MY 2015 BUCKET LIST RECAP

Dear Reader,

At the beginning of 2015, I started a bucket list in the hopes that at the end of the year, I would be somewhat more talented, worldly, or just have done more stuff, I guess. Although I didn’t get to complete everything on the list (when do I ever, really?) I did do a lot this year that I’m proud of. So I thought I’d make this recap.

In 2015 I…

  • became an Aunt

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  • rushed (and joined) a sorority

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  • went somewhere new (Gatlingburg, TN)

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  • watched 50 new movies
  • made a jar for memories (and gave it to Sarah)

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  • was more confident in a bathing suit than I have been, but we’re still working on it
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  • wrote at least 3 letters to 23-year-old Sammy
  • ran a 5k (and took HORRIBLE pictures but I’ll post them here anyway)

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  • finished my daily sudoku puzzles (from 2014)
  • went to a concert (Ed Sheeran!!)
  • watched the sunrise

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  • learned how to use chopsticks
  • joined a new club (lol yay CLT!)
  • explored interesting buildings on campus that I’ve never seen before

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  • wrote a letter

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  • took a hot bath/had a spa day (this is the most scandalous pic I’ve ever taken)

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  • learned how to tap dance (more or less)
  • started a YouTube channel

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  • took a road trip with Sarah!

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  • used the ouija board for the first time in years (I’m planning on telling that story on here eventually)

and the last thing on my bucket list was:

  • be someone’s inspiration for 2016–I don’t know if I actually did that one but it was a good one to keep on here nonetheless

 

So here’s to 2015, and here’s to the new year! If you feel inclined, I would love to know what some of your highlights of the year were in the comments! Also, leave any suggestions for a 2016 bucket list–Sarah agreed to join me this year and we have some big things planned. 🙂

Sincerely,

Sammy

{ESC} BOOK THIRTEEN: NINETEEN MINUTES

Dear Reader,

This book took FOREVER to finish. Yeah it’s almost 500 pages and it’s not always the most action-packed reading, but it’s more than that. It’s a lot different than the books I normally blow through. I mean, if you look at my most recent books, I’ve read about happiness and road trips and memoirs of people living out their dreams.

This book is about a school shooting.

I’m not going to give away more than that, but I’m going to be honest. It was hard for me to get through. If I read it before bed, I’d often dream about guns and violence or sometimes not be able to sleep (this was during my second semester of college, as well). And then I wasn’t particularly eager to make time in my day to read it, but I did want to finish it. Mostly because my sister said she read it and it “messed her up,” but she still highly recommended it.

And I’m glad I finished it. It was a really good story, and the first book of Jodi Picoult’s I read–and I’ll definitely read more. She’s an amazing writer, but all of her books are about such heavy topics. Still, they’re worth it to read. They make you think and figure out more about yourself, as you notice your own reactions and feelings towards these characters and their story.

Most importantly, though, it made me think about how I’m going to be when I’m a teacher. This shooting was done by someone on the inside–a kid who had obviously been struggling. And as someone who’s going into education, I’ve learned about school shootings, and I’ve been taught how to prepare and how to act not “if” it happens, but “when.” That’s how teachers these days must be taught, because school shootings seem to be happening more often these days.

And I know it’ll be my job to teach students about “The Great Gatsby” and prepare them for the ACT, but a bigger, debatably more important, part of my job will be to be there for the students. Every one of them. In the best way that I can.

And I’m determined to learn how to do that to the best of my ability.

So. This book. I say 5 stars, and I say take the time to read it. Make the effort, because it’s worth it.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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{ESC} BOOK TWELVE: THE HAPPINESS PROJECT (and intro to my own Happiness Project)

Dear Reader,

I adore this book. I picked it up at a bookstore in Columbus (post about that road trip coming soon) and immediately started reading it when I got home. And I don’t mark in every book I buy, but about four pages in, I knew I would have to for this.

Whether or not you want to start your own happiness project, I would recommend that you read this book. It’s full of awesome quotes, really cool resources (how did I not know about the website lulu.com???), and good tips on how you should go about making yourself happier. I finished this book last night and I already have a mental list of people I want to lend this to to read, as well as an actual list of resolutions I want to start implementing in my life.

In 16 days, I go back to school. And while I’m extremely excited, I’m also kind of nervous as well. I haven’t talked about it on here yet (though I’m sure I alluded to it), but freshman year was really hard for me. I found myself struggling with feelings of unhappiness and signs of depression–which was very new to me. But this year, I’m determined to be better.

So today, on August 1st, 2015, I am starting my own Happiness Project. I may not be as prepared as Gretchen was when she started hers, and it may seem kind of weird to start a year-long project in August, but waiting until January seems dumb to me. I don’t want to wait. I can’t wait.

So today, it begins.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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{ESC} BOOK ELEVEN: AN ABUNDANCE OF KATHERINES

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Dear Reader,

On Friday night, my sister and I decided to see Paper Towns. I read this book last summer, loved it, and was ecstatic when I found out that they were turning it into a movie. And I am glad to report that it did not disappoint, and might be my favorite movie of the summer so far.

After it ended, we headed down the street to our local Books-a-Million, where I dropped $78 on books and road maps (I was very influenced by this movie). But one of the books I picked up was another John Green book, An Abundance of Katherines. I had no idea what it was about, but I like John Green, and I own all of his other books, and it was $10. So I bought it and read it within 12 hours. And here’s what I thought.

First of all, it’s a very weird premise. This child prodigy has been dumped by 19 Katherines, and, in fact, has never dated anyone by another name. Bizarre, right? And I really don’t want to spoil it (though there’s not much to spoil), so I won’t say much else about the actual plot. But I will say that the characters were very interesting and it was very informative. I feel like I know a lot more random facts that I found interesting (even if the supporting character, Hassan did not).

But here’s the thing: it’s a John Green novel. So, if you like stories that follow the same formula as Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska, you’ll like this one. There’s a boy who really doesn’t do much. He’s not necessarily opposed to adventures–I mean, he’ll certainly follow the main female character into one without question–but he’s just used to staying home. And then he falls in love with this quirky, interesting, intelligent, beautiful girl.

That’s really all I can say without giving away the ending, but if you asked me if I would recommend it, I still probably would. It has tons of overlaps with his other stuff (the above formula, discussion about oblivion like in The Fault in Our Stars, characters obsessed with road trips), but there were still some interesting differences from AAOK that I enjoyed. I especially liked the last bit about the stories we tell and how they can impact people.

So, I’ll give it 3 stars, and probably won’t be dying to read it again any time soon, but it certainly wasn’t a waste of time. Parts of this story will definitely stick with me.

Sincerely,

Sammy

 

{ESC} BOOK TEN: A WORK IN PROGRESS

Dear Reader,

I finished this book a while ago but didn’t write a review on it right away, so I ended up forgetting about it. And, actually, that pretty much sums up the experience I had while reading it. It was fine. Some of the advice given might be worth hearing (if you haven’t heard it before). But overall, it was pretty forgettable.

This is the first book I’ve read that was written by a YouTuber, and only because I got it as a gift. But I was a big Connor Franta fan for a while. He’s constantly cheerful and ambitious and is always ready for an adventure, or able to turn something into a good story–characteristics I find admirable in anyone.

But in his writing, I started getting kind of annoyed. Mostly because every chapter ended with a piece of advice–and one that I had already heard before. One that everyone has heard before. Things like “go for it” and “chase your dreams” and “look up from your phone every once in a while.” Not bad advice, by any means, but it was also the way he said it that bothered me. I felt like Connor was the annoying brother who, just because he’s a few years older, feels qualified to pass on all of his wisdom. But he’s only 22, and while he has done more than most guys his age, I found myself annoyed when, at the end of each chapter, without fail, there was some corny sentence along the lines of “What are you waiting for? Start climbing.”

That’s an actual concluding sentence from one of his chapters.

Another is: Time to hop on that high-speed train.

And another says: Start living today, not tomorrow.

And: So what are you waiting for? Let go, my friend.

Do you get my point?

But he knows that he’s young and that he still has a lot to learn–which is part of the reason why he titled it “A Work in Progress.” So maybe I’m being too hard on him. I mean, if was writing my memoirs at this age, I’d have no idea what I would say.

So, I don’t think this is going to be my favorite book written by a YouTuber, and I still have hope for those written by Carrie Hope Fletcher and Mamrie Hart and a lot others (but those two specifically). And if you can get past the lame advice and want a visually pleasing book (the pictures are great) with amusing stories that will take a day to read, then this is probably for you.

But for me, I’ll just sick with giving him 3 stars out of five and continue to watch the occasional collabs with him.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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MY TEN-MINUTE CONVERSATION WITH EDIE

Dear Reader,

I have a 2015 bucket list, and I find that the thing I have to explain most is talk to strangers.

And it is kind of a weird thing to put on a bucket list, mostly because people don’t really understand the benefit that it could bring. But I firmly believe that every person you meet can teach you something, and if you don’t engage anyone, you might be missing out on those lessons. You might miss out on stories and experiences that can come from what might seem to just be small talk.

So that’s where Edie comes in.

My last day in Hilton Head was Friday, and it started out pretty bad. Really bad, actually. I was pissed off for a hundred different reasons, and just ended up being really grumpy all morning. And the day before, Sarah and I had gotten henna tattoos. But then we went swimming and took showers, and they were now really faded. We decided we’d go back and see if they could just be touched up, but after my awful morning, I didn’t see this happening. But my aunt wanted to go back to those shops anyway, and we did spend $40 combined for these things, so I got roped into going.

So we walk up to the kiosk and explain that we came yesterday, and showed how faded they were, and without hesitation this young girl behind the counter, Edie, offered to quickly go over them again. No charge. No need to validate that we were really here yesterday. She was just kind enough (and probably bored enough–it was really dead at 4pm on a Friday) to offer without question.

And the four of us started talking–just small talk at first. She told us how this was the calm before the storm, and how she loved this summer job and had lived on the island her whole life. And then she started telling us about her family. She’s the only girl out of all of her cousins, and the rest of her family is from Georgia. She was telling us how southern proper they are, and especially her grandparents. Then she explained this tradition she has.

Each summer, the kids are forced to go to “Manners Camp” at her grandparents’s lake house. They can bring two friends each, but they have to go to the hour sessions each night. And it kind of ages with them. They’re first taught please and thank you, and then to always hold doors open and then maybe how dinner places are set and the proper etiquette to use.

Well my aunt loved this idea–especially since it really related to some of the different conversations we had throughout the week. We talked about how we wish we had some big traditions in our culture, and how the girls that my sister babysits are brats and make her say she’s never having kids. And it’s true that kids these days maybe don’t seem to have the same manners that seemed to be pounded into our heads when we were younger, and that’s kind of sad. Even kids my own age seem to be so rude and disrespectful sometimes, and I hate that.

So right there, my aunt vowed that she is going to do this herself when she’s a grandmother and a great aunt. All of the cousins will be forced to go to her house and learn how to be polite and courteous. They’ll learn the skills that we both feel are so important to have. And maybe they’ll hate it and make fun of it, sort of like Edie, but it’ll be something they’ll eventually be thankful for. Something they’re glad they did once a year in the summers of their youth. Hell, I wish had something like that when I was a kid. Maybe our family would be closer because of it.

But it’s funny to think that this 10-minute conversation with a random girl at a henna kiosk sparked this future family tradition. And it’s sad to think that we’ll probably never see her again, because she really was a cool girl, but I’m so glad we went back that day. I’m glad we at least got to meet once in our lives.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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{ESC} BOOK NINE: DIRTY RUSH

Dear Reader,

I’ll admit it: I love this book. Let me tell you why.

According to Rebecca Martinson, this book “fucking tells is like it fucking is.” Unfamiliar with that name? She’s also known as the “deranged sorority girl.” The one who wrote an email to her entire chapter, threatening to “cunt punt” them for being boring and undesirable to frat boys. You can find a hilarious reading of this letter by Michael Shannon here.

So I was scared that a girl who seems to care so much about such pointless, judgmental things claims that this is a book that actually tells the real truth on sorority life. But, it kind of does.

Now, I’ve only been with my sorority for a semester, and I’ll admit that I didn’t relate to about half of what this “Taylor Bell” experienced, but that’s not saying that it doesn’t happen. I’ve talked to girls in other sororities who have group messages that are dedicated to getting adderall and cocaine. And hazing is still a very prevalent thing in greek life, even though I’m fortunate enough to truthfully tell you all that I was in no way hazed.

But this book actually did have some good morals, and the ending was great. I love that the main character, Taylor, was so nonjudgmental, and even most of the other characters stayed that way, too. Plus, the friendships she made were true and even the clichéd theme of sisterhood was portrayed really well.

So yeah, it’s kind of weird that this book was as refreshing to me as it was, and yeah there are certain aspects of it that I didn’t so much enjoy (like how everything was “crystal cute”), but it was a quick read, and a book that I’ll definitely lend to my friends. And then ask for it back so I can read it again.

Sincerely,

Sammy

{ESC} BOOK EIGHT: LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED

Some of my favorite books to read are autobiographies–especially those written by women. The ones that shatter the ridiculously outdated notion that women are not funny. To anyone who may still think this way, I’m sure you’ve been encouraged to read those of Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Chelsea Handler. Theirs could all gladly prove you wrong. But here’s another suggestion.

Jenny Lawson. Don’t know who that is? I didn’t either, but I continuously saw her book ranked high on the lists, sitting pretty, ahead of some of these greats. So I asked for it for Christmas, knowing nothing more than the fact that this woman is called “The Blogess.”

And now I feel like I know too much. I certainly know more than I had asked for.

But let me tell you: this book may be the funniest book I’ve read to date. I found myself laughing out loud within the first five minutes of sitting down with it. And it couldn’t have come at a better time. Lately, I’ve been pretty disappointed with my book choices, so it was great to finally read a 5-star one again.

Lawson’s life has been absolutely ridiculous since her beginning–so ridiculous that I often found myself believing that there’s no way all of this actually happened. But then I thought, okay, if she is making half of this stuff up, I’d still have to give her props, because there’s no one alive with a crazier imagination.

There’s not much I have to say about this book, not because I’m worried about spoiling it, but because you just have to read it for yourself to fully appreciate and try to understand the life of Jenny Lawson.

Yeah, good luck.

Sincerely,

Sammy

LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN

Dear Reader,

I’ve recently had the chance to deeply reflect upon myself and the habits I’ve formed thus far in life. And, surprise surprise, I’m not too pleased.

I know this will probably read like a typical “New Year’s Resolutions” blog post, but that’s okay. It’s never too late to set goals for the year. There’s no such thing as an inappropriate time to improve yourself.

So without further ado, here are my goals for the rest of 2nd semester:

GO TO CLASS

I don’t skip class too often, but it does happen. Sometimes I really am sick, and sometimes I do make mistakes and sleep through my alarms, but there have been times where I’ve just not gone. But I’ve decided I don’t want to be known for that–not that I am as it is. I just want to be known as the person who never skips class. And who is always present in every class she attends–well prepared, fully attentive, eager to learn. Even if it is geology.

COMMIT WHOLEHEARTEDLY

I am the kind of person who likes to be involved, and here at Miami, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to do so. I’m in AIESEC, Phi Mu, and Sigma Tau Delta. I write for the Miami Student and play with the club tennis team. I’m a student manager at a cafe on campus. And I’m proud of all of this, but I know I could do more.

I want to do more. I want to be proud when I see my name in print, regardless of the story I’ve been assigned. I want to help change lives by sending people abroad and being there every step of the way. I want to grow as a person with Phi Mu, as well as grow with my sisters.

I want to leave my mark on everything I do here at Miami, and the only way that’ll happen is if I stop half-assing it.

START BEING HEALTHY

And I mean it.

Let’s just say I don’t exactly treat my body like a temple. Unless you allow your temple to eat everything in sight, then force it to pull far too many allnighters, overall messing up it’s sleep schedule, and refuse to make it go to the gym.

So yeah, enough of that.

GET ORGANIZED

Pretty self explanatory. My life is a mess. I’d like for it to be neater. Let’s make it happen, new Sammy.

READ AND WRITE MORE

I was killing this resolution over J-term… and now I have 6 times the credit hours. But if I’m ever going to finish #3 or #38 on my 2015 Bucket List, I’m going to have to make time for these things.

COMMUNICATE BETTER

When it comes to answering texts/emails/missed phone calls/facebook messages/you name it, I may be the worst person in the world. There are many possible reasons for this, but it’s a simple fact that I need to get better.

This one might be my hardest goal to reach.

TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE OF EVERYTHING IN LIFE

I am in college: one of the only places where it is my number one priority to become educated–to devote every day to learning. Luckily, because I’m going to become a teacher, it shouldn’t be hard to remain a lifelong learner. But these are the glory years, and I want to come out on the opposite end knowing I did everything I could to soak it all in.

This semester, I want to become intelligent, determined, inspiring, spontaneous, enthusiastic.I want to be hungry for adventure, and fun, and knowledge. I want to become the person I’ve always dreamt I could be.

And the journey starts today.

Sincerely,

Sammy

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WEEK FOUR: I LOVE SECOND SEMESTER

Dear Reader,

This is going to be short and sweet because now that I’m a full-blown college student again, I really don’t have that much time on my hands. But, without further ado, my week in pictures:

One of the most exciting things to happen this week was that I got to meet my new roommate: Katie!

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Luckily she’s super nice and sweet and I feel like I really lucked out. She introduced me to some of her friends and I introduced her to some of mine, and I just think that this is going to be a good semester for the both of us.

If you don’t believe me, here’s proof of how amazing of a roommate she is:

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Also, Ashley came back a day early!!! So to celebrate we hung out in the dorms and caught up and watched about 30 minutes of the interview before deciding to hit the hay (yeah we like to sleep, so what?)

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SPEAKING OF ASHLEY, she wrote the best post on Miami University (where we go to school) that I’ve ever read, but wordpress wouldn’t let me reblog it. So, if you want to learn more about the college that we’re so in love with, click this link:

https://collegewithashley.wordpress.com/2015/01/28/back-at-it/

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I also got a sandwich with this name (my friend was on register)

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and this snap from my sister

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Snapchat is really helping me in this photo project.

And then on Saturday, Ashley and I (basically) witnessed a proposal, which has been on my bucket list for forever! I also wrote a blogpost about it.

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Then classes started, and they’re all turning out to be amazing. So amazing that, again, I wrote a blogpost about it.Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 4.54.01 AM

And on Mondays I have a huge gap, so I get to hang out with these goons at work.

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I also got this snap from my friend Sarah which made my day. I write for the school newspaper but I’ve only done it a few times and missed the other papers I was published in! But luckily, Sarah sent me this picture to document this (super small) accomplishment. 🙂

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Well, those are all of the pictures I have. Sorry that they’re kind of lame again. But when you think about it, sometimes I forget to take pictures because I’m busy making memories! And in the end, that might be more important.

Posts I wrote:

Songs I listened to:

  • OctaHate by Ryn Weaver
  • Lips by Marian Hill
  • Devil May Cry by The Weeknd
  • Firelight by Jourdan Myers
  • High by Young Rising Songs (keep going back to it)