It’s About Time! (My Return to Posting)

Hey everyone!!

With my class and work schedules, obviously blogging every day isn’t working out very well, so let’s revamp a little. I can’t promise you a new post every day, but I will continue to post when I can. I will try to keep it varied, with Quotes of the Day, Free Write Fridays, and Thankful Thursdays, as well as some new stuff, so stay tuned!!

Like I said, my schedule is hectic this semester, but that’s all changed now that it is…

**drumroll**

… SPRING BREAK!!!!! PAAAAR-TAAAAYYY!!

Just kidding. I am on Spring Break, but no parties for me. Instead, I am taking the opportunity to pick up more shifts at work. I know, I know, I am a madwoman.

Though I’ve been busy, I still have time for some fun. Here are some things I’ve done since my last post:

  • Discovered Pokémon. I know I may be a little late to the game, but I am officially addicted.( I may or may not have watched over 40 episodes since Spring Break started on Friday…)
  • Cosmic Bowling. Lights, music, friends… What could be better? I am officially horrible, but we have fun, and that’s what counts, right? (But seriously, I’m awful.)
  • Went Hiking. There is a river near town, and Jake, Ryan, and I went exploring. It was the perfect way to end a stressful week.

And last but not least…

  • Met a Guy. I won’t go into details now, but he is great. He is also a writer. (Far better than me, if I am to be perfectly honest.) He recently started a blog. Go check him out here.

That’s all for now, but hopefully you will be hearing from me again soon!!

I Think I’m Gonna Like it Here

Hello everyone!

It is a beautiful, yet horribly cold, morning here at Doane campus. The line at the coffee shop is stretched halfway across campus, everywhere you look you can see bags from the bookstore or packages from Amazon, and students are out and about before 10. It can all add up to only one thing: Spring Classes have officially started.

I’ve just gotten out of my first class: Advanced Writing. When I first signed up for this course, I wasn’t sure what to expect. As much as I love to write, I hate discussing the technicalities and rules involved, and I wasn’t looking forward to having to write a bunch of  formal essays or papers. I was very pleasantly surprised when I came to class today.

From what I can gather from the first day, this class is going to be awesome. Each student gets to pick a genre to focus on for the semester, be it fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, or academic writing. We will write and share and critique each others’ writing in a casual, constructive atmosphere. The theory side of things will focus less on the rules of writing and more on why an author would choose to write a certain way or about a certain topic. I think I’m gonna like it here.

Now here’s to the rest of my classes today (Modern American Literature, Intro. to Fiction, and Choir) being just as awesome. If not, well, at least I will start my day in a good mood. 🙂

Top 5 Reasons I Love My Job

I work at an after school program for middle-schoolers, and though I may complain about it I do really love my job. Here are just a few of the reasons why.

#5. Free food

We have this tradition, that whenever one of the clubs makes food, they make enough for the rest of the teachers. This results in anything from cookies, to pies, to pizza, which is great, even if they are sometimes questionably made. 🙂 We also occasionally do dinners for the kids, including a Thanksgiving Dinner which included turkey, stuffing, and all the trimmings for us and the kids.

#4. Good discussions

Last week I had a half hour discussion on the literary criticisms and qualifications of Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, and Twilight. I was talking to three 12-year-old girls. I never prouder of them than I was when they were able to give concise, well thought out reasons that Harry Potter is a much better book series than Twilight.

#3. It’s an excuse to be creative 

I usually run a craft club, and it has given me the opportunity to try out all of the projects I have pinned on my pinterest boards. 🙂 The coolest thing though, is how creative the kids are. I can give them the basic structure of a project, and they will take it in a totally different direction than I was thinking, and the finished product is way better than I could ever have imagined.

#2. I paid to act silly

One of my favorite things about my job is that I get to act like a middle-schooler. I get to play card games and foursquare, watch spongebob and Disney movies, and sing silly songs for absolutely no reason. AND I’m getting paid!

#1. Kids are honest 

The thing about working with kids is that they tend not to have a filter. At all. Though this can, and does, get them in trouble, I find it very refreshing. Whether it’s good (“You sing really good.”) or bad (“You were prettier before you dyed your hair. I don’t like it.”) you know what they are telling you the truth.

Bloodlines: A Book Review

Hey Everyone!

Sorry for my radio silence over the last few days. It was partly due to the fact that I was visiting family and was only sporadically around my laptop. Mostly though, it was because I have been reading.

I recently decided to reread one of my favorite series, Bloodlines, by Richelle Mead. Now before you ask, yes it is technically a vampire series, but is about so much more than that. (SIDE NOTE: It’s actually a spin-off series from Mead’s Vampire Academy series, the first of which is being made into a movie coming out in 2014.) 

The main character is Sydney Sage, a human raised in a secret society (Alchemists) dedicated to protecting the world from finding out about the ‘evil’ vampires. She is assigned a job that any other Alchemist would dread: living with a vampire princess in hiding and her half vampire body guards. Already on thin ice for getting ‘too close’ to vampires in the past, Sydney must find a balance between her job and her new friendships with her charges. She has to choose between what she has always been taught and what she is starting to see with her own eyes.

To top it all off, the job requires her to pose as a high school student which, since she was home-schooled her whole life, is a totally new experience for Sydney. Though she is acing her classes, she is way out of her league when it comes to teenage social interactions.

There are so many other great things about this series, but I don’t have the time to write it all here. (Plus I don’t want to spoil anything.) You’ll just have to read the books. 🙂

I own the first three books, Bloodlines, the Golden Lily, and the Indigo Spell, and I JUST found out the forth one, Fiery Heart is available. I hope to be adding that one to my shelf in the near future.

I definitely recommend this series to anyone interested in fantasy, mystery, romance, or action books.

My Life Monday: My Family

Hello, and welcome to My Life Monday, the day when I get to let you know more about me!!!

This week’s random fact: I come from a fairly large matriarchal family.

On my mom’s side anyway. My great grandma had seven children: six girls, one boy. They grew up, got married, had three of four kids each, and now some of their kids have kids. In most of these resulting families, the majority of the siblings were girls. In fact, only two couples have more sons than daughters. Because of this, it’s no wonder the women tend to run things in the family.

Though we are a large group and spread out across the region, we plan an event on every major holiday where we try to get together. These are planned by my Great-Aunts, and include anywhere from 20 to 60 people, usually in relatively small homes.

Growing up, I loved when my cousins would bring their boyfriends to a holiday. Understandably they were overwhelmed. They not only had to deal with the Uncles, who are experts in embarrassment and awkward conversations, but they had to get approval from my Great Grandma. If Grandma didn’t approve of your significant other, odds are the relationship wouldn’t last. It was very interesting to see people uncomfortable in a situation that felt so normal to me.

This Thursday, I will be heading up to the big family Thanksgiving. Wish me luck!

Harry Potter, Politics, and High School Speech Meets

Yay! It’s my first My Life Monday! The day where I get to tell you more about me!!

Every day I spend the lunch hour sitting in the campus coffee shop in a circle of couches, surrounded by music and theatre majors.

Theatre (and music) kids, in my opinion, are the best friends you can have. I have found that they are about the most accepting, eclectic, and crazy people (on our campus, at least). Our conversations can range from normal, to philosophical, to ranting, to humorous, to alarmingly inappropriate and back again all in a span of five minutes or less.

Most of us have competed in high school speech, and many are judges now, so today we had a 20 minute discussion on what poems, programs, and scripts work in competitive speech, and which ones should just never see the light of day again. Meanwhile, I was crocheting on one couch while someone else was knitting. Several people were on tumblr and would occasionally interrupt someone to share a particularly funny gif with everyone. People left and people joined, but the flow of conversation never ceased.

And then suddenly we were on the topic of Harry Potter.

I  love that I have the type of friends that not only know exactly which Hogwarts House they are in, but can seriously discuss the pros and cons of each, then seamlessly shift into a friendly debate over the current American political system.

I never know what I’m going to hear in conversations. We are equally likely to discuss the thematic and symbolistic meaning behind a specific character in a play or novel as we would be to have a dead baby joke competition.

I love my lunch hours with my friends, because I know whatever I say or do I will be accepted.

Major Changes—Changing My Major

Ever since junior high, I knew I wanted to teach English. My teachers encouraged me; my classmates expected it—I was already informally tutoring several of them. During my junior/senior years, while others scrambled to figure out their life plan, what they would do, where would they go, I was content in the fact I already had it figured out: I would go to Doane, major in English/Language Arts education, and in four years I would have a teaching job waiting for me, thanks to Doane’s 100% placement guarantee.

Freshman year was the same. While others were trying to pick a major, I knew exactly what my next four years would look like.

I was so excited at the beginning of my sophomore year: I got my first practicum placement. I would be spending five hours a week in a real-life seventh grade classroom teaching lessons and making observations. I absolutely loved my cooperating teacher and my students, and I was even more psyched about someday having my very own classroom.

That was the peak of my enthusiasm towards being an educator. Ever since then, my excitement has decreased steadily. I found myself dreading going to my placements, taking shortcuts on lessons and assignments, and even occasionally skipping my education classes.

Recently I’ve been putting a lot of thought into where I want to be in 10 years, and lately, it hasn’t been in a classroom. I just don’t see myself teaching anymore. So I gathered my courage, and changed my major and added two minors, with only three semesters left to make it all happen.

For the first time in almost ten years, I have no idea where I am going to end up. I am terrified, yet at the same time thrilled about the many possibilities that await me. All I know for sure is I want to write.

I received a variety of reactions from my friends and family when I told them the big news. Some of my friends have been super supportive, while others respond with, “But you would have been a great teacher!” My fellow education majors were bummed that I was leaving the program, and envious that I wouldn’t have to deal with the daily stress that it entailed.

My parents want me to stick with teaching since it’s the ‘safe’ route. I know if I stick with Education, be set for the rest of my life; everything laid out before me, a perfect plan. But that isn’t where my heart is, not anymore.

I have found passion in writing and editing, and I am psyched to see where this path will take me. I could end up in Lincoln, or New York City. I could be an editor for a publishing company, or a bestselling author.

I have no idea, and that is exhilarating.

As always, let me know what you think in Comments!!!

A Spontaneous Limerick

As I’ve mentioned before, my friend Jake and I frequently find empty classrooms in which to hang out and do homework. (By the way, you should check out his new blog here) Lately we have been collaborating on poetry, both for assignments and just for fun. This is usually a long process, in which we fill every available bit of marker board with ideas for lines, rhyme schemes, possible words, and syllable counts.

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Jake writing out one of last night’s poems/checking his phone.

Last week, we were writing a villanelle about a boring class for an assignment. It was taking us longer than usual, because not only did it have a strict rhyme scheme, it had to be in iambic pentameter. About halfway through, we spontaneously wrote this limerick along the same lines (sorry, mild swearing):

I’m falling asleep in class;

This professor is kicking my ass.

I stifle a yawn.

What page are we on?

There’s no way I’m gonna pass!

Of course this one only took us about five minutes, but it’s one of my favorites that we’ve written so far.

UPDATE: Here is a link to the original assigned poem, posted on Jake’s blog.

As always, comments and feedback are awesome!!

Being Thankful: Not Just For November

November is the the month of thankfulness. Every year people post on their social media how grateful they are about everything for 30 days, and then go on with their everyday lives for the other 11 months of the year.

I think being thankful is important, and not just one month a year. Therefore, I am officially adding a requirement to my postings for the rest of my year:

At least once a week, I will post at least three new things I am grateful for.

Every week.

For a year.

This will be fun. 🙂

That being said, here are the first three things I am grateful for!

#1. My dad.

My dad and I have always been close. In fact, our family says we are practically the same person. We have very similar personalities, and identical senses of humor. In junior high and high school, my classmates were mortified at the thought of being seen with their parents in public. I was always like, “Yeah, I’m hanging out with my dad today, what of it?”

Since I started college (in a town roughly two hours away from home) I’ve only gotten to see my dad about once a month: whenever I go home, or when my family comes to see me.

Last weekend my dad was in town on business, and so we got to spend the day together for the first time in a long time. We got lunch, talked about life, and shopped for smartphone data plans.

It was so great being able to talk about everything from where I am going in my life, to what my siblings are up to, to how you would explain slang phrases, such as “Is that a thing?”

#2. Epona Horse Rescue.

I volunteer a few hours a week at a local horse rescue near Doane. I am so grateful they are here for two reasons.

The first is for the animals. Epona rescues a variety of animals: horses, donkeys, mules, ponies, goats, you name it. They nurse sick and malnourished animals back to health, train and rehabilitate ‘problem horses’ so they can be re-homed, and provide a permanent sanctuary for animals with disabilities that prevent them from being adopted.

The second reason is for me. Whenever I feel stressed, or overwhelmed with everything that is expected of a college student, I go out to Epona and spend some time with the animals. They don’t judge, and they don’t expect anything from me (apart from their food, and a pocketful of treats). Their generally calming presence helps me to forget about my worries and focus on the positives in my life.They help me just as much as I help them, if not more.

#3. My Job.

Or rather, the people I work with. I work at Fazoli’s, a semi-fast food Italian restaurant. The job itself is not always fun, but the friends I have made there make coming in to work worthwhile. It is always a fun, energetic atmosphere, and I am so glad for that. I have heard so many horror stories from people who work in fast food that hate their jobs/coworkers. We are friends and joke around while we work, and that makes all the difference.

I hope you enjoyed the first of my weekly gratitudes! As always, feel free to comment! Let me know what you are thankful for today!

Our Unintentional Ghost Hunt

Okay, so already I am off to a bad start by not posting when I am supposed to. So, instead of me posting yesterday, how about I tell you what I did on Wednesday, or rather, Wednesday night.

My friend Jake and I are both commuter students, so we have started a tradition of finding an empty classroom on campus every night where we hang out, do homework and watch tv shows.

We go to Doane College, a small Liberal Arts school in Nebraska. We have a fairly old campus, and some of the buildings have really interesting legends and histories attached to them.

Last night, we decided to watch the Conjuring in one of the classrooms in Gaylord, which just so happens to be the most haunted building on campus.

Bad idea.

Let me take a minute to say that I am a skeptic when it comes to the supernatural; I always try to find possible mundane reasons for things I see, hear, or feel. But when it comes to Gaylord, I firmly believe there is something there. Especially after last night.

We set up shop in a fourth floor classroom at about 10:30 pm. We played the movie on the projector, turned off the lights, and prepared to be scared. We had both seen the movie before, so we were doing alright, me crocheting a scarf, and Jake Snap Chatting. Then about ten minutes in, we both got the feeling we were not alone in that room. This wasn’t the first time we had felt that in this building, so neither of us were too concerned. Usually it was just a feeling.

Jake took a Snapchat of himself, and found that he was surrounded by orbs. We figured it could just be dust in the room; it was an old building after all. So we took another picture, this time at a different angle. The orbs appeared in the same places in relation to us. We wiped off the lens and flash, and tried once more, from a third angle. They were still there. This was weird, but we decided that we could ignore it, and tried to get back into the movie.

Then my friend started to feel a tapping on his shoulder. Taptaptap, taptaptap. He told meand it stopped for a few seconds, then started again. Taptaptap! He looked over his shoulder and said, ‘Stop that!’, and it did. The next moment, I felt something flick my ear. I thought maybe it was just my hair, but then it happened again. And again.

Needless to say, we decided that it was time to leave.

As we were packing up we took a couple more pictures, this time with the lights on.

Here is one of Jake, the orb still around his head.

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The night before we had explored the third floor, and I had felt a strong, hostile presence in the west hallway, so we decided to take a few pictures on our way out. We immediately felt unwelcome, and we were almost unable to make it to the end of the hall. We took a few pictures before leaving, but didn’t look at them until we were out of the building. This is a picture of a classroom that I had refused to go into by myself on both nights.

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Half of Doane is said to be haunted, and Jake seems to have a particular talent for attracting attention from the supernatural, so this was not our first encounter with the weird. However, this was one of the most definitive paranormal experiences I’ve ever had.

Comments and feedback are welcome and encouraged!!!