Religion has been a part of my life since I was a baby. Every Sunday, my family and I would go to church and on Wednesday nights, I’d go to some type of youth group event with my brother or friends. While I knew that faith is meant to be more than a routine, sometimes it felt like I was just going through the motions.
Coming to college completely changed that for me. Suddenly, it was up to me if I wanted to continue to stay active in my religion. I could choose whether to go to church or sleep in. It was up to me if I wanted to spend an evening at a college ministry event, stay in and study or go out with friends. I knew what my parents and friends would expect of me, but they weren’t there to tell me what to do. It was truly my choice.
While I am telling you about my personal faith story, the fact is that we all have this choice. I am sure many of you–whether you’re Catholic, Lutheran, Jewish, Muslim or non-denominational–are also from families where you were expected to go to worship services or observe religious practices. And college presents the perfect opportunity to decide if this is a faith you want to follow for the rest of your life or not.
Now for me, I went to church in the first week of college just to see what it would be like. The church, Pleasant Valley Church, was very similar to mine at home. and I actually liked it quite a bit. I could definitely see myself as part of their community.
But fast forward a few weeks, and suddenly I didn’t think it was extremely important to go. I was confused about whether I wanted to go church consistently or put my faith lower on my list of priorities. For a few weeks, I struggled with this question. I would go to church, enjoy it a lot, but then by the middle of the week wonder if I wanted to go.
About a month into my freshman year, I went to Pleasant Valley Church’s college ministry event for young women, H2O Women: Apple Orchard. You can guess where we all went– Eckerson’s Apple Orchard! It was such a great experience and I got to know some of the girls involved with H2O. Over the next few weeks, they helped me realize why I wanted to pursue my faith. I could see their passion and fire for the God I serve and I realized that I wanted that passion too. Getting involved with a faith discussion group also strengthened my choice to serve God wholeheartedly.
In the past year, I have definitely struggled with my faith. Do I continue to actively practice my faith? Do I let it slide? But then there are always times after these doubts where I realize that I could never give up the faith I grew up with. It gets me through the stress of college and is very comforting to me. I feel like my faith helps me very much with my spiritual wellness. When I get stressed about something, I know that I can rely on my God to take care of my worries – something that I have a lot of. I just remember that I don’t have to worry about the next day because my life is in God’s hands.
Pursuing my faith in college was something I ended up choosing. By doing this, it became more than just my parent’s faith: it became my own personal faith. I couldn’t be happier with this choice and the benefits to my spiritual wellness I’ve gained from it. I hope that you all will think more about whether or not you want to pursue your childhood faith also.
Last week, I talked about the importance of saving money and why it is good to create a budget. This week, I’m going to give you some specific ways to save money and reduce your spending.
And they are (…….drumroll please…….):
I know these tips are pretty basic, but believe me, they work! It might be difficult at first to give up going to Mugby for coffee every morning or keeping yourself from clicking “Add to Cart” while browsing Amazon.com, but you can do it. If you start saving and keeping track of your money now, you future-self will thank you after graduation .
We are all starting school and trying to figure out balance in our lives, stressing about school, social life and jobs as well. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was one thing you didn’t need to worry about? The one thing I am choosing not to worry about would be money and my finances. And I’ll let you in on my strategy for financial zen (hint: it doesn’t include winning the lottery).
College students almost always struggle with money because we have to pay a lot for our tuition and textbooks and housing and groceries.. you get the idea. The bottom line is we usually don’t have much money. One thing college students don’t often realize, however, is that we need to manage our money a lot better than we do.
I personally live paycheck to paycheck and, honestly, that’s just not cutting it anymore. So I decided to take a personal finance class and it is helping me figure out how to stress less about money. I have learned that the key is to manage your spending and to save your money. It is easy enough to manage your money by creating a budget. All you have to do is to record all of your spending for one month and then cut out the expenditures that aren’t strictly necessary. For instance, if you are eating out several nights a week but didn’t realize it was that often, you can decide to cook more often at home which will usually cost less than a meal at a restaurant.
The other part of the money management equation is saving. It is very, very important to save money. I cannot stress this enough. If you don’t have a savings account then you don’t have emergency money for unexpected costs such as car repairs, heath care or even losing your job. This could cause a lot of trouble because if you don’t have any money set aside you’ll likely turn to credit cards which can be a dangerous road to start traveling.
An easy way to start saving is to take a portion of each paycheck you earn and put it into a savings account. Some workplaces will let you set up a direct deposit right to your savings account. The amount you decide to save every two weeks doesn’t have to be much. If you save just $10 a month, over 12 months you will have $120. That’s enough to buy a few textbooks or even a month’s worth of groceries. Now imagine what saving $20 or $30 will give you!
I’ve only been in my personal finance class for a few weeks, but I’ve already gotten a much better handle on my money. These simple tips on managing your money, creating a budget and saving money will help you immensely too. But I am not quite done imparting financial wisdom. Next week, I will share some specific ways you can save money and help to accomplish your financial goals.
We all know that feeling–the sneezing, the itchy and watery eyes, the runny or stuffy noses–and it’s often because of springtime allergies. Spring has finally sprung and now we are being bombarded with rain, pollen and the polar opposites Minnesota weather.
And frankly, the symptoms of allergies are frustrating and rather annoying when you have schoolwork and studying to do. No one wants to write a paper with a sinus headache and a box of tissues.
So normally you’d turn to your parents to figure out what medicine to take or what home remedies will help with your allergies, but now that you’re on your own deciphering between Allegra, Claritin and all the other options can be exhausting.
Here are some helpful hints on dealing with allergies and finding relief:
These are just some suggestions that I have found useful when dealing with allergies. If you want more information on exactly what medications are best for you, check out this article by the Mayo Clinic.
Now, I don’t know about the rest of you, but until this weather clears up, I’m going to get back to my homework and my box of tissues.
Longboards are appearing all around campus, and so are trips to the emergency room. According to an article at LiveScience.com, “Longboarders are at much greater risk of head fracture, traumatic brain injury and bleeding inside the skull (intracranial hemorrhage) than skateboarders.”
I myself have fallen off my longboard several times, but the embarrassment of falling on campus doesn’t match the possible bodily injury that could happen.
Here are some DOs for staying safe on a longboard:
Now for the DON’Ts:
If You Fall
If you follow these safety tips, you will be less likely to have any accidents. But if you do fall, don’t get up right away. Assess your injuries: does your head hurt, did you black out, does it feel like something is broken? Hopefully you are not riding alone and your friends can assist you. If you are alone, try to call for help on a cell phone or shout. If you are in the street, try to scoot to safety if you can. If not, make yourself well lit (such as using the flashlight on a cell phone) and make yourself as big as possible so people in cars can see you and help instead of hitting you.
If you only remember one thing from this blog post, know that you are not invincible. In fact, we are all subject to cuts, broken bones, head injuries and even death. You must know and accept these liabilities before you ride and be smart the way you enjoy this fun sport.
Happy riding, Winona!
All right everyone, it’s group activity time. I want all of you to picture for a moment the state of your homes, especially your bedrooms. For those of you currently at home, this task may be simplified by taking a moment to look around. Stop whatever else you’re doing just for a few seconds and just take in your environment.
Have a good image in mind?
Those of you who just pictured a comfortable, organized space with visible floors and no dishes in the sink, feel free to pat yourselves on the back and go back to your regularly scheduled blog-browsing.
Those of you who just grimaced as you realized that you still haven’t taken the laundry out of the basket this week or have a pile of cereal bowls in the sink that is starting to make the Tower of Pisa look insignificant may benefit from a brief jaunt down Sophie’s memory lane.
For many, many years I was definitely one of you guys. I was the type of girl who lived out of a suitcase even when I had a closet full of hangers at my disposal. I let books and homework pile up on the floor until I had to choreograph a very specific jumping pattern in order to reach my bed, and I hoarded enough cups, bowls and glasses on my desk that I put Smaug and his gold to shame.
My excuses were always the same: “Sure it’s a mess but it’s my mess” and “It’s a specific type of chaos that I can thrive in” or even “Yeah, it looks bad but I know where to find everything I need.” I lived this way in my single dorm for my freshmen and sophomore years and when I got roommates as a junior I just contained the disaster to my own room and didn’t let it bother them. I figured that would be good enough.
However, at the beginning of last semester I moved into a single apartment. As my class workload increased and the rest of my free time was being devoted to my new job, I realized that the controlled chaos was no longer as manageable as I thought. Halfway through the second month I realized that I’d never actually developed any reasonable cleaning skills. The clever hopping to my bed became a tedious path that I could barely navigate as I stumbled to bed after class and the bowls around my desk were frustratingly unavailable as I woke up early for work and needed a quick breakfast.
Without me even realizing it, my home environment had become just as stressful as my school and work.
It was then that I decided something had to change, but I couldn’t just undo years of perfect chaos. I had to develop a plan.
I started slowly by cleaning each dish immediately after using it. Later, I dumped my laundry on the bed so I’d have to put it away before I slept. Every time I stepped on something I picked it up and put it on a shelf. Each task was small in its own way, but it made a difference over a couple of weeks. Slowly, the mess began to unravel and my cute little efficiency apartment actually became visible.
It wasn’t an immediate change, and now that I’m two months away from graduating, I’m finally in the habit of just putting things away as I finish with them to the point where I don’t even think about it anymore. I even bought a vacuum cleaner for myself. Seriously, I was actually excited when it came too. I am officially that person.
When I come home from class or work to a clean apartment it makes everything feel simpler. I can focus on homework without constantly hearing my mother’s voice saying “You should really take out the trash, Sophie.” My apartment actually feels like a sanctuary instead of a cave I rent for sleeping.
I obviously can’t convince some of you lovers of chaos that having a clean home can lend to a clear mind but I will vouch for it till the ends of the earth. Just starting small with a little floor-pick-up here and there is enough to give it a go.
Just know that your environment might be affecting you more than you realize, and even if the pile of socks by your bed says otherwise, you definitely have the power to control it.
Keeping your space clear can be a quick fix to help keep your stress maintained and it can be the first step in creating an environment that actually feels like home. At the end of a long day sometimes that’s the best comfort in the world
Unless you count hot chocolate, of course.
As March raced to a close, we finally started to feel the air begin to warm, hear the birds chirping and see the grass replace snow. So I guess that means spring is here at last!
With the frigid days and dark evenings of winter behind us, we are beginning to crawl off the couch and away from our Netflix queues to take advantage of the new season. I’ve been seeing more and more people flock to the Wellness Center and the lakeside running trails to take in the sunshine and fresh air and to assess the damage the long winter has done to their levels of fitness.
For those of us that let winter get the best of them and are starting off back at square one, lacing up those running shoes and getting back out there can be a little difficult. You may be thinking, Where do I start? What should I be doing? How do I get motivated? Luckily, it seems like the folks in the IWC know how difficult this can be and has given us students some great resources and sources of motivation to help us get back out there and get on the course back to healthy activities.
For those of you are not sure where to start, the Fitness Center offers free fitness programs that you can download and use to get in a routine. These workout programs vary in length, number of days, and the type of workout you are looking to do and are a great place to start after a winter of binge-watching Netfix.
If you need some external motivation, just remember that your friends are likely MORE than willing to tell you when you are slacking. Working out with a friend can be much more fun than going alone, so it can be a great motivator that will help you stay on track. If you can’t find anyone, Health and Wellness Services has can hook you up with a workout buddy.
For those of you that are living in the residence halls, Prentiss-Lucas Hall and the Quad are currently putting on various wellness challenges over the month of April. Talk to your RA about joining and try to help your floor get the most hours in the gym. A little competition can give you some motivation to get out there as well.
I’m writing this from under the covers of my bed, so clearly, I’m not perfect with this either. However, the urge to get rid of layer covering my stomach (10 pizzas in the last 6 weeks will do that to a guy) is starting to get to me. Luckily I don’t need the extra pudge to stay warm anymore.
Best of luck to all of you!