I recently changed a few bullet points under the “about me” category.

First: “recent college graduate” transformed to “graduate student in creative writing.” Yes, you read that right! I’ll be heading back to school in the fall, and I am thrilled to continue my education. Who knows? Perhaps a doctorate is in my [distant] future?

I like school, okay? Let me stay forever.

Second: I changed “aspiring writer” to simply read “writer.”

Because I realized something.

I don’t have to wait until I’m a “grown-up” to fully realize my “grown-up” dream. And heck, I am a grown-up! Painfully so. I’ll be 24 in less than a month, and that’s scary. And kind of cool. But mostly terrifying.

You see, reader, I’m a writer because I write. I am not published in the sense that I have novels under my belt, but I write. A lot. At least I try to.

I do have a few articles published in a local magazine, and that’s cool. I’m so grateful for  the opportunity to contribute to a wonderful publication. But I still have a hard time considering myself a full-fledged writer.

But I am. And now that I’m realizing it, I’m so excited about my future and all the possibilities yet to be.

I write stories before bed! Fiction! And I love doing it! I’m using exclamation points because I think I found what I love to do! Making up stories to fill our dark little world with hero[ines] and characters that came to be because I used my brain muscles and created them out of nothing!

Now, yes, eventually I’d like to be semi-successful in this writing endeavor. But I can’t become successful or good at anything without a little elbow grease and a whole lot of doing.

And the doing–the writing, the doing the writing–makes me a writer. It’s the same concept as running. I’m currently training for a half marathon, and the act of running makes me a runner.

I’m slow as dirt, and it’s hard to wake up early before work to “pound the pavement.” (That’s runner’s speak.) But I run, so I am a runner.

I’m a writer, I’m a runner, I’m a dreamer. And I love and cherish all of those titles.

Have a magical day, my friends.





College Grad

I’m officially a college graduate.

I have completed my Bachelor’s degree in English (with an emphasis in literature) and I can say I’ve learned so much over the course of my education–I can analyze a poem in a heartbeat, write an essay in [hours] flat, and dissect books in order to discover the deeper meaning hidden within their pages. Being an English major was like an identity, a comfort. It’s so weird to say that I’m not an English major anymore. I’m a”has been.”

I don’t get the chance to walk in an actual ceremony due to my participation in the Disney College Program. I think I’ll manage. I’ll be near my beloved castle, so I think the trade-off is more than fair.

Imagine my excitement when my mom surprised me with a graduation cap and supplies to decorate said graduation cap:

I chose this quote because I absolutely love the song. I’ve actually never ridden Disney’s Carousel of Progress, but I know of the song and I absolutely love its message. It’s so optimistic: “There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day. There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow, and tomorrow’s just a dream away! Man has a dream, and that’s the start. He follows his dream with mind and heart. When it becomes a reality, it’s a dream come true for you and me!”

How could that song not put a smile on your face and a can-do spirit in your heart? I thought it was perfect for a college grad. I’d like to think that every morning holds the opportunity to do something wonderful, something great. Every single night holds the promise of a brand new start in the morning, a “great big beautiful tomorrow.” I just love it.

Yesterday we had a little graduation party, just me and my family and a little bit of cake. My mom surprised me with a huge Mickey Mouse, my future boss, and I am just in love with him. He’s so soft and cuddly, and I know he’ll make a great companion in Florida. So far I have a slew of companions: my old Donald Duck, purchased on my very first trip, my Sorcerer Mickey purchased in Minnesota at the Mall of America, and now my huge Mickey to commemorate my graduation. And my Tsum Tsums. Can’t forget those little guys.

My mom surprised me with one more precious thing: This journal with one of my favorite quotes.

I can’t wait to record special memories of my time as a Walt Disney World cast member.

Thank you for everything, college. It’s been pretty awesome to say the least. You’ve equipped me with more than enough to make it in the real world (hopefully). Along with analyzing poems, I’ve learned to analyze situations and make pretty sound decisions. Because of all the literature I have read, I am now more empathetic to the world around me and the different cultures that inhabit my surroundings. Because of the papers I have written, I am able to communicate effectively and passionately when need be.

College, you have been a magical experience. Now it’s time to go make a little magic (quite literally) for others.

In Full Swing

Hi everyone. I can’t sleep at the moment–it’s been a problem for a while now, but that’s ok! I just wanted to get my hands on this keyboard and write and write and write and write.

Things are “in full swing”–we play our first tournament this week and I’ve been up to my nose in reading and writing and binge watching YouTube videos of little importance. It’s been real. It’s been fun. I’d even say it’s been real fun.

Things I’m obsessed with lately:

  • Coffee. Now that school is back in session, my morning coffee is my best friend.
  • Distractions. I’m currently trying to constantly distract myself because of all the exciting things that could happen but haven’t happened and may not happen and what not. Music and random YouTube vids are my go-to.
  • Glitter. Glitter is good. Glitter is wonderful. Glitter is extremely hard to clean, but it just adds a little something, you know?
  • The Dixie Chicks. I’ve popped in one of their old CDs in my car and I forgot I how much I love them. I don’t listen to a whole lot of country, but they (and George Strait) definitely top my list in that category.
  • Chacos. Chacos are life.
  • My Dumbo Pillowpet. He’s so cute and cuddly and he’s always there.
  • Wishing on stars. I’m doing a lot of that these days.
  • My team. Most of the girls I’m playing with are new, and I just love them already. This has been the most cohesive team I’ve played on in a while, and I’m having a blast with them.
  • Schoolwork. I’m in World Mythology and I am loving it. I can’t wait to lovingly critique Disney’s Hercules after I learn more.
  • That’s all.

I know this has been a random/ short post, but it’s done wonders for my chaotic mind. I always get to thinking too much when the sun goes down (who doesn’t?), and sometimes I just need to construct a fun little blog post to ease the constant conversation with myself (side note: isn’t it weird that we are literally talking internally to ourselves ALL THE TIME?!).

Goodnight, everyone. I hope you enjoyed all the nonsense that has taken place.

Joyous Occasions

Hello, everyone! I hope this post finds you enjoying your Sunday, relaxing and recharging for the upcoming week!

I have so many things to be happy–no. Joyful–about today. It was inevitable that I reach for this mug as I contemplated the vessel for my Sunday caffeine fix:

Tomorrow I start my “sort-of” senior year of college. I’m a girl who loves, loves, loves school, so I’m practically jumping for joy at the thought of hitting the books again. I have also just finished my last college volleyball preseason–it was a week of three practices a day, including conditioning and weights, and I’m proud to say I did it all with a smile on my face. Preseason is always the hardest part of the job, and now I get to work my hardest day-in and day-out to compete and (hopefully) win a lot of games this year. I love volleyball and this past week has gotten me so, so, so excited for the season.

I’m hoping this week is also the beginning of something magical. Senior year is ridden with new opportunities to go after the things I want, and I can’t wait to see what this year brings me. Perhaps it will be everything I hoped for and more. Perhaps it will be nothing I expected but wonderful and right. Whatever happens in my life, I hope to attack each day with as much enthusiasm as Joy from Inside Out. Every day has the potential to be a great one, and I intend to try my best to bring out the best in every sunrise to sunset. There might be disappointments along the way, but there can always be a positive twist to every situation.

I hope everyone has a happy day, happy week, and a happy school year! Make today–and everyday–a great and joyous one.

College Tips from a College Senior

I’m entering into my senior year (technically) of college. I’m actually debating on adding another major, so I could still be in it for the long haul. That doesn’t mean I haven’t learned a lot, however. Now I want to pass on some of my knowledge– no matter how incomplete and imperfect it may be–to you!

I know how scary everything can be. New places, new faces, new teachers, new experiences. “New” can be scary, but “new” can also be wonderfully exciting! I’m here to help ease your worries and help get you excited about all the new stuff you’ll inevitably encounter.

Without further ado, here are some of my tips to conquering college–we’re not merely surviving here.

Have A Motto/Mantra 

This just got really cheesy really quick. Let me explain:

My freshman year of college, I was scared out of my mind. I had a volleyball scholarship and something to prove to myself, my coaches, and my friends and family back home. I also just wanted to have fun and find myself; I was ready to figure everything out and really make it on my own. I was moving pretty far away from the comfort of my hometown, and I was terrified of the homesickness that I was sure would inevitably come. I wanted success at this college thing, and I wanted it now.

Here’s a secret: nothing worth having comes easy. But that doesn’t mean your enthusiasm should change.

My mom emphasized this as we had endless talks leading up to my departure. She said she didn’t give a rip roar if I played or not, or if I was perfect coming out of the gate. The only thing that should matter was my effort and my enthusiasm. Momma whipped out a copy of a newspaper article about my grandpa (a football coach in his day) with the headline: “[Grandfather’s Name]: Hard to Discourage.” She said not everything would be peachy keen, but I had to try my best to be “hard to discourage.” Effort and enthusiasm.

I wrote “Hard to Discourage” underneath an old photo of my grandpa and hung it in my dorm room. That single saying got me through rough practices, lonely days, and tedious study nights. It truly helped me transition from the effortless halls of high school to the slightly more laborious college classes. “Hard to discourage” reminded me to tackle each day with a vigor and a vim; I was hardly homesick and really made an effort to be the most upbeat, enthusiastic version of myself each and every day.

Choose a motto that means something to you and cling to it for dear life. It can help you focus on your goals and help keep you grounded when you’re trying to figure out life on your own.

Find Your Niche

The glorious thing about college is that nobody cares what you do. I don’t mean breaking the law and all that jazz. I mean something much more authentic; I truly think college is a place where being the version of you in which you are undeniably yourself is a little bit easier.

The moment I stepped into my first English class (I’m a proud English major) I immediately felt at home. I can talk about books with my English peeps, about musicals and other nerdy things, and just truly be myself. I’m a girl who loves to read and talk about my obsession with Disney and Idina Menzel and Sutton Foster and Parks and Recreation and Gilmore Girls. I feel like I’ve found a group of people who will listen and reciprocate the love. Our English club meetings are a blast: pizza and literary talk and nerdy tangents. My heart’s happy just thinking about it.

Find what interests you and find that group of people on campus who have similar interests. Often they’re within your major. Sometimes there’s an obscure club that you feel inclined to join. Don’t worry about what’s “acceptable” by societal standards–I believe most of those don’t exist in college. Go out and be yourself and find people who love what you love. They are there; it just takes a little bit of looking around.

Know You’re Not Alone 

Every single college freshman is scared. Just know that you’re not alone in this process–far from it. Your friends from home are going through the same thing. Take comfort in this unspoken solidarity; It’s a comfort to sit next to your classmate who’ve you just met and just revel in the knowledge that your experiences could be adding up; chances are they’re scared about the same thing. All college freshmen are in it together–they’re all trying to figure out how to work the laundry machines, eat a decent meal in the cafeteria, or sleep while their roommates are snoring. Take comfort in knowing that every college senior (like me) went through exactly what you’re going through and survived. You can do this. I know it.

Accessorize Accordingly 

My favorite thing about back-to-school has got to the be the fresh school supplies. I love seeking out pens with Disney characters on them, a new planner, maybe a fresh laptop cover. Get excited about the stuff. Who doesn’t love stuff?!

Work Hard and Love It

You’re going to college to get an education, first and foremost. Find a major you love. I know it’s weird, but I truly love the feeling of planning, drafting, and writing a paper because I love my major. Hard work becomes easier when you know you are truly enjoying every second.

Strive to do your best in the class room. You won’t regret the headaches and the studying when you have that 4.0 at the end of the semester.

Relax–Take it All In

Do everything you want–football games, all-nighters with some pizza involved, trying out for a university theater production, anything you want. You’re only a college freshman once, so really go after everything with a newbie-esque enthusiasm. Try everything (lets keep it legal, here), do everything (legal, people!) and be anything you want. This is your fresh start. Your college experience. And, as the Division II NCAA slogan suggests, “Make it yours!” 

Now that I’ve written the most cliché college post ever, I want to wish everyone a happy “back-to-school.” If you’re a college freshman, just know that everything will be ok. Sometimes the worst part is the anticipation of all the “new.” Instead of worrying, embrace it. You only get to anxiously anticipate your freshman year once, so you might as well enjoy it.

The Perks of Small College Towns

I love where I go to school.

The school is small, the town is small, and the class sizes are small. I’m sure many couldn’t learn to love all the quintessential quaintness that I have come to adore, but I could care less.

I like to believe I live in my own little version of Stars Hollow (if you don’t get this reference, go watch Gilmore Girls NOW). Everyone is so friendly that it’s slightly insane. When I’m driving down the street, strangers will almost always nod their heads and raise a finger or two (no obscene gestures here) in the typical friendly small-town manner. I always drive off and think, “Do I know them?”

Our college is the heart and soul of our little town. It’s incredible–the town loves us and we love the town. Flyers for events going on at the college plaster the windows of Main Street’s many small-businesses. Except for a few fast food restaurants, there are only local eateries. On each table in most places, a card informs what is going on in the town and in the college during the month. You need to plan your busy schedule and litter it with social events? Head to a local hotspot and browse the many quaint events going on in the community.

Guys. It’s so much like Stars Hollow, and that just makes me incredibly happy.

Homecoming is an event, I tell you. The whole town gets involved. Main Street shuts down for the parade, and student athletes become celebrities for the entire week.

Bliss. Pure bliss.

No, I didn’t choose a huge university famous for a rowdy student section, or an expensive Greek life, or classes the size of my entire university. Don’t get me wrong; I think a huge college experience would have been great in a different way. Instead, I chose a home away from home, a place where everybody knows your name (at least in my English department, anyway). I chose a place where I could play the sport I love and get involved in the student body. I chose a town that backs the university one hundred percent. I chose a home that makes me feel as if  I am safe constantly driving me to participate outside of my comfort zone.

Will I stay here forever? No. Probably not. I have very big dreams to pursue, and who knows where those dreams will take me. But this small college town has been the perfect experience for me. I love feeling like a bigger fish in a smaller pond–I’m succeeding, I’m thriving. Even when I become a teeny tiny insignificant fishy in the immense pond I like to call adulthood, I know that I will be prepared thanks to the supportive small college town that I have chosen.

The NCAA Division II’s slogan used to be “I chose Division II.” I love it. I really did choose this experience, and I’m better for it.

I can proudly say, “I chose Division II,” and I have loved every second of my college life.

Life: It Gets Busy

I’m just a little buzzin’ busy bee!

Seriously. These past few weeks have been non-stop projects, practices, and obligations. And Easter. Easter just consisted of delicious cookies and candy, to be honest. Anyways. Long time no blog, my friends! Here’s a few things/obsessions/fun stuff I’ve been thinking about lately:

  • I’ve discovered/binge-watched/fell in love with the television show Parks and Recreation. It has cracked into the list of my top three TV favorites of all time, I believe. Season 7 isn’t on Netflix yet, so I just have to wait to see the final season and cry because I didn’t get to experience it in real-time. Why do I always wait to find out the good stuff is really good? Take Harry Potter, for example: I didn’t even read the entire series until my senior year of high school, right after the final movie came out. I missed out on so many midnight premieres! Oy.
  • I’ve become a Disney Etsy addict. Not really. But I can’t help but be blown away by the talent some people have and the want-to they possess to literally start their own business from scratch. I keep discovering new artists and entrepreneurs via Instagram. If you love Disney and want to grab some custom ears or painted Toms, just browse Etsy to discover your own obsessions.
  • Summer is so close yet so far away. I can’t wait to read recreationally and not be burdened with a billion trillion gazillion papers and projects.
  • I’ve been browsing Pinterest lately for the perfect professional, yet young and fun, outfits. I’m almost a grown-up now (sort-of), and being a grown-up means going after internships or starter jobs while looking put-together and stylish and awesome. Also, it means just being awesome in general and figuring out that you are not a snowflake. For more grown-up tips, I suggest you check out the book Adulting by Kelly Williams Brown. Good stuff.
  • Sleep is hard when you are just so stressed/excited about all the happenings of life.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day, despite any elevated levels of busy-ness. The semester is almost over. We can do it. We can succeed. We can even smile whilst among piles of papers. Take a cue from Leslie Knope, my favorite character from Parks and Rec, and be proud of everything you’ve accomplished thus far:

“I am big enough to admit I am often inspired by myself.”

Now keep on buzzin’, you busy little bees!

“Keep The Faith, Sweetheart”

The above quote is from Disney’s The Rescuers, and it just fits so well with what I want to write about today.

Today marks the start of Catholic School’s Week!

While I’m not in high school anymore, I still like celebrating this week–I’m a Catholic school girl through and through, and I am so proud of it. Catholic school gave me so many opportunities. I did so much: three sports, academic team, theatre, dance, choir, Ambassadors (I got a name tag with this one), student council, you name it. I wanted to do it all. And because of the small size of my little Catholic school, I could.

Catholic School’s Week was always the best week of the entire year, especially when I was little. For an entire week, we got to ditch the plaid jumpers (these are real, people) and dress up according to various themes, eat ice cream, play school wide bingo, and have a special Mass where the Bishop of the Diocese paid a visit. I loved those church services–the prettiest songs were always chosen, other Catholic schools in the area gathered together, and my little spirit was so high off of the week’s festivities that I could hardly sit still due to the overwhelming amount of happiness abounding.

Some of my best memories are from Catholic School’s Week, if that wasn’t apparent.

Because this week is Catholic School’s Week, I want to talk about how I continue my faith away from the structure of Theology classes and Friday Masses.

I’m one of those people who truly believes that good people are good people, no matter their religion. I think religion is just a way for a person to become their best self; I just happen to identify with how the Catholic faith operates. I love the routine and the peaceful rhythm of the Mass. A Catholic service is one event I could always attend alone without feeling uncomfortable and judged; it’s just so quiet and nice and reverent. Catholic Masses are almost an hour-long meditation for me. While many say that the Catholic tradition consists of  “cult” like responses and prayers, I view the Mass as a repetitive action to come up with your best ideas and revelations about your relationship with the Creator. Almost like taking a shower (weird, but hear me out): you’ve taken a shower so many times in your life, that the act of taking a shower leads to your most mind-blowing, deepest, and revolutionary thoughts.

College is a collision of cultures, ideas, races, and lifestyles. I love it. Because of this extraordinary collision, I’ve gone to a few different protestant services throughout my three years of college. I’ve come to appreciate the different viewpoints, but I always have come back to my Catholic upbringing. I can appreciate different faiths because, to me, no one has it exactly right. None of us really know what’s really and truly out there and what the Creator of the universe looks like. I happen to like Morgan Freeman’s interpretation of God in Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty. He’s got such a good voice.

Anyways. Like I said, I don’t think Catholics are the end-all, be-all. Neither do I think protestants. Or Wicans. Or anybody.

Religion is a way to become your best self, and find the relationship with God that works for you–Catholicism, in my opinion (mine…it doesn’t have to be yours, that’s the beauty of free will), has got a lot of it right. I believe you need good works to achieve salvation. I truly do. I don’t  believe you need to identify with one religion or another to get to that place we call Heaven. I think being nice and good to people is honestly one of the few things you need to know to achieve happiness and a purpose in this world.

Whatever faith you identify with, “Keep the faith, sweetheart” {Rufus the cat from The Rescuers}. College will introduce you to many different faiths other than your own; understand the different faiths, listen to different points of view, and find what works for you.

As for me, I’ll always be that Catholic school girl who received so many opportunities because of her Catholic education. I’ll never forget it–plaid skirts, Friday Masses, eccentric (but loving and absolutely awesome) Nuns, Theology classes where we had the freedom to voice any religious perspective, and the most fun week in the history of weeks.

Happy Catholic School’s Week, everyone!

“I Can and I Will”

If you’re a college student, there’s a good chance you started classes this morning, like I did.

It’s cold. It’s windy. It’s gloomy. But none of that matters–it’s the first day of a brand new semester. I love the beginnings of anything; the feeling of knowing that endless possibilities and opportunities to succeed exist without you even walking out the door. Failure hasn’t happened yet, and success is just at your finger tips if you put in the work. It’s comforting and exciting.

My morning actually started at 6 AM for my last first day of volleyball offseason. Ever. It’s incredible how fast time flies. It just feels like a short while ago that all I cared about was getting a volleyball scholarship–now I begin my last year as a student athlete.

This semester also marks the first of the two semesters I have left to earn my degree in English literature. I cannot tell you have excited I am about this semester’s classes. I love everything about school: the material I get to read, the fresh supplies, the blank page of a notebook, the meticulous upkeep of a planner.

Here are some of my tips of staying organized and motivated for school:

  • Keep a planner. Seriously. Do it. I happen to have a Kate Spade agenda, and I absolutely love it . It was worth every penny–I write down everything. Assignments, personal appointments, holidays, birthdays, my volleyball schedule, the days the movie I want to see comes out. I recommend writing these in ahead of time, in the space allotted for the day that event falls on.
  • Use highlighters for scheduling your busy life. I color code accordingly: yellow for school, pink for personal, blue for volleyball, and green for work. I can take one glance at a week and have a pretty good idea of what I have on my plate.
  • Take notes. I have five classes I am taking this semester, so I just bought one five subject notebook. I’m telling you people, taking notes simply keeps you engaged in the class. Even if you don’t use these notes later on, actively participating helps you pay attention.
  • Have a folder for each class. This keeps papers and assignments separated; I’m all about compartmentalize-ing.
  • If you have an online class, set a time for each day/week to work on your assignments. I plan on pretending I have my Intro to Film class (which is online) on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the afternoons for about an hour and thirty minutes, instead of trying to cram all of my work in on Saturday night at 11:00 (my assignments are due at midnight Saturdays).
  • Find what works. All of these tips work for me, but we are all different people. Experiment.

I hope everyone has a bright, shiny, wonderful first day of the new semester! Arm yourself with coffee and the right attitude: to quote Gina Rodriguez, winner of the Golden Globe for best actress in a television series (comedy or musical):

Today is going to be a great day. I can, and I will.” 

Have a great day, friends!

Finals, Finals, Finals

To be honest, my friends, finals have never really freaked me out.

As I scroll through Twitter and Yik Yak and Instagram recently, I see the familiar rant–finals are horrible, I have so much stuff to do, if I don’t get this so and so grade, it’ll ruin my life forever, yadi yada.

Now, let’s take a breath.

Finals aren’t too bad if you really think about it. You take a few tests, hope for the best, and then at the end of all your hard work, you get to journey home for Christmas break–practically a month of sleeping and working out (if you’re a student athlete, like me), seeing old friends, and hanging with family. Finals are just a tiny little mound we have to cross in order to enjoy the downhill slide toward Christmas bliss.

For English majors, like me, finals are a time to take a break from reading and writing so darn much. I have been reading recreationally, and it’s just so nice–I can read what I want anytime I want for the first time since summer. We get to just sit back during dead week and prepare for the essay tests we will be composing. We get to watch Netflix more and more frequently. Of course, we have to fit in a little studying–I’m all about striving to do my very best.

Finals week–every college student’s worst nightmare. Instead of making it the “Nightmare Before Christmas,” however, let’s create a sweet little daydream instead. Savor the coffee you sip while you study. Do a little dance every time you turn in a test. Play Christmas music as you stare at your textbook. Get excited for the much-needed hibernation to come.

We can do this, college students. You can do this! I believe in each and every one of you.