I started karate this week, and by golly, it’s definitely one of the best things about this quarter. Due to the amount of human factors homework I have left, I can’t go into detail about it, but I’m still going to give you a quick list of reasons as to why it’s so wonderfully great.

1. I’m tired. And not worn-out-from-being-stressed-all-week tired (like I have been for the past two weeks). No, this time my body is physically exhausted – and it feels wonderful. It’s delightfully difficult for me to keep my eyes open, and all I really want to do is go to bed and sleep for a long while. The last time I was this tired was during high school swim season, and I must say, it’s been too long.

2. It feels glorious. Demanding? Yes. Painful? At times. Empowering? You bet. Standing there in the dojo with sweat dripping down my face just feels fantastic, especially knowing that I worked hard to put it there (and that I can’t take it away – we aren’t allowed to touch our faces during class). And the feeling I get when I finally have the chance to take a shower? Ahh, pure bliss.

3. My muscles are sore. Again, proof that I’m working hard and actually doing something fun and physically beneficial with my time. I love waking up in the morning and having slightly-aching muscles. By the end of the quarter, I’m going to be so fit…!

4. I want to practice. The only hard part is, I don’t know where to go to do that. I feel kind of funny doing it in my room, like I’m a little out of place. But I really want to get better and improve and hopefully someday advance.

My hope is to put everything into this class – to really give it my all. I know that it has the power to teach me so much and show me a new and different side of life if I take a chance with it and give it everything I’ve got. So I’m going to work hard. I’m going to train as hard as I can during class. I’m going to find time to practice. And, if I continue to like it this much, I’m going to pursue it once this quarter’s over.

But for now I’m going to enjoy it while it’s here. Yay, karate! I’m so excited to be learning you!


The Other Side: Being The Helping Hand

I’ve gotten really bad about remembering to post.

It’s become a long debate in my mind, one which I just tried to narrate to show to you but yet still managed to fail. So I finally found time right here, right now to sit down and write. I’m going to write about the good stuff and graze over the not-so-good, because that’s really what gives my life light. So here goes…

These past few days haven’t been so awesome, but as promised above I’m going to make that part of my story short, since I find it depressing and, well, insignificant. Basically, I haven’t been feeling that great due to not sleeping enough, being stressed from my absolutely wonderful (but currently very time-consuming) job, getting dehydrated, not eating right – in short just not looking out for myself. I’m much better now, though still not one-hundred percent, but I am on the road to recovery!

So enough about that… onto the good part! Last night I wasn’t feeling too great (see above) and was just about to go to bed when there was a knock at my door. When I opened it, a girl rushed in and started talking a mile a minute, clearly kind of nervous and unsure of herself but in need of some kind of help. After listening for a few minutes my situationally-slow brain finally pieced together everything she was saying: she was a transfer student who was new to our school and felt out of place in her orientation group. She didn’t know who to go to and didn’t feel like talking to the advisor on her floor, so she picked me on a whim and, after taking about an hour to muster up the courage to do so, came and knocked on my door to see if I could do something about her situation for her.

At first I was kind of dumbstruck. I didn’t know what to say – our housing department is in no way related to the huge orientation program our school has in place, and since it was almost ten o’clock at night I didn’t know of anyone to call to instantly make the situation better. But then my super advisor powers kicked in and helped me to think on my feet. Orientation leader? I thought. I don’t know the regulations and policies for switching groups, but my really good friend is a leader – he could help me there. So I whipped out my phone and told him the girl’s story, to which he replied that he had room in his group and that he would be more than happy to have another member join. Twenty minutes later, my resident and I were on our way to meet her new orientation group, which was full of people she seemed to click with immediately.

I know this doesn’t seem like that great of a story. It wasn’t life-altering or anything that special. But I can honestly say that something about it brightened my week. I saw her again tonight, when I went over to my friends’ house to watch a movie with the group, and she looked so alive and happy. Yes, that’s it – happy.

When I first decided to become an advisor, I did so because I wanted to make a difference in someone’s life. I wanted to have an opportunity to actually change something for someone for the better. And just for one person too – not for all of my residents or even a handful of them – no, just for one. And now I feel like I really accomplished it. I could see it in her eyes and feel it in my heart. I went out of my way – and granted, it wasn’t very far – to help someone else. And it felt amazing.

I’m so glad that I got this chance, this opportunity. And I don’t want to be greedy by asking for another one – I got the one I asked for. But to really have the ability to bring happiness to someone else – I can’t tell you how good it feels.

Also, I can’t take all the credit for this myself – my two friends Mat and Jena are amazing leaders and definitely helped by welcoming her and making her feel at home. Together, I really do think we changed her life a little.

Life, you’re just so good sometimes.

Late-Night Notes

Until recently, I’ve forgotten just how much of a night owl I am.

It’s pretty cool, really, because if I really get sucked into something, be it a book or a television show or a conversation or, in tonight’s case, decorating my room, time seems to stand still completely. It’s like the night pauses until I finish whatever it is that I’m doing, and once I’m done it nods its head and says, “Okay, you’re free to go again.” But until then it’s just me and my mind, no pulling me away, no distractions.

I’m loving my new room. I moved in a week ago, and as mentioned above, I’m finally almost done decorating. And I must say, I’m doing a fabulous job. It’s like my mind opened up and exploded onto the walls, painting them with color and life. It’s the perfect room to just be in. I even put up glow-in-the-dark stars, so when the lights go off it feels like I’m outside on the grass, surrounded by the night sky. My Coldplay butterflies are back too, along with these awesome giant polka dot stickers that I wrote quotes on. It screams me, and I love it. (I can’t wait to turn the lights off and play “Fractions” really loudly. That’s going to be tomorrow night’s adventure.)

On a completely different note, I am so excited to be on staff with the people that I’m, well, on staff with. We just mesh together so well. We spent tonight showing each other different musicians and songs while creating our duty board, and a few days ago a couple of us geeked out completely in a comic book store. It was awesome. We talk about video games, graphic novels, music, cooking, movies… ahh, it’s so nice. I can be myself and really learn from these people, and not just about my job. As one of my coworkers pointed out, it’s really cool that we can hang out and get work done without feeling like we’re working too hard. I’m so excited for this year and so grateful to have such a great staff.

One more thing before I go to finish my room and sleep: with the help of some of my new friends, I’ve discovered Snow Patrol. Oh goodness, they’re really good! Especially the song “Open Your Eyes” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fk1Q9y6VVy0) – I’ve had it on repeat for the past half hour. It’s really calming and romantic. I love the lyrics; I know how he’s feeling, even if I don’t entirely know what he’s talking about. I can see myself dancing to this at my wedding someday…