What Is Your Currency?

What Is Your Currency?

What do you want to offer to the world?

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Recently, I overheard a quote that detailed a different way of looking at the world.

Everyone has a personal currency they pay throughout their lives with their lives. It is entirely unique to other forms of payment - you have to decide what your currency will be, what you will give to the world. The decision is important, for with every exchange, every interaction, every conversation, you spend these pieces of your life and yourself, investing them into other people, other places, other experiences. You choose what you will barter with as well as what you will leave behind.

The originator of the quote decided that they wanted their currency to be kindness. Keeping it readily in mind, they spend their life trying their best to live in such a way that pays their currency to everyone around them.

Interesting thought, right?

Of course, it does beg a particularly important question.

If I am to choose the currency my life will pay, what do I want to offer to the world?

If my personal currency is kindness, I will endeavor to bring the people around me joy. I will strive to speak with neither empty flattery nor hostile accusation, choosing instead to go for a smile, willing to exhaust all funds and feelings for just one moment of another person's joy. If my personal currency is kindness, I will keep others in mind even when my patience has worn thin, when my heart just wants to curl up and ignore. I will learn how to prioritize people above the petty stressors in which my life so often wraps itself. Filled with the constant remembrance of my life's emotional finance, I will be able to look to life's positives and exude them towards those who might struggle to find those positives themselves.

Thus, I want to pay people in kindness.

If my personal currency is pride, I will think only of myself. I will go bankrupt shelling out currency I can't even afford to pay to make sure I am in good standing amongst others. I will distrust everyone - why trust a person who could, in any way, usurp my title as "decently capable human being in a couple of areas"? My currency will funnel from my fingertips solely towards interactions that could improve me. I'll waste funds, build upon my personal victories, waste funds, build upon my image, waste funds, build upon my grades, waste funds, build up my place in the supposed social hierarchy. I will see other people as simply side characters in the grand story that is my magnificent life. I will be filthy rich in self-deprecation and deeply poor in relationships.

Thus, I do not want to pay people in pride.

If my personal currency is courage, I will see no worthwhile challenge as being too expensive to attempt. I will buy out fear and purchase successes and failures alike, learning from each as best I can. I will strive to pay others with that courage, speaking my mind and heart with a decided honesty, praying they choose to do the same. I will pay others courage with the hope that they find in themselves the strength to try and use the courage I pay to buy a chance to believe in themselves, a chance to try. Others have offered me that gift, that currency, that chance. I'd relish the opportunity to offer it to someone else, if ever I am able.

Thus, I want to pay people in courage.

If my personal currency is anger, I will shove foul wealth into the pockets of strangers for no reason whatsoever. I'll bury their unique currencies with my own terrible vice, all but forcing them to pay that rage forward to others to continue the cycle. Loaded as anger would make me, I would use it to buy scowling looks, arguments with loved ones, tear-stained pillows, and desolate confusion at why I can't calm down. I would pay for fight after fight after fight until, currencies fully exhausted, I'd collapse, unconnected to those I love, unbalanced, unable to find the positives or offer a single ounce of joy to another person.

Thus, I do not want to pay people in anger.

If my personal currency is love, I can make every single interaction count. I can find the people I love, the people who love me. I can go all out, seek genuine connections. Love holds a hefty value - I will risk a lot of personal heartache and could end up losing big, but I will continue to love through every bit of it. It will be worth the risk, worth the fears, worth the rejections, worth the strain. Love is something to be treasured and shared. If my personal currency is love, I can let everyone and their respective currencies know how precious they are to the world in which they live.

Thus, I want to pay people in love.

Currencies of life are unique, multi-faceted, powerful, abundant. They tell a story of who a person is and where a person has been. For those piling up hatred, they might have been paid nothing but that from their very start. It might take time to pay them enough in positivity that they feel safe to use it themselves. We can't know other people's lives or stories. What we can know is our own. What we can do is make a choice, a choice to pay others in the best of what we have to offer.

So what will your currency be?

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10 Abnormally Normal Things About College

Some stuff just doesn't fly in the real world.
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College is a weird, weird place. For whatever reason, the young adults who are supposed to be cultivating their minds with all of the worldly knowledge available to them, seem to get away with quite a bit using the justification "it's college." Even the best students live abnormally while on the alien planet that is a university. So, while to us college students it may just seem like another day, here are ten things that are only normal in college.

1. Straight up theft.

In the future, if I walk into my forty-something-year-old neighbor's home and see a collection of stolen signs, stuff from the local restaurant, and property from the construction site down the road, I would definitely be concerned about the character of my neighbor. However, in college, people proudly display campus signs, traffic cones, or dining hall napkin dispensers that they have impressively commandeered - it's a cheap decoration and a great conversation starter.

2. All-nighters.

Maybe with the exception of parents of little babies, very few people willingly stay up for close to 24 hours on end. In the real world, if a friend came to you and said that they literally did not sleep the previous night, it's completely logical to be worried. On the other hand, when a friend in college says that he was up all night you laugh a little, give him an understanding pat on the back, and walk with him to the coffee line.

3. Atrocious eating habits.

Sometimes you don't have time to eat. Sometimes you order pizza at 2 in the morning. Sometimes you eat three dinners. Sometimes you diet. All I can say, is thank goodness that our metabolisms are decently high at this age.

4. Breaking and entering.

In high school, you hopefully knew everyone who entered your home. After college, hopefully, that's still the case. However, when you live in the middle of thousands of bored college students, people knock at your door, walk into parties, cut through your yard, and stop by without invitation or hesitation. It keeps life fun, but still not normal.

5. Calling mom when stuff goes down.

I really doubt a time will ever come that I don't need to call my mom for guidance on how to do something. But, hopefully the frequency of those calls with go down a little bit post-graduation. Maybe after four years of doing it on my own, I'll know how to fill out government forms, cook real dinners, and get stains out. But for now, I'm going to keep calling while I still can without seeming totally pathetic.

6. Being intoxicated at weird times.

Drunk at noon on a Friday is the quintessence of an alcoholic at any time - unless it's college. Not that this is necessarily a good thing, and it certainly doesn't apply to everyone, but there aren't many other places where people would instantly assume someone is intoxicated if they're acting even a little weird. I've even seen people drink in the library....

7. The messed up dating scene.



There are people who meet the love of their life at college and live happily ever after. They are people who meet the supposed love of their life at college and never talk to them again after Sunday. There are people who use Tinder. Hormones are high, freedom is bountiful, and football players are cute - what else needs to be said?

8. A warped sense of time.

The career I'm pursuing will require me to be at work by 7 am, five days a week. I am fully aware of this. Now, will I enroll in an 8 am next semester? Absolutely not - I'm not a demon. In college, nights often start at 10 p.m., dinners are eaten at 4, and mornings can begin anywhere from 8 to 2. We don't get that whole 9-5 idea.

9. Costumes... for no apparent reason.

High schoolers have a dress code. Adults have dignity. College students have fun. Here, people will wear a corn costume to get on ESPN, a fanny pack to get into a fraternity, or a tutu to match a theme party. Is it actually a weird thing, though? No one even blinks an eye.

10. Insanely close friends.

Name another point in your life when you live with your friends, study with your friends, drive with your friends, eat with your friends, go out with your friends, and even grocery shop with your friends. I'll wait. At college, it's easy for friends to seem like family because you're with them constantly. Love it or hate it, it's weird about college.

So, enjoy this weirdness while you can - it won't last forever!


ALSO SEE:

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Cover Image Credit: Matthew Kupfer

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12 Unhealthy College Habits That Never Should Have Become Normalized

No, you shouldn't have to pull an all-nighter to pass every exam.

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College is a weird time in our lives, but it doesn't have to be bad for our health. Here are some trends I've seen on social media and watched my friends practice that really never should have become a "thing" for college students in the first place.

1. The "freshman 15."

Everyone has heard of the dreaded "freshman 15," where college freshmen gain 15 pounds because of access to all-you-can-eat dining halls. Rather than eating healthier options at the dining halls or, you know, only eating until you're full and not stuffing yourself, we've just accepted our fate to gain what's really a large amount of weight. Not a very healthy mindset.

2. Eating only junk food because we're "too poor" to buy real food.

For off-campus students, the theme is ramen and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. This is really not how it needs to be. You can buy a bunch of romaine lettuce for around $1 at the grocery store I go to in my college town, and other produce like broccoli, potatoes, and apples are always cheap. Shop sales and keep your pantry stocked on staples like dry pasta, rice, beans, and other canned vegetables. It's not that expensive to eat decently.

3. Gorging on food at the dining hall just because you can.

This is what leads to the freshman 15. Just because you can eat whatever you want doesn't mean you should.

4. Procrastinating EVERYTHING.

I'm always ahead of my schoolwork, but all of the people in my classes push things right down to the wire. It creates unnecessary stress. Just get things done in advance so you don't have to worry.

5. Being generally unorganized and struggling to keep your life together. 

Actually using my planner is one of the best things I've done for myself in college so far. I don't know why it became popular for college students to be a hot mess all the time, but again, do what you can to avoid putting unnecessary stress on yourself.

6. Pulling all nighters, ever.

If you don't understand it by midnight, you won't understand it any better by five in the morning. You'll do so much better with less studying and more sleep than the other way around. Take the L and go to bed.

7. Waiting until the very last minute to start studying for your finals.

This is what typically leads to the aforementioned all-nighters. If you have an exam in two weeks, start studying NOW. Give yourself time to figure out what you need to focus on and get in contact with your professor or a tutor if necessary. Do yourself the favor.

8. Getting blackout drunk Friday and Saturday night...every weekend.

A lot of college students like to drink. That's fine, I get it, college is stressful and you just want to have a good time. But you don't have to go out every night of every weekend and drink so much you don't remember anything that didn't occur between Monday-Friday every week. Give yourself a break from drinking every so often.

9. Getting iced coffee before class and being late because of it.

I always make sure I get to campus early if I plan to get Starbucks, which I often do. It's rude to come in late, and it's detrimental to your education to consistently miss class. Your coffee can wait if you're running late. Plan better next time.

10.  Committing to 10 different extracurriculars because "it'll boost your resume if you have more on it!"

If you only participate in one club where you're the head of marketing and the treasurer, that will look SO much better than if you participated in five clubs but were just...there for all of them. Excel in one thing rather than being mediocre in many.

11.  Skipping class whenever you feel like it.

You can take the occasional mental health day, but if you're just being lazy, you're only hurting yourself. Go to class. You're paying a lot of money for it, after all.

12.  Spending every last penny you have to go somewhere for spring break (Daytona Beach, anyone?).

"Broke" college kids always end up taking the most extravagant spring break vacations. I'm sure it's fun and you'll cherish the memories, but wouldn't you cherish that $500 more if you saved it for things you actually need rather than living off of ramen for a month when you get home?

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