The 6 Stages of Final Exams As Told by Harry Potter

We are not alone in the fight again Those-Which-Must-Not-Be-Named. (……finals…..)

As Told by Laura

1. Denial

Finals? Hahahahaha! Please. I’ve still got an entire week left. Do you have any idea what I can accomplish in that short amount of time? Seriously, there’s nothing to worry about. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna’ go paint my nails like little zebras.

2. Anger

Okay, it’s not like I’m mad about finals or anything, but seriously? A comprehensive test? How unfair is that?! And it’s worth, like, 96 percent of my grade. I’m too mad to study. School is so stupid. No, everything is stupid. LET’S START A REVOLUTION!

3. Procrastination

I’m just gonna’ go over to Tiffany’s for a quick study session. I always do my best work in groups. Oh, and Jennifer, Michael and Josh will be there too, but we’re definitely gonna’ get stuff done. Definitely…

4. Cramming

Okayokayokay. Two hours left until the test. I have four Redbulls in the fridge…

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Vamos Maryland

Despite the often dirty laundry, the meals that are of less than home-cooked quality, and the crippling loneliness at the realization that your only friends are textbooks, college also provides you with that one activity that defines your collegic life and shapes you personally.

crew tefoFor me, that refers to my time with The Crew.

IMG_2606At the University of Maryland we have a soccer team, and with that soccer team we have a Crew. A crew of loyal fans dedicated to bombarding the opposing team’s keeper with family-friendly insults, cheers regarding our eagerness to score a goal, our displeasure with the other team, and our incredulousness over the shoe color of the keeper. And then we sing and then we chant and then we hold our scarves up high, and then we practice our Spanish with a rousing round of “Vamos Maryland” and occasionally there will even be a 90’s theme featuring the song stylings of the Backstreet Boys and Train.

When you join The Crew there is always so much going on, and though you leave exhausted and partly wishing you had spent your time finishing up that Rhetorical Discourse homework, you often get so much more than you put in.

Thanks to my time spent with the crew I have:

  • Discovered that soccer is not just an introductory sport for second graders
  • Made friends that I honest-to-goodness plan on staying in contact with
  • Watched us win 2 ACC Championships
  • Overcame my fear of singing with gusto
  • Avoided drinking at Crew tailgates
  • Befriended the drunkards at Crew tailgates
  • Learned that loyalty still exists in the form of enthusiastic clapping
  • Found that I have a flair for scarves
  • Made friends that I could attend other sporting events with
  • Gotten more than enough exercise by running to switch bleachers at half
  • Attended every UMD home soccer game
  • Broken school bleachers and watched a rivalry game from the field

I may be getting a bachelor’s degree in English and Communications upon my graduation from the University of Maryland, but the scrappy and blurred photos of my soccer game attendance will always be much more valuable.

Vamos. Vamos Maryland.

Esta noche, tenemos que ganar.

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The Horror! The Horror!…The ROCKY Horror

I’ve been familiar with The Rocky Horror Picture Show since my early high school days. I’d puzzled over the movie, remained confusedly captivated over the Sweet Transvestite lyrics, and generally enjoyed the idea that such an absurd film could have such a devoted following. Yet, until recently, I’d never seen a cast performing the movie on stage while it simultaneously played on film (though I did attend a delightful shadow cast of The Princess Bride).

Despite my apparent interest, I had never attended a production partly due to my excessive time spent with my cat, partly for fear of how they would treat the inexperienced-in-all-that-is-Rocky virgins. No one seemed willing to discuss the hi-jinks that the cast would play on the newbies for fear that it would deter them from participating in the spectacle that is The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and after my first show and participation in the Virgin Games at the behest of my former friend Eric, I think I get why.

247135_10151678616010695_1545180286_nWhile it may be fun for the audience to laugh and point as Rocky Virgins are sent onstage to switch clothes with someone they’re standing next to, or scream out in the ecstasy of an imagined intimacy, or parade around with lipstick letter “V”s on their forehead, I can say from personal experience that it is nerve wracking as heck and my face has been permanently marked by a blush so deeply red that others are continually offering me sunscreen. But boy was it an experience! I may have just had my most embarrassing moment(s) of my life witnessed by a theater’s worth of people, but I can truly say that I’m glad that I went through with something that put me outside of my comfort zone while remaining within the point where my line is drawn.

Yes, I imagine a good many people in my life would judge my participation.

Yes, some of the subjects and themes broached were a tad risque.

Yes, there were scantily clad individuals parading around throughout the night.

No, there was not an empty seat in the house.

rocky image

Everyone who showed up to the show was so involved in their choice of costumes, props, verbal insults, strange and secretive greetings, and the actual movie itself. In a world where everyone needs constant entertainment and five iProducts constantly shoved in front of their face, it was just so sweet and rewarding to watch a room full of people staring unblinkingly at a film that they’d seen hundreds of times. The concentration on their faces as they would boogie to the Time Warp conveyed a sense of purpose and devotion that is rarely found in this generation. Though this angelic contemplation was occasionally interrupted by vulgar shouts towards the cast, characters, and general audience, I felt grateful to be a part of such a devoted group of people who were simply interested in having a good time according to their standards.

I truly have nothing particular to say about the movie itself, because there truly isn’t too much I could say to make sense of  what went down on that night of Horror. But really, when you’re in such a joyful setting with good friends, free candy, and that guy from your Shakespeare: The Later Works class that you didn’t expect to be wearing a midnight blue sequined dress, singing sexually ambitious aliens don’t really matter.

Hypnosis: Where the Sun and Surf are Just a Countdown Away

Do you remember the last time that you laughed so hard that tears were streaming down your eyes and you couldn’t take a breath due to the hilarity of the situation occupying every cell in your being? For me, that time was tonight, and the cause was a hypnotist by the name of Jason Linett.

The first thing that Jason did was hypnotize the whole audience. We were bade to hold our arms out in front of us and close our eyes. With a slight suggestion, he placed a book in our left hand. It got heavy. Our hand went down. Some people giggled. Then, out of no where, a balloon became tied to our right hands at his command, it was floating up and up and up and our hand followed and followed and followed. Upon opening our eyes and seeing our once near hands placed a part, we knew we were in for a treat.

jason linettJason randomly chose 10 people from the audience (comprised of eager UMD undergrads braver than me). One of whom is a good friend of mine, and another of whom I’ve seen around school. This guy was legit. There were no plants. For some reason, I began feeling nervous and excited and anxious and pumped. And I was safely sitting in the second row.

Confidently, the hypnotist lead the volunteers up to relax their bodies and delve deep into their minds; slowly, he positioned them to lean against one another; and carefully he suggested the most silly yet wholesome activities for the participants to do. I watched as they enjoyed the sun in a beach, I smiled when they got comfortable in the sand, I giggled when the temperature began to rise, and I laughed so hard that I fell into the person next to me when it became 100 degrees on stage and they had to beg a waiter for a glass of water to quench their imagined thirst.

I sat on the edge of my seat amazed at the fact that a girl completely forgot about the number 6; I rose from my seat to watch as half the participants roamed the audience acting as secret agents and interacting with those seated, telling them to keep quiet and watch out for danger; I jumped up and down in my chair with glee as one boy was unable to leave his seat on stage, believing himself to be stuck to the chair. And when that same boy believed that his hands were internationally known lip syncing puppets who performed to Bohemian Rhapsody, I struggled for breath with the students around me.

A lot of the events that the University of Maryland provides for their students are casual and friendly and completely worth checking out. However, karaoke, comedians, and casino night have nothing on watching 10 people pretend to be in a bodybuilding contest and strut around the stage showing off their muscles.

By Chance, Do You Have a Time Machine That I Could Borrow?

Almost three years ago today, I was crying; downright sobbing for my Mommy and Daddy to come and rescue me from this bad bad place, and hardly breathing for fear of the unknown and the change that was now undeniably upon me. Three years ago was my first day of college here at the University of Maryland.

And now, on this anniversary of my sob-fest, my eyes are once more glossing over with tears. Because I realize that these wonderful times at my university have almost come to an end. And there is nothing I can do to get those years back.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat I would give to return to freshman year and reassure myself that I would find a best friend in my roommate, despite her quirky way of singing Glee and her affinity for warm room temperatures. I would tell myself that it’s OK to step out of my comfort zone, because it’s the only way in the entire world to meet new people and define yourself. Also, you know how you’ve lost a significant amount of weight for the first time in your life? KEEP IT THAT WAY AT ALL COSTS, I HAVE SEEN YOUR FUTURE AND YOUR FUTURE IS PIZZA! I would also tell freshman Katy that no one needs to study that hard for a freshman Bio class, the classes get harder, enjoy the easy ones while you’ve got em’.

IMG_0903Of course I would let sophomore-self in on some information too. I would strongly suggest making friends with the girl living next door, as she won’t be returning for a senior year. You know that job you’re considering taking at the ice cream stand? It’ll lead you towards great and silly friends, but for the love of all things UMD, don’t eat so much ice cream! (though kudos on slowing down with the pizza). Do something you bump on a log! Make an effort in more than your studies, don’t forget to live and smile and laugh and keep those tears hidden because you still miss your cat.

IMG_2058I don’t know if my present self would do so much talking junior year. The first semester, I may encourage past Katy to hit the gym every now and again, but mostly, I’d sit back and smile watching me discover my love of university soccer, find my passion for spreading awareness of domestic violence, get involved in the department of resident life and dining services, and create lasting and meaningful friendships. But I would definitely plant the idea of creating a stupendous and life-altering blog that has the possibility to reach out and touch the lives of hundreds of people, instead of scribbling on this snot rag of a journal.

[This time machine business is all assuming, of course, that if I went back in time I would find a way to reach out to my past self in a way that doesn’t interfear with the space-time continuum and cause catastrophic doom to myself and the planet as a whole. But, as I’ve passed Comm 400, I’m sure that I can manage time travel.]

As far as my last semesters go, I would absolutely love to take a trip into the future to see what awaits my senior year. Personally, I hope it involves being actively engaged in the campus community, constant exercise, a winning soccer team, a plan for my future career, a successful Terp Thon, and time spent hanging out with both old and new friends. Oh, and also good grades if I’ve got some free time on my hands.

Though, before I turn in my time machine, I’d like to take it for a spin back to my high school days to impart some wisdom onto teenage Katy. First words of wisdom, regarding that boy you’ve got a crush on…

Terp Thon: Dancing for the Greater Good

Last spring, I danced, laughed, cried, took pictures, sang to 90’s music, won a raffle, met the UMD soccer team, and realized how truly blessed I am. Last spring, I participated in Terp Thon, an event hosted by the University of Maryland where students pledge to remain standing (but mostly dancing) for 12 hours straight in order to raise money to benefit Children’s National Medical Center.

Last year, I signed up for this expecting to have a fun night dancing with my friends while taking some fun and colorful pictures.

This year, I’ve registered as a fully involved member on the Events committee who is dedicated to ensuring that the children and families Children’s National helps are further sustained by our fundraising efforts.

(For a full list of how revolutionary and life changing this event was for me, check out my post from last March.)

I guess over the summer I’ve forgotten how much I love helping others, and I haven’t really volunteered my time to help those in need. But, now that I’m registered for this year’s Terp Thon, I’ve recommitted myself to service and helping children put a smile on their face.

389781_10151579696395695_2051817362_n (1)I don’t think I could ever again be involved in something quite as meaningful and revolutionary as Terp Thon, and I am absolutely thrilled to continue my fundraising efforts and shake my tail feather on that dance floor one last time during my senior year of college.

That being said, *cough* you knew this was coming *cough*, if anyone would like to donate, my new and shiny donor page (with a rather lofty donation goal) is listed HERE. All I’m asking for is a dollar or two, just enough to make you realize that you’ve contributed to drastically improving someone’s life. Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday.

Last year we raised over $300,000, and I'm just asking for a donation of a dollar or two

Last year we raised over $300,000 for the most inspirational kids you’ve ever met

But even better than a donation, would be a pledge to help out someone in your local community. Donate your time and efforts to a cause that you really care about, and you’re bound to make a difference.

I know that it’s easy to say you’ll get around to it, or that it’s a nice thought and you’ll do it later, but I mean right now. I’m telling you to Google volunteer opportunities near you, and actually and immediately follow through with them. You might be surprised the impact that it has on your life.

Because I was hooked on volunteering as soon as I saw the smile on Trevor’s face.

Lessons from the Lama

DSCN0608This past Tuesday, the University of Maryland hosted the Sadat Lecture for Peace, featuring His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

I jumped at the chance to miss my morning classes and to eternally brag that I had heard the Dalai Lama speak live. Yet, I wasn’t at all sure what to expect from this lecture. Moral ramblings from an outdated source? Spiritual musings the likes of which the world has never seen?

After trekking across a rain sodden campus and patiently waiting amongst the masses in line, I took my seat in Comcast Center (our indoor arena) and decided that I was thoroughly unenthused. This man has probably lectured thousands upon thousands of times, and I didn’t think there was much that he could bring to the table in the ways of relating peace and love to the world. We get it, peace is peaceful, love is lovely.

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Once the Dalai Lama entered the stage, the whole stadium rose to their feet, applauding and cheering for the adorable old man who stood tall in his red robe. I recognized that unlike most modern celebrities, this man had truly earned his fame, and I clapped with as much enthusiasm and rigor as those around me. I was in the presence of a clearly meaningful human being, I needed to appreciate this.

From that initial encounter on, I was completely captivated by what His Holiness had to say regarding life, love, and the lot:

  • DSCN0635Don’t trust material valuables for inner happiness, they will only disappoint you
  • Real value and beauty is within us and our genuine smiles
  • Trust is key for friendships between all
  • Dialogue is the only way to overcome violence
  • We all have the same potential, the same goal. And this makes it possible for genuine harmony between people who differ
  • Think more

Obviously I paraphrased a good deal of what he said, and obviously I could never convey the tone or true power behind his words, but these things that are seen as common sense, really need to be taken to heart and utilized for the creation of a better world.

Not only did the Dalai Lama give a remarkable lecture on the state of society’s spirit, but he also graced us with his sense of humor. Every so often he would tell an amusing story, place a UMD visor on his head, or snuggle up on the comfy lounge chair he was sitting in. This man’s smile brought about my laughter in a completely innocent and genuine way. To hold such a high position and still make jokes about the bright spotlights, I was in the presence of true happiness, and it brought laughter to my heart and joy to my soul.

DSCN0618Thank goodness I attended this lecture; I needed a reminder about how magnificent life can be when you approach it with beauty and positivity. Thank goodness I opened my heart to his message of tolerance and peace, to recognize the unity of humanity. And thank goodness I am living, and free to acknowledge these wonderful conditions for the rest of my life.

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