End-of-Semester Chat


I’ll tell you how. Grad school is BUSY. And I don’t prioritize well.

So. I thought I’d hop on the blog and chat a little, provide a casual update of my life, and maybe offer some sage advice. The advice thing probably won’t happen, but we’ll see. This space is not a space in which I plan my content. I have all of graduate school and my fiction writing for that. This space is my space to write what comes to mind as I go. It’s my free space. My happy place. 

So. What’s new? Or what’s not new? Here’s a list of what comes to mind:

  • I’ve got my adviser, my committee, and my plan of study APPROVED! I’m on track to graduate with my master’s in the spring of 2020 (my program is a three-year program). 
  • I think I have an idea of what I want to do after my master’s, but that’s not important now. 
  • I’ve given up eating bread for the most part, and for some weird reason, I feel like this has changed my life for the better. I haven’t given bread up completely (I love pizza and cheeseburgers too much), but I’ve cut back on the stuff quite a bit. 
  • I’ve started running again. I’ve been keeping track of my workouts on Instagram. It’s fun! I feel better! 
  • I’ve been planning/writing my thesis. It’s going to be a collection of short stories, and the thought of putting it all together before approximately February 2020 both thrills and terrifies me. 
  • I’ve almost read 50 total books this year! I’m hoping to get to 50 by the time 2019 rolls around. 
  • Teaching this semester has been a total dream. My students are FANTASTIC. I’m also more comfortable with myself as an instructor. I put stickers on their rough drafts and, I don’t know, I feel like myself when I lecture. It’s fun.  
  • I’m gonna end this list because I’m rambling. 

In short, things are good.

Now for the advice, maybe. I’m not going to go into detail, but if you’re feeling down or unhappy about yourself (any aspect of yourself), make the conscious decision to do something about it. I’ve tried to do this over the semester, and I feel it’s working. I just feel good. It’s hard to explain, but really it’s simple. I’m doing good, feeling good. 

Now that we’ve chatted briefly, I should get back to doing something about my to-do list. I have some stuff to get done by the end of the semester (obviously), so I need to actually go and do that stuff. T-minus two weeks until winter break, however. Ah. So excited. 

I hope everyone and anyone reading this is having a lovely day. You’re great, I believe in you, and December is going to be your month. And, if it’s not, the next month will be your month. And the next. And so on. 

You get the idea. 

Okay. Bye! 

“There’s a great big beautiful tomorrow shining at the end of every day.” 

-From Disney’s Carousel of Progress

Favorite Feelings

The first day of a vacation, i.e. what today is for me. (I’m coming for ya, Allyssa and Iowa and South Dakota!)

The first sip of a large Diet Coke with vanilla from Sonic, because it’s extra vanilla-y.

Reading in a pool, your body half-submerged as the sun warms your shoulders and arms.

When you flip on the Food Network and the Pioneer Woman is on. She’s fantastic.

The crunch of a tortilla chip dripping with creamy jalapeño sauce from Chuy’s. UGH. I melt.

A perfectly clean room.

When you sit down to write and your brain actually spits out ideas.

The first time you listen to an album or a song, and you end up loving it. It’s the magic of listening to lyrics for the first time, you know?

When you used to work at Disney World and you visit for the first time in over a year, and Russell from Up remembers you and walks you to the Wilderness Explorer Clubhouse. (Oh, Disney. I MISS YOU.)

Receiving snail mail from your friends. Just sayin’ hi.

Sitting between the shelves of the local library, writing. You feel so official.

Actually seeing–not FaceTiming, not texting–your best friend for the first time in months. (Tomorrow, tomorrow!)

The tickle of your dog’s tongue on your nose.

Watching baby birds evolve: from aliens to gargoyles to feathered gargoyles to real life birds.

Long drives by yourself. You sing at the top of your lungs and no one judges you when you zone out to think about life and stuff.

And on that drive, you’re able to think of new story ideas and blog posts (like this one) and you feel energized and creative and productive!

And, finally, the satisfaction that comes with writing your thoughts down. There’s nothing better.

Pure Excitement

These past few weeks have been an odd mix of emotions; mostly wonderful, some a little… bitter sweet. Yes. Bitter sweet is the right sentiment.

Let’s see. First off, I’m done with my college volleyball career. My last season ended a little over a week ago, and it still doesn’t feel real. I’ll write a separate post on the subject sometime soon, but I want to let whoever is reading this know that I have loved every minute of my college volleyball dream and this last year was just so gratifying. We won our conference, had the first winning season in program history, and got to play in the NCAA tournament. It was so exciting, and when I walked off the court for the very last time (holy moly), I knew that I could say that I put everything into my first dream.

That is where the “bitter sweet” component of my complex emotions factor in.

Now. Here are the exciting components:

  • I’m done with college in 5 days. Wow. This is also a little bitter sweet, but I just can’t wait to be at home for a while.
  • I start the Disney College Program in 52 days! I have to keep pinching myself. I can’t believe I get to be a cast member! Now that volleyball is over, I can shift my attention to preparing for my arrival date. I’m having the best time organizing my thoughts and planning and what not.
  • I’ll be living in DISNEY WORLD in only 52 days. Again, it’s just now sinking in now that I have a bit of free time on my hands.
  • I’ll get to see so many dreams coming true on a day-to-day basis.
  • It makes my heart so happy knowing I’ll be seeing Mickey and Donald and friends oh so soon.
  • Christmas is coming. Who doesn’t love Christmas?
  • I get to see my dogs in 5 days!
  • Can you see why my heart is bursting with happiness?!

Once finals are over, I’m going to try to post at least once a week. I won’t be an English student any longer, so I have to keep my writing skills sharp. Also, blogging is so darn fun. And once I’m at Disney, I’ll be posting a lot more about the most magical place on Earth–tips, tricks, my amateur photography of the castle and other pretty things around the parks, life while in the college program, food, reviews of all the amazing new attractions set to open in 2016, you name it. I’m so excited to breath a little fresh air into this blog.

For now, I’ll just continue to let my heart pitter-patter as I start making packing lists and shopping trips.

Have a magical day, my friends.


A Nice Little Change

Hello, friends!

Notice anything different about the blog? That’s right! I’ve got a new header photo and I’m absolutely in love with it. This afternoon, my sister and I hit downtown to experiment with a few photos and looks. She’s a budding graphic design major, and I couldn’t be more proud of her–my blog now has a newer, more professional aura about it, don’t you agree?

I’ve also added a social media site to the Kaila in Wonderland canon: Instagram! Follow me at @kailainwonderlandblog. I’ll try to do a decent job in keeping up with it–it will definitely be a challenge, but I think it’s a challenge I’m willing to tackle.

Now go! Tell your friends! Read my stuff!

And, as always, have a magical day!

Just a Recap

This past couple of weeks have been nothing short of hectic. They have also been wonderful, rainy, and sweaty. Sweaty as in “I’ve started my summer workouts and my hometown is a lot more humid than my college town so every time I step outside to run or do anything little droplets of sweat run down my arms and my nose and help me glisten like a vampire out of the Twilight series” sweaty.

I just came back from a run, can’t you tell?

So here are a few things I’ve been up to:


I am done with school for the summer! It’s such a wonderful feeling. I was able to conquer my finals and earn all A’s in my hardest semester yet. I still have one more semester to go (at least for my first degree…no way am I going to stop my learnin’ there) and I can’t wait to continue flexing my brain muscles in the attempt to become my smartest self.

Mother’s Day

As soon as my finals were over, I headed home to celebrate Mother’s Day–I had planned to dedicate a whole post to my mom because she deserves it so much, but time just got away from me. I was amid a flurry of flowers, last-minute gift-getting shopping trips, and an abundance of sweet hugs. This little piece of my post is dedicated to you, Momma. You do everything for me. And I mean everything. I love you so much. One day, you’ll have your own little piece of my blog dedicated entirely to you.

My Birthday

I celebrated my 22nd birthday yesterday! I was so excited to sing Taylor’s Swift’s classic anthem and eat cake and savor some vanilla bean ice cream. I got a few new books I’m so excited to tear through–Mom sensed that I needed some literature about what it is like being a newly-minted adult, a twenty-something who has no idea what’s going on but wants to desperately figure it out and excel in her new stage of life.

Momma just gets me.

Changes Coming Soon

In the next few weeks, I’ll be updating this blog, my little piece of the internet, and expanding my audience through the creation and upkeep of my favorite social media site: Instagram. Stay tuned, my friends! Kaila in Wonderland is coming to a tiny little iPhone screen near you (if you’re not already reading these posts through that nifty little device).

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to go fall down my own little rabbit hole: organizing that thing I like to call “my life.”

Have a great day, my friends!