Sorry, I Can’t Afford to Say Yes…

I’m a yes kind of gal. I enjoy experiencing new opportunities and always being up for anything (within the confines of the law and my morals). When a friend asks about going out to dinner, when someone texts me looking for someone to pal around with at the Orioles game, when my Mom casually suggests we see a show: yes, Yes, YES!

DSCN0474Thanks to this bold mentality I’ve been to see a deaf production of Alice in Wonderland, run a 5K, made strong friendships, helped education people on domestic violence, gone to many Orioles games, splashed around in color at Holi, attended a concert, seen Beauty and the Beast performed live, listened to a lecture by the Dalai Lama, and much much much more (most adventures chronicled here on my blog). I’ve done so much that it’s hard to imagine I’m only 20 years old. I’ve done so much that it’s absolutely inconceivable to me how some people could be limited to experience such exciting events.

Tomorrow I’m going to laser tag, over the weekend I’m going to see Despicable Me 2, and I may even stop by bingo on Saturday. No, I don’t have that much money (especially since I’ve been working two unpaid internships), but I’ve come to realize that money is just money, and if I don’t spend it to give myself enjoyable life experiences with the people that I care about, what good is it. But, sadly, not all college-aged kids can say the same thing, because cost really is a determining factor.

college moneyAs a college student, I see this a lot. Kids are just too tied down paying for food, housing, tuition, books, to say yes to life. One day (hopefully) they will be settled in a career and able to make the kind of money that will let them live out their dreams. As for right now, it’s just sad to watch my friends limit all they could be experiencing due to cost.

If you don’t have money, try living within your means, but don’t forget to have fun. If you do have money, it’s nice to save some, but never forget to use it for what it’s meant for, LIVING!

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Shucking Corn and Loving Life

I never expected shucking corn to be one of life’s simple pleasures. But when you’re sitting on your back porch enjoying the light rays of sunshine, watching bunnies and chipmunks dart around in front of you, smiling at the memories of running outside to catch the falling hale so you could water the house plants with the tiny cubes of ice, remembering how you would catch fireflies for your mom and gently carry them back to the same steps you’re sitting on, and smelling the freshly cut grass from your neighbor’s lawn, it’s hard not to fall into happiness.

I never wanted to be out there dealing with errant silk strings and messy corn leaves, but I’m oh so grateful that I did, because I found more life on those steps than I had ever expected.

A Balancing Act I Don’t Intend to Lose

Come fall, I’m going to be a senior in college.

That means only one more year until I am thrust out into the real world and must find a job in order to keep my head above water. I’ve got to study harder, work longer, and put a serious and immediate effort into my career search.

Come fall, I’m going to be a senior in college.

That means only one more year that I get to spend at the place where I’ve had the best experiences of my life. I’ve got to goof around with my friends while they’re a constant presence in my life, attend UMD activities and sporting events that I’ve grown to love, and take the time to enjoy my classes.

This summer I have two unpaid part-time internships. I love both of them and they are a brilliant and consuming feature of my day. With these internships I am securing a future for myself and fostering a self-sustainable lifestyle outside of school.

This summer I have friends that I’ve made plans with. All of these plans fall on the weekend where I can horseback ride, visit Hershey Park, act out in a murder mystery dinner, and reconnect and baseball games. With these activities I am placing an unmistakable value on friendship and my personal commitment to those close to me.

I feel like this summer is going to determine the course of my life, how things play out for my senior year and beyond. If I can find a way to balance personal relationships and work (a feat that not many can successfully accomplish) I know that nothing can stand in the way of my happiness. But if I let one side overtake the other (as has happened to me in the past), I won’t be happy with how things turn out.

I’m nervous to see how things will progress, but I’m hopeful that it will be in my favor.

beautiful quote about the future

P.S.   Where my healthy lifestyle fits into this is anyone’s guess. Feel free to listen to me gripe about it HERE.

Summer Strivings

list of goalsI love goals. And lists. And putting check marks next to the goals on my lists. So this summer I’ve decided to make note of the things that I’d like to accomplish.

I had tremendous success with this method over the past year, and know that if I want to see real results in my life and have a good time achieving them, I need to write them down and frequently revisit them.

Here are the things that I’ve decided I’d like to focus on:

  • Spend time with my family and boyfriend
  • Make time for fitness
  • Perform well at my internships
  • Remain relatively stress free
  • Eat moderately
  • Visit friends from back home
  • Stay in touch with friends from college
  • Lose 10 pounds
  • Volunteer
  • Spend money carefully
  • Just keep running
  • Stay motivated

While I do intend to do things like visit Hershey Park, I want to make sure that I’m taking care of myself on the personal level first, and I think it starts by attending to these main goals. A lot of my goals have to deal with my health, but I think that it’s important to focus on it while I won’t have the overwhelming influence of work and school in my life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince I intend for weight loss/exercise/maintaining a healthy lifestyle to take up a good portion of my summer, I think it’d only be fair to devote a whole new blog to the topic. I have a clear focus with Living the Life and don’t want to diverge from all around well living by focusing too heavily on health. So, I’ve begun a new blog called Happiness Through Health that I’m going to be posting to as well. Feel free to check it out or completely ignore this information.

Junior Year, A Life in Summation

Wow. Life moves quickly. Not only am I unsure how I’ve already reached the end of my junior year of college, I’m also confused as to where my sophomore and freshman year went.

At the beginning of this year (one roommate, a new major, and countless hikes across campus ago) I was coming off a pretty rough time. I hadn’t really found a niche for myself in college (which was all too familiar to my high school experience) and I spent more time traveling home than livin’ it up college style.

My goal for this year was simple; say yes to life. And looking back on my time now, I can truthfully say that I said yes and experienced much of what college life had to offer (while still focusing on my studies)

Some of my experiences include:

  • Participating in Terp Thon and raising money for Children’s National Medical Center374409_4651322164662_876425834_n
  • Hosting Manicure Movie Monday in our lounge
  • Starting a job at UMD Dining Services and meeting some of my best friends
  • Taking more pictures than I will ever need
  • Throwing paint around with friends and strangers at HoliDSCN0474
  • Becoming a part of Sign Language Club and visiting Gallaudet University
  • Going on a dinner cruise at the Inner Harbor
  • Partaking in a murder mystery dinner and successfully avoiding accusations
  • Attending all of the movie nights and randomly themed UMD events
  • Listened to the Dalai Lama give a lecture on peace
  • Gaining an insane amount of weight from not watching my health and then working it all off522422_10200226503339411_1759804122_n
  • Participating in an Alternative Spring Break and becoming an advocate for domestic violence victims
  • Making an effort to hang out with friends and get in touch with people
  • Running my first 5K to benefit Yeardly LoveIMG_1931
  • Attending all of the UMD men’s soccer games and becoming part of the Crew
  • Crossing two items off of my bucket list (dying my hair red and attending a concert)
  • Receiving 12 free UMD t-shirts
  • Cheering my football team onto a Super Bowl victory
  • STARTED A BLOG!

Holy cow I’ve done a lot. I know I’ve missed listing a ton more activities, but I’m just grateful that I’ll have this blog to look back so that I can relive all of these wonderful experiences.

Also, don’t expect much from me this summer, because I’m pretty sure it’ll take me up until September to recover from my junior year.

Lessons from the Lama

DSCN0608This past Tuesday, the University of Maryland hosted the Sadat Lecture for Peace, featuring His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

I jumped at the chance to miss my morning classes and to eternally brag that I had heard the Dalai Lama speak live. Yet, I wasn’t at all sure what to expect from this lecture. Moral ramblings from an outdated source? Spiritual musings the likes of which the world has never seen?

After trekking across a rain sodden campus and patiently waiting amongst the masses in line, I took my seat in Comcast Center (our indoor arena) and decided that I was thoroughly unenthused. This man has probably lectured thousands upon thousands of times, and I didn’t think there was much that he could bring to the table in the ways of relating peace and love to the world. We get it, peace is peaceful, love is lovely.

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Once the Dalai Lama entered the stage, the whole stadium rose to their feet, applauding and cheering for the adorable old man who stood tall in his red robe. I recognized that unlike most modern celebrities, this man had truly earned his fame, and I clapped with as much enthusiasm and rigor as those around me. I was in the presence of a clearly meaningful human being, I needed to appreciate this.

From that initial encounter on, I was completely captivated by what His Holiness had to say regarding life, love, and the lot:

  • DSCN0635Don’t trust material valuables for inner happiness, they will only disappoint you
  • Real value and beauty is within us and our genuine smiles
  • Trust is key for friendships between all
  • Dialogue is the only way to overcome violence
  • We all have the same potential, the same goal. And this makes it possible for genuine harmony between people who differ
  • Think more

Obviously I paraphrased a good deal of what he said, and obviously I could never convey the tone or true power behind his words, but these things that are seen as common sense, really need to be taken to heart and utilized for the creation of a better world.

Not only did the Dalai Lama give a remarkable lecture on the state of society’s spirit, but he also graced us with his sense of humor. Every so often he would tell an amusing story, place a UMD visor on his head, or snuggle up on the comfy lounge chair he was sitting in. This man’s smile brought about my laughter in a completely innocent and genuine way. To hold such a high position and still make jokes about the bright spotlights, I was in the presence of true happiness, and it brought laughter to my heart and joy to my soul.

DSCN0618Thank goodness I attended this lecture; I needed a reminder about how magnificent life can be when you approach it with beauty and positivity. Thank goodness I opened my heart to his message of tolerance and peace, to recognize the unity of humanity. And thank goodness I am living, and free to acknowledge these wonderful conditions for the rest of my life.

Grandparents: More Than Hard Candies and Hearing Aids

For as long as I’ve been alive, I’ve had a family. And for as long as my family members have been alive, they’ve had a family of their own. I know it seems simple to reflect on, everyone understands the concept of a family tree, but, not everyone takes advantage of this tremendously supportive and loving network of people who all care deeply about your happiness.

Specifically, I’m going to give a shout-out to grandparents; more specifically, my grandparents.

My grandparents live about 3 hours away from me and my family, and as a kid I loved the distance between us. The surprise presents they brought with them (CANDY) were always great, but after a day or two I couldn’t stand my grandmother’s nagging or my grandfather’s bellowing responses due to his poor hearing.

But as I’ve grown older, I’ve begun to realize the important role they have in my life. I am their granddaughter. That means so much more than seeing them occasionally; it means actively engaging them in conversation and letting them know how much I care for and appreciate them. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey are loving and kind people (if you look in between their rants on Obama and affinity for disguising rude comments in a sweet demeanor) and I never want to neglect their presence in my life, because they have so much to offer me.

Some of the things my grandparents offer me over our bi-weekly phone calls:
• Accurate insights on the weather
• Complaints regarding the weatherweather graphic
• Hopes for the future weather
• Insight into what my grandmother is wearing for the current weather
• Wishes to come and visit the family
• Pride at my more strenuous workout routine
• Musings regarding the celebrities on Dancing With the Stars
• Frustration over my support of Obama
• Good luck wishes regarding school and finding an internship
• Intriguing conspiracies mentioned on the History Channel
• Pride that I’m attending college
• The same questions regarding my daily schedule

All of these topics both amuse and frustrate me, and if I don’t call at least every week to confirm what I already know about the weather, I know that I’m missing out on a good time and a conversation with the two loves of my life.

Stress Out Day

DSCN0493Last week, UMD hosted a “Stress Out Day” on the mall to help students relax, unwind, and release their stress out into the wild where it can run free and uninhibited, while never again allowed to call the shelter of a college kid’s mind home. I decided to go to this event as an excuse to hang out with my long lost buddy, Kalin, and even though it was just a silly school event, it actually helped me step back from my life and relax.

I contort myself into a mess of limbs and grimaces each Wednesday, in what others affectionately call Yoga, to achieve the feeling of calm relaxation I’m granted at the end of every session. But I never thought I could achieve the same feeling through such a carnival-like atmosphere. The event boasted a corn hole game, a wall of aspirationsDSCN0487, free sunglasses, a coloring booth, puppies (which I arrived too late for), and even a raffle for an awesome t-shirt (which I won! only slightly making up for the lack of puppies).

At one station, we were asked to write the thing that stresses us out the most, then we were told to cross it out and write something that relaxes us when we are stressed. Kalin’s answer proves why we’re friends:

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My answers throw into question why people hang out with me:

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Walking around with Kalin, enjoying the weather, and taking a break from the daily rush of life gave me the peace that an hour locked in a smelly fitness class usually provides, and I am so grateful I got to experience this peace with my fellow Terps. I love when the world expresses a sense of community!

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The Reader

This describes my experience with blogging quite perfectly. I may not be the most articulate writer, or speak to the most profound and moving subjects, but I enjoy writing and don’t want to keep that passion all to myself.

If all my readers get out of my blog is “That girl is all over the place…” then my mission will have been accomplished, because at least it was read, at least it was acknowledged, and only then can it have the potential to be worthwhile.

Spring Has Sprung!

IMG_1904I grew up listening to my grandmother utter that exact phrase towards the beginning of every April, “Spring has sprung!”. I’d roll my eyes and cough out a chuckle, but after exposing myself to the beauteous weather we’ve been experiencing, I finally appreciate her lame little pun.

IMG_1915The sun has been shining, the birds have been chirping, and the clouds are staying away because they know what’s good for ’em.

IMG_1920IMG_1919Two things have really begun to happen now that the weather’s gotten nice.

1. I actually enjoy walking to class.

2. Once I get to class I don’t want to go inside.

Right now I guess I’m just thrilled to be over with winter. Hopefully spring will be just as long, but if not, be sure to enjoy it while it lasts and take some time to stop and notice how happy nature seems to be at being done with winter too.IMG_1926 IMG_1927