What’s a Millennial to do without Internet?

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It has been awhile since I have posted and I have a really, really good reason. I have been on Christmas Break and my parents’ house does not have Internet. I know. It’s ridiculous, but it’s just the way it is.

What did this Millennial do without Internet? Let me tell you.

  • For a while, I was super bummed, and in my darkest hours I stared at my computer in defeat, but I wasn’t sad for long. How can someone be sad with three dogs wanting you to pet them all at once? The answer, you can’t. After four months away, it was wonderful to play and take care of my lovely pups.
  • But it wasn’t all puppy love, I also worked at Target. It was great to be back with my coworkers and not having to do homework everyday.
  • I also have started to learn how to knit. I’ve been making mug cozies. It’s been a struggle to learn the patience and various techniques.
  • When my family was home, I forced them to play card games. The Donahue family does not shy from competition.

So my break wasn’t filled with Netflix and Internet surfing, but it was relaxing and fun. In all actuality, it was nice to get away from the Internet. I think everyone could benefit from some time away from technology, even if it is just for an evening.

Next week, I’ll have a better post for you. I promise.

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4 Key Ways to Stay Stress Free

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We all hit those times, where we want to pull our hair out, because everything needs to be done and it needs to be done now. Well, these past few weeks I have been taking test, finishing projects, creating study guides–all for my college finals. But somehow, I am able to keep my stress levels low.

Here are some ways I use to stay as stress free as possible:

  1. I set my own deadlines and stick to them. If I have an essay due in two weeks. I make sure I have my research done by a certain day. It’s beneficial because I know my schedule better than anyone else therefor I know how to space my time better than others.
  2. On a similar note, I break down big projects. By taking it step-by-step, it feels more manageable and at the end I am able to look at the bigger picture.
  3. I set aside my own time, where I make sure not to schedule anything. It’s an hour that I get to myself, where I can watch Netflix, cook or just simply be with my friends without the worry of work. It’s a no-work time.
  4. I embrace my inner 4-year-old. I play with play-dough, break out my markers and color. I do simple crafts. It’s a lot of fun. 4-year-olds don’t worry.

With those 4 ways, I am able to stay (mostly) calm and collected for my finals. Do you have any strategies that you stick to when you are stressed?

Check your Packing List – Emotional Baggage

I check my packing list and boxes multiple times, making sure I have all of the essentials for my third year of college. I have my shower shoes, my caddy, my mattress cover, my free-read books, my school notebooks, my textbooks, and all of these things are important. But emotional baggage is just as important as physical baggage, if not more.

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What I believe is emotionally important to bring with you to college:

At college, I encounter a lot of different people, so it’s important to keep an open-mind. Everyone comes in with a past, and different lessons they have learned. These lessons and experiences are usually vastly different from my own.

No question is stupid. I’m living in a dorm traditionally filled with freshmen. My neighbors will probably have lots of questions about campus, traditions, and life. These questions may seem tedious to me at times but to them it is all-new. These questions do not determine their intelligence or who they are as a person. I will have questions too. Everyone deserves respect.

The way you treat others is very important, but one need to remember to take care of yourself. Maintaining a positive outlook for the semester, social life, and self is important for my mental health. It’s the little things that count and ones mentality is one of them. Thinking positive and staying positive is something I struggle with, but it is a mentality that can be very beneficial.

Staying focused on the self, overscheduling is easy in college. Everything sounds fun, and inspiring, so it’s easy to over commit. Overcommitting can make anyone’s grades and health suffer. It is okay to say no. It is easier to say no once I establish that I can’t give it the attention it needs.

These are the four traits I am packing in my emotional baggage. Whether it is your first year or your third, your emotional outlook impacts your experience far greater than your physical possessions.

Did I miss anything? If you have any additional thoughts, please comment. I would love to hear what you pack emotionally when you go to college or work.

A Quick Look into England

This past May I went with my college on a Literary Tour of England. I loved it! The people were amazing and the culture was fantastic. What a great time I had!

Here are the 6 great things about my time in England:

  1. York: York was fantastic. The great North was also my classes first of 6 locations, but it was by far my favorite. The crisp cool air was refreshing. The people were so helpful. Our second day there, we went on a Literary (walking) Tour of York. The tour-guide was hilarious, joking with all 15 of us about the literary greats, like Lord Byron. The City Walls were also a great attraction for me – – and I am afraid of heights! – – but somehow I ended up walking almost the whole thing. From the train station to the World Wars monument and then I walked behind Yorkminster Abbey. Yorkminster Abbey was a sight to be seen. It was by far my favorite Abbey. Yes, I saw Whitby Abbey, Westminster Abbey, and St. Paul’s Cathedral, but still Yorkminster took my breath away. I truly felt God’s presence there. York was my favorite stop in the entire trip.
  2. The Theatre: Coming in second without a doubt are my theater experiences. While the class was in Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, we saw two phenomenal plays. At the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre, we had the pleasure of seeing Henry IV Part 1 by William Shakespeare. I have to be honest reading the play was very boring, except for Falstaff, of course. Seeing it live was another story. It was an energized show. I found that the war strategy scenes more fascinating than Falstaff. At the Swan Theatre, we saw Roaring Girl by Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker (written 1607-1610). It was a very edgy performance with modern touches. Altogether, it was a brilliant show. Myself and two other of my classmates went to see Once, the musical, in London’s West End Phoenix Theatre. I had known nothing of Once until the first strings of the violin played. It left me speechless. Now, I must see the movie. During my last day in England our class went to the Globe Theatre and saw the bloodiest production of Titus Andronicus yet to be produced. In fact, one groundling (someone standing around the stage rather than sitting in the seats) fainted during the performance. A classmate of mine, too, felt queazy and had to sit down. The only way to see a show in the Globe is by being a groundling. I recommend it to anyone who is going to London. Even if you didn’t like your high school english classes, it will be worth it.
  3. Dr. Clark: This trip would not have been possible without the amazing Dr. Rachel Clark. She organized the course, scheduled all of our tours, events, and transportation, and dealt with 14 20-something, English/Writing majors. My hat is off to her. More importantly, she is a wonderful person and dealt with every missed train and bus gracefully. I am so glad I was able to spend my evenings talking with her about everything from grad. school to romance novels to board games. I cannot express how awful (in its original definition: full of awe) I feel to her and her contribution to this trip.
  4. My Classmates: I cannot mention Dr. Clark without my classmates. We are so lucky, none of us hated each other. We got along amazingly. I couldn’t have had the experience I did without them.
  5. High Tea at Westminster Abbey: Yes, yes, I said it and I did it. Our class was able to have high tea at Westminster Abbey. The same Abbey where Queen Elizabeth I is buried, William and Kate got married, and England’s monarchy has their coronations. High Tea was a blast and I felt very posh while sipping my tea.
  6. Trains: Last but not least, I enjoyed traveling by train. I know it’s small and may seem like nothing to you, but I enjoyed it. Pulling out my tablet to read or write, the train lulled my mind away. It was peaceful. There was no stress about rush hour (once I obtained a seat) as there normally would be on my commute home here in the USA. It was quite freeing.

So there you have it, a quick glimpse of my time in England.

I will see you Sunday for “Summary Sunday”

Cheers,

Jessica

For the Better

As I pack up my dorm room for the first time, I am reminded by the girl, who picked out these new things a year ago. She was ecstatic, ready for an adventure, and a little scared. I am sad to say that some of her fears came true. My roommate hated me, and a spider bit me. But nothing could outweigh everything that I had learned and achieved.

I made four best friends and have countless other friends. I got As and Bs in all of my class—I’m still waiting on the results for this last one. I learned to be independent. I paid for my own snacks, and medicine. I made all of my own appointments. I made my own decisions. I lived alone for the majority of the year—the hateful roommate moved out before Thanksgiving. I also experienced things, traveled places, and met people I couldn’t have ever imagined. I went on a service trip in a group where I had no friends, but connected with them in a way that I cannot explain. I finished my first manuscript. I flew in a plane for the first time. I went to two national forensics—speech—tournaments. I found the beginnings of a family in forensics. I found a family at college.

All of these things are great and special, but the one thing that stands out to me more than anything else, I am following my dreams. Despite what the world says, despite what the job market keeps repeating, despite my own parents’ skepticism, I am going to school to become a better fiction writer. I am striving for my American Dream, even if some claim it is unreachable. I am chasing my dream and I am so proud of myself, because I have realized what a treasure it is to have this opportunity.

As I put the last of my things away, I understand that I am not the girl I was a year ago. I know I have changed. I am told that I have changed. Whether it is for the better or worse, only time will tell. All I can do is pray that I’ll keep changing for the better.

First day of College

The bathrooms down the hall were getting gross and if you have never shared a bathroom with 12 or so other girls, you are lucky–very, very lucky. I tried to take a shower as quickly as possible and rushed back to my dorm room to get dressed. I was going for causal, yet nice in my outfit. 

I stepped out of the dorm to go to the cafeteria. The sun was bright and warm, like my future. It wasn’t even the first hour and I had a good feeling about all of this–about life. I waited for Molly on the sidewalk between her dorm and mine. We couldn’t dare meet each other inside the cafeteria. We were shaking with nerves. 

Was college going to be harder than high school? Were we prepared for college? Should I have taken the Advance Placement classes? Were people going to stare at me as I get my food?

We made it through breakfast, but before we went our separate ways. I made Molly take a picture of me in front of Old Main, just as my mom had ever since I went to preschool. I liked that it made full circle. I sent to my mom in a picture message and she was ecstatic.

Before I knew it, I was in my first class. Not just any class, but Spanish, where your high school education is really tested. I was anxious. I got into the classroom 15 minutes before anyone else, but it calmed me that I was there–ready. 

Once that first class started, they all flew by.

I shouldn’t have been so nervous, but it was the beginning of the rest of my life. My mom wasn’t there to cook me a chocolate chip pancake. My dad didn’t come home from work ready to hear all about my day.

I have always been told I was independent, and after that first day of college, I believe them.