More than just a Diploma…

IMG_1684So a few weeks ago, my whole family came into town as I have two cousins that graduated from high school. Class of 2017, both made honor grad and both had a higher GPA then I could dream of in high school. (Not that I don’t think I couldn’t have achieved it, but I seemed to have other priorities ranked above school back then). I’m so proud of both of them and they each have so much potential and drive that I can’t wait to see what they achieve these next few years.

high3-e1497248068900.jpgHigh school graduation is a rite of passage that so many achieve and look forward to as kids. It symbolizes the end of an era and the beginning of a new one. You leave with so many memories, possibilities, and a sense of change that makes you want to try new things that you would only dream of. The world is yours for the taking!

Many people will tell these graduates that, “It’s just the beginning” and “You have so much more to learn”. These comments start to sound like those posters and quotes you see in the halls at school. They’re there everyday, and everyday you walk by and don’t even look twice because you see them all the time and have heard it before. It’s as if you hear these things so much that they don’t even mean anything by the time you walk across that stage. Some people think that being 18 makes you too naive and egotistical in thinking that you know everything already and what it takes to be an adult with responsibilities and obligations.

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Adults have a popular saying for teens that they’re “Too cool to care, too young to know”. For me, this wasn’t entirely the case. Yes, I learned so much after getting that diploma and getting older and Yes, I’ve changed a lot since high school. Gone are the days when all I had to worry about was homework, soccer games, and what I was going to be wearing to Prom. Flash forward nine years and now my worries are work life, buying a house, taking care of my pup, and how to pay for a Masters program. (Eeekk!) Things have certainly changed, but with this change, I can’t help but remember that there were things I learned in high school that I still carry with me to this day. Things that I think everyone can take with them throughout life because sometimes you’re not too young to know.

  1. You’ll never know EVERYTHING and your not ALWAYS right. People come from all walks of life and have different experiences, different backgrounds, and achieve different levels of education. A person who grows up in a big city and gets a college education is not going to know what it’s like  for a farmer who got his high school diploma and runs his own ranch. Like I said, you’re never going to know all there is to know and it’s okay to be wrong in life and make mistakes. Life is about the journey and owning up to the mistakes that cause you to learn about yourself and the world around you.
  2. DON’T Compare yourself to others. In high school, I was never the overachiever and my version of studying was 10 minutes of reading a day and the rest of the time spent hanging with friends. I knew I’d never be valedictorian or make the honor roll, these kids studied more than me and they knew things I did’t. But I also knew things these kids didn’t and I learned to love myself for it. I never wanted to make straight A’s, I just wanted to understand the material and try my best. I learned that it’s normal to feel different; To not ever think that because I wasn’t the smartest, or most popular, or the prettiest, that didn’t make me less or inferior to those that were.
  3. Be driven, be active, and say YES to adventure. Life is all about opportunities. It’s about trying new things, loving who you are, and doing your absolute best. I never would’ve met the people in my life if I didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that I was given. I’ve been to amazing countries and experienced so much culture. I’ve tried several different meals that were very questionable as to what exactly I was eating. And to be quite honest, I also failed at things that I wish I had done better with. If there’s anything that I’ve learned from my experiences in high school, it’s to say yes to an opportunity that might otherwise scare you. Those are the best types of challenges you can overcome!
  4. Never take your parents for GRANTED. I’m pretty close with my mom. We might not have gotten along all the time, throughout my high school years, but I’ve always been grateful for her and all she’s done for me. I can’t begin to describe how much she means to me. I watched some of my friends and classmates treat their parents in a not so nice way. I always thought that it was such a shame, because someday they’re not going to be around and you should enjoy every moment that you have with them. Even the ones where they drive you absolutely insane! 😊
  5. ENJOY the moment. Live in the moment. Laugh in the moment. And always enjoy and take the time to take everything in. You’re only young for so long, and learn to appreciate it while you can.

*** I know this is late from last month so I owe myself 2 posts for the month of July 😉***

27 to 28

So at the beginning of the year, I wanted to write something meaningful, reflecting on the past year. To evaluate the past and create new resolutions that are ACTUALLY achievable and that I would ACTUALLY be able to say I fulfilled. As with life, things got busy, work was stressful, school got hard, and finding time for myself has been few and far between. Now it’s been almost two weeks since my birthday and I decided I wanted to make this year count. To make conscious decisions and make my choices matter.

Life is about making choices and learning to adapt with change. Growing up as a military brat, you get used to change and even start to become excited about it. Changes are made by the choices we make in our daily life. Choices that can be great, and others that may make us rethink that last tequila shot the night before a major test. This year, I want to make wiser choices and create positive changes in my life. I feel like I’ve been stuck in a rut for some time and I need a jolt of something to get myself going again.

One of my mom’s favorite sayings is “Make good choices”. She got it from Freaky Friday when Jamie Lynn Curtis calls out to Lindsay Lohan in front of all her friends at high school. I think she may have started saying it because it was funny at the time and she may have thought my brother and I would be embarrassed in some way. We obviously weren’t bothered by it, but she hasn’t stopped saying it either. I think it’s a great mantra to have in life when you’re unsure of something, or needing guidance when something might scare you. Its one of the things I’m going to have to remind myself over the course of this next year. To assist me in “making good choices”, I’ve created a list of 27 things I want to achieve or do over the next year before my 28th birthday.

 
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#27to28

  1. Read 3 Nicholas Sparks books He’s actually one of my favorite writers and I LOVE to read. Even though, I practically have his entire collection, and may have only read a handful of them, haha!  I want to wipe the dust off the pages and bring some of those novels to life.
  2. Apply for Grad Schools- EKKKKK!!! This makes me want to literally hide in my room for the rest of my life and literally Netflix and chill! I’ve always wanted my masters and still have no idea what subject to get it in, but applying is a start, right?
  3. Visit the Georgia Aquarium Okay, I’ve lived in the state of Georgia for four years now and I say it’s high time I actually visit this place. I love aquariums, more-so than zoo’s and it’s practically the staple tourist attraction for the state!
  4. Make it a week without makeup- I actually don’t think this will be too hard. Although, I say that now, and I’ll probably be regretting it later! These days I think that some girls find it difficult to see the natural beauty in themselves. Everyone, whether they admit it or not, sees more flaws in themselves than they would like. I want to break that cycle and praise natural gifts that God gave me!
  5. Survive 27 days without social media- No Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter (not that I use that one too often). I really thought about this; Like seriously contemplated even putting this on here, because it’s probably the one thing that will drive me absolutely nuts! But with today’s social media world, we see so many people addicted to it and glued to their phones. I want to enjoy my time with friends and family, and live in the moment, even if just for a month.
  6. Buy and listen to an entire Johnny Cash Album- The king of country as some would say, he has this addictive, deep voice that can pierce you to your core. I’m sorry to admit I actually only have one song of his. I’ve been a lover of country music since I can remember and I want to appreciate some the legends and the greats!
  7. Blog once a month- If at the very least, to keep this list updated! I love writing; about life, love, and anything that interests me. I miss it so much sometimes because i don’t feel like I do it enough, or even at all. It’s mostly just journals and scribblings but I want to actually put something down for people to read every once in a while. Even if it just reminds them they’re not alone in this world.
  8. Resist eating out for a week- Sunday to Saturday. 7 days. You’d think it’d be a breeze, but for a single bachelorette living with her 4-legged, very spoiled “child”, it can be difficult cooking for just one. Things are always so much easier if other people do the cooking for me and I can simply pick what I want and it’s done within minutes, without me ever having to lift a finger.
  9. 27 pay it forwards- You may be asking yourself, “What the hell is she talking about?” Basically, I want to pay it forward and do something nice for someone who can never repay me-27 times. I’ll be honest, a lot of these are going to be paying for someone’s food in the drive though, but who wouldn’t love that every now and then?
  10. Get my tragus pierced I’ve always thought this was a cute piercing and have wanted to get it ever since I saw someone with it. It’s high time I get it done.
  11. Run another 10K- 6.1 miles. I did this 3 years ago and have yet to run another 10k race or even a 5k. It makes me really sad, because I absolutely love to run! It’s a fantastic way to relieve stress and it’s feels so freeing.
  12. Get a faith tattoo- I’m thinking something small, the word “faith”, a cross, or a verse. Haven’t decided yet, which could possibly be the reason I haven’t gotten it. I’ve wanted a faith tattoo since before I got my first tattoo and haven’t had a real need or want to get it. But with me being older and, I like to say, a little wiser, I know what I like and what I don’t like now, so it’s a start.
  13. Finally watch Gone With The Wind- I’ve had the movie for almost five years now and have NEVER seen it. I know, crazy, right? It’s apparently a classic that I’m hoping to enjoy at some point this next year.

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    Beaching it for a weekend

  14. Spend a weekend in Savannah or somewhere on the coast I LOVE the beach. It’s so weird for me to say that as I’ve always been a hiking, skiing,
    mountain type girl, but apparently after living in Florida for
    four years, you grow to have a love of sand, saltwater and a the feeling of cool waves crashing into your feet.
  15. Cook a meat other than chicken or beef- You may think this sounds funny, but I’ve always wanted to perfect a recipe for mouthwatering steak or pulled pork. I’ve only ever tried to cook chicken and beef, which are pretty basic so I’d like to expand my culinary horizons.
  16. Drink more water- This pretty much speaks for itself. H2O=Energy of life. I don’t think you can ever drink enough.
  17. Spend a day in Helen during Octoberfest- Helen is like a little slice of Germany here in the state of Georgia,complete with the designs of the shops and colors of the streets. I’ve always wanted to experience Octoberfest in Germany and it’s pretty much the closest I’m going to get here in the states.
  18. Buy a Tiffany’s key necklace- I have ALWAYS, let me repeat, ALWAYS wanted a key necklace from Tiffany’s. One- because it’s designer jewelry and absolutely stunning; Two- because I sometimes like to envision myself as an Audrey Hepburn yearning for one of the sparkly jewels like in Breakfast at Tiffany’s; and Three- because I want to be able to say that I am single female who is able to afford to treat herself.
  19. Do one thing that absolutely terrifies me– What this is, who knows? But I know some of the best experiences have come from taking a leap of faith and stepping into something that’s unknown.
  20. Dublin trained to come when called- My family is going to be nagging me about this one-A LOT. My 4 legged, adorable child, who is way to spoiled for his own good, is smart. He is actually already trained with a handful of tricks., but I’d like to train him to come when I call, rather than whenever he feels like it.

    Little rug rat.

  21. Go to Universal Studios- More specifically Harry Potter world. Ever since it opened, as a Hogwarts-loving kid, I’ve wanted to go. It’s super expensive, so I know I’ll have to save, but I just want one day to relive my childhood and experience the magic that made me fall in love with witches and wizards and books that can take you to places you’d only dream about.
  22. Go kayaking- This may surprise some, but I’ve never been kayaking before. I always thought it would be a great workout and fun adventure, so I’d definitely like to try it!
  23. Complete a yoga workout once a month- Surprisingly, I am such a lover of yoga! It’s calming, but also takes focus and strength. I’d like to take an hour or so a month to vary my workouts. Thanks to modern technology, I am actually able to do this at home, rather than have to spend money to take a class. (Free stuff is always better)!
  24. Finish my wall decor- I’ve had this wall decoration project that I’ve wanted to complete since the day I moved in. It’s really just a piece of wood with beading hanging from it, but it’s taken me almost 2 years to finish. Sad, but the truth.  I’m one of the biggest procrastinators ever.
  25. Bake a cake from scratch- Most people might be shocked to learn this, but I’ve never baked a cake from scratch. Like without using a box, haha. I’m not really one to be an overachiever, but I love to bake and I would like to be able to say I’m skillful enough to make a cake with the basic ingredients.
  26. Perfect a sangria mix- Anyone who know’s me would say that I am very much a sangria girl. It’s my go-to drink and I would love to know how to make a damn good batch. Something I could bring to a girls weekend to get tipsy off of or just chill in the sun with a glass in hand.
  27. Stamp my passport- This actually might be cheating a little, as I have a trip to Ireland booked already at the end of the year, but it’s a start. For a girl who spent her childhood moving around and teenage years overseas, as much as I love having a “home base” in Georgia, I MISS EUROPE!!! I have this ache in my chest like I left something behind when I left England. Like get on a plane and spend the rest of my life in a one bedroom flat kind of ache. If I don’t achieve anything else on this list, but this, I will be a very happy 28 year old. 🙂

 

So here it goes. The choices and decisions I’m going to be making over the next year. Please feel free to hold me accountable, ask me questions, or comment on any of the items below. I’ll be documenting everything in a note on my phone so I can keep track and posting to Instagram of any updates or achievements. This is going to be difficult, challenging, and amazingly adventurous.  To the next 300 and something days of my life, I say bring them on.

 

 

 

Back to School Blues…again

So for those of you that don’t know, I started taking college classes again. Mainly on account that my job will allow me to take them for free, so long as I pass the class. It’s mostly business courses that I’ve done, however this semester I’m in College Algebra! UGH!

I’ve never been very good at math, and college algebra is no different. I get so frustrated with the whole formula process and from what I’ve seen, even though most people say it’s the same pretty much everywhere, it’s actually not. For instance I’m taking the class online though a community college nearby and my cousins, who are taking the same course, but in class, are on completely different problems then me. To make matters even more annoying, one professor is teaching things one way, and another is teaching things the opposite. I’ve never quite understood this, especially since it’s the same school that they teach though. Has anyone else experienced this?

To be quite honest, I never intended on taking the course online, however the only times I was able to make were the early morning classes and unfortunately, the college reserves those slots for dual enrollment students. Nevertheless, at the beginning of the course I thought to myself if I just worked hard and did the assigned problems, I should be okay. Boy was I wrong.

I’ve always been a visual and do it yourself learner. So for the online lectures, it didn’t allow me to fully grasp the content and I ended up failing the first two quizzes. I was disheartened and so stressed with the class. When I tried writing to my professor about it, he wasn’t much help, and didn’t offer that much guidance for what the best way to improve my grade.

You see, the difference between going to college right after high school and going back later in life is that yes, it can be extremely difficult, but as an older student, I’m much less afraid to ask for help or get the tutoring I would need to succeed in the class. I’m not afraid to ask for help or realize when I may be in over my head. While my professor wasn’t much help, those two cousins I mentioned earlier we’re essential. With they’re help, I was able to successfully raise my grade, and my one cousin who happens to excel at math, was able to assist me with the quizzes and exams and walk me through problems that I may have not fully understood. To date, I have an 85 in the class and 3 weeks left. I’m praying that I can still get though this with my sanity and no grey hairs, but alas, only time will tell.

So with this last bit of information, I leave you with this advice. Not everyone can be good at everything. Know your strengths and weaknesses and what you can do to improve yourself or your work. Whether you’re an 18 year old freshman or 35 year old junior, swallow your pride and ask for assistance. We’ve all been there and had stressful situations, but part of being an adult is knowing when you are over your head and in trouble, and being able to accept the things that we are not good at or might not like and improving on those things in any way we can.

Do you want to go out with me?

So tonight I was trying to relax in my room after studying for my last finals. I was watching the show, How I Met Your Mother (great show btw) and for those of you who don’t know, the storyline for the entire show is the main character, Ted, who is telling the story of how he met his wife to his kids (who is also their mother).  So a lot of the episodes include him asking women out on dates. It made me start to wonder, when is real life ever like this, and why can’t it be?

It is one of the biggest frustrations in the world to me is when I am watching a show or movie and the characters just always end up with someone. I mean, I get that it’s the television and it’s the job of the media to always assume a happy ending is in sight but come on, why can’t guys get the guts to ask a girl out?

I see it all the time, guys and girls give each other sweet looks and flirtatious vibes but nothing EVER comes of it. Why is that? For me, I am definitely old-fashioned when it comes to dating, which is a kind of death sentence nowadays seeing as how much society is changing from previous years. As much as I am willing to bend the rules for things, I firmly believe that the guy should be the one to ask the girl out. The problem with this, is that I feel like guys are becoming more and more lazy and the girls are tired of waiting so they end up making the first move and taking the plunge. Which to be perfectly honest, there’s nothing wrong with it, I am just really old-fashioned, as I have said before and I feel like if the girl has enough guts to take that risk, what’s that say about the guy that they’re interested in?

 That is another reason I feel like the guy needs to have enough of a back bone to not be so scared. I understand the fear of being rejected, but think about the fear of actually saying no, because to be honest, that’s a scary and nerve-wrecking part of that could come up as well. However, you also have to think about the excitement if the girl says yes. Bear with me here, I am not the only one that feels this way. Several of my single friends out there have had some of these same concerns. Any thoughts behind these reasons or anything?

I read an interesting article today on the New York Times talking about how half of the population is single out there and most of them did not choose that lifestyle by choice. It discusses several reasons why there are so many singles out there and the differences an education makes them. It really makes you think about your life and what you want it to be like.

Let me know what you think about any of this. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated 🙂

F.I.N.A.L.S…eek!!!

Finals are one of the hardest times of year. I hate this time of the semester because it is sort of like a last chance to get your act together and its the last chance to up your grade. A lot of teachers also hate finals as well. Which, to tell you the truth, I find to be really ironic because if the students hate taking them, and the professors hate giving them, why must we have them at all? It’s a good question to ask and it makes you question the University’s reasonings behind giving them.

Anyways, I always do pretty well on my finals, (probably because it’s the time where I know that it will be the last time I will ever have to take the class.) However, I always have my select few classes that I really cram for, so much, so that my brain is completely fried afterwards. Typically I will stay up late cramming or just pull an all-nighter, just to accomplish a two-hour test for a class that I’ve had for 16 weeks. If you do the math, that’s a lot of hours to memorize and know.

One of my traditions is about not letting the tests get to me too much. I always look for ways to take a stress breather, where you have time to yourself and give yourself a little love. This week I’m getting a manicure, which might not sound too impressive to you, but to a girl who never has time to do her nails, this is a God-send. I definitely recommend that you all take a stress reliever. Go to the gym, get a haircut, watch a movie; do something to get your mind off the tests. Even if it is just for 10 minutes, its 10 minutes for you to get re-energized and have a clear head to focus on the next chapter of your 500 page textbook.

For those of you looking for tips or tricks to help you get into finals mode, here is a great link from the ehow website.

Surviving Final Week

P.S. Don’t be a stranger! Go ahead and leave me some love…or hate, lol. 🙂

Student Shopping During the Holidays

Gift giving around the holidays is one of the most expensive times of year

It’s that time of year again. The holidays are one of the busiest and most expensive times of the year for consumers and shops. The crowds are stressing over what expensive gift they’re going to splurge on for their loved ones. The stores are trying to keep things organized and please every customer. For college students, this can be the one time of year where they will literally go broke looking for gifts for their loved ones.

Brittany McClenahan, junior at Southeastern University, searches for an affordable gift for her mother.

“It’s really hard for me to save up for the holidays, along with everything that I need for school” said Brittany McClenahan, junior at Southeastern. “I have to start saving for it over the summer.”

Most students have started saving already as well as it is easier to save over time, rather than splurge at one time. Some have taken up extra jobs to afford the gift giving season.

“I have a temporary weekend job being a valet in Orlando. It helps me pay for the gifts that I have to get my family” said Genesis Morales, sophomore at Southeastern. Morales has been working there since November.

With small expenses and the job market being limited, students have had to resort to the sales racks and out-of-the-box gift ideas. There are websites and books on how to design your own gifts. It’s a great idea, especially if you’re low on cash and in need of several gifts. Students are able to make different gifts such as blankets and scarves with supplies they can easily afford from stores like Wal-Mart and Michael’s.

Walmart is typically a student favorite with their low prices and availability of products.

Practical gifts are typically best. It is also good to save on Wrapping, by reusing bags that you have from previous years.

“I’ve always made some of my own gifts to help me save money. I’m really good when it comes to painting and crafting. Plus it implies that I took a  little more care into giving the best gift!” said Lindsay Arentz. “I just gave a T-shirt and Christmas ornaments as a gift after I painted Charlie Brown characters on them. My friend loved it.”

Ingredients for "Dirt Pudding". An easy gift idea for someone for a holiday party or gathering.

Other students have given out food or baked goods to supply a lot of gifts to their friends under a limited budget. There are several recipes that can be found online for snacks that don’t require an oven or stove to make. Students tend to make sweet treats to hand out to their friends because it is cheap and you can give portions out to groups of people.

Cookies are easy to make and you can give them out in little Christmas bags, or on a plate for a party.

Candy canes are a popular small gift for the holidays.

“I like to give out candy canes and muddie-buddies, which are kind of like these chocolate and peanut butter chips with powdered sugar on top,” said Maryssa Chaplin. “I have a lot of people who I want to give things to, and snacks are the easiest thing to hand out to a lot of people.”

Christmas themed gifts are a big trend during this time of year.

Another popular and cheap gift among college students are items that will go on sale during the holidays. Christmas items that start to show up after Thanksgiving are very affordable with students and are great gifts to buy for your professors.

“I like to get my favorite professors a mug for the holidays. It’s simple but also thoughtful and it tells them that I’ll be thinking of them over the holidays,” said Eric Stump, sophomore at Southeastern.

Whether students have saved up for months, or even just days, the holidays have become a time where giving is much greater than receiving. Most people can’t wait to give back to their friends and family, for all that has happened over the year. It is the most important time of year, where college students must be smart and careful when it comes to spending their money. As much as students would like to give, they must also watch out for the significant investment they have to make in order to give gifts to their loved ones.