Updates | 02

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Admittedly, I’ve been rather absent on this blog for a while, and that’s because the last few weeks have been an emotional free-for-all. This year has been an incredibly stressful one in terms of figuring out what I want my future to look like and the steps I need to take to make it so. And what I decided in all of my soul searching was that following the completion of my undergraduate degree, I wanted to get my master’s. So last summer, I began the process of researching programs, compiling letters of recommendation, editing my writing sample, and studying like a maniac for the GRE. When fall rolled around, I was doing all of that plus my schoolwork for my final semester, my duties as the editor of a literary journal and president of the English honor society, my work as a research assistant to one of my professors, and trying to make the most of the time I had left with my college friends before I moved back home. And I was stressed. I am someone who experiences stress both emotionally and physically. It caused my lymph nodes to swell, my shoulders and neck to develop severe tension knots, and my anxiety to spiral. But I got my applications submitted and graduated shortly thereafter, leaving me with a few months to decompress.

Fast-forward to March when grad school admissions decisions were being sent out. Because I am someone who wants to build my career on academics, I only applied to top tier programs. In other words, I had no safety school. But my GPA, test scores, and recommenders were really good, so while I was hopeful about my applications, I wasn’t too worried about them. And then the rejections started coming in, and I was crushed. One of the things I value most in myself is my intelligence, and rejection in an academic sphere felt like a rejection of what I saw as my most vital self. I was accepted to some programs but not given as much funding as I would have liked, and in my already discouraged state of mind, I counted those acceptances as nothing but softer rejections.

I applied to five schools, and by the first week in March, I had heard back from four of them – two acceptances and two rejections. The only school I had yet to hear from was my top choice and the most prestigious program I applied to. I thought that being rejected from the lowest-ranked program I applied to meant there was no way I’d be accepted to my highest-ranked program. But y’all, I was. I received the email right as got to my desk one morning and immediately burst into tears and called my mom and cried some more.

So I’m excited to officially announce that in the fall, I’ll be moving to England to pursue a master’s degree in English literature from Oxford University! If you’re a long-time reader of my blog, you may remember that I studied abroad at Oxford one summer and that I fell in love with it. I’m so excited to be returning and that all of my stress about my future and self-doubt over my abilities have subsided for the time being.

The point of this post – other than to keep you updated on my goings on – is that I’m an emotional gal. And that has meant that for the past month or so, I’ve been preoccupied with feeling all of my feelings and that blogging has not been something I’ve had the desire to do. But I’m slowly coming out of the funk, so expect to see some more posts from me soon. And within a few months, I’ll be coming to you from a new location!

– Lauren

To My Third Apartment

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To my third apartment:

From the unreliable air conditioning unit and perpetual mold problem of the first and the strange and uninvited visitors of the second, I really really hope I’ve found my match. Third apartment, you’re no luxury resort, but you’re charming in your own way. Sure, you get a little sketchy when the sun goes down, and there was a gigantic mystery stain on the carpet when I moved in, but I can look past that. You’ve tested me. You’ve showed me what I can live with, and what I can live without. Like a bed. A mattress on the floor, covered in my favorite quilt and lots of pillows, will do just fine. I like that it makes me feel like a bohemian, as weird as that sounds. There isn’t much room for furniture, and in that respect you’ve taught me the art of space-saving. Vintage tables and salvaged wooden crates are good bedside tables, and large woven baskets that can slide under my desk hold all my miscellaneous items. Wall hooks for jackets and cardigans and bags are essential. Thanks to you, I know that if there is a space-saving contraption that can hang over a door, I need it and to never ever say no to a full-length mirror. Practicality aside, you’ve taught me the things I need most to make you feel like my home are few. Pictures of family, tiny plants that I’ll probably kill, lots and lots of books, and a friend or two. And luckily, those things are the easiest to come by.

I wrote this post in collaboration with Parachute and their Dorm Room Essentials series. The bedroom items I’ve included in the post are those that I consider to be my college dorm/apartment essentials. I hope you enjoy!

-Lauren

The Weirdest Thing That’s Ever Happened To Me: A Cautionary Tale

We all know those people who things just happen to.  They win concert tickets on radio shows.  They travel to a new city and happen to meet their favorite celebrity.  They always find money on the ground.  I am not one of those people, and I’ve always thought that because crazy, spontaneous things don’t typically happen to me, I’m not an exciting person.  Well, be careful what you wish for, friends.  I can say with much surety that I will never wish to have crazy things happen to me ever again.

Yesterday, my mom came to visit me.  I woke up early, cleaned the apartment, and when she arrived, the two of us went to a craft festival.  A craft festival.  Nothing about my activities for the day was asking for trouble.  My mom went home around 7, and I, being the grandma that I am, went to bed around 10:30.

4 a.m. rolled around, and I was still snoozing when I heard the door to my bedroom open.  I assumed it was my roommate, since she is in the habit of coming into my room without knocking to borrow my clothes (I wasn’t aware at this point that it was 4 a.m.).  But when I heard the door to my bathroom open and shut, I knew that something was off.  My roommates each have their own bathroom, so they wouldn’t come into my room at 4 a.m. to use mine.  I got out of bed and went into the kitchen, because I didn’t want to be in the room until I knew who the person was.  I had my phone in one hand, ready to call the police, and I was inching around the counter to the knife drawer, just in case I had to go psycho crazy on this person.  As I was peeking into my bedroom, I watched as a drunk, naked boy-stranger stumbled out of the bathroom and plopped front-first onto my bed.  When I say he was naked, I don’t mean that he was running around in his boxer briefs, people.  He was completely naked.  And on my bed.  Front-first.

Naturally, I freaked out.  I promptly told him to get off of my bed and get out of my apartment.  Looking back, I realize I should have called the police and let him sleep until they got there, but I was taken completely off-guard and just reacted.  Anyway, he wouldn’t leave.  He ran around the apartment looking for his clothes, which weren’t there.  He barged into my roommate’s room and woke her up, too.  After he ignored us for the umpteenth time when we demanded that he leave, we told him that we did not care that he was naked, we were going to call the police if he didn’t leave immediately.  He left after that.

This situation is one of those that would be funny if it hadn’t actually occurred.  It’s something that comedy writers would put into a movie, and the scene would be so ridiculous and humorous that the gravity of the situation would go unnoticed.  But as funny as this scene might have been in a movie, the fact of the matter is that, in reality, something really serious could have happened.  We were lucky.  This guy literally walked not a foot away from me while he was stark naked and I was asleep.  If I hadn’t woken up when I did, he would have crawled into bed with me.  Had he had any ill-intent, I was a sitting duck.  I firmly believe that the Lord was watching out for me last night.  My point in telling this story is that it is incredibly important to take precautions against such things, however unlikely they may seem.  1 in 5 college women is the victim of rape at some point in her college career, and 1 in 6 American women is the victim of rape at some point in her life.  As for men, 1 in 33 American men will be the victim of rape in his lifetime.  Those odds are not favorable, and you are not exempt from them.  So take precautions and lock your doors.