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National Novel Writing Month

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Last year’s document.

Hey there,

In seventh grade, my teacher announced in November that we’d all be participating in National Novel Writing Month. I don’t think she expected anyone to take it very seriously, and we didn’t. A challenge to write 50,000 words in one month held no appeal for most of us. I probably didn’t scrawl more than a thousand words that year.

However, three years later, I decided I was going to attempt it again. I had part of a story written, but I kept getting writer’s block. I knew I just needed to get words out of my system, to word vomit and see them on paper. At first, I didn’t think I’d succeed, but to my surprise, I actually went over and finished with about 56,000 words.

The next three years were also successes. Junior year of high school and last year, my freshman year, I told myself I’d aim for 30,000 words–1,000 a day–but ended up writing the entire 50,000 anyway. Throughout the years, I only have one story that I actually don’t dislike, but I think the practice is worth it. And I truly do love to write once I actually start. This year, I know that I really shouldn’t try to win NaNo again. But I want to at least try!

Wish me luck.

Ema

Fall has arrived on campus!

The crisp air tickles the depth of your lungs, coating your insides with a fresh renewal only the breath of sweet fall can bring. The crunch of the colorful leaves un320334_4698369747017_2106393568_nder your feet as you traipse across Red Square sounds the soft alarm that autumn has finally arrived. Campus during the fall is a sight to behold. With trees all around, every pathway is a tapestry of painted splendor. Every day I come back from class, I throw open the windows and let the afternoon breeze flood through my apartment, gently blowing open my curtains in the process. 397203_4698369427009_319261151_n

This year, being in an apartment, fall takes on a whole new charm. In the morning, I wake up to my coffee maker brewing fresh coffee.  Because the sun sets earlier, after school and work, I curl up on our couch, and watch my favorite television program in the dim lighting of our living room lamp. Our kitchen provides a great opportunity to embrace fall foods – soup, grilled cheese, and stew are on our stove almost every day.

Following a beautiful fall care package from my parents, I have now adorned my apartment in the most enchanting and festive decorations. Lining the edge of our mirror above the bathroom sinks, purple and orange lights contribute a nice, warm, and October-y glow. Mini pumpkins sit on our window sills and fake candles flicker inside cracked glass candle votives. Happy pumpkin car557661_4698370307031_496538643_ntoons dance around the cups and glasses in the cabinets and grace the center of the sugar cookies on the table. While I don’t particularly like anything scary for Halloween, a small scare is always a bit of fun, as long as I’m not the scared one J. So to finish off the fall decorations, plastic spiders crawl around the beds of my roommates (shhhh).  With decorations complete and scarves hanging in my closet, I am ready for the temperatures to plummet.  The cold never bothered me anyway ;).

Catching Up at Homecoming

Homecoming is always an exciting time at McDaniel. Many are stoked to see friends that have graduated in the the past. The football game is always a big attraction that allows people to coming home to the Hill.

My homecoming was not as exciting as most stories I’ve heard about — I had to spend it at basketball practice. But I was able to catch some of the football game. Even though I only was able to be in attendance for the first half, I was able to speak with many friends that I haven’t seen since May. These friends vary from old teammates, to past fraternity brothers, and also random people I’ve met over the years at McDaniel.

The person that highlighted my day was Dr. Charles Neal. Dr. Neal retired from McDaniel’s political science department this past spring. He is the professor that made me fall in love with the poli sci major. Seeing him and catching up with him was great.

The weather was just as wonderful as the people I encountered. It was a mild fall day that allowed me to wear shorts and a t-shirt — I’ll take that over being wrapped up in bundles of clothing. The weather made it perfect to tailgate, and with tailgating always comes good food.

So while I was only able to attend the first half of homecoming festivities, I enjoyed every last bit of it.

McDaniel College Homecoming 2014

McDaniel College Study Abroad Fair

Last week, we had a study abroad fair for McDaniel Students. The International Programs Office contacts all of our different study abroad providers, and they send representatives to give students information about studying abroad.

For this study abroad fair, I was the representative for Sol Education Abroad. Sol is the company that I went to Costa Rica with during the summer. It was nice to be a student ambassador because I already knew a lot of people, so I convinced them to come over and learn more about the program.

The table cloth of my study abroad program, Sol Education Abroad.

The table cloth of my study abroad program, Sol Education Abroad.

Study Abroad Fair Selfie

Study Abroad Fair Selfie

The fair is really fun because you can learn about all the study abroad opportunities that McDaniel offers including our sister campus in Budapest, Hungary. We have so many programs it is hard not to be able to find a program that does not go to a country that you want to visit.

It is also really helpful as far as trying to plan for the future. People in certain majors often shy away from studying abroad because they think they do not have time to do it. At the study abroad fair, you can learn about the different options our providers offer such as summer programs. I think it really helps students realize that they can study abroad if they want to regardless of major.

Students checking out other awesome programs!

Students checking out other awesome programs!

If you want to go abroad, McDaniel is the place for you. We want to help you achieve your study abroad dreams!

Harmless Halloween Fun

Halloweekened has come and gone, and I had a lovely time. I’m not really into the types of parties that college students are traditionally associated with, so I have to come up with other ways to have a fun time.

On Halloween night, which happened to be a Friday this year, I was all set to go see a Halloween showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Carroll Arts Center, but all my friends who said they’d go with me ended up bailing last minute. I didn’t feel like going alone, and I didn’t want to force anyone to come with me, so I cut my losses and took one of my friends to get Sweet Frog frozen yogurt with me at 9:30 at night. I still had my Rocky Horror Transylvanian gear on at this point, so I was able to get my fro-yo and toppings for a flat rate of $4. (Sweet Frog is one of those fancy new yogurt places that charges by weight.)

Some coloring books and crayons I had on hand proved to be inexpensive and fun Halloween entertainment.

Some coloring books and crayons I had on hand proved to be inexpensive and fun Halloween entertainment.

Since we were already out, my friend and I decided to go to Rite Aid after Sweet Frog to pick up a few needed items. We ended up spending at least half an hour in the newly-renovated store. It always amazes me how something as simple as a drug store can be so entertaining — I never know what types of random and fascinating items I’ll encounter. Our favorite (non-purchased) finds of the night were a “holographic” iPhone case with a Pug wearing a bow tie and a pink raccoon Beanie Baby named Rocco.

On Saturday night, I was ready for laid-back Halloween part two. Since I hadn’t gotten a chance to wear my Hyperbole and a Half costume, I invited some friends over to hang out in costume before they went to another night of parties. I supplied food, music, and coloring books — yes, coloring books — and we had a marvelous time. Never underestimate how fun and relaxing coloring can be as a college student. Not only did I have a fun night with friends and had a chance for my creative juices to flow, but I now have beautiful pictures of ponies and dinosaurs hanging on my walls.

If I can leave you with one piece of advice for how to have fun in college, it is this: Know what you have fun doing, and make those things happen. With a little effort, you’ll have a blast, and chances are, people will want to join you.