And So It Begins…

In approximately 24 days, the 2014 Liquid Latex show will be hitting the stage for one night only. This has been my baby.  I started thinking about it last year and have not stopped.  Now, we are starting to sprint.  With less than a month left, the board’s list of things to do has grown drastically.

Tonight was the first night of drop-in’s.  This starts my favorite and most rewarding part of the process. We get to see a preview of what the amazingly talented students have put together. We get to talk to them, get the backstory for the piece and we start organizing the show. The end result becomes very real.

There is something about being at the core of the process and being part of the group that made it happen that will make it all the more rewarding after the fact. I feel so honored to have been a part of an amazing student board and being able to work with so many talented students. It has been an experience I would never trade in.

I’m betting on the fact that many more of my posts will be talking about this.  There is something about this experience that makes it worth mentioning. I have learned so much going through this process as a club leader and I owe the lessons and experiences I have had to the people I have been fortunate enough to work with. So, with that, I want to say a huge thank you in advance and I know we will put on a fantastic show.

Four Steps to a New, Healthier Routine

27 days until Liquid Latex. That means I have 27 days to get in better shape and the only way I am going to do that is to make adjustments to my routine. I am going to start adding proteins and vegetables to meals and cutting unhealthy snacks from my diet. Workouts will be happening more frequently.  Homework won’t be done last minute all the time. I will actually get sleep.

I have always been terrible at managing my own diet and maintaining healthy eating habits. It’s been hard for me since freshman year. Moving off campus has made it easier to eat healthy food, but I’m still struggling. The first step is to go grocery shopping and buy things I know are good for me, and actually use them. I know I need to go to Whole Foods, but before I do that I need to go through my fridge and the food I already have and reassess. That will be the first step.

I am going to add in more cardio and get up earlier.  I really liked my seven or eight AM workouts.  I am going back to them; my goal is to hit the treadmill each morning and actually use the 7 minute workout app I downloaded. Seeing my trainer and playing tennis will be bonus workouts but I need to start pushing myself more. I have the motivation, so I am going to run with it, literally. The exercise is the second step.

The third step is actually cracking down on homework.  The procrastination needs to stop and more time needs to be spent on my work. I’m aiming to get readings and papers done ahead of time, and get more on top of things. This will help me get to bed earlier and help with the last step: sleep.  I need to start getting sleep, or at least fall into a regular sleeping schedule. I’m tired of nights where I am exhausted at 9 PM and nights when I am up until two in the morning for no clear reason.

These things are not unrealistic, and these changes are happening for what I see as a very important reason: I need to make adjustments so I am happier overall, and these four ways have been proven to work.

21 and Over

As I turn 21 today, I can’t help but reminisce on the past few years, my old experiences and new experiences I will have. These past two and half years at college have been a whirlwind, to say the least. I have experienced heartbreak, have transitioned in and out of friendships, had moments when I just wanted to stay in bed, and moments when all I wanted to do was share my good news with the world.

My past relationships have taught me what I want and how not to act. The leadership opportunities I have now have been life-changing and the ones I missed I don’t regret going for. I’ve been blessed with a beautiful niece and so many amazing memories with my family. I learned to love myself. I’ve stopped caring about what others think about me and started doing my thing, whether or not they think its cool.

My older sisters and parents have taught me so many fantastic life lessons.  The six nieces and nephews in my life are shining lights on a daily basis and have taught me how to be a strong role model, and reminded me of my love for working with kids. The support from my family for my dream of teaching has been there since I was little and made my dolls into a classroom.  I have been given brothers through my two brother in-laws.

I am so grateful for my friends who support everything I do and are there for me on a daily basis, even if they are halfway across the world. I would not be where I am today without the new friends I’ve made who encourage me to go outside of my comfort zone and create new experiences. People say college is the time to make your most memorable experiences, I totally agree. The moments I’ve had are priceless and I look forward to many more!

I am excited to order my first drink in a restaurant (in the United States), join my sisters and brothers in law and toast with my family to my 21st.  I am especially excited to spend this special day with people I love. I would not be able to say I did half the things I did without my supportive amazing family.  Happy 21st to me, and a huge thank you to my friends and family who helped me get to the place I am today.

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Twenty One Thoughts

As my 21st birthday rapidly approaches, I can’t help but think about the things I still want to do but haven’t and the things I have to look

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forward to doing once the day comes. I’ve seen posts on Buzzfeed about 21 things I want to do before I’m 21, and 21 things I wish I knew before I was 21. I’m not going to replicate that. I could do that but finishing everything on my list in the next two days would be near impossible and I’m sure there are more than 21 things I wish I knew.

I almost wish I had started this earlier and devoted one day to each idea, but a shorter, heartfelt list is better than nothing. So, here are my 21 thoughts as my 21st approaches.

1)   What other mistakes will I make in these next few years? Every adolescent makes mistakes, and I’ve made my fair share of them already. I keep on wondering what’s the next stupid thing I’m going to do and then regret afterwards.

2)   What opportunities did I give up? I’ve gotten much better at applying for more positions and being open to new experiences. What else could I have applied for or signed up for that would expand my horizons.  I wonder if there is something that could have changed my path at school, but I guess I’ll never know.

3)   When will the next awesome opportunity come up? Will I miss it or will I embrace it, run with it and see where life takes me?

4)   Will I have the strength to actually go through with preforming in Liquid Latex? This has been a constant struggle through my head. Thoughts from, I’m not in good enough shape, there will be hundreds of people watching me, what if I mess up, what if I suck, have been running through my mind. This will be the ultimate test of my inner strength and confidence.

5)   What will our next adventure bring? Last year me, my parents, my sister and nieces jetted off to Japan for two weeks, this year there is talk of London, Israel, Greece and Cyprus.  I wonder what cool, new cultures I will see there and what adventures will meet us once we get there.

6)   What classes should I have taken already? My parents are not the first ones to tell me I should sign up for public speaking.  My education teachers have told me it’s a great tool to know once you are in the field.  Should I have taken this class years ago? What was holding me back then that isn’t now?

7)   When will I have the guts to go on an adventure on my own? So many friends have already done road trips and my sister travelled through Europe on her own when she was younger than me.  When will I feel comfortable doing this?

8)   What is the real reason I didn’t go abroad? Was I scared? Nervous? Too unsure of myself in thinking I wouldn’t be able to conquer my homesickness? What made my friends able to do it and not me?

9)   Mastering the subway system in New York: realistically, this I could probably do in the next two days, but in my mind, why is it worth it? I dream of living in Boston, I’ve already envisioned which neighborhoods I’m going to live in. If anything I should learn the T perfectly.

10)  Find myself a boyfriend: this has been a long and somewhat painful process. I’ve been open to it, but in today’s society, like Cosmo said in their recent article: dating in college is screwed up. I guess all I can do is just wait for the right time and trust that it will happen when it’s supposed to.

11)   Have I put myself out there enough? Am I trying hard enough to find the guy I want to be with? Are there other outlets on campus I can try? Is it something I’m not doing or is it just timing not being in my favor?

12)  Will my dream of being a teacher be a reality? I know what I want to do, and I’ve gone through the hoops of getting there, but after the end of student teaching next year, will this be a reality?

13)  Becoming a teacher isn’t all roses: I honestly wish someone had told me when I started education classes my freshman year how much work it would be. I wish someone had told me about the state exams and the massive amount of requirements. I might have thought out this plan a little differently.

14)  Now that I have a blog, what else do I want to actually finish? I’ve finally started a blog and it’s up and running, but what else on my list of things I want to do needs to get finished?

15)  What else will life throw at me? Life is never boring as a college student.  I keep waiting and anticipating what is going to come at me next.  What will be the next hurdle I need to jump?

16) Be careful who you live with: make cautious choices with roommates, there is the slim chance you might ruin a friendship in the time frame of one year, or 9 months of living with each other. I speak from experience.

17)  What does one ask for on their 21st? This has been a burning question in my mind the past few weeks, and when my parents asked what I wanted, I had no clue. What does someone turning 21 need? What is acceptable to ask from your family? Can you ask them to help start your liquor cabinet?

18)  How is one supposed to act after they turn 21? Are they supposed to suddenly mature overnight? Does becoming 21 and getting access to bars and clubs give you permission to be a kid for a few weeks while you soak in the new experiences and freedom?

19)  What does this new freedom mean? Will I feel more integrated into the upperclassman society at school or will I feel like a freshman, just learning the pace of the new social scene and learning tips and tricks about going out on weekends?

20)  Embrace every moment: I am pretty satisfied with my life choices up to now, and I am proud to say that I would not have done 95% of my decisions differently.  I still question judgments every now and then, but I feel like that is the definition of adolescents.

21)  What will my first bar or club experience be like? I have thought about this moment since my last birthday. I have imagined it over and over in my head and every time it’s different. So what will it be like? Because, let’s be honest, that is a real milestone, at least for me. I get to join the “big kids” and can graduate from the dorm parties and the fraternity house basements. I’m moving up in the world. “21 and Over” restrictions can’t stop me now!

Therapy Does NOT Mean you are Broken!

There has always been a stigma around being in therapy.  People say you’re broken, you’re depressed, something is wrong with you, or you are weird; I can list more. My mom is a psychologist and after a rough time in my life, she suggested I start seeing my own therapist. She understood, appreciated, and really wanted me to understand for myself that it did not say anything negative about me as a person. My senior year I tried it and that’s when I learned that finding a good therapist is equally as hard as finding THE one.

The travel time to Manhattan combined with the eventual lack of benefit from the sessions resulted in me stopping altogether. With the start of my freshman year of college fast approaching, my mom suggested I inquire about people in the Boston area.  Being me, it took until my sophomore year to do that.  This time, I understood the first person I met might not be the right fit.  Either out of sheer luck or good timing, I found someone I was comfortable with right away.

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I have been seeing her for over a year and half and I am in such a better place.  At first, only one or two of my friends knew exactly where I was going once a week. When I got a medical pass sophomore year to keep my car on campus I told people I had to see a doctor. I knew there was still a harsh stigma about being in therapy and that scared me. Now, I am more comfortable with the idea of seeing a therapist. I understand that it doesn’t reflect negatively onto me as a person, but rather, helps me improve myself.

Having someone listen to me and talk to about anything frees my mind. I can get things off my chest and reduce my stress level drastically. It’s getting to the point that a lot of the burning issues I had been dealing with over this past year are resolved so there is less to talk about.  Being able to go and vent still fuels me to keep seeing her. It is part of my “me” day.  It’s the one day in my week I devote to my mental health and occasionally will make time to shop or get my nails done.

Being in therapy has taught me that it doesn’t mean you are broken or weird.  In my eyes, it makes you a stronger person who acknowledges they have issues to work through and are doing it in a safe and healthy manner. I’ve become a believer.

Dear Valentine’s Day, Sincerely, Still Single

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When Valentine’s Day comes around I squirm slightly.  There is something that bothers me about seeing couples interact in general, but it seems like their lovey dovey romance is heightened. As I’ve gotten older, I came to learn about Galantine’s day, the day when single people celebrate their love for their friends and family. I think that is really what Valentine’s Day is all about, showing love and appreciation for people we care about.

I have not been fortunate enough to celebrate Valentine’s Day with special someone in a long time.  The fact that I am still single has become more of a comfort than an embarrassment. I value the free time I would be giving to that someone special and the fact that I have less of a chance of getting hurt if I’m single. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not anti-relationship; at this point I have determined that being single is not a bad thing if you haven’t found the one you love.

 For the past six Valentine’s Days, I have been fortunate enough to have a little man to celebrate with. My nephew was born on February 14th,2008 and will forever be my special someone on Valentine’s Day.  This year he is turning six and it blows my mind how fast time goes. Two years ago, I had my own Valentine, but things change.  Since then, I have come to understand that the process of finding the one who feels right is not instantaneous. I have embraced the single life and while I think those pink puppies are adorable, I know I will be given one eventually, it’s just a matter of time and patience.

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On Vacation, Be Back Later

It is FINALLY break! I am more relieved than ever to be home, and arriving at 12:15 AM last night was well worth it. After stressing about the oncoming snowstorm, my friend and I decided we were leaving, whether or not we have classes. She had a flight to catch and the thought of getting stuck in Waltham was less than desirable. Now, I am writing this in front of a roaring fireplace and am reliving moments from my childhood. Settled in for the duration of my vacation, I can enjoy the snow.

I have big plans for this vacation, the main one: relaxing, and among that, try and get ahead on some work, and look forward to celebrating my 21st birthday. I have embraced not having school on my birthday. I never have, except for that one year in high school when they decided to change our vacation week.  There is something, especially now that I am in college and turning 21, which makes me wish I had school. Celebrating with my friends would be easier and I wouldn’t have to celebrate after my actual date.  Don’t get me wrong; I have some pretty fantastic friends who want to celebrate with me after vacation.  My roommate and one of my best friends gave me presents early.  There is still a part of me that wishes we had school.

I think (and I hope) I packed everything I need for this vacation.  I have my camera so I can work on portrait shots for my photography class and because it’s going to be wicked beautiful here. I’m trying to figure out if I am gutsy enough to go out while it’s snowing, because a part of me really wants to. I forgot a review book for my MTEL I have to retake in a few weeks but that is the beauty of the Internet.

I know I have friends who will not be thinking about work at all over break, but that isn’t how I function.  I need to get ahead and reduce the amount of work I have later.  It’s something I’ve always been good at and something that is probably never going to change. It keeps me calmer and ahead of things, I don’t see this as a bad thing so why fix something that isn’t broken?