HealthSkills

  1. Start thinking positive
  2. Try out a new hobby
  3. Write a book
  4. Make a promise or follow through with a promise
  5. Start eating healthier
  6. Create a bucket list
  7. Go after your soulmate
  8. Quit smoking
  9. Forgive somebody
  10. Start a business
  11. Learn a new language
  12. Start exercising
  13. Engage in adrenaline-pumping activities
  14. Learn about other cultures/religions/traditions
  15. Embrace your flaws
  16. Read that neglected book
  17. Earn a degree
  18. Do something spontaneously
  19. Find and pursue your passion
  20. Start a family
  21. Listen to or read a different genre
  22. Learn to cook
  23. Make new friends
  24. Accept foreign ideas
  25. Move somewhere else
  26. Change your major
  27. Take advice
  28. Make a decision
  29. Make a second impression
  30. Apologize
  31. Set goals
  32. Leave your comfort zone
  33. Say “I love you”
  34. Pursue new endeavors
  35. Make changes
  36. Say “no”
  37. Say “yes”
  38. Let go of grudges
  39. Apply for that “I’m-never-getting-it”-dream-job
  40. Reconnect with old friends and/or family
  41. Face your demons
  42. Start a meaningless collection
  43. Dream
  44. Fall in love
  45. Inquire
  46. Explore other parts of yourself
  47. Get a new haircut
  48. Leave a harmful relationship
  49. Confess or admit to your mistakes
  50. Fight for a cause
  51. Defend what you believe in
  52. Observe and appreciate the little things
  53. Make time for yourself and the things you love
  54. Appreciate beauty sleep
  55. Make sudden plans
  56. Donate
  57. Go on a mission trip
  58. Break brand loyalty and try something new
  59. Open your mind up to new ideas and/or beliefs
  60. Focus
  61. Break routine
  62. Think differently and agree to disagree
  63. Read the dictionary and learn new words
  64. Find your sanctuary
  65. Paint something
  66. Take a new course in life
  67. Face your deepest fears
  68. Give advice
  69. Be kind to somebody
  70. Take an extra long hot shower
  71. Change your attitude
  72. Say what’s on your mind
  73. Join a social media platform
  74. Quit your job (you know, the one you that is making you unhappy)
  75. Visit loved people and places
  76. Throw a dart on the map and go there
  77. Celebrate
  78. Start a conversation
  79. Learn from your mistakes
  80. Take a yoga class
  81. Become a fan girl/boy
  82. To come out
  83. Reminisce
  84. Jot senseless things down
  85. Begin journaling
  86. Redecorate
  87. Indulge in coffee or tea
  88. Buy/pick flowers for something or someone
  89. Fill up a piggybank
  90. Go to the beach/climb a mountain/hike/walk a desert/dive in a river
  91. Take action
  92. Learn a new skill
  93. Switch schools
  94. Adopt a pet
  95. Say “thank you”
  96. Motivate yourself
  97. Appreciate chaos or stability
  98. Follow your gut feeling
  99. Live life on your own terms
  100. #SeizeYouthYouth

Image: Gratisography

Skills

Call it whatever you’d like: a talent, pastime, or your favorite leisure activity, but hobbies are something we all have. Has anyone ever told you, “that sounds more like a hobby than a career!”? I have. In fact, I turned down admission to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City because all of my passions sounded more like “hobbies.” Do I regret this decision? Sometimes, but now I’m finding ways to integrate my hobbies with my career path of choice. However, I’ve found that many of us are sacrificing our hobbies for work and they’re being left behind in the dreamy “good old days.” If you’ve found yourself victim, here are a couple of reasons why it is vital to never neglect your hobbies.

1. They make you you.

Although you’ve probably heard it one million times, you’re special in your own way. Your talents and hobbies are things that make you just that much more unique. What you do in your past time actually says a lot about who you are as a person and what it is that you appreciate in life. People know you for what you do at work or school, but showing them another dynamic part of yourself may give them that unexpected “wow” factor. They are things that distinguish you from the rest of your friends, coworkers, or classmates. Who wouldn’t want to embrace the fabulous and possibly strange parts that make you, well, you?

2. Psych benefits: relaxation, emotional, better thinking.

There are many psychological benefits come with doing what you love. The first one is relaxation. Hobbies serve as an outlet from the stresses that fog up your mind with constant daily worries. They have also been shown to improve your thinking abilities. According to Carol Kauffman, assistant clinical professor at Harvard Medical School, hobbies allow you to go into what is called a “flow state,” which is essentially what you feel when you get intensely focused on whatever it is you are doing – you lose the sense of time and your surroundings seem invisible. Sound familiar? She notes that this actually restores your mind and energy. These states of mind that call for heavy concentration actually boost neurotransmitters in the brain which allow for a mental recharge.

3. Make better decisions.

The best decisions are always made with a clear mind and when you have had plenty of time to think. Taking the time to plunge into your favorite hobby allows you to unshackle your mind from the worries of whatever choices are awaiting to be made. It forces you to go into the “flow state” and return to your decision making process with a clear and more relaxed mind.

4. Meet other people.

What better way to meet people that have the same interests as you? Join a club, take a class, or even get together with some friends that have similar hobbies to you. This will guarantee you meet other people that share your passion. Another case could be in conversation. Discussing hobbies and interests are ways for people to relate and understand one another a little better. Who knows – you may just meet your new bestie!

5. Creativity.

Usually, your definition of success in your hobbies differs from the definition of success that is done in your work. You are the judge of your progress and achievements in your activities. Not only does this boost self-confidence and positive thinking, but this also calls for better creativity. It allows you to express yourself in your own terms and within your own boundaries. You essentially set your own rules because you are doing this hobby for yourself and for nobody else.

Making time for what you love is essential in the society we live in today. It is imperative that we make time for ourselves not only for the luxury of its pleasure, but for our own mental health.

What are your favorite hobbies?

Image: Michelle Tribe

CultureHealth

Thanksgiving is right around the corner – are you hosting friends? Helping family cook up a feast? Bringing a dish or two to a potluck?

Having just moved across the country and begun a new job that doesn’t afford me the time or moolah to jet back across the country on holiday, I’ll be spending my first Thanksgiving away from home. I’m lucky to have a group of friends here who will also be celebrating without family, but we’re not the most experienced chefs, and most of us have never hosted a Thanksgiving party.

Many of us are vegetarians and vegans, which means a little creativity is required to whip up a meatless meal worthy of celebrating on a day that’s known for its turkey, gravy and cheesy casseroles.

Below are recipes for an easy, last-minute, vegan Thanksgiving feast that won’t have you missing meat one bit:

Appetizer

Start off with a fresh, seasonal holiday salad.

thx 1

Holiday Salad with Cranberry Apple Orange Vinaigrette – from Oh She Glows

Sides

It’s not Thanksgiving without the green bean casserole.

thx 2

Vegan Green Bean Casserole – from Fat Free Vegan

Forget the gravy, make this delicious twist on mashed potatoes.

thxn 3
Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Avocado Garlic Aioli – from Oh She Glows

 Stuffing

A delightful veggie twist on traditional stuffing.

thx 4

Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprout and Bread Stuffing with Apples – from Food52

 Main Dish

 Simple, protein-packed and delicious.

thx 5

Quinoa stuffed sweet potatoes – From Veggie Dream Girl

 Dessert

 Easier than pie.

thx 6

Vegan Pumpkin Dessert Bars – from The Happy Housewife

 What? I didn’t say it was a healthy, low fat vegan Thanksgiving meal. It’s just animal product-less. And it’s super delicious – click each of the links above for the recipes! Happy, happy Thanksgiving!

What are you eating for Thanksgiving? Share below!

Image: The Happy Housewife

Education

For those of you applying for college, declaring a major can be a little nerve wrecking. Photography majors have things to consider but they also have a lot of fun!

Creativity.

Want to do a fantasy photoshoot? Paint with developer chemistry? Photograph… without a camera? The photo world is vast and growing. It has become acceptable as an art, so you’re not only studying the technical aspect of photography, but also art and history and current events. You start applying your creativity to other places. If you write or paint, you start putting detail into the smaller things. In work, you might have out of the box ideas that would benefit you and who ever you’re working for. You learn to be a bit more open-minded. Have fun with it!

New friends, new perspectives.

When you go to university, you meet people from all over the world. That comes in handy when you have art galleries, thesis projects, ans collaboration assignments. Your new friends love photography just like you, but in different ways. You guys eventually will grow together and learn from each other. In some cases, you make lifelong friends. You’ll also see the world differently. You’ll notice the light coming through the windows, the shape of shadows, the way your reflection mimics the mannequin on the other side. Because of the types of classes you take, you’ll start noticing the various fonts, colors, and designs on advertisements. You’llstart seeing scenes in movies and think, wow, that landscape was amazing. I wish they cropped it more. It’s silly, but it’s fun, and when you meet people who think like you, it’s pretty amazing!

The meaning of life.

Ok, maybe you don’t learn the meaning of life. But you do learn about everything else. From news and events to self portraits, your experiments with the medium that is photography will take you places, let you see and think about things you never even thought to consider before.

Photography is a beautiful and deep subject to spend a few years on. Even if you learn that you’re not the best technically or conceptually, you still grow as a person, and what else is college for except to learn about yourself and the world?

Being a photography major is a lot of work, and sometimes it can drive you crazy. At the same
time, being a photography major is so amazing that it leaves you breathless and wanting
more. Whether that comes from learning, from meeting new people, from seeing in new
perspectives, or from realizing that you’re growing and being more than you were before, you
will come to find that being a photography major is more than simply photography. It is much,
much more.

Image: Rev Stan

SkillsTravel

Last week I talked about choosing a study abroad location. Choosing where in the world to go is exciting, but nothing can kill a study abroad dream quite like a look at the program price tag. Money doesn’t have to be your deciding factor, though. There are some things you can do to get funding and minimize – even eliminate – what you’ll have to spend on your program.

1. Scholarships

Study abroad scholarships are offered in a variety of capacities, including merit-based, student-specific (i.e. minority scholarships), destination-specific, program-specific (your home or destination school or program may offer scholarship options), and subject-specific (very common for language study, but also available for almost any area of study).

Studyabroad.com offers an extensive database of study abroad scholarships, and the Institute of International Education offers good search options for destination and subject-specific scholarships.

It’s important to pay attention to deadlines; many study abroad scholarships require early action. There are, of course, some that you can apply for on a rolling basis, with little time before you leave.

2. Study Abroad Loans

You can find a database of study abroad student loans here. The great thing about study abroad loans is that transportation and cultural excursions are eligible expenses.

3. Crowdfunding Websites

GoFundMe – This website is amazing. It allows you to quickly and easily set up a fundraising page with a goal, photo and description, and makes it easy for people to donate to the page. Another great crowdfunding website is GoGetFunding.com. Once you’ve created your page, share it via social media and email to all your family and friends, asking them to support you in your dream to study abroad.

In your email, it will help to lay out what exactly your expenses are, what their donations will be funding, and your study abroad goals/things you want to experience. Providing a suggested amount (keep it low so people aren’t deterred), and list what exactly that amount will cover (i.e. a week of groceries, an unlimited train pass, etc.) And of course, be sure to thank everyone and offer the option to pass on donating. You can even request that they share it with other friends.

You can select either a personal funding campaign or an all-or-nothing campaign. The all-or-nothing contains a goal and time limit, while the personal funding does not. With all-or-nothing, you only get donations if you reach your goal, whereas you get all donations from a personal funding campaign.

4. Find an exchange program

I did this, meaning my school exchanged me for a student from the school at which I studied. The reason this option rocked so much was that I had no added costs to my university tuition (besides my flight); my costs actually were lower because I didn’t have to pay my university’s housing or meal plan, plus all of my regular university scholarships still applied in addition to an extra study abroad one. Check with your university to see whether it has exchange programs, and how fees are allocated.

5. Holiday Gift Requests

Send out a mass email, e-card or letter to all family members and friends who typically give you birthday or Christmas gifts. Let them know that in lieu of gifts, you’re asking for funds to go abroad.

Like GoFundMe, list your expenses and goals, and why it’s so important to you to go abroad. You could even list interesting facts about your university and location; that gets people excited.

6. Local fundraising

This works well in smaller towns or suburbs. Ask local restaurants or businesses, particularly those that you spend time at often, to place a donation jar at the counter. While this won’t earn you outrageous amounts of cash, it is an effortless way to earn some extra spending money.

Be sure to leave an info sheet by the jar or can explaining what the fundraising is for and why it’s important to you.

7. Garage sale

Any type of sale is great, but I hosted a garage sale before my trip and made $600 from it. That paid for two months’ rent (my student housing was cheap) and it also helped me de-clutter, so it was a win-win. Hosting various sales, like art sales, bake sales, book sales etc. may, again, not earn you mass sums of money but can get you some good spending money.

If you really have a lot of stuff and your sales do well, you can even earn enough to cover your round-trip flight to and from your host country and more.

8. Odd jobs

Walk dogs, mow lawns, photograph events, babysit… anything you’re good at that can bring in some extra cash. All it takes is a little simple networking and some flyers.

So, between scholarships, loans and personal fundraising, you may be able to raise enough to study completely cost-free.

What tips do you have for funding a study abroad experience? Any creative ways to make money?

Image: Kristina Zuidema, Flickr

CultureEducationSkillsTravel

Animal rescue shelters have become an increasingly popular destination for travelers looking to “voluntour”. For students or recent graduates, particularly those who are new to backpacking, animal shelter volunteering can offer a rewarding and structured environment from which to begin exploring the globe. The allure of living in close quarters with exotic animals while simultaneously being helpful is certainly strong. However, shelter work often takes both a physical and an emotional toll — before you buy your tickets, it’s best to consider all the aspects of working with shelters.

It’s Not Cheap

If you’re searching for a way to backpack through South America on two dollars a day, shelter volunteering isn’t necessarily the best way to go. Almost all shelters require a “volunteer fee” to cover accommodation, food, and any other amenities they may offer. It’s a simple supply and demand situation — because the idea of working with animals has such a pull over travelers, the most established shelters can ask for a large payment and still have a glut of volunteers at their disposal at all times. However, as with all voyages, there are certainly methods of making the trip more affordable. In my own experience, I found that it was best to seek out smaller, independent shelters. While the accommodations are often more austere, these shelters cost much less and are in dire need of more help.

It’s Hard Work

While many shelters’ websites will often place an emphasis on the opportunities to, for example, play with puppies or help “socialize” baby ocelots, the reality is that working with animals is, to a very large extent, manual labor. Cleaning cages, hauling sacks of food and buckets of water — shelter work is always exhausting and often doesn’t even directly involve the animals themselves. Shelter work is also very, very dirty. Working in a shelter, you will come in contact with more poop than you could ever have imagined. Combined with muddy trails and cold showers, you may end up feeling like you have a permanent layer of grime coating your skin.

It Can Be Isolating

Particularly in shelters that provide food and housing, it is easy to forget that there is a whole fascinating and unexplored world outside the grounds. It’s very important to consciously make decisions that will place you in contact with the people outside of the shelter, even through simple tasks like daily chores. When I worked at Animal AWARE dog shelter in Sumpango, Guatemala, the rural location made the shelter seem very far removed from the vibrant culture of the country. However, with the help of a couple other volunteers, I had experiences that I never could have had in tourist-friendly Antigua — I saw outdoor laundry-washing basins and underground produce markets, and I had some of the best street food of my life.

It Can Seem Futile

If you make the decision to volunteer at a shelter, you are deciding to place yourself in an environment where you encounter animals who are experiencing the lowest, most tragic point of their lives. When I worked at ARCAS, a shelter in Flores that received monkeys and birds rescued from illegal trade operations, I was exposed to the sheer brutality of the exotic animal market when I saw a parakeet whose beak had been broken off. Animals in shelters frequently die, and this is a difficult thing to see, particularly coming from more affluent countries where more resources can be directed toward animal welfare.

Ultimately, I found that the rewards of working in animal shelters stemmed directly from the difficulties. The expense of certain shelters forced me to be creative with my budget and my destination. The difficult and intensive nature of the work gave me a greater sense of accomplishment. Most importantly for me, I became much more equipped to deal with minor daily tragedies that accompany the work, an acceptance that made our victories that much sweeter.

Image: Unsplash