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So, there's this girl...
It's been so long since I've written in here. I don't even really look like my icon photo anymore. I was, what, 21 then? Now I'm 25. I think part of the reason I don't write as much on here these days is that it doesn't feel very secure. If I leave the account logged in, anyone could read this. If I don't leave it logged in, I'm still pretty confident people could find a way to stumble across what I say. It's happened before. Is there anywhere where you can really say whatever it is you want to say without fear of repercussion? Short of letting my thoughts ricochet off the inside of my head, I'm not so sure such a place exists.

I have a hamster now. His name is Pompeo, because he is named after Meredith from Grey's Anatomy. I'm not really sure he's a he. He could very well be a female. He's a Russian dwarf and I have no idea how old he is, really, but I'm going to assume he's a few months at this point.

And I am getting my Master's degree in three weeks and it's the most bittersweet feeling ever. I'm excited for the next chapter, but sometimes, I'd really like to languish in the present for a while.
Sometimes, I legitimately feel like the most jealous person alive. I stay in touch with people I've dated, so why do I have such a hard time accepting that she does, too? Doubling up on my coffee this morning certainly didn't help.
So, as my summer in New York City comes to a close, I can officially say I've reached that emotional point: the one of no return. I tried so hard to be guarded with Ashley, letting her in little by little while still maintaining some facade of indifference. It was alright during the year, because I saw her only every two weeks or so; I was still able to keep my walls up, to protect myself, to dissuade any pretense of vulnerability.

But now, we've spent an entire summer together. Three months without a single night apart. And we made all the plans I swore I'd never make again after Khannie - the little things like the kind of car we're going to have as soccer moms, the color theme for our wedding, the puppy that we're always on the brink of adopting - and we discuss these nuances everyday. They say that one day you realize the little things really were the big things all along, but what if you one day realize that these "things" were just a web you wove to protect yourself from the cold?

I want to be with Ashley forever; I really believe that. But everything with Khannie fell apart so suddenly, so unexpectedly that everyday I wake up scared. There are people dying of cancer, wars being waged, and sacrifices made across the globe and I greet the world with a sense of foreboding because I'm afraid that what happened with the last girl I really loved will happen again.

I try to blame it on my OCD - my cyclical thoughts, the constant repetition in my head - and the OCD undoubtedly plays a role in my relationship anxiety, but I'm the only one who can truly control my situation regardless of cause. So, as I sit here while Ashley spends a week at home before moving to Buffalo with me, I keep thinking the same thought over and over again: I love her too damn much. 
New York City.

I've been here three weeks (almost) and I'm feeling that special brand of tired a pound of coffee couldn't cure. This city will run you ragged with its overpriced lattes and eight-dollar cereals and the general inconvenience of overcrowded subway cars where you're essentially sitting on the lap of a stranger while they mutter expletives into a hands-free device (after you finally catch sight of the silver earbuds and realize that no, he is not actually talking to himself). And yet...in the midst of the chaos, sprinkled like salt on the streetcorners, there's an alluring, frenetic energy to this place that turns the rain-soaked avenues of Manhattan into something majestic. And ethereal. And for a minute there, as you stand on the corner of Broadway and 12th, the expense of the city seems a modest price to pay for what is entirely unparalleled.


           First and foremost, congratulations on ascending to the presidency of Gamma Delta Pi! Your loyalty and dedication to the sisterhood have not gone unnoticed and you are continuing a long and proud legacy.
        From my experience as President of Gamma Delta Pi, I might have been regarded as somewhat “soft” in my decisions – but I will say this: Gamma Delta Pi has been, and will always be, (in my opinion, anyway) a sorority of the people.
        At risk of turning this letter into a microcosm of the Democratic National Convention, I’ll offer you my unsolicited advice. Tradition is a critical aspect of Gamma Delta Pi. As we pass on the oversized paddle (couldn’t get rid of the damn thing if I tried :P), we are carrying on a pretty epic legacy, but as essential as tradition is, never put it before the will of the sisterhood.
        Gamma Delta Pi is more than cheap vodka and fraternity parties. It is more than Donut Ride and Wake Up and Exchange and it is even more than that moment when you realize you’re a part of something bigger than yourself.
        Being President of Gamma Delta Pi was an extremely formative part of my college experience. I entered into Ithaca as something of an introvert, but by the end of my four-year stint with the sorority, I was a person evolved. Currently, I’m pursuing my Master’s in Student Affairs and believe me, the eternal student is not a path anyone would have guessed I’d take.
        So, as much as you will lead Gamma Delta Pi, let it lead you too. Particularly, if it leads you in the direction of The Chapter House, look for our letters on the wall. Shea and I are pretty proud of that one. ;) I am entirely confident that the sorority is in capable hands and if you ever need anything, I’m always here.

Jen Kamish
Pledge Class ‘71
"The tides of life won’t always bring you back ashore — sometimes, you have to row yourself over. Often, nothing changes until you change it. Nothing is better until you make it that way. There’s nothing you’re not responsible for. Just waiting around for something to happen, lamenting that it isn’t, wishing, hoping, praying for it to change, doesn’t always ensure that it will. Go, move, act, speak. Your days are slipping by you, and every day you spend in the mediocre is another you miss in the extraordinary."

I love this quote so, so much. Driving to Saratoga tonight after work to spend the weekend with Ashley. We're going to make s'mores and hang out with her friend and relax. :] Not looking forward to the drive out, but I'll caffeinate my way through it!
Jen Kamish
This I Believe

"The point is not to become a leader. The point is to become yourself, and to use yourself completely – all your gifts, skills and energies – to make your vision manifest. You must withhold nothing. You must, in sum, become the person you started out to be, and to enjoy the process of becoming."

Moments of vulnerability, as necessary as they are disheartening, define the fragility of life and if existence were not so incredibly delicate, it would be devoid of any meaning. Anyone will captain a ship that sails strong, but it is only a true leader who will continue to steer the wheel when icebergs loom dauntingly ahead.

I used to live under the radar. My guiding principle was that if you never stuck your neck out, it wouldn’t get chopped off. I grew up on a strict diet of low self-esteem and high expectations. This meant that I hated who I was in high school, but I was cautiously optimistic and ultimately confident that upon graduation, my “real life” would begin.

But it didn’t work that way. When I set out for college, my insecurities accompanied me, leeched onto me, got worse. And my cautious optimism gradually de-evolved into anxiety and depression, de-habilitating me to the point I couldn’t eat or sleep.

Six years later, here I am. Sometimes I think it’s luck that gets us where we are. I don’t believe everything happens for a reason; I believe that things happen coincidentally or for no reason at all, but we create desirable outcomes to pacify our aching hearts. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

A leader is not someone who has overcome the toughest challenge. A leader is not someone who has defeated each enemy, solved every problem. Leadership is a process, not a state of mind. Much like happiness, an individual’s capacity for effective leadership is in a constant state of evolution. Leadership must be active, because situations are always in a state of flux.

As a future student affairs professional, I interact with students everyday. The way I see it, the leaders are not the people who pretend to have it all together. Instead, they are the individuals who recognize that even the most admired role models are inherently flawed. They are the ones who understand that not every problem has a solution – but try anyway. Even if there aren’t always answers, leaders are the ones who are brave enough, bold enough, and vulnerable enough to ask the questions. This I believe.
I'm at the New York Public Library right now. This is the biggest library I've ever seen. Everything is so amplified in NYC - it's been a great few days here, but I think I'm ready to head home. I get home tomorrow night and then Thursday morning it's off to Saratoga Springs until Sunday at which point I return to Buffalo for the final leg of the semester. #norestforthebusy