22 Ways to Put Things Off During Midterms

Midterms are the worst because mentally you can never prepare, and you still have class to go to and homework  while trying to write essays worth 30% of your grade while somehow not going crazy. So what is a stressed college kid to do but procrastinate?

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  1. Exercise. Go to the gym, go to exercise class, decide to pick up water polo. I mean, at least it will help you with stress and sleeping. So that makes it productive and necessary right?
  2. Go to a career related workshop then update your LinkedIn. Heck, update all your social media: profile pictures, bios,  do some posts, share some photos. This includes updating your icon image for all your emails: personal and school. While your at it, have a new head shot taken.
  3. Volunteer to model for you friend’s photo shoot they have to do as an assignment. That makes you a good friend because YOU are helping them get their homework done. And I mean, someone’s homework got done for crying out loud.
  4. Sleep. Take a nap. Learn how to sleep sitting up. Contrary to popular belief, sleep is crucial. So don’t skimp unless you have to.
  5. Plan how you are going to study and get everything done. Then don’t follow the plan and watch everything fall out of place and get more stressed out.
  6. Do research for your paper that is due at the end of the semester. It is a bigger percentage of your grade and I mean you do need to  find those sources so you can maybe read them during break next week.
  7. Watch puppy videos, because they make you feel not stressed and sad about life for 30 seconds at a time.
  8. Take a shower. You feel like you can conquer anything when you are squeaky clean and smell like a garden.
  9. Organize your bookshelf and all your books. You need to know where everything is and know you have refreshed your memory and will be able to find everything when you finally sit down to study.
  10. Eat and hydrate. One cannot think on an empty stomach, nor when one is dehydrated. Also, I can’t be the only one who sometimes eats their feelings. And I mean you do kinda need to clear out the fridge of anything that might go bad over spring break.
  11. Speaking of spring break, why not plan everything you are going to do now? Organization is the key to success!
  12. Change your sheets so that when you nap and sleep you are enveloped in the comfort of clean smelling things.
  13. Do Laundry. So that way you can feel semi put together in your freshly laundered sweats as you drag yourself to class half awake.
  14. Bond with your friends. Take these moments of stress and anxiety to take a break and get to know each other even better. You’ll be bound to get at least one laugh out of it, and laughing feels good and since you’re both stressed laughing is a good way of dealing with all of the stress that you are feeling.
  15. Do free writing. Write a letter, poem, short story, gay “300” erotica. At least you can say you were motivated about something. And writing is incredibly therapeutic.
  16. Have a minor existential crisis about what you are doing, your life, what you are studying.
  17. Call your parents. Have them bring the dogs to the phone or the webcam so that you can talk to them, and your parents can tell you how they recognize your voice and are looking for you. At least someone loves you unconditionally and misses you.
  18. Decide to pick up a new hobby or skill. The more ridiculous and unrealistic and time consuming the better.
  19. Lie on the floor and stare at the ceiling and cry.
  20. Go through your clothes. Figure out what no longer fits and try on everything to find the perfect empowering power study outfit.
  21. Go through your backpack and clean out. In the process find the assignment sheets you probably should have located last week not the night before the paper is due. But at least you are doing it.
  22. Inner monologue yourself up to actually getting your work done. Because as much as you hate midterms and all the stress you’re here at college and you’ve gotten this far. You’ve got this rodeo. You can, and will survive.

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Donation, Service, Making a Difference

In high school I decided, quite brashly, that I was going to change the world.Or at least some peoples’ lives for the better. In community college I began to look into donating blood, with the hope of one day donating bone marrow. Unfortunately I had been possibly exposed to Malaria abroad and had to put off donating blood for a while. I registered as an organ donor. I decided that I wanted to do the peace corp, or some other long term service project abroad.

But sometimes things happen. Like Rheumatoid Arthritis.

I cannot donate blood. Nor Bone marrow. And  RA is a disqualifying condition for the peace corp. At least my body can still be used for science once I die.

Part of me wanted to make a strong and obvious physical impact on people. Now I realize that since I am unable to do it in the ways that I originally intended that I am going to have to go about changing the world in other ways, in living fingerprints on people’s minds, hearts, memories.

I am going to write and publish. I am going to teach and stimulate the growth of new ideas and dreams. While I cannot offer people the raw, physical resource of myself, I can offer them my time and soul.

Its frustrating when you have plans on how you want to live your life and they fall through. But I am grateful that I still have the capacity to make a difference, and I know that someday, somehow, I will.

Semana Santa and the end of being a teenager

So Holy week (or semana santa) kicks off on Sunday. While for the longest time I wasn´t sure what i was going to do or where I was going to go I have finally figured it out. So here it is.

I am flying to the Osa Peninsula, the southernmost peninsula in Costa Rica and on the Pacific side. The Osa has been described as on of the most geographically diverse places on Earth and is without doubt one of the more difficult places to get to in Costa Rica. Taking a public bus easily takes upwards of 6 hours, often 8 and private shuttles, well since they are often a set flat rate the cost one way would be ridiculous for me. So I am flying. I am a bit terrified because I know it is going to be a small ass plane and dear god small planes scare me shitless. Please excuse the strong language, just trying to illustrate the point. I get one checked bag that cannot exceed 30 pounds, a small carry on, and a no worries carry on item which I have already decided will be my camera. I think.

After the hour flight I will be going to an organic farm up in the higher elevation. I will be volunteering and working there from sunday to saturday. I am super excited as my roomate J. has been teaching be about sustainability and agroecology practices for the past three months and I am excited to learn more. I am also thrilled that I am getting to volunteer and give back a little while I am here too. I am ´glamping´ while I am there, staying in a protected platform tent, and while I will be sharing a bathroom with the other visitors we will have wifi supposedly.

Then I am going to a hotel, I guess. Again, more glamping but right on the ocean and secluded. Part of my stay at the hotel includes a day excursion and hike in Corvocado. I. AM. SO. EXCITED. Corvocado is the one place that i really, really, have wanted to go to in Costa Rica. And I am hiking there on my birthday, so I guess that is pretty freaking cool. I have never spent a birthday really alone, as in I don´t know anyone around me. I have always been a secret birthday person, but as I have aged I have discovered I am a rarity. As I told a dear friend in an email last night, ¨It’s always a milestone to me, especially because of the depression. I always tell myself ‘congrats Amanda, you have made it another year and you are still here alive and breathing. try not to forget life is beautiful.’¨ But seriously though, I am no longer going to be a teenager. I am sinking deeper into adulthood, and all of the delightful things that brings.

Oh and I don´t have to worry about food for the week. Both places provide me with three meals daily. Hoorah.

The college process is coming along. I have been accepted into all of my colleges so far including my top choice(I still dont have answers from two) and it is looking good. I am going to have to work my little but off this summer, and during the school year as well, but if I can pull it all off good, it will work out. How can it not? But already I have to think about GREs and what my next step is going to be after undergraduate. Its overwhelming because oh I don´t know I am transferring and it is confusing and stressful?

I have about one more month in Costa Rica. I am retaking Intermediate 1 next month, and I am relieved I am. It would have been too much to go on and I need to practice and solidify what I already know. One month to see everything, scrabble for souvenirs before squeezing everything into suitcases and heading home. Part of me is so ready to come home but at the same time part of me does´t want to leave. But that is life in the end and what can you do but live in the moment and embrace all there is to have?

Puttering Along

Its hard to believe that is has already been 3 months practically. In 6 weeks and one day I am going to be on a plane home. Yes, I am counting down. I have learned a lot here in Costa Rica and I have had a wonderful experience but it is time. I am ready to come home. Studying abroad has been wonderful, but at the same time a challenge, especially doing so in a developing nation.

Someone once commented to me how much healthier they eat in Costa Rica. I politely disagree. My stomach has been nothing but a confusing series of knots and I look forward to less fried things. They were okay for a while, but in the past week or so, my body has begun to tell me though my stomach “please, no more fried things”. I also really miss my milk. Yes they have milk in Costa Rica, but it isn’t milk. It tastes different and leaves a funny taste in your mouth.

I am exhausted. I physically cannot seem to get enough sleep. I have taken a nap in the afternoon 4 days so far this week. And they usually range from 40 minutes to 3 hours. And my hands specifically my fingers have been achy. I cannot tell if it is from the not so great food (eating crappy has made them hurt before), or if I am simply dis too much writing holding my pencil last week when I had my two tests.

I am however, excited to say that I will be spending Holy Week alone. I am volunteering on an Organic farm and then I am going to hike in Corvocado for a day, specifically my birthday if all goes well.

I think I might have to repeat Intermediate 1, not so much because I’m unable of passing the class but I don’t know if I could handle learning more grammar while sacrificing learning vocab and working on communication/speaking and writing skills. I would rather understand and practice then rush on and get in over my head.

This weekend I am going to Curu to see bio luminescence in the water. I am excited to see what that looks like. I am also excited to spend the weekend with some of my friends before they return home, their three months up.

While I am not feeling on top of the world, I am not feeling crushed by the weight of it. I am simply walking along, one step at a time, slowly and steadily, taking the time when possible to enjoy the little beauties along the way.

The Uneventful Weekend

This weekend was for the most part uneventful. I didn’t go anywhere really and I spent a good chunk of it sleeping, but I needed it. Constantly listening to another language is exhausting and I had a lot of things that went on last week including two major tests and a quiz.

But even though i lazed around I still accomplished things. I applied to 6 jobs in one day, bumping up te number of places that I have applied to 16. Someone has gotta hire me right? Well I hope so anyway. Its hard to say which job I’d like the most or where I want to be. I don’t have a lot of things I really feel like I have to do this summer except I do want to make a quilt for when I go away for college next year. Also making a blanket and a braided rug would be nice too but we cant have everything now.

I went out to dinner with a friend on Saturday, and on Sunday went with her to the farmers market. This time I bought bananas, 6 mandarin oranges and a large container of strawberries. Again for an ammmaazzzing price. I wish there were some water apples (Manzanas del agua). I have been looking to see if they were around but no such luck yet. What is a water apple? Think of the texture of a peach mixed with the taste of an apple. Its something liked that. Very sweet, very juicy, and very good. Then of course we had to buy American fast food and ice cream at the multiplaza before trudging home.

Spanish is an uphill battle, like running up the mountain only to realize it was flat to only realize you have a cliff to scale. It is horribly frustrating at times. Like today learning the difference between por and para. I said ” She went to the beach for sunbathing” using por, because thats the reason she went, only to be told no. By a substitute that made you feel stupid if you had the wrong answer. Unfortunate, and frustrating because now I get to teach myself what was supposed to have been taught in class. It is always soooo aggravating having the people who know it rush everyone else along, and even though they aren’t in the majority it was them who the teacher listened to.

I am nervous about my grades for this semester because I am not doing anywhere nearly as well as I normally do. Language acquisition is hard and really should be spaced out over time so that you have the time to fully grasp the material and the concepts. Lesson learned. My only hope is that the colleges I am applying to understand that and that it doesn’t negatively impact me and my scholarship money.

What else, I still love my short hair, I dream about cooking myself food, and try to make the most out of every day and experience. 6 weeks, 5 days till my plane ride home.

Also, Say hello to Albercicio!

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The H is silent

Two weeks have gone by and I haven’t written a single thing: que torta. Any who instead of listing of a rambling of what I did and what I saw I think I’d rather share some of the reflections that I have had.

Hugs from your mom are magical. I loved spending 10 days with her and eating meals with her and traveling around with her.

Even being healthy doesn’t guarantee a long life. And we really don’t know when our lives are up. At the Chirripo race, a man died from a heart attack. But he died doing what he loves. It was a reminder to cherish the moment and let life happen as it does.

If someone can run 34 km, half uphill and half downhill at an extremely strenuous altitude, you can too. All you have to do is keep trying. And even when you feel like giving up know that they do too and will walk/stride up the mountain. Slow and steady until the end.

Tranquilo. Relax. What is the point of stressing, of insisting on being in charge, of worrying. Follow you gut, brain, and heart. Life is short and precious and it is all about learning, not rushing to the next thing.

But that being said, don’t do nothing. Take advantage of every opportunity you can. And if no one agrees with you, do it solo. It is better to enjoy doing something alone than be bored or miserable and regretful.

Money is money and in the end it burns. We chase after monetary wealth but it is emotional, mental, educational, wealth and a wealth of experiences  that make us rich.

Going to visit another culture, doesn’t make you cultured. Learning it and respecting it and learning from it however, does.

Trust the paper over electronics. Electronics are finicky and sometimes they fail you.

Don’t let people make you feel bad because you don’t like something or have a different opinion.

If you don’t like the food. Find something else to eat or if you can’t suck it up and shovel it down.

Always prepare for the worst weather.

Sometimes you lose things, and yes its okay to be upset but it also means you can replace it with something that has a different level of meaning.

History is important and if you’re not careful it will change you and the way you think about and perceive the world.

Don’t write someone’s life for them. If you are saying what someone else is going to do when they are right there and they are silent and/or apathetic, maybe it means something is amiss.

Looking for 5 positive things at the end of each day can be hard at times, but puts you in a better mood before sleep.

Sometimes you just need a 4 hour nap.

Traveling will improve your ability to sleep anywhere through anything. Howling dog pack? No problem. Dying roosters? Difficult but possible. Torrential rain and wind storm, or blaring music from the open club down the street,  even people partying until 3 am? All you need is an eye mask and maybe a nonwhite app on your phone. And you’ll be able to contort yourself into a variety of positions to sleep on the buses and the car even marble benches in bus stations.

Our world is beautiful and amazing.

Sometimes it important to do things that scare you, because they are exhilarating and it is amazing experience. Zip lining into clouds and torrential rain and wind gusts was scary, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe and the rain stung my face but I am so glad that I did.

Keep your people close.

Don’t self sacrifice for the sake of others and their happiness if it doesn’t actually make you happy. What is the point?

Sometimes the most amazing moments to you, bore others. And that is okay.

I saw a resplendent quetzal at Monteverde. Approaching threatened status the bird has had an important history in mesoamerica and the bird is difficult to see. And I got to take some photos. Whether they are any good your guess is as good as mine but even if they aren’t it still makes me happy.

Putting effort into something generally tends to yield results.

Your dreams really do try to tell you things, just pausing to even consider them is a step in the right direction.