Category: Deep Thoughts

Thank you, Elmhurst College

Although I plan to write an official thank you letter to the college when I graduate, here are a few things I took a moment to reflect on during the holiday break.

  1. I am thankful I found the non-profit organization, Active Minds, for several reasons. 1) I am able to continue improving my leadership abilities, 2) I found a close group of peers I can process with and can support me in times of need, 3) transform the campus and leave a lasting impact for students to come to feel comfortable in a more understanding, educated community, 3) the structure of this organization has inspired me to create my own similarly structured non-profit, 5) I was able to attend the annual Conference in College Park, Maryland and in Costa Mesa, California.
  2.  I found my true calling through my discernment process in the Niebuhr Center, through gaining an amazing life-coach (Mark Draper), being awarded the 2014-2015 Goetz Essay for exploring a life of service, and exploring faith perspectives in REL 281.
  3.  I was given the opportunity for what I like to call “super research” I created a short documentary called “Hipsters and Hispanics” as my final project for my Honors Intercultural Communications Class (HON 302/COM 315) based on the neighborhood, Logan Square, I chose for my Neighborhood Report for Cities (URB 210).
  4.  I am thankful for the Honors Program for endless reasons, but some main ones being: 1) the opportunity to conduct my own independent honors research that was inspired by my aforementioned projects, and 2) The generous research stipend for the Honors Summer Fellows project to continue my research and present at the Illinois Political Science Association 2015 Conference.
  5. I am thankful I have a “family cluster” I can lean on and go to for support AS WELL as develop my “vision” from Leadershape 2015.
  6. I am thankful I got to explore Charlotte, North Carolina  and remember how passionate I am for construction during my Alternative Spring Break trip with Habitat for Humanity.
  7.  I am thankful for the CPE in general, but mainly- I had an excellent mentor in the CPE’s Mentoring Program- Doug Porter, (now) retired CEO of Ronald McDonald House who was the first person who was able to explain to me how I should list my accomplishments on my resume. And now he is just an excellent contact to have.
  8.  I learned all about abuse (sexual, physical, verbal, psychological, and so on) as well as forms of sexual harassment in my Human Sexuality class (KIN 346) and I was able to end a harmful situation I had gotten myself in and better understand my own history of abuse.
  9.  I was given the opportunity to share my voice with prospective students through a video/photo shoot and THIS blog, so my experience can inspire anyone who hears it.
  10.  I was given the opportunity to help encourage and assist other transfer students in feeling more comfortable and more connected to resources on campus.
  11.  I was offered a new internship as Sustainability Intern where I get to work on a wide variety of projects to improve this campus- the garden, participation on the sustainability committee, revive the Elmhurst College Greenjays,and educate students on recycling.
  12.  I was able to start a chapter of Food Recovery Network on campus to help donate food to food pantries to feed the hungry.
  13.  I am thankful for the DELICIOUS AND AMAZING FOOD AND SERVICE IN CHARTWELLS, as well as the opportunity to change students’ perception on the matter.
  14.  I am thankful to have been inducted into three honor societies: Pi Gamma Mu, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Phi Beta Delta.
  15.  I am thankful my hard work was recognized and received the I Am Elmhurst award.
  16.  I am thankful for the bike program for providing a stranded commuter with a healthy, sustainable mode of transportation.
  17.  I am thankful I was able to converse with donors, alumni, and community members of the college during the annual scholarship dinner to show them how truly amazing scholarships can be.
  18. I am thankful for Co-op: 1) for funding programming for Active Minds, specifically, meeting Mike Veny, now amazing friend and professional mentor; and 2) for having a great opportunity to see how a funding group works and operates.
  19. I am thankful for the countless scholarships I was awarded to help fund my study abroad travel to Jamaica.
  20. And most importantly, I am thankful for my liberal arts/intercultural education for completely changing, enhancing, and improving my world view.

Can you appreciate your education as much as I can?

Halloween Night In

Dilemma solved! I did not have to come up with any clever costumes, nor did I have to spend anymore money that I do not have. I had plans to go to a costume contest up in Libertyville… but that is over an hour drive. I cancelled that plan because 1) I didn’t want to risk driving drunk/Uber would be too $$$ and 2) I would feel bad if I didn’t want to try to win a costume contest. Then I had a bonfire I was going to go to. Well, safe to say the hours of never-ending rain cancelled that. Next, my friend invited me to her new place out in Jefferson Park. As it turns out, she made other plans as well. So what am I left with? A night to myself to get stuff done.

 

I pigged out on the obligatory treats and enjoyed a minute or two at the Best Buddies Halloween Party. Other than that, I am not looking to get dressed up or get so drunk I don’t want to work out tomorrow morning. Does this mean I’m getting older?  I’m excited to go home and be by myself under my warm blankets and light a candle and get homework done… I am totally okay with that.

 

I did dress up while I worked at Topgolf last night- I was”Halloween.” Which turned into “Old lady on Halloween.” While I was at Goodwill buying decorations for a gala that I’m planning, I decided to see if I could find any suitable costumes on their clearance racks. I was getting so mad that the whole time I was looking for something, these thoughts kept popping up in my head: “This isn’t sexy enough” or “This wouldn’t win me the contest.” I realized in that moment, how many men I had been in contact recently that were (whether they realized it or not) pushing me to dress as something sexy, revealing way more than anyone should be seeing. I made the split second decision to say FORGET looking sexy… so I picked out a long sleeved tee dotted with pumpkins and autumn leaves, with a black sweater vest with patchwork pumpkins and gold buttons. I was pretty proud.

 

In the end of the day, after my $5.42 costume,  I didn’t buy into anything my peers. or society at large, told me to do – no sexy costume, no drinks, no going out… and I couldn’t be happier.

Halloween Dress-up Dilemma

Halloween costumes have become a BIG DEAL. Low on budget? Not a problem. DIY costumes are the biggest hit right now. What’s even better? Think of a very clever, obviously made-on-a-budget customer like the white t-shirt that says “Error 404: Custom not found.” I try not to buy my costume from the Halloween store. Last year I dressed up like the Morton Salt girl with a yellow dress I found at Goodwill and an umbrella. I also dressed up as Heidi from Tool Time on the show Home Improvement with my ex as Tim Allen and my brother as the neighbor Wilson- and carried around a hand-built fence the entire night. This year for Halloween, I keep putting of actually choosing a costume. I decided to list them all here and list the cons of each… because that is really what it comes down to.

  1. Jessica Rabbit- I’d have to buy a red wig and somehow get my chest to look super large…
  2. Laura Croft/Tomb Raider- I’d have to put in extensions and buy some gun holsters; don’t know if it’d be that recognizable
  3. Jasmine (Aladdin)- I’d have to get my six pack looking good! …….. in 7 days? Don’t think that’s going to happen. Also, have to get a wig.
  4. Miss Argentina (Beetlejuice)- I’d have to paint my skin green, buy a red wig.
  5. Poison Ivy- I’d have to buy a red wig; Kim Kardashian just dressed up as this…
  6. Black Swan- Have seen this before, but hopefully I would be the only one at the costume contest with it

Thoughts? What do you want to see?? I’ve gotten mixed reviews about them all. I wish there were recognizable characters that had short hair… besides Velma. Also, plus sized costumes!

10 Interesting Commuter Challenges

Commuters share a very special bond at Elmhurst College. Sure, we can always complain about getting stuck by the train, walking from the tennis courts, or stalking people for their parking spot… but I am going to guess that we have even more challenges in common than you may think. I do have a slightly different daily schedule than other commuters (I will leave my house at around 7:30 am each morning, travel to and from activities, meetings, work, school, and eventually, more night classes to eventually return home at some point after 10pm or 2am if I want to go out). With that in mind, there are simple basic needs that I seem to have challenges fulfilling when commuting to Elmhurst… but maybe that’s just a personal problem!

  1. Finding a refrigerator to keep my food cold. There used to be one in the Leader office that Student Activities would let me use, but that is no longer an option. The only place I have found so far is in the Honor’s Lounge. Here’s a few problems with that- first, I risk other people eating my food, and two, I need to coordinate walking all the way over to the library, checking out the honors key with my Jaypass, and going upstairs to the back of the library. I have also tried just carrying my cooler lunchbox with an ice pack or two, but it never stays cold. I have even resorted to calling a friend on campus and asking if they could store my food for me while I was on campus for so long.
  2. Finding a microwave to warm my food up in. I have two that I use- one, again, in the Honor’s Lounge, and two, in the CPE. Yes, the cafeteria is always an option as well.
  3. Finding a place to freshen up.  There are those special occasions when I will be on campus and for whatever reason, need to “freshen up.” Maybe I was outside at Taste of Elmhurst and got unreasonably sweaty. Maybe I was running late and had to skip a shower. Maybe I forgot to put on deodorant during the day. I have gone to the extent of posting a public service announcement on Facebook asking that I use someone’s shower in their dorm… and it was successful.
  4. Missing hours of operations, office hours, and on-campus events. This is probably more common for most commuters, but not everyone always thinks about it. On top of just plain missing the hours, how many times I have gone to an office during their posted hours and tried to get very urgent questions asked and everyone is at lunch or out of the office? Then I try calling and emailing and get no response? It is so hard to catch people in person most times!
  5. Finding a quiet, comfortable place to nap. Again, something you see quite often. So far the Honor’s Lounge is once again my go-to option! I have also considered just falling asleep on the mall… but I’m always afraid the sprinklers will turn on.
  6. Not bringing enough food (due to reasons 1 and 2, perhaps) and not having enough time to run to a grocery store, so having to resort to paying slightly higher for slightly unhealthier options.
  7. Carrying tens of pounds of books, bags, and belongings. I hate having to run back to my car for things. But I suppose people in dorms might feel this way as well.
  8. Having to strategically coordinate all of your buildling visits into one trip to campus as to not waste gas, time, and money driving out to campus for every little need.
  9. Not strategically utilizing your on-campus locker so you forget and leave your books in your locker over the weekend.
  10. Trying to plan ahead for the always changing weather- do I bring an umbrella? Rainboots? Rain jacket? Scarf? Hoodie? Sunglasses? Do I just keep these items in my car so I can grab them while I’m on campus, similar to someone who lives in a dorm?

Despite what you think about these challenges, I love being a commuter. I have such amazingly dynamic days by only traveling to campus for things that are important to me. I’m able to balance a lot of outside interests, jobs, hobbies, and passions. I hope some of you reading this can relate to any of the above. It is in no way meant to discourage anyone from choosing to commute!

Life Changes

Wow. Pretty much the only thing that has remained constant during my life this year has been Elmhurst! Well… Elmhurst and my therapist I suppose. Just last week, I decided to totally change where my life was at and I could not be any happier.

 

Let’s back track for a moment. I love change and I love opportunities. I take nearly every opportunity which almost always presents me with big changes. At the beginning of the year, I was living at home, starting a new relationship, getting involved in my major, becoming a leader on campus, and holding 7(!) part-time jobs. Then, by J-term, I took on even more opportunities and found myself moving in with my boyfriend, finding full-time work, jumping into independent research, and letting go of some of my extra commitments and responsibilities.

 

After four months of confused feelings, I have made the difficult decision to break up with my boyfriend and move back home. Some of my other friends are living on their own or looking for houses to live in with students for next year. Although these are both options for me, they are not financially feasible. It may not have been the best decision to move out of my house to begin with, but I learned so much through the process that I do not regret it. I wish, above all, that I could afford to live on campus and that I did not have to work, so that Elmhurst can truly be my only focus at the moment. However, just like learning about myself from moving out, I have grown immensely from trying to balance it all.

 

So now, I have quit my full-time job at IKEA, moved back to my parents’ house (which would be 100% okay but it is extremely messy…) landed two (unpaid) internships, and will be starting a new career at a car dealership in Roselle to gain some Sales experience. I also cut my hair, got my nails done, started working out again, and am fully diving into the upcoming opportunities and experiences ahead. In just a week my life has completely changed!

 

Now, I am not one to post very intimate details on the internet, but in a recent Instagram post I shared these words with the world… and yes I will even keep in the hashtags so you can better relate…

 

I can’t believe my life most days. I am so proud to be exactly who I am just the way I am. Why? Because I get what I want. I get what I deserve, in the best way possible. I have been gifted with a truly amazing life and an even more amazing skill set that has never failed me. I will continue to be in awe at the opportunities that are literally handed to me. Handed to me! I must say, hard work pays off. But not in the way most think. Instead, it builds character; it teaches you how to shine; it proves to others that you aspire to achieve. I cannot begin to imagine what my life would be like if I didn’t continue to strive, if I didn’t continue to be motivated, and if I didn’t believe that anything was possible. Jamie Mahoney is a crazy amazing human being and I am so glad to have gotten to know her the past few years. I don’t know why I waited until now. ‪#‎Odetome‬ ‪#‎askmeaboutmylife‬ ‪#‎girlpower‬ ‪#‎cheetahgirls‬

 

I hope, that in some way, shape, or form,  these words will encourage you to make a difficult choice in your life. Do you want to get to know the real you? Are you unhappy with where you are at in your life? Are you troubled by financial burdens? Don’t get caught up in the decisions. Make a decision and life with it. Thrive in it. Tackle the change head-on. I promise, you will learn so much about yourself from the process.

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