7 Struggles of Your Junior Year of College…

Going into my junior year of college, I wasn’t expecting it to be as stressful as it has been. Looking back on my last two years of college, they have been easy compared to my junior year. Now that I’ve gotten further into my education, I am starting to realize that my future is a lot closer than I realize and I’m still not ready for it. With junior year comes questions, a lot of questions. Junior year makes you question your entire college career and below are some other struggles of junior year that I can’t seem to get away from.

#1: Being An Adult But Not Really Being An Adult

You would think that once you get in college that it would mean you are an adult. But by your junior year of college, you’re still wanting to see your parents on the weekends, you’re still going to be taking clothes home to wash, and you can’t possibly imagine paying bills. Being an adult may legally happen at 18 but really by your junior year you’re still wishing you could go back in time. And plus, you’re still not 21. So that means you have to deal with your stress the kid way. Ice cream and Movies. No wine for you.

#2: When You Realize You Might Not Graduate When You Want To Graduate

Going into college, you think that it’s going to take four years and that’s it, but over time you will learn that things happen. Life happens. You may have to stay an extra semester. You may have to stay an extra year. You’re going to want to change your major a thousand times and that’s okay. College is about finding out what you like to do. If that takes a little longer than expected, that’s okay too. No need to rush anything. You’re still young.

#3: Life Becomes Super Serious

In your junior year, you’ll suddenly realize that the fun is over. You will have to actually start caring about stuff. That means your life, your future, and what’s important to you. You’re going to hear from your friends less and less. Some friends are going to start getting married. Some are going to start having kids and building a family. You’re going to begin to understand that you’re not a kid anymore.

#4: You Have To Take Your Classes Serious

Freshmen year was about getting a taste of the college life. You might not have done great when it comes to your grades but after freshmen year it is not the time to keep slacking off. Take your classes serious because your GPA really counts. Your GPA is really important to your college career and it may be tempting to want to party every weekend but you went to college to get a degree in an actual field of study. Not a degree in partying.

#5: Money Becomes An Important Issue

Money just wasn’t a concern when you were in high school. That’s because you relied on your parents to give you money, but as soon as you graduated high school, you were expected to get a job. That means you are going to be expected to pay for your own stuff. And since you’re a college student, you’re going to be broke. It’s inevitable. But just remember it’s not going to last forever. You’ll be rich in no time. Just after college.

#6: Not Having Enough On Your Resume

I don’t understand why employers expect young people to have years and years of experience. It’s just not possible. But you need to have something on your resume even if it’s just a small part time job. And don’t wait to start getting involved on campus at the last minute (unlike me). My advice is to use college to get involved so that your resume doesn’t have one thing on it. Because after college, you are going to need a job and if you don’t have a healthy looking resume then getting a job is not going to be in your favor.

#7: Less Time to Figure Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

In your junior year, you are going to have to start making a lot of decisions. These decisions will affect your future. You’re going to have to decide what’s next. Will you finish school? And what happens when you finish? Do you want to go to graduate school? Do you want to move? Do you want to go straight into the workforce? Or do you want to take some time off? Questions like these will begin to weigh on your mind during your junior year and it’s going to stress you out more when you realize you have no idea what’s next.

With struggle comes success. No one said college was easy and it never gets easier over time. It may become more familiar over the years, but it definitely isn’t any less stressful. But everything will be okay in the end, right? Well, at least that’s what I have to think to help me get through it.

Photo Image by Element5 Digital

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7 Quotes for College Students…

#7: “Sometimes The Smallest Step In The Right Direction Ends Up Being The Biggest Step Of Your Life. Tip Toe If You Must, But Take The Step.”

#6: “There Is No Failure Except In No Longer Trying.” -Elbert Hubbard

#5: “All I Want To Tell Young People Is That You’re Not Going To Be Anything In Life Unless You Learn To Commit To A Goal. You Have To Reach Deep Within Yourself To See If You Are Willing To Make The Sacrifices.” -Louis Zamperini

#4: “When You Face Difficult Times, Know That Challenges Are Not Sent To Destroy You. They’re Sent To Promote, Increase and Strengthen You.” -Joel Osteen

#3: “Remember, You Don’t Need A Certain Number Of Friends, Just A Number Of Friends You Can Be Certain Of.”

#2: “Opportunity Is Missed By Most People Because It Is Dressed in Overalls And Looks Like Work.” -Thomas Edison

#1: “If You Don’t Go After What You Want, You’ll Never Have It. If You Don’t Ask, The Answer Is Always No. If You Don’t Step Forward, You’re Always In The Same Place.” -Nora Roberts

Photo Image by Alexis Brown

7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to College…

Summer vacation is over and that means school is back in session. As we pack for college to start a new semester, we get excited about this new chapter of our lives. And while high school was very challenging to figure out, college will be a new challenge and an entire different ball game. Although people have to learn things on their own, there are certain things that I wish that I knew before starting my very first semester of college.

#1: High School Rules Don’t Apply In College

This first piece of advice is perhaps the most important. I know that you might have been class president or Mr. Popular guy or maybe even the smartest person in your high school, but that was high school. When you get to college, you are going to learn that they are a lot more people in this world than you can ever imagine and it is no longer all about you. High school rules just don’t apply to college. People may have held you on a pedestal in your hometown, but no one is going to do that when you get to college. Everyone is on an equal playing field.

#2: The Freshman 15 is Real

Being able to eat whatever you want whenever you want is great and this is what leads to your clothes slowly getting tighter and tighter. Trust me when I say gaining weight is inevitable. I gained weight. Everyone around you will gain weight. It’s going to happen. We are getting older, but you can help take control of it by making a plan to go the gym at least twice a week. Use the gym. You’ve paid for it.

#3: You Will Lose Touch With People

I know you have been to school with these people for years and you all have created so many happy memories, but the simple fact is, everyone that you hung out with in high school is not going to be in your life forever and that’s okay. You are all starting your adult lives. There is nothing wrong with going in different directions and losing touch with these people. It’s life. Everyone has to grow up.

#4: Everyone Is Not Your Friend

The movies are definitely not telling the truth when it comes to social circles in college. It’s very unlikely that you are going to have a huge group of friends that you hang out with and if you do, it won’t be like that for long. In college, you’ll learn that not everyone has to be your friend. Find people who will stick by your side and move on. And trust me when I say it’s okay if you only make one good friend in college. One good friend is better than dozens of people drifting in and out of your life.

#5: Get To Know Your Professors

I know in high school we called it kissing up, but everyone does it in college. Or everyone should do it. Professors are the people who will have a huge influence in your education and possibly the direction that you go with your career. Talk to them. Go to their office hours. Get to know them because at the end of these four years you are going to need connections, references, and recommendations.

#6: It’s Hard Being Away From Home

More than likely, college will be your first time away from home and by that I mean taking care of yourself. You don’t have parents looking after your every move so it’s now up to you to make your own decisions as well as figuring things out on your own. It’s scary at first especially if you aren’t used to being on your own. Like me, I decided to move four hours away from home which was both the best decision of my life but also the scariest decision. It’s hard not having your parents to rely on, but that’s part of being an adult. If you find yourself having problems that you need your parents for, just pick up the phone.

#7: You Need To Figure Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

In the beginning of your college career, you’re going to have to take general education course requirements. This is both good and bad. In doing this, you get a well rounded education and you get to decide what type of classes you like, but you are going to have to take some classes that you don’t like. In my case, math and science. But the time that you have while you take these general classes is not time to not pay attention. During this time, you need to be deciding what it is you went to college for. You don’t have forever because before you know it your four years are going to be over and you want to be sure you choose a major that best fits you.

Although these are the things that I wish I would have known before going to college, if someone had told me these things before going away, I wouldn’t have believed them. That’s because you never really know until you experience it for yourself. My advice is that you make the most of your college experience. Make mistakes and take risks. Good luck and make it count!

Photo Image by Stephen Bergin

 

 

7 Must Have Items For The Summer…

There are certain items that everyone needs for the summer. For those long days at the beach or those road trips that seem to last forever, you are bound to need certain things that you wouldn’t necessarily need for the other seasons. Below are the seven things you are going to need for the summer to help you be as prepared as possible.

#1: Sunglasses

Everyone needs a nice pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses are a must have for sunny days, and they protect your eyes from the damaging rays of the sun. Plus, they are super stylish. Even though I can’t wait until I’m able to afford expensive sunglasses, you can easily find affordable sunglasses at your favorite retail stores. My current pair of sunglasses are from Charming Charlie.

#2: Bathing Suit

Bathing suits are must haves for the summer. Regardless of your body type or your confidence level, there is a swimsuit that fits you. I for one am not ashamed to show a little skin so I’m a fan of two pieces but one pieces can be fun to rock too.

#3: Flip Flops/Sandals

Flip Flops and sandals were made for the hot weather and summertime is the perfect time to show off those manicured feet. Sandals are about the only shoes I wear because they can go with all your outfits whether it’s a formal event or an informal occasion. Sandals are life.

#4: Shorts

Wearing blue jeans all summer is a no go. Not only will that get boring quickly but it will also be hot. Shorts are made for hot weather and a nice pair of shorts can go with just about anything. I like to pair my shorts with a cool tee.

#5: Sundress

I love dresses. They make you easily stylish and they keep you cool in the summer weather. Sundresses are made for those summer days that are too hot to handle and you want an outfit that requires as less effort as possible. Pair your sundress with cute sunglasses and a cute pair of sandals for a summer vibe.

#6: Beach Bag

Some time in the summer you are bound to go to the beach and bringing a purse to the beach is not recommended. The best option is a beach bag. They are super handy because they allow you to carry your cool drinks and other things you are going to need for the beach. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the sand messing up your bag. Beach bags can take the heat.

#7: Water Bottle

You are going to need a water bottle and not just for the summer. Water bottles can be used year round. But for the summer, water bottles are especially going to be of use. Drinking lots of water in the summer is extremely important to keep you hydrated. Water bottles are great for trips and are also better for the environment.

Enjoy your summer!

Photo Image by Despo Potamou

7 Healthy Snack Ideas…

So I have a confession. I eat a lot. With so many great foods around, it’s hard to resist, but I’ve learned that eating a lot isn’t a great thing especially if you aren’t eating the right thing.

So in order to curb my big appetite, I stick to 3 meals a day as well as snacking on healthy items to keep me from not getting hungry throughout the day. I know you’ve heard that snacking isn’t good for you, but snacking is a great thing because it helps curb your appetite so you don’t overeat. I try to stick to snacks that are on the healthier side and I try not to eat potato chips or sugary snacks until the weekend when I get to pig out. Below are seven healthy snack ideas that are both cheap to buy and easy to make and they will make you feel less guilty about eating them.

#1: Fruit

I love fruit. It’s one of the healthiest things you can eat and you can never get enough of it. I try to eat fruit everyday whether it’s an apple or a banana or a bowl of strawberries. My favorite fruit tends to be pears, apples, and strawberries. Fruit helps curb my hunger, and also I get to eat something sweet without the guilt that I feel when I eat a piece of cake or pie.

#2: Yogurt

Yogurt is one of my favorite things to eat, and since it’s more healthier than eating a bag of chips, I don’t feel bad when I eat it. Yogurt comes in a variety of flavors and you can even add granola or some fruit on top to fill you up even more. Personally, my favorite flavor is either vanilla or strawberry.

#3: Granola Bar

Granola Bars are perfect snacks. They’re cheap to buy and are perfect for those days when you are on the go. I usually go for the Special K bars because they are the best. They don’t taste like you’re eating something healthy. But really any granola bar with chocolate chips is good for me.

#4: Popcorn/Kettle corn

Popcorn is one of my favorite foods and it’s a bonus that it’s also a healthy snack. Popcorn is low in calories and fun to eat. You can add butter or nothing at all. And if you need popcorn with a little bit more flavor then try kettle corn. Kettle corn is just like popcorn but it’s sweet. Kettle corn is perfect for people who have a sweet tooth but don’t want to indulge themselves in cakes or pies which have a lot more calories in them.

#5: Nuts

I’m not really a fan of peanuts so as a alternative I tend to go for cashews or almonds which are more my style. I even go for trail mix because it has more ingredients in it. Sometimes nuts can taste bland so in order to spice things up, you can pick nuts that have flavor to them like spicy or honey flavored.

#6: Jello

I know people might think that jello is a kid food, but jello can be eaten by anyone. Because jello comes in a variety of flavors, you can easily customize it to fit your taste or you can add fruit in it to make your jello less boring to eat. Jello is easy to make and will curb your sweet tooth without making you feel guilty.

#7: Smoothies

Last but not least are smoothies. Smoothies are perfect as a snack and sometimes they could be substituted for a meal if you have the right ingredients in them. Smoothies are cheap to make; just put your choice of fruit, milk, and ice in a blender. The reason that smoothies are so healthy is because you make them yourself which means you know what’s going in them. Nothing artificial at all. Smoothies are made of simple and natural ingredients.

Photo Image by Brenda Godinez

7 Things To Do For The Summer…

Summer is finally here. That means shorts, tank tops, and cool drinks. School is out and unless you have a super exciting life then you might be in need of some ideas on how to keep your summer from being as boring as possible.

For me, summer means a break from college. I know some people choose to go to summer school, but that doesn’t work for me. My summer is my time off to relax and to think about something other than schoolwork. So instead I choose to work which is a much better decision for me. But besides working I like to do other things in the summer like take time to read a book or travel. Below are seven ideas that I’ve come up with to keep you having a fun and enjoyable summer.

#1: Read a Book

I love books, but during the school semesters I don’t get much time to read what I actually want to read. So during the summer when I don’t have to read boring textbooks, I get to read books that I like. Reading is very relaxing for me, and during the summer it’s best served with a cold drink.

#2: Take a Trip

Road trips were practically invented during the summer so why not enjoy yourself and go on a few trips. And traveling doesn’t have to be expensive. Unless you’re going to Los Angeles or New York then you don’t have to have a lot of money. There are plenty of places around you that you might not have even been to yet. Visit them. You might find a hidden wonder. Traveling is super fun and is even more enjoyable with another person.

#3: Make a Scrapbook

Taking pictures is a way of life and it’s super convenient to just store the pictures in your phone so that you can look at them anytime you want, but I for one like to have an actual photo in my hand. I discovered that it’s really easy to print pictures off your phone. All you need is your charging cord and your nearby Walgreens or CVS. There are even apps that let you print photos from your phone to be mailed to your house. Putting the photos in a scrapbook could be a great way to savor the memories that you’ve created. Just think about it this way: some day you’re going to need photos to share with your kids.

#4: Cook

I really enjoy cooking and baking. In fact, in another life I would have been a baker and owning a bakery is a tiny dream of mine. Summer is a perfect time to experiment with different recipes because you have a lot of time on your hand. You can easily find recipes online or buy a cheap cook book. Even if you aren’t the best cook in the world, cooking is something you can be proud of because it’s all you.

#5: Exercise More

Take advantage of the summer days and try exercising more. Hit up outside instead of the gym so that you can get fresh air at the same time. Summer exercise routines don’t have to be hard. Light jogging or a small exercise routine in the backyard can be fun.

#6: Start a Garden

Although I don’t have much of a green thumb, many people do and many people enjoy gardening. Gardening can be relaxing and the summer season is the perfect time to plant flowers and vegetables. But just make sure that you keep them hydrated. Georgia heat is no joke.

#7: Host a Party

Summers are great for BBQs and cookouts. The smell of grilled food and the sound of a freshly opened can of soda is what summer cookouts are all about. Invite some friends and family over to enjoy a nice day in the backyard. And it doesn’t take much to host a party. Just these three simple things: music, chairs, and food.

Have a great summer! Enjoy!

Photo Image by Sai Kiran Anagani

So Why Donate to Charity?

We have all seen the commercials. The sad ones that feature starving children or neglected pets. We are familiar with the different organizations. Red Cross. The Humane Society. We know the feeling of watching these commercials and feeling horrible. And this is usually the time where we actually start to appreciate everything in our lives instead of complaining about not having enough.

Society has programmed us to being in the habit of giving around the holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, but what would happen if we started giving all the time instead of at certain times? And why do we have to wait until holidays to be generous? Doesn’t someone need our help all the times of the year?

I will admit. For awhile I didn’t appreciate how good my life was compared to other people. I have everything that I need and want and I’m never without anything. I have food on the table every night. I have clothes on my back and I have a place to stay. Like many people, I got caught up in materialistic things like wanting this thing or that thing that I forgot what would life be like if it was a struggle just to get a meal on the table. What would a life be like if I had to fight to survive on a daily basis because I didn’t have my basic needs.

I think people don’t realize the magnitude of how widespread poverty is and they believe that just because they don’t see homeless people on a daily basis means that poverty doesn’t exist. But that’s wrong. Poverty exists everywhere not just in places in far off countries. It can exist right in your own community. The kid that you see wearing ragged clothes or the person that eats like it’s their last meal is no joke. It’s a harsh reality.

So as I came to this realization, I realized that I needed to look at the bigger picture instead of thinking about myself all the time. And it’s okay to be a little selfish. I’m a huge fan of getting my wants, but you can’t be selfish all the time. That’s why I started to donate to charity as I reminder to myself that the world doesn’t revolve around me. I realized that some things are more important than buying the newest shoes or having the newest outfit, and once I realized these things are ultimately meaningless, I wanted to do something that was actually important. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that donating to charity isn’t important because it is. Helping someone who can’t afford to help themselves is probably one of the most meaningful things a person could do.

So for almost a year, I’ve been donating whatever I can. I used to think that I had to be a millionaire to donate to charity, but that’s not true at all. Anything is helpful. Whether you think it’s a small act or not, you’re saving someone’s life and that’s a big deal.

Starting last year, I chose to donate something once a month whether it’s donating money or clothes or supplies. This month I chose to donate some old clothes to my local salvation army, and last month I sent off a package of supplies to a children’s home. I find a way to give back to society and this has given me a sense of purpose and a sense of meaning that I didn’t have before.

You might ask yourself, why should I donate? Does the man that lost everything or the struggling woman down the street with ten kids really deserve my help? Well, I’ll ask you this, put yourself in their situation and ask yourself wouldn’t you like help if you suddenly was down on your luck? I think the answer is a no brainer.

People also doubt if when they do decide to donate, does it really help them? Yes, it does. You can’t think like that. It not only gets in the way of what you could be blessing another person with, but it gets in the way of the blessing that can happen to you from this. For me, donating to charity gave me a purpose when I needed one.

When I begin to doubt if my little donation helped anyone at all, I imagine myself in the other person’s shoes and realize that any little help means everything to a person in need. So I challenge you to try at least once to give ten dollars to an organization or to give away some old clothes or shoes to a local goodwill or a local salvation army. You’ll feel the sense of purpose and satisfaction that I feel when I donate and I promise you’re going to want to do it again.

Photo Image by Nathan Anderson