Travel

Time Flies – How to Slow Down & Enjoy It

Is it just me or is time moving way too fast?! Yet another semester over and another begins. Gretchen Rubin famously wrote, “The days are long, but the years are short.” Every day has a monotonous undertone and this is due to the fact that I know my schedule like the back of my hand. I am unconsciously going about the week as it is a good schedule, but a familiar one. Maybe you can relate, but I am here to tell you there are ways to perceive time more slowly. We do not have to be time’s hostage in this life. We are human and we will use our humanity as a tool to deliberately manipulate time. Here are some easy tricks to assist you in your life if you feel time slipping by too briskly.

Appreciate the little things

It is no secret that as we grow older, we take things for granted. Our computers, phones, cars, home, and even friends and family. You cannot blame us either as it is due to hedonic adaptation: the phenomenon where humans have a tendency to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes. When you receive a new phone, it feels like the most ingenious device ever invented by man. Then after a month or two goes by, you are back to your “it’s just a phone” mindset. Could you imagine your life without a phone? This piece of metal and glass that connects you with most anyone and has all of the information published thus far in history, but you still throw it around to fidget with.

The point is, to welcome novelty into your life. Remember when you were a child and everything was mind blowing to you? Induce a little childlike wonder into your day-to-day. Darwin said, “Attention, if sudden and close, graduates into surprise; and this into astonishment; and this into stupefied amazement.” Take just about anything into your hands and really focus on it. Think about how much work has gone into making this thing, what it can do for you, and if it did not exist. You will quickly learn to be thankful for this object and see it differently every time you see it again. A little bit of gratitude goes a long way.

Plan for things

Do you remember the month of December as a child? Did it not feel like an eternity until winter holidays? Anxiously awaiting your gifts as you see presents begin to slowly appear under a tree in your living room. We can use the same principle as a tool in our lives. Plan for a trip or some event way in the future. Make it something you really want to do to be enthusiastic for it. Have a countdown timer that you can always refer to to shorten your patience. It is similar to if I asked you to close your eyes and not say anything. Then, tell me when you believe three minutes have passed. Minutes would drag on as when you focus on time, it slows down.

Don’t plan for other things

Planning a fun trip is a great way to slow time and have an adventure by the end of it, but how can I slow time down even more every day? Being spontaneous is an enjoyable tactic that you can perform with the free time you possess. Instead of binge watching Netflix shows, go for a walk or a bike ride in your area. If one sat down and watched shows all day versus taking a leisurely stroll through town, who would you say had a longer and more enriching time? It is important to shake up the routine often to be a more well-rounded person. When you feel yourself apart of your own familiar agenda with free time, this should be a cue to do something different. Go visit a new coffee shop and read a book or take a drive and bring along a coin to decide which way you turn. An added plus is when you are more spontaneous, you are going to be a better time to be around. We all like the person that flips the script when you are with them.

Learn a new hobby

Last time I ask you to think back to your childhood. Remember learning an instrument or practicing a sport? How long did it take you to learn cursive? Learning is a process and while it should be fun, it is also taxing on your mind. We can use this for our benefit to elongate the fourth dimension. Pick up a new skill be it drawing, gardening, cooking, photography, coding, or dancing. As a personal preference, it is good to pick a hobby that has a tangible result so the progress you make is clearly shown. This will make your motivation to stick with it more difficult to diminish. There is also no need to be hard on yourself with learning a new hobby. Remember that you are doing this to make your life more interesting and vivid.

There is an overarching theme throughout these tricks and that is to be mindful of yourself and anything not yourself. Taking in the world with a fresh pair of eyes can be the difference between a life of banality or a life of excitement. Living life to the fullest while we can, is the only fulfilling option we hold. Be grateful for our friends and family for being people we can trust and knowing that they trust us. To beat eternity is to stretch every moment into an eternity.

Consider a “Staycation” This Summer

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Summer is officially here and vacations are on everyone’s mind. Whether it’s a friend or a neighbor, I’m sure you know someone planning an elaborate vacation this season. But is a big vacation to Florida or the Bahamas out of your reach? No worries! Here’s why you should love “staycations”.

Give Your Wallet a Break

It’s no secret; vacations are very expensive. The cost of hotels, gas, dinning out, and any activities adds up very quickly. American Express estimates the average per person cost of a vacation is $1,145! If you’re particularly tight for cash, like most college students are, it can put a damper on your vacation. Easily avoid those costs by deciding to take a staycation! You already pay rent, so why pay even more to sleep in a strange bed? You can also cook meals at home during your staycation or only go out to eat once or twice – instead of every night. The main thing your money goes to during a staycation is activities. You can do more extravagant things with the money you save from not traveling.

Reduce Your Stress

Planning a vacation can become very stressful. Getting your friends or family on the same page with where you want to go/how much you want to spend is always a hassle. Not to mention, traveling is stressful as well. Rushing to get to the airport so you don’t miss your flight and rushing to be gone by checkout at the end of your stay add unneeded stress. Instead, you can make your own schedule during your “staycation”. There’s also no need to rush because you’re already where you need to be – now it’s time to just relax. As a college student, trust me when I say you need less stress.

Enjoy the Comfort of Your Own Home

There’s nothing more unsettling than having to sleep in a strange bed – and potentially having to worry about it being dirty or even having bed bugs. With a “staycation”, you and your family/friends can sleep in your own comfy beds. You can relax on your own couch and cook in your own, familiar kitchen. You also don’t have to worry about forgetting anything because you already have everything you need. There’s no better feeling than not having to wake up to a screeching alarm, in your own bed, knowing you can do whatever you want today.

Benefits to the Local Economy

This is the biggest positive of a staycation – giving back to your town. Especially during tough times, it’s very important to support local businesses. Instead of traveling to Florida and eating at chain restaurants – find interesting restaurants you haven’t tried in your town. Plan a day to go to the local museum or you city’s theatre. Supporting your local economy benefits everyone, making your town a more pleasant to live.

So, next time you’re stuck on where to spend your summer break, consider a “staycation”! It’s cheaper, less stressful and you get to sleep in your own bed!

Differences When Living Abroad

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Whether it be for study abroad, for work experience, or for any other reason at all, moving abroad can be both an extremely stressful and exciting opportunity in life. Once abroad you will find that many things are different and that some things that to you seem small and insignificant could be a big deal in another country. Here are five things you learn when moving abroad.

What Things Are Worth Can Be Different

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Things cost different amounts in different countries but the changes can be a lot more drastic than expected, especially if you are moving from a country with high costs like the U.S.A to a country such as Greece where the economy is struggling and prices are relatively low. It is a good idea to check conversion rates and the cost of living in the country that you are moving to in order to figure out how much you will need to spend.

People May Judge You

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Although everyone likes to think that they don’t have any predispositions towards other races, everyone has their own stereotypes and views of different cultures and races. It will be different being in a foreign country where people are not the same as you, and you are likely to be seen as different and judged based on where you are from. The liability of foreignness is a concept that says that being foreign is a liability in another country based on cultural views of what it means to be a native.

Other Cultures Aren’t Always as They Seem

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As mentioned in the previous point, you may have predispositions towards other races when going abroad. However, it is often nice to see that some of these can be completely wrong and may catch you by surprise. Although some cultural tendencies and stereotypes may come from a true place, it is important to keep an open mind as you never know how people may behave.

Actions that Seem Trivial May Not Be So

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Things that may seem small in one country, may have a much greater level of importance in others. In Europe and many other countries, check kissing upon greeting is very normalized. The amount of kisses varies from country to country and even within countries. However, this action within the United States would often be seen as an unwarranted familiarity that is inappropriate.

Things Can Mean Something Completely Different

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Signs, phrases, and actions in one country that are deemed appropriate may be completely inappropriate in others. One example of this is gift giving in India. In the United States there are not many real rules to gift giving, but if you hand somebody a gift in India, it can be seen as dirty as that is said to be the hand you use when utilizing the bathroom. The backwards peace sign in the US also means relatively nothing but is a extremely rude gesture in the United Kingdom.

There are a lot of things that might surprise you when living abroad, so do some research on the country and culture to be prepared!

Top 5 Reasons to Study Abroad

During your time in college, you may have an opportunity to study at an institution in another country. Many college students partake in this opportunity, as it can be a life changing experience. Here are some of the top reasons to study abroad:

1. New Way of Learning

You may have a 4.0 GPA at your home institution, but wouldn’t it be great to step outside of your old familiar classrooms and libraries? Studying abroad can offer a fantastic opportunity to continue your studies in an environment that is completely new and fresh.

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2. Travel

Once you graduate college and have a full time job, you may not have the opportunity to spend a few weeks or months in a foreign country. Take this time to travel while you have minimal responsibilities elsewhere.

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3. Interact with other cultures

Everyone does not have the opportunity to interact and make friends with people from other countries. Studying abroad could give you the chance to see what college life is like in a country that is unfamiliar to you.

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4. Expand your world perspective

It’s easy to get comfortable in your own mindset and cultures, but traveling internationally can give you a fresh perspective on the world, your life, and how it all fits together. The world will seem much smaller when you realize that we all have much more in common than we think!

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5. Learn a new language

Studying abroad can be especially beneficial to those studying linguistics or who wish to learn another language fluently. No amount of textbook studying can compare to one-on-one conversation with a native speaker of the language you are studying.

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Have you studied abroad? What were your reasons? Let us know in the comments below!

The “What I Wish I Knew about Education Abroad” List for Students

study-abroadAs the semester comes to an end, the majority of us are focused on surviving finals week and getting home for the holidays. However, many students, myself included, are preparing to spend time studying abroad for a few weeks, or even a semester. Although I am now very excited for my trip, my education abroad journey has not been all smooth sailing. There are a million and one things I wish I had known when I began planning my trip abroad. Here are just a few tips that I hope will make the process a little easier for anyone who is considering education abroad.

START EARLY: I repeat, do NOT wait until the last minute to start planning your trip (like I did). Although it’s not impossible to plan an education abroad trip last minute, it is definitely more difficult. If you are at all interested in studying abroad, go meet with an education abroad ASAP. Different programs have different requirements. It is absolutely never too early to get started!

 
Decide where you want to go: One of the most important education abroad decisions you will make is where to go. One of my majors is Spanish, so I chose to study in Seville, Spain in order to complete the requirements for my major. Many colleges offer many areas of stud. But, you need to think about which cultures and experiences will benefit you the most academically. No matter where you go, you will have a great time and make awesome memories, so make sure it’s going to pay off towards your degree.

Find a friend: Chances are, you know someone who has studied abroad in the past. Use them as a resource! Don’t annoy them of course, but ask them to get coffee or lunch with you someday so that you can ask them questions and advice.

Don’t let money stop you: If you’re anything like me, you may be hesitant about education abroad because you think you can’t afford it. Surprisingly, my semester abroad is going to cost me less than a semester at my home university. Now, this may not be the case for everyone. But I promise, education abroad fees include A LOT. And, you can usually apply any scholarships, loans or grants that you receive at your current school to education abroad fees. There are also TONS of scholarships available to students who want to go abroad.

Although a good GPA, campus involvement and leadership experience are all important aspects of an impressive resume, education abroad gives students an advantage over the rest. Employers and graduate programs love seeing that a student has studied abroad. Not to mention, I have never spoken to a student who regretted their education abroad experience. Have any questions or suggestions of your own about education abroad? Let us know in the comments section below.