The next few weeks may be challenging as students across the country move out of their residence halls and move back home, eight weeks sooner than expected. And as they transition from learning in the classroom to watching prerecorded lectures and joining Google Hangouts. And especially as they come to terms with all the activities they may miss.
Before my school went online for the rest of the semester, I saw so many posts of other schools cancelling and I feel so bad for all of the undergrads that lose out on the last few weeks of their semester. Once spring break rolls by, the campus starts to come alive again, people are out enjoying the sunshine once again. As sad as I am that my time on Alden Street was cut short, I can’t imagine how the seniors must be feeling now that they don’t get to experience all the “lasts”.
While it’s okay to mourn what was lost we still have work to do. In fact, we still have eight weeks worth of work to do so let’s create a productive space and do this thing.
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!
I wanted to start sharing easy recipes on my blog because as a college girl on a budget cooking can be hard! Living in an apartment on campus is so much fun, you have your own space with your friends but it comes with a huge responsibility: you have to feed yourself. While you can chose to get a meal plan, you end up saving so much money by making your own food! When I go grocery shopping I tend to stick to a budget of $20 a week. This makes me get a smaller amount of food that I tend to actually use rather than forget about.
I typically do my grocery shopping at Walmart because I find better prices there than at Stop&Shop and Big Y. The day I picked up the ingredients for this that was all I ended up getting and it only cost me $11! The recipe above makes about three servings and I’m only 3/4 of the way through the quinoa box!
This is such a great recipe because you can make the quinoa so many different ways, switch out the vegetables or the type of sauce you’re using and it’s a different meal entirely!
I would recommend to follow the directions on your box of quinoa to cook it but generally, if you are cooking 1 cup of quinoa you should boil 2 cups of water.
While the water is heating up start chopping your vegetables. I used 1 bell pepper and a handful of snow peas.
The quinoa should take anywhere from 15-20 minutes to cook based on the type you get but once you have about 5 minutes left you can start sautéing the vegetables. I put a little bit of olive oil on the bottom of my pan and then I put the kung pao sauce in and dumped all of the vegetables in. You can keep frying them on medium heat until it looks like they’ve been grilled.
You can now take a little but of quinoa in a bowl and mix some vegetables in. If you want to add a little more kung pao sauce to the quinoa itself you can do that now as well.
Enjoy! You should have about two more servings of quinoa left for later!
Here’s the type of quinoa I use and a little bit of a progress picture. The sauce I bought way Kung Pao Stir Fry Sauce from Panda Express!
Huge pro tip: only fry the amount of vegetables you need! Take it from me, reheating the vegetables in the microwave is not your friend. They get super mushy and it’s like you never grilled them at all!
I’m looking forward to experimenting more with different quinoa recipes and I can’t wait to share my findings! If you have any great recipes let me know in the comments!
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!
As much as I love searching through stores and picking out my favorite pieces to feature on Sunflowers and Seersucker I realized that’s just not me! In the new year I want to continue blogging and make sure what I put out is the most authentic me possible. That being said, I’m a college student so while I can dream about having a separate closet for all my shoes right now I’m finding the most versatile pieces at the best bargain.
So welcome to my newest fashion series: A Preppy Penny! This series is all about ballin’ on a budget and being fashionable frugal. One of my favorite ways to shop for clothes is by going to consignment stores, I’d like to thank my mom for introducing me to consignment stores because they’ve been a treasure hunt ever since. Since you never know what they are going to have, the trick to consignment stores is finding ones that take in your style. My favorite stores are on the Cape as you can always find Lilly there! For this series I’m going to be searching online for clothes I can share the best deals with you but I encourage you to start looking in consignment stores!
Without further ado… today’s outfit:
I found a white sweater similar to mine from New York & Co. It’s on sale right now so it’s only $20!
While I couldn’t find a skirt exactly like mine J. Crew Factory had a similar grey and black plaid one for only $24.
Last but not least is the coat! My best suggestion for finding the best price would be to search black tweed coat on Poshmark. I found quite a few for as low as $25-30! I found a similar long coat from
. This is a little more expensive but in my opinion, but it’s important to invest in a good coat because you’ll wear it every day.
Happy shopping! Let me know what good deals you find!
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!