Life Through The Lens

Life Through The Lens

How can we expect anything more than skin-deep people in a society so focused on pictures of the surface?

Get your phone out and ready, because life is happening all around you and, if you're not careful, you might miss the opportunity to catch that perfect Instagram post.

Hold your camera in front of your face every second of every day. Don’t ever let yourself be caught off guard, and be prepared to document everything. Save it for prosperity. When you get the chance, take pictures of that sunset off in the distance, video the band at the concert, and take a selfie with the famous actor. By capturing these moments you can surely live in them for forever. Any time you please, you can look back and reflect on all your amazing adventures.

Take a minute now to scroll through your camera roll and admire the precious pictures you so whole heartedly worked for. Do you remember? Do you feel that same excitement? Can you hear your laughter? Can you recall the joy?

No. You can’t, and it’s OK to admit it. The truth is, in your fight to capture the moment perfectly, you forgot to actually live it. If you can honestly say that some portion of those memories did not involve how you had to fidget with your camera beforehand, the urgency to snap the picture on time, the search for the right lighting, the time spent deliberating over the filter, and the number of likes you received, then props to you.

For the rest of you, you’re getting no judgement here. I understand that getting caught up in all of that happens and it is the society we live in. With the new (in terms of history, but maybe not in terms of our lifetime) necessity of having high resolution cameras at our fingertips, society has become mesmerized by the idea of pictures, and more specifically, sharing these pictures with our peers. As if we weren't enthralled with the wonders of a smartphone already, right? Where it previously was the hub for all the communication, planning, and google searching of our lives, we're now letting it be the only thing to experience them as well.

We have to stop and ask, what does life really look like through a lens? Well, it depends. Is your selfie game strong? Because if so, you’re probably considered conceited. Do you take a million pictures with your sorority sisters? You’re probably considered a brat. Are your pictures perfectly airbrushed, edited and captioned? Well, you’re probably a try-hard, or my personal favorite term: fake.

Truthfully, life through the lens is a judgmental one full of envy and hate. We spend a good amount of our time so focused on the lives that others are trying to portray through their 8-megapixel “iSight” camera that we aren’t enjoying our own. In some even more severe cases, we allow ourselves to succumb to the ruse as well. More interested in the long post we can write on Facebook about a family trip or an awards ceremony than the event itself, we tend to find ourselves present in body and absent in mind, which brings me back to my point: Why are we allowing the drive to capture and share our lives mask the drive to enjoy them? Why are we more concerned with portraying that we had fun at the beach than actually having fun there? Why are we more concerned with having witty captions than actually having wit?

Another pearl of truth here, I don’t know. I don’t know why we make everything a competition and why it’s all so skin-deep, and odds are you don’t either. We’ll never know how we spiraled into this corrupt and crazy world, and we’ll never know who to fully blame.

What I do know is that we can end it just as swiftly as we started it. So maybe it’s time for some re-focusing instead of auto-focusing, and the first step is pretty easy. Stop worrying about living and live. Put the camera — and we all know I mean phone — down. Be aware of what's going on around you and document it mentally instead of socially. Forget about how it looks on the outside. Experience it on the inside. Appreciate the way it feels, and smells, and sounds in addition to the way it may appeal to our eyes and the eyes of others.

When you get the chance, admire that sunset off in the distance, listen to the band at the concert, and take a minute to talk with the famous actor. See life through the perspective of your eyes instead of the one in your camera. Maybe with this small step to quit concerning ourselves with acquiring tangible proof that we had a good time, we can actually have one. A camera roll full of perfect pictures and no memories is really just empty — and what good is that for anyone?

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.

The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:

“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:


When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:

"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Your Health Journey Is A Marathon, Not A Sprint

Perfection takes time.


When you first start to do something, you have all of the motivation in the world to accomplish that goal set out in front of you, especially when it comes to being healthier. The problem is as you continue through this journey and food and laziness kick in, motivation slips. It's human, and it happens to everyone no matter how physically strong they are.

Trying to be healthier doesn't always mean losing weight. It can be so your knees don't ache as much, so you don't feel as out of breath climbing stairs, or any goal you have set for yourself. Being healthier is personal and different from person to person.

I will be the first to admit that there are plenty of changes I would love to make about myself. From my weight to my body type and many other things about myself inside and out. I am by no means the most confident person about how I look, but I have worked hard for the past year to be an overall healthier person.

Becoming healthier isn't about looking thinner or fitting into a specific size of clothes. It is about taking care of yourself from eating better to working out more. There comes a feeling of confidence in what your body can do if you put a little love in it.

Perfection takes time, and I know firsthand how frustrating trying to be healthier can be.

Pizza tastes so much better than salad. It is so easy to fall into a rhythm of something that seems never to change whether that is your weight or your mile time. Sadly, you can't build a city, or become healthier overnight.

We see people who are thinner, curvier, smarter, faster, and so much more than us. We all waste time comparing ourselves to people around us and on our timelines, but some of our biggest strengths are our individuality and the gift of getting back up after falling down.

All I can say is, please don't give up on your goal of being healthier because this is solely for you. We can have a great support system in the world and have everyone in our corner, but that isn't enough.

You need yourself. You need to know that if you don't entirely put yourself in this journey, then you won't fully succeed. Your commitment to bettering yourself can keep you going even if you want to give up.

Your motivation may not be at its peak level right now, and you may have every cell in your body screaming at you to quit. Don't do it. Prove to yourself that you can keep going no matter what. Not giving up will be worth it. The results and taking the hard way will make you a stronger person inside and out.

You can do this. You can do anything you want to accomplish if you just believe in yourself. You need to understand that becoming healthier takes endurance. There will be periods where you slow down and may not be going at your fastest pace. The difference is that you are not giving up and you are still trying and moving.

Don't treat becoming healthier as a sprint: short term and quick. That mentality will only leave you feeling deflated and defeated. It is a life-long marathon of pacing yourself and pushing yourself further than ever before.

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