the finals five

What better way to avoid studying for finals yet still feel productive than jumping back into the ole’ blog? I pride myself on the quality of my studying playlists, and below are a smattering of the songs getting me through the very end of this semester.

5. Stephen Bennett-Burnside. Loop him up on your Pandora when you find that perfect table in the library and are ready to get some extensive work completed. The music is a perfect balance of lively strumming that is neither distracting nor lulling, with the occasional Beatles cover to keep you engaged.

4. Sum 41-In Too Deep. Blast this early-2000s jam when you just need to let some angst out by unabashedly nodding your head along with the teenage punk. Maybe I really am just trying too hard when really it’s closer than it is too far!

3. Sigur Ros-Hoppipolla. Play these Icelandic geniuses when you need a little post-rock fix. If you don’t mind lyrics in a language you likely aren’t comprehending, you will feel the epic power of their sound flow through your fingers as you compose the pages of that challenging essay late into the night.

2. Daughter-Youth. Cuddle up with her mellow sound in your headphones when you need to readjust your perspective. You will no longer stress about bumping that 89.7 to an A but rather want to cry about how beautifully tragic life is (and how your voice will never sound as utterly perfect as hers).

1. R. Kelly-World’s Greatest. Does this one need explanation? Clamber to the roof of your favorite building upon completing your last exam and belt these lyrics out. A robed choir is guaranteed to follow and accompany you in this scene of utter ecstasy.

Happy studying.




In that incredibly small number of days, I am going to board the plane at O’Hare to embark upon my journey to England. It is there where I will spend five weeks on an EIU faculty-led study abroad trip, living at Harlaxton College in Grantham, about an hour north of London. Essentially we will be reading, traveling, adventuring, and learning, all of which happen to be a few of my favorite things.

In my wee high school days, I remember perusing through Eastern’s website and stumbling upon the page for this trip [ ]. As I read through the description and itinerary, I realized how perfectly this program fit my personal and professional interests (I am an English Education major), and I couldn’t help but imagine myself living inside that gorgeous castle.

Honestly, is this not a shot right out of Downton Abbey, or what? I can just picture Mr. Carson is in there ironing the morning newspaper, awaiting my arrival…


                                          Only ten days!

However, at that time, I never thought the trip would ever actually happen, and I simply continued to dream about it from the comforts of my good ole’ pumpkin capital hometown. It wasn’t until I started my freshman year at Eastern that I realized how feasible of a reality studying abroad really was. I went to countless fairs and information sessions before deciding that I really couldn’t let this amazing opportunity wait any longer. With the encouragement of one of my great friends and future roomie, Danielle, we basically decided “I’ll go if you go!” and thus we are going. It is nearly impossible to wrap my head around the fact that the countdown we began months ago in the fall is now down to my mere fingers.

I am creating this blog fulfill the requirements for both my Honors Experience (one of the provisions of being a Presidential Scholar) and service hours for the Office of Study Abroad (through which I was graciously awarded a bit of scholarship). However, I am also hoping this blog will serve as a way to record the adventures I am anticipating on having and to keep my family and friends updated on my whereabouts. I owe an immense amount of gratitude to those people and others for making this trip possible…

  • the ladies in the Office of Study Abroad for helping me through the preliminary steps of planning and making it as simple as possible.
  • Dr. Hanlon and Dr. McGregor for leading us, as well as the other EIU English faculty who have undertaken this trip in the past.
  • my former teachers and mentors for inspiring me to this point in my life and for composing several letters of recommendation as I planned for the adventure.
  • my friends, who I already know will get sick of my thousands of photo uploads on Facebook and my future inability to say anything other than, “This one time in England…”, and especially to my boyfriend, who will have to endure yet another five weeks without my face (although I’m sure can’t wait for a break from my crazy self).
  • and finally, my amazing parents for their continual source of inspiration, love, encouragement, and support (both emotionally and, of course, financially).

In my mind, I am so ready for this journey to begin, although packing-wise…that’s another story. I cannot wait to fill this blog with my traveling story and thoughts on the stories I read on my trip to England this summer.