Life & Lessons

14 Things I Learned From My Last College Spring Break

What is known to be the week of unimaginable amounts of alcohol, major sun burn, and bikinis so small your 13-year-old sister shouldn’t even be able to fit into them turned out the be quite the opposite for me—unless you count the bathing suit bottom I’ve had since middle school, the sun rash on my inner thigh, and the single spontaneous shot of tequila we took on the strip. After catching up with a few high school friends in DC, I traveled south with three of my college friends to spend the week kicking back on the beach in Clearwater, Florida. It was my first and last tropical spring break, but believe me, it was no Panama City. There were lots of old people and ice cream shops. We watched sunsets next to families and shared peanut butter and jelly donuts and went on walks to nowhere. The wildest party we had was falling asleep after too many crab legs. But we laughed a lot. We even cried a little. We talked, and sat in silence, and smiled, and made memories. It was a wonderful time.

My favorite part about getaways and vacations (aside from the fancy stationary pens they leave you in hotel rooms) is the brain space it grants you. Staring at the sea and the sky makes you think. I did a lot of this. Staring out a car window also makes you think. I did a lot of this too. Also—I’m just a sappy, thinky person. So naturally this blog post makes a lot of sense. Here’s a run down of what ran though my brain this past week. I hope you get as much out of these moments and realizations as I did, or even come to your own truths. Let’s start shallow, like the questionable pool at our three star motel.

1. Phones suck.

I don’t understand why we are addicted to distraction. I don’t know why we choose the people on our screens over the people right in front of us. I constantly evaluate whether I am going to burst from the amount of news and entertainment and blogs and emails and updates that I want to (and feel like I have to) read. But when I put my phone away for an entire day while we were here, I remembered what it’s like not to question any of that. And it rocked.

2. Phones rock.

I love sharing my experiences and thoughts with the world. I love being able to take notes when something cool happens and email them to myself so I can write blog posts like this. I love capturing moments with lenses, and seeing what my friends are up to on the other side of the world, and being able to let my parents know I’m safe. I hate Apple maps, but I am grateful every time I open it that I don’t have to unfold a blanket-sized paper one. Thank you, technology.

3. Walks are the best.

I forgot how much I love these things! You get active! They generate thought!  You see cool things! You smell the roses! They make you feel like typing sentences with exclamation marks!

4. So is the sun.

Sunshine doesn’t fix everything, but it fixes a lot. I’ve been trying to figure out why I’ve felt so weird and unmotivated lately, but then I remembered it’s because I’ve been spending the past month with my head in a hood stomping through snow and cursing at the cold. Sunshine feels good and it reminds you to be grateful for life. It recharges your soul. When there’s sun, take advantage of it. Where there’s sun, go. I like to think of it as a natural medicine or herb or drug. Get the D. (But use protection, specifically sunscreen, thank you and you’re welcome)

5. Things can be mended. 

Bad things happen. People will hurt you, intentionally and unintentionally. But I know two things. One, people make mistakes. Sometimes really big ones. And two, people can change. I know these things because I’ve done both. The second was a result of the first. Humans suck, and you and I are not excluded. But humans can also be really great, too. Forgiveness is hard, but it is important. And I’m still learning. The third thing I’ve learned may be the most important, and that is that things can be mended. Broken friendships and relationships get better with time (key word is time). But know that while some things fix themselves, a lot of things things don’t fix themselves—at least not at first. It involves communication, and effort, and proof that that person is not just trying to make things better for the heck of it, but that they actually want things to be better.

6. Mending looks different every time.

No scar or crack heals or gets filled in the same way or in the same amount of time. I’ve learned that you can’t put an expiration date on hurt.

7. Some people just won’t get it.

Every situation is unique. Some things mend differently than others, and not everyone will understand. And it’s not your job to convince them.

8. What people think of you is not a reflection of you.

It is a reflection of themselves, or where they are at in their head or day or process. I’ve discovered that when people are being rude, it’s usually because something has happened to them. If a person says something mean, it’s because of an experience they’ve had or a perception they’ve created in their reality that isn’t necessarily true of your reality (Thank you, The Four Agreements). When someone is acting annoyed or irritated, they are dealing with emotions they may be handling or hiding. I know that doesn’t really make what they say or do any better or less hurtful. But it helped me stop questioning myself and my actions when I realized this. There is something that person has to figure out for themselves. Let them, and you go on with yo bad self.

9. Sometimes what other people think of you is a reflection of you.

Are you noticing patterns?

10. Your parents are your ultimate teachers.

Stop right now and go thank (or give thanks if they are no longer with you) your parents for being them. I don’t care if they are or were the best or the worst—they provided you with a foundation for your life to mold and learn from. I am infinitely grateful for mine. I have realized so much about myself and my habits; who I want to be and who I don’t. How your parents raised you and where they raised you is a part of your life story—more than you even know. I realized this while talking to my friends this week. This is my moment to tell the world that my parents are fantastic, fantastic people. I love them not only for giving me life, being in my life, and providing for me in life, but teaching me what I know and how I know it.

11. Nature is talking to us.

I’m going to be honest with you. I’m 21, and big waves freak me out. But I noticed something: the big waves were never as scary as I thought they were when I swam straight into them, or turned around and rode with them. But they were always scary when I ran away and hope they didn’t hit me. Nature is always trying to tell us something. Catch my drift?

12. Seagull attacks are a real thing.

A seagull literally took a bite out of my friend’s sandwich. I couldn’t make this stuff up, folks. But what was really fascinating and infinitely less upsetting was the evening we watched a 12-year-old boy play with a flock of seagulls by leading them with a single Cheez-it. Magic. At first I was terrified for his life, then I laughed with him, then I was transfixed in pure awe. It was one of the most beautiful things I have seen a very long time. I felt liberated through this little boy; he was having the time of his life. He was so innocent. So free. The most amazing part is that he was in control, and he didn’t even know it. This made me think about my own life.

13. The times you feel the most lost, you never actually are. 

This is a common theme in my life, because I’m graduating and I’m scared and sad. This would not be the first time, but I’ve realized that this is probably going to happen a lot in life and I am okay with it. I started thinking of all the transitionary periods in my life. I look back and realized I got through all of them. Every single one. And the best part is, when I think about where I am now, every “next” stage turned out even better than I imagined it. I felt lost, but now I realized I never actually was. I was just scared. The plan for our lives is already mapped out, and even better than we know. A friend told me “If you don’t feel lost, then you are safe. And if you’re safe, then you will never grow.” Fear is a sign that you are putting yourself out of your comfort zone, and that’s where all the good stuff happens. Guess what? Everything is going to be okay.

14. Light follows.

Just like the seagulls, light follows. Or at least—that’s what we thought. We watched the sun set every night. The first evening, I noticed the reflection of the sun in the water created a path of orange light leading straight to my feet in the sand. I smiled to myself. A sign from the universe just for me, right? The second evening, my friend Meredith said something about it. I told her I was thinking the same thing yesterday, and we shared the moment. The third evening, we noticed the path of light led back to us yet again. All of a sudden, it was not cute anymore. I walked down the beach to solve the mystery. As it turns out, the trail of sun traveling across the water directly to my feet followed me wherever I went. It followed everyone. I was pissed! This was supposed to be a sign, what the heck! I returned with the bad news. They gasped in horror. Then we laughed for a long time. I felt so stupid. We were mad the magic wasn’t ours. But then I realized that wasn’t true. The magic was ours; it everyone’s. And that made it even more real. The world doesn’t revolve around me. It doesn’t revolve you. There’s enough light to go around.

The world is a big place. But the sun will find and follows us wherever we go.

YOURSTRULYMIA

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School Year Resolutions

Well hello there!

If you know anything about me, you know that I am a huge fan of two things:

inspiration, and organization.

So when I stumbled across this blog, you know I was double excited.

For her blog  A Glitter Affair, Chantel wrote a post about her New Semester Resolutions. She shares some awesome tips about getting excited and organized for the new school year, or the new semester.

I thought this was an absolutely fantastic idea. So I wrote a list myself! Here are my School Year Resolutions.

DIVIDER

Academic Resolutions:

+ Homework before play, always. Some people are most motivated to do their work right after class. Some need time to unwind. I’ve bounced between the two, as my study habits have changed from semester-to-semester depending on what kind of classes I am in. And as of last semester? I am the latter of the two. When I get home from school and work, looking at my 50 page reading is the last thing I want to do. I find myself diving into my work anyways, only half focused, reading things over and over because it’s not what I really want to be doing. I think I’m helping myself by making myself getting it done, but I’m really only wasting precious time. Prevent this by giving yourself a 30-minute-free-for-all. When you get out of class, give yourself a 30 minute break to snack, watch TV, relax on the quad, whatever. When those 30 minutes are up, do your work. Like Chantel, I am going to put my phone in a completely different room, and study. When you finish, you’ll be glad you have the rest of the day to relax.

+ Break it up. Rather than reading a whole chapter the day before it’s due, read a little bit each day, and stick to it. It’s less dreadful.

+ Stop jumping around. Focus on one task, complete it, then move on to the next. It saves you so much unneeded stress.

+ If you need help, just fricking ask. That’s what teachers and tutors are there for.

+ It’s going to be hard, but read the chapter before you go to class. Chantel had the bright suggestion to highlight all of the concepts you don’t understand, and write down any specific questions you may have. Then you have a basic knowledge of the material, and you might even be a little bit more engaged in what’s going on.

+ Everyone loves new things, okay? Figure out what school supply gets you excited, and get a new one. Just call me highlighter happy.

+ RE-find your study place. One semester, it was outside at a table under a tree. Another semester, it was at a desk in the corner of the library. A different semester, it was in my room. It may take a few times of shopping around to see which spot suits you best. When you find it, stick with it. But here’s the key. When you start getting bored of it, don’t force yourself to stay there. That’s a fatal mistake. You’ll lose concentration, and you will waste your time. Find a new spot again. You’ll look forward to studying, and you’ll actually stay focused.

+ Make study guides as you go. At the end of every chapter. For every test. Don’t wait until finals week to create study guides. It’ll make hell week a little more bearable. 10 chapters x 5 classes + 1 week to do it? You solve that equation.

 

Health Resolutions:

+ Do not stay up until 3AM every night. Just don’t.

+ Really, don’t stay up until 3AM every night.

+ Listen to your body. Don’t push yourself. Nourish it. Take care of it. It’s the only one you have.

+ I want to really take care of my hair this year. I want to let it grow out, so I’m going to work on keeping it healthy.

+ Drink more water. I don’t want my insides to look like SpongeBob inside of Sandy’s dome anymore. Drink some when you get up, and drink some before you go to bed. Carry a water bottle around with you all day. You’ll be more inclined to drink it. Pinky up.

+ You like to dance. So dance. Take one zumba/world beat/cardio dance party class every week. Just one. It’s fun. You let off some steam. And you never not feel great afterwards. It’s a win/win, really.

 

Work Resolutions:

I have an on-campus job as the student videographer and photographer at my university’s career and academic planning center. This will be my second year working there, and I absolutely love it.

+ Be a great team member.

+ Be a great leader.

+ Leave your school stress at home, and your work stress at work. Whatever you do, do not cross the two. I’m going to have to really buckle down on this one.

+ Continue to be organized at work. I print out a monthly calendar from Google, and put it on the front of my work binder to see all the important dates and fairs coming up. In my school planner, I choose one color for my work events/dates, and write them down there as well.

+ There’s a new Dunkin’ Donuts on the first floor, but try not to eat everything.

 

Social Resolutions:

+ It’s my junior year, but I want to continue to be open to meeting people. Not even for the sake of friendship, but because people are interesting in general. Engage with the stranger on the bus. Talk to the person sitting next to you in class. Everyone has a story to tell. Take time to hear it. Take time to learn. You might find friends in the most unlikely places.

And I’m in two already, but…

+ Join one more club. Just one. I might want to shoot my foot off, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

I have found the more you are involved with your school, the more you love it.

 

DIVIDER

 

Now, I know many people are turned away just by the idea of resolutions. They are convinced they never last, or that they are just for show. But I am convinced that anything and everything is possible. If you want it bad enough, and if you truly have a desire to better yourself, it can most definitely happen- no questions asked. If you stumble a few times, hey, that’s life. Just keep on trying. It’s been done before, and it can be done again. You are not the exception. You can do it too, just like everyone else. No matter how small, or how big the goal is.

 

This is a clean slate for you. Take advantage of it.

 

I hope these tips and ideas from myself as well as Chantel have been helpful to you. I know I’m going to print out my list and smack it on my cork board above my desk! Leave a comment below, or create a list of your own resolutions. Writing down your goals make them more real, more visible, and more attainable. I can’t wait to hear them!

 

I wish you the best of luck going into the next semester.

 

Cheers to the new year!

 

To check out my new blog, click here.

YOURSTRULYMIA

 

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If you’ve ever had a dream.

Hey friends!

As you may or may not know,

I make YouTube videos.

I’ve been making videos since I was 12, in 7th grade.

Today, a really sweet fan commented and told me that he was too nervous to tell his friends face to face that he likes to act and goes to stage school. He’s scared of how they will react. He asked me for advice on how to build confidence.

I really, really love when my fans and subscribers open up to me. I told him something like this:

It’s completely okay. I used to have this problem.

I still do.

But you have to continuously work through it. It’s what makes you stronger.

For many people, especially in the creative field, it’s hard to open up about what you love to do. It’s a hard thing to explain. Quite honestly, it can be embarrassing. It has been for me, more times than one. Many do not understand the motives, concepts, and beauty behind hobbies and careers like acting, writing, designing, and making videos and films. They don’t view it as “legitimate.”

“You can’t make a living that way.”

“Do you get paid enough?”

“That’s not a real job.”

“Do you think you’ll make it?”

“You must have a lot of time.” (This one kills me. It’s almost laughable. Believe me, it’s the thing we don’t have enough of…)

Art is weird. Art is being vulnerable. As writers, designers, artists, actors, musicians, and most importantly – visionaries – we are some of the most vulnerable people on the planet.

We expose ourselves, for everyone and anyone to see, examine, interpret, and most terrifying of all – criticize.

Instantaneously, I understood everything my fellow innovator was asking me, and more. I knew and could comprehend every single feeling and the exact emotions that were packed into his question.

How?

Because I have been there before.

It definitely gets easier to handle. At first, you will be super embarrassed and scared to tell people. That’s a given. But you have to (and you will) get to that point where you say to yourself, “Hey, I’m proud of what I love to do.” 

Here’s my advice to you: 

When you are scared to say it to your friends,

don’t think twice about it.

If they ask you, and you get scared, just sort of spill it right then. Don’t over think it. Don’t think about the outcome, what they will say, or what they won’t say. You can deal with that later.

When you own what you like to do, and especially (especially especially especially) when you start saying it out loud, you begin to believe it, and more importantly, you begin to believe in yourself.

You will get there eventually. It’s a process, and it will continue to be. But that’s all the fun of life!

You got it :]

My utmost respect goes out to the people who have the courage and bravery to do what they love, and not apologize for it.

And that’s who I have decided I will be.

I truly wish you everyone of you who are reading this the courage and best luck in all of your endeavors – no matter what you aspire to do or be! As long as you are alive, be dreaming. Let your passion guide you. It’s your passion for a reason.

Never fear the fall.

xo

Yours Truly,

Mia.

~

“To live a creative life, we must not lose our fear of being wrong.”

-Joseph Chilton Pearce

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