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!

Adventure in New York City: Spring Break Trip!

adventure in new york city: spring break trip!

It seems like nearly everyone I know went somewhere incredible for spring break this year, so why should my trip to New York City stick out amongst the other amazing travels that you and I are hearing about?  Because this trip was truly more than the sum of its parts.  This trip changed me, and I totally wasn’t expecting it.  I really got to know the city for the short time I was there, and I know I will be returning as soon as I can!  The culture, the food, the people, and the theatres made my trip so special.  I’m not saying everything was perfect, in fact I hated some of it, but it felt like I was meeting an old friend again.  Does that make any sense?

Oh where to begin?  This was a trip that I took with the Theatre Department here at MSU Mankato, so most of my closest friends from school were with me.  We had been looking forward to this trip for months.  When I was first dropped off in the city, me and my classmates just wandered around like lost puppies for a while, looking for cheap food.  I was kind of overwhelmed.  I had been to New York before in high school, but never let off the leash to explore on my own.  It was kind of a deer-in-the-headlights feeling for the first couple of hours.

Throughout the next several days I got to experience this amazing city.  Some of the most memorable locations I went to were Central Park, The Met, Little Italy, Chinatown, and Coney Island (even though the park was closed, the beach was wonderful!) and many other places.

adventure in new york city: spring break trip! central park

Did you know there is a castle in the middle of Central Park? And what an excellent view it has!

adventure in new york city: spring break trip! the met

I played Aphrodite in a show at my school. I couldn’t really see the resemblance in this statue of her at The Met.

adventure in new york city: spring break trip! coney island

Even though the amusement park at Coney Island was closed, the pier provided an excellent view!

Well, obviously this is all great, but the real highlight for any Theatre Major going to New York City are the shows!  I saw four Broadway shows while I was in the city, and each of them were phenomenal.  Not to mention, they all taught me something about myself, or about theatre, or about life in general.

Show #1: Chicago

The Ambassador theatre was actually a lot smaller than I thought a typical “Broadway” theatre would be.  The whole atmosphere of the show was pretty intimate, mostly because of the interpretive nature of the show.  Not only was the orchestra on stage, the orchestra was the scenery!  I had never seen any version of Chicago before and I loved it!

Show #2: Something Rotten!

You guys, this is a show that everybody should see!  I’m not kidding.  In the middle of watching this show I was wishing that my family was able to see it, and there is something to be said for wanting to experience something amazing with those you love.  Something Rotten! incorporates everything that is significant about musicals, and by that I mean that there is a lot of tap dancing!  The energy that goes into these big dance numbers is unreal, not to mention, it’s a hilarious show!

adventure in new york city: spring break trip! something rotten

(A Brief Intermission from the Awesomeness of Broadway)

I was feeling really down the day I went to Something Rotten!  That was the day I was supposed to see Hamilton the musical, which I believe everybody’s heard about.  I am a HUGE fan of Hamilton, and I had been telling people for months that I was going to see it on Broadway.  However, just a couple of hours before the performance, I realized that the ticket I bought in November was for the wrong day.  Heart.  Broken.  To be specific, it was for the previous weeks’ performance, so I couldn’t even get a refund.  It was awful.  Not only did I miss out on the most revolutionary show Broadway has ever seen, I had lost all the money I spent on the ticket.  So yeah, it was a pretty bad day.

After the amazing performance of Something Rotten! a group of us decided to wait at the stage door to meet the actors.  I thought I would hate doing this, I guess that’s just my personality, but I loved it!  But the most exciting moment at the stage door was the interaction me and my classmates had with André Ward; an ensemble member with quite the impressive Broadway resume.  He took one look at the group of us and said “You guys are actors, aren’t you?”  We were all shocked!  “Oh I can tell an actor from a mile away!” he said.  I was completely dumbfounded that this seasoned Broadway actor was able to pick out the collegiate actors from the rest of the crowd.  This was an especially encouraging moment for me, and I began to have a better understanding of how special the theatre community was.  I also felt like this was Mr. Ward’s way of accepting us as fellow artists.

Show #3: The Phantom of the Opera

The day I went to see Phantom I woke up with the excitement consuming my brain!  If you know anything about me, you know that this is my favorite musical of all time, and I was about to see it live for the first time!  The anticipation consumed my thoughts throughout the entire day, and I’m pretty sure my friends were both amused and annoyed.

adventure in new york city: spring break trip! the phantom of the opera

Omigosh, I fangirled so hard.

However this was the only show I saw that I didn’t have really good seats for.  Actually, I kind of hated my seat.  I was in the way back of the orchestra.  It’s not that I was too far back, it was that the balcony was blocking my view of the top half of the proscenium, and I would have loved to have a full view of the majestic scenery, including the chandelier.  Bummer.  Not to mention, the people around me were talking during the performance!  Not only did I witness this myself, but my friends who were dispersed throughout the theatre all had to suffer through audience members talking during the show.  Please, please be respectful to the actors and other audience members whenever you go see a show!

Despite the sub-par experience at the theatre, the show itself was beautiful!  The Phantom, Christine, and especially Raoul (the Phantom Trinity) were unbelievable.  And I made a vow to myself that I will someday play Christine on that stage.  I promise that to you too!  You heard it here first folks!

Show #4: School of Rock

After my Hamilton tragedy, I felt the need to make it up to myself.  Luckily, one of my favorite actresses -Sierra Boggess- was performing in a show right down the street from our hotel!  Sierra Boggess has been a huge influence on my technique as a performer, but mostly she has been influential in shaping my character.  If you don’t know who she is, go check her out!  Her commitment to honesty and positivity is just as impressive as her theatrical successes.  So I decided to see the show she was in.

But School of Rock though!!!  This show blew my mind!  I have never been more pumped up during a show before, and it was so touching too!  I would recommend this show to anyone, and I daresay it was the highlight of my trip.  I also had a fantastic seat.  When Sierra came out for her first scene, I was about 20 feet away from her.  It was such a thrill!  But really though, all the actors were incredible, right down to the kids jamming out on their instruments.  Holy cow!

adventure in new york city: spring break trip! school of rock

My classmates and I were all touched by this show.  The message is incredible, and the theatrics are breathtaking!  Like I said, I highly recommend this show!

Oh yeah, I met Sierra Boggess.  I didn’t get to give her my 20 minute I-appreciate-you-and-you’re-amazing-and-can-we-be-best-friends speech, but hey, I guess that’s how it goes!

adventure in new york city: spring break trip! sierra boggess

QUEEN

This trip just affirmed what I am working towards while I am here at college.  Don’t get me wrong, I am very proud to be pursuing a degree for now, but I am sure I am moving to this city after I graduate!  I felt so welcomed by the very atmosphere of the city, and I must say it has been an adjustment coming back to school.  However, I now feel more refreshed, encouraged, and confident about myself because of this trip!  Farewell until next time NYC!

The Ultimate Guide to Fighting Sickness

 

the ultimate guide to fighting sickness

Fighting sickness is actually one of my unexpected talents.  I feel very deeply for people who are getting sick throughout the semester, because that’s no fun!  But I feel even worse for people who make the same mistakes over and over again so they stay sick.  Yuck!  At this point in my life I am practically a pro at fighting sickness.  When you’re a theatre major, being sick can really affect your performance, but no matter what your major is, staying healthy is essential to doing your best in school.  Nearly everyone gets sick at some point in the semester, so let’s get educated on fighting sickness off fast.

My friends, this is something I take very, very seriously, and all these methods are tested and approved by yours truly.  Hopefully this guide will save you a lot of pain and suffering in the future.  Let’s get into it!

Bundle Up!

Being cold makes you more susceptible to illness, so pack on the layers!  Bundle up if you are going outside, but make sure you are plenty warm when you are just hanging around at home too.  Don’t forget to have plenty of blankets when you go to sleep.  You certainly don’t want to catch a cold while you’re sleeping.

Drink Water

This isn’t even funny.  You should be drinking plenty of water all the time, but especially when you’re sick.  Not soda, not milk, water.  Staying hydrated helps you be more alert when you have to get stuff done with an illness, and it flushes out toxins that are lingering in your body.  Please, please, please always drink enough water.  You’re body will thank you for it!

Drink Tea

Not only does hot tea feel good on a sore throat and help clear out your sinuses, but it helps you get better!  Tea is another great way to flush toxins out of your body, just be careful to not get dehydrated.  Caffeinated tea is especially guilty for making you dehydrated, so avoid caffeine.  My favorite teas to drink when I’m sick are lemon, ginger, detox, bedtime, and throat coat teas.  When I’m really sick, I will have as many as 6 cups of tea a day, so love that tea!

Avoid Sugar and Carbs

I know we all seem to crave comfort food when we’re not feeling our best, but don’t give into your sickness!  Carbs and sugar will only fuel your illness and make you sick longer.  Essentially, if you eat really boring (but healthy) foods you will be giving your illness as little fuel as possible.  So no Doritos, Pop-tarts, brownies, or SODA!  Wait to eat that stuff until your body is strong enough to handle it.

Sleep Even More

Speaking of strength, your body uses a lot of energy fighting off an illness, so get more sleep.  I mean, actually go to bed an hour before you usually do to get more zzzzz.  Take naps too.  Getting all the rest you can get will help you fight off your sickness faster and more effectively.

Stay Home

While going out with your friends might be tempting, staying home is in your best interest.  Staying home will allow you to stay out of the cold, get some rest, bundle up, and just relax in general.  Plus, your friends will not thank you for getting them sick, so don’t expose them to whatever you have.

Don’t Share… Anything

Like I said, show some love to your friends and don’t get them sick!  Don’t share water bottles, chapstick, makeup, or even food.  You don’t want to spread your illness and you certainly don’t want to get any sickness that they might have.

Take it Seriously

I can usually fight off any illness within a week, but I often see people have the same cold for over a month.  How awful!  People might not realize how easy it really is to fight off an illness if you really commit to making yourself well again.  All it takes is a little willpower and concentration.  As soon as you feel yourself getting sick, completely change your whole routine.  You owe it to yourself to perform your best in everything, so take getting well seriously.

*Bonus: Your Voice

If you are singer like me, then getting sick is probably the most terrifying thing to happen to you.  However, singing with sickness is a lot more possible than you might think.  Along with following all the tips above, eat some honey to sooth your throat.  Cough drops can actually inhibit your voice, so try to avoid them.  Don’t try to force a sound from your voice, and make sure you warm up your voice gently.  The most important thing to believe is that you can still sing when you’re sick.  Try not to freak out about not being able to sing, and just go easy on yourself.

Get well soon!

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!