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DPChallenge Forums >> General Discussion >> Happy to be Me- warning: a long, meaningful story
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10/28/2005 01:37:15 AM · #1
Alright, so I have to confess to you all that lately I have been regretting the path of my life. College has kicked me in the shins, stolen my lunch money, and beaten me down until Iím left bleeding, crying and rocking back and forth in the fetal position like a crazed lunatic. For some stupid reason while talking with my advisor- whom I really hate now- during orientation this summer I thought, ď17 hoursÖ hmm why not.Ē (Now I know why she chuckled so menacingly at me.) So it was but a few hours ago that I sat drinking a starbucks that I bought with my last 3 dollars, watching a fuzzy Smallville on the only station I can mooch off my neighbors cable on my 2 inch TV with a foil antenna on top, eating a scrumptious dinner of popcorn, when I look back on my week and cry. I had two major exams this week, both of which I studied for like a madman and both of which I felt pure hatred for the world upon reading the first impossible question preceding the 99 to follow. The weeks before this have not been anything to smile over either. I sit in various classrooms of no less than 300 (have I mentioned I hate crowds?), listening to a professor I cannot understand through his thick accent lecture on about stuff I donít care about but must learn, understand and master before I can get to the things that interest me for 17 hours a week. I get maybe 3 hours of sleep each night, waking up each morning before the sun does with just enough time to put my pants on and catch the oldest bus on campus that will take me through the same week all over again. Not even starbucks could bring me comfort as I sat eyeing a fork and thinking longingly about jabbing it in my eye, for it seemed to me that Iíd made a serious mistake.

I promise you that my forum title does play a completely non-sarcastic role in my story somewhere.

So after perhaps 5 minutes of ďwhy, God, why,Ē I get up to go let out my dog- one of my two friends that Iíve got in College Station, the other being my newfound kitten- when he rushes out and chases a wandering cat up the tree. The poor cat claws its way all the way to the top and starts meowing. After putting my dog up and watching for a few minutes to see if she would come down on her own, I see her move not a single thing but her vocal chords. So I take off my flip flops and start to climb up this insanely tall tree, scratching my favorite sweater, not to mention my favorite skin, on the cloud of surprisingly sharp twigs until I reach the top- a good deal higher than the tallest building in the neighborhood. So I get to her, pry her from the limb, spend about 10 minutes at a nauseating height trying to calm her down and loosen her grip on my shirt, then make my uncoordinated way down, twisting my never-properly-healed ankle with my great and final leap. Might I add that all the while Iím missing Everwood, my favorite show of all times (donít laugh, I love the sappy drama stuff). The point is, that the moment I got down from the death tree with a throbbing ankle and the cat safely in my handsÖ I smiled. After a weeks of living off of mayonnaise sandwiches and popcorn, a sickening lack of sleep, classes and tests I gave all my sanity to in studying for and probably still failed, and basically just weeks of pure frustration and self hatred, I smiled. I smiled because I loved what I had just done, and I knew thatís all that mattered. And after hobbling with the cat back to her owners and hobbling back inside, I look down at my only two friends here and smile again. Because as sure as the sun will rise, the next 8 or more years are sure to be frustrated and difficult, and I will still have times where sticking a fork in my eye seems like the wisest thing I could possibly do, but I know that after itís all done Iíll be able to do more than climb a tree and bring down a scared cat, but stop the spread of a loved petís cancer, deliver a litter of a dying species, or save the life of an illegally shot Asian elephantÖ and smile. And even if I get to that spot and still donít have any friends, there will always be an unwanted dog or a mistreated cat that would appreciate my company. And itís there, and always has been, and always will be where I want to be.

I wrote this because itís my life epiphany and Iím proud of it, and because sometimes all it takes is hearing about another personís sanctuary to figure out your own. Stupid am I if Iím wrong on this, but I know there are some of you on this site who, too, face a day filled with doubts, sorrows, regrets and self loathings, so I hope that in some way Iíve helped you realize what it is your lacking or in some way sparked a sense of meaning. Trust me, it's a nice feeling.
10/28/2005 01:45:00 AM · #2
(hug)

10/28/2005 01:49:14 AM · #3
Wow! I actually had a flashback to college days....Only I was single with 3 small children living in a strange new town knowing nobody and taking that many credit hours. I never thought I would get through it but I did. Don't give up hope, the time you spend now will fly quicker than you think, just hold on to your goal. Its good to see someone who knows what she wants! You should be proud!!
10/28/2005 01:51:14 AM · #4
my days are started and filled with happiness and expectation, but thanks for the story nonetheless. The real question is: which animal is your favorite, the dog or the cat?
10/28/2005 02:29:24 AM · #5
"This nagging malaise
Is more than a phase
It feels like a job
But no boss ever pays you to lay there
And think how you'll die
While the tears start to well in your eyes

Somebody loves you
And you're gonna make it through" (Eels' song)

I have some regrets. I regret not having studyed at an art high school instead of computer high school (Italian high schools are different from American ones!). Now I have a job, but a job I don't like at all...who knows, maybe I'll attend an art course. I just have to find the time to do it!

By the way...have you ever thought about writing a book? It's gonna be a sure best-seller!!! You write very well!

Message edited by author 2005-10-28 02:29:58.
10/28/2005 04:58:03 AM · #6
Originally posted by conan77it:

By the way...have you ever thought about writing a book? It's gonna be a sure best-seller!!! You write very well!

I was just about to say exactly the same thing.

If you started you memoirs now, you'd have a pretty good book in a few years!
10/28/2005 05:19:24 AM · #7
Have you ever found a kitten skelton in a tree? They do get scared and sometimes think they have climbed so high that they fear they will never get down again, but they only think they are stuck. Eventually they stop being scared and whatever scared them goes away, and they find a path home.

I am sure you spared the kitten some trauma by going up the tree after it, and I bet some friend or stranger will find a way to help you out of your curent predicament; but if they don't, you can find your own way home. Give it time. I know it sucked when I was your age, but you are becomming what you will be for the rest of your life. If it was easy anyone could do it, besides it wouldn't be any fun look back on and laugh about when you have children of your own. And keep that fork below eye level.
10/28/2005 05:54:01 AM · #8
so, have you decided to switch majors to go the pre-med/vet route, with a minor in english?

"whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger"

"it's hard to get out of the gutter if you don't aim for the stars"

"if you don't know where you're going, you'll probably wind up somewhere else"

"you can work your way out of anything, if you're obsessive and passionate about it"

peace be with you as you travel on.
10/28/2005 08:20:41 AM · #9
Ah, memories of university! :-)

That's a fine bit of writing. If you're strapped for cash, get a student loan. They're very easy to get, and well worth the peace of mind while studying.

Pity for your courseload of 17 hours? That must be sarcasm. I would feel sorry if you have no friends, but I don't believe that's true, rather poetic license, which is OK, as we all feel that way sometimes.

"Suffering" is what you make of it. Buck-up! You'll look back on these times with fond loathing in 10 years. ;-)

Message edited by author 2005-10-28 08:21:20.
10/28/2005 08:29:38 AM · #10
Just remember - college is one of the BEST times of your life!!! :-) I guarantee you'll look back on it and the good stuff will remain while the bad fades.

Sounds like you'd make a great volunteer fireman! You know, in your spare time.
10/28/2005 08:46:49 AM · #11
Amazing how when everything seems to get you down something so simple as helping someone(thing) else can pick you up.

Cats have a hard time getting down from trees since their claws retract and face one way, not like they can easily climb backwards and head first doesn't work either thanks for gravity and the claws thing, they usually have to hug the tree and rough it down. Much like you are going to have to do with college, rough it down the crappy course till you get to your goal of the ground.

I have always hated having to take so many credits is classes that have NOTHING to do with your degree (I also hate that now a days you have to have a degree to get a job, especially since half the time they could care less what the degree is in, as long as you have one).

You have hit an important point and I hope it carries you from day to day and reminds you to take time to enjoy the little pleasures in life...sometimes the little pleasures are all we have or get. (and if you can't find a little pleasure, go watch a sunrise or sunset and thank God you got to see another.)
10/28/2005 09:38:53 AM · #12
{{{{{Sarah}}}}}

It's nice when you find those little things to smile about. I agree with everyone else, you are a fabulous writer.
10/28/2005 09:45:55 AM · #13
Wonderful story... it reminded me a lot of me during my undergrad days, just substitute Ramen noodles for the mayo sandwiches. ;)

My last semester of undergrad was a torturous hell-on-earth with 19 semester hours...and I lived to tell about it. I'm not sure how, but I did. I know you will too. Someday, when you are a world-famous vet saving Asian elephants, you'll remember that story and smile. The tough times that make us who we are.

I hope you print out that story and put it in your scrapbook...it's worth a read, especially 20 or 30 years from now. Hugs! :)
10/28/2005 09:50:17 AM · #14
Stop!!! You're giving me flashbacks...

I took 18 hrs once and while my classes were small, they were all difficult and a couple were near impossible. I literally did nothing but study, sleep and eat. I was never that foolish again. I made myself a promise that if I got through that term, I would NEVER, no matter what, take that kind of load again. When I felt like stepping in front of a bus because of no sleep, too much studying, not enough caffeine or whatever, I just remembered my little promise and sometimes that was all I had to get me through the day. (Aside from quarts of coffee)

It gets better, I promise.
10/28/2005 10:08:08 AM · #15
I regret nothing I do in life. Regrets lead to self doubt (and then some) and who would I be if I doubted myself. I really think you should change your name as well, cuz after I read your storey I looked at your profile and cannot figure out how you got the alias. You seem "I'd do ya" (which in my standards is above 10) to me. When you think things can't get worse your worng. They can, and probably will but, YOU have the power to change them and will change them into better things and instinctively will just like you climbed up the tree after a cat. I've been in trouble all my life and I can't say I'd trade my life for anybody elses for no price cuz they could have had it worse then me (unlikely but true).

On a seperate note I guess your taking some kind of pet care in school??? What kind of mean school besides a PHD would make you stay for 8 yrs???

Edit: To add insult to injury as I was reading your post I had my computer playing music randomly and Celine Dion - All By Myself came on. Irony doesn't do that justice.

Message edited by author 2005-10-28 10:10:02.
10/28/2005 10:42:23 AM · #16
Remember: Strong timber does not grow with ease, the stronger the wind the stronger the trees.

And meanwhile: Check with your school's financial aid office--most have "hardship loans" which are designed to help you live. (No school wants you to leave once they've let you in.)

Also: If you like, there are lots of budget-minded ways to eat. My hubby (who happens to work at a university) has discovered that he can buy a bagel (for 75 cents) and make a sandwich using salad bar items (less than $1). Add seltzer or water (free) and some soup crackers (also free) and you have a nice little lunch for under $2. My favorite at home recipe is quesadillas made with whatever deli items (cheese, ham, leftovers) that happen to be in--sandwich between two tortillas and bake for 10 minutes--slice up like a pizza. (Very filling!)

(((Hugs)))
10/28/2005 10:51:15 AM · #17
Since everyone else is posting meaningful quotes, here's one that might help;

"You can lead a horse to water, but a pencil must be lead", Stan Laurel.

10/28/2005 10:56:27 AM · #18
And...since this is a photo site...I thought you might appreciate this:
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10/28/2005 10:58:04 AM · #19
I want to tell you how much I miss those days, but it won't help, so I won't.

Service to others always helps a crappy mood, and makes life better. You've discovered a very valuable thing -

I know it seems crazy to study stuff that has nothing to do with your major - but I am so grateful that I did it. It has given me an overall understanding of so many things - made me better at being creative - and garnered many invitations to places I never would have gone if it weren't for the fact that I knew a little about what is important to some person.

All knowledge is good - even the knowledge that 17 hours hurts. (surprised your councilor didn't state that a little more emphatically).
10/28/2005 11:07:31 AM · #20
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Edit: when you think you have stress just look.
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Message edited by author 2005-10-28 11:17:37.
10/28/2005 11:14:35 AM · #21
this reminds me of one word: Ramen
10/28/2005 01:03:38 PM · #22
Originally posted by Cutter:

The real question is: which animal is your favorite, the dog or the cat?


No no no! I don't answer those kinds of questions! Lol

And sadly no, 17 hours is not said with sarcasm. They have it now that you have to pay for 15 hours even if you don't take 15, so I thought I would get my (my parents and the governments) money's worth.

Originally posted by notonline:

On a seperate note I guess your taking some kind of pet care in school??? What kind of mean school besides a PHD would make you stay for 8 yrs???


I'm aiming for my vet degree- which is a medical degree, so I have to go 4 years undergraduate and 4 years graduate

And writing a book is just another goal that I have- I've got about 50 boxes full of spiral notebooks with book ideas and journal logs that I'll one day go through and organize. Anyways- thanks so much for your encouragements, meaningful quotes, and hilarious pictures!
10/28/2005 03:06:28 PM · #23
Hmmm, I usually had 35 hours of class/lab throughout university. I sneered at the general arts students who had 17 hours. ;-) I'll never forget the late night I was up in the palaeontology lab studying with a friend. I cut a Godzilla shape out of a piece of paper and put it on the overhead projector & faced it out the window (4th floor). That was some fine entertainment, watching the puzzled looks from passersby below, outside, as they saw the huge shadow on the tower across the way, and the in the quad below.

Those were the days. :-)

I suggest you pull some pranks on the profs to entertain yourself and the class. Some easy, lowbrow ones I did...

1. Let the sun reflect off your watch onto the back of the profs head. It takes some coordination, be carful. I guess a laser pointer would do too.

2. If a prof is overly attached to using an overhead projector (I had two), tape a piece of paper over the bottom lense & see how long it takes him to puzzle it out. I think I wrote something silly on the paper too, but don't remember what it was.

3. Tape a photo of something funny to the projector screen, for a surprise when the prof pulls it down. I had a close-up, yelling, face shot (similar to my profile pic) of a friend of mine who was also in the class. I was found out on this one, though, as my friend yelled out my name when he saw his photo there. Oops.

Not terribly sophisticated, but fun to hear an entire class break out laughing.
:-D
10/28/2005 03:22:39 PM · #24
Originally posted by jhonan:

Originally posted by conan77it:

By the way...have you ever thought about writing a book? It's gonna be a sure best-seller!!! You write very well!

I was just about to say exactly the same thing.

If you started you memoirs now, you'd have a pretty good book in a few years!


WORD...

You're a doggone good writer. Terrific prose and it reads so easily. Vivid descriptions that immediately transported me to your location and situation. Thanks for sharing your story and your smile.
10/28/2005 04:49:38 PM · #25
I will have to echo the positive impressions of your writing. Usually when I see a post that long - click. But I could not help but to read through your entire story - very engaging! This is coming from a guy with a 3 second attention span when it comes to reading AND I'm a closet cat-hater (well, I guess I'm out of the closet now).

I would probably even subscribe to your blog. ;-)

Great talent! Hang tough and smile!
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