Friends can have a huge positive impact on you… if you choose wisely and if you allow them to. Positive friends can hold you accountable. They can introduce you to new concepts and ways of living. Friends can teach you compassion, forgiveness, and how to enjoy life. They encourage you while you’re down and support you when you need it. Friends are people to talk to or grab lunch with. They can help you create a business plan or tell you a funny joke to brighten up your day. Friends can teach you new ways to communicate or cook a steak.
When you are with your friend(s) you shouldn't feel drained and used. Friends can make you feel welcomed and loved. They should heal you, not misuse you. They should cheer you on. They should be honest. Family doesn't always mean blood relation. Some friends are more of a family member than some people's actual family members. They stick up for you. Friends can even be online or across the ocean. It’s not about how many friends a person has. It’s all about who you can count on at the end of the day.
Sometimes it's difficult to discern when someone has your best interest at mind. Take their advice or not? There is a difference between unwarranted opinions and constructive criticism. Some folks see them as the same thing. It’s not. Ask yourself, does this suggestion help me, or is this person trying to put me down? Everyone feels entitled to their opinion. This is especially true on the internet where it's easy to hide behind a screen. They all think their words are so truthful and helpful. Educating others on concepts are topics they're unfamiliar with is helpful... if it's done without the tone of condescension. Users on social media are hasty with insults and distasteful commentary. They think they are right and no one can or should change their minds. This young woman I watched on YouTube bought a teeth whitening kit because people kept commenting about how yellow her teeth were. First of all, it's natural for teeth to yellow over time due to the enamel wearing off over time (read more about here). Second of all, yellow teeth can be caused by drinks like coffee, not necessarily bad hygiene. Some people like to spew their unwarranted, and unnecessary commentary because they can, not because there is something informative about it. Don't let anyone tell you how to live your life unless it's positive constructive criticism!
*Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash.com
What do you want from life?
Happiness? Money? Love? Stability? Question your motives and tactics. Reach for what you want. You must gain something from what you’re doing. If not, wants the point? Something drives you to continue your degree, work that double shift, or attend that workshop. There is a point to make, a goal to achieve, find that. Everything you do now promotes your future. Even if you make changes to your lifestyle, those changes affect your future too. Experiences can teach you something about yourself, other people, the way society works, or how to overcome obstacles.
Are you following society/culture?
I’m sure millions of kids have parents who have outlined their future. Their mom or dad wants them to go to a specific school, be in a certain profession, and marry the right type of person. It shouldn’t be like this. Not only parents, but the society we live also outlines the path that people should strive for. There are several problems with that idea. One problem is, everyone should have the same outcome. Not everyone can become a doctor. Not everyone can/will want to travel three times a year. Not everyone wants to get married. There is a such thing as individuality for a reason. Every individual must think and act for themselves or else you’re not even living your own life. Like I said in the beginning, question your motives.
What do you hope to gain?
What is the result of your hard work? Going through the motions without having direction is a waste of your potential. It can take years before this question is answerable. You don't always know what you want. Sometimes you look back and realized how much you gained from going to college or doing an internship that taught you valuable skills. Don't sell yourself short. It's possible to set goals and achieve them. It's possible to build that business, get the master's degree, get that promotion, or make a big move to another state.
I hope these questions jogged your brain and made you re-think your actions. Stay tuned for more!
*Photo by Jason Leung on unsplash.com
Having a list of things to get done within a week gives you space and time to do them. This way, you don’t overwhelm yourself with ten activities to complete within a day. Do work while you are uninspired or tired. It may not be ideal, but it’s not impossible. This is nice advice and all, but some days it’s not helpful. In this capitalist society, we feel accomplished and proud of ourselves when we’re “being productive” getting things done and making money. Always working, working, working. Why don’t we pride ourselves on health? Taking care of our bodies and our environment? We should pride ourselves on creating open spaces for people to speak on issues that are considered taboo, like mental health. Why is it okay to grind ourselves into the dirt for the sake of “being productive”? Taking breaks to focus on well-being should be encouraged, not frowned upon. You need energy to keep going.
There are some days when I don’t have energy to do something and that’s okay. It means I need to think about where that lack of energy is stemming from. It could be lack of sleep, or simply lack of motivation. You will never stop having things to do. I wish society cared more about the well-being of others, instead of seeing them as robots that never tire.
When I begin to feel overwhelmed with work, I turn to my faith to remind me of why I’m doing this. Following society can be a dangerous thing. The more you allow others to dictate your life, the less of life you get to live. Now, you can’t even be yourself. That’s unacceptable. My faith in God gives me the direction I need to stay on so distractions like social media or people’s opinions don’t sway me on the wrong path. On that note, Let’s work on uplifting and respecting others. Stop treating fast food service like your personal servants. Stop judging and insulting strangers on Facebook. Focus on what’s important, like taking care of yourself, because there are institutions and individuals who couldn’t care less about you. Go ahead and achieve those goals, but don't let them define you.
I began this blog almost two years ago. I used to watch a lot of channels on YouTube and wanted a similar platform so I could share my thoughts and ideas. Creating a YouTube channel seemed a bit scary though. I didn’t want my face out there. The next idea was creating a blog to share my poems and short stories that I could post on social media. I am passionate about writing. I have been for fifteen years. The plan was show people how exciting but demanding writing a fictional story or poem was. I wanted to expose the small details that go into creating characters and a plot. Going in depth with my stories also helped me to understand them more. I did research for my stories so I could write a post about it. My favorite one was the Misconceptions of the Modeling industry. Of course, it wasn’t a scholarly article, but I was proud of that post. It took hours to complete.
There are a multitude of topics out there to discuss. I thought, “why focus on writing only, when I could talk about other topics?”. Many people like to hear experiences that relate to them. Writing about the struggles of being a college student or wanting to travel are things people can grasp easily. I stopped posting short stories because I am not advanced in that art. It’s quite difficult. I’d rather draw out a storyline into a long novel. As time went on, I added Positive Affirmations and Review and Reflect to my blog. Review and Reflect helps me to be more introspective. Positive Affirmations are there to encourage and uplift the listeners in their daily lives. There was more to give to my readers and listeners. There was more they could gain from my blog.
This was also a great way to step out of my comfort zone. People are constantly reading through my work. It’s daunting! What if I sound incoherent or have spelling mistakes? Sometimes the formatting changes and makes the post look disorganized. Doing this helped me gain confidence in myself and my writing which was one of the reasons why I started Disorderly-Thoughts. You will never discover your capabilities if you don’t venture into new land. I completed a novella in three months, self-published it before I graduated high school, and have since completed two other novels in the editing stages. Those accomplishments gave me confidence to try new things. Before I created this blog, I never thought of myself as being able to maintain something like this. Now, it’s my special project that I am extremely proud of.
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then you know I graduated early from college in December. It doesn't feel like I graduated... more like a long winter break. Even after it may feel the same as summer break. However, I've watched a few post-grad videos on YouTube and many people say they felt a bit lost after graduation. They focused so much on graduating that once it happened they didn't know where to go. People felt pressured to find employment and sometimes that didn't go so well. Going from the structure of school for 16+ years to a fluid schedule of mostly doing nothing (if you don't have a job right after) can be difficult. This also applies to any other new phase in life like moving to another area, getting a new job, etc.
When this occurs, it's time for a new mindset, and new goals. Create a structure in the new environment you are in. Sometimes when we're used to the old routine it's hard to adapt and change. For example, lets say you're a recent graduate. During the academic year you woke up at ten for classes, work later in the afternoon, and going to the movies with friends after that. Fast forward to post-grad. There are no more classes or work. You can sleep in, binge watch shows and movies, eat, and sleep some more. This might work for a few days, but soon you're going to get bored. I would say find a hobby and make a new routine. Wake up at nine and go to the beach, read poetry, learn a new recipe, apply for two positions, and watch a movie. Don't give yourself a chance to fall into emptiness. Keep yourself busy and gain more skills. If the new phase in life is moving to another area, check out all the cool spots. Spend some time outside even if it's the front lawn. Take a different route everyday. Try new food.
Don't forget to relax, no need to burn yourself out. You may feel depressed or inadequate at times, it might happen. Change is inevitable and can be difficult. It's an opportunity for growth. Also, surround yourself with a stable support system that will encourage and not pressure you. Put up little quotes to remind you that this is the road to success.
*Photo by Sydney Rae on unsplash.com
Ready to Travel?
Today's topic is about planning. There some are things to check before heading out to a new place and I'm going to over the things I think are important to do before leaving.
Making a budget is important when planning to travel. It helps against over or under-spending and also shows you the different options available in the place you're visiting. Don't go in blind unless that's your style. In order to make a proper budget, find out:
Currency exchange amount (if traveling internationally)
Extra money for emergencies
Find out the currency exchange amount for that country before you leave! Then you can make a proper budget, bring the right amount to exchange, and have little to no issues abroad.
Plane and tickets and hotel/room reservations should be periodically checked and booked a few months or weeks prior to travel. This gives you more options and lower prices. You want to find a hotel/room that is closest to the activities you are partaking in or that has the best view. Read the reviews if there are any. Hear what others have to say about that place. Find some articles online and read others' experience over there.Always stay ahead of the game and make the most informed decisions.
What kind of transportation will you use over there? An Uber, a bus, the train, a rental car, a bicycle? Figuring these things out beforehand will cause less stress when getting around especially when you've checked prices and allotted money towards it. Sometimes this information is not found online and you might have to guess. Possible activities connect with transportation because you need to know how to get to each event or place. If an attraction is a short distance from your room or hotel, maybe walking or taking Uber would be the best option. However, if it's more than a few miles and long walks is not your style, having a designated mode of transportation (Uber, train, bus, or rental) creates less hassle. But first, you have to know where you want to visit within the place your traveling to or what activities like going to the beach, hiking, or going dancing, are available. A list of possible activities is a great idea so you already know the options around you.
Extra money for emergencies is a no-brainer. You never know what might pop up while traveling. No need to bring a large amount, many places might even take your debit or credit card.
If you are traveling in a group, it's very important to have group consensus as much as possible, or split people up. Everyone should be in the loop at all times even if the responsibilities are divided among yourselves. It's tough planning with multiple people who may have different interests and personalities, but there was a reason you all decided to go together and not separately. So, working together is a must. Everyone wants to have fun. Get all the boring planning out of the way (though that's my favorite part), then enjoy the trip.
I hope you can incorporate these tips into your travel plans. Stay tuned next week to learn why I started blogging.
*Photo by rawpixel on unsplash.com
Wanna travel but don't know where to go?
I feel like a lot of people have this issue. They want to explore new landscapes and cultures, but don't have a specific place in mind. They may say a continent or a country, but those are broad terms! Don't get me wrong, some adventurers know exactly what they want to do and where. This post is for those who are having a bit of trouble choosing a place to visit.
What do you want to see and do? If you are spending a considerate amount of time, energy, and resources going somewhere, there has to be something worth seeing and doing. There are museums around the world, the pyramids, the Eiffel tower, and lots of historical buildings.
What makes you happy and excited? Let's say you love pizza. Find the best places for pizza in your country or somewhere else. Traveling does not only mean international. Taking a roadtrip or even going out of state is considered travel. It's important to choose a place for your desire and not because it's a famous place many people visit. What if you don't end up enjoying it? I've heard great things about Hawaii, but I don't have a personal reason or desire to visit there. Just because it has great views, food, culture, and beaches, doesn't mean everyone needs to visit. Think about what makes you feel comfortable, calm, and happy. Or, maybe you want excitement, a bit of fear, and mystery. Maybe an adventure with a hint of danger? Maybe a weekend getaway at a lakeside home may be enough of travel for you. Think about what you enjoy doing.
What do you want to take away from the experience? What are the outcomes? Having fun? Climbing to the top of a mountain? Being culturally aware? Trying new food? What is the purpose of the trip and the goal you are trying to achieve from going? I personally don't care for beaches. In my last post I mentioned how much I love mountains. Before I found out about the Bolivian mountains I knew I wanted to spend some times in some mountainous region with trees and waterfalls. I like being in wilderness, but that doesn't mean I'd go anywhere. Your time is precious, so don't waste it somewhere you won't enjoy.
Write down the answers to some of the questions I asked and come up with a list of places that fit your criteria. Do some research and make a pros and cons list. Once you sit down and contemplate the options, you'll find the right place.
Hope this helped inspire you! Stay tuned for next week's post about making travel plans.
*Photo by Nathan Dumlao on unsplash.com
Got any travel plans?
The first three Saturday posts for January will be about traveling. This post is all about where I'd like to go and why! I'm not a travel enthusiast and don't desire to travel the world or a bunch of countries, but here are a few places I've set my mind on to visit.
Many times I hear people want to visit Paris because it's the city of love and the Eiffel tower is there. I want to go because I would love to tour the catacombs of Paris. The catacombs hold six million people who have died. The bones are fit together like puzzle pieces along the walls like the picture above. I learned about this place from a book I read, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly. It's about a high school girl who found a diary belonging to a girl that lived during the French Revolution. I have read the book twice and loved it more the second time. Being able to visit this place would make the story come alive to me.
I love mountains! It's what I love the most about California. I can see the outline of the mountains in the distance. Absolutely beautiful. I want to take a trip to Coroico, Bolivia and stay in a cabin there to enjoy the mountains, wildlife, and culture. The prices are affordable considering all you can see and do like hiking, cycling, touring rivers and waterfalls, and seeing the sights! The picture above is not from Bolivia, I couldn't find one free to use, so enjoy a picture of the French Mountains! Or is this in Germany?
Last, but certainly not least, is Morocco! I have heard great things about Morocco, specifically Marrakech. I've seen videos and pictures so it's on my travel list.
Stay tuned for next week's post about travel ideas.
*2nd Photo by Travis Grossen on unsplash.com
*3rd Photo by Chris Holgersson on unspash.com
*4th Photo by Dominik Stotter on unsplash.com
This is part two of interviewing Gilman scholarship recipients. Today, Martha will share her experience with the Gilman scholarship and studying abroad.
Where did you go for the study abroad trip/what did you study?
I went to Scotland and studied the history of punk. The cities we stayed at for the program were Glasgow and Edinburgh. I was part of the Faculty Led Education Abroad Program, so we were a group of UCR students led by a UCR professor. The official name of the media and cultural studies class is Subcultural Affiliations: Transatlantic Popular Culture.
What is your major?
My major is creative writing, and my minor is in media and cultural studies.
How did the ability to receive the Gilman Scholarship impact you?
The ability to receive the Gilman Scholarship helped me to pay off the loans for my study abroad program. It helped me find ways to fund my study abroad trip. It also has given me the opportunity to connect with other professionals in order to help other first-generation students get the opportunity to study abroad.
What personal or financial challenges might have prevented you from going abroad?
Financially, I may not have been able to go abroad if I had not received aid. One of my loans did not arrive into my account in time and I owed $1000 that I had to pay out of my own pocket.
Personally, I was terrified of traveling internationally by myself, so I almost thought of not going because I was scared that I would get lost or something. However, my fears were eased after finding other peers who have traveled international and being able to receive tips and guidance on how to navigate that.
Would you have been able to finance the study abroad trip without the scholarship?
I was awarded the Gilman scholarship when I returned from my trip. Without the Gilman, I planned to use loans and my refund check from spring quarter. While I would have been able to get the loans to study abroad, I would have been in more debt than I would have liked had I not received the scholarship especially as I’m going into fall quarter. Had I not received the scholarship at all, then I would be completely broke right now.
What is something you know now, that you wish you knew before the trip?
I wish I knew not to bring a towel, since the place I was staying at provided towels. I also wished I knew that I did not need all the stuff recommended to purchase for traveling abroad. I think the majority of my money went into buying stuff to prepare myself for an emergency, but now I have all these things like two charger adapters that I won’t use ever again. So, while it’s good to plan for an emergency, chances are that I won’t need ALL the items. Instead, I could have bought smaller quantities of the items and not stressed out so much on what to pack for the program. I also wish I knew to be more adventurous. I was scared of interacting with Scottish people because I was scared of not understanding their accents and looking like a fool. In reality, Scottish people are very nice. Throughout my study abroad program, I saw some of my classmates talking to locals and they learned so much more about their culture. I wished I would have taken that chance to not be afraid to look silly.
Why is the opportunity to study abroad important to you as an individual and to students in general?
The opportunity to study abroad is important to me because I would not have the opportunity to travel outside of the state again. I am a first-generation college student, and the only other person in my family who has gone to college was my cousin. She kept encouraging me to study abroad because she did not take that opportunity when she was a student. I also have other mentors and professional staff members who kept encouraging me to study abroad because they never did it and it was their biggest regret.
As a student, I think the opportunity to study abroad is important because it allows us to get out of our comfort zones to experience a new culture. We are at this point of our lives were we are still learning and growing, so going abroad to meet new people, new cultures, new experiences is something that has shaped how I view the rest of my career. Many of us, students, believe that we cannot afford to study abroad. I used to think that too, but it is important for us to know that there is aid available.
Want to share something?
Leave a comment below!