Category: College

Stress is the Cheapest Contour a College Student Can Buy

I checked off the white and black grid boxes, before sliding the paper into the metal rectangular crate. Each day, I stood in the a la carte line, ordering the same thing. Weekday to weekday, the waxy grease paper stained my hands with the anxieties of college.

“That’s all you’re going to eat.”

“There’s no need to be stressed.”

“How are you?” “I’m doing fine, thank you.”

On pilot mode, I steered myself from one side of the campus with my eyes blurring past the trees and rain-slicked pavement. The metal door handle, the white staircase brick walls, the heat lamp above the pizza, the scuffed marks on my black boots, and the forced conversations. I dove headfirst into feeling like I had time for nothing at all. I swam inside the hours connecting two a.m. and seven a.m. which I calculated how much time I had left to write a paper. A paper whose words came out chalky in my mouth, and tasted like plaque build-up.

Pennsylvania’s fall felt like a heat lamp, whose ambiance left the skin lukewarm. By noon, I wore a light jacket. By three p.m., I clutched the jacket close to my abdomen and power-walked to the next building. By six p.m., my coat felt bulky against my tote bag, but at least the wind only whipped my face.

Senior year in college equals the amount of stress in an entire year crammed into a day. Perpetual tumbling, uneasy somersaulting, and haphazard sprints; I challenge myself in staying with the idea in mind I am graduating.

Yet, I feel as though someone has dropped me in the middle of the forest. They have left me with enough time to peel the blindfold away and recall faintly how the bumps in the road are familiar.

I learned, hadn’t I? My high school diploma in my back pocket, I had made it to college halfway across from where my credits began. The transcript states I started at community college and worked full-time. The transcript states that I transferred to well-to-do liberal art college. The grades fluctuated with the times. The resume changed as I navigated inside my anxieties about the future.

“What are you going to do after college?”

“I just hope you find someone nice.”

A friend, a coworker, my family, and my conscious all stood on my shoulders – as if God came down with a pen and paper wanting to know how much I wasted time.

It’s Thursday, the desk I sit in during Travel Writing has a gap between the floor under one peg. I awkwardly rock back and forth, creating offbeat counts when I press my pen to paper.

Today, I am living with myself and dismantling the fictitious dream I began at twelve.

9:12 pm. The dentist told me to stay away from sweets, and I’m sitting here chowing down on an oreo candy bar weighing my life options, in a dim lit room.



Her name in my mouth

Please remind me where I met you

copper-blushed girl.

Perforated brown leaves

coloring your eyes –

The black satin strands

falling down on your shoulders.

How do I carve your name out

of the forests, I’ve grown inside myself?

Joan of arc, sword-drawn activist

how do I cup your worth,

and show it to you?






Deployed airbags to your heart

Love the people already in your life.

This sounds simple enough. It sounds like something plastered on shiny journals at Target. Come to think of it – it sounds like a quote tucked away in the piles of quotes on Pinterest. A part of me ate these advice blurbs up.  I never chewed them – only swallowed them.
The people in our lives can greatly determine how we see the world. With refocusing lens, we can decide that the world outstretched before us is vast or bleak. Curled up on a school night, I slumped into the chair thinking that love is not what I think it is at all. No, it probably doesn’t have a glossy sheen or a plastic protective case. Instead, it’s made out of raw metals slightly discolored by the torch flame heat. It is as strong as the frame is.

Love the people who see you.

One of the biggest things about becoming an adult is feeling that you must become your authentic self. Okay…so what does that self look like? Is it the fictional person in your head who wins every argument? Is it someone who can catch every knife before it plunges into your heart or your back? I bet we give ourselves a bad rep for not being quite what we thought. As if suddenly, since we are not the mirage of what our younger self dreamt up, we are totally taking it. There’s something about being seen. There’s something raw about looking at someone and for that moment of eye contact, they see you. They see into the contradictions, the attempts, and the importance that molds you.
I don’t know much about “love” and why it makes all of us in our early or late adulthood years mad. But I do know that despite the masks we put on, we must have experienced some kind of love. A love that sits quietly alongside us on a park bench. The sound of leaves racing behind the cars. The sound of fountains gurgling water. Dogs panting. Skateboard wheels rolling on the sidewalk.
The people who loves us are not what we imagined. If anything, they are just as flawed as we are. All of us, walking with tension in our foreheads and shoulders, muttering to ourselves we are not doing enough.

Love the people who still sit beside you without saying a word, and in the silence the two of you have said everything imaginable.
Love the people who make you look inwardly inside yourself, and see that there is so much that you are.
Love the people who hold the world in both of their hands, and ask you how do you want to live. As the two of you, hold the oceans and lands in your heart – remember how much love can be an evolution.


The trees, now missing their blossoms, enclosed this new home. The women have come from afar, each bestowing their fears and aspirations. I come confused looking at how the past has brought us here. I come to the place where the water-filled buckets I carry are no longer as heavy. Their strain doesn’t pull me back down to the depths. No, now it tests my strength – our upheaval of the doubt that lingers. Whether or not my feet shift side to side, it eyes me curiously. My hands clamp with sweat holding the bucket’s handle. This sensation arrives and departs briefly  as does the cigarette smoke catching in the wind.
The trees berated with summer heat are my home now. Words effortlessly tunnel underneath their roots and take form. I come to think that the women here are real. They are unapologetic if the world cheats them. The world has dog – eared cards and the felt table stands no chance against our fists. Our fists that are not only maternal. Our fists that ball up in our hearts, when we speak with our silence. Our fists that lunge into the oppressor, when our silence is not the tool to challenge the fool.
I come home and place my shoes at the door. Their soiled appearance doesn’t make me frown this time. I have come into battles shaking, with my sword. I have come into entire brawls without my weapon removed from its sheath. I have come to the place that hovers above us like clouds, its presence not as taunting. I come home where the trees plunge through the soil, their roots grab us by our hearts.
We go further than we know.
We go as women who tell stories of how we have been wronged. We go as women who drive something wild – something free.

The paper brown bag lunch theory

You cannot shrink yourself
Vacuuming out what fills you
And turning on the suction nuzzle
As if to deplete you.
You shouldn’t wallow
Letting discouragement cloud over you
And allowing it to turn wheels
Going round and round
In your head
That there is something terribly wrong
With you.
We all start somewhere.
We allow the breeze to rush past us
Without pulling it back
As if to say “no, you cannot go there.”
So I say to you
Leap and flow
Forward and grow.
I want you to be
What you want so badly
That it scares you
Tempts you
Living impressions in your dreams
Bursting out from the seams
I beg of you to challenge it
You are fit
For fighting for this much
And that much
Which moves you
To feel compelled to stay true
I love you, I really do
This month to the next
Even if it’s not your best
I do count on darting high in the sky
Where the birds first learn to fall
Then they too fly
I love you I really do
I must come around often
Rather than popping out of the blue

You cannot begin to shrink yourself
Now take that book off the shelf

The way I walk through adulthood is AWKWARD

*disclaimer this concerns Community College not a traditional University

Going to college online is like…

Trying to arrange all your words correctly and coherently. Each comma, period, dash mark, and for crying out loud parentheses with a satirical reference is often mistaken for uptight or sarcastic. While, the road to earning your degree can quickly flash between  adventurous sentimental, and then panic-stricken I wouldn’t be able to quite put my finger on what else to do. If doing the right thing means hammering away at; second-guessing oneself and then being certain than this is college.

College, the real deal,  states that there are many options out there when all I wanted to do was pick one. Maybe if I am lucky I can group similar ones in Venn Diagrams in clusters of five, while still counting on my fingers how many hours I have left to finish the essay in.

I once visited one of my former high school teachers and she had my friend and I answer questions for the sophomores what college was really like. Immediately, my focus shifted to scared adult trying to dabble up the last bits of childhood like crumbs off my face, to strictly authoritative. Oh, we went on and on about the seriousness of paying attention in class and grammar. Then out of the blue, we let out exchanging looks openly that we’re not fooling anyone, we joked that our professors were laxer via email and the setting will not be a Beyond Scared Straight episode. Community college makes you plan and then try to make other plans concerning those plans. At night (for me anyway) it makes you feel as though, you’re not at a real college.

*When I was in 2nd grade I told my mother outright that I wanted to go to a”real school” to experience it rather than homeschooling. Off I was with the many other kids at a school where I stared at everyone because I had never seen this many kids at once, all different kinds in one room at the same time. 

However, there are other days were I feel lucky, blessed and honored that I’m even here, once paying it as I go in between working a steady job and then next out of my tax refund…but the point is perhaps this windy road to adulthood is at times stagnant, so is life. Each day is slightly different maybe a foot shuffle, a backward glance mouthing am I doing this right? or that to go anywhere you’ll have to be awkward first.