BYRNE | Learning My Lines

The summer before I started middle school, my best friend moved to Florida. When the “For Sale” sign first appeared in the yard, we knew things were getting serious, and started our plot to get them to stay. Unfortunately, our mastermind plan was to uproot the sign from the lawn and stash it in the basement, next to the family computer, where it was (almost immediately) found. When this measure failed, we promised to refuse to tidy up around the house when the realtor was showing it, yelling loudly in adjacent rooms that “this house stinks” and “who would want to live here?!” In the end though, it was all for naught. The moving trucks came.

BYRNE | Skimming the Surface

My roommate is teaching me how to swim. When I say that to people, they mostly respond incredulously, “You don’t know how to swim?!” The truth is that I do, just on an extremely cursory level. As in, I passed my swim test, but probably couldn’t successfully complete more than those three lengths of the pool. As in, I haven’t quite mastered the art of breathing, in air or in water, and frequently feel like I’m drowning when I do happen to find myself in a swimming situation. I grew up in a lake community, and from basically birth until fifth grade, every summer I was forced to take swim lessons.

BYRNE | Lessons for My 22-Year-Old Self

Be yourself. This is apparently easier said than done. The year is 2015, after all, and aliens could come at any time and take over your body. Avoid this at all costs, and remain who you are. Above all, remain human, because alien possession completely ruins your skin.

BYRNE | Literally Speaking

“I was literally head over heels.”

“We’ve been here for literally forever.”

“Oh my god, Taylor Swift’s new album, I’m literally dying.”

When teenage girls first started saying “literally” in the place of “like,” I was upset. The English language is so near and dear to my heart that it was emotionally difficult for me to see a perfectly good word appropriated in such a meaningless way. However, as time went on — I shudder to say it — I started using it, too. I don’t know if you know how hard it is to resist a cultural tide like this, but it’s literally impossible. (That was a joke.

BYRNE | A Realistic Romantic Comedy

Disclaimer: This article is definitely not based on any real events. The author, after all, is a Biology and Society, not Animal Science, major. Generic Girl is an Animal Science major, busy with vet school apps, who doesn’t really go out that much because she doesn’t particularly enjoy the sensation of losing hours of one’s life to alcohol-induced blackouts. Generic Boy is in ILR, and dreams of one day becoming a lawyer, but in actuality will probably go into consulting, because who is he kidding, that will be easier and he’ll make more money. Generic Girl’s friends drag her out to a party one night, saying that she needs to “have more fun” (direct translation, “get drunk more often”).

BYRNE | On Having a Favorite Book

My dog, if he were a person, would be the type of person who constantly laughs really loudly in a group situation so that everyone will look at him. He would have asthma, but refuse to go to the doctor because it “only hurts when he breathes.” He would love hiking but hate “exercising.” He would hang up posters of the Rolling Stones on his wall and pretend not to know new bands. Honestly though, I would probably still love him if I knew him as a human, because he would be exactly the type of boisterous, just-rude-enough-to-still-be-cute person I could grow to love. My sister starts every conversation with, “what’s your favorite movie?” Or at least most of them. The others she starts with a similar question — like favorite book — but movies are her thing, so she judges people deeply based on their movie preference.

BYRNE | Five Adventures in Childcare

Ever since I’ve been old enough to be left home alone, I have been babysitting every child I know. Neighbors, family friends, cousins, friends of cousins, friends of cousins of friends; if I know a human person under the age of 10, I’ve probably babysat him or her. Last summer, during the week I worked at a summer camp with 10 and 11-year-olds, and on the weekends I nannied for a family with two children under the age of three. I had some pretty interesting experiences, and I heard some things that I never thought I’d hear come out of another human being’s mouth. Here are a few of my top moments.

BYRNE | Five Childhood Activities that Never Paid Off in Real Life

As a junior, I feel like I’m getting perilously close to entering what some might call the “real world,” what others might call “adulthood,” and what I call “scary.” With this old age comes a (very) small bit of wisdom, and I feel that I can now confidently assess some of the decisions I made earlier in life. I’m not sure about everyone else, but I know that I definitely used to take everything way too seriously. Here are five things that I always thought would prepare me for my future, but turned out to be pretty much useless. 1. Collecting Beanie Babies: Remember in elementary school when everyone refused to take the tags off of his or her Beanie Babies, sure that those plush animals would someday be worth millions?