Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Cruel Reality of Working Multiple Jobs As A Full Time Student

Being a college student isn't all that easy, at least it isn't for me. I work three jobs, something that I mention quite often in my posts, especially as of late. Add in the responsibilities of being a full-time student, and you got a constant state of anxiety and depression, which is what I am living in. 
I can hear you saying 'why don't you cut something out?' Well, I need one job for the money, and the other two are journalism jobs that I have in my field, which is the much needed experience that every journalism person on the planet will tell you is necessary until they are blue in the face. And, of course, I need to go to school and do reasonably well, because without school or education, I wouldn't be able to get anywhere. 
With all this going on, I have no time for a social life, something that makes me sad. I rarely have time to meet with friends, to do things I enjoy and basically just to be a normal 21 year old. I'm not here to complain, but the reality just sucks. 
As the semester progresses, I have less than six weeks until I get through this tough semester. That thought gets me through, although it's not going to help me now. Going to a therapist helps me learn how to change my habits, to learn to be nice and less harsh on myself and to help me deal with the cruel realities of adulthood. In life, there's sometimes when you have to go through something hard to appreciate the fruits of hard work. 
At the end of the day, that's all I can hope for. 
Six weeks until I can leave behind town meetings, long days at school and trying to squeeze everything in less than a week's time. I know I can do it, but I know I need to add something else to the agendas as well. And that's taking care of Natalie, and just doing things that make me happy. Why? Because it's more important than any grade or salary that I would receive. That's what matters more than anything. 
So, readers, if you're in college and having a rough semester, know that you're not alone. Tell me about your own personal experiences in the comments below. I know we can get through this, together. Just remember your sanity is worth more than any ol' grade. It's even worth more than a million dollars. 

Monday, March 28, 2016

Matters of Mindfulness: Why Is Self Care Considered Selfish?

As a person whose diagnosed with severe anxiety, one of the things that my therapist tells me to do is self-care, which is do something that makes you happy or take care of yourself. For me, this is reading, going for a run, getting a cup of Starbucks' lovely Tazo Iced Tea, eating a particularly good cupcake or just watching Netflix. (Basically, anything that isn't a responsibility or school assignment, which seems to have taken over my life as of late.)
However, to some, taking a few minutes to just relax and take care of yourself isn't essential. It's selfish. I don't know how, because it's important to take care of a mental illness just as you would take care of a physical one. It keeps you healthy, and it keeps you sane.
Let me ask you something. When you're sick, what are you told to do? Get some sleep, get some rest and take care of yourself. The same goes for mental illness. We need to get some rest, and take care of ourselves. It's kind of like being told to eat your fruits and veggies as a kid. Only, it's about preserving your mental health, not your physical one. Maybe the mental health aspect is even more important than the physical one. But, why is it considered to be selfish to take some time for yourself? That I still don't get.
Maybe it was because we are programmed to do things--whether it's work-related, doing something else that's productive or doing school work. By taking five minutes to just chill, we can do those things so much better than if we didn't take those crucial five minutes away from the world and our to-do list.
So, to answer the question I posed in the title, no self-care isn't selfish. It's essential, just as trying to cross something off of a 'to-do' list. In a world that's number and accomplishment based, we often forget that we're still people. We are people who have imperfections and require breaks. That's way more important than crossing things off of a 'to-do' list. And, that's something that we all, whether we are stressed out college students, going through a rough time in our lives or even those who aren't suffering from a mental illness need to remember.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Semester Reading List Update #2

Hey everyone! So, it's spring break, so that means it's time to check in on my reading list progress! I've managed, despite the challenges of a tough semester, to get a few more books read. Currently, this semester, I've read nine books thus far. That's definitely surpassing my goal to read ten this semester! Some of the books were on the list, while others were not.
While Spring Break continues, I hope to use the time to catch up on my reading! I'm currently reading "Wedding Night" by Sophie Kinsella. What have you been reading lately?

Not On List Reads:
Books Not On The List:
"It's Kind of a Funny Story" by Ned Vizzini
"Distance Between Us" by Kasie West
"Better Than Before" by Gretchen Rubin
"What I Thought Was True" by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Semester Reading List:
  1. The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West 
  2. Wicked by Gregory Maguire 
  3. The Choice by Nicholas Sparks 
  4. Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas
  5. Every Day by David Levithan
  6. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  7. Rocks by Joe Perry 
  8. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simison
  9. P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Why Journal?

Journaling has been one of my favorite things to do since I was a senior in high school and began jotting down things in a notebook. Fast forward to the end of my senior year in college where I have seven notebooks filled and am currently working on the eighth. However, many may wonder--"why should I journal?"(Yes, I probably read your mind, I'm just that good.)
But, there's something about filling a page with your thoughts. My therapist said one of the things to do when you're anxious is to journal. So many of my friends write in a journal, whether it's about what they did for the day or what they are currently feeling, including Gabu and their mom Kari.
The question is what do you say when you're writing? Well, anything really. The blank page can turn into a canvas of your emotion, the words painting a picture of you. For some, it's easy to get a journal, a pen and start scribbling. For others, it's not so easy, but have no fear. There are so many books out there to help you get started. However, it can be just as easy as just thinking about what you're feeling.
Unlike blogging, journaling can be private without the prying eyes of the Internet. You're writing just for you. I can not count how many times I've blogged about my love life, only to have the person I had a crush on click on it and figure out it was them. (Mad awkward, may I tell you.) That's why before I begin to write a certain kind of post, I ponder what the effects of that post would be. (It's sad, but there's certain things you just don't want people to read.) With journaling, you don't have to really worry about that, unless someone picks up your journal. Therefore, you can write about how hurt you're feeling about someone and not have them know.
I journal pretty much on and off, however, I fill a couple of them a year. There's nothing more satisfying then finishing one more journal and watching that pile get larger and larger. It's also a great feeling to just take some time and thumb through ones you wrote years ago, and remembering the day you sat down to write it. (I recently did that, and opened up my first journal. It was an interesting experience.)
Furthermore, with journaling there's no right or wrong way to do it. Just grab a pen,  a pad (They have some cute notebooks at TJ Maxx, that's where I get mine) and just write. It's that simple, folks.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I'm Not Dead

In case you all haven't noticed, I've been absent from this parts of the internet. Between school, work (I work three jobs) and all of the other things going in my life, I haven't been able to do more than a few posts a week. If that.
Well, Internet, let me tell you this. I'm not dead. I'm just really busy.
While blogging isn't a responsibility, it's still something that I enjoy doing. And, as I head into the next half of the semester, I want to devote more time for the things I enjoy. Blogging is one of them. I want to have more "blog-worthy" adventures with friends and take more time to blog my thoughts. The semester can get really hectic, and I'm so done with not being able to do the things I love. It's just not fair to myself, let's be realistic. And, by avoiding doing things I love, I just get upset. That's not helpful.
During this week, I have so much going on in the attempt of lessening the work load for when school's back in session. I know in the end, it will help me be so much less stressed as the semester goes on. However, it still isn't enough motivation to get me through. So, I decided to add more fun things for me to do on the list. That way, it will balance out the whole stress thing, which leads to anxiety. And, I'm so done with that thing.
At the end of the day, the semester is what you make of it. Yes, I would love for it to be over. But, sadly, it's not yet. So, I'm going to try to make the most of it, and try to keep fun things on the schedule.
May 10, 2016 is less than 60 days away. (I have a countdown on my phone) And then, I'll be greeted with the sweet freedom of summer (jk, I'll still be working, but not having classes for a whole three months will be a luxury.) I just know by my hard work, I'll be rewarded in the end. Well, hopefully. 

Monday, March 21, 2016

Book Review: "Better Than Before" by Gretchen Rubin

Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin
There are so many self help books out there, it can make your head spin. All of have the same goal-to help you become happy and make your life a thousand times better. "Better Than Before" by Gretchen Rubin is no exception. 
This isn't Rubin's first exploration of the study of happiness/habits, as she's the author of "The Happiness Project" and the "Happiness Journal." "Better Than Before" is like her similar works, however, it goes into the study of habits. 
Rubin goes into the four tendencies-rebel, upholders, questioners and obligors. These "tendencies" were the motivation behind your habits. I am an upholder, which means I'm self-directed, have little trouble meeting deadlines and am reliable. 
This book gives you a lot to examine, about yourself and the habits that you have. Ever since I read this book, I've been more critical of my spending habits, and asking myself why I'm buying things. This is a thousand times better than me just buying them for the sake of "treating myself." (The book even had a whole chapter on that very subject)
 It made me reflect on what I can do/change in my life to make it better. For example, one thing that I changed was putting things, whether they were responsibilities or not, on my schedule and in my planner. That way, I knew to make time for them. 
This book was extremely insightful, and pretty fun to read. I've been struggling with maintaining my sanity while juggling school, three jobs and life in general. This book taught me the root of some of my habits, and shed some light on what I have to change. I highly recommend it, because Rubin brings an extreme amount of insight that I would have never gotten otherwise. Furthermore, if you're a college student whose struggling to create positive habits or just a person trying to get a few good habits under their belt, consider giving "Better Than Before" a read.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Take a Walk

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably noticed that I've been embarking on quite a few walks last week at East Rock park, which is located in Hamden, Conn. East Rock is about ten minutes away from my house, and I love the view of a beautiful river.
Usually, I go to East Rock with a friend of mine to walk and take dope Instagram pictures. However, the warm weather prompted me to wander new places by myself. So, I got into Rosie and drove, armed with sunshine and classic rock. The first time, I went after wandering around a nearby bookstore, and I decided to go there on an impulse. The second time, I wandered there on purpose, with a cup of Panera lemonade.
During my second walk.
And, both times, I enjoyed myself.
Taking a walk just opened my mind. The fresh air seemed to clear my anxiety, and the stillness was a great pause away from the normal hustle and bustle of life. Everything lately for me seemed to be moving a 100 miles per hour. Here, however, things seemed to slow down. I could breathe. It was nice.
As the weather gets warmer, I plan to wander around to other local parks. Sure, they are great destinations to wander with a friend. However, there's something liberating about taking a walk by yourself. It allows you to think, without the commentaries of someone else. You can think about, well anything. And no one will judge you by stopping to take several Instagrams. (Well, the bystanders probably.)
By taking a walk, I got a well-deserved break from school and work. It was amazing because I could just relax. And when I returned back to my to-do list, I felt more energy to take the tasks and complete them better than I tried. Who knew a 20 minute walk could be the cure for stress and anxiety?
At the end of the day, walking may not be the solution to why you got into a fight with your significant other. Nor, will it make your to-do list shorter. However, it does accomplish one thing. It helps you take a step back and relax. It freezes the world, even for just one moment. And, in a world filled with obligation, responsibility and expectations it can help you stay sane. It's the perfect medicine for anxiety and stress, at least for me.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Book Review:Every Day by David Leviathan

This book is great with a latte.
One of the books on my semester reading list was "Every Day" by David Leviathan. I'm familiar with a few of Leviathan's books and have been impressed, as I've read "Boy Meets Boy" in the span of a weekend and enjoyed the collaboration he did with John Green on "Will Grayson/Will Grayson." Next up, was "Every Day," which is one of the best books I've ever read as of late.
The book is in the point of view of A, who wakes up each and every morning in a different body. The book starts out when A wakes up in Justin's body. Justin is a typical teenager, and A thinks it's a typical day. However, it's not typical when Rhiannon, who is Justin's girlfriend comes into the picture. A falls in love with her instantly and decides to break one of their rules--which is to get involved. When A wakes up in the body of Nathan, he decides to attend a party, just to see Rhiannon. This in turn results in A getting Nathan in trouble, resulting in a whole mess of problems.
In the mean time, A begins to reveal themselves to Rhiannon. Rhiannon, who was reluctant at first, soon realizes that she's in love with A too. The two begin to do whatever they can to see each other whenever they can.
It isn't before long when problems of the relationship arise. I won't spoil the ending, but I can tell you all this--it's enough to make you cry.
Overall, the book is amazing, and I highly recommend it. The writing is amazing and the story is beautiful. "Every Day" is also one of the most unique love stories that I've ever read, and also one of the most powerful, next to "The Notebook." The book, which was Leviathan definitely wrote an amazing story, and it's definitely worth the read. Sometimes, love stories can be a bit of telling the same thing over and over again. However, "Every Day" is a bit of fresh air. Therefore, it should be on everyone's reading list.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Dear Future Husband

Dear Mr. Whatever Your Last Name Is,
Hi, it's me your wife. We may have met already. Or maybe we have yet to meet. Whatever the case is, I can honestly say you're pretty awesome. After all, you have such great taste in women.
I hope that whoever you are, you're awesome. And most of all, you know me. You know that I hate the ordinary and strive to find the path that is less travelled. You know I'm sometimes as sweet as a cupcake (which by the way you know are my favorite desserts), and you know that sometimes I'm as sour as a lemon.
I hope that you know, that I'm dealing with a lot and that I'm doing the best I can to not only make the world a better place but to keep myself together. I also hope you know that sometimes, I can be impossible to deal with. And, I'm working on that. People can be impossible sometimes, but at the end of the day, it's about learning how to deal with things better. I'm always going to learn how to improve myself, and I'm always going to be changing. I hope that you can be there with me, and grow with me as I go.
I hope you know that I'm looking foreword to whatever life we have planned, and reading whatever story we have to tell. I look foreword to a life adventures, and a life of new things. I only hope that the life we plan will be an exciting one. I hope you know that whatever we do, I won't be the June Cleaver type of wife. I won't have your dinner hot and ready on the table by the time that you get home. Instead, I'll be doing all sorts of fun things, as a journalist, and as a person who hungers to get the most out of life. I will never do the traditional gender role as a wife. And that's okay.
At the end of the day, I look for you in the strangest of places, but I'm done looking. I only hope that you'll one day find me, and say "hey."
In the mean time, I'll explore the world. And myself.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

An Open Letter to my Readers

Dear Readers,
Let me say this first, this isn't goodbye. I'm not writing this because I'm quitting blogging nor am I writing this because I have the intentions of quitting this blog.
I'm writing this because I know lately I haven't been producing as much content as I haven't, and this is a pattern that I will likely continue for a while. My blog is my pride and joy, and I am so grateful that in the almost 800 posts I have on this blog, my readership never waned. Some of you are fellow bloggers who I met virtually, while others are friends of mine who I basically nagged to read this blog.
I don't think I'll ever stop writing blog entries. However, I've been so overwhelmed with everything, from the effects of anxiety, school, starting a new job and life to even think about posting. Therefore, I won't be sticking to a schedule of some sort, so I can allow myself the ability to post whenever I can, without sticking to a schedule of some sort. That way, I also won't be compromising the quality of this blog with the quantity of posts. It's important to me to be able to provide my readers with quality writing and insightful entries that truly get you thinking. Numbers are crucial in the blog world, but also the blogger should be too. Sometimes, we change our availability, and posting turns into a lesser priority.
So, I urge you all to stick around and still read my blog in the times I post. I'm aiming for at least two a week, however, I'm not going to feel guilty for not. Blogging is about life, and sometimes life goes into overdrive, causing you to not be able to write about it as much as you like. Stay tuned for more updates, and I hope you all stick with me as I reach my 4th blog anniversary.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Society and the Single Girl: Why I Now Understand Dear John Letters

I've dealt with so much rejection that I can probably write the book about "How Not to Deal With Rejection: A Memoir on Why I'm Going to Die in the Company of Cats." However, I never thought I would be the person that would be the one doing a rejection myself.
I met this guy in a class last semester, and I thought he wasn't that bad. He was kind of cute, and liked Star Wars. All pluses, so why not?
Therefore, I decided to get to know him by hanging out with him. It was then I learned that I probably shouldn't spend much time with him because we're totally different. Sure, I could be his friend, but I know that it's not going to span much further than that. And that's fine.
However, I think that he enjoyed spending time with me, much more than I could have ever imagined. So, now he hangs out with me whenever he sees me in the student center, and all I want is for him to go away. Yes, I know I sound like a bitch. Last week, I got a friend to pretend that she's in crisis mode. I don't think that I can use this excuse again, and I know he's interested in hanging out again.
While I don't want to be rude, I just don't want to spend more time with him. Honestly, I'm not good at being honest. (See what I did there) Instead, I dodge what I'm feeling as if it were a bullet, and hope it doesn't catch up with me. The thing about the truth is that sometimes it hurts, and I don't want to be the cause of someone else's hurt feelings.
I wish I can write a "Dear John" letter. That way, I can have the best of both worlds: being honest and not having to deal with the consequences of doing so. But how do you write a break up letter to someone you've only hung out with once?
You've got me.
If you have any advice for how to let someone down gently, please send it my way.