An Open Letter To All Of My Friends Who Take Selfies

The Belle Jar

Dear Friends Who Take Selfies,

I want you to know that I love it when you post pictures of yourself. I know selfies get a lot of bad press, but I think they’re rad. They give me a little window into your life, and you’d be amazed at how much I can get out of one little photo.

I love your pictures because I love seeing what you’re wearing – the outfits you build give me ideas about how to mix it up with my own wardrobe, and seeing you work your shit gives me courage to try clothing that I otherwise might have thought was too outlandish or revealing.

I love seeing how you do your hair and makeup. You look like a hot babe and I wish you would make YouTube tutorials explaining how you get your eyeliner just so. I want you to post pictures every time you change your…

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Growing Up Millennial

Thank you for saying this. The world needs to hear this. Don’t judge a book by its cover, don’t judge a person by their birth year.

The Captain's Speech

Screen Shot 2015-05-09 at 3.54.51 AMAs a person born in the 90s, I am classified as a millennial, which means I am everything that is wrong with the world today. I stare at a screen instead of talking to people. I expect everything handed to me. I am lazy. I binge watch television shows. I overuse the word “binge”. I expect a trophy when I fail. I take selfies everywhere. I am narcissistic. I am entitled. I don’t read the newspaper. I spend too much time on “The Twitter.”

Or at least that’s how I’m categorized.

As if I’m a book and my date of birth is the summary on the back, telling everyone exactly what I’m about.

I feel as though there is a sense of pride that people have for growing up when they did. I look back on the 90s and am thrilled to call that decade my childhood. Just as people born in…

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Dream as if you’ll live forever, Live as if you’ll die today

Ramblings of a College Introvert

We’re responsive creatures, always yearning for some kind of carnal or spiritual fulfillment. So many of our conversations are dedicated to that one question: What makes us feel alive? For me it’s neither people nor adventures. It’s the shapes and colors that make up a city I love.

When I took a semester off in Cali, all I could think about was how much I missed NYC and how exciting it would be to blog about college life there. But four months after I returned to NYU I’ve only written four posts on my adventures here in the Big Apple. Ostensibly it’s because I just haven’t had the time. In reality it’s because I’ve kind of lost confidence in my writing. I don’t think I’ll ever be as good a writer as I would like to be, and I certainly don’t think I’m good enough to capture the sense of wonder I feel every time…

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The risk in answering the simple question: How are you?

So, I am not sure about how relatable this is, but I’m guessing someone out there has experienced something similar to this.

How many of you out there have experienced the urge to lie to people when asked the question: How are you, or How are you doing?

Raise your hand. Anyone?

This feels like the scene in mean girls, and now someone just needs to shout “She doesn’t even go here!” but I digress.

Back to the real point, I know that I have. And here’s why:

The situation is usually casual, someone says hi, I say hi back, and then that dreadful question comes up.

Then my brain says quick! evaluate the situation! Do you tell them how you are actually doing, that you’re falling apart inside, or that you’re fantastic and feeling great about everything right now, or do you just say the polite and impersonal “fine” and move on with your day??

Now usually, this problem happened to me on a pretty regular basis. For one, if I was feeling really depressed, which used to happen very frequently and occasionally does, I didn’t trust people to care enough about how I was doing. I figured they actually just expected fine and would be happier if I lied to their face.

Or, maybe I was feeling great and didn’t want to brag if I knew the other person was having a particularly rough day.

So, why does this happen? That’s what I’m currently wondering. Why do I automatically assume the worst in people and make the assumption that they don’t actually care about the truth and are just being polite by asking? Well for one, I’m kind of a pessimist. I’ve tried to change that about myself slowly over the years, and I’m getting better.

One thing I’ve started trying to do is just tell the truth. The absolute truth. With pretty much everyone. And maybe you think that’s crazy. Maybe it’s crazy that I haven’t been doing that already. Yeah strangers, not so much, but sometimes I slip up. Why? Because I’m slowly starting to trust people again. I’ve had a lot of people walk out on me for various reasons, and I think I slowly started to lose faith in all people. I started to believe the lie that I wasn’t good enough for anyone, and that everyone secretly hates me and only puts up with me. Yeah. I just admitted to that. I know it’s a lie. I do have people who care about me. But every once in awhile that insecurity creeps back into my head and I believe I’m not worth listening to, and my difficulties or even happiness doesn’t matter to other people. So yeah, kind of a big trust issue. Clearly some of it is coming back with the fact that I’ve just said all of this in general and I’ve started to talk to people. I don’t know if it was all the years of therapy I’ve been going through, or if friends helped me realize I should be more trusting, or if it was a decision I made on my own. Not that it matters, I’ve still been doing it. I tell people honestly how I’m doing, and it feels good.

For one, people have proved to me that they do care, and it feels nice to have those people who do care.

I have also come across some people who don’t want to hear all of that information and that’s fine too. It shows me who does really care about how I’m doing and who doesn’t. Now my brain doesn’t have to fight and play that stupid guessing game all the time because I’m willing to be vulnerable enough to tell people. I don’t go into every single detail all the time, I try to filter those things, but it feels good to tell people I’m not actually doing the greatest and to not put on some fake mask.

And anyone who knows me well knows I can’t even pull off trying to act okay, most people can read me like a book. Hiding emotion doesn’t work for me. So even better, now people won’t feel shut out and know that I’m hiding things.

There are still times when I feel the need to hide myself. But I am slowly getting better, and I am figuring out who accepts me for me completely. It’s a great thing to know actually. And it’s way more people than my pessimistic brain would ever assume.

So I’m almost done with this, first I have to say, I hope that everyone can try to be a little more trusting and vulnerable. Maybe not with everyone but some people.

Also, I hope that others can honestly tell me how they are doing. At least my friends. I don’t always feel like they open up to me. And it hurts a little. I know I shouldn’t take everything so personally, but it really does. It bothers me a lot when people won’t tell me how they feel honestly. Which is bad, because maybe they don’t know how to tell me how they feel. My therapist actually was glad I could identify my feelings so well, so maybe its not so common. Maybe its hard for some people to understand their feelings. I just hope that they can trust me with those things. I had a friend who was once upset that I didn’t ask her about how she was doing more often. I was shocked, I didn’t think I had to ask. Maybe that’s why I make it such a point to ask my friends that more now. I just hope they know that I want to hear the truth, whether they are happy or sad, I want to share those times with them. So, with that I’m going to end with some of my favorite songs that I believe fit this subject. I hope you all enjoyed this little vulnerable sort of discussion, and I would love to hear feedback if you have any!

Here are the lyrics to the songs:

Soldier

By Gavin DeGraw

Where did all the people go?
They got scared when the lights went low.
I’ll get you through it nice and slow,
When the world’s spinning out of control.

Afraid of what they might lose
Might get scraped or they might get bruised.
You could beg them, what’s the use?
That’s why it’s called a moment of truth

I’ll get it if you need it,
I’ll search if you don’t see it,
You’re thirsty, I’ll be rain,
You get hurt, I’ll take your pain.

I know you don’t believe it,
But I said it and I still mean it,
When you heard what I told you,
When you get worried I’ll be your soldier.

Funny when times get hard,
At the last moment when you’re supposed to charge,
Always on the longest yard,
Oh, they feel their feet getting cold.

Hiding here, hiding there,
Find them underneath the stairs,
People hiding everywhere,
Trying to be still like a stone.

I’ll get it if you need it,
I’ll search if you can’t see it,
You’re thirsty, I’ll be rain,
You get hurt, I’ll take your pain.

I know you don’t believe it,
But I said it and I still mean it,
When you heard what I told you,
When you get worried I’ll be your soldier.

My aim is so true,
I wanna show you,
I’ll try forever,
I’m never gonna say “surrender”.

I’ll get it if you need it,
I’ll search if you can’t see it,
You’re thirsty, I’ll be rain,
You get hurt, I’ll take your pain.

I know you don’t believe it,
But I said it and I still mean it,
When you heard what I told you,
When you get worried I’ll be your soldier.

I’ll be your soldier
Well I’ll be, oh I’ll be your soldier

I’ll be your soldier

Brother

By Needtobreathe

Ramblers in the wilderness we cant find what we need
Get a little restless from the searching
Get a little worn down in between
Like a bull chasing the matador is the man left to his own schemes
Everybody needs someone beside em shining like a lighthouse from the sea

Brother let me be your shelter
Ill never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When youre low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home

Face down in the desert now theres a cage locked around my heart
I found a way to drop the keys where my failures were
Now my hands cant reach that far
I aint made for a robbery I could never take the world alone
I know that in my weakness I am stronger
Its your love that brings me home

Brother let me be your shelter
Ill never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When youre low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home

Brother let me be your shelter
Never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When youre low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home

Brother let me be your shelter
Never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When youre feeling low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home

Brother let me be your shelter
Never leave you all alone
I can be the one you call
When youre low
Brother let me be your fortress
When the night winds are driving on
Be the one to light the way
Bring you home

Brother let me be your shelter
Brother let me be your shelter
Brother let me be your shelter
Brother let me be your shelter
Brother let me be your shelter

No Man Is an Island

By Tenth Avenue North

I won’t run, I will stay
I’m not leaving you
I know there’s friction here
The struggle makes us new

I wish you never thought you had to go
Wish you never thought you had to leave
Together we can lift each other up
We can build a shelter for the weak

No man is an island, we can be found
No man is an island, let your guard down
You don’t have to fight me, I am for you
We’re not meant to live this life alone

I see fear in your eyes
There’s no safety here
Oh, my friend, let me in
I will share your tears

I wish you never thought you had to go
I wish you never thought you had to leave
We can always lift each other up
We can build a shelter for the weak, come on

No man is an island, we can be found
No man is an island, let your guard down
Please don’t try to fight me, I am for you
We’re not meant to live this life alone

Through trouble, rain, or fire
Let’s reach out to something higher
Ain’t no life outside each other
We are not alone
Through trouble, rain, or fire
Let’s reach out to something higher
Eyes open to one another
We are not alone

No man is alone
Why you try to fight me
We don’t have to do it alone
We don’t have to do it alone
We don’t have to do it alone

I truly truly truly believe that. We don’t have to do it alone. Let’s work together and be there for each other. When we ask that simple question, let’s be bold enough to answer with the truth, and let people in. We weren’t created by the God who loves us dearly to be alone. Thanks for reading, all of those who do.

~Chloe

An open letter to my many families

So, to start off, I suppose I should explain where this is coming from. I’m not totally sure, but I guess I was thinking about all of the people in my life that have touched my heart in the most special ways. I consider myself to have multiple families. I do have a lot of blood relatives, but I also have several groups of people who have supported me over the years and have helped me become the woman I am today. And I don’t think the those people always realize how much they mean to me, and really have touched my life. So I’m going to use some of this free time I have over the summer before working to address that and show them my gratitude. I truly am blessed to have known each and every one of you, and there are so many people that fit into each family of mine that I’m really expressing my love and gratitude to almost everyone I have known over the years. So here we go: Dear Families…..

1. My immediate family

First I’ll start with the most prevalent in my life, my immediate family. That includes my wonderful parents, my amazing sister, and both of my dogs because yes dogs are family too.

Mom and Dad, I LITERALLY would not be the person I am today without your love and support (I even used literally correctly rather than just figuratively the way everyone does now which is ironic and doesn’t make sense). I love you guys more than my words can express, and I don’t know that I have always been the greatest at showing it but I hope you know how thankful I am for you.

Raegan, we haven’t always gotten along. We’re sisters, so that’s normal, but I also don’t know what my life would be without you. We may not be the closest of friends, but I hope we will be someday, and I hope you know how much I love and admire you and your strength. You are so talented, and beautiful, and you are growing up so fast to be an amazing young woman. I hope that you know that I will always be here for you, and I will always be your number one supporter (minus the music taste;) ). You have seen me at my worst, and my best, and you still love me. And for that I can never thank you enough.

My dogs have also played a pretty important role in my life. Jasper was my little guard dog from the day I was born. He was a part of my life for 14 and a half years, and I will never forget that little wiener dog. And then there is Molly. My ferocious little fluff ball. You are so sweet and crazy, not the smartest sometimes but I love you anyway 🙂 Molly you always cheer me up by coming and sniffing my face as if to ask what’s wrong when I am sad, and I love cuddling with you.

2. My extended family

This is a huge one. There is A LOT of family on my mom’s and my dad’s side of the family. They are all special in their own way, and I do love all of them. I don’t even know some of my extended family very well (whenever mom mentions random names she thinks I know but don’t) and some of them I haven’t seen in a very long time, but I love you all, and I hope you know that you are all still important to me. I don’t get the chance to tell you that as much as my immediate family, but I know you will always be there for me and I love getting to spend any time I can with you.

3. My church family

This family is huge. When I say church, I could talk about the whole church, the entire Christian community, but I’m actually talking about the churches I grew up with. That would be The United Methodist Church of Anoka, and Coon Rapids United Methodist Church. Some of my friends from Anoka I don’t see as much anymore, and we aren’t as close, but that community was just like a family to me. I only left because I wanted to get involved with a more active youth program past sunday school for middle school and high school. Thats when we went to Coon Rapids, when I was in 7th grade. We were immediately welcomed and I have several adopted family members within the church. Especially moms, including Cindi Foster, Sherry Wesdorf, Sheila Callahan, Jo Franta, Heidi Lamers, Sunni Cohoes, Kim Lynch, and Deb Mahoney to name a few 🙂 Also, my church has always been one of my biggest supporters when I am going through tough times, I can’t thank you enough for your prayers. Prayer is so powerful.

4. My Solid Rock family

So these people, the wonderful Solid Rock Singers, are actually also a part of my church family, but they are also a separate family in itself. Not because they are any better than the rest of the church, but I have grown closer to more of them since moving to that church in 7th grade. From our 3 hour rehearsals, to the lock-ins, to sleeping on the floors of various methodist churches, and the long bus rides for every mission trip. I love them so much. You guys taught me more about Christ, and how to be bold in my faith by singing praises to Him, no matter how great we sounded, the important part was always the message. I am sadly now an alumni, but I will come back to chaperone mission trips when I am old enough 🙂 I made some of my closest and lifelong friends in that choir, one that has really stuck around for me though is Amy. You were one of my first friends in the choir, and I love you more than you know. You are my sister. There is also Cassie, we weren’t always as close, but I remember when you and Jodi and I were inseparable. I love you like crazy girl. I was so sad when you went to school in Florida, but I’m glad you are back for the summer! Becky, you also became my adopted sister!! I love you so much little Becky, even if you’re now taller than me. Thomas, I will always consider you my adopted little brother too! 🙂 Cindi Foster was Cindi Mamma when I joined, and although she doesn’t direct us anymore she always will be. You always brought me to tears with your devotions and messages, your faith is so strong, you are one of my heroes and greatest role models. I’m always here for you guys if you need anything. I love you and you all hold a special place in my heart, and I mean everyone, even if your name was not mentioned. We are always going to be friends in the faith, but the better word I see for us is a family. You are my family and I love you.

5. My Dance Family

You guys. You guys are so important. I grew up at the studio that I will love forever and always identify with. I started going to Dancin’ Feet at 3 years old, and I am so glad my parents enrolled me in classes there. Some of my happiest memories are dancing alongside the amazing friends I have made there. I got to be a staff member volunteering with them for five years. I loved working alongside all of them. I worked the most with Lora, an amazing young woman who was actually my first dance assistant when I was three. I also took a lot of clogging classes with her and Lisa. If it wasn’t for Dancin’ Feet I wouldn’t have been introduced to clogging, and thank goodness I was. I love clogging, it is my favorite dance style, and I’ve tried almost all of them. There’s no feeling to match how I feel when I clog. Then there are the dance assistants I’ve become close with each year. Some of my closest friends came from that program, or a performance team which I also did for several years. I loved every second at my dance studio. That was my second home. I even had a three year old tell ask me once if I lived there. 🙂 It was almost like I did. Being there multiple times a week for several hours was the best way to end my school days though, and although it kept me extremely busy in high school trying to keep up with everything, I wouldn’t trade a second of it for anything else. I plan to go back. I will probably take a class next year again, and maybe I can teach sometime. I don’t know. But my dancing isn’t over, and my time with that studio also will not be ending any time soon.

6. My Best Friends Family

So you guys come from mostly school. High school or before. Lacy, Stephanie, Katie,  Brooke, and Hayley, you guys are my best friends hopefully forever. I love you guys. Katie, I can’t believe I’ve only known you since middle school and you feel like my sister. I mean maybe that’s what happens when we live together for two semesters 🙂 Also, Lacy, you welcomed me back into your friend group in high school, but you’ve been around since 3rd grade. Third freaking grade. There was a little gap in middle school when we didn’t really see each other, but I will always consider you my best friends. You share my love of coffee, and you are one of my only friends I can be sarcastic with all the time. I love our relationship. Stephanie, I haven’t known you very long at all, but you are one of the most devoted Christians I know, and I’ve loved getting to know you through school dances and bonfires on your driveway 🙂 And Brooke!!! Middle school friends, and you haven’t left me yet! That’s pretty awesome considering how much you know about me XD Even though you’re now in North Carolina, I’m glad we keep in touch. I’ve loved our trips to the state fair, and every sleepover consisting of talking for hours and late night movies. Hayley!! I’ve known you since fourth grade, and although there were times when we also grew apart, we became the best of friends again in college this year! I don’t know what I would have done without you this year, freshman year was rough but we did it!!! Thanks for always being there, all of you. You have seen me at my worst, and my best, you laugh at my lame jokes and accept my extraordinary strangeness. I love you all.

7. My Camp family

Camp. I am so glad that I am a camp kid. I’ve been to a few camps, but I’m talking about the camp I’ve been going to since about middle school now. I don’t know if I have permission to use the name so I’ll just keep talking about it without that. I have been there every summer except one since middle school. I get to go back and be a counselor all summer this year too, which is the best job ever. Hands down. I’ve mentioned it before, it’s truly the happiest place on earth. They helped me find God there, and really build a true relationship with Him. I can’t thank that camp enough for what they have done in my life. They truly shaped me as a woman, and a leader. The CILTs I graduated with will all be my sisters in Christ forever, and I love them all so much, as well as our two fearless leaders, Paz and Toro (using camp names) I am so blessed to be a part of that place. Also, my friends there are lifelong. I mean that. I hope I never lose touch with the amazing people I have met there. We all may come from totally different places, but we all unite to praise one God every summer and every summer I’m more amazed by what God does there and how he touches each person I see.

8. My Cru Family

This is my newest family, that I am blessed to be getting to know in College! Cru is a campus ministry that is non-denominational, and I love being a part of it. I joined because of a camp friend, and I am so glad I did! I don’t know how I would have survived my freshman year without those amazing people.

My bible study, you are probably the most important in this family for me right now, I didn’t meet a ton of people outside of our study, but the ones I did were great too. I have the BEST leaders Danica, Katelynn, and Amy. I love you all so much. I am so blessed to have spent every week with you, cramming twenty + of us into a double room. I can’t wait to continue getting to know all of you, and it’s only been a few weeks but I already miss you all like crazy. Thanks for making my freshman year bearable and full of laughs and love.

I think this covers most of them! Oh, except my daycare family, my daycare lady since I was 3. Judy and her family have become my family too, and I am so glad that you were the person taking care of me when my parents worked a lot. I also wouldn’t be who I am today without you and your beautiful family.

Okay so in total I suppose I have 9 giant families?? That’s a lot! I think that covers it though! I hope some of you from each one reads this, and realizes how much you mean to me. I love you all to the moon and back. Or infinity and beyond. Whichever one you prefer. 🙂

Much love always,
Chloe

Choosing inspiration over envy 

This is a great take on how to deal with envy

Little Grey Box

Envy isn’t a pretty word and it’s not really a word you want associated with yourself at all, especially with it being one of the seven deadly sins and all. When we achieve something great or have something wonderful and someone is mean to us about it our family and friends reassure us that person is ‘just jealous’. Not something we exactly aspire to be.

Still, envy is something that pops up in all of us from time to time and I’ve been guilty of coveting things too… a lot. This was a really big problem for me when I was unhappy with my life, which is silly because my life at the time had been chosen by me. I had actively made every single decision which had led me to where I was, so I had no right to look at other people and feel envious of what they…

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10 Great Conan Doyle Books That Don’t Feature Sherlock Holmes

Interesting Literature

The best Conan Doyle novels that don’t feature the great sleuth but are still definitely worth reading

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle often resented the fact that Sherlock Holmes overshadowed his other fiction, and to an extent he was right to do so. He was also a talented author of historical novels, science fiction, horror stories, and adventure tales as well as a pioneer of the detective story, as this list of our ‘non-Sherlock’ recommendations makes clear. Here are the best Conan Doyle books – aside from the Sherlock Holmes ones. We’ll begin at number 10 and work our way up to what we consider the very best book.

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Personal Statement Time–Who am I?

So as some of you may already know from reading my last blog post, I am currently in the process of changing colleges within the university I attend. Most of the requirements were pretty typical, there are certain classes I need to take and certain GPA requirements. The last requirement however surprised me. I have been asked to write a personal statement. It should be telling the College who I am as a person, what my goals and dreams are and how my preferred major fits into those goals and dreams.

So here we are back at the goals and dreams topic. And I’ll tell you again, this is not something I think about a lot. I only really think about my goals and dreams when I am asked to. I have been asked that during recovery for mental health, in school since I was a child for random and various reasons, and occasionally by someone I recently met, trying to learn more about me.

Here we are again at that ridiculously hard question, for me anyway.

Who am I?

What are my goals and dreams?

Why are these such hard questions for me??

I’ve also mentioned before, I have learned a little bit about my strengths this year in college. And although I don’t believe taking that test defines what I can and cannot do (and that’s not the point of it anyway) I do agree with my results that were given to me.  And most of these strengths focus on other people. Actually, I just learned recently during a leadership training that 3/5 of my strengths are in the relationship building category. It’s funny, that seemed ironic to me at first, I never saw myself in high school as a very sociable person. I was just nice to everyone, or tried my best to be, and talked to those around me everyday. Now I’m not saying I had no friends but I didn’t consider very many people to be my close friends. Anyway here are my strengths, as my CA displayed on my doorway this year in school:

IMG_2518

See how none of those really relate to me? Restorative: building others up. Empathy: taking on the feelings of others and relating to them. Developer: Also similar to building people up, helping people discover their potential. Harmony: trying to keep the peace and make everyone happy. Input: taking into account others opinion’s to better myself in some way.

NONE of these strengths really focus on me. Which is probably why its a much better fit for me to be in a college centered on Human Development. So yeah back to the point now (sorry for the slight tangent) being futuristic (which is one of the other strengths in the test) or even focusing on myself is not one of my strengths, its not in my instincts to focus on myself. It’s my natural state to focus on others and try to make the best of other people’s situations.

So who am I? I guess that has sort of been answered. I am a helper. I try my hardest to make others happy and welcome and comfortable. It’s what I do. Recently anyway, I’m not so sure I was always trying to help as a child. But the real question is WHY am I this person? Why am I so passionate about making others feel happy?

I think its because of my own experiences. I have suffered with depression and probably some sort of anxiety since around the age of 10 or 11. Pretty early in life. I know what it is like to feel hopeless, and helpless, and miserable for some unknown reason. I know what it feels like to fight to get out of bed in the morning, not because I’m just tired but because its too hard to even face the world each day. I know what it is like to feel completely alone, even surrounded by those who love me. I know what it feels like to question my own existence on this earth and what the point of this miserable life could possibly be. And I NEVER would wish any of those things on anyone. I don’t want people to want to hide from the world and avoid everything life has to offer. I want others to feel the peace and happiness I have found at times in my life when things were okay, they were good even. I want people to see the good in life and not the bad. So I guess thats why I am this way.

I think through all this I may have even answered my goals question. What are my goals? To help people. To be a positive influence to others. When it comes to specifics, I don’t really have any. Yes my desired major is Kinesiology. My desired career right now is Occupational Therapy, because those people have helped me, and I want to do the same for others. But did I have a specific career in mind my whole life? Do I have a dream home planned out, a dream wedding, a dream husband figure painted in my mind, a dream family, a dream life? No. I never have. I don’t know if I ever will. I desire a wedding, a home, a husband, a family, and a career that will potentially make me happy. But I don’t need any of those things. And I certainly don’t want to waste time trying to plan out everything that my life could be. I want to take it one day at a time. I’ve been much happier that way. Planning and projecting just scares me. The future often scares me if I think too much about it. That’s my anxiety kicking in and invading my thoughts, but regardless, I’m quite satisfied seeing where life leads me.

So although I agree it can be important to have goals and dreams for my future, I also believe that my future should not be mapped out by myself. I don’t need to plan for everything. It’s important to plan, but isn’t spontaneity important too? I am going to sit here and enjoy the life God has given me, and see where He leads me. I am going to plan for things that need planning, and let life happen for the rest of it. I’m going to continue to be curious and ask questions, and learn new things every day about the world and about myself. I am going to continue to discover what my goals and dreams are, because honestly they might change as I grow. They have before, doesn’t every girl go through the phase of just wanting to be a princess?

Who am I?

Honestly, I don’t completely know. I’m still trying to figure that out. I don’t know exactly what I want, but I know that I’ll find it someday. And I think I’m getting closer to the end goal every day.

The end goal for my life on earth? Who knows.

The end goal for my life? Eternity with Christ. He knows who I am. He loves who I am. And that’s all that really matters right?

Thanks for listening to my slightly crazy slightly jumbled thoughts for today 🙂

Chloe

Freshman Year-the journey begins

So I’m expecting a lot of typical questions after this past semester. How was your freshman year? Did you make lots of new friends? How were your classes? Do you like your school? Are you sad to be done? What are you doing over the summer? These are the typical questions after my second semester of college. I have answers to these questions. They are all right here. So if you have awhile, read this long post about my freshman year, the first of the journey through college. Will it get personal? yes. Will it be long? probably. Do you want to spend the time reading it? I don’t know, but here it goes anyway.

Lets tackle the first question. How was it? How was my freshman year? That my friends, is a very good question. It also has a crazy and long complicated answer. But I’ll do my best to tell you. In the words I can think of to describe it, all I can come up with is crazy, scary, eye-opening, humbling, and difficult. Those are some words to describe it, but those sound pretty negative. My freshman year was also joyful, new, silly, fun, and again crazy, in the good way. Basically, my freshman year was a huge roller coaster that traveled through all of my emotions and experiences. So lets start from the beginning: Welcome Week.

Welcome Week. The time where I am supposed to meet all of my new friends, get used to the new campus I will be living on, get along with my hall-mates (our house as it was called), learn about my so-called strengths, learn about every single resource available on campus, get used to living on my own, and finally get a handle on what the rest of the year would look like. Yeah. So all of that sort of happened. I met my house, was shy as ever, if not more shy than ever, I met my leaders who wanted to party with us in some apartment, got mostly confused about everywhere I went on campus, and definitely did not adapt to living alone with only a roommate. Now, luckily I knew my roommate very well. She’s been one of my closest friends since middle school. We had no awkward adjustments there, but she also already knew everything about campus. Her sister is a junior at the U, and she had taken a year of classes already with PSEO. She was almost an expert so all of this “new” information might not have been as scary for her. Maybe it was. I don’t know. But she seemed to be handling it much better than I was. All of welcome week was basically a blur. I remember going to several parts of campus, seeing Jermaine Davis, the football game, and maybe a few other random events. Jermaine Davis was the keynote speaker, and I remember him because he was a great speaker. It was one of the only nights I remember actually kind of enjoying myself. The rest of the week I was too terrified and annoyed by all the talk of drinking already happening to have any fun. I didn’t really go to events that I planned on going to. I just wanted to hide in my room. I didn’t want everything to happen so fast. I wasn’t ready for college. I wasn’t ready for the College of Science and Engineering. During college day I was even more scared. I was surrounded by geniuses. And mostly males. The expectations were high for me, I didn’t think I could do any of it. Basically, I just needed a friend. And I had one, but I didn’t even feel connected to Katie anymore because she seemed to be doing fine. I didn’t want to seem pathetic. So most of my welcome week was a panic attack. So that is how it all started out. I was a wreck.

My messy personality didn’t end there. I was still a mess starting classes, and I finally went to go see someone. I started seeing a psychiatrist for my medication for depression and anxiety, and went home a lot to see my parents the first few weeks. I tried to see a therapist sometime into the semester. She scared me. She wanted me to know exactly what I wanted help with and what to do to fix me, I felt like I was being interrogated. I know I have to have some sort of treatment plan, but her expectations were too much for me at once. I didn’t know what I needed help with, I just knew I needed help. She sent me to some place for academic help thinking that was all I really needed. I didn’t actually go to that place for awhile. I just gave up again for awhile. Sometime in the semester my mom was so worried she had my adviser talk to me. My adviser took me to the Disability Resource center to see if they could help me. I hate that word. Disability. I had anxiety and mental health problems but never before going to the U had I thought of it as a “disability”.  The lady talked to me and also sent me away for academic help somewhere else. She said she couldn’t help me with anything there.

I was starting to do pretty poorly in school, not doing well on tests at all. I tried to get help again, and towards the middle of the semester I was afraid of failing a class. I went in, and asked academic advising what to do about it. I was terrified, and I felt so ashamed for already struggling, in a class I had taken in high school too. It was humiliating and scary. He listened to what I said and how I was worried about getting into my major. He told me not to project so much. He saw my AP score, which was a 1 and asked me what happened. I told him I basically had a panic attack during that test, and answered about 5 questions. So he sent me back to the Disability center for help. I told him they said they couldn’t help me, but I made an appointment and brought my doctors records and they finally were able to help me. I got some accommodations for test anxiety. It helped. My semester started going a little better. However I still ended with poor grades and was again terrified of getting into my major.

Then I had something positive come along, I went to Venice with about 17 other people in CSE to study climate change. We got to see the beautiful historic city and some surrounding towns as well in Italy. It was beautiful, and an amazing experience. I had Italian wine, made new friends, and felt more connected with my college. Things were starting to look up.

Then second semester started. Things were going better, but it was still hard to get by. My classes only got harder. Which is expected. I know that but it didn’t make it easier to deal with. Balancing everything was getting hard again. I had gotten more involved with my bible study, and decided that I wanted to make God a priority in my life more than stressing about school. I thought it would help. It kind of did, but then I started to get behind again. My sleep issues were making it hard for me to get up for class, I was missing classes for various reasons, and studying was getting harder to do because I wasn’t totally enjoying my classes. They were just hard now. And I hated that my life still had to revolve around studying. I thought there was more to college than that. I felt guilty whenever I tried to take breaks even though thats what people were telling me to do. I was telling my doctor about everything, so we increased my medicine to try and help with my sleep and my anxiety.

And then my breaking point happened. For the second time in a year.

I had just gotten back into therapy, and I told my therapist about what was going on lately. I mentioned the passive suicidal thoughts I had been having, and that I wasn’t sure why they were happening. I knew I didn’t want to go through with them. Recently that week I had also had a plan for it, so I knew it was getting worse. My therapist then spent the rest of the session making a plan for me to stay safe. I told her I was okay for now, but I ended up going in the next night. I was admitted for about 5 days. Getting back out, I was even farther behind, and my professors weren’t all very helpful.

I did get on a better medication. I am happier now. The semester was ending okay, but I ended up withdrawing from one of my classes. The semester ended not where I wanted to be but I took it as a sign. I’m finally deciding to move away from the engineering field. I think it will be a better fit, and I believe it’s what God is calling me to do. I can help people more directly in other fields, and my empathy will be useful. My plan right now is to try to go into occupational therapy after getting an undergraduate degree in Kinesiology.

So there was not a lot of positive in that first half, but now to the next question. Did you make lots of new friends?

At the beginning of fall semester, I was thinking I would make no friends. I felt very out of place in the dorm I lived in, and I was thinking nothing would get better. But then I went to my bible study. I didn’t connect right away with people, but as I continued to go, and second semester when small groups of discipleship started, I felt so at home with those girls. I had planned on getting involved with a few organizations on campus, but I really ended up only getting involved with Cru. That was where I felt at home. I started going swing dancing with them, went to fall retreat, and woman maker, and I tried to make it to bible study every week. I loved everyone I met in Cru. Some things we talked about were confusing, but I’m really glad I connected with a community centered around Christ. I loved everyone I met, and will be living with 17 (yes 17) other woman in Cru next year in Dinky Town. I am also going to be a part of the worship band.

I also felt connected to absolutely no one in my hallway at the beginning of freshman year. I thought none of them would like me, none of them would respect that I didn’t want to party or maybe even the fact that I was so religious. I was so wrong. Granted, none of them are my new best friends, but I got to know most of them by the end of spring semester and they are all wonderful people. So will I miss living in my loud and gleeful hallway? Maybe a little. I’ve told myself I won’t, but I am truly glad I met all of them and got to know them a little better. They didn’t even really judge me, no more than using my welcome week nickname of Crazy Chloe for awhile, but I brought that on myself (not good at thinking of adjectives on the spot). Anyway, they were all pretty cool people, I got to know my suite-mates better over the course of the year and I love those two. So living in the dorm was annoying at times, and frustrating, and very different (I’ve never lived with guys ever so that’s new) but it was worth the experience. My freshman year wouldn’t have been the same without them.

And then there’s my trip to Venice. Those CSE kids were some of the greatest and smartest people I have ever known. Our leaders were also really awesome, and it was great to connect with some faculty. I loved going on that trip. I shared a room with someone from the same county as me (small world guys) and then she ended up being in the campus orchestra right next to me the next semester. I bonded with people I probably wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for that trip, and I’m so glad I was able to go.

And I can’t forget one of the most important friends I made this year. My mentor Claire. She is so sweet. It was something I signed up for going into freshman year, I was paired with someone in my intended major, and she became one of my most trusted friends. I was terrified meeting her, and going into CSE, but we really connected after awhile, and she helped me realize that maybe I could handle CSE, it would just take some readjusting and hard work. I mean, it turns out that I probably couldn’t, but that’s okay. The important thing is that she was there to support me. Even when I was hospitalized, she came and visited me. I am so grateful to have met such an amazing young woman.

So, summing up that, I actually did make a lot of new friends. I am really happy about that, and that was one of the highlights of my freshman year, all the people I have met.

Now, how were my classes?

Well. They were hard.

That’s really about all I can say. I enjoyed some of them, not as much as I have in the past with school, and they challenged me more than I would have ever expected. Yes, it’s good to be challenged, but I was getting so worn down from school that it all started feeling like this huge weight I needed to be keeping above my head before it crashed on me. So yeah, not the greatest. I definitely was taking hard classes, but I know that I should have at least been a little more interested in the subjects. Another sign that I’m not meant for engineering.

Do I like my school?

At first, not really. I was terrified and overwhelmed and I was worried that I would never feel at home at the U. But I really do love my school now. I even have school spirit about sports for the first time like ever. The University of Minnesota is a great place, and I love every day the new places I find there, and all the things around me to do. I love the city. Suburbs were great growing up, but living in Minneapolis, but still on campus is amazing. I think it has a lot of beauty, and I love how much is always going on. It’s exciting. Not noisy, well sometimes, but not too much. There is some crime yes, but that happens everywhere. One of the best things though is the culture of our campus. We have so many international students coming to study various things, and I have been exposed for the first time to several different types of people. And I mean that in the best way. I love seeing so many new people everyday, and yet still so many familiar faces around campus. My professors have all been pretty great, minus a few, and I have gotten to know them. It only takes going to some office hours here and there. There are so many different resources that are there to help me, and I love that too. It took awhile for me to find the right ones but I found them. I love my school and there is no place I would have rather spent my freshman year.

Now, am I sad to be done?

Honestly, not really. It will be sad to be apart from my bible study this summer, and I am sad to not be living with my best friend anymore, but I am mostly relieved its over. Freshman year was exhausting and hard and I am ready to move forward with my life outside of school for awhile. I learned a lot about myself this year, and I am glad to have some time to sort through everything that has happened.

What am I doing this summer?

Well for the next month or so relaxing at home with my family. After that, the biggest reason I’m not sad to be done is that I am going to be working at camp from June-August. And let me tell you, that is going to be the best job I have ever had. I get to counsel younger girls and lead them to Christ, while being my silly self and having all sorts of fun at Camp Cherith. I’ve been to Disney several times, but the REAL happiest place on earth, is Camp Cherith. That is where I am TRULY happy, where I find God’s peace, and his joy, and the beauty of this earth he created. I also get to see His face in every girl I meet there, and his love spreading like wildfire through the staff and campers. I can’t wait to go back there and spend my summer surrounded by that love and joy.

So there you have it, that was my freshman year as well as some of what is to come. Like I said, it’s been a roller coaster, but I am so thankful that I had this experience, and I will be happy to come back to the University next fall to tackle whatever new challenges come my way.

Yours truly,

Chloe