Looking back on my time in college

I graduated in December, but it just hit me now that I finally finished college.

This past year has felt kind of emotionally messy. (As in the past 12 months… mainly 2016.) Every now and then I think back on my final semester at Del Val and I wish I could erase it. Then again, I also made great friends and became closer with other great friends that semester, so I tell myself it was all worth it.

Luckily I have such a kind, caring, supportive boyfriend to help me cope with my stress. I’m not sure if I would have made it out of college alive if it wasn’t for him. So I truly have him to thank. He wasn’t the cause of my messy semester, he was right there beside me to help me clean up my mess.

I guess I can blame it on the stress of being a senior-year college student. Yeah, that makes sense. Classes are ridiculously challenging, plus you have an extreme life change standing right ahead of you. In a way, the pre-vet students had it easier. Sure, they had to work a million times harder than the rest of us, but at least they had a plan. After graduation, they know exactly where they’re going and what they’re doing for the next four years. After I graduated college, I didn’t even know what I would be doing for the next four months. And here I am, nearly four months later, and I’m still lost.

It’s funny, looking back, I can see that your high stress levels in college turn into a sense of comfort. College students always have something they need to be doing, which is actually very comforting if you think about it. Studying is a form of meditation: you put all of your focus into a single topic until the rest of the world zones out. In a way, studying was like an escape from reality. And registration (picking classes for next semester) makes you feel like you are the master of your own destiny.

So, college students may be slowly dying inside, but they’re happy about it. It’s an illusion that makes them feel like they have control over their lives.

When I first came to Del Val, it was pure bliss. I felt this sense of belonging I never felt in high school. Everything was perfect. Then, as each semester went on, stress levels got higher. Why can’t every year of college just feel like freshmen year? When you go to a university, it’s easy to pick out the freshmen from the upperclassmen. The freshmen class is full of hope while the upperclassmen have drained spirits and permanent dark circles under their eyes.

As my time at Del Val was coming to an end, it was Hell. I lost a very close friend who I met my freshmen year, and each attempt I made to restore our friendship, I ended up pushing her away even more. I said things to people out of pure anger that I did not mean. With college coming to an end, my comfortable illusion of being in control of my life was fading away. I clung onto the illusion as hard as I could by trying to manipulate others and get my own way. I was holding onto people I needed to let go of, and ignoring people who deserved my attention the most. I did some bad things to people, and people did some bad things to me.

Unfortunately, I left Del Val on a bitter note. I keep reminding myself of all the amazing things my experience at Del Val gave me: the love of my life, valuable friendships, confidence, bravery, will-power, faith, and an easier time talking to strangers. But I’m fixated on the bad: how I looked like a total idiot in many situations.

One time during chemistry lab, sophomore year, I was about to drop something into a test tube. The professor looks at me and panics, “DON’T!” and for some reason, as soon as he said that, I dropped it into the test tube and of course it broke and glass smashed all over the floor and I bursted out into tears. It was extremely embarrassing. But then my lab partner asked me if I was okay, and I told her, “just one of those days…” and she completely understood.

But that wasn’t nearly as bad as the time we had to pick a disease to give an oral presentation about. I have no idea how (I guess my subconscious really likes to f*** with me) but somehow I ended up picking a topic that someone else was already planning on using because they already did a presentation on this specific disease in a previous class we had together. So this person thought that I purposely stole their project from them. This person even confronted me about it but I thought they were just joking with me. I didn’t actually realize this until I already started the project, and so I figured it was too late to change my topic. I really wish I did though, because it was the most awkward presentation I’ve ever given.

I still have anxiety about my college experience, even though it’s over now. It’s crazy how you can meet so many people, and still, not a single person becomes less important. Each person I met in college was like a puzzle piece, and removing somebody (no matter how small their “part” was) makes it incomplete. There are many people from college who I know I will stay in contact with, and that makes me so happy! And then there are other people from college who I most likely will never see again, and that truly upsets me.

If you’re reading this and you attended Del Val, I can promise you that you were an important part of my life. It doesn’t matter if we are still in direct contact through social media or not, you still matter. You’re very important to me and I look back on our memories with happiness. I apologize for not letting you know how much I care. If I have ever said/done anything to hurt you, I swear I didn’t mean it, and I am sincerely sorry. Every single soul I met at Del Val is beautiful. There’s not a single person who I wish harm upon. I want the best for my former classmates.

It is time to finally let go. Peace out, Del Val!

 

Album review: “Divide” by Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran just recently released his third new album, “Divide.” I bought his last album, “Multiply (X)” when it was released back in 2014. I am a big fan of Ed Sheeran’s music, including his duets such as “All About It” with Hoodie Allen and “Lay It All On Me” with Rudemental. His new album is quite similar to his last one, however, I would say that this one is even better. Sheeran continues to show raw honesty through his lyrics and spill the details about his family, friends, and romances.

1. “Eraser”

5/5 stars

Favorite line: “I used to think that nothing could be better than touring the world with my songs, I chased the picture-perfect life, I think they painted it wrong.”

The album starts very strong with this track. It’s one of those tracks where he sounds like he’s rapping but he’s “just a singer with a game plan” (direct quote from “All About It”). This song is extremely honest and blunt. Sheeran discusses the psychological torture that comes with fame. You don’t really hear singers talk about that kind of stuff in their music.

2. “Castle on a Hill”

5/5 stars

Favorite line: “Tasted the sweet perfume of the mountain grass I rolled down, well I was younger then, take me back to when…”

This track is also quite strong. It’s pretty cute, too. He sings about his childhood memories (hey Ed, I also broke my leg when I was 6-years old!) and how he misses the good old days. This song is extremely uplifting.

3. “Dive”

4/5 stars

Favorite line: “I’ve been known to give my all and jumping in harder than ten thousand rocks on the lake.”

This is a song about falling for a person who seems like a player. Sheeran debates whether or not he should pursue someone who seems to be stringing him along. In my opinion, the lyrics are strong, but the melody isn’t my favorite.

4. “Shape of You”

5/5 stars

Favorite line: “One weekend we let the story begin, we’re going out on our first date. You and me are thrifty so go all-you-can-eat, fill up your bag, and I fill up your plate.”

Chances are you have already heard this song on the radio since it’s the lead single! I absolutely love this song! The beat is my favorite part about it. On top of it, the lyrics are adorable. The song is about Sheeran beginning to date a new girl and feeling excited about it.

5. “Perfect”

4/5 stars

Favorite line: “She shares my dreams, I hope that someday I share her home.”

Such a sweet song! It is the first slow-paced ballad on the album. People count on Ed Sheeran to deliver beautiful love songs like this. This is Sheeran’s ode to the love of his life.

6. “Galway Girl”

5/5 stars

Favorite line: “She played the fiddle in an Irish band but she fell in love with an English man.”

Oh my gosh. One of my favorite tracks on the album. It is a beautiful blend of modern hip-hop and Celtic folk. Only Sheeran could pull off a melody like this. This song is extremely catchy and lighthearted. It makes me very happy.

7. “Happier”

4/5 stars

Favorite line: “You look happier, you do. My friends told me one day I’ll feel it too.”

Here comes another ballad. This song is both happy and sad, both full of peacefulness and regret. Sheeran runs into an ex who looks happier with her new man than she ever was with him. He misses her; but he is happy that she is happier now.

8. “New Man”

5/5 stars

Favorite line: “He wears sunglasses indoors, in winter, at nighttime.”

Just like Galway Girl, this song is also super catchy. Sheeran’s lyrics are full of sass. He don’t wanna hear about your new man! It seems to me that Sheeran is describing an old lover who still talks to him, but she’s changed into a prissy narcissist because she started dating a total d-bag.

9. “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here”

3/5 stars

Favorite line: “Daisies, daisies, perched upon your forehead.”

It’s a pretty cute song. Once again, the sweet ballads continue. However, it doesn’t necessarily stand out to me. It’s a wonderful song but it’s not my favorite.

10. “What Do I Know?”

5/5 stars

Favorite line: “Everybody’s talking ’bout exponential growth and the stock market crashing and their portfolios, while I’ll be sitting here with a song that I wrote saying, ‘love can change the world in a moment,’ but what do I know?”

This is a song about politics. In the first line, Sheeran mentions how his father always told him to stay away from political issues. Sheeran partially agrees, but also feels like he should use his music to make a difference. What he wants to do with his music is spread the love because he believes that love is powerful enough to heal us.

11. “How Would You Feel (Paean)”

3/5 stars

Favorite line: “I’ll be taking my time, spending my life, falling deeper in love with you.”

Not one of my favorites, perhaps it still needs to grow on me. In this track, Sheeran expresses his adoration and gratefulness for his woman. What a sweetheart.

12. “Supermarket Flowers”

4/5 stars

Favorite line: “When God takes you back, you’ll say hallelujah, you’re home.”

This is a real tear-jerker. It’s a song about the death of Sheeran’s grandmother. The melody is sweet, simple, and calming. (Very sad way to end an album…)

DELUXE TRACKS:

13. “Barcellona”

5/5 stars

Favorite line: “Get up-up on the dance floor tonight, I’ve got two left feet and a bottle of red wine.”

This acoustic guitar track is also a party anthem. I love the way he mixes different styles together to create something new. Best dance track on the album.

14. “Bibia Be Ye Ye”

2/5 stars

Favorite line: “I tell myself in every way I won’t be doing this again and tomorrow’s a brand new day.”

Fun, light-hearted track. However, also very all-over-the-place and kind of cheesy. Personally, I don’t think it’s so great.

15. “Nancy Mulligan”

5/5 stars

Favorite line: “She was Nancy Mulligan and I was William Sheeran. She took my name and then we were one, down by the wexford border.”

Amazing song! It’s very, very Irish-sounding! This is about Sheeran’s grandfather and grandmother when they first met and got married. It’s so heartwarming.

16. “Save Myself”

4/5 stars

Favorite line: “I gave all my oxygen to people that could breathe.”

Good song about how Sheeran realizes that he tries too hard to make people happy or “fix them” while they give him nothing in return, thus draining him. He concludes that before he can try to save anyone else, he first needs to save himself. It’s a great message.

OVERALL: 5/5 stars

In conclusion, this is an amazing album with many strong tracks. Even the weaker tracks are still enjoyable. I highly recommend buying “Division” by Ed Sheeran.

(Author’s note: I seem to give the slower songs lower ratings. The slower songs are just as good though… I guess it’s because his uplifting songs make me happier.)

Another Venus update

Venus is laying on my lap right now, purring. She is such a sweetheart. Moments like this, all I can think is, “I love you SO much… I don’t deserve you… you are TOO sweet!” And then there are other moments when she messes with my stuff, jumps on the kitchen table, drinks from the toilet, pees on my clothing (which hasn’t happened in a long time!) and I’m screaming at her.

She has recovered well from surgery. Her energy levels are a bit lower, but seem to be picking up as time goes by. Her wound seems to be healing well, just slightly inflamed. Her fur is growing back pretty fast. However, Venus is not meowing nearly as much. When she does meow, it sounds much quieter and weaker than normal.

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It’s a great, big world out there!

I took her outside the other day and let her roam around the yard for a bit. She was absolutely ecstatic. She was cautious yet curious; full of fear, yet full of excitement. Soon enough I’m going to let her go outside on her own. I’m very nervous about this but I know she will be much happier this way.

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It has been only four months since I got Venus and she is now such a big part of my life (and my heart). It did not take long for me to fall in love with her. She is about 7 months old now, and her little kitten body is finally beginning to look like an adult cat. She still follows me around, but she no longer begs for my attention nearly as much as she used to. Venus is growing up and she is becoming more and more independent. Although it is a little sad to feel less needed, it warms my heart to see her living her life and figuring out things on her own. It’s really magical to watch an animal grow up and make so much progress. I can’t imagine how magical it must feel to watch your own human child doing the same.

Animals are far more simpler than humans. They have basic needs: food, water, shelter… and mating if they aren’t fixed. And it the cores of their souls, an animal’s most basic need is to feel loved. They don’t judge, they don’t get offended, and they don’t take things personally. That’s what makes them so comforting: you can freely give & receive love with them, without the worries and anxieties of potential misunderstandings. Ironically, humans seem to have far more misunderstandings and confusion with one another than they do with animals.

Every moment with Venus is precious. Pets have such short lives compared to humans (unless your pet is a tortoise). I will always remember my beloved cats, Buttermilk and Penelope. The other night, I had a dream that all three cats were alive and with me. In the dream, there was a storm coming. Venus and Penelope were in the house sleeping safely, but I had to run outside and find Buttermilk. When I finally found him, he was standing on the deck. The wind was picking up and the rain was coming down, and Buttermilk just stood there on the deck, looking out towards the storm with regal confidence. It was such an epic moment. I interpreted the dream as a message of strength during weary times.

New job!

I recently got hired at an animal shelter near home in NY! I’m very excited about working here. So far it has been really great. I was so relieved to get hired. Job hunts can take a long, long time and I am lucky that I landed one already. On the first day I was feeling a bit rusty working with dogs after a nearly 6-month break, but I got right back into the swing of it. I am currently starting with low hours and working my way up as time goes on. I do not yet have a set schedule so my days vary week by week. I am so grateful for this opportunity!

Venus in surgery

Yesterday, Venus went to the vet to get spayed. She was dropped off at 8am. I was worried sick the whole day about the procedure. I was terrified that something might go wrong during surgery and there would be a health complication. And even if surgery went fine (which it did), I felt so sad for Venus. I knew she must’ve been petrified, lonely, and confused the whole time.

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So luckily the surgery was okay. She was ready to get picked up around 4:30 PM. She seemed completely out of it, and kept trying to rip off her E-collar (AKA, the cone). I kept her in my room for the night. At first, she looked terribly weak (and also pretty pissed off). She had no energy, but refused to lay in bed and cuddle. Instead, she sat on the floor very awkwardly as if she could not get comfortable. She did not seem like herself at all, which was so hard for me to see. After a few hours I finally got her to eat. Then finally, late that night, she laid in bed with me and we fell asleep together.

This morning I let her roam the house a bit as her energy came back. With her cone on, she tends to bump into things and lose her balance. Unfortunately she will have to wear the cone for at least a few more days so that she doesn’t lick open her stitches. Now, she is laying peacefully on my bed. She is beginning to show more affection towards me again.

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I’m looking forward to a week or so when Venus is healed and I can take her outside. Spaying and neutering is an important way of preventing overpopulation in cats and dogs. However, it is no “quick fix.” It is an invasive surgery that causes extreme stress for animals. According to the research I did in college, spaying/neutering is linked to a higher risk of developing several diseases (cancers, bone-related, and obesity-related). Sadly there are not really any other alternatives to keeping our pets sterile. I was considering other options for Venus but this seemed like her only option for now if I want to let her outside. I hope that in the future, we will have much safer/humane methods.

Horses

Last week I visited Kevin in Delaware while waiting to hear back from the places I interviewed at. We went on many walks at different parks. The cold weather makes it hard to get outside but luckily we had a few warm days. One of the places we went to had horses. Only two of them came up to us. They are beautiful creatures, yet so resilient. Their size and strength is intimidating.

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Kevin got more practice rock climbing. He got all the equipment he needs for Christmas and he has been practicing ever since. He’s getting pretty good at it. I’m glad he’s very cautious about it and he knows his limits. He wants me to join him but I’m not too interested in trying it myself. I’m sure he will get me to try a bit of climbing at some point.

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I was very relieved to hear back from the animal shelter I applied to. I had another interview today and on Wednesday I will go in for training. I haven’t yet heard back from the animal hospitals. I’m looking forward to having a job again so that I can have a routine instead of waiting around anxiously.

Next weekend I’ll be visiting Kevin again because we are interested in going to an interactive dinosaur exhibit that will be near his hometown temporarily. I already really miss him!

Interviews

This week has been really exhausting… I’ve had 4 interviews! On Monday, I interviewed for a technician assistant position at an animal hospital and they told me to come back Thursday morning for a “working interview.” I came to the next interview in scrubs and sneakers, and I was mainly observing. It lasted about 1 1/2 hours. Thursday afternoon I stopped by an animal shelter, filled out an application, and had an interview with the manager. The whole interview was done outside, which was pretty neat. Then, just this morning, I spent about 3 hours at a different animal hospital. I had a formal interview and then I spent the rest of the time following people around and doing hands-on work. As of now, I don’t have any other interviews scheduled. I’m just waiting to hear back from everyone.

Interviews are extremely draining. It’s a confusing time, trying to figure out what kind of job I want and feeling so uncertain about the future. I’m really looking forward to having a routine again. And of course, I’m looking forward to having a paycheck. I haven’t been buying anything except for a bottle of shampoo. My lovely parents give me free food and free rent. Venus is on dry food for the time being because I can’t afford wet food right now. There’s not much of a need to buy anything right now, except out of boredom. It’s easy to stay home and avoid the mall. What’s hard is having Internet access to buying anything I want online with the comfort of avoiding lines and staying in my pajamas. Sometimes I go on Amazon and add things I think I need to my cart, and then I come back to my cart a few days later and think, “I really don’t need any of this.” Once I get a job, I’m trying to dedicate like at least half of my paycheck to my savings account so I can start saving for rent money. I guess I’ll see how it goes.