Give a Little

keep-calm-and-donate-blood-5A quick Google search is all that is needed to find out how much people dislike spiders, heights, the thought of public speaking, and even the idea of death. Another culprit of many people’s fears are needles: they hurt, and you are likely getting one because you are sick and need a shot or need to have blood drawn. I, too, dislike needles, but I have been able to mostly conquer my fear with the thought that having a tiny needle in my arm for about ten minutes can save up to three lives through blood donation.

My first time donating blood was my senior year of high school. I had tried to donate a few times before, but I was always just a little under the recommended weight limit, which I will explain a little later. I heard so many people enjoyed donating blood but I just didn’t get it. Why would anyone voluntarily get poked with a needle and get drained of blood? I thought we weren’t supposed to lose blood? Honestly, I ended up wandering to my high school gymnasium to donate blood in order to get out of my biology class. The thing is, we were learning about the cardiovascular system in class that day! While the rest of my class got to learn about blood, I was seeing first hand the benefits that donating blood has.

Blood donation is a quick, rewarding, and relatively painless process. There are many blood centers in most major cities with one of the most popular and well known being the American Red Cross. Both at my high school and at LMU, however, Medic Regional Blood Center is who facilitates blood donations throughout the year. Each center is a little different, but the process is usually very similar no matter where you go.

To ensure the safety of the donor and the recipient, those who are interested in donating blood need to meet certain requirements in order to donate. You must be at least 17 years old in most states, but in some states 16 -year-olds can donate with parental consent. You must weight at least 110 pounds if you are over 18 and 120 pounds if under 18. The most updated information can be obtained at this website. If you have ever had certain cancers or other medical conditions, have taken specific medications, or have recently traveled to certain countries, you may not be able to donate. A thorough list will be given to you in order to make the process easier. The most important requirement is that you must feel well. Donating with a cold is definitely not a good idea! If you meet the age, weight, and health requirements you are good to continue with the donation process!

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You Gotta Have Passion

College students are notoriously known for their continuous concern about the future: choosing the ‘right’ major, getting internships, studying for the GRE, volunteering, and, ultimately, looking marketable for whatever path they choose to take after graduation. The inspiration for this post came from staff at Webucator.com in which students are trained to be lifelong learners who return to essential skills time and again with free Microsoft training. Some students enter directly into the workforce while some look to go to graduate school. No matter the case, college students almost always have the future on their minds and I am certainly no exception!

There are all sorts of self-help books that are geared toward people my age, everything from books that help you get the best test scores and get into the right college all the way to what majors and careers to go for.  While these books are wonderful resources, simply having them will not help much. If you absolutely hate the subject you are studying, finding any motivation to try and study will be incredibly difficult. Being able to find what you are passionate about will help more than any book ever will.

With passion anything can become possible. If you want to do something badly enough, finding a way to accomplish it will be but a minor bump in the road.  The saying, “If there is a will, there is a way,” rings true especially when someone is passionate, as passionate people are dangerous beings. Passionate people will find a way to do what they want, no matter the cost or the difficulty.

Finding something that makes you react like this is the key to success.

Finding something that makes you react like this is the key to success.

Although there are many admirable qualities that can help lead people to success, my personal experience has shown that passion is the most marketable skill. In a previous post I wrote, I talked about my new found interest in psychology and my ultimate decision to major in it along with English. It never made sense to me until last year to major in such a field. I had always been interested in different areas of psychological research, including personality, intelligence, language learning, and others. I found myself researching and thinking about these things in my spare time.  In other words, I was passionate about it. Fortunately, I still am passionate and I am able to focus a large amount of my education to learn about it even more. Regarding my future, the idea of going to graduate school for research psychology is the road I wish to take. English will always be a passion of mine, but psychology is as much of a passion, if not even more so, as English is. I’ve been told a multitude of times to get paid to do something I would do for free.

As I research future graduate schools for psychology, I have this reaction with every school I look at!

As I research future graduate schools for psychology, I have this reaction with every school I look at!

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Body Image Series Part 3: Healthy Habits that Work

In my first body image post I talked about the issues I’ve faced with my body image, and in my second post I detailed my interest in karate as a form of exercise. For this post, here is my list of five easy tips and tricks that I personally use everyday at school to not only help maintain my weight, but make me feel wonderful in the process.

#1: Just because you can eat as much as you want in the cafeteria does not mean that you should eat everything you see.

I think this is the biggest challenge for every new college student. College students are stereotypically short on cash, and one of the best quick, cheap food choices for the average college student is eating anything and everything in the cafeteria. With as many food choices that are available, one might be tempted to get one (or two…or three…) of everything. However, do you really need to eat that much to get through to the next time you’ll eat? The answer is likely no. Pick one or two things you’d like to try, get appropriate portions, and enjoy! Continue reading

Body Image Series Part 2: Getting Down to Business

My last post detailed the issues I’ve faced in the past few years regarding my body image, and this week I wanted to focus on what I’ve done so far to improve how I perceive my appearance and general ways I’ve tried to be healthier. I had been tired about feeling terrible about how I looked, so I decided to do what I could. There are some things I have no control over, like my height, but I can always change my weight and certainly the way I perceive myself.

Over the summer when I decided to take control of my health I started using the treadmill we have at my house every day that I could. I’ve never particularly enjoy running, but having a treadmill right in my house to use made it difficult to make excuses not to use it. Many days I would run, walk, and jog for around an hour while, every now and then, I went as low as thirty minutes. All that time was a good time to think as I found it almost impossible to read while I was going any faster than a turtle’s speed. I usually just listened to music or TED talks to pass the time. After a few weeks of doing this, I started feeling better and had a lot more energy than I had when I first started. I had not only been exercising regularly, I had also been carefully watching what I ate. I ate more fruits and vegetables, drinking more water, and going to bed at a decent time whenever I could. I was feeling wonderful! With as good as I was feeling I was starting to get curious to see how much weight I had lost. Surely I had lost a few pounds with as much as I was cutting back and exercising!

Once I actually got on a scale and saw the results, however, it turns out I had been mistaken. I was exactly the same weight doing so much work and it was honestly quite frustrating. I was determined to never be one of those people who checks the scale as often as I breathe, but I was upset that I hadn’t made a measurable difference. I didn’t even like running, so why should I continue to do it? I stopped spending so much time on the treadmill, but I really wanted to find another physical activity that I could enjoy both at home and back at LMU once I moved back in a few weeks later. I couldn’t handle another year of dreading the weight concerns that come with being a college student. I needed to guarantee that I would, in some way, be active at least once or twice a week outside of walking to and from class.

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By the time I moved back into school, I had yet to find another means of exercising that I could enjoy and easily do. I started to think that I was never going to find any form of exercise that I could get into, but I was quickly proven wrong yet again. Fellow blogger Ashley introduced me to Tri-State Free Style Martial Arts (TSFSMA) based in Middlesboro a few weeks ago, and since I’ve started I have absolutely loved it. I was skeptical at first; I thought all martial arts classes were super challenging and the instructors were always too demanding. It turns out that I was only half right. The classes are very challenging, but that is what I like most about them.

Classes always begin with stretches, warm-ups, and practicing of blocks, punches, and kicks. The second half of class works on sparring practice, developing new skills, and practicing old skills that students may be having trouble with mastering. The instructors are incredibly knowledgeable, kind, and helpful and are always there to help students improve in whatever way possible. I have only been to a handful of classes so far, but I am so thankful that I gave TSFSMA a chance.

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This is how I feel at the start of every class- always excited and ready to go!

I have not checked a scale in quite a while, but I don’t feel the need to. Although I am always sore for a few days after each class, I feel wonderful and look forward to every class. In fact, I see my soreness as a different but better way to check my progress instead of some number on a scale. I would not give up TSFSMA for anything!

Middlesboro classes are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7-9 p.m. at 2219 1/2 Cumberland Avenue (Old Firehouse Video, next to Family Dollar) and Pineville classes are held on Mondays and Thursdays from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the  New Heights Church next to Subway. For more information about TSFSMA, check out their Facebook page or their website! Classes are held in both Middlesboro and in Pineville, about fifteen minutes away from Middlesboro.

While what I’ve done to improve my overall health and body image has so far worked for me, not everyone enjoys and sees benefit in the forms of exercise  lifestyle choices I’ve made. Check back in a few weeks for a post on simple steps and easy lifestyle changes that everyone can take to feel better about themselves and improve their overall health!

If you have any comments, questions, or suggestions feel free to email me or leave a comment on my blog. If you want to see more posts like this one, subscribe to my blog and receive a new post every other Thursday!

Body Image Series Part 1: The Beginning

mirror-on-faceThe first signs of me being unhappy with the way I looked started in early middle school. I was never told anything mean, but comments were made that I was incredibly skinny. Some of my friends would joke and say I needed to eat more despite me already being comfortable with how much I was eating. I took their comments as complements but I was confused. I was young but I wasn’t stupid. Wasn’t so much media dedicated to weight loss and everyone’s desire to be skinny? I started to think that I was the wrong kind of thin, that I was somehow made wrong. These thoughts never bothered me too often, but they did cross my mind every now and then and increasingly bothered me as I got older. I knew that others had to be feeling the same way I did, but I rarely heard hushed voices in the locker rooms after gym class saying things like, “I need to lose five pounds before prom” or “I’m going to skip lunch and dinner today. I’m looking fat.”

The older I got, however, the more open to myself and those around me I became. It turned out that I was not alone, that I had company who disliked the same things about themselves that I did. In the past few years, and even more so since starting college, I’ve made an active commitment to get to the state of mind where I enjoy who I am and the way I look.

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Driving Me Crazy

What do you mean I don't have my license? This is totally my license!

What do you mean I don’t have my license? This is totally my license!

I have a confession to make: I turn twenty yeas old this year and I still do not know how to drive. It seems to be everyone’s dream that the day they turn 16 they go to the DMV, take their road test, and receive their brand new driver’s license. It’s a rite of passage that so many teenagers look forward to, but it is a source of necessary evil in my life. I took Driver’s Education as a sophomore in high school, but the experience was not very beneficial for me. In fact, I think it made me dislike the idea of driving even more! As I’ve researched more into personality types, it turns out that people with my specific personality type do not like being taught new things in the presence of others. Instead, we prefer to work one-on-one with an expert in the field we are studying or learning how to do things on our own. Since the law doesn’t exactly let people figure out how to drive on their own, I was stuck in a silver Impala with “STUDENT DRIVER” plastered on every side and two other students in the car with me. I wasn’t particularly bad at maneuvering a car, but I was incredibly nervous being critiqued in front of my classmates. Doing well at school was what I did, but Driver’s Education did not follow suit with the rest of my courses.

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Summertime Service

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This is my mom’s classroom right before we get to work putting it together.

Since my mom has been a teacher for over twenty years, I have experienced first-hand all of the work that goes into teaching, both in and out of the classroom. I am well aware of all of the extra work that goes into teaching a few hundred new students each year: planning lessons, grading homework and tests, and an abundance of meetings. I’ve done my fair share of helping my mother with lessons, PowerPoints, grading tests, and sitting in on meetings when I was younger. However, most of my job as a teacher’s child came in at the beginning of the year before my mother’s new students arrive on the first day, and at the end of the year after they’ve gone home for the summer. In order for the school’s janitors to thoroughly clean every room of the school, or to potentially change classrooms, teachers must pack up their rooms at the end of the year so that everything is off the floor and walls, but also be able to put it all back before the students return in August.

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