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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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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The Danger Of Future Tripping

Making small goals can help you achieve a better tomorrow.

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The future is mysterious. Because of this elusive, unknown timeline we all face, why shouldn't we spend our time daydreaming of our distant goals and desires? These dreams have a tendency to taunt us in our seemingly boring present life. But it feels so wonderful to visualize ourselves in a better, distant state of absolute satisfaction and fulfillment in all aspects of our future. This visual that we create of a happier, healthier, and stronger self, is what we consider to be our ending goal; our definition of success.

So what is future tripping, and why is it detrimental to our future success and present satisfaction with our lives? According to Healthyplace.com future tripping is a "human condition of peering into the imagined future and anticipating the outcome," but what's wrong with visualizing our "perfect" future career, future lifestyle, and future home, with a wood burning stove and all? Well, before I completely bash visualizing a "better" you, I have to give it credit because it gives you a motivator. The issue is that people, including myself, get so caught up in what we want rather than what we need to do to achieve this version of ourselves and our life.

If we were to only focus on our ending goal, we are creating an existence of madness, and impatience. We need to begin making smaller goals and smaller effort in an effort to become better. A peer of mine said something the other day that struck home. In my own words, he said, "You can only be better than the person you were yesterday." What a simple, achievable goal to work on daily. It sets the bar low, making it easier to feel satisfied as you lie in bed at night and think, "What did I do today that made me a better me than yesterday?" In making these small, easily achievable goals daily, you are working towards this future "self" you wish to become. In other words, you must walk before you can run.

The sooner we begin rewiring our consciousness to confront our current life, self, and mini goals, the more attainable and realistic our far-off goals will become. Each day must be lived, that is a fact. If we are always thinking about tomorrow, or a year from now, or decades from now, we are wasting the precious opportunities of living, exploring, and growing that today offers. If we continue to romanticize and future trip, our levels of current satisfaction will begin to plateau.

I'd like to add and reiterate, that it is good to plan, and that it is good to have an overarching goal to work towards. College presents a perfect environment for structuring your goals (career/life path), and giving you daily errands (homework) that slowly, but surely, take you closer to your desired outcome.

So I hope that in reading this, you will start to catch yourself from future tripping in those moments of current disappointment and make a goal to make tomorrow better.

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