“All My Single Ladies….Put Your Hands Up!”

It is absolutely everywhere. Every time you scroll through Instagram you come across at least one highly edited photo of a twinkling diamond sitting upon a perfectly manicured hand. After so many engagement announcements on Facebook and wedding invitations in the mail a girl has to think to herself at least once, “Well shit, what the hell am I doing wrong?”

Now, I am not trying to sabotage the happiness of those who are happily wed, for I believe each person has their own choices to make and fates to embrace. However, I, among many others, are one of the single women thinking to themselves, “Am I the only one getting left in the dust?”

Popular culture has tried to convince us that getting married young is the most recent and sought-after trend. Well, I’m sorry about it pop culture, but you’re wrong. Dead wrong.

According to Pew Research, “Barely half of adults ages 18 and older are married—51 percent in 2010, compared with 72 percent in 1960.”

Additionally, the rates of marriage are declining while the average marriage age is rising. The advances and social acceptance of birth control has given women opportunities in careers that they never would’ve dreamed of 60 years ago.

The median age of marriage in the 1960’s were the early 20’s for both men and women, compared to the median age taken in 2011 where women average 27 years-old and men wait to tie the knot until they are 29, said Pew Research.

Nevertheless, I understand completely that every once in a while a woman gets down on herself for being single. I won’t lie, it is lonely and self esteem depleting; however, there are additional studies that say that single women are happier than those who are married.

This is because women find it easier to make life-long meaningful relationships with other women.

According to WebMD, “Men tend to have a certain homophobia about hanging out with another guy . . . For men it’s not so easy to sit down and have coffee or a leisurely dinner with another guy.”

WebMD continues by saying that wives or girlfriends tend to be the main source of emotional support for men, and when the relationship is over they lose that.

The simple solution is girl power. We all know the saying chicks before dicks, but in all seriousness friends are like bras, close to the heart and there for support. There is nothing more therapeutic than a night out with the girls… or even a night in front of the TV.

According to sciencedaily.com, gossip is even emotionally healing, “Although not associated with self-esteem or life satisfaction, higher levels of gossiping were associated with feelings of greater social support.

So long story short, us single women are not necessarily the minority and even more importantly we are slowly coming the majority. To put it simply I know that being single really sucks sometimes, like really sucks; however, it is not something that a tipsy night with the ladies can’t fix

It’s okay to be alone, embrace it! Truly, this is the one time in your life that you don’t have to tend to a stinky husband or screaming kids. Travel, explore, learn, and most importantly enjoy the young life that you have. Single women really have all the power in the world because ultimately we are the ones that call the shots. As Mandy Hale once said, “’Single’ is an opportunity to live life on your own terms and not to apologize.”

Previously published in the Branding Iron

Just Shut the Door and Deadbolt it…Twice

3 tips on how to walk away from the dirtbags in your life forever

Recently I had the chance to tie up some loose ends over winter break. I’m talking high school sweethearts—sorry—let me rephrase that, high school lays that just seemed to follow me around like pieces of toilet paper stuck to my shoe. I’ve been graduated for close to three years now and every so often I would hear from one of them, or two, or three. Okay there are three (major ones at least) that had some sort of impact on my life.

There’s no slut shaming here, so if you’re one of those few misogynistic gems just kindly move along.

On top of all of this I also just got out of an extremely unhealthy relationship, also mentioned in my blog here, so needless to say I was ready for a new start. But anyone who has ever had a broken heart or a lost lover knows how hard it is to just walk away.

Now, at the time of fraternization I didn’t view them as simply “lays,” I thought I loved them in some way or another; however, I found myself reevaluating that “love” since I’ve been home. I kept asking myself, “What the hell do I see in these losers?” And I kept coming up with the same answer. Nothing.

They were nobodies; they had no futures other than carpentry (which I am inadvertently attracted to, thanks dad…fuck the electra complex) and drugs. Which I kept trying to tell myself wasn’t that bad . . . it didn’t matter that they were sniffing coke along with drywall dust everyday right?

Oh, and the pièce de résistance of the whole situation was that all three of them had girlfriends. Two of which whom had already cheated on their SOs with me in the past. Classy gents huh?

So, here’s where we cut ties and let these fuckers drift out to sea.

  1. Sit down and create a pro and con list. I mean physically get out the damn paper, because by the time you have gotten through the plethora of cons you will have forgotten half of them. And none of this “It’s a con but I can deal” shit, if you can deal, then it’s not a con. Physically jotting down these lists will help to cement the reasons in your memory. According to Psychology Today writing things down has four advantages: it takes your worries and make them tangible rather than abstract, so you can deal with them; it makes it possible to see connections, so when he ignores your calls and you see pictures of other women plastered all over his instagram, you can finally let go of your hopeless denial and realize he’s a player; it allows you to look at things and let them go, sure he has a nice dimples, but he also does meth…time for you to hit the road; and recording things makes you to remember, so when you begin thinking of all the “pros” this loser seems to have, you can think back to your list and remember that he received a Prince Albert, which went horrible wrong and eats his own toenails.
  1. Next, sit there and actually think about what these dirtbags do for your life. Sure, they may text you once in a while and tell you how beautiful you are, inquiring when you are coming home next. But were they there at your doorstep taking you out when you were in high school? Did they ever meet your parents face-to-face or was he the “sneak in the window type?” Has he given you copious amounts of attention as gentleman should? The answer more than likely is, negative. Just shit can him.
  1. After these first two actions you will be able to realize that this person is nothing but a piece of gum plastered to the bottom of your shoe, ready to be scraped off and disposed of. Think about your future in laws, think about your children, think about the ramifications of being with this person. Once you have finally figured out and accepted that he will probably be in and out of prison the rest of his life, married to the same girl he cheated on with you (who dyes her hair at home and is in need of some serious dental work) turn around and don’t look back, ever. Even though you were always there when he needed you, he never appreciated it and most importantly he never will. Everyday look at yourself in the mirror and know that you are a beautiful, intelligent woman (or man) and that you deserve the absolute best.

Slut Is Only a Four Letter Word

I want you all to brace yourselves before I say this. It may come as a shock to a few, so if you need to take a seat that’s entirely appropriate. Ready? Girls like sex too! I know, it sounds like an urban legend passed through generations of whispers. But I’m about to bust that myth wide open, we are just as much sexual beings as you are fellas. This is not an attempt to take over your testosterone dripping limelight in the realm of fornication, but I would like to work on establishing a niche for women in your universe of copulation.

The stigma comes from the stone-age idea that women are only useful for bearing children and that their sexual pleasure is about as mythical as Rush Limbaugh’s support for women. But, really, what is so bad about a woman indulging in sex? Do men just want to selfishly stow the pleasure away and keep those locker high fives to themselves?

Opposed to popular belief the average age of deflowering in both men and women is surprisingly similar.

According to kinseyinstitute.org, the average age that men lose their v-cards is age 16.9 and women come in hot at 17.4.

However, I feel as if society ignores this similarity and punishes girls for exploring their sexuality, while on the other hand it allows the excuse “boys will be boys.” What does that even mean? That it’s acceptable for men to run around like mindless baboons sniffing out females in heat? Each time a man sleeps with another woman they get another notch in their bedpost and another story to affirm his “stud status.”

Women, on the other hand end up receiving the short end of the stick in this situation (along with every situation for that matter). As soon as a woman even remotely indicates the fact that she is interested in a man she is basically labeled as a slut. However, unbeknownst to most of the public women have kept up with men fairly well when it comes to sexual statistics.

According to kinseyinstitute.org, 2.2 percent e of men ages 18-24 reported having sex four or more times per week, while the percentage of women in the same age group and category came in at 4.9 percent.

This gap between percentages has led to the infamous practice of slut shaming, which degrades and insults a woman for her sexual behavior, dress or taking action in line with her sexuality in general. Slut shaming has implemented a double standard stating that men can engage in sexual behaviors freely, but women should still be waiting for marriage or “true love” to drop their panties. I am not calling women who decide to withhold their sexual feelings to themselves prudish. I am only saying that each woman should be entitled to their own choices pertaining to their sexual behavior without social repercussions.

My only word of advice to the rest of the ladies out there is to not let shit like this bring you down. I understand that being called a slut sounds like nails on a chalkboard and feels like a kick to the ribs; however, it’s only a four-letter word. Embrace your sexuality and look at it more like your personal exploration of the world and everything it holds. Own it, there is nothing to be ashamed of. If men get to revel in the glory of ostentatious numbers of partners then it’s only fair that we get to as well.

And concluding with the wise words of Walt Whitman: “Sex contains all, bodies, souls, meanings, proofs, purities, delicacies, results, promulgations, all hopes, benefactions, bestowals, all the passions, loves, beauties, delights of the earth, all the governments, judges gods.”

Previously published in The Branding Iron

Witty Women: There’s More to Life Than Tampons

“Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, five guys right now…like right now?”

Seriously, what the fuck is that? Personally, it makes me absolutely sick that Daniel Tosh would label this as “comedy,” or anyone who would find that humorous.

Undoubtedly, there are many types of comedy; however, they all have one thing in common: a copious amount of men. This won’t come as a surprise to many considering the fact that men outnumber women in a majority of careers.

So, what’s the deal? This may sound like just another feministic rant about how women need to be equal in the entertainment world etc. etc. But seriously, it’s a little ridiculous that women have been trying to thrust a foot in the door of the comedic world since the 19th century and they are still having minute success.

According to http://www.forbes.com, Caroline Hirsch, owner of Caroline’s, an acclaimed comedy club on Broadway, says “the number of female performers has hovered around 20-25 per-cent of comics since she founded the club in 1982.”

So, the real question comes down to be: is the women’s fight for numbers in comedy just another feministic cry for equality? Or is there a little more to it?

“A 2010 poll conducted by Channel 4 found that 94 out of the 100 greatest standups were men,” states www.theguardian.com,

So the answer is yes, yes there is a little more to it.

Not only are the “best comedians” men, they also appear to be white and middle- aged, which are coincidentally the majority in the United States. Forbes magazine exhibited an article titled, “Top-Earning Comedians of 2013,” and by some fortuitous event 7 out of 10 of the top-earning comedians were white, middle-aged men.

According to quickfacts.census.gov, 77.7 per-cent of the United State’s population is white, assuming that women and men both make up 50 per-cent of this figure, then that means that a majority of comedy is based around the lives and experiences of approximately 39 per-cent of the population.

This goes to show that comedy is just another area where white men dominate and the rest are considered insufficient. Congratulations America, you did it again.

Another issue with women in the comedy world is that—apparently—women only speak about “female issues”, which are not understandable to the general public. Many male comedians have claimed that all women talk about are issues with men, shopping, and their menstrual cycles. I’m sorry, but last time I checked there is much more to a woman’s life than phalluses, Louis Vuitton’s, and tampons. On top of that, men have even gone as far as trying to eliminate female comedians altogether.

In Yael Kohen’s “We Killed: The Women in American Comedy,” Anne Beatts, a writer for SNL, states that, “John Belushi used to regularly ask for us to be fired.”

Additionally, another comparable incident could be seen on the Oprah show where caste member Jane Curtin “claimed that Belushi tried to sabotage skits penned by female writers by performing them poorly in so that they would never make air.”

The last argument is that men need to be naturally comedic because “women don’t need to be funny to get laid.”

“The chief task in life that a man has to perform is that of impressing the opposite sex, and Mother Nature (as we laughingly call her) is not so kind to men,” said Christopher Hitchens, writer for Vanity Fair

Gil Greengross, Department of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico, and Geoffrey Miller, Department of Psychology University of New Mexico, whom conducted a study in 2011 on how humor ability reveals intelligence said, “Intelligence predicts humor ability, humor ability predicts mating success, and males show higher average humor ability.”

If you want to thump around on the stage like a Neanderthal yelling “GIT-ER-DONE!”, and sounding like you have the IQ of a fence post then please, be my guest and take all the intelligence you need.

So, I assume the bottom line is women aren’t funny because we don’t have penises, which makes us obviously so much more subservient to the male race.

 Previously published in The Branding Iron

Lovely Ladies, Just Tell Them to F- Off

Ladies, listen up. And I’m talking about the actual “processing information” listening, none of this in one ear out the other bull shit. I know we have all heard this a million times, in fact probably a billion, but that does not make it any less important. You are beautiful! You know why? Because of the simple fact that you are a woman. We have the ability to push watermelons out of our vaginas and give new life to the world. If that’s not considered a beautiful thing then it wouldn’t be called the miracle of life.

You may have heard of the young Registered Student Organization Real Women Real Bodies within the past year, which I believe could be arguably one of the most important RSO’s in the University of Wyoming’s history. Despite popular belief, women’s (and men’s) views on body image are an issue in this country, and a notable one at that.

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associate Disorders, “91% of women surveyed on a college campus had attempted to control their weight through dieting.”

For those nine percent of you that have abstained from following any dieting trends: congratulations!

Recently, Cosmo Magazine recently interviewed Sydney Stein, president of Real World Real Bodies, about their latest exhibit in Gallery 234. The exhibit displayed nude silhouettes of women in order to emphasize the importance of loving one’s body and being comfortable in your own skin.

Is this type of exhibit necessary on a college campus? Well considering the fact that the body of an “ideal woman” is overused throughout advertising and only five…FIVE percent of the population actually meet this “ideal” naturally, according to anad.org So I say yes its necessary. Absolutely necessary.

Ultimately, the media is the biggest issue in regards to women and their ideas on body images. The advertisements on television showcasing impossibly thin women would make any woman feel like a whale. Although we all realize that sex sells, these unrealistic portrayals of women’s bodies is beginning to take a toll.

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, “81 percent of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.”

I don’t know about you, but the only thing I was concerned about at the age of ten was evading the bathtub and trying to sleep without a night-light.

Several organizations are striving to revive the idea of natural beauty and to heighten women’s self esteem. The most notable being the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, which produces heart wrenching commercials of women and their misconceptions of beauty. The campaign has been working with Girl Scouts of America to create self-esteem boosting programs working on encouraging and inspiring girls around the world. Their goal is to reach 15 million girls by the year 2015; so far they have already opened the eyes of 7 million little ladies. So there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

I will leave you with a quote, in the wise words of Jennifer Lawrence, “If anybody even tries to whisper the word ‘diet,’ I’m like, you can go fuck yourself.”

Previously published in The Branding Iron

It’s Not Just an Issue of Black or White

I can’t hide the fact that I’m white, but sometimes I wish I could. I wish I could deny my white privilege, but I can’t do that either. I just walk around feeling like the enemy. The recent events regarding police brutality have begun to affect me more than I ever thought they would.

I tried as hard as I could to ignore the Michael Brown incident, the Eric Garner incident, and the most recent Tamir Rice incident. I won’t lie; I willingly entered into the realm of cognitive dissonance. I used my “whiteness” as a tool so I didn’t have to care. I know how terrible that sounds, but I’m just being honest. However, the harder I tried to ignore the riots and the court hearings the more I felt like a hollow cast of a human being. I was trying so hard not to care that I had begun to lose my humanity.

The first time I met my best friend the only thing that came to my mind was “black.” Not her kindness or her intelligence, or her leadership, but the fact that she was black. It took me over a year of living with her and seeing her everyday not to see her just as “black.”

The other night I came home and saw her in tears, her swollen eyes glued to the T.V., which just repeated the outcome of the Eric Garner case. It was at that moment I knew I couldn’t sit back anymore. I couldn’t let her fight this fight alone. I knew what was happening was wrong, but what could I do? I am a white 20-year old living in Laramie, WY. I’m the enemy, I’m the one at fault right? Wrong. I may be white, but that doesn’t mean I don’t care. That doesn’t mean I don’t want to help, because I do.

For those of you who feel as if it is not your place to help because you’re white, join the club. But it’s not just the black community’s responsibility to fight this. We are allies. We are husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, best friends, teammates, peers and professors of these people. It’s our fight because it’s everyone’s fight.

For those of you who believe that what is happening is justified, where is your humanity? Black people are just as human as you are, they have hearts that beat, ten fingers and toes and share many of the same dreams and goals as the rest of the American population. When did it become such an inconvenience to care about our fellow man (and woman)? Some may say that they deserve it. Deserve what? To be racially stereotyped as criminals? Thus, making them open to police brutality?

Also, take a minute to reflect upon the fact that according to fbi.gove, out of the 30 offenses documented on the site in 2011, only three of them were committed by more black people than white. These included: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, robber, and gambling. Out of 9.5 million offenses committed, black people executed only 28% of them. So the assumption that the black community is wreaking havoc across the United States is false, because a majority of the havoc is being caused by white. Additionally, according to naacp.org, blacks are incarcerated at nearly six times the rate of white. Although statistically speaking 68% of serious offenses are committed by white, the incarceration rate is much lower indicating that somewhere along the line the numbers don’t quite add up.

America boasts as being a nation driven by Christian values. But I fail to see these values used within the most basic realm of everyday life: compassion. Blacks in our society are usually placed into two categories: criminals and athletes. It’s time they are put in a third category: human beings.

Previously published in The Branding Iron

I Wasn’t One of the Four

NOTE: This story has since been updated, please see the new version.

I never had to cover bruises with foundation. I never had to hide a black eye or make excuses for a broken nose. Sure, he yelled at me, but wasn’t that normal? Don’t couples fight? Of course they do, but when you get to the point where you are so belittled that you are even afraid to speak out of turn, there’s a problem. I didn’t realize it was happening, everyone else did. But to me, I was in my own little world where he was the only thing that mattered.

According to loveisrespect.org, “One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.” And I was one of them. I lived two years so blinded by my love and adoration for the man that I was with that I couldn’t even see I was being walked all over and controlled.

When I came to college I was a bright eyed 18 year old who voiced my opinions strongly and always stood up for myself. My voice was taken from me, and instead of being known as K.C. Schooner I became known solely as Michael’s girlfriend

There were red flags in the beginning, but naturally I denied their existence and made excuses for him. “Oh, he called me a slut and slammed the door in my face?” He’s just insecure. “He ditched me and lied to me about spending time with his friends?” He just doesn’t know how to balance his time. “He left me when I needed him the most?” He has his own stresses in life. Everything had an excuse.

He isolated me from everyone that loved me to make sure that he was the only person in my life. My closest friends suddenly became the enemy in my eyes, due to his coercion and his excuse of “They hate me so they are just trying to separate us.” He was my world, so of course I began to question everything out of my best friends mouths. He convinced me that my family was dysfunctional and broken only because I grew up with divorced parents and an alcoholic father. So I stopped seeing them, in Michael’s eyes they were also trying to hold me back from my relationship with him, so they too took a backseat.

My viewpoints on politics, religion, and my future all became opinions I used to have, rather than the opinions I voiced. He always had to be right, and when I challenged him I only got punished with spittle being thrown in my face from his yells and my confidence being torn down by his glares. I learned that agreeing with him only made things easier on myself, and slowly my original viewpoints began to fade away and I began to adopt his as my own.

Emotional abuse is a real thing, and I know that because I’ve lived it, not only that past two years, but also my entire life.

According to safehavenshelter.org, “Many battered women are familiar with the abuse cycle and really don’t see anything wrong with the abuse they are suffering.”

I had grown up with an alcoholic father who physically abused not only my mother, but also myself. Walking on eggshells was a way of life for me for 18 years, just trying to avoid every possible situation that would upset my father. I thought this was what normal couples were, and I found myself in the same situation when I left home.

Michael’s piercing words and risen voice were something I had dealt with everyday as a child, so to me, nothing was new. This was not something I found unusual; however, the people around me began to notice.

My roommate and closest friend Natawsha was the first one that began to realize that something was amiss.

“You began to fade away, the K.C. I had met two years prior was not the same K.C. I knew when you were with Michael. He beat you down so hard that you became a mindless robot; just agreeing with him on everything and doing everything just to make sure he didn’t get upset. You took his side even when you knew he was wrong and never stood up from me. You didn’t see it though, and I knew you didn’t, that’s why I never blamed you for the way you treated me,” she said.

Looking back now, the longer I dated him the more hostile he became and the more I fell into submission. I was living in a world of double standards and confusion, I tried to follow his rules, but even when I did he became angry with me. It was a game I could never win.

Lundy Bancroft, a counselor who has worked for fifteen years on over two thousand cases pertaining to angry and controlling men wrote in his book Why Does He Do That?, that “An abusive man subtly or overtly imposes a system in which he is exempt from the rules and standards that he applies to you.”

When he was angry with me, he convinced everyone I was crazy and told ungodly lies about how my behavior was out of control and how he was getting close to his breaking point. I was in the dark about this until we were separated. I never knew how much he lied about me. I never knew how many awful things he said behind my back. All I knew is that when I found out those things it only broke my heart. He was someone that supposedly loved me, but he was calling me desperate, slutty, and psychotic behind my back. He basically cut all my ties to the outside world, anyone who had relatively liked me before now questioned everything I had ever said.

According to Bancroft, “Although it is largely unconscious, abusive men are more aware on some level that a woman’s social contacts can bring her strength and support that could ultimately enable her to escape his control.”

I became a walking anxiety attack, had to start counseling and get on medication. I never understood what I was doing wrong, so I did everything I thought was right. But nothing changed. The more mentally and emotionally stable I became, the more bitter Michael got. I can’t even count the number of times we separated and got back together.

Up until this point I had taken the yelling, the degrading, the lies, and the control issues for a year and a half hoping that someday he would live up to his promises and “change his behavior.” After I was brought to the realization of all the terrible things he had said behind my back I attempted to leave. I drove over to his apartment, confronted him about the lies I had heard, and left. Thirty minutes later he showed up at my house.

He stomped up the front porch and pounded on the door. Natawsha was close to tears and told me not to go outside, but I told her to watch from the window and call the police if he hurt me. I gathered all the courage I could muster and opened the front door. I stood in the threshold with him towering over me, nostrils flaring like an enraged bull. He began yelling at me instantly, so I made the motion to go back inside of the house, telling him I wasn’t going to stand there and be screamed at. And then, he grabbed me. He grabbed my wrist in a clenching fist and I tried hard to get away, but I couldn’t. Trying to remain calm I told him if he didn’t let go of me I would call the police.

As he let go I informed him that I would only speak to him from the porch as he stood on the sidewalk. From the sidewalk his anger began to escalate, and his yells began to echo through the quiet neighborhood. I could see people begin to peek out of their windows from the surrounding houses. As I persistently refused to argue with him he picked up an empty beer bottle that had been lying on the ground and smashed it full force against the sidewalk. That’s when I knew I had to leave. But I wasn’t able to for another seven months.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, “It takes a victim seven times to leave before staying away for good.”

The next day he called me and promised things would be different; he blamed his temper on his mother and committed to going to counseling. He never did, but I overlooked it and took him back.

The seven months that followed were only an illusion of a happy relationship. I knew it was not going to last, but a sliver of hope still remained that somehow he would recognize his behavior and do something about it. We began to fall away from each other, we were fighting more than we were happy and we were separated more than we were together. I withheld information from him fearing retaliation and began lying to him to get out of the backlash that would occur if the truth were to be told.

I began educating myself on abuse and started recognizing his cycles. Many times he promised he would get better, and I truly believed him. I’m disappointed in myself that it took me two years to realize it was never going to change. I began to sense that his abuse cycle was coming around once more and I knew this would be it.

The final episode ending the relationship was over him refusing to come help me move a piano into my house. He had promised to help until it became inconvenient for him, so I shrugged it off and told him I would find someone else. He took that as me “manipulating his jealousy against him to get him to do whatever I wanted him to,” according to him anyway. He left and I haven’t heard from him since.

I had hung in there for seven months. Seven months of endless faith in him to change, seven months of standing up for him to my parents and closest friends. But he didn’t change, which in the end broke my heart to pieces. I couldn’t endure the belittlement anymore and his striking hateful words. I loved him with my whole heart, but I finally realized that his behavior would never change. I knew that I could end things now, or ten years and two kids later, which in the Catholic Church would be nearly impossible. I finally decided to make my life a priority and accept the fact that I could no longer be with him.

Michael stripped me of my friends, my family, my confidence, and my independence. He took everything I loved and twisted it, so he was the only thing in my life. I was forced to make him my priority when I was never his. At times I wonder if it was me he really loved or the control he had over me. Anywhere from 1-3 million women are battered each year by their intimate partner, compared to the 3% of battered men, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The abuse I endured never got fully physically, and I thank God for that, I thank God that I got out when I did, I thank God for the strength he has given me to move on and heal, and I thank God that I didn’t become one of the four women that die each day as a result of domestic violence.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from domestic violence visit http://www.thehotline.org/ 

Beer Cans or Better Grades?

Imagine a hazy, smoke clouded room. Keystone cans littering the floor and a kid passed out with sharpied penises on his face. None of us are strangers to this sort of scene; we’ve either seen it in a movie or witnessed it in real life (apologies to those penis-faced individuals out there). This is what college is advertised to be, especially according to Asher Roth’s declaration of his love for college. Remember? “Man I love college. And I love drinking. And I love women. Man I love college.”

Many freshmen come into college excited for a new start, but are giddily unaware of what the university experience really holds in store for them. So, what is college all about? Most of us work our whole lives to get to this point in our academic career, driving to get an elevated GPA in high school every year and taking every ACT Prep test imaginable. But once you’re finally here you kind of think, “Well, what the hell am I supposed to do now?”

We all know how the first week of class goes: attend every class, gather syllabi, and dutifully write down every homework assignment into your planner (which eventually gets “lost” underneath your bed). Then, slowly, after the rush of a new semester begins to subside you begin hitting the snooze button and taking just “one more shot” at the Buck on a Wednesday night. Many people begin to feel guilty about letting themselves go during the school year, harping on themselves for skipping class and confessing to the priest that the recent Saturday was the last they will ever be fraternizing with Mary Jane. We all need to give ourselves a break and take a piece of the “cool your jets cake” staring you in the face on the counter. College is basically the only time we have to mess up and still receive $200.00 after we pass go.

This is the last time in our lives that we are still given a little leeway when we mess up. We are not really adults, but we also aren’t children and we are supposed to be responsible all at the same time. For most of us we are fortunate enough to still have our parents just within reach if we ever feel like we have done detrimental damage to our pending futures. And others who aren’t so fortunate still get cut a break usually because mostly everyone has been in our situation. We all have just enough money to pay rent and eat ramen for the week because it only costs a quarter.

A lot of students just wish this time away daydreaming about their futures, which hold five-six figure paychecks, green lawns and careers with insurance benefits. Just stop! Mess up, make mistakes, drink a little too much, sleep on floors and skip school once in a while. These are the best years of our lives and what stories will we have to tell our children if we never step outside the boundaries?

Despite everything that your high school teachers and parents tell you as you venture off into the (semi) real world—ignore it. Take that impromptu trip to California, fail a class and hook up an IV drip laced with caffeine to get through a night of cramming before finals.

This is what college is about… as Tom Petty says, “You’ll never remember class time, but you’ll remember the time you wasted hanging out with your friends. So stay out late. Go out with your friends on a Tuesday when you have a paper due on Wednesday. Spend money you don’t have. Drink ’til sunrise. The work never ends, but college does…”

 Previously published in The Branding Iron