What I learned my freshman year of college

Hi readers!!!

So I have officially become the worst blogger on the planet right??

To be fair, it’s final season and I didn’t think I could be this stressed. But, I am really going to try and get back on my game and post at least once a week.

Now lets get to what I actually wanted to talk about.

I did it. I finished my first year of college and managed to get a 4.0 the entire year. Everyone is telling me to enjoy that while it lasts because every year wont be as easy as freshman year… pray for me.
But I did it. In college a year early, and I did it.
Theres been lots of change for me lately. I decided I’m staying in Lubbock for the summer instead of going home for 3 months. Because of this, I moved into an apartment all by myself, adopted a dog, and got a good job. Is this adulting yet?? Is having to spend $100 on groceries adulting?? I honestly feel like I am a fake adult. But thats alright.
I wanted to write this blog simply to reflect on how my freshman year went and what I have learned.

So here we go….

  1. Less is more. As a freshman you live in a dorm… you don’t need to bring everything you own. I promise that you wont wear that shirt you got freshman year of highschool. I will admit, I was overly thorough in my packing first semester, and I regretted that when it came time to take it all home. Second semester was better but seriously, less is more.
  2. Freshman Fifteen IS a thing and theres absolutely no excuse for it. You don’t think its happening but then you step on the scale for the first time in a few months and….whoah. Just because someone isn’t down your throat about making healthy choices doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make them. Opt for a salad one day instead of pizza. Its all about balance right?
  3.  ALWAYS wear shoes in the bathroom. Flush the toilet when you’re done. Wash your hands before you leave. You’d be shocked how many people on my floor this past year chose to ignore these fundamental bathroom rules. You live in a dorm where people go in and out of that bathroom all day… yeah they clean it but… ew. nuff said
  4. Go to class. Yeah you can skip a couple every now and then but try your hardest to go. Think about it like this… yeah it might only be an hour but that hour just on that day just cost you maybe $50. You wouldn’t take a fifty dollar bill and just throw it away right?
  5. Create a resume. If you haven’t needed one yet, I can assure you that you’ll need one soon. When you’re a freshman you can still put all of those high school achievements and leadership positions on there, so take advantage of those while you still can!
  6. Do extra credit. I was shocked to find in college that not all grades are treated equally. Whereas at my high school an A- was a 4 when calculating your GPA, in college that A- is a 3.67 – so a B+ and a B- impact your GPA very differently, know that even an extra 5-10 points can make all of the difference in the long run.
  7. Don’t buy your books from the bookstore – unless you like wasting money, that is. Unless its one of the online ones you have to have an access code for, these are annoying and you can’t get around spending a pretty penny on those. But first look to see if your school has a facebook page specifically for selling old textbooks. If you can’t find the books you need there, check online. This past semester I rented my books off of Chegg, and I saved over 800 dollars by not buying my books from the bookstore. Amazon is also a great place to look.
  8. The syllabus is your best friend. Your syllabus is there for a reason – read it, reference it, worship it. At the beginning of every semester your professors will hand you a packet that tells you step by step how to pass their class, yet so many students ignore it. As soon as I got all of my syllabi second semester I copied all of my upcoming due dates into my planner and simplified my life so much. I know in high school its not as serious but in college THIS is the most critical thing.
  9. Take advantage of your school’s gym. Your membership fee is already paid for as part of your tuition, so you might as well utilize it because you’re paying for it. Using the gym means you’re going to get in shape, stay healthy, and avoid the freshman 15!
  10. Don’t be that person. Come to terms with the fact that you might not be a superstar anymore. In high school you may have been the smartest/most athletic/funniest/etc. person in your class. In college, no on a cares. No one likes the kid who only wants to talk about their high school glory days, I promise you very few people care how many AP classes you took in high school or how many trophies you won in extracurriculars. Those conversations have a time and place, but if you continually force the conversation in a direction simply so you can brag, friends will be far and few in between.
  11. Don’t let one aspect of your life define you. Be yourself. Yes you should join clubs and social groups and get involved. But stay true to yourself. A lot of kids will get into a club, hear the stereotype about that club, and let that control their life. Just be true to yourself. It will be better in the long run.
  12. Ask for help! If you’re really lost or confused do not wait until the day before an exam or the last week of class to see your professor. In college if you don’t help yourself, nobody is going to go out of their way to help you like they did in high school. Office hours are there for a reason – use them and use them early on. Professors love when students ask for help or visit them, makes them feel good about their job. *Also, being friends with your professor could help at the end of the semester when you need that B+ to be an A!*
  13. Lock your door when you sleep. Even if you trust everyone on your floor not to steal from you, you can’t trust them not to barge into your room drunk at 3 am. Just trust me on this one.
  14. Clean. Clean. Clean. When your roommate is desperately sick, lysol wipes and hand sanitizer should be your best friend. Illness spreads through dorm floors incredibly quick, be proactive about sanitation and you may get lucky.
  15. College is the place to get free stuff. Pizza, Canes, T-shirts, Games, and so much more. Go to the different fairs and lunches that your school organizes – especially at the beginning of the year. Keep an eye out for University sponsored activities and I can guarantee that you’ll get some pretty cool stuff. At one of my schools events this year I got a free massage coupon at a local spa and 3 free Chickfila meals!
  16. You don’t have to be everyone else. Not everyone drinks, if you don’t want to – don’t. I promise no one that you care to be friends with will judge you for it. On the flipside, if you drink, great! Just don’t put partying ahead of school.
  17. That one failed test doesn’t define you. Its your first huge test and you totally flunked it… its okay. Breathe. Drink some water. Take a nap. Visit your professor and figure out what went wrong and do better next time. I promise the one bad grade won’t define your entire college career.
  18. “You Have a Package” E-mails are the Best. The best e-mails that you will ever receive come with a subject line of “You have received a package that is too large to fit into your mail box.” Those e-mails are literally like Christmas come early even if you are the one that ordered it and have been tracking it online.
  19. Get out of your dorm room. Go somewhere else, even if it’s just the dorm’s lounge that is on the floor below you. Studies show that freshman can tend to slip into depression due to spending all of their time alone. Get out, see some friends, take a walk, enjoy your time on campus.
  20. Use your school’s GPA calculator. Like mentioned before, your GPA in college is a lot different in college than it was in high school. In high school your GPA is typically based off of 6-8 classes, while your college GPA is typically based off of 4-5 classes. That one B or C+ can make a big difference on your overall GPA for the semester. I definitely recommend using your university’s online GPA calculator and figuring where your GPA will be based on grades you feel you can reasonably obtain.
  21. It can be difficult living with a roommate. While living with someone else can be great, sharing one small room together is difficult and issues can occur. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t like how she is handling something within your room or you feel that you are being taken advantage of in some way.
  22. Be careful with caffeine consumption. Before I went to college, I had actually never drank anything that had caffeine in it. Crazy, I know. Once I got to college, I had to be careful to not lean on coffee or redbull to get me through my day.
  23. Use a planner. I’m being completely honest when I say I don’t understand how people make it through school without a planner. My planner manages when homework assignments are due, when review sessions and tests are, when classes are cancelled, when I have organization meetings, and so much more. I refer to my planner multiple times a day and I’m not sure what I would do without it.
  24. You learn to appreciate the littlest things. I never knew how much I would cherish the ability to eat a home cooked meal, shower with no shoes on, and the five hours to myself on the drive home.
  25. Know the difference between casual, business casual, and business professional attire. It’s amazed me the number of events there have been that have requested business casual attire and people show up in yoga pants and an oversized t-shirt. Make sure that you know what attire is appropriate for the event you are attending.
  26. Know your priorities. In college, there are lots of events being held that you can fill your free time with, but you need to know your priorities. A weekend long service trip may not be the best idea if you have three tests the next week.
  27. Enjoy every moment. Even though it can be very stressful at times, remember to enjoy your time in college. It is a wonderful time of making memories, meeting new friends, finding yourself and growing as an individual.
  28. Let yourself grow up. This is the weird age where you’re technically an adult but you’re also still a kid in your parents eyes. Let yourself grow up and start making something of yourself. Don’t be the kid that relies on their parents for every little thing.

Enjoy your freshman year. It’s the best/worst year of your life. You will learn so much and grow so much. Let life happen and be true to yourself!!

xoxo, laurel

who needs vacation anyway?

Hi readers!! 

first off. . . hello, I’m here, I’m back, yes my blog still exists. its been awhile since i have been here and i have been missing it like no other. life got a little crazy but things are settling and I’m back and better than ever. i have had about 4792927 things i have been wanting to write about but i just haven’t sat down to do it. but here i am, back in business baby.

Today I was scrolling on Pinterest, per usual, and I came across this quote:

“My goal is to create a life I don’t need a vacation from”

let me tell you, this hit me like a truck, a literal slap in the face. and it got me thinking. it got me thinking that it is true, that so many of us seem to be just waiting for days and weeks to go by until we can take a break from life and go on vacation.   i mean don’t get me wrong, I love going on vacation; I am a traveller by nature, I literally thrive in novel and stimulating environments.

but it’s one thing to enjoy taking vacations, and it’s an entirely different thing to feel like you need to take a vacation in order to feel alive.

I don’t want to spend my adulthood feeling like my average day is a task that has to get done, just so I can escape two weeks out of the year on vacation. That’s the kind mentality that has you putting off living until retirement; and with current life expectancy, I probably won’t retire until the grave.

idk about you but i don’t want to waste my day to day life not loving what I’m doing. i want to enjoy my life and never want to stop working, you know what i mean?

then theres this question:

Is it even possible to have a life you don’t need a vacation from?

DUH!! thats why I’m writing about it now. but what does a life you don’t need a vacation from look like exactly? well, from my experience (i know I’m only 18 but still) , it needs to be challenging enough to keep you stimulated, yet comfortable enough to not feel constantly stressed out. It has to have a sense of purpose and meaning, to get you excited to wake up in the morning, but there has to be some downtime to just be, without having to do. It would have to be a life that incorporates things you love to do on a daily basis, but being realistic there would also be other things that just have to get done. that doesn’t seem too impossible to me, and it shouldn’t to you. 

the reason I’m writing about this is because lately i have been S T R E S S E D. college is not easy, my friends. in fact, some days i can literally feel the grey hair growing and the skin wrinkling. i wish i was kidding. but once i read this quote, i realized my work is going to be so so worth it. so worth it. one day I’m going to have my PhD and working as a psychologist and i will be loving it. I’m going to be living the life i don’t need vacation from. so as of now, I’m going to create that life i don’t need a vacation from. 

i encourage all of you to do this as well. and if you’re stuck, you need a plan that targets your needs, overcomes your roadblocks, and works with the realities of your day to day life. create the life you don’t need a vacation from. create the life that means the most to you. you wake up everyday and have a choice, you can choose to be happy or you can choose not to be. stay optimistic everyone. i love you all.

xoxo, laurel

 

Did you know???

Hello readers! Welcome back to my blog, I am so glad you are here.

I was strolling on the internet yesterday and came across something that I thought was really interesting! Vogue started a series of 73 questions answered by your favorite celebs.  I think I watched every single video. You can find them here. I seriously loved all of them and it inspired me to answer these questions myself. Im in NO way a celebrity but I like to answer questions and I thought this would be a neat way to get to know me. So, enjoy 🙂

1. What’s your favorite movie? – Miracles from Heaven. watch it. it makes me cry!!
2. Favorite movie in the past five years? – Only the Brave is fantastic.
3. Favorite Hitchcock film?- Notorious
4. A book you plan on reading? – Pride and Prejudice
5. A book that you read in school that positively shaped you? – The Happiness Project
6. Favorite TV show that’s currently on? – Grey’s Anatomy and The Bachelor
7. On a scale of one to ten how excited are you about life right now? – about a 27
8. iPhone or Android? – Iphone definitely
9. Twitter or Instagram?- insta!!
10. Who should EVERYONE be following right now? – Sydney Thornton  (@soelsister)
11. What’s your favorite food? – does chick fil a count
12. Least favorite food? – cheese….
13. What do you love on your pizza? pepperoni!!
14. Favorite drink? water, I’m basic
15. Favorite dessert? chocolate chip cookies or banana pudding!!!
16. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? milk chocolate for sure
17. Coffee or tea? coffee
18. What’s the hardest part about being a mom? I’m not a mom so.. uh. ask my mom
19. What’s your favorite band? – too many to choose… i love maroon 5 though
20. Favorite solo artist?- Carrie Underwood, Cody Johnson
21. Favorite song? – anything by Carrie, Cojo, or Mike Ryan
22. If you could sing a duet with anyone, who would it be? – Cody Johnson
23. If you could master one instrument, what would it be? – guitar
24. If you had a tattoo, where would it be? – i have 2 already!
25. To be or not to be? – to be
26. Dogs or cats? – doggos
27. Bird-watching or whale-watching? – fun fact: i hate birds. so def whale watching
28. Best gift you’ve ever received? – a trip to Europe!!!
29. Best gift you’ve ever given? – i love everything I give
30. Last gift you gave a friend?- lots of christmas presents for friends and family
31. What’s your favorite board game? – life
32. What’s your favorite country to visit? – France
33. What’s the last country you visited? – France
34. What country do you wish to visit? – I’m DYING to go to Greece
35. What’s your favorite color? – pink
36. Least favorite color? – orange
37. Diamonds or pearls? – both???
38. Heels or flats? – again.. both
39. Pilates or yoga? – pilates
40. Jogging or swimming? – swimming
41. Best way to de-stress? –bubble bath and your bible! add some essential oils too
42. If you had one superpower, what would it be? – to fly!!
43. What’s the weirdest word in the English language? – kerfuffle
44. What’s your favorite flower? – peonies
45. When was the last time you cried? – a couple nights ago watching “This is Us”
46. Do you like your handwriting? – yeah i actually do
47. Do you bake? – too much
48. What is your least favorite thing about yourself? – tendency to lack confidence
49. What is your most favorite thing about yourself? – I love my
50. Who do you miss most?- my best friend 😦 distance sucks
51. What are you listening to right now?- I’m watching friends.. so that!
52. Favorite smell? – lavender or vanilla
53. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone?- Ame
54. Who was the last person you sent a text to? – Ame
55. A sport you wish you could play?- basketball.. I’m too short
56. Hair color? – naturally brunette.. but i’ve been a blondie for awhile
57. Eye color? – green
58. Scary film or happy endings? – i enjoy both
59. Favorite season?- spring
60. Three people alive or dead that you would like to have dinner with?- Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Aniston, Blake Lively
61. Hugs or kisses? – I’m a hugger
62. Rolling Stones or the Beatles? the beatles!
63. Where were you born? Plano, Texas
64. What is the farthest you have been from home? – France
65. Sweet or savory?- sweet
66. Lipstick or lip gloss?- lipgloss
67. What book have you read again and again? Heaven is For Real
68. Favorite bedtime story?- Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?
69. What would be the title of your autobiography? – thats basically my blog.. right?
70. Favorite sound? – the ocean
71. Favorite animal?- dolphin
72. Who is your girl crush?–  Blake Lively
73. Last photograph you took?- a picture of the baby i nanny 🙂

Hope you enjoyed!!!

xoxo, laurel

accepting the things we cannot change

whoah. this is a big topic I know. But it’s been on my heart for awhile and I just need to let it out and what better way to do that than write about it! Because I am sure y’all have been through this too.

Accepting what we don’t like can be one of the hardest challenges we face. For some, its a daily battle. Have you ever caught yourself trying to change things you have no control over? I know I have. If we can’t change a situation or an outcome our best option is to learn how to accept it and deal with it. But what we don’t often think about is that acceptance has benefits. A few of them are:

  • A more positive attitude
  • Less worry and stress
  • Less energy drained from trying to figure things out
  • Ability to embrace change
  • Greater appreciation and gratitude
  • A more compassionate perspective

Acceptance is not the same as resignation. We can continue to push forward despite accepting that there are things beyond our control. I have a few tips on learning to accept the things we can’t change and move on.

  1. LET GO OF THE PAST-  we all have baggage. all of us. this baggage gets heavier the longer we hold onto it. we can’t change the past. no matter how hard we try. what happened in your past happened, so our only hope is to learn how to accept our past and move forward. if we sit and dwell, it only makes things so much harder. instead, take the past, and learn from it and make the future even better.
  2. LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF- loving yourself is one of the MOST important things for your health. in fact, to me its the most important. self worth is extremely important and your worth is not defined by your past, others opinions, or anything that isn’t your own opinion. your worth is defined by YOU and you only. love yourself because everything about you is the way it is for a reason. God doesn’t make mistakes.
  3. MAKE IT MEANINGFUL- whenever things go wrong, we automatically qualify it as the “worst thing ever”. but sometimes these things are the key elements in creating who we truly are. without those experiences, and bad memories, you may not have become the stronger person you are today. it is easier to accept something when we explore the opportunities and possibilities that come out of it. so take the things that went wrong, and grow from it. if you can go through it, you can grow through it.
  4. EXPECT LESS- we live in a world that tells us to want more, be more, and do more. this isn’t always a negative message, but it often gets in the way of our life-satisfaction. we are constantly focusing on how to be more like something that we are not. whenever something doesn’t meet our expectations, we get upset or frustrated or irritated or disappointed. life can almost seem unfair in the moment or even worthless. but that is simply because of the expectations we have in our head. we don’t need to look like the girl on TV or the model on instagram, we need to look like ourselves and BE ourselves. focus on what you want to create instead of what you expect to happen. creation is motivating, expectation is demanding.
  5. SET NEW GOALS- you not be able to change what you’re going through right now, but this doesn’t mean you can’t live a full and meaningful life. you can adapt and adjust to your present circumstances. so set new goals for yourself. realistic goals. did you not lose as much as you wanted to? find a plan that can help you do it and stick to it. did you not end up getting the promotion you thought you would get? oh well, make it a goal to push even harder and work even harder to get it the next time. stop avoiding difficult issues and only focusing on what you can’t change. focus on what you can do about the situation, and if you can’t change something it’s time to accept this reality.

my hope for this post is to show someone that even though life my not be ideal, we can make it ideal and perfect in our own eyes. we can take the things we do not like, and the things we do not accept, and grow from these. we can come out on the other end stronger and an even better person. remember your worth is defined by YOU. God made you beautifully and it is so important to know that. accept the past, move on, and keep doing you.

xoxo, laurel

Counting your Blessings

Growing up, I was always taught to count my blessings. So I would pretty much go through the same routine everyday. You know, thanking God for my mom, my dad, my siblings, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, the rest of my amazing family, and honestly whatever I could think of in the moment. A few years ago my grandma gave me a sign that read, “when I count my blessings, I count you twice”. I put it on my shelf and didn’t take it down until I moved out. Today, as I was going through some stuff I brought to college that I haven’t gone through yet, I remembered that sign. I don’t have it with me but looking at my other decor made me think of it. It had me thinking. I have always counted my blessings and I have always thanked God for everything I have. But today I looked around my little dorm room and noticed little things that I had never thanked him for. We are so used to living in this society that we don’t realize how truly blessed we are. I then started praying right then and there. I thanked God for this little dorm room to keep me safe, I thanked God for my shower shoes so I don’t get any funk on my feet, I thanked God for my fan for keeping my cool, I thanked God for my keurig and coffee for keeping me awake on those early mornings, I thanked God for my bed that keeps me cozy, I thanked God for my backpack that carries my schoolwork, I thanked God for this amazing University that I love so much, and I thanked Him for so much more. I went around my entire room and thanked Him for every item I have.  Sometimes we get stuck on the rollercoaster that is life and we forget that everything we have comes from The Great Lord above. Every little thing in our lives is a blessing and counting them all would take years. But its worth a shot right? I mean, considering God took the time to create these things, we can take the time to thank him for them. I am blessed in so many ways and I could not be more thankful. From now on, when I count my blessings, I am counting ALL of them twice!

A new goal of mine is to write down every blessing. When I can’t sleep, I will write down a blessing. When I am having a bad day, I will write down a blessing. No matter what it is. It could be something as silly as my chick-fil-a breakfast on Friday mornings in the student union building! I truly believe we are all so blessed and I believe remembering that God gave us all of this is a great reminder of that. I challenge whoever is reading this, to write down their blessings too! And if you’re interested in sharing.. I would love to hear yours.

xoxo, laurel