open your eyes

with the start of a new school year, there comes so much excitement.  excitement for those warm-weather saturday football games, the adventures that come along with syllabus week, and the ever-so-loved late night ice cream runs.  excitement to simply be back with all your people in the same place, rather than having to deal with the whole long-distance-friendship thing… because it 100% is a thing.  excitement for the chance to make this a “new beginning”.  maybe excitement to start a new schedule and classes?  (that’s just me though)  whatever it may be, the start of the school year gives us the opportunity to make something from it.  in a way, we’re given the chance to start over, which is something all of us need every now and then.

it’s easy to get so caught up in all the “new-ness” at the beginning of school that we put our priorities in the wrong places.  and that’s not ideal when starting out the school year.  and i don’t necessarily mean choosing to go out rather than staying in and studying… simply because a- it’s syllabus week …. that’s a good enough excuse, and b- there really isn’t much to study. at all.  so yes, go out!  but, it’s something that is overlooked by so many people, myself included.  but it’s the lack of putting ourselves at top priority.  self-love is so, so important.  i even had a long post about it a couple months ago, but there are several different perspectives that can be put to that.

living in an apartment over the summer, i became much more aware of my health and how i treated my body.  it helped having my own kitchen and freedom to cook my own meals, so i had a general idea of what i was eating and how it was beneficial to myself.  that was a major downside to the dining hall food… you never really know what you’re eating at all times.  but this past summer, i became deeply interested in all the little things, like  reading the nutrition labels on foods and knowing what to pay attention to when i was walking down the aisles at the grocery store.  i’m a huge fan of reading the Spoon University and PopSugar Fitness  articles on Facebook.  they’re easy to understand and read, but still give useful information that has stuck with me.  it is geared towards those in their twenties, so it’s typically relatable and helpful in different situations.  i also became a huge fan of gradually learning how to cook.  i cooked chicken and salmon… like, a lot.  but, i did expand my horizons and learned how to make sweet potato fries in the oven and salmon avocado burgers (recipe is here, but instead of using canned salmon, i baked some in the oven, shredded it, and added it to the avocado mixture).  i’m also a huge fan of cooking eggs, so i perfected my skills every morning this summer as well.

learning all these valuable lessons has been so beneficial to me!  i always considered myself a foodie, finding (too much) joy in spotting the perfect hole-in-the-wall restaurants in new towns.  but, it’s cool to put a healthy twist to that enjoyment!  however, of course i am still a #1 supporter of moderation being key.  my goal is to not feel as if i am being restricted or “not allowed” to eat certain things because in the end, i’ll end up wanting that restriction food even more.  knowing the good fuel to feed our bodies is hard, but ultimately manageable.  college is tough and you can’t always choose the healthiest option in every single circumstance, and that is so okay.  however, there are many other small things to avoid, or different options that can be chosen to help achieve that healthier lifestyle that you could be aiming at.

side note: one of my sorority sisters started a fitness and health blog, and i admire her so much because it is awesome guys!  she writes about everything from workouts she does, products she raves about, tips to making it in college without being too unhealthy, all of it.  take a look at it here, i have loved reading it and she is definitely one of the coolest people i know and look up to!

aside from learning how to start paying more attention to our physical health, but it is so important to pay attention to our thoughts and how we are doing.  ask yourself- are you doing alright?  are you happy?  is there something in your life that is stressing you out?  are you making something temporary into something permanent, that shouldn’t be?  i’m nowhere near a pro at this whole college thing (who really is though?), but i sure have learned a lot from being here and learning things everyday, sometimes even the hard way.  something that i’ve been thinking about a lot is myself at this second compared to myself a couple years ago.  no, i’m not some completely different person who my parents don’t recognize when i come home.  but, i sure have grown.  i’m starting to accept myself and what i genuinely enjoy doing and give myself credit where it’s deserved, which has not always been so common for me to do.  i used to be very dependent on others, grasping onto other’s opinions they had about me.  i was always afraid of what i looked like in others eyes, which isn’t always a bad thing.  but before doing something, what others would think about it was a huge influence as to if i should do it or not.  and don’t get me wrong, high school was such a fun and exciting time for me and my friends were totally awesome.  i just cared more about how i thought they would think about me… rather than thinking about myself first (does that make sense?)

now, i feel much more open to trying new things.  doing things that are best for just me.  i aim to surround myself with the best people, who will consistently shape me and push me to being a better me.  this time is so sacred, we don’t have time to be overcome with negative energy.  think about aspects of your life that you aren’t happy with, and change those.  like hey, i’ve changed my major three times and i just started my sophomore year.  nothing is permanent!!

basically, my advice is to take advantage of this new beginning.  soak up the exciting parts about it.  have fun and live it up before classes “actually” start involving schoolwork and studying.  but, don’t forget about you and how you’re doing.  don’t let anything or anyone stop you from something that will make you content.  life’s too short to not be happy with it.


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