Set for Success in Year 4

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Happy Friday, because it’s been a long week. After the last first week of my undergraduate career—hopefully—I can already see the time counting down in front of me. While I’m an English major, this quarter I’m getting more into my minor classes and it’s quite different from what I’m used to doing. 

I mean, I usually study English and literature and meanings and write essays… Now I’m working in Illustrator, learning the Adobe software, and getting a kick start in digital art.

Plus doing a good amount of fiction writing in the process.

All of it got me thinking, I’m coming to the end of my undergraduate career and this is a good time as any to throw what I’ve learned out to all of you—because I’ve made my fair share of mistakes and mishaps. Maybe you will all get a chance to learn from them and the lessons I found along the way.

So here we go:

7 ways to make the most out of a new beginning

Don’t hesitate

Photo by Doran Erickson on Unsplash

A lot of times, when we’re getting into something we haven’t done before whether it’s a promotion at a company or a new school year, we hold ourselves back a little bit. I mean, it’s hard not to when you don’t know what’s coming next. But that’s okay. If you have a chance to learn or get lunch with the boss, do it. If your professor seems to single you out in class, you’d better get on it and know your stuff then. This even goes for meeting new people and throwing all your cards on the table–if you’re going to do something, do it all the way. Do not hesitate. Give it all you’ve got. 

Invest in yourself

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

This goes along with the first one, you only get out as much as you put in. So if you’re trying to succeed, set yourself up for it. Do your work early, do your best in the time you have, don’t be afraid of testing the boundaries of what you know. There are only so many ways to learn and sometimes you can surprise yourself. If there is someone around that you just need to know so you can pick their brain or learn from them, go for it! Networking is a part of everything we do once we get past high school, make the most of it. 

Ask Questions

Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash

I know when I walk into new things, I always worry about doing something wrong or not knowing how to be perfect. But the thing is, part of a job is learning as you go; you’re never going to be taught everything you need to know. Just like the rest of our lives, some things are best learned through experience. If you don’t know how to get an assignment done and can’t problem solve on your own, ask. There is a reason there will always be someone who knows a little bit more than we do. Why not use that?

Be shameless

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

Now I put this one in here with a grain of salt—be shameless, but in the way that you’re willing to learn and do what it takes to be the best you can be. That doesn’t mean wiping out your moral compass, stepping on other people, or compromising your integrity in the process. You know your own boundaries, you know how you usually work. Own it and do your thing.

Know your potential

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

Even when we work really hard for something, a lot of us have a tendency to downplay just how good we really are. Don’t. If you get hired or chosen or decide to pursue something for yourself, have some faith. Sure, we make wrong turns and risky decisions sometimes. But none of us will get anywhere if we’re so busy being humble or insecure that we can’t find the space to grow from there. You are the only person you will always have. You may as well be your number 1 advocate. 

Use your resources

Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

There is a reason schools have counseling centers or financial aid offices, just like all jobs have a bosses and HR departments. Use them if you need them. After 4 years in college, I’ve found that some people don’t like using the resources around them because they can feel like handouts or as if they can’t be on the same level as everyone else… I understand that, but I also understand that the resources are there and you’re probably already paying for it. Success isn’t all raw talent, athletes need to train and students need to study. Both use resources to get all that done, so why can’t you? You deserve the best for yourself, this is simply setting up for success.

Ask for help

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

When in doubt, ask someone. I remember my first few jobs, I ran into so many questions from how to cancel a transaction to where the break room was. And I was almost always afraid to ask because I felt like I should have known. In hindsight, that makes no sense as we all only know things because we are either taught or we can teach ourselves. Some things can’t be self-taught. Save yourself the anxiety, time, and probably discomfort; just ask. I know as a senior in my workplace, I’ve come to train a lot of newbs and first time retail students; I would much rather someone ask me if something is okay or how to do it than have them do it wrong. Then that’s more work for me and mistakes that might come back for them later. Help me help you. Ask for what you need.


Photo by Lost Co on Unsplash

It’s year 4 and even though there are only seven things on this list, I’m sure I could make a much longer one if that’s really what you want. But these seven, I feel like they’ve really helped me grow and push my own limits in college. There are only so many ways to make the most of something and these are some of the ones that I know quite well.

If you’re on a journey in something new, testing boundaries, or just pushing yourself a bit, maybe one of these will help you find a balance in that success.

I know they have for me. And hey, if you’ve got any favorites to share, feel free to put those in the comments because I would love to hear it. Otherwise, happy Friday.

Have a lovely weekend. 

To Love and to Lose


If this blog post is a bit scattered, I’m sorry. It simply reflects where I’m at with this life and figuring things out with so much going on.

Life is… Complicated. Always. There is good, there is bad, and there’s a whole lot of in between. I think, for right now, that’s okay. Because I don’t think it’ll ever change and if these past few years have taught me anything, it’s that.

My cousin got married last weekend in Colorado with a beautiful ceremony, surrounded by all the people who love him and his wife. It was lovely, to spend time outside of my day to day life and be with family, fresh air and a bit of distance.

Coming back to my life, however, has been less straightforward. You see, this week is the Week of Welcome, that WOW thing I’ve been preparing for throughout the last year. Well, here it is!

Photo by Leonardo Yip on Unsplash

The Awareness Galleries, they turned out beautifully. All of the content, the tech, the designs, they all came together in a way I couldn’t have imagined. And while some schedules may have been off and people were stressed here and there, I think every single person who went through those galleries got something out of it. Something intangible.

A few students even came up after they walked through and told me how much of an impact it all really had. That was more than enough for me. That, and being able to see my new roommate to preface her group before their walkthrough too. It was a nice surprise and she seems like someone I will be lucky to know this year.

CCE has also been a bit of a wild-card this year. For WOW, I haven’t been in the middle of it the way I have been for the rest of the year because the other two Facilitators who are here for the Week have been responsible for CCE. And they have done wonderfully. It’s a beautiful thing to work really hard on something with other people you trust enough to be apart from the process when it’s time to make it happen while still being able to fully trust them to do it and to do it well.

Because now, I have grand WOWies. And I care so much about every single one of them. There is something about the way I live my life, I need to connect with people and be tethered to a lot of other lives in a positive way, otherwise I feel unfulfilled. With my Orientation leaders and my WOWies who are now leaders themselves, I get that impact and those connections coming back to me tenfold. I would do anything for them and that makes me feel grateful. Grateful that I have people like this to love, that they exist here, and that they have a chance to be positively impacted by this program. 

Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash

Because it’s so much bigger than each of us and that means the world to me.

After all, there is only so much control we have over what happens in our lives. Things like getting involved with Orientation and doing my best to positively touch all these lives, I get to do that myself. Other things, not so much.

There’s nothing like being witness to deep loses and tragedy of so many young people over the years to remind me of all of that.

Over the past two weeks, my small hometown of Folsom has lost 4 alum all from the Class of 2017. And I do not know how to comprehend that. I don’t even know how long it will take me to do so.

In the process, I have caught up with and talked to countless old friends this week to check in or just to talk and sometimes I forget what it was like to grow up the way I did in Folsom. I had my hand in so many pots, from countless AP classes and arts to almost every sport and club I could be in, that the amount of people I love and hold connections to sneaks up on me sometimes. With so many connections, it can be hard to keep up. It can also leave me with a higher chance of losing people.

Folsom, it isn’t that small. But the way I know I love people and the way so many of us cared about one another or were teammates with so many others of us, it makes us all pretty tight-knit when it comes down to it. That’s just how things were. So these losses, they have ricochet between all of us and the lives we have lost, holding love stretching between Folsom and almost every corner of the rest of the world.

Photo by Luigi Colonna on Unsplash

It’s beautiful.

And it’s tragic.

Because death is inevitable. But the death of the young, it hits differently. It’s not something I think I will ever get used to or fail to be changed by, even in such a short period of time.

In the way I write, forgive, hope, support, love, live, and breathe, I see changes in myself that I think will change even more as I move forward from here. Each of us have been altered. I’m sure you’ve seen it just through these weekly posts in the past few years.

So I hope you know that I will take it as it comes, whatever happens next. And if you’re someone in my life, I probably appreciate you more than I can express. So thank you, for sticking around and listening. For being here.

As for Austin, Luca, Len (Lemon), and Josh, you are all so so loved. Just like Maddie, Cinnamon, Bryce, Ronin, and too many more of you always will be. I’m sorry I cannot give you more time than you had, though each of you lived so wonderfully in 20 and sometimes less years that it takes my breath away. Just know that your lives are missed and loved and will live on through the rest of us. Always.

This weekend will not be an easy one, but it is through the love that we hurt and we move forward when we can. No matter what it takes, what time it lasts, or what people we need to hold to get us there. This no longer belongs to just one of us anymore. They lived too large for that.

Photo by Gordon Hatusupy from Burst

And we loved them for it.

In good time, we keep moving even when the world never stops. Maybe that’s the hard part, that the world keeps turning while some people’s cannot for some time.

That’s okay.

Sometimes, it’s worth it to slow down for just a little bit and take it all in while we still can. If you’re reading this, don’t forget to breathe in the life you are living and remind the people you love that you love them still today. 


Here’s to the weekend. And to the four we have lost so quickly, rest easy my friends.

Chasing Time

Photo by Matt Seymour on Unsplash

These last few years, I feel as if I’ve been chasing time. Trying to make the most of it, trying to enjoy what I had even when I couldn’t, trying trying trying. And yet, time has always seemed to slip away from me.

Life is far too short for that. 

There is a whole lot going on in my world right now and I know some of you are in the same boat. I’m writing this for you just as much as I’m writing it for me, whether it’s a push to make the most of the last bits of summer or reminding all of us that we can. That it’s possible. 

Because every day I am reminded of the fragility of our lives. Even more than being afraid of what that means and the things that happen because of it, I am slowly learning to use it as a reason to stay here and stay alive for as long as I can.

That, and stay moving.

Now, they say that we keep learning and growing with this whole adulting thing and I guess I can agree with that. Sometimes. Because sometimes, even while I want to keep moving and keep living this life, I don’t know how.

Let it happen.

Photo by Terry Jung on Unsplash

Let what happen you ask? Everything. There are so many things in our lives that we cannot change or control. I am someone who has tried only too had to do so anyway, though ultimately in vain. In turn, doing so tends to hurt more than it helps, leaving us stressed, worried, exhausted, and feeling unfulfilled.

You have to let it go, trust that it’s okay to not have that control in your own hands.

Believe me on this one.

You’re still allowed to ask someone to sit with you in that turmoil, to weather it with you. You don’t have to do it on your own. But when it comes to the rest, focus on what you can control. Brush your teeth, check in with someone you love, put on something that you feel good in. All of this, this you can do with your own hands.

Do it. Leave the rest up to the universe.

Here are a few things that have gotten me through it all anyway.


Four things:

Acknowledge the dark clouds, remember the silver lining.

Photo by Suganth on Unsplash

There is always some kind of positive to every situation each one of us go through. Even when we can’t see it. It’s okay to be swallowed up by it all for a little while, that is always something you are allowed. Just don’t forget to dig yourself out every once in a while, wake up and smell the roses if you will. Because I promise, there are roses growing right now somewhere in the world and you deserve a chance to feel them around you. Do your best and if you need help, I can be on my way with a bouquet–just say the word.

Go gently. Or not.

Everyone handles things differently. Starting college, new jobs, taking on new responsibilities, dealing with new experiences. Some people take a step back, needing to go gently and take their time to adjust. Others barrel forward with a plan and a bigger reason to live their lives the way they want to. And if you’re neither of those, the rest of us are in between. Truly, it is okay to fall wherever you do on that spectrum.

Speak up.

Say it out loud, whatever it is. Have you ever heard a child talk about being afraid of something when someone told them this one piece of advice: Things are sometimes less scary once you name them and say it out loud. Just like being afraid of a rollercoaster until going on it and realizing that it wasn’t so bad. If you need to talk about something, say it; it makes things real. Sometimes, that’s exactly what you need to do.

Remember, this life is yours.

Photo by Mathieu Stern on Unsplash

No matter what you’re doing, this life belongs to you. For every one of us it is our responsibility to pick ourselves up when no one else will, be our own cheerleader, take initiative to reach for our passions and understand how to handle it when things don’t quite go our way. No one else can do all of these things for us, as much as I truly wish they could sometimes. We’re the ones who have to keep moving, who have to find dreams to follow and keep following them. We’re the ones who have to live our lives. And we call the shots. Even while the people we love walk alongside us as we do.


So hear me out on this one: I don’t know what’s going to happen in any of our lives in the next year, the next month, even the next five minutes. I used to wish I could just to prepare for whatever was coming next in order to not be afraid of it any longer. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we can’t do that—for good reason, that would be no fun after all. This world isn’t something we are meant to control, nor are other people’s choices or the things that they do.

We just have to do our own thing and trust the rest will fall into place, let them fall where they may. And if it doesn’t, your support system is made up of the people who will get you through that. Even when you feel like you don’t have one, reach out. Ask for one. I promise, someone will answer. 

Photo by Maarten Deckers on Unsplash

Remember that today is Friday and you have made it to another week. Hold on tight to the people you care about, remember that you are the shit, and live a little extra if you can today. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Two days ago was 9/11. Three days ago was World Suicide Prevention Day. Your life is valued, your life is important, and so are those of the ones we have lost. Remember that. And even more so, believe that.

See you next week.


PS. If you know, you know. My twitter handle is here and my email page is here; if you need something, let me know. Even if I cannot give exactly what you need, I can offer my company through it. Take care of yourselves.

TGIF

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

TGIF am I right?

If I’m being honest, this week was a real rough one let me tell ya. Even though I know I should be preparing for classes starting back up soon, I was not prepared to get up early every day for the past week. You could say I’m out of touch.

I did, however, get a few things done/make a few big decisions in the process. 

First things first, you know how when you get sick and you’re all congested, it’s easy to remember how nice it is to be able to breathe normally? Well, for the past week, I’ve been missing the feeling of not being nauseous/dizzy/feel like passing out 90% of the time. On top of other things, this week has been a lot and I’m ready to decompress a little.

Still, I managed to accomplish a few great feats even while not feeling well. My house is clean, laundry is done, and best of all, the Galleries for the Week of Welcome are looking incredible.

I can’t say I’ve ever thought I would be so great with a staple gun, but the me from two weeks ago would be quite proud. Things are looking great and I’ve gotten a solid week’s worth of work in—I’ve also been back at work as a jack-of-all-trades at the University store.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

You could say it pays off to work at the same place for three years.

In the spirit of adulting, I only called out of work one morning this week and I think it was in the best interest of all parties at that point. Someone told me that sometimes we have to keep up even when our bodies aren’t quite in tip top shape.

That leads me to my next thing, that decision I mentioned.

I think I am going to write another blog. I won’t be changing anything I do with this one, I appreciate the consistency of it and it means a lot to me. I couldn’t give that up.

What I can do is explore something I haven’t yet: mental health. 

I know I have talked about it every once in a while, but I want a space to open up the conversation and talk about it in itself. Because if I’m being honest, my mental health journey has been quite interesting throughout college as it is for a lot of students and somehow, not a lot of people talk about it.

Just like the rest of our lives, we should talk about it.

Photo by Eric Park on Unsplash

Working within the Galleries for the past year, every aspect of our lives ties into another and I have come to appreciate that. Especially at my age, once we hit 20, it seems that everyone is on a different path than the next.

College, army, working, travelling, etc. There are no real rules for where we are at in our lives. No one has a guideline for what this decade is supposed to look like. I mean, someone created the maxim that college is the best four years of our lives and well… I can’t quite say that’s been true.

What I can say, I have never grown as much as I have in these last three years of my life. That’s as long as I’ve had this blog going so surely, you’ve seen what I mean. Part of me wants to take what I’ve learned and experienced, and use that to change the status quo.

Part of me probably needs the outlet. You see, I’m a creative person who thrives off of our lives and what impacts them. That’s where my creating comes from, where I think we all can relate to one another.

After all, relationships really are the backbone of our lives and our connections.

Photo by Mark Autumns on Unsplash

So let’s connect. Don’t worry, you’ll be the first to know when I figure out what I’m doing next.

Get ready for a new journey, it’ll be a fun one.

Happy Friday, enjoy the weekend everyone.