College Distance

Let’s talk about something scary.


Whether that may be from your friends, family, significant other, or dog…distance can be a truly unsettling thing to think about in the world of university.

I wouldn’t consider myself an expert college student by any means, but I will say that I have had my fair share of times of distance in my years as a student. So I can say with confidence that you can take it from me if you are an upcoming or current college student worried or struggling about the distance that is hitting you in the face as of now. Not to brag or anything, but I do tend to give some great advice.

So, here’s what I have to say about distance…

It’s awesome.

What? Not what you were expecting? Well of course not! It’s been engraved in our heads our entire lives that distance is usually associated with bad things. As much as we would probably like to think that the distance from our normality is going to be good for us (that’s the point of college anyway, right?), the thought of it always tends to hit us like it did with this kid when asked if he is going to miss his mom in kindergarten…


What am I going to do without my parents there? What if my car breaks down? What if I can’t cook spaghetti by myself? What if I have this weird rash on my arm and my mom can’t diagnose it by just a text picture? What do you mean I won’t see my boyfriend for months at a time? GROCERY SHOPPING??

Here’s what you’re going to do…

You’re going to figure it out.

News flash! 18 year old recent high school graduates don’t actually know everything. Hell, 22 year old senior college students don’t even know everything! But you know what they’ve done these past years to get through life without knowing it all? They just figure it out as they go. And they realize it’s actually quite awesome living that way.

Here’s where I’ll finally start talking about myself (I know you were wondering when that was bound to happen).

When I was dropped off at college in a completely new state with not one friend but my blankie that I’ve had since birth, I was terrified. I tried so hard to be strong when giving my parents a hug goodbye. I held back my tears until I couldn’t see their car driving away anymore and then that’s when the distance really hit me. Up until this point the thought of being away from home was merely a fantasy, and now, here it is. It’s just me.

I’m now entering my third and final year of college (yes, it is possible to do it in less than 4 years and I highly recommend it), and being in the middle of it all is how I can say that the distance from home has been awesome.

Not everything about my experience has been a walk in the park, but I can proudly say that what I have learned about myself and the world has been what’s made the distance so cool.

Just two years ago I knew nothing about living on my own. I knew how to cook some things and wash my clothes, but I didn’t know what it was like having all of the responsibility on solely myself. I didn’t know what it was like to pay rent. I had never made appointments and went to the doctor and meetings by myself. I even had to go through a surgery without my mom there! Can you even imagine??

While going through these experiences was the most challenging and confusing times of my life up to this point, look at me now. I’m alive! Broke as hell, but living. I can now easily meal prep for an entire week with nothing but $10 and some noodles. I can call anyone and schedule anything without having to rehearse what I will say 50 times and then stutter when it’s my turn to talk. I even know how to call insurance companies and schedule claims for doctor visits and surgeries and go through the entire procedure all alone. If that does scream “adult” I don’t know what else does.

The point is, being distant from home and from your parents is terrifying in the moment. I won’t sugar coat that. You will make more phone calls home to your mom and dad than you ever have in your entire life. There will be nights when you cry and cry because all you can think about is how good your home smells when the laundry is going. How it feels like home on a Sunday afternoon when football is on the TV and everyone is in a different chair taking a nap. You will miss these things. It will be hard. But you will come out of it a much more independent, strong, and knowledgeable individual because of it. I truly believe that you do the most growing up between the end of your senior year of high school and the end of freshman year of college. And it’s all thanks to the distance.

Now, distance in a relationship.

This may not be relevant to everyone, so if you aren’t in a distance relationship then feel free to stop here. (Thanks for reading!)

But, if you are someone who is soon going to, or are currently in some kind of distant relationship in college, listen up.

This shit, is hard.

I’ve been with my current boyfriend for almost four years now, and for three of those years, it’s been at a distance. 7 hour distance to be exact. Different states if you want to get really technical.

I remember so clearly the night that we said goodbye to each other when he was going to college for his freshman year. That was one of the hardest goodbyes I’ve ever had to go through. Not knowing the next time we’ll be together, and knowing that he was off to much bigger and better things for his life while I was stuck in the same town at the same school doing the same old things for another year. That first year away from each other was the hardest. There was fighting and jealousy, yet more love than I’ve ever experienced in my life. You couldn’t give me all the money in the world to relive that year.

The second year was better. For me. Now it was my turn to go somewhere new. Now it was my turn to make new friends and go to parties for the first time and discover who I am as a young, irresponsible kid in the real world. There were more fights and more jealousy and more love. But this time, we were both in the same crowd.

This past year was the best for us. Now that we’ve both gotten past the newness of college and have started to settle into a more mature college student, we’ve done better. Though this year was the easiest for us, it also proved to be somewhat the most difficult. The freshness of college and being alone had worn off and now we both are getting to be sick of the distance. Not just because we miss each other, but because we know that the end is near and it’s time to start thinking together. Yes, there were still some fights and jealousy, but this year as a whole was the best. And now that it’s over, I’m realizing the benefits of being apart.

If you are able to, I strongly recommend doing a distance relationship in college. These years have been the best of my life, and even though I think it would’ve been awesome to spend them with my boyfriend, I know that it’s been more beneficial to me, and him, that they were not spent together.

No matter how long you’ve been with someone, I believe in the importance of spending time apart. I believe it is crucial to have your time “single living” (while together, of course), because that gives you the opportunity to grow into who you really are. With these years apart from my boyfriend we were both able to live our separate lives for a while and in a sense, get it out of our system. Don’t get me wrong, there was no cheating or “hall passes”  during this time, that’s not what I’m suggesting, but what I mean is that we got the time to have our own friends, own hobbies, own schedules, own lives…while still together. It was like being single, but committed. It made us both value our relationship and time together even more, and it gave us even more to look forward to when this is all over.

Though the distance sucks the most when in a relationship, this is the time that the distance proves to  be on your side. Consider it, embrace it, don’t be scared of it. If your relationship is really meant to be, the distance won’t make you crack.

If it sounds like I just rambled on about nothing it’s probably because I just did, and I’m sorry. But if there is one thing that I think all readers should take away from this, it’s this:

Distance is awesome. From parents, home, familiarity, and even significant others, it’s worth it. This opportunity gives you the best chance to learn about who you are and help shape you into the person you will be. Embrace this distance, know it is temporary if you want it to be, and remember that your mom is just a phone call away.

I’d love to hear about your experience with distance in college! What was your time like? Any advice for me for my final year, or for others about to enter this stage of their lives? Did distance help or hurt you?


The Little Things

If you’ve ever read the book “An Abundance of Katherines” by John Green, you know that the main character, Colin, has a weird habit of anagramming words. He can do it on the spot, instantly, with any word or phrase thrown at him. Weird, but also awesome at the same time, I think.

Though I don’t have any special talents like anagramming words or discovering theorems for “Dumpers” and “Dumpees”, I do I have a quirk that I’ve been doing for a few years now. I notice idiosyncrasies.

I’ve always been fascinated with humans. I like to watch, study, and think about individual people who I find interesting (and no, that’s not weird). In my head I notice little things that they do. I notice their idiosyncrasies.

For those who may not be familiar with the term, an idiosyncrasy is a behavior or thought that is peculiar to an individual, kind of like a strange habit. For example, when I first learned of this word in a psychology class, the instructor told the class that she had an idiosyncrasy of counting to 5 whenever she went up the stairs. She would number each step, 1-2-3-4-5, and then start over until she reached the end of the stairs.

Since learning of this, I’ve kind of grown to be obsessed with people’s idiosyncrasies. Again, not weird.

The more I get to know someone, the more I become aware of their peculiar habits. For example, I’ve been working in this same office for a little over 2 months now for this internship that I have, and the more time I spend in the same room as my supervisor, the more I notice she does funny things without even knowing it. For one thing, she reads aloud. No matter what it is she is reading (email, text, Facebook post, etc.), she reads it aloud. Luckily, this doesn’t bother me because I prefer not to work in silence, but it is funny to pay attention to sometimes. She also makes noises like “hmm” when she’s working. It’s like whenever she reads something (aloud) and thinks about what just happened, she comments on it to herself with a quick, “hmm”. As if to pause and let what just happened sink in.

Though I pick up on idiosyncrasies with a lot of people, the one person I have picked up on the most is my boyfriend. I’ve spent a lot of time with him in our 3 and a half years of dating, and he is one of the most interesting people I know. And I’m not just saying that because he’s my boyfriend and I have to. While some idiosyncrasies that he has are cuter than others, every little thing that he does without even knowing it I like to pick up on. I watch him when he’s not looking because I want to remember every little thing about him. We live apart as we go to different colleges in different states, so when we are together I try to burn memories of him into my head to save for a rainy day. I’ve always thought that I should put these things in a list to keep as a record, but I’ve never put my thoughts into action. Probably because there is a little part of me that knows this is slightly creepy, but I guess one of my idiosyncrasies is that I just simply like to notice other’s.

Idiosyncrasies of my boyfriend:

  • When he used to drive a manual Jeep, he would hover his hand over the shifter-doodle-thing before shifting.
  • After shifting, he would have to reposition himself by sitting up straighter because he is a slightly short human being.
  • He chews on the inside of his cheeks. A lot.
  • He sniffles. A lot. (And not because he has to)
  • He sticks his tongue out when he is concentrating on something.
  • When he is scrolling on his phone, he doesn’t use his thumb like most people, he uses his pointer finger.
  • When he cuddles he makes groaning and moaning noises as he shifts positions. (I like to tease him by telling him to “stop growling at me”)
  • When he sings he squints his eyes and tilts his head slightly up.
  • When he is is talking about something in a slightly sarcastic tone, or trying to make a joke, he bobs his head side to side, just like his dad does. (As a way of being proud)
  • When he’s seriously trying to describe or teach something to anyone, he takes pauses and swallows.
  • When he eats ice cream he flips the spoon over in his mouth before pulling it out (we both do that, actually, and our love grew by 10 miles when we discovered it)
  • When he eats french fries he doesn’t finish chewing one before popping another into his mouth. It’s one single motion of chewing, swallowing, and popping all at once. You have to be there to understand.
  • Every time he puts on a hat he squeezes the bill together with one hand.
  • When he throws a ball he purses his lips together into a straight line.
  • He only uses his hands to talk when he’s telling a story.
  • When he calls his dog’s name (Jersey) he says it like (JAR-sey).
  • Whenever I laugh at him he always says, “what?” because he likes to hear me say I think he’s funny.
  • He shakes his head and goes “brrrrr” when he eats something strange/intense or when he gets a chill. (Just like his mom)
  • He always misspells “good morning” he makes it into one word. (Yes, this bothers me. (“Good morning” is just like “good night”. 2. words.)
  • When we haven’t seen each other in a long time, he approaches me with slow movements and a closed smile. But with the kindest eyes you will ever see on a boy.
  • When he hangs up the phone he says “buh-bye”.
  • He never goes down the stairs slowly. It’s always fast and with high knees.
  • He wakes up with one eye open and the other closed.
  • He jogs with his hands low.
  • He never takes sips of anything. It’s always a chug.
  • He drives with his left hand on the top of the wheel. Usually to hold my hand, but no matter what.
  • Every time he sits up or sits down he sighs.
  • He never unties his shoes to take them off or put them on.
  • He tends to sleep with one hand under his face and one in-between his legs.
  • He snores even when he’s awake.
  • He answers the phone “yyyeeellow”.
  • His casual movements are slow.
  • “Hiya!”
  • “Bye-cycle!”
  • When he hangs up the phone he always says, “bye, I love you” instead of the usual, “I love you, bye”.
  • He hugs with his fists closed.

There’s probably countless more that he has that I have yet to pick up on. But by the time we’re old and gray, I expect this list to be full. I want to know every little thing.


Puppy Love

Next to pickles and the mountains, dogs are my favorite thing.

You know those stupid memes that you see on Facebook that show someone with sweet little tears in their eyes and the caption says something like, “me when I see any kind of dog”? Yeah, that’s me on a spiritual level.

There are two things in life that are almost guaranteed to make me emotional: children and dogs. And I’m not saying that to try to be funny, it’s the truth. Children make me emotional because of the little things they say without even knowing it. Dogs make me emotional because of the little things they do to make humans happy. I could go on a tangent just about those things, but I’ll save that for another day. This post is about the turn of emotions I’ve had this week about dogs. And trust me, it’s really stupid.

Since last Thursday I’ve had the responsibility of house/dog/cat sitting for my neighbors across the street. I’ve been living there for almost a week to mostly take care of the dogs, and I don’t go home until late Saturday when they come back.

This is the PERFECT opportunity for me. I get a house all to myself, two doggies to play with all the time (one of which is still pretty puppy), and they stocked the kitchen with everything that I love.

For the first few days, I was living. I was having such a great time being alone again and I loved when my boyfriend would come over and hang out with me. On Friday I caught a walleye at the lake and I cooked an amazing dinner for him and I on Saturday. Everything was going great.

Until Sunday.

Sunday evening the most exciting thing happened for my boyfriend. They got a puppy. Brand new, 6 weeks old, golden retriever. Literally the most adorable puppy I have ever seen in my life. They named him Dudley.

I was so excited when he called me telling me that they got a puppy. Without even thinking I made the decision to drive over there and see it. But then I remembered about the other dogs I was responsible for. I hadn’t been home all day on Sunday, so the dogs had been locked up that entire time except for the one time I let them outside before I went to the pool with a friend. I told myself that I was going to let them outside and give them a bone to distract them just for a little bit while I went to see the puppy. But as soon as I saw them, I couldn’t.

They were so excited to see me and they had ALL OF THE ENERGY that they would not settle down enough for me to interest them in a bone. How was I supposed to once again leave them? I called my boyfriend and said the puppy would have to wait.

This is when things turned bad for me (remember: for a stupid reason).

As soon as I hung up the phone with my boyfriend, it seemed like all of the jealousy in the entire world hit me like a freight train. Jealousy about what, though? Dude, I don’t even know.

Here’s the thing about me. I have what seems to be zero control over my emotions. One minute I am in a good mood and all smiles, and in a split second one thought comes to mind, or one little insignificant thing is said, and BAM! Pissed.

I thought I understood the reasoning behind my jealousy at the start of it, but now that I’m putting it into words, I don’t understand a damn thing.

I was jealous because my boyfriend was with a puppy and I wasn’t, first of all. The one thing that I love the most in this world was with the other thing that I love dearly (you can decide which is which, hehe), and I wasn’t there with them. That was the initial jealousness that hit me. But, because of who I am as a person, it didn’t stop there. Once one thing is on my mind, 50 other things follow and make me even more upset. Thoughts that I swear I pull right out of my ass that I use just to make things worse for me.

So, the jealousness about not being able to visit the puppy was followed by my dear friend that seems to pop up at any time for literally no reason: “find a reason to be mad at him [boyfriend]”.

Hi, I’m Mal, and I’m a terrible person.

Get a load of this. Now I’m mad because the puppy is going to get all of the attention now and not me.

Hi, I’m Mal, and I’m an idiot.

Of course because of this exciting new addition to his family, he wasn’t going to come over and hang out with me like I was hoping. And now when I hear from him it’s going to be a picture sent of the puppy and texts saying “guess what the puppy just did” and “isn’t he the cutest thing EVER”. No, I’m the cutest thing ever, talk about me.

Naturally, these emotions have stuck around as the week is going on. And even though I know with all of my soft, sensitive heart that they are stupid and I’m being ridiculous, I can’t seem to shake them. Before I go to sleep at night I pray that God helps me get ahold of my dumb emotions, and I’m sure he chuckles when he hears my pathetic prayer saying, “please help me not be jealous of the puppy”. Even I roll my eyes when I say it.

I hate these feeling that I have toward something so exciting. This should be such a fun time for everyone, including me. (Because I did go over and see the puppy yesterday and sweet Jesus that thing is cute).

My boyfriend even came over last night anyway when I knew deep down he would rather stay home with the pup. And he said such sweet things to me like he always does about how beautiful I am and how hard I work and that he loves me so much. But yet, as soon as he left I was back to the grump I am because he was going home to his new love.

I’m the type of girlfriend, I’ve come to learn in the past 3 and a half years of this relationship, that wants to be the center of attention. As much as I like to think that’s not true, it 100% is. So when something so cute and small and adorable comes along like this sweet puppy and takes the attention of my boyfriend, I guess I get upset. The underlying reasoning behind this mess is the fact that I want to be his only love. I don’t want another cute creature coming into the picture and stealing my thunder.

Just like the beginning stages of any relationship, I know the puppy love will wear off. The newness of the puppy will simmer down and normal life will take over again.

In the meantime I just wish I could learn to be happy and not so jealous over something as silly as a puppy.


Here’s a picture of me holding the new precious, absolutely adorable Dudley while hiding the fact that I have something against him.