30 before 30: Days 16-20

“The people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

My heart is so incredibly full and mind my is unfocused and frankly I don’t want to do anything but daydream of DM, breath in DM, work on DM, and savor all of my memories of DM every single second of every day.  It’s a fullness that I can’t portray in words.  My heart is a sink overflowing with happiness, passion, and raw emotion.  Every day that we inch closer is a day I wish I could have again.

I frankly can’t remember what I did on Thursday, but Friday we had our Sumo Wrestling Contest/Wrestling Match in partnership with Athletics.  It was the first event that Rene and I paid very little attention to because our schoolwork finally caught up with us that week.  Luckily, everyone associated with Athletics had the time and patience to work with us and when we got there, the majority of the logistics had been taken care of without our input.  Neither of us had an issue with that, but we felt embarrassed that we could not properly juggle both things and so we apologized for being so out of touch and, frankly, a bit difficult to deal with when planning this event.  While it wasn’t our best event it certainly wasn’t a failure; it was an “easy 6″ as Rene likes to say and a great way to keep DM on the radar for another week.  Most of Exec went to Bat 17 afterwards and then we went to Sourav’s for his “pun party” in celebration of his 22nd.  It was another great night with Exec…acting silly and loving each other.

Saturday I did something I never ever have time to do.  I slept in.  I watched 5 hours of television.  I did a months worth of laundry, and I did it all in my pajamas.  Total bliss.  Later we went to the Celtic Knot to celebrate Melissa’s 22nd, I joined Maura to see Spring Awakening (yes, round 2), and went to Nevin’s with Melissa for midnight drinks.  A perfectly stress-free, much needed, very relaxing Saturday.

Sunday I did DM work, totaling trivia points and sending e-mails, and had our usual Sunday evening meetings.  Except this time we said, “this is our 2nd to last committee meeting,” and, “after this, only 1 more Exec meeting until DM.”  It was a scary statement.  The more we discuss things like the 30-hour schedule, assignments for Thursday night, pump-up kits, full-money deadline, and other final things I have to take a deep breath and remind myself that we did it.  Not only as Special Events Co-Chairs, but as a board.  We have been working to make this happen for almost a year, and it is happening.  And we did that.  We did that in our spare time, when we weren’t taking classes, or attempting to sleep, or juggling other student groups.  As 22 passionate students we are making one of the biggest philanthropic events in the nation happen, and we are doing it with such ease and expertise.  I am in awe of everyone.  So it was only fitting that we all go eat a late dinner at Clarke’s and talk about inappropriate things.

Today I attempted to do work in the office all day, but I was barely productive.   Attempted the same thing after our chapter meeting, but had no such luck.  Absolutely none of it seems as important as this momentous event coming up.  How can I focus on the Mexican Revolution when I know that we are about to change the trajectory of one small Delaware non-profit?  When we are going to change the lives of thousands of children and families affected by childhood cancer?  You tell me, could you focus when you knew you were about to do that?

Please watch this:

30 before 30: 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

WE’RE IN THE TEENS PEOPLE.  I’m so incredibly giddy with excitement it’s hard to put into words.  Just received some wonderful news today: my parents are coming for DM!  I completely understood why they didn’t plan on coming at first.  It’s really expensive for them to make the trip and it seems like they wouldn’t get to spend a lot of time with me.  The truth is that this is so important to me and I was really sad that they would be missing it, especially since almost everyone on Exec is getting a visit from the parentals.  I’m so excited to share in the magic with them!  The fact of the matter is that I’m not in charge of a 30-hour committee so the majority of my work as a Special Events Co-Chair is finished.  The weekend of I’ll be in charge of the 5k/10k (while Mom and Dad are sleeping) and the DM Spa, which is very low key.  Their trip will be worth it.  They will share in my passion, they’ll get so see how this amazing organization changes lives and teaches everyone involved so much about themselves and the world around them. EXCITED.

Back to the countdown.  Saturday I worked on my religion paper all day, briefly pausing to film the DM Exec video.  It was 3 hours of pure smiles, bright colors, and balloons.  It may be extremely cheesy, but as a board we’re pretty cheesy.  Our dynamic is one of admiration and love and so there was no better way to represent it.  I grabbed a quick dinner at Clarke’s with Shelby and Jess, whom I haven’t seen in way too long, to catch up on life.  We talked about the future, the present and the intersection between the two.  There is a delicate balance between living in the now and planning for life post college.  It’s a scary web of emotions.  I outlined my paper for the rest of the night.

Sunday was the DM Valentine’s Day Party.  I cherish every moment I get to see the B+ Heroes; it brings me back to reality.  I don’t always know the best way to interact with them, or children in general, but I try my best and try to make them feel special and appreciated.  I want them to remember these moments in life just as much as I do.  These special experiences…surrounded by students who love them before even knowing them, they must leave an impression.  Later we had a committee meeting and an Exec meeting.  Wrote my paper until 2 AM.

Monday I woke up at 8 AM for a 9 AM Pre-Production meeting and then worked on my paper until it was due, at 5 PM sharp.  What a relief.  I felt ill and exhausted so I relaxed for 2 hours before approaching any form of studying for my 2nd midterm in SOC 311: Food, Society, and Politics.  One of the best classes I’ve taken all of college.

Tuesday I woke up at 8 AM to study and do work all day until the midterm.  Finally the worst was over and I ate dinner and went to my Wine Appreciation Class.  So relaxing…  Finished off a very non-lovey dovey Valentine’s Day with Wendy and Maura at the movies to stare at Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams in The Vow.  I didn’t cry.  A dissapointing romantic movie if you ask me.  Dear John was so much better.

Today I finally slept in, but I still had to do reading for my Religion class all day long.  I am seriously having withdrawl from the DM office.  I know I should be spending tons of time in there, but I can’t actually get work done and this was my scary serious midterm week.  Hoping to make a come back tomorrow.  We had dancer kick-off at 7 which literally made me tingle.  Seeing all the first time dancers listen attentively to the tips and strategies for DM made me so happy.  How did four years go by?  I really did that 3 times?  I’ve been planning this since April?  It’s almost over?  Did any of this really happen?  Because, honestly, I don’t know where the time went.  I want to freeze time.  Some memories are like polaroids that delicately hang on a clothesline in the wind.  They’re there now, but I don’t know how long I can hold on to each one of them.  I’m afraid of forgetting.  Nothing can stop my happy though because my parents are coming for DM and I can’t stop smiling.  Literally, DM is more important than graduation.  And so I leave you with this gem.   15 days, 18 hours, 49 mins.

DM Quarter is…

no socks

re-wearing socks

macaroni and cheese/grilled cheese/everything with cheese

carb overload

coffee, tea, and caffeine

mood swings

an endless stream of e-mails

hugs and big smiles

preemptive nostalgia

countdowns

best friends

muploads

ponytails

Girls Night(s)

wonderful.

30 before 30: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

This week was crazy.  I spent all of Monday pretending DM didn’t exist just so I could submit another fellowship application.  Spent too much time in the DM office not doing anything DM related.  Compiled a list of possible jobs to apply for and then wholeheartedly decided that I have no extra time to apply for jobs.  What was I thinking?  DG Lounge was a huge success even though I didn’t really feel helpful.  I’m curious to know how much money we raised in total.

Tuesday was: Happy Birthday Stephanie and Chuck!  My roommate turned 22 and so did another friend on DM Exec.  So we did a deliciously bad for you vegetarian lunch at Edzo’s complete with garlic fries and a nutella milkshake.  Later that day we had the DM Kid’s Jamboree at Lincoln Elementary which was very well attended!  I really have to be in the mood to play with kids though, they can be exhausting.  Then we had our Wine Appreciation Class and some of us on DM Exec went to Bat 17 for beer towers in honor of Chuck’s birthday.  I was happy I finally got a beer tower.  Not so happy Wednesday when I was completely exhausted.

Wednesday we had our basketball practice with some B+ Heroes and families and the men’s basketball team.  It was absolutely adorable to watch, my heart was melting.  The kids loved interacting with the players and everyone was snapping photos…you wouldn’t believe the size difference!  It was just another moment of many where I stop and think to myself, “This is why I work so hard.  This makes it worth it.”  And it does.  We all need those moments to refresh ourselves.  Trivia was less crowded than usual, and I felt particularly sluggish.  Good thing my committee members are rockstars. Oh and someone pointed out halfway through the night that I was wearing my sweater inside out.  No-sleep February?

Thursday  was packed with reading and class and then I went straight to our DM sponsored basketball game vs. Iowa.  Attendance was great for a mid-week game and the B+ Families were honored on the jumbotron!  They seemed to be having a good time, especially since some of the little boys are big basketball fans.  I wish we got to see them more often but hopefully they’ll be at the Valentine’s Day party on Sunday.  And, of course, during all waking hours of DM.  After the game we did a little Special Events and Finance bonding at Rene’s apartment, and then crashed the Dancer Relations/Food party at Nadija’s.  Let the record state that I really don’t have time for socializing, but it helps keep me sane.  Also, I hate missing the funny moments that remind me of how great everyone on Exec is.  And just spending as much time with them as possible.  What are we going to do when DM has come and gone?

Today I had class til one and then I actually got to relax for two hours.  I’m seeing Spring Awakening tonight (SO EXCITED) and then hopefully doing work before bed.  This is going to be the weekend and week from hell.  10 page paper due Monday, midterm Tuesday, serious class presentation on Friday and an event to plan by Friday.  I know I’m going to get through it, but it’s going to be rough.  One of those weeks where I may continually look like a zombie and wear DM/DG apparel.

Trying to balance DM and school work at this crucial point in the quarter is difficult.  There are some moments when I feel incredibly fulfilled and happy and others where I panic a bit about my stressful schedule and all the reading that is not going to get done.  There are sometimes when I just feel like crying and others where I can’t stop smiling and I force myself to watch the DM videos (that I’ve seen a million times) over and over.  And I listen to “Sweet Disposition” 3 or 4 times in a row.  In a year, or maybe just a few months, the classes that I finished won’t matter all that much.  But these moments will.  They have taught me that I may be able to care about almost any social or medical cause as long as I am applying my skills and surrounding myself with a group of like-minded, incredibly passionate individuals.  I don’t think that everyone needs to be philanthropic.  I don’t think that we should all drop what we’re doing and fix the world’s problems.  Some people are meant for that work, drawn to that work.  Others are not.  Live with passion.  Work with purpose.  I know that I will support those who are passionate about what they do, because I know what that feels like, and it makes every hour of work so much more rewarding.

30 before 30: Days 2, 3, 4, 5

You expected this right?  I did too.  The whole “of course I’m going to write every day thing” was a bit of a stretch.  I guess it’s just a testament to my DM quarter mentality: DM comes before everything else.  And sleep comes before all of that.  Which sometimes means that homework, eating healthy, looking good, and seeing friends are ranked pretty low on the list.  Case in point: last’s nights dinner consisted of some leftover Top Chef garlic bread, random grilled shrimp that the judges may or may not have touched, and Amy’s Parmesan macaroni and cheese, from a box, to which I may or may not have added half a stick of butter.  And then I ate the entire box.  My stomach was a bit angry with me.

Back to the point.  I spent Thursday trying not to spend every waking hour thinking about Top Chef so that I could actually focus on my Spanish midterm. Rene and I met later in the evening to hammer out all possible logistics so that we wouldn’t have to worry about anything on Saturday morning.  After two hours of questions, playful bickering and grumbling, and lots of wasted paper, we felt prepared.

Friday was class, Top Chef prep and Gone Greek Night.  Rene was a champ and spent the better part of the day at Whole Foods collecting teams’ bags of food.  After some quick thinking we hauled them over to Now We’re Cookin, labeled and divided, and parted ways for Gone Greek Night.  The night club was amusing to put it mildly, cute senior pictures were taken, reasonably priced cocktails were had by all (18+ I’m sure).  I attempted to go out afterwards, but I was not surprised when Top Chef jitters forced me to leave after 15 minutes at John Barleycorn.  Burnt popcorn, water, 7 hours of sleep.

Saturday was TOP CHEF DAY.  I met Rene for a hangover-be-gone brunch at Dixie Kitchen and we went over last minute logistics and debriefed about GGN and life in general.  The hours of 3 PM-7:30 PM were a bit of a blur.  Because I was managing our minute-by-minute schedule in the kitchen, Top Chef was a fast paced and stressful event.  After quickly dealing with an MIA team and some MIA buses, somehow we were able to pull it all together.  Though I do consider myself an experienced event planner (because I love it), this was by far the hardest thing I have ever planned.  Never before have there been so many moving pieces at once, so many logistics to worry about.  It was so exciting to see my committee in action, working hard, individually and together, for the success of this event and a passion for Dance Marathon.  I felt like a sappy mom watching her children in the school play, while simultaneously being the director of that play.  I know it will make a great talking point in future interviews and it’s something of which I am very proud.  We surpassed my expectations for fundraising and received great reviews from audience members.  I can’t wait to see the press!  Though I had intended to celebrate afterward, a whirlwind of emotions hit me like a truck.  All the stress and exhaustion that had been building inside me came pouring out, and the only remedy was a hot shower, a heaping bowl of cheesy pasta, and an early bed time.  An excellent life choice.

So that brings me to today.  Slept in, had an early Exec meeting and then went to a Superbowl party at Elyse’s apartment, another DG senior.  It was adorable.  She spent the entire day building a vegetarian feast of chili, cornbread, zucchini pizza, home-made pretzels and more.  It was incredibly thoughtful and delicious!  Sent follow-up Top Chef emails….didn’t get nearly enough homework done.  But I know myself really well, and if I had not taken all that time to relax and unwind from Top Chef I wouldn’t be a functioning and happy human this week.

Things to remember: slow down.  Drink Emergen-C.  What happened to fruits and vegetables?  Always give hugs.  Goodnight!

DM Exec 2012 at Top Chef, I'm the one with all the papers

30 before 30: Day One

So here we are, February.  The countdown has officially begun.  My life, my obsession, my passion for this year has been Dance Marathon.  I have dreamed about what it might feel like when we finally made it this far, after almost a years worth of planning and 20-30 man hours per week, striving to raise awareness and funds for our beneficiary.  There are many moments when I am on the verge of tears.  My heart feels so incredibly full that I can’t imagine a more perfect way to spend my time.  And there are other times when my mind feels scrambled and my heart is racing and the stress and exhaustion is debilitating.  I wouldn’t trade this for the world.

So I decided that I don’t want to forget a moment or a memory so I won’t forget a day.  Every day, from now until the big weekend, I will write.  About how I’m feeling, the progress we’ve made, a success, a funny story.  When March 4, 2012 is fading into the distance, I will want to read this.

Today I finally got to sleep in after a particularly full weekend of DM which consumed almost every waking hour.  Couple that with a 9 AM meeting on Monday and a Spanish presentation on Tuesday and there wasn’t much time left in the day.  In retrospect, I probably shouldn’t have slept in.  I woke up around 11 AM, finalized our production schedule for Top Chef and sent about a million e-mails regarding this weekend and beginning crucial conversations about weekend-of events such as our 5k/10k.  I did “work” at Kafein, which was really code for editing my resume, contemplating my future, and sending more e-mails/planning for DM.  After reheating leftovers I went to the DM office to make copies and attempt to do actual reading for Religious Studies.  Once that didn’t happen I went to Buffalo Wild Wings to embark on Week 4 of our Trivia Challenge.  We left with a nice wad of cash as usual, and I couldn’t help but smile.  One of the things I’m most proud of about this year is the incredible progress we have made with Trivia, boosting attendance, moving into the backroom, working on a food special, and improving the atmosphere and mood overall.  It’s a great feeling to know that we could transform something that was once a struggle and a chore, into an extremely lucrative and exciting weekly event, while engaging our Committee members and sipping a beer every once and a while.  So here I am, still not reading for Religious Studies, saying farewell to February 1st.  Today was a very happy day.

Keith Haring

we ourselves flash and yearn

Dream Song 14

Life, friends, is boring. We must not say so.
After all, the sky flashes, the great sea yearns,
we ourselves flash and yearn,
and moreover my mother told me as a boy
(repeatingly) “Ever to confess you’re bored
means you have no

Inner Resources.” I conclude now I have no
inner resources, because I am heavy bored.
Peoples bore me,
literature bores me, especially great literature,
Henry bores me, with his plights & gripes
as bad as Achilles,

who loves people and valiant art, which bores me.
And the tranquil hills, & gin, look like a drag
and somehow a dog
has taken itself & its tail considerably away
into the mountains or sea or sky, leaving
behind: me, wag.

 -John Berryman