To The Girl Who Always Turns Down Plans, Don't.

To The Girl Who Always Turns Down Plans, Don't.

What lie can I come up with to get out of this?
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To the girl who always turns down plans, don't.

Stay in bed or go out? You already know your answer.

I grew up shy, my own best friend.. I was the girl in middle and high school that had one all-consuming friendship at a time. I clung on, certain that the girls in huge groups were doing it wrong. It was the only logical approach- you filled each other’s time, never facing competition. Looking back, it does have its cons. Watching everyone else being able to befriend anyone always made me jealous. I wanted that so badly. But being introverted, it didn’t seem possible. No one wants to be friends with the shy girl.

Don't get me wrong, I had other friends- or, I should say, acquaintances. Senior year, I really branched out. I started talking to girls I had always brushed off and rekindled my friendship with an old friend. It was definitely my best year of high school, but I still didn't go out much. When someone would approach me with plans the first thought that would come to mind was what lie can I come up with to get out of this? I couldn't help myself. I would much rather stay home and lay in bed.

Looking back, doing that hurt me way more than I imagined. I would log onto social media and seeing my friends have a fun time at the plans I turned downed. A cloud of depression would come over me. I would be furious with myself for feeling that way. It was only my fault. The amount of memories and experiences I turned down is repulsive. High school is supposed to be the best four years of your life, but for me it was the worst.

I was terrified going into college. The thought of not knowing anyone besides a couple people I had met online filled me with panic. August rolled around and any excitement turned to dread. My comfort zone had treated me too well. I wasn't okay with the thought of being even slightly uncomfortable. All I could tell myself is how badly I wanted college to be different. I didn’t want to be the girl who sits in my dorm with the door shut, isolating myself yet again. I wanted to have a big group of friends, and never turn down plans unless I actually had to.

I’ve now been at Merrimack for eight weeks. Eight weeks of new friends. Eight weeks of finally, finally going out when I wanted to hide in my room. Eight weeks of searching for myself- and finding a person I actually like. I’ve found a kind, supportive friend group. They’re forced me to interact with even more people in my building, and now I always have someone I can hang out with. I never refuse plans. Even when I really, really want to. I'm over that. My social anxiety has almost vanished and the amount of crazy, fun experiences I have had here already is unreal.

So, to the girl who's either in high school reading this right now worrying or in college sitting in her dorm, don't. I promise sitting in your room by yourself on a Friday night may be fun sometimes, but not every weekend. Go out. Have fun. Find new friends, make new experiences, have the time of your life. As cliche as this may sound, you're only young once. Don't look back and regret turning down plans that could have been the time of your life.

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7 Bullet Journal Hacks for Happy Tracking

It's 2018, so let's step up that bullet journal game!
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For those of us diving into bullet journals this year, here are a few ideas to keep track of. If you're like me (maybe a little OCD), you like seeing progress over time. And there are tons of things to keep track of in a bullet journal. So I narrowed it down to seven fun items to keep track of this year. Personally, I keep track of all these things. I'll even show you a few pictures. So here's a peek at my favorite bullet journal items!

1. Daily Color-Coded Mood

Draw a block, divided into cubes for each day of the year. Choose a color for various moods: red for an absolutely horrible day; orange for a bad day; yellow for a meh day; green for a good day; blue for a great day; purple for the best day ever. At the end of each day, color in the appropriate square and by the end of the year you'll have rainbow enigma of emotions!

As you can see, I skipped a couple weeks. There's nothing wrong with that! Pick right up where you left off and keep going! Don't get down on yourself for skipping a day here or there.

2. Daily Water Intake

What's your goal for the amount of water you want to drink each day? 16 glasses? Draw a graph (this may take up quite a few pages) with days in the month and glasses of water. Color in the appropriate squares as you drink each glass of water. It's a fun, visual way to see your progress each day. Maybe keep your journal in or near the kitchen so you can easily track progress as you drink.

3. Savings Budget

There's probably something in your life for which you need to save money. Textbooks, sorority dues, grocery money, or maybe just a new pair of shoes you've been eyeing. Set up a page in your bullet journal with a timeline ending in the amount of money you need to set aside. Then each time you set aside part of your paycheck, color in the timeline the appropriate length until you reach your goal!

4. Good Song Lyrics

If you're like me, your favorite song changes from week to week. But you always want to remember those awesome lines that speak to your soul. What better way than to create a collage of lyrics over the coming year!

5. Books Read or Want To Read

If you're super creative (unlike me...) you could draw an actual bookshelf and write in the titles. And if you're like me, you're better off writing titles of books read. (I have literally hundreds of books I want to read) Mark down when you finished them and a rating on how good they were!

6. Daily Habit Tracker

Take an entire page and draw up a massive grid. Mark each day of the month on one axis. On the other axis, list habits you want to keep track of. As in: making your bed, working out, taking a walk, meditating, washing your face, doing laundry, saving spare change, going to bed on time, journaling your thoughts, cleaning the house, doing your makeup, calling your parents, no spending, tracking in your bullet journal, and the list could go on. At the end of each day, color in the grid squares of the habits you completed.

You might skip making the bed every once in a while - and that's quite okay! This isn't supposed to be a way to put yourself down for how little you do. It's only supposed to be a way to see how often your habits occur!

7. Bucket List

Probably most of us have a bucket list we'd like to complete before we die. But how many of us keep putting off our bucket list items until next year? Well, here ya go. Buckle up and get ready! For 2018, find a few items you want to check off, write them in your bullet journal, and leave a little space beneath each item for notes. As the year goes on, do some research on how to make these items come to fruition. (Psst, you could put number three to good use here - save money to pay for your bucket list!)

Let's say you want to go skydiving. Research near-by skydiving places and how much they cost, the time commitment, and how far you have to travel. Start setting aside money. Get any required physical exams or permits. And SIGN UP FOR IT. That's the biggest step. Once you have yourself committed on paper, it feels more official. And before you know it, you'll have an item checked off your bucket list!!

Cover Image Credit: Kelly Siedhof

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Engineering is Catching Up to Einstein

The potential to see the first "image" of a black hole this year reminds us of the intermingling of physics and engineering.
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Over the years, physicists have hypothesized about much of the way of the universe. Some of these hypotheses have been correct, others not so much, but regardless, there has been a lot that has been predicted.

Now you might ask: how do you know if the physics of something is “right”? If someone hypothesizes something, especially something complex, how could you possibly prove whether it is right or wrong? The answer is frequently engineering. Unless a phenomenon is discovered or proven by testing using an apparatus that has been engineered, thus eliminating the step to actually engineer something for it, there is frequently a back-and-forth between the theory of physics and the practicality of engineering.

As an example of information that we now take as fact, the heliocentric theory (the theory that the Earth revolves around the sun rather than the other way around) was hypothesized by Nicolaus Copernicus in the 1500s and was met with a healthy dose of skepticism to say the least. In the years following this hypothesis, Galileo Galilei proved this theory with a telescope. The engineering of the telescope allowed for the confirmation of Copernicus’s theory. Looking at this hypothesis and its validation may seem trivial due to the widespread modern acceptance of the theory, but looking at an example like this gives us the formula that later discoveries will follow.

Moving on to more modern physics, there have been several of Albert Einstein’s theories that have been proven in the years following his hypotheses due to the advancement of technology and the current prowess of engineering. As an example of this, Einstein theorized the concept of relativity which is a multifaceted physical phenomenon, but for the purposes of this article I will just focus on one result of this theory. The groundbreaking discovery of the theory of relativity is that time is not necessarily as we perceive it, and the perception of time changes due to certain circumstances. One of these circumstances is that as an object approaches the speed of light, from the perspective of something motionless, that object appears to be experiencing time differently to the stationary observer.

Confused? Fair enough. The proof of this theory actually makes the theory easier to understand. Years and years after Einstein first came up with his theory of relativity it was proven with a phenomenon observed here on Earth. Muons are basic particles that have a very short lifespan. This lifespan has been measured using calculations and observations. Conveniently, muons also bombard the Earth at speeds that approach the speed of light. Given the observed lifespan of the stationary muons, even if the particles were moving at the speed of light, they would not be able to reach the ground because they would simply cease to exist as muons before they hit the ground. However, even despite this, muons have been discovered to have reached the Earth’s surface. Given our current understanding of physics, the only way that this is possible is if Einstein’s theory of relativity is correct. To the muon, it only survives for as long as physicists have measured it to survive as it is stationary. But to a stationary observer on the surface of the Earth, the muon exists for a much longer period of time. The result: time is different under different circumstances!

This long discussion about the scientific process leads us to today where we are still doing our utmost to uncover the secrets of our universe and 2018 could prove to be another milestone year, this time with a focus on black holes. Black holes are some of the most mysterious objects in the universe, and also some of the most frequently talked about. But with all the talk about black holes, we have never actually seen one. We, as humans, have only ever hypothesized the existence of black holes given the behavior of other celestial objects. But within the next year, operators of the Event Horizon Telescope could be the ones to change that by actually capturing an “image” of a black hole. This is where the engineering comes in.

To actually be able to see a black hole requires a telescope the size of the Earth which, practically, is exactly as hard as it sounds. The likelihood of humans having the ability to create a full telescope the size of Earth anytime soon is extremely low. But engineers have thought about this! Instead of using one big apparatus that most people would picture as a telescope, the Event Horizon Telescope team decided instead to link several telescopes around the world in order to image the black hole. The implications of having the ability to “see” a black hole are many and the results could be vital in proving or disproving some theories developed in the last hundred years or so. All of this is thanks to the recent advancement in engineering technologies that continues the age-old tradition in science of the intermingling of the theory of physics with the practicality of engineering.

Cover Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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