House of Fun

The 20s are all about venturing outside of your comfort zone. College for a lot of people is a safe haven for experimentation. It's where our morals are questioned, limits tested, and challenges posed. We're asked to do more than we ever thought possible and examine not only who we are but figure out who we want to be. The boundaries we'd long ago established become more flexible until new ones can be drawn. Adventures await, trials and tribulations abound, and we're all set to wander in a house of fun.

College should come with one of those car window warnings, "Objects in mirror are closer than they appear." The place is a fun house of both epic and sometimes terrifying proportions. You're forced to take a look at yourself in a distorted mirror based on the context of the situation you're in. It's hard to see yourself reflected accurately when the mirrors to do so come with their own agendas. I've said it before and I'll say it again, people will always surprise, whether it's for better or worse, that's just part of the surprise. The thing about people is that you have to give them the benefit of the doubt. You look for the best in them and you'll find it. You give them the opportunity to prove you right, and they'll do it. You show them that you're invested in them and they'll pay it right back at you. People, as out there as it sounds, will make or break your college experience. Our happiness is determined by ourselves, but our happiness is also dependent on our interactions with other people. It's like we're mirrors (Justin freaking Timberlake you're you, we get it already), naturally reflective, bright and pristine and over time we get mad dusty (like Ashy Larry status) until people wipe us clean and we sparkle again (I glisten though). People are what we remember. People are what keep us going. People are what help determine who we are, how we feel, and what matters to us. People stand around us in our fun houses to smile back or psych us out. We figure them out and then do the same for ourselves.

The past week has been nothing short of organized chaos. Remember my new year's resolution to hit bed before midnight, it's only happened once and that was against my will (aka a body shutdown with an impromptu slumber session). While I've already been run ragged and am sporting the good ole sleep deprived quasi-groggy look, there's something to be said about the reflections people have mirrored back to me. The house of fun wants to be open all the time, and sometimes you just have to go with it. Last weekend as I was prepping to get ready for bed on Saturday night, my co-workers for RHA, Brendan and Sam along with our friend, Steph, scared my shatless knocking on my window and somehow got me to go sledding at 1am. Let's just say I thoroughly busted my ass (fell off halfway down
and rolled the rest of the way) and I was covered in snow but it was definitely worth it. I did something I usually wouldn't and let myself have fun for change. Fast forward through a crazy week of little sleep, 12 hour days with no breaks, and seemingly endless hours of class, homework, and meetings. I spare you the details but the highlights included a dinner with my new buddy James (you know when you're having such a good conversation that you forget to eat), meeting my good friend Tina's mom (compassion definitely can be an inherited trait, and she's proof of that), and a night of ridiculous stories with the likes of Mac and Connor. Your friends are a reflection of who you are and I would say mine reflect a diverse range of interest and character traits, but most commonly, loyalty. Wednesday night I hit the grocery store to pick up a cake and candles to surprise Connor (Blue Steel) for his birthday, but nothing ever goes the way you plan especially when you've got a wildcard like Mac to add to mix. We made our way to gather Dylan, Ben, Jake and more of Connor's friends/floormates, do the whole singing and cake-face thing before outrageous story-telling time started (Blue Steel's B-Day). Midnight rolled around and it was time to call it a night, definitely one I'll remember for a long time. I truly hope me putting together that impromptu birthday party made Connor's special day that much more momentous (we all know college has a way of downplaying things that matter to us). I do what I can, and when it's for people that reflect the best qualities in yourself, your motivation to go above and beyond is even greater. Thursday was a long ass day of class that continued until dinner with the bday surprise. The thing was those old-feelings of inadequacy and irrelevance crept back up. Maybe it's a reflection of me still getting used to not being the center of attention in a group situation. It was upstairs to help out with my RHA's "Minute to Win It" event with brought out my latent competitive side (no one needs to see it's - it's loud and a 180 from typical me). It was a good time because I made up my mind to enjoy where I was when I was there. The house of fun is only open when you decide for it to be. 
 
Your house of fun can be an epic time but also a scary one at the same time. It's insidious in that way, that if you let the anxiety of what's going on around you and how you're showing up prevent you from being fully engaged then you may miss out on a great opportunity. Thursday night continued with a visit to my fraternity brothers' Zach and Dom's apartment where we were joined by Jake and Dzenan. They were cooking chili, I was sending emails, and Dzenan and Jake were studying and doing homework. Just being in that same space of cracking jokes, helping each other out, and just sitting there was one of most profound reflective hours of my week. Friday morning I met up with my homegirl, Courtney, at the ASC breakfast (the girl is a character to say the least, and a funny one at that). It was off to another one on one (this one wasn't dramatic and I actually had little to say about myself - #teamnodrama) before departing for a time of running around campus prepping for the FSL (fraternity/sorority life) Chili Cook-Off. I met up with my fraternity brothers, Jake and Tanner (or as I secretly refer to them as, Janner) for meeting a potential new members, smoothies & ice cream from Ben and Jerry's (cause winter in Vermont and #YOLO) and like a throwback to 8th grade hyper-randomness walking around campus and starting (key cause it didn't continue passed three middle-school rock songs' length) cleaning our room (my side stays on lockdown). I fell asleep for half an hour and then it was up to gather the final items for the chili cook off. Time to turn it on, I looked in the mirror one more as I got dressed in my IFC (inter-fraternity council) t-shirt and nametag. The event brought the non-affiliated community together with the letter-wearing students. It was amazing the amount of people who came and how much they thoroughly enjoyed it. The entire time me however was too nervous that something would go wrong to even partake, smile or have one ounce of fun. It wasn't until we had only ten minutes left that I calmed down and realized just how great IFC and Panhel had done. After cleaning up and a quick meeting, the guys, myself, Sam (different from RHA-Sam), Brock and Scott made our way to the AGR house for a brief tour (fraternity houses are like the coolest thing ever ... you can just feel the history in the walls). Finally my week was over and I watched the latest episode of Teen Wolf before retiring to bed. My final reflection for the week, I can have a lot more fun when I make an active choice to do so. Wallowing in perpetual state of melancholy don't get you anywhere except even more somber. Open up your house of fun and let people show you the reflections of who they are.

My blog post question for the day is ... what makes you happy? Everything about low-key conversations, where people share about themselves and when they inquire about me past the superficial stuff. That's what means the most to me, forget doing things, I want to know people for who they are.

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