Paying Homage to 2018

A year ago today, I posted Paying Homage to 2017, where I took time to look back at everything that happened to me in 2017 that influenced me deeply. I said that I had an eventful year, and I was looking forward to 2018. However, I couldn’t have possibly been prepared for all that this year had in store for me. Let’s go ahead and look back at all that has happened in the past 12 months. Be warned- a lot more happened this year than last year.

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I celebrated the new year with my boyfriend, Zach. We started off at my God Mother’s house, then after a trip to McDonald’s minutes before the ball dropped, we made it to my house. I wanted this new year to be rung in perfectly, so I ran to the tv as fast as I could and got ready for the count down. We made it just in time to eat a few chicken nuggets before we shared our first New Year’s kiss.

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After working at Boys and Girls Club for about 5 months, I decided to resign. I’ll keep it professional and not go into too many details, but to sum it up, the employees were not kind to me and I felt that my voice was no longer being heard. It was extremely hard for me to do, as I loved the students I got to know. The smiles on their faces made all the hard work and sleepless nights worth it. However, I knew that I would continue to be treated poorly and for my mental health, it was time to go. I’m still very unhappy with how I was treated and how nobody really seemed to care when I told them, but it’s in the past and I just hope that things have gotten better there.

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The day before my last day of work, I came home to my sick hamster, Arodite. She had been looking sickly for a while, and I wasn’t sure what was wrong. She barely ate and didn’t drink much water. The only way I could keep her hydrated was by letting her chew on a wet washcloth. It was devastating. This day had been extremely hard for her. She wasn’t moving around much, staying close to her tower of bedding she created. That night, I was in the living room with my mother when we started to hear breathy cries from the room Arodite was in. I was too nervous to check on her, so I asked my mom to see if she was alright. She said, “oh, she’s crying.” Then, just as I got up to comfort her and give her some water, my mom corrected herself.

“No, don’t come in here. I think she’s dying.”

I know I should’ve ran in there immediately and held her in my arms, but I was so heartbroken that I couldn’t face her. I ran outside and refused to come back into the house until she passed. My father, who once worked at the county’s Metroparks, put my sweet Arodite down in the most humane way he was taught. I could hear her crying and gasping for air as I cried outside.

I’m so grateful for my boyfriend for coming over late that night to be with me while I cried. I was so upset that my fuzzy little baby had passed and there was nothing I could have done to save her. It was just her time to go.

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As some of you know, my boyfriend was a grade below me in high school, so he had his senior prom this year. I dreaded going because I wanted nothing to do with high school events such as this, but I was obligated. It was a nice time back with friends that I hadn’t seen in a while. Zach was the absolute sweetest to me that night. We danced for hours, then left a little early to get Wendy’s. After we finished our food, we headed to my house to relax. That’s when Zach gave me a book he made of reasons he loves me. Reading it made me cry like a baby. I was so sappy and lovey all night. All I wanted was to be cuddled up with my man. I don’t think anything has changed.

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A couple months later, Zach graduated high school. This was a special moment for him and I couldn’t go without sharing. I was so extremely proud of him, and as he walked across the stage to receive his diploma (from my dad, the V.P. of the School Board), my friends and I screamed and cheered. I ended up crying a few times too.

Being alongside him while he was working to get his diploma made it that much more special to me. I watched him get frustrated when he didn’t understand something, excited when he did, and relieved when he was on track. I knew he was ready for greater things and seeing him get that green light to do so was powerful.

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After a long, painful few weeks of bickering and disagreements, Zach and I broke up. I was devastated. But it had to be done.  Of course I was hysterical for months. I begged him to come back, but thankfully he said no. I say “thankfully” because we weren’t ready for each other yet. We needed some time to grow ourselves. Although there were many nights that I sobbed into my pillow and screamed until I lost my voice, I am grateful for our break up.

But here’s the thing- while we were broken up, we were still seeing each other. We wanted to maintain a friendship, since that’s where we started. He would come over and we would talk, or we’d go to the park or the lake to get away from everything. It was nice spending time with each other because he was such a huge part of my life for so long. It was comforting. So that is why we say that although we did not have the title of boyfriend and girlfriend, we were still “together.”

I felt the need to explain this to everyone because people were confused when we split, and even now when we say we’ve been together for over a year. Although we were not boyfriend and girlfriend for a couple months, we were still talking and loving each other just as if we were.  We like to say we never left each other’s side, so that’s why we say we’ve been together the whole time. We basically were. What’s a title worth anyway?

Since the breakup left me with many open days throughout the summer, I got to spend a lot more time with my friends and family. I got to go to my sister’s travel softball tournaments that were hours away, which was a great way to relax. Well, until my sister’s team lost, which was quite often. But getting away from the small town I felt trapped in was wonderful. I felt myself growing just from a weekend of being away. When we got back, my dad offered to take some pictures of me to boost my confidence and keep my mind off things. And that’s when this photo was taken. I really love all the photos he took of me because I feel so strong when I look at them. I see myself not letting things hurt me.

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My friends also deserve a huge “thank you” for all they did for me over the summer. They were always there for me no matter what. Whether I was canceling plans because I couldn’t gather myself enough to leave my room or shaking and crying in public, they understood. We got to make great memories together and I couldn’t be happier.

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I spent my last day as a teen this year. My 20th birthday was hot, exhausting, but so much fun. My best friends took me to the zoo and to dinner. I complained the whole time because it was scorching hot and my feet hurt, but the memories created that day were special enough to last forever. At this point, Zach and I decided to get back together, as we found it impossible to live without the other in our life. So I invited him to come with us to celebrate. Having all of my favorite people together was magical. It was a great way to spend my last few days at home before going away for college.

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On August 17th, I moved into my first apartment. I had never lived on my own before, so I was terrified. I know so many people who were nothing but excited when it came to moving out and that made me feel awful for the way I was looking at it. I thought I was babied too much and I was going to hate it, but after some getting used to, it was the best decision I had ever made. I love living by myself. I have so much more motivation to do things because nobody else can be held responsible for the end result- just me. Oh, I also went blonde that same day after battling with my dark hair for months. It came out sort of yellow, as to be expected, and it took months of toner and purple shampoo before I was able to get it to a subtle blonde. It isn’t the cutest yet, but it’s getting there.

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August 27th was my first day of school at Cleveland State University. I was extremely nervous because I had only one semester of community college under my belt and I had no idea what to expect. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get lost as soon as I got off the bus that morning. It was overwhelming, but after the first traumatizing day, I knew exactly where everything was. I was really surprised when I knew where I was going on day 2.

Now, with a semester at CSU under wraps, I feel amazing. I’ve made so many great friends in the short time I’ve been going here. I found myself exploring things outside of my comfort zone and realizing my potential while being in college. It’s crazy. Tom Hanks once said that he was “exposed to this world that [he] didn’t know was possible” and that’s exactly how I feel.

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Although this past year has been full of ups and downs, it has been the most influential. I got to see what I could and couldn’t handle which ultimately taught me life lessons. In the midst of it all, my love for my best friend grew and grew. Our relationship grew, too. After this rollercoaster ride of a year, I am very happy to say that Zach and I are as amazing as ever. We got through all obstacles life has throw our way with our heads held high. Our love for each other motivates me everyday, and something tells me it just might motivate me forever on.

2018, you were good to me sometimes…other times, not so much. But while I was going through my low points, I recognized all of my good points. I became grateful for all I had and all I would have. So thank you for giving me that ability.

2019, you’re going to be my bitch. I’m not holding myself back anymore, and 2018 taught me how to do that. I will learn from my mistakes, build off them, and prove how strong I really am.

Last year, I said that 2018 had a lot to live up to, but in all honesty, all coming years have a lot to live up to because I’ll only be going up from here.

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Stocking Stuffer Ideas for College Students| Blogmas Day 3

Hi guys! So as you may have noticed, a holiday podcast was not uploaded today. I have some bad news…

Technology hates me today.

My laptop lost all of my pre-recorded podcasts. I didn’t notice until it was too late to re-record everything. And if that wasn’t enough to make me feel completely defeated, I also can’t upload the video for tomorrow. I’ve had the same page up for hours trying to get tomorrow’s video to load in order to draft it for the next day, but it seems like nothing is working.

I plan to leave the page up overnight in hopes that it will somehow upload by tomorrow and be able to be posted on time, but just in case it doesn’t work out for me, I’ll have a back up post ready to go up at the regularly scheduled time. I promise.

Since I can’t post a podcast today, I decided I could do a gifting guide. Then I realized I’m awful at that. So then I thought it could be fun to come up with some super inexpensive ideas for stocking stuffers. Stockings are always the first thing my family goes to when we wake up on Christmas morning. It’s like pregaming without the alcohol.

So here’s a list of stocking suffer suggestions from yours truly. Enjoy them, or don’t. It was a last minute idea so my feelings won’t be hurt too bad.

Candy

I think this one is a given. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t get some sort of candy in their stocking. Hershey kisses in those candy cane plastic tubes are super cute and festive. I love those. I don’t really care for regular candy canes that much, but they also serve as pretty cool stuffers too.

Movies

Walmart always has the $5 movie bins, so you could potentially strike gold and get some classics in the stocking! It’s always fun to watch a movie when there’s time off between classes and homework assignments, so getting a new DVD can also serve as motivation to get assignments done early.

Socks

Everyone knows you can’t go wrong with socks. I just bought some cute pairs at Walmart today- $5 for two pairs. It’s inexpensive and bound to contribute to many comfortable nights down the road. This is an especially good gift for those who are older because comfort is so much more important to us than flashy presents. Especially when we’re walking on cold floors and through 20 degree weather going to class.

Chapstick

Winter is infamous for drying out lips. If you think this is boring, you can always opt for cake batter, pink lemonade, or root beer flavored chapsticks. These may not be conventional, but they sure do come in handy.

Scrunchies

This one is definitely directed toward females, but it’s such a good idea I couldn’t ignore it. Scrunchies are coming back and they’re so cute! You can get so many different patterns and materials, making each one so unique. They’re perfect for days when you sleep in late but still want to make yourself look a little put together. They can pull so many outfits together, even when you forget to brush your hair!

Nail Polish

Getting new nail polishes can always brighten someone’s day. They’re so cost efficient and fun to get creative with. You could go with red, green and blue for the holidays, or you could pick any other color under the sun to add to someone’s collection! It’s so much cheaper (and more convenient) to paint your nails yourself than get them professionally done when you’re dealing with a student’s budget.

Gift Cards

If all else fails, gift cards are the way to go. My family usually goes for the iTunes gift cards that can be used for apps or music. For college students, perhaps gift cards for near by restaurants would be just as valuable.

 

These are just a few ideas of inexpensive gifts you can stuff in your college student’s stocking this Christmas. Keep an eye out for more ideas based on things they use a lot and could always use more of.

 

Advice to High School Seniors Looking into Colleges

I’m writing this with one week left of my first semester at University. As you all may know by now, I attended a semester of community college in Fall of 2017, but chose to take the next semester off to focus on a career path that I really enjoyed at the time. However, that career ended abruptly (by choice) and I decided to go back to school.

Picking the right school for me was extremely easy. I first visited CSU when I was a junior in high school and my school offered a field trip to tour the campus. I immediately fell in love with the area and everything the school had to offer. I knew right away that I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I was sold on Cleveland State. Looking back at it, I should have done a lot more research before committing to CSU. I don’t regret my decision, but I sometimes wonder if I would have been amazed by any other campus had I opened my mind to other schools.

My sister is a graduating senior in high school this year, and she has decided on following my lead in becoming a fellow Viking at CSU come Fall 2019. This was a decision that was urged by many financial and convenience matters. However, she did have many other options on the table.

I originally wanted to post this before she made her final decision, but I figure if I do it now, it may help someone else too. I compiled my best tips and tricks to finding the perfect college for you. These are all things I wish I knew before I chose CSU. I really love my school, but I could have done some things differently. So please, please, take these tips into account before you chose the school you will spend the next four (or more) years at.

1. Have a good idea of what majors you plan to study.

Yes, I said majors. Have backups and plenty of them. There is a good chance that you will want to change your major at some point. You will want to know that the college you are going to will offer great opportunities and educations for whatever you may change your major to.

2. Don’t follow friends.

Those of you who haven’t listened to the episode Meg on the Mic with Zach, I briefly discussed the backlash I received for “following” my boyfriend to college. I explained that I wanted to attend CSU before I dated Zach. I just planned on attending after another year at a community college. However, the idea of having a friend who was going through the same freshman experiences as me encouraged me to skip the second year at community college. It made things so much more exciting and it gave me strength since I’m such a scaredy-cat.

BUT I really encourage everyone to branch out if possible. If you and your best friend both happen to chose the same school, that’s great. But please don’t base your college decision on where your friends are going. College is your time to make new friends and make memories with new people. Sure, you can still do this with your old friends, but sometimes it’s easier to be thrown into a pool of strangers believe it or not. I’ve made a lot of friends in classes full of people who were in the same situation as me- alone.

3. Reach out to people who attend schools you’re interested in.

This helps a lot with getting the feel for a college. Campus tours are meant to really fluff up the campus, student life, and education programs. The only true way you will know what a school is like before attending yourself is to talk to someone who currently goes there. Even better- talk to someone majoring in the same thing as you. Remember, tour guides are often times students who are paid to say certain things to you while you’re on your tour. Talking to students who aren’t obligated to hype up the campus will be brutally honest and answer all your questions without holding anything back.

4. Consider location.

Are you planning on bringing a car? Are you allowed to bring a car? Do you want to be close to home? Far from home? Near certain resources? These are all important questions to answer. I live about an hour away from campus, and I’ve found that it’s the perfect distance for me. I don’t have a car (I don’t drive. I think we’ve been over this) so I can’t get home by myself in case of emergency. But I can always rely on a family member or friend coming to get me since it’s not too much of a trip. It’s a good distance to test my independence while still have my family a drive away if I need them. Maybe that’s not for you though. Maybe you want to be far away from home. If you think you can do it, go for it.

5. Don’t disregard schools because of the cost.

You most likely will not be paying full price for college. With scholarships, financial aid, and other sources of financial assistance, tuition will be much more manageable than it may seem at first.

 

I have so many more tips that I could share, but for the sake of this becoming a long read, I’ll cut it off at five tips for now. If you guys have any questions or tips of your own, let me know and I could do a follow up post.

Remember to follow megannlouise.com to be updated when posts are published! 12 Days of Blogmas is right around the corner and you’ll want to be in the know when the holiday posts are up and ready to read!

 

 

 

 

 

 

My First Week of Classes at CSU

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This past week seemed to drag on unlike any other week has. It was my first week of school since December of last year. Going from a community college, to no schooling, to a large university was very intimidating for me. I didn’t know what to expected. Fortunately enough, I didn’t have too hard of a time adjusting.

Saturday 8/25

The Saturday before classes started, CSU hosted Magnus Fest (Magnus is the name of our mascot). It’s basically a piss poor welcome party for freshmen and transfer students. I could complain about everything that was so awful about it, but I’ll keep it to myself. Just know it was painful to watch pan out. Although the actual event was a disaster, I did meet new people and learn about what is offered around campus.

Monday 8/27

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t shaking to core on my first day. I had to ride the RTA for the first time, know where my stop was, know how to get to my building, and get to class before I was late. Spoiler alert: almost didn’t do that. But I made it to class with roughly 3 minutes to spare. And in my attempt to get to class, I met someone in my class trying just as hard to make it on time. Hey Andrew, if you’re reading this!

Day one wasn’t exactly how I expected it to be, but that’s no surprise. At least I survived. If I could do it once, I could do it a few hundred more times. To celebrate making it through our first day, Zach and I went out to dinner. But of course nothing can work out in our favor. My order made me sick to my stomach, and Zach’s order was served raw. What a way to end our first day.

Tuesday 8/28

Going into the second day, I went into things a lot more comfortably. I knew where my class was, when it was, and where the closest bus stops were to the building. However, nothing would’ve prepared me for a 3.5 hour class on the history of film. Let me tell you- total snooze fest. After about an hour and a half of lecture, I start to catch myself dozing off. Thank goodness for the ten minute break we get though.

Wednesday 8/29

Wednesday I have the same schedule as Monday so I knew where everything was, and I was finally out of the “syllabus” classes (you know, when the teachers all read the same classroom rules and go over every little thing they expect from you this semester). So Wednesday was officially the first day of learning and all that. I enjoyed it. I missed taking notes and listening to lectures when I took my mini hiatus from school. It felt really good getting back into school. I know it won’t last long, but I love it so far.

Thursday 8/30

Thursday was yet another 3.5 hour class. It was in the same room as my Tuesday lecture, but I had a different professor. I liked this one a lot more just because he swore a lot and had a really bubbly personality. As much as I hate what the class is about (Analysis of Film Language), I know it’ll be easier to get through with such a charismatic professor.

Friday 8/31

Luckily, Friday wasn’t bad. I only have two classes that day, so I get done at 2:20. For me, that’s a blessing since every other day I end at around 5. I was able to get home at a good time and unwind. I originally had plans to go home and see my family over the long weekend, but I slipped and hit my head, making it difficult to see/walk/think. Pretty sure I have a concussion, but that’s up in the air. Since I was so out of it, I decided to stay at my place for the weekend. And as strange as it may sound, I was glad I didn’t go home. I’m starting to really love living on my own.

In just one week, I’ve made some really cool friends and met some other interesting people that keep my day exciting. I’m still trying to find a way to beat the heat… especially when I have to walk almost ten minutes from one building to another. Tomorrow starts week two and I’m anxious to see what else gets thrown my way.

Shopping for My First Apartment

Yet another apartment update post. Not a real long one, but it still counts for something, right?

On Wednesday my sister and I went out to buy some things for my apartment. We went to Target and Walmart in hopes to find good deals for some of the things I needed. I tried my hardest to stick to the checklist I made, but sometimes I got a little distracted. It’s nice shopping with her because she speaks up when I’m about to buy something I don’t need.

While she was doing a lot of that, she also convinced me to think outside of the box and make some purchases that I normally wouldn’t consider. For example- I had no idea what theme I wanted for my bathroom. After having a mental break down in the aisles of Target, I was going to give up and wait until another day. That’s when my sister noticed a pretty pink shower curtain that was on sale.

If you know me, you know I don’t really like color. I usually stick to neutrals. But she threw the curtain in my cart so quick that I didn’t have time to second guess it. We made our way down another aisle and found hand towels that perfectly matched the shower curtain. Then we found bath mats that matched the hand towels. It’s crazy how one little decision can start a chain reaction! Thank goodness my sister was with me!

From that trip alone we got a wheeled storage cart, shower curtain, bath mat, sink mat, hand towels, desk lamp, huge mirror, and so much more! I was really proud of us for making that mini shopping spree such a success.

On Thursday I went out again, this time with with my parents. There was so much left to buy, and they helped make sense of all the craziness running through my head as we did it. We went to another Walmart that was little bigger so we had more options than I did the day before. Luckily for us, they had all the things I couldn’t find before.  It helped get a lot of stress off of my mind.

After what seemed like hours, I picked out sheets for my bed and pull-out couch. Then I was able to build the rest of my purchases off of them. We got beige sheets for my couch, so that meant we should get beige blankets to drape over my chairs and cream pillows for the loveseat. It started to feel like a puzzle and an easy one at that.

I had a lot of fun picking the ins and outs of my apartment. The reality of it all set in and I’ve realized that I only have 20 days until I finally move! That being said, it’s going to be very hectic in my home until that day comes so please forgive me if I don’t get around to writing for a while!

Returning to University After Gap Semester

It’s no secret that I took a semester off of college this past spring. I’ve written about it briefly but never really addressed it beyond that. A lot went into making that decision, and I still believe it was the right one for me.

In the time I took off, I was able to clear my head. I finally relieved myself from the stress that had been eating me alive since my junior year of high school. It gave me time to relax and not feel like my GPA was awaiting me in the dark abyss. For anyone else who feels this way, I highly recommend taking a gap year or semester to find yourself and figure out what you want to do.

This fall, I’m returning to school. However, instead of going back to community college in a rural area, I will be going to an urban university with roughly 13,000 undergrads. It’s a bit of a step up from what I’m used to but I’m excited for new experiences and resources that I will have come fall.

As the day draw nearer, I become more worried about adjusting back into the school setting after my time off. I haven’t taken any classes for eight months, so it’s going to be challenging for me to get back into the swing of things. But with the right discipline and friends/family who encourage me, I’m sure I’ll get through it with no problem.

Sometimes I wonder if the stress of preparing for college is worse than the stress I’ll endure during the semester. For me, that might just be the case. I have 22 days until my big move up to my apartment and 32 days until school starts. With so little time left, I’ve been busting my butt trying to get everything I need in time for the big days.

Yesterday my little sister and I went out to get some things for my apartment and it started to finally hit me- I’m moving out and finally doing what I’ve dreamt of since I was young. I know all my old high school friends who went through this last year had the same emotions when they left for their freshman year. I’m just a year behind but better late than never I guess.

Although the return from my semester off is causing a bit more stress for me, I’m definitely super happy that I chose that route back in December. Of course it feels weird being a 20 year old freshman, but it was what had to happen for me to be happy and comfortable. I may be nervous to return to a school lifestyle, but I feel a lot more prepared than I was last spring.

For anyone who feels severely overwhelmed by school, a short break isn’t the end of the world. It’s just a pit stop on the way to where you’re going.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Month Countdown to Move In Day

Happy July 17th guys!

Yeah, it’s not a holiday, but it’s officially one month until I move out on my own! As you’ve probably read before, I’m super excited to be leaving my small hometown for a bigger city. I’m going to meet so many new people and explore new places. The memories will (hopefully) last a lifetime. Sure, I’m a little nervous for the day to come, but we all have to take the big leap at some point!

With only a month left, I have so much to do! Firstly, I have to sign papers for the apartment (it’s already mine, so no rush), buy all the necessities, and explore my new town!

I haven’t bought much at all for my apartment. I have a few small things like placemats, towels, and washcloths, but none of the big important things. Leave it to me to wait until the last minute to start checking things off my list! I assume that I’ll being doing a lot of shopping soon and can’t wait to see everything come together.

Not much for an update blog, but I figured I’d let everyone know that in one month, I’ll be heading north and marking a huge step in my life! So exciting!