less stress

Fun fact: Finals are in two weeks.

Fun fact 2: I’ll be taking the MCAT within the next couple of months.

Fun fact 3: I haven’t been extremely accountable in my own finances this past semester.

Fun fact 4: My car speaker started making this buzzing sound a month ago.

I could honestly go on and on with the fun facts… and every little thing that is stressing me out. I could also elaborate on each stress factor listed above.

  • Finals are in two weeks, and I have this pressure to make an A on each test because that’s the bar I set for myself before the semester started. However, I haven’t been extremely focused, and quite frankly pretty lazy, this semester.
  • I have programmed myself to believe that if I don’t make a certain score on the MCAT that my future will be ruined. I won’t get into medical school. My life will be over, and I haven’t spent the past couple years studying/trying for nothing. I can barely even find time to study for it while being occupied with my classes and involvement.
  • I also have eaten out too much, spent too much money on gas, bought too many groceries that just expire, indulged in spontaneous unnecessary items e.g. clothes, technology, accessories (planners, unlimited amount of color pens), etc. I feel like saying no to someone when they ask you to eat out at lunch or dinner is soooo hard. My bank account went into overdraft because I was too scared to look at the amount I had in my account. Also, I’m out of school dining dollars. Yeeep!
  • I don’t even want to drive anymore because of the weird buzzing sound in my car. I feel like I’ve been so careless on taking care of my belongings — and I don’t want to tell my parents about it. Honestly, I feel like my car is falling apart, just like my life!!!!

You probably have your own stress factors and a have list of things you can list; and can elaborate just like I did. I’m thinking about all of this, and I wonder to myself how do I get out? How do I stop feeling so overwhelmed? Does everyone go through the overwhelming things like this? Is mine worse? Is mine not worse? What do I do? 

Here is the conclusion I came to: EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE OKAY. 

First off, the cliche thing to say since Thanksgiving just passed is that you and I have so much to be thankful for!!! Seriously. I go to a wonderful college. My family and friends are so supportive. I have a car that takes me places. My MacBook works and allows me to write this blog. My phone alarm is going to wake me tomorrow morning. My roommates are really cool. I drank like 3 bottles of water today. I mean I could go on and on!! As college students, I really do feel like the tiniest things stress us out – and it shouldn’t. It’s normal to be stressed, but not to the extent where it consumes us. I hate it when I’m overwhelmingly stressed. I become this person who is selfish, recluse, and simply, not me. I don’t smile as much. I don’t want to engage in conversations as much. Frankly, I don’t have as much motivation to do something. We seriously have so much to be thankful for to be that stressed out!!!

Secondly… UGH I AM JUST SO DRAMATIC. Is my life over if I make a B? No. Is my life over if I don’t get the score I want on my MCAT? No. Is my life over if my dad gets mad about me for not taking care of my speaker? No. Do I tell myself and others that my life is going to over if something doesn’t go the way I planned? Yes. <– That is the problem!!! You know how people say smiling makes you happier? Well, me telling myself my life is going to over if doesn’t go my way makes the situation significantly worse in my head; it could’ve been a 4 on the intensity scale, but my dramatic-ness just increased it to a 7. Ultimately, I find myself way too sensitive to pain and just need to get over it. It’s okay to have something challenging going my way. I need to stop avoiding it and stop procrastinating altogether. I am not making my situation any better.

Third thing: that person next to you in class, on the transit, ordering Starbucks in front of you… all are probably stressed about the similar things to you. You aren’t alone. College is hard. College is challenging. College is an obstacle course. And we are all going through it together. It doesn’t help any of us to consume ourselves by negative emotions. Instead of being stressed about something, we should do something about it. Something that has really helped me lately is grabbing a sheet of paper and making two columns: 1 for things I’m stressed out, 1 for what I’m going to do about it. Instead of avoiding something or constantly thinking about it, I’m going to take action and move forward. It has honestly helped me so much! If you personally write down your plan of action, it will motivate you to get it crossed off your list. This also doesn’t allow you to make excuses for anything.

For example: Not doing well in a class? 1. Why? Do you go to class? (No?-start going.) (Yes?-take better notes.) Other options: Go to the professor’s office hour. Find a tutor. Go to Supplemental Instruction. Text others for advice. Look on youtube/online/Khan academy. Ask your peers.

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To be honest, this may seem stressful to look at/write out, or even accomplish — but it helps so much in the long run! Checking off boxes is such a breath of fresh air. Plus, many of the things I wrote can be done easily (within minutes) // and some can be accomplished together!

 

All in all: If you tell yourself you can do it and don’t doubt yourself as much, you will likely see a positive change: in your emotions/attitude and the outcome. Show those little stressors who’s boss and take action. Life isn’t over when something doesn’t go your way && don’t be dramatic, procrastinate, and make excuses!! YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU SET YOUR HEART AND MIND TO. Honestly, even if I don’t do as well on finals in the end as I hope, I know that I truly gave it my all, worked hard, and did my best.

Lastly, I want to conclude with this: Jeremiah 29:11  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God’s got ya!!! ❤ 

 

Summer 2016: Camp War Eagle

This past summer, I had the wonderful opportunity of serving as a camp counselor for the summer orientation program for incoming freshmen at Auburn University: Camp War Eagle. After 189 days, we finally finished our training in Foy 189. It almost seemed unreal. I made 61 new friends throughout the process who really challenged me and became my comfort zone. We became so close and, sometimes, were referred to as a “cult.” (lol) We plastered social media with our #CWEconnect(s) and a picture of every session. If every counselor posted a picture, 36 x 10, there would have been at least 360 pictures on instagram plus our social outings… yeah, we are just a *tad* bit sorry! But behind all those pictures were a special bond that was created. Late night bike rides + other shenanigans, lake martin, volunteer events, rooms in El Dorado filled with CWEple, movie nights, skit practice, AYO, road trips, random adventures, venmo, karaoke, a million Group Me-s, and on and on and on. I thought it couldn’t get better than this.

And then I was able to meet 121 new people coming to Auburn (:

Wow. What an experience!! It was filled with fun, laughter, challenges, pep rallies, jumping around, zero sleep, tiger talks, over 150 miles of walking, and weird tan lines.I felt as I have grown more in the past two months than my two years at Auburn.  These 121 people made more of an impact than they could imagine. They laughed at my weird jokes, danced and sang karaoke with me, and allowed me to be myself. As a new session approached every time, I was always nervous and worried about how these people were going to think of me. In the end, I found myself sad when they had to leave for registration. Every session was unique in its own way: some quieter than others, some sassier than others, and some “wilder” than others — but they were each an incredible group of people that I had so much fun with. I would to apologize to sessions 1-4 that I lacked a speaker and to sessions 5-10 that my taste in music is quite terrible. Thank you for such a memorable summer.

I can’t wait to see how freshmen year goes and all the amazing things you all will be doing on Auburn’s campus. I am so blessed by 121 new friendships.

 

 

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Session 1: Thank you for setting the bar so high. Y’all were amazing.
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Session 2: Sometimes you didn’t laugh at my jokes, but it made me realize I needed new jokes 🙂
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Session 3: Thank you for allowing me to completely be myself. It meant so much.
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Session 4: The different personalities in this group made this session so memorable. Never Change!!
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Session 5: Oh man, I got proposed to in this session 🙂 So many friendships were made.
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Session 6: A sassy camper somehow held this session together hehe I semi broke my sign for controlling this wild session 🙂 It was worth it
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Session 7: Thanks for accepting me how awkward my leg and I were 🙂
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Session 8: One of my campers gracefully fell flat on his face, and I somewhat felt responsible. Thanks for the laughs!
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Session 9: Thanks for modeling with me and letting me bossy. You guys rock!!
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Session 10: I never lost so many campers in a session. Thanks for making my last session one of the best! Stay golden.

 

Choosing Forgiveness

After a long month at college, I finally had the chance to go back to my hometown to see my family and friends. During this short visit, I had a conversation with a sweet adult friend of mine, Mr. Jim. As we were talking, we began to talk about how college was going and how my relationship with God has grown in college. As our conversation progressed, he told me about something that happened to him.

While directing traffic as a state trooper, a car going about 70 mph hits him. While laying on the ground in pain, a civilian comes up and asks for his name while he is on the phone with 911. After telling the civilian his name, the civilian saids “You got what you deserved.” 

I can’t imagine the flush of emotions that would go through me if it was me in that situation. He was a state trooper — so it is pretty much his job to patrol highways and roads to ensure safety and write tickets to those who may threaten the safety of others on the road. Obviously, somewhere down the road, this civilian may have received a ticket or so from the state trooper. I was so flustered when I heard about the incident. He continues with his story…

As he laid in the hospital, he reflected upon what happened out there. First, he was alive. God was definitely with him. Second, the first person arrived at the scene who happened to “help” was someone who was not in favor of him and said something that was really hurtful. In the ER with a room full of doctors, nurses and law enforcement officers, he asks if he could pray with everyone. He prayed to God and thanked him for being with him — and he prayed for the man who called 911 and told God he forgave him the things he said.

I was imagining how powerful that prayer must’ve been. While laying there, he could’ve been angry, but he chose to be thankful and forgiving. 

Now, I am reflecting upon his choices and his actions. In last week’s small group, my friends and I were discussing how we are one little character in God’s movie. Our lives are not about us but about what God can do through us. We are put on this earth to do things that glorify His name. God loves us so much and wants us to share that love with others. If we call ourselves Christians, then it is our duty to reflect God’s glory in our actions. 1 John 4:19 “We love because he first loved us.” Because God first loved us and accepted our wrong doings, we can step away from other wrong doings to us. God is love — and God not only loved, he gave love. When others mess up, we are called to love and give love to them — and show them mercy, just as God shown us mercy. Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” 1 Peter 2:9 “You are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession.” We are all children of God. He loves every.single.one.of.us — equally. No matter how far or close our walk with Christ is, our God loves all his children the same. Because GOD LOVES EVERYONE, WE CAN TOO.

Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” 


 

Continuously pray for those who may seem far from God. It is through prayer that God conforms our hearts to His. Continuously pray about everything. Choose Forgiveness. As Hart Ramsey said: Not forgiving doesn’t stop God from carrying out His plans He has for them, but it does put a pause on your future.

Mark 11:25 “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”


Also, Happy Retirement Mr. Jim!

 

2016: Fulfillment

As the new year approaches, it seems to become inevitable for me to reflect upon the past year. As I scroll through Facebook this Christmas break, I stumbled upon an article many of my friends have been sharing: “Dear {Messy}”. In this article, one sentence extremely stood out to me.

“Maybe you’ve been unknowingly obsessed with the treasures of your own little world: relationships, attention, success, and reputation.” 

Relationships. Attention. Success. Reputation. 

Again.

Relationships. Attention. Success. Reputation. 

I would be lying if I said I was not unknowingly almost 99.9% consumed by those four things.

Relationships: Whether its relationships with the girlies, or relationships with the boys, we are constantly trying to become the “coolest” by trying to know everyone. Sadly, in reality, when we try to get to know everyone, it often times becomes a simple “Hi, how are you?” when we cross their paths.  Proverbs 18:24 “A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Instead of trying to know everyone, we should truly invest ourselves and our time to the ones we meet along the road and the ones who are already in our lives. As we become of age, the expectations of finding a significant other also becomes higher and higher. I am convinced that this is the age, around the the 20’s, that it feels like if my friends and I don’t find one now, we will never find one. (college girl dramatic-cy). Everyone on Instagram seems have to someone. But, waiting is a part of life and one of God’s tools for people he doesn’t believe is ready.

Attention: As Keri Hilson sings “All eyesss on me when I walk in” Honestly, who doesn’t love attention? From Instagram likes to amount of Snapchat story views, it is so easy to become consumed with the thought of people liking you. It’s human nature to crave love and affection from others. As a girl, I continue to struggle with lack of confidence and comparing myself to others. Ephesians 2:10 “For we are God’s workmanship…” We forget that we are perfect in God’s eyes, and He created us. As we continue to crave attention from others, we fail to realize that God will always be there giving us attention… and waiting for us to seek him and give him attention.

Success: As someone who is extremely competitive, this is the one that consumes me the most. Now in college: from grades, to awards and achievements, to callouts, to interviews, to resume building, to executive positions — it never ends. It almost seems as if my college career is a race sometimes. In “Spoken Word by Stefan Vandenkooy”, he mentions how we are “cultivating a culture where coolness is measured by busy-ness and stress.” I found that to be very true. Around campus, my friends and I often “wanted to be him/her” because they are “president of this, coordinator of that, 4.0 GPA, etc.” We wanted to be the person who was swamped by duties to fulfill.

Reputation: I’ll keep this one short. It is human nature to care about what people think about us. We want to popular. We want to be cool. 

The 10th commandment: You shall not covet. 

All of these things are things we desire for. We desire to have relationships. We desire to have attention. We desire to have/be successful. We desire to have a good reputation. We want to obtain all these desires because we believe it will fulfill us, make us happy.

The 2nd commandment: You shall not make idols. 

How can we put God first when we are so busy with ourselves? We have all these earthly desires, and it easily consumes us every single minute of the day.

Thankfully, we serve a wonderful God. Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We continually sin, and yet, our God showers us with steadfast love. How amazing is that? As 2015 comes to an end, I shamelessly have a New Years Resolution like most people.

God will be first in my life. 

I’m putting the earthly pleasures aside and focus on the life that my heavenly Father wants me to live. I will remind myself that these earthly desires are temporary, but God’s love is eternal. I will no longer seek “things” for fulfillment, but seek my heavenly Father. Matthew 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Reflecting back, I have obtained many of the desires that I have wanted: good grades, friends, materialistic things, awards, etc. Yet, I was never fully satisfied with what I had. I continue to struggle to become someone everyone liked and approved of. I continue to desire more and more things. My life revolved around myself and everything that I wanted.

No more.

In the New Year, I want to live a life that shines the light of Jesus Christ. I pray that He will be in the preeminent spot that he deserves. I will no longer seek for attention, but give Him attention He deserves. I pray that I will be filled with all the fullness of God. I want to be emptied of me and filled with him. I know it won’t be easy. There will be obstacles: temptations, disappointment, anger, spiritual warfare. But, we have an Almighty God. Jeremiah 33:3 “Call unto me and I will answer you; and show you great and mighty things which you do not know.” He is the way. He has all the answers, a plan for us, and is waiting for us to ask for help.  Seek Him.

1 Chronicles 16:11

 “Seek the Lord and his strength; seek His face continuously.”

Deuteronomy 32:4 

“He is the rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are justice, a God of truth and without injustice; righteous and upright is He.”

 

 

Post Finals: not getting the grade.

If you’re anything like me, I am one those “Type A” kind of people. I am stressed around 99.9% of the time, always thinking about something that needs to get done, and having anxiety if something doesn’t work out as planned. Along with that, I have extremely high expectations for myself in everything I do, and especially in academics.

THIS SEMESTER’S FINALS KICKED MY BUTT. 

I made my first B, ever. Maybe some of you reading this like “LOL, a B? I would take that any day.” But, please understand that in my Type A-ness, I felt as if I just failed my class. I just lost that perfect 4.0 that I was so fond of. At first, I was pretty much in despair and disappointment. I kept saying to myself “I tried so hard all semester, and it didn’t pay off.” It was SO discouraging. It made me second guess why I would even try so hard if it didn’t even matter in the end. Starting from the weekend before finals week, to the Thursday of finals week, I may had a total amount of 10-15 hours of sleep.. a little over 2-4 hours of sleep each night. It was like going home at like 3 in the morning every single night. Honestly though, I didn’t care. My whole focus was on getting an A. That was all I cared about. — In reality though, how healthy was that? How healthy is it to revolve your entire world/schedule/mind around a grade. I was completely consumed that I forgot about what actually mattered.

*Our Great and faithful God matters*

In the back of my mind, I knew God was there with me and his faithfulness was all I really needed, but I was too selfish to actually accept that. I constantly prayed and prayed for a good grade, but that was almost about it. My prayer’s intentions revolved around me, myself, and I. Not Him.

Our degree is NOT for us. It is for others.

Our degree will look extremely good and promising on a piece of paper, but it is only words on a piece of paper. Who we are as a person definitely does not confine it self in “Bachelors in Science” or “Bachelors in Arts.” Who we are as a person also does not confine it self in 4.0s, 3.5s, or 2.7s. These things do not define us. What defines us is our union with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. While trying to balance academics, involvement, relationships, and a healthy lifestyle, it becomes extremely easy to live a life that gives the preeminent position to something else other than Christ. Idolatry. It is SO easy to do idolize something other than our Savior when we are dealing with our personal issues. Our degree is NOT for us; it is for the people that God will place into our lives to help, to guide, and to be a light of God. You see, we are not just students trying to get good grades in college, but children of God who are trying to learn to love others better. This college experience is something God placed into our lives so he can use us as a light in other people’s lives.

So many blessings, so many.

I hope that you are able to reflect upon this past semester and realize all the great things that God has placed into your life. There were so many obstacles and challenges that I had to face – which I can say 100% that changed me for the better. God placed new friends into that my life that has constantly brought a smile on my face and supported me throughout entire semester. God chose me to have the opportunity to attend one of the best colleges in the nation where I get to further my education and grow as a person. I’ve learned that the education that I’m getting will further my knowledge on a variety of topics, but ultimately leading me to a degree that will be able to help the people that God puts in my life.

You may have made a B. You may have made a C. You may have made a grade that you did not desire for. But if you tried your best and did all you could with dedication, our God sees us through. Revelations 2:19 states “I know your works, your love and faith and service and patient endurance, and that your latter works exceed the first.” He sees you and that is all that matters. Our God, he is a FAITHFUL God. We, in return, must be faithful towards to him as well. We must remember to CONTINOUSLY keep our eyes on him and making sure he is in the preeminent position. When we put God first in our lives, we will see how everything will fall into place. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Everything that happens in a part of God’s plan, and we must learn to have faith and trust.

Our degree does not define us. Our GPA does not define us. That final that took a part of our soul with it does not define us. The letters A, B, C, D, & F and the numbers 1.0-4.0 are just letters and numbers. They don’t define us. How do they even compare when we have a God who is The Great God?

They don’t.

 For those of you who made the grade you worked and hoped for, a huge congratulations from the bottom of my heart. I am sure you are well-deserving. And to everyone else, I hope that you remember that your worthiness is still just as great as ever. We serve a great God.