My Exciting Affair-Filled Summer

•August 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Hey loyal readers!  Hello?  Anybody there?

Is that a no?

So, in case you didn’t notice, I kind of took summer off.  I realize that, as a blogger who would love a fan base, this probably wasn’t a brilliant idea.  But trust me, my fellow confused college students, my decrease in page views is definitely worth it.

Let me fill you in quickly.  At the end of the year, I was getting fed up with science.  If you’ll excuse the continuation of my metaphor, science was kind of sleeping on the couch while I was hanging out with other life paths.  I love writing and I’ll always love writing.  Science is hard and I was frustrated that it wasn’t coming to me as easily as it always had.  So I decided I’d switch to English and live out the rest of my college career being happy.

My chemistry professor pulled me aside after my final to ask me why I was switching to English.  He looked disappointed in me.  He was one of my favorite professors, so I couldn’t handle him thinking badly of me.  So I sent him an email and the email he sent back ended up making me really challenge my own decision.  Was it really me trying to do something I loved?  Or was I running away from a challenge?  Truth be told, it was probably a little bit of both.  Science is not my one true love, obviously, but it is a good back up plan.  I can go to grad school for almost anything with a science degree.  And if one of my “real passions” ended up not working out (which – let’s be real – many times they don’t), then it’s logical to have something to fall back on.

But I was worn out on science.  It drained me.  So I decided to go back to Ohio and audition for a community theatre.  Maybe I would get a little chorus part or maybe I wouldn’t get anything and I’d just work at Starbucks all summer.  Thing is, I did try out and I did get

I am Drew Barrymore, bitches.

in, but I didn’t get a chorus part.  I got the lead role in The Wedding Singer.  Even in high school, I never got a lead role.  I like to think it was all politics, but I tried to be realistic:  I’m probably not very good.  But then an established theatre group wanted me to come out last at curtain call.  It was really the first time anyone other than my parents believed in this particular dream of mine.  The passion I had always had for acting, the passion I had tried to ignore to keep myself from getting rejected, was suddenly right back in the front of my mind.

I was a little pissed off.  I had spent so much time telling myself that I should just do something boring, that I should just accept the fact that I probably suck and move on.  I’d look at everyone in Fordham’s theatre department and think, no way.  I’ll never be good like that.  Telling myself that was easy.  But it wasn’t what I wanted.

You’re probably thinking, loyal readers that may or may not be there, “Why acting?  I thought you had, like, six or seven different dream jobs?”  Well, the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.  I love writing because I can create characters.  I love music and art because it’s a type of performance.  And, fine, baking doesn’t really relate to acting, but I can bake in my free time and be perfectly content with that.  My point is:  I love character creation and I love being on a stage.  I love acting.  And I’m tired of being a whiny bitch who wants to be an actress, but

I'm excited, but I kind of feel like I'm jumping off a cliff. Appropriate image?

obviously not enough to make herself vulnerable and do anything about it.  So, with the limited time I will have next year, I’ve decided to get an acting coach.

I don’t know if I have any talent.  No one’s has ever really spoken to me about whether or not I have potential.  Hopefully, my new acting coach will.

Additionally, I’m starting to find things I can do with science that wouldn’t make me totally hate my life.  But that’s for another post.

So, long story short, I’m back to my friends with benefits relationship with science.  But I did have a good break and, hopefully, I’ll still be able to continue dating acting on the side.


On the Hunt

•March 2, 2011 • Leave a Comment

The much-anticipated news is here.  The cupcake delivery was a success.

So why am I not pumped about it?

Honestly, I could barely even make myself write this blog post.  I kept thinking, “Eh, I’ll do it later.”  While I am totally delighted to have raised so much money for Relay for Life, the experience didn’t totally overwhelm me and flood me with the passionate feelings I’ve been hoping to find.  It was stressful and tedious and after a while, I was bored doing the same thing over and over again.  God forbid I ever end up trapped in cubicle.  I couldn’t handle it.  I also wasn’t a huge fan of management, and I barely did any of it.  Actually, Liz, Harry, and Stephanie (the delivery folks) pretty much took over managing themselves.  The only part that I enjoyed was the decorating.  So, I’ve come to a few conclusions.

Some bake sale "Campfire Cupcakes" from a week ago.

1.       If I ever become a pastry chef, I want to be a wedding cake decorator.  While I love making cupcakes, after the first dozen, I’m pretty much over it.  If I’m going to make a cake, I would much rather do one huge cake.  And think of how enormous the canvas is when it comes to a cake that big?

2.       I don’t like the actual baking process.  I used a box mix.  I like design.  I like designing the ideas behind the flavors and the ideas behind the decoration.  I could care less about mixing up the actual ingredients and pouring batter into cups.

3.       I’m a control freak.  God forbid anyone try to touch my piping bag.

I just love creating beautiful things.  It doesn’t matter what it is.  A cake, a short story, a painting, a song, a character in a play.  I like putting my hands on things and bringing something new into existence.  I’ve been driving myself crazy for a while trying to go without creativity and I really cannot do it anymore.

That being said, I may have gone overboard since we last talked.

The original plan was to alternate between dreams, attempting one thing at a time.  What actually happened was that, when opportunities popped up, I took on all of them.

A friend who works for our school newspaper (Plug: His blog is “Hug It Out” in my links on the right-hand side.  Very funny.  If you like the Onion, you’ll like his blog.) approached me the other day and asked if I’d be interested in doing a comic strip for the school paper.  And, naturally, my art dream reared its head and demanded I do it.  It’s only one every other week, so I figured that would be

Overachiever? What?

easy enough to handle.  See those little people at a poorly suggested prom in my header?  I’ve been doodling them since eighth grade.  I figure it’s time to give the whole “Next Charles Schulz” dream to the test.

And then I was alerted to about four or five writing competitions.  And now I’m writing pieces for all of them.  Luckily, one ended today, so I have one out of the way.  Maybe I’ll post it independently.  I wrote a short story about a girl having a conversation with her adviser.  Shocking, right?

And then we needed performers for an event, MasquerAIDS, hosted by Face AIDS, a club I’m on the E-Board for.  And I thought, “Well, if we really need them, I guess I could do something.”  So my roommate Annemarie and I formed a temporary band, appropriately named Sorry in Advance.

Also, I’m still taking pole dancing classes.

So, I have kind of bitten off a lot, but I think it’s just what I needed.  I feel happier lately.  I like taking time for myself to do things I love.  Before, all of my free time was spent doing typical free time things, like Facebook and Sporcle.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Facebook and Sporcle, but they definitely do not fulfill me.  I thought I was doing the right thing by just relaxing and recharging my batteries to deal with classes and homework, but I don’t think I was.  If I have free time, I should be actively seeking happiness.  No one is going to present you with your happiness on a silver platter, especially not as a college student.  You need to work for it.  I think I’m finally understanding that.

Get up off your butt and someone might present you with an opportunity.  Don’t settle for something and tell yourself that you’re being responsible.  Take your free time and search for you, because no one else knows where you are.

Sorry for the atypically serious ending.  Hope you enjoyed anyway.

(I will be posting pictures from the cupcake sale in a separate post!)

Strong. Confident. Empowered. In Pain.

•February 20, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Well, I officially have no upper body strength and I’ve been sore for two days.

Totally worth it.

When I first got to the studio, I must have been directed into the wrong room because I walked through a door and was suddenly in a room filled with very busty black women in ripped booty shorts, corsets, and sparkly pumps.  And here I was, a very not busty white girl in a black, moisture-wicking tank top, blue gym shorts, and old tennis shoes.  Needless to say, they all looked at me like I had two heads and then proceeded to try to not look at me as much as possible.  All I could think was, “Oh no, this was a horrible mistake.  I should have worn a push-up bra.  Why did I think I could do this?  Why didn’t I wear pink high heels like that girl?  Stupid, stupid, stupid!”

However, that turned out to be a bachelorette party, which the girls in that room eventually told me I wasn’t invited to.  Darn.  Luckily, two other girls from my one-time beginner class had been in that room with me, and together we found our way to our actual class.  From there, the night got awesome.

It might look good, but it hurts like hell.

There were about six other girls in my class.  We were all different shapes and sizes and all had different levels of dance experience and flexibility.  The room we were in was dimly lit and closed off from the rest of the studio by a curtain.  If there was ever a space perfect for not feeling intimidated, it was this place.  My instructor, Michelle, was totally awesome and very understanding of everyone’s inability to be sexy and, specifically, my inability to even touch my toes.  She stressed fitness more than she stressed anything else and never even mentioned men.  I was kind of expecting her to say something like, “Imagine your boyfriend’s watching,” but it never happened.  Instead, she said things like, “Do you feel sexy?” and “It’s your body.  Have fun with it.”  I really felt like I was doing everything for me – to get myself in shape and make myself feel more confident.  When she told us to walk around our poles and “do it sexy,” I looked up into the mirror and thought, “I look totally ridiculous.”  But you know what?  That was okay.  By the end of the night, I was doing fun things, like jumping onto the pole and spinning around it, something I would have definitely been too terrified to attempt before (more for my own personal safety than my dignity).  I couldn’t do fan kicks, but neither could anyone else.  No one was really strong enough to lift themselves up with only their arms.  Pole dancing actually requires a lot of upper body strength.  Even as I type this, there are muscles burning in my arms that I wasn’t even aware of before now.  Pole dancing also is pretty much like any other form of exercise.  You just have to shake your butt while you do it.

So, what came of this?  I signed up for another six weeks of classes.  I walked out of that studio practically skipping down the street (this must have been before the pain kicked in) and decided I wanted to go back.  I felt good about myself, despite the fact that I looked silly doing a lot of the moves.  There were a lot of moves I didn’t look silly doing, too.  And I obviously have a lot more guts than I thought I did.  If only I had a lot more flexibility.  Oh well.  Hopefully that’ll happen after another six weeks.  I go back on Wednesday!

Bring on the cupcake sale.  I could take on the world.

But first, I need to start lifting weights or something.  Next time you go to a club, gentlemen, you better tips those girls really well.  They work.


Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Be Pole Dancers

•February 16, 2011 • 1 Comment

Searching for classes is difficult.  I thought it might be easy with Google, but sometimes I think Google just goes with what it thinks you meant to say.  Google definitely thinks it’s smarter than me.  It seems like no matter what I type in, I get the same links to the same culinary schools and art institutes.  But as I’ve said before, I really can’t just give up everything here to enroll in a different school.  While it might be a more blog-worthy experience, it’s just not practical.  I’m sure there are already books and movies about that, anyway.

Matzoh Ball Soup: The Ultimate Distraction

I guess it doesn’t help that after a long day of lab reports and reworking my life goals, I have the attention span of a goldfish.  Like, the kind that live in 9-inch-around bowls and stare at nothing until the slowly increasing ammonia levels dull their senses.  (R.I.P. Lord Contraband Aquarius the First.)  So, after about fifteen minutes of really intense searching for cake decorating classes, a matzoh ball soup making class caught my eye.  Another fifteen minutes and I’m browsing the Jewish Community Center of Manhattan’s website, wondering if I have the necessary equipment to make challah bread in my dorm room.  When I realized how far I’d wandered, I decided it was time to try to find classes for another goal.  Namely, art.

So I searched for art classes for a while, but it seemed my only options were enrolling in art school, paying $500 for a beginner’s workshop in charcoal, or just walking into a sketchy (no pun intended) Brooklyn loft to sketch naked women for a few hours with no instruction.  In desperation, I turned to Craigslist.  I really have nothing against Craigslist; it is how I got my Starbucks job, after all.  But really, it’s difficult to determine the sketch factor of each ad.

The good thing about Craigslist is that you can view all the classes available in your area without having to choose a category.  So I could just scan and if one of my dreams popped out at me, then I’d go with that.  Instead, I ended up somewhere entirely different.  I understand that this isn’t totally related to achieving my childhood dreams, but bear with me.  The more I think about it, the more related it seems.

This weekend, I am signed up for a pole dancing class.  My friends already made all the jokes about me having another job option, so

I don't know if I have the muscles necessary for this.

don’t bother.  All innuendoes and sexual connotation aside, I think I could really love this.  Sure, it makes for a great story and it’s something I can cross off my bucket list, but it’s also going to be a great confidence builder.  This is kind of a big risk for an introvert like me, taking a class on sexy dancing all by myself.  But I think it’s just what I need to attack this project head on.  No one ever got anywhere without taking risks, and while I can’t just drop out of school and pursue something artsy and creative, I am definitely going to need to put myself out there in other ways.  I’ll never become a famous singer if I can’t get up on a stage and belt.  I’ll never become a famous actor if I can’t get on stage and make myself vulnerable.  I’ll never become a famous writer, baker, or artist without showing my work to the public and opening myself to criticism.  So what’s a good way to put some cracks in the walls I have up?  Pole dancing.  It’s ridiculous, it’s impulsive, and it’s totally terrifying, but if I can do this, I can definitely take on my other challenges.  Plus, maybe I’ll get in better shape and all these cupcakes won’t go straight to my hips.

I’ll update after I go.  Wish me luck and dollar bills.

P.S. I’m off my Tuesday/Sunday posting schedule already.  Hope you don’t mind.

Cupcake Delivery: Step One of Operation Famous Baker

•February 14, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I have to admit, as I look at the descriptions and prices of baking classes in my area, I’m starting to consider starting with a different goal.  I had originally assumed that Famous Baker would be a good starting point; it doesn’t require any public performances, huge changes in my schedule, or any huge fanfare, unlike like, say, auditioning for a Broadway musical.  I thought, “Baking.  That’s easy.  I do that anyway for bake sales and stuff.”  But then I thought, “Oh no.  That’s easy.  I do that for bake sales and stuff.”  In fact, college students bake all the time for cheap presents and club fundraisers.  Baking a batch of Funfetti cupcakes and trying a little harder than usual to make them look nice is probably not the first step to putting myself out there.

Mini cupcakes made by yours truly.

So, I originally thought that Step One of Operation Famous Baker was taking baking classes.

But, ugh.  This is worse than homework.

Plus, I don’t have my weekends open because I am a Starbucks barista.  And I love that way too much to even think about giving it up.  (I “invented” the Cookies and Cream Frappuccino today.  Go to your local Starbucks and order a Coffee Frap with vanilla bean powder and java chips.  And get whipped cream.  DO IT.)  So, how do I take my normal baking and amp it up enough that it’s not your average bake sale, but not enough that I lose my mind?

I’ve decided that, for President’s Day, I’m starting a cupcake delivery service in my dorm.  All proceeds will go to my Relay for Life team, the Purple Parrots.

I figure that’s a good first step.  It combines the high volume service of an actual cupcake shop with customer service and money management.  And it helps me do some fundraising for my charity of choice.

Liz:  Can you multi-task with your fantasy “Life After Highschool?”

Yes, Liz.  Yes, I can.

Speaking of Liz, she sent me this comic. Appropriate.

So I’ve made a Facebook event to hopefully garner interest and we’ll take it from there.  I will have a blog post about it next week, complete with stories and pictures.  I know this doesn’t seem like a huge step, but I already feel a little bit sunnier knowing that I’m, at least for a limited time, doing the things I love.  I even picked up a form to declare a business minor, on the off-chance that I do succeed at one of my passions and need to know how to run my own business, read the books, pay taxes, etc.  It’s amazing how far attitude goes.  I guess that’s another one of those things you find out for yourself and then your parents freak out because they told you that ten million times before.  Sorry, dad.

On another note, Science and I do have a healthy relationship.  I definitely don’t want you to think I hate Science.  We’re friends with benefits.  We have a nice time together.  I really like when I can identify all the cations in an unknown solution.  We’re best friends, normally.

Just, please… don’t make me marry him.

Reflections and the Plan

•February 6, 2011 • Leave a Comment

In brainstorming various childhood dreams to try to make come true, I’ve realized two problems.  It’s going to be pretty difficult to a) figure out how to attempt them and b) judge whether or not it counts as an actual attempt.  For example, is selling cupcakes to raise money for a club really the same thing as attempt to be a baker as a career?  Obviously I can’t actually open a bake shop and forget all about college and my Natural Sciences degree.  That would be like deleting the back-up prom date’s number from my phone.  Not an option because I need a last resort in order to – you know – not be homeless.  So, do I have time to both chase my dreams and maintain a healthy relationship with science?

I’m also faced with the decision of how personal to make my experiment.  If I go sing in a karaoke bar, do I bring all my friends and have them cheer me on?  Or is this something I need to do by myself?  I realize that having a blog automatically makes this whole thing pretty public.  Maybe that’s enough.  Maybe each individual attempt at greatness should be a private event I later publicize.  As cliché as it sounds, these are my dreams, and I think I need to fight each battle on my own.

I remember reading a blog over the summer in which the writer discussed how strange it was when he would meet people in real life and they would know about his blog and, therefore, also know about his separate internet persona.  It made them wonder if he was using them for a good blog post.  I thought about how I would feel if I met with my pre-med adviser and he had seen my blog.  I don’t know if I would appreciate advising a student who considered her major a default, especially something like pre-medicine.  Right now, I feel like it would be interesting to see my real life collide with my internet life, but maybe it wouldn’t be as interesting if it actually happened to me.  Maybe it would end up like that part in the middle of the movie where everything goes to hell for a while before the couple gets back together or the friends make up.  I never even like watching that part in theatres.

So this post isn’t totally reflective, I have come up with a list of dreams.

1.       Be a famous actress.

2.       Be a famous singer.  (Who plays guitar?)

3.       Be a famous artist.

4.       Be a famous baker.

5.       Be a famous writer.

Obviously, I would also define my generation with each occupation.

Okay, all joking aside, these are the things I wanted when I was little.  Just because I grew up doesn’t mean I stopped wanting them.  It just means that I became more “realistic.”  But then why did every parent of my generation tell us that we could do whatever we wanted when we grew up?  Is it just an American “Everyone has equal opportunity” cliché?  Or is it really possible?  There’s my research question.

I plan on posting every Wednesday and Sunday, first with a plan and then with the outcome.  The first steps will be small – maybe I’ll sign up for baking classes or something – and then I’ll gradually work my way toward the fantastic and grand.

Alright, lab is in session.  See you on Tuesday with my first experiment outline.

Edit:  As always, everyone is welcome to comment and leave me any opinions you might have.

Introducing Me

•February 2, 2011 • 4 Comments

Remember in high school when prom would roll around and suddenly there was a big panic to find someone to go with?  (Neither do I, but that’s how it happens in movies, so bear with me.)  It starts getting closer and closer to crunch time and you’re starting to realize, “I really don’t think anyone’s going to ask me.”  So you and your best friend of your preferred sex turn to each other and say:

“If neither of us can get a date, I’ll go with you.”

Now, in the movies, normally one or both of the friends end up falling in love (maybe they get drunk and hook up on prom night) and then something happens to tear them apart, but in the end they live happily ever after.

But here’s the thing.  Science and I aren’t falling in love.  I really just need someone to go to prom with.

In case you’re not following the metaphor, I’m a college student.  I’m majoring in Natural Sciences.  It’s not my major because I’m in love with it or I want to be with it forever.  I just have to major in something.  And considering I hate everything else, I figure I might as well do something I can tolerate and make money doing.

But I guess it’s not as simple as that.  See, I’m what you might call “unremarkably above average,” which means I grew up being told I was a genius because I could write my name in cursive before everyone else in kindergarten and, therefore, developed a complex.  I abandoned all possible career choices that wouldn’t make people say, “Ooh, wow, Kitty’s parents.  You must be so proud of your doctor/lawyer/world changer daughter.”  So even though I dreamt of being a singer, an actress, or a famous cupcake baker, I decided to focus everything into my GPA and being valedictorian.

Unfortunately, the rest of the world is pretty un-remarkably above average, too, it turns out.  While I stood out in Columbus, Ohio as pretty smart, it seems like everyone in college did the same thing I did, and more.  So many people maintained a 4.0 in addition to having several internships and going to Africa to build houses.  And even those people don’t hold a candle to some Ivy League students.  I recently watched the Social Network and was horrified to realize that I should have been writing algorithms on windows and hacking internet databases instead of, say, doing my math homework and getting eight hours of sleep.  I’ve been going about this “super-awesome-mega-smart” thing all wrong.  And now, as many college students before me, I’ve gotten to college and realized I don’t really care about anything.  I don’t have passions anymore.   Other than impressing people, I mean, and that doesn’t happen much anymore.  And while I still want to do something phenomenal, I don’t know how I’m supposed to do that with any of the majors at my school.  How am I supposed to throw my heart and soul into something I’m not passionate about?  Of course, so many people just major in anything and get a job and make their family their true occupation.  But I never wanted to be one of those people.  And really, I’ve been bored, lost, and in denial for too long.  Although this is kind of a funny experiment, it’s also a way for me to take control of my life and try to make myself happy again.  And I’m going to start by going back to my childhood dreams: baking, singing, acting, art, writing, and all those other things that I thought would never take me anywhere.

So here’s the plan:  I’m going to try to do something fantastic with my life before medical school.  I’m going to attempt to do something big with each of my passions, no matter how mind-numbingly unimpressive they are, and if I can’t become the next Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, or Taylor Swift, I’ll become a doctor.  While I do this, I’ll blog about my successes and failures, and hopefully come out of college with a better understanding of myself, if nothing else.

This is for college students everywhere who don’t give a crap about business or political science and for five-year olds everywhere who want to be superheroes.  And, of course, for those who can’t get a date to prom.  Don’t go with your cousin without at least trying to fall in love first.

Kitty Buehler