Monday, August 30, 2010

*grumble* I had a post written out. GAH.

I had a post, but it is gone. I will update later in the week. :)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Six o'clock already? I was JUST in the middle of a dream...

(You need to skip to 0:22 to get to the actual song)

So here it is. Monday. The day of shared dread, the poor victim of our beginning of the week stress, and obviously part of the title of a song by a pretty awesome girl band of the 80's... Worthy of a Gilmore Girls cameo. As I mentioned in my last post (it's online, so it MUST be true) I'm now going to start posting EVERY Monday, and some days in between. So here it is. Why am I having so much trouble coming up with something to write about? Oh yeah- because there's no room left in my brain! Why? Howabout we take a look at my upcoming school schedule and see?

World Epic Lit
American History
Micro Economics
World Religions
French 2.

I'm exhausted just reading that list. But I'm also reminded why I do it all, why I've loaded myself with so many classes- it's because of a dream. Or, well, dreams.

I distinctly remember (and my friend Abbey will back me up on this) that as a 9-10-11yr old, I wanted three things in my life. I wanted to go to Hawaii, visit American Girl Place, and get my OWN laptop. Yes, I wanted a laptop as a nine year old. What can I say? I am happy to report that I have been to American Girl place, (I went during a visit to Chicago. It was amazing) and I have my own laptop. It only took me 8 years, but here I am. And the Hawaii thing? I might like to visit, but I really have no strong desires to go anymore. If I could choose one place to visit, it would either be somewhere in Europe, (probaby Paris or London) Seattle, or New York. Can you tell that I love cities?

When I was 13, I remember sitting on a blanket during an easter egg hunt (it was for the younger kids. I always liked hunting easter eggs) and someone suggested that I go into journalism. I had always said that I wanted a career as a writer, whatever I could get. Age 13 to... oh, 15 I was GOING to be a journalist. Ideally someone who worked for BBC, so I would have to travel back and forth from London (where I would live most of the time) to New York (only temporary, of course) all the time. But dreams change.

Like I no longer want to go to Hawaii, I don’t really want to be a journalist. Sure, it would be neat, but I like creating stories. I always did. It’s true that life is often stranger than fiction, but I wanted the strangeness to be my own creation. My dreams now are really different.

Through this college road trip, the one place I have fallen in love with more than any other, is New York. As of September of last year, I had never really considered writing a novel, until I opened a word document on my fancy-dancy new laptop, and began to write. I found out about this crazy thing called NaNoWriMo in October, signed up, and wrote 5011 words the next month, what would become my first completed novel.

My dreams are different now. I no longer want to live primarily in London, I really adore New York. I want to have a novel published (and NOT self-published) and I want to live in the city. I’ll work as a waitress to cover the bills,(if I have to) but hopefully pull an Ann Brashares, and work in publishing/editing/marketing while writing at 2 am. (Of course, my MAJOR dream right now would be to have a novel on the way to publication before college, write for four years, and have enough income to write full time, and live in an apartment with no more than one roommate. Dreaming here.) The point is that I want different things now. I see the world through potentially naive eyes, yes, but without the dream of something bigger, and the hope that I’ll reach those dreams, all I have is right here.

I have a laptop, and a head full of ideas, and a 3.somethingnottoosucky GPA. Those things in conjunction won’t get me anywhere. My grade point average isn’t going to convince an agent to sign with me, or Dutton to make an offer, or a college to fall at my feet. Dreams are what move us forward. The laptop holds a novel, and a dream. The Nottoosucky GPA holds the hope of college, the head full of ideas thinks big both academically and writing wise. But without that dream, I don’t go anywhere.

Without work, we rarely get what we want. But without dreams, we don't have something TO want. I'm excited about these dreams, but nervous that I won't achieve them. What will happen if I fail? Will my dreams change? What were your dreams when you were younger? What are they now?


5326 / 60000 words. 9% done!

Friday, August 20, 2010


I’m not really a rules person. I’m a bookish knitting hippie who likes to hang out in yoga pants all day, listening to Franz Ferdinand while reading Zelda Fitzgerald. I have a need to be surrounded by a computer, cell phone and book all at once, while wearing a “Save the Earth!” t-shirt. I de-stress by checking my email, or writing, or watching Gilmore Girls. I dream of living in a teenytiny apartment in New York, writing at three in the morning, waiting for my takeaway sesame chicken and lo mein to arrive. I would rather stay up really late and sleep in, rather than get up early, at the same time I love the energy early in the morning. It’s sunrises and coffee, and the fog/smog (I live in what is considered a rainforest- it’s actually fog here) is slowly disappearing from where it settled the night before. If I didn’t enjoy that thing we call sleep so much, I would live my life without it. I would run my life by freedom in my very basic security.

But, as much as I’m pained to say this, I think this might be a time for rules. I’ve been blogging when I could/thought of it for quite awhile now. I enjoy it immensely- I would have quit long ago if I didn’t like it. But with the school season steadily approaching, (SENIOR FREAKING YEAR) I need some structure. Again, in pain writing all of this. I have decided to post on Mondays and the occasional Friday. There is a certain degree of guilt involved in NOT posting- I like so many things that it’s difficult to just focus on one sometimes. If I’m in a position to write a blog post, and don’t already have something lined up, I’ll write something, and who knows- post it in the moment. That is my rule. Definitely post on Mondays, maybe on Fridays, and occasionally days in between.

Of course there’s much greater motivation behind this new policy, other than just school and life, and all that jazz. It’s something I never talk about on this blog- ever. Writing. If everything goes according to plan, I’ll have three novels (“draft” is a dirty word) written (I don’t care how bad they are. They count.) by December 1st. I’m only 17. My goal right now is to finish Alaska Junction by November 1st, which currently gives me a little less than three months to write 55,000 more words than I have now. If I can write at least 734 words a day, I’ll have a 60,000 word novel by then. Wooohoo! The reason for the schedule both writing-wise and posting wise, is that I want to jump out of this amateur zone. I want to live this. I want to write, and this is how I will do so. Or, at least try to do so. :)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Your ULTIMATE guide to college tours!

I’m not an expert on college tours, but after eleven of them spread out over thirteen states, I definitely have something to say, and a bit of advice.

You will get a feel of a campus within the first five minutes. This shouldn’t completely turn you off to a school, often times you’ll need re-evaluation, but some campuses will click, and others won’t.

Student-directed tours are your best bet. Faculty members are great, but students will know where the hangout spots are, and what the school is like. I’m sure there’s a certain amount of, “I was taught to say this”-itis, but most students will give you their honest opinion.

An info session AND campus tour might not be necessary everywhere. Depending on the school, the info session will be redundant. Every tour I went on had time for Q & A, throughout the tour. You’re able to SEE parts of campus, and get information about the different departments, which is often enough, especially if you’re just looking. If this is your dream school, use the resources, go to the information session, talk to everyone you can. The info session is a higher-level tour without the visuals, which are important. It’s possible to love an educational philosophy, but hate the campus.

Locate the undergraduate admissions office, and have a phone number. This will save you time, hassle, and energy when you first arrive on campus. It’s as simple as a quick google search. If we had gotten the number of the Yale admissions office, we wouldn’t have walked from our old campus parking spot to the admissions building clear across campus, then proceeded to walk the school grounds.

Be prepared with quarters.
We spent over half an hour in Cambridge, MA trying to find quarters to feed the meters. Especially in smaller towns, the parking will be limited, and parking decks might not be around.

Find a guide with your ideal major, similar interests, and one who SPEAKS LOUDLY. It seems obvious, but in the moment won’t occur to you.

Be prepared to sweat, walk and hear repeated information.
Most tours take place during the summer. If you manage to tour during a breezy day, be grateful. If you do both the tour and the info session, you will hear repeated information. Wear comfortable shoes, because the goal of the tour is to get an accurate picture of what campus living would be like, not just the pretty parts.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, BUT some questions are best with a personal answer.
At the same time, don’t ask stupid questions. You can find a lot on the website. We had several people ask things like, “Do you teach Latin?” or, “Do you have this major?” Google, people. GOOGLE.

Talk to your guide while you walk, and after the tour is finished!
They are people after all. I found out some really interesting info by talking to the guides, like obscure history facts, or where to get the best cup of coffee nearby. ;)

Bring a notebook. Take notes. Even if you don’t plan on reading them again, or even using them, they’ll help you stay awake during info sessions, and can be useful when comparing colleges.

Grab literature.
Reference for later. Just do it.

Communicate with the FA advisor, admissions department, faculty, students, whoever you come in contact with. Don’t stalk them or anything, but if you want to get into a school, knowing the system will help you out.

Ask about financial aid, loans, work study programs, grants, scholarships.
Just because a school says that they have great financial aid, perhaps even meeting you 100%, doesn’t mean that half of that won’t be loans that you get to pay off five years post-graduation. Work study programs are great- most have you working 10-12 hours a week, which is not a lot of time, and a lot less money that you have to pay.

Use your resources!
Twitter, social networking, etc. I asked several people for advice on places to eat, or see, which were far more useful than what I could find in a guidebook. (If you’re ever in Portsmith, Rhode Island, go to the creperie just off the Brown campus. Trust me.)

See the library.
You will use it, so you better love it.

Ask about greek life.
Dartmouth has heavy involvement in Greek life, and that’s not something I’m interested in. If you’re dying to rush, then Dartmouth may be your cup of tea!

Survey your surroundings. Gonna pick on Dartmouth again- Sorry! Dartmouth has a beautiful campus, in what I like to fondly describe as “Nowhere, New Hampshire.” I already live in Nowhere, North Carolina, so hopping from one to another doesn’t appeal to me. Loving the campus is important, but loving the area is of equal importance.

Ask what YOU’RE looking for in a campus, and out of your education. Not just in a major, but extracurriculars, study abroad programs, even the curriculum style. What do students do on the weekends? Do people stay on campus, or go into the nearest city?

You CAN visit during the school year.
In fact, I think I would recommend this. You get a REAL experience of the campus, instead of the watered down version of summer. I’ve also heard of schools giving credit or excused absences for visiting colleges.

Act like a normal person, PLEASE. You are not in competition with every person who is touring. Be nice. Again, this is NOT a contest. That stage comes during applications, silly! Your space will not be compromised by everyone in the info session. So, don’t act that way.

Be comfortable. Most people don’t dress up for tours or info sessions. Interviews call for a more formal outfit, but every interview I had dictated business/business casual attire. The best outfits can be more or less casual depending on what everyone around you is wearing, and won’t wrinkle easily. Tours and info sessions are even more relaxed. Don’t be a prep, wear your non-torn jeans, and nicer shorts, ideally ones without something written on the bum. :)

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I'll be attending... Will YOU?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The dangers of writing to a trend... Basically a long tweet.

Think about the publication process. Not only is the journey to creating an original piece difficult, it's also time consuming. I'm not an expert in the market, but any book start to finish will take YEARS. Now, your trend might last for years, (I do think this vampire thing has lasted awhile) and you could possibly have your work bumped up if it meets a need, but do you want to play like everyone else? By the time you give your work the time and attention it deserves, the trend will either be OVER, or people will be getting... Well, bored. Write something different. Don't abandon your project, but make it unlike any other. Write out of your comfort zone, write something you want to read- that doesn't already exist. ;)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Stealing from the other blog again. Stay Tuned!

I'm totally scatterbrained right now, so there is a strong likelihood that this post wont make sense. Here we go. IF you haven't realized, all of my posts that aren't several paragraphs long have been text updates. Great for brief, in the moment stuff, but not for actual info. It's Sunday morning around 12:30 AM, of course I haven't been to bed yet, so I consider today Saturday night. I'm FINALLY in a hotel with WIFI, and I don't have to get up at six tomorrow. Finished the last of our tours, Georgetown was absolutely gorgeous. I have a whole list of our likes and dislikes about these schools, and several REAL posts, but those will have to wait. This has been a whirlwind trip, nine days of campus security, and needs-blind financial aid, and SAT scores. I've waved at Glenna's (The Blue Lipstick Samurai, who happens to have a CONTEST going on!) MOM in a car on a highway, and stayed in a New York apartment, toured the Pentagon, and ate crepes in Rhode Island. And that is only the beginning. Give me a bit of time, and I will tell all. Thanks for going on this trip with me! :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

In which I cheat. New York, Little India, and Georgie's Diner!

Hey everyone- Happy August! I'm having a great time on this crazy road trip- here is one of the most recent posts on my trip blog,!

There was little to do but drive. Our goal was to arrive by a decent hour in West Haven, Connecticut in order to visit Yale and Brown Monday (today, as I write this). The GPS was helpful to a point, but after awhile,
“Turn right, then turn right,” and “Oh dear, turn around when possible.” gets OLD. On the way, we found ourselves on I 90, just around New York City. That’s when the trouble began. In order to travel over the George Washington Bridge, only a three mile stretch, we sat in the car during horrible, rush hour traffic. It took us about an hour and forty-five minutes to get from the beginning of the three miles to the end. Of course, we had been waiting all day to reach a certain gas station in New Jersey which sold FlexFuel, which our car would take. When we had three miles to go, this would have been no problem- an hour and forty five minutes later, however, we were running on fumes. This meant that we had to get off somewhere once past the three mile hell streak, and that place was New York, and we had to get there FAST. We reached the toll at the beginning of the bridge, and asked the attendant where the best place to get gas would be. Her answer?
“Best place was before the bridge.”
Helpful, right? The best gas station was behind us. Onward we drove, narrowly missing the crazy drivers of both New Jersey and New York. They are completely fearless, zipping in and around anyone going too slow, creating their own lanes, pulling out in front of a car if they want to or need to, no ten-second blinker time, no, ‘Will you let me in?’ they go. We drove over the bridge, this time going much faster but even more dependent on fumes, and suddenly found ourselves in a jungle like no other. New York. Suffice it to say, that driving in and around and over and under and stopping and starting and LOTS of car horns were a part of our lives for the next twenty minutes. We were on the phone with family members who were sitting safe at their computers looking for the nearest gas station for us, freaking out over the six cars who almost hit us, and worrying about the fact that our stopping and starting could soon become a permanent fixture, running out of gas in the middle of the Bronx, what we later discovered to be Harlem... How’s THAT for daunting? Thankfully, after much honking, trial and error, along with directions from several people who didn’t speak English, we made it to a BP, our last choice in refueling, but filled up all the same.

Then, we reassessed. Five, polite non-New Yorkers driving through Harlem in a rental car. We drove and stopped, and almost got “t-boned” whatever the heck that is. Finally, once moderately safe, we pulled over and laughed for about twenty minutes, part stress, part, “Oh my gosh, we just about died” and a heavy dose of exhaustion.

Eventually, we got to our hotel- sorry- motel, lovingly renamed “Little India.” The place smelled like curry, and not in a good way. It was nine pm when everything was moved into our room, and we were all starving. Back to the car we went, stopping at a restaurant that had Chicken in its name. We stopped in, sat down, and twenty minutes later after the waitress finally came over, were told that there was absolutely no chicken in the restaurant, meaning that they had hot dogs and rice. Obviously, we had to leave. Found another place, whose entrees ranged $15-20. Great for roadtrippers 3,000 miles away from home.

Isn't it cute?
But finally, FINALLY, we saw a small diner which was adorable, and open. In we walked, met a fantastic waitress, had amazing food, and brought take-out menus so that we could tell our friends. SO. Anyone in West Haven, or visiting Yale should DEFINITELY check out Georgie’s Diner, at! :)