To Survive or to Thrive: College Edition

Children are unapologetic about what they love; they are passionate and even obsessive. My childhood obsession was with archaeology; I read about the sarcophagi in Egypt thrive - childhood dreamsand the ruins in Pompeii. I dreamt that ancient bones and artifacts were still buried under my feet, just waiting for me to uncover them. Unfortunately, the dreams we have as children often fall away and are replaced with the pessimistic, “adult” mindset deemed necessary for the “real world.”

My dream of becoming an archaeologist was set aside, and I spent my high school trying to live up to an arbitrary definition of success. Adults stress the importance of “success;” they do not explain–and may not even understand– that this term is relative. I was told I needed to get into a good college in order to get a good job, and thus I set aside my “silly” childhood dreams.

By the time I entered college, I was used to the system; I understood that if I wanted to be successful, I had to manage my busy schedule and dedicate myself to my studies. Although I was a hard-working student, I felt like I was losing something; I was slowly forgetting the passion that I once felt for learning. By the time students enter college, they resemble machines; they are programmed to manage their classwork, jobs, and social lives. Time for rest and reflection are rare. We are always busy, and thus we grow distanced from our thoughts and ourselves. Like many of my fellow students, I grew detached from my true passions; I lost sight of what I really wanted.

Many students handle their academic and social stresses by simply going through the motions; attending classes and social events because we think we are “supposed to.” I tried to follow the example set by my peers, but, by sophomore year, I could see it was not working for me. I learned that it was better to let something go than to pretend. Instead of taking a class I was  not interested in simply because it looked impressive, I began taking classes that my childhood self calls out for– the class that reminds me of forgotten dreams.  If you simply pretend and go through the motions during college, it is likely that you will continue this habit after graduation. If you decide not to major in what you love because you are told it won’t make you “successful,” you will grow distanced from yourself. One day, you may forget who you are and what you truly love.

If we drop some of the tasks we feel we are “supposed to” complete, we become closer to ourselves and learn to understand who we are. When we are faced with a stressor, it is the way we respond to it that brings us closer to our true selves. In turn, we learn to love ourselves rather obsess over what is temporary. What is temporary includes both academic and social stresses, as well as our bodies. If we maintain perspective, we see that many of our worries are not worth dwelling on.thrive - college routine

If we want to truly love ourselves and become happy, successful adults, we must practice moderation. In school, we are forced to navigate two extremes. We are told to stay committed and work hard in order to succeed and make money. A nagging voice is often in the back of our minds, telling us we have no time to lose. The other extreme is a voice that tells us we are powerless and inadequate; it tempts us to give up. Our childhood fantasies are looked back at as silly dreams. We must navigate these extremes if we want to nurture our souls and stay grounded. Conflict forces us to either go through the motions or to reflect. We must reflect and force ourselves into consciousness. This creates an intimacy and honesty within ourselves. If we want to find the career that makes us happy, we must both love and learn with our whole hearts. 

thrive - meditation

If we do not practice moderation, we often end up neglecting our mental and physical health. I use the app “Headspace” in order to check in with myself and stay focused on what truly matters. The app is described as “a gym membership for the mind.” Just like you train your body, you can train your mind. The app allows you ten days of free meditation. Using this app, I have slowly been learning how to clear my mind. By taking ten minutes each day to focus on my mental health, I have become more in touch with myself and what I really want. I have cut out activities that I was simply doing because I saw other students participating. I have learned that sometimes, the most productive thing I can do is to spend time alone and to not stretch myself too thin. My favorite meditation sessions focus on self-love. It is so easy to forget to congratulate yourself on what you have done, especially when you always have a new assignment or exam coming up. Being mindful of the present moment has allowed me to put things in perspective. During every meditation, I remind myself of all that I have to be grateful for and all that I have accomplished thus far.

Last weekend, I finally saw the ruins at Pompeii. During this experience, my heart was aching; I kept thinking about my childhood dreams and the love I had for archaeology. I let these dreams go because I believed they were unrealistic;  no one understood why I wanted to be an archeologist. I felt defeated. Through practicing both moderation and meditation, I have learned how to let things go; I have learned to focus on what I love and to disregard what others expect of me. Though I regret that I was defeated so easily by the pressures of adulthood, my experience in Pompeii reminded me that it is often the ideas and subjects you obsess over as a child that are the most true; the dreams we have as children never really die. The clean, “perfect” plan college students feel forced to follow is nothing but an act. If we keep on acting rather than living, we risk never truly understanding ourselves or what we want out of life. We must decide whether we will simply try to survive, or whether we will choose to thrive.

How to Find Summertime Monday Motivation

During the summer, it can be so easy to be swept away without a care in the world, but we still can’t escape the Monday blues! You know that feeling of sadness mixed with anxiety that tomorrow is coming and you can’t do a thing about it? Some would assume that in the summertime as a college student, we have so much less to worry about. I often wonder if our parents have forgotten what it was like to be a college student. Having to take summer classes or finding a job are a few struggles we deal with that can ruin our summer break.

Lucky for you guys, I have a few tips that can help keep us sane this summer and help us remember that even though we may have work or classes to take- we still can enjoy our time off. Here’s how to find your summertime Monday Motivation!

Prepare and Plan Early

It is never too early to get ahead of the Monday blues. Sometimes getting a head start on the week can decrease the stress and anxiety of all the list of  things that need to be done.

Make Plans

When Monday comes back around, try to make plans with friends so you have something to look forward to. Going out to dinner with friends or grabbing drinks with coworkers after work can make Monday a little less unbearable and something that can get you through the day.

Positive Reinforcement

One thing that definitely helps me on Monday is simply wearing an outfit that makes me feel confident. Finding one thing that will change your mood, whether it is wearing favorite shirt or listening to an upbeat song can make more of a difference than you think.

Accept It

Sometimes I think we have such a negative view on Monday’s because of how we were raised. Why does Monday have to be so bad? It’s just another day in the week and it too shall pass! Before you know it Monday will go by, then Tuesday, then before we know it, it will be Friday and the weekend can begin. Simply changing how attitude can make the day go by faster as well.

If all else fails, there is nothing a cup of coffee can’t fix.

Monday Motivation- Coffee!

Comment below and tell me how you find Monday Motivation!

3 Easy Recipes Any College Student Can Afford

We all know the struggle of making food on the college budget. Here are some easy recipes that are budget-friendly and delicious.

Fruit Popsicles

easy recipes 1

This easy recipe is great with the weather recently warming up! Munching on a cold treat when it’s hot outside is always refreshing. Some store-bought popsicles can be made of chemicals and additives. Making your own is a fun, easy and healthier way to get the same delicious thirst quenching snack. Depending on what flavor you like, you can switch out the type of juice you use as well as the fruit. For this recipe, a healthy fruit punch and strawberries were used.

Ingredients:

Motts Fruit Punch

Strawberries

Steps:

Chop strawberries into bite sizes pieces. Put one piece in each empty cube. Pour juice over strawberries. Add one toothpick to each cube. Put in freezer and wait until tray is completely frozen then enjoy!

Chicken Stir-Fry

easy recipes 2

We all have felt dread wash over us after we realized we forgot to defrost the chicken before we left the house. After a long day of classes and studying the last thing we want to worry about is making dinner and ordering out can add up and put an unnecessary dent in your bank account. Follow this easy recipe to ensure that you’ll have a delicious meal to come home to.

Ingredients:

A few strips of Tyson Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast

1 bag of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice in the Original flavor (or any white rice)

Soy sauce

Teriyaki sauce

Olive Oil

Whatever vegetables you have lying around the house

Steps:

If you’re using vegetables, you’ll want to cook them first so throw them on the stove for a few minutes with olive oil. Next, you’ll need to defrost the chicken pieces. Put them on a plate and microwave them for one-two minutes depending on the microwave. Once they’re defrosted, add them to the veggies on the stove. Then you need to cook your rice, which thankfully only means putting the bag of the Ready Rice in the microwave for a minute and a half. After adding the rice to the veggie/chicken mix add in a splash of teriyaki and soy sauce. Let simmer for a few minutes on the stove and then it’s ready to eat!

3 Ingredient Cookies

easy recipes 3

This easy recipe will allow you to satisfy that sweet tooth and in record time. In less than 20 minutes you’ll have tasty peanut butter cookies!

Ingredients:

1 cup of white sugar

1 cup of peanut butter

1 large egg

Steps:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the peanut butter, white sugar and egg and mix until smooth. Drop spoonfuls of dough onto a baking sheet. Bake for 6-9 minutes. BE CAREFUL NOT TO OVERBAKE!! Let cool and enough with a cold glass of milk.

Hope you enjoy these easy recipes! Let us know how they turn out in the comments below.

Benefits of Renting Textbooks

Renting textbooks saves you time, money and effort. Check out the five ways below that eCampus.com is making college life better with textbook rentals! If you are one of the smart ones and have already rented your textbooks from eCampus.com let us know in the comments how much money you saved!

Save Money Renting Textbooks

So Much Cheaper!

Keep your piggy bank full this semester by renting textbooks for college instead of buying them. When you rent you can save up to 90% off the regular price of a new textbook. Suddenly, ordering your textbooks for the upcoming semester doesn’t seem so bad. Use the coupons on this page to save even more off your textbooks!

Semester Textbook Rentals

We’re Flexible!

We know you’re busy and we want to fit into your schedule, not the other way around. eCampus.com offers three different rental options: short term, quarter and semester. So, you’re taking an 8-week course over the summer? Save money by getting a short term rental! Plus, if you need to keep the book longer you can extend your rental at any time.

Textbooks

You Aren’t Going to Keep the Book!

Once the semester is over you know you will never open those textbooks again so why buy them in the first place? Especially for those general education courses everyone is required to take. Not only does renting your textbooks save you money, but it also keeps your dorm or apartment free of unwanted piles of textbooks. Did you rent and decide that you actually do want to keep that incredibly interesting Chemistry book? No problem. You can purchase the book at any time during your rental and we subtract what you already paid for the rental from the purchase price.

Free Return Shipping on Textbook Rentals

Returning is Easy and Shipping is Free!

Returning your rented textbooks at the end of your rental period is simple. We’ll send you a reminder when your due date is approaching and after you take that last final just print your pre-paid UPS shipping label and drop your books off at a UPS Store. You can even re-use the same box you received your books in. Easy as that! Once we receive the books, we’ll send you a quick email letting you know we got your books back.

Textbook Buyback

Don’t Stress About Buyback Prices!

Gone are the days of carrying your textbooks across campus to the local bookstore to have them offer you $10 for that biology book you paid $300 for three months ago. Since you were smart and rented your textbooks you saved a ton of money at the beginning of the semester (and definitely didn’t pay $300 for your biology book!).

eCampus.com

Bonus!

Your eCampus.com box doubles as a comfy bed for your cat!

Now that you know all the benefits of renting textbooks, what are you waiting for?

Start renting today at eCampus.com!

Most Anticipated Books of 2016

most anticipated books of 2016 (1)

The amount of newly published books throughout the year can be overwhelming. We put together this short list of the books that we are most excited to read during the first half of 2016 to make your life just a little bit easier. Let us know in the comments what your most anticipated read is this year!

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth Mckenzie; most anticipated books of 2016 (2)

The Portable Veblen: A Novel by Elizabeth Mckenzie

Published January 19, 2016

Summary: The Portable Veblen is an original novel that’s as big-hearted as it is laugh-out-loud funny. Set in California, amid the culture clash of new money and old values this book offers an unforgettable look at the way we live now. A young couple on the brink of marriage find their engagement in danger of collapse. Along the way they weather everything from each other’s dysfunctional families, to the attentions of a seductive pharmaceutical heiress, to an intimate tête-à-tête with a very charismatic squirrel.

Highly acclaimed author Elizabeth Mckenzie has also written MacGregor Tells the World and Stop That Girl.

A Doubter's Almanac by Ethan Canin; most anticipated books of 2016 (3)

A Doubter’s Almanac: A Novel by Ethan Canin

Will be published February 16, 2016

Summary: Milo is born with an unusual mind. A lonely child growing up in 1950’s Michigan, he gives little thought to his own talent. When he is accepted to Berkeley he realizes the extent, and the risks, of his singular gifts. California in the seventies is a seduction, opening Milo’s eyes to the allure of both ambition and indulgence. The research he begins there will make him a legend; the woman he meets there will haunt him for the rest of his life. For Milo’s brilliance is entwined with a dark need that soon grows to threaten his work, his family, even his existence.

Spanning seven decades as it moves from California to Princeton to the Midwest to New York, A Doubter’s Almanac tells the story of a family as it explores the way ambition lives alongside destructiveness, obsession alongside torment, love alongside grief. It is a story of how the flame of genius both lights and scorches every generation it touches.

Ethan Canin has written several others books including America America, Emperor of the Air and The Palace Thief.

The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney; most anticipated books of 2016 (4)

The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Will be published March 22, 2016

Summary: Every family has its problems. But even among the most troubled, the Plumb family stands out as spectacularly dysfunctional. Years of simmering tensions finally reach a breaking point on a cold afternoon in New York City as Melody, Beatrice, and Jack Plumb gather to confront their reckless older brother, Leo. Months earlier, an intoxicated Leo got behind the wheel of a car with a nineteen-year-old waitress as his passenger. The ensuing accident has endangered the Plumbs’ joint trust fund they have dubbed “The Nest,” which they are months away from finally receiving.

The Nest is Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s debut novel.

Zero K by Don DeLillo; most anticipated books of 2016 (5)

Zero K by Don DeLillo

Will be published May 3, 2016

Summary: Jeffrey’s father, Ross, is a billionaire in his sixties, with a younger wife whose health is failing. Ross is the primary investor in a secret, remote compound where death is exquisitely controlled and bodies are preserved until a future time when biomedical advances and new technologies can return them to a life of transcendent promise. Jeff joins Ross and his wife at the compound to say a temporary goodbye to her as she surrenders her body.

“We are born without choosing to be. Should we have to die in the same manner? Isn’t it a human glory to refuse to accept a certain fate?” These are the questions that haunt the novel and its characters, and it is Ross who ultimately begins to feel a deep need to enter another dimension and awake to a new world.

Don DeLillo has authored fifteen novels and is the recipient of the National Book Award and the Carl Sandburg Literacy Award, among others. His most notable works include White Noise and Underworld.

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub; most anticipated books of 2016 (6)

Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

Will be published May 31, 2016

Summary: Friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring.

Back in the band’s heyday, Elizabeth put on a snarl over her Midwestern smile, Andrew let his unwashed hair grow past his chin, and Zoe was the lesbian all the straight women wanted to sleep with. Now nearing fifty, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn, and the trappings of the adult world seem to have arrived with ease. But the summer that their children reach maturity (and start sleeping together), the fabric of the adult lives suddenly begins to unravel, and the secrets and revelations that are finally let loose—about themselves, and about the famous fourth band member who soared and fell without them—can never be reclaimed.

Emma Straub is also the author of the popular 2014 title The Vacationers.

The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin; most anticipated books of 2016 (7)

The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin

Publication date not available

Originally the sixth installment in the Song of Ice and Fire series was meant to be released in April 2016 prior to the premiere of the sixth season of the popular HBO series based on the novels. In a blog post written January 2, 2016 Martin unwillingly tells fans “You wanted an update. Here’s the update. You won’t like it. THE WINDS OF WINTER is not finished.” This is unfortunate for two reasons: readers are still waiting for answers were A Dance with Dragons left off and the HBO series will surpass the book series into uncharted territory. While a new release date has not been set for The Winds of Winter we can only hope that we will still be able to get our hands on the sixth installment sometime during 2016. Fingers crossed.

George R.R. Martin is a novelist and short story writer of fantasy and science fiction. Aside from the Song of Ice and Fire series, Martin is most well-known for his contributions to Rogues, Dangerous Women and Wild Cards.

Did we miss your most anticipated read? Let us know in the comments which books you are looking forward to reading the most in 2016!