Always Wanting More

Woody Allen said, “The talent for being happy is appreciating and liking what you have, instead of what you don’t have.” Appreciating and liking what you have– I like what I have. I am appreciative, too. But is it human nature to want more? 

I know in college, one thing I was never satisfied with were my grades.  I was always looking to improve– I wanted more, I wanted better, I wanted best. 

During my 4-years in college, I worked hard in all aspects of my life.  I strived for A’s (and if I fell short and got a B, I was disappointed…yeah, I was THAT girl), I worked part-time and played collegiate and intramural sports. I made time to relax and hang out with friends, but I needed a hectic schedule to keep me focused (as odd as that sounds).  

But as senior year came around, I wasn’t satisfied with all I had worked for.  I wanted to be even more productive on campus, so I became the president of my honor society.  

This is where my downfall began.  Of the members in this honor society, I was stunned over how many students had 4.0’s. I had worked as hard as I could through college and couldn’t manage something close to a cumulative 4.0 even if I received straight A’s for my last two semesters. I became, let’s call it, slightly obsessed. I put not only my heart and soul into my honor society to prove I was just as good as these “smarty pants” but I also went somewhat crazy over my studies.

I would get stress migraines and chronic headaches because I was jealous of what others had achieved and I was determined to do the same. I would beat myself up over receiving a B on a paper or quiz.

All of the stress was being placed on my by my own insecurites.  Even my parents were telling me to calm down about my grades, but I thought they just weren’t good enough.

In the end, I really had nothing to prove to anyone. No one else was judging me—not my parents, not my teachers, not my advisors. The only person who was unhappy was me. I was unappreciative of the success that I gained throughout my previous three years. I only dwelled on the fact that others were “better” than me.  I didn’t take the time to realize the successes in my life and just felt the need to constantly compare myself to other students.

I came to realize that there is always going to be someone “better”—whether it is academically, athletically, etc. I know now in order to be happy, I have to work my hardest and know that even if I fail, I at least know I tried my best; that even if the next person is “better” than me in something, that doesn’t mean I’m “bad”.  Rather than worry about what everyone else has, I’ve learned to appreciate what I do have (apparently Woody Allen is very profound!).

– Allison Sheridan, Guest Blogger

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Your Manifesto: LovethisLife

It’s a manifesto worth singing about– to LovethisLife; to celebrate “the moment and that we’re not guaranteed or owed another day, to welcome the blind turn and the possibility that there’s no such thing as coincidence”. 

These are just some of the ideals behind the clothing brand and story of LovethisLife apparel. 

Started by musician David Culiner, the line focuses on celebrating you and your achievements, your resilience, according to the company website.  Although Culiner didn’t have any fashion industry experience upon starting the brand, the message behind the clothes were powerful enough to draw major attention.  Celebrities proudly proclaim their love for life, such as Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock and Chris Rock. 

But most importantly, the line isn’t about what is or is not fashion forward–It’s about appreciating each day.  And that’s a message I’m proud to support.

LovethisLife is available at many campus bookstores, empowering college students to revel in their achievements and daily successes.

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Studying Abroad: Valuable Life Lessons

What is the best way to prepare for the “real world”? Is it through memorizing a book? With PowerPoint presentations? Case studies?

Well, there is one way that I personally found to prepare me for life, which trumps all —studying abroad.

When the opportunity to study abroad in China arose at my university I was hesitant to apply. It was a costly investment and I didn’t know anyone going on the trip. But I wanted to try something new and felt the lessons I’d learn while traveling would be priceless.

So, I proceeded to cram three weeks of stuff into one tiny suitcase and embark on a 15-hour flight to China. I arrived in a country where I was quickly immersed in a new language and to be honest, I was nervous.

While I was in China, I studied for two weeks in Dalian. I had the opportunity to take business classes (taught by my professors) with Chinese college students. In addition to all that I learned in class, I was exposed to a new culture, new food and new ideals. We toured businesses, the stock exchange, and many other influential places in the city. We were able to experience first-hand what Chinese life was like.

I can't tell if that tiger is smiling or growling-- either way, it was such a cool experience!

After our two weeks were over in Dalian, we traveled to Beijing and Shanghai for sightseeing. I climbed about a mile of the non-reconstructed part of the Great Wall of China, and even zip-lined down part of it. I went to a zoo and pet a tiger (my mother flipped when she saw the picture) and was lifted in the air by an elephant. I visited palaces, the Olympic stadium, the Imperial City and even went up in the Shanghai TV tower which has glass floors. (crazy!)

The sightseeing made the trip that much more memorable, but the knowledge and cultural appreciation I gained was invaluable. I now feel that I am much more culturally conscious and can be more open-minded than I was before.

This is a life skill that cannot be taught in a classroom. You can only learn so much out of a book.  I think you have to experience things first hand. 

Have you studied abroad?  If you could study abroad, where would you travel?

– Allison Sheridan, Guest Blogger

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Spring: It’s In the Bag

Budding leaves, blooming flowers, chirping birds and the smell of fresh-cut grass all mean one thing: Spring has (finally) arrived. As you begin trading in your chunky sweaters and heavy coats for tank tops and flip flops, you’ll likely consider giving your handbag collection a spring makeover, as well. Before you’re left wondering which bag to grab, consult our list for inspiration. We have solutions for just about every situation.

The mauve color of this Forever 21 Leatherette Matelassé Handbag is a pretty spring hue.


Formal Fun

For many college organizations, this is the time of year to hold a Formal. That typically means wearing a fancy dress, spending hours on hair and makeup and ultimately trying to recreate the magic of your prom experience. Forever 21 has a number of bags to complete the look you are going for on your special night, all within a reasonable price range.  Like this one– The color screams spring, the chain dresses up the bag and it’s the perfect size to hold your formal necessities.

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Small Steps To Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Changing habits are tough– Whether its to eat healthier, to be more organized, to always be on time to class, improvements to our daily doings don’t happen overnight.  One habit I am slowly working to break is my HUGE impact on the environment– I have one large carbon footprint, people.  So, I’m trying a few simple tactics to improve my effects on Mother Nature.

Recycling: Simple and effective.  I have one trash can for my old food and other grossness and one for plastics, cans and glass.  But, it goes further than that.  What about using recycled goods to replace my usual daily products and needs?

The B2P Gel Roller is one "write" way to go green.

For instance, old plastic water bottles are now being recycled into pens.  A bunch of my friends picked up the B2P pens at the bookstore and they write really well.  I think the coolest thing about them is they actually look like the bottles they were made from. 

Also, recycled clothing is definitely in fashion (and I don’t mean it was worn before).  Under Armour is now selling collegiate apparel made from 100% recycled polyester.  How can you tell which garment is “green”?  The earth-friendly styles each have a green inner seam around the collar for easy distinction.

The bright green seam lets you know this Under Armour tee is made from recycled polyester.

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Celebrate National Goof Off Day!

It’s National Goof Off Day, so what better way to celebrate than by goofin’ around on Photoshop, right?

This poor attempt at Photoshop is from our friends at USF Tampa.  And we think the fact that it’s so awful makes it that much more hilarious. 

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Shop Ethical Fashion With School House

It’s not just about size, color, long sleeve or short– It’s also about the message and story behind the clothes.

If you take a minute to stop and think about that tee you’re trying on, chances are it has traveled across open waters to land in the store you are browsing.  It was at the hands of a hard worker who depends on each stitch to feed his or her family. 

One Fullbright Scholar, Rachel Weeks, took time to think about those who were spending their days sewing and manufacturing her clothes and how many of them were poorly paid.

In 2007, Weeks traveled to Sri Lanka in hopes of bringing free and fair fashion to college campuses, according to School House.

Shop School House and make a difference.

So, to create quality garments while improving labor rights, Weeks teamed up with ALARM, a Sri Lankan coalition of labor rights organizations and trade unions, to launch School House. 

School House pays premium prices to its suppliers to ensure living wages are paid in the manufacturing facilities, according to the company’s website.   

So, when you shop School House, you are making a difference each day, t-shirt by t-shirt.  Shop School House at your campus bookstore today and contribute to the success of ethical fashion for all.

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Dish It: Navigating the Dining Hall

While working in the business world, Harvard Business School grad Divya Gugnani realized her true calling was food.  Author of Sexy Women Eat, Divya provides women with tips on how to stay healthy and look great.  And now, Divya has expert tips and advice for college students looking to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Packing on the pounds in college is way easier than a late night cram session for an 8 a.m. final.  To put it plainly, other than your degree, weight is the only thing you can count on gaining when you embark upon the college journey. In my book, Sexy Women Eat, I provide the everyday woman with simple and usable tips to stay fit and still enjoy food. Now I’m here to do the same for the college student. Be gone “Freshman fifteen!”

Here’s how to avoid stacking on those spare tires while at school:

–Leave your car in the lot. Walk to class; walk to the dining hall– Not only will an extra twenty minutes of walking a day burn calories, it’s also a stress reliever (Did I mention that stress causes weight gain?).

–If you live in a dorm use the stairs. Even if you’re only on the third floor, taking the stairs up and down will firm up that rear. And if you live on the eighth… well imagine how tight that tush will become by graduation.

–When you are out at parties (or alone in your dorm) don’t forget to dance! You’re young, you’re free of your parents, celebrate with loud music and dancing.

Now that we’ve got basic calorie burning tricks covered, it’s time to learn how to navigate the college dining hall. Your school’s dining hall is filled with pizza, fried chicken, burgers and perhaps a nacho station. Who can resist scarffing Doritos and extra large frappaccinos during an all-night study session? When it comes to the dining hall, there are a few simple tips that will keep the bulk in your brain and away from your belly.

Divya Gugnani's book, "Sexy Women Eat", provides great tips on how to eat right and stay healthy.

  1. Always eat breakfast! 

Too many college students skip breakfast because they wake up late, run to class and wind up binge eating by the time midday comes because they’re starving. By the way, coffee does not count as breakfast.  The morning is the best time to treat yourself to a yummy meal that will sustain you with energy throughout the day. Hitting the dining hall first thing, you will most likely find an omelet station and loads of delicious fresh fruit. Load up! Stick to lean proteins that will keep you full till lunch time like egg whites and Greek style yogurt.  Berries will add a wide range of vitamins as well.

2.  Grab some healthy snacks and be on your way.

Instead of sitting down to a whole pre-cooked meal of lasagna and garlic knots in the dining hall, make a point of hitting the grocery store. Buy items from the outer aisles that have all the fresh produce loaded with fiber, vitamins and minerals.  Get back to your room and bag up carrots, hummus, celery, apples and more in individual servings so you can enjoy them on the go. This will prevent you from making a pit stop in your nearest dining hall to pick up a butter loaded cookie.  Regular healthy snacks every few hours will keep your metabolism up and keep you in good shape.

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The Word On Campus: Snacks and Glory

Who doesn’t love taking a quick poll, right?  Well– in that case, we want to know some random information about you, like which snacks you crave and which TV personalities you aspire to be.

For me, I used to have healthy habits while studying.  Edamame was my snack of choice.  TV personality? That’s a tough one– I guess I would say I aspire to be anyone other than Charlie Sheen, duh!  What about you?

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