Goodnight Moon

Since my last post, there’s been a few life changes I should probably update you on…

In the last month or so, I got a job offer in NYC (a couple actually), signed a contract, popped a bottle of champagne, found a roommate, signed a sublease, popped a bottle of champagne, pitched my last game, finished my softball career (this will be its own post someday…), cried a lot, turned in my last college assignment, popped a bottle of champagne, graduated college, and popped a (few more) bottle(s) of champagne.

Now on deck, my family will be driving me to the Big Apple tomorrow and next Monday, I’ll be leaving for a European adventure for 10 days (London, Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice) with one of my best friends. We’ll get back on June 16, I’ll turn 22 on June 18, and I’ll start my first full time position as a true New Yorker on June 19.

Everything is going so fast and it’s one of the weirdest feelings I’ve ever experienced. Obviously we all grow up someday but it’s hard to think that “someday” is becoming my today. In the last week, I’ve made sure to see as many of my friends as possible and do as many Kansas City things as I can but it still doesn’t feel like enough. I’m going to miss so much about this place, but in addition to all my family and friends, I’m going to miss the physical state of Kansas so much. Life is going to be little different not seeing Jayhawks everywhere I go, watching the Kansas sunsets, hearing the “Let’s Go Royals” chant at the bars, blaring country music out my car windows, seeing the top of Fraser Hall on my drive to Lawrence, KC BBQ, driving past fields of corn and livestock, tailgating Chiefs games, singing along with my friends at the Wheel, listening to the cicadas outside my bedroom window, taking in the Kansas City skyline, and laying on my driveway looking at the stars. This place will always be home and I’m so excited for this next adventure but it is more than bittersweet to be closing this chapter of my life.

I’ll always be a Kansas girl through and through and everyone has been so supportive for my new life, it just doesn’t feel real just yet. Until I’m settled in, my life has kind of felt like the baby book, “Goodnight Moon,” and, let me tell you, there’s been a lot of really sad “goodnights.” I just keep having to remind myself that nothing is forever and how lucky I am to have had so many hard goodbyes.

So here it goes, someone pinch me because my dreams are becoming my reality and soon enough, Toto, we won’t be in Kansas anymore.

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You Belong Here

Once upon a time, like many other freshmen in college, balance was something I really struggled with. I had no idea what I was doing or really who I was as a person. I was learning how to manage difficult classes, relearning how to pitch and figuring out how to take care of myself.

That first semester of college, I identified as just a softball player and I didn’t feel like a very good one, at that. I was a late recruit who went from the best player on every team I had ever been on to the bottom of the bullpen totem pole. There were so many activities I could get involved in at the University of Kansas but I was just another athlete struggling at practice and wheezing my way through weights and trying to please everyone I encountered.

At KU, freshmen athletes meet with mentors in the leadership branch of the athletic department on a weekly basis. I usually filled my full hour with tears. I was so unhappy during the fall of my freshman year and I internalized that sadness to an extreme in order to put on a facade of positivity. I’d talk to my mentor about whatever topic was assigned for our meeting, but I could barely get through the meetings without breaking down when we’d talk about my goals, my friends, and my family. My sadness wasn’t because I didn’t love my school or my teammates or the game of softball; it was the opposite actually. I just purely didn’t feel like I belonged.

One week, I explained to my mentor the feelings I had about not being at the right school or doing the right thing and she was horrified that I felt that way. We talked in depth about all the things I could accomplish at Kansas if I put my mind to them and determined some achievable goals. She was the first person that helped me understand just how wonderful the athletics support system could be and she suggested that I write something encouraging to myself in plain view to remind me that Kansas is exactly where I belong. With that advice in mind, I went back to my dorm and wrote in a small purple marker on a sticky note in the corner of my white board above my desk, “You belong here.”

Fast forward 3.5 years, and here we are. Playing softball for Kansas with a few accolades under my belt, graduating the Journalism school in May with honors, a member of Student Senate, in a sorority, and no longer unhappy with the person I am. Recently however, I’ve been stressing about a lot of things that are genuinely uncontrollable. As of a few days ago, it’s officially April. April means that I only have a month and a half left to walk down Jayhawk Boulevard as an undergrad, play in a jersey with ‘Kansas’ across my chest, and be only a short walk or drive away from all my friends and family. April also means, “Shit, it’s April and in a month and a half I could be moving to a TBD location for a TBD job for a TBD salary with TBD roommates at a TBD apartment, etc.”

Last week, however, our Sunday game against OSU was rained out and I was able to go to church with some of my good friends in Lawrence on Sunday morning. It had been a stressful weekend so far with softball, classwork, and my job hunt. Seeing as we typically play on Sundays, I realized this may be the last time I’d have the opportunity to get to go to church for the rest of the school year. I thought about using our off day to get caught up on school, sleep in and run errands instead of attending church, but I went and I am SO glad I listened to the still small voice that convinced me to go.

The message this week was centered around Ephesians 2:19: “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household.” (NIV).

Through this passage, the pastor translated the content of the verse to, “You belong here.” When those three words appeared on the projector screen in front of me, I almost started crying because, with three words, my college experience had come to a full circle.

No matter what my life will look like in a month and a half, I still will belong wherever I am, I just need to trust God’s plan for me. God will love me as much on my bad days as my good days and it’s important to not fester on the uncontrollable and temporary. It doesn’t matter where I’ll be in a month and a half because no matter where that will be, it’ll be exactly where I need to be, and I needed someone to remind me of that. 

After church, just like freshman year, I took out a small purple marker once I got home and wrote, “You belong here,” on a sticky note and placed it above my desk.

22 more weeks

I have another 22 weeks to put off becoming adult. Another 22 to live less than 2 streets away from my friends. Another 22 filled with making plans 5 seconds in advance. Another 22 left to play college softball. Another 22 to live in the wonderful, crazy world that is college. Another 22 to get randomly sentimental with all my friends.

Growing up is hard and I have a feeling that growing apart will be even harder. But, I am so thankful for the friends and memories I’ve made at KU. My life wouldn’t have been the same without these people, the happy times and the not-so-happy times. Soon enough we’re going to start our big kid jobs and get engaged and having babies on purpose. Graduating college in 2017 doesn’t seem so silly and far off in the future anymore; it’ll be 2017 in just a couple weeks and in 22, I’ll be the one steaming my graduation robes and adjusting my tassel.

So, here’s to the next 22. The last hoorah before fairytale world comes to an end and reality hits me like a brick.

Congratulations to all the December grads, but, for now, I’m glad I’m not you.

Another year, another Thanksgiving

With Christmas fast approaching, Thanksgiving often seems to get the short end of the stick. Sure family comes in town and hours are spent in the kitchen in order to have a meal together. However, how often do we truly give thanks for the blessings in our lives? Should it be once a year, once a month, once a day?

I live a busy life and often forget to slow myself down. This last weekend, I had the opportunity to go on a leadership retreat with KU Athletics. We talked about the significance of value and we used meals to exemplify this need. Think of a raisin. It’s just a raisin if you pop it in your mouth. But, think of a raisin that you use your senses to enjoy. The raisin then becomes more than just a raisin. You take the time to taste before you swallow and the raisin takes on a completely new flavor. If we chose to truly enjoy each monotonous moment in our lives, think how wonderful our lives could be: they’d take on a new flavor.

Thanksgiving should not be taken for granted. I thank God every day for allowing me to continue playing softball, to obtain a college degree, and for the family I’ve been blessed with. I’m thankful for my health, my experiences, my freedoms, my friends, food on the table, my teammates, my sorority sisters, warm kitties, snuggles by the fire, and fresh cups of coffee. Life is good and we should take full advantage of our days off to truly savor it. Count your blessings, remember what’s worth fighting for, and never forget to chew slowly.

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

Why I abstained

I am a student senator, and I chose to abstain on the vote of the resolution in support of Rock Chalk Invisible Hawk’s demands. Voting records will be released early this week and I wanted to explain why I voted the way I did.

I do not serve on Student Rights Committee, so this was the first time I was able to hear RCIH’s demands in detail. I was interested in the logistics of specific demands, what RCIH recommends to prevent inaction from Student Senate in the future and the answers of questions I knew my peers had. I didn’t get any of the answers I was looking for.

I pride myself on becoming fully informed before I make decisions, especially when it comes to legislation. Going into Wednesday’s meeting, I was undecided on my decision in regards to Student Senate supporting the demands of RCIH. I wanted to hear from the group directly.

The discussions at the University of Kansas in the past week are a direct result of poor communication, in all aspects. Student Senate has been accused of not listening to minority students, but I’d venture to say the reality of the problem is that we are not listening to each other. Conversations between students are not happening. Senators were told our questions mischaracterized the history of segregation. Sponsors of the legislation told senators they were being watched and that they would make it known who didn’t support the resolution. We were told the Student Senate does not, and cannot speak for the diverse population of students, and that it was insulting for students of color to have to ask Student Senate for anything. The integrity of student senator’s votes was squandered by encouraging senators to save questions for after the meeting, after a vote had been taken.

Emotions were high on Wednesday for every party involved but there is no reason we should resort to intimidation for the sake of votes. The conversation could not be productive because free discussion was not permitted. Students that spoke were accused of victim blaming, accusatory question framing and being uninformed. Students who chose not to clap were called out, students who had questions were told to wait and students who were considering voting against were harassed. Intimidation and oppression are not solved through intimidation and oppression. Debate was shut down and the integrity of democracy was therefore lost.

I support the efforts of RCIH. I support the purpose of Student Senate and the potential change it can create. I acknowledge my privilege, but regardless of the education I receive, I may never have a full understanding of the coercion people face. I wanted to support this resolution but I wanted to learn, ask questions and have a discussion before I made my decision. The importance of intent versus impact is not forgotten. The proper action cannot be taken without working together and that is what this campus is missing.

I abstained because I did not feel like discussion was welcome, my questions were not answered and I could not vote without a full understanding.

The resolution passed 65-13-2; I’m amazed I was only 1 of 2.

Big Girl Panties

I officially live in NYC and T-Swift’s song, “Welcome to New York” is pretty much my anthem.

Today was an exciting day filled with many emotions. My parents and I started off our morning getting breakfast at a delicious French bakery and moving into the NYU dorms. I have a doorman and three other roommates and a little teeny closet. It’s so New York it hurts. Then we had Metro drama and somehow navigated our way to Lowe Profero’s offices, even though we couldn’t snoop past the first floor. We then found lunch and thankfully sipped Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s (S/O to NYC Sunday brunches). After lunch, my parents left and I cried for a solid 20 minutes. Mom told me to put the big girl panties on and I wiped the tears away when I heard one of my roommates come home. After I stopped blubbering, I did some grown-up stuff and filled out my work paperwork for tomorrow. Then, I met some KC friends for dinner in Little Italy and clearly I pull off the New-Yorker-navigating-in-the-rain look well because I was asked for directions. Pasta, wine, and a cannoli later, I traveled back home and successfully maneuvered my way home using the Metro. AKA successful day and I’m one day closer to belonging here.

In other news, I start work tomorrow! Wish me luck!

Strength or weakness?

There have been multiple situations in my life where I’ve had to face adversity. Through these challenges, I’ve learned that I am someone who’d rather make light of a situation and stick to my commitments than burn bridges and jump ship. But is this trait a strength or a weakness?

My greatest fear in life is disappointment. I am a work horse and I will do everything in my power to not disappoint the people who believe in me. I’ve played for softball teams I didn’t want to play with, I’ve worked with people I didn’t want to work with, I’ve lived in places I didn’t want to live. I’m a people pleaser and although my ability to work with others and overcome life hurdles can be seen as a strength, it’s simultaneously my Achilles Heel.

More often than not I make life harder for myself by staying true to my commitments. I understand that there are times when I have to do what’s in my best interest but, at the same time, I consider removing myself from situations I can help as failing. Until I truly need to remove myself, why disappoint others for my own self interest? Why take the easy way out? Are you going to walk off the field when times get tough, or are you going to buck up and fight and claw and compete? You decide, but I know what my answer is.