10 Things College Has Taught Me (Wednesday Things)

(Today’s Wednesday Things post comes to you in the form of actual blog content! Yay!)

Yesterday, I turned in my final exams for my entire undergrad education and then my Momma and I booked it on the road to Pennsylvania, where I get to hang with a best friend (and go shopping with her, naturally), see some family, and actually meet the lovely lady I’ve been writing for online in person! So far it’s been a wonderful getaway right before the wedding, and when I get home for this weekend, I walk in my graduation commencement ceremony on Saturday!

Appropriately, here is a list of things I’ve learned throughout college:

  1. I have learned just about every in and out there is to know about doing research, and I am really darn good at it, too.
  2. It’s not just something people say – it actually is all who you know.
  3. I’m a serial Rick Roller. It’s my favorite, and that’s about as crazy as I get. The worst it gets for anyone is that some one feels a little bit dumb. This year, a girl somehow got a hold of the list address through which to email every single undergrad student in the entire university, and when people “reply-all”-ed we learned that we could all communicate to each other like some big, university-wide forum. Some people got angry, the better people enjoyed the heck out of it. Some one even copy+pasted the entire text of War and Peace. I Rick Rolled the entire undergraduate class and also spammed everyone with some doge/shibe memes. I may be getting my bachelor’s degree, but my participation in this event is also an accomplishment I am uber proud of during my high school career. I even got recognized in the school paper’s list of the best emails of what I affectionately call “the OU email fiasco of 2014.” Good times.
  4. A very personal and important thing I learned is that I could have walked back into being a voice performance major when I transferred to Oakland if I wanted to. (Read this post to find out why this is a very big deal). My fear and anxiety distorted my perception so significantly, and I am back to owning myself and skills more than ever.
  5. I made the right choice by transferring back home. I originally started at Grove City College in Grove City, PA as a voice major but changed everything and came back home after one semester. I’ve always known that I don’t regret starting here (a list of what I learned in my time here is a whole post for it’s own day), but every time I come back and visit for a few days I’ve always felt like I’m in some alternate dimension where I stayed, and part of me has always wondered “what if.” Even though this trip out here has been wonderful, it’s been the first trip that has left me certain that I made the right choice by coming home.
  6. It’s okay to have friends that aren’t super close. My best friends have always some how ended up living very far from me, and that can really suck when, say, you’re engaged and can’t have a proper bachelorette party because all your girls are in separate states or when you just want some one to hang out with in sweatpants and each doing your own thing. But this is okay, because I’ve learned that I have a lot of great, not-super-close friends in my life and how to reach out to them to spend time together. It may sometimes mean leaving my comfort zone (omg: one-on-one conversations?!) but it almost always pays off, even if it’s just because it was something different than sitting around at home. College has definitely taught me how to utilize and enjoy this dimension of socialization.
  7. College is seriously so much harder than high school. I mean, duh, and we all already knew this going into it, but in high school the biggest single assignment I had was a 10-page paper that we spent all semester on and wrote in segments. In college, I’ve had to write multiple 20+-page assignments in a week or less, and especially in one night thanks to procrastination.
  8. Ask for things. There have been so many times that I or my mother have gotten something just because we’ve asked. Like, real things. Like jobs and discounts and opportunities. For example, I got my new favorite writing gig because I shot the website’s contact email asking if she could use any help. Especially in situations where asking for/about something involves have nothing to lose, I say ask.
  9. There are more important things than whichever test or school assignment you’re killing yourself to try and get a 4.0 through. Your GPA, especially in college, is not worth being bad to your body, mind, or spirit. Mistreating yourself by getting zero sleep, refusing every offer of socialization, chugging 5-hour energies (which are to high school students what Monster energy drinks were to high schoolers in my time), and never allowing yourself any down time is so not worth it.
  10. Being busy is not cool, nor is life a competition about who is busiest. Seriously – “busy” should not be a response to “How are you?” Have you noticed how people turn conversations into competitions about who’s busier than the other? Being super busy should not be a life goal. Enjoy your downtime – it’s good for you.
Advertisements

Wednesday Things

Image

1. Our wedding guest book arrived!! I know I mentioned that I second-guessed it for a hot second in last week’s Wednesday post, but now that I have it in my hands, I couldn’t be any happier. I’m so excited to read the things everyone I love has written in it after the wedding.

2. Today has not been a day when the universe has been nice to me. I slept through my alarm (for the second day in a row), realized I forgot my wallet at home only AFTER I ate out for lunch, went to the wrong meeting place for a group project and didn’t realize it for an hour, got cussed out for walking into the grocery store (what?), and was then honked at and given the finger for safely and legally getting into the lane for a Michigan left (I had signaled, then braked, and then merged into the left-turn lane, all while monitoring my mirrors like a good citizen. I have no idea what this guy was angry about).

3. Today I had my last choir rehearsal ever. Probably for ever ever. My director said the sweetest thing to me after specially recognizing the graduating seniors; he said “what a neat opportunity you gave to me by auditioning and joining Chorale this year.” Although I’m slightly terrified at the fact that, in a little less than a month (WHAT?) I’ll be graduated and will likely never get the chance to sing with a group of people ever again, and almost definitely will never get the chance to sing with such a wonderful group of people who are just so dang good at what they do. You can say whatever you like about what you’re going to miss when you graduate, but the connection and belonging you gain by being in an amazing choir with a director who is the most enthusiastic and loving person I have ever met is something that will break your heart when you leave. Even though I’ve only been in Chorale for this past year, I’ve learned so much about who I am, who I want to be, who I can be, and what I value through the process.

4. Some of you know I write for MySubscriptionAddiction, a company that reviews subscription boxes. Because of the fact that boxes are only mailed out monthly (or bi-monthly, or quarterly), it’s taken some time to get a good number of boxes sent my way even though I’ve been employed for a couple months. Things have really gotten going this month, and I just have to say that this is one of the neatest opportunities I’ve had. I’m loving it. It’s also so much fun to try new things! I mean, sometimes I get clothes or high-end beauty products, and sometimes I get a box of Japanese action figures? All in all, though, it’s awesome.

5. Did you know that Audible lets you return audio books for 365 days after the purchase date? You can only return like, two online and then you have to call their customer service for the rest, but it’s so easy and they don’t even bug you about it. They might ask why you’re returning them, and you can literally say “just ’cause.” Guess who has 6 new books at once to listen to! This gal!

6. Can we just talk about how my fiancee actually researched relationship-related books and asked for us to get them to read together to prep for married life? On his own? It’s like he’s some sort of rare mythical beast or something. What guy does that? A great one, that’s for sure.

7. Does anyone else find it hard to feed yourself for real when you’re all by yourself? My parents have been out of town and, with it just being me here, I’m living off of cereal and grocery-store sushi even though I make great things when I’m cooking for someone else, too. You’d think I’d rather make something yummy and not have to share it when I’m on my own. Is this just me?

8. It’s just about the most fun ever to get the mail when there’s a couple cute RSVP cards awaiting your arrival every day.

9. I’m debating what I should do with all of my extraneous belongings like books and clothes and such. I’ve been thinking about making some sort of online store via facebook, or maybe setting up an Amazon seller’s page or something. Basically, a virtual garage sale. Do any of you have any experience doing something like this? Any brilliant ideas for me?

 

 

Wednesday Things

Image

Hey, everyone! I feel like it’s been a while since I posted, but that’s just because I’ve been really busy (in a fun way!) (except school) (gross).

  1. I know we’re already more than 1/12 of the way in, but 2014 is going to be so seriously exciting and challenging and new and fun. My fiancee and I both have some really cool new opportunities and ideas that may help to bring in some more money and enjoying ourselves at the same time (who would have thought?). And then there’s that whole getting married thing, of course. That’s exciting, too (obviously)!
  2. Some of you may know that my dad lost his job a couple weeks ago. But, before he even finished editing his resume, he got a call from some one he used to work with who needs help with programs my dad designed years ago! Now, my dad gets to work for himself as an independent contractor AND work from home (his dream!). This is awesome. Especially with the added stress of planning a wedding, it gives us just that little bit of breathing room that does wonders for our sanity.
  3. I really miss my Grammy. She’d be so excited to hear about everything new going on and planning the wedding and everything. It’s still hard. But I’m really excited to have a reason to bring my family all together again for a happy celebration, since the last time we were all together was a funeral. It’ll be so great to dance and visit with my family and make those memories.
  4. Count-downs: 73 days until I walk for graduation! Oh my goodness. I just have to survive 73 more days. Basically 10 more weeks. I can do that. Counting down has never really done much for me in the past but when it comes to counting down my undergrad, it seems to make it feel like there’s actually a light at the end of the tunnel. Also, there’s exactly 80 days until I get married. Holy crap. This is the one countdown you probably don’t want to feel like it flies by because there’s so much to get done! Now that my dad has a job again and we have more options, I’m really trying to get back on track and as much done ahead of time as possible so that once finals and such come around, I can focus on finishing those strongly.
  5. Valentine’s Day! I’m celebrating tomorrow, on the 13th, because there’s no getting out of waitressing for Valentine’s Day. I’m really not looking forward to it (like that even needs to be said). It’s one of what we call “amateur holidays,” where people who don’t usually eat at expensive restaurants come out to eat. They often set a budget and then spend just under that, leaving only a small amount for a tip (which often ends up being 10% or less). Also, just about every reservation is a 2-person party, which means smaller check averages. Oh, well. Hopefully this will be my last-ever Valentine’s as a waitress.
  6. Speaking of which, please send some good vibes my way. As I eluded to above, I’m looking into new ways to bring in some good money and I’m really hoping I can quit the restaurant really soon. I die a little inside every time I have to deal with anything related to it.
  7. I was really struggling with some of those evil, self-critical demons this morning. Do you ever have times or days when you just hear those awfully negative voices in your head so much more strongly than usual? That was today. Fortunately, grabbing some coffee, having a sit-down lunch at the table with my Daddy and going on a walk with my parents later all helped me feel better. For now, at least. I always seem to struggle in January and February (Hello, Seasonal Affective Disorder), but being aware of this pattern for myself and having some lovely people supporting and surrounding me is more helpful than ever.
  8. The honeymoon is officially booked! We’re going to an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. Right before the travel agent put the first payment down, I had a moment of panic about how we could probably settle for some hotel somewhere close by for a week. But, I know that one tip for wedding budgeting that I keep reading is to cut money from the things that aren’t so important to you personally (flowers, alcohol, etc) and put the core cash towards the things that are. In this case, I know this trip will be amazing and once-in-a-lifetime. I know that paying for experiences rather than material things can be scary but oh so great. And now that it’s booked and set in stone, I have to be happy about it! It’s a win-win.
  9. Oh, I got my official wedding website set up! CLICK HERE to go see it!
  10. I have GOT to get myself a massage soon. My right shoulder + that side of my neck have been in constant pain for the last couple weeks and my right shoulder actually looks swollen because of how big the knot is in it. Friday’s payday – maybe I’ll finally get around to making an appointment then!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Valentine’s, whether you celebrate or don’t, are single or not, go out somewhere fancy or stay home and eat Chinese. =]

January + February Goals

Look, I know I’m already week into February, but it has been pretty chaotic for me so far and that is why I’m late to post my goals for the month.

Reflecting back on January, not a whole lot particularly sticks out in my mind. Some bridal expos, lots of vendor interviews, bouncing between being really bored with school and being really overwhelmed with it. Our music for Chorale this semester is really hard but really wonderful.

Aside from my resolutions, I don’t think I ever really listed any specific goals for the month. A lot of my blogger friends do new goals each month, and look back at how they did the month before. Personally, I really like this system! It’s much better than only setting goals annually. It seems more manageable, applicable, and effective. Also, you can spend one month developing one habit, and then move on to another habit the next month. That being said, here are my goals for February!

  1. Ask for help more often. 
    This is going to be really important. My wedding is going to include a lot of personalization and DIY projects and such. I’ve got a lot on my plate, and even if I didn’t I would need a ton of help pulling a whole wedding together. Fortunately, I have a wonderful community of people supporting my family and we’re all going to orchestrate an amazing day. Even aside from the wedding things, I need to be okay asking for help more often when it comes to school projects, asking for time to sit and focus on schoolwork rather than having to entertain, asking for grace for when I slip up. This month, I really need to try and better understand that I can do anything, but I can’t do everything.
  2. Practice flexibility
    Again, this is very much intended for all sorts of wedding ideas and concepts. However, it’s also important to practice this in my life in general. I’ve never been particularly spectacular at being flexible and taking time to think before reacting to news or a change. Also, money is tight, and practicing flexibility to adjust to more of penny-pinching will be really helpful.
  3. Make a habit of working out regularly and making healthier choices
    I feel like this is almost an obligatory inclusion in every list of goals. Also? I weighed myself for the first time in a long time and I definitely do not weigh what I thought I weighed – which is awesome on one hand because it’s exactly the motivation I needed to actually get back to my healthier and more active habits.
  4. Do a better job keeping up with school
    This one really doesn’t need any further explanation. I have a lot of assignments to get done every week, and I just have to do them.
  5. Really rest more
    I lay around and relax all the time, but I don’t spend enough time actually resting. I mean meditating, getting to sleep earlier, reading books, remembering to breathe – the beneficial relaxation. The kind of relaxation that isn’t continually watching just one more episode of Netflix in bed before actually going to sleep, or hitting the snooze until it’s the absolute latest I can get up and get ready for the day.
  6. Keep trying to be more gentle with myself
    Stop getting angry at myself easily, take breaks when I need to, remember to say no to things I can’t handle taking on right now, not holding myself to unrealistic goals consistently (like never letting my room get messy at all?), not beating myself up about silly little things, and trying to let myself better shrug off negativity.
  7. Learn to be my own hero
    This has been my mantra since one of my absolute favorite ladies said it on Twitter. Instead of always daydreaming about that girl I wish I were or dream of becoming one day, I’m working on realizing that I’m already completely who I who I want to be, and I just need to let that show more often. I already ran 3 miles in a blizzard this week – there’s nothing else I can’t do. I can make myself workout as much as I’d like. I can buckle down and get my schoolwork done. I can be kind to every person I meet. I can dress as nice as I’d like every day. I can plan a wedding. I can make friends. I can encourage others. I can already do everything I wish I could do.

Even though some of these goals are are kind of vague and aren’t “measurable” (for instance, losing X number of pounds, achieving a certain GPA, accomplishing a specific task), they’re all really important, and maintainable (or at least practicable). Every day is just a process to be better.

She believed.

Wednesday Things

You get in life what you have the courage to ask for.

  1. Short wedding update: We don’t know anything about anything. Due to a recent sudden adjustment down to one income in my family, our vision for this wedding has really changed. However, I’m trying to stay positive, keep and open mind, and not be afraid to ask for help! This process is really testing our networking and connections. I know everyone says that “it’s who you know,” but, really, it’s who you know.  I’m adjusting and trying to be flexible. I know I started off the first couple weeks of being engaged getting so far ahead, but now I feel like I’m back behind square one. Send good vibes my way. I’m waiting to be led to all the answers!
  2. The deadline for my graduate school application is Saturday, and I have everything turned in! This feels so good. I have no idea whether or not I’m actually going to go, but I applied to start in Fall 2015, so I have time to take a break, enjoy getting married, seek other certifications/training, and generally just figure all that out later.
  3. Most of you have probably needed to obtain a letter of recommendation for college or grad school or whatever. I remember how great it felt to read the letters I needed from high school teachers for undergrad applications, but did you know that you can’t read them for grad school applications? Either the professors send them straight to the grad admissions office, or they have to seal it in an envelope with their signature over the seal and I have to deliver it. DO YOU KNOW how hard it is not to just crack open that sucker and read it? I’m so bummed I’ll never know what my favorite professors said about me! =]
  4. Also: Bummer of the day story! I had a few extra minutes before I needed to leave for class this morning, so I was browsing Twitter and saw that my school had posted about a career fair they were hosting today (no times or anything, just what room it was in). I frantically dug up my resume, dusted it off and updated it (btw I’m really proud of it now), printed a dozen copies, and ran out the door. I ended up being late to my class by a couple minutes and didn’t have time to grab coffee or breakfast. As soon as my class ended at 1 I ran over to the career fair – only to be told it had just ended at 1. So that was lame. Right after, I called a restaurant I had applied to last week and they told me they’re not hiring (of course they aren’t – it’s the slow season for every business). Sigh. I wonder what it’s like to work doing something you love.
  5. The pants I wore to look nice at the career fair did not allow me to wear my boots today, so all this walking around campus has left mud and salt and slush sprayed up on the back of my pant legs. Whomp whomp.
  6. I don’t know why, but lately I’ve been hearing a lot of really self-judgmental voices in my head. It’s really unhelpful. Every time I hear one I just respond with the opposite of what it said. Winter blues, maybe.
  7. I just got some gratitude pen pals! One of my all-time favorite gals, Brandy, has been emailing 3 simple things she is grateful for every day with her friend Amber for more than a year now. In my research as a wellness major, I know that just simply writing things down that you’re grateful for every day is extremely good for your psyche and attitude. I reached out on Twitter to ask for partners, and a couple people and I have started this practice. I’m happy to be investing in my attitude and promoting my own positive psychology!
  8. My laughter class is one I’ve mentioned a couple times previously, but I will continue to do so because I can’t even believe this is a class at my university. Last week, we spent a whole class period watching Bill Cosby stand-up routines. Last Wednesday, my professor walked in and said “today, we’ll focus on babies and children and the effects of laughter in those populations.” I was expecting an actual lecture that day. NOPE – we spent an hour watching baby videos on Youtube. On Monday, we spent the first 45 minutes of class all looking up funny Youtube commercials (Bad Lip Reading took the cake!).
    This is a real class, guys.
  9. I wanted to cut back on my subscription boxes this month, but it’s Valentine’s month coming up, so I’m just way too hopeful that all my boxes will be good ones!
  10. Everyone’s said it, but: IT’S COLD. All this bundling up while walking around and never ever taking my coat off and always having my feet be cold is just making me feel like I live in a constant state of… feeling cumbersome? Yeah. It’s just cumbersome to move around feeling cold and constricted all the time.

Good news: Even though I missed the career fair, at least I accidentally look professional for a presentation in my laughter class.

Join me in trying to stay positive, everyone. It’s not easy but just consciously making the effort helps your brain and attitude!

Wednesday Things

  1. So, I’m in the process of applying to grad school. I love the idea of having a Master’s degree to impress everyone and make more money and be qualified to do more than I can now. Sounds great! But? Considering the fact that I may or may not have had a mini-breakdown when confronted with my first writing assignment (1-page writing assignment), maybe not grad school. I’m still applying, though. I can make up my mind to accept their acceptance after I know if I even get in.
  2. Speaking of grad school, does anyone else feel this way?: Sometimes, it seems like a really big deal to be graduating with my bachelor’s. A lot of people in my fiancee’s family don’t have one, I hear a lot of students talk about how they are coming back to school because they reached a point where they couldn’t continue professionally without one, and there are a lot of reasons people choose to continue with their lives in different directions than obtaining a degree. Other times, a bachelor’s degree doesn’t feel like it’s worth much anymore; the job market is so much more competitive and a lot more people are having to resort to going back to school or attending grad school just to keep a job. I don’t know.
  3. This semester, I am seriously having a hard time just relating to anyone new I’ve met this semester. In both groups I’ve been separated into so far, it’s felt like I’m speaking a different language than everyone else. In my Laughter class, my group mates were really, really quiet and I also got the feeling that our senses of humor are significantly different.
  4. I FINALLY got my Lorna Jane Move, Nourish, Believe Planner after numerous delivery delays due to recent weather (it took an entire extra week). Even though it came just one week into the semester, I felt super anxious about not being able to put all my syllabi into my planner. I know this is more of a psychological issue than an actual one, but it’s still necessary to my well-being.
  5. I just realized this is the last semester I’ll ever have to put all of my syllabi into one planner. Ah! Yay!
  6. I’m out of TV shows! I’ve finished Sherlock, House of Cards, Doctor Who, Parks and Rec… Survivor is over. I can only go week-by-week (gasp! no binge-watching?) with Community, Parenthood, Agents of SHIELD, and Arrow. Also? I’m out of time to binge-watch shows, I guess… Now that school is taking up so much of my time again. Sadface.
  7. This semester, I am very unlucky and somehow ended up with four 4-credit, writing-intensive courses. It sounds like it may be a lot of moderately-sized writing projects, which is both good and bad: Good, because it means I don’t end up with one 20-page paper to put together all at once. Bad, because it means I have a lot of small assignments to keep track of.
  8. We had a great meeting with the wedding coordinator at the location where I’m getting married and having my reception. We were able to flesh out a few more details and had a great talk. I feel so lucky that the events coordinator is a friend of my mom’s and she is just lovely – energetic, involved, supportive – everything and more that we need her to be.
  9. Does anyone get into food kicks? I definitely do. Like, I’ll find one thing I like and just eat it all day every day for a week or two, and then I’ll get over it. This past summer, it was greek yogurt veggie dip and raw red peppers. For a while it was yummy gluten-free granola. Then sushi. Right now, it’s yellow veggie curry. I’ve been to the same place by my university for lunch every day so far this week. Some may say it’s a problem. I say whatever. I love food.
  10. Confession: right now, I’m in my Laughter class. I don’t really feel like I connect with my assigned group, but so far in class today, we’ve just been watching a Bill Cosby stand-up video. It’s been an hour. I have no idea how long it goes, but I hope it takes up the whole class time, even though I don’t think it’s funny, just so I don’t actually have to do anything like talk or think or pay attention today. Pssshhhh.
  11. I’ve been obsessed with motivational articles, quotes, Pinterest pins, etc. Anything I can process. I think I just know that I really really need it and part of me is continually searching for the motivational tool that’s going to magically make me turn into the most proactive and organized morning person ever. One can dream.

Stress and Resilience

(First of all, I may or may not be writing this post as a break from cramming information into my head for a final that is in one hour because if I don’t I just might explode.)

I can’t even believe this semester has passed so quickly. I feel like I’ve worked ridiculously hard to get through it and also feel like I didn’t really even do anything. It’s hard to believe that my first and last year in my university’s Chorale is halfway through, and even harder to believe that I have ONE SEMESTER LEFT of my undergraduate education ever. 

This is awesome and scary. I have lots of things coming up and I can’t even imagine what 2014 is really going to be like for me. I now have to get started on actually fleshing out my “career plan,” including applying to graduate programs and myomassaology institutes and dealing with whatever becomes of my personal life. It’s all exciting, and it’s all daunting. 

But isn’t that at least a little bit of what keeps us going, as humans? Being excited and scared at the same time – what else would motivate us to do anything? This is a condition I need to become better at embracing. I want to. Technically, this “good stress” is termed “eustress.” Did you know that people who perceive stress as a good thing/positive motivator actually had no physiologically harmful reaction to stress? All that adrenaline stuff, the cortisol and narrowing of veins and rising of blood pressure and increase of heart rate and all sorts of hormonal reactions and autonomic nervous system stuff either doesn’t happen or doesn’t negatively affect you if you embrace what stress can do for your life.

More easily said than done, I know, but it’s a great concept. It’s possible to make stress healthy for you. My favorite resource of this information is this TEDtalk by Kelly McGonigal. In it, there is a quote that I just absolutely adore and want plastered all over everything I own:

“When you choose to see stress as helpful, you create the biology of courage. And, when you choose to connect with others through that stress, you create resilience.”

 

Just something about the idea of “the biology of courage” is terribly poetic. Resilience is a fundamental concept in my studies as a Wellness Promotion and Personal Development major. It is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulty; it is toughness; it is elasticity. I strive to be resilient. So many times in my life I have claimed myself a victim of the consequences of stress and fear and depression and anxiety – if I can crack the whip and make my physiology work for me, and not allow myself to claim helplessness in the face of stress, then I don’t know what can stand in my way. 

 

One of my final projects for an 8-credit monster class. Appendices A-T (should have even more – I left out a couple things). Finally complete!