Dear Reader,

Yesterday I logged onto my school email and saw a message from one of my professors:


I just wanted to touch base with you and make sure you’re doing okay. You seemed upset during class yesterday (but perhaps you were just tired).

Let me know if I can help.


Professor Pennington”

If you look back at my recent blog posts, you can see that this week has been tough for me, and when she saw me in class on Tuesday, it was after I had spent the entire night in the suite, crying and writing and trying to study for my 8am exam the next day.

I don’t remember being particularly unpleasant or upset in class that day, but I’m often unaware of how often my face exposes my true emotions and thoughts.

Still, I didn’t walk into class and slam my things down or sigh or groan constantly. I remember paying attention to what was going on, but I didn’t participate in the conversation at all, and it was probably pretty clear that I had other things on my mind.

My professor noticed this and recognized that my behavior was different, but she then took it one step further to ask me about it–to make sure I was really okay. Because people have good days and bad, but people also have things they struggle with on a daily basis that often go unnoticed.

I feel very fortunate to be in the situation I am in. I go to an amazing school that has a reputation for it’s “unusually strong commitment” to teaching, which is something they really try to sell to seniors in high school. When I was a senior, though, I didn’t really know what that meant.

I didn’t know that I would have professors who would stress the importance of mental health being your top priority. I didn’t know that I would have two professors–one for a creative writing class and another for a geography lecture–actually recommend that I seek counseling, regardless of any stigma that’s attached, and then send me links to our university’s health services.

I didn’t know that I would have long talks with some of these professors that honestly felt more like therapy sessions than anything else and left me feeling good about myself and the future that awaited me. I didn’t know they would, in turn, open up to me and tell me about their wife who struggles with anxiety or apologize and say they have to run because they have a meeting, themselves, with a therapist that they can’t be late to.

I didn’t know that my professors would make me feel so cared for, regardless if it were a class of 11 or a class of almost 200. I didn’t know they would give me second chances and encourage me to achieve more, even when I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. I didn’t know I’d be writing scholarly articles alongside them or nominated for awards by them.

I didn’t expect this huge support system. If anything, maybe a handful of teachers would stand out. Or maybe two of them would really push me to publish my writing or vocalize how far they see my potential reaching.

But it’s much more than that.

I’ve had over twenty professors at this school, and they may not all be deserving of this praise, but even the bare minimum seems to have exceeded my expectations. But the special ones make up well over half and their dedication and their support is making more of a difference than I ever anticipated.

I had eleven classes with Professor Pennington before she sent me that email.

It doesn’t take a lot. All it takes is someone who is observant and who will listen. Someone who cares. Sometimes that’s all it takes to make a difference.

That’s the kind of teacher I want to be in my classroom. At the very least.

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Dear Reader,

That is the name of the article I’m featured in.

I posted a video a few days ago in which I voiced some concerns and opinions about the american school system. Shortly after, I got an email from a very nice lady named Paula who just so happens to be the associate editor at PJ Media. She then wrote a sweet article about me and posted it on her website.Screen Shot 2015-10-06 at 11.41.27 PM

When I went to bed last night, it had been shared 121 times and had just over 700 views. I’ve yet to check what it’s at now.

But I was lowkey freaking out yesterday when I began to realize what was happening. Now, it’s not like this video is going to go viral or anything, but it makes me kind of worried how many people are sharing it and how many Facebook and Twitter timelines it might be popping up on now. As I’ve said before, my blog and YouTube channel are relatively private. I know that posting content online runs the risk of having the whole world as a potential audience, but I figured I would never have to worry about that.

So now knowing that my parents or distant relatives or people form my high school could find out that sometimes I talk to myself in front of a camera and upload it for the world to see… well that’s kind of freaky.

Secondly, this audience that is viewing the video is very different. It’s not made up of the friendly faces that greet me when I log onto WordPress. It’s made up of educated, experienced, and opinionated adults. Many of whom have taught for years and have their own relative discourse when approaching this subject.

And here I am, a kid from Ohio, who thought “man, the price of college is annoying. Common core is annoying. You know what? The whole grade system is annoying!” And then I made a video.

Needless to say, some people didn’t take kindly to my “weird examples” and “ignorant questions,” and some of the things they said were just mean. My favorite exchange was this:

“She’s an intelligent, articulate young woman. But she won’t last as a teacher. I give her maybe five years.”

And then:

“I don’t find her to be intelligent and articulate. I find her to be a snarky smart ass who should be researching answers to her questions rather than pontificating on things as if she has some kind of great insight when she’s utterly clueless.”

But I still stand by everything I said and I’m actually learning a lot from this ruthless comment section. In fact, the meanest person (in my opinion) actually answered a lot of my questions. Now, he managed to get a few zingers in between them, but my questions have been answered. Thanks, bud.

So I thought I’d share this with you all because, hey, the article is actually really nice and I feel very well represented. Besides, I made this video to start this conversation, so isn’t it good that people are talking?

Or maybe I should just be more careful what I wish for.

Have a great day y’all!




Dear Reader,

If you didn’t already know, I’m an education major. And a few weeks ago in class, I started thinking about all the things that annoy me about the american school system. As it turns out, there’s a lot.

So, I wrote an open letter, then I read it out loud in front of a camera, and forgot to upload it for a few weeks.


But I’m sharing it now because sometimes it’s good to get things off your chest, you know? And let’s be honest–there’s plenty that can be fixed with our education system, and I’m not really seeing the progress I’m looking for.

So here’s a video of me reading a very abridged list of what worries me regarding the future of America and our school system. Enjoy if you want.




Dear Reader,

To this day I don’t know where I stand with this teacher. Despite our complicated and eventful past, I don’t think we’ve ever hated each other–which is astonishing. I was an awful student who didn’t do any of my work and was “wasting away my potential.” I was frustrating to work with and I didn’t care. I also did something to put her under the impression that I had been lying to her (still unclear of this).

And she was a teacher who was equally as frustrating to work with. Okay, it wasn’t equal, but I couldn’t get away with what I was used to getting away with–not that I didn’t try. And then she decided I couldn’t move onto AP English, while I felt that it was neither her decision, nor the right decision.

This led to a meeting. The most humiliating, frustrating meeting I’ve ever been a part of. I felt so hopeless. I sat there in front of her, the head of the English department (my future English teacher), my guidance counselor, and my mother. And I cried. I’m pretty sure she did, too, but I don’t remember a lot. I tried to forget the events that happened as soon as I got home.

The consensus was that I wasn’t able to go onto AP English–a class that I felt was necessary if I wanted to get into a good college. Or if I wanted to enjoy my senior year.

I was broken hearted. I still don’t know how I feel about everything. After all, it all turned out fine. I got into my first choice college and they still let me take the AP exam–I got a 4, which is alright.

I still wonder if I would’ve gotten a 5 if I had taken that class.

So Farrar and I have quite a history. I had her as a freshman and a junior and her class was always something to look forward to (on the days I had my work done, at least). And I need to thank her.

I thank her for never giving up on me. For never thinking I was stupid and never lowering the expectations she had originally set for me. I did plenty in all of my other classrooms to lower the expectation for myself, but Farrar refused. She believed I could become something with my writing. She still believes I will.

Even recently she contacted me telling me not to stop. She always tells me not to stop–says I was born to write. I’d always been confused what she meant by this though. Journalist? Author? Blogger? What does she want me to be?

But I realized it doesn’t matter. I can do whatever I decide to set my mind to. One of my majors is journalism. I’m working (here and there) on two novels. I have this blog. I can explore my options and decide what I want to do, but I can never thank her enough for always being so supportive.

I’ve always been a writer–it’s just something I’ve always done. But, as most people know, I don’t exactly glow of self-confidence. And writing is so subjective! How was I ever supposed to know if I’m any good? I don’t have the largest vocabulary and I’m sure I make grammatical errors constantly. I often write too much (this post, for example) and more often than not, there seems to be no point in what I’m trying to say.

But Mrs. Farrar believes in me, and she always has. And she doesn’t keep mum about it, which makes all the difference. Just to have one person–an English teacher, nonetheless–have confidence in me to the point where I would feel rude to ever stop writing. That means everything.

So thank you.

And I’m sorry.



PS. Song of the day is One Night Stand by Em Harriss. Enjoy!

Spreading Myself Too Thin

Dear Reader,

I’m a bit stressed.

I am moving into my dorm at Miami University in exactly a week. And yeah it’s stressing to say goodbye to everyone and prepare for a completely different life three hours from home, but that’s not exactly what’s bothering me.

I want to be an English teacher because, in my eyes, that’s the best job there is. I love reading books and studying poetry and writing and teaching and all of it. And I want to make a difference. More importantly, I believe I can. This year I got to be a student teacher in some classrooms around the area and it only verified that this is what I’m meant to do. And I’m passionate enough to be good at it! I could honestly write an entire post about why this is my dream job, but instead I’ll cut to the chase.

It’s a great job, yes, but do I want to get straight out of college into a career so routine-oriented?

I’d work from August to May, and then use my summers to prepare for the next year. Sure, it’s great when you have a family, I would imagine. And I want to teach in a school much like my high school–a nice suburb with a good community and intelligent, inspiring kids (even though you can find those anywhere).

But I don’t want to spend my whole life in the same town, doing the same things, just looking for little pleasures in my life.

I want to travel the world. Return to France and English, and go on adventures in Thailand and Finland and Germany and Luxembourg! I want to live in New York City. I visited when I was a freshman and it’s been on my mind ever since.

But I don’t want to teach there. And even if I did, I can’t imagine that it’d be easy to find a job in the city.

So I’m going to this school for the next four years of my life and I’m going to milk it for everything it’s worth. I’m going to learn everything I possibly can and travel with any group that will take me along. I’m going to leave in 2018 as the most educated, prepared, worldly, leader that I can be.

Which has led to my decision of adding a journalism major.

So far in Miami I will be taking five classes that meet two days a week, practicing with the club tennis team four nights a week, working three nights a week, and auditioning for the orchestra that meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

It’s all part of my plan. I have two English classes that I’m very excited about and will, therefore, be excited to study. One is just reading and studying works by major American authors and the other is advanced composition, which I’m assuming will help me when writing my own novels. I then have an Educational psychology class that seems interesting and a journalism course that looks very promising. Then I have a random science class that I may need help with but am nonetheless ready to take on. (Plus it’s required for my graduation)

Then tennis is going to help me stay in shape, meet new people, have fun, and help me if I ultimately decide to coach (I’ve definitely been considering it). And I may not even make the orchestra–actually, I probably won’t. But if by some miracle I do it’ll be great to keep up with the cello and help me prepare for if I become a private cello teacher in the future.

And the job is to help me pay for the winter term if I decide to stay or study abroad (fingers crossed for New York City) or simply give me some money to save for the future or pay back my father for everything he’s done for me. And might I add that the hours are very reasonable.

So I’m planning all of this as the excitement grows inside of me to the point where I burst and spill the beans to anyone who will listen. And then this is the response I get:

“Have fun failing out.”

All I want is for one person to be supportive. Supportive without the condescending comments about time-management and heavy workloads. Because maybe I am spreading myself too thin, but let me make that mistake for myself. I’d rather try it all and be forced to quit a few than not try enough and live with regrets.

I understand that this is going to be hard–probably harder than expected–but this is my life! This is all preparation for the life that I will choose after college.

Maybe I’ll be a suburban teacher, maybe I’ll be a tennis coach, maybe I’ll be a journalist, maybe I’ll be an author, maybe I’ll be a cello teacher, maybe I’ll be all of the above! But this is just me trying to prepare for anything and everything and this is me pursuing my passions and following my dreams.

So just stop trying to stop me.