Let Me Update Ya

I figured it was about time to update everyone on my schooling and other things going on. I finished the semester up last Wednesday and most of my final grades seem to be in (although there’s a couple classes that will definitely wait until the day final grades are due to release them).

After a long semester, I got a 99% on my math final which gave me an A in the class. In one of my history classes, I got 100% on my final and managed to get a final grade of an A in the class. After cramming for my bio exam only 5 hours before the exam (typical meg fashion) I got an 87% and ended the semester with an A in the class. Although I never took a real exam for my communication class, I ended the semester with a B. Taking my intro to com class online was a disadvantage to me for a few reasons- tech difficulties being one. I missed a few assignments due to wifi slip-ups and computer crashes, but I’m still happy I was able to mostly make up for them at the end of the semester. My Middle Eastern History and Bio lab final grades are not in yet and I expect that they won’t be for a while, so I can’t really determine what my GPA will be just yet.

I’m moving out of my apartment on Wednesday and heading back to my hometown for the summer. Next fall I’ll be moving into an apartment much closer to campus so I guess leaving the place I’ve called my second home for the past nine months will be worth it. It’s still going to be really hard to say goodbye to my bigger bedroom and own kitchen though. I’m really grateful for the opportunities this year has given me. I’ve gotten to live alone, and who knows if I’ll ever get to do that again?

I’m looking into getting a job this summer after I get a bit of time to settle back in at home. I’d like to be working a lot to save up for rent, groceries, etc. once school starts back up. So before I really start looking around for work, I’m hoping to spend lots of time with my friends while I can.

That being said, in my free time I plan to be writing a bit more. It’s been really weird not writing. I’ve had quite a few impulses to start writing but I didn’t want to start posting if I was just going to stop abruptly again due to school. But now I have a few months to get myself together and write a little more. I’ve got some ideas for the future of this site and I’m hoping to implement them this summer.

Thank you to everyone who supported me when I took a semester off last year and when I went back to school in the fall. Everyone’s kind words and well wishes these past nine months have been really appreciated. I’m super excited to go back in the fall (I know, who says that?!) and explore my major even further.

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An Update

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Hi guys and happy Saint Patrick’s Day! It’s been a month since I decided to take a break from blogging. At the time, my mind was getting pulled in a million different directions and I couldn’t find time to sit down and write. My motivation was gone and my sanity was hanging on by a thread. Although I’m not ready to come back as strong as I was before, I thought I would take some time to give an update on everything that has gone on since I announced my break.

Family

The day after I decided to take a break, I went back to my hometown for the weekend to be with my family. I got to go to a high school basketball game which was fun since I haven’t had a chance to get to any CSU games this year. The next week, my boyfriend and I took a trip to our hometown yet again for another basketball game for my sister’s senior night ceremony. For those of you who are unaware, senior night is when the seniors who participate in sports that season are recognized for their participation, grades, and goals for the future. It meant a lot to get to be there for her second senior night.

Midterms

Luckily for me, my midterm week was kind to me. I only had two exams for the week in Bio and Arabic History. My other classes either assigned papers or just used our current grade as our midterm grade. My assignments were super hard and took up almost every minute of my day, but I was just happy that I didn’t have to study a million things.

I passed all my midterms but I recognize that I could have done even better. I guess I’ll just have to use it as motivation for the remainder of the semester. Although there’s a lot of work to be done in order to pull this off, I still have the goal of making it on the dean’s list. I’ve just come to terms with the small chance of that happening. It has nothing to do with my intelligence, but more to do with the number of assignments and exams I am given weekly. I know I’ve said this a lot, but there’s not much downtime between one assignment and another.  That’s pretty common in college and people still manage to pull off getting on the dean’s list somehow, so props to those people! I just know that my brain needs lots of breaks to feel healthy.

Spring Break & Moving Out

As I’m writing this, it’s the last day of spring break. It’s hard to believe it’s already over. It went by in the blink of an eye for me. I didn’t go on any big vacation or do anything special. I just wanted to relax and enjoy my apartment since I’ll be moving out in just a few months. I really took for granted the opportunity to live by myself in a new area. There’s so much I wish I would have done sooner, but there’s no going back to change that so I have to make the best of what I have while I still have it. I’ve spent a lot more time in the backyard of the complex overlooking the lake and studying/reading- even when it’s a bit chilly outside. The view is something I may not get living somewhere else, so I’m trying to appreciate it. I move out in May, although the date has not been set. I just know that I have to be out by May 17. It seemed like such a long time away when I first moved in and somehow the days just crept right up on me. As much as I’ve absolutely hated this place and all it’s breaking amenities, I’m sure I’ll shed a few tears when I’m carrying out the last of my things. It was my first apartment and first time living on my own. It quickly became my home and it sucks having to go.

Finally…

Like I said earlier, I’m not quite ready to get back into writing consistently but I wanted to give everybody an update. I know it’s nothing special but it’s something. I’m still working on myself every day and it’s much harder than some people may think. I’ve faced (and continue to face) so many personal situations that have gotten in the way of my happiness, confidence, and mental health. The battle does not end, no matter how defeated I tend to feel. One day I hope to update everyone on what has been going on behind closed doors, but for now, I want to keep some things private.

I’ll see you guys back here soon!

Love you all.

 

 

 

 

 

Taking a Break.

Hi guys.

I promised to give you guys an update of everything that I’ve been up to today, but I took some time to think and evaluate some things. I realized that at one point I went into blogging because it made me feel good and was a huge stress reliever. It was always important for me to post content that I’m proud of and actual want people to see.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been proud of my posts for months now. I feel like I kept writing because I wanted to keep that part of me alive that wrote for fun. But she’s gone. At least for now.

So I guess this is my official announcement.

I will be taking a break from the blog for a while. I don’t know how long it’ll be, but I promise you this isn’t forever. I’ll most likely post some really short updates from time to time just to let you guys know that I’m alive and well.

Thank you to everyone who has stuck around through my fumbled posts. I promise to take this time off to recoup and find my love for writing again.

 

Meg.

Why I No Longer Use Plastic Straws

Last year I was given the opportunity to get a reusable straw for less than 50 cents after a coupon was given to me on an online site. That’s when I started my research into reusable straws and why they are all the talk. What I learned was crazy. Here are some quick facts that I learned when looking into the importance of reusable straws.

  • It is impossible to recycle straws.
  • The U.S. uses 500 million straws a day!
  • Scientists predict that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.
  • Americans use straws at an average rate of 1.6 per day.

Think about the last time you used a plastic straw. Where did it go when you were done with it? I bet you didn’t bat an eye when you threw your straw in the garbage. Most people don’t. They just carry on with their day. I’ll be honest… that was me.

Strawless Lids

Many businesses have made alterations to their policies to enforce the straw-free lifestyle. Starbucks, for example, pledged to entirely remove plastic straws from their locations by the year 2020. They plan to replace straws with recyclable lids (pictured left). They also sell hard plastic cups that you can ask your order to be served in. You can bring those cups back and get all your future orders served in them as well.

I also noticed that my university has banned the distribution of plastic straws as well. It was super exciting to see the movement expand to my university of roughly 17,000 students.

Let’s do the math real quick.

1.6 straws used a day  x   17,000 students =   27,200 straws prevented from entering our environment!

If every student at my university adjusted to the strawless lifestyle for only a day, we could prevent 27,200 straws from getting into our environment!  And that’s just at my school. Do the math for your school and see how many straws your campus would eliminate if they converted!

When I pull my straw out of my purse or backpack, I get a lot of mixed reactions from those around me. I’ve had friends laugh at me and say I’m ridiculous. I’ve also had friends who encourage me and ask where they can get their own straws. It feels good to know that although I am only one person, I am making a huge impact on the people and environment around me.

I have two different styles of straws. I preferred stainless steel over paper, but that was just my choice. If you’re into paper straws, GO FOR IT! At the end of this article, I linked the straws that I use so you can purchase your own and get started on making the change!

The style that I was interested in first was the collapsible stainless steel straw with a hard case. It was really easy to throw in my backpack before school and it’s even attachable to a keychain. I found a better quality version of the one I have on Amazon and I decided to link that one rather than the one I have because there were some issues with mine when I got it. This type of straw is great for drinks with more of a watery consistency because the rubber inside makes it hard for thicker drinks to travel through. So if you’re one who is constantly on the go and drinking water, pop, or juice, check this straw out!

I also own stainless steel straws that are not collapsible, but they came in a pack of four with two different styles- bent and straight. These straws also came with a carrier, however, this one is made of cotton. They’re great for tumbler cups or Starbucks drinks if you’re one of those whose lives just won’t go on without a straw in their frappuccino. These straws come in packs of 4 and packs of 8, so you don’t need to wash one before using another. Each pack comes with at least one cleaning brush (depending on the pack you purchase).

If you STILL think adjusting your straw habits won’t make a change, watch this TEDx Talk by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff.

SOURCES:

http://www.thelastplasticstraw.org

http://www.nrdc.org

http://news.starbucks.com

 

GET YOUR OWN STRAWS:

Collapsible Straw

Rainbow Straws

 

 

5 Things I Learned When I Redirected My Focus to My Blog

Another year has come to a close so that means another year of MegannLouise.com has come and gone. 2018 was an eventful year for this site. Toward the end of the year, I took the bull by the horns (sorry PETA) and focused more time on writing.

When I started writing for MegannLouise.com, I had no intention of posting regularly. I just wanted a platform for me to post my work when I did write. And for roughly 75% of the time I’ve had this site, that’s exactly what I did. But now I dedicate time out of my day to work on new content. In doing this, I learned a lot about myself as a writer, creator, and individual. I know that sounds extremely corny. I’m sorry. But here’s the top 5 things I learned after I focused on my blog this year.

1. Writing isn’t always easy. And writer’s block is real.

There have been days where I’ve spent hours just trying to write an introduction or even come up with a topic. Since I’ve been writing for a long time, I know my style and whenever my brain fails me and I don’t do my best work, I get upset. I’ve spent entire days working on posts before, arguing with myself over wording or formatting. At the end of it all, I’ve felt defeated when I give in and post whatever I came up with even when I wasn’t happy with it.

And here’s the thing- writer’s block happens. It can kick your ass at the worst times but that’s how it goes. I had to learn to roll with the punches and give myself breaks while writing to recoup. Sometimes nothing would pop into my head for days or even weeks. It wasn’t pretty. I would usually go into a dark place whenever that happened. It’s pretty devastating to fall into a place where doing what you love takes a brutal toll on you. But like I said- it happens. I just had to accept that and work with what I had.

2. Writing ahead of time saves my sanity.

To piggy-back off the last point, my self-deprecation took up so much of my time and made it almost impossible for me to crank out content like I wanted. I eventually mustered up the ability to “mass produce” posts. I would write three or four posts in a day and schedule them for later dates so I wouldn’t have to worry about them the day I needed something to go up. This helped a lot during Blogmas since I had to have a post up every single day for almost two weeks. I think the best part about writing in bulk is that I can pump out a lot of content whenever I’m feeling really creative, and relax on the days where I can’t come up with anything.

3. Quality over quantity.

This one was a hard pill to swallow. Once I found time and motivation to write, I wanted to keep writing and create an arsenal of posts stocked up for scheduled posting. However, during Blogmas I realized that the short posts that didn’t take as much effort weren’t as good as the longer ones that I put more of my heart into. It took a lot out of me to know that although I was getting these posts done early, they weren’t as good as they could have been if I worked a little harder and didn’t spread myself thin.

Now I look at it as a reader instead of a writer. What would I want to read? What would I think if someone posted something like this? Would I continue to read their work?

4. It takes determination.

No successful blogger made it where they are now without determination. Slacking isn’t an option. Consistency is really important- just as important as content. Sure, breaks are great for the mind and can lead to better content, but disappearing for large chunks of time really doesn’t work. It leaves everyone wondering where you are and if you really take writing seriously. Trust me, I’ve been there. I had no motivation for this site and it ruined the great path I had made for myself. I had to almost completely start over.

5. This is a community.

I had to repeatedly remind myself that people actually read this. When I write, deep down I know that people will read it but I sometimes forget about it and throw all caution to the wind. So it’s freaky for a second when I get to meet people who read my blog and they bring up something that I forgot I wrote about. I’m always like, “HOW DID YOU KNOW THAT?!” and then it freaks them out. Sometimes I really feel like I’m writing in my diary.

I found myself heavily relying on my blog to write about my feelings. This is still true at times today. I always say that I try to remain open with my readers, and although it’s hard, it’s extremely empowering at times too. When I feel like my voice does not matter, I come here and I feel heard. I can be happy, sad, or just not myself and I know I have a community here who is willing to listen.

With that, I also had to learn how to censor myself. Although I believe it is crucial to be open with your readers, a line has to be drawn. I used to be far too open and it would ultimately backfire on me. Sometimes I post about something and look back at it later in regret. Now I have to use my better judgment whenever I write about something personal. It’s hard to hold back on occasions, but it’s for the best.

 

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.

December in Photos | Blogmas Day 12

We finally made it- the end of Blogmas.

I didn’t think I would make it this far. And I guess in a way, I didn’t. I was late uploading a lot of the time and couldn’t stick to my original schedule. However, I still managed to post 12 blogs in 12 days, and that’s something I am very proud of. My first Blogmas- at least in my eyes- was a success and I can’t wait to do it again next year.

When I wasn’t blogging, I was enjoying December and all it had to offer. I took a few pictures along the way and I thought I could share them all with you. Rather than explaining them in extreme detail, I thought I could just leave the photos to be interpreted by the viewer. So make of them what you will.