Organization Station

Since ninth grade, I’ve over-involved myself to the point of exasperation because I just love experiencing a ton of different things. I graduated high school as part of 13 clubs and in my freshman year of college, joined seven different organizations. I quickly realized what clubs and organizations would actually be worth my time and now I’m down to about four.

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Actual, un-retouched footage of me when anyone needs anything

The leadership positions I’ve held in PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America) and AAF-NSAC (American Advertising Federation – National Student Advertising Competition) have taken up most of my time for the past two years and I had to learn how to multi-task quickly, or everything would come crashing down around me. I want to share a few ways that I employ to keep on top of my crap:

1. Make a dang list: I don’t care if it’s on a napkin, in your head or fleshed out in a complex, color-coded spreadsheet; just make one. This is continually my first piece of advice to people who feel stressed or disorganized. Personally, I just shut down if I feel too overwhelmed and don’t know where to start with all my work. Additionally, your to-do list might not be as soul-crushing as you first thought when you plan out the measures you’ll specifically take to complete a task (thank you Lucas – this advice saved my freaking life).

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2. Follow up: If you’re in a leadership position, make sure (you put it on your to-do list and) you follow up with the people you’ve delegated to. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to half-ass a part of a group project at the last minute because someone dropped the ball. And I’ll be honest, sometimes I was the one who dropped the ball (because it wasn’t on my to do list). As a leader, the end result reflects on you. Even though it wasn’t “technically” your responsibility to call maintenance for more chairs,  you should have double-checked that it happened.

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3. Plan ahead: I’m not sure if there’s a worse feeling than coming into a class and realizing you completely spaced on that 3 page paper that’s due and there’s no way to make it up. Instead of taking a break by watching Netflix or surfing Facebook, use 15 minutes to map out the due dates and deadlines of projects. If they’re incredibly important, consider setting an alarm on your phone to remind you to have it done. This advice works in more ways than one, too! I’m currently following a strict diet, so I need to plan out my meals in advance to ensure I stick to it. Because it focuses on protein, carbs and healthy fats, I’m not able to pop into 7-11 for a cheese-stuffed soft pretzel and bottle of water to get me through the day.

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4. Take time for yourself: At the end of the day, nothing is more important than you. While it might seem noble (or even impressive) to skip a meal or two because you’re just so busy, realize that’s not healthy and  plan ahead to bring food with you if you know you’re going to be on the run that day. In addition, set a time for yourself that you stop responding to emails at night. For me, it’s right after I’ve showered and gotten into bed. At that point in the night, I’m ready to relax and go to sleep. I don’t even look at my phone when it buzzes anymore.

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What do you think about this list? How do you keep yourself organized and on-track to complete your goals? Let me know in the comments!

PS – sorry for the double Parks And Rec gifs, but Leslie Knope is legitimately my professional spirit animal. My personal, if you’re wondering, is a mix of Jessica Day and Phil Dunphy with a hint of Disney Princess.

The Power of Prayer

Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours.

Mark 11:24

As some may know, I was truly saved by God two years ago when I participated in the Disney College Program. I know the exact time and place and feeling and I never want to forget it.

Lately I’ve been diving deeper into my faith: studying scripture, reading devotionals; anything I can do to really live the life Christ died for me to live. I’m trying to walk in his footsteps (like millions of others), but continually fail (like millions of others).

Today I woke up happy enough, but I seemed to have a black cloud over my head all day. I couldn’t shake the feeling of what I can only describe as despair. It weirds me out to call it that, because today wasn’t all that bad at all. I got to see my fiancé the night before, had all my work done and have been feeling pretty well physiologically.

It started when I got an early morning rejection from a job I really didn’t even want. It stung a little, but pushed it to the back of my mind and (thought) I got over it. An hour or so later I got a second rejection from a job I knew I probably wasn’t going to get but wanted anyways.

This was my third rejection in just a few days. While I’m growing thick skin, I couldn’t help but despair and panic a little. I’m getting married in a year and I need a job that I can help pay the bills with! I have school loans! I worked my butt off for four years to make myself an outstanding candidate and now I feel I’m falling flat!

Honestly, the whole “despairing at jobs” thing was just a mental downward spiral for me – I’m applying early and these places need to hire someone now and it’s unfair (and selfish) for me to think they’d hold a job for some kid for four months! Now that I have a little perspective, I can see that. But at 10 a.m. this morning, I did not.

I talked to God on my walk home and read my devotionals, which really gave me peace but I still felt that there was something holding me back. The entire day I had been talking to God, asking him for peace; asking for a path or an opportunity to see his plan or an answer, but I just felt silence.

Then I got a call from Lucas and talked to him about how I was feeling. Suddenly, I realized where all my problems had stemmed from: a day or two ago, we heard he may deploy and I didn’t realize how much it affected me. As I looked back through the day, all my worries and thoughts were around him and his safety. On the phone he laughed and said, “Didn’t I tell you? That’s not happening anymore – we don’t have to worry.” I let out an audible squeal – thoroughly overjoyed at the news. At that moment, I look outside and it’s snowing.

How perfect, right?!

God knew the worries of my heart before I did and sent me a new beginning; a pure, fresh breath to the day to remind me that 1) He’s always with me and listening and 2) no matter what my situation in life should be, I can’t hang my happiness and joy on it.

I’m constantly amazed by the glory and power of God. It’s truly astonishing and I am in total awe, still, of what he did in my life today.

Tonight I want to keep all the college seniors and military significant others in my prayers.

Seniors – I feel you. It’s a tough road to hoe and nerve-wracking and scary and unknown. As many times as I’ve offered my life up to God, I keep pulling back the reins and try to steer it where I think it should go. So I pray that we all let the Lord’s will work in and through our lives and that we can wait and see what wonders he will work through us.

Military wives, girlfriends, family and friends – I give you my 1000 percent respect. I didn’t even get a taste – barely a whiff – of what your daily life is like and I went into a mental tailspin. I pray that the Lord continually brings you peace and strength and that he provides for you and your families while your loved one(s) are way.

Coming back the the verse in Mark, I urge everyone to realize how great our God is. He’s not a spiteful or selfish God; he loves you so much that he sent the thing most important to him – his Son – to die so we could be with him. He states – “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe you have received it and it will be yours.” How crazy is that?!

I needed this verse today. Maybe you did too! And remember: God is always with you.

The Countdown Continues

Less than two weeks remain until my great adventure in the Happiest Place on Earth, and I’m feeling a lot of mixed emotions. Actually, this is kind of heavy… so strap in!

When I got my acceptance letter, I was knee-deep in clubs, organizations, classes, and friends. Literally. When I got the acceptance email, I was next up to present my status report at our PRSSA meeting. Though I was shaking with excitement, a few voices immediately asked what I was going to do about the rest of my year, one of those voices being my own.

Because I was so busy, I didn’t have time to comprehend exactly what I was getting myself into, how I would do it, and how it would affect me and the people in my life. First and foremost: my love, Lucas.

Lucas has been nothing but supportive of my decision to go to Florida. When I received my acceptance, he was the first person I called. With our luck, he had class for three hours at that exact time and couldn’t call back. Well, the initial excitement turned into nervousness when I saw his name and ringtone buzz on my phone. We’ve been in a successful long-distance relationship for over a year, and each day I find something new about him to love. With that being said, we can’t wait to spend summers together. We live close(ish) to each other when we’re home. Last year I spent my entire summer at college orientating the new freshman, and he was overseas. We were really looking forward to spending the summer together and finally feeling like a normal couple. My acceptance email brought that fantasy crashing down though: the program I was awarded was Spring Advantage (February 2015-August 2015). Nervousness seeped into every cell I had when I picked up the phone to talk to him (all the while, I’m still at this PRSSA meeting). I’m not going to lie, it was a hard conversation. Being part of the DCP was something I had yearned for for years, but with Lucas in my life, my priorities had changed. He was the most important thing to me, and the biggest factor that affected my decision. Being the perfect boyfriend he was, he ended the phone call with an ultimatum: “Either you do the Disney College Program, or we break up.” In every instance and every way, he puts my needs and wants before his own and never ceases to amaze me.

While that story is all well and good, it’s not where it ends. This decision was not easy for us. We’ve had our moments of serious discussions about the impact of the program on various aspects of our lives. There’ve been good and bad days with the DCP in our minds, and I don’t think every day will be perfect again until I’m back home. I’m going to decline sharing more on this, because ultimately, it is between Lucas and I, and there are a few things we would like to keep private. I just want everyone to know how perfect he is being, and that I appreciate and cling to his support more than he’ll ever know. He truly is the most amazing man out there. 🙂

My parents divorced when I was 16, and 4 years later I still try my hardest to abide to the 50/50 custody we all agreed on. Obviously, things come up and it can’t be a perfect system, but I try to do the best I can. Juggling two family who want me full-time, along with my adopted family (Lucas’) who also want me full time does end up taking a toll. I’ve always wanted to please everyone, even if it hurts me. And for the past 4 years, I feel like I’ve been doing that. Every time I turn around or make a decision, I feel like I’m hurting someone. I’ll be honest, I’m a young girl in love, so I spend most of my time around Lucas and his family. But then that takes away from my mom or my dad, who haven’t gotten to see me at all in a week or more. And then when I try to visit them, I miss Lucas so then I’m miserable. It’s a never-ending circle and it’s really, really hard. Lucas and I fantasize about getting married and starting our own life daily, and one thing I’m so excited for is to finally have my own life with someone I love. I think that’s another reason I’m excited to go to Disney. No one is going to tell me what to do there. Their reach can’t touch me 1000 miles away, living my own life, paying my own bills. I just wish Lucas could experience it with me, and move down with me. I didn’t realize how hard it would be to be away from my best friend for seven months until now. I’ve laughed with him, I’ve cried with him; I’ve spent the best of my life with him, and a little of the worst. I know it’s going to be the hardest goodbye I ever say. And I know it’s not a fatal goodbye; it’s a “see-you-later.” But it really just hit me that I’m less than 10 days away from leaving everything I’ve known for so long and I’m scared.

Maybe the DayQuil I’ve been taking to rid me of a horrible cold is kicking in or maybe I’m over-emotional, or maybe it’s both. Disney is going to be amazing and I can’t wait to make fantastic memories with everyone I’ve already met, but I know I’m leaving a lot behind too. I refuse to see it as leaving behind though. They’re all coming with me, they’ll be in my mind and in my heart. And I wear Lucas’ dogtags every day to remind me just how lucky and blessed by God I am.

So now for the happy part… I GO TO DISNEY IN NINE DAYS! I’ve been waiting for months to get the countdown to single-digits and it’s finally here! I actually have a lot more to pack and I’m getting nervous about housing (my roommates and I were all split up:'(, but we’re still doing a gift exchange and going to dinner and being best friends!!) and my role (I’m in entertainment so lots of people will be seeing me, and I don’t want to mess up!), but I think I’ll be fine once I get into the groove. Keep up with me via this blog and my YouTube Channel!

If you’re still here, I congratulate you. This blog just acted as a therapist for me this last hour, and it felt damn good to get all those feelings out. Cheers 🙂

Open When… You’ve Had a Hard Day

Open When... You've Had a Hard Day

This envelope contains just a few treats and pick-me-ups for Lucas after he’s had a hard day. Like the others, this envelope includes a bible quote about having a hard day and a letter from me to him about having a bad day. Also included are 30-odd suggestions for relieving stress and letting off some steam, a small “Treat Yo Self” (Parks and Rec is our favorite show) poster with chocolate and a small amount of money attached, a “Book for Pampering” (coupons for him to redeem when he gets back to me), and a small picture of the Hulk (his favorite superhero). Still needed are a pack of black and milds and a picture of us/me.

Stress

Stress. It gets even the best of us.

I don’t know if there is anything more stressful than being a junior in high school. I’m probably talking out my ass and there are at least ten things you could think of that are more stressful (being held at gun point, becoming the president, waiting to see if you’re the next tribute in the Hunger Games, etc…). My point is, school can put so much pressure on a student that it’s not even possible to function. That feeling of barely holding your head above water, the threat of drowning apparent for any moment. It takes courage to live life; no one can glide through easily and effortlessly. Its just not humanly possible.

You see, I’m supposed to be doing homework right now. I have a two-page paper to write, two presidential outlines, a school-related blog post, a very complicated and large algebra packet, and a health test for which I need to study. Too bad I haven’t started anything yet and it’s already 5:15. And I’m missing school on Friday (its Wednesday) to tour a college.

Yeah. I’m screwed.

Aside from school (which I think I’ve made my point in that it is the MOST STRESSFUL THING EVER), there are plenty of other things to get stressed about: a performance, a sport competition, a job, a date; literally anything. It really just depends on your personality. What stresses you out isn’t as important as how you handle that stress, though.

I find music to be the most calming, especially the classics. Also, if I make a list and am able to cross jobs out after I get them done; I have a feeling of accomplishment that fuels my energy for the next task. But really, there are thousands of ways to cope with stress. Preferably not by inflicting violence on others, though. I know it’s an awesome reliever, but you might get in trouble. And then you’ll just have more stress.