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.

Welcome Back.

Why, hello there. It’s been awhile.

The last three weeks have been nothing short of a roller coaster; I moved back to school into my first apartment, I drove to Nashville with my best friends to experience the teenage dream that was One Direction live in concert, I met a boy, and just last week I started my third year at The Ohio State University. It all seems like a blur. 

It’s hard to believe that summer only ended three weeks ago. Although it’s been a very short amount of time, I already see a significant change in myself. I’m happier. Once again, I’m surrounded by my best friends, I’m living in the vibrant city of Columbus, and I’m channeling my energy into planning some incredible, campus-wide events. If the last three weeks have proven anything to me, it’s that this year is going to be great. It may even be my best year yet.

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Wasted.

In four days, my Summer 2014 will officially be over. This summer was one for the books; I got to spend my days with three great kids who never stopped entertaining me, I went on the vacation of a lifetime to Hawaii with my mom and brother, and I committed to regularly working out again for the first time in over a year. I’ll miss having karaoke moments with the three children I babysat while we drove around, with their favorite song to belt out being Timber. I’ll miss my lazy weekends where the extent of my daily schedule included a quick run. I’ll miss getting to see my puppy, affectionately nicknamed Demon, every day. There are many things about this summer that I’ll miss. However, there is one thing that I wont miss.

This summer has been one of highs and lows, clarity but also confusion. The other day while running on the treadmill at the Y, and I chose to listen to a random playlist on Spotify crafted for a cardio workout. Halfway through my run, the song Wasted by Tiësto started to play. I have been introduced to it once before, but I have never actually listened to the lyrics. As I listened, I felt like I had run straight into a brick wall. If you haven’t heard the song before, here are some of the lyrics:

-I like us better when we’re wasted // it makes it easier to fake it // the only time we ever talk is when our clothes are coming off // I like us better when we’re wasted
-You are a glass half empty // sipping my ocean dry // emotionally spent me // ’til none of our planets could align // but I can stand you one more night

The song, co-written by producer/DJ Tiësto, vocalist Matthew Koma, and duo Twice As Nice, took my exact thoughts and put them into the form of an upbeat club dance number. As crazy at is sounds, the lyrics of this song confronted me with the reality of a situation I have been avoiding since moving back to my hometown in May. To be honest, it initially made me incredibly uncomfortable. 

I am not going to miss the confusion that the situation very obviously outlined in that song has brought to my life. I am not going to miss the disappointment and the broken plans. I am not going to miss having that opportunity. 

Ideally, I hope that putting space between us will help recenter the true intentions of our friendship. While I absolutely hate the phrase “I need space” due to personal reasons, right now what I need is space to mentally recharge and to reevaluate what I want. I need to go back to Columbus. I need to go home. 

My Person.

The other night, I had nothing short of an emotional freak out. Naturally, this happened because of only one reason: A boy. My emotional roller coaster ranged from judgmental, pissed off, annoyed, upset, and then ultimately, sad. This all occurred within an hour time period, and trust me, it was for good reason. 

There is one person I can trust to center me during moments such as this. She is someone who I met during my freshman year at Ohio State, but didn’t grow so close with until the last couple of months. She is my partner-in-crime from Spanish class, one of my best friends, and recently became my sister. 

I met Lauren second semester of our freshman year in our third level Spanish class. It was a a four hour attendance class, where most days we sat at a table in the back of the room pretending to understand what was going on. We bonded over awkward in-class presentations, avoiding all possible class participation, and the struggling through Friday mornings. Last January, she received a bid from Delta Zeta, officially finding a home in the sisterhood that I had already called home for a year. 

Since January, Lauren and I have bonded over everything from aimless drives through our neighborhoods to our personal issues with men. We have taken countless selfies with the most interesting of props (#tbt the oatmeal selfie), reveled in a shared hatred for the University of Cincinnati, and spent a solid three hours at a TG running away from Konnor with a K. It was how she responded to my emotional freak out and then felt comfortable enough to confide in me the night after that cemented what an important person she is to me. To quote the show that coined this term: “If I murdered someone, she’s the person I’d call to help me drag the corpse across the living room floor. She’s my person.”  

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The Game.

When you go online today, it is almost inevitable that you will find an article written about how today’s young adults are killing the dating culture. According to these articles, we are replacing it with the hookup culture, a nonchalant, emotionless based physical culture that allows men and women to be totally self centered in what they want. We get slammed as a generation for losing the morals and values of dating and relationships.

The summer going into my senior year of high school, I was introduced to The Game. No, it’s not that trick game where you have to announce that you lost “the game” if you think about the game. The Game is a complex theory based out of the hookup culture. In my experience, there are two sides to it:

1) You pretend like you don’t care in order to mask the fact that you truly do care - to win at this route, you have to be the one in the relationship that shows they care the less because for some reason men (and women) think that the best way to hook someone is to act like they don’t care. You lose if you prove to be the one who cares more.
2) You pretend like you do care while putting your interests first (without the other person’s knowledge) – in my opinion, this is the cruelest of the two routes. To pretend like you care about someone and make them believe that they are important to you when in reality they’re only there to fulfill your “needs” is stooping pretty damn low. The way you win is if that person never figures out your true intentions. Alternatively, you lose if they do.

The Game is all about finding a balance between the ability to show interest while keeping the target as far away as possible. It works well with our “hookup culture”, especially when both parties involved have a mutual understanding that nothing will come of their rendezvous. However, The Game has also proven to be detrimental to those who are being played. When they lose The Game, those playing it take a moment to wipe themselves off, sometimes admitting the defeat, then quickly moving on to their next target. On the other end, upon winning The Game, those being played can be left hurt and confused.

I have been played by The Game. In fact, I still may be participating in it. Now, I’m very aware of what I’m experiencing, which has proven to be frustrating the more I come into understanding it. The other player involved is a true master of The Game – he’s almost perfected the occasional showing of interest but keeping all possible space between us. He’s confusing and frustrating, but at this point he might be putting in more effort than I am.

However, there is good news. I think I know how to win The Game, even though I’m the one who’s supposed to be being played. I’m just waiting for the right time to make my move.