Day of rest

Sundays are the best days of the week.

During the week, I’m constantly on the go.  Pair that with volunteering on Friday night, speech judging on Saturday, and a visit from Mom… Sunday is a well-needed break.

My Sundays start by attending church with my old roommates.  It’s so good to set aside all my cares and rest in God’s presence.  It’s the re-fueling I need to get me through another week.  I love my church.  I’ve gone there all four years of school and it’s beginning to sink in that I have to start afresh come May.

When church is done, I usually make the trek over to the gym.  (I skipped working out today, though, ’cause it was -45 degrees and being outside longer than necessary was not okay.)

Sunday afternoons bring a balance of homework and relaxation.  I usually throw on leggings, a comfy sweater, and spend a few hours in the basement of the library pumping out essay drafts.  Today, I managed to snag the poetry room.  It was absolutely divine.

After all the homework is out of the way, I return to my dorm, make dinner, and spend an evening in introvert paradise.  Tonight, I’ll be snacking on chips and salsa while catching up on episodes of Arrow.  (I tried for an hour to figure out how to livestream the Oscars on my computer… it ended in failure.  I’m pretty cut up about it.)

Yes, I do stay busy on Sundays.  But, overall, it’s the most relaxing day of the week.  I can choose where I go, what I do, and who I’m with.  For once, I have control over my schedule.  It’s wonderful to have at least one day of the week to spend quality time resting.

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Studying in the poetry room. In my happy place.

 

What is your ideal Sunday?

 

Geeking out over the Bard

This semester, I have found myself reading Shakespeare.  (This is partially because I’m in a class devoted to the subject.)  But it’s become more than simple homework.

After my library shift on Fridays, I’ve found myself retreating to my room, dimming the lights, and lugging out my massive anthology.  I peer over the tiny print and let the words flow.  I read aloud and my voice changes in tone and pitch from character to character.  In my dark little room, the plays come to life.

We just finished reading Titus Andronicus.  Even though the subject material is some of the most depressing I’ve ever encountered, I still leave class feeling giddy and slightly breathless.

Why?  Because I just love Shakespeare.  I can’t get enough of him.  The careful structure of his plots, the complexities of his characters, the eloquence of his language… it just gets me.

And while we’re on the subject of Titus… it’s so gruesome that it’s funny.

(I had the chance to see the Reduced Shakespeare Company perform this live while in London!  It was splendid enough to deserve its own post, so check that out if you so choose.)

Looking to the future and finally having some answers

About a month ago, I wrote a post where I posed the question: What brings you life?

I’ve been thinking about the future a lot lately.  I mean, with only a few months left of college, it’s to be expected.  People keep asking me what’s next.  I keep telling them I don’t know.  Just now, though, I realized that I DO know.

I want to do something that brings me life.  I don’t want a job to pay the bills.   I want my work to be my passion.  I want to feel a sense of fulfillment at the end of a week.  I want to do something I love so much that I can’t imagine doing anything else.

I got lucky with college.  During my final years of high school, I knew exactly what I wanted to major in.  People ask me why I chose to be an English major and I answer them, “I’ve been an English major my entire life.  I just didn’t know that is what it’s called until I got to college.”  I didn’t chose English for the career track.  I became an English major because it’s the only major I imagined myself pursuing.  And, although there have been rough patches (I’m looking at you, Virginia Woolf class), my studies have spurred my passions and brought incredible life.  But it’s not what I want to do forever.

I now stand at the brink of another crossroads.  Where do I go after graduation?  What should I do?  The answer is clear: I need to find what brings me the most life and I need to do that every day until I die.

At this point, I have a good sense of what that is.

Above all else, my time here in Morris has taught me that, although English is something I love, it’s not something I want to do with my life.  When I look back what stands out the most is spiritual growth and involvement in ministry.  Over the past four years, God turned a quiet girl with her identity in a box into a confident, passionate leader.  Being involved in IVCF, prayer ministry, Bible studies, and (of course) working at camp has done more for my career than any professor in any classroom.  He’s given me a taste for service that leaves me longing for more.  All I want to do is serve God with my life.  I can’t imagine doing anything else.

I’ve realized lately that I feel the most fulfillment when I’m pouring into people.  It’s my favorite thing.  There’s nothing that brings me more joy than praying for others or meeting one-on-one and giving encouragement.  I love taking the lessons I’ve learned and the things God has spoken to me and passing them on.  It’s such an amazing experience, helping others draw closer to Him.

That, friends, is what I want to do every day for the rest of my life.

Now I just have to find someone willing to pay me to do it.

 

It’s my lucky day

According to the original syllabus for my Health Communications class, we had a test today.

Now, this class is last on my priority list.  I’m only in it because I need four more credits to finish my minor and didn’t want to take the other option offered at 8 AM.  When it comes to homework, I’ll do everything for every other class before I so much as glance at Health Comm.  In fact, I care so little about this class that I made a decision before the semester even started that I wasn’t going to read the textbook.  (Which is out of character for me.  But with my work load, I need to prioritize.)

The good thing about the course is that the professor is extremely laid back.  He’s been reading a lot about new teaching methods and has taken on our class as his guinea pigs.  Instead of lecturing, he split us into groups, divvied up the textbook, and made us present the chapters to the class.  We covered a massive textbook in three weeks.

And now, it’s test time.

Last week, though, the professor had different idea.  On a whim, he pushed the test back to this Thursday and gave us a new assignment.  Once again, he split us into groups and gave us the guidelines for the test: “200 multiple choice, 50 short answers, 15 essay questions, worth 75% of grade”.  (Yes, I know.  These demands are RIDICULOUS.)  In our groups, we had to write an official policy brief explaining the problems with this exam and come up with a better option.

In class today, all the groups presented our briefs.  Many different options were suggested–shortening the test, having the class write it, a take-home option, and one group even proposed an individual oral exam.

At the end of the presentations, we all sat there anxiously.  “Please let it be a take-home test“, I prayed.  “I don’t have time to memorize nine chapters that I didn’t read.”

Then, the unthinkable happened.

The professor got up and told us that he really doesn’t care about testing and that we will better demonstrate knowing the material through applying it in the already-assigned upcoming projects.

I couldn’t believe my ears.  NO TEST.  An enormous weight was suddenly gone.

Now, I actually have time to get all my assigned reading done this week.  I actually have time to write my first big essay for my senior seminar.  I actually have time to step back, relax, and care for my mental health.

I can’t believe my luck.

From doodles to bookmarks

Artistically, I’ve been challenging myself to try new things.  Before this school year, I wasn’t much of a painter.  Pencils were my anchor and sketches my speciality.  I occasionally dabble in digital art, but drawing in Photoshop just isn’t the same.

Then I decided to teach myself watercolors.  Why?  For the challenge.  For the fun.  For the joy of doing something new.

On a different note, I’ve been struggling this semester with a lack of adequate bookmarks.  With three literature classes, I’m usually juggling three or four books at once.  Given the fact that bending pages makes me cringe,  I need lots of paper place holders.

So… why not combine my classroom doodling with watercolors?

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For the past few evenings, I’ve been copying my classroom doodles onto my special painting paper and have brought them to life.  My technique still needs refining.  I’m not fully satisfied with some of these.  With practice, I’ll hopefully find a method and style that works best.

Now, I have plenty of bookmarks to choose from.  Once I have enough of them, I might start giving them to friends as gifts.  Why not share the love?

(For more of my art, check out the link to a collection of related posts in the header!)

My new happy place

It’s been a surprisingly beneficial thing, living alone.

I can come and go as I please.  I can do home workouts without fear of someone walking in on me in the middle of an awkward-looking exercise.  I can enter my weird little essay-planning mind palace, muttering to myself pacing back and forth as I sort through ideas.  I can curl up in the darkness reading my Kindle.  When I need to be alone, I can be alone.  When I need to be with people, I can search out my friends.

My  week has been relatively light homework-wise.  That hasn’t stopped me from working ahead, but for the first time all semester, I feel relaxed and at peace.

I feel like I’m right where I need to be.  Yes, I’m still looking forward to graduation and saying goodbye to academia.  But I’m finally in a place where I can sit back and enjoy my last few months of college.

Welcome to my new happy place.

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Kissing Snow

My best friend calls it kissing snow.

You know–the kind with big puffy flakes.  The kind that floats gently as you walk hand in hand with your significant other down the street.  You cross under a street lamp and, pausing, steal a kiss.

Minnesota is known for its winter.  Therefore, the fact that it snowed today is neither significant nor important.

But as I sat in the basement of the Humanities building for hours and hours upon end, I watched the fluffy flakes fall and fell into the happy land of my own imagination.  I’ve never experienced the full delight of kissing snow.  Every time it falls, I look forward to the day I have someone to share it with.

So even though snowfall isn’t something out of the ordinary, in the middle of a busy day, it made my heart a little bit lighter.

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Campus in the snow. Taken from my University’s Facebook page.

 

 

Super singles and trips to the cities

Super singles are beautiful creations that introverts long for, but never imagine actually having.  Why?  They’re expensive and hard to come by.

The other day, after explaining the stresses of my sudden mid-week relocation to a classmate, she eyed me enviously.  “You’ve got a super single?  In Spooner?  Oh, you’re so lucky!  That’s everyone’s dream!”

My classmate’s comment is on-point.  To say I haven’t been dreaming of this scenario since freshman year would be a total lie.  Over the past four years, I have analyzed all the different possibilities of what my room would look like if I had no roommate.  Where would I put the furniture?  What cozy corners would I create?

Now, it’s important to note that I’m not railing against roommates.  Roommates are great.  I’m introverted, but I go absolutely crazy if left in my head for too long.  I love having people close by to pull me out of my mind when I get stuck there.  Even though I’ve moved, I’m still friends with my old roommates and enjoy spending time with them.

Still, it’s wonderful to have my own space to come home to.  You would think that after the insane week I’ve had, I would lie low and regain my energy.  Hahahaha…. nope.

Yesterday afternoon, my car was packed and I was on the road the second my library shift ended.  Although I was tired and definitely had second-thoughts about making a trip to the cities, I’m glad I made the trip.

You may be wondering where was I headed in such a rush.  Let me explain.  Over the past few years, nearly all my best friends here in Morris have graduated.  Now, they all seem to be branching out and moving far away.  In a couple of months, my dear friend Jenny is leaving for a two-year teaching job in Japan.  I want to seize every opportunity to bask in her presence.  So making the trek from the prairie to the cities was well worth it for a night of well-needed conversation and silliness.

Since I was in the area, after departing Jenny’s house this morning, I met up with my older brother for coffee.  We hung out in Caribou for hours, sipping mochas and gushing about superheroes movies and the cultural impact of the internet, then hit up some local shops.  (My spoils include mechanical pencils, a lamp, and a digital clock.)

I also took advantage of the fact that Chipotle exists in the cities and grabbed a burrito on my way back to Morris.  That was over five hours ago and I’m still full.  (God bless Chipotle).

I’m back in Morris now, even more tired than I was at the beginning of my adventure.  I’ve managed to put a tiny dent in my homework, but will still be spending a bunch of time in the library tomorrow.

Now, though, I’m going to curl up in one of the cozy corners I’ve finally gotten to create and catch up on my superhero t.v. shows.  It’s been a long week and I think I deserve a night off.

On the Shelf

With three literature classes, life these days is a never-ending stream of new books.  Here’s what I’ve been reading for class lately!

The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron

I’m reading this for my senior seminar.  It’s a biographical novel based on the life of Nat Turner, a slave condemned for leading an insurrection against his white owners in 1938 Virginia.  Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Styron imagines and explores the psychology of slavery and oppression.  Writing in the late 1960’s at the time of the Civil Rights and Black Power movement, he ties the cultural ideas of Nat’s time with the issues of the day.  Although it’s not something I’d read on my own, I’m enjoying getting to know Nat’s mind and delving deep into Styron’s complicated argument.

The Rape of Lucrece by William Shakespeare

In this long poem, Shakespeare takes on the classical myth of Lucrece, a chaste wife who is violently raped by Sextus Tarquin in ancient Rome.  In it, he delves deep into the minds of his characters, exploring the psychology of rape and its deeply rooted consequences.  It’s an extremely disturbing text, especially since so much of the mindsets are still so prevalent in rape culture today.  Although it left me extremely unsettled, I found myself enraptured in Shakespeare’s words and deeply moved.

Here’s a clip of an actress performing a musical rendering of the text:

The Art of Courtly Love by Andreas Capelanus

Commissioned by Marie, the Countess of Champagne in the late 12th Century, this is one of the most important texts in the Courtly Love tradition.  It’s written as a treatus addressed to a young man named Walter.  Cappelanus writes out the rules and guidelines of Courtly Love.  It’s a strange text, filled with discourses, rules, and statements that are shocking to readers today.  Honestly, this text was really hard to get through.  Although entertaining at points and definitely disturbing, it was really boring.

The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn

I’ve been sneaking chapters of this book in my free time.  I have to write a paper on it for my senior seminar in a few weeks.  Inspired by Dickinson’s letters and poetry, Charyn imagines the life of the beloved poet.  The novel begins with young Emily studying at Holyoke seminary and follows her life and development of writing.  What’s interesting about this book is that writing isn’t the emphasis–Charyn seems much more concerned with events in Emily’s life and how they impact her consciousness.  I’m not sure what I’ll say in my paper, but I do know that I adore this book so far.  Unlike so much assigned reading, it feels like reading for pleasure.  I’m about halfway through and find it utterly delightful.

Changes

 

I’m the new resident of Spooner 315.

Things have been changing around here.  These past few days have been an absolute whirlwind.  It’s been physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting and I’m still reeling from how quickly everything has happened.

The facts and reasons behind my sudden move across campus really aren’t important.  What IS important thing is that, from here on out, things are looking up.  It’s been weird picking up my life in the middle of the semester and starting afresh in a super single, especially since I’ve been out of the dorms since freshman year.  It’s definitely an adjustment.  But it’s a good adjustment.

I’m hoping life calms down from here.  Yes, I’m still overwhelmed with homework.  But I’m going to find a new routine, a new normal, and look forward to finishing strong.

Also, isn’t my new view great?

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