A Letter to Boardwalk and Everyone in It

Today I move out of the little brown house on Manning Street and into the newly-refurbished Mauck Dormitory. 

It will be nice to have a properly-heated room. Less nice to have to share a bathroom with more than two other people. 

Still, I will miss this house, run-down as it was. Not because of my larger room or the abundance of community tea nestled on the top shelf of the kitchen, but because of the aggressive positivity that turned it into a home.

I am not used to having an abundance of female friendships. Growing up, I had my mom and a few close girlfriends. I have never been the girl that hangs out with 10 other girls at the same time. I’m not in a sorority. The last group of “girlfriends” I had was in early middle school. 

This means I have more intimate friendships with the girlfriends I do have, but it also means I spend a lot of my time with boys. 

Girl friendships are difficult for me. I despise doing the weeks, even months, of awkward friend-flirting, only to have the friendship fizzle. Sometimes, it’s because Things Happen. Sometimes not. Either way, it’s a wooing process, tiring and often fruitless. It’s left me a little jaded toward the idea of reaching out to make new girlfriends.

Living in Boardwalk changed that. 

I hadn’t originally planned on living in the house, but was offered a spot after my planned roommate bailed at the last second. I’m grateful now she did. 

I have never seen a house get along so perfectly. The living room was always littered with twinkle lights and candles. Some sort of baked good cooled on the kitchen counter at least once a week. When I wandered into the kitchen in the morning, still blurry-eyed and bed-headed, I was always greeted with at least one cheery “good morning!” 

Twelve girls in one house seems like a lot. It is. Every space in that house was crammed with something. Books, food, and homework, but also joy, laughter, and love. 

Don’t get me wrong. We weren’t gathering in the living room every night to giggle and swap makeup tips. But knowing there were others just down the hall who would be there for me, who would let me vent, and who I could support equally, that was exciting.

The women in Boardwalk showed me why female friendships that are unequivocally and passionately positive are of unmatched importance. Having such a positive experience with 11 other girls at once gave me the desire to once again pursue female friendships. They made me a better person, a more confident person, in just a semester.

So thank you, Boardwalk. A few twinkle lights and a little bit of a laughter made a little run-down house feel like home. 

Here’s to a new dorm, a new semester, and new friendships. Welcome to Mauck. 

Good Morning, 2017

The year 2016 is finally (finally) over. I rang in the new year with friends and family and way too much dessert. The past year brought the beginning of my sophomore year at Hillsdale College, a goodbye to my elderly dog, and a lot of summer on Portage lake in Pinckney, Michigan, which surprised me. I used to hate swimming, but my waterlogged boyfriend convinced me to get on the lake more. Now, you can’t keep me off the boat. 

This past semester has especially been full of joy. Due to some dorm renovations, I spent the last semester in an off-campus house with 11 other girls, which is way more fun than it sounds. I also got the hang of being an assistant editor, including the two-hour upload session it takes to get all the pieces on the newspaper website. I’m looking forward to getting back into the office next semester.

Like many, though, I use the new year as motivation to set new goals for myself. And, like many, I tend to get a little over-ambitious. I want to form so many new habits, everything from exercising (haha) to sleeping right (hahaha) I start to get overwhelmed. I even paid for–yes, paid for–a habit-tracking app. It’s working so far, but we’re only a week into the new year, so time will tell. 

Although I have many smaller goals, I especially want to work on having peace and being content. In the past, I have put far too much energy into worrying about what others are doing or saying. Focusing on their successes made me lose sight of my own goals. This year, I want to focus on who I am and where I want to go. I want to be secure in my own path and not worry where others are going. 

Part of striving for peace means unplugging some. Social media is one of of the biggest ways I become discontent as it’s too easy to compare myself to others. This is part of the reason I also have to goal to read more.

I used to love reading when I was younger. I would walk out of the library with a pile of books towering above my head. But with the pace of school and the abundance of television shows on Netflix, reading has been shoved to the wayside. It’s easier to scroll through Instagram and Facebook than dive into a book. 

I realized how much I missed reading when I had time for it again this summer. Not only does it give me something new to do, it also helps me unplug for a few hours. This is why I plan to read one new non-school book each month. I have already started in on Yes Please by Amy Poehler, and have picked up another memoir and took suggestions from friends. Still, I am eager to see what else I find throughout the year. 

I’m looking forward to these next twelve months. I turn 20 soon. I will be halfway through college. I’ll spend my summer doing what I love. I could write a multitude of metaphors about dawn and fresh starts and clean slates, but such things are trite and overused. I will simply say this: 

Good morning, 2017. It’s going to be a good one. 

I’m still looking for books to read this year, preferably shorter, easier books. What are your suggestions? Why do you like them? Comment and let me know!