Lessons I've Learned Throughout College And Life

Lessons I've Learned Throughout College And Life

Learn to enjoy life
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Well, here we are. It is the end of another school year. Usually, I am jumping for joy, but this year it became a little more sentimental... I realized that I only have one more year before I graduate and have to become a "real adult." But I'll admit that this has been the toughest semester of my college career. I worked 3 jobs along with being a full-time student.

I know. I sound crazy. But I’m here to share some things with you about my college career. The things I have learned about myself over the past 3 years of college are that I rarely say no, I have FOMO, and I hate being alone. All of these things make me a huge extrovert. But it has been one of the most rewarding things for me in college.

Let me fill you in on some lessons I have learned about how to enjoy life to the fullest over the past 3 years.

1. Your GPA is not eternal.

Remember in high school when everyone freaked out about the ACT and how important it was to get a good score? We were obsessed with getting the highest score so we could look better than our friends. We were also told that was the only way to get scholarships and get into college. We were defined by that number.

But since being in college, I can't recall the last time someone asked me about my ACT score. Why? Because it doesn't matter anymore and it never defined who I was or how smart I was.

Similarly, it seems like we are defined by our GPA in college. But I dare you to ask any college graduate about when they last discussed their GPA. I guarantee they couldn't tell remember a time or probably even remember what it was. Why? Because again, it doesn’t define who you are. I’m not telling you to fail classes, but all A's doesn't make you better than someone else. Some B’s and C’s at the end of the day are not the end of the world and will not matter after college.

2. Build relationships and make connections.

Things that do matter after college are the people you meet, build relationships with and make connections with. The world tells us it’s about how much we know and how much money we have. But I believe that it’s who you know and not all about what you know. The people you surround yourself with are the ones who make you who you are.

My freshman year I was super involved in a campus ministry. I was placed in a bible study that changed my faith drastically. I absolutely loved my bible study leader. Although we kind of lost connection after school let out that year, the following summer we rekindled our friendship and she started mentoring me. Now, I can say she’s one of my best friends. I’m even in her wedding that is in 3 months (EEEEKKK).

My sophomore year, I decided to go through with recruitment. Let me just say that was a decision I’ll never regret. My sorority has pushed me to be a better version of myself, given me endless opportunities, and given me friends who I could not live without.

This year, I finally decided on my major and they repeatedly tell us that it is all about connections to get places in our field. I truly believe that because I would not have gotten my internship for this summer had it not been for the people I knew.

The people in my life are the reason I am who I am today. The people you meet in college will probably be the ones who you didn't even realize you needed. Find your tribe and love them hard.

3. The stress is not worth it.

Stress is the devil. Most days I just have to say, “not today stress, not today." No college kid needs to stress and have grey hair by the time they graduate. This is the time before we begin reality. This is the time we should enjoy life. I used to stress so much that I couldn’t sleep, but it isn’t worth it.

Don’t stress through college about your grades, money, or friendships. Go introduce yourself to your crush, go talk to the people at that table, go apply for that dream job, go eat ice cream with friends, go to that movie even though your paper is due in 3 days. Don’t let things that you won’t remember in 5 years ruin the memories that you will want to remember. Don’t stress so much you can’t enjoy life, because that will be your regret. (Trust me, been there done that).

Friend, listen to the girl who has walked ahead of you and learned some lessons. Enjoy this time in life. Learn from others, make lifelong friends, don’t stress over the little things, and make memories to last a lifetime. Life is too short. Enjoy every moment.

Cover Image Credit: Allison Blythe

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100 Ways To Practice Self-Care In Your Everyday Life, In 20 Minutes Or Less

Simple ways to start taking care of yourself.

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Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.

Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Do something new. 

2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week. 

3. Drink some hot tea. 

4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.

5. Paint your nails.

6. Have a good laugh.

7. Buy yourself flowers.

8. Light a candle.

9. Do some tidying up.

10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'

11. Listen to music.

12. Slow down.

13. Drink a smoothie.

14. Run mindless errands.

15. Write down your goals for the week.

16. Talk to someone about the future.

17. Wake up early and get coffee. 

18. Take care of a plant. 

19. Take a bubble bath. 

20. Give yourself a compliment.

21. Give a stranger a compliment.

22. Watch a movie.

23. Put your phone down.

24. Declutter your personal space.

25. Go to bed early. 

26. Pray or meditate. 

27. Go for a drive. 

28. Make it a habit to stargaze. 

29. Read a book. 

30. Read poems. 

31. Sing loudly. 

32. Make a list of things you're grateful for. 

33. Drink a lot of water. 

34. Put on make-up for no reason.

35. Watch funny videos. 

36. Take a deep breath. 

37. Distance yourself from negativity. 

38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media. 

39. Have a pajama day. 

40. Read an inspirational book. 

41. Call your parents/ loved ones. 

42. Donate old clothing. 

43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat. 

44. Do a fun craft or DIY project. 

45. Put on a face mask and relax. 

46. Do a small workout. 

47. Take a power nap. 

48. Listen to a podcast. 

49. Open a window. 

50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light. 

51. Make your bed. 

52. Cook dinner instead of eating out. 

53. Play/ cuddle with an animal. 

54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.

55. Moisturize. 

56. Buy a comforting blanket. 

57. Give someone a hug. 

58. Create a vision board. 

59. Have some alone time.

60. Enjoy the sun on your skin. 

61. Dance like nobody is watching.

62. Walk in the rain every once in a while. 

63. Drive with the windows down. 

64. Give someone a gift for no reason. 

65. Get a massage. 

66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running. 

67. Spend the day at the library or a book store. 

68. Organize your work space/ binders. 

69. Spend a weekend in. 

70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself. 

71. Sign up for a work out class. 

72. Eat lunch with a friend. 

73. Spend the day helping others. 

74. Get your hair done. 

75. Have a good cry. 

76. Use sticky notes. 

77. Color code your planner. 

78. Print out pictures and hang them up. 

79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready. 

80. Do random acts of kindness. 

81. Buy fuzzy socks. 

82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture. 

83. Be present. 

84. Set a new years resolution. 

85. Make a bucket list. 

86. Stretch in the morning. 

87. Watch an interesting documentary. 

88. Make a music playlist.

89. Watch the sunrise or sunset. 

90. Explore somewhere new.

91. Be slow to respond to negativity. 

92. Have a game night with friends. 

93. Buy concert tickets. 

94. Have a nightly routine before bed. 

95. Eat your favorite dessert. 

96. Do something you've been putting off. 

97. Invest in essential oils. 

98. Manage your finances. 

99. Buy a new outfit. 

100. Make your own gratitude list. 

Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.

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What Even Is Anxiety?

What anxiety really is and why it shouldn't be so stigmatized

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Anxiety is a feeling of nervousness, unease, or worry that typically occurs in the absence of an imminent threat. It differs from fear, which is the body's natural response to immediate danger. Anxiety is part of the body's natural reaction to stress, so it can be helpful at times, making you more alert and ready for action.

Anxiety disorders and normal feelings of anxiousness are two different things. When feelings of fear or nervousness become excessive, difficult to control or interfere with daily life, an anxiety disorder may be present. Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental disorders in the United States.

It's common to think about anxiety in a way that may hinder our ability to overcome it. It's something that is unfortunately stigmatized and people think it should be avoided at all costs. Psychiatrists see many patients that are under the impression that anxiety, along with other negative emotions, such as sadness, anger, fear, and discomfort, are all a very normal, universal human experience. Many people first develop symptoms of an anxiety disorder during childhood. Some anxiety disorders, such as specific phobias and social anxiety disorder, are more likely to develop in childhood or teenage years, while others, such as generalized anxiety disorder, are more likely to start in young adulthood.

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 3.6 percent of the world's population suffers from anxiety disorders. (1)The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 19 percent of American adults are affected by an anxiety disorder each year (2). A review published in June 2016 in the journal Brain and Behavior of 48 studies noted that anxiety was more prevalent in women, in people under 35, and in those who live in North America or Western European countries (3). The review, conducted by researchers at Cambridge University in England, also found that people with chronic health conditions were more likely to experience anxiety. According to the review, almost 11 percent of people with heart disease in Western countries reported having generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). In addition, 32 percent of those with multiple sclerosis had some kind of anxiety disorder. (3)

Researchers think that genetics, traumatic events, and brain structure may influence whether you develop an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are known to run in families. Stressful events, such as the death of a loved one or childhood abuse, may heighten anxiety significantly. Brain structure, including changes in the areas that regulate stress and anxiety may contribute to the disorder.

An interesting study involving researchers from Pennsylvania State University in State College and Rutgers University in Newark, New Jersey showed babies pictures of angry, happy, and neutral faces, and they found that the infants of anxious mothers took longer to look away from the angry faces, which meant that the infants had a tendency to focus more on potential threat. (5)
Study author Koraly Perez-Edgar, PhD, professor of psychology at the Pennsylvania State University in University Park, says that this focus on threat may be one way that anxiety begins to take hold. "Individuals who attend to aspects of the environment that they consider threatening can potentially create a cycle that strengthens biases toward a threat, as well as toward the view that the environment is threatening, which can then lead to social withdrawal and anxiety," she says.

"People can learn to be anxious in various situations," says Jonathan Abramowitz, PhD, professor of clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and editor in chief of the Journal of Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders.
"This can occur through experiences in which anxiety or fear becomes associated with a specific stimulus or a stressful or traumatic event, by learning about something fearful, and through vicarious conditioning," he says. Vicarious conditioning, says Dr. Abramowitz, occurs when you watch someone else experience a stressful and traumatic event — like food poisoning or being bitten by a dog — and come to see certain situations as dangerous.

Women are more than two times as likely as men to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. (6) It's not clear why this is the case, but researchers have theorized that it may be due to a combination of social and biological factors. Scientists are still investigating the complex role that sex plays in brain chemistry, but some research suggests that in women, the amygdala, which is the part of the brain responsible for processing potential threats, may be more sensitive to negative stimuli and may hold on to the memory of it longer (7). Other research suggests that the hormone progesterone may act as a trigger for this response (8). However, some think that nature isn't as much of an influence as nurture. People theorize that women tend to be socialized in a way that gives them permission to openly discuss emotion. So women may feel more comfortable admitting to feelings than men, who tend to be socialized to keep their feelings to themselves and are less likely to confess to emotional problems. Women may, therefore, get diagnosed with anxiety disorders more often than men (9).

Other research suggests that social structures that contribute to inequality, such as lower wages, may play a part. In a study published in January 2016 in the journal Social Science and Medicine, Columbia epidemiologists reviewed data on wages and mood disorders, and noted that, at least in their data set, when a woman's pay rose higher than a man's, the odds of her having both generalized anxiety disorder and major depression decreased (10). What is known for sure, says Beth Salcedo, MD, medical director of The Ross Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders and board president of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, "is that more often than not, women definitely experience an uptick in anxiety before menstruation, around perimenopause, and after giving birth."

Symptoms include increased heartbeat and breathing, tightness in chest, and excessive sweating. If you've ever felt it, you know that anxiety is just as much a physical state as a mental state. That's because there's a very strong biological chain reaction that occurs when we encounter a stressful event or begin to worry about potential stressors or dangers in the future. Other physical symptoms include sweating, headaches, and insomnia. Psychological symptoms may include feeling restless or irritable, feeling tense, having a feeling of dread, or experiencing ruminative or obsessive thoughts.

Anxiety disorders are treated through medication and therapy. You might feel embarrassed talking about the things you are feeling and thinking, but talking about it, say, experts, is the best treatment. A particular form of therapy is considered most effective: cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT for short. Antidepressants — the types of medication most frequently used to treat depression — are the drugs that also work best for anxiety disorders.

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