Friday, September 15, 2017

Why I Chose a Secular College Over a Christian One

In the middle-class conservative Christian subculture that I've been born into, college is nigh a given. Going to a Christian college is highly, highly recommended unless you want to become a partying relativist who makes Cheese-Whiz towers in his or her spare time.

Thus when I chose to go to a local community college I did it to save money and perhaps to be a rebel.

But after a few weeks of commuting to classes (look at experienced me  :P) I think even if I did have the money to pay the steep admission rates of a Christian private school, I would still make the same decision in a heartbeat. I know this will come as a shock to many, so here are some of my reasons (in list format, of course, because my brain is too fried right now for a logical sequence of ideas):

1, exposure

My college English professor is a somewhat angry liberal who pushes the PG-13 rating in every class, and I wouldn't have it any other way. As a homeschooler I haven't had much interaction with the rest of the world except for online, and it is SO different in real life. I think going to a Christian college would have been nigh similar to homeschooling because I would still be around people who have the same general beliefs and language and boundaries, whereas here I can practice appreciating and learning from people who are vastly different from myself.

2. Faith

Even thinking about God in college is SO HARD. I've realized that for my whole life I've been just going with the flow around like-minded people.

3. Practicality

Now for the obvious: this college is much cheaper than any private college. Not only that, but here I can actually major in the subject that I love the most: music. And the professors and students are all plugged into my hometown community, which means that getting a job in music will (hopefully) be relatively easy. Also the professors here are amazing at what they do, and chosen specifically for their abilities rather than for their religious background.

In conclusion, I figure that I might as well pay for challenging and practical lessons in my area of study than for a Christian community that I'm already plugged into for free.

So there you have it! A condensed version of my current thoughts.

*ducks a barrage of Bibles and VeggieTales DVDs*

What do you think about going to a Christian college? Feel free to disagree!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Random Things #7: Awesome Stuff of August

--getting a rental cello from college, naming it Dahlia in the parking lot, and taking a selfie with it and my own cello

--the sass in this song:

--a warm hug from a friend

--cookie dough flavored ice cream sandwiches 

--the sheer existence of Veggie Tales silly song covers on YouTube

--a new paisley backpack

--playing hymns for people who are singing along with reckless enthusiasm

--Relient K's lyrics

--fluffy blankets on a chilly day

--driving on an empty highway late at night, glancing at the sunset and breathing in the chill air through an open window while blasting music

--playing cello for my baby nephew who is adorable

--watching Ip Man with friends, wincing at the violent parts and cheering at the end

--those rogue stars that you can see even though the sky isn't quite dark yet

--a day with literally nothing scheduled

--glorious comic book artwork (looking at you, Hawkeye and Daredevil)

--the sheer amazing amount of amazing bloggers out there

--helping with a retreat for a bunch of crazy middle schoolers, one of whom packed a go-pro (?)

--the incredibly satisfying feeling of playing the deeper strings of the guitar after playing just ukulele for a long time

--realizing there are way more things to be grateful for than just these

What are you grateful for this August?

Sunday, July 30, 2017

7 Favorite Songs Tag

MJ Watson (who has elected to make her blog private now) has tagged me to describe seven of my favorite songs, specifically my feelings and thoughts while listening to them, and why I like them.

So without further ado...cue the depressing lyrics!

1. My Shot (Clean Edit), Hamilton Original Broadway Cast

This one pumps me up whenever I'm feeling purposeless or lazy or just tired. It's also perfect because the runtime is exactly how long it takes for me to drive from my house to my church. #noregretsincludingcheesyhashtags

It talks about fighting against seemingly impossible odds:

"Rise up. When you're living on your knees, you rise up."

It then ends with Hamilton's decision to not view life as an experience, but as an opportunity:

"Ask anybody why we livin' fast and we laugh, reach for a flask--
We have to make this moment last, that's plenty...
Scratch that. This is not a moment, it's a movement
Where all the hungriest brothers with something to prove went"

The fast raps are super satisfying to sing along with now that I have the lyrics memorized. And the song reminds me of the real-life Alexander Hamilton, whom I feel like I know personally since reading the enormous biography that the play is based on. Seriously, guys, I got really emotional at the part when he died.

2. Drown, Tyler Joseph

You knew I couldn't go long without mentioning twenty one pilots in any form. This is from Tyler's album No Phun Intended, which he made when he was 17. The recordings aren't that great, but considering his age and his limited equipment it's an impressive album. It can only be found on YouTube, by the way.

But now for this song in particular. In dark moments it makes me feel less alone, and the lyrics are addressed to God so they help me to pray when I can't form the words myself.

"I wanna be a lot of things, so much pent up inside of me
I wanna be stronger, too long I've sat here undecidedly...
...And I'm back in front of you, Lord, with blood on the floor
Is the blood mine or yours? Don't wanna do this anymore,
Back and forth between being me and who you call me to be..."

3. Where the Light Shines Through, Switchfoot

Somehow Switchfoot reaches me more than a lot of other Christian bands. They have the same Christian genre formula that I usually dislike--talk about a problem in verse 1 and then resolve the problem by the chorus--but the way they do it feels more genuine than the other artists I've heard try this.

Unlike Tyler's music, which is usually just about the negative aspects of life, this song starts with the negative and goes to the positive--yes, there is a wound, but that's "where the light shines through."

"Yeah the only tattoos I have are scars,
I've got your name written on my heart"

4. Everything, Passenger

Passenger's music feels like running through a faraway forest and then jumping in the ocean on a deserted beach. For some reason it feels nostalgic to me, even though I only discovered his stuff recently.

This song is no exception, and the lyrics are a poignant and oft-needed reminder that it's impossible to be fulfilled in life without loving without counting the cost, and letting your heart be broken.

"They'll take your spark, they'll take everything
But nothing's ever something until you lose everything"

5. You Will Be Found, Dear Evan Hansen Original Broadway Cast

I love listening to Ben Platt's voice, and the gorgeous harmonies when the entire casts comes in on the chorus. It's pretty self-explanatory that this is another song for dark moments.

"Maybe there's a reason to believe you'll be ok."

6. Sailboat, Ben Rector

Another song for getting frustration out. Ben Rector's voice is beautiful too (what is it with Bens in the music industry??) and the lyrics are about loneliness and loss of direction, but they're also infused with hope and a feeling of freedom.

"I feel just like a sailboat
I don't know where I'm headed
But you can't make the wind blow
From a sailboat"

7. Little Wonders, Rob Thomas

This is the song that plays through the ending montage of Meet the Robinsons, which for many reasons is my favorite Disney movie and has influenced me deeply. Rob Thomas' raw vocals, mixed with the thoughtful lyrics, are the perfect combination and they encourage me to keep moving and enjoy little moments in life.

"Let it go, let it roll right off your shoulders
Don't you know, the hardest part is over...
...All falls away, but these small hours,
These little wonders
Still remain"

I'll be lazy and tag whoever feels like taking this tag. There are no rules--put in as many Jack Sparrow gifs as you want for all I care...

...but if you don't feel like doing the whole thing, what is your #1 favorite song, and why?

Friday, June 30, 2017

First Blogiversary!

John Green is an incredible source of GIFs
Like a twenty one pilots concert, this post will start out angsty and hopefully become something full of ukulele and bright colors. So here we go.

Mushy Oscar Speech Part

Skip this if you want to read the stats, grab a piece of pizza, and go on with your day.

A lot of the time I feel like no one "gets" me, for many reasons but especially since so much of me is invested in stories and characters and quotes, and many people don't value those things in the same way I do so it's hard to connect.

Of course, I've learned over years of experience that stories are not everything, and if I only relate to someone because he/she likes the same things I do, the conversation shuts down eventually once we've made all the fandom references possible. 

But it is good to know that there are other people out there who invest as much as I do in stories (and much more, in fact). You guys inspire me to read and also to write, and to remember that it's okay to be different. 

All you great bloggers I've had the privilege to discover this year have driven home to me the fact that difference is beautiful. Some of you have minimalistic blog settings, and use lots of superhero gifs. Some of you have flowery backdrops and talk about period dramas. Some of you mix all of those things together, and some of you are just weird.  ;) 

Some of you are introverts. Some are extroverts. Some write detailed posts on Meyers-Briggs and some don't know what that is, or don't care. 

There are so many different kinds of people, and I don't think I had realized before how beautiful that is. 

So thank you all for being awesome in unapologetically different ways. You remind me that fitness buffs are just as interesting and important as Marvel buffs. 

Not that they necessarily have to be separate people.

Celebratory Review Part
Including screenshots of blog stats because these are necessary for posterity.

We've made it, everybody! Through a year of GIFs, ranting, reviewing, and awkwardness. 

(For nostalgia purposes I'd like to link back to my first post ever, published, of course, on June 30 of last year. *hugs little me*)

Looking back over the blog, I've changed a lot. At this time in 2016 I didn't know there was such a thing as a blogging community, I hadn't written any ukulele songs, I had not written a first draft of a novel (or even gotten close), I wasn't as comfortable with my writing voice, I'd never heard of VlogBrothers, I had not seen High School Musical, I had never listened to twenty one pilots, and I was relatively normal, well-adjusted and productive.

Most of these changes are thanks to you who have been reading this blog, commenting on the blog whether online or offline, and just plain making amazing stuff on the internet whether you know I exist or not.

And now here's what you all have been waiting for: statistics.

To whoever seems to be reading the blog regularly from France (and maybe Russia...
?), hi, and that is awesome that you are reading from so far away!


Anyway thanks again, guys, and it seems only fitting that I end with Martin Freeman drinking an endless loop.

Comment below if you have anything in particular you'd like me to write about this coming year. Or if you feel like telling me about one of your favorite childhood summer memories. :)