Things You Will Learn In College, As Told By A Second Semester Senior

Things You Will Learn In College, As Told By A Second Semester Senior

Ahh, the things you do when you wake up at 5:30 A.M… draft a blog post that will actually help people? While watching “Sex and the City?” It’s like sophomore year all over again!

One episode of “Sex and the City” deals with 30-something-year-olds dealing with 20-something-year-olds. Carrie Bradshaw, being in her thirties, proposes the question, “Friend or Foe?” My first answer? Being a 23-year-old, WE’RE STILL LEARNING HOW TO NAVIGATE LIFE! GIVE US A BREAK! My second answer, maybe if you looked back on when you were 23, and what you knew, you’d empathize with us. You’re probably looking back on the mentors you had when you were in your twenties. These mentors could’ve been anybody. If you’ve just started college this past fall, or if you’re in a gap year, these rules of thumb should apply to you; you’re not left out! I said a lot about college in For the College Student(s) Having Doubts but there’s more where that came from!

  1. You don’t have to be a double major because it sounds cool.
  2. You don’t have to have a boyfriend freshman year.
  3. A “C” really isn’t that big of a deal.
  4. If you go to your professors with personal problems, you’d be amazed at how understanding they are.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and question EVERYTHING. That is your job as a college student, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If they do, make that argument.
  6. Not every professor understands mental health, but it is just as important as physical health. If you’re in a situation where a professor is ignorant of a mental health concern, tell somebody.
  7. Join a physical activity, no matter if it’s intramural or not.
  8. With that being said, try something new! Like a sorority or something.
  9. Internships are not only cool, but they give you a “leg up” in the real world.
  10. You will cherish sleep like no other.
  11. If you’re not 100%, or even 99% in love with your college, transfer.
  12. End of February-mid March and October are by the far the worst times of the school year. Why? Midterms! But the hard work will pay off.
  13. Don’t let anyone call you stupid, not even your closest friends.
  14. If any underclassmen give you shit, just smile and say “that’s cute/that’s cute you think you can intimidate me.” They should not be treating college like high school.
  15. Seek out that upperclassman you’ll look up to.
  16. BE the upperclassman that students look up to, for the right reasons.
  17. It’s 150% okay if you don’t “party.”
  18. If any high schooler from home asks if you “party,” tell them that’s not what college is all about.
  19. Getting drunk is yet another thing college isn’t about. The last thing you need is a hangover.
  20. PLEASE call your mom and/or dad, or your brother and/or sister. They miss you.
  21. PLEASE use your work-study to your advantage! Otherwise, it just goes to waste. Plus, it’s extra money in your pocket.
  22. You will have that mentor through work-study/payroll whatever you have! They’re important and will teach you everything you ever need to know.

So the final answer is, we twenty-something-year-olds want to be your friend! When in doubt, think of me as your mentor 😉 No, I’m totally kidding. But going into my second semester of senior year starting TOMORROW, these are some of the things I learned throughout my college career.

 

Coming to Peace With Your Past|A Decade in Review

Coming to Peace With Your Past|A Decade in Review

In Beyonce’s 2013 Pepsi commercial, she says at the end, “embrace your past.” This phrase didn’t ring 100% true to me until this year — the end of the decade. I’m not going to do a year in review simply because it’s the end of the 2010s and into the 2020s. Everything I’ve learned, everything I’ve become, everything I could be, happened all in this decade.

2010: My dad was fighting cancer, and I’ve learned how to live with his illness, resultantly. This meant learning how to sacrifice. This was also the year I was introduced to social media.

2011: This is the year I broke. Not only was I dealing with a four-month diagnosis of mono, but also with depression and being bullied severely.

2012: I was accepted to my top-choice private school at the beginning of January and at the end of the year, I had my first boyfriend and heartbreak within exactly two weeks!

2013: A whirlwind of things happened this year. I got my license, and I became cold-blooded — something I am not proud of. But I did discover Vine and Instagram!

2014: Began looking at colleges, did [insert an Ivy League school’s pre-college summer program] and hated it. I then started working at the hospital where my dad was treated. I also had appendicitis… who knew I would ever need surgery?

2015: Left high school behind (meaning I graduated… 8th in my class🤓). I also started college.

2016: I moved to Rhode Island two days before my twentieth birthday, and I started writing and editing for The Odyssey. In October, I went through a bad breakup. I also started writing for Her Culture. Did I mention I also started this blog!?

2017: Okay, just read ‘Cause I Still Got A Lotta Fight Left In Me | My Hospital Stay | My Mental Illness(es) where I made two bold decisions: 1) to get a diagnosis and 2) to transfer and start over at RWU.

2018: I interned at Rhode Island Monthly, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had. For more, read Here’s To The Best Summer Of My Life: A Reflection.

2019: Easy. I wrote a thesis on Docupoetics, got into Title IX advocacy, and met my love (hi, Steve! And THANK YOU, Bumble!).

I’m just going to talk about the year 2019 a little bit more in-depth. 2019 was more about learning my worth as a human being, so much more than I thought I ever would learn. Learning about who you are is one thing, but your worth is another. You can say who you are in a thirty-second elevator pitch, but you shouldn’t even have to explain your worth. I learned not to take any sh*t from sheep from different farms. I found that I am not only creative, but I am seriously courageous and surely resilient. That’s not something you can put in an Instagram bio. Speaking of bios, I went from writing “I run what you run in 10 years in 2 days” meaning I went from an immature, sub-tweeting high school track star to saying “#supportsurvivors” [of sexual assault]. With that being said, I found a career.

Coming to peace with your past is like Beyonce looking at all her past music video outfits in the dancing mirrors. I don’t know what it’s like to be in a music video, but I sure know what it’s like to see yourself in the mirror and look at how much you’ve changed in ten years’ time. Coming to peace with your past is all about moving on, learning from your mistakes and ultimately accepting them. That’s not to say there won’t be regrets. But whoever said, “will it matter in 5-10 years?” was so right.

So I say this: here’s to a new decade of life and blessings. Here’s to a decade of keeping your worth at the forefront of your wind. Here’s to a decade of more blog posts, and who knows? Maybe I’ll have a novel published at this time and I’ll be a leader of social justice. No more settling for less than you deserve, being treated as less than you are and keeping journal pages clean and full of words left unsaid.

Happy New Year! 🥂

 

 

 

 

BLOG-MAS TUESDAY: Getting Out Of The Comfort Zone | Just Trust It

BLOG-MAS TUESDAY: Getting Out Of The Comfort Zone | Just Trust It

HAPPY first day of Blog-Mas Tuesday, everyone! This idea stemmed last year but unfortunately wasn’t consistent. So, I asked, and y’all answered: “Blog-Mas Tuesday” chumps “Festive Friday Nights” (…by a landslide 😜). Nonetheless, I look back on last year’s (only) Blog-Mas Tuesday to find it was about kindness. I guess I only needed to do one last year because I’ll admit that one rocked if I do say so myself. 💁🏼‍♀️ I particularly liked that post because it was when I first got my start in Title IX, and as some people could probably tell by reading that post, a lot of plans changed.

I know what you’re thinking: this girl cannot make up her mind. No, I just don’t have a clear pathway, yet. 

As said in No one’s going to tell you what to do and/or For the College Student(s) Having Doubts, I’ve been having doubts about taking a year off. But I am feeling better about it because yesterday, I applied for a job in Boston (and may end up living there for a year or two or three, or four).

The funny thing is that I was actually recruited to apply, and although I can’t go to law school right away, this will give me a glimpse of what it’s like to live in a big city that I’ve been talking about living in since May. What’s even funnier is that I read an Instagram post that talked about getting out of the comfort zone.

The comfort zone is something no one can emerge out of easily, but it is possible. For me, getting out of my comfort zone is easier than it was than say, four years ago. Let’s be real: no successful person became successful by living in their comfort zone. It’s all about taking risks to get what you want. If that surely is the case, then I don’t think anyone wants to live in their comfort zone forever.

One thing I know for sure is that everyone wants to be comfortable, no matter if it’s in your own bed, beach house bed, or even your grandmother’s guest room. I remember sleeping on the floor in a sleeping bag at a school in Manchester, NH on a Winter Break Alternative trip when I went to SAC, with people I had yet to come to know. Then came transferring schools, which was even scarier. Moreover, on that particular service trip, I learned what going to school was like in a semi-urban community. Learning how to speak Spanish at a higher level than you’re used to is even more nervewracking because you don’t know if you’re saying everything 100% correctly. [Hint hint: this is actually what I might be doing come August 2020, so stay tuned — minus the sleeping on a floor]. 

“There may be something God has called you to that feels uncomfortable — maybe to the point where you’re not even sure if you can keep moving forward.”

Maybe this is what I was called to do at the time. Maybe this job in Boston is what I was called to do in my gap year. I shouldn’t let this terrify me; I should just trust it. But what is “it?” Fate? God? My guides? The world may never know.

No one’s going to tell you what to do

No one’s going to tell you what to do

I’ve always been a dreamer, as a kid. My “goals” in the first grade were to have three cats and live in Disney World — only to have that dream come true on Olympic Day 2013, at my high school, when I dressed up as Sleeping Beauty/Aurora and I lived like Belle: always with a nose in a [chemistry] book. I had two cats at the time. No, I did not live in Disney World.

Even in first grade, I dreamt about finishing college. I’m less than 180 days away from that, as we speak. The first time I ever had to put that on a halt was Spring 2017. The one thing I was never 100% sure of, was what I’d be doing for a career.

I can tell you this: when I first started college, I thought I’d be an oncology doctor until I was getting a warning grade in Biology and I switched from major to major. Everyone knows by now that I study Creative Writing, nonetheless at another college than I started at. With that major, everyone expected me to be an author or an editor. I thought about being an editor for a while, only to find myself on Student Senate.

I honestly don’t remember how exactly I came to be a “future lawyer,” all I know is that I want to help people.

I learned from a fellow Instagrammer that in the end, I take ownership of my life and what I do. I don’t need anyone to nag me that I need to pick a career right away, which is why I feel better about taking a year off. All I need to have is a plan B, C, D, etc. I can tell you right away that plan B may not work out for me as planned, but maybe plan C will!

Sometimes bloggers need life advice, too! But no one is going to tell you what to do, that is if you let them rule your life, which no one has the power to do.

And that’s the tea. ☕

xoxo,

April 💕

For the College Student(s) Having Doubts

For the College Student(s) Having Doubts

College really is hard. I remember when I first started college at SAC, I wasn’t sure how to balance school work and more friends than I ever had in my entire life! (Sad, but it’s true).

I’m just going to cut to the chase in this blog post (I get it, it’s my third one in a week, but my Instagram polls do not lie when people want to read more! Thank you to those who said ‘yes!’)

  1. It is indubitable that you will discover the wonders of alcohol in college. But in my senior year, I can tell you that it’s really not worth getting black/browned out drunk, no matter how stressed you are. (Yes, ‘browned out’ is an actual term).
  2. Investing in a planner, especially the right one, is totally worth it. It’s like wearing the right bra!
  3. Transferring is okay, even if that means adding an extra semester (or year) to school.
  4. Seeking counseling in college is also okay. Yes, all schools have counseling centers, depending on which one you go to.
  5. You won’t know what you’re interested in until perhaps your junior year of college. Some people find out in their freshman year, but it’s okay if you haven’t found your passion, just yet.
  6. College is not like high school, I can promise you that. I’m talking socially. There will be people who clearly haven’t matured, yet. But that’s their problem, not yours.
  7. “Rate My Professor.com” will be one of your best buddies. A subject that’s worth pursuing could be a hit or miss depending on the professor. However, I did learn from a peer mentor that some comments written about a professor are primarily students that don’t put in their best effort.
  8. With that being said, build relationships with faculty and staff! You may just get good recommendations!
  9. Go with your gut when it comes to pursuing a major. It may take about 5-6 tries (like me) but the classes you take will actually boost your resume and cover letters!
  10. Going off of that, no matter which major you choose, I promise you can do anything with it. For example, I’m a Creative Writing major who plans on going into law. That wasn’t always the case. But internships you’ve had will also boost your resume!
  11. You don’t have to have a “set” plan after graduation, but you need to at least have a plan B or C. My mom had to go far as to plan K!
  12. No one said you had to go to graduate school right away! I guess it’s time to share a life update: I’m not going to law school right away!
  13. I recommend getting a job or an internship before you graduate undergrad. Those definitely help you figure out what you want to do. Even if you’re not in college, this is the ideal situation.
  14. It’s no big deal if you don’t study abroad. I had plans to but didn’t. Everything happens for a reason.
  15. Like I said in For the Girl About to Turn 22 | Welcome to My Jordan Year (23), you don’t have to have a cool job right after graduation. I know people who didn’t find the right one until 2 years after undergrad!
  16. Life happens and you may have to take time off, it’s no big deal!
  17. In a year from now, whether you graduate summa, magna, or cum laude, that’s going to matter. Not that it even matters if you graduate with honors or not.

 

Selflessness

Selflessness

I’ve always wanted to take a psychology class, and I find myself wondering almost three times a week why I never took a class in high school. By now, everyone knows I want to be a lawyer with a concentration in family law. Well, I guess the family law part is new. But narrowing it down helps — a lot.

The last blog post I wrote, Certainly Not the Same I guess was more of a reflection, more so than Agape | I Have Changed. I do realize that “Agape” was the second blog post I ever made, and I was reminded of it specifically because I was looking through my “memories” on Facebook of the life-changing experience. As I binge-watch “Atypical” this morning before work, (a show I HIGHLY recommend you watch — it’ll open your eyes and help you relate to a few or more characters), I scroll through my Facebook feed and my Instagram to find this:

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People can fight me on this, but my initial reaction to seeing this was, “What about EMTs? Especially the one I read about in my Literary Philosophy two years ago who treated a white supremacist who spits blood on the EMT because he was African-American?” And it’s not just EMTs, people generally — and I don’t want to say “complain” that they never get anything in return — but it’s quite common.

“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” — Maya Angelou

Again, not to be morbid, but Maya Angelou actually passed away on my 18th birthday. I’ve had people compare me to Maya Angelou because I indubitably write poetry — no surprise there! This show, “Atypical” reminds me of when I was 18. Sam Gardner cares about everybody, and even gives Paige Hardaway’s Valedictorian speech for her, even after all they have been through as an off-and-on-again twosome. In one episode in Season 2, he finds that he wants to go to art school. More specifically, he wants to draw marine life. If you know the show, he adores penguins.

Moreover, when you’re feeling underappreciated, don’t, even though the feeling may seem like a natural occurrence. Some people are just so wrapped up in their own selfishness that they forget to show the tiniest bit of empathy for someone else. Nowadays, I try more than my hardest to understand people and what may be going on in their heads. I am not a mind-reader, no one is unless you’re a possible psychic. Nonetheless, I’ve learned plenty over the years to not expect anything in return. Caring is such a strong thing to do, even when people think they can’t care about anything at all because of how they feel. I can tell you right now, that you are succeeding. And I just preached all that without a psych degree. unnamed (22)

Certainly Not the Same

Certainly Not the Same

“As I sat in the booth of Quito’s with my mom, we decided to cheer, or ‘clink glasses,’ [I wasn’t yet, 21] to no regrets.”

This was written around this time three years ago at the beginning of what I like to call “Book 2,” a.k.a when I switched my major to English and I was still at SAC. Now, I am 23 years old with a whole new mindset, law school applications, and more!

I am reminded of the same “Sex and the City” phrase every single day: “You can’t stop being who you are because you’re afraid.” For those of you who have been there with me from the beginning of this blog, you’d know that I started this blog shortly after a tumultuous and insidiously controlling breakup. I basically lived a “Sex and the City” lifestyle, minus the infamous sex. (For clarification, I’m still a virgin). This includes dying my hair a dark brown and giving myself a whole new “look.”

One fellow writer of mine posed a question on Instagram not too long ago that asked, “when you die, would you rather be remembered in small snippets of someone’s memory or a statue?”

Remembering this question, and I’m not trying to be morbid, but that me that I was referring to in that last paragraph was just but a ghost of all the women (or girls, considering I’m in my early 20’s) that I used to be. I’m listening to Katy Bellotte’s latest podcast episode of “Thick & Thin,” appropriately titled “Feeling hopeless & redefining yourself.” That me that I was referring to certainly felt hopeless and tried to redefine herself from “so-and-so’s ex-girlfriend” because I certainly did not want to be known as an accessory. Katy alludes to her ever-popular YouTube videos, and she, too, mentions how she changed.

Let’s face it, she and I both graduated from the “cutesy talk,” and we both discovered alcohol come college. However, she did also say there is no shame in being vulnerable, which is something I’ve learned to preach, as well. And as we age, we really do change! Time moves us onto bigger and better things, and we learn, develop, and edit. What mattered a year ago doesn’t matter to me anymore. What mattered two years ago no longer matters, and so on. It’s all about how you redefine and market yourself, as I mentioned in Getting Real About Fitting In. SPOILER: Standing Out Is So Much Better.

That me wanted to be who I am today. I just had a friend tell me that my Instagram makes her happy because I don’t put up any fronts and that I’m all about spreading positivity — hi, Allie! I have my moments, who doesn’t? Whoever doesn’t have their moments is clearly robotic.

Moreover, I realized who I am, and I have the stamina and motivation to fulfill that persona. Except, I don’t have to be a persona. I may not be the same person I was 2-3 years ago, but I am me. In fact, things are going so well that I lost track of what book I’m on. Quality, not quantity, people!

 

 

Believing | 3 years (and counting) of this blog

Believing | 3 years (and counting) of this blog

Life is full of possibilities. I’ve learned that throughout my time at RWU. So much has changed in one year, two years, and evidently three years after starting this blog. This includes but is not limited to my outlook on life, my career path, and my interests. I watched this video, and I have to say, it’s spot-on.

If you believe you have a happiness that lies within you, for example, you will be happy. If you believe that “all guys are the same,” you won’t find that love you deserve. Did I mention I found love again? All this time I thought I was a Carrie Bradshaw but it turns out I really am a Miranda! (only people who’ve watched “Sex and the City” will get it)

Moreover, simply dreaming about that love, job, positive mindset, etc. is easy to do. But the truth of the matter is that life, and all the little blessings and/or luxuries that come with it, don’t come easy. They’re not meant to come easy. Nothing is meant to come 100% easy.

We all know that math is tough, as said in The Correlation of Hummingbirds, Dancing, and Algebra, but dealing with anxiety, depression, and PTSD isn’t easy either. “Everything is okay,” is what I’ve been telling myself since I first started high school, despite bullies and flunking math tests. But the one thing I wasn’t cognizant of was that deep down, despite nearly failing math, I believed I would get into private school and excel. I even let this one kid in my English class call me stupid in front of everyone and said that I belonged in Hufflepuff (which doesn’t even exist, unless you live in Harry Potter’s world) because I would soon be rid of them. Besides, being in Hufflepuff doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it actually means you’re nicer and loyal than most. Go ahead and chew on that.

Even when I say “my dumb bunny butt,” sometimes, I don’t believe I’m stupid. In fact, I believe and know I’m the opposite of such. I am by no means an “underachiever,” and I don’t need to watch “Legally Blonde” two more times to instill that belief within myself. Three years ago, I actually got “My story ;sn’t over yet” on my left shoulder” to remind myself that there are pages still left to write, minds and hearts to inspire, a cat to take care of, grad school apps to be sent out, and more!

 

Spooky Season = Anxiety Season?

Spooky Season = Anxiety Season?

Hello, (A)pril-listers! April here with my first post of the month of October (mainly procrastinating two essays! Yikes! I’m here, to tell the truth about October. October has always been my “worst month,” but it hasn’t been completely terrible beginning in 2017.

October is not only pumpkin spice season, but it is also known as “spooky season.” That term has been thrown around a lot since October’s beginning. But could this ostensible spooky season also be known as anxiety season?

There is no doubt that I suffer from anxiety; I’ve been very open about it. The one thing I get anxious about the most is uncertainty, and this is especially true this week as I spend my free time in between classes prepping for the LSAT. I have narrowed down to [lucky] three law schools. But that is beside the point. October seems to serve as a crucible for students, like myself. Did I mention it’s also Mental Health Day? Perfect timing, April! 👏

My mentor/professor was right: sometimes I do bite off more than I can chew, as they say. In fact, I sat in my therapist’s office, eyes barely open to let tears come streaming out of them. I was exhausted from being super busy. Needless to say, I had to cut one major activity out of my life, which was a shame because I wanted to try it and hopefully make a difference. But as it turns out, I already was making a difference in making my campus safer, one step at a time, according to another mentor of mine. I could go on about how “hustle culture” is extremely toxic and only leads to the inevitable “burning out,” which I have done on more occasions than I can count on ten fingers.

How one perceives of October is a choice, and it’s all about how you make of it. It’s not a fact that October may be a s**tty month because it’s merely a statement of opinion. When you say something often enough it becomes true. This is a manifestation procedure, as said in spiritual terms. It is your choice to make the spooky season less “spooky” and less “anxiety-provoking.” As I sat down with one of my mentors, she mentioned that you have to have self-care methods, this may include a mental health day as well as a cup of green tea with milk and sugar. It just goes to show that talking to people helps, too! I certainly don’t need a degree in psychology to know that there are methods for dealing with each emotion.

Moreover, enjoy “spooky season” while it lasts, and don’t let it become an anxiety season. If it does, use your resources and always ask for help when needed. 

Week In The Life of a Blogger/Busy College Student!

Week In The Life of a Blogger/Busy College Student!

It has been two weeks since I posted a blog post. You can definitely say things have been busy according to the April Diaries! With that, it is the last weekend of September which only calls for something I promised a long time ago… a week in the life!

Monday

11:00AM: Work-Study! My job is being the editor-in-chief of the English/Creative Writing department zine, “Voices.”

*Depending on the day, I also work table times for clubs and Student Senate*

1:00PM: Queer Theatre and Drama class!

6:30PM: Student Senate meeting!

In between class and Senate, I have time to do homework or go home and chill for a while.

Tuesday

9:30AM: Advancing Public Argument class!

11:00AM: Another work-study meeting!

12:00PM: LUNCHTIME! I usually get a Chicken Ranch Wrap or Sushi.

2:00-3:20PM: African Literature class! I have been waiting so long to take a course like this!

3:30PM: Get (a billionth) coffee of the day. Have you ever had the Pumpkin Spice Chai from Starbucks???

5:00-6:20PM: Math class! As mentioned in The Correlation of Hummingbirds, Dancing, and Algebra, I’m taking (guess what) College Algebra!

6:30PM: Women’s Collective for Violence Prevention and Victim Empowerment Eboard or general meetings! I serve as Vice President of the club!

Wednesday

11:00AM: CPC (Community Partnership Center) Publication meetings!

1:00PM: Queer Theatre and Drama class!

2:00PM: Academic Affairs meetings! This counts as one of my Senate committee meetings.

3:00PM: LUNCHTIME! (Late, I know).

4:00PM: Finance meetings! This is another one of my Senate committee meetings.

*Depending on the Wednesday, I usually have to go to meetings of clubs I represent, CPC full-staff meetings, RISC or Title IX meetings*

Thursday

9:30AM: Advancing Public Argument class!

2-4:50PM: How to Write Your Novel class! This is one of the classes I have to take as a Creative Writing major.

5-6:20PM: Math class!

8:00PM: Hawks’ Herald Eboard meetings (though I am not technically a part of their executive board, I still have to go because I’m their Organization Senate Representative). This is also the school newspaper (that I took a break from) but I chose to write for them, again!

(Fabulous) Friday

9AM-12PM: My advocacy internship at Day One Rhode Island!

1:00PM: Queer Theatre and Drama class!

2-3:20PM: African Lit!

3:30-4:30PM: Senate office hours!

Finally, let the weekend commence!

Saturday and Sunday

The weekend usually varies for me. Saturday’s I’m most likely doing homework, studying, writing, or hanging out with a friend or two. Then Sunday is the day I set aside to hang out with my boyfriend (hi, Steve!)