It’s time to un-adjust

I’ve been back at NU for enough time to feel like I’ve readjusted to life here. In a weird way, it’s been easy and hard at the same time.

Easy in that I just fell into my new class schedule, re-joined my old extracurriculars (NU Intel, Project SOAR), and slowly and steadily got back in touch with my good friends. Studying for my first test in almost eight months wasn’t even bad, and my Micro problem sets are surprisingly fun to do. 

So it feels like I have it all together, and in a sense, I do. I’ve got a pretty solid two-year plan that ideally involves getting a summer internship at the Human Rights Campaign in D.C., graduating in December with a double major in Theatre and Psychology and my newly declared Integrated Marketing Communication certificate, getting a job somewhere for the first half of 2014, and finally, starting a year of graduate school back in London.

And I guess that’s part of what makes it hard. I’ve got five more months before my next big step (hopefully a summer internship), and that’s a huge gap to just fill with schoolwork (and of course a trip to Portugal, which I am endlessly excited about). Sure, I’ve got work to do, but there’s a lot of time in five months and I want that time to be fun. I’m coming back from a place where I was making huge personal discoveries and growth on what felt like a daily basis, and part of that was rooted in the fun I had – the interpersonal relationships, travel, and overall adventure. If I learned one thing over there, it’s that living in the moment is maybe even more important than living for your goals.

So I guess that is what’s hardest about readjusting, and part of the reason I think it’s time to un-adjust a little bit. I’m too young to get so caught in the motions. 

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A Case for Drinking Tea

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I’ve enjoyed three cups of tea (in my Union Jack mug!) in the last few hours while working on my Micro problem set. 

I’ll go ahead and be annoying and mention that I developed a real love for tea over in England, where they really do drink tea all the time. There’s a stereotype for a reason, chaps! Anyways, I’ve realized that aside from its deliciousness, the warm-me-up-from-the-inside feeling I get in my freezing cold house, and its apparent health benefits (see this for more info), drinking tea also regulates and encourages my study schedule!

I fix myself a nice mug before starting my work. It’s a good transitional phase from whatever I was doing (in today’s case, laying in bed for hours) to hard workin’. Now that I’ve got a warm, comforting cup of my favorite drink, I’m zen and ready to get to work.

As I carry on with my work, I sip slowly and diligently, enjoying my work more and more with each delicious mouthful, and then OH MY GOD THE TEA IS GONE WHAT DO I DO?

Well obviously I fix more.

At this point, I’ve probably been working about 30-40 minutes; it’s a great natural time for a break. I leisurely fix my next cup for 10 minutes and then get back to work. It’s like the perfect study-to-break ratio, and at the end of the break, my mind is rested — and I’ve got another cup of tea to get me through the next work session!

So if it’s not for the taste, or to curb your appetite, or for the antioxidants, drink tea for your mind. I assure you – homework is much more enjoyable and finishes much more quickly when you’re sipping on tea.

Eating Well as a College Student

My house is 1.3 miles from the nearest grocery store.

For the first week and a half back here, I couldn’t get myself to take the trek and not even be able to carry that many things back with me. Luckily, Jonny let me borrow his car on Friday, and I was able to make my biggest independent grocery run ever.

Mom, I’m a real adult now.

Anyways, I’ve realized that I don’t quite have the time (or ingredients) to make that Lobster Corn Chowder I’ve always wanted my mom to make or even the Parmesan Chicken and Red Wine Alfredo I made my grandmother once. And because of this lack of time (or really lack of wanting to make all that effort and then clean all of it up), I’ve been learning some quick and yummy and healthy recipes. And in that vein, I’m going to pretend like I’m cool enough to have a food blog and post some of the delicious stuff I’ve made!

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The (almost-as-good-and-third-the-price) Zaza Salad and Sandwich

Ingredients:
A handful of spinach leaves
A handful of sliced strawberries
A smaller handful of candied pecans
Some crumbled goat cheese
Vinaigrette
Turkey (for the sandwich)
Sandwich rounds

Mix everything up salad style, except leave out the turkey and bread (obviously, you idiot). Then spread some goat cheese on a sandwich round and throw some turkey, spinach, and vinaigrette on it and you’ve got a delicious sandwich. You can even make it into a tasty melt.

I used to pay $10 for just the salad!

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Spinach Tortellini with Spinach, Goat Cheese, and Vodka Sauce

Ingredients:
Spinach Tortellini
Spinach
Goat Cheese
Bottled Vodka Sauce (it’s so much easier than trying to actually make your own…)

Hopefully I don’t have to explain to you how to make this one. Just put it all together (after cooking the noodles, again, obviously). To make it easier on yourself, just spoon out some sauce and put it in the microwave instead of making it on the stove. Who needs to have their pasta “tossed in the sauce” outside of a restaurant anyways!?

… and the best for last!

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Penne with Goat Cheese Alfredo, Tomatoes, and Spinach

Ingredients:
Penne
Goat Cheese
Halved Cherry Tomatoes
Spinach
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar

Okay so there’s totally a pattern with goat cheese and spinach, but both are pretty yummy and versatile (and I had to use them before they went bad!) To make this one, put the cherry tomatoes and spinach in a bowl, sprinkle some salt on them, and then put the olive oil and vinegar on top. Mix it all up and let it sit and get all juicy.

Then make the penne and just stir in a ton of goat cheese. You can add some milk if you want, but goat cheese is a gift from the heavens and secretly melts into a perfect sauce without you having to do anything but stir. Throw all your other stuff into the pot and excite your tummy tums.

Again, mom, I’m an adult now. And I’m sorry I ever let you make something on the stove instead of the microwave, asked you to put meat in everything I ate, or made you take me to Zaza all the time when I could have made the salad myself. Thank you for making me lots of delicious meals —

and I miss your lasagne.

Workin’ my way back to you (and by you, I mean internships)

Being back at Northwestern, I more than ever feel the need to be a pre-yuppie. I think high school Brennan would be very surprised that I no longer am trying to run around in costumes while singing on stage and instead am fighting hard to end up stuck behind a desk, in a suit, making an intern fetch me coffee —

Okay well that’s not really the goal either, but if you’re reading this future employers, I’m totally willing to get your coffee and think you look great in that suit!

Which brings me to my new favorite pastime: applying for internships for the summer. So far I’ve updated my LinkedIn like 10 times in the last week, got an account on internsushi.com, e-mailed the Equality Federation about internships at Equality IL, and e-mailed a few contacts about possible opportunities for before the summer.

Hearing how accomplished all of my fellow students are and feeling behind from my seven months off-campus makes me feel very idle, which I do not like. I’ve been so used to have stuff to do all the time, and since I can’t casually fly off to Italy to gain some introspective-and-yet-worldly-self-growth, it’s time to buckle down and grow in less-fun-but-equally-important-professional-career-blah-blah-blah ways.

Secretly, I’m really excited about it.

I’m back!

I’m back in America. I didn’t quite finish my blogging while abroad, but I did have an incredible, life-altering time. Now that I’m back, I’m taking a new direction with my life and starting a new chapter with my blog as well. If studying abroad helped me figure out what I want in life, coming home has made me start to focus on …

How to Get There!!!

(Which is the new theme of my blog, if you didn’t get that)

So what does that mean? I’m a 21 year old college student trying to prepare to enter either 1. graduate school or 2. the real world in the next couple of years. I was talking to my college advisor on Friday and realized that I’m petitioning to graduate in December. Freaky. It’s moving too fast, but now that I have some direction, the journey seems fresh and exciting even though the undergrad chapter of my life is beginning its end.

London was an oyster that I still want to crack open even more, so I’ve decided to try to pursue graduate studies there after Northwestern. Right now the programs I’m looking at are for Social and Public Communications at LSE and International Marketing at King’s College London. In order to get there, I’m going to need some serious internship and/or job experience, good grades, and new references.

Aside from that, I’m starting to live more and more on my own. I no longer live in student residences, no longer use my Little Rock address as my home one, and now live in a real house with rent and utilities and roommates. That means aside from growing towards my profession and future studies, I also have to start playing house, cooking, and cleaning. It’s a time for me to start living a healthier lifestyle, worrying about my image, cementing my college relationships, and preparing my body mentally and physically for the rest of my life.

Bring it on.