90’s babies unite!

283563_2072098676944_6849798_nBeing born in 1993, I am indeed a 90’s screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-9-56-32-pmbaby. While the 90’s for me ended at the tender age of 7, one thing that stuck with me is my ever-obsessive love for the Goo Goo Dolls. I remember hearing my first-ever Goo Goo Dolls song at as young as 3 years old, and can proudly say I knew almost every lyric to every song on the Dizzy Up the Girl album by 1999. They were my very first concert and I still buy tickets every single time they come back home.

Here I am at age 24, new album Boxes being released last May, still hopelessly in love with a frontman who is the same age as my father. [When worded that way, it’s disgusting, but come on…he’s hot!]. When people ask who my favorite artists are and the Goo Goo Dolls is on that list, they look at me like I have 7 heads. What they don’t realize is that their songs have helped me through some of my toughest times, their lyrics have related to me more times than not, and these songs have capped off some of my most amazing memories.

When asked to pick what some of my favorite lyrics are, I have to stop and think and try not to pick them all. So after serious consideration, I’ve narrowed it down to a select few [in order of release date].

“Everything’s wrong, but it’s alright.” – Two Days in February from Hold Me Up, 1991

“It’s a beautiful life, and I’ve got it in my sights. Ain’t that so obvious?” – We are the Normal from Superstar Car Wash, 1993

“And scars are souvenirs you never lose, the past is never far.” – Name from A Boy Named Goo, 1995

“When everything’s made to be broken, I just want you to know who I am.” – Iris from Dizzy Up the Girl, 1998

“I wouldn’t be the one to kneel before the dreams I wanted.” – Sympathy from Gutterflower, 2002

“You’re caught in the rules of the world, it’s a just a promise no one ever keeps. Now it’s changing while you sleep, but no one here can see.” – Truth is a Whisper from Gutterflower, 2002

“Laughter is my soul’s release.” – Can’t Let It Go from Let Love In, 2006

“I wish everyone was loved tonight and somehow stop this endless fight, just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days.” – Better Days from Let Love In, 2006

“So live like you mean it, love ’till you feel it, it’s all that we need in our lives.” – Before It’s Too Late from Goo Goo Dolls: Greatest Hits Volume 1, 2007

“I need you there when the nightmares and dreams have come true.” – Something for the Rest of Us from Something for the Rest of Us, 2010

“If the world should turn its back, you know that I’m still here.” – Notbroken from Something for the Rest of Us, 2010

“Say goodbye to all the things in life that tried to pull us down.” – Keep the Car Running from Magnetic, 2013

“When life gets hard, we get brave. We all get scared, it’s okay.” – Souls in the Machine from Boxes, 2016

“It’s hard to be yourself when everyone around is changing. Open up your eyes and you’ll never lose yourself again.” – Over and Over from Boxes, 2016

** You got two posts today, because yesterday was a day from hell and I did not get home until 11pm from 7:30 in the morning. So, I made it up to you with the double post today. xoxo.

Things that college + grad school have taught me.

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I’m currently furthering my education and working toward my Master’s degree, so it’s pretty safe to say I’ve learned a lot being in enrolled in college for the last few years.

Not everyone’s experience in college will be the same, but here’s a couple thing’s I’ve learned so far:

 

  1. You need to sleep. Even if it is for 45 minutes, sleep is absolutely necessary. I am not saying that you will never pull an all-nighter, [I am guilty of that myself] – what I am saying that 2 or 3 all-nighters in a row is insane. Nobody likes a walking zombie! You do your best work when your mind has a chance to rest and recuperate and get ready for the next day. Whether it is at 3:30AM or 3:30PM, everything will get done.
  2. Everybody is perfect in their own way. Never ever compare yourself to others. You are smart, you are beautiful, and you are worth it. Your degree is just as good as the next person’s. Everyone is choosing a path that they love. Don’t beat yourself down when you should be building yourself up. No two people are exactly alike, and that is what makes you special!
  3. Getting your degree is a big deal. Not everybody makes it this far, and not everybody chooses to go to college or grad school, so that in it of itself is something you should be proud of! For the endless of hours I’ve put in thus far, I’ve gotten the amazing payoffs of not-perfect-but-still-freaking-amazing GPA’s. One of the most important things is to know that you have put in your best work and maximum effort at the end of the semester. You get what you give, so give it your all!
  4. It is better to be one step ahead rather than one step behind. Professors always tell you to keep on track and to make a schedule to ensure that all of your readings, coursework, research, and internship hours get completed in a timely manner to allow some time to breathe. Being one step ahead insures all is done in case something out of the blue comes up, preventing future stress. Showing up to class early is better than showing up late. Submitting assignments early as opposed to 11:59PM on the dot will prove you didn’t rush through it. If your assignment is due on the weekend, try to get it done during the week. This will allow time to unwind.
  5. It is okay to ask questions. Especially if any of your courses or coursework is completed online. I am not shy when it comes to attending office hours or emailing millions of questions for further clarification. Plus, it helps you to stand out in a group of many other students, while also showing you care! Nothing wrong with making a name for yourself.
  6. Don’t buy your textbook from your college or university’s bookstore. This is a giant waste of money. I repeat, THIS IS A GIANT WASTE OF MONEY. Buy it used. Rent it. Don’t buy it at all. Do whatever you’ve gotta do. But if you do buy it, please, please, trust me when I say to look online. I have [more times than not] literally saved up to $100 off each book when I purchased it elsewhere. From Amazon to Chegg, there is always a cheaper option. Do it!
  7. Sometimes you will feel like you’ve hit rock bottom. Things will get overwhelming. It will seem as if nothing will get completed, that 24 hours isn’t enough time in the day, or that you are failing at everything you do. Even though you may succumb to the stress and feel as if you are at the bottom of the barrel, the good news is, that the only place to go from there is up! Assignments will get completed, you will get through the semester, and you will realize it was all worth it in the end!
  8. Don’t forget to take time to breathe. Even if there are a million things that you have to do during the semester, you can’t forget that me time is important. Whether it’s taking a walk, grabbing a coffee with a friend, or going for a run, focusing on yourself and your mental health should always come first. Even if it’s only 5 minutes stress-free, it will help you feel better at the end of the day.
  9. You will create and lose friendships during this time in your life. I went to college having a solid group of friends from high school and, to nobody’s surprise, my group of friends is no longer the same! Everyone’s priorities suddenly become different. Everyone is trying to figure out their own lives, and your texts will not always be answered in 0.6 seconds. But while it seems as if your core friendships are dwindling, you will create some pretty kickass friendships in the process. At the end of the day, you will always have a couple solid BFF’s that stick with you through it all. These solid few, you will learn, are more important than the 8,000 acquaintances.
  10. You are not alone. There are 8 million times that I can think of that I have had to remind myself that I am not the only one out there that can get overwhelmed. There are people out there that have struggles way worse than being tired from having to pull an all-nighter trying to complete your work. It is important, though, to remember to reach out for help if you need someone to talk to. Sometimes talking to your classmates or friends will help you realize that everyone is overwhelmed and that everyone is in the same boat. It helps when you build a system to support each other. You will get through it together.
  11. You can get just as much work done at home than you will in the library. Just because you don’t spend a countless number of hours in the library doesn’t mean you aren’t as serious about school as the person who does. Not everybody will find success working in the same types of environments. One of my college roommates enjoyed working at cafe’s whereas another couldn’t focus anywhere but the quiet study. Where you complete your assignments does not amount to the type of student that you are. Your best work will be done when you are in an environment that makes you comfortable.
  12. Don’t stress over the little things. The barista didn’t put enough sugar in your coffee? You have a giant pimple on your chin? You broke the tip of your pencil? So what! Focusing on things that don’t matter will only take time away from focusing on the things that do. Stressing over everything will only create one giant avalanche of stress as opposed to one little snowball.
  13. Once you get handed your diploma, you will realize everything was worth it. The feeling you get once you’ve gotten that sacred piece of paper and achieved your goal is something that cannot be put into words. Put in the time and effort. Keep on fighting, power through, and get to that light at the end of the tunnel. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

 

The Power of Putting Your Happiness Above All Else

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Growing up, I have always had this aching need to make others happy. I thought that by doing everything by the book, everything expected of me, that I would find my own happiness in knowing I never did anything to let anybody down. I wanted to accomplish things so that others would be proud of. I wanted to be perfect in the eyes of everyone I knew.

I got by living this way for a solid twenty-something years. I went to Catholic school and was a “star student.” I rarely broke the rules. I graduated high school with distinction. I was in a long term relationship with a guy my family loved. Wasn’t a teen mom. Wasn’t addicted to drugs. I moved away to college and graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in 3 years. My life seemed to play out in a way in which I thought, “this is too good to be true.” I was right, but I didn’t know then what I know now.

Spring semester of my senior year of undergrad, my world slowly felt like it was crashing down. All this hard work over 21 years brought nothing but rejection after rejection to graduate programs for my chosen field. My love life was rocky. I lost connection with friends. Things were going on in my life that I never thought I’d face. I felt worthless. I felt as if I had wasted all of my time and worked hard for nothing. This didn’t seem right. It didn’t seem fair.

Instead of sitting down and putting immense thought into my future, I hastily accepted a spot into a program at a school that I did not care for. It was the first acceptance letter I had seen in months, and I jumped at the opportunity. I thought it was an easy fix. My parents wanted me to go there, my friends went there, and I wouldn’t have to endure a “gap year” — something that I didn’t think I needed until now.

I lasted an entire two years in that program — halfway through getting a Master’s degree — only for me to pass the point of no return and have a mental breakdown. From the outside, nobody would have ever known. My grades did not suffer, but my mental health did. I was faking a smile, telling people I loved my school and I loved my potential career choice. I felt as if everyday I was living a lie. I knew I wasn’t happy, but I didn’t want others to know it.

Everyday, I would wake up and go to bed anxious. I was afraid of backing out because I didn’t want others to see me as a failure. I wanted to prove that I could overcome hardship. That although my original dream did not come true, I could make it better. But instead, I was only making it worse. I lost friends. My stress put a damper on a new relationship. I went out more. I ate less. I tried so hard to find a glimmer of happiness to keep me going. I tried until the very end, until I decided to be brave and to forget what everyone else thought.

I remember leaving my now-old school after my last cumulative final. That was the day I learned I got accepted to a school I loved into a program of my dreams. I cried the entire drive home. How would I tell my parents that I decided to change my mind? How would they react to me getting accepted into a different program at a different school? This would be my third college and I only have one degree, would they be mad?

It was the overwhelming excitement and support from my boyfriend and my best friend that made me realize something — nothing else matters but my own happiness. Why wasn’t I proud of myself for getting into a program that only accepts 20 students? Why wasn’t I proud of myself for being brave enough to walk away — walk away from fear, from stress, from a life I didn’t want?

My friends and family could not believe all I have endured inside of my head. My mother was upset I didn’t share any of this with her so that she could help me get through it. The more I opened up, the more I saw that I made the right decision. I had nothing to be afraid of. I don’t regret it, but I wished I had found help long before I realized I needed it.

It took time, but I am here. I am ecstatic knowing that in one short week, I will be pursuing something that I love. Contrary to my prior beliefs, I do not see anything that I have been through as a failure. It was terrible, but I would not take any of it back. Sometimes, the road to your happiness can be rocky. Hardships are brought into your life to be a stepping stone to get you where you need to be. It won’t happen overnight, but things do get better. I am surrounded by love and support, I am excited for my future, and — most importantly — I am happy.