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Small handwriting sample of Kristin's First-Year Student Journals, link to journals home page
Kristin hangs out on campus

Kristin's miniature straw box that looks like the White House

Kristin wears her sunglasses while hanging out on campus

For this journal, I was asked to focus on the big picture.
The big picture…
College is both a journey and a path.

I am definitely a big picture person. I address generalities, macro-concepts, high ideals and overarching symbols and metaphors. I rarely talk specifics. In college, I learned something I already knew but swept it to the back of my cognition. Sometimes, the meaning and the answers are in the minutiae.

We associate journeys with peaks, valleys, tumults of emotion and grand happenings. There are definitely huge narrative-worthy events in college: moving into a new space, first attempted college romance, first test, first party, first low grade and first academic triumph. I remember all of these things, my feelings and some flashes from my photographic memory. I remember the drama, the tears, the squeals of laughter in those flashes Yet, the mundane pleasures are indistinct, obscure—lost in the treasure trove of my memory. Faced with the big picture of ideas, adulthood and the future as a college student I have learned to appreciate the small things.

Small things I appreciate:

warm, yummy food


soft light



soup when ill

greeting cards

hand-written letters and notes

dauntless gaze into my eyes

coffee in the morning

evening tea

smell of clean laundry

blossoming flowers

a couch to stretch out on

a warm smile from a stranger

a genuine “Hello” or “How are you doing?”

my favorite movies in the Undergraduate Library

adequate rest

nice pens

cute, friendly squirrels

hum of computers in an empty lab

I’m sure there’s more. In fact, I am certain I could list and list and still never quite finish. At some point in my freshman year, I have wanted or needed something in this list. I received or found it—but I can’t remember how.

Perhaps it was the rush. We rush in college. We jerk in college. We go and go and go only to stop abruptly and then prepare to continue. There is very little one can do about the rush itself. In this sense, college is a path. Paths are well trodden and preset. Yet, there is also time to muse along the path. Rarely does the brave adventurer on the journey have leisure time in the garden. No, the brave adventurer is busy slaying the nefarious beast of deadlines and commitments. Empowered by these observations, my great, grand ambiguous scheme for next semester is to make the path less pathological and temper the journey with desirable path-like qualities. Now for the cute practicalities.

Keeping a private weekly journal has helped me immensely the latter part of the spring semester and I will continue to do it. It was a tip I received during career counseling. Based on what I have been observing, I need to take a step back from the mythic parts of my college experiences and pick them apart. At the same time, even writing about the small stuff (who I talked to, what I did and why) on the path gave me some much-needed clarity.

I will not fret if I am not an academic demigoddess. I am more than a grade on a rhetoric paper, a test and a GPA. My longing for deep affiliations, a niche, a small community still grows. Both paths and adventures can be individual or shared. Paths are walked. Journeys require transportation. I intend to explore off campus more next year in my vehicle. That may take some time away from books, but one cannot really have a relationship with a book. Finding that communal space is an important part of my journey.

Both the path and the journey have perils, snares and arrows. Mine come from my own thoughts and heart. My insecurities, weakness, self-doubt—they are illumined because I know them. I made choices this semester. I am going to remain a Radio-Television-Film (RTF) major and eventually focus on screenwriting. Based on this information, Web audiences may think nothing has really changed, but something has.

Part of me must be invested on stage. That’s right. I act. I have decided not to pursue it academically because the quest for grades would dominate me rather than pursuing the craft itself. The grades attained would take priority over the late-night chats in the green room. My schedule next semester will include three RTF courses. Look out world: I’m focusing and writing and acting. I made the hefty decision on the journey by examining the minutiae on the path.

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