People often feel bittersweet at the end of things; be it the end of their stay in that one apartment with the fun neighbors, or the end of a career they've really enjoyed. But when it comes to me and my schoolyear, there's nothing to feel bitter about at all. I'm finally done! After all the sleepless nights, the splinters from woodshop, the endless walk to and from my school cafeteria... I'll be happy to go home and have Mom's home cooking for a few weeks before coming back to Chicago to start my internship and spend time with the new beau.
If there's any one thing I could take away from my year at IIT, it's that the more open you are to new experiences the better time you'll have. I haven't lived in Chicago 9 monthes and I've already met some of the most generous and caring people of 'em all. You can make a home anywhere you allow yourself. It may take a little while, but you just gotta adapt and seek out the joy in the familiar.
This is too cool, I had to share with all you guys!
5 Seconds of every #1 song from 1993-2011.
For those of you who haven't caught on, that's the majority of my life. But no matter your age this is a great reminder of all the music we've had in the last two decades - I forgot about so many of these, but I'm dancing now :D
Students in Politics
As students, we're often told to flex our vocal chords and speak up about the issues we believe in. Universities fund student governments and extracurricular clubs to give us all the opportunity to grow as people and not just as academics. So why weren't any of my college gays excited about Obama coming to town? He had a big rally for his 2012 campaign the other day in Navy Pier's grand ballroom and nobody mentioned it here on IIT's campus. Why didn't our student newspaper cover it? None of my professors mentioned it.
We as students have immense political push that we can't give up because "that issue won't affect us" or "the place where I vote is too far away." Lame, guys. The other night - thursday to be precise, I attended IIT's annual Unity Banquet put on by our Student Center for Diversity and Inclusion. It was wonderful, and my first time at a fancy event the college has hosted. They even had those little tomatoes stuffed with crab... But that's besides the point. I met my Provost and President, had dinner with our Student Government President-Elect (although she happens to be a friend of mine, so that's not that impressive), and listened to the President of the American Chemical Society talk about how his career has provided him with unifying experiences in culture, business, politics, and personal backgrounds. It was wonderful, I was shocked that I was one of only two freshman to attend. Who would pass up an opportunity to meet the people shaping your future? Students, ARE YOU CRAZY?!
Anytime you're asked to RSVP for something at your college, and it's not an open invitation, try to make it to that event! You can make a huge difference and flex those vocal chords. Politically, we're much more connected than we might think. These guys are interested in you and they also happen to be well connected individuals. The type who oh, I don't know, go to Obama's campaign rallies (or to one of the other guys campaigning). Students have the power to rally together like they did during the 2008 elections and change the course of a candidate's future - subsequently their own, as we witnessed Obama pass major education reform and allow many more financially stressed families to fulfill their child's college aspirations.
Maybe nobody in Chicago cares about Obama anymore, it's just like he's visiting home hahaha. But there's still so much available to us on a smaller scale. I want to encourage everyone to get involved in politics on whatever level they feel comfortable with. I'm going to be attending a White House Student Roundtable a week from now, hopefully we'll have a staffer present, but if not it's still a chance for ten to fifteen of us discuss current issues and send our ideas off to Capitol Hill directly. How cool is that? And you know ANYONE can host one. Obama has asked students across America to host summits and let his staff know - he even visited one summit himself in Cleveland. You never know! I got invited to this one because of my attendance at the Unity Banquet my College put on. Take one step at a time and pretty soon you'll find yourself doing things and making changes you never thought you could.
While I may not have had a sweet sixteen, I certainly had an amazing time yesterday celebrating my birthday! I've felt a bit detached from Chicago since going home over winter break, probably because a lot of my friends had left for warmer weather and I was still here going to school, trudging through sleet and snow and generally toning my social life down a notch to focus on those studies. But my birthday made me realize how loved and appreciated I am here in the windy city. It's a good thing, too - I was just offered a live-work opportunity over the summer that I had been unsure about accepting.
Even though I've really wanted to stay I was scared that I might spend every friday night alone. But with friends that bombard me at the stroke of midnight with birthday shots and presents, I'm pretty sure that won't happen. I have a community here, I just have to remember that we're all busy people and sometimes it's a special occasion like my birthday or the summertime that brings us together. So I've decided to stay in Chicago over the summer and write for the Windy City Times, be an activist, and go through thousands and thousands of photos from Gay history. And at the same time I'll be living on South Prairie Avenue, could I ask for more from a summer?
Thanks to everyone who showed me some birthday love, you've given me the confidence to continue on. And a heads up to Sound Bar, where I'll continue to celebrate with friends this Saturday for their 3rd year Dance Factory Anniversary Party with special performances by Mia Martina, the sexy singer from Edward Maya's Stereo Love.
I'm so excited!
I was talking to a friend of mine at lunch today who was extremely stressed about her college classes and all the various deadlines. We began to discuss (in an abstract, would-if kind of way) changing majors, changing schools, or changing life plans altogether. But in the end she kept referring to a woman she knew whom had just retired from a long career as an architect. The woman had done exactly what my friend wants to do - but one thing was wrong. The woman's best friend was her dog. She had devoted so much of herself to her education and then her career that she missed out on an important aspect of life, at least from my friend's point of view. She never had a family.
So the two of us debated how much school was necessary for what kind of job that might pay how much, etc, etc... In the end this woman plagued my poor friend. Even though she wanted to be an architect, a successful one at that - she knew she wanted a balanced life. A happy life, in her eyes. And so this is how I described to her my own take her situation:
The reason I develop stress when I'm doing something that I want to do, is because I've got myself walking down a hallway with no doors but the one at the end. But you can't do that to yourself. You should be able to go out a door on the side somewhere along the way if you want to. You should give yourself options and not feel like a failure for ditching out on the first one you walked towards. And you shouldn't feel bad for going out the door you came in, either.
Happiness is an individual thing, and I think we all have to learn that for ourselves. In my friend's case, she felt embarrassed to open any dor other than the one she started out towards because she didn't want to "drop out" of her major or feel embarrassed about changing schools. In the end, no one will really care what she decides to do as long as she does it in a respectful way; though I did tell her, "if you need to find a new door, I've always been one to smash holes in the wall where I thought a door should be."
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