Move-In Day as Told by “Steel Magnolias”

“I think we should pray.”

  1. When all of your bedding, decorations and furniture match.


2. When your Mom says, “I think we can get it out of the car and to the room in two trips.”


3. When you start unpacking your bedding and all of your blankets are stuck together.


4. When you make an attempt to put the fitted sheet on the bed.

Blanket 2

5. When the doorstopper won’t stay put long enough to get everything else brought in.


6. When you throw your snack stash in the corner.


7. When you yell at your parents because they are not giving in to your OCD and you feel bad because they are helping you.


8.  When you and your team get everything in place.




Advice for High School Seniors

HOLLA. It’s your last year of high school. You are 180 or so school days away from walking across that stage and yelling out a resounding, “SEE YA!” as you pull out of what is, undoubtedly, a mess of a parking lot. But you aren’t done yet. Here are a few things to keep in mind; this is a special year, and I hope you have a blast!

  • COLLEGE DECISIONS – Before you start learning your new alma mater march, you have to apply to your next education destination. There are SO many choices. Maybe you know whole-heartedly where you will be, and maybe you have no clue. Weigh all of your options, and don’t feel pressured to going to a school for one reason or another. Figure out what you want most in your education, talk with your parents, go on campus tours, talk to students, and make a decision best for YOU. Don’t be discouraged about acceptance statistics or financial aid. The least you can do is apply. Keep your options open, but never settle. And fill out the dang FAFSA.
  • COLLEGE APPLICATIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS – Do not procrastinate on your applications. SERIOUSLY. Schools have strict deadlines for applications and varying types of application dates. If you are set on a school, you may want to look into Early Decision or Early Action (just be sure to read the fine print, ED is binding). Be accurate and honest in the info you give. Pay attention to all requirements for acceptance! Almost every school requires letters of recommendation. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE DAY BEFORE/DAY IT IS DUE TO ASK. “Mrs. So And So, can you write me a quick recommendation for Harvard? It’s due in like thirty minutes.” The answer will be no. Ask teachers who know you well, teachers who can vouch for your work ethic and your character. It’s okay if you didn’t ace their classes (as long as you weren’t a slouch). A recommendation from someone who made you work and knows your strengths and weaknesses will mean more than a recommendation from someone who only ever saw you succeed (or fail).  You want to ask teachers you trust and respect who will give an honest, well-rounded testimony on your behalf. Give them plenty of time to write your recs – I guarantee you will not be the only student to ask them.
  • YOU STILL HAVE CLASSES NOW – College is right around the corner, but senior year is right now. You still have expectations and goals to meet. Do not give up on your high school education as those acceptance letters come rolling in. Colleges will still monitor your progress. And, you owe it to yourself and your teachers to work hard and be the best you can be. You leave a legacy no matter how big or how small when you leave. Do you want to be remembered as a future presidential nominee/saint or the kid who spilled a Coke on the carpet one time and finished with a C? Work hard and pay attention in class. High school classes are much smaller than college classes. Take advantage of opportunities to ask questions and learn in this personal environment. This is the last year you will be in class with all of your friends you have known since birth; challenge them to do well, and come graduation day, you all will be able to take a gazillion pictures with your fancy cords and medallions that the kids who spilled Coke did not receive.
  • IT IS NEVER TOO LATE – Is there a club you have always wanted to join? Do you want to sing in choir? Do you want to learn more of the language you kinda sorta remember from your two sections of required foreign language?  DO IT. Now is not really the time to get started on padding that college application, but it is definitely a a time to do everything you have wanted to do if humanly possible. After you graduate, some of those opportunities disappear. So, go to that Student Council meeting and help plan the Pep Rally (so it isn’t a dismal occasion). Sign up to be a tutor and let kids call you at 11:30 p.m. the night before a test and respond to, “I don’t know what any of this even means.” (Being a tutor is actually super rewarding, I promise). Do not miss out on opportunities that could enhance your high school experience and allow you to make an impression because you think you are too late. Just be sure you are participating for the right reasons and not just for the sake of your applications…
  • CHERISH THIS TIME WITH FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND TEACHERS – Write this on a thousand Post-It notes and stick it everywhere there is an open space. One year from now, you will not be sharing your life with the same people. Don’t shut people out because you know the goodbyes will be hard; pull them in closer. Suffocate them with affection. Go to games, concerts, and plays and cheer for/with your friends. Go to prom just for the heck of it. You may end up on completely opposite ends of the country in a year’s time, so have fun together and let them know how much you love them. Tell your favorite teachers how much they mean to you and explain the impact they had on your life. (Shoutout to mine – I love you all). Get contact information from anyone and everyone so you can always stay in touch – you may not talk everyday, but it is always a great feeling to get a text saying, “hey, hope you are doing well,” or an email saying, “I’m very proud of you.” Thank your parents for their support and love – this is a special time for them too. Throw the remote at your sibling(s) for old times sake. And keep family and friends close but your pets closer…you can’t call them and ask how they are doing next year…You will make great friends in college, but keep these bonds alive and well!

Best of luck in your endeavors. If you know me personally and have any questions about life after high school, text, call, or shoot me an email. If you don’t know me but still want more advice, comment in the thread below. And DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Senioritis is worse than Zika. Okay, maybe not. But you never know…

Thanks, Coach.

I’m looking at my newest basketball. A Nike ball with “Volunteers” emblazoned across the rubber. Volunteers. 

Growing up, I played basketball. I played for ten years. I wasn’t always the best player on the court, but I loved the game. The pace. The adrenaline. I didn’t just love playing; I loved watching. I loved watching the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers.

I wanted to be a Lady Vol. I would go to my grandparents’ house and shoot hoops pretending I was on Pat Summitt’s squad. I pretended I played for the best basketball coach in the nation. Perhaps in history. Yes, in history. 

Pat Summitt. She coached with this graceful fire. She pushed her team to be great on and off the court with her icy glare and competitive heart. And her teams were great. Worthy of 8 National Championship titles. One even worthy of a gold medal. And when she could no longer coach teams, she kept her fire and fought like a champion to beat her most formidable opponent.

 I stood on her court where she coached for nearly 40 years, a court in her name. I had the privilege of speaking to Coach Summitt at a game last fall. It was an honor to even be in her presence. After the initial stammering, I managed to say, “Coach, I have been a fan for many years. I’m glad to see you here.” I could tell she was hearing me, but she wasn’t the coach I once idolized. It was hard seeing her in a sickly state: human. 

We want our legends to be that: legends. Seeing her was a reminder that we are merely human and life is largely out of our control. But her resilience and faith were reminders that we have life worth living. And to win at life, we must live. We must make every shot, every day count to win.

Coach Pat Head Summitt dedicated her life to competition, to winning. Now, she has won the ultimate game. We remember her as a champion. And she lives now as a legend, as an inspiration. An inspiration to never give up. To support your team, whoever it may be. To have faith. To win.

Thank you, Coach Summitt.

10 Things to Keep in Mind this Election Season

The 2016 presidential election is all over the news. It is the news. Many people have opinions about…the news. Here are 10 things to keep in mind in the months to come.

1. Not everyone agrees with their party’s candidate 100%.

I don’t even agree with myself on 75% of the things I say and/or do. It’s almost impossible to agree with someone 100%. Some people may whole-heartedly agree with their party’s candidate (or believe they do), but there are many more who may take issue with at least one comment or policy. Do not judge someone’s beliefs based on the candidate or party they support; they may not have the same convictions.

2. Many voters DO evaluate both sides.

I’m not thrilled with either party’s front runner. However, I do pay attention to both candidates. I want to choose someone who has a majority of policies I support, whose charisma inspires or impresses me, and who will ultimately be the best Commander in Chief. Quite a few people are like me, believe it or not. Most voters have to evaluate both sides at some point. Please refrain from saying, “but you don’t even know what he/she thinks,” unless you are positive someone has not evaluated both sides. The League of Women Voters lends good advice for evaluating candidates.

3. The media does not always present everything.

As a journalism major, I can say with confidence good journalists try to present both sides fairly and equally. But we cannot always present everything that was said or done, and there are bad journalists out there. Take in as much media as you can even when you think you cannot look at another political ad without your eyes burning out. Watch Fox News and CNN and MSNBC and CBS/NBC/ABC News and your local news channels. Read your local paper. Follow everyone in the political arena on Twitter. Check out everything to build a well-rounded view. Know some things may never be published, but most are out there…somewhere.

4. Young voters are not stupid voters/veteran voters are not stubborn voters.

Sure, 18-year-olds are new to the political process, but they aren’t necessarily dumb. I’m 19, but I can almost guarantee I watch more election coverage than the average 45-year-old. Young voters are not ignorant. Arnie Seipel of NPR makes a good point; young voters actively use social media. We see election coverage EVERYWHERE. Pull up Twitter and we see #ImWithHer and #MakeAmericaGreatAgain. Snapchat? There’s a whole story for each primary election.  We are young, but this country is our future; we want a good future for ourselves, our future families, etc. We are paying attention and attempting to be informed. Veteran voters, similarly, are not stubborn. They do not always vote for their party’s candidate. They do what they feel is right and vote for the candidate right for them. They are watching the news, reading the paper, and some are checking Twitter. Older voters are deciding who is right for them. If that means being a ride or die Republican, then go GOP until you RIP. If not, that’s cool. You do you.

5. No candidate is more “correct” than any other.

There are two parties for a reason. Everyone has differing beliefs. We have a system that allows for multiple ideas to be represented. Just because you do not agree does not mean it is wrong, nor does it make the idea correct on the flip side. Policies line up with convictions. The policy may be in line with your convictions or it may not. The policy is not “wrong” or “correct,” it simply exists. You only decide if you like it or not.

6. Do not lose friends over the election.

I cannot stress this enough. Everyone becomes a political expert during election season, and some of the most profound experts will be friends. You sometimes will not agree with them. We love to fight the people we love. Instead of having a fight, listen to one another. Listen to each other’s ideas, and consider each point. You may not agree, but at least you get an idea of how the opposite side operates. I have a good friend who supports the candidate opposite my own, and we often have meaningful conversations/make jokes about our candidates and beliefs without judgment or anger. I am working on a second major in French, and my friends from France are astounded by the way many Americans shut each other down. In France, debate is always welcome. The French debate and converse, and they DON’T BECOME OFFENDED by every little jab. Take a lesson from the French; be open, honest, and appreciate someone whose ideas differ from your own. Without others, our democracy would not exist.

7. The executive branch is not the only branch of government. 

Take a pill, America. Did we learn nothing in school? The American government has three, yes, three branches. These branches work in a system of checks and balances. The executive, judicial, and legislative branches work together. Don’t get all worked up about Trump wanting to build a wall. Congress will definitely have something to say about it. EXTRA FUN FACT: YOU HAVE A VOICE! Our legislators, executive officials, and judiciaries are here for US. If you have a problem, contact your local representatives or your congressmen. Know their office addresses, emails, and phone numbers. More importantly, know who they are!!!  Note: If you do not get a response, try again. You can also contact local media and ask them to delve deeper into a subject if it is of great concern to the community. Here is a page to help you find your elected officials.

8. You cannot do anything about the results after Election Day.

What’s done is done. You may not be happy, but millions of others will be right there with you. Turn your attention to other elections coming up, and be involved. Watch local elections, state legislature elections, etc.  Work from the ground up to build a government with which you can somewhat agree at the very least.

9. VOTE.

You cannot have an impact on results after the election is over, but you can have a say day of the election! PLEASE, FOR THE SAKE OF EVERYTHING THAT IS GOOD, JUST DO IT! GO VOTE! Don’t flip a coin if you can’t decide, but you have a chance to tell the electoral college who you want to see in office, so vote for a candidate you can support.

10. “We the people…”

The Preamble of the United States Constitution explicitly states “we the people” form our union. The presidential nominees are not the sole participants in this race. We are one country striving for liberty and justice for all. Every citizen has an equal right to participate in the governmental process.


***You may have different opinions on the above points, but at least you are thinking about these issues now. Please feel free to comment; I’m always open to debate. God, bless America.

12 Struggles Bilinguals Know to Be True

If you speak two or more languages, you possess a very special skill set. But that skill set can often bring you des problèmes. Whether you grew up speaking two languages, majored in a language, or did a crap ton of Rosetta Stone, here are 12 problems with which you probably identify.

1. Americanized terms


You’re having a nice conversation when it happens. Your poor companion does not even realize what they have done. You think you should correct them, but you just stand there whimpering and feeling pity for them. “Noter DAme” is an American university in Indiana. Notre-Dame is a cathedral in Paris…

2. “What would my name be in…? Say my name!”


Believe it or not, names are the same. There may be a variance in pronunciation based on a vowel or something, but your name will virtually be the same. One night, I spent an hour and a half reading off baby names in a French accent for a friend. They may have been prettier or “more fancy,” but IT’S THE SAME DANG THING.

3. “Can you help me with this other language? They’re basically the same, right?”


NO HABLA ESPAÑOL. While the romance languages did all descend from Latin, we do not speak/read/know how to conjugate all of them.

4. Google Translate


It’s wrong. It’s all wrong.

5. “Say something in…”


You have to muster all the grace you have to not respond with “something in…” Tip: translate the phrase into the language, so you are basically being a smart ass, but they won’t know. “Quelque chose en français…” They’ll look at you like you are so cool. And you are…très cool.

6. Interacting with native speakers


Native speakers are so cool. They are also some of the most intimidating people in the world…initially. I once had a Frenchman shout at my friends and me for ALMOST slicing cheese the wrong way. SLICING CHEESE. Always learn the language AND the culture…

7. Watching a movie with others and a phrase in your second language is spoken/the movie has terrible subtitles


You know it’s coming. You panic and try to act like you need to run to the bathroom. *Friend pauses movie* “What did they say? Is it like a popular phrase? But what does it mean? How do you pronounce it?” Bonus points if it is an idiom or profanity.

8. Having a conversation/writing a post when you realize you switch languages halfway through


I have done this more and more as I have studied le français. C’est le pire. Sorry, it’s the worst.

9. Majoring in the language and getting this question: “So, what can you do with that?”


Whatever the heck I want. According to Master Studies, majoring in or getting a second degree in a foreign language makes you more marketable, improves your cognitive language, and strengthens your  proficiency in your native language. So there.

10. Autocorrect

Porn what? Pourquoi*

If you have friend who speaks the same languages, chances are you communicate in both. As if autocorrect wasn’t confused enough…Sometimes I want to say presentations instead of présentations or vice versa. You just have to pray you are doing well and not doing beer.

11. When you forget vocabulary


If you haven’t used one language in a while, you begin to have gaps. It’s pretty embarrassing when you can pull off a five minute debate about the influence of media in two countries but you can’t remember the word for spoon.

12. “Teach me a phrase!”


I have a love/hate relationship with this phrase. Teaching someone else another language is a great way to broaden horizons and make connections, but it is also an invitation for terrible pronunciation. We were all there once. We all said “j’ai m’appelle” instead of “je m’appelle”…okay, we didn’t, but we can’t really blame those who do…the first time.


Stay strong, mes amis.

Pure Procrastination

This little ditty (to the tune of Pure Imagination)  goes out to all of you who, like me, are procrastinating on the internet because we have reached the end of the semester.


“Come with me, and you’ll be in a world of pure procrastination

Take a look and you’ll see a lack of any concentration

We’ll begin with a pin on the Pinterest board of your creation

What we’ll see is the new cat sensation

If you want to view paradise,

simply search on Google to find it

Anything you want to, do it

Wanna change your password?

Yahoo won’t like it.

There is no life I know

Because I’m in pure procrastination

Living here you will see

All the things on every Wiki…”

The Last Two Weeks of the Semester as told by “Friends”

1. You go back to school after Thanksgiving break and have not the will to go on or to wear anything other than sweats because it’s cold and finals are approaching. Comfort is key.


2. You go to your last classes of the semester and your professor happens to mention your final exam includes two essays instead of one essay like every test prior. And guess what. It’s not on the syllabus either.



3. Your floor does not know the meaning of quiet hours and you literally cannot handle the sad, sad scene that is last minute slacker pow-wows in the library.



4. You are doing okay, but you are a bit stressed about those last exams and concerts and work days. And by a bit you mean you are trying to hold it together for a few more days without completely going insane. You’re “fine.”


5. Your professors are lecturing a mile a minute to get all of the material covered (like five chapters) in a period of fifty minutes on the last day of class and have no chill. Can you back up and repeat literally everything you just said, please? Take it down a notch or like twenty.



6. But some professors come in clutch and make the final optional.



7. You rush to get to last minute study sessions before the room fills up.



8. Your friends call you to tell you good luck on your exams, and you return the favor (and say a few hundred prayers).



9. You start looking at the exam questions initially, and they all appear to be written in a foreign language. Some of them might really be in a foreign language. You don’t even know.



10. In the end, you and your friends ace your exams because you studied hard…before the last two weeks.