Sunday Afternoon in Hyde Park 

Today I spent the majority of the day in the park. I started at speakers corner to listen to some classmates give speeches then wandered over to the grassy area to enjoy the sunshine. 

Writers block hit me hard just before I left the states so instead of enjoying the London air I’ve been doing touristy things trying to take my mind off of all the catching up I’ll have to do when I get home. 

But sitting in the park was just amazing. I watched a family play freeze tag, a group of friends play football and I even whitnessed an engagement. I guess the wind blew away whatever thoughts had been taking over my mind because all of a sudden I was overcome with this sense of joy and peace. I finally knew how I was going to finish my novel and I also had some random inspiration for a collective work I’ve been working on with some friends. 

It’s my last day here, and I just wanted to enjoy it. I’m glad I took the time to sit and bask in the sun while it was out. There’s just something about listening to good music in the park with a cup of tea that makes life feel great. I’m awfully sad I’m going home tomorrow. But fear not London, I shall return! 

I do feel awful though, I’ve been getting so wrapped up in whatever else I’ve been doing I haven’t been contacting home. I got a nasty message from my father last night. I don’t think he realizes that I’m exactly like him. He gets so busy, driving from state to state I often have to send him a short text just to make sure he’s alive. I’m extremely independent and already feel like I belong here, so I just sort of forgot I wasn’t at home. I’m not the type to get homesick–I like being out on my own. So I do apologize for not communicating well, even with all of you. I use the lack of wifi as an excuse but I have found myself just sitting in the hotel lobby at night drinking peppermint tea just watching out the window when I could have been writing or phoning home. 

Morning Tea and Croissants 

Hello WildeKats!!

I’m so sad I havent been able to blog or write as much as I wanted to. I finally found this adorable cafe with strong free wifi while I wait on some of my friends to climb St. Pauls Cathedral. The spoonie in me said that was a horrible idea so here I sit with free wifi and morning Tea. 

I just absalutly love London. Any one who knows me knows my heart belongs in the city and it was meant for the U.K. I had a full conversation with this fellow on the underground and he said that he would have never known that I was from the states. I have this uncanny ability to mimick the accents of those around me and I’ve watched enough Doctor Who to sound like a true Brit! That five minute convo convinced me that I need to stay here forever. 

Most of the people I’ve met have been absalutley wonderful, especially the police. I have yet to meet a London Bobbie who wasn’t more than happy to help with directions, give information, or reveal their favorite pub. 

As hard as I have tried to integrate myelf into the London society, I broke down and did all the touristy things as well. The London Eye, the Tower of London, Oxford Street, the British Museum, a Harry Potter Tour including a stop at Platform 9 3/4, Borou Market, Tower Bridge, London Bridge, the Shard… I did it all. LOL.  I also saw Phantom of the Opera Live…It was FANTASTIC in case you were wondering. I also went to the supermarket and bought a crap ton of biscuts to take home. hehe

All in all I’ve had a blast. I absalutley love London. I’ll be back in the states on Monday but dont worry London, I’ll be back!

Jet Lag, Blarney and Radio shows

Hellllooooooo from Ireland! 

We landed in Dublin on Monday and immediately after deboarding the plane were taken on a walking tour of Dublin. Ten jet lagged, starving and grumpy American young adults aren’t the most pleasant group to take on a walking tour of Dublin but we survived!! We started at Trinity College and ended at the Dublin Castle before we hopped on the coach that took us to the hotel in GreyStones. I have taken the liberty of giving nicknames to everyone accompanying me on this trip, as per usual. 

Ireland is beautiful. The journey to Blarney castle was the most unpleasant trip I’ve ever been on but the scenery made it somewhat enjoyable. Not to mention Blarney it’s self was just fascinating. And yes, I did kiss the Blarney Stone and no I didn’t slip on the stairs. The motor coach to Blarney was just awful tho, we left early in the morning and spent four hours getting there because…traffic…, the seats were uncomfortable and we weren’t even allowed to eat or drink. Mullet Man kept making animal noises and remained quite upbeat about the ride, so it wasn’t a completely horrible drive but I guess we’re just so American we get grumpy when things don’t go our way. 

It’s a lot colder than I had anticipated but I came prepared. The wind is what gets to you so if your planning on visiting Ireland bring a beanie or something to keep your ears warm-especially if your staying by the sea. The coffee and tea is just amazing and there’s this cute little Vegitarian restaurant called the Happy Pear that is a MUST. A few of the students jumped off the pier into the ocean because the hostess at our hotel said that it was the only way to get the full GreyStones experience. I stayed happily dry up on the rocks, I refuse to risk pneumonia. 

This morning I was interviewed by a radio station about my college experience and spent the day exploring the town. I even bought rich tea biscuits and a mug from Blarney Castle so I could sit by the window and feel… Well…British. I’ve yet to meet a rude person, save the security personnel at DFW, and the food is amazing. We’ve only just begun our adventure here in Ireland and have a completely free day tomorrow-SHOPPING!-and with only two days left in this beautiful country it’s going to be a bittersweet goodbye. 

In case I don’t get to blog again, the wifi here is pretty spotty, it’s off to England next. And I will be posting pictures as soon as I can. 

I love you all! 

OXOXO 

Kat 

How NOT to Pack for Trips Abroad

Wanna know how Kat packs for Europe?  Well… first thing you should know is Kat doesn’t pack per se… she just tosses everything she thinks she will need on her bed then tries to see how many outfits she can make out of the pile. Once Kat has successfully created a certain number of outfits she then stuffs them in her giant Italian suitcase and prays it’s less than fifty pounds.

Alright, I’m going to stop talking about myself in third person, I promise.

But seriously, I don’t think I am qualified to offer packing advice because even when I visit friends here in the states, I just throw whatever I think I’ll need into an overnight bag and hop in my car, I can buy whatever else I need when I get there. This is also why I have accumulated so many….things.

I’ve been out of the country before and the whole time I was kicking myself for bringing so much stuff because carrying those two suitcases up four flights of stairs in Palermo was MURDER. But I was also glad I over packed because the weather was so unpredictable and I wasn’t exactly sure what the dress code was for certain events.

I promised to update everyone on my packing progress but lets face it… if this post teaches you anything… DON’T TAKE KAT’S PACKING ADVICE. I’m a huge pack rat and I know it, but I also refuse to change because I am a girl and I need STUFF! So yes, taking two pairs of boots, Vans, Converse, flats and Toms to Britain is necessary. So is the silk robe, fluffy towel, bikini and cocktail dress. You just never know and my dad always said to be prepared for anything. Well, I’m prepared for a nice dinner, any poolside activities, rainy weather, warmish weather and a possible encounter with a certain British spy. (Let’s put those leather jackets to use my friends!)

I will not complain about having to carry the suitcase up stairs should I encounter any. I am a marine’s daughter, I will survive! I’ve developed many muscles from hauling dog food, horse and lamb feed, and carrying shopping bags through Fashion Square. Being a girl can be fun, no?

But I will take a moment to complain about how my custom carry on is broken and I am now forced to take a bag instead of a rolly suitcase on to the plane. *spoiled sobs*

Okay, okay, I’m done complaining. 

Talk to you soon WildeKats! 

Take off is in T-53 hours! 
 

Post Graduation 

I did it. I survived my last finals week, kept my family from killing each other and managed not to trip when I walked across the stage. Yay me!

Now that I’m officially a college graduate, I realize how stressed out I was about the stress I was inevitably going to face post graduation. To be honest… I’m so over it. At this point I’m four days from England and everything else in my future is irrelevant until I come back from my ‘vacation.’ The last three days I’ve spent catching up on the sleep I’ve been deprived of-and playing Dragon Age. (I’m battling the arch demon! 😱)

I’m going to England and Ireland with a class-a journalism class-so it should be fun. I love to write and every day we have to post a story on the campus newspaper website. I will be taking that opportunity to post the stories here on my blog as well! I’ll do my best to document the trip, wifi will be scarce so the posts may not post everyday but I can’t not document the fun things we’ll be doing! Phantom of the Opera, Harry Potter Landmark Tour, Blarney Castle in Ireland and possibly Paris.

Of course a trip to Europe wouldn’t be complete without a trip to Bath in honor of my favorite 19th century romantic author, Jane Austen. Read Northanger Abbey if you haven’t already, it’s fantastic.

So stay tuned for al the fun things involved with traveling abroad. My next post will be the struggle of packing, which I haven’t started doing yet. LOL, remember when I talked about procrastination? Yeah, it’s my middle name.

Get excited WildKats, Kat is taking on the world! 😘

How Students Survive Finals Week

Now that finals are over and I’m a day away from being a college graduate *joyful sobs* I decided to let everyone in on a little secret. How we survive finals week. You’ve seen the memes on pintrest, you’ve heard people talk about it and maybe even got a taste of the stress in High School.

So how do we do it? Is there a trick? A magic drink, food or spell that keeps us awake for days? Well, there’s coffee and redbull but that’s not always a healthy option.

My fellow students and I have been struggling through exams, papers, dissertations and thesees for four years now and have developed a solution to finals week.

First, we prepare ourselves. Weeks in advance. The exam week schedules are posted under the registrar’s office at least a month in advance and all exam times, including the final exam are listed on the course syllabus (at least they should be). Preparing yourself and knowing which exams you need to study harder for, take better notes for or get help with before finals week will lessen the stress. My campus has a tutoring lab and I knew that my cumulative business math final was my first final of the week so I began getting help with things I didn’t understand before we even got the review for the final. I still barely passed the test, but I was much less stressed about it. Math is one of those things you either understand or you don’t, there’s no in between and I’ve made my peace with that.

Second, talk to your professors. I know most of you go to very large schools where there’s like fifty people in each class and your professor couldn’t care less what your name is, but they still are required to at least sit down with you and explain what you need to accomplish to pass. I went to a small private university, I knew every professor because I had had them for at least three semesters, if not all eight. If you have more than two exams in one day you can ask to take one on another day, most schools have that policy.

Third, bide your time carefully. I study in 15-20 minute increments and I allow myself 15-20 minutes of play time to watch a movie/tv-show, play a video game or scroll through social media then I get right back to studying. At this point, I’ve been so done with school since January and planned ahead for the tests I was worried about. Some professors let you opt out of finals if your a graduating senior, some don’t. I also planned my study patterns for one test a day, because I lucked out this semester. Previous semesters I had to lock myself in the library (not my bedroom) and pace myself. I go back and forth; study Fundamental Law for an hour, then study Psych for an hour. Once those two tests are out of the way then its time to study for the next test[s].

Four, SLEEP! Oh my goodness please sleep! And I’m not talking about a cat nap on the library couches. Please for the love of God sleep in your bed for AT LEAST four hours. Your probably thinking what the hell Kat, I’m a nursing major(or something else equally stressful) I CAN’T SLEEP! Well, yes you can. Chances are you know more than you think you do and going into a test on a caffeine high won’t better your chances on acing anything. Trust me, I know. I have anxiety problems that stem from testing, and before I had anxiety I still over stressed about grades. I can’t tell you how many tests( not just finals) I failed because I hadn’t slept in days. I’ve found that sleeping in your own bed helps not only relax the brain, but the body as well. You may not be well rested but your better rested than that spazz monkey sitting next to you. If you do stay up all night, do not, I repeat, DO NOT take a cat/power nap 20 mins before a test. DON’T DO IT! You will forget everything or sleep through the test It’s better to push through than to try and power nap. Even with all the coffee, energy drinks and caffeine pills in the world nothing compares to a good four hour sleep. So rest up babes!

Also, there is strength in numbers. I was lucky enough to have friends in every class I took. Sort of a by product of being a relatively friendly senior who is fun to talk to. My friends and I band together to study. Even if it’s not in person, we have line group texts and we keep each other awake, make sure we’re studying, eating and competent enough to write. We all like to cuddle too so it helps that most of them were roommates. I think I spent more time on campus during finals than I did during the normal semester. 

Five, destressing is GOOD! My campus has study break rooms all over campus with coloring books, games, snacks and this semester they even brought puppies!! I’m sure they copied it from some other school but it was very helpful. I may have wasted too much time making play dough aliens with Eskimo and Queenie but I felt much better about my Juvenile Delinquency test than I did twenty minutes before that when I was crying in the library.  Take some time to give your brain a break, drink some tea (not coffee) and do something simple for at most an hour then dive right back into those books.

As long as I’ve been doing this, nothing stopped me from failing my last final. Sometimes you just have to take the C and drop the mike. Whether it was from anxiety or the fact I accidentally dozed off at my kitchen table an hour before the test is beyond me. I spoke to my professor about it and I’m sure had I done as bad as I thought I did he would have let me retake it.

All in all… just take it one day at a time and pace yourself. Have a goal or something to look forward to after finals. My friends and I always go see a movie after everyone last final on Thursday night of finals week. We went to see Civil War last night. Last semester it was The Force Unleashed, and before that it was Avengers 2. We’ve been in this a long time, and we survived. The bottom line is, you will to.

May the grades be ever in your favor 😉 

OXOXO, WildeKats

Kat.

4 Days Till Graduation

I know, I know, I’ve been super quiet. But in my defense I was finishing that research paper I procrastinated, lost then procrastinated re-doing. I started re-playing KOTOR as a sith because I’m THAT stressed out.

It’s my last finals week. My last one. Ever. As an Undergrad.

You would think that this would make me happy–but no. I’m actually VERY emotional about the whole thing, on top of having to study for final exams. And it’s not just me, most of my friends have daily crying episodes because we just keep coming back to the realization that we’re all moving on.

We’re only two days in to the week that every college student dreads and I’ve barely slept, drank and entire six pack of red bull, gone through two pints of Blue bell, had two mental breakdowns and been kicked out of the library three times.

I’ve even started having nightmares about EVERYTHING. Seriously… failing my math final to missing graduation. I even had the nightmare where I was walking across stage in my birthday suit. It’s awful.. the stress is eating me alive… still… but I’ve only got four more days to go. I CAN MAKE IT!

I’ll be posting a post on how to cope with finals week (not Kat style because my coping methods ARE not healthy) for all you future college students out there. Last semester I touched on the whole back pack mystery… but have you ever wondered just how exactly we make it through the week?

Till next time! OXOXO

Kat