“I Deserve This!”

It’s been a couple weeks since my last post, and this time I have a legitimate reason: for the past two or three weeks I’ve migrated to the Cabell Library at VCU, spending hours upon hours making flashcards, doing those readings I said didn’t matter during the semester, researching and writing papers. Running around with these high levels of stress and too heavy backpacks with books I forgot I owned yet suddenly needed, I couldn’t help but notice me being in line at Starbucks getting fancy lattes I almost never drink, and scavenging my backpack for any forgotten about Halloween candy I had stored away earlier. As I’d sit and sip in the library and watch people walk by (secretly hoping one of my friends could be turning the corner and save me from these sociology terms), the other fellow sleepless students brought Chipotle and triple shot espressos, whispering to each other, “it’s exam week, we deserve this”.

Of course I agreed with these basic white girls and boys. Stress levels tend to run crazy high during this time of the semester, and since food and coffee are known panaceas, it’s quite the social norm to splurge for a burrito bowl or two…or seven… However, there’s something I would like to change. Let’s forever keep this “treat yo self” attitude that recently evolved on social media and put it in our everyday lives.

Let’s think about it. How many times did Wheelchair Jimmy tell us that we live? Once. Exactly. You only live once. That’s the motto. YOLO. That song is really dumb and like five years old, I know, but it does drive home the point. You only live once. Do you want to live it sad, off in the corner, with no laughter, cake, flowers, or VCU basketball, sulking, eating celery and go to ODU? Or would you want to be a happy person, who looks for the positive, eating the good food in life, and enjoys themselves? We should be looking at everyday as a reason to celebrate, “Hey, I’m alive and breathing, in mild to amazing health, I can get out of my bed and go to my job and/or schooling, which I am really lucky to have. I deserve a good cup of coffee, a pretty amazing lunch, and a great way to end the night. Because I’m alive and kicking, and I’m one pretty decent human being, at least by my standards, and those are the only ones that actually matter”.

Now as a poor college kid, money is slightly an obsession (you never have enough of it, the school is always asking too much of it, and your major needs to make enough of it), so I can’t and don’t suggest eating out all the time for every meal, but there are some ways to work with that. Restaurant it out as much/little your wallet allows, (I would suggest enough so that you can sample Richmond’s food scene, but it’s up to you). But cooking though. Cook your favorite foods. Try new recipes. Don’t say that you can’t cook. Cooking is an important skill to adult-ing and comes with practice. Plus, it’s going to be a lot cheaper than eating out, while still allowing you a great food experience. Check out places like Food Gawker and Pinterest for lifetime’s worth of new recipes to discover. Yeah, that $23 dinner plate at Can Can is going to blow your pants off, but how much cheaper could you make something similar at home?

Channel your inner Beyonce and you can do anything!

Also, the mini dietitian in my head is asking for a paragraph to advocate health. Treating yourself with food can be healthy, it’s not always chocolate and sugars. You like spinach, feta, almonds, and grapes? Hello, perfect salad right there! You’re a chicken kinda person? Bake it with some carrots, onions, and celery in a white wine sauce. It’s bellisima. Few things are as perfect as biting into an apple you picked yourself, but homemade honey-almond granola is a top contender. Treating yo self shouldn’t have to involve diabetes.

Plot twist: Treating yourself isn’t always about great food. Bear with me here for a second, let me explain: there are other great life experiences other than a Tres Leches Kuba Kuba cake. They’re often known as friends. Friends are important. Don’t forget about them. In school, it’s really easy to disappear and hide in the library, work, or your bedroom because life takes over, and really we can’t let that happen. You forget that your friends exist, and that there’s a life outside of your Primary Sources paper. This happened to me and my friends for about two months this semester and it was a really crappy time. We’re still recovering from this. School seems so important, and it is, but don’t forget to have fun. Go to concerts, meet up and play Cards Against Humanity, hey cook for each other, and don’t forget to bring a cake!

CAKE

But seriously, you should live like even Monday is a holiday. Get a job that you actually like. Live with people you have fun with. Study a subject that you enjoy outside of school. Enjoy your friends. Do more of what makes you happy. Because seriously, it’s not going to do anyone any good if you’re not enjoying your life. So if you don’t mind, I have some Phillippa Gregory novels and a pint of Blanchard’s coffee gelato from Celesti (a perfect marriage from two local businesses) in the fridge and I’m going to have a perfectly amazing Sunday night with my cat.eaticecream

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Twenty

Oh hey, why don’t you look at that. I’m turning 20 in a few days. 

Twenty?!? Like venti?! 2-0? A third decade? November 17th won’t just mark me revolving around the sun twenty times, it’s the next chapter of my life: the transition from mini adult to real adult. 

Think about it, when you’re twenty, you’re living in your first apartment/college dorm/with your family, working and/or going to school. You have some responsibilities (rent, groceries, school books), and do a lot of taking care of yourself, but some things are still binding you to your parents (cell phone bills, health insurance). You’re young and fancy free, screaming “I’M AN ADULT” any chance you get while eating highly discounted Count Chocula cereal and coffee three meals a day and snacking on Starbursts and nachos and watching Toy Story for the tenth time in two days while writing your UNIV papers secretly hoping you never change.

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Inferiority Complex

There’s a quote by the old pal Aristotle, “the more you know, the more you don’t know”, which has always made sense to me. We’d study a few books in high school, and I knew there were still thousands worth our time. We more or less learned the definition of organic chemistry sophomore year, while my friends are registering for Orgo Chem II next semester. Touching up on just tidbits of things, I’d realize that the subjects go much deeper, and that there would be so much more for me to. Excited, I couldn’t wait to learn more new things once I made it to college.

Then I came to VCU. I’d talk to people who have developed feelings on British Prime Minister David Cameron’s foreign policy, friends who knew gender inequalities across the world and those who pretty much could describe every country’s flag off the top of their head. Not to mention the high numbers of multi-lingual people running around speaking in tongues.

“Hey I’m Claire, I barely have the attention span to read more than 100 pages and I speak broken Span-talian”. Your intense knowledge is actually kinda intimidating, it didn’t seem plausible to know so much and still be a teenager. I’m still trying to understand what ebola is, why do you know the different leader’s approaches on these things? 

Some friends would come up to me, discussing dead people and old stuff- you know, that history thing I’m trying to study- and speak of things-well how do you feel about Oliver Cromwell’s militant strategies? How about Canada’s treatment of Japanese Canadiens during World War II? Or Italy’s Prime Minister? Yeah, what about the IRA? Individual Retirement Account? No- Irish Republican Army- jeez you’re a history major, you should know this!

I’m not really sure where everyone is getting all of this information and informed opinions on things, maybe they’re an effect of this “information age” we live in, but I don’t go around researching the current political situation of major countries (maybe I should, but I also need to be writing a paper on Japanese internment, so I’m going to look up cake recipes).  As I move on with my college career, I’m running into more people with complex thoughts on complex situations and frankly,  it’s intimidating. I’ve always done well in school, but hearing these people I wonder if I’m supposed to know the same things they do.

Brownies fix everything.

And that’s when I take a moment, do some yoga breathing and take another sip of coffee and internalize a couple of things: we’re all different. We have different interests, and we utilize these things in different ways: some people study things as a major (thus do research in class) and others do them as a hobby (and research for fun). We all have different interests too, and can’t all be interested in the human genome project- but you know, there is a spot for all of us in the society. (On a personal note, history encompasses about twenty gajillion years on this planet and VCU’s history department only allots room for 12 history courses, so it seems about fair that I don’t know everything that has ever happened- sorry, I’m going to go study Louis XIV the Sun King don’t yell at me for not knowing French Indochina).

So the IRA- that’s pretty fascinating, but how do you feel about the end of Romanov dynasty in Russia? The international culture scene is pretty cool too, but what do you know about Richmond’s culture and history? We’ve all got strengths and weaknesses, and it’s important to not let anyone else intimidate you- no matter how scary their brain is, remember that you’re a smart cookie too, just in different interests-and it’s perfectly, absolutely, okay.

(What I’m really trying to say here is that the world is huge and my brain can only hold in but so much stuff).

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do” -Edward Everett Hale

Confessions of a College Millennial

Since I was in elementary school, I knew that my future career would be somewhere in the arts and humanities. Falling in love with arts, literature, history, and other social sciences, my path was set to turn my passions into a job. As I grew older, I discovered that society was pushing me and my peers into STEM-H. As the millennial generation goes to college, most seem to follow this push, but there’s still a few of us who refuse to do so.

  1. I’m terrified of not getting a job after college. The way the job industry seems to be set up these days, I need a college degree to get a semi-decent job, and a master’s if I want my future family to live comfortably. People aren’t exactly knocking down doors to hire my major, and seeing that most history students want to teach, the dense competition scares me into thoughts of selling insurance or working at a grocery store. 
  2.  If I’m going to spend four years and a lot of money studying something, you better believe it’s going to be something I love. I spent years of my life drowning in geometry classes and meeting my doom in chemistry labs, but when it got to history and English, I pranced down the hall excited to talk about World War I and Modernism. VCU’s tuition bill is addressed to me, so I plan on getting every penny’s worth out of those checks I send. 
  3. It’s like your undergraduate degree hardly matters, people remind you than you can change your major or go into a completely different work field. Yet there still are those people who want to make fun of you for your arts or humanities major-oh you’ll never get a job studying sociology–sculpture major? more like starving artists. What ever happened to the Renaissance, when people sat around and thought the world of history, literature, foreign languages, and arts? Wasn’t the hipster movement supposed to make it socially acceptable to study international films and anthropology, or is that idea just to mainstream now and we’ve moved on to degrees in forensic science and petroleum engineering? 
  4. And speaking of foreign languages, the world we’re living in is getting increasingly more globalized. Shouldn’t we be putting a larger emphasis on international studies and foreign languages? Or is society getting so lazy that we’d rather use Google translate, which would help a few times, versus learning a new language, which would teach a new culture, light up a different part of the brain, and develop critical thinking and reasoning skills. The world is filled with hundreds of other countries and thousands of languages, there’s no getting around that.
  5. I want to major in something that I’m deeply passionate about. That thing, though, is a humanity, a success of humans, which society puts low on their totem pole. ECPI tells me to go into the medical fields, but with my fear of needles, that’s not going to happen. Engineers, scientists, and business men and women are praised, but I’m not looking into something I don’t feel passionate about. When was the phrase “follow your heart” replaced with “follow the big paychecks?”

    Thanks, society. My high knowledge of Tudor England and I are going to go cry in the corner. 

  6. There’s an inherent sense of competition and stress to being a college student. Always have to do well. Make Dean’s List, get into the good honor fratrority. Get the perfect internship, rock the seminar class. Stand out to future employers. Drink endless cups of coffee and don’t sleep for three days to get everything done. Oh, but don’t worry,  Bill Gates dropped out of college so don’t take college too seriously. By the way, you’re probably going to want to go to grad school if you wanna go anywhere in life, there is only one Bill Gates out there and that’s not you. No wonder college kids drink so much. 

Day in the Life of a Commuter

Well hi, hey there, hello, long time no see! I know, I know, it’s been like three years since I posted something and you got your cranky pants on, but hey blogging isn’t as fun and happy as it seems- you actually have to think of things to write about! And lately my brain has turned into a bowl of melted ice cream and I can barely think enough to do my readings. So what has been going on that interferes with blogs? And wait- don’t you still commute? Here, why don’t I give you a play by play of a typical day:

5:30 AM: Alarm goes off. Repeatedly hit snooze and turn to the other side of the bed as if that will make waking up early go away. 

5:49: Jump up and runs out off bed to change, brush teeth & etc, put on backpack and grab gym bag. 

5:56: Make coffee and exchange a few words with James, packs breakfast

6:02: Run to car. James runs to bus stop. 

6:18: While driving through Carytown, check out VCU crew team running on the side. Pray to not get in a car crash. 

6:28: Check in at Cary Street Gym and make way to yoga class. Sit and try to find inner peace while the four sorority girls banter behind me.  

6:31: Smile as yoga instructor calls out the talking sorority girls in her morning greeting.

8:01: Finish lukewarm, low-pressure shower in the gym’s locker room. Change into the clothes packed last night, hoping that they end up being weather appropriate that day.

8:27: Go to the Einstein’s to use the STAT free coffee card. Sit outside and drinks coffee, eat packed breakfast and do readings for the day. 

8:43: So many cute skater boys out this early

10:52: Get to history class early to discuss the McDonnell trial with the professor. 

11:41: There are too many people in class who want to teach history. Tries to Darwin out who will end up selling insurance, who will switch majors, and who will ultimately keep the shared goal.

11:45: Has a mini panic attack about possible career as an insurance agent.  

12:16 PM: Head across campus to American history survey.

12:44: Can’t pay attention in lecture because the professor is a silver fox who sounds a bit like John Wayne. Also, is that a wedding ring he’s wearing or what? 

1:47: While leaving the building, sees a free food tent. Listens to someone talk about their obscure charity club for ten minutes in exchange for a piece of candy. 

1:55: Walking through Starbucks in the library after class lets out is always a bad idea. 

1:59: Finally find a computer in Cabell library. Eat the lunch packed last night due to lack of meal plan and do online homework. 

2:24: Online homework done. Don’t have sociology book and can’t read for tomorrow. Facebook stalks people from class and hopes they don’t walk behind and see the screen. 

3:07: Put in earbuds and walks across campus to the parking deck. See everywhere boyfriend on the way and wonder if should smile or not at him. 

3:10: Smiling at everywhere boyfriend only ends up with him giving a weird look. 

3:20: Finally gets out of parking deck and onto Belvidere. 

3:45: Get to work on time. (yeah!) Coworkers are full of smiles and high-fives, a reminder of how great it is to love your job

4:26: Texts from friends ask if you’re on campus and want to chill. Send pictures of work back to them with sad faces. 

5:13: Customers assume that you know their children who also attend VCU, and talk about how much they love living on campus. Grit teeth and smile and nod. 

6:49: Hungry. Eats granola bar and Jif-to-Go cup of peanut butter. Buys penny candy and pretends like food isn’t necessary.

7:22: Really hot customer comes in. Stare at him while coworkers try to converse, nod and pretend to listen to them while keeping eyes of Poor Pretty Sick Boy. 

8:30: Perfect, no one’s here, time to study flashcards.

8:31: Suddenly, three people show up and want to wait on new prescriptions. Reminds them that store closes in half in hour. None of them seem to care.

8:54: Gives up on studying. Who really uses the imperfect tense in Italy, anyway?

8:59: Get out of the store, sir. Hallmark cards will be there tomorrow.

9:16: Arrives home after work. Momma is at the door and has a lot on her mind.

10:28: Finally upstairs, throws gym bag in laundry basket and puts on pajamas. The moment butt hits the mattress is best relief in the world. 

11:24: The five minute Facebook trip has turned into forty minutes. Too late to work on readings at this point and gives up on sociology anyway.

11:41: Sets alarm to go off at 6:30 the next day. Yay for another hour to sleep in while still waking up too early! 

11:45: Brother opens door and walks into room and begins talking about his day, despite the fact the lights are off, he rambles on for a couple minutes. Trying to be a good sister and sleep are not going to happen in the same night.

12:13 AM: Lol jk can’t sleep when remembering about Red Eye and First Fridays the next day.