds to Mars concert last year, which was my second time to ever be in crowd that wanted to jump, sway, push and sweat all at the same time. It ended badly, and I told myself I would never do it again. Except I did.

Last night, I ended up right next to the stage and singing to my heart’s content along with one of my favorite bands. I must say that I decided to just go flow  instead of being angered by all the chaos. I learned a few things just learning to roll with the crowd.

1) Be careful with your cellphone

I found it wise to be diligent with your phone in a mosh pit. People are constantly moving. Constantly jumping. Constantly squishing you. Especially that six foot tall guy that has blocked your view the entire concert. Yes, oh friends be alert. I dropped my phone last night and somehow heard it hit the concrete floor. I immediately grabbed it, but my phone cover didn’t survive. I am sure my pretty, purple cover was trampled under someone’s Converse.

2) Watch out for crowd surfers

Last night at the concert, the lead singer from All Time Low announced that it was not a real concert until someone decided to crowd surf. Well, that’s all fine and good. I honestly don’t care. Until it affects me that is. I watched all the crowd surfers go by. Some lost their clothes or a shoe. Others made it through effortlessly. And some got thrown over the barricade. While there are major perks to being in the front row, you never know when the crowd surfers are coming. I got kicked in the back of head hard enough to leave a knot. I guess that’s the price you pay for being in the front row.

3) You will sweat and get sweated upon

I know what you’re thinking. Sounds gross, right? Trust me it is. You notice when you walk out into the crisp night air and discovered your drenched and wet. You especially know something happened when you went in with straight hair and walked out with curls. I guess it’s all just apart of the concert atmosphere. I found some people I graduated high school with among the crowd. One of my friends said that he always had a motto for concerts. He told me that if I didn’t come out with 15 other people’s sweat, I wasn’t doing it right. I am fairly certain I didn’t have to worry about that. In fact, I am sure I achieved.

4) Just bounce along

I felt like a ball being pelted in one of those old school pinball machines. I couldn’t move, and I was trapped. Everyone is trying to push their way to the front thinking if they push hard enough, they will get there. Logically not everyone can be up front. Plus, everyone feels the need to jump and sway as they push to the beat. So between all the crowd shifting, I learned to literally go with the flow of things. There was nothing I could, so I ended up front. Such a small price to pay for a great view. I thank all the tall people.

The Little Things

Standard

Sometimes, I think God puts people and for lack of a better word “stuff” in our life to prove a point. Perhaps, it is even to get our attention. So over the past couple of days I am pretty sure God has gotten my attention by two things: losing/finding my debit card and through interviewing a genocide war victim.

I went home for the weekend because it’s fall break. Saturday was one of those perfect fall days, and I was blissful. I hung out with some of my best friends, and I didn’t have a care in the world.

My break was wonderful until Monday afternoon I drove up to the Starbucks window. I reached into my backseat and grabbed my purple wallet to get my debit card. As soon as I unzipped it, panic took over my body. Where was the gray piece of plastic that held all the money to my name?

I immediately went into my own form of panic. I was having all sorts of weird panic sensations, and when I reached the window I told the barrista, “I’msorryIcan’tpayforthisdrink Ihavelostmydebitcard.” . I freaked out. There are truly kind people in this world because the man just smiled at me and gave me my order.

I had other stops to make and errands to run, so I just decided to push it out of my mind. I had just run to the bank, and all my money was there. I reasoned no one had stolen it. I had simply lost it. I eventually returned home, and in a calm manner I searched my backseat and went through all the clothes I had worn in the past three days. However, it was in none of those places.

My best friend suggested I call the place we were Saturday to see if it was there. The entire time I was looking for the card, I was praying out loud. I kept telling God he had to help me find this debit card. He obviously knew what would happen if I didn’t. Luckily, the restaurant we were at had my card. I apparently dropped it on the way out, and the family behind my friends and me turned it in.

God got my attention Monday for certain, and he got my attention today. It wasn’t as little as my debit card (well, that is probably important actually, but still). I am doing an article for my college newspaper on the Holocaust/Genocide Studies Conference here this week, and my path crossed with a victim who survived genocide in Rwanada.

I barely talked during the whole interview. Nothing I could say or ask could contribute. I did simply ask if anyone had told her story before or at least written an article on her. She humbly said no, and I told her that was about to change. Her story needed to be shared, and I wanted to be the one to share it.

I am not going to go into detail about what she went through. When I write the entire story, I’ll definitely share. Point being, though, I am blessed beyond measure. I didn’t have to go through the horrific experiences she did. God never placed any trial of that size in my life. Who am I to even complain about anything? Compared to that, I should be perfectly content knowing I can live in a country where I am free. A country where no one is chasing me or my family. A country that is for the most part entirely peaceful.

Francesca Battistelli sings in her song “This Is The Stuff” one of my new favorite lyrics about in the little of our mess, we usually forget about big we are blessed. I am guilty of that on a daily basis. I get in small panics about little stuff, and I forget God’s even in the picture. Today showed me God is in everything. Big stuff or little stuff. Most importantly, God is blessing me beyond measure, and it would be silly of me to ever forget that.