Wednesday, August 21, 2013

College: What to Expect

I wish someone had given me a list when I started at Kansas State University 5 years ago. Now that I've graduated, I've had some time to reflect on my experience. I can't help but think the process would have been easier if I had list filled with things to expect, the things to avoid and the things to look forward to ...
I started thinking about this topic after seeing about a million posts on social media about #firstdayofcollege, #backtoschool, etc. Then someone shared this fabulous post from More Love Letters, entitled "A Love Letter to College Freshmen"
One quote in particular stuck out to me -
"It’ll be the best four years of your life… that’s what they’re telling you, right? That—if done right—these next four years will sculpt you & change you & make you ready for the real world. Truth told: this is the real world. It’s yours. Stop thinking otherwise. Don’t let a moment more slip away."
photo courtesy of
photo courtesy of

Here's that list I always wanted -

What to Expect
1. COLLEGE IS HARD. A's are not going to come naturally, so put in the time and effort now (not 2 days before the final).
2. Dorm food isn't all that good. Learn to eat cereal for supper (or any meal really), and take advantage of anything fresh (fruit, salad, carrots & celery) ... those dorm cafeterias love the ultra-processed foods. If you grew up like me, your stomach is not prepared for eating this everyday.
3. Carry your student ID with you everywhere. You will get locked out of the dorms. You will forget your student ID number when you have to put it on your tests. You will need it to do silly things on campus (printing, picking up transcripts, etc.)
4. People that want to remain friends will work at it, even if you're 500 miles away. Remember that friendships will come and go. Your "friends" from home will forget about you (until the want something); but the friendships you make in college will (sometimes) trump. Think about it, you are making it through these difficult years together!

The trip where I discovered "ranchy boys" weren't for me (2008).
The trip where I discovered "ranchy boys" weren't for me (2008).

What to Avoid
1. Over spending. My mom will tell you that I was god-awful at managing my finances. Just because you go to college with $XXX in your checking account, doesn't mean you need to spend it. DON'T BE LIKE ME.
2. Wasting time on pointless relationships. I made friends with someone because we were from the same state, and thought that made us "automatic friends" and rested on that for almost two years. Just because people pretend to have similar interests & goals, doesn't mean they will in a few months.
3. Eating out 4x week. Just because "everyone else" is doing it, doesn't mean you have to. It's okay to eat a meal by yourself and it's okay to say no every once in a while.
4. Never leaving school. Go home with your friends, or take them home with you. You learn so much about yourself, the way you grew up and other people when you go spend a weekend with their family! You may call your mom and thank her for teaching you to pick up after yourself, and you may learn that "ranchy boys" aren't for you. Trust me, get out and explore!
5. Getting over involved. Make sure you are involved in something outside of class - intramural sports, clubs, judging teams ... SOMETHING. But don't be like me and join (almost literally 382901 things) ... you will be stressed and your grades, friendships and roommates will suffer.

Things to Look Forward To

My fellow Forrest Bassford Travel Award winners and me in Albuquerque August 2012.
My fellow Forrest Bassford Travel Award winners and me in Albuquerque August 2012.
1. Accomplishing your dreams. Set goals for yourself and don't stop until you reach them. I wanted to win the Forrest Bassford Award. I applied 3 times before being awarded a travel award, and never won the big kahuna. But it was a long-shot goal that I made happen, and I'll always treasure the memories that lead me there.
2. The traditions that make up your university. At K-State, everyone wears purple. I LOVE PURPLE & ALWAYS WILL! Go to sporting events, go to lectures and go get free stuff at the union. Don't spend your 4+ years holed up in your room, go get that "experience" of just being in college and making your own decisions.

Graduation day was one of my happiest - ever (Dec. 2012).
Graduation day was one of my happiest - ever (Dec. 2012).
3. Graduation. For me, nine semesters of long hours in the computer lab, library, class, in the judging van and more were worth it when I walked across the stage. Being asked to give a speech on that special day was special; giving advice to my peers with the help of Carrie Bradshaw from Sex & The City made them laugh and me nearly cry.

So fellow college grads, what would you add to this list?

Friday, August 16, 2013

Red Dirt Friday, Vol. 11

I haven't been ignoring Red Dirt Friday, I just want to post quality content for your reading pleasure.

I came across this article from the Dallas Observer in a while ago, but found it to be a pretty worthwhile read.

The Ten Best Texas Country Songs from 2013 (So Far) has proved to be a pretty good list! I even loved this quote from the opening paragraph,

"We've made no bones about the fact we're not completely sure what an artist or a song has to be or consist of in order to be lumped under the massive "Texas Country" umbrella, aside from simply having some sort of connection to the Lone Star State -- even if sometimes it's a loose one. To be certain, most people will have an equally tough time defining the musical makeup of "Red Dirt" or even "Americana," which has become a legit, nationally recognized genre, without possessing any singular, identifiable sonic traits."

Jason Boland (Photo courtesy of
Jason Boland (Photo courtesy of
But, the list mentions a few of my favorites - Jason Boland & the Stragglers (7) and William Clark Green (8). Check out the video for William Clark Green's "She Likes the Beatles" here. [Warning ... it's terribly catchy!]

I even discovered Zane Williams from this list, and his tune "Overnight Success" is funny and even rips on pop culture a bit! Check out this article about his songwriting history also from the Dallas Observer. I am slowly listening to the other featured artists in the article as well.

Of course I agree with the author, Kelly Dearmore, and the #1 song of 2013 ... Randy Rogers Band "Trouble Knows My Name" featuring the legend, Willie Nelson. [Remember this post about him?]As she says, "the downright Texan feel of this romping Willie Nelson collaboration is too good to put anything before it."

Sometimes I want to be a Texan...

What's your favorite song of 2013 so far??

Until next time,

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Book Review - Bossypants

As I have mentioned before, I'm trying to add the non-fiction genre into my reading. This is part of my "bucket list," and I'm slowly checking things off! (This weirdly excites me.)
My latest non-fiction read is Tina Fey's autobiography - "Bossypants."
Now I'm not a huge comedy follower, nor do I watch Saturday Night Live or 30 Rock. But I've always admired Fey's "I-don't-give-a-shit" attitude, and knew that she wrote "Mean Girls." [A movie I've seen more than a few times and was used in nearly every leadership class I took in college ... coincidence, I think not.]
Enter "Bossypants."

Turns out, I really enjoy Fey's humor. On more than one occasion while reading her book, I laughed out loud ... to Boyfriend's amusement.
Remember that "I-don't-give-a-shit" attitude I talked about? Try this one for size -
“If you retain nothing else, always remember the most important rule of beauty, which is: who cares?”
Not to mention her great life advice ... something I wasn't expecting to get out of the book.
“Whatever the problem, be part of the solution. Don’t just sit around raising questions and pointing out obstacles.”
In short, I really recommend "Bossypants." It was a quick read that now even two weeks later, I'm still laughing out loud about. (And Boyfriend is still rolling his eyes.)
Have you read anything exciting/noteworthy lately? I'm always searching for a good read [laughing out loud not required.]

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Are Words Enough?

My Aunt Julie passed away this week. We are headed to St. Louis for the funeral tomorrow. When I think of her I think about her big smile, big heart and big laugh - all great qualities.
Paul & Julie were married in 1990. Here I am with my mom at the reception. (I forgot to say how beautiful Julie was, inside and out. This picture doesn't do her justice, but does display her signature "big hair".)[/caption]
Since I got the news, I cannot think of the right words to say to my uncle and my cousins. I'm not sure that I can convey all of my feelings in a fashion that makes any sense. If I were in their shoes, I would be a hot mess. Even now as I'm typing this, I'm a hot mess.
In my opinion, my cousins Corbin and Elaina are very similar to my brother and me. They too are four years apart, have similar interests and seem to get along really well. They are both hipster-types (sorry for incorrectly categorizing), who are into punk-ish music and unfortunately nearly everything I know about them comes from Facebook. But like I said on Facebook - I think they're the cat's meow.
Because I see so many similarities between Corbin/Elaina and Joe/me, I am stressing over saying the right thing. I hope that whatever words I do say tomorrow are comforting and somewhat intelligent.
Corbin is a public relations student at UNC-Charlotte, and is quietly witty. He is a phenomenal writer; I read his blogs and stories and other posts diligently. (Sorry if that's creepy??) While some of his work is above my head, I admire his writing. After his mom died, he wrote this wonderful blog about her and how she'll fit in wonderfully in heaven.
In the blog, Corbin says - "Despite being insecure about never graduating from college and lacking confidence in her “smartness” — a trait that’s grossly overrated — Mom spent her time comforting the scared, depressed and worried. Julie Kofron Peters truly gave more more than she took.

She’ll never get to hold her grandchildren or watch Elaina and I walk down the aisle. And she won’t get to enjoy retirement with Dad or sip the glass of wine in Tuscany she always wanted. But she can leave the Earth knowing she paid some of the “smartest” people she encountered a lesson in the most valuable human trait: empathy."

Corbin, Elaina & Paul are so strong, and the stories and memories of my aunt are truly heartwarming. Aunt Julie was as open, welcoming and loving as everyone says; I am lucky to have known her.
Truthfully, I can't compete with words as powerful as those above, and I would never want to. When I get to St. Louis tomorrow, I'm going to hug the people that matter to me ... my family. I think that might be more important than the probably teary words I'll say.