Recharging & Motivation

Hello, World.

I don’t know about you, but lately the motivation to do homework is lacking. Sometimes I go through lulls where I just don’t feel like I’m accomplishing much, or I just feel generally unmotivated. I’m not sure why I get like this, but I feel like everyone has their moments when things just aren’t going how we planned, our classes aren’t the most interesting thing we’ve ever taken, and we just feel…stagnant. When I ended Jan Term, I was feeling awesome. I felt like I knew what I wanted to do, I loved reading again, and I felt like I had something to say. But then Spring Semester came, and all my classes are kind of overlapping, and I’m filling my science requirement, and I just… don’t want to do homework. I’ve read much of the material assigned this semester in previous classes (ex: John Smith, Founding Brothers, and accounts of the encounter with Cortes). Yesterday, however, a guest speaker came to SMC to give a talk about religion’s role in the justification of slavery, and his resume was five pages long, and he was so knowledgeable, and you could tell he was really passionate about the topic, and I couldn’t help but think that I wanted to be like that someday. I want to do something I love, I want to know a lot about something I care about, and I want to be able to research topics I love, and that aren’t required. However, I understand that this college experience is important, and a major step to getting to be as successful as the historian that visited my campus (Paul Finkelman, for those who would like to read his books). The thing is, no matter where we are in life, we’re going to have lulls. We’re going to have moments when motivation is a foreign term, and when we feel like we’re just standing still as time passes around us, and we’re going to feel like we’re not accomplishing anything. These are natural feelings in life. Here’s the thing though: It’s okay to feel this way. It’s completely okay to feel unmotivated for a few days, but try to make it fall on a weekend. Okay, just kidding. Just hold your head up, and try to get your spark back.

Here are my favorite ways to get my motivation back when it’s lacking:

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First, make a four-year plan. Even if you don’t end up following it exactly, making a four-year plan will get you thinking about the future, the things you want to accomplish, and how you’re going to accomplish them. This may overwhelm some people, but I personally love doing this because it makes me refocus, assess what I really want, and forces me to think of ways I can do all of the things in the plan.

Second, reading a few chapters from my favorite book allows me to decompress, remember things I love and have a connection to, and allows me to remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Honestly, this is a great stress reliever, and stress is usually one of the reasons people become unmotivated. When I’m stressed, I tend to get overwhelmed, and while I still manage to get everything done, it’s much more difficult.

Third, I go running. Yes, you read that correctly. While I’m not a HUGE runner, it is actually one of the first things I turn to when I’m unmotivated. Running pushes me, it allows me to clear my head, and it gets my endorphins going. All of these help me find motivation again.

Fourth, turn on some music (your favorite group, perhaps?), and just think. Maybe do a creative project while listening to music, or just decompress so that when you start to work again, you feel refreshed and ready to tackle a project. This may seem like a weird way to get motivated since I’m essentially telling you to get motivated by doing nothing, but I promise you, it’ll recharge your dead motivation battery.

Fifth, do something that is purely creative and purely you. When I’m really lacking motivation for homework, I take a few minutes to write a short story, or to write a poem, and sometimes I even get weird wild ideas to write a play. I find that if I completely lack motivation to do homework, it’s better to just take a break, work on something else, and come back to the original task. When I’m not motivated, I don’t concentrate as well, and then I don’t focus, and then I have to go back and re-read things. This ends up just taking more time, and is actually harmful to my study routine. So, if I need a break, I take one. Also, working on something creative can get the energy going, and the original task seems much easier.

The methods for regaining motivation I’ve listed should all have a time limit. Feeling unmotivated? Take fifteen minutes to an hour to do one of these. Don’t let yourself just go completely off track and spend six hours on something creative because then you’ll be too tired to work again. Think of these activities like a nap, but instead of sleeping you’re doing something productive.

What do you do to regain motivation?

Truly,
Callie Leigh

Support Systems in College

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Hello, World.

Something that’s consistently on my mind lately is support systems, specifically in college. If you’re like me, and went to college just far enough from your family that you notice their absence, then you know that sometimes it’s hard not having the constant support of family and lifetime friends around you constantly. I am one of those people who tries to talk to their mom or dad everyday, and when I’m really upset, I immediately call my mom in desperate need of reassurance. Most people assume that college friends kind of assume the role of your family, and that they will inevitably be your support system. Sometimes it’s hard, though, because if you’re going through something really heavy, or are super proud of something but you just feel a little unsupported, finding you “support group” on campus can be difficult.

At home, my friend Rossy is always happy for me, always accepting of me, and always willing to lend an ear when I’m upset. In college, I have a similar support system with my friends, but sometimes I feel like I’m dwelling on things too much, and I can feel them becoming bored, and I hate to feel like a burden. But again, I’m not saying I don’t have a support system in college, I’m simply saying that sometimes is can be hard to adjust to having a support system that is predominantly people who have known you forever, to people who have only known you for a year. It can be a change, and it can be difficult, but I wanted to offer some words of advice about finding your niche, and ways to feel supported while away from your main support system.

First, I’m a huge advocate of journaling. I find this a little more therapeutic than talking to people, because it gives me the opportunity to vent about life, and just get all my thoughts out without having anyone give me advice. This also removes the possibility of people being negative about something you’re happy about, or saying something that comes off as rude, even if it was not intended to be rude. Journals are the most forgiving confidant, so if you’re “having a lot of feeling,” don’t make a cake of rainbows and smiles, but pick up a journal (Barnes and Noble has some really beautiful leather journals).

Second, call someone you love. With all the technology available today, it’s much easier to bring your support system to you, even if they’re not physically with you. There’s also Skype, FaceTime, and other forms of communication where you can see the person if you prefer that to just their voice. I really enjoy talking to my family when I need to talk to someone, but don’t feel like to talking to someone at school.

Third, I would suggest being your own best cheerleader. I know that sounds ridiculously cheesy, but honestly, sometimes we have to keep our heads up, even if the rest of the world is trying to dim our shine. If you don’t believe in yourself, and know your values or goals, then no one else is going to know either, and therefore be unable to offer you much comfort or advice. Being proud of who you are is important, so remember that if you accomplish something awesome, to remind yourself that you’re capable of whatever you set your mind to! I feel like this post relates a lot to my thoughts about Drama, and ways to avoid it. Part of finding a support system is finding people who love you, support you, and compliment you when it’s appropriate. Make sure you surround yourself with positivity because positivity breeds more positivity, and you want people who encourage you to be yourself and be successful. Try to avoid people who are constantly negative because that will make your support system negative, and well, a negative support system isn’t a support system at all, is it?

How do you make sure you feel supported in college?

Truly,
Callie leigh

Meet Me in the City

Hello, World.

Jan Term is almost over, and I couldn’t be more sad about it! This month has gone by so quickly, and this week is crazy busy. I have a 10-page paper due Friday by noon, a Resident Advisor application to complete, an Orientation Leader application to also complete, three review boards, and you know, a life to maintain. So I’m starting to go insane, but I wanted to share some photos from a trip to the City last weekend! I love the City, and I love days with my friends where I’m not utterly stressed out even more. During this trip I had my first macaroon, saw the Painted Ladies, and got sushi (which is always a great thing). I like to explore new places or things every time I get to go to SF, so I’m really happy it was a successful day!
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Wearing: blazer: Nordstrom (old) // shirt: Lucky Brand (similar) // jeans: Lucky Brand // Boots: Miss Mooz (old) 

Have a great Tuesday! I have to get back to revising that paper I was talking about.

Truly,
Callie Leigh

The Best Way To Spread Christmas Cheer

Hello, World.

I thought I would share how we decorate for Christmas at my house. Similar to Halloween, we do it big, and we go all out with our decorations. Each year, my mom picks a new “theme” that she wants to follow with her decorations. Most of her decorations are her creation, as in various pieces she buys and then puts together to make all of it come together. She likes the house to be decorated when I get home from school so that I start feeling the Christmas cheer as soon as finals are finished. And the Christmas carols, those play until the New Year. So, here’s how we do it:

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So, there you have Christmas at my house. It’s quite the ordeal, but I love it! How do you decorate? DIY, store bought, or family pieces that have passed through generations?
Truly,
Callie Leigh

These Days.

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Hello, World.

What have I been up to? A whole lot of nothing, which is ideal for the first few days following finals. Finals were not my favorite this semester, and I am so thankful they are over. I think I did well, but I am definitely glad the semester from Hell is finally over.

Drinking: Coffee. I used to hate coffee, and would only drink it if I REALLY needed a caffeine boost, and tea wasn’t cutting it, but lately, I drink coffee daily. Maybe it’s the constant state of exhaustion that’s consumed me for the past few months, or maybe it’s that I’ve actually acquired a taste for it (Peets or Dunkin’ Donuts preferably), but I actually enjoy cuddling up with a cup of coffee. I still love tea though, and despite my current love affair with coffee, tea will always hold my heart.

Weather: Baby, it’s cold outside. It’s not quite as cold as last week, but it’s still pretty cold, and I love it. I love any excuse to put together a cute outfit, and layering is my favorite, so the chilly season is my favorite to dress for by far.

Reading: I’m currently reading for pleasure for the first time in roughly three months, and it feels amazing. Being a bibliophile during school is quite difficult because with all my required reading, it’s nearly impossible to find time to read “for fun” (one of the many problems that comes with being an English major). So, what book is first on my Christmas list? Just One Year. A companion to Just One Day, it chronicles the male lead’s point of view of the year following a whirlwind romance. Cheesy stuff, huh? Maybe, but I’m all for cheesy romance at the moment. I need some carefree reading material (especially after reading the Bible nonstop for 3 months), and I need a little romance, a little cheesy romance in my life.

Thinking: I would say nothing because the whole “doing nothing” is my mantra at the moment, part of my post-finals middle finger to the world thing, but I would be lying if I said I was thinking nothing. I’m currently thinking about what Damon said in one of the early seasons of Vampire Diaries. He told Elena, in their first meeting, “You want a love that consumes you. You want passion and adventure, and even a little danger…” Since I’m catching up on all my shows lately, I keep thinking about this quote. I feel like this is what everyone wants, not only this quote, but all the over-the-top romances that are portrayed on TV. We all want to be woo-ed, and we all want to find that person, and we all want to have a little danger (why do girls tend to go for the bad boys? Stereotypes happen for a reason). I don’t want to get all preachy, but I just think it’s funny how people say they’re independent, and how they love being single, and how it’s all better if you can just have fun, but we cling to these TV romances, and think in the back of our minds how it’s so fake it’s real, but secretly hope we’ll get it someday. Besides, who wouldn’t want their very own Damon? I know I sure would (wink wink).

Excited About: I’m SO relieved that the semester is over. I know you’re going to hate hearing this over and over again on here, but I really cannot reiterate enough how much I despised the past semester. While I loved each of my professors, and learned a ton from each of them, this semester was a ton of work, and with so much going on in my personal life, it was really hard to find the motivation and concentration to put my all into my school work like I normally do. I’m also excited to have a few weeks at home to really figure things out for me, and think about what my new years resolutions are going to be for 2014. I have a feeling many of them will involve improving myself, and figuring out who I am, where I’m going, and who is important to me. And now that I’ve spent a majority of this section venting about how relieved I am about school being over for a bit, I must say I’m excited for JanTerm because it means seeing my friends, and having my absolute favorite professor!

Missing: It’s funny how people affect our lives in such a short amount of time. I’ve only known my friends at college for a year and a half, and I feel like I’ve known them forever. As soon as I get home, I’m so thankful to have time with my family, but after a day or two I miss my friends from school desperately. Luckily, when I go back to school it’ll be JanTerm, and that means only one class, and a month-long stress free time with my friends. JanTerm last year was phenomenal. I had so much fun, and there was so much time for activities, which is always nice. I know it’ll be different this year, but I know it’ll be the best.

Addicted to: My stress level decreased immensely in the last few weeks, and I couldn’t be more thankful. I’m cherishing the ability to just be for now, and to just enjoy life. This may not be an addiction, but they say addiction is unhealthy, so maybe it’s good that I’m addicted to not being addicted.

Truly,
Callie Leigh

13 Things About Me

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Hello, World.

I thought something fun to do would be to share 13 things about myself. Things that are fun, silly, or serious, or a combination. I hope people read my blog, and enjoy what I write, but I also want my readers to understand who I am and where I’m coming from. We all have unique perspectives, but some of these items to follow reveal a little about how and why I have my particular point of view about life. Enjoy, and I hope you can relate to some of them!

1) I have a love hate relationship with my height. I’m 5’ 11”, and I have a hard time deciding if I actually like being so tall or not. Sometimes I think it’s awesome, but other times it’s hard. I’m usually way taller than my friends, and it’s hard to buy jeans that aren’t specifically long. It’s also hard because in pictures I tower over everyone.

2) I have an obsession with Mumford and Sons. I discovered Mumford and Sons a while back, before they were well known, and before people thought they were cool (yes, that sounds hipster-ish, but it’s true). I listened to them non-stop for months, and was convinced I would figure out a way to attend one of their concerts (something I still plan to do). I love this group so much, and not just because they are phenomenal musicians, but also because they have deep, thought provoking lyrics, and I can always find a song that fits my mood. I watched an interview special with them when I stayed with my parents at the local hotel a few weeks ago, and remembered just how much I love their music and the individuals in the band.

3) I write fiction, plays, and more recently, poetry. Something about the written word just allows me to relax, and I feel like most of the time my mind thinks in stories. Not to be cliché, but people say Taylor Swift writes songs about her experiences, well, I write novels. The novel I’m currently working on deals with some of the events that occurred in the last few months in my life. I guess this is where I should say, be careful or you might end up in my novel… There is an element of truth to this. The novel I completed in high school featured aspects of a lot of people in my life at the time. But if I tell you I’m writing, please DO NOT ask me if you, as an entire being, is in my book because chances are you are not. I only include personality traits, events, or actions. I never fully base any one character on any one person. But anyway, I also like to write plays because I LOVE dialogue and plays give me much more freedom with dialogue. I’ve never written poetry, or at least I’ve never liked the poetry I wrote, but lately I’ve written a lot of poetry, and I really like what’s coming out. They say that major events can spur inspiration, and I’m beginning to think that is very true.

4) I believe in forgiveness. I like to be happy, and I don’t think it’s possible to be truly happy if you don’t forgive, but sometimes forgiving people is really difficult. It’s super hard to forgive people who really just break you down, or even worse, break your trust. I have a lot of walls up, and I’m a hard person to get close to (I admit this), and when people are dishonest with me or break my trust, it’s incredibly hard for me to forgive. I also have the tendency to take the expression, “forgive and forget,” too seriously. If I forgive people, I tend to forget them. I forget any kind of bond, friendship, or relationship we had, and I forget that they needed my forgiveness, and I cut them off. I don’t like this about myself, but it goes back to the walls I build around myself to keep from having things happen where my forgiveness is necessary. There is only one person I haven’t forgiven for something, but I’m trying to forgive because I believe forgiveness is vital to survival.

5) My most loved pastime is getting coffee with a friend and talking about life. I have a slight problem when it comes to coffees or teas. I’m simply addicted, and I spend way too much of my time in a coffee shop. I absolutely love getting a warm beverage and talking to my friends, old and new. I believe conversation is one of the most eye opening, soul searching, and authentic form of human communication. People who communicate well are my favorite, people who can show emotion are my favorite, and people who are authentic, genuine people are my favorite.

6) I find myself trying to please everyone. I care too much what people think, which is a little funny since I put my life on this blog and open myself up to all kinds of criticism. But alas, I have this tendency to please people not matter what that means for me. I find myself protecting people who don’t need protection, and I find myself doing things for people even if it’s not necessarily what’s best for me. I like to see people happy, and I do things to try and make everyone happy or pleased. This puts a lot of pressure on my (completely self-induced), but I really love seeing people happy, even if that means I may not be the happiest person.

7) I had an obsession with Native American culture when I was little. I researched the crap out of Native Americans when I was little, and often pretended to be one, making teepees in the orchards around my house, making beaded necklaces, etc. It’s a little weird, but it was something I found truly fascinating, and wanted to be a part of. I remember finding out I have Indian on my dad’s side of the family, and thinking it was the coolest thing ever. I was kind of a nerd, and still am, but I always find odd things captivating.

8) I wish to see the world. I have this burning desire to travel, which is why I would like to do a semester in London, so I can study and travel, and just get a fresh perspective on life. This is part of my bucket list, and it probably will remain on my bucket list for the rest of my life because no matter how much I travel, I will still want to see more.

9) My form of therapy is watching Gilmore Girls in bed, drinking tea, and crying. I am not one of those people who thinks crying is a form of weakness. I’m not the biggest crier, but I think sometimes crying is necessary. Since about sixth grade, whenever I was having a rough day, week, or month, I would watch my favorite show, drink a cup of hot tea, and cry. Crying is healthy, and I think it’s sad that our culture makes people feel broken or defeated if they cry. We are supposed to form tears sometimes, and crying doesn’t always have to be a negative. “Tears of joy,” anyone? I’ve become more of a crying person, as I’ve gotten older. When I was little I thought crying was a terrible thing, and I only cried during really terrible times, but now I cry when I’m just a little upset, when I’m happy, or when my whole life begins to unravel. I’m strong, but sometimes I just need to cry.

10) I’m scared to death people think I’m mean because I have a “rude” resting face. Now, I put ‘rude’ in quotations because I don’t think my resting face is rude, but this is something I’ve been told numerous times since I was little. People are always saying, “you seem uninterested,” “you’re so aloof,” or “she scares me because she has a mean face.” Personally, I think this ties back to my Tea Talk on Judgment, but alas, I really hate that people think I’m mean just because I’m not smiling 24-7. Again, I like to please people, I like to make people happy, and I don’t like when people think I hate them just because of my face. I know a lot of people that suffer from this resting face, and we all say the same thing: “it’s not like I intentionally glare at the world.” I don’t try to glare at people, and unless you’ve given me reason to think otherwise, I probably like you. So anyway, I don’t like that people think I’m mean.

11) I want to live on the East Coast for at least two years at some point in my life. My first college choice was Dartmouth, but I didn’t get in. Looking back, that was definitely for the best, but I still desperately want to live on the East Coast at some point in my life. I took a trip to NYC a few years ago, and fell in love with the city instantly. I also want to prove that I can deal with cold weather because people, when Dartmouth was my goal, told me I would freeze to death. But yeah, the East Coast would be cool.

12) My family is the most important thing to me. This is fairly self-explanatory, but I will still explain because I love discussing my family. My parents are two of the most incredible people I’ve ever met in my life, and I feel so blessed to have them. It makes me so sad when people tell me they have strained relationships with their parents because my parents have never failed to love me, accept me, and forgive me for being stupid at times. I hope to God that one day I have a love as beautiful as theirs, and I hope to be half the parent to my kids as they’ve been to me. My mother is my best friend, and I wouldn’t trade our relationship for anything in this world. She is always there for me, and assures me that I’m where I need to be, and that I have my whole life to figure things out. My father is my inspiration for everything, and I want nothing more than to make him proud. He’s also probably one of the coolest, most original people I’ve met, and he always reminds me that individuality is supreme. My sister, my other best friend, is hilarious. I promise you, I never stop laughing when I’m around her. We’ve had our ups and downs over the years, but I hope she knows that I truly love her, and I am so grateful for everything she is, and she is a beautiful person in every way, and she was the ultimate role model growing up because she showed me imperfection is perfect. She also assured me that I was good enough, and that I didn’t need to fit into some mold to be a good person. I also am blessed with amazing aunts and uncles, who never fail to make me happy.

13) I’m a work in progress. I’m still figuring myself out, I’m still growing as a person, I’m still learning everyday, and I’m still finding out what I want from this terribly insane ride called life.

Truly,

Callie Leigh

Scrapbook Love

Hello, World.

I mentioned before that I was working on a scrapbook of my first year at Saint Mary’s, and I finally completed it! It turned out great, and I’m looking forward to taking it with me to school this year, and showing my friends (especially the friends that are in it) our best and weirdest moments captured on film.

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When I graduated high school, I said I would make a scrapbook, but ultimately never did, and now I wish I had. Having a scrapbook is fun because it has all the photos, tickets, and random things you collect over the course of a year in a single, organized place. I spent a lot of time on my scrapbook because I really wanted it to be special and creative, not like something I had just slapped together in 30 minutes.

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One thing that I learned about myself while making my scrapbook is that I’m really good at taking photos of events, and of my friends at said events, but I’m really quite terrible at taking of myself and friends, or of myself at events. Hopefully I can improve, and take more pictures of my friends and me at events this year!

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I had such a wonderful year at Saint Mary’s, and despite the ups and downs and challenges I faced, I think overall I was successful this year. Looking through the pages of my scrapbook I can see myself visibly changing, but I also know that a lot of change happened within. I’ve grown a lot as a person in the last year, I’ve matured, and I’ve learned how to better handle situations that make me uncomfortable. Being able to look at all the moments that composed my first year in college, and the moments that left an imprint in my character, is not only a fun experience, but also (for lack of a better term) an awe-inspiring experience.

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Another thing I love about my scrapbook? That I can watch my friendships form, get stronger, and my relationships with fellow Gaels grow as the pages turn! It’s a weird feeling to see my friends and I at Oasis in September, when we had only just met, and looked slightly stiff and awkward, then to see us at the Giants game in April, looking so close and goofy and happy together!

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As far as my method for scrapbooking, I printed almost every picture I took in last year, went through and divided them into events/categories, then went and got some fun supplies and paper. I started with my favorite events or days, and went in that order before I organized them chronologically to bind them in the scrapbook I picked. I’m a big fan of journaling, so while I did use premade, glittery letters and whatnot, I also added my own handwriting and random thoughts about events. For example, at the end, on the final page, I wrote a couple sentences about my first year, and the fact that I cannot wait for the next three. I’m hoping to make a scrapbook of each year, but that may be more ambitious than I currently realize, so we’ll see!

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Do you like to scrapbook? Or journal and scrapbook at the same time?

Truly,

Callie Leigh