The Meaning Of Fall in Bellingham

The Meaning Of Fall in Bellingham

How I've come to view my autumns.
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Autumn has all of a sudden sprung itself upon me, as it has done since 2011. Clambering up High Street was when I noticed leaves on the ground, and I thought to myself, "Huh, fall is finally here."

My summer consisted of many traveling adventures all over the United States, including Denver, Las Vegas, New York City, and Boston. By the time classes started, I felt refreshed, almost like I had an entire year's break. Nevertheless, I yearned for more freedom, not wanting my body and imagination to be boxed into a classroom. Many students can't wait for school to begin again after they become bored of summer, but going into my fifth year at Western, my enthusiasm for formal education had dwindled. Normally, I am indifferent to the seasons themselves, never preferring any one over the others. Because of now associating warm air and sunny skies with camping, going into different cities, making new friends, and, of course, romance, I have anxiously awaited the onset of autumn. Looking around at people's reactions to the new season, I believe this weather and the resulting lifestyle has value everyone can appreciate and learn from.

The anticipation for (or the jokes about) pumpkin spice lattes, beautiful foliage, and frolicking in the crunchy fallen leaves have been observations I have personally noticed that in the people around me. I hold none of these affinities. I believe beauty can be appreciated during all seasons, even in different terrains, including the oft-ridiculed Eastern Washington. I guess when people imagine autumn, they think of the glowing orange, yellow, and red trees that glisten on the sides of the roads. I see those, but I also notice brown, soggy leaves that saturate the streets and sidewalks. If it weren't for the chillier weather, I could almost pretend autumn isn't happening, because clean-up crews work hard to rake up or blow away any foliage that reaches the ground. Sometimes I'm grateful, because I have a legitimate fear of slipping on some moist leaves or pine straw, but it makes me wonder: Do people see just what they want to see?

An acquaintance of mine was flattening and drying out particular segments of plants she had come across, meaning to press them in a notebook to save them for future appreciation. These pieces were quite stunning. I speculated on why this was a hobby I never took up. There were many different valid reasons that crossed my mind, but one particularly stood out to me -- I never cared to look for this beauty.

During the summer of 2012, I dated someone I met during a political club meeting. While it was a nice experience, he and I ended up parting ways on less-than-friendly terms. For a couple of summers thereafter, my time spent with him would randomly come to the top of my head during those oddly warm Bellingham nights. I had to learn to ignore those feelings of loneliness and unknowingly replaced them with new, happier memories. The cold nights that overwhelm the city after summer have haunted me as well but in a different way. During the fall and winter from Oct. of 2014 to Jan. of 2015, I went out with someone I had met at a party. Unlike the previous guy, he and I still get along, although he is now attending school out-of-state. After hitting up a bar or two, we would walk around downtown. Despite being sensitive to the cold, especially the wind, I somehow managed to keep up with him, as the cold didn't seem to bother him all too much. These are the kinds of memories I can look back on and enjoy. Shivering while downtown has become an oddly nostalgic experience, although I still try to go somewhere warm as quickly as I can.

Ultimately, you can choose what you associate the seasons with. Sad memories and current problems can permeate your thoughts, but looking for the wondrous will give you something to keep on going for. A windy day on campus will have me worrying about another bug being blown into my eye. It is only a temporary concern, and I choose to look forward to coming home to a roommate who I know I will have cherish-able moments with. Autumn, like all seasons, has its mixture of the good and the bad. While you may take notice of the bad aspects or realities, remember to take a moment to appreciate the sight of the red deciduous tree against the backdrop of the infamous evergreen trees of the Pacific Northwest.

Cover Image Credit: Katrina

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.


So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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Competition Isn’t Real, So Stop Worrying About What You Think Is Your 'Competition'

When you stop worrying about being better than "your competition," you will succeed.

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"What are your plans for after College?" is the one question every college student wishes they could never hear again. After hearing those seven short words, the body of the college student is flooded with waves of irritation, paranoia, and worry.

When you set all your triggered thoughts and anxieties aside and manage to hurl out an answer, you're probably told "That's nice, but how are you going to get a job? That field is so competitive." At this point, you are probably ready to excuse yourself from the conversation for a timely breakdown.

Throughout high school, conversations at family gatherings and holiday parties typically went through this vicious cycle.

A naive junior in high school who was quick to say his major was going to be Musical Theater in college was always infuriated by the response "You'll never find work. That field is so competitive."

After a while, I started to believe it and decided to look elsewhere for a career path. I considered nursing, to where I was told how competitive college nursing programs are, and how little students they accept. I figured I wouldn't stand a chance, so I kept looking.

I circled back to the theater and was reminded by everybody how rigorous the Musical Theater college audition process was, and how they only accept a handful of kids. Surely there were other students more capable than me, and I wasn't going to let the ridiculously annoying boastful comments of theater kids ruin my search for my path in life.

My Dad always reminds me how much money I could make pursuing business, but working a 9-5 desk job dealing with hot-headed businessmen being choked by the tightness of their neckties never appealed me.

I felt fatigued like I was being told that I need to pursue what other people want me to, instead of following my dreams.

At this time I was a senior in High School, and my CommonApp was filled with prospective schools that I might attend, but the "intended major" section part of each application wasn't filled.

The loud "you can't" and "you'll NEVER get work" boomed in my ear until I was convinced I couldn't follow my dreams of becoming an actor, so I caved and intended to pursue journalism. I was told by all my teachers I was a gifted writer, so I figured it would be worth a shot.

"You can always do theater on the side," is what I heard. Now in college pursuing journalism, a field I was told: "will be one I can actually get a job in," some professors tell me after graduation, I will be doing journalism "on the side" because of how "competitive" the field is.

All occupational fields are competitive, whether that be communications, business, nursing, etc. Here is one thing that I learned through this experience and many others…

You have no competition.

In the eyes of someone who is hiring for a job, they are going to pick whoever's work they feel best fits the position. This isn't the product of a cutthroat field, it's solely the product of your work fitting the part.

You can't mash two puzzle pieces together because you THINK it's what fits, whatever is meant for you will come to you. Your puzzle pieces will fit together naturally.

In the end, it will come together to form a beautiful picture.

As for me, I decided to tune out the comments about competitive fields. What used to consume me cannot phase me anymore.

I still intend to pursue my dreams of becoming a performer, and at every audition I will remind myself that it is not the field that is competitive, there is no competition. The performer sitting next to me at an open call is not my competition, but my inspiration to work hard to find the job that will best fit me.

In the words of Cinderella, "there is one thing, they can't order me to stop dreaming."

The reporter who grabs every single story shouldn't turn me into someone who viciously grabs every story they can to build their portfolio, it should make me look for stories I WANT to tell that will progress me as a writer. After all, I am still learning.

I learned that I shouldn't belittle other people that are deemed "my competition" to disorient them, giving me a better chance at getting a job. Kindness will be more rewarding than contributing to the vicious dog-eat-dog world.

"I'm not in competition with anyone except who I used to be, and everything I do now is just an evolved version of something I've done before" -Kali Uchis

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