I Open at the Close: Some Tolkien Quotes to Inspire

So… It’s been terribly, horribly quiet around here — but the plus side is I have plenty of exciting adventures and tips to share.

It’s just been a bit of a whirlwind, but oh there will be Things on the horizon.

And a very, very important Thing is that today is the release of The Desolation of Smaug (And it happens to be my birthday, yay!) Another year older, not necessarily wiser, but eager to keep on pushing forward–and of course, very, very excited for Smaug. I’ve only heard good things (And arm-flails) so far, so I simply cannot wait to see it for myself! (Expect a review)

And, with that errata out of the way… Without further preamble, let’s get on with what you’ve all been waiting a rather long time for: Some inspirational quotes to close out the week :3 Home is behind, the road is ahead!

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Gryffindor I may be, but I personally prescribe to this week’s Hufflepuff quote–it’s very important Food for Thought!

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I Open at the Close: End of the Week Inspiring Quotes VIII

Psst

The secret is that I am actually not in the states anymore… As promised, this wandering girl has gone on many an adventure and is currently finishing up a week of service slash international healthcare in the Dominican Republic. More on that later when I can transfer some pictures and share my story from Dejabon to Santo Domingo.

But for now… For now let´s reflect a bit on travel and why you know you kind of need it in your life.

Travel in undergrad, study abroad or save money and travel after you graduate… Travel as a young twenty something, travel as an adult, travel in a caravan of old farts if you want, or travel with kids … just get out there!

After all, as JRR Tolkien once said: Not all those who wander are lost :3

NOTE: These quotes are NOT Hogwarts House themed, but may they inspire you anyway!

AND SORRY NO PICTURES THIS WEEK

  1. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”–– St. Augustine
  2. “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” –– Mark Twain
  3. “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” –– Henry Miller
  4. “Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonalds? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.” –– Anthony Bourdain
  5. “Every one of a hundred thousand cities around the world had its own special sunset and it was worth going there, just once, if only to see the sun go down.”–– Ryu Murakami
  6. “He who does not travel does not know the value of men.”––Moorish proverb
  7. “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” ––Cesare Pavese
  8. “When we get out of the glass bottle of our ego and when we escape like the squirrels in the cage of our personality and get into the forest again, we shall shiver with cold and fright. But things will happen to us so that we don’t know ourselves. Cool, unlying life will rush in.” ––DH Lawrence
  9. “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by.” ––Robert Frost
  10. “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” ––Maya Angelou

And just because I love, love, love this quote by Mark Twain here he is one more time

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ––Mark Twain

The daily intern tip: Love your body down to your toes

Your smiling faces do not explain what business casual is -- there is naught but despair

Your smiling faces do not explain what business casual is — there is naught but despair

Okay so “business casual” is a Thing at offices around the globe ( I think ) and with the word “business” comes the assumption that we–guys and gals–have to go out to the nines to look “presentable” at work.  Like, with the amount of articles listing exactly what business casual does and doesn’t entail, it’s no wonder some people think it’s safer to “overdress” than “underdress” — which is all well and good but…

Here is a little post to remind all ya’ll that… You really don’t need to kill yourself, especially if you’re commuting around a walking city like New York! I mean, I salute all the lovely people who can strut down 7th avenue in high heels to their office-of-choice, but if that doesn’t seem like a good time to you then you don’t have to kill yourself walking in heels.

Okay, so, you can wear high heels - and I love them at times myself - but please remember, this is what you put yourself through if you do a mile-long hike in them

Okay, so, you can wear high heels – and I love them at times myself – but please remember, this is what you put yourself through if you do a mile-long hike in them

Rather, take a bag with you to hold onto them in and chuck on some sneakers! Like no seriously, a lot of people do that, it might not “match” but comfort is key here.

Then slip on your heels/dress shoes/whatever when you get to the office =) No one has to know you switch shoes, and there’s really nothing wrong with it; no tickets from the fashion police here.

This is noteworthy for even foot-forgiving things, like a new pair of flats. Let me tell you – breaking in flats by traveling from the Heights down to the Village isn’t terribly forgiving. There are plenty of life-hacks to stretch out a new pair of flats, but if you must wear them and don’t have the time to break them in, but definitely room in your bag? Toss ’em in and walk around in a comfortable pair.

Your feet will thank you for it, honest.

On dealing with rejection (More self-reflection actually)

Did you know that every year seems shorter because you’re growing older? Think about it. One year seems forever to a 5 year old because that’s just 1/5 of their life. Now image that you’re 22 — hey that’s 1/22 of your life gone by, see how tiny that is in comparison?

Now all of that was just an elaborate segue into today’s topic: Rejection! Because let’s face it, life is too short to be hung up over it, unfortunately life is long enough to face a lot of it. Especially if you’ve been like me in the last few weeks and have looked like this trying to find a fall internship/job:

Accurate depiction of me

Contrary to what Time magazine likes to think about our generation — I’ve been keysmashing my way through websites looking for things to apply to, then readily applying to said things, and then playing the waiting game of: “Will they care enough to send me a rejection email?” Fortunately for me, I have received a few polite rejections (Easing one anxiety) but more silence from other avenues of possible employment (Oh no more anxiety!) — it creates an unfortunate loop but…

… It’s something I’m used to, as well. And something that I have come to expect as I diligently keep a look-out on all the things I can apply for.

Because let’s face it: We all have our fair share of disappointment, and unfortunately that’s just how it works. Unless you are incredibly lucky and fortunate, things in life don’t always pan out the way you expect or want them to.

You might shrug your shoulders, or you might want to rip your diploma in half because it hasn’t gotten you anything, it seems, or you might want to snuggle up with a tub of ice-cream and watch Netflix all day.

And that’s fine. We all cope with rejection differently; honestly do what you gotta do to make you feel better.

Of course, in the wake of such unfortunate outcomes the expected “It’s all okay/Things will work out/It might be better this way anyway” comments from friends and family aren’t that comforting to the newly rejected. Shut out of a job that would have been perfect? Or maybe that school you’ve always dreamed of going to? Yeah, no, being told that “It will all work out” just doesn’t cut it sometimes. Thanks I’m gonna go and chuck back some more raw cookie dough. (How about I put that on my resume)

And I think this all stems from the thought process that the reason you were rejected was because you do not deserve a job.

That tends to be the first response: I failed to appeal to these people therefore I am completely unwanted — yep, that seems to be the common train of thought when there’s no response for a week or two.

Another accurate depiction of me

Or well, it’s my train of thought — and I do suspect I’m not alone in having moments of confidence (Aw yeah look at all that experience I racked up, look at all the skills I have) suddenly shut down because of lacking results (Wait what it wasn’t enough?!).

Which is all fine and good, you know, but remember? Up top? Life is too short to spend hung up over one failure — for some of us, we just have to keep swimming through it. 

For some of us it won’t be an easy matter of what we want and what we need falling from the sky — life doesn’t play fair, you know.

And that’s fine.

One door closes, you try another. And keep trying.

It might help to find a support group, or a cheering squad of friends/family that have got your back – to listen to you vent when it doesn’t work out. And if not — well, there’s someone out there on the Internet cheering you on from her own corner; I know the feeling all too well right now.

But it’s not the end — this is, after all, a teeny tiny portion of your life. There are always doors — maybe not the ones you thought would work, but they are there and you can try, that’s all anyone can really ask for.

So  keep trying after there’s a door slammed in your face; brush yourself off with a tip of your hat, maybe go over your resume again and ask for advice on that cover letter of yours, and try again.

Even if it takes fifteen, or fifty, applications and an interview or two — keep at it.

Because you’re inching over to 23 soon and sure, you’ve got your whole life ahead of you, but you can save yourself some precious minutes when you come to accept that hey — you were rejected, but you’re still a living, breathing human with a spark in your eye and the determination to do something.

And the road is long, and there are many doors to try left.

So — let’s continue on and see where the path may lead!

Most accurate depiction of me

Everything you probably never needed to know about Study Abroad

Those Who Wander Lost is a blog-site dedicated to the Class of 2013 but with enough room for guest contributors to share their pearls of wisdom, advice, rants, worries, and stories about college life and beyond. Posted here with permission by the author, the every lovely Jay — who is a marvelous writer and wordsmith and has a lot of perspective on study abroad ;U I personally think this will be an enlightening post for many of my readers who happen to be from the US on how folks across the pond feel about us (Hahaha look at that bad pun) 

Smile: You're studying abroad =) Here's what you need to know

Smile: You’re studying abroad =) Here’s what you need to know

Study abroad is a really big step; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. The idea of going to another country, away from friends and family, was frankly terrifying to me, to such an extent that I kinda chickened out and convinced my friend to do it with me. And we only went from one English speaking country to another: going to a country where you’ll be studying in the native language has its own set of issues and difficulties you’ll need to keep in mind. If you’re a naturally courageous person who loves exploring, then you’re likely to step off the plane full of excitement about the country and the institution you’ve chosen, and you’ll be raring to go. People like this should definitely go for study abroad.

If you’re more like me, and love the idea but being 3000 miles away from your usual support systems scares you, I’d honestly still recommend going. It might be worth looking into support systems on campus before you get there- your mental health should always be an important consideration while studying- but don’t let fear keep you from what could be an amazing experience.

As far as support systems go abroad, the college that I attended had decent healthcare which included mental health and access to counsellors. The nurses were occasionally a little too quick to offer meds for things- Vicodin for wisdom teeth issues made spring break very interesting- but on the whole they did very well. You should look into this at your own institution and take advantage of it if and when you need to, as well as looking into the support available for the more academic side of things.

Building up your own support systems is also a good idea while you’re there, and will make the experience more fun. Try joining a sports club, or societies that focus on things you’re interested in. It’s way easier to make friends this way. Also, keep in mind that there are probably plenty of other study abroad students on campus. You’d be surprised how well homesickness and just being the foreign kid can function as common interests when you need someone to talk to.

No educational system is alike when it comes to study abroad, so keep in mind that even if you’re studying a subject like Literature (like me) where it’s seems like it’s all really books and essays on books and how hard can that be really, there will be changes to the system from marking down to essay structure that you’ll have to get used to. Trying to work out how GPA corresponded to degree classification took me a while, because when you get to university level in Britain you don’t get letter grades on essays anymore.

I was also thoroughly stumped by the fact that you had to come up with your own essay titles for your modules, where at home we received a list of essay questions in the run up to deadlines and we just had to pick one. Unfortunately, once you get used to the freedom of picking your own essay topics, it’s just as hard to revert back to the old system.

Anyway, that’s the fiddly side of the education element. What you really want to focus on is the fact that studying abroad can open up a whole area of study that you didn’t have as much access to at home, even if it’s just that the institution offers a different range of modules from your home university or college. Even something like studying American Lit while actually in the US made a huge amount of difference for me (though studying British Lit as the only Brit in the class was a little bizarre).

It’s also worth keeping in mind that if you study abroad as an extra year added onto your degree- in Britain, a degree is 3 years, but can go to 4 for study abroad- the modules you study while you’re there don’t all have to correspond to your degree. Essentially, you can take the opportunity to study whatever the hell you want while you’re there. Personally, I took Russian, which was seriously difficult but a lot of fun, as well as a few creative writing classes.

An obvious point now, but one that I feel I should point out: when studying abroad, people will likely feel it necessary to comment on your accent. It probably didn’t help that I studied in Massachusetts just in time for Sherlock as a fandom phenomenon to really kick in. I was stopped in lunch queues by girls who told me they loved my accent because they loved Sherlock. I had people listening in on conversations with my friend because of our accents. One of the chefs in the canteen made me repeat my order several times because he couldn’t get over my pronunciation of “tomato”.

I heard several variations on the theme of “I have a friend in London, maybe you know him”. You are also pretty much guaranteed to hear all the jokes people can recall about your home country, from the legitimately funny to the downright racist, as well as all the daft questions under the sun:

“Is it true you all have to drink tea by law?”

“Why do you still have a queen? Do you know the queen?”

“Why does everyone have such bad teeth?”

You get the idea. Now this might be more of a Brit going to the US thing, but it’s still worth keeping in mind. 80% of the time people are trying to be genuinely friendly and just going about it in a strange, slightly condescending manner, and it’s worth giving these people the benefit of the doubt, at least the first time. For the other 20%, and the people who don’t stop trying to imitate you after you’ve asked them to 3 times, I find a sharp thwap upside the head with a dinner menu works wonders.

Given what I’ve said so far, complaining as I have been (something Brits are also very good at apparently), I’ve probably given you the impression that I didn’t like studying abroad. The thing is, for all the silly questions and the different education systems and the overwhelming realisation that hits you every so often that you’re thousands of miles away from home, studying abroad is still an amazing experience.

Meeting new people, going somewhere you’ve never been before, and possibly learning a bit more independence than you might have at home, that’s really indispensable. Make the absolute most of it that you can, and if you get the chance, always take the opportunity to travel. It does sound that old shtick that the university gives when they’re trying to convince people to study abroad, but it really is true.

P.S. Keep your travel documents somewhere safe and do not forget them. Customs is not your friend.

On taking a gap year, being a twenty something, and plans (or lack thereof)

Those Who Wander Lost is a blog-site dedicated to the Class of 2013 but with enough room for guest contributors to share their pearls of wisdom, advice, rants, worries, and stories about college life and beyond. Posted here with permission by the author, one of my dearest friends from highschool–basically I’ve known this girl for about eight years now can you believe that–my lovely marine biologist senpai: Emily. Emily has got an amazing year ahead of her–but I won’t steal her thunder as she goes on to explain what it means to take a “gap year” (Currently something I’m suffering through, I mean *Gulp*)

To start off, welcome, all you new grads, to the real world! Wait a minute, that’s not right. Let’s try again!

Welcome, all you new grads, to the hellish limbo of officially being a “twenty-something!”

It’s really not that bad! Well, depending on what you have decided to do with your life post-graduation. I, for one, do not have a single friend that I graduated with that has begun their professional career. Grad school? Yeah, a bunch! Life-affirming service projects to underprivileged citizens of the world? Mmmhmm, a few! Returned to their parents’ homes to take menial jobs for which they are highly overqualified in order to get by? Check. I happen to fall into the latter category, partially of my own volition. And hey, it wasn’t so bad! But let me tell you why this possibility of familiarity and comfort in a “gap year(s)” should scare you. I’ll start at the beginning of my story.

Bright-eyed and ready to save every creature that has ever traversed the deep blue sea, I graduated with my BSc in marine science. I graduated with honors and with a slew of under-grad research under my belt, and with these qualifications I figured I would have a good shot at making my post-graduate plans fall right into place. Let’s outline:

1. Summer: field job
2. Fall: field/research job with some state agency in an exotic place (Alaska? Hawaii? California!?)
3. Winter: home! (snow, The Hobbit, copious amounds of free food, aww yis.)
4. Spring : travel! see the world!
5. Summer round 2: field job again!
6. Fall round 2: move to New Zealand and travel!
7. Winter round 2: start grad school in New Zealand!
8. The rest of my life: be happy and fulfilled!!!

Well, I achieved the first bullet point (for half the summer), but not much after that. I spent 2 months looking for lab or field tech jobs without a single useful lead, so I gave up. See, I have this constant inner battle between wanderlust and homesickness. I love to travel, but I love to be home as well. Having been away for four years at various distances around the world, I was more than okay with the cosmos obviously telling me to take some time at home to decompress. I liked being home, I missed being home, so I decided to stick it out in my old abode for however long I needed to. I wanted to hang out with my high-school friends, wanted to do the stuff I used to do, wanted to drive down the same streets and see the same people I was so familiar with. I wanted to relish it, to relish the comfort of familiarity. What I didn’t plan on was how to manage the fact that things change.

“Stuck” (I wasn’t really stuck, I could have pretty much gone anywhere and done anything if I had enough gumption) at home, I took a part-time job that let me “apply to grad school” (quotations because, really, proactivity is not my strong point). It started out fine and dandy, was easy and comfortable, but it slowly turned to soul-sucking. My friends weren’t even around to occupy me when I wasn’t working; funny how other peoples’ lives don’t actually depend at all on yours! As I kept working I kept realizing that I needed to go back to school if jobs (and social circles) like this were going to be my future otherwise, but I was banking on the fact that I would get that Fulbright Award and jet off to study fish in New Zealand forever. Big surprise, I didn’t! Here is where my advice on contingency plans come in: have a better one than I did. I scrambled trying to find graduate programs I was interested in, and, more importantly, ones that had room/money for me. I did this while checking off bullet #4: “traveling,” aka living comfortably and innocuously in my friend’s house in Mexico for two months. I fell into the same trap as I did at home; I was “comfortable.” I didn’t do anything too risky, and therefore I didn’t do anything too exciting. I got back to the United States and felt pretty unfulfilled, the sense of which was compounded by lack of work at my old job and not getting what I wanted out of my grad school search. It was a monotonous existence, at home by myself for days on end, and I was lost and depressed for months. The tide only broke when the prospect of graduate school was on the horizon. Not graduate school as I had hoped; not in New Zealand, or even on the West Coast, not studying what I thought I would study, and not even involving fieldwork, my real passion in research. But it was something, so I took it and ran.

My “gap year” is almost over. Did I hate it? No! I honestly loved being home and being a semi-lazy bum for a few months. But the novelty wears off, and being comfortable does not provide good stories about how awesome and fulfilling an entire year of your life was. Am I looking forward to graduate school? A qualified yes. I am so comfortable at home again that the thought of leaving is saddening to me. But being a year out of school has given me enough perspective on what I could have been doing to make me not want to waste any more time. Would I tell someone to avoid taking a gap year, or to avoid doing what I did? Definitely not! But make sure you have an idea of what you want to do, start prepping early, and don’t let that idea get swept under the rug because it’s easier to stay stagnant than it is to swim against a current.

So I guess the advice I have for all you whippersnappers in your post-grad daze is this: plan. But don’t rely on your plans, because they will never work out. Don’t float on the breeze waiting for something to happen to you, but don’t put all of your eggs in one basket either. It’s a tricky balance to strike, but if you seek out opportunities you will be surprised at what else falls in your lap that is probably better than what you had originally “planned.” And most of all, DON’T GET TOO COMFORTABLE. This is where “twenty-somethings” are created; in their parents’ bosom and a room filled with pastel colors and high-school band posters. If you can, get a 9 to 5 job. Save up money from that and pay back some of your loans. If you can afford it (and you know what, even if you can’t), travel. See things you’ve never seen before, and do things you never thought you’d do. Don’t wait for anyone to do them with you; go out and explore the world on your own. Don’t plan it (too much). Don’t get comfortable in any one place. You can be comfortable in your plush, velvet-lined casket when you’re dead. For now, break free of your plans, kick comfort to the curb, and live at least a little bit while you still have the chance!

The Quintessential Study-Abroad Post

Those Who Wander Lost is a blog-site dedicated to the Class of 2013 but with enough room for guest contributors to share their pearls of wisdom, advice, rants, worries, and stories about college life and beyond. Posted here with permission by the author, the ever lovely mythology expert, Sam, who spent an amazing year abroad in Dublin.  (I’m really jealous. And I love this kid a lot so you should all listen up!) 

A typical study-abroad group-picture -- I personally thought my time abroad was well worth it, but I'm sure Sam has more info!

A typical study-abroad group-picture — I personally thought my time abroad was well worth it, but I’m sure Sam has more info!

Hey all! Guest blogger Sam here! While Angeli catches some rays, waves, and maybe a surfing cutie (or five), I’d like to discuss the impact of travel upon your undergraduate career. YES–this is the quintessential study abroad blog post! Do or don’t? Europe, Asia, Africa, or elsewhere? Semester or year? More after the cut!

Continue reading

5 Ways to Make the Most out of College

Those Who Wander Lost is a blog-site dedicated to the Class of 2013 but with enough room for guest contributors to share their pearls of wisdom, advice, rants, worries, and stories about college life and beyond. Posted here with permission by the author, a very close friend of mine and fellow kendoka, the talented  Silverwolf of MoarPowah.com–where he gabs about all things comic-related. He’s the sites very own “Clark Kent” so to speak, also — GO WOLF PACK

Yep had to choose a tournament picture -- because kendo club was a base for many other shenanigans and memories

Yep had to choose a tournament picture — because kendo club was a base for many other shenanigans and memories

Hello everyone! For those that don’t know, I’m a close friend of Angeli, the awesome owner of this totally cool blog. Anyway, I graduated from college a little over a year ago and, during the intervening time, realized that I made a lot of good choices during my undergraduate years. I’ve listed below some things that I think everyone should do to make the most of his or her college experience. Note that they’re in no particular order of rank or importance. Here we go!

  1. Join Clubs

While an undergraduate, one of the keystones of my experience were the clubs I joined. Angeli has already made mention of the Kendo Club in a few of her previous posts, an organization which I participated in as well during my four years at college. The club not only allowed me to stay in shape, but also allowed me to meet lots of great people who eventually became the cornerstone of my friend group.

Ultimately, clubs are a great way to meet new people. When working, learning, and hanging out with fellow students (and sometimes even faculty), you’re bound to make friends, while picking up some new talents along the way. Even if you are a newcomer to a club, there’s no reason to fear: most clubs are welcoming. Whether its sports, arts, games, or anything else you can think of, there is guaranteed to be at least one club that you’ll enjoy if you give it a chance.

  1. Make Use of Office Hours

I was a Math Major, and boy were those classes tough. I spent many late nights studying material I barely understood, hoping to eke out enough success on an exam thanks to the curve in order to pass each class. By my Junior year, I realized that going to Office Hours helped way more than I expected. Not only did professors and TAs offer to answer questions and help with homework, but also they suggested study methods and, often unwittingly, offered hints about what to focus on for upcoming exams.

It may seem pointless or you may feel intimidated, but Office Hours exist so that professors can help their students. Investing just one hour per week seeing your professor is often an invaluable experience and, furthermore, allows you to connect with the professor further. You may even form a deeper bond, paving the way for future networking and letters of recommendation.

  1. Attend University Events

Every week, colleges hold dozens of events for students, sometimes even hundreds at bigger universities. Like with club activities, there is enough variety that there is something for everyone. Want to watch a new film for free? Interested in hearing professionals discuss their research? Intrigued by foreign cuisine? Attending events can connect you with these things and, once again, are a great way to meet people and make friends. Inviting friends along is also great, since you can all share in the experience.

  1. Organize Your Own Events

This one builds off my previous example, but organizing your own events is a way to have lots of fun with your close friends. During my undergraduate career I organized (or helped organize) a few potlucks, movie outings, and parties. It was surprisingly easy, but the results were great as there’s nothing better than sharing a fun night with your comrades.

(AN: My own two cents, it actually helps a lot when you organize things ahead of time, while spontaneous moments of rolling around the city were fun, I think we reached out to a lot more people who wouldn’t have thought to hang out together without an organized meetup time and theme) 

  1. Be Flexible and Open to New Things

My mother beat the following mantra into my head for years: “be flexible.” While it grated on my nerves during my formative years, she’s absolutely right. When entering a new space, it’s a bad idea to keep your ideas completely rigid. Maybe you never had an interest in professional sports during High School, but if a couple of floormates are watching a hockey game, it’s a good idea to sit with them during the game. You may learn to love the new thing, and you may not, but making the effort is never a bad thing. If you don’t take risks, you can’t find rewards!

Anyway, that’s the end of my ramblings for the day! I hope they can potentially be useful to you all!