It’s been 3 years. Time to ditch these sweatpants

As a kid, I despised September. It indicated the beginning of a new schoolyear, which almost always meant terrible experiences for me. I think I spent so much time hating the fall that I’ve actually grown to appreciate it as an adult. In fact, summer isn’t really my favorite season anymore, at least not in NYC, where it’s hot, humid, deserted, and lonely for several months. Fall is another story: the new TV season is starting up, the weather is cooling down, subway platforms aren’t suffocating, and Halloween is right around the corner.

Fall is a good time to make changes, and that’s why I’m donating a bunch of my old clothes to charity tomorrow. I’ve never been a big shopper, but like many people, I sometimes keep items I don’t really need. In New York, that’s not a good habit to get into, so I’m giving away the things I haven’t worn in 6 months to a year. Not everything, of course, as I do need to keep warm in the winter, but I’m going to have to part with these two lovely pair of sweatpants, which were my BFFS in college:

VS

At University of Arizona, I wore both of these with Uggs throughout each “winter,” which in Arizona isn’t that bad but still requires full leg coverage at least once a week. Part of the reason my roommate chose ASU over UofA was the fact that all UofA students dressed like everyday was Pajama Day. She wanted to look nice for class whereas I … looked like I just rolled out of bed. I was proud of this for some reason, and sure I had my fair share of dates in college, but nowhere near the amount I had after graduation and retiring these pants to my closet:

Dyanna took this photo of me on campus once, haha

Dyanna took this photo of me on campus once, haha

No makeup but holding pepper spray on campus

No makeup but holding pepper spray on campus

At Chipotle --- wearing the sweatpants!

At Chipotle — wearing the sweatpants!

My sweatpants days are over. They were fun, and boy do I look relaxed and chill in those pictures, but I haven’t sported them in years for a reason, so it’s time to pass them over to somebody who might — or somebody who is just going to toss them. Either way, I had a good run with the sweats. But there’s no room for them in my new life.

Do you have a rough time getting rid of old things? Share your experiences in the comments section.

My blog 200,000 page views and five years later

Me and nephew Sawyer shortly after I started this blog. Can't believe this picture was taken 5 years ago!

Me and nephew Sawyer shortly after I started this blog. Can’t believe this picture was taken 5 years ago!

As many of you know, I recently decided to leave journalism, in part because of its abominable emphasis on page views. With the exception of the Times, every news site must use effective SEO strategies, publish over-the-top headlines, and produce morally reprehensible content to stay competitive. I hate to say it, but all this is necessary in the 24/7 news cycle, so I’m out of the traffic-baiting industry for good.

I’ve never been someone who cares about page views or hits. When I was 22, I enjoyed being a viral writer/editor for TheDC, but I knew I wouldn’t stay in that role forever. I’d often take to this blog, which I started in 2008, to write about whatever I wanted. I didn’t care who read it, I just wanted my own platform. Five years later, I’ve now earned 200,000 views, which is nothing to those who live for high traffic, but it gives me an excuse to reflect on my history as a blogger.

Let’s go back to fall 2008. At the beginning of my junior year at UA, a good friend of mine/former Wildcat colleague, Evan Lisull started The Desert Lamp, which describes itself as “the only free and independent student publication at the University of Arizona.” He’d tried to recruit me full-time a few months earlier, but because I was so new to the Wildcat staff, I wasn’t interested in writing for another publication. Luckily for Evan, the Lamp didn’t need me, and it collected a major award coupled with $10,000 just a year after going live. Though I wouldn’t contribute to the Lamp, Evan encouraged me to create my own WordPress account. At first, I thought I’d use BlogSpot, but WordPress ultimately felt like a better, more professional looking host for my work.

In September 2008, almost five years ago to the date, lauradonovan.wordpress.com was born. I initially focused more on reporting, but once I realized no one was reading my straight news items, I moved to my true love: opinion journalism. I was already writing opinion pieces for the college newspaper, but coming home to my own blog to write about a broad range of subjects was pretty nice. Everything was on my terms, something I just wasn’t used to. I was free, and sure enough, my following grew in a short period of time.

Everyone having fun at my DC summer internship dorm while I'm hunched over working/blogging like a loser.

Everyone having fun at my DC summer internship dorm while I’m hunched over working/blogging like a loser

Wearing my green sweater in the Daily Wildcat newsroom

Wearing my green sweater in the Daily Wildcat newsroom

Daily Wildcat awards banquet, May 2010.

Daily Wildcat awards banquet, May 2010.

Daily Wildcatters in Tucson, my favorite place in the world!

Daily Wildcatters in Tucson, my favorite place in the world!

Daily Wildcat bunch. Jazmine and Luke, never forget Spring 2010!

Daily Wildcat bunch. Jazmine and Luke, never forget Spring 2010!

This blog started off as a place for me to ramble about celebrities and news stories that kept me up at night. Reading old blog posts isn’t super fun for anyone, as the first dozen are straight news items and pretty boring, but here’s an early blog post from May 2009 I find particularly amusing and telling of my personality at the time I began writing for the internet [editor's note: I just added pictures to the old entry].

I wrote the blog post a day after winning the Excellence in Commentary award from the Wildcat. I hadn’t expected any accolades from the paper that year. I’d raised a ton of hell with my columns, threatened to quit twice in emotional bouts of unprofessionalism, publicly fought with the editor-in-chief, and demonstrated the thinnest skin of anyone on staff. I was just 20 years old, but I should have been better than that. Nevertheless, I was rewarded for the very thing that seemed to cause so many problems around the office: being unafraid to speak my mind. That was what Justyn said when he handed me the award (which is pinned to my bedroom wall in NYC — I know I know, I need to get a life!).

The next day, I chose to blog about the unexpected experience, and it ended up setting the tone for the personal nature of my blog, which only documents my feelings and what not these days. It started off as a news blog, but it became something richer, and this entry helped shaped that:

“I was genuinely surprised to get an Arizona Daily Wildcat award for Excellence in Commentary yesterday. From putting out more controversial columns to briefly quarreling with the old editor-in-chief, I’ve come a long way at the newspaper, and I hope to continue publishing good work.

Former Wildcat editor-in-chief, Nick Seibel, with whom I once publicly butted heads, is a good friend now, and I thought he worked hard during his time in charge. He’s funny and personable and I know he’ll go far in his future leadership positions having learned a lot from his DW experiences.

Yesterday, Seibel told me that he has a male friend who passionately hates my articles and my character, even though the two of us have never met. The guy violently disagrees with my politics and everything I write, but according to Seibel, this hater of mine never misses my columns. Every Tuesday, he picks up a copy of the paper just to read my weekly article and then calls Seibel to rant about what a stupid idiot I am. He assumed Seibel’s abrupt removal from the Wildcat was my fault (because a mere columnist has SO MUCH PULL AND POWER that she can singlehandedly overthrow the EIC of the Wildcat), and he seems to complain about everything I put in the newspaper. Basically, I’m Hitler to someone I’ve never met or even known about until yesterday. Awesome.

As weird as it sounds, I’m honored that someone would take the time to hate my writing. He is, after all, a dedicated reader of my work, so as much as he can’t stand my opinion, he can’t bring himself to stay away from it, and I’m glad to be evoking any kind of emotion out of others.

Luckily, I’ve received more writing support than criticism from students, Tucsonans, citizens, friends, strangers, etc. One person said my voice is unique and recognizable, and another said I have the purest writing of anyone he knows.

I sometimes get emails from a non-traditional UA student who thanks me for opening up certain taboo discourses on campus, and as an older student, he was grateful that I wrote about the rift between traditional and non-traditional students because other students started noticing and approaching him with their hands outstretched, quoting my column. I’m glad to have had somewhat of a positive effect on a small group of people.

To the guy I referred to earlier in this post-You may want to seek anger management if you feel so much hatred toward a person you’ve never even spoken with. There’s no reason to despise a writer or spend all that time assuming I’m the devil. Tear apart the columns, not the columnist. Your time will be much better spent if you find something to like and stop shortening your life by hating me so wholeheartedly. It makes me sad for you, because while you’re living a life of hate, I’m having an amazing year writing columns, making new friends, and winning awards.

Really, though, I’m happy to know that I have at least one faithful reader, a hater he may be.”

I still have no idea who that guy is, but I hope he’s doing OK wherever he is — and not wasting his life trashing and fuming about people he’s never met. He’s what we now call a troll, and unfortunately millions of his kind hang out on the internet feasting off the failure and criticism of others. Every once in a while I laugh about the silliness of public figures (i.e., the teen bride aspirations and outrageous music videos of Miley Cyrus), but I’ve never been someone who thrives on tearing others down, and I’m sad to say this guy was just the first of many to try to do that to me. I never learned his name, but that’s irrelevant at this point. Trolls are all the same, so he’s just as much an internet bully as he is a former, or current, UA student.

Though it’s kind of neat to have 200,000 hits on my blog, what I care about most is satisfying my audience and entertaining readers. The moment I stop doing that, I know I’ve lost, because without you — even those of you who dislike me — I can never succeed. I’m not interested in your page views, but I am interested in your perspective and support, so please keep me in check and let me know if there’s anything you believe I should write about in the future. If there’s anything I’ve learned over the past few years in online media/journalism/social media, it’s that a writer cannot really be a writer without readers. This is a two-way street, and you’ve more than done your part. Make sure I continue doing mine.

Tucson sunshine, sunburn, shooting memorial

Thank God I visited Tucson while it was 74 degrees of perfection! Before I delve into the details of my brief trip to the southwest, I’ll take you on a photo tour of the University of Arizona:

UofA campus

Administration Building

Heritage Hill, where I used to hang out in between classes and meet colorful people

University Boulevard

I also visited the Tucson shooting victims’ UMC memorial. I didn’t expect to choke up during the five minute visit, but that’s what ended up happening.





Aside from the memorial, the trip was fairly drama-free. I sat in the sun all day Friday and Saturday. Because my skin had been deprived of daylight and vitamin D for four months, I assumed it would respond well to sunshine, but no. I got sunburned very badly. My chest, arms, and face look like a lobster. Good thing I can bundle up in D.C., no one will ever know the difference. I guess I really was meant to live in Ireland, where my great-great-great grandparents were born.

The sunburn was totally worth the warmth, though. I literally wanted to spend as many hours as possible outside, especially during the early afternoon. I won’t be seeing that kind of daylight for at least another three months, so I chose to take advantage of the opportunity while I still could.

We're a bit too goofy for twenty-somethings, but the rest of the world is too stuffy!

Dinner was fabulous, and I reunited with some of my favorite Daily Wildcat alumni, Luke, Jazmine, and Anna.

You see, Anna and I went shopping Friday at Pitaya, my favorite store on University Boulevard, and I fell in love with this little white dress. Before trying it on, I was well aware that I could not don such a tiny thing in D.C. during winter, but it was far too beautiful for me to pass off as a waste of money (which it probably was, but oh well, I never shop.) So I purchased the white dress, which, if I’m brave enough, I may wear out to the D.C. bar scene sometime in the near future. Who cares about 23 degree weather? I’m one tough cookie.

<3

Much thanks to the lovely Kendra for putting up with me all weekend :) It takes a lot to deal with me for 72 hours straight, but she continues to amaze me with her patience and warmth. As you’ll read below, I’m grateful for all the great people in my life. She’s certainly among them, and I’m lucky to know her.

Most of all, it was fabulous going from THIS:

Wednesday January 26, northern Virginia. YUCK.

To THIS:

Friday January 29, Tucson, Arizona. YAY!

On Saturday, I met up with my former college roommate and longtime UofA friend, Carolyn. She’s coming to visit me in D.C. for St. Patty’s Day, so I look forward to hanging out with her then, too.

Some of my friends were sad I couldn’t spend more time with them, and I definitely felt the same way. Unfortunately my trip was just far too short for too much activity. Plus, I’m not one to linger, as I’ve mentioned before. My father the New Yorker always taught me to move quickly and avoid stalling, so I try to incorporate those orders into my everyday life. Hopefully the next trip will be longer and even more thrilling.

On my flight home, I bumped in the redheaded old man from West Virginia that I mentioned in my previous blog post!

In summary, I became “bff’s for the day” with a West Virginia redheaded grandpa dude on my Thursday flight to Tucson. He sat behind me on the plane and right next to another redhaired lady, so we all speculated that American Airlines conspired to group all redhead passengers together on the plane. I adored this guy, mainly because he reminded me of my dad in pretty much every way possible, so imagine my amusement when I ran into him and his sweet wife on the same returning flight. We soon learned that I was once again placed in the row in front of them, so we proved our theory that the airline segregates redhead customers (I’m being facetious, of course :).

I appreciate familiar faces of any kind, even those I really haven’t seen all that much.

On my flight home, I got seated next to yet another 300-pound person. If you haven’t read my earlier blog post, I sat beside a 300-pound guy on my Dallas-Tucson flight, and the same thing happened on my Tucson-Dallas flight. Like I’ve said before, I find it cruel and pathetic of others to bash overweight individuals, but this was truly uncomfortable. I would never make fun of someone for their weight, but when I’m already uncomfortable and without any room on the plane, the last thing I want is to be pressed up against the disgusting airplane wall and window, both of which have more germs and gross food remnants than I care to count. Thankfully, both of these people were quite lovely and I ended up having a good chat with each of them, but I was definitely feeling a little claustrophobic during those long flights.

On another one of my connecting flights, the man to my left kept staring at me and playing on his GameBoy Color. Not to be overly judgmental, but really, who uses GameBoys anymore? Better yet, what sane 50-year-old man would gain entertainment value from an old school children’s video game? I’m not even sure you can still buy GameBoy batteries or devices anymore. Perhaps that would make a good news piece: Are Gameboys still in production? If not, where can active users purchase batteries? Is eBay stocked up with any of that junk?

All right, I think that should do it for today’s ranting/opining. In a nutshell, I needed to escape D.C. winter for a few days and I succeeded in doing just that. Along the way, I caught up with some awesome college buddies, all of whom reminded me of how lucky I truly am. I’m not perfect, and I’ve certainly encountered some ugly situations, but I have so much to be thankful for. Including this sunlamp, which is going to save my sanity this winter:

Nothin like sunshine

I’m finally in warm weather! I felt better in fifteen minutes of Arizona sunshine than I have in three months of DC gloom!

All went well with my flights last night. Before I boarded the plane to Dallas, I met an adorable redhaired old man and instantly felt relieved when he told me that redheads don’t get gray hair the way most people do. Hooray for that. He kept making fun of these teen girls he’d met who had said they were traveling to LA for the weekend just to party.

“And that’s why you’re going to Arizona, right?” he asked. “To party like those silly ninnies?”

“I’m mainly just looking to experience hot weather and see old friends.”

“You’ll be more civil than these other girls, I know that’s for sure.”

This man had West Virginia roots, and I loved his southern accent. Another guy joined in on the conversation and we all started talking about where we live.

“I’m in Arlington with a roommate,” I said.

“Yeah but you’re a total city sucker, I know it!” said the old man. So true.

Plus, the city is far warmer than my suburban area, which doesn’t get plowed quick enough snowy days. The roads are slushy, sidewalks extremely messy, and drivers insane. Chaotic itself, the metro is actually the calm in the entire storm.

I couldn’t get over some of the travel horror stories of other airline passengers, Lots of people either spent the night at the airport, sat in gridlock traffic for a minimum of four hours, or abandoned their cars all together. DC literally cannot handle bad weather. The city doesn’t seem prepared or built to deal with it.

I’m not looking forward to Wednesday’s predicted storm, but I’m hoping it won’t be as severe as what we all saw this week. More than likely, it will be tame compared to Thundersnow 2011.

The flight from Dallas to Tucson was drama free, although I did sit in between a 300 pound man and large cat. I already hate sitting in
the center seat on planes, so imagine my discomfort when I could barely shift around in my chair. I condemn those who make fun of overweight people, but this was truly uncomfortable. I couldn’t move at all, but thankfully the man was super nice. The cat was fairly well behaved as well. Believe it or not, I’ve had worse seating assignments on planes. I was once placed in between an angry old couple that decided not to talk to each other throughout the 5 hour flight. You could feel the tension between them, and to make matters worse, I wept the entire flight for unrelated reasons. I can’t think of a worse, more awkward airplane seating situation. Every time I get stuck with a middle seat, I end up having an odd story to tell.

Tucson sunshine is lovely, and the day is only going to get better. I’m excited to see several close friends this afternoon as well as spend as much time as possible outdoors. The air is chillier than I’d prefer, but the sun is truly all I need. I cannot tell you how much I’ve missed this weather.

Thank God I was able to fly out of DC!

UA Homecoming 2010

Homecoming 2010

Just like that, the dream is over.

I spent about two months anticipating my first UA Homecoming, and now I only have the next one to look forward to.

Just like I predicted, there were some intense accidental run-ins and awesome catch-up sessions on this trip. I feel my vacation was a success because I saw 98% of the friends I promised to visit, even though I only hung out with some of these people for just a few minutes. It’s better than nothing, and it’s more than most will do.

As made obvious to some of my friends, I was slightly anxious at the start of my trip about not being able to get together with everyone I hoped to see. But, to my luck, everything came together, and I’d like to go ahead and say it’s because of my epic planning/scheduling skills. What can I say, I’m actually pretty efficient when it comes to organizing social events.

I dedicated early Thursday night to Dyanna, Johnny, Kendra, Kyle, and John. Later that evening, I caught up with Welby, Lishko, and Rico, all of whom I’ve known since my freshman year of college. They were in the Kappa Alpha fraternity, which I frequented far too often until junior year of college. We talked at the Auld Dubliner for a while, and then I headed back to Kendra’s humble abode.

On Saturday morning, I had coffee with Anna, one of my former Daily Wildcat co-workers. We chatted for two hours and I realized how much I missed our conversations. Thankfully, she’s probably going to intern in D.C. this upcoming summer, so we’ll probably roam the district together.

At 2 p.m., I went to Chipotle with Erica, Kendra, and the infamous Angela, with whom I became bff’s this past summer while we visited the south of France. I loved talking to the girls about their class schedules as well as our own memories. It was quite lovely.

Then, at 5, I had an epic reunion with Luke and Jazmine, my favorite Daily Wildcat co-workers. Even though I met them during my last semester of college, I do not hesitate to classify them as some of my greatest friends of all time. Thankfully, our dynamic has not changed one bit. Coincidentally, we were all sort of dressed similarly, but it’s really not all that unusual. We all have the same brain. Jazmine and Luke are essentially the same person, and I spent lots of time last year telling Luke that he is the male version of me, only he has better luck with relationships and is better at picking romantic partners. Maybe we can all learn from him.

We're all wearing a little blue!

Anyway, it truly brightened my month to reconnect with these two again. I love their spirit, energy, work ethic, and personalities. I honestly feel like my college experience would have been dull without them. I will continue to adore them from afar, and it’s my hope that they never forget about me!
On Friday night, I went bar hopping with John and Johnny, and we bumped into several buddies at Gentle Ben’s and the Auld Dubliner. The boys were gentlemanly enough to buy all my drinks for me, but, like a responsible adult, I didn’t imbibe very much at all. I’m a tiny person now, and I don’t have the stomach nor stamina that I did back in college.

Saturday was awesome, and I started off the day with an early lunch on University Boulevard. I ate at Paradise Bakery with Carolyn, my best friend since freshman year. We met during the first week of college in the dorms. Because we were the only non-sorority girls in Coronado Hall, we banded together and haven’t parted ways since. I miss Carolyn all the time, and even though we have changed considerably over the years, I know we will always be best friends. Nothing is going to alter that.

After a quick trip to the UA Bookstore, Kendra and I wandered the UA Mall to begin tailgating. We met up with Angela, Erica, Welby, Lishko, Matt Velez, and Greenberg. I stumbled upon several other friends, so that was also nice. More than anything, I was beyond thrilled to be with my greatest college buddies once again.

Love my KA friends!

I concluded my vacation at Gentle Ben’s bar, and I hung out with Erik, Matt, and Jessica. I’ve known Erik and Matt since the dorm days, and I can truly say that they’re my closest male friends at the UA. It was wonderful hanging out with them again, and they really were the perfect people to round out my trip. Erik reminded me to stay away from disrespectful douchebags, and Matt and I swing danced and serenaded “Poker Face” to each other. I sang along with lots of people this weekend, and I wish I could do that more often in DC. Too bad easterners never want to sing in bars!

I couldn’t ask for greater friends, all of whom have made me a better person in some way. The best part of this entire trip was that absolutely nothing has changed among me and my friends. It’s as if we never left each other.

Homecoming was fulfilling and completely worthwhile, but now it’s time to move on and continue with my D.C. routine. There will always be a special place in my heart for the desert, Arizona Wildcats, Kappa Alpha fraternity, Daily Wildcat, and student population. I’m so proud to have graduated from this institution, and it’s my hope that I can visit at least twice a year from now on.

New articles, millions of story ideas, all before a big vacation

For the past two weeks, I convinced myself that I was struggling to come up with good story/article ideas. In reality, I was merely overlooking my story ideas, all of which were actually quite valid.

So, today I wrote a piece for The Daily Caller about Maureen Dowd dubbing several conservative females as the “Republican Mean Girls”. Go read it, please.

I have lots of other news pieces I’d like to write, but I’m also open to your suggestions.

All this happens right before I am to travel back to Tucson, Arizona for the University of Arizona Homecoming.

Oh, how I am dying to reunite with old friends again, roam my college campus as a graduate, and accidentally bump into awesome people. Before I started interning in DC, all I thought about was UofA Homecoming, but now that I’ve got something to look forward to daily, I’m much less focused on my former life. Things are excellent in D.C., where the weather is getting chillier.

Back at UA, I was the girl who had multiple groups of friends. I had my “dorm buddies since freshman year,” Daily Wildcat co-workers, friends from specific classes, crowd from Alpha Phi Omega co-ed fraternity, and various friends that I’d met randomly on campus.

Things are different in D.C. Work is essentially my only source for friendship, so I socialize mainly with my co-interns and certain employees. For the first time in my adult life, I don’t have millions of different people to hang out with (don’t hate me for that!), but I actually love it that way.

I’m closest with Jessica and Hillary, both of whom intern with me. It’s nice to have a solid foundation, and I’m truly happy about the fact that I am developing really strong bonds with people.

So, it feels great to have a handful of worthwhile friendships rather than dozens of connections.

It’s a shame that Hillary is moving back to Arkansas in two weeks, but I’ll never be able to thank her enough for being the first person to make me feel at home in D.C. (aside from my awesome roomie, who is adorable, but I thrive off new friendships when in a new environment.) Jessica is amazing, and I know we’ll have each other’s backs until she returns to Baylor University for her senior year this December.

Why must everyone I love leave me? :(

Anyway, life is great for me, and I’m sure I’ll be glowing when I go back to Tucson on Thursday. Expect a blog post about that.

About two weeks ago, I went to an amazing San Diego wedding. One of my closest childhood friends married her college sweetheart, and I loved seeing them tie the knot. I was also pleased with the location of their ceremony. The weather was perfect and I literally baked in the sun for about ten minutes. But, I wouldn’t raise my kids in California. Having grown up there, I feel I was cheated out of the seasons that easterners experience. So, my future children won’t be Californians like their mom.

Going back to the wedding, I had an awesome time. I met some great people, many of whom were good friends of the groom. They were all Nebraska boys, and I kind of fell in love with them. *Sigh* Why are all the nice men living in the Midwest? Is God trying to tell me to move there? Not going to happen, sadly.

Wildcats go back to school

Today was the first day of fall semester at the University of Arizona, my alma mater. For the first time in eighteen years, I didn’t have a “first day of school” to look forward to or dread.

For much of my childhood, every “first day of school” was a miserable reality check. From ages 11 to 14, I viewed junior high as the most nightmarish, twisted, mentally scarring institution ever created. To some extent, I still maintain that viewpoint. Middle school sucks. There’s no reason for me to put this in a nicer way. In my pre-teen and early teen years, I spent most class periods writing in journals and envisioning my future, all the while feigning attentiveness to the teacher’s lesson plan. All I ever wanted to do was write, and I promised myself that I’d fulfill this wish someday.

Much to my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed high school and got excited for each new “first day of school.” My fellow classmates matured and quit with petty bullying, I got involved with various activities, I began to prepare for the college application process, and I hung out with my friends on the weekends. Life was rosy up until senior year, when my long-term boyfriend went off to military prep school and my father got diagnosed with stage four liver cancer. Bad times.

Anyway, I always had a spectacular “first day of school” every year at the University of Arizona. It’s my hope that all current Wildcats will make the most of their time at the university. Because I loved college so much, I plan on being “that old lady who hangs around the UofA Bookstore all day” when I visit the campus.

Now that I’m in nostalgia mode, I’ll go ahead and post some of my “first week of freshman year” photographs:

Me at Old Main, all by my onesie (August 2006, before I made friends)

Shared dorm room space. My side is on the right, although you could've guessed that

My bed...Yay Red Sox bear!

My former dorm, Coronado. Arizona sunsets are unspeakably gorgeous.

Then there was sophomore year. Because I wanted more out of my dorm experience, I decided to live on campus once again. I moved to Villa del Puente, a much quieter residence hall than Coronado, where I stayed as a freshman:

Desk #2, much different than my freshman year desk.

Sophomore year bed...Red Sox Bear lives on!

At a football game in 2007:

Junior year apartment…Red Sox Bear remains!

Junior year desk a bit more grown up than the other two:

Senior year bed

Senior year desk:

The Red Sox Bear lives atop my new queen bed, but I won’t post a picture of my current room because I’d like to keep that sort of thing private right now. I’m glad that so many of my valued possessions such as photographs and my dad’s Red Sox Bear have lasted all this time. It’s interesting how certain living spaces change yet remain the same for each move.

This afternoon, I made a trip to Metro Center and got screamed at by a belligerent homeless dude.

It wasn’t the first time I’d encountered an unruly D.C. hobo, so I didn’t get freak out today, although I did eventually walk away.

Before entering the metro, I decided to take off my sweater and check my cell phone messages. There was a bench a few feet away from me, and that’s where the homeless guy was hanging out. He’d been yelling at one woman until she crossed the street. When she disappeared, he began shouting incoherently at me.

I couldn’t decide if it would be safer to stay put or rush down the metro escalators to escape the verbal abuse. I briefly attempted to decipher his slurring sentences without any luck.

I still have no idea what he was so angry about. Passing him off as an unfortunate victim of insanity, I edged over to the metro stairs and chose to move on with my day.

It’s my hope that all homeless people get the mental and financial help that they need to reconstruct their lives, but this probably couldn’t happen for everybody. Not everyone wants to be helped or saved, after all.

In a few days, my roommate and I are going to visit the Julia Child exhibit, which appears in the film Julie and Julia. I’m also excited to go back to the Newseum, a fairly new museum dedicated to journalism. Another memorable place is of course the Holocaust Museum, which literally made me feel sick to my stomach and utterly despondent for nearly a week. Ironically, my favorite D.C. museums (Holocaust, Newseum) have downright depressing content. The Newseum has an entire floor area devoted to 9/11, and the Holocaust Museum needs no explanation as to why it’s an unhappy place. There I go again with the glutton for punishment thing. No bueno.

Au Revoir, Tucson

Sometime tomorrow, I’m leaving Tucson for my road trip to D.C. My best friend from UA just graduated and is moving back home, so I’m joining her on the long drive, and we’re stopping in a few southern states on the way. I fly to Paris from there. It should be an interesting journey.

I’m writing all this because I never in a million years thought I would cry at the thought of leaving Tucson for the summer. As I freshman, I would have laughed out loud at this prospect. I always got upset when I had to come back to Arizona and leave beautiful northern California for several months. How times have changed in two years.

But I’m devastated, to tell you the truth. I’m going to miss all my UA friends, the heat, the cacti, the weird people wandering around campus, writing for the newspaper, studying, meeting new people, going out on the weekends, and everything about the University of Arizona.

Thankfully, I’m going to be in Paris with twenty other UA students, so I’ll have some connection to home. I want to thank everyone who has faithfully read my blog this academic school year, and just remember that I’m going to keep up with it as much as possible. You’ll see a lot of updates in my study abroad blog, which is among the blog roll links. Thanks for all the support and for encouraging me to keep writing in all circumstances.

I am thrilled for the summer, but I know I’ll be ready to be in Tucson at the beginning of August. I’ll be a senior in the fall, and God knows how much of a struggle I’ll have with that realization. It hit me when I turned in my British Literature final. I realized that I finished the hardest academic year of college. From here on out, I have 12 units a semester to throw myself into. It won’t be that hard.

Anyway, I’ll miss you guys, and I’ll miss even the most inconvenient, annoying things about Tucson. If you stay this summer, think of me when you drive by the UA or even when you’re hanging out with your greatest friends, because I’ll be wishing to be in your place.

Greatest Quote(s) of the Day

I just attended my British Literature final exam study session, and one of the TAs had me staring at her in horror for 30 seconds when she said:

“Anyone who chooses to bring a queer theme into the essay, you’re definitely going to get brownie points for that!”

This is the same T.A. who theorized that Victor Frankenstein of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has homosexual desires for the monster he creates. Right.

She is, however, a funny, entertaining T.A., but she shamelessly praises a certain agenda.

Our class also read a few slave accounts such as Life of a Slave Girl and The Narrative of Frederick Douglass, and one student asked the T.A., “Is it all right if we argue in favor of slavery on the essay?”

“Don’t do it on this test. We don’t want to read about it.”

Neither do I. Slavery, especially in these non-fiction stories, was absolutely atrocious. Most of us can agree on that. Still, the T.A. is not afraid to tell everyone that she has ideological expectations of these papers, and this is what David Horowitz warns college students about.

Are we going to get better grades for incorporating absurd-but-possible queer themes into our essays? Am I going to get an extra point for saying that Anne in Jane Austen’s Persuasion is persuaded by Lady Russell to break up with Mr. Wentworth because she is secretly attracted to Lady Russell? This concept would be ridiculous to further, but anything is possible in literature. That doesn’t mean I’m going to over-analyze, however.

Let’s hope I get a passing grade on the essay, even though I refuse to draw radical conclusions about the sex lives of fictional characters.

Finally, I heard another memorable yet sad one-liner in Coldstone this evening. A mother walked into the store with her little boy, who couldn’t have been older than five.

“Mommy, can I have the Cake Batter ice cream?”

“I don’t think you’d like it, Alex, it’s not very ‘non-fat’ for you.”

I bet he’ll be insecure about his figure for life. You may think I’m kidding. I’m not. One of my close friends was criticized for his weight by his mother when he was only 8 years old. He’s now 19, and he still worries about his weight even though he’s buff and fit, and he has a bad relationship with his mom.

As John Mayer would say, “Mothers, be good to your daughters.” The same applies to sons.

Letter to the Editor-Expand SafeRide Services to Drunks

Take a look at this UA freshman’s letter to the editor in today’s issue of the Daily Wildcat:

SafeRide should reconsider ban on intoxicated passengers

Prior to their first semester at the UA, students generally take a tour of the campus. On this tour, the guide vehemently stresses the importance of safety while attending the UA. They describe the emergency call stands and explain our SafeRide transportation system. The one safety aspect they do not mention is that SafeRide does not transport intoxicated passengers.

I understand that the university does not promote underage drinking and cannot change state-wide laws. However, the administration must recognize that underage drinking is inevitable and instead, should focus on how they can keep students safe. In the zip code 85719 alone, there are 23 registered sex offenders, and by refusing service to students, their safety is in danger (National Alert Registry). By offering an alternate form of transportation, our campus would be able to cut down on drunk driving and other alcohol-related instances that occur between the time we leave a party, and the moment we arrive safely home.

Our administration needs to take a different approach to underage drinking and not assume that we will not drink just because they do not accept it. College can be the best time of our lives, but if we do not have the proper form of protection, it could be the worst.

Meaghan Malloy
pre-business freshman

Since when is ASUA, let alone the University of Arizona responsible for carting around drunk college students? Drink if you want, but don’t expect the university to pay for transportation while you’re in an inebriated state. Stop being stingy and get a cab. Discount Cab is pretty inexpensive, and if you’re traveling with other students, you can split the bill. The UA cannot be responsible for chauffeuring drunks, especially underage students.