You have not stumbled upon a gem. These are simply the ramblings of someone trying to make a difference in himself and the world around him, and struggling every step of the way.
Your response couldn’t have been more timely. I’ve been doing that twitch thing a lot the past couple days. I think I’m responding to the cold, but also think I might be responding to some emotional things that I can’t completely trace.
I don’t remember how much I was able to tell you about the girl Melina Rios. But I’m certain whatever is causing my body to convulse the way it is, has something to do with her. At least in part. I am also starting to realize that I am stressed. My break is ending, very very soon, and there’s a lot that I need to get done but have put off. Now it is crunch time and its beginning to hit me all at once. Another contributing factor, mayhaps?
This winter break has been one of both disorientation and assurance, isolation and connection, confusion and clarity, loss and growth. It seems that I will be returning to school knowing more than ever what I want, but no idea how to get there. I feel as though the first semester was building toward this, whatever THIS is. Everything I did was in preparation for what comes next.
I’m finally in the fraternity and am finding that in a lot of ways it is exactly what I didn’t like about Greek life. There’s a level of depravity there that I’ve done well to stay away from while at Chapman. And while its not all bad, I don’t know if the good aspects are enough for me. Still, I feel called to be there in a way. A lot of the guys who made me want to join the fraternity have already graduated or are graduating this year. They’re the type of people that drew me to Phi Kappa Tau and in a way I feel obligated to carry on their legacy and uphold the standards of excellence they’ve established as leaders of the organization. Last semester was all about getting into the fraternity, and now that I am, I’m now having to decide if I stay or get off at the nearest exit.
And then there’s my role as an RA. My sights are now set on becoming a lead RA, a job I think I am qualified for and a position and title that I really want. A semester in and I think I’ve found my footing for this RA thing that I wanted so badly last year. I’ve made many mistakes and I like to think that I’ve learned from them all. I’ve come a long way from the guy who was struggling to speak to the group of 30 Freshman, to the person I am now who demands respect from his residents because I know I’ve earned it. As far as being a lead goes, I know I can get the job. I’m confident in my ability to handle the selection process. However, this will be the semester I prove to myself that I’m qualified for it. I will soon put everything I learned from last semester into practice. I think it is much more important that I believe in myself as a lead RA, than my superiors.
Oh and I’m also broke. That TV purchase wiped me out. As a result I’m going into semester two in debt and without a job. There’s books that need to be bought and over $500 of fraternity dues. That one’s really tricky. I’m trying to get a part-time job but my time is already spread thin as it is. As far as the fraternity goes, I believe if God wants me there he’ll provide me the money. Overall, I’m least worried about my finances among everything else because of this same reason. Nonetheless, its a bit troubling.
And finally, we get to what you have probably discovered means most to me: the relationships. I met a lot of people this year that are now really special to me. In addition, a lot of existing relationships have been strengthened.
You remember Tyler. At the beginning of the year she was a crutch. She was one of my only true friends at the beginning of the year and easily my closest confidante. When I had nobody else, I had her. A few weeks leading into the break, I feel we’ve reached a high. We spent a lot of time together and shared countless laughs. We bonded a lot. However, now that we’re closer than we have ever been it is time to say goodbye. She’s studying abroad next semester, so I’m having to come to terms that I may have lost my greatest pick-me-up until next year. She can cheer me up like nobody else can, and I’m glad that I’ve been able to be there for her many times when she’s needed somebody as well. It will definitely be an adjustment.
Next is Alex. He’s a guy who’s a lot like myself. He transferred here from out of state and we wants to be an RA next year. We’ve become good friends this year. He’s someone who I really connect with because we’re so alike in the way we think. He’s a true gentleman. Its nice having someone I can talk about cute girls with in a way that’s not degrading. I have friends like that back home, but not so much at Chapman. We go on a lot of silly adventures together. One night we took leftover carrots from one of my RA programs and went on a quest to feed all the bunnies in the dorms. Another night, we made a big mess trying to prepare hot chocolate. And I still remember running through the rain to get fresh baked cookies from a mutual friend’s apartment. They were beyond worth it. I really appreciate his friendship and I’m excited to see how that develops in the next semester.
Nathan Worden is the lead RA for my floor. Early in the year we went to the dry cleaners together for the first time. We felt so adult-like. I volunteered to be on duty with him during Chapman’s bi-annual Undie Run so I could spend more time with him and ask him about being a lead. I learned a lot about him. It was a crazy night and I learned a lot. I’ve always looked up to him. “Nathan? Yeah he can do anything! He’s like the most perfect RA ever!” Like most people who know Nathan, I glorified him. But being on duty really brought him down in the best of ways. I still look up to and respect him to no end, but now I see him more as a person than some super-human. He told me he really values our friendship which means a lot coming from someone I look up to so much.
I’ve been developing close relationships with some of my residents or people I consider residents. There’s Charlene, the girl who is dangerously nice. I say dangerously, because she’s the type of person who would get in a car with a stranger because they seem like a good person. In fact, one of our greatest bonding moments was when she confessed of having a very scary experience after doing just that. I’ve been watching out for her since although she doesn’t live on my floor. There’s also Kelsey, who looks up to me or something. She gave me a really cool t-shirt for Christmas. I didn’t want to accept it until she told me that I deserved it because I had given her so much more. I guess it just comes to show that the work I’ve put in is being noticed and appreciated. I wasn’t really looking for praise from anybody, but that meant a lot to me. Another girl is Cori. She was the girl who I thought would give me the most trouble on the floor because of the way she would always mess with me at the beginning of the year. Now, she is undoubtedly the person I am closest with on my floor. The roots of our relationship go back to the first weeks of school where seeds of friendship were planted that neither of us thought would blossom into what we have now. She came to my room to vent a couple times during the semester, but it was very RA/resident-ish. Now, I can confidently say that that formality is no more. In the last month, we rode our bikes to Chick Fil A together in the rain, gone through great lengths to satisfy our burrito cravings, and have spent countless hours playing video games together in my room. I used to think she was embarrassed of me, because a lot of her friends on her floor don’t like me too much. And I thought they would ostracize her if they knew we were friends. And now its kind of just accepted that me and her are good buds. I know her knock. I always know she’s at my door before I answer it. And I like that she feels like she can be weird around me, because I’m weird too.
Finally, at the center of it all is Melina Rios. If I were forced to take all these friendships and choose only one to invest my time into for a full year before I was allowed to spend time getting to know anybody else, I believe my decision would inevitably be to choose her. I have so much to say about her, but I’ll try to keep it as short as possible. Melina Rios lives on the floor below me. I met her during the first night I was on duty during orientation week. I was saying hi to every room with their doors open. I went inside her room and met the girl who would turn me into an emotional ball of cheese.
That’s all the back story I really want to give for now. But I will say that instantly I found myself latching on to her like I do when I meet somebody who I can tell is going to be a good friend to me. She’s my little sister in the Greek system. Everyone in Greek life is assigned a big bro/sis. What I didn’t know was that there are unofficial pairings, between sororities and fraternities. Long story short, Melina chose me to be her big bro and it was a huge honor. I’ve had rough patches with her. One in particular squabble lives on forever in the form of my latest song Perfect and Sustaining. As I revealed to her yesterday, being friends with her is hard. Because she really challenges me and forces me to look deep inside myself where all my insecurities and flaws are. She’s not trying to, which is even scarier. She knows a lot more about me than I’d like. But what she doesn’t fully understand is just how much she means to me. She’s not only a great friend, but she’s proven over the break as we’ve corresponded, that she can be a great support system as well. For the first week of break, I was a hopeless wreck. She turned it around for me and encouraged me to get myself on track. And by talking to her more and more this past week I see her less like a little sister that needs guidance and protection and more as someone who I can learn a lot from. And for the first time, I’m really seeing her as girlfriend material. Who knew? Either way, no matter what happens to us, one thing is certain: I love Melina Rios. As a friend, as a role model, maybe even as a boyfriend. She’s someone who I have come to value very much and I will do whatever I can to foster the relationship I have with her.
So as you can see, there’s a lot to look forward to and plenty of things to worry about for me next semester. And I’m starting to think, that since you were there while all the above mentioned things were being established, you should be there to say how these things conclude. I think it would be weird, taking on all these things without you since you were such a big part of it. That’s why I’ve been thinking that I’d like to continue meeting with you for second semester, so we can continue our story as well. I hope you had a wonderful vacation, and see you soon.
There’s a lot to talk about. There’s a lot I haven’t said. I know I’ve been gone for a while. At least, I know it looks that way. If I had the time I would have told you everything.
But for now I’ll tell you something current that happened to me just a few hours ago. I was in Hollywood with a bunch of guys on a Scavenger Hunt. We saw a lot of cool and interesting things. I fed three homeless people. There were plenty more I wanted to help. After an hour, as we were walking back to our cars, we walked by a homeless family. There was a man and a woman. And then I looked down on the woman’s lap and saw something that made my heart break. Wrapped in dirty blankets, was a little girl with soft cold cheeks and pretty blonde hair. She looked to be around my sister’s age.
My chest tinged with pain and I grasped my shirt to quench the unpleasant sensation as we walked. I started crying. None of the 15 guys noticed. Nobody really notices me unless I want them to.
It’s just really messed up, you know? That poor little girl. That poor family. I still can’t really think about it too much. My prayers go out to you. These tears are for you too.
The theme of my life during RA training has been sleep deprivation and a lack of time. There’s too much to do an everyday of training more and more responsibility is heaped on my shoulders. I wish I had time to go in depth but every second is precious, though I still manage to waste a lot of them.
“He’s either sleeping or upset.” Close one, but I was actually both. All day I wanted to take a nap and because I was helping the friend who was staying in my room move into her own suite during my breaks I couldn’t take the naps I desperately needed. I struggled through the 13 hours of training today.
The last scheduled event for training was called Behind Closed Doors, where all the new RAs walked into a dorm where the returning RAs pretended to act like residents with problems. We had a session yesterday where the scenarios were a lot easier, like a roommate conflict, or a noise complaint, and even a girl feeling homesick.
Today, the situations were a lot more intense. I’m talking about parties where a girl has been alcohol poisoned, really angry and volatile residents, and two excessively inebriated residents who were stumbling through the halls and screaming.
Both times I had been assigned the situations that deal with multiple people. Though I was randomly selected, I feel that I was specifically given these tasks. I have a speech impediment and it worsens it pressure situations. And in order for me to control it I have to speak slower, so in it is really difficult for me to make my voice heard in situations where five people are yelling at me at once.
Both today and yesterday I felt like I underperformed compared to the rest of the group. Today, I felt especially helpless. I felt especially useless. And for the first time during training I felt like I didn’t belong here and that maybe I wasn’t qualified for this position. I’m limited in so many ways and I can’t seem to respond to situations the way my peers can. And now I just feel trapped because I’ve been selected for a year long job that I don’t feel I can adequately perform, but can’t quit because its the only reason why I am able to afford school this year.
I think it will get better, but I still feel like an outsider. And I feel like I’m holding everybody back.
All I can say is that I have found my place, I have accepted the challenge, and I understand my calling. I wish I had more time to talk about it, but I have training everyday from 8am to 8pm with tedious tasks to complete afterwards.
But my life has changed completely in just a week. I’m overwhelmed, anxious, scared, but sometimes hopeful. Sometimes.
Hopefully I won’t screw up too badly.
A lot of things have been happening this week. A lot of things I’ve really wanted to talk about but just haven’t had time to. I’ve been really busy completing a video for a non-profit organization and packing to come back to school.
But lo and behold. This is my first post from my college dorm. I’m here three weeks before school starts so that I may complete RA training. A resident advisor, for those who don’t know, is the person you wake up when you lock yourself out of your dorm. I’m the person you go to when you have a problem with your roommate. I’m the guy who keeps you up to date on new procedures or upcoming room inspections. In other words, I’m in charge of a whole floor of about 30 incoming freshmen.
But Undefined Hero, you’re introverted and you hate wearing pants! True! But this job comes with perks. First and foremost, free room and board. For the school I go to, that chops twelve grand off of a 54k annual tuition bill. And there’s also the fact that I get my own room. No roommate. No roommate. No chance of getting another crazy Indian roommate who made me bitter and angry all the time. (His stupid smiling face still haunts me.)
I think I could be really good at this RA thing…if I wanted to be. I really want to make a difference in these “kids’” lives (I’m only going to be a year older but my one year of college has matured me like crazy). The main thing I want to teach them is that you don’t have to live the typical college lifestyle to have an amazing college experience. I’m proof of that. I’ve had countless meaningful experiences, memorable life-changing experiences. And so far I’ve only been to two college parties. I want to provide my residents with alternative ways to socialize and encourage a more adventurous lifestyle. There’s more to college than partying, I’ve discovered.
So I guess what I really want to be as an RA, is the exception. I’m not seeking to ostracize myself, but I do want to establish myself as somebody outside the norm. I want to be an Undefined Hero. I want people to look at me and say, “Him? Yeah, he does his own thing. He’s not influenced by anyone else.” Because who I am and what I stand for is the most important thing to me. I want people to know that its okay to be unique and that you don’t have to follow the crowd, and that includes partying. And honestly, I’m not against partying, but do it for yourself, not just to fit in.
Now this is usually the part of the blog where I tell a story. I think this is the part people like most, because it gives them a chance to see the world from my eyes. It’s all the most fun and the easiest to grasp. You don’t have to think much, you just have to read. Its easy. Its also (hopefully) interesting. I’d like to think I explain things in a way that people enjoy. Unfortunately, I have to be up very early tomorrow and like always, this post is already a ton longer than I had intended. I’ll stop there for tonight, but just know that I have a lot to get off my chest. A lot I have been dying to say. RA training is very intensive and I’m going to be beyond busy the next few weeks, but I will try to write.
If there’s anybody reading this, thank you for listening. Sometimes, that’s all people need.
Speaking of fitting in, today I stuffed my mom’s car full of my belongings. Only the things I would need for the night. The other half of my things would be delivered sometime during the weekend. The packing went smoothly. More smoothly than it ever has. My mother made me lunch. I was getting along with her great today. Everything was perfect.
We got to my university. I checked in and got my official RA shirt and sweatshirt. My mom made my bed as I carried all my things up from the car to my new room on the second floor.
I’m not sure if I’m ready to go back to school, but all I know is that I’m ready to get away from home.
Not once last year did I think, “I can’t wait for summer vacation”. No. It was always, “I can’t wait until next semester”. Because really there’s not much to look forward to back home. There’s not much to do. And now in my final week of summer break, I think it may be good to reflect a little bit.
In reflecting we see that this summer was significant for many reasons. For starters, I can honestly say it was the most boring and uneventful summer I have ever had. If the amount of pants I wear is proportional to how social I am, then it should be clear how much human interaction I’ve had when I say that I’ve spent more time in my underwear than anything else.
This has now been the third interruption since I’ve begun writing. I’m tired of people coming in and out of my room, leaving the door open when it was originally closed. I’m sick of my mother (she burst into the room literally as I typed that) because of so many reasons. And I feel a tinge of guilt saying that because I don’t want to paint her as a bad guy, but she just really bothers me a lot of the time. We’re just so different and she doesn’t know the first thing about me, but she thinks she knows me better than I know myself. Its both pretentious and ridiculous.
Yesterday she came back from out of town and I greeted her. She interpreted my hello as me missing her and being overjoyed at her arrival. And it something she does all the time. She misinterprets my actions. Her perception of me is in no way accurate. If I don’t appreciate her immature joke, she thinks I’m offended and then yells at me for being sensitive, when the reality is that I just thought her joke was annoying.
I can’t tell her anything. Not because she can’t be trusted, but because she wouldn’t understand. Or she just doesn’t care. I often wish she would treat me the same way, because I’m tired of having to listen to her superficial old woman drama. Handle your own problems, like an adult. And don’t ask me for my opinion when you all you really want is for someone to agree with you. Because usually I don’t agree with you. This blog is all kinds of messed up. Derailed. Off on a tangent. Pointless. Like my life.
I’m tired of writing. I tried. I really did. I’ve been trying all week. I’ve written in my head, but when it came time to actually get it all out in a visceral form I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Because writing takes so much out of me. I have to really be in the mood. I have to really want to bleed. I must already be bleeding.
And now I’m upset but not angry. Disappointed but not depressed. Do you get what I’m saying? I’m not riled up enough to write anything worth reading. I don’t care enough to write anything worth writing. There’s no heart in these words. I’m an apathetic loser and my foibles have once again gotten the better of me.