The Valentine’s Edition

Valentines Edition

Valentine’s Day? Or what the more bitter singletons call Singles’ Awareness Day? Nay, I unofficially deem it Independents’ Day.

Not in an overbearing “I’m-a-strong-sassy-independent-chick-who-don’t-need-no-man” way, more like I don’t have any commitments to a loved one (or “liked one”?) this evening and so choose to spend it with my cats – er, I mean friends. But seriously, I actually do have plans tonight that require me to wear something other than athletic garb.

Go on, make your teasing quips of how yes, I’m single by choice, just not my choice. HAHA. This is only partially true (I hope?). Just means more chocolate for me, fool.

But snarky comments aside, I decided to tastefully compose yet another poem dedicated to the celebration of Valentine’s. Although, in the words of Sheldon Cooper, “Given that Saint Valentine was a third century Roman Priest who was stoned and beheaded, wouldn’t a more appropriate celebration of the evening be taking one steady gal to witness a brutal murder?” But let’s not get into technicalities.

“On Valentine’s”

Roses are red

Violets are blue

My mother sent me

Some heart-shaped bamboo.

I don’t know the difference

Between a peony and carnation

All I know is I don’t have to sit through

A Nicholas Sparks film adaptation,

Or share my bowl of popcorn

With a nonexistent male.

I’ve circled the 15th of February when

All the Toblerone goes on sale!

But I’m willing to share my wisdom

With my clueless committed lads

Gone astray by Vermont Teddy Bear

And 1-800 Pajama Gram ads.

Don’t buy your girl an iPhone

Equipped with a tracking app.

Remember that fragrance commercials

Are all full of crap.

To the girlfriends on their phones

Whining “No, you hang up first!”

Keep at it, my ladies and I will

Happily hit y’all with my purse.

But since it’s the day of love

I won’t resort to violence

So long as you and your boy come to

Some sort of conversation-ending alliance.

As for me, on Cupid’s fine holiday

I’ll don my semi-formal sweatpants.

And may or may not spend the evening

Filming my version of the Harlem Shake dance.

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Reflecting at Red

Reflecting at Red

I miss having a car to drive – but not for the reasons you might think. Sure it’d be nice to be able cruise down the highway with my partners in crime… Although now that I think about it, being one of the few freshman with a car would do wonders for my social creds…But I’ve found that my most enjoyable joyriding experiences have been when I’m alone, driving the winding, vacant roads at evening time with only two voices to listen to – my own, and whatever oldies band is blaring on JACK FM.

Here, in the interior of what I refer to as my “time machine” I find it something of a sanctuary. Outside of it, I’m always on the go with somewhere to be and a long to-do list to execute. Yet ironically at the same time, I want to be able to press pause for awhile and just be.

I occasionally read the site Makes Me Think, which posts motivational links to read through and be inspired by. On one of the postings, a really great point was made –we want time to stop for long enough to take a breather, yet find ourselves getting frustrated at the littlest things that throw us off schedule. Why do we not, at the moments when we are deterred by a red light, an hour-long layover, or God forbid, a line at the DMV comparable to the line at Disneyland for the Matterhorn, consider those pausing periods allotted by fate?

Now that a little over 80 miles separates me and the time machine, I don’t have my old “stoplight moments.” Instead, I wait begrudgingly for the trolley to transport me from east to west campus – along with the rest of the school at the same trolley stop. When it comes to scoring a ride on the trolley, it’s a matter of every man for himself. And understandably, the general code of chivalry becomes irrelevant. “Ladies first?” How droll.

When I got out of my 4:10 class last week, my heart dropped as I watched one of the only trolleys that actually runs during the late afternoon pull away from the stop. I hadn’t run fast enough to catch it, and now had to weigh two possible options: 1) Wait 15 minutes for the next one, or 2) do some unofficial endurance training and walk to east campus with all my luggage on my person. Guess which option I chose.

On that particularly cold day, I situated myself into sunny spot on the concrete stairs awaiting hell on wheels. No really, it actually is hell on wheels. It’s like fitting two classrooms-worth of people into one enclosure and trying not to get sat on. Especially by the one dude wearing copious amounts of AXE. Not that that has ever happened to me…not at all.

Then I had a horrible yet oddly comforting realization, depending on how you look at it. My problems will always be waiting for me. No need to rush, they’re not going anywhere while I’m gone. See? Horrifying and reassuring. But at that moment, I could cloud-gaze and let that little voice in my head repeat to me things such as “It will all be irrelevant two years from now” and “When you die, you won’t be remembered for the things you didn’t do, but the things you did do.”

No, Bowling for Soup, you can’t “stop the world.” Or melt with me, for that matter. Nor can I stop the world. But when it stops me with a red light, I take it as permission from the universe to take two before going into a sprint again.

To Those Who Wander

To Those Who Wander pic

I was feeling a bit artsy this week and decided to dabble into some poetry since I haven’t for awhile. Also, I thought writing this would be easier/faster than writing a full-on page of my two-cents for this week…but I was wrong. It’s in Shakespearean sonnet structure, although any legit poets reading this are probably groaning at my inconsistent syllable structure (or lack thereof). On behalf of wanderers everywhere, I write this for us.

To Those Who Wander

To the one who sits in the back of the chapel

Questioning the whereabouts of prayers spoken

To the one who finds each door is locked and

Desperately searches for a window open

To those who journey with no destination

You are not lonely though you walk alone.

To the weary, the beaten, and the broken

Endlessly looking for a place to call home

To the one seeking the light of a streetlamp

Amidst the darkness of a harsh winter’s night

To those brave enough to keep fighting on

We go forward in pursuit of the ever-fading light.

Push onward despite the odds, despite all resistance –

And you will hear my voice echoing back to you in the distance.

Living for Friday

Living for Friday 4 pic

Call it what you want, but I live for the weekends. Not because I’m a party-scouter with a shameless to-do list to complete before the weekend’s up, but it means me getting a break from catching a ride from overcrowded trolleys, finding unconventional ways to say awake in [certain] classes, scootering from my back-to-back-to-back-to-BACK classes, willing myself to crank out some time in the weight room in between said classes, tutoring, and counting down the minutes until I get to clock out from work. Oh, and getting that thing called homework done, too. Wednesday night I was so wiped out, I had the nerve to slumber before 11.

So needless to say, I consider Mondays through Fridays to be my weekly uphill battles; the weekdays are simply something to get through. The weekend? I raise a glass to you. And to this week’s slew of new Netflix arrivals.

But for this week’s post, I guess you could say that I’m sort of dedicating it to the people who helped make this one more than just one another hurdle to jump. That is, the people who actually read this (assuming your Friday nightlife is nonexistent tonight).

Unexpected Lessons in Microbiology

I’m currently taking Biology 101 for my GE requirements…and I don’t really like it. It’s like the lab equipment knows that my touch isn’t one of a scientist’s. Anyway, I make it a point in my lab classes to touch base with the TA whenever I’m confused (which is often). Shortly after running me through the meanings of denaturation, the effect iodine has in a chemical reaction, etc., she asks me, “Do you want to know how microbiology works?” My sassy inner voice’s instinct was “Eh….not so much, but thanks.” But I just nodded politely as she proceeded. Though I only understood less than 50% of this new material, I was touched all the same that she cared enough about my understanding to take the time to explain the slightly more advanced concepts for me instead of walking away and giving me the benefit of the doubt. Yes it’s her job but she gets paid by the hour, not for how much she cares.

Dinner Invitation

No, a dinner date night was definitely not part of my week. Wednesday morning as I was scrolling through my Facebook, I was surprised to see an email from one of the girls in my hall asking if I would like to join her for dinner sometime that week. Though a bit unusual, that in itself was a nice gesture, but the best part is that were no gimmicks involved. No favors to be asked, no gossip to be shared, just a simple dinner just because she wanted to know me better. And that let me tell you, is flattering.

Surprise in the Mailbox

Two nights ago, I decided to check my mailbox not expecting anything other than the monthly English Majors newsletter or tuition bill. Much to my surprise (again), there lay an envelope with my *gasp* handwritten mailing address. On what I considered just another ordinary day, it was so nice to know that one of my longtime friends wasn’t too busy being awesome in college to check in. And it also helps that he said he likes my blog (hint, hint).

My point is this – do something to make someone else’s week a little more bearable. Say “please” and “thank you” and genuinely mean it. Bake your roommate some cookies. Let your little sister blast One Direction on your car radio just this once. Give up your bus seat to a pregnant lady. Hug a homeless dude (maybe not; it’d probably make him feel more uncomfortable than you in the long run).

5 Quick Tips to Make Your Professors Like You Better

Make Your Professors Like you Better 2

Professor Dumbledore’s favorite.

Trying to get the chutzpah to ask your professor for a letter of rec? Merely attempting to pass the class as painlessly as possible? Either way, I have just a few tips and tricks for earning the respect of your professors.

Hygiene

Too many times I’ve seen the too-cool-for-shoes hipsters venture throughout east and west campus completely barefoot. First of all – potentially dangerous. Secondly, that’s just gross. How do you think your professors (or even your roommates, now that I think about it) feel when you’ve been treading over dirt, asphalt, hardened gum, and pigeon crap and then strut on in with those same feet onto the shampooed carpet?

Along the same lines of hygiene, please please please wash your hands after doing your thing. My respect for someone gradually decreases every time I see the same person flush and rush. What does this have to do with your professors? Well, the next time you decide to duck out after a flush, it may not be me subconsciously judging you, but Dr. I-Will-Automatically-Dock-You-Points-For-Handing-In-Your-Lab-Outline-With-Those-Disgraceful-Hands.

Mobile Devices

Yesterday, someone in my bio lecture class was dismissed from class (no more than 10 minutes before the class’s conclusion, and was consequently marked as “absent”) for using his cell. Don’t be stupid. If there’s going to be an emergency, clear it with your prof before class. Otherwise, keep it in your pocket or backpack, not in your hand, in your shirt, or between your legs (because that’s really weird).

Classroom Attire

Given my preferred choice of attire on any given day (workout clothes, college sweatshirt, and running shoes), you can argue all you want that I shouldn’t be the one to bestow advice in the fashion department. But inside the classroom, I know at least one thing – don’t wear your sleepwear in it. As much as I’m sure your profs would love to witness your love for Batman sleep shorts. I advise this mainly because that if it looks like you rolled out of bed and on into class, it comes off as “I didn’t care about your class enough to wake up on time to make myself look presentable,” regardless if this is true or not. Also, don’t let this be the day when the major marketing company is recruiting aspiring young interns in class and all you have to show for your credentials are your bunny slippers. How are my running shorts any better, you counter. Well, at least my profs will know that I’m dressed appropriately for running from class to class to make it on time. And speaking of being on time…

Punctuality

More than once, I’ve toyed with the fantasy of playing the role of sophisticated college professor. And each time, I’ve made it a point to lock the classroom doors 5-10 minutes after the start of lecture. If you really want to be there, prove it. And to quote the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie, “Whoever falls behind gets left behind.”

Character

No, this is not going to be a comment on academic integrity. Because OBVIOUSLY you’ve NEVER cheated EVER if you’ve made it this far in your academic career, right?

Just remember that professors can get glimpses of your character based on what you say/do before and after class. Don’t talk about your plans to score as many chicks as possible this weekend, or how Professor Blah is “soooo lame” (especially since Blah and your own prof might be buddy-buddy), or how your assigned reading is completely pointless (even if it is). Also, leave your vulgarities at home. Just because class doesn’t commence until the minute hand hits the 12 doesn’t mean your profs’ ears are clocked out before then.

When Does “Legendary” Begin?

When does legendary begin 2 pic

During the first few weeks of my brand-spanking-new college life, I kept wondering when the whole ordeal would finally feel like home. I’d scroll through my Facebook feed, seeing old high school friends and other acquaintances posting photos of themselves wearing matching onesies with their newly acquired roommates-turned-best-friends (in as little as 24 hours!), the former class clown and his new frat friends engaging in a stimulating game of beer pong, and all the new timeline photos of all the pretty girls dressed up and ready to prowl that weekend’s slew of parties.

For me, a glorious weekend consists of me curled up in a snuggie, eagerly streaming season three of Downton Abbey from my laptop, mug of chai tea in hand. Go on, make fun. I’ve been called an old soul more than once during my time here. But now and again, I can’t help asking myself, what is wrong with me and how can I get rid of the little old lady living in my body?

Little did I know, I was also subconsciously looking for people on my campus to replace the ones I’d left behind in my beloved hometown – the best friend whose camera captured all our greatest memories, the longtime pal with his old-man spirit and Canadian quips, the witty former editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, and perhaps even the familiar hometown hobo who strolls the main intersection in endless search for quarters.

Perhaps also, my faithful viewership to the sitcom How I Met Your Mother has shaped my idealistic hopes of how things “should be.” I suppose I was looking for a Barney Stinson in addition to the above folks; a sharply dressed bro or bro-ette to aid me in my attempts to make these next few years legendary. But to little avail.

(*Quick disclaimer: On the off chance that any of the people I’ve come to know within the past five months are reading this, please don’t be offended. You’re awesome. I’m still working on it.)

Not that I’m complaining. My classes are fine, my major’s great, my professors are for the most part making an effort to know my name, I’m living life on my own schedule, I have a job, my room/hallmates are wonderful, and I’m looking forward to what 2013 has to offer me on an academic/career level. But something was (and still is) missing, I’m sure.

When I came home for Christmas break just a few weeks ago, I to a certain extent dreaded seeing old friends and hearing all about their amazing new lives.

“So how have you been enjoying [fill in the blank with name of college/university]?” I’d manage to muster to the 20+ people I had reunited with during the holidays.

Much to my surprise, the answers were not all that I expected. On one occasion, a friend said that she hadn’t met anyone particularly interesting or cool (one of those two, I forget). Another admitted to hating his racist roommate. Some even grimaced a tad when I ventured to ask the above question.

Don’t get me wrong. There were and will always be the “Ohmigodiloveeverythingabout[fill in the blank with school]andeveryoneit’ssoooooooogreat” kids. And I’m happy for them. Truly. But nothing beats the feeling of being comforted by the fact that you’re not alone in your thoughts.

So here’s to you and me, the people who are patient, realizing that the real adventure starts when it is least expected. And it’ll be legendary.

Catching Curveballs in 2013

Pondering

Photo credit: Hannah Padaoan

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. It was 2012.

Let’s see…there of course were the obvious things…surviving 12/21/12, voting in the presidential elections, watching the 2012 Olympics in London, going Gangham Style, etc.

Then there’s all the stuff we’ve all surmounted in our own lives this year. This year has been, as Marty McFly might say “heavy.” Heavy with so many ups and downs; I’ve unknowingly been living in the fast lane since the end of 2010 while still learning to properly control my metaphorical driving machine. The same probably goes for you.

There was graduation. Surviving my first and only prom. Procuring a first job. Moving away from home. Leaving some dreams behind. Getting my heart broken. Strengthening some solid friendships while learning to let others go. Setting my sights on what it is that I want from life.

Sometimes I wonder if any sort of New Year’s resolution could have thwarted some of the more negative aspects of the above.

But in all seriousness…

New Year’s resolutions suck. I usually poke fun at the idea because deep down, I know these resolutions are supposed to be something adhered to throughout the year, not just a week-long “brilliant idea” inspired by one too many champagne toasts. Then again, maybe my cynicism stems from the fact that during the month of January, the gym is suddenly filled TO THE BRIM with people who just now realize that health is an important thing to maintain. But I digress.

Thing is, I don’t think any amount of planning or resolutions could have prepped me for the curveball that was 2012. Could losing an extra five pounds have prevented the loss of some friendships? Maybe, but if that’s the case, the friendships probably weren’t worth having in the first place. Could changing any part of myself into something the world considers “desirable” have made some of the experiences go differently? Debatable. Perhaps, but by changing myself, I wouldn’t be me. It would be someone else – a second-rate version of me – living my life.

My favorite “reliable” dictionary source, Urban Dictionary defines a New Year’s resolution as “An assessment of, and often delusional attempt to correct one’s shortcomings.”

I think we often come up with these resolutions as a means of maintaining better control over events yet to occur. “If I resolve to go clubbing every Saturday night, the greater chance I have of having lasting, meaningful relationships and not be stuck at home with my twenty-four cats when I’m forty.” “I resolve to be nicer to children and puppies so my girlfriend will think I’m sensitive.” Yeah…no.

Hear me out. I’m not saying you shouldn’t make resolutions. Go for it, so long as they’re more than just short-lived epiphanies. But don’t make them your protective shields from all the curveballs that 2013 will throw at you. Because when you think you have it all together as you’re cruising with your hand on the steering wheel of your life, don’t expect to pull off the freeway without a few cracks in your windshield.

So hear, hear. This is me toasting to a better, brighter, classier 2013.