Friday, August 19, 2011

Choose to be happy.

Well I am officially completely moved into my new apartment for college AND I have survived the first 2 days on campus. As I sit here contemplating how I should reveal my state of mind in a simple blog post, I'm realizing there truly is not a properly fulfilling approach to summing up how I feel. Every possible phrase I try to spell out seems weak and insufficient but I'll do the best I can. And yes there are jaw updates later. :)

For as long as I can remember, "college" has been this tantalizing term ultimately implicating the initiation of adulthood: a keen & unwavering understanding of oneself as well as the confidence and assurance to make life-altering decisions without even blinking. Of course it's foolish to honestly believe you could be so intellectually/developmentally/emotionally refined fresh out of high school after being thrown into a completely new environment with a wide span of opportunities and potential adventures. It's like when you're a freshman in high school and you just know that once you're a senior, you'll be this completely different version of yourself with all the class, maturity, and swagger of an individual who knows where they're headed in life. Then you finally become a senior and what do you know: you're the same person with similar doubts, fears, worries, and desires...dying to be done with the slew of college and scholarship applications bombarding you from every direction. Wanting, yet again, to fast forward to "the good life."

I feel like this sort of nonsensical logic has influenced the expectations I've held for myself since I was a kindergartener marveling at the oh-so-smart 4th graders with their writing portfolios, mechanical pencils, and fine-print textbooks.
The cycle never ends it seems.

I even find myself NOW looking at the older college students who are completing their final couple of semesters, wishing I already had as much life experience under my belt as they do. They know the campus like the back of their hand. They have established connections and friendships with their professors. They have mapped out and fulfilled the requirements for their majors and minors. They must truly know what they're doing.

But I can't fool myself back into this pattern of thinking. Next it will be me as a junior in college studying for the MCAT, envying those who have already been accepted into medical school. Then as a medical student, yearning to be done with the 4 grueling years of nonstop work/growing debt and to already be working in a residency program. Then as a resident, killing myself to make it to the security of an established career in medicine. Then as a doctor, dying to retire. It will never end unless I have the sense to stop the cycle now and take each step as it comes.

And with that, I will close this little peek into the strange logic of my mind. On to more positive thoughts.

I love love love our apartment. It is perfectly spacious without being extraneously large or wasteful of space. Some may say it's preposterous to attend college without roughing it out in a dorm and community bathroom, but I genuinely think I would have developed a serious emotional disorder over time without having enough space to comfortably store my belongings and without my own bathroom to keep pristine and clean. The one time I have ever used a community bathroom was at our overnight freshman orientation this summer, and it was without a doubt one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life. I think I almost have a clinical disorder where sharing that kind of space with strangers puts me under an unhealthy amount of duress. I do, however, have the utmost respect for those who do make it through such an experience and I'm sure such close living quarters make for excellent opportunities to establish lifelong connections to the people with whom you share space.

As for the pictures I promised, there is still quite a bit of decorating to complete before I feel comfortable sharing anything on here. I have several things hanging in my room already, but I only want the finished results to be published. :)

A very large plus of apartment life (especially on the first floor!): I literally had to take approximately 10 steps from our cars to the front door of the apartment when moving everything in. The transfer of my belongings was a staggeringly quick process.

On the flip side, a very interesting obstacle I faced on move-in day: the lock to my bedroom door did not work with the key they gave me OR the master key for all of the apartment bedrooms. So my first 30 minutes or so in the apartment were spent worrying myself to death while a maintenance man removed the entire doorknob to allow me in and then installed a new lock. All works well now, but it was not the best first impression, especially since I was already on a time crunch to get to our first Honors College Welcome Week activity. Luckily I have a loving, dedicated mother and an equally loving grandmother with a knack for interior decorating, so they both continued to piece my room/closet/bathroom together even when I was forced to depart early in the afternoon.

Does anyone else ever have those moments where you're so overwhelmed by the blessings of life that you nearly break into tears? It happens to me at the most random moments, and one of these was during our first little class session with our Honors 101 instructors. First of all, I was just so humbled by how understanding and sympathetic people were when they saw I was wired shut and could hardly talk. Secondly, both the instructor and the advisor of this course just seem like genuinely nice, down to earth individuals who will be easy to work with. And okay, maybe the minor case of sleep deprivation and starvation-level lack of nutrients in my diet made me over-emotional, but I was intensely thankful to be where I was, looking ahead at what was/is to come.

Okay no more sappy, ridiculously happy moments in the blog. I promise.

Every organized event I've attended at my university so far, from Accolade in the fall of my senior year (before I even knew where I would be going) to Orientation this past summer to this week's activities with the Honors College, has involved some of the best food. Yeah. That's not so much a good thing when everything you consume has to fit through a straw or a syringe & rubber tube. Today, in particular, I sat and watched everyone devour Papa John's pizza (Papa J sponsors like everyyyyyy event on campus it seems) as well as burgers and hotdogs fresh from the grill outside...while I drank Juicy Juice from a box. The day before that, it was catering from Moe's. I'm telling you, the world can be a cruel place for us recovering orthognathic surgery patients.

About the that it has officially been 18 and a half days since I have consumed solid food, my hunger is no longer just that empty feeling in the stomach we're all accustomed to in this society of selfish, greedy gluttons. I feel the tingle of emptiness in every cell of my body--not something you could even begin to imagine unless you yourself have ever been on the brink of starvation. It's not even something I understood until about 2 weeks into the process. Every activity I attempt requires more strain and effort than I honestly ever anticipated at the beginning of this journey.

Add that into the mix of moving into a new apartment and walking around a college campus...what do you get?

Another pound lost...when I was almost sure the weight loss part of this agony had come to an end. I'm down to 114.2 pounds (and that was in the evening...I usually weigh in the morning when the human body is typically at its lightest point in fluctuation). What makes me sad about this is I remember just earlier this year being 10 pounds more than that and still perfectly happy with my self-image in my Aerobics class. I hate losing muscle mass and looking more rail-ish by the day. There are plenty of girls out there who strive for that stick-thin physique, but I personally prefer the toned, athletic body of someone in shape who still allows herself to eat.

Good thing I'm planning on feasting for weeks on end once I'm physically able to do so. I'm sure the energy, muscle mass, and consequentially the weight will be back in no time. This is where the blog title kind of comes into play. I could sit around and be indefinitely bitter about my inability to eat right now while I watch everyone else eat whatever they please without even fully appreciating their perfectly functional chompers. But I've come to the conclusion that it's better to picture myself gorging on these items in the coming weeks and not having to worry about burning off those calories. Surviving this experience requires my personal choice to make the best of a truly sucky, miserable, physically torturous time in my life. Wallowing in self-pity helps in no way. Granted, I've had my days and moments so far where I inevitably choose the negative route, but my sanity depends on me clinging to the path of optimism. And so I shall.

I'm listing 10 useful items that incoming college students may want to remember to pack that may not necessarily already be on their lists, whether they're living in a dorm or an apartment.
1. Power sticks for outlets: You never know how many actual wall sockets may be available to you individually, so these ensure a plentiful availability of power outlets for your lamps, televisions, DVD players, phone/iPod/laptop chargers, and other electronics.
2. Plenty of batteries: Pretty self-explanatory; you might be surprised by how many little odds and ends require batteries, especially when you've just purchased a load of nifty new items for your living quarters.
3. (For girls mainly) Lighter or matches for candles: I brought a very yummy-smelling vanilla cupcake candle for my room but nothing to light it with. Dumb mistake. Avoid it.
4. Lamp(s) and light bulbs: Every place has different situations with lighting, but our apartment bedrooms have no overhead lighting so I brought 3 lamps for my room. I think most dorms have overhead lighting, but if your roommate ever needs to sleep when you're still up studying, a smaller lamp would be a nice way to avoid conflict.
5. Laundry detergent/fabric softener: Again, every location has different policies, but you're going to have to do laundry at some point, so you might as well be stocked with the proper supplies. (Our apartment has a washer/dryer btw. :)
6. Tissues: This one especially applies to those in dorms who don't have a bathroom 5 feet from their bed. You never know when you'll need to blow your nose, as trivial as it may seem.
7. Hand sanitizer: Yet again, this one is important if you don't have your own bathroom. Better safe than sorry.
8. Air freshener: Never a bad thing just in case your building is musty or stale-smelling! Or just for bathrooms.
9. Clorox disinfecting wipes: This is starting to sound like a clean freak list, I know. But really, these are soooo handy for small spills/messes!
10. A planner or agenda for classes: Even if you didn't keep one in high school, I'd highly recommend trying one out for college since each day is different and due dates are harder to keep track of. The iPhone app I mentioned in the previous blog post functions as a planner as well, so check it out! -- iStudiez Pro


The ironic part of this entire post is I've been typing it back in my own house because I have to leave somewhat early in the morning for my appointment with Dr. McKenna to get these stupid wires out of my mouth. Hopefully by this time tomorrow I'll be eating mushy foods again. Sigh.
This means I'll probably post again tomorrow except it will be much shorter and less weird.

Let's wrap this up, shall we?

Willing to kill for a bowl of mashed potatoes,


  1. how much (in millimeters) did they move your jaws? just wondering cause I have to get this done in the future even though it's different for everyone. By the way, you look great-BIG improvement. :)

  2. In response to the previous commenter: I'm not 100% sure. Back before the surgery, I remember Dr. McKenna saying he predicted the top jaw would be moved forward about 6-7 millimeters while the bottom would be moved back 3-4 millimeters, but that was his rough estimate. I will make sure to ask him next Wednesday when I see him again and I'll post the exact figures as soon as I know!

    Thank you so much! I'm very pleased with how it's turning out so far. :) Good luck with your surgery; you will not regret it!!