musing

Halfway There

This past Friday was officially the end of my sophomore year.

My mom drove me to the train station on Thursday and told me, “Can you believe you have two years of college under your belt?” And later, on Friday, my friend said, “Madi, you’re technically a junior!”

Oh my, I really can’t even believe it myself! Those people who warned me to enjoy every bit of college were right, it does go by so fast!

I’m trying to absorb everything about college and sometimes sitting down and writing about it really helps. Actually, it’s rather hard because I have to think of all that I have done and what I’ve accomplished.

I was really hoping to make honors and the Dean’s list this year. Last semester, my Trig course brought my GPA down. Let me be frank, I understand I need to be a well-rounded student, but please tell me what journalist ever used parabolas and radians to conduct an interview?

Miraculously, I got all A’s (well, one A- and all A’s) and I am so happy! This hasn’t happened since middle school! Not to mention, most of my classes require a hefty amount of reading and writing, and on top of that, I work about 30 hours a week. Thanks for letting me take a nice break from blogging, WordPressers, you can give me a virtual pat on the back if you would like!

This last semester has been great, but difficult all at the same time. Thankfully, almost all of my classes were major-related, so nothing was a worthless GenEd course (except for Modern History of Western Societies, sorry Prof.!).

The literature course I took was extremely difficult for me. I’ve never been that good at figuring out themes, analyses, or applying outside knowledge to the texts. I’m more of a “give it to me straight” kind of girl. The course, overall, was mostly fun since we got to look at graphic novels and the theme of heroes and villains. You would think it’s all, “Oh yay Batman!” but the course really gave me a whole new perspective on comic book agendas and heroes in general.

I had a news reporting class (seriously, how cool does that just sound to you!) which gave me the chance to meet some fantastic friends in my major. I have convinced a good handful of media and communication students that we should all start working on having a school newspaper, and this summer our advisor and myself will be working towards just that! I do believe my willingness to get this going should make me some sort of editor, what do you think?

Speaking of my advisor, this year I had the chance to really get to know him, and he could probably say the same thing about me. I didn’t want to be another face in the crowd, so I’ve really been reaching out to try to improve things at the college. Our major is really unappreciated, and while I sense a lot of exciting things will eventually happen, it’s hard to keep your head up in the meantime, knowing a lot of people at the school don’t really think of your department as important. That being said, what does keep me going is knowing that all the professors in the English and media and communication department care so much about the students. When I say they care about the students, I don’t just mean they occasionally stay in their office a bit later, or they wait after class for me. I mean they let me text them with final exam questions at 11 p.m., they read my blog, they hand me jobs for working on campus, they mentor, teach and act as a guiding hand towards my success.

Alright, now you may just be thinking I am trying to sweeten them up for a good grade (did it help??) but I’m being completely serious. Sometimes I think about transferring to a school in the city. I really want to try something new, and I think some of the schools in the city are great for just that. But, when I think about leaving the faculty, I just can’t bring myself to do it. Without them, I’m sure I would be having not only a miserable time at school, but I wouldn’t be the student I am right now.

My advisor in particular is probably the reason why I haven’t lost faith in my future career/plans. Reporting changes whenever technology does. It’s more than just being able to write, and I don’t think I knew that until about a year ago. I always thought in high school that because I could write, that would get me the job. My advisor has taught me that yes, I can write, but the fact that I’m driven and I’m able to adapt is what people will want. He’s helped me at all hours, night and day, answer the question I wanted an answer to. His knowledge and experiences has helped me figure out what I need to do to be successful, and I can’t wait to make some changes at the school to make him and the department proud!

The other class I thoroughly enjoyed this semester was my Theory of Writing class. Never have I had a class where at the final exam, a professor would bring in chips and salsa and have us casually sit in a circle and read aloud a final paper. It seems like a fun time, but it was more than that. It wasn’t a professor giving us an easy way out. He wanted us to sit and express something greater than any 12 page test could do. The point of the assignment was to write a series of snapshots (known as crots) that would explain how far we have come with our writing (I will post my paper later!). These snapshots could be anything from theorists excerpts, short stories, poems, lyrics, letters, text messages, thoughts, experiences—heck, you oculdn’ve even used a fortune cookie message. We had about four or five students cry while reading their papers, and most of us were teary eyed listening. What they had written, what we had written, was so moving that only by reading it aloud could we see how expressive we all are. This is what the class had taught me. That through writing, you can do more than just get a good grade or become a person who “writes well.” You can make mistakes and still get your point across. You can say, screw the conventions, and just write a series of blurbs to make an essay come alive. You can make meaning of what you are writing. I did all of that and more with this class, and it’s one that I never want to forget.

"The definition of liable is..."

“The definition of libel is…”

My professor who taught that class is more than just some salsa-loving guy who wants us all to sit around and cry over our words. He wants us to do something greater with writing, and I think we all have learned that. He’s the reason I no longer write with some silly five-paragraph essay, and the reason why I try to write in my own voice and not someone else’s. He also asked me to be a writing tutor next year, and I’m so excited to be a part of that team! It’s great to see my development as a writer is recognized.

Overall this semester has been so many things, and I don’t think I can say it all in just one post. Technically speaking I can, but I think you all would start to get bored. I’ll just leave it at, sophomore year has been great but I am happy for it to be over with.

My summer is looking great. I have an internship at my college, where I will be working in the marketing and communications department. I will also be keeping my job at the library, I can’t leave the House of Books (as my friend calls it). So again my summer is working 10 hour work days, which is fine by me! I love to stay busy. I also joined a gym so you will be seeing posts about me actually being active. I plan on reading a lot too, and maybe I will even pick up a new hobby! Who knows, life is full of possibilities, and if I learned anything from this year, I can make things happen!

How about I put that on a t-shirt!?

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‘Leaving a Mark’ on This Blank Page

Although much of my complaints is work or school work, I have to say this semester is the best one yet. My Theory of Writing course is showing me how to become a more expressive writer, critical thinker, and excel at reading between the lines.

We finished Blankets, an illustrated novel by Craig Thompson. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who wants to read something with images, think deeply, cry a little, and feel every emotion in the book (a bit ironic, right?) Long story short (again), this book is Thompson’s narration of his life, his struggles with his art, and the story of first love and disconnected families.

One moment stood out to me the most in this book, and relates mostly to current situations in my life is the following, “Even a mistake is better than nothing.” The context is that one of the characters wanted Thompson to paint for her and he was afraid he would mess up.

What stands out the most in that quote is how bold it is. While it may be in a completely different context, I still took this moment to heart. Even a mistake is better than nothing, wow, is all I could think.

We have this idea that making mistakes is such a terrible thing. But, aren’t the mistakes we make a way to make ourselves better? There’s sayings like, “Have no regrets,” and “Everything happens for a reason,” because they are true. There have been so many mistakes and regrets I have, but I take them with me and make meaning from them, much like the novel Blankets discusses.

Throughout high school I had this idea that the people I was close friends with would stay true forever. At that moment where I graduated, the only true thing I was thinking about was how the sun was directly in my eyes; giving me a migraine, but I also was thinking about how this is it. That was the moment I never had to see the people who wronged me, the people who hated me, or the people who I loved.

It sounds like such a depressing way to look at graduation, but I disliked high school so strongly. I had always been a different kind of girl, someone who wanted to stand out rather than fit in, and we all know how disconcerned people are to differences. College is a growing experience for me, and I highly recommend everyone try it once in their life. In all seriousness, it has been a time where I realized who I want to be. All I do is try and reach that goal, and at the moment, I’m doing a pretty darn good job. But, the person who I am doesn’t start and stop with me, it’s the people I have encountered and spent my life with that have shaped me.

I have found, much like Craig Thompson, that even though friendships and relationships may not last forever, the mark they have on us never truly leaves. Thompson falls in love with a girl in the novel, and even though they are young and need to discover themselves, I can’t help but feel something for them. The fact that they both make such an impact on each other, even being a teenager, is astounding. The idea that someone can make such a powerful impact on your life is true to my life. Sometimes all you want is for them to stay and be with you, but eventually you come to a point when you realize they can’t.

There have been those friends who have come and gone and have meant nothing to me, and there have been those friends who have stayed but then drifted away (college does this, I have found). There have also been those friends who still remain, and always will.

It wasn’t until very recently, I discovered that finding yourself means making sacrifices with these relationships. It’s a sad realization, cruel and bitter, but it’s also something that I needed to bring to my attention. I start my real story here, and it’s much to my satisfaction rather than all of you reading.

The falling out I recently had with someone was certainly no easy one. This person has meant more to me than any other person on this planet. She had been there through every failure, every mistake, every heartbreak, every detail of my life; she knows it. Likewise, I have been there for her every step of the way.

We have watched people come and go, laughing, saying, “That’ll never be us.” But, if there is one thing I have learned from heartbreak it is you can never predict it. You want life to be perfect, candy-coated, but in reality no one plans out the bad things that may happen.

I never thought I would have a feeling where our friendship wasn’t worth it. I never thought I would think about her constantly, miss her, wish she would text or call, wish she would just reach out. I never thought I would stop trying to connect. I knew the conversation would be mundane, the same old, “What have you been up to?” The person she was becoming and the person I have become do not match anymore. I think as harsh as it may be, if she were reading, I have grown and learned and become who I want to be and I think she is still discovering that. I know there is someone who will change her, make her who she needs to be. Or maybe she won’t ever find out.

There are these moments in our life where we can’t breathe, and it feels like we can’t do anything but sit and stare at the wall. All the memories come swirling back to you in these moments, when you want to forget but you can’t. A break up, a falling out, a death; you won’t ever forget them. You can paint over the memories but there is still that tiny spot in your mind that reminds you it’s more than a memory, it existed.

I’ve always had a hard time saying I’m sorry, or admitting my mistakes. I know I’m stubborn and I hate to be told I am wrong. But, I refuse to sacrifice what I believe in for someone else and their satisfaction. I know I have said things in my past and present that I regret. I am so sorry to everyone. I am sorry that I never went to your graduation party. I am sorry I didn’t want to go on a date with you. I am sorry you didn’t love me. I am sorry you turned out you needed a therapist and I couldn’t help you. I am sorry that we couldn’t be what we dreamed of being. I am sorry I said those mean things to you. I am sorry we are over.

Life is meaningless without mistakes. I know she thinks I made a mistake. I know she thinks that I was the worst friend anyone can have, and I know for awhile, maybe forever, she will think that. I can only thank her for the memories. Thank you, for all that you have given me and all that you will continue to give me. I will miss and always love you, like the sister you were to me. You can’t ever understand what I went through, my inner-termoil, because you never listened. It is all my fault that I couldn’t try harder to reach out, that I gave up. I wish I hadn’t given up, but it’s what I needed to do. I hope that you can understand one day.

If I could speak to her, although I think I will never be given the chance, there are so many things I would say. I could lash out and yell at her for making me look like a villain, when I know who is at fault. I know that’s what I want to do, but I think now I would say to her, if you have to be mad, be mad not at me but at the fact that we need to change. We can’t be the same person we were at 14. We will never be the same. We thought that change was an okay thing to accept into our lives, but the truth is it’s a hard concept. You can’t stop it, and you can’t predict it. We can only live from it.

I want to continue to grow, to make meaning of this life I have been given. I can’t take everyone with me on this journey. I’m constantly on this journey to find myself, and even though I think I have reached a high point in my life, I know I will never end the journey. I know I will continue to make mistakes, but I have accepted it’s a natural part of life, of living.

 

“How satisfying is it to leave a mark on a blank surface. To make a map of my movement–no matter how temporary.” –Craig Thompson, Blankets 

Thankful for Thanking

Although I try to value the little things in my life everyday, it is nice to have a holiday devoted to thankfulness.  It’s great to gather with friends and family and realize the things that matter the most.

So, for all of the people who are near and dear to me, this is for you (and perhaps other fellow WordPressers can find enjoyment out of this post):

Throwback! My sisters (twins). I also have a brother, who is not pictured.

I am thankful for all of the necessities I have.  Food, water, a house, and my health.  You don’t really think about how all of that is important, but it isn’t a right that everyone has.  There are the less fortunate that may lack food or water, which some of us waste everyday.  I try to not waste food or water because I know that there are those out there would jump at the opportunity to have what I have.

I am thankful for my friends and my family.  When I have a rough day or I feel under the weather, I know there are those special people waiting for me to feel better.  Sometimes when I feel a bit sad, a hug from my mom will make it all better.  My boss knows I am coming straight from school and I don’t have time to eat, so she will sometimes bring me in a snack.  My friends always listen to my stories, no matter how long and boring they will be.  There are people out there who may have a rough home life, and they may not have loving arms to walk into after a rough day.  Some people may not have close friends to get them through the day either.  I am happy that I have both.

I am thankful for a strong relationship with my boyfriend.  I am thankful that he only lives an hour away instead of being in a

Goofiest couple there is.

different state or country.  I am happy that he has helped me on my journey to becoming a better person.  He is not only my boyfriend, but my best friend.  I know not every girl can be as lucky as I am, but I am thankful everyday for what him and I share.

I am thankful for my kitties, of course.  I know it sounds weird to be thankful for them, but they are the best pets a girl can ask for.  When you don’t have a human around you for comforting, they are there ready to comfort you.  I am thankful for the fact that I am even allowed to have a pet, and I value their warm little presences every day! Meow!

Florence and Zooey

I am thankful for the fact that I can further my education with college.  I know that not every young adult has this option.  I know that at one point I was not sure if I would even be able to go to college.  Although some days I dread going to class or I feel overwhelmed with what I have to do for school, I am thankful that I can look forward to a brighter future.

Lastly, I am thankful for my jobs.  The economy is rough, and blame whoever you want, but those of us that have jobs (no matter how small) should be thankful.  There are some people out there who struggle to get by with what they have, and I am thankful that my two small part-time jobs are helping me pay for what is important to me right now (which sometimes may include coffee in excess).

Five years later, she’s still my best friend.

These are the most important things that I am thankful for.  I hope everyone who celebrates Thanksgiving can have a wonderful day filled with what matters the most (okay, pumpkin pie can count).  If you are in a place that does not have this holiday, I hope that you can take the time to at least think about what you value, and let them know.