Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Giving Things Up...

is really, really hard.

Tomorrow, it shall be exactly one week since i've consumed a wonderful, delicious, cup of coffee.
And I've never wanted coffee more than right now- 5:09 am on this Wednesday morning. There's a devil sitting on my shoulder telling me there's NO WAY I'll make it into work without one...

Why am I trying to give up coffee? Several reasons, but the most important (to me) of which is due to my sleeping problems.  I wouldn't say I have insomnia..  it just takes me 3 hours to fall asleep on a given night, leaving me only 4 hours of quality sleep, and then I tend to walk around like a zombie the next day, only to do it all again.  By Friday, I am completely burnt out.  And I'm 28. The reason? Coffee.

I was taking large amounts of caffeine to keep me awake, and at times, taking things at night to put me to sleep. No wonder my body was so screwed up!
All in all, I am feeling much better now. A lot of the sluggishness I was accustomed to feeling towards the mid afternoon has gone completely.  I've not given up caffeine completely, I've replaced it with tea; a lesser evil.
And a friend told me about this creation called ' Teecino' which is made from....nuts. But I'm looking forward to trying it. As soon as my shipment is in, I'll let you know if it's any substitute for coffee...

warm...delicious... wonderful...coffee.

i miss you.

Friday, May 28, 2010

You Know You Miss Your Blog When..........


(alternate title: you know you're pathetic when...)

1. Within 10 seconds after every major event (well, let's face it: after any event that causes you to open your eyes, or perhaps shift slightly in your chair, or perhaps come to a sudden stop as you are walking) you think
' i should be blogging about this!'

2. you dream about it. and in this dream, blogs are made of chocolate. (or, for some of us---scratch that---you; nicotine.)

3. An email from a fellow blogger and friend, requesting that [ insert blogging persona tag here.] <----- *this is key to inducing the appropriate emotional response*   sends you into a roaring sobfest.....


Until finally you visit "Home."   That little orange B in the corner looks to be a handshake, extending itself to you, saying warmly:  Welcome Back.

And so here I am.
Most of you are probably wondering how the new job is going. It's going quite well! There are no Cube Gooses to spoil my day. But I've discovered a different breed of Cube Creature.

Cube Kate Gosselin. She's in her early... to late....to mid....forties, Though it's hard telling, what with her overly Fake and Baked Skin, which could either be adding or reducing years all at once. There's her way-too-young-for-her-outfits, which only makes her more elusive in the wild. And last, but not least, there is her signature Katie G. hairstyle, which she has no problem introducing to you as such, just in case, you know, you don't watch TLC. But who on earth doesn't!!?

Am i fitting in with her well? Uh... no.  I can't keep up with all the reality tv she watches.  " Did you watch the bachelor last season??" she may ask. To which I reply. " No, but Bait Cars has been having a stellar year."

And it seems she hasn't taken too kindly for my apparent lack of interest in all things D list Drama.
I wasn't there for more than 2 days when she began 'talking smack' (as the kids like to say) about me.

So it's official:  There is a special breed of Cube Goose no matter where you go. So far, I'm just happy this one doesn't eat an entire bag of chips for breakfast in the morning, followed by a gallon of chocolate milk and a 12 pack of coke.  But if she starts wearing extensions and taking salsa lessons, we're going to have a problem.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

not your average bible study

I’ve spent the last 20 minutes reading the book of Job. I got up to chapter 4 and decided I had gotten the basic gist. Or maybe not. I kind of missed the ending. There are 42 chapters, after all.


But by now you may be wondering one of the following: “isn’t she at work?” or “ why is she reading the bible?” or “ did I miss something? is she like really religious?”

The answers to those questions would be: Yes, I am at work. I’ll tell u why in a second, hang on. No, I am not particularly religious. Spiritual, maybe? Would that be a better word? I don’t know, we can talk about that some other time.

The reason I was reading the book of Job, if I didn’t freak you out with my first paragraph and you’re still reading, is because I overheard a conversation today—Day 4, mind you, that got me curious.

Cube mate- Who I have discussed religion with before, is far less religious than I am. She does not live her life by any standard that religious doctrine would support. And she certainly doesn’t treat her body, or her life, like the gift that even the least religious person must admit life is. But lately, she’s been befriended by a woman who is- or claims to be-quite religious. We will call her Beth. Beth, as a ritual, comes in to work an hour before her shift starts in order to practice her daily devotions. I am lead to believe this also happens at lunch time. And, given the evidence, I would imagine she also holds a nightly devotion at her home.

A friend and I speculated that the only reason she befriended the dreaded cube mate was to convert her from her heathen ways and into the world of Christianity.

Apparently, I was right. For this morning, I walked in, threw my purse on my desk, and put on my headphones. But before I could press ‘play’ on my Ipod, I overheard Beth telling Cube mate all about the book of Job, and how she should apply it to her own life. Especially when she is sitting in a cubicle, questioning ‘things.’

So I read the Book of Job(well, the first 4 chapters) and I guess Beth was trying to tell Cube demon that the reason her life sucks so bad, and that she’s so fat* she has to walk down the stairs sideways, and that she has no friends, and that she’ll die a virgin, and that her own cube mate (moi) won’t even speak to her, and also silently detests having to breath the same air as her (ok, I’ll stop now) is because God is testing her allegiance.

Funny? Sad? Somewhere in between? I’m not sure quite yet. But, I think in this situation, even God would say “ Stop praying, put away that 2 liter of Coke that you consider breakfast, limit your sausage and bacon sandwiches at Dunkin Donuts to once a month instead of twice a day, and get your ass on an elliptical. Oh, and in the mean time, two words: Lane Bryant. You don’t have to wear sweats to your professional job everyday. They do make clothes as large as you.”

I know I'm missing a lot of points here, from both sides. But this concludes my rant for now.

*disclaimer* no, I am not prejudice against people who are overweight. That is not the reason I don’t like her, it just adds to my frustration with her as she complains about it but does everything humanly possible to destroy herself. Thank you, and goodnight.

Monday, April 19, 2010

This Is The Countdown.....

I’ve been waiting for something, I’ve been sitting for too long - Mae



So today is DAY 5 leading up to this Friday, which will be my last day working for this company.

A few things I’ll miss:

1. My fellow cube warrior and the strongest and best personality I ever encountered in my one and a half years here. They say some things happen for a reason, and I think working here was set up for the sole purpose of us meeting and joining forces.

2. The salad bar in the building’s cafeteria. Not only do they have every veggie I could want on my salad, they also know how to satisfy my ranch tooth. ‘Nuff said.

3. Every day is casual Friday- what am I wearing today, u may ask- Jeans and sneakers.

4. Going for walks on the prairie walking trail, #1 at my side.

5. Helping patients. It won’t be a part of my new position, and I will miss the rewarding feeling I get when I’ve helped clear some confusion or resolve an issue that would have otherwise taken months.



Things I won’t miss:

1. This horrific Chair, an embarrassment to chairs the world over. It’s padded foam, decorated with cheap blue fabric, stapled to some plastic legs. It provides no support, no comfort, and I think I’ve developed a hunchback by sitting in it. They have better chairs in prison, I’m sure.

2. The Cube Mate. Though I must thank her for basically getting me this job, and also, for inspiring me to move on to a different one. I owe it all to her, really. But miss her? Absolutely…not.

3. The women’s bathroom, and the male janitor who cleans it 20 times a day, and only when I really have to pee.

4. The hens- The ones who spend all day clack clack cackling- Noone Cares.



Tune in Tomorrow for Day 4.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

And Your Bird Can Sing

There’s things we want so badly to say to people in our lives-authority figures, loved ones, complete strangers. But we don’t. Or we can’t, not without serious ramifications, anyway. But those words, that we force back, down our throats, swallowing them, trying to pretend they never existed. They don’t go away.


I had so many of those moments yesterday. More than I usually have in an entire week. What didn’t help is that something is wrong with the battery on my cell phone, and my phone was dead by noon. Suddenly there I was- Present, in reality. No viral connection of any sort for me to dispense my unsung rebuttals without fear. I had to react on my own.


I formally resigned from my job. The one that made me so miserable this past year and a half. It came as a complete shock to my superiors. Why? Because I never openly display my emotions to the people who need to hear it most. Nay, I take it home with me. I say everything I wish I could say to them- to my boyfriend, to his family. To my sister. So naturally they aren’t surprised. But all of a sudden, I’m put on the spot. I’m asked to explain 16 months worth of frustration to ignorant ears. And then in turn, they’re put on the spot. They have to come up with a solution they never knew they needed. But try as they might, they’re too late. I’ve stored these feelings for so long; I’ve made the decision long before the door of opportunity ever arrived. The door has swung open, after 2- no- 6 years of sitting patiently in the waiting room. I’m walking through it. There is no looking back.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Learn To Drown

what if for one minute

he's given a chance
and he does something brilliant
but he'd rather not know
cause walls protect him
his bedroom's a prison

now is your chance boy just ignore
the dreadful things they say
go on, give up, you’ll never win,
no crying now, they're watching him
his blood will boil, the kids will sing
learn to drown before you learn to swim
-Bayside


So, as I’m waiting for classes to finally begin, I’ve been doing a lot of research on what I want to do once I (hopefully*) complete my degree.


The focus I’m most interested in is child psychology/development. I would love to both teach and provide therapy for special needs kids or children with behavioral issues. The education portion appeals to me because I feel like parents are afraid of the stigma involving psychology and their children. Or maybe, they don’t realize their child might need some extra help. As an educator, I’d be automatically implanted into the child’s life and in the position to have an influence. I know how important this is, because it’s something I wish could have happened to me when I was a kid.


I wasn’t a troublemaker. I didn’t get horrific grades. I was pretty average, I suppose. But I went to a small school, and kids are cruel, as they are anywhere. And I just..couldn’t deal. I didn’t really know how to. Self esteem wasn’t exactly promoted in my household. My parents were either blind to it, didn’t think it mattered, or were too wrapped up in their failing marriage to see what was really going on. By 5th grade, I was really waiting for the chance to call for help. One afternoon in our daily religion class, I was given that chance. Pastor Simon gave us an assignment; write down something on a sheet of paper that really bothers you, but feel like you can’t tell anyone. I figured the main message was for him to tell us to go to God with our worries. I didn’t think anyone would be seeing what I wrote, so with my #2 pencil in hand, I feebly scrawled the words “ People make fun of me. I feel alone. No one cares.”


But Pastor Simon began walking around the room, reading what each of us had written on our sheets of paper. “ Susie, you’re worried about your math test tomorrow?” Susie, the smartest and most popular girl in the class, smiled and nodded mockingly. Pastor Simon gave her advice consisting of studying with her parents, and perhaps some prayer, and then moved on to the next student. Finally, he came to my desk. My face flushed and my mouth grew dry. He whispered to me. “ Have you told anyone about this?” I squeaked “ no.” He said nothing more and went on to the other students.


After religion class was over, I desperately wanted to go to the bathroom to throw some cold water on my face. That assignment had taken a lot out of me. As I approached my teacher’s desk, Pastor Simon was confronting him.


“ Do you know this has been going on? I’m concerned for her.” He told my teacher.


“ She’s just going to have to learn to deal with it.” the teacher responded nonchalantly.


Those words sting me to this day. I realize that everyone needs to grow a pair of balls if they want to get through life, and eventually, I did. Or rather, I ‘learned how to deal with it.’ To this day I have trouble expressing my feelings, my needs, or my reaction when someone has hurt or angered me. I was taught early on to keep it to myself. I love who I am, and wouldn’t change a thing. But sometimes, I wonder how different I would have been if maybe my teacher had reacted differently that day. Maybe if he had just reached out, or even called my parents to find out what was going on, things would have been different. But everything has it’s purpose- I want to be that difference in a child’s life when they feel like they have no one else to turn to. And I won’t wait for them to ask or cry for help. I will be the one person that understands them when they feel like they’re alone.


* Hopefully? You ask- where has that positive attitude gone? Well, it’s still here, but I got a response back from some of the Universities I was interested in that their psychology program is a day program. That’s a problem. I have a full time job. An established career, if you’d like to call it that. I need it, to pay my bills, and to pay tuition, because the federal government thinks I make too much in order to qualify for any sort of grant. Funny, because the last time I checked my bank account…. In short, here’s hoping that in the 2 years before I transfer, they’ve decided to branch out to adult/non traditional students a bit more.

Monday, March 22, 2010

A Lighthearted Monday

In preparing for this new journey in my life, I’m trying to give my attitude and lifestyle a complete makeover. But this weekend, I decided to focus on the fun stuff: hair and makeup. I went to the hair salon and said “do whatever you like” and I was very pleased with the results. I also stopped by the Benefit counter at Macy’s and discovered my favorite new beauty product:

Put it on before your foundation, or by itself, and it gives your skin a natural glow. I am in love! . I am pretty fair skinned (ie; transparent) and I’ve tried several products like this before. I too impressed, but this stuff really is amazing.


As for my hair, I don’t have a picture quite yet, but I’m definitely happy with it.


On Sunday we spent the entire day spring cleaning, and that also took a much needed weight off my shoulders. So far I think my makeover is off to a good start. Now I just cant wait to begin classes!


And since no one will nominate me for “What Not To Wear”, I’ve got to do the fashion makeover myself. So I’d like to hear; where are you shopping these days? What styles are exciting you this spring?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Can I Handle It?

These days we go to waste like wine, that’s turned to turned to turpentine….


-Brandi Carlile


Uh-oh. Second guessing myself here. Yesterday afternoon I came home from work feeling a bit wound up. So I sat at my desk for about an hour and scrapbooked as one of my dogs tried anxiously to hop up on my lap. (is she a lap dog? No. but she likes to think she is.) It helped ease my tension for the evening, and I slept quite well, but here I am… getting a little stressed again.

I’ve always been indecisive, and now that it’s time to choose classes, I’m really wondering what to do.

Part of me wants to start slow. Take one course at a time. Ease myself into it. But the other part of me wants to get this over with as soon as possible. So what do I do?

I asked my partner in crime for an opinion, and I noticed a tinge of disappointment when the phrase ‘whatever you think you can handle’ was spoken.

So I started thinking.. Granted, I don’t have children, but will less time at home cause rifts? Will I be taking on too much? Or am I just too worried about pleasing everyone (but myself), a habit that’s hard to break? Now I’m asking myself: What do YOU want? And I don’t know. I’m nervous.

When I do what I want, I feel selfish. And someone most always gets mad at me, for what it’s worth.

I tried to be a good friend this weekend, and a good sister, and a good daughter, and a good girlfriend. All at the same time. I thought I compromised myself pretty well. Apparently, I was wrong.

2 of those 4 people are pissed at me. 1 has said nothing to me except for the usual Political Propaganda email, and I successfully pissed the other one off this morning. (That one was my fault, 100%)

I can’t stand having people mad at me. It’s either my strength or my weakness; I haven’t quite figured that out yet. What I have figured out is that it clouds my judgment. So perhaps in a few days, I’ll have made my decision….

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Feeding the Trolls




“He said I think I’m cured.. no In fact I’m sure of it. Thank you stranger, for your therapeutic smile.”


-Bright Eyes


Is it possible to be your ‘real’ self online? I think so. However good or bad that may be, I think it’s possible for a genuine person to be able to imprint themselves on the internet community and express themselves as who they naturally are. I think it takes a certain kind of person, though, and I’d like to think that most people are this way, and wouldn’t think of doing anything differently.


There are some though, who for whatever reason; boredom, anger, sheer stupidity, or lack of proper entertainment, who waste their time serving a different purpose. And that’s exactly what it is. A waste of time. Attacking the honest, genuine people who want to celebrate each others passions in an online community is their game. What reward they attain from it, I have no idea. I simply don’t think that way.


I’ve never though to myself… I’m going to hop into this forum here and just f*** with people. Just like I’ve never done that in my ‘real’ life. I don’t join a conversation with a co-worker and refute their every claim. I don’t put them down for kicks. Therefore I don’t do it online either. It’s not in my DNA, I suppose. And I have to think… hope.. that trolls aren’t like that in ‘real’ life either. Though I have to say, it would explain a lot about their need to unleash themselves for 12 hours a day on the computer.


I’ve met a lot of jerky people in my life. But I think these horrid personalities found virally are all the more frustrating. You can’t simply grab your friends arm and walk away if they try to interject you. They’re there. There is no escape. This makes it hard for the genuine people- the writers, the artists, and people with an actual cause, to stomach expressing them via the web. At least, for me it does. It’s not that I’m afraid of what they’ll say, or what judgments they’ll make, or what like-minded internet personas they will turn against me. It’s just sickening to see what they do to something that could, ideally, be such a wonderful thing.


I’m reading a book right now called ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values’


It makes a great many points about the way we view the world, the way we lead our lives, and the effect it has on society. One of the main points I look to today, is that we each must set out to live a life with purpose. Whatever we do, let it have some purpose. Let it be about expressing ourselves, and communicating with our fellow man. The author claims that because so many people today have lost this sense of values, our civilization is crumbling. I can’t help but agree with him. And sometimes I am not on the internet for longer than 5 minutes before this harsh fact draws its dreary head toward me. It breaks my heart. But it’s so hard to look away.

Friday, March 12, 2010

fantastically friday

I always fall in love with an open door….



-death cab for cutie




Thank goodness its Friday. And what a way to welcome the weekend-its office mate’s b-day celebration which means 20 times the usual annoyance factor! *blows party horn pathetically*



As for me, I didn’t even say Happy Birthday. There were many events that led up to this state of silence that could have filled a previous blog, and perhaps maybe ill make a list one day. “Top 5 reasons I hate my cubemate”


For now, I escape. And that’s what writing is for me. The prescription bottle remains untouched in my purse, and I open Microsoft Word and begin to type.


I’ve got 35,166 words of my unfinished novel so far. 1000 of those words may have been done at home, but I guarantee the rest, if not more, were written right from this gray little corner of my world. The fluorescent light above my head buzzes and sucks out all the life and color and creativity from the world, but while its not looking I preserve mine onto the page-within my characters, in their humble surroundings. One of the settings is a yellow cottage, filled with red velvet couches and green arm chairs and paisley curtains. The girl I wish I was lives there, where it’s brighter. And she has a nose ring, something I wanted but could never get since it didn’t match the ‘business casual’ dress code. And now, well I’m almost thirty. The time for nose rings has passed.


So far I’ve stumbled across so many aspiring individuals such as myself, posting their creative and wonderful writing, for all to enjoy. I know I should be working, especially on ‘deadline Friday’.. but they wake me up. I pretend like they’re right next to me, and their written words are our conversation. For once it feels lively amidst this maze of fabric stapled walls… it’s my open door…

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

mine's not a high horse

“ And I watch your convictions melt like ice cubes in an ocean….”



Each morning when I come into work, and listen to the useless ramblings of my office mate, I get more and more motivated to escape cubicle land.


This morning her ploy at getting attention was to blast Pantera loudly through her headphones. It wasn’t an enjoyable sound, not because I’m not into Pantera (which I’m not) but because any kind of music played through the drone of headphones just sounds like someone railing a tin can against your head. But I digress. She got what she wanted, soon another cube slave made their way over and asked what she was listening to. What came next was the most annoying part of her charade; “ Oh, I’m listening to Pantera… have you heard of them? I don’t think they are new… they’re kind of old…” What did she do? Just pick something that seemed the most attention grabbing in the religious affiliated office? Could she be more desperate? “ Its pretty bad ass stuff. Pretty heavy.” Get over yourself.


I went to see the school’s counselor on Monday, and as excited as I was, I have to say the people working there had the passion of a brass doorknob. I suppose I can’t judge them, on the inside, I feel the same way while working but I never let my customers see it! Perhaps I’m not as jaded as I thought.


Needless to say, the counselor pretty much told me I needed to wait for my transcripts to be reviewed. She said the chances of my ‘online’ course credits transferring looked a bit grim, in her opinion. I’m hoping she’s wrong. For now, however, I can fulfill some credits I need that don’t have prerequisites.


I knew for sure I’d be taking psychology 101 this summer. I figured it would be a decent way to fall back into academia. I also have another humanities class to take, and Film and Literature caught my eye. I love Film. I love Literature. I love comparing movies based on books I’ve loved ,while sitting on my soap box aka couch in my living room, so perhaps I’ll give it a go.


I may be getting ahead of myself as it will take at least two years for me to finish my associates degree part-time, but I’ve been looking at schools to transfer to for my bachelors degree. The options are nil.


I find that the schools with psychology programs I like don’t cater to adult schedules, (all I’m asking for is evening and/or weekend classes, and hopefully an adult learning community) and the schools that do offer adult tracks, well, their psychology programs leave a lot to be desired.


But for now, I sit in my three walled shared cube, and listen to voice the on the other side of me discuss American idol with profound comments such as ‘nasty teeth, great voice.’ Oh, how I love the office.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

One More Try: Why I'm Here


When you’re in high school, you think you know everything. Atleast I did. I thought I knew everything I wanted, and if by chance I didn’t, well, I’m sure there’d be plenty of time to figure it out. Given this way of thinking, my first experience doing a semester at community college didn’t go so well. I was told it would be easy. In turn, my effort was lacking. Mostly, I came home from class and played Sims while eating cheetos, or practiced eye shadow techniques in the mirror as BBMak played on in the background.

A few days before Christmas, I received my first college report card: 2 D’s and a C. Ouch. Instantaneously discouraged, I abandoned my plans for college, resolved to move to an apartment in the city with my best friend, and spent a year doing various temp jobs. All of my friends were in school or getting their first real jobs, and once again the school bug bit me. I was living in a bustling city, my best friend was a theatre major and all of our friends were creative and peculiar and much more interesting than me. So what did I do? I enrolled in a very expensive art school, majoring in commercial interior design. How I came up with that one, I still couldn’t tell you.

Suffice it to say, though I love to Illustrate pictures or life-based comic books for my closest friends, and even create some of the most magnificent post-it doodles you have ever seen, a Fine Arts degree was not the path for me. Another disappointing report card was received, and although this time I could say that I did try my best and sweated my way through a semesters worth of arduous critiques, I threw my backpack into the closet and traded it for some sensible loafers and another temp job.

I was placed by a temporary agency in the business office of a healthcare system. Unlike most of my other temp jobs, my co workers were very friendly and welcoming. I immediately felt at home, and enjoyed learning new things about healthcare finance, a needed refreshment from my usual administrative or data entry jobs. When my 3 month assignment ended, the company offered my a permanent position and a wage increase. Of course, I took it gladly. This job would lead me to my longest break from college, and for awhile, I was ok with that.

Within a year I had received a promotion. Within 5 years, I was making a pretty decent amount of money for a non college graduate, and I saw myself growing with the company. I was assigned projects, I did presentations, I was even invited to manager meetings to present ideas. But life happened and my living arrangements changed. I moved further away from my job. Then the office moved further north, and I was spending 4 hours of my day on public transportation just to make it to work.

At the same time, my career moved to a speeding halt. I had been promised a promotion contingent upon my supervisor’s retirement, but she would subtly chat with me about how she didn’t want to retire; wouldn’t know what to do with herself. I’d stop by the local library on lunch breaks and pick up some senior citizen group brochures, send them anonymously to her via interoffice mail. I’d constantly ask about her many grandchildren, and how fun it would be to be able to care for them during the day. After awhile, however, I started to believe her. This woman would never retire. So I searched for jobs within the corporation, even talked to some of the directors of other departments. They all required one thing: a college degree. “ We know how experienced you are, how much you’ve done…” They’d say with a pitying smile, “ But without that college degree, Human Resources won’t even let me formally interview you.”

I took some online courses in Healthcare Administration. It was all I could do, what with me being on the train for most of my evening. I read studiously and posted my papers online. I got a few credits. I got good grades for the first time in my college experience. That wasn’t the problem this time. I won’t go into it here, but I decided I didn’t really care for ‘distance learning.’
Fast forward to 2 years later; I have a new job in a suburb close to home. I don’t have any promotions lined up. I don’t have a college degree. I don’t like working in a cube farm. I have passions, undiscovered, unexplored, vying to get out and do something with themselves. I could compromise with myself. I could finish a degree in finance, and move to a bigger cubicle. But now I’m old enough to know that’s not what I want, and I don’t have as much time to do it as I did 10 years ago. So here it is. My fourth, and hopefully final, attempt at higher education.


That's what this blog is about. The challenges an adult- yes, amazingly I’m considered an adult now, where did the time go?- faces when going back to school to finally fulfill their dreams. Maybe it’s an old dream you never thought you could achieve. Maybe your kids are in school and you have more time. Maybe some internal voice just keeps nagging at you. Whatever the reason, I know there are others like me out there. There has to be. I hope they’re in my classes, because I cringe at the idea of having a group discussion with an 18 year old while I struggle to find out if I’m going to look silly with a notebook instead of a laptop.