As my last undergraduate semester quickly approaches, I’m realizing that for the first time in a while, I’m able to look at my college experience with a lot of clarity. Winter break has given me a good pause to reflect on what went well, what went terribly, and what I wish I knew going into these last four years. I really believe that my reflections on that last category could help provide some insight and perspective for anyone who was as terrified as I was going into the whole experience. Take everything with a grain of salt — none of these lessons/warnings/takeaways/whatever you want to call them are universal, but I do think they provide a good balance to the plethora of the more “typical college experience” advice out there.Continue reading “Retroactive Advice for College Freshman Me”
Passion vs Balance
Everyone is encouraged to have passion. We are taught at a young age that having hobbies or beliefs that you are fiercely devoted to is a good thing, and that life without passion is dull at best. However, we’re also encouraged to have balance as a core element of our lives. We’re reminded that most things are bad in excess, and that being so obsessed with something that it takes up all the space in your brain and all the time in your schedule can lead to isolation and disappointment. Most of us thus strive for a form of ~balanced passion~ in which we pursue the things we care about in a rationally timed, fair-minded way. This approach seems like the best solution we can realistically achieve, but the more I reflect on it, the more dichotomous balance and passion seem to be. Passion shouldn’t be a logical process; it should be something that radiates out of you. In contrast, balance should uplift holistic wellbeing instead of perpetuating narrow life focuses. It seems as though simple hobbies can exist in a balanced state, but true, devoted passion cannot. Unless, of course, the very passion you’re talking about is a passion for balance.Continue reading “Passion vs Balance”
Losing the writing spark
For as long as I can remember, writing was my favorite outlet. When I was in first grade, I filled up more writers’ journals than anyone in my class. These journals contained everything from narratives of my family vacations, to make believe storylines about my American Girl Doll, to acrostic poems about each and every one of my friends. I would often choose to stay inside during recess to write, and even though my teachers looked at me like I was crazy, there was something so satisfying about putting pen to paper even at such a young age.Continue reading “Losing the writing spark”
Why Unpaid Internships Shouldn’t be Overlooked
The search for summer internships this year was anything but easy. Last year, I was lucky enough to be hired for the only internship I applied for, and it just so happened that it was my dream position. This year, however, my luck very much shifted. Like many college students, I applied to more positions than I can remember and didn’t hear back from 90% of them. It was extremely frustrating to spend hours and hours researching different organizations, writing countless cover letters, and not knowing when/if there was an end in sight to the search. By the beginning of May, I gave up and became set on working at a fast food restaurant instead to make some extra spending money. It wasn’t the ideal outcome, but I became more content with the idea of it as the days passed by. I was thus very pleasantly surprised when I got an email from the customer service representative at the Pennsylvania Prison Society, explaining that my email somehow went to their spam folder and that they were still looking to fill some internship positions. I very much felt conflicted after reading this email – do I write yet another cover letter that they very likely won’t read? Do I pour a bunch of effort into this application when I’ve already accepted the fact that an internship is likely not in the cards for me this year? Why do I even want an internship so badly – Is it experience that I genuinely want to gain, or is it the toxic work culture that begins building the moment you step into college? What’s the point of wasting all that time when I could be studying for finals or spending some last-minute quality time with my friends as the semester winds down? At the end of the day though, I decided to bite the bullet and send in that last application. The more I researched the organization and its mission to help the incarcerated and fight for just prison reform, I knew this was a group I would genuinely enjoy volunteering my time to.
I interviewed with the representative the next day, and the interview went extremely well. When I got hired a few days later, I felt a real sense of peace about the upcoming few months. I knew the once-a-week commute to the Philly office would be a challenge at first, as I had never walked the Philly streets alone before. I also knew I wouldn’t be earning anything, as the organization is a non-profit and cannot offer compensation. Most importantly, I knew that committing to a full-time position for the very first time would require a huge learning curve. Nonetheless, I had a gut feeling that all of those challenges would be worth it, and I was very much correct.Continue reading “Why Unpaid Internships Shouldn’t be Overlooked”
So, How is College?
Coming home from college after your first semester is full of catching up on sleep, reconnecting with high school friends, and answering the dreaded “so…how is college?” question. To be perfectly honest, I dreaded this question for the longest time, for college hasn’t been anything like I thought it would be. In a lot of ways, my first few months at William and Mary have been amazing, and in other ways, they have challenged me in ways I didn’t think I could handle. Answering this loaded question can’t be done with a simple explanation, so I figured I’d come on here and write about it to try to put into words the craziness that has been the past four months of my life. Let’s go piece by piece.
My First Half Marathon
Last year after the cross country season ended, my friends from school and I considered the idea of running a half marathon together. When we first talked about the idea of it, I was super excited. I love running long distances, and I thought that training for it together with some of my favorite people would be really enjoyable. However, senior year was SO busy, and since the only half marathon near us coincided with the spring track season, this dream of ours never came to fruition.
A little less than a year later, I joined my college’s running club (go blitz!!). Since everyone on this team is so wonderfully badass, it’s no surprise that as early as September, many members were talking about their plans to run the Richmond Half (and full) Marathon. As a newcomer, I didn’t know if I had what it took to run a whole 13.1 miles. My longest run up to that point was about 9 miles, but I hadn’t hit those distances in years. Still, I decided I would start training.
No Time to Mull
For weeks now, I have been looking forward to this moment. I am sitting in the window seat on my train home to Pennsylvania, listening to Allen stone, and doing one of my favorite things in the world: writing. Most people would think of a 7-hour trip home as exhausting and boring, but for me, these next 7 hours are going to be extremely therapeutic.
During my past month and a half at William and Mary, I haven’t had much time to write. Any free minute I got was spent either catching up on Dancing with the Stars or playing Heads Up with my hallmates, and I wasn’t able to dedicate a solid chunk of time to writing. I’m happy I was present in those moments, but holy moly, I really missed the feeling of spilling my heart out via keyboard.
While I’d love to outline all the crazy, amazing experiences I’ve had over the past few weeks, I’d rather save those stories for my in-person interactions with everyone from home. The one point I want to focus this post on is a theme that has been really prevalent in my past few weeks, and one that has made me have a bit of a paradigm shift: There isn’t enough time in college to mull over your emotions, and I can’t tell if that’s super healthy or super unhealthy.
How to Have the Best Senior Year Possible
Seniors, seniors, seniors. You have quite the year ahead of you. Finishing up your SAT’s, sending in those college applications, embarking on that fun senior trip (if your school is lucky enough to give you one), getting to slack off after AP exams. It’s a crazy year to say the least. Some say it’s the best year of high school, others say it doesn’t live up to the hype. That’s for you to figure out…but as I sit here waiting to move into my college dorm in just 4 short days, I figured I’d let you rising seniors in on some pieces of advice that I wish I heard as I prepared for year 12 of my education.
Continue reading “How to Have the Best Senior Year Possible”
My American Girl Doll
Like most girls, I grew out of my American Girl Doll phase at around age 10, and after that, my sweet little Rebecca Rubin had little purpose. However, one summer night a few years ago, I decided I would play with her once more. I began to rummage through her clothes basket and found all the outfits that I was once so obsessed with. I dressed her up in all of these outfits that night. Every single one. I tried a bunch of different hairstyles on her, and I read her some of the books that I “hand-made” for her back in the day. That night made me feel like a kid again, and now I have one of those nights at least once a year.
It’s a little tradition between Rebecca and I, and it’s usually something I do solely to feel like a kid again. Last night, however, honoring this tradition meant a little more than just jumping back into childhood for the night. Last night I realized how crucial she was to my growth all those years back.
The Summer In Between
A few weeks ago I saw someone post a poll on their Instagram story that said “does the summer in between high school and college feel weird?” I honestly don’t remember what the results of the poll were, but I remember feeling an immense sense of relief in knowing that I wasn’t the only one who felt a sense of uneasiness about this chapter of life we incoming freshmen are experiencing.