winter break

Don't Take These 7 Things For Granted While You're Home During Winter Break

Don't forget to hug your mom.

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There are so many things that make a home, home. We tend to let these little things happen without really appreciating them. Whether it be laying with my dog on my living room floor or getting ice for my drink without having to refill an ice tray, there are so many things I'm looking forward to this break, and I'm not going to take any of them for granted.

1. No school work

Chandler bath

For anyone taking a winter semester course, I feel deeply sorry for you. For everyone else, enjoy the free time doing whatever you like at home or on vacation without the lingering thought of school work. Sure, Thanksgiving break was nice not having class, and I don't know about you guys, but I had two tests and a paper due the week I got back, so to say the break was relaxing would be a generous statement. Enjoy the few weeks you have with no professor to report to.

2. Time with your pet

Dogs

No matter what kind of furry friend you have, spend time with them. If your pet is as old as mine, you know it sucks having to leave for school not knowing if they'll make it until next time you're home, so cuddle them up. No matter what you do with them, you'll miss them so much when you're gone, so take advantage of being with them while you can.

3. Real food

Patrick star eating

Obviously you eat real food at school, but does it always taste like it? Take advantage of being home and eating some home-cooked meals. Even if it's not home-cooked and you go out to dinner with family, it'll be nice to have someone else cook for you every once in a while and not worrying about whether you're having ramen noodles or chicken nuggets for your next meal.

4. Family time

Simpson Family

This one pretty much goes without saying, but enjoy time with your family! Even if you only see them on the holidays, spend as much time with them as you can. It's most likely difficult to be away from your family all the time, and it's definitely harder for your parents than you. Play board games, watch movies, just sit and talk. Whatever you do with your family quality time, have fun while you're with them.

5. Time with friends 

besties

Odds are you don't go to school with all of your friends from home, so take some time out of your break to get together and catch up. Friends from home will remind you of so many memories and it will feel good to spend some quality time with the friends you wish you saw more. Get coffee, go out to eat, or go shopping. The opportunities are endless with your best friends by your side.

6. Your bed

flipping into bed

Depending on if you took your bed to school or not, there may be a major difference between your bed at school and your bed at home. Even if your bed at school is a little more comfortable, you'll probably fall fast asleep in your bed at home. Snuggle up with your old teddy bear and your Tempurpedic pillow, and get some sleep. You deserve it.

7. The holidays

Christmas Party

If you're celebrating Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, or a number other holidays during this season, you're sure to have some celebrating to do while you're home. Eat all the food. Drink all the drinks. Play all the games. Open all the presents. You may not realize it at the time, but the holiday season is the best time of the year, and you'll be waiting a whole year until it happens again.

There are so many things to be thankful for and to appreciate while you're home, so try to appreciate them while you're there. You'll be back to school before you know it and won't be home for an extended period of time until spring break. Spend time with your friends, family, and your pets this holiday season.

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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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