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Writing is Coming.

30 Apr

So, I was casually scrolling though Facebook, as one does, and I came across a blog that was written by a girl I went to high school with.

Now I knew just looking at the title that it was going to be some absurd journaling experience about fitness or health. So, of course I just had to click on it and see what the hype was all about.

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This girl from high school was always really fit and brought super fantastic lunches to our club meetings, therefore I was sure the blog would not disappoint. And disappoint it did not. She started her introduction about how she was getting more “fit” this year, and I rolled my eyes at the thought that this already VERY fit person was trying to reach yet another goal. But then as I continued through the very short post, she described something that caught my eye: Journaling every single thing you eat, everyday.

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Now at first this sounded pretty outrageous. How could someone possibly write down everything they’ve eaten in a day. A handful of grapes? 27 chips? I mean how viable would it be to actually calculate all this stuff. But as I looked at her posted picture of her color-coded eating habits, I was enthralled by the organization of it all.

I didn’t immediately decide to start journaling my food at first. That is, until I went to Office Max  weeks before school started and laid my eyes upon the most gorgeous looking notebook in the entire store. I just needed an excuse to have one, and this was the only thing I could think of at the time.

And so it began…

Everyday, since the 9th of January 2017 I have journaled every single thing I have put into my body. And wow. It has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Now I am not one of the people who count every single calorie, or never indulge in sweets and chips, but what I have discovered about my eating habits after journaling everyday has been an eye opener for sure.

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If you start writing things down, you realize a couple of things. 1. That there are generally patterns in what you eat and when. 2. You may or may not snack insistently like myself. 3. You are skipping really important meals due to time. 4. You have wwwaayyy too many sweets for one day.

Since journaling, my eating habits have improved exponentially. I am more mindful about the wholesome foods I am putting into my body and I am more mindful when I deserve a good treat.

I highly recommend journaling to anyone that is considering changing their eating habits or who are trying to reach a goal.

Plus putting in my entries every meal is like a really fun puzzle everyday! I can’t even imagine my life without my notebook!

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Here are some pics of how things have progressed in my little book so far!

~ Mandi

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#FearlessFebruary: Battling Bugs and Technology

27 Feb

This February, I took on a challenge that I never thought that I would ever have to do: Battle DISGUSTING cockroaches! Along with this, I also decided that I wanted to cut back on using technology because I use it way too often. Of courgiphy-1.gifse, it happened to be the same day that I promised myself that I would not use my phone nor computer that I was outside for 5 hours, bombing the house for cockroaches. Don’t get me wrong, I am not nomophobic or nervous when I do not have technology around me. I just like to use them for music and online shopping, which I do all of the time.

They day before my boyfriend and I were going to raid the house, we had to prep! I went on my computer (don’t worry I did not cheat, it was starting the next day) and because I am always nervous about using harsh giphy-3.gifchemicals around our cats and little turtle, I had to make sure we did everything to prevent them from being harmed. I went on the Raid website and it had a little quiz that found out what kind of bugs you wanted to get rid of, where they were located, how many you have seen and then showed a system that would get rid of the gross bugs. We made a trip to the store and bought what we needed and the nextgiphy-6.gif day, was the day: no phone/computer and bug killing. We were determined to get rid of the cockroaches that took over our kitchen!

The day of was a little difficult I must say. The moment I woke up, I wanted to reach over to my phone to make sure that no one texted/called me. I had to remind myself that I promised to stop checking my phone as often as I do. I decided the best thing to do was make Casey, my boyfriend, hold onto my phone the whole day so I would not be tempted to use it. Also, just in case my father called he could talk to my dad for me. We prepped the house and the giphy-5.gifanimals to be outside for the majority of the day by getting some blankets and putting them out in the backyard along with their food dishes and essentials. For our amusement, I brought out some playing cards and some toys that the cats could play with.

Casey went inside the house to set off the foggers and then ran out to the backyard, holding his breath. We set off 4 and then started to relax for the long haul. I kid you not, after 5 minutes, the cats wanted to go back inside! We started laughing and told the cats that if they are wanting to go in now, they have a long time ahead of them! They were very antsy, and then they started to get the hint that we were going to be outside for a long time, and started to settle in. Mr. Turtle, on the other hand, was in paradise! He was climbing on rocks, wedging his way through plants, and exploring boxes and tarps. He loves every time he is outside and he gets the biggest smile on his face! giphy-4.gif

At about the halfway point, we realized that we did not bring any snacks or any food outside. You would think that we would have thought about that before we set off the foggers but no, we were too busy taking care of the cats and Mr. Turtle. Casey decided to order pizza to our backyard over the phone and it was delivered super fast! Once the cats smelled our food, they went crazy! They were begging to go inside so I fed them some wet food and they were content for the rest of the time we were out there.

Once all 5 hours passed and we aired out the apartment, we were all, including Mr. Turtle, happy to be inside. We were also glad to see that there were no cockroaches that were hanging around still! I must admit, it was difficult being outside for a long period of time with no technology but we were prepared with playing cards. We actually spent a majority of the time playing war and talking with each other. It made time go by fast and for the rest of the day, I was not tempted to look at my phone or go online. I think that as long as I keep myself busy, it will be easier to limit the time that I spendgiphy-2.gif looking at a screen. You should try it too! You will realize you can accomplish much more and will have more fun if you do not constantly rely on your phone or computer for entertainment!

Best,
Courtney

 

Prepping Makes Perfect

7 Aug

All good things must come to an end, and unfortunately, that includes summer. As this summer ends, why not make sure you are as prepared as you can be for next year? Last summer you were probably freaking out about what you would need for school, but this time you are much more prepared! Here are some helpful ideas on how to prep for your second year!

Figure out where your classes are…before the first day

This one might sound a little odd, but it really does help! The first day is stressful no matter what year you are in. Not only do you have a new Professor with their own teaching style, but you are receiving all your syllabi on the same day! This can be  vastly overwhelming, and any way you can help relieve that stress will be good!

Plan out your meals

This is something I always struggle to stick to. Often after I plan them out, I don’t feel like eating that meal on that day, but after all my classes it is nice to know exactly what I will be making for dinner. Additionally, if you are able, try to invest in a Crock-Pot or another type of slow cooker. This will allow your meals to cook while you are in class so that you can come home to a cooked meal! You can also use the left-overs for lunches for the rest of the week!

Actually use a planner

You will be reminded of this every semester. Planners are a great way for students to plan out their time and feel like they have a little more control. I cannot use a traditional planner because I never remember to check them or write things down, but I do utilize a teacher’s desk calendar. I take all my syllabi at the beginning of the semester, and write down the important dates and assignments. This allows me to see what I need to do for the entire month so I can plan ahead. You don’t have to use the portable planners, but you really should have some method for staying on track.

Have a designated cleaning day

This is super important for all students. There are points in the semester that you will feel like you have no time for anything else but school, but this is an unhealthy way to think. Letting your living space become too dirty will distract you, and cause your work to suffer. Additionally, cleaning is a great way to clear your mind for a little bit, it is very important to maintain balance.

Make sure to have some fun

While we are at college to learn, remember to take some time to have fun. Now I am not saying you should go out partying all the time, but I am saying that you should take some time to treat yourself to dinner, or read a fun book, or just hang out with some friends on the mall! No matter what your fun entails, make sure to have some!

-Chrissy

 

Vacation vs. Staycation

12 May

Every summer I am met with the same struggle, should I spend a ton of money going on a vacation and having fun with my friends, or should I stay at home and work. Let’s be honest, usually I stay home. Not only do I not have the money to go on vacations, but vacations, at least mine, tend to be more trouble than they are worth.

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It doesn’t matter who I go with, whether family or friends, there is always so much drama that I would not have had to deal with if I had stayed home! I don’t know what it is about vacations, but they tend to bring out the worst in people. This year though, I have decided to brave the dreaded vacation, but only for a weekend. I am going to go to California for 3 days with a few friends, and hopefully it won’t be a huge mistake.

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Usually though, I have a staycation. For those of you who do not know, a staycation is a vacation you take without going anywhere. I tend to be a bit more strict with my staycations than most, I don’t allow myself to use social media, I do not watch T.V. shows that are currently on; instead I re-watch classic movies, I get caught up on books, and I sleep and sleep and sleep. Now, my staycation only lasts about a week because I take summer courses and work, but for that one glorious week I have no worries and no one can bother me. I am not trying to say that you have to do your staycation the same way I do, that’s the beauty of the staycation, it differs for every individual!

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The rest of my summer is usually spent working and taking classes which for some is not relaxing, but having the same routine I have during the school year is quite nice for me. I tend to take online classes so I can do my homework by the pool or while watching A League of their Own for the thousandth time, and work tends to be a bit more relaxed in the summer, so in the end I do have a nice relaxing summer.

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Now, whether you choose to vacation with family or stay at home and relax there, just make sure you do relax a little bit this summer. Students really do need the time to reenergize themselves.

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-Christine

New Year, New Me?

21 Feb

Starting Spring semester is always a wake up call for me. I am not sure why, but I am never as motivated in Spring as I am in the Fall. This Spring semester seems to be the worst one of all because I am taking a lot of units and I have my annual laziness epidemic going on. Personally, I think I, and students in general, have a harder time staying focused in Spring because the weather gets better, and everyone wants to be outside. Regardless of the causes, what I need to do this Spring is to get myself organized and set up personal goals.

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The most important aspect of a goal is that it is achievable, so while it is nice to think that I can take 21 units and work 20 hours a week, this is really not possible for me. So, my first goal is to work enough to keep me busy, but not so many as to overwhelm myself. I have actually already achieved this goal, I found that working 13 hours a week is best for my current schedule.

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My next goal for the semester is to study on the weekends. Often, I have the mindset that the weekend is my time to relax from school, and while I might not have to go to school, I can still do school work. Doing work on the weekend will make my daily work less stressful and help me stay more motivated.

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My last goal for the semester is to socialize a bit more. I am not sure how it has happened, but since I have come to college, I have become a recluse. It doesn’t matter if it is just hanging with friends at my apartment, having any kind of social interaction will help me not procrastinate as much.

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Look, I know motivation in the Spring semester is hard to come by, but if you make goals for yourself, we will find a way to get through it together!

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-Chrissy

#JumpStartJanuary: Becoming a Morning Person

30 Jan

This is my 8th semester at the University of Arizona and quite possibly my most difficult. Fortunately academics has nothing to do with it whatsoever. That’s right, it’s not my GPA that will suffer, but rather my sleeping patterns. Which I know doesn’t sound all that detrimental, but when you’re not a morning person, it certainly feels like it is.

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The sleeping patterns I adopted over winter break probably weren’t much help either. My boyfriend and I became way too comfortable staying up until 4 or 5am then sleeping in until 2 in the afternoon. Of course we lied to ourselves when agreeing to go to bed earlier before the spring semester started. It just couldn’t happen even if we wanted it to.

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So long story short, I’m either waking up at 6 or 7am throughout the entire school week and I’m struggling to stay awake while writing this very blog. So seeing that I can’t do anything about my schedule, I’ve decided to focus on my body and what I can do to help it bounce back this January. These are some of the tips I’ve come up with so far:

  1. Spend any extra time you may have while on campus completing coursework. Check out a study room in the Main Library or the Electrical Engineering Library and get as much done as you can so there’s less do to once you get back home.
  2. I know fast food is tempting, being that it’s usually cheaper, requires little preparation and is all over campus. But try to stop by the U-Mart or the Highland Market; fruits, salads, and granola bars are easily accessible in those two locations.
  3. Don’t skip breakfast!!!
  4. Lay off the soda (or any other caffeinated beverages) in the evening. I know it’s tasty, but good luck falling asleep at a decent time.
  5. If you want to avoid visiting the rec, trying walking around campus or your neighborhood park. It’s quick, it’s easy, and usually causes a lot less sweating. Just 20 minutes of exercise a day will make you sleep better at night.
  6. Avoid staring at your phone or a TV screen too long right before you go to bed. I’m not exactly sure why, but my mom drilled this into my head when I was a kid, so it seems like sound advice to me.

I’m sure as the semester continues, I will think of more “groundbreaking ideas” to improve my lifestyle and start this semester on the right foot.

Wish me luck!

#MiddlingMarch: Elena’s Day Off

9 Mar

Let just come out and say it… this semester has been HARD! I know we have all been strugglin’ which is why when I got sick at the beginning of the month, I was NOT happy. I pride myself on not skipping class or work unless something huge happens, and this illness was HUGE.

The first Monday of the month, I found myself struggling to breathe as I lay in bed (I won’t bore you or gross you out with all of my symptoms of that day — but a lot was going on). 

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That day was the closest thing to a “personal day*” I have taken in a LOONNNNGGGG time! *Urban Dictionary defines “personal day” as a phrase used by college students when they decide to skip all their classes for a day.

I wouldn’t say laying in bed all day because you are a ball of virus is all it’s cracked up to be or what someone should do on a day off, but it was wonderful. I took the day to sleep, relax, and try to force myself to feel better. It wasn’t my cure… but it helped. 

Taking those days to relax and recharge are crucial to maintain your health and happiness throughout tough times. Utilize your weekends for this… after all, personal days can be dangerous! 

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–Elena 

Treat Your Body Like A Temple

6 Feb

And I really mean that. Seriously, if my reoccurring medical problems haven’t drilled the title of this post hard enough into my brain already, I don’t know what will! I don’t mind sharing some somewhat personal information about myself for the purpose of this particular blog. In fact, I think the message that I’m trying to instill, demands that I do.

In November of 2010, I was diagnosed with a condition called absence seizures, or if we want to get more cultural, petit mal seizures (which is French for “little illness”). It’s a medical condition that causes me to have random lapses of consciousness, or in other words, space out, in the middle of a sentence or anything that I happen to be doing. I “momentarily check out,” as I like to put it. Although the anti-seizure medication that I take doesn’t necessarily cure the absence seizures, it still controls it. Otherwise, these lapses of consciousnesses can escalate to me convulsing on the floor in a full blown grand mal seizure. Though these can last only 30 seconds, I feel awful afterwards. I’m talking enveloping nausea and a headache so painful it would put a jackhammer hitting concrete to shame. And it lasts from anywhere between 1 to 3 hours, along with pretty much putting you on your butt for the rest of the day.

Though my neurologist and doctors have yet to pinpoint exactly why I’m having these seizures, I have discovered ways for me to decrease the likeliness of having them. Though many of you will find these “tips” a bit of a no-brainer, it’s still important to remind people to maintain a healthy relationship with their body, just like any other relationship with a friend or a partner.

1. SLEEP

YOUR BRAIN NEEDS SLEEP. I can’t tell you how many times my neurologist has lectured me on this. This condition that I have doesn’t allow me to get away with pulling all-nighters or getting less than 5 hours of sleep. Otherwise, my chances of having a seizure at some point throughout the day increase significantly, and I really would rather not have the people in my classes or at my job see me do a bad impression of the Exorcist girl.

2. EAT

Over the past year, I developed a terrible habit of just NOT eating. I started skipping meals because my time management skills were poor and led me to become too engrossed in meeting D2L deadlines, finishing Biology lab reports, and writing discussion posts. In the beginning I didn’t really seem to notice it, but it eventually caught up with me, and I became anemic (not to be confused with bulimic or anorexic) and I lost a lot of weight in a very short period of time. I looked and felt unhealthy and frail.

3. MOVE

Now I’m not really the athletic type (in fact not at all to be honest) but I have discovered physical activities that don’t immediately yank out a labored “ughhhhhhhhhh” from my mouth. It’s physical activities that get me to exercise without even realizing that I’m exercising. Hiking, walking your dog to the park, playing basketball, swimming at the rec, you name it! As long as I don’t feel the need to look at my watch every 2 minutes praying that I don’t pass out, I’m more than happy to do it. I suggest getting a friend or significant other to tag along to make time fly by even quicker.

LOVE YOUR BODY!!! And it will love you back 🙂

Cheers,

Casey

5 Tips on How to Balance Your Life

10 Jan

If you are at all like me, you have a million different things happening in your life at once. You have classes to get to, a job to keep, friends to hang out with, homework to complete, laundry to do… after you balance all of that for awhile, your life seems like a swirling mass of routine chaos. But it doesn’t have to be that way! Here are 5 tips on how to maintain balance in your life.

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1) Keep a Planner

I know that you have heard this one a million times before, but that is because it really does help. If you have everything written down, then you are less likely to forget something, and you can see how much time you have to relax.

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2) Just Say No

It is okay to tell your friends you can’t hang out today because you have other things to do. They will understand! By doing this, you will have plenty of time to finish your paper and do your laundry without having to stay up until four in the morning.

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3) Eat Healthier and Exercise

Sometime this can be tough because unhealthy food is so much cheaper and easier to come by, but even if you change out one unhealthy meal a day for a healthier one, you will start to see a change in your life. There are ways to eat healthy on campus, and there are services that can help you go off campus to get healthy foods as well.

There are a million places on campus to exercise. Trust me I know that exercising is exhausting, and you have a million things to do so you don’t have time to do it, but I have found that I actually have more energy after I exercise than I did before I started. Now I exercise before I go and start on my homework because I have found that it helps me focus.

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4) Focus on Studies

Believe it or not, but you are actually at the University to get a degree, so you should probably focus on that. Yes, it is okay to have fun and go out with friends and assert your independence, but that’s not what you’re paying for. I know it isn’t always fun to stay in and do homework, but you’ll find that when you avoid procrastinating until the last minute, you understand more of what happens in class. Plus if you have no idea how to do your homework correctly, you have the chance to go in and talk to your professor, a chance that is lost if you wait until the very last minute.

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5) Talk to Someone Outside of Tucson Regularly

Sometimes while we are at school, we forget that other things exist outside of campus life. By talking to someone outside of Tucson (whether it be a parent, a sibling, or friend) you will find that your problems seem a bit less overwhelming. An important thing to remember when doing this is that you shouldn’t spend the whole conversation talking about your problems at school…that kind of defeats the purpose.

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Since doing all of these things I have found that my stress levels have gone way down, and my life seems much more balanced.

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– Christine Ellis

5 Tips to Stay Safe on Halloween

24 Oct

So it’s your first year tasting college freedom. And boy, you can’t wait to use Halloween as an excuse to celebrate and consume copious amounts of those overpriced Fun-Sized candy bars (I know I can’t)!

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But before you you head out for a night of spooky celebration, consider these 5 tips for staying safe:

1) KNOW YOUR SURROUNDINGS

It is crucial to keep a keen eye on the general setting, no matter if you are going out to celebrate at a party, or are hosting a get-together in your dorm/apartment/house. If you are having guests over, know who is staying, coming, and going. If you are going out, it is best to always have someone else with you, have emergency numbers in contact, and to have a safe means of transport to and from the location. All in all, just be prepared!

2) DON’T GET ARRESTED

You might be thinking how obvious of a suggestion this is, but trust me, the festivities on All Hallows’ Eve can get really serious real quick. If you are going somewhere you are unfamiliar with, pay attention to street signs and parking signs. Be smart. Don’t drink excessively and get sloppy on Halloween night– the police tend to watch college campus activities very closely during this time.

3) DON’T BE A DUNCE

For your own safety and the safety of others around you, don’t drive under the influence. You may not even want to wear a costume that includes props that could be mistaken with a real weapon. It also isn’t the best idea to dress up and pretend to be a cop either. Just don’t be an idiot. Period.

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4)  DON’T INJURE YOURSELF

You’re thinking: “Also another given.” But you would be surprised how many people could use a reminder. Don’t accept drinks from strangers. Stay away from rowdy, overly crowed areas where people are under the influence. If a fight breaks out at an event you are attending, make sure to steer clear of anything or anyone that could harm you.

5) MOST IMPORTANTLY…HAVE FUN!

Above all, whether you stay home and stuff your face with a bowlful of candy corn or go out for a night on the town in your eeriest ensemble, make sure you’re havin’ some fun!

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Happy Halloween!

-Leylah