Monday, April 13, 2015

These Last Two Years

In these next couple weeks, I'll be wrapping up my sophomore year of college. Oh. My. Gosh. Yup. We're halfway through, folks! You should know by now that I love lists, so get ready for some unsolicited advice in list format.

Some stuff I've learned, in no particular order:
  1. Organic chemistry is HARD.
  2. Sometimes getting an A isn't about knowing the subject, it's about knowing the professor.
  3. DETAILS MATTER. My brain is just not wired this way. But I'm trying.
  4. Memorization is important. My brain isn't wired this way either.
  5. Form a study group. Yeah, maybe you don't actually need help, but your group members will keep you accountable and focused.
  6. Don't park in tow away zones. They aren't kidding around.
  7. Studying in the library is really helpful, if only because it's not socially acceptable to watch Netflix there.
  8. Living in the dorms the first year was the best decision I ever made. It's how I made all of my best friendships. And your freshman year roommate? If you get lucky like I did, that's a really special bond.
  9. Your best friend back home is allowed to have her (or his) own life. And guess what? You're allowed to have your own life too.  It's okay if the two of you can't share every little thing anymore. It really is. But try, really try, to make time for them still. Call them every now and then and MAKE SURE you ask about their life too.
  10. On that note, make time for your parents, siblings, grandparents, etc. too. They love you and miss you so much.
  11. Say thank you. It doesn't matter if it's to your professor, TA, or the lady in the dining hall. Just say thanks.
  12. Take classes outside your major. Make time for things you think are interesting, even if there's no real reason for it. You have so many opportunities right now.
  13. HELP CLEAN THE APARTMENT. Your roomies will thank you.
  14. Stay up late sometimes. People are vulnerable late at night. That's when the deep conversations happen. You have class in the morning? So what? It's one day.
  15. Light candles when you study. They're really calming.
  16. Ask for help when you need it. Whether it's with classes, people, or your own heart, ask for the help you need.
  17. Work out whenever you get the time.
  18. Apply for stuff on a whim.
  19. Do NOT, under any circumstances, take 11 credits of hard math/science all at the same time. Just don't.
  20. Try not to get so stressed that you cry on the bathroom floor for 1.5 hours.
  21. Love others deeply. It's hard and it's draining, but it's incredible.
  22. Have so much fun, whatever that entails for you.
  23. Drive to the middle of nowhere at night and look at the stars.
  24. Go on adventures.
  25. Learn a foreign language. Minor in it. Bilingualism is awesome.
  26. Your feelings are ALWAYS valid.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Thing about Depression

Hiya. I know what you're thinking. "Oh my gosh, she's about to write another thing apologizing for ignoring her blog." Well...you're wrong. Ish. I'm not even apologizing because it's probably just annoying at this point. Instead, I'll be telling you about something very personal that may or may not shed some light on why I've been such an absentee blog mom lately.

One more thing before I start: I don't want your sympathy. I'm not asking for and don't expect pity. I'm not that badly off. I'm telling you all of this (assuming anyone actually reads my blog anymore) in hopes that someone, anyone, reads this and thinks "wow, me too." If you're that person, hey there. You aren't alone. I feel that way too.

Here goes.

The thing about depression is that it's not constant. Some days you wake up and all you want to do is lay there and not move and maybe just cry for awhile. Other days you wake up and you're happy and for just a second you think maybe, just maybe, you're okay. For just a moment, you have hope. And that hope, in its own way, is crueler than the sorrow. Because in a matter of seconds, minutes, hours, or days, it gets ripped away. And then you're back to that ache in your heart, that emptiness in your soul.
The thing about depression is that it's not obvious. It's not a giant, crippling thing where one day you're fine, and the next you stop getting out of bed. It's little stuff. Skipping church one week. Withdrawing from people a bit. Smiling less. Sleeping later. All stuff that could just be normal. On the outside, it doesn't look like you're crippled. But your heart certainly is.
The thing about depression is that people think it's this never ending darkness. It's not. Depression is about basking in the shadows. Searching for a light, seeing it in the distance, close enough to touch, but not to hold on to. 
The thing about depression....it's not what you think. Depression isn't crying every day, ignoring your friends, skipping every class. Depression is on again off again, twisting and turning, difficult to escape. Depression is like coming out of Novocaine after a rough dental procedure. You're still numb. You feel some things, but you're numb. The things you feel aren't quite right. You know you feel them, but you also know they don't feel the way they're supposed to. Laughter and joy and everything else...they just can't quite reach your soul. Depression creates distance. You feel far from everyone....including yourself.
The thing about depression is that it's unpredictable. One morning, you wake up and you're full of crushing sadness. A few hours later, you're happy, laughing with friends. Then, all the sudden, it hits you again, and you're sitting there laughing but you're also just so sad. Sometimes you're just sad and there's no rhyme or reason but you just aren't happy.
That's depression. You can't know what it is from a textbook. It's different for everyone, but that's what it is for me.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Oh Captain, My Captain

Dear Mr. Williams,

I didn't know you, and as such, I feel somewhat presumptuous to be writing to you, but somehow, I don't think you would mind.

I watched Good Will Hunting for the first time a couple days before hearing of your passing, and I'm pretty sure it will forever be one of my favorites.  Dead Poets Society is playing on my laptop in the background as I type this.  Aladdin was one of the movies of my childhood, and the Genie was always my favorite.  If you need me, I'll be watching these movies on loop and sobbing until I feel better.

Mr. Williams, I wanted so badly to believe that you were happy.  You certainly made me laugh, along with the rest of America, and the world.  Your words in your more dramatic roles both broke my heart and put it back together.  Thank you for that.

Sir, I am aware that the Bostonian psychiatrist who whispered "It's not your fault," to a distraught teenager was not truly you.  However, as my high school acting teacher used to tell us, "when creating a role, we start with ourselves".  So while I know that wasn't you, teaching me that life can't be lived by reading books and that sometimes you just have to go see about a girl, I like to think that some of that compassion and fire actually were yours, coupled with the depression which I now realize certainly was.

I know that you weren't actually a free thinking English teacher at a strict prep school, reminding young men to live life to the fullest and to use language to woo women, but I like to believe that some of that passionate, carpe diem spirit was a part of your life.

I hope you had the Genie's humor and love.

I am sorry beyond words to learn about the demons which haunted you and finally brought you home.  But I know you helped people.  Thanks for making me think.  Thanks for brightening the lives of troops in Afghanistan, Koko the gorilla, the sweet children in St. Jude's Hospital, and countless others.

God bless your soul.  Sleep well.

Genie, you're free.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

On Getting Engaged

SIGH.

So.  I'm in this phase of my life where like everyone is getting engaged.  It started slowly, with one couple, then a few months later another, and suddenly, in the last few weeks, three couples I know have gotten engaged.  And so, I say again, SIGH.

I knew this phase was coming.  It's a natural phase of life.  One day, your friends are single and going on dates with different people each weekend.  Then, later, they find someone.  They date awhile.  And suddenly, one day, you wake up and all your friends are engaged.  Well.  I knew it was coming, but I didn't think it would start so soon.  I just finished my first year of undergrad, and in a lot of ways, I still feel really young.  Way too young to get engaged.

The Boyfriend and I have been together for some time now.  We're very happy and we love each other a lot.  But we aren't about to get married.  Have we talked about it?  Sure.  But in the "someday" way, not in the "soon" way.  And I'm happy that way.  I don't want to get engaged.  Not anytime soon.

Because here's the thing I think people forget about getting engaged: it's a precursor to GETTING MARRIED.  And GETTING MARRIED is a huge deal.  Getting engaged is cute.  You get a cute little ring and you get to post cute pictures of you and your new fiancĂ© on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook....everywhere.  You ask your girls to be bridesmaids with cute little gifts.  You pick out a cute dress, plan a cute ceremony.  All that is fun.  Cutesy.  Pretty.  People are congratulating you, practically choking on the cutesy-ness of it all.  But then comes REALITY.  You GET MARRIED.  When you GET MARRIED, you're an adult.  It's a new phase of your life.  You're committed to one person for the rest of your life.  The two of you are a team.  You live life together.  And all that sounds great.  You're forever in love, right?  Yeah.  But it's also a lot of work.  And at least in my mind, all that stuff belongs separate from undergrad.  The two don't go hand-in-hand.  They go in separate boxes.  I can see getting engaged in college.  But GETTING MARRIED while in college?  Slow down.  What's the rush?  I mean, I understand that when you've been together forever you just want to start life with that person.  But calm down.  It's not a race.

Monday, June 2, 2014

For the Graduates

I know there have been a lot of graduations lately, and many to come.  To those of you graduating, whether it be high school, college, grad school, etc., congratulations!

Now, I want to speak to everyone who recently will graduate or has graduate high school.  Here's everything I wish someone had told me (some things will be clichĂ©):

  • STAY. IN. THE DORMS.  It's how I made all of my friends in the first year.
  • Don't eat unless you're actually hungry.  It'll save you money and you won't get fat.
  • Don't be married to your major.  Maybe you'll love the one you came in with, maybe you won't.  Either way, it's okay.  Don't be afraid to switch.
  • College is NOT high school.  Classes are much harder, so STUDY.
  • College is NOT high school.  It's 812509 times better.  Get excited!
  • High school wasn't real life.  This is.  It's fun and amazing and you're finally in charge of your life.  The things you're doing actually matter now.
  • Join some organizations that actually matter to you.  It's not worth your time to put energy into stuff you don't care about.
  • Get really involved in the organizations you're in.
  • Try to make time to sleep.  Your brain, body, and mood WILL thank you.
  • That being said, have some fun too.  Watch movies with your floormates.  Get dinner off campus.  Try something new.
  • Talk to your roomie.  Like, actually try to get to know them.  Maybe you won't be BFFs, but maybe you will.  Or maybe you guys can just be pals.  Either way, it's better than being strangers.
  • But you should also have ground rules with your roomie.  And if you make any offers (such as, "sure, we can share food"), make sure you can stick to them.
Bottom line is this: have a blast.  College is fantastic.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

#YesAllWomen

This post will make someone mad.  But you know what?  I don't really care.

So.  The hashtag "YesAllWomen" has been trending ever since the murders at UCSB.  It's all over my Facebook feed, and while I have no issue with the stories posted and understand all of the rage and pain expressed by the women tweeting such things, I have some major issues with the idea of "YesAllWomen", and, if we're all being honest here, feminism in general.
To start this airing of grievances, let's look at the hashtag itself.  "YesAllWomen"?  Does this not imply that every woman on the planet agrees with your statements and thinks such things?  To me it does, and that's a problem for me.  I don't want your thoughts and ideas tied to me; I have my own, thanks.

Let's look at some of the other stuff I've had thrown at me via Facebook lately, shall we?  We have all of these articles talking about how the California murders were due to the fact that the killer felt he was entitled to sex from these women.  Let me be the first to say that I in no way agree with or support his view.  However, here's the issue that's been bothering me.  The majority of the comments on such articles tend to generalize this viewpoint, saying that it's one that all men have in common.  Kittens, this simply is not true.  There are so many gentlemen in our world, albeit the creepy ones tend to get more attention.  And furthermore, don't women do the same thing?  While they may not have the same sense of entitlement, I think we all have that one attractive female friend who is frustrated when men don't ask her for a date.  I think the same idea of entitlement applies.

So, to keep this brief, I'm going to stop here.  There will be more posts with my further thoughts on feminism in the future.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Victoria Has Returned!

Hi kittens!  I must apologize for my lack of posts during the last three months.  School took a turn for the challenging, and I needed all of my energy to be put into that.  But now, thank goodness, it's summer and I'm in one piece and have time to post.

Some new obsessions: the Myers Briggs Personality Test: I'll be doing a post on this beautiful thing ASAP.  It's so interesting and I love it.
The Fault in Our Stars: the movie is coming out and I have a few things to say before it hits the screen, inevitably disappointing the book fans.
All things Disney: this isn't a new one, but I have some new stuff to say.
Rock climbing: by this I mean climbing the rock walls and nets and wires at my local Y's ropes course.  It's the only time the "how's the weather up there?" joke ever has been or ever will be funny to me.
How I Met Your Mother: also not a new one, but I haven't ranted about it on here yet.

Disenchantments: my home town: since coming home from college, my town is boring as ever.  I love being surrounded by family and high school friends, but there are some major drawbacks to it.
Comedy and basically every movie I've seen lately: Victoria is not impressed.  That is all.

Miscellaneous: I may have some stuff to say on religion, relationships, society, and just life in general.  Buckle your seatbelts, kitties!

Anyway, to anyone still reading this, thanks.  Hopefully there are some of you out there still.