And as the year comes to a close…. my seventh post

Oops. So I kinda haven’t been the best at posting regularly. In the coming year, I’m hoping to change that. Fingers crossed haha.
So the past few months have been….. something. The trip to Washington, D.C. was incredibly empowering—being a college student and actually getting to talk, in person, with a handful of people who make the laws in our country was a really great experience. (On the not so bright side a friend from high school killed himself on my second-to-last day in D.C. We weren’t that close but I’m still messed up from it.) So I missed an entire week of college; catching up wasn’t too bad, but Calculus II was… fun.
Finals week, which ended on December 11th, managed to be enjoyable, in a way. I was prepared for my finals and that felt really, really good. (It probably helped that I only had two real finals, but…) The stressful part? The week before finals, I ran out of the antidepressant/anti-anxiety meds I had been for the past two years. I definitely noticed the withdrawal—everything felt sort of… off, I guess. It wasn’t awful, though. I’m not sure how exactly to describe, but I guess it felt sort of like my head was lowkey spinning for about a week straight. Which was a little bit stressful leading up to my cumulative Calculus II final, haha.
Thankfully, I managed to pull off all A’s for my first semester at college!
I’m really, really loving Truman. I’ve met so many great, kind, wonderful people. The environment there is a stark contrast to my hometown—there’s a lot more open-mindedness and acceptance, diversity, and motivation to do something good, than there was in my high school. It’s so refreshing.
Being home for Christmas break, on the other hand, isn’t the best. For various reasons I haven’t completely pinpointed, being home tends to lead to me doing a lot worse emotionally. I’ve been spending a lot of time with Quinton, and I went up to Columbia to hang out with some other friends a couple of times, and that’s helped a lot. There’s a lot of room for improvement, though, as far as coping; I’ve relapsed (self-harm) twice so far since getting home. The change in my mood/ability to cope while home has made it difficult to figure out exactly how being off my meds is affecting me; while I was at Truman, for the week I was off them, it felt like I was doing better, as far as anxiety and depression. But since I’ve been home, I can’t tell how being off them affects me; the last time I was home this long was during the summer.
And, speaking of being home, it will be the last time I’m home this long until next Christmas break. Over the summer of 2016, I’ll be working at Cerner, in Kansas City, as a Software Engineer intern. Being selected for an internship as a freshmen was a big confidence boost. I’m really excited to work in something related to my field, make good money, and stay out of my hometown for most of the summer (it’s about a ten week long internship). I’ll be living essentially on my own. Which is a mix of exciting and scary.

Quick Update (College + Lobbying in DC)

So about two weeks ago I found out for sure I’m going to Washington DC. And then yesterday I found out I’ll be lobbying there.
But let me back up for a second.
My friend Davy, from high school, was invited to fly out to DC by the Missouri Farmer’s Union, since his parents had been so involved. The story of how I got involved is a bit longer, but, essentially, he told me they do cool stuff and they  needed more people involved (and really needed a new website). I have no intention of working in agriculture after college, but I’ve spent most of my life on what were pretty much farms. Anyway, the invitation to go to DC was extended to me and, since they’re paying for everything, the decision was pretty much already made.
Davy and I are boarding our second plane in about two hours (we’ve been up since four in the morning) and will be in DC until Friday afternoon. Right now, I’m a little bit fuzzy on all of our agenda, but we’re going to lobby and wear suits a lot, so it should be exciting.
I’ll miss nearly a week of classes while I’m gone, but I’ve already talked to all of my professors, so I’m not very concerned (other than teaching myself a week of Calculus II, that’s gonna be fun. Ha).
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I’ll probably post fairly regular updates on my trip one Twitter!

Drowning in Feels + Update on College Finances

I’m writing this in my friend Luke’s basement on my new college laptop, while my best friend Quinton tries to install Grand Theft Auto V on his computer.

I’m really going to miss moments like these.

Less than a week from now, this coming Saturday, I’ll be at Truman, more than seventy miles from the town I’ve lived in for the past five years. Ten miles away I nearly killed myself, and a few blocks down from this house I made some incredible friends and gained so much self-confidence. This town…. it’s pretty conservative, pretty hick, and kinda awful. But much of me was made in this town, and there’s so much I’ll be leaving behind, in a way. I won’t be able to drive ten minutes, show up at Quinton’s door, chill and then just fall asleep talking to him. I won’t be able to drive down country roads in my Neon (we’re selling it tomorrow), playing music too loudly from my DIYed aux cable. My room won’t be mine anymore.

This won’t be the last time Quinton and I stay up late, just being in each other’s company. And I know that Truman is full of great people I’ll love. But I’ve never been good at letting go of things, and that’s a big part of this transition for me.

Anyway. Rambly part over. Onto happier things! Like paying for college!!

I received a $1,000 scholarship from the company my dad works for, as well as up to $1,200 for computer science majors (who knows if I’ll actually get that haha). As long as my grants and Bright Flight don’t lower in price too much, my college costs this year should be about $0. Without any loans. And the prospect of graduating without any debt is so freeing.

it’s midnight so I’m gonna save this post as a draft and post it later BUT I LOVE YOU QUINTON

Okay it’s now nine in the morning at Truman, my second day here and wow this is…. odd. This post is a mess, I’m sorry, but yeah. Feels. I’m excited.

Returning From Colorado & Onto College

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(Some more pictures of the trip will be at the bottom!)

So June 3rd through 15th were among the best twelve days of my life. The Greyhound trip there, in case you didn’t see my tears on Twitter, was kind of terrifying.  (Leading up to my boarding the bus, my mother and her friend told me horror stories and reminded me that arteries are a good thing to stab.)
Despite the massive paranoia following me, though, the ride wasn’t too bad. I was lucky enough to sit next to this old man from, I believe, Poland. He seemed pretty cool (although I avoided speaking to him or anyone haha). There were also phone chargers, thank god, and I had brought a pound of beef jerky with me. What made the trip enjoyable, even, was the thought that I was on my way to see Morgan. Despite it being one of the sketchiest situations I’ve experienced in a long time (I’ll throw in a little vignette at the end), it was, overall, a pretty happy ride.
About fourteen hours after I boarded the bus, I arrived in Denver, Colorado. (In all honesty, I couldn’t tell whether the station there was more or less sketchy than the station in Boonville, Missouri.) After I grabbed my luggage, it took me a few minutes to find Morgan, since we hadn’t planned where to meet beyond the station haha. But about two seconds after I saw her I got to hug my favorite person in the world so that made up for all the awfulness of the bus. <3
In addition to hanging out with the cooliest person in the world, I survived a two week stay in an online friend’s basement, I for-real hiked for the first time at Hanging Lakes, Morgan and I went indoor skydiving, and I saw how Doritos are affected by being twelve thousand feet above sea level. And that’s not even half of the awesome stuff we did together. (Plus we also met up with this other pretty cool online friend.)
It was a truly amazing time. In a way, it made me feel as if I really can live an extraordinary life; seeing a large portion of the world isn’t something that’s considered part of normal life, but neither is spending fourteen hours on a godforsaken bus to see a friend you met on the internet.
(Although, heh, this trip did teach me I need to be a little more careful with my spending habits.)
Morgan is now in Senegal, and although I miss her, I’m super excited and happy for her.

And now, onto the topic of college…
In August, I will be attending Truman State University with a declared major of Computer Science. I may?? double major in Mathematics or something, I don’t know for sure; likely, I’ll at least get a minor in Mathematics (as that shouldn’t require many extra classes). Either way, I’m pretty confident I’ll still keep my main major Computer Science. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been internally debating whether or not I want to maintain a 4.0 GPA; is it worth the extra effort? (However, I’m definitely going to keep my GPA above at least 3.5, so that I can keep all my scholarships). And I believe that I’m leaning toward, yes, it is worth the effort. Coming from a small town high school, though, where generally the most studying (outside of class) I did was glance over the study guide before the test, and going to the most rigorous public university in Missouri… Learning to study is going to be fun. After some adjustment, however, I’m confident I’ll be able to handle it. I’m starting to actually use calendars to keep track of what I have going on, and I will aggressively make use of Anki, an SRS (Spaced Repetition System; essentially, fancy, scientifically based electronic flashcards) program, for all of my classes. So yeah, hopefully that four-point-oh will actually happen!
In all honesty, at first attending Truman didn’t seem especially great; it was a college, not in a tiny town, so I was really excited to go, but I had picked it because 1) low tuition and housing and 2) lots of scholarships. But now that I’ve visited the campus a few times, talked to some of the staff, made friends with other incoming freshmen on our class Facebook group (everyone! seems! so! nice! and! open! minded! it’s such a beautiful breath of fresh air after confederate flags and homophobia and hicks around here), and all the great things I’ve heard about it… I’m really glad I picked Truman. I’m so excited for the fall. Continue reading →

First time travelling alone!

In about eleven hours, I’ll be boarding a Greyhound bus to Colorado to stay with Morgan for about two weeks. This will be first time travelling alone out of state, so yeah I’m really pumped haha.
My bus ride is going to be fourteen hours long, mostly overnight, and my mom has been telling me how sketchy the buses are, so… I’m ready for a fun experience haha. I’m really excited though.

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Other than clothing (mainly shorts and T shirts), I’m bringing and Oregon Tech waterproof video camera and a Flip video camera. And some phone chargers haha.
I’ll post a ton of pictures! Haha
(ahh, hopefully once I get back I’ll begin actually tracking stuff)

An Update (Because Timely Updates Are Not Me)

So yeah. I was so excited to start and actual, and I had one post over the course of a few months.

Let’s try this again!

Since the last post, quite a few big things have happened. I’ll sum it up real quick in nice list format:

  • I broke up with my girlfriend of almost nine months, ending an unhealthy (and possibly abusive) relationship
  • I decided I’m going to Truman State University since it’s my cheapest (and best) option (THANK GOD FOR SCHOLARSHIPS I’M SO HAPPY)
  • I’m considering becoming Buddhist
  • I had a kind of massive bonding night with my mom that involved driving around at two in the morning and calling the police because someone was suicidal
  • I also cleaned my room!!
  • Started trying to build productive habits for college
  • Probably some other stuff, but it’s not coming to mind right now so

Alright, and the longer version, starting with the relationship….

We had started dating back on July 6th. Things were really good at first; we were best friends, and I was so excited to be in love. Etc etc things were pretty good then things got bad, and it turned so toxic and unhealthy. She was manipulative–and she admitted to it, recently, although without using the word ‘manipulative’. I knew things weren’t good for either of us. I didn’t know, however, if it was worth it to keep trying or not. If I ended it, would I escape an abusive relationship, or would I lose the love of my life? It’s still hard to believe wholeheartedly that I did the right thing, but after even my mom thought she had noticed her being manipulative….

As for Truman, yes I’m super pumped because I’M ONLY GOING TO PAY A FEW THOUSAND DOLLARS A YEAR (WITHOUT ANY LOANS)!!!! As long as I maintain a 3.5 GPA anyway. Which is why I’m going to get really good at studying. haha.

In all honesty, I don’t know where exactly I first started considering Buddhism. It might have been an article I read about the medical benefits of meditation, which led to some links about Buddhism. What really got me into it, though, was reading The Art Of Happiness by Howard C. Cutler and the Dalai Lama. From what I’ve read so far (a few books, and some online articles; I’m starting to read some of the original teachings of the Buddha), it seems like something that would mesh really well with my beliefs. I especially like the emphasis on compassion and thinking for yourself. One of the things that swayed me most, though, was how caring and content the Dalai Lama seems. So this is one of the things I’m going to start reading about a lot more. (I will also start reading the Qur’an, as soon as my cousin sends me a copy haha.)

Ahhh the bonding night was really personal so not gonna go into that. I’m comfortable sharing the odyssey that was cleaning my room though. It kind of hit me that I had a disco ball sitting in the corner of my room, pieces of a disassembled, decade-old TV, and a bunch of other random junk sitting around my room. I wouldn’t be able to bring most of my stuff with me to college, anyway, so what better time to clean it than now? I got rid of quite a bit of stuff, and it looks so much nicer now. I still need to go through my wardrobe (and my music library, dear holy god), but that’s a journey for another day.

With the move towards cleanliness, I’ve also been trying to wake up earlier. I’ve started putting dates on the large paper calendar I got at the beginning of the year, as well as keeping better track of papers I need to deal with later. I’m planning on implementing the GTDCS (Getting Things Done for College Students), as laid out by Cal Newport. I’m really determined to be as effective as possible at keeping a high GPA in college, without completely sacrificing my social life. ‘Cause getting out of college without any debt sounds really nice.

In that vein, I also intend to begin tracking much of my life–new Japanese vocab studied, amount of unhealthy food I eat, lines of code I write, how much I exercise, etc. All of this will be posted on this blog for public accountability.

Ahh, 700+ words. Not too long of an update. I realize this post is all over the place, but I just really wanted to get something up here.

And So It Begins (Onwards Ho!)

I’m Isaac, and this blog will be where I chronicle my attempt at making myself—mind, body, and spirit—and my life the best that they can be. Throughout its lifespan, I will keep a log on my projects and what I’m trying to improve upon, as well anything relevant that I discover. I’ll include all the adventures I have along the way (which, with any luck, will be plentiful, as I plan to see as much of the world as possible).

This blog will probably back and forth between topics, till I find my niche, but I’m going to do my best to post regularly. The theme will also change, over the next few weeks or so, till I settle upon something. And in a few days, I’ll have an about page up and probably a selfie in the sidebar. So you have that to look forward to!

 

P.S. No judging. I saw an opportunity to include the site title in the post and I took it. ;)