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Tara Jones

‘UnderGraditude’

by Tara Jones on September 20, 2013

in In Saint Louis


Packing can be a real pain...

Hello everybody!

I am so thrilled to be blogging for Fontbonne now, as I love to write and share my thoughts, stories, etc. As you can see, this past weekend, unlike the last, I paid a visit to my humble abode! I was quite excited to catch up with some fellow friends of mine from my workplace as well as go home to a fresh batch of apple crisp – DELICIOUS.

There really is no place like home though. Sure, we like to be independent and ‘on our own, ‘but I don’t think anyone is ever completely on their own. I suppose that’s food for thought! Just remember to place a sort of intrinsic value on your family because they have done more for you than you can imagine. So, the next time you visit back home from college or wherever, give your family a simple “Thank you” for their support and guidance. They will be just as grateful – I promise. Anyways, ta ta for now!

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Considering the fact that I’ve spent so much time this summer stressing about the future, I find it odd that suddenly my worries have evaporated, leaving behind nothing but this odd mix of new feelings, ones like peacefulness and acceptance and hope and excitement, the same ones I used to have when I thought about all of the potential that fills the road ahead of me (Pretty sure that’s a massive run-on sentence. Sorry.). Where will I go? Who will I become? Finally, there are no limits anymore.

I’ve also spent a lot of time stressing over other peoples’ journeys, asking if, because the path I’m taking is different than theirs, I’m somehow behind in life or just don’t measure up. But again, this stupid anxiety is being replaced by a new, more positive affirmation: that I should embrace the weird twists and turns that make up my story, because they’re kind of really awesome.

But enough of the future—I want to enjoy the here and the now. On my run the other morning, as I was descending one of the Monster Hills in my neighborhood and I looked out on the horizon to see the blue morning sky kissing the open fields of hay bales below, then back down ahead of me to see the wildflowers in the field to my right, I remembered how happy I am to be here, at home. To be running a lot and finally getting chafe marks and blisters again. To be up and finished with my workout before anyone else in my family is awake.

So on that note, here it is: home.



-Carly

“Babys” by Bon Iver

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I remember my very first day at Fontbonne. Well, okay, I remember the day I moved into the Joe. I remember the night before I moved in pretty clearly, too, along with the two days or so leading up to it. I remember being in high school and being so ready to move on. Gosh, I HATED high school. I loathed the place. My best friend did as well, and we were both ready to get far, far away from it. She, being a Mormon, moved out West to go to Brigham Young in Idaho (Yes, there is a version in Utah as well). Frequently she’ll send me gorgeous photos via text of some beautiful location she’s visiting for fun. Because according to her, frequent outdoor adventures are the norm for kids out there our age. Anyhow, I was done with high school. And all during that summer before my freshman year, I was super excited to go off to college and start a new chapter. But that all changed a day or two before I was actually supposed to leave. All of a sudden, I felt scared. I didn’t want to go. What if my mom was sad with me gone? Sure, my brother was over at SLU (Heck, he was getting ready to leave the country with his girlfriend for a semester.). But still, the thought of somebody being sad always puts a knot in my stomach. I wouldn’t have it.

The day I was to move in, my overprotective dad (who still doesn’t want me running in Forest Park. Oh well.) gave me a talk about all sorts of things that the little naïve version of myself didn’t want to hear. If I wasn’t scared or turned off to the idea of going, I really was after that conversation. I guess after that I just kind of closed down, before I had even stepped foot onto campus, and I never really opened up my mind to embrace my situation.

I still go home every weekend. I used to tell myself that in doing so, I was taking the easy way out. And to some extent, yeah, I guess you could say that. It meant I didn’t have to deal with trying to entertain myself or meet new people or what have you. But on the other hand, home was, and is, well, home. Read: I feel most myself here. And maybe that’s why now I still pack up half of my dorm every weekend to head south, and why I don’t think it’s something I should be apologizing for or beating myself up over or a logical reason to tell myself I’m a big baby who will never make it to Washington or Colorado or Alaska (okay not really here, but I bet it’s beautiful). Because that’s just not true, and it’s totally not fair to myself.

There are things about St. Louis I love, yes. But at the same time, something about it just doesn’t click with me. Kind of like the dietetics program. Something didn’t click with me when I was in my old major, so I left. I remember over spring break, I was feeling pretty babyish. And I probably sounded like it too, when I whined that I was too old to be at home and that April would be the month that I wouldn’t leave school at all. Yes, I declared, I would stay in the city every weekend. For the most part, I did, as my time at home was limited to maybe an evening or a random day each weekend.

At the time, I felt so desperately that I had something to prove, but in the end, what do I have to show for it? I remember that on those weekends I had to venture down to use the laundry room in Medaille on the evenings (this was a first). One night as I was down there by myself, folding up my new yellow long sleeve running shirt (don’t ask me how I remember that that was what I was folding. I just do.), I caught myself feeling…empty. Fake. I hadn’t proved anything to anybody. If anything, I was even more unsatisfied than before. I may not have felt it quite as clearly as I do now whenever I look back on those sad, confusing weekends, but there’s no denying that something felt off to me at the time. There I was, thinking I was being the Best Version of Myself by forcing myself into doing something that just wasn’t me, because I had somehow convinced myself that the BVM (Best Version of Me…let’s abbreviate it from here on out for the sake of simplicity.) was some fake big-shot who was too good and too big for home, and that being a college student meant I had to take on that role and grow up at some point.

For somebody with an A- in organic chemistry to show for both semesters (I don’t like to brag, and I’m not full of myself by any means. But I’m still healthily proud about this.), I sure can be a big dummy sometimes. I mean, does that make any sense, my reasoning for staying at school? No! How is being somebody other than myself, all for the sake of trying to measure up to the other kids around the country who have no problem with staying at school for months on end because I’m insecure with what makes me happy (and, ultimately, me), equivalent to being the BVM? It’s not! It so, so is not. And every now and then, when I feel myself feeling weirdly insecure or insignificant next to the fresh-out-of-high-school kids I’ll be lifeguarding with this year (when the Water Park actually opens because it’s not raining or too cold so I can make some money already), I catch myself having that urge bubbling up inside of me to prove myself yet again. I find myself thinking, “Yeah, well, I’m a fancy Clayton resident, so there, you Mizzou-bound tigers.” And I do it all out of insecurity. Isn’t that just stupid, that I have to take on a role, put on an act that makes me feel empty and totally unlike myself all because I feel like I don’t measure up? I think it is. I think it’s sad and pathetic of me and I know it’s the reason for the knot in my stomach I’ve experienced since April. That knot is there, telling myself, “Carly, you’re bigger than this. And I won’t let you eat until you see that already.”

I remember last spring feeling a similar urge to prove myself. So I joined a club I didn’t care about, really, because I felt I wasn’t involved or much of a force to be reckoned with on campus (despite my A-‘s in organic. Okay I’ll shut up about it now.). So all year this school year, I dragged myself to meetings for that said club, contributing little, if anything, to the organization. And I did it out of insecurity, once again.

As I reflect on these mistakes and the reasons why I made them, I’m beginning to see a bit of a pattern. The BVM isn’t somebody totally different than who I am. No, I don’t need to change and stay at school if I don’t want to or join a club I could care less about, all because I feel, for some bizarre reason, insignificant. No, the BVM is quite the opposite: the BVM is the same person, but with a different perspective instead. She does things because she wants to do them because they make her feel full and alive and happy, not because she “should” or because everyone else is doing them. But more importantly, she’s happy with herself and she finally sees herself for what she really is: an excellent student (A-! Organic chem.!) with a plethora of interests and passions and ambitions who has so much she wants to do and see. Babyish loser? I don’t think so! And I can’t believe I would ever use such harsh words to describe myself.

Maybe your self-esteem is through the roof. Even so, there’s still something to learn from all of this: do what YOU want to do in college. Listen to yourself, and be okay with what yourself has to say to you (say what?), as I’m working on this summer. And most importantly, remember this quote (I’m not letting you go without one):

“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.” -Maya Angelou

-Carly

“High and Dry” by Radiohead

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Allison

Easter Chaos

by Allison on April 9, 2012

in Extracurricular

I have two big reasons why I love Easter so much. Saturday we celebrate with my father’s side, and Sunday we go to my mother’s side. Easter is full of bright colors and celebration. We feast on a home-cooked meal and enjoy each other’s company. Each side of the family has well over 40 people. It is such a blessing that I am close to all of my cousins. It’s really nice to hear what they are all up to. They were my very first friends growing up, and I love how we all stay in touch. Even though I was only home for a short amount of time, I feel like I packed my schedule with various activities with my siblings. One night, my brother and I went to Walmart, and we each get three of our favorite foods. They don’t have to go with each other whatsoever, but we come home and pig out on it all while we catch up. Then my little sister and I had a blast shopping and driving around her new jeep. I love being that older sister to whom they come to for anything and everything. It felt so good when I took off for college Sunday and my brother and sister send me a loving text message saying they always miss me when I leave. Saturday and Sunday was a pure joy to see all my family that I don’t normally get to see.

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The Balancing Act

by Alumni Posts September 26, 2011

Tonight I am going to discuss something that has been on my mind a lot recently: the balancing act between living away from home and keeping up with the family. Last year this was not a huge problem for me, and although I was living almost 5 hours away from home, the only person I [...]

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