How To Not Go Crazy

How To Not Go Crazy

I don't know how people deal with this, but this is my way.
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"I don't think I've ever been this quiet for so long"

What started as a solo fishing trip on a random weekend, when school was getting out of hand, slowly became a habit. A custom based on the pursuit of something to take up my attention, but more than anything a search for this special instances, this split second moments, where I've come to experience a different kind of awareness. It first came as a need to keep me safe in precarious situations, like fishing in rivers with high current, sleeping in my car in random places or in my tent whenever I could sneak into parks for the night but is becoming the reason I keep going out on my own.

This kind of endeavors fit me well, fighting a current while keeping my balance on stones or sand, trying to cast a fly just right, mimicking the bugs that I see, "Am I using the right fly?, Am I casting at the right depth and place?" The flow of the water against my legs forces me to move and adjust, my senses are intensified, as I hear every splash in the water, waiting for a fish to jump or come up, my eyes look non-stop and my arms swing the rod back and forth. "Two and ten, two and ten" Norman Maclean resonates in my head, little by little all these factors become a perfect sequence and I find myself just being there in the moment.

Heber Springs, Ar.

Finding the route through back roads and small highways using nothing but a map is the best part about traveling like this, no schedule, up when the sun rises and down when my eyes can't stay open any longer, chances to push myself don't come that often but they are welcomed with a smile and anxious feet every time. It's not like I like sleeping in my car or on the ground but I love being out there and a little of discomfort is a small price to pay in my opinion.

Glacier National Park, Mo.

Trips like this usually have small stages, there's the initial excitement when you finally get away from everything, the kind of frenzy that I've learned to keep at hold, otherwise, any bump on the road can be very discouraging. It's just better to stay calm and take in everything as it comes, the good and the bad especially the bad.

Then, of course, self-loathing has its appearances, and would you expect any less? After all is just you, and after a while, you realize you aren't as funny as you thought. It comes and goes with a lot of cursing at times and more frustration at others but if you happen to be calm enough when you least expect it you'll reach a stop. Whatever the reason might be to stop at that particular second varies, maybe the clouds are on fire as the sun sets in between two hills, or you reach a clearing on the road and the pastures are tainted in just the perfect tonality of green as all the wildflowers align in a portrait that speaks of the beauty that surrounds you. There might be a nice looking stream ahead or just a nice view of the cattle near an old farm. More often than not you'll find something of this nature, something you don't mind paying attention to, something you don't mind being uncomfortable for, something that makes everything else seem less important, including yourself. Those instances don't come often, some trips might not even have them, but they're out there. The beauty of this humbling moments is that once you realize how small you are, your problems become even smaller.

Middle of the Highway, Ut

It's interesting to think about what college is like as an engineering student, or any major for that matter, we slowly transform into multitaskers, experts in several fields, scientists, physicists, chemists, and even mathematicians. All these subjects are jammed into your head in a barrage of knowledge that can become very overwhelming if you aren't ready for it. I'm on my senior year and I've begun to realize I might never be ready for it, I just continue to move on through assignments and pass my tests as I numb down my curiosity and just resign to do the problems over and over again, jus to get a letter grade.

The only thing that I take comfort in, is knowing that adventure is still out there waiting for me to get in my car and leave, time and time again.

Cover Image Credit: Emilio Betanzo

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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If You're Reading This, Get Your Sh*t Together This Summer

This is the sign you've been waiting for

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I view the summertime like I do New Years -- a fresh new start to myself and my behavior. I find myself far more productive and willing for change when the sun is shining and I haven't got a million class assignments to think about. Summertime is the perfect time to delve into new hobbies, new habits, and overall new memories in the making. Here are several habits and/or activities YOU should pick up this sunny season to make this summer yours:

Get Into Dieting

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And no, not necessarily to lose weight (Although, this is an option if it works best for you!) Look into healthier alternatives for the foods you already eat, swapping almond milk for milk or honey for sugar. Little changes like this in your diet will have your body thanking you in the long run.

Exercise Regularly

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Diet choice and exercise go hand in hand. It's never too late to get that "summer body" you've always wanted. Even if you don't invest in a gym membership, a walk around the neighborhood is absolutely free of charge. Just remind yourself that slow progress is better than no progress.

Get Into Skincare

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Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen! Now that the sun is out, the last thing you'll want is to let your skincare slip. That summer glow doesn't come so easily, so now's the time to invest in some skincare that'll rejuvenate yourself. Do your research and look into the best products for your skin type.

Pamper Yourself

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Get that summer chop at the salon you've been hesitating on for the longest time. Don't be afraid to even get some summer highlights as well! Get your nails done that perfect bright shade and buy yourself the cutest outfits. Now's the time for you to really go out and shine.

Pick Up A New Hobby

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Read more, paint more, write more, anything. We often find ourselves way too busy during the school year to do anything we love. Summer however, is a different story. Busying yourself with something that makes you happy not only prevents you from being bored, but also boosts your mood throughout the season.

Get A Job

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After a brutal school year, your money may be a little too low for your liking. Look into seasonal jobs to get your money up. You can never have too much money, and exercising good money/budget habits now will save you in the long run.

Make Plans With Your Friends

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Let's be honest, you have far fewer excuses to not hang out with your friends in the summer than in the school year. Catch up with those people you haven't spoken to in ages. The best way to spend a summer is to spend it with the people you love, so don't forget to maintain your relationships

Hydrate

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I don't know about you, but I have the worst time drinking enough water per day. Virtually every function in your body requires water, and it's important to keep your water levels high, especially during such a warm season. Try carrying around a big water bottle at all times -- seeing water in front of you will have you more likely to drink it. Your skin, your body, and your mind will all thank you.

Travel Out To Places You Don't Normally Go

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Whether it be a different country, state, town, or even area, exposing yourself to different environments can serve to be an extremely fun experience. Getting out of your comfort zone, staying in new places, and immersing yourself in the unknown are all different ways to

Practice Gratitude & Wellness

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When all else fails, instead of focusing so hard on the new, reflect and admire the old. Whether you utilize mindfulness, or write down 5 things you're grateful for daily, there are millions of ways to practice gratitude and wellness. Find methods that work for you, and always remind yourself that

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