Finals….. I did it!

I’m in Mahar computer lab alone, doing my work and I’ve accomplished a lot since I’ve arrived here at 5 p.m., it’s now 8 p.m. I surprised myself. I wrote earlier about how busy I am with 21 credits a job and an internship and that I didn’t know how I was going to do it all. I’m reflecting back at the semester and realized it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I’ve finished all my papers, my extra credits and now it’s just time to study. However, I am quite exhausted, I guarantee that after finals are over I will probably sleep for 12 hours a day, it will all catch up with me.

I don’t think I’m going to be overloading my last three semester here, I have since my first semester and I don’t want to get worn out by the time I’m a senior and not enjoy myself here. I’m just so happy, relieved, excited, nervous, just about every emotion thinking about how much I’ve done this semester and that I did it successfully. I’ve completed 7 classes, an internship, having a job where I work 15 hours a week off-campus, lived on my own in my own apartment, and became a part of Student Association as a director in a new position and started creating a lot of great things that I hope will continue on after I graduate from Oswego. It doesn’t sound like a lot but after being there and doing it all, it was exhausting but I’ve learned so much and know that my limits have yet to be reached. Yes I’m tired, but I’m still going strong. Not saying that I’m going to do another semester as full as this one, I think I’ve reached my peek of involvement so now it’s time to narrow it down to what I really, truly enjoy and devote my all into it.

I am working at the American Foundry in Oswego as an intern over winter break and next semester, I’m shadowing the owner and learning the ins and outs of managing a business and events. It’s the career path I’m interested in and I’m so excited. http://theamericanfoundry.com/ (check out their website!)

The people there are wonderful and great cooks to! I’ve already worked at a Wedding and I cried! I didn’t even know the family but it was so beautiful. That’s when I know that this type of work is what I like, when emotions show without being forced. That’s something I learned from a motivational speaker who came to campus last year. “Until you allow emotions to show without forcing or trying to hide them, only then will you be a success in that area.” I’m so excited to see what else the world has in store for me. I plan to go to Italy soon. I’m taking Italian 101 right now and I absolutely love it! Now, I’m not fluent but the culture is so intriguing and the professor is great!
Italia
You never know just what you’re worth until you’re put to the test. I always look at it like this, when you’re given a challenging task and you tackle it successfully, challenge yourself even more until you fail. Only then will you know and appreciate true success. Failure is what makes one strong and is the best teacher anyone could ever ask for. Once you look at failure in the face and get past it, you’ll feel on top of the world and are able to do anything. It’s such a great feeling, it’s hard to describe unless you’ve actually been there.

I suppose I’ve blurbed enough for now, off to do some studying for ancient philosophy and foundations of communication!

Arriverdeci!

Relieving the Pressures of Finals Week

Studious for Finals Week

So with the semesters end, finals week is steadily approaching. Around this time, the campus becomes a ghost town; 24-hour quiet hours are in effect for almost every resident hall, and the library becomes a temporary home for those looking to make the final push for better grades. For those who aren’t prepared, finals week can seem more like hell week with the overbearing load of final projects, papers, and exams.

For me, preparing for finals begins with my study area. Being someone who enjoys watching a room and multitasking, I tend to stay away from studying in my room to get more out of my schoolwork. The best thing I’ve found that works for me is finding a quiet area you usually don’t go to, but feel comfortable in. This place could be anywhere you see fit such as the calmest spot of the library or campus center.

After you have your area claimed and you’re ready to begin the trek of thick textbooks and endless notes and doodles, there should be some organization. The more organized your work is, the less time that’s spent looking for lost handouts and crumbled up loose-leaf papers.

A friend who is double majoring in two totally different fields has a notebook where she lists every project, paper, presentation, and final exam date that has to get done before she goes home for Winter Break. From there she can estimate what day she wants to get that particular item done and leaves a day towards the end of the week open for all the things she couldn’t get done during the week. This leaves her weekends open to be enjoyed.

Last but not least, taking occasional breaks is important when studying for finals. Rushing or plowing through any work or studying may result in excessive cramming and though it may seem like it saves time, it really mashes everything you’ve learned together. So when you’re taking a chemistry exam and can’t help but think about whom the president was during the Cuban missile crisis, you’re in some trouble. Taking a break from time to time and resting your brain with something that entertains you helps relieve the stress placed upon yourself about having to retain all this information.

Here’s a list of good things to do when breaking from studying.

With all these techniques, the best thing to do is to keep focused. The worst distracter is you. So keep yourself committed to the work you’re reviewing. And keep in mind in what ways what your reviewing can show up on your final exam and if it’s worth highlighting for remembering later on.

Good luck and I’ll see you in the library!

America and Germany in France, a trip to the Netherlands and it’s the most wonderful time of the year!

I have been so busy I haven’t even realized how fast the past two weeks have gone bye and now I realized it has been 2 weeeks since I have posted!  Where has the time gone!?!  There is only about 2 weeks of classes left until xmas break, and I can’t believe it.  Now there are only 35 days until I return to the states!  OMG…I can’t believe it.  I feel like I just got here. 

So these past two weeks have been the most busy since I have been in Paris I think.  I had one of my best friends from Germany come to visit 2 weeks ago. 
tiff and celine small
She was an exchange student at my high school in 2004-2005.  It was really great to be able to see here.  We were very busy when she was here.  We saw Twilight: New Moon the day it came out here, which by the way was ywo days earlier than the states.  I made sure to call my family after we got back to let them know how incredible it was, of course I didn’t give any spoilers, but it was fun to call because my family are all Twilight fans.  Later that weekend we did lots of sightseeing and we went all over Paris just enjoying our time together in PARIS!  We both couldn’t believe we were in Europe together, it was such a great experience!  I had such a great time with her here and it was really nice to have a familiar face around. 

The next week was filled with orale presentations and homework and lots of work.  I was so busy I didn’t have time to think.  When Thursday came along, it was hard to believe it was Thanksgiving because I had class and work.  I was so impatient all day because the family I babysit for had invited me for Thanksgiving dinner.  They prepared a turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce and all the wonderfulness of food at a great American Thanksgiving.  I was so grateful and happy that I got to share that exerience with them.  I feel so thankful and lucky that I got a job babysitting for such wonderful people.  They really have made my experience in Paris complete.  One of the things I had really hoped to do when I was in Paris was to live with a family.  It was about double what I could afford to spend for rent, but they have taken me under their wings and made me feel like I am really accepted in their family.  They are really amazing. 

Then Friday, I got up early to take my train to The Netherlands.  I arrived in Rotterdam in the early afternoon and my friend Evy, who was also an exchange student at might high school in 2004-2005 picked me up.  We went to her mom’s house and we had lunch.  From what I hear it is was a very Dutch lunch, not necessarily in the food, but that it is something Dutch people eat a lot for lunch.  It was just bread and cheese and meat and cucumbers and tea.  It was simple but very good.  Later that day we walked around Breda, which is the city Evy grew up in. 
This is Breda at night:
breda
It was such a nice quaint little city.  I really enjoyed it.  For dinner we went to a resturant called, Buxuelles where I tried a Belgium rosé beer.  It was very very good.  I had never had a beer that was pinkish before and it was quite sweet.  The bartender made fun of me, in dutch of course, that it was like drinking lemonade.  Haha, it may have been sweet but don’t diss the American for trying something new!

The next day was sooo busy.  We went to Den Haag, which is the political capital of The Netherlands. 
This is the Peace Palace in Den Haag(or The Hauge in English):
peace palace
It was great visiting such a political city.  I did learn that The Netherlands has a government quite similar to that of England.  There is a Queen and she has some small responsibilities but mainly she is a figure that represents The Netherlands.  They also have a Parliment which makes the rules and governs the country.  I saw were the Queen works, but her residence is outside of Den Haag so we didn’t go there.

After we had lunch, we got on the train and went to Amsterdam.  Immediately I felt a great atmosphere in the city of Amsterdam.  It was alive and beautiful and really fun.  It was a little windy but it was so cool to be there.
One of the many many canals in Amsterdam:
amsterdam

I am in Love with the Arcitecture in Amsterdam.  It is such a beautiful city. 
I am Amsterdam!
i am amsterdam

My FAVORITE thing I did while I was in Amsterdam was my visit to the Anne Frank House.  It is the actual house that she and her Family lived in when they were hiding from the Nazi’s.  It was such a great visit, they told you the whole history and the background and I learned so much about their lives.  It was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen in my whole life.  Just to be there was one of the coolest things I have ever done.  You are not allowed to take pictures, so I didn’t get to document it, but the visitors guide includes pictures of the whole house.  If there is anything I recommend, besides visiting Paris of course, GO TO THE ANNE FRANK HOUSE IN AMSTERDAM!  It is INCREDIBLE. 

Of course you can’t go to Amsterdam without visiting the red light district at night.  Warning:  Do not go alone.  It was an eye opening experience.  It is hard to believe that it is really something that people look forward to doing in Amsterdam.  It was something I am glad to have visited, but it was just very bizarre for me.  Walking in the red light district, you go down narrow ally’s which can prob fit at most 3 people wide.  And there is window after window and all there is, are women in the glass windows in lingrie posing and dancing.  There is a bed and a sink and a door to each room and since obviously it is prositution they are just trying to get men to come in. You would be amazed at how many of these rooms had closest curtains!  I was so shocked, it was quite an experience to say the least.  I guess as an American, I just was not expecting it to be as real as it was.

Anyway, Amsterdam is not just a beautiful city during the day, it is at night as well:
amsterdam night

I loved visiting Amsterdam and it was one of the coolest things I have done in Europe so far!

On Sunday, Evy and I spent the day exploring the city she goes to school in.  She lives in Tilberg, it is about a 15 min train ride from Breda, where her Mom lives.  Tilberg is a very old city with lots of culture.  It was a veyr beautiful city as well.  We did some shopping and of course got some Saint Nicolas cookies. 

 This Saturday, November 5th is Saint Nicolas for The Netherlands.  Saint Nicolas, is a Dutch holiday like Christmas (although the Dutch celebrate Christmas as well).  Saint Nicolas is a man (who looks a lot like Santa Claus, but he has a red hat that looks like the Popes and it has a cross on it) he comes from Spain with his helpers, who are in all of the stories 2 black men.  I found this so strange, but it is such an old religious holiday that noone believes the old tradition should be changed.  I still cannot fathom how they are so accepting of something so obviously racist.  Anyway, Saint Nicolas and his helpers come by boat at the end of November and there is always a celebration in the cities welcoming him to the town.  The following week he spends visiting children and checking his naughty and nice book.  On Nov. 5th all the dutch children leave a shoe by the chimney with a drawing and a carrot.  The drawing is a present and thanks to Saint-Nicolas and the carrot is for his horse.  Then the helpers go down the chimney and put presents in the little kids shoes.  It is a lot like christmas with a few differences.  It was interesting to learn about a new culture. 

I returned from The Netherlands on Monday and I was busy as soon as I got back with a test and lots of homework to do.  There are officially only about 35 days until I come home.  I cannot believe that. 

Christmas is in full swing here.  There are decorations everywhere.  There is a Christmas Market on the Champs-Elysees, which is incredible.  It is so big and it has candy and food and lots of other things that you can get that are mostly all holiday based.  It is a great experience.  There are trees and lights everywhere and the Christmas Spirit is full swing in Paris.  Before I know it I will be heading to Germany for Christmas. 

I hope everyone enjoys my long post of my past two very busy weeks.  Good Luck to everyone at Oswego on finals and such all coming up very soon at Oswego.  I heard their was snow there last night!  At least there will be a white Christmas somewhere because it is still 50 degrees here!

Busing System = Very Inconvenient

I really do not understand our school’s busing system. I don’t know if all busing systems are like this or if it is just ours, but it is incredibly inconvenient. Yesterday, I wanted to go into town to pick a couple of things up at Walmart, and so, I figured in my head that it costs ¢75 to get there and then ¢75 to get back, so I needed $1.50. Before getting on the bus, I had ¢50, so I asked a friend to let me borrow a dollar, which she generously did. Anyway, I wasn’t thinking correctly, because I completely forgot that the buses’ machine does not give you any money back, so after I put my ¢50 in, I ran into an issue. I needed ¢75, and since the only change/cash I had on me was the dollar bill that my friend had let me borrow, there was nothing I could do, because if I had put the dollar in, it wouldn’t have given me ¢75 back, and I wouldn’t have had a way back to campus.

I quite honestly think that this is ridiculous. I think that the machines should be programmed, just like a vending machine, to know how much it costs and to only accept that amount of money. If more than that designated amount of money is given, it should return to the customer however much money is owed. Like I said, I don’t know if all busing systems work this way or if it’s just ours, but either way, it’s ridiculous. Yesterday, I was lucky, because the driver was kind enough to let me on the bus and told me to put a dollar in on my way back. However, I may not have been so lucky, and I could have wasted¢50 and therefore not have been able to go to Walmart at all. I have considered the fact that this could very well be a somewhat more functional report to give in the Oswegonian, but then, to be a responsible journalist, my duty would really be to interview people and to take reports, and I quite honestly just don’t have the time, especially since it is so close to the end of the semester. Anyway, I suppose that I am done ranting about this now, but I’m sure that I am not the only one who has ever complained about this.

So I am putzing along.

BTW putzing isn’t a real word, I think it’s a Rochester or a Lithuanian thing….I am both!

Thanksgiving with the family is fun as always. They are super quirky, so we all get along great :) My Aunt holly is the best, she isn’t a farmer but just loves chickens. She is has a chicken coop that is comparable to mine in Farmville.
Aunt Holly!

I have made a list of the all the things that I have to do before the end of the semsester, its includes 9 things, I have done 2 of them….and I am currently procrastinating on them right now.

Happy news though, I am selling my old motorcycle to upgrade to a new one! I don’t know which one yet but I am so excited. I must say farewell to my dear 1989 Suzuki Gn 250. Did it have a lot of horse power? NO! Did it have a fancy paint job? NO! But she sure was mine…I loved her. Her name is Rosie. If you have a home for her, check out craigslist :) rsz_rosie_2

I also had a fabulous time with one of my favorite alum Judy. She came up for the alumni board of directors meeting and took me to Wades. It is a fabulous greasy spoon across from Garofolos. If you don’t know what either of these are, I recommend you get a better Oz education! Ask a professor :)

Judy and Me!

Be Ozzy!

Relaxation is amazing!

So it’s the day after Thanksgiving and, once again, it’s been a while since I’ve posted on here.  Yesterday was great; I had a lot of fun with some friends and their family.  I spent a few days with my friend Sam, her boyfriend Jon, and Sam’s family near Poughkeepsie in the Taconic Mountains.  It was a very relaxing and revitalizing week.  I was in Syracuse for a few days before that and am in Syracuse again for this weekend.  It’s nice to get away sometimes and just push all work and school out of the way.  It got me energized for what’s to come.  If you can believe it, there are only 2 weeks of classes left!  This semester went so fast and I can’t believe it’s almost over.  This past semester was a test of my ability to balance three jobs, four classes, and to still have some type of social life.  I think I succeeded!  I’m ready for what is to come.  I have been thinking a lot about graduate school again and planning my classes for the next three semesters.  It’s going to be very interesting to see what falls into my lap.

I’ve started to relax about a lot of stuff.  I’m usually very tense and worrisome, but now I’m taking it one day at a time and it’s a much better choice.  Life is short, and I am going to enjoy every moment of it!  I suggest you all do the same.  I know my posts are usually very serious and deep, but this is also an outlet for me to let out some things while giving you some insight on the life of a student at SUNY Oswego.  I hope that you all read this and can relate in some way.  I’m just a regular student, nothing special here.  I’ll leave you with this…”live your life, today, like there’s no tomorrow, but dream as if you’ll live forever.”  I think that’s a combination of two quotations I know from authors I’m not sure of what they are named.

Happy Holidays!

Lady Gaga – The Fame Mons†er

As a good majority of you probably already know, I am a very big Lady Gaga fan. I think that she is incredibly creative, artistic, daring and independent. She has undoubtedly changed the music industry, setting new grounds for artists that were most definitely not there before. I recently read one critic who argued that Gaga is not original at all, since she dresses like Björk, acts like Madonna and sings like Gwen Stefani, but I would argue against most of these claims. She has the “out there” look that Björk always has, a sense of fashion that dares to defy norms. However, Gaga designs most of her own clothing, and a good majority of the clothing that she designs (although most definitely drawing influences from artists such as David Bowie and, yes, Björk) is very creative and original (where have you seen the bubble dress before?). I would not argue that her demeanor is anything like Madonna, except that I would argue that she has a similar need of daring to venture. As far as her vocals being compared to Gwen Stefani, there are undoubtedly tracks in which you would think it is Gwen if you didn’t know any better. However, these tracks are limited to a select few, such as “Paparazzi,” “Paper Gangsta,” “Summerboy” and “Filthy Pop.” Gaga definitely has her own style of singing, which is definitely brought to light in songs such as “Poker Face” and “Bad Romance.”

Anyway, the highly-anticipated follow-up to last year’s record, The Fame, was released yesterday, Monday, November 23rd, and even though the album is somewhat short (consisting of only eight tracks), it does not disappoint by any means. My anticipation for this album has been building up for quite some time now, and I don’t, in any way, feel cheated (except for maybe the fact that I do wish the album was a little bit longer). After Fame’s release, Gaga began to explore fringes of her personality that she hadn’t been immediately experiencing during the early days of her major success. She began to realize that as much as she loved fame, fame was not an all-seeing power of goodness but instead sometimes heavily comprised of monsters, or fears, with which, as a superstar, Gaga had to deal. She was consistently traveling since she was touring, and during her days on the road, she began to explore this dark side of fame musically, a project that came to be known as The Fame Mons†er, an eight-track sophomore effort that would bring Gaga’s music to new levels.

The record opens with the hit single, “Bad Romance.” I have heard a great deal of people say that “Bad Romance” is more or less a reinvented “Poker Face,” but I drastically fail to understand the connection, not one that calls for that kind of comparison anyway. Her vocals are a bit similar, since in the verses, Gaga explores very low registers of her voice while in the refrain, she explores higher registers. However, I fail to understand how the melodies are similar. Anyway, “Bad Romance” has already gone its way to becoming Gaga’s fifth smash hit in the U.S. (the other four obviously being “Just Dance,” “Poker Face,” “Lovegame” and “Paparazzi”), and the music video (which features Gaga as a sex slave, sold to the Russian mafia after a round of bidding) is by far her most genially creative one yet. Even if you’re not a Gaga fan, I think that it would be rather difficult to get this track out of your head.

The second track that Mons†er has to offer is “Alejandro,” which had previously been titled “Don’t Call My Name” when a short portion of the song had been leaked online. “Alejandro” has been described as a rehashing of the “What happens in Mexico stays in Mexico” adage. Gaga has traveled to Mexico, fallen in love with a boy who is either named Alejandro, Fernando or Roberto (she can’t seem to recall), but she fears commitment and therefore insists on running away. The song is very powerful both melodically and vocally. Unfortunately, since both “Alejandro” and “Dance in the Dark” have both been officially released as promotional singles to help promote The Fame Mons†er, we can probably rule this one out as a future single. The second and the third singles from the album have already been selected, which I will discuss momentarily.

The third number we’re given is the track “Monster,” which I personally feel would have been a much better opener for the album. The song has previously been described as demonstrating a “fear of death,” and although I don’t immediately interpret the lyrics of the song to be related to death, I am going to continue to listen and see where perhaps they could in fact be interpreted that way. The track opens with the spoken lines: “Don’t call me Gaga/I’ve never seen one like that before/Don’t look at me like that/You amaze me.” At first glance, the lyrics potentially seem to be about rape or some form of sexual interaction that was not consensual, which is why she refers to the boy as “a monster.” This track definitely has the potential of being a future single, and even though it has not been announced what the fourth single will be yet, I think that this might actually be it, because I can definitely see this one doing well on the radio. There is a censored line in the song that upset me at first, because I thought that it was censored on the CD since I had bought it at Walmart, but further research has since indicated to me that the track is censored on all editions of the album, which I find to be a bit odd. Why write words on a piece of paper that aren’t going to be used?

The album moves into its first and only ballad, which is the epic “Speechless,” a song that has already been confirmed as the album’s third single. According to Gagapedia, Gaga’s father had been very sick, and she recorded this song for him as a way to plead for him to receive heart surgery that he needed. “I think is the best song I’ve ever written,” Gaga, herself, says about the song. “It’s about my dad. It’s a really beautiful ballad. It’s piano-driven, and there’s no beat on it. It’s all live instruments. I produced it with Ron Fair, so we did a full live orchestra, recorded everything with live drums, live guitar and bass with me playing piano. We got that really organic, delicious feeling.” “Speechless” is probably my second favorite song on the record and really does stand out as incredibly powerful and emotional. To those of you who watched the American Music Awards the night before last, this was the second song that she performed, the one in which she played at a piano and broke Vodka bottles over it.

The fifth track is the incredibly powerful “Dance in the Dark.” While “Speechless” is probably my second favorite track on the record, this is probably my first favorite. Gaga revealed a few months ago that during the writing process of The Fame Mons†er, she had been exploring some gothic influence, mainly in beats, and I think that this song is a very good example of what she was talking about. Melodically, it is probably the darkest song on the record, reminding me very much of bands such as the Birthday Massacre and Depeche Mode. Although I cannot seem to locate any information behind the meaning of the song, it seems to me to be a kind of feminist anthem, shouting out to women have ever felt unprotected or unsafe in the world (literally shouting out to women such as Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana). Like “Alejandro,” this song has been officially released a promotional single, so I seriously doubt that it will be released as an official single, especially since one song (“Bad Romance”) has already been determined, and two more have been announced.

The first few times that I heard “Telephone,” I was not very impressed. It just isn’t as powerful as some of the other material that The Fame Mons†er has to offer, and even though it is still not one of my favorites on the album, it has grown on me, and I like it a lot better than I did when I first heard it. The track features vocals by pop superstar Beyoncé (who was originally supposed to be Britney Spears, but Britney’s vehement desire to include the track on her new Greatest Hits collection caused some complications), and the lyrical content seems to be relatively simple. It seems to be about a girl who is out partying with her friends who is consistently being annoyed by her boyfriend texting her cell phone. Its simplicity could be one reason why it is not one of my favorites on the album, but one fact that needs to be kept in mind is that out of the eight songs on the record, this is the only one that was not actually written during the Monster era. “Telephone” was written during the Fame era and was initially supposed to be a song written for by sung by Britney Spears for her Circus album. This has been selected as the second single from the album and is expected to be released in early 2010.

Although I have not mentioned it until now, there are two songs on the album that remind me a bit of “Just Dance,” and those two songs are “Monster” and “So Happy I Could Die.” “Monster” shares very similar electronic accompaniment, and the next song on the record, “So Happy I Could Die,” is somewhat similar melodically. “So Happy I Could Die” is another song that I haven’t been able to fully decode just yet, but the title does seem to be fairly self-explanatory. This one has a bit of growing to do on me yet, since I am not absolutely crazy over it just yet like I am “Speechless” and “Dance in the Dark.” The album closes with the song “Teeth,” which is a very blunt, R&B-like track that, to be quite honest, closes the album while you are left wanting more. Like I said, The Fame Mons†er is incredible, but if I can find any fault in it whatsoever, it’s that I would have liked for it to have been a bit longer. It is more outrageous than The Fame while at the same time is more down to earth, and I love how in the track “Monster,” she shouts out to the very first hit with the line, “I want to just dance, but he took me home instead.” Her voice is also a lot more natural on this record, with not as much production applied as songs such as “Poker Face.” You have once again not failed to please, Gaga.

Gauntlet

Working so much!

Lets begin the end of the semester! Papers and test galore!

Stress Relief: Try it, it works. If you put your mind to it, it only takes 15 minutes to get your focus on and get that paper written :)

Be Ozzy

http://ezinearticles.com/?Stress-Relief-101&id=2952526

Thanksgiving ’09

So, this weekend has been pretty productive, and that is one reason why I love weekends that precede breaks. Since I know that it is my last weekend before the break, I try my hardest to get everything done that I possibly can so that I don’t have to do work over break, and my weekend is therefore very productive. I really enjoy getting work done, especially when you have a list in front of you, and the more you work, the smaller that list gets. It’s simply an amazing feeling. Obviously, coming up this week is the very reason why we don’t have class, which is Thanksgiving, and so, I figured that, more than anything, it would be appropriate to write a blog pertaining to that for which I am thankful.

Firstly, I am thankful for my relationship. I am sure that I have mentioned it in previous blog entries, but my relationship is soon to be eight months long, and I have never in my lifetime been happier. For once, it feels like I have found the person that I am supposed to be with, the one person who I am going to spend my entire life with and who I ultimately was always meant and destined to be with, and that is an amazing feeling, that knowledge. So, I am definitely thankful for that.

Secondly, I am thankful for my friends. Without them, I don’t know how I would get by. They don’t even need to know that I am experiencing a difficult situation. Just being with them and spending time with them helps me through, and I have some friends now that I never could have even dreamed of having, friends who understand me and friends who I can say anything to, and they’re not going to judge me, because they are my friends and because they are just good people.

I think that the final part of my life that I want to talk about, something that I am thankful for, is the very fact that I am sitting in a dorm room right now writing this blog entry. Not everyone who wants to go to college has the opportunity to, and that is something that I am well aware of, something that I don’t ever take for granted or forget. I am here not only because I took the initiative and the effort to be here and because I worked hard to be here but also because I was lucky enough to have received such a generous financial aid award. Without there, I would not be here right now pursuing my dreams, so that is also something for which I am most definitely thankful.

As far as the holiday itself, I will most likely be doing what I always do every year. We don’t cook but instead go to the Beeches Inn which isn’t that far away from my house. We go there every year, usually between noon and 1 p.m. with an afore-made reservation, and it’s usually a good experience. I know that some of you may be thinking that I have been deprived of enjoying a home-cooked meal, since that is something that you most likely have the privilege of enjoying, but every family’s tradition is different. Besides, I don’t feel deprived of anything. If anything, I feel privileged myself, because home-cooked meals at my house call for days upon days of leftovers, and we do have a home-cooked meal on Christmas.

I am really looking forward to going home, seeing my boyfriend and spending time with friends. Trust me, as I think a lot of us do, I really need this break. I know some students, such as my roommate, who haven’t been home at all so far this semester, and I don’t know how anyone could do that. I would most definitely go crazy. Anyway, I am so happy that there are only two days of classes this week. I will be leaving Wednesday morning and will try to write a blog before then. If something interesting happens in my life prior to Wednesday morning, then I will try to write about that. Otherwise, maybe I will write a review or something. I recall Julie-Jo suggesting last year that we try to mix up or blog entries to incorporate different subjects, and I often do the best that I can to follow that advice.

21st birthday in Africa!

Most people eagerly await the day when the clock strikes 12 a.m., and they turn 21. Then a night full of drinking, dancing on bars, getting tanked, passing out, and being dragged home by friends. All because you can legally drink.

My 21st birthday is going to be a little different. Although the thought of passing out in a bar is enticing, I think I’m going to enjoy my birthday a little more conservatively. I’m going to get tanked in Africa!~ Just kidding. I am going to be in Ghana for my birthday volunteering in an orphanage I think, so I don’t think I’ll be able to get drunk just then. I’m definitely going to hit up a bar after work to participate in the American rite of passage. I’m past the idea that drinking is cool and fun. I’m way to busy for that. Freshmen year and sophomore year are more the time for partying and then the work doubles junior/senior year, so even though you’re of age, you really don’t have time to give up to drinking.

Living in Funnelle I see tons of freshmen going out a couple of times a week, coming back at like 2 a.m., trashed, and loud as anything. That’s just annoying. When I have to get up at 6:30/7 every morning, I hate being awoken by drunk guys yelling outside or drunken girls being taken out of the building on stretchers. How dumb can you be? Honestly, though, what is so enticing of getting alcohol poisoning and missing your classes and getting a bad reputation as that drunk girl who threw up last weekend.

If you’re going to drink (which the general majority is doing anyway), do it moderately. Get drunk, but don’t get trashed. I personally get annoyed at the frats and sororities that emphasize partying, and I think they’re breeding grounds for alcohol poisoning and passed out girls. That’s why Oswego gets a bad reputation about being a party school because you have drunk people roaming the streets continuously. The residents only ever see Oswego students as being rowdy and drunk. If you’re going to drink, do it in a friend’s room or nearby and just be aware that the rest of the world isn’t revolving around your party life and we don’t really want to hear you throwing up in the hall or screaming outside.

Anyway, stepping down from my soapbox… I’m really excited to be in Ghana. I got an e-mail with a power point on it that showed where I’ll be staying and some of the places nearby which I will be able to explore. When you think of Africa, you don’t really think about electricity or Internet, but they have both in Ghana. They have Internet cafes and long distance phone lines. I think too often Africa is portrayed as a continent full of war, poverty, and rural/agricultural communities, but globalization has reached its arms into the countries of Africa and has created satellite cell phone services, sewage systems, Internet, and electricity. It’s not just a bunch of grass huts, which are still pretty numerous all over the continent, there’s a lot technology making its way into the countries. I’m very excited to be there and to see how a whole other nation exists! A non-Caucasian culture.

Oh ya, and I’m going to be there for Christmas too, which they celebrate! And I can’t wait to make Christmas cards and maybe learn some Ghana Christmas traditions!

Wish me luck, and consume alcohol consciously :)