Thursday, September 22, 2011

52 Days Post-Op! Life is Grand.

Well the reason I haven't posted in 10 days is I simply haven't had much of anything new to report as far as jaw progress. Honestly I don't see that there is much more progress to be made at all aside from having the braces removed eventually. Everything is completely ordinary for me now except for wearing the elastics, but the new configuration even allows me to talk with those in. So overall, I'm completely normal again. To the family members and friends who have supported me through this: you have no idea how much I appreciate you. It's been easy to differentiate between those who care and those who have other more important concerns/priorities throughout this whole process.

So from here on, I guess this blog will start to transform into more of just a blog about my life as opposed to a surgery blog. I'll still post profile shots and pictures of my progress from time to time; plus I'll update after visits with my surgeon. No worries.

College...ahh college. I started classes exactly one month ago today, making this the fifth complete week.  As if I haven't already emphasized it enough, I have to say I'm still just overwhelmed with satisfaction and contentment in this environment. I wasn't all that apprehensive going into this new chapter in life, but any little fears and qualms I may have had are completely gone now.  As much as I enjoyed high school, I could not possibly bear to return after experiencing the freedom and flexibility of college life.  I especially appreciate how most of the work here is NOT busy work, but instead work that requires reading and attentive studying. High school classes (not all of them, obviously, but many) always seemed to require so many petty little efforts that ultimately didn't add up to much in the long run, looking back.  It so often felt like I was working just to receive a certain grade instead of working to benefit and actually gain something from the material. That has all changed though, and I couldn't be happier.

I am starting to have math withdrawals though. After having AP Calc EVERY DAY for an hour and a half throughout senior year, it's been tough quitting cold turkey. I miss my derivatives and integrals! That was one class where I could very clearly witness my own progress and always knew I was advancing for the purpose of learning the material, not just to make As.

Now if you follow me on Twitter, you know that last Saturday was a monumental occasion for our university's football team. We had our rival game against the University of Kentucky, and it ended up being an extremely on-edge game--constant tension; never a stagnant moment.  I, for one, take the rivalry very seriously...sometimes too seriously, I know. I'm workin' on it. If you're not from the state of Kentucky, I couldn't possibly expect you to understand the heat there is between UK and UofL. Virtually every Kentuckian has a preference over one or the other, and I happen to be one of the diehard Louisville fans who would sooner root on a school from Pakistan than be caught supporting UK in any athletic event. There may have been a time in the past when that wasn't quite true, but the never-ending ridicule I've had to endure (being from a small town chock full of people who blindly support UK just because everyone else does) has solidified my aversion to the big blue nation.
I guess I should also mention that 95% of my family loves UK, ironically enough. My mom even cheered there during her freshman year before transferring to WKU. I started out supporting Louisville because my dad is the rebel of the family who has always preferred UofL, but now I do believe I hold more reason than anyone else in the family for my choice of side in the rivalry.

So, to get back to the story, I went to the game with a large student group on charter buses (because it was in Lexington this year) and the first thing we encountered on our way to the stadium was a group of visibly drunk UK fraternity guys at a tailgating tent. They proceeded to BOO us the entire stretch of our little walk past them when we had not made one gesture or spoken one word to them to begin with.  I'm sorry if they thought that was funny or cute or whatnot, but to me that just exhibits an extreme lack of class. It's amusing how I've witnessed such acts of incivility from UK fans my entire life, yet I still manage to be baffled when the pattern continues on days like Saturday.
There is something about walking into a stadium on foreign turf, surrounded by people who see you as inferior to them and make no efforts to hide their disgust that makes you yearn so desperately to be able to walk back out with your head held high, KNOWING your team...your own school...has proven that assumption wrong. 
And so we did.

I wish more than anything I could bottle up the surge of emotions I felt every time we made a touchdown and celebrated amongst ourselves as proud students at the top of that stadium. The memory of walking down the ramp from the 2nd level of Commonwealth Stadium, surrounded by blue and red alike, screaming the Cards cheer and throwing up our Ls was so invigorating and fulfilling it even sends chills down my spine even now, 5 days later.

I really despise how the general public of Kentucky views the city of Louisville in such harsh lighting. The reaction you get when you tell people you live/go to school here is either someone offering to buy you pepper spray or mockingly bidding you luck in not getting jumped or shot on the way to buy groceries.  This idiotic, thickheaded assumption irritates me to no end because it is absolutely far from the reality of this place. Sure, there are criminals here as there are in any city, including my little old hometown. What people fail to consider is just how large Louisville is and that only a fraction of it is the "hood" where shady business goes down all hours of the day.  For crying out loud, 80% of the people I see when I make my Walmart trips are senior citizens; not drug dealers or criminals plotting to assault me.  I'd love to know how this beautifully diverse, culturally-stimulating, entertainment-packed city of ours earned such a negative reputation throughout our narrow-minded (SORRY but it's true) state. On any given day, I could go out and experience any sort of event I could dream up without having to leave this city! I mean, it really is a blessing just to be here, surrounded by that array of opportunities.  

Just last week, I attended a play - Dracula - put on by the Actors Theatre of Louisville and was overwhelmed with amazement by both the quality of the acting/production and the intimacy of the theatre itself. I can't even find a proper picture to show, but the stage is in the center of the room, not raised even, and the actors utilize basically all 360 degrees of the place--aisles, steps, etc.  I guess I'm just so used to mediocre plays put on by kids my age that to witness quality actors in a production with incredible acrobatics and effects was simply mind-boggling. I swear to you there was one point at which Dracula disappeared into thin air when they didn't even turn the lights off or use a trap door. Still trying to figure that one out....

AND TOMORROW I GET TO SEE MAT KEARNEY IN CONCERT! <3 RIGHT HERE IN THIS VERY CITY! I've never been able to attend a concert so close to home -- hehe yes I claim Louisville as my HOME now, and I hope I stay here for the rest of my life! I could not be more ecstatic. My sister, Camdyn, is going with me and I think it will be a great opportunity for some sisterly bonding. She hasn't seen my apartment yet, so I'm stoked for that as well.

As far as classes go, I'd like to address the fact that I now know from experience you can't trust the reviews you read on The reviews for my Bio 240 professor had me almost terrified to even attempt to make a decent grade because of how negative and non-encouraging they were. People said things like the averages on exams are always Ds or Fs and that he purposely tries to fool you with trick not true so far. I made a 94% on the first exam and I didn't even have to kill myself studying. It's an entry-level class for mainly Bio/Chem majors and is supposedly designed to weed out slackers who think they're making it all the way to medical/dental school in a few years. OBVIOUSLY you can't be a complete dimwit who doesn't commit to the material and expect to make an A. Common sense.
Bottom line: DO NOT post negative reviews on that site if you yourself were not willing to put forth the effort to succeed in the class. You'll end up falsely terrifying those of us who actually enjoy the subject and are more than willing to exert ourselves to learn the material.

Sorry this has been so scattered; I just had a lot to say and it feels so great to put it into words. Hope all is well with each of you across the world. I love being able to see what country each reader is from!  Remember, I will still be including some jaw updates from now on and I'd love for you to keep up!

Happier than I've been in a LONG time,

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