Monday, September 28, 2015

The Fountain of Youth

I know I've talked a lot about this, but seriously guys. This is an issue in my life. I look younger than I actually am, and not only does this lead to me being treated differently and less respectfully by my peers and leaders, but it also leads to a whole lot of awkward conversations for everyone involved.

These past couple months, I have had a lot of conversations regarding my age, and I decided to combine them all into one glorious tidbit.

Coworker: So, is this your first year at BYU?
Me: Technically, yes. But I just transferred here after receiving my associates degree.
Coworker: Oh, cool! How long did that take? A year? A year-and-a-half?
Me: Oh, ummmm I don't know. Like three years? This is my fourth year of college.
Coworker: . . . Wait. Did you start when you were like, 14? How old are you?
Me: 22.
Coworker: Oh! Okay that makes so much more sense! You didn't look old enough to have that many years of college behind you, but that makes sense! Sorry.
Me: No, no. It happens frequently.

Airline stewardess: Miss are you old enough to sit in an exit row?
Me: Yes.
Stewardess: How old are you?
Me: . . . 22.
Stewardess: (A light of understanding came to her eyes) Ah! Good genes. Very good genes.

Boy hitting on me: So, how old are you?
Me: 22.
Boy: OH. I'm 18.
Conversation suddenly ends.
This has happened to me many times.

Waiter: Whose birthday is it?
Waiter: How old are you turning?
Me: Guess!
Waiter: 18!
Me: 22.
Waiter: Oops.

I played a flute solo. Afterwards, the judges docked me points because everyone under 18 was supposed to have their piece memorized. Since I was 22, I didn't memorize it.
My flute teacher went in and talked to them.
Their response?
"Wait, her? She's 22? WOW. We thought she was barely 16! Are you sure? No, she can't be 22! She looks so young!"
"She just came home from her mission. She's 22." clarified my teacher.
"No! Oh, we would've never guessed."

I sat down in class and started a conversation with a girl sitting next to me.
Girl: So is this your first year of college?
Me: Oh. Um. No. Fourth.
Girl: Oh . . .
Me: Yeah. It happens.

Me: How old did you think I was when you first met me?
Friend: Well, you looked 17, but I gave you the benefit of the doubt and guessed you were barely 19.
Me: Huh. That's pretty close.
I was 20 at the time. Not my worst.

Me: HEY! COME HERE! How old do you think I am in this picture?
Friend: Hmm. You look about 14.
Me: SERIOUSLY?! I'm 19 in this picture!

Me: HAHAHAHAHA! HEY COME CHECK OUT THIS PICTURE! Look at this couple! Look how young this person looks that they're dating!
My friend walked over to see the picture I was talking about.
Subconscious: But . . . Carmen . . . YOU look super young.
Me: I mean . . . not that I can judge . . . I'm just saying . . . they look . . . twelve . . . and I look . . . never mind. Forget it. It's fine. It's fine!

News Anchor: They had me go by my full name, Nadine, instead of my nickname, Deanie, because it made me sound older. I looked really young for my age. I also had to wear a lot more make-up to make myself look older.
Me: Yeah . . . yeah, that'll be me.
She just nodded in response.

I went to the temple to attend a wedding. Before I got to the front area, a worker stepped in front of me and said kindly, "Those younger than 18 come through this hallway."
"Oh. I'm here for a wedding. I'm 22."
Didn't even phase me until two hours AFTER the wedding ceremony what had just occurred.

This isn't just a personal issue. It's a family problem. Members of my family just don't look the age they actually are.

I was 14, my sister was 20.
Man: Which one's older?
Sister: Me.
Man: Oh wow!
He pointed to me.
Man: I thought you were older!
Me: No. I'm just taller.

Woman: So is that your grandpa?
Me: No, that's my dad.

Man talking behind me to his wife: Where do you think she got her red hair from?
Wife: Could've been her mom.
Man: Or her dad . . . do you think that's her grandpa or her father?
Wife: I was assuming grandpa, but it could be her dad. I can't tell. Do you think he used to have red hair? It's gray now.
*Long pause*
Man: . . . I just REALLY can't tell if it's her dad or her grandpa!

Woman: Are you two sisters?
Me: . . . She's my mother.

Woman to my dad: Are these two of your daughters?
Dad: That's my wife. And my daughter.

And, possibly my favorite moment:

I stood holding my baby nephew, talking to my dad and my sister. I don't remember why, but a woman approached us and began talking to us.
The woman turned to me and said, "Is this your grandpa?"
Confused, I looked from her, to my dad, back to her.
"No . . . that's my dad."
"Oh . . . So is she. . .your mother?" she looked at my sister.
"We're sisters," my sister clarified, "And this is our dad."
"AND THIS IS MY NEPHEW." I said, holding the baby out straight in front of me as if it was about to catch on fire.

I know, guys. I know. I will be grateful for this one day.
When I'm 40 and my children are getting mistaken as my siblings.

Enjoy your awkward day, everyone.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Swimming For Non Swimmers

Hello, good friends. My name is Carmen, and I do not know how to swim.

Not yet, anyway.

Here's the issue: I LOVE the water a lot! So whenever I go to the beach or the pool, the level I'm able to have fun at is very limited.

The beach? I allow myself to go until it like, reaches my thighs then I'm like, "I'M GONNA GET SUCKED UP BY A WHIRLPOOL! SEE YA BYE!"

Fed up by my lack of ability to swim, I signed up for a swimming for non swimmers class at BYU.

And I knew, I KNEW, I was walking right into an awkward moment.

It hasn't been as bad as I thought, but it certainly hasn't been the most comfortable of experiences, either. Then again, when has stepping out of your comfort zone ever been comfortable?

Week 1.

I sprinted from my Book of Mormon class to my swimming class. Although we wouldn't be swimming the first day of class, I still only had ten minutes to run to a building at the farthest end of campus, and not get lost.

And of course, I got lost.

By the time I stumbled to the pool, class had been going for ten minutes. All the students were circled around my professor as he gave basic instructions as to what to expect from the class. I plopped down, and noticed just how darn sweaty I was.

Between my heavy breathing from trying to catch my breath, the echoey gym, and the different swimming class that was meeting right next to us, I could barely hear my teacher.

Then, kids began to gather up their stuff, and walk away.

"Woah, wait. What?" I said to the student next to me.

"He said we can go early."

I hadn't even cooled down or caught my breath from the trek to the building yet. Grumbling to myself, I swung my backpack over my shoulder, and made the hike back to the center of campus to where I worked sweaty, hot, and grumpy.

Two days later, it was my first class. I dressed in my swimsuit, and went to the pool.

"Alright, everyone against the wall," the coach instructed.

I stood against the wall in between a girl and a boy. . . and realized there was an uncomfortably large gap in between me and the guy. Rolling my eyes at myself, I took two large steps so we were a more normal distance next to each other.

"Stand with your arms high above your head," he instructed once more. "Hold your hands together like this."

Everyone obeyed his words.

"This is the position you will be in when you enter the water. If you're having a hard time standing like that, it's because you're not flexible, and may have a harder time swimming."

"Crap." I mumbled to myself.

"Alright everyone buddy up!" he said. "Doesn't matter if it's a boy or girl, just grab someone."

I looked at the kid next to me.

"Buddies?" he said.

"Buddy." I repeated.

"Now what you're gonna do," my teacher said, "is one of you will lay down on the ground, and kick. The other person will hold their ankles and provide resistance. This will give you an idea of the resistance that occurs when swimming."

I looked around.

Everyone else had partnered up with someone of the same sex, except for me and this kid.

Um. Okay guys. Let me just paint a picture of what exactly happened after that: In my swimsuit, I laid on my stomach, while this man held my ankles and I kicked.

My only thought was, "This is awful. This is so awkward. I have been watching way too much Law and Order." 

We then had to switch positions, and I did the same to him.

He and I literally have not spoken to each other since then.

Week 2. 

This week, we began using flippers on our feet, and paddles on our hands to practice the backstroke.

It was a struggle, guys.

But thankfully, it was struggle for everyone, and not just me! We all flopped around the water trying hard to achieve a backstroke.

I was swimming my way from one end of the pool to the other. I was doing decently well and beginning to get the hang of things when-


The girl's hand going the opposite direction in my lane hit my face, dunking me underwater, ripping off my goggles, and scratching my nose.

I jumped up above water, coughing and spitting up water, holding my nose that screamed with pain, and replaced my goggles back on my head.

"I'M SO SORRY!" she said.

"It's fine. It happens."


"It's fine. It happens."


"It. Is. Fine. It. Happens." I said, and grumpily began swimming again.

I was doing okay, but when I reached the end of the lane, my coach pointed to me.

"What's up?" I asked, swimming to the edge of the pool.

"You're raising your chest up too much," he said, puffing up his chest. "I need your butt out more. Like this."

He proceeded to point to his butt, and do a weird butt thrust forward a couple times. Not really sure what facial expression I was supposed to be making (because I felt exceedingly uncomfortable watching him do this), I just said, "Okay . . . got it . . . you can um . . . you can stop now."

Week 3.

Backstroke week.

I. Was. Failing. Time and time again I would attempt to swim, and end up underwater, pressed against the wall, or choking on water.

"You're moving your arms out like this," my coach said to me after unsuccessfully achieving the backstroke.

He moved his arms in a bizarre way that looked similar to a fish out of water.

"Is that why I'm hitting the wall?" I asked.

He shrugged, and walked away.

Once again, I attempted to do the backstroke, only successful about half the time.

I reached the other end of the pool, where the coach stood once again.

My face beat read, and panting heavily, I listened as my coach instructed me, "You're tipping your head too far back, and causing water to go up your nose. You need to find the balance between having your head too far back, and too far forward."

All I could do was nod, and lay my head on the concrete edge. Sweat began to drip along with water down my forehead. I couldn't breath. I was so tired. So exhausted.

"Do three more laps. Move your arms three times, kick for six, arms three times, kick for six."

I did the only thing my tired little brain could think of to do at this point. I pointed a finger at him and said, "I . . . hate . . . you."

He shrugged, and walked away.

Once again, I did a half-successful backstroke. After one of the three strokes, I reached the end of the pool, and continued to breath heavily and hate my life and my coach.

The other two girls in my lane were already done with their three laps, and I had already done one. I stood in the water, catching my breath.

"Are you okay?" one of the girls said to me in a concerned tone. "Your face is really red."

"Yeah . . . I'm . . . just . . . like . . . I'm just . . . blaaaaaaaaaaah."

"Are you gonna do your next two laps?" said the other girl, also seeming very concerned.

"HA HA! No!"

I looked at my coach, felt immediate guilt . . .

And did my next two stokes.

As I finished them, my coach instructed everyone to just practice laps until time was up, seeing as we had three minutes left of class.

I began to swim my way back to the front of the pool, when my right leg decided to cramp up and give up on me.

"Ow. Ow. OW!" I yelled to myself, and hopped my way back to the front of the pool.

My coach was staring at me.

"My leg is totally cramping!" I said to him.

He nodded.

"Is that normal?" I asked.

"Oh yes. You aren't used to working your legs -"

"I know! It's awful!"

"-the way you do when you swim," he finished.

"Oh. Yes. Yeah that too."

I spent the rest of the time attempting to stretch out my leg. When the bell rang, I did exactly what I do at the end of every class:

I pulled my stomach up onto the concrete, and rolled my way out of the pool.

It is the most ungraceful, awkward looking thing you will EVERY see in your life.

No exaggeration. It's awful.

My right leg still hating me, I hobbled my way back to the locker room, changed, and then made my way up the 60 steps back to campus, cursing myself and my teacher for the pain I was currently feeling.

I don't entirely know what the future holds with me and swimming but I can tell you, my friends, that it will hold many more awkward adventures. But I am DETERMINED to master swimming to the point where if I can one day fearlessly jump off of a high dive and make my way to shore safely.

Have an awkward day, everyone.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Real Time with Carmen: Remembering 9/11

Last week was my very first day in my Political Science class. To begin, my teacher turned on the projector and showed a list of questions he wanted each of us to answer.

The first read: What is the earliest memory you have regarding politics?

That was easy. Quickly, I scribbled four words:

Bush declaring war.

Two days later, he projected the results. 55% of the class said that 9/11 was their earliest memory regarding politics.

"This is the highest amount I have ever seen for that event," he said. "I wont be surprised if that number starts going down."

He then began to pace the room and said, "You kids grew up in terrorism. It has just been a part of your life. But your parents? Your grandparents? It crept into there's. It was a completely new concept to them. Just think; what concepts will be new to you, but natural to your children?"

He then asked for students to share their experiences with 9/11. Naturally, the majority of the class raised their hand, myself included. But he didn't call on me.

Rewind to my freshman year of college. I was in my joke of a psychology class, where my teacher talked more about her terrible ex husband and awful divorce and life in Puerto Rico than actual psychology.

I learned two things in that class: the science behind introverts and extroverts, and this fun fact:

She stood there at the front of the class, her plump hands resting on her round waist as she said, "How many of you remember what you were wearing, and what you were doing on 9/11?"

The majority of my class raised their hands, myself included.

She nodded slowly and said somberly, "When it comes to certain events that are particularly traumatic (such as 9/11), it is not uncommon for victims to remember strange details, such as what they were wearing, and what they were doing at that exact moments. Although some of you may not have been in New York City, or had family members there, the event was so horrific, it is natural for the human brain to be traumatized and remember facts such as this."

She asked for a few students to share their experience with 9/11.
I raised my hand, but did not get called on.

Rewind to my junior and senior year of high school.

My senior year, I aided for my junior year history teacher. Thus, both years I saw the powerful slides about the Holocaust, riots in Egypt and Lybia, and especially 9/11.

We watched footage of the planes crashing into the building, and residents screaming in terror.
This was the first time I had seen that footage.
Tears sprung to my eyes, sorrow filled my heart, and rage surged in my stomach.

I began to mumble my story to the classmate next to me, but got drowned out by everyone else sharing their stories.

Events like this happened year after year after year, but I never was able to share my story.

Rewind to a few months after 9/11. I stood in the kitchen, leaning on the banister and watching the news. I remember very clearly Bush declaring war.

I trotted upstairs to the bathroom, where my mom stood hanging clothes on an indoor drying rack.

"Mom, should we go to war?" I asked her.

My mom continued hanging clothes as she said, "Some people think we should, others don't. It's really up to you to decide for yourself what to think, but either way, we'll be going to war."

Rewind to a few days after 9/11.
My sister held out a newspaper for me to see. Two colomns stretched across the top of the page, the stoic faces of various men filling little squares.

"Are they--?" I began.

"These are the jerks that flew into the twin towers," she said.

I took the news paper and began to flip through and look at the pictures of the men, and smoke billowing from the towers.

Let's rewind to September 11th, 2001.

I sat cross-legged on the floor of my living room, my mom doing my hair. I was wearing a navy blue polo shirt with white buttons on the top, and white bordering the collar of my shirt. I had on tan shorts, and my mom was putting my hair into pig tails with elastics that had little white balls on them so that they matched the buttons at the front of my shirt.

It was no TV week at my school. Teachers, students and parents were asked to go this entire week without watching the television. My parents had agreed to this, and so we sat in silence as my mom did my hair.

I don't remember the phone ringing, but I remember my dad calling and saying, "Turn on the radio."

I don't remember what else my mom said to him, but I remember her walking over to the cabinet below our television set, and turning on the radio. After fumbling with it for a second, it rested on the news.

"What are you doing?" I asked her.

"Daddy needs us to listen to the radio. Something happened."

I listened. I didn't understand what was happening.

"Mom, what's happening?" I asked, because I was sincerely confused.

Then came the words I will never forget, "A second plane! Dear God, a second plane hit."

I didn't feel terror.
I felt pure confusion.
What was happening?

I walked to school completely calm, which was unusual for a child who had severe anxiety.

I don't remember the rest of the day. But we didn't watch TV. Not at school, and not when I got home. I heard the events described to us by people. Over the radio, by word of mouth from peers and adults alike.

Perhaps this is the first example of obedience I remember. We could've watched TV. We were perfectly justified to watch it. Maybe if we had done that, I would've understood the extent to what was happening.

But my parents, and everyone else's parents, had signed a slip of paper saying they wouldn't watch TV that week.

I don't know what my peer's parents did, but I know my parents continued not to watch it.

I remember our school holding a moment of silence.

I remember coming home, and finding out that my dad's airplane didn't leave that day, and he'd be returning home instead of going on his business trip.

Perhaps it was when my sister showed me the newspaper that it hit me that this was an attack directly towards America.

And then when war was declared, I remember feeling anger. Angry at the terrorists who did this, and angry that more lives would have to be lost.

Youtube wasn't around, and by the time it did come around, I didn't think of looking up footage of 9/11. So when I saw it in my history class, I was surprised by how calm I was. I finally understood what was going on this time. Why wasn't I panicked? Because it was in the past? Because it wasn't close to home? Yes, I was sorrowful and angry, but calm.

I had a friend who majored in psychology explain this to me best, "There are some people who do the opposite reaction in high-stress situations such as war, or anything like that. When you're supposed to panic, your emotion feeds off of the energy, and you remain calm and can think level headed. It's a gift, really."

I have had enough car accidents and situations in my life to know that this most likely applies to myself.

Fast forward to April 15, 2013.

This is when I got my first taste of what the victims of 9/11 experienced.

I was wearing a white shirt with blue flowers on it, with a blue bow in the back. My hair was pulled back in a half pony tail. I was wearing my least-favorite pair of jeans.

This is what I wore as I lay, curled up in fetal position, clutching my stomach as I felt like I was going to throw up, absolutely bawling as CNN showed the same clips of the Boston Bombings, where my dad had just been running a few hours earlier. 

I couldn't stop crying. I couldn't stop the anger from forming.

He's safe. He's safe. He's safe. He's safe. I kept chanting to myself.

But I didn't know that. I wasn't there. Nobody was answering their cell phones.

I didn't feel calm then. Not in the slightest.

My roommate burst into the room and yelled, "ARE YOU STUPID? TURN THAT OFF!"

She held me as I continued to cry, and told me about how her dad was working in the pentagon during 9/11. He too, was safe. But she also panicked as I panicked.

And finally, I understood.

Fast forward to today.

I did not choose to join the police force or the military. Oddly enough, this is a desire of mine. I did, however, choose to minor in the study of terrorism. Why?

Because I want to support my troops as best as I can.

Because I want the evil to stop.

And because, as I interview victims of these traumatic events, I will know how they feel.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The First Day of School

Fourth year of college. Fourth school down.

Yes, my friends, I am now attending BYU to get my bachelors degree, and this marks the fourth school I have attended since my high school graduation.

The past schools I have gone to (Weber, SLCC, and then I finally received my associates at UVU) have all been very similar to each other: Commuter, a good number of non-LDS students, small class sizes, big college campus. The work load was never overwhelming, but was just enough to keep me busy, stretch my mind and help me learn, and still leave me just enough time to watch one or two netflix episodes afterward.

And then, there were my roommates.

Starting at UVU, I began living in BYU off-campus housing, where all my roommates attended BYU. I saw that their workload was much greater than mine, the policies at the school much different than any other school I had been to, and their overall stress level was just higher.

So, why did I come to BYU? A lot of reasons, really. But the main three are:
- I felt like I needed to
- PHENOMENAL journalism program
- Good environment

Despite these positive contributing factors, this did not calm my nerves for the much anticipated first day of school.

And it was terrible.

Hilariously so, on the bright side.

It all started the Sunday night before classes started. I had spent most the weekend at my parent's home to gear up on sleep and some relaxation before I jumped into this semester. And because I was dreading the start of this school year, I procrastinated driving back to my apartment in Provo. And so, I got a late start to the ride home.

Anyone who knows the I-15 in Utah knows the ridiculous amount of construction that is currently taking place between Provo and Sandy. It just gets more ridiculous after nine p.m, when there are nightly lane closures.

Of course I had all intentions to head back to Provo before nine, but low and behold . . . that didn't happen.

Hello, slow moving traffic.

It wasn't too bad, but it wasn't the most relaxing of drives home either.

And then came the time when I arrived in Provo.

Now, anyone who knows Provo knows how AWFUL parking is. Trying to park in Provo is similar to trying to fit into a sardine can.


And because I had waited so long to get home, every single parking space was taken at my apartment complex.

I circled around and around for about a half an hour until I finally parked illegally, dumped my laundry inside my apartment, and headed back to my car to find a place to park.

Ten more minutes circling the block and no luck. I was becoming more and more frustrated and convinced that I would have to park my car at least a twenty minute walk away from my apartment when . . .

Wait seriously? Is that a spot right by my apartment? 

It seemed too good to be true, but I parked there anyway.

I stepped out and stared at the crumbling sidewalk.

Okay, so there's no red paint on the side . . . This is good . . . There's no sign saying no parking . . . I'm not like the guy in front of me and right in front of the fire hydrant . . . Seems okay . . .

Again. It seemed far too good to be true, but I was desperate, so I left my car and walked back to my room, declaring to my roommates that I wasn't sure if I parked legally or not.

I was pooped, but still had to shower, write in my journal, and socialize before I got to bed.

Before I knew it, and opposed to my liking, I finally crawled in bed around midnight. My normal bedtime is 11:30 at the very latest, but I like to be in bed by around10:30.

So you can imagine my overall frustrations with life at this moment.

Despite my exhaustion, I just couldn't sleep. My mind was racing and my nerves were wracking in anticipation for tomorrow. I felt like every cell in my body was on edge and I could only lay there stiff as a brick, trying to relax while my eyes lay wide open.

I woke up throughout the night, anxiously checking my phone to make sure I hadn't slept in. I woke up to every creak, cough, or sound that came from my apartment and roommates.

And before I knew it, it was eight o' clock in the morning: generally a half hour later than I get up.

As my alarm chipped happily, I did the only thing I could think of to do at that moment: pull the sheets over my head and say to my roommate, "I don't want to go to schooooooooooool."

I lay in bed for twenty-five minutes, going back and forth between deciding if I should drop my first class just because I was tired, and it was an elective anyway.

I pulled up my computer to drop the class . . . and then . . .

"This is ridiculous," I said to my roommate, but mostly to myself. "I have to at least give it a try."

I glanced at my clock.

I had fifteen minutes to get ready for class.


Frantically, I changed clothes, ran a brush through my hair, and threw on make-up.

Now with my current schedule, I am on campus on average from 9-5 everyday, so I had to pack a lunch. I threw open my cupboard and . . .

An overwhelming stench of death overtook me, and I covered my nose.

My potatoes. My poor, delicious bag of potatoes were now rotten and disgusting.
Nose and eyes stinging, I set the bag of potatoes by the door to remember to throw them away on my way out.
Guess I would just have to make a sandwich.
I pulled down my bread and peanut butter and threw a measly sandwich together. I tossed it in my backpack along with two granola bars and a handful of potato chips. As I closed my bread, I did a double take.
Was that mold I see on the large amount of bread I had left?
Well. Shoot.
Chucking it in the garbage, I went to the fridge and grabbed my last cup of dairy-free yogurt and a spoon.
Cautiously, I balanced my yogurt cup, spoon, planner and notebook, and the bag of rotting potatoes in my hand and hastily left my apartment, now with little to no time to get to my class.

I dashed across the parking lot to the dumpster, heaved the potatoes inside, and then . . .

No way! Is that a shortcut?! Sweet!

I raced down the grass-grown pavement that ran behind my apartment building and a neighboring fence. Judging by the direction it was headed, I suspected it would lead me to the sidewalk on the opposite side and closer to the school!
Dead end.

Letting out a low growl, I turned on my heel with my notebook, planner, spoon, and yogurt in hand, and sprinted back around my building and towards an actual pathway.

Now, anyone who knows BYU knows how many ridiculous stairs there are to get onto campus. And so I faced what I dubbed: Satan's stairs.

I took them two at a time, now gripping my maxi-skirt in hand so as to insure that I wouldn't trip over it.

I don't know why I thought I would be able to eat my yogurt on the way to class. I was sprinting and holding a ridiculous amount of items because I thought it would save me time to hold them instead of pausing to place them in my backpack!


There was no sense in carrying these things anymore. I could place my stuff down on the bench and place it in my backpack. Hiking up my skirt more, I began to sprint towards the bench and . . .

Running = sweat = sweaty hands = not being able to hold onto anything.

My planner, notebook, yogurt, and spoon fell to the ground, and I stumbled as my skirt caught around the tip of my toes.

I knelt down and shoved everything inside my bag, and took off once again.

There were still a good amount of students on campus, so I knew I still had a bit of time to get to class.

I was breathing heavily at this point. I knew without having to look in a mirror that my entire body was as red as my hair. I began to wonder why I had even showered or put on make-up if I was just going to sweat it all off.

I found the building I needed to be in, and passed a kid holding a bloody tissue to his nose.

Well it could be worse. I could be like that kid.

I sped walked through the second most confusing building on campus, and breathed a sigh of relief as I found my classroom. As I walked in, the bell rang, and I jumped and let out a slight gasp.

A bell? Seriously? This school has a bell? I haven't had a bell since high school!

I took the nearest seat, and the teacher began class. I, unfortunately, was still panting and could feel sweat dripping disgustingly down my forehead.

I had cooled down and had rebuilt my energy by the end of class, and then headed to my second class which, thankfully, wasn't too far away. To add to this, my professor had even let us out of class a couple minutes early! There was no way I would be late to my next class!

I got lost trying to get out of the building, jumped when the bell to leave screeched through the hallways, and managed to find the exit on the side that was farthest away from my next class, simply because it was the exit with the lowest crowd. I figured out why as soon as I saw my surroundings and figured I had just added an extra minute to my walk to class.

I sped walked to my next class. As I entered the door, I saw that the entry and hallways were congested with students attempting to do just what I was doing: get it.

"You have got to be kidding me," I muttered under my breath.

When I managed to squeeze my way through, I saw that one of the stairwells was under construction, and that students were having to slowly snake their way through the crowd to the stairwell on the other side of the building.

"Oh, heck no." I said, and I took off downstairs as opposed to the direction I actually needed to head to: the second floor.

I raced down the stairs, sprinted across the building to another set of stairs, ran up that one, and it gave me perfect access to the staircase leading to the second floor.

"Brilliant!" I said once again to myself.

I maneuvered easily to the next staircase, and saw a kid on crutches squeezing his way through the crowd.

Well it could be worse. I could be that kid. 

I ran upstairs, and quickly found my classroom, as well as my friends who were in that class.

I plopped down in a seat next to them, and placed my water bottle, pen, notebook and planner on my tiny, pull-out lap desk.

I reached down to put my backpack on the ground and -

BOOM water bottle down
BOOM pen down
BOOM notebook down
BOOM planner down.

My friend let out a laugh and said to me, "Next blog post?"

"Yuuuuup." I said, gathering everything up.

Next was work. I love my job, and was excited to be able to sit, relax, and do something I actually knew I was good at for a couple hours.

Absolutely fatigued, I hobbled into my work, with my water bottle in hand. I unscrewed the top to adjust the straw that allowed me to drink out of it when -

BOOM. Water bottle down.

Water splashed my skirt, shirt, and shoes.

I was too exhausted to react at this point.

I refilled my water bottle, and sat my little soaked self down at my desk. It was now around 11 o' clock, and I had yet to eat anything. My body was NOT happy with me. I ate my now warm yogurt incredibly slow, munched on my granola bars, and then pulled out my sandwich.

I unwrapped the plastic bag protecting it, then looked at the bread.

Little speckles of white dusted the edges of the sandwich. My stomach growled.

. . . was it worth it?

. . . maybe I was just imagining this.

I turned to my coworker and interrupted the conversation she was in.

"Does this look like mold to you?" I asked.

"Yeah." she said, then turned back to her conversation.

"Dang it." I said, and chucked it in the garbage.

I ate the handful of potato chips I had packed, and found another bag of potato chips shoved in my cubby. I thanked my past self for putting those there, and then ate three milkways laying around the office.

A feast made for royalty.

I had begun to wonder why I had come to BYU. Why on earth had I done this to myself? Was it a mistake?

I logged onto Facebook and saw that BYU had posted pictures from the first day of school. And thus lead this conversation:

I was grateful to know that BYU had my back. Perhaps I COULD do this.

Five o' clock came with no more mishaps beside me just being tired.

In my first class, I was informed that I needed a textbook I had neglected to buy. So, I made my way to the bookstore on campus . . .

To see a line that was about as long as the rides at Disneyland. Rolling my eyes, I grabbed my one little textbook, and waited in line.

The boy in front of me turned around and flashed me a dashing smile. But I was noticing his sweatshirt:
Year of 2013.

Okay, so he's two years younger. That's my limit when it comes to younger guys. But the way he was acting . . . he had to be younger than 20 . . .

He began to talk to me, and I could tell he was hitting on me. Knowing how old (or young) I look, I knew I had to set boundaries quick. And thankfully, he walked right into it.

"So, this your first day at BYU?" he asked.

"Technically, yes," I said. "But it's my fourth year of college. I just transferred here after I served my mission at age twenty. What about you?"

"Oh yes. Yes, it's my first day. I just graduated high school a couple months ago. I'm 18. How old are you?"


Glad we established that quick. The conversation turned to him asking me for college, mission, and life advice.

He will do great things . . . without me in his life.

We were winding through the isle, when a friend standing across from me stopped me.

Let me rephrase - we're acquaintances. He remembers me and my name and how we know each other, and I just take his word for it cause he only looks vaguely familiar to me.

"Hey! Carmen!" he said to me while giving me a high five. "You're engaged to Eric Lane, right? Or just got married? Congrats!"

I stood there dumbfounded for a split second, then came to my senses and said, "What? No, no, no, no, no. That's the OTHER red headed flute player that was in band with us who married him. Not me. Still single."

"Oooooh! Ha Ha Ha!" he cackled, "I mixed you two up ALL the time."

"Ha. . . yeah I mean it happens . . . " I said awkwardly.

I bought my textbook, then met up with a friend. As predicted, we were late to an appointment we both had to made.

As we sped walked back to my car where I would drive us, I began relating my day to her.

"I mean, the only thing that could possibly make this day worse, is if I got a parking ticket." I said, and we turned the corner and continued to half walk, half jog to my car.

I walked to the drivers side of the car . . .

And saw a little, yellow paper sticking out from under my windshield.

I laughed. I legitimately laughed at this point. There was nothing else I could do.

I pulled it out from my dash, and glanced over what it was for:

Blocking the entrance to a sidewalk.

Despite the awful start, there were still so many incredible blessings poured on my day. I saw many friends I love and who I hadn't seen in a while. I was generally happy throughout the day, and I had a good story to tell later. I also had air conditioning, which I could NOT complain about, especially after running up 114 stairs in the morning.

Yes, I counted.

The days following were less eventful, and less awful. I knew it could only go up from there. But I also have no doubt there are many awkward doors ahead for me.

Have an awkward day, everyone!