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!

keep trying hang in there GIF by GIPHY Studios Originals

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!


Image result for funny kardashian gif

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.


#NovembertoRemember: Treat Yo’self

27 Nov

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Sometimes all you need to do towards the end of the semester is Treat Yo’self. This is one thing I always forget to do, especially when finals are approaching. This time of year is so hard to do anything other than school because I feel like I do not have any free time from prepping for finals to the holidays. This month, I have decided to challenge myself to do one thing for myself every day. I know this may seem easy to do, but surprisingly, it has been a very difficult task.

I’ve been going through a very hard time lately with family issues and I have been encouraged by a lot of people to focus on myself, rather than worry about things that out of my control. This is something that is very difficult for me to do, hence why I am trying to slowly integrate things to just focus on myself into my day-to-day schedule. As you can see above, I have created a fun calendar that lists everything I am trying to do for myself throughout this month to keep myself accountable. After the day has passed, I look on my calendar and mark if I accomplished my treat yo’self task or not. If I don’t complete giphy-downsized.gifthe task for myself, I try really hard to do the one for the next day. The things I have put on this calendar are things I think are realistic for me to accomplish with my hectic schedule; some of these include: painting my nails, sleeping in, using a facial mask, and sitting out by a fire. All of these things are simple, but are fun and relaxing to me (which is much needed!).

The first week of the month all about doing things for myself, I did very well! It was fun to do things for myself and acknowledge the impact. I started to be happier throughout my day and I had something to look forward to every day that was not for anyone else or for school. I let my coworkers know about my challenge and they would do a great job asking what I did for myself that day/week, which was not just helpful for keeping myself accountable, but also encouraging to keep doing the fun tasks on my calendar. As the month continued on, honestly, I started to slack on treating myself every day. Schoolwork and family started to dominate (like always) and looking at my calendar, I was disappointed I missed out on doing things I was really looking forward to. Some of the things I was really upset about not completely were going to Mt. Lemmon (I’ve been trying to go up all semester, but have not gotten there), do my nails (I haven’t done them since September), and meditate (I’ve wanted to try this for awhile now). Even though I didn’t get to do these things this month, I always have time to do this AFTER finals week.

I have learned a lot about doing this little challenge. I’ve learned to list things out I really want to do for myself and remind myself to take a little time out of my day to do it! It was amazing to set a time of free time for myself, during all of the chaos. I’ve learned to set time to check in on how I am doing and to take a break. After this month, I definitely am going to try to keep this going from here on out.

It is so important to take time out of YOUR day to TREAT YO’SELF!!!




#NovembertoRemember: Vegetarian (for 2 Weeks)!

26 Nov

Hi everyone, so for my November to Remember blog I wanted to try something that I have been thinking about for some time. I wanted to go two weeks completely without meat!

vegetarians GIF

Personally, I didn’t really think this would be that hard for me. My meat consumption isn’t that high any way, and I don’t even really like red meat that much. (I know, In N’ Out fans out there, please don’t hate me). Also, I would like to say that my reasoning behind this wasn’t exactly noble — don’t get me wrong, sometimes I see those videos about how they slaughter animals, and I am ready to give up meat… until you put some chicken nuggets in front of me, that is. But no, my reason for doing this was more so because I wanted to see how I would feel afterwards. Could I handle it?

panda eating GIF

I have lot of friends that have gone vegetarian, and are hoping to turn vegan one day, and they rave to me about how amazing they feel! I am genuinely so impressed by them because even though there are more vegan/vegetarian options out there these days, there is a good deal of preemptive work that they have to do. But they are so passionate and willing. SO OF COURSE, I had to be able to handle just two weeks with ease.

rabbit eating GIF

Spoiler alert: Wrong. It wasn’t easy! I eat meat more than I thought. The turkey sandwich I grab before heading to work (Shout out: On Deck Deli) — no longer an option. The traditional desi biryani my roommate’s mom makes for us  (bless her heart) — no longer an option. I was having to make some big purchases on my not-so-big food budget.

Don’t get me wrong – hummus is so good. So are celery and carrots and all of that! But it was… A LOT of hummus.

By day 5, I was feeling a little light headed, so I made sure to eat eggs and get some protein in my body! That’s another huge thing — I was concerned about how my energy levels would be, but once I started being conscientious of putting certain nutrients in my body, I started feeling better! I started feeling really good actually. Also, for whatever reason, I even started working out more than usual. (Maybe for the smoothies at Campus Rec lol?)

Despite that however, by the final day, I was ready for meat to be back in my life. This experience was a good one overall, and it also made me gain more respect and appreciation for my vegan/vegetarian friends. Props to y’all, honestly! Maybe one day I will try again because I was feeling pretty good, and those kale smoothies aren’t as awful as I thought they’d be LOL. Good luck with your own adventures, Wildcats!

-Amna 🙂

#NovembertoRemember: Volunteering to Save the Earth!

25 Nov

Hey, everyone! Recently, I’ve become inclined to start pulling my weight to help the Earth stay happy and healthy. We all know the basic ways to do this: recycle, ride your bike, turn off the lights when you’re not home. This month, though, I decided to volunteer for the first time in my life!

On Saturday, November 4th, I volunteered for the Arizona Assurance Adopt-A-Street Cleanup through Tucson Clean and Beautiful. Many of the people who volunteered were people I know pretty well, so it was a great way to connect with friends as well as help clean up the streets of Tucson! We were able to clean up one whole mile of sidewalk along Euclid Ave, collecting things like non-biodegradable foam cups, cans, glass bottles, etc.



Volunteering for a street cleanup really opens your eyes to the damage that a single person can do to the Earth. It’s important to remember not to throw your trash on the sidewalk or street – many man-made products will never biodegrade into the Earth.


I was able to make a difference as well as spend time with people that I enjoy being with! College is all about trying new things and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, so don’t be afraid to make some new memories. Through this experience, I’ve learned how important it can be to do whatever you can for the Earth, no matter how big or small it may be. I also learned that experiencing these things with people you enjoy being around can make it extremely fun. Next time you decide to try something new and exciting, push your friends to try it with you!



#NovemberToRemember: First trip to East Coast

24 Nov

Prior to college, I never traveled much except for the occasional road trips around Arizona or California. After my freshman year, I finally got the opportunities to travel to new states for conferences. This month, I got the courage to take a trip by myself for the first time. I flew from Tucson to Philadelphia to visit family and tour a grad school, and it was an adventure I will never forget.

The week leading up to my trip, I was so stressed out. I was terrified that I would hate being in a big city, that I would miss my connecting flight, or that the clothes I packed wouldn’t be warm enough. Luckily, I’ve flown enough times at this point that things like checking in for my flight and getting through security don’t stress me out anymore, or those things would have also made it onto the list as well. The first flight was pretty quick and easy, but I had a really short connection between flights. To top it off, my gates were nowhere near each other, forcing me to run through an entire terminal to make it on time. My heart was racing, but I finally got on the plane and three hours later I could see more trees with orange leaves than I could count. At that point, I could not contain my excitement.

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Part of the city from the sky.

For the first hour or so, I honestly was overwhelmed by how beautiful everything was. Having lived in Tucson my whole life, it was amazing to be in a place I’d always dreamed of- with real seasons. One thing that I was not quite expecting was how people drive on the East Coast. You always hear about how terrible driving there is, but you can’t truly understand it unless you’re in the middle of it. The next three days were action-packed with visits to the university, wandering through downtown, and going to visit all of the historical sights.

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The real Liberty Bell with Independence Hall in the background.

Growing up, American history was something I truly loved learning about. After all this time, I finally saw the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Carpenter’s Hall, and real colonial homes! We also visited the Museum of the American Revolution and the National Constitution Center. While things got a little repetitive, because each place wants you to have a full experience even if you know nothing about American history, it was incredible to see real artifacts from our nation’s founding.

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City lights at night.

All too quickly, it was time to go home! I was honestly really sad to leave, because I finally found a place where I could be free to explore and grow even more as a person. I love being in nature, and I was pleasantly surprised that it was not difficult to go from the heart of the skyscrapers to the forest. This experience definitely helped me gain more confidence in my ability to be an adult. I really love traveling, and I can’t wait to do more of it!


#NovembertoRemember: Cooking for Thanksgiving

23 Nov

A few weeks ago, my mom called me to talk about what our family was going to do for Thanksgiving. Typically, we get together with our family that lives in town at either my family’s house or my grandma’s house. While not a huge ordeal like some people’s families, we usually have around 10 people, so it’s still a pretty large dinner. Ever since we were kids, my mom and grandma got tasked with the cooking, but neither of them particularly like to cook, especially not Thanksgiving dinner. While I was on the phone with my mom, she surprised me by asking, “Do you want to cook Thanksgiving dinner this year?” I was caught off guard a little bit. “You want me to cook the whole dinner?” I replied. “Sure, why not?” my mom said. “We’ll help some, but do you want to do most of it?” “Umm ok, sure,” I said. I guess I was going to cook Thanksgiving dinner this year.

This isn’t really that unusual of her to ask. She hates cooking whereas I actually enjoy it, so it only makes sense that I’d do it. I’m actually pretty excited about it too. One of the reasons I really enjoy cooking is that I’m kind of a picky eater, so if I cook, I make things that I like. Usually on Thanksgiving, there are a lot of foods that people make that I don’t eat. Potato salad, green bean casserole, creamy jello, frog eye (it’s this weird creamy pasta salad… I don’t know why anyone thinks that’s a good idea). With all of these things on the menu, my plate is usually a bit more empty than anyone else’s.  I’m excited to be able to cook all of the foods that I love to eat, as well as learn how to make some of our family classics.

While the task seems kind of daunting right now, I’m really excited about it. I love to cook so it’ll be fun and a challenge to take on something so big for the first time. I’m also excited to learn to make new things and experiment a little bit outside of what I’m comfortable with. I love Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season so I’m ready to kick it off. I think this will definitley be a November to remember for me because I’m mixing my family traditions with my own style. I’m so excited to tell you about how it goes after next week, but for now I have a menu to prepare 😉

Hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving of your own and make some memories with your loved ones!


#NovemberToRemember: Tennis

22 Nov

This November we were prompted to do something memorable. Because I happen to think the most memorable times are spent with good people (good people, good times, right?), I decided to include one of my oldest friends in this memory making process. Jess and I met when we were fourteen our freshman year of high school and have stayed good friends ever since. Of course, my decision to move to Tucson and her decision to stay in Phoenix has made it so that our time spent together is few and far between: we’ve grown into our own selves over the years but have thankfully managed to stay close.

That’s why when Jess called me up a few weeks ago to invite me to a show her favorite band was playing in downtown Tucson, I was instantly game.

One of our favorite things to do together when we were younger was to go to as many shows and concerts as possible. Sadly, with the business of school and work I stopped making shows a priority. Fortunately, Jess’s visit couldn’t have come at a better time. Not only was I going to get to see my dear friend, but I was also going to go enjoy a great live performance (one of my favorite things in the world) and get some good blog content for this month!

All in all, the evening was great. We caught up, I met some of her new friends, and we all enjoyed a sweet show by a little band called Tennis. Definitely a cool sounding and even cooler looking group of people, let me tell you. The really great part of the night though was for sure getting to hang out with friends, both old and new.