5 Resolutions For 2017

5 Resolutions For 2017

It's not "new year, new me" -- it's "new year, same me, but better."
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People will always try to say that New Years resolutions are overrated, and cynically insist that no one ever keeps them anyway.

But at the end of each year, I feel it's important to look back and reflect upon the strides I've made, what I've accomplished and what I haven't, and the areas in which there is still room for me to improve. I try to see life as a continuous journey to become the best person I can be, knowing that each year will bring new and more difficult challenges than the previous one, and I'll have to figure out ways to accept them and cope with them. I know this coming year is going to bring big changes--in school, at work, in the world around me. So, yes, like so many others who are on a continuous journey of self-improvement, I'm taking the new year as an opportunity to set some new goals for myself on that path. I guess you could say I'm preparing for the next level of the game that is my life.

And yes, I DO have faith in myself that I can keep these resolutions--this year and beyond.

1. Relax

I never realized just how many thoughts constantly raced through my mind, or how that might be affecting my life, until a few days ago when I downloaded a meditation app and began doing 10-minute daily exercises. Slowing down, quieting my mind and letting all those thoughts go felt better than I could have ever imagined, and I couldn't help thinking of how much more productive I could be if I always felt relaxed, centered and clear-headed. So this year, I'm going to continue taking time at the beginning of each day to meditate, and at the end of each day to unwind and de-stress. When the new spring semester begins, I know I'll be able to improve my GPA, my relationships and my general way of life in a more relaxed state.

2. Keep a journal

At the same time, when I'm going through something big in my life that brings confusing feelings with it, I know writing in a journal is a good way for me to sort them out. It's another way to make more space in my mind for clearer thinking.

3. Become a better communicator

Communication is essential in all relationships--romantic, friendly, professional, and so on. It's how people come to understand each other's feelings, thoughts and ideas. This year, I want to make sure my feelings, thoughts and ideas are heard, and that they're heard in the right way. I want to be able to let others know what I need from them, and be there when others need something from me.

4. Keep my word

I'm not just going to say "We should really try to hang out more!" and then let weeks pass with no contact at all. I'm going to make sure it actually happens. I want people to know me as the type of person who really means what she says--especially when it comes to nurturing friendships.

5. Stop degrading myself, and start praising myself

I'm now entering my 21st year. I believe now is as good a time as ever to realize that I'm going to make mistakes, and it's going to be okay. They're not a comment on my character and they don't take away from the good parts of me. I'm really going to try and have more faith in those good parts.



Cover Image Credit: Ariana Leo

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10 Reasons Everything Is Better In The Summer

You know it is true.
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I know we're still in the middle of winter where the days are short and dark and the nights are below freezing. While the winter is fun and exciting, especially with the ever-prevalent hope of a possible snow day, a little bit of seasonal depression might be kicking in for some of us. That is what inspired me to take a step back from the cold and reminisce about what makes the summer the most special time of the year.

1. There is no school

This means no responsibilities no waking up early, no homework, no classes and no studying. These past few summers, I've had to work, which in some way still requires getting up early and having responsibilities. But, come on, summer jobs are nothing like the real world, or the strict school calendar.

2. The days are SO much longer

I can't wait for when it isn't dark at 5:30 and the day feels like it's over even before it really begins. In the summer, getting dinner at 7 p.m. and driving to the beach to watch the sunset seems like the perfect plan. Waiting to eat dinner in the winter until 7 p.m. is the WORST because it's already been dark for close to two hours and my internal clock gets so thrown off.

3. No makeup

There's something that happens when you're tan and happy, the need for makeup goes completely out the window. Either you're going to the beach later that day, or you just don't even think of it because your skin is finally clearing up from the dryness of the dark winter days.

4. Bathing suit and shorts—NO COAT

Not being able to walk outside without bundling up in a coat, hat, gloves, scarf, two pairs of pants, and snow boots is getting a little old. In just a few months, we'll be sweating in just shorts and a tank top, and I cannot wait.

5. Better vibes

For whatever reason, everyone is genuinely more kind and happy in the summer.

6. Bonfires with best friends

This is something my friend group executes perfectly and it is the best because I grew up around fires every Sunday in the summer and a week-long vacation where every night was closed around a bonfire.

7. Driving with all the windows down

Coming home from the beach or work with all the windows down, but the AC still blaring— I don't really know what it is but it's amazing.

8. Laying on top of the covers

Even though you're only wearing an oversized T-shirt and the AC is on, for whatever reason, there's just no way u can stay under the covers. You'll probably wake up in an hour sweating profusely but, still, there is something amazing about this.

9. Vacations

Whether it's a mid-day road trip with no destination or week-long trips to the beach, everything is just so much more fun and enjoyable.

10. Staying up and waking up late

In the wise words of Luke Bryan, "Sunrise, sunburn, sunset. Repeat."

Cover Image Credit: Maryanne Mahoney

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12 Reasons To Be Excited For Spring This Year

It's been a long winter, we deserve this.
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It seems as though the weather (especially in the midwest) seems to be incredibly unpredictable around this time year. We are in a very weird transition between the back end of winter, and the early months of spring. Yet, before we know it, we will be in the months of April and May all within the blink of an eye.

Students, in particular, anticipate the arrival summer all year. This anticipation usually distracts people as they move into the spring months, and always causes people to ignore all the awesome things about spring. While we're waiting, perhaps we should take more time to appreciate all the good that comes with spring.

1. It is a new beginning

Spring is the renaissance month of the four. It is a chance to be reborn again and prepare for the rest of the year with a clear mind. Many people are doing the annual "spring cleaning" and getting a fresh start.

2. The sun is out longer

The winter solstice is the promise of longer days in contrast to the shorter days of winter. Longer days turn into long nights and allow for both outdoor and outdoor activities to be extended into the day. Plus, it doesn't always feel like it's as late as it should be.

3. The sun is hotter

While the weather is still sometimes cold throughout spring, you can still feel how hot the sun is in your head and your face. Even when the weather is still fluctuating, the sun is the one thing that feels good.

4. Everything is colorful

The presence of the sun means that everything starts to gain its color back. The dry, yellow grass of winter turns into a vibrant green. The disappearance of constant gloomy clouds turns into the beautiful blue sky. Everything from nature, to animals, and even people seem to have a brighter shade of happiness to it.

5. The weather is just right

While it may fluctuate, at least it's not winter. Most of the time it isn't cold enough to wear a winter jacket, but not hot enough to just go into a t-shirt. A sweatshirt and jeans are the best bet every day and it brings a stable amount of comfortability.

6. Everything is in bloom

Because the weather is just right, life starts to bloom everywhere. Flowers of all kinds litter fields and gardens. Flower buds cover the tree branches and eventually turn into vibrantly colored leaves. Life is happening everywhere.

7. Even the rain is beautiful

They say, "April showers bring May flowers". Something about the rain in spring is soothing though. It serves as a reminder that the gray blanket of winter is being washed away, and we are getting a cleansing for the upcoming season.

8. It's always a long winter

Winters in the midwest seem last forever. They are always very cold, unforgiving, and relentless. The drag of winter leads to the onset of seasonal depression and eventually becomes a nuisance altogether. Entering spring means the end of a long internal and external battle against the weather.

9. Everyone is coming out of hibernation

Birds, animals and even people are starting to wake up again and become more active after the long winter. Everything feels new and fresh and opportunity is everywhere.

10. It is almost the end of the school year

Spring break is the most fun time of year. Letting loose for a week with friends and family after making it through winter serves as the best reward. After spring break though, there is only a couple of weeks until finals and then we're out of school for the summer.

11. Driving with the windows down

Once the weather gets warmer, it finally becomes bearable to drive with the windows down without experiencing harsh cold. Driving with the windows down is the epitome of summer nostalgia and serves a reminder that summer is near.

12. We are that much closer to summer

Literally one season away.

Although the arrival of summer is the most anticipated of the year, spring is the beautiful pathway to that season. We get to watch summer bloom into warmth, beauty, and relaxation; and that just builds up our anticipation that much more. The seasons always go too fast, and they always have something to offer. Perhaps we should slow down and appreciate them in the moment before they change again.

Cover Image Credit: Allef Vinicius

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