Finals week is drawing nearer, and stress levels are rising. As part of my “Mental Health Mondays” series I wanted to share something I learned my first semester of PT school that has resonated with me.
I’m a yoga teacher and I think that means I’m pretty much drawn to affirmations and mantras. One night at the weekly tutoring session right before my first grad school exam, our tutor shared her “Smart Person Affirmation” with us. Naturally, one of my friends and I memorized it and we say it together before every exam.
I am a smart person. I know things.
When I don’t know things, I guess. I am a good guesser.
Nine times out of ten my first choice is the right choice.
I will use the test to take the test.
I want to pass. My teachers want me to pass.
And therefore I shall pass.
When saying it with friends I would take turns telling each other you want them to pass. You can also swap out “my teacher” for the actual professor’s name (we’ve had a few teachers tell us of course they want us to pass as they hear us saying this).
The most important part of this is to actually believe the words you are saying. The mind is a powerful tool and life is way easier when your attitude backs you up!
Cue the usual, “it’s been so long since I posted” intro.
Today I had such a great experience I wanted to share my thoughts as soon as I got home from lab and could open my laptop. Here’s the deal, I go to the counseling center at my college. It’s something that I’m not necessarily ashamed of but I also don’t share that as my fun fact when I’m meeting someone new. I’ve contemplated sharing my experiences with counseling on here before but I didn’t feel really compelled to do it until now. I briefly talked about it in my post about “The Most Important Lessons College Taught Me” but today was such a great day I just need to put it out there. If you’re reading this waiting for your sign to go to counseling: this is it. This is the sign!
I’ve seen positive changes in myself.
I used to be just a whole ball of stress. It’s actually funny because before exams people would always tell me how calm I was and mentally I would say, “If only you knew.” And here’s the thing, being stressed is good. It shows you care, but too much of anything isn’t good. And there’s a fine line between wanting to do well and obsessing over it. At some point stress isn’t helpful, it only hinders you. Last year the stress was just too much and even during exams if I started to get stressed I’d be sitting there thinking “okay let’s just get an 83” instead of actually thinking about what was on the exam! Isn’t it crazy that we let ourselves waste so much energy going down the negative thoughts rabbit hole.
Fast forward to this year, I feel so much calmer. When people tell me I’m calm I think, “of course I am, I’m vibrating higher.” A whole post on that is coming up soon! I don’t feel compelled to stay up until God knows when reading the slides “one more time”. I can appreciate all the effort I put into studying and when I’m taking an exam I can think through what I do know so that I can logically figure it out. I’ve even seen improvement in my confidence in my practical skills and patient interactions. I’m not saying I never get stressed anymore because that’s just not realistic but I’m much better at reeling it in than I used to be.
Other people have seen positive changes in me.
This was the reason I was inspired to write this post. Today I had a meeting with my academic advisor and she asked me how I was doing this semester. Just to give you a little background, I went to her office maybe four or five times last spring, and I cried three or four of those times. There were some times last year where I was just like I don’t know how anyone can do this, I don’t think I can do this. My advisor has known me since I was a freshman and she told me that prior to starting the grad phase, I had the grades to do this and that I just needed to figure out how to handle all of this new stress. So I continued going to the counseling center and working on myself and when I had my meeting with my advisor today it went completely differently.
When she asked me how I was doing and I told her that I was doing much better in my classes and I was just overall more confident in myself she told me that she saw it too. It’s one thing to have that feeling that you really are doing well but to have that validation from someone else is unreal. A year before she had been my proctor for my modalities check off and I failed. I set everything up correctly and said my parameters but when asked to repeat them I had doubted myself and changed my answer. This semester I had her as my proctor for my mobilizations practical and I went in so much calmer than I had been the year before. Just the mindset I went in with set me so far ahead. When she asked me to repeat the type of mobilization I chose I did so as if there could not possibly be another right answer. And I earned myself an A.
After my advising meeting, I was driving to the library to pick up a book I had on hold and “Good as Hell” came on the radio and can I just say I was 100% feeling good as hell. And once I finish writing this post I’ll be adding that to my vibrate higher playlist.
Mental health is just as important as physical health.
Yes, I’ll say it louder for the people in the back, mental health is just as important as physical health. Maybe it’s just the Springfield College spirit, mind, and body philosophy in me but it’s true! You are your best self when you take care of yourself! You can read more about me talking about how I balance my triangle here.
Life is hard.
I can’t imagine a better reason! I truly believe that everyone can benefit from counseling at some point in their life. Just because you start going doesn’t mean you’re stuck going every week for the rest of your life. I’ve actually gone to counseling twice now, I went second semester of my sophomore year and then I started going again the fall of my senior year.
I think in some cases counseling is very similar to physical therapy in that the goal is to not have you go forever. While there are some people that may benefit for being in counseling for the long haul (and there’s nothing wrong with that!) most people don’t need to go once a week for the rest of their life. Here’s one more tip: your therapist cannot fix all your problems. You fix all your problems by implementing the strategies you learned in counseling.
And there it is, the reasons why I go to counseling. My hope in sharing this is that it adds to the already present conversation that counseling isn’t for crazy people, it’s for everyone.
Just a reminder, a good counseling relationship is just that, a relationship. It may take you time to find someone that you really click with so don’t give up if your first counselor isn’t the one!
The week before my freshman year I was in the Happiest Place on Earth reading an Odyssey Online article about the most Magical Place on Earth. Yes I was sitting in the Animal Kingdom Lodge looking at giraffes and reading an article about Springfield College that went viral, even among students who hadn’t had orientation yet. I still remember reading that article and being so excited, fast forward four years and I can confirm it is the other most Magical Place on Earth.
But I’m not here to tell you about why you should choose Springfield College. If you wanted that speech you should have come on one of my tours! Instead this is going to be what Springfield College taught me.
Spirit, Mind, and Body: Keep it balanced people
At Springfield College we are always throwing around upside down equilateral triangles. Why? Because all of those traits are equally important and if one outweighs the other, the triangle is just going to fall over.
But even at a school where everyone agrees finding balance is important, it doesn’t always happen. Some Sundays I felt like I had no time to go to church. We had one mass every Sunday at 4pm and some times I just felt like if I did go I would sit there for an hour and make mental checklists of everything I had done and everything I still needed to do. So instead I listened to my “If Not Me” playlist or I found some podcasts like Catholic Stuff you Should Know and The Christian Feminist Podcast.
That being said some semesters I was so on top on my faith. I even became a Eucharistic minister during my time at school. The priest at my school has been so supportive of us. He takes the time after mass to get to know us and he came to a number of my dance shows. He even showed up to baccalaureate with presents for the seniors!
As for the mind aspect, if any category got priority it would be mind. I mean it was college. Keep in mind that while you are in school, your grades are not the most important thing! Focus on learning what you need to but do not get caught up on being the best. Much easier said than done but two years from now, when I’m treating a patient they really aren’t going to ask me what grade I got on the third kinesiology exam.
And body, this one can get swept under the rug too. Between teaching yoga and dancing I am pretty active but I definitely did not hit the gym as much as I have when I wasn’t taking grad classes. But I have a few easy fixes for you.
First, read your notes on the bike. I’m not really into spin but sometimes reading on the bike was really nice. This also works for the elliptical but my eyes cannot focus on a piece of paper when on the elliptical. Another solution: record yourself reading the notes and then listening to them. One of my friends did this and shared her recordings with me and now I could study on the elliptical! Then I started making my own!
DISCLAIMER: In the spirit of keeping your triangle balanced, do not study at the gym unless it’s midterms/finals week! You deserve an hour to yourself!
Your People Will Find You
One of the scariest things about starting at a new school is making new friends. I was in the unofficial Facebook group (that’s where Allison and I kinda met, kinda not, but that’s a story for another time) and Quad (an app for students to meet each other) and I was so worried about finding my people.
Lucky enough for me my best friends were all on my freshman year floor. The girls I lived with for the next three years mainly came from the third floor of Reed Hall. While we met a few more people throughout the year, our friendship started in the common room when we watched Disney movies every Friday or Saturday night.
When I gave tours at school one of the my most frequently asked questions was “What’s been my favorite memory so far?” This was definitely a tough one but I always had to explain that there’s not one thing, but it’s all the little things. One story I shared with people happened my junior year when I was with three of my roommates in our suite. One of our roommates had said, “Maya aren’t you making popcorn?” a little too late and as soon as Maya opened the microwave smoke came out. So the three of them were on top of our counters, opening windows, and fanning the smoke away from the detector because no one wants to be those people. You may be asking what was I doing? I was sitting on the couch, laughing, and filming the whole thing. It’s such a silly thing but in my opinion, those moments mean the most.
You are Your Own Biggest Advocate
No one is going to look out for you like you can. And no one knows exactly what you need like you do. I’ve learned how to advocate for myself in a number of ways over my time in college.
The night before we graduated a few of us were sitting on the green. And someone was asking the greatest thing you did in the past four years. We went around the circle and when it was my turn I said my greatest accomplishment was taking my mental health seriously. To be completely honest, I’m not sure where that came from because I never really talk about the fact that I go to the counseling center unless someone else brings up that they go or it seems like someone should go and I tell them as a “hey there’s nothing wrong with going”. I’ve never had a problem with asking for help when it comes to getting a tutor so I don’t know why I had viewed counseling as any different. It all goes back to the previous lesson, keep your triangle balanced! If you need to talk to someone there’s no shame in that.
I’ve also learned how to advocate for myself with professors. It may seem scary because they are in a position of power, but no one is going to double check the grading rubric to make sure everything was scored right. If it is that important to you, you need to address it because no one else is going to lose sleep over it. Even if nothing ends up changing, you can go to sleep knowing you did all that you could.
Now I’m not saying your teachers don’t care about you. I’ve been fortunate to have amazing teachers my whole life and teachers really do put their heart and soul into your education. What I am saying is that everyone makes mistakes and if you have questions ask them! There’s no such thing as a stupid question, remember?
Here’s one last story about staying true to yourself. Our dance club has feedback sessions for all of the pieces in the spring show. Hear me out, getting feedback is not bad, it can be a helpful process but in my experiences it can also change the piece in a way that wasn’t the original intention. This is because feedback comes in two forms subjective and objective.
Subjective feedback is personal. It’s the “I appreciated…”, “I wonder what would happen if…”, or “I thought…”. While objective feedback is “You guys weren’t together”, “Your toes weren’t pointed”, “Your legs weren’t straight”.
I personally hate subjective feedback. While I can appreciate hearing about the moments that stuck out to people or the moments that didn’t feel quite right, that doesn’t mean I should change what I have created because someone didn’t get it. The application of feedback is tricky because each person views dance through a different lens, so how can you ever appeal to everyone in the audience? You. Can’t.
At this point you may be asking yourself, “Okay what’s the point?” The point is do not let anyone’s opinion change you if it is not a positive change. If their opinion does not help you grow, let it go. You cannot appeal to everyone, and the only person you need approval from is yourself.
And that’s it! Not all of the lessons I learned at Springfield, I didn’t think you wanted to hear about the convex-concave rules for joint mobilizations, but these are some of the most important lessons. Springfield College has shaped me into the person I am today, and while I will have student loans for years to come, the lessons were priceless.
Hey hey hey! It’s my first post as a college graduate! I wanted to share what I wore for some last minute ideas for anyone heading to a graduation in June.
Up first is Baccalaureate. At our school Baccalaureate is a senior run program and it’s a chance for students in our class to reflect on their experience at school. At first I didn’t even think I needed to pick out an outfit for Baccalaureate because I was going to be dancing in it.
As much as I loved the purple costumes, it didn’t look quite right hanging out of the bottom of our robes so I picked another purple dress.
I was actually about to put on a black dress and then I realized I had the unique opportunity of getting my grad cap to match my dress.
While my dress isn’t available on the Lilly website anymore, I have linked a similar style here. The Mila shift is a little more form fitting than the dress I wore but it has the bows on the side!
For graduation I wore the same white Lilly I wore when I graduated high school. In high school our robes were white so we pretty much had to go with a white dress but I thought it was just such a perfect dress that I had to wear it again.
The only problem? I’ve only worn it a handful of times since then but it actually started to yellow a little bit. The only thing I could think of to fix it was OxiClean, I kept hearing Billy Mays telling me it was the only way to whiten my dress and he was right! After two washes it was back to white!
I have linked two different white Lillys here. The first is the Aliza Midi dress, and it has very similar lace. The Maya Shift dress is also lace and it has the nicest neckline.
Let me know what you are wearing to graduation in the comments!
When I was younger my grandmothers used to watch me after school. One time when I was sick my Nana told me the 24 hour rule. The rule is that you’re only allowed to sit on the couch doing nothing for one day. Then you have to get up and carry on.
So why am I sharing this? I’ve started to apply this to when things aren’t going so well too. If you do bad on a test you deserve your 24 hour mourning period but at that point there is nothing you can do. You can’t go back and change how you studied, what you studied, or the answers you filled in. So why dwell on it?
Say you don’t get the work study job you really wanted? There’s more out there! I promise there is going to be something else out there. From my personal experience I have found that every time something has not worked out for me in the way I wanted I end up getting something even better in the long run.
I’ve definitely mentioned it before but it is so important to keep a positive state of mind going into anything. If you go into your next job interview with the feeling of not being good enough it’s going to show in your body language. If you’re constantly thinking you’re not going to be good enough, your interviewer is going to see you in the same light.
So give yourself 24 hours, your feelings are valid but don’t let yourself dwell on it! You can still be in your feelings after 24 hours you just can’t let your negative thoughts consume you!
Let me know how you shake off any bad juju in the comments!
Before I went back to school I took a solo trip to Boston so I just wanted to let you guys know what I was up to!
So I took the commuter rail in and got off at the Jersey Street stop.
Then I headed to the Museum of Fine Arts. My main goal of the day was to get Lilly Pulitzer shoes for my graduation but I love exploring museums so that was my first stop.
The MFA was amazing! They had so many interesting exhibits but my favorite was all of the Egyptian stuff. I started and ended my day in two different Egyptian sections. Looking back on it, I probably should have grabbed a map but I had so much fun just wandering around.
The most amazing thing about the way they set up the museum is how immersive it is. The ancient worlds sections looked like you were in an Egyptian tomb, you were able to step in a replica at one point, and they also had a reconstructed old New England house!
I also was able to stop by the Ansel Adams exhibit which was so amazing! I discovered one artist who takes pictures in reflections but I am completely blanking on their name!
After spending four hours wandering the hallways I still had so many different sections to explore but I set my sights on my new shoes.
If you haven’t been to Newbury Street you are missing out. It’s a bunch of stores that I hope one day I can afford all on one street! My first stop was to pick up these shoes that I cannot wait to show you!
Next I went to Trident Books on the complete other side of Newbury Street to pick up a book from their “Blind Date” with a Book section. This is a really interesting concept where they cover the books and draw pictures on the cover so that you have no idea what you are getting yourself into.
At this point in the day I was craving some pizza. Leaving Newbury Street behind me I headed to Eataly, and ate at their Pasta&Pizza restaurant. It was such a good margherita pizza! And I couldn’t go to Eataly without getting dessert so I got this amazing trio dessert!
After that it was time to catch the train and head home! I hope you enjoyed reading about another day in Boston, there’s so much to do there that every day is a new adventure!
Here is this week’s Friday Faves! This week is all about back to school! Let me know what your campus must haves are in the comments! Feel free to click on the link above which will take you to any of the things I mentioned!
2018 has been a huge year for me and I am so thankful for all of the lessons I learned this year. I am so ready to take everything I have learned in order to make 2019 the Year of Marissa!
If you didn’t understand that reference I ask that you shut your laptop immediately and start watching reruns of The Middle on ABC. It’s one of my favorite TV shows and if you didn’t already know… I am Sue Heck.
Now that you’ve binged watched all 9 seasons of The Middle let’s get on with the lessons I’ve learned…
Lesson 1: Take time for yourself.
This is something that I have struggled with so much this year and will probably continue to struggle with it in the upcoming year. But it is so important to schedule time for yourself every day. And yes, I said schedule it or else it’s going to get pushed to the bottom of the to do list.
One of the best ways I’ve been able to incorporate this into my studying is to use the Focus Keeper app. It keeps you on task for 25 minutes and gives you a five minute break. After four rounds of staying on task it gives you a longer 25 minute break.
Another way I’ve born able to incorporate “me time” into my everyday routine is to read every morning for 10-20 minutes. Instead of getting up and scrolling through instagram, I read instead!
You also need to plan time for yourself every week in a bigger way! Whether it’s having a movie night with my roommates or going out to dinner with some of my classmates after a huge test it’s so important to have ways to reward yourself for all the hard work you’re putting in.
Lesson 2: Change your perspective.
This is something I only started doing a month before the semester ended but it has definitely changed the way I think about things. There are always things we think we should be doing to feel the most prepared and that often leaves us feeling inadequate. Now I make two lists of things for the day: things I need to get done and things that would benefit me if I could do them today. By avoiding saying I should do this and should do that ad replacing it with things I have to do today and things that would benefit me I avoid the daunting laundry list of things that if I don’t finish them I will end up feeling overwhelmed.
This next one is one I say in someone’s Instagram story that I plan on using this semester. Replace why is this happening to me with what is this trying to teach me?
I firmly believe that by changing the way you look at things, the things you look at change (Wayne Dyer) and I will share any other ways to change your internal dialogue with you as I come across them!
Lesson 3: Believe in yourself.
If I have learned one test taking strategy this semester it is to go into the exam confidently. I performed way better on the five finals I had in six days at the end of the semester than the seven exams I had in seven weeks during the school year.
During our seven weeks of exams, I constantly felt like I wasn’t prepared. I just took a test and then I only had a few days to go through it all again, it seemed never ending. I constantly felt defeated and I was not ready to take whatever test that week entailed, I was caught up in the “should have done this, should have done that” game. During finals I had to adjust my studying pattern, I knew I wouldn’t have the time I thought was adequate because we were squeezing all of these tests into a shorter amount of time. Between accepting that there wasn’t enough time in a day, and realizing I had prepared myself to the best of my ability I went into these tests much more confidently and it paid off!
Another thing is to not compare yourself to others. In an age where social media is everything this is so much easier said than done. When I was asking an upperclassman for advice we were talking about grades and she asked me if I tole people the numbers I got and I said well yeah we always talk about the numbers (pretty much down to the decimal point) when the grades are released. And she told me there’s nothing wrong with talking about how well you’re doing or if you’re struggling in a class but forget about the numbers. In 2021 it won’t matter what I got in each class (as long as it’s above an 83!) and it won’t matter what my class rank is, I’ll still be able to call myself a doctor.
I hope you enjoyed a look into my 2018 and how I’m going to carry those lessons into 2019! One way I am going to stay mindful of these things so I don’t get caught up in all of the stress is to print these three things out and keep them above my desk.
I’m also going to be doing a goal board with my mom before I head back to school so I will keep you updated on that. 2019 is going to be such a big year for me: in May I’ll be graduating and in September I’m going to be moving into an off campus house I’m renting! This next semester is going to be full of a ton of lasts but I can’t wait to see where this year takes me! Let me know what you are leaving in 2018 and what you have to look forward to in 2019!
I wanted to share a super simple recipe with you guys if you need a last minute thing to bring to a New Year’s Eve party! I made Christmas Crack as a gift for my grandmothers this year but switch out the Christmas bow for silver or gold ribbon and you are all set to ring in the New Year!
Preheat the oven to 350 F
Cover your jelly roll pan (9×13) with aluminum foil. You can spray the aluminum foil with cooking spray to make your life a little easier but I’ve never had trouble peeling it off. Line the tray with saltine crackers.
Start with melting butter on medium heat. Once the butter is melted, mix the butter and sugar in a pot on medium heat. Boil for 3-5 minutes. Keep stirring until it has thickened. You can add 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract here!
Pour the mixture evenly over the saltines. Make sure it reaches the edges!
Bake for 5-10 minutes. Then remove from the oven.
Cover the crackers with chocolate chips. Give the chocolate chips a few minutes to melt and then you can spread to cover the top! Once you’ve spread the chocolate leave in the fridge for at least an hour to cool.
Step 7: Optional
Break up and serve in a mason jar with a cute bow!
I can’t believe it’s that time of year already! This is one of the most exciting times of years for college kids, it’s almost time to reunite with your best friends for another year of fun! I wanted to write a post about my back to school necessities. Whether you are an incoming freshman or you’re like me coming back for year four, this post is for you!
Flashcards: my lifesaver! I would not be where I am today without flashcards. While I do still use physical flashcards make sure you check out Quizlet! It’s an online flashcard website where you can make your own cards or use another user’s. My favorite thing about Quizlet is the learn feature, it really helped me out in my Healthcare Language class as well as some of my summer classes.
Colored pens: I never thought I would be a colored pen person. While I do like keeping my agenda as organized and thorough as can be, I never liked the idea that I could be writing notes, accidentally use the wrong color, and then have to start all over again! Over the summer I bought some just to try and they ended up being so helpful! I personally find them the most beneficial when I’m comparing things or writing out pros and cons because I can associate different topics with different colors.
Sticky notes: the perfect little reminders! I have sticky notes of all shapes and sizes to make myself to do lists. You can fins these all over my agenda, laptop, desk…
A small stapler: Toto we’re not in high school anymore! There are no longer staplers in every room, I’ve learned this the heard way as I’ve made my way to the Rehab&Disabilities Studies office multiple times when I need to staple before I turn a paper in. By getting a smaller stapler you can throw it in your backpack so that if you reprint your essay/case report/lab report last minute you can staple it!
Packets of tissues: huge shoutout to my roommate Christine on this one! I never remember to buy the travel packs of tissues but she always has some on hand for when my nose will not stop running.
An agenda: an absolute must. I could not survive without my Lilly agenda. I’ve been using agendas since the fourth grade when our school handed them out and I have never looked back. I would be running around like crazy if I did not have all of my assignments and meetings written down.
A white board: another must. My summer roommates and I had a whiteboard in our living room that served as a weekly to do list where we could reading assignments, tests, and any special activities we had that week. Then we would each place a check mark next to whatever we had finished and once there were four check marks we could erase it! This whiteboard also served as an additional study tool when we would have people over, One person would “lead” the group and write down important information from a slide set. Because our summer semester was short I used my own white board to write a checklist of all the things we had due over the course of 8 weeks. While this only worked because it was such a short semester, you could modify it to be one month!
Crossing off that Foundations Exam 3 had to be the most satisfying thing!
The most exciting part of moving in to college! Getting to decorate your room!
Fun pillows: this is my favorite part as I absolutely love pillows!
Fairy lights: you will find this in practically every college girl’s room! There is nothing better than relaxing at the end of the day with the main light off and the fairy lights in full effect. It’s the perfect atmosphere to curl up with a book or binge on some Netflix.
Decorative boxes: I personally need all the storage I can get and I found the cutest ones at Michael’s last year! I label each box with sticky notes (see, they are a necessity!) and I store extra office supplies, medicine, winter hats/gloves, and my pay stubs in them!
Photos: your dorm is your home and you need to make it feel that way! Every year I buy a new strand of lights with paper clips, print out some of my favorite photos from the previous year, and hand them around my room. Here is the one I bought from Nordstrom Rack!
Seasonal decorations: again your dorm is your home! Whether it’s a Halloween door decorating contest (I won that my freshman year!) or a Christmas tree made of lights, there’s no better way to get in the holiday spirit.
While our apartment did not have a real Christmas tree I loved our little light tree and I’m hoping we do that again this year!
I hope this was helpful in making your packing list! Let me know what you cannot leave at home in the comments!