Final Pre-Departure: Numinous

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Basically, I found this word and the definition on Pinterest, and was particularly struck by how true it rang for me and how I am feeling about studying abroad. 

I am currently sitting next to a plug-in station in Dulles airport in DC (#plughog #sorrynotsorry) while writing this post. I'm not even sure what to think at the moment, just because I'm overwhelmed by the immense opportunity, the virtual blank slate, and the newness of it all. I've visited Paris before, and I've travelled out of the country without my parents before, but for some reason this all feels so new to me. So basically, I'm fearful, fascinated, awed, attracted, overwhelmed, and very much inspired. 

I can imagine myself walking down the cobblestone streets that I have pictures of hanging in my room back in Denver. I can just hear myself speaking flawless French like I have dreamed since I first started learning the language (this one may take a little longer than walking down cobblestone streets). 

I will land in Paris at 11:00pm Denver time, which means that I will only have spent a little bit over 12 hours traveling (thank goodness). Then, of course, comes customs and baggage claim, and finding my way through Charles de Gaulle airport (Lord help me) to meet my group. When my parents brought me to the airport this morning, they both got misty eyed. The strange thing is, I didn't. It never even entered my mind to be sad, or to cry. I basically had to control myself enough so that I didn't just run to the gate agent and start bouncing up and down like a little kid shouting "TAKE ME TO FRANCE! TAKE ME TO FRANCE!". 

I felt bad leaving my parents behind. I know my dad is planning on visiting later on in my time in France, but still. I didn't even look back once I hugged and kissed them goodbye for the final time. Going through security was a breeze. I am a huge fan of being randomly selected for TSA expedited security (which also happened to me in Los Angeles). I didn't have to take anything out of my overstuffed bags or take my shoes off (although I did wear sandals for that precise reason). Even sitting here now, I'm at my gate just waiting for them to start boarding my flight! 

However, part of having a numinous experience is the element of awe and fear, and there are plenty of things that I'm somewhat - Sorry, I just saw Mariska Hartigay (I'm basically just a huge fan of SVU) and I never see famous people anywhere, and we made eye contact. I can't even handle myself right now - so what was I saying? Oh yes, there are plenty of things that I'm somewhat nervous about... especially when it comes to the language barrier, at least for the first few weeks. I'm also nervous about my host family, mostly because I haven't heard from them, and I'm excited to meet them. 

I'm afraid that I'm going to miss my parents. It sounds stupid, but I am really scared of just missing them so much that I can't function. I'm an only child, and I'm really close to them. I've definitely been away from them before, with traveling, and college, but even at college I always knew I could go home if I needed to because I'm from Denver and my parents live about 20 minutes away from campus. It will be weird and scary to think that I'm in a different country, even if it's only temporary.Right now, that is my biggest fear. 

Image Source
Anyways, I think that's about it for now. So this is my final pre-departure post. I leave DC in just over an hour, and I will be in Paris before I know it. I will post about Paris once I get to Caen, which will be on Monday. 

Here's to a new adventure, a numinous journey, full of wonder, inspiration, and learning. Cheers!

Thank you all for reading. I'll see you soon. 

Exciting Updates!

Hello Blogger Friends and Readers!

Today, I have some pretty exciting news about my blog. Most of it is just official updates, but exciting nonetheless.

First thing, I am now a member of a couple of awesome Blogging Networks! I linked to all of these groups on my sidebar, so if you're interested check out the button on my sidebar to take you to the info page!

The Her Campus Blogger Network
HUGE (seriously, like over 500 bloggers) network of bloggers all around the United States and the world! My blog has grown so much since joining this group and I've met some seriously amazing women through this network. LOVE IT.

Blog Life Chose Me
This is a facebook network of bloggers who have so many different types of blogs. It is seriously an amazing community, and a great way to grow your blog and meet other bloggers! It's a lot more personal than the Her Campus Blogger Network, so I get to actually keep track of the women and blogs that I connect with.

Blogging Abroad
Second thing, I'm going to be blogging about my adventures abroad here (obviously), but also on a couple other blogs! I'm excited to announce that I am going to be a study abroad student blogger for the University of Denver, as well as Academic Programs International, which is the company of the program I am studying abroad with!

API Blog:
DUSA Blog:

So, exciting stuff happening in La Vie en Zoe... stay updated on this blog for more info and to keep up with an awesome adventure in France!

Is College Worth It?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Day 7 of the Back to School Blogging Challenge! Learn more about the challenge here.

What better way to end a week of school-themed excited-ness than to really address why school is so important to me and why I love it so much. Warning, this is more of a text-heavy post, but it's also incredibly personal.

When I say I am a history major, I have mixed reactions. On one hand, some people think that it's great to have a more academic degree, as it ensures that I have the critical thinking and writing skills that are lacking in some other degrees that are more fit to direct job market entry. I've been told that it makes me more versatile, and I can fit into several different types of jobs based on the skills I have gained in my major. Some of the potential employers I've encountered have told me that they do not necessarily look for students that have the technical skills of a particular job, but for those who have "people skills" and communication skills, or those that can think critically, as the technical skills can be taught.

On the other hand, some people - even employers - have questioned me, telling me to prepare myself for a life without money or "advising" me to switch my major to something like business or engineering that has a more certain path to financial success than my beloved humanities major.

Sure, I could make a lot of money as an engineering major. But I would hate myself every day. I dislike math intensely (which may be partly due to an awful teacher I had in high school), and I find myself more interested and drawn to the liberal arts and humanities that people are so fond of hating.

Fortunately, I have the luxury to make college about more than just my financial future. For most jobs that I will seek, having a college degree will be not a "plus" but absolutely essential, and in my dream field of museum education, having a graduate degree will be a requirement. For me, college is more than just my future earnings. College is about gaining experiences that I would not have been able to get if I had gone to a technical college and entered the workforce right after high school (don't get me wrong, that is a great path for a lot of people, as I know that college is not feasible for everyone, and not everyone wants to go to college or would do well in college). I wanted to be able to see the world, learn about other cultures, meet other people. I wanted to enrich my soul and mind as much as I want to enrich my bank account. Luckily, I have been able to do both as a history major.

There is also a huge disparity in educational equity in this country and worldwide. So many people do not have access to quality education, so it is hard to justify just learning for the sake of learning. Quality education is one of the surest ways to empowerment - especially for women and girls. One of my latest inspirations and heroes is Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani woman who is fighting for educational equality and empowerment of women and girls in Pakistan. It tells you a lot that the Taliban tried to kill a young woman for advocating for education. As a feminist and an advocate for equality for women, limiting women's access to education is the surest way to keep us oppressed and that is why it is so important to increase educational opportunity, quality, and equality. My education is a privilege, and one that I am incredibly thankful for, because I know only 6.7% of people worldwide have the opportunity to get this type of education.

I know some people - even maybe some of you - see financial fulfillment as a road to personal fulfillment and happiness. For me, that is not the case. I know I have to earn enough money to support myself, and my family when the time comes, but I also want to be happy doing it. I keep coming back to school, and I decided to go to college, because education is my path to personal fulfillment. I love to learn, and I have always loved to learn, and I think that in a world where everything is measured by the numbers, I would like to advocate for the fact that not all successes and not everything in life can be quantified.

So maybe the answer is yes. Education is certainly worth every minute and dollar that you would spend on it. Education is empowering, inspiring, and ultimately fulfilling, and therefore very much worth it.

Do you find your education to be worth it? Why do you (or don't you) go to school?

Make it Happen Monday! #8

The Countdown to France is officially at three days. A few of my friends have already left, including my best guy friend Jaser, who's studying abroad in Rwanda! I'm so excited to read all about his adventures from Africa, so I'm going to be following his blog like crazy. Some of my sorority sisters have already arrived in Sweden and London, and my first year roommate is in Mongolia! I am getting so jealous as people start posting pictures of where they're studying. I just can't wait to wake up on Thursday morning (at 5 in the morning, Lord help me) and begin my journey to France! But there is A LOT to do between now and then. So, my last Weekly Wishes/Make it Happen Monday until France!

The Nectar Collective

Join the link-up at The Nectar Collective!

Last Week:
1. Email the Mémorial de Caen about volunteer opportunities.
Done! But they have not emailed me back yet... hopefully I'll hear back soon (or at least before I arrive in Caen...).

2. Clean out my car and get it ready to sell.
Done, done, and done. Bittersweet, but definitely for the better.

3. Start pulling all the things I'm packing together... somewhere. Find my suitcase.
Right now, all of the stuff I've pulled together is in the corner of my room. But I found my suitcase! It was hiding in the attic of my apartment building. 

4. Make another video!
So... this didn't happen. I recorded all of the parts that I wanted, and halfway through editing I decided I hated it and ended up just writing the post. It was about my favorite female characters in books I read in high school.

5. Finish some contributor applications.
Finished this! I'm just really nervous to submit it... wish me luck!

This Week:
1. Plan out posts for the days I'm in Paris.
We are staying in a hotel in Paris for a few days for orientation, so I'm not quite sure what the wi-fi situation will be. I'd like to have the posts planned out and published in advance so I don't even have to worry about it. Plus, I'll be in Paris. I'll write about Paris once I get to Caen! 

2. Come up with an editorial calendar for September.
This summer, I've been posting about 3-4 times a week, sometimes more! A lot of my free time was devoted to improving my blog, developing unique content, and networking with other bloggers. I know I'm going to get really busy really quickly, so having a schedule that I can stick to will be a huge help! All of the advice that other bloggers have given about balancing blogging with school has been about organization, so that's what I'm going to do!

3. Go to the bank - and call them so they don't freeze my account.
Nothing quite like waiting until the last minute. Yay.

4. Have frozen yogurt with my little sis who lands in Denver the day before I leave!
My little moved back to Florida for the summer, and I haven't seen her since June. :( I'm so excited that I'll be able to see her before I leave for France and she starts her first Recruitment Work Week, and we're getting froyo at my favorite place on campus! It's going to be amazing!

5.  PACK. 
Probably the biggest, scariest, and most time-consuming thing I have to do. I have a super detailed list broken down by which bags are carrying which things, so hopefully it will go quickly. Plus, I don't have anything (but a pre-departure mani-pedi) to do on Wednesday, so I'm hoping to finish packing by 1:00 PM so I can enjoy the rest of my afternoon in Denver!

What's on your list to accomplish this week? Let me know in the comments or via email, and we can create a blogger-support-network! 

Throwing it Back... Favorite Memories from College!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Day 6 of the Back to School Blogging Challenge! Learn more about the challenge here.

This one is so hard! I have so many awesome memories from my time in college so far, so I limited myself to five. Enjoy!

1. Debate Fest 2012
Way back during my first year of college, the University of Denver hosted the first Presidential Debate of the election. Some students got to go to the debate, but for us poor unfortunate souls that didn't... the University held Debate Fest! There was a concert by the Lumineers (and I was in the very front!) which is one of my favorite bands, there were events and food, and then we all watched the debate on the Carnegie green (a giant lawn on our campus). There was secret service everywhere, and it was one of the most amazing experiences I could have asked for!

2. Belize 2013 
I went to Belize this past December for a class about Leadership and Sustainability and it was one of the most life-changing experiences ever! I went with some of my best friends as part of the Pioneer Leadership Program. We explored the jungle, saw some Mayan ruins, met some seriously awesome high school students, and relaxed on a sustainable island!

3. Sorority Perfection Week and Recruitment 2013
As terrifying as it was, it was also one of the best weeks of the year. I got to know so many girls in my sorority that I didn't know before, and I learned a lot about myself in the process. Plus, I met my little sis Autumn, who is basically my mini-me, my soulmate, and my favorite person.

4. Being a Tour Guide
Best. Job. Ever. I basically get paid to talk for 90 minutes about how much I love college. Plus, I get tons of free shirts, and I get to see the coolest parts of campus (#belltower).

5. Pioneer Leadership Program Community Change Initiative (CCI)
As part of the Pioneer Leadership Program at DU, our second year we complete a massive service project. We start with basic brainstorming about issues, then do community outreach and work with community stakeholders to come up with a project that serves the needs of a community. It was an amazing experience to see a project go from the baby, brainstorming stages to a full program that has actually grown! Project SEED was the best team I could have asked for, and I cannot wait to see where this goes in the future.

What are your favorite memories from school? Share in the comments!

An Interview with The Preppy Scientist!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Day 5 of the Back to School Blogging Challenge! Learn more about the challenge here.

Today, I had the unique (and awesome) experience of interviewing Shontal of The Preppy Scientist. I met her through the Her Campus Blogger Network, and discovered that she's also a Delta Zeta! The only thing better than meeting blogger friends is meeting blogger-sister-friends!

Be sure to check out The Preppy Scientist and follow Shontal on social media.

An Interview with The Preppy Scientist

Zoe: What college do you attend, what year are you, and what is your major? 
Shontal: I attend the University of Windsor in Windsor Ontario! I am working toward a Bachelor of Science degree in Forensic Science and this is my final year of study.

Zoe: Why did you choose the University of Windsor?
Shontal: I knew that I wanted to move away and only a few schools offer a Forensic Science Major. It came down to 3 different schools and I chose Windsor because I loved that my class sizes would be small and because of how close the school is to an international border!

Zoe: What inspired you to pursue science and become a scientist?
Shontal: I’ve always loved science! I can’t pinpoint my ‘aha’ moment, but I do love how science can help us understand the world we live in and ourselves in a very detailed way. I specifically chose forensic science because I am obsessed with mysteries (I seriously wish I could be Nancy Drew) and just figured that this would be a perfect way to combine both of my passions and to help people!
Zoe: What inspired you to become a blogger?
Shontal: Truthfully – I didn’t really have any specific inspiration to blog! I had always read blogs and really loved the idea of having one – but I didn’t think it would go very far. Anyway, I was pretty bored and lonely after my first year of university and thought blogging would keep me occupied! I had started off with a few different names, but finally settled on The Preppy Scientist.

Zoe: How has blogging influenced your experience in school?
Shontal: Sometimes keeping a consistent blogging schedule on top of school and other commitments can be a lot. I’ve definitely passed on going out with friends and stayed up really late to blog. I’ve also been approached on campus a handful of times by readers – which is really cool! Over all I would say blogging has had a positive influence on my schooling. I’ve learned how to manage multiple projects at once and since I’m in a science program, it’s great to have a creative outlet!

Zoe: How has your experience in Greek Life affected your educational experience?
Shontal: My experience in Greek Life has made a huge impact in my education! I’ve always been super into school so joining a sorority that really values education has given me an environment where my academic pursuits are supported has been really great.

Zoe: Who is your biggest female role model or inspiration? Why?
Shontal: This is a tough one! I’d ultimately have to say Oprah (though Misty Copeland and Jenna Lyons are close second and thirds). I love Oprah because she spreads the message of never giving up no matter what. Oprah is one of the biggest names in television and yet before she had her own show, she was turned away from many hosting gigs. Imagine if she gave up! Her fearlessness and tenacity are things I admire greatly and hope to have one day!

Zoe: What is the best piece of advice you have received, and who gave it to you?
Shontal: The best piece of advice I’ve received was from the UIFI (Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute) session I attended last summer. On our first day we were told to take off our ‘cool caps’ and that has just stuck with me because it can be applied to so many different situations. Personally, I use it as a reminder to check my ego at the door. Sometimes we’re so caught up in what people think of us that we forget to be honest and open.  Ditching the ‘cool cap’ is a reminder to approach every situation with honesty and an open mind so that we can learn and grow.

Zoe: How do you balance your successful blog, school, and other activities?
Shontal: With a lot of planning! When it comes to these aspects of my life I am a very rigid planner. I use two separate agendas throughout the year (one as an editorial calendar and one for everything else) and live by lists. I also try to make the most of my ‘free time.’ For example, if I have a couple of hours in between classes – I’ll use that as an opportunity to either get class reading done or write and schedule a blog post. I’m also a notorious morning person and by starting my days early, I get a few extra hours of productivity in!

Zoe: What is the best part about being a student in college? 
Shontal: I would have to say learning! Whether it be in an academic setting or life lessons – I just love to learn! I have had such an amazing time learning more about science and myself. Being far away from home has made me a more independent person as well!

Special thanks to Shontal again for the interview, and definitely make sure to check out The Preppy Scientist

If you have answers to any of the questions I asked Shontal, feel free to let me know in the comments! 

Favorite Female Character from School Books

Friday, August 22, 2014

Day 4 of the Back to School Blogging Challenge! Learn more about the challenge here.

Here we are on Day 4 of the Back to School Blogging Challenge, and today's topic is one of my favorites: Books! I guess it's actually more of a combination of two of my favorite topics, which would be feminism and books. Okay, not actually directly feminism, but awesome women.

The official prompt for today was to choose a character from a book you read for school that you would want to be, and explain why. Honestly, I've read a lot of books for school, and I'm not sure I would want to be any specific character. I'm the type of person who likes to think about being friends with certain characters, not actually being a character. Therefore, I'm going to write about it a little differently, and talk about my favorite female characters from the books I read when I was in school, and tell you why I like them. 

Lizzie Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I read this book for the first time when I was in junior high at the recommendation of my teacher. I really liked it then, but I read it again when I was in high school as preparation for one of my AP Exams, and I think it's definitely hit home more for me. Elizabeth Bennett is intelligent, opinionated, passionate, and at times stubborn. Her courage to be so steadfast in her beliefs is something I love about her, but at the same time she is willing to admit her flaws and ultimately follow her heart. I know that LB is the quintessential favorite female character for Austen fans, but no list of strong female characters would be complete without Miss Bennett. 

Jane Eyre from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
I was super hesitant to put Jane on the list. I even texted my best friend to see what she thought (which she thought that I shouldn't) but I couldn't resist. The first time I read this book I hated Jane. I thought she was a holier-than-thou, odd, freakish woman... and what is the deal with referring to Mr. Rochester as "master"? But the second time I read it, I realized that Jane Eyre is actually an interesting character. Scarred by a less-than-ideal childhood, yet still devout in her beliefs and grounded in her morals, I came to respect her and her quest for self-respect which is something that I think is a universal struggle for women. 

Skeeter and Aibileen Clark from The Help by Kathryn Stockett
I read this book for fun when I was in high school, after one of the proctors I had for an SAT exam was reading it and recommended it. I loved Skeeter. She's hilarious, sarcastic, and ambitious, which is something I identify with strongly. I applaud her for sticking to her guns about writing The Help even though she basically ruins her reputation (but who gives a crap what Hilly thinks of her anyway?). But Aibileen had double my respect for her grace, poise, and courage that she displayed throughout the story. No one should be treated the way Aibileen was treated, and no one deserves what happens to her, but she rises above it ultimately for the better. This is such a great book, and it is still applicable to the issues of race that we have in this country, even today. 

Janie Crawford from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
This was my favorite book in high school. It was the book that taught me to love reading for fun again, and it was at the recommendation (assignment) of my AP Language teacher which I wrote about earlier this week. Very similar to Aibileen, I think Janie has a tremendous amount of grace in the way that she carries herself, despite the things that have happened to her. I admire her romanticism, the way she still sees the romantic and beautiful things in life no matter what she deals with. When faced with an impossible decision, she did what was right for her and no matter what, that needs to be celebrated. At the same time, I admire Zora Neale Hurston, an amazing anthropologist whose work on African American culture is unparalleled. This book, and Ms. Hurston, are the things that piqued my interest in anthropology, and that interest has blossomed into a passion for studying people. 

Hermione Granger from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Is there ever a list of favorite characters without Hermione? Smart, witty, know-it-all, hilarious, at times pretentious, but steadfastly loyal, kind, and compassionate. I remember reading the first Harry Potter books and thinking about how much I was like Hermione (I was such a know it all. I did my cousins' homework all the time). But she shows that intelligence is not all that makes a person. Your life is not measured in grades, accolades, and awards, but in your friends and the connections you make along the way. Beautiful character, beautiful story. Timeless. Perfect. 

Are there any characters I should add? Any you would take away? Let me know in the comments! 

Dear Zoe...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Day 3 of the Back to School Blogging Challenge! Learn more about the challenge here.

What would I tell my Freshman Self?

I've made it through two years of college, and pretty successfully if I may say so. I have a great GPA, a great sisterhood, amazing friends, and I am part of some seriously awesome groups on campus. I live in a beautiful house, my campus is gorgeous, I will soon be embarking on an amazing adventure in one of my favorite countries, and I have some great jobs and internships. If you would have told me that I would have it so good when I was beginning college, I would have laughed in your face. I seriously would not have believed that I was capable or worthy of success.

I'm a campus tour guide at DU, and I get a lot of chances to interact with prospective students and their families, who often seek advice about college. Of course, I think about what I was like when I was looking at colleges, a senior in high school, and utterly terrified of the future. I wish I could go back in time and give myself some advice. For now, my blog will have to do! I wrote an open letter to myself as a freshman, where I give myself five pieces of advice that I wish I would have known then, and that I strive to follow now, and in the future.


Dearest Zoe,

You are about to start a journey to be remembered! I am halfway done with college already, and it's been a scary, tumultuous, insanely amazing time. You're just beginning, and I wanted you to know just a couple of things before you go, and a couple things to keep in mind as you embark on this new adventure.

1. Don't sweat the small stuff - let yourself be inspired by everything.

One of my favorite things that I've been told is to think about what I want my gravestone to say (it sounds morbid, but it seriously helps put things in perspective). Do not chase accolades, awards, or recognition. Work hard because it is worth it for you, help people because they need to be helped, do your homework because it will help you learn.

2. You are worth more than your grades. 

It's easy to get dejected and upset when you get back a grade that is less-than-stellar, you weren't anticipating, or is a downright failure. These things are all okay, and they are not the end of the world. A number on a piece of paper does not indicate anything about your worth, your talent, or your success. Work hard, do your best, and be confident. Your worth is dictated by who you are, so let it shine through.

3. You don't have to have everything figured out.

Honestly, it's better not to because you're going to change your mind a million times. It's okay to have goals, aspirations, and dreams, but don't beat yourself up if they change. Most of all, do not think for one single second that you have to follow a certain path because it leads to more money, especially if it's something you're not passionate about. Start with what makes you happy, excited, and your path will become clear.

4. Take care of yourself! 

Go to the gym. Don't fight, just do it. Go to yoga. Kindness Yoga in Cherry Creek is amazing - start there. Do it in your room. MAKE TIME.

Also, part of taking care of yourself is knowing when to ask for help. You are the only one who knows what you need, and you need to advocate for yourself. You will have an amazing support network, so take advantage of that. Be honest with yourself, and others, about what you need.

Sometimes, the people you think are your friends may not be in a year. It's okay to lose a friend as you grow, mature, and change. Be honest with yourself if someone is toxic in your life, and do what you need to do to take care of yourself. You will meet toxic people and they will hurt you. You deserve to have good friends.

5. You are beautiful. Don't give anyone the power to make you feel differently. 

I'm still on a journey of self-love and self-acceptance, and this one is something I struggle with every day. I wish I had started back where you are now, before leaving for DU. You will meet people who are mean - it's a fact. Do not let those people dictate how you feel about yourself. Your love must come from you before you can accept it from anyone else.

You are worthy of love and affection - yours more than anyone else's. 

Enjoy this time. This year will fly by.




What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time?

What would you say to your Favorite Teacher?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Day 2 of the Back to School Blogging Challenge! Learn more about the challenge here.

Today's topic was to write a thank-you letter to a teacher from our past. This was surprisingly hard and somewhat emotional for me, as I have a lot of teachers who I would want to write this letter to that I feel fortunate enough to have been able to learn from as they all deserve immense thanks. However, I just chose one, and the one that first popped into my head when I read the prompt.

Note: I changed the names in this letter, but everything I said is true.

Dear Mr. Cooper,

I was tasked to write a thank you note to a teacher from my past, and I undoubtedly thought of you. I know I wrote you a letter at the end of my time as your student, when I graduated from high school. Since then, I've lost touch which makes me so sad, and I wish I would have tried harder to connect over these past two years. So, if you're reading this, I still think about my time as your student and how lucky I was to have been able to learn from you.

Every once in a while, I get flashes of our AP Language class, funny lectures and the many light-bulb moments that happened while furiously scratching away at an essay trying to earn a coveted score of 9 (and almost getting there! I still have the essay you gave me an 8++ on...). I think about newspaper, and the many hair-pulling-out-of-frustration moments, but also improving greatly as a writer. I think about the hours I spent in your classroom after school, finishing up newspaper layout, sending things to the printer, or just seeking advice and counsel which you willingly gave, and which really helped during a time when I needed it.  

My favorite memories are throwing a pie in your face, after you shaved your beard (still not cool, by the way) and the fun Pie-in-the-Eye campaigning that happened before then. I remember you and M. Sartre running down the hall wearing the red bandana I brought you after I went to Pamplona (and saw where Ernest Hemingway stayed!). I still laugh when I think of those things. 

I remember listening to you read Their Eyes Were Watching God, and learning how to love reading all over again, and how to enjoy reading for fun. I've read that book since then, and every time I read it thinking about when we read it in class. I still have the video of you reading All the Places You'll Go
on the last day I spent on the newspaper. It's welcome advice when my motivation and belief wavers.

I remember the first time I ever met you, and I cried out of nervousness. I was so scared that you though I was unintelligent or immature. Instead, you invited me to sit in on one of your classes and try doing an assignment that was far beyond my intelligence level. I knew then that you would be a great teacher to learn from, but I never could have imagined what a great friend you would be. While you may have taught me how to write a killer essay, and my 5 on the AP Lang test got me out of a few writing requirements, the most valuable lessons are those that are tested in the very act of being a person.

From you, I learned...
  • That the true measure of worth is not in the name on my diploma, but in the work I do and what I make of the opportunities I receive.
  • That everyone makes mistakes, falls down, but everyone can certainly get up and keep trying.
  • To follow my heart, even if my brain doesn't agree.
  • To enjoy learning to learn, without worrying about assignments, tests, or arbitrarily assigned numbers.
  • To always challenge myself to not only do better, but to be a better person.

So, while it will never be enough to say, thank you for everything. You will always be a special teacher to me, and one that I will certainly never forget. 


Goodbye Summer!

Welcome to my first-ever everyday blogging challenge! I added a link to it on the top of my page, so definitely check it out!

Back to School Blogging Challenge: Day 1!

 Three Things I'm Going to Miss about Summer

Honestly, I've never been into the whole "summer" thing. I love school, I hate the heat, and I always feel so distant from my friends. But I actually had an amazing summer this past summer, so there will be a lot to miss!

1. My Internships

This was my first summer as a working woman! I have had other jobs before, including working for my mom, and I work at DU as a tour guide for the office of Undergraduate Admission. I had two amazing internships at some Denver museums and they were fantastic! They are just now coming to an end, and I'm a little bit sad, but I'm just really grateful that I had the opportunity to work there and developed my goal to work in museums really grow into something amazing!

2. Fun Events

There were so many cool things happening this summer! The World Cup was definitely a highlight, and even though I know approximately zero things about soccer - ahem, football - I still watched it diligently! The Lacrosse World Championships were actually in Denver, and I may or may not have been able to hang out with some of the teams (read: have lunch with the Turkish National Team) when they were at DU... :) I also watched the Tour de France with my dad (he is a cycling fanatic and watches the tour religiously) and learned a little bit about cycling as a sport.

I was also able to see some of my teachers from high school who I missed a lot, including my favorite French teacher! I love reconnecting with people, and I did that a lot this summer.

3. Colors!

I am such a fan of bright colors, and I'm definitely going to miss them! I feel like everything is so vibrant in my life - when I walk around campus everything is in bloom, all of the trees are full of life and I just love it. Plus, when else do you get away with wearing bright colored nail polish?

I do love the colors of fall though - neutrals, orange, red - all of the warm colors make me feel so comfortable!

Check back every day this week for more Back to School Blogging Challenge posts!