summer plans: studying abroad, part two!!!

Whew, happy Monday, y’all!

Last week was the first week of spring quarter and it was HECTIC. The cherry blossoms bloomed on campus and it has never attracted more tourists, I swear. As for my sanity, you’d think syllabus week would be relaxing and not stressful yet, but silly me decided to partake in a business case competition (I did the same one last year and got third out of 25 teams), so that’s where my free time has been going. It’s been super fun working with new friends in the business school though, and I’m learning so much throughout the process.

Earlier in the week, I got a pleasant little surprise to kick off the quarter! You may recall from back in February that I posted about my plans to study abroad in Rome this summer, which I’m super excited about (I’m taking a conversational Italian class right now to prepare!). At the time of applications, I had also re-applied to the Britain program I was rejected from last year, and wasn’t really expecting to hear back from them, and even forgot about it.

Lo and behold, I heard back from them this week, and yep – I WAS ACCEPTED! Y’all, there’s no better feeling than failing, working hard to get better, and being successful as a result of working hard. No better feeling.

I happily accepted, which means I’ll be studying not only in Rome this summer, but also London! Of course, I’ll be traveling all over Europe (get HYPED for my travel posts this summer, y’all!!). Time to start saving up 🙄

Photo courtesy of Unsplash – I’m getting so excited to study in the beautiful city of London 😍

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Any favorite sites or eats that y’all recommend?

Have a wonderful week!

Jen

it was the best of times, it was the worst of times

Hello, and happy President’s Day!

Classes were cancelled today because of the holiday, and thank goodness for that. Last week was probably one of the hardest of the quarter so far, and I really needed the three-day break. On Saturday, I was able to make some plans to get donuts with my work wife Hannah and y’all, I always have the best conversations with her (and overall have the best mems with her).

We ate our donuts, drank our London Fogs, and read our books (for fun!), but most importantly, we talked. Our conversations always prompt me to think about again later – to reflect and introspect more than I usually do.

As winter quarter draws to an end, Hannah’s really been there for me. To put it simply, this quarter has been really tough. And as the title of this post quotes from Mr. Dickens, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

I started off winter quarter ready to jump into my new classes. I’m sure everyone was rejuvenated after making their new year resolutions – I know I sure was. A few weeks into the quarter though, I got hit with the bug that everyone seems to be getting (at least in Seattle), and I’ve had a cough for the past five weeks. I know, I know, I’m starting to suspect I have acute bronchitis, and I promise I’m going to go the see health center on campus this week!

But back to the point – it’s been affecting my sleep, my performance, but luckily, not my social life. But my persistent coughs aren’t the worst of it. I’m taking five classes this quarter, which is the most I’ve done but I thought I could handle it just fine at the start of the quarter (I mean, two of them are dance classes).

My mistake. I’ve been loaded with group projects, homework readings, assignments, and never-ending exams. I’ve never had a tougher quarter. It’s not that each individual class is hard at all: it’s the combination of them all together. I got my exams back one after the other and my self-esteem dropped every time. It hit me – I probably won’t be making Dean’s List this quarter.

This is a really low blow for me because I’ve made Dean’s List every quarter in college so far. I was jokingly – but not really – telling my friends that I was trough-ing this quarter, academically. I have high expectations for myself, and seeing myself perform so low has me re-evaluating what’s going on this quarter.

Of course, it’s always the same problem: I’m spread too thin and I’m not leaving enough time to study. I look at my Google Calendar and I really only have time to study and do homework for three hours at night before having to go to bed by midnight. That simply isn’t enough time for the five classes I am taking.

Did I fail myself this quarter? Maybe. This is hopefully the lowest quarterly GPA I’ll ever get – but I have to remember, so many amazing things happened during winter quarter, too.

To start off, I was able to travel to Los Angeles for a weekend for my sorority’s leadership conference and met up with Katherout (I’m in her vlog!!), one of my role models for sure. And then I interviewed and was accepted to study abroad in ROME in the first half of summer – truly a dream come true. And after declaring my dance minor, I auditioned for a Master’s Faculty dance concert and got a role!

In addition to my accomplishments, I really pushed myself to build my network this quarter. I have been getting coffee with at least one professional every week and learning about options for my future career. Socially? I felt like I found my place in my sorority with my wonderful roommates. Of course, there are certain friendships that have grown stronger and locked themselves in my friends-I-want-to-keep-forever group.

So, yes, it’s been the worst of times, but also the best. I think it’s important that I experienced failure this quarter, because it’s setting me up for what’s to come: growth and success.

I hope to finish off winter quarter – whatever that may look like – knowing I tried my hardest but also being sure I enjoyed my quarter. I want to enter spring quarter with a relaxed mindset, and to not let my lower performance from this quarter drag me down into the spring.

After all, you can’t have your ups without your downs!

Have a wonderful week,

Jen

summer plans: studying abroad!!

Hello everyone!

I am currently SWAMPED with schoolwork  – I have two huge midterms coming up alongside a major group presentation, but I wanted to pop in to let you all know about something EXCITING that happened to me last week!

I tweeted out that I had been accepted to a competitive business study abroad program for this summer. The location?

… ROME!

I am beyond excited!! This will be my first time going abroad in more than 10 years, can you believe that? It’ll take place during the first half of summer and I found out that 4-5 of my friends got into the program as well. I’ll be taking two business classes and visiting companies in Rome, Florence, and more. Unfortunately, this does mean I’ll have to give up internship opportunities, but I think studying abroad in Europe will be worth it!

Being accepted into this program meant so much to me, because I really worked hard to make my application the best it could be. If you remember from last year, I was rejected from a Britain study abroad program and I was devastated. Learn from your mistakes, people, and seek out resources! I’ve learned that hard work and intention does pay off. This acceptance was that much more satisfying because I know that I’ve grown as a person since then.

I can’t believe the trip is so far away (4 months seems so long!), but in the meantime, I’ll be Pinning all things Rome, learning a little Italian, rewatching the Lizzie McGuire movie, and reading up on Rome history and architecture!

(All photos courtesy of Unsplash)

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If you have any fun Rome recommendations, let me know!!

winter blues: staying motivated

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Happy Monday!

It’s officially February and I’m sure we’re all dragging our feet to school/work every day. We’re in the heart of winter — I totally feel you. On most winter days, it’s hard to get out from underneath your bed covers and do adult things. I’m headed into midterms season, and it’s only going to get harder from here. So today, I’ve curated a list of ways to stay motivated and how to not procrastinate!

Get some sleep // I totally wish I knew where I heard this fact, but sleep actually helps with productivity, focus, and procrastination. If you think about it, you might have noticed it yourself. People who sleep for less than 6 hours a night will noticeably be less productive and procrastinate more than people who sleep for 6+ hours a night. I tried it myself, and sleep works wonders.

Make your bed every morning // This sounds silly, but make your bed every morning. By starting your day off with a small accomplishment (yes, making your bed is an accomplishment!), it’ll be easier to continually accomplish other tasks as you build up throughout the day.

Use a planner — actively. // I seriously don’t know what I’d do without my planner. I think it’s one of the largest contributing factors that keeps me motivated. I’ve seen people “use” planners, but not actively. I think once people consistently refer back to their planner, the sense of ambiguity will disappear and instead, a sense of urgency will take place, forcing you to become more productive.

More importantly, make plans, keep the planner packed! If you’re making plans with other people, it’s harder to laze around when someone else is keeping you accountable.

Make to-do lists! // If planners aren’t your thing or you just don’t feel like spending the money on a planner, that doesn’t mean you can’t be organized and find a way to stay motivated! You can make to-do lists on scraps of paper, printer paper, or a legal pad if you want to get fancy (just make sure you don’t lose it!).

For me, I love making to-do lists because the mere satisfaction of crossing off an item on my list is rewarding and it keeps me going. And be sure to break down your tasks into small ones, because once you cross off one thing, as simple as it may be, it’s easier to accomplish the next, and the next, and so forth. Before you know it, you’ll have finished an entire project!

Utilize sticky notes // I just recently started using sticky notes, but I’ve found them to be really helpful, especially if you write something that you REALLY need to get done and stick it somewhere that will annoy you, like a mirror, so that way you can get the task done and remove the sticky note for good.

Try a new location // If you’re a student like me and are constantly studying, try a new location to study in to keep things fresh, especially if you’re losing that motivation to study for exams. Make it fun – visit a coffee shop, try a new library… the options are endless.

What keeps you going in the winter time?

 

the power to inspire

Processed with VSCO with hb1 presetGrowing up, I was always looking to find someone who I’d “look up to”. Whenever someone asked me, “who’s your role model?” I would never know what to say. Everyone always says their mom, dad, grandma, older sibling or someone who’s related to them. For me, it was just never like that. I think it’s hard to grow up not having a figure you look up to. In some ways, I was lost because of it. But I found ways to keep my footing, to hold for my own. I could become a role model for myself. I molded myself into someone I’m somewhat proud of, but I’m definitely still working on it. Little did I know that I would become someone else’s role model.

This year, I joined a sorority. I was ready to find that older, experienced girl in the house who I would look up to for all my goals and ambitions and who I could aspire to be like. The thing is, I think I’m used to holding out for myself. Instead, the reverse happened. Even though I’m a first year in the house, I’m a second-year student. That means there are freshmen in my pledge class. These girls, let me tell ya.

I was so shocked when one of them shyly told me I was her role model. It was uncomfortable at first because I plainly just was not expecting it. As the weeks went on, more and more girls told me repeatedly that they wanted to be like me. Just last night, we were doing a sisterhood bonding activity where we all had to write down what we wanted to be when we grew up. I put down “tax accountant”, but two girls had put down “be like Jen”.

I feel the love in this house. I really do.

I love that other people know things about me that I don’t even know about myself. I had no idea I could be a positive influence on other girls, that I could be a role model. I had no idea I would ever be “the wise one” who could set a good example for a group of girls who are learning the ropes that is college and “adulting”. I didn’t realize I was known for being the one in the house who “has her sh*t together”. I didn’t realize I would be able to motivate others to work hard and obtain those goals.

I didn’t know I had the power to inspire.

This realization, this positive new aspect of my life has opened my eyes and it’s made me hungry for more. I want to go out there and be a role model for other girls. I want to be that leader other people look up to. I want to give advice, and influence, and see those people I influenced succeed.

One of my goals prior to joining a sorority was to seek and find my persona identity. I feel like this realization that I have, the power to inspire is part of it. I didn’t expect for the pieces to fall together so quickly, but it has.

I feel like this is a turning point. For the better.