The Legend of the Productive Spring Break


I try to be productive while I’m on break. I really do. Except sometimes other stuff comes up that’s more important, you know?

Like, Netflix and sleep.

I had a to-do list for Spring Break, just like I do every other break. And this time, I told myself, this time I would finish it.

First thing on my to-do list: Hang out with my friend Kate. Priorities, right?

Kate and I have decided to get an apartment together next semester. We both are in the same major and have taken nearly every class together, so we first bonded over complaining about the 10 minute hike to our journalism classes.

Our apartment, by the way, is awesome. The shag carpet really brings out the hues of the wood paneling that covers every inch of the kitchen. But it’s big and cheap and not as scuzzy as others I’ve seen in this small town. And it’s exciting to think about having a place to ourselves with a kitchen and my own bedroom!

Anyway, Kate and I got Mongolian food and ice cream, then watched Freaks and Geeks. We had agreed that we would work on one of our assignments together, but with James Franco on the television and bowls of cookie dough ice cream in our hands, we may have forgotten to study. Whoops.

At least I could cross my social interaction for the week off my list. Next: do research for my French paper.

For my French class, I have to write a 10 page research paper on Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the Impressionist painter. I tried looking for sources at my school library and found almost nothing. Not nearly enough to fill ten pages.

So I went to the library by my house and checked out every single book on Renoir, French paintings, and Impressionism. If anyone else in the area is looking for those books, I sincerely apologize, but I had no other choice.

When I went to check them out, the librarian discovered that not only had my library card expired, but I was not allowed to check out books in the adult section.

“Yeah, you’re 19 and it says you’re not allowed to take these books out without your parents’ permission,” he said.

Luckily he printed off a new card for me (that said I was allowed to check out big kid books) and started to stamp each of the 11 oversize books on painting.

“You in art school or something?” he asked.

I said no, I just had to do a research paper on Renoir for my French class.

“Awesome!” He said. “So you’ll be looking at 19th century French paintings? That’s so cool!”

Whoa there, mister. I haven’t even read these books yet. You wanna write this paper for me?

But seriously, I thought it was cool that the librarian knew all about it.

By this time, it was Saturday and I had to pack up my stuff (I was still not fully unpacked, so that made it easier) and get ready to leave the next day. I felt accomplished.

But I still had a few items on my to-do list:

Research for French paper (At least I have the books!)

Do the craft for next week’s newspaper

Call the study abroad office

Do the last interview for an article I was supposed to do a while ago

Study for my Logic quiz

So much for productivity. At least I have the weekends.

Roommate Banter

TRASHApparently I need work on my trash talk.

Me: Oh my gosh, this girl is a pill! Why does she think she can talk back to the teacher and get away with it?

Mary: … Sorry, did you just call her a pill? Who does that?

My roommates have been teaching me how to trash talk. But I still need work.

Hannah: Ok, when someone is being mean, insult their mom. It’s also funny. Like, your momma’s so fat, she’s on both sides of the family. 

Me: What if their mom isn’t fat?

Hannah: … Try to keep up here.

But after all their lessons, maybe I’m getting better.

Mary: Hey, Emily. You forgot to turn off the light.

Me: I’m so sorry! I’m a failure! It’ll never happen again! *fake cries*

Mary: … That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever seen.

Me: Have you looked in a mirror?

Hannah: Ohhhhhhhhh…

Stereo: It’s What You Have When You Don’t Have Mono


You know what’s even more fun than stressing about finals? Stressing about finals while being too sick to get out of bed.

Why yes, I am speaking from experience. Or rather, I’m typing from experience. Because my voice disappeared last Sunday as well.

Finals are over and done with now, I’m back at home, and have remembered I have a blog. Surprise! But finals week was terrible.

Saturday before finals I woke up, went to breakfast with my roommate, and was able to choke down a glass of orange juice. I went back to my room and slept until 5:00 p.m., when I woke up coughing and sneezing.

Pathetically, I begged my roommates to get me a glass of water.

“You can’t be sick!” my roommate, Mary said, as she covered her nose and mouth with her shirt. “I sure don’t want to be sick! If I get sick, I’m coming after YOU!”

I fell asleep at 8:00, after squinting at my biology textbook for a while without understanding a single word. My biology final was at 9:30 monday morning, and I didn’t understand anything on the study guide.

Sunday morning rolled around. After church, I went straight back to bed and sleep until 1:00, when I remembered I was supposed to meet a group to work on a project for my media class. After noticing the snowstorm that hit while I slept that morning, I put on five pairs of socks, my warmest sweatpants, two shirts, wound my scarf around my neck until I couldn’t breathe, grabbed my coat and boots and waddled pitifully out the door. When I got to the meeting, I couldn’t speak above a whisper.

The girl in my group sat faaaaarr away from me, but the guy just laughed.

“Haha, you probably have mono,” he said.

“WHAT?!” I croaked.

“My friend had mono, and he acted the same way you are. No voice, sleepy all the time, didn’t want to eat anything…. Yeah, you probably have mono.”

Well, that was reassuring.


When I waddled back to my room, I asked my nursing major roommate, Hannah, if I could possibly have mono.

Her eyes widened.

“You might,” she said. “And if you have mono, you’re not allowed to live here anymore.”

Nice to know my roommates have my back.

She forced me to go to the health center, which was closed on Sundays. I drove myself to the Urgent Care clinic instead, and filled out paperwork and talked to doctors by myself.

They swabbed my throat with an enormous q-tip that was made for a giraffe’s throat, and returned to my room 2 hours later to tell me that they were “90% sure I didn’t have mono.”

I wasn’t terribly reassured.

“So that means there’s a 10% chance I have it?” I asked.

“Well, yeah, but we’re pretty sure you don’t. You also don’t have strep.”

(Oh good.)

The doctor continued, “Yeah, I’m not actually sure what you have. Maybe you’re just stressed. But either way, you should go to WalGreen’s and get this prescription I’ll sign off for you.”

So off to WalGreen’s I went. I approached the counter, gave them my name and date of birth, and the pharmacist assured me it would be ready in 20 minutes.

20 minutes rolled by. Nothing.

20 more minutes rolled by.

Still nothing.

20 more minutes passed. I went back up to the counter.

“Hi, I’ve been waiting for a prescription for about an hour, and I was wondering if you’d finished it yet.”

The pharmacist looked at me like she had just seen me for the first time. “You had a prescription?”

“Yes. You told me it would take 20 minutes.”

“Right. Sorry about that. Give me a few seconds.”

30 minutes later, I walked back up to the counter.

“Right!” the pharmacist said. “I have most of it finished, but we close in five minutes. I can try to finish it, but no promises.”

I looked around. I was the only person in the waiting area.


She managed to finish my prescription a minute before they closed, and I got back to my room around 6:30 p.m. I hadn’t studied for Biology. Hadn’t even looked at the book that day. I climbed in bed, took my medicine, and sat there with my book in my lap for 30 minutes before I couldn’t stay awake any longer. I texted my dad to let him know he may be getting a bill for the Urgent Care visit, and that I was freaking out about my Bio final I hadn’t studied for.

“Ask your professor if you can reschedule!” he shot back.

Frantically, I emailed my teacher, begging to take it a different day. I fell asleep at 7 p.m., with all the lights on in my room, and Hannah and Mary looking at me concernedly (more for their own health than mine) from a safe distance outside my range of coughing.

The next morning I woke up at 7:00, planning to get ready for my Biology final, when I saw an email from my professor telling me I could reschedule. I went back to bed, half in pajamas, half bundled up in my scarf and twelve layers.

Long story short, I survived finals week. Barely.

Heading home, I offered to drive my friend, Lauren, and one of her friends back to our hometown. Of course, we were driving in a snowstorm. 30 minutes outside campus, my car hit an icy patch on the highway. The car skidded right, then left, then gracefully turned and deposited us in a ditch to the right of the highway, facing the road.

After we landed, the girl in the back seat started screaming.

“I thought we were going to die!” she yelled. “What do we do now? We’re stranded! Stuck in the snow, probably!”

“We haven’t even tried to get out yet,” I said. “We’re all fine, we were never in danger of flipping, and I see some highway patrol officers coming our way now. We’re ok.”

“How do you know they’re highway patrol officers?! What if they’re gonna kill us?!” she yelled.

“They’re wearing neon vests and just walked out of a patrol vehicle. I think we’re ok.” I said.

The officers got us out of the ditch in less than 10 minutes, and the car was absolutely fine. Not even a scratch.

I’m pretty sure I won’t be asked for a ride by backseat panicker again anytime soon though.

Although if she had caught my sickness, her screaming wouldn’t be any louder than a whisper.

Subtle Indoctrination

Calvin and Hobbes

I am now a tool of the school.

Yeah, you read that correctly. I got a job as an overnight host. Once or twice  a month, one unlucky prospective student will follow me to my classes, eat meals with me, and sleep on my cold, hard floor. I’m still working out the logistics of making them buy me coffee and carry my books.

The job is pretty straightforward. There are three rules:

1) Don’t do anything illegal with them.

2) Don’t leave them unless they’re with their parents.

3) Don’t say anything bad about the school.

Rule #1 pretty much rules out my Thursday night plans. But that’s ok. I guess I’ll deal.

Rule #2 means I can’t make them run errands for me. I mean, I guess I could, but I would have to go with them, and that kind of defeats the purpose.

Rule #3 is really the only challenge. Now, don’t get me wrong. i really, really love my school. I have so much fun here, the teachers are understanding and willing to work with you one-on-one, and there is a huge variety of students, so you’re bound to fit in somewhere.

But there are things I like to jokingly complain about with my friends. For example, our movie theater is in a small, run-down building that looks like it’s made of tin foil and will blow away in the next thunderstorm. It gets incredibly cold and snows constantly, yet snow days are unheard of. The “typical student,” which everyone makes fun of, is a nerdy, socially-awkward dork who is insanely perky and does homework for fun.

So I have to watch what I say around these prospective students and be insanely upbeat about all the fun things you can do on weekends. I had to make a list to mentally prepare myself when they ask, “So what do you do for fun here?”

1) There’s the movie theater that shows movies everyone else saw three weeks ago.

2) There’s a state park where you can kayak or hike by yourself and get abducted by the slasher.

3) You can always find a group of “L.A.R.P.ers” (Live Action Role Players) on The Quad. Every weekend, ten to twelve (nerdy) guys dress up in full body armor and fight each other with padded sticks and plush nunchucks. I usually try to use my body to block the grown men screaming about ogres and princesses from the student’s view.

4) Road trip! You can drive an hour and a half to get to a “city” that has a mall. Otherwise, you can always visit Wal-Mart.

5) Hole up in your room and channel your inner “typical student.” Watch Netflix and eat raw cookie dough with your door closed and lights off.

6) Volunteer to host a prospective student so you have someone to talk to.

7) Homework. There is always homework.

8) Go to the sketchy bowling alley down the street. This is not advisable after dark, since there are no lights in the parking lot, and the building smells like B.O. Also, Tuesday night is competition night, so all the “townies” watch the bowling league duke it out with the next county over.

9) Make yourself dessert in the tiny kitchenette down the hall in your residence hall. Sure, the oven only stays on for 15 minutes, but you can send off the smoke alarm if you burn your cookies. Can you say fire drill?

10) Rearrange the furniture in your room for the fiftieth time because you KNOW there’s a better way to maximize floor space and de-loft your bed.

Or you could make up a list of fun things to do on your blog instead of actually accomplishing anything. Can you say “typical student?”


My roommate serenaded me to sleep last night. To the tune of Billy Joel’s classic, “We Didn’t Start the Fire.”

“Emily’s going to bed!

“She’s gonna lay her pillow under her head!

“Her favorite color is purple, not red!

“When she wants toast she uses white bread!”

I told her not to quit her day job.

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