Mental Health Awareness Month @ The University Of Iowa | Her Campus Article + My Own Experiences

Hey there! As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Since the beginning of the year I wanted to write something about it for my school’s chapter of Her Campus. I wanted to make sure my article included lots and lots of different perspectives, so I brainstormed a list of questions I wanted to ask and created a Google Form to collect answers from other University of Iowa students!

You can find my article here, if you’re interested! I’m quite proud of it. Since my opinions and experiences are not in the original piece, I thought I would answer my own questions here today.

Trigger warning: This post includes mentions of suicide ideation. 

What mental illness(es) do you have and what misconceptions do people have about it/them?

I have depression, anxiety, and OCD.

One misconception a lot of people have about depression is that if I just have enough willpower, I can change how I feel. Well, it doesn’t work that way. At all. All the positivity in the world can’t fix my fucked up brain chemistry; that’s a problem for my therapist, my meds, and myself to handle.

As for anxiety, people think there is always a specific reason I feel stressed and nervous. Sometimes there is, and sometimes there isn’t. Some days I wake up feeling really tense and I DON’T KNOW WHY. Demanding to know why I feel this way doesn’t work when I don’t know either, and even when I do know why, their advice is usually, “Just ignore it! It’s all in your head!” Like, yes, that’s why it’s called a mental illness. As much as I wish I could just shut down certain areas of my brain, it doesn’t work like that. bYE.

Finally, people don’t seem to understand that OCD isn’t “quirky” or “cute” and doesn’t have anything to do with being super organized or clean. To be honest I’d probably say it’s the most debilitating of my mental illnesses and seriously impacts my life, making even the simplest tasks difficult, uncomfortable, and time-consuming. (And BTW, it doesn’t make me more organized. If anything, it’s the opposite because I get so absorbed in things Not Feeling Right that I totally forget to, like, wash the dishes or putting my school stuff away at the end of the day.)

Have you used campus resources such as University Counseling Services? If so, what was your experience like?

I visited UCS for the first time in February 2016 and have continued to use this resource to the present day. My experience has been nothing but positive! I’ve had the same therapist the whole time, which I really appreciate because we’ve gotten to know each other well.

I used up the ten one-on-one appointments allotted to each student in the spring and early summer of 2016, so have participated in group therapy the past two semesters. Although I was initially shy during group meetings, I now find them comforting because I am reminded each and every time that I’m not the only one who feels the way I feel! I’ve spoken to a number of people who were turned off by the idea of group therapy and I just wish they knew that it’s not as scary as it may seem. You’re not even mandated to attend for the entire semester: All they ask is that you come to a couple of meetings to see if you like it!

I also want to add here that my therapist has been GREAT about setting up individual meetings when needed even though it’s no longer required since I’ve used up my one-on-one sessions. At first I thought it was because I was expressing thoughts of suicide at the time but she’s been open to meeting privately even after those thoughts had passed, so she must really care about me. I still really struggle with my mental health and have bad days, but I would be much worse off without the help of UCS.

What advice would you give to a mentally ill student who wants to be successful in college?

WORK WHEN YOU HAVE THE ENERGY AND MOTIVATION! Seriously, do as much work as you can handle without burning out, because it will save your butt when you have no energy later on. That strategy has gotten me through four semesters of college and while I am forever trying to find a more balanced way to live, this seems to work best at the moment. I don’t and can’t know for sure which days will be bad ones, so I try to work ahead as much as possible in order to prepare for the times when I can barely get myself out of bed and make it to class on time.

How has your mental health changed throughout your college experience? 

I’ve noticed a definite improvement from freshman to sophomore year. I’m a little sad that I didn’t enjoy my first year of college more, but also recognize that I can’t change the past. I can only work to make my future better.

Last summer stands out as particularly difficult. Because I remained in Iowa City to take extra classes while the vast majority of my friends left town, I felt extremely isolated and listless.

Breaks in general are hard for me because being home brings up all kinds of memories of being terribly lonely and sad back in middle school and high school. I do my best to find things to fill my days so that I’m not left with only my own thoughts for company, though.

How do you practice self care?

This past school year I took every Sunday off. The difference it made in my life was amazing! Of course, this means I must aim to work pretty hard the rest of the week in order to make sure my time off doesn’t cause me to fall behind. Some weeks I’m more motivated to do this than others! I use this free time to read, write, watch movies or TV, and hang out with my roommate and friends – all things that relax me. I also visit the Haunted Bookshop, an indie bookstore that has two cats, because being around animals reduces stress and depression. I mean, really I just go because cats are so stinkin’ adorable, but it’s so lovely to walk home afterward feeling happier and less stressed.

I also try to get plenty of sleep, and second what one of the respondents to my survey said: “This probably shouldn’t even count as self care because sleep is just something you need to be a generally healthy, functioning, human being, but I have to think of it as self care or it gets put on the bottom of my priority list.”

Sleep is essential, but it can be difficult to make people take your need for lights out and quiet because constantly burning the candle at both ends is glorified in college. All of us, neurotypical and neurodivergent students alike, could benefit from getting more sleep. One of the biggest reasons for the drastic improvement in my quality of life between freshman and sophomore years was that I created a daily routine that included making myself get at least eight hours of sleep, ideally (but not always) between 11 PM and 7 AM.

How have your professors, TAs, classmates, and advisors treated you?

I can’t say that my mental health has ever come up in discussions with my academic advisors, but I’ve told a few of my professors about it. Not a one has been unhelpful so far.

A typical example is that of the prof who taught my Literary Retelling & Impersonation writing workshop this spring. I was starting to fall behind in the reading and as a result, my quiz grades were slipping. When she noticed, I explained that I was having a difficult time with my mental health.

I told her that it wasn’t that I didn’t care about her class: In fact, I had really been looking forward to it and was disappointed with myself for not getting more out of it. I said that I knew I needed to work harder and she told me to let her know if I needed help again in the future. I didn’t, but I did push myself to work through the Depression Funk™. Honestly, I’ve found that most professors are incredibly understanding and patient as long as you make a sincere effort (and don’t spring this stuff on them right before a major test or deadline!).

Some classmates and I veered onto the subject of mental health in the same class because one of my workshop partners wrote a story about it. Later, one of my classmates said that she thought I was very brave for being so open and honest with the professor, which made me stop and think. I’d never considered it brave. I was just doing what I thought I had to do. Hearing that from her was definitely a huge confidence boost and solidified my belief that it was the right thing to do.

How have your friends, roommates, and RAs treated you?

I wasn’t very close to my freshman year roommate, but my roommates since have been amazing. Both of them were very kind and thoughtful by noticing when I’m not doing so well, inviting me to spend time with them, et cetera.

My friends and roommates alike frequently use humor to cope. I know a lot of other mentally ill students and we often crack self-deprecating jokes to lighten the mood. Helps remind us that we’re all in this together, I suppose.

I’ve never gone to my RAs for help but as one of the students quoted in my article put it, that had more to do with me than it did with them. I’m sure they would have been approachable and helpful if asked, but I haven’t so far.


I’d be interested to know what your own experience with mental health + college is like, if you’re comfortable with sharing! I’m also willing to answer any other questions you may have, within reason – nothing too weirdly personal, of course, but I’m happy to help in any way I can!

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Local College Student Parodies Fairy Tales | Dear Fairy Godmother + Sports Column

This will be the last of my fairy tale posts for a while, I’m afraid! Don’t worry, though: I’m planning to post one or two more in July. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your feedback on these pieces since I worked on them all last semester!


Dear Fairy Godmother,

Many years ago, I killed 40 thieves. (It’s a long story…don’t ask.) They had a cave filled with magnificent gems and other riches from all across the world and this cave could only be entered by speaking the words “open sesame.” I later donated these riches to charity, so I am not worried about others knowing the password. However, for the longest time I thought that cave was the only place where that magic word worked. Lately I’ve noticed people motioning to their friends, saying “open sesame,” and laughing… just as the door to a supermarket or convenience store slides open. What is going on?! How can this be? Is this a common property of doors in Fairytaleville? I don’t get out much, so I wouldn’t know.

Sincerely, Ali Baba

Dear Ali Baba,

KILLING PEOPLE IS ILLEGAL WHETHER OR NOT YOU DONATE THEIR MONEY TO CHARITY AFTERWARD. I have reported this incident to the authorities. I always did wonder how you amassed such wealth so quickly. But to answer your question, it’s called an automatic sliding door and it’s very common for residents of Fairytaleville to reference “open sesame” as a joke whenever they pass through such a doorway. You really should get out more.

Sincerely, Fairy Godmother

P.S. I do hope you understand that my decision to report you to the police is nothing personal. You’d think killing people would make them like you, but it doesn’t. It just makes them dead.


Dear Fairy Godmother,

My next-door neighbor, a rabbit, doesn’t know when to hold his tongue. Every time I see him, he mocks how slowly I walk and is very boastful about his own speed. What should I do to make him stop? Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely, Mr. Tortoise

Dear Mr. Tortoise,

I can sympathize with your feeling of frustration. It’s tough to respond to those who make fun of who we are. However, I do have one idea that may help you. He seems eager for a challenge, so why don’t you humor him by proposing a race? Even if he laughs it off, you’ll show that you won’t stand for his kind of talk. I mean, he probably will laugh it off. Right?

Sincerely, Fairy Godmother

Dear Fairy Godmother,

Help! He agreed. He agreed! What do I do? I am very very slow and now I’m afraid that this plan will backfire. If it does, I’ll never hear the end of it.

Sincerely, Mr. Tortoise

Dear Mr. Tortoise,

I believe in always trying one’s best. Slow and steady wins the race! Your neighbor the rabbit may tire out easily, while you continue to plod along. You can do it!

Sincerely, Fairy Godmother



The annual ballet performance by the local Princesses Twelve dance troupe was a hit, as always. The troupe danced for our community on Sunday night, performing selections from Coppélia, Giselle, and Romeo and Juliet.

For the first time, their performance was held in the brand-new Ali Center, a community gathering place constructed with the help from donations by esteemed citizen Ali Baba.

Some of the dancers expressed their wishes for more donations toward their costumes and equipment. Genevieve, the youngest dancer, complained, “Our shoes are nearly worn out from practicing and performing so much. It would be great if people in Fairytaleville pitched in just a little so we can continue to put on these performances for them. It’s always a fantastic time for both the audience and us dancers, so I would hate to see this tradition end.


A friendly contest between two neighbors has become a public event. Hare and Tortoise, both residents of the Aesop’s Gables neighborhood, will race each other this coming Saturday and have invited the residents of Fairytaleville to come out and watch. The race will be held on the cross-country course adjacent to Prince Ferdinand’s palace. Tortoise publically announced the contest last night and readers will find a series of letters between him and our beloved Fairy Godmother in today’s advice column.


William G. Gruff, Billy Gus Gruff, and Bill Gruff will hold a cross-country meet following the race between Turtle and Hare this Saturday afternoon. The brothers are competing for a spot on the regional goats’ cross-country team. “We’re so excited that this race will take us through such a beautiful area of Fairytaleville,” said Billy. “The weather is supposed to be beautiful that day, too!”


P.S. Want more? You can find my other fairy tale retellings here and here!

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Local College Student Parodies Fairy Tales | Lifestyle Section + Missing Person Notices

Hi all! Thought I’d share more of the writing portfolio I created for the end-of-course assessment in my Literary Retelling & Impersonation class! Today’s snippets include missing person notices, as well as articles from my make-believe newspaper’s lifestyle section. Ahhhhh these were so much fun to brainstorm and then write!



This town’s first ever culinary festival, organized by the Fairytaleville Chamber of Commerce will be held next Thursday evening in the park to the north of Prince Ferdinand’s palace. The event will feature restaurants and shops from across Fairytaleville.

Princess Priscilla, a vendor at the festival, said the event will be a treat for the town’s taste buds while at the same time drawing people together in the first outdoor gathering of the spring. Priscilla is Prince Ferdinand’s little sister and proprietor/chef of the popular new restaurant The Princess & The Pea Soup.

Hansel and Gretel, owners of the newly-opened health food shop Forest Foods, expressed confidence that the festival will attract more customers to their enterprise. “We wanted to provide this community with nutritious yet tasty meals and treats,” said Gretel. “All of us, but especially kids, eat way too much junk these days. We get it, we were kids once too. But it’s just not healthy to eat like that. So we wanted Fairytaleville residents to have more and better options to consider when feeding their families.”

Other vendors will include Peter Rabbit’s Soup & Salad To Go, The Breakfast Place owned by the Three Bears and managed by Goldilocks, and Jack’s Bean & Seed Company, LLC.



Name: Arthur “Wolf” Shepherd

Missing from: Fairy Forest Preserve, Fairytaleville, IA

Hair color: Black

Eye color: Black

Skin color: Brown

Age: 13

Height: 5’0”

Weight: 95 lbs

Gender: Male

Last seen: 4/19/17



Emperor Stephen shocked Fairytaleville residents Tuesday night when he appeared on the catwalk at his latest fashion show without a stitch of clothing on. The emperor-turned designer, whose high-end concepts for daily, formal, evening, and bridal wear have attracted the attention of not only Fairytaleville but the world, strutted onto the catwalk following a display of this season’s trendiest sundresses for princesses, exposing his genitalia for all to see. Parents shielded their children’s eyes as gasps were heard throughout the audience.

The emperor was subsequently arrested and booked into the Fairytaleville Jail on a misdemeanor charge of public indecency. He was released six hours later after questioning.

Emperor Stephen could not be reached for comment regarding the incident itself, but did ask if members of the Fairytaleville Herald press would like to know more about the biggest fashion faux pas when it comes to summer bridesmaid dresses. Our reporters graciously declined this offer and thanked him for his time.



Name: Belle

Missing from: 4240 La France Lane, Fairytaleville, IA

Hair color: Brown

Eye color: Hazel

Skin color: White

Age: 17

Height: 5’5”

Weight: 130 lbs

Gender: Female

Last seen: 4/22/17


Want more? You can find a story imagining what happens after the events of the Brothers Grimm version of “Snow White” here!

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Local College Student Parodies Fairy Tales | The “Snow White” Edition

Throughout the past semester, I’ve often talked about how much I enjoyed my Literary Retelling & Impersonation writing workshop. For the final project, we were to turn in a portfolio of our work throughout the course, consisting of both short pieces and an expanded retelling or impersonation, as well as explications of each piece we included. 

For my expanded piece, I returned to one of my earliest loves – fairy tales. I retold them in the first unit of the class, and years before I had written a version of “Cinderella” for a project in middle school.

Over the next week or so I plan to post several excerpts of my expanded piece, a series of humorous reworkings of various fairy tales and fables told in newspaper format. Today’s post contains the lead story – the first three pages or so of my ten-page expanded retelling!

I hope you enjoy!

P.S. If you’re curious about the names used in this story… I cobbled them together from multiple versions of the tale! Pretty proud of how that choice turned out, actually. 


Mirror, mirror, on the wall: What justice is fairest for them all?

FAIRYTALEVILLE, Iowa – Police are investigating a complex assortment of motives that lead to the death of Queen Grimhilde at Prince Ferdinand’s wedding ball yesterday.

Authorities say that while it is clear that her stepdaughter, Snow White – the newly wed bride of the prince – committed the murder, it is not yet clear what factors may have led to this incident.

Queen Grimhilde, 52, known colloquially as “the wicked queen,” was rushed to the Fairytaleville Hospital at 11:32 last night, where she died of her injuries. She was pronounced dead at 2:05 this morning. An ER triage nurse, who asked to remain anonymous, said the cause of death was third-degree burns to her feet and lower legs.

Snow White, 23, was arrested at the scene and charged with first-degree murder. She was transported to the Fairytaleville Jail and her bail was set for $1 million.

Police have opened an investigation into what could have possibly precipitated this event.

Twenty-two years ago, King Frederic’s first wife, Queen Isobel, died from complications of childbirth shortly after Snow White was born. He remarried Grimhilde one year later.

According to an interview with Snow White conducted early this morning by members of the Fairytaleville press, the princess and the new queen had a tense relationship.

“She didn’t hate me at first, but that changed when she bought that [expletive] mirror,” said Snow White. The mirror in question is an immense magical object, standing nearly as high as an adult human male and measuring twice as wide.

According to authorities, one communicated with the mirror by saying the following words: “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”

The mirror then responds, “You may be the fairest here, but Snow White is a thousand times more fair.”

“She found it on Craigslist. God knows who she got it from, but that thing ruined my life. She became obsessed with skincare, beauty magazines, all of that [expletive],” Snow White continued. “And, I mean, who doesn’t like reading Cosmo’s sex tips? But she was unhealthily into the stuff. Pretty soon she started taking it out on me… well, I can’t help it if I’m more beautiful than she ever was or ever will be, can I?”

“That was when I knew I had to take that [expletive] down. I knew it even then, all those years ago. And who can blame me? I won’t go to prison for it, you’ll see,” she added, before police forces escorted her away.

The location of the mirror was determined by Fairytaleville police several hours ago. It has since been confiscated as evidence in compliance with a new law stating that sentient magical objects do not have the same rights as human beings or magical animals and therefore can be locked up without the warrant required to arrest a human or an animal.

The mirror is currently suing Fairytaleville because he perceived this action to be an infringement of his magical rights.

Snow White also alleged that at the age of 13, she was cast out of her home and taken to the Fairytaleville forest to be murdered by a huntsman the Queen had hired.

This claim was confirmed when Erik Black stepped forward and admitted that he had been hired to kill the princess.

“All these years, I’ve felt so bad about what I agreed to do,” he said this morning. “But I didn’t do it. In the end, I couldn’t do it. I let her go because I thought she’d die of hunger out in the woods. I felt so bad about that, but at least I didn’t have blood on my hands. I never told the Queen what I’d done.”

“I can’t believe Snow White is still alive,” he said.

Prince Ferdinand could not be reached for comment. Palace authorities informed reporters at the that he returned to the residence shortly after the ball and has not left since.

Members of the Fairytaleville royalty’s official online fanclub have taken to speculating on the website’s forum, including one poster with the handle “LittleRed_RidingHoodie” who thought the prince may be in shock.

“They just got married but it’s basically already over. I don’t know about u [sic], but there’s no way I would be coming out of that place anytime soon if I were him. Don’t blame that guy one bit,” they posted at 7:53 this morning.

Anyone with further information on either this incident or the persons and objects involved has been asked to contact police at (123) 456-7890.

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Summer 2017 Bucket List


Last summer, I made a bucket list and I had so much fun with it! SO OF COURSE I’M DOING IT AGAIN THIS YEAR. I actually meant to make this as soon as I got back home on May ninth but I was too busy and/or sleepy, so I finally finished it today. That’s OK, though, since I don’t think I made last year’s until close to the end of June? I didn’t write down this list until today, but I’m still way ahead of where I was last summer!

Anyway, here are all my goals for this summer, plus some quick thoughts about each, ’cause I thought you might be interested in how I plan to spend my time these next few months.


1. American Monsters by Derek Landy

I ordered this book last fall, thinking I would have plenty of free time in which to read it. WELL GUESS WHAT COLLEGE IS EXTREMELY BUSY AND TOTALLY KICKED MY BUTT THIS PAST SCHOOL YEAR. I never got around to reading it, but now that I have more leisure time I’m planning to tackle it this summer!

2. The Princess Saves Herself In This One by Amanda Lovelace

Ever since I read a ton of poems to celebrate National Poetry Month this past April, I’ve been on a big poetry kick. I can’t wait to read this book… I’ve heard so many good things about it!

3. The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris

My therapist lent me her copy of this book last fall, so I definitely need to read it and give it back to her soon or she’ll wonder if I lost it! I really struggle with the high expectations I set both for myself and for my life… and when things don’t go right, I tend to spiral further down into depression. My therapist thought I should give it a try and see if it gives me any useful suggestions for solving that problem!

4. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

DSJHGSKDGJHDFGKJFG BASICALLY THE THEME OF THIS PART OF MY BUCKET LIST IS “BOOKS I’VE BEEN MEANING TO READ FOR AAAAGES.” To tell the truth, I’ve procrastinated reading The Raven King because I don’t want this wonderful series to end!

5. Fauxpocalypse by Dave Higgins et al

I acquired a copy of this sci fi anthology last summer! I really really need to read Fauxpocalypse because several of my friends had stories published in it!


1. Wonder Woman

I HAVE BEEN SO EXCITED FOR THIS MOVIE FOR SO SO LONG AND I CANNOT EVEN BELIEVE IT’S ALMOST HERE. It will be released when I’m in Ireland, so I need to find a movie theater near where I’ll be staying because I don’t want to wait until I’m back in the US!

2. Dunkirk

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed some of Christopher Nolan’s other movies (especially Interstellar!) and find WWII a fascinating time period in our history, which is why this movie is on my list. I’m interested to see what kind of characters Tom Hardy and James D’Arcy play, too, since I’ve enjoyed their roles in Mad Max: Fury Road and Agent Carter, respectively.

3. Atomic Blonde

To be honest, I know very little about this movie other than that it’s about a bi spy played by Charlize Theron, but that’s enough to make me say SIGN ME THE FUCK UP.

4. Valerian

This movie is based on a French science fiction/action comic book series and looks ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS. Which means it’s basically perfect for a trip to the movie theater with my brother + popcorn + candy.

5. The Little Prince

I read the book last year because an animated adaptation was released on Netflix in August and I meant to watch it before the 2016 fall semester began! Well, that never happened, so I’ve put it on my to-do list this summer!


1. Visit Trinity College Library

You have NO idea how excited – giddy, even – I am about going here. Once inside, I may very well never leave.

2. Visit the statue of Oscar Wilde in Merrion Square Park

One of my friends told me about this statue and I’m so glad she did! OSCAR WILDE IS MY VERY GAY DAD AND I LOVE HIM A LOT. He’s a huge source of inspiration for me.

3. Attend Dublin Pride

I’ve been to Pride before, but it was Iowa City Pride so it wasn’t very big. I’m looking forward to watching a Pride parade and participating in all the celebrations in a major city!

4. Go to at least three bookstores

BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY. I’m so excited to find odd, charming little bookshops all across the city!

5. Attend Derek Landy’s book signing

Soooooo I meant to mention this earlier, but I WILL BE IN DUBLIN WHEN DEREK LANDY IS THERE ON HIS BOOK TOUR FOR RESURRECTION, THE LATEST SKULDUGGERY PLEASANT BOOK. Ahhhhhh! I already have a signed copy of one of his books (Demon Road) and was so so excited for this new book when I found out I would have a chance to meet one of my favorite authors in person!


1. Lose ten pounds

I’ve struggled with my weight for basically my entire life. Plus, one of the side effects of the antidepressant I currently take is increased hunger! I want to get healthier this summer, so I decided to set a realistic weight-loss goal.

2. Make macarons

I’ve always thought macarons were super cute, so my dad and I are going to try making them sometime soon! He’s much more patient and methodical when baking or cooking, whereas I tend to rush through the process… here’s hoping we’ll balance each other out while making this notoriously difficult recipe!

3. Create a summery playlist

This was on last summer’s bucket list and I never did it! FEEL FREE TO RECOMMEND SOME GOOD TUNES AHHHHH.

4. Write three articles for Her Campus

I didn’t write for Her Campus last summer and I really wish I had! If I space out my articles instead of trying to write them all at once, it should be easy to check this goal off my list.

5. Blog every day in June for Pride Month

I’ve done this the past two years and really enjoyed it, so of course I wanted to do it again. Since I’ll be busy taking classes and traveling the entire month, I’m going to write and schedule almost all of the posts in advance to make this goal more manageable.


Did you make a bucket list for this summer, or have you ever made such a list in the past? What goals and activities did you put on it?

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It’s So Quiet Here At Home | Missing Friends & Making Plans

Several days and a much-needed impromptu blogging break later, I have returned! To tell the truth, the past week or so has not been good to my brain. In fact, it’s been Supremely Ungood.

But I’m determined to make it better! I want to enjoy this summer, and there are only so many Depression Naps™ a person (me) can take in the middle of the afternoon before they (me) realize that the summer won’t magically improve all on its own.

(I have all these hopes and dreams and plans for the future and struggle a lot with the idea that they won’t come either instantaneously or easily. I’m working quite a lot on that part of my personality.)

Anyway, I think one thing that messed me up is how quiet things are here at home. I mean, there’s always something going on, but it’s just so different compared to Iowa City. The two most exciting places I’ve been in the past week are the library and a nearby park where I went for a run this morning.

I don’t visit home much during the school year – only for the Thanksgiving, winter, and spring breaks – but I’m home for three weeks before Ireland and three (or is it four?) afterward before the fall semester begins.

Also, the weather usually isn’t great during those breaks so it feels odd now that the weather has warmed up considerably but I don’t really have many places to go.

I don’t have any friends here, either. I don’t mean for this to turn into a pity party, but I think it’s important to include that fact here because IT’S SO WEIRD TO NOT BE ABLE TO TEXT A FRIEND AND ASK IF THEY WANT TO HANG OUT. I’m hoping to be able to meet up with some people later on this summer – my roommate in Chicago, maybe, or one of my classmates when she drives across this state on a trip home – but it’s been difficult to adjust to.

Add to that the fact that my brother is at some sort of coding bootcamp thingy and won’t be back until after I’m already in Ireland and it just gets weirder. I’m not used to being a temporary only child… not for this long!

SO. I’ll sit down and make my summer bucket list tomorrow, so that I have Things To Do to keep myself amused these next few months. And to think that I thought Iowa City was empty last summer! This just requires a little more creativity and planning in advance, though. And maybe a few more trips to the library? And long walks?

Also, Skyping. If I know you IRL, we should totally Skype! Or ask for my Snapchat! I miss all my Iowa City friends so much and can’t wait to see you all in the fall, but at the same time I don’t want to let this relative isolation get in the way of my summer when there’s so much to do!


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Some Questions Regarding This Summer’s Blog Posts

So I just realized it’s almost halfway through May, which means I leave for Ireland in… two weeks? Three weeks? Yeah, something like that. I don’t know exactly. I’m bad at math. Anyway, my point is that it’s probably time to begin thinking about my posting schedule over the summer.

I’d really like to do my whole post-every-day-in-June-for-Pride-month thing that I’ve done the past two years. I have a bunch of ideas – book reviews, lists of one kind or another, personal posts, et cetera – but I want your input on this. Almost all of it is stuff that’s been floating around in my thoughts for a while now, so it wouldn’t be hard to write up a ton of posts for scheduling in advance. (There’s no way I would try to wing it and somehow find time to sit down and write a post each day while I’m abroad.)

I also want to make sure I write about Ireland while I’m there. I head home on July 15th (or thereabouts, can’t remember exactly when my flight is), so I’d have time after Pride month to cram in a bunch of posts. I’m hoping to keep a journal (either on paper or in a Word doc) during my time there, so it should be fairly easy to recall stuff that went on early in the trip.

Or I could combine the two by posting a lot of GAY STUFF as well as thoughts about my study abroad experience.

Or I could go back to my original idea but add in a bunch of posts about specifically Irish gay stuff??? OH MAN I COULD TALK ABOUT MY GAY DAD OSCAR WILDE. Or Dublin Pride, which I plan to go to if at all possible.

People seem to have enjoyed my month-of-Pride-posts thing in the past, but I know a bunch of you have also expressed interest in and excitement for posts about Ireland. I’m not sure which one to prioritize – or rather, how much of each one to prioritize – and I need you to help me choose. I write what I like, but I want to make sure you like it too!

Let me know in the comments below! Thank you!

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