The Last First Day

My best friends Jordan and Hattie posing with me for our Last First DAy of School photo.

My best friends Jordan and Hattie posing with me for our Last First DAy of School photo.


I've grown up going to school. My life has been organized based on class and breaks, basketball games and social functions, homework and tests. The three years I spent not at school are long forgotten in my mind, and were still spent learning--albeit how to eat, walk, and talk.

Yesterday was my last first day of school, the last time I start a fresh batch of classes with new school supplies and books in hand. I had mixed feelings.

On the one hand, I love the first class. Fresh paper, a new syllabus, writing everything in my planner, getting exciting over course material--the first day reminds me why I like school and learning so much.

But it also reminded me how, at least for now, this is the last time I get to learn for the sake of learning. Anything I want to know about colonial America I need to learn now. Any pieces of writing I want multiple people to critique needs to be written and read this semester.

A lot is uncertain about life after May. I might go back to school one day; I might not. This is the semester to participate to the fullest in class discussions, read every assignment, write the things I've always wanted to. 

It's scary and sad to think I'm leaving college behind. But it's also incredibly exciting to think of all I can do in the time I have left.


What I Read: The Opposite of Loneliness

3/5 pineapplesWhat I Read: The Opposite of Loneliness

Marina Keegan intrigued me.

From the start, I noticed her in a bright yellow coat looking at me every time my friends and I found ourselves in Barnes & Noble (which is often). Finally, I opened the cover. When I found out she died just after her college graduation, I set the book back on the shelf and walked away.

At some point, Marina ended up on my Goodreads "to-read" list but I didn't think much of it until this semester. The semester of three classes, free time, and low motivation meant reading more. I gravitated towards nonfiction and short essays, easy to pick up after longer periods of time. Marina caught my eye once again. This time I obliged.

The Opposite of Loneliness documents a college writer's potential. Marina's fiction is a little weak in some places and the stories aren't as well done as, say, George Saunders. Frequently her writing reminded me of what I come across in some of my writing workshops. That talented kid, who always comes up with something the professor loves, sometimes too big for his or her own good--that's Marina. She has so much potential, and it's clear that with more training and time she could have really been a writer. A good one. (A paid one.)

What I Read: The Opposite of Loneliness

The beauty of her book is not, then, in the quality of the writing. It's in the story behind the essays and the person who wrote them. Young people have something to say, something that I feel is too often ignored by adults. Yes, the writing might not have the experience to be extraordinary. But it's still valuable and useful. Marina's nonfiction, my favorite part of the book, really says something. In each essay I can feel her passion for her words. She cares about these topics. And she wants others to know. So what if the language is a bit rough in places; Marina knew how to get people's attention.

Marina inspired me and my writing. Every time I put her book down I wanted to write something of my own, something worthwhile and helpful. I wrote this article for the school newspaper and a post for our admission blog (not yet published), both inspired by her writing. Marina's inspiration is what makes this book worth reading. Her passion and her story are what make it good.

While I'm not nearly as talented as Marina, nor as recognized, I hope I can follow her example and create a lasting impact with my writing. While it may only be a ripple and not a splash, that's more than enough for me.


Below the Line:

  • I had my very last class of junior year today. Two plays and a paper from now, I'll be a senior. Now there's a scary thought.
  • Trying to live up these last few weeks with my senior friends has been lots of fun (Cardinal's game! Weeknights at the Duck (the on-campus bar)! Stargazing at 4:30am!) but as graduation looms closer it's harder to keep the sad thoughts at bay.
  • However, I am very excited for this summer. I love spending time with my family and I love Indy. Plus I have two great internships I'm really looking forward to!
  • I'm trying a new style for my photos. What do you think?

Best Studying Tips | The SECOND Day of Blogmas!

On the second day of Blogmas, Leeann's blog gave to me: the best study tips... As I've struggled through studying and paper writing, I've hoped and prayed for some solution to my agony and dismay. "Please," I say to anyone who passes by, "tell me how to stop this!" My friends and fellow students pat me on the back then go into their finals sob stories of two finals in one day and a project with a group that won't meet.

I needed a hero, and it came in the form of this article from my dearest mom. It lists "scientifically proven" methods to success during study week, and while it had quite a few suggestions I already knew it also gave me the proof that I was making the right decisions (I've never had an all-nighter and I plan to keep that streak; this article told me why that's a good thing).

But it got me thinking, what else is out there that can help all of us suffering under the biggest tests of the semester? So here is my list of the best finals studying tips I found across the Internet:Best Studying Tips for Finals | Scribbling in the Margins blog

What are your top studying tips?


On the second day of Blogmas, Leeann's blog gave to me:

the best study tips and 10 Christmas songs to sing!

Below the Line:

  • One test down, one test and two papers to go
  • #2days

Favorite Christmas Songs | The FIRST Day of Blogmas!

On the first day of Blogmas, Leeann's blog gave to me: 10 Christmas songs to sing! Hello everyone, and welcome to Blogmas Day One! While I'm stressed and freaked out to the max right now, trying to get all my work done for the two papers/two tests I've got going on in the next three days, I'm also super excited to spend the next 12 days with you getting ready for Christmas. Something to enjoy while write 24-pages over the next 24-hours... :)

But since it is finals season, I'm listening to quite a lot of Christmas music. It's what keeps me sane during winter finals. Knowing that the "Christmas spirit" is still around keeps me motivated. So for this first Blogmas post, I'm going to share with you my top ten Christmas songs for studying:Favorite Christmas Songs | Scribbling in the Margins blog

10: We Three Kings, Aly & AJ Ah, the favorite duo of my past. I love We Three Kings, and these sisters do an amazing job with it.

9: Silver Bells, Bing Crosby & Ella Fitzgerald Nothing like some Bing Crosby. I love all of his songs, but Silver Bells makes me think of 1940s Christmases.

8: 12 Days of Christmas, Straight No Chaser This is just a fun song I like to listen to after a particularly long study session.

7: The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole A classic. All the feels.

6: O Holy Night, Nat King Cole Yes yes, another Nat King Cole because he's the king. And because this version of another favorite Christmas carol is simply beautiful.

5: It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, Andy Williams Another king of Christmas music, Andy Williams's version of this song is just perky enough to make that Environmental Crisis paper seem worth it...

4: The Nutcracker Symphony I choose the Nutcracker when I need to do some serious thinking but need some background noise. It's just soft enough to be in the holiday spirit while letting me do my work.

3: It's Beginning to Look a Lot like Christmas, Michael Buble Ah, Michael Buble. The 21st century version of Bing Crosby. How I love his voice; this song is so soothing, so one of my top picks when I'm at my stress peak.

2: Christmas Time is Here, Vince Guaraldi Trio Because it's from one of my favorite childhood Christmas shows, it gets me pumped to go home at the end of a long line of finals.

And my all-time favorite song...

1: Suite from the Polar Express It's hard to convey how much this song (and movie and book) means to me in one line, so just trust me when I say this song is so full of meaning to me that I pull it out frequently during finals.

There are some favorite Christmas songs missing, such as Carol of the Bells and O Come All Ye Faithful; but those aren't really songs I listen to while studying. I need tunes that will perk my spirits or get me in the mood to finish my work and go home!

What are your favorite Christmas songs?


Below the Line:

  • As soon as I publish this post, I'm jumping straight into studying for my U.S. Women's History test. After tomorrow morning, I can kiss that class goodbye!
  • Still haven't finished buying all my Christmas presents yet... I really like to find people something they're going to love, so it's difficult to spend that much time looking while writing a paper at the same time.
  • 3 days! 3 days and finals will be over.