Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Yoga Journaling!

So in my World Religions class, we've been learning about Hinduism. Towards the end of class, we talked about the different types of yoga. The type of yoga taught in yoga classes is just one type of a whole spiritual practice within the Hindu faith--it's a type called yoga for the body.

There are four main types of yoga and you can choose whichever best fits your personality. We haven't finished talking about all of them, but the last one we talked about is knowledge yoga which I think fits my personality very well. The knowledge yoga focuses on introspection and thinking. So what you need to do to succeed in this type of yoga to progress on your spiritual journey is to begin to stop thinking about yourself so much--to bring down your ego.

Dr. Hobbie, my professor, asked who in the room journals. Well, I only ever journal if I'm really upset about something or if I'm traveling (for instance, I kept a travel journal in Spain), so didn't raise my hand because I don't consider myself a regular journal-er. However, after class, I decided to take his suggestion.

Dr. Hobbie suggested that the next time any of us journals, we stop using "I" and refer to ourselves in third person. For example, "Rachel went to breakfast today. She had cereal and coffee."

I decided to try this right after class. This week especially has been stressful for me. This week is sorority recruitment and then on top of that I'm taking 18 hours and I'm involved in practically every club on campus. Essentially, I've had no time.

When I got back to my room, I dug out my journal and started writing. It followed my usual pattern at first. You know, me complaining about all my feelings and just other angsty things. But the big difference is that I was talking about myself as if I were another person intimate acquainted with myself. If that makes sense.

For you to get an idea, here's a little excerpt from my entry. "Rachel has been really stressed this week. Spending two hours every night practicing for recruitment not only seems like a bad use of her time, but she feels overwhelmed spending so much time with so many other women." You get the drift.

But then, I found the tone changing once I vented out all my feelings. Normally, that's where I end my journal. This time, however, I suddenly began writing about how happy I am and how I lose sight of that. "Rachel just got back from an amazing time in Spain. She has amazing friends that were still here when she came back. Rachel really does enjoy most of recruitment practice from the sense of community and bonding felt among the other women. She has a family that loves her."

I don't know why my journal suddenly became positive at the end, but I'll take a bet that it had something to do with taking the focus off of myself to an extent.

I thought I'd share this because I found it really therapeutic and definitely something a stressed college student (or anyone else) might want to consider trying!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sometimes, College is Like Middle School

Shuckin' and Shaggin' is the big, traditional opening event at Presbyterian College. It's the night when pretty much all of the upperclassmen are back on campus and it's also the grand finale of freshman orientation. However, every year, it never fails to be kind of awkward. Here's why: timidness.

The night before Shuckin' and Shaggin', the freshmen have the option to go to Shag lessons, where they learn the Carolina shag (for those of you who might be confused, the shag is something different in South Carolina than it is in, let's say, Great Britain) in preparation for the dance. Most people don't shag at Shuckin' and Shaggin' though, they actually swing dance. Luckily, there are informal swing dance lessons that lead up to the event.

Last year, there was a fair turnout for the informal swing lessons, so we expected a bigger group this year. For whatever reason, very few people showed this time.

Anyway, as you may have gathered, we're supposed to shag (dance) at Shuckin' and Shaggin' (hence Shaggin') and there are shucked oysters to eat as well.

The expectation of freshmen coming in is that all these people will be there dancing and asking you to dance. Negatory. The only people who dance are the ones that know each other. Even then, if you know someone, you've gotta have the gumption to go up to them and get them to dance with you. It's scary. But come on, we're in college now.

This is my third Shuckin' and Shaggin' and I only danced once. I can't say that I didn't have a good time, because I did. I had a great time seeing people again and so the event went by rather quickly. My one regret is that I didn't dance more.

The problem always seems to be that there are a surplus of females who want to dance and a lack of males willing (or at least outwardly willing).

I think what would surprise both genders is that the other one actually wants to dance with you! Life is too short not to go for it. If you get rejected, then eh, there are plenty of other ones who'd be more than willing to dance.

In my opinion, even if you don't know someone, it should be socially acceptable to ask another person to dance. Somehow, it kind of isn't anymore. It works in movies, but in real life it doesn't. We're just too nervous!

Well anyway, that's my piece about our dance tonight. I had a great time, but I did find the lack of dancing this year irksome. I really do think less people danced this year as a whole. It was kind of odd.

Thanks for reading and if you disagree or have something else to add, I'd love the dialogue!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Welcome to Wal-Mart!

This fall, I was given the opportunity to help with orientation for the international students who are coming into PC this year to study. Today has been my first day where I've actually done anything, but already it has been fascinating.

My duty today was to help Liz, one of the directors in the Office of International Programs (aka OIP), help pick up a big group of students from the airport. I drove a minivan and she drove a van. 

We drove to the Greenville-Spartanburg airport and parked. She went in and got the students while I guarded the vans (apparently, the security guards can be mean and we were just pulled up in temporary parking). Then Liz brought out the students and she had them put their stuff in the minivan. I was kind of sad when I saw the seats get loaded up with stuff. However, the front seat was not taken and a French girl ended up riding with me.

She was really nice and will be studying here for a year. She's a business major and is interested in doing something with sports. We talked for a while and then I let her keep to her thoughts. I remember how overwhelming and hard it is to come into a new country and try to speak the language.

We drove the students to Wal-Mart before heading to PC so they could pick up bedding for their rooms and whatever other items they'd need that night. I helped direct them around Wal-Mart and suggested items that they might like. I kept reflecting back to when I first got in Spain and seeing all sorts of different things. Wal-Mart was overwhelming for me coming back from Europe, but I can't imagine what it must be like going into it for the first time. 

One thing Liz and I had never thought about was "why are single beds called twin beds?" Some of the international students were confused by the name, thinking we were telling them to buy really big sheets when they read online that the beds were single sized. It's funny the things you don't think about.

After Wal-Mart, we took them back to PC and directed them to their respective dorms. Most of them are in the Carol International House (CIH), but some others are in the other dorms with full time PC students. 

The actual orientation stuff starts happening tomorrow. I'm really excited about us going to Frankie's Fun Park in Greenville. It has laser tag and go carts! 

Well, that's what I have so far! More to come later. 

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Super Duper Basic No Pattern T-Shirt Rag Puff Quilt

I had been collecting t-shirts to make a quilt for about a year and a half. As an American college student, I receive so many t-shirts for events and clubs every semester. I also already had a crap ton from high school and before. Well, many t-shirts hold memories and so I didn't want to donate them ALL to Goodwill. Hence the t-shirt quilt plan.

Well, I got on Pinterest like a good little girl and looked for patterns. The thing is, I'm super lazy and hate measuring. Plus, our sewing machine is busted. That certainly narrowed my search terms. I started looking for rag quilt ideas, but didn't really see a whole lot. On the ones I saw, people kept talking about quilt batting, and I had no idea what quilt batting was. Now I know (it's this cottony stuff you put between your quilting squares).

My friend Catie had given me an idea earlier this summer about just cutting off the sleeves and neck of the shirt and filling it with cotton (I bought polyfill) and then sewing the top and bottom. Well, that's what I was going to try to do, but, like I said, my sewing machine is busted. I ended up adapting Catie's idea and the rag quilt idea I saw and created my own random pattern.

I've been knitting for a while, but I still haven't learned how to follow a knitting pattern. Maybe I don't like following patterns or something. Anyway, I just improvised and it's turned out well for me so far.

This is super simple and anyone can follow it. I've never quilted in my life, but it still looks like a blanket. Think of this not as a pattern, but loose guidelines to get you started.

Here's what you need:
A bag of Poly-fil or another brand (it's the stuff you put in pillows and stuffed animals)

Things that are helpful:
A surface for cutting
Pins for when the t-shirt moves on you

Step One:
Cut the shirt. What I did is cut based on the pattern that is on the front or back of the shirt. Therefore, the quilt squares are all different sizes. Just cut the sleeves, collar, and bottom off the shirt.

Step Two:
You should now have two squares. Make sure the squares are lined up and then cut strips along each edge. Once you have a side done, tie at least pair of strips together so that the squares stay together and the stuffing will pretty much stay in that square.

Step Three:
This first shirt will be the top corner of your quilt. Tie the top side strips together and one of the side strips.

Step Four:
Repeat steps one and two with another shirt.

Step Five:
Tie the strips of the new shirt with the bottom or side strips of the first shirt. It's best to do the front strips with the front strips and the back strips with the back strips. I usually tie going downwards and then start a new row on by tying on the left

Step Six:
Continue this process until you're out of shirts or it's big enough!

As you can see the squares aren't all the same size. I just kind of eyeball it to make sure that they're going to fit nicely. When I had an issue, I just used some scrap from a t-shirt to make a mini square to fit it in.

Well, there you have it! A no-pattern, way to make a t-shirt quilt. It takes a long time, but I've been doing it while watching movies or episodes of Buffy. It's a long term project, but very low stress.

I don't have a final photo yet, because I'm not done. I'll do a follow up post or just edit this one with a final result. Please post any questions you may have, because I'm sure I wasn't always clear.

Revamping this blog

So, I created this blog my freshman year of college, but never got really far with it. I went back and read the one post I published and was kind of embarrassed by it, so I deleted it.

I enjoyed blogging so much about my travels in Spain and Europe that I want to continue contributing to the blogosphere. I'm going to continue using my other blog ( as a travel blog for my future adventures, however I want one for my day-to-day blogable experiences. Hence, this blog.

The title of this blog is based off of this old Relient K song that I just enjoy listening to when I feel stressed or just need a smile. You should check it out, it's good.

Well, here's a bit about me so my future posts make sense. My name is Rachel and I'm a junior at a liberal arts college in South Carolina called Presbyterian College. We are infamous for our mascot. Scotty the Scotsman is the official name, but people always think it's Blue Hose because that's his (our) nickname. Any joke you can come up with involving "hose" has already been made and most of them from students and alumni. We have an imaginably large amount of fun with it.

I have a very eclectic personality, I'm interested in all sorts of random things. My iPod ranges from show tunes to rock to pop to Disney music to classical as well as Spanish and French music. I taught myself how to knit and made up a quilting pattern (which is the topic of my next blog post). I'm a voracious reader, but I also enjoy a good video or computer game. That's all you're getting for now.

To go along with my random interests, this blog will reflect that. I'm not sure what I'll post, but know that the theme may (probably will) vary from post to post.

I hope you enjoy my random blog! If you do, you should read my travel blog as well ;)