Posts in "College"
Eight Years
Eight Years | Freckled Italian

March is so close that I feel it every day in the chilly morning air, as dew drops settle on the cherry blossom branches right outside my bedroom window, whispering brr brr brr but promising a warm afternoon that always forces me to slip out of the sweater I wear over my tank top and let my bare arms soak up the rays of sunlight on my drive home from the barre studio.

No matter where I am, this time of year always brings me right back to spring in Farmville, Virginia; where I was a junior in college, spending more and more time with a guy named Rob Peterson. My roommates and I shared clothes and sometimes fought over stupid shit but we loved each other and listened to a healthy mix of Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, and Taylor Swift; and Fearless was the soundtrack to any drive. I'd hop in my car and drive with the windows down from my apartment, across High Street and onto Back Hampden-Sydney road with the windows down. Once or twice a week I'd actually run those 6 miles, Love Story blaring in my headphones even though ol' Taylor obviously never very closely read Romeo and Juliet

My roommates and I were super young and never wore enough sunscreen and got burnt at baseball games; we drank too much almost every weekend and got tattoos in Richmond and sometimes drove 45 minutes to eat burritos from Chipotle. We read and studied and watched movies in bed together and never wore pants in our apartment; and we had our boyfriends over for weekend sleepovers where we'd make big, family-style breakfasts of pancakes and scrambled eggs to sustain multiple hours of Guitar Hero. 

It's crazy to me that Rob and I have been together for eight years now. Crazy in part because it's so significant--almost a decade!--but also because before he was in my life, he wasn't. One day I was getting ready for a Halloween party with the girls and without even knowing it, my life would never be the same. Just a few months later he's bringing me coffee in the library as I'm finishing up a poetry paper before spring break because he's my boyfriend and that's the kind of thing your college boyfriend does; and then a few years later he's standing in front of all our friends and family as I'm walking toward him in a wedding dress.

Time flies, so when spring comes around I like to slow down and really savor my nostalgia. I drink iced coffee and read poems from my Norton Anthology of American Literature and play the same four or five songs on repeat. I never want to forget that magical time--being only 20 years old, living with my best friends, reading non-stop, running really fast, wearing sundresses every weekend, and first getting to know the guy who ended up being my husband.

It's a love story, baby just say yes.

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On The Equals Record | Seasons Change
In Lynchburg, Virginia, home of Liberty University and just an hour away from my own alma mater, there are always Paneras and Starbucks full of Baptists fresh from Bible Study...zipped snugly into their North Face jackets and so surely into their faith. The leaves have changed color and the air is crisp and chilly and smells like campfires in that grey morning fog and when I am home for Thanksgiving, I pass through on my way to the J.Crew Factory store and even now, I will feel just a little bit jealous of them.

I wrote this short essay about fall and faith for The Equals Record three years ago and I just came across it again this weekend. I'm so thankful for blogging--it's strange and wonderful to have this little snapshot of me in Minneapolis, still thinking about the things I thought about in Charlotte and now California.

And I needed this reminder from my past self: I feel overwhelmed with the possibilities, and grateful that, even when it's hard, I didn't stay in one place forever.

Read the full piece here.

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Ten Years Ago: Graduation Memories

This weekend I was in Virginia for my cousin's graduation from Roanoke Catholic.

I graduated from the same school ten whole years ago. I knew it had been that long, but it didn't really seem true until I was looking at the program for the ceremony and saw "Class of 2016" written on the front. Ten years! A full decade. What's most amazing to me about that isn't the time that has passed, but how easily it is to remember exactly how I felt back then.

Like anything was possible, but not really in an adventurous way. I grew up in Roanoke and loved my church and my school and was only going two hours away for college. I had been so predictable for so long, and I still wasn't sure if I wanted to be the same person or a different one.

I remember the exact dress I wore, and how my mom bought it for me when we were on vacation earlier that spring. I don't remember where we were but it was a gorgeous linen sundress that fit perfectly and made me feel like a grown-up--it's one of the few pieces of my wardrobe that I haven't gotten rid of over the years. The salesperson checking us out overheard us talking about graduation and asked me if I was excited about high school. I balked, wondering how young I actually looked as I told her that I was graduating from high school, not 8th grade.

I was dating someone but I was still in love with my ex-boyfriend, and both relationships were messy and confusing. I broke up with the boyfriend that summer before leaving for Longwood, and I remember feeling like I just needed to move on and I'd figure everything else out as soon as the fall semester started.

I tried, but there was a lot to figure out. So many new freedoms that I wasn't used to. My friend Wes texted me soon after I arrived on campus that first year and asked if I wanted to go to the park. "The park?" I replied, "It's 10 PM." He laughed at my surprise and we went to the park and sat on the swings, talking for hours, which quickly became a tradition of ours. It took me months to wear flip-flops to class, and I never did muster up the courage to chew gum in an academic building.

As I sat there in the church last Saturday, watching the excited faces of a class of 17 and 18 year-olds, I couldn't help but be astonished at how different my life is now than I thought it would be then. The friends I thought I'd know forever, the church I believed I'd always be a part of, the family business I would manage with my parents.

I didn't know that I would move so much, or that I would marry an incredibly tall, incredibly kind man who knows exactly who I am and makes me feel like I'm enough for him every single day (I think at the time I must have believed that the men--boys--in your life either drove you crazy or made you cry). I didn't know that I would battle anxiety with every transition I encountered in my life, or, more importantly, that when it comes you don't have to suffer silently through it without help. I didn't know that I'd make friends in college who would stick with me into adulthood, even when you've fallen out and think it's over.

And I didn't know that I'd one day be so comfortable with myself. Apparently ten years is enough time to grow up and become who you're really supposed to be.

I wouldn't change a thing.

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