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To Be A College Student

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I’m sitting outside of a classroom now, recognizing how much I have changed yet again. Maybe I should have a category just on my self-change realizations. Basically, this time, my question is: Can you be a college student without really being a college student?

I don’t mean can you be immature, not quite at the level college is supposed to require. We all know that happens all the time. And, if you didn’t know, I am sorry to say that you should probably quit reading here. I may keep destroying your beautiful view of people in college because a lot of us are procrastinating, coffee-inhaling zombies- unless of course you get us on a good day. Then you can cut out the zombie part.

That’s not the point in this post, though. Today I’m trying to figure out where I went wrong when I came to college, how I missed that necessary step, until now, to become part of the folds. I walked over the bricked walkway next to my library, made my way to sit outside of my next class and wait, and found myself looking around. With my laptop in hand, backpack on my shoulders, and a not too warm but still uncomfortable breeze blew my direction, I realized that, until that moment, I had missed something vastly important to my experience here.

Too often, I’ve told people that college isn’t like it is in the movies. Not here, not where I go to school, but is it? The campus screams college. It’s all sleek edges and perfect scenery, people on bikes and skateboards and advocating the Greek life. In a way, it is all like the movies, and I’ve not been a part of it until now. I have existed in a half-college attendee for a long while, this being the beginning of my second year.

I have to wonder if that is because I began college differently than most. By no means was I any prodigy or undiscovered intelligence, but with my zeal for learning, a mother who worked in the Student Admissions office, and a high school that offered me a chance to attend college for free, I was handed an opportunity few even knew was out there. To walk in, as an entering Freshman in college with 45 hours under my belt of general education courses and just courses in general was crazy. At the age of 19, I am a Junior on my way to getting a Bachelor’s in English and a minor in Business.

At some point, though, I think that hindered me. I came to think of college as just another set of classes to take, rather than a part of my life to experience to the fullest. I haven’t attended clubs, I go to work four out of seven days of my week, I interact with my roommates on only a very basic level, and I exist in college like a mother going back to school after many years would. I do not look at college as a new experience or interesting new world. I look at it as a necessity to get a good job. My off-campus, campus apartment is not a way for me to meet new people, it is a convenience to avoid an unnecessary 45 minute drive unless required.

So, I guess in some ways you can be a college student without being a college student. I mean, I’m succeeding rather well at it, though I’m not sure if, now that my eyes have opened to it, that might not change. What do you think? I’ve got 51 followers now, and I thank you ALL for that, though I have not said so yet, but none of you really tell me what you think, and I would love to hear your views on it.

I thank you and will see you soon. I will eventually get back into my weekly routine of blogging, I’m just not there yet. Stick with me.

Megan

19 And Writing

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Well guys and gals, it’s my birthday. Now that I’m 19, I wondered if I should choose to change the title of my blog, I mean, I’m not 18 anymore, I’m 19, and letting people know I’m a little older, a little wiser, a little more lost, and a bit more found should be important.

But no. I have decided to leave my blog title just the way it is. This post is important to me, but so is my title. It’s an indication to people far and wide, be they old, young, middle aged, or whatever, that it doesn’t matter what your age is. You can still create, do, make whatever you want if you have the drive, the motivation, the perseverance. I seem to like lists today, sorry.

So, though I’m no longer 18, I think that serves a purpose, not to confuse people, but to be a sort of shining beacon. I mean, if I can do this, anyone can. I’m juggling school grades, 5 classes, a job, a boyfriend, moving, having a life, writing, and trying to keep my scholarships, and somehow I’m making it happen, even if it is a little slow. Being a writer isn’t about having hours to sit down in a day and just write. I mean, sure, that’d be nice, but I’ve met people far and wide who might have thirty minutes here or there, whose kids are always interrupting, who have classwork to juggle on the side, who all in all you would think wouldn’t have the time to produce anything, yet they are some of the best writers I know.

On this wonderful birthday, cupcakes scarfed down last night, a sticky note left on my door from one of my apartment-mates wishing me a happy birthday, and a Facebook wall full of birthday wishes, I find myself in a very happy mood, and I thought I could share that a bit with you, typing up my thoughts before my day really gets underway with work and homework and whatnot.

Sometimes It Hurts…

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The pain in being shy does not lie in the shy tendencies. It lives in the darker place that no one sees, in the want to be like the rest of the crowd around you, the want to be friendly without a fear of what could happen, immediately ready for engaging with the person or people you have to meet and realizing that, no matter how much you might want it, it’s just beyond your reach.

This is just something that came to me today, and though I am thinking of trying to write a piece to go around it in a story, it struck me how unutterably true it is. I don’t know that you see it here. Can you? Whether you can or can not, though, does not really negate the fact that I am, and have been since around the age of seven or eight, shy to the point of terror. Where some say they are shy, they are really just not great with meeting new people, or they don’t really want more people in their life.

For me, it is completely different. I sit cloaked in a social phobia. I am terrible at communication. Crowds… no. A new person in general? Kill me. You probably don’t believe me, though, so let me interest you in a little fact. I can count, on one hand no less, the friends I actually spent time with that I had before a year ago. Can you guess how many? Three. And to take it a step farther, none of those three were my friend at the same time as another. I could only deal with one apparently. Another instance? I spent a year at college. In order to avoid the cafeteria because I did not have a friend to go with and could not imagine without a painful sort of terror braving the crowd on my own, I spent seven days in my room alone surviving on three packs of peanut butter crackers and tap water.

I wish I was joking. I am getting there, though, and with the help of some wonderful people, I might someday make it to being able to deal with the fear on my own. As of right now, though, I am stuck in a sand pit that, when in the company of close friends, I can walk freely in and have a good time. In the presence of anyone new, be it one person or one hundred, turns into quicksand. The terror makes my throat tighten painfully and I imagine I can’t get enough air. My hands  go clammy, I wrap my arms around my torso and hold myself, I hide in baggy hoodies, I don’t make eye contact, don’t smile, though I try my best to hide my internal misery, and I certainly don’t speak.

So often people believe that people in my own situation don’t try to get past it, that they do it, in the end, to themselves. Well, if you ever meet me and get the chance to get past my terror, you’ll see that I am nothing but friendly, loving, caring. To be angry hurts me nearly as much as being shy. I will do anything for someone. And I am trying to get past it. I know I love it when someone notices my shirt or my hair, something. And to try to give other people that same feeling of a little pride in themselves, I am attempting to conquer my fear of people by forcing myself to compliment them when I notice something nice about them. Not only is it forcing me to engage with new people, but it is noncommittal and makes people feel good about themselves.

Sometimes it hurts… but I’ve found that pushing through the pain is, at some level, possible with the right friends there to help.

Post Midnight Ramblings

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Perhaps it’s the 12:25 AM on the digital clock speaking to me in the corner of the screen.

Perhaps it’s insanity.

Perhaps it’s guilt for missing my blog post a couple Thursdays ago.

Whatever it is, it’s saying, “Do something productive, or go to sleep already!” So, I decided to do something that seems, to me at least, productive- having a one sided discussion with my laptop in the hope that my readers will enjoy it and comment back to create a two sided discussion with real humans.

I have no real topic for tonight, this morning, today, whatever it is, except for rambling. A trip to Hastings today really got me motivated on the novel-writing, though. Because I’m 18, in college as an English major, and coming up on midterms, sitting down to write for pleasure and for my readers isn’t really an option I’ve had here lately, so No Place Called Home (working title) has been put on hold indefinitely. Something about a bookstore, though, gets my creativity rolling.

So, I am now back to research, thinking of ways to develop my main character, wondering where to set her, whether or not where I’ve set her is a decent place, if I am willing to change it, and other thoughts like that. I’ve been re-caught up in the world of my current character, and I’m trying to figure out the way to best tell her story so that everyone can feel like they’ve been just as caught up in it.

I’m not even through the first draft, though why would I be? I only started about a month ago. With every novel I write, I want to suck you in more, make you feel like there was every reason in the world for you to forget that you wanted to go to town today just because you couldn’t put the book down. At the same time, I want you to feel like it’s a true story.

Everyone asks me that of my first book, A War I Never Asked For… (link to the about page I’ve done on it), and I have to shake my head. It is a work of complete fiction, but I do want you to feel like you’ve just read the story of a real, teenage girl. These things do happen.

I write what really goes on in the world today because too much of the time, not only do the people going through these rough times feel like they’re alone and that they have no one to turn to, but adults want to overlook the bad by acknowledging it in words but not in the actions.

Sure, very few people will say we have a perfect world today. That being said, it’s hard to recognize sometimes just how much bad there really can be. We, and I include myself in that most definitely, want the world to be inherently good, even if it’s not, and it’s easier sometimes to overlook the bad. My stories are a way for me to acknowledge the bad and to maybe put something out there to give someone hope that this isn’t a battle they’re facing alone and that they can get through it.

These stories are a way for me to try to hand out a little good. There was a writer, once, that I sat down and read. I’ve always been a writer, always wanted to see my pages in print, but when I sat down and read, for the first time, Blind Alley by Iris Johansen, I realized that I wanted to be a writer that someone could perhaps draw some inspiration or strength from.

To this day, I aspire to thrill people with tales of suspense and romance, though I doubt I’ll ever give up teen fiction. I believe it’s my truest calling- to hand my words to equally avid readers, and maybe someday I’ll encourage a few sparse readers to pick up a few more books and expand their horizons to worlds unknown.

That’s all I have tonight for my post-midnight ramblings. I hope you all have a great one, and I look forward to speaking with you again this Thursday.