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!

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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.

The Break in Spring Break

Spring break: A time for travel and sunshine and beaches and alcohol, right? That does sound like fun, and I wouldn’t complain about being somewhere like that right now, but what I really need requires very little travel and a lot of love and relaxation. What I need is quite simple. A break.

I’ve discovered that I feel the need to fill every moment of my time off doing what society tells me is fun and ultimately what “I am supposed to do” for this thing called spring break. But when I return, I end up feeling more tired and worn out than before I left. I get so anxious about doing all of these fun, seemingly necessary things, that I never get a chance to really take a break. This year, I decided to put my foot down and take some time for me.

Of course, I had some plans for this week, but they did not end up going… quite as planned. What was meant to be a fun few days with an old friend and lover prematurely ended by crashing back to reality with hurt and heartbreak. Again, not quite what I had in mind for this ‘break.’

In the moment, I knew that I could handle this problem in a few ways. For example, I could cry myself to sleep and stay that way for the rest of the week, or I could pick myself up and make the most of my drive up to Minneapolis. I decided to do a little bit of both. Emotions are hard and suppressing them is not healthy, so I decided to go to stay with my family in the cities. I told them what happened, and yes, I cried… a lot. The next morning, I got up, had some coffee, played with my nephews and later that day, my family treated me to a facial at a spa in town.

I am clearly sad about how the beginning of my ‘spring break’ has been, but I refuse to let that keep me from having the break I know I deserve. Spending time with my family is the healthiest way to follow this situation. Healing loss with love is the best remedy I know and that is exactly what I got from the hand I was dealt. If a life decision like this had to happen, this was the best time for it.

My mentality going into this week was to spend my time catching up and relaxing as well as processing where my life is at and where it was going. Even though the obstacles life has thrown at me, my goal remains the same. In fact, it is even more important. I still have 5 days before classes start to take in all of the ‘break’ I can, and you can bet I will do just that!

Final Semester Already!?

“The dreaded last semester at Luther College…”  at least that’s how I expected it to feel three and a half years ago when I came in as a first year. Don’t get me wrong, the dark cloud  of ‘adulthood’ is definitely hovering over my head, but I got my umbrella and rainboots and I’m ready to go.

The impending jump to adulthood, whatever the heck that means, is right around the corner and I am quite aware of this, but I don’t really feel like it has to be a bad thing! No promises I will feel the same way come the beginning of May or maybe the end of April when my senior paper is due…

Every now and then I get a little jolt of, “oh my goodness what am I doing with my life,” but that definitely didn’t stop me from taking a last first day of classes picture with my lovely roommate! We dressed up, headed to class and even made it through the whole day without a nap; if that’s not an achievement, then I don’t know what is!

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Emily and I being cute on our (last) first day of classes!!

All joking aside, I am a little nervous about finishing up my time at Luther. It’s been four years of ups and downs and literal dreams come true. I have done so much in my time here and have traveled to so many places. I would not give a second of that back and definitely plan on making the most of my remaining time here, however, I am ready to take those next steps. Maybe it’s from studying abroad so much and doing independent travel, maybe it’s working a consistent job, maybe the adult gene finally kicked in, but I really do feel ready.

I began feeling this way last semester when I decided I did not want to go to graduate school. It is not that I have no more room to learn, trust me, there is plenty that I still don’t know. It is more that I am tired of sitting around talking about impacting society rather than actually doing it. This is part of learning, you have to know what you’re going to do and what that means before you actually do it, and that’s great, but I’m ready for more. At least I think I am… I guess we’ll see!

So, although growing up and graduating college means that the bills will start to add up and the loans will come back to get me, it is a step I am more than willing (maybe even excited) to take. And until that day comes, May 21st that is, I will make the most of my final semester at Luther.

New Beginings, Second Chances and Tomorrows

New Beginings, Second Chances and Tomorrows

Yes there are a million cheesy catch phrases for new years that never fade:

“New Year, New You”

“Here’s to my new year’s resolutions”

“See you next year”

We’ve heard them all… probably one too many times. How many people really stick to those resolutions? Not a ton I’m guessing.

It’s pretty obvious that the world, and our place in it, is not going to change in the minutes between 2016 and 2017. My college debts will not be erased, I will not lose 20 pounds, and the man of my dreams will not show up in front of me. If those things did happen they would either be illegal, unhealthy or both!

But even after facing the not so bright reality of the January 1st, this continues to be my favorite holiday. Because whether we keep our silly resolutions or not, there are thousands of people feeling that same sense of hope for a new year. For at least a split second, people believe in themselves and the world around them to make this next year better than the one we are leaving.

And I think that is absolutely beautiful!

If we are being honest with ourselves, we could decide to change any day. Tomorrow I could wake up and say, I’m going to start going to the gym every day. Ok.. bad example concidering tomorrow is January 1st, but you get my point. We have the power to make those decisions whenever we want, but having a specific day  makes it just a little easier to believe.

So whether you are making your own new years resolution, spending the night partying away, or just curling up watching netflix, I hope you have that second, that little moment between 1159 and 1200, where you believe in new beginings, second chances and tomorrows.