Arrived

It’s crazy being here at college. Being able to make my own decisions, and go to sleep when I want, eat what I want and pretty much sit here and blog whenever I want. I still feel like I’m only here on a college visit and I’ll return home in about a week or so.

I have to admit, I miss my family a lot more than I thought I would–especially my parents. Which is super strange to me, because they’re only an hour away!

So far, there’s been so much stuff to do that I have to savor the few hours of free time that I can have. All the people (over 7,000 of us!) are just entirely overwhelming. I’ve been able to meet up with my Outdoor Orientation friends, though, and yesterday night we spent pretty much 4 hours laughing and having fun. THEY HAVE BEACH VOLLEYBALL HERE! So that’s exciting.

Tomorrow, classes start, which is causing me major anxiety. We had a Life Science interest seminar yesterday, and they said that LIFE 102 is one of the hardest classes that they ever took. Which, I’m taking LIFE 102, so I was sitting there thinking, “Well, great.” I heard Philosophy is really quite easy, though, and I imagine psychology won’t be too terrible. I already met a guy who said that he has all the Calculus midterms. I don’t know if I should be posting that on the Internet, but hey, use your resources, right?

Luckily, I skipped Comp 150, which people have said, “You think you know how to write a good paper until you take that class.” Which means I’m either lacking confidence in my skills and I’ll actually do well, or that I’m correct in assuming that I’ll probably fail the first paper and have to redo it or something. Maybe I can send it to my old English teacher, because he said he’d be happy to look over any of our college papers… I’ll email him later.

Well, I suppose that’s all for now. I have to go eat breakfast.

 

~C

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A Bit of Dramatic Irony

I said a few days ago that goodbyes are never permanent. That a goodbye simply means that you’re going to be separated for a mere few years and will once again be rejoined on the face of this planet. But I suppose the most heartfelt goodbyes are sometimes permanent ones, and such is the one that I said today.

Today I learned that my friend Jarrett passed away last night due to a heart condition. I don’t think that shock has settled in yet… my classmate–a year younger than me–who I shared assignments and laughs and gum with is now gone and never to be seen again. Of course, with him in high school and me now in college I suppose we wouldn’t have seen each other much, but he was so full of life that my memories of him and this new fact are clashing heavily.

I am truly speechless. His family is having a terrible time, I’m sure, and his brother who is a good friend of mine is just about to go off to college. I have a brother, and imagining the loss of him is just so surreal and terrifying that I hate to even think of it. I can’t even begin to imagine how terrible a loss this is for his family.

It infuriates me that so many people on Facebook suddenly have nice things to say about him; people who didn’t even know him too well. I mean, I didn’t know him too well, either, and I understand that it affects people, but I don’t think that someone dying is an excuse to find a pitying circumstance. People always have nice things to say when somebody dies; it’s the nature of the beast. Perhaps that’s too harsh, and I shouldn’t even really be flustered about it, because I know Jarrett is in a better place now, and I don’t think he’d want me to busy myself with it.

What hurts me the most is just the profound impact that it’s had on a lot of his close friends and my close friends. I really hope they all handle this in a healthy way. There are a lot of people who can’t.

It’s hard to believe the old saying, “everything happens for a reason” in situations like this. It’s hard enough to believe it in daily life, too. I typically look for the silver lining, but this cloud seems to have swallowed it whole.

I’m not the religious type, but I do hope that Jarrett is up there in the sky somewhere where he doesn’t hurt and is relieved of all the painful earthly things that plague each and every one of us. He will be missed. I will always remember the suggestive math pick up lines we would concoct in chemistry when we were supposed to be working, me being envious of his superior mathematic skills, him being happy and carefree no matter what. He was a pretty consistent guy, now that I think about it, and I suppose you could say that those types of people don’t come around all too often. But, Jarrett, let your death not be in vain; I hope even an ounce of good can come out of this tragedy, because right now, everybody is broken and weighted with heavy hearts.

 

~ C

To Say Goodbye

To say “goodbye” to somebody, is to have the faith that they will once return to you again; to have faith that you have tied the knot of friendship so tight that not even time can unravel it. But having that faith is so hard when I have never said so many “goodbyes” before.

Before going to college and having to say “hello” so many times it becomes robotic, I have to leave my friends who I have grown up with, gotten to know, and come to love. Our culture is so strange; it thinks that a two-syllable phrase is sufficient for seeing somebody off for potentially years at a time. Words are powerful, but they cannot begin to fill the empty space between friends.

The “goodbye” today was a special one. To a friend who has been with me through the thick and thin–as all good friends are. And he’s done all the sappy friend-stuff that friends do for one another: share highs and lows, picked me up when I was down, laughed at himself and at me. I’ll admit I’m not one to cry or get emotional, but if any goodbye has tugged on my heartstrings so much as to conjure tears, this would be the one. He said he’ll try to write, but honesty, what man at boot camp has the time to write to people? I hope he’ll return safe with all the limbs he left with, and in a healthy state of mind. But it’s hard to hope with the state of world affairs.

The strangest thing about this new chapter in all of ours lives, is that none of us know how to feel about it. The typical response I see is ignoring the fact that it’s approaching, or joking about it to lighten the mood. But, who are we kidding? We’re scared shitless. It’s only natural, really. Who wouldn’t be?

In all the nostalgia of “goodbyes” we have the anticipation of the future. Saying goodbye seems to magically call upon the memories of the last 10 years of my life with some of my closest friends; I’ll remember that time where we were watching that movie, in that theatre, and when the character said that line, we would all laugh hysterically; OH, and that one time with that one guy telling those funny jokes; when we were at that place with that food and that waitress was the most hilarious person in the establishment… all the silly little instances that I never would have given another thought are suddenly the only things that will tie me to them for potentially years at a time.

I suppose that’s the best way to look at a goodbye… sorrowful things that somehow give the past meaning–there’s some beauty in that. And that’s what life is about: finding the silver lining in a cloud; discovering happiness in even the saddest of times, and realizing that goodbyes do not mean goodbye forever and finding peace in savoring the past. Despite the lows, I’d say It’s (still) A Pretty Great Life.

 

~ C

 

On Being Evacuated: It’s every volunteer’s worst nightmare.

Sara in Peace Corps Guinea

Today volunteers in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia received the information that we will be sent home for an undetermined amount of time as a cautionary move against the rising risk of Ebola.

Electron micrograph image of the Ebola virus. Electron micrograph image of the Ebola virus.

Friends and family back home are overjoyed at the news, but volunteers in-country are stumbling around in a state of shock. Projects that have taken months of sweet-talking the authorities, grueling grant applications, planning every step of the way have to be left now – postponed indefinitely. Bags must be packed. Close of Service dates for volunteers preparing to leave will be moved up. Pre-service training has been stopped dead in its tracks for the recently arrived group of volunteers. Somehow, we must all find the words to explain to our friends and host-families the harsh truth that we are leaving and don’t know when we will be back.

The…

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Strange Feels

Tonight, about 40% of the moon isn’t visible. Tonight, about 40% of my summer is left. Tonight, there’s only 15 more days till college. 

It’s ludicrous to think that in about two weeks, I’ll be separated from everything I know and thrown into a world I know nothing about. 

Countless others before me have ventured into the realm beyond home and towards college… I am simply another individual following in their footsteps. And yet, I have so many doubts and worries that swirl around my head and cloud my excitement. There’s no word to describe how I’m feeling, either. So crazy is the right word for it. 

On a lighter note, I waxed my arms for the first time today! They weren’t super hairy or anything; I just wanted to try waxing. My mom always makes it sound so painful (though I don’t know if she’s ever had it done before). It actually wasn’t at all. I bought the Sally Hansen body wax and everything went well. My arms are so soft… 

I also had Burger King twice today and two McDonald’s french fries. I accomplished so much today! I’m just practicing for the freshman fifteen. 

It’s 12:06 right now, and I’m becoming slightly fatigued… I’m going to call it a day. A pretty great day… in fact, It’s A Pretty Great Life. 

 

– Callie 

 

PS – this is probably going to log under August 7, 2014, but really, I am writing for August 6, 2014.