Tuesday, December 11, 2012

HCOM 230: My Final Exam

My final exam for my Environmental Creative Writing class consisted of me reading one of the pieces that I had written this semester in front of the class.

I read the poem that I wrote about an environmental injustice that was occurring. On that subject I chose to describe how the lionfish is an invasive species in South Carolina. In the poem, however, I also draw a parallel between humans and lionfish, as I believe we are both invasive species.

Thank you to my favorite human, Carolyn Scarpelli, for recording the moment and sitting through class with me even though today was her day off.

This is how it went:

So yeah, that happened. Thanks California.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Where has the Time Gone?

I realize I've done a crap job of keeping up with my blog, so hopefully some of the other NSE kids have done a better job.

It's dead week by USC standards, but all of my classes have decided to give their exams on the last day of class. This includes the following:


  • Present my final two projects for my sculpture class
  • Exit Interview for Sign Language
  • Present a piece I wrote for Environmental Creative Writing and turn in my portfolio for the semester
  • Turn in 6-8 page paper for History
Needless to say due to the fact that I saved most of my electives for my senior year, it's been a pretty easy ride. Stressful, yes... but difficult, no.

For any of you that are reading this and want to or are considering studying abroad on the National Student Exchange, I highly recommend that you act upon your inclinations and apply. You won't regret your decision. It's my senior year, I've missed my last season of Gamecock football, I've missed my friends, and yeah, I've missed the parties ;) BUT if I could go back, I wouldn't change a thing. If any of you are considering coming to the Monterey Bay area in California, then read on!

CSUMB is a relatively new school (I'm older than the school) and it prides itself on being different from other colleges. It is based on portfolios and presentations because they feel that these things can more accurately prepare you for the real world and measure what you've taken from the class. The classes are small so it's very easy to get face time with the professors. Although the class periods are long (an hour and fifty minutes!) the professors are usually very good at utilizing the whole class period, or just letting you out early. They're not about wasting anyone's time. 

There were plenty of events on campus to get students involved too! Over the semester I have become very close friends with one of my suite-mates and together we played in two open mic nights, two talent shows, and a multicultural event. We also helped put together the school's first St. Baldrick's event!

Even as this semester is coming to a close, I'm making plans with some of the people that I've met to visit over the summer, or sometimes soon. I truly believe that I've met a few of my soul-mates on this adventure, and I couldn't ask for anything more than that. The fact that while I was here I got to intern at one of the most amazing aquariums in the country is an extreme bonus as well. So many amazing things have happened and I'm so glad that I was brave enough to make this decision. So be brave too! Take a chance and immerse yourself in another culture! Expand your horizons!

Feel free to email me if you have any questions (although I'm sure that the lovely ladies at NSE could answer them much better than I ever could)


...and have no fear! This is NOT my last post.

Monday, November 19, 2012


It's funny how time goes by so quickly when things start coming to a close. I find that even though I miss home, as the end of the semester draws ever closer, there are more and more things that make me want to stay. But the reality of it all is that I have to come home to finish my last semester of undergrad, and then I'll be shoved into the real world.

It's Thanksgiving break and nearly everyone has deserted the campus, with the exception of me and a few others who have to work as well. The fact that I don't get to be home with my parents and Joel and Tori for Thanksgiving this year is weighing a little heavy on me, but at least I still get to spend it with some of my family.

So here's an I'm thankful post:

I'm thankful for everyone that supports me and all my crazy ideas.
I'm thankful for my friends back home who haven't forgotten that I miss them, and remember to take some time out of their day to talk to me.
I'm thankful for the amazing friends that I've made since I've been here.
I'm thankful for the wonderful opportunities I've been given to advance in my studies and the experience that I've obtained.

Yup, I'm pretty thankful.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's November

So, while I wish I have been updating more frequently, I've justified this lack of consistency with the fact that I'm in school, not on vacation. With the amount of things that I've been participating in over here, sometimes I feel like I am, indeed, on vacation. That is, until I realize that I have a billion projects due. Well... three.

Two weekend ago I went to Los Angeles. My Uncle Matt took me and my cousin to the "Haunted Horror Studio" at Universal. It was pretty cool. I don't handle scary very well though, so I was extremely anxious about the whole experience. Luckily, I survived with only one brief, yet unwanted, run-in with the freakiest looking zombie-clown I have ever seen in my life.

Moving on!

Because CSUMB is a school based on projects and portfolios, I only have two midterms. One was a paper for my history class, which I've already turned in, and the other is my midterm for Sign Language. It's really refreshing not to have to worry about tests every three weeks for once in my college career, but at the same time, I miss studying in Thomas Cooper. I miss math and science classes (as I'm only taking electives and a history course this semester).

It's been rather gloomy here, and I can feel my levels of Vitamin D waning. That being said, it is November. Which means gloomy is bound to happen. But on a slightly happier note, it's November! I come home in two months! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Bucket List I Didn't Know I Had

I have no words to describe my weekend... so many things happened.

  • Drove south on the 1
Yes, having to drive 3 hours to Pismo was intense, but weaving down the coast on the 1 is one of the coolest things I've ever done. Granted, it would've been cooler to have been able to look at the scenery instead of the road in front of me, I had a few glances here and there, and that was sufficient. 
  • Saw Elephant Seals!
Mating season doesn't start until November so the beach wasn't full yet, and we didn't see any males either, HOWEVER, it was really cool.
  • Visited Morro Bay/Morro Rock
If Sand dollars were currency, I'd be rich. We walked along the beach and picked up as many as we could find. I even walked in  the water, too.
  • Went through the tide pools at Pismo Beach
Oh my goodness, it was like experiencing the simulation from the lab in one of our past Marine Science classes. Purple and orange sea stars, mussels, it was so exciting! But I haven't even mentioned the best part...
  • I found chitons!!!
Ahhhhhhhhhh! Even though I would rather refer to them as polyplacophorans, that's a mouthful, and no one ever knows what I'm talking about. But I found them! They're so amazing! I found a gumboot and a couple of smaller ones, as well. Guess which girl successfully removed one from the substrate? This girl!!! 
  • Joined the nematocyst club
I decided last year in the middle of Invertebrate Zoology that I was going to join the nematocyst club, but that if I was going to do so, then I was going to kiss something pretty. So I found a particularly large Starburst Anemone and joined!
  • Watched the Sunset from the Pizmo Beach Pier
Having lived on the east coast my whole life, I've never bee able to watch the sun set over the ocean. Being in California has now fixed that issue :). Beauty in it's finest form.
  • Carved my first pumpkin
This... I am not a fan of. I didn't very much like having to stick my hand into the pumpkin, mostly because it smelled... well, for lack of a better word, icky. But I cleaned it, and I carved a Gamecocks pumpkin. I messed up a little, but it looked good for my first pumpkin.
  • Drove onto the beach/Had breakfast at the beach
I DROVE ONTO THE BEACH. You guys, I had my car... on the beach... legally.

This weekend was just the boost I needed, and next weekend I'm going to LA with my family!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


I've been pretty busy lately between classes and working at the aquarium, so I know I haven't posted a lot lately. But let me make up for that by explaining my October.

Last weekend my parents renewed their vows in Lake Tahoe. It was wonderful, and I'm so happy for my parents. They're the real definition of success and happiness to me.

This coming weekend I'm going to Morro Bay with one of my suite mates and the girls across the hall. I'm pretty excited to find beach things :)

The weekend after that I'm going to Los Angeles to spend some more time with my family.

So October is pretty full for me. Time seems to be going by pretty quickly.

Today I had a skype date with my best guy, and it was seriously the boost I needed. I'm getting a little homesick =/

Friday, September 28, 2012

Talent Show

The Notorious Rollick Squad took stage today as the closing act of CSUMB's annual talent show hosted by the RHA and OSU at the Black Box Cabaret this fine evening.

If Carolyn and I were famous, someone would write something like that for us, but since we're not... I did haha.

It was last minute but it turned out pretty well. Carolyn and I played "Man or Muppet" from the new Muppets movie. 

We placed top five and each got a stuffed otter as a prize. I named mine Romp, and Carolyn named hers Frolic... for obvious reasons.

Here's a video of us :)

I can't believe the world kept us away from each other for so long.

There were a lot of great performers tonight, and we were so glad that we got to participate.