Reflecting on Two Years Post-Highschool| What I Learned, Experienced, and Became

Yesterday my sister graduated high school. I watched her walk across the stage with her honors tassel, get her diploma from our dad (the School Board President) and toss her cap in the air with the rest of her small class. It was weird thinking that she’s grown up now. Just two years ago, I was the one graduating and she was still learning how to be a student, not an adult.

It really had me reflecting on what all has happened to me in the past two years since I received my diploma. I’ve learned a lot in those two short years and it has shaped me into a completely different person. So what has happened?

1. I  got my first job.

I wrote about this before, but I worked for the Boys and Girls Club Association in my hometown. I got to work with kids, which I absolutely love. Teaching them and showing them that not everyone is a bad guy was amazing. Being a role model to kids who not always had the best home lives is rewarding in and of itself, but getting paid to do it made it even better. I met so many different people who loved helping children and it was inspiring. At the time, I was an early childhood education major so it was a great experience for me.

2. I quit my first job.

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Damn right I did. Five months later and I was out of that hell hole. To this day, I miss my little kiddos that never failed to put a smile on my face. But the other employees from top to bottom were not the crowd for me. After a while, I learned that I had to do what was best for myself and I turned in my resignation. I remember telling the kids I was leaving. It was torture. But now I’m out of a toxic workplace and I’m feeling so much better. No job is worth my sanity, dignity, and time.

3. I fell in love.

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I fell in love with my best friend almost instantly. We met 10 months before we started dating. I had graduated high school already and he was at the beginning of his senior year. My friends and I supported him at every Friday night football game. We slowly got closer and closer and then we started dating.  When we started dating I felt something different about him. You know how kids feel safe whenever they have a certain teddy bear or blanket with them? He’s my teddy bear/blanket. He’s helped me come out of my shell a lot. I’ve been much better with my anxiety since he’s been there to help me. I’ve never met someone so patient and kind. He really is the best boyfriend ever- although I might be a bit biased- and I love him more and more each day.

4. I went to college.

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In the fall after I graduated high school I attended a community college but it just wasn’t for me. I was looking into switching majors and they didn’t have my major, so I made the switch to a bigger university. It was the best decision of my life. I was so much happier. I took a semester off between schools to recalibrate and dedicate more time to that job I mentioned earlier. Once I got to move out on my own and get out of my suffocating hometown, I flourished. I made new friends, learned new things about myself, and got to grow into who I was supposed to be. Being in a big city was super different but with the help of my boyfriend and my new friends, it was manageable.

5. I made the Dean’s List.

After a stressful semester and a lot of hard work, I made the Dean’s list in the spring. I surprised myself with that one. I got roughly 28 hours of sleep a week and the only thing keeping me awake most days was coffee. I was constantly studying or planning time to study. It was an endless cycle of stress for me so getting the news that I made the Dean’s list was really rewarding. Now that I’ve found a major that I like, I’m excited to see how it impacts my grades in the future.


After thinking about all the things that went on after graduation, I’ve thought of a lot of advice I would give people in the position I was in two years ago. I know a lot of it is cliche but I genuinely mean every word I say. If even one piece of advice helps one person, all this Hallmark channel bullshit will be worth it.

1. Don’t let other people influence you.

I did this a lot in high school and once I was out, I realized how much control I really had over my life that I had never known before. When you’re chasing the trends or following the crowds, it’s easy to lose control of yourself without noticing it. Use this time to sit down by yourself and make a loose plan for the future. Don’t let yourself think one time about other people’s plans or interests. Think about where you want to be in five years, ten years, etc. Make it your goal to get there.

2. Make memories

Don’t let anything stop you from enjoying these years of your life while they last. Eventually you won’t be able to do these things anymore. The life you live now is what the younger you dreamt of, so you have to make it something he/she would be proud of. The life you’ll live in 10 or 20 plus years will not be like how it is now, I promise you. Make the best of life now so you can look back at it and say you lived it right.

3. Don’t dwell.

Guilty as charged. But please, whatever you do, don’t dwell on the negatives. Bad things happen to everyone. But the way you recover from them says more about you. Don’t waste your time thinking about the bad things that have happened to you in the past. Spend your time making sure the good things are coming your way. We always remember all the little things that go wrong instead of the little things that go right. We need to fix that.

4. Be open to change.

You have to realize that you won’t be the same person forever. The environment around you will change, your friends and family will change, you will change. Be open to it. Be welcoming to change. I had to teach myself that growing up and achieving my goals required alterations to my life. It was hard at first and I was definitely guarded. With time it got easier and now I cross my fingers every day hoping for more changes because that means I’m one step closer to being the best version of myself.

5. Travel.

A county over, a state over, a country over- who cares? Just travel. Meet new people and visit new places. Remind yourself that this world is bigger than your hometown. You could end up anywhere in the future and that’s really helped me open up my eyes. I didn’t go too far from home, but it was just far enough to give me a taste of diversity.

6. Love with your whole heart.

No half-assed love here. If you love someone, prove it. Nobody is required to stay in your life forever. You need to show them what they mean to you. Give them attention, support, and stability. And if you aren’t willing to do that, let them go. Don’t be selfish. Love wholeheartedly or not at all.

7. Leave your judgment behind.

If you think you can leave high school and keep being a judgmental prick, you have another thing coming. It’s not cool dude. I was that person who judged every book by its cover. Once I went off to college I got to know people for who they really were- their interests, stories, and personalities. Life outside of high school isn’t cliquey and I don’t think I want that to change. So don’t bring that shit into the real world, please and thank you.

If you missed it, I made a Facebook page! It’s where I’ll be sharing behind the scenes work, life updates, and other fun things you won’t see here! Check it out and drop a like!

https://www.facebook.com/MegannLouiseDotCom/

 

 

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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.

Also, I’ve changed my update schedule to every Monday at noon, so keep an eye out for my new posts!

If you missed it, I made a Facebook page! It’s where I’ll be sharing behind the scenes work, life updates, and other fun things you won’t see here! Check it out and drop a like!

https://www.facebook.com/MegannLouiseDotCom/

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.