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To the Class of _______

It’s that time of year where graduations are happening all over the country. Everyone has their cap and gown and is highly relived that school is FINALLY over. (Though paying back loans has just begun!)

I didn’t attend my undergrad graduation because well….after attending three schools to finish it, it just didn’t seem like a big deal to me. I just didn’t really care to be honest. I know a bunch of people get really attached to their undergrad years and it IS a big deal to them. But for me, I just wanted to get the degree and move on with my life. Plus we didn’t have a really cool commencement speaker (I think ours may have been our US senator….yawn) so there really was no incentive for me to go.

For my graduate degree commencement ceremony, while I didn’t attend the huge school one, I did attend for my school itself. And I’m glad I did because this time I did have friends I could walk the stage with and it was a very big moment for me. Granted, technically I didn’t graduate on that night (I still had my internship to complete over the summer) so technically I didn’t get my diploma until August. And of course since it’s me as I walked the stage, my cap fell off….TWICE. But it was a proud moment for me and for my family. Because I actually finished graduate school!

That night ended up being difficult for several reasons but knowing that I was 98% done with the school chapter in my life (at the time) was a huge blessing. I’m trying to make decision now about whether I should go back to school again, this time to get my library science degree. I’m still not 100% sure yet if this is something I want to do. Do I want to go back to school again? Do I want to pay money again? Do I need a second master’s degree? Lots of thought (and prayer) before making this decision.

But for now, congrats to all the graduates – college and high school.

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The History of How I Got Into History

Whenever I tell people that I was a history major, this is the reaction I usually tend to get:

I get it. A lot of people hate learning history. To them it’s boring and full of information they don’t need to know, dates that nobody wants to memorize, and dead people who no one cares about anymore.

I chalk this up to schools not knowing how to teach history. Many schools are bound to following standards of learning and therefore are forced on what they are allowed to teach. This causes many to not like what they are teaching and therefore they just give on making history interesting to their students.

I was one of those students. I actually have always enjoyed history but it wasn’t because of what I learned in schools. I got my history learning from reading books on my own or watching historical movies and then going back to do my own research. Sadly none of the teachers throughout my public schooling every really made me consider history as something I wanted to study more even though I was very interested and good at it. Then again, I took that darn AP test and even though I read my textbook thoroughly and took copious amount of notes, I still only got a 2. So it’s no surprise that I wanted to study engineering in college because that’s where the $$$$ is.

But then I actually got to college and throughout a series of events discovered that engineering was not what I really was meant to do. I took some electives in history to fulfill prerequisite requirements and not surprisingly I loved them. I made the decision to switch my major to history. And then was when I discovered the love of history from those that do as well.

Learning history in undergraduate college was such an eye-opener to me. I took classes in Asian history, European history, and American history. I took classes focusing on British history which second to American history is the best thing ever. I learned about Chinese history from my professor who was the daughter of one of the government officials during Chairman Mao’s tenure. I took classes in American history that focuses on time periods such as the 1920s and the Cold War. For the first time ever I learned about the Chinese Exclusion Act, something that had NEVER come up in the 13 years of history I learned in public schools. I learned how and where to do proper research.

I honestly loved learning it so much that I knew that I wanted to continue my studies in graduate school. That and honestly if you want to get a decent paying job in the history field, you HAVE to get your master’s. Graduate level classes were even MORE awesome as I studied things like the American West, the Guilded Age, the History of Popular Music in the Americas, and Medical History. I also took classes in public history such as Historical Preservation, Museum Studies, and Archives. In case you were wondering my degree is a Master’s Degree in History with a Concentration in Applied History with my focus in American History.

I could go into that argument about how the humanities are still paid low and not very much appreciated. It’s kinda sad at how one can get a PhD in a humanities subject and will never make a ton of money but one has to have a graduate degree to even be considered for certain jobs. But it’s ok.

That’s the history of how I got into history. I love learning about the past because it’s like a bunch of stories and all of them actually happened. Learning about history really can help you learn not to make mistakes in the future though we tend to fail horribly at it. There’s so much more to history than just dates and facts. There’s so much to learn that I know I’ll always be discovering something new every time. Even though I don’t want to teach history, I wish I could somehow make people see that history isn’t boring.

Oh wait:

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Wait, there are other timelines?

If you follow me on Twitter or know me in real life, you know that my favorite TV show right now is Community. (Yes, I’m late to the game. I already know this.)

One of my favorite episodes and what I think fans and critics agree is the best episode of the show is “Remedial Chaos Theory”. In that episode, a die is rolled to determine which member of the group goes to pick up the pizza that was delivered. With each result of the die and depending on who had to leave to get the pizza, a different timeline is created as events become altered.

Eventually there is a prime timeline and “The Darkest Timeline”.

Even with all the fun aspects of this episode (plus the fact that I now have “Roxanne” by The Police stuck in my head, thanks a lot Britta), what I got most out of watching it was how just one simple decision in life can change the course of the future.

While there are many of those stories I have in my life, today I’m going to focus on a decision that I did not initiate but it would eventually map out my life.

When I was a freshman in college, I was ready to take on the world. I was going to be a chemical engineer and make lots of money. Before I left for school, I fell in deep like with a guy from back home. We went to high school together but we didn’t become friends until the summer before I left. Once I got to school, we spent a lot of time talking on AIM and on the phone getting to know each other. And I really liked him. I came home for a weekend to hang out with him and we went to a concert and the movies together and I hoped that something would come of it. However, he eventually made the decision to not further our relationship.

I will admit that I didn’t handle it so well. As an 18 year old college freshman, I was not as mature as I am now in how I reacted. Not towards him but more so in the decisions I made after that. And because of how I handled it, those decisions that I made then affected where I am today.

I don’t blame him at all for what happened. He had every right to make that decision all those years ago and looking back as well as looking to see where we are today, I do believe that for both us it was the right decision. But it interesting that one choice eventually affected so much.

What if the die had rolled a different way? What would that timeline have looked like? It would have been completely different from where I am now. I think of all the people I have met up until today and without sounding cocky, all the lives I’ve impacted. If things had gone different 13 years ago, this would not have been the case. I might have kept continuing studying engineering and created something that would have saved the world. I might have ended up with him or someone else and not had the relationships I ended up having. The world could have ended.

In all seriousness, I know that things happen for a reason. God chooses to close doors and lead you down the path that he wants you to be on. I know I’m where I’m supposed to be right now. All the experiences I’ve gone through, no matter how hard they were and sometimes how much they sucked happened to me for a reason. All the people I’ve met, all the friends I’ve made, all the emotions I’ve dealt with, they’ve happened for a reason. And I’m happy with that. It’s not the path I thought was going to be on but I know it’s the right for me.

I do wonder what happened in all those other timelines.

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To pierce or not to pierce? Or what to pierce?

If you ever meet me and decide to look to see what jewelry I’m wearing, you’ll notice something about me that’s different from other women.

I don’t have pierced ears.

I know. The majority of females do. All my friends do. Actually now that I think about it, I don’t know anyone that doesn’t. EDIT: I LIED. I DO KNOW SOMEONE!!!!

Much like my choice of not eating beef, this is just something I’ve chosen not to do. And it doesn’t make me any less of a girl or weird.

I’ve never actually had a desire in my life to get my ear lobes pierced. There may have been some brief moment in time when I did think about getting the upper cartilage pierced but it was so brief I barely will admit to it. I have no moral or religious issues regarding this decision. I’m not all “why put more holes in your body than what God gave you” or anything like that. I just never really wanted to do it even though every other girl I know has. My parents would have allowed me after a certain age but that time came and went and I never did it.

I see on my Facebook feed, moms getting their daughter’s ears pierced when they are super young, like before one years old. It’s their decision though I don’t necessarily agree with it. Since you’re doing something to her body, shouldn’t she be old enough to have a say in it? Why are you honestly doing it – for her or for you? Granted, I suppose the same thing could be said about boys and circumcision but that’s a whole other story.

Sure, I will admit that sometimes it probably would help with accessories and to accentuate certain styles. Also I was the only bridesmaid who didn’t have pierced ears so I missed out on the earrings as a gift. EDIT: I WASN’T THE ONLY ONE! WHEW. But those are just minor things.

This can be to some folks’ advantage. When I shop at Charming Charlie’s for necklaces, I used to be disappointed that there would be some awesome looking necklaces. However they came paired with earrings. I would avoid them in the past because what was I going to do with them? Now I just give them to one of my best friends and she gets a free pair of earrings!

Fun story though. Even though I will never get my ears pierced, when I was in college I got my eyebrow pierced. Whaaaaaa? I know right? Seems like I had no problem doing that. To this day, I’m not really sure why I did it. Other than the typical “I’m away at college and I can do whatever I want” reason. Actually I think it was because it was so unlike me and something the Deborah in high school would never have done and no one would have expected it.

I had a friend recommend me a tattoo/piercing salon in downtown Blacksburg and one day after class, I went down with another friend and got it done. Handed over my $80 and sat in the chair and waited. I got a barbel vs the hoop because I didn’t want it to catch on things. It didn’t hurt as much as I thought it was going to.

I don’t really have any pictures of myself with the piercing. My parents made me comb my hair over my left eye anytime I was out in public with them. They weren’t fans of it.

But it looked a little something like this:

I enjoyed having it. Though it was a slight pain to keep clean, it was part of my image and personality at the time. The only negative thing for me was when I got my hair cut once and I told the stylist to please not comb my hair so that it was right in front of my face. She didn’t listen and constantly kept bringing the comb down ON the eyebrow ring. I did my best not to curse.

But it was all short-lived anyways. I broke my ankle 10 months later and had to go into surgery. During prep they removed everything off of me, including my eyebrow ring. Due to me being out of it for the next several days, by the time I got around to putting it back in, the holes had pretty much closed up. And thus ended my time as a pierced person.

I haven’t had any desire since then to pierce or repierce any parts of my body. I’m perfectly fine with my non-pierced ears and though I may miss out on getting awesome gifts of earrings in the future, it is ok. I wouldn’t be me any other way.

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Add me to your buddy list

This past week I came across a post on Buzzfeed that brought back all sorts of memories: “21 Signs You Were Addicted to AIM While Growing Up“. I could relate to pretty much everything on the list.


I don’t remember exactly when I started using AIM but I think it was my senior year in high school. My family didn’t subscribe to AOL on a normal basis but every now and then we used the free trials from those CD roms that always came in the mail. Therefore I knew all about how to use Instant Messenger.

I used the screen name ‘beatccr’ for several years. I had created that name freshman year in high school because I was a fan of The Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival. After a while I decide to change things up and switched it “I Worry Easily”. Yep. That was a thing for a few years.

Listening to these sounds brought back all the memories.

I entered college RIGHT at the peak of the use of AIM. Everyone was on it. You could hear those blips and bloops as you walked through the dorms. Even if you were in the same room with someone you still IMed them. The best would be when you messaged someone across the hall about getting dinner and they yelled back at you.

I went through several color palate and font changes. It was like trying on new outfits until you find what suits you. Away messages was where I posted all my emo song lyrics. I would like to apologize to all the people who kept seeing Dashboard Confessional show up in my messages every other week.

There were so much passive aggressiveness in my profile. I never called out anyone but a lot of stuff was clearly directed at certain people. 98% of them never said anything about it. But I’m pretty sure that they knew it was about them and didn’t give a _____.

Anyone else put up that link where you could stalk whoever checked your profile? And you didn’t put it so it was super obvious. You did it in a Rick Roll type of way and then you’d try to figure out who were these random people who found your profile.

Do you remember buddy icons? And how you had to pick the perfect one in order to fit your personality? We used to visit sites like BadAssBuddy to get them.

The longest I ever stayed on AIM was at least 44 days 3 hours 57 min. That meant that I never turned off my computer for a month and a half. Also that the power never went out for that long either. Oh those were the days. Also when you had to go somewhere else, like the library or math emporium, you’d get on AIM express so you could always stay in contact with people.

I made (and lost) a lot of friends because of AIM. Some of them I still talk to though we’ve moved onto different messaging platforms. In the past three years I’ve been using Gchat but it’s not the same and I think the novelty is also wearing off. Not everyone uses it and I think that it’s dropping

Sigh. Real time chatting online is now a thing of the past now that we all text with each other. I guess I could also talk to people in person.