Thursday, April 22, 2010

#6: New Home

This post is going to be kind of weird for me to write because it will lead me to finally explain why I am moving to St. Louis. So, here it goes:

When I first decided to go to Mizzou I had no idea what or where Columbi, MO was. I remember driving to campus for my first tour. Mom and I flew into St. Louis, rented a car and started our drive to Columbia. As anyone who has ever taken the drive from St. Louis to Columbia knows, it is the most boring drive ever. You leave the outskirts of St. Louis and see farmland until you hit the outskirts of Columbia. Driving at night is never advised considering Highway lights are far and few between on 70. I remember thinking “Where are you taking me? This looks miserable.” But, as you all know, when I got to Mizzou, I fell in love with it.

I spent the first few years living in the Mizzou bubble. I went to St. Louis maybe two or three times and thought it was cool, but really thought nothing of it. Then, I met this guy. I know that sounds cheesy, and it sort of is, but it is one of the major reasons I have fallen in love with St. Louis and have chosen to move there upon graduation.

My Junior year I met my boyfriend, Jeff. (He's that goofy guy to the left with all of my roommates) He was in his graduate year getting his Masters in Accounting. Four months after meeting, Jeff graduated and it was time for him to move back to St. Louis. We decided to keep hanging out and as you do in relationships, seeing each other became a compromise for both of us. 10 months, and many, many hours on the road later, St. Louis has become my second home.

While Jeff does spend many weekends hanging out with me and the girls, much to his dismay, I spend quite a bit of time in St. Louis with he and his family. It's gotten to the point where driving into St. Louis sometimes leads to a breath of relief for me as it has become my place to relax away from school. I have spent countless weekends exploring St. Louis attractions such as the Arch (Maybe not the best idea for someone with slight claustrophobia), St. Louis Cardinals games (My Dad would be proud!), St. Louis Blues games, the Budweiser Brewery, the Hill and every where in between.

For those of you who have not visited St. Louis, or for who it might have been a while, come. St. Louis is an amazing place to live and explore. There are so many different suburbs with such different personalities. My personal favorite, Clayton, has streets of old apartments which I love, placed among huge, beautiful homes. It has become one of our favorite Saturday afternoon past times to drive up and down the streets checking out what houses are around.

St. Louis has a very strong Italian influence, which I love because pasta is one of my favorite foods. I feel like I never heard a cool last name until I came to St. Louis and have met people with the oddest last names I've ever heard. I feel like every where I turn there is something new to see, some new facet of the city that elicits a new feeling and new people to meet and learn from.

St. Louis, and the people I have come to appreciate there, has become my second home. I am happy to say that Mizzou provided me with this amazing opportunity, because I think had I gone to school any where else I would not have chosen to move to St. Louis.

So, I would like to say thank you Mizzou. Thank you for introducing me to an amazing person, who would introduce me to an equally amazing place that I would love and choose to call home.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

#5 Family Time

I would like to preface this post with a warning: This will be the longest post I have written yet. But once you read it, you will understand.

A few of the reasons I chose to go to Mizzou were these:

1.It's not in Arkansas. I needed something new.
2.I didn't know anyone going so I would be forced to meet all new people.
3.It was far enough away where I could have my own stuff going on, but close enough that I could drive home or hop on a plane if I really missed home.

Out of these three reasons, #3 has proved to be the most valuable reason I chose Mizzou. I have really appreciated my experience of choosing a school where I knew no one. It forced me out of my comfort zone and tested my ability to make new friends and make lasting relationships without the help of any sort of connections. I surprised myself with my success at this, and in my staying at Mizzou. There were most definitely times where I wanted to leave. When the feeling that I was all alone at a big school got to me. But then I realized that there were people supporting me and encouraging me to do it.

I don't think that I would be writing this blog at all had it not been for my family. When these moments of thinking that I would transfer to a school closer to home started creeping up on me, they reminded me of what I was at Mizzou to do; get the best Journalism education I could. To these people, I would like to say Thank You. Thank you for 1) letting me go to this amazing school, but 2) encouraging me to stay and finish my time here. It was the best advice i'd ever received.

Within my third reason to go to Mizzou is the ability to still see my family. My family has come up for every Parents Weekend, every Chi O Mom and Dad's weekend and a few other weekends in between. These trips allow me to show off my school, my friends and the life I have created up here. Some times they have gotten me from month to month because I miss my family so much. As most of you know, my family is extremely close. I've never lived more than 10 minutes from my grandparents, and talk to them just as much as I talk to Mom. Anna-Lee and I tend to hang out like friends when we're at home, and not two sisters who occasionally do “sister outings.” Dad is always there providing me with fun things to do and great bonding time. And Mom, well she and I are closer than sometimes is healthy, considering we are pretty much the same person and can sometimes come to a head over things. But if there is one person I talk to the most in my life, other than my boyfriend, it's Mom. Every decision I make, every piece of advice that I need, it all goes through her.

I think that if I had gone to a school any further, I for sure would have left. But Mizzou has allowed these very important relationships to stay the same, and to even grow stronger.

Here are some of those amazing weekends I have talked about:

This first picture is from Sophomore year Parent's Weekend. Mom, Anna-Lee, Nanny and Bobbob all came up to visit me, and we had the best time. Football game, eating at my favorite Columbia restaurants that call for a parent footing the bill, and just hanging out with the family made this weekend amazing. Anna-Lee and I have had so much fun during her visit at Mizzou. I've introduced her to new people, shown her what college is all about, and shown her a few tailgates her so. Missing out on her time in High School has been hard, but being able to stay close with her has been great for our relationship.

This is from my freshman year Chi Omega Mom's Weekend. Mom and I went to the Winery with some of my sorority sisters and spent the weekend exploring Columbia; Devil's Ice Box, Cooper's Landing and Chim's Thai Kitchen. Mom's Weekend is one of my favorite weekends because it's girl time all weekend, but includes our Mommas. We've gone to comedy shows at Deja Vu, the Winery for brunch and ginormous Bloody Mary's and maybe a song or two at the Piano Bar.

And finally, this is a picture from senior year Chi Omega Dad's Weekend. Dad's Weekend always falls on a football weekend, which calls for some good ol' Tiger fun. We tailgate with the best of them and celebrate after our wins at some of Columbia's best patios. Dad's Weekend is always a time of “Daddy Daddy bonding time” like we were told this year. I've loved having my Dad up here because it's a time for us to hang out and for me to show him everything about Columbia.

These next pictures are just a few more from some of the fun weekends i've had when my family came to visit. Also, some pictures from St. Louis when Anna-Lee came for Christmas and at home in Little Rock since I'm close enough to visit.

Monday, April 19, 2010

#4: Mizzou-Rah! Mizzou-Rah! Mizzou-Rah! Tigers!

This next thing that I love most about Mizzou will probably come as a surprise to most people. Me loving football games? Right. But, seriously, I do. One of the most fun parts about going to Mizzou is an early fall football game.

I have loved tailgating at Mizzou since Freshman year. However, when I moved to East Campus with 4 friends, and next door to our 5 other best friends, it got even better. This past year I think I probably went to 1 game, much to the dismay of my boyfriend, Jeff. But, I had the most fun football season ever.

Most days we spent hanging out with alumni like Mr. And Mrs. Price, MJ's parents, Micaela's parents who came in from Kansas City, or our Dad's who came in for Chi Omega Dad's Weekend. We had a lot of grill outs, lots of fun tailgating games, and lots of bonding on the 1501 front porch.

Since I will be moving to St. Louis, which is only two hours away from Columbia, I am happy to say that this part of college will never die for me. I have a few friends who will be here for one more semester, and luckily for the rest of us, it's during football season. That means a free place to stay when we come in town for these amazing weekends, and a guaranteed tailgate full of familiar faces. Knowing this is yet another reminder that I have absolutely made the best decision by staying in Missouri.

Here are a few of my favorite photos from some of those fun fall afternoons.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

#3: Amigas

Happy Thursday everyone!! I thought I would share with you all my next favorite thing about Mizzou: the friends I have made. Like I said in my previous posts, my friends at Mizzou have become my family. These girls have become my mother figure helping me when I don't feel good, my sister figure listening to my darkest secrets and the best party buddies a girl could ask for after a long week of work.

When I came to Mizzou I knew I was going to miss my group of girls back home. There were 11 of us who did absolutely everything together and I worried that I would never find anything like that here. But, I am lucky. My girl friends here are so much like my friends back home it's amazing.

So here are my friends. The girls that have help me make it through these past four crazy years.

This first picture shows the amazing girls of 1503 Wilson; my roommates. These are the girls I have lived with for the past year and who I spend absolutely all of my time with. This picture is from our Christmas card that we sent to our friends and families. From left; top row: Natalie, Kate, bottom row: Rosie, Me and Steph.

Let me introduce them:

Natalie is a Biology major from Plano, TX. She and I were roommates sophomore year when we lived in Chi Omega. She loves Hot Tamales, Charleston Chews (sick!), making her poofy hair face that I love so much and anything and everything Tiger Woods or Harry Potter. Don't be surprised if you're sitting around with Natalie and you randomly just hear her snicker to herself. She's probably just on one of her many websites reading some hilariously funny comic. After graduation Nat plans on going to Pharmacy school.

Kate is a Convergence Journalism major from Springfield, MO. She is a Theta, making her the only non-Chi Omega in the house, but we forgive her. She loves gummy bears, but only the Target brand, has the most beautiful hair I have ever seen and eats her sandwiches with only one piece of bread which I always find so amusing. After graduation Kate is going to law school and is going to become the best lawyer Missouri has ever seen.

Rosie is a Latin major also from Springfield, MO. She is one of the most traveled young adults I know; having lived on the side of a volcano for a summer, moved to Northern Ireland by herself and worked at a hotel for a summer and studied abroad for a semester our Junior year. Rosie is one of the funniest people to watch romantic comedies with because like a little girl she cannot watch people kiss. It makes her squeal. After graduation Rosie is going to law school.

And last, but not least, Stephanie. Steph is a Respiratory Therapy major from St. Louis, MO. She is the Mom of the group, always taking care of all of us from health issues to making sure we get home safely on a late night out. She takes years to put pictures on Facebook (sorry Steph), is the resident hair dresser and may or may not someday end up on Hoarders. After graduation Steph is going to go to work at one of the amazing hospitals in St. Louis and “save lives.” Because that's what she does.

The next pictures are of the rest of my girlfriends. This one is of 3004 (the group of 10 of us who live next door to each other on Wilson street; 1503 + 1501 = 3004. Get it?) And the rest, are just a few of the amazing memories we have made over the last four years.

Check back in a few days for more of my favorite parts of Mizzou.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

#2 Chi Omega

I would have to say that one of my favorite parts about my time at Mizzou has been my involvement with the Chi Omega sorority. I remember my first tour on campus when Mom and I came to visit senior year of high school. We got to the Greek side of campus and Mom said, “are you sure you want to be Greek? I don't know anything about it and you probably won't like it.” I automatically started to cry (I think I was a tad bit emotional). I remember begging her saying, “Mom, this school is so big. I don't know anyone. I have to do this to meet people.” And from that moment, Mom was gung-ho about the entire idea of being Greek, even helping me get my packets out to women across Little Rock for recommendations.

I pledged Chi Omega on August 15, 2006. Like most people I was hesitant at first, I met friends outside of it, and didn't get as involved as I should have my first year. Then, when I moved into the Chi O house my sophomore year, I immediately fell in love. I started taking on leadership roles, hanging out with girls in my pledge class and eventually becoming a fully participating member of Chi Omega.

This picture is of my pledge class on Bid Day Junior year. Sure, we've lost a few along the way, but I think that it has left the best girls who make our pledge class as amazing as it is. We have girls who are great at sports (my roommate Steph), girls who are great at behind the scenes work (like my roommate Natalie and her time as the flat designer for all of our skits) and people who take every leadership position they can (like my friends Hannah and Bonnie).

During my time as a Chi Omega I have served as Philanthropy Chair. This picture is from one of the wish granting we were involved in with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Through philanthropies like the Annual Ice Cream Social and the Annual Omegamatch volleyball tournament, we provided this little girl with a $1,000 shopping spree. We were fortunate enough to tag along with her as she and her family went from store to store and finally ended up at a fun pizza party at Chuck E Cheese. Serving as Philanthropy Chair has been a very rewarding experience. I was able to be involved with a lot of the ins and outs of Chi O and see my fellow sorority sisters put their time and effort towards a good cause.

Another great thing about Chi Omega, and one of the fun parts, is the social opportunities it provides us. This picture is from one of our parties with the theme of what you were in high school. Of course, I wore my senior gold skirt, because what else was more of a right of passage at Central than becoming a senior and getting the honor of wearing the atrocious gold lemay skirt? (Please take a moment to notice Natalie's Robotics Club outfit.) These parties, along with the Sirena de Luna and White Carnation formals, provided a fun outlet for all of us. It gave us a reason to let loose and have fun when things can get stressful with tests, papers and projects.

Finally, I am thankful to Chi Omega for the friendships that it has provided me. As you can see in all of these photos, throwing up the Chi O sign is something we do on many occasions, even if it may not be appropriate (Oops). But, in all seriousness, these girls have become my family at Mizzou. They are the girls that I go home with for short holidays when home is just a little too far, or I go to when I need advice on life and love. They are the girls that I spend practically all of my time with, even when there's absolutely nothing to do. I love all of these girls and know that they will be lifelong friends.

Chi Omega has provided me with a family at Mizzou. It's provided me a way to channel my talents and grow as a person. I owe a lot of the growth that I have gone through in college to Chi Omega and the girls who make it up.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mizzou #1

As my time at Mizzou winds down, I thought it would be appropriate to explain to some of my family and friends why I chose Mizzou and to go through my absolute favorite things about my four years here. So, the next few posts will be a little nostalgic for me, and probably not as exciting for you all, but maybe it'll just give you an insight into my time at Mizzou and why I love this school so much.

#1: Why Mizzou?

Throughout high school I basically pushed myself through classes. I never found one I truly appreciated. And, even when I did, I was discouraged by a not to be mentioned horrendous Physics teacher who said I wouldn't make it in the medical field. Thank the Lord I listened to him, because science classes would have been the death of me, but still, telling an impressionable young girl she isn't capable was a tad harsh.

Then, my Mom recommended that I take Introduction to Journalism my junior year. I thought of it as a blow off class and signed up to make an easy A. After day one, I was immediately hooked. I fell in love with finding out what was going on around my community and being able to meet new people through interviews. After two years in the Journalism department at Central High School, and serving as the News Editor for the Tiger I knew journalism was going to be my path in life.

I started talking to Mom about which schools I could go to. I googled the top 10 Journalism schools and started doing research on all of them. Then, I found out my Bobbob, who I admire more than any little girl can admire their grandfather, went to Mizzou and I was sold. I visited Mizzou with my Mom, and later with my good friend Sarah Kurrus (as can be seen in this photo), and knew by October that I was going to be a Mizzou Tiger.

When I started the Journalism School at Mizzou I was planning on specializing in broadcast journalism. I knew I didn't want to do advertising or public relations like the rest of the journalist in my family, and broadcast seemed like so much fun. However, through preliminary classes and hearing that I could possibly never quite make it in the broadcasting world, (and not to mention the money in public relations and advertising), I switched to be just like my Mom; a public relations professional.

Now, three years later, and dozens of writing, reporting and advertising design classes later, I am graduating with what the J-School likes to call a Bachelor of Journalism specializing in Strategic Communications. What that means is I can do advertising or public relations, but my emphasis is more in public relations.

Thanks to the amazing education I have earned while at the J-School, I have landed an amazing job working for the Higher Education Channel in St. Louis. I am going to be doing their communications and social media work. I am so excited, and thankful to my time at Mizzou for helping me make it to this point in my life.

So, now you all know why I chose Mizzou, what I did scholastically while here, and what I plan to do when I leave. Keep checking back the next few days for more fun stuff about my time at Mizzou and my favorite things about the school.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Cruising through the last month

I am currently sitting in my second class of my last month of college. As I sit here hearing about ancient Hinduism, I find myself distracted by the images of my Spring Break vacation. It's hard to look at pictures of these amazing memories and pay full attention. (Sorry Mom. I know I should be getting your money's worth.)

I thought I would share with you all pictures from my cruise so you can see what I was doing and who I was with.

This first picture is from our first night on the cruise. This is the entire group of 14 girls. Within the group is one of my current roommates, Natalie; my two future roommates in St. Louis, Hannah and Bonnie; Chi Omega sisters, Cindy, Brittany, Michelle, Pam, Casey, Lauren; and other friends, Kat, Laura, Alli and Jordan.

This second photo is from our first port; Key West, FL. As I wrote in my previous post we spent the day shopping, tasting some of the local cuisine and beverages and touring Hemingway's house and a local lighthouse.

This photo is from our second port; Nassau, Bahamas. To say the least, this was a very interesting day as stated in my previous post. This photo is when our entire group safely got into the Atlantis Resort. This was one of my favorite days because I spent the day napping on the beach with the waves crashing behind me. I personally feel that there is no better way to unwind after three months of tests, papers, presentations and countless hours spent in the J-School lab cranking out ad after ad after ad.

And, this final photo is from our final night on the ship. We made it through the week with little to no drama, great memories and safe returns from our excursions on shore. We have memories that will last forever and friendships that grew even better through travels together. I am very thankful for this trip and the girls that I shared it with.

Now, to get myself focused for this last month will be rough, but it is necessary. Today, Nanny and Bobbob are here and I will say goodbye to them over lunch after this class. And after that, it is time to buckle down. I have all of the creatives for my Capstone class due on Friday. A test on Thursday. Writing assignments, finals and presentations coming up in the weeks ahead. Keep me, and every other senior in your thoughts, as we maneuver our way through our final time as college students. Also, send some good juju up for my friends in the job search. A job is key right now!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Back to Life

Five days later, and a lot of fun had, and I am back on land. I didn't think I would be so excited to get off the fun filled cruise, but thanks to rough waters and a queasy stomach, I think it may have been time. Here's an update of my trip:

• 14 girls (Some sorority sisters, friends of friends and friends from class)
• 2 stops (Key West and Nassau, Bahamas)
• 5 nights (Dinner, a little karaoke and a lot of Carnival show watching)

At our first stop, Key West, we toured Duval Street, went on a tour of an old lighthouse, and sampled some of the islands famous food and beverages.

In the Bahamas, we had a more sketchy experience to say the least. We were supposed to be going on a party boat, but unfortunately we did not make it to the boat in time. So, our cab driver, Denise, said that she knew someone that could get us into the Atlantis Resort. I was immediately weary of this because the original quote we had heard was $120 per person, way out of my budget. Then, she tells us that her friend Carlo can get us into the resort for $60 per person. This is the beginning of our sketchy entrance into the Atlantis resort. Then, when it comes time to get the wristbands for the day we have to go to the resort, park in the back parking lot and wait for a white van to pull up. To add to the experience, the man made us move over in our seats so that he could get into our van and exchange money out of sight of any employees or guests. Needless to say, we got into the resort for half the original price, but I am almost certain that we may have funded some illegal actions. Great.

The rest of the trip was spent eating amazing food, spending time with friends I know I won't see as much as I hope after graduation and seeing amazing 80's dance shows. All in all it was a great trip.

I am happy to be home though. Mom was great and paid for me to come home for Easter with my family. Tonight, I had spaghetti dinner at Dad's and now I'm watching the Blind Side with Mom. It's nice to spend some quality time with my family since in a month I'll be a Missouri resident and a guest in my Little Rock homes. Weird.

Well, I think this post is long enough, and full of information. Check back later for fun pictures from the cruise and more updates on my upcoming month.