This summer, my mom, sister and I went on a weekend trip to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada (to hopefully kickoff an annual summer girls trip). After a "short" drive and a hop into Canada over the peace bridge, we started our weekend of fun. This video showcases the memories we have made and will remember for years to come.
While eating dinner on a casual Friday night, I received a text message from Ohio University notifying students that classes for Monday were cancelled, "in anticipation of severe weather and potential flooding." Emails from housing soon came in telling students to expect power and water outages and to try and go home if possible. Within moments, in classic Ohio University fashion, Flood Fest was created.
While the weather was poor for most of the weekend, Sunday and Monday turned out to be beautiful, sunny days that were perfect to spend time outside working on homework, hangout with friends and the option to go to a "fest" party was available.
After getting food Sunday afternoon, my friends and I decided to take a walk to see the Hocking River. This was the supposed culprit of potential flooding. The river runs along a bike path (Hockhocking Adena Bikeway) that follows the outer edge of campus. After seeing the height and speed of the river, we started walking on the path. Before we knew it, we were practically on the other side of campus where you are able to see the Ridges (former Athens Lunatic Asylum) in the distance and I noted how I had never been there. My one friend said how cool it was and that she would take me so we decided to make an impromptu climb up and explore the property.
The Ridges is currently owned and used by Ohio University for some classes, offices and storage. The main building is currently the home to the Kennedy Museum of Art. But most importantly, the Ridges is known for the hauntings that happen to go on due to its history as a lunatic asylum (stories can be found with an easy Google search).
I am not going to lie when I say the Ridges are spooky. The black crows, often a symbol of bad luck and death, circling above along with vultures sitting atop buildings gave a very unsettling vibe. The architecture of the buildings gave a "horror movie opening scene" image in my head, and the open windows that should not be open in buildings that are closed off to the public just did not feel right.
We further investigated the property, finding one of the multiple cemeteries with most graves just marked with a patient's number. It was heartbreaking knowing the mistreatment that went on within the walls of the asylum, and the lost souls of those who did not belong in a place like that at all such as veterans suffering PTSD, teens who were considered rebellious and the elderly when family could no longer take care of them. It was an important lesson in how far as a society we have come with mental illness, but is a reminder that there is still plenty of work to be done to improve mental health treatment.
*Disclaimer* We were not trespassing, the Ridges and the surrounding land are open to the public
Police Magnum OC-17 Pepper Spray in a pink carrying case with a matching pink cat self defense keychain were gifted to me in my Easter basket the spring before my first fall semester at Ohio University. When arriving at school, I had both keychains attached to my lanyard.
Let me set the scene:
It is opening weekend and I had just moved in on Friday. The university plans multiple events for students to meet each other and bond with their roommates. These activities include a comedy show at the Convocation Center, Party at Ping (food, animals, photo booth, caricatures, etc.), academic college welcomes and the president's convocation amongst other activities.
I was going to go to the comedy show with my roommate at the time and planned to head back to the dorm after. She decided to go to a news viewing and was nervous about walking home alone, so I let her borrow my pepper spray and gave it to her before the comedy show.
Before we were let in, security checked our bags and found the pepper spray, saying it could not be taken into the Convocation Center. I took one for the team and took my pepper spray and did not go to the show.
Every since this "event", I left my pepper spray on my desk. I figured that I rarely walked alone when it was dark out and I still had my other defense keychain. I felt safe.
Second semester starts and I feel confident in my classes, dorm situation and overall wellbeing. This all changed when I was getting out of the shower and heard a guy in the bathroom (he was not someone who lived in my dorm and apparently did not understand that it was a women's bathroom). Of course when he heard me he left, but it brought that fear that is always in the back of your mind right into the open. All I would have to defend myself was a plastic defense keychain and frankly I do not think I would have been very successful in defending myself in that situation.
I do not want to become a statistic. I now carry my pepper spray everywhere I go.
It truly is a sad society in which we live in where I need to carry self defense keychains in order to be safe. I noticed when complimenting a girl who had a decorative glitter can of pepper spray that girls should not have to be taught to carry pepper spray in order to protect themselves. Instead, society should be teaching others to not attack each other.
Everyone has that one thing that they are obsessed with whether it is sock monkeys, pandas or cats. To me, my one thing is a cactus.
For anyone who knows me or has stepped foot into my dorm room knows that I like cacti and succulents ... a lot. Everyone reading this (as of January 2018) sees that my website even has a "cactus" theme.
It all started small with buying a cactus and throughout the year I have acquired 3 more succulents and a larger cactus. Along with plants, if there is a cactus version, I buy it or receive it as a gift AKA bags, ornaments, stained glass, laptop cases, note books, note pads, sticky notes, pens, mugs, stickers, pins, pillows, lights, wall art, etc
You name it, and I have it.
You might be thinking, "This girl is crazy," and yeah you would be right,
because I just got a cactus tattoo.
Now before everyone freaks out, let me explain. To me, a cactus is strong, independent, resilient and frankly they don't give a f**k. My first semester of college had some highs, but also definitely had some lows. I had to be what a cactus is in order to complete my first semester successfully with grades that allowed me to be on the Dean's List. By having a cactus on my body, it is a constant reminder to continue to have these qualities day to day. While tattoos may not be for everyone, I love the decision that I made.
After my first semester at Ohio University, I am able to look back to see the memories and success that came with it. Going to college is not only an important time of education and a road to a career, but it is a time to learn about yourself and who you really are as a person.
Making the transition from high school to college was hard but ultimately beneficial. I know things now that I would have never learned without furthering my education at OU. Here are 6 things that I discovered about myself:
1. I can live alone
After a week of classes, my roommate decided to move out due to differing viewpoints that had been assumed to be different before picking each other to room. While I have a new, awesome roommate who moved in the weekend before Thanksgiving, this left me living alone in a double sized dorm for multiple weeks. I learned that I can live completely alone. Yes, everyone is technically living alone and away from their parents when they go to school, but it is different being alone in a room when you had imagined to be living with someone for almost 6 months prior. I didn't have a roommate to depend on if I was locked out or for cleaning the room.
2. I can do my own laundry (barely)
The first time doing laundry completely alone was at OU. While I survived, I try to avoid the situation as much as possible. I went almost all semester without ruining clothes until finals week hit. The university gave everyone 4 free loads of laundry for the week so I decided to do my laundry before coming home for break and wash my blankets. While in the dryer a blanket melted leaving a purple plastic material and many of my clothes.
3. I don't eat as much as I thought
I am on a meal plan that gives 14 meals a week (2 meals a day). I originally thought that this would be just enough when in reality there has been weeks where I have 5-8 meals left over to use in the market because I didn't get a meal in the dining hall.
4. I live in the same couple of outfits
While I brought multiple cute outfit options to school, I find myself gravitating towards the same couple shirts and sweatshirts (a lot of OU apparel). I realized that I live in a clothing cycle and will rotate my clothes and where a lot of the same stuff. Let's be honest, why would I ever think I would wear a sundress running to class? Wearing comfortable clothes is much more manageable and can often double as pajamas if it is a late night.
5. I'm a bed creature
I not only sleep in my bed, I eat, study, watch Netflix, talk to friends, talk on the phone, etc. I personally do not like to study or do homework at a desk. I do my best work while sitting in my bed. I even have a comfy butterfly chair that I rarely sit in. Mostly my friends sit in it while I sit in bed. I just love being in my bed no matter the occasion.
6. I'm a late night shower-er
While living at home, I showered early so that laundry could be done, and so that I could go to bed early or that's what my mom thinks (sorry mom). This first semester, I learned that I love taking a shower late at night. The fact that nobody else rarely showered at that time was also a bonus. Showering marked the end to my evening. I had finished homework and studying for the evening and it was time to get ready for bed.
I hope that everyone has a successful second semester and that even more things are discovered about our own selves.
Check out my 2017 slideshow where my first semester is showcased!
2017 was personally a year of many endings with even better beginnings. With constant change, I experienced my last first *insert any high school experience* leading to graduation. It never dawned on me how quickly I would soon be moving to college and finishing my first semester (on the Dean's List!).
I want to thank everyone, old and new, who helped make my 2017 amazing. Thank you for the support, friendship and love needed to have an amazing end of my high school career and an even better start to my college career.
2018 holds even more success and change that I cannot wait to experience. While it might be a new year, I am going to continue being my same, awesome self.
Happy New Year
Hugs and Kisses,
This is a collection of photos and videos that represent the amazing times and people that were with me throughout the very start to the last minutes of 2017:
My sister, Amy, recently decided to get her kindergarten-2nd grade class a pet. They picked out a hamster, and voted on the name Henry John Cena. Ever since then, we have always joked about making a video with the John Cena theme song. During our winter breaks, we finally made our idea a reality:
On December 8, 2017, Garfunkel, my hermit crab passed away. Simon, his hermit crab brother, and I will miss him dearly. Thank you for providing me with so much happiness during my first semester of college. Here is a video I made to honor him:
Over Thanksgiving break, I headed back to Northeast Ohio to spend time with my family. After a week of activities and eating, we spent our Saturday afternoon visiting
Stone Garden Farm & Village in Richfield. Having never been, I had no idea what to expect.
Upon arriving, after a scenic, 25 minute drive, we were greeted by a black cat and many chickens. Unlike chickens kept in a fenced in area or pen, they were able to roam where they wished. They seemed to like us, especially after feeding them some chicken feed, and followed us around where we walked.
The owners had relocated historic buildings that were going to be torn down and collected different historical artifacts within, such as a post office and school that were open and ready to be explored.
Their general store featured seasonal products and gifts, as well as sold live Christmas trees. While we did not buy a tree, we purchased some homemade soaps and jam.
With further exploration, we found cows, goats and more cats within a barn full of antique farm equipment and buggies. While the gardens were empty after their harvest, it was an amazing experience to see a family almost fully living off of their land.
It would be a treat to go back during the other seasons throughout the year to see the seasonal products they make or buy pumpkins to carve. After the visit, I felt relaxed after being with the animals and in nature. I would highly suggest visiting this farm when in the area!
Here are pictures from my visit:
With Thanksgiving break quickly approaching, I took a step back and thought about what I have been thankful for. A lot has happened this year with many lasts and even more firsts. While I am always thankful for the little things such as when there is chicken nuggets once a week in the dining hall or a goodnight text from a friend, here are the 4 things I am truly thankful for this year:
I want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving spent with the family and friends they love. I am ending this blog differently than most by offering the question, what are you thankful for?