the syllabus

“The real test?..It’s life.” ― Dr. Donita Whitney Bammerlin

When we think about the beginning of school, more specifically college, the term “syllabus” comes to mind. A sheet of paper (most often 4-5 sheets of paper…10 if you wind up with a nutcase professor) with an outline of your semester. The do’s, the don’ts, the non-negotiable terms and the “I was here EVERY class” loopholes. Strict deadlines, collaborative opportunities (aka group nightmares), term papers and the date of each time you’ll be tested.

But when we think about the beginning of no more school, otherwise known as the real world, no one is waiting to hand us a syllabus and tell us what the next semester will look like. Now we get to jump month by month paying the bills, week by week hard at work, day by day doing “life.” Life without a syllabus.

But what if a life syllabus existed? I like to think it’d go a bit like this…

Life 101
Now until Forever

Instructor: You
Office: Earth
Phone: 1-800-WHATNOW

Course Objectives
1. Figure out life calling
2. Positively contribute to society via objective #1
3. Form incredible relationships
4. Learn something new each and every day
5. Be happy

Course Materials
– Strong support system
– Faith in something
– Strong work ethic
– Determination
– Positive attitude

Weighted Grading
0% – Your Belongings
5% – Job, Profession, Salary, ect.
10% – Company you keep
15% – Contributing to society
30% – Being kind to others
40% – Having a good attitude

Disclaimer: Who you are today does not define who you must be tomorrow. You are in control.

Assignments
Consult family, partner, friends, boss, ect. for more information. Will be assigned along the way…work hard to complete them well.

Exams
Will often occur without warning. Do your best…most importantly, learn from them.

Have a wonderful life!

*end syllabus*

If only finding our life calling and changing the world for the better were as easily completed as an all-nighter in the library to finish a 20-page research paper. But, in all honesty, I think that may be the beauty of it. We get to work hard and follow our curiosity (passion is overrated) and impact those around us and learn and grow and do awesome things for the rest of forever. Cool.

As you probably know, I’m graduating in 3 days. I truly have no words for how excited I am to throw away those few packets of strategically highlighted paper…no longer acting within the confines of a course outline so someone can put a grade on my efforts and ask me to cram information into my brain to spit it up on paper and then let it go forever. Now there’s only life-long learning, doing what I love, and helping those around me on the “group projects” that really matter. And the tests? We get to study for those every second of every day so that when they decide to reveal themselves, we can show the world what we’ve really learned.

But I suppose I’ll walk to one of the last finals of my collegiate career and finish up the requirements listed on that syllabus…the real test is only beginning.

just living, lizzi

investments and insurance

“in·sur·ance: a thing providing protection against a possible eventuality. a means of guaranteeing protection or safety.” ― whoever writes definitions for Google

Four (or five) years ago we stepped onto campus for our first few days of class: there was an excessive amount of purple (seriously, even the trees were purple) and enough smiles to run a Crest campaign. We happily walked to class but honestly, we just didn’t get it yet. A few months later, we walked to class with some friends, sat with some familiar faces and blissfully enjoyed all of the freedom we had been promised. That summer, we all went home excited to see high school friends but after about a week, MHK was calling our names. Because sometime during that first year, we met people and made memories more incredible than we thought existed.

The next few years were a blast. We bought way too many t-shirts, stayed up way too late, studied way too little, turned 21 way too quick (and consequently, drank way too often) and then all of a sudden senior year was here…way too fast. (In case you hadn’t quite caught on yet, this is another post by a completely and totally emotionally unstable K-State senior…so yeah.)

And during all that time of “way too,” we were investing. Investing in our education, in people, in the color purple…investing in K-State. No matter the kind, or size, we all made an investment. And now I sit here, only 11 (ELEVEN!) days away from graduation, and I’m certain that because of my investment, this beautiful place has given me insurance. It has protected me from this thing everyone likes to call the “real world.” It has guaranteed my happiness and it’s kept me safe.

But at some point our insurance providers can no longer insure us. Thankfully, K-State isn’t dropping us for our lack of responsibility or overt recklessness…they’re watching us move on with complete and total confidence as we conquer, change, impact and invest in the rest of the world. And they’re telling us that we can always come home to our little apple.

Good luck, Wildcats! May you find your next insurance provider soon and they keep you as protected, happy and safe as our college years at K-State did.

just living, lizzi

senate sentiment

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ― Margaret Mead

Disclaimer: My last post was about as light-hearted as they come, but this post is the definition of a “senior moment” so if you’re graduating soon or finding yourself in an unstable emotional state, proceed with caution.

Last night I had the sincere privilege of sitting in on my first and last “last senate meeting” of the term. I have absolutely adored the opportunity to serve as a member of K-State’s student government this year and last night, members that have so selflessly served throughout their entire time as a Wildcat (calculated to be over seven DAYS in the Big XII room…and probably more in the OSAS offices) had the chance to, and I quote, “word vomit” to all of senate (and a handful of reminiscent seniors who snuck in after the 4.5 hour long meeting) in the hopes they might 1. impart some wisdom onto those fortunate enough to be returning to this inexplicably dedicated group of movers and shakers at K-State, 2. give good advice or 3. at the least, give the room a good laugh! SO many beautiful things were said, pretty tears turned into ugly cries for a few moments and my heart burst into about a thousand pieces as I walked out of that room and had my first super real “oh shit, I’m graduating” moment.

I don’t think anyone could replicate the atmosphere I sat in last night so I’m not going to try. But the words below either produced goosebumps, smiles, watering eyes, or flowing tears and I feel like more than the members of K-State’s Student Government Association should be listening to their message. They didn’t have a prompt, they weren’t given a time limit and most of them began with some variation of “I had no idea what I wanted to say here tonight.” So read slowly and enjoy their words…I know I did.

“only complain if you can make a difference about what you’re complaining about.” – mg

“the quality of your process will always impact the quality of your outcome.” – hf

“find your problem and punch it!” – ra

“failure will not define me…it will refine me.” – lb

“the thing is that, you know what to do. and we can’t wait to watch you do it.” – aw

“accept the journey. follow your heart…even if you don’t know where it’s going.” – sh

“if it is to be, it is up to me” – ck

“being kind is not overrated.” -jm

The amount of love, compassion, raw emotion and pure talent that I sat among as several of my friends answered their last role call was enough to last a lifetime. After spending 9 hours with the dedicated Wildcats I so proudly call some of my best friends, I walked out of the K-State Student Union. It was 2:27am and although my eyes were tired and my body exhausted, my heart was full.

I can say with complete confidence that this group of thoughtful, committed, citizens will indeed change the world. They’ve already changed mine in more ways than they will ever know…

just living, lizzi

Abby, Jordan and Cody…love you to the stars and back.

it’s full of secrets

“That’s why her hair is so big…it’s full of secrets!” – Damian, Mean Girls

I promised you this blog would be little bits of everything…so here goes girly blog post #1. (Fellas, take a glance at the length of this post and BOOM: insight into why showers take years and getting ready is similar to that of a musical production.)

If you hadn’t caught on yet, this post is dedicated to hair. I put quite a bit of energy into keeping my hair healthy and am asked on the daily (eh, weekly) about what sorts of “hair secrets” I’m hiding. Well, they’re secret no more! SO for all you girls out there who have 1. actually asked but don’t remember what I said, 2. are curious, or 3. want healthier, stronger, shinier hair…buckle up! In no particular order of importance, these are the things I do to keep my hair FAB

*pause* I think it’s important to start by saying that everyone’s hair and scalp work differently (mine even decides to deviate from its norm on occasion) but just like we take care of our skin, it’s important to take care of our hair. *unpause*

SHAMPOO-ING: Don’t. Okay, do..but not too much. Shampooing is the process of stripping hair of its natural oils. I know, I know, no one wants oily hair…but here’s the thing: we’ve been shampooing so often and for so long that our hair now OVER-produces oil to compensate us stripping it away every day. Give your hair a break and start limiting shampoo sessions. First go several hours longer than you would normally go and gradually extend to a day or two. In between shampoos, dry shampoo is fine but don’t over-apply and end up with ghost hair. Oh and for those wondering, I’ve worked my way up to 4 days (yes, i still shower) and for me, that’s the max.

PRODUCTS: As far as shampoo and conditioner are concerned, I shop at Wal-Mart! BUT I do make sure that I am buying ‘Sulfate Free’ products and trust me when I say that they’ll make the difference! Sulfates are harsh on our delicate strands and especially if you HAVE to shampoo every day, I highly suggest you go sulfate free.

BRUSHING: Again, DON’T. Instead? Comb it. (Wide-tooth only) Yes, it takes a bit longer and might not feel as good right before you fall asleep but brushes are another hidden hair-enemy ripping at your tresses, encouraging weakness and split ends. Fun fact: I haven’t brushed my hair in several YEARS.

BLOW-DRYING: Time consuming and awful for your hair…BUT I have good news! I swear by Kenra’s Blow Dry Spray. It decreases blow-dry time by at least half, protects from heat, and after you use it you smell like you stepped off a tropical island holding a piña colada (win, Win, WIN)

HEAT TOOLS: Limit this as much as you can stand. Now, I love my heat-induced curls probably more than the next person but I promise that limiting your heat is best. (Second and third day hair with a little touch up is encouraged) But if you must, protect your hair. Compare to going out in the sun…people who aren’t trying to be skin-cancerous-lobsters wear at least a little SPF and people who want shiny, fabulous hair protect their hair from heat damage. Oh and be generous with it. (I apply beforehand and several times throughout my curl-sesh) Again, I swear by Kenra’s Blow Dry Spray.

COLOR: DON’T. I think that’s like the fifth time I’ve said no to you (I’m sorry)…but it’s true. Coloring your hair is fairly terrible for it, especially if you’re going lighter. Be as kind as possible and make sure that if you are DYING to be a different color you consult a professional.

HAIRCUTS: Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think cuts/trims are necessary every 6 weeks…unless of course you are keeping up with fancy bangs, fun layers or something else high-maintenance. SO, take care of your hair at home and you’ll likely feel less need to book that expensive appointment besides maybe 2-3 times a year.

These few habits are likely to make your locks happy as can be. But, remember that everyone’s hair works differently (hair genes are real) so it’s really all about being nice to whatever you were blessed with and trying different products and routines until you see changes you like! If you have any questions…I’d love to answer them!

ALSO: a special thanks to my hair stylist, Katt at The Mane Thing Salon & Spa for be a bomb stylist, answering all of my questions and educating me on hair care for the past 10 years! If you ever are having a hair-pocalypse (because those are real), go see her–she’s INCREDIBLE.

just living, lizzi

getting there

“Getting there is half the fun.” — Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen

As a twenty-something only months away from college graduation, my mind wanders to “what is life?” more often that I’d like to admit. Some days it comes in drops, other days in waves, and every few months it’ll hit me like a tsunami.

I was driving along one of our gorgeous “nestled in the Flint Hills” highway stretches, never-ending green on either side of me and nothing but blue patched with white above me. It was steadily raining and I found myself watching the droplets race each other down the windshield, silently cheering for the lucky drops I claimed as my own. The sound of rain engulfed the car, calming me. Then only for a moment, an empty silence broke the rhythm I’d grown so used to  a bridge. There was something so beautiful about the silence, but strange. So interesting, but not normal.

See, I think the whole “life’s a roller coaster” is overused. What if life isn’t hyper-speed ups and downs with metal restraints and your stomach in your throat but rather a drive in your car down a beautiful stretch of highway as rain pours down all around you? What if those moments of silence as we pass under a bridge, the moments that could easily be forgotten are the ones that we need to remember. I’ve realized it’s so easy to go through the motions and focus on tomorrow, next week, next month, next year. But I’m starting to think Mary Kate and Ashley (well, the screenwriters for Getting There) were right. The rain that falls around us, the people we chose to invite on the drive, the split-second silence as we approach something new, those are the things worth focusing on.

Getting there (wherever your “there” is) will be messy and hard and it won’t happen the way we think it should…but it’s important that we pause for the fun, appreciate the mess, embrace the weird and just let life do it’s thing…because getting there truly should be half the fun.

just living, lizzi

dessert: optional

“You’ve got the rest of your life to love somebody else, focus on loving yourself. ” — Anonymous

Oh wow, such a hot topic. So here are a few questions for you…Am I absolutely insane for being in a 6 year-long relationship as a 21 year old? Am I crazy to think I found my “one” (if that’s even a thing) at age 15? Am I missing out on college? Most people would answer “yes, Yes and YES.” I answer “I’m blessed, maybe a little, NOT AT ALL.”

If you know me at all you know how inexplicably important I think it is to be 100% whole by yourself. A relationship cannot make you whole…you have to be it all on your own. A relationship means loving every part of yourself before even considering to give love to another fragile, beautiful human being. A teacher of mine once told me that your life is like a fancy (or McD’s dollar-menu) four-course meal. We’ve got salad, some sort of appetizer *prays for bread sticks*, a main dish and dessert. The first three fill you up, they keep you going and damn, they taste great. This is life; we find things that fill our bucket, we become the people we want to be and we enjoy just being here, surrounded by other incredible people so that we might find a purpose, make a difference or change the world for the better (hopefully).

But then there’s dessert. So many options. Do I want ice cream or cake…maybe I want both. What about brownies and cookies and those really yummy little shooters they have at Olive Garden? When it comes down to it, we all know dessert is perfect. The highly anticipated, always well thought out part of a meal…but do we need it? No. Finding someone to love is dessert. It’s a decision and it’s sweeter than anything else. It’s the cherry on top of a beautifully unique, hand-crafted life. I know, I know…of course I can say this, I’ve been in a relationship “for-freaking-ever.” Yep, I found my cherry-on-top when I was 15, but every day for the past 6ish years I’ve taken a second to think about what my teacher said. Would I still be me without my partner? Am I whole by myself? Am I taking the time to love and get to know myself?

yes. Yes. YES. So here I am taking some time to love me and only me.

I hate hanging up clothes…but I love a color-coordinated closet.

I have a serious obsession with stripes. All thicknesses, colors and combinations of the two.

I have a “strong” handshake. (Actually mine are normal and everyone else needs to quit it with the sissy hand jiggle)

I almost always eat all of my dinner before touching my water/milk.

I can sleep through nearly anything: a yelling brother, washing machines, alarm clocks, tornado sirens…you name it and I’m not hearing it.

I like to be creative and lose myself in a project…especially when it’s a gift for a friend

I love the way my parents chose to spell Lizzi. It’s nice and neat and I match my mama (Traci).

I believe lowercase letters are superior to uppercase letters and I will argue this until the day I die.

I exaggerate things…whoops.

I smile at things, at people, at animals, at walls…I like to smile.

I think that i was raised into a religion called “love.” It’s the most beautiful religion of all and more people should convert.

I am knock-kneed and flat footed *cue clumsy moment*

“…” is my most commonly used form of punctuation…I’m sure you’ve noticed.

I keep my radio volume on even numbers.

I have little self-control when it comes to ice-cream and I don’t flavor or brand discriminate.

I am learning to think twice about what i say and do and how other people interpret it. IT’S TOUGH.

I “random dance” pretty much anywhere. Once I knocked my brother out with a high kick in the kitchen.

This is me. And none of it would change if for whatever reason dessert wasn’t a part of my life. So here’s to learning more about yourself each and everyday, with or without dessert.

just living, lizzi

here’s to letting it all out

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”  –Steve Jobs

These days, everyone wants to be a something…instafamous, a Kardashian, Taylor Swift, twitter verified, or a Victoria’s Secret angel. *tries to be all of the above*  But we all know that’s not a thing..so we turn to blogging.  This here is blog attempt #2 for me and I can’t promise much…but I can promise you that they’ll always start and end the same way, there WILL be typos, some of it won’t make sense and finally, these words are mine — honest and unfiltered.

So here’s to blogging (aka typing out my thoughts and hoping people like reading them) Topics to be covered: learning new things, realizing stuff, loving harder than ever, being a girl, graduating college *cries*, stupid moments, smart moments, roughing it as a adult, letting it all out and other fun stuff.

just living, lizzi