What I Wish I Knew Before Starting College

About a year ago, I made a list of all the things I worried about with starting college. It included everything from worrying about not finding friends, to what to do if I got sick, to being scared about what would happen if it got too hard. As I went through the last school year, I kept a running list of the things I wish I’d known beforehand. Some of these are probably only applicable to, but hopefully others can serve a more general audience. Also, even though I say I wish I’d known these things beforehand, I’m kind of happy I didn’t. One thing I’m thankful for about the past year is that I didn’t know everything. Leaving room for the surprises has been difficult, but incredibly rewarding.

1. Being sick in college is the absolute worst. It’s worse than you think it’ll be.
But you’ll get through it anyway. I was sick my first week of classes and then again during finals week of Fall Quarter. I also got sick for both tech weeks (oddly enough, the worst day was always the Wednesday, which meant I was sick both times pictures were taken and stressed about getting enough sleep before the Thursday when there would be an audience for the first time. Fun days, those ones). My worst experience being sick at school was definitely the first time it happened. I was stressed about starting school, I felt incredibly lonely, and all I wanted to do was go home to my familiar bed with my familiar people. Still, I got through it and everything was okay. I have good stories out of all the times I’ve had a cold this year, and, fortunately, I have a collection of remedies that I know work so hopefully I’ll have more healthy days for round two.

2. The first few nights are awful.
Sometimes I avoided people, watched Netflix comedy specials, called my mom, and wrote in my journal. Also, on my very first night I left my key in my dorm when I went to take a shower, and sat outside my dorm until an RA from three floors up saw me and went to get my own RA. Sometimes the nights are really hard. There is nothing quite like being alone in a dorm room surrounded by all of your stuff but still feeling like everything is strange. I really think it’s a feeling that’s unique to the beginning of college. The only thing I have to say about it is that the only way to get through it, is to get through it. Remember that no one is perfectly okay at the beginning, no matter how it may seem. And remember that, as awful as the first few nights are, there are worse nights for better reasons. You’ll have nights where you’re stressed about tests and problems with friends and all sorts of things. Looking back, those nights for me were worse. It’s an odd comfort, but it might help.

3. The school/work/social life balance is a lot harder than some people make it seem.
I remember that after the first few weeks were over I was stunned at how well adjusted people seemed. I felt as though I was juggling a billion things and somehow drowning at the same time, and everyone else seemed… fine. First of all, they’re not. No one adjusts to so much change in an instant. But, some people do have an easier time with the school/work/social life (and sleep) balance than others. Now, if you’re wondering how to make the balance a bit easier, I’m still not the person to talk to. I still wonder (almost daily) how to keep everything afloat. But, the thing is, it does get easier as time goes on. After you figure out what you’re new priorities are and you start making plans according to those things, a lot starts to fall into place. College is stressful, yes, but nowadays, I feel more like I’m just juggling, not drowning at the same time.

4. I am not an English major.
As I’ve said before, I was happy as an English major for about two weeks (with one of those weeks being orientation). I went into college knowing I wanted to act after I left, and I figured I might as well spend my time majoring in something I liked since I couldn’t major in drama. After a couple weeks, however, I realized I needed to feel like what I was studying had a personal purpose behind it, and being an English major wasn’t feeling like that. I still love reading, and writing, and talking about the things I read and write. I just don’t want to do those things for a living.

5. I am not a Social Work major.
I actually really loved being a Social Work major, I just don’t want to be a Social Worker. I figured out pretty quickly that I liked learning about how people and groups of people think, but being a Sociology major didn’t feel like it had a real personal purpose, either. I loved being a Social Work major because the classes I took allowed me to learn more about people, while still feeling like I was on the road towards being a drama therapist (which is a career I discovered through asking people about what it was like to major in Social Work). I loved it, but I didn’t love having to constantly explain that I didn’t want to be a Social Worker. So, I changed to Global Communication. Which, honestly, feels a lot like English and Social Work combined.

6. It is okay to change your major.
I went into college with a plan. An eleven year plan, I might add. And then, two weeks later, the plan was shredded. It’s okay to change your major, because you are changing. I am not at all the same person I was when I started my Freshman year. It simply wouldn’t make sense for the person I am now to be an English major. It’s okay to change your major. It’s okay to change your major a bunch of times. We all take different paths to get to the places we’re supposed to end up.

7. Sometimes finding your people takes a bit longer than expected.
I think one of the reasons each quarter of the last year feels so different in my mind is because I was surrounded by different people for each of them. There was a bit of carryover, which I’m thankful for, but for the most part I surrounded myself with very different people in the fall, in the winter, and in the spring. Going into it, I assumed I’d find my people right away, but that really wasn’t the case. If anything, it was a bit of trial and error mixed with finding people who are passionate about the same things I am. Brené Brown calls these people “like-minded spirits,” and I definitely have to agree. It can take awhile to find them, but when you do it’s well worth it.

8. It really will be okay.
Even on days that are the worst of the worst, everything passes. There’s a reason I keep a reminder on my phone every two weeks of the things I’m worried about- it tells me that it’s okay now, so the thing I’m currently worried about will eventually be okay too. College is hard, and figuring it out is harder. But, if I’ve learned one thing, it’s that surrounding yourself with the right people and finding out what you’re good at helps an awful lot.

September-May ❤️❤️❤️

September-May ❤️❤️❤️


15 More Things to Do When You're Anxious and/or Depressed

Almost a year and a half ago I made a list with 50 things I do when I’m feeling anxious and/or depressed. This list became something that I started turning to when I needed a reminder of what makes me feel better when I’m not feeling my best. Last week, when I was having a hard day, I went to the list and looked through it, only to discover that a lot of things I’ve started doing in the past year weren’t on it. Since starting college and experiencing so many new things, I’ve started to cope with negative emotions in new ways. Sure, there are lots of things on the original list (like going for walks or drinking tea) that definitely still help, but there are a few more things that I tend to turn to more often now. So here is an updated list of sorts, with 15 more things to do if you’re feeling anxious and/or depressed.

  1. Sing

  2. Research something you find interesting

  3. Or stop researching something you’ve been thinking about too much

  4. Call/Skype a friend

  5. Go see a friend in real life

  6. Turn off social media for a little while

  7. Cross one thing off your to-do list (even if it’s a little thing, because the little things are often the hardest)

  8. Or cross something off your to-do list that you don’t need to do today, and then move it to another day when you’ll be feeling better

  9. Diffuse essential oils (orange is my favorite right now)

  10. Put the news away

  11. Consider if maybe you’re spending too much time with the wrong people.

  12. Stretch.

  13. Watch poetry videos (Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye are my favorites!)

  14. Take a nap

  15. Massage your hand (it releases oxytocin)


If you’re curious about the original list of 50 things, click here.

Sparkle

I grew up going to schools where jewelry was one of the worst things you could wear, aside from ripped jeans, of course. It wasn’t as though people were obviously judged for wearing it, but there was also this idea that if you wore jewelry then you weren’t as good as the people who didn’t. When I wasn’t at school I would wear necklaces sometimes, and I always liked them, but also didn’t feel the need to go against the dress code and sneak a bracelet here or a ring there. Once I graduated high school, however, I started wearing jewelry more often. I began to express my artistic and creative nature in a more physical, tangible way, and that has continued for the last year, and most likely will continue onward. I thought, for today, I would show you a little bit of the tangible sparkle that I keep with me all the time.

My Ring

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This ring was a gift from my mom at the end of the school year. I chose it to represent the end of A Wrinkle in Time, hence the moon and stars. On the inside there are two engraved dates: 03/21/2019 for the day I was officially cast as Meg, and 05/19/2019, which was the day I received an Irene Ryan Nomination. The 19th was also the day of the last performance, so the dates also represent the beginning and end of the journey. I really like the idea of commemorating every show I do with some kind of jewelry, and I really like that the dates are engraved on the inside of this one.

My Bracelet

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A little less than a year ago, before I started college and right before passing my permit test, I was dealing with a lot of anxiety. But because I’d passed my permit test, I was feeling more capable than usual. I heard about a girl who makes friendship bracelets and sends them all over the world. To get one, you write a message expressing what’s been going on and what you need help with. I wrote that I was anxious about starting college and moving away from home, and she made and sent over this bracelet. She wrote a note to go with it, and explained that this bracelet was made to represent peace. I’ve worn it almost everyday since, and whenever I look at it, I am reminded of a time when I was anxious and of the good things that have happened since. It is a reminder of peace, but also a reminder that I can do more than I think I can.

My Necklaces

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The Arrow
My mom’s last name is Schuetz (I’m going somewhere with this, don’t worry). I’m not sure who told me this, but a long time ago someone told me that, back in the day, the “Schuetzes” were the people who defended royalty with bows and arrows. I have no idea if this is actually true, but the German term "Schuetz” does translate to “protect” or “defend.” For a long time, I have known that when I eventually get my tattoo, it will be an arrow. Like I said earlier, when I graduated high school, I was terrified of leaving home. Right before my graduation, I had a breakdown and wound up crying on my mom’s bed, expressing how sad I was to leave, and how I was sure I was going to fail. My mom chose that moment to give me my graduation present- the arrow necklace. I started crying again (because of course I did), and since graduating there hasn’t been a day where I haven’t worn it. For me, it symbolizes how I always have my family’s support and protection with me, even when I go off on my own.

The Giraffe
I got this necklace while in Vancouver, British Columbia for a couple hours over spring break. There were a lot of necklaces that looked really pretty, but this little one stood out to me because of the paper it was attached to. Behind the giraffe was the word “courage,” which was something I was in extra need of at the time. I had just been cast as Meg and I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I returned to school. I was scared of not being enough, and I was scared of what people would think. This giraffe stayed with me for all the rehearsals and all that went with them, and it has also been worn everyday since. It is still a reminder to be brave in the face of fear.

My Earrings

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When I was little, I really wanted to get my ears pierced. Alas, earrings were the most abhorrent kind of jewelry at my school, so I knew I’d have to wait for a while. I remember once asking my dad if I could get my ears pierced when I was twelve, and he said yes. When I was eleven I brought it up, and he said I could do it when I turned sixteen. So I waited another five years and did it after my Sophomore year of high school. These little hoops are my favorite earrings right now, mostly because I grew up wanting earrings so I could wear ones just like these. They’re simple, and I often forget that they’re there. I love wearing earrings, and my favorites change all the time, but right now I am quite fond of these ones.


I really love wearing jewelry. It makes me happy, and they often serve as reminders for things I’m working on. For me, with the exception of earrings, the jewelry I choose to wear on a daily basis needs to have a deeper meaning behind it. I like it when the sparkle as significance, and right now mine definitely does.

Luck

Today’s word is “luck.” From the very beginning of this “write something everyday” thing (except for on Friday, so it seems we’ll be spilling over into July), I’ve wanted to write something specific about the people who greatly impacted my life during the last school year. There are more people than the eleven that are mentioned here, but these people are the ones who impacted my life on an almost daily basis (if not daily). These are people who I have acted with, had game nights with, cried with, laughed with, studied with, walked with, and simply lived my life with. I love them. I am very lucky to know these people and to call them my friends.

Kiana showed me how to not apologize for existing.

Emma allowed me to believe that my feelings are always valid, no matter if I’m correct or not.

Lindsey somehow made me laugh on days when I didn’t even want to smile. She also gave me some of the best hugs on my worst days.

Rylee showed me what confidence looks like.

Nathan showed me that it’s okay to ask for help, and that being afraid isn’t a bad thing.

Jamie reminded me of how beautiful old friendships can be, and how loyalty is not something that comes around everyday.

Savana (along with our mutual coffee obsession) reminded me to remember the simpler things, and to not take everyday beauty for granted.

Jared gave me space to be honest, and the time to practice trust.

Emily surprised me everyday with her sense of humor, and her dedication constantly inspired me to reach a little bit higher.

Arien showed me what it means to be brave.

Dorea opened doors for so many of the good things that happened this year. Without her, many things wouldn’t have occurred at all.


Little

Hello! When looking at this word, I wasn’t sure which idea to pick. Part of me wanted to list a bunch of facts about myself from when I was little, but then I decided that there is already a post quite similar. So I thought about listing some advice I would give to my past self, and then realized that, yeah, I’ve already written that post as well. This is the problem that comes with having a blog for over two and half years and still trying to write every day in June. Finally, I settled on writing a post where I give one piece of advice to myself at different ages- eight to sixteen. I chose these ages for a couple of reasons: 1) eight is probably my favorite age from when I was younger, and 2) sixteen is the oldest age that still feels distant enough that I feel I can give advice. I still feel weirdly close to seventeen, but sixteen feels far enough away. Without further ado, here we go…

To my eight year old self- Welcome to the acting world! It’s a grand ol’ time, and even though you’ll only be here for a short time before returning later, I hope you take it all in.

To my nine year old self- If I could go back and give any younger me a hug, it would be you. If I could give you any advice, it would be to not push away the (real) love that is offered.

To my ten year old self- Enjoy this year! There’s hard stuff for sure, but when you’re older and look back on it, you’ll remember the good stuff the most. Keep smiling, and loving, and laughing.

To my eleven year old self-I’m not gonna lie, this year is truly awful. The only thing I can tell you is to keep moving forward. Let yourself be upset when you need to be, but keep moving towards better things. Because they are out there, I promise.

To my twelve year old self- You’re angry, and that’s okay- It’s what you do with the anger that makes it good or bad. Channel it into good things, and be kind to the people around you.

To my thirteen year old self-You can’t change people, whether they want to change or not. As much as you want to, you cannot save the world.

To my fourteen year old self- You are not in the best environment right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it good. The best people for you are not going to be in your class, but they’re there. Find them.

To my fifteen year old self- Your emotions are valid. Your experiences are real. You aren’t crazy.

To my sixteen year old self- Take a deep breath. Everything is going to be okay. In fact, everything is about to get so good. Let it.

Sunflower

A Little List of Things I’m Thankful for Right Now

  1. Early mornings at a bakery to get work done.

  2. Supportive friends.

  3. Yellow journals.

  4. Warmer weather.

  5. Raspberry tea.

  6. Being so close to the end of the school year.

  7. Seeing my friends do their end of year recitals.

  8. Iced-coffee.

  9. Sundresses.

  10. Contemplative evening walks.

“Keep your face to the sun and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” ~ Helen Keller

“Keep your face to the sun and you cannot see the shadow. It’s what sunflowers do.” ~ Helen Keller