I’m Sara, and I’m a senior at a college I didn’t want to go to.
May 1st is College Decision Day, where high school seniors select the college they want to attend in the fall. Four years ago, I had a hard time submitting my own decision, because the college I had to choose wasn’t the one I wanted to go to. Many people every year are in the same boat, for financial, academic, or personal reasons. Today, I’m sharing my story with you; to show you that even if you don’t get to go to your “dream college,” you can still have a great and fulfilling college experience. Here’s my story.
The semester is moving forward, and the closer we get to summer, the less I care about school. Every year, I start my classes with the best intentions — but by the time we get to April and May, I find it harder and harder to stay at my desk and focus when I could be outside, spending time with my friends and enjoying my life. At the same time, the harder I work, the less time I make for self-care. Finding a balance is a real challenge for me.
For that reason, when I try to motivate myself during the end of the semester, I focus just as much on balance and happiness as I do on pure hard work. Aggressive motivation (in the style of “When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful”— a real quote that I hear too often) doesn’t work for me. I need give and take, and a real image of what I’m working towards in order to stay motivated long-term. Today I’m showing you how I motivate myself for both success and happiness.
“Will you marry me?” I ask. Not on bended knee, or over a candlelit dinner. All the time. A bad day, a lull in the conversation, a moment of happiness — multiple times a day, I causally propose marriage to Ken, my boyfriend of four years. He smiles and nods, or says yes and continues the conversation. We’re not engaged. It’s not a serious question; it’s part of our routine.
Ever since Ken was diagnosed with MS this winter, this has become a new way for me to say I love you; I’m here to stay; I’m in it for the long haul. It’s almost an affirmation, as though I’m telling both of us that nothing has changed. But, of course, something has changed. Our lives are radically different than they were four months ago.
Numbers mean something to me. Weight, calories, dress sizes — thanks to two decades of living in this body, each kind of number carries its own connotation. I’m sure they do for you, too.
Imagine, for a second, a woman looking in a mirror.
If I say she’s a size 2, what comes to mind?
What if I say she’s a size 22?
Those sizes probably conjure up specific images for you; not just of different bodies, but of different people. They are probably wearing different clothes, doing different things, or feeling differently about their reflections. For me, the size 2 woman is strong, beautiful, and confident. The size 22 woman is less secure, less healthy, and less happy.
Those are the messages that flash in my mind before I can correct myself; before I can remind myself that weight and size don’t dictate worth, wellness, or happiness. But the underlying images are still there, telling me, essentially, that size 2 means health, beauty, and confidence, and that size 22 does not.
College is the first chance many of us get to live out on our own. That comes with a whole host of new expenses, as well as the stress of financial independence. Many of my friends and I are overwhelmed by expenses, but with the right approach and tips, you can find ways to get by and thrive financially in college!
Slick Deals just opened their new college portal, which will let you know about the best deals and opportunities for college students. Here are 12 other ways to save money in college — make sure to read to the bottom for information about the SlickDeals portal and a great scholarship opportunity!
A young woman, dead. A tragic story, buried. And a granddaughter, journeying through her family’s history to find the truth — and herself.
This is what I know of Iris’ documentary when I show up on her doorstep on a Saturday night. Iris is my cousin’s girlfriend, studying to be a film director at the University of the Arts Utrecht. For her graduation project, she is directing a documentary about her grandmother, who died of an illicit abortion in Israel at the age of 19.
Ken and I celebrated our four-year anniversary this Sunday. It was the first time we had ever celebrated our anniversary together; this year, the date happened to fall during my Spring Break, and thanks to an amazing deal and my dad’s air miles, I was able to fly to the Netherlands to be with him for a week and a half!
Four years together means that we’ve seen each other grow — a lot. Ken and I started dating when I was 18; I’m now 22, and our relationship has almost encompassed my entire college experience and all the changes that entails. In turn, he’s graduated from college, gotten his own apartment, moved to another continent and back again, and dealt with his new diagnosis. We’ve grown up together, and now we’re making plans for the first steps of independent adulthood. That means hunting for apartments, talking about work arrangements, and (in my case) making bulleted timelines about children and PhDs. (The compulsively organizational side has never left me.)
Hey all! Welcome to Office Hours, my first “ask Sara”-style question and answers advice post! I posted on Facebook, Twitter, and a few groups about this new series and got some great questions for this week. Read on for the questions and my advice!
I’m a go-getter. I draft. I plan. I send follow-up emails (yes, sometimes more than one).
It may not surprise you that I have a hard time sitting still.
In some ways, I value these qualities. They help me make the most out of my short time on this earth. On the other hand, I also appreciate the peace that comes when I have little to do; on a warm summer night walking around the park with a friend, or when I’m lying in bed, letting my thoughts drift into the night. At this stage in my life, I’m trying to find a way to incorporate that restfulness into my every day, which is often hectic and busy. I want to approach my days with grace and gratitude – not with the constant desire to be doing something else, something more.
Over the past few years, I’ve developed a few tips for living with a restful attitude. I am no expert, just someone finding joy in the journey to a more balanced life. Here are seven ways to create peace in your every day life.