How To Become The Best Version Of Yourself This Semester

How To Become The Best Version Of Yourself This Semester

Be gentle to yourself, kind to others and an overall boss.
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A new semester is starting and it's time to become the best version of ourselves. Here are six helpful tips on how to successfully accomplish that.

1. Allocate a place to write down your goals and track your daily progress toward achieving these goals.

Whether you want to start a bullet journal or you would rather utilize the notes section on your phone, writing down goals is critical. The visible reminder of your desires helps hold you accountable and can also become a motivator! Bullet journals can be a great aid with time management and with manifestation and gratitude practices.

2. Make time for enjoyable exercise at least 4-5 days a week.

My tip for those of you who are stressed about finding the time to incorporate a good workout in your day is to focus on finding a workout routine that you take pleasure in doing. If you hate jogging, don’t jog. Maybe don’t skip cardio altogether, though, and opt for the bike or StairMaster instead. I would also recommend including weights in your workout if you want optimal results. Listen to your body and don’t go to the gym when you are sick! Alternate your routine for proper rest days. Drink plenty of water and get your protein. If you go with a friend, wear an outfit that you feel your best in, and plan on making healthy shakes after your workout; I guarantee that it will be easier.

3. Health is wealth. Don't forget to eat your greens!

Take advantage of the salad bar! Dark, leafy greens provide key micronutrients that your body needs. If you are conscious of your plate size and only put food on that you know has certain health benefits, you will most likely leave the dining hall feeling happier, less bloated and more energized. Try balancing your plate with a good portion of vegetables, a source of protein and a smaller sized portion of healthy fats (avocado, nuts, eggs). Fruits actually are nature’s candy; healthy doesn’t have to be boring or bitter.

Extra tip: If you keep chia seeds, walnuts, flax seeds and other small healthy toppings in your room, you can bring them to the dining hall and add them to your salads, yogurt or oatmeal!

4. Make time to make a difference.

I truly believe that those who find the deepest happiness on this earth are those who appreciate the beauty in those around them and make service to those with less resources a priority. For people who are given much, to give back wholeheartedly is a duty. When we give of ourselves with an open heart and make time to discover how we can better the world around us with compassion, we can make great change and find deeper peace within. Ultimately, no matter our creed, color or identity, we are all one in the universe and are equal. To understand the power that we as individuals have to positively affect our world unleashes our highest potential. Research organizations on campus and find a group that resonates with you! Make time to go to meetings and consistently show up. Community partnerships require dedication, patience and most importantly, selfless compassion.

5. Tell the people that you love and care about what they mean to you.

Communicating your love, admiration or care for someone in your life opens the door for more positive energy to enter into your life and can strengthen relationships immensely. You can make another person's day just by taking the time to thank them for their kindness, honesty and presence. It is easy to become distracted with the minutiae of social media, the stress of deadlines and other woes of our egos. If we dedicate moments every single day to recognizing those in our lives who help lift us up and inspire us, we can find happiness and pleasure in the current moment.

6. Read a book of your own choice when you have a moment.

I know that it can be hard to finish required reading for courses, let alone find the time to read a book on your personal list. However, if you can find the space in your day to make a cup of a tea or sit outside with a book that you meant to read for even just 10 minutes, it will be worth it.

Cover Image Credit: Kenh14

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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Sweet Potatoes Are The Most Underrated Vegetable Of All Time

Everything you need to know about the pieces of edible gold we call "sweet potatoes" and why they will always perish over any plain old potato.

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The potato. The heart of the American food industry. A versatile vegetable crop soaked in grease that brings us some of our favorite appetizers and sides. From french fries, to curly fries, to tater tots, to baked potatoes, to hash browns, this hallowed vegetable has become the Johnny Depp of the vegetable family. Now, we are all aware that the configurations of potatoes are limitless, but we commonly disregard the potato's delicious and neglected brother: the sweet potato. I, a credible food connoisseur and highly experienced eater, am here to tell you why you are missing out on a world of flavor if you choose to dismiss the beloved sweet potato and its many entities.

Let me first start this tirade by proving to you my credibility...I, too, once believed that regular french fries were better than sweet potato fries. I scoffed at the idea of choosing those ridiculous orange sticks over my tried-and-true plain boys. I could not be convinced that any sweetness should impede on my savory snacks.

These were dark times.

It was not until a mere month ago that my mind was changed forever.

It was a sunny (scary) Sunday morning, and my pounding head led me on a mission to indulge myself in the finest breakfast foods. I entered my favorite breakfast diner, Angelo's, and waited anxiously for my waiter to stroll over. She filled our water cups and asked if we wanted to start with any appetizers. Before my stingy self could even decline the offer, my best friend ordered a round of sweet potato fries for the table and the waiter scurried away. I stared blankly at her for a solid minute. I could not wrap my head around the concept of munching on sweet potato fries at 8 in the morning. She just stared back and said, "Trust me." Suddenly, a tray of blood orange sticks and a mysterious tan sauce appeared in front of my face. As much as I wanted to ponder the morality of this decision, the hunger began to take over, and I shoved one of the fries into my mouth.

In an instant, it was as if time and space had lost all meaning. When my teeth hit the fry, the perfectly crusted outer shell crunched softly making a sound much like your foot crushing a dried leaf. The now exposed inside of the fry was the perfect blend of mush and warmth that felt like your mouth was receiving a hug. The flavor...unbelievable. It didn't take me long to realize that this wasn't a fry — this was a culinary experience. This fry single-handedly blew the roof off of any predisposed ideas I had about American cuisine.

I am well aware that my fry experience cannot be simulated again by any average food-goer, but I challenge you, the reader of this article, to get out there and enjoy a sweet potato in any form. Stray from your basic fries or tater tots and dabble in a sweet treat which will undoubtedly bring you flavorful satisfaction.

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