Friday Findings: My 10 School Essentials

 

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photo credit: Robert Coates

Happy happy Friday, friends, and what a glorious day it’s been! Today I had a chance to stop over at my old school and see some of my favorite former students as they prepare for their first day of school this coming Tuesday. So many bright faces and so much energy filled the halls as they set up their lockers. I kind of miss those days, or at least the idea of a locker space–a place to call your own and store your belongings so you’re not lugging your entire life around with you wherever you go. Cherish it, people! I imagine the closest thing to that would be having an office, but what about those college and graduate students who don’t have such a luxury? I suppose we have no choice but to bring our essentials, and today, I’m sharing my own! What are yours? Comment below!

 

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Thoughtful Thursday: 6 Tips for a Great School Year

IMG_0519Happy Thursday, friends! It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since I’ve been a student, and since graduating from graduate school (the first time around), I’ve now spent those five years in between on the other side as a teacher. With every new school year there comes a similar level of anxiety and excitement about what it will bring, and in those moments, I can’t help but ask myself: Will I get through the curriculum? Will my students enjoy themselves and learn the material? Will I finally strike that work-life balance? And while I’m just a few short weeks away from returning to the classroom as a student, I find myself asking similar questions: Will I learn a lot? What kind of learner am I? Will I form meaningful relationships with my professors and peers? Do I remember how to study? Will I finally conquer procrastination and complete my assignments to the best of my ability? It’s so easy to get bogged down with feelings of doubt, fear, and anxiety. After all, change is never easy. Luckily, there are things we can do to help ease the transition. Here are a few tips I’ve shared with students in the past as a teacher and will now be reminding myself of as a student. Hopefully, they’ll help you, too!

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Wellness Wednesday: Chickpea Salad

IMG_1390Happy Wednesday, friends! We’ve made it to the halfway point of the week, and I think that calls for a quick celebration, don’t you? But a closer end to the week does mean a closer start to the school year, which is totally fine–remember, we’ve got this! I want you to realize, though, that this also means we can’t stay up as late as we want, wake up when we feel like it, or take our sweet time making and eating whatever we want whenever we want it. Time won’t always be on our side when the school year resumes, so we’ll need to maximize and prioritize as much of it as possible. With so much on our plates (pun intended), putting food on it shouldn’t be a stressful and time-consuming ordeal. So keep reading for a quick, simple, and protein-packed dish that will fill you up and cancel out all that ice cream and pizza you’ve been munching on all summer long. You can make a big batch of it and spread it out over the course of the week. At least that’s one less thing you have to worry about, right?

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Tuesday Tunesday: Back to School Party

IMG_1368Happy Tunesday, friends! I’m sure we’ve all heard Alice Cooper’s 1972 hit “School’s Out,” right? Epic guitar riffs combined with Alice Cooper’s passionate vocals make us more and more excited to end the school year and enjoy summer break. What about “After Today” from A Goofy Movie? A class Disney tune that truly captures what’s so great about leaving school behind for the summer. With so many songs like “School’s Out” and “After Today” that celebrate this long-awaited, much-needed, and well-deserved respite, I can’t help but wonder if there are any songs that pump us up for a new academic year? I know so many of you have already started or are preparing to head back this week or next. In fact, I’m also returning to school (graduate degree number TWO) at the end of September, and I think we could all use a moment to not only mourn summer’s end, but also–and more importantly–celebrate the start of the 2017-2018 school year. Now, I’m going to be honest, finding back to school songs to pump us up proved to be more difficult than I imagined, but I eventually found some that I hope will at least inspire and empower us as we return to school. Whether you’ve got first-day jitters or question your ability, there’s a song for practically every occasion. Here’s to an incredible school year!

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Motivational Monday: But You Can Even

img_0758.jpgHappy Monday, friends! You know those moments when something overwhelming or ridiculous happens, and people spout the phrase, “I can’t even”?  Sure, there are the funny and outlandish times that elicit such a response–oftentimes said through tears of laughter– but then there are more serious things that happen and we respond in the same way. I’m guilty of it, and have actually started thinking a lot about the things I avoid because they’re difficult or stressful. What are my “can’t evens”? Sometimes it’s feeling like I can’t be bothered to work out any more than I already do because I’m not seeing the results I expect. Sometimes it’s feeling like I can’t sit and write a blog post because I don’t see the fruits of my labor. Sometimes it’s choosing not to speak to someone because past interactions have proved to be challenging. But when I choose to avoid engaging fully and believe that “I can’t even,” it actually does more harm than good. By disengaging, I’m missing out on really living and growing. What’s more is that it’s also a form of succumbing to pessimism and negativity.

So, what if instead of saying “I can’t even” we said (and believed), “I can”? How might we approach life and the circumstances it throws our way? Would we feel more empowered? More optimistic? More prepared to conquer? More willing to at least give it our best shot? When we shift our thinking and attitude and start to believe in ourselves and in our own power, incredibly amazing things happen. Maybe life doesn’t get easier, but you sure do get stronger, things feel lighter, and you are happier. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like a life worth living. Challenge yourself to “can even” this week, especially for those heading back to school and work, and see what positive changes come your way!

Motivational Monday: Here’s to a Magical Year

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Happy Monday, friends! If you’re living in the States, then you know today is the day people have been talking about for years! It’s the first time since 1918 that we’ll experience a coast to coast total solar eclipse! Can you tell I’m super excited? Did the three consecutive exclamation marks give it away? Just as it was during last month’s new moon, today marks an incredibly magical moment, one that people (ahem, astrologists and astrology followers) believe has the power to bring about supernatural change. It’s a time when believers encourage us to set clear intentions or even capture the magic to use when we need it most. Whatever today means to you, whatever this rare opportunity may or may not bring, it also falls at a time when many students are heading back to school. I know it’s hard to believe summer has already come (or is quickly coming) to an end, and while you’ll have papers to write, equations to solve, and extracurriculars to tackle, this total solar eclipse could be just what you need. We’re nearly four months away from 2018. Have you accomplished any of your goals? What’s stopping you from reaching your dreams? Maybe it’s will-power? Maybe it’s focus? Maybe it’s direction? Maybe it’s just you standing in your own way?  Whatever it is, perhaps this is the perfect time–a special time–to reevaluate your goals, ask the universe for guidance, articulate your dreams, and do what needs to be done for them to manifest. And if you get to sprinkle a little total eclipse magic over them beforehand, then that’s even better, right? So, here’s to a magical year– may we each discover our purpose, may we make this world a better and brighter place, and may we find true happiness, prosperity, and success. May it be so.

How will you celebrate the eclipse? What are you hoping will come to pass this year? Comment below!

Motivational Monday: It Starts With Love

heartI’m going to keep today’s post short and simple because the solution to what happened this weekend (and every day before and after) is just that: short and simple. It’s hard to leave a weekend like this feeling anything but anger and sadness. Surprised? Not so much. Events like what occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia happen on a daily basis, they’re just oftentimes not as explicit, violent, or demonstrated on such a mass scale. The thing about racism, white supremacy, xenophobia, religious intolerance, homophobia, and sexism–more specifically–is that they are insidious and they don’t have to be overt with the stereotypical symbols of hate, like burning crosses, angry mobs, and lynch ropes, to be painful and harmful. Acknowledge that. Acknowledge your own bias and the beliefs you have that cause you to judge and mistreat people who are different from you. Acknowledge your own privilege. Have conversations. Do the work and recognize that that work won’t be easy. Do it anyway because at the end of the day our job on this earth is to make life easier, happier, and better for everyone, not just some. The only way things are going to change is if you do something to change it. 200 + years is a long time to hate others. It’s also a long time to live in fear. Isn’t it time we actually do something about this? Love on someone today. Maybe it starts with love. Maybe that’s the first step in the right direction. Maybe we could at least try.