What to Do When You’ve Had Enough of This Semester

semester

I am generally known as a positive and happy person.  I firmly believe that positivity is a choice and we always have the option to see the best in things.

Well, recently I have been failing at this.  I mean F-A-I-L-I-N-G.

I’m honestly shocked at myself.  I am usually the first person to brush things off and choose to see the good in every situation.  But the end of this semester has brought out the pessimist in me.  Now, everything seems to be getting on my nerves and I am just ready to be DONE.

Consider this post to be a manifestation of my decision to choose positivity!  I’m sure I am not the only one who is fed-up with this semester, but it is never too late to look on the bright side.  If you are over this semester, just listen these ideas on making a comeback to the bright side.  Keep in mind that I have recently been failing at all of theses things, but all this negativity ends today!  Today I choose to see the better side of things.

1. Recognize that you have a choice

It is one of my core beliefs that we get to choose how our character evolves.  Being pessimistic and negative is the easier path to choose, but it says something about your character when you choose to see things in a way that will help you in the long run.  You will be happier when you choose positivity, but you will also be learning discipline to make the right choices.

2. Get over yourself

Sorry to sound harsh, but when you complain about everything it’s just another way to channel your selfishness.  Complaining about your lot in life is really just a method of fitting self-righteousness into your day.  Get over yourself.  You are better than all of this.  Move on and devote your energies to more important things.  Sorry.

Ooh!  Let’s freak some people out on Twitter!

Get over yourself. Choose to see the bright side! Click To Tweet

3. Turn to gratitude

Chances are that you are attending college because you or someone in your family has the financial ability to support you while you are at college.  Even if you are taking out loans or have been granted scholarships, going to college means that somebody is spending money on you.  Take a moment to appreciate the investment that is being made in your education and your future.

What about this?  You live in and age and a country that allows you to go to college regardless of your race, gender, or background.  Not everybody in the world is as lucky as we are.  College students need to find some appreciation for those who have fought to make education available for us throughout our lives.  We are truly fortunate to have this opportunity.

4. Try to learn something new

We have all come to college to learn something, however our main goal most of the time is to simply pass our classes.  Keep your mind engaged in these last few weeks and actually try to learn something new.  Take an interest in your classes and really try to learn something for the sake of learning.  You can always learn things outside your classrooms too (I’m learning how to be a blogger, and let me tell you, it is fascinating!)

5. Take care of yourself

“We must take care of ourselves before we can show compassion to others.”  So take care of yourself!  You know the drill: get enough sleep, drink water, eat healthy, exercise, watch Netflix.  Try to not commit yourself to too many tasks.  (I am looking at you fellow bloggers!)  Make a clear distinction between work-time and play-time. 🙂

6. Remember, You will definitely feel like this again

I’ve had it up to my neck with this semester, but chances are all my problems won’t be solved with the ending of the term.  There will always be something out there that gets under our skin and stresses us out, so why submit to a bad attitude?  Take this as an opportunity to train yourself to get through hard times.  When it is all over, make sure you are proud of how well you handled this semester. 🙂

Even from writing this post, I already feel better about making it through the semester.  I hope that you will join me in choosing to see the bright side of things.  Don’t waste a minute that you have on this earth because you want the semester to be over.  Even though summer is coming, good things are happening right now- embrace it!

Am I right?  Are you feeling kind of bleh at this point in the semester too?  Let me know in the comments!  What are you doing to turn things around?

Things You Should Know Before You Move Into the Dorms

dorms

Until you’ve actually experienced it, dorm life is pretty much a mystery.  This probably the first time you’ve lived “on you own” and throughout this process you will learn about yourself and about others.  I certainly spent a lot of time stressing out about living in the dorms before I even moved in, but this is something that thousands of people survive every year!  Plus, there are a lot of benefits to living on campus, such as the close walking distance to all your classes, and there are usually a lot of free events for campus residents too.

Dorm life isn’t always easy, especially when you’re an introvert like me.  I know a lot of people who never really had a problem living in the dorms, but let me tell you, there was definitely a point where the novelty wore off.  I quickly grew to dislike living in the dorms, but I’m still glad for the experience.

Don’t stress though!  If I can survive dorm life, you can too.  Here are some things I wished I’d known before I moved into the dorms.

You and your roommate will not share as much as you think

At the beginning of the year you and your roommate are both excited and nervous and therefore form a bond of awkwardness.  Out of politeness you are both probably willing to share all your belongings to help each other.  However, this formality does wear off and you probably won’t be sharing your food, and dishes, and curling irons, and dresser drawers like you thought you would.  Usually the TV, the futon, and the mini-fridge are fair game, but everything else usually goes to one person or the other.  That’s normal.

Establish guidelines with your roommate right away

Similar to not sharing everything, you two probably have different habits all together.  Establish ground rules right away, like not having the TV on after bedtime or when it’s ok have guests over.  (Talk about the temperature of your room!  This was a big one between me and my roommate, since we come from different climates.)  I’ve had several friends who’ve had issues with their roommates having boyfriends over all the time… Just establish the rules of the room right away so you don’t have to deal with the awkwardness down the road.  Trust me, it’s 10x more uncomfortable to address the situation after you’ve been putting up with it for a while.

You are entitled to privacy and peace

Even though you have a roommate, remember that this is just as much your space as it is theirs.  If you need to kick out some people that your roommate has over, you can politely do that!  First things first, living on campus must be functional for school, so if you need some privacy and peace, don’t be afraid to ask for it!

No one is going to clean up after you

For the sake of your roommate, clean up after yourself.  It’s not fun to live with a messy roommate, even if they never touch your stuff.  While you’re living in such close proximity with someone, try extra hard to keep a clean place.

You WILL get sick sometime

You just will.  With so many teenagers living in such close proximity, sickness is bound to spread through everyone at least once a semester.  Make healthy choices and don’t spread yourself too thin.  Trust me, I know all about getting sick in college, and it is no fun to deal with illness on top of all your other commitments.  Here’s a good guide to fighting sickness where I go into more detail about all my tricks to staying healthy. 🙂

You don’t have to be friends with the people on your floor

When you first move into the dorms, it feels a bit like summer camp.  You’re encouraged to do all kinds of things with the people on your floor, and for a while they are the only people you know.  But if you find yourself drifting away from your floor as the year goes on, that’s totally fine!  The chances of your best college friends all being on your floor your freshman year isn’t likely, so branch out and meet people you genuinely have something in common with.  Living in the dorms is only a chapter in your life anyway.

Not everyone is trustworthy

Just because you’re living so close to other people doesn’t mean they will all your friends.  Be wary of thieves, and be cautious in lending out your things.  Also, there was an issue at my school last year where an RA supposedly assaulted a girl in her room… So just be extra careful!

People can hear you in your room

And you will be able to hear them too.  Even if you don’t think you will need them, bring some earplugs, especially if you are a light sleeper like me!  You will never know when people will run screaming down your hall like wild animals.  It happens.  Likewise, be courteous to others with your noise.  Don’t have your TV or speakers on too loud during quiet hours.  Maybe don’t practice tap dancing in your dorm room either.  (I’m guilty of this one.  Sorry.)

Make your space feel like home

Chances are that you will get homesick throughout the year, so put a little effort into making your room feel homey.  It can be something as simple as getting a rug for your floor or displaying a picture of your cat.  Putting up Christmas lights adds an especially warm touch to your room.  Be creative with your space, after all, you will be living there for an entire school year.  My aunt made me a Wicked poster that I keep in my room; I love that musical!  I also put up some Bible verses and quotes that I wanted to look at every day.

things you should know before you move into the dorms- room decorations

It’s not exactly Vogue, but it makes my room seem a little more happy 🙂

Best of luck with your year in the dorms!

A Foolproof Guide to Dealing with Stress in College

 

a foolproof guide to dealing with stress in college

I would usually say I deal with stress pretty well, but yesterday it hit me like I had just run into a brick wall.  I think stress had slowly been creeping up on me, in fact my voice teacher just mentioned to me that I seemed more stressed this semester.  Well, this was news to me, until of course, I took a look at all that I was juggling.  Classes have suddenly become much more involved and demanding.  (What is fafsa?)  On top of that, midterms are approaching.  (Scholarships need applications?)  I am also involved in theatre outside of my classes.  Did I mention I have to plan a trip to New York City for next week?

Like I said.  Brick wall.  In my face.

In these moments it’s important to remember some fundamentals in dealing with stress.  It’s not easy, but proper stress management is essential for not falling apart at the seams.  First, I’ll cover some stress management tips for when you get those mini-panic attacks (short term management) then we’ll look at some tips to reduce overall stress in your life (long term management.)

Ok, let’s deal!

Breathe

As a singer, it’s essential to know the most natural, effective way to breathe.  Proper breathing is important to producing a good sound, but it’s actually important for every part of living.  When you are breathing properly, your tummy should stick out, which goes against what most people are trying to look like.  But that’s how you’re supposed breath!  Breathing from your diaphragm and filling up your whole body with air is what your body is designed to do.  This way, your body gets the oxygen that it’s craving, and if you’re a singer like me, you sound a million times better.

So next time you get a mini-stress-induced-panic-attack, just take some deep breaths.  This will do wonders to calm you down and keep you grounded.  Even if you’re not stressed, practice proper breathing.

Identify the Source of your Stress

This is important for getting un-stressed.  Are you stressed because you don’t have enough time to do all your homework?  Are you stressed because you don’t know how to do your assignments?  Do you have anxiety over an upcoming test?  Identifying exactly what is stressing you out is an essential step to dealing with your stress, otherwise you’ll just keep internally freaking out.  Find the source, and take care of it.

Write a List

When all the things you have to do just seem to keep piling up, write a list.  Visualization is key to getting things done; it makes more of an impression on you.  If you can, write your list in chronological order, or in order of importance, then commit to your list!  Personally, I have a notepad on my desk at all times just for these such situations.  Another benefit to keeping a list is that crossing off a task that you’ve completed is such a relief.  Your stress melts away with each completed task, so write that list!

Go Exercise

When you’re stressed, major tension builds up in your body.  Exercising is a great way to get rid of that tension.  Your mind also gets a break from all that worry, and you’ll probably be able to think clearer after working out.  I prefer to go for a run when I’m stressed, however just playing some music and dancing around for a while can be a great stress reliever.

Get Some Perspective

So, if you really have a stress attack, you should remember that this too will pass.  College is only four years of your life, and this stressful moment will seem insignificant in 10 years.  Even if your classwork falls apart, your schedule is packed, and your grades plummet- just take it with some perspective.  As long as you are doing your best, the rest will just fall into place

Ok, switching gears!

Use a Planner

I’ve always carried a planner, however I’m not very good at actually using it, and this has come back to bite me more than once.  Whether it’s a test, a birthday party, an essay deadline, an overdue library book, or a cancelled class, just take a minute to write it down.  Perhaps you won’t have to look at it later, because even writing it down can help imprint it in your memory, but get into the habit of keeping track of all the little details in your life

Practise Identifying Tension

As an acting student, I am being taught to identify and control the tension in my body.  Everybody has tension in their bodies and this can tell us a lot about a character and ourselves.  Tension in our bodies and stress in our minds are directly related, so if you can learn to let go of that tension you can relieve your stress, but it takes practice.  Here’s what you can do: lie on your back and tighten all the muscles in your body beginning with your feat.  Hold and then let go beginning from your face.  Try to isolate each individual muscle.

Get Grounded

What I mean by this is having something in your life other than school that keeps you grounded in reality.  If you have some really great friends, get together with them to talk about something other than school.  Have hobbies and passions that take you outside of the university world.  Invest in other areas of your life.  For me, I have to stay grounded in my Faith, otherwise I would be a mess across the board.

Take Some Time for Yourself

Among all the responsibilities you have to juggle in college, be sure to take some time to do something you enjoy.  At the end of a long day, it’s important to wind down in order to sleep properly.  And of course sleep is super important!  Take some time to read a book, watch some tv, draw a picture, or have a spa night.  Taking time for yourself is just another way to invest in and care for yourself.  Don’t spread yourself too thin!

Wow!  Just reminding myself of these things has already helped me have a better outlook on my stressful situation.  Just remember to keep the big picture in mind- dealing with stress is much more of a lifestyle than it is a last resort.  So, try to incorporate these tips into your life to be better equipped to tackle stress.

How do you deal with stress?  Let me know!

10 Ways to be More Productive Right Now

productive

You know, there just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes.  Or is there?  Personally, I am super busy this semester, and on top of all the things I have to do, there are plenty of things I want to do like watch Netflix and run this blog.  Whether you are a college student like me, or you live a completely different life, there are always ways to increase your productivity so you can get to the things you actually want to do.  What’s that saying?  You have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyoncé. 🙂

Without further ado, here are 10 ways to be more productive right now!

Write a list

Literally, anybody will tell you this is the first thing you need to do if you want to accomplish more, and that’s because it works!  Humans are very visual creatures, and seeing something in writing makes more of an impression on us.  Not only that, it always feels good to cross something off of your to-do list.

Small Victories

Small victories fuel larger victories.  Whether or not you realize it, little accomplishments boost your moral!  Just take one minute right now to clean up something or throw something out.  Boom.  Victory.  You are that much closer to conquering the day!

Listen to Music

Personally, I can barely breathe unless I’m listening to music.  Not only does music provide motivation and boost productivity, it drowns out distracting noises.  Music can help you focus too.  In fact, the only time I’m not listening to music while working is when I’m proof-reading something; otherwise, I would be bored out of my skull.  Plus, I can have mini dance sessions to break up my study time. 🙂

Find a Sanctuary

If you have some serious work to do, you might want to consider removing yourself from your natural habitat.  It’s likely that your home or usual hangout will have a lot of distractions that are particularly compelling to you.  Also, seeking a new environment to do your work is a specific action dedicated to your productivity: it changes the way you think and makes you more focused.  So try going to a park, library, or coffee shop to really get some work done.

Inspire Yourself

Chances are you are reading this because you needed a little inspiration to get stuff done.  Who doesn’t?  However, you are just as capable of inspiring yourself as anyone else.  You are a powerhouse!  You owe it to yourself to work hard and accomplish your goals, so look at yourself in the mirror, and tell yourself that you’ve got this!

Competition

A little friendly competition never hurt anybody, right?  If you are studying for a class, talk to your classmates about it and encourage them to work hard too.  Being around other people who are focused on the same task can increase your motivation for doing well.  If no one else is sharing your workload, then be competitive with yourself!  See if you can’t be faster, more detailed, more organized, and more productive than you’ve been in the past.

Reward Yourself

I’m not kidding about taking dance breaks.  That’s often my reward for completing another paragraph on whatever essay I’m working on.  Food is always good too, just try to be healthy.  Sometimes I allow myself to go on Pinterest or Facebook for a few minutes, although it is easy to get carried away on social media, so be careful.

Plan Mini-Plans

Usually, I know exactly what order I’m going to get ready in the morning before I even get out of bed.  I also know what to wear based on my schedule, the weather, and any physical activity I have that day.  Being strategic with your schedule can save you loads of time, not to mention reduce stress.  I plan out my routes to class early and I know exactly what I’m going to do during my breaks in order to be more efficient.  Blocking out an hour between classes to accomplish several small tasks can do wonders to increase your productivity.

Eliminate Distractions

When ignoring distractions isn’t enough, get rid of them.  Put your phone on airplane mode if you have to, or turn it off completely.  Put your cat or dog in a different room for a little while if they are really distracting you (#me).  Clear off your desk to hide your distracting do-dads.  This is why finding a sanctuary is effective, it automatically gets you away from those distractions.

Strategic Procrastination

If you absolutely have to procrastinate on something, why not do something productive?  Read up on something educational, clean up your room, stretch or go for a run, answer some emails, or hey, read about ways that you can be more productive!

I hope that these tips were helpful for you and that you will find it easier to get business done now.  The best part of increasing your productivity is all the free time you get at the end of it all!  So, even though not all the work we have to do is very fun, you will hopefully get done faster and feel better about your accomplishments.  How do you stay productive?  Let me know!

Let’s get stuff done!

Can Reading the Bible Help You Become a Better Student?

can reading the bible help you become a better student?

College is of course stressful and time-consuming, it may not always seem convenient to get into the Word, however this might be exactly what you need to make it through the semester.  Let me tell you a little story…

At the beginning of this year, I really started to take reading my Bible seriously.  I’m sure we’re all aware that there is a difference between just reading a passage from the Bible, and actually READING it.  I suddenly found myself getting a lot more out of my daily devotions, and I was searching for more ways to get the most out of reading the Bible.  I had a complete change of heart on this matter, and I found that it began to affect my not only my heart, but my mind too.  As it turns out, a lot of the skills you learn while reading the Bible can help you become a better reader overall!

I first noticed that something had changed when I had to read a segment of The Poetics by Aristotle for a class.  ( I actually didn’t realize that I only had to read a segment and I started reading the whole thing, oops.)  I don’t know if you’ve ever had to read any Aristotle before, but let me tell you, it is boring.  Talk about a long-winded old man!  However, I realized that my mind was alert and I was actually taking in the text I was reading!  This is something I know would have been very difficult for me to read only a couple of months ago, but I was actually have a pretty easy time with it.  Ever since then, I’ve noticed my increased reading skills with other textbooks, articles, and class materials.  I’ve even had more enjoyment my reading personal books and blogs.

So what changed?  I knew that I had been making an effort get more out of reading my Bible, but I had no idea I would be getting more out of everything I read!  This semester I have found that I am an overall better student, and preparing for my classes takes less effort.  This is one advantage to reading the Bible that I never expected, but I guess that just shows how God is looking out for us!

Here are some of the things that really helped me when I decided to study the Bible more in-depth:

1)  Reading a study Bible

The Bible that I read every day has a sample of commentary of nearly every verse, which I almost always read for the assigned text in my daily devotions.  Understanding the meaning behind what the author wrote can be just as important as the actual text.  It gives you further grounding knowledge that helps keep the information in your brain.  The study-commentary also helps you out when you’re really confused by a passage, which happens to everybody now and then!

2)  Take your time

Reading the Bible more about quality that quantity, meaning, your goal shouldn’t be to read as many verses as you can.  It’s certainly not a race either.  When you find something you don’t understand (and you absolutely will) slow down and really make an effort to connect with the passage before you move on.  Try to find a way that this passage connects with your life- there is always something to learn from the Bible!

3)  Pray before you begin reading

Actually, this one should be the first one you do.  If reading the Bible is something you’re doing to get closer to God, it’s important to invite him into your personal study time.  Ask that your heart would be opened to His Word, and that your mind would be cleared of all the days worries.  This is especially important to maintaining concentration while you are reading.

I hope that this was helpful to you, and that you will share the same benefits that I am experiencing, and much more!  I’d also love to hear about any other tips you have for reading the Bible.  Remember, even though you will graduate from college, as Christians we will always be students. 🙂