Surviving the Missourian

This blog post comes to you from my very last GA shift. I wrote about a sodomist/rapist/kidnapper/robber before 10 a.m. (what a way to start the day) and now I’m waiting for another story to come up while I cram for my final History of American Journalism exam.

It’s pretty unbelievable that the semester is drawing to a close. After today, I will no longer be a reporter at the Columbia Missourian. I’ve done a lot of work I’m really proud of, made great friends, and got to work with experienced editors who helped me identify my weaknesses and work to improve them. This semester seemed never-ending at times, but now that it’s done it has flown by.

I never wanted to come to the Missourian. I resented the publication because I had to pay a ton of money to practically be used as free labor, and it was mandatory. I put my heart and soul into The Maneater as a writer, columnist and editor because I wanted to be there, not because I was forced to. But honestly, working at the Missourian has been an experience I’ve come to value. It wasn’t like I thought it would be.

Here are some things that surprised me:

  1. Your fellow reporters become your support system

I would say I’m a competitive person. Ever since I was little I wanted to be the best at everything. As I began working at the Missourian, I thought my fellow reporters would be competing against each other, that those lagging behind would be envious of those who were doing well and that those leading the pack would be full of themselves.

Turns out, I’m also a very cynical person.

The community of the newsroom was one similar to what I had experienced at The Maneater — everyone supported each other, helped each other out with stories and contacting sources, vented to each other about journo struggles, invited groups to the Heidelberg to destress after covering emotionally challenging stories. Instead of pitting people against each other, the Missourian brought us together.

2. The editors are sometimes scary, but they’re also really cool

Ever since my freshman year I had heard horror stories about some of the editors that turned out to not be true at all. Yes, sometimes they’re harsh and intimidating, especially when it comes to editing, but they’re also pretty great humans. Sometimes they’ll do yoga with you in the newsroom after a long, hard news day. Sometimes they’ll open budget with a bad joke or two or six. On Halloween, they might have witch cackling contests.

3. Big breaking news stories are exciting

Mizzou made national news this semester with the hunger strike and #ConcernedStudent1950 that ultimately led to the UM System President and MU Chancellor resigning in the same day. For baby student journalists, covering this was just about as exciting/stressful/scary/daunting/fun as it could get.

The newsroom was bustling, free food from alumni cluttered desks, phones were ringing, journalists from the New York Times and CNN and ESPN and the LA Times were flocking to campus. People were working on several stories, contributing and collaborating with one another to sort out the chaos. It was the time of my life.

4. Alumni send food

Getting three free meals a day from proud alumni = the happiest of days.

5. You will definitely cry

Please, please, please, don’t forget to take care of yourself and put your health first. This is very important.

You’ll be tired and stressed and there is a 100 percent chance that you will cry when your editor tells you your story is all over the place or a source doesn’t get back to you and you miss your deadline, but remember: the Missourian experience is what you make of it.

Don’t take the critiques you receive personally. If a story doesn’t work out, it does not mean that you are a terrible journalist. All of us are still learning. If you go in positive, open to learning and looking to grow as a journalist, you’ll do wonderfully. And to those who will be entering the newsroom next semester and next fall, you will be okay.

CampusLife030

Today a very special issue of The Maneater hit newsstands around campus. Not only was it the annual “Mizzou in Review” special edition, but it was also the first issue where the new ed board took complete control of their section.

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Over this last week, the Campus Life section was under my management for the first time. I pitched out stories, I checked in with my writers’ progress every few days, I made edits (my former editor and Campus Life dad wrote a killerrrr story for me, which was complete role reversal and almost too strange to deal with). I uploaded my content to the website, I came up with tweets and faceposts, I sent photo and graphics pitches.

I was busy, but it was a blast.

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Fun as it was, this week came with challenges. I struggled to come up with an idea for a graphic about HIV treatment, I had a newbie write a story for me who didn’t even have a remote grasp on the basics of AP style, I had to do last-minute event coverage (and by “last minute” I mean I was literally asked to cover something 10 minutes before it started in exchange for Hotbox cookies) and I’ve already begun searching for online and print story ideas for the summer.

I’m so incredibly proud of this first issue and June 4, the date of the 2014-2015 school year’s first official issue, can’t come soon enough. I can’t wait to have a gaggle of wide-eyed freshmen journos fight for my pitches over the summer. I can’t wait to hire beat writers in August. I can’t wait to have a Maneater child of my own and see the newly-formed Campus Life family grow over the years.

And I most definitely can’t wait for next year’s Dead Editors Night.

Dead Editors Night — a night of mass chaos, turmoil and anarchy in the newsroom. When the new editors take over the old editors die, and all of the newly deceased editors drink an unfathomable amount of alcohol and then proceed to sabotage the new editors as they’re putting their first issue together.

Last night the dead editors swarmed into the newsroom bellowing war cries and armed with silly string. They danced on desks to “Drunk in Love,” they ripped up notebooks and phonebooks and threw the pages into the air, they opened a bag of coffee grounds and poured it all over the floor, they paraded around the office taking selfless and screaming things like “Campus Life foreva!”

And then came the fountain.

Almost everyone ended up in the fountain outside the Student Center one way or the other, either by their own will (mostly the drunken dead editors who dove in) or by force (ex. me, who was pushed in by the dead CSN editor and then repeatedly dunked by my Campus Life dad).

This week has been crazy, and it’s only the first taste of what my life is going to revolve around over the next year.

I’m going to spend an ungodly amount of time in the Maneater office, constantly be searching Twitter for stories and awkwardly editing articles with writers. I’m going to be tired. I’m going to be stressed. I’m going to be busy. I’m going to complain. I’m going to be up late at night, banging my head against my desk and saying, “What have I gotten myself into?”

But no matter how overwhelmed and stressed out I get, being a part of the paper is completely worth it. I’m elated to be a part of the Maneater family, and I can’t wait for all that is to come.

Feel like MOVEing — er, I mean, Campus Life-ing?

I remember being an overly-excited incoming freshman, anxiously anticipating my impending college life. I couldn’t wait to move into the dorms, meet new people and make new friends, and, above all, write for the student newspaper.

I’ve been writing for The Maneater since last May. I was scrolling through the “Mizzou Class of 2017” Facebook page when I saw a post from a girl named Heather, the current editor of MOVE Magazine, the arts and entertainment section of The Maneater. I Facebook stalked her relentlessly until I mustered up the courage to send her a painfully awkward message, asking if I could write for the paper. And thus, I had found my way into The Maneater world.

I fell in love. I fell in love with The Maneater — with the responsibility of a weekly beat to cover, with the freedom of having my own column, with being able to pick up as many pitches for MOVE as I wished, with meeting interesting and often inspirational people who were always so happy to be covered, and with the editors who have always been so nice and let me show up to their parties uninvited. I’ve loved being involved and finding my own little niche on campus.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been going through the process of applying for a position on the editor board — specifically, MOVE and Campus Life. After answering numerous questions, responding to hypothetical situations, trying desperately to figure out how to work Adobe InDesign, and interviewing with next year’s Editor-in-Chief and Managing Editor, the positions were filled yesterday.

I am the new Campus Life editor for the 2014-15 school year.

Initially, I had (and still have) a lot of mixed emotions. On one hand, I am incredibly honored, humbled, and grateful that I was trusted with leading the section. On the other, my heart was broken because I failed to get the position I had my sights set on since I wrote my first story for the section — MOVE editor.

I’ve always loved all things A&E. I nerd out about movies and television and books and music and concerts and plays and art. I want nothing more than to move to a big city somewhere in the world and work at a big entertainment magazine, where I can cover film festivals and interview Grammy-winning musicians. MOVE reviews movies and previews concerts and profiles artists. MOVE was what I wanted.

In the hours following the news, I received various texts and tweets from friends and fellow Maneaters congratulating me on the position. I thanked everyone, congratulated the very deserving girl who will be the next MOVE editor, continued the two hour drive back to CoMo from home, went into my room, called my mom, and proceeded to have a panic attack.

I had ideas for MOVE. I was confident in my ability to edit MOVE and edit it well, with every bit of snark and creativity that Heather brought to the role this past year. I had already thought of potential story ideas to pitch out, I was eager to hire columnists, I had a few ideas for regular features and how to balance the print content with online-exclusive content, and I was excited to be a part of the mysterious MOVE editor traditions that Heather had mentioned to me.

I can’t say that I have the same confidence when it comes to Campus Life. This was the section’s first year, and as one of Campus Life’s only consistent writers I know firsthand that the section was never really defined. Campus Life covers student features, university research and produces bi-weekly Long Reads stories online. It’s broad, it’s vague, it’s somewhat ambiguous. As I was hyperventilating in my room yesterday and laying in bed, staring at the ceiling last night (I only managed to get a whopping three hours of sleep, partially thanks to someone pulling the fire alarm at 5 a.m.), I was terrified about the task I have in front of me — of shaping Campus Life into a more definitive section; of producing Long Reads stories, a feat I have never attempted to approach before; of coming up with story ideas that aren’t completely dull.

Then I started thinking of what a friend told me last night, “This was the section’s first year. The beauty of that is you could totally take Campus Life and make it whatever you want it to be.”

And she’s right. I have the control to turn Campus Life into whatever I want it to be. Sure, I might not have any idea how to do that right now, but I will eventually. I’ll learn what works and what doesn’t as time goes on. Long Reads won’t seem as daunting after I tackle the first few stories. I can fill Campus Life with student profiles and make it fun. I’ve written some great stories for the section this year — stories about student veterans, artists looking to spread love, and people overcoming hardships. These are the stories I want to fill Campus Life with next year.

I’m excited for next year. I’m excited to be the second Campus Life editor, to take new writers under my wing and become their friend, to create a great section. I have my anxieties, I’m disappointed that I didn’t get my first pick, but I got something, and for that I am beyond thankful.

This is an opportunity for me to grow and diversify as a journalist. And with the experience as Campus Life editor listed on my resume, I am one step closer to moving to that big city and working for that big entertainment magazine.

To the 2014-2015 school year, bring it on.

If You Want to be Happy…

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a pessimist. I blow small things out of proportion, I have anxiety attacks over nothing, I always expect the worst, I throw pity parties for myself on a daily basis.

Do I enjoy being in a constant state of negativity? No, not at all. So why am I? Why do I deny myself the simple pleasure of being happy? What’s so hard about looking on the bright side instead of worrying and overreacting?

I have a lot of positive aspects in my life which vastly outnumber the bad, but I’ve noticed that I tend to focus only on the minuscule problems I have instead of focusing on everything that is good.

Today is the second-annual International Happiness Day, a day established by the United Nations that recognizes happiness as a “fundamental human goal.”  Today is a day for kind words, positive vibes and free hugs. And in honor of today, I’m making a resolution: to be happy.

St. Patrick's Day with Hatch 5. One of many very happy days I've had at college.
A Hatch 5 St. Patrick’s Day celebration. One of many very happy days I’ve had during college.

I have a lot to be happy about.

I’m happy that I’m going to college at Mizzou, which is home to one of the best journalism schools in the country. I’m a beat writer and a columnist for The Maneater. There’s no other place I’d rather be, especially when it comes to preparing myself for my career in journalism.

I’m happy because I have the best friends that anybody could ever ask for — both at school and back home in Kansas City.

Hatch 5 geeking out at the midnight premiere of "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire."
Geeking out at the midnight premiere of “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.” One of my favorite nights.

My Hatch 5 family at Mizzou has made Columbia a home away from home. It’s crazy to think that I’ve only known everyone for seven months. We’ve had many adventures since we all came together in August — an ill-fated trip to the Magic Tree, dodging creepy guys at frat parties, cosmic bowling, celebrating snow days, degenerate tailgates and being intoxicated at football games.

Outside the stadium before the Homecoming game. Even though we lost, it was still a great game and a very happy evening.
Outside the stadium before the Homecoming game. Even though we lost, it was still a great game and a very happy evening.

I’d be lost without my friends at home. It’s great to know that I have such a solid group to come home to when I’m not at school. I’m happy that I can be myself around all of these kids and that they, for some reason, still seem to love me.

One of many happy summer nights at the Drive-In back home.
One of many happy summer nights at the Drive-In back home.

I’m happy that I finally got my braces off, and that I can now enjoy eating without the fear of getting half of my food stuck between my brackets.

I’m happy that I’m in school, doing well, and have professors who inspire me, get me thinking, and genuinely care about the success of their students. (And I’m happy that I only had one class today).

With all of these beautiful things in my life, it doesn’t make any sense why I spend so much time obsessing over what I don’t have. Right now, I’m exactly where I need to be in life.

Today is a beautiful day. It’s the first day of spring, sunny, 68 degrees, breezy. The campus is alive with students playing soccer, walking their dogs and basking on the Quad. Take it all in. Make the 20 minute walk to Noodles and Company with your friends. Drive around town blasting Lady Gaga with your car’s top down. Be happy.

Happiness is a choice. If you want to be happy, make the decision to do so. You don’t have to have everything you want in life to be happy.

As Leo Tolstoy said, “If you want to be happy, be.”

One Mizzou: Love always wins

Today love proved it was stronger than hate. Today I joined over approximately 2,000 other students to build a human wall, blocking the Westboro Baptist Church’s protest against Michael Sam, the former Mizzou defensive end who announced Sunday that he is gay.

The event, Stand With Sam, was organized on Facebook this week, with nearly 5,000 attendees. The plan: make a human wall, arm and arm, wearing black and gold, to peacefully protest Westboro’s “preachings” of hate.

Westboro Baptist Church. This “church” is based out of Kansas and is known nationwide for its extremist, intolerant beliefs. They travel around the country protesting anything they deem “sinful,” particularly homosexuality. (They also frequently protest the funerals of fallen soldiers because they believe God is punishing the United States).

Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com

Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com

This is what I don’t understand: where does all the hate come from? Why are people so full of hatred? What makes Westboro travel hours out of their way just to wave signs saying “Death Penalty 4 Fags?” Why do people try to impose their own personal views onto others?

Sometimes the world can be an ugly place, especially the people in it.

But today, the world is beautiful. And it was made that way by those who came out to support Michael Sam. People passed out “Stand with Sam” buttons, wore shirts that read “We’re All Como Sexual,” and held up signs with “I Love You” written on them. They stood in 27 degree weather for two hours, holding the wall strong. They put their arms around one another and sang the alma mater. They chanted M-I-Z Z-O-U and M-I-Z S-A-M. They turned their backs on the Westboro picketing.

Thousands of students came out to support Michael Sam. Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com
Thousands of students came out to support Michael Sam. Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com
One Mizzou. Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com
One Mizzou. Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com
Photo courtest stephennotsteven.wordpress.com
Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com

Later this afternoon after Westboro left and the wall disbanded, this appeared on the group’s Twitter:

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Pathetic?

Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com
Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com
Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com
Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com

Today I was so incredibly proud of my school and this town. No matter what your beliefs are, Mizzou supports their own. We are a family. We are one. And no matter how much hate exists or how strong that hate is, love will always triumph.

Today, I love journalism

I love days like today. Days where it’s 40 degrees outside but after the sub-zero temperatures of the past month it feels like spring. Days when you find a clothing sale happening in the Mizzou Store and grab a MIZ SEC T-shirt for a mere $5. Days when you’re in a super positive mood for no reason. Days when all of your favorite sans-“Frozen” songs play on the Disney Pandora station as you procrastinate from studying for your geology test next week. Days when you have a hoard of the new cookie dough Oreo cookies stocked in your dorm. Days when you’re finally recovering from a cold that has been plaguing your immune system for the past week and a half. Days when you don’t care that you’re once again going to be single on Valentine’s Day because you have friends you can watch “The Princess Bride” and stuff your face with. Days when you find yourself walking down Rollins street with a spring in your step, inspired.

Today is a good day. Today I am absolutely inspired by journalism.

Lately I’ve been constantly busy with my duties at The Maneater. Between my beat, my column, and picking up the occasional pitch for MOVE, I’ve been feeling incredibly overwhelmed with the workload. Often I’ve found myself sitting in my lounge, working on a story, and venting my frustrations aloud to the people who are unfortunate enough to be in my vicinity.

“I hate journalism. I’m so sick of it. Only crazy people want to do this as a career,” I’d say. Or maybe something more along the lines of, “Everybody here is so obsessed with journalism. Their lives revolve around it and I don’t want my life to revolve around my career. I don’t want journalism to be my life.” Then I’d proceed to begin my writing ritual: complain how the story I’ve been assigned is boring, procrastinate on calling sources, freak out about interviews, bang my head against my desk (sometimes literally), stay up late writing a story I’m convinced is complete shit, and grimace as I email it to my editor.

But through all the complaining, through all the stress, through all the time consumption, there is nothing I want to do more in this world than journalism.

I want to write. I want to tell stories. There’s nothing like pouring your heart and soul out into a piece and seeing it in print. It’s an incredible rush, there’s no better feeling than knowing that you were the one who created it.

Today I went to journalism class. J1100: Principles of American Journalism, a class taught by my favorite professor I’ve had since beginning college. She’s worked as a reporter and editor at the St. Petersburg Times, The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Newswires. This woman is an inspiration. She has so many stories from her time in the field about giving a voice to the voiceless, telling the stories of people whose stories would never be told otherwise, serving the public good. Even her simple motto of “Don’t Panic!” inspires- it’s exactly what I need to hear every week as I’m continuously hit by waves of work.

Today, we were told to know the definition of journalism: “Journalism is a set of transparent, independent procedures aimed at gathering, verifying and reporting truthful information of consequence to citizens in a democracy.” (Write it, memorize it, do it!) She showed us a video of Bob Woodward giving advice on reporting and offered a bit of advice herself (“If you remember nothing else from this class, make it this: get your ass out of the chair and check it out!“) After sitting through her lectures, I leave feeling motivated to write and create.

Today’s lecture only reinforced the journalism high I’ve been riding since yesterday when I interviewed Frank Pavich, the director of a documentary called “Jodorowsky’s Dune,” for a MOVE story. “Jodorowsky’s Dune” is one of the films coming to the True/False Film Festival in a few weeks. True/False is a film festival that is based out of Columbia, where some of the year’s best documentaries are shown, there are panels held with the creators, and there are secret screenings.

I could practically feel the excitement and passion radiating off of Pavich during our Skype interview. He was nothing short of giddy when he spoke about this film he had invested three years of his life into making and how “totally incredible” it was for it to be included in True/False. It was the best interview I’ve had in a long time. I loved speaking with this man. I loved writing about him and the success he’s been having with “Jodorowsky’s Dune.”

There’s nothing like the rush you get from a great interview and a quality story. The feature I wrote for “Jodorowsky’s Dune” rejuvenated the passion I’ve had for journalism since I was a sophomore in high school taking the Introduction to Newspaper class. I’m a storyteller, it’s what I was born to do. I am in love with journalism.

And no matter how much I might mutter “I hate journalism” under my breath as sources don’t call me back or when I have to somehow cut 300 words from my story, seeing my name bolded in that byline every Wednesday is worth it.

Welcome to Missouri, the “Snow-Me” State

“Most days of the year are unremarkable. They begin and they end with no lasting memory made in between. Most days have no impact on the course of a life.” February 4th was a Tuesday.

Ever since I visited Mizzou during Summer Welcome, I have been eagerly anticipating the day I get to see the the campus covered in a blanket of snow. Jesse Hall, the columns, Memorial Union, everything. Mizzou amazes me with its beauty each and every day, and I could only imagine how gorgeous it would be once snow finally fell.

Today was the day I’ve been looking forward to all these months.

Today I woke up to find CoMo transformed into a winter wonderland. Continuous flurries fell from the sky, accumulating into around five inches of snow. It was cold, of course, but not windy, making the weather bearable. A perfect day to go outside.

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Snow day at the Francis Quadrangle and the iconic columns.

The Hatch 5 family bundled up and braved the snow, trekking across campus and making our way to the Francis Quadrangle, occasionally stopping to pelt each other with poorly made snowballs. It was more beautiful than I ever could have imagined.

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Jesse Hall, our makeshift hill.

Winter has always been my favorite season, for a variety of reasons- the Holiday season/music/cheer, wearing cozy sweaters and sweatshirts, the warmth of fire places, and, above all, snow. I could spend hours sitting on a windowsill watching the snowfall and drinking hot chocolate. It makes everything so much more beautiful and serene.

Today was my very first college snow day, and it was a day that will stay with me for years to come.

My dear, dear roomie.
My dear, dear roomie.

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve had a rough start to the semester. I’ve been feeling sad and alone and more than a little angry, and I’ve been exhausting myself by trying to hide it. This day was exactly what I needed- a day of friends and fun in the snow, sledding down the steps of Jesse Hall (dangerous and terrifying but very fun nonetheless), throwing snowballs, making snow angels, watching the boys slide around playing football, and taking way too many pictures.

It’s crazy how one blissfully perfect day can cancel out two weeks of not-so-great days. Today, the problems that have been plaguing me for the past couple of weeks didn’t exist. Nothing mattered this afternoon. I was there, in the moment, with some of the people I love most. I think this is what Stephen Chbosky was talking about when he wrote The Perks of Being A Wallflower– today, I felt infinite.

And with another snow day called for tomorrow, I can’t wait to do it all over again.

Snow Day group picture
Photo courtesy stephennotsteven.wordpress.com

Today was awesome. Life is awesome. I love my friends. I am so lucky. Hatch 5 forever.

A reflection on my first semester of college

I came into college terrified.

I was so excited to move away, to be on my own, to surround myself with new people and new situation and figure out who the person I want to be is. College was all I could think about for the entirety of my senior year in high school. When I graduated, I was even more ready to enter the world of higher education. And then, unexpectedly but completely normally, when it got down to the one month mark until the fantasy became a reality, I became scared shitless.

Granted, my school is only two hours away from my home and nearly forty of the kids I graduated with in high school are attending the same institution, but on move in day I realized I was completely and utterly alone. Two hours is a long way. Of those forty other Lee’s Summit West survivors, I was only friends with two of them. Neither of which I had any classes with or lived in the same hall with. To top it all off, I had never been away from home before. It was more than a little scary, and I definitely cried in front of my roommate, whom I was meeting for the first time that day.

The first few days were strange. The hall was deserted. I knew there were other people, but I had no idea where to find them or what to say once I did. All but two of the girls in the hall were rushing, which meant they were out of the dorm all day parading around Greek Town. The very first interaction I had with other real living, breathing residents of Hatch Hall were with two guys who kept trying to show me Adventure Time videos on Youtube, which I had no interest in.

But after people started opening their doors and coming out of their rooms, Columbia became a much less frightening place.

A stranger invited me to (an illegal) game of darts in his room with a bunch of other strange and diverse people. I found myself in an unlikely group outing to a magic show, a movie, and Target. Somehow I ended up as part of “The Sandy Balls” volleyball team. We were all in a new town, at a new school, and most of us didn’t know anybody.

As the semester continued, the hall has morphed into what I now refer to as the “Hatch Five family.” It’s amazing how people bond over endless hours of ESPN (against my protests about sharing the lounge tv), cheering on the tigers at football games after degenerate tailgates, almost dying at frat parties, etc. Without a doubt, my favorite part of college is the people I have met and come to care for.

Another big highlight of my first semester of college has been working at The Maneater, the student-run newspaper. I am incredibly honored to be able to work there as a beat writer, and next semester I will be the movie columnist, which is pretty much my dream career. From day one, I have felt nothing but accepted with open arms by the editors and other writers who always work with me on stories, give me advice, and  let me crash their parties unannounced.

Put all of that together, along with classes that went (mostly) without a hitch, and I had one amazing first semester. I’ve made friendships that will last through years to come, memories that I will always hold on to, and a fair share of embarrassing and hilarious stories that I will be sure to recount in the future when I talk about my “college days.”

The year is half over. And that’s scary as hell. I don’t want this time to end, but I’m looking forward to the next semester and the six others that will follow.

Someone once told me, “People say college is the best four years of your life. And yeah, they’re good years, but they’re not the best.”

And right now, I say back, “Bullshit.”

College is the best.

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.