Mistakes.

I have always been a very careful person. I have never been one to take risks or be too spontaneous. By being careful, I have been able to skirt around major conflicts, tiptoe around potentially harmful situations, and avoid getting hurt or hurting anyone in the process. The neighborhood and school district I grew up in fostered this sense of security; high school teachers would understand if a student missed an assignment, groups of friends remained consistent from the 4th grade all the way through senior year of high school, and no major tragedies occurred. Life was easy. It was hard to screw up.

College is usually the first time a person is completely on their own. Entering your first year, you realize you no longer have a school that mandates you go to class, your parents are no longer there to enforce a curfew, and your group of friends is no longer there to hold you accountable for how you’re supposed to act. While high school was the swimming pool you could carefully wade deeper and deeper into, college is the ocean that you’re dropped into and tasked with the job of figuring out how to float.

My freshman year, I was still very careful. I went to every class, I was weary of who I spent my time with, and I was strategic in picking which student organizations to get involved with. I lived on a party floor in a party dorm. I experienced my first relationship, and going into my sophomore year, I experienced my first breakup. My fear with making a mistake rests in the aftermath. I’m the type of person that internalizes the guilt solely on myself, no matter how many parties are involved.

The other night, I was fortunate to have had a heart-to-heart with one of my friends about a current situation I have been dealing with. Something he said really stuck out to me: College is about making mistakes, taking chances, and growing from them. Elaborating from that, I think something that I have been realizing is that not every mistake made is bad, and not every mistake should result in regrets.

College is for learning about yourself. To learn about yourself, you have to make choices, both good and bad. I’m learning now that it’s important not to dwell on those choices for too long. In fact, I’m learning that some bad choices aren’t necessarily ones worth regretting. It’s okay to embrace what others might consider a bad decision. Either way, you’re learning about yourself and about the others involved. And that’s perfectly okay.

2015.

And just like that, it’s the New Year. Happy 2015, everyone!

I rang in the New Year the best way possible – a Buckeye victory against the college football powerhouse Alabama Crimson Tide. While many believed we didn’t belong, my no. 4 Buckeyes took down the no. 1 Tide to earn a birth in the inaugural College Football Playoff Championship. So far our third-string quarterback and our monster of a defensive line has defeated two Heisman Trophy candidates in Melvin Gordon and Amari Cooper, with only one left – 2015 winner Marcus Mariota – standing in our way. As many are saying, it’s duck hunting season, and the best way to hunt the ducks with with a 12 Gauge shotgun. January 12th can’t come soon enough.

2015 is going to be a big year. In just under two weeks, 17 sororities at Ohio State will begin this year’s formal recruitment process with the end goal being some of the largest pledge classes in the history of the university. My littles will get littles and I will officially be considered old in my new role as a grandbig. In March, I will take on Gulf Shores, AL with some of my best friends on my first ever college spring break. A week later, I turn 21. Come May, the strongest, most caring person I know – my big – will graduate from The Ohio State University to pursue to Master’s Degree in social work. I couldn’t be more proud and more thankful to have her in my life. This summer, I hope to land an internship within the communication, marketing, or public relations field in order to gain first-hand, real world experience. At the end of the summer, my baby brother will move to Lexington, KY to begin his freshman year at The University of Kentucky. In August, I will begin my senior year at The Ohio State University.

But there will also be challenges. I’m still healing from the choice J made two years ago come April 5th. I’m constantly worried about my future and finding an internship for this summer. These three weeks at home have made it clear that my headache is still very much in the picture. I need to figure out what lasting legacy I want to leave on my university. Then, I need to start making that legacy real.

I have so much to look forward to, and I am incredibly blessed to have the support system that I do to help guide me through this year. To my family, thank you in advance for putting up with the constant emotional moments I know will be occurring due to my uncertain future. To my university, please keep giving me the same amazing opportunities you have already provided me. Finally, to my friends, I’m ready to make this our best year yet. I sure hope you are too.

It’s going to be a great one.

Power.

Power is a peculiar force. Power is addictive; once an individual gets a taste of it, they want more. Power is manipulative; an individual with power, especially over another person, can usually get what they want. Power is persuasive; an individual with power usually can find a way to get others to do what they want. Power is dominant; an individual with power can have the upper hand in a relationship, a negotiation, or a decision.

I constantly struggle with power, especially within the two relationships I have profiled on this blog. The thing about power is that it is entirely different in any given situation. The power struggle with my headache (read here) is dramatic and often times ludicrous. It is a constant yo-yo, spiraling up and down, switching back and forth. Once one of us achieves power, he or I rarely maintain it for a long period of time. In our relationship, if you have power, it means you’re winning. The end goal: win The Game.

I also have a second power struggle, one that is more personal. It is an internal battle, despite its source being someone who is no longer in my life. When I see J (read here), the battle rears its head in full force. A few days prior to coming home for break, I crossed direct paths with J. It was on High Street in the middle of the afternoon. By the time I saw him walking towards me, it was already too late to deviate to a different path. It was the first time I passed him face-to-face this year.

Eye contact. Fight or flight kicks in. My heart rate spikes, adrenaline floods my veins, and I experience severe tunnel vision until I find myself in a safe place, away from him. I hate this response. I hate that he still has this lingering power over me.

Eventually, I will learn to combat both of these struggles. As I continue into my twenties, I will mature and learn how to accept or even let go of the conflict with my headache since it is truly a useless struggle. As for the internal battle involving J, it is something I hope to learn to better cope with and ideally overcome.

Power is both a personal and a communicative struggle, but it’s not always a bad thing. Power is necessary in a lot of environments, and when used or dealt with correctly, it can be very valuable. Many abuse it for immoral reasons, while others, like myself, are constantly learning how to manage it. Power will never cease to exist, but it is something I believe everyone can use in a more positive, more effective way.

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 when 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.