An almost graduate’s advice to surviving college

As I approach my last few weeks as a student at TCU, I have realized that sadly college is coming to an end and so will my antics here at this wonderful place I’ve called home for the past four years. So, to bid y’all adieu from my collegiate-self I’ve decided to create a list (gasp) of things you should and shouldn’t do at TCU and/or college in general I guess. Nostalgia has taken over my mind and therefore I must purge my words.

Do:

  1. Take all the free food and t-shirts you can get.
  2. Join a sorority. Kappa Alpha Theta is the best. I say this from a non-biased standpoint, I swear.
  3. Don’t be afraid to sign up for potluck roommates. Finding your future roommates through Facebook is overrated.
  4. Go to the free events hosted by your school. TCU has SPORTS, concerts, free food, 5ks, comedians, speakers and even petting zoos. Don’t be afraid to look for things to do on campus.
  5. Speaking of sports, go to every sport your school offers at least once. Obviously the must see sports are football, basketball and baseball. Try to see a couple tennis matches, volleyball games, soccer games and more. And as always, Go Frogs!
  6. Wear your school apparel everywhere, especially when you travel. You will literally meet so many cool people from all over the world. Trust me, people love to talk about their alma mater.
  7. Go completely out of your comfort zone. Do something spontaneous, like be in a random music video or road trip with new friends that you may barely know. The best stories come from trusting your gut and exploring with adventurous people on a whim.
  8. Go to class.
  9. Skip class, sometimes.
  10. Go to parties. When you graduate you won’t remember the nights you stayed in and studied, but you’ll remember the nights you got to celebrate college and being young with your best friends.
  11. Learn how to study. Whether it be writing notes, using quizlet or talking it out with a study group. D’s may get degrees, but A’s will get you the job you want.
  12. Get summer internships. Trust me, it will be so much easier to get a job after you graduate. Something I should have taken note of earlier.
  13. Journal. Sometimes there are things you don’t want to talk about with people. It doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be talked about at all. Write it down. Read it. Leave it alone. Come back to it. See if you can work it out yourself or if you need to talk with a friend or mentor.
  14. Suck up to your teachers. Whatever, be a teacher’s pet. More times than not your professor will give you the benefit of the doubt. Borderline grades are usually decided based on a students’ attendance and effort in the class. Make sure your profs know your education is important to you.
  15. Ask for letters of recommendation early. Oops.
  16. Take classes with friends. Double the notes and double the fun. Plus, shameless competition is always interesting.
  17. Say yes to dates. Dinner dates. Mixer/Party dates. Even if it is with someone you don’t know. What is the worst that could happen?
  18. Call your parents. Actually, call your whole fam. Give them an update on life and tell them you love them.
  19. Kiss the random hot guy at a party.
  20. Go out to dinner and happy hour with your squad.
  21. Have occasional wine nights with the girls. Who needs house parties and bars when you have vino, movies and PJs.
  22. Find a friend with a dog. Life hack: you don’t have to pick up the poop, give them baths or pay for their food. You can still get your puppy fix whenever you want.
  23. Go to Vegas for your 21st birthday.
  24. Go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
  25. Go to church!
  26. Sign up for intramurals with your friends. You may tear your ACL for the third time, but at least you have a story to tell.
  27. Find time to be alone. I have yet to actually succeed in this because I am a social creature and I hate being alone, but it is important so do it.
  28. Make college bucket lists with your friends!!!

 

Do NOT!!!:

  1. Ignore your health. I guarantee you will get sick your first two weeks at school. Chug airborne and try to get enough sleep. Stress can lower your immune system so make sure you know how to alleviate stress and see a doctor when you need to. Don’t ignore your mental health either. College is the first time we are sent away from our parents for an extended period of time. Our late teens and early twenties are a prime time for mental illnesses to become present. Do not be afraid to seek for help. You are not alone.
  2. Pull multiple all-nighters to finish one season of Friday Night Lights in two days. Also, don’t watch scary movies before you go to bed.
  3. Do your laundry on Sundays. Everyone does their laundry on Sundays. You will not find washers or dryers in the dorms. You may also find that your roommates are better at doing their laundry in a timely fashion and will beat you to the chase.
  4. Forget what time your night class is. You may miss your first test by an hour, like I did.
  5. Post pictures to social media that you wouldn’t want your grandparents to see.
  6. Forget to plan all your spring breaks and never make it to Cabo.
  7. Buy random expensive clothes you’re only going to wear once. Get creative.
  8. Ignore the friends that are always there for you. Popularity isn’t a contest in college.
  9. Let dumb boys dictate your happiness. And don’t compare yourself to other girls. After all, they say that comparison is the thief of joy.
  10. Sit back and let the four years roll by without putting in the effort to make it all worth it.

My lists aren’t extensive and will be added to later (maybe). Feel free to share with friends or high schoolers. I just wanted to relive all my good and bad experiences by jotting them down to share with others. It has truly been a blessing being here at TCU. I will never forget the exciting people I’ve met on my path to adulthood. Even though I am completely terrified of the real world, I know my experience here has prepared me both emotionally and academically. Today, I ordered my diploma and cap n’ gown. What a whirlwind it’s been. From the carefree freshman to the sophomore slump. From the junior academic to the inevitable senioritis. Thank you TCU for all the mems and friends.

TCU Tuition: $$$

TCU Diploma: Priceless

Peace out world,

T

On Repeat

If you don’t know me or my not-so-absurd study habits, you’ll probably benefit from knowing that my favorite song is The Intro by The XX. Y’all have heard this song a bazillion times, trust me. It’s that super catchy low-key beat that can be streamed together for 10 hours (seriously though, it’s on YouTube) and there are (fun fact) absolutely no lyrics. Just looking at iTunes on my computer you can see the blatant gap between my top 25 most played songs, coming in first The Intro with 719 plays (as of right now) and coming in a “close” second Clocks by Coldplay with a solid 76 plays. So, you guessed it, instead of listening to YouTube’s ten hour version of The Intro, I’ve dedicated my time solely to listening to my 6 minute version, on repeat, every single time I study, or attempt to study at least.

I claim to be spontaneous, one of my top three traits, but I am pretty damn predictable. I’m a creature of habit. Aren’t we all though? I’ve decided that I need to leave myself opportunities for new experiences, for stepping outside my comfort zone. So this week, I had a couple new rites-of-passages. Some good, some bad. And instead of doing my usual lists on this site, I’ll change it up and purge some words without any other context. So who wants to know what happened recently? Ya? Okay cool. Here goes nothing.

I went on my very first “official” date. I didn’t get let into the student section for my very first time and sadly it was for the K-state game. Us roommates had our very first fight about doing the dishes. I tried a coconut-oil hair mask. I went to Lab, that weird freshman bar. I got accepted to the London study abroad program for Strat Comm. I listened to new music. Found a new song to play on repeat. It’s called Bad Intentions by Niykee Heaton. I went to my very first hockey game. Go Stars! I got a 97.5% on my advertising test. I got my very first C on a comm paper. I saw a couple new movies. My roommates and friends had some exciting new experiences too, but it’s not my place to tell. Although, I want to brag for them. It took me 40 minutes to park at school on a rainy day. TCU has officially beat all of the Big 12 teams in the past three years. We rock!

Alright, I think that’s all my little mind can think off. I’ll let you know if any more cool stuff happens. This is just a reminder to give yourself a break. Give up that monotonous daily/weekly/monthly/yearly routine for just a quick moment. Make it memorable, intentional, and freeing.

Cheers to New Experience and Peace Out,

Tara

Guess Who’s Back? Back Again!

After a lengthy break, I’ve decided that I will return to religiously writing to my blog. No, I didn’t forget it existed (well….maybe I did). I have simply just come to realize that I physically cannot function without purging words. And so the blog will continue, so please tag along with me as I catch up on the past two (or whatever) months I’ve neglected all of you. My apologies. It won’t happen again (anytime soon).

Last, I left you with my Dear Abby posts! I am really excited about them and I need to start promoting them again. I’ve gotten some really cool questions and I love giving advice. If you haven’t asked a question, don’t be scared. IT’S ANONYMOUS!! I promise… and I don’t lie. And even if you aren’t brave enough to ask Abby for some help, at least tell a friend because someone will always be in need of a little advice.

Okay moving on from the self-promoting, before the Dear Abby posts, most of my posts were short poems and random spurts of mindless babbling. Thank you and I’m sorry if that’s all you’ve seen thus far. I vow to be more insightful and thought provoking, hopefully.

Before that…. I made a list of things I wanted to do while at school. Lets take a look at that (again) and I will tell you what exactly I did end up accomplishing (and again).


What To Do, What To Do?

  1. Find a decent hike in Fort Worth  I wouldn’t necessarily call it a hike, but I did go kayaking in the Trinity River… that was kind of weird. I also stayed earthy with Caitlin while we hammocked (it’s a verb) frequently.
  2. Attain a few vintage items  I wouldn’t necessarily say that I found it in Fort Worth… or even Texas for that matter. But, I am proud to announce that I, Tara McQueen, finally own a vintage Polaroid camera. It has yet to be used, because I don’t have film or paper yet. Someone come help me figure it out.
  3. Search for the perfect book store  Finally! This one I accomplished. I am really thrilled about this because it was such a fluke. Caitlin and I had set out to go look at two bookstores in town. Unfortunately, we were stuck in traffic for about 45 and missed both stores seeing as they closed at 5 and that’s when FW traffic is even worse than normal. So we found ourselves lost on Magnolia when I ran into a dinky little bus on the side of the road. The WOW bus. http://www.thewowbus.com Go check them out! They would love some new people to be browsing around for some cool books.
  4. Find a new favorite book  Don’t laugh at me, but I am telling you finals week was the best week of my life. I read ALL of my books in that one week. I will say I’ve never felt so inspired, luckily I used that for testing which left no inspiration for writing… Oh well, it was used effectively. I would also like to add that I currently just read The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton. I never read it in High School, but I am glad I finally found the chance to this summer. If you haven’t read it I highly recommend it. I read it in a day or two. So easy, but so good.


    Nothing Gold Can Stay Nature’s first green is gold, Her hardest hue to hold. Her early leaf’s a flower; But only so an hour. Then leaf subsides to leaf. So Eden sank to grief, So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay. 



  5. Get a music education  Lesli downloaded The Beatles first album. I obsessed over Ellie Goulding and cried over the fact that I didn’t get to see her perform when I literally had 5 chances. That is all.
  6. Write a song  Lesli and I both wrote a song, and never put music to it. Yay us. But, we did discover how to harmonize (Lesli won’t agree) to Hallelujah and I learned to play that on the piano. That’s pretty exciting.
  7. Go to the drive-in theater This is literally the EASIEST thing to do on my list and I failed. I failed miserably. In my defense it rained and was cold whenever I wanted to go. I also don’t have a truck. Yeah, I have enough excused to put this off until next year. Any takers? Anyone have a truck and down to see a movie? Cool beans. Hit me up.
  8. Attend a concert  Like I said, pissed I didn’t get to see Ellie Goulding, but stoked cuz Caitlin and I randomly got to see Scotty McCreery one night. I was also lucky enough to attend Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio, California. Caitlin, Teresa, and I had a blast! And since Hunter Hayes was so great I decided to buy tickets to his show tomorrow night at the Del Mar Fair. Yee Haw.
  9. Dress up  100% dressed up nearly every day the whole year. I am really proud of this. In appreciation of my efforts, I let myself off on the last night of school and went to the bars in just a plain tee and lululemon shorts. Yeah… I did it! whataryagonnadoboutit?
  10. Get a job oops

Thanks for catching up with me, readers! Stay posted! Congratulations to all of the graduates this year. Have the happiest of summers!

 

Feeling like breaking free..

(this title has nothing to do with the fact that I watched High School Musical recently)

Being landlocked is kinda making me go crazy. I feel like running wild. I miss being barefoot, like a blissful child. I miss sand in between my toes, like digging into a memory. I miss sunny skies, like letting warmth taking over my heart. I miss mountains (or hills), like a fresh view of the future.

California state of mind.

 

ImageNothing better than a San Diego sunset. 

 

 

If the Shoe Fits, Why Not?

(disclaimer: this was written on tuesday, 2-18-14)

I have learned during the past weeks I’ve spent here that adjusting doesn’t always mean conforming. Yeah, TCU girls on their way to class are a big fashion faux pas. It’s a disaster waiting to happen. You run into that new boy you like, sorry, but you look like a mess. This is the part I refused to adjust to at TCU. Yes, I conform to the Greek life culture; I do not conform to oversize tee shirts that make me look 30 pounds heavier than I am. I will admit as I write this that I am wearing a long sleeve (non-figure flattering) Endless Summer shirt paired with black lulus and blue converse. Not at my peak, but I did wear a sassy business dress for a good majority of the day. And now it’s cold, so forgive me for dressing accordingly to the weather for just a second. Sorry students in my Lab class, but I am not trying to please you right now.

But all this is beside the point. As I am adjusting to the new college culture, I have learned to conform from identity to identity. Yet I am still able to maintain a stable identity of my own. Am I not making sense? Here let me make this clearer by using an example.

Conforming in the sense of adjusting.

I show up to my chapter meeting and my seating is not in its usual order, I am not squeezed next to my talking buddy who I used to sit next to for every meeting. Am I going to make the best of it instead? You betcha. Lucky for me I get to form a bond with the new ‘sisters’ I get to sit next to. Adjusting to change, conforming to sorority sisterhood expectations.

Well speaking about sisters, Caitlin (yes, I consider her a sister) and I decided to play into the role of Texas Californians. Does that make sense? We embraced our California mentality and explored the artsiest of neighborhoods we could find in Fort Worth.  It was totally worth it. Adjusting the California mindset to what Texas has to offer.Image

Naturally, during our spontaneous adventure we thought the only rational way to end this day would be to go to Billy Bob’s to see Scotty McCreery in concert. Now I am not gonna lie here… I am not country music’s biggest fan, however, when in Texas…, right? I kick on my cowboy boots and head to the rodeo, pretending to be the real cowgirl that I am. Conformity? Yeah, probably. Fun? AbsolutelyImage

It sure seems like Caitlin and I had a crazy cool weekend. Even on Monday it continued on. Caitlin was super stoked that her Eno hammock came in. I committed to helping her set it up and try it out. Given it was a pretty boyish color (puke green and brown) us to girls added a little pizazz to it. We hung that bad boy up on a tree and climbed in, both crossing our fingers. If this sucker falls down, that is for sure a broken tailbone. Am I usually adventurous like this? No, not necessarily as much as I’d like to think. So yeah I pushed myself to meet Caitlin’s expectations of hammock chiller.

Overall, I’d say this whole experience has been successful. It may be altering your perspective or altering your actions, but being able to stay true to yourself and opening up new and different doors for yourself really isn’t that bad.

I could ramble on and on, but assuming some of y’all have as short of an attention span as I do… I’ll spare you the time and wrap it all up. What I am trying to get at here is that you can ALWAYS change yourself into who you want to be.

What To Do, What To Do.

I will be returning to Texas in a few days and I have decided that right now is a perfect time to set goals (or just things I would like  to do) for the upcoming semester. So here it is. I gave it a shot. Let me know if you have any other suggestions. I would love to add to my list.

1. Find a decent hike in Fort Worth. Coming from California where there are beautiful mountain hikes and beach walks I am determined to find a hike that is just as rigorous as a mountain climb or just as peaceful as a sandy sunset stroll. Considering that Texas is flatter than flat, I will see what I can find. l will keep you posted.

Image

2. Attain a few vintage items. As I am currently obsessing over the regular vintage items (polaroid camera, record player, typewriter) I am curious what I can find in a little poe-dunk store with some hidden gems. Sorry Urban Outfitters I don’t think I can afford your modernized vintage items, although I do admire them from afar. I quite enjoy some throwback music, mostly the Beatles, but maybe I’ll find a few new favorites. I also would love to master the perfect pinup due or long luscious wavy hairstyle. If you want to see what I am talking about check out my new board on Pinterest.

3. Search for the perfect book store. So far out of all the book stores I have been in I have only one favorite. That would be the underground book store at the ever so lovely University of Chicago. If you happen to find yourself in the beautifully aged university I would recommend trying to find that secret passage before they close it down. Meanwhile, I think it will be an interesting mission to find my own secret place.

4. Find a new favorite book. Going along with the above topic, it is about time I start referring to my favorite book as something other than the Sarah Dessen books I read religiously. I mean I still enjoy a good read, but I am looking for a novel that is just as intoxicating yet a little more sophisticated, if you know what I mean. Any good suggestions?

Image

5. Get a music education. I currently have about 100 songs in my iTunes. Pretty pathetic, huh? I am hoping someone will sacrifice some time to give me a musication. I also have a habit of playing the same 10 songs over and over again. Someone please help me.

6. Write a song. Well, I can barely play the piano and I definitely cannot sing. Although, I do make my friends suffer with my frequent singing off tune, with incorrect lyrics, and always being a half second off with every word. Anyway, I have written a few songs, well poems really, but I am hoping to add some melodies and connect the dots. I have a friend who is willing to help write and musically accompany me. Let’s see if she will let me sing the duet with her.

7. Go to the drive-in theater. A new addition to Fort Worth that I haven’t been able to try. And I fully intend on finding a good movie to tempt me into the drive-in movie, preferably with a date, but I will take what I can get.

Image

8. Attend a concert. I used to hate country music with every bone of my body. I thought it was the most awful thing and I refused to listen to it. But I found myself in Texas, and let me tell you country music is absolutely unavoidable. And I will tell you another thing, if you ever find yourself in Texas for quite some time you will learn to love country music and you may even buy cowboy boots. I did and I do not regret it. So with Billy Bob’s down the street I will make a bigger effort to get my booty there and do some two-stepping, country music concert listening. And with Austin only a few hours away there are a few concerts of plenty different genres that I would love to see.

9. Dress up. I should go at least a couple days a week in regular human clothes. Dress for success will have to be my new motto and motivator for some cute and stylish days. I probably will fall into the trap of oversized sorority shirts and heinous shorts in addition to some brightly colored nikes strapped on to our feet. I will tell you that I bought a pair of low key white and grey cheetah nikes and yes I will absolutely wear them at school. Sue me.

10. Get a job. I realize all these activities require a sufficient amount of money, one my bank account cannot fully support. Unfortunately, work is not my thing. I guess it will be an interesting journey trying to find a job that I will love, or at least tolerate.