Written on May 28th, 2015
If keeping a 4.0 requires you to lower the rigor of your classes, don’t. I’m not saying you shouldn’t get good grades, but you definitely shouldn’t compromise your learning opportunities just to maintain a number.
If keeping a 4.0 requires you to lower the rigor of your classes, don’t. I’m not saying you shouldn’t get good grades, but you definitely shouldn’t compromise your learning opportunities just to maintain a number.
I am built of halves / but they never make me feel whole / my crudely cut edges don’t match one another / so I tape them closed with gritted teeth / part lover, part fighter / half peace, half fire
I found myself in the spaces between board games and TV binges / the open curls at the end of our questions, the goofy smiles that chased our jokes / I was given joy in people who know every one of my flaws / but decide to hang out for another night anyway
My current GPA puts me in the top 5% of Wisconsin School of Business students — and I hope every day that it’s the least impressive thing about me. When I graduate, I want to leave this university with so much more than a number.
Usually the world just naturally gives me enough to go on. My morning cup of chai, the sunrise over the lake, even my simple walk to class are often sufficient to get my mind rolling. I joke with one of my roommates that he needs to be “more awash in the beauty of life”. But today… well, I myself wasn’t awash in anything but sluggishness.
You don’t have to know me well to know that I’m pretty obsessed with my family’s pets, especially our Siberian Husky Snort. I know I might be a bit over the top — it’s not every day that you meet someone who has an Instagram for their canine — but I just can’t help it: I love dogs.
Ahh, it’s October. Cool breezes, warm blankets, beautiful colors… and of course: recruiting season. In the Wisconsin School of Business, fall recruiting kicks off pretty much right when we arrive back on campus. The career fair is only a few weeks into the semester, and by the time we flip our calendars from September to the month of all things spooky, it seems that at least half of our classmates have internships or jobs lined up.
In just over eight months I’ll be packing my bags and leaving the life I know behind to inhabit remote Thailand for two months. I will have to take cold bucket showers. I will have to live with a native tribal family. I will have to eat grubs and all sorts of other cuisine I’ve never experienced. I will have to be vaccinated and medicated and cautious. Mostly, I will have to grow.
As I’ve gotten more into wedding planning over the past month of being engaged, I’ve noticed that everyone has a different opinion about how the big day should go down. Something that seems particularly controversial in one of the Facebook groups I’m in is whether or not kids should be allowed at ceremonies and receptions.
If I’m not constantly reevaluating my own life path and desires, how can I promise to do those things for a company someday? How can I give advice to friends who feel stuck? How can I help my future children decide what they want to do?
A month ago my fiancé and I woke up in the misty redwoods, a small creek running right behind our tent, towering pines staring down at us in our clearing. I looked at my ring for a few moments in the soft light, and it took all of my willpower to leave the warmth of my blankets behind.
I’m going to channel my inner Aretha Franklin and talk about respect for a hot second. Many people have different views about whether or not someone freely deserves respect or if they have to earn it, but I’m of the belief that every individual I meet — regardless of their status — deserves my tact.
Ben has the look of a man who — despite his 80-year-old age — has managed to stay in shape. His lean frame stands tall, but when he walks me to the living room I see it: a slight shoulder hunch, an almost imperceptible limp, a stiffness that seems to seep from his bones.
I get it — I’m young! In a society where many are choosing to get married later or not get married at all, my fiancé and I have become the anomaly. And that’s okay with me — but what isn’t okay is belittling us for it.
I feel like I’ve been flying through my years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and as graduation looms closer than ever (only eight months away!) I’ve taken some time to reflect on how this feels.
So here I am, world: completely imperfect. Totally messed up. Oh, I know it: sometimes I’m downright annoying. But I’m me, and I’m a work in progress. Wherever I go from here, I don’t want to be a mold of ideals – I want to be a carving of love, of passion, of growth. I want to be honest. I want to be genuine. And I want to always, always, always keep improving.
I do not feel things in trickles or raindrops or teaspoons /
I feel them in tidal waves and hurricanes /
Raging floods of my humanity that sweep aside rational thought, crests of emotion deep enough to drown /
I do not simmer, I burn
Home is sitting on the living room floor surrounded by parents and pets and pizza /
Leaning onto cushions worn in like the memories of sick days and family campouts captured in pictures on the walls
Long distance is not a competition. No relationship is a competition. It doesn’t matter if you’re 60 miles or 600 miles apart – you’re still allowed to miss your person and you’re still justified in feeling sad.
I thought that I’d feel absolutely devastated – and part of me does – but more than anything I just feel motivated. I have a full year before graduation to hone my skills. I have the attitude and capacity to learn infinitely more than I know now.
While I’m by no means a whiz at using all of my time effectively (I watch just as many cute dog videos as the next college student), I do think that I’ve done a pretty solid job balancing 16+ credit semesters with two jobs and at least a semblance of a social life this past year.
Nights like this I feel the world swirling around me, gaining momentum, threatening to throw me off and leave me behind somewhere all alone. Everything moves so quickly and I barely have time to breathe – the lightheadedness creeps in at all hours of the day, requiring a focus I rarely seem to possess to fight off.
Lately I’ve been posting a lot of pictures of my family’s new dog on social media. Like, a lot of pictures, as in literally my last fifteen Instagram posts… oops. I realize that “oversharing” like this can be annoying – and I respect every individual’s right to feel annoyed! But the truth is that I don’t feel bad and I’m not going to apologize.
I wonder if loneliness is my natural state /
Can years of believing you are an outsider cause you to become one? /
Self-fulfilling prophecy, my roommate calls it /
Maybe I don’t feel fulfilled unless I’m leaking sadness
When you are in a multitude of different courses on different topics and you find ways to connect the material across academic disciplines and with your own life outside of school, you are becoming brighter. It can sometimes be a challenge when you’re faced with breadth requirements that seem irrelevant to your career goals, but I’ve come to realize that nothing is truly irrelevant if you don’t allow it to be.
I have learned to love deeply /
To crave the rawest parts of those around me /
I extend love in the face of myriad mistakes and never give up on those I care for /
You’re laying at my side as I write this, your tiny body pressed against mine. I know you’ll never read these words, but I hope the way I run my fingers through your fur and massage your back and let you take up three quarters of my bed is enough to show you how I feel in a language you can understand.
I was barely five years old when you waddled into my life with a few inbred genes and far more reasons to be loved. You were my first dog, my first unconditional best friend. You were the first life who loved me day in and day out, no matter my mood or my childish actions.
I’m sorry /
But I am tired of apologizing for my softness /
My sensitivity has been the flame in too many burned relationships, I know /
But I swear I can use it better now /
As I reach the halfway point of my college career, I realize that so many of my most important experiences have had nothing to do with classes and everything to do with interpersonal development. I realize that though I have performed well academically, I am more concerned with how I have performed as a friend.
I am a white upper-class woman. I never owned slaves, and neither did my parents or my grandparents. I can’t control the socioeconomic status into which I was born any more than anyone else can. I may not be racist, but I still check my privilege – and I think we all should. I feel very passionately that becoming aware of the power we have been granted but have not earned is one of the most important things we can do. Here’s why.
I’m a 19-year-old college student who likes to think she’s pretty reasonably-minded – and I wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus. You heard that right; in fact, Jolly Old Saint Nick has an extremely special place in my heart. I believe in him now just as much as I did when I was five, and I’m not afraid to tell the whole world.
It’s absurd to think that in just a few weeks my job as a TA will be over, and part of me wishes it could go on indefinitely. The joy of connecting with other students and staff in such an influential manner has been overwhelming. And while my job description has been to teach, it’s safe to say that I’ve also done a good deal of learning.
I am tired, and I am scared, and I am not as strong as I want the world to believe. But despite the intensity of the past three months, despite the stress, despite the overwhelming highs and lows, I couldn’t be more thankful for the things I have learned.
Your tail wags and I can’t help but wonder if your pain is an illusion, if we are wrong, if your life is still happy enough to go on. The vet said that you have reached your average lifespan and I want to shout at her that you are not average, that you have never been average, not for one minute since the day we first welcomed you into our home.
I struggle day in and day out with comparing myself to others. A habit born out of a desperate desire to always be “good enough” in every context, it’s a dangerous pattern that consistently erodes my happiness. I can’t seem to look at any accomplishment outside the lens of how it stacks up to what others are doing.
I’ve come to believe that attempting to hide parts of yourself only makes them more evident; the awkwardness of someone knowing you’re lying is far worse than the slightly weird look you might get if you tell the truth. Sure, I’m not proud of all of my bad habits – but I do feel proud when I take responsibility for them.
Recently an article I wrote about my summer internship experience garnered over three thousand shares on social media as it was passed around an online community of journalists. Though this may not seem like expansive reach in the grand scheme of the internet, it was by far the largest audience any of my pieces had ever received.
The unfiltered and unregulated environment of the internet is double sided in how it influences modern-day writing – creativity is encouraged at the same time conventions are abandoned. And whether I like it or not, writing will only continue to evolve.
my wrist bears mount everest water / and dead sea mud / an Ireland daisy preserved in glass / held by a chain of hearts / a watch, a pedometer, a silent alarm / and a hair tie to pull everything together
This past summer I worked as a marketing intern at WAOW-TV 9*, a local news station in my hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin. Although I spent some time in the promotions and sales departments, most of my days played out at a desk in the newsroom where I kept up with the station’s social media and overall online presence. These are some of my biggest takeaways.
No matter how vague you are in your recollection of an experience, someone is likely to notice the connections. And the less specific you are, the less clear the ultimate message of your writing becomes – and we write to illustrate points and concepts that we think are important. How do we maintain our integrity as writers while still maintaining our integrity as friends?
I understand that “variety is the spice of life”. I appreciate new angles and, despite dragging my feet once in a while, my eyes are open to the value of change. It’s important to be adaptable and ready to take on fresh ideas at every moment in our lives. But I don’t think we have to scrap a successful pattern once we’ve found it simply for the purpose of not being redundant.
when you feel your voice rising in volume / you cringe / wishing you could take back the laugh / too loud, too fast, too weird / you want to recede into the background / at the same time you want to explain to everyone why you are the way you are
Many things interest me about Josef Albers’ The Origin of Art. One of them is that a man who studied squares so intensely would write a poem that is much longer than it is wide. Another is that someone who spent an abundance of time working with color would also feel the need to document their thoughts with plain old black and white text on paper.
I am still learning to love myself. There are days where my insecurities rear their heads just like they used to, moments where I wish I could sink into the floor, sometimes entire weeks where I feel as though everything I do is wrong. I still have anxiety about making friends.
Thank you. Thank you for arriving early and staying late everyday. Thank you for exercising more patience with your students than we’ve ever deserved. Thank you for dealing with our drama, our preconceived ideas, our stubbornness, our unwillingness to always appreciate our educations like we should.
So thank you, Neopets. I truly wouldn’t be where I am today – majoring in marketing and graphic design, compiling a writing portfolio, reaching out to countless people – if it weren’t for you. You are more than just a game. And in my heart I will always be a Neopian.
This is not the end of the word, even if it feels that way. You are more than your test score. I understand that society’s expectations of how you should be able to demonstrate your learning are weighing heavily on you right now; I understand that you’re stressed. But I’m here to tell you that the ACT and SAT can’t measure the most important things about you. One number will never define you. One number never could.
I couldn’t imagine going back to the way I used to avoid running, and I can’t believe I used to groan at the mere thought of going for a jog. I kick my past self for always saying so confidently “I’m not a runner”, because I’ve truly come to believe that everyone is a runner – the title really isn’t elusive.
As my freshman year comes to a close at an alarmingly quick pace, I’ve realized that a lot of the advice I heard before I set foot on campus never actually turned out to be very helpful. Sure, all of those listicles are great for getting you excited about the years ahead, but there were some things they missed that I really wish someone would have told me.
Because here’s the thing: you’ll never grow if you disregard everything that makes you uncomfortable. You don’t have to believe in an idea’s truth to appreciate its importance. You don’t have to become Amazonian to value their culture. You don’t have to start believing in spirits and transformations to still take away something valuable from a fascinating lecture.
The things that our society pays the most attention to are not necessarily the things I want to focus on. Don’t get me wrong – I love celebrity gossip and college sports rivalries and viral videos of adorable pandas as much as the next girl, but I don’t want to devote my life to writing just about the whims of the public. I want to write about things that matter.
Four years ago my mom underwent a hysterectomy to take care of some ovarian cysts she had. It was nothing too serious; it went well and was as minimally invasive as possible, and my family wasn’t truly concerned about her long-term recovery. Taking health for granted, we had no doubt that she would be fine. We were wrong.
You will wonder what you’ve done. What you said, how you acted, what that one thing was that made these people you loved (still love, despite everything) walk away. Because there has to be something, doesn’t there? People don’t just decide you are worthless overnight. You must have done something to deserve their absence, and you believe this with your entire being.
It’s okay to call your mom. After all, hers was the first voice you ever heard. Did you just have a tough day? Come up with some obscure medical question? Finally appreciating not doing the entirety of your own laundry and dishes for the first eighteen years of your life? She’s here for it all.
When I was in the first grade I was tested for and admitted into the ‘Gifted and Talented Program’ colloquially referred to as the ‘Challenge Program’ in my district. It’s purpose was to help students of above average intelligence, creativity, and motivation fulfill their complete potential in the classroom with an accelerated curriculum. It’s a wonderful opportunity for young students and I recall my elementary school experience with extreme fondness, but there was a lasting side effect: from that moment on I was branded as ‘smart’.
Everything I am I can trace back to you – moments of your support, your morals, your teaching. You are, and always have been, my foundation in this life. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
“Who are we? THE WATER WALKERS! And what do we do? WATER SKI!”
This cheer has become a staple of not only my summers but my entire childhood. Every single show, just before we close off the night with our final pyramid, my ski team shouts these words at the top of our lungs towards the stage.
Volunteering in college is so unbelievably valuable, and it’s often overlooked because of the stress of school, impending debt, and working to actually make an income. But there’s something fundamentally amazing about the act of selfless service that can enhance your college experience like nothing else.
So, Clompish is a thing again! Sort of, anyway. I’ve been really longing for a place to put all of my writing, and I want to actually share with people whom I might never get the chance to meet in person. So I’m bringing my old, old website back… just with different motivation. No more […]
it’s easy to write sad poems; / when you’re not around, of course I want to make you exist on paper / but why would I want to share my happy moments with a pen / instead of you?
every morning I have to wake up to a vacancy sign / in the place where your support is supposed to be / I don’t know what’s worse – / the emptiness, or the burn in my throat that’s all too real
a high ACT doesn’t mean you’ll be that many points happier / and your 4.0 can make you think you know it all / only to let you down when you’re asked the real questions
You’re as cold as ice. Mostly because you’re a winter sport that, true to its category, is played in relatively freezing conditions. On ice. But also because you require the cool and collected head of someone who can calculate risks and outcomes in mere seconds when the game depends on it.
I didn’t realize that if I showed you a crack, you’d know just where to push / I treasured the rawness, my vulnerability / I liked to think you appreciated it too / but I would tell you that I loved you and you wouldn’t say a word back / oh, the excuses I made for you so your indifference didn’t saw me in half
don’t say I don’t like letters / I just hate the way you warp them / sine of x reads like sin(x) / sin – a disgrace, a mistake
I like how the second hand pauses after every time it moves / as if debating whether or not to go forward / like it wants to stay behind and live, not remember / but it never stands still for long
seventeen years has taught me that / too much planning is not a good thing / and that the Buddhists were not wrong / when they said desire is the root of all suffering / because it is the expectations of what you want / that hurt worse than anything you get / (absence is the most bitter of all tastes)
I think I could tell you the exact moment that I fell in love. Sophomore year as spring rolled in, I was rolling out of the senior high parking lot in the passenger seat of a Toyota Solara I would one day come to call The Blue Bullet. At the time, all I knew was that it was his.
People will come and people will go / But life is not about numbers / Your experiences are not failed experiments and your future is not a list of statistics – / No, it’s not about the number of breaths you take but rather about the way foggy morning air tastes as it makes its way into your lungs / And it’s not about how many fish you reel in, it only matters who you caught them with
As a writer, I am an insomniac, intruder on the sky’s sorrow as rain falls at night, present in the middle of its rage as lightning attacks the world outside my windows and the battle cries of thunder make it past what I can assure you are not soundproof walls.
Dreams are underrated. No elementary school goal making sheet about the number of pages you want to read in a given month will ever truly be capable of instilling in young people the meaning of achievement. For all of our praises of the sweet concept that ‘anything is possible’, too many of us don’t act like that’s what we believe.
In those thunderstorm nights of last spring / I used to play a song you had shown me on repeat / Because it made the nights more friendly / And it reminded me of you
What they don’t teach us in school is this: we are never told how to get out of bed the morning after everything has gone wrong, or how to use our sewing needles from seventh grade FACE to patch up our mistakes. They don’t tell us what it will be like the first time you lose a best friend, or the second, or the third.
One of the hardest things is being there for someone who doesn’t know what they need. Because you don’t know either. You know what they’re going through, but you don’t understand what that means exactly. They lost a loved one. How do you react to that?