Living, Learning, Dreaming

Did You Remember this Back to School Essential?

By September 8, 2017 Dreaming, Learning

It’s that time of year again! Back to school and back to college. I’m guessing the vast majority of you have started by now. You’ve probably sat through classes and unpacked your dorms and realized you forgot a few things. Maybe you forgot a trashcan for your dorm or a hand held pencil sharpener for exams? I hope none of you forgot a charger! (Bonus tip: Have a laptop and cell phone charger at home always and at college always. You do not want to be in a situation where you forget your charger and can’t find someone with the same laptop as you!!) But, did you remember the essential you need to get through this semester? Never fear! If you did forget it, it’s really easy to get!

Are you ready for it? Grab your quietly sharpened pencil and a random piece of paper. The thing you need to have with you at the start of every semester? A goal!! Yep, you read that right! I know it’s not January, but a new semester and especially a new school year is the perfect time to stop and keep some short term and long term goals in mind. In a previous post, I went over the basics of setting a goal. If you need a refresher, you can read that here.

Take an hour and make a goal and a plan for this semester.

This could be the most important hour of your entire semester! Don’t blow this off in 5 minutes and tell yourself a lie about how you will stop procrastinating this year for sure. To get you started, take some time to reflect and answer some these questions:

  1. Why am I studying in the first place? What is motivating me to get this degree?
  2. What was the most stressful part of last semester and what are some things that were in my control that I could have prevented? (Obviously, if something happened and you got a concussion in sports or something serious happened, you can’t plan for that. Don’t beat yourself up if/when that happens.)
  3. What am I really trying to achieve and how far am I willing to go?
  4. What choices do I want to make that I believe will ultimately leave me happy and healthy at the end of this semester?
  5. When Christmas break comes, how will I gauge if this semester has been a success?

Something that really helped me in school was to keep a picture by my bed that reflected where I wanted to be in the long run. Between labs and exams, it’s hard for me to keep the big picture in focus. I’m a visual person, for me seeing a reminder of my goal every day was really helpful. Make your goal something that can be represented in a way that makes you happy to see it. Don’t let yourself feel down if you find yourself half way through the semester and you realize you are off track.

We all go into a new semester and a new school year with somewhat of a goal. Maybe you need x hours of community service and y GPA to get into such and such grad school and you revolve around that. Maybe you are wanting to explore and have adventure and you want to travel to this or that place on break and meet as many new people as you can. There’s nothing wrong with having an idea of what you want to achieve this year. An idea is a start and that’s really more than some people have.

Taking the time to stop and reflect on what you really want out of this year might help you to stop feeling like you are coasting through. When that half way point comes and everything feels like it’s burning down in flames, having a goal to reset and help you catch your breath will definitely be helpful!

So what are your new semesters goals? Let me know in the comments!

 

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The Ugly Side of Depression

By August 19, 2017 Living

While I’m glad to at least see depression posts on social media, some of them are really irritating. Depression isn’t always, “Oh I’m sad. I better go walk in the rain,” or “Boo hoo I better cry until my mascara streams down my face and I can take a dramatic picture.” Don’t get me wrong, that happens sometimes. It’s just that these well meaning posts tend to make it look like depression is this glamorous thing and it’s not. I wouldn’t wish mental illness on anyone, not even my worst enemy. I actually love going through walks in the rain. I love a good thunderstorm. I’m always terrified of getting struck by lightning and it’s such an amazing feeling! That terror comes from that little part of me that is trying to keep me alive. When you spend most of your day haunted by little thoughts that taunt you and make you wonder if your life has meaning, it’s nice to know there’s a little bit of self preservation left in you!

For me, depression is having no energy for anything ever. It’s having a coffee and having motivation for maybe an hour or two, starting a project, and then becoming completely overwhelmed by it and stopping. It’s no longer being able to do the crafts I desperately miss because I think they will never be good enough. It’s working up the courage to start them only to end up needing a nap half way through and never finishing. The lack of energy is so discouraging. The moments where I can do things are always over shadowed by the realization that I don’t do them the way I used to. It makes me realize that there is still some passion left in me, but it’s being swallowed up by my darkness.

Depression is starting a million books or t.v. shows and crying so hard over them you can’t continue. If I cry over my life, it maybe lasts three minutes before I get angry at myself and stop or become so numb I couldn’t cry again if I wanted to. Having something, however little, that makes me cry is so scary. I don’t know if I will be able to stop. Chances are, I haven’t felt something in days and now it’s like I’m feeling all of those emotions I missed in a matter of minutes. I started crying over an episode of Sophia the First because of the beautiful display of sisterhood and I got upset my relationship with my sister isn’t that strong. For those of you who haven’t heard of that show, it’s target audience is like 3-5 year olds. That’s right, seeing something remotely positive made me cry harder than the target audience at nap time.

One of the worst parts of depression for me is feeling so completely alone. It’s like every other disease or disorder in the world can be talked about and well received except some form of mental illness. The people that tell me to just get over it and stop being so full of self-pity make me so upset. You wouldn’t tell an asthmatic to just breathe or a deaf person to just listen better, but somehow it’s okay to tell me, “Well, you should get over yourself,” because I have depression. I would like to just yell at people and tell them it’s a lack of serotonin, not a lack of character. Of course, I have the self-confidence of a skittish squirrel so, that will never happen. Every now and then, I meet a rare gem of a person who sees that I’m a hot mess and actually cares. When I was at college, I had a professor who would make a point to say good morning to me even if I was in the side room studying on a Saturday. Stuff like that always made me cry because someone in the world actually cared.

That lack of energy and the loneliness are the worst parts for me. They seem to really feed into each other. Right now, my apartment is beyond a mess. It’s a border line hoarding situation at this point. I have a chair that I sit in and then piles of stuff around me. Some of it is garbage that I’m too overwhelmed to go take outside because somebody might see me. Some of it is clothes that are dirty but can’t be taken care of because my clean clothes are still in the hamper waiting to be folded. The mess is embarrassing. I don’t have bugs or anything terrible, but I also don’t have anywhere for anyone to sit down (or stand really). The rest of the stuff on the floor and shoved on shelves are things that started with good intentions and I ran out of steam for. I have half done crafts and barely read books that I can’t stand to part with because throwing them out is throwing away the part of me I miss. Candles that I’m afraid to light. Dirty dishes because my sink is also full. The worst for me is when I go to the store and tell myself, “This is the month I will eat healthy and cook for myself!” I proceed to spend money I don’t have on produce that I will barely eat. Chopping up veggies or baking chicken feels terrible once I get home. There’s a part of me that is too depressed to even want to eat because I feel like I don’t deserve food. The rest of me is too tired to cook and too tired to throw away the expired food right away.

Depression really is a battle. It’s not taking a bath because it reminds you that you want to drown. It’s trying to reclaim parts of yourself only to leave tasks incomplete. It’s being surrounded by good intentions and having no energy to follow through even though your quality of life would greatly improve. Depression is ugly, but it shouldn’t be shameful. We need to talk about the ugly side of depression and stop misusing the term or accusing people of just being too stubborn to change. I don’t know anyone who would choose this life for themselves. I certainly wouldn’t. We need to stop glamorizing depression on social media. Depression sucks. It’s ugly. It’s messy. But you know what? It’s not something that makes you a bad person or a dramatic person. I hope reading this inspires you to share your struggles with mental illness!

What are some ugly things about your depression? Please leave some thoughts in the comments. It may feel like it, but we aren’t alone.

 

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Your Health is More Important Than Your Grades

By August 9, 2017 Learning, Living

I know what you are thinking. “Well that may work for some majors, but not mine. Do you know how hard it is to get into ___ school?”

I was a pre med student at a college that basically sets you up to fail. I know the game. We don’t sleep for weeks and run off of anything with caffeine in pursuit of the ever elusive 4.0 that may or may not be enough to get us to our dream graduate program.  5 hours in lab after a morning in classes, then study groups to salvage what’s left of that assignment. Another group to finish the lab write up. Lord have mercy on your soul if you are trying to get through a group project. You don’t have enough time in your schedule and somehow you are supposed to coordinate 3 schedules. Oh and that was just for Tuesday. Every day of the week is like that. When you finally get on break you have a pile of back work to do and can’t do any of it because you spend break sleeping and relaxing because you are so worn out from classes.

What if I told you the habits you make now will follow you for the rest of your life?

Now that’s a scary thought! Is this cycle of exhaustion, procrastination, and panic over deadlines really how you want to spend the rest of your life? It’s not how I want to spend mine.

What if I told you it didn’t have to be like that?

I made the very scary decision this year to take time off of college to focus on my health. In the process, I even found out I had underlying medical conditions that were making it more difficult to learn! Even without those conditions, I wasn’t healthy. I was easily drinking 12 cups of coffee a day in a desperate attempt to stay awake. The most sleep I got was when I contracted a terrible stomach bug and slept for 3 days. The terrible part of all of this, is that so many people brushed it off as normal. “Oh, college kids usually don’t get enough sleep.” That may be a sad truth, but it is not something we should be complacent about!! A culture of sick and stressed students should not be acceptable. Take some deep breaths and start making changes in the right direction. You can have the best grades in the world, but if you are too sick to have a job, your degree will be worthless. Don’t be like me and wait until you collapse to get help.

What are some easy steps I can take?

  • GET ACCOUNTABLE

Changes are hard to make. Changes that go against the norm are even harder. Find an accountability buddy or a mentor. You need someone older and wiser to challenge you to get out of that pattern. Sure, your roommate can help, but when you both have weak moments, an all-nighter and a pot of coffee per person is going to be much easier to give into. Establish a routine to check in with that person (daily or weekly) to celebrate wins and recover from losses.

  • SET REASONABLE GOALS

Don’t try to do everything new at once. Do you drink a crazy number of caffeinated beverages? Cut back slowly. Change out water where you used to have your third glass of tea in the morning. Do you sleep less than 8 hours? Try slowly adding a half hour extra to sleep each week. Get a real alarm clock and turn off your phone after 10. Write down every goal you make and post it where you can see it. Ever hear of out of sight, out of mind? You don’t want that happening with your goals. Whatever you decide,  have patience with yourself.

  • SEEK OUTSIDE HELP

There’s no shame in seeking a little help. A lot of college campuses have access to counselors that are very familiar with the challenges we face as young 20 somethings. If you are out in the work force and finding your college habits are creeping up and dragging you down, there are always free chat sites to help you vent. It is also a good idea to contact your insurance company and see which counselors in your area are covered. (If you are like me and will be in counseling for a decade, it’s helpful to find someone who is affordable!)

 

Deciding to put your health first takes a lot of courage in a culture that does everything it can to tear you down. Don’t be discouraged if your plans don’t come perfectly true. You will probably still have times where you struggle and that’s okay. Don’t stop trying! You are more important than a GPA! You are more important than some arbitrary time line that says you need to have y degree in z years in order to have a job/home/marriage/kids by the time you are x years old. People live to be crazy old now! You have plenty of time to change your major or change your career. Be brave and put your health first!

 

What are some struggles you have putting your health first? Let me know in the comments! I would love to hear from you!

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Let’s Talk about Suicide

By January 2, 2017 Learning, Living

Hi everyone,

Thanks for taking a moment to read through this rather somber post. A lot of people are impacted by suicide. Many of us know people who have either attempted or completed suicide. If you are like me, you are one of those people. A lot of the problem we face in this world is that people have a hard time recognizing mental illness. They don’t know the signs that someone is hurting or maybe even feel helpless and don’t know what to do if they suspect someone is suicidal.

Unfortunately, ignoring any potential problems is the worst thing a person could do. Many people brush off signs and rationalize away any problems they see because they don’t want to offend the at risk person. Sometimes people fear that talking about it will put the idea in a person’s head. This is beyond WRONG! If you think someone is at risk, TALK TO THEM. You are not putting ideas in their head. Chances are, they’ve been there for quite some time.

 

So, what do I need to know?

It all starts with thoughts. Every now and again a person may begin to think that the world would be better off without them. When those thoughts start to pile on, a person who is suffering may begin to think this most of the days of the week. During this time, thoughts can change from a general idea to more specific ideas. A person may begin to think of all the reasons why they think the world would be better off or how their pain is becoming unbearable. At some point the thoughts turn not only into a need to escape the pain, but a means to escape it. When the thoughts turn into a plan, things are pretty serious. This is the point where people could be hospitalized to prevent them from harming themselves. Once a person gets a plan, they begin to find a means to go through with the plan. Once they have the means, there is little to prevent them from completing suicide unless someone steps in and helps them. This is why it is so important to talk to people about it. The vast majority of the time, people who are hurting want help. They want a way out that doesn’t include dying, but have a hard time seeing how things could get better.

If you fear someone is in immediate danger of harming themselves, please DO NOT LEAVE THEM ALONE! Be sure to call emergency responders if a person is about to harm herself/himself or someone else. You may not be able to get the person to the hospital on your own, they are trained for these situations. While you are staying with the person, please for the love of all that is holy LISTEN TO THEM! As they saying goes, you have two ears and one mouth, that should tell you something. You can still talk to them, but active listening is so crucial. I can’t speak for others, but for me, after feeling like I was alone in my pain, it meant the world to me that someone was willing to listen to my struggles. Focusing on listening will also help you avoid saying anything that might make you worthy of being slapped. You know these phrases: you just have to get over it, just push through, I know exactly how you are feeling because my balloon floated away once and I was so depressed, it’s not a big deal because everyone goes through tough times, God never gives you more than you can handle… I could write an entire post just focused on well meaning, but poorly delivered advice. Overall, if you are talking with someone who is hurting, it’s okay to share a hurt you have that may help the person relate to you better, but remember that it is not a contest. You are not trying to one up your friend, especially if that friend is or even could be suicidal! Ask yourself, would this make it seem like I am writing off my friend’s life story? Obviously, if the answer is yes, do NOT say that thing. It’s really not as hard as it sounds. It also helps to be prepared for silences. They are okay. I’m not sure if you have ever been ignored your whole life and suddenly had someone interested in the most raw and vulnerable parts of your heart, but if so, you know that talking is difficult and words come out in drops, not a rushing stream. Long silences and a sobbing are a real possibility. So is the possibility that the person may just shut down. Be selfless and follow the golden rule. Always show compassion. This isn’t a 90s sitcom, you won’t solve someone’s problems in a half hour, however, you may find yourself in a critical position to steer someone toward needed help. Don’t miss it.

Mental illness is difficult to deal with and with so many people making a joke out of it and even using words like depressed and OCD out of context, we don’t have tough conversations about these things until tragedy happens. If someone you know is starting to show signs that they are hurting, if you see someone withdrawing from friends or A students suddenly barely making Cs, if you even suspect someone may be considering suicide, please reach out to them. It’s much better to have an awkward conversation that could reveal nothing serious was wrong, than to wake up one day and realize someone you know has hurt so badly that they believed death was the only thing that could help them. One person isn’t enough to make someone take their life, but it could be enough to save one. The hard truth is, saying something may not be enough to stop the attempt, but it is enough for someone to know they aren’t completely alone. A friendly smile or a well meaning greeting can make world of difference, so can asking a friend if they are suicidal. It won’t be an easy conversation, but it’s an important one, so let’s talk about suicide.

 

Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Or if you are like me and don’t have the privacy to talk on the phone without worrying about being overheard:

http://chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx

https://www.7cups.com/

 

 

*Disclaimer: I’m not a licensed therapist or any kind of doctor. I don’t even play one one t.v.. I’m just sharing what I have learned from my suicide attempt, the events leading up to it, and the results that came after.

 

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Making Time for God in College

By September 12, 2016 Living

College feels like it never stops. There is never really much downtime during the week. You are running between classes, studying, writing papers, and doing crazy things with your friends. Oh, and somewhere in that time you are supposed to get 8 hours of sleep! Finding a spare 20 minutes, or even a spare 10 can seem like an overwhelming task at times. We all know we should pray and read our Bibles daily but, when the alarm goes off it’s very easy to sleep through those few minutes. Making time to get to know God is completely worth it but, it will take a bit of effort.

Here are some tips to help you start this habit:

1. Plan time into your schedule

Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to get up with the sun to read your bible every morning. In fact, if you are not a morning person, this is the last thing you should do. Pick a time that works for you and plan it into your schedule like you would a class. You know when you learn best. If you are a morning person, great! I’m right there with you. I love getting up in the quiet of the morning and praying. If you are a night owl, mornings are probably the worst time for you! (I wish my brain functioned past 10 pm too!) Take some time at night instead. After dinner, after a work out (or even while you work out!), or right before bed are all great times. Just be careful to not wait until the last minute. You don’t want to fall asleep reading! 🙂

2. Join a prayer group/ Bible study

While time on you own is very important, so is community. Take time to meet with a group. You can get together to pray, read through a study book and discuss it, or read through a book of the Bible. Groups with people from different backgrounds are a great way to hear other perspectives and may even gain you some new friends. Carving out this time in your schedule will be difficult so, try bringing along one of you usually study buddies. There’s no need to feel guilty about missing homework if it’s only an hour a week. Once you start, you’d be surprised how easy it is to go and still get work done.

3. Start a reading plan 

One of the greatest things about technology is the limitless access to information. You can buy a book/ ebook to focus on or even find free reading plans online. A good starting point would be the Bible app which has tons of reading plans and will even remind you each day to read.

4. Ask a friend for help

Give a friend permission to ask you how your reading is really going. Text them every few days to check in and tell them what you’ve read. This forces you to remember a few days worth of information. On occasions where you’ve struggled to keep up, your friend will encourage you to keep going and stop what you are doing to read.  I would highly suggest that you make a point to talk to this person in depth at least once a week. Let them know where you are struggling and what distractions you are facing. My friends and I call each other to pray while we are at different colleges so, don’t be discouraged if your best friend isn’t someone you see everyday.

 

Any time spent in the Word is better than no time. Take ten minutes each day to implement these suggestions! You won’t regret it! If it is hard at first, try changing up when/where you have your prayer/reading time.

Click here to see the one year Bible I love for my daily devotions. It breaks reading down into easy to read segments from the Old and New Testaments as well as readings from Proverbs and Psalms.

 

Disclaimer:

Living, Learning, Dreaming is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

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Depression and College

By September 8, 2016 Living

College is going to be a huge challenge. It doesn’t matter if you are full time or part time, a traditional resident, or online learner. If you expected college to be a fun time where you meet new people and do crazy things all while maintaining a 4.0, I’m sorry, but the movies have lied to you. The truth is, college is hard. You are encountering new ideas and heavy course loads all while trying to stay healthy and go on adventures with new friends. One of the oldest jokes about college outlines one of the greatest problems with college. You have the options of sleep, a social life, and good grades. Now choose the two you want because there is no time for the third. Sound familiar?

The challenges of college are heightened by depression. Depression can often leave you feeling drained. It can cause problems with sleep (either you need to much or get too little), cause irritability, isolate you, take away joy from normal activities, and overall just make it difficult to achieve any of the three options — let alone all of them! This is not an all inclusive list of symptoms and I am by no means a professional, but if you are experiencing these or other symptoms of depression, please reach out to a counselor. Unfortunately, depression is often linked to a problem with chemicals in your body, and while living a healthy lifestyle that involves getting enough sleep and exercise can help, it is not always enough.

Taking the time to put yourself first and seek out help is one of the biggest challenges. I’ve gone to great lengths to hide from my friends that I was seeing a counselor while in college. I’ve left to go study at random places and times so when I did need to run off to an appointment it wouldn’t seem so odd for me to leave. I’ve even skyped counselors to avoid the stigma of people seeing me go. One of the problems with mental illness is that people tend to see it as a character flaw and that has to stop. Another problem with depression is that a lot of the symptoms initially look like you are just a hard working student. People who skip out on fun things to do work and lose sleep to study are often glamorized as being the best students. This unhealthy lifestyle could be an indicator of depression without you even realizing you have it!

If you are a student struggling with depression, here are some things you can do to alleviate some of the problems:

  • Consider reducing your schedule – Many schools offer the opportunity to do a reduced course load while you are struggling with mental illness. There is also the option to go part time, but be aware that this will effect federal aid.
  • Switch to online classes- many schools now offer online degree programs. This is my first semester with online courses and I love it! I have the option of going one or two classes at a time and the schedule is more flexible. There are still deadlines, but they are much more manageable and when I am having bad days because of depression, it rarely effects my coursework because I don’t have to be in class at a specific time. It also helps that if I have days where I need to rest and it is difficult to get dressed, I can work on easier assignments in my pajamas.
  • Take time off- this is a scary option for many. There is often the fear that if you stop, you won’t go back. If you are actively seeking help from mental health professionals, the odds of you never finishing your degree are slim.
  • Work ahead- This option is a lot more difficult, but if you are planning on sticking to a full course load, it will be beneficial. Work to get as much done as you can on good days. Take advantage of those moments of high energy and channel it into getting coursework and chores done. Plan ahead as much as you can so when you are having a bad day, it will be less stressful knowing that it won’t put you behind.

Most importantly: be a friend to yourself. I completely understand that this is easier said than done and I will admit that I still struggle with this. If you mess up, it’s okay. Try not to be too judgmental of yourself. If a friends messed up and couldn’t get homework done or was having a bad day and had to stay in bed, you wouldn’t tell them how lazy and stupid they are. So, don’t do that to yourself! You are valuable, loved, and overall an amazing person with the potential to make a difference in the world. No one can fulfill the role that was meant for you. Please don’t give up. Getting help is a long process and sometimes it seems endless, but it’s worth it.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with mental illness, please seek out help. It takes a strong person to reach out and ask for help. If you made it through this article, you can make it through the phone call to make an appointment!

 

 

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The Importance of Health in College

By May 8, 2016 Living

If you don’t have your health, college quickly becomes a nightmare. That is the experience I’ve had this semester. Although I did not realize it at first, I have been dealing with depression this semester. One of the symptoms of depression is abnormalities with sleeping. This is different for every person. Some people sleep excessively while others barely sleep at all. I am in the latter category. By the time Easter came around, I had gone nearly two months without any restful sleep. College students notoriously do not sleep as long as they need, but this was extreme. I could be taught something on Monday and Wednesday and sincerely believe I had never seen it before when it showed up on Friday’s quiz. At my worst moment, I struggled to even remember how to sign my name. Because the insomnia became so extreme, I had to take the rest of the semester off.

Leaving college while all of my friends are still there was incredibly difficult. I was constantly left out of the loop as my texts and emails often remained unanswered. This has given me a lot of alone time. It is incredibly lonely sitting at home all day with my dog. Sure, dogs are great company, but they don’t talk back. After a few weeks, I’m starting to learn that this is a time of growth that everyone goes through during college. As I go through my journey to recover my health, I have the opportunity to explore more of my interests.

One of the problems college students run into is that health is often ignored. My friends had no idea that I was dealing with anxiety and depression because no one knew the signs. Over the next few posts I will be sharing some common problems students deal with in college in an effort to help students be more aware of what others go through and maybe even what they are going through. It wasn’t until someone described depression to me that I realized that I was dealing with it. I hope that my sharing this information it will encourage those who need it to seek help and will help everyone to be more better prepared to support friends who may be in need of a little extra help themselves.

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Meditation: Does it Live Up to the Hype?

By January 13, 2016 Living

As you go from campus to campus, you will quickly find that there are a lot of people with opinions on meditation. Some people are up early in the morning chanting away for a half hour while others write it off as a ritual belonging to another religion or something only hippies do. Most people, however, are unaware of middle of these extremes and the possible benefits associated with it.

Meditation is more than sitting on the floor with your legs crossed chanting om for a certain amount of time. It is a pursuit of mindfulness. What is mindfulness you ask? According to the founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, it is “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment. ”

By practicing mindfulness everyday, you will begin to experience a variety of benefits. According to Headspace, mindfulness meditation helps reduce stress and anxiety and helps to increase creativity and focus. It can even help you improve your relationships. Another group found that meditation may have positive affects on the brain and immune function (1).

In life, there will always be stressful situations. Whether it’s exams, jobs, medical bills, or car troubles, things will go wrong. Sometimes they will all go wrong at once. In these situations, it is important to do everything in your power to stay healthy. Health has such a big impact on how you react to these situations. It is really easy to get caught up in problems and forget to work on your emotional health. Meditation is an easy way to help you deal with stress.

Personally, I have a crazy schedule. Taking 3 lab sciences this semester basically means any time not spent in the lab is spent studying for that class or preparing for the next lab. Some days I have two 75 minutes lectures followed by a 4 hour lab and a night class. Taking 10 minutes every day to practice mindfulness has been a huge help with stress relief and I would highly recommend it! 🙂

Still not convinced? Try it free for yourself!

https://www.headspace.com/

Headspace will give you 10 free lessons to teach you the basics of meditation.

Let me know what you think!

 

 

(In case you were wondering, I am not affiliated with Headspace. I just really believe in their approach to mindfulness.)

(1) Davidson, R., Kabat-Zinn, J., Schumacher, J., Rosenkranz, M., Muller, D., Santorelli, S., . . . Sheridan, J. (2003). Alterations in Brain and Immune Function Produced by Mindfulness Meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 564-570.

 

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Surviving Syllabus Week

By January 10, 2016 Learning

It’s that time of year again!! Everybody’s favorite: Syllabus Week! Syllabus week is simultaneously one of the most important and most boring weeks of your semester. How you treat this week can make or break your semester. This is the time to catch up with friends you missed on break and get organized for a long semester. Here are some tips that have helped me make the most out of syllabus week:

Print them out!

Take the time to print out each and every syllabus. This will help you stay organized and prevent you from constantly downloading a new copy of a syllabus. When you need to check a policy (or a grading scale) you will have the copies ready to go in your desk drawer.

Organize your planner

After the day’s classes are over, take the time to write exam dates and finals into your planner. These dates may not be set in stone but, it will help to get a time frame of when to start studying for the big tests. (My classes haven’t started yet and I already know I have a chemistry test in less than a month! Yikes!) In college, your planner is your best friend. If you have struggled to use one in the past, a new semester is the best time to start the habit.

Get a jump start

It’s pretty likely that you won’t have much due this week and anything you do have will be a small assignment. That makes it pretty tempting to watch Netflix/Hulu and blow off the start of classes. Do NOT do this!! Take the time to read and take notes on the beginning of your textbooks. You will thank me for this later. Break is over. It’s time to get back into study mode so, when you have the chance to go out and have fun with friends, you won’t feel guilty.

Flashcards

Flashcards are your best friends come exam time. If you make them three days before the exam, they are of no help to you. Chances are you have at least had some lecture for your classes. Time to start writing down vocab and key points from your notes. Start making flashcards as part of your normal study sessions. The sooner you make them, the better. I hope you have plenty of time to use them!

Make a master time sheet

The most valuable sheet of paper I have any semester is my list of important hours. These include hours of the campus coffee shop, store, and post office as well as any places my roommate visits. Then, we have a list of all of our professors office hours. This is a tremendous help when you need to run to speak with a professor in person or get quick help on a homework problem. (You’d be surprised how often people stop into the room just to look on the sheet.)

 

I hope you have a great week! Good luck with all of your classes! Happy syllabus week and may the curve be ever in your favor! 🙂

 

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Lessons I’ve Learned from my Roommates

By January 7, 2016 Living

One of the trickiest parts of living at college is learning how to share a room. If you’re like me, then you’ve probably had your own room for most of your life and are very used to being able to turn on lights and play music whenever you want. Learning how to accommodate someone else’s schedule has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced. Now that I’m in my second year of college, I’ve had two roommates. The first one was assigned to me and the second one was a friend I chose to room with this year. Living with another girl in a tiny space for an entire year can be extremely challenging and rewarding. Here are some of the things I’ve learned from my roommates.

Boundaries are a MUST

Boundaries are extremely important and they need to be established early on. If you don’t have a boundary conversation within the first two weeks of classes, things will be very awkward when problems arise. Luckily for me, I’ve never had much problems with this, but some of my friends have. You need to learn to say no to people and more importantly, you need to learn that the campus does not revolve around you. Does your roommate leave the light on at night because they go to bed later than you? Get a sleeping mask. Little compromises like that can make or break a good roommate relationship. Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself, but don’t be unwilling to bend either.

Being Spontaneous is Great… Sometimes

There will be many nights when you are tempted to blow off work and do something fun with your roommate. That’s perfectly okay as long as you can go back to work after the break. Take a few minutes to chat and paint your nails when you are stressed. If you both don’t have classes the next day, watch a movie together or bake a cake. (My roommate and I could write an entire book on all the ways to make a terrible cake in the dorm.) Ten minutes until the store closes? Better make an Oreo run! (Yes, we did this too and yes, we literally ran.) However, if you have a test the next day, hanging out and going shopping together is not the best use of time. Be willing to say yes to crazy ideas as long as they are not dangerous or keeping you from doing work all day.

Study Sessions

Having a roommate who is in most of your classes is always great when it gets to be exam time. You can encourage each other to study and quiz each other on material. Chances are, you will be able to fill in the gaps for each other.

 

Don’t worry if you are not best friends with your roommate. A lot of people come to college expecting to be BFFs with their new roommate and are shocked to find that this is not the case.

Sharing a living space with a stranger will be challenging at first. Be sure to communicate with your roommate and the two of you will be on your way to making great memories!!

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