November 29, 2010

Some Strikingly Remarkable Interesting Title

Warning: I do not expect this to be a particularly uplifting entry.

I'm sitting in the A.D. White Library (the "Harry Potter" library, if you will) forcing myself to work. It's so weird to be at Cornell when Jackson is not, and I'm trying to get as much work done as possible so this week will be less painful. I am also trying to keep busy to distract myself from the fact that I am epically lonely right now.

I had a pretty bad night last night. I cleaned my
room, did homework, and went to bed at 10. Sounds splendid, right? It could have been peaceful and calming and relaxing, but instead it intensified my feeling of aloneness. I definitely do not feel alone often here at school (kudos to Mama for telling me to get a triple - I'm so grateful for my roommates), so it was a bizarre, unwelcome feeling. I laid awake until about 1 AM (keep in mind I had to be up at 5 for PT), by myself in the room, trying to turn my brain off. I'm not sure what exactly I was thinking about, to tell you the truth. It was just an extremely lonely feeling. I am looking forward to roommate dinner tonight and then Jackson getting back from Seattle tomorrow. Perhaps the feeling sprang from a couple weeks of a lot of person exposure. I spent a lot of time with my NROTC buddies, then
Emily was here (and with me constantly - yay!) and then I was with Lisa's family all weekend (which was wonderful, by the way, Black Friday shopping, picking a REAL Christmas tree, etc). Knowing me, I would have thought I would have welcomed the me time. Guess that didn't happen the way I would've hoped. Oh well. It has passed (mostly) and now I have a pretty view of Lake Cayuga from my nook in the library where I have be
en futilely banging my head into my keyboard trying to prevail over my difficult Java project (building the game "Breakout" - you know the one with the ball bouncing off the bricks and making them disappear?). We have never had a project that required us to make something move, and my paddle is not cooperating and my TA-boyfriend (ha) is being all brilliant and interviewing with Microsoft instead of helping me. I'm so proud of him, but I can give him crap, right?

I wish this post was coming out a little more poetic/life-changing/epiphanious (is that a word?), but it is nice to just write instead of workworkworkworkwork. I'm planning on writing Emily a letter on my new stationary too. It was so nice having her here - I'm so glad that we started to get along better the last couple years. We had such a good time, even if she was sick. I'm feeling pretty icky, so perhaps it is my turn now. I hope I can hold out for the week: last week of classes for the semester which means my Java project is due, a math assignment, an Operations Research assignment, an English paper, and my Naval Science final. Oh joy.

I'm meeting with my math professor this afternoon about my bad prelim grade. I'm nervous but I'm also hoping I can show him that I do know the material, that I am studying hard, going to the supplemental class, and working so hard. It is so disheartening to put so much time and effort into a class and have absolutely no proof of it. I can follow lecture and I do relatively decently on my homeworks - so why do my tests suck so much? I just need to pass the class. I have a D and I need a C-. Guess who will be spending study week in the math support center? Making fun of myself for a moment, who ever thought I would be so horrendously terrible at math? MATH of all things! Silly 3-Dimensions. Let's stick to the xy-plane and I'm golden.

The tree outside the window I'm at looks like a Harry Potter tree. The movie was amazing. I want to re-read all the books now.

On a more philosophical note, in spite of all the madness that is college, I have learned to take better care of myself for the most part. I am incredibly homesick almost 24/7, but I am not pushing myself beyond my means and I am sleeping as much as possible and I am working hard. I know I always wanted to go to college, that it was all I ever talked about. And I am really happy to be here. I truly feel that Cornell is the right fit for me: good, trustworthy people, smart people, beautiful campus, etc. It feels like the right place. But I will admit, some days I look up the Ole Miss transfer application because I never thought I'd miss home this much. I always knew that my family is remarkably close, but I never thought being away from them would be this hard. I am so ready for Christmas break. I am not letting them out of my sight for the entire month that I am home. TSwift said it just right: Just try to never grow up. Silly me, after all that wishing, I want to be 12 again.

This ended up being a lot longer and ramblier than I had anticipated. I suppose it is an accurate representation of my mind at this moment, anyway.

Love. Hugs. 16 days.

November 18, 2010

The Emily Itinerary

In four-point-five hours, Emily Ann Domke will land in Ithaca, NY. I am so excited.

I have received some amazing texts from her recently, including a running hourly countdown (starting as far back as 75 hours in advance), as well as "Start spreadin' the news... I'm leavin' today... I gonna be a part of it, Cor-nell cor-nellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll!" and, my personal favorite, "And I would fly to detriot, and I would fly to Ithica, just to be the girl who took two flights and showed up at your dorm! Dada da da! (Dada da da) dada da da! (Dada da da) da da da da da da da dadadada!" Those have been quite cheerful texts in the midst of the current chaos I call my life. Ha.

So here's the plan. This weekend is going to be madness, I have no idea when I'm going to get to do next week's homework, and I am going to be utterly exhausted on Monday... But it's all worth it.
Thursday (18 Nov):
Math discussion & OR lab currently stand between me and Emily. I'm picking her up at 4, coming back to Balch to drop off her stuff, and going to Appel to eat with Lisa, Beth, Paige, Nick, Steve, Charlie, and Josh. Then I will do some mad cramming and go to my MATH 1920 -Multivariable Calculus prelim. Following that butt-kicking experience (my goal is no lower than a 50%!), Emily and Paige will meet Lisa and I and we will stroll down to the legen-wait for it- dary Insomnia Cookies for chocolate chip amazingness. Then back to Balch for an ironing party, come work, and then sleep!
Friday (19 Nov):
Emily and I will go to my 8 AM math lecture and then meet the peeps at Trillium for breakfast. At 11 Emily has her Hotel School info session and tour to which I will accompany her (I'm wondering if she ever got ahold of anyone...). With whatever time we have left, we'll go back to Balch and hang out and chat and do girly things (I'll probably check my mail and get stuff together for CUIDC). Then we have to be at the unit at 5 for setting up the Drill decks and then shoeshine party with the fourth-class, pizza, and The Hangover. Then it will be off to the Anything Goes show to see Jackson! Then back to Balch and bed early to prepare for...
Saturday (20 Nov):
Report to the unit at 0520! Emily may or may not come at that time - otherwise she'll come at 0630/0730 to see our 'performance'. She can hang out topside while I run around for the rest of the day doing concessions, trash duty, and Platoon Basic. I am going to try and convince Paige or Lisa to climb the clock tower with Emily to hear a chimes concert at noon. Closing ceremonies are at 1730 and we will most likely be out of the unit by around 2000. We'll see though, and play it by ear. We might go to Jackson's show a second night, or just hang out and relax.
Sunday (21 Nov):
I have to be back at the unit at 0800 for clean up (Emily's presence is optional). Hopefully it wont take too long, so that we can go to Collegetown Bagels (CTB!) for brunch and then to St. Luke's for church at 10:45. Then we'll do the classic college campus tour and hopefully hit up the clock tower, bookstore, and libraries. Then we will do Holly Birthday dinner at Boatyard Grill with Jackson. Back to Balch to hang out, do work, and be happy.
Monday (22 Nov):
Emily's departure day! *sob*. I will skip math in the morning to hang out with her a bit more. I have class from 10:10-11 but in that time Jackson will pick up Emily from north and then get me at Goldwin-Smith for transport back to the airport. Goodbye, Emily! I hope the weekend was amazing! I loved having you here!

So that's the Holly-logisticified weekend. Standby.

November 16, 2010

When You're Smiling, When You're Smiling

My Computer Science professor - the legendary Professor Gries - just made my morning. He opened the class talking about laughter, about smiling, and how "Nothing is really all that important." He then played two different version of "When You're Smiling" which clearly lifted everyone's moods.

I started to realize my performance mentality about life. It all started with my dance teacher always saying, "Take every criticism as your own, regardless of if it was directed at you." I've learned that is an extremely effective way to improve yourself. I do my best to implement it every day. Although criticism isn't as straight forward as in ballet class anymore, there is always a way to improve by learning from others. It is applicable to NROTC training as well - you learn what kind of leader to be by observing others. Her other piece of advice was that when performing, there is always someone watching you. Never assume that all eyes are elsewhere when you are not the center of attention. No matter if it is one or one hundred people, there is always someone watching you - so always perform your best.

I have mentally settled into seeing my Navy career as a bit of a performance. We change into our 'costumes' (uniforms) and we 'perform' (execute our duties/responsibilities). Somehow, this makes everything easier. It makes everything a little scary. In fact, it makes it a little fun.

So don't forget to smile. Life is supposed to be a grand adventure. Perform.

November 9, 2010

Life Crisis

College is somewhere where you learn a whole lot about yourself. A lot about how tough you are, how well you handle stress, how you respond to adversity. It’s a little be scary, but I realize that in the long run it’ll be good to know these things about myself.

There is a joke about Cornell: How many Cornellians does it take to screw in a light bulb? Two – one to screw it in, another to crack under the pressure.

It’s darkly funny because it’s true. Cornell is freaking hard. Coming from an engineer in the midst of prelims, trust me. I feel like every single complaint I had about high school work was ridiculously trivial. Of course, I was having much more fun in high school so at least it balanced out the stresses of everyday life. Not to say that I’m not having fun here. I love the people, the campus, the atmosphere. But I certainly don’t have as much time to myself. If any. I am working CONSTANTLY – and not to get ahead but simply to keep up. It’s maddening sometimes (especially when hanging out with Arts & Crafts – er, I mean Arts & Sciences – majors). The divide between the workloads is deep and wide.

The other hard part is how smart everyone is. It’s the most bizarre feeling to be in the bottom of your class – where I currently sit in the class that was my intended major coming into college. It’s not that I’m stupid (also something I’ve had to tell myself), it’s that everyone else is brilliant.

I’m determined. I refuse to give up. If I fail, it will be in spite of my best efforts, not because I didn’t try. That is my resolution.

November 2, 2010

The People Who Have Shaped Me

I could not name them all if I tried. But today has been rough - I feel like I'm failing in a lot of aspects - and the only thing keeping me going are these people. I am always tired and stressed, but remembering those who have shaped me is always helpful.

I only have a few minutes - I have more work than my brain can even begin to comprehend - but I just wanted to express my gratitude for the people in or previously part of my life. I find myself on the Facebook pages of various friends - both past and present - and realizing what a big impact they've had on me. I hope that they all know how blessed I feel. I hope they know that I miss them and am grateful for their influence on me.

I am doing it for them.

November 1, 2010


It's been a wonderful day. In the literal sense of being full of wondering thoughts.

Do you ever think about what people will write about how society is right now in the future history books? I feel like every generation has been stereotyped by their collective actions in their teenage years. But there is nothing collective about us right now. It's ok to not go to college, but nearly everyone does. People major in all sorts of things. People pursue jobs regardless of race, ethnicity, and background. We are a mix of perspectives and emotions. We are so incredibly unique. There is no blanket characterization that will do us justice.

On a different note, what goes through people's heads on a daily basis. I mean, I know what goes through my head, but what about others? What do they think when they recognize people? How do they approach conversations? Do they marvel over the weather and the scenery like me or do they walk forward without a sideways glance, contemplating something that has not once flitted across my conscience?

It's all so curious. It's all so mysterious.

I think a lot and it prevents me from sleeping. It has become sort of an issue. How do you avoid thoughts just enough to turn off your brain, but manage to think enough during the day to keep up? It's all very jarring to the mind.