I’m not sure if it’s this class or this semester or even this year, but I feel like I’ve been doing through a major transition with my writing. I’ve started to overanalyze every word I write and every story I tell. In actuality, I’m sure I have not gotten worse as a writer, like I sometimes imagine I have, but I do feel less confident in my writing ability. Whereas I used to be able to sit down and write a paper without doubting or second guessing my thesis or format, I now take hours just to formulate a thesis statement that I end up changing halfway through.

The Californians

It could be that as I get older and gain more experience with writing outside of school, the way I write adjusts to complete different tasks. For example, when I write a blog post for work, they are usually 1000 words and do not require a thesis per say–though they do have an argument–and instead, focus on telling the story in a clear way. No flowery language, no complex structures. Just regular ole words!

Conversely, the prompts I’ve had this semester have challenged me to develop a thesis statement and find evidence to support it. What I’ve noticed is that every GSI and professor I’ve had prefers their written assignments in different formats. Some want a clear thesis statement, and a classic 5-paragraph essay while others want us, as writers, to be more creative and tell a story. It’s been difficult to switch up my writing style every time I have a new paper due. But I guess that’s college…and life.

As it pertains to this class, the blog posts are what have kept me sane and confident in my writing. They allow me to voice how I’m feeling and what I’m looking forward to without worrying about the “grade” I’ll receive. As Andrew Sullivan pointed out in his post, “Why I Blog” it’s the urgency of writing a blog that is enticing for me. “We blog now,” he writes and I feel this urgency every time I read the Semester Schedule. I like being forced into writing, even when it’s a struggle to come up with something to say. I think this push and pull is what makes writing so beautiful and so challenging. If it was easy, everyone would be a writer (depending on your definition of writer, I suppose everyone actually is a writer…I digress).

Jennifer Lawrence

To tie my stream of consciousness that is this blog post together, I’ll close by saying that this semester has posed a new host of challenges in terms of writing but I do not wish them to go away. I think the overanalyzing and late night worry about writing is normal, and perhaps beneficial for my writing. I know, deep down, that I am improving as a writer. What I think is missing, however, is a way for me to truly understand how and in what ways because, other than the grades I receive or the praise I get from my boss, there’s no way of truly knowing that you are getting better at doing something that’s so subjective. If anyone has any tips for keeping track of progress, I would definitely be interested in hearing about it!

The Result of Too Much Cold Brew

Whenever I’ve had too much cold brew or overslept after a long night of binge-watching Scandal, I get in the habit of asking really irrelevant–but extremely provocative–questions. Lucky for my parents, they’ve been my involuntary audience this weekend.

Crostini from Fig and OliveWhile sipping rosé and dining on three crostini at our favorite restaurant, Fig & Olive, I asked my parents one of my classic questions: knowing what they know now, where would they have gone to college?

For a little background, both my mother and my father went to super small schools. I’m talking all-girls (mom) in the middle of nowhere, Minnesota. My dad’s, in Texas, was so small that he could name every person in his graduating class. Obviously, they didn’t have the typical college experience that a lot of my friends’ parents had.

When I was first applying to schools, I had absolutely no idea where I wanted to go. I knew it had to be big and it had to have good college football (my dad’s brainwashing when I was a kid, I’m sure), but other than that, every school seemed like a place I could be happy.

I actually applied to Michigan on a whim after seeing this picture of me in a Michigan cheerleading uniform. I asked my mom why I had it, given that no one I knew went to Michigan or even liked it. Her response, in my mom’s typical surprised-yet-totally-not-surprised tone, “I got it on sale.”

Michigan Cheerleader

A sale. That’s all it took to get me here. Well, not exactly…

My dad is the type of guy who gets overly excited about everything. As soon as I said I was applying, he fast forwarded to football season and bought himself Michigan shirts, hats, gloves, and even a foam finger for when he made his first appearance in the Big House. I found out that I got in just in time for him to order me the classic maize and blue overalls for Christmas. He had decided: I was going to Michigan.

I think I needed someone to make that decision for me. It’s not like I didn’t have a say in coming to school here, but I think that I was so indifferent about the entire college process that I would still have been deciding once the deadline came around. Since coming here, I’ve definitely gotten better at making decisions, but I’m glad my dad took the liberty of buying me all the gear to push me to come here.

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that my dad answered the question I posed at dinner with, “Michigan, of course!” Even though I have two older brothers and they both went to good schools, I think I’m living the kind of experience that my dad always wanted. It would probably freak some of my friends out to know that their parents wanted to live vicariously through them, but for me it’s a huge compliment and even more incentive to do well in school.

My parents have never been the type to ask me about my grades or how I’m balancing school, work, and my personal life. They always joke that I came out of the womb with a briefcase, and I think it’s sort of true. With all of the trust they put in me, it has allowed me to become independent, and to realize that my dad’s dream of coming to a school like Michigan is something that he isn’t jealous of me for. It’s something that he hopes take full advantage of. And I definitely intend to with the years I have left.

Oh, and my mom’s answer…”I wouldn’t change a thing.”

Aw, how cute…

Puppy Steve Carrell