It’s About Who You Know…

After high school, adults advise, “don’t miss an exam,” “you should probably study,” and “this is your time to explore.” Everyone claimed college will be the best four years of my life. I’m going to make so many friends. I’ll get to take classes that truly interest me. It’s going to be nonstop fun!

Don’t get me wrong, I had fun.

But I also struggled a lot this year.

I went to Iowa State for a degree in Animal Ecology but soon realized: not for me.  Keeping up with classes was difficult.  My grades tumbled and I kept a lot to myself, suddenly aware that I made the wrong choice.

I tolerated people more so than befriending them.  No one could replace people I loved already.  Besides, everyone was BFFs already and I didn’t want to intrude.  So I coexisted with my roommate and struggled academically, relying on the occasional care package and online shopping shipment to brighten my day.

By winter, I even considered transferring, my gut telling me to get out.  But that felt like quitting; I would change my major and see what happens.

During this time, what kept my spirits up was the Motion Sickness Dance Team, a hip hop club.  Fellow dancers brightened my spirits, I couldn’t bring myself to part with them.

To change my major, I had to fit an entire year’s worth of a core design program in just one semester.  Everyone said I was crazy.  Professors thought it shouldn’t be allowed, yet this spring of 2015 had a record amount of students doing that exact thing.

I got a job, too. Coworkers insisted I’d go insane if I stayed there.  But I stayed.

I wanted to prove I was capable.  Even though spring was way busier than fall, somehow, I knew it would be better.

My year developed into something positive; coworkers, classmates, and club members taking my mind off the negatives.

Unfortunately, during the last full week of school, something happened.

As the Motion Sickness club turned into family, we were blindsided with a tragedy.

My good friend, dance partner, and future roommate passed away.

She was amazing.  Practice was never dull when she was around.  A music major, I could relate to her creativity.  Though she would deny it, she was a talented dancer, too.  How someone so bubbly, talented, and unique could leave this world so suddenly will forever remain a mystery.  Sometimes I think about her and picture her playing her piccolo in the afterlife, grinning down at us.  The Motion Sickness family flocked together during such a difficult time.  We were there to console, to hug, to remember the good times.  Now, I’m sure, I can’t leave them.

This year, packed with ups and downs, was a blessing in disguise; it made me stronger.  I grew from this experience and developed friendships that I know will last.

I’m proud to say I’ve been accepted to the Integrated Studio Arts program at Iowa State University and could not have done it without massive support.

My take away?  Make good friends and good things will happen.

That’s my first year at college, how did yours go?

-Frankie :*

Advertisements

Goodbye, But Only For Three Months

Freshman year went by as quickly as Speedy Gonzalez, but I loved it. Here are a few of my favorite things about my life at school:

1. My roommate. Freshman year would not have been the same without her. I’m not saying we were besties since day one. In fact, I’m not sure we’ve reached that level. But she was a great roommate and an even better friend. She introduced me to Skinny Pop, New Girl, Friends, Grey’s Anatomy and poetry. She also joined me in my ever ongoing procrastination methods. Needless to say, I lucked out with this whole “random roommate” situation.

2. My new friends. My college friends, especially those that live on campus, became my second “family”. They’re the people I see every day, the ones that ask me how my day went, the ones that make me laugh, the ones that do homework with me, the ones that I go out with, the ones that make a four-hour shift funner than it should be. My friends keep me functioning, and at some points they keep me sane.

3. Round-the-clock freedom. No, I’m not a wild child doing everything she can’t do when she’s home. I’m actually pretty well-behaved for the most part. It’s just nice not to have to let anyone know that I’m going out… (If you live in a Latino-Catholic household you may understand the struggle).

4. The Cities. Boy are they beautiful.

5. Campus is on point year-round.

6. Coffee is but a few strides away. Seriously. It was there when I needed it the most.

So bravo to the end of Freshman year and cheers to the beginning of a much awaited summer.

Three Things I Know

Let’s be honest, most people have a vision of what college is going to be like, whether that be raging parties every weekend or saying goodbye to sleep in place of homework.  I knew I would not be saying hello to parties and I would not be saying goodbye to sleep, but I didn’t know much else.  There wasn’t an ideal freshman year I had in my mind before starting and I think that really helped me not be disappointed with mine.

There were simple things I knew would happen:

1. I would make friends

2. I would learn things

3. College would be like nothing I’d ever experienced.

But there were also a lot of complicated things I never could have predicted:

1. School would be the easiest part of my life

2. I would sustain an injury that challenged me more than anything previously had, but which would also inspire me to change my life

3. My father would die

That’s not to say that classes were easy. First semester Logic kicked my butt (though I ended up getting a B).  Even the classes I liked were a lot of work.  College is nice because you’re in the classroom for less cumulative hours than in high school, but you get more homework, which is fine, just time consuming.  You’ve gotta know how to budget your time.  So what I’m trying to say is that classes weren’t easy, but everything else was harder. My dad died 3 days before I was supposed to have surgery, 9 days before Christmas.  I’m not trying to illicit sympathy, I’m just trying to say that it was a lot all at once.

But I made it through.  And I am better for it and stronger for it.  This year I learned that upside down A’s exist in math(so do backward E’s), that abstractions are a no-no in fiction writing, and that Martin Luther talked a lot of trash. but I also learned that I can do anything.

I was on the Dean’s list both semesters. I got a poem and a short story published in my University’s literary magazine.  I won 3rd place in a short story writing contest. I ran a 5k.  And those are only my quantifiable accomplishments.  Did freshman year go as smoothly as I hoped?  Not even close.  But it set me up to handle any bumps I’ll face in the future and, somehow, it has given me a more positive outlook.  This year was a blessing in disguise (a really good disguise).

Look Back At It

One word – parties. UW-Madison truly is the party school of America. I most definitely had a “life in the fast lane” phase throughout my freshman year; nonetheless, I managed to stay on the Dean’s List for each semester (so no need to worry about my priorities).

What sucked? Classes of course. I think that is a given, however. Freshmen aren’t at liberty to take as many interesting classes as they may want to – those pesky general college requirements are no joke. What I will say bombed the most is living so far away from my friends. Madison is a HUGE campus both physically and in terms of enrollment. While living on the Lakeshore side of campus was astoundingly serene and peaceful, I hated that seemingly long bus ride back to my dorm after a night out. Don’t get me wrong, the walks along Lakeshore Path (AKA “Rapeshore” Path after 8:00pm) were great. But walking gets boring – really fast.

There is hardly ever a dull moment on campus, which is why I loved it so much. The support and energy that my fellow Badgers had on game days was something that you have to see to believe. Even after we lost against Duke in the Final Four, we still managed to throw a huge block party on State Street where there was nothing but drunk college kids turning up because that’s what we do best.

Overall, I can say that college went as I thought it would. Classes got really hard, really fast. But aside from that, I made some lasting connections with people who are truly unforgettable. One of my small, but memorable accomplishments of the year would definitely be getting an A on a paper. Ya’ll, that has not happened since like 8th grade. DSHA’s English department was NO JOKE. The cherry on top was that not only did I get an A on a paper, I got an A on a SPANISH PAPER! One hiccup that I had along the way was deciding whether or not to change my major. I went through such a rough time of my life where nothing seemed like it would work out. Not only was I stressed about my classes, but I was also stressed about supporting myself financially (I’m sure many college kids know what this feels like). In the end, I worked it out like I always do. I ended up changing my majors from engineering and Spanish to nursing and Spanish, but now of course (because I’m Mia, the girl who loves to make things complicated) I’m changing my major back to engineering and Spanish. Hopefully this is the last of my confusion.

Needless to say, I absolutely cannot wait for what sophomore year brings. I’ll have another story to be told shortly . . .

Money on My Mind

Money makes the world go round. It also happens to be a hot commodity on any college campus. My first year of college consisted of studying, working, a little bit of socialization, and a lot of worrying about money. After first semester, it became apparent that although I thought a relative was helping me pay for school, I would now be paying for the remainder of my college. At first I was okay with this. My parents never claimed that they would be able to pay upfront. But soon the reality of how much money it really costs to go to college set in. My second semester was marked by a lot of stress: about classes, about money, and about a personal situation that came up halfway into the semester. 

It’s hard for me to write this post because right now, I don’t know what I’m doing for school next semester. I may stay at Marquette, but more likely than not I will be transferring to a community college. After this year, I’m tired of money consuming my thoughts and of every decision I make being made with money in mind.

While this may seem like a negative post, my freshwoman year was not all negative. It wasn’t what I expected, but things rarely are.  I met some awesome people and was lucky to participate in some awesome events, including meeting Laverne Cox! I learned a lot about myself, including that I need to be more disciplined with studying 😛 I also learned that no matter the distance, if you care about keeping friendships alive, you will. And that’s all.

My Surgery Struggle

Holy crap. It’s been five months since I had surgery. This post has been a long time coming, and so has the re-start of our blog.  We got a little busy there at the end of the year but now we’re back and we’re college sophomores!  Let’s kick it off!

Back in February of 2014 I was finishing my basketball season and I jumped up for a rebound and landed badly.  My left knee popped and felt all wrong. We went to the clinic and the doctor told us it was patellar tendonitis.  Looking back now, she should have ordered an MRI because:

a. popping is a huge indicator of ACL tears

b. an MRI is the only definite way to diagnose a tear

c. basketball is the highest risk sport for girls to tear their ACL

I did physical therapy for about two months and got back into sports where I found the popping had come back.  It would happen periodically, swell up, and then go away after a few days. There was nothing I could do. But on October 23rd it popped out again while I was at school.  Only this time I wasn’t playing a sport, it just buckled.  I started panicking because I knew this time was worse and I had to take the trains home.  It’s a wonder I made it without crutches.

Mom scheduled me an appointment at the sports clinic again and we saw the same doctor.  This time she ordered an MRI, but I didn’t get the results until after I was back at school.  Both my meniscus and ACL were torn, the kicker being that there was none of the regular bruising that comes with an ACL tear so they concluded I’d torn it months earlier.

While waiting to see the surgeon I slowly weened myself off the crutches because, let me tell you, they are a super b%^&$ on campus.  The surgeon explained that my meniscus was sandwiched between my knee bones and putting weight on it was doing more damage so crutches were a necessity.  There were two extra horrible things about that fact:

a. There’s nothing you can do to replace a meniscus if it’s shot

b. Why the heck did my first doctor not tell me that when she read the MRI?

I immediately got back on crutches (ugh) and scheduled surgery for November 23rd. Two days before the operation I found a sore on my leg that required antibiotics and which prohibited me from having the surgery for at least three weeks.

At that point I had to push it to December 19th and crutch around for the rest of the semester, which was really the worst part. So I finished my exams and sat at home, following all the pre-surgery instructions. When we still hadn’t gotten a call about my assigned time mom called and asked.  They said, “You’re not on the roster.”

To which my mother replied, “That’s a bunch of boo-hockey. Why not?”

Claiming we didn’t turn in the necessary forms, they omitted us from the schedule.  The screwy thing about that is how my mother specifically asked what we needed to do and the nurse said, “We can take care of it all.”

Being too late to argue about it, we just rescheduled. Again. At first they said I couldn’t come in until January 7th, which was a problem since I was supposed to be back at school by then, but mom managed to finagle them into December 29th (phew).  Even then I had to miss my first week of school, which put me pretty far behind.

But the 29th came and I FINALLY got surgery!

me

Now I have two screws in my leg. I spent a week in a machine that moved my knee for me and another month on crutches (totalling over 3 months in all). Now, entering into June, I’m five months post-surgery and going strong.  I’m still in physical therapy for another month or two, but I’m okay with that.  Rehab is a lot of work, but it’s taught me numerous valuable lessons and provided a starting line for some exciting personal developments.  What developments, you ask?  I’ll tell you next time.

Mich out.