So Raise a Glass to the RESOLUTION!

And just like that, we shut the door on 2016.  What a year… filled with death, birth, trials, successes, tears, laughter, firsts and lasts. It’s almost a bit hard to wrap up what was in 2016 and put it aside and step into the new.

But there’s so much 2016 brought to be thankful for-I did so much and accomplished so much that I can’t help but look back on this year and smile when I think of these things:

  • I graduated high school!
  • I got into a fantastic college!!
  • We welcomed a new puppy into the family.
  • I got into a great exercise groove (for 3/4 of the year, anyways!) and was able to finally run 4 miles at a time without completely collapsing and gasping for air (ha!)
  • I graced the doorstep of Disney World… twice!
  • I travelled with awesome friends.
  • I got my first credit card, and have made purchases (and mistakes!) to build up my credit history!
  • I met my room mate and new best friend. 
  • I got a job in college!
  • I completed my first ever semester of college with a GPA I’m proud of
  • My father finally found a new job (amen!!)
  • I got involved in my campus ministry.
  • I grew so much personally, found my niche of people, and have more than begun to define who I am as a person.

Many embrace the saying “new year, new me!” but honestly, starting new habits, making goals for yourself, and committing to trying new things should be on everyone’s mind, New Year or not.

I’ve compiled this list of eight things that I wish to be not only New Year’s resolutions, but also daily resolutions… things that I can implement now and in the coming year to ultimately help me better myself and my lifestyle.

Shall we?

1. Eat better. Typical resolution, but I mean it. I just came from a rich, carbohydrate-loaded Italian meal and will be loading up on cookies later… I tell myself “I’m young, I can still eat like this”… But “young” habits die hard (er, will make me die later), so I’d rather start over now try to stick with it for as long as possible.  Thankfully, being able to eat on campus for a large part of the year means I can basically control what I eat 24/7, so it’s honestly just a matter of willpower. 😌

2. Exercise more. (I’m just hitting all the cliche ones, aren’t I?) There was a period earlier in the year when I went to the gym at least 3 times a week to run for 3 miles.  How nice would it be to restart/keep up my running regimen and my embarrassing dorm-floor ab exercise routine? It does make a difference, honestly… it’s just a matter of will and motivation.

3. Conquer social media. To me, this means a lot of things:

  • Not letting it run my life (I should not be glued to my phone all hours of the day… nor should I let what’s happening on the screen dictate how I live my life!)
  • Not requiring approval/likes/retweets/favorites to have a healthy self image and self esteem
  • Embracing social media to spread positivity instead of negativity (the world is cruel enough as it is, come on now).

4. Keep killin’ em with kindness. This is a big one. I want to be able to, more often than not, be that bigger person and choose the higher road, to find the beauty not the flaw, to seek understanding and not fault. Proverbs 31:26 says “she opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue”.  I want to be that person who is well informed, understanding, and in thought word and deed can spread kindness to others, regardless of the way I am treated. This year (and right now!) I want to radiate love and acceptance, no matter your beliefs, opinions, race, sexuality, or creed.

5. Watch my wallet. I’d be lying if I said I was a perfect human with my money this year.  Only recently have I truly realized the dimensions of the cost of my education, my personal financial standing, and my flaws in borrowing, saving, and spending money. A recent look at my bank accounts, and the results from these free tools from Personal Capital  (a retirement calculator and net worth calculator) has opened my eyes to how I need to buckle down and save (look for a “how to live frugally in college” post sometime soon!!) for not only my education, but for my very near and far away future. Some of my biggest regrets from this year include certain monetary decisions, so I hope that being more involved and mindful with my money will serve me well for 2017. Since the start of 2016, I’ve set up accounts at various credit unions and have attempted to lock away/invest some of my money so that it can grow while I’m off busy learning in college (:

6. Sleep more. I’m serious! I thought junior year of high school was bad, but I don’t know anymore after this year. I remember watching a TED Talk about the importance of sleep… and I honestly hope to incorporate  all of the wisdom from that video into my 2017 routines!

7.  Grow spiritually. It’s a huge help that I have such a wonderful group of people in the campus ministry at school to help me explore/expand my faith, but I’d like to do more this year, both in my church and my community (both at school and at home!).

8. Embrace the passion projects! It’s so easy to get caught up and bogged down in homework, the job, and the day-to-day mundane tasks. One of my most important goals for this year is to make time for the things I love: blogging, writing, crafts, photography, music, and honestly anything that involves me getting down and dirty and creating something with my own hands 😊 (Watch this space!!!)

What are your goals for 2017? What are you most looking forward to?



2. 0. 1. 6.: A Look Backward


Lol, just throwing that out there… Partly because I’m lazy and secondly because I’d love to be able to do this in a single post instead of having part I’s and II’s and III’s. Let’s be real, 2016… was a massive year. And I think it deserves a massive post. (I’ll try to keep it entertaining though

Annnnnd we’re off!!!

What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about? Meeting my roommate, for sure. We had both been scrolling on FB in our college’s Class of 2020 page, and I had basically written a speed dating post about who I was and my interests. Well my current roomie saw my post, liked it, and messaged me. It wasn’t long before we swapped numbers and had occasional long texts to eachother about our deeper personal interests. We even planned to meet up in person for coffee. But life and school got in the way and it didn’t work out… until spring break. I was vacationing in Disney when my roomie sent me a snapchat of an adorable personalized Mickey keychain with my name on it. I immediately asked where she had found it, and when she replied she had seen it in a Disney gift shop, I flipped out because it was her first time at Disney and we happened to be in the same place at the same time. We set it up and finally met, for the first time, under the magic fireworks in Magic Kingdom. And it’s honestly been magic ever since then. ❤

If you had to describe your 2016 in 3 words, what would they be? Crazy. Mindblowing. Surreal. (and yes, I realize that to some degree these are all synonyms.)

What new things did you discover about yourself? …that I’m… a bit more introverted than I thought. And I’ve got more OCD things about me than I realized. …Also that I like being in control (of my emotions, my projects, my deadlines… a lot of things). And that I’m a bit  a lot “I” oriented, which I discovered in a discussion over “conversational narcissism” in my communications class.

What single achievement are you most proud of? Oh jeez… this’ll probably be my answer for a couple things… but finishing my first semester of college.

What was the best news you received? That I was accepted into my top choice college.

What was your favourite place that you visited in 2016? Disney (both times!!!) and Siesta Key!!

Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year? Creativity wins again.

Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on? Myself, as sad as that keeps on sounding.

Which new skills did you learn? Rice bowl making, rock climbing, taking somewhat effective notes, effective study skills (ish),

What, or who, are you most thankful for? The family, J, the constant new opportunities, a great school, an awesome youth ministry, mah roomies, and food to eat.

If someone wrote a book about your life in 2016, what kind of genre would it be? A romantic dram-com. With some explosions and a dash of sci-fi.

What was the most important lesson you learnt in 2016? Not to try to pay a bill when there’s no money in your account. Overdraft fees are a bitch.

Which mental block(s) did you overcome? That I had to have everything new for college, that I had to rely on other people’s opinions to feel worthy, that I’m not a bad person for knowing what I want, that things aren’t as difficult as they seem.

What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with? (when you can’t limit it to 5)
The Pope (she knows who she is)
Razzledazzle J

What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise? Working in a dining hall, then transferring to a better place in ze rec center, becoming an Odyssey contributor, and finally, scoring the virtual assistant job.

How did your relationship to your family evolve?
 Exactly like something out of my developemental psychology textbook– from nuisance /interdependence to a goal-corrected partnership. Though there’s some guilt tripping involved….

What book or movie affected your life in a profound way? Seeing as I haven’t really had time for reading… nor have I had time to watch movies…. I don’t really know how to answer this… but I will say seeing 50 First Dates with J for the first time was pretty nice. 

What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life? The sunshine, the music that plays in my ears or aloud, and in college, my roomie’s random aloud babbles/laughter/sneezes.

What cool things did you create this year? Handmade Christmas cards, a kick-ass phone case art insert, a ghetto Christmas tree, a kick-ass German video for a project, boutonniere(s), motivational posters, envelopes, a pinata for my roommate’s bday, and some stuff I’m forgetting.

What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)? Stressed. Dammit.

Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year? ROCK CLIMBING! :D.

What was your favourite moment spent with your friends?  Probably on Thanksgiving break, when a ton of my guy friends I hadn’t seen in a while and I played board games and watched ridiculous videos together over jolly good food.

What major goal did you lay the foundations for?
Getting jobs, paying tuition, getting into school. I did it, I laid them. 
Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary? At times, a long-distance relationship. We’re only an hour away… so some worries were unnecessary.

What experience would you love to do all over again? Rocky Horror. Virgin status. Round 2.

What was the best gift you received? ooooooof… torn between a photo I got in the mail from one of my best friends in NY of J in a dress and the more than generous monetary donation from my father that helped me kick start my paying for college process (these items are totally on the same playing field… XD)

How did your overall outlook on life evolve? I’d say it’s evolved for the better. Meeting so many new people, rising up to challenges, experiencing first hand all of the good some people have to offer… it’s just like a positive ray that keeps on shining through, even when it feels hard to acknowledge it. I feel more positive and more resilient for sure… Especially knowing that I’ve done something before, and I can do it again if I have to. 

What was the biggest problem you solved? Ahhahahaha let’s skip this question.

What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it? It would probably the moment after one of my first college football games… It was kinda rainy and my roommates and I were heading back to our dorm when Tresha decided she’d parkhour the chain link fence… but her foot caught on the chain and the look on her face went from pure confidence to complete confusion and agony as she went down seemingly in slow motion. I, seeing this coming, had tried to tell her to watch out but all that came out of my mouth was urgent jibberish… It’s terrible to laugh so hard at someone who falls down but how things unfolded and her face were just all too much for us and we were all basically on the ground laughing because she had gotten rekt so hard with a chain link rope fence. 😂

This picture was actually taken on the day she fell XD

What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever? A black and white laser printer/Tablet computer– So much money (we have to pay to print stuff in the libraries) and ink saved… and finally I was able to bring my work around with me (with the tablet computer), cuz I’d only brought my desktop with me to school. OH and I can’t forget my lovely, incredible BARGAIN of a camera ($250 Canon for $60…..!)

What one thing would you do differently and why? There are… quite a few things I’d do differently but I’ll stick to finances– Honestly I would not have bought so much new shit for college. There’s so much I don’t use, that I don’t wear, that I don’t eat… And the end of this semester certainly was eye opening. I started my end of summer/fall semester with a big fat credit line and have dwindled it down since to a dollar. Let’s be real, you don’t need a fancy coffee every day and that random shit you buy off the internet is just simply a waste of space sometimes.

What do you deserve a pat on the back for? Finishing this semester and coping with the loss of a lot of amazing actors, musicians, and famous people.

What activities made you lose track of time? Blogging, Skyping, reading, drawing, showering, eating.

What did you think about more than anything else? “to-do” list things, the future, how I’m gonna pay for school, stress, J, and sleep schedule (not… necessarily in that order)

What topics did you most enjoy learning about? ART HISTORY. Hands down. Oh, and developmental psychology,  and the components of competent communication.

What new habits did you cultivate? 

GOOD: stopped impulse mall shopping! Kind of… , eating better, telling people things as they are, doing homework on a somewhat regular basis, studying.
BAD: not showering on a somewhat daily basis, staying up til like 3 and 4 AM on school nights

What advice would you give your early-2016 self if you could?
Dear 2016 Me,
Do not get used to anything. Be ready at all times, because you never know when the rug will be pulled out from under you. Open up your mind, be ready and willing to learn from others, and don’t take people’s opinions and “advice” too seriously. Don’t take yourself too seriously, either. And never underestimate the art of trying.
Present me   
38.  Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year?  Yes. Definitely. My faith, my opinions on some things, my political views (lorrrrrrdy don’t even get me started on how crazy that part of 2016 has been), and my personal reflection of myself and my self esteem/confidence.

What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year?  Definitely a “what” this time around. The move to college has been a huge step forward in a lot of ways: a heavy dose of independence, monetary freedom (some good, some bad, but all learning experiences), and the people (roomies, specifically

2016 sure had its rough patches and moments of pure joy… but I’m glad to be looking towards a new year with friends, family, classes, and goals.

Do you guys have any fave highlights of 2016?



"Presence, not Presents"

A cell phone goes off in the middle of the sermon
Ironic, because the pastor preaches about peace of mind
A liberation from glowing screens and endless streams of information
A slower approach
to a rapid race.
“Presence, not presents” he asserts.
“Presence, not presents” he repeats.
Did we understand?
“…because your giving your time is so much more important than giving things.”
He’s right.
Sometimes it’s too easy to slide into the serve and return game of a commercialized holiday
Give get, give get, get give
And just in case they forgot
They’re open 24 hours.
She smiles biggest when she can run and jump outside with someone beside her
who can donate an hour or two to be a part of her play-pretend race track
He feels most loved when they sit together
lost in conversation
huddled by the fire eating their home-made Pinterest fails
Who knew people could (or even had) to take out loans just so they could buy things
that they thought they needed?
Who knew that the gifts that matter most don’t have glitter
or wrapping
or ribbon
or expiration dates
or lithium batteries?
Who knew that some of the most fortunate have the littlest fortune
in their financial institutions?
Their tender is tenderness,
kindness, faith, and love
Wouldn’t we be wise
to follow suit?

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a blessed holiday filled with family, food, love, laughter and friends. No matter your celebration, let’s remember the reason for the season isn’t something found on Amazon.

Love always,


Life as of Lately: Hoooooome for the Holidays :D

And, at an alarming rate, we’ve arrived at the later end of December. Not once in my life have I felt consciously time move this fast. But it’s a sweet relief– a week and a half of high-pressure, non-stop, go-go-go with work and school has finally come to a halt for the holidays.

That’s one thing I love about college, btw– its that between semesters, you don’t have to do ANY WORK. (At least, in my case– none of my professors for the next semester have particularly told us to do anything yet).  But let me tell you it is HELLA LIBERATING.

The only work I’ll be doing over break is waitressing and starting with my new online job. And I’m so unbelievably excited.

In terms of right now, I’m home again. And it doesn’t feel as weird or as depressing as the first time I came back home early October.

…Even though I was told that my dogs had escaped our backyard and ran across a major road TWICE (once to escape, once to come back) and a bunch of other random depressing shit has happened.

After a thorough cleaning of my room (I know it’s not technically mine anymore, but I sleep there when I return home and it always seems to be a pig sty when I get back…) I sat down and realized I left my phone charger in J’s mom’s car…which doesn’t help my presently dead phone any. I found mind-numbing work in the assessment of my brother’s malfunctioning Game Cube, and I dug out a ton of our old plug-‘n’-play games (Ms. PacMan, Super Pac Man, Wheel of Fortune, Star Wars, a Sega mix and other gems) whose wires were helplessly mangled into a giant, black rubber mess. But I sat there and untangled them one by one, as Boo looked on and tested out each one that I was able to wrestle free.

Sleeping in my own bed again will be amazing (SO MUCH MORE COMFORTABLE), and having access to a microwave without having to go into the cold has been lovely. I got to see my puppies for the first time in fiveever so that was emotionally satisfying!

Hopefully, since I’ve got, in theory, loads of free time, I can:
blog a bit more
catch up on everyone else’s blog
get lost in snow (???? COME ON FREEZING TEMPS I am counting on you)
make headway on some personal projects and crafts
read a book or *hope to goodness* books

…basically all those things that I’ve been sweeping under the rug recently.

I can’t wait to just jump into the holiday season, write my “Looking Back” post, catch up with friends, and just zone out in sweatpants for a couple of days at a time.

What an intro– here we go!

[Reading] Blogs, mostly. Hopefully I can find myself a good book to read this break. 
[Writing] Here! And inside Christmas cards (my friend in Ireland received the Christmas card I sent a week or so ago just a few days ago!!!). Also trying to put my thoughts on paper for this Christmas/Looking back post/journal thingies. …Not writing any Odyssey articles because I’m subtly getting tired of it…
[Learning] NOTHING! Get it, cuz I’m done with school? LOL (jk, I’m honestly learning more than ever– about the people around me, how they’ve changed, how I used to be good at waitressing but it’s been a while, how people can be so morally flimsy, how some people are punished unjustly for all the wrong reasons, how to say “no”, etc.)

[Doing] THINGS. Work at the local Italian joint has me pretty busy, but in the mean-time, in-between times, I’m wrapping things and blogging and trying to get stuff done for the upcoming semester. Throw in trying to process the family by osmosis and random spots of volunteering and it’s…quite the busy schedule.
[Eating] Pizza. Lots of it.  Mostly from work. Oh, and cookies. Because I came home to my mom’s rampant collection of holiday treats from various holiday parties that have been happening.
[Drinking] (not enough) Water, ginger ale, restaurant coffee.
[Seeing] Familiar sights and faces, but also these things (which I’ve departed from in the past week and a half)

this… is a depiction of a story for another time.
Alan Rickman 😊/😭 in Sense and Sensibility (literally watched this long beautiful movie to pass the time in the before leaving to come home)
Just a fraction of my roomie’s surprise taco fiesta birthday party. Pinata creds = me 
NEWEST STAR WARS POSTER ADDITION 😀 (brought to you by a white elephant gift exchange at my home church!!!)

Saw this. Last night. It was purty bomb. 

Literally not gonna include a playlist for this edition 1) because half of what I am listening to is Christmas music they play non-stop on the radio and 2) the rest of it consists of John Mayer. Honestly can’t get out of this musical rut… (but if you’re still curious, what’s on AT THIS EXACT MOMENT….is “Wildfire” from Mayer’s Paradise Valley album. Takes me back to summer concerts….

[Laughing] at how broke I am before the laughter slowly dissolves into tears…

[Thinking] too much, too little, about the wrong things, about the right things. I’m all over the place. 😅
[Hoping] that I do not freeze inside my own house, that I can get my “shopping” done before Christmas arrives, and that I can survive any and all feelings of cabin fever for the coming week…. 

[Loving] my waitressing skills that finally decided to show up in full today, outside opinions, good life advice, my best friends, my family (though at times.. a little nerve-wracking), my new hat that my bff got me 😀

[Praying]. About everything. For everyone. 

How are you all prepping for the holidays?


One Down! // Things I Learned my First Semester of College

Sadness. Anger. Joy. (
 But it’s okay, because we’re done. Guys, we made it. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt so satisfied in the completion of something long(ish)-term.

I know I’ve heard countless remarks about this from my friends… but let’s be real. This semester wasn’t just about academics. Hell, I learned way more outside of the classroom than I did in it, but even there I learned more in a shorter amount of time than I ever did in high school.

Point is, there has been a lot of knowledge acquired. And to all those who are thinking about university or heading off to college really soon, I just thought I’d share with you some of the learning curves, the pitfalls, the joys, the tragedies, and the truths of living through your first semester.

You didn’t need to pack 3+ pairs of heels. 

The whole semester, I toggled between flip flops, tennis shoes, converse, those work-boot things, rubber-soled booties, and slippers. Sure, I wore a pair of heels to be professional in for presentations, but I kicked that shit off the minute I was seated and finished with my business for a particular class. For one, I don’t recommend biking in heels, and secondly, with the hills and steps that exist on my campus… there is no way you want to wear heels for 5 hours straight.

Studying is a thing. 
I’m gonna be honest here… I didn’t really study all that much in high school, which was both a blessing and a curse. Blessing cuz I was able to sleep more hours, curse because I never really developed solid study skills. Also part of this thing I learned in college– studying in your dorm when you’re surrounded by personal distractions is not good. I found going to the library, shutting my phone off/putting it on silent and throwing on some classical music in the background was reallllly beneficial when I needed to actually get work done this semester.

Halloween gets hella slutty. 
Just one of those things. I of course probably have no leg to stand on because I went as a feline but if for no other reason than I didn’t want to wear a hot and sweaty horse mask all night and I didn’t have any other real options because I kinda procrastinated like hell on a costume. But there is cleavage and fishnet everywhere. Just a heads up.

You don’t need Starbucks every day. Or every week even. 
Make your own coffee with your suite-mate’s Keurig. Get some at the dining hall, or opt for a cheaper option from a convenience store or Dunkin. You’ve got more expensive crucial things to spend your money on. Like textbooks. Speaking of textbooks….

You will open some of those suckers max THREE TIMES. 
Honestly wish I’d known if some textbooks were actually gonna be used because I spent waaaaaaaaaay too much on my German one, whose online code was way overpriced for what I think was really shitty software. So just ask around, or ask the professor, if you can get by without one /share with someone. If there’s no way getting around it, I recommend NOT wasting your money and renting from Amazon, Chegg, or even buying from Because let’s be real, when are you gonna open up that textbook again and read it for leisure?

You will lose motivation to stay on top of your fitness. 
My first couple weeks, I got up early in the morning to run across/around campus at 7:00am and was ready for class by 9:00am. Five weeks later, I was barely able to wake up on time and get my butt to class. So I adjusted my running schedule to the night times after one of my classes, which worked for a good week or two. Sure, assignments get in the way and you get lost “doing you”… but finding the time to take a break for physical exercise… even just once a week, is super important. Even if it means doing simple planks, jumping jacks, and squats in your room as you’ve got The Office playing on your computer.

…You also may or may not find dry shampoo to be your savior. 
Sometimes I’d go a few days and realize “WOW I totally forgot to shower”.  Yeah, it happens. Stay on top of that, and take the time to enjoy the hot water running over you and just relax for a bit.

Getting off campus every once in a while is good for your sanity. 
Find the good local coffee shops downtown. I did and ended up going there for their amazing home-made pumpkin spice lattes. There’s also a place downtown that lets you pet kitties for free, and is basically a cat shelter that lets its cats roam freely over the interior. It’s actually heaven.

Dealing with drunk people can be  really annoying, but also super hilarious. 
I honestly may have seen it all. The exceptionally sad drunk, the unbelievably goofy wear-bras-like-they’re-yarmulkes drunk, the blatantly ass-holey drunk, and the too tired to move drunk. All required… different approaches, but hey– they made it through, and got home okay, and at the end of the day isn’t that all you can ask for?

Your syllabus is your bible. 
I was a dummy and missed 3 online quizzes because I didn’t treat it as such. Print it out, highlight that shit, and HANG IT ON YOUR WALL. It’ll save you, I promise.

Binging on all your from-home comfort snacks within the first three weeks is not a good idea. 
Especially because when it’s finals time and you’re craving them super hard… it’s hard to eat something you no longer have 😭

Taking a break from computers and phones will save your neck and back. 
Finals week was in part so stressful because of the pain in my neck i got from bending over to look at a screen so much.  Lay down, do some stretches, use your actual eye muscles to look directly at things. It’ll help tremendously.

I know I will add onto this post in the near future because there are things I know I’m leaving out… but I hope this helps for now, and if you have any other college hacks or just useful info you feel like sharing, please don’t hesitate to do so!



Life as of Lately: Final Shazams

[Reading] Piles of notes, textbooks, and study guides. Oh, and articles and blogs because I get distracted sometimes.
[Writing] Extra credit essays, letters, and Christmas cards!

[Learning] The importance of flashcards and repetition, critical for memorizing the painters, titles, years, and locations of over 100+ paintings for my art history class final 😌

[Doing] Trying to get my running schedule back together so that over break I will have motivation (even though it will be hella cold).
[Eating] Lots of tacos and crepes, spinach, yogurt, and cottage cheese recently! 

A leftover caramel macchiato that kept me awake for way too long last night. I should be drinking water. 


[Listening] Here’s what’s been playing in my ears non-stop the past two weeks or so. **CAUTION: Copious amounts of John Mayer… when I listen to him I’m thrown back in time to places of happiness and I love it. ****

[Laughing] at a comedian who visited our school named

[Thinking] about the coming week, finals, the upcoming month or so of winter break… how thankful I am for where I am and who I have around me.
[Hoping] that I don’t fail anything, that I don’t become too distracted this week and next, that I can figure out plans for winter break and solidify a work schedule, and that I don’t bomb my upcoming phone interview (surprise, I have one of those!!)

[Loving] John Mayer, crepes, the fact that my phone dies unexpectedly (not sarcastic, I promise), this arctic blast that’s about to happen but feels like it’s started already….
[Praying] That everyone can make it through these next days without losing their minds, that I can try to immerse myself in a world not behind a screen, that I’ll be able to figure out what I’ll be doing with  my life for a month.

How are y’all holding up?

By Gosh, You’ve Earned It.

I’m not gonna lie. This past week and a half has definitely been rough. But recently there’s been some rays of goodness thrown in there.

One of those rays, if you will, came tonight, in my communications class. It was the last round of speech presentations, so all of my pent up energy was released with a semi-jittery 4 minute presentation about the benefits of hypnosis.  After all the speeches were done, our professor sat down in front of us on a stool at eye level and proceeded to talk about the semester. It wasn’t what I expected though.  She talked about our growth and how impressed she is that we’ve all become such competent speakers, that we’ve adapted so well to our first semester. But these words are what stuck out the most:

“It’s not my job to be proud of you. Your parents, your peers… they may all feel inclined to be proud of you, or not. But only you knew the stress. Only you pushed through to show up every day. Only you learned a whole new place, schedule, people, workload. The grades I will give you.. heck, they’re only numerical representations on a screen. As far as I’m concerned… you made it through your first semester. You adjusted to a major life event and handled it with grace. Ladies and gentlemen, that is success. No matter what that letter is… there’s so much more to success than that. In my eyes, you’ve all achieved success.  And no one can be truly proud of it other than you. You deserve to be proud. By gosh, you’ve earned it.”

And, despite all the looming stress of final exams, it pulled me back to earth.

Recently, as a result of stress and other things, I’ve been looking into the roots of the problems of stressors and why people feel so stressed all the time and I conducted some research regarding my home county (it’s super competitive where I live) and the stress levels of high school students.  I hope to publish an article about it soon but the thing that stuck out to me the most was student responses that basically equated academic success to personal success and happiness. Teens at such a vulnerable point in life are making their lives about their representations on paper, on social media, on their tangible accomplishments. It’s messed up.

The worst part?

That used to be me.

Now that I’m out of that environment, it’s easy to see where I live is on some kind of school steroids… that the obsession with competition and grades and needing to feel competent based on only one area of your life is completely unrealistic and empty.

I think we all are searching, groping for meaning… Trying to present ourselves in the best light possible, trying to say “Hi! I’m here! I have worth!”. Some people, when they don’t get that, they die a little inside.

And that’s completely heartbreaking.

Things like this make me want to pursue teaching so I can correct this ideology. Introduce the radical idea that your happiness and success isn’t defined by words on a page, paper or digital.

So wherever you are in school, sure, work hard. Take pride in what you do… But for the love of god, make room for what you love. Take a break when you need to. Give time to yourself. Give yourself something to be passionate about. It may be the thing you turn to, the thing you look for when you feel at your lowest, the thing that pulls you back up.

To all my college people stressing about finals, get some sleep, take breaks, and stay calm. Godspeed and god bless.


A Letter to My Elderly Self

We’ve reached the point of discussing old age in my developmental psychology class, and it’s kind of depressing. Sure, we all realize that we all get older, we will all become wrinkly eventually, but reading about every ailment and sensual failure starts to get depressing. So I’ve compiled a letter to my future self of all of the things I’d like to avoid and achieve, in hopes that I can be “that cool grandma” without going off the deep end.


Dear Elderly Me,

Don’t be afraid to try new things and expand your horizons. Falling into the “set in their ways” trap isn’t an option! Experiment with new, exotic, healthy cuisine, join that yoga class that Mildred suggests to you, listen to every presidential debate, and do not shy away from popular movies and the new sci-fi books on the senior citizen home’s library shelf.

Don’t cut your hair too short. Why does getting old mean chopping off your luscious locks? I know you liked shorter hair back then but for goodness sake rock that mane of silver. Shoulder length, at least.

Exercise.  A little bit every day. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. You may come to love water aerobics, but if you can’t get to that, try walking moderately fast or Wii bowling.

READ. Actual books. They’ll take you on adventures when you don’t or can’t leave your house. Your eyes might be shot from looking at screens all your life, but make your best attempt. If you’re feeling dead inside, I recommend re-reading the Harry Potter series.

Remain active in your grandchildren’s lives, but don’t go overboard. …Or completely to heck with that, go overboard. They’ll be your pride and joys, and you’ll probably be showing them off to everyone in the grocery store. Do your best to go to their shows, their games, their graduations, their weddings. Time with them will be precious.

Do not lose your sense of humor. Keep your sarcasm, surprise people with some less than proper banter every once in a while, and laugh loudly.  Just because you and your jokes get a bit older doesn’t mean you have to turn into a potato.

Continue to make art. I don’t care what you do–paint, draw, write poetry, take up stained glass, sing, take pictures. It’s too big of a part of your life to quit it. It will keep your creative brain alive, and keep you sane!

Drink milk, for goodness sakes. Because mom always warned you about osteoporosis and because it’s delicious and goes with cookies.

Take as many photographs with the people you love as you can. And don’t refuse any pictures your family tries to include you in. You’re going to have the bomb-est photo collection and it can’t all be sunsets. Scenery can be fleeting but family is forever.

Don’t fear death. John Mayer sang about how he was “so scared of getting older… [he’s] only good at being young”. And right now, that sounds about right. But I hope where you’re at, you’ll welcome it because you’ll be at peace, and you’ll be ready.

Refuse to grow up. Mentally, anyways—let’s be real, you’ve probably already shrunk a little. Don’t be ridiculous and reckless about it (bungee jumping is probably not the best idea right now), but don’t be afraid to let fascination and wonder keep on keeping on. Have fun with new gadgets, be spontaneous, expect the unexpected, and laugh. Every single day.