- Justin’s hazelnut butter, the big jar
- rice cakes
- whole grain bread
- maple brown sugar oatmeal
- cacoa nibs
- smoked gouda cheese, pre-sliced
- chia seeds
- butter lettuce
- classic hummus
- cinnamon sugar
- coconut shavings
- a few bananas
- deep river potato chips
- hint of lime tortilla chips
- vanilla yogurt
- berry cream cheese
- passion fruit
- honeycrisp apples
- whole grain pasta
- pasta sauce with spices
- fresh Italian bread
- white wine
Almost a month ago, I outlined specific goals for the semester. Now that it’s underway and I’ve figured out my schedule, I want to share how I’ve accomplished these.
- Limit use of social media/your phone in general. This one was hard, but I definitely have spent less time on my phone/social media. This is in part to me actually enjoying my classes and also due to my effort to walk to classes and eat meals with friends, excluding the “need” for my phone.
- Don’t freak out when something goes wrong. I am trying not to freak out over the fact that I’m virtually unemployed right now!!! It’s been difficult but I’m putting in my best effort to finding a job. Overall, I’ve been more open to learning from my mistakes and embracing challenges now that I know how college works.
- Become more flexible about eating. Because I moved out of a dorm with a campus grocery store in the basement, I haven’t been super motivated to brave the cold and get a snack. I asked my parents to buy me healthy snacks before I moved in and now I’m stocked up on nuts, oatmeal, chips and guac. I still eat a lot, I honestly don’t think I ever won’t, but I’m more flexible about when I eat. Also, having meal points again helps (I spent them all by October last year.. yikes).
- Become more flexible about your appearance. This one was simple. I made it a part of my routine to pick out an outfit the night before. I missed doing that a lot!
- Don’t spend money on things you don’t need. I can’t even really speak about this one, because I have $12.33 in my bank account and it’s not even because I bought things I don’t need. The only thing I’ve bought at school was tickets to see Mac Demarco, and that was a necessity.
- Leave parties if they aren’t fun. I’ve been doing this. It’s not fun to walk home by yourself and get cat called but sometimes you’ve gotta do it. And I keep Ben and Jerry’s in my freezer just for this occasion.
- Interact with your professors regularly. I haven’t interacted with my professors a whole lot, I definitely need to step up my game with that. But I have been raising my hand in class often so that’s a step.
- Find a routine that works and stick to it. Routine has always bored me, I don’t get why this was one of my goals. Fuck routines. But my general routine for my MWF classes is getting up at 8:15, showering, eating breakfast with friends, and class. My T-Th schedule is getting up at 8:45, showering, eating breakfast by myself and doing work, and class. Getting up at those times has been good. It’s not too early or late. Honestly if I wake up past 9 I feel like a deadbeat.
I hope this life update was mildly interesting, and that some of this resonated with whoever reads this blog.
January was a crazy month. When I’m home I’m out doing things or working non stop, and on top of that I went to Florida and D.C. Safe to say I’m super broke, but I’m happy with everything in my life right now (besides being basically unemployed- but that will be fixed) since I moved into a HUGE and beautiful dorm with two really nice girls in a great spot on campus. I finally can breathe and feel comfortable at UVM. I love my classes, my new friends, and the future I’m beginning to envision here in Vermont.
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Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara- One of the most natural looking and smooth mascaras I have ever used. I don’t regret splurging on it at all, and usually I hate buying expensive mascaras. I highly highly highly recommend buying it.
Hidden Figures- I saw this movie and it was an emotional rollercoaster. First of all, their office outfits were beautiful and I wish I had a closet full of them. But most importantly I have never seen women, especially black women, portrayed as being good at mathematics and science so this was so cool. It reminded me that women can do anything, and sometimes even I need that reminder.
Kamala Harris’ Women’s March speech- All I can say is Kamala Harris 2020 (if California doesn’t secede).
My room- The year anniversary of my yellow room passed a few months ago and over that time I have acquired quite a bit of decorative photos, mementos, stickers, and general knickknacks. I love how it looks especially in the transition from afternoon light to golden hour.
Age of Adaline- I took a relaxing bath and watched this over break. I love Blake Lively and I love pretty much everything she does.
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Dance Yrself Clean – One of my friends at school showed me this song, and while I always knew it was a classic LCD song, I just had never listened to it. It’s a masterpiece.
Shake – A roadtrip favorite.
Where the Skies are Blue – I didn’t know their new album had bonus tracks! This one is also a roadtrip favorite. It’s more country than any of their other songs, and country has been growing on me honestly.
All We Know (Oliver Heldens Remix) – I didn’t think it was possible for me to like this song more than I did, but this remix is flawless. The Chainsmokers know what they’re doing and ALL OF THEIR SONGS ARE SO GOOD REMIXED.
No Advance – I’m late to the 21 Savage party but now he’s one of my most played Spotify artists.
T-Shirt – I haven’t listened to the entirety of Migos’ new album yet but I really like this single. Also, Soulja Boy’s diss track is the funniest thing I’ve ever heard.
Someone That Loves You – I am wholeheartedly obsessed with this song. I reposted a remix of this song a few months back but who knew the actual song was absolutely amazing. I seriously cannot stop listening to it. It makes me so happy.
Everywhere – If I can describe this song in an experience, I imagine it’s moving to 1980s corporate Midtown and walking down the street in a tartan suit, watching a flock of pigeons fly away in different directions when you walk through central park on your lunch break. Except you’re completely elated and it’s late fall.
Love Is Alive – Louis the Child has been killing it with new releases and I’ve always been a huge fan of their remixes (my favorite one is right here, but a close second is here). They’re coming to Burlington the Friday before spring break and I hope I can go.
Flavored Cream Cheese- I recently came to the decision that bagels are my new favorite food (it was cavatelle pasta and my mom’s sauce for years) so I have been experimenting whenever I go to bagel shops and at my dining halls. So far my favorites include strawberry on cinnamon crunch, and honey cinnamon on plain.
Sweetgreen bread- I went to Sweetgreen for the first time in D.C. and their bread is actually some of the best I’ve ever had, which is weird for a salad chain restaurant.
Hats- I used to think I looked so bad in hats, but I think I was just psyching myself out. I love wearing them now, especially when I wake up late and can’t afford to shower.
Jack Rogers- Going to Florida reminded me how much I miss wearing my Jacks every day. A lot of people complain that they’re super uncomfortable but I literally do not understand. They fit my feet perfectly and look cute with everything I wear. One of the best investments I’ve ever made.
Individual Milano cookies- At Walmart, they sell individual snack packs that include 2 dark chocolate Milano cookies. They stop me from eating an entire bag and they’ve lasted me a super long time. They curb my constant craving for chocolate.
Tonight I will drive back to school. Hopefully I won’t cry at the Massachusetts border like I usually do. I could barely sleep last night, so maybe if I do cry it will be because of sleep deprivation. As much as I think New Years Resolutions are kind of pointless (at least, for me, because they’re more of intentions and I don’t like setting goals because I never accomplish them), I think that setting these intentions are important because I need to ground myself. Hopefully if you are a college student just getting back, or a high school student just ending midterms these inspire you too.
- Limit use of social media/your phone in general. This goes for when I’m studying, but when I’m out in public. I don’t want to use my phone in class, and I want to use my phone less on the bus. I feel constantly wrapped up in it when I should be interacting with others.
- Don’t freak out when something goes wrong. I am aware that I put my best effort into everything I do, and if I forget something along the way, it’s fine. I’m not perfect. Acknowledge your feelings and move on. Ask others for guidance or help if necessary.
- Become more flexible about eating. Between five classes, two jobs, and transfer applications, I’m going to have to become more flexible with my eating schedule. I have become reliant on consistent meals but I need to put that on the back burner as all of my responsibilities will be so demanding. Often I found myself unable to complete tasks unless I got my food, which made me procrastinate as I would spend hours at the dining hall on my phone (which will be prevented this time).
- Become more flexible about your appearance. There is simply not enough time in a day to pore over my closet and create an outfit. I either want to lay out an outfit the night before like I used to do in high school, or go outside in whatever I grab first. Of course, I should look presentable, but I want to be more functional and flexible when it comes to clothing choices and not put so much weight on what I’m wearing. I already wear nicer clothes than the average college student, so I’m good.
- Don’t spend money on things you don’t need. Maina, you don’t need that new shirt. You don’t need that pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. You don’t need a bunch of new candles or books off of Amazon. I want to put more money into experiences rather than things this semester.
- Leave parties if they aren’t fun. If you’re dying of boredom at a party, and feel like you have to get drunk or high just to enjoy it, then LEAVE. Who cares what your friends say. Call that Uber, take that bus, make that walk. Try not to go alone, but go if you have to. Do a face mask, watch Shameless, and go to bed.
- Interact with your professors regularly. Don’t be that guy that introduces yourself to the professor when they couldn’t care less, but ask your questions after class. Email them for extra office hours. Talk with them about things other than the class material. Professors are people, too, and I bet they’ll laugh at your roommate stories.
- Find a routine that works and stick to it. I know I already got this going at the end of last semester, but with new classes and a new job, I need to figure out what is going to work. I want to go to the gym at least four times a week, if not more, and take showers without having to walk outside immediately after (in Vermont, your hair freezes into icicles after .2 seconds outside) as often as possible.
I have a good feeling about this semester, although I don’t want to jinx it. I’m excited for my classes. I’m excited for my spring break plans. I just need to translate that excitement into some other things and I’m good.
I’ve been reading a lot of posts that in one way or another reflect on the past year. My therapist also had me write a little bit about how this year went through some guided questions. But honestly, I feel the most effective way is going through month by month and digging up the experiences and lessons that challenged me or changed me.
In January, I started out with a lot of New Haven trips. It was midterm season and break. I painted a lot with my friends and burned a lot of candles. January’s are consistently filled with baths and movies and writing. For some reason I always feel super inspired. The break is rejuvenating, and it is especially more so now that I have a whole month. January brought me more of the heart of fencing season. Fencing season was an important part of me becoming obsessed with Connecticut.
February was interesting. All I can recall are awkward dates, my red peacoat, No More Parties in LA, really really cold bike rides, and a snowy trip to Boston. February increased my love of trains and public transportation. My favorite memory of February was probably visiting Hopkins’ campus outside of New Haven. They have the hands down best view of the skyline, and I’ve climbed East and West Rock. This is the month I realized I had no idea what I was doing when it came to college. My applications were sent in and I realized I had no interest in Cambridge. Or really anywhere I applied.
March was really the beginning of the end. It started to get increasingly warmer and I would lay in my bed with my skylights open, birds chirping, writing about how much I’m going to miss high school. I also became increasingly apathetic. And I wore sunglasses a lot. On St. Patrick’s Day I went to the Met for the first time and we also had the chicken hat during that trip. I also didn’t eat for two days during this month because I was being sad and dramatic about a boy breaking up with me. Mac Demarco got me through March.
April was Tame Impala’s Currents. That’s pretty much it. Also, the Lumineers’ new album. Ophelia to be exact. I committed to UVM in April. I bought a blue dress with pink flowers on it that I wore every day pretty much. This is also the month of the Vampire Weekend renaissance, and track. I also finished Gossip Girl, which was huge. This month was a lot of loopy handwriting and reading Gatsby in Humanities. I saw Bernie Sanders speak at a rally. It rained a lot.
May was just a lot of crying and sunshine at the same time. Also Change the World by Mac Demarco. Also, more Dairy Queen visits. I miss sitting at Dairy Queen for hours with my friends talking to the other kids who came in and roasting people. Everyone painted their lockers during school in May and the Senior Courtyard was filled with people again. Coloring Book came out. I remember crying riding the bus up route 79, sitting by myself listening to Blurryface on the way to my last track meet. I didn’t even like track too much but it was so sad. Rothko and increased beach days. The smell of my driver’s ed teacher’s car. My 18th birthday. Resonance.
June was a lot of the same. Changes. Lasts. Graduating. Getting spray tans for two proms. Muhammad Ali dying. Making mistakes. Seeing twenty one pilots and screaming my heart out. Getting emotional 24/7. Graduation parties. Perks. 10,000 Emerald Pools. There was a beautiful day during finals at Stony Creek that I spent with Wyatt and Michael. It was probably one of my favorite days of the year. It was also the day the wind was absolutely incredible, and we were getting blown away down at Lighthouse Point. I took some great photos that day. I was so happy. Late nights, last dinners, smiles and tears. Gilmore Girls. Rt. 222. Jesus Camp. So many amazing, happy memories.
July was sailing. I got insanely tan. I listened to Wagon Wheel a lot. I watched fireworks and went to weird coworker parties with my family. I took a trip to Bear Mountain with Catie. I went to great restaurants and had a lot of Cohen’s. Manhattanhenge. Getting what I want. I wore my first bitch outfit. First blog post about said relationship. SEEING COLDPLAY. I drove right after summer rain just before golden hour on route 80 to East Haven listening to PGHB. I almost cried at how perfect the moment was. Many, many grad parties. Blueberry Basil Lemonade. The Democratic Town Committee. Capsizing. Slow mornings. Late breakfasts. James Farmacy with Ella in our little corner. Do You Love Me.
August was rushed. August was filled with the pressure of ending summer with a bang. I was so nervous. I drove to Brooklyn and saw Beirut. I said goodbye to a lot of people. I figured out I really love applewood smoked gouda. I was the lead in a play and didn’t totally fuck it up. BIRI. My red dress and buying Jack Rogers. Riding bikes around the island with Ella, Wyatt, Brett and Michael was probably the best memory of that month. The town fireworks. Help Me Lose My Mind. Sailing. Misquamicut and Dave’s Coffee and talks with Kitty. I said goodbye and Brett sang to me in the car and it made me feel so much better. Leaving home was the saddest thing I ever had to do. I went to school and basically immediately bought a plane ticket to D.C.
September was a lot of trying. My new classes weren’t engaging. My professors were cold. It was so hot and I didn’t know what I was doing. I bought too many crepes. I spent way too much money in D.C. I cried on the plane home and when I touched down in Burlington. That’s when I knew things weren’t going to be that okay. I went to the farmer’s markets and watched Across the Universe a lot. I spent a lot of time eating overpriced snacks and watching Gilmore Girls.
October is when things started to go downhill. I got home the first time and felt frantic. I sailed in a regatta and cried driving away from the beach. I cried when we passed the Massachusetts border later in the day. Someone scratched “H2O lean same thing” into the bus window and I accidentally put beer in my coffee. It got super cold super fast and I bought a yellow jacket at Second Time Around. I got to experience Boston two weekends in a row. At the end of the month, I was done for.
November was the most uncomfortable experience of my life. My roommates hated me and I didn’t come home until 2 a.m. most nights because I didn’t want them to yell at me. I got a lot of stress pimples and realized I could not pass math. I became a recluse basically. I did make a few friends but I just really started to miss home. And then I went home after a weekend in Boston and realized I completely lost myself. Then I came back, wore turtlenecks, lipstick, and listened to Cigarettes After Sex.
December was better, filled with realizing things. First semester ended. I went to a few hockey games. I accepted what happened and moved on. I lived with Russian people and sold my clothes online. I suffered through school related depression and became addicted to mushrooms. I got in a car accident on the way home from school and my hands and feet literally froze. I worked, slept, wrote. Started my transfer applications.
2016 was probably the worst and best year of my life. It was filled with a lot of depression and sadness but so many happy things happened in the first half of the year that I can’t discount them. And my travels to Boston and D.C. first semester were positive experiences that got me away from my reality for weekends. I realized where my priorities lie this year, and worked towards them. I can say that I got what I wanted. Or at least I’m halfway there. My experiences this year are so valuable to who I am today that it’s incredible I’m not a completely different person. I have grown up and become more of who I was meant to be.
I took some time off from updating the blog to enjoy being home. I didn’t do one of these last month so I figured I would do one this month! Also, happy new year. I didn’t think this would be procrastinated as much as it is. Expect more posts in the next few days.
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Jack and Jackie: Portrait of an American Marriage by Christopher Anderson – I love John F. Kennedy and this book is exactly what the title says. It gives a lot of detail into JFK and Jackie’s lives before their marriage, leading up to it, and during it. I am almost done and it’s been so much fun to read. I don’t know how accurate it is but I don’t even care.
Brown Eyeliner – My thing all throughout high school was winging my Stila Stay-all-day black eyeliner. I perfected it and it just became part of my image. But now I prefer to wear brown eyeliner, with smaller wings. I feel like it’s less extra and it highlights the color of my eyes better than the black did.
The Whitney – I went to the Whitney for the first time this week. It’s an American art museum in the Meatpacking district of Manhattan. They have a really interesting exhibit right now, I think until February, that’s all about anime and the future and screen art. There’s this one video game about refugees of communist countries in the early 1900s and I was completely entranced by it for probably an hour. It definitely infiltrated my nightmares.
VSCO – I literally don’t even care how basic this is. I love VSCO. I love how secret it feels. I love how people with private Instagrams still put it in their bio. It’s like a secret girl club where everyone posts a ton of pictures of wine bottles and car rides and photos that didn’t make the cut on their Instagrams.
133rd Street Subway Station – Michael took me to his favorite subway, which is literally 125 ft below ground. The only way down is through an escalator which when you get on it feels like you are about to fall all the way to the ground and die, it’s so steep. I had vertigo the whole time. It was insane. It takes you to the 7 train.
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I made two soundcloud playlists this month, Broke bitch and Vanilla. The first is a playlist I like to listen to while showering or driving and the second basically encompasses a lot of the soundcloud songs I’ve liked recently. My favorite is This is a song. It’s amazing.
Sweet n Sour (this one definitely should have been in Gossip Girl)
Rap Caviar playlist on Spotify
White Girl- White Girl is a movie on Netflix about a girl who moves off campus of her Manhattan school to the border of Queens and Brooklyn and what happens to her. It’s shot in a captivating and realistic manner and it’s the kind of movie that scares you and makes you uncomfortable.
Animal House- I hadn’t ever seen Animal House, but when I watched it, I fell in love with the portrayal of the school and everyone’s outfits. Especially in the hearing scene. It’s a classic National Lampoon bawdily funny movie that everyone should see.
American Eagle Holiday Flannels – I received one of American Eagle’s new flannels for Christmas this year and it is the softest thing I own. I have a hard time fitting into flannels in both the chest and arms (it usually fits in the arms but not in the chest), but their size XL looks perfect on me. It looks and feels like a nice quality shirt and can be dressed up with a vest or dressed down with leggings.
Candy Cane Lane – This candle from Yankee Candle has been my go-to candle this holiday season, besides my all-time favorite Frosted Cranberry from Bath and Body Works. I usually hate sweet Christmas scents but this is a perfect mix of candy cane peppermint and pine.
G-Zen – Over break I went to this restaurant in Branford, Connecticut with my friend Carolyn. The service was great, the ambiance was calming and lively at the same time, and the menu was phenomenal. It’s on the pricier side considering the kinds of restaurants I go to, but it’s still really fair for the price and quality of what you’re getting. It’s a completely vegan menu, which is amazing because I’m not used to being able to eat everything on the menu!!
Moscow Mule – Out of the limited scope of mixed drinks I’ve had, this is the most refreshing one. I love the mint leaves and the ginger beer is delicious. Whoever made this up was a genius.
Poshmark- I made a Poshmark a few weeks ago, and I am in love with it. It’s partially the reason I’m broke, but I’ve also been selling items on their app too. My username is @mainaeliz. So far I’ve had a really positive experience with the app and it’s been a great resource for getting rid of my old jeans.
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The Ramblers by Aidan Donnelley Rowley– I read this book in the span of a super busy week, and when I wasn’t in class or studying I was reading this book. It’s a great length and is basically what its review on Amazon says: “a love letter to New York City.” For someone who misses the city very much, the familiar imagery and references made me smile and even pointed me in the direction of places I want to visit next. It’s very WASP-y, and naturally all of the characters attended Ivies, but it’s easy to get past those elements with the vibrant setting and internal troubles of the characters.
Vermont in the Fall- I may be super negative about Vermont on this blog, but it’s genuinely one of the most beautiful things I have seen during this time of year. Of course, Connecticut is beautiful this time of year too, but the mountains and the endless abundance of trees, combined with drives in New Hampshire as well… it’s a sight I have only seen on National Geographic before.
Nude York– This post changed my life. “If you are not where you are supposed to be right now, one day you will be.”
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Spotify– I got a Spotify account this month when my free trial with Apple Music was up. So far I’m enjoying it. I like how public it is (you can see what other people are listening to) and their method of suggesting music for you to listen to is so much less annoying than Apple Music. It definitely kills my battery way more than Apple Music does, though, and it doesn’t have Taylor Swift or De La Soul, so keep that in mind if you decide to get it.
Nancy Duarte’s Ted Talk– I watched this during a public speaking seminar and it instantly fascinated me. I never thought that a system could be applied to great speeches like those of Steve Jobs and Martin Luther King, Jr. I always cry during empowering speeches, and dissecting the structure of these talks put all of my emotions in perspective.
I’ve been listening to these two Soundcloud playlists recently: 633 main st and coconut pear chapstick.The first is for walks down the street to get coffee by myself and the second is for needing to pretend I’m in Florida.
Boston– As you probably already know, I spent half of my October weekends in Boston. I can’t wait to visit more. It’s super cheap for me to go if I use Wheeli (which I TOTALLY recommend), it only costs me around $8-10 for each ride there and back. I love it there and going for those weekends have recharged me and reminded me of what is important in life.
Toast- I love bread and I like to get creative in my dining hall. I usually opt for the classic two slices slathered in peanut butter, topped with banana slices and cinnamon sugar, but I add honey sometimes. When I’m not feeling peanut butter (rare, but it happens), I go for strawberry jam and honey with grapes on the side. Don’t forget the butter.
Morning Showers- Since sixth grade I have been a die-hard night shower person, I think my dad instilled it in me. But since I have 8:30 AMs almost every day, it serves as a way to actually wake me up. Or at least get me out of bed.
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University of Vermont’s “Black Lives Matter” Flag– I am so proud of my school!!!! AND so pumped to have been mentioned in Rookiemag, one of my favorite things ever in early high school. A lot of controversy was sparked and the flag was stolen, but the Student Life Director and his wife painted a new one and subsequently flew it among our other flags once again. I couldn’t make the solidarity photo because of class, but how fucking cool is this:
Lexie Lombard’s “what high schoolers are ACTUALLY wearing” Video– This video was the cutest thing I have ever seen, because everyone was so honest and unabashedly themselves. I have watched countless “What to wear back to school!” videos since I started watching YouTube, but Lexie has been putting out unbelievably real and entertaining content lately, and this is a gem.
MediaFile D.C.– When I was in D.C. I met the kindest, sweetest, smartest person ever- her name is Swetha, and she recently took a position as the technology writer for this publication. She hasn’t published anything yet, but the site is so interesting, my favorite article so far is this one released today on media bias. It’s not long and beaten to death with academic language, it’s quite accessible, which is nice.
The second weekend in September was ArtHop, a very-Burlington Burlington event. I left with a vintage YSL necktie and images of organically flower-dyed $300 sleep shirts in my head. I discovered what exactly what Battery Street Jeans is, and I got to see this wonderful painting by Robert Gold, pictured below. It’s called NYC Starbucks. I really like it because of its pink light and how he played with the reflections of the outside and inside. Go Robert.
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Glass Animals’ How to Be a Human Being– My suite mates played this vinyl to death, and with good reason. I liked a few Glass Animals songs before, but this album is an absolute masterpiece… each song is about a person they met on their tours since their last album was released, which is super interesting, because I love people and each of the stories in the song lyrics are distinct and unconventional.
Fearless by Taylor Swift– I think the time where college feels most lit for me is when I come home from long days, lay in bed, work on homework and listen to this album really. loudly. Also, The Way I Loved You is one of the greatest songs of all time.
I’ve really been feeling Washed Out’s Paracosm lately, mostly because of the kind of hot/kind of not/early sunset weather we’re having. Yesterday I played It All Feels Right with the windows down on I-189 after a wrong turn around golden hour, and everything felt exactly as it sounded.
Shelburne Farms– During parent’s weekend, my family and I went down to Shelburne, a beautiful suburb of Burlington with rolling hills, grassy knolls… the typical Vermont thing. They have an elementary schooling program which is kind of amazing. It’s a small class and kids learn sustainability and farm skills while getting a classical education, I have a friend who went who can totally vouch for that. And I had the best cheese ever-aged smoked cheddar cheese, the 6-9 month kind. I literally ate it off the block without Triscuits or anything while watching Gilmore Girls yesterday. It’s gone now!
Mac and Cheese and Chips- After a bad day, going down to my dorm’s cafe and getting a bowl of mac and cheese and Deep River kettle chips is heavenly. I don’t even bother getting a spoon; I use the chips to dip into the macaroni, and the cheese adheres the noodles to the chip, forgoing “compostable” utensils.
Running Your Fingers Across Flower Bushes- I came up with the perfect alternative to picking flowers (which is bad- let the flowers live #uvmstudentthings) which includes taking your bare hand and just running it across a flower bush. You get the same physical effect and your hands and wrists will smell good for like an hour. I swear, I do this whenever I pass one which is a lot.
Saxby’s– On a particularly rough early Sunday in D.C., I immediately hopped in an Uber to Georgetown and found this place while wandering up and down the side streets of Wisconsin Ave. I got a blueberry bagel with peanut butter and a caramel iced coffee. It saved my life and they even played that song from the 2000s- the “listen to your heart, before you tell him goodbye” one. It’s kind of like the Starbucks of the DMV/Philly area. Thanks, Saxby’s. Hoya saxa.
I have this romper in a different pattern from the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale and I’ve gotten compliments on it from every kind of person, it’s so soft and YOUR THIGHS DON’T CHAFE!!! I ordered it a size larger, and it’s honestly the most comfortable thing I own.
Due to my constant and overbearing feeling of terror and loathing while I clomp down L/L’s stairs in dirty Jack Rogers sandals, preparing myself for breakfast, lunch, and dinner spent alone, I have come up with a repertoire of things I can latch onto to make this place feel more like Connecticut, more like a safe space, and more like home. Here are those things:
1. Talking to straight edge people. These people don’t have to have anything in common with you. You don’t even have to like them. You could be a cocaine addict or an alcoholic, it doesn’t matter. But if they refuse to do drugs or drink alcohol, there is a safe bet they are pleasant people. They will remind you that not everyone is scary and most importantly that not everyone thinks vaping is cool.
2. Memorizing a poem or song. Over the summer, I memorized (while procrastinating everything else of course) the poem Bygones by Marina Keegan. The poem has a lot of sentimental value to me and repeating it tonight walking to my dorm with a chocolate milkshake in my hand had real therapeutic value. I also like to play songs in my head, with lyrics flashing up on a screen like a lyric YouTube video, to take my mind off whatever the matter is at hand, which is usually being alone in a crowd of people wearing identical Birkenstocks.
3. Reading for pleasure. Right now, I am reading Modern Lovers by Emma Straub. I don’t like it as much compared to The Vacationers, but reading a style of writing that is familiar is comforting to me. Making a point of buying yourself new books to read that aren’t for classes is so important, even if you only have five minutes per day to actually read it. Another way to fulfill this need and not spend money is to find blogs and read the shit out of them. I read The Messy Heads and The College Prepster (who also has a shit ton of tips for college students), and when I was an underclassman I read Rookie.
4. Focusing on the future. The weekend before real classes is a lot of waiting, and syllabus week will not be much different. Looking at internships back home and planning concert trips has been one of my favorite distractions. Going off to college knowing I would be visiting Michael in a few weeks and seeing Two Door Cinema Club has given me something to look forward to. I also purchased my passport, and I hope to find somewhere to travel to during Christmas break!
5. Preserving small pieces of your at-home routine. I make the same breakfast as I did every morning junior and senior year of high school (albeit, in plastic containers and with Walmart silverware) here, before my 8:30 a.m. classes or incoming freshman activities on weekends. I also still shower around the same time at night (9 p.m.) and write in my One Line a Day Journal that Maggie got me for Christmas before I go to bed. Small things like checking the Timehop app every morning help, too.
6. Being honest and vulnerable with everyone. College is so good, I’m sure, for so many people. But personally, I’m having a significantly difficult time with adjusting. In a lecture the other day, the speaker said to all of us, “Vulnerability fuels connection.” And something I have been lacking here is a feeling of connection, whether it be to the place I live or the people I live with. I am trying in all ways possible to be transparent with people, and maybe that seems off-putting to the person on the receiving end, but it makes me feel better about my experience.
7. Coffee. It’s the New England thing. It’s the pace of life. It’s what your mother and father and boss and next door neighbor and grandfather and professor and cousin-in-law all crave first thing in the morning. It’s the championing drink of successful, busy, lazy, unsuccessful, stupid, smart, human people. We all share the common human condition that is called “I need coffee.” And, personally, I don’t have the fucking time to use a tea press or whatever that is.
8. Always having your favorite childhood snacks on hand. Yes, I’m afraid of the freshman fifteen, but having a carton of Goldfish and a bag of Smartfood popcorn in my dresser drawer brings comfort to my soul.
9. Finding people from where you’re from. These people will reminisce on your area’s restaurants and highway traffic with you. These people are important and you need them to feel small moments of relief.
10. Never underestimate the power of FaceTime. My entire campus has functional Wi-Fi, so I never really use data, and that makes FaceTime all the more acceptable for my data plan. I FaceTime people walking to and from everywhere, especially when I have no one to talk to. FaceTiming my family is funny and they ask me embarrassing questions really loudly. I like the disruptive power of FaceTiming in public because people give you weird looks, and you should always strive for weird looks, especially in an already strange place because you have accomplished a new level of psychotic. (I have won a few of these and I’m proud.)