For my readers:

I don’t have a large group of followers. I am not a well-known blogger. But that means absolutely nothing to me. Each and every one of you mean something to me. 

When I started this blog I wanted to inspire through the written word and maybe get some things off my chest. I wanted to write more and I wanted to help others write more. What amazes me is how many people actually listened. And responded. And continually kept me going.

My blog isn’t flashy; I rarely include pictures, it’s a huge work in progress but I’m still learning. And despite all that, you all stayed with me. You shared my triumphs and my sorrows and often tried to help me along the way. And for that, I cannot thank you enough.

If I have helped, inspired, or related to a single person in the past 3 1/2 years I’ve had this blog then I have done my job. Keep writing. What you say is important. Your voice matters. Write.  I beg you to keep the written word alive. Find value in the words of others and your own. Write love letters, thank you cards, little reminders, whatever it may be. Words can be the most powerful weapons in the world if we allow them to. So please, WRITE!

This blog has helped me chronicle my journey in a way I never expected. However, I am about to embark on a new journey. By the time this is published, I will have just finished up my last final in my college career and will be counting down the hours until I walk across the stage. I will no longer be able to call myself an English major. But on the good days, I will be able to call myself a writer. 

I hope that you too feel like you have earned the right to call yourself a writer. Even though this blog has run it’s course, I am far from finished. Please visit my new blog, “Confessions of a 20-Something” and follow along if you so wish. I greatly appreciate all of you and everything this blog has provided me over the years.

I love you all.

-Marina

“I write so that people can see the entire universe through the lens of me. I write because I must. And most of all, I write to let those stranded in the darkness know that they are not alone.”

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Four short years later…

Four short years ago, I came to college knowing exactly what I wanted to do.

And four short years later, I am leaving college with no idea of what I want to do.

Four short years ago, I packed up my childhood bedroom and started this journey. I was going to a town I was unfamiliar with and leaving all my friends and family behind for people who were strangers. I had a dream and plans to make that dream a reality.

Four short years later, I am packing up my first apartment and starting a new journey. I am going into a world I am fairly unfamiliar with and trying desperately to hold on to the friends I have made in this process. I have many dreams and very few plans to make them realities.

Four short years ago, I had a boy in my life who I thought was so great. He was mysterious and rebellious. And ultimately, he made me feel like shit. He was never in the wrong and somehow everything came back to my insecurities. The insecurities that he only worsened with his behavior and attitudes.

Four short years later, I have a man in my life who is downright amazing. He is kind and warm-hearted. And ultimately, he makes me feel like I am worthy. He recognizes when he is in the wrong and forgives me when I am. He tries to ease my insecurities and understands that I have scars and imperfections.

Four short years ago, I never thought to worry about my parents. They were old, yes, but they weren’t aging. They were there to worry about me.

Four short years later, I have learned to sometimes worry about my parents. They are old, yes, and they too are aging. As I am growing up, they are growing old. And I have learned to appreciate them so much more than I ever could have before.

Four short years ago, I was a different person than I am today.

Four short years later, I am a better person. I have grown as a writer and as a woman. I am less judgmental and less self-absorbed. I am more empathetic, more attuned to others, and even more eager to learn about the world around me.

For short years have passed and I am a better version of myself than I was then.

The Real World?

I’ve decided that there is absolutely no way to truly prepare anyone for “adulthood” or entering the real world. You go to high school to prepare for college. When you’re in college you’re preparing to get a job, or to go to another school where you will prepare to get a job. And then you’re just done. You’re thrown over the fence where they keep all the hungry, snarling dogs and you wonder if you’re actually going to make it out alive.

When we’re in college we are in a little bubble of essays, and exams and eating bad food because that’s all we can afford. And then we are no longer in our bubble. We don’t get to stick our foot in the water and see how it feels. We don’t get to step outside and then quickly come back in. Nope, we are catapulted from our nice, comfortable bubble and told “Good luck” and “Congratulations!” And we’re supposed to just know what to do.  The problem is, we’ve been in schools our whole lives, supposedly preparing for this moment. While we were in those schools we were too busy filling out scantrons and cramming for tests and just trying to make it through the busy week that we didn’t have time to take a step back and really ask what are purpose is in doing all of this? And to ask, “Do I actually feel ready to go into the real world?” “Will the fact that I aced this test mean a damn thing to my future employer?” Or maybe the most important question we can ask ourselves is “Is this really how I want to spend my life?”


Is this really how I want to spend my life?

I just turned in the last essay I will write in my college career. And while it feels as though a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders, I also feel a little heavy hearted.

My relationship with writing has been tumultuous at times. And over the past four years, I have questioned why I am doing this, if I’m any good at it, and more importantly, if I care whether I’m good or not? I have beaten my head against the table trying to reach page limits or word limits or works cited. And I have laid my head down on the same table, just trying to write the words that I was too afraid to say aloud.

Writing has been the bane of my existence and the saving grace in my life. 

And now, I am no longer forced to write. I have no more assignments that require my voice to come through or my thoughts to have some sort of cohesion to them. I have thrown essays away when I saw the grade, only to fish them out later and have a conversation with the teacher. As angry as I was that they could dare give me lower than an A on a essay, those are the teachers I learned the most from. They helped me improve; and more importantly, they humbled me. My writing is better because of the teachers that pissed me off.

The last post for this blog is already being drafted. I find myself having to stop and take breaks to make sure I am really saying what I want to say. I also take breaks to keep from having too many emotions escape. I never thought that I would fall in love with writing the way that I have. 

Pen and paper will always listen. Even if you don’t think you need to talk. When tears come streaming down my face, I turn to pen and paper. Pen and paper will catch your falling tears.

I don’t think I ever fully realized my love for writing until now. When life breaks my heart, or the LSAT breaks me down, I write. And I let myself feel. Even when I reread posts like that I can feel a lump in my throat and a tear forming in my eyes. But that’s what you need to do. That is why I write.

I don’t think I am so passionate about the written word until someone tries to devalue or belittle it. Until someone says, “English, what are you going to do with that degree?!” And even though I know what the job market looks like, I continue to defend my decision and I still believe I made the right choice. Because despite the lack of appreciation for writers and a beautifully composed, emotional piece of writing, I fell in love with writing because of my degree. Despite all our ups and downs, I fell in love with writing.

Your writing voice is the deepest possible reflection of who you are. The job of your voice is not to seduce or flatter or make well-shaped sentences. In your voice, your readers should be able to hear the contents of your mind, your heart, your soul.

An Open Letter To The Professors Who Care

Wonderfully written, hits the nail on the head!

Thought Catalog

Good Will HuntingGood Will Hunting

Dear Professor,

Not all of my professors care as much as you. Some of them are not nearly as thoughtful simply because they don’t think about it. Worse, there are some professors who know how to be caring and actively choose not to be. Some of them talk just to talk, and some of them are the bullies that they tell their classes not to be. But that’s not you. You are here to teach. And you’ve taught me so much more than what’s on your syllabus.

Thank you for having calculators for us students who studied hard and made an honest mistake, forgetting them on our desks at home.

Sometimes we make mistakes that aren’t reflective of our knowledge on a subject. We are human, like you, and we forget things. When this happens, we are often recited a guilt-ridden and self-esteem-lowering lecture by other stern-faced professors. But…

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7 Thoughts I’ve had this Week

I realize that I have neglected my blog and my faithful readers for quite some time now. And I am very, very sorry!

I have been thinking about the next chapter of my life and how I am going to continue writing my story. I will let you all in on my secret plan very soon! But for now, I will give you some of the thoughts I have had over the past week.

1. I realized that I yearn for a successful marriage much more than I yearn for a successful career. Now before everyone gets all feministy on me, let me tell you why I think this is the case. It came as a shock to me when I realized this, as I have always had big career goals for myself. What I realized is that in today’s society, it is so much harder to have a successful marriage than it is to have a successful career. And at the end of the day, your career won’t keep you warm at night. It won’t listen to you vent when life gets to be too much, and it won’t be at your funeral when you die. A successful marriage, in my opinion, means a happy, and successful family which is ultimately what I want. If I die never having a successful marriage and/or a happy family life, I will feel as though much of my life was a waste. If I die never having a successful career, I don’t think I will be as disappointed in myself.

2. If there are multiple people in a “selfie” shouldn’t it be called a “selvsie?”

3. I can’t believe that I’m graduating college in less than two months.

4. What am I going to do with my life? How am I going to pay off my student loans? How can I make money for this damn blog of mine? Will I ever be able to buy my own house?

5. Babies are so much smarter than us.

6. I really wish I knew what my cat is thinking.

7. Why is it so cold out? I packed most of my winter clothes already? I guess I’ll just have to stay home and watch Netflix all day.

I Believe In Love

I Believe In Love

If I could paint a picture of modern love, it would be a portrait of turmoil, technology, insecurities and a raging hurricane of emotions. The portrait of modern love is disconnected and roughly sketched. The portrait of love is no longer a masterpiece.

We are in a world where we decide whether or not we could date someone by looking at a single picture and swiping left or right on a screen. We are forced to sum up who we are and why we are worthy in two sentences or less. We think that all of this technology is acting as a connector, but all it is doing is deepening gaps between us.

We are forced to have arguments through text messages. We are so worried about getting our message sent first that we do not even take time out of our rapid thumbing to stop and think about whether this “fight” is productive. We mistake the tone of a text message and only further exacerbate the problem. We cannot even be bothered to have face to face conversations anymore.

When we do sit across from each other and are forced to look into each other’s eyes we can’t even focus for long enough to be content with the silence between us before we are checking our social media apps or sending a text message.

We are hyper aware and insecure because of this supposed connectedness. We can see that our significant other was looking at an ex’s profile or sent them a text and we instantly assume the worst. “Why would you need to look at their page?” “If you have nothing to hide let me see your phone.” “Why didn’t you ‘like’ the picture I put up?” This constant lack of privacy is killing our confidence and our relationships.

Modern love is locked with passwords and fingerprints.

We are in a world where things are easily broken. And even more easily replaced. Modern love does not get repaired; it gets replaced. Too often now we are too lazy to fight for love because we think it is easy to find. Modern love is taken for granted, just like the technology we are so obsessed with. In most cases, we don’t know what it is like to truly miss someone. We have the ability to be in constant communication. We have the ability to look at a webpage and see what our love is doing, how they’ve been and who they’re with. We have lost the ability to truly miss the presence of another being – because even when they’re physically there, mentally they’re elsewhere, lost in the world of technology.

In preparation for this essay I asked what modern love meant on Facebook. The majority of the answers were pessimistic and hopeless. I got responses that love is dead, love does not exist and no one can commit to one person for their rest of their life. And the few positive responses I received were deemed as biased because that person was or is in love.

The response that seemed to resonate with most people however was “There is no such thing as ‘old-fashioned’ love stories anymore. The dynamics have changed. Love is finding someone who lets you be an individual who is part of the bigger team; it’s two incomes, sometimes two houses. It takes a lot of hard work and support on both sides of the couple, whatever that couple may look like.”

Recently I watched a video of my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary party. I could still see the love in their eyes as they looked at each other. A family friend made a speech and told how beautiful my grandmother was at her wedding and my grandfather loudly stated, “She still is!”

My grandmother stood up and said “50 years ago my husband didn’t think it was manly enough to wear a wedding ring, today he is going to wear one. With this ring, I thee wed” and she placed the ring on his finger for the first time in their 50 year marriage. It is amazing that after all these years we are still trying to decide what is “manly” or “womanly” in a relationship. My grandfather then said, “Ann was a very special girl. I won’t say it was love at first sight, but it was awful close. Not a day goes by that we don’t say to each other ‘I love you’ several times.”

Towards the end of the video, I really learned what modern love means. My grandmother said, “Our kids are always most important. But we decided when we got married that we would be important too. So he has always been my first priority and I was his. The marriage makes the family, and when the base is strong, the hard times don’t seem as important as the good times.”

Modern love is not irreparable.

Modern love just needs a little bit of TLC. 

Modern love needs the TLC that can be found in the courage of a gay couple; the TLC that can be found in the strength of a single mother; the TLC that can be found in the patience of our best teachers; and in the hope of a military spouse and the TLC that can be found in the sincerity of a 50 year marriage;

Modern love needs to look passed the cynicism and the tragedies and the despair of the world around us. We need a healthy dose of hope and optimism before we can move past the era of meaningless “hook-ups.” Instead why don’t we hook up our souls? And work through the awkward silences without escaping them with our phones. We need to look deeply into each other’s eyes in a face-to-face conversation and show each other that we are not afraid to care. Maybe the one who cares the most is not the one with all the power. Maybe love should not have a focus of power.

“Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is not envious.” We hear the same clichéd personifications and descriptions of love our whole lives. Isn’t it about time that we redefine love? Love needs to be put into terms that the future generation can learn from.

Love is difficult. True love is not easy to find. Love is missing someone in the afternoon when we just want their presence in the room. Love is sharing the last cup of coffee in the morning. Love is leaving your phone at home when it is time to go on a date. Love is surprising your partner with little reminders that they are loved; a sticky note on the mirror, a text message to wake up to, a warm hug at the end of the day. Love knows no gender, race, or income level.

In my lifetime I have witnessed multiple wars, bombings on the streets, mass shootings and epidemics. Love is having someone to talk to and watch the news with and be thankful for. Love is having someone to hold you and protect you. Love is having someone to comfort you when the world is a seemingly uncomfortable place.

Sometimes love comes to us as a disguise. Love first came to me in the form of the written word. After my high school love broke me down, words were there to pick me up. And then love came to me from a boy in my residence hall. A boy who accepts my weirdness. Who does not belittle me or quiet my voice. He never tells me that I am too sensitive or too wishy-washy, too harsh or too cold. He accepts the woman that I am and for that I accept the man that he is. Modern love needs the ability for mutual vulnerability.

Modern love does not only accept your flaws, insecurities and downright ugliness but it embraces them with open arms. Modern love means learning to love every bit of yourself before you can ever truly learn to love another.

We need to think back to the times when people were forced to write down their thoughts and their feelings for someone. It took time and money to send letters across the world. Constant communication was impossible. We get impatient if someone takes too long to text message us. Modern love needs to learn patience and understanding. We aren’t patient enough to stick around long enough to see if we could really be with someone for life. We need to be patient enough to actually listen when there is a problem so that the problem gets fixed rather than just ignored.

We need to move passed the awkward moments, the times when we feel uncomfortable and the times where we wonder if someone else would be easier to deal with. We need to fight for love so that our children have a better outlook on romance than our generation does. We need to feel things we don’t want to feel. And learn to be comfortable with silence and emotion. We need to be brave enough to risk getting hurt and possibly losing it all.

Maybe modern love is just making someone your top priority in a world that is constantly trying to tell us how to prioritize and what we should believe. Maybe “modern” love is not much different from any other kind of love. If love is truly timeless then it should persevere. Despite turmoil, technology, insecurities and a raging hurricane of emotions. I believe in love. Love is not dead. Love does in fact, exist. Love just needs a little bit of TLC.

Dear Prospective English Majors

Dear Prospective English Majors,

I’m here to tell you to not major in English. I’m here to tell you that the English department at your school is lying.

If you choose to major in English your degree will prove to be worthless in the job market. Nobody cares about the ability to write anymore. Nobody cares where the comma goes, where the apostrophes belong or what the Oxford comma is.

If you choose to major in English you will spend four years justifying your choice to everyone. And after four years you’ll begin to wonder if all your justification was for them, or for yourself.

If you choose to major in English you better get published. And good luck with that. As wonderful as the internet and blogs can be, they are one of the major culprits in devaluing your worth. Everyone can have a blog; many times the blog with the most followers are poorly written or pure junk. And I’m a blogger.

If you choose to major in English you will defend yourself and your classmates to those who have never taken an English class and genuinely cannot understand how rigorous your course load is. It is not a STEM major so obviously all you have to do is read books and say whatever you want to about them.

If you choose to major in English you will endure countless jokes about your degree. “Are you learning how to say ‘Do you want fries with that?'” “Well at least you’ll use your writing skill for writing names on the side of coffee cups.”

If you choose to major in English you will learn to love the written word, and the richness of language. And that will make you hate things like Twitter and texting. There is no reason why you should be restricted to 140 characters or less. We are destroying our language and enhancing the stupidity of society.

If you choose to major in English you will spend four years of you life thinking that somehow it will all work out. And then you will examine the job market for those with your degree. You will feel so worthless, valueless, and at times, completely hopeless. You will see that writing jobs are either volunteer work or so pathetically underpaid that it should be illegal. You’ll think to yourself, “2 cents per word and $50,000 in debt?” Something just doesn’t add up here.

If you choose to major in English you will start to realize how often you were lied to as an English major. Your academic advisor and your professors all told you that you can get any job with an English degree. That companies realize how valuable the English language is. And that the job you get will absolutely be relevant to your degree, because everything can eventually be connected to English. And then you’ll realize that it was all a big joke. And you’re the funniest punchline of all.

If you choose to major in English you will start to wonder what the return policy is for your degree. College is one of the only service we purchase that is non-refundable. What a rip-off. “Hey Dean I don’t have a job and I have a bunch of loans, I’m going to need my tuition money back please. You can only have it when I find the job that is so relevant that pays me a living wage.”

If you choose to major in English you will spend your last semester stressed and angry. You will spend your nights combing through the depths of the internet looking for jobs that are tolerable. You will lie awake in bed wondering what you’re going to do with your life once you walk across that stage; wondering if you will ever be able to make it on your own; wondering why this magazine didn’t hire you, or why that company didn’t answer your calls. You will wonder how many years you will have to live paycheck to paycheck; will you be able to have the wedding you hoped of; will you be able to afford to have a family? You will wonder was college even worth it?

If you choose to major in English you will be pushed down and stepped on and laughed at. And you will remember a quote from a book or an author that inspires you and keeps you going. You will cry and doubt your worth, your intelligence.

If you choose to major in English you are going to go to class one day and be really mad. “Why am I here? Why am I wasting these years of my life? Who are you to tell me how or what to write? Who are you to ruin reading for pleasure?” And you’re going to walk out of class, and maybe you go for a drive, or a run or just zone out with headphones in. And the next day, you wake up and you go back to class. You robotically go through the motions and play the game that they force you to play. You know the moves they want you to make and the rules they want you to follow. So you act as their pawn until you can make it out of there. Because you are paying for this after all.

If you choose to major in English make sure you know what you are signing on for. Because I didn’t. And as cliche as it sounds, if I knew then what I know now, I would have never stepped foot in the English Department.

If you choose to major in English… I hope you don’t regret it as much as I do.