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!

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Much love,

Lils xx

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

-Jess

#DreadedDecember: Stressed About Not Stressing?

12 Dec

There is officially a light at the of the tunnel — finals are finishing up/ have already ended! Congratulations!! So now you finally get to go home, eat some home cooked meals, relax, and basically do whatever.

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I’m sure some of you are very proactive when it comes to planning your winter breaks! For example, maybe you’re studying abroad or going on a cool trip with friends and family. Or maybe you’re even earning some extra cash with a winter break job or externship.

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Honestly, I respect that! But for whatever reason, as planned out as I am during the year, that’s how lazy I am during break. And even though it sound ridiculous, it really stresses me out!! I feel like I don’t know what to do with myself. I love hanging out with my family and friends, but for how long can that go on?

This break I am trying to be a bit more regimented. You know, go to the gym everyday, plan outings with my family, eat super healthy (save the holidays), learn how to play NBA 2K to hang out with my brother, play some tennis with my dad, and yeah…

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So yes, that is the plan, but honestly will these thing happen? IDK because honestly I something happens to me when I go home. Maybe it’s the humidity? But regardless, I hope you all have the best winter break, and spend it exactly how you want to!

-Amna 🙂

 

#DreadedDecember: Making Plans

10 Dec

I love winter break. I get to go home and see my family, boyfriend, and my best friends from home. I also get time to relax and prepare for the upcoming semester. While this is all great, it can be really stressful for me to balance doing everything that I want to do over break and making plans with so many different groups of people. That’s why my Dreaded December is making plans over break.

I’m definitely much more of a planner as opposed to being spontaneous. I like to know when I’m doing things, especially when I’m planning so many things with so many people. Added to this, both my best friends from home and my boyfriend and I decided that instead of giving gifts, we’d do something fun for Christmas. For my best friends, that meant finding two days that fit all three of our schedules for a short road trip. When you throw in the fact that we’re all trying to spend time with our families, one of my friends is working and has family in from out of state, and my other friend is traveling a few times, and that was an adventure. As for my boyfriend, he lives out of state during the school year, so we try to spend as much time together as possible. However, he’s traveling with his family twice over break and still has to keep up his workout schedule (he’s an athlete). Throw my family’s schedule and holiday plans into the mix, and it’s really just a lot to balance.

Some of the ways that I’ve made this a little better is by planning as much in advance as possible. This has helped me know when I’m free and what fits best where. Another way I juggle these plans is by doing stuff with my family and boyfriend together. My family loves him so it’s a great way for us to all spend time together. As for my friends, it’s all about communication and making the time for each other.

While I do like to combine groups and hang out with my boyfriend and friends or family and friends, sometimes I like to have the 1 on 1 (or 2 on 1) time with them. To do that, it really comes down to being intentional with my time and not wasting it away in front of the TV or sleeping. As much as I want to rest over this break, I’d rather rest in the company of the people I love than by myself.

I am dreading the planning process and trying to juggle everything over a relatively short period of time. However, I’m also really looking forward to spending time with my loved ones and doing a lot of fun things together. I know I’m going to be making a lot of memories over this break, and although there are some things about planning I’m dreading, I’m really looking forward to the time I have.

I hope you all have a great winter break!

-Jess

#DreadedDecember: Buying Gifts

9 Dec

Tis the season to spend your entire paycheck on your friends and family! What I dread most is buying presents. Why?

Because:

  1. What if they don’t like my present?
  2. I’m broke
  3. I’m super broke

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accurate representation of me pretending I have money

Although we might all be in the same boat, my tips to making buying presents a little easier are as followed:

  1. AMAZON PRIME

Free 2 day shipping is the best for the last minute present! Did somebody buy you something and you didn’t for them? Hop on that Prime and get your present with FREE shipping!

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and then your presents show up at your doorstep like:

  1. DIY

Honestly, most people like the meaning of gifts rather than the actual gift. I know my girls love picture frames and cute homemade things that remind them of the memories we’ve shared in the past year. Honestly, these gifts make so many people happy!

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like how cute is this little wreath and headband?

  1. BAKED GOODS

What’s better than food? The answer: nothing. NOTHING is better than food. I love getting cookies and brownies in cute little boxes! I love love love food, and baking is the easiest way to go! You can eat love!

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Show your pep with some music and cookies!

  1. SCHOOL GEAR

Spirit wear is kind of expensive, so I can completely vouch that I love getting University gear from friends. I don’t have to spend money on my own, and I mean, every wildcat loves getting wildcat gear.

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I will wear my gear 24/7 like this!

  1. STARBUCKS GIFT CARD

You cannot – I repeat- CANNOT go wrong with a Starbucks gift card. Even if your friend doesn’t like coffee, Starbucks has so many things that someone will enjoy!

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you’re welcome

So, as the holiday season approaches at the pace of Mariah Carey’s holiday album, take my tips for easy gift giving, and make sure to spread the happiness!

Happy holidays, my friends!

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Stay rad,

Lils xx

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 memories.family
  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!
-Jess

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!

-Jess

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!

  • SLEEP
    • 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
  • EAT MEALS
    • 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!

xxLils

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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.

-Diana