The weight room

I’m weight training again. That’s not something I really expected to say three months into university. I always knew that I would keep playing soccer after I left home because I still love it, and also because after thirteen years of playing constantly I don’t really know how to stop.

Soccer is fun though; weight training is not. In the kind of training we did for soccer, our trainer would run us on treadmills at a sprint thirty seconds on, thirty seconds off, until our legs felt like jello and our stomachs felt queasy. Then came lunges with twenty-five pounds in each hand, and as the season progressed twenty-five would turn to thirty which would turn to thirty five. Then there were some squats with more weights, and then some jumping between sets just to make sure that you could fully appreciate the pain coursing through your muscles. Then came ab workouts if we were lucky, arms if we weren’t. Our trainer liked to end each session with this sadistic game involving a deck of cards. He would draw a card and one of us would guess the number. He would show us the number and we would do the amount of pushups equal to the difference between it and our guess. We went through the whole deck before we got to leave.

So yes, I think it’s pretty safe to say that I never enjoyed weight training. The only good part was doing it with my teammates. We would help each other get through the reps by catching up on gossip. Yeah, that’s right, we talked about boys while we bench pressed. Some of the best talks I’ve had with my teammates happened in the weight room  while lugging barbells.

Without my team and a season to train for, I figured that I had no reason to continue lifting once I arrived at university. I signed up for an intramural soccer team that plays once a week and figured that would be all I’d feel up for. I don’t know what I thought; I guess that  I’d be busy studying and partying. I didn’t think I’d miss soccer practice four and five times a week, and I certainly didn’t think I’d miss the weight room.

I was wrong.

For the last few weeks I’ve been wondering why my sleep cycle is so screwed up. In the first month of school I stayed up late a lot partying, and the month after that was midterms so then I was staying up studying. So it wasn’t until November that I realized that I actually can’t go to sleep before 2am even if I want to. I guess this is partially just a habit now, but I also realized that when I go to bed at night I still have so much energy left. I mean, really all I do in a day is sit in class, eat, and then sit some more in my dorm room studying. Sometimes I switch it up and also go to debate club and sit there. It’s no wonder I can’t sleep.

That’s why I decided to go to the gym today. Just to run, I told myself. It’s too cold to run outside, so I’ll use a treadmill at the gym on campus.

Except the thing is that old habits die hard. Even though I’m really out of shape, I couldn’t just jog on the treadmill. I kept upping my speed and my incline to keep myself challenged. I wasn’t content, it seemed, until my legs and my lungs were both burning. Then (and this is where it gets stranger) I strolled over to the free weights and started doing lunges. I have no idea why. I don’t train on a competitive soccer team anymore. There is no logical reason at all for me to need leg muscles the size of bowling balls just to sit around and write history papers and econ assignments. The treadmill made sense; cardio is important for healthy living and whatever. Weights, however, are just pointless pain.

The only explaination isn’t really a logical one. As far as I can tell all this shows is that working out, pushing my body, putting myself through pain, are all hardwired into my psyche. I don’t know if I was born like this or if was something trained into me over that thirteen years, but I do know that it’s a part of myself that I can’t get away with ignoring anymore. I guess I’ll have to add “gym rat” to strange hodgepodge of labels that seem to make me who I am.

On over thinking

In my last post I said that I wasn’t going to over think my date with Mickey.

Good one.

Jaco called me on it, and he’s right. I can’t not over think things, especially boy things. My biggest enemy is free time to let thoughts float around in my brain. My thoughts are like viruses. They start out innocently enough, with a just a few cells floating around. “I like Mickey. He makes me laugh. He’s a nice guy.” But then it turns into, “I wonder what it would be like if we were dating?” and “I wonder if he would be clingy?” and “He seems like he would be clingy. I hate that.” Until basically I talk myself out of a relationship that doesn’t even exist yet. Boom. Giant virus slowly strangling me from the inside.

Worst extended metaphor ever; I’m sorry I put you through that.

Mickey and I still do our econ homework together, but we haven’t been on a date or anything since the night of Mika the European broadsword fighter. It’s partially because I’ve been busy with debate tournaments, and partially because I’ve been making excuses to get out of dates. Classic Kay move.

It’s because I’m not capable of acting like dating is no big deal. Anytime I meet a guy, I compare him to the fairytale picture of a man that has been in my head ever since I watched Cinderella for the first time. I think about every guy in terms of whether I could see myself with him a year from now, and if I would feel proud to introduce him to my friends and family. I don’t settle and I don’t compromise. I’ve had people tell me this is an admirable trait, but I also wonder if it’s elitist and unrealistic. I wonder if I will ever meet a guy who measures up. I wonder if I want to.

Mickey is coming tonight to do homework. He’s probably going to propose another date and I’m out of excuses. I don’t get what my problem is. He’s cute, and smart, and funny. I like hanging out with him. It’s just that whenever I think about dating him I can’t see it happening. I don’t know if that’s because it actually just isn’t right, or if it’s because I’m just at the point where I don’t trust my own feelings anymore.

Ugh this is the angstiest post ever and I feel like I’ve written it before. Sorry guys, it’s the best I’ve got today.

A very strange date

Rule number one about living in residence: Everyone knows your business. All. The. Time.

They know what kind of music you listen to because then can hear it through the paper thin walls. On a related note they also know if you sing in the shower. Or if you’re up late practicing your embarrassingly bad French for your oral presentation the next day.

And they also know if you have guests. This girl from waaaay down the hallway came up to me in the tv lounge the other day and was like, “Hey who is that guy who has been hanging out in your room lately? He’s really cute. Do you like him? Are you dating him? You should date him.”

Like seriously, there is no privacy here. I think I’ve talked to that girl like three times total and I can’t stress enough how far her room is from mine.

And okay, yes, Mickey has come over a couple of times to work on econ homework with me. And honestly that’s what we do. We sit in my room with our laptops doing calculations with the door open. Nothing major.

I’m calling him Mickey as in Mickey Mantle the baseball player, because he’s on the baseball team and there’s a bit of a resemblance. He always uses baseball metaphors that I don’t get, like “batting a thousand” and it makes him laugh when I make him explain what they mean.

He’s always laughing. I like that.

After we finished working on Thursday he asked me on a date. He didn’t have anything planned yet, he explained, but he wanted to know if I was interested. He said he had never had so much fun doing homework before.

He texted me on Saturday and asked me if I was free for said date, and I really wanted to go, except that I had a problem.

Kay: I actually have something else I need to do tonight

Mickey: Oh…okay that’s alright

Kay: Well I was kind of hoping you would come with me, but first I have to tell you an embarrassing story…

Basically I met up with a high school friend from the other university in town late Thursday night, we got way too drunk at a club across town, and I ended up losing my wallet. How did that happen, you might ask? Truthfully I don’t remember. At a certain point my memory goes black and I remember waking up in my friend’s dorm room still drunk while she dry heaved into a garbage can.

Yeah. Like I said, embarrassing.

Mickey laughed at me a little, but he was nice about it. He was also up for it when I asked him if he wanted to join me in my Saturday night plans, which involved bussing to the club to pick up my wallet, which had (thankfully) been found.

Kay: It will be the lamest adventure ever but we’ll make it fun?

Mickey: We do have an awesome habit of making boring stuff fun, so why not? I’m in

Kay: Also prepare to possibly get lost. I’m the worst at bus routes.

Mickey: That’s what will make it an adventure

To be honest I couldn’t believe he was coming. Nobody wants to spend their Saturday doing errands. In spite of my promise to make it fun, I fully expected it to be a pretty boring trip.

It was anything but boring.

This is basically how I described it to Dee later:

First we missed our stop to transfer buses, so then we had to figure out a new route, and then my RA just miraculously turned out to be on the bus so he helped us find the right stop. And then we ran into a whole bunch of guys from Mickey’s floor who were wearing suits and they wouldn’t tell us where they were headed so now we think they’re probably spies. And then we finally got to the club and we got to see the super special backroom of the club because I had to go into the office to get my wallet. And then we were waiting at the bus stop and this like 20 something woman was like, are you waiting for the 8? Because it’s not coming for like 20 minutes and I know a quicker way. So we just like blindly followed this woman and we walked across the river, which is so pretty at night and the parliament buildings are all lit up. And then she started telling us about how she does European broadsword fighting, and we were like what? So she told us all about it, and it’s crazy because they wear full armour and the swords are actually sharp and stuff, not like fencing. And then she waited at the bus stop with us and made sure we got on the right bus, so thanks Mika the broadsword fighter. And then we wandered around the market downtown because Peter was determined to find Menchie’s and we found it and tried all the flavours of frozen yogurt, and then we walked over to the Parliament buildings, and the clock on the Peace Tower started chiming just as we were standing below it, which was so cool. And then we warmed up standing next to the fireplace that is also a fountain right in front of Parliament. Then we took the bus home and spent the ride talking to a chick I know from frosh who was dressed up like a League of Legends character with a blue wig and very little else.

We ended the night standing outside my building just laughing about the whole night. It was the weirdest first date ever, Mickey admitted, but that was why he liked it.

To be honest I hadn’t planned on dating at all this year. Guys are confusing and complicated and I just wanted to have fun in first year. Mickey isn’t confusing though, or complicated. He just makes me smile. I couldn’t stop smiling, even when I was sitting in my dorm room later that night. I don’t know what that means yet, but I’m trying not to over think it.

Pre-midterm madness

Midterms were last week and everyone on campus was kind of stressed the weekend before them. So they spent the weekend studying extra hard partying their faces off. I’m going to tell you a few stories about things that happened last weekend. Some of them happened to my friends. Some happened to friends of friends. Some happened to me. I’ll let you try to figure out which is which.

Someone saw two girls streaking at a football party and chased after them because they were honestly trying to help said girls. However, some police saw the chase and assumed the worst. They spent the night looking for the person chasing the girls, and this person spent the night hiding out and changing outfits so the cops wouldn’t find them.

Someone went to a club across the city with some people they didn’t know very well and couldn’t get in because the bouncer asked for two pieces of id when they only had one. Said “friends” went into the club without this person, and said person was stranded in a sketchy neighbourhood alone at 1am

Someone tried their first joint and grained out, spending the rest of the Friday night leaning over a toilet bowl

Someone overdid the drinking a little and woke up in the hospital with no shoes and a dead cellphone

Someone made out with someone else on their floor and woke up in the morning with said person in their bed, various pieces of furniture in their room knocked over, and some really obvious hickeys

I’m never going to admit which ones were me, but have fun guessing.

October: National ________ month

According to the wise interwebs, October is:

-National Book Month (too bad I don’t have time to read any books other than my textbooks)

-National Cookie Month

-National Pizza Month

-Strangely it’s both National Country Ham Month and National Vegetarian Month

-National Sarcasm Month (I’m like never sarcastic, so I would never get behind this one)

(That was sarcasm in case you didn’t catch that)

In addition to all of these excellent celebrations, I will also be participating in my own sort of commemorative month. From this day forward, I declare October International Get Your Shit Together Month. Exciting commemorative activities include:

-Making a schedule of all of the assignments due this month

-Actually working out regularly

-Doing all of the things I avoided doing in September, like calling my cell phone company about why they consistently charge me five dollars more than it says they should in my contract

-Starting using sticky notes and to do lists and other organizational shit that apparently works

-Getting out of bed before 11 on days when I don’t have class till 11:30

-Remembering to blog because I always feel better when I do it

-Not eating dessert at every meal at the cafeteria

-Vacuuming my room for the first time since I’ve gotten here (yes, I’m aware of how disgusting it is that I haven’t vacuumed yet)

So hooray for International Get Your Shit Together Month! Feel free to celebrate with me and tell me what you’ve been doing to commemorate this important month.

A side note I guess I should add is that although this is a joke post, the reason I got thinking about this is that it is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For those who don’t know, my mom died from breast cancer two and a half years ago. I saw some pink ribbons displayed in a store the other day and it was one of those weird out-of-nowhere moments where the loss is suddenly fresh again and you can’t breathe for a second. I don’t really have anyone to talk about it with here either. I’m at the point where I have friends now, but not talk-about-your-dead-mother friends. In time, perhaps. For now I just swallow my grief and remind myself to keep breathing.

That’s all you really can do, I guess.

So anyway, if you get a chance, buy a pink ribbon or make a donation to breast cancer research. Also, tell all your girlfriends to get breast exams and learn how to do self exams. The thing is, awareness does matter and early diagnosis does too. I make fun of it, but the whole awareness-month thing is a good idea.

How to ace your first month in residence

In university I am learning to analyze stuff and such. Here are some facts about my first three weeks in residence. Feel free to analyze and interpret however you choose.

What I could have eaten for breakfast today: eggs made to order with whole grain toast and assorted fresh fruit

What I actually ate for breakfast today: three bowls of cheerios and some tater tots

What I could have eaten for dinner last night: a turkey dinner with mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, grilled veggies, and a fresh salad

What I actually ate for dinner last night: a taco, some sushi, and two slices of cake

What I could have eaten for lunch yesterday: a toasted egg salad sandwich and a bowl of vegetable soup

What I actually ate for lunch yesterday: Lunch? What is lunch?

What I could be keeping in my mini fridge: milk, juice, vegetables and dip, fruit, cheese, yogurt

What I actually keep in my fridge: four Palm Bays and some hummus

How many hours of sleep I could have gotten this weekend: 10+ per night

How many hours of sleep I actually got this weekend: Less than six. Total.

Number of colds I’ve gotten already this month: 2

Go figure.

Real talk

I don’t want to be a journalist.

There, I said it. It’s not really something you’re allowed to say three weeks into the first year of journalism school, but I’ve always tried to be honest here, so I’m saying it.

The truth is, I felt it after the first journalism lecture, on the first day of classes, but I pushed that feeling away. I thought maybe it was just first week jitters, or perhaps I was just overwhelmed by the whole university experience. Actually, you know what? That’s not true either. I knew it wasn’t jitters. I just wanted that to be the problem. The idea that I’ve put so much effort and money and time into getting into a program that I immediately realized is wrong for me scared me too much to face it at first. It wasn’t just fear either, it was also embarrassment. There I was going around for the last six months telling everyone I was going to be a journalist, and now I’ll have to tell them all that it was a big mistake. I’ll have to tell my dad that I’m wasting his money being here, and my scholarship money too. I’ll have to tell my friends who all know what they want, that I actually have no idea where I’m going.

It’s terrifying also. Terrifying, because I don’t know what to do now. Like, at all. It’s too late to switch programs and even if I could switch, I have no idea to what program I’d switch. I’ve spent the last six years assuming (consciously or subconsciously) that I would become a journalist when I grew up. I mean, in career planning class I pretended to consider other options, but truthfully, I was always planning on journalism. I mean, it’s not like I had my whole life planned out, but I had a direction, and that felt good.  I felt bad for all of the poor souls who still hadn’t figured out what they wanted. I loved it when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up because I had an answer.

I really did think I knew what I was getting myself into. I knew that journalism is a difficult profession. The hours are long, the jobs are scarce and low-paying, and the deadlines are murder. Furthermore, no one knows what journalism is even going to look like in four years, or one, even. I was okay with that though. I felt like it was a field that was so right for me that I couldn’t go wrong, after all, I love to write and I love talking to people. That’s all you really need, isn’t it?

It took one Journ 1000 class to realize that I had it all wrong. I know that you’ve waited this whole long, ramble-y post for me to explain exactly why it is that I felt this way suddenly, but the truth is that I really couldn’t tell you. The best way that I can explain it is that I listened to descriptions of possible careers we could have-as foreign correspondents, news anchors, radio hosts, parliamentary reporters-and I couldn’t picture myself doing any of them. More than that, I didn’t want to picture myself doing any of them. All of the professor’s descriptions of a journalist were of this determined, dogged reporter chasing down leads and knocking on doors and calling everyone in the phonebook until she got answers. That, I realized, isn’t me at all.

So what do I want, exactly? What can I picture myself doing? I only have vague shadows of ideas at this point. I wish I had more. It scares me that I don’t, but the honest truth is that I’m not even close to knowing what I want.

I want to be writing still; I’m sure of that. Writing important things, things that really matter. Things that will change peoples’ minds and make them listen, make them understand. I still like talking to people too. I recently joined the debate team, and I love it. Public speaking, I realized, gives me a bit of a rush actually. The other thing is that I still care about news. I flip through all of the news apps on my phone like four times a day and I’m constantly texting Mat about the debate over Syria and the elections in Australia and Kenyan leaders being tried for war crimes. I think that someday I’d like to be in a position where I could do more than just report on those things. I would like to be in a position where I could make real changes in foreign policy and diplomatic relations.

And now that I go back and read that paragraph it really just looks like I want to go into politics. Do I? I’m not sure. I wish that I had a dream…

For now, I guess I’m going to journalism class. I’m sure I’ll learn some useful stuff there, regardless on what I choose to do. I’ve got a year to figure my shit out. Hopefully that will be enough. Hopefully God really does have a plan for me.

Otherwise, I’m screwed.

 

Things I wish I had known about university

1) Nobody cares about how you look in class. If I had known this in August I would have packed a whole lot less clothing. The truth is that when you show up at a lecture, everyone has different stuff going on. Some are coming straight from the gym, others slept in because they had been up late finishing work for another class the night before, and still others are already on their third back-to-back class of the day and therefore are hauling half a library on their backs. What I’ve realized is that this isn’t our school so much as it is our home. Therefore, people dress like they would at home; they come as they are. I mean, don’t get me wrong, some people still put together outstanding outfits, but more often than not, jeans and sweatpants prevail.

2) You have a ton of free time. And okay, I get that as the semester gets harder, I will be using all of that time to study, but it’s still a complete shock to me that I get to manage so much of my own time. In high school I was pretty independent, but I still had to be present at school for six hours a day. In addition to that, there were times when I was expected to be at home with my family, and times after school when extra-curriculars took place.  It’s still strange to me that all I have to do here is show up to five classes a week, all of which are a five minute walk from my bedroom. There are extracurriculars, yes, but at the moment I’m not “committed” per se to any of them; I can choose to show up if I feel like it. For me, the luxury here isn’t so much the freedom because my parents have always let me be fairly independent. The luxury is the sheer abundance of time at my disposal. I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately because never before have I had two or three hour time blocks to sit down and watch a movie. Usually in high school I could fit in one tv show between school and clubs and soccer, and even then, only if I pvr’d it and skipped through the commercials. And okay, yeah, I’m sure I’ll have to watch a few less movies and do a lot more studying soon enough, but still, the luxury is there.

3) Everyone belongs here. It’s like this whole shift in attitude from high school. In high school, you found friends if you got lucky and found people who were like you. In university, people look past your weirdness, and even embrace it. I think part of it is because we’re all strangers to each other and everyone is eager to be open to one another and make friends, whatever the kind. However, I think a bigger part of it is that we’re all here because we want to, not because we’re forced to. It creates this kind of buoyant environment; it’s one full of enthusiasm and excitement instead of one of boredom and frustration. If you show that you care about something, people are attracted to that here. The result is that everyone is included because everyone cares. That is, after all, why they’re here.

This isn’t an exhaustive list, and it’s also a little premature. We’ll see how I feel about all of this in the coming weeks and months.

Things I wish I could tell my high school self

1) Nobody thinks you’re stupid for asking questions. You look even stupider if you don’t. Especially in grade 10 math, when you don’t know how to do trig and everyone else does. It’s not your fault that your junior high didn’t teach it. Just get your teacher to help you get caught up, it’ll honestly take like ten minutes.

2) Nerd out. Seriously, don’t ever worry about “looking like a nerd.” You are a nerd, embrace it. To be honest, you were never hiding it very well anyway. Also, you’ll end up meeting a ton of nerdy friends who will love you for your love of Shakespeare and physics jokes and Doctor Who, so don’t even stress about it.

3) You’re all in the same boat. You are not the only high school student with tough stuff going on at home, or the only one unsure about their future. You’re certainly not the only one feeling lonely. Just get some balls and talk to people instead of sitting by yourself and pretending to look at something interesting on your phone. They’re probably hoping someone will come introduce themselves because they’re too shy to do it. Most of the friends I made in Grade 11 I wish I had gotten to know in Grade 10. We could have had a lot more time together and they probably would have helped me get through some of the tough times, like my mom’s death.

4) Your alcohol tolerance is not as high as you think it is. So for the love of god do not try to keep pace with Nob and and Jo at that one party. You will take too many shots and you and Nob will both puke and Jo will have to carry you to the car because Jo is a tank and vodka is like water to him. Puke is hard to wash out of your hair btw.

5) Don’t pigeon-hole yourself. Okay, yes, you’re good at soccer and writing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try other things. Maybe I would have also like martial arts, or debate club. I guess I was eager to stick to what I knew because I was confident in that. I wish I could tell my Grade 10 self that it’s okay to be a beginner at things. No one expects you to be an expert right away. And more than that, you don’t have to do things just because you’re good at them. It’s okay to do something you suck at if you’re enjoying yourself.

6) You don’t have to plan your whole future out when you apply for university. I mean, you can, but it’s kind of a waste of your time, because it’s going to change right away anyway, because a) university is different than anything you could have ever imagined, and b) You will change and so will your goals. In January, I was 100% sure I wanted to be a journalist when I grew up. Now here I am with two university journalism classes under my belt, realizing that I’m pretty sure that’s not what I want to do with my life. My favourite class so far is philosophy; I did not expect that. All I’ve figured out is that I have absolutely nothing figured out. I used to have my whole life planned out, and now I don’t even know what I’m going to do a year from now.