Advice I Wish I Had Heard Before I Went To College

Hello again everyone!

I am happy to see so many new followers joining me on this journey 🙂 I just wanted to let you all know that recently I have been ULTRA busy with studying for my finals.

As some of you may already know, my first year of college was cut short when I unfortunately had to come home because I came down with an awful case of mono. It was awful, trust me. Anyway, because of this, I am now having to finish off the semester at home.

So far, I’ve successfully taken my last exam in Symbolic Logic, leaving me with a final grade of an A- in that class. Now what I have left to study for is an exam AND final for statistics and also my dreaded Calc III final…

I’m definitely going to need a little luck but hopefully if I continue to manage my time well and put in hard work into my revising, I’ll be able to make it out okay.

I just wanted to reflect a little on my past year and how it has shaped me, as well as hopefully giving some useful advice to anyone in high school or college who may be dealing with the stress that comes with the pressure to succeed.

Throughout my life, I have always been a perfectionist and set the highest expectations for myself. If I didn’t get an A in a class I would come home crying. It was that bad. Earlier this year, I was in my friend’s dorm room at school when she received a FaceTime from one of her high school friends back at home; she was crying because she had not done well on her most recent report card. I immediately was able to relate and sympathize  because I had completely been in her shoes before. It honestly feels like the end of the world when you don’t achieve what you set out to. Such a blow to one’s confidence can also discourage one from getting back up and trying again.

To my fellow perfectionists out there: Next time you receive a bad grade or don’t live up to your expectations, try to put it into perspective. Honestly, it’s not the end of the world. It may seem like it, but it’s not. At my lowest points in school when I felt like I was failing at everything, I had to remind myself of all the people I have in my life who care for me and love me. The one thing that kept me going was reminding myself: “Hey, at least my dad still loves me.” (I’m still somewhat of a daddy’s girl)

High school was honestly the bane of my existence last year and it was hell trying to finish it. I am so thankful that I was able to struggle through because now I am so wonderfully happy at my new school. College is a place to be independent and pave the way for your own future. It’s the independence and responsibility I have always craved.

I’d like to consider myself a little wiser after living away from home for a whole school year now. So let me share a few things I’ve learned at my first year at Bucknell:

  1. Your well-being is more important than anything. When you don’t really have anyone there whose sole purpose it is to look after you, it can seem a little dismal sometimes when you are either mentally or physically unwell and you have the duty of balancing your studies with friends on top of that added pressure. Sometimes it all gets a little too much so REACH OUT TO SOMEONE. It is so hard having to go through something alone. If you feel unwell enough to go to class, then don’t go. But do make the effort to keep your professors in the loop so they know what’s going on. They are there to help you. And one bad grade won’t kill you if it means you are taking care of your health.
  2. Find good friends. This one is the most important. Even after a bad day when you know you just completely failed a calc exam, it’s essential to have someone there who you can depend on for a comfort talk and a chocolate milkshake date. Just these little things can make you feel a little more sane when you are someone who drives themselves insane in trying to get good grades.
  3. Don’t go too hard on the weekends. Yes, I had to learn this one the hard way. Honestly, one night in every now and then isn’t going to kill you. I know FOMO is way too real sometimes, but wouldn’t you rather help yourself out by getting enough rest than spending a night out way too late that you probably won’t even remember in the morning? You’re much better off getting relief from sleep than going out and drinking your problems away.
  4. Stay organized. Organization is key, as I have also learned the hard way (yes, I go through a lot of trial and error). Even if you can’t keep the clothes off your floor and there always seems to be more junk appearing everywhere, at least keep your school materials and work area clean. This often translates to a clearer and more organized mind, so you will be able to be more productive every day.
  5. Don’t stress yourself out. College isn’t just about the grades, like high school may have felt like. So take in every moment and explore every opportunity because what you really will take away from these four years is the experience and the memories you have made with life-long friends.

I hope these tips may be useful for some of you going into college! And I apologize if I am unable to keep up with my posts in the next few days, seeing as my nose is going to be buried in my statistics book… I hope you are all doing well and if you are finishing up your school year, hang in there!

Monday Musings: Make The Effort

Hello all!

Today I spent yet another wonderful day at the beach with good friends. Since being  back from school, I’ve realized what good friends I have surrounding me, at home and back at college.

The other day I was enjoying the final rays of the sunset with my good friend Maddie when we sorta had a moment. We were standing on the rocks just standing next to each other, each wondering privately how amazing the beauty of the sun and earth was at that time in space. Me being the sentimental sod I am, I began to think about how much my friends mean to me and how they have always managed to brighten even the darkest of days, when all else had failed me.

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Yesterday I was invited to the beach again by one of my best friends in the world; I have never been so weird or laughed so much with another person. It is rare to find people that or on the same wavelength as you, but when you do find them, make sure you hold on to them.

Although she had invited me to a family barbecue where everyone was going to be speaking in Spanish (which I do not understand a word of), I still went. Why? Because she wanted me there.

Even when it means trying something new, or putting yourself in an uncomfortable position, you should always try to honor what is important to those you care about; these are the types of moments by which friendships are strengthened, and usually the types of moments from which you end up having the fondest memories.

Friendships and relationships are what sustain us in our times of need; they are what inspire us to become great. I want to become a better person so I can be a better friend to more people. This requires work.

I’m sure many of you have “friends” with whom you hang out “on the reg”, but your true friends are the ones who have stuck by your side through the highs and lows of this crazy ride we call life; they are the ones who have seen you cry, laugh, at your best, and at your worst; they are the ones who have opened up to you and welcomed you to share their own lives with you. The friendships that require the most work are the ones that end up being the most rewarding.

It’s hard to be a good friend. Trust me, I know. Sometimes when are lives are hectic and all we can seem to think about is our own problems, we forget to be there for those whom we care about. I can definitely say that I have not always been the perfect friend and neglected my friend-duties because I was preoccupied with my own interests. A lot of times I just didn’t realize that in order to be a good friend you need to be able to open up and make yourself vulnerable to others; it isn’t just a one-way street where you get to help people but not let them in on what may be bothering you. What I’ve learned though is that if you put in that effort to be a good friend, it actually ends up benefiting you in the long run.

So… what does it take to be a good friend?

Well, it means putting your friends first: making sacrifices, being honest, and working through the rough patches even when it could be easier to just give up.

It means you listen and care about their stories, dreams, plans, and worries. By doing so, you not only become a part of their lives, but they become an integral part of yours. If you make a conscious effort to be good to your friends and expect nothing in return, I can guarantee that your efforts will be paid off when you see a smile appear on your best friend’s face when they realize that they are loved and someone actually gives a shit about who they are.

If you make an effort to build strong friendships, you will have a support group that you can turn to in times of need. And trust me, that is way more important than you think it is. Good friends are key to a happy life: people who are there for you no matter what, and who will not judge you for being yourself.

Scrap anyone else who doesn’t see the wonder that you bring to this world, and make the effort for the ones who do.

The Benefits of Running

Recently I’ve started to run regularly outside and the effects it has had on me have been amazing.

I am definitely not one who enjoys exercising. First of all, I am the least coordinated/athletic person you may ever meet. I literally trip over my own feet (no joke). Second of all, I’m one of the most laziest people on the planet. Just the effort of having to get ready to work out is enough to put me off of it.

However, I’ve hesitantly been powering through and guess what? It’s worth it.

Starting off the day with a run has so many benefits. Let me try and convince you why you too should force yourself to get out of bed and go outside.

  1. It wakes you up. If you are able to have a quick breakfast and head out the door, you are immediately functioning way better than you were about half an hour ago. All you have to do is get dressed and throw on a pair of running shoes and you’re ready to go. Minimal effort for getting your brain started up for the day. Also, once you start to get moving and start to breathe in some fresh air you feel as though you are waking up in synchronization with the rest of the world. The birds are chirping and you are on your way to a productive day!
  2. It’s therapeutic. Sometimes I set off with a “bad bitches” or a “you got this” playlist playing on my phone. Before I know it, every step I take has a little ounce of passion or anger attached to it. Unless you are with a partner, running gives you a block of time where you have your mind to yourself and all you have to focus on is the path ahead of you. It’s almost like meditation. You begin to think about anything that may be worrying you or on your mind, but you channel it into your exercise. That way when you come home from a run you will feel like you put all of your negativity into making yourself a better and healthier person. I’m all for channeling those negative emotions into a positive outcome!
  3. You will feel more energized. It seems counter-intuitive at first when you think of how exhausted you can feel when you collapse on the floor after a long hot run. But running regularly will make you feel more able and ready to get up and move even more. I found that since I’ve started running I’ve been finding more ways to enjoy other outdoor activities, like bike rides. Maybe running is the cure for laziness..?
  4. Running gets you outside! Sometimes we are so glued to our phones and computers that we forget there’s a whole world out there full of beautiful creatures and plants! I’ve always enjoyed nature and going on long walks. Taking in your surroundings provides you with a certain fulfillment that you can’t find anywhere else. Outside is where I feel most alive; it refreshes your spirit as well as your mind.
  5. There’s no pressure. Running outside is a time for you to be with yourself. I literally never visit a gym, mostly because I hate the thought of exercising where other people can see me. I’m the most awkward mover and I cringe at the thought of how self-conscious I can be in an enclosed place where everyone else around me is so buff or knows exactly what they’re doing. The joy of running outside is that there’s nobody there to judge you. You can go at your own pace with your own technique, whatever floats your boat.
  6. In the wise words of Elle Woods…

exercise-gives-you-endorphins

‘Nuff said.

Night Anxiety

Last night, I just could not sleep. I don’t know what it was, but the second I lay my weary body down to rest, instead of being welcomed by sweet sleep like I was looking forward to all day, I was attacked by an army of my own thoughts.

I’m sure we’ve all experienced it. You’ve been exhausted all day and have been counting down the seconds until your head hits the softness of your pillow. But for some reason, the second you close your eyes a whirlwind of thoughts starts racing through your head. The last thing you want to be doing in that moment is worrying that you may have forgotten to write something down on your list of things to remember to do the consequent day and that you’re not going to remember to do said thing when you wake up.

However, it happens.

It’s like when my eyes are open and my mind is active during the day, there are some things that they choose to be blind to. Unfortunately for me, the darkness tends to reveal these things to my oh-so-naïve mind. Sometimes I actually am able to see more when my eyes are shut.

Some of the particular thoughts going through my head last night were about anxiety. I was looking back and reliving so many moments where I had been easily irritated or irrational because of a feeling that was bubbling up inside of me.

One day, one of my good friends was just hanging out on the floor of my room and his headphones got all tangled up; the way he was just spread out and lying on my bean bag so carelessly, in addition to the messy state of my room, caused me to get all worked up until I eventually yelled and kicked him out. I swear it was the tangling of the headphones that drove me crazy.

I’m no doctor, but I do believe that these incidents could be explained by anxiety. As I mentioned in a previous post, life hasn’t always been so easy for me, mentally and emotionally. It’s definitely scary to think about, and I don’t appreciate my sleepy mind bringing all of these emotions back into view, only for me to start worrying about it all over again.

I’ve never wanted to face these feelings head on. But it is one of my goals to build up the courage to seek help eventually. It’s hard since my anxious thoughts and feelings come and go depending on how much stress I am under; I never know when it’s going to suddenly get worse and I’m going to regret not having anyone there to talk about it.

Oh well… For now, I am doing fine and have definitely been more aware and in control of any anxieties that plague my mind.

Hopefully writing about all of this will help, and maybe even help some of you who may be able to relate.

I have an awful habit of brushing off any health or mental-related problems I have, thinking that it will pass or “I’ll just deal.” I know it’s awful, but I honestly sometimes feel that my problems aren’t worth bothering a doctor with. I feel that they may just say “it’s no big deal,” and tell me to go home. It takes a lot of courage for me to tell someone that there is something wrong with me, even if they are paid to be there to listen. I think it’s the fear of telling someone face-to-face about my problems and worrying that I may not remember to tell them everything or that I wasn’t accurately describing my situation, causing them to not be able to help me. I know it may sound silly, but as I said, that’s just how my mind works.

I believe I have a lot of anxiety about having anxiety. Oh, my life is a mess sometimes.

I hope some of you may be able to relate. Sometimes our brains can be too smart for their own good, but that’s just how life works.

In other news, I’ve been thinking about starting a novel…

I know some of you may be thinking that’s waaay too ambitious for a soon-to-be college sophomore, but imagine how spectacular it would be if I were actually able to accomplish that goal. I want to aim big. I want to dream and be creative and work hard at something. I would like any support or advice I could get, considering I’m new at this. 🙂

I’ve started to write every day, which will hopefully help me to improve. Even if the novel ends up being a total flop, at least I will have learned something and grown as a writer. In my opinion, there is no way I can actually fail by trying to do this.

So wish me luck on this journey and I hope to speak with all of you soon.

A Routine for the Lazy-of-Heart

Today has been yet another typical day in my so-far-pleasant summer break from college. I’m starting to get into quite a good routine, which has definitely helped me become more productive. I’ve been going to sleep a lot better because not only do I feel accomplished for the day, but I’ve also been exercising more which has helped my body to get into its own routine.

If you are like former-me, you may lie in bed all day watching Netflix, and by the time you actually want to do something productive it is already dark outside, at which point it is too late. It is a very easy but bad habit to get into. I would definitely advise against it.

When school ends, you are inclined to feel like you deserve a break. And trust me, you do. However, if you don’t keep your body and mind in shape, this type of break could turn out to have more adverse effects on your well-being than you initially intended it to have.

Breaking this habit can be done by putting a daily routine into place. I’ve found that with a routine, you are more able to accomplish things and feel more energized throughout the day. Especially if you are able to make time for things you enjoy doing, you will be more willing to do the maybe not-so-pleasant things like organizing or studying for finals if they have a place in your schedule.

Even if you’re saying to yourself right now that you are the most unorganized person and could never stick to a routine, I promise you it’s mind over matter. If you believe that you can be organized, then you will be. It’s just making your mind invest into that part of you. You must will yourself to be organized. This starts with getting into a routine.

Since I’ve been feeling better in the past few days, this is what my routine has been shaping up to be in list form:

  1. Wake up
  2. Make bed (apparently people who make their bed every day end up to be more productive than those who don’t)
  3. Wash face
  4. Eat breakfast with Netflix (gotta allow yourself some leeway…)
  5. Brush teeth
  6. Go on a run
  7. Take a cold shower
  8. Relax for a bit
  9. Read/write/study
  10. Eat Lunch (with more Netflix obviously)
  11. Browse the internet/enjoy some time outside
  12. Read/write more/clean up/do anything that needs to be done!
  13. Dinner with family
  14. Get ready for bed
  15. Plan out the next day
  16. Read/write/watch movies until bed

This is just a rough outline of what I’ve been getting up to. My routine sometimes changes depending on what time I get up or how tired I am feeling that day, along with if I have other plans with friends or family. But I’ve been starting to realize that it’s almost impossible to stick to this schedule/routine without a good night’s sleep.

Waking up after a good night’s sleep is one of the best feelings in the world. You feel so satisfied and much more motivated to take on the day. And with the added bonus of already knowing what you’ve set out to do that day, you can feel happier while checking items off your list as the day goes along. I definitely would recommend scheduling enough time for your beauty rest every night!

So please, take care of yourself and do what you must to keep your mind and body happy! (Even if that means sneaking that extra piece of chocolate 😉 ) If you have a good routine, you won’t be distracted with all of the things you should be doing with your time but instead will be able to fill your time better with appreciating all of the things around you. Find a routine that makes you a better and happier person…and then stick to it.

Trying To Be Strong

I think that right now writing is my only salvation.

I hate this feeling. I woke up this morning and started my day how I normally do with a bowl of Weetabix and an episode of House of Cards. But this time I just wasn’t feeling it. I was lying on the couch in my basement and stopped mid-episode (which rarely happens) and thought to myself, “Fuck. I know this feeling. Not again.”

In my life I’ve always tried to maintain the illusion that everything is perfect. This is the exact thing that has been my downfall and broken me down on the inside. That along with a few other heartbreaks.

I’m very private when it comes to my inner thoughts and emotions and usually nobody knows what I’m going through. Especially not my parents. I never tell them anything because I’ve always wanted to be the perfect child in their eyes. Letting them know that I was ever unhappy would have been my biggest fear growing up because I know how much they love me and how much my happiness means to them.

However, my relationship with my parents is not the kind where I tell them everything that is going on in my life; it’s the opposite. They never know when I’m feeling down and I would rather lash out at them and let them think I’m just being moody than having them know that I’m feeling utterly depressed.

I’ve honestly been dealing with these kinds of feelings since about 8th grade. But since I was always the “perfect student” and “teacher’s pet” I couldn’t let anyone know that something was wrong behind the exterior surface of who I was. I don’t even know why I am writing about this and going so far into my past when I know it is only bringing back negative memories. I don’t know what is happening right now because I thought I was in such a good place in my life yet here I am sitting in bed crying over my laptop while I try to figure out what’s wrong.

It’s the feeling that there’s nothing out there for me. That anything I do in my life won’t be enough to give it meaning. No matter how well I do in school or how many friends I have it won’t change the way I feel inside.

The awful thing is I never know when my mood is just going to completely take over and fucking put a halt to my life and not let me accomplish anything. And that only makes it worse because I am a perfectionist and HATE it when I lack control.

That’s probably the reason I don’t reach out to people. Because a) I like to be independent and b) I don’t know who I can truly depend on. So many people who I’ve depended on before are now no longer in my life or have betrayed me. I feel like every time I do reach out, I just end up heartbroken again. It’s just an awful thing having to deal with this all on your own. You have nowhere to escape to when a wave of emotions crashes onto the rocky shores of your mind and floods through your body until you are drowning and can no longer breathe.

That is a place I do not want to go again.

I’m hoping that this little episode I am going through right now will pass. I have been doing so much better recently, especially since being home. Today was a lovely Mother’s Day; we played scrabble outside, went on a bike ride, soaked up some sun, drank some beer, ate some BBQ, went to the beach, and watched the sun set. It’s just little things sometimes that seem to set me off. It’s the fear of being the girl again who used to not eat at all until night-time when she would completely binge on whatever she snuck up to her room and then hate herself for doing it afterwards, the girl who once locked her door and tried to hurt herself in different ways but didn’t know how, the girl who didn’t want to leave her bed  for months because she felt like everything was just going down the drain.

Even on a beautiful day like today, I wasn’t able to fully enjoy the blossoms falling around me as I breathed in the warm air cradling me to the earth or  the grandeur of the star so far away warming our planet slowly disappearing below the horizon as we rotated away from it.

I want to be strong. I accept that sometimes I can’t control my emotions. I’m only human. The important thing is not hating your life because of the bad days, but wanting to go on in hope of the good days. Tomorrow is a new day. Until then I just need to try to find myself again and take care of her. That’s all that matters.