Friday, September 6, 2013

Senior Year Dorm!

Many of my family friends have asked me how I manage to stay away from my home for so many months, and I will admit, it's incredibly hard. A lot of things that really bothered me my first year here really had to deal with how my environment wasn't really as warm as it could have been. While it's still difficult to spend so many months away from home at school, I've found my dorm to be a little spot of my own in this giant campus.

I've lived in my dorm suite for three years, going on my fourth. The last two years, I've been in the same room, lovingly referred to as the Annex by my roommate and I. My room is separated from the other rooms in our suite because we're right next to the elevator. It has its perks... kind of.

This year, the room is wonderfully decorated-- at least by my standards. It's been a cross between how I had it the last few years, and something completely new.

So to start with the bed:
Every room in Stony Brook comes with a desk, a bed, a small drawer set, and a big one. This is the first year where I didn't have a drawer thing in the closet, but we'll get to that later. 
Unfortunately my room doesn't have an AC, so I can't really keep a comfy big comforter on my bed because I can never use it. (Because even during the winter, the heat is turned up so much, that it's still too hot!) So I opted for a light quilt for the past two years. I sleep in a pillow fort so I have a bunch of pillows near the head of my bed. 
The main wall has 58 pictures of myself with my friends who I love the most. It's so eye-catching because it's the first thing you see when you come into the room. The pictures were put up using poster putty, and I highly recommend using that! Sometimes the pictures will come up if you didn't use enough of the putty, but none of them have fallen down. My whiteboard is also there on the side so I can work out my mechanical engineering class homework and calculus problems. 
Next is the desk: 
I upgraded to the big tv that I had in my bedroom at home. It's definitely better than my old tv from last year because now we can utilize the whole room! I have my desk supplies and books on the side, and my schedule pinned up. I obviously have a dalek, a stem cell, and an AIDS microbe chilling near my fan for fun and my arsenal of body scents and perfume for fun? I find keeping my desk with minimal stuff on it really helps keep it clean, but we'll see if it'll last! 
This is the side view of the desk. As you notice the drawer set is below my desk, which has cleared up so much space in the closet! The best thing is the drawers open so nicely there, and it keeps things so much more organized. I have all my school supplies in my drawers so I don't have to have it stored anywhere else. There's also my emergency flannel for late night fire alarms, which are sadly very common. 
One of my favorite things is I have my fridge out in a more prominent location. Instead of leaving it empty, I filled it up with more photos, and fun magnets. The letter magnets are actually elements from the periodic table, which definitely fit in my alley of science-y geek. 
Closets are always the hardest part of the room to keep clean. This year I have so much space in there, it's going to be tough to just throw a million things in there and keep the door closed. I invested in some hanging closet shelves for my shoes and clothes and extra bed sheets.

And there it is, that's my side of the Annex. 

If you're a college student reading this, here's some things that I definitely recommend. 
  1. If you're living in a dorm without an air conditioner, make sure you get a box fan! Since the Annex is in this weird alcove where the there are two walls blocking air flow, my room gets incredibly hot. Having a box fan helped so much to keep the air circulating and room feeling immensely cooler. Box fans are not too expensive, and it's definitely something you will be using year round. 
  2. For laundry, I really recommend Tide pods. They don't take up too much space, and they work amazingly. 
  3. Regardless of whether you live in a room with access to a kitchen or not, a water filter is a must. While it's easy to buy water bottles, a water filter is going so much better. If you ever feel like making ramen, you won't have to use sketchy dorm water to make it if you have filtered water instead!
  4. Lighting in dorms are horrible. I hardly use the dorm lights because the florescent light often gives me a headache. For lighting, I've used a desk lamp and tilted the head back so it illuminates the whole room. It gives the room an ambience that is perfect for watching some tv and relaxing. 
  5. Play around with your furniture. You might be surprised with how you can make things work!
  6. You can use over the door hooks for other things in your room. I used one in my closet for my towel, and another is hanging off of my desk for my bag. They're pretty sturdy for things that a command hook can't handle. 
Best of luck to any people in college this semester! 

Blogging Senior Year

This year is my final year of college (yikes!) and while it's just the beginning, I already have done a couple of my 'lasts'. (Like my 'last' Labor Day weekend, 'last' first day of classes, 'last' move in day.) It's been fun, because I've been trying my best to keep positive by not dwelling on how things will be drastically different next year. It does help that classes have resumed in full swing!

I've got a couple of fun things planned for this year including Friendsgiving, Oscar night, and a couple of small little get togethers with friends from here. (like Disney movie night, and watching the Breaking Bad finale). I still have the same roommate as last year, and am living in the same room as well so there haven't been too many changes! Classes are a lot more different and juggling what I need to do class wise and future wise has been a challenge. Oh well.

Some things I'm hoping to do with this blog for this year:

  • New design. 
  • More posts!
  • Write more about my classes, and Stony Brook in general. 
  • Have more fun with it!
So readers, that's where I am mentally at the moment. So we'll talk again soon/ I'll write some more soon?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Silver Linings Playbook

I have a love-hate relationship with first person narratives. I first realized this when I read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I loved the premise and the characters but the way it was written detracted from the story. Instead of being able to see the various ways the districts were revolting or even how the 'game' worked and what President Snow was up to, you only got to see and hear Katniss's story. While she's an amazing character, I can't say that it helped the book. Instead the movie flushed out those details.
Back to the point,  I don't think writing in first person is the easy or lazy way out. I find it limits the way a story is being told, and it keeps facts and other events away from the reader. Some stories require the first person, because it's a personal story. But I firmly believe not every story should be written in this format.
I mean... Can you imagine reading Harry Potter as a first person narrative?
This is not to say a first person narrative severely injures a good story either, simply by the way it is written. It can be a major pitfall, but it can be made up in other ways. Incorporating letters, having an interesting narrator, or even just creating an interesting atmosphere adds to the book, which is why I loved The Great Gatsby and The Catcher in the Rye. The voices within those books are so unique and the stories they told were their own. I'd like to believe that's why their considered classics, and every 11th grader has to read these book in the English classes. The Silver Linings Playbook does exactly what The Great Gatsby did and The Catcher in the Rye.
At this point I'm assuming everyone knows the general idea of this story, due to its movie adaptation being nominated for several awards and winning many, but either way...
The main character, Pat Peoples, believes his life is a movie created by God. He believes that his life's silver lining is to be reunited with his wife, who has left him. After coming back from his stay at a mental institution and he is forced to move back in with his parents. Since coming back, he has no memories of why he was at the institution and for what reason. To win his wife, Nikki, back, Pat decides to become a better person by practicing being kind instead of right. This includes all facets of his life including his physical appearance and his knowledge of literature. Pat strikes up a deal with a woman named Tiffany, in which he would be her dance partner for a competition in order to reconnect with his wife.
This is the plot of the movie and the book, but the book explores the confusion of a mental disorder. This is what I really enjoyed about the story. I loved the way it was told, and it flowed really well. It was written in a way that seemed very natural and understandable. It wasn't heavily descriptive but it definitely wasn't the case of a self-insert story. The characters are incredibly believable, as our their motivations and desires. The book does portray some characters not as likable as some others, unlike the movie.
Some of the themes that are present in the book are not in the movie either, but I believe it would have been hard to portray that. The Peoples' family ties are definitely more intriguing, and the dynamic is brilliant. There's a lot of secrets and hidden stuff going on that Quick was able to reveal in the end. Unlike most stories where there is a major twist in the story, you can kind of see what is going to happen. (If you've seen the movie, the twist is the memory Pat describes within the first 30 minutes of it.) But reading it in Pat's voice and just understanding his train of thought will make you as anxious while reading it.
I can definitely say this is one of my favorite books I've read. It's different and funny but not overwhelmingly so. I love the positive message of the story even if not everyone got their happily ever after.
One favorite passage:
“Why is this dance competition so important to you?” Cliff asks me. I look up at the sun painted on the ceiling of his office and smile.
“What?” he says.
“The dancing lets me be that,” I say, and point up. Cliff’s eyes follow my finger. “It lets you be the sun?”  
“Yes,” I say, and smile again at Cliff, because I really like being the sun, exactly what allows clouds to have a silver lining.