Disconnect and Reconnect: What You Learn When You Return Home

Disconnect and Reconnect: What You Learn When You Return Home

Brain Droppings from a Sitdown with Skyler Mueller
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Friday, July 31st, 2015

“My name is Skyler Mueller. I am a junior at Virginia Tech, and I am from Malvern, Pennsylvania, a small Philadelphia suburb on the Main Line. I have two loving parents, a[n] older brother, and I want to teach.”

“I would say I have spent no more than two weeks at home since I began my second semester in sophomore year.”

Skyler on College

  • Until I went to college, I think I enjoyed more peace in my life and thinking.
  • I truly believed upon entering college that I knew myself. I remember actually saying it to a couple of my hallmates, and not a few weeks later, I was spinning as my whole world went upside down. So I have learned to never assume I have discovered myself completely.
  • I was completely away from everyone who had fostered my beliefs, away from that safety. That is a quick and easy gut-check, to see what you really believe.
  • There is no growth without pain. Embracing pain or discomfort when it comes will help growth.
  • I hope to be the RA to my residents that my RA was to me. She was a companion through tough times, through inner turmoil, and also through times of happiness.
  • There are many times where you are teacher and a learner, just at the same time.
  • I’m not usually someone who decorates my room, so people are like, “Oh, so you don’t have a personality?” So now I am trying to find things to decorate my room.

Skyler on Home

  • I went on a cross country road trip last summer – 10,000 miles all around the country, in a huge circle. And although I was very happy and fortunate to explore, and eager to explore and discover, throughout the trip I always wanted to be home. Not as in, “turn the car around, turn it around right now.” I always knew I wanted to finish my trip at home. The destination was home. I went through, and passed through and arrived at so many homes across this country, and that was what was so crazy to me. I passed by so many places that are home, like what I have been describing, for so many other people.
  • I’ve always had a strong affinity, a feeling of kinship around home. I feel very much myself. Someone could drive through my town, through those streets on a trip, and to them it is just another town, but I can’t see it in that way. The memories are in the air. To me there is so much more import surrounding this place. I see home as a reminder of my roots; the core of me.
  • Even though I am changing, and I could be very different from who I was however long ago, my home updates with me. Home has never felt outdated, so far in my life. It has felt like it has always been alongside me. Home has been a companion; but it has been more than that. It has been a lot of things.
  • Home is safety and comfort, but not complacency. I do not feel stagnant here. It is a safe place to grow. I can be challenged even in a place so familiar, and sometimes in the best ways.
  • When I come home, sometimes, it feels like it knows me better than I know myself, in the sense that I am learning about myself by just being home.
  • There is something about this location, this geography, that knows me, in some way.

Skyler on Family

  • My family and I are very fortunate; we never had much conflict or many problems, and so when I brought some problems and some conflict, I think it was very healthy in a very great way, and made connections I had never made with my family before.

Skyler on Skyler

  • I am happy, I am. But it is a little more complicated than that. You know, I am content.
  • Disillusioned and delusional are two very different words. Why are they so close? I remember saying disillusioned a lot when I meant to say deluded or delusional, and when I finally looked it up it was like “Ahhhhh, shit.” Exact opposites almost.
  • I usually view growth in what I gain, but inevitably there has to be a loss. I have lost a faith. I was Christian, and now I am Agnostic. I gained some new beliefs and doubts, and I lost others.
  • It is very uncomfortable to start to believe that what you used to believe is wrong.
  • My excitement for life, I haven’t lost that, not yet. There is never a moment when I feel like there isn’t something to learn, and I am constantly captivated by the dynamics of life.

Parting Shots

  • Why don’t we do this more? I don’t mean like a Diane Sawyer sit down interview, but with people I care about, this is such a great concept for learning about each other, and learning about yourself. I want to reciprocate this. Why don’t we, not just you and me, but people, sit down and ask each other those essential questions? Is it time?
  • The people are the primary destination.

“They won’t know you care, until you care to know.”

–Said by many, not accredited to any.

Cover Image Credit: Malcolm D. Anderson

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10 Things I Threw Out AFTER Freshman Year Of College

Guess half the stuff on your packing list doesn't really matter
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I spent the entire summer before my freshman year of college so WORRIED.

I also spent most of my money that summer on miscellaneous dorm stuff. I packed the car when the time finally came to move in, and spent the drive up excited and confused about what the heck was actually going on.

Freshman year came and went, and as I get ready to go back to school in just a few short weeks (!!), I'm starting to realize there's just a whole bunch of crap I just don't need.

After freshman year, I threw out:

1. Half my wardrobe.

I don't really know what I was thinking of owning 13 sweaters and 25 T-shirts in the first place. I wear the same five T-shirts until I magically find a new one that I probably got for free, and I put on jeans maybe four times. One pair is enough.

2. Half my makeup.

Following in the theme of #1, if I put on makeup, it's the same eyeliner-mascara combination as always. Sometimes I spice it up and add lipstick or eyeshadow.

3. My vacuum.

https://secure.img1-ag.wfcdn.com/im/d5ea3c03/resize-h2000-p1-w2000%5Ecompr-r85/3021/30217778/Express+6+Volt+Cordless+Bagless+Handheld+Vacuum.jpg

One, I basically never did it. Two, if I REALLY needed to vacuum, dorms rent out cleaning supplies.

4. Most of my photos from high school.

I didn't throw them ALL away, but most of them won't be making a return to college. Things change, people change, your friends change. And that's okay.

5. Excess school supplies.

Binders are heavy and I am lazy. I surprisingly didn't lose that many pens, so I don't need the fifty pack anymore. I could probably do without the crayons.

6. Cups/Plates/Bowls/Silverware.

Again, I am lazy. I cannot be bothered to wash dishes that often. I'll stick to water bottles and maybe one coffee cup. Paper plates/bowls can always be bought, and plastic silverware can always be stolen from different places on campus.

7. Books.

I love to read, but I really don't understand why I thought I'd have the time to actually do it. I think I read one book all year, and that's just a maybe.

8. A sewing kit.

I don't even know how to sew.

9. Excessive decorations.

It's nice to make your space feel a little more cozy, but not every inch of the wall needs to be covered.

10. Throw pillows.

At night, these cute little pillows just got tossed to the floor, and they'd sit there for days if I didn't make my bed.

Cover Image Credit: Tumblr

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I'm Not The Person I Was In High School And I'm Not Sorry I Changed

I'm sorry, the old me can't come to the phone right now.

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If those who knew me in high school hung out with me now, they probably wouldn't recognize me. If my friends from college hung out with me around two years ago, they probably wouldn't recognize me. It's safe to say I've changed... a lot. I definitely find the change to be for the better and I couldn't be happier with the person I've become.

In high school, I would sit at home every night anxiously waiting to leave and go out. Now, honestly, going out is the last thing I want to do any night of the week. While everyone in college is at a fraternity party or at the bars, I prefer to sit at home on the couch, watching Netflix with my boyfriend. That's an ideal night for me and it is exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do a couple of years ago. There's nothing wrong with going out and partying, it's just not what I want to do anymore.

I craved attention in high school. I went to the parties and outings so I could be in Snapchats and photos, just so people would know I was there. I hung out with certain groups of people just so I could say I was "friends" with so-and-so who was so very popular. I wanted to be known and I wanted to be cool.

Now, I couldn't care less. I go to the bars or the parties if I really feel like it or if my friends make me feel bad enough for never going anywhere that I finally decide to show up. It's just not my scene anymore and I no longer worry about missing out.

If you could look back at me during my junior year of high school, you probably would've found me searching for the best-ranked party schools and colleges with the best nearby clubs or bars. Now, you can find me eating snacks on the couch on a Friday night watching the parties through other peoples' Snapchats.

Some may say that I'm boring now, and while I agree that my life is a little less adventurous now than it was in high school, I don't regret the lifestyle changes I've made. I feel happier, I feel like a better person, I feel much more complete. I'm not sorry that I've changed since high school and I'm not sorry that I'm not living the typical "college lifestyle." I don't see anything wrong with that life, it's just not what makes me happy and it's not what I want to do anymore.

I've become a different person since high school and I couldn't be happier about it. I have a lot that's contributed to the change, but my boyfriend definitely was the main factor as he showed me that staying in can be a million times better than a night out. My interests and my social cravings have completely transitioned into that of an 80-year-old grandma, but I don't regret it.

Change doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can bring a lot more happiness and comfort. The transition from high school to college is drastic, but you can also use it as an opportunity to transition from one lifestyle to another. I don't regret the lifestyle flip I made and I couldn't be less apologetic about it.

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