CultureEducation

Our resolution for 2016 is to read three books a month. That gives us a total of 36 books to read this year. We have a bad habit of over-buying books, and each time a new book comes out that looks interesting, well, we just can’t resist. As with any goal, having an action plan is very helpful. To help us actually overcome this problem, we broke each month down with the books we plan on reading. It’s possible things may shift, but this “syllabus” will hopefully keep us on track. When new books are released throughout the year, it’s likely we’ll add those in and bump some down (or try to squeeze it in!). For now, though, this is our list…

January

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Nightingale
 
by Kristin Hannah
How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenburg

February

Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World’s Superpowers by Simon Winchester
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

March

Genghis Khan: His Conquests, His Empire, His Legacy by Frank McLynn
A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

April

The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate by Robert D. Kaplan
Delicious! by Ruth Reichl
Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

May

John Wayne: The Life and Legend by Scott Eyman
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
The Science of Shakespeare: A New Look at the Playwright’s Universe by Dan Falk

June

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

July

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea by Jonathan Franklin
The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered by Laura Auricchio

August

It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario
Liar, Temptress, Solider, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbott
The Japanese Lover by Isabel Allende

September

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
The Pearl by John Steinbeck

October

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
Moby Dick by Herman Melville

November

Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

December

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
My Adventures with Your Money: George Graham Rice and the Golden Age of the Con Artist by T.D. Thornton

What are you excited to read in 2016?

Image by Carpe Juvenis

Health

As a college athlete, health isn’t something I’ve ever been able to simply ignore. Though it can be frustrating at times to always carefully plan meals and workouts, I’ve seen the ways in which my active lifestyle has taught me important lessons about my health. Here are some of the tips that I’ve implemented over the years to keep me happy and healthy:

1. Do something active every day.

Even if it means going for a brief walk before breakfast. I find that it’s much easier to complete a workout if I do it first thing in the morning. This isn’t just good for your body, but good for your mind as well. The days where I’m not playing tennis or lifting, I’ll go for a hike or do yoga. I always find that cross training and stepping out of my comfort zone is more fun anyway!

Don’t beat yourself up if you only complete half of what you thought you could do. The hardest part is getting up and doing something. If you really take it one day at a time and work toward a small goal each day, you’re more likely to reach your bigger goal in the long run. Not to mention that the more you work out, the more you want to work out. Similarly, the less you work out, the less motivated you will be to start.

2. Document what you eat.

I want to clarify that I am not a calorie counter. But there is a difference between counting calories and writing down your meals. I, personally, don’t like looking at a list that reads: chocolate croissant, white mocha, and chicken Alfredo. I would much prefer to see a list that says: berry smoothie, grilled salmon, and quinoa.

For some people, it works best to write their meals down ahead of time. However, if you’re someone who has the tendency to cheat (guilty!), then sometimes it helps to write down what you eat after you’ve already eaten it.

This may be a bit of guilt tripping, but it forces you to take a serious look at the way you’re treating your body. You not only become more aware and health-conscious, but you can pay close attention to the way you feel after you eat certain foods.

Nonetheless, it does help to have a food schedule for the week. If you have an extremely busy schedule and very little time to cook for yourself, dedicate a couple hours on the weekend to prepare your meals for the week. Not only is it harder to cheat on meals you’ve already made, but it also saves a lot of cash.

3. Adopt the buddy system.

Not every friend you have is going to be working toward the same goals as you. However, it does help to have someone keep you accountable. Even the most disciplined people can’t maintain that discipline 24/7.

For example, if one of your goals is to keep track of your indulgences, make a pact with a friend to text each other every time you eat something sweet. Even if you promise yourself one small treat each day, you’ll feel obligated to let someone else know when you cheat. (Don’t worry, it happens to the best of us.)

4. Don’t focus on the numbers.

Weight, calories, reps…they’re all just that: numbers. Weight fluctuates, calories are deceiving, and there are days when no one feels like working out.

As an athlete, I’ve learned to focus on three things: how I feel, how my clothes fit, and how I move on the tennis court. How you feel is always most important. Often times the healthier you eat and more active you are, the less groggy and more motivated you’ll become. Nutrition is energy. Exercise is a healthy and satisfying way to release that energy.

Nonetheless, it’s good to pay attention to other factors as well. If exercises that used to seem easy for you now seem difficult, that may be a sign that you haven’t been doing your body justice. If you’d reached a healthy weight, but now find that you’re swimming in your clothes or can’t button your favorite jeans, that may be another sign that you haven’t been paying close attention to your health. The busier you are, the more these little signs matter.

As most of us enter into adulthood and begin to lead busier lives, our health tends to fall on the wayside. Though my health was something that I was required to pay attention to, I admit that there were times I didn’t do my best at maintaining it. All in all, paying attention to your health will make you feel better. It will make you a genuinely happier person, fighting depression, anxiety and other mental health issues that kick in when school and careers become stressful.

So when you wake up in the morning and don’t feel like working out that day, do it anyway. Wake up an hour earlier if you have to. Skip the croissant and have some granola. To this day, I’ve never regretted a workout and I’ve never regretted eating my vegetables. The hard work is always easier than the regret of not living up to your potential.

Image: Julia Caesar

Health

  1. Dance in the rain
  2. Drink hot chocolate
  3. Watch a movie
  4. Catch up with friends and family
  5. Sleep late
  6. Relax by meditating
  7. Read a good book
  8. Cook a meal
  9. Bake from scratch
  10. Bring out an old board game
  11. Try on clothes and create new outfits
  12. Experiment with different makeup looks
  13. Take an artsy Instagram
  14. Read articles about your favorite inspirational person
  15. Paint your nails
  16. Spend an hour on Pinterest
  17. Plan a weekend adventure
  18. Listen to new music
  19. Make a mix CD
  20. Jump in a puddle
  21. Order takeout
  22. Try some new hair styles
  23. Paint
  24. Make mac and cheese
  25. Solve – or attempt to solve – a Rubix cube
  26. Update your photo album
  27. Take a hot bath (with a bath bomb!)
  28. Go through old yearbooks
  29. Search through Instagram
  30. Online shop and see how expensive your cart gets
  31. Watch your favorite YouTube star
  32. Practice an instrument
  33. Play balloon volleyball
  34. Workout
  35. Play videogames
  36. Write in a journal
  37. Brainstorm new business ideas
  38. Organize your closet
  39. Walk around your neighborhood
  40. Take a 20 minute nap
  41. Refresh by brushing your teeth and washing your face

Image: StokPic

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

Today you and I both made a decision. Thus far, today’s decisions have included my choosing to ignore my first alarm clock and wait for the next preset one three minutes later, running a red light while squealing in bliss guilt, and noteworthy progress in my decision to study abroad in Budapest. We are all aware that the decisions we make every day can either be major or minor and the more decisions we make, the more productive we are. And since they are a part of our daily lives, we must learn how to situate ourselves in a position that allows us to make the best decisions we can. Here are a few tips that may help!

1. Objectivity

Emotions take a huge part in our moods and sometimes, our decisions. This can many times fog what is really at stake. The best decisions are those made when there are no judgments or biases and when one is not in a position when his or her emotions are not heavily influencing the choices made. Making decisions in an emotional state may lead to regret later on. Try finding an outlet for emotions elsewhere and later returning to make a decision in a more rational state.

2. Take Your Precious Time

Quick means productive this day and age, and meeting deadlines means efficiency. However, in decision-making, especially with big ones, it is important to fully think out what it is you are choosing to do. More importantly, this means not rushing to conclusions and basing choices off of assumptions. Taking the time to fully analyze the possibilities is the best way to get results. If this means taking an extra day or two to take a look at things with a fresh mind, make arrangements and things will surely fall into place. It is better to take your time than to make hasty and rash decisions.

3. 360˚ POV

Although you may like to think you’re right most of the time, listening to all parts of the story, putting yourself in the shoes of others, and looking at all points of views help you rethink your position. Make sure that when making decisions, you are taking into consideration multiple points of view. This will allow you to see your potential paths. Not only will this call for smarter decisions, but it will also make for more confident ones.

4. Follow Your Gut

I’ve discerned that hunches are often underrated and overlooked. Many celebrities and successful businessmen have thanked their achievements to following their gut. There is a common misconception that “following your gut” means do what you feel, which is very much linked with emotions. However, there is a stark difference between the two. Following your gut is equivalent to following your instinct, which is very different than doing what your emotions want. As noted by Lisa Evans, a writer for Entrepreneur, you can verify if your choices are coming from emotion if you are feeling stressed, anxious, or worried. If not, then you are following your gut, which is something innate in all humans.

5. Make a List

How to not over-analyze? Although everyone says to never over-analyze a situation, they are, regrettably, inevitable sometimes. So, if you happen to be someone of this nature, the best way to structure your “over-analyzing” is by making a list. Jot down all of the pros and cons of making whatever decision you plan on taking and compare. Which makes more sense? Which is common sense? Which has more cons? Writing things down helps with objectivity and seeing things in another form.

Making decisions are a required part of our lives and sometimes making the right ones can be tricky. Hopefully you can find yourself embracing a few of these tips when in a dilemma. How will you approach your next decision?

Image: Julia Mazerova

CultureTravel

There are always risks to traveling. Your flight might be delayed or the airline might lose your luggage. I eliminated some travel risks from my life by creating an all purpose packing list. It’s the list that I consult before every trip to make sure I leave nothing to chance. The list is partly common sense and partly items I added over the years based on recommendations. Even if I don’t bring everything on it, it’s good to consult just in case. Here are some tips to make your own list:

packing

1. Remember The Essentials

Think of what you cannot live without while on a trip. Try to think of what you need in your everyday life. For me, my clothes, my wallet, and my cellphone must always be packed. I need these items no matter where I travel or for how long. Write down the things you can’t live without, even for a couple of days.

2. Be Smart When Packing Toiletries And Medications

It’s always good to bring travel-sized toiletries with you. You may want to take your chances using whatever soap and shampoo is in your hotel, but there might not be any. Remember that when going through an airport, you don’t want any liquids pulled out of your carry on, so think about that while you are packing.

I would also think about any medications you might need. Depending on how long your trip lasts, you might not need your entire pill bottle. In fact, you might not want to bring any medications if you are able to go to your local drugstore. Just consider where you will be going on your trip. When I was in Europe, the language and cultural barrier made it hard for my friends to find cough medicine when they needed it. Bring some medicine from home if you think it will be more convenient.

3. Think Seasonally

All of the items on my list are convenient for travel during every season. Once you have every possible item on your list, it is only a matter of deciding what to bring. For example, I won’t bring my raincoat to Hawaii in the summer, even though a raincoat on my list. Check the weather forecast and consider what you might be doing on your trip. You can also throw caution to the wind and say, I’ll just pack what I packed last time, but if your usual plans change, you might be unprepared. It doesn’t hurt to keep all of these items on your list so you don’t forget anything.

4. Only Bring The Electronics You May Need

Electronics can be optional on your list. It’s always a good idea to remember to bring your phone and your charger. Someone else might have one, but you don’t want to worry about it. Keep in mind that a lot of electronics, such as a laptop, are expensive and can be stolen. Also, you might not want to bring something as heavy as a laptop if you don’t think you will have a lot of downtime. Put it on the list anyways in case the opportunity presents itself. If you are traveling to a different country, remember to bring power converters for your plug-ins.

5. Entertainment Can Be An Asset

Entertainment doesn’t seem that important until you are stuck at the airport for two hours. This category could include a book or movies to watch in the hotel. It’s good to plan for these things. Just think about how much time you will have to read or watch movies while you are away. If this is not a priority, you can make room for other things in your bag.

6. Determine Your ‘In Case Of Emergency Items’

I have a list of worst case scenario supplies. This would include matches, batteries, or a first aid kit among other things. Chances are you can buy these wherever you go. The point is to have them in the moment that you need them. They don’t take up much space in a bag; however, a lot of supplies can take up valuable space and weigh you down. Be practical.

7. Pack Some Accessories

Accessories tend to be different, but we all have them. Accessories might include a hat, glasses, scarves, or jewelry. I would advise against bringing anything you are worried about losing. Sort your accessories into accessible bags for convenience.

8. Remember Anything Needed Specifically for the Trip

These are the items you will need to get anywhere. This would include your driver’s license, passport, flight plan, or money. Even if you are not taking a plane, you could find a car, a train ticket, or anything else you definitely need to get you to your destination. You don’t want to get all packed to go and then realize you can’t go anywhere. Put them on the checklist to be sure.

9. Take Care Of Things At Home

This is actually just one item on my list but it covers the broad idea of making sure that your regular life isn’t interrupted by your trip. Think about everything that needs to taken care of while you’re gone. An example would be getting time off work or returning books to the library. You will probably do this anyway in the months and weeks before your trip. The point is to give it some last minute thought before you leave so you are not stressed out during your vacation.

10. Make It Your Own

In the end, what ends up on your list is whatever you feel like packing. For example, I am not really a camper. If you are someone who goes camping often, there is probably a lot of camping gear on your list. The list is about making your travels easier. Once you discover what you want to get out of a trip, write down whatever you need to in order to make it happen.

These are just a few categories that I used to make my own list. You are your own person with your own needs. You need to find what works for you. It will take you awhile to think of everything you will need. You can even consult some travel websites for advice. My personal list is a checklist but I know that not every box has to be checked. The point is to be ready so at a moment’s notice you can get out there and have fun.

What does your ultimate packing list look like? What are your must-have travel items?

Image: Strange Luke

Education

Happy first day of autumn! Who’s looking forward to hot cocoa, scarves, and bundling up with a good read? To say that we’re excited would be an understatement. Now that summer is over, it’s time for a fresh reading list. Here are the eight books at the top of our reading list…

1. So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came to be and Why It Endures by Maureen Corrigan

fallread 4

2. How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines by Thomas C. Foster

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3. The Human Age: The World Shaped By Us by Diane Ackerman

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4. Yes Please by Amy Poehler

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5. The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

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6. Unspeakable And Other Subjects of Discussion by Meghan Daum

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7. What If: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

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8. Liar Temptress Soldier Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil Wars by Karen Abbott

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What books are you reading this fall?

Image: Abhi Sharma, Flickr

CultureTravel

Travel season might be over at the moment, but that isn’t going to stop us from daydreaming about all of the places we have yet to explore. Luckily, we found 14 stunning Instagram accounts with photos that will stir up some serious travel envy. Whether you want to travel to the country, city, or abroad, these accounts will keep you entertained and in awe until the next time you can pack your bags and fly away. Here’s a guide to the best travel Instagram accounts you’ll want to follow ASAP:

1. @bkindler – Björn Kindler takes some of the most beautiful photographs we’ve ever seen, and we just want to jump right into the picture. His photos are highly contrasted, giving it an even more fantasy-like appearance. Spoiler alert (and thankfully for us): these are real places in the world.

travel

2. @onemileatatime – Ben Schlappig is a full-time travel blogger who flies over 300,000 miles per year. Since he doesn’t like to stay anywhere for more than three days, there is never a shortage of travel photos.

travel

3. @aladyinlondon – Julie Falconer is a writer, consultant, and travel blogger who documents her travel photos. Originally from California, Julie moved to the UK in 2007. With photos like these, we’re happy she made the move.

4. @legalnomads – A former lawyer who now travels and eats her way around the world, Jodi Ettenberg has been to some pretty neat places.

travel

5. @zachspassport – Zach Glassman promotes the transformative power of travel through his stunning photos. Having mastered more than five languages and getting quite a few stamps in his passport, we’re not sure if there’s anywhere Zach hasn’t been.

travel

6. @laurenepbath – This travel photographer is seriously talented. Lauren Bath’s photos are captivating and colorful, to say the least. We can’t stop staring at these mesmerizing photos of her travels.

7. @kevinruss – Kevin Russ’s rustic looking photos are simply incredible. He captures the beauty of nature with ease, reminding us that places like this exist in our world. His photos make us want to disconnect from technology and immerse ourselves in these remote locations.

travel

8. @kirstenalana – Kirsten Alana is a New York City-based professional photographer who captures the most beautiful moments in life, from boating in Central Park to exploring a lighthouse off the coast of California.

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9. @colincabalka – Colin Cabalka, film director and cinematographer, takes photos and Instavideos to show where he’s been, and his journey has been visually remarkable, that’s for sure.

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10. @fosterhunting – Foster Huntington documents his #vanlife with unparalleled beauty. From his van to a tree house in the sky, Foster snaps photos that look so effortless and free that you’ll want to hop into a van and just drive.

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11. @pascalpics – Martin documents his time exploring the city and doodling in cafes around Scotland, and the results are unreal. Once you see these photos, you’ll be asking for a one-way ticket to Edinburgh.

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12. @doyoutravel – This Instagram account showcases people from all over the world’s travel photos, proving that people are having some seriously cool experiences.

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13. @hirozzzz – Hiroaki knows how to capture places of the world from unique and thrilling angles. Gorgeous pictures.

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14. @iartu_jennifer – When we see Jennifer’s photos, we just want to walk down a foggy pier or road to nowhere. Through her photos, we can tag along on her stunning journeys.

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Which travel Instagram accounts are giving you #travelenvy?

EducationSkills

Last week I shared a few tips on how to get involved on your campus, this week I’m here to talk to you guys about how to find the clubs that are right for you. While it is true that joining clubs allows you to get involved, clubs aren’t fun if you’re not really interested in the ones you’re a part of.

And though clubs can be fun, keep in mind that they are also commitments. Once you decide to join a club, you are responsible for attending all of the meetings (within reason), show up on time (again, within reason), follow club rules, participate in events thrown by your club etc.

You don’t have to worry about those responsibilities just yet. I just want you guys to keep them in mind when you’re at your school’s activities fair. Speaking of which, seeing all of the clubs and organizations with their respective stations at the activities fair can be a little overwhelming, especially if your campus has more than forty clubs to choose from. And even if your campus doesn’t have that many, it still doesn’t make deciding which clubs to join any easier.

You could always sign up for all of the clubs at once and then go to each club’s first meeting to see if you like it, but then you run the risk of missing meetings that might be going on at the same time.

This is not to say that going to every club meeting can’t be done, but it’s always good to have an idea of what kinds of clubs you want to be a part of just so you have a smaller, more manageable list to work with. If you’re not sure what kinds of clubs are available at your university, make sure you check out your school’s website. There should be a list of clubs available there. Don’t worry if you can’t find it. You can still make a list of things you either like doing or are interested in. Before you groan and say how much you don’t like making lists, let me just say that it doesn’t have to be a very long one. It doesn’t even have to include sentences if you don’t want it to. Also, if you were part of clubs in high school that you really liked, add that to your list. Chances are there will be something similar offered on your campus.

Your list might not be as vague as this one, but here’s an example of a club list you can create:

  • Writing
  • Books
  • Mock trial
  • Doodling
  • Singing
  • Leadership
  • Learning about other cultures

I know this list isn’t long, but as I said before, it doesn’t have to be. I don’t want to write a book about things I’m interested in because from these seven bullet points I can think of a reasonable sized list of clubs to join off the top of my head. But let’s pretend that I can’t think of any clubs to join and that I have no idea what kind of clubs/organizations my campus offers.

In that case, I can do one of two things:

1. I can use my list as a guide when looking through the clubs and organizations listed on my college’s website. It will help me narrow down any list, regardless of the size, especially if there’s a search engine on the site i.e. Penn State’s Student Organization Directory (in case you’re wondering what a site like the one I described might look like).

OR

2. If I can’t find a club/organization directory or website of any kind, I can wait until school starts and go to the activities fair. Each club will have their own table on it with a sign so it’ll be like using a search engine, only in real life. Look for the signs with words that are similar to the ones your list.

Let’s pretend that I did both of those things on two separate occasions.

If I were to choose the first option, I would type in the words from my list into the search engine (assuming that your school’s club website has one. If not, your search might take a little bit longer) and look through the descriptions of every club/organization that pops up. After that, I’ll jot down the ones that appeal to me so that I have another list; one filled with clubs I want to check out during the activities fair.

I used Penn State’s Student Organization Directory to make another list to show you:

  • Writing: InState Magazine, Kalliope, WORDS
  • Books: African Library Project, Book Club
  • Mock trial: Debate Team, Mock Trial Association
  • Doodling: Art Club
  • Singing: The Coda Conduct, University Choir, Women’s Chorale
  • Leadership: Atlas, Blue & White Society, Bridges to Prosperity, Circle K
  • Learning about other cultures: AHANA

See how I turned a list of seven into a list of sixteen? I could’ve made it a bit longer because there were still more clubs in each category but, to follow my own advice, I only picked the ones that really appealed to me.

As for the second option, I can’t check out all of the clubs at once, but as I do with a search engine, I can utilize keywords. There will be signs and posters at the activities fair, so find the ones that relate to your interest list. I like writing so chances are, signs that say campus literary magazine or newspaper will appeal to me just as much as the student government association, international club, and the debate team would.

Clubs are a great way to get familiar with your campus, get involved, make new friends, and once you become a full-fledged college student – de-stress. So choosing the right ones for you is important. Like I mentioned before, being a part of clubs take a lot of commitment, which is why you want to be sure you join ones that fit your interest. Again, I know it might be overwhelming, but if I can take a list of 1,024 clubs (that’s how many are offered at Penn State) and narrow it down to sixteen in less than an hour, so can you! And don’t worry if your university doesn’t have a website for the clubs. I personally used the second option my freshman year, and it worked out for me.

Now what are you waiting for? Go make YOUR list.

Image: Colgate.edu

EducationHealthSkills

Is the excitement of heading back to school wearing off? While there are changes happening everywhere around you (just look outside at those leaves turning orange), you might feel like you are in need of your own change when you feel your energy levels crashing. Exams, projects, presentations, and homework might be piling up, and since school just started, there’s no break or end in sight. In order to stay on top of all your work without completely burning out, pick and choose which of these 8 ways might help prevent back-to-school burnout and keep your enthusiasm at its peak…

1. Take breaks. Preventing burnout doesn’t have to happen on a grand scale, but instead you can incorporate little changes into your everyday life. Schedule mini-breaks into your routine, giving yourself 15 minutes to do whatever you want. After 1 hour of studying or essay writing, give yourself 10 minutes to listen to music, practice your new hobby (see #3), or have an impromptu dance party. Do anything that makes you feel great and takes your mind off of work for those precious 10-15 minutes.

2. Plan a fun weekend activity. Get a group of your friends together for a fun weekend activity. When you have something to look forward to during the week, there’s a good chance you will keep your energy levels up so you can get through your work and enjoy your Saturday plans. Instead of doing your regular weekend activities, organize something new and out of the ordinary. Plan activities that are inspired by the season, such as picking apples at your local orchard, seeking out early haunted houses, or hosting a pie-making party.

3. Learn a new hobby. This might sound ridiculous, since you probably have zero time to add anything to your plate. However, even the smallest changes could change-up your entire routine and give you a fresh perspective. For example, learning a new hobby such as knitting or painting are calming hobbies that work around your schedule. You have complete control and practicing your hobby for just 15-30 minutes a day can be a total game changer.

4. Review your routine. Every now and then, it is important to step back and evaluate where you are in your life. In this case, step back and review your routine for the past week. Are there changes you can make that would give you more energy, such as going to sleep 10 minutes earlier? Perhaps sitting in a different seat in class would positively affect your interactions with your teacher and classmates? Pack a snack for when your blood sugar level drops and you need a quick boost. Changing your routine doesn’t have to be a lot of work – little changes can make a big difference.

5. Remember your goals. Did you set goals for the beginning of the new school year? Maybe you set a goal of meeting with your teacher once a week for an entire semester, or you wanted to focus on learning how to do Derivative and Integration formulas like a pro. If you didn’t set goals for yourself, this would be a good time to think about what you want out of the school year. When you start thinking about your goals and what it is you truly want to accomplish, you may become re-motivated and avoid feelings of burnout.

6. Sleep. It might be as simple as catching some zzz’s in order to get back to your energetic self. With the loads of work, extra-curriculars, and team practices, your body might be telling you to slow down and rest. Whether you need to take a long afternoon nap or just work on trying to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night, be conscious of what your body is telling you.

7. Take a stroll. Sometimes you just need to drop everything and walk it out. When you feel yourself getting exhausted from work, chores, or school, stop drop and stroll. Surrounding yourself with nature and breathing in fresh air will clear your mind and give you a new perspective on what is happening in your life.

8. Talk it out. Oftentimes we tend to keep our feelings to ourselves. Talking out how to feel is healthy, and one way to prevent burning out is to talk to your friends, family, and teachers about how you feel. You might learn that your friends are feeling the exact same way. It feels great to know that you are not alone, especially when you are feeling vulnerable and exhausted. Your school year is just getting started, don’t burnout now.

How do you prevent back-to-school burnout?