The College Myth

“How’s college? Do you like it?”, asks every person I talk to.

“Yeah I really like it.” Is my usual response.

A true response would take way longer than the time they have and be much more personal than they wanted to know. The true answer is that most of the time it is great. It finally feels normal and I really like my classes and professors. But 15% of the time it straight up sucks. But no one wants to hear that college sucks. And if you are an optimist(like me) or a mathematician( not like me) my off-handed response of “really good” is an accurate average of my time away at school.

It’s widely said that a lot of a person’s personal growth and development happens during their college years. I don’t disagree. In my four months up at school, I know I have grown as an individual immensely.  Just like those growing pains and growth spurts that you had as a kid, but instead these are emotional growth spurts, both of which sometimes hurt a lot.

People also say “Oh you will make lifelong friends in college.” Or my favorite, “The friends you make now will be your bridesmaids later!” No one tells you that for a while you will feel like you have fake friends and half friends. No one tells you that if you go to a place where you don’t know a soul, that sometimes it gets lonely. They never say, “You will start to wonder if you smell funny before you actually feel as though you have a couple solid friends.”

I think this provides many people with a false expectation for what college will be like. For example, fireworks will not go off in the background when you first meet your roommate and you will not be instant best friends. I know that I was not at all aware of the sub-clauses in those general comments everyone makes about college.  I went into college thinking I would totally have it all together by day 10. Be involved, check. Make friends, check. Ace your classes, check. Grow, check. And by grow I do not mean in your waistline from the freshman 15, just to clarify.

Reality check: man was I mistaken. I never realized how much growing hurt. Being away from everyone I knew for close to 70 days, when I can’t think of a single time that I had spent without the presence of a familiar face before going to college, it hurt.  I missed dinner with my family, doing homework and hearing my parents talk as they were preparing dinner, sharing a room with my sister, good morning hugs from my mom, I missed all of home.  I missed the community of my small group, as I doubted that there was actually a single other Christian on the entire campus. I craved having someone with whom a look could be interpreted to speak 1000 words.

In the midst of this pain though, God always appeared. When I needed to meet another Christian on campus just to be reassured that they actually existed, in a totally random moment, I sat down next to one in a lecture. When it turned out that my dad had to fight a fire and couldn’t come to visit, two of my church friends from home to plan a trip to come visit. When I missed the companionship of my home friends, there was a friend waiting for me – I just needed to open my eyes and look around. God was always there in the pain of growing, and with his help I have grown with leaps and bounds.

I was also vastly unprepared for just exactly how long it would take to feel like I had really good friends. Even though I knew I was going somewhere where I wouldn’t know a soul, I thought, “It’s okay. I have already done this once before in high school when I went back to public school after homeschooling” what I failed to realize is that in high school I already knew some people. And they knew some people. So their friends became mutual friends and my friend circle expanded. In college it’s different. There is only one of me. I can only meet so many people and I can only spend quality getting to know you time with an even smaller number of people. I constantly have to remind myself to have grace with myself. Making friends takes a long time. Making best friends, let alone bridesmaid worthy friends, takes even longer. And in that long time, sometimes it gets a little lonely. But it’s okay. Everyone feels like that.

Give yourself grace, is what I have to keep reminding myself. Do you even remember how you made your last best friend? I know I can’t. Actually other than being nice, how does one make friends? I feel like it just happens naturally. Is there a point in time that marks the transition from friends to good friends to best friends? I think it all just takes time. It takes time to create the shared memories and inside jokes that come with a great friendship. It’s okay, friends will come with time. Hang in there.

I wrote this after first semester, and hesitated to put it up because it seemed really pessimistic, and that wasn’t what I wanted to portray-I knew it would get better, it was just slow going. Looking back on what I wrote after a full year under my belt, I still agree with what I was feeling, but I know it also gets better.  Second semester I found my people-friends I knew were friends.  I joined a sorority (though I never dreamed that I would), track season started, I found a home church, a bible study, and I became better friends with the people whom I had met during first semester.  I knew how to juggle school, laundry, feeding myself, and having a social life way better.  After two months of summer, though I am loving home, I miss my friends at school so much I almost wish school would start already just so I could see all my friends again.  Wholeheartedly, I can say that school is great and I am really enjoying it.

Jumping for joy because life is good, school is over, and its finally summer.
Jumping for joy because life is good, school is over, and its finally summer.

In conclusion, a note to all the incoming college freshman-have grace with yourself.  Realize its a big adjustment, and set your expectations accordingly. Have fun, and know that everything gets better after first semester.  And a note to everyone who says, “College is the best time of your life!”-be careful, you might be creating false expectations in a nervous freshman’s mind.  You might not remember the trials of the first couple weeks, because the good times have washed out all of those memories, but more than likely they were there.

Advertisements

Sweet Memories- Dairy Free Ice Cream

ice cream quote

Growing up, my grandparents, aunts, and my family all went camping together over the 4th of July in Lone Pine, at the base of Mt. Whitney.  The campground itself is about six miles outside of Lone Pine proper; it is a dry campground, meaning pit toilets and spigots for water, and unless you bring a solar shower, y’ain’t showering.  We would celebrate my birthday on the 5th; side note: my grandma without fail would bake a cake and bring it up when she and my grandpa came(usually a day or two later after my family), just so I could have a proper birthday cake on my birthday.  We would hike and fish and play in the stream and go exploring and offroading in our Jeep.  There wasn’t cell service or electricity; it was pure uninterrupted bliss.  Midway through the trip, like clockwork, either my grandpa or my dad would decide we were going to go on an adventure.  My sister and I would ask, “Where are we going?”  to which he would reply, “Crazy.”  We would drive into town to the Frosty Chalet for soft served, hand-dipped in chocolate ice cream cones.   It was always such a treat to sit down to a cold, sweet, delicious ice cream cone, as we were all hot, sticky, covered in dirt, and probably some fish guts too.  Coming from our mutual love of ice cream, wherever we travel, we eat ice cream at least once.  It’s a tradition, just like cinnamon rolls and egg burritos are on Christmas Day.

With that being said, one of the biggest things I miss about not being able to eat dairy is, as you might guess, ice cream(cheese is a close second though).  I have tried the soy and almond variations of ice cream and liked most of them, but it is so expensive to buy.  I thought regular ice cream was expensive, and then I started buying dairy free and paying double the price for half the volume.  It is ridiculous.  Add that on to the fact that many ice cream places don’t have a dairy free option(I wouldn’t expect them to, but it would be awesome if they did), and it is kind of a bummer to go out as a family for ice cream to uphold the tradition, and not be able to eat any of the thing I love so much.

So being the resourceful young lady that I try to be, I decided that making my own dairy free ice cream must be cheaper than buying it, and it must taste better too because everything that is homemade tastes better!  I searched online for recipes, and found that a lot of them called for ingredients that I wasn’t so sure about like xanthan gum(where do you even buy that?) and others, but I finally came across one that looked relatively simple.  Cocoa powder, bananas, almond milk, and sugar.  It was simple enough and pretty healthy looking too, so I tried it.  The result was a great base to start with! I, personally, think it needs to be a little less banana flavored, but it still was really good.

 

Ingredients:

2 ripe bananas

2 tablespoons cocoa powder

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk

Directions:

  1. In a microwaveable bowl or cup whisk 1/2 cup almond milk with the chocolate cocoa and sugar until fully incorporated. Microwave for 40 seconds and then stir.

  2. Place bananas plus the remainder of the almond milk into a blender along with the cocoa mixture and purée for about 10 seconds.

  3. Place mixture in the ice cream maker and process for 20 minutes or until thick.

  4. Serve right away or store in the freezer for later use or to firm up a bit more if desired.

dairy free iC

NOTES:  I topped mine with chocolate chips and cinnamon, which made it better, but it still needs some help.  My sister and I decided that crushed Oreos, mini chocolate chips, or peanut butter cups could be mixed in as it is in the ice cream maker to give it a better and more ice cream like flavor.  Next time, I am going to try it with Silk Dark Chocolate Almond Milk instead of regular to see if I can intensify the chocolate flavor and get less of a banana flavor.

I hope to find and try a mint chocolate chip recipe soon; it is one of my favorite flavors.  If you have a recipe that I should try, feel free to comment with a link to it, otherwise I will make sure to make an update post once I perfect a couple different flavors.

 

Valentine’s Day: Corporate, Cute, AND Crafty?

For the entire month of February, I have thought about Valentine’s day; debating the pros and cons of it, and trying not to be too cynical about it.  I decided that while Valentine’s Day was cute and fun back in kindergarten and elementary school, where everyone bought Valentine’s for the entire class and handed them out, but now its just another day just with the added pressure of doing something extravagant or special for your significant other.  In short, I am one of those people who thinks Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday, created to stimulate the economy of cards, chocolates, stuffed animals, and flowers.

I mean, its great and all to tell and show your significant other that you love them, but really, we need a day dedicated to it?  Just in case I forgot on the other 364 days of the year?  I would much rather surprise someone on a random day to confess my unending love for them, then on Valentine’s Day, just because the spontaneity of it makes it that much more memorable and special.

On Friday, while I was brainstorming for this post, I thought, “Sweet, I have $10 bucks in my pocket! I’m going to go by the flower shop on the way home from school and practice to buy my mommy some flowers, cause I love her so much and I know that would make her week.”  Now, before you immediately think “Suck up” or “I wish my kids did that”, I must say I have had some great training.  My dad has been know to send my mom flowers on random days, especially when he is gone fighting fires for weeks at a time, just to say “I love you” or “Have a great day”.  I learned from the best.  Anyway, my mom was so excited and touched she really didn’t know what to say except “Aww, Linds” and “Thank you” and give me a big hug.

Now imagine if I had done the same thing on Valentine’s Day.  Though my mom would still think it was special, it wouldn’t have the same effect.  Lesson learned: spontaneous surprises are awesome. (Guys, take note)

 

That being said, I can’t bear to be completely bah-humbug about Valentine’s Day, because it has some pretty amazing and cute decorations. And it is super cute, so in as much as I think it is a silly day, I like it.  I am hosting a Valentine’s Day outreach event, and have scoured Pinterest, Etsy, YouTube, Google, and many other realms of the internet to find the perfect decorations and centerpieces.  And I found them.  They would work really well as creative flower substitutes(guys, thinking outside the box = great idea) or valentine’s to give to friends and coworkers.  Heck, they could be flowers for Singles Awareness Day as well, basically whatever floats your boat.

 

 

These are super cute and guaranteed to win anyone’s heart over(or make an amazing centerpiece).  But honestly, flowers and chocolate are pretty much the awesomest thing ever to a girl, so what could be better than combine the two? Gentlemen, don’t worry, these are super easy to make and inexpensive.  $12 dollars, a little time, and TLC and you will have yourself a beautiful bouquet of rose kisses.

 

Supplies:

  • Green floral tape- any craft store will have some

  • Tape

  • Hershey’s Kisses

  • Red Cellophane- I found mine in the dollar section of Target in a 6 sheet pack, but it was also next to the tissue paper in the gift wrap section

  • 9 inch wooden skewers-any grocery store will have them

  • Scissors

 

Instructions

Step One:  Pair all kisses together, taping them together at the base of each kiss(flat part to flat part) to form the rose bud shape.

Step Two: Cut out 4.5 inch squares of cellophane to wrap the kisses in.  Cut as many pieces as you want roses.

Step Three: Place the taped kiss pair in the center of one of the cellophane squares, with one of the pointy end of the kisses in the center of the square.  Bring all four corners up to the center, gather the cellophane and twist it to start forming the stem of the rose.

Step Four(the hardest part):  Take a 5 inch (ish) long piece of the floral tape and start wrapping it where you twisted the cellophane to form the beginning of the stem.  Continue to wrap it around until you have secured the cellophane over the kisses.

photo-9
This is the goal of Step 4.

TIP: If you stretch the floral tape out as you are wrapping, it sticks a little better.  I have no idea why, it just does.

Step Five:  Insert the skewer, pointy side in, into the rose bud and partial stem.  Be careful not to stab the chocolate.

Step Six: Take your roll of floral tape and begin to wrap from the flower down the skewer to form the stem.  Once you are at the bottom, cut the tape, smooth the end down, and you’re done!