A Snapshot of Home for P’s Finals Week

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Dear P,

I’m sorry you’re stuck finishing finals. I have landed solidly in our hometown for the summer; you’re not missing much. It rained today for the first time since January. The smell was amazing. My granddad put a rain gauge in his front yard to measure the addition to the 9/10ths of an inch of rain we have gotten so far this year.

Before it started raining I went to yoga class with B at the new yoga studio on 34th Street. My brothers use my yoga mat to put under their sleeping bags during Boy Scout campouts, so it smells like campfire. The smell was distracting as I tried to focus my breath as I lay prone on the mat. My fourth grade reading teacher was doing the same thing next to me. Things are kind of awkward between us. I talked to her the first lesson I saw her. Since, we haven’t really chatted; we just smile and nod. What do you say? “Look, I have come far from the weird kid I once was, but I still can’t really do the third warrior pose?”

My chickens are doing well. I expected them to be picked off immediately by the foxes that live in our neighborhood after my dog died last month, but they are still hanging in there. They are so dumb it takes them a long time to realize when they are being fed. When they do realize, they attack their corn like little Velociraptors. It’s not hard to imagine how birds evolved from dinosaurs around them, but it still blows my mind. My mom made a new coop for them. You can just pull out a little drawer to get their mini-dinosaur eggs. They’re so dumb, they can’t count how many eggs they have, so as long as you leave a fake one they won’t get upset and start hiding their eggs somewhere else.

Last night I went to see Godzilla with B, H, J, and H’s boyfriend. We went to Sheridan’s afterwards. We watched a black pickup truck drive over a curve across a grass median into the Rosas parking lot. There were a lot of strange, green, square-ish bugs that kept getting in our hair and teenagers that dropped their frozen custard on the ground because apparently they’re dumber than my chickens. I knew the girl that made our ice cream. J and I tried to remember her last name as we approached her in line. Our hometown is just so small. It’s hot, dry, and claustrophobic in a nice way. Like a sauna with all your friends from middle school and their grandparents in it.

 

Come home soon, yeah?

E

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How to be an Introvert in College

“Be a loner. That gives you time to wonder. To search for the truth.”

Albert Einstein

 

“Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to. Stay home on New Year’s Eve if that’s what makes you happy. Skip the committee meeting. Cross the street to avoid making aimless chitchat with random acquaintances. Read. Cook. Run. Write a story.”

Susan Cain, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

 

“The core of all my writing was probably the five free years I had there on the farm. […] The only thing we had was time and seclusion. I couldn’t have figured on it in advance. I hadn’t that kind of foresight. But it turned out right as a doctor’s prescription.”

Robert Frost

 

“Tell him solitude is creative if he is strong and the final decisions are made in silent rooms. Tell him to be different from other people if it comes natural and easy being different.”

Carl Sandburg

 

Dear P,

Happy Easter! I’ve been enjoying your snaps today.

You may not think this post applies to you, an extrovert, but I think the core of it is important for everyone. Here it is: your energy is your own. It is the most valuable resource you have. Guard it carefully.

Okay, you don’t have to read the rest of the post now.

My energy is easily depleted by communication. I am one of the more introverted people I know. This does not mean I am shy. If I have had a relaxing, solitary weekend like this one, only talking to people I love dearly, eaten properly, and slept well, then I can charm a whole group of people at a cocktail party. If my conditions are not optimal, however, my communication skills are the first to suffer until I can recharge myself.

Learning the research about introversion has helped me to accept it in myself. In “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”, psychologist Susan Cain discusses how it is possible to predict whether babies will be introverts or extroverts. If you give an introverted baby a drop of lemon juice, they will produce more saliva. If you expose an introverted baby to a loud noise, they will cry more. Introverts simply require less sensory activity to keep them happy.

Outgoingness is highly valued in this country. I feel lucky that I have been forced to improve in this area, while areas that I am more naturally inclined to are not as stressed (but equally important). I am a very good listener. When I meet good talkers I am a little jealous of them at first, but I quickly become aware of how little they practice listening. I will usually pick up on important information, like group dynamics, more quickly than they do. Because I have grown up in a place where we went to go to school every day and engaged in group activities (probably the most exhausting thing an introvert can do), I find it easy to force myself to do tiring things now, like exercise and studying. I have been pushed by our culture and now I push myself through exercises like “Seen on UT Campus”.

At UT, I have learned the importance of balancing pushing myself and caring for myself. This is a big school with lots of people. Sometimes, I can’t find a place to study alone. Sometimes, I can’t even find an empty bathroom. A couple of months ago I started hyperventilating and crying in the crowd on campus because I couldn’t find a place to be by myself. Everyone stared at me, which made it worse. Now, I have carefully mapped out empty classrooms where I can study in between classes. I have not made it a priority to join groups for the sake of joining them. I am part of a neuroscience group called “Synapse”; I invest energy in my EMT class and UWC job, and besides that I keep my time for myself. I don’t go out unless I want to, which is about once every two or three weeks. Saying no to my friends when they want to party has been difficult for me, but I have to do it to stay sane. I have found that they usually understand and still have fun without me. I find it easier to socialize in planned daytime activities, like getting lunch or exercising with friends. I don’t talk to people in my classes if I don’t feel like it. The idea of joining a sorority or spirit group boggles my mind.

Running has helped me find time for myself. No one tries to talk to you while you are running. You can ignore pretty much everything that’s going on in your life except step, step, step. People don’t like to hear that you can’t hang out with them because you lack the energy to communicate with them, but saying you’re running, swimming, or studying for something urgent usually does the trick.

I still feel shame when I think about this aspect of my personality. I am embarrassed that I can’t just be normal and talk to people like everyone else. However, I am grateful that I am familiar with my weaknesses so that I can work to improve and adjust my life to compensate. And, of course, my introversion is a source of my biggest strengths: my ability to listen, read, learn, and write about it afterwards.

If you’re interested in this stuff, Susan Cain’s book and TED talk are both great.

Much love,

E

Focusing on the Big Picture

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Dear P,

I miss you so much! I am so looking forward to our road trip and summer quests.

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In the words of the great Willie Nelson, I can’t wait to get on the road again.

My free time this semester has been divided into two extra learning experiences, as you know. One is an EMT-basic certification class and the other is the UT Undergraduate Writing Center internship. These are two very different skills, but I have been surprised by how much they have in common.

Both have routines meant to ward off critical mistakes. Both focus on making sure you, the helper, are “safe” first. In an emergency situation, an EMT is not supposed to enter the scene if anything looks unsafe, even if she can see an ailing patient. We learned what meth labs look like this week so that we will be able to avoid them. If a writer makes a consultant feel uncomfortable, the consultant is expected to ask for a replacement at the front desk.

Most of all, I appreciate how both EMT school and the writing center curriculum teach you to approach what’s really wrong first, and then focus on the details. Grammar doesn’t matter if the ideas in your essay don’t make any sense. Splinting a broken wrist won’t help if a patient’s lungs are collapsing. It is easier to notice minor injuries as the sufferer. If your finger has been sliced open, you will be able to see and feel it. However, a lacerated finger isn’t going to kill you. More serious injuries (heart attacks, strokes, diabetic emergencies) may hurt, but not always in a way that is easily recognizable. That is why patients/writers need EMTs/writing consultants to help them reflect over what is a big issue and which is a small issue. None of us have unlimited time. We have to pick which problems to focus on.

When I have a problem in my life, I often find myself obsessively cleaning my room. This has yet to help me solve any real problems in my life, but I feel that if I could just get this floor clean things would be all right. This is like fixing grammar in an essay that lacks a thesis: an utter waste of time. I am beginning to recognize that when I act like this I need help to realize what is actually wrong. I turn to my own personal consultants, my mom (mainly), you, my dear IM (who hopefully will come back to Texas eventually), and other trusted loved ones to help me prioritize my problems. Only then can I stop being a myopic idiot and actually improve my life.

Who are your main consultants, P? Do you compulsively clean when you know you know something big is going wrong? Just kidding, I know you hate cleaning.

Much love and no clorox,

E

What Kissing Strangers Has Taught Me About Being Brave

Dear P,

A couple of weeks ago, you posted a video of complete strangers kissing. It inspired me to go up to random strangers and ask them if I could kiss them. This has led to loads of fun make-out sessions and a bad cold.

Just kidding. I haven’t been kissing strangers, just asking if I can take their pictures and ask a few questions, mainly about UT. I started a HONY-knockoff blog called “Seen on UT Campus”. For the last month, I have tried to post at least every day. I started this blog so that I could get better at speaking to strangers and to make people feel like individuals at this giant university.

I have to gather my courage for every one of these interviews. I get so nervous, I might as well be asking if I could put my mouth on their mouth. I’m not afraid of the possibility that the person I am interviewing will not want their photo taken. Every person I have asked so far has been flattered. What irks me about these interviews is that they are always awkward, at least for a couple seconds.

The price of human interaction is effort and awkwardness. It takes a certain amount of effort for me to make a space in my day to walk around campus with my camera. More than that, I very much dread the uncomfortable first few seconds of the interview, when the person asks, “Why do you want my picture?” and I have to respond, “I run a blog called ‘Seen On UT Campus.’”  This response always makes me feel stupid. It makes me feel stupid to admit that I care enough about something to go out and take pictures of strangers every day. I feel vulnerable, and I start interviewing my subject as soon as possible.

Brené Brown taught us that vulnerability is the key to having meaningful connection in our lives. I am going to go a step forward, and say that awkwardness is a key to having meaningful connections in our lives. You are supposed to feel uncomfortable sometimes. Yesterday, I read this article in Rookie. It is a roundtable discussion about money. The participants in the discussion came from all different backgrounds and they talked about how money and class affects their lives. The reader can tell that there are parts that made each of the writers uncomfortable, but they forged through this taboo topic because it helps them to understand each other more honestly. Another taboo in our society is tragedy. Last month, a member of our hometown community went through a grievous series of events. M and I were talking yesterday about how we keep trying to make letters, cards, and gifts for her, but they all seem trite. Our inability to give back to a person who has helped us so much makes us feel guilty, which feeds back into our lack of action. M and I made a pact yesterday that we would send in the things we had written, even if they seem lame to us. We decided it was more important to show our support than say the perfect thing.

The discomfort I feel every day for my “Seen on UT Campus” project helps me through conversations like this. I always admire how comfortable you feel talking about religion. Yesterday, Nick Offerman came to speak at UT. He started talking about his views on religion and you could feel the tension building. A lot of people left the event. Offerman talked about the need to have calm, open discussions about religion. I agree with this sentiment, even though I think these conversations can only happen if we have nothing to prove, if we accept that we disagree with other sentiments and they are still valid. Not long ago, Bill Nye the science guy had a debate with Ken Ham about evolution vs. creationism. Everyone I have talked to, including some of my professors, agree that this debate was a colossal waste of time. Creationists are aware the evidence for evolution, for the most part. They just choose not to believe it, which makes me uncomfortable, but it is their own business what they believe. To continue a positive discussion with a creationist, I would have to embrace my discomfort and listen carefully to what they have to say. You are very good at doing this, P.

I may not be kissing strangers, but as a human, I deal with uncomfortable situations every day. I try to put myself in as many uncomfortable situations as possible so that I can expand my comfort zone. You do the same, taking hard classes and putting on magnificent events that could go wrong. Yesterday I listened to James Altucher’s podcast with Dan Harris. Harris talked about a phrase his father used a lot: “Insecurity is the price of security.” The price of having solid, open relationships is effort and discomfort. Putting yourself in uncomfortable situations is the cost of striving to be better.

Love,

E

Letter from the Trapstealers

Dear P,

When I was in preschool, I used to play a game called “Trapstealers”. My friend J and I would roam around looking for the trapstealers, who were evil, terrifying beings that stole and trapped. Brave children that we were, we took it as our personal responsibility to track them down. The trapstealers were wily, but they left clues for us to follow. J led the expeditions, while my job was to find and interpret the evidence they left behind. Sometimes they would write on leaves or send messages in the patterns of pebbles in the sandbox.

A small part of me still wonders about the trapstealers. If I see notes on the ground, I will pick them up and look at them. Yesterday, I found this:

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If the trapstealers were trying to prepare me for a zany interview, they succeeded. Here are my answers to these questions:

“Are you more of a hunter or a gatherer?”

The trapstealer story proves that I’m more of a gatherer.

“If you were a pizza deliveryman, how would you benefit from scissors?”

I’ve never delivered pizza, so this one is hard for me. Maybe if I were a pizza deliveryman gridlocked on the Atlanta interstate on January 28, 2014, I could have helped that woman deliver her baby. I could have used my scissors to cut the umbilical cord.

“Give me a time you faced a difficult situation and how you responded.”

I hate this question. Usually I deal with difficult situations by calling my mom and eating a gross amount of chocolate. Next.

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

In five years, I’ll be twenty-five. If I continue on my current goal trajectory, I will be reading 100+ books a year, travelling all over the world, and completing Ironman races. I will be doing activities I like with people I like. These are the things I can (kind of) control. I don’t know about any other specifics; the future is too uncertain.

“Tell me what you know about this company.”

I know that you leave mysterious interviews on the ground so that curious bystanders can learn your secrets.

“Why do you want to work for this company?”

The scissor question is interesting.

“What is your biggest strength?”

I keep trying.

“What is your biggest weakness?”

My shyness.

“Tell me about a suggestion you made that was implemented.”

My freshman year, I wanted to start a group for autistic college students at UT and students interested in being their friends. I was very excited about this group and wrote out a long proposal, which I gave to a professor. She never got back to me and I didn’t realize I should email her again or continue to pester her until she paid attention to me (see the weakness answer). Yesterday, I received an email inviting me to exactly the group I suggested. I am happy it was implemented after all, even if I didn’t get to do it.

“Explain why we should hire you.”

You shouldn’t. I’m a weirdie who picks paper off the sidewalk.

“Do you have any questions for me?”

Yes. Who are you? What company do you work for? What are you trying to do? Why did you leave this message for a stranger? What are you trapping? What are you stealing?

How would you answer these questions, P? I miss you loads. You look stunning in your fashion post.

Love,

E

Vulnerability in Frozen and My Life

“Life is going to present to you a series of transformations. And the point of education should be to transform you. To teach you how to be transformed so you can ride the waves as they come. But today, the point of education is not education. It’s accreditation. The more accreditation you have, the more money you make. That’s the instrumental logic of neoliberalism. And this instrumental logic comes wrapped in an envelope of fear. And my Ivy League, my MIT students are the same. All I feel coming off of my students is fear. That if you slip up in school, if you get one bad grade, if you make one fucking mistake, the great train of wealth will leave you behind. And that’s the logic of accreditation. If you’re at Yale, you’re in the smartest 1% in the world. […] And the brightest students in the world are learning in fear. I feel it rolling off of you in waves. But you can’t learn when you’re afraid. You cannot be transformed when you are afraid.” Junot Díaz, speaking at Yale

Dear P,

I’m sorry about your computer troubles. I hope you can get everything up and running again soon. Also, I hope everyone reading this is safe and warm.

I spent May of 2013 at my aunt’s house in Georgia. I lived in the basement and spent a lot of time reading Murakami and Ian McEwan, listening to Joni Mitchell’s album “Blue” and hanging out with my two-and-four-year-old cousins.

That month I dealt with a lot of shame. I made awful grades my freshman year of college. I was in this program where I could have been pre-accepted to either of two Texas medical schools, but because of my grades neither let me in. I knew my GPA was below my honor program’s standards and wondered when I would get the email that I was kicked out. I had enormous opportunities offered to me and I wasted them. I felt like I had managed to mess up my entire future in my first semester of college and that the repercussions of my failures would soon set in.

I felt the same way Elsa feels in the beginning of Frozen after she curses her sister. She feels the shame of hurting Anna and the fear of what will happen if Anna and the rest of the world find out about it. Elsa worries that something crazy-awful will happen to Anna’s brain if she learns her secret because the troll-magician told her Anna shouldn’t know about any sort of magic.

Back to my aunt’s house, where I was listening to Joni Mitchell and awaiting my impending doom, too scared to talk to anyone except my mom and eventually my aunt about my situation. The storm never came. It stunned me to realize that, though I had made bad grades, life continued. I had one beautiful day after another. Life didn’t suddenly lose all of its precious moments: I continued reading and playing and working on weird projects (I was trying to come up with the solution to Australia’s cane toad infestation). In other words, I didn’t lose E when I lost her impeccable GPA. I didn’t feel dumber and the word “failure” didn’t brand itself on my forehead. I will always be me, always be resourceful, even if it took me a little while to learn how to make A’s in college.

My shame was blocking me from doing better. During my freshman year, I was embarrassed to talk to professors and ashamed to ask my friends for advice. I felt like the grades gave me a shroud of stupidity that kept everyone from respecting me and my ideas.

My transformation from scared girl to fearless diva has taken a lot longer than Elsa’s. I still make decisions out of fear some days. Grades are powerful. They have bolstered us up for our entire sentient lives. What happens when they no longer back us up, whispering yes, this opportunity is yours, you earned it, you’re smart, you work hard, your ideas are valid?

Only you hold the answer to that question. Rip off the band-aid, pick off the scab, let as many people as possible know about it. It’s the only way people can help you and, more importantly, honesty is the only way to help yourself. Grades are not mysterious, undeniable measures of self-worth. You can easily improve them, and I have.

My mom asked me today if I knew who Brené Brown is and I said, “Yeah. She’s the anti-shame vulnerability lady.” It clicked to me that shame is what I have slowly been shedding since May, shame is what was holding me back, and shame is why I identified so deeply with Elsa. I no longer learn for the grades and I no longer write for the accolades, and because of that I am free from the fear of not reaching them and the shame of not having them.

Since I read your post about choosing one word to think about this year instead of resolutions, I’ve been considering what word I want to base my life around this year. I chose the word “brave” today. I want to move beyond the fear of failure, the fear of feeling like I’ve disappointed the people I love, and the fear of traveling to unknown places. I want to live my life so mindfully I have no mental room for fear. When I feel fear and shame I want to tell people so they can help me, love me, give me advice and know that I have failed.

Bad things happen and life usually turns out okay. Some of it doesn’t. My mom, after she asked me about Brené Brown, told me that her friend was taking a course based on Brown’s teachings. My mom’s friend has experienced a devastating amount of tragedy in her life. Such sadness put my problems in perspective and reminds me of a quote from Dear Sugar:

“Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.”

So unclench your shoulders. Take a deep breath. Say some prayers for people you love. Create something, like Elsa created her magnificent ice castle. You can fail miserably and still have a brilliant life. In fact, you can’t not fail miserably and have a brilliant life. Shed the fear and enjoy yourself. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.

Yours,

E

Office Hours

(Me at office hours with one of my heroes, Anis Mojgani)

Dear P,

You’ve been blogging up a storm! San Francisco sounds beautiful and your job sounds AMAZING. I love hearing about all the magic going on in your life. Including those boss leather pants. Mostly the boss leather pants, actually. But yeah, the beautiful view of the city from your apartment, your adorable roommate, and that you get to choose the clothes for fashion shows doesn’t sound so bad either.

The first day of school was perfect, but I wanted to talk to you about one of my goals for this semester: office hours. In this stage in our friendship, you are aware of my authority-induced-social-anxiety. I failed to give volunteer Santa a hot chocolate I got him because I was too shy. Last semester, before I went to my favorite professor’s office hours every week to ask questions about my favorite subject, I had to stand outside and count to sixty while taking deep breaths, and even then I had to promise myself I would get some chocolate afterwards.

While many of my professors at UT have been nothing but kind and supportive, even in response to my high-pitched and rushed questions, there are many who would much rather be doing research or other work than spending time talking to nervous undergraduates. Which, I mean, I understand. My first semester of college, I went to talk to my psychology professor about the advantages and disadvantages of getting a psychology degree over a neurobiology/neuroscience degree. She had just gotten some bad news. Her blatant unhappiness coupled with my nervousness meant that I was completely unintelligible and nearly in tears by the end of the consultation. I have since thought in depth about how to improve my demeanor in office hours or in other situations where I feel intimidated.

Make sure you know what your professors do. Many of the professors at UT have summaries of their research online, and a quick google search never hurt anyone. This way, you have something to talk about other than yourself. Make sure you have a quality introduction planned, especially if you’re in a big class and there’s a chance that the professor has no idea who you are. For example: “Hi, I am E. I am a sophomore getting my degree in neurobiology and writing with a psychology minor. I am interning in the writing center and taking an EMT course in addition to my regular studies.” There are any number of things from that introduction that may resonate with a professor. Building rapport is the key here. I have found it helpful to bring professors some small, casual gift, like a hot chocolate. This makes them smile and keeps you from feeling like a sponge of their time. Look, you have something to offer them! I am going to meet with one of my old TAs (the great Joe Hanson of It’s Okay to Be Smart) so I can pick his brain about how he got to write for Wired magazine (one of my personal ambitions), whether or not graduate school is worth the time and money, and just generally how I can be more like him. Professors are obligated to at least be there to see you because you are paying them, but Joe has agreed to hang out with me out of the goodness of his heart. I have been scouring his videos to make sure I have plenty of conversation topics planned out, and during my research I came across a beautiful speech about special snowflake syndrome at the end of this video. I’m going to make a blank notebook or poster out of the speech somehow. It’s going to be awesome.

Remember, even though it might make you feel better to bring a small gift, most people want to help you. Especially professors. Their research may keep them busy, but building relationships with students is at least in their top three priorities (or they wouldn’t have become professors). Some rare asshats may dislike you right off the bat, but if you start off the conversation with hot chocolate and asking them about their research, you may even overcome a bad first impression. If you can’t, it’s in your best interest to switch classes. College is an investment of time and money, and there is no way you are getting the most out of your investment if you are not taking advantage of being in the vicinity of some of the best minds out there. Work to get the professor talking and make yourself feel as much at ease as possible. They’re just people, and all people like to talk about themselves.

You can ask many people for advice, not just your professors. I send regular fanmail to my favorite authors and bloggers, and sometimes they write me back (see Joe Hanson). Many of my heroes have made appearances at BookPeople, the local bookstore. I follow them on twitter so I can keep up-to-date. That’s how I got to talk to Anis Mojgani.

You probably think I’m ridiculous, P, because talking to people has always been your forte, but it’s a struggle for me and I have to continue to improve. If anyone has any advice for me, I would be happy to receive it (unless it’s “don’t be so neurotic” because I’ve tried that). In the meantime, I will continue practicing.

Love love love,

E

Ways to Get Educated

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Hi P!

You’re coming to my dorm in less than three hours. I’ve been living in sparkling anticipation and I have so many adventures planned for this weekend.

Yesterday, I was having lunch with our friend B and I mentioned MIT OpenCourseWare. To my surprise, he had never heard of it. There are so many ways to educate yourself using nothing more than a device with an internet connection that college is gradually becoming obsolete.

Here are a few:

MIT OpenCourseWare

If can’t find the course you want on MIT OCW, here’s some more. And yet more by iUniv, a Japanese start-up company. The University of Pittsburgh has free courses hereAlison is another great courseware database. So is UDAcity.

Khan Academy! Sal is the best math teacher I’ve ever had.

If you want to interact with other learners or real teachers, try P2PU, where volunteers act as free tutors, or OpenStudy, which has a similar goal.

If you want to learn a language for free, help me beat the Rosetta Stone monopoly and click here. Duolingo is one of my favorite websites.

Textbooks are expensive and cumbersome. Rather than buy an expensive art history textbook, use this. Thanks again, Khan Academy! CK-12 is a textbook site that provides books for kindergarten through 12th grade students. Flat World Knowledge textbooks are for the more collegiate. They are published under an open license, so they can be edited by professors. Connexions is a website with lots of learning modules, all for free!

These are just resources to find information. If you are looking to improve your study regime, I highly recommend Quizlet. You can share your flash cards with all your friends and test yourself on your phone with their cool app. Scott Young is my favorite learning-focused self-improvement blogger. He recently tried to take MIT’s entire computer science curriculum in twelve months.

Different ways of acquiring knowledge beg the question: Is college really worth it? I think so, mostly for the reasons Scott outline here. I am in the fortunate situation of being able to work in an important research lab over the summer, an opportunity I would not have if I were not in school. However, many people think college is a scam. Here are James Altrucher’s eight alternatives to college. I think we should all be able to justify our decision about whether to attend college as readily as we can justify our religious and philosophical beliefs.

Happy learning!

E

Oh Hey Nemo

Dear E,

As you probably know, it’s been blizzarding up here. Blizzard Nemo has hit Boston with full force. Here’s what I’ve been up to!

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On the first day it was snowing constantly but the blizzard hadn’t fully hit yet! So of course we went outside and took a bunch of pics and ran around. It was super fun!

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Aren’t my friends adorable?

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Then we had a onesie party. We drank hot chocolate and watched Tangled. It was pretty glorious.

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The sexiness is pretty overwhelming.

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When I woke up this morning there was literally 3 feet of snow outside. The snow would sometime come up to my waist!!!!

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I’m decked out in my snow gear. I actually wasn’t cold at all.

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There was a HUGE campus wide snowball fight which was pretty much a free for all. I got tackled into the snow a minimum of like ten times. Ahhhh, it was so awesome though!

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Here we’re being thugs.

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More friends!

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So on Friday night we were having a dance party….and then we decided to straight up go streaking in the blizzard. Basically it was one of the craziest nights of my life, and one I will NEVER forget. My roommate K and I decided that these are nights you live for.

It was freaking cold because we actually laid down in the snow and made snow angels but it was SUCH an adrenaline rush. We did it at 11 am, 12 am, and 1 am. It was CRAY.

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Anyway, now all the snow is turning slushy (rain and snow do NOT mix well in case you were wondering.) and we’re back to school. Miss you loads and I really enjoyed our long chat on the phone! ❤

-P

Novembaaaaa

Dear E,

You probably know of most of these songs but here’s my November playlist (:

Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison

Piano Man by Billy Joel

American Pie by Don McLean

I Will Wait by Mumford and Sons

22 by Taylor Swift

I Knew You Were Trouble by Taylor Swift

Stay Stay Stay by Taylor Swift

Home by Phillip Phillips

Feels Good at First by Train

How You Remind Me by Nickelback

Two Birds by Regina Spektor

Superman (It’s Not Easy) by Five for Fighting

Everybody by Ingrid Michaelson

One of Those Days by Joy Williams–It’s just been one of those weeks, sigh.

I’ve talked to you a little bit this week but not much. I had a pretty rough/stressful week but the good thing is that my week is over and I’m determined to make next week a super fun and productive week! (:

On that note, I won my first collegiate D1 race for crew today! Our boat didn’t do that great but it was really really fun. I had a good time talking to all my teammates and suffering through the unbelievable cold weather up at Dartmouth. We played catch phrase on the bus on our way home and it was super duper fun. I’ll post you some pictures soon!

I hope you get some snow this November and you rock your scarves and boots. I hope you drink pumpkin spice lattes and eat pumpkin pie (which is the best pie ever) and I hope you get to snuggle up with a good book at some point. And I hope you do well on your exams and stay happy even if it gets cold (: I LOVE YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

Love, P

P.S. I hope you like boys with beards because it’s no-shave November, KILL MEEEEE.