Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mixed Messages

                In my last anthropology class of the semester my teacher had the nerve to end the class with this final message: “No one in this classroom is going to change the world, it’s just not plausible…”  I couldn’t believe he just said that. I’m looking around at my classmates in disbelief why are they nodding their heads, why don’t they have looks of outrage on their faces, why aren’t they telling him he is wrong? Wait, why aren’t I saying anything?!? Finally someone speaks up (I’m ashamed it’s not me) “You don’t know that, you don’t know that someone in this room won’t change the world.” He dismisses her objection, repeating that nothing we could do is going to change the entire world.  I’m quietly fuming (I hate when other people try to stifle the potential of others), this is the future of the world he is talking to! Why is he discouraging us?! I’m sorry…but my dream is to change the world, and I plan on doing just that, and I hope you are around to see it happen sir.
                My mission is still to help the environment and as a result hopefully change the world, but lately I have been doubting the way I’m going about it. My initial thought was that my environmental engineering degree would allow me to create and use all this alternative/renewable energy technology and that is what the world needed. However this evening I went to an environmental activist talk given by Bill McKibben (who wrote one of the first widely read books about global warming The End of Nature also check out his website at Several people who talked, Bill included, talked about getting arrested for standing up and protesting against pipelines, and nuclear power, oil subsidies, you name it and they were put in jail for it. Now I’m definitely not saying I want to go to jail, but these people had passion and were making a difference, I guess. So I guess I’m hung up with the fact that I don’t feel like I’m making a difference, but I have to be patient. But will it be too late?
                Recently I cut out an article from the Asheville Citizen Times to hang on my bulletin board. It’s titled “Skeptic now agrees global warming is real” Here are the first couple sentences “A prominent physicist and skeptic of global warming spent two years trying to find out if mainstream climate scientists were wrong. In the end, he determined they were right: Temperatures are rising rapidly.” This is about the point in the article where my palm smacked my forehead. This guy and his daughter wasted 2 years of their life and $600,000 to prove that indeed global warming is real. The article has left me speechless, I can’t believe it. I mean really? In those 2 years and with all that money he could have solved so many other problems… I’m keeping the article as a source of inspiration, I like to look at the solemn faces of the old man and his daughter, the looks on their faces as they come to terms with the grim future that lies ahead of us if we don’t do something soon. Don’t worry, I’m working on it! I’m working to be the change I wish to see in the world. (thank you Gandhi)  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


The summer after my first year of college has been focused on getting a job and working as much as possible. After filling out 33 applications for jobs in my local area, I finally had two jobs! At both I was earning above minimum wage and working plenty of hours. I was happily baking in a grocery store chain and working in a golf shop at a local country club. All was going well until I had to take a week off to go on a mission trip, long story short, the grocery store refused to give me time off so I quit. Luckily the golf shop was more understanding so at least I still had one job to come back to.
I soon began to realize my job at the country club was loads better than my other job, only problem is I know practically nothing about golf. My job basically consists of answering the phone to book people's tee times and operating the cash register for when people purchase anything from refreshments to shirts to golf lessons. It's all basic customer service and computer operating skills, but it doesn't hurt to know what I'm talking about when people want to buy golf balls that are good for distance. When it comes to golf I know you want to score par or below. I don't know the difference between the clubs, I don't know the rules for if your ball goes into the river, and I certainly don't understand tournaments, but that is what the head golf pro and his assistant are there for. The other part of my job is to keep the members happy, which unfortunately requires me to memorize names and faces. Members like to be greeted by name, they like you to remember when they buy something they get a discount, and they don't like to be kept waiting while you search to put them in the computer when they show up unannounced.
Luckily I work with some pretty awesome people who are always there to whisper someone's name in my ear before they enter etc. The problem is I'm a very independent person. As long as I can remember I've always been the kind of person who has the answer, for everything. I'm that person that is always right, about everything. Except when it comes to golf apparently. This job has been tougher on me then I expected, because let me reiterate I know nothing about golf. I hated answering people's questions with "I don't know" or "I'm not sure let me ask someone else" it killed me. So one day I'm fumbling through someone's question about playing in the Men's league on Wednesday, I'm telling him I think only club members can play or maybe it's only members of the United States Golf Association...we both know I have no idea, but I don't want to interrupt the assistant golf pro because he is busy with someone else. Finally he finishes and sets the man straight. Then I'm alone in the golf shop with the assistant pro and he is strictly lecturing me, suggesting that instead of fumbling my way through a question I should just ask him, he doesn't mind. He'd rather me ask him then have me struggle my way to an answer. Before I know it I'm crying so I take a break. The assistant pro is concerned, he is afraid that him yelling at me has upset me. I try and calm down and explain I'm not mad at him and he didn't make me cry. "Then what is it?" he asks. "I'm crying because I'm so frustrated at myself for not knowing answers and having to ask for help, I'm tired of not understanding golf, " I reply.
Wow, I realize this has been my life. I always know the answers and this is the first time I can remember in my life that I don't have the answer, and I don't like it one bit. The assistant pro has only known me a few weeks at this point but he can already see this quality in me. Not to drag my brother into this but I've always been living up to his perfect standard. He was validvictorian of his class and got a full college scholarship. I was in the top ten of my class and received no scholarships. That doesn't bother me that he beats me in some areas but I don't think my parents see it that way and that is what bothers me.The assistant pro and I discuss all this and more. It leads to more crying and laughing and before I know it we're hugging, we've come to an understanding. I'm a very detailed person and the assistant pro is more about the big picture, working together is difficult but there are areas where each of us excel and can help the other. We now make a joke about that afternoon "Remember that day I made you cry?" he says or I'll joke with him and say "Don't make me cry again." But we both know how important that day was and I'm so thankful for the understanding I gained about myself.
The world of golf and country clubs is entirely different from any world I've ever known, however it's lead me to understand myself more clearly. With more practice I'll learn to answer questions and remember names and faces. It will take some time, but I'm up to the challenge.        

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


It's that time of the semester. I have no appetite, I can find 1,000 things to do rather than study, I'm not sleeping enough, I'm overwhelmed, feeling nostalgic, and grumpy.  I'm starting to make myself physically ill between the stress and lack of proper nutrition. That's right it's time for finals, every college student knows this feeling all too well. On top of all that studious stuff I have to worry about packing up all my belongings, finding a summer job, and establishing ways to keep in touch with all my new college friends. I just can't wait to get back to normal...whatever that is for me now. Is college normal or is being at home normal?
I just want to get out of the funk I'm feeling this week. Is it only Tuesday?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Grades who needs them!?

I'm fed up with grades! I'm sick of everyone's obsession with grades and everyone's obsession over other people's grades. I can't stand it. Whenever I get a big test, exam, or paper back I literally dread seeing the number on the top. Even more than seeing my grade I dread my friend asking me how I did. I feel like the typical reaction of most students is to look at your own grade and then look and ask around to see how others did. I'll admit I used to be guilty of doing this, but I don't want to fall victim to this habit anymore. When I refuse to tell my friends my grade, they start guessing if I did bad or good. I do my best to compose my face to not give anything away, unfortunately I've become rather predictable and my friends have figured out that I usually end up scoring the highest in the class or among the highest. So why does it bother me to tell people what I got if I did so well?
My answer is complicated and when I try to explain my reasoning my friends usually don't understand. The reason is I don't want to change what they think of me. I don't want to become that 'smart' person that people just go to for homework help. Maybe I'm just to humble to take pride in my hard work. They'll tell me to my face they don't care if I got a better grade than them, but I can see it in their face and mannerisms it bothers them, and I hate that. I study really hard, I devote a lot of time to my schoolwork, its all I have. Other kids have jobs, sports, boyfriends and girlfriends, video games, things that distract them, I don't. My point is we're all different, we shouldn't compare how we did to others. If you tried your best that is all that should matter, if you know you didn't study and did poorly, doesn't that make sense?
I was in the Math Lab the other day working on homework with my friends and they ask me how I did on the Calculus II test we just got back. I ask them why does it matter what I got? They give scattered, desperate reasons, they just need to know. It's mind blowing to me that it bothers them that much. They assume I did well, but for some reason they need the specific number. I don't tell them and we continue working, I can tell it's still gnawing at them to know what I got, but I'm not giving in.
Later we reminisce about high school and all of sudden their dropping their GPA's and class rank like it's nobody's business. I can't even recall mine, I know I was in the top 10 rank-wise and had a good GPA, but I didn't feel the need to memorize it. They inquire if I know my current college GPA, I don't. They again recite theirs. Why?! I can't understand why it's so important. What happened to learning, why are we so number obsessed? Bah! I'm beyond frustrated.
I often visit my old youth group and help out, I like to stick around and talk to the kids, and offer them my advice and insight about college. (I'm not pretending to be an expert but I can share my experience) I wish someone had been there for me to ask questions, anyway, so I try to make myself available to these kids. They ask about scholarships and I immediately groan. I mention my beef with scholarships in an earlier blog post. I basically tell them that I received no scholarships even though my grades were exceptional (I got one B all of my life). They immediately begin asking what my GPA was, I tell them I don't remember. I don't, honestly. They seem disappointed.
Reminding myself of the above situation and the earlier post I wrote, I think I can shed some more light on my hatred for grades. In high school I was one of those kids just striving to get that A to keep my record perfect. By the time I earned my first and only B in 11th grade I was disappointed but still hopeful for my future. However I got no scholarships, so apparently my perfect grades weren't worth much. You really should read my earlier post, if you haven't already. Regardless I realized my obsession with grades in high school was pointless, and I don't want that to happen to me again in college.
My good friend who is not in my Calculus class overheard me talking to my calculus classmate about the test (this was after we took it, before we had gotten our grades). I politely told him I didn't want to talk about it, to which my non Calculus classmates pretends to mock me in a high pitched careless voice "I don't want to talk about it, but then I'll get it back and find I got a 100." Ouch, I know he was kidding, but ouch. That is not my attitude at all, I just don't want to talk about it, because then I'll stress out. This is another reason why I hate grades, it makes friends do ugly things.
Later I talk to the friend that imitated me and ask if it would bother him if I got a better score than him on a test, if he would look at me differently. He responded in his usual joking manner that it wouldn't because he knew he was better than me at other things like; golf, pool, and basketball. He then goes on about betting money he could beat me at basketball, which is fine and probably true. Then we get our Chemistry exams back the following day, I receive a near perfect score and he scrapes by with above 50%. The rest of class he hardly jokes around like normal and he won't even smile at me. I talk with him after class, he's upset with how badly he did. I try and comfort him, it's not that bad...only one test. It's no use, I can tell he despises me comforting him because I did so well. True we did study together, but I take notes during class and he doesn't most of the time. I just hate that my success is making him feel that much worse about his own grade.
I haven't even mentioned my Physics class, and I've barely skimmed the surface of the grading problems in Chemistry and Calculus, but I don't think discussing it further is going to help. I don't know what will help at this point. If everyone could just stop stressing the importance of grades...but then I guess that is what college is all about.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


For some reason I've always struggled with relationships of the romantic sort. I'm constantly trying to figure out why I'm 19 years old and have only had one "real" boyfriend, for one month (those elementary boys didn't count). It's frightfully depressing, especially when I see people younger than me and not to be mean but weirder than me in a relationship. I'm decent looking, I'm a little over five feet tall, thin, blonde hair, glasses, acne that is clearing up (FINALLY), and a larger bust (which I hate). I know it's not all about looks, but then what is it? Intelligence? I've got that too, perhaps too much of it. I'm a good person. I go to church, involved in multiple kinds of volunteering, love kids, love laughing, love sarcasm, I'm a very easy person to get along with. I have lots of varied interests; books, travel, cooking, ukulele, uni-cycling.I'm by no means perfect, I'm a neat freak and I stress out about a lot. I can't but thinking if I had someone to share the load with I wouldn't be so stressed though.
The problem as far as I have been able to determine is that I can't get past the "friend" stage with guys. And most of my friends are guys. I get along better with guys because I don't like to talk about feelings and gossip! Two things guys don't do. Growing up with two brothers probably has something to do with this. I always had to play whatever they liked or I'd have to play alone. Therefore I know a thing or two about video games. But is that where I loose out? Do guys want a girl they can play video games with? Or do they want a girl they can teach to play video games? Having that bonding moment, is that what I'm missing. I'm not entirely into playing and watching sports. I hate football. But I can keep up with the worlds of soccer and basketball.
One thing I've noticed is that guys like to pick on me or argue with me. I have very strong opinions and am passionate about certain things like the environment. And my guy friends are constantly poking fun at how they just bought a truck that gets 17 miles to the gallon or they try and throw away a plastic bottle in front of me. So they like to see me squeal, get angry, frustrated, and try to hit them? Why push my buttons? What do you gain from that?
I don't know, but the problem is I like it? Or rather most of the time I don't get mad, but take it as flirting? When I'm grabbing that bottle out of their hands and telling them to stop I'm smiling and most of the time so are they. So is it like in elementary school where if a guy picks on you that means he likes you?
Every guy I've ever liked either finds another girl, already has a girl friend, is too young, or ends up preferring just to be friends.
At least once a week I try to hang out with the girls. We grab a meal and just catch up. As it inevitably happens with girls, the conversation always turns to boys. We end up going around the table sharing how our relationships with our boyfriends are going, what gift they bought us, what we did with them last weekend, the funny thing they said, etc. it goes on. I love to hear these stories, they are sweet stories and I can tell that my friends are happy, which makes me happy. Then it's my turn..."Still no guys in my life I reply". We all have a good laugh, I'm not sure why. It's not like it's funny, I guess it's just nervous tension. My friends don't know how to deal with me, they can't comfort me. I'm so distant, in another place and stage of life. We can no longer relate to one another. It's not like I'm single by choice, guys are lining up to ask me out and I'm not turning them all down. More than anything I'd love to share a story about me and my beau, not only because it would make my friends more comfortable or I would feel normal, but because I legitimately want someone else in my life. I feel the empty space and I want it filled. It's more of a human need than a physical selfish want too.
I guess I'll just wait until I'm 28 and a half. Thanks Fransico. That's another story in itself. 

Valentine's Day

This marks my 19th Valentine's Day I've celebrated solo. I keep trying to tell myself it is no big deal, the holiday is totally commercialized anyway. But its not working. This weekend I went on a Catholic retreat called Give Your Heart Away. It was a service retreat meant to bring the focus off of the relationship aspect of the holiday and more on God's love. Whether that actually happened is debatable.
I can't help myself but I naturally hate people who have some elaborate, cute, impossibly unrealistic story about how they met their significant other. I just feel like they are rubbing it in my face.The last thing I want to hear is how he said he wanted to marry you on the second date. Oh please. It's not that I don't believe that love can happen like that. I'm just tired of waiting for it.
I want that guy that is going to ask me out on a date after just meeting me. I want someone to tell me that I'm pretty. I'm tired of all the flirting that goes no where.
Just thinking of Valentine's Day, makes the backs of my eyes fill up with painful tears, which I'm struggling to keep in. I don't want to see everyone in the world having their special plans with their loved ones tomorrow. Especially those who I've loved, but never had.
The other thing that got me about the retreat, is that they kept pushing us to consider religious life. The worst part of them pushing it, is that they kept insisting they weren't pushing us. They also said, do what makes you happy and I can tell you right now I will not be happy as a nun. I don't want to consider it. I shouldn't have to, I'm a young fairly attractive woman, why should I be thinking about not being loved for the rest of my life? I shouldn't.
People keep saying to wait and be patient and when I least expect it he'll appear. We'll...I've never really been expecting it. Besides how can one forget you are completely alone in this world? You can't.
If I ever find my someone on a Valentine's Day, I don't even think I'd really want to celebrate it, because I'd remember how I felt spending it alone. And know that someone out there is feeling the same thing. The last thing I want to do is rub it in their face.

Life Strategy

Maybe this is all a part of being in college, but for me I wish there were just a few more hours in the day. Granted I'd probably waste them procrastinating, but I'd feel less stressed in the end I think.
The other day I jokingly made a comment that I have no life. I go to class, do homework, eat when it's convenient, and sleep. It gets a little more complex on the three days of the week that I spend a few hours volunteering. I also try to fit in the gym, and the few TV shows I keep up with, such as The Office.
But my social life is limited, I mean unless you live in the same room as me, you probably won't see me around. Even if you live with me you might not see me. It's to the point where I have to schedule who I eat meals with so we can catch up. I'm not complaining about my busy schedule, I'm just beginning to realize the reality of it. Also the beauty of it.
I don't have any free time to sit around and mope about being lonely, stressed, depressed, or anything at all. I can do that when I lay in bed at night, but on most occasions I'm too exhausted so I fall right asleep.  For me I know if I have a task such as a homework assignment due there is little room for me to worry about much else. I have a one track mind you could say.
My course work has definitely got the best of me this semester. When you spend your Friday nights reading your Physics and Chemistry textbook instead of venturing downtown with your friends, you realize the heavy science and math courses have taken over. I remember how last semester I had what seemed like endless piles of free time, but I'm not so sure I'd want that back.