"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain."

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I'm Tara... and I'm a Mormon

(Disclaimer: I started this blog post the last day of finals, but I am just getting around to finishing it up, so just go with it and the fact that I talk about things that happened "today" but they really didn't happen "today." They did happen the "today" of the time, but that is now the "today" of yesterday. Ponder on that for a second and then proceed.)

I had this moment today when I walked out of the library, final paper in hand, last test behind me, light rain coming down, and it hit me that I will not be studying in that library again for the next twenty months. I will not have to duke it out with the dude for my table, I will not have to suffer through the frustration of finals week when people who have never stepped foot in the library decide to start commandeering my table (and really all of the tables in the vicinity, but I could rant for days on this subject, so I am going to stop myself before things get crazy), I will not experience that awkwardness when you realize you might have drooled a little bit when you accidentally fell asleep, I will not have that moment when you get all excited that library hours have been extended and then you realize that you got excited over being able to spend more time at the library. I will not have to write another paper, except maybe for fun, for twenty months.

I thought that this parting with the library, and all that the library symbolizes, would fill me with deep joy and satisfaction, but I felt nothing. And I tried to attribute this lack of emotion to my utter weariness and exhaustion, but as I got home and realized that my to-do list was now reduced to things like "pack" and "move out," and this time I did feel a little something- I actually felt a little sad. I am taking a little break from this stage of my life, for the time being, and though I have had my little tiffs and moments of frustration with my major and courses (Ok, Ok, maybe they weren't such "little" tiffs...), when it comes down to it, I love being an English major and I love learning and I kind of just really love the whole school scene. And I can actually say that and mean it now that I have written all those blasted papers.

There is a reason that I love the learning and the books and all the nonsense, and I know I have gushed about this before, but it is good for me to remember and to remind myself of why I am doing what I am. Because sometimes I get frustrated or just plain forget in the craziness of due dates and disappointing scores.

In one such instance of frustration, I had spent two or three hours pouring over the lines of a Shakespeare play (The Winter's Tale), trying to decide if Hermione was really dead or just pretending to be dead (mostly dead, if you will). Most scholars treat the play as if she were just hiding, but I just didn't like that and Shakespeare himself left it pretty dang ambiguous. So, after going line by line through the play, I got to the final scene and I was still no closer to knowing for sure, I was about to give up. I felt utterly disgusted that I had just wasted those precious hours over this seemingly insignificant detail. I started asking myself questions like: "Who really cares if she is dead or not?!" and "How in the heck did I think that I would be able to determine what some dude 400 years ago meant when he left it so open for interpretation?!" and "How did I get to this pathetic point in my life where one of my biggest stresses is trying to decide if she is fake dead or real dead?!" and the recurring question of "Why does this even matter?!"

Though the last question was uttered in frustration (uttered in my head, I clarify just in case some of you were worrying about my library etiquette), I treated the question seriously and started thinking about why it DOES actually matter. And I found my answer. It doesn't necessarily matter if she is dead or fake dead, but it does matter that she comes back. It matters that as a reader we see Hermione come back and be reunited with Leontes and that Leontes, who feels the anguish of causing the deaths of his wife and son, is relieved of some of that anguish. It is important that Leontes can be forgiven, despite his mistakes that had very serious consequences, and it is important that we readers can experience the joy of redemption, just as he does. But this redemption doesn't come from anything Leontes did for himself, it was an intervention, a divine intervention.

I might never know what Shakespeare really meant or if Hermione was really dead, but this was still an important moment in the play for me because it reminded me of my own need for a Savior and for the atonement and also of the joy that comes with being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the knowledge that comes with that membership. Leontes made some mistakes, one might say that he felt "godly sorrow" and that he really did repent, and he became a different person. But through all of this, he could not bring his wife back (he also probably did not bring sexy back, but luckily, Justin Timberlake did). He had to "awake his faith" and only then could his wife be restored. Though I try to live my life in such a way that I hopefully will not cause the death of my wife and child, or lead anyone to be eaten by a bear (best Shakespeare stage direction ever: "Exit pursued by bear", end of Act 3), I am grateful for the knowledge that when I do mess up and make mistakes, I can be forgiven of them and that there is hope for the future.

Unlike Lear who laments over Cordelia, "She's gone forever....Thou'lt come no more, Never, never...," through the gospel we know that there is life after death and we can have the J.M Barrie view that instead, "To die would be an awfully big adventure." Or I guess as Albus Dumbledore says, "To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure." Now, I am not advocating death here, I am just expressing my gratitude that I know that life doesn't just end at death. Because without that knowledge, we would have the same bleak outlook as Lear and Hermione would be really dead. No chocolate-coated pill from Miracle Max would fix that either.

Instead, I know that I have a Savior who died for us so that we can live again and have forever families. We can think of death like C.S. Lewis depicts it in his last book of the Narnia series. Not to ruin any endings for anyone (so if you don't want the end of the seventh book ruined, stop reading, or don't say I didn't warn you), but in the end when the children die in the railway accident and they are back in the real Narnia and they meet Aslan, they are afraid at being sent away, but Aslan tells them, "The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning" and "this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before."

I love being able to study inspired writers who write about eternal truths and principles, and sometimes really depressing, hopeless writers who show me my need for those eternal truths, but I am excited for the opportunity to take a little break from the school scene and share the joys of the gospel, that many of these authors so brilliantly portray, with the people of Italy. Studying literature is important to me because it reminds me of what I believe and why I believe it. And now this sounds a little bit like one of those "I'm a Mormon" videos, so just to finish: I'm Tara. I'm an English teaching major, future missionary to the Italy Milan Mission, and I am a Mormon! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Angry Elf

If you happen to note the date and time of my last blog, it was almost exactly a week ago, almost down to the hour. And once again, I find myself in the pit of despair (pause for hacking albino cough), or the library. Once again, I find myself completely incapable of writing the papers that I really need to write. Something about 6:00 on Friday nights is just not my thing. And there are kids rolling down the hill outside the library and I really want to join them.

I won't bore you with another post lamenting my choice of majors (though the last post did elicit some interesting responses from both my mother and a beloved aunt and their study habits- I think I follow after my aunt who allegedly stared at the wall, knowing she had to write a paper, but putting off the actual writing for as long as possible- I can sooo relate), but just know that I am standing by my retraction. I will, however, bore you with a story about an "angry elf" moment I had.

I don't get angry too often, but it happened to me TWICE this week. One was just like a small anger thing, more like an irritation that made me rehearse angry diatribes in my head (and maybe rant a little to my class buddies-who I might be ditching class with at some point to get breakfast instead... we are feeling a little rebellious) directed at a certain professor and his methods and his condescending tones. The other, the subject of this post, led me to actually excoriate someone-they probably didn't feel the sting of my words, but my eyes just backed the message up. OK, so I didn't actually excoriate them, no verbal lambasting did happen, but I wanted to a little bit....

It was a beautiful day, Thursday to be precise. The weather was perfect, Shamrock Shakes were on the horizon and we had a fun evening of roommate-bonding time planned. Roommate-bonding in the form of a flag football game, intramural style.

We showed up to the field and were blinded by the neon-ness of our opponent's jerseys. Once we had recovered our vision, we could see the QB had a play wristband. Amused? Yes. Intimidated? A little. Game on.

So, I think not-so-deep-down I am a fairly competitive person, though I have tried to suppress that particular tendency in the more recent years of my life. My competition these days usually comes in the form of tests or papers, and that works out well. This was my second game of the season and the first game I managed to maintain my dignity, but I also didn't quite manage to ignite the competitive flame, I was still just playing for pure "fun." Maybe that was just because we beat them the last game pretty solidly. This game changed all that.

We were getting owned. I was feeling the sting of a personal failure as I failed to block a touchdown pass, and I think we were all feeling the sting of our failure to get the necessary yardage and corresponding pointage.

We were feeling a little low when the neon's QB connected with a receiver who took off down the field. A receiver who didn't have flags. The NERVE! The insolence! The audacity! The unmitigated gall! (Name that movie!). So of course, my teammates who tried to grab her flags became confused as she DIDN'T have any. And just to clarify, they didn't fall off while she was running, she STARTED with them off. For reals. So she got through two teammates who both tried to grab for her non-existent flags and then made it to the end zone where she started celebrating obnoxiously. My teammates, of course, were trying to point out to the ref that she didn't have flags for us to pull, but the ref was a newbie and trying to insist that we were supposed to one-hand touch her.

This is maybe when I lost my temper a wee bit and I wish I had said something a little more biting, or witty or something, but alas... it's like in "You've Got Mail" when she talks about how she can never think of the right things to say in the moment... Anyway, I started talking back to the ref a little bit, pulled something like "How are we supposed to know that?! You can't tell us that AFTER it has already happened!" To which the ref responded, "You should have read the rulebook." SERIOUSLY?? Seriously! Another teammate slyly asked then if we could just "choose not to wear flags?" Then the other ref stepped in and called it, finally, and the girl was penalized for not wearing flags. But by this time we were losing, the blonde ref was on my bad side, and the QB was on an even worse side. (and PS- looked up the "rulebook" on the intramural website and you have to check out the "rulebook" from the intramural office- there is no way ANYBODY checks that out. They're havin a laugh.)

Winning seemed to be a little beyond our reach at this point, unless of course we were going to go all BYU basketball comeback on their behinds... But at the very least, I wanted the QB's flags. I wanted to take her down. I would settle for "accidentally" taking the ref too. Just kidding... From that point on, rushing was my domain. Cue Coach Yoast yelling," I don't want them to gain another yard! You blitz all night..." great speech, one of Yoast's best moments, in my opinion.

I am happy to say that they did not get another touchdown. And though I did not get the much-desired sack, I got pretty dang close -one time her flag was in my hand as she released the ball, I was just a tiny bit too slow- and I would like to think I put some good pressure on... but we still lost.

There were some positives to the situation, though. The first being that for the first time in months, maybe longer, I was actually a little fired up and the competitive juices were flowing and I actually CARED about winning, or not losing by even more as the case may be. (Think Grinch- and I care- what is the deal?!). The second- we got our Shamrock Shakes. We waited for those like ALL day. And though it pains me to admit it, they weren't quite as good as we had built them up to be. But the idea of Shamrock Shakes was still beautiful, even if the slightly toothpastey-mint taste wasn't.

All was not lost, even if the game was. But, I really did have fun and sometimes it is a little fun to get a lil' riled up over inconsequential things, let the inner monster out for a some play time...

I also might have accidentally-on-purpose tried to trip the ref. kind of. Not for real, but maybe kind of for real. Also, this is unrelated, but one girl on my team grabbed for a flag and grabbed the girl's pants instead and ripped them. So quality. I am so ready for my next game. I am not, however, ready for any of my papers.

PS- when we had the COOLEST Shakespeare class ever this week and if I ever stop hating my major again I might blog about it. But I just can't do it at the present time.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Retraction

Sometimes I use blogging as a procrastination method. And when I say sometimes, I really mean usually. I pretend like I am using it for a "warm-up" or to help "unclutter my mind," basically I can come up with reasons (euphemism for "excuse") all day for why at that particular time I just really NEEDED to blog. The devil made me do it? Ok, fine I will take the ruler to my palm later, because I need my hand right now for typing.

Obviously tonight I am still procrastinating, which I guess could be considered a cause for concern or whatever, but what REALLY is disconcerting is the fact that I have absolutely NOTHING to say about ANYTHING to ANYONE. For realsies. I usually write in my journal before a paper to "unfetter" my mind, but this is what my journal entry looked like...

Friday, March 9, 2012

I am not even yoking with you (and no that wasn't a typo, the "y" was intentional, so pronounce it that way). There was nothing that I wanted to express with words- nothing except a vast emptiness where my words usually reside. Are you concerned now? Cuz I am!

It all started about a month or two ago... There was this paper. This really unfortunate paper. With no due date. And not just one of these papers, but three. Sounds like a dream come true, yes? Think again. Now, maybe this is just an indication of the fact that I am a lousy student (or perhaps an indication that school is just really busy and you can always find something else with a higher priority attached), but I should be finishing my second paper up this weekend. But I am not. In fact, I haven't done the second because I haven't even finished the first. (I just pictured a room full of people giving me the thumbs-down sign and it was really sad, but I couldn't help but feel that it was deserved). Yay me.

So with these papers looming over my head, taunting me, reminding me that I should have already written them, hissing through my dreams- I find myself retreating from them (think ramming speed only if Charlton Heston were pansying out majorly). My ability (which wasn't that substantial in the first place) becomes more and more crippled with the passing of time and I am starting to worry that any minute now sentence fragments will be. too. much. for. me. (Get it?! Sentence fragments! bahaha!).

But tonight, all of that was going to change. I was going to show the first paper what is up. It was not to be. I dutifully confined myself to the dungeon that is the library and gathered my research materials, claimed my table (oh yes, MY table- refer to blog "Knockout Punch" from last September), and sat down to change the world with my highly intelligent and unique paper. Fingers hovering over the keyboard, I tried to think of an opening and this is what I got.


Yep. I am doomed. And then I reverted to my usual procrastination technique of blogging to avoid writing what I really need to write. Maybe I will just write a novel instead. Short story? Epic poem?

I know I recently blogged about how much I LOVE being an English major because Shakespeare has swagger (PS- he totally invented that word. So legit) and Tennyson makes my heart sing. Well, consider this my retraction. Maybe just a temporary retraction, but as of right now, my major has fallen out of my favor, or rather, I have fallen out of favor with my major. Bummer.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Warning: The following post may have material that is offensive to science people... so, "choose wisely, for while the following post will bring you life..." Just kidding. Name that movie?!

I recently had my own close encounter with alien life-forms.

I could practically hear the five-tone musical phrase chime in my ears as I entered the ESC- that is science-speak for the Eyring Science Center (not to be confused with the EAC- points for naming the movie!). I was coerced, practically abducted (Barry style!) and forced to enter into the physics lab. I broke out in a cold sweat that had absolutely nothing to do with the many stairs we had to climb. The breathlessness might have been slightly associated with the stairs, but most likely it was the weight of the terror pressing in on me inhibiting my breathing. OK, fine, maybe the stairs contributed a little. But mostly just the terror. After winding endlessly through passages- some of them obscured by walls that weren't really walls- I was slightly startled when we came to the door. THE door. The unhappy, white paint on the wall should have overwhelmed me and stopped me in my tracks, but I bravely plunged forward and followed my abductors through the door. Immediately the pungent smell of whiteboard markers and sadness washed over me.

Any delusion I had entertained about overhearing snippets of conversation including the words (but not limited to, of course) "Vega," "Vulcan," "red matter," "transporters" quickly evaporated as the reality of messy-looking equations laughed malignantly in my face.

Perhaps even more disconcerting, if that is possible, than the actual equations scrawled over the whiteboards were the individuals inhabiting the room. To the unobservant eye, one might say they looked "normal" and maybe even were enjoying their stay (except of course the kid that was muttering, and probably cursing, under his breath). But therein lies the problem. The alien life forms have managed to fool us into adopting them as our own and tricked us into thinking they LIKE their choice. As if!!!! (Add a kind of dopey-teenage-girl-voice to that and name that movie!). Just kidding. Maybe they actually do like physics. (I have a hard time just letting that statement stand without adding some expression of disbelief again, but I am going to restrain myself).

My abductors reminded me that I was now in the hallowed halls of the physics lab so I should probably stop being me and refrain from doing "Tara-like" things. A few specifics mentioned were breaking out into song randomly, saying ANYTHING about Shakespeare, something about "laughing boisterously" was mentioned, and under no circumstances should I attempt to fraternize. I would be detected and (possibly) forcibly ejected immediately. I will admit, I had a little Stockholm Syndrome thing going on (I was with Amy and Kaylee), so I acquiesced to their petitions and tried to keep my cool. I did, however, make the mistake of whispering and was quickly informed that by whispering I was drawing MORE attention to myself because talking was actually allowed. More humane policies than I expected from the aliens. They were even allowed to eat, and like, actually eat, not the "snacking on children while they dream" sort of thing. (Name that movie? getting sick of that yet?)

I was adjusting quite well to my new environment, quietly going about my business, writing a paper, being unobtrusive, being a very good girl. Then, a horrific thing happened. Kaylee had to leave. Just me and Amy against the physics people. I had no way of knowing whose side Amy would take if it came to a battle. She was technically one of them. But we shared a bond (and if I remember any science stuff from high school I would throw in some word like "ionic" or "covalent," but just know that it is a strong bond), a bond forged almost the same way Sauron forged his ring in the fires of Mount Doom. Except we were in London not Mordor, and our friendship was not forged in secret- though I do hope that it has power above the forgement of friendship with the physics "friends."

But we were soon to find out how true the friendship was.

Amy left.

She said it would be for but a moment. Tried to comfort me with soft words. But she still left. She left me to the physics aliens. Most likely they were going to savagely pick me apart and take my brain just like that one alien lady did with Spock's. They would be vastly disappointed though. Not exactly what you would call a "spock" if you know what I mean.

Amy left and I tried to avoid eye contact. Kept the breathing quiet... but I had a plan. Just in case. If anybody even attempted to ask me something I would just channel my inner Dr. McCoy and throw out the "I'm an English major, not a physicist!" Luckily, everybody left me alone and Amy returned eventually.

After getting sufficiently high on that whiteboard marker smell, Amy had finished her work at the lab and was ready to depart. And let's just say that I was not like Roy, hoping to be selected to join the aliens on the mothership. Let's also just say that I packed up my stuff in record time, covertly shoved my Shakespeare anthology in the bottom of my backpack and got the heck out of there (with Amy's help of course- that place is a MAZE!). I was like Barry. Finally (!) released from my abduction. Though I still plan on maintaining a Stockholm-syndrome-ish relationship with my captors, I do not necessarily plan on returning to the home of the five-tone anthem. I hope to spend the remainder of my days sequestered in my own little mothership- the JFSB. A place with a lot of windows, a nice little courtyard area, a balcony- in short, a place where you might find unicorns and stuff. Trust me on that one. Or don't.

I'm glad I lived to tell the tale of my alien encounter and I wish all of you similar success in navigating through the perilous roads of life.

May you live long and prosper (hand signal).

Monday, January 23, 2012

Be a Tree

I should probably start off by apologizing. This post could be potentially annoying as I am going to be making some references back to some posts I have made in the past. Basically just two, and I wish I knew how to do that little "click on this and go back" thing but I'm not so good with the technology, so I will just let you know which blogs to check out from the past, if you are so inclined.

I don't know about you guys, but I was always OK with Shakespeare. I respected the man. I mean, you can't deny the man is a genius, but I never felt the passion. Or, I guess, more accurately, I occasionally felt the passion but I never fell deeply in love with Shakespeare. Maybe this is bad for me to be admitting, you know, as a future English teacher, but I share my story in the hopes that maybe other people can also become converts to the Shakespeare.

Just to recap, sure Shakespeare probably liked tea, I would have tea with him, but let's just say he wasn't my cup of tea. But that all changed for me one day. (Refer back to Wednesday, June 1- "The World Must Be Peopled"). For those of you who are lazy (just kidding), that is the day that I saw "Much Ado About Nothing" at the Globe. Not only that, but I actually MET and TALKED with the guy that played Benedick. It was life-changing for me and I would say it completed my conversion to a Shakespeare-ite.

So in previous semesters I might not have been pumped about taking the Shakespeare class, but after London and the Globe, I was ready for Shakespeare class. (PS- Shakespeare must now always be said with an uppity, British accent. Just think, "How would Sir Percy Blakeney, Baronet say Shakespeare" and go with that). Not only was I ready, but some of my London peeps were also game! Remember my dear friends Shelisa, Amy, and Kaylee? They are all in the class with me. Bringing the London party to Provo.

Anyway, first day of classes, I go to my Shakespeare class, Norton Anthology in tow, feathered quill with which to take copious notes. Don't even worry- we have a STAGE in our classroom. Let's just say my hopes were really high for the rest of the course. Naturally, I experimented with the performability of the stage before taking my place on the front row. Just kidding, I actually sit on the second row in that class because if you sit on the front row your feet are hindered by the stage, so second row is the way to go.

The professor walks in and a hush falls over the crowd. Not really, but we jump right in and start discussing how Shakespeah (not a typo, just encouraging proper pronunciation) "has shaped modern consciousness as no other artist has done." And whether or not if ol' Billy really has the power to "make us laugh, make us think, to shock us, to challenge us to be better and wiser." Basically at this point, I was on the edge of my seat, pumped up about life and I was having a hard time containing the excitement. Many a side-long looks were cast in the directions of the London peeps and if somebody listened closely, they might have heard little squeals of excitement escaping. I was trying to keep it cool though, obviously.

First day of Shakespeah class was a dream. And the crazy thing? All uphill from there. Next class, we review the whole iambic pentameter thing. Seemingly boring, perhaps even overdone, but NO! It was brilliant. He compared it to a heartbeat and I was sold, especially when we started looking at those certain lines and discussing how some fit the iambic pentameter and others were slightly off and what that meant. My mind was blown. Or, how sometimes he switches from more prose-y language into rhyming couplets in certain emotional situations. Brilliant. Phrases like "anapestic dimeter" and "acatalectic" were being thrown around. Things were getting crazy!

Then he uttered some statement about how we were now going to read lines and we were going to take it one step at a time and read each word, each line, each thought, but we had to "feel it's energy." We were told to feel "the energy from word to word, the energy from line to line, the energy from thought to thought." Then he said, "Yeah, I know, it's like I'm telling you to be a tree." I was a goner. We started reading lines from plays with a partner, focusing on the energy of the words. Now, I am sort of a cheeseball, dramatic nerd in the first place, so when somebody is encouraging me to get into being who I naturally am, I am not going to resist. (who am i kidding? I don't even need encouragement most of the time. Most of the time, in fact, people try to discourage me). Holy cow. If you don't think that individual words and lines have a specific energy, go and pick some Shakespeah and start reading- because you can tell when you are not reading with the right energy! Just try it. It is wildly satisfying.

Possibly the most fun lines to read were from "A Midsummer Night's Dream." I read for Helena (the spurned, slightly pathetic woman who loved a man that did not love her) and just tell me you don't feel the energy of these lines:

H: And even for that do I love you the more.
I am your spaniel, and, Demetrius,
The more you beat me I will fawn on you.
Use me but as your spaniel: spurn me, strike me,
Neglect me, lose me; only give me leave,
Unworthy as I am, to follow you.
What worser place can I beg in your love-
And yet a place of high respect with me-
Than to be used as you use your dog?

Isn't that just so beautifully tragic?! Tell me every girl hasn't felt that way at some point or another? Maybe even some guys... Or, this quote from "As You Like It" that I absolutely love:

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages...
Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

So yeah, next time you have the chance, maybe just pick up some Shakespeah and give it a second chance. Or a first chance. Shakespeare is too good not to share.I don't want to sound like I am bearing my testimony of him, but let's just say I might have one. In a very non-sacrilegious way, of course. Also, just picture for a minute, an entire class of English dorks reading Shakespeah lines with the "right" energy. Yeah.

Which leads me to my next point. One time I was reflecting on how I have a lot of "bad" habits I have picked up as a result of being an English major (I will refer you back to my October 3rd post entitled "Public Humiliation"). I was lamenting the choice of black as my favorite color in a Miss-Havisham sort of way, but not really because she is awesome, and I realized that there were some other "odd" habits I have picked up. My roommates helped me compile this list. One of my roommates even pulled up her "Tara's Weird Quirks" list to help me think of some. I am not kidding. She seriously has a word document with a list of all my weird habits.

Tara's English Quirks:

1. Has a hard time answering questions with simple answers. Has to give supporting evidence and commentary.
2. Finds John Keats applicable to everyday life.
3. Likes to look for patterns and themes in all media (Star Wars compared to the gospel as a main area of focus, along with disney movies).
4. Makes people like at the sky- at all times of the day. (My roommate specified that she is not quite sure if this has to do with English stuff or not, but it was odd and she thinks there is correlation, if not causation- and if I were not an English major, I would be able to tell you which of those science-y words was applicable).
5. Cries over John Keats sometimes.
6. Thinks everything relates to a book she just read.
7. Has a tendency to scribble in a notebook by her bed in the middle of the night when little insights strike her in relation to the current paper she is writing (Again, the roommate loves this- also, very good at writing in the dark).

Though I am not sure if I really believe her, one of my roommates insisted they were all "endearing" whilst the other one laughed. Most likely at me.

8. Uses the word "whilst" - one of the roommates also said I had a penchant for using big words. She did not seem too pumped about that particular trait either.

In short, this might come across as slightly testimonial again, but I love being an English major even if it has tailored me to be an odd sort of person. Almost every day I get to read something that makes me excited to live and that tugs at the heartstrings a little bit. I read about the darker side of human nature and the sorrow of life, but then I get to read about the joy in living and the beauty of humanity. Every single day I ask myself, "Why does this matter to me? What makes this important? Why is this lasting?" and as I ponder those questions in relation to the texts I am currently reading, my answer are always satisfying and in a lot of ways they reaffirm my actual testimony that I have in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

One quote I came across from author John Connolly really resonated with me. He said, "The reading of fiction encourages us to view the world in new and challenging ways. I have always believed that fiction acts as a prism, taking the reality of our existence and breaking it down into its constituent parts, allowing us to see it in a completely different form. It allows us to inhibit the consciousness of another, which is a precursor to empathy, and empathy is, for me, one of the marks of being a decent human being." If you don't like your major, come to mine and make your life better. Or, at the very least, pick up a book and let it affect you. Let Shakespeare inspire you. Build a relationship with the Hogwarts family. Love Captain Jack Elliott. Cry over John Keats (and invite me so I can cry with you). Most importantly, memorize the last part of Tennyson's Ulysses so that you always have some motivation.

Come my friends,
'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will

To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

This is why I am an English major. Amen.