Friday, September 28, 2007

A Series of Firsts

That's what this past week(week 4, for those of them that are keeping track) was: a series of firsts.

Some of them were major, while others were more minor, but they were still firsts and that makes them important, right?

Yesterday, I went to my first concert since June. It was the Atari's, at the Union, and it was awesome. The first two acts were kinda 'eh,' but the Atari's delivered a solid show. I had fun and also wanted to hit people. Hard. In the face.

Which is always a lovely combination.

It was only because I was in the mosh pit. Which I didn't know was going to be that. Or even if you would call it a mosh pit. I should've known it was going to be a mosh pit when people were yelling at the band both in front and behind me. But no. I just knew that I was close to the stage and within minutes of their performance starting, I was getting stepped on, knocked around, smashed, smushed, struggling to not fall over, struggling to keep people standing up, and, at one lovely point, nearly getting my glasses knocked off when I failed to grab a crowd surfer's legs and got a foot to the face instead.

Just writing that makes my lip curl a little at the thought of someone's foot on my face. Not even a foot! A shoe that contained a foot! A shoe that had stepped in who-knows-what and IT! TOUCHED! MY! FACE!

Anyway. The show was awesome. I can't decide if it was the excited crowd(annoyed as I was at certain points) or the band, but, either way, I left sweaty, exhausted, and grinning, just a little.

The second big first was: I took my first 'real' test. It was for my history class and thinking about it, honestly, makes me nauseated. I want to believe that I did really, really well. But the rest of me is thinking 'I'll be happy if I get a 'B.' Please, please, PLEASE let me get a 'B.' It was, in most ways, my fault for not starting to study sooner. You remember that balance I've been talking about? I'm beginning to think it is the stuff made of fairy tales and spun sugar. It doesn't exist, and when it does, it falls apart very, very easily. BUT! Now I know how to better study for the next test. Which means I can improve. And, hopefully, figure out this college thing. I just need to stop being a Pretend-A-Freshman and start being me.

The final big first was, arguably, not that big at all. Of course, when you weigh a little over 7 pounds, you aren't that big.

The couple I baby sit for have a new baby girl, a beautiful, lovely little thing that I got to hold and see for the first time this week (she is 2 weeks old this Sunday). I am so happy for them. I like babies, so the only thing that makes me nervous with the New Baby(who will get a nickname soon, just as the Dude is the Dude) is that I have not really dealt with a kid under a year old since my youngest brother was born. And that was 8 and a half years ago.

But I got to hold her for the first time. And she grabbed my finger with her little fist and held it so tight and, just like her older brother and my own brother, she totally owns me now.

I looked at her and thought exactly what I had said when I called her parents to congratulate them: 'Welcome to the family.'

It was an exciting, hectic, first oriented week. And I would not trade it for any normal boring week in the world.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Worn Down

This whole commuter student thing is wearing really, really thin.

This isn't just the exhaustion talking. No, wait, it is the exhaustion talking. Combined with the exhausted limbs that are going to figure out a way to exert revenge for me carrying around a 30 pound(I'm guessing here) backpack-that one of my friend's described as 'bigger than my backpack-and that's saying something'- and the constant 'GO GO GO!' mode I have to be in... I'm just dead.

We only have one car, and my dad has been dropping me off lately. This means that I'm out of the house by 9 am. If I'm lucky. If I'm not lucky, it's more like 8:30. I did not cherish sleep enough when I had it, and now it is gone. I have two hours to kill before my first class, and I spend it at Donkey, sometimes working on some reading for a class, sometimes not. Mostly not. It's not that I'm un-motivated, and it's not really procrastinating. I'm just really, really tired, and spend those hours convincing myself that the sun is not the evil devil spawn come to torture me with its rays of potentially cancerous shininess. It's just the sun.

Gee, I'm really tired right now, too. Can you tell?

Commuting basically is code for nomad. My backpack is gigantic because I have to fit food into it as well as all of the books I need for the day. There is no going home if I realize I left my history book behind, or my jeans are too warm now. I've actually spent the last two days at the place where I work, BEFORE I have to clock in, not because I'm early by mistake, but because it's a nice and quiet space to study. I've resorted to hanging out at my job, because the drinks are free and I know the people there. I need a dorm, or a car, a place to toss my things, and have a change of clothes and maybe some food. Perhaps a hollowed out tree trunk with a changing room attachment. Because those are totally easy to find.

I want to say that I miss normal, because this is not what normal used to be. Normal used to be that I'd spend the day at the library doing school, instead of bopping there for an hour between classes. Normal used to be sleeping in 'til noon because I didn't have anywhere to be and was only slightly behind in my school work. Normal used to be a great deal of wonderful things. But this is the new version of normal. Normal 2.0. Normal with a schedule and deadlines that can't be bent and times to wake up that aren't very bendy, either. I miss the normal I used to have, but I like parts of the new normal. That is what I am going to keep telling myself, anyway.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

24 Hour Fast

My latest assignment from my Intro class is a 24 Hour Fast from all mass media(books, internet, music, newspaper, TV, movies, etc), which I am then supposed to write about in my next response essay, describing how I felt throughout.

This sounds incredibly daunting.

24 hours where the sound that wakes me is a buzzer, or my mom, instead of the CD of my choice. 24 hours without my headphones, instant messenger, comics, television, or weather channel. 24 hours where the only reasons why I would be online or reading is for school. 24 hours where, if I want to talk to someone, I will have to pick up a phone and actually talk, as opposed to signing onto AIM. And I really, really hate talking on the phone.

I wonder if my prof knows that this assignment coincides with Yom Kippur? So not only do I have to go 24 hours without food or drink this weekend, but I have to pick a day where I have to avoid all the things that I do to avoid school? (The assignment isn't due until Wednesday, so I don't have to go without media and food at the same time, but it amuses me that, while some students are going without food for 24 hours on campus, others are going without any form of mass media for 24 hours.)

In some ways, I have thought about doing something similar in the past-avoiding television and other distractions for a day- but never to find out my reaction to being deprived of my entertainment, and I would never, ever include music in the group of things to avoid for the day. Usually, I would do something like that so I could get schoolwork done, and even then, I wouldn't pursue it so seriously. Music is such a serious, complete part of my life that the deprivation from that alone will endlessly aggravate me.

My brothers, however, will love knowing that I get absolutely no say in what is on the TV at any point for a day. They will revel in this, because they are brothers and I am the older sister, and if there is one thing they love, it is driving me up a wall.

It should be an interesting weekend.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Week Two

So, I survived another week, though it felt less like survival and more like hitting my stride. I feel like I spent part of this week finding my place, and the rest of it trying to catch up on my reading!

Monday, I went to a meeting for Speakeasy, which is an online 'zine of sorts, an alternative, or compliment to, depending on how you look at it, to the student paper. I was dead exhausted(I had gone from class to work to the meeting, and simultaneously felt productive and like I was going to die at any moment), but still managed to get into it. 'It' being the meeting, which was two separate ones, one being the all-staff meeting, the other being for the newbies, like me.

During the first half, we covered interviewing techniques(which was being taught by my intro prof. It was odd to see him outside of class), and, if you were sitting to the one side of the room, got to see the various editors' hands as they were pointed out. During the second half, we got to learn about the various parts of speakeasy(I'm interested in blogging and copy editing, but am afraid that my grammar skills just aren't up to par yet), what their policies are, etc. While I felt a little awkward, seeing as I am not a journalism major and the people I sat next to were, it was the first time since I started classes that I felt like maybe I can fit in here, as a student as opposed to a townie.

Monday also brought with it an ugly fit of allergies and a sinus headache at the end of the night, that left me on the couch, in tears, panicking and worrying that I was getting a cold when I could not(and cannot) afford to have one. It came at the worst possible time, when I was trying to not freak out about my classes and the amount of work I had to do over the next few days. But I got through it, and by the end of the week(translation: today), Monday evening seemed like a distant memory of someone who occasionally worries to much.

The biggest highlight of the week for me was raising my hand and answering a question(correctly!) in my 300 person Intro class. My prof asked some variation of 'what was the most watched show on cable this summer?' and I was just like, BAM, hand up! 'High School Musical!' (It's High School Musical 2, but I was excited and nervous, so I can be/was forgiven for the drop of a number) I have a tendency to pay attention to entertainment news, so the fact was old news to me.

This week also saw me doing my first real discussion group(my lone Friday class, at 9 in the morning. It sounded so much later in the day when I signed up). I really enjoyed that, if only because it actually gives me someone to talk about the text of the book with. Where I don't live in the dorms, and have yet to say 'Hi! I'm Aisha!' to any of my classmates, and where I also tend to be really enthusiastic about learning anything new, the discussion group let me, you know, discuss the text. I may be one of the few people in the class that actually enjoys reading the textbook, and I'm afraid this means I am doomed to be one of those people that actually enjoys studying(when they are actually caught up on it all).

To wrap things up: where this week brought my stride, and last week was all about survival, I'm hoping next week finds me finding a balance between my high school classes and my university classes, and everything else. I'm also hoping next week finds me not being so intimidated by my classmates(or them not being intimidated by me, whichever is the case). I won't bite if they won't!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Full Head of Hair

Last July, I shaved my head. To be accurate, one of my friends shaved my head, but it was still a major act, no matter whose hands the clippers were in.

It was something I had wanted to do since I was twelve, for no reason other than to see what it looked like. I asked about severely short hair cuts and buzz cuts when I went to the hairdresser, not every time, just occasionally, not sure if I could go through with it; I just wanted opinions. Every single hairdresser I went to basically refused to shave my head.

So I got used to having hair, even if I kept it in a ponytail or messy, constantly falling apart bun all the time. It gave me something to fidget with, so that my hands had something to do when I was nervous, or distracted, or just needed a familiar motion.

Then, last July, I went camping and got lice. To make a long story short, I spent a week obsessively combing through my hair and chemically destroying the buggers, only to realize there was no way I could stand to have my hair on my back or my neck or anywhere on my head, at all, anymore. Every time a strand of hair shifted, I thought it was a bug. It hadn't helped that every time I finished an hour of obsessive combing, I'd see one crawling across my temple.

With my sanity on a thin edge(I am a jumpy person by nature, but I was bordering on developing a twitch after the ten day period you have to wait between one chemical wash and the next), I took up a friend's offer to shave my head for me. When it grew out a little, and I knew that I liked it, I asked him to shave it again. I wasn't ready to have hair again, because of the anxiety I'd dealt with during the lice invasion, and taking care of hair that is half an inch long is a lot easier than dealing with hair that is down to your collarbones.

I shaved my head for almost a year, though at one point it was a mohawk that either stood on its own, or did not, because I was not going to bother with gel. And then the friend with the clippers moved(though at this point, I had shaved my head on my own. I'm just too lazy to buy a set of clippers). So I've not shaved my head since May. I actually took a measuring stick to my hair, and it is three inches long. I actually have hair to play with! I can clip my hair back, not much, but enough that my hair clips stay in my hair. I can twist it between my fingers, a terrible habit I've had since I was little, one that was so bad that my parents once had to cut my fingers out of my hair. I feel like a girly-girl again, something I've never really aspired to be. Having hair is a lot more defining than I imagined it was when I actually had it. And now that I have it, I am constantly trying to answer the question, 'are you going to shave it again?'

I loved shaving my head, loved the freedom and my hats sticking to my head because buzzed hair works like velcro and random head massages from friends because they liked my 'peach fuzz', but for now? For now, I have hair.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

One Down, Nine to Go

So, I survived my first week. Granted, it was easier than your average freshman's, what with two of my classes being online and the fact that I still have home baked foods to eat throughout the day(my mom's cinnamon bread was a life-saver at least twice), but it was harder than I thought it would be.

My history class is what has thrown me, to be honest. The professor launched into a lecture the first day of class(when most professors just read their syllabus and tell you that you can leave, or so I'd been told), and I'm not sure if I'm taking notes on the right things, which really freaks me out. I've been home schooled my entire life, so I don't know what you're supposed to take away from a class where the professor talks about what you are learning, expanding on what is in the reading. I'm used to doing the reading and then finding out anything extra, anything that expands on what is in the text, on my own. I'm not used to someone telling me the extra bits, and then expecting me to remember it for a test. It doesn't help that the text is written in the smallest type imaginable, meaning that 29 pages of reading feels more like 40. It's all fascinating-I love history, so even though it is a textbook and I am supposed to find it boring, I really don't. I just feel like my eyes are going to fall out of my head after a while from reading such small print.

My other class with the university has gone a lot smoother. I've only had one class, and it was actually just the syllabus reading, which was great, considering I walked into the lecture hall prepared to have to stay the full two hours. It was a relief to walk out after only 40 minutes, with only a basic assignment. It's Intro to Mass Communication, and I'm not sure what I am expecting from this class, other then to never, ever look at a newspaper the same way again. Considering I have been suspiciously eying commercials and newspapers for the past six months, wondering what research went into that ad for kids cereal, or what made them choose to use that particular phrase to describe a pop-tartlet's performance, I figure this class will only make me worse when it comes to mass media and my general snarky attitude towards it all.

Intro will probably end up being my favorite class, just because it feels a lot more straight forward than my history class. The only thing that makes me not sure about the class is that the professor is really nice and approachable, and I'm a tad suspicious of nice, approachable people on a college campus. They are not supposed to exist. At least, not when they are the people teaching you.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Listening In

So, I'm taking university classes and I'm liking what I've been learning so far. My brain, it is getting filled with information of the type that will annoy all of my friends. A lot. But, my classmates, they have conversations that cause me to giggle. Quietly, because if I can hear them, then they can hear me. Right?

"I don't have any appropriate pictures of me! All of my recent pictures are of me drinking! Or passed out!"-guy behind me after we are handed personal information sheets for class, with a square for pictures of ourselves.

I've got nine more weeks worth of conversations to overhear. Ah, college.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

13 Week

13 weeks from today, I will be eighteen(that is, if I manage to bang this out before midnight).

I don't know why I am so excited about this, other than it is the typical big birthday, one where I can buy cigarettes, rent porn(or simply peek in the back rooms at video rentals), enlist in the army, and buy lottery tickets. None of that really appeals to me. I have breathing problems(seasonal bronchitis, or, as I call it, 'that awful feeling where I cannot breathe but can cough violently for your viewing pleasure, you sadistic bastards.'), so smoking isn't something I can really do, though I handle being around smokers fairly well. Porn doesn't interest me(other than to see what everyone is talking about). Enlisting in the army isn't something I am likely to do, because I don't think I would much enjoy getting sent to war, whatever the reasons. And buying lottery tickets? I'd rather spend my money on things like these flats.

I guess the main reason I'm looking forward to being eighteen is that it will mean that I am an adult. Though I'm not sure how 'adult' me will differ from 'kid' me. I don't plan on hitting up clubs and forgetting my underwear, or getting arrested with a DUI and cocaine in my pocket. I don't really have a concept of who I am after I turn eighteen, because, honestly, I don't think there will be much difference. I will still make mistakes, still worry over stupid little things, probably still not know where I really want to go for college, and still have moments of brilliance and moments of massive idiocy, because that is who I am, and I tend to change rather gradually. I'm not going to use my birthday as an excuse to get piercings or run out and get married or enlist in the army or anything major like that.(Yes, piercings are on the same level as the other two. I rarely wear earrings, so a nose or lip ring would be like deciding I want to be a nun.)

I guess the point is that I am looking forward to my eighteenth birthday, because it is my eighteenth birthday(and I have been taught by society to look forward to it).