How to Prepare for a Great Morning

Rise and Shine: It's Important!

Who gave being the early bird such a bad rep?!

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Is it just me, or does it seem that everyone HATES waking up early? And when I say early, I mean any time before 12pm. The majority of my friends will be unresponsive on their phones before the afternoon, and if I am at a sleepover, I am always the first one up left waiting hours until we can go and get breakfast. I don't get it. Sure, there are days I am up extremely late and need to catch up on a little extra sleep - that's a given - but for the most part, I prefer to set an alarm and get my day started before missing an entire third of my day. Is the extra sleep really worth losing that amount of time in the day? To me, it is not… and here's how to change that mindset.

The habit needs to start somewhere - so decide to wake up at a set time the night before. Don't get ahead of yourself… keep it realistic given the circumstances of when you plan on falling asleep, and what you have going on the next day. Once it is decided, you're halfway there! Use an alarm clock - an actual alarm clock, not just your phone - and set one or more alarms to ensure you will not sleep through it. The hardest part, though, is not just waking up… it is staying awake. We have all been there... you wake up and realize how cozy you are and PROMISE yourself just five more minutes - which, in a snap, turns into another hour. This is where planning the night before becomes essential. Clean your room, pick out your outfit, pack up your backpack, and maybe even choose the breakfast you want to eat. When these things are done, I have found it gives me a sense of motivation to ease into my morning knowing I do not have that much to do.

Once you are up for good, you are golden. I suggest making your bed right away - it wakes you up and starts your day off being productive. Maybe listen to a morning themed playlist through a speaker, or even give yourself a little encouragement by promising yourself a stop to Starbucks before class. This stuff works! Being prepared and organized keeps you from falling behind and starting your day off on the wrong foot.

Growing up, my parents were early risers - no later than 6am each day - so I guess I followed their footsteps. Making a cup of coffee and enjoying my morning has become something I look forward to - its the calmness before even the busiest of days. Many people would argue this, but I truly believe that any morning can be relaxing and stress-free if you prep for it in advance and give yourself enough time. There were mornings before school that I would watch an entire episode of Gossip Girl while getting ready, or read chapters of my book while having coffee. How I feel when I wake up, most times, defines how I feel throughout that day. So starting it off on the right foot, and early enough to extend your day, is totally worth it.

Now in college, even though I have later afternoon/night classes, I still find myself setting an 8 am alarm. I make my bed, get dressed for the day, get a coffee, take a little walk, and find myself at the library before it even begins to get noisy - and I get a ton done. If I missed these hours of time to adjust to the day, I would be stressed and behind on life. So again, I do not really understand the popularity of sleeping in through lunch time. The sun rising and a day beginning is one of the most serene things in life… why sleep through it?

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How To Get The Most Out Of Studying Abroad

Tourist traps are traps for a reason

Mo Havey
Mo Havey
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Recently, I went on a short, university lead, study away trip to Austria. I went with a close friend of mine, and if it weren't for him joining me on this trip, I believe I wouldn't have had as much fun as I did.

Although our professors found us some great tours and museums to explore and listen to, it sucks sticking out as much as you do when you're in a plainly obvious tourist group.

Some of my fondest memories from this trip are from the times where we could do what we wanted--with telling our supervisors where we were headed off course. Here are some tips on getting the most out of a short-term study away trip.

1. Break Away From Your Group

It felt like the majority of our group was scared to break away from our professors leading the group, and seldom joined us on our nighttime excursions.

Yes, you're in a country that you've never been to before and you don't speak the language, but if all you do is stick with your gigantic tour groups and head back to the hotel and go to bed at 10 pm, you're not going to experience the culture--you're only going to see and watch instead of feeling and doing.

It's the 21st century, you probably have a smart phone with a maps app, and you probably have your professor's contact in case you do get lost or in trouble.

If there is something you want to do, speak up and say it, someone will almost always want to join. You have to break away from your group and do activities or else all you're going to do is take pictures and say you saw the Belvedere Palace.

2. Eat Out of Your Comfort Zone

Yes, the food is different than what you're used to. Try it. The cuisine is a big part of any culture, and if all you eat is the equivalent to a chicken patty the entire time you're there, you're missing out.

Some of the best food I've ever had came from butchering a name on the menu, not knowing what I ordered. You might never get the chance to eat it again, so go for it. If you hate it, then that's all apart of the experience.

3. Find Your Typical Activities Abroad

Something my friend and I wanted to do off the bat was to find an Austrian hookah lounge. We knew it'd be an easy way to immerse ourselves in with the locals without putting us in an uncomfortable position. It was something we were familiar with, but oh so different.

If you frequent sports bars, find one abroad; if you go to the farmer's market on the weekend, find the local one; if you're a crafty person, find a craft store and buy craft supplies you wouldn't be able to find back home.

For me, I stopped feeling uncomfortable and alienated once I stumbled across a gay pride festival; I finally started to feel not as a tourist, but as a visitor. Being in a familiar situation will ease you into the culture without giving too much of a culture shock.

Mo Havey
Mo Havey

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You Know You're From Trumbull, CT When...

The best memories are made in this boring, little, Connecticut town.

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1. The majority of places you will consider to eat at are in Fairfield or Westport... Colony, Shake Shack, Country Cow, Playa Bowls, BarTaco

2. But if you find yourself too lazy to get on 95 for food, Panchero's is the go-to... never Chipotle. If it is past midnight, the choice always comes down to the McDonalds in Monroe, where you are almost guaranteed to see a group of people you know, or Merritt Canteen.

3. Once you got your license, your Friday night plans consisted of picking up friends, driving up and down Main Street, and, somehow, always finding yourself at the THS parking lot seeing who's car is there because there is nothing better to do.

4. In the Fall, you couldn't wait for Friday so that after school you and half of your grade could walk to Plasko's Farm for ice cream and apple cider donuts... and hope you could get them before the owners would yell at you to leave. (This one only applies to Hillcrest Middle School kids, AKA the inferior middle school in town).

5. You couldn't wait to be a senior so you could officially lead the BLACK HOLE at football games... if you were even willing to go in the cold.

6. You looked forward to the annual Senior Scav, the last week of summer before your senior year where a list of tasks is passed down by the recently graduated class... the official kickoff to senior year.

7. You pass by Country Club Rd. and get flashbacks from the worst Cross Country practices ever. Driving up Daniels Farm Rd. in the Fall and Spring, you are conditioned to yell "hi" out the window to your friends at practice.

8. You knew someone who worked at Gene's gas station... and found yourself spending more time there on the weekends than you would like to admit.

9. You are convinced Melon-heads are real after frequenting Velvet St. to see the abandoned insane asylum with your friends, IF you didn't want to drive all the way up to Fairfield Hills in Newtown.

10. You have had/have been to at least one middle school birthday party at the Trumbull Marriott.

11. You know that the 25mph speed limit on Whitney Ave. is way too slow... and can't help but hit a little air going down the huge hill at the top.

12. The guy at Towne likely knows your name.

13. You never find yourself turning right out of THS... that side of town is irrelevant for those who do not live there.

14. You know to avoid the Merrit Parkway from 4:00-7:00pm at all costs.

15. You know more than you would like to about people you aren't even friends with... in a town so small, things get around very quick.

16. Going shopping really means going to Target, or any store in the mall, for the millionth time that week.

17. The marching band was the best in the state and you would see them practicing, literally, every time you drove by THS.

19. Depending on the side of town you lived, you spent a lot of time at Five Pennies Park or Indian Ledge Park.

20. You would say you couldn't wait to leave, but when you got to college, you find yourself excited to come back to your hometown so you can reminisce on old traditions and make new memories.

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