3 Reasons You Should Fail In College and How To Recover

What is he telling me to do now? FAIL?! In COLLEGE?! That’s right, you should fail, or what I mean to say is you should “fail” by your standards, at least once in your college career. If you’re anything like me, which I presume most of you are, it will do you some good and I want to share why you should fail and how to recover from it when you do.

A little background first: I came from a high school where I had the opportunity to be academically successful and was blessed with good grades. With what I thought were good study habits I went to college thinking it wouldn’t be that bad. Oh how wrong I was. My very first exam in college I got a C and I finished my first semester with only one final grade as an A. THAT was failing to me.

However, I managed to pick myself up and salvage my grades and GPA from that point on, but I’m happy I had that opportunity to fail because of these three reasons:

It Proves You’re Human

So you didn’t get the A you thought you would or your GPA wasn’t what you felt you deserved, good, you don’t have to be perfect in life because nobody expects you to be. Every semester I start out with a big head thinking, “I’ve got this, I’m a senior by now and I know the ins and outs of studying,” and every semester I have an exam or assignment where I “fail” and it knocks me back into reality and I realize I’m not perfect and need to work harder.

These moments are good because they show you’re still human. No matter how you did on a previous exam, or how you did in a previous year, you will still have to work hard to get that grade you believe you deserve. Although I’m sure you hate it just as much as I do when I play Monopoly, being knocked back to square one helps you realize that. But let’s face it, although you may lose that turn, it’s always sweeter the next time you get to roll and collect money from someone else, and the same goes for the next exam you ace.

It Sets A Baseline To Grow

Okay, so you just “failed” what’s next? Do you sit there and accept defeat like a child who got their lollipop stolen, or do you pick yourself up, dust yourself up, find that kid who took your lollipop, and take it back? (Please don’t use violence, it’s only an analogy but the point remains) As human beings we do not just sit there and accept defeat; we learn and grow from it.

My professor Don Stanley was just talking about the time his four year-old daughter taught him about succeeding in business. While she was riding her bike she kept looking back and every time she looked back she would zig and zag eventually falling down and hurting herself. It wasn’t until she got back on the bike and kept her eyes forward did she ride successfully toward her goal.

The same applies for college and life. You will fall down but you will also get back up, recognize what you did wrong, fix it, and keep pushing toward your goal. I’ve failed in the past and I know it won’t be my last time and without failing I never truly learned what it meant to succeed.

It Puts Things In Perspective

First I need to tell one of my favorite stories. It was my sophomore year in college and I’m at the gym and this guy asks me to spot him while he’s squatting. So I do the awkward squat-with-him-make-sure-he-doesn’t-fall thing and we start talking about school, naturally. He was a freshman and asked me for advice after failing his first calculus exam. I, not being very tactful, started laughing and said, “Don’t worry about it, it’s only calc.” I stopped laughing immediately after he told me he wanted to be an engineer. (Ohhhhhhhhh)

The point of my story is you may fail at something because it may not be what we’re meant to do. No matter how much I love to run I will never be an Olympic runner (mostly because I’m 5’6″ and enjoy laying around whenever I get the chance) and other people won’t be engineers because calculus is not their strong suit or artists because they can’t paint.

“Failure” doesn’t necessarily mean failing, it means you’re on a journey to find your niche. If that means weeding out what you aren’t good at to make a more concise list of what you are good at, I’d say you’re successfully on the bike looking in the right direction.

What’s your take on failure? If you have tips or stories you want to share, comment below!

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Active Procrastination: What It Is and Why You Should Do It

For many college students everywhere you’ve just entered in the sixth week of classes which means midterms have begun! After realizing that I’m guessing most of you are feeling like this:

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Or this:

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And I’m right there with you! I have an exam on Thursday but here I am writing to tell others what they should do to better prepare for midterms. Buuuuuut, what I’m doing is exactly what I want to talk to you about today: active procrastination! How perfect?!

What is active procrastination you ask? Oh I’m so glad you did. Active procrastination is very different from the typical procrastination we have all come to know, passive procrastination. Passive is when you know you have stuff to do, haven’t done any of it, look at it piling up, freeze, sit down, cry, and pretend it’s alright.

That type of procrastination is bad and can cause anxiety, missed deadlines, and you to do poorly in school. On the other hand active procrastinators procrastinate just as much as passive ones do but can handle their time better and can actively put off work. This is the type of procrastination I have adopted since starting college and I want to share with you a few reasons why you should too!

You Won’t Have To Spend Hours In The Library

This is an important point to make between the two types of procrastination. If you’re currently a passive procrastinator then you probably have waited until the very last minute to do an assignment or study and have most likely had a panic attack about all the stuff you have to do. That’s not what an active procrastinator does.

Since active procrastinators have learned how to better manage their time they can accomplish some tasks here and some tasks there. Soon enough they realize they have opportunities to put off work without an immediate deadline and can go do something fun as a much needed break instead of pull an all-nighter at the library.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into a room where my friends had their noses in their books and barely had two seconds to talk or grab a bite to eat because they are so stressed. If you become an active procrastinator, you’ll have the free time to get up and go do something else because the books can wait.

You Won’t Miss Out On Life

Have you ever heard any quotes by John Lennon? If not you should, here are some of my favorites, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,” and, “Time you enjoy wasting, was not wasted at all.”

Ironically they can both mean the same thing to active and passive procrastinators, but the difference is how they manage their time. Sure a passive procrastinator can still waste time and not study and go out instead, but they will still have work to do when they get back. Compared with an active procrastinator who will have done some work and had the extra time available to waste or experience life without that nagging feeling in the back of their minds.

As I mentioned in my first post my favorite nights in college have not been when I spend an entire night at the library studying for some test that supposedly determines the kind of student I am. If that’s what you think college is all about I hope you really consider changing to an active procrastinator. Do not let studying take over your life because you will miss other fun moments. Put the books aside, trust in yourself, and come back to them once you have some rest and a clearer mindset.

Active Is Better For Your Health

According to an article in Psychology Today active procrastination can have health benefits. People who procrastinate actively are less avoidant, have lower stress levels, and have higher self-efficacy.

Boom! Lawyered! Wait, Scienced? No, I’m going with lawyered. (It’s a How I Met Your Mother reference) But science is telling you to adopt this form of procrastination because it will help your overall mood and mental health and those are two very important things to maintain while at college.

Now none of this is meant to influence you to not study at all because school is still important. My point was to make a clear distinction between active and passive procrastinators and why you should adopt an active style: for stress-free time away from the library, for not missing life experiences, and for better health.

I hope some of you are going to consider trying to become an active procrastinator, but, as with any change in life, it doesn’t happen over night. This will require better time dedication as well as higher self-confidence that you’re an intelligent person who’ll be able to get their stuff done in a timely manner while still enjoying the benefits of college and life.

What do you think? Can you make the change to an active lifestyle or be stuck in passive?

The Friendzone: 3 Reasons It’s Not As Bad As It Seems

It’s been five days since Valentine’s Day and if you’re like me you spent it alone, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But if you’re like many people in the world who have expressed their affection for someone and been shot down then you may have fallen into the dreaded friendzone. If you’ve been put in it before, I sympathize with you, if you haven’t, congratulations, you did it, maybe you can share some advice with us. Until their advice comes through I want to shed some light on this friendzone and share some thoughts to keep with you while you’re tending your zone.

To those not aware of the friendzone here is a brief description. In almost everyone’s lifetime you will experience a moment where you have a best friend of the opposite sex. At some point you will have romantic feelings for that person and you will attempt to pursue them, but most definitely to your demise. Where your dreams of such a relationship go to die is…

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However, there is hope! There are stories of people who have bided their time and managed to crawl their way out of the friendzone to reach their much desired relationship. While you wait for that day here are a couple things to ponder and keep you sane:

You’re Their Best Friend

If you’ve been friendzoned you’ve probably been told this, “You’re too good of a friend to lose.” That hurts at the time but let’s think about it, is that a bad thing?

Although you aren’t dating them you’re still their best friend who they turn to for many decisions. This is the next best thing to actually dating them and you can always hold tight to the dream that one day they will wise up and realize the ultimate goal is to be with the person who has seen them at their best, worst, and most vulnerable; they will realize it was their best friend the whole time.

After all what’s the purpose of having a significant other? To find someone of the opposite sex to be your best friend, you’re already halfway there.

You’re A Genuinely Good Person

You ever hear this before, “You’re such a nice person and  I don’t want to lose that.”

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(Same, James, same.) But let’s once again look at that statement, “You’re just a super nice friend.” Okay, what’s wrong with that? You have genuine feelings for a person, that’s a good thing, and you clearly aren’t treating people like dirt, that’s also a good thing.

Rejoice in the fact that you are a genuinely good person which will take you further in life than being an ass. (Also, it’s just better to be acquainted with a nice person than a jerk so  kudos to you!) It may just take them time to realize they deserve a good person like you but there’s a chance they may never realize that so brace yourself…

The Right Person Is Out There

How about this one, “You’re gonna find the right person, but it’s just not me.” You know what, that’s okay too!  It’s a hard reality to reach but they may just not realize how great you are, but it’s okay because there is someone out there for you.

Someone will eventually come along and see you for all the wonderful things you are which the one you threw yourself after for so long failed to see. They’ll treat you right and it is a fact you will find your happiness because a person is endowed with the human right to pursue happiness.

So do not give up! You’ll either find a rope or ladder or manage to parkour your way out of the friendzone, or you’ll find someone who loves you for you. For now embrace the fact that you are awesome and deserve the best and when you do that good things will start to come your way.

Also, always remember:

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Depression: What You Can Do and Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid

First, I want to tell those who have clicked this link and are currently dealing with depression, I’m happy you’re here and I hope I can help you somehow. Second, as a former RA I know this subject can get heavy so at any time you feel anxious you should take a break and come back if you feel up to it.

Now I’m sure many of you have seen the video of Ronda Rousey’s championship loss to Holly Holm, but that’s not the video I want to share. The video I want all of you to watch is her recent appearance on Ellen where she openly talks about the loss and her thoughts of suicide afterward. If you haven’t yet, here it is, watch it and then keep reading:

Wow. I watched this video and I was speechless, especially when you know the story of Rousey: living in her car before her big break, keeping her nose to the grind stone, and rising to be one of the most dangerous forces in the MMA octagon. Then her devastating loss occurred and her world flipped upside down, and I’m sure many of us can relate to her.

I myself was bullied for the way I looked growing up until seventh grade when puberty finally kicked in, but then my family moved to Wisconsin uprooting me from the life I knew. After less than a year in Wisconsin and things seemed to be going my way, my parents got a divorce, once again ripping my world apart. Every time things began to look better something always came along to knock me back to square one and into depression, and this continues to this day. But I’m still here!

My point is although Rousey’s life-flip was on a larger scale everybody who has, and is dealing with, depression has experienced this life-flipping in some way, shape, or form. But you know what? You’re still here, just as she is and just as I am and that is something to smile about because you keep fighting. However, the sad fact is some aren’t still here with us because they fell victim to this monster, whether it was a loved one or a role model.

But I don’t want that to happen to you and I keep saying you’re still here because that’s half the battle! You’ve experienced these bad things in life, felt the depression knocking, but said no to it and slammed the door on it. To me it has always helped to remember the quote, “Not everyday may be good, but there is something good in everyday,” and that is my first tip to keep kicking depression’s butt:

Find Something Good In Each Day

This could be running into an old friend, watching a funny cat video, or getting candy from a friend. That last part may seem trivial but it means a lot because 1) it serves as a symbol that a friend was thinking about you and 2) they figured the candy bar would put a smile on your face. For me it helps to do this at the end of the day as you’re laying in bed because the last thoughts you should have before saying goodbye to a day should be positive to lay a foundation for a new and better day tomorrow.

This is something people should do daily regardless because it helps bring a positive perspective to each day.  I like to watch this video to remind me to be positive, it may not be to this level but it helps me feel better:

Doesn’t he just make you feel like anything is possible? That’s because anything is possible and I believe in you. But this may still not be enough and at this point you should say something:

Talk To Somebody, Anybody

You need to hear this: you will never EVER be a burden to the people who love you. One thing I can’t stress enough is how there is no shame in acknowledging you have depression and need someone to talk to. Your family loves you unconditionally and they have seen you at your most vulnerable from birth. They want to help you in any way possible so if you are experiencing feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts, you should talk to them as soon as possible.

If they aren’t an option at that moment in time, your friends care about your health and well-being just as much as your family does, this could even be your RA. You may not think they are only there to keep you in-line when the dorm gets rowdy but they want to see you be happy and successful in life just as much as anyone else. If it’s four in the morning and you need someone, wake your RA up and they will help you through.

What will that talk consist of? It will all be on your time and you can say what you want when you want to. They want to help you and they will listen with an open mind and heart and gauge where you are at. Some situations may be resolved then but it never hurts to seek additional help from medical professionals:

Talk To Professionals

At the University of Wisconsin, as I’m sure there are at other universities, we have counseling and consultation services you can call at any time and talk to them. There are also numerous other safe places around campus where you can talk confidentially with counselors and get the help you deserve.

I encourage you to explore your university’s health services. They are free to many students which means counseling will be there for you whenever you are ready to talk.

The most important  advice I can give you is for you to recognize when you’re experiencing these thoughts and should talk to someone. This is why I love Ronda Rousey for being so open and encouraging; she is a strong woman who, although her world was flipped on her, managed to recognize the problem, push through to find the positive, and keep fighting.

We all have those moments and if one of the strongest women, both mentally and physically in my opinion, can admit she had these thoughts and needed help then so can you. You are stronger than you think you are, just keep fighting, find that positive in each day and talk to somebody. Hey, if those people aren’t available, talk to me because I know where you are and I don’t want the world to lose anymore bright and beautiful people. (A moment of silence for the loved ones we have lost to this monster, please)

Let’s take the stigma out of this word depression and start encouraging those who need help and support them through their journey. I believe in you!

What do you think about Rousey and her appearance on Ellen? Let me know below.

 

How to Conquer February: The Longest Month of the Year

Yes, you read that correctly, February, the only month with 28/29 days a year, is THE longest month, especially to college students in the northern states like me! It’s cold, it’s snowy, it’s windy, and, with hardly any chance for a snow day EVER, most students walking to class feel this way:

Plus exams are starting to ramp up again and Spring Break is seemingly nowhere in sight (I feel your pain). This causes stress and because of that you may be about to seek solace in unhealthy activities. STOP IMMEDIATELY! Although February is the yellow Starburst of all the months you have a golden opportunity to explore the hidden indoor gems of your campus or find something new to do. Here are my five ways to break out of the doldrums of February and keep fighting to Spring Break.

1. Join a Student Org

You remember that student org fair you attended at the beginning of last semester? (Yeah) And remember when you said, “I’m going to join that one them,”? (Yeah) And remember when you didn’t join that org because you were too worried about making friends and how classes were going to be? (Yeah…) Well now you have a semester under your belt and the time on your hands, it’s time to get involved!

Being in a student org does so many good things for you. First, they help expand your friend group to people with similar interests as you. Second, they teach you valuable skills you can apply to everyday life such as journalism or beer brewing (Not like finding the tangent or derivative or whatever it was I learned in calculus freshman year). Lastly, they help you connect with professionals in your field of interest who could one day be a reference and help you find a job after graduation or internship for the summer.

2. Hit the Gym

You know how everybody fears the “Freshman 15”? Well that’s because it’s a real thing and it will find you and it will eat you (Pun completely intended). If you’re feeling as if this was you last semester:

Then maybe it’s time you explored the local fitness facilities on campus, which are free to students! Going to the gym doesn’t just help your physical health, but also your mental health. Many college students frequently experience feelings of depression and anxiety and it only gets worse with the winter months (Thanks a lot, February). Do both your body and mind a favor and get to the gym to weight lift, run, or play some pick-up basketball games for at least 30 minutes, you’ll feel 10X better.

3. Check Out the Union Cinema

Many people don’t know this but most college campuses have a cinema in their union, which was perfect for me because I love movies, but I also didn’t know it existed until my second semester. They play all different genres of movies from foreign and independent films to the classic and most current  hits.

An even bigger plus is that they’re free to students! Now I don’t know if this is true for all campuses but for mine, the best one in the nation, we can bring in our own drinks and snacks, saving you an arm and a leg from buying a drink and popcorn. This can be a good stress reliever to get you out of the dorm or house as well as a good date idea for those trying to save money.

4. Find a Hobby

This may seem pretty simple but you wouldn’t believe how many people forget to find a hobby to help pass the boring times. I myself do a couple things because I get bored really fast: I like puzzles because they keep my mind stimulated, Paint-By-Number is a timeless classic, and I currently crochet (I actually made my friends hats for Christmas this year and I’m proud).

You don’t have to do any of those things, especially the crochet (I picked that up years ago and never fully finished learning to make a hat). I think you all know where I’m headed with this, Pinterest. It has a lot of good stuff for all genders and after being a Residential Assistant for a year I know the true power it holds. Give it a try and maybe you’ll find something you can stand to do for a couple hours.

5. Plan a Weekly Event

One of the things I actually like about February is how there’s something going on almost every weekend. There’s the Super Bowl, the Grammy’s, the Academy Awards, and even Valentine’s Day (If you care about it that is). These are perfect opportunities for you to plan ahead and watch one of these events with your friends. I often find when you have something planned for the end of the week it helps it go by that much faster, and so does the month, coincidentally.

It doesn’t have to be that either, it can be a game night, a night out trying a new restaurant, or whatever else you choose to do just do it with your closest friends! That’s really the secret to beating February: find a close group of friends and plan a night with them, you’ll always look forward to it, it’ll always pass the time quickly, and you’ll always have a great memory.

It’s never too late to do any of these things either. As a senior I just joined a marketing org and I wish I could have joined it sooner because of the great people and the valuable skills I could have learned. So get out there, try something new, and enjoy your time on campus and maybe you’ll be able to turn that yellow Starburst into a red one.

What do you do to help pass the time in winter? Let me know in the comments below.

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My friends with the hats I made them, boom!

Do You Have a Life Motto? You Should!

 

What makes a movie memorable? To me it’s the quote that sticks out and defines the plot. One of my favorite movies of all-time is Forrest Gump (I love it so much I went as him for Halloween) and if you don’t know the quote, “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get,” I suggest you stop reading now, go watch the movie, and come back after you truly appreciate the innocence and greatness of Forrest.

Done watching? Great! Now my point is you hear that quote and it generates different scenes in your mind and sums up the plot of the movie. This is what I want to explore with you today, but instead of a quote that sums up your life I want to hear what your motto is. Recently I had the privilege to listen in on a talk given by social media guru Chris Brogan, if you haven’t heard of you him you should check out some of his stuff, he’ll make you laugh and inspire you.

Chris said everyone should have a three word motto, not a three word sentence with words like “the” or “and”, but three separate words with passionate meaning to you. I’m going to share with you what my three word motto is and, as you begin your college career or continue it, why you should have one too. My motto: Laugh; Love; Relax.

Laugh

The first word in my motto is laugh because it’s something I do more often than anything else. I can explain why this is so important to me from a late night conversation between my roommate Lorenzo and I. We both had a hard couple of weeks with relationships and exams and we just sat down and started talking which led to fits of laughter. After we wiped the tears from our eyes he said, “I love laughing, for that brief period of time you forget about all the crap going on in your life.” I was blown away.

No matter what is going on in your life, if you’re laughing you will forget about all the negative things going on in your life and rejoice in being happy, even if it’s for a second. That is why I love laughing so much and never forget to do it. I try to find humor in all situations because, number one, it makes me feel better and keeps me sane and, number two, takes away a little bit of the seriousness of the situation.

Love

I’ll be the first to admit I’m a hopeless romantic. I’m always looking for that perfect moment with a girl or for the perfect meeting story (turns out I’m not really good at those moments, but more on that at a later time), but that’s not what I mean here. What I mean is to never forget to express your love to the people who have been there for you in your worst times.

To me this includes my family who has been there for me since the very beginning and I love them unconditionally. Then there are my high school friends who, although we are all scattered right now, I never forget to send them an occasional text saying I love them because they helped me through my awkward high school and middle school days (I’m not ready to share those pictures with you yet). Lastly, I love my college friends who have picked me up when I have been knocked flat on my ass and helped me laugh through some hard situations, but they have also helped me relax, my third word.

Because I love these people I keep them at the top of my mind at all times and they help shape many of my decisions. If they need something I will drop what I am doing and help them, even if that means putting off my work until a later time because I know one day I will need them too.

Relax

In high school I was a constant ball of stress trying to maintain my 4.0 GPA and stay on top of my extracurriculars. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school when I was freaking out about a grade and my English teacher told me, “You keep this up you’re going to have a heart attack at an early age.” Now, to the regular person this wouldn’t mean anything, but it put in perspective how high strung I was at the time. From that point on I have always remembered to take proper time and relax to do the things I love: athletics, reading, or hanging with friends.

Now I didn’t know what to expect coming to college in regards to stress, but I always remembered, if things got too stressful, sometimes the best thing to do is put it aside and do something to take your mind off it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to study and a little bit of stress is healthy, but you have to remember school isn’t the only thing going on in your life so take time to zone out every now and then.

My favorite nights haven’t been when I stay up all night studying because some test is going to make or break my grade. They have been when I come home after a long day and my best friends are in the living room rolling around laughing and I get to join them. These are the moments my motto firmly takes shape when I see the people I love in the same room laughing and helping me relax.

Why does it matter?

I know what you’re asking yourself, “Why do I care what his motto is and why should I have one?” You’re right, you don’t have to listen to me or care what I have to say but my point is your motto is your compass to guide every decision for how you want to live your life. It sets the destination you want your life to go and once you figure out what it is then every decision you make from that point on should be with them in mind.

So we come back to Forrest’s quote, “Life is like a box of chocolates,” because it’s true, you never do know what you’re going to get. This is why you can and should change your motto to what is most important at that point in your life. Right now it may be friends and school, but later it could be your job or your own family because they will be what you base all your decisions on.

Put in perspective what matters most in your life and take the time to make a three word motto to help guide you through college, it may just come in handy and keep you sane at times. Let me know what yours is and comment below.

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Told you I went as Forrest Gump