summer

Summer

Her eyes tried to focus on the spreadsheet that was opened up on her laptop, but she was too anxious. Her heart fluttered and she felt lightheaded every time she looked at the time. She tried focusing on each cell, slowly adding data to the columns, avoiding the righthand corner where the clock ticked. Her lunch break was coming up and she knew she would have to talk to him.

Kiss me hard before you go*

After she saved her document, she saw him stand up and walk over to her desk and heard him say he was going to get lunch, as expected.

Summertime sadness

“Are you coming with me?” he asked.

“Yes.”

They walked to his car and drove to a sandwich shop the town over. The radio played softly, but it was loud enough to drown out the beating of her heart which she was sure he could hear.

I just wanted you to know

 He pulled into a parking spot and turned off the car. She started to get out and he put a hand on her shoulder.

“Wait,” he whispered.

She looked at him, and waited.

“I just want you to know that I care about you. But this opportunity is what I need, and I have to take it. I’m sorry,” he paused. “What we have is special, but this is all I can give. You deserve more.”

“I understand, really, don’t worry about me,” she forced a smile on her face.

They got out and ordered sandwiches, the same way they did every Thursday. Except it was the last Thursday he was working in the office, and she never saw him again.

 That baby you’re the best

* “Summertime Sadness” Lana Del Rey, Born to Die

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!?

Oh, The Places I Am Going!

Since I am starting up school again on Monday, I decided to think about everything I have accomplished in the past three months.  I have to say this summer was a lot different than all of my other breaks in the past.  Most of the time, my summers were spent either doing nothing all day, hanging out with friends, or working at a part time job.

This summer, I can say I spent my time a little more wisely, and I realized how much I have grown over such a short amount of time.

I successfully scored my first internship with a local newspaper in my area.  I was really excited to start this internship, seeing as it is exactly the direction I want to go with my life.  I think internships give students the opportunity to really see if they want to work in a given field.  You can go through your whole life thinking, “This is what I want to do” and then you get out there and realize you don’t belong.  I have always known I was going to do something with writing.  During my first year of college, I listened to friends talk about how they hate the school they go to, and how they can’t wait to change their major.  I always thought to myself, I could never see myself doing anything else but this.  I fixed up my resume before finals week and thought, “Time to get some experience!”

At the library with Larry the Cucumber…it was a slow night

And so came the internship, where I met inspiring people who gave me advice and bits of wisdom on the career that I want.  All the people I had the opportunity to work with gave me the chance to get my name out there and to show others what I can do.  I got to meet unique individuals, and I had the chance to share some of their stories with the community.  It’s like a chain of reaction: I helped the newspaper, they helped me, and I helped members of the community.  The media can be a beautiful thing.

So while I never got to sleep in this summer, nor bum around all day, I instead got to leave the house as a young woman, not a girl.  I loved staying busy all day, and actually feel like I am doing something worthwhile.

I hope to keep in touch with everyone that I met over these few months, including a new friend I met on the train.  It was great to have someone to talk to about intern life, and he knew great places to eat in Doylestown, Pa (Hickory Kitchen was a favorite of his).

Besides working part time as an intern, I also continued to work at the library, picking up tons of extra shifts throughout the week.  It was hard because sometimes all I wanted to do was come home and sleep, but instead I had to go straight from the internship to my library job.  This was definitely something new for me because I really had to figure out how to balance my schedule.  I think the amount I worked this summer will help me prepare for school, and not only that but the “real world.”  So many young teens this day have it made, and get things handed to them on a silver platter.  That sounds great, but in the future when they have to have  a real job, perhaps they will have a hard time adjusting.

Besides all the working, I have to say I have had my fair share of goofing off.  My best friend moved back down from the Pocono’s so I got to see her more than I normally would. I saw one of my favorite bands in concert, Train!  I got my own kitty, Zooey, who is pretty much the best cat anyone could ask for.

I think in life when you have the opportunity to surround yourself with amazing people, you should do it.  Why chose anything else?  All my friends and family members have helped me transition from a young teen into a responsible adult.  I can’t give them all the credit though, I have done my fair share of growing up all on my own.  I think now would be a good time to quote Dr. Seuss from his book “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

Had to include Zooey in here, such a little baby here

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

Sophomore year, here I come!

Life is a Highway: My Journey of Self Discovery

This is a personal reflective essay I wrote for my English class this year.  I was pretty pleased with the grade I got (an A!) and decided to share it with bloggers, and my close friends.  Hope you enjoy reading it (disclaimer: It’s pretty long!)

            My whole life I have had experiences on roads.  It could be a summer evening in a back alley with friends, a highway drive to the mall, the slow walk to high school, or a dirt path that leads to a park.  I have spent my life traveling on different paths, with different people.  Even in the movies I can relate to characters that are trying to find themselves down this road of finding one selves.  In Pixar’s Cars, the main character Lightning McQueen goes from being a hot-shot racecar driver, to having to help a small town with kind folk.  He starts off on the fast track, and has to travel down a much simpler road.  Along the way he meets a friend named Mator, who is a truck that just wants to have fun.  McQueen also falls in love with a car named Sally, who teaches him to be your own person, and not always worry about fame and fortune.  I look at my life as a journey down different paths.  McQueen and I have many things in common even though he is a fictional character.  One thing is for sure, we spend our lives trying to figure out who we are, and we are constantly on that road.

***

            My heart pounded like hooves in a stampede.  I peeled away the adhesive on the crisp, white envelope and pulled out a bulky letter.  Don’t get upset, you know what it will say.  It says no, no, no.  As I read, time stopped.  There was no way that I was conscious; I must have been in a dream.  But I kept on reading, and realized the purpose of the letter.  I was accepted.

***

            From the day I opened the acceptance letter, to every train ride, my mother was there for me every step of the way.  My attendance to college was not only a commitment to myself, but it was also a commitment to her.  I had to be willing to keep my job back home, and to make sure I saved up enough money each month to afford the commute to Delaware Valley College.  That was my commitment.  My mother on the other hand had to be willing to spend countless hours dealing with the financial aid websites and offices, scholarship websites, and FAFSA forms.  I have heard financial aid people say college students should do this on their own, but what young adult knows finances that well?  I am sure most college students do not handle all of their college funds themselves.

It’s hard for a family to afford college for their kids nowadays.  Not to mention hard for me as well.  The college work load is hard enough on its own, and adding a six-day-a-week-part-time-job is unbelievable.  My mother has helped me get through that, however.  She will make my dinner so I can have something to take to work, or she will stop at WaWa so I can pump caffeine into my system.  She’s done everything for me and I would not be in school without her.  A lot of kids that cannot afford to go to college end up going to a community college for a few years, so they can save up some money.  While I think that this is a good idea, I desperately fell in love with Del Val and wanted to go there as soon as possible.  My mother knows I would have been heartbroken if they told me I could not go to Del Val just yet.  She did not have the opportunity to go to college because her parents did not support her.  They did not get to go to college, so why should she?  Bitter, yes.  The right thing?  No.  My mother surely had the brains, just not the ability to do anything with them.  That is why she spends so much time trying to find reasonable loans for me to take out, and tries her best to be able to put me through college.  She wants me to have the life she could not have.

People focus on the bad things they experience in life, when they should focus on all the positive things that happen.  My mother has to constantly be happier for other people, where sometimes she wants to be happy herself.  The greatest joy she sees is her children getting things in life that she never would, or will.  Although it may be hard for my family, I know that I should be happy that I at least have the opportunity to go to college.  While I may not get to go on trips, or shop every day, I know that I am becoming a more responsible adult managing my funding for better usage.  My mother has helped me realize that you cannot give up, even when it seems like everything in your life is an obstacle.  She has taught me to look at the positive things in life, which has made me persevere even in my toughest moments.  She will always be there for me, and she has helped me travel down the right path.  I can see a sign that says, “Driven Students: Head This Way.”  I know what turn I am making today.

***

            I was not always on the right path.  Sometimes as a young kid I got involved with the wrong crowd.  I was never a delinquent, but I did some typical acts of a disobedient child.  I had a friend who would trick me into doing things that I was not supposed to.  One time when we went to go get our nails done, she said we would have to walk down this road, past a WaWa.  My mother told me not to go past the WaWa because it was too busy and dangerous.  My friend convinced me it was not that far down, and that we would not get in trouble.  Of course, the nail salon was farther down the road than I was allowed, and my parents were not happy.  I felt ashamed as I looked down at my brightly lacquered red nails.  I had disappointed my mother, and she was the last one I wanted to hurt.  From then on I made sure I asked my parents if going down a certain street was acceptable.  I did not want to end up on the wrong road, in a heap of trouble.

***

            Entering high school, I merged into a different group of friends.  They acted silly and laughed a lot, just like me.  However, I still did not have that “best friend” like a lot of teenagers did.  I was in English class one day, and scanned the room to look at the students I would be associating myself with for the next few months.  That is when I met that “best friend,” and her name is Courtney.  Nobody calls her that; she likes to be called Court.  That is just one of the many things that we have similar.  We both have nicknames, like the color purple, and prefer Chinese food even though it makes us sick.  We fit that stereotypical best friend status.  She has been in my life for three years, and I do not think she will ever go away.  Unlike most of my friends, Court has been there for everything I have experienced.  Every fight with a parent, every boy-crush that failed, every wardrobe malfunction, and anything else in-between.  Court is just a girl that wants to have fun, much like Mator is in the movie Cars.  Mator is a happy-go-lucky car that has a great sense of humor and just wants to have a good time.  Court is very similar to Mator.  I however, can be compared to McQueen.  Before McQueen met Mator, he hung out with hot-shot cars that cared more about money than they did friendship.  Before I met Court, I cared about what others thought and how I dressed, instead of worrying about having a fun time.  McQueen and I both needed to meet our best friends and travel down a different path.  We needed something new. Besides being best friends, Court and I are also dreamers.  I want to have a career that is difficult to get into, and so does she.  While I am a writer, and she a musician, we both experience similar let-downs and disappointments in life.  People are always telling us our music and writing isn’t good enough, and that are dreams are too far-fetched.  But we are always pushing forward, and we never give up.  We are each other’s support systems.

***

            Court went out of her way to read my posts on my blog, and even set up an account so she could read them in her email account.  That encouraged me the most because I knew some people actually cared about what I was writing.  While most friends briefly scrolled through the website, Court thoroughly read it and told others about it.  Thanks to her, I have over 4,000 views on my page.  It may be a small amount, but it is nice to know that someone cares about something I love.  Of course I return the favor and support her with her music career.  She has always supported me and made me believe in myself.  She helped me travel down this path of perseverance, and taught me to never give up.  I am still on that path.

As I continue down the road, trying to figure out who I am supposed to be, Court is there with me every step of the way.  She has always been the more confident one in our duet, and I always looked up to her in that way.  I would get jealous (in a non-serious way) that she would have guys flock to her, practically begging for her number.  She radiates confidence, and people are attracted to that.  However, I was the sheep dog, and the guys ran away from me like cattle in a field.  It took a while for me to be the lucky one.

***

            I got a job at a library back in May 2010, the summer before my senior year of high school.  I threw on some yoga pants, and a shirt, and trekked off to work down the road, in the hot June heat.  Who gets excited for work on a Friday?  I certainly was not on that day.

***

            Little did I know that Friday would be the best shift of my life, because that day I had met my current boyfriend Colin.  As I look back on the day we met, I think of how I looked in those casual clothes.  I was always the kind of girl to have perfectly coordinated outfits, and to make sure my face and hair looked “perfect.”  Colin did not need all of that.  He fell in love with me from my natural beauty and my personality.  Colin helped strengthen that confidence that I had longed to have.

As a young adolescent, I seldom cared what others thought of me.  I loved who I was.  I loved how I snorted when I laughed, my one tooth that was too far back, and how I was the smallest kid in my grade.  But with the transition to high school, I found kids were more interested in being “cool,” then having a personality.  I was always the girl who was too outspoken, and too full of life.  I remember laughing with a guy and he put his finger over my mouth to shush me, and told me I was talking too much.  I became focused on what others thought of me, and I lost sight of who I was becoming.  I was on the road that was leading to my individuality, but I took a back road, and got lost.  Becoming Colin’s girlfriend, and best friend, allowed me to love myself again.  He taught me that we are our own unique person, and if we try to change that we are not ourselves.  He knew I was destined to be something great, I just needed to see it for myself.  I should accept how I look, and embrace it.  I cannot be somebody I see in a magazine, or on the streets.  I can only be myself, and that is what I am trying to figure out throughout my years.  Who am I supposed to be?

Everyone has that one person in their life that they can go to at any time of the day, and know that they will always be there for them.  I am lucky because I have three people in my life that will always be there for me, and have been from the start.  I do believe that we go through life traveling on roads.  As we are young, the roads are dirt paths and back alleys, where we are carefree and can go wherever way we choose.  As we get older, we see the forks in the road.  Do I choose left, or right?  We have to make those decisions that could be right or wrong, and could render us in the wrong direction.   We may have to turn around, and start over, but it is all a part of life.  In our adult lives, we travel down busy highways, filled with confusing exit signs and colorful street signs.  From the time I headed out on that dirt road, to my current state headed on the highway, I realize that I have turned into a young woman who is continuing to find her individuality.  I am shooting for my dream job, no matter what people say to me.  I will persevere through my life even though I am faced with many obstacles every day.  I will love myself for who I am, and who I am becoming.  The road can end wherever you want it to, or you can continue traveling for miles.  You will always find out new things about yourself, and your friends and family.  Go ahead and bring your loved ones on the road with you.

I know I will.