College

The Most Important College Lessons

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

Senior Suite 406

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

Memories, my senior piece and the perfect ending to my time at Springfield College.
Photo is not mine, it was taken by our school’s photographer!

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.

xox,

Marissa

Lifestyle

An Easter Playlist

Hey friends!

It’s definitely been a while since I hopped on the blog! I have been up editing a paper and the idea popped in my head to share some of my favorite Catholic songs as it is officially Easter!

This is a post that means so much to me because I have heard most of these songs since I was a freshman in high school just starting my journey of learning more about how my faith can help others. Every summer starting right after the 8th grade I participated in a week long service trip with my youth group. This was definitely an experience that shaped me and I am lucky enough to be able to come back every year and help other students have that same experience.

1: Do Something by Matthew West

To me, this song sums up everything that being a Catholic means. I don’t even think I could put it into better words than were written, “If not us then who?” There’s no better time to “Do Something” than right now!

It even made an appearance at the Women’s March…

2: Oceans by Hillsong UNITED

Another song I’ve been listening to for years. While I think this version is absolutely beautiful, one year we had a number of people in our group sing this while someone else played the guitar and I always get flashbacks to that night. Such a peaceful memory.

3: When We Pray by Tauren Wells

This is a pretty new song to me, I only discovered Tauren Wells last winter. Kate from Lonestar Southern shared a story and Hills & Valleys was playing and I thought it was so catchy! So I did the only logical thing and started playing him nonstop on Spotify. It was immediately added to my “If Not Me” playlist and the rest is history. 

4: Who Am I by Casting Crowns

This song will forever hold a special place in my heart. It has so many special memories for me. From our summer retreat to playing after our church’s Living Stations of the Cross to my first ever solo. When it came time for our teachers to pick solos one year, my teacher and someone else’s didn’t communicate and we had the same song. All I remember is her bringing out the waterworks so she could keep that song (as much as I like to think I didn’t come from a Dance Moms studio… we had our moments) and so my teacher then gave me the opportunity to pick my own song. A few nights later we were at Stations rehearsal and that song played and something just clicked. So after rehearsal I went home figured out that I could adjust the speed of one or two parts and everything fell into place.

And that’s my round up! This is definitely a little different than my usual posts but I hope you guys like it! If you need any other songs let me know I’d be more than happy to share. Please leave your favorite songs in the comments!

xox,

Marissa

Lifestyle, Style, Uncategorized

Say Yes to the Dress

IMG_1781This is my favorite thing I have ever worn. Period. If anyone has a prom that they still need a date for, I’m free and looking for any excuse to wear this again.

As I hinted at in my prom post, I did the exact opposite look for senior semi. I had never ever ever pictured myself in a black gown, especially one with a nonexistent back. It just was not me. One of my best friends ended up wearing a green gown with a succulent crown that made her look like a fairy (her mom is a crazy talented florist) and we laughed the whole night about how we must have switched dresses.

IMG_1854

Excuse the pose, it was a cross country thing 😉

I knew I wanted a more form fitting dress this time around, I had done mermaid and ball gown at this point although I was contemplating going back to mermaid. I also knew i wanted floor length. Since it was semi formal some girl opted for shorter dresses but in my head I was thinking you only have so many chances to wear a floor length dress.

IMG_1785

After trying on a number of dresses I knew this was the one but I just kept thinking, “Really Marissa, a black dress?” but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t buy it. I remember the saleswoman gave me advice that helped me realize this definitely was the one. While it’s every girl’s nightmare to show up in the same dress as someone, you need to pick one that makes you so happy you wouldn’t even care. So the black dress it was.

Here is one of my all time favorite pictures of me and my best friend Clara.

IMG_1848

I’ll leave you with a funny story before I sign off. Two weeks before senior semi was senior skip day. I was someone who always had perfect attendance but I’m also someone who will not pass up a trip to the Cape so I skipped school. It was cloudy out so after putting on sunscreen in the morning I never thought to put it back on later in the day. While we were all sun bathing I remember thinking “Oh I need to flip over so my back isn’t whiter than the rest of my body.” Worst. Mistake.  Ever. I got the worst sunburn of my entire life and it was only on my back! Up until that day I never believed people when they said cloudy days are the easiest to get a sunburn.

One week after senior skip day I had a dance competition… in my two piece costume which showed off my two skin tones, and the following week was senior semi with my open back dress which would reveal my red back.I have taken that as a lesson to never skip school again.

That was my first and only investment in tanning lotion and I do not regret a thing. It helped even me out but if you look closely you can still see my bathing suit line.

IMG_1853

 

Honestly, if I could get an exact copy of this dress in white for my wedding I probably would.

Stay stylish!

xox,

Marissa