Why I Love Writing For Her Campus

It’s hard to believe that this is already my fourth semester of writing for Her Campus! I joined the University of Iowa chapter in the spring of my freshman year after being a fan of the site for… probably six or eight months? I joined pretty much on a whim and it’s ended up being one of the best decisions of my college career.

Her Campus, if you’re not familiar with it, is an online magazine produced by female undergrads – “collegiettes,” as HC calls them – that was launched in 2009. While most of its chapters are based in the US, there are groups at universities and colleges all over the world! They run a mix of fun and serious articles about every topic under the sun.

You can check out the main HC website, as well as my chapter’s site, here and here! You can also find all the articles I’ve written for HC at Iowa here!

I’ve prattled on for long enough. Let’s get started!

1. It’s a lot like blogging

And you know how much I love blogging! The overall tone of HC is pretty informal, which is a nice change from some of the stuffier articles I have to write for my journalism classes. We’re encouraged to write about whatever we want and to keep articles short and to the point, so writing for HC never, ever feels like a chore. It honestly feels like I’m working on a blog with a bunch of different contributors. Sooooo relaxed and fun.

2. I get to talk about college and more specifically UI

I mean… you and I both know that I do that on this blog as well, but it’s an entirely different feeling when I know that 99% of the people reading my content are not only in college but attend my college. Whether listing the best places to study on campus or discussing how mental health issues are approached at the University of Iowa, it’s nice to be able to get specific.

3. I get to put it on my résumé

When you stumble across some sort of activity that is not only fun but looks great on a résumé, HANG ONTO IT FOR DEAR LIFE. Those kinds of activities are the actual best. Not only are you having a wonderful time doing the thing, but the thing will hopefully go a long way in persuading employers, grad school admissions people, et cetera that you’re worth their time.

4. It opens up a world of opportunities

…which I have not take full advantage of yet, oops! But that’s OK: I want to find my feet and make sure I’m giving my current HC responsibilities my fullest attention before I take on any new projects. Buuuut anyway here are just some of the opportunities available to me as a member of Her Campus:

  • Writing for the main website (definitely want to do this!)
  • Holding a leadership position in the UI chapter (don’t want to bite off more than I can chew, but it certainly sounds interesting)
  • Attending Her Conference, the annual summer gathering in NYC (just don’t know how I would ever pay for this!)

5. It’s a great way to meet other girls studying the same things that I am

Many of the girls in my chapter are majoring in either Journalism (like me!) or Communication Studies. Some are also majoring in English, or English & Creative Writing (hey, me too!). While Her Campus welcomes students from all majors, many have interests and career plans very similar to mine. I love meeting girls who are in the same programs as I am outside of the classroom!

6. GIRL POWER

I love love love being in an all-women organization! Prior to joining HC, I hadn’t been in one since Girl Scouts way back in middle school and I missed it so much. I love the girls in my chapter; hearing what they’ve been up to and where they’re going in life is amazing! Whether at meetings or fun get-togethers (such as apple-picking or movie nights), they all have so much enthusiasm for what they do. Which encourages me to be my best collegiette self!

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Do you read Her Campus? Have you ever worked on a paper-based or online magazine, either during college or at some other time in your life?

P.S. If you’re thinking about joining Her Campus… I mean, obviously I’m going to be a little biased, but I’d be super happy to answer any questions you may have so just hit me up whenever!

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The Birthday Book Tag

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR ELIZABETH

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

I turned twenty-one today. I still feel like I’m playing at adulthood. Not sure when or if that feeling will ever go away. Happily, I wasn’t nearly as anxious about turning a year older as I have been in the past, which is a relief. I’ll admit it did bother me a little, but not to the point of interfering with my happiness and making it hard to enjoy my birthday for what it is. So that’s a feeling I’ll quite gladly part with.

Today has been quiet. My birthdays usually are. Turning twenty-one made no difference. Alcohol doesn’t interact well with my antidepressants, and I don’t like the taste of most kinds anyway, so no bar crawls or even low-key drinking with my friends for me. I did have class today, but at least my birthday fell on a Friday so I wouldn’t feel weird about taking the evening off.

Thought I’d try something different today. I’ve never done a birthday tag of any sort so when I saw that Tasya @ The Literary Huntress had done one, I knew it was the perfect post for this day.

Enjoy!

Count your birth day along your bookshelf and then subtract your birth month. What book does your finger land on?

I have a LOT of bookshelves. Thirteen, to be exact – four bookcases and two sets of double shelves. So for this question, I took a look at the uppermost shelf in the set above my bed, which, along with the one below it, houses all my favorite books. The lower one houses all fifteen of my Derek Landy books (everything he’s ever published lmao… I guess you could call me obsessed), while the upper one is for all my other favorite fiction.*

Counting twenty-two books along that top shelf and then subtracting nine led me to The Empress’s Tomb by Kirsten Miller, the second book in the Kiki Strike series that is one of my favorites. Like the previous book, Inside the Shadow City, this one is about the (mis)adventures of a group of “delinquent Girl Scouts” who explore what lies beneath New York City, fighting crime while they’re at it. I haven’t reread it in a few years, so I should do that soon. Maybe when I’m home for winter break and have lots of free time?

*My favorite nonfiction used to be shelved there too, until I reorganized my room in July and divided those books between several different shelves because I had acquired so many new ones there was no longer room on the shelf above my bed.

If you could spend your birthday with any fictional character, who would it be and why?

I am going to be extremely unoriginal and say Skulduggery Pleasant even though I always choose him for answers to tag questions like this. I mean, I want to go back to Dublin anyway, and I’m sure we’d have quite the adventure together. He has a great sense of humor but he’s had a hard life too, so he’d understand that I am kind of a Mess™ and have complicated feelings about my birthday and about my existence in general. Whoa, that just got real deep.

Perhaps he would even light the candles on my birthday cake with his sick fire-throwing Elemental magic skills. THE DREAM TBH.

Find a book that takes place during the season you were born in.

“When Bilbo was ninety-nine he adopted Frodo as his heir, and brought him to live at Bag End; and the hopes of the Sackville-Bagginses were finally dashed. Bilbo and Frodo happened to have the same birthday, September 22nd. ‘You had better come and live here, Frodo my lad,’ said Bilbo one day; ‘and then we can celebrate our birthday-parties comfortably together.’”

The events of the first half or so of this book take place in the fall… and I share a birthday with Frodo and Bilbo as well! If I’m remembering the timeline in the Appendices correctly, Frodo and his friends flee Hobbiton sometime between the evening of my birthday and the dawn of the next day. (This part of the book is so very very special to me, if you couldn’t already tell.)

Find a book that is the color of your birthstone. 

My birthstone is sapphire, a dark blue gemstone. While scrolling through my Read shelf on Goodreads I realized just how many of my favorite blue book covers are light blue, not dark blue! But I finally found one that fits and it’s one of my favorite fantasy covers too! Sabriel is just so… life goals vs. wife goals. Always has been.

Is there a series with the same number of books as your age? If so, what is it? 

Had to spend a while googling this… there are apparently a total of twenty-one books in Enid Blyton’s classic Famous Five series, which I’ve never read and don’t really have any inclination to! You can buy a boxed set of all twenty-one! Imagine the muscles you’d develop lugging that thing around!

Pick a book set in a time period, world, or country you would like to have been born in.

I’m gonna choose a book for each of the categories and there’s nothing you can do to stop me. IT’S MY PARTY AND I’LL BLOG IF I WANT TO.

Time period: I think My Ántonia by Willa Cather, set in the late 1800s, would be a fascinating period in which to grow up. I don’t think I would be either bored or lonely, since there’s so much to see as the young nation of America grows and changes around me. My only condition is that I somehow magically have access to my antidepressants because boy do I need those little guys to function and not become, like, dead in Nebraska of all places.

World: Although I’d likely die young in an intergalactic conflict, I am so so curious about the universe in which the Saga graphic novels are set! So many planets to explore, species to meet, ahhhh…

Country: Australia! Bill Bryson’s travelogue In A Sunburned Country is one of my go-to books when I’m sad, because he’s hilarious and has such a way with words. It’s a big, weird country and I’d love to visit someday.

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I’m tagging:

  • No one in particular, which means
  • Anyone and everyone

That’s right: If you have a birthday, consider yourself tagged. Or not: If, like me at times, you wish avoid being reminded that you’ll be another year older, feel free to ignore this tag. It’s up to you, really.

Where are my fellow September babies at?!

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Quarterly Rewind, Summer 2017 | Study Abroad, “Jenny,” & Reconnecting With Old Friends

Hello, everyone! Today is the last day of summer! And that means it’s time for another quarterly rewind. This post covers the time from June twentieth through September twenty-first. And as always, the idea of a quarterly rewind is not mine – the credit for that goes to Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner. Enjoy!

P.S. You can find earlier quarterly rewinds here, if you’re interested.

Image From This Summer

Taken in late June at the Rathgar Bookshop, Rathmines, Dublin

Favorite Quote From A Book I Read This Summer

“A distant warm look entered Major Danby’s eyes. ‘It must be nice to live like a vegetable,’ he conceded wistfully.

‘It’s lousy,’ answered Yossarian.
‘No, it must be very pleasant to be free from all this doubt and pressure,’ insisted Major Danby. ‘I think I’d like to live like a vegetable and make no important decisions.’
‘What kind of vegetable, Danby?’
‘A cucumber or a carrot.’
‘What kind of a cucumber? A good one or a bad one?’
‘Oh, a good one, of course.’
‘They’d cut you off in your prime and slice you up for a salad.’
Major Danby’s face fell. ‘A poor one, then.’
‘They’d let you rot and use you for fertilizer to help the good ones grow.’

‘I guess I don’t want to live like a vegetable, then,’ said Major Danby with a smile of sad resignation.”

– Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

My Writing & War class is currently halfway through this book! I listened to the audiobook because I’ve been trying to get a jump on my reading list for this course. Its length and circular narrative make it quite the challenging read, but it’s absolutely brilliant and so very very worth it in the end. Hilarious and heartbreaking all at once.

This Summer In One Word

Abroad.

Most Popular Review This Summer

I reviewed my friend Abigail Pearson‘s poetry collection A Mad Woman’s Voice… my very first blog tour! (Whaaat?! No, I can’t believe it either.) Would definitely recommend. Reading all those poems for National Poetry Month this spring really is the gift that keeps on giving because I’ve been SO INTERESTED in exploring that genre lately.

Top Two Books I Read This Summer

  1. We read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie in Mystery/Detective Fiction and I absolutely loved it! It’s the only one of her mysteries I’ve ever been able to solve and I’m soooo proud of myself lol. Also, I loved the metanarrative about how much control the storyteller is able to exert over the audience by selectively revealing or concealing information. Very cleverly done. I’m always down to have my mind blown with some Deep Thoughts™ about writing.
  2. From mental illness and awkward social interactions to body positivity and #adulting, It’s All Absolutely Fine by Ruby Elliot was so very very relatable aaaa! I’m in love with her art style and constantly tag my friends in her posts, so I appreciated having an entire volume of her work iN MY GRUBBY LITTLE HANDS.

Two Things I’m Looking Forward To This Fall

  1. In October, G. Willow Wilson, the author of Ms. Marvel will be at my school to give a free lecture on how she created the character and what it’s like to write superhero comics for the millennial generation. I adore her comics – about a Pakistani-American Muslim teenager who moonlights as a superhero – and can’t wait to hear what she has to say!
  2. Along with a past professor and two classmates, I’ll be presenting at the Midwest Modern Language Association Conference in Cincinnati this November! Our panel is on the pedagogy of pop culture in the classroom, with a special look at the Wonder Woman course I took a few years ago! Ahhhh so nervous but so excited for this opportunity. It’s been in the works for a long time, so I’m happy that the date is finally almost here.

Three New Obsessions This Summer

  1. Can you call a rekindled friendship an obsession? One of my friends and I were both so busy with school and life that we hadn’t had a real conversation in months until I interviewed him for a journalism project at the end of last semester and we began to catch up on everything happening to each other. Since then we’ve talked about mental health, our plans for the future, and everything under the sun – not to mention tagged one another in about a gazillion cat pictures. Definitely one of the highlights of my summer!
  2. I’ve been doing a shit ton of coloring in both my Wonder Woman coloring book and this coloring book for adults while listening to audiobooks of the novels I’ve been assigned in my lit classes. Relaxing yet productive at the same time!
  3. I bought a new succulent and I’m in love! Her name is Miranda and she has the prettiest pale pink pot you’ve ever seen.

Most Popular Five Blog Posts Overall This Summer

  1. I couldn’t be happier that I’ve Made It This Far was the most popular, since a lot of time and effort and thought went into writing it. It’s a reflection on where I am and where I’ve been both in terms of physical location and mental health.
  2. I talked about how I officially added a third major in I’m A Gender, Women’s, & Sexuality Studies Major Now!
  3. IRELAND BAFFLES ME, YOU GUYS. I love and miss it so much, but… yeah. So of course I had to write about it: 6 Things That Surprised Me About Ireland.
  4. Haven’t posted many long, thinky pieces about media + diversity lately because I’ve been so busy, but I did have the chance to sit down and write Atomic Blonde Just The Latest Example Of The Bury Your Gays Trope. I’m quite proud of this post! And disappointed in the movie lmaooooo.
  5. How’s My Year Going So Far? was a reflection on 2017 thus far. It’s hard to believe that I wrote it more than two months ago and it’s already almost October!

Five Posts I Loved On Other Blogs This Summer

  1. Holly @ Nut Free Nerd wrote Top Ten Tuesday: Kinds of Summer Readers. I’m the busy bee!
  2. Peyton @ The Niche made me laugh out loud with their post American Girl Dolls Ranked In Order of Gayness. Sooo relevant to my childhood interests. I always knew there was a reason I liked Felicity, Samantha, and Kit. (It even spawned a follow-up post, My Favorite Deleted Comments By Straight People From The Article Ranking American Girl Dolls In Order of Gayness.)
  3. Michelle @ Tea and Titles gave us the lovely, helpful list 20+ Book Blog Post Ideas for when we get stuck!
  4. Adalyn @ Glittering Reads talked about When Books in a Series Become Too Similar And Repetitive. I agree completely!
  5. Finally, MadameAce @ Lady Geek Girl and Friends posted Minor Character Appreciation: A Song of Ice and Fire‘s Shae. Yes yes yesss! A character I will always defend to hell and back. I don’t have a “team” that I’m rooting for, per se, but if I have a stance of any sort it’s that Shae > Tyrion forever.

Five Things That Happened This Summer

  1. I cleaned my room from top to bottom, which took the better part of three days and left me absolutely worn out. But it looks so good now! Plus, I was able to sell a bunch of books I no longer wanted and donate some clothes I don’t wear anymore to an upcoming community thrift sale whose proceeds will go to an LGBTQ+ org in my college town.
  2. I didn’t quite finish my summer 2017 bucket list, but I came close! Besides, it helped to keep me happy + productive + motivated to keep doing things this summer whenever I started to feel listless or down.
  3. I got a new phone! Finally upgraded from an iPhone 4s to a 5s… which I realize is still a few generations behind, but it’s sooo much better than my previous one! Lmao when I brought in my 4s to have the screen fixed, the guy at the repair shop took one look at it and recommended that I upgrade instead of wasting $80 of my money on something so old since, what with its age and all the cracks, it was only worth $5 anymore. Got a super cute constellation-themed case that I’m sooooo happy with.
  4. I got new glasses eyyyyy. I had the pair before these for about three years, since it was nice to pick out something different.
  5. I wrote and scheduled SO many posts for the upcoming semester. Very proud of this! I adore blogging, but also want to make sure that the rest of this year is as stress-free as possible. By prescheduling all those posts, I’m saving myself so much time while still remaining active on this site, which is very important to me!

Six Songs That I Listened To Far Too Often This Summer

1. “Good As Hell” – Lizzo

My online friend Norah told me about this song and ahhhh I love it so much! The music video is adorable: Yay for celebrating black women and their natural hair! It’s such a positive and wholesome song… the ideal 2017 mood tbh.

2. “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” – RAIGN

Kristen, one of the friends I made during my study abroad program, showed me this song! I’m not a huge fan of the original because I dislike Bob Dylan’s voice… plus, it’s just nice to hear a woman cover this song for once!

3. “Jenny” – Studio Killers

Kristen also introduced me to this song! I’m in love with the music video. WHAT A BOP.

4. “To Be Human” (Wonder Woman) – Sia

The more I listen to this song – its tone, its lyrics – the more firmly I believe it was the perfect choice for the end credits of this movie. It encapsulates Diana’s character so well!

5. “The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants” (In A Heartbeat) – Arturo Cardelús

The score of this animated short film is definitely the briefest album saved on my Spotify account! There are only two songs – this one, and another named after the short. “In A Heartbeat” is soooo cute and even though I must have watched it about fifteen times by now, I still cry at the ending every. Single. Time.

6. “Supermarine” (Dunkirk) – Hans Zimmer

I wanted to see this movie because James D’Arcy (from the MCU!) is in it and one of my favorite director/composer teams (Christopher Nolan and Hans Zimmer) worked on it. I convinced my parents to come with because my dad loves WWII films… and they actually enjoyed it, which is saying something because we hardly ever agree when it comes to movies! I love the intensity of this piece. I was so tense throughout the entire movie!

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What did you enjoy most on my blog this summer? And what have you done during these past few months?

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Clearing Out My Goodreads TBR Shelf

An ongoing project I’ve had since August involves going through my TBR shelf on Goodreads and deleting everything I no longer have any interest in.

It’s a complaint heard often in the book blogging community: “My TBR list is out of control!” As someone whose TBR had 3,702 books on it at the time I began weeding things out, I was overwhelmed for sure.

I won’t deny that any TBR longer than one hundred books may seem impossible to conquer, but at the same time I do sometimes laugh when people talk about having sooo many books on theirs only to find out that they have, like, three hundred!

For those readers, paring their TBR down to under a hundred books is a reasonable goal. For me? Not so much.

I’ve decided to worry less about the total number of books on my list – because let’s face it, I’m constantly adding things – and instead focus on removing all the books that I’d never touch with a ten-foot pole. I don’t care if my TBR is still thousands of books long in a few months. I just want to know that there aren’t books marked as “want to read” on my Goodreads account that I can’t truthfully see myself ever picking up, let alone finishing.

Although I know how many books I started with, I’m not sure how many I’ve deleted so far because all the while I keep adding more books! #sorrynotsorry

So far I’ve deleted books with pretty covers but cheesy-sounding blurbs, sequels to books I didn’t like, self-published books by people I’m not friends with anymore, all Ernest Hemingway novels and Cassandra Clare books, and more.

It’s immensely satisfying. Slow, to be sure. But even some progress is better than no progress. I’m looking forward to being able to scour my TBR shelf on Goodreads looking for my next book knowing that everything on there is something I am enthusiastic about reading!

Have you ever purged your TBR list, either on Goodreads or somewhere else? (A pen-and-paper list, perhaps? Do people still do that? So much book tracking seems to happen online anymore.) How did you decide which books to keep and which to toss? Any suggestions or advice for me?

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An Update On My Classes | “Catch-22,” Labs, & Media Analysis

Hi everyone! It’s time for my first monthly update of the semester. It’s been a little under a month since school started and I already have so much that I want to tell you… so let’s get started!

Enjoy!

Age of Dinosaurs

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I’m taking this course to fulfill my science gen ed requirement – which means that it’s an introductory-level course. So, even though it’s heavy on vocab, diagrams, and other bits and bobs to memorize, it isn’t too overwhelming. I’m picking up so many cool facts along the way and I absolutely love my Friday-morning labs, since it’s great to transfer everything we learned in lecture to a more hands-on experience.

Perhaps best of all, one of my friends who is REALLY REALLY into dinosaurs has been attending the lectures along with me even though they aren’t actually enrolled in the class lmao. I love not only their enthusiasm but also just how often I’m able to hang out with them now!

Writing and War

This course is SO much work… so I’m glad that I A) love the professor and B) got a head start on the reading list! I know that no matter what happens, no matter how crazy busy my life becomes, I’m all set reading-wise until mid-October. We finally finished discussing For Whom The Bell Tolls (which I despised, but whatever) the other day and have moved on to Catch-22, which I really enjoyed!

Mystery/Detective Fiction

Ahhhh this prof is so adorably excited about teaching this course! Almost all of my professors have been great, but she has a level of enthusiasm I’ve seen in only one other teacher so far. So far we’ve read + discussed some short stories by Edgar Allan Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, as well as The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. (Currently we’re reading The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler.) My most recent assignment involved “updating” Holmes & Watson, so I wrote a short story where they’re college roommates – and both women.

Gender, Sexuality, & Media

This course combines a LOT of what I’ve learned in previous journalism and GWSS classes, which is… unsurprisingly, honestly, and also means that I’m passing it with flying colors. I don’t mind how much of it is basically just review for me, though, since I love critically analyzing media. I recently finished an assignment about TV advertisements, and our next project involves analyzing how movies portray gender, race, sexual orientation, et cetera and I was assigned to the group watching Hidden Figures!

Magazine Reporting & Writing

Well, the horror stories I had heard about the professor who teaches this course haven’t proved true… yet. I do wish he let us take a quick break, though! This class meets for two hours twice a week, right at lunchtime, so everyone’s a little tired and hungry and restless tbh but he just lectures the whole way through.

I love his approach to journalism. He’s very very against the worn-out and dull stories most local newspapers publish – puff pieces for local organizations/events, et cetera. Instead, he’s all about getting us to write about what really matters, what’s new and unusual.

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How has your life been? Transitioning back into your school routine smoothly? (I certainly hope so!) Made some new friends in any of your classes? OH and tell me one new thing you learned lately!

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5 Classic Novels I’m Ridiculously Excited To Read

Heyyyy there! How are you? TBR pile steadily growing? Mine, too.

Today’s post is a round-up of some of the classics I’m hoping to read soon! Over the past couple of years I’ve studied parts of them in school, gotten to know people who are super passionate about them, et cetera and so I have either added them to my TBR or bumped them higher up that list.

I decided to combine them into one post so you can read my excited musings about the five I am most excited for!

1. Ulysses by James Joyce

We read some chapters from this in Literary Retelling & Impersonation last spring. I even wrote an impersonation of Molly Bloom’s monologue for an assignment! Then, being in Dublin for Bloomsday and seeing the enthusiasm people have for Ulysses and Joyce there made me even more intrigued. I loved Dubliners (listened to the audiobook last winter!) and the writing style of this book seems really inventive and experimental, so I want to get a start on it before the year is out.

2. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

My Wonder Woman professor organized a public reading in fall 2015 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the publication of the second half of this bookl! It’s definitely a doorstopper of a novel, but it seems funny too so I’m sure it won’t take me as long to get through it as I think it will.

3. Crime and Punishment by  Fyodor Dostoyevsky

My professor organized a reading of this book LAST fall… as you can see, she’s all about public readings and I adore her for it. I was there listening when the famous murder and robbery scene was read aloud and DKJGHDGFKJHSG THE SUSPENSE. IT WAS REAL. I’ve always thought of Russian literature as being formidable, but I’m so ready for this book. (And for my professor to talk my ear off once she finds out that I’m reading it.)

4. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

I know I’ve blogged about this several times already, but I just couldn’t resist talking about it again here: I’m really glad I saw the movie before I read the book because it gave me an idea of what all the fuss is about. Since I already know what happens, I’ll be motivated to keep going even through long, difficult, boring passages (a hundred-page description of the Paris sewers, or so I’ve heard?!) because I’m anticipating the Good Stuff™ that happens next.

5. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

According to my Prose Style professor and several of my classmates in that course, this book is actually hilarious? I’d never heard that before, had always thought it was dead serious. So of course I had no burning desire to read it: I mean, hundreds of pages about a whale chase? I’ve seen the light now, though. I’M EXCITED. It was the choice for this fall’s public reading and I’ve already signed up to help out!

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Have you read any of the books listed above? Which classic novels are you excited to read?

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5 Reasons Why Living In The Dorms Is Good For My Mental Health

This fall marks the beginning of my third year living in the dorms. It’s not common for upperclassmen to live in the dorms, but it’s not unheard of either: After all, my previous roommate as well as my current one were returning students, not freshmen.

My brother, in his second year of college, has also returned to the dorms. (But not at my school. He goes to Purdue.) My parents and brother and I discussed housing and decided that the dorms were better for our mental health. Today I’m listing the reasons why living in a dorm is the best option for me right now!

1. There’s always someone around, since I have a built-in community

Unlike in an apartment on the outskirts of town or even in town, it’s almost impossible to isolate yourself in a dorm: You’d have to work pretty hard for that to happen. Whether I’m having a good or bad day/week/month/semester, there are plenty of people to interact with and I try to study, eat meals with, or hang out with them as often as my little introverted self can handle in order to keep my spirits up and my bad thoughts away!

2. I have a meal plan

…which means I don’t have to cook! All students living in the dorms are required to have one, since there aren’t really any facilities in which to make your own food in these buildings. This is SUCH a big help because school takes up most of my time and energy. By the time I remember to eat, I’m usually running low on spoons so I appreciate not having to prepare meals myself!

3. I don’t have that many chores since custodians clean everything

I used to feel so guilty about this until I remembered that A) part of my dorm fees go toward paying them to do this and B) I don’t make messes any bigger than what is to be expected. (Like, I don’t leave the bathrooms a disaster zone UNLIKE SOME PEOPLE who think it’s fine to take a shit in the corner of the shower. Luckily, that was last year and our Mystery Pooper™ is no more. But I digress.)

4. Living in a small room means there’s inherently less to take care of and worry about

What chores I do have are limited to my dorm room, aaand… since it’s tiny, there isn’t much to do! Vacuuming, dusting, or tidying takes no time at all. Plus, the small size keeps me from bringing lots of stuff when I move in, which makes moving out at the end of the year that much easier.

5. It’s within easy walking distance of all my classes

…and therapy and extracurriculars and jobs and friends and my favorite bookstores. But above all, it’s close to my classes which makes all the difference in the WORLD when it’s cold and dark in the winter and I’m even more depressed than usual. Some of my friends have half-hour bus rides just to get to class. I don’t think I’d last very much longer at this school if that were me.

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At this time in my life, I firmly believe that the dorms are the best place for me. Of course, there are downsides to living in dorms: Sometimes it’s loud at night, and I wouldn’t mind being closer to nature.

But that’s nothing earbuds and hiking with my friend (plus his cat, on a leash!) can’t solve. The dorms may not be perfect but overall, they’re a good choice for right now. They’re not that much more expensive than living in an apartment once you add up the cost of rent, utilities, food, and so on. I hope to live in the dorms during my fourth and final year of college as well!

Tell me about your experiences in the dorms!

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