It’s That Time of Year Again….


If you haven’t noticed, it is finals week at MSU-WP. Students are freaking out, the coffee supply is low, and we are running on little to no sleep. Finals at any campus are a crazy time. You know that schedule that you planned out at the beginning of the semester? That perfect schedule that allowed you to sleep until 9:30 every morning and then work all afternoon? That schedule that was perfect?! Yeah, now it’s a flaming pile of garbage. Now your schedule doesn’t matter even in the slightest. Finals take on a whole new schedule all week. Good-bye routine, hello winging it. For example, my 9:30 class has its final at 8. Yes. 8. AM. And yes, you’re right, I am NOT a morning person. But that’s okay. What is one more obstacle in the wake of finals week?

Aside from having to work with a whole new schedule, finals week isn’t too bad. (It’s actually the worst thing ever.) Just kidding. Yes, finals week is crazy and the only thing that will get you through it is the promise of break at the end, but it’s worth it. It’s like the best reward ever. Yes, you will be drained after finals. However, as long as you stay on top of things all year long, finals won’t be that bad. If you wait until this week or the week before to try and do all of your online homework, you’re going to have an awful time. If you’ve done your homework every week like it’s outlined, this week will be 5 or 6 tests, and that is it. That’s the beauty of finals; there’s no homework, just long, drawn out, studying sessions. Your sole focus is the final. There is no homework to distract; there are no more papers about topics you know nothing about to overpower you.

Finals week is crazy and hectic. But at the end, you will feel like you’ve won a battle. You have conquered those tests, and nothing can take that feeling away from you. You have prepared for this, and you did it. The semester is done, and you can eat your feelings about finals because of all the Christmas goodies lying around. I know that I am so excited to go home for a couple weeks! The food is just a bonus.

So, good luck on finals, and here’s some Kuzco and Pacha to brighten your day! Maybe I should go watch The Emperor’s New Groove..


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The Sweet Sound of Music

So I recently decided that I’m going to finally learn guitar. I have been wanting to for years and have always found excuses to not. So, finally, I buckled down and tried to learn it. I’m a weird learner. I have trouble learning pure theory, but I’m great at learning applied theory. For instance… I had trouble learning basic chords and strumming patterns. But when I learned a song from YouTube, the same chords and strumming patterns came naturally. I’m well on my way to learning the guitar, (Ladies, pleeeease) but I’ve learned a couple things on the way.

Learning an instrument and going to college are alike in a lot of ways. One of the worst parts was the pain in my fingers… For the first two weeks, playing guitar was agony. My dad had non-coated guitar strings that made the tips of my fingers bleed if I played too long… I remember trying to type papers and wincing every time I hit a key. But I got through it, and I eventually built nice, thick callouses on my fingers. When I started playing, I was horrible. The strings buzzed when I strummed. My fingers were clumsy. Everything was wrong and awkward. Nothing was natural.

College is the same. Many people are intimidated by the first day. By mess ups. By pain in school. But what they don’t realize is that every single student goes through things like that, and no matter what, you always get through it. To learn guitar, you must play and play and play until you don’t think you can play anymore, and then play some more. When you do that, playing will become more natural and easier. When you’re in college, you need to keep going and eventually you will get so used to school that everything you do is sweet music until you walk across that stage for your diploma.

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First Time Junior


I just signed up for my last semester of classes at Missouri State University-West Plains. I feel a little lost, honestly. I keep forgetting I won’t be here forever, and it makes me very sad to leave. Even sadder, my roommate, who I have grown very fond of, is leaving me in a month to continue on to her bachelor’s degree. Dangit, I am gonna miss her so much! Anyway. I am transferring to Missouri State in Springfield in the fall. I. Am. Worried. I came here because I like small campuses. Missouri State is NOT a small campus. I know I will be fine, but it’s a scary prospect. I’m not worried about classes, mostly because I’m too busy being excited to start taking classes that actually deal with my degree path instead of general education classes. Instead, I am concerned about finding somewhere to live and eat and find a job and pay for this more expensive university. Honestly, I am back in the place I was two years ago. I feel like a senior in high school again. I have found the school I am going to attend, but now I have to get all of the semantics down. Job. Financial Aid. Housing. Will I need to find roommates and get an apartment or live on campus? These are the things I am stressing about right now, just like a first time college student!

I know it will be okay; it’s just a lot to deal with. I keep pretending it isn’t happening, and that will probably bite me in the butt, but it’s working for now.

What is really getting me through is that I have a plan. I’ve made a timeline for myself. I applied in October. I was accepted in October. I plan on doing scholarship stuff next month/until school starts. I’m going to start looking at apartments next semester, etc etc. This timeline is keeping me sane.

I’m starting all over. Again. And that’s okay, because I know that this is that last time I have to switch schools! That part makes me super pumped. And once all of this is done, I probably won’t have to do it again. Finding an apartment and roommate(s) are (hopefully) one time deals, at least for the next couple of years.

So, to all of you in the same situation, whether it is the first or second time you’ve done this: good luck. It will all work out. Take a deep breath and let out some of that anxiety! I’ll continue to keep you all updated on the transferring schools process.

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The Butterflies that Keep Your Head in the Sky…

Before I get to the part where I explain the title of the journal, I want someone to tell me why in the world there fan is running full blast in this building on a cold, wet, dreary day.

Oh, don’t worry, I’ll wait. I’ll just be here… you know… shivering.

Nothing? No answer?

Well, I guess it’s time to bundle up and write this sucker down.

Or…you know, I could wait to write this when I’m at home, all curled up in my electric blanket with a mug of hot, yummy tea. Oh! I’ll wear my fluffy Eeyore pajama pants too. That would be perfect!

You know… while I’m there… I could probably read a book instead. The Fault in Our Stars sounds really good (even though Pinterest RUINED THE PLOT TWIST FOR ME); I could snag a copy of that.

As amazing as it all sounds, I don’t really have room in my schedule to do that. Even if I didn’t have this journal to jot down, I’ve still got homework to do. I also have social and professional responsibilities to fulfill. Then, on top of all that, I’ve got my own personal goals to work towards, and that stuff takes time and dedication.

So, why have goals at all then? Goals are the reason we are here attending college. If that’s not your reason, I would find one fast, because I think you’ll find soon that if you don’t have a reason to be here, you won’t be here long. Because, if you don’t have anything to work for, why? Why do the homework? Why go to class? Why go forward? What would it all add up to? These dreams are what keeps all of our heads in the clouds, looking around at the beautiful sky and all the possibilities. If I want to see those dreams, goals, and responsibilities fulfilled, I can’t wait for the perfect moment to work on that stuff.

That is why I’m here, freezing my butt off, writing this journal. I may be uncomfortable, but I am not unable to do the things I need to do, and the bottom line is that it just isn’t appropriate to bring your electric blanket to work (I know, I wish that wasn’t the case. It hurts us all).

There will always be something trying to hold you back. Sometimes that force is external, like lack of money or opportunity. Most often, however, you’ll find that your own fear is holding you back. What if it doesn’t turn out right? What if everyone hates it? All of that can be boiled down to one major fear: What if I’m not good enough?

As long as you believe that you aren’t good enough, you will be stuck in one place for the rest of your life. Many people are fine with that; they are comfortable with their position and expectations, so they don’t see a need to move on. If that works for you, then that’s great. But if you want to move on, you have to take the risk of falling. It sucks. But that’s life.

So, now that I’ve uncovered all of these uncomfortable truths about the ways of life I think I will go make that cup of tea and curl up under my blanket. I’ve done my responsibilities for the day, and it is time to unwind and enjoy time with those I love. Have a great day everyone!

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Medic… I Need a Medic!

It’s that time of the year again folks… Time for the sniffles, sneezes, coughs, hacks and wheezes. Hope you are ready! ‘Cause it has already hit me. I’m an asthmatic, so it’s been hitting me real hard in the breathing department. I spent the majority of my night last night hooked up to a Nebulizer machine. It was a long night.

As with all sickness… it can make you miss class. And so I have been fretting about how to let my teachers know that I’m not just playing hooky, but that I’m actually sick.

It never ceases to surprise me how awesome our professors are here. Every answer I have received has been sincere, genuine and comforting. The professors here understand that we are all human. We all have feelings. We all get sick. Stuff happens in our lives that can take precedence over class. They all understood this. It’s really nice to go to a college where I’m a real person. Professors get sick too. They know that sometimes it is best to stay home and get better.

Well, I’ll just stay home with my nasal steroids and antibiotics and work on homework. I’ll stay home and be thankful for a college that doesn’t get so caught up in being an institution that it forgets to be a home for students.

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All Work and No Play

It is the little things in life. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Seriously, a smile can change someone’s entire perspective. It’s a sweet note left on your car after a hard day of work and classes or a, “You know, you’re doing a great job.” It could be as simple as telling someone you’re going to be busy for a while rather than not talking to them. Big things aren’t nearly as important as the little ones. They don’t seem to make a difference at the time, but looking back, I remember the little things. Little things make my day. I don’t need some big gesture of appreciation, in fact, I’m not a fan of grand gestures. I just want something little, some small thing, to remind me that I am doing well, or I’m appreciated, or loved or whatever. Like, last year someone knew I was having a bad day and so he came to my workplace and dropped off a coffee for me. It was one of the nicest things someone has done for me, and it meant so much! He went out of his way to do something nice, and I think we need more of that in the world.

Life gets in the way. I’ve used that excuse many a time. I think I actually used it a few weeks ago. And it’s true. This year I have A LOT on my plate. In addition to bestowing my wisdom upon all of you, I have work, 19 hours of school, RA duties, Student Ambassador responsibilities, not to mention clubs and Grizzly events, like athletics and programs and community events, etc. But that doesn’t excuse anything. It’s my life, and I’ve taken on all of these responsibilities, and now I have to account for all of them. It is no excuse to ignore friends and family and whatever else is in my life. That is something I learned quickly. Friends and family, etc. are the ones that lift you up when your responsibilities get you down.

This school year, I’m going to try to do more of the little things. The world needs that. Besides, seeing someone smile because of something you’ve done is one of the best feelings in the world. Causing happiness is something that is so easy, yet so fulfilling. Make the world a better place. Pick up a piece of trash, write a note to that person you admire, smile at someone, let your friend with weird music taste control the radio, do something little and I promise, it’s totally worth it. Making an effort pays off, even if it’s just feeling good about yourself. But I think it’ll mean something to the person on the receiving end, too. It’s like that Brice Lee song! Err, Lee Brice. He doesn’t dance, but he did so he could talk to this girl! That’s freaking sweet, and you know how easy it is to dance with a girl you wanna talk to?! Pretty easy, because even if you’re an awful dancer, we find it dang adorable!

In summary, enjoy life. Have the responsibilities but don’t let them define you. Let loose sometimes and enjoy what you have worked so hard for!

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Let me take a self- Oh, no, delete that…

I am incapable of taking good pictures of myself. If we are friends on social media, you may have noticed that. I think I have one little set of photos, maybe there is about five of them, where I managed to look good when taking a selfie. Those photos are from my sophomore year. Sometimes I just want to send a picture to my mom and show her how cute my outfit is, and the photo turns out like Quasimodo decided to try on the same ensemble. Even when I use the front-facing camera the photo looks good for a total of .7 seconds, and then the phone inverts the photo and it looks weird.

Is there a trick to this? Is there a way to hold the camera? Is there an incantation you have to say over your phone? A sacrifice? What?! What am I doing wrong?!

I also always look like crap in my professional photos. Something always goes wrong, and it’s generally my fault that they turn out bad. Want an example? OK. For the last few photos I had to take for professional reasons I made a big mistake. Before the photo, I decided to use a product I had never used before. It was supposed to help your hair stay frizz-free, and you know what, that company may be on to something. Your hair can’t be frizzy if it is really greasy and oily.  Mhm. That is exactly how that one panned out. So, that’s exciting.

Oh, but I hadn’t had enough of that product. Maybe I did it wrong. Maybe it wasn’t the product at all. Maybe it was all my fault.

So what did I do? I used the product for another professional photo opportunity. Oh, yeah. There was exactly 0% frizz upon my head. I mean, at least the product did what it claimed.

That bottle can be found in my trash can if anyone needs to borrow it.

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Broken Glasses & A Broken Heart

For a long time, many people knew me as “The Kid with the White Glasses.” But things change; people change; and our eyesight changes (i.e. for those who have poor eyesight). I’m lucky it was time for my new prescription, because my white glasses had, sadly, broke. In the meantime, I had to find something to work so I could see! Luckily, I had contacts to last me for a little while, but I would need to find a new set of glasses sometime soon! So, I started looking around for the best deal, the nicest looking set, and what best suited me. If you think about it, this is similar to graduating high school! After graduating, you find something to do in the meantime and begin looking for a college. While looking for a college, you usually look for something affordable, nice, and what best suits your needs and liking. You often find about ten sets of “glasses” that are a good fit and you can eventually narrow it down to about four which are best. After thoroughly examining, testing, and debating each, you can normally narrow it down to about two (if not one).

With some time, I finally found the perfect glasses! But my white glasses were special to me. My white glasses were what defined me; they were a part of me. You might say I was emotionally attached, and I honestly was (and still am). But it’s time to start new and find a new beginning. It’s time to find something different than what I’ve been accustomed to and it’s time to make something of it. I will always love my white glasses, but there comes a point in time when we must move on, accept the past, and look forward to the future.

Again, this is very similar to school. Where you went to school will always define who you are. We cannot stay in high school forever. We must grow up, make decisions for ourselves, and look to the future.


Here is the memoir for my white glasses:

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the life and mourn the passing of Tyler’s White Glasses. He was loved by many, and will be missed tremendously. Tyler’s White Glasses have met many people, seen many new faces, been many places, and experienced many environments. Tyler’s White Glasses was a lifelong friend and close acquaintance of mine. We were inseparable from day one. Everybody knew us by those white frames, but there comes a time when we must move on. In Tyler’s White Glasses’ case, his life ended too short. He should have lived much longer. His death is too gruesome to elaborate, and I would have had a closed coffin if it were not for the intact remains of his upper (right) half. It was a quick death, and so I had a quick funeral. Not many showed, but he would have wanted it this way since he knew many people. He will be missed. Until we meet again.

Your friend,

Photo: Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to celebrate the life and mourn the passing of Tyler's White Glasses. He was loved by many, and will be missed tremendously. Tyler's White Glasses have met many people, seen many new faces, been many places, and experienced many environments. Tyler's White Glasses was a lifelong friend and close acquaintance of mine. We were inseparable from day one. Everybody knew us by those white frames, but there comes a time when we must move on. In Tyler's White Glasses' case, his life ended too short. He should have lived much longer. His death is too gruesome to elaborate, and I would have had a closed coffin if it were not for the intact remains of his upper (right) half. It was a quick death, and so I had a quick funeral. Not many showed, but he would have wanted it this way since he knew many people. He will be missed. Until we meet again,</p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
<p>Your friend,<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
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Ba Dum Dum Dum…

Rhythm. It seems life always works on a rhythm. I mean, humans are habitual creatures. We settle into a rhythm of life that dictates how we live and many times if this rhythm is interrupted our entire world is thrown into a blender and we freak out…

I had a good summer. This is my first journal of the 2014-2015 school year, and it’s good to be back. It seems like I didn’t do much this summer. I worked and went on a small vacation with my family. That’s about it though… But as the weeks went by, I started to see the presence of school coming back and I was looking forward to the looming shadow of homework and tests.

I would say I am an extremely habitual creature and that my life depends on rhythm. I’m actually a drummer and play in front of large crowds every week. Many times it seems my whole life is around a sort of rhythm. This is especially true in school. I tend to generate a schedule in the first couple weeks of school. I figure things out with classes and work. I find out when my free time is and I even begin to generate ways of eating in those times. My rhythm begins to develop. My life starts beating to an invisible war drum, and I march in the cadence. But as any good drummer does… My jam and my groove relies on the rhythm staying the same. If someone changes the tempo or the time signature everything gets jacked up and a perpetual train wreck begins.

For my first three weeks of school I built my rhythm. School, work, free time, sleep. School, work, free time, sleep. Over and over again. I had it figured out to where Monday through Thursday I had busy days and then Fridays were my day off. This was a good schedule because I could go hard for four days and then have a nice break before the crazy weekend of work.

Well, last week my rhythm was thrown off… I was scheduled to be the host in a video shoot at the college, but they scheduled it on a Friday. My day off…. You ever have those days where you just turn your brain off? Like you literally just roast your brain in front of a TV, or in a book and nothing in the world matters? You just float through time like a soda can in a river? Yeah… That was my day. I totally forgot everything. Everything obligation, duty, responsibility. Everything was GONE… It was beautiful. But, of course, even though my brain turns to water doesn’t mean everyone else’s does. I got in trouble by my supervisor and I had to beg for forgiveness from the video team. I was like a little puppy in trouble…

We all have a rhythm in our life. Whether that be the rhythm of music, or a schedule, we all have a rhythm. As a college student rhythm is extremely important and necessary. But also as college students, we have to take up responsibility and be prepared to break rhythm for the sake of our sanity and the sanity around us. So don’t be a complete creature of habit, because if you can walk through your life blindfolded… You probably have too much rhythm. If that’s you… you need to get out more.

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Grizzly Gear Mondays: A Photographer’s Point of View

I have a confession to make. As you all know, I work for the university. If you don’t well, you do now. Part of my job is to take pictures. More specifically, I take the Grizzy Gear Monday pictures. *GASP* *shock* YOU?! Yes, me. However, there is a wee bit of a catch. I’m going to say it. Whew. Here I go. The first step is to admit I have a problem: Hi, my name is Tori, and I sometimes creep on people to find Grizzly Gear. Before you judge, hear me out. I have to, it’s not an addiction I swear! But first, in unison now, “Hi, Tori!”

People do not just line up for these pictures. The majority of these pictures aren’t sent in. I literally have to find people on campus wearing Grizzly Gear. I’m doing a scavenger hunt for Grizzly Gear every single Monday. This sounds fun, right? Okay, sometimes it is. But usually I am creeping on people in Lybyer trying to discreetly see the front of their shirt as they are staring at a computer screen. I’m not exactly tall (5′ 1/2″) so looking over people isn’t an option. I don’t really want to bother their studying or social mediaing, (It’s a word now.) so I quietly come behind them and stare as I turn the corner, trying to glimpse their shirt. Sometimes they catch me looking and I’m all like, “Nothing! I’m doing nothing! Go back to your work, and quit looking at me!” Not really. I scurry away looking for someone else, or I point blank ask them if that’s a Grizzly Gear shirt because now they’re distracted by this short girl armed with a camera, peering over a computer divider trying to look at their chest for MSU-WP insignia.

After I repeat this process a few times, I finally hit the jackpot: an unsuspecting Grizzly Gear wearer. “Hi, you’re wearing Grizzly Gear, and it’s Grizzly Gear Monday. Can I take a picture for the university’s Facebook? Their eyes fill with terror and uncertainty as I convince them that I am NOT just some creepy student obsessed with Grizzly Gear, but it really is my job. Once they are satisfied I am who I say I am, they begin to resist, starting with, “But I look so bad today…” I quickly tell them they’re beautiful (Yes, even the men. Men are beautiful too.) because all of them are. Finally, my charisma works, (usually) and I snap pictures before they can change their mind, thank them, and I sprint away because I think I saw someone wearing a blue shirt that could be Grizzly Gear….

I am not a stalker. I just sometimes appear to be one on Mondays. I will continue to do this every Monday until I graduate or the task is bequeathed to someone else, but you can help my effort! YOU, yes, you can wear Grizzly Gear and do several things: You can either wait for me to find you (highly unlikely, my timing is awful, plus I will kind of be creeping on you), you can e-mail us (Us being the University Communications office) a picture of you or your friends or your acquaintances or your enemies wearing Grizzly Gear to, or you can put it on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram (or all three!) and use hashtags #msuwp and/or #GrizzlyGearMonday, and I will find it! The ONLY requirement is that you’re wearing something Missouri State University-West Plains. I’ve taken pictures of people holding MSU-WP bags, in t-shirts, in MSU-WP sweatpants, etc. Let me make this clear: you don’t have to be a current student. Don’t have Grizzly Gear? Drago College Store does, and they’re willing to sell some to you. They even have a clearance section. If you’re curious what my pictures look like, here’s the link: .

So, show your Grizzly pride and help me creep on one less person.

P.s. We like selfies.

P.P.S. I will be getting a name tag, so convincing people that I am who I say I am could possibly be easier. Unless they think I stole the name tag…


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