The Art of Sleeping and Studying

The Art of Sleeping and Studying

How to not actually die during dead week.

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It's three in the morning, and I can practically feel my eyes rolling into the back of my head as I struggle to absorb my third chemistry chapter of the night, the words shaking up and down as I fight every urge to simply put my head down and fall right asleep.

This is the fourth consecutive night I have pushed my body beyond its limits and stayed up way past my bedtime, and my brain feels as though it's about to burst with all the essays and exams I've somehow managed to get myself through this week.

Someone taps me on the shoulder, and I pause the intense classical music blasting through my headphones and turn around.

"Hey, I think I'm gonna head out. The limos aren't in service anymore, so I'm just gonna call MUPD. Will you text me when you get back to Straz so I know you're okay?"

I don't recognize the voice of my own best friend at first, the strain of the past couple of evenings paining her vocal cords and causing her to grow hoarse. Her body appears to be succumbing to the weight of all the textbooks shoveled into her backpack, as if her shoulders are pulling her into a puddle of pure exhaustion.

I simply nod my head and can feel my eyelids start to grow heavy almost instantly as I do so.

I watch her exit Raynor, put back in my headphones, and return to the torturous workload of what we college students call "dead week", or the week before finals in which any last-minute papers, final projects, and rushed homework assignments are due for the entire semester.

Last semester, I experienced all the joys and all the pains of my first-ever dead week, and, it almost killed me. I was in Raynor every night until at least 3 in the morning, struggling to finish everything on time while simultaneously trying to study for finals the following week, and there was one night I even contemplated staying there overnight instead of retreating to my dorm. I was a sleep-deprived, unkempt mess of a person the whole week, and wound up contracting a disgusting, sputtering cough that I had up until after Christmas. It was ridiculous, and while I did manage to make it through the end of the semester successfully, I am 100% positive that I could've done just as well (perhaps even better) if I had just slept a little bit more.

In fact, that's actually my goal for this semester's dead week: to make it through the week without almost collapsing walking to class Friday morning, my hands shaking from the excessive amounts of coffee I had consumed in an effort to keep myself going for "just one more day." I have decided that I am going to accomplish this goal in four different ways, all of which I now know are absolutely essential to staying sane during perhaps the most grueling week of the academic year.

Here are my top four tips for staying alive during dead week:

1. Make a schedule, and STICK TO IT!

This is where I went wrong during my first dead week. Before going into the week, I had written out everything I had to do and what days I should have things done by, in an attempt to keep myself organized and reduce my stress levels throughout the week. This is something that can be extremely beneficial and work if you keep up with it, which I didn't do; I was falling behind after day one. That being said, make sure your goals for each day are attainable. It is irrational to try and do everything for one class all in one night, so make sure you space things out and allow time to give yourself breaks!

2. Bring HEALTHY snacks.

It's important to keep your body fueled throughout the day and to keep yourself energized in natural, nutritious ways. While you may be tempted to reach for a bag of chips or a pint of Ben and Jerry's, studies have shown that healthier options like assorted fruits and vegetables will help improve focus and productivity.

3. Try to watch your caffeine intake.

Yes, coffee is amazing, and can help you push through writing two essays at 2 in the morning, but keep in mind that too much caffeine can stunt your productivity. This something that I can attest to, as the first day of dead week last semester, I drank about 4 cups of coffee in the hopes of keeping myself awake through it all. By 4 pm, I was crashing, felt absolutely terrible, and had to take about a 2-hour break to let the caffeine work itself out of my system.

4. Check up on your friends.

We are all in this together, after all, and even if you think you study better/are able to focus more when you're by yourself, it's super important to still make sure your friends are doing well. Text them and ask if they need anything when you take study breaks, send them motivational messages, or bring them their favorite snack if they seem super stressed; also, make sure they are taking care of themselves as well. Call them a limo from Raynor if you have to!

I wish you the best of luck with the end of the semester. Study hard (but not too hard!), and let's all go out with a bang!

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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How To Rock Your Natural Curly Hair This Summer & All Year Long

CALLING ALL CURLY HAIRED GIRLS: It's our season!

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All of your friends and your favorite famous idols all have long, straight hair. You take hours or get treatments on your natural curls to keep your hair straight, when in reality you are ruining the gorgeous curls that you should be rocking! I know it's hard to keep your curls under control, but with the right product and effort you can rock your curls all summer long. Curly hair is in! Here's how to rock your natural hair all summer long.

1. Coconut oil is your BFF.

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Whether it's in your conditioner or you use it as a spray or leave-in product, coconut oil is a great way to keep your hair shiny and frizz-free. For those of you who often straighten your hair, coconut oil can help tame and treat your damaged ends. Conditioners and products with coconut oil in them are always my go-to products. I would but this on this list 10 times if that would make you use it!

2. Stay by the pool.

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If my friends want to do something and I am having a bad hair day, I always suggest the pool. Not only can curls give you a beautiful thick messy bun, but my friends are always jealous of how good my hair looks in the pool. Curly hair, wet from the pool, is like a magic trick. Your hair will instantly look better.

3. Dye your hair!

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If you are like me and can't stand having your hair look the same 24/7, I have found dying my hair keeps me from wanting to straighten my hair or want to change it. Dying your curls will make whatever color you get really pop and keep you feeling fun and exciting in your natural hair journey. You don't have to do anything too drastic either! Sometimes so highlights or a lighter color is all you need.

4. Rock the pouf!

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Get that hair as big and crazy as you can get it, and ROCK IT! Don't let that volume and texture go to waste. Own your curls and wear them big.

5. Use a bandana or headbands for control & extra cuteness.

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When my hair gets a little more out of hand than I like, I opt for a headband or bandana to help style it. With curls, your hair has texture and can actually hold a headband in place. CVS and Walmart offer a large (and cheap) assortment of headbands and bandanas for all of your curly hair needs.

6. Braid parts of your hair to give your hair depth or add control.

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Sometimes a french braid on the side or over the top can not only make it look like you really took the time to style your hair, but also add control to your everyday look. I like to braid my hair when I know it is going to get frizzy or just want to slick down the top and rock a pouf in the back.

7. Invest in a good conditioner & hair mask.

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While you are relaxing with your face mask, why not do a hair mask at the same time? A hair mask is a great way to hydrate your curls and get them bouncy, conditioned, and frizz-free. You can find a variety of good hair masks for under 15$ and you can use them 2-3 times a week.

8. Get bangs... or just fake them!

Maddie Hilliard

This one is #RISKYAF, but you don't actually have to cut your hair to get bangs. I use bobby pins to pin up my hair to give the illusion that I have bangs. It is great when you want to switch up your look or rock a ponytail or bun. Which leads me to my next point...

9. Bobby pins, bobby pins, bobby pins!

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Use bobby pins to hold your hair in place and control your hair while you go for a messy look! I pin my bangs to the side with bobby pins or use them to hold certain pieces in place. They are especially helpful for updo looks!

10. Comb your hair while you're in the shower.

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To avoid breakage and breaking apart your curls it is always best to comb your hair while you're showering. You need to condition your hair (to avoid breakage) and comb the conditioner through it until all of the knots are out. If your hair keeps getting caught in the comb and the knots aren't coming out, put more conditioner in your hair to help. Finish your shower and then rinse the conditioner out at the end. And BAM! Tangle and frizz-free curls. PRO TIP: Use a wide tooth comb, never a brush!

11. Invest in a hair turban towel.

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You can get these on Amazon, at TJ Maxx, at CVS, and the list goes on. Instead of drying your hair with a regular towel and making it frizzy, wrap it in a hair turban to get the wetness out while keeping it moisturized. Hair turbans will help keep in all of the moisturizer and conditioner locked into your hair after showers.

12. Use scrunchies instead of hair ties.

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Not only are they super cute to wear on your wrist, but they also won't crease your curls if you need to tie them up quickly. Scrunchies are also great because they can be tied loose and not damage or smash your curl pattern. I haven't used a hair tie in years and don't plan on using one anytime soon.

12. Be proud & rock the f*ck out of your hair.

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Healthy and loved natural hair will never do you dirty. Love your curls because 9/10 people wish their straight hair had the same texture yours does! Curly hair is a whole look, let's start appreciating it more!

Love your natural hair and get inspired by all of the tips and pics of super fab curly hair!

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