The Grown-Up World

May 7, 2015 in Alive Campus, Career

GraduationAs I’m about to graduate college in about a week, I’ve come to the realization that I will be entering the adult world. I finished my last exam yesterday and it was one of the best feelings in the world! I’m done with my undergraduate studies! What a huge accomplishment, especially at a military college. However, that night it hit me like a brick wall…I’m about to enter the real world and I will be on my own.

I don’t think that anyone can really prepare you for that moment. No one really tells you that you will be on your own figuring out your life and how to live it. Up until now you’ve had the comfort of a daily routine of school since you were five years old. Now you have to get a job, pay taxes, pay for an apartment, a car, insurance, groceries. You have to learn how to cook, do laundry, and find your way in life and there is nothing scarier than that.

When I came to that realization last night, I questioned whether or not I was ready. But are we ever ready? For me, I’m not a big fan of change. It scares me. Plus, I have the mindset that if something isn’t broke then why fix it? But at the same time, I think it’s the shove into adulthood that we all need. Since I haven’t experienced it yet, I don’t know what it will be like and they always say don’t let your fears overcome your ability to try something new. You have to step outside of your comfort zone in order to do great things and live your life and that is so important to remember. I think I often let my fears and insecurities get in the way of what I can do and I’m sure other people are the same way.

Once we overcome those insecurities and realize that, yes the adult world might be scary, but we all have to face it, then we can push forward and live the life we deserve. No one wants to live an unhappy life, but if you give up after failing so many times then you will be miserable. The quitters never win and the winners never quit. If anything else you always have to remember that.

So for all those seniors about to graduate you are not the only ones facing the anxiety of the adult world. There are thousands of others in the same position as you. We are all uncertain and scared, and if you aren’t then kudos to you! But for those of us who are, everything will work out in the end, as long as you keep trying. When you have admitted defeat is when you have let the adult world win. But just remember, it’s only as scary as you make it. Plus, you have to fake it till you make it! Confidence is key, but you’ve made it this far so there is no stopping you now!

“You are worth it simply because you exist.”

November 8, 2014 in Academics, Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges, Health

I sneak a peak from the corners of my laptop and see two students sitting on the opposite end of the study room. To the right, I see a girl twirling her fingers through her hair, tugging at the ends in a nervous manner as she continues to read through an Organic Chemistry textbook. To the left, I see a boy chugging down a cup of coffee—I’m imagining a Red Eye to match his red, sleep-deprived eyes. I then look at my own laptop screen; my dock filled with minimized documents of Gender Studies texts and Word documents with unfinished midterm papers. I grab my quadruple shot espresso and finish the contents of my Venti-sized cup in a matter of seconds. I burp softly and continue to type as I think about the to-do list of tasks that I’ve yet to write up (maybe I should add “write to-do list” to my to-do list).

Cornell is, without a doubt, an academically rigorous institution. Add to that the stigma of being the Suicide Ivy, the university wide policy of grade deflation, and the Type-A peers in every classroom, and you have yourself an anxiety-ridden environment. As a student who has survived numerous suicide attempts and panic attacks, and now runs university wide “Happiness Projects,” I can attest that changing one’s mentality is the only sure-fire way of tackling the issue that is mental health at the university level.

Prelims season AKA stress stress stress!

Prelims season AKA stress stress stress!

“I am sitting next to Albert Einstein’s reincarnation.”

During my first week at Cornell, I couldn’t help but to notice the amount of students boasting about their high school achievements. “AP Scholar” and “National Champion” were casually inserted into conversations about the pasta being served. Most Frosh come to Cornell with the mentality that they will maintain their valedictorian status. In a school comprised of 99th percentile students, it becomes incredibly difficult to maintain said status. Rather than fighting for the spotlight in a small discussion seminar, or plotting to murder the students who score higher than you on a calculus midterm, think optimistically: “I am privileged enough to be sitting in a room with some of the brightest minds in the world. They are here, so they are valid. I am here, so I am valid, too. Maybe we can learn from each other!”

“My low GPA is my identity.”

In my circle of friends, the status of Valedictorian is synonymous to GPA-obsessed high school students. Cornell tends to attract—and accept—these types of students. While I’m not implying that GPAs in college are insignificant, I am asserting that there is more to a Cornell education than grades—in fact, considering grade deflation, grades become even less representative of one’s academic potential. Rather than crying over your first sub-par transcript, think to yourself, “Am I paying all of this tuition for an easy A+, or am I here for academic enrichment?”

“I don’t belong here”

Spreading positivity on Ho Plaza: Smile! You look beautiful today!

Spreading positivity on Ho Plaza: Smile! You look beautiful today!

Being a person of color, a gay identifying male, and having graduated from a sub-par public high school, I knew that I would feel slightly out of place. However, I never imagined that my isolation would extend further than my sexuality, skin color, and socio economic background. During my first semester, a negative thought constantly ran through my mind: “I am not intelligent like my roommate. That girl from my Feminist class is what a real Cornell student looks like. Even that annoying Frat bro can think outside of the box! I’m just an imposter.” It’s a strange feeling when you realize that you are no longer the big fish in the small pond; it’s unsettling to think that you may never achieve as much as others, that your best might never be good enough, that the endless nights of coffee and hours slaving over that one chapter in the textbook will amount to absolutely nothing. There are nights when you think you’ve studied hard enough to achieve a perfect grade on an exam and end up with a grade lower than the class’s mean. At some point during the end of my first semester, I received validation in the form of a coffee chat with a professor. She told me, “You’re here because someone knew—not thought, KNEW—that you belonged.” If you attend Cornell—or any university—just keep in mind, you got an acceptance letter for a reason. And that reason is because YOU BELONG.

Whether you go to Cornell or you attend online classes, you will feel certain emotions in reference to your academic potential. It’s incredibly important to remember that you are not your grades, that you are attending college for purposes other than being the best, and that you are wonderful simply because you exist. Think optimistically and never forget that you are worth it.

Stress at School

September 26, 2014 in Campus Life, Health

You expect college to be hard, but not this hard. All you’re doing is work. You can projects to work on and tests to study for. Club meetings and activities that you want to go to. Of course you still want to hang out with your friends. Then there’s that homework due for tomorrow and the reading you need to catch up on. When are you supposed to have a moment to yourself to breathe?

Getting stressed during college happens to everyone. Unfortunately, while everyone talks about having the time of your life during school, you’re still paying a lot of money to learn something. Getting an education can mean missing out on that party your friends will talk endlessly about for the rest of the semester. After late nights spent cramming information, it might feel like you’re never going to get on top of the work you’re going to have to do. What can help you? Time management.

Seriously. A year ago, I usually preferred to do homework at the end of the day after all of my classes and obligations were finished. Now I’m realizing that forcing yourself to do all of the work when you’re already exhausted means you’ll be even more miserable and your work will probably suffer. Instead, I’m waking up a little earlier and putting aside a certain amount of time for certain tasks that might be due the next day or a few days before. We all wait until the last minute with assignments . . . But what if for once you were the person finished with your paper when everyone else was still scrambling for a thesis? I’m still waiting to have that feeling but I’m working my way there. It’s great to have free time at the end of the day instead of using it all up in the morning. Plus, it wakes up my mind a little faster so I feel less exhausted and inclined to immediately fall back to sleep.

Don’t be afraid to ask your friends for help. They’re probably just as stressed as you are and simply venting to them a little will make you feel better! If you both have tests coming up, you can quiz each other on what you want to know. Not only will you know for certain whether or not you have that vocab memorized, you’ll get to spend more time with your friend! If you have a presentation coming up, ask someone to listen to you go through it a few times. After you know that you have that speech down pat, treat yourselves with some dessert or watch a movie together to relax. Rewarding yourself after a job well-done is also key. You don’t need to overwhelm yourself and if you notice a friend is slowly starting to fold under the pressure, invite them into your rewarding moments.

Remember that you’re here to make memories, not just grades. While it’s important to prioritize schoolwork, that doesn’t need to be your entire life. You can still be able to socialize and have tons of fun in your college years!

Reward yourself to de-stress!

Reward yourself to de-stress!

Wait…Students Can Be Healthy at Umass Lowell!?

May 15, 2013 in Academics, Alive Campus, Campus Life, Career, Colleges, Health



When I entered my freshmen year in College as a Biology student here at Umass Lowell, I was extremely healthy and fit. Not just healthy as in weight, but mentally as well. I hardly drank, I didn’t smoke, I had the right idea with a strong focus on school, I worked very diligently and very hard in every aspect of my life.

When I came to school I reluctantly decided I would not try out for the schools soccer team. While that statement might be stupid and pointless to you, for those that know me they can assure you this is the first time since I was 3 years old, that my life wouldn’t revolve around soccer. In high school my sole freedom was playing the game, making varsity as a 13 year old freshman and continuing to progress as a player throughout my high school career.

I loved it, I was passionate about it, but I wanted a change.

I came to College and joined a sorority. Shortly after joining my boyfriend of 3 years and I broke up. This is when my health took a negative turn, and with the freedom I was given in College, my unhealthy decisions were endless.

I lived off of fried food, I drank nearly everyday, I lost interest in school and my family whom I hold near and dear to my heart. I was going downhill fast, and I hope my story makes others avoid this.

Stress, anxiety and depression are all key aspects in failure as a college student. No matter how you feel however life goes on, and it doesn’t stop when you need a break. No matter what you feel, you must consider what is best for yourself.

Eat healthy, maybe not everyday, maybe just Monday through Friday…but you will feel a lot better. The better your body feels the more likely you’ll be able to focus on the important things in College, like finishing a project, preparing for a presentation or memorizing all of the flashcards you whipped together that tell you way more about the human body than you ever cared to know.

The work out craze is spreading. You  don’t need to be one of them. It’s hard to find the time to work out countless hours a day, but you can do something as simple as walk more.

When you put good stuff into your body, and keep your body in motion, you feel better. Not just healthy wise, or you feel great about your appearance, but mentally and emotionally, you can free your mind of regret, guilt, and self pity and you can find what truly makes you happy.

Don’t have sex with strangers. As great as people think hooking up with random people is great, very few will admit they actually despise themselves for their actions. Not only is this extremely unhealthy to risk and std by someone you know nothing about, but this will break down your worth emotionally, which can be destructive to how well you do in classes.

If emotionally, no matter what you do, seems to weigh you down, visit the counseling center at your school. Talk to someone there. Let out your pain. Go to the Tutoring center to ease your stress. Above all, accept the fact that everybody needs help sometimes, and if you reach out, this is what you shall receive, and you will, at some point, find your happiness.

It’s not rocket science. Staying healthy isn’t always a reflection of your choices, but good choices can help your health emotionally. The more faith you have in yourself and your abilities the more likely you’re to maintain good health and happiness throughout your college career.