Tuesday, August 28, 2012

How To Prepare for the New School Year

I don't want to brag or anything, but I'm a pretty stellar student.  I got an overwhelmingly positive response to my post entitled How to Write a Really Long Paper, so I thought I'd help you out once more.  This time I will share my knowledge by providing useful tips on how to prepare for the new school year. 

Most of you probably already started school in the past week, and for this I apologize.  It would've been better for you to use this new-found knowledge earlier, but I wanted all my advice to come straight from my present life.  Which means all of my counseling is from these past few weeks up until now. 

Starting a new school year can be really exciting and even a little scary because a lot is changing in a little amount of time.  Before classes even start you have to move into your new apartment/dorm and unpack, meet any new roommates, grocery shop, and buy textbooks.  That is a lot of stuff, so take my advice and just don't do it.  At least not all at once. 

I was able to move into my new apartment last Thursday, and it was pretty tiring moving all those things from the car to my room.  I didn't want to exhaust myself, so I didn't start unpacking till yesterday.  Of course I'm doing it in increments, so I unpacked just one box.  I only have a few more to go. 

It's all about pacing yourself.
I also took a mini vacation during the last weekend of summer break.  I went to Yellowstone with work friends and it was a blast.  I even became friends with a chipmunk.
If Celeste's head wasn't in the way you would see Old Faithful.

That's a buffalo.  Their natural habitats are man-made streets.
This was a much needed break, because I wanted to get away from all the stress of the upcoming school year.  Like I said, I didn't want to unpack everything right away, and I thought it would be better to miss the first week of church in my new student ward.  I would have blended in if I had shown up the first week like everyone else.  This way when I finally show up to church I'll be the intriguing new girl.

Since I was gone over the weekend, I wasn't able to meet my new roommate when she moved in.  I got home around 3am Saturday night, so I met her the next morning.  First impressions are crucial to friendships or any type of relationship in general, which is why I wanted to really nail it with my new roomie.  The first time she saw me I was walking into our bedroom from the bathroom in a t-shirt and underwear.  She said, "Hi, I'm Brook."  And I replied, "I'm Kristen."  And then I went back to bed.  She saw me at a very vulnerable moment considering I was hardly dressed and still half-asleep.  Because of this, Brook knew she could trust me because I trusted her. 

Grocery shopping is also pretty important when you move into your new place.  Like I already mentioned, it doesn't have to be done right away though.  If you wait it saves money, and time.  I have yet to buy any new food, so I'm happily living off of garbanzo beans, animal crackers, greek yogurt, and peanut butter bread.  

I also haven't bought any of my new books yet.  Don't worry about completing your first few assignments or readings, it's all worth the wait when you can avoid the lines. 

Actually, now that I think about it, most of my advice is just to wait.  Some may call it procrastination or laziness, but don't let their negativity fool you.  Life is more exciting if you wait till the last minute to do things.  For example, I left two of my bikes locked up outside of the apartment complex I lived in during Spring and Summer semesters.  Technically, I wasn't allowed to leave them there once I had moved out, but I kind of forgot about them.  I knew they were going to cut the locks and sell the bikes that were left behind, so I went back to good old Liberty Square Apartments to see if my bikes had been cut loose yet.  The whole time I walked towards Lib Square the excitement multiplied while I wondered whether my two bikes had been taken or not.  I wasn't let down.  My mind was blown when I discovered that my lock was gone along with one of my bikes.  The surprising detail was my road bike (worth 3x the amount of my other bike) was still there just resting against the railing.  What an exciting mystery to solve!  It's pretty thrilling to experience a real-life robbery.

I also recommend waiting to pick up your apartment key at least a few days after you move in.  I just got mine today, and I only got locked out twice.  Like I said, it's just more excitement. 

So those are some tips about preparing for the new school year, but what about the first day of school??  The first day of classes will provide hundreds of first impressions, and like I said, those are very important.  Many people mistakenly think that they have to wear their new cute clothes on those first few days of school, but they're wrong.  You don't want people thinking that you care too much.  Then you just look desperate.  Instead, you want to look only halfway decent so your peers know that you are confident enough to rely on solely your good looks instead of richly attire.  Meghan and I both did this and it was pretty obvious how awesome we were.  I also didn't have many options since I still hadn't unpacked.  Killing two birds with one stone!

I hope these tips were useful.  Just follow them and you will be an awesome student like me.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Road Trips

Sometimes road trips sound like fun.  Like when you're with a group of friends and someone says "We should just drive to Vegas!"  Or, "Let's go to California! ROAD TRIP!"  That sounds enjoyable, except we never actually do it.  Sadly, my experiences with road trips are not exactly a party.

My dad's side of the family lives in Washington state, which is basically as far away as possible from Ohio.  Lots of people don't know where Ohio is, so I'll draw you a map of how freaking far apart they are.
I would just like to add that I drew this free-handed on my computer.  So yeah.
Sometimes we would fly to Washington, but we've driven there a few times also.  Basically you have to do two 14 hour days of straight driving to get there.  And I didn't even drive back then.  I just sat in the back sleeping, eating, and watching movies the whole time.  Now I'm older and I still want to do all those things, but I don't get to.  I'm still not sure why.

Anyway, last week Jenai and I drove from Utah to Washington to meet up with family there.  I was going to be gone during the check-out day for my apartment, so I had to move out a week early.  Which means I packed all night, went to bed at 3am, and then woke up at 6am to clean.  The plan was to hit the road at 9am, we left at 11.  Whatever, we made good time and arrived at my grandparents' in eleven hours. 

Although we arrived in eleven hours instead of the planned thirteen, it still felt like forever.  Both Jenai and I were running on hardly any sleep, and I felt guilty every time I took a little nap.  Those guilty feelings didn't last very long because after a few hours, Jenai asked me to take over the wheel.  No problem right?  Sure, if I could drive stick shift -- Which I can't -- At least not well (remember this post)?  Yeah, so I woke up with Jenai pulling off onto a road in the middle of nowhere asking me if I could drive.  I was out of it, so I just said, "Uh...sure."  Never mind I hadn't driven stick in over a year, and quite badly at that.  It was all ok though.  I didn't stall getting into first gear and then it was easy sailing in 5th on the highway.

A good thing to remember while driving in the west is there aren't many stops, and when there are, you better get gas.  So we stopped at a lot of gas stations.  A lot of crappy gas stations.  We had to stop in some town in Idaho and the pump was so ancient, Jenai had to ask how to use it.
Yeah, you pump that gas.

The picture is kind of blurry because our windshield was covered with dead bugs.
Then we made it into Oregon and apparently they have gas attendants who pump your gas for you.  (Because it's really hard to do it yourself).  Of course we didn't realize this, so when the creepy guy with the long hair walked up to our car we thought he was going to do something much worse than pump our gas.
It's probably creepier that I took a picture of him.
 Road trips can be exciting when  you see the landscape change.  We definitely saw a change out of Utah's mountains.  The majority of the drive looked like this:
 It was really exciting.  We did get to drive through Seattle and the mountain pass so it was pretty for a little bit.
But not for long.  We entertained ourselves by listening to music and then Tina Fey's Bossypants.  I'm pretty sure I've listened to that audiobook five times now.  I love her.

Then we drove through this swampy place and our windshield got even more disgusting.  So many bugs were hitting the car it sounded like it was raining.  Oh gosh, it was so gross.

Another fun thing about road trips is all the junk food you bring to snack on.  I had just moved out, so I didn't have any food and Jenai didn't either.  We stopped at a gas station and I bought a big bag of trail mix and some chex mix.  And that was what I ate for lunch and dinner.  So much trail mix.

Then we got there safe and sound.  The end.