Monday, April 30, 2012

Greek Life

Last Wednesday night I was sitting in the office working on my Venue Naming Rights project for my Sports Marketing class due during finals week when Sarah walked in. She asked me what I was doing, asked if it needed to be done right now, then told me to get in the car when I said no. Turns out she was headed over to Erika's where a lot of the Greek OA's were going to the joint KD/Sigma Kappa Crush Party. Granted, she had lost her phone and didn't really know how to get there, and I had been before, but I was still flattered. It was a Woodstock theme, so I was ridiculously unprepared - but at the very least I had worn a neon shirt, so I had that going for me, I guess? But I could not have been dressed more like a GDI if I had physically tried that morning - Detroit flat brim, Central Spirit neon shirt, cargo shorts, and sneakers. Needless to say, I felt completely out of my element going to a Woodstock themed Greek Event...

Now, those that know me fairly well - and I hope that would be everyone who is reading this blog - knows that I'm not the biggest fan of Greek Life. I'm not hardcore against it, I just understood right off the bat that it wasn't for me. Regardless, all of the OA Greeks brushed off my attire and made me feel welcome. When I tried to explain that I had been working on my project, had just jumped into the car to navigate without knowing anything about the event, and wasn't planning on actually going to it, they were all adamant that I come. Sophie claimed me as a date, and one very interesting Catbus ride later, I was at my first Greek Life event ever. And I must say, I had a lot of fun. I caught shit from a bunch of my independent friends the next day, and frankly, I really didn't appreciate their comments and stereotypes. Everyone was really receptive and just wanted to have a good time, they didn't care about my excuses and didn't tolerate my embarrassment. This is now the second time I've been one of two non-Greek OAs over at Erika's, and both times I've had a great time - having great chats, opening up, and just generally having a fun night. It's a very promising sign for an awesome summer, and I keep looking forward to the amazing experience that lies before me. Come Friday, I need to start my last year as an undergrad off and have an unforgettable, unbelievable, unpredictable year.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Tomorrow marks our last class for Orientation Ambassadors, and it has been quite a ride. It is unlike any other class experience I've had. Every Monday afternoon from 4:00 til 6:45 we meet, and you never really know what class will be like: from full out open discussions, simulations, presentations from our lovely graduate assistants or watching clips of Jersey Shore, Disney movies, and drugged out hippies dancing with no shirt on. This class has taught me a lot about myself, given me a direction for the summer, and helped to form great bonds with my fellow OAs that I cannot wait to pick up over the summer.Granted, it hasn't been all sunshine, ponies, and roses - and I'm not naive enough to think the summer will go off 100% positive with no hitches, but the good has tremendously overshadowed the bad for me so far.

We are 33 extremely different people, with varying personality types and different backgrounds - we can be incredibly boisterous and unruly, but it usually leads to a lot of fun. I think we have a great team in place that should complement each other through the summer. No doubt there will be conflicts and tempers will run high at times through the summer. But at the end of the day, we all love Clemson, we all want to help transition incoming students, and we will all have an unbreakable bond as Orientation Ambassadors.

Tomorrow will be bittersweet: I hate that this will be our last class, and that we'll be saying goodbye to Lauren and Wes - but at the same time, it means that the summer is that much closer, and we'll be able to truly get rolling with Orientation: meeting everyone, sharing stories, easing transitions, and hopefully changing some lives! This class has given me a new perspective and introduced me to people I never would have associated with otherwise - and as it turns out, some of them becoming some real close friends of mine. While I will certainly miss having OA class to make my Monday, week after week, I must remember that I'm simply turning the page, anticipating the next chapter of my life that will begin June 1st.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Am A Tiger.

Recently, Clemson has unveiled a new campaign with a giant banner on the side of the Visitor's Center that reads "I Am A Tiger. I Will Lead." Quite simply, I really like it.

First off, this year (and somewhat last year as well), I've really stepped up into leadership roles. I've never really seen myself as a leader, but as I grow up/grow into myself I'm broadening my sense of self. I realize that you don't have to be born a leader to become a leader, and that there are multiple ways to lead. I'm finding the best way that works for me, so that when I leave Clemson I'll be more prepared for a leadership role. So first off, I'm glad that that is the message going out to incoming students - you may not be a leader not, but you WILL Lead...just give it time.

Moreover, I'm writing based more on the tiger aspect of it. I've always really liked mascots in general - not necessarily in terms of a guy dressed up in a costume going around trying to get people to cheer/being annoying, but in terms of an animal/warrior/local flavor or what have you that represents a team or larger idea. As a kid, I enjoyed picturing what a battle between the two mascots would look like - whether that was at a soccer tournament or watching a professional game. Nowadays, I like to keep a Mascot Bracket during March Madness, mainly just for shits and giggles and to see if it will turn out any more successful than my "real" bracket. Point being, I'm drawn to thinking of mascots more than just a representative, but as an actual, tangible thing/character at times.

Perfect is a strong word, but I think a tiger is an almost perfect representative for me. I'm no wildlife scientist, but I have seen my fair share of documentaries and National Geographic segments to have a fundamental understanding of tigers. For a counterpoint, take the lion - the lion spends its entire life with its pride: hunting as a group, defending its kind, and following the herds. Without the pride, the lion would not be long for this world - it is completely dependent on others. The tiger, however, is solitary. It hunts alone, it finds new territory and claims it; it defends this land to the death, and is fully self-reliant. Now, I am by no means fully independent - financially first and foremost - but I like to think of myself as more independent than most my age. I've claimed my own territory - choosing colleges, I headed twelve hours south, away from all friends, family, and with a limited idea of what I could expect. And now? I claim it as mine - I have pride, maybe not so much in South Carolina as a whole, but certainly in Clemson. I define myself with it, it has completely enthralled me; it's my home for the majority of the year, and it has become an inseparable part of my identity. One of my greatest experiences of the summer last year is when I decided to travel to Bologna on my own. I won't get into the details of it, but basically I had researched it and decided I really wanted to go - when nobody else jumped on board, I said fuck it - I'm going anyway. I caught shit for it, but it was an unbelievable experience and something that really allowed me to grow as a traveler and a person.

Furthermore, I don't avoid solitude - in fact, I often find comfort in it. I enjoy strolling through campus - especially late at night - on my own, with my headphones in and hoodie up if the weather calls for it. I had friends freshmen year that, if they couldn't find anyone to eat with, would simply skip meals. That blew my mind that they were so interdependent. I can't even fathom how many times I just went to the dining hall alone freshmen year; surely I preferred to eat with friends, but if no one could go, I didn't let that stop me. And in fact, a lot of the close friendships I made freshmen year were because I jumped into a group of a few people I recognized and started meeting their friends on days when I trekked to Harcombe all by my lonesome. In fact, I'm a little too comfortable with solitude at times - I'm able to spend the day hanging out at my house revisiting old video games or watching stupid movies on my own all summer long. How many people would be driven crazy by that notion? And yet, I find an almost solace in it for a certain period.

You can't discuss tigers without talking about their exterior - the iconic tiger stripes. Amazingly, these stripes help to keep tigers camouflaged in the tall grass or foliage of the jungle; but take them out of their element, and they are easily recognizable and completely stand out. I don't think I need to explain what the color orange means to me as a Clemson student - I could go for over a month easily only wearing orange and never doing laundry - but needless to say this is pretty applicable. On campus or at a game, Solid Orange is a way of life for me. I can easily blend into a crowd decked out from head to toe in orange - hat, shirt, overalls, socks, shoes, the whole nine yards. In fact, as a freshmen on days that weren't Friday or a game day for whatever sporting event I was attending that day, I took advice to avoid orange and wear something unique to me (something from Philadelphia or a favorite band shirt, perhaps) in order to see if I couldn't strike up a conversation with someone and make a new friend those first few weeks. By wearing everyday clothes from high school, here I was standing out. Yet leave Clemson, and people start to look at you funny when your wardrobe consists of all orange all the time. Out of his natural element, the tiger sticks out like no other - and so it is with me when I depart from dear old Clemson.

It's funny - when I look back at my college decision, I invariably wonder what my life would be like somewhere else. I am truly happy here and with my choice to come to Clemson, and so I have no regrets about that. But I do think how my life would be different if I had gone to NC State. Honestly, it doesn't even seem like my second choice any longer; the more time I spend here, the less affiliation I feel to my "backup" or what have you. There's really no way to grasp the changes there would be in me and my personality - maybe in some parallel universe - but I do consider: how would my life be in Raleigh? What would I have chosen to get involved in? What would my friend circle look like - and with that: would I be reflecting on how well I fit into my Wolf Pack?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Slow To Start

I took the big step in creating this blog, but aside from the first entry, I have yet to really do anything with it. That's partly attributable to the fact that I lack direction - with Perugia, I always had something to write about: travel, field trips, interactions with new people, and just adventuring around during the week and seeing what I could get up to. Nothing ever seemed mundane, so I never overlooked it. Believe me, there has been plenty going on here recently, but I don't think that's the route I want to go with this - just describing my day to day activities. Anytime I've had the desire to keep record and start blogging again, it's because I had a concept I wanted to hash out or pour over more, and writing was a great way to put it down on some virtual paper. I draw a lot from Greg in that respect - I want to write more about ideas and thoughts rather than happenings. This won't be an everyday posting, though perhaps that would be a good goal for break: keep myself occupied by challenging myself to update everyday. I definitely don't want this to turn into my middle school Xanga page, though, where I just wrote about my ridiculously boring days (sometimes with up to three posts a day!) without ever coming to a real point or drawing readers' attention - but I must admit, it's amusing to me to go back and revisit my old page!

Ultimately, though, I think the major reason behind it all is much deeper: I have a problem starting things. This is a concept that struck me the other day, and the more situations I apply it to, the truer it seems to ring to me. Part of the reason I abandoned my go-to "what I want to be when I grow up" position of a small business owner, in addition to actually learning more details about what that would entail, is that I would do a terrible job starting something from scratch. I prefer to take an existing thing and strive to make it better; I'm not creative, I'm an "improver" or so I'd like to believe. This year, especially this semester with Orientation and Exec, I've learned a lot more about myself - rivaling the huge strides I made across my first semester at college, even. One of those things, which I've found to be completely true - is that I am an analyzer, and one of the biggest flaws of an analyzer is that they will take too much time examining problems from different angles instead of just making a decision. I don't like to make decisions - I never feel ready. There's always more research to do, more to discuss, more I'd like to speculate on; I need a hard deadline, and even then I sometimes push it a little further. I've "found my niche" as we so often like to throw around in OA class, as being that right-hand-man/adviser/confidant role, where I can take someone's problem, flip it to another perspective, and hand it right back. I offer advice or a new point of view, and maybe offer up a few options for courses of action, and it falls on them to execute it.

Reeling this back in to something more relevant to my current situation, I've reflected recently that so many of my "relationships" or rather pursuits thereof have been motivated right before breaks - mostly summer, but one winter break thrown in there freshmen year. In some cases, the thought of being away has made me realize I have feelings for someone, but most often I draw this imaginary line in the proverbial sand and say if I don't motivate myself to make something happen, I'll either A) regret it or B) lose the opportunity. Frankly, I'm not sure how much to expand on my current situation because honestly we haven't talked about this elephant in the room yet and also I really don't even know who my audience is yet (I've been meaning to send out invitations and links, so I'll get to that right after posting). To sum it up, I have been semi-seeing a girl recently (even that term I struggled to come up with and don't know if it really fits), but summer is rolling along in two weeks. Open heart on my sleeve: I think it's clear that we both like each other, and I'm purely speculating here, but I can picture this turning into something concrete - but, summer is a long time, and a lot can change...I think it would be foolish to worry about putting a label on anything or think too much about what comes next. However, I think we need to go into summer at the very least on the same page, even if that means having an awkward conversation way too soon. We shall see what happens with that.

Point being, my toughest battle is with starting. Whether that be with finding a job, getting my license, writing a paper/working on a project, making friends, or pursuing relationships - the first steps are always the most difficult for me. I don't know if I can account that to over-analyzing, lack of courage, fear of leaving my comfort zone, or any other of a multitude of reasons - I'll need to do more soul searching for the answer to that million dollar question. Right now, I just have to focus on overcoming it. Making decisions and owning them, maybe throwing caution to the wind every now and then, and just initiate more. Be aggressive. Assertive. Brave. Unafraid to be me. And with that being said, I'd like to officially welcome you to my blog. If you're reading this, I truly appreciate your time and want you to know that I'm making an effort to be more open and share myself with you.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Hello, friends! My hiatus from blogging is potentially over. It was something I really enjoyed doing in Italy, but I never really transferred it over to everyday life. Be forewarned: this blog will feature me ramble often, so be prepared. Here is rambling number one, which leads to why I ultimately decided to start a blog.

I've discovered my immense need to documents things - seemingly electronically only. I've never been one to keep a journal or scrapbook, but essentially I've found ways to do that over the internet that I utilize incessantly. Way back in the day, I had a Xanga that documented my tedious day to day activities. When I first got to Clemson, I was that freshmen that always had a camera, and I became notorious for uploading my pictures right away. I've fallen in love with FourSquare and obsess over keeping track of the different places I've been. Recently I lost all the documents on my hard drive after having to get it replaced, and I should be much more worried about losing all my school documents for my Eportfolio than I am. In the face of losing these important documents, I still was bummed about my music mostly. Even though I was relieved to discover all of my iTunes were backed up thanks to Google Play, I lost all my ratings and play counts. It is unbelievably trivial, but I liked having ratings that allowed me to stream only my favorite songs onto my iPhone and always tried to keep track of how much I listened to different songs/artists and how long it had been since I listened to something.

Along those same lines, I routinely go back and look at my old Facebook albums. Even if nobody does much more than flip through them as they are uploaded solely to procrastinate/creep, I like having it there for me - I like going back and seeing what I was like, how I've changed, what's still the same. With the conversion to timeline, Facebook has a map feature. I've dabbled with similar applications - from an old white board map of the US that I colored in all the states I'd visited as a kid, to the Where I've Been interactive map and profile. But this seemed so much more - every picture or significant event could be tagged and traced back to a location, streamlining two of my hobbies on a platform where I kept everything. I'm still in the process, but I've spent countless hours already going back through my pictures to create a more complete map, tagging things one by one back to fan pages that are scarcely visited. As a result, I've put a fairly complete map together from recent travels, clumping all my pictures up into geographic region, then destination, and even down to the attraction. Bringing this all back to a logical point, as I was putting this together, it gave me an excuse to go through all of my Italy pics and revisit my blog from the summer ( for those of you who never checked it out!) I loved jumping back into it, reading what I had wrote, reliving all of my travels, looking back on my first posts and comparing that to how I had felt leaving. It made me miss blogging, and occasionally when I've been overly sentimental or nostalgic, I found myself wishing I still had a blog for the seemingly mundane. Who knows, maybe one day I'll want to look back at my college years, or (as long as I make time to write this summer) my experience as an Orientation Ambassador.

I reasoned with myself that when I had a name I was satisfied with, I would start up a blog. I would try to make time to write, I would spill out my true thoughts, I wouldn't worry about what other people think. I would just document everything in the moment, knowing that I could always look back on it and cheer up, relish in a past chapter of my life, or just waste some time on a slow evening. Well, I recently came up with a name that just "worked" for me. I don't pride myself as an especially creative person, but I do put a lot of thought into things and hold myself to a high standard with things like these - screen names, my twitter handle, so on. As a sophomore, sitting in class last April out of nowhere the word "perusing" came into my head and I liked how it flowed off of Perugia, the city I would be studying in. It was perfect - "to examine or consider with attention and in detail" seemed fitting for how I would spend my time traveling and studying, and the alliteration was in effect. I wouldn't have been satisfied with a generic or uninspiring name, but it was really just for me than for anyone else. And so, as I brainstormed for a title for this blog, I didn't really know where to begin. I wanted something simple yet meaningful - it didn't have to define me, but I wanted an element of my personality in there. Nothing was stopping me from just writing and changing the name, but I stuck to my personal agreement and decided when I had a name I was satisfied with, I would be ready to get rolling with the blog.

The tangent comes full circle, and we'll re-visit my data loss. In an attempt to get a start on my beloved play counts, I vowed to start from the A's and listen to every song once though my iTunes - a feat that will take me over 15 days if I listened straight through for 24 hours. I reached Anberlin - not my favorite band by far, but I do enjoy their stuff on occasion - and caught a lyric from The Resistance which I've always liked. It's directly the title I found fitting enough to go with, so it should sound familiar. Speak for yourself, you paper tigers. Obviously the tiger bit resonated with me - in fact, inspired my Greg, I've started my own little sticky note on my desktop of blogging ideas. One of them is what being a Tiger means to me, which I hope to write about soon once I formulate the whole concept. In addition, a paper tiger is a cool little saying coming from the Chinese - it's something that seems vicious at first glance, but upon further inspection is actually harmless. And finally the speaking for yourself bit, it fits so perfectly. It's exactly what I hope to achieve. I want to write for myself, and I know that nobody will ever find as much meaning or enjoyment from this blog as I will looking back over it.

So the logical question remains: if I'm always documenting for my own benefit, why broadcast it? The internet is seemingly the worst place for a private place to reflect. The logical answer would be in the fact that it's much easier to type up and edit online than it would be to write everything by hand. Maybe throw in the fact that I can access it from anywhere, not have to worry about losing old posts like I have my other documents, or any sort of generic reason why the internet is the best place for information sharing. But if I'm being truthful, there is additional aspect to it. I don't want to hide, I don't want there to be separate pieces of me - a different face for each situation or interaction. I'm writing for me, so I can be 100% truthfully myself - and the fact that there may be an audience shouldn't change that fact. I'm working to be more open, take more risks, not worry so much about perceptions, and my Orientation class is helping me a lot with that. Perhaps that's a topic for another day. For now, I can rest assured that I'm going into this project with great intentions and hopefully great results - and that's good enough for me. After all, I've spent enough time considering it that it's about time I just go ahead and jump in. I over analyze way too much as it is, the fact that I've internally debated for so long whether to start on a medium that will allow me to review and analyze everything speaks volumes! I hope everyone finds this blog enjoyable as you learn more about me and the way I think - and future me, I know you're reading this as well! :)