Why Nice Weather is Good For Studying and Not a Drag

Spring Break is over for most college students everywhere (a moment of silence as my last break before the real world comes to an end, I’ll be okay I swear) Buttttttt this means the weather is starting to get warm again, which means what? That’s right! Procrastination! Students are eager to get outside and play around or just sit and absorb as much sun as possible while seemingly putting their studies on hold, but I want to argue today the nice weather is actually a God-send for college students and their studies.

First I should explain what “nice” weather means in the state of Wisconsin. Nic

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How we look to other states

e includes a day where it isn’t snowing or raining for once, obviously, but it also means the temperature is anything above 40 degrees. Call us crazy but that is short-wearing weather for us and it’s absolutely beautiful. People in the south will be bundled up when it hits 56 degrees and we’ll be playing sand/snow volleyball while setting up the grill to have a day! We deal with some of the most frigid temperatures throughout the winter so 40 degrees in the spring is our new 75 degrees.

But for many people the nice weather causes us to temporarily forget about our studies until we’re half way through a game of ultimate frisbee and suddenly it hits us and our heart drops. But the nice weather can actually help us in more ways than you think and the first way comes with Vitamin D.

UV Radiation Helps Produce Vitamin D

I learned a lot in my nutri sci class a year ago but one thing that stuck with me was our body’s ability to produce its own Vitamin D with ultraviolet radiation. Why is this important for college students? Many students suffer seasonal depression in the winter and studies have shown a strong correlation between seasonal depression and Vitamin D levels.

The studies indicate people who suffer seasonal depression generally also have low levels of Vitamin D. Now doesn’t this make sense? You ever try to do homework or study in the winter and just feel down and out of it? The lack of direct time under the sun in the winter causes us to be slightly deficient in Vitamin D and puts us in a bad mood. Needless to say, once the weather gets nicer outside we spend more time directly under the sun, raise our natural Vitamin D levels, and feel happier which improves our work ethic too.

We may not realize it because we aren’t spending as much time on our work, but because we feel better work becomes slightly more tolerable. Not only are we able to get out and increase our Vitamin D levels, but we can also now exercise outside!

Exercising Outside

Personally I hate running on treadmills in the winter; I can’t readily adjust my speed, I feel like my feet are made of lead, and it hurts my knees so my running usually takes a hit in the winter, unfortunately. But yesterday I poked my head outside, saw a friend running, felt guilty about my lack of exercise, and went for a run.

Me giving it everything I had

I hadn’t felt energetic or motivated to do work all day. After my run I felt better about myself and managed to get everything I had on my to-do list done in no time. I know I’ve talked about the mental and physical benefits of exercising in the winter before, but even I have to admit it isn’t the easiest thing to make your way to a gym in the dead of winter. With nice weather you can just lace up your running shoes, step outside, and start running. The evidence doesn’t lie, exercising improves our cognitive abilities and academic performance. So now when you’re stressed with your work you can go outside for a quick run and return with a more clear state of mind and be ready to rock it!

But my favorite thing about the nicer weather is probably the most obvious, especially if you’ve read most of my posts: you get a break from doing work!

Break From Work

I’m a big promoter of educated break taking. Nobody knows your mental and physical capacities better than you and to me it doesn’t make much sense to study for eight hours straight. I know this is much harder in the winter because you can’t actively go outside to distract yourself and then you’re held captive by your studies in a small room. With the nice weather you now don’t have that excuse.

Studies do show trying to focus on something for prolonged periods of time is actually counterproductive and brief breaks improve attention and performance. Here is your new excuse to avoid studying! But I really shouldn’t say avoid studying because it’s actually ENHANCING your studying.

So don’t look at the nice weather as a hindrance to your studying, embrace it and use it to help you study! Even if that means taking your notes or computer outside with you, get out, raise those Vitamin D levels, take a study break, and let your mind reset a little so you can come back and ace that exam or paper.

Why It’s Important to Never Stop Dreaming In College

You ever just zone out in class and try to think of the million dollar idea that could get you out of all the debt you’re accumulating while you fail to pay attention? Same. At least once a day I sit in class and daydream about different ideas that could make me rich. Some people might say this is a bad thing because I’m missing information from class, but I challenge this is a good thing and I want to explain why you should never stop dreaming in college.

First let’s think about actual dreaming and how great it is. You get to see things that might never happen in real life, whether it’s good or bad, and it’s a miraculous feat of your brain no matter what. Now, sleep dreaming is important because it improves memory, lowers stress, and promotes creativity which carries over to daydreaming in college:

Helps Creativity

Sometimes projects call for creativity, like the one time I had a group project and we had to think of a new product and an entire marketing plan behind it. We knew how to do the planning, but we needed the product, which was the hardest part. Eventually we came up with the Friendzone App; basically an app to meet people of any gender in your area based on mutual interests with the strict purpose for friendships, not romantic intentions.

This idea was the spawn of a lot of daydreaming. For my part it came fro
m when I interned in Missouri over the summer and didn’t know anybody there. I just wanted a friend to show me around and grab a beer with and I wished there was a match.com for friends. My daydreaming helped take this abstract concept and make it more concrete and tangible (By the way, for those intrigued by the idea, I have the marketing plan and friends who are looking to start it up, so if you’re looking to invest let me know)

When we let our minds wander we do our best work, which is what creative people are able to do and creative people are often more successful, but daydreaming also improves your working memory.

Improves Working Memory

A study done at the University of Wisconsin (Ayyy!) shows daydreaming correlates with higher functioning in working memory. Additionally, daydreamers’ minds wander because they have too much extra capacity to focus on the tasks at hand. This means you can multitask and retain more information in the face of distractions.

So you can leave class, talk to a friend, pick up eggs at Kwik Trip because they’re only 99 cents compared to other superstores, and then still remember to fill out the job application your professor told you to do. Next time your teacher tells you to get your head out of the clouds just respond, “I’m strengthening my working memory!” and later you’ll be able to successfully encode that information and remember it for a later.

Along with improving your working memory, sometimes you just need to daydream to get your through the day and keep hoping you’ll come up with the next great idea. Until then, you can rejoice in the fact daydreaming also improves your mood.

It Improves Your’s and Others’ Moods

One day I sprinted home, burst through the door, forced my roommate Ryan to stop doing dishes, and sit down to help me plan our future brewery. I was so excited about this “million dollar idea” it rubbed off on Ryan and his exact words were, “I’m loving all this positive energy right now!”

It’s true, I thought of a brilliant idea for a brewery which I would share here but you may take it and that just wouldn’t be fair. I had the idea, the target audience, and the entire marketing plan laid out within an hour and a half. I was stoked! But I forgot one thing…I have no clue how to brew beer. Yeah I know, I can sit and learn the art and trade and eventually make a beer I could sit down and say, “This isn’t the worst thing I’ve ever tried to drink,” but it takes years to perfect that craft and I have student loans to pay off now!

My point isn’t the fact my dream of owning a brewery may never come true, but I did have a dream of doing so and that dream improved my mood, and Ryan’s, significantly. We felt like we could conquer the world after building this dream together and from that moment on in the day we felt motivated and got all of our work done faster than ever.

This is the main reason I dream, to improve my mood. I like to think of what-ifs, potential outcomes, and happy memories and when I think about these I immediately feel better and when one person feels happier it rubs off on others. Another reason I daydream is because of the potential that can come. There’s the old saying if you can dream it, you can do it, but I was once told, “If you don’t dream it, you won’t do it.” It’s a life lesson I learned from Chris Rudolph at the American Family Dream Bank in Madison, WI, and it’s true, if you don’t conceive a dream first, you will never take the steps toward that dream.

So I have the dream of opening a brewery or a coffee and doughnut shop and because I have that dream it means there is potential for it to come true. Maybe not now or in the near future but so long as I’m dreaming, I’m happy and content and working my way toward success.

Literally the two best things in life

How to Answer, “What’s Your Perfect Job,” and Why I Dislike It

Why yes, it is Spring Break, thank you for noticing! What was that? Am I relaxing? HA! I’m a senior with less than two months to graduation and desperately trying to get interviews while staying on top of my class work, there isn’t much relaxing, even now. In fact, a couple weeks ago I had a job interview which went really well, thanks for asking! However, one question in any interview I’ve ever had always trips me up: What’s your perfect job? I want to share why I dislike this question and give three potential answers you could give in an interview.

There are two reasons I dislike this question; the first because it’s conditional on age. If you’re a freshman and have to answer this question, odds are it’s pretty easy, especially if you just discovered your major. Political science: law or politician; biology: vet or doctor; engineering: engineering. The dream job exists and the options are endless in your mind, but as classes get more difficult and you progress through college, this starts to become more obscure.

By the time you’re a junior or senior you begin to question everything you’ve ever thought. You could be a biology major all throughout college, have a couple internships at hospitals, and then suddenly realize this isn’t what you wanted at all! Life=upside down. Now when you’re a senior and what you thought you were going to pursue is no longer an option you are left without an answer and feel lost, and I completely relate to you!

My second reason is simply because your dream job could be completely different from the job you’re currently interviewing for. For instance, my dream job is owning a coffee and doughnut shop (Could you think of a better place to be in? I mean you’re surrounded by the best smells in the world and you bring joy to people daily! That’s the dream!) But do they really want to hear that answer if I’m in an interview for say a bank job? Who knows! That’s why this question is so hard to answer, but here are the three ways I could answer this question.

The Realistic One

Employer at a newspaper: “What’s your perfect job?”

Interviewee: “Ah yes, great question, one I’ve thought about often. My perfect job is editor-in-chief. I like to be the leader and see to completion all phases of the projects placed in my hands. This also insures I know the project is going in the direction it’s intended and the consumers are receiving the correct information.”

Not bad, right? I’m sure an employer would love to hear this answer because it shows direction and determination. I know many people who have this kind of answer sealed in their minds and a clear idea of their perfect job, but not everyone’s perfect job is within the field they’re applying and they give the actual answer.

The Actual One

Employer at a business firm: “What’s your perfect job?”

Interviewee: “Thank you for asking. My perfect job is president of the United States. I’ve wanted to be president ever since I was in fifth grade. I could finally pass the laws and policies that would make the world a better place.”

Not a bad look, right?

On the surface it sounds like a joke, but it could work if you justify it. “At a firm like *Insert Business Firm* I can further expand my skills and use them to advance to my next stage in life. This position will allow me to better myself, the business, and the people we serve on my way to being president. Not too bad actually? Now, don’t go into your next interview and throw down some random perfect job and not be prepared to back it up because Brandon said so, but expressing your dreams in this sort of environment may demonstrate creativity and determination to get to that job. But some may still not know what their perfect job may be and they give the truth.

The Truthful One

Employer at a research lab: “What’s your perfect job?”

Interviewee: “I’m happy you asked that and the truth is I’m not entirely sure. I’m young and haven’t had the opportunity to explore different positions yet, but I know what I’m looking for in my perfect job. I want a job which brings me joy to go to each day and gives me the opportunity to improve the lives of the people I am trying to help.”

This will show you’re honest and have integrity but may need a little help along the way to narrow down and find that perfect position. It doesn’t mean you’re any less motivated you just need a little more time to figure out what the specific perfect job might be.

These aren’t all the answers you could give and they may not even be the ones you should give in an interview (What? Do I look like I’m giving the questions in an interview? Come on, I’m in the same boat as all of you!) But everyone is different and for the most part it depends on how you give your answer.

If you’re beginning to interview, I may not like this question but it is a good question to consider and here are others to consider. How you answer will say a lot about who you are and give them insight into your goals for the position and life. Good luck!

 

 

An Open Letter On March Madness to College Professors

As a college student and a sports fan we’ve entered my favorite season of the year, not spring! Spring is wet, cold, and muddy all the time minus the few days you can step outside and say, “This is alright,” and then boom! It rains for a week straight, but I digress. No, we’ve entered March Madness, essentially the second season for college basketball which, for many college students, begins two days before our Spring Break and professors choose to hold class on those days. As I know I’m not the only college student who shares this sentiment I would like to compose a letter to all professors, especially those whose schools are in the tournament, on behalf of those students and express what they are thinking during their class.

Dear Valued Professors,

We want you to know we appreciate everything you have to offer us as we further our educations and broaden our minds. You’re THE leading experts in your fields and we can see the passion in your eyes as you teach us your trade, but you have to understand something at this time of year…

Most of us are checked out! For many of us March Madness has been a month long process with papers, exams, and stress holding us down while the thought of Spring Break and rest taunts us in the distance. Although some of us get the basketball tournament and Spring Break during the same week, not all of us can be that lucky and we feel their pain. This is why we propose optional classes for those two days.

We understand we’re spending the money to get this education and every class cancelled or skipped costs us about $51. But you have to understand we’ve been coming to class for weeks straight working day in and day out. With the heaping amounts of stress, coupled with Spring Break being so close we can touch it, we are beat and need to blow off some steam, and many of us do this by filling out a bracket and watching the games.

It’s completely trivial, we know. How many statistics we can look at and scenarios we can ponder doesn’t really matter because we can’t control how a team plays just as we can’t in any other sport. What we can do is watch and enjoy as our brackets either sink or swim and feel good about the potential upsets we picked or how well our brackets have done compared to others.

Additionally, with as much respect as possible, we reluctantly have to inform you nobody is paying attention in class on the Thursday before Spring Break and when the tournament begins. This is most likely the scene you will see in class that Thursday: about half the normal number of students that do show up because half have already left for Spring Break and the other half decided to stay home to watch the games; 25% look like they’re taking notes on their computers but are really watching the game playing during that class; 15% are asleep because they are so worn down but felt the need to show up; and 5% are actually paying attention and we give them a hardy pat on the back because they have powered through their month and keep going strong.

For the rest of us we apologize, we are only human.We have succumbed to lethargy as our Spring Break begins in two days and the tournament has begun sooner making it increasingly difficult to focus in class. We don’t need class to be cancelled, it would be nice but we ultimately do understand. A simple acknowledgement of the tournament, maybe a little peak into one of the games, and a joke about your busted bracket will suffice. This will make us feel better and help you appear human, as we all are. (An abbreviated class wouldn’t hurt either, for those with Spring Break clouding their minds)

We hope you understand and will take into consideration our thoughts on March Madness and Spring Break. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

College Students Everywhere

*May your brackets rest in peace

 

 

3 Ways You Can and Should Fit Your Family Into Your Spring Break Plans

(A sigh of relief) Yes, the long awaited break from midterms, papers, and stress has finally arrived for college and high school students alike. For many of us in Wisconsin we’re tired of the cold, rainy weather and dream of being on a beach with friends having a day (Yes, having a day, make it what you want it to be). As enticing as that sounds I have never taken a typical “Spring Break” trip as many of my fellow colleagues have and I’m perfectly fine with that! Those trips are gross, people don’t shower for days, and odds are you’re standing in puke almost all the time, in fact read all about it here; besides I got to spend time with my family instead.

Think of it this way, you lived in their household for 18 years straight. They’re used to seeing you every day for 18 years and then after high school you’re just gone for months on end and probably don’t call as much as you should. I know not everyone will agree with me, and that’s okay I can handle arguments the other way, but I feel if you don’t get home very often it wouldn’t hurt to spend a Spring Break at home with you family. For those intrigued by this thought I want to show you three ways you can include your family in your spring break plans and still have fun.

1. Go Home

Let’s put all the angsty teenage thoughts about wanting to get out of the house and start your life away for a moment. When was the last time you were home to see your family? Christmas time? That’s what I thought! Also, here’s a crazy thought, they miss you and want to spend time with you! Everyone has a moment in college where they miss their parents and just want to go home and there is no better time to do so than Spring Break.

Returning home for break meant I would have a home cooked meal, not something the dining hall threw in a deep fryer or microwaved and said it was edible. Home is where my comfy bed is and I can sleep for hours on end. And most importantly home is where my pets and family are. Those are the two things that will always give you unconditional love and as the second half of the semester begins to wind up and finals start soon after, it wouldn’t hurt to spend some time with people who shower you with love.

2. Take an Abbreviated Trip

This Spring Break I’m going home and I can’t wait, I miss my family a lot, but I also enjoy being with my friends. So the first weekend of break I’m taking an abbreviated trip with some friends to Chicago and then going home. This gives you the best of both worlds because you have your friends for a small part with a trip and then you can go home for a still very significant chunk of time and be with your family.

Another reason I like this option is because it helps me ease into my “Break” mindset. If I ever went home for a weekend to visit my family during the school year it always went by so fast and I never got to enjoy my weekends with them fully. If I start out my weekend on a small trip with friends it makes me think it’s like all other weekends so I relax a little more without the impending sadness of leaving my family. Then I realize I get to go home and spend a week with my family and I feel I can enjoy it that much more! (It’s all psychological if you really think about)

3. Take a Trip With Your Family

Sophomore year in college my dad and I took a trip to Washington D.C. together, which I believe everybody should do once in their life. We both love history and wanted to go for the longest time. We also figured it would be warmer than Wisconsin over there so it couldn’t hurt. (We were very much wrong, it was in the 60s the day we got there and then two days later it snowed 3 inches and they shut down EVERYTHING!! We clearly were not in Wisconsin anymore)

My dad and I in D.C.

This was a great father and son trip, we got to experience the Metro after a Washington Capitals hockey game and I introduced him to Chipotle and their guacamole and he is addicted now. I look back on those memories fondly and will never forget the time we had together and it goes to show you don’t have to just go on a trip with your friends to make great memories.

Some of my motivation for this post comes from Spring Break being next week and I’m excited for some much needed rest; some is because I miss my animals and can’t wait to cuddle with them. Mostly my motivation comes from my thoughts about graduating in two months and the realization I won’t have many more chances to spend with my family.

I have my whole life to go to a beach with friends and visit new places, but not the rest of my life with my family. Don’t take them for granted, they miss you even if they don’t say it or show it, they do. I will never regret a moment I spend a break with my family because I love them and cherish every moment I have with them. Now don’t go out and cancel your plans because Brandon said so, that’s bad, bad collegegartner (Read my post about collegegarten here) but maybe next time before you get all amped to go down South and party with your friends, think of your parents and how they want to spend some time with you before you begin your new life after college, there will be more chances to go down South later on.

To my family reading this, I love you and will see you soon.

 

Why Being A Morning Person Helps My Anxiety

My roommate Lorenzo often questions why I wake up over two hours before my first class in the morning when I can just roll out of bed at 10:30 and make it to my 11 o’clock class. I can give him a bunch of answers that are true such as I get to eat a well-balanced breakfast or I don’t like wasting the day, but the real reason I do it is to help with my anxiety. Yes, as a matter of fact I too suffer from anxiety, the most common mental health problem for college students. So today I want to discuss my anxiety and how being a morning person has actually helped me overcome it.

Let’s back up for a minute, we all experience anxiety in one way, shape, or form in our lives whether it’s with exams, job interviews, or making important decisions, but an anxiety disorder is different. Anxiety is defined as feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities. This has often caused me to freeze up while studying and just sit there feeling despair closing in on me, but I overcome it because I am stronger than this disorder and so are you! How neat is that?! *Everyone hears “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten playing*

Now, Brandon, how does waking up early help you with your anxiety? Oh I love how you all ask the important questions!

I’m Not Scatterbrained

Have you ever slept through an alarm or just chose to wake up late to get to class? It’s the most stressful thing in the world! You fly out of bed, put one sock on while losing the other, put your shirt on inside out, and forget to zip the fly of your pants for the whole day! Not to mention you probably grabbed the wrong notebook  and realize it when you get there and then don’t take the notes because it would just mess up your whole note-taking system. (Rant over)

Who wants to live that way? That literally has anxiety builder written all over it. Waking up early allows me to gather my proper notebooks, find both socks, prepare my lunch, and plan the day. I’m not rushed to get to class or hurry along in the mornings. When you have anxiety it’s a load off your mind when you have some control over what’s going on around you.

It Gives Me Relief

You know what the best feeling in the world is? Waking up before your alarm goes off, checking the time, and seeing you have another hour left to sleep! (Oh yeah, you know what I’m talking about) This is how I feel every morning I wake up early because I get to make my breakfast, eat it, check the clock, and see I still have two hours to prepare myself for the day.

You probably assume I am proactive with those two hours and get my work done, well you’re wrong, I’m still an active procrastinator at heart and if I woke up and started doing work my anxiety would be worse. So instead I watch Seinfeld from 8-9!

If you haven’t watched Seinfeld you probably should because it’s literally about everyday life, well it’s actually a show about nothing but you get the gist. Anyway, it brings joy to my life and helps me relax in the mornings. So I finish my breakfast, finish Seinfeld, and now I still have at least an hour to do what? That’s right! Watch Kelly&Michael because they’re always happy and it rubs off on me!

Some people believe in relaxing at night but I believe in doing it in the morning as my form of meditation. After watching these shows my mood is lighter, my mind is more clear, and allows me to relax and ease into my day.

I Get To Eat Breakfast

I mentioned earlier this was a true statement! It does help me with my anxiety because I’m not going from hour to hour starving and looking for my next meal. A well-balanced breakfast gives me the vitamins and nutrients and yada yada yada…The real reason I get up for breakfast is so I can get my morning coffee.

Don’t call it an obsession, I have control over this, coffee is just something I love! I wouldn’t mind being a barista one day because a) I’m surround by the delicious aroma of coffee all day, and b) I would get to talk to people, two of my favorite things, but this is beside the point.

You can just smell the picture

Now this may sound counterproductive to my argument because I know caffeine is often called an anxiety inducer, but not for me. Maybe it’s because I’ve been drinking it for so long the caffeine doesn’t affect me anymore, maybe it’s because I associate drinking coffee with catching up with friends, or maybe it’s simply because I enjoy it. It’s my own reward in the morning and makes me happy, but most importantly it’s something I have control over, and that is the real key to my mornings and anxiety.

Anxiety sufferers everywhere know how it feels when they think everything is spinning out of control and they can’t do anything to stop it, but you can. I wake up early because it gives me control over MY day, not anxiety’s day. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have anxiety attacks every now and then, but if I start my day with time to prepare, gather my thoughts while relaxing, and reward myself for making it that far, I have a solid start to the day and gain a better hold on my anxiety and I know you can do the same.

Not all of these things may work for you and that’s okay, but I urge you to try out a morning-person lifestyle and find something you can have control over. You’ll be amazed with what a little bit of control in your life can do for your anxiety.

 

 

Know Your Body and Take Time To Do You

I’ve mentioned before I don’t get sick often but every four years something comes along and just kicks me right on my ass, and this was the fourth year in the cycle. A couple weeks ago I woke up with congestion and a sore throat and I couldn’t hear out of my right ear. The scene my roommates walked in on two weeks ago was me sleeping on the couch, Dayquil in one hand, two bottles of orange juice propped up next to me, and blanket pulled all the way up to my neck; I was miserable. But I was miserable because I didn’t treat myself right away. So today I want to talk to you all about why it’s so important to know your body and its limitations and to take time for yourself.

Know Your Body

I ran track in high school, mostly the 100 and 200 m dashes but only the 400 m dash my senior year (yes, it is as awful as it sounds).  I’m a very competitive person and I always wanted to do my best, but I also struggled with severe shin splints. My shin splints were so bad I thought every time my foot hit the track it was just going to break and I would finally have some relief. Some times I could barely walk and I would have to tell my coach I had to sit out of practice and his words have stuck with me to today, “Hey, you got it, you know your body better than I do.”

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I’m on the left

I would feel bad because I had to sit out while others practiced but the more I thought about it I started to think, “Yeah! You’re right, you don’t know my body, only I do!” I found solace in that at the time and I still do today because nobody can ever tell you they know your body better than you do. This also means you need to recognize your limitations.

I discussed this in my post about my half marathon but it’s still pertinent to this topic. If you’re stressed or feeling under the weather I know a lot of people, including myself, can put on a good face and make it seem like they’re fine when really all we’re thinking about is climbing into our nice warm beds and sleeping for two days or all the work we have ahead of us.

Nobody is going to think any differently of you if you miss a class because you’re sick and a) can’t make it because you’re miserable, or b) you don’t want to get others sick. I had to miss class today because I had a doctor’s appointment and I was able to get my notes from others in the class. Here at the UW we have the ability to contact students in your class and get your notes and I would assume other colleges have a similar service, so you can’t be truly missing everything.

Knowing your limitations is one thing but you also need to know when to take time for yourself.

Take Time For Yourself

Yeah, I said it, now do it! I graduate in two months (he says as he holds back a tear) and I need to apply for jobs, stay on top of my school work, help with my student org, and find sleep in there somewhere. I’m a ball of stress at times, and currently sick, and I often forget to take time for myself because of school or “obligations” to others. (I put obligations in quotes because although you may consider them obligations, they may be expendable if you need to take a time out for your own well-being).

The same can be said for when you’re sick: you need to know your limitations first and then realize class or work may not happen that day. Now I know this may cause some anxiety but it will all be okay, you know why? That’s right! Because Brandon said so! I’m so happy you’re all learning. I had an audition yesterday to be a presenter for my student org and I had to cancel it because I still felt like I should be left at the curb with the garbage. I felt bad I had missed my chance, but here’s why it’s okay…People understand if you’re under the weather! They understood I wasn’t feeling the best and they’re giving me another chance to audition tomorrow. (Wish me luck!)

TAs, professors, employers, whoever it is you’re in contact with, if they’re understanding and kind-hearted people, they will grant you this request and give you the opportunity to make up what you missed. This doesn’t mean you can take advantage of them and constantly say you’re sick, they will catch on and you will face dire consequences. The point is, there comes a time with both stress and sickness that you need to realize you haven’t done something just for yourself lately and maybe it’s time you stopped and did that for once.

Buy yourself a chocolate bar (I recommend Lindt’s 70% Dark Chocolate, you’ll thank me later), go to the gym or for a run, grab coffee with a friend or by yourself, or stay home with soup and cold medicine. Treat yo self, fool! Do you for once and you will see your mood drastically improve and the more time you take to heal your sickness, the better you will feel overall and come back ready to conquer the world!

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Would you just look at it?!

4 Reasons College is Kindergarten for Young Adults

Let’s take a minute and just reminisce about the good ole days of kindergarten. Ahhhh, the smell of fresh crayons and play-doh, arts and crafts, recess, and snack time. Those were the days, weren’t they? Well I’m happy to inform you those days aren’t over yet and, although you’re a few semesters into college by now, you’ve just entered kindergarten round 2: collegegarten! (No? That doesn’t sound good, does it? Oh well, you try to think of something better!)

Now hear me out, what is the purpose of kindergarten? According to the Oxford dictionary, its purpose is to prepare children for the first grade. Now let’s compare that to the purpose of college which is to prepare young adults for careers and life! BOOM! Mind explosion!

But that’s not the only similarity between the two, there are in fact four I intend to make known to everyone and explain why they’re necessary.

1. You Don’t Have a Full Day of Class

Now this may not be true for everyone but when I was in kindergarten we only had half days and I was in the afternoon class, which meant I got to sleep in! And what did I do today? Oh yes, I didn’t have class until 11:00 this morning so I got to sleep in!

This is often typical of many college students schedules, whether they schedule for all early morning classes (Props to you) or they schedule all afternoon classes hardly any college student has a full day of class. Why is this necessary? In kindergarten it was necessary because they believed we would be overwhelmed by a full day of class away from home. Is that any different from college?

No! College classes are exceptionally more difficult from kindergarten ones, needless to say, and if we have a solid full day of classes of that caliber we would be a) thoroughly overwhelmed, and b) never get our work done. We need to only have class a few hours a day because otherwise we will just be balls of stress ready to erupt.

2. You Get Nap Time

Oh yes, it does exist again. Remember in high school when you would be so tired and thought to yourself, “I wish I could have back all those naps I took advantage of when I was younger.” Well now’s your chance!

This doesn’t mean you can sleep an entire day away, wake up, see it’s midnight and say, “Well tomorrow’s a new day.” No, bad collegegartener! This means you have the opportunity to take a nap if you need it and this means a 10-20 minute nap. The science doesn’t lie. The benefits behind a nap include improved alertness, performance, and reduced mistakes.

Most young adults need, on average, 7-9 hours of sleep a night and since you’re all like me you don’t always get this. Although I thoroughly promote a hardy college-try at getting those hours, if you feel the need for a nap sinking in it is in your mental states best interests to do so.

3. You Cry Over Seemingly Unimportant Things

Less of a positive link between the two but still relevant. In kindergarten I’m sure everyone has a story about when you cried for a silly reason. For me it was when a kid stole my hiding spot in hide-n-seek. (Okay, I didn’t cry, I punched him in the face, but let it be known I have not been in a fight since!)

Collegegarten can be an emotional time, you’re away from your family for an extended period of time and stress levels often boil to new extremes. I don’t believe one exam makes or breaks your college career but even I often stress over them because I get the idea in my head that it will determine my true intelligence.

Sometimes stress can get so high you will cry because your roommate used your white out or because somebody brought you a doughnut (story of my life). Crying not only helps deal with stress, but it helps you connect with others, be more creative, and flush out toxins.

4. There is Vomit and Bodily Fluids

I hardly ever get throw-up-have-to-stay-home sick but one of my favorite stories to lord over my mom is when I was in kindergarten. I told her I wasn’t feeling good all morning and right before she took me in. We were having a field trip that day so her response was, “It’s just nerves, you’ll be fine.” Well, I got to school, we got in line for the bus, and suddenly there was puke on my shoes and I was being escorted to the nurse. I went home, HA! But things don’t necessarily change in collegegarten.

I have two roommates in a frat and every time I visit with them I’m always afraid I’m going to lose my shoes because they’re stuck to the floor from who knows what! When I was an RA the gentlemen in the dorm had a problem with helping the waterfall find the lake…(there was urine on the seat and floors).

My point is don’t expect everything to be nice and clean like it is at home. You’re sharing a space with well over 100 students at a time and you will encounter these gross things. Come mentally prepared, bring flip-flops for the shower, and always, ALWAYS check the toilet seat and area before using it.

(There isn’t any necessary reason behind this point, people are just gross and act like 5 year-olds some times)

Although kindergarten was a time of simplicity, play time, and arts and crafts, college still requires focus and hard work but you should never be afraid to pick up a crayon every now and then to color and let your imagination run wild like you were 5.

My Half Marathon and What It Taught Me About Life

So yesterday I ran six miles for the first time in about four months without even thinking about it (yes, my legs are killing me and I’m 99% sure I tasted blood for the last three miles). BUTTTTTTT it got me thinking about my half marathon I ran back in August 2015. While on my run (and dying from oxygen deprivation) I remembered my training and the half marathon itself and how it truly parallels many aspects of life and I want to share with all of you why that is and why you should all run one.

First, because I’ve established you’re all like me, when you hear a person say they’re running a half marathon you think, “Why would you ever want to do that?” Wellll a little background, in July 2014 I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t breath, it felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. It eventually subsided and I went to work the next day but it happened again and I called my mom and we went to the hospital. It turned out I had pericarditis, an inflammation of the outer layer of my heart, my heart was basically squeezing itself. I had to stay the weekend in the hospital and have numerous tests done until I could be released.

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Needless to say I was not happy, especially after the news I received when I was discharged. They told me I couldn’t do any vigorous activities for three months and no competitive sports for six months. To a person who tries to be as active as possible like me this was devastating. But I did my best to eat well and maintain my figure and I said to myself after these six months I would make it up to myself; I would run a half marathon.

So we’re up to speed now and I’m beginning to train for my half marathon and during my training I learned the first thing that parallels life:

Dedication

To train for a half marathon you need to be dedicated to running, working out, and eating healthy, and the same thing is true about life, the dedication that is. If you’re trying to be an athlete you have to put in the dedication to train but you have to do the same thing if you want to be a lawyer, doctor, or teacher.

Anybody who has accomplished something in their life will tell you they had to make sacrifices to fully dedicate themselves to reach their goal. For me it was cutting back on beer and start eating kale and other green vegetables I cringe to think about (seriously, who thought a plant that tastes like dirt was a good idea to ingest?) But for others it means cutting back on going out with friends and spending more time with your books or job to reach your goal.

Dedication gets you this far but in most cases you will experience:

Apprehension

The training was over, the race day was here, and I was running. I felt pretty good and kept telling myself I could do it, but I hit the wall around mile 9 and immediately my thoughts changed to, “You idiot, why are you doing this to yourself? Stop I beg of you!” I thought that was going to be it and in many aspects of life you will experience similar apprehension.

In the pursuit of your dreams you will feel you’re on your way and then suddenly you will hit a road block and think the train is derailing. Whether this is relapsing and going out to the bars again or ignoring your responsibilities for a momentary second of bliss.

Anxiety and apprehension happen when you think you’re missing out on “important” life experiences in pursuit of your dreams but what defines a person is:

Perseverance

Although I had a moment where I didn’t think I was going to make it, I pushed through all the pain, remembered all the work and dedication I put in, and finished the race (This wasn’t easy either, they made the entire last mile UP HILL! WHAT?! WHO DOES THAT?!) But I did it, I crossed the finish line and I’m still here and I’m damn proud that I did it. I felt better than I ever did in my life and that’s the true power of perseverance.

Half Marathon

No matter what type of apprehension or anxiety you experience in life, so long as you remember the reason you started in the first place and push through the pain, you will persevere. Although we all wish things would come easy for us, I believe the victory and reward is much sweeter when you experience adversity.

What I want you to take from this post is running a half marathon requires dedication and perseverance to push through the adversity you WILL experience along the way and life is no different. I want to challenge all of you to run a half marathon at some point in your life. It will be one of the most mentally and physically challenging things you will ever do in life, but the outcome will be so rewarding. It will help put all of these points in perspective and help you enjoy the journey to your goal.

*Why a Half and not a Full?

As with anything in life you need to recognize your limits. I knew I wasn’t the strongest long distance runner at the time so I chose to do a half first. In life never be afraid you admit you aren’t ready for something because it’s past your experience.Recognize your own limits and never take off more than you can chew.