Starting College!

Phew. You wouldn’t think becoming orientated would make you so disorientated. I’ve just been through about 8 days straight of pre-orientation followed by orientation, and all I can say is, I’m glad I can finally start classes and have a less hectic schedule! Still, it was a lot of fun channeling freshman energy into meeting new people and exploring places on campus.

Thankfully, the first day of classes gave me a spot of time to take a deep breath and think about the first few days of my college experience. To be fair, the freedom is glorious. Living alone was something I didn’t think I would be good at, but I’ve been holding it together. As an introvert, making friends seemed like a daunting task, but the majority of the people I’ve met have been kind and extremely interesting, coming from all different backgrounds and places.

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To sum it all up, here are my top reactions to my college experience so far:

  1. Hallelujah. Freedom.
  2. Doing my laundry was surprisingly easy.
  3. On the other hand, I’m really running out of socks.
  4. Where are my Nike shoes? My favorite pair of jeans?? God, I should’ve packed neater.
  5. I am SO exhausted from waking up early and getting to sleep late because of all these activities with free food. (And sadly mandatory floor meetings.)
  6. The people here are SO smart and SO interesting in a way that I never expected.
  7. Textbooks are stressful. They’re insanely expensive and take quite a bit of digging/research to find them for a good price. At the same time, it’s nice to get (at least some of) them early so you don’t have to worry about getting 20 books at once.
  8. If you take a while to find your niche of friends, there’s nothing wrong with you or the people around you. It might seem like it’ll take a long time when you’re lost in a crowd, but you’ll connect with people faster than you think.
  9. You’ll probably have less down time alone in your room than you expect, just because you’ll want to be out and about exploring campus or participating in activities, especially in the first couple of days. I haven’t really been on the internet in a week, which is quite different from what I’ve been doing all summer.
  10. You’ll start to realize that things that are part of your identity that you may have never even considered as “different” will be pointed out. As a Texan, for me it was saying “y’all” too much. (Seriously though, it’s such a convenient contraction.) Embrace it.

I’m already lovin’ the college life and I can’t wait for the long line of experiences ahead of me.

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The Harry Potter Tag

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Thanks to Bridget from Stay and Watch the Stars for tagging everyone that read her post, so I could snatch up the opportunity to finally do a Harry Potter post. In a way no other fandom has, Harry Potter defined my childhood, sparked my imagination, and increased my adoration for England. The stories we loved as children will always remain magical to us because we believed in them, so they remain in our memories, real and enchanting. Without further ado, I present to you my inner Harry Potter geek. Wouldn’t miss this chance for the wizarding world. (Not really.)

(Of course there are spoilers; don’t be riddikulus.)

Favorite book?

I guess the correct answer is Deathly Hallows, since it’s the one that really went out of the box and tied the entire series together. The plot twists and character development, the way J.K. Rowling allowed the readers to uncover the secrets and hidden history of important characters gave the story many more layers and made it a more compelling read.

However, my actual personal favorite is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. To me, Deathly Hallows lacked one thing, and that was the traditional Hogwarts/wizarding world charm that I had come to love in the other books. True, the series was supposed to get darker as the golden trio got older, and I loved the way the books grew up with the characters, but I always missed the more “childish” books. Goblet of Fire was the transition book that mixed old and new. It kept the Hogwarts feeling of Christmas, classes, and Slytherin-Gryffindor rivalry, while showing the behind-the-scenes rise of the dark forces and introducing the mess of teenage angst into the lives of the coming-of-age characters. The Quidditch World Cup, the Triwizard Tournament, the Yule Ball, Durmstrang and Beauxbatons – these are the creative magical touches that I love about the series.

Also, I love any of the books with plenty of Fred and George’s sass and humor. The sixth and seventh books just weren’t the same without them.

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Favorite film?

I definitely didn’t pay more attention to the films than the books, which is why I take it as a personal offense when people say they’ve only seen the movies and have never read the books. However, the movies weren’t bad and I did enjoy them, and I really fell in love with the cast.

My favorite would have to be Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, because in my eyes, that movie stayed truer to the book than the other movies. My biggest problem with the movies is that they cut out scenes that made up the heart and soul and whimsy of Harry’s world, including the scene at St. Mungo’s, Peeves, Hermione’s S.P.E.W., Tonks and Lupin…I could go on. There’s a Tumblr post (that I found on Pinterest) that lists all the parts that should have been in the movies. I couldn’t agree more.

Of course there’s not enough room to put everything in the films, but a fangirl can lament, right? That’s why you read the books.

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Least favorite book?

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It probably shouldn’t be that easy to decide, but this one was by far my least favorite. It lacked some of that Hogwarts charm that I was talking about, it lacked Fred and George, it didn’t have the intrigue of Deathly Hallows, Ron hooks up with Lavender, Dumbledore dies…need I say more?

That said, I still love it more than plenty of other books I have read, and it is an integral part of the series. Like I said, anything Harry Potter will have a special place in my heart.

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Least favorite film?

Same as my least favorite book. I can’t remember much from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, so I guess I must not have liked it that much. I vaguely remember thinking that they left out too much.

Parts of the books/movies that made you cry?

Snape’s love for Lily. There’s been a real backlash against Snape’s character, but I’ve always been a cheesy romantic. I’m a sucker for unresolved heartbreak.

Also, Neville’s backstory. The scene in the books when he visits his parents at St. Mungo’s was really poignant, and it’s haunted me for forever.

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Favorite character?

Snape. Not because he’s especially noble or secretly kind-hearted – he’s not – but because he’s complicated and broken and a classic example of the antihero blurring the lines between “good” and “bad.” He’s not cliche, yet he’s the embodiment of the most cliche theme: “Love conquers all.” The theme that love is the greatest motivator is woven throughout the book, and Snape, the Death-Eater-turned-spy all in the name of love proves this more than any other character.

Least favorite character?

Umbridge. Or Tom Riddle’s father and grandfather. In my eyes, they were the real villains.

Favorite quote?

“It is a curious thing, Harry, but perhaps those who are best suited to power are those who have never sought it.” -Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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Least favorite quote?

“And Percy was shaking his brother, and Ron was kneeling beside them, and Fred’s eyes stared without seeing, the ghost of his last laugh still etched upon his face.” –Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

*internally screams*

Favorite music from the films?

“Reunion of Friends.” Makes me cry every time. God bless John Williams.

What would your patronus be?

A bottle-nosed dolphin. Or a phoenix, if patronuses can be magical animals.

If you could have the Resurrection Stone, the Invisibility Cloak, or the Elder Wand, which would you choose?

The Invisibility Cloak, duh. Haven’t you ever read “The Tale of the Three Brothers?”

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Which house would you be in?

I’ve taken one of those detailed sorting hat quizzes (the kind that asks better questions than “what’s your favorite color?” then suspiciously limits your choices to red, blue, yellow, and green) and I ended up with equal percentages as a Ravenclaw and a Hufflepuff. Knowing me though, I am a Hufflepuff, because as much as I value creativity and intelligence, I value character and virtue more.

If you could meet any member of the cast, who would it be?

Emma Watson. Talk about perfection.

If you were on the Quidditch team, what position would you play?

LOL sports. Probably the water boy.

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Were you happy with the ending?

Happy, yes. Satisfied, no. I wanted to know more about their lives “19 years later,” but I guess that’s what fan fiction is for.

How much does Harry Potter mean to you?

What kind of question is that? How am I supposed to measure meaning? I can’t say that it means more than anything to me, but I can say that it has defined my philosophy, changed the way I think, and pushed me towards reading and writing. Taking away Harry Potter would be taking away a huge chunk of my life, and I just wouldn’t be the same person that is sitting here typing this today.

But more than anything, the Harry Potter series gave me friends, family, and a home. What more could I ask?

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I tag anyone who would like to do the Harry Potter Tag and show what Harry Potter means to him or her. If you do decide to do this, leave your blog post in the comments, and I’ll be sure to check it out!

This One’s For You

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They say you have to know your audience when you write. That’s not a new concept – it’s a cliche writing tip really – and yet when I write I tend to blab on and on and hope someone from the interweb may stumble along and find my rants and possibly deem them worthy of a like. As a new blogger, that’s technically my audience – the people who wind up here by chance.

In large part, I don’t give great thought to my audience when I sit down to make a blog post, because I write for myself. Well, that’s pretty selfish, you might think. But writing is a selfish task. It’s the sum of your background, your experiences, your culture, your heartbreaks, your hometown, the books you read, the people you love, the thoughts you have at 4 AM…your writing is centered around you. Writing is a way of getting to know yourself first, before anyone else. It’s a way to tap into your own mind, creativity, and soul.

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And yet, writers aren’t selfish. They’re brave. They make themselves vulnerable for the world to see; they whisper their secrets to perfect strangers. All the lives that you’ll never know, all the people you’ll never meet, never will be – that’s the world. That’s my audience. I write for myself, yes, but also for the others. I write for the the underdogs, the cynical romantics, the seekers of truth. I write for every girl who’s ever been ignored because she isn’t “pretty enough” and every boy who feels like they can’t cry unless they’re alone. I write for anyone who’s ever let go of bitterness, drowned their sorrows with music, danced in the rain, fallen in love with their flaws. I write for the ones who are quietly brave, who have seen the world’s hatred and ignorance and brokenness and still believe it to be a beautiful place. But most of all I write for you, you as a human being with a heart and soul and piece of hope to share, I write to tell you that you are not alone and that no one is alone.

So now you know. This one’s for you.

Open Letter to WashU Class of 2019!

As summer of 2015 flies by and freshman year of college looms closer, I can feel my anticipation/stress/nervousness levels rising, but I also feel a closer bond with my future peers at WashU. Here’s to my new classmates and everyone else part of the Class of 2019, because we’re all in this together (as our generation was taught by Troy and Gabriella).

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Dear soon-to-be WashU fam,

It’s all very surreal isn’t it? This whole college thing? I mean, it’s always been in the back of my mind, knowing that I was going to have to get up and go sometime, but I’d always been more worried about getting there. Now that I’m here, I’m not entirely sure what to do with myself. I suppose we all feel somewhat like that, as college freshman, but it really hadn’t hit me until now with the room assignments and the class registration (aka the most stressful 10 mins of my life) and the dorm room shopping frenzy in full swing.

Well, as far as I know, everyone seems uber friendly and nice, and that makes me all the more excited to meet y’all. Sure, sure, at some point tthat horribly annoying freshman energy to meet new people and try new things will wear off, but as for now, that’s exactly what I intend to do. I can’t wait to have you all, my brand-new chosen family, at my side doing it with me. I’ve always thought Class of 2015 was the best class – not quite millenials and not quite 90s kid – so I expect I’ll love Class of 2019 just as much. (Although *side note* it does suck that we didn’t get to be Class of 2020. That just sounds so legit. 2020.)

We’re in this adventure together, whether we like it or not, kinda like Hogwarts or Percy Jackson or Game of Thrones. Ok, Game of Thrones is a bad metaphor. But the point is, I am so lucky and thrilled to be going to college, and I’m so ready to be a part of this fam. Once a bear, always a bear. #WUSTL2019

Love, Francie x

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