I’m Busy!

Why hello there blog. I’m sorry I have been neglecting you. A lot has happened in my life since the last time I posted. I made it through college and claimed my ticket to the real world (a.k.a my diploma) and that got me diddly squat for awhile. For half a year after graduating I stumbled around working various part time jobs, lifeguarding, babysittting, petsitting, teaching SAT prep and volunteering at a hospice. Whoops I am starting to sound like my resume. Moving on, I essentially drifted for six months, working irregular schedules, fretting about the future, and pondering what I wanted from life. Just like everyone does at some point in their life, if not for all of it.

Then after my period of limbo, I got a job offer. Just a temp position but something that was full time regular hours and actually kind of in my field. Naturally I snatched it up. I had to quit a couple of my babysitting gigs to take it on but I still kept everything else on my plate. Some weeks I would work 50-60 hours and with all that income flowing, I still continued to fret. “What am I going to do with my life now? Will I have enough money for a car and eventually a house? What if i lose my job[s]?”. Constant planning, always working, always busy, busy, busy. And what suffered? My social life. Granted, it is hard to make plans with friends when you friends are still in college an hour and a half away, or working in their new career thousands of miles away. So I accepted that there was no one to do anything with anyways and so my time was best spent working and saving for the future.

It took my boyfriend pointing out that I was stuck in the future to bring about my personal enlightenment. He told me that my mind is always planning so far into the future that I forget to ever focus on the present. Whoa. He was so right! I am in the prime of my life right now with a solid job (that temp job turned into a permanent salaried position!), incredible friends (that really aren’t that far to be honest), a nice new car, paid vacation days (courtesy of the new job), and good health. Why was I wasting my time working all these extra part time jobs for negligible amounts of money? Some of the fat in my life needed to be cut out.

So what fat could I afford to lose? None probably, I’m a very skinny gal. But really, what should I cut out? My full time job had to stay, volunteering is my giving back so that had to stay, teaching/ tutoring SAT prep is a gold mine that isn’t very time consuming, and the babysitting I do because I love the kids, not for money. So that left lifeguarding. A low paying job which I gained nothing from and sucked up precious summer days. And ladies and gentleman, today I quit!

Being that I am an A-type personality this was no easy feat. To give up something! To cut back on planning…. to say no to things! Previously unheard of for me. As a side note, I seem to have become a different person in college, but that’s for another day’s post. One of my deciding factors in this lifestyle change I am currently processing is Arianna Huffington’s book Thrive. I adore Arianna Huffington. And everything she writes is worth reading. Well, her newest book is about the third metric, which she proposes is an additional measure of success in life, alongside money and power. Really I had only been focusing on money and power [my career]. But there is so much more. The third metric is about well being, giving, wisdom, and wonder. That’s all I’m going to say about her book, because you ought to read it for yourself (and I haven’t finished it yet), but there is deep truth in that.

It is time for me to focus on the now. To enjoy this stage of my life before I am rooted down to a family of my own. I need to travel and explore, to experience the wonder that used to come so easily to me as a child and a teenager. It’s starting to come back to me, little by little, finding the amazement in nature and the mystical magic of cities. I need to embrace the wisdom of my elders and even acknowledge that sometimes children have unique wisdom to share from their perspective. I need to tend to my health and well being through yoga, mindfulness, meditation, healthy eating and exercising. My giving will continue through my volunteering at hospice, which I can now resume weekly since I have cut out one of my extraneous jobs. I will make a conscious effort to plan less and live spontaneously when possible because there is so much delight in that.

There is so much more I could say on this subject but alas I will have to get to bed soon now that I am on a fixed career schedule. But I will get back to this blog soon [really, I will this time!] and update anyone who is interested on my journey. I’m sure it will be challenging to embrace the uncertainty in life but it is a hurdle I know I can handle. Attached to this post is a fascinating article about the subject of “busy-ness” which I feel has quite a lot of truth to it. It’s time to make time for the things that really matter like friends, relaxing, traveling, and volunteer work. Oh, and guess what? Little ‘ol me, Miss I-Hate-College, is now planning on going back to college [part time] on my own accord for my masters. Funny how the world works.

The ‘Busy’ Trap- NY Times

Arianna Huffington on Thrive

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My Attempt at Meditation

So yesterday I was feeling a bit spiritual and thoughtful about the world I live in so I decided to try meditation again. When I was younger I used to meditate on occasion to relax, relieve stress, and escape my world for a bit. It has been so long since I blocked out all distractions on merely focused on my inner self and finding deeper truths within my mind. 

Ok, so I know this all sounds kind of crazy and hippie-ish… but I promise, it does wonders. I don’t know if my form of meditation is “correct” or standard but its what I learned and it helps center me.What I do is I lay on my back (can be done sitting if you want) with my palms up and I establish a steady breathing rhythm. I then visualize and count the numbers 1-10 in my head. After this I visualize a bird flying from the left to the right and then a curtain goes up. To come out of meditation all of this is done backwards. Once I am in meditation I can do anything I choose. Sometimes I have a scenario I want to explore in mind ahead of time, but sometimes like last night I just let whatever happens happen (somewhat like dreaming). 

So here’s what I envisioned. I started out on the beach of my childhood neighborhood watching the waves crash against the shore. Unsure of why I was here and what I should do I began to swim out as far away from the shore as possible. I kept swimming until I had exhausted my body and came upon a kayak in the water. I switched to kayaking, moving faster than I was able to without it but after a bit the waves became too choppy for my small vessel and at this point a sailing ship appeared to me. I now switched into the ship, sailing together with other crew members, battling the raging waters of the sea.

Well, since this was my first time meditating in a long time that’s all I had the focus for. So I came out of my meditation and thought about what I had seen. Everything I had seen was a product of my own thoughts, feelings and memories yet instead of controlling my thoughts, I let them guide me. After a little analysis I realized there was a message in this journey of my mind. The beach near my childhood home symbolized my beginnings and swimming away from the shore out towards open sea was my journey through high school and early college. I wasn’t quite on my own yet but I was forced to be independent and carry myself forward into my life. As I moved farther and farther away, distance representing time, I am unable to continue on merely my own strength. I employ the help of a kayak or in real life, my college education. This goes faster and brings me farther away in less time. Sometimes it is hard to come to terms with the fact that I have learned the basics to what I need to know to be an engineer in a mere four years.

When the waters have become too choppy for me to make it in my kayak, I graduate to a ship where I still must work but I have others to help me and be my companions. This may symbolize my family and coworkers after I graduate. Maybe I was kayaking I had company too, but we weren’t so much in it together. In school I have acquaintances but when we graduate we will all go our separate ways; to jobs, families, and our futures. Maybe our paths may cross again but we will not be sailing together, always going to the same places, completely invested in each other’s well being.

My meditative journey last night helped me come to terms with graduation (on a very simple scale) and it has encouraged me to make meditation a regular thing. Not only does meditation make things clearer, but it is an excellent way to escape our world of constant communication, media, and noise. It’s a way to relax and have a few minutes (or more) here and there that you have all to yourself to reset your mind and have inner peace.

 

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What do I want to do when I graduate?

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That is a good question. And being less than 100 days away from graduation I’m still not positive. Sure I know the things I want to do before I die and I have a general idea what will make me happy but I’m really uncertain. I thought that by the time I was a senior I would have things figured out but I was so busy over the past 4 years dealing with everything life threw at me that I still don’t really know. So until I figure this out, and who knows when that will be…. I am applying to as many environmental engineering jobs as possible.

But here’s another problem. There are so many things I can do with an environmental engineering degree that I’m not really sure where to start. Some jobs make it easy with a title of “Environmental Engineer I” but others are not so straightforward…. Also I’m not sure that I want to go into straight engineering. I kind of want to… I just don’t know.

What I do know is what makes me happy, and maybe if I list them here they will help me figure out what I should do after graduation.

1. Singing and dancing. Nothing like a good ‘ol musical number to get my endorphins pumping. Personally I think life would be really cool if it was like Glee although nobody but music geeks and drama nerds and maybe some gay folk would agree with me. Sometimes it feels like the only way to get out all my feelings or to cheer me up is through a song and dance routine spontaneously breaking out in the middle of my life. Then again, it could get me put in a mental institution…. If I was talented enough I would pursue this, but my voice isn’t the greatest and I cannot dance to save my life. Unless I made it big by being as being such an awful dancer that people loved it….

2. A comedienne  I love making people laugh, but if I want to pursue this I’m going to need to sharpen up. Sometimes I’m unintentionally funny but I’m not sure if I’m ready for a stand up act yet. Sitcom I could totally manage but getting onto that scene is quite challenging as well. Maybe I could move out to Cali and try to get work as an actress but as we all know, it ain’t easy to make it out there unless you have the perfect balance of luck, connections, and talent.

3. A writer. I am way too ADHD to be a writer. This post here has taken me 2 weeks so far because of the lack of focus I had everytime I tried to write it. But I am always full of ideas to write about so that’s a plus. I think I’m going to work on more actively pursuing this (starting with this blog!). And I can make people laugh by writing. Or I can inspire deep thoughts. The world is my stage and I shall write for it.

4. Travel the world. This isn’t exactly a career choice but before I die I want to travel to all the remote (and close) nooks and crannies of the world. I want to explore and meet new people. I want to sail across the ocean and have an exciting adventure. I want to meet all different kinds of people and learn about their lives firsthand instead of from books, movies, or the news. I want to find my purpose out there. As St. Augustine said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”.

5. Help people. So many people have helped me throughout my life and I cannot thank them enough. In addition to enjoying helping people in general I want to pay it forward and be able to do for others what others have done for me. There have been so many friends and family members who have helped me through difficult times and helped me grow into a more mature, stronger, and independent person and I want to help others achieve that as well. No one should feel like they are alone in the world or have no one to turn to for help. If we would all help each other out the world would be such a better place. Even small acts of kindness can make a world of difference. So I always want to leave time in my life to volunteer where my skills are needed.

6. A family. This is self explanatory. I want a children one day who I have enough time to nurture and love. I don’t want to be a parent who is always at work and hardly knows their own children. But like my wonderful mother and father who always took time to be with me and do special things with me, I want to have plenty of quality time with my children and raise them to be strong and happy individuals. And I want to take in children who don’t have homes or anyone who cares about them. Because I believe that all children deserve love and a chance at a good life.

So these are the things I want in life. From least realistic to most, I need to find a way to incorporate them into my life. Maybe I can be a traveling volunteer finding safe water sources for third world countries for a few years and then start a family. Maybe I can settle down at an engineering job that cleans up hazardous waste sites and turns them into schools for children and then have a family and travel the world with them. I don’t know what will happen but I hope that I will find my way to happiness one day. Right now I’m shrouded with stress at school but I know that if I put my mind to it, I can have the life I want. A life full of purpose and love and free of stress and pain. No one can fully avoid the awful things in life and I know there will be rough times too, but I am setting forth on my journey with optimism and determination to make a life for myself that I will be happy in.

I found a video on youtube that inspired me to go after what I really want, rather than what I have been told by society I need.

What if money were no object? Well the things I have listed are what I would want. And I’m okay with a life that isn’t lavish. I have never lived a lavish life and that hasn’t kept me from happiness in the past. I am so thankful for my loving family, amazing friends, having a place to sleep at night, always enough food to eat, and a chance at higher education. I know so many people who lack some or all of these things and some of them still find a way to be happy and if they can, I definitely can. Although I have battled with depression in the past I don’t want to let things going wrong at school or work get me down. There are always options, our lives are filled with millions of possible paths we can take with unknown outcomes. We can take risks or we can play it safe. Our lives are in our hands and the key to happiness lies in our hearts and minds.

I am still young and I want to seize the day ahead of me. I have spent far too long dwelling on what I wish I had done in my years in college or what I shouldn’t have done but regrets will only keep us in the past. So I learn from my mistakes the best I can and I will keep moving forward, each day growing a little bit older and hopefully wiser. And I need to build up faith in myself and slowly become stronger and braver. I want to have the courage to do what will make me happy and allow me to do the most for others. So as I move through these last ten weeks of my undergraduate career, I’m going to do my best. I’m going to work hard and stay positive and find my path. I may not have found it by the time I graduate but I’ll never stop searching for it.

So here goes….

How to be a Hu$tler on Campus

So you’re a poor college student. Struggling to pay tuition, rent, grocery bills, etc. Not to mention your booze and weekend allowance. So what do you do? You hu$tle. From working mutliple jobs to selling your old things on ebay there are lots of ways to squeeze money out of time and into your pocket (or straight to your college tuition…). So here’s a list of ways to save and make easy money in college.

1. Search for the best deals on textbooks. Don’t settle for paying the high prices your college bookstore will charge. Textbooks range from $50-$200 per book and with an average of 5 classes per semester this can add up. I don’t even want to think about all the money I have spent on textbooks over the years. However, there are lots of ways to get out of this. The first step is to check and see if any of your required textbooks are available at your university library. You would be surprised how many they will have. The trick is to act on this quickly because they may only have one or two copies of the book that you and 100 other students need. Another possibility is to share your textbook with a friend who is taking the same class, or borrow/ buy a used textbook from a friend who has taken the class before. Always make friends in class! Even if it’s a huge lecture hall, it’s extremely helpful to buddy up for lots of reasons. My favorite way to save money on textbooks is to buy the international editions. They are the exact same book but softcover and sometimes have lower quality paper, but not always. I just bought one of my textbooks in the international edition for $60 that would have been $113 at the college bookstore or $180 used online. It just came today and it’s smaller and lighter  than the copy they are offering for $113 but with the same content. If you aren’t planning on keeping your textbook, consider renting it or selling it back when your course is finished. Lastly, I use isbns.net to instantly compare prices for your textbook on hundreds of websites. Don’t let your college bookstore hu$tle you!

2. Amazon Student. Did you know that as a college student you can get a free Amazon Prime account for 6-12 months? It’s easy to sign up and completely free. The perks are free 2-day shipping, discounts sent to your email, and again FREE SHIPPING. What you save on not paying for shipping adds up, plus you get your stuff faster! When your free membership runs out, they offer you a discounted Prime account which I decided to get because with what you save in free shipping it pays for itself. Plus with a regular prime account you get access to Amazon Instant videos which has most of what Netflix has. You can make your free Amazon student account here at Amazon Student.

3. Coupons! While you may not be as successful with coupons as the people on Extreme Couponing, they can still help lower your grocery bills if you live off campus. There are lots of ways to get coupons such as in your Sunday newspapers, online or in e-mails. Use your coupons wisely. Don’t buy something just because you have a coupon for it, but save the coupons for items your would buy anyways like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, or snacks. Make sure to match your coupons with weekly sales to get the ultimate savings and maybe one day you will be on your way to being and extreme couponer.

4. Get a job. Or two or three…. Find an on campus job that works for you. If you live off campus a dining hall job will provide you with some free meals. If you live on campus find an easy info desk job that allows you to do your homework or study when there aren’t any customers. Most colleges have a job website that makes it easy to find work. I work in the game room in my school’s student union. It’s the perfect job because I sit at a desk and can do my homework during work. I also have television and a computer at work, so if I want to just veg out I can do that too. If a job is too strenuous it may interfere with your performance in classes. I worked in a lab for a year cleaning bottles and doing other menial tasks. While it paid well, I was on my feet for hours at a time and was too exhausted after work to get any school work done. So take advantage of easy jobs and even double up on jobs if you can handle it. In addition to my campus job, I do babysitting and tutoring on occasion when my regular clients need a last minute sitter. I look for my babysitting, tutoring, and petsitting gigs at care.com which is a great legit site for finding work.

5. Rewards websites. There are easy and safe ways to make some money online by taking surveys, watching videos, shopping online, searching online and playing games. I use Swagbucks and I make about $50 per month on it by spending 30 minutes-1 hr per day on it. If you shop a lot online this site is great because for most shopping websites you can earn 1-10 “Swagbucks” per dollar. Each swagbuck is about a penny but they add up fast. Say you are buying your textbooks on Amazon and the sum total is $300. If the rate for Amazon textbooks is 3 sbs per dollar, you will earn 900 swagbucks from your purchase which is about $9 back. You can redeem your swagbucks in the form of gift cards for anything from Paypal to Walmart. It’s a cool site and I would highly recommend it. You can also use MyPoints, which is works the same way but it’s harder to earn points and it takes a lot more points to earn rewards.

6. Sell your old unwanted valuables on ebay! Not everyone has things to sell, but if you have stuff lying around that you don’t want anymore you might as well. If you only sell 10 items per month there are no extra fees and ebay takes a very small percentage of your profit. You can sell things like video games, trading cards (look out for cards that are worth a lot now!), old electronics, etc. I don’t sell very much but when I do it’s nice to have some extra money coming in.

7. Sell your eggs or sperm. This is kind of extreme and I haven’t personally done it, but eggs are worth a couple grand if you are a healthy college student. If it’s something you are open to, go for it. If not, ignore this tip.

8. Participate in campus research studies. Most college campuses offer a handful of studies periodically which can be quite lucrative for the participant. While studies have a reputation for involving taking pills or MRI’s, there are less intrusive studies which only require you to do simple reading tasks or puzzles. In the past I have been paid up to $80/hr in cash for these studies and all I had to do was take simple reading tests, do some math and answer questions. Since they are through the university they are definitely legitimate, but if you ever find studies that aren’t affiliated with a university or reputable company, be wary and read everything through before you sign anything or participate.

9. Save your pocket change in a piggy bank. You would be surprised how much your loose change from an entire semester can add up to. I keep a couple cups of coins in my room where I put all my loose change that I find on the floor or in my pockets and by the end of the semester it’s my gas money home.

10. Scholarships!!! You would be surprised how many companies or individuals are willing to help fund your education. Although I haven’t received any scholarships in college, I came to college with scholarships from AXA, Big Y, and a local bank that totalled almost $15,000. Almost every big company has a scholarship fund you can apply to and your school may have scholarships as well. If you are a minority it’s even better. There are loads of scholarships for women in science, African Americans, etc. Take advantage of these and spend time before and during college applying for scholarships. The time really will pay off and it will reduce your loans drastically. A great resource for finding scholarships is Fastweb. It will help you find scholarships specific to you.

Well, that’s all I have for now but I hope these tips help make college easier on your wallet. Ready, set, start hu$tling!

Surviving the Perils of a College Dining Hall

College dining halls. A peril only to be faced by the most daring of warriors. Or by unsuspecting freshman… Either way, it is quite the force to be reckoned with. These buildings house our main source or nourishment for our four years (or more) at school, so they must be approached cautiously. One can not make enemies with their dining halls, yet the relationship is not quite one of pure amiability. In this post wish to provide my fellow scholars with a practical guide to braving mass produced sustenance based on my experiences in the past four years. My first year of college I was housed nearest to the most daunting of the dining halls in my university. It had a reputation for foul food that only the honors and arts students could stomach. This hall was located in the most remote corner of campus and only those who had classes or lived nearby dared to enter. Throughout the rest of my years I ventured farther out to the other halls but found them to be just as formidable in their own way. Each had it’s own ups and downs and although I opted for take out whenever possible, when my bank account ran dry I was forced to again turn to the halls. And so I provide some valuable tips for surviving your undergraduate eating career.

1. Become allies with the gatekeeper. The little old ladies who swipe you into the dining hall are the key to finding edible food. If you are nice to them they will help you, but if you are frigid to them your path will be ever so more arduous. Give her (or him if the case may be) a nice smile and “how do you do” whenever you come in and they swipe your ID. If there is no line have a short friendly conversation. These lovely retired ladies (or gentlemen) may be lonely guarding the entrance all by themselves, make friends with them and they will give you valuable tips about the food that day.

2. Be prepared. Check the dining hall menus online ahead of time when possible and avoid food you know to be horrid. Do not let the gourmet names fool you. Food from a dining hall is food from a dining hall. Although Black and Bleu Cube Steak sounds enticing…. well I’ll get to that in a bit.

3. Avoid ethnic food. Nothing at all against ethnic foods (eg. Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese) but when it is cooked by dining hall chefs on a mass scale, it doesn’t taste like what you get at a restaurant. Occasionally its tasty but most of the time…. it’s not.

4. Eat Kosher or Halal. Even if you are not a Jew or Muslim, the Kosher and Halal food at college campuses is usually cooked on a smaller scale. And since religious guidelines are so strict, the quality of the food is almost always drastically better. At my school the Kosher food is delicious and nutritious more often than not. Unfortunately our Kosher/ Halal kitchen is in a far corner of campus that I rarely journey to and so I am still subject to the regular food.

5. Check your meat before you eat it! This was a lesson I only just learned today. I was served my Black and Bleu Cube Steak and it looked wonderful but when I cut it open I saw that it was not cooked at all on the inside. This was rarer than rare and totally against health codes…. Were they trying to poison us? Maybe, maybe not but inspect your meat before you eat it.

6. Build up an appetite for pizza, salad, sandwiches and cereal. If there is nothing appetizing on the hot line there is almost always cold foods available that are hard to screw up. I know there have been some weeks where I live on salad, subs, pizza, and pasta from the dining halls. Also, I keep (mostly) kosher, so when there is only main dishes with pork I don’t really have a lot of choices.

7. Use the suggestion box. At my school the dining hall suggestion box is really popular. We ask for things we want more of and let them know when something is really awful. Sometimes a couple of comedic cards get in there too so they are fun to read. From my experience, the managers usually take most of the suggestions into account so you might as well take advantage of them. Can’t complain if you haven’t spoken up! (I have put quite a few of those cards in over my four years)

8. Attack your meals in pairs or groups. Generally it’s more enjoyable to go to dinner with friends. Especially so you can bitch about the food and let each other know what’s good and what’s not. One of the best parts of the dining hall experience (and believe me, there are not many) is getting to relax at meals with your friends and have a nice time. Put aside time for your meals when you can and spend them with good friends. The food is not quite so bad if there is laughter involved.

9. Pick a college that has good food. This is for any pre-college students who may be reading this. You’re going to be eating the food for a long time, make sure you try out a dining hall at each school you visit. It’s a good way to get a feel for the atmosphere of the student body and test out the food. Hey, food is pretty important, so if two colleges are pretty even and you can’t decide, make food your deciding factor.

10. Condiments. Nothing like some ketchup or BBQ sauce to add some flavor to really bland food. Get creative.  🙂

That’s all I have for now, but I hope it helps. Some of what I have written is specific to my school but most of it applies universally. Even though you may be discouraged after a few weeks of dining hall food, keep on trucking. Winter and summer breaks are a nice time to refresh your pallet and eat everything that is not delicious or available at school. Keep some snacks in your room too and most importantly, stock up on Ramen and Easy Mac. There’s a funny thing about the freshman fifteen. I have noticed that some people gain it and some people lose it. It all depends on your balance of eating and exercise.

Then again, maybe it just depends on the dining hall and your survival techniques…..

‎”There is no immortality that is not built on friendship and work done with care. All the secrets in the world worth knowing are hiding in plain sight….”
-Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore

‎”There is no i…

My Last First Day of Classes

My HAZWOPER class's epic field training day last semester. It was one of the highlights of my engineering education :) Good memories.

My HAZWOPER class’s epic field training day last semester. It was one of the highlights of my engineering education 🙂 Good memories.

The beginning of the end. Today was my first day of the last two classes of my undergraduate career. As my classmates and I gathered into the room that we have had a class in together every semester, I began to feel a bit nostalgic. We all laughed and shared our winter breaks in a nutshell. I felt a bit overwhelmed with how many friends and acquaintances I have made in engineering over these four years. Little shy and quiet me, turned into a social butterfly of engineering. We are all so different yet tied together by our mutual suffering and countless nights staying up until 5 AM finishing a lab report or studying for an exam.

While I won’t miss my classes, I’m going to miss the camaraderie that came with a grueling academic atmosphere. When times were rough we banded together and got through it. It was rarely easy, in fact oftentimes I wanted to quit engineering and switch to an easier major. But having friends and classmates that were also going through the same thing with me made it so much easier.

We are all environmental engineers and my graduating class calls ourselves the “ENVE Crew”. Together we labor through projects, programming and seemingly impossible homework assignments, but when they are all done we go out and celebrate together. My school colleagues by day turn into jovial drinking buddies by night. Even in class we find ways to lighten things up. All of our professors are subject to endearing inside jokes and nicknames. After our lab course the females of our group would go out to the dining hall for stir fry Tuesdays, earning us the title of the “Ladies who Lunch”.

I’m going to miss these chums when I graduate. I imagine we will all go our separate ways, taking our jobs where they come and each of us landing in some different niche of the country. Our only linkage will be the fond memories of college and intermittent correspondence on Facebook. So even though I complain about how horrible school is and how graduation can’t come soon enough, I’m going to miss my ENVE Crew and all the times we shared. I want to make this semester count and spend time with them before we graduate and disperse to save the planet.

So as we gathered today in room 204, I couldn’t help but feel sad, that this would be our last first day of class. Our last time scoping out the new professor together, planning our engineering parties for the semester, looking forward to graduation….. But as I lamented the end, I noticed a trend. Our classroom jostling was no different than high school, and before that middle school. As I move on to the next section of my life maybe it will yield similar relationships. Maybe I’ll buddy up with some coworkers and we will share inside jokes and gossip about our boss. We’ll go out to lunch and reluctantly trudge back in to work when our hour is up. Although the transitions in life from one milestone to another seem like we are leaving a whole chapter behind, maybe we hold on to some of it and project it onto the future. I’m going to stay in touch with my classmates and friends the best I can, and open myself up to new friends and experiences. Hey, after all, it’s not over til it’s over!

All suited up for taking lake samples! One of the highlights of our awful and arduous lab course.....

All suited up for taking lake samples! One of the highlights of our awful and arduous lab course…..

10 Ways to Get Rid of an Annoying Roommate

Whether it’s your freshman year or your senior year roommates are a touchy ground. Over the course of my college career I have had six different roommates over three years. My junior year I was fortunate enough to get a single. Most freshman in college start out with a random roommate. I remember eagerly awaiting my assignment, ready to instantly friend her on Facebook and find out what sort of person she was. Would she be a quiet nerd like me who would become my best friend who I would spend the next 4 years living with? Would she be a wild party girl who would instantly join a sorority? Would I end up with someone with awful hygiene who went through my things when I was in class? I had no idea, but I was excited nonetheless. Worst case scenario I could change rooms.

After an entire summer of waiting I received my assignment and my future roommate and I talked lots in the few days before we were to move in. She and I were total opposites but we got along great and things were going well. However, she decided to move across the hall about a month into the semester to live with her friends and I had a brief hiatus from sharing my room. My next roommate was probably my favorite. Let’s call her Alisha. She was quirky and nerdy just like me and we roomed together for the rest of freshman year as well as most of sophomore year. But Alisha never stayed satisfied doing anything for long. Before the first semester of our second year even finished, she decided she had had enough of school and moved across the country to California. This left me again roommateless. With only a month left of the semester, reslife assigned me a new roommate who was similar to my first. She was a really wonderful and nice girl but the polar opposite of me. While I liked to stay in and read or watch tv, Kate was a sorority girl who studied hard and partied harder. We got along great but at the end of the semester she too moved to another room to live with friends. That brings us to my least favorite roommate. Let’s call her Elsa. Elsa was a first semester student from a wealthy family in Africa. At first she seemed sweet and I took her under my wing. A few weeks into living with her and her true colors came out. She was ignorant, annoying and lying came way too easy to her. But I roughed it out and lived with her for a whole semester. After that I had my share of roommates and chose a single for my Junior year.

That summer I took summer classes and roomed with a good friend. Not really much to say about that. We made perfect roommates more or less. Sometimes we would chat and do things together and sometimes we just gave each other our space. Anyways, that brings me to my senior year roommate who I won’t go into a great deal about because I’m living with her now. My current roommate we will call Marge. She and I have been best friends since 5th grade and it was probably a bad idea to room with her. But I couldn’t get into a single again and the last thing I wanted was to have a random roommate for my senior year. So we roomed together and for the first semester she lived with her boyfriend but here we are back in school and she is living in the room with me.

I don’t have any problem with her in particular, it’s just that it’s hard to live with someone at this point. I think I’m over the whole “dorm experience”. Most seniors live in apartments but I wanted to be close to my classes, and living on campus is as close as you can get. But living with people when I’m stressed out beyond belief with work, senior projects, and 4000 level classes oftentimes brings me to my snapping point. Hence my outrageous plan to passive aggressively shoo my roommate away. Because clearly it would be less fun and involve a lot more maturity to talk this out with her. Nah, I like this plan better. Feel free to adapt these tips for your own use if you have a pesky roommate you need to get rid of.

Disclaimer: I do not endorse any of these methods, they are merely some ideas I had for comic relief when my roommate drives me crazy.

1. Gas him/her out. This first tactic involves a diet of beans, cheese and other gas inducing foods to cause you to stink up the room as much as possible. If you are farting so much that it stinks the room up, it may encourage your living buddy to spend less time around.

2. Late night coughing fits. For me this hasn’t been on purpose. I got the flu right before the semester started and it’s left me with an awful cold. Unintentionally, I have been coughing and hacking all night long and she has an 8 am. I really wish this damn cough would go away though. It’s not very enjoyable.

3. Let your roommate walk in on you masturbating (or pretending to). This one is a bit more out there but definitely increases the awkward factor by leaps and bounds. Downside is that there is the gossip factor to keep in mind. If your roommate is the type to tell everyone everything, you might want to skip this one or you may find yourself with a sex fiend reputation (not that that’s always a bad thing…. but I’ll save that for another post).

4. Sexiling. This tip is similar to the previous one. If you have a significant other or fuck buddy, ask for the room as much as you want. If you are always having sex in it, he/she may just go and move in with their significant other. Although if your roommate is single, this tactic is flat out mean and I wouldn’t recommend it unless your roommate is a soulless and evil person.

5. Blasting music they don’t like. Self explanatory but the best way to do this passively is to have the music playing when they get back to the room so that it doesn’t seem like you are doing it to piss them off specifically. If you really want to be passive aggressive, even turn the music down a bit when they come in to make it seem like you care.

6. Being a slob. This one is also self explanatory and pretty easy, but make sure you can live with yourself being a slob…. personally this method doesn’t work for me because I’m kind of a neat freak.

7. Kill them with kindness. For example, if your roommate has a boyfriend and wants him to stay over, be totally ok with it. Gradually they will take advantage of this and then you can throw a btich fit over her having her boyfriend over all the time. This is just one example of how this principle can be used. It’s pretty vague so let your unscrupulous imagination run wild.

8. Move their belongings while they are sleeping. This idea is rather intrusive and only for the worst of roommates. Doing this to someone nice would be absolutely awful, but if you have one of those intolerable roommates, move their keys and ID in the night so that when they are getting ready for class they have to search for them.

9. Never take out the trash. Personally, I can’t do this. I like things neat and clean so it would drive me crazy.

10. Throw a wild party! I started my fall semester out doing this, not to aggravate my roommate and suitemates, but to have some fun before the semester started. I’m glad I did because they have made it next to impossible for me to do this again, even though I was respectful and cleaned up after the first (and last…) party.

Well, that’s all I have for now. I hope you enjoyed my tips (although I don’t recommend using them) and stay tuned for my rants about trudging to class in a New England winter!