Blue on Blue & Some Yellow Too

Hey there!! Today’s #OOTD is one of my closet favourites! It’s one of those great versatile dresses that will take you from class to dinner with your friends, and is just the right amount of ridiculous – which is what I tend to look for in my wardrobe.

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Dress: Zara // Shoes: J.Crew (similar) // Sunglasses: Forever21 (similar)

I picked this awesome dress up in Portugal over the summer and fell in love because it’s weird – in a good way. Not only is my favourite colour blue, but my sorority colours are light and dark blue, which means that this dress and I are destined to be together! It’s so incredibly comfortable (which is very important) and looks just as good with sneakers as it does with girly flats, which is something I can totally get behind!

Because the dress itself is pretty bold, I paired it with some yellow floral flats for a pop of pattern (yellow and blue is one of my favourite colour combos) and finished the look off with a casual “man bun” – which has become my go to hair style recently because I’m lazy and it usually looks pretty good!

Hope you’ve been having a great day!

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P.S. Thanks again to my best friend David, for the lovely photos, you’re the best!

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Feel Good Tunes

So school officially started today and my first class (sadly) is statistics. I’m generally a math person, but for some reason, the very thought of statistics strikes fear in to my little heart. It might be because of all the abstract concepts, or the fact that my lecture is three whole hours long, but either way, I’m more than a little nervous to start off this year!

When I woke up this morning, to get myself ready for my first day, I played some of the most upbeat and cheerful music I could think of. It really did wonders to pick up my mood, amazing what a little dancing or singing along to your favourite music can do when you’re in a low mood!

So, to all of us students who have some difficult and stressful days ahead of us, here are some feel good tunes that never fail to pick me up (and will hopefully do the same for you)!

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  1. Feel Again – OneRepublic (this one never gets old I swear)
  2. Wherever I Go – OneRepublic
  3. Future Looks Good – OneRepublic (clearly you can tell I love OneRepublic)
  4. Bailar – Deorro ft. Elvis Crespo
  5. Catch & Release – Matt Simons (Deepend Remix)
  6. The Greatest – Sia
  7. Side to Side – Ariana Grande
  8. Kids – MGMT
  9. Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5
  10. On Top of the World – Imagine Dragons (P.S. This video is actually so good)
  11. This Girl – Kung’s and Cookin’ on 3 Burners
  12. Dog Days are Over – Florence + The Machine
  13. Budapest – George Ezra
  14. Hymn For The Weekend – Coldplay (love this collab with Beyonce)
  15. Adventure of a Lifetime – Coldplay

Those are some of my favourite feel good tunes, and I really hope they can lift your spirit like they did mine this morning! Never underestimate the power of some good music, it really does wonders!

Here’s to (finally) starting this new school year! I can’t wait to see what second year has in store!

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Back to the Grind I Guess

LANDSCAPES | PORTRAITS | BLACK & WHITE | PANORAMA

Well, I guess it’s finally happening, a new school year is upon us and while I’ve been looking forward to it for a while, it is a little bitter sweet. Summer vacation is now officially over for most, and the call of Professors and textbooks is all too familiar.

I won’t lie, I’m a little nervous for my second year of university! Things were pretty crazy in my first year and while it was totally awesome in the end, I don’t know what to expect going in to this year. Either way, I’m looking forward to more boundary stepping and comfort zone pushing this year, let’s make it a great one! However you feel about this next chapter in your life (if you’re nervous like me, don’t worry about it too much), I hope you face it with a smile, because you’ve totally got this!

It’s so odd, I remember moving in to my dorm last September. It was crazy, my first year! I could hardly believe it! I was so shy that I stayed in my room all day until my roommate finally moved in later that night, we’d met a few weeks earlier and she was the only person I knew in my residence. I’d never been away from my parents more than a week (wasn’t a camp kind of kid) and had no idea what to expect from living in a dorm. It was a crazy year, filled with ups, downs, and a couple of 360 loops, but I’m here now, a year later, and I’ve become an entirely different person.

I sat down a couple days ago to write this post and didn’t exactly know what I wanted to say. I’ve written a lot over the last month about advice, and what you can do to be successful academically in university, but no amount of articles or tips will prepare you for the crazy so many of you are about to embark on. Even if you’re not going in to first year, and instead are stepping in to high school or middle school for the first time, the feeling is much the same. Everything is different, and there are so many unknown unknown’s that it’s overwhelming.

I guess if there’s anything I really want to tell you, it’s good luck, and I know this is going to be an incredible year for you! I hope you are faced with neat challenges and that you step out of your comfort zone, even if it’s just a tiny bit. I hope you make new best friends, go on adventures and make awesome memories with them, and I hope you make time to take care of your mind and body, that you get enough sleep every night, drink enough water every day and exercise even though it sucks some times!

This year, I hope you take a great big step towards becoming the person you want to be. Join a random club, talk to the girl sitting alone in the cafeteria, and study hard. It probably won’t be all fun and games, but even when it gets tough, I’m sure you’ll be able to soldier through.

If you’re looking for more detailed advice, here are some posts I’ve written about school:

Good luck to all you guys in this new school year! You’re all going to kill it!

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The First Week Of University

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While school has already started for a bunch of people, I have one week left to savour summer vacation and relax before I drown in readings and assignments.

The first week of university is simultaneously the best, and worst week of the year. You’re totally overwhelmed with information about your classes, new people, and might even be starting to feel a little bit home sick. On the other hand, you’re enjoying tons of freedom, and have a newfound sense of confidence and responsibility. Either way, that first week is daunting, especially when your first class is with 1500 other people!

Here are thirteen things you can do in that crazy first week to set yourself up for an awesome semester!

Buy an Agenda — I’ve heard it all:“I had an agenda in high school but I never used it.” and “I have a really good memory, I won’t forget about it.” or “I’m not organized enough to use an agenda.” Does any of this sound familiar? If it does, forget the excuses, and buy yourself an agenda. While your first week (or even month) of university might seem incredibly easy and relaxed, don’t be fooled! Things will pick up soon enough, and when they do, you’ll have no idea what hit you. Having an agenda will help you organize your time and make sure you’re on top of things in the midst of midterm and exam chaos.

Organization and time management is so much more important in university than it ever was in high school, so it’s helpful to have a system for keeping track of everything. It doesn’t really matter what agenda you have, but make sure it fits your needs and is small enough that you can take it with you wherever you go. Write down important dates as you become aware of them, and use it to plan what work you need to get done every day. This way it’ll be pretty difficult to miss a deadline and you’ll be on top of your readings and assignments. You can rest easy knowing that any important information about your classes and projects, have been written down and are easy to find.

Print Out Your Syllabi — These packets of paper are your lifeline for each one of your classes. Once you get them, print them out, hole punch them, and store them together in a folder.

Before your classes start, go through each syllabus and highlight important information including: your professors name and contact information, office hours, test and exam dates, assignment deadlines, and anything else you think will be important to know. As soon as you’ve highlighted these things, you can start transferring important information to other places. Test and due dates should be added to your calendar (I use the mac calendar app) and your agenda, so you have easy access to them, and contact info can be written down in your agenda or on your class schedule.

Keep your syllabi safe, they’ll be helpful once exam time comes around and you can’t remember exactly what sections you covered in class.

Make a Schedule — This might sound like overkill to some, but I always find it incredibly helpful to write out a schedule for the semester and hang it on my bulletin board. My schedule usually involves all my classes, work hours, volunteer times and when I plan to workout.

Having a visual representation of how your day will look is really helpful when things start getting more hectic and time management becomes key. It’ll also make it easier for you to plan what work you can do each day and when, so you stay on top of everything.

Find your Classes — To avoid getting lost and feeling anxious about going to class, do a mock run. Write down each building and room number and visit each of them before your classes actually start. This way you’ll know how to get to class on the first day and you’ll look like a pro doing it (who knows, maybe other freshman will even ask you for directions)!

Start your Readings — Don’t be fooled by the easy going vibe of the first week or two of school. Start your readings and try to get ahead while things are still settling. You’ll thank yourself for putting in the extra effort when midterms arrive and you have a bit more room to breathe.

Figure Out the Textbook Situation — Don’t buy your textbooks weeks in advance. Wait until school starts and check the updated syllabus to make sure they haven’t changed. Your professors will likely also mention whether the textbook is actually necessary in your first class. This way you can avoid buying books you won’t actually use.

Find your Library — You’ll be spending a lot of time at the library, so it’s in your best interest to find it (or one of them) during your first week. University libraries often host a bunch of informative intro courses for first years (and anyone else who’d like to take them) so you can become comfortable with the way your school’s library system works. Trust me, going to the library for the first time when you need to do major research for a paper isn’t exactly stress-free. Help yourself out and get familiar with the library system asap!

Find a Study Spot — This is something I cannot stress enough! Find a place you can study effectively on campus as soon as possible! Having a place you know, you study well in takes away a lot of stress and also eliminates the time you’ll spend figuring out where to go for a study session.

You don’t have to make a big deal about this at first (it is only the first week after all), but try to find a spot you enjoy the atmosphere of and is conducive to your study style. Later on in the semester you can always find new spots, but it certainly helps to know one off the bat, even if it’s not quite perfect.

Join a Club — Just do it! Look up your school’s club directory, and narrow it down to one or two groups you’re really interested in. Clubs are the perfect way to get involved in your campus community and to meet people with similar interests and values. I regret not joining any clubs in my first year and have already made a promise to myself to join one as soon as school starts!

Sign up for an Athletic Class — Take advantage of your university’s athletic facilities and programs. There are likely hundreds of intramural teams and registered classes waiting for you to join them! Sports and classes like pilates or yoga, are great ways to meet friends, and also allow you to set aside some time for personal health. Your body and mind will thank you.

Communicate With your Roommate — Don’t wait until the middle of the year to talk to your roommate about what standards you have for your room. It’s important to get everything out on the table asap so you can talk about the things each of you need to do in order for your year together to be successful. Talking about things early also lowers the chances that you’ll have a full fledged fight later in the year.

Some people suggest creating a contract with your roommate, stating all the things you hold each other to, and others are fine with just talking about their expectations and putting some rules in to place. Either way, make sure you have the talk early on.

Hangout With People in your Residence — Don’t shut yourself away! Even if you’re shy (like I was) make sure to reach out to the girl across the hall or the twins next door. They might become your new best friends, or not, but either way you’ll have someone to eat with until you find a more solid group of friends.

Call your Parents — Don’t forget to call the people who love you the most. Your parents are probably struggling just as much as you are, and would love to hear about how everything is going. They’re also the perfect people to call when you aren’t sure about a class, or how to talk to your roommate when something is bothering you.

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These are a few things I found super helpful in my first year of university and I’ll definitely continue doing them this year.

Good luck to those of you who have already started (I know you’ll have a great year), and enjoy the rest of your vacation to those of you who have another week to go (savour every moment)!

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How To Kick Butt In First Year

What

As August moves along and September appears on the horizon, back-to-school activity begins in ernest. First time Kindergarteners hurry around Staples clutching their parent’s fingers and pick up crayons and craft paper. High school juniors wonder how they can possibly make it through another two years of school, and college freshman sit around selecting courses, paying tuition and buying things for their dorm rooms.

They all ask the same question: what will this year hold?

While elementary and high school are slightly more predictable, university is a total mystery to those of us on the outside. Sure you’ve watched the movies, read the articles and seen the meme’s, but what is it really like to sit in a lecture hall of 1500? What is it really like to spend all your waking hours in the library during exams, and what is it like to specialize your studies?

Last fall, before I moved in to my residence, I had no idea what to expect. Though some of my older cousins had gone to university before me, I didn’t exactly know how to ask them for advice, and while my parents tried their best too calm my nerves, university had changed since their schooling days. So, instead of turning to actual people, I searched Pinterest and Blogs across the internet, reading article after article titled: “What To Expect In Dorm Life” and “20 Ways To Make Your First Year Rock”. Knowing that other people were going through the same messy emotions helped me through that entire summer.

As a sort of thank you to all the blog posts that helped me out, and as part of my Back-To-School Month posts, today’s is all about tips, tricks, and advice so you can kick butt in first year!

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Buy an agenda before school and force yourself to use it. Write everything down. I mean everything (yes, even what you want to eat that day)! My agenda is my lifeline, and honestly, I don’t think I’d make it through the year without it.

Also use a big (pretty) wall calendar. Agenda’s are great for carrying around, and a big wall calendar is perfect for putting over your desk. It’ll help you see busy weeks in advance so you can stay organized and ready.

Plan your readings. Use your agenda to plan what work you need to get done everyday. Sit down on Sunday night and plan your readings/homework/assignments for the week so you can stay caught up (or ahead). This extra time also lets you see what’s coming up that week (maybe a friends birthday) so you can make room for important extra curricular’s or social events.

Protect your syllabus at all costs. This packet of papers is your life line for that class. Keep it safe, make a photo copy (seriously having a back up is a life saver), and highlight any important information. Transfer important dates to your agenda and calendar immediately and keep in with your notes for that class.

Don’t fall in to the “wear pjs and sweats all day everyday” state of mind. It’ll make you feel more tired and lazy. Dress up for yourself and I promise you’ll feel 10x more confident and ready to tackle your school work.

Don’t force a relationship with your roommate. It will come with time, and if it doesn’t, it’s no big deal! Not everyone ends up being best friends with their roomie. As long as you’re civil and respectful, you’re good as gold!

Do assignments right away. This is always easier said than done, but your stress level will lower drastically if you start the essay the day it’s assigned or brought up in class.

Find your library. Some libraries work for some people, and others don’t. Take the opportunity to try out different libraries and study spaces on your campus until you find one that’s perfect for you. Once you find a space you can study in easily, it’ll take a lot of the pressure off.

Work out every day. For the love of God, please get out of the library and move. It can be a dance class, a run, a yoga break or even a brisk walk through campus, anything. Just get up and do it. Not only will your body thank you, but your mind will be more focused to learn afterwards.

Don’t be afraid of taking morning classes. So many people tell you not to, but it’s a great feeling to be up early and done with lectures by noon. It’ll give you lots of time to be productive and get things done during the rest of the day.

Wake up early. Even if you decide not to take morning classes (sorry 8ams, I’m just not feeling it) consider waking up early. Building a routine helps you fall asleep easier (and sleep better) and if you wake up early, you can get the bulk of your studying out of the way so you can enjoy the rest of your day! If you’re not a morning person don’t worry, I wasn’t either, but if you force yourself to get up at say 8am (whether you need to or not) you’ll notice a big difference in productivity.

Get out of your comfort zone! Join the intramural team, rush the sororities, take a really weird art history class or just go to student plays and art shows. Whatever you do, learn new things and step outside of your boundaries. Chances are you’ll find a new passion or hobby.

Don’t worry about dating. If you have a boyfriend, great, but if not, don’t sweat it! Statistically people in university aren’t the ones getting in to long term commitments. You’re in school to learn and grow as a person. Take new chances and focus on expanding your mind and interests. The right person will come around eventually and you’ll be glad you didn’t rush it.

Flash cards are sent from heaven. Make them, read them and then read them fifty other times. They’re perfect for studying and you can have your parents or sibling or roommate or the guy you tend to sit near on the subway quiz you at literally any point in the day. Make them and use them.

Go to class. This is pretty self explanatory, but a lot of people still skip. You’re paying a lot of money to be there, so show up and get the most out of your education. However, if you’ve weighed the pros and cons, and skipping really is the smarter course of action, don’t be afraid to miss a class or two. You’re the only one who knows what you need to do in order to succeed.

Do the readings. I was always told that it’s impossible to get all your readings done in uni, but when I started, I found out that that wasn’t true at all. If you budget your time properly and are studying effectively, you should have no problem completing the required readings. Make the effort, because having already read the textbook helps a lot the night before your exams.

Rent your textbooks. If your student bookstore has the option, rent those babies. Textbooks are so expensive and renting is usually way cheaper and easier to go about than buying. Most schools give you the option to pay the difference if you decide you want to keep it.

Talk to your professors. Go to office hours, and student/staff mixers. Ask them questions after lecture and email them (as a last resort) if you really need to. Contrary to popular belief, your profs want you to succeed but they can’t help you if you don’t reach out!

Set goals. When you know what you want to achieve and the things you need to do to reach those goals, it’s so much easier to stay motivated. Figure out what these goals are, write them down and stick them on the wall near your desk or in your agenda. Read them when you’re finding it difficult to open a textbook.

Take breaks. Sitting for twelve hours straight in the library is not good for you. Your brain needs breaks to properly store the information you’ve learnt and honestly, after that many hours in front of your books, you probably aren’t giving your work 100% anymore (Instagram and Facebook start becoming really important). Get up, take a walk, listen to music, or eat a (healthy) snack.

Nobody cares if you go to the party. It’s no surprise that there’s going to be drinking and rowdiness all over campus most nights of the week (students party when they can). If you choose to go to those parties, all the power to you, stay safe and have fun! But if you aren’t an avid party goer (like myself) nobody really cares. Stay in and do your own thing of go bowling with friends. It’s all your choice.

Nobody cares if you drink either. As someone who doesn’t drink at all, I was really worried that people would judge me in university. Would they think I wasn’t cool? Would I get made fun of? Would the pear pressure be too much to handle? Nope! Nobody really cared, and if they did comment, it was usually to say that they thought it was cool I could go to parties sober. So if you don’t drink, have no fear, just do you!

You might not make many friends. I thought I was going to make a bunch of really good friends in my first year, but the truth is, I only made a couple, and that was totally fine. While quality is way more important than quantity, you will find your group of people as the years go on. Universities are often gigantic, but your homies are hiding in there somewhere!

Keep in touch. Call your parents and your grandparents. Send your high school BFFS letters and care packages. University is scary, and sometimes all you need is a reminder of the love you have back home. Don’t use distance as an excuse for letting important relationships fade. A text twice or three times a week is all you need.

Try to get a job. It may be hard to juggle with homework and clubs etc. But you’ll be so thankful to have some extra cash coming in!

Don’t hold yourself back. Just because you’re frightened or anxious, doesn’t mean you should stop yourself from doing things. If your scared of taking a semester abroad or taking an internship, chances are, it’s a perfect opportunity for learning and growth. Don’t be silly, take the leap!

Have fun! University is stressful and pretty scary, but it’s also an amazing time! You’re learning so many new things and there are opportunities to help you grow around every corner. While school is often crazy busy, make sure you take time during the week to hang out with your friends and do something fun.

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I think I probably could’ve come up with more advice (it’s one of my favourite things to write about if you couldn’t tell), but I’ll save that for another time. I hope this has been slightly helpful to a few of you who are heading to uni for the first time (or even if you’re a fourth year veteran)!

If you have any advice or suggestions, leave them in the comments, I’d love to hear what gets you, through a hectic year!

Hope you’re all enjoying this lovely Tuesday!

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10 Things I Learnt In First Year

PRACTICE

 

Last fall I embarked on a crazy, scary, exciting new adventure…University! In September I showed up at my beautiful residence, unpacked and organized my dorm, said adios to my high school days and hello to the new ones ahead. It was a crazy year overall. I made friends, lost friends, studied really hard, pushed myself, and have come out the other side a completely different person! The whole year was a rollercoaster and though it was difficult and scary, I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

While it was an exciting time, it proved a big change (obviously) and I faced a lot of challenges in my academics and social life. I struggled to make the grades I thought I should, missed my parents, and didn’t make nearly as many friends as I had imagined. Though it certainly was crazy, I learned so much about myself and the type of life I want to build for myself, so I am grateful it went the way it did.

While I learnt a lot of things, I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the major lessons I learnt, so here are the ten most important things!

Trust The Universe

Sometimes things get out of hand and you feel like you have no control over your own life! Things and people start running away from you, or it feels like you’re drowning in school work. First year is a time of great change, and we all face a ton of challenges in those eight months. So many things are thrown at us and we’re expected to react properly with only a moments notice. While things can often feel overwhelming, I learnt that everything happens for a reason. Sure that boy you sort of dated, hurt you, and yes, there were some mean girls and petty drama. Maybe you really bombed a test, had a crazy house mate, or one of a hundred other negatives, but all of these things are opportunities for learning!

I’m a very spiritual and superstitious person (not in the typical religious sense mind you), and while I’ve always believed things happen for a reason, I’ve never been more sure of it until now. The universe has it’s own plan for your life. It twists and turns, drops and jumps, but ultimately, it’s going to take you to exactly where you want to go. As soon as I accepted and believed this from the very bottom of my heart, it became a great comfort to me and was one of the things that got me through the hardest parts of the year.

Some Things Are Temporary

It’s the truth. You likely won’t stay friends with the people you meet at frosh, you don’t have to be BFF’s with your roommate, and it’ll take some time for the new people in your life to stabilize and settle. You might start the year with one group of friends, and end it with a totally different bunch — that’s ok! In fact that’s how it’s supposed to go! Learning what you like in social relationships is a hug part of growing up. In first year (and university in general) you are thrown in with entirely new groups of people, many of whom you won’t gel with. It’s going to take some time to find those you really click with, and sometimes, even when you really want someone to stay, it’s best that they don’t.

The universe has a path for you to follow, and some people just don’t fit in with it. That doesn’t mean you won’t find your place at all, it just might take a little bit longer than it did in High School.

You’re Your Own Hero

This is self explanatory really, but I think it’s been one of the most important things I’ve learnt thus far. Life will get hectic and intense, that’s just the way it is, and you can’t expect someone to always be there to lean on. People are dealing with their own stuff too. This doesn’t mean your best friends won’t help you out when you need it, it just means that you have to be there for yourself every step of the way.

You always have the power to pick yourself off the floor and on to better things. Once we recognize this “superpower” in ourselves, the world doesn’t seem so scary and taking risks doesn’t seem as difficult.

It’s All About Priorities

This is something my dad has always said, and it’s proven true again and again! As much as personality defines ones self, priorities are often the major motivator for any action a person takes and everyones priorities are different.

Keeping this in mind is helpful when you’re in a difficult group work scenario, or if the people you’ve recently become friends with turn out to be the kind of people you don’t want to hang around. Everyone has different things that drive them. If your priorities are really different from someone else’s and you clash because of it, it’s ok to not stay close with that person. It’s ok to pull away from things that are bringing you down, and it’s ok to put yourself first. Recognizing this, though it can be hard to put in to practice, is so helpful in the long run. You (and those other people) deserve to find friendships you can thrive in, and there’s no shame in realizing someone might be the wrong addition to your group.

Not Everyone Has The Same Heart As You

This point builds on the previous one. While everyone has different priorities, everyone also has a different heart. The way you handle hurt, or stress, or anger, are all very different from the way others handle with them. The sooner you accept that everyone is going to react or behave differently in stressful situations, the sooner you’ll be able to stop expecting certain behaviours from them.

People don’t react the way you do or say the things you say in bad situations, and while it’s easy to say “I would’ve done this…” or “I would’ve said that…”, it’s even easier to accept people as they come and recognize that while they may not have done what you would’ve liked, they are doing the best that they can. This takes the stress off everyone, and leads to more open relationships built on trust and acceptance.

Listen To Your Mom

As annoying as it is sometimes, your mom really does know more than you. She always has, and it’s important to listen to her. When she tells you not to date anyone, it’s not because she doesn’t want you to be happy, it’s because she knows it’s not a good time and doesn’t want you to get hurt, and when she tells you everything will be ok, it almost always is.

Keep in touch with her, tell her what’s going on and she will always be there for you. That’s what mom’s do, they fix, and heal, and love when it feels like everything else is going south.

Your Mental Health Matters

This. Is. So. Important. University is crazy. Things are hectic, you’re stressed beyond belief, and people can be rude and hurtful. While ultimately you’re there for academics, never ever, prioritize school work over your mental (or physical) health.

If you are too anxious to focus, take a break. If you can’t open a text book because you’re too sad, seek professional guidance. If you need to drop courses to be at a comfortable spot, do it. Do not ever make academics and school work  worth more than your health and sanity. The only way you can perform optimally, is if you are healthy, happy, and stable in all areas of your life.

Your health matters, so listen to your body, and take breaks or talk to a professional when necessary.

Be Gentle With Yourself 

This point builds on the one above. When you didn’t do as well on a paper as you thought you would, bombed a test, or didn’t read a chapter. Be gentle with yourself.

University is such an adjustment, and you are doing your absolute best. Be gentle with your self talk, encourage yourself, and make sure you praise the hard work you’re doing. Acclimatizing to the social and academic aspects of college life is hard, it’s stressful and there’s no right way to go about it. There is a right way for you though, so don’t compare your experience with that of anyone else’s. You are doing what you need to do for you, and that’s exactly how it should be!

One Day You’ll Meet “The One”

You’re going to meet so many boys (or girls)! You’re going to meet one you click with right away and they might break your heart. You’ll meet some you admire from a distance, and others still that you just don’t click with. There will be tons, and while it seems like an endless game or a string of heart breaks, don’t worry about it, eventually the right person will come along.

Statistically people in our age group aren’t in long lasting relationships. They’re not finding the one yet, and while it might seem like everyone around you is falling in love and getting married, it just isn’t true. You’re not weird or abnormal. Your soul mate is just doing their own thing right now and you should be too.

Quality > Quantity

This lesson applies to everything. Friends, studying, eating, working out, literally everything! The long and the short of it, is that life is special! We’re blessed with so little time on this amazing planet and our job is to build something out of what we’re given, which you can’t do when negativity is tearing you down every step of the way.

Always remember, quality, is far more important than quantity!

Just because you have a million “friends”, doesn’t really mean they all care about you the way they should. If you spend eight hours “studying” for a test, but really just scroll through Instagram, that test likely won’t go well. And if you workout an hour everyday, but barely move a muscle, you won’t reach your goals the way you wished you could.

With social media being such a prominent form of communication, it’s easy to feel like you aren’t cool or popular enough. People are constantly posting pictures of their gazillion new friends and the cool things they do at school, so naturally we  compare our lives to theirs. Really, we should be focused on building our own network filled with people who love and support us. While you might not have a million friends like everyone else seems to, it is far more important to have a few quality buddies.

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Man, this post took so long to write! I’ve honestly been working on it for about a month and finally finished it while waiting for my flight at the airport. Finally! I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it, because I really enjoyed the process of writing this post. It got me thinking about all the little ways I’ve grown as a person, and helped me appreciate a difficult year.

What are some things you’e learnt this year?

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2016 // Get It Girl

2016 has become (to my surprise) a year of action. The “Get it Girl” year I’ve been pining for. The last few months of 2015 were incredibly trying for me and as New Years came and went, I decided I was sick of feeling powerless in the face of my life, like I didn’t have any sort of control over what was happening. The exact opposite is true of course, my life is in my hands, and the moment I realized that, everything changed.

I’ve made some lofty goals for myself, and while it isn’t impossible to implement them all, New Years resolutions have never been my forte. In an attempt to make sure I stick to all this good stuff, I decided to share them with you good people of the internet, not only to hold myself accountable, but to hopefully inspire one or two of you to stop saying “tomorrow” and finally do the things you’ve always wanted to (Nike was right guys, Just Do It).

One of my favourite Instagramers Karla Reed (a fabulous/hilarious/goals worthy mom and blogger) inspired me to follow in her tradition of picking a word/quality to focus on in the new year, and through some weird coincidence, we picked the same one: JOY. After a difficult 2015 full of changes and some not so great stuff, focusing on joy and cultivating self-love seemed like the perfect plan of action. When I say I want to focus on joy, I mean looking at the little things, the blue sky or chirping birds; finding and enjoying the beauty already in my life, more than I have been.

I’m excited to see what happens when I start appreciating these little joys more regularly and I’m excited to see who I’ll leave 2016 as. I’ve written a bit of an essay here (#sorrynotsorry) so bare with me here!

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Journal More

I recently started journaling because I’ve heard so much about it’s therapeutic effects, I figured if it helped me get things out on paper (something I often find difficult to do) it would be worth while. Journals aren’t judgmental, they aren’t going to yell at you for bad ideas, or bitchy thoughts. What they will do, is egg you on and never get tired of listening to your problems. You can go on and on about so-and-so and what’s-her-face without the thing batting an eyelid; essentially, it’s a cheap therapist.

While it’s been difficult to get into a steady journaling habit (university, need I say more?), the time I have taken to write, has been good. It’s been emotional, fun, healing and it’s let me figure out some things that I would’ve needed longer to process on my own. I hope that throughout the year, I can get in to a groove (even if it’s only writing a couple times a week) at the very least I can actually use all the pretty notebooks I’ve hoarded throughout the years!

Be More Active

This is probably the world’s most popular New Years resolution, and while I’ve said this every year since middle school, for some reason in 2016 I’ve finally acted on it. Miraculously, I now workout six days a week school permitting (my parents are just as surprised as I am). I’ll do a more in depth post on this change in my life at a later date but let me just say this: boy was Nike right when they said “Just Do It”. Honestly people, pushing yourself to get up and move is one of the most rewarding and productive feelings and I can only hope to keep my motivation up throughout the year!

Take More Me Time

Throughout my first year of uni, I’ve learnt that me time = sacred time. In between readings, homework, assignments, tests and like, a billion other commitments, the only me time students seem to work in regularly is checking social media or going to bed (if they’re even that lucky). This year I’m making me time a priority, be it taking an extra half hour before bed to do yoga and read a book, or an entire day to relax and do the things I love to do (shopping, eating, crafting…the list goes on).

I know as a student things pile up and taking time away from studying seems scary and impossible, but when you take a moment to clear your head and relax, it’s amazing how much more productive and motivated you’ll be when you come back to your to-do list (again, an in depth post about this is also on the way).

Be More Creative

It’s become my opinion that stress (read: school) kills creativity. There doesn’t seem to be any time to craft, or read, or write anymore and that makes me sad! While this one kind of goes with my “me time” goal, I’m also trying to find smaller ways to be creative. Taking more pictures of the beautiful things I see everyday, finding things that inspire me in the ordinary and not holding my life to unattainable standards, but enjoying it for what it is.

Creativity is, I believe, something you make yourself with what you have, and while Pinterest, magazines and the internet in general are great for inspiration, it’s also really easy to get caught up in comparing your peaches to someone else’s kiwis. All this fancy wording to say, I want to focus on my own form of creativity, my uniquely “Lauren” ideas, without worrying what anyone else thinks of them. This is certainly going to be easier said than done, but we’ll see what happens.

Surround Myself With Beauty

This is a pretty simple goal really. I’m already surrounded by beautiful people and places, but this year, I want to expand this a bit more to the little things (like fresh flowers and scented candles) and to my general life. I like to call myself a positive person, but in the last couple of years my positivity hasn’t been around much. In 2016 my goal is to purge the negative vibes/people/habits/shoes/clothes etc. from my life. Anything that doesn’t support or make me feel strong, has to go.

I think as I’ve gotten older this has been an easier thing to do. During my first semester of university, I was really hit with how temporary some things and people are, whether you want them to be or not, and while it’s hard and sad at first, I’ve learned to accept that sometimes, even when it feels crappy, getting all that bad stuff out is better in the end.

Cherish The Little Things

This is exactly what you think it is, no hidden meaning here. My mom has always been a big believer in “Gratitude Journals” so as part of my journaling goal I’d like to start doing this (maybe I’ll make a series on the blog?).

Find New Hobbies & Explore Them

This definitely ties to my creativity goal, but throughout the year I’ve found a love for sewing and working out (among other things) and really want to explore these hobbies and work them in to my life in a more significant way.

Appreciate The Wonderful People In My Life More

This is also pretty straight forward, but the world is so busy that sometimes amidst it all, we forget to take a moment and thank the people who help keep our heads above the water. I am so blessed to be surrounded by amazing friends and family and I don’t tell them nearly enough how important they are to me. I definitely have to up my game here!

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So, those are my goals. I’m sorry this post was so wordy and essay like, but I really wanted to get in to (more for myself) the nitty gritty of this stuff, to explore it a little bit.

Do you have any goals for 2016? Let me know in the comments because I’d love to hear them!

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