Leaning into Senior Year Changes

Photo by redcharlie on Unsplash

Another week of my senior year is over, and if the lines of students buying scantrons in the University Store were any indication, I’d say it’s the beginning of midterm season.

The kind that doesn’t really end until finals begin.

Personally though, I can’t say that I’m feeling a whole lot of stress. Somehow, I’m still ahead in almost all of my classes, I’ve written two 1000+ word papers that aren’t due for a while, and my study plans are already set for when midterms and finals do finally come around.

Truly, I can’t tell you the last time I was this on top of things… Probably fall quarter my sophomore year.

Just because I’m ahead of the game though, doesn’t mean that I’m coasting through this school year. If anything, this is probably my most challenging quarter on the creative side of things. And it only gets tougher from here.

As an english major, I can write you an essay, plead to the humanistic or logical side of things, and understand literary theory/criticism (if you give me an hour at least) any day. 

As a Creative Writing emphasis student with a Media, Arts, Society, and Tech minor, writing a well balanced and interesting story or creating a digital render of a sand dollar that covers expression, technical lines, gesture lines, and symbol qualities are a little outside my norms.

It literally gives me headaches.

On the realistic side of things though, it’s probably not the material or the work giving me headaches. And the new kind of work I’m doing, well, it’s new. Here’s why that’s important.

Photo by Mona Miller on Unsplash

Have you ever watched little kids try to play soccer or basketball, any kind of sport really, and recognized how bad a lot of them were starting out? Growing into our bodies, I can’t say that we’re born knowing how to dribble a ball and throw it perfectly or how to kick something without the rest of our bodies moving too. That’s why we practice. 

Even while I started getting into digital art back in high school, I hadn’t touched it in college until this past summer when I chose to take a refresher course online. I’ll be honest, I am not that good. And if you ever ask me to draw a face of any kind… You will be sorely disappointed—for now.

Because here’s the thing, even while I’m doing work that I’m not used to and trying programs that I never thought I would get to touch, it’s exciting. Because I know that it’s a good fit for me.

Between my creative writing workshop, literary theory seminal, intro to science and tech interdisciplinary studies, and digital class, my life looks very different than it did last quarter. Last quarter, I went from one english class to another, all of which had a whole lot of readings and far too many things to remember. Now, I get to use my head and my own comprehension along with my creative skills and imagination. I can’t say that I’m good at what I’m doing quite yet, but I’m passionate about it. And I know exactly where I want to go with it.

That says a lot.

Unlike a lot of other students right now, I’m not stressed even with week 4 upon us soon enough. I’m still ahead of my work, my study guides are being finished, my classes are being attended no matter how surface level they can get, and I’m working hard. That, and I’ve been doing a little more playing hard every weekend with my roommate too—lemme tell ya, dancing is good for the soul.

Photo by Tamás Tokos on Unsplash

So yes, my classes are hard and there are some things that I am really bad at right now. Sure, it’s midterm season and I’m trying to stay on top of all my material. But also, classes are interesting and I know these are things that I actually want to learn about. I’m finding a better balance in this whole college thing.

Took me 4 years, but like I said, it takes time to get good at something. And even if I’ve gotten that far, I know I still have a whole lot to learn.

This time, I think I’m open to whatever comes next.


Have a good weekend everyone.

Overwhelming– Poetry Place

patrick-fore-381200Two poems for you today, pay attention and see if the context is a little different than you think— you tell me.

But we all have certain things we run from, pieces of ourselves that are hard to separate from the rest; it can be quite the crisis of self that comes when we try. So here you go, for my finals week, here are two very dramatic poems that I kind of love. Especially the second one.

Let me know what you think.


One

tim-marshall-82948-unsplashIt’s exhausting, the way you follow me around

and believe in yourself when you take me down

to drown out all the noise that you put in my head

with words I don’t want to hear, your presence like lead.

It drowns me, suffocates me, while I lose all the love

that I believe can help fix me up; you just push and shove

your hands straight into my chest, the other wrapped around my throat

I can’t breathe a single breath, can’t even stay afloat

paul-wong-465234-unsplashbefore you take me over. It’s no longer a choice to make

I have no other options, only to let you in to take

every last bit of my sanity, I let you under my skin.

Because I’ve played this game, I’ve fought this battle

too many times, and every time

you win.

Two

I sat there watching as you crawled over my skin,

grinning as you gnawed your way through me

past my gritted teeth and screaming eyes, asking you not to.

I knew you wouldn’t listen.

I could feel it in my bones as you hollowed me out,

inch by inch I lost every space I called my own

claudia-soraya-290053-unsplash

Photo by Claudia Soraya on Unsplash

to the shaking the hoping, the fading in my body.

While you drained that hope from the inside out,

my vision went blurry, the voices in my head

twisting the volume up and up and up

as high as it could go. The louder you got

the louder I needed to be, hands shut over my ears,

screaming against the cacophony of your voice;

It’s okay it’s okay it’s okay

its—but it’s not okay.

I don’t like the way it feels when you make a home

out of me, make me shake and make me cry,

you make me question why I’m alive

so  I can’t answer when someone wants to know

if I’m okay; you take my tongue, you twist it up and

all I can ever seem to do

is let you.


See you Friday.

 

A Race Against Time

jiyeon-park-224073-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Jiyeon Park on Unsplash

It came down to the wire this year– yesterday was day 29 of NaNoWriMo.

I had 35,777 more to go.

There’s something about having a goal, one you know you’ve reached before and that feeling, the one that doesn’t let you be less than what you’ve been. I didn’t want to lose this year, I had to reach the goal. 50,000 words, I had to reach it.

I started on day one. Now I may have missed days 2-7, but I promise, I started on day one. By day 2, I was behind.

It’s not that I didn’t know what I needed to write, that wasn’t it. I’ve had this story in my head for a while, one that allowed for the collision of so many different worlds to come together into one incredible novel that only makes sense once you turn that last page. Then that “oh” moment makes you sit back and wonder how you got from the start to finish in the first place.

milan-popovic-492570-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Milan Popovic on Unsplash

That’s the kind of moment that makes you want to read a book again, right after you read it the first time, because somehow there’s got to be more.

More. There’s got to be more. That has been my writing process.

It’s been a struggle to catch up once I got behind. Every day I wrote a little more and a little more, but it didn’t feel like enough. i wasn’t even going for the substance of my writing, no, that isn’t the point of NaNoWriMo.

The point is to hit that 50,000, because if you do, that means you’ve been writing. Consistently. Unless you’re one of those people to knock it out in under a week, the idea is to hit that word count because you’ve spent thirty days creating one world and one story.

It’s about the commitment to creating something that hasn’t been put on paper yet.

So did I commit?

After weeks of making late night time for writing, among the studying and the constant reading, I kept going. At first it was hard to find the story, to figure out just what I was trying to say. They say that the characters choose their lives and we’re not allowed to change their story once it’s set.

Whatever happens happens, we put our pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, and let the story come as it may. I committed to writing a story, all those words in one month so I could meet my goal, but even more so, so I could create a world.

raphael-schaller-88040-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Raphael Schaller on Unsplash

And here we are, November 30th, the final day of NaNoWriMo.

I’m at 35K words, just short of 50,000 by a few days of hard work. I haven’t written a single word since yesterday, well, I don’t plan to before the clock turns and strikes the first of December at 12am. I am not a winner for National Novel Writing Month this year and I’m okay with that.

Because I realized that as of right now, my finals start on Monday and there are things beyond my story that need my focus. Writing for me will always be a priority, but so will my studies.

Besides, believe it or not, my goal for the month wasn’t hitting 50,000.

I wanted to get that novel started, the one I’ve been thinking about for months. I wanted to find that space where I knew my characters and I found the story I needed to tell, that was my goal— in 35,000 words, I found that goal. I didn’t need to keep going.

debby-hudson-705707-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Debby Hudson on Unsplash

It isn’t about consolation or even technically “losing” NaNoWriMo. I’m on track for my studying and all the readings I’ve had to do, and I found my story.

For me, that’s a success.

So with an unfinished novel and a busy two weeks ahead, happy Friday everyone. I hope you find your own success today, even if all that means is changing your perspective.

Good luck.