End of an Era: Graduation

Last week, I graduated from what is the best university (ever), The Ohio State University. I'm only slightly biased because I attended this fine institution, but it actually is absolutely amazing. I have a degree now, woah. In case you're curious, I studied International Relations & Diplomacy, with minors in French and Eastern European & Slavic Studies (I dabbled in Russian as well). What am I going to do with that?
Post confirmation that I received the correct diploma (I was one of 11,235)!
I cannot believe that my four years of university are over. They were the longest and shortest four years of my life. I'm pretty sure I moved into my freshman dorm yesterday, but I'm also pretty sure that my last finals week lasted approximately 3 years, I don't know. I met my best friends, who I am very confident will be my friends forever. I tried new things, travelled new places, met new people, and learned about the world and myself. These last four years have been the best years of my life, so far. If the future holds anything even close to the fun, friendship, and experience that I found at Ohio State, I will be beyond blessed and thrilled.
Together forever, from freshman year to senior year & beyond.
I have grown into a completely different person from who I was four years ago, whoever that was. I've figured out what I like, what I believe in, where I want to be (& where I don't), basically, I think I know who I am (at least for now). While I learned about the world in my classes, I learned about myself with everything else that I did. I became a leader, a traveller, and an independent woman (wow, cliché).
Where will the future lead?
As soon as someone knows that you are about to graduate or you've just graduated, the first question is "What are you going to do now?" My answer: "I have no idea." I didn't graduate with a plan for the future. I don't have a job that will lead to a career, I don't even know where I"m going to live after my current lease is up. I've jumped head first into the unknown. 
Honestly, it's scary not knowing what I'm going to be doing in August. This is the first time in 17 years that I haven't had a plan. Sure, I'm applying for things, but I can't get accepted to everything and I probably won't. I'm terrified, but I think I like not having a plan. I have so many options right now! & you know I'll keep you updated on wherever my new, post-grad life takes me.
Later, Ohio State.
- Jess

P.S. Look at my graduation cap! It's probably my favorite thing I've ever made. Inspired by Hamilton An American Musical. You MUST listen to the soundtrack if you haven't yet. You won't regret it & you're welcome in advance.
"A couple of college credits and a top notch brain."

Down South | Memphis & Nashville

Last week was my (last) spring break and I had the opportunity to travel to Memphis and Nashville, TN with a group of international and domestic students from my school. I'd never been to West or Middle Tennessee before this trip and I was excited for the food, music, and warmth. I wasn't disappointed.

Let's start with Memphis:
(me while studying)
 Stax Museum of American Soul Music shocked me. I wasn't sure what to expect; I didn't think I would be interested, honestly. Boy, was I wrong. The history that is stored in this museum goes beyond the music. It captures the soul (bc soul music) of Memphis and world when Stax was an operating record company. 

 & the National Civil Rights Museum. Potentially the most important and relevant museum, considering current events. If you visit (which you should, EVERYONE should), you'll start at the beginning of the Europeans' violation of Africans' rights: the slave trade. The museum takes you on a chronological journey that ends with the current struggle for civil rights and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. 
I was taken back to the brief lessons we had on slavery and the civil rights movement in history class. I don't think we learned nearly enough. & I was taught more than I ever could have imagined about the past struggle and the current struggle for rights.
When our group met up after going through the museum we had a discussion. What did we learn? How does the American civil rights movement translate to other countries and their civil rights movements? How does the civil rights movement in the 60s affect the current race relations in America and the fight for equality?
These were tough questions.
Our groups were made of students from different backgrounds. Different religions, different races, different ethnicities, different nationalities. & we all brought different, and valid, ideas and thoughts to the table based on our experiences. This was by far my favorite part of the trip, just being able to connect and learn from each other on a less superficial level.

&& we're off to Nashville:
The Parthenon? Is this Athens (of the West)? Hehe
Those columns though *heart eyes* 
Ceiling goals at the TN capitol building (ft. original chandeliers)

The PNW is Calling & I Must Go

Long time, no see, huh?
I kind of forgot I had this tiny space of the internet for me.

I've started my last semester of university (for now, at least) & I seem to have committed myself to a few too many things these last 4 years. There is so much going on. But alas, I've found time to chronicle a bit of my life here again...

Two months ago I found myself in what I can almost 100% confidently say is my favorite place in the US: the Pacific Northwest. 
I hadn't been there since I was about 2 years old and my only memories were a couple of photos. This time I was 21 and I plan to remember it all and never again go two decades without returning.
My aunt, uncle, and cousins live in Portland, so that's where most of my time was spent. Our time was spent Christmas gift shopping, showing me the favorite places of the locals (at least the 4 locals that I know...), and about 1 family fun adventure hike everyday. We even traveled up to Seattle for a day (because how could we not?).
The most instagrammed place in Oregon, 2015.
Columbia River
There was a white Christmas in the mountains

I made it to the Pacific Ocean. (Cannon Beach) 
Sunset, Christmas Day 2015 
THE Haystack Rock

"Donuts for grownups"
Did you know it's twice as expensive to go to the top of the Space Needle as it is to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower?
So... we didn't make it to the top.
Needless to say, I will be back.
See you soon, PNW.

- Jess