Dear World,

Dear World,

Dear World,

It’s been a little over a month since we’ve met. Can you believe I’ve only known the “real” you for a month? I feel like we’re getting so close. I’ve already learned so much about you! I’ve learned to decipher your exotic language, learning a whole new vocabulary. Words like Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance and Deductible. And let me tell ya, I’ve had to translate a bunch of abbreviations: PPO, PTO, HR, OM…

You’ve also been oh so generous with your letters, World. What could be better than a bill or two to remind us of the fact that we’re in this together? It’s quite thoughtful of you.

And who needs a student discount? I get such a thrill paying the premium for movie tickets, museum exhibits, and public transportation. And the best part? I’m still paying off my tuition which means I get the best of both worlds: student AND adult! I’m like a liger (or a wolphin…)!

Oh and I love the fact I’m no longer an RA. When people are super loud and annoying and causing me to lose sleep, I don’t have the authority to tell them to ‘shut up’. Who needs 6 hours of sleep, anyway?

Hopefully you read through my witty subtext, World, and have realized how stressful you can be. But, don’t worry, you’re not all that bad, just a little rough around the edges. I am, however, enjoying the fact I can do whatever I want without the cloud of homework and midterms hovering over my head, getting to decided exactly how I want to spend my time. I even have time to read for FUN and not for a grade. You should see my long (and growing) ‘To Read’ list!

I actually have access to a kitchen. A real kitchen! And though many of my peers have had this luxury for a while now, this is honestly a real treat. For a lover of food, baking, and cooking, it has been a joy to be able to prepare my meals instead of relying on the unpredictable menu of the Umphrey Lee cafeteria. Cooking has become a stress reliever, a therapeutic activity, and a way to bring happiness to my co-workers (earning me major brownie points… pun INTENDED).

The best part of all, is the fact that you’re beginning to take me seriously for the first time in my life. No more congratulatory pats on the head for being in college or pinched cheeks for making the grade. You’re starting to see me for what I can bring to the table. And let me tell ya’, I am bringing a lot. I am no longer in life’s limbo, in between child and adult. I have arrived. So watch out World, this is going to be the start of a beautiful relationship.

Ali

That’s Life

That’s Life

Today I found out that the reason I didn’t get a job was because I am petite and look too young. I was told despite being highly qualified and having the best references and recommendations from current employees, my stature was a deal killer. And you know what? That’s life.

We Americans teach our children from day one that they are special and that they can do anything if they put their mind to it. In school we saw posters with corny inspirational sayings like, “shoot for the moon and if you’ll miss, you’ll land among the stars”. At my high school graduation ceremony, everyone was given a medal just because they graduated so as to make sure no one was left out. All these things were done out of good intentions. Parents love their kids and don’t want them to be disappointed or have their dreams crushed. They want to prolong the brutality of realty for as long as possible. But hey, life isn’t like the Disney Channel. We are not all going to be the main character who gets everything handed to them. You’ve got to work for things in this life. At least, the things thats matter. So yes, I do look young. I am frequently carded at movie theaters and am often asked which middle school I attend. And yes, I am petite. So with my powers combined, I may not be the most likely choice to meet your clients. I actually understand that. It makes logical sense. So despite my frustrations, I find myself thankful for the way God made me. He made me with a purpose in mind. I am an intricate part of His grand plan, as are YOU (Jeremiah 29:11). He knit everyone of us in our mother’s womb, hair by hair, skin cell by skin cell (Psalm 139). He made me petite, He made me youthful, He made me smart, and He made me talented.

So maybe I’m not the best fit for some jobs. I won’t necesarily get what I think I deserve in life. Or maybe I’m going to be the Doogie Howser of real estate. Only God knows. And you know what? I’m ok with that.

Things I Thought Happened When You Graduated

Things I Thought Happened When You Graduated

  1. You get engaged. I remember thinking in high school that everyone met their spouses in college. And though one of my friends gets engaged at least once a week, I know so many single college seniors, myself included. And on top of that, I couldn’t imagine being engaged, let alone married at this time in my life. I don’t even have a full-time job laid out yet!
  2. You will automatically get a job. Speaking of full-time jobs…. I always thought that college seniors automatically had a job lined up for them upon graduation. But alas, that was pre-2008, when I didn’t know that a  “double-dip recession” even existed. Now, having a job already is pretty rare and those lucky enough to have one are considered blessed. Not only are we fighting all the other graduating seniors across the country for a job, we’re also fighting the thousands of middle-aged people with years of experience under their belt. Thank God for the social media/technology revolution that gave all us millennials a leg up on the competition! For some of y’all, getting a job is the least of your worries. You still have no idea what you want to do. Though I decided I wanted to be in real estate at the end of my sophomore year, I didn’t decide on what exactly in real estate I wanted to do until December. I always thought that everyone knew what they wanted to do when they were handed their diploma. Once across that stage they would be whisked into some cubicle where they would work until they retired. Turns out, our generation is more likely to change jobs continuously than any other previous generation. Apparently, we get bored, ha.
  3. Life would be always be exciting. I guess I’ve been imagining my college graduation and life thereafter for so long that I’ve created rather high expectations for myself. I thought getting a full-time job would be exciting, and yes, I will be completely stoked to sign a contract with a company, but excitement fades after a while. You get used to the ebb and flow of life, your routine and such, that everything becomes ordinary. Just how college was no longer a big deal after your freshman year. You just get used to things. That’s why people get hobbies and read more when they get older. They need to something to do, which is exciting in its own way. I have so many books I want to read (or re-read) and hobbies I want to take up (I really want to start gardening and baking…)!
  4. Life is not just a series of Important Events. I tend to think of my future as a chapter book: Birth, Sweet 16, High School Graduation, 21st Birthday, College Graduation, Marriage, Motherhood, Retirement, Grand-motherhood, Death. But what I’ve found is the best parts of life aren’t necessarily the “big moments” (though the birth of my first born will be quite amazing) but the little ones in between. And they’re not always the best of times but the worst of times that really matter. They make us who we are. The hard times allow us to appreciate the good times even more.
The Graduate… almost.

The Graduate… almost.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s January. It is far too early to start reminiscing about my 4 years at SMU. But you’re wrong. It’s never too early for nostalgia. So I bring you two lists: the top 5 things I will miss about SMU and the top 5 things I won’t.

Top 5 things I won’t miss:

  1. Living with freshman. I have never lived outside of a freshman dorm. Having lived in Perkins as a freshman and serving as a RA in Boaz for the past three years, I have grown tired of watching freshman make the same mistakes over and OVER. I have cleaned up puke from hallways, snowmen from elevators, asian stir-fry off of doors, and blood out of carpets. Needless to say, I am very excited to move off campus and live in either a house or apartment. I cannot wait until the day I can walk into my home and not feel like I’m being watched, avoided, or being asked to let someone into their room. SO EXCITED.
  2. Walking to class in the rain. Upon graduation, I will never have to walk outside in the rain for more than 5 minutes max per day. This 5 minutes will consist of me walking from my front door to my car, parking lot to work, church, restaurant, meeting, etc. I will no longer joke about wearing (and at times, even consider wearing) a bathing suit to class or ponder as to how its possible for my rain boots to fill with water. After college, with the exception of extreme situations, if I am standing in the rain it will be by choice, not by necessity.
  3. Getting grades. This requires no explanation.
  4. 5 a.m. fire drills. As an RA and having lived on campus all four years, I have done at least six fire drills (and maybe a few more depending on if my residence hall failed or not). Sometimes in the freezing cold. My freshman and sophomore year, the fire marshall would keep us out their FOREVER so he could probably explain the importance of getting the flu shot (Why the fire marshall was the one to tell us this, I have no idea…). This past year we’ve gotten a new fire marshall who is awesome, blunt, and boring. HOWEVER, he knows how to get a fire drill done and done fast. Thank you Fire Marshall Man!
  5. E-mails from Patrick Hite. No Patrick, I do not want a flu shot. I know when Brown Bag is and I can’t go due to class. I have no interest in going to a seminar on the principles of marriage, the evolution of egyptian music, an exposition of underwater basket weaving, or the unveiling of yet another fountain but thanks.

Things I will miss:

  1. Learning. I am a learner. For those of you who remember when SMU made us all take Strengths Quest (which I loved by the way), “Learner” and “Achiever” were two of my top 5 strengths. So I’m not going to lie, I am going to miss going to class. I have taken some really cool classes over the past four years and have had some pretty awesome professors. I’m taking Intro to Jazz Dance right now (and its kicking my butt by the way. Super fun but definitely a work-out!) and, though a random elective and a good grade buffer, I’ve realized that there are still a bunch of classes at SMU that I want to take! I never got to take that Holocaust class I’ve wanted to take. And what about Voice Class, or Good Eats, or the Improv Theater Class, or Urban Economics, or Public Finance? I would love to take another history class from the phenomenal history department SMU has. Make sure to take a class by Professor Hopkins, Adams, or Countryman before you graduate. These professors and their classes have been some of my favorites. Professor Hopkins’ class was by far the best class I have ever taken at SMU. Now, as a senior, when I look at my schedule I don’t just see an easy blow-off semester (which it is), I see my last opportunities to reap the benefit of a university education (I don’t plan on getting my masters, by the way). So take advantage of the course offerings and take something that is out of your comfort zone. You won’t regret it.
  2. Umph, Mac’s Place, and the people who work there. I don’t care what anyone says. The food at Umph is awesome a majority of the time. Have you ever eaten at other universities? The food sucks. Believe me. Once you’ve tried the food at Austin College in Sherman, you will kiss the floor of Umphrey Lee. The ease and simplicity of swiping in and picking whatever you want is going to be hard to let go. In less than 5 months, I will have to buy groceries… and if you know me at all you will know that I have a very expensive palate. Veggies, salmon, fresh fruit, and crazy awesome desserts do not come cheap. And I refuse to live off of the Ramen noodle diet (side note: take the dry ramen noodles and crumble them on top of a salad for crunchy goodness!). As much as I like to cook, I know that somedays I won’t feel like it. At Mac’s and Umph, you can just walk in and grab warm food. Not to mention the fact that the lunch ladies and lunch gentlemen (?) are extremely friendly and accommodating. They all know my name and always ask me about my day, classes, etc. For all of my fellow seniors (and perhaps some juniors), we all associate Almeta and the Cookie Lady with fond memories and widened waistlines. The staff at Umph and Mac’s Place are awesome. Tell them so next time you are there.
  3. Free gym membership. Do you know how expensive it is to join a gym? Its not cheap. Now, I know what you are thinking, Dedman Rec is paid for by our student fees included in our tuition. But its still included. There is no extra cost. No, tuition + gym. Just tuition.
  4. Getting student discounts. No more student tickets at the movies. No more 10% off at La Madeleine’s. No more reduced price DART passes,  Six Flags Tickets, free movie premieres on campus, student-only content at the Cox Business Library, or discounts on car insurance. No more flex or pony to spend at Subway, Chik-fil-a, and Pizza Hut. Life is about to get way more expensive.
  5. The Community. I no longer refer to McKinney, TX as home. SMU is my home. I am going to miss being able to walk down the boulevard and know 75% of everyone I see. I’m going to miss chatting with Dr. White when we cross paths at the gym, Dr. Howard when we run into each other in Hughes-Trigg, or having tea at Professor Adam’s house on Thursdays. I’m going to miss leading the Mustang Mavericks and watching people with no dance skills learn how to two-step and stunt like crazy. I’m going to miss my RA staff and all the RAs on campus. I never thought I’d say this, but I am going to miss RA training. I’m going to miss seeing my friends everyday, the Perkins 2nd floor gang, etc. After graduation, everyone moves away, back home, to new jobs and new lives. Its going to take more effort to keep in contact with everyone. As much as I complain about the rising tuition prices, administration errors, stupid policies,and bad professors, SMU created a community of stability and support. Its this community that I will miss the most.

Mustang. Pony. Blast.