Friday, December 29, 2006

My Tefillah

Hashem, please give me strength. I know You have a plan for me; please reveal it to me in the right time--and in the meantime, help me understand that there is a reason for whatever I endure. Help me to truly believe that everything is for the good. Help me to feel Your presence in my life every day, to feel Your hand guiding me and supporting me. Help me to grow from my hardships, to pass the tests You give me, to use them to become closer to You. Help me to be thankful every day for the thousands and thousands of blessings you shower upon me at every moment. Help me to learn from past mistakes, and to grow from them. Help me to treat people the way that they deserve to be treated, to be sensitive to their needs, and never to wound another with my words or actions. Help me spread Your Torah and mitzvot to those of Your people who are unaware of their glory. May my tefilot always be sincere, and may they reach Your heavenly throne. I love You, for you are my Father; I revere You, for you are my King; to You I owe my life and all that is good.

May the words of my mouth and the desires of my heart find favor before you, Hashem, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Procrastinators of the World, Unite! ...Tomorrow

Reading week is over, and finals have officially begun. My reading week was…well, the way mine typically are: rather unproductive. I can’t say I really did any schoolwork at all to speak of. You’re shocked? Well, you shouldn’t be. You see, I have a problem—and I’m finally ready to admit it:

I am a procrastinator. [hides face in shame]

Like, a really really BIG procrastinator. I am one of those people who is completely unable to study until the night before a test—at which time, I have been known to lose my cool, panic, stress out for hours, realize it’s too late to study, go to sleep, and then wake up early in the morning, an hour or two before the test, to try to cram the material into my poor mushed-up brain. This has been my system ever since high school—and the scary part is, it’s worked for me. But I can’t say it’s any fun. The problem is, though, since I never seem to have any awful repercussions for my irresponsibility, my negative habits are reinforced, and I don’t change my ways. This is bad.

So this year, I determined I would be different. At the very least, I’d cut out the stressing part, which serves no purpose and is rather horrible. To my own shock and wonder, I actually did it! This past semester I was actually able to minimize the amount of time I spent stressing out over my work! The solution, I think, was that I filled up my schedule with so many extracurricular activities that I simply didn’t have any extra time in which to stress. The little unscheduled time I had needed to be used to get the schoolwork done, so there was no room for the stressing time I was accustomed to.

However, the system broke down when it came to reading week. My extracurriculars were over for the semester, and there was no class. This left me with oodles and oodles of free time. I didn’t know what to do with myself—so I just didn’t do anything! I only had one paper to write (still unfinished), but since it’s not a research paper, I didn’t stress about it—or spend any time on it either. Instead, I hung out with my roomies (who I had barely seen of late due to my ridiculously busy schedule), reread a book for pleasure for the first time in forever (Pride and Prejudice is sooo good…if you are a girl, go read it! Or if you are a guy who actually appreciates great literature, read it too! :-), blogsurfed, and thought about beginning to study for my finals, but never actually did.

Now, finals have begun, and I am wholly unprepared. My first one was statistics, this morning, and I naively figured that since the final is open notes and the midterm was easy, I wouldn’t have to spend more than half an hour preparing. So I left it till yesterday afternoon. When I finally opened up my notes, I was shocked to see that I couldn’t make heads or tails of anything! My initial reaction was panic, but eventually I solicited the assistance of a friend and after studying for an hour or two eventually felt mildly prepared. Then, after lighting Chanukah candles, I went out and refused to think about the final any more—until 8:40 this morning when I arrived in the classroom to take it. The final is now over, and, fortunately or unfortunately, this system also seems to have worked out ok. Again, my irresponsibility is rewarded. Hoorah!

However, the finals coming up this week promise to be much more difficult, so I’m really going to have to study at some point…I wonder when I’m going to do that? Hmmm…

This procrastination thing is really getting out of hand…help!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Happy Chanukah! (Hannukah? Hanuka? Channuka? Hannoocuh?)

With things over here being so hectic, busy, chaotic, and all-around crazy, I still have not yet come up with my next brilliant blogging topic. But since I seem to be currently experiencing a blogging urge, I'm going to just start writing and see what comes out. I apologize in advance.

I went to my friend's house in Philly this shabbos and twas a lot of fun. I got 12 hours of sleep. That was fun. Plus, at lunch I poured a jug of water on myself. That was less fun, more wet. (No, it wasn't on purpose. I was pouring and the lid just fell off! And those who have comments about how klutzy I am may just keep them to themselves, thank you!)

The Donut Saga: Another friend who came for shabbos was taking a nap on Friday afternoon (she was getting a head start on sleep) and woke up before shabbos and told me that she had a dream that our hostess was offering us donuts (the kind with colored sprinkles on top!) and that I refused, saying "Dai, maspik (stop, enough)!" I asked her why I would say a silly thing like that. She didn't know. From the moment she told me about that dream, I began craving donuts. And there were no donuts in the house where I was staying. Which was sad. Then when we finally got back to NY (after missing several trains due to a very exciting adventure trying to find a chanukiah for a slightly irresponsible and adventure-prone friend), I begged my friends to keep their eyes open for the alleged kosher Krispy Kreme at Penn Station. Then (cue euphoric music)...we saw it! And just at that moment, the gate thing rolllled down, signifying that it was closed! Noooooo!!! So I was sad. So we walked back to school, and got together our chanukiot (both normal and makeshift) and oil and wicks and said brachot and lit and waited (fruitlessly) for boys to leave the lobby so that we could sing. And then various bunches of friends came in and we greeted them...and then some more friends came in and announced that they were going to get pizza, so I begged them to bring me back a donut, and they said they would see, and they left...and then a few minutes later, in came more friends--bearing homemade donuts that they made! And even though they looked more like little brown latkes than donuts, they were sufficiently oily and sufficiently sweet to satisfy my craving! And I ate four! (stop staring and shut your mouth--they were really small!) And then I went up to my room and shortly thereafter there was a rapping at my chamber door...and there stood friend-who-went-to-pizza-store, brown bag in hand, brown donut in brown bag! I thanked her profusely because it was sooo nice of her to get it for me...but I'm afraid that the donut is just going to have to wait patiently until breakfast tomorrow. I don't think I can handle any more oil right now.

Oh! Other really creepy story...we were walking back to school from Penn Station, and on the street was a card table, behind which an unshaven man wearing a santa hat was sitting, calling out loudly, "Help the homeless!" in a deep, raspy voice. As we passed, he suddenly said, without even changing his tone or skipping a beat, "Give tzedaka! It's a mitzvah! It will bring you bracha and hatzlacha! A freilachen Chanukah!" As we turned our heads and looked at him in astonishment, he rasped, "That's right girls, don't mind the hat," pointing at his Christmas chapeau. We were in a rush (and also a shtick weirded out) so we didn't stop to chat...but the experience was quite an interesting one. Anyone have any theories as to how the guy would have known those phrases (and whether we should have stopped and given him tzedaka?).

Ok, now it is quite late at night and I must go to sleep--I have a full day of procrastinating to do tomorrow! Happy Chanukah to all, and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A Must Read

This post over on Chana's blog is an absolute must-read. In it, she articulates (far better than I could) exactly why I am such a firm believer in "hard-core" learning (in depth learning from sources)--as opposed to what is commonly referred to as "fluff". Having actually attended a school where they take the opposite approach, she is far more qualified than I am to discuss the issue...though perhaps someday if I ever have free time (haha) I'll have a chance to write about it as well. Meanwhile, though her post is characteristically lengthy, it is well worth taking the time to read--and the comments are fascinating too.

Monday, December 04, 2006


A brief post to mark a momentous occasion...I'm 20 years old today. I have left my teenage years behind, and now enter an era of adulthood. And I am petrified. Yes, I have been oft reminded that it is just a number and doesn't really mean anything, yet somehow it does signify a change in status and an increase in responsibility that I feel unprepared to accept. I mean, come on, I'm still just a kid!

So, in order to try to cope with this milestone succcessfully, I now open it up to anyone who reads this blog to give me any advice you have for dealing with life as an adult. I could use all the help I can get!