Posts by elliseverheyen

Just awaiting my chance to be the next Bachelorette.

Three thirteen

Three-hundred and thirteen hours.

The number of hours before I’m home.

The number of hours before I, for the first time since August, will feel free.

The number of hours before I can breathe again.

The number of hours before I finish two finals, two projects, one speech, one nine-page paper, and as many news articles I can get published.

The number of hours before I move out of my dinky apartment with awful maroon carpet.

The number of hours before I can snuggle my pets and hug my family.

The number of hours before Christmas season really begins and I can Netflix Christmas Hallmark movies like they’re going out of business.

But it’s also the number of hours I have left to spend with friends before I leave the country for a semester.

The number of hours to make the guy I’m crushing on fall in love with me and commit to a transcontinental long-distance relationship.

The number of hours to improve in my reporting class so I don’t fail and have to retake it.

The number of hours I have to say goodbye to friends that graduate in the spring.

The number of hours I have to soak up as much of MU before I’m an ocean away.

I’m so close.

What happened to the time? Where did my semester go? I had so many plans and ideas. So many things to accomplish and places to go.

Now here I am, sitting a Kaldi’s (SURPRISE) attempting to study for finals and write a paper about people I didn’t have enough time to read about.

But all I’ve managed to accomplish is write a few lack-luster notecards and read blog posts of friends that spent the fall abroad.

I just read my dear friend Madi’s blog post and I’ll be honest, it scared the crap out of me. She wrote of amazing adventures and trying not to “do” Europe. It made my wanderlust reach an all-time high. But also made me fear that I wouldn’t have the same experience.

What if I hate my time there or don’t live up the expectations of my internship? What if I endure an unrelenting homesickness that keeps me from experiencing the culture and people? What if I don’t make Harry Styles fall in love with me?

I know I’ve voiced these fears before, but with now only 312 and a half hours left to the semester, it’s becoming much more real. I don’t know if I’m prepared for what my spring semester holds.

I don’t know if I’m prepared for the next 312 and a half hours.

What I do know is that I have every intention of making the most them.

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After “A Rape on Campus”

I’m disgusted.

I’m disgusted with what allegedly happened to “Jackie” in the Rolling Stone’s “A Rape on Campus.”

I’m disgusted with what’s happened to the other countless victims of sexual assault at UVa and the world.

Currently, I’m most disgusted with the responses to this story.

Regardless of whether or not the account was true, the backlash it has received is unreal. Numerous people resorted to victim blaming, which is the most ignorant, idiotic response to something this sensitive I’ve ever seen. If someone claims that they have been sexually assaulted, you take it seriously. Doubt and victim blaming are what keep victims from reporting their assaults. It’s a crime. It needs to be investigated of course, but very few reported cases of sexual assault are the result of a boy/girl who cried wolf.

Nevertheless, it does happen. In the light of new information, Rolling Stone has issued a note to readers stating that they have reason to believe “Jackie” was not as honest about the events at the UVa fraternity two years ago and that they regret not speaking with the assailants.

This also disgusts me. If this “Jackie” created this tale for attention, I feel bad for her. She obviously has something in her life going on that makes her feel the need to act out in such a way. But the fact that someone would lie about a sexual assault makes me almost as nauseous as the act itself.

The damage of a false account at this magnitude is unmeasurable. That being said, I don’t think RS has shared enough information with readers to back this calamity just yet. I understand the purpose of issuing this correction, but was it necessary to do so without sufficient evidence? It makes “Jackie” look like an awful person and creates a very hurtful scenario for those involved and other victims. Who’s to say that the people contradicting her claims are the ones creating false statements? It’s doubtful that a criminal would openly admit to their crimes, so it’s unsurprising that there would be a response from the assailants (and/or their lawyers, I’m sure) stating that the incident never occurred. It would ruin their lives (which, if this is a true event, should be the case in my opinion).

I’m saddened that this is even something that society has to be concerned with. As an independent female attending a large university, I find it mind-boggling that women should fear walking home in the dark alone. I grew up in a small town. I’ve never feared for my life. I’ve never used pepper spray. I carry a pocket knife not for safety, but to cut duct tape and open packages. Why the hell should I have put limitations on my life because other people choose to be monsters? Why should I change the way I dress because it could make a guy believe I “was asking for it?”

I’m not ignorant or oblivious. I may not take the same precautions of my female peers, but I understand that, regardless of my belief that the world is a wonderful place, there is danger. I tend to press my luck (something my family and friends are less than thrilled to know). I’m trusting. And why should I not be? Why is it that I have to be on the defensive every day?

I saw a great analogy on Twitter a few weeks ago that stopped me in my tracks. The truth to it was painful. This is what it said:

“You say not all men are monsters? Imagine a bowl of M&Ms. 10% are poisoned. Go ahead. Eat a handful. Not all M&Ms are poison.” 

Another part of the tweet said this:

“Because we’re taught ‘Don’t leave your drink alone’ instead of ‘Don’t drug someone.'”

Why is this reality? Why do we live in a society that thinks this way? I don’t know how to fix it. As a twenty-something with dreams of world travel, adventure and independence, how am I supposed to live? If I’m trained to hold tight to my purse, hold my keys between my knuckles in defense, and not talk to strangers, how am I expected to meet new people, open up and experience the good of the world?

In exactly one month from tomorrow, I’ll be traveling over 4,000 miles to London, England for a semester abroad. At our orientation, at least one-third of the discussion was focused on safety. They want us to go out and experience the city, but don’t go alone. Experience the nightlife, but don’t stay out too late. Try the bars, but watch your drinks and don’t get too drunk. Meet new people, but don’t talk to strangers. Of the 28 or so going on our trip, all but two are women. The safety talk was very obviously directed at us. (Pepper spray was not mentioned as something to bring with us because it’s illegal in the UK.)

I know that I live in a bubble of optimism. But I know that horrible things happen all the time. MU itself has numerous rape/assault reports every month or two. The Rolling Stone story cited that one in five females are sexually assaulted in college, a number that is one in five too high. I’m achingly aware that this statistic is alarmingly high. I avoid alleyways and talking to sketchy men on the street. I don’t take drinks from strangers. I stay in lit areas. But I don’t let fear hold me back.

It may be my blissful ignorance of the evils of the world or a rebellion against being told to be safe, but I just don’t understand. I don’t understand assailants. I don’t understand how people can be so obtuse and believe that women “ask for it” by wearing leggings or a too-short skirt. I don’t understand why it should be necessary to invent a nail polish that changes color when drinks are “roofied” because I don’t understand what person would drug someone else’s drink. I just don’t understand why we live in a society with so much good, love and joy, but have to suffer terror, pain and sadness.

Regardless of whether or not the RS story told a fabricated tale or a traumatizing true story, “A Rape on Campus” has added a renewed dialogue about rape in our culture.

So that’s my rant for today.

First-Gen

What began as a simple, “Hey, there’s a new organization,” quickly turned into an in-depth look at first-generation college students.

A month and a half ago, my editor came to me with little more than a club name, meeting time and vague idea of what to focus on.

So I, as the keen and amazing reporter that I am (lol), pursued the story.

Four MU upperclassmen were unhappy with the fact that there were no campus organizations that provided support for first-eneration college students. The four founders were first-gem students themselves, so rather than wait around for someone to create a support group, they took it into their own hands.

Though the organization is still in its beginning stages, it has already reached several students. I attended the clubs first official meeting and there were about 20 people in attendance.

The leaders introduced themselves and rattled off an impressive list of successes and involvements at MU.

The purpose of the organization is to help other first-gen students get involved, provide emotional and academic support, as well as form a network.

For the whole story, head over to The Columbia Missourian.

This story, though short, took me far too long to report. My main problem was that NO ONE WOULD GET BACK TO ME.

However, after a little research, I discovered a great association aiming to help first-gen high school and college students adjust. It also turns out that they neither group knew of the other, so I was able to be a connecting link between the two.

Overall, a fairly enjoyable experience.

I’m so cultured

I could have sat there for hours.

My honors art class had taken a field trip to two of St. Louis’ art museums on Saturday and our first stop was the Contemporary Art Museum.

I liked the majority of the work there, but one body of work in particular stood out to me.

It was a work by Carla Klein. She is part photographer, part painter. Her paintings are recreations of her photography, but she paints the flaws as well. Any chemical mishap in the development stage of her film is painted on the canvas. Her attention to detail was stunning and the subject of the series was haunting.

All her photos/paintings portrayed seclusion and vast emptiness. Her paintings sucked me in. I felt alone in the arctic tundra and on a road to nowhere. I sat and stared for 10 minutes.

Carla Klein

Carla Klein collection

We also went outside and experienced a Richard Serra piece named “Joe.” It was really neat because we got to walk through the huge sculpture.

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“Joe” by Richard Serra (ft. Veronica DeStefano)

Afterward, we made our way to the St. Louis Art Museum. I’d never been and I know that I’ll be back.

It was three floors of gorgeous paintings and sculptures from all over the world representing every century. We only had two hours to spend and it was not nearly enough time. I could have wandered for days.

The contemporary art section was one of my favorites. Several of the artists we were learning about in class had artwork on the walls of the museum. My two favorite pieces were Dan Flavin’s light sculpture and Morris Louis’ “Beta.”

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Dan Flavin

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“Beta” by Morris Louis

I really loved the simplicity of the works. It was great getting away from Columbia and enjoying the silence of the museums. It gave me time to forget the world and admire the beauty of art.

Single Girl Diaries: The Stranger

Have you ever had a crush on a stranger that you see ALL THE TIME. You don’t know their name, where they’re from, what they do for fun, if they’re a dog or cat person, what their favorite band is, etc. They’re a stranger.

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You see them regularly—maybe at your favorite study spot or Chipotle. Sometimes you stare too long. Sometimes you accidentally find yourself drooling.

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You fantasize an entire life together:

  1. Work up the courage to introduce yourself.
  2. Instantly fall in love.
  3. Love leads to numerous, perfectly-planned dates.
  4. Then marriage.
  5. Then world travel
  6. Maybe some kids (meh)
  7. Settle down
  8. Mind-numbing 9-5 job.
  9. Come home and spend the evening talking about life and movie plots.
  10. Die within 10 minutes of each other at an old age in your sleep.

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I skipped a few other details, but you get the picture.

I have one of these stranger crushes. I call him “The Barista.”

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He wears flannel, has the perfect haircut/beard combo, and is super nice and charming.

The other day, I ordered my mocha latte from him. He spelled my name correctly on the receipt (swoon), then told me to stick around because it’d be done in a minute. It was a long minute, but I didn’t mind. I got to watch him craft my coffee. He then filled the mug to the brim in an attempt to create an intricate flower pattern out of steaming milk. It lead to an awkward sipping from the counter so I wouldn’t spill, but he was very funny about it.

Go-ahead-flirt-barista

I don’t know his name and I know I’ll never actually say anything other than “Mocha, please” and “Can you punch my card?” (see previous blog).

So this is to you, nameless barista. Thank you for always making me smile and producing the most delicious mocha I’ve ever had. I look forward to many more daydreams of our (non) life together.

(Is this weird?)

I know what I want.

I’m having a revelation. Right now. As I write this.

I know what I want to do with my life. 

andy-dwyer-reacts

But here’s the problem: I don’t know if I’m cut out for it.

I want to be a photographer for an outdoors magazine (OUTSIDE MAG OH EM GEE) or some commercial outdoors company (PATAGONIA NORTHFACE WHAATTT?) that allows me to travel the natural world with people that are extremely passionate about it. I want to explore. I want to meet new and exciting people, do new and exciting things. I want to surround myself with those that live life. I want to step outside my comfort zone. I want to climb a mountain, scuba dive deep in the ocean, backpack across Europe, tell stories both visually and verbally, and I want to do this as a career. Not as a side hobby or something to do in my (nonexistent) free-time with my (nonexistent) money.

I understand that this is really reaching. I know this sounds outlandish and unrealistic. I don’t know if I’ll ever get here with my life, but boy, it sure sounds great, doesn’t it?

So how do I get here? Of course I expect to hold a number of less than desirable positions. I may discover a passion in something else along the way. Maybe I’ll be a writer for Buzzfeed (a girl can dream) or a photo editor at a dinky newspaper in rural Missouri (which would also be kind of cool). WHO KNOWS?

But it definitely feels nice to have a direction. I may not be following the direct route of a normal photojournalist, but I want to spend my life doing something I’m excited about. Something that doesn’t make mentally exhausted at the end of the day, but physically exhausted because I had been hiking through Norway or snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef. I want to share the beauty of the world with those that so often overlook it. We’ve been given an amazing gift to live this life on Earth and so few take advantage of that.

I don’t know where this adventurous spirit comes from and I doubt I’ll ever live up to it, but for right now, I’m content in my daydreams and hope to one day make them my reality.

Single Girl Diaries: Can Girls Ask Out Guys?

FIRST OFF:

I’d like to clarify for those readers that may believe the title of this post to be an obvious answer. I know girls CAN ask out guys. The answer is very much yes. I’m very pro gender equality/I’m very opposed to the stereotypical gender roles placed on us.

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HOWEVER, can I ask a guy out?

(This is much less of a “gender equality” thing and much more of a “how the hell do I get the courage to do this” thing.)

awk

 

I was raised in a fairly traditional, conservative household. Therefore, I was raised to expect men to be extremely chivalrous. I expect guys to be kind and thoughtful and hold doors and ask me out (mostly I’m terrified of asking them).

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Seriously though. Kudos to you, guys. It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there. Rejection is one of my greatest fears in life, so I feel ya.

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So how do I, as a timid female, ask out the really great guy I’ve been crushing on?

Guys: Does it make you feel un-masculine when a girl asks you out? Also, I feel like if I have to do the asking, it’s because you aren’t interested? Is this true? Someone answer my questions.

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This is a very one-thought post. I don’t really have anything else. I just need answers because this is something I’m considering but have no idea what I’m doing so weeeeeee.

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PEACE,

Ellise