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.

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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.

Art Attack – Completing My Bucket List One Bland Activity at a Time

DSCN0572This past weekend, the University of Maryland put on Art Attack, which is basically a concert with a surprise musical guest performing right in the middle of our football field. Seeing as tickets were $8 and a decent portion of the student body was planning on attending, I knew this would be a great way to spend a Friday night and cross “attend a concert” off my bucket list.

Though I’m 20 years old, I’ve never actually been to a concert before. I suppose I’ve had opportunities, but there hasn’t been a band or artist I love enough to devote my time and money to. It doesn’t help that I like older bands (Led Zeppelin, The Who = $$), and country music (Rascal Flatts, Josh Turner = lack of interest from friends) who no one would want to join me in seeing. Though I wasn’t paticularly enthused about the band, Art Attack, featuring MGMT, seemed to present the perfect opportunity to provide me with my first concert experience.

(Here is the song that most people know by them. Feel free to search for the music video, but I find it terrifying.)

A few friends and I arrived at the concert just in time to gain access to the pit, an area directly in front of the stage where people could stand. Though I wasn’t too enthusiastic about standing for four hours, I knew that it would only help make my quintessential concert experience. After two decent warm-up bands and a whole lot of waiting around, MGMT finally arrived on stage.

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Firstly, I should do some explaining.

  1. I only know one of their songs, and vaguely at that.
  2. I had been standing for three hours in uncomfortable but adorable shoes.
  3. The temperature plummeted after the first warm-up act.
  4. People were smoking right in front of me, and I detest being subjected to the unhealthy habits of others

Basically, what I’m getting at is I had a thoroughly poor-to-mediocre time. I’m glad that I went and had an experience that I’d always wanted to, but the experience itself wasn’t so grand. And they didn’t even play the one song of theirs that I vaguely know….

This hasn’t deterred me in the least though, and I would definitely go to another concert in the future. Provided I like the band, wear sneakers, bring two jackets, mittens, and a scarf, and don a gas mask to overcome the smokers.

Maryland Day: Freebies and Friends

DSCN0537Yesterday, the University of Maryland hosted their annual event, Maryland Day. Basically, this is one day every spring where the whole campus decides to participate in showing off what UMD and the state of Maryland has to offer.

Families, alumni, prospective Terps, and people from the surrounding communities come out in droves for:

  • Wacky science experiments
  • Photo boothsDSCN0554
  • Plant give-aways (for the winners of a recycling game)
  • Musical performances
  • Donations to Terp Thon (the standing marathon I participated in benefiting Children’s Miricle Network)
  • A mini dance festival
  • Caricatures
  • Delicious food (with, of course, crab cakes)
  • Arts and crafts (where it is also acceptable for the young at heart to get creative with sand art and coloring)
  • A chance to meet members of the UMD football team
  • Raffles for fabulous prizes
  • Information on the University of Maryland and the services they offer
  • FREEBIES!

DSCN0538I had a blast going around with my friends and checking out everything available to me that I never even knew existed. And I didn’t even have time to go through the whole event. Just think about how much more there is to explore right under your nose!

But my absolute favorite part was all the free merchandise I scored. Maryland gives you so much in the way of freebies that I’ve had to start limiting myself and asking,

“Now are you really going to care about that yo-yo a few weeks from now?”

“Do you remember the three other yo-yos sitting in your room, neglected and unused?”

“Would you regret for the rest of your life slowly putting the yo-yo down and walking away from the table?”

I successfully ignored the colorful ensnarement of the yo-yo, but that didn’t stop me from bringing in a huge haul that included:

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  • 5 posters (1 signed by the football team)
  • A water bottle
  • Opportunities and information on volunteeringDSCN0566
  • Friendship and a day of silliness
  • Stickers and pins
  • A temporary turtle tattoo
  • Pens and pencils
  • A bit of a tan
  • Memories and pictures
  • A bracelet that changes colors when it’s sunny

I’ve gone to this event every year, and every year it gets better and better with each realization that there is so much available for me to do around here in both a fun and professional capacity.

Do you have anything like this in your area? You should make the effort to see what your community has to offer and chances are you’ll find one or two things of interest that you never knew you could explore.

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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Holi Cow!

This past Sunday the University of Maryland created their own Hindu festival of color, Holi. Pronounced “Holy”, this festival involves throwing multi-colored power at people to celebrate the beginning of spring and the driving force of good over evil. 551462_10151526062127593_100085468_nBut for me, it was mostly a good excuse to make tie dye, hang out with friends, take plenty of pictures, and have an unbelievable experience.

DSCN0450We first gathered around the Administration building on the far end of our mall. After handing out free samosas, but sadly for our poor taste buds, no water bottles, they began throwing packets of colored powder into the air. People went wild. Purples were flying through the air intermingling with a neon green that left its presence known to all those standing below it. Somehow a hose and buckets of water got involved, and though it helped enhance my tie dye, it chilled me far too much for such a warm spring day.

Soon my face was splattered in a comically gory fashion and I marveled at how a mere half hour ago I would have been considered clean. After taking a couple pictures with my friends, one of whom resembled an impish smurf, I headed off to the shower where I would not reemerge for a solid 30 minutes.DSCN0461

I had a blast being a part of this festival, and even though I didn’t know most of the 200 + kids who attended, I still had a great time feeling included in a community and letting myself go. Every once in a while, you need to do something so crazy that even your closest friends give you weird looks when they see the pictures.

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The Princess Bride

How many people remember this epic movie from their childhood?  Or maybe you just  remember the awesome quotes you can still recognize today?

  • “My name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die!”
  • “Good night, Westley. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”
  • “Inconceivable!”
  • “Please consider me an alternative to suicide.”

Check out more quotes HERE and relive your childhood!

Well last night, at 11:59 pm, there was an event at UMD that showed the movie while actors played the part on stage. The group that does this calls themselves the Satanic Mechanics and also perform the Rocky Horror shows (which I’ve never been to but need to make the effort to go). And if the Rocky Horror shows are anything as good as this, I’ll be in for a real treat!

IMG_1942The actors found silly ways to mimic what was being portrayed on screen and the audience was encouraged to shout things at them in response to the dialogue and actions from the movie. It was a blast! A movie I loved and great (though clearly untrained) actors who were passionate about The Princess Bride and really took to the roles they were playing. I went to bed at 3 in the morning because I stayed up to see this show, but it was completely worth it and goes to show that if you step out of your comfort zone, you have a good chance of being pleasantly surprised.

My Passover Experience

I was raised in the teachings of the Catholic church. Ever since I was a young child I was taught that Jesus is good, God is great, and as soon as communion has been served it’s alright to file out of the overly crowded pews. I’m not very devout in my religious beliefs, but I do enjoy discovering new aspects of religion, especially when they come from outside my area of expertise. So when my good friend, Bobby, invited me to celebrate the second night of Passover in the spirit of Judaism with him and his family, I happily agreed.

I drove to his house with my other Catholic companion, Dallis,  where we greeted by the 20 other guests with whom I would be participating in the Seder.

My friends Dallis and Bobby at a basketball game

My friends Dallis and Bobby at a basketball game

They were all so enthusiastic to have us there and immediately began asking us questions and making the effort to get to know us, I was taken aback by everyone’s polite and inquisitive nature, I guess I’d grown accustomed to the indifference more college students portray.  After they learned our entire life stories, they took quite a bit of time revisiting old friendships and sharing new developments in their lives. It was delightful to see such a loving reunion, and I was continually and pleasantly surprised as the actual dinner began.

Everyone went around the table reciting from a script, performing ceremonial songs and conducting rituals with various symbolic foods. There were a lot of words I didn’t comprehend and an entirely different language in which I couldn’t even differentiate the words from the syllables, but I never felt uncomfortable. In fact, it was nice to be a part of something so meaningful. After the traditional customs and my reading of a blessedly easy passage to pronounce, the food was served.

In any good experience in my life, food usually plays a crucial role, and that is more than true for this Passover dinner. At first it began with the traditional Matzah which was fine by itself and had a pleasing crunch. Then the Matzah ball soup came which absolutely delighted my taste buds. At one point there was a weird fish that people tried to convince me to drown in horseradish sauce, but I just couldn’t seem to choke it down. After that slight hiccup in the meal, I gorged myself on salmon, carrot casserole, asparagus, mashed potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, and a chocolate fondue assortment that was so plentiful and delicious I didn’t think I could ever stop gorging myself on it. And as it turns out, all the food was kosher! I’m still not exactly sure what this means, but I know it definitely doesn’t affect the quality of the food you eat.

At the end of the night we helped clean up the huge mess we had made and said our goodbyes and words of appreciation. I had a blast hanging out with my friend and his family, but more than that I actually enjoyed the messages they were sharing and the good company that they knew how to appreciate. Never keep yourself from trying new things, even if you can’t imagine yourself doing them. It’s always good to surprise yourself, and the surprisingly good time I experienced will bring me back for next year’s Seder. Plus, his house has a gorgeous view of the Bay.IMG_1903