Archives for category: writing: prompt

Mama’s Losin’ It

Something students these days should know.

When I first saw this post, I took offense, scoffed and thought, “What does a college grad have to tell me, a college student?  I’m in college and I know what I’m doing!”  And then I thought some more.  Instead of taking offense at some college grad ranting about how horrid my generation is (and for those of you who do rant about how horrid my generation is, keep in mind that you’re the ones we have to look to for examples), I thought I’d be even more condescending and do it while I’m still a college student!

+ The freshman 15 (or 30)?  It doesn’t come from eating college food.  It’s from all of those empty calories you pack on because you’re drinking underage.  Parents, note this.  Your son says he’s packed on weight because he goes to the vending machine every night?  LIES!
I actually lost about 10-15 pounds freshman year from eating caf food.

+ Your first choice may have been an elite, out-of-state private university with a $55,000 sticker price and very little financial aid.  But the school you may have notified about your matriculation is the $40,000 private college in your home state that offered a ton of financial aid.  As bummed out as you may be, keep in mind that the money you save on your bachelor’s degree can go toward your master’s degree.  At that prestigious university.
Looking back, I could have applied to the nice private university 20 minutes from my house and saved on housing.

+ Contact your roommate before the semester starts.  Divvy up the shared necessities.  For example, you bring the printer; she brings the vacuum cleaner.  That means less to pack, less to lose, less to spend.  On the same note, do not pack your Wii or your DVD collection.  They are expensive and can be stolen and they will waste time.
I always ask my roommate(s) what they plan to bring and how we can divide the communal objects.

+ Set down the rules of the dorm before the semester starts, or within the first week, to avoid any miscommunications or frustrations.
My flatmates and I sat down in the living room within the first week of classes to discuss chores, bedtimes, shower times and overnight guests.  I would also suggest writing down these agreements and posting it somewhere noticeable … because one of my flatmates has not heeded the overnight guest rule.

+ Buy used textbooks.  I have textbooks at home I never even opened because my professor predicted one thing and then the world did another.  Sell them back to the bookstore, sell them online or sell them to other students.
I always buy used textbooks.  Some I sell, some I keep for my never-ending library.

+ You do NOT need a vehicle your freshman year.  It doesn’t make you look cool.  It just takes up a parking space that an upperclassman could have had and it wastes gas.  You do not need to go home every weekend (unless your name is Elizabeth and you’re engaged and your fiance is at home and you hate not seeing him, in which case you are exempt from this rule because this is your blog and you do what you want).  Stay in your dorm.  Study your butt off.  Or, befriend someone with a car.
I didn’t have a vehicle until my junior year.  It’s nice because the path to my apartment is not well lit (it’s called Rape Path) and on nights when the newspaper goes to press, I don’t have to walk back alone at 1 a.m.

+ Speaking of studying.  Do.  It.  You may think that this is just like high school, but keep in mind that this may very well be the last formal education you receive before entering the work force.  Turn off the television, block Facebook and silence your phone while you prepare for Friday’s exam.
You should spend, on average, four to eight hours a day studying.

+ Visit your professors during office hours.  Not only does this give you a chance to ask questions about homework or class concepts, but relationships established throughout college can help you later in life.
Plus, your professors had lives before they became tenured.  Some of them are incredibly interesting.

+ Do not pull all-nighters.  They do not make you look hardcore.  They make you look tired.  They make you miss class.  They make everyone else roll their eyes in that why-didn’t-you-write-your-paper-when-it-was-assigned-two-weeks-ago? sort of way.

+ Do not miss class!  I don’t care if your parents aren’t breathing down your neck anymore and no one is holding you accountable.  You are an adult now … at least technically.  Act like one.  Be responsible.  The students who do attend class on a regular basis look at you and remember your name so they know who to avoid in the workplace.
Every time you skip class, you’re wasting money.

+ Have a plan and a contingency plan for scheduling, in the event that your classes are filled by the time you register.
Classes fill up quickly and seniors have first choice.  As a freshman, you will be the last to schedule (unless you are an honors student, in which case you may possibly schedule earlier).

+ Take your gen. ed. courses (math, science, foreign language, etc.) during your freshman and sophomore years.  That way, if you drastically change majors, you won’t have to worry about certain credits not carrying over and potentially increasing your workload (or forcing you to stay extra semesters).  However, do not wait until your senior year to take all of your core requirements.  They may not be available when you need them.
I switched majors from political science to journalism/history during my sophomore year.  Fortunately, all of my credits transferred.  Don’t expect that to always happen.

+ Ask the registrar for an audit during your junior year.  An audit requires the registrar (or someone in that office) to personally go through your records and determine what classes are still required for graduation.
I asked for an audit and realized I only need to take seven classes next year!  However, I’m taking eight with an independent study to aid my thesis.

+ Women – upperclassmen men may contact you over the summer before or during your freshman year.  They may be cute and they may pay attention to you.  But they’re also paying attention to every other incoming freshman woman (unless they’re paying attention to incoming freshman guys. …).  I don’t mean to be rude, but you are not special.  They are looking for easy targets.  Don’t give them what they want just because you’re at college and he’s cute and he’s an upperclassman.  He doesn’t want anything else.
The summer before my freshman year, an upperclassman guy started contacting me via Facebook.  We chatted frequently before the semester started … and then he fell off of the face of the earth.  I saw him occasionally on campus, and he never even acknowledged me.  I later learned that he had been contacting most of the incoming freshman women and ditched the ones he didn’t think would be willing to sleep with him.  And then he sat next to me in our biology lab and we were lab partners.  He never showed the vaguest inclination that he knew who I was or that our conversations had ever encompassed anything other than re-explaining the lab to him.
One of my friends was befriended by an upperclassman guy during her freshman year.  They flirted and she thought he really liked her.  Once he got what he wanted, he ignored her completely.

Do you have any advice for incoming freshman, or have any knowledge or wisdom to impart on students today?


Mama’s Losin’ ItYour 15 minutes of fame.

In the spring of 2009, a friend organized a “tea party” (yes, that kind of tea party), which I attended and covered.  It was my first press opportunity, and I had not even yet taken a course on article composition.  I’m not sure if it was my lack of experience or the subject matter, but either way, the local newspaper didn’t publish the story.

A few weeks later, my friend called me at college to ask if I would be interested in attending the Glenn Beck show.  Glenn Beck was doing a special on tea party people (tea partiers?) in the area.  Glenn Beck?  Fox News?  National television?  Journalism?  Of course I wanted to go!  However, he had called with such short notice that I had to drop off an assignment and skip class in order to make it home and in time for all of us to go to New York.

That was also the trip when I became highly disillusioned with New York City.  Washington, D.C., still has yet to lose its appeal.

We arrived at the building and met with some other tea partiers.  There are some pretty interesting people involved in that movement, let me tell you what (Is that a Dutchism?  Or do people actually understand when I say, “Let me tell you what?”).  We were ushered into the studio and I sat next to my dad.  The studio was larger than I imagined, but packed full of people.  And when Glenn Beck walked out. …  Okay.  So, I have never imagined myself as the sort of person to become “starstruck” or speechless because someone happens to be famous.  Couple some intelligence with that fame, though, and I’m done.

Unfortunately, there was a particular audience member — I still remember his name — who hogged the microphone almost the entire time (meaning that only about 15-25% of the audience had an opportunity to say something, even though there were hands in the air consistently).  That particular show even went into overtime and was aired on the website.

So, even though we never had a chance to discuss conservatism at college, which was supposed to be my 15 minutes of fame, I can say that I went, that I met Glenn Beck and that I appeared on national television.  I even got to shake his hand and talk to him for a bit after the show, as the heavens parted and the sun shone down on me.

In all, it was an interesting experience and I really enjoyed not only the opportunity to meet Glenn Beck, but the opportunity to see the inside of the studio, to see how such shows are conducted.  And to be able to later return to my fellow journalism majors and tell them that I was once on the Glenn Beck show.  Even though most of them watch Stephen Colbert or Rachel Maddow.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Compile and share a list of your favorite tweets.

I originally opened a Twitter account to keep my parents in the loop with what I was doing while at college, and also to document little tidbits that I thought were important, but not long enough to merit a blog post (the maximum character length of a tweet is 140 characters).  Twitter also documents my writing phases — there was a time when I rarely capitalized anything, preferring the aesthetic appeal of lowercase letters.  However, the “favorites” listed below don’t include many recent ones, because I’ve started using Twitter more to converse and connect as opposed to updating the world with my whereabouts and life story every five seconds.

just realized that khameini and khomeini are/were two different people, and not a silly romanizing misprint. {5 Nov 08}

As embarrassing as that is to admit, this tweet marks the beginning of my serious interest in the Middle East.  It had begun in high school, but once I reached college and was able to study Africa and the Middle East, I really became interested in the MENA region.

holy cowhorns i’ve been sitting in chinese for twenty minutes and just realized i don’t have class today. {3 Dec 08}

It’s always nice to remember that I do this sort of thing at least once a semester.  Remember this post about me sitting in the wrong class and the professor not even saying anything?  I did it again on Friday, but fortunately realized my mistake before I even sat down.  And then I pretended I forgot something so I could make my getaway.

so i was going to write one of my two his211 essays on somali government . . . but i just learned that somalia doesn’t have one. {6 Dec 08}

Writing about politics is so much fun.

my GPA is a 3.918! {19 Dec 08}

I was so upset over that .082 of a point.

went to wal-mart for cocoa butter. came home with an american carol, aquarium filters, and no cocoa butter. {7 Jan 09}

This tweet is pivotal because that used to be the story of my life.  Now, I simply don’t go to Wal-Mart.  I haven’t been there in at least a month.  Also, note my lack of AP Style (there is no comma between the second to last and last item in a list).  This was obviously tweeted prior to ENG222.

after sleeping with my contacts in, i opened my dresser drawer this morning to find three unopened bottles of opti-free. {26 Jan 09}

Story of my life.

french braiding my hair. you know what would be really awesome? if i knew how to french braid. {3 Feb 09}

I’m so hilarious.  This also marks the semester when I’d go to the bathroom and cut my hair when I was bored. …

dinner with the ambassador of zimbabwe! {24 Feb 09}

This really wasn’t that exciting.  I’m only posting it on this blog so you think I’m cool.

i want a mushroom from fantasia. {26 Feb 09}

This reminds me of the countless times I’d watch Disney scenes on YouTube.  And then sometimes I’d actually do homework.

congratulations to katie and mark! :] {17 Oct 09}

My best friend became engaged to a guy I’ve known since preschool (and he was my best friend in first grade).

hahaha TSA — your bajilliamillion regulations can’t keep me from packing 7 days’ worth of more stuff than I need into 20″x14″x7.5″! {20 Jun 2010}

I felt so empowered and awesome.  My family was preparing for a week-long vacation in Bermuda.  I was excited to add another stamp to my passport, but the vacation wasn’t as fantastic as I expected.  Mainly because I missed Alan, was stung by jellyfish twice and a fish bit me.  Or whatever it is that fish do.  Nibbled.  On the upside, I had the most fantastic fish and chips of my life and collected sea glass.  My favorite souvenirs are those found naturally or those that are unique, like rocks and shells and photos.  I’m not a huge fan of the mass-produced stuff.

If the war is over, where are the ticker tape parades? {19 Aug 2010}

That’s an excellent question!

Few things are more embarrassing than realizing you’ve sent an email from your cute, personal account instead of your .edu account. {16 Sep 2010}

I’ve realized that the more involved I become in work outside of that I which I complete for professors, the more apt I am to send emails from the wrong account or send half-finished emails.

I hate it when I type “P” from dropdown menus for “State,” and enter “Palau” before I realize “Pennsylvania” is second. {27 Oct 2010}

This is a major pet peeve.  “Pennsylvania” is the only state that begins with a “P.”  So it annoys me when I have to stop what I’m doing and am inconvenienced for a whole 2.3901 seconds by having to click the dropdown arrow and scroll one option down to “Pennsylvania.”

Is engaged to the most wonderful, God-fearing man in the world, as of this evening! {24 Dec 2010}

Yep.  Some random people on Twitter knew before some people in real life knew.

Someday, I’m going to live in a state where the kids have never even heard of snow days. {27 Jan 2011}

Little did I know how true that could someday be.

Praying that my fiancee receives his orders this week! {8 Feb 2011}

Can we please check the date on that tweet?  Haha, life.  You’re hilarious.

7 minutes of my tuition dollars have officially been wasted as the professor attempts to find photos on her laptop.


Realized my tuition dollars aren’t actually being wasted because I came to class an hour early.  OMG. {16 Feb 2011}

I’ve done that again since then.

16 care packages are on their way to Afghanistan! {12 Mar 2011}

Happy 21st birthday to me!

Walking to the gym, I passed two Koreans who said, “ahnyonghasaeyo.”  It was so weird to be identified as Korean and not mistaken as Chinese. {24 Mar 2011}

Once, in Walt Disney World, a woman working at the China pavilion in EPCOT asked me where I was from.  I said, “Pennsylvania,” and Dad said, “She means where you’re really from.”  “South Korea.”  “Oh, I thought you were from China.  You must look that way because you’ve been in America so long.”  I have no idea what that means.  Then, during freshman orientation, a Chinese English as a Second Language (ESL) student came up to me and greeted me with, “Ni hao!”  This also happened recently when Alan and I were at H-Mart.  Chinese frequently tell me I look Chinese; Koreans typically ignore me/glare at me when I’m with Alan.  But I cannot recall the last time I was greeted in Korean by Koreans.