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…And the Return

That’s right…I’m back!

So yeah, you’re probably thinking…”wait, I thought there were supposed to be a whole summer’s worth of blog posts before this one?” And if you weren’t expecting that, then, boo you for not having faith in me…but mainly kudos to you for thinking that my former resolution was pretty far-fetched in reality. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about at all, well…you have some catching up to do too, them, and I’m glad I’m not the only one.)

Because let’s face it. The fact that I was wholeheartedly intent on blogging every single day of my trip? A noble goal. But I didn’t account for…well, anything, really.

tumblr_nsxt712zqv1rdutw3o1_400That wide-eyed and nervous girl with wild blonde hair (me) sitting in the airport however many months ago didn’t really think about the fact that, twenty-four hours from that moment, her time of departure, her hotel would not have reliable wifi, nor the fact that she was going to be walking, everywhere, non-stop. She was going to be awake for the next thirty hours straight, then she would keep going, going, like an energizer bunny. She would trail across Europe from city and poor wifi hot-spot to poor wifi hot-spot.

She (still me) was not going to be able to upload her photos to her blog every night; she was going to do good just to get them on Instagram. (And Instagram she certainly did.) She definitely wasn’t going to be able to do justice to and write about her adventures just yet. So, after a while, she decided not to worry about Internet connections or uploading pictures. That could wait. She was, instead, simply going to keep taking pictures, keep exploring, and keep living in the moment.

That’s why, dozens of cities and thousands of pictures later, I’m only now blogging about my summer. My crazy, hectic, amazing, overwhelming, maddening, short, long, wild summer. So…here we go.

(Another) Goodbye to Freshman Year

ggHello again! I hope that everyone has had or is having an amazing end of their spring semester or school year, beginning of their summer, etc! I have officially finished my freshman year of college, which is crazy! I packed up and said goodbye to freshman dorm, roommate, dining halls…some parts of which were much more bittersweet than others.

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetI’ll miss a lot of things about being a college freshman, of course. It’s like being any kind of freshman. People look out for you and want to help you succeed. There are those who look down on you for being the babies, obviously; but there are still more people who consider you adorable and take you under their wings for the same reason. And then there are all of the other perks, like “free” food and coffee, like everyday. I forgot that Starbucks was a business and that normal people pay for it for awhile. And I’m not sure what not going to grab freebies from tabling events as often will be like. (Just kidding I’ll probably still nab stuff who are we kidding.)IMG_8150

I’ll also miss living right in the center of campus. I was definitely spoiled with the prime location of my dorm (Hopkins). I could just climb the hill to get to class or go get food. I could walk anywhere in about five to ten minutes, honestly. I’ll also miss the fact that most of my friends and I all lived in the same two blocks, and that to “go out” we literally just walked downstairs.

But there are of course things that I won’t miss, too (the shared bathroom situation, the inevitably messy tiny shoebox where we slept, etc.). More importantly, though, there are even more things that I am looking forward to about when everyone is back on campus in the fall.

IMG_6214I’ll get to see my friends, go to more Arts Ambassador meetings, and take new classes. I have a job and a project lined up and ready to go, and I’m so completely excited about both. I may join a sorority, and though Rush is terrifying, the idea of having a house and another group of friendly faces on campus would be so sweet and invaluable. I’m going to live in a North Ave. apartment with my friends, and though it is a little farther away from campus, we can still walk everywhere. We have our own rooms, share two bathrooms, and there’s a KITCHEN! I’m going to learn how to cook in between reading for my Medieval Lit class and studying Personality Theory. I’ll also get to decorate four walls instead of just one, and it’s going to be beautiful.desk before

 

I even can’t wait to help the next round of freshmen. I have learned so much over the past year, the past three semesters, that I am more than happy and willing to share anything that I know and have learned with someone who needs it. I’ve already given some tips out to people who I can’t wait to take under the now experienced non-freshman wing of my own.

I’ll miss that being me, but I know that my own wings have not gone away. I still have my older friends, past professors, and the resources that I had and needed as a freshman. I don’t,desk after by any means, know everything; I know I’ll still need help along the way too. But I have built my own little community here, and for that I am so very grateful. That’s what being a freshman, or just being young, I think, is at least partially about. It grows as you do, and it never goes away.

So for you incoming freshman, reach out and get to know others. Join clubs, do things that you’re interested in, try new things. Some things you try may suck, but guess what: you

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can quit them, or try again later. Take advantage of your benefits (like free coffee, I’m bitter can you tell) and don’t forget about them. Be grateful and kind and optimistic. Do your best, but take care of yourselves and give yourself a break, too. The fall is just right around the corner.

~Until then, I’m going to catch up on posts from the past couple of months. Also, I have exciting summer announcements, sO LOL IF YOU THOUGHT I WAS DONE OR SOMETHING, gg2CHECK OUT MY NEXT BLOG POST BECAUSE IT’S GONNA BE MORE EXCITING THAN ANY OF THIS.

Oh yeah, and XOXO GOSSIP GIRL~

Happy Finals Week!

Yesterday was the last official day of classes. Congrats you guys, we did it!

Well, we’ve almost done it. Because yes, there are free breakfasts and therapy dogs, popsicles and bowling—tried and true signs of another term…terminating. (Sorry, that was too good to pass up.) These wonderful fun FREE things do little to disguise the fact that we still have a little ways to go.

Seven days to go, to be exact. And these seven days are some of the most stressful of the semester.

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Happy finals week, everyone. For some, this is the defining moment of their weeks upon weeks of worry and stress. For some, it is all that stands between them and graduation, or a fabulous summer vacation. For some, they’re lucky and it’s mostly just a chill period of time to wander around collecting free stuff until it’s time to move out.

Regardless of where you stand, it’s pretty universal that finals suck, but it will all be better in about a week. And in honor of these last seven days, here are seven things that don’t suck, but that can even make everything a little bit brighter~

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1. Netflix

Everyone needs a study break every now and then. If your brain hurts, find a short show, they don’t require too much commitment. Girls is my latest go-to, but I also love Friends and Seinfeld. Netflix also has a bunch of really amazing new shows too, one of which is Girlboss with Britt Robertson. It’s based on Sophia Amoruso’s (the founder of Nasty Gal) autobiography by the same name.

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2. Exercising

To not feel guilty while watching said Netflix shows, I often go running while I watch them. There are also so many fun classes at the CRC, like barre pilates and power yoga. And, even better, they’re free during finals week! So anyone can drop by and try them out!

3. Ice Cream (and assorted foods, bonus points if FREE)

Exercising is wonderful but let’s be honest, ice cream is also extremely important. So are the aforementioned free popsicles, and cookies, pizza, and breakfasts. This may just be a freshman thing, but it also may be a being-in-the-right-place-at-the-right-time thing. To be determined. ALSO there’s also the new “late night bites” thing at Chick-fil-a and Panda Express in the Student Center, where we can use meal swipes from 9 pm-12am. So either way, brilliant.

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4. Music + Art

Make a new playlist, find some new songs, hunt around Spotify for a bit to de-stress. It’s quite fun, and the fruit of your labor (ie. an amazing new selection of songs) will come in handy for when you go back to studying, too. Additionally: if you play an instrument, go for it! Except, you know, not if your dorm has quiet hours.

Otherwise, draw something, paint something, de-stress that way! Last week the Arts Ambassadors (aka me and some of the coolest most wonderful people I have ever met) held an Arts Fest in the Ferst Center! There were tons of free cookies, student artists selling their work at booths, a muralist, interactive art, a Piano Project piano with a chalkboard on the back, student performers… You name it. It was wonderful seeing so many people come in and participate, so exciting and therapeutic to just be in such a friendly and happy and artistic atmosphere.

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5. Family and Friends

Don’t forget about them! Yeah it’s just a week with a weekend thrown in there, but study with friends, go on study breaks, get dinner together, etc. Also, text your mom. It’s so much better for everyone’s sanity, and the people who care about you will help you through.

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6. Sleep

DO NOT FORGET TO GET ENOUGH SLEEP. SLEEP IS SO IMPORTANT. IF YOU HAVE BEEN STUDYING FOR HOURS ON END AND CAN’T KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN LITERALLY JUST GO TO BED. You won’t retain information as well if you studied it well if you studied with a  compromised mental state. And you’ll be crabby as heck the next day really please just go home and sleep and don’t snore in the CULC this is completely theoretical (it’s not). My heart hurts when people do this. Sure you want more hours in the day but make better use of the ones you have and simply embrace how wonderful and helpful sleep is.

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7. Georgia Tech

All in all, there are so many things that are important and helpful, so many yummy and wonderful things. Georgia Tech may not always seem like one of them, as it is also the bearer of the finals chopping block itself. But Tech cares about us, genuinely. There are so many resources that they provide, so many study breaks and opportunities to hit the refresh button. They want us to be healthy, happy, successful—whether you always think so or not. So take advantage of the benefits, give Buzz a hug, study hard but not so hard that you hurt yourself.

After all, it is just a week.  

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Food, Friends, Art, and Coffee

Hello again! I thought that I’d end yet another infamous and periodic bit of radio silence with a post about an adventure I went on back in—what was it now, January? Man that was so long ago now.

Anyway, a while ago I went to Cabbagetown with the lovely ladies I am going to be sharing an apartment with next year! Three of us were already friends, and I was friends with the fourth. Before this, though, the two and the one actually had yet to meet each other, so an introductory excursion was definitely in order. And preferably one with breakfast food and cute photo ops.

So we had brunch at the Carroll Street Cafe, a cute little place with an abundance of both coffee and mimosas, depending on how old you are. The biscuits are the best too, highly recommend. Afterwards, we walked down the road and took a right to walk along the lengthy wall full of murals. We wandered all the way down to the Krog Street Tunnel, taking pictures and chatting and joking along the way.

After our adventure, we headed back to campus to do homework, as it was a Sunday and we are all typical Tech students. Not wanting the expedition to die completely, we went to Amelie’s for yet another change of scenery. And coffee.

All in all, it was a wonderful day, full of food and friends and art and coffee, which is basically all anyone could ever need. I am so looking forward to rooming with my friends in the fall. I can’t wait to decorate our apartment, to have movie nights, to have four walls to myself, to joke and tell stories in the evenings, to cook in a real life kitchen, to have a dishwasher… And, of course, I can’t wait to go on more adventures like this one too.

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The Adventures of Lauren & Stank

On Saturday, January 28th, I met Christine (affectionately called “Stank” since some time around tenth grade) in West Midtown for our very favorite meal of the day. Our favorite because it’s Leslie Knope’s favorite, mostly, but also because it’s dang delicious.

We ate brunch at West Egg, which I had never been to before. We waited outside in the sunshine for a good thirty minutes, but it was extremely worth it. It also gave us a chance to catch up, and I got to know her friend who was visiting too. We were all rewarded for our patience, not just with each others’ company, but with delicious food and wonderful weather. And coffee.

After breakfast, we wandered around the area for a bit. We saw a tiny coffee shop made out of a shipping container, saw shops and cool urban-looking renovations. We then found the murals. The blue one is outside of Bartaco off of Howell Mill, and it was right beside the Merchant, a cute stationery shop that we promptly visited next. After saying goodbye to the new friend, I took the old to the West Side Cultural Arts Center right down the street. I had been there once before, but was pleasantly surprised by how close it was.

It was a lovely morning (or early afternoon?) full of lovely weather, great friends, awesome street art, and amazing food. It was such a treat to be able to explore new places and get to see one of my oldest and best friends, and I can’t wait to do it again soon.

The Women’s March

On Saturday morning, I woke up to lightning streaking across the sky and rain pelting my dorm room window. It was early, around eight or so, and I wasn’t exactly sure  why I couldn’t sleep through such dreary weather as usual other than the fact, I quickly remembered, that it was a Very Important Day. It was the day I had been looking forward to for months, had carefully written down in my planner with a hot pink pen. It was the day of the Women’s March.

I met my friends in the rain and we sprinted to the dining hall for lunch. After receiving notice of the rain delay, we ate second helpings of breakfast food and watched the sky outside miraculously clear. Then we made our way straight down the road to the Center for Civil Rights, where the march was to begin.

When we arrived, it was already so incredibly crowded that we couldn’t even find the supposed speakers. Supposed, because, were they really there? We didn’t know. Instead we took pictures and embraced the excitement, support, dissatisfaction, strength, and surge of energy that the crowd, with its humorous, creative, threatening, hopeful, and even sad signs, provided. The electricity surrounding us had nothing to do with the storm clouds looming overhead.

After an hour and a half of waiting for the march to actually start, these feeling turned anxious, the cheers turned impatient and pressing. Finally we were told that the speakers were making their way to the from to lead the masses, and we finally began our climb up the hill and towards the Capitol building an hour and a half away.

Being in the march itself was incredible. We were like a river of defiance and solidarity, breaking over a dam of hatred and restraint. We chanted, cheered, laughed. Some people played instruments, everyone held signs, some walked quickly, slowly, danced, pushed wheelchairs, everyone was peaceful. There were thousands upon thousands of our fellow marchers up and down the road where we stood; every new altitude or bend in the road exposed an endless stream of people. Being on the street in such numbers was like being embraced, contained, assured. Safe, despite the threats that brought us here together, safe amongst each other and our shared cause, our differences but our shared and equal humanity.

A feeling of resistance ran rampant, but even stronger was one of hope. Hope amidst the storm clouds, hope in every single person present. Once we reached the Capitol, we all dispersed, heading in waves to our various destinations. But it was, still is, impossible to feel separated or alone.

Homecoming, Man!

tumblr_o6owfyjmhm1scu1amo1_500Hey bros! (Brothers? Bretheren?)

It has been several months now, but Georgia Tech’s annual homecoming was an absolute blast. I am a homecoming-kind of gal. I love it. I love the events, the game, the competitions

I wanted to take part in the Homecoming festivities, because Homecoming at my high school was HUGE and I loved it. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t be able to, because I’m not Greek and didn’t know about any other teams competing. However, there are teams for each of the dorm quads too! There are many more organizations involved than you may think, and anyone who wants to get involved—like me— is able to!

This being said, I helped out with chalking, painting windows, and designing and painting our quad’s banner. I also attended the carnival-themed events, which were fun too!

My favorite of all of these activities was definitely chalking. It took place on Friday, around lunchtime, and the atmosphere on Tech Walkway was indescribable.

It felt like fall for the first time this season, and people from all over campus had come together to get messy and creative amongst the leaves blowing along the sidewalk. Passersby meandered to and from lunch, stopping to watch and talk. I saw my friends, chalked with friends, made new friends. Someone was playing ACDC because it somehow related to the jungle theme, but no one was questioning it. It such a special experience. It was one of those times that feels almost unreal, like a scene in a movie. I mean, there was even background music.img_0476img_0482img_0471

The following Saturday was game day.

Before that, however, were the Freshman Cake Race and the Homecoming parade…which I accidentally slept through. Yeah, that was bad. I had been so busy for the past week though, what with late night Starbucks runs and cram essay-writing sessions, that it all caught up to me. It was a much-needed reprieve.

img_0616-1The Homecoming football game against Duke, though, a mere five or so hours later, was a blast. It was the big game, bigger than the Cornwall game in She’s the Man.

I sat closer to the field than I ever had before. So close, in fact, that I could actually see the football! (WILD!) (I usually block on the second level of the stadium with a different fraternity.) It was a really exciting game, but I’m still not sure if it was just the game or that I saw more of it than usual.

My high school AP Literature teacher (and favorite human being in the world) came to the game too! We caught up and nerded out over books and talked about school and life and etc. It was so sweet to see her.

And, to top everything off…WE WON! GO JACKETS! Duke didn’t know what hit them. (Duke the school/team, not Duke Channing Tatum. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.) It was hot, but I was happy.

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After the game, it was back to reality. Well, sort of. My friend and I tried to work, but were quickly distracted and/or exhausted. Our productivity was doomed. So we went into Halloweekend mode instead.

What exactly did this “Halloweekend mode” entail? In the spirit of trick-or-treating…you’ll have to just wait for my next blog post to find out!

Until then…do you like…cheese?