Top 10 (more like 15) Pieces of Advice for Students Going to College

I wish I had this advice when I went away to college. I couldn’t come up with only 10, so there are 15!


Each year, millions of students take the plunge and head off to universities all across the country. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t terrified to head to my first year of college away from home. I would also be lying if I told you that my years in college were the easiest 4 years (and a quarter) of my life. I was lucky enough to attend Wright State University for both my undergraduate education as well as graduate school. During my time at Wright State, I changed my major about 3 times, cried a lot and met some of the best people I’ll ever know.

This year, I was given the opportunity to teach seniors in high school and they always had so many questions about going to college or what college life was like, so I figured I’d come back from my blogging hiatus and impart some wisdom (HA). I couldn’t settle on just 10 things to say about college, so my list includes 15. Whether you’re going in as a freshman or your returning this fall, I think that these pieces of advice could help. Enjoy!

  1. Coffee/Caffeine = Life
    Lord knows, at this point in my life, I could never live my life without coffee. In college, I tried so many energy drinks that they’ll probably have a lasting effect on my body. There were so many nights I procrastinated and had to write a 10 page paper on something I didn’t research early enough and worked my ass off to get finished before the time the paper was due. I couldn’t have gotten through those nights without pots of coffee, Red Bull or Monster. This isn’t healthy, but it’s definitely a part of the college experience. I remember once, probably around my junior year, I had a huge portfolio due that I didn’t start until the night before and I just kept pouring coffee and drinking energy drinks. I finally turned in the assignment and didn’t get sleepy for about 48 hours. I do not recommend. Also, don’t procrastinate. SERIOUSLY.
  2. Sweatpants are Acceptable
    I’m ALL about putting on make up and dressing cute, but after a while, that shit gets old in college. After about a week or so, you realize that no one really cares and that the majority of people going to class are in sweatpants, shorts, yoga pants or leggings. I remember packing all of these clothing items that weren’t practical for booking it to an 8:30 am class and as soon as I took my ass home for the weekend, I brought back all of the comfortable clothes I could find. Like I said, dressing up every now and then is good for the body and mind, but when you’re trying to wake up and make it to an early class, you’ll realize that “ain’t no body got time for that!”
  3. FAFSA
    As most people know, college is expensive as hell! Without FAFSA, there was no way I could have afforded to go. As soon as you and your parents get their W2’s login to FAFSA and get that stuff done! Most schools have a cut off for when you can get the most possible amount of aid, so check with your school. The website walks you through what you need to do, step by step and if you’re having trouble, there is always a number to call to get assistance. Also, don’t feel obligated to accept every cent from FAFSA, you can take some or all of it, depending on what you can pay out of pocket. Although, I’ll be paying off my student loans until I die, it was worth it because I got a great education.
  4. Get Your Books From ANYWHERE But the Campus Book Store
    This is one thing I wish I would have known earlier in college. The bookstore charges SO MUCH for text books that you can easily find on Amazon, Chegg, or any of the others ones they have out there. The difference in pricing can be hundreds of dollars. As soon as you get your classes scheduled, look for what books the course requires and order them online! Sometimes, there are books that are only available at your university, but share them with a friend, pass them around, sell them to someone you know taking the class.
  5. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
    College is a great time to go out and do things you normally wouldn’t do. Go to a theater performance, go to art shows, go to step shows and comedy shows. My freshman year, I went to so many activities and met so many people and all of these things made going to college that much better. Students often get discounted tickets to events schools are holding like concerts or comedy shows. Go with the people on your floor, new friends, invite your friends from different schools to come. I typically kept to myself initially, but participating in some of the activities my campus held allowed me to meet so many people. I high recommend it! Even if you go to one event per semester, it’s worth it.
  6. Keep Your Door Open
    Make FriendsOnce again, when you have the opportunity to meet new people, DO IT! I was such an introvert (what a surprise, right?) when college started, but the first day, after I had everything moved in and I cried when my mom left, I propped my door open and met everyone from my floor. People like to stop by and see how you’ve decorated your room or to say a quick hello and introduce themselves. It’s pretty awesome in the first week or so. My freshman year, almost everyone on our floor became friends and they are still people I’m friends with (whether on social media or otherwise). The group of people on my floor did a lot together that year and they opened me up to experiences I wouldn’t have been able to have had I kept my door closed and stuck with myself. You might not become best friends, but you’ll meet people who can relate to being homesick or how many papers you have to write.
  7. It Goes By Quick
    It may not seem like it at the time, but the years that you’re in college will go by so quickly. I look back at my college experience and wonder where the time went. My advice would be to take your time, take it all in, have a good time, but focus on your priorities. You’re going to blink and it’ll all be gone and then you’ll have a career, and no time to have unrestricted fun (for the most part). In between papers, and exams and your lack of sleep, remember to take in those small moments like walking back to your dorm in the snow or eating at the dining hall with your friends. You’ll miss it.
  8. Call Your Parents
    When I left for college, I was only 45 minutes away from home, but my mom and I were so close, it felt like I was all the way across the country. My mom allowed me to set the tone for how many time we talked. I know a lot of people may not talk to their parents multiple times a day or at all, but checking in with at least one person from home regularly really helps. I typically called my mom when I was walking to class, between classes and right before bed. There were times I would call her at 3 in the morning because I, once again, procrastinated and didn’t know how to start a paper and I would hear her sit up, put her glasses on and help me. I cherish some of these memories the most because I know I wouldn’t have made it, especially freshman year, without her. So, even if it’s a quick call between classes or a text letting them know you’re alive, your parents will appreciate it.
  9. Take Advantage of Any and ALL Discounts
    While at times you’ll feel like you and your friends are the only ones who understand the college struggle of having no money, there are businesses out there that are willing to help! From clothing, to bookstores, to, most importantly, food, there are so many options out there to help college students save some money. Some of my favorite discounts include:
    Amazon Prime for Students: Students get free 2 day shipping for six months as well as some other cool perks; click here.
    Sam’s Club for College Students: I’m not sure how discounted the membership is, but it’s worth checking out; click here.
    Apple: Lots of discounts here!
    and, of course, the movies! For a full list (I’m sure there are more out there), click HERE!At Wright State, the technology department also had discounts on software, so check yours too!
  10. Find At Least 1 Friend in All of Your Classes
    Kind of piggybacking off of keeping your door open and getting out of your comfort zone, make sure you make friends with AT LEAST one person in each of your classes. They will be some of the biggest supports you’ll have, especially on days when you’re sick or days when you can’t muster up the strength to get out of bed. Befriending someone in each of your classes also gives you someone to bounce ideas off of for papers, someone you can bitch about your professor with or someone who can offer you a laugh in the middle of a class you don’t think you can sit another minute through.
  11. When Emailing a Professor, Type Like an Educated Human
    I cannot stress this enough, when email your professors or TA’s, email them like you have common sense. They don’t want emails in broken English, with emoji’s or any kind if slang, no matter how cool they seem. One thing to remember is that professors have hundreds of students who may have questions, sometimes they get snippy with you, but you have to take it with a grain of salt. They may email you back one word replies or not at all, but you have to be persistent and try to get them before or after class. Respect goes a long way when talking with your professors or TAs.
    Maaaaaaan, if there is one thing you HAVE to take away from this blog post, TAKE NAPS! Whether you take them between classes, after a day of classes, you have to take the opportunity to take a nap, even if only for 20 minutes. Sleep is your friend and most nights, you will not get enough. After you graduate from college, naps are fleeting, so do yourself a favor and take them when you can! Also, if you’re living in a dorm, put a note on there that says you’re napping so people don’t wake you up… you’ll thank me later.
  13. Try to Avoid Friday Classes
    Your first year of college might be a little tough when it comes to avoiding Friday classes, but when you get the chance to have some options in when to take classes, try your best not to have classes on Fridays, even if that means longer days on Mondays or Wednesdays. It’s the best feeling in the world waking up on a Friday and realizing that you don’t have to go to a class, especially if you want to go home that weekend. If you absolutely have to have a class on a Friday, schedule them so that they’re in the morning so you aren’t one of the only people left on campus at 3 in the afternoon. It’s not a good time.
  14. Never Be Afraid to Ask for Help
    I can’t emphasize this enough. There is so much help out there if you’re struggling with a class. There are tutor centers in every college, your professors and TAs are there to help, you have classmates, and if you’re lucky, you have some of your old high school teachers. There is no reason to struggle your way through a class because there are so many resources out there available to students. There will be so many days that you feel alone or feel like there isn’t anyone out there who will understand, but there are. Don’t feel stupid asking for help, that’s probably the smartest thing you can do.
  15. Don’t Bullshit Your Way Through

    If you’re still reading this, kudos to you! My final point, is probably one of the most important. While I think it’s important to master the art of bullshitting, college is not a place to just get through. If you’re spending thousands of dollars for an education, take the time to learn. I learned so many things from my general education classes and even more from the classes dealing with my major. Of course there are boring classes and boring professors, but that’s everyone’s college experience. You’ll learn some of the best information from the most unlikely sources.

Ahhhh, thanks for reading! College was the best time of my life and I wish I could be a forever student. I absolutely love going to classes and learning as much as I can about my field.

I hope that if you’re heading to college, you got something from some or all of these suggestions. If you’ve already gone through college, comment below some of your advice for students taking the plunge into higher education!


Did they REALLY say that?


When I initially started by blog, I had in my mind that I would write a new blog every Sunday. The joke was on me because doing this is so hard! I have so many great ideas, but when the time comes to actually develop the ideas so that I can share my humor with you all, things seem to get in the way.

I’m usually exhausted from work, or in a bad mood from work, or I’ve written half of the blog for the week and then realize that maybe it isn’t as funny as I’d originally imagined. Or maybe it’s one of those weeks where I have 62 research papers to read and grade or 26 essays about who is responsible for the the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.

But in between all of this, my students have said some of the FUNNIEST things that must be shared with the rest of you.

  1. Crisco
    I have this hilarious student in my Journalism class and he shares some of the most hilarious stories about his work experiences or things he has done with family. One in particular really made me laugh out loud for a long time the day he said it and still it still makes me chuckle to this day. During class, we weren’t really talking about much of anything, but everything this student says tends to be pretty random. Case in point: “I just thought about this; my aunt used to eat Crisco.”My initial thought was, What the hell? How does this relate to the conversation we were just having as a class? I couldn’t think too much into it because it was just so funny and random. He still says some of the most funny things I’ve ever heard while in the classroom.
  2. Thunder
    So, every semester, I get a new study hall. This year, my study hall went from 11 kids to around 26, which I was not a fan of initially. Some of the students that I’ve gotten to know through the increase have been pretty funny and tend to say some of the most random things. One morning, it was storming pretty hard and a girl comes up to me and says, “Thunder makes me feel like I have to poop.” I’ll never understand her rationale for telling me, an adult she’s never had before, that listening to thunder makes her have to go to the bathroom, but I have to thank her because this made me belly laugh.
  3. You Remind Me of My Grandma
    Over the past few weeks of life as a teacher, my students were able to bring their grandparents to school for Grandparent’s Day. One of my seniors, in particular, was explaining that he was really bummed his grandma couldn’t make it that day. He goes on to say, “I wish my grandma could have come today… you remind me a lot of her.”

    …Uh, thanks? The last time I checked, I was 27 years old and although I have the mannerisms of an elderly individual, (early dinner, early bedtime) I’m still young as hell! Needless to say, I did NOT take this as a compliment.

  4. 10,000 Steps
    Students miss school for various reasons, so there are always quizzes to make up or assignments that are turned in late. On this particular day, I had a student that needed to make up a vocabulary quiz. I was at my desk because students were working on some kind of assignment and the student looks over and says, “Hey R Bell, can you bring that quiz over here?” I immediately told him no and to stop being lazy. He then says, “You know you’re trying to get those 10.000 steps in!”

    Offended is not even the word for how I felt. All I could do was stare at him and not call him an asshole. I have to admit though… it was pretty funny. But, this leads me to the next instance of, “Did they REALLY say that…?”

  5. Just Call Him Daddy
    After my offensive student basically called me fat, I had no idea what to say to him. So, I said, “I want to call you something, but I can’t,” so another student says, “Why don’t you just call him daddy like you did last time?”

    This leads to another embarrassing story about myself. I was talking to the same class and I said something, but I guess it sounded like I said, “Daddy” (which I didn’t). So, now all of the kids in that class always being up the fact that I called a student daddy. Lesson learned… Enunciate.

  6. Montana
    One of the joys about teaching this year is that not only do I teach seniors, but I have one class of freshmen, too. My freshmen are pretty hilarious, but by far the funniest thing one said still makes me laugh today. I can’t even recall what we were talking about, but one student says, out loud, “For the longest time, I thought Montana was a country… I’m not the smartest.” I probably laughed for a solid 10 minutes. I appreciate him being so candid.
  7. Darwinism Works
    I have a couple of students who are in my classroom before homeroom and one morning we were talking about this girl’s hamster that she wanted to give away. I told her that I would ask around because I’m sure someone out there would give their kid a hamster. Another girl abruptly said, “Just set it free outside… Darwinism works!” We just stared at her and then lost it. 

  8. Ms. Bell is Manly
    So, there is a homeroom in my room everyday that only has boys (ew) and they say some of the most outlandish things. On this particular day, they were arguing about who was more manly than the rest. One of the most obnoxious kids announces to the class, “Ms. Bell is more manly than anyone in this room!” He immediately got the stink eye from me and said, “I meant it as a compliment! I swear.”

    Lies. If I haven’t mentioned it already, high school kids are THE WORST.

  9. Soap: Slimy or Slippery?
    This one doesn’t even need a description. Seniors got bubbles to help celebrate their upcoming graduation and on of the smartest kids I’ve ever taught spilled some on his hands. He complained that it was slimy and I told him that soap was meant to be slimy. He proceeded to say, “Soap’s not meant to be slimy it’s meant to be slippery. They’re not the same.” … I’m pretty sure they’re the same.
  10. Adding Months
    As a part of the upcoming Teacher Appreciation Day, Student Council decided that they wanted to make us calendars. Each department was supposed to dress up like the month they were chosen for. I was talking about this with another teacher whose department wasn’t included, so he said, “They’d have to add an 11th month!” Students and I just stared at him and he tried to correct his mistake by saying, “I subtracted a month instead of adding one.” I didn’t have anything to say after that… I was done for the day.


I’m sure that there are so many more things I could have written about, but these were the ones that popped in my head first. My brain is so full and I writing this post took me way longer than I had intended it to. I hope it was at least chuckle worthy. I swear I’ll post another one next week!







10 Songs that Define Me…

Happy Sunday, Everyone!

It has been about 3 weeks since my last post, and when I started this blog, I fully intended to write a new post every week. Needless to say, life happened. Bowling has come to an end (the girls were number 1 in their conference), my seniors have turned in their research papers (I should probably be grading them right now…) and I’ve had some time to breathe. So, I’m back… maybe not as funny… but I’m back!

Everyone that knows me knows that music is one of my favorite parts of life. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t listen to music in some capacity. I wanted to share some of the songs that define me as a person. It was really hard narrowing it down to only 10. Hopefully, some of them are songs that define you as a person, too. None of these are in any particular order.

  1. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough – Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
  2. She Used to Be Mine – Sara Bareilles
  3. Teenage Dream – Katy Perry
  4. Tears Dry on Their Own – Amy Winehouse
  5. Treasure – Bruno Mars
  6. You – Chris Young
  7. Syndicate – The Fray
  8. Stop This Train – John Mayer
  9. Bitch, Don’t Kill My Vibe – Kendrick Lamar
  10. Good Life – One Republic
  11. Tenerife Sea – Ed Sheeran
  12. Keep Ya Head Up – 2Pac


10 of the Most Embarrassing Things to EVER Happen to Me…

Everyone has their fair share of embarrassing moments throughout their lives. I feel as though I’ve had those moments and then some. I always tell my family and friends, if my life were to be turned into a movie, it would be something like a tragic-romantic-comedy, well minus a significant amount of romance. It was really hard for me to come up with only 10 embarrassing moments to share with all of you, but I will tell you… These are the best of the best. Enjoy!

  1. I Used to be a Parrot. When I was growing up, I went to daycare at a friend of my moms. She probably had around 5 or 6 of us little ones running around and playing. Everyday, when my mom picked me up, she would ask me what I learned that day. On one particular day, I told my mom that Bam-Bam (who calls their child Bam-Bam, I’ll never know) taught me a new word. Obviously, as a kid, I loved learning things and that’s probably what led to me becoming a teacher. Any-who, that afternoon, my new word was, “Muddafucka.” When my mom tells me (or anyone else) this story, she always mentions how she almost hit the median in the middle of the road. She then explained to me that this was a bad word and that I shouldn’t repeat it. Sorry mom, as an adult… this is one of my favorites!About a week later, I learned another new word at daycare. This time, it was from some a bad ass kid named Tommy. The story goes… “Rikki, what did you learn at daycare today?” “I learned a new word, mommy!” Obviously my mom has now learned to brace herself for anything I’ve learned at daycare. “What word did you learn today?” “Suckin-a-bitch!” Once again, my mom looses her mind and almost hits the sidewalk. Needless to say, I didn’t continue going to daycare there much longer.
  2. Heavy-D. Growing up in the 90s, I was always surrounded by hip-hop and r&b jams. My mom and I lived in the same apartment for about 15 years, so we always had neighbors coming and going. I remember distinctly this lady that lived above us for a while. We could always hear her walking from room to room. I would always ask my mom, “Who is that making all of that noise?” Every, single, time, my mom would reply and say, “Heavy-D.” Obviously, Heavy-D was big back in the 90s and mom and I would listen to his music all the time. One afternoon, we were coming in the house from running errands and this lady walks in the door just as we’re putting the key into the lock. She complements my mom on how cute I am (duh) and then explains that she’s our neighbor from upstairs. It took me a few seconds and I looked at her and said, “YOU must be Heavy-D!” Mortified, my mom pushes me into the house while the lady says, “I must be.” Whenever my mom brings this up, we laugh and laugh. I guess I should have learned that even at a young age, I didn’t have a filter.
  3. “I Won’t Fall!” Like the majority of all American children, I always wanted to go to Disney World. My mom and I were finally able to go when I was around 4. It was the trip of a lifetime to me, but my mom didn’t have a great time. I don’t remember much from that trip, but one thing stands out to me. We were in the park, and I was sitting on a banister. My mom told me multiple times, “Get down, you’re going to fall.” I told her multiple times, “No, I won’t! This is fun.” Welp, the last time I said that was the last thing to come out of my mouth until I started screaming. Sure enough, I fell in the damn bush. It wasn’t just any bush though, it was a prickly bush with thorns EVERYWHERE. So now, when my mom tells not to do something, I at least think about it before I do it.
  4. Avalanche! Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my older cousin, Kia. She was always more like a sister to me. I wanted to do everything she did, go everywhere she went, etc. Once, during a pretty bad winter, we wanted to walk to a near by store to get some snacks. My cousin bundled me up and we went walking. When you left her neighborhood, there was a huge hill that we had to go down in order to make it to the store. She and my other cousin Leah went first, leaving behind us little girls. They weren’t that far ahead of us, but they weren’t very close, either. We were talking and the next thing I remember is falling FACE FIRST down this hill. As I’m crying and trying to wipe freezing cold snow off of my face, my cousin is laughing! She’s not just chuckling, she’s hands on her knees, in tears, laughing. I was so embarrassed! All I wanted to do was go home.
  5. Liar, Liar. I went to a small Catholic school from kindergarten until 8th grade before continuing onto a Catholic high school. In kindergarten, we could wear whatever we wanted. So, you know your girl was wearing a lot of leggings and Disney shirts! Anyway, 1st grade came around we were beginning to wear those hideous, plaid jumpers. I wasn’t a fan of mine because that required me to sit like a lady and all I wanted to do was run, jump and play Legos spread eagle! My godfather picked me up a lot from school because my mom worked until about 5 or so. One afternoon, he took me to my mom job before taking me on our usual date of the park and McDonalds. So, we get to my mom’s job and my jumper has this tear on it. I swear to my mom up and down that I was pulling it and that it “just tore,” but she obviously wasn’t dumb enough to believe that I could rip my jumper in a straight line… I cut it. I won’t get into it, but I will tell you… This was my FIRST and LAST spanking in public. My godfather felt so bad for me that he still took me to McDonalds though!
  6. Down falls Rikki. In the 2nd grade, I was in the Christmas play. I played an angel (obviously, this was the PERFECT part for me) and I had to exit the stage gracefully (also perfect because I’m graceful as hell). When I say the stage, I mean the steps leading to the alter at our church. It was my time to shine, the angel had just visited Mary and told her that she was going to have a child and it was time for me to leave and hope the rest of my classmates did as well as I just had. All of that came to a halt when I missed the last step and fell face first in front of the entire congregation. It’s fine. I got up, dusted off my pretty white dress and ran backstage to cry. This is why I no longer share my acting talents with the world.
  7. Bunny Killer. All of my grade school friends know that St. Margaret Mary’s Field Day was THE BOMB! We got to play with that huge rainbow parachute, run around with our friends and hit other kids with dodge balls. I can remember the day I began to HATE field day. We were doing this contest with whoever jumped further in the grass won points, or something to that effect. Well, I had tiny legs then (still do) and I thought that I was really going to win. So I used all my force and jumped! When I landed… there was a squeak. So, I jumped again. There was another squeak. The chaperons heard it the second time and picked up the patch of grass that I had landed on and discovered a patch of baby bunnies. Let me just tell you: I DID NOT KILL THIS PATCH OF BUNNIES! They were taken to someone’s home and cared for, but I was known as The Bunny Killer until 8th grade. Stupid field day.
  8. I Hate You, Caleb Nettleton. I met a lot of good friends during my time at Wright State University. One in particular is Caleb. Caleb and I met and we immediately got along. He was hilarious and so was I. We took a lot of classes together because he was also an English major and wanted to be a teacher. Every single class we had together, we would get the giggles. One day, I decided to bring carrots to class (huge mistake). As usual, Cal and I were giggling about something and the professor had already given us the side eye AND verbal warning. Caleb said something, just as I was chewing on my carrot and I started choking. Not just the normal, something is caught in your throat, choking. I was turning red and coughing so much the teacher just looks as both of us and says… “See me after class.” I had never in my life gotten in trouble in college, but thanks to Caleb, we had a meeting with the professor who called us distracting and told us that if we acted this way again, she would kick us out. She didn’t even want to hear about me choking on a damn carrot. It’s fine though, we passed the class and always bring it up in conversation. Don’t ever sit next to your best friend, while eating carrots in a boring class.
  9. Uh, your dress. As a teacher, you always have to rush to the bathroom and inhale your lunch. It’s so much harder when your best friend is also a teacher and your share the same lunch. One day, I was rushing down to lunch and stopped to use the restroom first. I finally make it down to the lunch room, with hundreds of kids and other teachers and my friend goes, “Please tell me you just went to the bathroom!” I told her that I did and asked her why and she says, “Because your dress is tucked into your tights in the front!” I was mortified. How many kids had I passed in the hall? How many kids saw me like that in the lunch room? How many of my coworkers saw?! I immediately untucked my dress and we laughed almost the entire lunch bell. Imagine not having your friend tell you something like that and continuing on the day teaching. That would have been so much worse, so shout out to Gail!
  10. “SNIPER GOT ‘ER!” This is by far the most embarrassing thing that has EVER happened to me. One morning, I was walking into school and I hit a slick spot on the concrete. You know, there was oil or something on the ground and I was in sandals and a skirt with my hands full. Let me just tell you… I BIT IT. Not only did I fall, but I ripped my skirt and spilled coffee and water EVERYWHERE. There were kids in the parking lot and the janitor was there and helped me up. I was so embarrassed. It gets worse. During my first bell, I went down to talk to one of the secretaries and tell her what happened to me earlier that morning. She busts out laughing and says, “You know there’s a new camera out there and we can rewind the tape to see.” I immediately tell her to run that shit back. So, we’re sitting there and you see my car pull in and then you see me walking and then I’M DOWN. It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, so we kept rewinding and laughing. Finally, I went back to my classroom and my friend Abby comes in and says I have the funniest thing to show you! So she pulls her phone out and there’s me falling on the surveillance camera and in the background you can hear the Dean of Students say, “Sniper got ‘er!” It literally  looks like someone has sniped me. Initially, I was pissed that all of these people were laughing at my expense, but now I can say that was the most embarrassing/funniest thing that has ever happened to me. I have the video, so if you ever need a laugh just ask, and I’ll reluctantly share this with you!
    sniper                                            There I am… walking into the building!


Thanks for reading everyone! Please share some of your most embarrassing moments in the comments so that I feel like less of a loser! Happy Sunday!



The Top 10 Things Students Have Said (or Done) to Me…

When I initially decided to become a teacher, I thought I was going to change the world one student at a time. I was excited to share my love of literature and writing with high school students and help them discover themselves and their talents. While I was in college and graduate school preparing to become a teacher, we learned how to teach writing and to help students analyze literature, but we were never taught how to make students laugh at corny English jokes or how to engage students on a personal level.

I am currently in my 3rd year of teaching and I pride myself in the relationships I have with my students. There are some I’m closer to than others, but at the end of the day, they’re all my kids. In my 3 years of teaching, there have been so many hilarious interactions with my students and colleagues. Below are my top 10 (so far):

  1. Is that a bee?
    My first year of teaching, I taught mostly freshmen, a class of sophomores and yearbook. My first classroom didn’t have air conditioning and I was on the third floor (talk about heat rising). I always opened the windows to get some sort of breeze in and of course with fresh air, there are bees. When you put 25 kids in a steaming classroom and you add bees into the equation, something is liable to happen. Anyway, one day, a group of my freshmen were working when a bee wandered its way into the window. Needless to say, kids started freaking out. Arms were waved, books were swatted and a leg was kicked. This particular leg belonged to a male student and connected with the face of one of my female students. Not only did she get kicked in the face, but her glasses broke from the impact. It took everything in me to hold in my laughter and make sure the girl was okay. She was fine, but this is something I’ll never stop laughing about.
  2. Ten I See.
    Looking like a student while being a teacher can be hard sometimes. I’m always asked what grade I’m in if I wear clothes from the school I teach at. Sometimes it’s flattering, but most of the time it kind of irritates me. Teaching high school students gets pretty interesting around Homecoming and Prom season. My first year, I was asked to Homecoming by 3 different kids (yikes), but lame pick up lines are my favorite. I never really had a good relationship with this particular student because he was always testing my patience or talking when I was. One day, in front of all of his classmates, after he could visible see I was getting irritated, he said, “Ms. Bell, are you from Tennessee because you’re the only ten I see.” I wanted to yell and reprimand him, but all I could do was laugh.
  3. Will you?
    Not only do I get asked to dances, but sometimes, I get marriage proposals too. Nothing is more awkward than having two high school freshmen down on one knee asking you to marry them. Sometimes, I wish there was a camera in my room so that I could have seen just how awkward the situation was from the outside, because from the inside, I was mortified.
  4. Just call me Satan.
    Also during my first year, I had a lot of issues with students. Some didn’t like the way I taught, some thought I was mean, others just really didn’t like me. One student in particular took it so far as to call me Satan. Don’t worry, we have a great relationship now, but back then, she hated my guts.
  5. Philosophical Questions.
    One of my favorite aspects of teaching is getting to know my students and them getting to know a little about me. Throughout the year, I obviously get to know them a lot better and learn about different things that concern them. One day, I was posed this question: “Ms. Bell, why isn’t a group of squids called a squad?” I couldn’t answer it and all I could do was laugh. It was a valid question!Teaching at a Catholic school, there are always a number of non-Catholic students who have questions about different aspects of Catholicism. Although I went to Catholic school from kindergarten through 12th grade, I don’t know all there is to know about being Catholic. One day, after mass, a student asks me: “Ms. Bell, if communion is supposed to be Jesus, why isn’t the bread called Jes-its?” Another great question, but I don’t think the Catholic church wants their sacrament to be named after a salty snack.
  6. A Classic Narrative.
    One of my favorite parts about teaching English is introducing new writing assignments and helping students unlock their potential with their words. At the beginning of each year, I typically have my students write a narrative. During my second year, my freshmen’s first narrative was to write about a struggle they’ve been through. Here is part of the intro from one of my student’s papers:
    “Overcoming a challenge is one of the most difficult aspects of human life. Whether it is at home, work or school, the pressure seems to always be on us. Challenges can sometimes push us to work harder and strive to accomplish goals. However, tension of challenges can also overwhelm and stress us out. One of the hardest challenges in life is undeniably running out of toilet paper while using the restroom.”… pure comedy.
  7. Favorite Seniors, Ever.
    During my second year of teaching, I got really close to a group of 3 seniors who I always referred to as “my ducklings.” These girls were always in my room and we always had the best relationship. One afternoon at the end of the school year, there was an announcement at the end of the day explaining that there had been an incident involving a red Hyundai (my old car) and a blue Jeep (my coworkers car) in the faculty parking lot. As soon as the announcement was over, I booked it outside to my car because I assumed a student had hit it. When I made it out to my car, it was COVERED in Post-It notes. There were hundreds of them. I was so relieved that my car was just plastered in sticky notes.
  8. You dropped something…
    At the first school I taught at, every year the students got to partake in something called Intercession. Intercession was a teacher led educational trip or class that students did instead of going on Spring Break. My first year, I was fortunate enough to go to The Mediterranean. We traveled with a group of about 30 students and some parents to Italy, France and Spain. Our last day of the trip, we went to a beach in Barcelona and one of my students had a huge rock and he was tossing it between both of his hands. I told him that he needed to stop because someone was going to get hurt. Well, he dropped the rock… on my right foot. I will admit, initially this wasn’t a funny story because not only did I get a rock dropped on my foot on a beautiful beach, I had no idea it was broken for about a week after. I went to the doctor after being home a week, and got an x-ray because my foot was still killing me. As it turns out, my foot was fractured and I had to wear a boot AND crutches for 3 months. Not only did I hobble around in a boot and the occasional crutch, but my friends referred to me at “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.” Fun times.11095354_10204245591886016_1430268403627942553_n
  9. You’re pretty… ugly.
    This year, I started at a new school and I struggled with getting to know them as well as I knew the students I had for two years at my old school. It’s now the middle of the year and my relationship just keeps getting better with my students, until about two weeks ago. I styled my hair a different way and one of my 6th bell students came in and said, “Ms. Bell, you look really nice today.” I proceeded to tell him thank you and then he asked, “Did you get a tan or something?” I told him no and that I had just put on make-up that day and he said, “Oh, that’s why.” Daaaaaaaang. First of all, I didn’t know I was THAT hideous without make-up on. He immediately started apologizing and I couldn’t help but laugh and continue giving him a hard time. I guess that’ll teach me to change it up.
  10. My biggest fear.
    The last instance of something funny that a student has said or done to me also happened this year. I made the mistake of mentioning to my Journalism class, at the beginning of the year, that I was afraid of little people and clowns, among other things. This is the worst thing I could have EVER done. One morning, I walked into my classroom and turned on the lights and there were pictures of clowns and little people EVERYWHERE: on my bulletin board, my door, my chair, my tv, you name it. I had a mini panic attack and screamed and heard laughter from the hallway. Never, will I ever share my fears with a group of high school students. Looking back, it’s hilarious, but imagine walking into a dark classroom and seeing your worst fear. Who knew there was a such thing as a midget-clown?

To wrap everything up, teaching is such a rewarding experience. I not only teach my students, but I learn a lot from them too. Between the hundreds of student selfies that inhibit my phone and the love notes I have written on sticky notes all over my desk, I know that I am loved and a few of them appreciate me. So, whenever I’m having a bad day, or I’m struggling with reaching my students, I can look back on all of these memories and laugh… even if it’s just a little.


Thanks for reading!

Top 10 Thoughts I Have (When Driving By Myself…)

Happy Sunday!
On any given day, I have about a million thoughts running through my head during my commute to and from work or when I’m out running errands. Whether I’m cruising along, speeding (which happens more often than not), or in traffic staring at hundreds of red brake lights, I’m always thinking about the following things…

  1. The number of adults who pick their nose.
    I find that the number of adults that I see 2 knuckles deep in their noses is disgusting. I thought that picking your nose (without a tissue) was something people stopped doing when they were old enough to know what a booger was. I guess I’m mistaken because every single day, I see at least one person digging for gold during their commute. If you’re one of these people… sorry if I’ve offended you, but just know: WE SEE YOU.
  2. Why are there so many damn cups in my car?
    When I leave for work in the morning, I usually have two cups. My coffee, because I can’t start my morning without at least one cup, and my Yeti, because I’m always trying to increase the amount of water I drink. Between leaving for work and coming home, my hands are usually full, so I leave a cup (usually my water bottle) in the car. Then, I forget about said water bottle and when morning comes and I am headed out the door, I think to myself, “I’ll bring them all in when I get home.” Which never happens. So, by the end of the week, I’m bringing in Yeti’s, a Tervis, plastic water bottles, etc., and then it all starts all over again on Monday. At least I know I’ll always be hydrated… right?
  3. I really have to pee.
    A problem I’ve encountered (probably because I drink too much coffee or have too many damn water bottles) is that I always have to pee. I’m not really a fan of using public restrooms, so I tend to wait until I get home. I also have this thing where I don’t have to pee when I’m leaving home, but as soon as I pull out of my parking lot, I have to go, but I decide it’s too late and just hold it. It’s not very logical, but I’ve never said I was a very logical woman.
  4. Lesson plans I don’t really want to create.
    Making lesson plans are the worst. I don’t really write them out as often as I used to, but when I have to think about how to help students with their research papers, or how to cite sources, I need to write those ideas down because my memory is awful. I’m always thinking to myself whether or not the students are going to understand where I’m coming from or what visuals I can use to help them. If you see me out driving and my eyes are glazed over, chances are, I’m thinking about school.
  5. If I get home early, what are the chances of me taking a nap?
    Naps are hands-down the best part of being an adult and my commutes are often consumed by the best odds of being able to nap. Getting the opportunity to snuggle on the couch with my dog, Sophia, or laying in my bed surrounded by pillows mid-afternoon are moments that make my life complete. During the week, I rarely take naps because I have an awful time falling asleep at night, but when I do, I can’t help but fall asleep with a smile on my face.
  6. Food (More like how often I’ve had Chipotle that week).
    Every day, on my way home from work, I pass Chipotle. Anyone who knows me, knows that I could probably have something from there every day of the week. I am not ashamed to say that before I moved, I think the workers at my old Chipotle knew me by name because I ordered there so much. I typically don’t eat breakfast and I’m usually working through lunch, so by the time it’s time to get home, I’m salivating at the idea of a burrito bowl. It’s sad, but I own it. Hello, my name is Rikki and I’m addicted to Chipotle.
  7. If i can’t take a nap, how early can I go to bed tonight?
    Sleeping. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up, the last thing that pops into my head before I nod off and a thought that’s always in my head when I’m driving (I swear, I’ve never fallen asleep on the road). Going to bed early ensures that I’m not grouchy when I wake up in the morning, and if I’m not grouchy when I wake up in the morning, I’m more excited to teach. When I’m more excited to teach, I feel like my students are more excited to learn… and so on and so forth. Needless to say, sleeping consumes my brain, so if you ever see me and I’m grouchy, which I am 9 time of out 10, hand me a pillow and a blanket and I’ll love you forever.
  8. This is my jaaaaaaaam.
    Music makes my life complete, so the first thing I do when I get in the car is connect my phone to Apple Car Play (thanks, Chevy). I’m a firm believer that a song can make or break the beginning or end of your day, so I have to find the right song before I can pull out of the driveway. I don’t care what time it is, I’m always jamming in the car, especially by myself. I’m always singing along or trying to break it down while sitting behind the wheel. My favorite jams right now are: Bruno Mars, Drake and Alessia Cara.
  9. I wonder if that person just saw me breaking it down?
    That awkward moment when you’re coming to a stop light and the person next to you sees your breaking it down in the car… This happens to me on a daily basis. Most of the time I try to stop dancing before the person next to me actually sees me, but when I’m in the middle of a groove, sometimes I can’t stop. My favorite car dance moves include the robot, the on-beat head bob and anything involving shoulders.
  10. Why are the worst drivers always in front of me?
    My last recurring thought while driving. Why are all of the worst drivers in Cincinnati driving RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!? I always seem to be stuck behind someone driving 10 below the speed limit, someone who can’t use their turn signal or someone who can’t stay in their own lane. The moment I get over, they either get over in front of me or the person I am now behind can’t drive either. Why is it so hard to adhere by the driving laws created by the state of Ohio? Nothing pisses me off worse than a bad driver. I’m not the best, but damn, get it together, people!

What are some of the thoughts you have while driving? Are any of them similar to mine? I can’t wait to hear what you guys say! Thanks for reading.



We’re Best Friends… in My Head

When coming up with an idea for my blog, I wanted to do something a little different, so I decided to choose a Weekly Top 10 of various topics. This was one of the first topics to pop into my head: Celebrities I’m best friends with… In my head. Here goes nothing!


1. Cindy Hayes aka Black Cindy from Orange is the New Black. I’ve always been a fan of Orange is the New Black, and Black Cindy is no exception. I always tell my friends that if I ever went to prison, I’d want to be like her. I hope I never go to prison, I’ve seen way too many episodes of Lock Up: Raw. Cindy is hilarious, sticks up for her friends and is actually really intelligent, which I can really appreciate.
My favorite Black Cindy quote: “I don’t care about no ‘used to.’ I live in the present. Namaste and shit.”



2. Brandon Phillips. So, anyone that knows me knows and understands that I’m not athletically inclined. If I’m running, you should probably run too because something is chasing us. Anyway, being from Cincinnati, I feel morally obligated to love the Reds, even when they aren’t doing well. From hearing his “at bat” songs and watching interviews, I’m convinced Brandon and I would be best friends. He’s hilarious and… so am I.
My favorite BP quote: “I’d play against these guys with one leg. We have to beat these guys. I hate the Cardinals. All they do is bitch and moan about everything, they’re little bitches, all of ’em. I really hate the Cardinals. Compared to the Cardinals, I love the Chicago Cubs. Let me make this clear – I hate the Cardinals.” Lets be honest, what kind of Reds fan are you if you don’t hate the Cardinals?!

Image: Chrissy Teigen And Kaitlyn Bristowe On "Extra"

3. Chrissy Teigen. I think the biggest (and probably only) commonality between Chrissy and myself are that we both don’t have much of a filter. I will admit, initially, I wasn’t a fan of her, but she’s definitely changed my mind. She’s pure comedy and I want so badly for her to be my best friend. If you don’t follow her on Twitter and you don’t get easily offended, I suggest you follow her, immediately! She’s so real and SO funny!
My favorite Chrissy Teigen tweet: “I didn’t shower all day then I finally did and a fly followed me all the way to the shower. John said I’m the kid from Peanuts.”


4. Justin Timberlake. Helloooooo, childhood and awkward teenage years! Who am I kidding, I’ve loved him my whole life. Justin has always been there for me, whether I was skulking over my 6th grade crush or breaking it down during a 90s girl’s night. Watching him on SNL and Jimmy Fallon fill my heart with so much joy knowing that someone from a 90s boyband is killing it in the present day.
My favorite Justin quote: “You’re not meant to do what is easy. You’re meant to challenge yourself.”

Ellen Pompeo

5. Ellen Pompeo. Yaaaaaaaas! Grey’s Anatomy has been my jam from the beginning and following her on social media makes me love her so much. I may have originally fell in love with her character, Meredith, but my love for Ellen has gotten so much stronger!
My favorite Ellen Pompeo quote: “Strive to find things to be thankful for, and just look for the good in who you are.”


6. Bruno Mars. I honestly believe we should be best friends because we’re basically the same height. Just kidding! But, seriously, I could be in the worst possible mood and I’ll hear one of his songs and I’m instantly happy and ready to dance. Not to mention his concerts are THE BEST. I’ve been to two and the third is this summer! He’s such a humble man and truly makes me laugh.
My favorite Bruno Mars Quote: “Someone told me something that stuck with me: ‘You have to envision your life, and then go backwards.’ I have been living by that motto for a while, so I see where I need to be. Now I’m just backtracking and trying to get back there.”


7. Adele. She’s such a soulful singer, but she seems so down to earth! I love seeing her on shows like Ellen and giving interviews. Not to mention, she’s foul mouthed, just like me! I have a feeling we’d be best friends.
Favorite Adele quote: “I have insecurities of course, but I won’t hang out with anyone who points them out to me.”
Preeeeeach girl, preach!


8. Matt Bellassai. If there ever was a person I’d choose to be my spirit animal, it would be him. His “Whine About it Wednesdays” still make me laugh until I cry. Anything that involves copious amounts of wine, whining and sarcastic humor is alright by me!
My favorite Matt Bellassai quote: “My body isn’t ready to confront the world until I’ve had at least 3 cups of coffee, cereal, a nap and lunch.”


9. Sophia Bush. I’ve loved Sophia Bush since she played Brooke Davis on One Tree Hill. I feel like I grew up right along with her. After watching every episode of OTH six… maybe seven times, I love her more and more. She’s currently on Chicago PD, where she is kicking ass. I love following her on social media and seeing how charitable she is. She’s always standing up for causes she believes in.
My Favorite Sophia Bush quote: “As a woman, I know you’re young, but you gotta hear it now: the most valuable part about you is your brain. Get an education; don’t let anybody tell you that your body or the size that you wear or any of that BS matters, because it doesn’t. Your brain matters, so be the smart girl in the room. Because, to be funny, you have to be smart, because you have to get the joke.”


10. Michelle Obama. She’s seriously the classiest woman I’ve ever seen. When she began as the First Lady, she immediately began doing everything she could for her country. I love to see the love she has for her husband, children and people from all walks of life. She’s taught me so much about myself and who I want to be as a role model and as a member of my community. I can’t thank her enough for what she’s shown me and the rest of the little girls in the world.
My favorite Michelle Obama quote: “You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious an hope can take on a life of its own.”

So, if you’re still with me, THANK YOU! I hope you enjoyed my first Top 10 list! In the comments, let me know who you envision would be your best friend… if they weren’t famous!

Love you guys,