“Girls State…? What’s that?”

Friend: “So… where are you going next week again?”

Me: “Oh, I’m going to Girls State.”

Friend: “Oh, congrats! For what?”

Me: “For Girls State.”

Friend: “Like… for soccer? Track?”

This was the exact conversation I had with at least a dozen family members and friends. I am here to help prepare you for the next time you have this conversation with someone, whether it be about Boys or Girls State.

To be honest, I had sympathy for the confused friend or family member who I entertained the misunderstood conversation with. The only reason I knew what this Boys/Girls State thing was, was because one of the guys at Boys State in Nebraska had slipped me his number on a napkin, when the volleyball campers and staters shared lunch in the UNL dining hall. Those were first and the last digits I received on a napkin. I don’t know if that is good or bad. ANYWAY, I couldn’t explain GS very well until after I had spent a week giving speeches and wearing a dress. Every. Single. Day. I don’t even own a weeks worth of dresses! (This is when being the same size as your mother comes in handy.) I also stole all of her khakis, but that’s another story.

For clarification purposes, “Girls State” is a literal, (but still imaginary) state. Think along the lines of Iowa or Illinois, except our state’s name is, Hawkeye Girls State. We referred to this imaginary state as the State of Hawkeye. Sorry Iowa State fans, but you are going to have to take the L again. What I’m saying is it’s not a coincidence that a state consisting of some of Iowa’s most prestigious young women is named Hawkeye. Actually, I don’t know why it’s called Hawkeye, I didn’t care enough to ask, but I secretly will be counting this as another W.

I’m going to be completely honest, I was one of about 10 girls selected from my school to go in for an interview to attend GS. I was out of town when the interviews happened, and I received the spot by default. No one else showed up from my school. Hah. At the time, I was cool with it, all I had to do was send in my resume and leadership qualities to receive basically a weeks worth of cafeteria food. This is not the typical high school cafeteria gunk where you can’t tell whether you’re eating chicken or pasta because everything tastes the same in the 1/2 cup casserole ration. No. This is the big leagues people. I’m talking soft serve ice cream, dessert bar, pizza bar, pasta bar, I think I achieved the freshman 15 in one week bar, and the salad bar (I stood by it only while wating in the ice cream line of 20 people). I was cool with the free weeks worth of food, free dorm stay, scholarship opportunities, and something else to put on my resume. (May I remind you nothing has gone wrong yet in this blogpost.)

A couple months after I had registered and sent in my parent permission form late (typical), I wanted to attend a volleyball camp of a college I was interested in. GUESS WHAT WEEK THE CAMP WAS SCHEDULED FOR. I am convinced scheduling conflicts will be the death of me. You can quote this in my obituary.

This scheduling issue was my fault, but in my defense I didn’t even know I wanted to go to this college until after I had received this, what was becoming a pain in my rear, default opportunity. I begged the Rents to let me back out of it, but they wouldn’t have it. So I sucked it up, prayed the college wouldn’t be off the table, packed up 7 bags, and drove two hours to the Drake campus. Under different circumstances I would have enjoyed the week of strict dress codes, presentations, and busy schedule a lot more. This was definitely a Banana Peel for the record books.

Alright, I’m off my soapbox now. I was able to be sponsored by my American Legion Auxiliary, and as greatful as I was for the experience, I can wholeheartedly say I will not be entering the workforce running for political office. At GS we replicated City, County, and State elections, made party platforms, and went through the process of creating bills and making amendments. We had standing votes over the legalization of marijuana and odd speeches over embarrassing period stories. I’m not joking. We could all relate, but I wasn’t about to tell 85 girls a period story. I decided to mix it up and tell a story about falling off a horse. At Girls State I had the privilege of listening to some of the most inspirational speeches and I met some girls there who I now look up to. I made new friends who were totally cool to getting ready in the morning with the Newsboys playing. SCORE. The best part about the week was that I was able to capture most of the week’s events on a little camera and squeeze 76 videos into 3 minutes and play them to music. I got some weird looks walking around with a little green stick, but I once again received the nickname of “GoPro Girl” by the end of the week. (Refer to my last post named “Never Put Your Love Life In The Hands Of Your GoPro” for the backstory on this honorary nickname.) And lastly, a big SHOUTOUT to all the people who aren’t camera shy. Y’all are what makes video editing fun and easy, keep doin you.

A note to my fellow Girls Staters

I first want to thank you for reading this long blogpost, or skipping to the end to watch the video. Both are equally great, but props to you for reading the whole thing, I promise not all my posts are this long. Second, I want to thank you for giving me the ultimate experience at Girls State, whether it was ranting about the dresscode, or letting me shove a miniature camera in your face and having you awkwardly wave. I truly believe I was in the presence of Iowa’s finest Class of 2017 senior girls. Y’all showed me I am not the only one who stays up until 2 a.m. to finish homework or study to get the A on the test. 

Explanation of Song Choice

Some of you may have recognized the last two songs from morning meditation, but I wanted to include a snip it of Matthew West’s World Changers at the beginning because I believe the lyrics are so true for all of you. The beginning of the song goes as follows: 

In a world full of dirt, you’re a diamond

In a world full of hurt, you’re smiling

In the darkest dark, you’re shining

Shining like a shooting star

You live your life like you’re here on a mission

Yeah, you’re not afraid of being different

You hear the doubters, but you don’t listen

‘Cause you know who you are

Yeah, you know who you are

This is to all the world changers

Keep walking on, don’t you ever

Lose that fire in your soul

Lose that fire in your soul

This is to all the world changers

You know you are history makers

This world’s never gonna change you

You’re gonna change

You’re gonna change

The world (yeah)

The world

I truly believe that you all are not only leaders in your hometowns, but you all are going to become “World Changers.” You set the example, you are not afraid to speak up for what you believe in, “in the face of fear you’re fearless,” and I think these lyrics are spot on when they say “From the ends of the earth to your hometown To the lost, to the hurt, to the broke down You’re the arms wide open A love that’s showing every one of us the way now.” I hope you get as much from this song as I have.

Party in the USA. Everybody needs a little Miley in their life, and to the people that made the Party in the USA GS parody, I wish I could have recorded it, y’all killed it.

Oceans. When Hope sang this song on the last day, not gonna lie, I started to cry. It was so beautiful, and I had to include the song in the video. They wrote their own piano and clarinet parts for the performance, and that is one of the many talents that rose to the surface two weeks ago. 

Do any of y’all remember how stinking hard it was to keep your candle lit the last windy night around the flag pole? Remember how we had to keep lighting each other’s candles once someone’s around us had been blown out by the wind? I want to use those circumstances to relate to life. Every time someone or something blows out your candle, when you’re struggling and down in the dumps, lean on eachother. Use other people’s fire to relight your own candle. Use their encouragement, motivation, and strong candle flame to light your own. If you have the candle that doesn’t burn out, share your strength, experience, and positive mindset with those who need it. We are leaders, and we are the light in our generation. Shine yours bright. 

I hope y’all enjoy the video and this little note, thank you again. Love y’all. 

-Morgan (one of the 10 that were there) 


Never Put Your Love Life In The Hands Of Your GoPro

DISCLAIMER: This is a psycho fan girl story. The craziness has been worse, those stories are for another time, but for now, here is a recent Banana Peel of mine.

It was a Wednesday in early January, I had left school early in order to purchase concert tickets to two of the same shows-24 hours apart. It seemed like a good idea at the time, okay?

Flash forward four months later to the end of April. The wait was finally over, but I was REALLY regretting purchasing tickets for two concerts in a row. I was fatigued and packing and preparing for my trip was more stress than it was worth. I was to drive up separately with my friend and meet my mother and sister in Davenport. This was planned so they could go home that night and I could stay in Davenport and drive to Rockford the next morning. I don’t think I was in a logical state of mind when I bought the tickets- because I clearly overestimated my ability to accomplish anything without complications. Looking back, I think everything was worth it, but I still painfully remember returning home from Rockford at 4 a.m.

What’s up with this funky title? So a few months ago I bought a GoPro in an effort to painlessly document my very eventful life. (When I wrote this, I had been living out of my suitcase for four weekends straight if that proves my point.) But I think the GoPro had other ideas in mind. (It sat in my drafts for a few weeks while I contemplated posting such a revealing story.)

Appropriately, as any fan-girl would do, I had my camera (GoPro) in hand, ready to capture all the exciting moments-or at least I thought. It didn’t take long after the first act had started for my friend to point out the very attractive drummer. I agreed. As it turned out, he was actually the drummer for the second act. Ah what talent he had, playing with two different bands. *heart eye emoji* And before I knew it, my heart was beating to the beat of his drum. Just kidding… I continued to film and get cool clips of the crowd and the band performing. The next band played and it was now intermission. I was in the process of trying to figure out who was going to hold up some signs, for the last act, when I was approached by the attractive drummer. I’m telling you, it was as if God had read my mind. It was meant to be. My future husband. Right in front of me. Okay that’s a little exaggerate, but this kind of coincidence?! He actually just wanted to know if I had captured his brother’s fall, during their performance, on my GoPro. I had seen his brother (the guitarist) on the ground, but I had not seen him fall. I was probably staring at the drummer planning our future together when it happened.  Kidding. Kinda. Anyway, I told him I had seen his brother on the ground, but I would have to upload the GoPro footage to my computer to check if I had gotten it. I told him I would send it to him if I had captured the fall. Neither of us had our phones on us, but he conveniently pulled out a drumstick and a sharpie and scribbled out his Instagram username on the side of the stick. For a fan-girl this is big. We are basically talking digits here, people. I was pretty pumped, and I had already begun to pray that I had captured that fall.

After the show, I went to their table to get a selfie. They identified me as the GoPro Girl and I was honored with the tacky nickname. I mentioned that I would (conveniently) be in Rockford for the next show and would get back to them on the video situation. So we took a selfie together and I was satisfied with how fantastic the night had finished. (Selfie is pictured above, Future Husband is to the right) But was still praying that the stinking fall was on my tiny little memory card.

It was during the encore at the end of the last act’s (Newsboys’) performance, I was trying to get someone to video the signs with my GoPro, when I ran into the drummer hunk. He asked me if I had gotten the fall, but I hadn’t gotten a chance to look the night before, because the hard drive on my computer was full!! FAIL.

I finally got around to clearing up my hard drive two days after the concerts. And after going through each video clip at least five times, I had come to the conclusion that I had not captured the fall and to the conclusion that I was never ever going to get to talk to this beautiful human being ever again.

Now this banana peel was very much because of the fact that I’m a psycho fan girl with unrealistic expectations. So I blame myself. For putting my love life in the hands of my GoPro.