30/31

I had no idea what to write about today. Total, complete writer’s block. So, like any person with total, complete writer’s block, I tried to think of issues that I’m currently invested in. But I’ve already written about the stupidity of makeup and the absurdity of being told to choose a career at 18 years old and the importance of saying sorry and how I feel about college relationships and the fact that I am an outgoing introvert. Thinking about what to write today, I realized that you guys really know a lot about me.

None of you, except for my mother of course, have ever physically met me. Yet, I can confidently say that if you were to read through my blog you would get a good idea of what I’m all about. At least, what I’m all about when I’m hanging out with a group of intellectual teachers.

But, anyhow, I think that I have come up with something you do not yet know about me. The way that I would act around one of you is probably very different than the way that I act around my friends at school. And the way that I act around my friends at school is different than the way I act around my friends from home. This was even more apparent in high school when I wasn’t as confident being my own person and looked to change myself based on what I thought the people I was with at the moment wanted to see. Now that I am in college and socializing with all sorts of great people that I respect/look up to, it’s a lot easier to always act like the person that I strive to be. However, sometimes I still find myself “chameleoning.”

Before, my chameleoning was an issue. It was because of low self-esteem and a need to please. However, now I think that it’s less of an issue and more just a way of life. When I’m with my extremely grungy art school friends, I will talk about the time that my family decided to raise chickens or the amazing avocado I had for breakfast. When I’m with my roommates, I will ask them about their days and their classes and we’ll chat about what’s for dinner. It’s not that I’m changing for people anymore, it’s instead that different parts of me- and all parts that I am growing to know and to love- come out based on the company I am with. I no longer think that it’s a problem, but instead my (slight) chameleoning based on friend groups is a way for me to be in contact with all parts of the real me.

 

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29/31

Wow! Two days in a row! Unheard of!!

My mom has always told me how important it is to be able to apologize. Simply apologize. Back down, relent, admit defeat, and say you’re sorry. Honestly, I didn’t completely believe her until I got to college and had roommates. Sure, my younger sister Julia and I shared a room throughout high school and we were able to drive each other sufficiently crazy. Neither of us would apologize for anything and sometimes we would go to bed at night without talking it out (something I hate). But I sort of assumed that we only fought because she was my sister. Not because we were trapped in an enclosed space together and are two different people who have different opinions and ideas about how to do things, but simply because we are related.

But then I got to college and I learned the true power of an apology. My roommates and I are best friends, but we do bicker. We all have pretty strong personalities and sometimes, as is natural, those personalities clash. Sometimes I will say things that I don’t necessarily mean (or that I do necessarily mean, but I have chosen to not word my concern in the kindest of ways) in the heat of the moment. When this happens, I have learned that it is best to NOT try to explain exactly what I meant by that slightly spiteful comment, but to instead back down, relent, admit defeat, and say I’m sorry.

Sure, sometimes it’s important to stand up for yourself. But, as the saying goes, I have learned to pick my battles. Is it really necessary to argue with my roommate about whether or not I closed the door too hard the night before? Or whether or not my clothes have been slowly inching towards her side of the room a little more frequently than normal? No. I just know next time to be more considerate about the door and to pick up the stupid clothes. And to say I’m sorry. Apologizing makes the other person feel better than I would have ever imagined. When my roommates apologize to me for something room-related that I have (gently) accused them of, I feel as though I have been heard and as though my needs are important and appreciated. When they fight me on silly things, I feel small and as if they just don’t care.

So thanks, mom, for always drilling into me the importance of just saying sorry. You have saved me from many a petty argument.

25/31

Sometimes I wonder what we would be like/act like and who we would like if parents and rules and presumptions did not exist. Honestly, I don’t really want to talk today about this in general because that would take me hours- the idea of nature vs. nurture and what is actually, naturally us and what we have been told to be by society. Mainly, I just want to talk about how we (as women, and mainly women in college) treat boys/men/whatever you want to call a 19 or 20 year old dude.

There are four main levels of “relationships” that guys and girls have in college. You can be “casually hooking up,” “talking,” “exclusive,” or “dating.” In every single one of these, I have found that girls suddenly place this boy that they are casually hooking up with or talking to or exclusive with or dating before a lot of their girlfriends when it comes to using their phone (texting, communicating on apps, etc). Do they do this because they want to or because this is what society expects of them?

If I am “talking” to a guy, we are either texting or talking on a type of social media a lot. Like, full on conversations probably around a couple nights a week just about life or goofy stuff or whatever we can come up with to talk about. Don’t get me wrong- some of the conversations are great and I really do enjoy them (depending on the guy, of course). However, I normally don’t have those types of conversations with my girl friends and the other day I was trying to think about why that is. Why is it that our conversations (text and real life) with our girl friends at this age usually have a reason behind them while our conversations with guys that we are “talking” to are often just for kicks?

I’m not going to text one of my girl friends right now just to ask them how they’re doing with the intent of just having a fun, silly conversation that will keep me distracted from my ever-growing workload. I would be worried that I had caught them at a bad time and was annoying them and, mostly, I just wouldn’t do that because it isn’t something that I (or, really, any other girl that I know) do. If I know that one of my friends had a crazy night or a rough exam, I would text them about that but not with the intent of talking about anything else besides their crazy night or rough exam. However, when I text a guy that I am “talking” to, “hey, how was that exam?”, it isn’t only the exam that I want to talk about. I am starting a conversation. I want to talk.

Would we, as college-age girls, still be so different in the way that we communicate with guys that we are “talking” to versus girls that we are friends with if it wasn’t for predetermined societal norms? My guess is no, but then again, I’m not sure how we would behave any differently if we weren’t given a set list of rules to follow.

Thoughts?

24/31

NO! I didn’t drop off the face of the universe! I simply have been extremely stressed and (unfortunately) school comes first.

Today was a good day. Today I had an amazing day of painting, a terrific lunch of spinach pies and grilled cheese, took an EXTREMELY difficult yoga class AND last, but not least, got into the writing minor.

Obviously, my first reaction (after squealing upon receiving the email and gripping the arm of my friend who was sitting next to me) was calling my mom. I had to tell her the amazing news!!! So I picked up the phone, called her up and got her voicemail. Very sad.

So, mom, here is how the conversation would have gone if you hadn’t been in your uber important meeting.

“Hey mom!”

“Hello my absolute favorite daughter. So good to hear from you! I miss seeing your beautiful face every day. What can I do for you this fine afternoon?”

“Well, I actually got into the writing minor!!”

“OMG! Larkin! I am not surprised at all because you are the most amazing person I have ever met! My world revolves around you!!!”

“Aw, thanks mom. By the way, can you transfer a couple thousand dollars into my account? I’m running a little low and would love to buy the entire LuluLemon store this weekend!”

“Of course, love of my life! Anything for you my dearest!!!”

So, mom, how accurate is this? Anything you’d add or remove?

(p.s. my mother’s blog is http://www.tworeflectiveteachers.blogspot.com –go check it out. she’s pretty cool)

20/31

So this weekend my sister’s coming to visit. And the weekend after that I’m going home. And then I have two weekends and then I have finals and then my sophomore year of college is over. I think that I’m having a slight mid-college crisis.

Anyway.

Today in my sociology class we talked about the social differences between generation x and generation y. The part of the conversation that fascinated me the most was when our professor told us that my generation (generation y) has a huge amount of potential to drastically change our political system. The reason that he said that we have the potential to change it as opposed to saying that we are going to change it is because so many people in generation y are so disgusted by the political system that they don’t want to take part in it.

This leads me to the question of: if we hate the way that something works, but we don’t work to change it, are we not also to blame? Isn’t it our job, as generation y, to shape the world to how we want it?

A Washington Post article written in 2015 states that only 19.9% of young people (ages 18-29) cast ballots in the fall of 2014, compared to around 27% previous years. Their reasoning for that was very similar to the reasoning of my professor- we simply don’t care enough. Many young people don’t think that their vote will even make a difference, so just don’t see the point in getting up the energy to head out and vote.

Personally, I think that my generation is being a bunch of hypocrites. They hate the ways of the political system now and want to see change and want to see change happen fast, but are not willing to make that change happen. The way that America is supposed to work is that every vote counts and every voice matters. Even though we are “just one of the bigger whole”, we can shape that bigger whole by simply affecting those immediately around us and watching our ideas take shape.

Putting it simply and cheesily- we need to get our act together and BE the change we want to see in America.

20/31

My mom wrote a post the other day that I have been wanting to talk about. It was about how in certain classrooms she feels like a better teacher. You can check it out here! In classrooms where the kids are attentive and amazing and willing to learn and to listen, it’s easy to understand why their teacher would feel like a rockstar. And on the other end of the spectrum, in a classroom where kids are raucous and disinterested and completely oblivious to anything the teacher has to say, a teacher is likely to feel a bit more insufficient.

I think that this isn’t just a law of the classroom, but also a law of life. After I read her post, I thought for a while about all the different ways that this idea holds true.

When I’m with great people who talk about great ideas, it’s easy to feel like a great person. When I’m with people that I don’t love who prefer to talk about others, I often feel myself getting roped in and end up feeling like a person that I wouldn’t love.

When I’m in an art class with an amazing teacher who understands and appreciates my ideas and looks to help me make my art even better, I feel like a special student and a successful artist. When I’m in an art class with a teacher who doesn’t understand where I’m coming from/why I make the decisions that I do, I feel inadequate and misunderstood.

Along the same lines, when I’m in a lecture with a professor who loves what he or she is talking about and is enthusiastic and cheerful, I find myself filling the role as a much more attentive and appreciative student than when I’m in a lecture where the professor speaks as if he or she would really rather be somewhere else.

It’s an important lesson to realize and to respect. If you want to be a great person, surround yourself with great people. If you want to be inspired, surround yourself with people that you know are going to inspire you.

So thanks, mom, for making me think!

19/31

I might delete this post at some point. Not because I’m worried about future employers or anything (don’t worry, mom) but just because I wouldn’t want it to get in the hands of the wrong person. It’s a little more personal than usual. Also it’s slightly rambly. Sorry. Please bear with me!

My two roommates have extremely steady, serious boyfriends. I love both of their boyfriends dearly and am happy that they are happy but, as you might imagine, sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes I find myself alone in a single while they’re both spending the night at their boyfriends and I feel pretty lonely. I realize that it’s silly and that Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love, is very wise in her advice to young girls to pay more attention to themselves and less to boys, but it isn’t really something that I can help.

I am finally at a point in my life where I am (almost) completely comfortable with who I am and what I believe in. I do not think that a boy is at all what I want or need. I am happy with where I am right now and, as I have said many times, I value and need my alone time. However, it’s hard to watch your two best friends have and love something that you don’t have. Doable, but hard.

My apologies for this post being slightly rant-ish! I didn’t start out with it meaning for it to be, but I realize that it came out that way. Basically, I just think that being a girl who’s a college sophomore is hard when it comes to various pressures and expectations. College academic culture is hard enough as it is. School is stressful. But then you add to that the pressures of social life and what is expected of a college sophomore girl and life gets pretty hairy.

I suppose the point of this post is that it is often times hard to be true to yourself and know what parts of you are real and honest when there are so many pre-existing expectations that you often find yourself struggling to meet.

18/31

Last night at 11pm I got a text from my mom: “You partying?”

I had forgotten to write my slice of life. And so, like the intelligent woman she is, my mom inferred from this uncharacteristic behavior of mine that the reasoning behind this must be that her daughter was out with her friends and not anywhere near a computer.

Unfortunately, she was spot on. I had a terrific St. Patrick’s Day and, I will guiltily admit, it did not involve my daily slice of life.

Anyhow, on to better and more important issues. I wrote a post earlier about being an introvert and how I define what it means to be an introvert. You can check it out (if you want) here. Last year, I was an introvert who was not very confident in myself, something which is often difficult to be. I still found that I gained energy during my alone time, but due to my lack of confidence, I preferred to be surrounded by people- whether that was during my walk to class, or simply going to 7/11 to get a chocolate bar. Going places alone terrified me. Now, I look back on that and, while I can understand the discomfort in appearing “friendless”, I am much more at ease with getting food or going to yoga or walking to class by myself. I no longer understand the reason for the terror that gripped me when a task came along that I had to brave alone.

Today I went to a yoga class by myself for the third time ever. Before a few weeks ago, I had never gone without at least one other friend. This was partially because I didn’t really want to go alone and partially because normally one of my friends can come. However, a few weeks ago, no one could come and I was faced with the decision of sacrificing my yoga for the night or sucking it up and making the trek on my lonesome. I sucked it up. And it was wonderful. I made a new friend in the class- someone who I would never have talked to if I wasn’t surrounded by the comfort of familiar faces- and was able to take the yoga class without feeling at all as though I was competing with anyone else (the two girls that I normally go with are very good and I often find myself comparing my abilities to their’s). In fact, little ol’ introvert me loved it so much that since then I have done my best to go to a class alone at least once a week. It’s another way that I’m able to find my “me time” and I have come to treasure it.

I’m not sure, exactly, when I gained the confidence that I have now or when the moment was that I came to care less about other’s opinions and more on my growth as a person, but when I look back, it is extremely apparent that I am not the person that I was 365 days ago. I am able to find my re-energizing time in moments as simple as taking my walk to class, something I could never do before. Instead of feeling at peace walking through campus, I last year I was constantly worried. Worried about how I looked or what I would do if I saw someone. Now I can take my walk and appreciate the campus and say hello to whoever may be walking in the other direction in complete confidence and serenity. It is very freeing, to say the least.

16/31

For any of you who were intrigued by my one sentence yesterday about a weird art project, this is your lucky day. I am about to explain exactly what I was talking about.

My intro to photography class is, without a doubt, interesting. I was expecting to learn about the functions of the camera and experiment with lighting and other basic photography things, but I was far from correct in these assumptions. We spent about the first two weeks going over the properties of our camera and then jumped straight into various projects. Our latest one was to create our own backdrop and THEN to take pictures of people in front of this backdrop that we created.

After much thought, my friend Maya and I decided to create two very large figures out of a material called foam core. We cut them out, each with a hand extended toward the other (as if they were holding hands) and then spray painted them black. These two figures were faceless, but right in the middle of each of their heads we stuck a piece of velcro. (If you’re extremely confused, don’t worry. I will attach pictures.)

Maya and I then printed out the faces of 12 different historical figures. The full list of them includes: Shakespeare, The Pope, Gandhi, MLK, Jesus, Hillary Clinton, Obama, Beyonce, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Miley Cyrus. On the back of each of these, we stuck another piece of velcro. We mounted the figures, making them stand up straight with sticks, and yesterday we took everything to a very central part of campus.

Immediately, people were interested. Maya and I actually had to leave the figures at first to run and grab our bags from a nearby table, and in those two minutes, a student had come over and was inspecting the figures (actually touching them, to our slight surprise). We hurried back over and asked him the question we asked about 40 times throughout the two hours that we stood there with our large, black-painted figures: “Hi! Do you want to participate in our art project?”

He agreed, and we proceeded to explain the project in more detail. The participant was to choose two of any of the heads we had printed and stick them to the bodies. They then were to stand behind the figures, holding both of their hands (metaphorically “combining” their ideas) as we took a picture of them, and then we asked them to write a short statement about why they had chosen those two people on one of our pre-made cards.

By the end of the day, we had taken the pictures of 19 different people with 18 (I think…) different head combinations. You can check out the full gallery here at our tumblr!

For just a quick idea, so you can have a visual in your head while reading this, here are a couple examples:

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15/31

Today was stressful. A good type of stress, but very stressful nonetheless. I had to participate in an art project with one of my good friends where we literally had to stop people in a very central area of campus and ask them to take pictures. I will describe this in depth tomorrow, as I do not currently have the pictures (they are on my friend’s camera).

I ALSO had to submit my application for the writing minor here at Michigan, something which definitely caused my heart to pitter patter. So, because why not, I’ve decided to share a bit of it on here (the parts which I think will lead to the most discussion… hopefully).

The question was -basically- why I want to participate in the writing minor. I began with this:

“I have two major passions: art and writing. Both help me see my world through different perspectives. With art, I have an outlet to express myself visually, impacting the world through my paintings. Through writing, I clarify my thinking.

I discovered the power of the written word in second grade. On the first real day of spring, Mrs. Byam assigned us an entire math worksheet for homework. I was infuriated. I wanted to go home and play soccer with my sisters, not sit at the kitchen table with a math worksheet. I took matters into my own hands and, during recess, wrote Mrs. Byam a polite letter explaining how I didn’t think we needed homework. We would work extra hard tomorrow, I explained. Today, we all really needed quality family time. Mrs. Byam read the letter and laughed, to my dismay, but then agreed the homework wasn’t necessary. Victory.”

I then moved on to talk about how great the minor is, etc., etc., and then included another anecdote:

“Last year, I was talking to one of my parents’ friends. He asked me many predictable questions: “What’s your major?” “What are you passionate about?” “What are you going to do with your major?” He succeeded at rattling me. Usually I am able to slide through these nightmarish conversations with an “I’m just not sure yet.” Mr. Silk, however, persisted. My final diversionary tactic was to ask what he would recommend. I was happily surprised when he confirmed what I already knew.

“Well, Larkin,” he said, “I think that you already are on a great path toward success through your choosing an unusual major. You’ll stand out. But honestly, what I most look for in the young people that I hire is whether or not they can write. You would be very surprised at how many people your age can barely form a sentence.”

He moved on to another conversation, leaving me to ponder and process his statement. I knew from my mother that he really did hire many people in his successful company. His affirmation of my belief in the power of the written word reignited my commitment to be the best writer I can be. I want to write not only to impress people in the job atmosphere like Steven Silk, but also because writing is how I best communicate with both others and with myself.”

I already have asked you all the question “what makes you write”, so today I’ll pose this one instead: “when did you first learn of the power of words,” or, “when did you first fall in love with the written word.”