Monday, January 21, 2013

Snow and Things

... because it Snowed this morning, and I did Things.

Hello my dearest blog readers! I come to you on this snowy Sunday to bestow upon you all a LIFE UPDATE. Please, keep your seats and contain your excitement.

I have successfully completed my first week of the new year, and I think it went quite well. But right now I want to give you a little glimpse into one of the classes I took last semester. It was a Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) seminar, and we met once a week. My roommate and friend Hannah was in the class with me. Our class discussions were about ourselves and our classmates, how we all saw the world and lived in it differently, and how we could use our different strengths to be good leaders.

Unfortunately, Hannah and I had made a habit the first few class meetings of walking in a minute or two late. So I walked into my third or fourth class a full five minutes early, without Hannah. She had another obligation the hour before, and would come separately. I felt safe in presuming that--because I was now early-- she had been a negative influence on me and my punctuality, and thus I removed all the blame from myself and onto her.
Once everyone was present and settled in, our peer mentor (who lead the class) informed us that today we would be asked some questions which required us to take a stance and talk about it. You know, the kind where you choose "Agree with," "Do not agree with," or "Unsure." 
If I had been presented with the scenario "This activity will go over well and without a hitch," I would have placed myself firmly in "Unsure." The questions we were asked were sensitive, dealing with perceptions of women, sexuality, etc. And though we were a group of women, we were still diverse, and very opinionated. I feared, when we were presented with our first scenario, that the resulting discussion would be more like chaos and anarchy. 
But for the next 50 minutes I was pleased to see rational discussion from my peers (and myself! I participated). Though we represented a vast array of opinions and backgrounds, everyone was conscientious toward others. A disagreement didn't take the form of "you are wrong, I am right," but as "I had never thought of it that way, allow me to explain how I have always seen it." It was refreshing, and made me a little bit less cynical about human nature. 
Plus, it totally affirmed  my belief that women are well-suited to run the world. 
I had a wonderful time in that class, and I am sad that it is done. But I am glad to have taken it, and I know I have grown as a person as a result.

With diplomacy,

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Return of the King

... or, as it were, the Return of the Person Who has Not Blogged for a Very Long Time-- and who is also more Queen material, all things considered. 

Hello my dearest blog readers!

Oh my... has it really been 16 months since my last blog post? It seems that I have, as the Whovians would say, "pulled a Rose Tyler."*

But alas, I was not off having wild adventures with Christopher Eccleston. I was having wild adventures in IOWA. But you already knew that, because I last left you at the very beginning of my University Adventure.

I can tell you that it has been quite a ride. Recently after my last post, I met my current boyfriend, David. He is amazing, nerdy, silly, and I love him. I also made some amazing friends, met some stellar (and some not-so-stellar) professors, and had some great adventures.

I've just wrapped up my THIRD WHOLE SEMESTER of university, and boy was it a doozy. I thought that my senior year of high school was hard, but my freshman year at college proved to be twice as hard. And then my first semester as a sophomore proved that HOO BOY, my freshman year was easy compared to what is ahead.

Essentially, my dear readers, I am telling you that I have really had to get my shit together. I did rather badly my first year, and I spent the last 4 months picking up my own slack. But I am PLEASED to inform you that I managed all Bs and As this semester!** <does the good grades dance>

I feel as though I have so much to tell you, but I don't even know where to begin. I suppose I can leave that to another blog. Perhaps I will write a blog in the style of a short story. In the mean time, I love you all VERY much, and I hope that I can blog more frequently in the future.

With returnedness,

*I very recently watched my first few episodes of Doctor Who, aren't you proud? My how I have grown in the past year and a half!

**Mostly Bs, but I am hardly complaining.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

BEDA Day 25: My Reading Life as a Math Problem

The relationship between my reading life and my social life is similar to an inverse function in math; as one variable increases, the other decreases.
When I was in gradeschool, I read all the time, often several books a week. However, when I hit high school, I stopped reading almost entirely. And now I am trying to start reading again. How is this trend related to my social life, you ask? Allow me to explain.
Take for example my reading habits as a young, elementary-school child: I read. A lot. When I was in third grade I discovered the Nancy Drew Mystery novels; it soon became my goal to read one a day (a task which I-- for the most part-- completed). After Nancy Drew, I sought out other novels to satiate my desire for a short, controlled thrill (nothing too crazy, please), and thusly found other mystery series. Though the Hardy Boys didn’t do it for me, I gleefully devoured series such as the hilarious Chet Gecko mysteries, Encyclopedia Brown brain teasers, and the ever-impressive Freddie the Detective chapter books. We are talking 200 to 300 pages of ego-boosting, vocabulary-enhancing mystery.
While I practically ate my way through the books in the school library, bookstores, and gifts from kindly relatives, I didn’t realise that I was compensating for something. An old diary of mine from the sixth grade recently resurfaced, which lent a certain insight to this very topic. In one entry, I remarked on how very unfortunate it was that some people did not know the joys of reading.
“When I am sad,” I enthused, “I can just open a book and read about someone else’s life. Maybe theirs is worse than mine, which makes me feel better. Or maybe it is more exciting, but I get so caught up in the adventure that I have no room to be sad.”
I can only imagine that I fancifully wrote this diary entry (with a quill pen and ink, as I recall), because I was trying to convince myself that my life wasn’t so bad, something of which I was not at all convinced at the time.
In elementary school I busied myself with reading for three reasons. The first was that I had few friends. From kindergarten to about second grade, everyone gets along with everyone. But eventually cliques form, and I found myself eschewed from every group that developed from the vile gunk known as “pre-teen drama.”
The second reason was that I didn’t particularly like my classmates anyway. With a few exceptions, I found most of them repulsive, willfully ignorant, mean-spirited, and dull. Which perhaps explains why I did not fit into any of the cliques. At the time I felt desolate and lonely, though I can see clearly a very few years later that it was a godsend to be outcast in those dark years.
The third and final reason I read all throughout gradeschool was because my schoolwork did not present me with a challenge. In English and Literature classes I always seemed to be twenty steps ahead of everyone else (most probably as a result of being well-read). The science classes at my grade school were a joke, and the Spanish department got new teachers every year, so we did the same coursework year after year. The only classes I really had to try in were my math classes. So while I wasn’t doing my math homework, I read. I am ashamed to admit that if I found my other assignments to be asinine or demeaning, I would blow them off in favor of reading.
So, as an elementary school kid, I was bored with school, didn’t quite fit in with my classmates, nor did I want to, and therefore I read. Reading took me away from the sadness I felt by not fitting in, even when I knew in my head that I didn’t want to be like them. Reading gave me a sense of intellectuality that I couldn’t find in my school work. As my social life was lacking in those years, my reading life was flourishing. 

As the social life decreases, the reading life increases.
Enter high school.
If gradeschool was too easy and too cliquey, high school was everything but. My high school was Heaven disguised as a private, all-girls Catholic high school in Kansas City, Missouri. Subtract the boys and the cliques cancel out; you are left with girls who get along with one another! Add some actual classwork and you get students who care about their academics and have a future. After my first month, I knew it was love. “This, I thought, “is what I have been missing.”
I made friends, I enjoyed my classes. I stopped being so shy, so quiet, so reserved. I finally noticed that I have a really loud laugh that can be annoying, but I don’t care because, gosh darn it, I am laughing and I am happy. I learned to stop caring so much about what other people think of me and to know that if I am open someone will want to be my friend. In the midst of the chaos, I forgot to keep reading.
“When I am sad, I can just open a book and read about someone else’s life.”
I didn’t want someone else’s life then, because I was happy with mine. Books had meant an escape to me, and at the time in my life I didn’t feel pressured, trapped, or in any need of an escape. So I didn’t read. In the past four years, I read a shamefully small number of books.
As the social life increases, the reading life decreases.
This past summer I worked thirty hours a week. It was a tiring job. I got done in the evening, and all I wanted to do when I got home each day was eat, shower, and sleep. I didn’t see my friends very often, and I feared growing apart from them. The job I had was not what I wanted to do, and I was unhappy being out of school. Again, I felt trapped. Only this time, it was slightly different.
Rather than not having them, I knew that I could make friends. I knew I already had friends, and that though we were scattering across the country for school, we will always be friends.  I knew that coming to Iowa State was my next step, and that the academics would be challenging. But at the time, I didn’t have these things. I wasn’t hanging out with my friends from high school. I hadn’t made my new friends yet. I wasn’t taking any classes. I felt like I was in limbo.
So I picked up a book and read it. In two days.
As the social life decreases, the reading life increases.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

BEDA Day 23: Taking a break

... from writing a paper so that I can write a blog, and then-- when I am done-- read things that other people wrote. 

Hello my dearest blog readers!

I come to you today at a late, though not unreasonable, hour. I have just spent the past several hours working on homework, which is both TERRIFYING and WONDERFUL. It is terrifying because good gravy it is only my second day of classes! It is wonderful because I have missed being in school.

Today I met my Spanish teacher, who is energetic and crazy. She gesticulates wildly, is theatrical, and is all-around a LOVELY person. I think I will enjoy her class immensely, even more so because it is discussion-based. I have grown tired of grammar after 12 years of it.

The other day I was walking down the hall and I heard a guy say the most adorable thing. Someone asked him how he had been recently, and he responded, "Just peachy keen, jelly bean!" Said with the right amount of enthusiasm and sincerity, this line could make any girl fall for a guy, I am absolutely sure of it.*

As for now, I am going to continue my short break and attempt to catch up on the dozens of blogs I have fallen behind on the past few days, and then do some reading assignments. So much reading there is, yes there is.

With keenness,

*No I am not, but we can pretend I am, shall we? We shall. Read on.

Monday, August 22, 2011

BEDA Day 22: Hitting the books

... metaphorically speaking, of course. I would never physically abuse a book, they are such wonderful companions, so knowledgeable!

Well hello there, my dearest blog readers! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! I certainly did. I had so much fun on Saturday that I forgot to blog. Sunday was more tame, but it seems that the internet was a bit hung over still, because it wasn't functioning properly. Ah well! Here is a blog for TODAY,  my first day of classes!

I had four classes today, and they were roughly as follows:

10AM- Calculus
There were, to say the least, a LOT of people in this class. I was one of the first there (being the eager beaver I am, and also desirous of a seat in front, which I got). I met a girl who is also in one of my learning communities, which was awesome. As we chatted the room kept filling up. And filling up... and filling up. Until finally there were 192 students packed into one lecture hall. I counted them myself.*

11AM- Chemistry
There were quite a few more people than a LOT. I would estimate closer to HOLY BAJEEZUS, isn't this a fire hazard??**

1PM- Honors
This isn't so much a typical class as it is a "get to know the 15 students in your Honors Program section, while sometimes doing projects, and-- oh yeah, your library class is built in and made a lot shorter so you don't have to remember to start coming halfway through the semester and take agonizingly easy tests, YOU'RE WELCOME" class. Plus, they gave us starbursts. I mean. Come on.

3PM- English
Pretty self-explanatory, really. We read, we write. The section I'm in is with other Honors Students, so I won't have to deal with TOO MANY blithering idiots. And there are about 25-30 of us in a class. I didn't count.***

Now I am sitting in my room writing assignments in my planner for the next few months. And I should probably get started on my assignments due tomorrow or Wednesday. Yes, we already have assignments! In EVERY class so far!

Well, considering that I just started to write a really long-winded rant about a line in the Wizard of Oz, I think that it is time to call the blog quits (just for today!) and go do some homework. 

With business to attend to,

*If "counting" means "writing down the number that the professor casually dropped."

**Which is roughly 450, if the professor can be trusted. Which I think he can. I mean, at the end of class he exploded several balloons in bursts of flame. What's not to trust?

***I did however count that there were 3 Matthews, 2 Christophers, 2 Katelyns, and 2 other boys whose names I cannot remember. I mean JEEZ I've been here for a week and heard a hundred names, I can't remember everyone!

Friday, August 19, 2011

BEDA Day 19: Tiger

Hello my dearest blog readers!

Do you know what would be really nice? Having a pet tiger. 

If I ever become a very influential and important ambassador for the United States, I shall have a grand estate on foreign soil-- perhaps in India or the Philippines. And although that grand estate will certainly have a most excellent security system (rigged by myself, of course, with my vast knowledge of engineering), it will need something more... tangible... to intimidate lesser criminals who may not understand the sheer idiocy of trying to break into my estate. Enter the tiger.

The tiger will be my pet, my adoring servant. I shall be a fair and just master, but a master all the same. The tiger, whose name will be Elvira Jamere the Feared, will be like to a guard dog. She will live to protect me and my domain, and she shall prowl the grounds of my estate, hunting down those who seek my downfall. After all, every noteworthy person in the world has those who would wish them harm.

Oh but they did not count on Elvira Jamere. 

With fearsomeness,

PS Sometimes I have to indulge myself in these wild fancies. And because it is BEDA, tonight you were dragged into this, for which I apologize most deeply. Have a wonderful night.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

BEDA Day 18: New fran

Hello my dearest blog readers! Today I rode the bus ALL BY MYSELF.* It was quite the adventure. We even missed the bus just as it left! My life is going to get exciting, I can tell!

I was a very productive little college girl today. A list of my ACTIVITIES includes:

1. Rereading The Alchemist (summer assignment) and annotating the whole thing.
2. Finding the printing lab and discovering that my allotted paper balance has not be set yet (engineering students get TONS of free paper).
3. Going to lunch with my roommate and a NEW FRIEND, who popped into our room and asked if we had eaten yet (which we hadn't).
4. Riding the BUS to Target to pick up more food (because of COURSE we need more) and a few other things.
5. Being accosted by a NERDFIGHTER in my small group for the welcome weekend. (She saw my VidCon lanyard and asked, "Did you really go to VidCon??")
6. Watching a martial arts demonstration and getting a flier to join the club (yet ANOTHER potential club to add to my ever-growing list)
7. Walking by a dance flash mob.
8. Learning the school fight song and various other chants while the band performed. SUPERB.
9. Laughing my ass off at the motivational speaker, who had me in stitches for about 45 minutes.
10. Discovering that I have the room to myself until after midnight and consequently eating a lot of frosted animal crackers and goldfish.

Man, I do not like lists. But I also do not like writing blogs under the stress of "YOU HAVE FIVE MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT, GO GO GO, WRITE A GOOD FUNNY BLOG!" But really, who writes in those conditions?

With fatigue,

*With my roommate.