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Small handwriting sample of Brooke's First-Year Student Journals, link to journals home page
Brooke holds her red guitar

Brooke's stuffed monkey, Larry

Detail of neck and strings on Brooke's red guitar

The Long Distance Thing

They say it can’t work. Everyone from my parents to the girl who cut my hair last week has told me that long distance relationships are a bad idea. When you’re involved in one you miss out on so much. And all long distance relationships are doomed to fail. So turn off your heart, turn on your head and look for love where you are. That’s what everyone says.

And initially, I wasn’t doing the long distance thing. I left my favorite LSU friend to come to UT and we agreed that to be “just friends” was the best thing for both of us. We didn’t want to hold one another back. We didn’t want to be attached to something so far away. We didn’t think it was possible either. Besides, we were not in an established long-term relationship anyway. This little relationship was brand new. Not more than two weeks old. True, it was preceded by an entire year of amazing friendship…but the more substantial feelings, they were relatively new. And the acknowledged reciprocation of those feelings, well that was brand new. So that was that. Long distance doesn’t work.

Last weekend I went to Houston to watch this certain LSU friend’s brother get married. Okay, enough of this “LSU friend” business…his name is Mark.

And it was the best weekend of my life. Seriously. I have never been happier in all of my 18 years than I was those two days. He and I are right together. And we both know it. So that’s it. We’re doing the long distance thing. Seven hours is nothing, right? The two months in between now and when we can see each other again, a piece of cake. Last weekend was the best weekend of my life. And yet, this week was the longest week of my entire UT experience.

And I’m sure it was seeing him that made this week seemingly impossible. Roommate dates an SMU boy out in Dallas. Because he is only three hours away they see each other far more often than Mark and I will. And each time she sees him she swears that the whole homesickness thing comes back. Now I believe her.

So is the long distance thing bad? I don’t know yet. Am I saying that it’s making me miserable? Not at all. I’ve never been happier. True, I miss Mark like crazy, but I did before this weekend, too. And knowing that he misses me too…well that’s really a nice thought. Am I missing out on all that college has to offer? Not at all. I did multiple super fun things with my sorority sisters this week. Roommate and I hit up two parties this Friday, and tonight I attended my first ever UT football game where the Longhorns destroyed the Tulane Green Wave. Take that, Nicholas. So what does this year hold in store for Brooke and Mark? I don’t know…we shall see. Perhaps I will become a cautionary tale of how long distance breaks hearts. But I like to think that instead I’ll become the exception to the rule…the example that you’ll point out to your parents when they tell you to break all ties with “that boy” or “that girl” when you go off to college. Either way, I’ll be sure to keep you updated.

And I must tell you about the brilliant conclusion to my amazing weekend with Mark. Roommate picked me up from the bus station. (Taking a Greyhound to Houston was quite a harrowing experience and I don’t recommend it.) And we promptly headed over to Zilker Park for the last day of Austin City Limits. Yes, I had three-day passes. Yes, I paid for two days that I wasn’t there. I hadn’t planned on going to the wedding. But the $80 was so worth the one day. Ben Harper, Ben Kweller, REM, OAR, G-Love, Jack Johnson, etc…so much amazing music…and LIVE! With a crowd full of the weirdest people Austin has to offer. This really is a cool place to live.

But I guess when you go away there are good days and bad days.
Sometimes it’s fine to be so far away, and it doesn’t bother me at all.
Sometimes it kills me, and there’s nothing I wouldn’t do to be home.
Roommate feels the same way.

The other day I was sitting in the West Mall—the part of campus where all the little clubs put up informational tables about what they’re doing right now—and I saw these two girls walk up to this boy. And the three of them started to talk; they were obviously old friends. And then three other boys came up and joined in. And soon enough two more girls showed up. And this little group talked and laughed together for about five minutes before people started to take their leave and head off in different directions. And as I watched I became more and more depressed. I miss my friends. I miss those relationships that have been established for years and years. I don’t like being required to make new friends.

At the beginning of high school there was safety in numbers. I had all of my grade school friends with me. I didn’t need any new friends, and therefore I just sat back and was content with what I had. And new friends came to me. No effort involved.

Here it is me against the world. Most of the people here already have friends. They came with them from high school. They don’t need new friends. They’re the ones sitting back, being content. I’m the one required to work for their friendship. And I don’t like it.

True, I am starting to get to know some girls from my hall and some girls from my sorority. And they’re all very cool and nice. But they’re not the kinds of friends that you share inside jokes with. They’re not the kinds of friends that you can ask to borrow a few bucks from or call at 3 a.m. They’re acquaintances. I miss having friends. And I miss boys! All of my life I have had lots and lots of guy friends. I don’t know ANY guys here. I miss having boys that will run around and play with me. Girls just don’t know how to have fun like boys do.

In other news, I’ve taken a few tests now. Man, college is easy. At least, it would be if I would study. Pride, man, it’s killer. Just because you got by without any effort in high school does NOT mean that the same strategy will work in college. And now I know this. Too bad I didn’t realize it just a week before. You go through life thinking you’re pretty smart…and then you get to college…and wow…you’re really not…at least, I’m not. Like Roommate said, “I never realized until now that I am the dumb kid.”

And that gets us pretty much up to date. The weather in Austin today was beautiful. Roommate and I spent the day walking up and down Guadalupe shopping. I usually hate shopping, but these stores are so cool. Then we drove for what seemed like forever to get to the Albertson’s, but I would have been content to just keep on driving. Windows down, Cake blaring on the stereo, bright sunshine and blue skies…it really was amazing.

But we couldn’t drive forever. We had to come back to put on our burnt orange attire and join the masses of people crowding into the football stadium. Gosh, I adore football. So we crushed the poor little Green Wave, and Roommate and I returned to the dorm for some leftover pizza and the LSU game on ESPN2.

All in all it was a good night. Tomorrow is Sunday. We’re going to go eat steak somewhere. We decided that we deserve something better than the best that the Jester Dorm has to offer. And then I’ll end the week at 8 o’clock mass at the University Catholic Center. Mass there is really cool, and at the risk of boring you to tears if you’ve even read far enough down to get to this point, I’ll tell you why I love mass at the UCC. They have a billion people up in the front playing every sort of instrument you can imagine and the singers are excellent. And they have this fountain in the back that provides a really great background of trickling water throughout mass. So far all of the masses I have attended there have had really interesting homilies, always a plus. And my favorite part? They use actual unleavened bread for Communion. It’s so tight. I love it.

So that’s college life so far. The good days are still outnumbering the bad ones, so that has to be a good sign, right?

Questions, comments, compliments or complaints can be sent to If you put WEB JOURNAL as the topic there’s a far greater chance that I won’t mistake your message for junk mail and delete it without reading it. Thanks.

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