College is Fun, Part One

I mostly just added the “Part One” thing on the end of this title because it rhymed, but it is the first post about my adventures here at the University of Texas, and I thought I’d have some fun with it. WARNING: I am about to shove a ridiculously exciting first month of college into one blog post, so bring it on!

P.S. More adventures to come, I promise!

Turns out my roommate, Emma, likes food just as much as I do. We were basically meant to be.

Where to begin… The diversity and intrigue of the people that I have met is incredible. There are two types of people on this campus; the kind of people who make themselves yawn on purpose so that they have an excuse to close their eyes and avoid social confrontation with you in the elevator, and the people who will literally initiate a conversation with you about your opinion on the thought processes of squirrels in the twelve seconds that it takes to ride from floor two to floor four. Deep, I know. In all honesty though, almost everywhere I turn someone is learning something, debating something, hypothesizing, you name it, and it is incredibly refreshing to be surrounded by so much meaning.

Us Zumba-ing and also going blind because it was at least 400 degrees and the sun was ridiculous.

I tried to introduce myself to two young men during a meeting a few days ago, and after they returned a quick “hi!”, they both turned right back around and continued trying to solve some ridiculous equation they had created on the back of the handout.

“Is that for a class?” I asked.

“Nope!”

And they turned right back to what was apparently a ridiculous, unsolvable equation that was created solely for “fun”. In this sentence, I will express my appreciation for the relative lack of mathematical skills required for Public Relations, yay!

Regardless of how this specific encounter ended up, it goes to show what I mean when I say that everyone is working on something, and that there is this sort all-encompassing momentum of knowledge that, as nerdy as it sounds, I seriously cannot get enough of.

Seriously, what is up with my glasses?

The first week leading up to day one of class, everyone talked to everyone. There was this tacit “if I don’t introduce myself to every person within screaming distance, get their number, and friend them on Facebook, then I will be that person with no friends the second week of college and become a hermit” mentality. Everyone made themselves bubbly, and I’ll admit, I was no exception (although the bubbly-ness was nothing new for me). The university hosted plenty of “social events” so that our angst-y, freshman selves could fulfill this “task”.

Taking on the Goldfish!

A social event of epic proportions. Keep in mind that everyone in this picture is thinking, “WHAT IS GOING ON. MUST MAKE FRIENDS. DID I PICK THE RIGHT MAJOR? CAN YOU MAKE RAMEN ON A PLATE?”

By the end of the third night, I found myself with my roommate and five other people casually sipping on Wendy’s frosties at two in the morning and certain that this is a pretty nice place to be.

 

B-Tang and Peter

Classes started. They were ACTUALLY INTERESTING, and that is always a plus. My Perspectives of Deafness class has been one of the most eye-opening experiences for me, and I have learned SO many things about deafness (or Deafness, rather) and the mindsets, obstacles, and culture that accompanies it. If you have not, I highly suggest that you look more deeply into this topic. There is so much to learn and discover.

 

 

I have also learned that if you want to make people listen to you, give them a shirt. It does not matter if you have to dance, sing, or give them your social security number; I you promise a shirt, they become your slave.

So then I signed up for literally about 80 clubs, because I like to do stuff.

I applied to be a member of Texas Tower PR, a student-run public relations firm on campus for non-profits in Austin. I got in.

Click this picture to read an article that I wrote FOR Longhorn Life ABOUT Texas Tower PR. The irony : )

I applied to be an Account Executive to lead a team of Associates for a client called Teatro Vivo for Texas Tower PR. I got in.

I applied to be a staff writer for Longhorn Life, a monthly publication on campus. I got in.

I applied to be a member of the Freshman Founders Launchpad, a startup accelerator program specifically to provide mentorship and support to freshman students with a business plan aiming to launch and work with customers by the end of the year. I am launching a PR firm, named Damos PR. I got in.

I applied to be a marketing intern at the Frank Erwin Center, a concert venue downtown. I got in.

You are now aware of why I unfortunately had to give up doing Taekwondo…

Bear crawling in Texas Taekwondo!

The name tag makes it official, right?

 

I also just had midterms.

So now I am having a blast doing a billion things that I love, I just occasionally forget to eat.

 

Somewhat impromptu lunch dates!

My lovely roommate, Emma (right), the birthday girl, Barbara (left), and Umbrella (top).

 

One of my new-found friends turned nineteen, and so she requested that her birthday celebration include a trip to 6th street and to “try to get into clubs”. So we all went to Forever 21 and bought cute new dresses that “fit” the 6th street vibe (please keep in mind that I am totally making fun of ourselves here). Man, were we stylin’.

Of course it rains, and we are poor college students with limited means of transportation, so we trudged to the nearest bus stop (after the photoshoot, obviously) in our six inch heels and umbrellas. Yes, I hid some back-up yellow flip flops in my purse.

Okay, so then it got weird, extremely fast.

We go to the place we had reservations for, and it seriously is not looking like much of a restaurant, so we go downstairs to leave, and a man starts beckoning us to come into his “party”, as he preferred to call it.

More photoshoot! (operation flip flops is a go)

Keep in mind that he is motioning to a red curtain behind a door underneath the staircase, and from inside we can hear some ridiculous bass. A little sketch. We also have no idea what idea what we are doing, let’s be real here.

So the man continues to tell us that we should go to his “party” called “Vinyl” under the sketch staircase and what do we do? Go in of course, and oh my goodness…

The room couldn’t fit more than two cars, and is completely in red velvet. Walls, floors, ceiling, everything. There is a DJ in the corner, a bar in the other, and about 20 guys who were extremely not above the influence of something. I look in the other corner, and there are two dudes sitting in chairs mindlessly nodding their heads up and down to the beat, for the entire four minutes we were in there.

Barbara, Emma, Kaitlyn, Me, Hayden, Hana, and Devi on a mission!

This man came up to us holding a can and said nothing but, “it moo-s!” unceasingly while shaking the can near our ears (very much against our will). He then proceeded to introduce himself and hold out his hand for someone to shake, which of course no one was interested in, and so I selflessly sacrificed Barbara by pointing at her and saying, “It’s her birthday!”

Part “look at us and our food!” picture, but also part “we survived the creepy ‘party’ under the staircase behind the velvet curtain!” picture.

Don’t worry, she din’t shake his hand either. Then we escaped, and ate at Iron Cactus, which felt extremely pleasant in relation to what had just happened.

Then these rappers set up shop right outside the window, and made faces at us. It was awesome. So we feasted, and then proceeded to “try clubbing”. Again with the whole we have no idea motif. Turns out, most bars have guys out on the street that will tell you the first round of margaritas is on them if you go to the such-and-such bar. So we laughed and said “okay!” and then tried to go in, which obviously did not work. This process repeated itself about 6 times, and we decided to try one more place, which let us in for some reason but ended up being full of cockroaches (ew), and so once again we escaped.

 

COFFEE

Cookie Masterpeice

Emma and I baked cute little cookies the other day in our homey little dorm kitchen, and they were pretty tasty. We have also discovered coffee, and even though I don’t like it unless it is at least 50% chocolate, coffee is my friend. My favorite is when I can wake up on a Saturday at noon and not have to “worry” about anything besides croissants and remembering the difference between a latte and a mocha.

The most recent adventure took place at the Austin Startup Crawl, along with a few of the other Freshman Founders, where I was able to meet some incredibly talented founders and mentors in the startup community. We worked our way from Trendkite, a PR analytics company, to Mutual Mobile’s penthouse, and ultimately ended up at Capital Factory. Insights were gained and connections were made, and of course we also made full use of the complimentary photo booth opportunity. I also used Uber for the first time to get back to campus.

A very happy day!

Oh, and of course, we got into the Fall mood by baking some pumpkin pie and rice crispy treat pumpkins to celebrate the fact that it is no longer breaking 95 degrees everyday!

I have met so many absolutely wonderful people, and made so many memories already! I can’t wait to see what’s next! So that is the first moth or so in a nutshell, as I sit here telling you stories rather than focusing on actual homework that is due tomorrow. Sweet logic, right? I’ll have more stories soon!

You can follow me on Twitter @CambriaSawyer

You can follow Damos PR on Twitter and Instagram @DamosPR

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Grown Ups

The saying goes, “be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it,” and it applies to more than just material possessions.

How is this concerned with the way that we are treated by society? We ask everyday to be treated as an adult, so when our parents, the community, our teachers, and our siblings decide to grant us our request, we must not be disappointed when we receive it in its entirety.

When I say that we ask for adulthood, I am referring to our lifelong struggle to be given privileges of independence.

As toddlers, the notion of getting to use the “big girl” and “big boy” cups, you know, the ones without lids, was an enticing concept. We learned that we had to clean up the messes that we spilled. We longed to be able to sit at the adult table at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and felt mighty when we no longer had to use a car seat.

Elementary school was filled with pleas to stay up “just a little longer”, and when we were allowed to stay awake until dad got home, we were sleepy victors.

In middle school our need to be older intensified, and we found ourselves wanting the responsibility of having a cellphone, but not the consequences of going over data, a monthly bill, or a bad decision that could never be retracted. We wanted makeup. We did not want to pay for makeup. The desire to go to the mall with some friends without Mom waiting at the food court was rampant, and we were finally entrusted with the independence to make good decisions monetarily and socially.

Then we got to high school, and we wanted that license. We were given this token of adulthood under the assumption that we would drive our siblings to practice, pay for gas, and make decisions that valued the lives of others and ourselves on the road. We wanted facial hair, like real men. We wanted to go on dates and to have a later curfew, but we didn’t want to face the report card that reflected nights with no room for homework.

We now, after almost two decades of asking to be older, are being regarded as adults. We cannot have partial adulthood. Mom and Dad cannot choose to skip work, abandon their duty as mother and father, or spend their money carelessly because they dislike certain aspects of what characterize the meaning of being grown up. We may not fall in love with everything inherent in adulthood, but we cannot have the cars, the privileges, or the respect without the responsibilities as well.

Adulthood is where we have arrived. When we responsibly accept it in its entirety and embrace the independence that it offers, that is when we have truly become “grown up.”

Writing in Jail

I’m in jail. It’s ironic because the fact has been proven that educated people are marginally less likely to be incarcerated. And I suppose it’s actually only funny if I tell you that the reason I’m in jail is because of school. Now you can laugh.

I read the first paragraph of a book, and it was incredibly insightful and beautiful. They were describing a forest and the way they placed the words onto the page made each letter practically skip into my ears. Well, I suppose you don’t really hear words spoken in a book, but my eyes did a pretty darn good job of telling my ears the story. It’s like listening to a truly talented orator telling the story aloud. They can be geysers and waterfalls when they need to be, letting the pool of golden letters arrange themselves just so on the tip of their tongues.  They spring forward in little swirls. Each chilled syllable continues its whirling around every set of eager ears in the room like snowflakes, until a single flake lands on the tip of an eyelash. It is a cold and refreshing splash of design to be guzzled eagerly like a cool glass of peach tea on a humid summer night. It’s dormant and frosty meaning is then slowly melted by the mind of the listener. They contemplate the exact meaning of what was said with the heat of intrigue, and as the concept is understood and internalized, the wintry drop that remains from those delicately trained syllables leaps from the lash, in a sacrifice for the next vital piece of the story. You see, because even as beautiful and captivating as that drop of the story became to you, there is a more beautiful snowflake soon to arrive that glitters even more than the one before.

Of course, not once was a sparkling piece of snow literally on your eyelid, but one can almost feel the thrilling sensation of frost slipping through their eyelashes as a cool water droplet, and the sound of clicking ice cubes, and the singing of bells. That’s also amusing because eyes don’t talk, that’s what mouths are for. Speech really is not the first thing you think of when you read a book, but it’s what the book is doing. It is talking to you, and I suppose that is why people get lost in them, lost in awe. You may get lost in a painting as well, but not all intended feelings and meanings can be conveyed at all times.

For instance, try to illustrate the exhilarating feeling experienced by a father as he holds his son close to watch fireworks on the fourth of July for the first time. He and his wife had gone through hell and back to be able to begin a family. Even after their son’s birth, the reward for their love and dedication, doctors informed them that their boy was most likely going to die in the first couple of days. Against all odds, he became a healthy 6 month-old, and now the three stand beneath the night sky and watch it explode with light. The wife kisses her husband on the cheek and they smile at each other with a purity of joy that is seldom witnessed; it’s shining in their eyes. The father looks down at his healthy baby boy and watches as his little miracle stares beaming up at his first fireworks show out of many to come. Now convey the entirety of that situation to a complete stranger with a still, 2D piece of paper. It’s impossible. How do you even begin to tell that story with a picture? You need thousands of pictures to illustrate just how beautiful that moment is. I guess that’s why someone thought movies were a viable solution to the artist’s dilemma.

Either way, you see where my fascination with the writing of stories and amazing people and every beautiful thing in this world comes from. And I want to write my own story. I think I could. I want to do a lot of things. I want to travel. I want to learn Japanese. I want to scrapbook. I still haven’t been able to start on my freshman year scrapbook that will tell the story of all of the amazing things I saw and adventures that I partook in. That was years ago. People keep bringing up little things that took place in the past and I go, “Oh yeah!! That was incredible! How did I forget about that?!?” How DID I forget about that??? That’s another reason people write, because the loss of a gorgeous memory is a sick thing. To have to worry about potentially letting it go to waste off in a land where all forgotten things go is a burden that can be lifted by writing the wholeness of the moment down where it will never be misplaced. I can feel some of those memories sneaking off, not like they want to, but like some monster hiding in the dark corners of my mind is dragging them slowly away, like a cold child gingerly pulling the blanket off of her parent’s bed so as not to wake them. Those wonderful times last year are slipping, and I need to solidify them in that book where I may simply open it back up and the flood of reminiscence it brings along washes my golden memories straight from those sneaky claws. Even so, I’m worried that when I eventually do attempt to recollect all of those times, the pointy nails will already have done a number on the actuality of what happened.

I want to adventure, I want to explore, and I want to live. All of these things I have not been able to do in a very, very long time, and I miss it dearly. I feel like a slave to the institution trying to give me freedom in life. I have these horrible what-ifs often; what if I didn’t have a speech contest, band performance, or literally a mountain of homework every weekend? The whole point of school is to prepare us for the future, allow us options in life. I have no options at the moment. Sometimes I feel like if they just cut off the massive burden for a while I could be successful just on my own. I could discover this wonderful idea, or be the new J.K. Rowling, or Stephen King or do something extraordinary and make my own trail. It’s almost like this influx of information is stifling my ability to produce my ideas in any effective way. I’m stuck every spare moment of my day doing something for someone that I don’t want to do, and when I finally decide to just stop for a while to do something I want to do, I can barely move I’m so exhausted. But if I ever want to write I need inspiration, which is fueled by the experiences one gets when they go do something; they put themselves out there. What happens when there’s nothing left to write about? Then they’ll be sorry, or at least I hope, because that means they missed my writing, and THAT means that they liked it. : )