Sunday, August 31, 2014

College Survival Series: Setting Goals

The College Survival Series introduces and discusses different aspects of college life, and aims to prepare college students for all situations they might encounter during their college career.

Setting Goals

One of the best ways to make sure you're getting the best out of your college experience is to set goals for yourself. You're at a time when you can really start taking control of what you want to get out of your life and start to map out your path. Setting goals encourages you to stay on track with where that path is taking you! I'm a huge fan of setting goals and do an okay job at sticking to the bigger ones that I do set. Of course, that's not without some failure, but that's all part of developing your goal setting skills! Here are some tips on creating and sticking to your goals:

Have a vision.  It's important to make sure you're setting a goal that you can see yourself reaching. Being able to envision accomplishing your goal helps build confidence, motivation, and can keep you focused. You need to be able to realistically picture all of the work that you have to put in, all the obstacles you may face, and of course, what it's going to be like once you do finally reach that goal. If you aren't able to envision all of these things, perhaps it is not the right time to pursue that particular goal. This doesn't necessarily mean it'll never be the right time, but a more clear vision is needed in order to move forward.

Research. All goals need a bit of research before they can be reached. Research can come in all forms - chatting with someone who has reached that same goal about what their experience was, reading about different techniques on how to successfully reach your goal, and learn about common obstacles that might stand in the way of reaching your goal. Researching what it takes to accomplish your goal is something that should be done throughout the entire experience of pursuing your goal, especially at the beginning stages.

Put your goals where you can see them. Write down your goal and put it in a place that you can see it (on your mirror, on your computer's monitor, on your car's dashboard, etc.). The more you physically see your goal, the more you'll think about it, and the more you'll be prompted to work toward it. One fun way to do this is to create a board on Pinterest that has links, videos, quotes, and photos that all pertain to your goal and motivate you to work towards it. You can even screen shot that board and set it as your desktop, phone, or tablet background, so you'll always see it when you're looking at your electronic devices!

Don't pursue too many goals at once. This is always a major pitfall to goal setting, and I am definitely guilty. When you start to think of goals that you want to set, you may feel tempted to pursue all of them. This leads to less focus on any one goal, will lengthen the time it takes to accomplish even one goal. It also could make you feel overwhelmed and discouraged, and may make you want to give up on the goal all together. If you do want to attempt multiple goals at once, try sticking to or three smaller goals instead of 5 large goals all at once!

Spend some time every day dedicated to your goals. This could be something as big as knocking out 20 pages of the novel you're writing or something as small as talking about the 20 minute training jog you went on the other day with a friend. I even consider thinking about it for 5 solid minutes as time spent dedicated to a goal. The more that it's in the front of your mind, the sooner (and better!) it will be accomplished.

Remember that goals take a lot of hard work and dedication to be accomplished, but if you stay focused, patient, and keep yourself motivated in a way that works best for you, any goal you set can be reached!

How do you stay on top of your goals?

This post is the last post of the Sundays in August College Survival Series schedule. I do post these time to time when an idea comes into my head, so if you enjoyed this series, make sure you let me know in the comments and I will make sure I fit them into my posting schedule! If you'd like to read more College Survival Series posts, check out the College Survival Series label on FivEleveNinety! :)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Organize My Life: Email & Electronic Calendars

{Organize My Life is a multi-post series all about (you guessed it) organization! Make sure you check out the other posts listed at the end of each entry (as most of these posts will reference one another), as well as the coinciding video*!}

By now you all are probably well aware that I'm a huge fan of the paper agenda, but that doesn't mean that I'm not tech savvy when it comes to tracking all of my to-do's! Juggling 3 jobs, school, and a personal life isn't easy, but we're a decade and a half into the 21st century and we have plenty of devices and programs that make staying on top of everything so much easier. I own a smart phone, tablet, and am constantly on the computer for work and school, so I definitely take advantage of everything that's in front of me in order to keep my ducks in a row. Keep reading for a look at how I stay organized electronically!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Posting Schedule Breakdown

You might have noticed that I'm posting a bit more regularly now. That's because I've established a posting schedule here on FivEleveNinety in hopes to provide more content, challenge my creativity, and make sure that I'm actually taking time out of my daily work grind to do something I truly enjoy - blogging! :)

I've always been a sit-down-and-wing-it kind of blogger, but over the past month, I've been planning entries in advance and posting on Tuesdays and Thursdays (as well as Sundays for the College Survival Series in August). I gotta say - this schedule has definitely been working for me! I've been taking the time to sit down with my planner and think about the topics I want to talk about on what days and surprisingly enough, I can pretty easily plan out an entire month! (As of now, I'm into October already with what I want to blog about!)

I try to keep a good balance of updating the featured series on my blog as well as staying up-to-date of all that's going on in my life. I make sure to block out a day for a "life update" once every 2-3 weeks (I keep it as general as that because I'm never to sure what I'll be getting up to in the future) and make sure to highlight any major events in my life with it's own post (for example, I'll be getting my wisdom teeth out as well as running my second marathon in the coming months, so I know I'm going to want to chronicle those!). In addition to writing down what I want to post about, I make a note of when I want to film a coinciding video to go along with a particular post as well.

I make sure to put my schedule directly into my planner (both monthly and weekly views), as well as putting an additional note into my electronic calendar. My favorite view is the monthly version of my paper calendar (shown below), so I make sure I'm not posting too often about one topic and know when a larger post would be coming up so I have time to plan it all out (photos, picture editing, videos, the written post itself).

Planned posts are highlighted in green. It's great to have all my ideas laid out in front of me on my calendar!

I enjoy that even though I already have many posts planned for my Tuesday/Thursday schedule, I still have many other days during the week to play with if I'm in the mood for a bonus post here or there. Giving myself a schedule has helped SO IMMENSLEY with sitting down and just staring at a blank white screen with a flashing cursor. I know that my blog is getting plenty of thought and love and I'm proud of what I've put into it these past weeks. I'm hoping that I can stick to my schedule without stressing out too much through the school year (nothing worse than when your hobby stresses you out!) but I think it'll be a great new approach to keeping up with one of my favorite personal interests! :)

Do you have a schedule for your blog? How do you plan out your posts?
Leave your blogging strategy in the comments!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

College Survival Series: Communal Bathrooms

The College Survival Series introduces and discusses different aspects of college life, and aims to prepare college students for all situations they might encounter during their college career.

Communal Bathrooms

This may seem like a silly topic to write about, but as a first year student who had the privilege of a private, 1-person bathroom with a door that locked my entire life, I was super nervous at the idea of having to share with 50+ other girls on my floor. Eventually I got used to showering and brushing my teeth in the same room as my floor mates, but it wasn't without picking up some tips along the way! If you're entering a situation where you'll be sharing a bathroom with the students in your building (which the majority of students living on campus will be) and you're a little freaked out by it, check out these tips to navigate the awkwardness:

Have a bathroom survival kit. Communal bathrooms means that you won't be able to keep all of your toiletries in there, as it causes clutter and will probably be thrown out by housekeeping staff. It's handy to keep everything you need for the bathroom and showers in a caddy. It sounds stupid, but literally everyone has one, and it definitely beats fumbling with everything while you're walking down the hall! Here's some recommendations for your kit:

-Shower caddy (I recommend the plastic ones, like the one shown above, so it doesn't get ruined if it gets wet.)
-Bodywash (much less messy and much more travel-friendly than bar soap)
-Washcloth or loofah
-Toothbrush with a plastic cover

Figure out your routine. This will be a little awkward at first, especially if you already have a specific bathroom routine that you're used to at home. If you tend to take longer than usual to get ready in the morning, figure out what you can do in you own room (make up, hair styling, etc.) so you don't hog the mirror in the bathroom. If you feel pressed for time in the morning, consider becoming a night shower-er, or figure out when everyone tends to wake up and try to shower before them. It's going to take some adjusting when you share a bathroom with your entire floor, but you'll figure it out eventually!

Invest in rubber flip flops. The floor of a bathroom can get pretty gross when 50+ people are sharing it. Grab some $2 rubber flip flops from your local WalMart or Target and leave them right by your door so you can slip them on whenever you run to the restroom. PLUS they can be used as shower shoes!

Don't forget your key! Nothing's worse than being locked out of your room in a towel. (Trust me, it's happened to the best of us.) If you really have trouble remembering, try making it a habit to store your key in or near where you keep your toiletries. That way,you'll see your keys and (hopefully) remember to bring it along. Any way that you can, make sure your key is in your hand before you let the door swing shut behind you!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Organize My Life: What I Take in My Bag

{Organize My Life is a multi-post series all about (you guessed it) organization! Make sure you check out the other posts listed at the end of each entry (as most of these posts will reference one another), as well as the coinciding video!}

I am *constantly* on the go. There is very rarely a day where I'm not in my car. Whether it be going to work, visiting a loved one, or running errands, I'm driving all the time. Of course, because I'm on the go, I need to bring things with me. I have a very specific combination of items that I take along with me, depending on the occasion, and I've gotten very used to knowing what I need and in what bag to get me through the day. For today's edition of Organize My Life, I thought I'd take you through some of my bags to show you what I take along with me, as well as give you some bag organization tips!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hectic August

As it often promises, August has been hectic, hectic, hectic. I'm on 150% every time I walk into the office and I don't slow down much when I get home at the end of the day. As a result, I've been pretty exhausted lately and am always worried that I'm forgetting something. Once the school year starts and get back into a rhythm with my insane schedule, it'll be a lot easier. The anticipation of the year is never helpful in on the anxiety front - I just want the year to begin!

It hasn't been all stress though. I've managed to fit a few fun things in these past few weeks!

Two weekends ago, the family and I headed up to Maine to see our extended family on my mom's side. We stayed at my aunt & uncle's house in Lincoln (well, we tented in their yard). It was awesome to see everyone - I hadn't seen them since Christmas 2012! We swam, we tubed, we played our usual cousin card game, but my favorite part of our family camping trips are always our fireside chats. Having all of us in one spot just telling stories and listening to one another is truly something special, and I wish we could do that more often.

Did I mention there were 8 dogs there? #heaven

Upon my return to work, a few of my colleagues took it upon themselves to fulfill their ALS Ice Bucket challenges. I got to witness a couple of them in all of their freezing cold glory, and even played a role in one of the videos! Yes, I know. I basically have the funnest job ever.

Walking Matt down to his challenge site. 

Aaand that's my boss! Awesome.

I got a few days off in the middle of last week, so I headed over to Nichols to see Brett. He's in full swing of football camp, so seeing each other is pretty difficult at the moment. (It's even hard for us to speak on the phone at night with how tired he is at the end of the day!) I got to hang out in the "Bison Den" (lounge/office where the coaches work) and got to see him in action at practice! It's always funny to see him in Coach Angel mode because it's so different from how he acts when we hang out, but he's a great coach and you can really tell that he wants to make his athletes the best they can be.

Friday I met up with Rob and we headed to the beach! We wanted to spend one more relaxing day before the craziness of grad school and work suffocated us again, and we hadn't seen each other since June so we desperately needed to catch up. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and we chatted the whole day long. We did a bit of wading in the waves and sunning ourselves (trying to get rid of our ghostly glows), and when the tide made the beach disappear, we walked along the shore. 

We grabbed a couple cold treats and enjoyed them in the sunshine. After our mid-day dessert we walked to the other end of the beach and found a smattering of surfers, including a kid's surf camp! (Why didn't I go to that summer camp as a kid?) On our way back, we stopped into a beer garden for a couple drinks and an amazing fried clam strip basket to split. Such a yummy way to end our afternoon together!

Though I had to go back to work on Saturday to spend the weekend with PC Executive Board for their retreat, I had a blast reconnecting with the students that I hadn't seen all summer and really enjoyed gearing them up for a successful year. We had some great, productive conversations with them, and we also had a lot of fun and a lot of laughs throughout the entire retreat! Sometimes I don't realize it in the moment, but when I reflect on experiences that I have with the students I work with, I'm always reassured that I'm in the right field and going down the right path in life. My students make everything worthwhile! :)

Pictured above: Proof that I work with the coolest/funniest students.

CA's move back to Dean tomorrow and although that's a sign of another hectic year right around the corner, I'm SO excited to see everyone again! The campus is much more fun (and loud) with students around and I am so looking forward to watching them grow and develop along the way!

Door decs I made for my staff! :)

Monday, August 18, 2014

College Survival Series: The "Freshman 15"

The College Survival Series introduces and discusses different aspects of college life, and aims to prepare college students for all situations they might encounter during their college career.

The "Freshman 15"

Ahh, the dreaded "Freshman 15". You may have heard of this legend before heading off to college, and have been told to beware. The not-so-mythical "Freshman 15" refers to the notion that first year students tend to forget to take care of their physical health when they first walk into their first semester and may gain a little weight because of it. (For anyone wondering, this norm used to be called the "Freshman 5" not too long ago... yikes!) Though it's not a guarantee that college will completely transform your body, there are a lot of temptations in the form of late-night take out, alcohol, and weekend-long video game sessions with your roommate that can really distract you from taking care of your physical fitness. Here are a few tips to help you keep your health in mind during your hectic first few weeks!

Eat/drink the healthy stuff first. Really craving that pizza and unlimited supply of fries at the dining hall? That's fine, but grab a salad, too, and make sure you eat the salad first. When you do this, you'll fill your body with something healthy first, leaving less room for the yummy junk food. Do the same thing with drinks as well - grab a glass of water with your soda and drink the water first. You'll hydrate your body before drinking all of that sugar, and you may even not feel the need to drink your soda after you drink a full glass of water!

Get outside. When you're outside, you're more likely to exercise in ways you don't realize is exercise. Walking, climbing stairs, and even playing on the swings at your local playground all get your body moving and blood pumping, all while secretly burning calories. You don't need a gym membership to work out! (The fresh air also does wonders for your energy and mood!)

Look into your campus's fitness options. Almost every college campus has a fitness center of some sort, as well as open gym hours, intramural sports, and fitness classes, all of which are typically free with your student ID. If you're interested in this route for exercise, head over to your school's recreation department and look into your options and find out what's good for you!

Be conscious of what you're drinking. It is super easy to drink your calories, and this is usually where college students (and people in general) gain most of their weight. Sugar-filled coffee drinks, soda, bottled juice, and alcohol (yes, there is sugar in alcohol) are all culprits of rapid weight gain. It's okay to drink these in moderation, but remember to balance these liquid treats with lots of water throughout the day!

Make sure you're getting a good amount of sleep. Your body recharges in your sleep, and not getting enough will start to manifest on your body over time. Without the right amount of sleep, you'll be more tired, depriving you of exercise motivation and the conscious ability to make healthy nutritional choices. A lack of sleep can also lead you to illness as well, which will completely knock you off your game! Though the occasional all-nighter needs to be pulled when schoolwork gets hectic, make sure you're getting a solid amount of sleep as often as you can!

Make sure that you also out this post about staying healthy with a busy schedule!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Links {#6}

Hello everyone! I hope you are all having a fantastic week and enjoying your August. Can you believe how fast it's flying by? It's already half way done! It's been a big couple weeks for internet finds - some happy and some sad - but a lot of interesting things to scroll through. Here are some of my favorite links as of late!

Robin Williams Quotes That Will Stay With Us

The passing of Robin Williams came as a total punch to the gut for me, like many others. I remember loving every movie he was in while I was growing up (Mrs. Doubtfire being a staple in the childhood of my sister and I) and I could probably say he was my first favorite actor. Though this is a very sad situation, a lot of important and necessary dialogue surrounding suicide and mental illness is coming to the forefront which is a positive thing. This blog post, in many ways, put the thoughts I have on the subject into words (see the entire section of how we, as humans, try so hard to make things nice & positive, saying things like "You're free now", when in doing so we can actually wind up causing even more harm), however I know it's much more complex than this. It's just sad that a tragedy such as this one, and the suicides of millions of others, is what it takes to prompt such conversation. For now, I've just been reflecting on the happiness he brought me and the rest of the world with lists like the one above. Remember to love each other, be kind, and lend a helping hand to someone in need.

"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle." -Ian Maclaren

Every #StrikeOutALS Ice Bucket Challenge Video

A still from my own video!

I know there's been a few negative Nancies hating on this trend, but I think it's great! I laugh every. single. time. I watch someone's video and it just warms my heart that it's also being done for a great reason. I know that there are some people who are missing the point of this challenge (that you're supposed to be raising awareness AND donating to an ALS charity) and some people don't even realize that it's for a cause, but those individuals who are doing it right have all the respect in the world from me. I was honored that I was tagged to do the challenge and be a part of it this wonderful movement to raise awareness for a disease that doesn't get all that much attention.

And to make it even better, here's our wonderful New England Patriots (including head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft) participating as well!

Finnish Bluegrass AC/DC (Thunderstruck - Steve'n'Seagulls)

My dad and I heard this on the radio on our way up to Maine (of course) this past weekend. It's a Finnish Bluegrass band called Steve'n'Seagulls doing a cover of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" and it's as awesome as it sounds! I mean, just look at how that guy rips it on the banjo! If you can appreciate sheer musical talent, this is definitely worth 4 minutes of your time.

26 Foods You Should Learn to Cook in Your Twenties

I find myself learning new things in the kitchen almost every time I cook. Of course, this has happened much more frequently since I've been living on my own and haven't been able to use my work compensated meal plan, but each time I cook it's more and more fascinating and my kitchen confidence is continues to grow. I've mastered a good chunk of the items on this list, but would love to say I could easily make all 26 by the time I enter my next decade. (Luckily, I've got some time!)

Succulent Monster (v2)

I totally came across these by accident. If you're a Tumblr user, you'll know that when you're at the log in page, a random post will generate as the background. This photo generated as I was logging in yesterday and they IMMEDIATELY shot to the top of my wishlist as soon as I saw them! I mean... Bulbasaur succulent pots? Get. Real. I don't want these, I NEED THESE. The only drawback to these is that they're about $50, and I can't justify spending that much on a planter right now. Guess it'll just have to go on my Christmas list! (by ShamefulSquid on ShapeWays - rumor has it that they also have a Charmander oil lamp in the works!)

Disclosure - Latch (Dueling Violins Cover)

You know from my Summer Favorites post on Tuesday that "Latch" was my summer JAM. I really enjoy this rendition by YouTuber ThatViolinGuy, especially the first minute - I can't get it out of my head! Definitely check out his channel, he has tons of great covers, especially this Drake cover and this Ellie Goulding one!

What are your favorite links of the moment?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Summer Favorites 2014!

I've seen these floating around the blog & YouTube world for a while now, and I've always wanted to take a whack at my own, but as these are traditionally posted monthly and as I don't try too many new things month-to-month, I didn't think these would be very easy for me to do. However, I had the idea to attempt to do these seasonally instead, thought that plan would work out much better, and here we are!

I know that most people still have a whole month of summer left, but in Higher Ed. land, August is a *huge* month of preparation for the return of students, so although the sun is still shining and the weather is still beautiful, it's time for me to get my nose back to the grind stone. So, while may be a bit early, here are my favorites for Summer 2014!

Activity | Kan Jam

Brett and I have been all about Kan Jam this summer! It's a game where you are trying to get a Frisbee into a little slot in a trashcan-like receptacle, but there are other ways to score points as well. When we were down the Cape we actually got pretty good at it! It's a pretty expensive buy (roughly $40 for two pieces of plastic and a Frisbee... so 3 pieces of plastic) but I'm sure you can make a DIY version for much cheaper! (Hmmm... possible future video?)

App | TimeHop

A throwback inside joke from when I was an Orientation Leader!

I know that this app has been around for a while, but I've really been loving it this summer! It's so fun to see old Twitter interactions with friends and old photos which has really helped be step up my #TBT game. I have a few "what was I THINKING?!" moments when I look at each day, but for the most part I really enjoy using this app.

Apparel | Roxy Wave Flip Flops

Left: stretched out old pair | Right: still-haven't-been-worn *new* pair

I've had this pair of Roxy Flip Flops for nearly two years and I absolutely love them. Over time, I've worn them pretty much into the ground, so I had to buy some new ones this summer. However, I managed to find the same pair so I didn't have to change up my summer footwear style (isn't that the best?!). These go with pretty much anything and are super, super comfy - exactly what you need for shoes in the summer!

Book | The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

I loved this book. It's an interesting take on WWII and Nazi Germany, as it's told in the perspective of Death. Death chronicles a German family who does not agree with the anti-Semitic ideals of the Nazis, and even winds up harboring a Jew themselves. It's a bit of a heavy read (I mean, it's about WWII, so that's a given), but it's so good and I definitely recommend it.

Food & Drink | Peaches

I could not get enough peaches this summer! Every time I walked past the peaches in the grocery store and could smell just how sweet they were, I just had to buy some. I don't know what it was this summer, because I've never been a huge peach fan, but I LOVED me some peaches this season!

Home & Office | Animal File Folders

I bought these in May with some birthday money and I have been LOVING them! I used them to carry around my homework for my summer course (as I did a lot of road trippin') and not only are they conveniently sized for all of my bags, but they are frickin' ADORABLE. Definitely my favorite purchase for organization this season!

Movie | Queen of Versailles

I didn't watch too many movies this summer, but I went on a bit of a Netflix documentary kick in early July. This was definitely one of the most interesting ones that I watched. It documents the lives of one of the richest families in the country and how the burst of the real estate bubble burst halted the construction of their $100 million home and essentially tore the marriage of the two heads of the household apart. There is a lot of comparison between the lifestyle of the family and the people that work for them (drivers, nannies, etc.) and showcases the warped sense of reality that a few members of the family have. It's definitely a good watch and makes you appreciate all you do have while you have it instead of worrying about what you don't.

Song | "Latch" - Disclosure ft. Sam Smith

My Orientation Leaders got me hooked on this song and two months later I'm still obsessed! I fell in love with Sam Smith in high school, but really haven't heard much from him since the mid to late 2000's. When I heard the OLs playing this song I immediately had to find out what it was. Definitely #1 on my Summer 2014 playlist!

TV Show | Orange is the New Black - Season 2

This season was awesome! I started watching the series in April so I was anxiously anticipating the arrival of season 2 in June. I love that this season focuses much more on the supporting character's stories (like Morello, Poussey, and Crazy Eyes) as well as incorporating a few more aspects of the book (though of course, it does not follow the same plotline, for entertainment sake). If you haven't gotten on the OITNB train yet and you need some guilty pleasure entertainment, definitely sit down on a rainy day and give it a shot!

Memories | Orientation Banquet and Fireworks with Brett

I couldn't decide between these two! They were both so special to me.

The Orientation Banquet was filled with so many sweet memories of spending time with the OLs and hearing the words of appreciation from so many different people. It's very difficult for me to totally capture my feelings about this night in words, but it was one of those times where I knew I'm on the right path in life and wouldn't trade any of it for the world. (Read more about my orientation experience here!)

Going to see the 5th of July (yes, 5th) fireworks with Brett was also one of my favorite moments of the summer. We don't really get a lot of opportunities to go out together, and this was a little bit of an impromptu date night! This was such a nice night with my love, watching the fireworks and cuddling. Just something about simple nights like this mean so much! (Read more about that evening here!)

I chat about all of my favorites in the coinciding video below - check it out!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

College Survival Series: Roommates

The College Survival Series introduces and discusses different aspects of college life, and aims to prepare college students for all situations they might encounter during their college career.


If you are living on campus, you are likely going to be sharing your space with at least one other person. This can be a difficult transition, especially if you're like freshman year, 18 year-old me and you've lived your whole life in your own room. I'll admit, adjusting to having someone in your grill when you just need some alone time can get pretty annoying, but there are also some pretty awesome perks to having a roommate or two as well! Here's a list of pro's and con's to having roommates in college, and some advice on how to make the best out of those not-so-fun con's!

PRO: Automatic friendship! The first few days of college can be a little scary and confusing to navigate - finding out where the dining hall is, trying out new activities, and meeting people in general are all things that you will be faced with soon after moving in. Your roommate is sort of a built-in partner in crime. If you don't want to go to the welcome back barbeque by yourself, your roommate might want to come with you! If you don't know where the building your math class is in, your roommate might know or might be able to help you figure it out. If you're bored in your room at night, you always have your roommate to talk to and hang out with. Even if you don't wind up ~besties~ you still have someone that you'll be sharing the first year of your college life with which is a relationship like none other.

CON: If you don't get along. Chances are that you're going to come from a very different background from your roommate, you might have vastly different interests, and (worst case scenario) you may not get along too well with them. The biggest mistake you can make when living with others is not communicating. You've probably heard that communication is key to any relationship, and it's especially true when you're living with someone. As an RD and even as an RA as an undergraduate, I've dealt with and have had to mediate roommate conflicts on multiple occasions. One of the main underlying themes to each and every conflict is not communicating. The first thing I ask if a student approaches me with a roommate issue is if they have spoken to their roommate about it, and the answer is usually "no". If there is an issue regarding something your roommate is doing, there may be a chance that your roommate might not even know that it's annoying you. Talking to your roommate about what's bothering you may be uncomfortable, but it opens the doors to developing a better and stronger relationship with them, and will make your living situation much more enjoyable. You don't have to be good friends in order to be good roommates!

PRO: Someone to get you out of a jam! I can't tell you how many times I locked myself out of my room in college. It took me a while to get into the habit of carrying my key with me everywhere I went. Having a roommate in this situation is SO clutch! You don't have to worry about bothering the RA or other ResLife staff or get charged a lockout fee - all you have to do is see if your roommate can come back to the room and let you in. Your roommate can also help you out in other ways, like turning off your straightener before it burns the residence hall down if you accidentally leave it on, waking you up during a fire drill if you're a deep sleeper (like me), cleaning up the room real quick if your family decides to drop by for a surprise visit, and even lending a listening ear if you're having a rough day. If you have a solid roomie relationship, it's usually not an issue, especially if you do the same for them!

CON: Little to no privacy. Yes, sharing a room with someone means that you're also kind of sharing your whole life with them. They'll see your dirty laundry, notice your weird sleeping habits, and be able to listen to your phone calls. It's important that you realize that the lack of privacy is something every person in your room is experiencing, not just you. It's not fair for anyone to expect their roommate to leave the room when they're trying to study, for them to be okay with having friends over until 3AM, or for them to keep their side of the room perfectly clean. What is fair is setting up rules of the room that you both (or all, if there's more than two of you), like agreeing to use a lamp instead of the large overhead room light and headphones instead of speakers if you have to pull an all-nighter to finish a project so the other roommate can sleep easier, having a school night curfew for friends to be out of the room, and to keep your mess on your side or area of the room. The sooner that you have an understanding of what each of you needs in your sleeping & study space, the happier you'll be!

The list can be much, much longer than this, so maybe I'll write a part two in the future, but I hope that these few starter tips can help you forge a successful roommate relationship!

Have any tips for living with roommates?
Leave them in the comments below!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

25 Before 25: Accomplish a Multi-Distance Race Series (#13)

Sunday I ran the YuKan Triple Threat Challenge in Rockport, MA with Louie and his girlfriend Rachelle! The Triple Threat is a race series that consists of a 1 mile, 5K (3.1 miles), and a half marathon (13.1 miles) totaling at 17.2 miles for the day. Not going to lie, I was extremely nervous to attempt this race. I haven't been going the long distances that I should be with my training this summer (the longest I went before this race was 9 miles) so the thought of completing 17.2 was pretty daunting. Brett was an amazing support though (I love when he comes to be support crew at my races!), and reminded me that I've run a full marathon less than a year ago, so I'd definitely be able to finish this challenge, no matter how painful it may be. ...and painful it was!

The 1 mile, 5K, and the first 9 miles of the half were fine, but those last 4.1 miles felt like death. My legs hurt, I was dehydrated, I had a headache, and I honestly thought I was going to be sick, but I made it across the finish line (with some breaks to stretch my legs and walk in between - not something I like to do during races for pride reasons, haha) and got my finisher's medal. I usually see medals as awesome souvenirs to remember my accomplishments by, and it's only once in a while that I actually feel that I earn the medal, but that day I worked my booty off and definitely earned it!

I would absolutely do this race again, with a bit more training under my belt. The area is beautiful (but pretty hilly, which may have been the source of a lot of pain), YuKan is a great company, and I always have a great time running with them, even if my legs feel like falling off at the end of the race!

Check out the vlog from the day of the races below!

*I'm attempting to reach 25 goals before I reach the age of 25! Want to see the whole list? Check it out here!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Last Few Weeks of Summer

I've been soaking up what little free time I've had with Brett for the last few weeks and we've been up to some fun things! Last Saturday (July 26th) we woke up early and headed over to Foxboro to watch Patriots practice! I've never seen any NFL event in person, so it was really cool to see the guys we watch every Sunday up-close and personal. Aside from the other spectators being obnoxious (a story for another time), we had a blast!

The sun got pretty intense, so we stopped into Bass Pro Shop to wander around and cool off for a little bit. There's a shooting game in there so we had to try it out. We even made it a little interesting by placing a wager on it - whoever got the least amount of had to do pushups in the middle of the store. Check out the vlog from that day to find out who won! (You can probably tell from the thumbnail... but you should watch anyways! ;) )

Last week I took a Creativity in Counseling course as a summer elective. It was a week-long intensive, meaning I went to class for 7 hours a day for 5 days, and then it was all done! (I have the rest of this week to finish the course work, but the class is all done meeting.) I have to say it's one of my favorite classes I've taken... ever.

I went into the class with no real expectations of what it was going to be like, and came out of if with such a better understanding of myself and how to connect with the people around me. If you have the chance to engage in art therapy in any way, I highly recommend it. It has the potential to make you see things in a multitude of different perspectives.

Saturday, Brett and I went out to lunch with his friend Kyle at Szechuan Garden (#chinesebuffetlife) followed by some delicious Black Cow ice cream (which I successfully spilled all over myself when I crunched the end of the cone... typical) and a marathon Mad Men sesh (We're so close to being all caught up with the series! This is one of the only shows we'll sit down and watch together without one of us skipping ahead). It was a solid way to spend a rainy Saturday!

Brett accompanied me and acted as support crew at my race(s) on Sunday (which I will post about later in the week) which was LIFE SAVING because I was basically falling apart as I crossed the finish line at the end of the day. It was good to spend the morning with him because he had to move back to his place closer to his work in the afternoon. We won't see each other until next week at some point which is sad :( but we had a wonderful summer together with lots and lots of memories! <3

Work life will be seriously ramping up soon with trainings, retreats, and beginning of the year prep. I'm going to try to sneak in a beach day or two before retreating inside for the season, and eat as many ice cream cones as I can before the homemade ice cream stands close for the winter. I wish summer would never end, but I guess we have to have the winter (UGH) to appreciate the summer, right?

How have you been spending/how will you be spending your last few weeks of Summer?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

College Survival Series: Peer Pressure

If you missed it in my previous post, I announced that I'm relaunching the College Survival Series for the month of August! Each Sunday evening I will be posting a College Survival post for all of you soon-to-be and current college students, just in time to gear up for move-in at the end of the month. Make sure you check back every week for a new topic! Now without further adieu, I give you the return of...

The College Survival Series introduces and discusses different aspects of college life, and aims to prepare college students for all situations they might encounter during their college career.

Peer Pressure

Like high school, peer pressure is a rampant issue in the college environment. It's something that every college student will have to deal with in one scenario or another, and it's important that you know what you do and do not feel comfortable with when you're placed in a situation involving peer pressure. Here are a few tips of how you can prepare for and navigate those sticky situations:

1. Know your values. Though college is a time where you really start to solidify your sense of self, you still have a solid idea of what is important to you before you even open your acceptance letter. You're going to find yourself in new situations that will test what you believe in and you may question what you feel is the best decision. Make sure you know where you stand on things such as drinking, recreational drug use, and sex, as those are some of the most common issues involving peer pressure that students will face.

2. Don't be afraid to share your views and opinions (in a respectful manner). If your beliefs on sex, the use of alcohol, drugs, or other topics are different than those of your college crew, don't be afraid to share that with them. Chances are they'll be totally cool with it. If they aren't and continue to badger you into doing something that you don't want to, they aren't being very good friends to you anyway, and you may need to ditch them until they can respect your choices.

On the flip side, make sure you're also respectful of them and their decisions. If you wind up making friends with a group that enjoys drinking and you choose to live sober, there's no reason for you to make them feel less-than.* You wouldn't appreciate them scolding you or making fun of you for not drinking, would you?

3. Make a plan. What are you going to do when you're put into these uncomfortable situations? If you're at a party and a group of your new college besties are doing something that you are absolutely not cool with, how are you going to react? What is the best way that you can make sure you stay true to yourself? These are all things that you should consider before you step onto campus. The most important thing is making sure that you are comfortable and knowing what is going to make your college experience as comfortable as possible.


Peer pressure can always be a sticky situation, especially for first-years who may be wanting to fit in. It all really boils down to knowing what you are and aren't comfortable with and staying true to yourself. As long as you can do that, you should be fine navigating these situations!

Have additional tips or experiences involving peer pressure?
Share them in the comments!

*If you are really concerned about a friend's drinking/drug use (i.e. you feel it may be negatively affecting their life and the lives of the people around them) and you aren't sure what to do, talk to a counselor on your campus about how you can talk to them (without giving their identity away). College students can develop addictions, and if you are truly concerned, make sure you express your feelings with that individual in a private and respectful way that is safe for the individual in question.