Giving Thanks with a Guest: Cloves of Carolyn

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As my mother put the final touches on some thanksgiving goodies going into the oven, she yelled, “Hey! It’s Thursday!” which meant that I owed it to myself and you lovelies to have a blog prepared. After some back and forth we decided, “really?” yes, really, that my mom would have the chance to try her hand at blogging. It might have come in past the midnight deadline for Thursday, but she had been swarmed with to-do’s and recipes for Thanksgiving, which has been her holiday since I can remember. It’s difficult to describe my mother in blog form, because that does absolutely no justice at all, but she’s made little appearances in a bulk of my posts and if you haven’t quite gathered, she’s superwoman. So after all the pies, stuffed mushrooms and apple pie without crust that’s apparently known as a crumble, blogosphere, meet my mom: Carolyn:

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On this thanksgiving, it seems only logical, that I would be this week’s guest blogger. I’ve known that I would eventually get this role, and have agonized over what I would call myself, since sticks of Sara, but i’m just not impressed with myself, having only come up with “cloves of Carolyn” thus so far…but, it’s me. And so, here I go…

You see, Logan came home for the holiday weekend, which is actually becoming less of a thing for her, and therefore for us.
She’s so involved with so many things, that it’s become difficult for her to get away from school and come home.  I’m really okay with that, even though I’m a Jewish mother. But, when she IS here, there are many requirements that must be met, and often, in 36 hours.

Years ago, our little breaks from school involved pedicures, lunch, and a bit of shopping together, her catching up with a few friends, hostessing at the fabulous brunch place where she worked, and maybe a movie in my room, oh and, of course, a couple of episodes of “friends”. These days though, I must plan ahead to get it all right, squeeze it all in, and send her back, fulfilled. It’s my responsibility to provide that fulfillment, to carry her through until “next time”. Friends from home have become less of a priority, but because she is the planner that she is, everything must fit in according to plan…

In Maryland, real bagels are seriously lacking, so I must be sure that real bagels are here, with everything seeds galore, preferably from union hill bagels, to restore her faith from the biscuit world.  Dinner can be from any of the 3 major Italian meals, be it, chicken parm., baked ziti, or lemon chicken.  Chicken otherwise, however, must be avoided at all costs because I apparently make chicken on a daily and consistent basis, so much, that Logan tells me that my future grandchildren will refer to me as “grandma chicken”.
A panera salad is a good go-to, when packing for leadership trips, or now, birthright, running various errands for red, shiny blouses for dance ensemble, or upping our collection of VS underwear, as we are both addicted,  and often have a coupon burning a hole in each of our pockets, but the preference is always sushi, if at all possible.  She is addicted to spicy tuna and avocado, and will actually set aside her daily hummus for this.  Snacks involve Mac and cheese, shapes always being the preference, like dora the explorer, and if that should fail, I’m good to go with Colby jack cheese or my famous guacamole…again…avocados, but judge me with chicken.

I’m glad to do any of these things, because Logan has never really been one to ask for things, not directly anyway, but I know when things are important to her. Like when she saw, years ago, that someone had their name spelled out in letters made from dunkin’ donuts, and she declared “well, that’s stupid”.   I immediately got them for her birthday, iced in pink icing with sprinkles.  Critical, she is, but appreciative of forethought, she is moreso.
I try to be the mom “that remembers” and adds a little bit of levity to an otherwise hectic schedule, like the care packages and birthday gifts I insist she takes back with her, but not open until the real day.  I’ve provided a gift box, complete with katniss to take her exam study stress from her, which may’ve been my best package ever, and I’ve even provided several choices of miniature bottles of alcohol for her 21st birthday.  Miniature, being the key requirement, to satisfy her love of tiny things.  I’m sure it was difficult to turn 21 away from home during mid week of classes, etc., but I assured a grin on multiple levels.

I know that our times together will become more and more limited, so I just want to leave a little taste of “yup, grandma chicken thought of doing that” in her mind. Hey, maybe I’ll even become “grandma forethought” or “grandma clever” or just “my organized mom who knows me so well”.

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Let’s Get Philosophical

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I would imagine that anyone in college can relate to the tragedy that is a Sunday night. You’ve spent your weekend pretending that schoolwork doesn’t exist. Whether you were at that big swim meet, the world’s craziest party that you still can’t believe it didn’t get busted or were movie marathoning with your friends, there’s one thing you weren’t doing: homework. Each semester, we give ourselves the same peptalk. Logan, this semester, you’re going to use your Thursday night to finish all of your homework so that you have the whole weekend to yourself. But do we listen to ourselves? Maybe we achieve that goal once or twice, but typically, most weekends fall into the same pattern and by Sunday morning or afternoon, we’re hissing at ourselves and cursing ourselves for leaving all of our work for Sunday. Without fail, every Sunday night I am wishing there were more hours in a day or that I had at least started my homework earlier that weekend.

But then we have those special Sundays that just kick you in the gut and tell you just exactly how this week is going to play out. And that’s what this weekend was. Dare I call it, a Logan junior year meltdown, wracking it in as official meltdown 2, 3 if we count a bizarre summer one over a hypothetical scenario. But Sunday began well enough, with a delicious brunch in the dining hall with friends, homework going pretty smoothly, watching a documentary for class, and then the storm clouds of the meltdown rolled in. A storm disguised in a job offer. A fluffy, light and kind job offer that rattled me to my core. The thunder cracked and the lightning flashed and after a phonecall to my mother, the tears started coming and they didn’t stop. Little tears of stress turned into a torrential downpour of frustration that had been pent up since who knows when. What the hell was I doing with my life?

Long story short, after an hour-long teary and unattractive phonecall, eyes puffy and nose sniffling, I was typing away like a crazy person on my laptop doing research and sending emails, texting different people here and there. I was on a mission. The break had been a long time coming and once it happened, my mind was clear and I knew exactly what I had to do. Six emails, three text conversations, 2 advising appointments and one career center appointment later, I somewhat have a plan. And never before have I ever been so damn motivated in one week. So breakdown or breakup? You tell me.

But the philosophical dilemma that came out of all this was the way that our society and the American dream works. The issue that I’m having right now is that I love everything I can get my hands on in college. I love both of my majors, my minor and any odd class that I take under my wing, which sounds great, but it’s a really big problem, because I can’t narrow anything down into a career path. Well, that’s a lie. I can narrow them down into about three distinctly different career paths, but I can’t choose between the three and everyone has their own opinion and of course, everyone is contradicting each other. There’s no one answer or piece of advice.Half of my advice was to take a gap year before grad school or I’ll burn myself out, but the other half was to go straight there or I’ll get lazy from a year off. Half say that law school is perfect for me and half say that it’ll break my spirit. Either 100% I should go after my PhD or 100% don’t even bother. Become a professor it’s great! Do anything but become a professor! Screw everything you’re thinking about and do this instead. Have you thought about this? Don’t do that! Yes, yes, go do that! Why would you do that? Why wouldn’t you do that? Just. Pure. Chaos.

By Sunday night I had a plan. By Monday morning it was different. Monday afternoon it changed again. And Tuesday. And Wednesday. And today? Today, I question it all. Why the hell do I have to choose? What nobody seems to understand is that I have plenty of paths veering off from whatever next sidewalk I choose. I’m not being locked into a subsection of a career and guess what, if I want to do it all, I will. Nobody’s opinion has ever stopped me before. But the real question is: why do we have to choose?

We grow up, get to high school, apply to college, go to college and then find a career or a graduate school and so on and so forth. But we graduate with one degree, one goal, one passion, one plan. Why not two or seven or twelve? Why is it seen as such an odd and negative thing that after three years of college I still love both my majors equally, as well as my minor and other classes I’ve dabbled in? Who the hell decided that we have to find one thing we love and stay in that box forever? You like science? fine. You better pick one branch of science and one field inside that. You can work for a few different companies and get a few promotions, but don’t you dare try to take a few years to teach English in a third-world country, because that’s not your niche. Why is that fair?

I understand that everyone wants the simplest, most stress-free life for me and I do appreciate it. But we all know that I run on stress and always have to be multi-tasking and have a jam-packed schedule or nothing ever gets done. Why can’t we be the generation that’s different. The one where each of us have a new career path every 10-15 years? You want to be a doctor? Great! But you also want to be a painter? fabulous! Let’s do it all. Why are we being boxed into categories when we could be breaking free and changing the world? We’re supposedly the laziest generation, but I think that we have so many capabilities and possibilities that we’re being simmered down because people are scared that we might actually be able to do something…to change something…to truly make a difference.

Why I am Not the Next Great Scientist

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My roommate, the lovely Sticks of Sara, is having what I like to call a “Why did I even go to college day”, and unfortunately, we’ve all had our fair share of them. She asked me to write about why science sucks, which alas, I will not. I won’t bash majors at all, even if they’re way out of my comfort zone, but Sara, I will share my experience with science, both good and bad, and why it makes much more sense for me to be in the realm of English and Communications.

For anyone who doesn’t know, one of my so-called career epiphanies way back when was that I would be a medical journalist. Ha! The basic thought process was that many doctors and nurses use a heavy dose (lol) of medical terminology in their explanations and that it was necessary for someone to study both that terminology and have writing skills in order to turn that information into easy-to-read and understand paperwork and programs. A great idea. An actual job. But it would require me to take a loooooot of science. I figured I’d major in Journalism with a minor in science and would dabble in a few science courses. Nope. You had to take science journalism and then usually had to move up to medical journalism. The journalism was the minor part. I would’ve been qualified to be a doctor by the time I was done, and I just can’t do blood or bedside manner. So that was that. But even though, I shifted away from the sciences, I did love them and still appreciate them, and Sara, and you, shall see why I never should be taken seriously as a scientist because of what I enjoyed about science (and what may redeem it for Sara).

  • Bill Nye: Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill! Bill Nyeeeee the Science Guy! Man oh man, did I love these stupid videos. Bless 4th-6th grade for the amazingness that these videos were. Not to mention the ridiculous music videos that were thrown in. If you’ve forgotten about Bill, the weird sound effects, the ridiculous examples and so on, this gem of a tv show is now on Netflix. You’re welcome.
  • Biomes: I love biomes. Freakin’ love ’em. I don’t even know why. I had to do a biome project, maybe in 6th or 7th grade, where I made a giant binder divided into different sections for each biome and I got to make a beautiful scrapbook of images of different climates. I had a blast doing it and spent the whole weekend in my basement crafting it and watching Center Stage on a loop. My favorite? Tundras. Don’t ask me why.
  • Penguins: I think this counts as science. I had a fetish with penguins in kindergarten. For our science unit, we read a book about penguins and the name is escaping me. If my mother knows it, and she knows everything, I’ll put it here because now I’m curious and want to read it again. But we read the book and then each week, someone got to take the penguin home and it lived in a cooler and you could only feed it black and white things. That poor stuffed animals lived off of oreos in my house and I was obsessed with it. I loved penguins so much. I almost died when I learned we were going to an aquarium to see them. My favorite was the macaroni penguin, probably because my kindergarten favorite food was mac & cheese. We also had a unit on bears and got to bring teddy bears in so they could hibernate in a tent while we learned, but nothing beat the penguin unit.
  • Habitats: Habitat, habitat, have to have a habitat! Habitat, habitat, have to have a habitat! Have to have a habitat to carry on! Hey! (Sing it with me!)
  • Cookie Cake Atoms: I mean, hello, your teacher is buying you a cookie cake to eat and all you had to do was turn it into an atom with frosting. Teacher of the year, Miss Singer. Go sixth grade.
  • Dissecting: It blows my mind that I liked dissecting things. Worms are the best for sure. You cut them in half and they just keep on trucking. In 7th grade, we spent a whole class cutting worms with a pen knife and then watching them separate and move on. We also freaked them out by changing the amount of light on them with lamps and paper. It was a great day. I’ve also dissected a cow’s eye, which had a cool blue thingy in it, a pig heart and a sheep brain, that looked like a chicken wing.
  • Alka Seltzer: I believe 7th grade allowed me to dissolve aka seltzer tablets in a glass for some reason I can’t remember, but I really enjoyed the fizzes and sound. I may or may not have been more concentrated on that than the lab.
  • Balancing Equations: Never did I ever think I would utter the sentence “I miss chemistry”, but it definitely was my favorite level of science. It’s a very OCD science full of measurements, equations and rules. Everything has an exact science to it. I loved the period table, balancing equations and learning everything behind it all. I had an awesome teacher and I actually knew what was going on. Probably the only kind of math I can really do and appreciate.
  • Mu: The only word I remember from physics that I would practice drawing the symbol everywhere and not pay attention to much else.
  • Marbles: For some reason, marbles are a hot necessity in science, as are those weird rolling rulers in the hallway to count steps or whatever, but I like marbles. When the marbles come out, you know class is going to be good. In eighth grade, we studied velocity or something and got to make loops out of piping and tape them to lockers going all the way down the hallway. We spent a good week chucking marbles at it and watching them flip around and then roll down the hallway. In high school, I might have had an incident when creating a catapult with a marble and might have shot it off into my lab group’s faces. By. accident.
  • Genetics: If I had to go into science, I would probably end up here. I knew everything there was to know about Dolly. I really liked punnet squares and I just wanted to know why I had brown eyes when I always had wanted blue or green. Theres so much to know and so many levels, and I would absolutely study it again.
  • Fire: When teachers allow you to use fire in class? Fabulous. Cooking food on a bunsen burner, boiling water, all great. But the best was lighting matches in 7th grade. I did burn my finger, but it was worth it.
  • Litmus paper: This stuff is awesome! I loved dipping it in liquids and seeing acidity levels. I know that I pocketed a couple and would test stuff in my fridge at home because I was enamored with the colors changing.
  • Jokes: I love jokes. Especially chemistry jokes. They’re super fabulous. The best one is this one.
  • Two scientists walk into a bar. The first says, “I’ll have an H2O” and the bartender gives it to him. The second one says, “I’ll have an H2O too.” And then he takes a drink and dies. (I guess that doesn’t work typed out. Too/2..we get it? H2O2? I tried.

Well, those are my science positives, there were plenty of negatives too, but when we doubt ourselves or just need to collapse, we have to remember to look at the good and remember why we got into this in the first place. Believe me, my story deadlines and assigned plays for the weekend are going to require some soul searching as well.

21 and a day

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After some bizarre googling, as if I was preparing a maid of honor speech rather than a blog, I’ve come to find that the number 21 is associated with the age of transformation. “The one born under Number 21 has to pass the transformation of his personality, understand himself and come to the understanding of the higher laws of the universe”. Now, I don’t know if that’s for a 21st birthday, or the 21st of the month, but since I turned 21 on the 21st, I guess the universe is requiring me to figure some stuff out asap. It goes on to say that we need to explore our souls and find the meaning of truth and so on. I’ve never looked at numerology before, and after the stress of this definition, I probably never will again.

What all this nonsense means? Yesterday, I turned 21. On Tuesday, the day before it all went down, I was having a Walden moment, wandering from the dining hall through some trees and grass, looking down at my shoes and overthinking things. Oh, and stepping on crunchy leaves, of course. But my mind was thinking back to 7th grade when we had to do a project that was a future journal. We mapped out where we thought we would be for the next few decades. Where we would attend school, what career we would pursue, when we would marry and have kids. Does it blow anyone else’s mind that this was about nine years ago? But I was thinking about 7th grade Logan and what she would think of me now.

7th grade Logan was a gem. She finally realized just how much she had always loved to learn and knew she wanted to do it forever. She read a LOT. Half-days of middle school were dedicated to starting and finishing a new book. She wrote a LOT. To the point where I could not even sit through a math or science class because I was bursting at the seams with plot ideas. She could not braid hair and thought a ponytail with twelve hair elastics every few inches would suffice. She wanted to go to an ivy league school, be engaged by age 23, be married by 25, have kids by 27, be published by the age of 20, and be an English professor. She wanted to drive a yellow VW Bug, begged to get acrylic nails and was consumed with dance, reading and writing.

I know my goals have changed a lot and some, none at all. And even though, I am nowhere near the person I pictured, I’m glad for that and think who I am now makes much more sense. I would never have wanted to attend an undergraduate ivy league school because it would break my spirit, drive my competitiveness and stress me beyond being healthy and sane. At 23, the last thing I want to be is engaged. I want to have just started law or graduate school and be pursuing higher education for my next degree. Married at 25 and kids by 27? Psh. I’ve claimed I’ll start seriously dating when I’m 30 and I’m still debating children and probably will be for a decade. Published by the age of 20? Ha! When was the last time I wrote a book? They’re all sitting, ticking away on my hard drive collecting dust, and I haven’t even bothered to attempt a new plot or bother with NaNoWriMo. That does make me sad, but I have pursued poetry much, much more than I thought I ever would, basically due to time restraints, but I was published in my high school and college literary magazines and newspapers several times, so we’re off to a start. And a yellow car? Really? I will admit, that I do have a 55-year old man’s dream of a yellow Porsche, but right now, I haven’t even been driving due to my weird dizzy spells and migraines.

So 7th grade Logan was close, but no cigar. She was a good kid though, so we’ll give her that. But it amazes me what my perception of time would be and what my goals in life were. I was obsessed with wedding planning and naming my kids, and those are the furthest things from my mind. We won’t ignore the English professor career though…it is definitely still on my crazed list of possible career paths. But aside from the ability to drink legally (which I took a brief homework break to do) there are some off things that come with 21.

  • I am now old enough to be a supervising passenger for a new driver, because apparently, being 21 makes you a world class, safe and wise driver
  • I can hold a license to fly a helicopter or an aeroplane, because at 20, I wasn’t feeling bold enough, but today I’d definitely fly a freaking helicopter
  • I can drive a vehicle that transports goods, like a truck of horses or supplies for a restaurant…but I can’t rent a car until I’m 24 because that would be absurd
  • I can apply to adopt a child. A child. A human being. I can sign forms to ask if I can have and raise a human being. Is that not insane?
  • I can drive a bus. A whole damn bus.
  • I can buy a house or a car without a co-signer….if I put my money towards something other than LSAT prep books and Sheetz.
  • I can gamble my savings away.

21 was anything but scary (unlike 20 where I cried for half of the day). I am, of course, excited for casual beers with a burger, nights out with friends downtown and maybe learning to fly a helicopter, but it is definitely an age for reflection and seeing just how much has changed since those teen and pre-teen years, and if you really want to feel solemn, try to think back to kindergarten. 21 and a day and so far, so good. Can’t wait to see what this age brings…and if I can’t quite handle it, at least I can cry to a bartender now.

Train of Thoughts

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Well, we are back from fall break and in the last stretch of midterms, closing in on my birthday, a trip to a conference in Florida, some major projects and then before we know it, advising meetings and then finals. Who said junior year was the longest year of your life? (Just kidding. Every day seems both 100 hours long intensity wise, but only about 2 hours long when you have things to do)

So I took the train back to school from fall break and may I just say that I love trains! This is probably a bizarre statement to make, because unlike many people, I just love to commute on public transportation. There’s just some odd sort of rush from standing on the metro and clinging onto a pole as the train goes rushing through a dark tunnel or taking the T through the beautiful streets of Boston. It just soothes me. Growing up in New Jersey, I was living in the epitome of Suburbia with minivans and SUVs. Nobody took a public bus to school or got on a subway to move a few blocks. It’s walking, biking, or driving. That’s about it. I think I had taken the train into the city once before I left for college, but luckily, going to school in a different state has its perks.

Besides its ridiculous cost (I mean, I think everything should cost 5 bucks) and the difficulty that comes when you need to bring home half your life from college, I much prefer to take the train. Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a process when you live on a small campus. It requires a drive to the station to get on a commuter train to get to a larger station to board a separate train and then a ride home from the station. Slightly different from jumping on the subway or the light rail, but also all the better.

I’m a bit of a loner, and I always have been. I like to be absorbed in my own thoughts or reading or writing and I absolutely love to people watch. Car trips full of fighting, singing and sharing have never been my thing. But when it’s just me mapping out my own route and following my own schedule with a rolling suitcase, a backpack and a good read, I’m all set. On Tuesday, I was eager to get on the train back to school to settle in with a book I’ve been trying to read for six months now, but instead, I found myself just sitting in my seat doing nothing for 3.5 hours. That’s about as much meditation as anyone will ever see from me. I sat there with my eyes closed, concentrating on the thrumming of the train and noticing when another train would rush past us on the left. I didn’t sleep. I didn’t read. I didn’t even listen to music. I just waited and took it all in. I also did some people watching, because that’s simply the best. But mostly, I sat and I waited and I appreciated that I had those few hours to collect my thoughts and just be alone in a crowded train car.

After the first train, I arrived at Union Station in D.C. which is easily one of my happy places and I can’t quite peg why. I love that you can get your shoes shined and I love that some people are calm and collected and others are jogging down the halls racing towards a train. There are local and long-distance trains. Every traveler has a destination. Every traveler has a story. It blows my mind to see so many people in one place, each with a different objective in mind. Most people are traveling alone and everyone has their own rhythm moving through the station. I like to see all the different bags they carry, if they seem stressed or relaxed, if people are confused and wandering aimlessly or if they march forward as if on a mission.

After making this trip a few times, it’s all a rhythm for me. The train slides into the station. I line up to get out and follow the hoard onto the tracks breathing in the fumes. Up the escalator. Down the corridor. Around the bend. Down the ramp. Into the main hall. Down the corridor. Past the shoe shiner. Into the net of vendors, restaurants and shops. Past F, E, D, C, B and then stopping in front of gate A with a huge billboard all lit up in yellow with lists of trains and times, coming and going, glittering like a Christmas Tree. The commuter train is even better than the long term one since it’s a similar crowd if I catch the same time consistently. Mostly workers making their commute home, joking with each other about the day’s work and comparing horror stories of clients and assignments. Each stop brings a cast of characters right past my seat and I ride this train until the end, watching each cluster get off at their station, and riding out the line, I get to see even the train workers come off the train and gather together rubbing their hands together in the cold of the night.

I travel through four states. See day turn into night. Watch dozens upon dozens of people. And think hundreds of little thoughts, big and small. There is goodness in the little things. The simple things. Like the way you can see your train of thought chug while you sit on a train. Like appreciating just how small you are in this world and that a day of travel for you is major in your schedule, but minor compared to everyone else hustling and bustling. You are but a person with a train ticket, on a journey of your own, just a small dot in the world, yet the opportunities and travels are endless. Isn’t that just the best thought you could ever think?

Defending My English Major

tumblr_m0wb9ovqvx1qhe5udo1_400Well, my brain is numb post-midterm and I have one more assignment to go before I can scramble to pack for fall break and finally go home for the first time since last spring. We all know that I didn’t blog last week, so there’s no need for excuses or apologies, but I will say that I had prepared a super, intense feminism rant that you might not have been prepared for, so we’ll store it away for a rainy blogging day.

As I said, I just got out of a midterm. An English midterm, to be specific. Let me tell you just how infuriated I am with people this week when it comes to talking about my English major. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies, labeling pictures of characters or spelling the protagonist’s name correctly. I don’t know where people got this vision of English exams, but it shakes me to my very core. I just took a difficult exam. I felt good about it and studied for hours on end for it, but it was difficult, as most English exams are. Yes, we identify characters, but can you identify one four-line obscure quote pulled out of a 300 page novel and tell me who said it to who and in what context and what they were wearing on a whim? Probably not, so let’s save the sass.

I know that I am not balancing equations or finding the root number of whatever, but my work is just as difficult as yours. I have never understood why people compare college majors all of the time. Some majors have less requirements or are styled differently, but there aren’t majors that are easier than others and should be looked down upon. I give major kudos to anyone in STEM because my brain doesn’t work that way, but the kudos should be returned for my skill and passion for writing, close reading, discussion and interpretation. We all have our weakness and we all have our strengths. Different majors spotlight different types of intelligence, but there are no “dumb” majors.

This week, I was comparing amounts of projects and midterms with a few people and I got a lot of the same responses, “Well at least you can’t study for an English midterm.” Partially true, I’ll admit. You never know what exact passages or topics are going to be on there. All you can do is know your discussion points, memorize who has said what and why, and know things like the tone, theme, motifs and symbols, etc. But not being able to study for something isn’t what I would call lucky. It’s infuriating. At least if I have a math exam I know it’s on a certain chapter and what type of equations will be on it. After doing twenty of those equations, it’s a cinch, and I’m prepared for the ones on a test, but with English, it’s a world of difference that I won’t even get into.

This week, I was also fortunate enough to overhear the usual

“So what’s your major?”

“I’m an English major”

“Oh, so you want to be an English teacher”

I think I actually gave an audible growl this time, and I know that I whipped around in my seat and hissed that not all of us want to follow that path. So a word to the general public, not all English majors want to be English teachers. In fact, most of us don’t. Yes, I do eventually aspire to be a professor of English, but let’s calm down and stop accusing all of us of wanting to be teachers. There are poets, authors, journalists, copywriters, publishers, editors, etc. and some of us are using English as a basis for a completely different subject, like law. If we want to be English teachers, so what? But not all of us do.

And for those of you who bash English, let me just say how great it is. How I can get swept up in a completely different world and time and explore a place I’ve never been while sitting in a classroom. How I can sit in a class and laugh as we try to master Latin, Middle English and Old English. I can meet new characters and see how amazingly different authors can play with the English language and make words dance before our very eyes and write a sentence with meaning that will blow your mind. I have explored dozens of fascinating topics, plenty of sorts of criticism and numerous plots and history all over. In fact, the English language fails to allow me how to describe just how amazing English is.

So get off your high horses, you artless fat-kidneyed dewberries and let us read our piles of plays, novels and poetry and discuss just what exactly those blue curtains mean. You’re just jealous.

(Guess you ended up with a rant anyway. Whoops.) Until next week.

A Lazy Excuse for a Post: 100 Things About Me

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100 Things About Me

1. What is your name? Logan
2. How old are you? 20
3. Are you sure? Yes, but I’ll be 21 soon!
4. What is your earliest memory? I have a lot of little snippets, but probably crawling around with my dogs
5. What is your favorite alcoholic drink? Dirty Bananas
6. What is your favorite vegetable? Cucumbers
7. Do you remember your first day at school? Yes
8. What is the worst exam result you remember ever getting? I think I bombed a geometry test, but by that I mean a D
9. How tall are you? 5.2″
10. Can you swim? Pretty well actually
11. Who is your favorite movie actress? Currently, Jennifer Lawrence

12. Who is your favorite movie actor? Stanley Tucci

13. Who is your favorite comedian? Amy Poehler and Tina Fey as one entity
14. Who is your favorite politician? Can I say FDR or like Frank Underwood?
15. Who is your favorite historical figure (been dead for at least 100 years)? William Shakespeare & Nefertiti
16. Who is your favorite super-heroine? Jo March (;
17. Who is your favorite super-hero? Batman
18. Can you name a female scientist other than Madame Curie? Jane Goodall
19. Who is your favorite mythological god or goddess? Athena

20. Who is your favorite woman of all time? Let’s say Josephine March again
21. Do you agree with “An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth”? An Angelo for a Claudio, death for death, most of the time, yes.
22. Do you agree with “Life does not forgive weakness”? Nope
23. Do you agree with “It is the enemy who can truly teach us to practice the virtues of compassion and tolerance”? Yes
24. Do you agree with “The state can do what they want to do”? Nope
25. Do you agree with “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the guts to betray my country”? Nope….also this is bizarre

26. Do you agree with “If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads”? Sometimes….enjoy the journey
27. Do you agree with “Crime is a product of social excess”? Nope
28. Do you agree with “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”? Yes
29. Do you agree with “And mankind is naught but a single nation”? Sure
30. Do you agree with “Bulimia is soooo ’87”? That’s a disgusting phrase. Eating disorders are not fads.
31. What is the worst movie you have ever seen? Girl Model
32. What is the worst TV show you have ever seen? Honey Boo Boo
33. What is the worst book you have ever read? TOM SAWYER.
34. What is the worst song you have ever heard? Nyan Cat Song
35. What is the worst sport you know of? Soccer
36. Who is the worst movie “star” ever? Nicholas Cage
37. Who is the worst comedian ever? Anyone who is offensive to women
38. Who is the worst author ever? Stephanie Meyer
39. Who is the worst musical act ever? Rebecca Black
40. Who is the worst sports “star” you have ever seen? I have no clue
41. If you could go back in time to witness a historical event in person, what event would you want to see? This sounds terrible, but The Holocaust. Not to be in it or experience it in any way, but it astounds me to see how it unraveled and how fast it spiraled. It would be amazing to watch the innocence of choosing a leader to a corrupt man becoming all too powerful and then being followed by hundreds and encouraged to wipe out so many.
42. If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go? Spain to see Molly or Ireland to see Mary!
43. If you could meet anyone in the world, who would you meet? J.K. Rowling
44. If you could become famous for one thing, what would that thing be? Publishing a novel
45. If you could buy anything regardless of cost, what would you buy? Contentedness
46. If you could change any one thing about your country, what would it be? Our low tolerance for new cultures, practices, religions and ideas

47. If you could change any one thing about international politics, what would it be? How we collaborate
48. If you could meet any famous person who is dead, who would it be? JFK
49. If you could become dictator of the world, would you? Absolutely
50. If you could eat an entire cow at one sitting, would you? Nope
51. Have you ever illegally downloaded music/TV shows/movies from the net? Maybe yes maybe no
52. Have you ever used illegal narcotics? Negative.
53. Have you ever gotten any points on your driving license? Yes, for a car accident during my first year driving
54. Have you ever stolen anything from a shop? Accidentally took a bra from target when I was ten with my mom because it was left hanging on the cart handle.
55. Have you ever bought alcohol or cigarettes while underage? Nope.

56. Have you ever bought alcohol or cigarettes for another person who was underage? Nope.
57. Have you ever tried to cheat the taxman/social security/other government agency? Nope.

58. Have you ever ridden on a train or bus without paying? Nope.
59. Have you ever been arrested? No
60. Have you ever been charged with a crime … ? No
61. What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home? Cozumel, Mexico
62. Where have you visited that you would like to go back to? Minneapolis, Minnesota
63. Where would you like to visit that you haven’t yet? Japan, Australia, England, Israel, Germany, Spain, China, Africa…everywhere
64. Where is your favorite place in the world? Boston, Massachusetts
65. Where have you visited that you hope never to go to again? Tennessee
66. Where would you definitely never go to? Texas
67. Where is your least favorite place in the world? I have yet to find it
68. What is your favorite way to travel? Trains.
69. What is your least favorite way to travel? Running.
70. What is the capital of Assyria? Nineva?
71. What was the last movie you saw? Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone (dvd)….Trainwreck (theaters)
72. Was it any good? Yes and yes!
73. What was the last book you read? The Tragic History of Doctor Faustus
74. Was it any good? So good
75. What was the last song you listened to? Light ’em Up by Fall Out Boy
76. Was it any good? It’s a good one
77. What was the last computer game you played? Pottermore
78. Did you do well? Not at all
79. What was the last meal you ate? Chicken sandwich and fries

80. Was it any good? Not at all
81. Do you believe in God/Goddess/Gods/Goddesses? In some variation, yes
82. Do you agree with the war in Iraq? No
83. Do you believe in aliens? No
84. Do you agree with the theory of evolution? Yes

85. Do you believe in reincarnation? Yes
86. Do you agree with the idea of the UN? I like the theory of it, but not the current execution of it

87. Do you believe in karma? Yes

88. Do you agree with the theories of man-induced global warming? Partially

89. Do you believe in democracy above all other systems of government? No
90. Do you agree with Freddie Mercury when he sings “Fat-bottomed girls you make the rockin’ world go round”? Um?
91. What is your favorite movie? The Breakfast Club
92. What is your favorite book? Little Women
93. What is your favorite song? Chasing Cars
94. What is your favorite city? Boston, Massachusetts
95. What is your favorite sport? Football
96. What is your favorite place in the world? The woods
97. Are you glad these questions are almost over? Yes, falling asleep
98. What are you going to do next? Make a to-do list and go to bed
99. Do you anticipate this activity being fun? Yes
100. Give us a quote to end on…

“Those kindles aren’t books. You can’t hold a computer in your hand like you can a book. There are two perfumes to a book. If a book is new, it smells great. If a book is old, it smells even better. It smells like ancient Egypt. You’ve got to hold it in your hands and pray to it. You put it in your pocket and walk with it. And it stays with you forever. A computer doesn’t do that. Sorry.” -Ray Bradbury ♥

I was really tired and overwhelmed today so sorry about this poor excuse for a blogpost, but now you know a little more about me (:

Junior Year Check-In

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Well, look what happened. I skipped a Thursday blog again. Who’s surprised? We might be swapping days this year as I can’t seem to get my act together on Thursdays anymore. So perhaps Friday’s will bring new light to blogging, but we shall see.

I was clueless on what to blog about, but then I realized that I’ve yet to fill the webosphere in on my junior year so far. You’ve heard way too many details about my summer and netflixing (which I’ve barely even been able to do since classes started). But I have yet to talk about my semester so far. Guest Blogger, Sara, of Sticks of Sara, has the challenging role of being my roommate and having to put up with my chaos (though she claims to like it). When my summer research ended, I packed up everything in my room and moved a coupe dozen feet on campus to the Honors House. For a week before undergraduates moved back onto campus, I had the pleasure of being an orientation assistant, which I absolutely loved. It was like a jam-packed day camp and mass icebreaker session squeezed into four days. I met some amazing first-years and have been seeing them all over campus going to classes and finding their passions. I’ve even had some come to see me in the writing center or show up at club meetings and that thrills me. I definitely want to be an OA again next year. There’s just so much indescribable high energy activities and training that go into orientation and both the new students and orientation assistants were constantly teaching me new things and just messing around and reminding me that besides all the stress, college is definitely a time to be remembered and enjoyed.

With orientation behind me, school kicked off and I had to hit the ground running: classes, work and clubs upon clubs. At the end of last year, I accepted a new job. Instead of working at the library for the third year, I accepted a position as a writing consultant in the writer center. So far, so good. I’ve had the chance to work with so many different students from all different years, and even graduate students, adults who have come back to school, and International students. It makes me feel so good to make people feel their best about their writing, because so many people lack writing confidence and it’s something I love that comes naturally to me. I’ve been able to (I hope) make such a difference already and I’ve gotten little snippets of so many different courses from all college levels that I’ve never had the chance to take which is a neat little way to gather some extra knowledge. It also was nice to discover that I still remember snippets from my Honors Egypt class and Philosophy and Art History in high school.

With clubs, I’m still doing the pile of things I’ve done last year and everything is slowly but surely falling into place. I’m really pumped for all the different projects and events that are upcoming. I started to serve on the middle states committee to re-accreditate our college which is immensely unique, as is my spot on the inauguration committee for our new school president. So I’m excited to see these things come to fruition and have a chance to serve on them because they don’t happen every year in college. I also joined the Feminist Student Union, which the now famous blogger, Sara/my roommate, is the president of and I’m thrilled to be a part of the organization and see what I can bring to it. I also was elected as president of the Ionic Society, an Honors society here, and I definitely want to see us get more involved and known on campus.

Then comes my favorite: my classes. I love each and every one of my classes this semester which is great, since I chose them, and it would only be my fault if I hated them. But luckily, I love them all and have a great batch of professors as well. For English, I’m taking Renaissance Drama, where we get to read all of the plays written around Shakespeare’s time by anyone except for him. It’s helping me realize my interest in Marlowe and my appreciation for acting at the Globe Theatre (if anyone would like to take me to England please). I’m also taking Medieval Magic & Mysticism, which is my favorite of all of the classes, and explores witchcraft and magic from the 1300s-1700s and it is indescribable. I used to be weirdly interested in the Salem Witchtrials and this class talks about witchcraft, but now in Europe, in an earlier time, and the readings are absolutely intriguing. There’s so much history and debate to magic that I never knew existed. For my leadership minor, I’m taking a Management class about Leadership in Organizations. I thought I would be completely lost and overwhelmed, but apparently, my willingness to read newspapers and my weird fetish with self-assessment tools are really paying off. I love taking a class in a new department to me and the lectures and readings are quite different from CMA and English, but I like them just as much, which is comforting. (Cross your fingers from my test on Tuesday). For Communications, I’m taking a business writing class, which is great for building up my professionalism and getting ready for graduate school. It’s all about professional writing in the workforce and blogging, emailing and reporting for the real world. Super helpful. Finally, I have feature writing with a new professor and it’s finally a blend between English and communications. No more rigid news writing. AP style is still implied, but I get to be a little creative and up the word count and style a bit.

All in all, one month and a week in, junior year is absolutely overwhelming and stressful with an air of chaos floating over it, but I’m happy that I am where I am. I have both new and old friends and a couple in different timezones that I’ve had to figure out how to schedule them in and FaceTime and use wifi to message them, but it’s all worth it. Senior year and the world beyond is constantly looming and reminding me that I need to get cracking on more LSAT prep and get my life together a bit, and slowly but surely, I’ll get there. Each day leaves me exhausted and I can crash five minutes after hitting the pillow (my insomnia is gone, thank goodness) and I’m super stressed and aggravated. But when I have those moments to collect my thoughts, I’m amazed at what opportunities I’ve been given and what I have accomplished. I love my majors, what I’m involved in, who I surround myself with and what lies ahead. Junior year is a term that makes people groan when they hear it and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling that pressure, but it’s good stress and pressure that’s going to help me flourish and I’m perfectly fine with that. ( I might need to start some sort of meditation though…but we’ll get there)

Let’s Get This House Business Sorted Out (The Nerdiest Self-Reflection Ever)

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So I climbed into bed last night feeling pretty damn proud of myself for completing the week’s to-do list and then even doing a little extra, when I realized that I missed my blog! I stayed in bed staring at the ceiling cursing myself, since I had been doing so well and then the school year caught up with me and ruined my streak. One of these days, I’ll have the time to be thorough and consistent, but until then, I felt horrible about it and have decided to attempt a Friday blog to make up for Thursday’s missed one.

With no topic prepared, my roommate, author of last week’s fabulous, Sticks of Sara, said that I should write about my Pottermore Dilemma and so I shall. For those who don’t know what Pottermore is, it’s an interactive Harry Potter website created by J.K. Rowling to go through virtual book experiences. You can flip through the stories and learn more about objects and characters in them, and can go through each scene to gather up magical objects as well. In addition to that, you have the chance to learn how to cast spells and charms, mix potions and play games to win the house cup. The house cup, you say? Yes. There are virtual house cups every so often that your points go towards your particular house and the one with the most points wins. Yes, this means that you get sorted into your very own Hogwarts House. And, you get a wand of your fitting from Ollivander’s.

The sorting hat is where it all went wrong. Let’s trek back to 2012. Pottermore was about to go live for a lucky few hundred of us in beta mode. Every day for seven days, there was the chance to answer a Harry Potter trivia question in order to gain early entry. I believe mine was something about how many Deathly Hallows there were times some number that involved some math I was not prepared for, but alas, I got it correct and was in. I was super excited and immediately created my account with my pre-generated name, something like RosePhoenix or PhoenixRose, and prepared myself to be sorted. Now this is where the drama starts. Any true Harry Potter fan has put themselves in the shoes of a Hogwarts student and has tried to surmise what house they’d be placed in if they were lucky enough to grace the halls of Hogwarts. There are plenty of Facebook and buzzfeed quizzes that ask about it too, so I was ready to be sorted into Slytherin. It’s values are cunning, leadership, resourcefulness and ambition. If Myers Briggs Types were aligned with Hogwarts houses, then my ENTJ, life’s natural leaders, would certainly match up with Slytherin.

I could also understand being placed in Ravenclaw since it’s values are intelligence, creativity, learning and wit, but in every quiz I took and in self-assessing, I felt I was Slytherin. Mouse pad at the ready, I entered the virtual great hall and prepared to be sorted and was placed into…Gryffindor. GRYFFINDOR? Yes. I was furious. I didn’t want to be in the same house as Harry, Hermione and Ron. This was too typical. I wanted my own house with values that matched my true values. Courage, bravery, nerve and chivalry. I was enraged. I played on Pottermore for a bit that summer, and then got too swept up in life and forgot all about it.

Then last week, somehow I stumbled upon it again and Sara suggested making a new account (besides, I have no idea what 2012 Logan would make a password) so that I could be sorted again and feel better about it. So I registered again and went to get my wand and got the same wand dimensions and type and was happy, but then came the true test of the sorting hat. The quiz was different this time and I had no clue in what direction I was heading, but then I came down to two houses. The sorting hat couldn’t decide. So I did have a bit of Harry in me after all. I had the choice between Gryffindor again, but now also Ravenclaw. I went with Ravenclaw because I felt I exemplified that more so than the values of Gryffindor. The practicality and consideration made me think I was more Ravenclaw than a Gryffindor who would be brave and just choose without calculating, so I felt my fit was better.

I’m still not 100% satisfied with my sort, but I feel it is much more fitting now. Perhaps though I identified with Slytherin, the hat knows I am not as sly and cunning as I might think. Yes, I’m a leader, but there is intelligence and wit to my leadership, and I am not solely after greatness but more wanting to make a difference in others’ lives and the world.

Which house do you identify with? Did the sorting hat get it right?


House Explanations/Values Courtesy of Harry Potter Wiki:

Gryffindor

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Gryffindor values courage, bravery, nerve, and chivalry. Its mascot is the lion, and its colours are scarlet and gold. The Head of this house is the Transfiguration teacher and Deputy Headmistress, Minerva McGonagall, and the house ghost is Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington, more commonly known as Nearly Headless Nick. According to Rowling, Gryffindor corresponds roughly to the element of fire. The founder of the house is Godric Gryffindor.

The Gryffindor common room is in one of the castle’s highest towers, and its entrance is on the seventh floor in the east wing of the castle and is guarded by a painting of The Fat Lady, who is garbed in a pink dress. She permits entry only after being given the correct password, as was distinguished in the third book, when Sirius Black tried forcing entry into the tower, only to be blocked by The Fat Lady after he could not give the correct password. In the first book, Neville Longbottom tends to forget the password and must wait near the painting until other Gryffindors arrive to open the way.[23]

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Hufflepuff values hard work, patience, justice, and loyalty. The house mascot is the badger, and canary yellow and black are its colours. The Head of this house is the Herbology teacher Pomona Sprout, and the house ghost is The Fat Friar. According to Rowling, Hufflepuff corresponds roughly to the element of earth. The founder of this house is Helga Hufflepuff.

The Hufflepuff dormitories and common room entrance “is concealed in a stack of large barrels in a nook on the right hand side of the kitchen corridor.” To enter, one must tap the barrel two from the bottom in the middle of the second row in the rhythm of ‘Helga Hufflepuff’. Unlike any other house, the Hufflepuff common room has a repelling device that douses the illegal entrant in vinegar if the wrong lid is tapped or the rhythm is wrong.[24] The Hufflepuff common room is filled with yellow hangings and fat armchairs and it has little underground tunnels leading to the dormitories, all of which have perfectly round doors, like barrel tops.[25]

Ravenclaw

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Ravenclaw values intelligence, creativity, learning, and wit.[HP5][HP7] The house mascot is an eagle and the house colours are blue and bronze (blue and grey in the films). The head of this house is the Charms professor, Filius Flitwick, and the house ghost is The Grey Lady. According to Rowling, Ravenclaw corresponds roughly to the element of air. The founder of this house is Rowena Ravenclaw.

The dormitories are in Ravenclaw Tower, on the west side of Hogwarts. The common room, which went undescribed in the series until the climax of Deathly Hallows, is round and filled with blue hangings and armchairs, has a domed ceiling painted with stars and features a replica statue of Rowena wearing her diadem. Harry also notes that Ravenclaws “have a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains”. A logical riddle must be solved to gain entry, whereas the Gryffindor and Slytherin common rooms only require a password (Hufflepuffs need to tap a barrel in the rhythm of “Helga Hufflepuff”), indicating that it may be easier for those students from other houses who possess a high degree of intelligence to enter this common room than others. Professor McGonagall, the head of the Gryffindor House, solves the riddle accurately.

Slytherin

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Slytherin house values ambition, cunning, leadership, and resourcefulness; the Sorting Hat said in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone that Slytherins will do anything to get their way. The house mascot of Slytherin is the serpent, and the house colours are green and silver. Salazar Slytherin founded the house. The Head of House is Severus Snape until near the end of the sixth book. Then, Horace Slughorn, the previous Head of House, comes out of retirement re-assuming authority. The ghost of Slytherin house is The Bloody Baron.[26]According to Rowling, Slytherin corresponds roughly to the element of water. The Slytherin dormitories and common room are reached through a bare stone wall in the dungeons. The Slytherin common room is a long, low, dungeon-style room, under the Hogwarts Lake, furnished with green lamps and carved armchairs. The room is described in the second book as having a greenish glow.

The Sorting Hat claims that blood purity is a factor in selecting Slytherins, although this is not mentioned until the fifth book. There is no reason to believe, however, that Muggle-born students are not sorted there, merely that pure-blooded students are more desirable to that house, as there are several examples of half-bloods in the house (such as Snape and Voldemort). In Deathly Hallows, a group of Snatchers claim that “not many Mudbloods” are sorted into Slytherin.

When believing Harry to be dead and thinking that he has final victory in his grasp, Voldemort proclaims his intention to abolish the other three houses and force all Hogwarts students into Slytherin. This design is foiled by his defeat and death, after which Slytherin becomes more diluted in its blood purity, no longer remaining the pure-blood bastion it once was. Its dark reputation, however, does linger.

The Roommate Exclusive: Sticks of Sara

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(We need more pictures together…but Sara is in the awesome tank top labeled this is what a feminist looks like and I’m in the denim shirt, because we spend our weekends at feminist conferences)

It’s come to that time of year again, where I put out an apology for missing a blog or two, but let’s skip past the excuses and forgive me, because I have a treat for you. Never before on my blog have you had the opportunity to read a blogpost by someone other than me. But this evening, I present to you my first ever guest blogger, who personally requested to write a post (and still likes me even though we live together). My new college roomie, Sara, is a pretty damn cool person. She’s got a bangin sense of humor and is one of my favorite campus feminists. She has yet to judge me for my craziness, can always manage to make me laugh and smile and can talk with me for hours about books upon books upon books. She’s a pretty fabulous gal, but this isn’t about her (though it should be and maybe that will come later), this is about what she thinks about me and has decided to share with you. So there you have it, the aptly named Sticks of Sara. Look out world, Sara is a writer to watch:

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Logan has been my roommate for 12 days now, though it feels like it has been a few months. I have been entrusted with writing her blog this week and will now give you all insight on what it is like living with famous blogger Logan Samuels and the various things that I have observed during this time.

1) Logan claims her favorite color is yellow, but I have yet to be convinced, as everything that she owns is teal.

2) Logan really loves Enya. She was especially happy to learn that I had at least heard of Orinoco Flow and Only Time. We listened to Enya for about 3 hours one night this week so that she could convert me and I must say, it is quite relaxing. I think Logan likes this development in our roommate dynamic.

3) Logan refers to herself as lazy Jewish, but has promised to make me Jewish holiday food and I intend to hold her to this promise. Potato latkes with applesauce will be mine.

4) Logan is bold and speaks her mind, whether its about her beliefs regarding human rights or her opinions on condiments (we have both decided mayonnaise is the worst and that sour cream is questionable).

5) Logan yells at her readings that she has for class to get through them. She usually calls out the author, whether still living or not, which I enjoy more than I think she intends.

6) Logan is busier than I’ll ever be. I thought I was in a lot of clubs, but Logan has me beat by at least 6 organizations. She’s already had multiple meetings, whereas I have had one so far. But has stated that she felt unorganized because she “wasn’t busy enough yet” and didn’t know what to do with her current free time. She also has a lot of motivational quotes (only in black and white) up around the room reminding me to carpe the heck out of this diem. Logan’s level of ambition should be feared. She is a true Slytherin through and through.

7) And finally, I have learned that despite the fact that she seems intense, and quite frankly is intense when she wants to be, Logan is a girl with a very big heart and is a caring friend. We had been room mates approximately four days when I came into the room crying due to some personal issues at home. She immediately gave me a hug and offered to talk things out. The next morning she sent me encouraging messages and was just a very supportive and kind friend. Most people cringe away from having to deal with that, but she jumped right in on day 4 to help me out.

Bottom line, living with Logan has been A+ so far. 5 out of 5 stars. Would recommend.

Rants, reviews, rambles and a whole lot of books