After a Quarter of Winging It…

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Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

After four term papers, three exams, two observational finals, and one project/presentation… My fall quarter is over. And let me just say, my junior year has already been quite the wild ride.

If you remember, I started the quarter off early here for Week of Welcome orientation program and I got to be a Cross Cultural Experience WOW leader for the first time. I got the privilege of having 16 Wowies (first years) to fill the week up with and I love every single one of them, truly they are incredible.

From there, the people just kept adding up in my life as I joined focus groups and picked up in PCE (Pilipino Cultural Exchange) so now I have two adings under me in my family. Those two also make up one highlight of my quarter. I also convinced Nick to join PCE and trust me when I say I’m pretty excited about it.

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Photo by Jed Villejo on Unsplash

If you’ve been following me since last year, then you’ll remember that I also took part in PCW or Polycultural Weekend back in April right before the blackface incidents and I had two hostees— one of them did commit to Cal Poly and I love running into her on campus as one of the many people I care about here in SLO.

And on top of those, I submitted a piece to OWN (original women’s narratives) again that will be performed in the show but not by me, because I am also going to be a part of WOW again, but this time as a CCE Special Teams FAC leader. So that’s exciting… I have no idea what to expect or even if I can handle it, but that seems to be the theme of junior year so far.

Now, beyond the people I’ve added to my life, this has also been my first year starting off as an English major so I was in all english classes this quarter. I have never done so much reading that I didn’t actually want to do in my whole life. Remind me to never take all english classes again; even while some of it was really interesting and good for me, I’m so burnt out.

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Photo by Val Vesa on Unsplash

Maybe that has to do with all the things I’ve been up to because I finally officially finished that novel and started on a new one, I’ve written more articles for Her Campus (check out the latest one here), my essay writing has improved at least a little, I decided on a technical and professional communications minor/certificate and a concentration in creative writing, I still work at the University Store and now I’m a tutor at the Writing center as well, I learned how to take the high road (reluctantly), and I’ve learned just a little more about myself along the way.

You could say that I’ve had a busy quarter. And well… Next quarter is going to be busier.

It’s college after all, probably not the best 4-6 years of our lives, but definitely one of the few times you can come home from a party to turn in a term paper at 1:30 in the morning or drive two minutes down the street to meet up with all your friends just to cook together.

So for now, I’m going to enjoy the fact that it’s my winter break and I can finally catch up on reading and writing what I want. And I’m not going to check my grades obsessively because there’s nothing I can do about it now. I’m just happy to have another crazy quarter under my belt and to see some time to sleep waiting for me these next three weeks.

Here’s to a beautiful Friday and I hope you’re all doing well. If anyone is still chugging through finals, check out that Her Campus like above, it’ll help you through it.

Good luck and I’ll see you next week. Have a great weekend.

Self-Care: If We Don’t, Who Will?

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Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

With a few exams under my belt already, we’ve got finals coming up next week and I have just the thing for you today. Because lately, I have to be honest in saying I haven’t been taking care of myself at all— I keep telling myself that I’ll sleep tomorrow, or I’ll eat after I finish this one assignment and well… Time just keeps going and I wear myself down even more.

So for the good of each of us, I have five ways for you to add to your self care toolbox today. Because you’re the number one advocate for you, the self-care starts with you. So let’s get started together.


Sleep

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Photo by Alisa Anton on Unsplash

This will always be one of my biggest things to advocate for because, just like Snickers says you’re not you when you’re hungry, you’re also not you when you’re tired. Take it from someone who was in bed by 9:30 last night, sometimes you really just need the sleep. Whether you’re working or just trying to enjoy a day off, sleep is the first step to having a solid day of doing what you want to do without holding yourself back. Treat yourself to some zzz’s today, nap a little if you have to. Pay attention to your body and it’ll pay you back in feeling more ready for whatever comes next.

Get Out

Sometimes, it truly does help to just get out of the house and go outside. And no, I don’t mean the outside you’re in while you walk to class or go to work, I mean surround yourself by nature and walk in a park or go for a hike. If those aren’t an option, then find a coffee shop or some place to sit down and relax for at least thirty minutes without doing any work. And if you really can’t do that either, then change your surroundings even if all you do is clean your room or move to a new area. One way or another, get out of your current space for a bit. Your mind and your body will thank you.

Drink. A lot.

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Photo by Clint McKoy on Unsplash

And I mean water, come on now. Hydration is incredibly important for your body to function properly, but on top of that, it helps you feel more balanced throughout your day. Not only does staying hydrated help your focus, sleep, and overall feeling, but it also helps to keep you from snacking throughout the day. If you’re like me, maybe you procrastinate with food, or even just snack when you’re stressed. Drinking more water can help you with that because sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you really just need water. So grab a glass of water and treat your body well today.

Meditation

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Photo by Samuel Austin on Unsplash

When I say meditation, I could mean it literally for some of you, especially if you’re into the headspace app. But if you’re not, this could also mean maybe meditating over a good book, or even better, a good meal. Just take a step back from whatever else is going on in your life and be present in the moment. Give your full attention to those around you, your work, your books, and even your shows. Just be there and be a little productively unproductive for a while. You probably need it.

Company

anthony-intraversato-455600-unsplash (1).jpgFor some people, self-care might look like studying and working until it’s all done and that’s one less thing to worry about. For other people, it might look like spending a little extra time around the people who matter to you. After all, they say misery loves company but in reality, all of us need a little extra love sometimes. Whether it’s the moral support or even just a fun time to get your mind to relax a little, you know yourself and your people the best. So don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.


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Photo by Carli Jeen on Unsplash

I know we’re all busy people with busy lives, but I hope that you can take some time to care for yourself today, you deserve that much. It’s a Friday after all, why not head into the weekend with a mind and body feeling rested and ready.

And hey, if you’ve got anything that works really well for you, feel free to tell me about it in the comments; I can always use more tips for my toolbox!

So happy Friday. I hope you have a beautiful weekend. See you Tuesday for Poetry Place.

Cheers to the End of Sophomore Year

levi-bare-290792-unsplashWith one final left to go, I am one 3 hour test away from the halfway point of my undergrad career. And I am so ready for summer.

But before I get there, I think it’s about time I took a look back at these past two years— that’s what halfway points are for right?

Recap for year one: living in a triple with communal bathrooms, taking over common rooms, claiming two different dorms as my own, meeting far too many people to remember, making a handful of friends to hold onto, staying up till 3am on a regular basis to struggle through chemistry, and getting to know two roommates that I am still so blessed to have in my life.

So what about year two?

Well this one has been quite the year and I would start with a comparison to year one, but I don’t know where I would start. If I had to choose one way to put it, here it is: Year one was an academic struggle of figuring out where I stood here at Cal Poly.

Year two has been a personal struggle of trying to figure out who I am amidst everything else; my relationships, passions, involvements, and ideals have all changed more than I thought possible this year. So much so that a lot of the time, I’ve found myself feeling stuck— in my major, in a class routine, in a need to do or be more…the-journal-garden-vera-bitterer-682529-unsplash

It’s called the Sophomore Slump.

I came into college with a lot of expectations, the kind that can really take away from fully enjoying things. They are also quite hard to avoid. But I did my best to push those expectations to the side and coming into this year, I felt more comfortable than year 1 with friendly faces scattered throughout campus. I thought I knew a little more about that I was doing.

Life loves it when we feel that way right?

Because before I knew it, I was running after busses, making a trip home for a memorial, throwing myself into a new club way more outgoing than I have ever been, and retaking a chem class that I shouldn’t have needed to in the first place.

I was off to a good start.

Throughout the year, things got pretty busy with work, a major switch, training to become a CCE WOW (cross-cultural experience, week of welcome) orientation leader, working on my book (sorry, still not done), a few civil rights protests against the blatant racism this campus has seen this quarter, and a bit of the kind of socializing college is actually supposed to hold.

And those are just the big things.

marco-bianchetti-539177-unsplash.jpgBut the goal this year was to become a larger part of the school than I was before and remind myself of why I chose Cal Poly over Howard University. There are a lot of things this year that have made me doubt myself and my choices, my value and place here at this school, but there are a few that have also managed to reaffirm me at the same time.

Among any doubts of worth, I think all anyone needs are a few people who remind us exactly why we belong where we are. Over the past two years, from the dorms to my clubs, I’ve started to build up those relationships here and at the end of it all, I’m hoping year 3 will be an opportunity to make them stronger while finding some new ones along the way.

So Sophomore year, you have been quite the roller coaster that I don’t think I could have ever prepared for. In the last three quarters I’ve lost two friends– two of the most lively people I have ever met– and it’s changed my perspective on a lot of things including my college career and how I live my life. While I’m reminded of my education and why I’m at Cal Poly in the first place, I’m also reminded that we need to live and love while we still have the time.

As Robin Williams quoted, “gather ye rosebuds while ye may.”

Like I said before, here’s to whatever comes next— one more final and I’m off to see just what that might be.

Truly, today is a happy Friday. Have a good weekend 🙂nathan-fertig-334383-unsplash.jpg

The 7 Necessities of Sanity

nick-morrison-325805-unsplash.jpgWelcome to week 10 of my quarter, where I have four essays and three final exams to go within the next week— and that’s just academically. So today I’m going to keep it short.

I don’t know about anyone else, but when things get busy, I tend to skip meals or sleep, missing out on what I really need to be doing to keep myself going in the process. Since we’re all human and I’m probably not the only one who does this, here’s a little list for you (and a reminder for me) of 7 things you can do to keep yourself sane when life gets hectic.


One– Music

juliane-mergener-657310-unsplash.jpgDid you know that there’s a song called Weightless by Marconi Union that is proven to reduce anxiety by 65%, designed specifically to reduce blood pressure, lower cortisol levels, and reduce your heart rate? Not only can music help calm you down, but it can also just give you a quick break in the middle of a busy day. So grab some headphones, pick a playlist, sit back, and relax for a minute.

Two– Food

As I like to remind my dad who always seems to forget food, you can’t be productive without bringing anything to sustain yourself. They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but the key thing is to remember to actually eat all three meals in one day. Sustenance is important! Can’t do anything well on an empty stomach right?

Three– Netflix

Need I say more?

Four– Breaks

bewakoof-com-official-205686-unsplashEven while burnout is more common over the course of a year, it’s also possible in a day— on a smaller scale, but still. A lot of us have a tendency to go full speed ahead all the time, forgetting that even while we may not have completely finished a task, it’s six hours later and we haven’t taken a single break. Just to keep yourself sane, remember to take breaks whether they’re for a snack, a shower, a walk, etc. Make a little time for what is important.

Five– Get Up, Get Out

A change of scenery can do wonders for productivity. I know I can get in this mode of practicing problem after problem or re-reading essays so much in the same place that it starts to feel very trite very quickly. Sometimes a walk or a quick tea break can help.

Six– Phone a Friend

Well, maybe you don’t have to call them, but a friendly face/voice can always be a comfort when things get really busy. I know that people think my generation doesn’t know how to value real social contact, but I can tell you that definitely appreciate taking breaks just to talk to someone or catch up for a minute. That being said, if you’re anything like me, it’s a slippery slope between a five minute call and an two hour one.

Seven– Breathe

joshua-rawson-harris-665620-unsplash-e1528509705179.jpgStop for a second. Whether you’ve been going all day or just really need to grind, a lot of times I know I forget that air is supposed to be moving in and out of my lungs in the process. But just like food, oxygen is necessary to keep going and good for the soul. Remember to take a step back a breathe for a moment. Then it’s back to work.


So with that, I will leave you with these seven tips and good luck with anything you’ve got going on these days. Have a great weekend everyone!