I suck at consistency, obviously

Here is most rant-filled, grammatically cataclysmic post thus far to make up for my three days absence. 

The past couple days have been a roller coaster — a phrase which I can now confidently say is not one word and not hyphenated in AP Style, because of a timed writing I had to do yesterday for my multimedia lab. It was used in a quote by a woman to describe a week during which her first grandson was born, and her husband shot himself with a nail gun (don’t worry, he survived). My week wasn’t quite as macabre, but for some reason, weirdly emotional and sleepless and stressful and just ugh I want to go home. In no particular order, the events of this week that have built up and torn down my faith in humanity.

The lack of indictment in the Eric Garner case. Like actually wtf. I was upset about the way the Michael Brown case turned out and could understand the frustration but could also acknowledge the ambiguity of the witness testimonies. With Eric Garner, I watched the horrendous video (that for some reason news channels have taken the ridiculous liberty of playing non-stop without giving thought to the fact that we are literally seeing a man die over and over again  on television) and broke down crying at work because it was such a moment of helplessness and frustration. I couldn’t deal. I still can’t deal. I’ve never felt so helpless in something I care so much about and that’s such a scary feeling.

Mindy Kaling’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and Other Concerns. I read this book despite the fact that a) I promised myself that I wouldn’t pick up another book until I finished Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone which I have been trying to get through since summer and b) it’s currently finals week so I really shouldn’t be reading for pleasure anyways. That being said, it was great. It reminded me how much work and failure and rejection it takes to get anywhere in life. It made me laugh when I was pissed off at everything. Which, in turn, reminded me how essential entertainers and commentators and comedy are to society. When I was younger, I don’t think I had every very many opportunities to read/experience any form of entertainment media in the U.S. by South Asian Americans. But recently, I don’t know if I’ve become more aware, or if there are actually more by number, I’ve found so many great writers. Atul Gawande, Mindy Kaling, Aasif Mandvi, Abraham Verghese — even seeing that new kid Hassan Minhaj on the Daily Show makes me so happy. It’s so validating to see snippets of your own experience, and acknowledgement of your frustrations, told in the stories of others.

The stupid shooting threat at my school. I can’t stand people who go out of their way to make people feel unsafe. I don’t understand what is accomplished by that and it just makes me mad. So when I got an alert by my school about a Twitter shooting threat, my internal monologue was 1.) “aw hell no” followed by 2.) little bit of fear followed by 3.) John Oliver saying “There have always been motherf***ers, there will always be motherf***ers, but what we can’t do is let them control our motherf***ing lives.” And then I wrote up a story about the threat for USA Today College that got edited and published with a bunch of grammatical errors and typos but got 1.2k shares so I guess it’s ok in the end.

The ridiculous Rolling Stone / UVA rape case drama that’s going down. It’s so frustrating that such basic journalistic standards of ethics were completely ignored, which will, in the long run, harm the already marginalized and stigmatized voices of rape victims. While Rolling Stone may be able to save face with great PR (and they’ve already released statements covering their backs) this endangers so many victims and their willingness to come forward with their stories. Beyond annoyed, beyond frustrated.

My last day of lecture and lab in my favorite class of the semester: Multimedia Writing. I loved this class so much. I could go on for a while about all of the things that were amazing about it. And it’s my blog, so I’ll go ahead and do that. I learned a lot. The construction of the class was ingenious in the way that at the beginning of the semester, we were given a fact sheet and pretty much told how to construct ledes, nut grafs, and all of the the components of a news story — something that most of us were completely unfamiliar and uncomfortable with. But, each week, they would slowly take away some of the help, to the point that now, at the end of the semester, we can confidently interview, write, and get published a story without a rubric, in a style of writing that we literally had no idea how to work with just 14 weeks prior. It makes me love writing so much more, I feel so much more confident, and I’m so much more excited about my future journalism classes. The same cannot be said about orgo chem because jeez that class has just been one massive train wreck from start to end.

The last day of lecture in multimedia, our amazing professor read us a speech someone gave at a 50-year college reunion or something that pretty much listed all of the technological innovations and advancements and events and changes that had happened between college graduation and where they were now. And at first, it was inspiring because you realize how far we have come — in terms of media, communications and technology — in such a short amount of time. But, the more I think about it, the scarier it is. Everything I’m learning about now, everything I care about now, has the potential to become completely and utterly obsolete in just my lifetime. And as inevitable and obvious as that statement is, it’s really disheartening and makes me have all kinds of existential feels that I don’t know how to cope with because I am young and inexperienced and jacked up on caffeine and frightened by the concept of finiteness. Peace out.

I wish I was funny but I guess sassy is ok

I really really admire people who are are able to make people laugh with ease. It’s a weird mix of awe and envy, because I don’t think that I have the eye for that irony and wit that you need to be a genuinely funny person. There’s a certain level of emotional intelligence coupled with acute observational skills that I think funny people seem to inherently possess that I would love to have.

Today, I watched way too many episodes of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and was reminded of how much talent it takes to really do well in comedy — a precise balance of uniqueness and relatability. If I could have even half of those skills, I would be satisfied.

I’ve consciously attempted humorous writing only a handful of times, and it feels like such an uncomfortable charade of a person I am not, that I usually end of up deleting it long before any other eyes read it.

The exception was when I made an absolutely disastrous attempt at satire in one of my college application essays, that at the moment I thought to be genuinely funny, but now makes me cringe. I literally can’t get through the first couple sentences without feeling to urge to backhand my awkward and incredibly conceited and self-assured high school self. It was a response to the prompt, “A space exploration has successfully transported the first human colonists to the planet Mars. What are the first three laws that must be put into place, and why?” (Damn you UChicago for your new-agey college application essay prompts) and I named the organization responsible for the successful space exploration “MnogoDeneg” — Russian for “Big Money.” And that’s just the start of my horrible, sophomoric attempts at satirizing the evils of capitalism, from all of the wisdom and perspective of a 17-year-old.

Maybe, by reading and studying enough really great writing, I’ll someday be able to wield the tools of humor as effortlessly as I would like. But the closest I’ve gotten was today, when someone said my latest UF Honors blog post was “sassy.” I guess I can live with that for now.

 

Pentz lives in housing through Southern Scholarship Foundation

Dinner at Hansen is homemade lasagna prepared in a communal kitchen by the students themselves – a stark contrast to the infamous dining hall grub that other college students at UF are eating.

Ansley Pentz feels right at home.

Pentz, a 19-year-old journalism sophomore from Chiefland, Florida, doesn’t hesitate in the slightest to call her 16 other housemates family. Living in Hansen, one of nine houses in Gainesville that are part of the Southern Scholarship Foundation, she couldn’t be happier with her housemates and the warm, home-like atmosphere the program provides.

“It’s so nice to come home to smiling faces,” Pentz said. “I love having someone to share things with.”

SSF provides rent-free housing to students across Florida with financial need and academic merit. Gainesville has nine houses: three for men and six for women.

The houses are a much more intimate setting than the standard dorm or apartment-style housing – possibly setting the state for quarrels and disputes. Pentz disagreed.

“Overall, the experience is really good because people are so carefully selected,” Pentz said. She emphasized however, that the house rules keep everyone in check.

“I really rejoice in the rules,” Pentz said. “I know I can come home to a safe, nice environment.”

After an extensive application process, Pentz toured the home before her freshman year and felt that the program would be a good fit. But, taking the plunge into communal living with 16 other people, Pentz had her hesitations initially.

“It was a little daunting at first because you’re living with all of these strangers,” Pentz said. But she quickly acclimated to the experience and became close with many of the women – bonding over similar majors and life experiences.

“I definitely Facebook stalked everyone first though,” Pentz said.

@Ansley_Pentz

Picture source: http://www.yt3.ggpht.com

The 15 Stages of Grocery Shopping in College

Imagine this: You’re studying away in your dorm when you suddenly get a hankering for some study snacks. You open your pantry door to the shocking realization that the seemingly endless stock of goodies your parents bought you in the beginning of the semester has suddenly vanished. What’s a collegiette to do?

The only solution is to go grocery shopping, which can be an expensive and long process without your parents there to make the decisions for you. Whether you’re shopping for the first time on your own or are a seasoned Publix-goer, here are a few thoughts that go through all collegiettes’ heads while grocery shopping in college.

You walk into the grocery store determined to make healthy and frugal decisions.

For full post, click here.

Picture source: http://www.fortirwinfmwr.com

#100HappyDays: A Personal Reflection

On June 21st, I completed the #100happydays challenge on Instagram. Above all else, this challenge proved to me how quickly 100 days can pass. On the whole, there were certain key observations I made of my posts, and what made me happiest. While a lot of these are pretty obvious (name me one person who’s mood isn’t improved by good weather, food, and friends), it was great to recognize the positivity they brought, all the same.

The weather. I feel like this is one of the most underestimated stimuli we encounter on a daily basis. I’ve always identified as the person to love stormy weather– which is easy to do when you spend the majority of the day indoors like in high school. In college however, when you’re trekking across campus in all kinds of weather at all hours of the day, it becomes easy to appreciate a glorious sunny day and moderate temperature. Similarly, it was more difficult to come up with something to post for 100 Happy Days when I was stuck inside for too many hours, so I know that for this upcoming semester I need to make it a point to spend more time outdoors for a mood boost.

Food. Anyone that followed my 100 Happy Days posts on Instagram knows that I posted food a lot. Probably a little too much. Sorrynotsorry. Eating and making good food is great, but I found myself using it as a failsafe if I couldn’t think of anything else “happy” to post for the day. As much as we all love food, I think it’s also a warranted reminder to not use food to cure moments of boredom.

Good company. The posts that were genuinely “happy” were the ones with friends and family– which, I know, seems obvious. But it comes as a good reminder that the company you keep has an incredible impact on you overall mood and general positivity. Even as a self-identified introvert, I realized it was important to remind myself to open up to my closest family and friends, because of the moral and emotional support needed to get through difficult situations and decisions.

For anyone else who’s considering starting the #100HappyDays challenge, I would definitely recommend it. There are some days that it feels pointless, and some days where you end up cheating by using pictures from days past. But on the whole, the experience is great because it forces you to think positive on a consistent, daily basis. One of my favorite blogs, Wait but Why, illustrated beautifully the importance of thinking of happiness and contentment not as “broad brush strokes” of a colorful image, but instead as a single pixel. (Life is a Picture, But You Live in a Pixel) After all, it’s the day by day tedium, the little moments of happiness in each day that make for lasting happiness. Now that I’m back in school, I can use my 100 Happy Days experience to improve my mood on days I feel down, and hopefully make for a productive, successful, and happy semester.

Picture source: vividlife.me

 

 

This is the way the semester ends/Not with a bang but a whimper.

The last few weeks have been crazy hectic. All of you incoming freshmen: know that IB exams, high school finals, and AP exams ain’t got nothin’ on college finals week — it’s pretty much the bottom of the trough in the college happiness index graph. But now, recuperated by a healthy diet of good nights’ sleep and multiple home cooked meals, I write to you my last post as a First-year honors blogger (*cries*).

College is a time of change, as written in every cliche college guidebook ever written. Here are a few of the changes I’ve observed in myself, from the major to the trivial.

I never thought I’d…

Regularly drink coffee. I was never a coffee drinker, and I still don’t consider myself dependent on the caffeine fix like a lot of my friends, but there is a strange comfort in drinking an over-sugared, over-creamed, iced mocha coffee when you’re plugging away at Study Edge videos at Library West. To incoming freshmen, I bequeath unto thee this sage advice: don’t waste your time or money with the $5 Starbucks like I did the entire first semester. The 3- to 6- pm Dunkin’ Donuts $0.99 happy hour is where it’s at.

For full post, click here.

Picture source: i974.photobucket.com