Sunday, March 27, 2016

Dear Semester Finale

Spring is one of my favorite seasons.  While my allergies may hate it, I just love seeing everything bloom, and life return to the world after a cold winter.  The air always seems fresher, the sun brighter, and Abbi happier ;) Spring break, however, is always such a tease.  A relaxing week off is just what I needed, and while it has been mostly that, my mind is a little cluttered.  I am on the downhill slope of finishing my first year of college, and boy has time flown by. It seems like yesterday we were moving in, settling into our new ways, and starting our new journey. I am now six weeks away from moving back home for the summer, with still so much stuff that needs to be done with school before then. I feel like I am running out of time! I need to finish the semester strong, but I can't stop dreaming of those summer days! If you're like me, you may be struggling to find that little burst of motivation to get you through, because I am definitely lacking this. So here are a few of my tips to productivity. Let's get motivated together!

1) Take advantage of those sunny days! I always find myself more productive on nicer days (as opposed to rainy ones when I never want to leave my bed).  It is easier for me to get up and moving when the sun is shining, and I tend to get a lot done in a shorter amount of time so that I get a chance to get outside and enjoy the weather! I also like to sit outside and do homework, because its just much more pleasant :)

2) Sleep. Rest is important people.  You may feel like you are running out of time, I feel it too, but you will be so much more productive after a full night of sleep than you will after trying to pull all nighters. Trust me, it is not worth it.  Get your Z's.

3) Make lists. I am a list girl. I make To-Do lists every single day.  I like to take things one-step at a time, so I make a list for today and I do not think about tomorrow until I get through my list for today. I sometimes even have several sets of lists: I'll have my over-all list, and then I will have sub-lists (a list for what needs to be done in studio, a list for my other classes, a list for the gym, etc.) Don't get overwhelmed! You do not have to go list-crazy like I do! But writing down what you need to do each day and then checking them off as you go can be super helpful!

4) Take care of yourself. This falls in with getting plenty of rest.  Lots of us have tendencies to sacrifice our health when it comes to school.  It really is a simple fix though.  Take time to exercise. Fuel your body with good foods.  Take breaks.  Only you know your body's needs, so make time to take care of it. You will feel so much better if you do.

5) Kiss your technology goodbye. Don't worry, not forever.  I am the queen of checking my phone while I'm supposed to be studying (ask my roommate), and then spending the next hour and a half reading articles about who even knows what.  Put it on airplane mode, leave it in your room, whatever it is you need to do. Remember my post about being fully present in whatever you're doing? Try being fully present during your study time.  I bet you'll retain a lot more.

6) Reward yourself.  You know as well as I do that we cannot be productive all the time. It's just not possible.  So reward yourself! Maybe you can watch one episode of whatever your heart desires after each hour of studying. Personally, I try to get as much done in studio each week so that I can take Saturday's off to be with friends.  Whatever it is you need to do, just be sure you get right back to work afterwards!

8) Use a planner.  I loooooove my planner! Similar to making lists, use your planner to keep track of what you need to do this day, this week, this month, etc.  Write down everything in your planner. It will keep you organized and on track.  If you don't have one, get one, and once you do, USE IT!

Just remember, you are in control of your future.  Work hard, strive for success, but remember to breathe.  Do not sacrifice your health and well-being, and do not sacrifice your happiness.  Just six short weeks until summer, finish strong. You got this!

Here's to a productive end to the semester!

Yours Truly,
Pantless Sunday's


Monday, March 21, 2016

Dear Tomorrow,

The future can be a very scary thing sometimes. Do not fret.  It is natural to fear the unknown.  I always worry about what I will be doing in ten years, but like I discussed in last weeks post, worrying now about something so far away will not change things. In reality, the future is nothing that anyone should be scared of!  Because ultimately, your future is in your hands.  I really do believe this. It is what you make it.  If you want it to be great, and you work towards making it that way, then it will be! As silly as it sounds, it really is that simple.

Yes, I know there are always those unexpected curve balls that life can throw at you, and sometimes it really is impossible to prepare for these.  However, it is not what life throws at us that creates our future, but it is how we handle these situations.  As long as you keep your head high and your outlook optimistic, you will find your way.  The future may seem unclear for some, while others may have step by step plans for how the next few years will unfold; either way, nothing is set in stone.  Take a deep breath, take it one day at a time.  If you have big dreams, do something each day that moves you towards reaching it.  If you don't, spend a little time each day working towards finding one.  It is absolutely okay to not have your life together right now.  There is so much time ahead of you.  Just take it one step at a time.  Try not to fear your future, but rather look to it with hope (and also patience), because in the end, everything will workout exactly how it is supposed to.

Everything will be okay in the end.  If it's not okay, it's not the end.

Have a great week! And remember - accept your past, live for today, and do not fear what is to come.

Yours Truly,
Pantless Sunday's

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Dear Today,

Take a minute to look around you and take in everything that is going on.  I am sitting on my bed, one of my best friends to my left, another one on the floor by my feet putting away snacks. The Bachelor is on.  This dorm room, though very small, is full of many fond memories.  I have several tabs open on my laptop: study guides, quizlets, emails, etc.  And surprisingly, I don't feel an ounce of stress.  I am very much at peace with my surroundings.  I am not regretting yesterday, and I am not in fear of tomorrow. I am simply living right now.

Living in the "now" is something that I struggle with quite often.  I am always stressed about what's coming next, even if its still weeks ahead. I often get anxiety about my final review that isn't until the end of April.  I also worry about where I'll be in 4 years, if I'll be happy with my degree, etc.  Not only do I fear the future, but I tend to dwell on the past as well.  I overthink the text I just sent, I reminisce on what seem to be "happier" days when I'm stressed out, its just always something! The grass is always greener.

Obviously, worrying gets you nowhere.  I find myself most at peace when I live fully in the present. This is something that can be difficult to do, it takes lots of practice.  You have to train yourself. But once you're able to, I promise you will find yourself so much happier. I cannot do anything about what my professors will assign at 4 p.m. tomorrow afternoon, so why should I spend the next nineteen hours worrying about it? That won't change anything! Instead, I should put all my focus on writing this blog, my thoughts should be nowhere else.  And when I'm finished, I will move on to the next thing and put all my focus there.  Even if you're just lounging on the couch all day, for example, be fully present on that couch! I know it sounds silly, but think about it: if you spend your day stressing about all the things you should be doing, you have wasted a perfectly good lazy day. And we all need those sometimes. :)

At the beginning of this semester, my materials professor (one crazy lady) told us that in order to get the most out of her class all she asked of us was to be fully present in mind, body, and spirit for the hour and fifteen minutes we were with her. So maybe to get the most out of life, you have to apply the same idea to other aspects of it!

This week I challenge you to make every effort to live in the moment.  No matter how much you worry about the past or the future, you cannot change it.  Whenever you find your thoughts cluttered and you are overwhelmed, take a deep breath and focus on this single moment, because that is really all that matters right now.

"Live quietly in the moment and the future will take care of itself"

Have a wonderful week!

Yours Truly,
Pantless Sunday's

Thursday, March 10, 2016

First Year Field Trip!

Hello! Today's post is a little different. A couple weeks ago I was blessed with the opportunity to re-discover one of my biggest passions.  The first year studio at the Fay Jones School of Architecture took a 5 day field trip ((5 DAYS PEOPLE!!)) to several different cities, and I would like to share my incredible experience.

Day One
5:30 am bus loading was brutal, but I was back to sleep an hour later, and we were off.  After a very long 9 hours, we stopped in New Harmony, Indiana to see the Atheneum (Richard Meier) and the Roofless Church (Phillip Johnson). This is the moment when everything clicked for me.  All the photos and lectures and sketches and ideas finally became a reality.  I saw my first building by a famous architect that I have long admired and my heart was so happy.  After that stop we were back on the bus for another couple hours until we arrived at our haunted hotel in Louisville, Kentucky. (Side note, the Seelbach Hotel was the inspiration for The Great Gatsby!)

Day Two
Our second day was spent at Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill, Kentucky.  The shakers are very interesting people, they strived for perfection in everything they built, and they managed to achieve this through great simplicity. I sat in a 200 year old building that was still in wonderful condition. 

Day Three
The morning of day three was spent walking around downtown Louisville where we saw so many different buildings, sculptures, and a park down by the river.  After lunch we toured the historic district (where I fell in love with the cutest little yellow, blue shuttered house), and enjoyed nature for awhile before we headed to hotel number two in Columbus, Indiana!

Day Four
My favorite day of the whole trip! Our morning was spent touring downtown Columbus, a small town full of famous architecture.  And then, finally, I saw the Miller House.  The house that we spent over five weeks studying, the house that I know like the back of my hand, I finally saw it in person. It was overwhelming; it was beautiful and absolutely everything I could have hoped for.  I loved every second of it.  That afternoon we toured three gorgeous churches, and then returned to our hotel for our final sleep.  

Day Five
Another early morning loading the bus.  A long day of uncomfortable attempts at sleeping was interrupted by a quick (and much needed) stop in St. Louis, Missouri, and then back to good ole Fayetteville. Including a deeper knowledge and appreciation for architecture, I brought back with me some newly formed friendships, strengthened old ones, and a severe case of wanderlust. The world is an incredible place, and I cannot wait to see more of it.  I am so thankful for this trip, because it reminded me that those long nights in studio will indeed pay off. 

"Anything worth dreaming is worth the effort to make it come true"  -Eero Saarinen  


Sunday, March 6, 2016

Dear Yesterday,

What's in the past is in the past.  It cannot be changed, and it should not be regretted.  Each and every one of us has a past; a story that is uniquely ours; one that has shaped us into the individuals that we are today.  Many people, however, have a hard time letting go of the past. I was one of those people for a very long time. We often hold grudges, or allow a mistake to eat us alive.  And this should never be the case.  No matter how horrible or how incredibly wonderful your past may be, I ask you to be thankful for it.

My past is somewhat personal to me.  I have shared bits and pieces with close friends, and there is really only one person in my life that knows the full, detailed story. But I will briefly share with you this: the first part of my childhood was wonderful! I lived in a big house with a giant backyard that I practically spent all my time in on any nice day. I had incredibly loving parents, grandparents, and babysitters that played along with anything I asked them to.  My sister was my best friend. And Ms. Melinda, the world's greatest dance teacher, was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me.  And then I turned 8. My parents decided they were not meant for each other, so my mom packed up and moved my sister and I back to KC. The next few years pretty much sucked. But slowly (and I mean really slowly) I began to heal.  I think I was 17 years old by the time I finally made decent peace with the situation, and there are still times today when it will haunt me. The point is, during this time, I learned so much about myself.  Rather than looking at the unfortunate events of my past, I choose to believe that everything happens for a reason. I learned a lot about the world.  I had to move states, switch schools, make new friends, keep up with old friends. I had to grow up at a young age.  I felt responsible for my sister and her happiness, and I later felt the same for my step sister. I believe that my step-sister, who lives in a house of boys, needed some female role models in her life (that's where my sister and I come in).  I think that my sister and I needed a brother (my step-brother).  And I think that my father being in Fayetteville definitely helped me discover the University that I am now in love with.  My past led me to where I am today, and I think I turned out alright!  My past is also full of many blessings, different friendships (some failed), years of dance, school, and lots of other things.  But every aspect, good or bad, has been a learning experience.

One thing that tends to get in the way for me is all the "what-if's."  What if  I had gone out with that boy?  What If  I had stayed friends with her? What if  I hadn't quit dancing?  What if  I had gone to that school instead? How would my life be different? The point is, that didn't happen.  That is not what was meant to happen.  Wherever you are in your life right now is absolutely where you are meant to be, and your past has led you there.  As difficult as it is to believe that sometimes, it is the truth.

We have all dealt with different stresses and hardships, and we all deal with them in different ways. But no matter what you have dealt with, however big or small, everything in your past has created the wonderful you that you are today.  Every single thing, person, event, etc.  They all play a great part.

This week I challenge you to make peace with your past. Say "thank you" to yesterday.  Whether your past was extremely hard or incredibly wonderful, reflect on the things you have experienced. Think about all the things you find troubling or things that you often regret, and let them go.  Accept that the past made you who you are today, and for that, it is a wonderful thing.

Have a wonderfully productive week :)

Yours Truly,
Pantless Sunday's