My return to reading

Despite my complaints about the past five weeks of Winter Break being a complete and utter snooze-fest of boredom (I return to CoMo in six days, huzzah!), there have been some perks. I got to spend quality time with my mother/BFF, I have finally finished (almost) Breaking Bad, I got to see all of my old friends from high school and, finally, I have finally had the time to read for pleasure.

Growing up I have always been an avid book worm. In early elementary school I devoured books such as The Magic Treehouse series and R. L. Stein’s Goosebumps before graduating to Harry Potter and the Warriors series by Erin Hunter (I mean, what fifth-grade girl wouldn’t love a seemingly never ending book series where all the main characters are cats?) I always had a book tucked under my arm. During my soccer games I would sit on the sidelines and read until my coach put me in. The summer before third and fourth grade I won my school’s “1,000 page reading challenge,” the second time with over 13,000 pages read in three short months. I would spend so much time sitting on the couch reading that my mom would sometimes take my books away from me and force me to go play outside like a normal child. In middle school I discovered Stephen King, who to this day is still my favorite author. I read Pet Sematary, then Salem’s Lot, then The Shining and Christine, and I was captivated.

Over the years, my love for reading hasn’t dwindled but the amount of books I’ve read has been on a steady decline. It just comes down to time. In high school I always had something assigned for Advanced English and then IB English classes. Shakespeare, Plath, McCarthy, Twain, Krakauer, Bradbury, Atwood. Some I loved, some I despised. But between assignments it was difficult to find the time and energy to read purely for pleasure. I’d maybe get a book in during breaks, but it was only over the summer where I would return to reading because I wanted to, not because my grade depended on it.

In college I have even less time for pleasure reading. I have classes and homework and articles to write for the newspaper, but the main reason comes down to the fact that all of your friends live right down the hall from you. All of first semester my mentality was, “why would I want to sit in my room alone and read when I could be hanging out with the Hatch 5 family until four in the morning?”

The great thing about winter break is it has reminded me that sitting in bed alone with a book is actually a great way to spend your evening. These past few weeks I finally finished the spectacular Under the Dome by Stephen King (which I began in July and only read about 100 to 150 pages of during the four months of first semester). I also began and finished Lucky, a memoir by Alice Sebold.

To motivate myself to keep my New Years resolution to read a little every day, I have constructed a list of books I want to read over the course of the upcoming year. It’s a bit ambitious, but I like a challenge.

  • Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  • The Stand by Stephen King
  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom

On top of these newbies, I also want to reread all of the Harry Potter books before 2014 comes to a close. I haven’t read any of them since 2007, when The Deathly Hallows came out, and I want to see what reading them as an adult is like.

And so begins 2014: The Year of the Great Book Odyssey. Wish me luck.

Winter break woes

In the weeks leading up to the end of the semester, I only had one thing on my mind: winter break. Five blissful weeks of no classes, no homework, no studying, no readings, no tests to worry about. Five weeks of doing nothing, binge-watching Breaking Bad and Orange is the New Black on Netflix, hanging out with old high school friends, going to see future Oscar-noms at AMC, and eating at all the places I’ve missed while in CoMo, like Costa Vida and Roxberry and Johnny Ray’s. Five weeks of heaven was right around the corner. And after surviving my first semester of college and making the Dean’s List, it was a much needed break.

And I enjoyed every minute of it…for about a week.

In my time away from school, I have fallen into a daily routine: wake up, eat cereal, watch Netflix all day, hang out with my parents when they get home from work, watch more TV, read for fun, go to bed. Wake up, repeat. Sometimes hang out with friends in the evenings. Sometimes drag someone to see Wolf of Wall Street or Dallas Buyers Club or Anchorman 2 with me.

In reality, my life is one big vortex of suckiness and boredom.

I’m suffering from an intense case of Cabin Fever, and I’m homesick for Hatch. I went from being down the hall from friends 24 hours a day to being home alone all day every day with only my 16 year-old sister with Downs Syndrome for company, and she isn’t much of a conversationalist. Most days I’ll go eight or nine hours without even speaking to another person.

I miss my CoMo friends, I miss having the freedom to do whatever I want whenever I want, I miss being able to do things spontaneously, I miss everything being within walking range. I miss the school I was so ready to take a break from.

I’m going stir crazy. I’m pretty sure I’m getting carpal tunnel from Facebook stalking and playing an ungodly amount of Tetris. I’ve started taking naps out of boredom. My family is driving me crazy. My mom is already crying over me going back to college (which, remember, is still two weeks away) and keeps saying things like “I miss you, baby,” and “Don’t leave me,” and “Summer will be here before we know it.”

It’s not that I hate it at home, because I don’t. I just really love my school and all the friends I have made there. I’ve been so lucky to have met each and every one of them. I think the main reason I’m so ready to return to Columbia is because the meager 12 days between Thanksgiving break and winter break were arguably the best 12 consecutive days of the semester. And after weeks of looking forward to spending five weeks at home, I found myself unwillingly packing my things after my last final. I didn’t want to leave.

Now my friends from home have already begun to return to their colleges, and I’m still here for two more weeks. It doesn’t matter how much I love movies and television, I don’t think I can survive two more weeks of Netflix binging.

Somebody please save me.

Friends, near and far away

I know, I know. I already ranted about my friends in my previous Thanksgiving post. And I know that those of you who don’t know me or my friends couldn’t care less about suffering through another post about them. And I know that I have better things to be doing with my time right now, such as studying for my upcoming tests or reading “Under the Dome” or, well, sleeping.

But I don’t care.

Today is my last day being home in Lee’s Summit before I head over back to CoMo tomorrow morning for the Texas A&M game (go Mizzou). Granted, I will only be at school for twelve days before I’m home again for five weeks, but my usual “feels” ritual is rearing its head. What is the “feels” ritual, you ask? Well, every time I’m home I can’t wait to get back to CoMo (and vice versa, I always want to go home while in Columbia), except for when it comes time to actually leave. Then I don’t want to. Not at all.

The thing is, I love college. I love almost everything about it. I love all the friends I have there, and I miss them dearly. But I have friends here, and most of whom, before this week, I hadn’t seen in three months. And do you know what? I miss them.

This evening I went to Ella’s house and, with the exception of Nathan and “E-Patz,” my entire “Avengers” group was back together. Laura, Kristin, Ella, Aaron, Chris, Aubs… None of these kids I’ve known for more than two years, but these past two years have been two of the best- filled with endless memories of stargazing, Worlds of Fun, bonfires, movie nights, getting Burger King and sitting in our own special booth, etc.

After spending four hours with the old gang, I am reminded of how I love them. Yes, I have a ton of college friends, but it’s different. These kids from school I’ve only known since August. The hometown “Avengers” have been around for years. We know all the deep, dark, dirty secrets each of us have. We know each other, and being away at separate colleges hasn’t changed that- even with most of the group, being a year older, have already been gone for extended periods of time for the past year.

So, what I’m trying to say is, I’m just really grateful to have such a great group. A group who I know isn’t going anywhere, at least not anytime soon.

And I promise, I will eventually post about a topic other than “my friends are so awesome and I don’t deserve them.”

Eventually.

P.S. Yes, the title of this post is a reference to Winnie the Pooh. Specifically, Winnie the Pooh: Seasons of Giving.

Day 1: Thanksgiving

Hello, citizens of the blogging universe. 

Despite my “aint’-nobody-got-time-for-blogging” attitude, I have caved and created this here WordPress account. However, with me being busy with college and friends and whatnot, I can’t guarantee regular updates, so be warned. But even after being at the University of Missouri for only three months, I have already been told by multiple journalism professors the “importance of blogging,” and how I should be “writing something every day.” So here it goes. 

Along with this being my first-ever blog post, it just so happens to be Thanksgiving. And so I’m going to take this opportunity to give some thanks.

First thing’s first: I am incredibly thankful for each and every one of my friends. 

To all of my wonderful friends from Lee’s Summit- Laura, “E-Patz,” Aubs, Zak, Nathan, Kristin, Joelle, Mary, Mark, “Quinnjamin,” and all the rest. Though we’re scattered throughout midwestern colleges and may not see each other for months at a time, you are all loved and missed. You all made high school less horrible, and for that I thank you. And then there are two very special kids, Danielle and Stella Ella, who are the best friends anybody could ever ask for. I love you guys the most (but don’t tell the others).

And to all my friends who make up the marvelous Mizzou “Hatch 5” (including those adopted from other floors), I am incredibly thankful for you. You all have done wonders to make Mizzou a home away from home. We’re like a family, we take care of each other, every day is filled with spontaneity and fun, and I could never imagine living anywhere else. A special shout-out to my dear, dear roommate, Emily, for putting up with my insistent sleep talking and other ridiculous quirks. You are a wonderful roommate and I am very thankful that we were randomly assigned together and became such good friends.

Friends, I wouldn’t be anywhere without you.

Quickly, here’s the rest:

1. Of course, my family. You guys rock, even though you drive me crazy most of the time. 

2. Lee’s Summit/Kansas City. Especially now that I’m away at college, I really appreciate how great my hometown truly is. I miss it dearly. I couldn’t imagine growing up anywhere else.

3. Netflix. Always Netflix. 

4. I’m thankful for getting the opportunity to work for The Maneater, where I am able to be involved with journalism so early on in my college career.

5. All the teachers and professors I’ve had, thank you for bestowing your knowledge upon me. Particularly the Lee’s Summit West crew- Mr. Briscoe, Mr. Little, and Mrs. McWain.

Turkey day celebrations, here I come. Now I must get off my computer, stop watching Pocahontas, put on actual clothes for the first time since Tuesday, and mentally prepare myself for the slew of college questions that are going to be hurled at me by my family for the next five to six hours. 

Wish me luck.