Transferring is Haaaard

Let me paint you a word picture. Remember fall/winter of your senior year of high school? Ah, memories. Memories mainly of the grueling, painful, next-level difficult college application process. Perhaps you did not vehemently hate applying to college, and perhaps even did not irrationally procrastinate doing so whenever possible, but if that is the case then you and I are not the same.

Despite this immense struggle, I persevered and applied and got into colleges and accepted one with great joy and relief and thought that was over and done with.

But then I got to college, promptly helped myself to a heavier and more all-encompassing workload than the one I had in high school, and thought, Hey. You know what would be fun? Doing my least favorite thing I’ve ever had to do again, while also having a barely feasible amount of work.

Thus I started up that glorious process again, while living it up in the second semester of my freshman year of college! It was an utter blast, and I definitely didn’t stay at the library until closing three nights per week or anything.

In all seriousness, there is no human emotion on this Earth quite like logging into the Common App website as a college student. I have never experienced full-body disgust like I did at the moment I was forced to enter the abyss of the College Board website and once more pay $15 to send each AP score to each school on my list. (What on this great green earth could those fifteen dollars possibly go to? They don’t even have to print anything! Just inform four post-secondary institutions of the grade I received on a U.S. History exam I took three years ago, please!)

I am already way more excited about Emerson than I was about my last school (air of mystery here so as not to start any drama), which makes that terrible period of my human existence worth it. However. Things did not suddenly become easy, which was a disappointment because I hope constantly that life will abruptly transform into a 24/7 walk in the park.

Being an Emerson student is pretty great so far, but being a transfer student can be hard. It is often like being a freshman, but with none of the youthful glow and optimism. All the knowledge you built up about your last college is suddenly totally useless. (I haven’t needed to keep up a mental ranking of preferred shower stalls in the second-floor communal bathroom of my dorm building in five months, and yet here I am today, constantly aware that the one closest to the window is by far the best in terms of amount of space and adaptability of water temperature.)

But this breadth of knowledge is not the worst thing that does not transfer, because if you start attending Emerson YOUR GPA DOES NOT TRANSFER. This is truly the worst thing I can possibly imagine. Not only does it feel like all the work I did last year has disappeared before my very eyes, but I have much less time and fewer data points now. In other words, a required class I didn’t want to take in the first place suddenly matters a whole lot.

If there is one thing in the entire world that rivals the loss of my existing GPA for unpleasantness, it is having to make friends once again. As a process, it is so hard and weird! But here I am in a new city, at a new school, and apparently socializing is expected, or something. This is especially difficult because it is very tempting to lay on the floor and use Snapchat and Instagram to watch the lives of my friends from my last college and/or my friends from home as they happily begin their second year at the same school. With friends they’ve already made. What a luxury!

But even with all of those mildly depressing negatives, I still really recommend transferring if you feel unsatisfied. Because we all pay wayyyy too much money to get anything other than the best four years of all time.

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How to Escape Your Syllabus Prison

College. It’s supposed to be the time when you find yourself, when you make your lifelong friends, when you come to terms with the fact that you’re going to be in debt forever and you’d best get used to the taste of ramen noodles because that’s about as close to luxury as it’s going to get for the next couple of decades. Yes, college is all of these things, but college is also something else.

It’s a two-to-four year period when you have so much assigned reading that it feels like if one more word is transferred from the page to your brain you may explode. So how, pray tell, is reading anything not listed on a syllabus possible when every day is an increased risk to your body’s stability?

It requires sacrifice. But not soul-sacrifice, thankfully, because the ability to find time to read for pleasure would be a fairly mundane thing for which to sell your soul. Save that for the big leagues.

 

1. Prioritize Reading

Between homework, studying, essays, socializing, and some light witchcraft, free time can be tough to find for a college student. This is already horrible because free time is the best time, but it’s even worse because getting free time when you aren’t used to it is a weird amount of pressure. For me, it usually goes something like this:

I have some time! Sick. I’ll just check in on a few things on my laptop….Oh, three years have passed? I’m now legally missing? So much time has gone by that the motivation to search is fading in the hearts of those who love me? Right, of course.

To avoid this Rip van Winkle-esque experience, pick up a book immediately. Your phone can tear that book from your cold dead hands.

You may even have to pass on social plans in order to read, which is always weird. RSVPing “nah” in order to read is so profoundly dorky that the person you are politely rejecting may struggle to conceptualize just what this means. But the only way out is through, my friend, and if you just keep on being a full-on dweeb once in a while your loved ones will take the hint. And maybe even remain in your life if you’re lucky.

2. Carry a Book with You

There are approximately one million pockets of time during the typical class day during which you can read at least a couple paragraphs. Examples: arriving to class early, one of those weird breaks very kind professors occasionally grant midway through a class, when that one student who answers every question finally fulfills their dream of forcing two dozen sleepy young adults to listen to them for a few minutes. This can be prime reading time if you have a book, or an e-book app on your phone, if you happen to be a person who reads for the content and not for the experience of a physical book.

3. Traveling

One fact of life is that people go places. If you are ever going to a place and you are not controlling a vehicle or the movement of your own legs, this is a good time to read. If you live off campus and commute to class on a train or bus or whatever – boom, reading time! If you live far away and find yourself on a plane – that’s reading time, baby. Take advantage!

4. Keep a List and Read Good Stuff ONLY

This point really only needs to be the length of a link, and that link is goodreads.com. Learn it, live it, love it. Make a list of 500 books you’re excited to read and then realize you’ll never have time to read all of them.

5. Try Different Formats

Audiobooks are technically books, and you can do more activities while you read them. You can keep e-books on your phone or laptop or even an e-reader if you time traveled from 2007, and then they’re everywhere you are. Two win-win situations.

Really, finding time to read is a personal thing. This is my way of saying, “Do not blame me if this doesn’t work. You have to do this yourself, and also I just tricked you into reading this whole entire post only to find out that it may not help you at all.” But I hope it does. Happy reading!

Doughnut Overload

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I could not be happier about the doughnut invasion that seems to have taken over the food world over the past year. I was never that into doughnuts because they are so decadent. But, boy oh boy, how times have changed. I have experienced the doughnut craze in cities all over the world and not one doughnut has left me unsatisfied. I am going to recall some of my fondest doughnut memories, some of which are in New England that you must try if you haven’t already.

1. The first time I fell in love with donuts was at Blackbird Doughnuts, located at 492 Tremont Street. This location is not far from Emerson’s campus at all. If you are an Emerson student and have yet to visit Blackbird, shame! They change their flavors weekly which always keeps people (especially me) coming back for more.

Me eating a Lemon raspberry donut from Blackbird.

The flavors tend to be seasonal, so in the fall, expect pumpkin spice inspired donuts and fresh, fruity ones in the summer. One of the best doughnuts I have ever had was at Blackbird last summer. They had a peanut butter and jelly doughnut that changed my life forever. I’m serious. The brioche dough was so fluffy like a cloud with a perfect balance of the peanut butter and jelly filling. I hope they bring that flavor back one day because it was one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth….ever. What is cool about Blackbird is that there is a glass window where you can see right into the kitchen to see live doughnut magic. Blackbird is a little slice of heaven, right in the South End.

2. As if doughnuts were not amazing on their own….now there is the “cronut” craze. Let me do a little math for you. Croissant + donut = cronut. I never thought my first cronut experience would be at the Barcelona airport but when I saw it staring at me from behind the case of baked goods, I knew it had to be mine.

This Oreo cronut with marshmallow filling was everything I hoped it would be. The Oreo crumbles and flaky crust of the croissant paired together perfectly, and the filling was just enough sweetness without overpowering the entire ensemble. As I sat in the terminal awaiting my flight, I knew I made the right decision. I have yet to come across a cronut in the states but I am sure they are out there and it is my mission to find one.

3. My most overwhelming doughnut experience happened at Camden Market in London. Camden Market is one of my favorite places in the entire world, filled with artists displaying local work and food vendors with dishes from all around the world. What really caught my eye at Camden Market was an unbelievable doughnut cart. A cart a mile long, with any doughnut you could ever want. You could smell the sweetness wafting off the cart from a mile away. 

Doughnut cart!

Never before had I seen so many different shapes, sizes, and colors of doughnuts. I accept every doughnut for who they are on the inside, not physical appearance. I decided to go for the most ridiculous doughnut I saw that was bigger than my head. A buttercream filled, chocolate dipped, sprinkle covered, doughnut. A triple threat doughnut.

The doughnut monster at Camden Market.

 

I could only conquer about five large bites before throwing in the towel.

4. PVDonuts in Providence, Rhode Island is another one of my favorites. I went there for the first time last week and was impressed by the organization they maintained behind such a small counter. Having to choose just one flavor was nearly impossible so I grabbed six to go so I could share with my family. Some of the flavors were banana split, cereal milk, piña colada, and maple bacon. My favorite had to be strawberry cream, a doughy pillow of pastry filled with fresh strawberry jam.

The atmosphere inside PVDonuts is super cozy and they even have donut pillows to complement the couches. They even have a sign on the wall that says “Treat Yoself!” which makes me feel even better about stuffing a doughnut the size of my head into my mouth. One important tip for PVDonuts is to get there early because they sometimes sell out of doughnuts by noon. These doughnuts are most definitely worth the drive, so make the journey down to Providence ASAP!

There is always a new doughnut adventure to be had, so go out and explore the doughnut craze for yourself! I promise, you will NOT regret it.

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Making The Most of This Summer Without An Internship

Being at Emerson, it’s likely that you’re constantly surrounded by freshmen with more on their resumes than your parents. That’s just the way it is here, which means there can be a lot of pressure to build up your own portfolio through internships or other professional experiences. However, as we all know, starting out can get a little tricky—especially when you don’t get that call back from a position you really wanted. The truth of the matter is that sometimes things just don’t work out, but fear not. Even if you didn’t land the perfect internship position, there are still a lot of ways to stay productive this summer. Here are just a few ways that you can make the most of your four months off from school.

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Japan: My Perspective

I have never been to Japan.

I know, I bet you have not been there either. However, there is a reason why that sentence is so important: I am half Japanese and have never been to the country that half of my body, my soul, my literal blood belongs to. Going to Japan is almost like a milestone in my family – if you go, you are a true member of the family. And as of April 10th, I am officially going to Japan this summer from August 17th to September 3rd.

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Commuting From Home

After going through a life-long search to find the perfect house for my family, I knew that there was no way in hell I would be able to live in apartment that I could pay for myself until I was a functioning adult. Most of this sentiment comes in part by the reality of getting zero assistance from my parents to pay for an apartment and the other fees that come with this responsibility. And since the cheapest apartment I have ever come across that is close by to campus costs $900 a month, I have decided to live at home for my junior year of college. I know, I know, I think I might have lost my mind but at the same time, I have no problem being a scammer.

For the most part, I am a home-body. I like the comfort of having a home or at least little pieces of comfort that remind me of home. And I have made myself quite the home here at Emerson but I am looking forward to having real food, free laundry, and a couch that I can lay on without disrupting someone else’s personal space. If it was up to me, I would gladly live on campus next year but that’s not possible as the junior lottery is a fake scam in itself and there’s not enough space for everyone.

What I noticed the most about making the decision to live at home is that I get a plethora of reactions from those I mention it to or those who ask about my living situation for next year. Overall, people tend to respect my decision but I have gotten a lot of confused facial expressions, some form of amusement, and a lot of questions. And for the purpose of this post, I have decided to share these quirky questions and give you my equally quirky but honest answers.

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Back to Campus: Quelling College-Related Anxiety

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Last August, I was terrified to start college.

On another hand, I was also excited to get to campus. Soon, I’d be taking classes in the areas of study that most interested me. My roommates and I had already become well-acquainted through the power of Facebook, which ensured I would not be entering my college years alone.

Still, I had lived in the same comfortable, yet boring, town for the majority of my life. Though my most valuable friendships were not made until high school, I had gone to class alongside the same students for years. My school wouldn’t be too far from home but I recognized that college would still bring tremendous change to my life. And, unfortunately, change can be scary.

Continue reading “Back to Campus: Quelling College-Related Anxiety”

What It’s Like To Have Anxiety

It’s like a shiver, growing in strength as it climbs from the tips of your fingers to the top of your shoulders. A fizzing of carbonated drinks rumbling right under the surface, with every pop follows a shiver. All you can do is imagine your bed and comfortable blanket and sweatshirt waiting for you at home, mere miles and hours in your future. “You can get through this,” you tell yourself. “Just keep going,” you say as you move through your necessary operations. You look at everyone else, envy building within your bones that they seem to be at ease. Maybe they’re nervous about an impending job interview or national test their future relies on, but their skin hasn’t broken out in cold telltale hives of your anxieties.

Continue reading “What It’s Like To Have Anxiety”

Working ‘Till College Do Us Part

When May is coming, all college students can think of is the potential for adventure, fun and sleep during their summer months. No more homework or projects or whatnots.

Well, at least until your internship starts, you get hired at your summer job, and finding the time to split between your friends at home, from school, and all that family you missed out on during the school year. Suddenly, you’re sick of your own summer. When’s the right time to quit?

For each person this question differs. Obviously the money aspect plays a big role and everyone’s fiscal responsibilities vary according to need, want and current stature. So this question is very personal for many. If you need to keep working or work hours on end during the week, quitting your job early may not be the write solution for you. However, as long as friends and family, a good book or show to binge online surrounds you, you’ll get a little break until the academic calendar offers a little solace.

However, if you do not fall under that category, there are many variables you need to take into account.

Are you happy at your job?

This is a question that has many parts. Are your coworkers nice; are your bosses understanding; are you paid well enough for your task? If your answers to these questions are astounding yeses, then you may be happy to keep working. Considering how rare that is, enjoy it while it lasts. But if you’re counting down every hour from the moment you get in, your bosses haven’t listened or respected your requests, the pay isn’t worth the treatment and work you’ve completed, then maybe you shouldn’t stay there all summer. How many times have you been able to see the friends and family from home since starting work? Have you actually taken time to relax before the academic grind begins? Did you go on an adventure of sorts? Don’t loose your summer to a job.

Leave time to relax, to craft, to see friends, to explore, to do anything your young collegiate heart desires. You’ll be working when you’re back in school. If you can afford it and need it, take some time for yourself.

How much time you need is up to you. If you hate your job, need some more money, but don’t want to loose your time at home to this paid task, why not quit a little before. A week, depending on how many things you want to do. Two weeks if you’re traveling or visiting friends and family. If you need that much time for the amount of events you want to complete this summer, do it. Take a month if at all possible.

Just remember to try and follow protocol. It’s never a bad thing to have another work reference or experience on your resume for the future. So try to at least give two weeks notice, more so if possible. Bring it up when you have their full attention. Tell them how grateful you were for this opportunity, even if you hated every second of it and are imagining the fanfare when you walk out. Explain that you need to start focusing on getting back to school, means it had nothing to do with them or your feelings towards them. And give an exact date of when your last day will be. Then, there will be no confusion of when to start the trumpeters.

Instagram Worthy Summer Adventures

Summer is almost halfway through and thus you may be thinking “what have I even done so far?” Between working or summer classes, it is easy to feel as if you are not making the most of  your “summer fun.” This is especially the case when social media tends to make your friends’ lives seem so exciting. If you feel as if you are wasting away your chance at some summer adventures, here are some ideas to help you make the best of your summer.

Day Trips

Juggling a summer job or internship while trying to still have a social life is not an easy task. One of the best ways to make the most of your limited time of is by going on day trips. Anything less than a two hour drive is a good option. Public transportation is also a great option. Going somewhere you’ve never been before even if it’s not a major tourist spot can still make you feel like you’re doing something. It’s always fun to explore a new town or city, try new restaurants, and experience the culture. You never know what you may discover.

Even if you’ve been somewhere before, there is almost always something new to do or see. You never know what you may discover.  You can always try searching Pinterest or even googling for ideas. Viewing your area from the eyes of someone else can remind you of places you’ve always wanted to go or never even knew existed.

Explore the Arts

Most cities, towns or neighboring areas have some sort of local arts scene. Don’t be afraid to check out a local gallery, nearby concert or theater production. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never heard of the artists or bands. In fact, that’s probably better as it will make the experience more of an adventure. Opening yourself up to new art is always a valuable experience. Local arts scenes also tend to be close knit, so it’s likely you’ll learn about other events while you are there.

Also consider checking out some local museums. Most museums are free or low cost and many even offer student discounts. Museums are a great way to learn something new and get inspired. Even your local town history museum is worth checking out. Typically, the people who work in museums are genuinely interested in starting conversations and sharing their knowledge, so be sure to ask questions and gain as much as possible from the experience.

Explore the Outdoors

Camping is a great way to travel on a budget. Most areas have nearby state parks with tent sites or low cost campgrounds. There is so much to see outdoors, and there are so many adventures to be had. Depending on where you live, there are likely different kinds of hiking trails to explore. If you’re a beginner start out with easy trails and see how you like it. There are also so many other options for exploring nature. Everything from riding your bike to spending a day at the beach can be a great summer adventure. If you don’t have a full day to spend outside, consider going on a picnic. Simply getting out in the fresh air can remind you of the joy of summer.

Record these adventures in photos and journals. You can post about it on social media if you wish, but don’t feel obligated to blog every minute. Remember, this adventure is something for you, not something to use just to show off. Make memories that are powerful and fulfilling without worrying about what your Instagram caption will be.