9 Ways I'm Spending My Last Winter Break

9 Ways I'm Spending My Last Winter Break

Last one of undergrad... Gonna make it count.
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This will be my last winter break of undergrad. It's not actually a big deal or something most people think about, but being that it's a last, I've decided I'll make it special. My first winter break consisted of me sitting on one of my couches watching "Merlin" day and night... That was all I did besides eat and sleep. Another winter break I gave myself the goal to write 10 songs. I did, they weren't all good but at least I was productive. This one will be a little different since I have a job, but I am determined not to work it all away. I deserve this break after the semester I've had.

So folks, here are my plans for winter break. Maybe it'll inspire you to make actual plans of your own. I've said this in the past and have never actually done it, but I will let you guys know after break how much of it I've actually done.

1. Finish "Merlin"

I know I said I watched it day and night... and I did. So much so that I would look it up and I found out major characters die at the end and my little heart couldn't take it... However it's been three years. It's time.

2. Give Back

I want to do something good this season. Whether it's donating clothes or volunteering, this girl is gonna get into the season of giving.

3. Practice an instrument

I read music and play piano and clarinet. However, I'm extremely rusty and want to improve.

4. Write Something

Sketches for SNL at Rider in the Spring, songs for my so far unreleased albums, a novel, a play, poems for my so far unreleased anthology of poetry, essays for grad school... any of these things. All would be ideal but I know myself.

5. Spend time with relatives I don't see often

You see them during holidays but not so much during the other days of the year. And I have a car now so... Grandma, Grandpa, I'm coming over for dinner

6. Movie Nights

It's a staple among my at home friend group to get together at my house and "watch" movies... more like the movies watch us but it's fun and will happen.

7. Go somewhere I've never been

A restaurant or just anywhere that is new. Because why not.

8. Try out some new recipes

If I have free time I'll try out some new recipes. Some healthy things, some not so healthy. I love to cook and bake so I'll definitely enjoy it.

9. Exercise

Lastly, since I'll be cooking new things, I should exercise. I enjoy working out so it's not a problem. I remember though that I didn't gain the freshmen 15 at school... I did, however, go back to school a little rounder after sending my time on the couch and eating...

So there you have it. Simple but if I don't plan out my time sometimes I do nothing with it. I know some of you are guilty of that too. I hope you all have a great break and do exceptionally well on all finals. Happy Holidays

Food for Thought: Don't waste these breaks doing nothing. There will come a time when you won't have scheduled breaks and you will long for them.

Cover Image Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/winter-river-frozen-snow-bank-2952290/

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PSA: Keep Your Body-Negative Opinions Away From Little Girls This Summer

But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with.

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It's officially swimsuit season, y'all.

The temperature is rising, the sun is bright and shining, and a trip to the beach couldn't look more appealing than it does right now. This is the time of year that many of us have been rather impatiently waiting for. It's also the time of year that a lot of us feel our most self-conscious.

I could take the time to remind you that every body is a bikini body. I could type out how everyone is stunning in their own unique way and that no one should feel the need to conform to a certain standard of beauty to feel beautiful, male or female. I could sit here and tell you that the measurement of your waistline is not a reflection of your worth. I completely believe every single one of these things.

Hell, I've shared these exact thoughts more times than I can count. This time around, however, I'm not going to say all these things. Instead, I'm begging you to push your insecurities to the side and fake some confidence in yourself when you're in front of others.

Why?

Because our negative self-image is toxic and contagious and we're spreading this negative thinking on to others.

We're all guilty of this, we're with family or a friend and we make a nasty comment about some aspect of our appearance, not even giving a single thought to the impact our words have on the person with us. You might think that it shouldn't bother them- after all, we're not saying anything bad about them! We're just expressing our feelings about something we dislike about ourselves. While I agree that having conversations about our insecurities and feelings are important for our mental and emotional health, there is a proper and improper way of doing it. An open conversation can leave room for growth, acceptance, understanding, and healing. Making a rude or disheartening remark about yourself is destructive not only to yourself, but it will make the person you are saying these things around question their own self worth or body image by comparing themselves to you.

My little sister thinks she's "fat." She doesn't like how she looks. To use her own words, she thinks she's "too chubby" and that she "looks bad in everything."

She's 12 years old.

Do you want to know why she has this mindset? As her older sister, I failed in leading her by example. There were plenty of times when I was slightly younger, less sure of myself, and far more self-conscious than I am now, that I would look in the mirror and say that I looked too chubby, that my body didn't look good enough, that I wished I could change the size of my legs or stomach.

My little sister had to see the older sibling she looks up to, the big sis she thinks always looks beautiful, say awful and untrue things about herself because her own sense of body image was warped by media, puberty, and comparing herself to others.

My negativity rubbed off onto her and shaped how she looks at herself. I can just imagine her watching me fret over how I look thinking, "If she thinks she's too big, what does that make me?"

It makes me feel sick.

All of us are dealing with our own insecurities. It takes some of us longer than others to view ourselves in a positive, loving light. We're all working on ourselves every day, whether it be mentally, physically, or emotionally. But our own baggage shouldn't be shoved on to those we surround ourselves with, our struggles and insecurities should not form into their own burdens.

Work on yourself in private. Speak kindly of yourself in front of others. Let your positivity, real or not, spread to others instead of the bad feelings we have a bad habit of letting loose.

The little girls of the world don't need your or my negative self-image this summer. Another kid doesn't need to feel worthless because we couldn't be a little more loving to ourselves and a lot more conscious of what we say out loud.

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The Struggle of Taking Classes During the Summer

It can put a bit of a damper on summer fun

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To everyone reading: I hope you're having a nice, relaxing summer. Even if you're working I hope you can get a few days off to hang out with friends, go to the beach, and have some nice downtime. Not me. I am currently in the process of completing two four-week long summer classes. I'm taking them now to get ahead for next semester and to keep my overall schedule on track. It certainly isn't fun, but the reminder that it is only four weeks is what really keeps me going. If you are in the same boat as me, you'll relate to this list like no one else can; if you're not taking summer classes, don't let this list scare you, but use it to mentally prepare yourself for any you may have in the future.

1. Studying and homework

The homework isn't too bad with some summer classes just because you don't have time for a lot of intense projects. Still, since the class is so short you have to do some kind of homework pretty much every day. Make a schedule and spread it out so you don't get too behind.

2. Actually going to class

I am in two classes. One meets in person every day from 10 am to 11:45 am. The other is online. Let me be the first to say that getting up for class during the normal semesters is hard enough, but knowing my little brother gets to sleep in while I have to wake up early and go class is a real motivation suppressant.

I will say, though, it's kind of nice being on campus when it's basically empty.

3. No going out...

You'll probably be a little down because you might not be able to really go out at all during the time you're in class. For me, I go to lecture every morning, come home and do homework for that class, then do homework for my online class. I have some free time on the weekends, but I try to use those lecture-free days to study or work on papers.

4. But being super busy

Even though you might not be able to go out like a summer off, you'll be keeping yourself busy with all that super fun homework I mentioned.

5. Stress

Yes, summer classes can be a little stressful and it's pretty much all thanks to how fast-paced they are. Just do what I do: make a homework and project schedule as soon as you can and remind yourself how short it is.

Summer classes are not the worst thing in the world, and if you choose to take one at some point it won't be absolutely horrible. The nice thing about them is it's like ripping off a Band-Aid; it may be a little painful and annoying, but it's over so fast you don't suffer. Pick your class and professor wisely and get down to business; taking the class means you're one step closer to graduation!

So, to anyone else taking a summer class: good luck and you got this!

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