My reality of settling

I would like to picture settling in the form of sand slowly falling to the bottom on a sea shore after a long summer day of feet wading in and out of its salty waves.

My reality of settling, however, comes in the middle of the night when all is quiet around me leaving room for the racing thoughts in my head to change the stillness from calm to chaos in seconds.

They hide in silence and come out when all seems clear to bring up fears of insecurity, loss of control, and inability to move. They snicker in the silence knowing only I can hear their voices. They grow in the darkness, merely subdued by busying my mind with the toxins of social media.

I used to fear the silence. I feard these monsters and the power they continue to hold over me. I still fear the consequences if they win.

But more resently, I have come to embrace the silence. I confront the demons head on, an expert in these interactions by now. I face them knowing that the dreams of settling sand on the sea shore can never be my reality if the monsters of my mind infest the waters.

My hope is that the waves kick up enough sand to land right on top of those fears and bury them beneath the settling ground. But that wave can only come from me and I can only create such a thing by embracing the silence that I shouldn’t have to fear.

Maybe the settling will never happen; maybe it’s not supposed to. But each day I take another step and create another wave that may just be the one that saves me.

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Goodbye for Now

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On Sunday May 21, 2017. I completed the goal I’ve worked the last four years to reach. On my big bucket list of lifelong dreams, I was finally able to check this one off. It truly was a beautiful and bittersweet moment. It did not go smoothly, as things rarely do, and by the end of the day I was completely whipped, but I did it!

 

And in the midst of all the ‘lasts’ I still haven’t cried. My last day of classes, my last final, my last asian bowl (ok I almost cried at that one), and my last time time walking on campus as a Luther student. I expected that these things would be emotional and painful for me, but they really weren’t.

Then came the goodbyes.

Goodbye to my professors, goodbye to my mentors, my role models, the lovely people that make my asian bowl, goodbye to my friends. I thought that this would be the time that the tears would start to flow, and yet they didn’t. I have spent the last couple of days wondering why I haven’t been emotional about this whole process. And this is the conclusion I have drawn.

The goodbyes are only temporary for me. I have spent the last four years not just going from class to class only waving at the passersby, I have spent that time building relationships that I fully plan to last me for the next four years and beyond.

The professors that have taught me the many wonderful things I’ve learned in and out of my classes are more than just people who happen to be qualified to teach at this college, they are my mentors and role models in life. You don’t just walk away from people like that, you cherish them, you keep in contact, and you continue that relationship you’ve worked so hard to build.

To the real and true friends I have made in the last four years, know that your friendship was not simply a convenience to me. The goodbyes we said on Sunday will not be the last! We have been through too much and shared too many beautiful memories for that to be so. The love I have for you all surpases time and space. It may not be in person; maybe it’s only a phone call now and then, a skype session, or a snapchat, but we will see each other again and there will be many more goodbyes for us to share.

Maybe this wishful thinking of goodbye only being for now is a little too romantic. Maybe it’s just my way of coping with this change in life. Interpret it how you will, I know that graduating Luther is not the end. What will keep me going is knowing that it’s not a goodbye forever, just a goodbye for now.

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Am I a Sociologist Yet?

We go to college for roughly four years. Some of us go on to another four plus years of school. Some go into the workforce. Some continue their education or work in another country. Some move back to their parent’s house. But when do we really become the person we are working so hard to be? For me that means asking… Am I a sociologist yet?

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When I was a kid I wanted to be a singer, a marine biologist, a counselor, a dog walker and probably a million other things. Now, my goal is to be a sociologist. This is what I have spent the last four years of my life focusing on, but now I fear that I won’t know it when I get there I’m sure (and not-so-secretly hope) that I’m not the only person facing this existential crisis right now!

However, last Friday I think I saw a glimmer of hope. On April 28th, a group of sociology students and professors headed to Dubuque Iowa to present research at the Iowa Sociological Association. I was able to spend the day hearing a variety of presentations on an array of topics in the area of sociology; including homosexuality in churches, the glass ceiling for women working in academics, and the effects of labeling theory concerning drugs, sex work, and more. I also was able to present my senior paper through a program evaluation of a midwest prisoner reentry facility. These topics sparked brilliant conversation between all the sociologists (so everyone) in the room.

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Here, I really felt like a sociologist. I was surrounded by people who aligned with what I was talking about and shared my same passion and enthusiasm. I could say that I want to work in a halfway house or in prisoner reentry and I didn’t feel the pressure to explain or justify my decision. Being approached by individuals asking questions after my presentation reaffirmed the importance of the research I have spent months working on.

20170501_140935 (1)I don’t have a diploma (yet) and I haven’t officially started working in the field but in this moment, I really feel like I’m doing what I’ve been working towards for what feels like eternity. Maybe I’ve been a sociologist for longer than I thought. Maybe I’m not quite there yet. Maybe I never will. If someone has the answers I’m all ears! Until then, I’ll just keep surrounding myself with the people and places that challenge me to keep stepping towards whatever a ‘sociologist’ is, in hopes that one day I’ll get there!

The Power of A Ring

IMG_20161122_134922I had halfway convinced myself that I didn’t need another class ring. Obviously that thought didn’t last long as I now have a very pretty gold ring on my finger. But what was it that really made me change my mind? It wasn’t the desire for a new piece of jewelry this time.

The power of the ring was something that I had been told about from all of the ring wearing, past graduates of Luther College I have met so far. They all told me, “this ring will get you places, just wait and see.” I didn’t really believe them at first. I mean, it’s just a piece of metal and rock on my finger, how special is that? The stories continued and I equally continued to brush them off.

And then there was this moment. I was in Florence, Italy and I happened to run into someone who was wearing that beautiful gold band and ruby gem! I struck up conversation by mentioning Luther and the next thing I knew this lovely lady was buying my Lunch. I thought all the stories were dramatic and overplayed, but here I was, halfway around the world having lunch with a Luther grad.

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It was then, that I decided I would take the hit, buy the ring, and wait for the networking and lunch dates to come! I have officially had my ring for five months, and already many great conversations (and a couple free coffees) have resulted from it.

I didn’t believe in the power of the ring until it happened to me. But here I am, a soon to be Luther graduate, ready to tell story after story of all the great things my ring has given me. And to think, it should only take about 80 more lunches to cover the original price!

The one thing you should NOT say to a soon to be graduate

The one thing you should NOT say to a soon to be graduate

The dreaded question: “What are you doing after graduation?” We’d hoped we had heard the last of it after starting college, but four years later it is back! And guess what…. Some of us still don’t know!!

I personally feel like I am at a comfortable place in my life where I know what I want to do. I know what makes me happy and where my passion is, but anything more than that and I am a complete wreck.

I don’t know the details.
I don’t have a specific job that pays me millions of dollars a month lined up.
I am not married or even remotely seeing someone.
I am not going to grad school (although you may think I should).

I just don’t quite know yet. And you know what… that’s ok! I’ll figure it out, I’ll do something good for me and I will come to you if I really need help. Until then, let me be an adult, let me make my decisions. If I want your opinion, I will ask, I promise.

I know I cannot speak for EVERY senior as I voice these concerns and frustrations, but I feel confident in saying that the general consensus is the same.

Even for people who do know what they’re doing, it is the best procedure to wait for their prompt. If they want to tell you about their life plans, they will. And if you just can’t handle the suspense it is  STILL not acceptable to demand an explanation from them. You preface your question with something along the lines of, “it’s ok if you don’t but….” or “if you know your plans and would like to tell me I’d love to hear it.”

The last thing a soon to be college graduate wants to feel is a sense of disappointment in not having the answers they think you want to hear. Giving them the reassurance that whatever they choose is ok, is more important than you can ever realize.

So as we near Easter break, a time of family and dinners and inevitable conversation, please take the sanity of your soon to be graduate in mind as you make small talk in the kitchen or at church. There are so many other challenges a senior in college has to face, the last thing they need is an awkward, potentially deprecating holiday… Trust me!!

Spontaneous night out

The intentions were great: do some reading at a local coffee shop…. Well, very little reading got done but the night continued to be filled with a couple of cocktails and a three course meal at my favorite restaurant (and job) in town, Rubaiyat, with my favorite and only roommate!

There are so many awesome things our small college town has to offer: great coffee shops to study in, wonderful cocktail bars to chat and drink, and great establishments to dine AND drink.

Most of my time the last year has been spent working at the wonderful establishment of rubaiyat but tonight I was the one dining out!

Emily and I started the afternoon at Impact with the plans to drink some coffee and do some homework. Well… not much reading got done by either of us, but we had a very nice life chat, as seniors in college need every once in awhile.

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All of a sudden it was 5:00, just in time for Rubaiyat to open! How convienient!

We told ourselves we were just going to get a cocktail…. And maybe an appetizer! Very quickly, that turned into us sitting at a booth full to the brim with 2 cocktails, salad, bread, an entree and all we could eat of a delicious creme brulee.

Do I regret anything? Absolutely not!

Sometimes this is exactly what a girl needs. A spontaneous night out where we laugh and gossip and probably eat a little too much eat and drink just enough drink. I couldn’t have asked for a better evening with my favorite roommate ever!

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*Warning Sappy college senior moment coming up*

As ready as I am to start life in the world outside Luther, I have moments like these. I have always been told I will look back on my college days and remember the first and last days of class or turning in my senior paper or maybe the whole receiving a diploma thing, but when I look back at Luther I will remember these moments. Moments with some of the most amazing people that I have ever met. The spontaneous dinners, the coffee homework sessions that turn into the best therapy, and the loving friendship two complete strangers were able to bring to life over the last four years.

My goal is that the last six weeks I have at Luther will be filled with all of these beautiful memories.

Butterflies of my Soul

Butterflies of my Soul

The world stops. Everything is without motion except for the beating of your heart and the pulsing of your veins.

A large mesh cage appears and in that cage you place the butterflies of your soul. As you confront a feeling of pain, anxiety, happiness, loss or anything else, a beautiful butterfly materializes, reflecting that emotion. Once placed in the cage they may fight or console each other. But they wont be there for long.

When you feel like your emotions have been processed and materialized, you stand up and walk to the nearest door you can find.

You walk through.

A land of your creation awaits you. It is a warm medow in the middle of a forrest. The sun is welcoming to your newly naked and vulnerable skin. There is a lake near you with the clearest water you have ever seen.

You open the cage and release the butterflies of your soul into this world of serenity.

Your breathing slows. Your pulse settles. And for even a moment, you are at peace.

The lake lures you in with its crystal waters and soft stirrings. You wade in, cleansing yourself of the struggles of life.

You dry off by laying in the grasses of the meadow. Sometimes you are greeted by a rabbit or a deer. Sometimes you are left alone to process and breathe.

Looking up, you see the butterflies of your soul flitter around free, but hesitant to fully leave. Some never do.

When you feel satisfied, you walk back through the door into the motionless world you left. You take your place back into reality and live on where you left off.

Knowing that, soon enough, you will be able to return to this world of your making.

One day, forever.