It is worth noting that this is just a small glimpse at this year, but it’s the best I could do in a limited space. They are also not in chronological order. Sorry!
It is worth noting that this is just a small glimpse at this year, but it’s the best I could do in a limited space. They are also not in chronological order. Sorry!
The last few days have been a whirlwind of paper-writing, packing, and tearful goodbyes. I am writing this from the front seat of my car: my little brother and I are currently 700-something miles into a cross-country trek back to Texas, although by the time I post this, I will likely already be home, as I doubt I’ll have internet access before then.
Still, I have a lot of time to reflect during my stints in the passenger seat, and it seemed appropriate that I write one last blog post to wrap up the year before I drop off the face of the earth until January 2014. (Oh, and on a more logistical note, if you actually read this blog regularly – or as regularly as is possible with my posting schedule – you should note that I won’t be posting here while I’m abroad. I’ll be running an abroad blog, though, so I’ll put the link up here when that’s created.)
This year was intense. It was intense in every way: intense workload, intense stress, intense emotions, intense experiences. I don’t mean to say that it was bad – I felt intensely happy for huge chunks of it. But everything about it was powerful.
I am still undecided how I feel about returning to Houston. Last night, when I was near tears on the floor of my dorm room, having just ripped my dress and realized how much packing and writing I still had left to do before I could rest, I would have told you that it was all that I wanted. Now, though, with the car packed and my paper submitted, I’m unsure. Don’t get me wrong: I can’t wait to get back to Houston and see my friends and family and have a chance to take a few deep breaths and decompress.
But it’s starting to hit me that I won’t be headed back to Wooster until January. For the less math-savvy (a group of which I am a part), that’s eight months. Eight months is two thirds of the year. It’s a long time.
And here’s the thing: I know that it’s actually not. Eight months, in the grand scheme of things, is a twitch. It’s a heartbeat, or the blink of an eye. It’s any number of miniscule, unimportant time increments that makes up barely a fraction of the rest of my life. But it matters.
Eight months matters because I have made such incredible connections with such marvelous people, that I can’t fathom even three months without them, much less eight. I never expected, when I drove up to Wooster for the first time in August of 2011, that I would fall in love with it so much. The people, the school, everything – I love it more than I ever would have imagined. It just fits.
This past year especially has highlighted that for me. When I came back last August, I was apprehensive. I had missed an entire semester of people bonding and building relationships and I was going to be just jumping back in and I didn’t know if people would remember me or like me and it was scary.
Before I could even articulate my fears, however, I found out that they were unfounded. My two best friends – incredible ladies who have been with me through thick and thin – pulled me back into the swing of things with huge hugs, and they helped me integrate into an incredible group of friends who accepted and loved me for the uncertain, unorganized mess that I was. I immediately felt like I belonged. It was wonderful.
Then came Theta. Pledging tossed me into the mix with thirteen other girls, twelve of whom I didn’t know. We came out of it incredibly close, and we tumbled right into a group of fifty amazing, accomplished women who welcomed us with open arms and beautiful smiles. Suddenly, I had this incredible web of support everywhere I turned to look, and it was great.
Over the course of the semester, I have gotten close with so many people. I have loved much and often. So many of the relationships that I have formed are just in the beginning stages, and yet they are still incredibly strong and close.
And that’s why I’m torn about going abroad. Don’t get me wrong – I am BEYOND excited. South America is probably my favorite continent, and I can’t wait to experience Chile. I’m excited to learn and live and speak Spanish. But it’s unfathomable to imagine that I’m going to be apart from these wonderful people for more than eight months (or more than fifteen, for some people who are going abroad in the spring).
My saving grace is the knowledge that it won’t change things. Sure, I will change and so will they, but the marvelous part about all of my wonderful friends is that our relationships are so strong that they can survive this. We will Skype and write letters and sometimes miss each other until it hurts, but in the end, we’ll be back together again and it will feel great.
I also need to do this – I’ve wanted to go abroad since I was a kid – and being apart will just add another facet to my relationships. It will teach me how to remain in contact, and how to be myself even without that immediate support to turn to, although I know it will always be there if I need it.
Anyway, I’m sorry if this entry is a bit disorganized and all over the place – it’s been written over a period of three days, so it might not all hang together perfectly. Suffice to say that the next eight months are going to be an incredible adventure, and I couldn’t be more excited, despite my sadness at leaving some truly life-changing people. It’s okay, though. I’ll be back.
P.S. I will be uploading a photo highlight reel of the year at some point later today. Stay tuned!
Last night, a friend stopped by my room to ask me if I had read an article for class yet – I hadn’t – and if I understood it. I couldn’t help her, but we started talking anyway, chatting about our upcoming final paper for the class. We are writing some sort of rhetorical criticism of a message: they will be roughly 20 pages long. She is doing a narrative analysis, and I am doing a postcolonial critique.
From paper topics, the conversation drifted into the realm of I.S. We gushed over one professor, discussing how much we wanted to have her as our I.S. advisor. We chatted about different topics that we are considering, and she laughed at me about my enthusiasm over postcolonial criticism. I probably said, “Postcolonial is my jam!” at least three times, and I grew ebullient and effusive as I explained the different ideas I had had.
It was lovely. My roommate came back at one point and chuckled slightly at our bubbling COMM major gossip. We discussed different professors and what we liked about them, the classes that we wanted to take, and our academic plans for the next two years.
If you had told me at the beginning of my first year here that I would declare Communication Studies as my major, I would have probably laughed. “What?” I would have asked, because I had no idea what COMM was when I got to college. I had no four year plan, no neatly laid out schedule of the classes I would take. I ended up in a rhetoric class on a whim – I recognized the term “rhetoric” from a high school class that I enjoyed – and never expected it to go much beyond that course.
That was, of course, before I actually got into the classroom and started learning. Lecture after lecture, I fell more in love with the subject. Enchanted by the topics that we covered, I set up a meeting to talk with my professor about just what it meant to be a COMM major, anyway. The rest, of course, is history. COMM went from my hardest but favorite class to my major, and I haven’t looked back since.
Since then, I have become increasingly infatuated with the discipline. Rhetorical studies in particular speak to me on a level that I didn’t realize was possible: it just makes sense. Ever a verbose person, I have found the major that matches up completely with my interests and goals.
I didn’t know how to research or write extensive papers before coming to school here, but COMM has taught me. The credit, of course, lies mainly with my professors, all of whom have been both encouraging and challenging, but it certainly has helped that I find the subject matter fascinating. I find myself eager and chomping at the bit for I.S., simply because I can’t wait to research and write about yet another topic that I love.
I’m not quite sure what the point of this extolment has been, other than to describe why I love my major, but there you have it. Nothing gets me fired up quite like Communication Studies does!
I am from Texas, a huge southern state where Greek life has a certain impression attached to it. It is a land of national organizations, formal rush periods, and high heels and pearls. I can only imagine that this is why, when I mention that I am in a sorority, people back home tend to react in a confused way: because I am not the stereotypical sorority girl. The only pearls I own are plastic, and I get excited over rhetorical criticism. I don’t know how to curl my hair – nor do I have enough hair to curl – and I am bemused at the prospect of finding a date for semi-formal.
Still, I am a sorority girl. It’s not something I planned, or even wanted, but it’s something that happened, and I couldn’t be happier. I wear my letters with pride – and almost constantly – because I love that I am affiliated with such an incredible group of girls.
I didn’t always have this attitude. In fact, up until my arrival on campus, I was a Greek nay-sayer as much as some of the people who now judge me for the lavaliere around my neck. I saw the whole system as unnecessary, and I knew that I would never want to be a part of it.
College, of course, has a way of changing our viewpoints. In my case, the change was gradual, and it started with a volunteer experience at the local elementary school. As a confused freshman without a car, I found myself hitching rides with upperclassmen who graciously allowed me to sit awkwardly in their vehicles without talking for the two minute drive up the hill to the school. It was over these short rides that I got to know a few members of the sorority of which I would eventually become a member, Delta Theta Psi. The girls would chat with me as they drove the short route between our school and the elementary, trying to break me out of my shell. One of them mentioned rush, and suggested that I should attend, just to try it out, and by that point, I was inclined to agree. I was starting to realize that most of the people I looked up to on campus – my RA, and the girls whom I volunteered with – were Thetas, and I figured that worst case scenario, I would rush and not get a bid. Frankly, that was what I expected.
So I rallied a group of friends who also were on the fence about Greek life and had considered rushing, and together we headed out to the rush events. Somewhere between picnics and ice cream sundaes and awkward ice breakers, I realized that these girls were not so different from me – in fact, some of them were eerily similar. And so I started to consider the fact that, if I got a bid (which I still didn’t expect to happen), I might choose to join them.
By the third rush, when we got to talk more closely with the members in smaller groups, I was thoroughly enchanted. I was sadly resigned to the fact that, as I left that third and final rush, that would be my last experience with Theta. I figured it was for the best – I wasn’t cut out for the sorority life anyway.
The day that I received my bid was an exciting one. I was shocked but pleased, and I promptly crept over to the room of my best friend – now roommate – who had also received a bid, and together we celebrated, quietly and unobtrusively on the floor of her dorm room, so as not to be insensitive to those who had not received bids.
And then came the following weeks, during which I got bogged down with personal issues and, ultimately, made the decision to leave school early for the semester and head home. On the day that I left, as I gathered my suitcases with a certain sadness to be leaving my new friends and college life for the first time since arriving in August, I was greeted in my room by a girl whom I had met before, a friend of my RA and a member of Theta. She arrived at my door bearing poster and champagne flute, and explained, in the face of my confusion, that she was my big, and I her little.
It was an emotional moment, as my mind whirled with questions as to whether I would even be coming back, and excitement at receiving a big, and such a great one at that. In the end, I accepted the gifts and hugged her tightly, exchanging phone numbers before I went back to making sure that I had packed all of the necessary items for my trip home.
Over the winter break, I came to the realization that I would not be returning to school for the spring semester that year. Upset, I emailed the president, letting her know that I wanted to change my acceptance of my bid to a deferral, hoping that I would be able to pledge the next year.
The following two semesters only strengthened my desire to be a member of the group, as my big as well as other members offered encouragement and support through what was an uncharted and often difficult time in my life.
Then pledging rolled around. Two weeks of stress and hard work and attempts to balance school work with various activities that culminated in a wonderful initiation ceremony, pledging was difficult but oh so worth it.
And it’s funny. I was initiated a little more than two months ago. During the pledging process, I got to know all of the girls, but I wondered how I would fit in with all of them. In the time since then, however, I have really found my niche in both the group and on campus. Before, I had a comfortable group of friends, but I didn’t ever interact beyond that. Now, not only do I have an incredible group of sisters who I know will stand by my side come hell and high water, but I feel more like a part of the campus life as a whole. I feel like being a member of the Greek system has opened me up to get to know more students from all different organizations, and I like it.
But honestly, the campus integration is secondary to the sisterhood that I have found in Theta. As someone who grew up with three brothers, I always wished for a sister. I have been fortunate enough to acquire a few in more recent years, between my host sisters from my travels abroad and my best friends back home, whom I count as members of my own family, but here on campus, beyond my roommate and best friend, I didn’t have that strong, familial support that I felt I could have. Don’t get me wrong – my friends are great, and I love them to the moon and back – but there is something about sisterhood that makes me feel like I could go to any of these girls at any time and tell them anything that was bothering me, and they would do everything in their power to support me.
It’s strange, because honestly some of these ladies are people whom I may never have interacted with if it weren’t for Theta. Some of them intimidated me, and some of them are just people I wouldn’t have met. But in these two months, I have grown so comfortable with these girls that I trust each and every one of them wholeheartedly. I trust them enough that I dance in front of them – badly – and that I am going to dance with them at Lip Sync, which is a huge step for me in overcoming my self-consciousness with my body and my ability to move. I know that, as long as I’m up there with my sisters, everything is going to be alright.
I don’t think I can adequately describe how I feel about them, nor can I describe how it happened. We just clicked, and I think it’s because we are all so similar in the ways that matter: we’re kind, sensitive, and sassy, but we’re different too, and we complement each other in the best way. These girls are some of my biggest role models, even though they’re all close to my age, and they’re some of my best friends. I know that I can count on them, and I consider them a huge part of my support system on campus. I am going to miss them when I go abroad in the fall, but the great thing about this group is that I know I will be welcomed back with open arms.
In short, they are the sisters that I always wanted. I would do anything for any of these girls, and I believe that they would do the same for me. They have helped me grow as a person in even this short time, and I can’t wait to continue to grow and mature with them by my side. And that is why I wear my letters with pride. Because I am proud: proud of each and every one of my sisters and the values that our letters stand for.
It has been a long time since I last posted here. In fact, the seasons have changed, and my life has progressed quite a bit.
Looking back (even though we still have about a month left), I am realizing that this semester has been a challenging one, but also a great one. My classes have made me really work hard, but I’ve learned a lot. I’ve also grown socially – I’ve found my niche both with Theta and my other friends here on campus. I’m starting to figure out where I think I’m heading with my life, which is both exhilarating and terrifying.
As the semester winds down, there’s both a lot to do and a lot to look forward to. I need to get all of my ducks in a row for study abroad, prepare for my job this summer, and keep studying/working so that I finish strong in my classes. I’ve also got work and Theta things that keep me busy most weekends, as well as spending as much time with my friends before I leave them for a semester. Still, it’s all good fun, and I’m looking forward to semi-formal, to my final paper in Rhetorical Criticism, and to a wonderful summer and fantastic fall semester, inter alia.
Quite a lot has happened since I last posted, I am realizing, and I feel as though I should recap. The last time I wrote, I had just been initiated into Theta and I was making plans for study abroad. Since then, I have become really comfortable as a member of the sisterhood, and I’ve been accepted into my study abroad program! I’ve also secured my job for this summer: I will be working for Amigos de las Americas as a Project Supervisor in Guairá, Paraguay!
I also submitted a proposal and was subsequently accepted to present a poster representation of a paper that I wrote at the Central States Communication Association 2013 Conference. I actually just got back from the conference yesterday – we were in Kansas City, MO, and it was such a wonderful experience! I loved presenting my paper, especially because the topic is one that I’m very passionate about, and it was so much fun to go to all of the panels and hear about some of the research going on in the world of Communication. I am infinitely thankful for the opportunity, especially at such an early point in my academic career!
On the social front, I enjoyed Winter Gala and my first ever I.S. Monday, as well as Alumni Dinner for Theta! It’s been a busy semester, and I don’t think I’d trade it for anything. Now it’s winding down and I just have to be sure to stay on top of everything as we head into our last month!
The question mark is there because I am hesitant about the validity of this statement as it pertains to blog posts. Regardless of this platitude’s accuracy, however, I am making my unceremonious return to the blogging world for the spring semester, and I’m only a month late!
There are a couple of weak excuses that I could make for my tardiness in posting (I was pledging; there has been a lot of work; I like to sleep…), but I think I will refrain for now and jump straight in. (And I’ll add a “read more,” as this is shaping up to be quite the lengthy post.)
We’ll start with one of the first things I did this semester, which is pledge and join a sorority. Now, let me be the first to tell you that I am not your stereotypical sorority girl – nor do I have anything against those who are. It’s just not my cup of tea. So when I came to Wooster and heard about the Greek life, I was thoroughly apathetic.
But as I detailed in a previous post, I decided to rush. And I received a bid. And I accepted it. And then, through a series of extenuating circumstances, I changed my acceptance to a deferral and put off pledging until this year, when I would actually be on campus.
And let me tell you: it was worth it.
I won’t go into detail about the pledging process, but suffice to say that I’m glad it happened, glad it’s over, and glad to now be part of a wonderful group of girls! It has only been two weeks since I was initiated, but I already feel very comfortable with all of the ladies and love going to group events.
So there you have it – the abridged story of how a decidedly not-Greek girl went Greek and loved it.
(And above you have a picture of the ladies of Delta Theta Psi, minus one member who is abroad.)
In other news, study abroad – which is my grammatically-incorrect way of saying that my application for study abroad during the fall semester of 2013 was accepted! If my application to my program is accepted (fingers crossed), I will be headed to Chile on SIT’s Comparative Education and Social Change program in August.
(I have to make a shout-out to my advisor here, because she helped me out a lot throughout the application process, including writing something up for me the day it was due, because of my poor planning.)
And that’s about it, as far as interesting news goes.
As far as uninteresting things go, my schedule for the semester includes Health Communication, Theories of Human Communication, Rhetorical Criticism, and Readings in Latin American Cultures. It’s a COMM-heavy course load to be sure, but I can’t complain. I quite love my major. Oh, and I declared a minor in Spanish, so that’s good.
And that’s about it for now! I’m sure I’ll think of things that I should have included in this post later, but that just means that I’ll have more to post next time I get around to it! As always, I am going to make an effort to post more regularly, so we’ll see how that turns out. Wish me luck!
Well, it’s been a great semester. I apologize for my lack of posts between November and now – things got crazy right before Thanksgiving and didn’t stop being crazy until now, one hour before I’m headed home for break.
I guess, then, I should use this post to reflect on my semester. It’s been a good one.
I think I appreciated this place so much more after being away for a semester. I’ve made some wonderful new friends and strengthened my old relationships. I’ve taken some fantastic classes with some stupendous professors. I’ve learned a lot, gotten a job, and had many new experiences.
I’m sorry if this isn’t terribly detailed- maybe I’ll write a better post in the airport or when I get home tomorrow. Right now, though, I’m just overcome with equal doses of sentimentality and excitement. I am glad for this semester even if everything hasn’t gone the way I thought it would. I’m looking forward to next semester: I’ll be taking a full course load (finally!), really getting my major underway, pledging a sorority, and trying all sorts of new things. It should be a great experience.
That’s all I’ve got for now, mostly because I have to anxiously check back over my suitcase four or five more times to make sure I have everything.
Ah, November. That wonderful time of year when all of your professors realize that there’s only a few weeks left in the semester and decide to pile on the assignments. It’s a lovely thing, really.
Sarcasm aside, I am actually having quite a nice November. October wrapped up in a wonderful way with my family dropping in for family weekend (and my 20th birthday!). Then came November, and an onslaught of group projects that were due one after another. Thankfully, I got them all in and all of the presentations done, and it turns out that we did well on all of them!
Now it’s down to the wire with Thanksgiving in a week and tons of assignments due. I’m most excited about my final paper for my Collective Memory class – I’m absolutely in love with my topic, so research is both fascinating and fun.
Additionally, we recently registered for classes! I just today made some changes to my schedule to make it work with junior IS and study abroad, and it now looks like my classes for the coming year are as follows:
I’m very excited for that line up, because it is not only helping me work toward IS (about which I am crazy excited!) but it is also chock full of exciting and interesting courses.
All in all, things are quite peachy. This weekend is the culture show and I am playing the mirror in the German Department’s rendition of Sneewitchen. Then it’s one more day and heading home for break! I love it here, but it’ll be nice to see my family!
First of all, I know that I said I would post more regularly, and I haven’t. This time I actually mean it – I’m being lame and actually scheduling a weekly blogging time into my calendar.
But that’s neither here nor there. (Although if you DO want to read excuses, you can scroll to the bottom of this post.)
The important reason that I made this post is that I get to mascot again! (Yes, I just turned mascot into a verb.) I’m not sure if I ever mentioned my initial stint as the Fighting Scot during Spirit Week, but I had a delightful time. Such a delightful time, in fact, that I became eager for any further mascotting (yes, I just made a gerund of it) gigs.
Imagine my glee, then, when I received an email asking me if I was free to wear the suit this Thursday! I checked my calendar with fingers crossed, and lo and behold I was free! So I will be mascotting on Thursday in all of the Fighting Scot glory!
I find this to be very important, blog-worthy news.
In other news, it is BUSY here at Wooster! That’s why it’s been hard for me to post – there’s been so much work! Everything is coming to a head as we reach the middle of the semester. I have had two major group projects due this week, and just yesterday had two twenty-minute presentations to give. Registration is also fast approaching, and I’m excited for my potential course schedule. Here’s hoping that I get into all of the classes that I want/need!
I’ll keep you posted as things progress!
Bye for now!
So it’s been a while since I last posted. My apologies.
I will defend myself in saying that I have been very busy with school work and extracurriculars like trips to a Cheese Barn, but I really have no excuse. I will try to be more diligent in the future.
Anyway, here are a few salient points from the last few weeks:
I went to Cedar Point for the first time! And this was extra exciting for me because I love roller coasters. I got to ride many a ride and make new friends, which was awesome – all on a WAC (Wooster Activity Crew)-sponsored outing!
I made an apple pie because my friend Elizabeth had her 20th birthday! This was fun – I love any opportunity to use the dorm kitchens, sparse though they are, to bake things. I ran to Walmart and picked up the necessities such as apples and cinnamon, and my friend Emma and I went to town peeling and slicing and mixing until we had two golden brown apple pies that made the whole dorm smell delicious!
Okay, maybe not the whole dorm, but my room smelled awesome.
I am researching my study abroad options! This is especially exciting for me. I have wanted to study abroad since I learned that study abroad existed, and now that dream may actually become reality! I have all sorts of tabs open at the moment, researching different locations and programs, and I’ve met with Jessica DuPlaga (the director of Off-Campus Studies) twice already. I am READY. Now I just need to pick a program, talk to my dad, and talk to my advisor.
And that’s it! I mean, it’s not, not really. I’ve had tests and papers and a trip to a Cheese Barn and an excursion to Massillon and other adventures, but those are the really important points, at least in my opinion.
I promise to put more of an effort into regular posting in the future!