Home Stretch

I am now one weekend closer to my summer and one weekend closer to being finished with my freshman year of college. One of my projects is wrapping up and it’s just a matter of one “next thing” after another until I’m done. Less than three weeks of school left, a couple finals, and a few papers stand between me June 12th.

Looking outside it would be hard to gauge that Memorial Day Weekend is at the tail end of this week. If I had to guess, I would say it’s September rolling into October instead of May inching towards June. It’s stereotypically Oregon.

I think the most notable part out of anything happening right now is that three months from now I’ll be moving back into the dorms so start my job for my sophomore year. I met with some of my fellow staff for my building this past weekend and I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to work with a group of strangers in my life. This group went from “You’re a bunch of strangers, I don’t know any of your names.” to “I can’t wait to get to know you guys and I want to be August now.” Some people get excited about Christmas, I get excited about people.

The next few weeks will be one to-do list after another. I sign up for Fall Term classes on Friday next week. Meanwhile I’m waiting to get off the wait-list for a summer class. Anyone can tell you- patience is not my strong suit but the only thing I can do is wait. I’ve typed up a list of all the assignments I have to do between now and the end of the term and it’s only a matter of time before I throw numbers up on my calendar to count down the days until I’m done. I’m in the home stretch and the best things I can do are to stay on top of my homework and be proactive and try and go to bed before midnight (something that I don’t think has happened yet this term).

If I thought the days leading up to graduation were a test of my patience, high school had nothing on college. It’s time to start cracking. Being impatient and ready to be fine as long as the essays are done and there’s nothing more you can do. Which is not the case right now. Time to draw up a battle plan and take action. It’s cloudy out, which means it is the perfect weather for staying inside and doing homework. If it were sunny and warm, it would be even harder for me to focus. It’s time to start crossing things off that list.

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Smooth Seas Have Never Made Skillful Sailors

One month from today I will have my first year of college behind me. June 11th I take my last final (a wonderful 7:30 am bright and early math exam) and the 12th is anticipated move out day. One month from today I will be one quarter of the way through my collegiate education and as they say, ‘a real adult’. A real adult with a really expensive piece of paper to hang on my wall.

With thirty days to go, I have reached the point where every weekend marks one more project done and one step closer to summer. But if you happen to be the Oregon Weather Gnome responsible for the weather, today is gray with over cast skies with a nice misty Oregon rain that makes it feel like it’s October instead of June. This Saturday my team and I are executing a wine walk to benefit local businesses and the Marion-Polk Food Share. Next Friday I’m helping run a concert in one of the auditoriums for 1,200 people (Pink Martini, last I checked there about 350 tickets left so I’m very excited) to kick off my Memorial Day Weekend. Following that I will be hanging out at the student run music festival which is happening just feet from my dorm. And then it’s one weekend before Dead Week and Finals.

Smooth seas never made a skillful sailor, and I think it is safe to say I’m doing an okay job learning the ropes of college. If anything, I’m walking away with the knowledge of not judging the remainder of your first year of college based solely on Fall Term (advice I wished every single person who told about ‘Their College Advice” would have mentioned), which for those of you keeping score at home, I did not enjoy. Winter Term was better, and Spring Term is leaving me as happy as a seagull with a French fry. But without challenges throughout the year I would not have learned as much, and for that I am grateful.

You’re not going to get along with people you live with, and that’s okay. And it’s perfectly within reason that if people are making your miserable, you can do something about it. You shouldn’t have to live in an environment that makes you miserable 100% of the time. If you complain about something every day, do something to resolve it. And that’s exactly what I did. My college experience was better because of it.

I look forward to seeing the growth of where I will be a year from now, a month from being done with my sophomore year, and then the inevitable, “I’m a month away from being a college graduate,” which I know will have in due time. Maybe my next year will involve a kraken or a Siren. Maybe if I’m lucky I’ll have to sail by starlight. All I know is I’m ready to leave port for open waters.

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A Post About Dads On Mother’s Day

If there is one distinct memory of my childhood I cherish more than any other, it is the fact that I was fortunate enough that both my parents read aloud to me. My mother leaned towards the Little House On The Prairie and the miscellaneous schoolbooks my sister and I brought home from the school library.

My dad on the other hand, read the Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, and the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling up to The Half-Blood Prince (The Deathly Hallows was the one book I pre-ordered for midnight release and blew through in 28 hours trying to beat spoilers. I am pretty sure my dad has not ready Book 7 yet). He was invested in a series for the long run. I remember when he bought the seven-book box set of Narnia at Border’s back when Border’s was a thing.

Reading and being read to has played a notable role in my life. From roughly ages 5 through 10, being read to every night was the best part of my day. Last night, just before Midnight, I was still up and flipping channels in my dormitory’s lounge and came across the film adaptation of Voyage of the Dawn Treader, at the point in the plot where Aslan the mighty lion appears.

Of course at five years old, I did not know that Aslan was a metaphor for Christ and the Clive Staples Lewis wrote a series of children’s stories that related to the Bible. But throughout my growing up, Lewis, Tolkien, and Rowling were my go-to writers for biography projects throughout my schooling. My sophomore year of high school, I took World Religions and did a presentation about the parallels between Christian Theology and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I have gone back to the same books that shaped my childhood over and over again, each time getting deeper level of meaning out of the story.

Last night, I had a couple tears come to my eyes while I watched the movie and thought about the countless nights and countless chapters my dad read to my sister and I growing up. It is a great treasure that I can cherish memories of my parents reading to me in my childhood. I remember the injustice my five-year-old self felt when my dad said it was bedtime immediately after the chapter in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe where the White Witch cuts off Aslan’s mane and leaves him to die. It was one of the worst times I cried in my life and my sister and I protested bed time until we won over my dad and he read us the next chapter to ensure Aslan was really okay (to this day, I hate cliff-hangers before bed more or less because of that and will finish most things to go to bed later than I should, going to bed at three am Saturday morning just to finish Season 2 of House of Cards for example).

Somewhere, my dad has a drawing I did in early elementary school of the Dawn Treader (which happens to be a ship). It’s a horrible stick figure drawing that for the longest time hung above his desk at work. Since coming to college, reading outside of class has become almost non-existent, but I think this summer will be a good time to revisit some of my childhood classics. I reread the Harry Potter series last summer before coming to college and I was surprised how much you can forget between each time you turn the page. Memorial Day weekend is coming up soon and I hope to have the time and dedication to pick up a book and spend the whole day reading. And maybe if I said pretty please, my dad would read aloud to me again.

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