Turn It Off

Being a teenager is all about being the best you possible. It's about being aware of your environment, and what you need to do to get things done. Sometimes you've got to turn it on, whether that be the most outgoing part of your personality or that smile that makes everyone else feel good. At other times, you can turn it off, and just be mellow you. When it all happens at once and you've to pause, take a breather and turn it off.

When you've got to be on you're A-game, you'd best bring it. When all eyes are you on you, it's only you can surpass expectations and do your thing. Sunday was a huge test of that for me. I woke up nervous and a little excited. I get dressed, and Sam and I retriever her car out of the parking garage to pick up Felicia to head off on a little adventure. We stop at the gas station for Sam to fill'er on up, and people were all over the place. Like follow the flow of traffic, that's how life works. Off to the grocery store, where we go around in circles searching for Felicia until we just give up and go wait in the car. Complaining about anything and everything - it's what we do, deal with it. Back to the Heights, and we've got a guest surprise from Cullen (my suitemate from last year). All of us, as in my suitemates Jimmy, Joel, Patrick, Cullen, Sam, and I - plus my RA, Sonia, end of talking about rules and why things are the way they are. Soon it's time for me to get ready, and I put on a full suit, complete with black suspenders and I'm thinking "come and get this, ladies." Sam and I walk to the Waterman building after being ogled and stared at for looking way too dapper and badass for anyone's good. We circle the building looking for a usable entrance and ascend to the fabled 5th floor to the Water Manor dining experience. It's like we entered a different world - a high society one. Everyone super important to UVM was there, including our new president Tom Sullivan, deans, trustees from the board, and all their guests. It was intense as heck - Sam and I felt like little kids playing dress up in a world of adults, but we turned on the kind-hearted playfulness that makes us so endearing and worked the room to the best of our ability. Soon dinner was served and we were bussed over to the gymnasium where all the first year students aka the class of 2016 were being seated for the convocation and twilight induction ceremonies. Down to the hall of fame where we put on academic regalia (cap & gown) and proceed to get ready to take the stage. Flash mob and drummers perform, and we all take our seats - then stand and wave as we're described. I'm sitting on stage under the lights (1D "turned around and you stole my heart") and it's blazing hot up there. Everyone is fanning themselves and I'm just sweating buckets - not even because I'm scared shatless, but because it's a sauna up there. I make eye contact with the few kids I'd met so far, and smile and make faces when I got bored. The presentation and speeches go on, and soon it's over. We walk off in a line looking like the important people we all are, and we lead the parade down main street. Like this can't be real life - this is amazing. I was all turned on (not in that way) with my biggest smile on my face, and Sam caught up with me. To see all those students was breathtaking. We made it to the green where Ted Edwards - alumni association president introduces me and it was my time to shine. I start my speech a little too fast, but I soon find my stride after a few sentences and the crowd reacts accordingly. It was soon over and I had done it - I spoke to over 2,000 strangers - that ish cray. We light the candles and recite our oath to our university, and it's over. People come to congratulate me and I feel like a major weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Off to grab some late dinner in a jam packed Marché where everyone was hardcore staring at me, for good reason - I'm officially a campus celebrity. Turn it on and turn it off.

First impressions can be everything, you know when you walk into class for the first time that you've really got to turn it on. Monday was our official first day of classes for the semester, and I put on some of my favorite plaid and hit the ground running. HCOL (my honors college class) all about African-Americans in the US economy got off to one of those socially awkward start - mostly new kids, and some talk of supply and demand (ooph, I only spend money, I don't understand it). I had a little break and so breakfast it was (cheese & crackers mmhhmm). Off to organic chemistry, where the place was literally jam packed, like cattle for slaughter or something. Our professor is Scottish - which means he has an accent, which means that I'll pay attention because he says words funny. Right after that it was on to religion where this kid sneezed so hard blood came out of his nose, yeah true story - and no he didn't get up to go to the bathroom, just wiped it on his shirt for the rest of the class. Seriously, dude you might be a huge mess. Off to grace the student center with my presence (there's it is) and get some New World Tortilla food, the line was insufferably long and a miscommunication between my fraternity brother, Zach, and I left me standing awkwardly stood up for a bromantic lunch. Back to my suite to chill out and get my life together before heading off to my ecology & evolution lecture - which I immediately fall asleep in. I'm talking head hanging, and jerking back awake - people staring at you asleep. Such a mess, just #studentleaderproblems. Homegirl, Anna sits next to me and we were just people watching - fanny pack girl, brownosers and the rest. I make a stop at my room and it was back into presidential mode. I made the walk back over to WDW on Redstone to go do some work in the office where Sam, Eric, and Terra were all present. I get a whole lot of shat done as random people mistake our office for the RA's desk, and we answer as many questions as possible. Seven o'clock rolls around and it's time for our first executive board meeting of the year. I pound my gavel and it begins. It goes pretty smoothly except for the occasional talking over one another thing. I've just got to assert myself and take control - I'll get better, that's something I know for sure. Done for the day, and done with life. I'm officially turned off, and the bubbly persona gone. We go outside to catch the bus and barely miss it, before catching the next one. Late night dining and it's bed time, first day's over.
Turning it on means knowing your crowd and who you're playing to. It's about knowing your strengths (mine being super pep, smiling, and down to Earth teenage social interactions - aka pop culture knowledge and being funny) and using them to the best of your ability. Tuesday morning meant office hours for me in WDW. I got tons of work done, sent multiple emails and made calls like I was freaking Hilary Clinton or something. Back to the Heights where I changed and got ready for tennis class. Off to the gym where I walk in and everyone is hitting hard and fast. I work out the rust from my strokes and we go over what's expected of the 8 of us in the class. We just hit back and forth and another side of me comes out. I start hitting harder and faster, and that competitive side of me shows itself. I was all sweated out and I showered and got ready for the actual day. More office hours where I talk to my co-advisor, Learie, and sing to One Direction as residents walked by (no one ever stops in to say hey, boy hey). I rode the bus back to my part of campus where I attend a meeting and head off to biology lab. Like who has lab the first week, that's not okay. I get in there and it's an older demographic aka mostly seniors and juniors. We go around saying our names and something we did over the summer and I won everyone over with my mention of my water balloon birthday party fight that led to a concussion. Thank you impeccable social skills. We go outside and observe bees interact with flowers and you know I'm afraid of those things hardcore, but I overcame my fear. I partnered with a cool dude named Riley, and we got'er done. Off to grab some food and read for religion in my room. I wielded a highlighter and even took notes - the year is off to a good start. I attend a hall council meeting in Harris-Millis where it gets awkward when they mention IRA, and me, and don't realize I'm sitting in the room. I do some recruiting and it's back to work and I call it bed time at midnight. Turned off.

Being a teenager is all about showing what you've got to offer. You have to get over your nerves, overcome your fears, and show people what you're made of. You're stronger than you think, you can do more than you ever thought possible, and you're capable of surpassing every challenge put in front of you. The only thing limiting you is yourself. Turn it on, step it up, and go full force this year. Remember to know when to chill out and turn it off.
My blog post question for the day is ... when do you know you're on your game? Me, when I'm talking about something serious and my tone of voice changes - I get to say what I mean eloquently and it's that young adult side of me showing.


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