Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Why I Blog

As a general rule I am a consumer. I devour books and feast on Pinterest boards and revel in the creation of others. And I was fine with that. I was happy to enjoy the hard work of others because they could do it much better than I. After starting this blog however, I have found the joy in being a creator.

Why I Blog |

Yes, I don't always use my own pictures or have completely original ideas, but three times a week I sit down and make something I never have before. There is certainly value in exercising my mind and challenging myself (in something other than schoolwork!).

Blogging has given me a reason to do research (for posts like this one and this one), teach myself HTML coding, learn photo editing, and develop the ultimate color coded calendar. It has shown me that working hard is not necessarily enough to get results, but rather that luck and timing play an integral role. To keep writing week after week I have had to redefine my idea of 'success' and do this for myself first; to have a product that I am proud of.

Since I have willfully joined a saturated market, I realize that I have to curb my anticipation of being a wide reaching blogger and focus on creating quality content for those who do take the time to read. Thank you to those of you who visit this blog and leave kind comments. It means very much to me that you stop by!

For other bloggers do you feel the same? What makes blogging worth it to you?


Monday, December 15, 2014

Etiquette: Digital Edition

Once upon a time there was no such thing as social media, text messaging and Facebook. The rules of etiquette concerned letter writing, when to leave a calling card and how to behave at formal dances. Now, however, we need new guidelines to help us navigate the digital world. There is so much that can be covered, but here are the top rules you should keep in mind for your online life.

Etiquette: Digital Edition |

  • If you wouldn't say it in person, don't say it online. Just like your parents may have told you 'if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all,' you should not feel emboldened by the anonymous nature of the internet. Keep it positive and constructive.
  • THERE IS NO NEED TO SHOUT!!!!!!! Or use multiple exclamation points. Caps lock is not your friend. Since the person or people on the other side can't hear the inflection of your voice or see the expression on your face it is best to keep your words lowercase and let one punctuation mark serve your purpose.
  • Remember once you press send/submit/post, it is out there. An email can't be unsent and a post, even if deleted, can be seen and a screen shot can be taken. For these reasons be absolutely sure that you don't mind if your words or picture were to be seen by everyone you know.
  • Give credit where credit is due. If you post a picture you didn't take then include the source and if you are quoting someone be sure to include his or her name. You don't want to violate copyright laws.
Remember to try and be a positive force in an age where negativity is the norm online


This article was originally published (by me!) on HerCampus TCNJ.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Back In Time: John Adams

I just made the realization that I never before dedicated a post to John Adams. He is mentioned in my about page but he deserves so much more. My PSE mentor, Colleen, is the only other person I've met who shares my love for him so it is quite clear that I need to spread the word about how integral he was to the revolution and what an inspiring person he is.

The HBO John Adams series (based on the book by David McCullough, which I highly recommend) is what initially sparked my interest in this fascinating man. Fun fact: I went to theater camp with the boy who plays young John Quincy. The series gives a wonderful picture of John Adams' contribution to the formation of the United States of America. What people don't often realize is that had he not secured a loan from the Dutch during the war, things may have turned out tragically different.

Adams never failed to give everything he had to his country and sacrificed being with his family to do what was right for liberty. I so admire how he and his wife Abigail were able to stay in love and faithful to one another despite the distance and time between them. The mini series really shows how Abigail's counsel was vital to John as he was faced with countless challenges (behind every great man...).

Figures like Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson (don't even get me started on how much I dislike Mr. Jefferson) get all of the attention and glory, but with Adams pulling the strings (like ultimately nominating Jefferson to write the Declaration of Independence) I would suggest that history as we know it would be completely different.

Beyond his political contributions, John Adams was such a good man and hard worker. He never owned a slave, worked his own farm well into old age, and was an essentially self taught solicitor. I could go on endlessly about how I want to be like John Adams. A few Christmases ago my brother got me a poster of the great man and I have it hanging up by my mirror in my dorm room. Each day I look at it and say to myself "Be like John." It's like a "What would Jesus do (WWJD)" mentality, except I add a J for John. If I can be anything even remotely like these two great men I will be satisfied.

Have I sparked your interest in John Adams? Who do you look up to?


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Finals Week: What To Bring To The Library

Welcome to Finals Week! The week (or more) when the library is filled to capacity, students are running on ramen and coffee, and it is not uncommon to see your friends in the same outfits multiple days in a row. As stressful of a time as this is, you can do your best to be prepared by bringing this list of supplies to the library.

Finals Week: What To Bring To The Library |

  • Layers. It will be hot. Then cold. Then hot again. Do yourself a favor and bring layers.
  • Water. As great as coffee is for staying awake, I recommend having water nearby to stay hydrated and to help if you have a tickle in your throat or get a coughing attack; the library is full and people may not be understanding if you are sitting there hacking away.
  • Extra paper and writing utensils. I find it helpful to write what I'm studying over and over and when I run out of paper or ink there is nothing more frustrating. 
  • Tissues. For yourself, for your friends, for strangers. Someone will end up being very grateful and thankful for you. 
  • Headphones. As much as we all wish people respected the quiet sanctuary that the library is supposed to be, they don't. Bring headphones to drown out the noisy table that is sure to be right next to you. 
  • Power cords. You will be in the library longer than you think and everything is going to run out of battery. Just accept it now. 
  • A good attitude. Yes studying for finals can be a drag, but it is a necessary evil so you might as well embrace it.
Do you have any library essentials? Best of luck to you all!


Monday, December 8, 2014

Why Planning Can Be Pointless

I LOVE to plan everything. From a young age I planned my life, the year, the month, the week, the day, and even the hour. I measured my success on how well I was able to adhere to my plan. Nothing could deter me from my lists and provisions.

That mindset has begun to unravel as time has gone on however. I have learned that even the best laid plans can be turned upside down and when that happened I would not know what to do. There would be such a feeling of upheaval and I thought that all of my hard work was for naught.

Why Planning Can Be Pointless |
image source; modified by Alyssa J Freitas
It took me a while to make this realization but it has been essential to my happiness ever since: Have a goal, have steps, have acceptance. This means that you should have something you are working towards, but not a concrete, written in stone plan that you are not willing or prepared to amend when the situation calls for it. Realizing that you are only in control of so much can allow you to let go and not spend useless time worrying. There are entire books dedicated to the quest of combatting worry (I recommend How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie) so I won't delve into that too much; just keep in mind that you should make a distinction between what you can control and what you can't.

There are many different paths that can be taken to achieve your end goal. Just because you may come across a roadblock and have to amend your plan does not mean that you will not ultimately be successful in the way that you originally wished. Learning to deal with problems as they arise and making sure that you are flexible are essential for your success. Putting too much pressure on yourself to have it all can only end up being detrimental because it is an impossible standard to achieve. I propose to you that it is best to take everything one day at a time and have a guide for the future in mind, but not an unwavering plan.

How do you approach your goals? 


This post was originally a guest post (by me!) on Ali in Bloom.
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