Community, the Capitol, and Central Hall

Every time I meet someone from Hillsdale College while out here in D.C., they always ask if I know [insert their friend’s name here].

Most of the time, I fall back on “I know the name, but not the person,” but the point has been made. Even here, hundreds of miles away, the Hillsdale community is strong. And when I say it is strong, I mean it’s almost obnoxious how many other Hillsdale students and alums are working or interning in the nation’s capitol.

I know it’s because I run heavily in the conservative culture here, but it seems like my alma mater is everywhere I turn. I meet someone from my school almost every week—a speaker at a lecture, someone on the street, a fellow church member. And although Hillsdale’s ever-growing presence is a sort of running joke in town, I am thankful for it.

Community takes on a new meaning when you’re in a city for the first time, and I am lucky enough to have one built in. I haven’t had to flounder for friends, because there is a whole dorm full of them quite literally a block from where I work.

There is something to be said for going it alone, to be thrust completely out of your element, but I think it is only possible to thrive on your own once your roots have been firmly planted. I am only beginning to understand my roots. I am only starting to learn what it means to be grounded in people and places and moments.

Nearly three months in D.C. has only shown my heart has not been uprooted, only transplanted.

This isn’t a post about school spirit. This is not about cheering at football games. This is not about bumper stickers or class shirts or banners.

This is about how I have buried my heart under the well-worn steps of Central Hall. This is about planting my hopes among the flowers of Arb, rooting myself in the blue and the white, finding my purpose among bustling Midwest halls.

This is about unspoken allies in the city.

No matter what internship or job brings someone here, we both understand what is like to struggle through American Heritage, to see the glow of Central Hall at sunset, to have your heart jump in fear (or excitement) when Dr. Arnn rounds the corner. It’s a shared experience that is irreplaceable, unexplainable.

Knowing there are others—many others—in this town who share these roots is a comfort. Seeing where they are now is an encouragement. Meeting them is a joy, if only because the unspoken becomes the spoken.

The friendships I form at school might fade. Details of classroom lessons will be replaced. But the sense of community will never disappear, no matter where I go.  Once a Charger, always a Charger.

So charge on, Washington. Charge on.

An Update in Three Chapters

heard

Well, have you?

 

Consider this your update. It’s really more of me acknowledging I have not written anything in three solid months.

It’s not that there hasn’t been anything to write about. Quite the opposite, actually. So here it is: A Comprehensive Update on the Life of Jordyn Pair.

You’re welcome, grandma.

 

Chapter 1: Finding my (radio) voice

When I took a radio class last semester, I never expected it to be anything more than an obligatory rounding-out of my journalism skills. I never expected to take a second class, and I certainly never anticipated eventually taking charge of three separate shows.

That’s right, folks, Jordyn Pair is on the air.

Getting my first radio show, Have You Heard? on the airwaves was a long process, mostly due to my lack of diligence. I didn’t know who to talk to or how to edit what they said. But now you can hear the unusual stories, passions, and experiences of Hillsdale College students at seven in the morning, provided you are in town. Otherwise, you have to wait for the Soundcloud file to make an appearance on the Facebook page.

SHAMELESS SIDEBAR.png

Although I also produce The Devil’s Advocate, and will soon be hosting The Collegian Week in Review, my first show, Have You Heard? is my fun project. I’m in journalism to tell the unknown stories, and, at Hillsdale, that’s the not-quite-newsworthy-but-still-cool students. There might not be a news hook, but there is passion.

And, in my case, passion fed passion.

Although I have worked with words for so long, learning to work with them in audio format has been a new challenge. These shows are a different beast than ones I have approached before, but it’s a beast I love tackling.

The radio shows I work on are creative. It’s not just straightforward journalism, and they’re more personalized. Although journalism does occasionally lend itself to flexing artistic muscles, the radio shows I work on are more like a time for me to play. It’s a chance to sit down in front of a microphone and just have fun.

Chapter 2: Small town girl, meet big city

I have a love affair with travelling, but am rarely able to.

Which is why I am absolutely stoked that I get to spend the summer in Washington, D.C. After I finish a  two-week stint in Iowa for a journalism intensive, I will immediately turn around, cram everything I own (plus my parents and me) into a car, and drive down to D.C.

Although I am unsure of what my journalism internship holds, I’m thrilled to be in a town where the main occupant is not corn.

Yes, I am sharing a room. Yes, I will be stuffing myself into pencil skirts all summer. Yes, I will absolutely love every second of it.

And if you have any “Top Ten Places to Visit in D.C.” listicles, send them my way.

 

Chapter 3: The one where I write a million headlines

I have spent every Wednesday of the last year in the Collegian office. Apparently, I am a glutton for pain and the AP Stylebook, because that is where I am spending every Wednesday of this coming year, too.

Dearest readers/fellow students/grandma, meet the Hillsdale Collegian’s next News Editor.

Being an editor is difficult work. It’s long hours and managing new writers and harassing old ones. But it’s work that I will find fulfilling, rewarding, and so, so worth it.

 

I know my second two chapters are so much shorter than my first, but it’s only because they haven’t been fully written yet. This is just a preview of me throwing myself into the deep end of the journalism pool.

Pen to paper. Sink or swim.

 

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. 

Bullet Journaling

Staying organized has been a challenge for me at school, simply because there is so much happening. Last semester, I relied on separate notebooks for each class, an assignment notebook, a calendar planner, and my phone for everything else. I found out, though, that I am apparently the kind of person that thinks of their entire to-do list in the middle of class.

Enter the bullet journal.

The bullet journal has a few main sections: the index, the future log, the monthly log, and the daily log. The index is an ever-growing table of contents, the future log is a yearly calendar, the monthly log is a monthly calendar, and the daily log is a daily to-do list. I don’t personally use the future log extensively, and use the monthly log more as reference, but I love the daily log. Whenever I think of something I need to do, want to buy, or want to look into, I just write it down. Then, I go back to whatever I was doing, knowing I won’t forget it.

I love that the bullet journal is constantly changing and adapting to what I need. I don’t have to worry about buying the absolute perfect planner because I can just change my bullet journal. I can do things like add a module for a personal project, so I can keep all pertinent tasks and ideas in one place.

A prime example is the goal-tracker. After deciding I wanted to know my sleep and exercise patterns, I added a chart to my monthly spread. It’s a great visual, and I can decide if it works for me and if I want to keep it next month.

There is also something intensely therapeutic about going through and having a to-do list that is always getting checked off. Because I put everything in it from household chores (throw out the flowers) to more intensive projects (apply for scholarship), I am always marking off something I completed that day.

A shameless plug for the guy who put me onto bullet journaling. I only looked into it after seeing his Instagram post. You can check out his (new!) Instagram dedicated to bullet journaling at @minimaljournal.

If you are interested in starting your own bullet journal, check out bulletjournal.com. It is a great resource for learning the ins and outs of bullet journaling, with detailed explanations and lots of pictures.

Let me know if you start bullet journaling. How does it go for you? Do you love it as much as I do?

Five things you absolutely need for your dorm room

Regardless of what school you are going to in the fall, there are five things you must have for your dorm room.

1. Ten-foot phone cord.

It doesn’t matter how you set up your room or what spot you snag in the library, you will always be too far away from the plug. Or, if you’re like me, your cord will start to fray from being bent at a weird angle between the bedframe and the wall. Solve that with a ten-foot phone cord. I ordered these. They’re two for $10, so I have a spare if the one I use ever breaks. Being able to roll over in bed and still be able to charge your phone is seriously life-changing.

2. Hot pot

Even if you have a full meal plan or access to a dorm kitchen, I really recommend purchasing a hot pot. They’re different than a hot plate, so most schools allow them. They’re great for making soups, Ramen, tea, and oatmeal. I used mine to make hard-boiled eggs for in-room breakfasts, which seemed to work pretty well. I have this one.

3. Jars

In a small dorm room, labels and cheap containers can be visually noisy. Even though this might not consciously add anxiety, transferring small items like paperclips and thumbtacks into miniature desktop jars can calm down your room. I used a large mason jar as a toothbrush and toothpaste container and smaller ones to hold things like hairties, desk supplies, and makeup brushes. I even bought a small candle holder to serve as a stand for a makeup sponge, replacing the plastic, labeled one it came with. I found that cutting down the amount of labels visible in my room helped to create a cleaner, more relaxing environment, which, in turn, helped me focus on homework and studying.

4. Plants

Regardless of how many posters you hang, dorm rooms can still feel sterile, plain, and lifeless. Adding a plant (or seven) can help to add a little bit of greenery back into your life. Depending on where you live, something like a succulent might work. Succulents need a lot of light, so they might not be best if you live in an area that doesn’t get a lot of sun. I personally suggest a money tree (formally known as Pachira Aquatica). My boyfriend gave me one as a gift for Christmas and not only did it stay alive, but it actually thrived in my dorm room.

5. Sleep mask

Roommates suck. They stay up late and get up early, somehow always on the opposite schedule of you. Instead of suffocating under a blanket to block out light, buy a sleep mask. You’ll be able to sleep, and your roommate will be able to study or get ready for class. A sleep mask is also incredibly useful for those Saturday afternoon naps you take when you’re avoiding homework. To become an impenetrable nap fortress, buy a pair of earbuds, too.

Returning students, what are some things you would recommend for incoming freshman?

Surprise, I’m not an extrovert

I used to absolutely adore parties. Not the raucous drinking and dancing parties of college, but the middle-school, my-parents-dropped-me-off parties someone would host once a month. I was extroverted beyond belief. I couldn’t wait to go out. I would be texting 3 friends and talking to 4 more on Facebook. I lived and breathed people.

As I got older, these events began to exhaust me. Groups seemed louder and conversation was harder. I became tired more quickly, but I couldn’t understand what had changed. As an extrovert, I knew I was supposed to be energized by these events, so I kept making myself attend, even though they were actually draining me. I was working under a false impression of myself, and it was negatively affecting how I reenergized.

Then one day I stumbled across the definition of an “ambivert” and the heavens opened. A choir of angels descended from the sky and blessed me never having to attend a party again with sweet angelic song.

Someone who is ambiverted is neither extroverted nor introverted, but is instead a mix of the two.

I am an extroverted-ambivert, meaning I still lean toward the extroverted side. For me, this means that I draw energy from small groups of people, but shut down at large events. I can stay up all night with three people, but prefer watching movies alone to attending a house party.

Knowing that I draw my energy from both staying in and going out has changed the way I interact with people and how I take care of myself. Knowing what kind of interaction is best for me means I won’t put myself into situations where I stress myself out more. I use this knowledge to make sure I am at my best.

The more you know about yourself, the better you can take care of yourself. I definitely believe that if I had not realized I was ambiverted before college, I would have tried to reenergize by going out on the weekends, because that’s what I was “supposed” to be doing as an extrovert. Instead, I know that staying in or socializing with just a few friends is a far better way for me to relax and prepare myself the fresh hell of Monday.

If you’re an incoming freshman (or even if you’re not), I encourage you to take a Myers-Briggs test. You answer a few simple questions and it will tell you your personality type, including how extroverted or introverted you are. The more near the middle you are, the more you share traits from both sides of the personality spectrum.

When I first took this test, probably sometime during late middle school/early high school, my introversion/extroversion results leaned heavily extroverted (somewhere above 50%). Because personalities shift as a person matures, levels of introversion/extroversion can change, too. My latest result told me I was 3% extroverted, meaning I am almost exactly in the middle of being introverted or extroverted, with a very slight leaning toward extroversion. This fits exactly with what I observed about myself.

The official Myers-Briggs test costs money, but I like THIS knockoff, as it tells you the percentages of your results.

Share your personality type! Are you introverted, extroverted, or ambiverted? What are some of your self-care tips?

A goodbye to my freshman year

It’s strange to think that I will leave campus today. Only a few months ago, I was unpacking everything into tiny dorm room.A summer suddenly seems like a very long time.

The welcome party the first day with my roommate. Photo credit to Hillsdale Colleg

Freshman year has been good to me. The struggles of my last post about college still stand, but I think they always will. Making friends, getting enough sleep, and looking presentable all the time are difficult, no matter where you are in life.

Still, here I am, one year closer to my diploma—decidedly not dead, and very, very proud of myself.

Throwing yourself whole-heartedly into a new life is terrifying. You have to rebuild from the ground up, and I’m a far worse construction worker than I previously thought.

I learned a lot this first year. I think every freshman does, and my experiences are not new or shocking. I’m not expecting them to be.

But if I were to pass on advice to myself one year ago, it would be this:

Your time and energy are valuable and there is no point in wasting them on people and issues not important to you.

Learning how to ration myself has been difficult. I am by nature a person who spreads herself too thin, and this manifests itself in the worst ways at school. It means I overstudy for an easy class, or stay friends with people who only bring negativity into my life. It means I try to fix other’s problems or get too involved in their drama.

Rationing myself and my energy means learning time-management, learning how to let things go. It means learning how others and their problems fit into my world.

But it also means figuring out my goals and going after them with a vigor. Rationing myself means learning self-control.

Learning when and where and how to spend my energy has paid off. I end this year with good grades, with friends, with a beginning job in my field.

I’m looking forward to next year. In the fall, I begin work as an assistant news editor for the Collegian and will take one of my first courses for my major.

I am on track to making myself who I want to be. This year has only been a first step.

So, goodbye, freshman year.

Thank you for bringing opportunities into my life. Thank you for gifting me with new friends. Thank you for giving me a second home. Thank you for letting me lay the foundation for who I want to be.

Thank you, freshman year, for being my beginning.