Captain’s Log: Stardate 94845.92

Last night I went on duty.

If you remember one of my first blog post, I talked a little bit about how next year I’m going to be a Community Assistant (or Resident Assistant) on my campus. There are a lot of things that a CA does, and one of them is to go on duty.

Going on duty consists of sitting at the front desk in your assigned building (If you go to school with me, next year I’ll be in Robertshaw. If you don’t go to school with me, disregard this pointless interjection.) The point of going on duty is generally just making sure things are running smoothly/going alright in the building that night. Every hour for the next 4 hours you go on rounds, which includes walking around the halls of the building to, again, make sure everything is alright. It lasts from 9:00 p.m. (or a little earlier) until 1:00 a.m. (or a little later – the girl I was shadowing told me that her nights usually end between 2-3 a.m.). The CA on duty is different every night. Usually you have one specific night that you do, and every month you have one weekend worth of duty.

Being on duty was, to say the least, an interesting experience. It’s been a long time since I’ve interacted with that many people in one go. There were constantly people surrounding the desk talking to us. The conversations ranged from classes we were taking and how hard this semester was to what online games we used to play as children and even to what my crack smoking policy for next year was going to be (Which was asked by a current resident who would be living there again next year. I jokingly told him “As long as you keep it on the DL, you’re fine” although I’m sure my adviser wouldn’t be too happy with that answer).

Last night I learned a bunch of other things about what it’s like on duty as a CA in Robertshaw, but it’s definitely the interactions that I learned the most from.

My first time on duty (although not actually my official first time) made me realize that I miss dorm life immensely.

Last year I lived in a traditional dorm, although it wasn’t Robertshaw. I had two roommates, no kitchen or living room, and a limited amount of space. The walls were solid brick, so I shouldn’t have been able to hear much in the rooms next to ours, although that didn’t stop my next door neighbor, who was a DJ, from turning his music up all the way at all hours of the day and night. My only saving grace was that we had our own bathroom in our room. I know people who go to colleges with communal bathrooms – just the thought of sharing a bathroom with a number of strangers is downright terrifying to me.

Currently, I live in the apartments on campus that are for academically inclined students. I have three other roommates and each of us has our own bedroom. We have a living room, a kitchen, and two bathrooms. Honestly, there’s more space in our apartment then we know what to do with.

While I like having all this space and being able to go to my room and sleep without worrying about somebody waking me up, I can’t help but feel incredibly isolated. When I lived in the traditional dorms, I could walk out of my room into the hallway and see 5 or 6 people in one go. There was always something going on. But in the apartment building I live in now, there’s never anybody around. The fact that we all have our own rooms means that people come home from class, disappear into their apartment, and generally don’t come out to socialize unless they need a stamp for their passport (it’s a long story that I don’t feel like going into detail about, but students in the section of campus I live in need to attend a certain amount of academic events and get stamps for going so they can continue to live there).

Being that isolated kills me.

I, oddly enough, have become incredibly social now that I’m in college. When I was in middle school and high school I had a close group of friends that I liked to interact with, and I wasn’t really interested in making friends with anybody else. I was comfortable where I was. But that changed once I got to college. The constant interaction I received in my old dorm really helped me open up as a person. Now, I’m always yearning to go out and meet people, which is hard when no one ever comes out of their apartment to talk to each other, and there’s only so many clubs I can join to meet new people before it becomes too much.

I guess it just really comes down to the fact that I feel lonely.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my roommates. They’re some of my best friends in the world. But, if you’ve ever lived with your friends, you know that living with people you really like is generally not a good idea. It makes everything a lot more complicated. You get sick of each other. You fight over who has to take out the trash this time, or who needs to put the dishes in the cupboard. You spend so much time in each other’s back pocket that they start to become the only people you interact with. You start to get annoyed by the little things they do. Day by day, you slowly start to dislike the people you once thought you would have loved to live with.

That is not something that I want. I don’t want to feel like I resent the people who are supposed to be my best friends. I don’t want to feel lonely when there are people right next door to me. I don’t want to feel like they are the only people I can interact with.

That’s why I’m so grateful that I was offered a CA position. A lot of shit went down this year regarding friendships that I don’t think I could have handled another year of being sad all the time. I’m not that sad about things anymore, because it has gotten better, but I was real messed up and alone for a while. Anyway, what I really needed was a change of pace, a fresh start, and that’s exactly what this position is giving me.

But believe me, it’s going to be hard. I could already tell from the 2 hours I sat on duty last night. There were constantly people at the desk, sometimes talking about two different things at once, and it’s hard to concentrate on one person talking with all the background noise, let alone two. There are other things that make being a CA hard, but that’s just one thing I observed yesterday.

Despite the fact that it’ll be difficult, I know I’m up for the challenge. Ever since I came to college I can tell that I’ve grown and developed into a leader that can work well under pressure. Sure, sometimes I have breakdown moments, but they’re not as often as they used to be, and sometimes I don’t have them at all.

I know I’ve said it in previous blog posts, but I’m excited for what next year is going to bring. I’m excited to see how being a CA is going to change and effect me as a person. Until then, I’ll just have to wait and see.

(Also, sorry about writing about this again. It’s kind of a big deal in my life, though, and it’s something I think about a lot. But next time I’ll try and write something different. Pinky promise.)

– Kaylee


Captain’s Log: Stardate 94829.54

On Tuesday and Thursday nights, I play Dungeons and Dragons.

We are, for the most part, not a very organized group. Including myself and the DM (Dungeon Master) there are only 4 of us, but we usually have trouble keeping on track. Most of the time our conversations divulge into all of us sharing memes with each other instead of actually getting anything on our quest done.

It can be frustrating at times, but it’s hard not to be amused by the shenanigans.

In my current campaign I play a warlock named Fern, a half-elf hired killer with an affinity for using Eldritch Blast at any given chance. Her backstory is still in the works because I haven’t had much time to write anything, but she’s pretty badass.

My other teammates include a high-elf fighter and a half-elf paladin. I like to call us “Team Hustle and Flow”, but the others haven’t warmed up to it yet.

I’m sure in time they will.

Fern was not my first character. Before Fern, there was Calla – a half-elf (I might have a type) bard with some backstory that I honestly couldn’t tell you to save my life. Unfortunately, Calla only lasted like 4 sessions before being killed by some weird buff zombies or something that I also can’t remember. I try not to think about it.

But before Fern, and even before Calla, there was Theo. He was my first ever D&D character, and probably the closest thing I’ll ever have to the love of my life. Even to this day he’s my pride and joy.

I’ve played the character of Theo in a few campaigns. He was a half-elf (I’m telling you. A type.) bard. For a long time I was really invested in only playing a bard because I thought they were cool. Of course, then Calla died and I decided maybe I should change it up by playing a warlock, but I still prefer characters that can do magic over characters that are melee.

Anyway, back to Theo. Theo was the product of my first time ever playing Dungeons and Dragons. It was the summer before I started college, and my friend’s sister had recently introduced me to the world of Critical Role, a livestreamed show on Geek and Sundry where a bunch of famous voice actors played Dungeons and Dragons. I was instantly invested in the characters, the plot, and the truly amazing storytelling done by the DM, Matthew Mercer. Each episode of Critical Role ranged between 3-5 hours, and when I started watching, there were only 20 some episodes out. I spent the end of the summer watching these episodes when I wasn’t working or doing hoodrat things with my friends. Unfortunately, once I got to college, it was hard for me to sit down every Thursday night to watch the live episodes for 4 hours, especially because I had an 8:30 Intro to Psychology class the next morning that I absolutely hated. Now I’m nowhere near caught up on Critical Role, and I’ll probably never be, but I still regard it as one of the main reasons I started playing D&D.

Around the same time, the same girl that introduced me to CR suggested that I join a campaign that she already had going. All of the kids in my first group were either people who had graduated with me or people who were a year younger (including myself I think there were like 7 of us). That was when Theo was born.

If you’ve ever seen an episode of Critical Role, you can instantly tell that Theo was influenced heavily by Scanlan, a gnome bard played by Sam Riegel. They weren’t exactly the same, but I liked Scanlan’s character and wanted to take some of the personality traits he had and mix them with some of my own to create Theo. Another member of my group created a Dragonborn fighter who was deaf, and we ended up mixing our backstories together and making a story about how they met and performed together on the street, and Theo was her translator. We probably could have done more with that story, but we never really did.

I have documents upon documents devoted to Theo and his backstory. He was a half-elf and his past was some sad story about his elven mother raising him when his human father left them and how the other elves in the city never truly accepted Theo because he was half-human. His mom eventually died and he left the elven city he was raised in and started playing music on the street, committing petty crimes, and charming any woman he came across. He eventually met the Dragonborn fighter and they became instant friends. There’s more to it, but I won’t bore you with the extra details right now.

I honestly can’t remember much of what Theo did during my first campaign, but I do remember that the first monster he ever killed was a wolf, and I rolled a nat 20 to skin it and turn it into a cool cape. We only got to play for a few weeks before my teammates started leaving for college. All I know is that I was determined to find a D&D group on campus so I could continue playing as Theo.

During my first semester I ended up finding a D&D group through a club on campus. We started near the beginning of the semester and lasted until about finals week, before we kind of just stopped playing and all went our separate ways. All that mattered to me was that I got to play Theo again, but this time I had the added bonus of knowing what I wanted and what I didn’t want him to do. His backstory didn’t change much from the campaigns, but I continued to elaborate and expand on him.

Once we stopped playing, I was kind of sad, but things had started to get busy for me so I figured it was better if I stopped playing for a while and focused on school and work.

For a while during the second semester of my freshman year of college I dabbled in DMing, although I never got too far. I had a friend who wanted to start playing (although I don’t think he was ever too serious about it), so I said I would DM if we could find more people to play. While we looked for more people to join, I started writing up my own campaign. I’ve still got a whole Google Docs folder devoted to it, but we weren’t able to find many other people who wanted to play, so I never actually got a chance to DM. I’m not too upset about it, though, because I didn’t own the Dungeon Master’s Guide and I didn’t (and still don’t) have the money to buy one now. Sometime in the future I think I’d like to start DMing for real, but I might save it until the summer.

And that brings me to my current campaign. We started around the beginning of this semester, but at the start we had a different DM and more people in the group. The original DM ended up leaving the group around the same time that Calla died, and a bunch of other players left as well. Like I said, at this point there’s 4 of us including our new DM, although I don’t mind the small number of people playing. I think it’s easier to get things done when there’s only a few involved.

Regardless of how disorganized my current campaign is, I’m having a good time with it. It’s nice to be able to escape from my responsibilities for a few hours twice a week and do something creative like roleplay. When I first joined this campaign, I was in a really dark point in my life and struggling really badly every single day (which maybe I’ll talk about at some point. I’m not entirely sure yet.) Things have gotten marginally better since then, and at that point we only played once a week, but I think having D&D as a way to blow off some steam definitely helped me.

I’m not sure what I’ll end up doing this summer. Maybe I’ll try and find some people to play D&D with, or maybe I’ll take a break. But I guess for the time being, I’ll keep trying to catch up on episodes of Critical Role and The Adventure Zone.

– Kaylee, using the cat brush

Captain’s Log. Stardate 94826.41

Two days ago I had the privilege of attending Pitt Day in Harrisburg for the second year in a row. It’s a great opportunity for students at Pitt where they get to travel to the capitol and talk to legislators about different issues, all while making connections and seeing what life in politics is like. It’s a good place for a Political Science major like me to go.

Me and the love of my life, B, at the capitol.

While that’s all nice and good, that’s not what I’m interested in talking about today. I’d rather talk about my favorite part of the whole trip, or any trip in general – the ride there and back.

The capitol is exactly 2 hours and 48 minutes away from my college, not including traffic. So really, it’s more like 3+ hours from school to Harrisburg, and even longer to my house in Lancaster. I’ve gotten used to the rides from home to school and back, and I’ve even grown to look forward to them. Long rides give me time to do one of my favorite things: daydream.

I am a daydreamer through and through. I’ve been creating stories in my head for as long as I can remember, from fiction pieces to news articles for the next edition of the paper. I’m constantly writing inside my head, regardless of where I am or what I’m doing. During class, work, or grocery shopping – I’m daydreaming. Despite my ability to daydream wherever I am, I prefer to do so when I won’t be interrupted by other tasks. For lack of a better phrase, uninterrupted time is when my creative juices flow the most.

As you can imagine, I had a lot of time to sit and daydream during the ride. 6+ hours of it.

On long rides like these I usually like to daydream about the future instead of creating a fictional story. Sometimes coming up with new characters and an interesting plot is too strenuous, especially for someone who’s running on less than 5 hours of sleep and no caffeine.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little afraid of what my future might be. There are so many possibilities for success. On the other hand, there are so many possibilities for failure. That doesn’t mean I’m not intensely curious.

Next semester I start my job as a Community Assistant on campus (if you’re a little confused as to what that is, most campuses call them Resident Assistants instead). A majority of my daydreams on the ride to and from the capitol involved what my life is going to be like next year with that added responsibility. I’m already juggling 18 credits, a double major and a minor, being the Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper, working 2 hours every day in the Human Resources office on campus, having a social life, and getting enough sleep. Doing all of these things is hard enough as is, so why would I want to add the stress of being a CA? There are multiple factors behind it, but that’s a whole different story that I don’t feel like writing about today. All that matters is that I keep imaging what it’s going to be like. Will my residents like me? What kind of programs will I hold? How stressed and awful am I going to be next semester? When will I end up burning myself out? (Because really, I already know it’s not a question of whether or not I will burn myself out, but when I will. With me, it’s really inevitable).

One of my frequent daydreams that isn’t incredibly stress inducing involves what my door tags for my residents are going to look like next year. Usually there’s a theme involved (in my current on-campus apartment, the theme is superheros – I’m Spiderman, although I would have preferred Daredevil) and it changes at least every semester. For my first set of door tags I’m leaning more towards a Harry Potter theme, although I’m afraid it’ll be too cliche. Every CA/RA on the planet has probably done a Harry Potter theme at this point. Also, I’m a little hesitant to decide what resident gets put in what house – what if I accidentally put a Slytherin in Gryffindor? Or a Hufflepuff in Ravenclaw? That would be disastrous.

Maybe door tags are more stressful then I originally thought. Maybe I’ll make it easy on myself and stick to superheros.

Everybody likes superheros, right?

What I’m really trying to get at in this post is that the future may be terrifying, but daydreaming about what it could be like makes me feel a little calmer about it. Nothing is better than sitting down for a long car ride, putting on some good tunes, and looking out the window while thinking about the possibilities. As scared as I am for the future, I know everything will turn out alright in the end. I know a majority of my daydreams won’t come true, but it’s nice to think about what could happen. I think it might have something to do with hope, maybe.

For the time being, I’m going to stick to daydreaming and thinking about the endless possibilities coming my way in the future.

I want to end this post with some lyrics from one of my favorite songs. In the song “Cough It Out” by The Front Bottoms, lead singer Brian Sella says, “I like the in betweens. I like the time it takes to get somewhere.”

Personally? I couldn’t agree more.

– Kaylee

Captain’s log. Stardate 94819.92.

If you’re reading this, congratulations on finding my blog. Get ready for this wild ride (aka me attempting to write on a semi-regular schedule and everything ending up a general mess.) I’m gonna, like, try and update this blog as much as possible, but college responsibilities are always kicking my ass, so let’s see how this goes.

I’m not entirely sure what I really want to post here, but I’ve noticed that I haven’t been writing as much lately as I’d like to, so I’m trying to change that. I’ve also recently been inspired by the fact that a couple of my friends are writing blogs, and obviously I want to be just like everyone else. I guess. Or something like that.

So, here we go. I hope whoever is reading this decides to stick around and follow my silly attempt at making a blog, but there are no guarantees that it’ll be good.

– Kaylee