Tag Archives: finals

Things I email my mother

Homework complaints, work schedules, $3 off at Dominos because the pizza guy thought I was cute, time-wasting websites, 4am no-one-is-going-to-come-in-at-work-and-I’m-tired panics, caffeine, and bad dinners…I might live in Connecticut, but still tell my mom about everything.

…In honor of the day (click on the image to read it)

I less-than-three-semicolon-close parentheses-you—always

code: ‚̧ ūüėČ


The Big Storm before the African Sunrise

It’s probably actually quite incredible that I made it this far with only one breakdown, but today the last straw flew through the window and still managed to blow back and hit me in the face.

Cork board week before finals

True, no specific, life-altering destruction came my way, but sometimes the accumulation of a thousand incidences manage to imitate that kind of problem.

Two weeks ago, with short breath, racing mind, and finals falling upon me, I defaulted to my classic stress management techniqueРobscene organization.  A list for everything.  Color-coordinated notes.   A couple hundred flashcards.

Finals Week: Covered up the schedules with what I thought was more important...the people I love.

It’s just what I do. ¬†My mind’s version of making sense of wacked out disorder and the impossibility

of perfection. ¬†And it helps a lot. ¬†When I sit for a test, I remember where it was at in my notes and what color they were. ¬†When I’m trying to write, I have an uncluttered space with everything I need within reach.

My law class drags on for another two long weeks, but all the others are done as of today– 4 exams and 2 papers later. ¬†It wouldn’t have been so bad, if that whole Spanish language thing still didn’t trip me up. ¬†But it does.

As such, writing takes forever. ¬†But last night it was fun. ¬†Last night, it almost felt like one of those long CSS Thursday nights–always so painful, but in some inexplicable way, fun.

Me and Joe McCarthy were getting along just fine, till about 2am when I realized my sentences were beginning to seemlessly flow back and forth between English and Spanish.  I called it quits and went to bed.

The morning started unassuming, what with the paper and some note taking, but disorder descended…fast. ¬†It almost feels petty to enumerate, but I don’t think that somehow makes them mean less. ¬†Because today, the accumulation of these incidences was enough to ¬†make it really hard to choose a positive attitude.

My USB drive disappeared, and without it, I didn’t know how to print at school. ¬†I tried buying another one, but I couldn’t find one. ¬†And the people at the store were rude. ¬†Once I did figure where to email my paper to print it, I learned that the email was down (how does that even happen?) ¬†Thankfully, the mean lady who always works behind the printing counter took pity on me and let me borrow a USB drive. ¬†As such, I made it to class, with my final project, in time.

paper wads of former notes

As I sat for my Cold War final, I realized that if I hadn’t attended a single day of classes, I could have passed the test. ¬†That was nice, but it sort of made all my crammed time studying a detailed Cold War timeline a little irrelevant.

And then, I thought it was all over. ¬†But it wasn’t.

My camera spontaneously broke last week. ¬†I planned on ¬†going to the mall outside of the city after my test with this month’s check and replacing it. ¬†I walked into my program office 30 minutes before it closed to learn that I couldn’t get any money without filling out all my evaluations. And I couldn’t fill out my evaluations right away, because I didn’t have access to a USB drive to print.

I’ll get the check on Monday, but it means that my new camera and Morocco are all going to be out of pocket expenses. ¬†And it’s a long story, but as a result of bank accounts being in the wrong countries and currency stuff, the¬†reimbursement¬†money is never going to end up back in the account I want it in.

At the mall, they wouldn’t accept my credit card, because I only had a copy of my passport. ¬†After a brief, but dejected walk out of the mall, I returned in search of an ATM (because they don’t require IDs). ¬†After about an hour of searching, I made my way back to the electronics store, and this time I walked out, camera in hand.

An hour and half later, after verifying that my finances all check out for my trip tomorrow, I was curled up in my bed with the covers pulled tight, my computer, and an episode of One Tree Hill.

–and the post-final crash commences (but not too much), see I got a full day ahead of me now. ¬†What with that whole flight to¬†Marrakesh in three hours and whatnot…

(please pray for my safety.  they just had some power change hands via elections last week)

I am woman.

Let it never be said that I didn’t walk into the lion’s cage.

Broadly speaking, Spain has been a wonderful experience. ¬†Academically, it’s been a never-ending crockpot of failure. ¬†And furthermore, so unfun, except in the two classes I am doing the worst in (ironic, isn’t it?)

So on that note, ¬†let us recognize that which the rest of the world so¬†vehemently¬†seems to profess and I have¬†adamantly¬†denied since¬†kindergarten¬† ¬†Grades matter, but they aren’t always the best measure of improvement.

I think I’ve always rejected this claim on the basis of the absence of objectivity. ¬†I’d feel better with myself if I upright faced failure rather than rationalizing it away.

In my father’s words, “You can either use it as a kick in the butt, or you can whine about it.” ¬† If I pretended falling short of my goals was okay, then I was tricking myself into feeling better.

We are suppose to fail, right? ¬†(hence the fall first) ¬†So aren’t we cheating ourselves out of something if we call failure anything other than what it really is?

Spanish is not something that I’m good at. ¬†I think I’m not good at it for the same reasons I could never get good marks on Strunk & White Grammar tests in high school. ¬†I stink at grammar. ¬†I can’t put raw language in lists and make a story about it (how I passed AP bio). ¬†I study in CSS, because it all is a story–history, where ideas comes from, how ideas form governments, etc. ¬†This stuff excites me. ¬†I just have to think about it and apply it.

Anyways, I think there is real merit to studying outside of your strengths. ¬†Unfortunately, outside of your strengths, stuff is a lot less fun. ¬†Maybe because, I don’t know, you can’t/can¬†barely¬†pass your tests.

All to say, this semester is open range shooting on my GPA, but at least I can take pride in coming here anyways. ¬†Doing it in spite of knowing how hard it would be. ¬†And what’s a couple numbers in comparison to all the other experiences I’m getting along the way?

on the river, Valencia




Wikipedia xoxo

My dearest wiki,

I would like to credit you for all the childhood injuries you stopped when I was 11 and those that you are still lovingly preventing at 21.

Instead of reaching up high shelves for the most recent edition of the Children’s World Book that our elementary schools saw fit to purchase, we turned to yahoo (back in those pregoogle days).

Our first hits always turned up a wealth of information on our research topics, written by our middle school peers and their teachers. ¬†Nothing quite cleared up what exactly the estates-general were like a 7th grader’s analysis of the French Revolution. ¬†We grew to love geocities.

But our fascination would fade. ¬†Once we learned what bibliographies were, our teacher’s taught us the difference between credible and non-credible sources, meaning no more personal websites.

But that quiet 6th grade year, something else happened.  You walked into our lives, keeping us from returning to dusty shelves where those heavy, outdated encyclopedias lie.   With all your subjects and embedded links to topics within the article, we looked to the future with newfound hope.

Sure enough, one day, our teachers told us that you too weren’t credible, but we knew not to believe them this time. ¬† As high school masters of the MLA bibliography, we were smart enough to figure out to use the websites at the bottom of each page to find the “so-called” credible sources we were taught to use.

And our relationship grew and prospered.  I thought we could get no closer after you became a primary text in my college sophomore government tutorial, but then, wiki, I came to Spain.

And here, I wiki all subjects discussed in every one of my classes– in English and Spanish. ¬†Here, it’s just you and me, spending long nights chasing new links, trying to figure out how the Habsburgs fell from power and when the Korean War started.

So wiki, as I preceed to finals, stick close by.  We still have many a-hour to get through together.


Yours truly,




In the spirit of full disclosure, wiki, just so you don’t get the wrong idea, please know I’m not ready to get serious. ¬†See, I graduate in a year in a half, and then I’ll be free to choose whatever books I want to read without¬†repercussions¬†of not having learned whatever¬†prescribed¬†texts my professors saw fit to throw my way.

It will be a lot less “When did the Spanish-American War start?” and a lot more ” What was the long term economic effect of foreign policy at the turn of the twentieth century in relation to President McKinley?” So let’s just make the most of the time we have left, ok?

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year”

I don’t know how to do finals. ¬†I mean, obviously of done them plenty of times, but I feel so out of it. ¬†The¬†rhythm¬†of CSS breaks a lot with your traditional mid semester and final semester work schedule.

And I’m feeling it. ¬†Mind you all this is compounded by a deep dislike for Carlos III, most of my classes, and academic frustration in general.

Yesterday, I was like an overheated engine that quite working. ¬†I, quite literally, forgot how to exit the train. ¬†Last week, I forgot where a class I’ve had since September meets.

But, alas, I have defaulted to my classic high stress coping technique.

Inspiring quotations in English and Spanish, detailed daily to-do list, encouraging words from a friend (shout out to Esther Oser). ¬†Can’t tell you how much better it makes me feel.

On another note, the low quality photo is because I had to use my computer to take the picture. ¬†My camera is freezing in obscure ways and not taking photos. ¬†I’m waiting for the battery to die, and hope that once I recharge it, it will work again. ¬†If not, I will need to buy a new one, meaning I will have replaced every piece of electronics I own while in Spain (though, my new computer, headphones, and ipod are functioning wonderfully).

I guess you just role with what you can. ¬†In the meantime, I’m just trying to take it a day at a time.