Thursday, June 13, 2013

On being an introvert

I am happy to admit that I am most certainly an introvert. Put me anywhere with "chatting" is the main activity and my soul shrivels a little on the inside. Even if I don't have to talk to anyone, sitting in a crowd of people I don't know is enough to exhaust me. These past few days have challenged me more than I ever thought they could. You see, college orientation was not built for introverts.

First, they stick you in a theater with 200 of your new classmates and best friends. Then, the overly peppy orientation leaders welcome you and lead cheers- "I'll give you one more chance... how are you really doing today??!?!?!?!!!" (insert cheering... half hearted from me).

Though I actually made a few friends from my small orientation group and from girls I forced myself to ask to sit by at breakfast in the dining hall, I still spent most of orientation feeling alone. I was surrounded by a sea of people who were (or pretended to be) extroverts. They sat at tables with people they just met, laughing away as if they had always been BFFs. They danced at the dance. They volunteered to participate in the improv show. I sat quietly with my new shy friend as we discussed the lights in the theater (she is a fellow stage manager and lover of all things tech theater).

I felt out of place. Things like this are always led by the most spirited and extroverted students and they feel the best way to make everyone feel welcome and included is to stick them in the extrovert's paradise... and the introvert's living hell. By the end of day one I felt exhausted. After going to a club fair where I was surrounded by people I didn't know, I cried. Sometimes it feels as though the world was not built for shy people, that I do not fit.

I am so happy to be home. Though actually being at college, going to classes, and making friends doesn't scare me, the four day orientation after move in day sure does. But after that, I can stop having to be who the orientation leaders and advisers insist every college student wants to be. I don't have to go to football or basketball games. I don't have to be proud to associate myself with my college mascot, I can just be proud to be a college student, a privilege few in this world get.

If only they would take everyone into consideration, make it a little more introvert-friendly, maybe I wouldn't feel so left out. I can't wait to go back and see the friends I made during preview orientation and make even more new buddies. But, I also plan on trying to leave the orientation festivities and just wander around on my own, just how I like it. Because I like being an introvert, it's how I am.

Enjoy today,

P.S. One of my favorite bloggers, Susannah Conway, is a self proclaimed introvert. She has been part of my inspiration to be happy with my hermit self. Read her take on introversion here.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The minimalist goes to prom

Nobody loves getting dressed up more than I do but with prom season always comes the itch to buy new shoes, a dress, jewelry, fancy dinner, and spend hours obsessing over every stray hair. My goal for my senior prom was to stay as simple as I could so I wouldn't have to worry about anything but having fun.

The Dress:

I was super lucky to find this dress at a bridal outlet store in town. I loved the bones of the dress and had a few ideas how to make it perfect. With some tailoring it turned out just as I had imagined (see the photo on the right). I was going for classy yet original and I think I nailed it. This is one of those dresses that I would wear every day if I wouldn't get strange looks but the likelihood of my going to another formal occasion is slim to none. Since I love this dress more than any of my other semi-formal attire I already have, I'm planning on having it all shortened to semi-formal length and then purging my other shorter dresses. Win win!

The Accessories:

It's customary to have a corsage or boutonniere for a formal dance but that seemed like an added expense and throw-away token that my significant mister and I weren't really interested in. Since he wants to be a librarian I had made him a book boutonniere for homecoming in the fall and we decided to keep up the trend and have him wear it for prom as well. I wanted some sort of flower to match, so I made another one and hot glued it to a hair comb. These flowers held a lot of significance to us (more than store-bought ones would) and saved us a pretty penny to put towards our road trip this summer.

As for jewelry, I wore my usual rings (a gift from my grandma) and then decided to wear costume jewelry (earrings and a necklace) from my grammy to represent both sides of my family. I wore what I had and didn't need to buy a singe thing! My purse was also something of my grandma's that my mom lent to me since I don't have any formal bags. 

I've been really lucky to find three pairs of comfortable formal shoes in black, silver, and bronze. These three pairs have gotten me through almost all of my high school formal dances. They match everything and I never have to worry about finding a pair of shoes at the last minute. I'm keeping them until they fall apart (and since they're higher quality brands that is likely to be a while). 

The Hair & Makeup:

I spent a total of about 20 minutes on my hair and 4 minutes on my makeup. That's it. Simple as could be. On any given day, I usually wear no makeup. For prom I went all out with mascara, eyeliner, sheer eye shadow, and blush (all used in very small amounts). I even curled my hair before putting it up. I'm so glad I chose to stay simple because at the end of the night I looked about the same as at the beginning: mascara in place, dress not smudged with foundation, hair not a hairspray helmet. I felt comfortable staying natural and was more confident because I wasn't trying to be a made-up version of myself. 

The Totals:

What I bought:
  • A dress
  • A hair comb for my flower
What I re-used:
  • Boutonniere from homecoming
  • Shoes
  • Earring & necklace
  • Rings
  • Purse
What I'm getting rid of:
  • Multiple semi-formal dresses once I shorten this prom dress
How I felt
  • Grateful
  • Beautiful
  • Loved
  • Confident

I'm so glad I kept it simple. What a wonderful night :)

Enjoy today,

Monday, June 3, 2013

Thoughts on graduation...

My graduation is impending (t-minus two weeks) and I have mixed feelings. I am so excited to be done with high school. It seems that each time I approach the end of an era (elementary school, middle school, and now high school) I look back at the underclassmen and don't know how I can be in the same school with them. We go through so much change, especially within the short four years of high school, and I feel so distant from the 15 year old freshman that I once was. I'm ready to move on.

But, college poses its own set of challenges. I don't really want to be a freshman again and I don't want to have my life sucked away by hours of studying. Though I'm glad that I'll be in the honors program at Colorado State, I do worry that the smaller and more challenging classes will be too much. Or maybe my participation in the honors undergraduate research program will take too much time. It will be a lot of work to keep my life in balance. I keep reminding myself not to not worry about it for now, that if it's too much then I'll "cross that bridge when I come to it" as my mom likes to say. For now, I'm trying to stay in the moment and focus on enjoying the end of high school and my summer before I worry about college.

Like almost every teenager leaving home I'm already suffering from home sickness. Okay, maybe that's not so normal. I love hanging out with my parents (I think they're pretty cool) and unlike many of my friends I love where I live, rain and all. This makes it way harder to leave. If only CSU could move to Washington! I'm darn happy here with my parents, my cat, my city, my friends, and my significant mister that I can't believe I made the choice to leave. The whole thing about simplicity is living in a way where you are choosing to be happy and I'm choosing to leave the things that make me happy. I'm keeping in mind the family I'm so excited to visit in CO and all the great opportunities and friends that await me. I know I'll find my place and that my happiness will step off the airplane with me in August, I would never leave it behind.

But I've also been peeking around at my options should I decide that my place is back here. It's nice to know I have options, even if I never utilize them.

At the end of 2012 I picked my word for this year: brave. It's time for me to live away from home, even if just for a little while, and prove to myself that I am brave and I can take on this challenge.

Enjoy today,
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