In four weeks, many of us will finish another year of school. Some will finalize their college chapters to begin careers in the real world, while others say goodbye to Friday night football games and proms.
For me, I am reaching the end of my sophomore year of college, the final pages of my planner and my sanity, the latter of the three being the most obvious. Ask my roommates about my tangents, and I’m sure you’ll have story or two to giggle about.
Although my sanity is nonexistent, I have gained new insights about the world, my life and my contribution to the two. My freshman year equipped me with knowledge, time-management and new friends, but it has been my sophomore year that has taught me the true importance of a college education.
This year, I was slapped with the reality that the things I worry about are not eternal. A semester class lasts for five months and then is forgotten. However, the memories, friendships and life lessons made during that time are what make college the best four years of one’s life.
This semester, I learned how to document my adventures and life lessons in 300 words or less. I learned that life is too fragile to make a letter grade the focus of my life. I learned an extra shot of espresso goes a long way, and a day of doing absolutely nothing is a day well spent if spent with the right people.
My college bucket list has allowed me to see the importance of a weekend getaway. Life is not based on a letter grade, but the experiences that make one smile with satisfaction. Whether it’s feeding giraffes in Kansas or drinking buffalo wing flavored soda, a bucket list brings the adventures of a lifetime.
Beaches, sand and sun are not the words I can use to describe my spring break or my 20th birthday. As my friends were enjoying sand between their toes and showing off their cute bathing suits, I was busy leaving a permanent imprint of my body on my mother’s couch and consuming enough food to make my high-wasted shorts fit a little too snug. It’s casual, though.
However, I did plan an adventure for my escape from the teenage years. Like every others 20-year-old’s dream, I spent my day at the Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Wichita, Kan. Despite popular opinion, Kansas most certainly has an exciting attraction within its state borders.
Part of my bucket lists consists of spending a day with exotic animals, and Tanganyika’s broad selection of wildlife let me interact with giraffes, gazelles, kangaroos, lemurs, camels, guinea pigs, penguins and monkeys. I petted all of the above-named animals and even rode a camel around a loop. Yes, I was in a maxi dress, and no, I do not recommend a dress as the appropriate camel riding attire. Hey, you live and you learn, right?
My absolute favorite part was my opportunity to feed a giraffe.
Giraffes are my favorite animals, and I have always wanted an opportunity to interact with one. Let’s just say, the giraffe and I became homies from our first interaction with each other. We even had time for a selfie. Typical.
Anyway, Tanganyika Wildlife Park impressed me with the park’s cleanliness, friendly staff and animal selection. Although my friends and I were competing against elementary school kids to be first in line for camel rides, the park gave excitement to my spring break week.
During the bipolar weather climates in Oklahoma, I was reminded that one of my bucket list adventures has already been fulfilled. How could I forgot about my time spent at the ice skating rink? Maybe the fact that I spent most of my time on my butt rather than on my skates has something to do with my forgetful state of mind.
The horrifying fall 2013 dead week was upon us, and my friends and I were in need of a mass study break. Somehow, a trip to Tulsa, Okla. to attend Winterfest was brought up, and we began our road trip to the event.
Even though I had never ice skated before, I was confident that I would master the skill in no time. After all, I was roller blading champion of my division in 1999. I’d be skating figure eights and leaping through the air like Nancy Kerrigan before anyone could lace up their skates.
Plot twist, I was wrong. Somehow, I had managed to forget that my clumsy stage from the early 2000s has yet to leave me. Five minutes on the ice, and I had managed to fall twice and run in to a wall. Needless to say, my championship trophy from 1999 should be revoked instantly.
The good news is that another event on my bucket list is complete! I never realized all the little things I have never done until I wrote it all on paper. With spring break quickly approaching, I cannot wait to see what adventures I will find in the Panhandle of Oklahoma!
Knock-knock jokes have been replaced with heavy sarcasm and six-second videos of twerking competitions. People fail to appreciate the humor that is found on Laffy Taffy wrappers. While these jokes may be cheesy and stupid, they are still a positive addition to any conversation.
Learning five jokes may be an odd thing to put on a bucket list, but when you’re in college, the best form of entertainment is free entertainment. They may be stupid, and they may be cheesy, but a small smirk from my audience proves that I have been successful in my joke-telling endeavors. Or every one gets a free laugh at how awkward I am. It’s a win-win situation.
I have posted the top five jokes and memes that always make me laugh. They’re cheesy and may not be funny, but a pity laugh is a good laugh, too. Laugh responsibly, my friends.
5. Three drunk guys entered a taxi. The taxi driver knew they were drunk so he started the engine and turned it off again. Then said, “We have reached your destination”. The first guy gave him money. The second guy said, “thank you.” The third guy slapped the driver. The driver was shocked thinking the third drunk knew what he did, so asked “What was that for?” The third guy replied, “Control your speed next time, you nearly killed us!”
3. What concert only costs 45 cents? 50 Cent featuring Nickelback.
I’m saving the number one joke for when I can videotape my friend Slayde telling it. He’s the only one I’ve met that can tell the joke to it’s full potential. I will post the video as soon as possible because I can’t leave my blog readers in suspense for too long!
Laugh hard. Laugh often.
Like many college sorority girls, my adoration for food is up there with my cat on the list of things that I love. Sugar and caffeine became my best friends during late night study sessions, and they decided to bring their friends Love Handles and Triple-Chin to the study party. Uninvited of course. I stopped the party before Bubble Butt showed up and made a lifestyle change.
On Feb. 1, 2014, I began a 21 day journey known as the Daniel Fast. The Daniel Fast is biblically based fast. It refers to the story of Daniel the prophet, who ate only fruits and vegetables, and drank only water. He refrained from eating Big Macs, frozen yogurt and quesadillas. True story.
Participating in the Daniel Fast means that I could only eat the things that Daniel did. I threw the cookies, pizza and Fuzzy’s tacos out of my diet and replaced them with fruits, vegetables and nuts. Through these simple changes, I found that the areas I struggled in most traced back to my food consumption.
My chins did more than accentuate my neckline; They led to lack of discipline in my studies, workouts and time with God. When I determined it was OK to eat another no-bake cookie, I also decided that it was appropriate to skip my workout for the day or postpone my homework 15 minutes longer.
Yes, I missed chocolate and indulged in a candy bar the second the clock hit midnight on Feb. 22. However, my thoughts are more focused on what I’m doing rather than what I’m eating. I am more focused on my studies, disciplined in my workouts and dedicated to my bible study. The Daniel Fast has given me the right to say, “I’m 21 days strong, homies!”
In the summer of 2013, I participated in a program called Kaleo, a nine-week discipleship program that allows college students to live in Florida while learning to study the Bible and work a full-time job. I credit my employment as a large portion of my spiritual and mental growth.
Before Kaleo, I considered myself a humble individual with my $100 sandals and taste for Anthropologie decorating. I thought my job search would be exceptionably easy because I was a top choice for employment. I found myself thinking, “Who wouldn’t want to hire me? I’m a hard worker, punctual and fabulous!”
That attitude didn’t last long. After three days of turning in applications and receiving zero phone calls for an interview, I was discouraged. I was meant to work in a little boutique every day and wear cute outfits that impressed my peers. I couldn’t wear a uniform and no-slip tennis shoes every day because that’s not cute.
The later of the two outfits came to be what accentuated my closet for nine weeks. I was employed at 5 Guys Burgers, where I not only had to wear no-slip tennis shoes, but I also wore a nifty red visor. I was not impressed with my work duties, uniform, or my coworkers.
My attitude changed immensely after the first week of employment. I had no idea how much work went into running a fast food restaurant efficiently. My co-workers stories and backgrounds gave me a new appreciation for every thing I had been complaining about.
More than anything, I learned that I am, in fact, not above anyone or any employment opportunity. Ultimately, I am on this earth to serve my Lord and others. I learned that service comes in all forms, whether it is in a business suit or no-slip shoes.
At 19 years old, I’m experiencing a crisis. Like a midlife crisis, but with more hair and an empty bank account. This week, I took the next step in becoming an adult, and I’m not sure how I feel about it.
The big step into adulthood began when I signed a lease on my first home. Granted, I have been out of my mother’s house for almost two years, but I wouldn’t consider a college dorm room or a sorority house as being “on my own.” I’ve yet to receive my first electric bill, deal with a pesky insurance agent or call a plumber because my pipes burst and I’m drowning in my home.
Needless to say, I’m terrified. My mind spins with potential scenarios of clogged pipes, spider invasions and creepy neighbors. I mean is there not a college class that will teach me how to handle these issues? Like, How to Adult for Dummies, or something!
One thing I have taken from this experience is that a bucket list is not all fun and games. When I put number 54 on my list, I didn’t consider the smack to the face that came with it. Signing my name on the dotted line did not only come with a new home, but it also brought a new sense of reality.
Although I’m currently intimidated, I’m also ecstatic about life on my own. I will be able to cook my own food, perfect my interior design and gardening skills, and have a glass of wine with my roommates after a stressful day. If those things come with a few creepy neighbors, I suppose I’ll take it.
Pops Soda Shop in Arcadia, Okla. is a tourist destination for many traveling on historic highway Route 66. I, however, will always remember the neon soda bottle as home to number 17 of my bucket list. With some sense of pride, – and maybe less dignity than before- I can say that I have gone where many with weak stomachs and fragile digestive systems fear to go.
With $20 in my pocket, and my friends Emily and Sallie loaded in a vehicle, I took a more reasonable approach and crossed, “try a nasty flavor of soda at Pops” off my bucket list. In the midst of ranch, creamed corn and asparagus flavored soda, buffalo wing was our poison of choice. Needless to say, our tastebuds reacted nothing short of what was expected.
Since I am pursuing a minor in marketing, I’m going to provide the inventor of buffalo sauce soda free marketing advice; it was not a good idea. Buffalo sauce should remain in its original form, on buffalo wings and noncarbonated. It’s just natural and what’s right in the world, you know?
Although our perspective on the spicy soda did not change, the trip was not a bust. Emily, Sallie and I thoroughly enjoyed our escape from Stillwater, Okla. Great company is truly what makes an adventure that much more memorable.
This week wasn’t as exciting as a lantern festival in Thailand would have been, but I take great pride in my past adventure. People’s reactions confirm that maybe my bad decision wasn’t so awful after all. My stomach may think differently, but my storybook now has a special place for buffalo wing flavored soda pop.
My goal is to motivate the every day college student to dive head first into their adventures. Often times journeys on a bucket list are put on the back burner until there is a little more money in the bank, one less test to study for, or when there is more adequate planning. Every day is a new adventure and it is time that my generation adopts that perspective.
My name is Kayla Anne and I am a random ball of energy and enthusiasm who has morphed into the young lady displayed in my photos. I am a sophomore at Oklahoma State University and am currently pursuing a degree in strategic communications. I was born in Dumas, Texas and moved back and forth between Atkinson, Neb., Norton, Kan., and other small towns in the bible belt until I was 9 years old. It was then my family decided to settle down in a small town in the Panhandle of Oklahoma, the home of Hank the Cowdog nonetheless.
I’ve never roped cattle, I’ve never lived on a farm and I probably could not tell you the difference between planting or tilling equipment. However, in the midst of peanut butter chainanas, $5 cups of coffee and oversized sorority t-shirts, my hometown roots keep me grounded. I love Jesus, my momma, sweet tea, fall and football. I’ve had the same best friend since I was 9 years old, and the Casey Donahew Band still holds a number one spot on my Spotify playlist.
Basically, I’m not the girl you’d expect to come from the Panhandle of Oklahoma. I’m also not the girl you’d expect to meet in New York City. The best way I can think to put it is if New York City and Oklahoma had a baby, Kayla Anne Ratliff would be that child.
I’m just trying to find my way in this big world while experiencing life to the fullest. I hope that I can help you, my readers, do the same.