Surviving Freshman Year: A Playlist

Everything is coming to a close and I don’t know what to make of it. I’ve been sick for the past few days so all I’ve been doing is writing and cleaning out my Spotify playlists. I realized from Spotify mainly how much changing I’ve done and how sentimental (well, isn’t it always) music was to me this year. At first I thought I still listened to the same music, but my curated playlists from high school and now are pretty different.

A lot of my musical growth this year has come from boys. Most of my interactions with guys started over music, Mac Demarco being the main player. It’s funny, because in two weeks when I see him it will basically be a reunion of me and every guy I’ve ever expressed interest in this year.

One of the first guys gave me The Strokes. The Strokes were a big part of my fall semester playlists and they were basically all I listened to as I walked from class to class in the brisk weather. He also gave me Courtney Barnett, whose Avant Gardener I will never forget. I learned all of the words to that song in a heartbeat; it’s hilarious, it’s UVM, it’s amazing.

The guy who painted my spring semester with music gave me a lot: LCD Soundsystem, Kaytranada, $uicideboy$, and renewed appreciation for Cage the Elephant and Matt & Kim. He reminded me of the L Train and he has a girlfriend now, or at least that’s what I’ve gathered from his Instagram. LCD will always be a solid walking-to-class choice, thank you.

Lastly, I’d like to thank my old suitemate for letting me lay in his bed, smoke his weed, and listen to Lonerism. That really set the tone for my UVM experience. Also, thanks for being the only straight (?) man who appreciated unreleased Lana.

The following songs are songs I’m going to listen to as we drive away from my new city, possibly for the last time, loaded with boxes and boxes of clothes, memories, textbooks, and my winter boots. They’re the songs that characterized this translucent April, the April that helped me realize a lot about myself. Spring has always been like that for me, but April is ending in peace this time, and not open chaos. April came in like a lion and out like a lamb.

ragged wood – fleet foxes

“come down from the mountain, you have been gone too long. spring is upon us, follow my only song. settle down with me by the fire of my yearning. you should come back home, back on your own now…”

feeling whitney – post malone

to each their own and find peace in knowing, ain’t always broken, but here’s to hoping. show no emotion, against your coding, and just act as hard as you can…”

the dreamer – the tallest man on earth

“oh sometimes the blues is just a passing bird, and why can’t that always be?”

shine – mondo cozmo

“stick with me, jesus, through the coming storm, I’ve come to you in search of something I have lost. shine down a light on me and show a path, I promise you I will return if you take me back…”

an illustration of loneliness (sleepless in new york) – courtney barnett

wondering what you’re doing, what you’re listening to, which quarter of the moon you’re viewing from your bedroom. watching all the movies, drinking all the smoothies, swimming at the pool, I’m thinking of you too…”

hang loose – alabama shakes

“hang loose, hang loose, let the ocean worry about being blue. hang loose, hang loose…”

atlas hands – benjamin francis leftwich

“take me to the docks, there’s a ship without a name there and it is sailing to the middle of the sea. the water there is deeper than anything you’ve ever seen, jump right in and swim until you’re free. I will remember your face, ’cause I am still in love with that place. but when the stars are the only things we share, will you be there?”

The following are songs I’ll characterize with the uncertainty of the beginning. The plane rides, the sweat, the crunchy hair days when everything was humidity. Dropping my eight dollar wrap on a sidewalk in the District while my headphones flew out of my ears. Making myself Nutella rice cakes and doing my Spanish homework ten minutes before class. When I tried so desperately to pretend I had it all figured out, and all my dreams were so, so big. And towards the end of my fall semester, when everything seemed like a tragedy and I went home numb.

the moment – tame impala

“in the end it’s stronger than I know how to be, and I can’t just spend my whole lifetime wondering. I fell in love with the sound of my heels on the wooden floor, I don’t want my footsteps to be silent anymore…”

crane your neck – lady lamb

and how it hurts, even in the sun. it’s a god-damned joke how we can hurt even in the sun. for a heart beats the best in the bed beside the one that it loves, oh yes a heart beats the best when in a head, death becomes irrelevant. ’cause if you’re dreaming about dying, then you’re not really living, darling. you’ve gotta be starving, you’ve gotta be starving for it...”

lonely – mean lady

it’s almost over, time when we’re not together. I feel it getting better all the time. and what if it takes too long? what if it takes too long and I’m lonely? how can it break me and make me so strong? what if it takes too long?”

new person, same old mistakes – tame impala

“and I know that it’s hard to digest, a realization is as good as a guess. and I know it seems wrong to accept, but you’ve got your demons and she’s got her regrets…”

wanderer, wandering – slow club

“I’ll ask where you’re going, and what you’re doing. you have no answer, ’cause you’re a wanderer, wandering, you’re a wanderer, wandering. and every second is a pounding drum, you’re leaning over me to put another record on, and every other guess is just cold hard luck…”

17 – youth lagoon

“surrounded by nothing, but nothing’s surrounded by us, it’s just me in my room, with my eyes shut. oh, when I was seventeen, my mother said to me, ‘don’t stop imagining, the day that you do is the day that you die…'”

hard to explain – the strokes

“I say the right thing but act the wrong way, I like it right here but I cannot stay… I missed the last bus, we’ll take the next train, I’ll try but you see, it’s hard to explain…”

The following are songs I’ll associate with the sadness of excitement. With the first drives up for the purpose of orienting myself here. With the Champlain sunsets, the firsts, the endless Ben and Jerry’s post-class outings, the sun catching itself perfectly in a window as I study. With the times I’d looked around with a soft sense of realization and wonder and knew I would be okay, and times I’d fallen asleep blurring the lines between here and home.

man on fire – edward sharpe & the magnetic zeroes

“come dance with me, over murder and pain, come dance with me, over heartache and shame. I wanna see our bodies burning like old big suns, I wanna know what we’ve been learning and learning from…”

reality in motion – tame impala

it made my heart run in circles and overflow, and I was closer than ever to letting go. it made my heart run in circles and overdrive, and I was closer than ever to feeling alive… heading for the deep end, soon as I remember, baby I surrender, I just need to breathe out, decisions are approaching, reality in motion…”

tiny cities – flume ft. beck

“can I? should I? find my way home? now did I, think I’d better go home. all I said I needed was gone, but I thought I heard it all wrong… but it’s never easy when you think you have it in control, somehow you get caught up in the moment and you never know…”

where the skies are blue – the lumineers

you’re gonna leave, it ain’t gonna break my heart, mama, cause I’ve never seen nobody quite like you. and if you ever change your tune, oh the world’s got the best of you, you can always find me where the skies are blue…”

settle – two door cinema club

“’cause I see the world in different colors to someone like you. the city will pull you in, romantic and drenched in sin, love. you only have but a time until this place will swallow you whole…”

no no no – beirut

don’t know the first thing about who you are, my heart is waiting, taken in from the start. if we don’t go now, we won’t get very far. don’t know the first thing about who you are…”

rivers and roads – the head and the heart

been talkin’ about the way things change, and my family lives in a different state. if you don’t know what to make of this, then we will not relate… rivers and roads, rivers and roads. rivers ’til I reach you…”

Where All the Veins Meet

This morning, I smiled at my reflection in the mirror, noticing a crop of new freckles and some peeling skin on my nose. It’s finally warm in Burlington. It may not last, but for the next ten days we are north of 50 degrees, which is all I can ask for. I smudged generous amounts of grapefruit essential oil on my wrists and neck and mixed it in with a few drops of the fragrance I’ve come to associate with my soul itself; Beach by Bobbi Brown. Together this combination reminds me of summer mornings at home cutting up a grapefruit, wearing a free people dress and going on a bike ride to the beach.

I am so happy here and don’t want to leave Vermont, because it’s so fun and beautiful, but I miss home so much. I don’t know how it’s possible to feel both. I can’t wait to jump feet first into the ocean, but I’m going to miss climbing up mountains and stumbling down to the waterfront with a picnic blanket, beer, and a sandwich. I guess my life is filled with so much beauty and the fact that I can’t have both places I love at once makes me sad.

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Yesterday I led a hike, my first real hike, up a mountain that was coated in thick untrustworthy layers of snowfall. By the time I left my socks were soaked through with snow and mud and my leggings were adhered to my ass from the times I fell and let myself slide. We sang along to Vermont radio stations on the way home and I was so tired and happy. A lot of the girls had never gone hiking before, and some were annoyed at how slow they were, but it just reminded me of a cliche, that we all get down the mountain somehow, no matter how unprepared or how likely to stumble we are. Even the best hikers on that trip had to sled down some parts, their packs soaked through with snowpack. It’s maybe a metaphor for this semester. Yeah, going uphill is hard, and you don’t know where to put your feet sometimes and your leg can fall through really easily, but the view at the top is great. On the flipside of that, the way down can be quicker and easy, but slushy, unreliable, and filled with challenges.

With that metaphor in mind, I know I’m just stumbling through the slush and mud in the final throes of spring semester. But I’m choosing to love it, rather than how much I hated it last semester. If there’s anything I wish I’d done differently, it would have been to talk to people. To wear the clothing I wore in high school. To try not to change so fast just because my surroundings did. To sing to Hozier in the shower on Monday mornings, to color in your journal on the quad, and to text that girl you met at a leadership conference to make popcorn and have a picnic. Follow the girl in your spanish class on instagram when you come across it. Talk to the boy in your environmental science class, ask him about Minnesota, go to a party and ask for a hit of his joint and be his friend. College can be just as socially smooth as high school was for you, Maina, if you just treat it that way.

My advice to future college freshman: buy the expensive fruit at the farmer’s markets, hang out with the kids you met in your orientation group, laugh for hours over breakfast instead of getting up after twenty minutes to study. Trust everyone and be content, like the wholesome meme says. People notice what you’ve got going on in your head, regardless of what the 2012 tumblr depression blogs say, so just choose to enjoy the challenges and people will enjoy them with you. I can’t believe I took all of this from a hike, but I guess the weather getting warm reminds me of who I really am. I do believe that people take after certain seasons and I know mine is summer so I am doing my best to reflect how I feel right now onto others.

I can’t really end this on a note that will tie this information together up neatly like most of my posts do. I feel like there is so much I’m going to live over this last month and two days of my freshman year. I cannot believe it’s almost over. So I’m just going to leave a poem that reminds me of this time in my life, so when I feel this way all over again it will make sense.

“As I write
the coffee shop is getting crowded
My back is to the line and counter
but I hear as people enter and exit
the creak of the door
I feel the cool draft 
the outside air gushing in eagerly
while it is able
Overhead is Bono’s voice
replacing Chris Martin’s
“I have run
I have crawled
I have scaled these city walls”
My left bicep starts to throb
I rub my eyes
“But I still haven’t found
what I’m looking for”
“But I still haven’t found
what I’m looking for”
The throbbing stops
and I inhale deeply
resting my head on the concrete wall beside me
painted white
although not fresh and fragrant” (x)
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Toast Can Never Be Bread Again

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This weekend was so strange in a wonderful way. If a little over a month ago I was feeling the seasons change from winter to fake spring, I felt the seasons change from winter to real spring this weekend. It snowed one (hopefully) last time Friday night, the sleet coming down in large swaths, at first melting as soon as it hit pavement and dry grass but eventually coalesced and stuck overnight. Saturday morning it turned into real snow and continued to fall over Burlington; the white sky encompassed absolutely everything and turned windows on Battery Street into stark alabaster canvases.

My favorite days are the ones where I explore Burlington by myself, picking the music I want to listen to, which bus seat I want to occupy, and what cafe I want to do work in. I walked around Church Street, College Street, and looked into most stores I have never entered before. I went to Burlington City Arts, I was the only one in the whole museum, and watched people walk through city park. I did work at a new cafe, August First, and drew in my journal until my hands hurt.

I agreed to have about ten members of Champlain College Class of 2021 in my common room Saturday night. I got them weed, they smoked, we talked. I forgot that people are excited about Burlington. I see it in the faces of the tourists and the way I feel when I look at sunsets, but Burlington lost next to all of its glimmer that it possessed when I visited here almost two years ago. They all inspired me to make more of a conscious effort to notice the excitement here, because it’s there, and we’ve all just gotten used to it, and that’s sad.

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I don’t know what it is, but something clicked in me after spring break. I felt it as I was laying in my bed, watching i-D videos about Korean beauty standards and slowly falling into a deep sleep. The sunlight reflected off of the snow coating the rooftops of South 1 and streamed through my window, illuminating the sounds of birds chirping. For a second, I felt like I was home. Not in the college-is-my-home-fuck-my-hometown way, but I started to blur the lines between Clinton and Burlington for a second, in sleep stasis. It was the same kind of settled feeling I felt in the car on the way to Walmart today when Emily and I had the windows down and Dug My Heart was playing. I didn’t feel inclined to lean my knees against the center console and tense up. I didn’t feel inclined to stay awake for fear of inconveniencing my roommates when they returned from the gym. I fell asleep peacefully, not dreaming at all, settled.

 

Yes, I’m Gone to Connecticut in My Mind

My opinion of myself and what is best for me always changes. It changes based on new revelations I have within myself but most often it changes due to influences from people around me. This is probably that one defining character flaw that would lead to my demise if I was a Greek goddess in a mythology tale. I can never seem to trust my own instincts until it is too late.

I need to transfer. Financially, it makes sense. I need to go back to Connecticut and get an undergraduate degree at the best college for the lowest amount I can. I have been denying myself the right to say “need” instead of “should.” This is where I will consciously recognize that I need to transfer. This is my record.

Watch this movie clip if you want to understand the next few paragraphs.
I have been tearing myself up about this since the day I stepped foot on campus. But I knew it as soon as I boarded the airplane for Washington, D.C. I got the exact feeling that I felt when I was a little girl watching What a Girl Wants, when Daphne leaves a voicemail for her mother to listen to while she leaves the country to find her dad. I have always wanted to feel that feeling, the complete serenity in my head and heart that I know I’m doing the right thing, even if it seems hard and like I’m breaking a lot of rules.

As I type this in my bed, rewatching this scene over and over again, there is a reason five-year-old me loved this movie so much and this specific scene. I used to rewind it and watch it until my mother got tired of it and told me to cut it out. I would like to thank my younger self for drilling into my head that I should always follow my heart and my instincts. Even if I don’t remember to most of the time, whenever I get the feeling that I do when Daphne leaves Manhattan, I know that whatever I decided was right for me.

Going to school in D.C. eventually is going to be one of the biggest goals I have ever set for myself. And I intend to accomplish it. Not in my undergraduate years, but in my graduate years. Someday I will sign a lease for an apartment on some street that begins and ends with a letter of the alphabet or the name of a state. And I’m going to sit there and be thankful that eighteen-year-old me had the guts to go against my outside influences and follow what I know is right for me and me alone.

I don’t regret coming here and figuring out all there it is to figure out. I learned how to live with multiple personalities under one roof, three separate times. I learned what I don’t want and what I do want. These two semesters, even as this one continues, just keep changing me into the adult I will eventually fully become.

I would like to thank two of my good friends here in Vermont for reminding me that this isn’t just me. UVM’s retainment rate is pretty low. I’m still going to be dramatic and upset over this decision, just because this is who I am, but I’m not alone.

For Being Dramatic About Transferring

…(because there is a playlist for everything)

Breakaway – Kelly Clarkson                          For the First Time – The Script

I’m Coming Out – Diana Ross                       Butterfly Fly Away – Miley Cyrus

Landslide (Live) – Fleetwood Mac               Carolina in My Mind – James Taylor

Wide Open Spaces – Dixie Chicks                My Eyes – The Lumineers

Out of Place – Gavin Thorpe                          I’m Like a Bird – Nelly Furtado

Unwritten – Natasha Bedingfield                So Yesterday – Hilary Duff

New Semester Resolutions

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.

Christmastime in the 802

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In four short days my first semester of college will be OVER. I cannot express how excited I am to be home without any responsibilities other than working to fund my upcoming trips. I miss having my own space and making my own meals.

Despite the below-30 degree temperature drop, Vermont has been extremely beautiful lately. It’s so nice to wake up to huge snowflakes tapping at my window on Monday mornings. Coffee has tasted extra cozy and the dining halls have free candy canes! When I wasn’t studying, I was downtown Christmas shopping. Church Street has a pretty good selection of stores, and anything you can’t find is in the University Mall. My favorite store is probably Outdoor Gear Exchange because they have literally everything you need to brave any kind of weather. There are hundreds of brands and even a consignment section. I picked up a Patagonia vest for a fraction of the price as a gift and I can’t wait to give it. They even have free stickers.

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Above is a picture of the lights after the first block on the corner of Bank Street. There must be thousands of strings wrapping everything in lights.

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Saturday night I had a final dinner with some of my friends at Sweetwater’s. Sweetwater’s isn’t my favorite restaurant but I think it’s well priced for the atmosphere and the quality of the food. Their fries were very good and I had forgotten how good ketchup is.

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I also got their chocolate torte, which is beyond delicious. The little cake in the middle is literally just chocolate covered in chocolate, and the ice cream is homemade.

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I also hit up Muddy Waters on Main Street. Muddy Waters is a very unique yet very Burlington cafe. It doesn’t have wifi, which is pretentious and annoying, but I still got some work done. And their house chai latte was just spicy enough.

As a semester recap, I really don’t hate Burlington. It has its positives for sure. The lake is beautiful and the sunsets never fail to amaze me. I have just been having a hard time handling school and friendships and living situations. Things have calmed down for the most part and I am happy to be leaving on a good note emotionally. I have some things to get excited about coming back to, and I have a feeling 2017 is going to be a really good year. I booked a flight to Florida and I’m going to D.C. again, and both of those are happening in January alone.

I also made a Spotify playlist about Burlington recently and have been updating it every few days. I listen to it when I’m studying or walking down Main Street.

One thing I will enjoy about coming home is not dressing like a bum anymore – I will say Vermont has taken away my fashion sense. It’s just too cold. Maybe people will think I know how to ski.

I’m done being apathetic finally

December 2: I went into an apartment today, and all of the girls shared the same oats and brown sugar and flour in little jars on a table in the dining room. Everyone mostly agreed on what happened where. And sometimes they shared jeans. I spent five hours of my night in the theatre talking to different boys about how pure they are. I don’t know if they know what that means. And the best things happen unexpectedly.

December 3: The Skinny Pancake downtown smells good and it’s open and when I went in people were surrounded by little lights on dates. It’s so cold, my phone froze to death at 65 percent. I walked into the terminal station to charge it. It’s the first snowy weekend that everyone can ski. When I went to the lacrosse party everyone’s ski gear was out in a little pile in the corner of their basement.

December 4: The sun is shining and the mountains are yellow and white. I am at Muddy Waters. They don’t have wifi, which is annoying, but I’m using a free trial from Xfinity. I got a house chai latte and I’m going to write a little and do some chemistry. The piano kicked in, Lonely by Mean Lady, and I started crying. My latte is cold and I think I’m going to stay here.

Monday Monday

Finals. It’s under thirty eight degrees the rest of the week. My coffee cups are stained and the brims are salted with natural sugar, my lipstick is smudging on the edge of my forks and spoons and traveling to my chin. Two a.m. showers are becoming more frequent and I am writing more in the margins of my calculus notes than ever before.

Wanderer Wandering – Slow Club

17 – Youth Lagoon

Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby – Cigarettes After Sex

This Must Be the Place – Talking Heads

These Days – Nico

Cherry – Chromatics

Rosa – Grimes

I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight – Richard  and Linda Thompson

I Need Fun in My Life – The Drums

You Make Me Wanna Die – The Shivas

Wall Fuck – Flume

This is a song

Heavy metal drummer – Wilco

Playing With Fire – Nick Leng

Lust for Life – Girls

California Stars (Live) – Wilco

The Russian house smells like really cheap perfume, strawberry vape, and cigarettes. It’s starting to seep into my clothing. My roommate cleaned the sink over break. I forgot how nice it was to go to bed completely clean, slicked down in coconut oil in a big t-shirt. I’m feeling more and more like I can do it. I eat cereal in my Dave’s Coffee mug with almond milk I should probably refrigerate.

This doesn’t feel final like the tests suggest. This feels like a transition. The card deck is shuffling. The boy in my spanish class seems more like a dream every day I don’t try to talk to him. He goes off to a dining hall and I stop to buy pita bread and coffee downstairs before I go to my last chem lab. He is from my favorite city, he listens to Mac Demarco. His jacket is the same as Wyatt’s in a more cobalt blue than Michael’s. Sometimes I stop back in my room to put on eyeliner, to wash my hands, just to make sure that if he ever wants to talk to me my eyes aren’t so small and my hands show no signs of an inked home countdown.

Today I opened a can of chickpeas with a screwdriver and accidentally poured corrosive acid on my fresh papercut. Everything is grey and dark and feels like a saltwater pool. My lipstick shed onto my spoons and coffee cups and cheese block. Sixteen more days. But it’s not so bad.

 

 

November Life Update: I Can’t Do This Anymore

I don’t know what I love to do. I don’t know what brings me happiness. I don’t know if I forgot or if all of those things aren’t working anymore.

I know I love to write. I don’t have a lot of time to update this blog, but I have been trying to write a little everyday, updating the book idea I’ve been creating for a few years. But it doesn’t make me smile, it doesn’t destress me, it doesn’t make me feel myself. It’s just another thing that’s blocking me from doing all of the things I need to get done. It’s a distraction. It’s what’s making me fail math and chemistry and every other class. I can’t do it and feel satisfied.

I used to be able to find the joy and positive aspects of little things. I used to just be able to look at the ocean and smile and make that a good day. When I visit the ocean, now that I’m home, I don’t feel anything. My mind is thinking about the test review I’m not doing right now and all the sleep I’m going to not get next week. I can’t even enjoy my friends because I’m too tired and depressed, and I know that at the end of this week I’m going to have to drive four hours to spend three more weeks of failure in the coldest place I have ever been with people I don’t know whatsoever sharing the bathroom with me.

I hate complaining but I’m actually really worried about my health and wellbeing. I do go to the gym and I eat a lot of protein (all I eat are mushrooms, beans, pasta, and the occasional bowl of cereal). I find a little happiness in listening to music and running. But that’s in vain. I just want people to look at me and tell me I’ve lost weight. I’m glad I have that as an outlet, but soon I’m probably not going to want to walk to the gym in five degree weather.

I don’t even like to journal anymore because I don’t know what to write down. My life is only schoolwork and worrying about schoolwork. I’m not doing anything that I’m passionate about. The activist work I do is limited to Facebook and that’s annoying so I stopped doing that. I stopped writing in my one line a day journal because I don’t have fun anymore and I don’t want to feel the shame I would feel if I sat down to write a sentence and I couldn’t think of anything to say worth remembering.

I have stopped feeling emotions. I am only now crying for the first time in one month. I feel like I went to college and completely lost myself and that is disgusting. I’m tired of trying to go to cities and having fun and people telling me to transfer and then going home and doing terribly in academics and knowing that I won’t get in anywhere because I’m not doing anything I care about or anything I’m good at. I really hope no one else feels this way or anyone who is reading this can’t relate. I just needed to write out my thoughts somewhere that felt productive.

Cheese, Jackets, and the Magnetic Zeroes

As I type these words, there is someone outside my dorm whistling the Harry Potter orchestral theme. These words are dedicated to that person, I hope your night out is good.

I fear that I have given up. I think I am forgetting all of my goals, who I set out to become. I had such high expectations. Correction- my life has been a series of me unknowingly setting extremely high expectations, only to be disillusioned. I probably have high expectations for this installment, high expectations for the late night dining hall food I will consume in one hour, high expectations for the time I will go to bed tonight.

And I’ll save you and myself the annoying comparison. I thought Burlington would be this, I thought college would be that. I came expecting exactly the opposite of what has happened to me. I don’t know how to shed my expectations and let whatever will happen happen. I am a control freak in this way. I need to know and to plan and to research. I need to be ahead, always. I’m like that with travel, I’m like that with boys, I’m like that with any life event.

I am starting to like my school and that is terrifying.

I already paid to take the next available SAT and bought the practice book. I already spent hours researching selective-but-not-too-selective transfer schools in cities I would like to explore. I already dreamt about D.C. more than I thought humanly possible.

But I was in Outdoor Gear Exchange today and didn’t hesitate to buy another winter jacket. And I ate so many cheese samples at Cabot that the world started to feel like heaven. And on the way home from the fall play, I sang Man On Fire to myself, happily walking down the lighted path in front of the student center. It’s such a weird feeling to be happy, to want to acclimate to my environment.

I don’t want to tell people this, and for them to say “Good!” or “I knew you would like Burlington.” Because I don’t want them to have known, or for them to think that this is good. I’m scared that this is complacency. That this is me just adjusting again, because I’m good at that. No. I don’t want to settle. I want to be better, and smarter, and never settle.

I can’t tell if it’s more comforting or sad that life isn’t always what you think it will be.