All about Finding Perspective

By Elaina Taylor

While this blog post is supposed to be about the most important thing we’ve learned this year, I’ve found that the growth I’ve experienced cannot be examined, confined, or defined by a single event or lesson.  So I choose to touch on multiple moments and experiences because they all have shaped the person I am now.

In the realm of self-realizations, I have found I decidedly hate change, which happens to be a serious problem, since our lives are forever changing, our spirits and souls forever evolving.

As someone who has always struggled to fit in, I clung to my close friends with a tenacity some did not deserve.  Certain friends often failed to treat me with the same respect and kindness as I did them, and while that hurt, I still struggled on to make the friendships work.  To be terrified of change in this case was to be petrified of letting anyone go, even those who did not deserve my friendship. Through the friends I’ve made during my time thus far in college, I’ve found a wellspring of support for the person I am, and learned my own self-worth. And in that, I realized that I deserved better than those false friends and was finally able to let them go.

I also learned the hard way that first impressions can make or break you, and that a resume and writing samples can only go so far. How blunders in mannerisms or word and clothing choice in an interview can destroy your initial chances of leaving behind the most positive impression of yourself. I left my first interview feeling like I’d missed a step on the stair, doubting if I was treading on solid ground; so shaken was my confidence. In my case, I got very, very lucky. My passion, fearlessness, and dedication to pursue writing for TAD are what landed me the job, and only by the narrowest of margins.

And as cliché as it will sound, I’ve learned to recognize and reflect on how my first-world problems are not the end of the universe, nor are they even the end my own little universe, as I often have to remind myself. I have found the perfect remedy for whenever I feel grumpy or begin to lament my worldly woes: the Humans of New York Facebook page. Photographer Brandon Stanton goes around New York City interviewing his subjects, who give him the most interesting, and often thought-provoking answers. These little snapshots of humanity never fail to put me back in my little college white girl, middle class place with equal doses of laughter and tears alike. It also enables me to see the best of my situation after reading the heartfelt words of people who have survived infinitely more trying experiences than I have.

Though I may bemoan a poor result on a test, I know that my own work ethic will push me to achieve more next time because I myself demand better. So what if it is raining and my shoes are ruined? Maybe that’s Mother Nature’s way of saying I need a pair of rain boots! A summer job opportunity closed up before you could apply? It wasn’t meant to be this time, but there’s always next summer. And if a relationship didn’t work out the way I wished it would have, well then there are clearly more worthwhile fish in the sea! The perspective you gain simply from reading the sorrows, or even joys, of others will more often than not cause you to reanalyze your own problems and priorities. I hope you find your own perspective, your own snapshots of humanity as I did with HONY, and I hope you grow from it as I continually do.

Doing What I Love – Writing Poems

Our topic this month was to write about the most important thing we’ve learned this year in college. I’ve learned many
things, from trivial facts to life-defining truths, and I wanted to share what I do most instead of just telling you about it. So I wrote a poem, and I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. Among the numerous lessons of the year, that is one I take to heart: invest time in doing what you love.

Of ‘Wasting’ Time  Continue reading Doing What I Love – Writing Poems

Learning Curve

Puddle-filled walks, budding blooms, fuzzy yellow ducklings—it’s finally spring.   My version of springtime elicits fond pastel memories, my birthday and the end of another school year. As a silly human who enjoys reflecting upon and tying personal experiences with critical analysis, I can’t deny having considered my growth from last September to this spring.

I don’t entirely recognize the me I see when I look seven months into the past, but I can’t give the exact time coordinates of when I changed. Continue reading Learning Curve

Make All Green with Envy for This Guacamole Recipe

By Elaina Taylor

Hiya folks! It’s time to embrace summer again and all it entails: barbecues, beach trips, hiking excursions, stargazing, vacations, roller coaster outings, poolside potlucks, road trips, and so much more. Break out the reggae music, high-waisted shorts, sunscreen, and some surfside guitar strummin’. But stop! You’re not ready to go just yet. You need the perfect snack to go with your summer lovin’ and I know just what you need: the fan favorite guacamole recipe.

Continue reading Make All Green with Envy for This Guacamole Recipe

Paint By Numbers – Adorning your Walls with Pixel Art 

With the vacant white walls of your barren apartment looming above you, it might seem expensive to find posters, prints, or other solutions. Maybe you’ve got the cash, but can’t find any piece that represents you best. Aside from a Maya Angelou quote on creativity and a Doctor Who Starry Night TARDIS print in my room, it’s hard for me to find pieces that add a touch of personal flair beyond what can be bought in a Walmart or on a generic poster website.

As a huge gamer, so much of what I identify with exists behind a screen. Nailing a perfect jump in Mario and catching the newest Pokemon are feelings not much typical wall décor can replicate. How do you take something small and virtual and turn it into a piece of décor? With this tutorial, you can take your favorite sprites from gaming’s early eras and make some awesome unique additions to your space! Continue reading Paint By Numbers – Adorning your Walls with Pixel Art 

No Fighting, No Biting–How to Survive in a Big Family

No Fighting, No Biting—How to Survive in a Big Family.

To begin listing lessons learned from being part of any family would be like mapping the individual genes shared between its members—an impossibly difficult task undermining the very existence of such bonds. Not all families are created equal, nor is every day identically sunny and spent in joyous company. However, to share connections so fundamentally organic with other humans—first nine months of physical being spent in the same vessel—makes petty arguments and misunderstandings irrelevant.

My parents were brave enough souls to bring seven lives into this world: seven births, seven bodies to clothe, seven little lessons. I never gave much thought to the size of my life or the sound of laughter echoing through the rafters of our Victorian house I’d like to share with you just a few of the countless pieces of wisdom I’ve learned on how to survive as a child of an above-average sized family.

Continue reading No Fighting, No Biting–How to Survive in a Big Family

The Heart and Soul of James Madison University


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