It feels like I just graduated from high school a few months ago, yet I’m sitting on my bed filling out my calendar for the fall of my junior year. Even though it hasn’t felt like it’s been two years, I still have learned more than I can put in a blog post, but I’m going to try anyway. The things I learned aren’t in any particular order of importance, but rather the order I learned them in.

1. Don’t stress about not fitting in. You’ll find your niche.

It most definitely hurt and there were absolutely be a generous amount of tears as I scrolled through social media and saw all of the photos from bid day while you’re curled up in a ball on your too-small twin sized bed. I tried to pretend it didn’t hurt, but it totally did. And you know what? It’s OK. I went through formal recruitment my freshman year– no bid. Informal recruitment for four different sororities panning two years– no bid. As someone who didn’t have a lot of girlfriends and really wanted a sense of belonging, I was extremely frustrated. I about gave up hope on the Greek Life thing altogether when during a flag football game, one of my teammates nonchalantly dropped that she was in a sorority. (We needed more girls and said she was going to post something in her sorority’s GroupMe.) I hadn’t heard of it before. It wasn’t associated with Panhellenic. It’s not a social sorority, it’s a service sorority.

As time went on, I realized I knew of more and more people in the sorority. When spring formal recruitment came around, I was going to give Greek Life one more shot. As I was participating in the events, I felt that this sorority was different than the other 13 I rushed my freshman year. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first, but I realized down the road that the two are completely different. It’s like comparing apples to oranges, for cliché’s sake. A week later I was given a bid to Omega Phi Alpha and I’ve loved it ever since. Now, OPhiA isn’t the “typical sorority” you see in the movies. We’re a diverse group of women who lead very different lives. I’m a sports writer. We have women who cosplay (and are AMAZING at it). One of the sisters I’m closest to is Indian. A handful of my sisters are openly bisexual or lesbian. One of my sisters is married. Our current president runs a very successful fashion blog. Our Vice President knows more about politics than anyone I know. We as individuals make our organization unique. That’s what’s so great about us.

Am I saying everyone needs to join a sorority? No. Of course not. I am saying that everyone needs to be involved in a club or organization of some sort.

Aside from Omega Phi Alpha, I’m a member of KU Babes, an all-women’s weightlifting club, the PR coordinator for the Journalism Student Ambassador Program and a sports writer and former Special Sections Editor for the student newspaper on our campus, the University Daily Kansan. All of these organizations have helped shape me into the person I am today. I’ve met some of my closest friends from being a part of the groups I’m involved with.

Did I end up in Greek Life? Yes, I did, but not the traditional way and not the traditional house, either. The standard sororities weren’t for me. It took me over a year to learn that. Some people thrive in Greek Life. And others thrive in other organizations. Neither needs to knock the other. It’s totally OK to end up in one, or both of those things. I found that my niche is a weird one. I’m a sports obsessed, weightlifting, srat girl. That’s who I am and where I’m most comfortable. Believe it or not, I’m not the only one. My big loves Kansas basketball and plays water polo. She’s pretty awesome and I love her.

2. It’s totally normal to not hang out with anyone from your floor after you move out.

My roommate situation my freshman year was… interesting… to say the least. I roomed with my best friend from high school and two girls we met on Facebook. If you’re a girl and you think rooming with your high school BFF is the way to go, I have three words for you. DON’T DO IT. I occasionally wonder if she and I hadn’t lived together then maybe we’d still be friends. I highly doubt it, but you never know.

My other two roommates from freshman year lived together sophomore year, and I believe they’re living together again junior year. I don’t talk to them all that often, but I like to think we didn’t end on the worst of terms. I received texts from them every once in awhile. They donated to my study abroad trip. But I rarely saw them on campus. I wasn’t going out of my way to avoid them; we just didn’t cross paths. I saw one of them during winter finals week at the library for the first time and the other for the first time during spring finals week at Steak and Shake.

The dynamic on my floor from my freshman year was weird. The girls really didn’t hang out a lot and the guys were mostly honors students. Since moving out my freshman year, I went to lunch once with one of the girls who had dropped out. I went to a Chinese New Years party at two (well, three) of the girls’ apartments. My sorority had a mixer-ish watch party with ATO for the national championship game and many of the guys on the floor are in that frat. I’ve seen a couple people at the library and I run into a couple of the guys randomly some. But that’s really it.

I primarily hang out with the guys from my best friend’s floor. To be honest, outside of the people from the Kansan, OPhiA, Triangle (a fraternity my sorority does events with), JSAP and KU Babes, those are the only people I hang out with. And that doesn’t bother me at all. I found that I’ve enjoyed college more by curating who I hang out with. No sense in hanging out with people you don’t care to be with. Based on that, my sophomore year was way better than my freshman year from a social standpoint.

3. You’ll feel incredibly overwhelmed and want to quit. A lot.

I wanted to quit my job at the Kansan a hundred times. Not having a staff, having to solely rely on myself to get the job done really wore me down. My course load sucked. I thought about dropping out at least once before each test or project and every day in the week leading up to and week of finals week. My roommate from freshman year and I talked about dropping out a lot. She was in this horrifyingly difficult chemistry class. I was not, but seeing her so frustrated scared me too. Did I quit my job? No. And I haven’t dropped out. I actually have a relatively decent GPA for tanking my second semester due to illness.

What got me through it? My freshman year, I don’t really know. My sophomore year? I didn’t figure out what gave me peace until second semester: trivia night at Dempsey’s on Wednesday nights. Trivia night kept me sane. Are we good? Not really. We have decent outings every once in a while, but other than that, it’s just for fun and to blow off steam… and eat truffle fries. Grab a burger if I’m really hungry. Finding that thing, that stress reliever, that something to take my mind off everything was super beneficial. I felt that I did a lot better at my jobs, with my sorority, with my school work and with my relationships because I took a little time every week to relax and hang out with friends. If you’re busy all the time and leave no time to yourself, you never get time to unwind. That unwind time is some of the most important time you’ll have all week. You need it. Your sanity needs it.

4. Tell the people you care about that you care about them.

It seems relatively trivial that I include this, but it’s something that needs to be at the forefront of my mind. I go for weeks without picking up the phone and calling or even texting my dad. I haven’t talked to some of my high school friends since high school. And if you wait too long, you’re going to regret it. I know I do. One of my close friends from my freshman and sophomore years of high school committed suicide. I saw him at the mall just days before. We chatted for a few minutes. He seemed completely fine. A few days go by? I see post after post after post about him. It’s been four years since my sophomore year of high school. Three people who I ate lunch with every day are now six feet under, two to suicide and the other to a car accident. Since eighth grade, over eight people close to me have passed, including my paternal grandpa and maternal grandma. I’m very fortunate that I got to spend time with all of them and tell them how I felt before they passed away, but what if I didn’t? That thought resonates with me and it scares me.

Sports Bucket List (77/561)

  1. MLB (7/63)
    1. Arizona Diamondbacks (Chase Field)
    2. Atlanta Braves (Turner Field)
    3. Baltimore Orioles (Oriole Park and Camden Yards)
    4. Boston Red Sox (Fenway Park)
    5. Chicago Cubs (Wrigley Field)
    6. Chicago White Sox (U.S. Cellular Field)
    7. Cincinnati Reds (Great American Ballpark)
    8. Cleveland Indians (Progressive Field)
    9. Colorado Rockies (Coors Field)
    10. Detroit Tigers (Comerica Park)
    11. Houston Astros (Minute Maid Park)
    12. Kansas City Royals (Kauffman Stadium)
    13. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (Angel Stadium of Anaheim)
    14. Los Angeles Dodgers (Dodger Stadium)
    15. Miami Marlins (Marlins Park)
    16. Milwaukee Brewers (Miller Park)
    17. Minnesota Twins (Target Field)
    18. New York Mets (Citi Field)
    19. New York Yankees (Yankee Stadium)
    20. Oakland Athletics ( Coliseum)
    21. Philadelphia Phillies (Citizens Bank Park)
    22. Pittsburgh Pirates (PNC Park)
    23. San Diego Padres (Petco Park)
    24. San Francisco Giants (AT&T Park)
    25. Seattle Mariners (Safeco Field)
    26. St. Louis Cardinals (Busch Stadium)
    27. Tampa Bay Rays (Tropicana Field)
    28. Texas Rangers (Globe Life Park)
    29. Toronto Blue Jays (Rogers Centre)
    30. Washington Nationals (Nationals Park)
    31. Allstar Game
    32. Postseason Game
    33. World Series Game
  2. MLS (3/41)
    1. Chicago Fire (Toyota Park)
    2. Colorado Rapids (Dick’s Sporting Goods Park)
    3. Columbus Crew (Mapfre Stadium)
    4. D.C. United (RFK Stadium)
    5. FC Dallas (Toyota Stadium)
    6. Houston Dynamo (BBVA Compass Stadium)
    7. Los Angeles Galaxy (StubHub Center)
    8. Montreal Impact (Saputo Stadium)
    9. New England Revolution (Gillette Stadium)
    10. New York City FC (Yankee Stadium)
    11. New York Red Bulls (Red Bull Arena)
    12. Orlando Florida (Citrus Bowl)
    13. Philadelphia Union (PPL Park)
    14. Portland Timbers (Providence Park)
    15. Real Salt Lake (Rio Tinto Stadium)
    16. San Jose Earthquakes (Avaya Stadium)
    17. Seattle Sounders FC (CenturyLink Field)
    18. Sporting Kansas City (Sporting Park)
    19. Toronto FC (BMO Field)
    20. Vancouver Whitecaps FC (BC Place)
    21. MLS Cup
  3. NFL (18/67)
    1. Arizona Cardinals (University of Phoenix Stadium)
    2. Atlanta Falcons (Georgia Dome)*
    3. Baltimore Ravens (M&T Bank Stadium)
    4. Buffalo Bills (Ralph Wilson Stadium)
    5. Carolina Panthers (Bank of America Stadium)
    6. Chicago Bears (Soldier Field)
    7. Cincinnati Bengals (Paul Brown Stadium)
    8. Cleveland Browns (FirstEnergy Stadium)
    9. Dallas Cowboys (AT&T Stadium)
    10. Denver Broncos (Sports Authority Field at Mile High)
    11. Detroit Lions (Ford Field)
    12. Green Bay Packers (Lambeau Field)
    13. Houston Texans (NRG Stadium)
    14. Indianapolis Colts (Lucas Oil Stadium)
    15. Jacksonville Jaguars (EverBank Field)
    16. Kansas City Chiefs (Arrowhead Stadium)
    17. Miami Dolphins (Sun Life Stadium)
    18. Minnesota Vikings (TCF Bank Stadium)
    19. New England Patriots (Gillette Stadium)
    20. New Orleans Saints (Mercedes-Benz Superdome)
    21. New York Giants (MetLife Stadium)
    22. New York Jets (MetLife Stadium)
    23. Oakland Raiders ( Coliseum)
    24. Philadelphia Eagles (Lincoln Financial Field)
    25. Pittsburgh Steelers (Heinz Field)
    26. San Diego Chargers (Qualcomm Stadium)*
    27. San Francisco 49ers (Levi’s Stadium)
    28. Seattle Seahawks (CenturyLink Field)
    29. St. Louis Rams (Edward Jones Dome)
    30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Raymond James Stadium)
    31. Tennessee Titans (LP Field)
    32. Washington (FedEx Field)
    33. Pro Bowl
    34. Playoff game
    35. Super Bowl
  4. NBA (2/63)
    1. Atlanta Hawks (Phillips Arena)
    2. Boston Celtics (TD Garden)
    3. Brooklyn Nets (Barclays Center)
    4. Charlotte Hornets (Time Warner Cable Arena)
    5. Chicago Bulls (United Center)
    6. Cleveland Cavaliers (Quicken Loans Arena)
    7. Dallas Mavericks (American Airlines Center)
    8. Denver Nuggets (Pepsi Center)
    9. Detroit Pistons (The Palace of Auburn Hills)
    10. Golden State Warriors (Oracle Arena)
    11. Houston Rockets (Toyota Center)
    12. Indiana Pacers (Bankers Life Fieldhouse)
    13. Los Angeles Clippers (Staples Center)
    14. Los Angeles Lakers (Staples Center)
    15. Memphis Grizzlies (FedEx Forum)
    16. Miami Heat (American Airlines Arena)
    17. Milwaukee Bucks (BMO Harris Bradley Center)
    18. Minnesota Timberwolves (Target Center)
    19. New Orleans Pelicans (Smoothie King Center)
    20. New York Knicks (Madison Square Garden)
    21. Oklahoma City Thunder (Chesapeake Energy Arena)
    22. Orlando Magic (Amway Center)
    23. Philadelphia 76ers (Wells Fargo Center)
    24. Phoenix Suns (Talking Stick Resort Arena)
    25. Portland Trailblazers (Moda Center)
    26. Sacramento Kings (Sleep Train Arena)
    27. San Antonio Spurs (AT&T Center)
    28. Toronto Raptors (Air Canada Centre)
    29. Utah Jazz (EnergySolutions Arena)
    30. Washington Wizards (Verizon Center)
    31. Allstar Game
    32. Playoff Game
    33. Finals Game
  5. NHL (2/59)
    1. Anaheim Ducks (Honda Center)
    2. Arizona Coyotes (Gila River Arena)
    3. Boston Bruins (TD Garden)
    4. Buffalo Sabres (First Niagara Center)
    5. Calgary Flames (Scotiabank Saddledome)
    6. Carolina Hurricanes (PNC Arena)
    7. Chicago Blackhawks (United Center)
    8. Colorado Avalanche (Pepsi Center)
    9. Columbus Blue Jackets (Nationwide Arena)
    10. Dallas Stars (American Airlines Center)
    11. Detroit Red Wings (Joe Louis Arena)
    12. Edmonton Oilers (Rexall Place)
    13. Florida Panthers (BB&T Center)
    14. Los Angeles Kings (Staples Center)
    15. Minnesota Wild (Xcel Energy Center)
    16. Montreal Canadiens (Bell Center)
    17. Nashville Predators (Bridgestone Arena)
    18. New Jersey Devils (Prudential Center)
    19. New York Islanders (Barclays Center)
    20. New York Rangers (Madison Square Garden)
    21. Ottawa Senators (Canadian Tire Centre)
    22. Philadelphia Flyers (Wells Fargo Center)
    23. Pittsburgh Penguins (Consol Energy Center)
    24. San Jose Sharks (SAP Center at San Jose)
    25. St. Louis Blues (Scottrade Center)
    26. Tampa Bay Lightning (Amalie Center)
    27. Toronto Maple Leafs (Air Canada Centre)
    28. Vancouver Canucks (Rogers Arena)
    29. Washington Capitals (Verizon Center)
    30. Winnipeg Jets (MTS Centre)
    31. Heritage Classic/Winter Classic/Stadium Series game
    32. Playoff game
    33. Stanley Cup Final game
  6. NCAA football (24/130)
    1. ACC (.5/28)
      1. Boston College (Alumni Stadium)
      2. Clemson (Memorial Stadium)
      3. Duke (Wallace Wade Stadium)*
      4. Florida State (Bobby Bowden Field at Doak Campbell Stadium)
      5. Georgia Tech (Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field)
      6. Louisville (Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium)
      7. Miami (FL) (Sun Life Stadium)
      8. UNC (Kenan Memorial Stadium)
      9. NC State (Carter-Finley Stadium)
      10. Pittsburgh (Heinz Field)
      11. Syracuse (Carrier Dome)
      12. Virginia (Scott Stadium)
      13. Virginia Tech (Lane Stadium)
      14. Wake Forest (BB&T Field)
    2. Big 12 (13/20)
      1. Baylor (McLane Stadium)
      2. Iowa State (Jack Trice Stadium)
      3. Kansas (Memorial Stadium)
      4. Kansas State (Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium)
      5. Oklahoma (Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium)*
      6. Oklahoma State (Boone Pickens Stadium)*
      7. Texas (Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium)
      8. TCU (Amon G. Carter Stadium)
      9. Texas Tech (Jones AT&T Stadium)
      10. West Virginia (Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium)
    3. Big 10 (4/28)
      1. Illinois (Memorial Stadium)
      2. Indiana (Memorial Stadium)
      3. Iowa (Kinnick Stadium)
      4. Maryland (Byrd Stadium)
      5. Michigan (Michigan Stadium)
      6. Michigan State (Spartan Stadium)
      7. Minnesota (TCF Bank Stadium)
      8. Nebraska (Memorial Stadium)
      9. Northwestern (Ryan Field)
      10. Ohio State (Ohio Stadium)
      11. Penn State (Beaver Stadium)
      12. Purdue (Ross-Ade Stadium)
      13. Rutgers (High Point Solutions Stadium)
      14. Wisconsin (Camp Randall Stadium)
    4. PAC 12 (3/24)
      1. Arizona (Arizona Stadium)
      2. Arizona State  (Sun Devil Stadium)
      3. California (California Memorial Stadium)
      4. Colorado (Folsom Field)
      5. Oregon (Autzen Stadium)
      6. Oregon State (Reser Stadium)
      7. Stanford (Stanford Stadium)
      8. UCLA (Rose Bowl)
      9. USC (Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum)
      10. Utah (Rice-Eccles Stadium)
      11. Washington (Husky Stadium)
      12. Washington State (Martin Stadium)
    5. SEC (2.5/28)
      1. Alabama (Bryant-Denny Stadium)
      2. Arkansas (Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium)
      3. Auburn (Jordan-Hare Stadium)
      4. Florida (Ben Hill Griffin Stadium)
      5. Georgia (Sanford Stadium)*
      6. Kentucky (Commonwealth Stadium)
      7. LSU (Tiger Stadium)
      8. Ole Miss (Vaught-Hemingway Stadium)
      9. Mississippi State (Davis Wade Stadium)
      10. Missouri (Faurot Field)
      11. South Carolina (Williams-Brice Stadium)
      12. Tennessee (Neyland Stadium)
      13. Texas A&M (Kyle Field)
      14. Vanderbilt (Vanderbilt Stadium)
    6. Bowl Game
    7. National Championship
  7. NCAA basketball (21/134)
    1. ACC (.5/30)
      1. Boston College (Conte Forum)
      2. Clemson (Littlejohn Coliseum)
      3. Duke (Cameron Indoor Stadium)*
      4. Florida State (Donald L. Tucker Civic Center)
      5. Georgia Tech (Hank McCamish Pavilion)
      6. Louisville (KFC Yum! Center)
      7. Miami (FL) (BankUnited Center)
      8. UNC (Dean Smith Center)
      9. NC State (PNC Arena)
      10. Notre Dame (Edmund P. Joyce Center)
      11. Pittsburgh (Petersen Events Center)
      12. Syracuse (Carrier Dome)
      13. Virginia (John Paul Jones Arena)
      14. Virginia Tech (Cassell Coliseum)
      15. Wake Forest (Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum)
    2. Big 12 (13.5/20)
      1. Baylor (Ferrell Center)
      2. Iowa State (Hilton Coliseum)
      3. Kansas (Allen Fieldhouse)
      4. Kansas State (Bramlage Coliseum)
      5. Oklahoma (Lloyd Noble Center)
      6. Oklahoma State (Gallagher-Iba Arena)*
      7. Texas (Frank Erwin Center)
      8. TCU (Daniel-Meyer Coliseum)
      9. Texas Tech (United Spirit Center)
      10. West Virginia (WVU Coliseum)
    3. Big 10 (.5/28)
      1. Illinois (State Farm Center)
      2. Indiana (Assembly Hall)
      3. Iowa (Carver-Hawkeye Arena)
      4. Maryland (Comcast Center)
      5. Michigan (Crisler Center)
      6. Michigan State (Breslin Student Events Center)
      7. Minnesota (Williams Arena)
      8. Nebraska (Pinnacle Bank Arena)*
      9. Northwestern (Welsh-Ryan Arena)
      10. Ohio State (Value City Arena)
      11. Penn State (Bryce Jordan Center)
      12. Purdue (Louis Brown Athletic Center)
      13. Rutgers (Louis Brown Athletic Center)
      14. Wisconsin (Kohl Center)
    4. PAC 12 (3/24)
      1. Arizona (McKale Center)
      2. Arizona State (Wells Fargo Arena)
      3. California (Haas Pavilion)%
      4. Colorado (Coors Events Center)
      5. Oregon (Matthew Knight Arena)
      6. Oregon State (Gill Coliseum)
      7. Stanford (Maples Pavilion)
      8. UCLA (Pauley Pavilion)
      9. USC (Galen Center)
      10. Utah (Jon M. Huntsman Center)
      11. Washington (Alaska Airlines Arena at Hec Edmundson Pavilion)
      12. Washington State (Beasley Coliseum)
    5. SEC (2.5/28)
      1. Alabama (Coleman Coliseum)
      2. Auburn (Auburn Arena)
      3. Arkansas (Bud Walton Arena)
      4. Florida (O’Connell Center)
      5. Georgia (Stegeman Coliseum)*
      6. Kentucky (Rupp Arena)
      7. LSU (Pete Maravich Assembly Center)
      8. Ole Miss (Tad Smith Coliseum)
      9. Mississippi State (Humphrey Coliseum)
      10. Missouri (Mizzou Arena)
      11. South Carolina (Colonial Life Arena)
      12. Tennessee (Thompson-Boling Arena)
      13. Texas A&M (Reed Arena)
      14. Vanderbilt (Memorial Gymnasium)
    6. NCAA Tournament
    7. National Championship (1/3)
      1. DI
      2. DII
      3. NAIA
  8. Olympics
  9. World Cup

italics denotes having seen the team play in person (Counts as 1) Strikethrough donates having seen the team play in its home stadium (Counts as 2) *denotes having watched the team work out in some capacity (practice, training camp, etc.) AND/OR visited the stadium but not watched the team play. (Counts as 1/2) %denotes having watched the women’s team play (counts as 1 if haven’t seen men play)

Totals: 25/247

  1. Somewhere in Africa (0 of 54)
    1. Algeria
    2. Angola
    3. Benin
    4. Botswana
    5. Burkina Faso
    6. Burundi
    7. Cameroon
    8. Cape Verde
    9. Central African Republic
    10. Chad
    11. Comoros
    12. Democratic Republic of the Congo
    13. Republic of the Congo
    14. Dijbouti
    15. Egypt
    16. Equatorial Guinea
    17. Eritrea
    18. Ethiopia
    19. Gabon
    20. Gambia
    21. Ghana
    22. Guinea
    23. Guinea-Bissau
    24. Ivory Coast
    25. Kenya
    26. Lesotho
    27. Liberia
    28. Libya
    29. Madagascar
    30. Malawi
    31. Mali
    32. Mauritania
    33. Mauritius
    34. Morocco
    35. Mozambique
    36. Namibia
    37. Niger
    38. Nigeria
    39. Rwanda
    40. Sao Tome and Principe
    41. Senegal
    42. Seychelles
    43. Sierra Leone
    44. Somalia
    45. South Africa
    46. South Sudan
    47. Sudan
    48. Swaziland
    49. Tanzania
    50. Togo
    51. Tunisia
    52. Uganda
    53. Zambia
    54. Zimbabwe
  2. Somewhere in Antarctica (0/1)
  3. Somewhere in Asia (1/51)
    1. Afghanistan
    2. Armenia
    3. Azerbaijan
    4. Bahrain
    5. Bangladesh
    6. Bhutan
    7. Brunei
    8. Burma
    9. Cambodia
    10. China
    11. Cyprus
    12. Georgia
    13. Hong Kong
    14. India
    15. Indonesia
    16. Iran
    17. Iraq
    18. Israel
    19. Japan
    20. Jordan
    21. Kazakhstan
    22. Kuwait
    23. Kyrgyzstan
    24. Laos
    25. Lebanon
    26. Macau
    27. Malaysia
    28. Maldives
    29. Mongolia
    30. Nepal
    31. North Korea
    32. Oman
    33. Pakistan
    34. Palestine
    35. Philippines
    36. Qatar
    37. Saudi Arabia
    38. Singapore
    39. South Korea
    40. Sri Lanka
    41. Syria
    42. Taiwan
    43. Tajikstan
    44. Thailand
    45. Timor-Leste
    46. Turkey
    47. Turkmenistan
    48. United Arab Emirates
    49. Uzbekistan
    50. Vietnam
    51. Yemen
  4. Somewhere in Australia and Oceania (0/25)
    1. Australia
    2. American Samoa
    3. Cook Islands
    4. Fiji
    5. French Polynesia
    6. Guam
    7. Kiribati
    8. Marshall Islands
    9. Micronesia
    10. Nauru
    11. New Caledonia
    12. New Zealand
    13. Niue
    14. Norfolk Island
    15. Northern Mariana Islands
    16. Palau
    17. Papua New Guinea
    18. Pitcairn Islands
    19. Samoa
    20. Solomon Islands
    21. Tokelau
    22. Tonga
    23. Tuvalu
    24. Vanuatu
    25. Wallis and Futuna
  5. Somewhere in Europe(11/61)
    1. Albania
    2. Andorra
    3. Armenia
    4. Austria
    5. Azerbaijan
    6. Belarus
    7. Belgium
    8. Bosnia and Herzegovina
    9. Bulgaria
    10. Croatia
    11. Cyprus
    12. Czech Republic
    13. Denmark
    14. England
    15. Estonia
    16. Faroe Islands
    17. Finland
    18. France
    19. Georgia
    20. Germany
    21. Gibraltar
    22. Greece
    23. Guernsey
    24. Hungary
    25. Iceland
    26. Ireland
    27. Isle of Man
    28. Italy
    29. Jersey
    30. Kazakhstan
    31. Kosovo
    32. Latvia
    33. Liechtenstein
    34. Lithuania
    35. Luxembourg
    36. Macedonia
    37. Malta
    38. Moldova
    39. Monaco
    40. Montenegro
    41. Netherlands
    42. Northern Ireland
    43. Norway
    44. Poland
    45. Portugal
    46. Romania
    47. Russia
    48. San Marino
    49. Scotland
    50. Serbia
    51. Slovakia
    52. Slovenia
    53. Spain
    54. Svalbard and Jan Mayen
    55. Sweden
    56. Switzerland
    57. Turkey
    58. Ukraine
    59. Vatican City
    60. Wales
    61. Aland Islands
  6. Somewhere in South America (1/14)
    1. Brazil
    2. Colombia
    3. Argentina
    4. Peru
    5. Venezuela
    6. Chile
    7. Ecuador
    8. Bolivia
    9. Paraguay
    10. Uruguay
    11. Guyana
    12. Suriname
    13. French Guiana
    14. Falkland Islands
  7. Somewhere in North America (13/41)
    1. United States (33/50)
      1. Alabama
      2. Alaska
      3. Arizona
      4. Arkansas
      5. California
      6. Colorado
      7. Connecticut
      8. Delaware
      9. Florida
      10. Georgia
      11. Hawaii
      12. Idaho
      13. Illinois
      14. Indiana
      15. Iowa
      16. Kansas
      17. Kentucky
      18. Louisiana
      19. Maine
      20. Maryland
      21. Massachusetts
      22. Michigan
      23. Minnesota
      24. Mississippi
      25. Missouri
      26. Montana
      27. Nebraska
      28. Nevada
      29. New Hampshire
      30. New Jersey
      31. New Mexico
      32. New York
      33. North Carolina
      34. North Dakota
      35. Ohio
      36. Oklahoma
      37. Oregon
      38. Pennsylvania
      39. Rhode Island
      40. South Carolina
      41. South Dakota
      42. Tennessee
      43. Texas
      44. Utah
      45. Vermont
      46. Virginia
      47. Washington
      48. West Virginia
      49. Wisconsin
      50. Wyoming
    2. Mexico
    3. Canada
    4. Guatemala
    5. Cuba
    6. Haiti
    7. Dominican Republic
    8. Honduras
    9. Nicaragua
    10. El Salvador
    11. Costa Rica
    12. Panama
    13. Puerto Rico
    14. Jamaica
    15. Trinidad and Tobago
    16. Guadeloupe
    17. Martinique
    18. Bahamas
    19. Belize
    20. Barbados
    21. St. Lucia
    22. Curaçao
    23. Aruba
    24. US Virgin Islands
    25. Grenada
    26. Antigua and Barbuda
    27. Dominica
    28. Bermuda
    29. Cayman Islands
    30. Greenland
    31. St. Kitts and Nevis
    32. St. Maarten (Netherlands)
    33. Turks and Caicos
    34. St. Martin (France)
    35. British Virgin Islands
    36. Caribbean Netherlands
    37. Anguilla
    38. St. Barthélemy
    39. St. Pierre and Miquelon
    40. Montserrat

Thanks to Timehop, I realized that May 30th was the two year anniversary of my breast reduction.

Two years? How could it be two years already? Where has the time gone?

Here are some things I’ve learned in that time.

1. Phantom pains are extremely freaky… and horrendously painful.

My surgeon wasn’t sure what was causing them, but they were awful. They’re weird to describe as well. You try to hold the area that hurts… but you can’t, because it’s not there. I only experienced the phantom pains for two weeks about six months after surgery, and then I never felt them again. Needless to say, I’m glad those didn’t come back. Now, it’s not normal to get these for a breast reduction

2. It takes a long time to adjust.

Even during the past few months there have been times where there has been a disconnect. When I was doing snatches, even though I knew I wasn’t as big in my chest, I still kept wanting to “avoid” what I used to have. After about 10 times of consciously being aware of what I was doing, I finally fixed my form.

It took three days after my surgery for it all to hit me. Why it took so long? I was so drugged up. I don’t remember very much about that time. (That Instagram post I made? Yeah. I don’t remember taking those pictures, or posting that at all.) I remember three things.

A. I remember telling someone (my mom, a doctor, I don’t remember who) that I had “bruises the size of Africa” on my sides. I was so frustrated because I wanted to sleep, but I only sleep on my stomach, and can sort of make it work on my sides. My back? Yeah right. Those “bruises the size of Africa” were keeping me from my beauty rest and I was pissed at them.

B. It was the first or second night home from the hospital. I was so high on painkillers I didn’t know if I was imagining things or if what I was seeing was real life. It was late at night (I think. It was dark) and I saw the front door open and someone walk into the house. I remember thinking “OMG. It’s a burglar. I’m going to die. I’ll just pretend I’m sleeping. Maybe he won’t see me.” I stayed quiet. The “burglar” went upstairs. I took a sigh of relief. A few minutes later, the shower turned on. The “burglar” was my sister.

C. I was starting to come off of my painkillers. It was the first night where I was actually sleeping in my bed. My “bruises the size of Africa” were about the size of Australia at that point, so I could sleep on my sides again. But I couldn’t sleep. My mind was racing. “Were people going to look at me different? Was this going to fix my back pain? Will my scars go away?” I eventually broke into tears. I was so overwhelmed with emotions, I didn’t know what to do.

It took me months before I could finally sleep on my stomach again. When that time came, I was so happy. But it took some time to get used to. I didn’t need a million pillows. I only needed half. It felt weird. It was completely different. It was as if my body wasn’t mine. The feeling that my body wasn’t mine didn’t go away until December 2014.

3. The pain doesn’t miraculously go away.

Several of my goals have been accomplished. I can run without crying. I can lift without being afraid of falling over. I don’t need to go to the chiropractor multiple times every week. I naïvely thought that once my “problem” was taken care of, I wouldn’t be in pain anymore. Two years later? I still have pain. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but it’s still there. My back still locks up some when I run. I’ve fallen over a couple times. I still see the chiropractor every once in a while.

4. Scars suck.

Women who undergo breast augmentation don’t have as bad of scars as women who undergo breast reduction. This doesn’t make much sense to me, but I know nothing about science, so my opinion doesn’t hold its water. My scars aren’t gone, but they aren’t as prominent as they used to be either. For my sanity and self esteem’s sake, I just want them to go away. Being a young woman who is ashamed of something she can’t change about her body is frustrating.

Am I upset I made the decision I did? No. Would I do it again? Yes. I enjoy breathing. I enjoy not being stared at. I enjoy running again. Have things gone the way I planned? Nope, but that’s OK. If everything were to go to plan, how enjoyable would that be?

It’s been just under a year since I started interning with the Associated Press.

In that time, I’ve covered dozens of football and basketball games and various other sporting events.

I’ve most definitely learned how to be a better writer. (I’m pretty damn good at writing passive sentences.) But that’s not what this is about. This is about dealing with the grind of being a woman sports reporter in a field that is largely dominated by men.

Granted, I knew what I was getting into. When I was a beat reporter for my campus newspaper during my freshman year, I noticed that I was in a very small minority. That semester there were three of us (women).

I’m still there, and I’m the only one.

Going into this, I knew what I was in for. I guess, I thought I did.

Flashback to late summer of 2014: my first game covering the Kansas City Chiefs.

When I walked into the press box, I noticed immediately that I was one of the only females. Yes, the Chiefs PR have many females working for them, but from a reporter’s standpoint, I was the only one. Now, was I uncomfortable? No. It was just weird.

When I took my seat and looked around, I noticed I was the only female on my row. Most everyone around me was your stereotypical sports journalist: white and male.

There were some of my female counterparts in the locker room after the game, but they were all toting television cameras. Me? I have my recorder, notebook and a black pen.

It’s not just at Chiefs games. It’s at Kansas football and basketball as well. So, basically everywhere I work.

Do I mind? No. Everyone is extremely nice to me. I mean, some of the veterans joke around with me and what have you, but I assure you, I give them sass right back. When I visualize those media rooms, more than half, let’s say 70 percent, of my peers could, in theory, be my dad. Is that weird? Well, I’d be lying if I said no.

Not everything is or was hunky dory, though. I’ve received unwanted attention from a few athletes. I’ve been catcalled more times than I can recall. I’ve been told my opinion was wrong solely because of my gender. Different people in the field have been very forward with me. I’ve felt unsafe walking back to my car alone at 1 a.m. (Mace is a good friend. I’ve never had to use it, but I have it just in case.)

Every single time I’ve walked into a media room or locker room over the past year, at least 10 percent of the people in the room have stared, stared briefly, but stared nonetheless. I kind of feel like a new animal at the zoo for a brief period of time. Now that’s awkward.

Is that enough to deter me from what I love? Of course not. But it’s something that most of the men in my field don’t have to deal with. I wouldn’t wish that attention or uncomfortable feeling on any of them.


Considering my last final of my first semester is tomorrow, I guess it’s time to review the experiences I’ve had so far in college.

First and foremost, I’ve made friends I can’t imagine myself without. I have a very special bond with the majority of the people on my floor… and my best friend Tyler’s floor. Those on Tyler’s floor have given me a nickname that I respond to faster than Amie. To them, I am “Lil Bit”, in part to my small stature. I’ve spent many hours sitting and watching my McCollum boys playing video games from Zelda to COD to GTAV to Madden and 2K. Have I picked up a controller? Absolutely not. I just like giving my two cents. I’ve slept several hours elsewhere than my bed (mostly the floor of McCollum). I’ve eaten thousands of calories of not-so-great food. I’ve dedicated hours to my wonderful internship that I love dearly. I’ve watched/listened to every Kansas football/basketball game.

You could say I had an eventful semester. I was elected social chair of my residence hall. I was sick from September to December. There were two trips to the emergency room. One of which was due to an apparent mini-stroke. The other? I’m still undergoing tests to figure that out. Before finals, my GPA was a 3.6. That took a lot of hard work. After finals? Hopefully it stays the same. The reality of it? We’ll find out. Everyone thinks I’m dying. Which, that’s probably true. Even so, I still made it to the majority of my classes and didn’t miss a test (even though I probably should have). The math TA’s didn’t exactly enjoy it when I threw up four times in the trash can.

If I had four words to describe my first semester in college, they would be: sick, sports, sleep, and studying. Oh look. They all start with “s”. I’m pretty smart.

Next semester, I won’t have the downtime to watch my McCollum friends play video games or sleep as much as I want to. I’m taking two more classes on top of the current load I had first semester, my internship turns up a notch on the intensity scale, I’m in a journalism program, and I have track. Who knows what else will fall into my lap? I’m excited to see what next semester brings me, but that is over a month away, and this break is definitely calling my name.