Finding a Way Back To Balance

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Photo by Wes Hicks on Unsplash

It’s my junior year at a school that for the past two years, I kept trying to leave every chance I got; every day I stick around, I find myself running into more reasons to stay— my people.

College has been rough, I think I’m allowed to say that, but it hasn’t been for nothing. You see, I spent just about my entire freshman year studying and while my grades didn’t always reflect it, my head was constantly stuck in a textbook. I had NO idea what I was doing. I still don’t.

But there is one thing I did last year that I think will completely change how this year goes for me: I put myself out there. I got involved with PCW and Her Campus, along with WOW and several other clubs which I’ll admit, most of the time I didn’t really want to go. But I went, I found some commitments and I held them. Because the biggest thing I got out of each was a home in just a few people along the way.

Give me five minutes on our campus and I guarantee I’ll run into a least one person I’m friends with, a concept which is still so wild to me. Even just yesterday, I ran into another friend from my freshman dorm and it took at least 10 minutes for us to catch up, just a little bit.

I dove into this year in a way that I couldn’t even prepare for: head first. There was truly no time for hesitation, and evidently sleep because I’m still trying to catch up. Even so, I’m realizing that there are some things you have to go into like that: without hesitation and no expectations as to what comes next. At this point, I can attest that absolutely nothing we do goes as planned anyway.

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Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

As much as I’d love to say that I’ve finally figured college out and I’m as fulfilled as I want to be, I’m not. There’s something missing. Though this is my first year as an official English major, I’m not going to lie and say that it’s been everything I’m looking for— that’s what minors and clubs are for too. I’m sure all of us quarter system students realize how quickly everything moves at this point; my midterms started week 2 and we’re just finishing week 4, but people are burnt out already. It’s intense. With the heinous amount of reading and assignments we have as students, it can be hard to find a balance.

I think the dangerous thing about college, about any time in our lives, is focusing too much on the wrong kind of balance.

Develop a safe balance between fun and work— maybe mix the two, but not too much.

Create a balance in your people— professional peers or other friends— find some support and love, but also find some wild ones to push your own comfort zone just a tad too. Remember, I said a tad.

And most importantly, find a middle ground between spontaneity and consistency. Don’t dwell too much in one or the other.

It’s great if you usually get your work done early. But if you always stay in on Friday nights or get all your homework done by Saturday morning, maybe try something else this week— hit the movies, go for a midnight doughnut run, try out that new restaurant and get all dressed up for no reason, even just do a potluck night with friends. Anything goes, just remember to do something different every once in a while.

We’re all too young to keep to the same routines or always fall asleep in the sofa by 9:30pm— yes Dad, I’m talking to you. Switch it up every once in a while, live your lives.

I’ve got a lot on my plate this year… After what year two turned into, quite possibly too much. But right now, I’m going for it— all of it. If I need to pull back, I can; there is always room to pull back. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of feeling like I’m standing still, even at a school and in a system where everything is constantly moving. I need to find a way to feel like I’m moving again. At this point, it’s now or never, make or break for me.

We all just have to find a balance— I hope you find yours.


Here’s to whatever comes next. Happy Friday everyone and I’ll see you Tuesday for a new Bookworms.

Risk vs. Reward– Defining Worth

There are nights when your friends ask you to go out for dinner or a movie and you answer without hesitating: Absolutely. Then of course, there are the nights when someone asks what you’re up to and you tell them something along the lines of this Harry Potter gif: giphy

So what do you do about the times when you really have no idea what you want… Say yes and miss out on this. Or say no and miss out on that. Whether it’s your grades or a fun night or even just good company, it’s a bit of a toss up right?

For the last week, I have been trying to find a balance within that toss up, between working almost forty hours and cramming for two finals and an essay, among other things. Did I hesitate to say yes in going out with my old team last night, while staying up with them till three am in the process, knowing I had another full shift today? 

No I did not.

But should I have?

I’m not sure. Because between my grades, very little sleep, a long shift, and one final still to go, I have to figure out what is more worth it to me and make that a priority. As I think most of us understand, figuring out priorities isn’t the easiest thing.

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Photo by Nicolas Lobos on Unsplash

Take spending money for example— sometimes when you’re really just craving Thai food or you see an outfit that you cannot pass up, you decide that you want to spend the money and go for it. But even as I tend to do that on occasion, I still hesitate and think, at least for a moment, that maybe I should save my money.

What if I need it tomorrow and that’s the exact amount I needed?

What if I get home to realize someone else already bought the food and wants to share.

What if I wear the outfit out and actually hate it, so I never wear it again?

What if I should use my money to put into my retirement fund instead? Unlikely, but still a possible thought.

It’s a risk and reward type of situation, and it comes down to the decision of what’s best. The difference is whether or not what you consider “for the best” is in the moment or in the long run.

Maybe it can be both.

Because we can bring this back to my work schedule, catching up with friends last night, and knowing I worked today, while still deciding to… Go for it. Was it worth it?

Absolutely. As much as people and sometimes I like to say “GPA is forever,” my GPA isn’t always the best company. Especially if it’s so low that it can’t even pick me up if I needed it to. In the long run, my grades probably won’t be what I remember, nor will the amount of hours I worked or the time I spent studying.

What I want to remember are the nights like last night, the people who are worth my time, the fun that I have to remind myself I deserve, and the moments that I get to slow down in for a little bit. Even when I don’t think there’s time.

That’s probably the best time to make some.

When it comes to risk and reward, only risk it if it’s for you and you alone— risk it for your success, your happiness, your youth, your love. Risk it for your life. Because your life is worth the good that comes next.

The reward of having lived fully, not holding yourself back, and remembering that you’re the real priority in this, that the good. And you deserve that.


See you all on Tuesday for another Poetry Place, here’s to another summer weekend.

Penny For My Poems

thought-catalog-470876-unsplash.jpgAnother day of poetry for you, here’s something new— short and sweet. I’ve been doing a whole lot of writing in the past few months, trying out new styles and working through what I can. What I’ve got for you today is a lot more recent, partially because my old writing is on my old phone, but also because this has been my headspace for a while now.

Though they may seem self-explanatory, I’d like to think there’s a lot of meaning in each line. Poem number one is a mirror of another poem I’ve written (shout out to you if you recognize that first line), but I changed the angles a bit. And that second one was written while not paying attention in English class– I’d like to think it was more important at the moment, but my professor may not agree. So give these a quick read and let me know what you think. Maybe you can figure out the full meaning along the way.


One

hernan-sanchez-160709-unsplashAs I lay my head to rest

I wonder if

you’re resting too.

I wonder if that rest is what

you needed, what

you knew

was coming. I have questions now

too many…

If only you

could come back home and answer them…

one thing I know

you can’t do.

Two

lucas-sankey-365365-unsplashCreep around my edges, careful that you be

around the glass, sharpened pieces

that have become of me.

Let your fingers ‘bout each door, who’s locks are

never shut, never hinged, confirmation

of which you may be sure.

I’ll let you in, let you close though

our fingers never touch, call to question

of your purpose here to show.

ornella-binni-148189-unsplash (1)For you are here, a lie to hold

within the brokenness I know; for your

beauty may never grow old.

But let your presence hold me steady,

bring me peace until you go; hold me up

till on my own, I can be ready.


Have a beautiful rest of the week everyone, see you Friday.

 

A Lost Life Isn’t Lost Love— A Dedication

34124953_1563548653771896_7372034991028436992_n.jpgHave you ever stopped to consider the amount of people we meet on a daily basis and how those numbers add up to this moment? Classes, sports, work, colleagues, coffee shops, friends of friends… Take a moment to stop and think about that.

Thought about it?

I graduated high school two years ago and the world got a little bigger once I left home. Before coming to Cal Poly, I had never considered what might happen once I got here– I was so focused on getting in that I didn’t think about what happens next. But I integrated myself into the school, found friends in my orientation group and classes. I discovered little pieces of home in this place last year, and in one quarter, I probably met as many people as my high school graduating class.

And I realized, some homes we make, others we are lucky enough to find ourselves in without even knowing how it happened in the first place.

Tower 7 was that home for me last year. For those of you that don’t know, I lived in 3-story dorms last year, each floor containing maybe 40 rooms each give or take a few. The amount of people I met was astounding to me, there were just so many new faces. jian-xhin-281513But lucky for me, I made my spaces a little smaller and spent the majority of time in the third floor common room or over in Nick’s Tower 7 dorm– each floor had about 12 rooms. As much as it wasn’t even my living space, floor 2 adopted me all the same.

I’m even more thankful for it now than I was then.

Like I said, we meet a lot of people in our lives, but there are some groups of people that really change us. Maybe it took me a little while to see it, but I got lucky to have two homes last year.

In the last few months of my life, from my job to my friends, I’ve come to understand how fragile our mortality really is. It’s one thing to know that we don’t live forever, it’s another thing for the world to hand you proof.

Losing Bryce Adams has brought Tower 7 back together again, not only to miss someone, but to love everything he was and left behind. In the memories, photos, videos, laughs… It’s all there, everything that needs to be. And it’s been a beautiful thing to be welcomed into; to be allowed to feel a loss but also to appreciate a life. I know it sounds cheesy, but at my age I think it’s important to understand how to do both.

Too many of us don’t know how.

34067493_1563548540438574_3374910598830620672_nIt’s a reminder that we have to live while we’ve got the time to do so. We need to make time. Have a coffee date with an old friend and take a moment to forget about the grades or the schoolwork, take advantage of the youth that people keep telling me won’t always last.

It’s a process– figuring out who we are, navigating changing relationships, or even learning how to let people go. It’s something we learn along the way. Even though that’s one thing I’ve been trying to understand this year, just as I think I’ve got it down, life reminds me that I really have no clue what I’m doing.

I’m starting to see that none of us do.

Remembering someone and being okay with a loss, it takes time. It’s different for everyone, but we don’t talk enough about the ripple effects grief can take through things like our groups or friends or hearts or faith.

Because things will change.

It’s all a part of life and if you think about all those people you’ve met, they’ve all been through it at some point. Every single one of them is living their own lives carrying their triumphs or struggles or smiles. And that’s okay, whatever it takes to get back to where you need to be, it’s okay to do it.

I think of the people Bryce met, through wrestling and high school before the dorms and freshman year here, and the concept of that impact is beautiful to me. Tragic, but beautiful. And I am thankful to have been one more person to know him.

Like I said back in October, “Stop, take a moment, maybe two— take as many as you need— and you hold on to the blessing it is to know someone like that.34108605_1563548620438566_8022201359270936576_n

You hold on to the love they left behind for you.”

So if you will, live a little for me today, hold onto the love. And as much as I don’t like how many times I’ve said this in the past year, I mean it wholeheartedly:

Rest easy Bryce. Here’s to whatever happens next. 

Road to Recovery: 5 Ways Back to Okay

anton-darius-sollers-217869You know those jokes that are so funny to you at the time, but when you tell someone else, it’s just not the same— like you kind of had to be there?

That’s a bit like life.

From the lessons we’re learning to the people we’re going to be, in the end it looks like we’re going to have to figure some things out on our own. We all have to get our hearts broken or cram for a big test to understand what we need to do better next time. It’s probably not the first time, definitely not the last. But we learn from it all the same.

Just like we learn from our own mistakes, we also learn from the places we find ourselves in and how we find our way out of them. Maybe you’re not quite feeling 100% these days or maybe you really just want to get back to where you were. Easier said than done, I know. But if you need some ideas on how to get back or simply a reminder that you can, here are 5 ways to pick yourself back up to being okay.


One

arnaud-mesureur-132213Get up and get out. With the weather growing cold and the rainy season just beginning, now is the prime time for excuses as to why we don’t go outdoors or cozy up all day instead. Don’t let yourself keep making those excuses. Sometimes, all you need is a little fresh air and a breath of life to remember that you’ve got a whole lot of living to do. Get out there and do it.

Two

Hold yourself accountable. Have you ever heard that if you do something for thirty days straight, it becomes a habit? Well sometimes, all you need to do is introduce yourself into a new habit— one that you’re doing for you. Whether it’s reading, going to the gym, or something else entirely, commit yourself to finding something to look forward to every single day.

Three

glenn-carstens-peters-190592Get going on that bucket list. Do you have a list of things that you know you want to do before you die? Why not get started on it? Nothing reminds you of what you want or who you can be like crossing things off on a bucket list. It’s about the living, the time, the effort it takes to be happy. And if you don’t like where you’re at, find a new direction to go in. Take control of where you want to be.

Four

Music. I feel like this one explains itself, but music really can be the key to feeling good. If you need to turn up the playlist called “down in the dumps” for a little while, do it. And if you need to take Allstar by Smash Mouth and turn it all the way up, you can do that too. If you’ve ever seen Grey’s Anatomy, then you’ll understand what I mean when I say that sometimes, you just have to dance it out. Cut an LVAD wire today? Or maybe you got yelled at by your boss for something you knew you shouldn’t have done. No matter what it was, put some headphones on and dance it out to a little Tegan and Sara, Where Does the Good Go.

Five

ornella-binni-224982Someone out there loves you. Whether you lose sight of them sometimes or you’re surrounded by the people you care about, just remember that people love you and that you matter to this life. Hold onto the idea that “I love you” is one of those things you can’t say too many times. So say it, do it, and hold onto it. Someone out there loves you today and if that’s not enough, I don’t know what is.


 

 

 

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Keys to Happiness- Intro to Change

If you’ve been following my blog for the past year or so, you would know that even though I’m a current chemistry major, I’m switching my major to English. To a lot of people, this might seem foolish, wasteful, or even flat out irresponsible. Here’s the thing: I’m okay with that.ksenia-makagonova-229007.jpg I would rather stress, or struggle, or find my way through college doing something I love rather than do all of that feeling stuck in something that makes me feel inferior or in a major I simply do not care for.

Can you see the difference?

Now I say all this with the understanding that leaving college as an “English major” does not have the best reputation— for good reason. Although it is extremely versatile, it is also not something that people are necessarily looking for throughout the professional world. The job outlook is not great. I know that. But I said I’m switching my major, I didn’t say that’s all I was planning to do… Even the biggest dreamers need a backup plan; for me, that includes adding a minor, at least. Have I fully decided what it’s going to be? Not yet, but I’ve got a pretty good idea of how to make these next three years worth everything I’ve got.

If I’m not setting myself up for a better life now, then when will I ever?

College is a difficult four years where our lifestyles are something completely different from they have ever been or ever will be again— this is a world of it’s own. Once we get out of here, we cross the border between young adult/just figuring things out to stepping into the realm of the professional world with no real way to go back. Once I leave this college life I haven’t finished creating yet, it’s going to be hard to know where I need to go; that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be able to succeed. The success of my major switch is riding aaron-burden-195608not only on successfully switching, but also on finding internships, making connections now (network, network, network), and capitalizing on every opportunity I have to make this college experience worth it.

As I figure out how to make every action I take here count, one of my closest friends here is also in the process of switching her major. We both started at the same time. Ironically, we are switching from almost the same major but we are headed in completely different directions. One big difference between us two? She is on her second major switch right now.

As one of the hardest parts of college and just like so many other students, she’s had a hard time finding the right fit, the right major for her time here. After choosing a different path last quarter, she go into it, took a few classes, and realized it wasn’t what she wanted. A crossroads. The way many might see it, she had two main options: panic, dropout, stay home, and come back after figuring it out, OR take a deep breath, think about her own interests, and give herself a chance at another path.

Lucky for me, she chose option two.

So over the summer, she did a little research, found an internship, and in the process, discovered a better direction she really liked. Now she’s three weeks in and I’m starting to see that even though a lot of us might end up in a bad spot or we aren’t quite sure we like the direction we’re headed in, it doesn’t mean we can’t do anything about it.railroad walk

Because how is that second switch going for her right now?

She is thriving.

You see, there are a lot of things we could do to be happy with where we are in our lives. Some people read self-help books, others meditate, and plenty decide to stick it out and work for something better. But there’s one thing I think a lot of people are afraid of but often desperately need to do, something that we leave for a last resort: Making a change.

As I grow up, maybe that will mean moving to a new city or finding a better job. I know right now for a lot of people my age, it’s finding a new club/group to join or switching to a school that fits them a little better. But just like me or my friend, sometimes making a change is the best possible decision we can make. Don’t be afraid to make it.

If you’re not happy or you’re struggling, find a way to make it so that if you have to struggle, you can at least struggle towards something that will be worth it. We only have one life to live, a life that we don’t have a timeline for when it gets hard and complicated and messy. And we’re going to get lost, I know I have countless times already, but that’s all a part of the experience.

Without a little struggle, the good times couldn’t possibly be worth it. And as cliche as I know it all sounds,sean-afnan-244576 without trying out the wrong paths, we wouldn’t be able to find our way to the right ones. So here’s to discovering success, discovering ourselves, and of course, discovering the keys to being happy.

Until next time, have a beautiful weekend everyone 🙂

 

Life is like a Palindrome- But not Quite

Did you know that starting on the tenth, this entire week of dates has been a set of palindromes? Take a look, they read the same way backwards as they do forward: 7/10/17, 7/11/17… 7/17/17.  What a crazy life we’re living isn’t it?

nora-gorlitz-310858

Anyway, that was your fun fact for the week and today I am writing about something that isn’t as straight-forward and backwards as a palindrome: Choosing our paths.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my past vs. my future and everything in between. I’ve been out of high school for over a year and after catching up with friends in the short time I have been back home, it’s amazing to me how much some of us have changed. Our mindsets seem a little more practical, the way we act has matured just a bit, and our heads are now set in another direction… We are no longer the scared/excited/lost freshman trying to find our way around campus we had been. We’re growing up.

As we keep moving, we are handed a little more responsibility here and a couple more things to consider there. Going into my sophomore year of college, I’m switching my major— little did I know how difficult and complicated that would be when I first showed up. But I’m switching to a major that doesn’t have the best reliability when it comes to jobs once I graduate, ideally, in the next 3 years. With the way things are going, the issue with jobs doesn’t only apply to me; that seems to be the case for a lot of us.

So we play our cards right, add a minor or score all the right internships we can possibly find along the way to where we want to be in the working world— possibly.

I say possibly because, well the truth is, a lot of us have a pretty good idea of where we want to be in five years. Or at least a rough estimate. Others of us have no idea where we want to be in the next two. Yet once each of us gets there, we will probably be somewhere entirely different. My generation is said to be filled with high achieving students that have even higher aspirations. I know I definitely have some of those high aspirations in mind. But the truth is, as reality sets in, our plans change a little bit and we begin to adapt to the paths that we started on.

Sooner or later we begin to realize what we can or cannot have in this world isn’t always up to us. Sometimes it’s all about circumstance. And we cannot always change those.

But we can change who we are because of them, we can adapt. If we don’t, we either get what we wanted or find out that there are other people willing to do what we weren’t. As they say, such is life.

osman-rana-263702When I was younger, I had this dream of doing something that I still carry with me in the back of my mind: I wanted to change the world. I used to think it was impossible for one person to do that. Now I’m not so sure.

You know the butterfly effect, where small causes can have larger impacts? Well, that is the embodiment of my dream. Just because I say I want to change the world doesn’t mean I need to impact 7.4 billion people all by myself to do it. All it means is that I need to effect a few people, who in turn impact a couple more, and before you know it, I’ve changed the worlds of enough people for it to matter.

That’s all any of us can ask for.

Now take that idea and apply it to the paths we are choosing— the butterfly effect is still in play. Because if any of us have dreams, a place we see ourselves in 5 years, there are ways to make that happen. Maybe it costs too much to dream that big, but if you save twenty dollars here and thirty there, sooner or later you’re saved enough for rent or a big move to that city you’ve been dreaming of for so long. Or what if you’re not experienced enough to get where you want to go? You’ve got to snag an internship one year, try to network your way into another, and maybe in time you can find yourself in the heart of the goals you hold in your own.

The thing is, the paths we choose and those dreams that many of us have, we can only reach them if we put in the work to get there.

Because, we’re growing up. All of those friends in our lives we consider to be “our people” right now may not be the same ones here later on. And some of those aspirations we think mean so much to us now may not hold as much weight in the long run. If there is any time for our lives to be changing, to be rearranging into something else, this is it.

We may be choosing paths to begin the rest of our lives on, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay on it— there is always another direction take and another opportunity to find as we make our ways to the future we cannot always control.

dawid-zawila-279998Like I said, it’s not as straight-forward and backwards as a palindrome: life isn’t supposed to be. We’re supposed to get lost a few times, pick ourselves up, and keep going. Because we only get one life to live, and this truly is a beautiful life we’re living.