Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Kids Are Alright

Week Ten. It's going to be crazy. I have a Calculus test and Earth Systems paper due, which is a normal work load, but there is something else going on. Humans vs. Zombies is going on. A game where a bunch of nerds get to carry nerf guns and swords around, eat marshmallows, and swing socks. A game where your friends turn into zombies after going all out on weaponry. A game where you legitimately fear for your life walking back from EPICS in the evening, for dozens of zombies have their faces pressed up against the glass CTLM windows creeping everyone out. This is HVZ. This is Mines.

Oh, we're not immature. It's completely normal for us to run from building to building with toys in hand and scream and yell and would consider ditching PA or (heaven forbid) waking up early to get to a class super early. Why worry about stuff that is more important like homework and labs and tests and world peace and domination? Actually, I'm not gonna lie. This game, though only a game has altered me mentally and made me a little more stressed out than I normally am. I have to plot my way to and from classes and routes and how the heck I'm gonna eat. I've tried to bind together with other humans. My friends have been taken down. It's fun, but kinda a big deal. I suppose any other week (or at any other campus) it would be a nice distraction, but this week....this week is bad.

But survival skills are where it's at, right? I mean, we've survived almost 10 weeks of classes, and midterms are almost over. We bind together and try to get through, one week at a time. We combat homework and tests and then get sad when one takes us out. And when we get stressed out, we go shoot nerf guns at zombies....or go eat humans. Or make use of the many distractions we like to call "outlets".

The thing is, over halfway in, we're alright. We do our own laundry now. We get invited to fun things and then frown and say "I've got homework, sorry", and then do go and do homework. And we've always known how to eat, but now have further knowledge and creativity of meal preparation/acquiration. What else do we need? Eating bags of marshmallows and having massive pillow fights, I'm sure. Just for added maturity. Oh, and shooting off the nerf gun in Chem lecture. (Two of these three things are true for me).

It's not easy. I say this and everyone will say this, but there is so much I have to get done this week and I don't know how- yet I do. Time flies, and it's difficult to grasp that this....it's real. I'm really here at Mines in college doing all this stuff. It becomes a little bit more real every time I see an exam score posted, but I don't think I'll ever really grasp this...college thing...until I'm done, and it'll be too late, and I'll have a degree (hopefully). That seems so far away.

But I've been turned. Go zombies. I'm gonna miss carrying around weapons. The thing I put my sword in. The clank of my gun against my leg as I ran across Kafadar. That's the cool thing now- we're still kids, goofy and immature, but we're not anymore, with school shadowing everything in the back of our mind, getting done what needs to get done, and hoping it was the right way. Meaning: we make our own choices and choose to carry around foam weaponry. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Can I Stop And Think About My Life for One Second?!?!!

Someone please make it stop.

Last week, I was in the midst of scrambling to get all my homework done. It was a relatively easy load, but seriously, I had no "free" time (fun time doesn't count- I have to schedule that in, and do it well, if I may say so myself). And I had to get as much as possible done because I was going to InterVarsity's Fall Conference on Friday and didn't want to bring up homework. I ended up bringing it up anyway. But consider Thursday night, when I had to finish everything because Fridays have no free time, pack my stuff (which ended up getting done at midnight), and look at the email I just got from my Earth professor. Oh, look. Earth grades are up- let's have a look.

I then got a little depressed. Okay, maybe a lot. I tried not to think of my horrible grade- my horrible grade that was worse than some kids' BELS tests...and that's bad. I started to think what I could've done wrong to fail A MULTIPLE CHOICE TEST ABOUT ROCKS. I mean, c'mon. I deemed myself a failure at studying, and then ran to Digger Den to grab pizza and chocolate. I ended up forgetting about the chocolate.

So after packing, I went to bed, and began crazy Friday. All Fridays are crazy. It's a rule. But I basically ran from work to Earth to Calc (where I tried to finish my worksheet) to Maple to grab all my stuff and finish packing to the parking lot. I think I ate somewhere in between there. But the hard part of Friday was over. A car had some marker on the windows: "Fall Conference or Bust!" "IV yay!" "wubwubwubwub". I smiled.

Rebecca (a girl in my Bible study Maple small group) and I stuffed our stuff into Aaron's (our happy red-headed driver) trunk. We are girls and had a lot of stuff. David (the other guy riding with us) and Aaron had less stuff. But we stuffed it in, and hopped in, and were off. I was Shotgun DJ. Heh, what an awesome job description: Shotgun DJ. The ride went quick. I think I fell asleep. But we got up there....safely.

In the town of Estes Park, we had lunch and stopped by the chocolate factory before heading up to the retreat site. We almost got lost but made it, and it was pretty nice, if I say so myself. The dorms were heated- maybe a little too much. There were ponds. There was a really cool building by the pond that was the prayer room.

But the first night was fun. We all (Mines, CU, CSU, UNC, Auraria) cheered really loud. Mines cheered louder when Will MC'd. We cheered whenever Mines was even mentioned. We were awesome, and we knew it. Almost 70 of us had come, and we comprised around a third of Fall Conference. Nerd. Domination. Breaking ice and breaking into little groups for the games. Then finally grouping into chapters. And randomly shouting "OHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" while another joins and another then

"I wish I had a barrel of rum and sugar three hundred pounds.
A college bell to mix it in and a clapper to stir it 'round.
Like every honest felLOOWWWWW I take my whiskey clear.
I'm a ramblin' wreck from Golden Tech, a helluva engineer...."

It was the best and most spirited redition of the fight song I've heard since I've been here.

It was fun. The Speaker talked about stepping in- to Fall Conference and to whatever God has planned. Gently easing into the cold water of a pool was not encouraged, but rather, cannonballing. We broke into chapters after that, and played more community-building games. Then we had to be in bed by midnight, which is funny.

The rest of the weekend went like this: meals- which were a great break from Slate, and sessions which started with games, ended with the speaker talking about stepping (up, through, out), sandwiched by songs from the worship team. Saturday was awesome because of two things. First, because of amazing God is. I woke up and there was an inch of snow on the ground and snow was still steadily falling. After morning session was a time set aside for prayer and reflecting for one hour. Quiet time. Now that is almost funny, but so needed and it was so quiet. I chose a place outside even though the temperature was dropping and the wind was picking up. But it was awesome. And so still. And so quiet. I prayed and then thought about my life for a while.

I thought about school without thinking about school. It might be hard to explain, but every stinking second of my life is spent thinking about school, what I need to do, where I need to go next, what is the minimum about of homework I can do tonight and still get it done by tomorrow. But this time, I thought about school and the big picture. My grades so far and my study habits. My insane schedule and how I somehow manage it. How much I needed success.

I thought about my life. Where I might go. What God might be wanting me to do next. The big picture. All the amazing people I've met recently. All the past things in my life that...were not so great. All the past things in my life that were awesome. I thought about how amazingly blessed I am with what I have. Not everyone has that, y'know.

That was good. During free time I played soccer in the snow rather than doing homework. It was really fun, even though I only had my Mines hoodie to keep me warm and socks for mittens. Those socks proved to be crucial, for a mass snowball fight erupted. Throwing snow in people's faces is always fun.

Rachael (my Bible study leader), Rebecca, and I went to the prayer room before dinner together.  The prayer room was a really cool building that had a bridge leading to it and everything. Inside were a bunch of stuff to make art with, and maps of the world, US, and individual campuses with sticky notes on what we feel needs prayer. Boulder had a note for "the sinners on the hill". Most campuses had "finding a place, being successful". Mines had that stuff along with the main one- "Tests.". I added a +1. And "community" for the spot on 17th and Maple Street...

Saturday night was the main event, I suppose. The speaker talked about "stepping through" apathy (laziness, like falling asleep in class, or plain lukewarmedness), habitual sin, gossip, and guilt. During chapter time, we all shared how God quenched our thirsts or revealed what we should be thirtsting for. All 60-odd kids went up and shared, then dumped their cup of water in a tub. I expressed that I want God to really just quench all my thirsts...'cause I want a lot. Like success in school. And all the other things I want that, if I pursue on my own, will be empty and I'll die trying to cram everything in and eventually explode. So...yeah.

We broke into our small groups including previously mentioned Rebecca and Aaron, and Daniel, Devin, and another Daniel and Lee. So some people I know well, some people I was just getting to know, and some people I'd just met. Which brings me to the second part of why Fall Conference was awesome- building friendships and meeting people and... stuff. Our small group was pretty awesome. (And I know I use the word awesome too much). We were to share our experiences throughout the day and then after we all prayed for one another individually. Not all the small groups did that, so we were the last remaining while most of the  others went to CU's dance party. Heh, Boulder. But yeah- amazing. Oh and there are many, many awesome people in IV in their own funny ways- and I'm so glad to have spent the weekend with them. A few of us instead of going to Boulder chapter's gig, huddled around John (the piano player) while he played and sang along. Funny- the only Boulder party I'll probably be invited to and... ha ha ha.

But again, the community among Mines was awesome. We know each of us is weird in an awesome way with molecular bonding and wookie noises and us girls not being able to talk about shoes and then laughing at the other guys asking for tips as they held open door because we're so used to it for free. I even won one of the games representing Mines by blowing up the most balloons. I literally had my own cheering section then, and at other times during the weekend was part of the cheering section for other kids. It was even a lot of fun just to sit and be silly with the other freshman in IV. Even more exciting- my Bible study leader was proposed to in front of 150 people and that night, all the girls were buzzing about her engagement. I mean, that's cool- bunking with a bunch of girls after something exciting as that.

By now it is nearly Thursday, and I am still trying to let God control my life rather than myself. Sunday, I found out that my horrible Earth grade was actually a high B, which is what I was expecting, and was a huge relief after I saw it. I haven't totally crashed in class. I'm paying attention. I hardly have homework this week (compared with the craziness of most weeks), and I'm enjoying life. I'm still really tired, and am going to end now.

Oh and this weekend is fall break! Sara is going home and so am I this weekend. I'm gonna sleep in my own bed...if I can even claim ownership to it anymore. I'm gonna chill with the fam, go to church Sunday (yay!), and do something Monday and Tuesday....something besides Chemistry. I need to think of ideas.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ear Buddies

Oh hey friends. It has come to my attention that I owe y'all a blog post.
It has also come to my attention that I don't owe you anything. So there.

(awkward silence)

Heh, blogging is awesome. I don't have to write right now, but because I'm a cool person, I'm going to. So here goes...

Tonight I'm going to talk a little bit about one of the things I love most in the world: baseball.

You see, this story goes back to 2007 when I decided to follow the Rockies. My first medium of choice in following them was the Rocky Mountain News (rest its soul), but I eventually switched to the most awesome way to follow a game besides being there in person: the radio.

Radio was made for baseball, and baseball was made for radio. So from then on I hung on every pitch, every deep fly, and every final out from the radio. It took me on amazing adventures through awesome wins and made me want to throw things at it after horrible losses. It's awesome, seriously.

Well, being a freshman in highschool in late 2007 through the 2008 season, I obviously had to wake up early for school the next day. And being homeschooled, my dad would enforce sleep strictly and tell us to turn off our lights and procede to sleep. This is exactly what I did during the winter. But when February rolled around, everything changed.

I remember the first Spring Training game in 2008 because I recorded it onto my camera and made it into an audio file because I missed it live. I also became very familiar with the meaningless game, listening to it in future offseasons whenever I got bored, until the day finally came when I couldn't take the depression of listening to players who were no longer with the Rockies play. (I suppose I might feel the same way listening to a 2011 Spring Training game....hahaha....sigh).

At first, I fed my pink Hello Kitty boom box on the side of my bed and up underneath a pillow. The regular season started. Whenever there were games, I would jump onto my bed with the radio turned up just enough so that only I could hear it when I pressed my ear close by. I loved late night west coast games...those were the nights when my dad thought I had gone to sleep at 9, when in reality the game would end at 11 and the postgame show would go longer (if the Rockies won). Sometimes, a light would go on in the hallway, and then I'd shove my Hello Kitty baseball listening device far underneath the pillows and my head would roll over to the other side, and I'd pretend to sleep. Being a baseball fan is hard.

My dad had an old school iPod with earbuds. He eventually got new, better quality ones, and without explicit permission, I inherited the old ones. (I also have this same old iPod now after my brother gave it to me.) Now being the type of person I am (nerd, baseball fan), I permanently placed my boom box under the pillows in the corner of my bed, hooked up the earbuds to it, and fed one earbud through my pillow case so it was hidden, but if my ear was placed properly near it, I could still hear the radio. I know: freshman me was awesome.

It was the ultimate baseball addiction enabler besides the internet. For many years following (well, four), I operated like this, and it was perfect. I could pretend to sleep and not sleep and not have to shuffle when I heard my parents' footsteps coming up the stairs. The only problem is that it damaged my attention span forever, causing me to pretend to carry conversations while listening to a game. This damage carried on to even being distracted at anything when the Rockies were on, and zoning out in general when boring people spoke to me. Baseball has doomed my college career.

But as the seasons went on and I fell in love more and more with the game, my ear buds were there. They were there for listening to Opening Day during school and the 22-inning game the night before I had to wake up for school. They were there for the Spilly Slam and Todd Helton's 2000th hit and Ubaldo's no-hitter. They were there for inside curveballs, running catches, amazing 9-run 9th innings, swinging strikeouts, walk-off doubles, and blown saves. And they were there for the tears and laughter that came with each moment. I even took them to a couple game to listen to my radio and brought them along when I saw the Rockies in San Francisco. I guess you could say we were close.

This season sucked. That's all. My earbuds agreed, and started to turn an off-white color and fray a bit until finally the wires started showing and I couldn't take them out of my laptop without fear of them breaking.

So I replaced them.

Here's my new purple earbuds next to my swagged-out laptop.

They're a lot different. I don't know how I feel about them yet. Huh. I guess the same goes for the Rockies. They're so different, I still love them, but I don't know how I feel about them and what the future holds for them. But for now, I can only hope my new ear buds will come with me on a lot of memory trips and last more than five years. Oh and studying, yeah. I can use them while studying.