When Beyond Stressed, I Write.

The past few weeks have definitely taken a toll on me. Surprisingly not about my personal life, but all with college. When you are deep in group projects, applying to jobs, preparing for internships and traveling to a conference out of state, it gets a little hard to breathe. Let alone enjoy the final semester of college. 

This week was one where I saw the downfalls of being a perfectionist with my work; however, as I have recently told many people, it is because I truly pride myself on the work I produce. This can be difficult when it comes to working on so many group projects in our communication major. Everyone has different perspectives, different motivation levels, and different styles for producing their own work. None of this is necessarily bad, but it definitely is important to understand that work and leadership styles vary from person to person. This is why the past few weeks, and few days in particular, were a great learning experience because I was able to take away personal notes for improvement. I understand what my strengths are, but I realize what my weaknesses in group dynamics are as well, and how I can better cope under stress.

I’ve mentioned this to a few people jokingly, but recently I took a personality test. Yes, it was online, but it was quite a substantial test for something I found shared online. Anyway, the test showed me that I have a pretty high level of anxiousness; however, that level also matched my high level of orderliness. I joked about this finding in that I may get a little anxious, well a lot anxious, during times of stress; however, the project is going to get done, and it is going to get done with 100% of my effort.

Hence, the blessing and the curse of being a perfectionist, and why I have learned over the past few years to not overcommit, to say no, and to remove myself from situations which are not positively contributing to my life.

Mental, emotional, and physical health should always come first. When I have high expectations for myself and others I am working with, it is sometimes hard to distinguish when these three forms of health may be taking a toll because I am so focused on the end product.

What’s cool about understanding all this at my age is that I’ve been able to really narrow down where my passions lie, and what pieces of my life I choose to commit 100% to. Although I’m a little sleep deprived right now, I chose to commit everything to this project because it’s a project that will honestly benefit my passion in the long run. It was a creative project, based on branding and design and I had a leadership role. Although I was not a perfect leader, as I mentioned earlier, I learned a lot about myself during this short project which I can take with me as I move forward in my career. I know you may be wondering why I put so much thought into a silly group assignment in college. Well, this project is just a small glimpse of the type of content, style of project, and leadership situation I hope to see myself in for many years to come, on a larger scale of course.

It’s just another reminder that I’m entering a career field I’m supposed to work in, one that I’ll enjoy working in. 

-Rachel

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My Next Move

Today marked the first day of my final semester of my undergraduate career. After eighteen years of education, I am down to my last four months. It is a little surreal to think about how structured my life has been up until now, and that my world is unknown in four months. No more summer vacations, week-long breaks, or winter recesses. Currently I have jumped right into the job application process, applying to agencies left and right, hoping that I will have some idea of my short-term future by May.

As I began my day this morning, returning from a five-week long hiatus from Ithaca College, my focus was not exclusively on classes. Last night I returned to Ithaca with bittersweet feelings. This winter break was filled with a lot of heartache and emotions, but I was able to experience the heartache around my family—my rock. Now I must revert to my routine, group projects, work, applications, gym sessions, and time with my good friends who I will be parting from in a just a few months.

Not only has my personal life been filled with emotions, but I also cannot seem to go on social media without a sense of stress and sadness over the divisive rhetoric of my newsfeed, nationwide. Although it is hard to remove myself from social media, I seem to close out of these applications feeling more agitated than I ever have before.

With this being said, I have found myself thinking a lot about my next moves in life—mentally, emotionally and physically—over the course of my final semester and post graduation.

The past six or so years have not been easy. I know what some of you may be thinking, I am 21 years old, how hard could my life have been? To a certain extent, you are correct. I have been surrounded by people who I love and who love me. My college experience has been difficult, but I had the opportunity to attend two amazing institutions to learn about communications and have only benefitted from the networking, education, and of course the friends I have gained at both of these schools. Additionally, I am a healthy individual. My mental and emotional health may have taken some hits with the events that have occurred over the past few years; however, I have been able to continue working, going to school, sharing my voice with you all, exercising, laughing with friends, and loving my family.

It is easy to get sucked into the negativity surrounding our lives right now, but my next move is this: I choose my path, and I choose positivity. Those who know me have seen all my sides, but recently my closest network of loved ones may have seen a lot more pessimism than optimism in the past few years. That changes now.

Life is by no means going to get easier. Negativity will continue to surround me; however I want to do my best to be positive in the moments I have left in college, in my job search and the start of my career, with my friends, and with passing strangers or followers on social media. We are so blessed with the ability to share our voices. What power that holds.

The voice you share may hold a different opinion than the person beside you. I know mine has at times, but I try my best to remain positive even when sharing a different opinion. We should never hold back our opinions, while making sure we do so respectively. How else will we bring positive change to the world and society without sharing these voices respectively.

At this particular moment in life my positive contributions may be small ones, but they still matter, such as listening to friends in need, successfully completing my part of a school project, complimenting or acknowledging someone, calling family members, reaching out, and facilitating open conversations with those around me.

My next move for 2017 is to practice positivity, what is yours?

-Rachel

Two Weeks Into Senior Year–Okay, What’s Next?

A little over two weeks into senior year and I’m already having the “what am I doing with my life next year” moment. It’s not as much from fear this time around, but rather I’m excited for the possibilities. For the first time in a while (well besides that whole transfer situation), I have absolutely no idea what I will be doing. Undergrad will be over. Eighteen years of structured education will be complete, which leads the next stage in my life wide open. What city will I be in? What state or country will I call home a year from now?

Yes, I said country. That’s because more than anything, I want to travel. I missed the opportunity to travel abroad in my college career, but that does not mean I missed my opportunity to travel. I have such a need to see the world. I am tired of reading about cultures–I want to experience them. There’s a strong part of me that wants to just get out of this state and go anywhere. Not that I don’t love New York. Of course I heart NY. But so many places around the world reside on my bucket list–both inside and outside of the United States–and it’s about time I start checking them off.

The wanderlust is real.

In addition to this travel fever, I also have the question of higher education. Do I get my Master’s degree? What do I get my Master’s in? Do I wait and apply to jobs first? Ahh the questions of an early senior.

Everyone says that I have to just enjoy the present, but as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I can never stop planning. It’s in my communications-major blood to always be a fan of the details, always be prepared for what comes next.

My options for post-graduation may not be considered endless, but there sure are plenty to choose from. And we know my track record with life decisions–that two-year limit before I like to shake things up again. The place I choose to call home next May might not be my home two years after that. The best part is that I can do that at my age. I’ll be in my early twenties and get to fill my life with memories, experiences, mistakes, laughs…you get the picture.

So as I sit here contemplating life decisions on a Saturday afternoon when I should be doing homework, I’m not in fear of the future. I’m in anticipation, but not fear.

Updates on my decisions will continue, and changes to those decisions will surely come shortly after. For now though, I just have to decide where to travel to this afternoon, and an Ithaca hiking trail is definitely calling my name.

-Rachel

Right Where I’m Supposed to Be

When I imagined where my life would be when I was coming up on 21 years of age, I didn’t necessarily imagine where I’m at right now, but this is by no means a bad thing. I think when we are kids and teenagers we create certain expectations for ourselves. I assume this is something we never really let go of, though. I thought at this point in my life I’d be a little more sure of myself, have more professional experience under my belt, and have already traveled abroad. Maybe it’s due to social media and seeing others’ experiences, or maybe it’s my own experience at two pretty competitive schools, but I tend to feel as though I should be doing more–have a better internship, work more often, work out more often, look a certain way, feel a certain way.

I get caught up in planning out how I want my future to be. As much as it’s great to have goals, I don’t believe we should undermine our current successes just because we think we should be doing even more. I may not have landed the prestigious internship just quite yet, but I have collected experience that is driving me closer to that goal. I may not have studied abroad, but I’ve traveled to multiple cities and lived in two completely different college cultures. I may not have my life together quite yet, but it’s still just getting started.

This summer will be my last before my final year of undergrad. There is a ton of pressure placed on communication students because of the notion that we must have the best internship or else we cannot compete post-graduation. I am still in the middle of the application process and I’m already overthinking the next six months. This is because I have an expectation for this summer–get a “perfect” internship, head back to IC with confidence, leave IC next spring with a job.

The plan is actually a pretty good one if you eliminate the pressure. I shouldn’t be worried because I’m doing everything I should be. I am right where I’m supposed to be. It’s the final semester of my junior year and I’m taking the right steps to move forward in my professional development. I shouldn’t be stressed over what will happen three months from now, a year from now, and especially not five years from now.

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because this is where I currently am at. *parkie*

They say your awkward years are your early teens. Well I actually think 20 is another awkward stage. You’re no longer a child, but not quite yet an adult. You can’t even go buy a drink yet–oh the college struggle. Even though I tell myself not to plan my life out, I constantly have the urge of wanting to be in my mid-twenties. This might be because I’m always around people older than me, or it might just be because I watch a lot of movies and TV. I’m not sure why, but I want the job, the apartment, the travel, the life.

I can’t say I’m one of the students who are going to be stressing once college nears its end and I’m no longer in that second awkward stage. Will I be stressing to find a job? Of course. Stressing about entering the “adult world?” Not so much. I’m excited for the opportunity to live out a life that I’ve been working toward before my college career even began.

I think I’ve grown a lot over the past two and a half years and I do believe that any adversity I’ve faced is going to improve my chances of success out in that adult world. I’ve experienced moments that I wish I never had to, but I like to think I’m living a good life through any hard moments.

I go to school, I work hard and I learn. My current job is to be a student, a daughter, a sister, a friend. Who knows what my life will actually be like when I’m 25. Maybe I’ll have studied abroad, maybe I’ll be working for a great company, maybe I’ll already have switched careers (fingers crossed this is not the case because I adore PR).

I know I’m right where I’m supposed to be–at that awkward 20 years old. And I am going to take each day as I go. I still am going to plan and prepare. That’s something I can’t stop doing because I enjoy setting personal goals. I am, however, going to try and worry less about my life going according to the set plan and instead enjoy the ups and downs that life has in store for me.

-Rachel

Freshman Year 2.0?

Well, this is it. The beginning of my next chapter. I know that’s such cliche statement, but I love it because it’s true. This whole process is just a new chapter in my life. I’m all moved into my apartment, have one class under my belt, and only four more classes to go today. Yes I said today. Five classes in one day starting at 8am? Mondays will surely test my dependence on coffee.

Currently, I’m sitting in some dining lounge. I don’t know anyone around me yet. I don’t know where those doors next me actually lead to on campus. Honestly, I don’t know much about this college or campus at all. And strangely, I feel comfortable here. I’ve received a warm welcome from not only my roommates, but each student and professor I have met the past couple days. The hills will be the death of my legs, but this is the most beautiful campus to call home for my next two years.

Every time I leave the comfort of my home in Caledonia, I’m going to feel a little upset. That feeling just comes with having a close family. And I’m lucky to have such a close family to miss. However, I’m only two hours from home. JUST TWO. Not seven in a car. Not nine hours in a bus (that is if the bus doesn’t break down on the side of the highway). Not eleven hours and then some on a train. Not a hundreds-of-dollars plane ride away. TWO HOURS! I’ll be home before Christmas, and let me tell you–that is a nice feeling.

Today marks the start of my next adventure. I’m feeling like a freshman again in certain aspects of this “starting over” process, but a more confident freshman. I may not completely know where well, anything is on campus. But I do know how excited I am to start classes, join as many organizations as I can without going overboard, and I guess I’ll have to figure out my way around eventually. The campus TV station is at the top of my organization “wish list,” which is one thing I never would have thought of joining before moving here because I study PR not television; however, I’ve already witnessed how inclusive the Park School community is and I can’t wait to be apart of it.

(Throwback to Orientation):

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It’s the first day, which means I truly don’t know how I’m going to feel next week about Ithaca, but I have to say, I don’t see myself regretting this decision to transfer. Don’t get me wrong, I miss my best friends from BU, my sisters and my favorite city (Boston has my heart). But those things that I miss will always be there for me. Right now though, I know Ithaca College is where I need to be, and I’m more than ready for my Bomber adventure to begin.

-Rachel

City Farewells and Summer Hellos

And just like that my two years at BU have finished. From the last final, to packing up the dorm room, and then onto a traffic-filled drive out of Boston for a weekend pitstop on Long Island with my grandma. Exams are no longer on my mind, which is why I have time to let it sink in that a lot of changes are coming my way in the next few months.

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BU set the foundation for so many aspects of my life–both personal and professional. It’s going to be a lot to get used to when August hits and I don’t return to the amazing city, but that does not mean I’m any less excited for what I can make of these next two years in Ithaca. I’m ready for the college town, the beautiful campus, the hiking trails, all the organizations, the sports teams, and most of all the Park School where I can continue learning the world of communications.

As i mentioned, I have a lot of changes to come in the next few months, starting with my very first internship. Cue the nerves. My excitement to step foot in the “real” PR world definitely comes from the classes I took at BU where I became eager listening to my teachers talk about their own experiences. This is my first chance to be in the action of the industry and learn from the experts in the field. I can’t wait to practice, can’t wait to absorb all the information that my mentors have to share with us newbies of PR.

For the past few years, soccer has unfortunately only been a part of my life through knee pain as a reminder of my injury-prone self playing the sport years ago. I’ll always miss playing the game, but this summer I’m lucky to bring the sport back into my life. I may not be playing, but I get to experience a different side to the game. The behind-the-scenes. I have the opportunity to combine my education in public relations with my favorite past time–a pretty ideal set-up.Rochester_Rhinos_2011.svg

Interning with the Rochester Rhinos is my first step into the sports communication industry, and I couldn’t be more excited (and nervous) to begin this experience in just one week. I have so much to learn and I believe this summer will be the perfect way to bridge the transition from one college to another.

Lots of changes–changes happening this year, this month and even this week. All the transitions will take some getting used to and a lot of deep breaths, but I like to think that I’m taking steps forward in my college life, my personal life, and now with my future career.

From one hard farewell to my first college home to one hello to the busy summer before my move to Ithaca. I’m ready for you, Summer of 2015. The summer filled with family, hometown friends, sun, running, Ithaca prep, learning PR and now even soccer. Who knew I would ever get the chance to say that one again!

For now though, at least for this one week, I’m going to enjoy a little R&R with family before the summer gets a little more serious!

-Rachel

Enjoy the Finer Carbs in Life

It was pretty inevitable that I was going to write a post at some point on this subject matter.

I’m aware many college bloggers tend to speak on the subject of women in regard to dieting and body image, but the issue isn’t disappearing as I witnessed today. While I was sitting in the dining hall—I admit I spend way too much of my time in the Bay State dining hall because well unlimited coffee, cereal and plenty of charging outlets–I couldn’t help but overhear just one of far too many conversations that women my age, younger and even older are having.

I’m not eating carbs right now.“

“Yeah I stopped eating meat to cut calories”

“Wait cereal is bad for you? I eat Special K all the time.”

“Yeah it’s not healthy..”

This was followed by terror from the Special K enthusiast concerned that she can no longer eat her favorite cereal.

Then we have the boys who sit down and pile on the plates, not worrying if it’s too many calories, carbs, sugars or fats. They’re hungry, they like food, so they eat it. Simple as that. Also, I do realize I am generalizing males’ food preferences here, but it’s just from my own observations.

This concern over food is out of hand for females. When a girl goes on a diet, she risks feeling judged by the non-dieters who ask why she even cares what’s in her food. She doesn’t go on a diet? She feels judged by the people who do watch everything they eat while she eats what she pleases. The reality is that we shouldn’t be preoccupied with what other people and women are doing or eating as long as we feel healthy, happy and confident with our own lifestyle.

At this moment, I can hear multiple tables of girls around me not taking this free time to talk about exciting news of their days or even laughing. They are, however, talking about their weight and how they regret what they just ate, or asking if they are allowed to go get the next thing they want to eat.

This can’t be okay. We as females can’t let this be the norm. Women are working so hard right now for respect in the professional world and being treated fairly by men, but what about treating ourselves fairly outside of the workplace? Isn’t it just as important to treat ourselves with respect–to our bodies and to our lifestyles–as it is to have other people respect us?

As I’ve mentioned far too many times before, I love food. I also am guilty of stressing over the foods I eat. I do eat healthy. At least I try to in the college environment. Do I put too much thought into what I eat? Absolutely. I realize now though while sitting in this dining hall that I’m not the only one who spends too much time thinking about what I can and cannot eat. And that’s even sadder to me.

I’m all for eating healthy. I love my fruit and Greek yogurt, my shredded wheat cereal and my turkey wraps. But I eat these because I like them. My body craves these types of foods.

Why though are girls trying so hard to force themselves to eat a certain way because a magazine told them so? Or worse–because they felt pressured by their peers to think so?

I do believe people should strive to be healthy. Eat as healthy as you can, workout by doing an activity you actually enjoy, switch up the cookie for an apple if you really want to improve your nutrition with baby steps.

Except now every time you sit down to eat, maybe think about what your body wants, not just what the magazine says is your diet plan. Meal times might be a little less stressful if you enjoy your food as much as you enjoy your company. These college years are stressful enough without worrying about eating a couple extra carbs each day.

There are plenty of ways to maintain your health in appropriate ways, without over-prioritizing your diet or sacrificing your indulgences.

P.S. A pro-tip from a girl who considers herself a foodie: you can’t go through life eating lettuce and water and criticizing yourself every time you want to indulge in a potato (WHICH BY THE WAY IS A VEGETABLE) yet by the time you finish cutting out all your options, that’s what you’ll be left with.

And we all know chocolate and carbs are in fact the keys to success and happiness.

-Rachel