Love Story.

Here’s how it is supposed to work: Girl meets boy. Girl feels the butterflies in her stomach before their first date. The first kiss. A relationship. The relationship will be filled with its ups and downs, but at some point he will realize she is the one. He will get down on one knee and tell her he wants to be with her for the rest of his life.

That is the picture painted for us for as long as I can remember. We see it profiled in movies and played out in our everyday lives. Disney princesses make falling in love with their Prince Charmings look effortless while high school sweethearts that make it are the real-life versions of that happily ever after. This picture does not set us up for success; it sets us up to be constantly reaching for an experience that may not be in the cards for us.

Now, I am not anti-love nor do I consider myself a “realist.” I love sappy Taylor Swift lyrics and Nicholas Sparks novels. While I have never received flowers, I sure hope I do one day. I, like most women, have spent time thinking about what my future wedding dress may look like, and there are nights where all I want to do is watch rom-coms with my sisters and forget about men.

I want to fall in love one day, however, I have stopped confining myself to the idea that love should be right out of the fairy tales. I don’t want to limit myself to the idea that love is going to ride into my life on a white horse with a bouquet of roses in hand, ready to sweep me off my feet. That sets too many expectations that no one can live up to, and it’s not fair to hold someone to such a high standard.

Love is not meant to be generic, but it is definitely meant to be beautiful. Think about that. Every person’s “happily ever after” does not have to be beautiful to everyone else; it simply needs to be beautiful to him or her. It is meant to be unique. Yes, some people will have the perfect love story. However, others will not. But that doesn’t make it any less beautiful. And that’s perfectly okay.

Reflection.

When I moved back to Columbus four months ago, I was filled with an unexpected mix of emotions; I was excited to get out of Cincinnati and away from a toxic relationship, I was anxious to be reunited with my best friends who all live out-of-state, and I was uneasy about what my extracurricular involvements had in store for me. I was eager to move into my first apartment but I was also nervous about what would happen this semester. IMG_3151

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The first adventure of the year was driving down to Nashville, TN to see One Direction in concert. If you had asked me a year ago if I would pay money to see a boy band in concert, I would have laughed at the thought. Growing up, I was never a fan of the 90s boy bands, and One Direction was not a band that I paid any attention to until recently. Two important things happened in Nashville: Harry Styles pulled a small child on stage and melted any reservations I had left directed towards the band and it was announced that Braxton Miller would be out for the entire season. With a week left before the season opening game against Navy, the Buckeyes had to recuperate and the playoff hopes of BuckeyeNation fell onto the shoulders of redshirt quarterback JT Barrett.

Upon returning to Columbus a few days later, the unexpected happened and I met a boy at a bar. He is a transfer, and we were introduced through one of our mutual friends. Having run from a toxic relationship at home, I had no intensions of establishing a close friendship with someone new. While I didn’t expect anything to come from the night, he has become someone who’s friendship I value tremendously. He’s been my voice of reason even though I have probably bothered him more times than not.

photo 4Flash-forward two weeks to the primetime home opener against Virginia Tech. It was the first time in our college careers that my friends and I experienced a loss in Ohio Stadium and it resulted in one of the most memorable nights this semester. Not only did we manage to make friends with an amicable Virginia Tech couple, but somehow we managed to have enough fun to completely forget about the final score of the game. photo 7

This year is my third year as a member of the Ohio Union Activities Board. Due to events at the end of last semester, I was incredibly nervous about this year. I was joining a new committee for the first time since joining the organization and I had no idea what to expect. I jumped at the chance to be Hospitality Leader for our first event of the semester – Pentatonix in Concert. That position, along with the events we are programming for next semester, rekindled my passion for OUAB and the amazing work it does for this campus. To make it even better, Pentatonix is now a Grammy-nominated band.

FullSizeRender 2Following the Pentatonix event, I participated in my first Homecoming Parade. This is my first year as a member of the Major Campus Events Committee, a small student-led cohort responsible for planning some of Ohio State’s largest Signature Events. The day of the parade was chaotic and fun, and I was thrilled to see one of my friends on court. We effortlessly won the Homecoming game – at this time the Buckeyes were at a surprising 5-1.

The weeks following Homecoming were filled with a variety of social events: Date Party, Halloween, 21st birthdays, and the night my friends and I crashed a fraternity brotherhood event. I wore one of my favorite dresses to our fall date party, a gold sequined piece that I had not had the confidence to wear when I originally got it last winter. Crashing a brotherhood resulted in minor casualties, but still remains to be the best night of this semester. FullSizeRender 8

FullSizeRenderThese four months have wrapped up with the greatest week of the year: Beat Michigan Week. It began with the Beat Michigan Pep Rally, one of the signature events that MCEC is responsible for planning. That night I got to meet the football captains (the Buckeyes were at a shocking 11-1), and speak with President Drake and VP of the Office of Student Life, Dr. J. The following night was the infamous Mirror Lake Jump, and the week wrapped up with the big game in Ohio Stadium. The game was a roller coaster, especially at the end where we lost the quarterback that carried us through our Cinderella year. We entered the B1G Championship game with our little-known 3rd string QB who proceeded to stun the country when he led our football game to a 59-0 win over Wisconsin. After being ranked #23 in the AP Poll at the beginning of the season, the Ohio State Buckeyes fought their way up to be ranked #4 in the country with a direct flight to the Sugar Bowl.

10628587_10205212924585686_5380466354548940373_nThis semester was one for the memory book. It was a wild ride filled with late walks down High Street, mornings spent laughing about the night before, a few questionable sleepovers, and countless ugly pictures. I wouldn’t change a thing, and I cannot wait to see what next semester holds for me.

Thank you, Anonymous.

Yesterday, an anonymous friend (or maybe I should call you anon) informed me online that he or she thinks I am a negative person. While I do not agree with the comment nor did I take offense to it, it gave me the opportunity to reflect upon how truly wonderful my life is and how incredibly lucky I am to have what I do. This semester has been by far my favorite since I can say I am finally comfortable with the direction my path is headed at Ohio State and I am ecstatic that I have three more semesters to continue this journey. In the meantime, here’s my list the parts of my life for which I am grateful. I sure do hope you take notes, anonymous poster.

Old friends
#tbt when we were #new2osu


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New friends
who says you have to be #new2osu to make friends?

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My family
no explanation needed.

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Dressing up
whether it’s a date party or Halloween or the OUABanquet

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These women
my people

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Selfies
with many beautiful friends

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The Ohio Union Activities Board
and all the amazing events I would never have thought I could be a part of

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My Littles
my pride and joy

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Brenley
Brenley today. Brenley tomorrow. Brenley forever.

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The Ohio State University
the most beautiful campus there ever was

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The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

The Boy Who Cried Wolf. This story is one of the better known of Aesop’s fables, and it is often used to teach children the repercussions that come from excessively lying or over-exaggerating the truth. For those of you who may not remember the specifics of it, a boy continuously caused panic amongst villagers by saying his flock of sheep was being attacked by a wolf. After many false alarms, the villagers fail to come the one time the flock is attacked by a wolf. The fable ends with the flock of sheep – and depending on what version you read, the boy – being attacked and eaten by a wolf.

Out of all of the Aesop Fables that I was read throughout my childhood, The Boy Who Cried Wolf is the one that stuck with me the most. It is also the fable who’s themes I constantly see at work in every day life, especially through middle school and high school and now college. I understand that it a very normal thing for people to over-emphasize details of a situation when telling a story. We often do this to make the story more engaging and make our lives sound more interesting to the listener. However, there is a fine line between over-emphasizing occasional details and tweaking the details of every aspect of your life.

In my opinion, the worst kind of liar is the one who you know is lying through their teeth, yet people still hang on their every word. Quite frankly, they’re annoying. I don’t particularly understand the motivation behind it. Maybe it is an insecurity, or maybe it’s the desire for attention. I’m not sure. As a person who tends to stay as behind the scenes as possible, this desire to over-inflate everything confuses me and at times leaves me baffled at how outlandish the details sound. However, while I do not enjoy my 15 minutes of fame, I am a person who is not afraid to hold people accountable, meaning it often irritates me to have to keep my mouth shut at risk of sounding rude or insulting while the extravagant stories are being told.

To cap all this off, the worst of it is when something noteworthy does warrant attention. Something that for once does not have the details over exaggerated, something that deserves attention, whether it’s good or bad. It’s the Boy Who Cried Wolf. As much as I want to care, the ploy for attention is more of a turnoff than anything. I want to appreciate these stories. However, when it’s the one relevant and important story in a never-ending saga, I find myself in the position of the villagers. The one time the wolf comes and the sheep are eaten, everyone turns a blind eye. How can you blame them?

Please note that this is strictly an opinion-based post.

Perspective.

It’s Week 11. The end of the semester is in sight, however, final exams and projects loom on the horizon. It’s getting colder out, and it’s getting darker earlier every night. This is the point of the semester where everyone is run down, sick, and tired. Walking to class, I constantly catch bits of conversations where people are complaining about something. The excitement of a new school year has officially petered out, and many are struggling to find the motivation to get through these final weeks.

The other day, I was sitting in the Union when I heard someone complaining to a friend about the “absurd” amount of exams he had that week. He was complaining about his classes, the professors, and the tests themselves, while his friend sat there and kept nodding in agreement. Eventually, the pair got up and left, sparing everyone around from their negativity.

I have a huge issue with this. People complaining about petty things such as exams and claiming their lives are hell or they’re so stressed that they can’t imagine doing anything for a certain amount of time should consider re-evaluating their situation. Let me outline a few situations:

Three weeks ago, an apartment caught on fire on 13th and Summit. The people living in this building lost everything; their clothes, their belongings, and their sense of safety went up in smoke.

Lauren Hill is a college freshman at the University of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio. After committing to play at MSJ during her senior year of high school, Hill was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. She has been given two months to live. Lauren Hill is dying.

These realities are awful. My friend lost everything to an uncontrollable fire. He now lives with the uncertainty of whether or not he’s safe within his own home. However, he continues to go to class, and he is working on putting his “normal” back together. As for Lauren Hill, she started in her first ever collegiate basketball game in front of a crowd of 10,000+ this past Sunday.

Against all odds, these people are living. They aren’t seeking pity from the people around them, but rather are looking to normalize their lives. I’m sure Lauren Hill wished the only stress she had to deal with in her young life was a few midterms. I’m sure if you asked my friend, he would tell you the same thing. So I challenge you this: before you complain again about a week of tests and assignments, think about what others around you might be facing, and realize how incredibly lucky you are. You have your health. You have your safety. You go to the greatest university in the world. And that is something that many people can’t say.

Homecoming.

This past week was Homecoming 2014 here at The Ohio State University. It shouldn’t surprise anyone when I say that Ohio State went all out. I still have yet to walk onto a campus where the student body has the same energy and passion that for their school as Buckeyes do. While in the past two years, I have celebrated Homecoming like most students – go to the football game, cheer on our team to a win, and sing Carmen with 100,000+ students and alumni – this year I was a little more involved with it.

As a member of the Major Campus Events Committee, I got to be a part of the 2014 Homecoming Parade. The three co-chairs for the Parade did a phenomenal job planning and executing such a massive event, and I’m so proud of all of them. However, my favorite part of the Parade wasn’t the actual event. The night before, I watched one of my ideas come to life in the form of Brutus Buckeye. For two hours, I got to walk around campus with Brutus and hand out promotional items for the parade. Brutus’s presence is indescribable; people get so excited and he brings a smile to everyone’s faces. It was heartwarming watching the joy that he brought to everyone we passed, and that event is definitely one of the highlights of my collegiate career thus far.

Secondly, this year one of my favorite people was on Homecoming Court. Will was someone I never expected to be friends with but he somehow managed to put up with me all of last year well enough to name me committee member of the year for our OUAB committee. He’s just as sassy as me when he wants to be, and he’s definitely the only person I know who can get away with using Ryan Lochte’s signature catchphrase “JEAH” on a regular basis besides Lochte himself. Our Skyline adventures with Adam (when he actually decides to join us) are some of my favorite memories from my sophomore year, and I don’t know how I’m going to entertain myself next year during OUAB meetings when I can’t send you creepy snapchats of yourself. Will, you’re someone I look up to and I cannot wait to see what you’ve got ahead of you. You’re going to do big things. #JEAH

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Happy.

Since coming back to Ohio State five weeks ago, life has been moving fast. The first round of midterms are coming up, projects are being assigned left and right, and between meetings and work, I only have one night free of any sort of plans each week. While this may sound stressful to some, it is this busy schedule that keeps me going.

This past summer was difficult for me, as many already know. I was at home and the center of my world was an unhealthy relationship with a boy. He’s affectionately known as my headache. For four months we played a cat and mouse game, a game where there was no winner, a game that is focused on the idea of control and maintaining power. If you asked him, he would tell you that we were “just friends,” but everyone who knew us personally knew that there was a more twisted, complicated relationship below the outside layers. Because all of my friends from school are from out-of-state and all my friends from high school took summer classes back at their respective universities this summer, I was left alone with only my headache as my entertainment.

It has been almost six weeks since I moved back to Columbus, meaning it has been almost six weeks since I have spoken to my headache. He will still remain nameless for the time being, however, because there’s no telling when he may decide to try and make a reappearance in my life. Looking back on this summer, I realize now how toxic and how bad he was for me. Nothing about my relationship with him made me happy or gave me any sort of fulfillment in my life.

My first weekend of junior year, I met a guy through a mutual friend. I never expected anything to come from it; we were at a party, he introduced himself as a transfer student, and a conversation sparked from there. To my surprise, he texted me the next morning and everything has kept going from there. While our relationship doesn’t have a label, he’s already demonstrated to me that I deserve so much better than what I have had in the past. He’s curious about my life and wants to know about what I do with my days, something my headache never asked me. This new boy wants to know about me but also tells me a lot about himself. It’s a healthy, learning relationship, one that doesn’t stress me out or add negativity to my life.

He makes me happy. He makes me happy when we make dinner together at 10:30 at night even though it’s way past dinnertime. He makes me happy when he shows me the program that he’s written for homework even though I don’t understand any of it. He makes me happy when I drive him home and he kisses me goodnight. He makes me happy, and that’s so much more than what I ever expected.