Random Annoucement

So this is totally random but I made a second Tumblr on the 4th of last month, and if you’d like, you can follow it here. I’ll tell you right now, it’s a blog devoted entirely to fangirling over my musical crushes and inspirations at the moment. So far it includes Tyler Joseph of Twenty One Pilots, who I still can’t believe I’ll be seeing in concert in July, and Lu Han (aka “Luhan”), former member of the K-pop group EXO, who started his solo career in late 2015, and I am so glad my friend Janifer introduced me to his music because it’s great and so is he. I’d even go so far as to say his songs are better than the majority of trash that’s been passed along as “music” in the U.S.

Anyway, since my blog is relatively new, the number of posts I currently have is somewhat scarce but hey, it’s a work in progress! Feel free to let me know what your thoughts on it are.

 

The 1-month(ish) Anniversary of Gripp’s Resignation

This happened a little over a month ago (I know, I know, I’ve been terrible at updating) but I still feel like this deserves mentioning….

So basically, my favorite high school teacher resigned late last month. Despite the fact I’m no longer one of his students, the news left me deeply saddened, as Mr. Gripp was an extraordinarily entertaining and insightful English Lit teacher, who quite frankly, taught me a lot about myself and the world around me.  Thus, in order to pay tribute to him, I decided to create a video that I hope brings a smile to the face of anyone watching it, regardless of whether they actually knew him or not.

Also, here are some pics that further demonstrate just the kind of person Gripp is:

 

Freshman Year Reflection

So clearly I haven’t been as active on my blog this school year as I would have liked, but that’s honestly okay. In fact, part of me believes distancing myself from my blog this semester has encouraged me to focus my attention on the present, and hopefully that’ll allow me to perform a more comprehensive reflection on the past several months. Since I concluded my last day of classes this past Friday (the fact I somehow managed to survive my freshman year is still so surreal to me), I can’t think of a better time to discuss what this semester (and school year as a whole) has taught me. Thus, without further ado, here’s a list of what I felt were some of my biggest takeaways from this school year.

  1. Sometimes we think what we want is better than what God wants for us: Very early into the school year,  I started to grapple with the thought that I didn’t truly belong at Rice. I would see and hear all the wonderful things my friends from back home were doing at their respective schools and wonder why I wasn’t having a similar college experience. I began to feel inadequate because I was struggling at Rice academically, socially and mentally. I kept thinking, Why didn’t God just let me go to UT like the majority of my other high school friends? Not only would it have saved my family a lot of money, but given the size of the campus’s undergrad population, my chances of finding people with personalities and interests similar to my own would have been much higher. This isn’t to say that I didn’t meet any great people at Rice as the school year went on, but no matter how many times I told myself it was God’s will for me to be on this campus, I could never seem to shake my self-indulgent thoughts of what could have been. One thing I will say, though, is that since coming to Rice, my faith in God and relationship with Him have been strengthened tremendously.  I knew going into college that I wanted to get plugged into a Christian fellowship right away, and while there were undoubtedly obstacles along the road, I was eventually able to find a fellowship that I really felt I could grow in spiritually. I’ve learned so much about God, His Word and what it truly means to be a follower of Christ this school year, and I know deep down that’s something I never would have gotten had I attended UT.
  2. You’re not going to be friends with everyone, and that’s okay: Wow, where do I even begin with this one? Honestly, this is something I’ve known and heard for ages but never actually internalized. There have been so many times since coming to college that I blamed my social anxiety for preventing me from cultivating relationships with people I felt I had the potential to be really good friends with. It bothered me that I wasn’t able to carry on conversations with these people or really just be myself around them, and I wasn’t sure if it was more so out of a fear of rejection, messing up or missing out on the opportunity to get to know someone I seemed to have a lot in common with. I wrestled with this inner turmoil to the point where I began to feel ashamed and insecure about my inability to simply interact with these people. I started to avoid them and, even worse, pretended to dislike them as a way of rationalizing my odd, antisocial behavior. These feelings were practically eating me alive, until one day I finally acknowledged how exhausted this burden had caused me to become. I told myself that God is in control and that if He truly wants someone to be a part of my life or vice versa, it’ll happen on its own. I can’t force myself to forge a friendship with someone and beat myself up when I fail, because frankly if it’s not meant to happen — no matter how hard I try — it’s not going to. And accepting that truth will make your day-to-day interactions with people so much easier.
  3. You don’t have to accomplish everything you had hoped: Now, I feel like this can apply to several parts of my college experience so far. For starters, I can say with 100% certainty that I am a die-hard idealist. Coming into college, I had extremely high expectations for how my life would be. I convinced myself that I’d always be organized, on top of my work, and well put-together, that I’d have the look I’d always wanted (contacts instead of glasses, excellent makeup skills, etc.) and that I would spend my weekends hanging out with a solid core group of friends that I could count on. Fast forward 8 months later and I can tell you right now that none of those things actually happened. My level of organization is mediocre at best, my assignment completion rate is laughable, my mental stability is constantly in question, I rarely eat 3 square meals a day, I still don’t wear my glasses or have contacts, and usually spend my weekends holed up in my room on social media or doing homework. While I know none of this sounds particularly ideal, it’s something else that I think is even more important — and that’s realistic. I know that’s a pretty defeatist attitude to have, but hear me out. What I’m trying to say is there were many times this school year when I equated how successful I was with my ability to accomplish the goals I had set forth for myself. When I started to realize that I wasn’t doing too well in my classes, that I was struggling to keep up with my workload and that my roommate was having such an easier time getting out and making friends, I felt as though I’d failed myself. That I was foolish to ever think I’d be capable of overcoming the weaknesses I’d had for years simply because my environment had changed. But looking back, I see that just because we haven’t reached a certain milestone by the deadline we’ve set for ourselves doesn’t mean we’ve failed. Life’s a marathon, not a sprint, and if anything, freshman year is an opportunity to find out what our areas of weakness are and brainstorm practical ways of working towards conquering them. It’s fine to want to strive for greatness, but it’s not something that can be attained overnight. We each have our own personal timeline of achievements and shouldn’t allow our tendency to compare ours to that of others to dictate how we view ourselves or our accomplishments. So no, I wasn’t able to secure a job or an internship; I never got to rock dark lipstick and a fake septum piercing, not did I cure cancer, end world hunger or bring about world peace…but that’s perfectly alright.
  4. Don’t be afraid to change your mind: I came to Rice last fall as a Catholic 17-year old full-time student set on majoring in English and am leaving this spring as an 18-year-old part-time student and nondenominational Christian majoring in English and Policy Studies. As time passes and new information becomes available to you, your attitudes, beliefs, and interests may change; it’s a normal and natural part of the human experience and enables us to grow as people.
  5. Lastly, take comfort in knowing that God knows what you’re dealing with at all times: I say this because arguably the biggest thing to happen to me this school year was finding out that I’d have to live off campus during my sophomore year after making it onto my college’s “kick list.” Immediately, I got scared, not knowing who I would live with, WHERE I would live or how I would go about handling all the additional responsibilities associated with living OC (after all, I don’t know how to drive, ride a bike, go hunting for furniture, etc. etc.). I began to doubt God and wondered why He had put me in a situation I didn’t feel prepared to face at all, but as the semester went on, I learned to trust Him with my circumstances, and as a result, my doubts and anxiety regarding the situation slowly began to diminish. I was able to find a place not too far from campus and will be living there next school year with three other girls I knew prior to getting kicked off. While I don’t exactly know what living OC next year will hold in store, I do know that this situation has been in God’s hands from the beginning and that He works in mysterious ways. I’m hoping that living OC will overall be a beneficial experience by helping me become more independent, responsible, and prepared for life beyond Rice.

Overall, while there are still so many more things I could say about this school year, I think this is a good place to stop. While my freshman year at Rice hasn’t been easy, I found it to be very eye-opening and hope God will continue to reveal Himself to me throughout my last few weeks on campus 🙂

 

Troye Sivan at the Revention Center: 10/24/16

Wow, so I was going through my recent posts earlier and realized that I never wrote about this event or even mentioned it anywhere on my blog, which is surprising considering how much this day meant to me, so even though it’s a month overdue, here are some pics from my time at Troye Sivan’s concert during his Suburbia Tour.

This smol bean’s music is so meaningful to me, and I’m so proud of how far Troye has come as both an artist and an individual. Getting the chance to see him that Monday night was definitely the highlight of my week. I was at the barricade (something that’s never happened to me before) and I’ll never forget when he smiled at me and touched my hand during his performance of the song “Suburbia.” Even though this day marked the two year anniversary of my hospitalization, it ended up being amazing in every way, and this show is certainly an experience I’ll keep close to my heart forever ❤

Tales of a Freshman

Okay, so I totally didn’t plan this, but apparently it’s a day away from being exactly 2 months since I last updated my blog. I’ll admit, there were many times I found myself laying on my bed in my dorm room, contemplating pulling out my laptop, opening this site and simply word vomiting onto the page, but I could never seem to convince myself to do it. No matter how much I really needed to.

Because (to be totally honest), college has been anything but easy. Even now, several months in, I’m still trying to adjust to the pace and the workload, balance my time, and figure out who I am and why I’m here.

It was definitely a culture shock, one that I scarcely felt prepared for, but know I needed to experience at the end of the day…

Today marks the last day of Midterm Recess for Rice students, and I’m still amazed at the fact I’ve somehow managed to stay alive or not call it quits yet (because trust me, there have been many days I’ve wanted to).

And even though coming back home for the first time wasn’t the most glamorous thing in the world, it’s still something I’m glad I did.

Here are some pics I’ve strung together in a lame attempt to chronicle the past few weeks:

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Some sights from this cool graffiti park in Austin I went to with some friends.

10/9/16

Houston Zoo with my main 💕

9/18/16

 

First live concert in Houston. Went to see Marian Hill with opening acts SHAED and Vérité.

9/16/16

Church flow ft. The Roomie

9/11/16

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Self-explanatory I hope

8/29/16

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Views from the bed

8/18/16

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2 More Days Before Move-In

Yesterday afternoon, after weeks of careful planning and deliberation, I went to the domain and a Korean barbeque place with a select group of my friends as a final “send off” hangout before we all go off to our respective colleges.

To say I had fun with them would be an understatement. The hangout exceeded my expectations and really made me realize how much I’m going to miss the people I’ve had the pleasure of calling my friends in high school.

Although several good friends of mine were notably absent, the hangout still went really well, and everyone was able to enjoy themselves in one way or another. (I even discovered my new favorite frozen yogurt place and got to try moshi and sushi for the first time!)

All in all, as the date I leave for college quickly approaches, I’m so very blessed to have days like yesterday that are devoted to spending time with people who make me feel good and accept me for who I am.

I wish nothing but the best of luck to my friends who attended the hangout as well as the few who couldn’t make it. I love you guys so much and can’t wait to see what the future holds in store for us!

Love,

Tales-of-a(soon-to-be)college-freshman

Rest in Peace Christina Grimmie

Another event that has taken place within the past two months that, despite not affecting me directly, I felt was too significant for me not to address, is the death of one of my biggest musical role models Christina Grimmie.

On the morning of Saturday, June 11th I woke up to a Snapchat from one of my best friends telling me to check my twitter, where I learned that #RIPChristina was trending because she had been shot to death the night before in Orlando during a meet and greet following her own concert.

Naturally, I was in shock. Christina was so young and vibrant and talented. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to hurt her or steal her joy away. In fact, I was so distressed over the news that I almost called off work that morning, and when I got back home, I found myself in this seemingly unbreakable state of melancholy.

That evening I went on to create a Flipagram video featuring pictures of Christina with one of her most recent songs called “Stay with Me” playing in the background. I made both a Facebook and Tumblr post talking about the impact she had on me and how much I would miss her. I listened to her song “I Bet You Don’t Curse God” that features a very powerful verse I included in a brief Snapchat video I made as a tribute to her on my story.

And when night time came I listened to a cover of “Just a Dream” performed by one of Christina’s friends who uploaded it onto Youtube that night as a tribute to her. And as I listened to him sing, and listened to the lyrics, I started to cry; before I knew it, it was 1 a.m. and I was still lying in bed, shaking and sobbing.

It took me a really long time to accept the fact that she was gone, but I had to realize that God allows things to happen for a reason, and as Christina said herself in a tweet on Feb 21, 2013, “that doesn’t mean you should stop trusting Him.”

Now I’m not going to pretend I knew everything there was to know about Christina, but as someone who has been following her and her journey since she first emerged on Youtube six years ago, I can honestly say that even though I never met her, I know she was a genuinely good person.

She had a good heart and strong faith in the Lord and even included on her Youtube channel’s About page that she was a full on Christian who loves our Savior Jesus Christ and sings for Him.

All in all, while her life may have been cut short, I can at least rest well knowing Christina will spend eternity in Paradise.

XOXO Christina #TeamGrimmieForever

My First Concert

So, believe it or not but a few weeks before June 4th I was actually looking more forward to attending the concert of one of my favorite Indie artists than I was graduation. The minute I found out that The Ready Set was going to be in Austin I started freaking out and immediately wanted to find tickets to go see him. Even better, the tickets ended up being insanely cheap, which only made me more psyched, but here’s the catch….

I didn’t have a ride, and in my 17 years of life my parents had never allowed me to go to a concert let alone one by myself at night, and so, accepting the inevitable, I gave up on my dream of seeing The Ready Set until the day before the concert when the topic of plans had come up between a friend and I, and I brought it up.

Surprisingly, she said she wasn’t doing anything Monday night and didn’t think her parents would mind taking us. Instantly, I was filled with a sense of pleasant disbelief, but I refused to get any more excited until my friend had confirmed that it was alright with her parents and the two of us had secured our tickets. To say that I was anticipating the following day would have been an understatement.

While it did suck that I had to lie to my parents about my whereabouts in order to go to the concert to begin with, the experience was definitely one I won’t forget about anytime soon.

The venue was…unique to say the least, and no one had mentioned that The Ready Set would actually be performing last (at around 9pm) which was 3 hours after the time stated on his tickets….

Regardless, it was well worth the wait and I even got to discover a really cool band in the process known as Shadow of Whales. They were one of the opening acts for the Ready Set and I even got to talk to the band’s lead singer after their performance, nbd.

Finally, it may have taken me all night to finish (and no, I’m not kidding; I’ve been awake working on this video since 1 a.m.) but I’ve really been meaning to post some footage from the concert to look back on in the future. 🙂

UPDATE: Unfortunately, I didn’t realize until after I wrote this that because my WordPress isn’t operated under a paid subscription, I’m not permitted to upload audio or video files to my blog, but I’ll find a way to upload my footage somewhere and hopefully sometime in the near future.

UPDATE 2: Well, it may have taken me 6 months after the concert to figure it out, but here’s the video! Sorry for the bad sound quality; watching it again for the first time in months made me realize just how cringe-worthy the video is (despite my editing attempts).

 

So…I Graduated 2 Weeks Ago

Wow. The fact that it’s almost been two months since I last posted on my blog is crazy to say the least and really shows just how easy it is to lose track of time when there are seemingly hundreds of things demanding your attention at any given moment.

Attempting to play catch up would be somewhat futile to me, but I will touch on a few things that I’ll be writing about in a series of consecutive posts.

First and foremost, I graduated high school two weeks ago (June 4th to be exact), and while the actual commencement ceremony and day itself were pretty forgettable in my eyes, just the feeling of having graduated was (and still is) so surreal to me. Knowing that I’ll no longer have the familiarity of my peers and surroundings any more is both weird and somewhat scary. I am truly blessed to have made it this far especially given that those who know me best know that a few years ago I didn’t think I would even be alive to experience my high school graduation. I’m glad I stuck around for as long as I did, and hopefully college will be a time of new beginnings.

Here are just a few of the many people I will miss from my graduating class. (P.S. please ignore the fact that I don’t know how to properly smile in pictures and so my eyes are barely visible in all of the shots.)