Starting The Spring Semester Right

Starting The Spring Semester Right

Whether you had a bad semester or a good one, you can still use this spring semester plan.

The end of winter break is fast approaching and probably has ended already for some of us. It's time to think about our strategies for next semester. If you didn't do as well as you wanted to last semester, you know you need a new strategy. If you did do well last semester and still want to improve, this will still be useful for you.

The first thing you need to do is get out of the "same old me, same old mistakes" mentality. Sure, it’s one thing to joke about your tendency to procrastinate. A majority of us do it and sometimes it’s needed. What’s not okay is taking it lightheartedly ALL THE TIME. Recognizing your shortcomings and taking the initiative to get out of the habit is the only way you’ll get to this goal. It doesn’t seem like it should make a difference, but it does. Stop retweeting those, “I’m gonna fall back into my bad habits after two weeks haha” tweets because they’re really not funny after a while. When you are trying to encourage yourself to change a behavior, trivializing it is the last thing you need to do.

Next, you need to take all the necessary steps to create the best environment in which to grow towards your goal. When making this environment, you should first target what activities consume most of your time. These can range from spending time with friends to watching Netflix to sleeping. No matter what people tell you, these are important. Well, maybe not Netflix. But, having activities to balance out all the hard work you’re going to be doing is important.

You will not be completely cutting out all interaction with friends, cutting back on sleep, or completely taking out all the things you like to do. You will, however, need to manage all those things. I suggest planning out every part of your day down to the hour. I'm not one for planning, I will admit that. Sometimes it feels like a bit of a burden to plan out every single part of my day because I don't like being restricted. But, planning ensures that you don't stray from what you have to do so I've started doing so.

I would recommend writing down all the things you have to do per week and then finding a place on the schedule for them. Regulars would include things like your classes, assignments, meal breaks, study hours and your New Year's resolution of exercising at least three times a week. You might want to assign each of those things a color on your calendar. After all the essentials are on your calendar, in the rest of the spaces you can add events, meetings, time with friends, chill time, and sleep if you really must.

The rest is completely up to you. You have your schedule all planned out and you know what has to be done. It is your responsibility to follow through and work towards your goal. If that means getting help, then do it. If it means periodical meetings with an advisor, then arrange it. All the resources are at your disposal and you sure pay enough for them.

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Working With People Who Are Dying Teaches You So Much About How To Live

Spending time with hospice patients taught me about the art of dying.


Death is a difficult subject.

It is addressed differently across cultures, lifestyles, and religions, and it can be difficult to find the right words to say when in the company of someone who is dying. I have spent a lot of time working with hospice patients, and I bore witness to the varying degrees of memory loss and cognitive decline that accompany aging and disease.

The patients I worked with had diverse stories and interests, and although we might have had some trouble understanding each other, we found ways to communicate that transcended any typical conversation.

I especially learned a lot from patients severely affected by dementia.

They spoke in riddles, but their emotions were clearly communicated through their facial expressions and general demeanor, which told a story all on their own.

We would connect through smiles and short phrases, yes or no questions, but more often than not, their minds were in another place. Some patients would repeat the details of the same event, over and over, with varying levels of detail each time.

Others would revert to a child-like state, wondering about their parents, about school, and about family and friends they hadn't seen in a long time.

I often wondered why their minds chose to wander to a certain event or time period and leave them stranded there before the end of their life. Was an emotionally salient event reinforcing itself in their memories?

Was their subconscious trying to reconnect with people from their past? All I could do was agree and follow their lead because the last thing I wanted to do was break their pleasant memory.

I felt honored to be able to spend time with them, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was intruding on their final moments, moments that might be better spent with family and loved ones. I didn't know them in their life, so I wondered how they benefited from my presence in their death.

However, after learning that several of the patients I visited didn't have anyone to come to see them, I began to cherish every moment spent, whether it was in laughter or in tears. Several of the patients never remembered me. Each week, I was a new person, and each week they had a different variation of the same story that they needed to tell me.

In a way, it might have made it easier to start fresh every week rather than to grow attached to a person they would soon leave.

Usually, the stories were light-hearted.

They were reliving a memory or experiencing life again as if it were the first time, but as the end draws nearer, a drastic shift in mood and demeanor is evident.

A patient who was once friendly and jolly can quickly become quiet, reflective, and despondent. I've seen patients break down and cry, not because of their current situation, but because they were mourning old ones. These times taught me a lot about how to be just what that person needs towards the end of their life.

I didn't need to understand why they were upset or what they wanted to say.

The somber tone and tired eyes let me know that what they had to say was important and worth hearing. What mattered most is that someone who cared was there to hear it.

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My First College Gal Pal Road Trip Was Amazing

Every girl should have one good girls trip.


In some way or another, everybody has a list of things they want to do in their lives before it's all over. After all, we're human. There's adventure to be had in every life. One thing I have always wanted to do before I grew too old and grey was go on a road trip with my gal pals to the beach. A couple weeks ago, I achieved this memorable milestone, and it allowed me to open up to new surroundings and experiences.

On this trip, I went with two of my friends from college, Kait and Lindsey, to visit my roommate Elizabeth in Virginia Beach. This was pretty big for Lindsey and I because neither of us had been to Virginia Beach before. Thankfully Elizabeth and Kait knew their way around the city, so we never got lost on our way to and fro.

Like most vacations, my favorite parts probably took place at the beach. I'm always at utter peace stomping through mushy sand or leaning down to splash the salty water that tries to knock my short self over. We took pictures and did something us college girls rarely have time to do especially in school: Relax.

The four of us did not live up to the crazed stereotype of girl trips in movies. Although I finally got a chance to sing along to Taylor Swift in a car ride with my friends, so that's always a plus. We played "Top Golf" one day, and by some miracle, I actually won the second game by a fair amount after much humiliation in the first one. We visited some of Elizabeth's family, and I finally got to meet her giant dog Apollo (I call him 'Wolf Dog'). Everyday was another chance to ask with enthusiasm: "So what are we doing today?"

Our trip wasn't like the movies where we all cried or confessed our deepest darkest secrets. Everything the four of us shared was laughter and this calm feeling of being at home, in the chaotic peace of each other's company. We understand each other a little better due to finally seeing what we're like outside of Longwood University. After this, all I can say is that we're most definitely planning the next one!

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