Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rolling with the Punches

Rolling with the punches. I must say, this is hard for me. Sometimes, a right hook flies out of nowhere and hits you when you're completely unprepared. Is it possible then to roll with it? Or are you so off-balance that it knocks you off your feet into a One-hit KO? I think that some punches are just too hard to roll with.

Take today, for instance. Two punches, within half an hour, that left me staggering around with bruises and, I'm pretty sure, a nosebleed. Now, I won't go into detail on those punches in case the offending parties (party) ever reads this post. I don't want a retaliation punch, no thank you. But anyway, both of these punches came out of the blue and were completely unexpected. And because they came in such rapid succession, there was hardly any time to breathe in between.

So did I roll with the punches?

No. I didn't. I went back to my dorm room (skipping my next class, I might add, a very bad idea) and cried. Literally. Like tears, sniffles and tissue. I'm not even lying. I pulled out my slice of cookie cake, put in Enchanted and just basically sat and boo-hooed. It was not fun. And it was not productive.

Sometimes, things happen and you can't just move on. You can't just buck up and say everything's going to be okay and move on with life. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not still eating cookie cake and crying - okay I cried a bit while talking to my Mom on the phone and telling her about my day. But I have moved on. I've put it behind me and just vowed to never voice an opinion in class again. :-) It's hard to move on when you think you've been wronged or treated unjustly.

But that's what moving on is for. I'm about to go enjoy Vampire Diaries with some very good friends. I've had a pretty good afternoon, as long as I don't think about the morning. Moving on is a talent (skill) we all need to learn.

After all, if you aren't rolling with the punches, you'll never make it back to your feet. And we all know that if you aren't on your feet, you're going to be swept away.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Things I Wish I'd Known...Homework

You know what that old Chinese proverb is, that really smart one that makes you go "hmmm..." and tap your finger on your chin? Yeah, that one. Well, that's kind of like the reaction you are going to have at the end of this blog post. I am going to make you think, college students. No more Ms Funny, Ms Nice Girl. Nuh-uh. Time to put that brain to work. If mine is being used (and it is - I'm learning about media in the politics) then yours should be used to.

Today's topic is homework. I'm almost at Fall Break and, oh boy, I was gunning for Friday, when I could peace out and slide into my break. And then I made a mistake. The fatal, life-altering mistake that forever skewed my outlook on Fall Break and basically life in general. I looked at my planner.

And fainted.


Actually, I think my heart skipped a few beats and maybe failed for a split second. Where did all this homework come from? Yes, people who believe the "H-word" is no longer part of your vocabulary after K-12 school is over. Homework exists in college. You better get used to it.

Professors in college don't always remind you when something is due. Some will. If you've got a paper due on Monday, some of the nicer professors will remind you the Friday before. Some won't. They'll expect you to refer to the syllabus to remember when things are due.

I had this happen to me already this semester. I forgot some articles were due, my professor didn't remind us (perfectly within his rights) and thus, I didn't turn it in. Had I checked my syllabus (or my planner), I'd have known it was due and I'd have turned it in.

So here's some good advice to remember when it comes to homework:

  • Don't delude yourself. Homework is just as big (perhaps bigger) a part of your life in college as it was in high school
  • Do your homework within the week that it is assigned. This applies mainly to reading assignments, math problems or homework like that, not long-range homework such as papers.
  • Never wait until the night before. Something's always gonna come up
  • KEEP YOUR SYLLABUSES. These will become your lifeline.
  • Take it upon yourself to note when things are due - don't rely on your professors to baby you. They're not your mommy or daddy.
So put on your big-boy pants and get a start on that homework your professor assigned you this morning. Yes, I know you want to eat ice cream and lie on the bed and watch Pretty Little Liars but trust me - get your homework done first.

I know I've gotta get mine done before I can watch Terra Nova now to take my own advice!!! Peace out!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Things I Wish I'd Known...Senioritis

I'm a senior now. Put on the bells and get out the party favors! Graduation is in sight! Woot-woot! Of course, I'm a semester behind so I actually have a year and a half to go but I still call myself a senior - 'cause that's what I am. I'm a senior, I'm a senior, I'm a senior and I can so totally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Either it's the end of my college career or it's a train but it sure is coming fast.

That being said, today's blog post is on senioritis. It is an actual disease that you can have. Let me fill you in on the symptoms.
  1. You don't want to do any work
  2. Your desire to skip class is overwhelming
  3. Homework can always wait until later
  4. Studying is never something that is in the forefront of your mind.
  5. Procrastination becomes second-nature.
I have senioritis. I'm doing papers the night before they're due, putting off research as long as I possibly can and skimping on assignments - doing the bare minimum to get by. This is not good. Case in point: I have 2 midterms next week and a book review due and 4 lesson plans and I haven't gotten any of it done except for the lesson plans.

I'm skipping class and chapel for no good reason other than I'm tired. I think I have had senioritis for a while but I've gotta get a handle on it or I'm gonna be spending all of Fall Break and Thanksgiving Break doing work (which I will probably be doing anyway, come to think of it.)

So here is some practical advice for conquering senioritis. Follow these simple steps and maybe you can avoid the plague.

  • Plan out what is due and when - then plan to have everything done at least three days prior to the due date.
  • Allow at least thirty minutes each day the week before a major test to study
  • Go to class - even though you might be tired, skipping class is a mega-bad idea.
  • Book reviews? Read the book at least a week before it's due so that you have time to write the review.
  • Keep your eye on the prize - graduation!!
So now I think I'll take my own advice and get back to my work. Take my advice as well, as something I wish I'd known.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Conviction, Direction & Obedience

Obedience. It's a funny word. That word that we, as kids, often wish wasn't in our parents' vocabulary. "Obey your mom - clean your room." How many times have we heard that? Too many to count. But, as we get older, we begin to hear of obedience in a different light. Lately, I've been hearing it quite differently indeed.

These past two weeks, I've been in Salmon Arm, British Columbia. That's right, in Canada. And I instantly fell in love. The scenery is amazing. Rolling hills turning into mountains, beautiful blue Lake Shuswap,'s gorgeous. And even more gorgeous are the people's hearts. They love, they laugh, they live with an abandon that knows no bounds.

Since I came to Canada last March on a mission trip, I've felt like God was calling me to mission in Canada but I didn't do more than give it a passing thought. Yes, it would be nice to live in Canada and yes I feel a desire to bring knowledge of Jesus to these people but my dream is to be a high school history teacher. That's my major. I want to own a horse farm and get married, write books and teach kids to love the stories of the past. Maybe Canada will have to be only in short-term mission plans. That way, I'll still be following God's will and my dreams as well. God wouldn't really want me to start a camp in Canada, would He?

So I came back this summer, to BC this time, praying a lot that God would show me His will for me clearly through this summer. Last week, we went to convention in Calgary. The first night, the speaker gave a message about dying to your own dreams and following God's plan for your life. Thank you, God, for hitting me over the head. Die to my dreams? Ok. I'll give it some thought.

I'd already fallen in love with Salmon Arm but starting a camp in Canada (which is what I felt - feel - God calling me to do)? Do you know how much that would cost, God? How much I'd have to give up to do it? My dream, that's what. I've wanted to be a teacher for a really long time. So okay, I'll think about this plan of yours, God, but I'm making no promises.

Well, everyone knows what happens when you test God. He proves Himself to be right, haha. Sunday we were back in BC at Mountainview Baptist Church. Pastor Benje Bartley preached an amazing sermon about...yep. You guessed it. Obedience to God. Thanks, Benje. He preached on how we need to obey God, no matter the cost.

My dream is just that - my dream. I had to make a choice. Obey God and follow Him, even if I have no clue how I'm going to do that? Or follow my own dream and hope that God's satisfied with what I decide to give him? So I made the choice. I will follow God's plan. I'm still open to what He's doing and will do with my life but I know that it will involve a Christian camp for kids somewhere near Salmon Arm. Here is home. Here is where I will reach Canadians for Christ.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Building Blocks.

Interesting blog title, eh? Building blocks. It can mean so many things. Wanna know where I got the title? From my hot chocolate mug that has the name of my preschool ministry on it: Building Blocks. But it applies here as well.

Building blocks and baby steps pretty much go hand in hand. You can't have the completed castle before you build it and you can't run before you walk. It's a common-known fact. Today's blog post will be short.

I'm ready to be published. Like, right now, I'd love to see my book on the Bestseller list and see it in the paper or whatever. I've wanted to be published for a long time. But now I'm learning to walk before I run.

Last time I pitched a novel - my military novel Willing to Die, my author bio was kind of crappy. I had little to no writing credits and so I was pretty much trying to run before I walked. Now, this time around, I'm walking first. My author bio looks pretty tight now with a good many writing credits. Biography in a nonfiction compilation, assistant editor of DevoKids, Honorable Mention in a national writing contest...I'm slowly padding my author biography and so I hope that that will help me to get published. Who knows?

The waiting for word back about my manuscripts is killing me but I'm surviving. Learning a lot about prayer and God's will and just waiting. Waiting stinks but I'm getting better at it!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Making a Life Change

Yep. You heard (or read) correctly. Michelle Higdon is making a life change. Turning over a new leaf. Starting afresh. Call it what you will but I am changing the way I live life today - at least part of it. And I know that right now, as you read this blog post, you are salivating and wishing I would just tell you what life change I am making. Am I going to stop procrastinating? Start learning to play that guitar sitting in the corner of my room? Be more outgoing?

No. To all those. Yes, those are great things I should endeavor to do but, hey, a girl can only make one life change at a time. So here is what I am going to do.

I am going to be healthy. Lose weight. Eat better. However you would like to phrase it, it remains the same. I am going to make the change today. Why this sudden change, you ask? Because I finally decided to use the scale my parents bought me (I asked for it - I was too cheap to buy one myself). When I did, I was in for a shock. And no, I'm not gonna tell you what it read but I am going to tell you that it was not a pleasant number.

School really throws a kink in my "lose weight, eat healthy" schemes. When you've been in classes all day, doing homework, etc., etc., who wants to exercise that night? Not me. That's my problem - I always find a reason to put it off. "Oh, darn, I just got out of the shower!" "Oh, darn, too much homework tonight." Or my favorite, "Oh, darn, I forgot...well, I'll just do it tomorrow." Yeah, and then tomorrow NEVER comes.

But now I am going to do it. I gave up soft drinks at New Year's and that hasn't been a walk in the park. However, instead of giving up soft drinks, I traded my 100 calories in an 8 oz. bottle of Pepsi for 120 calories in Hi-C Fruit Punch. Why didn't I go straight to water? Now I've gotta wean myself off Hi-C as well.

So, the plan. Here it is. Are you ready? Maybe the plan can work for you too!

  • Drink only water.
  • Eat only healthy food (easier said than done at school) except when absolutely necessary. No more chicken strips & fries, no more burgers. Yep. You heard it here first, folks. Michelle Higdon is swearing off chicken strips. Except for maybe the occasional Chick-fil-a run, of course.
  • Exercise. I will be enjoying my 10 Minute Solutions Blast Off Belly Fat DVD every night. Yes, you heard me. Every night. Unless I go for a run or something instead, but I hate running so I don't have very high hopes for that one
Okay, who thinks I can do it? I do. So let's see...ready? Set? Go!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Conference Woes

Went to a writer's conference this weekend and left all depressed-like. It was amazing, do not get me wrong, those of you shaking your heads at me and wondering if I'm on crack. The thing just depressed the snot out of me. Let me explain.

I learned a gazillion and one things. Like literally, a gazillion and one. How to change my middle from muddle to magnificent, how to creep out (and not creep out) an editor, how to make my characters set apart, etc. And it depressed me. Cause now I have so much work to do on my novel! Argh! My friend Beth and I spent Friday night on the way to my aunt's house reworking my novel. Which was great but now I've got a bunch of work to do. Oh well.

Another way the conference depressed me was that I went to this workshop class on your first page, led by an agent who read the first pages and commented on what was good/bad and whether or not she would want to read more. She must have read at least 15 first pages and all of them were good - in her opinion - and she would choose to read more! So if all those good first pages are out there, what makes mine any better? Why should I be the one who gets published? That depressed me to no end - even though I thought some of the first pages were kinda crappy. Anyway.

The conference did have some highlights - I met two wonderful women who were hilarious - Amy and Erin. They were super funny and it was a joy to meet them, even though the conference didn't give us much time for socializing. It was also nice to see that Beth and I weren't the only ones who skipped the morning Keynote and devotion...

So yes, now I see the sheer amount of work ahead of me but I also got some good feedback on my novel and I think I might have finally found my niche. Maybe. So now it's time to put the pedal to the metal, the fingers to the keyboard (insert more cliches here) and fix my novel!

Geez, I love conferences...

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Patience...Hard stuff!

Man, they tell you all the time that "patience is a virtue." Well, thank you, Mr. Perfect, I know that. But did anyone really say that impatience was a vice? My patience has been put to the test lately - basically through my own doing and so I decided to blog on patience for all of you peoples out there who are as impatient as me or at least a little impatient.

Recently, I went to a writer's conference and met probably the nicest agent I've ever met. She was friendly, VERY nice during my pitch session (which was good because I was super duper nervous) and wrote me a really sweet card because I helped her out with making some copies. I mean, talk about a really good experience!

Trouble is, she asked for a proposal. Now I know all you people out there (and my writer group people) are all like 'that's fantastic, at least she wanted to see it!' and, yes, that's how I was at first as well. All, woo-hoo, bring it on, she wants a proposal, happy dance around the dorm room. Yeah. I happy danced. A lot. Called my mom, told my writer's group, told facebook, twitter, etc.

But now comes the patience part I talked about earlier. This particular agent was nice enough to send me an email saying she'd got my proposal and she'd hope to get back to me within six weeks. Uh-oh. Start the patience meter, my gut's saying it's gonna run out in about 6 DAYS. And it kinda did. I'll find myself thinking about my proposal at the oddest times, wondering if she's looked at it yet, trying not to get the hopes up, realizing that's impossible and even daydreaming different scenarios. Yep. I'm a nutter.

Then, I started thinking about it. This agent is more than likely super busy. She probably gets like a zillion proposals a day. Plus, she does consulting work as well so that takes time. Six weeks is probably a SUPER short time compared to other agents. It's just my fault that I'm impatient naturally.

So I've come up with some ways to get my mind off my proposal and figured I'd share them with you in case you were curious about how you can spend your time - other than crossing off dates on the calendar, working down to the six-week mark (yeah, I did that...)

  1. Do something else. *Light bulb moment!* If you're waiting to hear on a proposal, don't just stop writing. Me, I'm working on my sequel so I'll have something to back up my novel once I do get it published or contracted. An agent/editor doesn't want a one-book wonder. They want someone who has more in the wings. So write.
  2. Try not to think about the proposal. Now, that is harder said than done. Number one, don't get your hopes up. Don't decide the agent/editor is going to say no but don't decide your proposal is so awesome, they'll put you on Regis & Kelly tomorrow. Just don't think about it.
  3. This one is most important. Pray about it. If it's God's will, it'll happen. I've been trying to do God's will for my life, not only in this but in all things. So I'm just praying that if God wants my story out in the world, He'll get it there in His own time. Each morning I pray that His will would be done with my proposal. It's still hard to wait but I can do it. And if I can do can you!!
Patience is hard. But it's not impossible!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring Break

Okay, we're deviating from the Things I Wish I'd Known series for this post. I'm sitting in my dorm room, clothes in my car, DVDs chosen and packed and easy mac packs loaded and on the backseat. Yep. You guessed it. It's time for Spring Break!

Ah, Spring Break. It comes but once a year and is a time for students to leave the schoolbooks at school, the hassles and stress in that last class, the projects in the dorm room. Students are to have fun, relax and rejuvenate for the upcoming last month and a half of the semester. Right? These are the acknowledged rules of Spring Break.

Oh, yeah. Don't delude yourself. Along with my DVDs (most of which I left at school), is a WalMart reusable bag full of books (not fun ones) and notebooks for projects. I have about three nonfiction books to read and reports to write on those books. I have about four chapters to read in my Anthropology book. I have to plan at least four lessons on World War II - if not more.

Not to mention that I'm working Tuesday, Wednesday and either Thursday or Friday next week. And I've got a list of things to do for the college ministry while they're on a mission trip next week. Plus, I'm supposed to observe next Monday at BRHS and then teach either Thursday or Friday. Teach. As in, in front of real live high school students.

So yeah. Spring Break. A week of relaxation and fun...and oodles and oodles of work! YAY!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Things I Wish I'd Known...Paying Attention in Class

It is super duper hard to pay attention in class sometimes. Don't you agree? Especially if you're taking notes on the computer, with Facebook, email and Twitter at your fingertips. Maybe you are just going to check your Facebook for a second and, next thing you know, you've missed three bullet points of the teacher's lecture.

I wish I'd known how important it is to pay attention in class. I'm a writer. That's what I do - write. So lots of times, I am working on a novel or a fanfiction or a short story in class instead of taking notes. Or I'm reading random articles about LOST or Harry Potter instead of paying attention. Main point is: I'm not paying attention. It happens in a lot of my classes (or it did) but one example stands out the most.

Last semester, I took Microeconomics. Not the highlight of my school career, lemme tell you what. It was boring, dull and I didn't really give a rip about firms and markets. So I'd zone out, check Facebook, update my blog or work on my latest novel. I would tune in every now and then and get down the major points but I wasn't hearing what my Professor was saying. When it came time for the test, it showed. No amount of studying could help me because I had no idea what the concepts meant. I could memorize the terms and spit 'em back out at you but I didn't know what they were. So the first test was a major bust.

And yet I still didn't learn my lesson. I continued to goof off and not pay attention and bombed the second test as well. Then, finally, I learned my lesson and started paying attention in class. On the final test, I actually did well.

So now I'm trying to do better. Trying to pay attention in class, not doing the Internet during class...I still slip up sometimes (especially when said class is particularly boring) but I'm doing a lot better.

I only wish I'd known this sooner...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Things You Should Know...Procrastination

Did you know that later will never come? It's true. I really don't care how many times you say "Oh, I'll do it later," or "Well, I'll do it tonight." Do you want me to let you in on a secret? Get ready. Are you listening?

Tomorrow is never going to come either. Because, as soon as you reach tomorrow, then you're in today and tomorrow is simply another word you can use to put something off. "I'll do my homework tomorrow." Well, sooner or later, tomorrow is going to become today and that homework will be due - but will it be done?

Trust me. I speak from experience. You're looking at probably the biggest procrastinator in the world. There's always something I'd rather be doing. Reading a book (like The Hunger Games), watching TV on my computer or writing one of my books. Or sleeping. So I put off my homework. Then, I'm either doing a very haphazard job at 11 at night because I'm so tired I want to go to bed or I just give up and don't study for that Anthropology test. It's one or the other. Then I stress out all morning because I didn't study and life's so unfair when, you know what? IT WAS ALL MY FAULT IN THE FIRST PLACE!!

Procrastination will get you nothing but a headache from all the stress. It's way easier to just study beforehand, do the homework on the same day it's assigned. Write the paper weeks in advance.

Want an example? Here's my day today: I had two classes. Between those classes, I made 8 cross necklaces for my basketball party tonight - which I should have made when I got them on Saturday. Procrastination One. Then I went straight to work and now I'm getting ready for said party. When I get back to school tonight, I have to do probably about 1 hour's worth of work for Curriculum Development. I have to read a chapter for Classroom Management. And I have to read a chapter for Anthropology. See what I mean about procrastination being bad? Also, I am out of clean professional clothes so I have to do the laundry I've been putting off for 2 weeks. And I'm going to watch a basketball game at 9:30 because I promised a friend.

So take it from me. Don't procrastinate. And now I'm gonna try and take my own advice...until next time!!


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Start of Something New

Wow, I sound like a High School Musical song from the title of this, don't I? Let's hope not. Anyway, just a quick update before I head off to basketball (Cross your fingers my chicas can win, cause I think they're getting pretty tired of losing...) so that you people who creep my blog can get your Michelle fix that I know you've been craving. So here goes.

Well, it snowed last Sunday night into Monday morning - yes, here down in SC - and we got about six inches on Monday which then froze over into sheets of impenetrable ice. Even the roads were covered. Needless to say, North Greenville University delayed their start date a WHOLE WEEK!!! Just when I was ready to go back and see my peeps, nope! I was stuck inside for a whole nother week. Since the roads were terrible (and nowhere was open) I couldn't even escape to the outside world. I wasn't sure the outside world even existed anymore. I watched old TV programs on Netflix, like that old horse racing drama on ABC Family, Wildfire. It's pretty intense. I don't know why I ever stopped watching that, there are totally two hot guys on there! I have watched all my movies over this LOOOOONG winter break and so was digging into the depths of my Movie Boxes to find something I hadn't watched lately. Finally ended up on a X-Men marathon and I love those movies. I'm getting super excited for the X-Men First Class movie!!! AHHHH!!! I love X-MEN!! I also read a bunch of Star Wars books and an old Misfits Inc. book. Luckily, I did not degrade so far as to read school books. And, last but not least, about the third day of my imprisonment, I decided I was going to finish writing my romance novel before the end of this extended break. So I pushed and worked hard and wrote some junky parts but I FINISHED IT!!!! It's 190 pages - will get longer as I rewrite - and is not half bad, if I do say so myself. Some parts don't add up because I changed things as I went along but that's what rewriting is for, right?

Anyway, finally, today, I'm actually up and cracking and ready to go somewhere. My bball team doesn't play till 12 but for some reason, I haven't been able to sleep past eight this whole week. It's like my brain knows I'm supposed to be in 8 o'clock classes, even if the weather doesn't. So I'm up and not having to go anywhere quite yet but might go ahead and go just to have something to do. I dunno. Maybe not.

So this was basically just a Read What Happened To Me blog post but I hope you enjoyed it. I'll bring the next "issue" of my Things I Wish I'd Known article series sometime soon but for now...peace out!