Rain Will Make the Flowers Grow

It’s been a rainy couple of days here in Maryland, but am I letting that deter my spirit? No way!

Despite my sopping shoes, frizzy hair, and grumpy demeanour, I’m looking forward to the aftereffects of this precipitation.

ImageAlready the grass is looking greener than I remember it ever being and the flowers are starting to show their full range of color. After such a long winter I’m extremely grateful for this chance to appreciate the beauty all around me, even if I have to look at it while peeping out from beneath a polka dotted umbrella.

ImageEveryone should recognize that even in perceivably miserable situations, there is happiness and charm to be found if you have the right perspective. And that perspective is easy to take once you look at the vibrant petals of a nearby flower.

If Gene Kelly had some natural scenery to look at, I think he’d be even jollier!

And I have to add this as a shout out to those who understand my title reference. Despite the lack of flowers and the heartbreaking pain of lost love expressed in this song, it’s an absolutely treasure.

Maryland Day: Freebies and Friends

DSCN0537Yesterday, the University of Maryland hosted their annual event, Maryland Day. Basically, this is one day every spring where the whole campus decides to participate in showing off what UMD and the state of Maryland has to offer.

Families, alumni, prospective Terps, and people from the surrounding communities come out in droves for:

  • Wacky science experiments
  • Photo boothsDSCN0554
  • Plant give-aways (for the winners of a recycling game)
  • Musical performances
  • Donations to Terp Thon (the standing marathon I participated in benefiting Children’s Miricle Network)
  • A mini dance festival
  • Caricatures
  • Delicious food (with, of course, crab cakes)
  • Arts and crafts (where it is also acceptable for the young at heart to get creative with sand art and coloring)
  • A chance to meet members of the UMD football team
  • Raffles for fabulous prizes
  • Information on the University of Maryland and the services they offer
  • FREEBIES!

DSCN0538I had a blast going around with my friends and checking out everything available to me that I never even knew existed. And I didn’t even have time to go through the whole event. Just think about how much more there is to explore right under your nose!

But my absolute favorite part was all the free merchandise I scored. Maryland gives you so much in the way of freebies that I’ve had to start limiting myself and asking,

“Now are you really going to care about that yo-yo a few weeks from now?”

“Do you remember the three other yo-yos sitting in your room, neglected and unused?”

“Would you regret for the rest of your life slowly putting the yo-yo down and walking away from the table?”

I successfully ignored the colorful ensnarement of the yo-yo, but that didn’t stop me from bringing in a huge haul that included:

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  • 5 posters (1 signed by the football team)
  • A water bottle
  • Opportunities and information on volunteeringDSCN0566
  • Friendship and a day of silliness
  • Stickers and pins
  • A temporary turtle tattoo
  • Pens and pencils
  • A bit of a tan
  • Memories and pictures
  • A bracelet that changes colors when it’s sunny

I’ve gone to this event every year, and every year it gets better and better with each realization that there is so much available for me to do around here in both a fun and professional capacity.

Do you have anything like this in your area? You should make the effort to see what your community has to offer and chances are you’ll find one or two things of interest that you never knew you could explore.

U Maryland: thousands upon thousands of Terps

I love getting an outsider’s perspective on UMD. Sometimes you can become so consumed in the duties and necessities of life that you forget to appreciate your current circumstances. I’m lucky to be attending such a beautiful and noteworthy school that celebrates traditions and history.
And let’s be real for a sec, I could never take pictures as lovely as these.

Brohammas

Fear the Terp…

Yes it sounds strange to me too but we will get to that later.

stadiumThe first thing you notice when visiting the College Park campus just outside D.C. is the students. a lot of students. Almost 40,000 students. Let me say that again FORTY THOUSAND!

library chillinThat is a lot of kids, which is not even counting the number of faculty and staff required to educate that many kids. This means that UMD is big enough to swallow most Midwestern cities. It is absolutely the definition of a state flagship university.

They offer 100 undergraduate majors. 100!

When the average American, or human for that matter, imagines American colleges, odds are they are picturing one of two types; the elitist ivy league, or the University of Maryland.

churchIt has a row of fraternity and sorority houses a mile long (figuratively), a football stadium bigger than the Colosseum, and a bazillion kids…

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A Very Potter Sequel

Somehow, I’ve found myself attending a lot of theatrical productions this semester. But, my soul had not been thoroughly and irrevocably moved until I went to StarTerp’s production of A Very Potter Sequel.

I’ll provide some background on this likely foreign concept first. StarKid, a theater company formed at the University of Michigan, originally decided to parody Harry Potter by creating A Very Potter Musical. The whole show can be found on YouTube and a good three weeks of my life was spent (but not wasted) watching the whole performance with my friend, Caroline. It was the first time I truly understood what it is to love.

There’s just something about these adorable and raunchy kids that transforms Harry Potter into something outrageous, hilarious, and utterly brilliant. Don’t get me wrong, the series is beautifully transcribed by JK Rowling, but the critical perspectives and adult humor StarKid uses to create the play is what makes it truly magical (you can roll  your eyes all you like, but I’m keeping that word)

StarKid later went on to create two more shows, both equally beautiful and capable of inspiring many groups to copy their performances, which is exactly what the University of Maryland’s theater team, StarTerp, decided to do.

Our show was life affirming. I’ve been a Harry Potter fan since the 6th grade and I’ve never stopped caring about the plight of Harry and his friends. This show compliments all I’ve ever known or dreamed about related to Harry Potter and my life has been improved because of witnessing it being performed live. (Also I got to meet Ron and we’re Facebook friends now!)

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The StarTerp production is in the process of being put on YouTube, but here is a clip from AVPM done last year:

I just can’t express what a joy it was to watch this movie and share the experience with my friends. You need to find something you love from this world and never let it go. Even if it’s something as perceivedly pointless and silly as Harry Potter, if you really care about it and it makes you smile, don’t sacrifice it for anything.

Here are some of my pictures from the show:

Song: Harry Freakin' Potter

Song: Harry Freakin’ Potter

Scene: Draco stands up to his Father

Scene: Draco stands up to his Father

Song: Gettin' Along

Song: Gettin’ Along

Scene: Final Gathering

Scene: Final Gathering

Stress Out Day

DSCN0493Last week, UMD hosted a “Stress Out Day” on the mall to help students relax, unwind, and release their stress out into the wild where it can run free and uninhibited, while never again allowed to call the shelter of a college kid’s mind home. I decided to go to this event as an excuse to hang out with my long lost buddy, Kalin, and even though it was just a silly school event, it actually helped me step back from my life and relax.

I contort myself into a mess of limbs and grimaces each Wednesday, in what others affectionately call Yoga, to achieve the feeling of calm relaxation I’m granted at the end of every session. But I never thought I could achieve the same feeling through such a carnival-like atmosphere. The event boasted a corn hole game, a wall of aspirationsDSCN0487, free sunglasses, a coloring booth, puppies (which I arrived too late for), and even a raffle for an awesome t-shirt (which I won! only slightly making up for the lack of puppies).

At one station, we were asked to write the thing that stresses us out the most, then we were told to cross it out and write something that relaxes us when we are stressed. Kalin’s answer proves why we’re friends:

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My answers throw into question why people hang out with me:

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Walking around with Kalin, enjoying the weather, and taking a break from the daily rush of life gave me the peace that an hour locked in a smelly fitness class usually provides, and I am so grateful I got to experience this peace with my fellow Terps. I love when the world expresses a sense of community!

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Get Fit, Win Prizes? Sign Me Up!

I’ve been trying my hardest to take better care of my body this semester. I’ve eaten my fruits and veggies (but more fruits than veggies), sweated my butt off at the gym (literally, my butt looks smaller), and tried to move my body around when I can (my random spurts of dancing help here). But, there’s one tool that really helped me stay focused and on target while trying to shape up, and that’s the website, Fit Campus.

fit campusFit Campus allows you to log which exercises you complete while at school, and then they rewards you in all kinds of ways for committing to at least 2.5 hours of exercise each week. Last year a cruise was given away, just for going to the gym! But there are also all kinds of little prizes as well, and I got a Camelbak water bottle the last time the giveaway was running.

It’s always a struggle to drag myself to the gym, and while I usually succeed, there are some days where it seems darn near impossible to make that 20 minute walk, only to walk around some more. I love knowing that Fit Campus appreciates my effort. Also the whole fantastic prize giveaway doesn’t hurt in terms of my endearment towards them either.

Ran some laps for my 5K? Log those minutes! Met up with friends to look like a fool in Zumba class? Log those minutes! Fell over while trying to do a Yoga pose? Log those minutes and prepare an ice pack!

Alice in Wonderland – ASL Style

gallaudet universityYesterday, I went to see Alice in Wonderland at Gallaudet University, a university primarily for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Though I’ve been involved with American Sign Language (ASL) for a couple of years now, I’m still not very good and only know basic words, as opposed to whole sentence structures. But, that doesn’t matter so much, because I have fun learning and trying my hand at understanding a new language (pun intended).

I set up this silly little video trying to briefly recap my experience:

I’ll apologize now if I butchered any signs or was completely off base on any of them. Even as I’m re-watching it I can think of what I should have signed differently… But, I wanted to express so much more, and hopefully one day I’ll be able to create a longer and more substantial video.

playbill from gallaudetAnyway, back to the play. It was a trippy version of Alice in Wonderland (but what production of Alice isn’t), and all of the performers fulfilled their roles using Sign Language and tremendous facial expressions and body language. There was also a screen off to both sides of the stage which hosted a written narrative for those struggling to understand more than just the basic gist of the performance.

mad hatter from gallaudet

Mad Hatter and March Hare

I was nervous about the unfamiliar setting and nuances of deaf culture, but I ended up having a great time and will definitely be back to Gallaudet. The fact that these performers couldn’t use their voices didn’t hinder the production in the slightest, in fact, it elevated the show for me and added an area of stage presence that most performances lack. The Mad Hatter was by far my favorite, because he was expressive, adorable, and owned his character. Great actors like him should be recognized for more than their lack of hearing, but for their tremendous talent as well.

I’m not a theater critic and I’m not an ASL expert, but I am lovers of both, and am glad I stepped out of my comfort zone to attend this play.

The Reader

This describes my experience with blogging quite perfectly. I may not be the most articulate writer, or speak to the most profound and moving subjects, but I enjoy writing and don’t want to keep that passion all to myself.

If all my readers get out of my blog is “That girl is all over the place…” then my mission will have been accomplished, because at least it was read, at least it was acknowledged, and only then can it have the potential to be worthwhile.

Traditions and Terrapins

umd testudo in front of mckeldinAs some of you may be aware, the University of Maryland holds a deep affinity for its mascot, Testudo.

Testudo is a Diamondback terrapin, but we all affectionately call him a turtle, and warn others to fear him (Fear the Turtle is something of our battle cry). testudo mascotThere is a whole history regarding UMD’s relationship with Testudo, which you can find HERE, but all you really need to know is the major Maryland tradition that Testudo plays a crucial role in.

Before I can explain that tradition, I have some bad news to share. You may believe that the four leaf clover you found as a kid was lucky, or that heads up penny you rescued from the grimy Metro floor, but for true luck, you need to visit College Park, MD and rub Testudo’s nose.

testudo overlooking mallThere’s a statue of Testudo sitting in front of McKeldin Library at the head of our mall and a couple more statues strategically located around campus. When students are in need of some luck or self-confidence, they run for Testudo and rub his nose until it’s good and shiny (which it already is after years of use by desperate students). Before finals, people will leave him offerings in hopes of increasing their favor in his eyes. What Testudo would want with cups of coffee and sugary treats, I’m not really sure, but I know he loves the attention.

The bottles of alcohol are never there for long...

The bottles of alcohol are never there for long…

When tours pass by UMD the potential Terps are encouraged to rub Testudo’s nose, just as the students around campus do. I always imagined myself as too cool for this silly tradition, but how ridiculous is that?! I absolutely LOVE that I’m somewhere that celebrates both history and community, and since I’ve arrived and gotten over my big head and my embarrassment,  I’ve rubbed Testudo’s nose like there was no tomorrow and can personally attest to his powers since I’ve had the best luck and the most fun while attending college.

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