You might be a catch if you believe in yourself

I’m not really the outdoorsy type.

More often than not, you can find me settled on the couch with Twitter and that night’s TV show over hiking or biking outside. Even growing up near the beach, while all the other kids stormed fearlessly into the water, I timidly checked the shore for minnows, afraid of what it might feel like if one brushed my leg.

Needless to say, my name and any sort of outdoorsy, sporty accolade rarely go in the same sentence. And if they do, I’ll be the first one to knock myself down a peg with self-deprecating humor.

However, that all changed the other night when I caught a 10-pound bass.

This IS how you hold this, right?

This IS how you hold this, right?

My roommate and her boyfriend (who are 150 percent more outdoorsy than I ever hope to be) had planned to go fishing last weekend. After slight (okay, more than slight) hesitation, I decided to tag along. I figured, if anything, it would be good for a few laughs and a good photo op. Little did I know I’d end up getting the catch of the night.

It came after about an hour and a half of no bites and all casting practice. After swapping poles around, I felt a tug, followed by another tug so heavy I couldn’t hold it on my own.

After some frantic screaming and teamwork, we all pulled out the fish and marveled at its size. They said it was the biggest bass they’ve ever seen in that lake, and probably an award-winning weight. And I, of all people, was the one who caught it.

I clearly know how to handle a fish

I clearly know how to handle a fish

...but I'll leave the handling to the professionals.

…but I choose to leave it to the professionals.

It is a simple, human truth that we often underestimate our abilities. Whether it’s our performance in school, our worth in a pile of resumes or our luck holding a fishing pole, we sometimes have a tendency count ourselves out before we have a chance to finish. At least, I always have.

We often hear that confidence is key to making it in your personal and professional life — that your attitude about yourself makes a huge difference. And while this is a lecture that most people have already included in their lesson plans, it’s something that isn’t fully learned until they take the test. I’m (slowly) starting to understand the lesson.

I may not be the outdoorsy type, but that doesn’t mean I can’t surprise myself every now and then.

Hey, if I can catch a 10-pound bass, I can surely catch a little self-assurance, right?

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You might be a writer if you love telling stories (accurately).

I was 5 the first time I knew I wanted to be a writer.

I didn’t know what a college major was, or how careers worked, but I knew that if I was allowed to write down what I was thinking — and what others were saying — that I would be happy. And it all started with a panda-shaped notebook.

I would document what I observed that day in school with my jewel-toned Crayola markers into my panda notebook, trying to make sense of my 5-year-old world. I would write about getting the “Best Rester” award in my kindergarten class, or about how the snotty boy in my class threw my ballerina storybook over the playground fence. I’d write about how these events would make me feel and what others would say about them too.

Talk about writing succinctly and getting straight to the point...I was destined for this!

Talk about writing succinctly and getting straight to the point…I was destined for this!

This fascination with documenting things continued through age 7 (also known as my “Harriet the Spy” days) where I would beg my mom daily for a new notebook to write in. By 5th grade, her patience for my precociousness, as well as her notebook supply, were both wearing thin — and she encouraged me to enter the school district’s writing contest to put my fascination to use. One award and a middle-school journalism elective later and it was solidified — I was meant to be a writer.

High school journalism: Less hardcore than it looks.

High school journalism: Less hardcore than it looks.

It’s been 18 years since my panda notebook and I still have the urge to tell stories — especially on days like today.

Each one of us felt affected by the Boston Marathon explosion in some way. Many people took to Twitter and Facebook to express their thoughts and share information — and many people did it incorrectly. Whether it’s the media, a brand or an American citizen, so many of us forget to think before we speak — or before we write. Information gets tangled, stories unfold fallaciously and chaos occurs. Soon, we don’t know what is true and what isn’t, and that’s dangerous.

In this time of social media — whether you’re a member of the press or not — you are responsible. If you choose to tell a story, you choose to be responsible. That also means you choose to read the information responsibly. Just because something is reported doesn’t always mean there can’t be an extra fact check. During times of breaking news, Twitter can simultaneously be its own best ally and worst enemy.

Image via Google

One of my favorite quotes is by Nathaniel Hawthorne and it couldn’t be more true when it comes to storytelling: “Words. So innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary. How potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them.”

Someone’s sister, grandfather or daughter was hurt. Someone’s wife rushed to help a fellow runner struck at the finish line and someone’s husband was a first responder. I want to know all of their stories — and I want to share them accurately.

You might be a perpetual sorority girl if you go Greek in college

I have a confession: I am a chronic sorority girl.

Recently I wrote an article for USA TODAY College addressing four common misconceptions of Greek life, and since it was published the response has been phenomenal. I love seeing members from varying chapters comment on the incredible experience we all get to share.

My bid day...we were babies!

My bid day…we were babies!

One point was brought up by a few readers that did not go unnoticed. Several people commented on my by-line, which states that I am “a retired sorority girl” and I wanted to offer some clarity.

My sorority will always be a part of who I am. It shaped my college experience and helped me become who I am as a person. At 22 I’m still concerned about the well-being of my sisters, still invested in multiple charities Greek organizations support and still rock a bow in my hair from time-to-time (old habits die hard).

The bigger the bow the better!

The bigger the bow the better, obviously.

When you retire from your career, you no longer participate in the day-to-day activities of your job. Gone are the days of answering phones and work emails. Your interactions with clients disappear and analyzing the latest earnings report is left to someone else. You trade your water cooler days with your colleagues for days catching up over lunch and volunteering at the company’s charity golf event.

As much as I’m still learning to accept it (and not willingly), I look at my time in Greek life in the same way. While I am no longer an active sister, I am still involved in some other way. Instead of monitoring GPA’s and Twitter accounts (former Scholarship Chairs and Communications Directors, holler!) I’m admiring others’ work from afar. I’m going to Founders Days instead of running them. And I’m a member of the alumni chapter rather than the collegiate one. I am retired.

Only being a year out of college, I still yearn for big/little week, socials and sisterhood events. But I can’t participate in those anymore (they won’t let me on the bus). I can’t participate in those little things that help to make a whole experience.

At our last philanthropy event.

At our last philanthropy event.

I'm a SUPER grandma!

I’m a SUPER grandma!

I still wear my letters proudly, and I always will. As Greek life constantly reminded me, “you are always wearing your letters” and I see that as a blessing. “Retired” or not, they’re there, right where I want them to be.

I am a Kappa Alpha Theta, and more importantly, a member of the Greek community — and that’s something that won’t ever change.

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Welcome to all my new blog readers, and thank you for stopping by! Head back for more post-grad rambles and pop culture commentary as I navigate this thing called “being an adult.” 🙂

You might need to readjust your lifestyle if you get a post-grad job in your college town

(This article was originally written for and appeared in USA TODAY College)

Image

Can we just re-live these last four years?!

Landing that elusive first job after graduation can be quite an accomplishment. Finding a job where you just spent an incredible four years — a place where you have already formed relationships and a life — can seem like a dream come true.

Starting your career in the same town in which you went to college can make it seem like you have been granted an extension on university life. However, before you start planning to go to Taco Tuesdays or fraternity grab-a-dates after your 9-to-5, there are a few things you should know about living your post-grad life in your undergrad town.

Open yourself up to new experiences

One of the misconceptions about staying put post-grad is that things will remain exactly the same as they were during college. However, your lifestyle is about to do a 180 and so should your routine. Gone are the days of sleeping until your 3 p.m. class and staying up until 2 a.m. for no reason — and if you keep these habits, you may keep yourself from growing.

Approach this new chapter with a fresh pair of eyes. Find new things to do in town. Volunteer, go out to a bar you haven’t tried before or take a trip to the local farmers market on the weekends. Do something different from the college norm, and you will start to feel like your new life is different from the one you had as an undergrad.

Remember to budget your money and your time

As a new adult in the working world, it’s often easy to get caught up in the numbers on your paycheck. You may be tempted to spend more now that you don’t have to live off leftovers and Ramen noodles, but it’s important to remain conscious of your finances. While you may have more of an income, you most likely will also have more bills. Insurance, gas, rent and student-loan payments can add up. Watch what you’re spending on things like going out to eat and try to put a certain percentage of each paycheck into a savings account. Use services such as Mint to track your finances so you’re able to live within your means.

You should also be conscious of how you’re budgeting your time. Staying in the same town after graduation does not necessarily mean your social life will remain the same. Going out every weeknight should be a thing of the past now that you’re working — even if it is ladies’ night at your favorite bar. However, it can also be easy to get wrapped up in the throes of your job and forget your responsibility to be young. Don’t forgo a night with your friends just because you feel like you shouldn’t be out of the house past 8 p.m. If you are going to go out, make sure you’re prepared for everything you need to do at work the next day. Budget your time responsibly and make sure there’s an even amount of work and play.

Get involved as alumni

It can be hard to let go of the days you spent grabbing lunch in the union instead of in between phone calls — especially if you were constantly on campus. Seeing your college friends keeping busy with their extracurricular groups while you’re prepping for tomorrow’s conference call can make you long for your college days as opposed to your work days.

If you’re working close to your alma mater and have some free time, get involved in alumni groups and activities. Volunteer to be an adviser for your sorority or fraternity. Join the alumni foundation and help plan tailgating events for home games. It’s a natural step away from the collegiate world but will still keep you connected to campus life.

However you choose to navigate your newfound adulthood, it’s important to try to integrate a new routine into your old one. Approach your post-grad lifestyle with a new outlook, along with the same preparedness you had in school, and your transition from classrooms to a cubicle will feel that much easier.

You might be in denial if your favorite show is ending

I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with a series finale.

I blame it on the writer in me. She thinks and schemes of ways she could have written a better ending, but she and I both secretly know what it really is: denial.

This week’s finale of Gossip Girl is no exception. I first fell in love with Gossip Girl when I stumbled upon Blake Lively trotting up and down Fifth Avenue in New York. Cameras crews surrounded her as she repeatedly threw a fake cell phone in a trashcan take after take. Four months later I was watching the same take on my bedroom TV the first week of my senior year in high school.

"Camera phones are the autograph of the 21st century."

“Camera phones are the autographs of the 21st century.”

Fast forward six years of schooling and two graduations later to last night’s finale, where I sat on my couch and watched TV’s favorite Upper East Siders get their happy endings and calmly laugh over the fact that Gossip Girl was really a boy who was one of their own. And with the closing credits came the criticisms – and the sadness.

Gossip Girl joins the following graduated class of TV shows that, after their final moments aired, left me complaining – mainly because I wanted just ONE more episode:

The OC

My favorite gang(Photo courtesy of Google)

(Photo courtesy of Google)

After putting me through the ringer and watching Marissa DIE in Ryan’s arms, only to have me eventually root for Ryan and Taylor – you’re still going to tell me he doesn’t end up with someone long term? (No, Josh Schwartz, an extra-long train ride doesn’t count.) At least Seth and Summer got their happy ending.

FRIENDS

How could anyone leave that incredible apartment?(Photo courtesy of Google)

(Photo courtesy of Google)

Okay, I lied. I really can’t complain about this one. I’m just bitter it’s over.

One Tree Hill

(Photo courtesy of Google)

(Photo courtesy of Google)

The realist in me who understands the plight of a writer and a creator knows that the chances of getting old actors back on the show they left is probably slim. The fan in me doesn’t care. It felt wrong watching the last episode sans Lucas (whose hair was too long in the episode he WAS in) and Peyton (who probably would have just cried the whole time and that would have been completely okay).

Glee

(Photo courtesy of Google)

(Photo courtesy of Google)

Well…Glee hasn’t ended yet. But someday it will. And I’ll probably have something to say about it. So I might as well just accept the inevitable and include it on this list now.

Boy Meets World

(Photo courtesy of Google)

(Photo courtesy of Google)

The series finale of Boy Meets World didn’t satisfy my 10-year-old heart. They were all going to New York! There’s way more story line there, you can’t just end it! Luckily, last month, Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel resurrected my childhood and are giving me another shot at satisfaction. Don’t let me down, Girl Meets World!

———–

What about you guys? Any series finales you took issue with?

You might be an athlete if you consider yourself a fan

When I was little, I was hardly what you would consider athletic.

Sure, I tried. I spent a brief career in softball, followed by soccer, then dance where I flopped around on stage like an uncoordinated noodle. These failed talents ultimately led me to my not-so-inevitable destiny as a basketball player, where I spent my time having coughing fits to avoid going out on the court and enjoying the cool gear I got more than the 7 a.m. practices.

Resurrected my “dancing career” for a sorority event. Guess who is standing out 10-feet taller than the others…

When I got to high school, I discovered that everyone had a niche, and performing on the court, field and stage just weren’t mine.

However, if being a fan was a sport, you better believe I’d be on a scholarship to some school in the SEC.

Dedication is driving 78 miles out of your way to go see the filming locations of your favorite TV show…like the River Court from One Tree Hill.

Over the years, my dedication transcended into different sports teams, different celebrities, different movies and different TV shows. I transitioned from fan to fangirl, which is a sport that I take very seriously.

As the true daughter of my father — the ultimate sports fanatic — I live out my genetics through yelling, which is a favorite action of mine as a fan. I’ve even borrowed some phrases over the years (“What are you waiting for, an invitation?!” and “You’re joking” are my favorites), which can be very versatile and applied to multiple situations.

I alternated between yelling and using binoculars to spy on the dugout at this game…

Just like in sports, being a fan has multiple facets to the game — and I’ve dabbled in every sector. I’ve been a dedicated fan, bandwagon fan, fairweather fan and super fan.

Whether it’s the Tampa Bay Rays, the UCF Knights, Batman (The Dark Knight series) or Glee, I’ve involved myself in them all. I’ve cheered, jeered and considered throwing in the towel (The 2008 almost-World-Series-winning season for the Rays and last Thursday’s episode of Glee to name a few instances.) I’ve seen strike outs and makeouts. I’ve rooted for players and characters. But most of all, I’ve stayed involved — and isn’t that one of the fundamentals of sports (or something) anyway?

LOL. No caption necessary.

I always heard the phrase “there’s no ‘i’ in team” in my short-lived time as an athlete. There is, however, an “i” in fangirl. And just like someone who plays tennis (which also has an “i” in it), take the solo-sport of being a fan very seriously.

 

You might get worthwhile advice if you pay attention to pop culture

Some of life’s most important lessons can be learned from pop culture.

Whether it’s how not to act when you’re going through a crisis ala Amanda Bynes (note: hire a chauffeur) or how to respond positively to a tragedy like celebs did post-Sandy — pop culture can teach us a lot about the do’s and don’ts of life.

But there’s no greater lesson Tinsel Town can teach us than how to navigate the trials of relationships.

I’m still not over it

In addition to perfecting their craft, celebrities must also perfect something else: the art of breaking up. Their breakups are splashed across the Facebook newsfeed of life — the media — on a daily basis.

Their reactions have taught me three important things when it comes to the matters of the heart:

1. No one is safe from the subtext
When girls go through a breakup, it is inevitable that most of them will post passive-aggressive song lyrics on at least one of their social media accounts. We know who you’re talking about. Chances are the guy in your life does too.

But, just as I once was guilty of the subtext status, celebrities have been too. Just on a greater scale.

“We are never ever ever ever ever ever…getting back together”

Take T. Swift for example, who is notorious for airing her feelings on past relationships through the song lyrics that we’ve probably used on our own timelines. If the song-lyric subtext was a war, Taylor Swift would be the Battle of Saratoga.

I miss them already

However, as Justin Bieber proved this past weekend, boys are not an exception to this rule. After breaking up with girlfriend Selena Gomez, the Biebs performed Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River.” I don’t need to spell out the obvious that the timing is convenient — unless he finally is succumbing to the JT comparisons he’s been getting his whole career.

So, the moral of this story? Subtext comes with the territory of all relationships. And rarely is it subtle.

2. Accelerated relationships end as fast as they start
Among the myriad things we can take away from Kim Kardashian’s flash marriage, the most important one is that no one should rush into a serious commitment. Kim joins a laundry list of celebrities who jumped in too fast only to have their irreconcilable differences flagged across the front page of Us Weekly (see: Britney Spears and…that one guy from Vegas).

Rumors have been circulating that these two could be getting engaged soon…you know you guys don’t have to do that, right?

Taking things easy may not always be a bad idea. Rarely have I heard “man, I really wish we hadn’t moved at such a normal rate.” Luckily for Kim and her new beau, things seem to be going a lot better  — and hopefully, a lot slower. If not for their sake, but for mine as well; I like Kim…and I enjoy having it be acceptable to use the name “Kimye” in everyday language.

3. Don’t cheat…just don’t
I mean, hopefully no one considers this anyway…but if Hollywood has taught us anything, it’s that you will get caught. Facebook, texting and Greek life are the paparazzi of the normal world. And they will find you, just like they found Kristen Stewart and LeAnn Rimes.

Imagine the press trips this week if these two hadn’t reconciled. Awwwwkward…

Luckily, things have worked out for both celebs since their scandals, and things probably will in normal life too. But they still have that stigma, and it probably will stick around for a while.

And most people usually end up rooting for the Sandra Bullocks of the world anyway.

———-

Who are your favorite celebrity couples?

(Images via Google)

You might be a wimp if you scare easily

Even though I’m entering the dangerous territory of my almost-mid-20’s, I still haven’t accepted the fact that my trick-or-treating, costumed days are over.

I still like the innocent side of Halloween, despite most people my age who like to curl up with a bloodcurdling horror film or subject themselves to an evening at Halloween Horror Nights. But, as much as I choose to ignore it, there is the “scary” aspect to this holiday. And I scare easily.

So, in honor of Halloween, I bring you the top 5 things I find absolutely terrifying:

5. My favorite TV show ending
As previously mentioned on this blog, I have a TV problem. I have invested time – and even worse, emotions – into multiple shows, and when one gets canceled, it’s kind of like losing a friend or something pathetic like that.

#Throwback
(Image via Google/GLEE on FOX)

Luckily, most of my obsessions with a TV show have cooled off by the time it gets canceled, but I know my good luck can only go on for so long. And when that happens, all that will be left in its wake is my pitiful mourning and each season spinning on repeat in my DVD player.

4. Sending the wrong text/email/Facebook message to someone
We’ve all experienced it: That panic-inducing moment when you realize that you just sent a text written about someone TO that person. I know I can’t be the only idiot that has fallen victim to her own undoing. Technology is great, but human brainpower (or sometimes lack-there-of) can always be greater.

EVERYBODY PANIC
(Image via Google)

Whether it’s accidentally sending heart-eyed emojis and juicy gossip to the wrong iMessage inbox or sending an important email to the incorrect list, the mortification is enough to send shivers down my spine and create an awkward tension for days to come.

3. The doorbell ringing when you’re home alone
I may or may not have hidden in a closet once when the doorbell rang when I was home alone at someone else’s house. And that may or may not have been recently.

Go away, neighbor kid
(Image via Google)

Call me a product of my cautious upbringing, but hey, it always helps to be prepared. Even if I am 6-feet tall and the doorbell ringer is probably just the pizza guy.

2. My friends’ weddings
I’m sorry, but the last time I checked, “married” was just another term for our parents or the adults in our lives; the people that took care of us and made us dinner or something. My friends certainly don’t fall under that category, do they?

How to be a sorority girl 101: Take a photo like this at weddings

Well, apparently this year they do. I have been to more weddings in 2012 than I have been to in my entire life. And while I am elated for all of my friends who are entering the stage where they swap “I Do’s” instead of weekend stories, I still can’t really wrap my brain around it.

1. Growing up, Grandma-style
Even though this is similar to No. 2, I had to get a little serious for this last one. This year has been crazy, between graduating from college, working in the real world and paying my own bills. Gone are the days where I feel comfortable at undergrad bars and staying up past midnight “just because” on weeknights.

What they don’t tell you is this is actually empty inside

It was a joke among my friends last year that as seniors, we had “officially entered Grandma status.” Little did I know how true that statement would actually be until this very year. But grandma-status be damned, I will not enter full-fledged adulthood without a fight. To quote Meredith Grey (and to once again show my embarrassing TV obsession because I didn’t even have to look this quote up) “When did we grow up…and how do we make it stop?”

You might be a ’90s baby if you’re (still) obsessed with boy bands

When I was 11, I was convinced that I would marry Justin Timberlake.

In addition to possessing tree-climbing abilities or having the latest hit clips in your collection, it was in vogue to claim celebrity boyfriends among my friends. And Justin Timberlake was mine.

I don’t know about you, but the blonde, brillo-pad look just does it for me.
(Image via Google)

This weekend, my already-claimed boo went off the market in an Italian instant as he said his “I Do’s” with the always-perfect Mary Camden Jessica Biel. JT’s nuptials not only signified his love for another woman (the nerve!) but they symbolize something else–another closed door on my childhood.

“The other woman”?
(Image via Google)

But don’t be fooled. Just because I’ve officially reached the age where there are now more weddings than themed birthday parties doesn’t mean I will fully succumb to adulthood yet. And just because my childhood, celebrity boyfriend is off-limits, what he became famous for is not. At least not for me.

Yes, I am 22 and I am still obsessed with boy bands. And if you say you don’t jam out to “Bye, Bye, Bye” in your car when you’re alone, well then you’re a terrible liar.

“Tearin’ Up My Heart” at age 11
(Image via Google)

With the bridge into the new millennium came the end of an era for a while, and while all of us 90’s babies were supposed to grow up, I still held on tight with both hands when it came to my pop music.

This may or may not have been a wall outside of our dorm room at one point. And while it was a joke, I still appreciate the masterpiece. Too much?

I was elated to discover that boy bands were making a comeback this past year and I dove into that indulgence head-first. I rock out to little (okay, a lot) of *NSYNC Pandora. I watched the Backstreet Boys when they were on Good Morning America this summer. And hey, One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” might be my current ringtone. I am 100 percent okay with all of that.

“The new boy band” — I don’t discriminate.
(Image via Google)

Nothing screams childhood more than the melodious, nonsensical lyrics of ‘MMBop, and nothing makes me nostalgic like my favorite *NSYNC album.

I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m a huge 90’s girl…and I probably always will be.

I’ll take your rap music and I’ll raise you a “Tearin’ Up My Heart” or “I Want it That Way” any day.

You might be missing out if you don’t have a Twitter account

A love letter to my Twitter feed:

Dear Twitter,

Thank you for being you.

Whether it’s your ability to (often inaccurately) break news first, or your parody accounts that instantaneously go viral during a pop-culture event, I love and appreciate what you bring to my life.

Thank you for giving the closet comedians a mic and the incredibly ignorant a stage. And thank you for allowing me to laugh at both by retweeting them.

Thank you for making it easier to stalk celebrities and entertainment outlets, and making it publicly humiliating and/or validating when they respond.

Because of you, I have figured out that all of my friends are well-esteemed political analysts, and their infinite knowledge has swayed my vote this presidential election. Thanks to you, I can also find links to information that can actually help me become informed about the real issues.

I cherish the moments we have together live-tweeting about awards shows. It’s the only time where I can be a totally lame fangirl and feel like a superstar all at once.

But most importantly, thank you for allowing me to further my fetish with pop culture. And thank you for making it possible to flaunt it to all of my followers.

No matter how many estrogen-infused subtweets you’re burdened with, or long and misused hashtags you’re subjected to, remember that you’re amazing…just the way you are.

To quote every yearbook ever: You rock Twitter, don’t ever change.

Love always,
Lindsay

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Follow me on Twitter! @lindstotheay