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)

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON

Dear Reader,

Let me tell you, second semester was not shaping up to be a good one. Back when I registered in November, I couldn’t get into half of my classes because I wasn’t an official journalism major yet. So I freaked out and just got random classes that I could get into and was stuck with, what I thought to be, the worst schedule imaginable. All of my classes either terrified me or bored me already, and I was not looking forward to second semester at all.

Now, though, I couldn’t be happier. First of all, I don’t have a single class before 10am, and I’ll never have to make the 25-minute trek to Western Campus again.

Second, these are my classes:

Literature and Composition: This is just the mandatory English class I have to take because I got a 4 (not 5) on the AP exam. But, by the looks of it, I don’t think it’s going to be end up being the boring class with people who hate English that I expected. We’re studying The Notebook, Clueless, Brokeback Mountain, 500 Days of Summer, and Emma by Jane Austen just to name a few films and books. And we’re looking at how masculinity and femininity is portrayed in the media.

African American Writing from 1949-present: I was terrified for this class because it’s a 300-level and it’s with a teacher who I really respect, but never got a good impression if she liked me or hated me (first semester was kind of rough). After today, though, I know we’re on good terms and I’m really excited to learn more from her.

Socioculture in Education: Oh my word, I heard horror stories about this course. The main professor wrote the freakin’ textbook, for crying out loud. But, as it turns out, I find the textbook fascinating. And the co-teacher is awesome. She has purple hair and specializes in teaching sexuality and is so encouraging of exploring new ideas and having good discussions in class. I really can’t wait for more.

Introduction to Media: Another class where the professor wrote the textbook. I’m honestly still scared for this because it looks like it’s a lot of work, but if I do really well in this class, I could possibly be a UA (like a teaching assistant, but undergraduate), which would be amazing and really help me on my path to becoming a teacher. So I’m beyond excited to have that to motivate me all semester.

Intro to Video Production: Finally MAC211. This is a four-hour class on Wednesday nights that I was scared I might dread or just downright hate, but the professor is awesome. He’s hilarious and inspiring and even though he’s young (34!!!), he’s done so much! He’s an emmy-winning director (yes, he showed us the trophy in class today) who’s worked on movies like Fun-Sized with Victoria Justice and Abduction with Taylor Lautner and Toddlers and Tiaras.

And I’ll be learning how to make videos–something I’ve wanted to learn since becoming obsessed with YouTube. Honestly, this class has me so amped up right now, I could write an entire separate post about it if I wanted.

But the thing is, so much could have gone wrong. There are three sections of EDL 204 at the same time, but I just so happened to get the one with the awesome professor. I also had the huge decision of choosing between a four-hour class and a W/F class at 8am. But because I chose the one on Wednesday night, I have the incredible De’Niel Phipps. I also have good friends and co-workers in the other classes, which just happened without any planning whatsoever.

So, what I’m saying is that everything happens for a reason. Two months ago, I was heartbroken because my perfect schedule was seriously screwed up. But honestly, it doesn’t even compare to the one I have now.

And I don’t know how it happened to work out so perfectly, but I can’t even describe how blessed and at ease I feel because of it.

It’s a great thing to be excited about your education.

Sincerely,

Sammy

BUCKET LIST ITEM COMPLETED

Dear Reader,

Like most of you know, I have a 2015 bucket list of things that I want to accomplish this year and things that are in my control and doable. But I also have a lifetime bucket list of things that may not be possible to complete in 2015 but will hopefully occur at least once in my life.

Well this weekend, one of those things happened to me.

I have always wanted to witness a proposal. I mean, it’s such a big event in a stranger’s life, but it’s so exciting to see! But it’s not like I could ever plan it like, oh I think I’m going to witness someone propose to their significant other today, so it’s always just been on my bucket list and forgotten about until it happened!

My friend and I were walking back to our dorm from the hockey game on Saturday night and this girl comes up to us and says, “Do you guys know where the arch is?”

So we started explaining, but we were pretty close and she had been out all day drinking so we ended up just walking her towards it and she explains, “Yeah my friend’s getting proposed to today.”

WHAT! So Ashley and I freak out about how adorable this is, especially since at Miami the Arch is kind of iconic. Legend has it that if you kiss your significant other at midnight underneath it, you’ll get married and become Miami Mergers.

So this girl keeps talking, saying, “Yeah my friend texted me an hour ago saying ‘I’m going to propose to my girlfriend in like an hour, I’d really like it if you could be there.'” And this poor girl who had been drinking at beat the clock and then broken was now trying to navigate campus in the dark to witness her friends’ proposal!

But we asked her and she said we could absolutely watch if we wanted to, as long as we weren’t right next to them or anything. So we kept a good distance and watched him get down on one knee, freaked out, and then realized he was there alone and was just lighting the candles. And then they kept blowing out, and the girl wasn’t really anywhere to be seen, so we waited five minutes and left.

So okay, I didn’t witness the actual proposal, but I probably would have if it weren’t so cold and dark and far away.

Alright, it may not be the best story ever but I’m counting it you guys! Sure, I hope I’ll witness an actual proposal some day, but this was exciting for me! And we got to hear about this couple from her friend and see how he was at least going to surprise her. So it counts.

I’m counting it.

And since I’ll be at Miami for three and a half more years, I’m sure I’ll witness at least one more similar to this relatively soon.

Sincerely,

Sammy

7 THINGS I LEARNED MY FIRST SEMESTER AT COLLEGE

Dear Reader,

My second semester of college starts tomorrow, so I’ve been reflecting on the first–and I learned a lot. I had read every “10 things I learned my freshman year at college” post I could find, so I thought I’d be good. But as it turns out, I had a lot to learn.

FRESHMEN ARE HATED

Probably could’ve guessed this, but I didn’t! I couldn’t wait to be a freshman again–everything is new and exciting and you get to be the most youthful group on campus! But nope, everyone hates you.

This is a lot worse for guys and dealing with the party scene, but it still sort of terrified me when I made this discovery. It seemed like all the advice I got from upperclassmen was aimed towards making me not seem like a freshman–don’t go to this, don’t wear that, don’t believe this, don’t fall for that. And even when I took most of that advice, it remained perfectly clear who I was.

But I guess I’m okay with that.

PRESSURE TO MAKE FRIENDS IS HIGH

And pressure to leave your high school friends behind is high too. I noticed this more once I went on break, but it seemed like everyone was discussing people from high school. He still hangs out with his best friends from high school. It’s so sad. She hasn’t posted any pictures with new friends at college, I don’t think she’s made any. 

It was hard for me to get into this mindset, but I say who cares? Find one good, life-long friend instead of a group of 10 temporary ones, not only cherish your friends from high school, but remain friends with them! Just do you and be with who you want to spend your time with.

TUESDAYS ARE THE NEW FRIDAY

They really are. Apologize to your 8am Wednesday mornings for going to 90s night or drinking in your dorm–that’s what everyone else seems to do.

But also, Fridays are still Fridays, and Saturdays are still Saturdays. And Thirsty Thursday is really a thing. The opportunity to go out is constant.

YOU WILL CRY OR YOU WILL ALWAYS FEEL LIKE CRYING

Maybe this was just me, but first semester is hard, and sometimes you’ll go to the bathroom to cry, flushing occasionally, just so you don’t have to do it in front of your roommate.

The shower is also a nice sanctuary.

MAJORS ARE ANNOYING

As an education major with a lot of friends in pre-med and engineering, I got tons of crap. It’s worse for the early childhood education majors (“what’s your final? finger-painting? a take-home test on arts and crafts?”), but English education deals with it too. I do know someone who’s majoring in party planning, though, and I don’t even want to think about what she has to put up with.

FALLING IN LOVE WITH STRANGERS IS NORMAL

SO many attractive boys at college, and they clean up nice. I swear I fall in love on a weekly basis. Also some people are just so interesting that you want to sit and talk to them for hours–days–about everything they’ve done and all their passions and hopes and dreams.

PROFESSORS ARE REALLY COOL AND INTERESTING

Which makes the classes worthwhile. Seriously, ask tons of questions, pay attention when they lecture, and make connections with them–it’s worth it!

This can also coincide with that last one because I may or may not have fallen in love with a professor from last semester. (Calm down, he’s a grad student!)

Well, that’s the condensed list, and I’m sure I’ll learn many more things next semester that I didn’t know the first.

Cheers to new discoveries.

Sincerely,

Sammy

WEEK 3: AWFUL MOVIES, WONDERFUL PEOPLE, AND 200 FOLLOWERS

Dear Reader,

I went through a lot this week, mentally and emotionally. But upon reflection, I’ve realized how great it actually turned out, and how even the bad things had silver linings. And the wonderful thing about this project is that I get to give the highlights, and I get to really look at the good in my life and share it. And I’m confident that when I look back on this post, I won’t even remember the bad. And I think that’s wonderful.

So, without further ado, here are the highlights from my third week of 2015:

It started off really well when I reached 200 followers on my blog. The feeling I got from it is pretty remarkable and I ended up making an entire post about it.

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Then it was the two-year anniversary of when I got my driver’s license, which is kind of fun to reflect upon. Also kind of not fun, considering I’ve had my fair share of mistakes. But, hey, here’s to continuous learning! (Also this pic is from last year, I can’t get to the one I took this year at the moment, whoops) 

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I also started using a website Opinion Outpost, which pays people for their opinions. It’s not like I’m going to make hundreds of dollars off this site, but I have decided to put every penny I earn from it into my fund for future travels, which is just exciting to think about.

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This week I also accomplished a lot that I couldn’t take pictures of. I (finally!) finished my work training. I shared some more of my writing on WordPress and continued to be surprised with the overwhelming support that I receive. The comments I received this week were so shocking and heartwarming. I can’t even begin to explain how much they mean to me.

I also learned some new songs on the piano, including Piano Man by Billy Joel, and I continued to work on my 2015 bucket list. It can be discouraging sometimes, knowing that it’s been 21 days and I’ve yet to cross a single item off, but it’s because I’m working on the long-term ones; the empty shelf challenge and writing my novels and learning new words and completing sudoku puzzles. But I know it’ll all payoff in the end.

But I don’t have any pictures of those, which was kind of the point of this project. But you know what I do have pictures of? THE WORST MOVIE EVER.

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Seriously, I decided to watch a drama/comedy that starred Seth Rogen and Sarah Silverman and got a 6.6 on IMDb–not too bad, right? Baby Mama has a 6.1 and I love that movie!

But what I got was this dull story of a not-so-lovable character, who was part of the weirdest couple ever and fighting a mid-life crisis. It’s called Take this Waltz and I just don’t get it. Actually, I knew about 30 minutes in that I would not like it, but I decided to just power through and amuse myself simultaneously with trivial activities, like learning how to draw (#8 on my bucket list) and writing out the lyrics to Billy Joe’s Piano Man.

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I also captioned the movie and sent snapchats to my sister. Most of them are pretty inappropriate (yes, the movie was surprisingly graphic at suddenly random moments), but I can post at least these:

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But we can’t end on that awful movie. No, I saved the best for last. This has been one of my favorite weekends, and I spent it at home.

Yes, I love my school and I’ve never been homesick in my life, but something was different this weekend. Maybe it was because a lot of my family was in town, or the fact that we got to see my sister dance, but it was truly wonderful. And my sister is adorable.

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She’s 17, but just look at her!

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And I love watching her dance. I’m so proud of everything she’s done–how far she’s come since she started. I actually find myself bragging about her sometimes. I mean, just in this showcase she was in 2 tap routines, 1 contemporary duet, 1 jazz, and 1 hip hop. She was almost primarily front row and she was killing it. I haven’t admitted this to her, or anyone, yet, but I actually got a bit choked up during her duet–which just so happens to be to a song I consider my anthem: Medicine by Daughter.

Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed, but here are some of my favorites from her years past. 

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And I love my sister, but the rest of my family is pretty stinking cute too (father and brother not pictured).

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Maybe just the girls are cute.

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Sarah and I also took this picture as we were driving around (well, before. Selfies & driving are not safe, kids.) and I realized that this is basically the third recreation of it.

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I guess we’ll have to keep it up next year.

Songs I listened to: 

There were so many that I wanted to mention, so I just made an entirely separate post about it (as you can find below)

Posts I wrote:

SONGS WORTH SHARING

Dear Reader,

If you don’t already know, every Thursday I upload a weekly update, if you will. And at the end of those posts, I list some of the music I’ve been listening to during that week.

But this week I realized that I listened to a lot of music. So I decided to just dedicate an entirely separate post to everything I’ve been listening to, separated into three parts: Oldies, Car Songs, and Honorable Mention. Enjoy.

Oldies

It began with Billy Joel. I was listening to a sad playlist made by someone else on Spotify, when the song And So It Goes comes on. I recognized it from covers I had heard, but never realized Billy Joel sang it–I had really only known him for Piano Man and For The Longest Time. 

After listening to his most popular hits and falling in love with Vienna and She’s Always a Woman to Me, I became sad that music really isn’t the same as it once was–something adults always seem to babble on about as it goes in through one ear and right out the other.

But maybe they’re right.

So I made a playlist of my favorite songs from a time before I was born, which include:

  • Sweet Pea by Tommy Roe
  • Tainted Love by Soft Cell
  • Every Little Thing She Does is Magic by The Police
  • Love the One You’re With by Crosby, Stills & Nash

Car Songs

I love to sing, but I’m well aware that not everyone enjoys listening to my voice as much as, say, the original artist. And, being at college, I’m never really alone in a car, driving around, singing at the top of my lungs–which is something I really miss. So you can best believe that I took full advantage of the car when I went home this weekend. These are the songs that I was shamelessly jamming to:

  • I’m Alive by Michael Franti
  • Notice Me by Alexa Rae Joel
  • Sugar, This is Gospel by Fall Out Boy vs. Panic at the Disco
  • Finding Something to Do by Hellogoodbye
  • Oh Cecelia (Breaking my Heart) by The Vamps feat. Shawn Mendes
  • Honey I’m Good by Andy Grammer

Honorable Mention

Yes, this song gets it’s own category. It is that. Good. 

This is a cover of Take Me To Church–a song that was dead to me. I heard it, loved it, watched the music video, got goosebumps, learned it on the piano, belted it when I was home alone. It was on playlists of mine for months, and then I was over it.

But This. Cover. Not only did The Melodores revive this song, they straight up killed it again. In a good way. These metaphors aren’t really working, are they?

Anyway, LISTEN TO THIS COVER. Watch Dan pour his heart and soul into this song and I dare you to listen to the original without enunciating “sharpen your knife” in your head like they do.

Yep, it was a good week in music for me, and it ended up being a good week all around.

Funny how those are related.

Sincerely,

Sammy

{ESC} BOOK SEVEN: THE MANNY

Dear Reader,

I guess they all can’t be my new favorite book.

The Manny by Holly Peterson really isn’t that bad. I picked it up knowing exactly what it would be: a cute, cliché story. A quick read. A setting in New York City. All of this was enough for me to purchase the book (for $5, mind you) and read it.

So, if you want to read it, be aware of what you’re getting yourself into. I honestly think half the reason why I liked it as much as I did is because I didn’t set high expectations. But then I went online and read some pretty mean reviews. I mean, some people seemed actually offended that they spent time on this book.

Now, some of the criticisms I found to be valid. A lot of people didn’t like the main character–I didn’t mind her, but I can definitely see how she could get on some nerves. Personally, though, I feel that the other characters (like, I don’t know, the manny) were lovable enough to make up for it.

Another criticism I read was about the, ahem, sexy scenes. Now, I’m not one to peruse erotic romance novels. I haven’t purchased or read Fifty Shades of Grey (yet), so I didn’t think they were truly awful. But, again, if you’re expecting hot and heavy scenes full of intense passion that just flies off the page: probably not the book for you.

Overall, though, it was just as I thought it would be. So I give it 3.5 stars and accept that I will probably not be rereading it any time soon.

I did find the ending adorably perfect, though.

Sincerely,

Sammy

2:03 AM

Sometimes talking is exhausting, and it shouldn’t be. Sometimes the conversations seem to drag on and you just feel like you’re repeating everything you’ve already said, every conversation you’ve already had. You feel like nothing new is ever discussed and it’s a chore to keep responding.

And you think it should not be like this. It should be exciting and intelligent conversation, stemmed from new experiences and new ideas that form in your head every day. But where are they now? Why can’t you talk about any of that now?

You shouldn’t groan when you see their name flash across your screen. You should jump across the room to retrieve your plugged-in, charging phone just to read what they say, and then decide to wait a respectable four minutes before sending your reply. But by the end of it, you’re sitting next to the outlet, hunched over, typing award-winning essays that will only be seen by this one other person.

You should be talking about music and politics and the universe and hypotheticals. You should be discussing your ideal futures and confessing your wildest hopes and dreams. You should be playing intellectual would-you-rather games, not prepubescent versions of 21 questions.

And eventually you should just pick up your phone and call them, because you’ve discovered that your thumbs can’t travel as fast as your brain and you’re tired of sending two–sometimes three–messages in a row while they’re in the middle of responding to your first one.

You’ll want to have a real conversation–a real back-and-forth interaction with this person whose name grows a smile on your face and ignites a spark in your brain. And maybe even a flutter in your heart.

But really, you’ll just continue to daydream about this person who may be out there somewhere, even though it doesn’t feel like it right now. And while you’re thinking of them, you’ll forget to text back.

THE INTERNET IS A WEIRD PLACE

Dear Reader,

Isn’t this weird? For six months now I’ve been writing letters (I guess you could call them) to the internet. To you. To all of you. And they’re just kind of meaningless shouts into the universe that aren’t necessarily intended to be heard. Not expected to be heard.

But here we are. Here I am sharing very personal things, when you think about it, to the internet. Here I am talking about ADD and how hard college can be and my awful self esteem issues and sometimes very strongly alluding to the fact that not everything is okay. When in real life, with real people that I really interact with, I never do that. I mean things really aren’t that bad with me–they never are–but I never let people know they could be! Not when I can portray this “everything’s perfectly fine, just like always” facade.

But here I am. Sharing my writing–my personal writing. And being ambitious! Talking about the future as if I have a clue. Casually mentioning my novels  as if it’s inevitable that I’ll finish them. When really, in real life, most people don’t even know that I have one–not to mention two–works in progress. Most people don’t even know that I’m pursuing writing.

But here you are, and you might know that. You might know me more than some people I’ve known since the 90s, and that’s weird.

And now there’s 200 of you. That’s what’s this is–a thank you. I know, kind of a weird one, but that’s what this is. Because yeah, it’s weird–so weird–but it’s happening. I’m letting it happen. Letting it be. And I thank you.

I mean, I thank all 200 of the people who decided (for some reason) to click that button and follow me. Honestly, why? Ha, I’m just kidding. Sort of. But mostly, I thank you. I mean, 200 people aren’t going to see this post. Most people that follow me just kind of do it and then that’s the last they see of me. Which brings me back to the question, why? 

But maybe 20 people will read this. Probably 10 people will. And one will be me, and another will be Ashley, and another will be Kassara, and another will be my sister in a few months when she remembers, “Oh yeah, Sammy does that thing on the internet.”

Anyway, I’m talking to you–sister and friends and random people on the internet. You reading this letter. I never expected, well, anything from WordPress, but it has done wonders. It’s boosted my confidence and encouraged me to interact and reach out to others. It’s allowed me to be myself and explore my life and everything I want it to become.

Honestly, this place inspires me. To travel and write and share and connect and live. And it happens to me every day.

And I can just tell that I’m growing, which is something I never really noticed before.

So it’s weird, internet, but it’s a good weird.

I’m just happy you’re here.

And I’m happy I’m here too.

Sincerely,

Sammy

WEEK 2: A BIT MUNDANE, BUT AT LEAST I HAVE FRIENDS (THE TV SHOW)

Dear Reader,

You know those weeks where you just have to set everything aside and buckle down to get some work done?

Yeah that was my week.

I worked from open until close twice this week and logged over 20 hours in the four days we were open. Outside of that I worked out, dealt with kind of a personal matter and made progress on my online journalism class–including writing four essays for it in a week (with another one due tonight).

So, my daily pictures got progressively lamer as the days went on. And it doesn’t help that every time I try to use the camera on my phone outside in this weather, my phone will die. Without fail. It doesn’t matter if I have 70% battery left, it’ll die.

But, I will share some of the pictures I managed to capture this week. (Reminder: I said they’re pretty lame).

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How I feel on the days I work from open until close.

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My first skinny vanilla latte–I like!

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My friend took my order at the cafe, so I guess I’m Jorge now?

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This picture (obviously) doesn’t do it justice but my other friend made me the best sandwich I’ve had from Miami thus far. Kudos, Jordan.

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Friday nights get pretty crazy in college, as you can see here. This is taken on my friend’s bed of our insomnia cookies and Netflix, with Friends on the screen.

There’s the real truth about college, kids.

My sister texted me on a day when her high school closed and asked me if we still had snow here at Miami. I sent her this (blurry) picture. 😦

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Then my phone died.

And, lastly, my favorite thing about closing: free brownies.

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There you have it. Not every week can be exciting, I suppose, but at least this one wasn’t a waste! I’ve been making really good progress on my 2015 bucket list–particularly finishing my 2014 sudoku puzzles, learning how to do the splits and finishing a rough draft for one of my novels!

Not a bad week, though the pictures might not prove it.

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Posts I wrote:

Songs I’m listening to:

  • Lips by Marian Hill
  • Firelight by Jourdan Myers
  • Firefly by Ed Sheeran
  • Mission Bells by Matt Nathanson
  • I’m Gonna Show You Crazy by Bebe Rexha