First Semester of College

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I started this blog as a Senior in high school, and regrettably neglected to continue updating it. I’m now a freshman in college, just finishing up my first semester, and revisiting this page has not only sparked nostalgia, but has rekindled my dedication to this blog. When did I stop writing for pleasure?

Let me begin by saying that I am now home on break, patiently awaiting final grades to be posted, reflecting with both heartwarming nostalgia and cringe-worthy regret. This semester consisted of 5 classes (which I will list from the class I most enjoyed to the class that made me want to commit murder) :

  • Cultural Anthropology
  • Problem Solving Applied to Science and Technology
  • Writing
  • Personal Wellness
  • College Algebra (aka 8 am Dream Crusher)

15 credits. Mom, I made it! There’s so much to say about this journey, so this may become a mini series. Maybe next will be advice (what to bring/not bring, things I wish I had known, general tips, ect.), embarrassing stories, or just my rambles … I can see a lot blossoming from this college mini series. I’ll start with the best part.

When Charles Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” in A Tale of Two Cities, I think I can safely assume he wasn’t talking about college. However, I cannot think of a more concise and poetic summary of my experiences to date.

I can honestly say the best part of college wasn’t the heart-pounding, wall-to-wall crowded, crazy adrenaline-filled parties (although those were pretty cool).

And it definitely wasn’t sharing an 11′ x 15′ room with another person who started the year as a stranger (although the way we arranged/decorated is incredibly cozy).

My side of our dorm room after move-in.

My side of our dorm room after move-in.

Or sharing a bathroom (3 toilets, 3 showers) with the other 27 girls in my hall. Think no sacred alone time for pooping, hair clogged drains, and the dreaded shower flip-flops.

And we all know the best part wasn’t waking up for 8 am classes (especially when one of them is the spiritual realm of evil and suffering- math).

It certainly couldn’t have been the 120 miles separating me from Jenny, my best friend from high school, or the 2 hour drive to see my family and, bless his paw prints, my puppy.

Watching the soap opera-like drama of my dorm hall unfold, popcorn in hand, was entertaining, but not the best moment of college. Same goes for watching the hilarious drunk students bathing in the fountain on the Quad at 1 am.

Perhaps the fear of the “Freshman 15” being perpetuated by my professional avoidance of the gym and the delicious dining hall food.

No, of course not. Really, the best part was Meghan. The best part was Annie. The best part was Ryan and Tommy and Emily and the countless other friends I’ve made in this short amount of time. The ones I made scrambled eggs with at midnight. Who showed me how to climb up a tree onto the roof of a dining hall. The friends that I went to Chick-fil-A with every Tuesday and the friends I could who I could knock on their door anytime and feel welcome. I couldn’t have done it without them.

Sure, you can make friends anywhere you go. But I will defend with all I have that the friendships formed in dorm halls are of a special breed. There’s a special bond formed when you’re all living together, going through the same stresses of finals and exams, wondering whether it is worth braving the cold and going to a dining hall or just ordering Chinese delivery again. They’ve seen you in your pajamas, with make-up smeared and hair in a bun, and they’ve held your hair as you regretted that last shot. They’ve crammed with you for hours at the library, they’ve entertained “Movie Night” every Thursday, and stayed up with you discussing the hottest RA’s.

College can be a really scary transition. Friends, however, can change all that. Meeting these people has been, undoubtedly, my favorite part of college so far.

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Poetry

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I know you feel lost sometimes.

You feel small, insignificant

Like just another star in the night sky,

A dull light, easily out-shined.

But you’re not just a star.

You’re a part, an integral attribute.

The whole galaxy is held together

by the glue of the stars.

You’re not just a star, honey.

You’re the center of my favorite constellation.

Letter to Freshman Self

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Freshmen are stupid. I would know, I was one.

Dear Freshman Maria,

  1. Make friends with your teachers. Kiss their asses. Stay after school and ask for help. Make sure they know more about you than just your name and that you sit in the back row. College recommendations should not be coming from a stranger.
  2. You can say “no” when a guy asks you out. Stop feeling bad and saying yes. Being single is better than being in an unhappy relationship.
  3. You don’t need a guy to make you happy anyways. Find happiness in being independent.
  4. There is a difference between a B and a B+ on your GPA.
  5. You don’t need to skip breakfast and throw away your lunch. You weigh the perfect amount. Stop comparing yourself to other people.
  6. Do your homework. Just do it. Stop being lazy. The regret of not doing it is much worse than the actual work.
  7. DO NOT DYE YOUR HAIR. I REPEAT. DO NOT DYE YOUR HAIR. It may have seemed “cute” or “pretty” but there is nothing cute about damaged hair. Healthy hair is pretty.
  8. Put a case on your electronics. Everything I own now is cracked, thanks.
  9. Read more books.
  10. Join the culinary program at school! What a wasted opportunity.

It’s amazing to think about how the seemingly insignificant choices we made in the past can have such a tremendous impact on our future. I know I can’t go back and change what’s been done, but I can spend more time now contemplating the consequences of my actions. Perhaps it will prevent a “Letter to Senior Self” in the future.

The Youth is Wasted on the Young

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I guess being 17 has its advantages.

Like, I have the envious privilege of being punished if I’m not home by 10 pm on a Saturday night. And if I decide to leave the house for any reason I have to text my mom the location of every place I am going and who will be there.  

And I can’t hang out with my boyfriend 2 days in a row because that obviously means I’m neglecting family and having sex in a deserted parking lot. 

Additionally, simply defending myself is actually talking back disrespectfully. I’ve learned not to try to convince my parents that they are wrong, because they never have been and never will be. 

Being 17 is great because you’re supposedly thisclose to being an adult and independent, but no one treats you like it. 

“What a weary time those years were — to have the desire and the need to live but not the ability.” 
― Charles Bukowski, Ham on Rye

This is not a typical teenage rant. Rather, the exact opposite. I’m grateful for all the things that have been holding me back.

What? Does this crazy girl know what she is saying? Wasn’t she just complaining?

YES, AND LET ME EXPLAIN. Everyone around me is full throttle into becoming an adult, moving out, and partying. College applications have been thrown in my face and job applications need to be filled out and SAT scores need to be improved and NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO BREATHE.

What is youth? Youth is that moment in life where you’re finding yourself and having fun doing it. Where’s the rush? We all want bigger and better things, and we’re missing the best part of life trying to find it. 

I don’t mind being told that I need to “chill out” or “slow down” by my parents, because they’re right. (At least that’s what I realize afterwards, they’re always wrong in the moment). 

“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.” 
 Tom Robbins, Still Life With Woodpecker

So no, I can’t get my nose pierced yet or stay out for however long I want. But I can still have the time of my life with my friends and family. I don’t have to worry about bills and taxes and promotions, because all I need to be preoccupied with is NOW. I’m 17. I’m silly and love Taco Bell runs and texting and procrastinating and gossiping about my government teachers butt (it’s really nice).

I guess what I’m trying to express is there’s no use in trying to fast-forward the process of growing up. It will happen, so enjoy it as it comes. I can’t think of anything worse than looking back and realizing you spent the best years of your life trying to finish them.

To Love Is To Be Vulnerable

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Someone posted something on Twitter that made my gears turn.

They posted a quote by C.S. Lewis, “To love is to be vulnerable.” Then they said something along the lines of “so true, this is why I can’t open up to you.”

DON’T GIVE UP SO EASILY.

I understand the reality that loving anyone can be terrifying, because letting someone into your heart gives them the ability to do whatever they want to it.

But, I don’t feel that anyone should be afraid to put themselves in this position.

The fear of being broken does not define love, it symbolizes the absolute trust that the one you love will not hurt you in this defenseless state.

It is human nature to protect oneself from danger and threat.

To defy such impulses and open up to someone is nothing other than brave and beautiful. 

I think love is when someone makes you feel safe, even when they have the ability to hurt you the most.

It may take a few tries, but nothing could be more worth it in the end.

The Perfect College Roommate

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My graduation date is June of this upcoming year, which means I will soon be tormented by the packing of boxes, tearful goodbyes, and the realization that I’ll be left to brave the world (and even more terrifying, college) completely on my own for the first time.

Except, not quite.

THE COLLEGE ROOMMATE HORROR STORIES NEVER SEEM TO CEASE. The slob, the party animal, the freak, the one that brings their boyfriend/girlfriend over every night and can be heard through the walls while you attempt to sleep. Then there’s the roommate that simply exists. They keep to their own, and expect you to do the same. Well, I’m not looking for that. If I’m going to be stuck in the same living space with another person for a year, then I’d hope they’d at least become a friend. Or even better, are one of these:

  1. The Fashionista: This individual has an amazing fashion sense, and will probably hang collages of magazine cutouts all over the dorm room with her latest inspiration. The best part being, she doesn’t mind lending her clothes or swapping outfits.
  2. The Adventurer: Perhaps because they detest the possibility of boredom or simply because they enjoy staying occupied, this person will always be seeking out activities to try together. Concerts, events, places to visit- they will want to do it all. From the new Chinese restaurant opening up to the nature trail through the woods, I’ll always have somewhere to go.
  3. The Personal Trainer: Whether they love to work out or are studying to become a nutritionist, nobody will get me moving like a “fittie” roommate. They’ll motivate me to get up earlier (something that I could never do alone) and head to the gym. The infamous “Freshman 15” will never stand a chance.
  4. The Culinary Student: Why does the dorm room always smell like cupcakes? Blame the baking addict living in the same room. This person will  fill the air with the aroma of whatever they are cooking up that day. They’ll love to feed me their latest creation, meaning I wont be as dependent on Ramen Noodles as I thought.
  5. The Seth Rogan: No explanation necessary. Hilarious, laid-back, a good ass time. Best friend material. Seth Rogan, marry me.

There you have it. Feel free to comment on your idea of the perfect roommate!

Who Am I?

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“Who are you?” 

The dreaded ice-breaker. A request so simple, yet it can bring the most confident person to hesitation.

Perhaps the most intimidating thing about it is there is no where else to turn for answers, because who knows us better than ourselves?

Then there is the inevitable question of what parts of our lives are important enough or interesting enough to mention?

Nonetheless, here’s my attempt.

My name is Maria.

  1. I’m a senior in high school, but I’m not ready to grow up.
  2. I’m incredibly optimistic (The glass is ALWAYS half full).
  3. My relationships with my friends and family are the most important things in my life.

So, that’s me. Who are you?