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Staying Productive During Break

14 Dec

Hey, Wildcats! The end of the semester is finally here! Classes are ending, finals are approaching, and you’re probably starting to mentally check out. While it’s nice to recognize your accomplishments this semester, you also shouldn’t completely flip that mental switch into relaxation mode. It’s never to early to think ahead to next semester, and start preparing for the challenges of the future. Staying productive over break can help you stay on track, and make the transition from play to work much easier.


It’s so easy to sleep half the day and watch Netflix until 9 pm when you don’t have to worry about studying anymore but there are tons of ways to stay productive during break to avoid that beginning-of-the-semester slump when spring comes around!

  1. Start a project. With no school work to tend to, many students try to do as little as possible during break. After such a long fall semester, it’s a relief to sit back and enjoy your free time. Starting a new project to work on – no matter how big or small – can help you ease into the spring semester much easier. Projects will help you keep your work flow alive, and in the long run, help you get back into the swing of university life!
  2. Maintain your sleep schedule. This may be one of the toughest things to do during break. Why would you go to sleep by 10 pm if you could go out and party until 3 am every day? While staying up late occasionally can be refreshing for some, you don’t want to have a messed up sleep schedule once the spring semester comes around. Fixing your body’s internal clock is one of the toughest things to do, especially over the course of a day or two. Avoid this hassle by keeping a steady sleep schedule.giphy-downsized
  3. Set goals during the break. Start and finish a new book, explore a place you’ve never been to, or write a fictional story. Giving yourself things to work towards during break helps you stay busy and productive, and will help you avoid procrastination in the semesters to come.
  4. Prepare yourself for Spring semester. One of the worst things you can do for yourself as a college student is come into class unprepared. Take the time the read the syllabi for your classes early, grab some books and materials, and even get ahead on some readings. Show initiative and enthusiasm and it will pay off in the long run!giphy-downsized
  5. Stay active. This is definitely one of the harder things to do when Netflix and your couch is calling your name. Make sure you stay active during the break to stay healthy, happy, and productive. Go for a run once a day, take a yoga class, or even ride your bike through your favorite neighborhood. Staying active will maintain productivity for the spring semester.

As students, we all dread returning to school after the holidays. Relaxing and giving yourself a pat on the back for all the hard work done this semester is important. But by remaining productive and keeping a positive outlook, the spring semester can turn out to be amazing and it will help you in the long run!




Beat the Winter Blues

14 Dec

Congratulations, you have made it through the fall semester! Now you’ve got a few weeks at home to not be stressed out for the first time since August. It will be very tempting to just lay around and be lazy, but now is the time to maximize your fun before the stress restarts in January! Here’s a few things you can do to make your winter break more worthwhile.


Now is the time to sleep… but not for the entire break!

  • Be a tourist in your own hometown. There’s a lot of cool things in every hometown that you never realized were that awesome, until you started telling all of your college friends about them. So take advantage of being back! Go see all of the things that you’ve missed, or took for granted.
  • Play with pets. Take them outside, if appropriate, or cuddle on the couch. Most college students don’t have time to take care of pets or aren’t able to bring their family pet with them.
  • Skype your college friends. Being separated from your friends for four weeks can be tough. Take advantage of video chat to keep in touch and feel like you’re basically together, even if you’re miles apart.
  • Take advantage of holiday sales. Buy the things you need or passed on for a while because it was a little too pricey. Take this moment to treat yo self to something nice, you deserve it!
  • Enjoy home cooked meals and learn how to make them. Even though it’s never as good as when your family makes it, having that knowledge comes in handy when you’re having a bad day or feeling under the weather.
  • Spend time with friends that went away from college or that you haven’t seen in a while. It’s always great to trade stories and hear about what people are up to!

Whatever you do this winter break, take some time to enjoy yourself. It’s so important to rejuvenate over these weeks and reconnect with the things that make you happy.



Get Your Head (Back) in the Game

12 Dec

We are finally back! I know that for some of us (most of us) the idea of coming back for the second semester is a little daunting. Now’s the time to get back on the study, class, work, and life grind. So yes, it is time to put your head back in the game, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. There’s a lot to look forward to with the start of a new semester!

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  1. A chance to have a fresh start! Honestly, this refers to a fresh start when it comes to school and life. Maybe last year you weren’t as involved as you wanted to be. Join a club this semester! Or maybe, last semester didn’t go as well as you wanted it to go in the grades department. This is your chance to start the semester off strong.high school musical GIF
  2. Now you know what works best for you. I know for me; first semester freshman year was essentially one giant learning curve. I didn’t know exactly how to approach all my classes because each class requires a different approach in college. That might sound confusing, but to clarify: Nobody studies the same for a gender studies class and a calculus class. One is primarily essay based and the other consists of nightly homework assignments. Now, you know how to divide your time appropriately and how to best avoid cramming. Use it to your advantage.high school musical GIF
  3. New Years Resolution. Follow through with your resolution, whatever it be! If you want to start eating healthier, go for it. If you want to start going to the gym more, hit the rec (warning: Campus Rec might be a little more packed at the start of the new year – that’s a good thing though right? More potential friends…?)sexy zac efron GIF(Alright you caught me, not from the movie) 😛
  4. Hang out with the right people. This is kind of a strange one, but based on my own experiences and most of my friends’ experiences, the first group of friends you hang out with in college aren’t like to be the ones you end your college experience with. There are honestly so many people at this school, and even if you’re friends right now are amazing people, it doesn’t hurt to get out there and meet some others. It can be a little scary at first, but I’ll add that I met my best friend in the world my second semester of freshman year.
  5. My personal favorite: you get to buy new school supplies!!!!! This speaks for itself people.

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That’s all for now; good luck with the new semester! (Really trying hard not to make a “Bet On It” reference right now….)

-Amna 😊

New Year, Better You

12 Dec

“New Year, new me.” Raise your hand if you’ve heard someone say this in the past week?

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Raise both hands if you’re the one who said it.

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The hype around changing yourself because it’s a new year is stupid overrated. Why do you have to change your entire self for another year? Also, why is there a sudden personality crisis because the number at the end of the date you write changes?  These ‘changes’ you want to make to yourself should not be dependent because of a year; these changes can happen now, and you should consistently trying to improve yourself. So, with this in mind, here are some ideas for the New Year, and Better you regimen.

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yes, yes we are

  1. Be Kind

What, Lil? I am nice. Sure. Okay. Now, we’re going to jog down memory lane. What was the last mean thing you said – yes even to your friends. I know, like I know you show your friends that you love them by being a little mean. I’m not saying that it isn’t okay, but try to be kinder in general. You see someone struggling to open the door? Go ahead, open the door. Your friend having a rough day? Come sit with them over some coffee. Small things like this improve your relationships.
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2. Eat More.

Okay, I don’t mean buy 5 Highland burritos in one sitting. I mean, eat more from life. Enjoy the moments; live in the present. Take a bite out of the morning; remember the positive aspects in life. Eat THEM UP. But also, eat real food too.Image result for star wars gif

3. Exercise?

I don’t mean like a total crossfit routine, I just mean go on a walk, or small jog. Take a class with your friends at the Rec. Instead of ubering to University blvd. take a walk. Rent one of those bikes that TEP has put around campus. Fresh air is good for your body! You don’t need to reinvent yourself, just improve!

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A for effort

4. Laugh More.

Laughing is literally the only thing that relieves stress. You can laugh about your stress, and still feel good. SO this year, with these goals in your head, remind yourself to laugh a little more and stress a little less. Laugh at the small things in life, laugh at the big things in life. Just LAUGH.Image result for star wars gif

5. Be Happy

This is a hard one. What is happiness? How do you achieve happiness? Well, I don’t really know the answer, but, do the things you love more. Go adventuring. Do not be afraid of change, or improving yourself. Get your Highland burrito, go try that new class at the Rec. Go watch the movie you’ve been dying to watch. But most of all, spread your happiness to others. Some people find happiness in other people’s happiness; so go around infecting others with your happiness.

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With all of this in mind, I want you to have a great year. I want you to be the best you you can be. I don’t want you to change your personality, rather, build on it, nourish your soul and your body so you can be that happy beacon. After all, you don’t have to be a new you to be better!


Much love,

Lils xx


Opportunities for Spring Semester

12 Dec

Winter break is coming to a close and the spring semester is upon us. While I’m sure we’d all love another week (or more) of time off, I like to focus on being excited for the beginning of the new semester, instead of being sad for the end of the break. The start of the spring semester is one of my favorite times of the school year. It’s a new beginning with a ton of opportunities.


One of the biggest opportunities that spring semester gives is academically. If you didn’t have a strong fall semester, spring gives you the opportunity to make up for it. The first semester is always difficult because you’re getting used to how college classes (and professors) operate, forming new study habits, acclimating to living on your own, and trying to navigate who you are in this new setting. By spring semester, you’re a lot more familiar with how classes work, hopefully you’re dealing with homesickness better, and you’re really getting a sense of who you are. If things didn’t go so well last semester, take this as an opportunity to change your study habits and set yourself down the right path.


Spring semester is also a great opportunity to get involved if you didn’t last semester (or if you want to get involved more). It can be hard to join a club in the middle of a semester. At the beginning of the semester, clubs are expecting new members so it can be easier to integrate into a club. You could also get involved by getting a job or internship. A lot of places on campus are looking to hire and fill positions at the start of the semester.


One of my personal goals for the spring semester is to be intentional with my time. It can be so hard to balance school, work, clubs, and leadership positions with spending time with my friends and taking time for myself. I know that if I’m not proactive in being intentional, I won’t see my friends very much or take time for myself. These things are both really important not only for the health of my friendships, but also my own health. I’m really going to take the opportunities I have to spend time with friends and spend healthy time alone.


Whatever you’re looking forward to with the upcoming spring semester, I hope you seize the opportunities you have in front of you. Whether it be improving your grades, getting more involved, or being intentional with your relationships, be proactive with your semester and make the best of it right from the beginning!


Maximizing Your Winter Break

8 Dec

I really love winter break. It’s a month of no school, being at home with friends and family, and relaxing. The one downside is that when it’s over and I look back on it, a whole month has passed and it seems like I got nothing done. While it’s great to sit around and take time to relax and recharge, there are a lot of ways to balance having fun with being productive and making sure your break isn’t wasted.

  1. Volunteer. I personally volunteer at a local animal shelter, something I don’t have time to do during the semester. Volunteering looks great on your resume and is actually a lot of fun and very rewarding. Winter break is a perfect time to do it because you don’t have the commitment of full-time school.

  2. Make plans with friends/family so you don’t waste your time just sitting around the house doing nothing. If you’re intentional about spending time with loved ones, you’ll ensure that you don’t sleep/Netflix your whole break away. Plus, you’ll probably have more fun and make a lot of really good
  3. Get a seasonal job. This way you can make some extra money over the holiday season to set you up for the upcoming semester.

  4. Do the things that need to be done that you normally don’t have time for. Update your resume, clean up your desktop, apply for scholarships, research grad school or career information, apply for internships for the next semester or summer, etc. These things are all easy to do but normally get forgotten or neglected when classes are in full swing.

  5. If you have nothing to do, learn a new skill. You could take up cooking, baking, knitting, crafting, a new sport, etc. There are so many fun things that are so easy to learn through Youtube or books.knitting
  6. Take a winter course. There are a lot of good classes offered over winter break that can help you catch up if you’re a little behind or get ahead. It could also lighten your load if you’re scheduled for a really busy spring semester.

  7. Do things you enjoy that you normally don’t have the time to do. A lot of the hobbies and activities we like to do get left behind when we start college. For me, that’s playing basketball, the clarinet, and knitting. I just don’t have time during the semester, so I love taking the time to do these things I enjoy over break.

  8. Take time to rest and treat yourself. Ask for a spa day for the holidays, cozy up with hot cocoa and a good book, take a relaxing bubble bath, or try out a new face mask. You deserve some rest and relaxation.relax

However you choose to spend your break, I hope you have a happy and healthy holiday season and winter break and are able to have some fun and rest that you deserve!

Fun Ways to Stay Productive this Break!

8 Dec

It’s almost time to start heading home for the break, Wildcats! I hope you are all excited to spend some quality time with friends and family. I don’t know about all of you, but for me, every time I head home, I start acting and feeling a bit lethargic. It’s like all of a sudden all the late night study sessions are finally making their impact, and I physically cannot move off the couch. If you can relate with this, then don’t worry — you deserve the break!

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I mean, you made it through finals (Congrats!) However, to avoid spending the entirety of the break laying in bed, try out some of these tips:

    1. Consider getting a winter break part-time job! The break isn’t too long, but it’s always nice making a little extra cash. Plus, if you work at a retail store you can get employee discounts!!! Don’t sign on for too many hours though; as I said – you deserve the break!winter swimming GIF
    2. Force your family to do all the fun winter stuff! So my family is all about family time, but for whatever reason that basically just means going out for dinner all the time. But it can be nice going to Zoo Lights, Winter Haven, or whatever the equivalent is in your town!christmas winter GIF


  1. If snow is accessible to you, play in the snow! Okay, I’m from Houston, TX so this is not really an option for me – but that seems like a fun thing to do, so definitely do it if you can.snow day winter GIF by Disney
  2. Go on a road trip with your friends! There’s a million fun things to do always (that’s just my opinion, but it requires some creativity), but sometimes it’s hard to find them in your hometown. So go on an adventure with your friends! It doesn’t have to be such an expensive endeavor – try to get some deals with Airbnb and sites like that.charlie brown snow GIF
  3. Get up early (okay, I know, why would I even say it?), and go to the gym! It will honestly give you energy and make you feel much better about eating all the food you will inevitably eat (because you’re home).cold cat GIF

Okay, that’s all I have for now! Hope these tips help out some. Regardless, hope you all have the best break ever.

-Amna 🙂

A Winter of Firsts

8 Dec

For freshmen college students, they’re entering a season of “firsts” in their lives- first round of finals, first college winter break, and for some students first time back home since the summer. This is a time that can be overwhelming for some students as they’re preparing for tests, writing essays, completing projects, preparing to move out of their residence hall or off-campus housing, arranging travel plans, wrapping up with clubs, and probably attending a holiday party or two (or seven).

So how do students handle all of this stress?

First of all, staying healthy is crucial. Stress causes immune systems to break down and students often neglect exercise and healthy eating during finals. This is the time when these things are the most important. Encourage your student to eat well, hit the rec center for a study break, and manage their stress in healthy ways. The University offers a variety of stress-busting activities, health and wellness activities, and fun study breaks for the Finals Survival Week. It’s also really important for students to stay focused. It’s so easy for students to neglect studying because they’re either busy with break preparation and maximizing on fun, or they’re mentally checking out early in anticipation of break. I know that the closer the holidays get, the harder I find it to focus. That being said, it’s more important now than ever to focus, buckle down, and get done what needs to get done.

After finals and the semester ends, students are faced with a new challenge- what to do over winter break. For most students, this means going home. My freshman year, I wanted to do nothing more than hang out with friends and family over winter break and just relax. While this is obviously necessary for students, winter break is also a great time to be productive, especially to do things that they don’t have as much time to over the course of the semester. This could mean applying for scholarships and internships, make or update their resume, volunteer, or get a seasonal job. Students should really strive to balance between having fun over break and still being productive with their time.

Along with being productive, students should spend this time celebrating their accomplishments over the semester with their family and friends. Students have worked hard over the past few months and need some well-deserved down time! Enjoy the holidays (if your family celebrates) and spend time making memories with your student. If they’re anything like I am, they’re really looking forward to this break and time with family and friends. Enjoy the time together!

I hope you and your students all have a wonderful winter break together!


Tips on Staying Healthy During Finals Week

28 Nov

It’s the lovely time of the year when you’re SWAMPED with studying, tests, projects, and trying to maintain sanity. Sleep is not even in the picture anymore, and we all know you have zero thoughts on what type of food you’re putting in your body. So when I say I have some ways for you to be healthy, don’t hit me with that eye roll. Because Lili knows the situation; Lili knows the ways to be healthy-ish during finals week.

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Don’t laugh, I kind of know my ways!

    • Y’all sleep is important. Skip the nap and go for a full night’s rest instead. I know, I know you really want a nap! However, if you don’t have to take one, skip it! I DO GET IT, THOUGH! You need a nap to rest your mind before you study! Make sure your power naps are under 20 minutes! You don’t want to hit your REM cycle!Image result for kardashian sleeping gifs 
  • RUN
    • If you feel like you’re falling asleep or you’re tired of looking at your books, jog your memory and go run. RUNNING?! WHAT?! I know, but trust me, from one unathletic friend to another, IT HELPS! You’ll thank me later 

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      Me when someone says I should run

  • Snack and STUDY
    • Baby carrots and veggies are crunchy and keep you going. They’re pretty inexpensive too! You can get a whole bag of baby carrots for $3 at U Mart! CRUNCHY SNACKS ARE THE BEST SNACKS! GET YOUR HEALTH AND STUDY ON! Image result for kardashian eating gifs
    • You need to actually eat meals. Try proteins and greens? A nice chicken salad? A chicken wrap? GET IN YOUR CARBS too. Studying on an empty stomach is terrible, so please for the love of ME, eat a meal!Image result for kardashian eating gifs 
  • YOGA
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I would rather do yoga than stress

With all of this in mind, the first thing you need to do is not let the stress overwhelm you. You need to be patient with your studying, as well as take care of yourself. School is important, but you also need to watch out for yourself. Know your limits!!!

Happy Studying!


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The Long Study Night

28 Nov

The winds are cooling… professors are plotting… assignments are piling… Winter is here. Prepare yourselves, the long study night is coming. 

So you’ve made it to the final stretch, Wildcats. Congrats! You’re not quite finished yet, though. With the last two weeks of the semester quickly coming to an end there are a lot of things to keep in mind. Exams, projects, essays, and finals are all going to come at you like a train but it’s nothing you all can’t handle like pros.

In the midst of essay and exams it’s crucial that you remain well taken care of and healthy. Relaxation should always be a key part of your game plan for success: plan for it and enforce it. A strung out body and mind will produce unsatisfactory results that will make all of your hard work feel wasted. It’s even been scientifically concluded that a getting rest betweens study sessions helps the information stay better stored within the brain. If that’s not motivation enough for a little break, then I don’t know what is.

If you’re having some trouble racking up some good relaxation ideas, here are a few to get the gears moving:

  • Power naps: Power naps are one of the best ways to get your energy up during long study sessions (weeks). There is even some evidence that sleeping after bombarding your brain with new information helps it soak up the knowledge even more so.

  • Meditation: This is my personal favorite. Meditation is all about being aware of yourself and your surrounding and learning to approach it without the negative emotions that may accompany them (stress, fear, anxiety…). Youtube is a cool place to get some guided meditative practice if you’re new to the business.

  • Exercise: Many people say that exercise is a great way to shed the stress of everyday life. It gets your adrenaline going and your mind focused only on your body. It’s definitely a good way to take a break from reality.

  • Writing: Some people may giggle at the idea of journaling, but journaling is an awesome way to release any pent up frustrations or anxiety. Letting go of any feelings of “silliness” and writing out everything that’s on your mind helps to reflect on what you are doing and what you can be doing.

With that, fellow Wildcats, I leave you with some (hopefully) helpful tips for these upcoming finals. Remember, a burnt out brain is not capable of producing what your fullest potential has to offer.