Phoneless for 10 days!?

I unfortunately lost my phone last week. Despite my hopefulness that it would reappear, it has been 10 days and still no phone. When I first lost it the first thing that went through my head was, “How am I going to survive without my phone?” I mean, I’ve relied on my phone for absolutely everything. I use my phone as a distraction in awkward situations, I use it to check the time, to set alarms, to pass time in class, to mindlessly scroll through social media. I thought I was going to completely lose my mind.

Without a phone, I have to use my laptop to stay in contact with people. Other than that, I walk through campus actually admiring the beauty of my school. I smile at people on elevators or on the bus instead of blocking my face with a tiny screen. I’ve learned to appreciate my time without a phone. I’ve been getting more work done, more sleep, and more interaction with my campus.

We are so reliant on our phones that we don’t live for the moment. We are more concerned with what is happening with the faceless world behind our screens, that we don’t take the time to truly appreciate everything around us. Think about it, we take any opportunity to take out our phone and stare at it to avoid interaction. I would take out my phone for 30 seconds on an elevator ride whether it was to “pass the time” or to avoid interacting with other elevator riders. Now that I think about it, it’s completely ridiculous.

Another thing I’ve learned to appreciate is being alone. With our phones always by our side, we’ve learn to take on a cyber life that follows us each second of the day. We’re never alone with our phones because we are always connected with friends and family through the cyber network. I remember whenever my phone used to die, I would panic and immediately rush to look for a charger. There’s this dependency that comes with having a phone, almost like an addiction we didn’t realize we had.

I thought I would feel helpless without my phone, but I’ve actually begun to enjoy the past few phoneless days. As corny as it sounds, it’s like a breath of fresh air and I could honestly say that I’m happy about this little break. I’m happy that I’m more focused in class, more aware of my surroundings, and getting better sleep. This has taught me to appreciate life in the present, and not to be glued to a tiny screen. Life is too short to spend most of your time in a cyber world.


 

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A Little More Change

It’s my sophomore year of college and so far everything is going great, besides waking up every other morning to sit in on a boring organic chemistry lecture. I’ve been relatively happier than last year, and I think it’s because I’m more open to change. In a previous blog post, I talked about how I not only disliked change, but I was afraid of it. Coming to a new school in a different state was more intimidating that I thought it would be. In high school, I always talked about being the type of person who could adapt to any environment and sort of, go with the flow. Well it’s easier said than done because I felt completely alone last year, and it’s a feeling I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I’ve realized that college is about myself, growing and changing; it’s about me becoming mature and confident with who I am as a person and who I want to be. Today, I see myself as someone who is open minded, willing to try new things. I am trying to be someone who focuses more on myself, rather than what other people are saying or have said about me. I am definitely stepping outside of my comfort zone. I recently got a job as a tour guide for my university, which is something I would have never thought I’d do. Anyone would describe me as a very shy, quiet, and painfully awkward person, so why would I want to give tours? I figured, what better way gain self-confidence than by growing with a group of individuals who help me overcome my fear of public speaking.

This year I am also focusing on my goals. I’ve been writing down what I want to accomplish, and where I hope to see myself at the end of each semester. In high school, I was more about what everyone else was doing, what people would think was cool or what would make me look better. That was no help in finding out who I was, in fact that was the furthest away from who I consider myself as a person. I think that’s why I had such a difficult time freshman year. I was scared that I wasn’t the person I thought I was. I was scared because I was surrounded by such a different group of people than what I was normally used to, in a completely different environment.

Today I asked my friend, “Do you think you’ve changed as a person since high school?” To which his response was a simple, “Absolutely.” As cliché as it sounds, college is about finding yourself and growing into the person you wish to be. I have been changing every day, whether it’s through my classes, the new clubs I’ve joined, the new friends I make, and my newfound goals. I am excited to see where this year takes me. 🙂

Curly Hair Struggles

I’ve never really felt bad about my curly hair. Sure, I’ve been straightening it since middle school, but that was more for my self-confidence and convenience. Straight hair is easy. In the morning, you just wake up and walk out the door. Curly hair is a whole other story. Your shelves will be lined in rows of products. Expensive products. You’ll need a whole army to make it work, and on top of that it STILL might come out looking like a tangled up birds nest. Curly hair is an enigma, it’s like waking up every morning not knowing what you’re going to get. It could be a frizzy mess, or it could actually look good (until you step outside).

Now, I’m in a predominately white school, where all the girls have straight, slick hair. They can throw it into cute messy buns, in nasty frat parties they don’t have to worry about their hair turning into a poof ball, and when it rains they don’t have to rush to cover every single inch of it so it doesn’t turn curly. I’ve left my hair curly a few times here and I’ve gotten mixed reviews. I’ve had girls come up to me praising my curly locks, saying I should leave it like that more often. And them I’ve had people just plain out make feel bad by saying, “Girl, your hair is frizzy!” or “Wow! Your hair is so big!” and even “When are you going to straighten it again?”

So my problem is more of a self-confidence thing. I could absolutely ignore everything everyone says and embrace my curly hair, but I just don’t know how. I don’t know how to make it work and I don’t know how to love it. Any girls out there with curly hair have advice? Please tell me how to make this curly hair work!

A little change, A little excitement

There are so many things that are temporary in life, and I’ve had a hard time dealing with that. There are certain things I’m okay with changing. I’d like to think I’m adventurous, the type of person who would just pack up and move.

Now, I’ve been taking piano lessons since I was five. I’ve had the same teacher for about ten years, Nathaniel. Our lessons did not involve much talking, but there was something personal about our relationship. He watched me grow up. He saw when I could barely play Twinkle Twinkle Little Stars, to when I was playing Chopin and Bach. He was there when I made the decision about which high school I was going to go to, and then the decision about which college I would attend.

Well, my junior year of high school, I found out that our schedules would not be the same anymore, and he would no longer be able to teach the 45 minute lesson I had every single friday for the past 10 years. At the moment I wasn’t upset. Strangely, I didn’t mind too much. I’ll be done with piano lessons in a year anyways, I thought.

It was Friday, I was a senior in high school, and I was sitting in my music room — Nathaniel’s music room– waiting for my new teacher. He came in, looking very hipster-ish, sat down, and said, “Ok what do you want to play?” Now, one thing I loved about me and Nathaniel’s relationship was that he chose the songs he thought were “fit” for me. He chose a bunch of songs, played them for me, and then asked me which one I liked. This is how it worked. This is how I wanted to be. So, I told this new guy, “Look, I don’t know. Can you play me something and I’ll choose?” Well, so much for that idea. His style was completely different from Nathaniel’s, and mine. I remember just sitting there trying to play what he was telling me and then I did the unthinkable, I started crying.  Right there, in the middle of the lesson. The poor guy was probably wondering what he did, but of course, I didn’t say a word.

Now I gave him the cold shoulder for a good month before I started warming up to him. He was more lighthearted than Nathaniel; he was fun and outgoing, whereas Nathaniel was composed, elegant, and strict. The last day of classes, I wrote the new guy a note. I was very honest and told him I had not liked him that much in the beginning because he wasn’t Nathaniel, he wasn’t what I was used to. However, I ended the note by saying I appreciate him for making me excited about music and for helping me step out my comfort zone.

I don’t know how many people can relate to being frustrated about a change in their new music teacher, but I do know people can relate to feeling frustrated after having a change in something that you were so used to. A change in location. A change in friends. Even a change in yourself. Change is okay, and if you give it a chance, you’ll realize that a little change brings a little excitement to your life.

On the Edge

We live in a world of uncertainty. Whether it’s as simple as being uncertain about a first date or as complicated as the uncertainty of your future. Our lives are filled with what ifs, and the constant worrying about what could happen next. We are not psychics, we cannot predict the future. So why do we worry? Why fret about what we cannot control?

I fall victim to uncertainty. All the time. While I do worry about what could happen, or about what did happen, I am a big believer of just going with the flow. Because how interesting would it be to live a life of complete certainty? What good would it be to live in the safe zone, no risks, no regrets. I mean, everyone knows that saying: expect the unexpected, because for the most part, many good things do come unexpectedly. We should live our lives not knowing what’s going to happen next; on the edge of excitement.

It’s a mood, not a destination

Today I was watching One Tree Hill (corny, I know) and one of the characters said, “Happiness is a mood, not a destination.” We are constantly saying, “one day I’ll be happy,” or “maybe tomorrow I’ll be happy.”  By making happiness a goal, a “destination,” we never really focus on what it’s like to truly feel joy because we are constantly looking for something that will make us happier.

We should focus on the little things that make us happy, like watching a really good movie or spending time with friends. Eventually we’ll realize that those small things are what really make us happy. I know lately, I’ve been focusing on writing. When I was little, I always used to write stories, and even though I could barely put a proper sentence together, I would boast about becoming an author when I grew up. I came to college and completely forgot about writing, until now. I’ve realized that I don’t have to bottle up my feelings because I can write about them.

I started writing every day, even if it’s just a sentence or too. And I can say, at this moment, I am happy.

Just Breathe

Today I had an anxiety attack. I was sitting in class, waiting for my final bio exam to come out. Now, this was an exam I worked my butt off for– I studied every night for about 5-6 hours. And after I took the exam, I was disappointed by the lack of confidence I had. Usually, I come out of an exam feeling really good about it, or really shitty. And after that exam I was feeling pretty shitty.

Now today, my professor was ready to return the exam, and all of a sudden, my heart started racing. I got as nervous as I did right before I had to do any kind of public speaking. I remember trying to concentrate on my professor’s lecture, but I started feeling dizzy and nauseous. I got up a decided to go out for a breather. I’ve never had this happen to me before. I understand feeling nervous before getting an exam back, but this wasn’t any kind of nervous. This feeling of angst was permanent in my stomach, and I was subconsciously convincing myself that I had failed the exam. It turns out I actually did way better than I thought, and I instantly felt like I could breathe again.

One thing I’ve learned in college is that you have to breathe. My dad and I always had this ongoing joke about forgetting to breathe. One time in high school, I was studying for the SAT and one of their tips were: “Don’t forget to breathe.” And I remember telling him, “Why is that even a tip. You can’t forget to breathe.” And he just smiled at me and said “Sam, don’t forget to breathe!”

Now that I’m college I am constantly reminded of my father’s little saying. This first year of college has been one of the most stressful times of my life. I’ve realized that I’ve let stress take the best of me. Instead of focusing on myself and what makes me happy, I’ve spent too much time fixated on what doesn’t make me happy. I’ve lost track of the little things that make me smile.

Anxiety and depression is real in college, and most of the time you can’t tell whose suffering through it. Now I’m learning to take my own advice, and I’m just going to breathe.

Success

Everyone measures success differently. For many, success is setting a personal goal and achieving it. In college, finding success in your work is hard to do. Whether you realize it or not, you are constantly comparing yourself to those around you.

To you, a B+ may be an achievement until you see your best friend gloat about her A. Success shouldn’t be about comparing yourself to all of your friends or classmates. Success should be what makes you feel accomplished. It should be what gives you that little spark of happiness inside. It should be that feeling where you’re proud of yourself, and you can’t wait to share your accomplishment. I’ve realized everyone’s success is different during my first year of college. Sure, a little competitiveness will help me push myself to do my best, but constantly putting myself down isn’t going to get me anywhere. We may have the same goal, but our journeys sure won’t be the same. Everyone starts somewhere, and it only gets better from there.

I’ve never written a blog. I don’t even know how to write a blog. All I know is that I love to write, and lately I’ve realized that all I want to do is get my thoughts out, even if it’s to a blog no one will look at. I’ve turned to writing to comfort my mind. It’s become a desperate attempt to clear the noise that I hear all day. When I feel myself distancing myself from everyone, I take ease in the in the way I can write the words I have trouble saying. Having the courage to write every day and improve my writing because I want to, not because someone is making me, is my form of success.