Life

Catching up…

Why hello there!

Characteristically of a college senior, I was sucked into the depths of Work, Work, and Work during senior spring and had zero time to blog. But now I am on the other side! Free! I feel like Dobby with a sock! It’s wild!

Yesterday I passed my honors thesis defense, which means I’m now done with work (until law school starts in the fall, at least…). This means I now have more time to blog again! I have missed this blog dearly in the five months we’ve been parted, and I’m excited to finally get back into it. I have a lot of ideas for what I’d like to do with this blog that I’ve had on the back burner for a while–but there’s no better time to start like the present!

For now, I’d like two things from all of you:

  • What would you be interesting in learning more about on this blog? From graduating college as an English major and studying abroad in Oxford, England to writing an honors thesis and preparing to enter law school, there are many topics that I’d love to talk about. Which ones would interest you the most?
  • What sorts of books do you read? This question is more to satisfy my personal curiosity than anything else–I’ve always wondered what sorts of books the people who read this blog mostly enjoy. Favorite genres? Favorite authors? Favorite time periods? The more bookish info the merrier!

Thanks to those of you who have stuck around through this five month break! Hope you’re all doing well ❤

Yours,

HOLLY

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College, Life

I’m studying at OXFORD?!?! | Study Abroad

I’ll be spending the entirety of my junior year of college studying abroad at Oxford University in England.

There. I said it.

I was accepted to study English literature at Mansfield College (one of the many colleges within the Oxford University system) back in late February of this year, yet I’ve put off actually talking about it on this blog until now. Why? There are a few reasons, the first of which being that part of me is afraid that it is too good to be true. What if something happened and I ended up not being able to go after I announced it to everyone? (In reality: nothing would happen. I would just have to explain to everyone that I wouldn’t be going abroad after all). Another part of me recognizes the stigma that can sometimes be associated with Oxford due to its academic and social status as a prestigious English university. But I can’t hold in my excitement any longer: I’ll be studying at OXFORD!!!

To be honest, when I first entered college I highly doubted that I would ever actually study abroad. I’ve always been sort of a home-body, preferring to hang out with friends and family in familiar locations rather than go out exploring and adventuring all of the time. There’s also the added wrinkle of being severely allergic to nuts, since airlines and international programs are sometimes not the most allergy aware organizations. Food allergies complicate everything, and travel is definitely no exception. I also worried about the financial expenses of studying abroad– how on earth would I pay for such an adventure? However, deep down I knew that the biggest thing holding me back was my fear of living on my own for an extended period of time. Living on the Wheaton campus an hour and a half from my childhood home was one thing, but living an entire ocean away?! I wasn’t sure if I could handle that much change all at once.

Then one day during my spring semester of freshman year my English major adviser suggested I think about applying to the Oxford program the following spring. He explained that several of the students he’s advised in the past spent their junior years there and absolutely loved the experience. Still skeptical that I would actually take the leap and apply, I thanked him for the suggestion and then proceeded to tuck it in the back of my mind.

I felt my feelings towards studying abroad slowly change as sophomore year progressed. The more I learned about the Mansfield College program, the more interested I became in the prospects of actually going. To think that I could also study at Oxford!! The idea seemed crazy to me, and in many ways it still feels surreal. As the application date neared I told myself that I would at the very least apply and see what happened– given the high GPA requirement and competitive application process, I highly doubted that I would even be accepted in the first place.

And then I received the acceptance email, and everything changed.

Suddenly it was happening– suddenly it is happening. I’m actually going to study abroad in Oxford, England for an entire academic year!! I cannot even begin to describe how excited (and nervous) I am, especially considering that I’ve never even traveled outside of the United States before. I can’t wait to walk through those Hogwarts-esque halls and visit all of the independent bookshops and drink tea in cute little cafes. Most importantly, though, I am beyond ecstatic to be able to spend an entire year focused solely on studying English literature.

I feel so lucky to have this opportunity and so indebted to everyone who has helped me along the way. This is by far the biggest leap I have ever taken in my twenty years of existence– fingers crossed that it’s the experience of a lifetime!

I wanted to bring this up on this blog because up until this point I’ve felt like I keep avoiding mentioning it, even though it’s constantly on my mind. Get ready for a lot more Oxford/England discussions coming your way!

Have you ever studied abroad or traveled to Oxford or England in general? Have any tips or advice? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Life

Looking Back at 2016

looking-back-on-2015

What a year 2016 has been.

I officially declared my English major and became my advisor’s research assistant. I completed my freshman year of college and embarked on my sophomore year. I spent a rainy day in New York City with friends and stood outside of The Room Where It Happens. I said goodbye to some amazing graduating seniors and hello so some excited (and nervous!) freshmen. I got a new dog named Eddie. I worked at a local Child Advocacy Center over the summer and tried Japanese food for the first time (two thumbs up!). I lived with an incredible roommate who also happens to be one of my best friends in the whole world. I saw Of Monsters and Men and Florence and the Machine perform live. I watched as the United States presidential election took an… interesting turn. I went to my first ever Comic Con and had a blast dressing up as Spock. My mom and I went to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert for the eighth year in a row. I took classes that inspired me, challenged me, and made me grow as both a student and human. I came home to discover that my beloved dog Melody had passed away. I laughed, I cried, I worked, I danced, I hugged, I smiled, and I appreciated.

2016

Through the many ups and downs that 2016 brought, I was fortunate enough to have an amazing group of family and friends supporting me along the way. To every family member, friend, professor, fellow blogger, and stranger who has made me smile over the past year: I am so, so grateful. 

And to you: Thank you from the tip of my pen and the bottom of my bookcase for reading my blog! I can’t express how much each and every one of you mean to me. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. ❤

It’s been a wild ride, 2016. Let’s hope 2017 is even better.

Happy New Year!

Yours,

HOLLY

Life

A Bookworm’s First Comic Con Experience

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Going to a Comic Con has been a sort of bucket list goal for me since I first learned that they even exist. I’ve always been attracted to the idea of a bunch of people getting together who are all passionate and enthusiastic about fandoms and nerdiness in general. Besides, who doesn’t have a not-so-secret desire to dress up as one of their favorite characters?

You can imagine my extreme excitement when one of my good friends asked me if I’d like to come to the Rhode Island Comic Con with her this past November. My college isn’t that far from Rhode Island and I had no other plans that weekend, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to finally experience an actual Comic Con.

So, how was it?

I had the best time. 

I decided to embrace my inner trekkie and went as a female Spock from Star Trek. (Yes, those are Vulcan ears!) My wonderful friend and Disney enthusiast went as Mary Poppins, which was absolutely adorable. Little kids kept coming up to her asking to take pictures and I couldn’t help but feel like we were in Disney World and maybe, just maybe, she had actually been Mary Poppins in disguise the entire time I had known her. (I’m still not discounting that theory– she could definitely pull it off!). I had so much fun walking around in my costume and occasionally busting out the Vulcan salute. (Also, bonus points for my fake ears for not falling off even once!)

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As much as I loved the experience of dressing up, it was equally as entertaining to see everyone else’s amazing costumes. From Marvel superheroes and Star Wars characters to pirates and princesses, people really pulled out all of the stops.

Though I had a blast walking around the convention center and perusing all of the geeky goodies for sale, the highlight of the day was attending a Q&A panel with Stan Lee. (Yes, you read that right: the actual STAN LEE.) We got in line well before the event opened because there was limited seating, and I’m so grateful that we were able to get in. As he answered all sorts of questions from audience members I was taken aback by how genuine wit and sense of humor. There was an overwhelming feeling of gratitude and empowerment in the room as we listened to the words of a man whose creativity has influenced our lives in countless ways. It feels so strange to be able to say that I’ve been in the same room as Stan Lee– never in a million years did I think that would ever happen!

My favorite part of this Comic Con experience in general was the feeling of togetherness and unity that seemed almost tangibly present. It’s not every day that you get to be surrounded by so many passionate, enthusiastic, and creative people. It also gave me a great sense of belonging. Sometimes being nerdy and quirky can make you feel isolated from your peers in a sense, but Comic Con helped show me that I should never feel ostracized because of my passions.

Overall, I’m so glad that I had the amazing opportunity to experience my first ever Comic Con. But don’t worry– this certainly won’t be my last!

Have you ever been to a kind of convention like this? If you’ve been to Comic Con before, what did you dress up as? If you haven’t been, what would you dress up as? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Life, Thoughtful Thursdays

Many Thanks | Thoughts on Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving!! Whether or not you celebrate Thanksgiving, I think it’s immensely important for everyone to remember the core component of this holiday: giving thanks.

It’s on days like this that I am struck with how incredibly fortunate I am. I am privileged enough to be getting a fantastic education at Wheaton College (MA), an institution which fosters creativity and growth. Every day I am taught by professors who are deeply invested in both the academic and personal development of their students. My friends are unbelievably understanding, kind, and always brighten my day. I am able-bodied and have food, shelter, and medical care at my fingertips when I need them. Most importantly, I have a loving and supportive family who cares about me and has helped me every step of the way.

What I’m trying to say is that I am extremely fortunate. Privileged. Lucky. Every day I wake up and am so grateful that I get to walk out that door being my genuine self without fearing what other people might think, to not have to hide anything about my personality or physical appearance in order to be accepted by the society surrounding me. Today is a day to recognize our own positions in life, whatever they may be, and then try to help others. 

So reach out to a family member, friend, or even stranger. Donate to a charity or a local food pantry or shelter. Be kind and compassionate and have empathy towards others. I’ll do the same, and hopefully together we can make this Thanksgiving a better and brighter one.

With everyone going on recently in the world, it’s safe to say that we could all use a bit of optimism.

thank-you

Last but not least, I would like to thank YOU for sticking with me and reading this little blog of mine. It means the world to me that you’re still here reading and commenting and taking the time out of your day to ponder what I have to say. I’m so grateful for this community! ❤

Happy Thanksgiving! Now, go eat a slice of pumpkin pie! 🙂

What are you grateful for? Do you have any fun Thanksgiving traditions? Let me know in the comments section below!

Yours,

HOLLY

Blogging, Life

I’m back? (A general life update)

here your eye

Hello, my lovely bookish friends! Since I was home for my October break this past weekend, I thought I would write a longer update post while I have some extra time. I have a crazy number of updates to talk about in this post, so let’s get right to it!

Copy of June-8

At the end of August I started my first year of college at Wheaton College in Norton, MA (woo hoo!). Over the summer I suspected that I would be incredibly busy once the school year started, so I basically scheduled posts in advance for the entire month of September. Long story short, the posts you’ve been seeing over the past weeks were written in the summer months as I drank iced tea, soaked up the sunshine, and fantasized about what college would be like. This is why I haven’t been commenting much on other blogs or responding to the comments on my own, for which I’m really sorry! My plan was that I would have plenty of time over the month of September to schedule posts in advance for October, and that my blogging schedule would stay pretty much the same as it was.

Boy, was I wrong! It turns out that free time in college is sort of a myth, because a) there’s always homework you could be doing, and b) chances are that when you’re not doing homework you’re hanging out with friends. Also, I have very little time to read for pleasure because of all the homework I have to do, so the number of books I have to review is slowly dwindling. Since beginning college I’ve read a grand total of two books, both of which were assigned reading for my Introduction to Literature class (if you’re wondering, they were Hamlet by William Shakespeare and Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe). I really miss reading for pleasure on a daily basis, and I’m still trying to work on fitting it into my schedule. If you have any tips on how to find time to read in college, they would be greatly appreciated!

I’m not really sure what my future blogging schedule will look like. My reserve of scheduled posts has run dry, so now I will truly be blogging whenever I have free time. This might translate into a longer weekly update post, a few short posts a week, or maybe another massive apologetic post the next time I’m on some sort of mini-break from school (Thanksgiving?). I really hate not being able to maintain the nearly daily posting schedule that I’ve kept up for so long, but it just isn’t feasible for me in college at this point. Hopefully I’ll find a way to post more often!

Copy of June-9

I’M IN COLLEGE. I have to remind myself of this regularly because it still doesn’t feel like it sometimes. How am I this old? *insert teenage life crisis here*

IMG_1990First and foremost, I love Wheaton. (Also, important distinction: I go to the one in Norton, Massachusetts, not the one in Illinois.) Everything about it is fantastic: the people, the professors, the campus, etc. No college is perfect, of course, but I can honestly say that I can’t imagine myself going to college anywhere but here. If you’re ever in the area or are looking into colleges to attend in the future, definitely check this one out!

Remember when I made this post about my class schedule for the first semester? Yeah, that changed. Before classes even started I decided to switch out my Logic class for Introduction to Literature, which was coincidentally at the exact same time on the exact same days. I’m so happy I made this switch because I’ve met a lot of great people in the class and my professor is awesome. It was a bit of a hassle to get all the books for the class at the last-minute, but it was completely worth it!

Because I’m taking two 200 level classes (Spanish 220 and Intro to Lit 201) I have A LOT of homework. In fact, I should definitely be doing homework instead of writing this post, but everyone deserves a break every once in a while, right? At first it was a little overwhelming, but now that I’ve settled in more I’ve learned to just buckle down and do it. Most of it is actually really interesting, especially for my Lit and Spanish classes.

Now, I’m sure you’re all asking a very important question: What does my dorm room look like? Here’s a quick picture of my side of the room:IMG_1940

I actually really like my dorm room and residence hall. The people on my floor are all super nice and friendly, and it’s a great feeling to know that if I ever needed anything I have people who I can go to for help. The best part of it is that two of my best friends live only two doors down the hall from me, which means that we can basically hang out all the time.

I live in a wellness dorm, otherwise known as a substance free residence hall. Essentially this means that there are more severe consequences for having drugs and alcohol in the residence hall itself. If anyone has any questions or is wondering whether or not such a living situation would be a good fit for them, feel free to leave a comment letting me know!

Overall, college has been a great experience so far. There have been many ups and downs as well as some crazy stories to tell, but it’s all part of the college experience. I’m so grateful to have made such an amazing group of friends and I can’t wait to see what Wheaton has in store for us in the future!

Copy of June-10

Is there anything else you would like an update on? Let me know in the comments section below!

Like I said, I’ll try to post more often in the near future. Hopefully I’ll be able to find time to blog more regularly!

As always, have a lovely day!

Yours,

HOLLY