This post is completely and unapologetically inspired by my boyfriend. If you are dating a law student you probably hate this time of the semester just as much as I do-FINALS TIME. Finals time is so brutal, because your lover practically … Continue reading
If you are anything like me right now you are feeling extremely stressed, overworked, and achy all over. A nice relaxing vacation of some sort that will provide you with some of the me time that your little heart desires. Even if that vacation is as simple as you going home for a nice relaxing weekend. There are so many different opportunities to take advantage of while at College or in High School which make it easy for your calendar to quickly fill-up with various activities. Not only are you responsible for doing well in all of your classes, you are expected to participate in extra curricular activities, all while maintaining a healthy social life. Being engrossed in daily tasks can cause you to fall into a monotonous routine and forget about a very important person. No I am not talking about your parents, significant other, or close friend. I am talking about YOU, silly! Always being on the go and meeting the demands of a strict schedule can cause you to neglect your mental and physical well-being. It is extremely important that you take time out daily to make sure that your needs are being met. College and High School have the ability of sucking the life out of you. Don’t allow that to happen. Remember how important it is to take care of you. Below I list a few tips that can help anyone preserve their mental sanity and manage their physical health.
- Practice Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises are known to help calm and relax any individual. Since breathing is a force that is in your immediate control it helps reduce stress and tension. Focusing on your breathing allows you to clear your mind and forget about things even for a moment. Most breathing exercises can be practiced anywhere and are extremely easy to learn. You can practice your breathing in meetings, while at your desk, while your walking, or driving. I found a great website created my M.D. Andrew Weil that highlights three awesome breathing exercises.
2. Practice Silence
You maybe reading this thinking: Girl, did you just tell me to practice silence? The answer is: Yes I did! College, High School, work, and home are all capable of being noisy places. If you are anything like me, then you talk A LOT. I am always talking whether it is because I am participating in class, running a meeting, answering questions at work, or catching up on the latest gossip. It seems as if my upper and bottom lip never touch. To practice silence you must first find a quite space. Do not bring your cellphone, music, or any other type of distracting materials. Just sit in that quiet space and self reflect. Relax, focus on your breathing, and allow yourself to fully experience this mental break from the noisy world that we live in. Practice silence.
3. Remember To Eat Healthy Foods and Get A Good Night’s Rest
This is a no brainer that doesn’t need much explanation. You have read this or heard it all before. In order to sustain those long days it is very important that you eat well and get a good night of sleep. Do not try to conquer your 12-hour day on 4-hours of sleep. Not to say that it isn’t possible, because I have done it about 2 times. That does not make it okay! Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you should, its bad for you! You need to get the appropriate amount of sleep. Anywhere from 7-9 hours. I once had it explained to me this way before: if you put foods that are only a little healthy into your body its only going to produce a little fuel. In other words if you eat healthy foods it will give you the proper fuel that is necessary to help get you through your day. I know how hard it is to eat healthy meals when you are chained to a busy schedule. Try to pack your lunch or drink meal worthy smoothies. There is a website called WNYC Sleep that allows you to clock your sleep. Not only does this website allow you to clock your sleep it provides you with statistics so that you are able to improve your sleeping patterns.
4. Slow Down and Prioritize
Do not try to conquer the world! Slow down and take time to smell the roses. There are only 24-hours in each day. Which means you can’t do everything that you want or need to do in those 24-hours. Relax and Prioritize. Some things are more pressing than others and call for your immediate attention. Do not try to attend every meeting, be a member of every group, or make promises that you cannot keep. All you are going to do is tire yourself out. Do not jam-pack your schedule and DO NOT DOUBLE BOOK YOURSELF. Double booking means you have two events that you are responsible for attending occurring at the same time. Remember that you are a student first! With that being said do not procrastinate either!
5. Have Fun!
Enjoy yourself! Go out! Watch a movie. Watch your favorite television show. Go see one of your school’s sporting events. Catch dinner with a friend at your favorite restaurant. Remember to laugh. Everyone has a lot of responsibilities, but you have a responsibility to keep yourself happy! So do just that!
“Can’t see the forest, for the trees.” What does this idiom mean? I believe that this idiom is simultaneously the most confusing and most misunderstood.
People spit this phrase “Can’t see the forest, for the trees.” at others and aren’t entirely too sure of what it means themselves. I am going to explain it to you the best way that I know how. I asked my mother and did a bit of research and I came to the conclusion that this idiom means: an excessive amount of unnecessary attention is given to the details, while the bigger picture is being ignored, because the details are being fixated on so much.
People our age really struggle and have a hard time seeing the forest for the trees. When you strip this idiom of the word “can’t” it means the opposite of what I explained before. If you are able to see the forest for the trees you have the ability to see the bigger picture and not get caught up on every little detail of a particular situation.
Our generation struggles so heavily with seeing the forest for the trees, because we are spoiled. Simply put. We live in a society where we do not have to wait for many things. If we want the news, we no longer have to read the newspaper or watch the news on television. We open our Twitter, Facebook, or any other app that is able to provide us with the information that we need. If we are hungry we are able to drive to a fast-food restaurant, order food from our cars, and drive away with unhealthy food that we waited all of ten minutes for.
Our generation in particular has also been victim of too much coddling. Google defines coddling as a way to treat something or someone in an overprotective manner. Face it we are a bit sensitive! We are not okay with getting our feelings hurt and we are definitely not okay when things do not go our way. We have been so protected and sheltered by our guardians providing comfortable lives for us. We loose sight of the bigger picture and get so preoccupied with the details. We become haunted by everything that is not going according to plan.
We tend to focus on everything that we are upset about instead of taking time to recognize the things that are going pretty well. Sometimes the only thing you have to be happy about is the fact that you are alive.
I completed my freshman year of college about four months ago. I had a plan of working the entire summer. I was going to save the money I made over the summer and use the money to live off of while I was in school. Can you guess what happens next? Yes, Sherlock Holmes…things didn’t go according to plan. I did not work at all this summer. I asked God “Why me?” I could not understand why I wasn’t able to find a job in a timely manner.
I applied to everywhere I could possibly think of and still had no luck. A few jobs contacted me back but nothing panned out. I dwelled in my misfortunes for a while. One morning Wegman’s (a grocery store) called me to tell me that unfortunately they were not able to hire me, because they were looking for people to replace the workers who were going to college. Once I hung up the phone, I lost it. I cried for a solid half an hour, because I was so frustrated with the fact that I didn’t have a job.
I used all of my time focusing on what I did not have instead of what I did. Dwelling in the positive will change your life. You will begin to appreciate and be grateful for the things that happen to you. Understand that life is not about maximizing the highs and dwelling or praying that the lows do not occur. Life IS a roller coaster. You are going to have unbelievable highs, where life cannot seem to get any better. You are also going to have lows where life cannot seem to get any worse. You have to learn how to make the best out of not so great times. Bring joy to someone else and you shall receive joy. Make a list of all the things you have to be grateful for.
Force yourself to smile. I know it sounds stupid but smile. When you smile a gland in your body releases endorphins. Endorphins interact with opiate receptors in our body and reduce pain. So smiling will send chemicals to your brain to make you happy! The New York Times has a great article on how smiles affect moods. Challenge yourself to see the forest for the trees. Do not loose sight of the bigger picture, because you are focusing so heavily on the details. Take advice from the rapper J.Cole, “We ain’t picture perfect but we’re worth the picture still.” Just hang in there a little longer, things will get better.
Are you a college freshman or plan on going to college soon? If you answered “Yes” to that question please continue reading.
Are you nervous about leaving your comfortable and predictable life? Are you uneasy about leaving the loving, nurturing, caring arms of your family and thrown into the real world after what seems like a short 18 years? Each good-bye seems harder and more difficult to mutter?
Well calm down! You are not the only one with a one-stop, one-way ticket on the run-away train to EMOTIONAL WRECK. 18.2 million students enrolled in college in 2007. I know my statistic is dated 6 years, but it’s the only statistic I could find! There are 18.2 million students in this country who are in the same exact situation in life as you.They too are beginning to embark on this new journey of their lives.
So trust me when I say you are not the only person who is experiencing a million emotions at once and lost for words on how to describe at least one. Back to school season is rapidly approaching and many college freshmen around the country have already or are preparing to move into their dorms. I cannot believe that I was in the same exact circumstance just one year ago. Time moves so quickly and stops for no one. Every moment is valuable and should be spent wisely. I still remember my first of day of high school, for crying out loud! That’s obviously another story for another time. My Uncle paid me a visit the other day and told me that his friend’s daughter wanted to speak with me. She wanted to know what to expect as a college freshman. I am going to tell you the things I think every freshman should know entering college.
- Remember being a high school freshmen and everyone treated you like the first slice of bread? Everyone hated you and tortured you just because you were the youngest students in the school? College is nothing like that.
Colleges and non-freshmen students at colleges actually celebrate freshmen! They absolutely love freshmen, because they are ambitious, excited, and eager to get involved on campus. As a freshman you are going to be bombarded by every single club on campus! They all want you, because freshmen help boost their number of members! Clubs bend over backwards in an effort to get the freshmen to come out and support their cause. Next, your college loves you, because you are a walking dollar sign! Straight like that! They want you to love your first year there so that you do not transfer out after a semester or two. If you do not enjoy your experience and decide to transfer out, your school just lost a significant amount of money. With that being said, please remember that EVERY SINGLE PERSON ON THAT COLLEGE CAMPUS WORKS FOR YOU! College is a business transaction as well as an investment in your future. You pay them a pretty penny to provide a service and that service should be executed well. If their service is not being executed well, let them know! They do not cut you slack by giving you a discount on your tuition; so do not cut them any slack! Never take no for an answer, stay persistent until your issue is resolved and you are given the correct answer. Make them treat you like royalty! Believe me, they will, because they value your business. Finally, if you are a freshmen girl BEWARE OF OLDER BOYS! You are a fresh face on campus, the older boys are hoping that you are excited about your newfound freedom and are even more excited that they are talking to you. They will stalk you! One time I had a young man approach me while I was eating dinner and in mid-conversation with a friend. It was getting a bit ridiculous! At times I wished that I could go outside with a paper bag over my head, so that every male I came across would not feel the need to talk to me or ask for my phone number! Yes, I was asked for my phone number while I was standing in line at Subway trying to purchase some lunch! Some are brave! They want you to be excited that they are paying you attention. Since you are young and have freedom you never experienced before they want to manipulate you. They want to take advantage of the situation and make you think that they like you when in reality they really do not. Unfortunately, they do just want one thing. If you do not believe me, ask yourself why would a 22 year old male about to graduate want to be in a relationship with a freshman who has three more years in college. Ask yourself why a 21-year-old junior cannot find a girl his age. Stick with your own age group! I’m serious these older college boys will have your nose wide open. Oh yeah, do me a favor and stay away from Frat boys! Take it from me!
2. College is what you make it! These are your golden years, the last four-years before you have to get a full time job. You did not pay to sit in your dorm room! Go out, explore your new environment, and get your free snacks.
Get involved on your campus! Having to meet new friends could be very intimidating! Getting involved on your campus is one of the easiest ways to meet new people. Join a club that sparks your interest. Everyone else in that group is also passionate about the same thing. Getting involved on campus will force you to meet new people, learn more about your school, help build your resume and get you out of your dorm room. Anyone who knows me knows that I am pretty outgoing, some may even consider me a social butterfly! I was nervous! The last time I had to make new friends was four years prior during my freshmen year of high school. Go to the free events! College has a ton of free events with free food! Go and just start talking to people! Really common icebreaker questions are: Where are you from? What is your major? Where do you live on campus? You are bound to find something in common with someone at the event. Also remember these people do not know each other either! They are in the same situation as you. They are a freshman at college trying to make friends that produce valuable relationships! Welcome Week is where freshmen make the majority of their friends, because everyone there is a freshman. Everyone there is new, nervous, and anxious just like you. I met some of my really good friends at Welcome Week. How did I meet them you ask? They were all sitting in a group; I walked up to them, sat down, and joined their conversation! Do not be nervous to get people’s phone numbers and to give out yours! Text your new friends and ask them to pick up lunch or dinner with you. I cannot tell you not be anxious and that you aren’t going to come across a few awkward situations, but I can tell you that you will reap amazing benefits from putting yourself out there! Making new friends is not as scary as you think. No one is judging you. This is college, everyone enrolled at your school is an adult, literally 18 and over.
3. Ariana, I was a straight A student in high school and I am scared that I am going to fail out of college. Ariana I don’t even know how I got into college!
Let me assure you that college level work is not as hard as you think it is! College level work is time consuming and takes a vast amount of effort. The key to earning “good grades” in college is time management. They suggest that for every 1-hour you are in class you should spend at least 2-3 hours studying. Spending 2-3 hours studying and doing homework sounds like a long time, but it really isn’t. Once you begin doing your work, you get so engrossed in your task that the time seems to fly by! Know what type of studier you are! I have to go to the silent floor of my school’s library, put headphones in, have a bottle of water and snack available, and take a break every two hours. Create a study schedule for yourself and stick to it! Figure out who the smartest person in your class is and become friends with them. Surround yourself with at least one student from each of your classes who do well and religiously study. Ask them if you could tag along with them to study. Every college uses Blackboard! On Blackboard you have access to the email address of every student in your class. Email some of your classmates and ask them to edit your papers if they have the time. Most schools offer free tutoring and have a writing center. Take advantage of these free resources. Those programs are put in place to help you excel. If you are falling behind, struggling in anyway, need an extension, or need further guidance; do not hesitate to contact your Professor. Email them and visit them during their office hours! They would more than happy to help you. If you were not a straight A student in high school college is your time to shine. I was not a straight A student in high school. My first semester of college I earned a 3.65 GPA and became a member of my school’s Honors College. The key to success is hard work and persistence. Do your work. Why pay your school to earn failing grades? When you go to the grocery store you do not pay for your food then leave your food at the store. So do not pay for your education and leave your degree at your college or university.
4. Party like a Rock, Party like a Rock Star!
Yes, there are parties are college. Yes, people drink underage. Yes, there are bars and clubs that serve people who are underage. Yes, people do drugs. Sorry to burst your fantasy bubble. Welcome to reality! Guess what? It does not have to be your reality. If you are under the age of 21, there is no excuse for you to consume alcohol. I get it; your family is no longer over your shoulder monitoring your every move. You have all of this freedom and do not necessarily know how to use your time in the wisest manner. Pick up a book! Start pursuing your dream. Go to the gym. Get an on campus job. Do something that is constructive and helping you build your future! For some reason freshmen feel like they HAVE to party or all of their fingers are going to fall off. In my first semester I did not go out very much. I went out a handful of times. In my second semester I surrounded myself with more people who liked to party than those who studied. My grade point average dropped. I was going out up to four nights a week. I have nothing to show for it, but a low grade point average. Only go out if you have something to celebrate. If you do not have anything to celebrate that means you have work to do. I AM NOT SAYING GO OUT AND PARTICIPATE IN ILLEGAL ACTIVIES. You can go to a party and just dance. Dancing makes people happy! When you go out to parties be careful. Travel with a crowd, do not carry a lot of cash, and be well aware of your surroundings. Alcohol poisoning is real and you can die or either be rushed to the hospital. Have fun, but remember college is an investment in your future. You pay to go to school not to drink or do drugs.
5. Be the best person that you can possibly be!
Good luck and I hope you love college! To my friends in high school good luck this school year and WORK HARD. “Good grades” in high school equals scholarship money.