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.”

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.

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.

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.

Rushing Through

I am 22 years old and I want too much. I want so much for my life.

I graduate in 3 1/2 months and I have no idea what I’m going to use my degree for. I don’t know what I want to do to make money. But I know what I want to do.

I want to see the world. I want to go to the big cities that make me feel alive. The cities that make me feel right at home. The cities where getting lost doesn’t feel uncomfortable. The cities where my fashion sense can actually be appreciated. The cities where people don’t know your name so you can escape and be totally invisible.

I want to go the small towns that make me feel accepted. The towns that welcome any newcomers. The towns that are so small it’s nearly impossible to get lost. The towns where my fashion sense would make people wonder where I came from. The towns where everybody knows you and won’t let you escape or be invisible.

I want to see everything there is to see. I want to feel the warmth of the sun and a cool breeze through my hair at the same time that someone else is getting snowed on. I want to marvel at the green hills of Ireland and the mountains of Switzerland. I want to share these sights with my family and some day with my children. Because I want them to yearn like I do. With one condition: I want them to feel as though what they are yearning for is within their reach.

I want to own a little bakery that people visit every Sunday. That my kids will have memories of. I want the smell of bread and brownies and cakes bring a flood of memories to people. I want to share my family recipes and love of baking with people who will enjoy it. I want to do the things that I’m too afraid to try.

I want to believe that the things I yearn for are within my reach.

I think about how I have spent the past four years of my life, and I wonder if it was the right thing to do. If it’s right for anyone to do. We’re told we can’t make it in the world anymore without a college degree. So then we shove as many students as we can into colleges and we all come out with degrees. And then we’re told that that degree doesn’t make much of a difference anymore because everyone has one. So what were we doing with those four years then?

Maybe I should have taken my student loan money and used it to see what I want to see. To do what I want to do. Maybe I would have learned more about life and about myself and about failures and success had I not spent four years in a classroom listening to someone tell me what’s important. Maybe they should have told us to figure out for ourselves what is important.

I hope that this doesn’t come off as ungrateful. I have said many times before that I am privileged to go to college and get the education that I have received. All I am saying is that there are plenty of other forms of privilege we should recognize. And plenty of other reasons to feel grateful in our lives.

Most of us come to college at only 19 years old and they tell us we need to decide what we’re going to do with our lives now. 3 months ago, we had to ask if we could use the bathroom but now we’re given that huge responsibility? Why are we always in such a rush? Then we pick a major and we rush along in hopes to graduate on time so that we can rush into the real world to find a job so that we can get into a routine that go through mindlessly every single day. Why do we do that to our young adults? Why do we do that to ourselves?

We only get one life and I’m tired of rushing through mine.

The End is in Sight

Three and a half years ago, I drove to Fort Collins ready to start my college career. I was nervous, scared, sad and excited. I was sad to leave my friends, family and life that I had made for myself. I was excited to meet new people and have adventures. The night before I left I made a playlist called Fort Collins drive. It was 2 1/2 hours of songs that reflected my varying emotions. I tearfully said goodbye to my sisters and my parents followed behind me in a separate car. I cried for about half of the ride.

Today, I drove to Fort Collins ready to start the last semester of my college career. I was nervous, scared, sad and excited. I listened to the same playlist, now 2 hours longer than the original and I cried for about 10 minutes of the ride. This time, there was no one to say goodbye to me, my parents are on a trip and my sisters live elsewhere and already said goodbye a few days ago. The whole time I was home for Winter Break I knew that I would be starting my last semester but it didn’t hit me until a few days ago. I was sitting by myself in my parents’ new house when I got an email that my graduation contract was ready for pick-up… and it hit me. I was about to start my last semester of college. I have no job prospects, no motivation to take the LSAT again, no real plan for the rest of my life and no one to say goodbye to me. Not to mention tens of thousands of dollars of debt. I started to panic.

I move out in exactly four months. I move out of my first apartment. The apartment that I have 3 years of memories of. The apartment where my boyfriend first told me he loved me. The apartment that I brought my first pet home. The apartment where I raged about my last roommate, and welcomed my current roommate. The apartment where I cried about my classes, and celebrated my successes. The apartment where I was able to watch myself grow and change into the person that I am. The apartment that I have made into my home away from home.

Naturally, I start to feel a bit nostalgic every time I think about graduation. I think about receiving my acceptance letter, and attending Freshman Orientation. I think about that first drive up here and all of the others in between. I think about life in the dorms, when making and keeping friends was easy and there was always someone there to give you a hug. I think about my terrible professors and about the great ones. I think about the countless essays I have written, books I have read and all the time I spent procrastinating. I think about the late nights and the lazy mornings. The 8AM classes and the 1AM IHOP runs. I think about the fights, the arguments, disagreements and debates, the tears, the hugs, the triumphs and the failures that I have experienced these past three years. I think about all the times I have spent laughing and all the time I spent wondering, questioning and doubting. Those questions and doubts still find a way to sneak up on me from time to time. Some days, I know how to handle them. Some days, they get the best of me. I have questioned whether or not I deserve to be here. I have questioned whether this is the right path for me. I have questioned if college will be worth it in the end. I have doubted myself, my worth, my ability and my strength. But I have never doubted that I am lucky.  I have never doubted that I have been privileged to be here and to have had the experiences I had. I have never doubted that I should feel honored to get an education, to make friends, to have a roof over my head, a family that supports me, a job, and opportunities.

I still have four more months of memories, laughter, failures and triumphs, questions and doubts. I thank each and every one of my readers. I thank my family and friends, professors and classmates that have made these three and a half years so incredible. Let’s make the last four months just as memorable.

Another post about the LSAT

It’s been awhile since I have posted anything about law school, about three months to be exact. However, today I came across something that I feel needs to be written about. In the recent weeks, I’ve decided that despite my terrible experience with the LSAT, I still really want to be a lawyer. I can’t seem to scratch that legal itch that I have. Now of course, some of you may be thinking, “Oh that’s great!” And it is, to some extent. However, it also sucks; in order to do this, I have to take that bleeping LSAT again. Or do I?

In a desperate attempt to try and ease my worried mind, I decided to ask Google a question I assumed I knew the answer to. “Is it possible to get into law school without taking the LSAT?” Again, I assumed I knew the answer would be “no” but what if there was some extreme special circumstance where it was possible? What I found was surprising. So surprising that I said out loud, “WHAT?” when I saw it.

I saw a blog post that said one of the proposed new changes that the ABA considered in June was to allow law schools to admit 10% of their students to their schools without having taken the LSAT. This is when I cried, “WHAT?” I thought it might be a little too good to be true so I looked into a little further. This is the exact wording of the change:

The proposed Interpretation provides that a law school may admit no more than 10% of an entering class without requiring the LSAT from students in an undergraduate program of the same institution as the J.D. program; and/or students seeking the J.D. degree in combination with a degree in a different discipline. Applicants admitted must have scored at the 85th percentile nationally, or above, on a standardized college or graduate admissions test, specifically the ACT, SAT, GRE, or GMAT; and must have ranked in the top 10% of their undergraduate class through six semesters of academic work, or achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above through six semesters of academic work.

Okay. So going down the list of requirements: Well CSU doesn’t have a law school unfortunately, next. I wasn’t planning on getting another degree simultaneously but I suppose I could consider it. What’s next? Oh great, another test score. Another number that simply measures how well you can bubble in an answer. Great. Next! Oh okay, because I chose to have a life in college and take rigorous classes that were not easy A’s, I am still stuck taking this God forsaken test which in no way shows how passionate I am about the law.

This is such crap I can’t even stand it. Another link I came across during this research was one that I thought I would have agreed with, but was actually one that proved to be enraging to me. I sat there reading, thinking, “How dare you? You pompous ass.”

First of all, do we really distinguish between “smart” and “not smart” students by their scores on a standardized test now? Secondly, who are you to say that because my LSAT score was less than a 160, I am not “smart and hardworking enough” to go to law school? Maybe I’m too hardworking. Maybe I didn’t score so as high as I could have because I was a full time student while working two jobs and didn’t have time to study three hours everyday for the LSAT. I studied as much as a could for a year for that test. And could I have studied more? Yes. But I didn’t want to drive myself and those around me crazy. So forgive me for trying to balance school, work, friendships, a relationship and my family with the ever-important LSAT. That in no way means that I don’t want it or didn’t work as hard as the people who scored better than I did. “So the smart kids got the memo.” Really? I’m willing to bet that the people who took the LSAT “got the memo” as well but instead of saying “Oh forget that, I want a job where I’ll be rich!” like the “smart kids” Weissmann refers to, they decided that those statistics didn’t matter to them. That law was what they wanted to do and that they were going to make the long trek uphill to get there regardless. And maybe that’s what makes them more hardworking than these so called “smart kids.”