Mari's Notebook

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Milestones & Hunkering Down

I write this the eve of the deadline for my first (two!) college essays. (The essays were for an English class and a Spanish class on García Lorca, if you must know.)

A college milestone, handing in my first papers. I feel so official now. Now not only have I attended classes and lectures…I’ve actually written something about them!

But in all seriousness, as I sit here on the futon at 4 a.m. the first thought that comes to mind is, how in the world did this happen?

In college, there is so. much. free. time.

And I’m not saying it comes as a surprise—my entire senior year of high school teachers and guidance counselors were telling us how it’s totally different in college. For instance, they told us we’d have a lot more free time and time outside of class.

No, but seriously. There is SO MUCH free time.

But I’m learning right now the real necessity of budgeting my time.

Because, let’s face it. It was totally unnecessary of me to start these essays so late.

Especially when I have 3-day weekends every weekend.

So right now, I’m tired. I’m sick of my writing, unsatisfied with the result…

I’m still not done, and they are due in seven hours.

But I have a resolution.

And that resolution is called Operation: Daily Library Time.

See, my university has many libraries. The library I like to frequent is more like an intense complete-silence study area. So basically, when I first walked into the library to start making headway with my papers, man did I get a lot of things done.

Because when you first walk into the library, EVERYONE turns and watches you come in. Because the door is really loud. And the door is the only thing that breaks the silence in the library. Seriously, I’m telling you I feel so guilty (like, so guilty) for even looking away from my work for two seconds just to check my email (or Facebook. or Twitter.).

And let’s not even get started on how I would not dare even think about playing Facebook Tetris Battle (new college-stress-relieving fad my suitemates and I have. My suggestion: do not start playing. You won’t stop. I mean, I think Tetris isn’t even that good a game, and I still can’t refrain from playing a couple (hundred) rounds a day.)

So Daily Library Time (DLT) is the solution to this—no matter how little work I have to do or how late it is, I will get in at least a couple hours of library time. No distractions, no music, no Keeping Up With The Kardashians blaring in the background. Ok. Good. I’m ready to start living up to my full-time occupation as “Student.”

Good luck to everyone else who is starting school/getting along with work/easily distracted.


P.S. I’ll try to have a more interesting post next time around. Because as fascinating libraries are…

This guy is so much better.

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Five Facts About My New College Life

1. Sleeping patterns change…and then they don’t.

So ever since second semester senior year, my sleeping pattern has been quite altered. To say the least. I’ve never been a nap person, but for months it has been almost impossible for me to sleep through an entire night. Typically a night is broken up in two or three rounds of sleep, each separated by a period of time where I would suddenly have a burst of energy and do something “productive.” And by productive, I mean I’d either change my bed sheets, watch the latest episode of Pretty Little Liars and/or The Lying Game (shut up. You know you watch them, too.), or organize my shoe collection. Nights are always interesting, more or less.

So as I was mentally preparing for college, I decided this would change. I would go to bed at a decent time and sleep the full night. I didn’t see it as something I’d have to force myself to do; having a roommate and suitemates would push me to adopt more typical nighttime habits. It’s only out of consideration—and I tend to be a very accommodating person.

Not so, apparently.

I mean, I still consider myself a considerate person. It’s just that dorm life and having suitemates is all about altering habits but also just as much (if not more) of just dealing and working around it all. We’re all on different schedules, in different social clubs/associations and have different partying habits.

So as far as my sleeping pattern goes, tonight would probably mark the billionth time my roommate walked in on me taking one of my infamous naps on the futon. It’s a running joke though. I make up for all of this with bribes of Nutella.

2. There will always be distractions.

In high school, I don’t know about you, but when I went home on school nights, I stayed home. There was always more than enough homework to keep me occupied. However, since I’m only in class about 13 hours a week and “homework” is more like just keeping up with reading and the occasional problem set, nights are a bit more flexible.

And flexible they are.

Especially if you are involved in Amnesty International, which holds its meetings later at night in a cozy, somewhat messy basement room. I mean, its intense, because there’s only like fifteen of us around a big table furiously copying letters and planning the next big campaign.

And also especially if your dorm-mates are musical. And if your walls and ceilings are paper thin. Then there’s always an excuse to play a scavenger hunt for the cello/guitar/drum/viola player in the vicinity.

And even more especially if your dorm is co-ed. I hardly think it is necessary to explain further.

3. Four classes first semester is more than enough.

I mean now I really understand why there’s the saying, “Friends don’t let friends take five classes first semester freshman year.” There is so much reading. Like, so much. But I’m starting to realize and understand better—your education is what you make of it. I want to start taking as much advantage of the opportunities and resources here. Starting classes, starting college—I feel that much more driven. I hope it lasts.

4. The food is actually pretty good here.

Scratch that. The food is amazing here. Many options (I get to have a salad with every meal!) and there is always dessert. Which does not fare well with this whole Freshman 15 business. Brownies? Red velvet cake? Tres leches? (seriously I almost died when I saw they were serving tres leches cake one night. How decadent can a dining hall be?)

And my school has a pretty cool lunch swipe alternative. Because, sometimes with classes it is impossible to fit in lunch during the lunch hours. So, students have the option to go to this nearby, on-campus food/convenience store. And, using our lunch swipes, we can get $7 worth of food/stuff.

My go-to meal: Sabra Hummus Single, Steaz sparkling green tea in raspberry (organic. fair trade. vegan. Need I say more?) and a Cliff bar (preferably in coconut chocolate chip). That is only 25 cents over the $7 allowance. And since our lunch swipes don't roll over or's totally worth it.

5. The independence is amazing.

Granted I miss home like any other typical college student. But in a way, I feel the independence has helped me make healthier choices and really just be me. It’s hard to explain.

The next four years will be good.

More later, MD

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Hey everyone!

I would just like to say that I marked the official start of classes at 11:35 a.m. when I…didn’t walk into my Spanish Lorca class on time. Instead those beautiful seconds full of hope and wonder were spent walking awkwardly up and down the hallway with the freaking campus map in front of my nose just trying to figure out if I was even in the right building. Seriously. There should be a language course taught just to master all the building codes.

Well, anyway. The first day of classes was a lot more hectic and complicated than I had expected it would be. And this all actually started a day ago, when I didn’t win the lottery for ANY of my English classes. Which meant I was up for three hours just trying to find some suitable and interesting class that I could take on Tuesdays and Thursdays that would not interfere with my plans of having Fridays off. And I found one! It’s just that all this stuff is swimming in my head, and I can’t seem to really get anything  straight.

But I do have to say: I am not afraid to flaunt my textbook–shopping prowess.

So, in honor of this New Year, I decided to make a Resolutions/Goals List. So here goes…

1. Become a master jay-walker. So any college campus will consist of various roads and traffic. The sign of a true college student (as opposed to a freshman who walks around with a campus map and freshman handbook) is that he or she walks fearlessly into the road, recognizing the perfect opportunity to jay-walk.

2. Stay ahead in my studies. I really think that is self-explanatory. Though you can totally understand my priorities seeing that jaywalking comes first on the list.

3. Expand the breadth and depth of my reading. I tend to read only certain genres/subjects of books. I just want to be a bit more…um, cultured in the things that I read and my literary knowledge.

4. Read the news more. Like, lots more. I’m in college now, and should really know these things.

5. Write more often. My goal is to really push myself this semester.

6. Eat in all the dining halls. Seriously, this will be an interesting thing to do. My university has over 13 dining halls. No joke. Lunch today, I went to a very secret one at the Slifka Center for Jewish Life—no lines, great food and you don’t have to be Jewish! They are so nice. I spent like an hour and a half there.

I’m sure I’ll thin of more resolutions later on, but for now I’m a bit busy. I ‘m really trying to get an on-campus job, and I’ve signed up for seven….just haven’t secured one yet and I’m really freaking out.

Also, note to self: order textbooks before the start of class, even if there is a two-week shopping period where you don’t even have to commit to any class. College book stores always have them overpriced, so Amazon is any student’s best bet.

I’ll be much more savy of all this next semester. (Let’s hope)

Oooh. and new latest obsession. So glad there isn’t a Free People near campus. This is just so pretty and I would never be able to afford it. Whenever I see something like this, I vow to become a millionaire when I grow up. How I will become a millionaire, I have no idea.

Until next time…


WAIT. Did I mention one of my potential class’s professors is the most hilarious Italian man. Just saying.

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