India Update: Visas and Shots

So, as you may or may not know, I am going WAYYYY out of my comfort zone in order to visit my boyfriend’s parents and friends in India. As I have only ever been in english speaking countries, this is a lot for me, and I would like to say that I’m completely excited and not in the least bit nervous….but that’s just not true. I am incredibly nervous. Because of my anxiety, I am terrified to get back on a 24 hour flight. I’m terrified to change planes in another country. I’m terrified to meet my boyfriend’s family who may not understand what I’m saying like my own family does, and I’m terrified about being a minority when I’ve always been in the majority my entire life.

All this aside, I am excited about this opportunity too. I’m excited to experience a culture so beautiful, rich, and very different from my own. I’m excited to take this next step with my boyfriend and his family, and I’m excited about getting to see parts of the world I never in a million years thought I would.

Anyway, on to more practical things….

For the first time I have to get a visa to enter another country. I’ve heard from others that having an American passport is like owning a golden ticket because, for a lot of countries, including New Zealand, you can basically just walk into the country without having to go through an application process. Unfortunately, India isn’t one of those countries you can just walk into. I spent all last night trying to make sure I completed my visa application the correct way and feeling that split second of panic about the possibility of not being let into the country due to something wrong on my application. (Honestly, I had no idea traveling was such a process!!)

For the application, you have to upload a picture of yourself similar to what you would get for a passport application. You also have to scan parts of your passport and fill out a fairly short application stating your reasons for traveling and other information they may need on you before allowing you into their country. Hopefully I’ll get it approved sometime soon.

India also has diseases that are not so common in the US, such as malaria and dengue fever which are carried by mosquitoes. Because of that, I went ahead and made an appointment with the travel clinic at my college to make sure I was safe health-wise before I jumped across the pond. I was sad to hear that I needed two shots (I HATE shots!) which I got. One of those is still hurting pretty bad while I type this.  :/ I also found out about some preventative measures I could take for the mosquitoes.

I’ll be taking a preventative for malaria before, during, and after my visit just to be safe. There’s also this bug spray that you can buy which repels mosquitoes from your clothes and belongings, but apparently you can’t get it on your bare skin and have to wait until it completely dries before you can touch it or bring it inside….so I won’t be using that. It kind of scared me lol. I’m just going to try my luck with some safer mosquito repellants.

Basically that’s about it for not regarding India. I just have to wait until my visa gets accepted and then start packing closer to the time I have to leave!


If you want to hear more about my adventure to India, don’t forget to follow my blog! Also, if you have any tips for me, I would love to hear about them in the comments!

Quick Catch Up: College, India, and Getting Certified to Teach

So, I have pretty much been off the grid for the last month. I haven’t made any videos. I haven’t posted on Instagram, and I haven’t written anything on my blog. I’ve basically just been sitting in my room working on stuff to get certified to teach, which is a lot harder, longer, and more complicated than you think it would be. There’s like this 30 page document you have to write and submit along with two videos of yourself teaching, and that’s only one part of it. It really just takes so much out of you when you don’t have time to do the things you really enjoy and express yourself. Anyway, because of that, I’ve been incredibly busy and stressed which has affected pretty much everything else in my life, so I’m really happy to say that I finally got it finished and can get back to focusing on other things I enjoy doing like social media.

I have to say that all of that stress really took a lot out of me. I got to the point where I hated going to school everyday and having to interact with people. Since I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing, I had a really short fuse with just about everyone, including my family and my boyfriend. I had to force myself to get up in the morning and get ready for school, and there were days when I really just couldn’t and had to take personal days off to get myself mentally prepared for the next day. I know this sounds extreme, but a lot of stress can just turns you into a completely different person.

It was also worsened by the fact that I’m not 100% sure that teaching high school is exactly what I want to do with my life. Don’t get me wrong. I usually love interacting with the students and seeing the pride on their faces when they understand something they previously didn’t, but teaching can be a really emotionally draining job since you always have to be on call for the students whenever they need you. I’m just not sure it’s what I’m supposed to be doing for the rest of my life.

For someone who likes to have everything planned out and orderly, this is a really scary thought. I’m graduating next semester, and I’m still not sure what I want my life to look like afterward. For some people, like my boyfriend, this is exciting. For me, it’s terrifying.

Luckily, I have a lot of people to support me through this, and I started to see a counselor so that I could talk through some things. By the way, I highly recommend seeing a counselor if you’re going through a major transition in your life, and it’s starting to affect you. It just helps me so much to be able to talk to someone and have them listen and talk you through it. I know that, for some reason, there’s a stigma associated with going to see a counselor, but there really shouldn’t be, and it definitely shouldn’t stop you from going. Everyone needs help now and then, even if they don’t want to admit it.


Anyway, moving on to happier things. For a while now I’ve been planning to go to India in December in order to meet my boyfriend’s family. Recently I finally bought the tickets, so it’s starting to feel a lot more real. I’m incredibly excited but also really nervous. I’ve never done anything like this before. I’ve never been anywhere near India (I’ve only been to New Zealand outside of America), and although I know about the culture from my boyfriend, I still feel like I’m going to be in for a major culture shock.

I’m going to try to blog about the trip, so if you want to hear more, make sure to follow my blog!

 

Dream Like a Ninth Grader….

So, Friday was my very first day of student teaching. We have all ninth graders in our classes, and since the first day of high school is usually spent getting to know the school, teacher, and the other students, my teacher decided to have all of the students write one paragraph about themselves on an index card. They were allowed to write whatever they wanted, but most of the students decided to dedicate at least one line to their dreams: what they wanted to be when they got out of high school.

Reading all of these index cards filled with expectations, dreams, and potential really got me thinking about what I would have said in ninth grade. What would I say now if I was on the brink of my entire future and everything seemed possible?

College and young adult life somewhat takes all of that away from you. You start having to look at things realistically. Realistically how am I going to support myself? Do I have good enough grades/test scores to be a surgeon, nurse, etc.? Do I have a child, spouse, family member that is relying on me?

But maybe….we still have room in our lives for our own dreams? Those dreams that may not seem realistic, and we’ve buried deep down because it just doesn’t seem possible. Maybe it’s time to put away the realistic for just a few minutes and start dreaming again like my ninth graders.

Spend a few minutes thinking about what you would have written on that index card.

Are you taking steps in order to reach that long lost dream?

If not, it may be time to put away reality for a few minutes each day and start working on those long lost dreams. Start that blog or YouTube channel you always wanted to start. Go back to community college and take one class at a time until you reach your goal. Believe in yourself, and dream like a ninth grader again because, honestly, what is life if we lose faith in our deepest desires?

5 Tips for College Freshmen!!

I was talking to my little cousin today who is just starting her freshman year of college (how is she that old? :/ ), so in honor of her first year (and my last one), I wanted to write this post to help/encourage any of you that may be starting their college career like her! Now, as a fifth year senior who has been to three colleges and had five majors (yeah, it’s been kind of a crazy ride) I feel like I have loads of information to share about how to make it through college, but I will cut it down to five major points. If you would like more or have any other questions, please message me! I would also love to hear any of your own experiences or advice, so leave them here as well!

  1. Get involved!!! Oh, how I wish I had listened to this advice when I went to college! (I probably wouldn’t have gone to three different colleges if I had lol) College is full of so many opportunities, so try and make the most of them. When I moved to the college I am at now, my friend convinced me to tryout for rowing with her (even though I had never rowed a day in my life or knew what it was), and we ended up making it! It was one of the best decisions of my college career because it brought me out of my shell and gave me some pretty awesome experiences I never would have had otherwise. Don’t let fear keep you from trying everything out! The worst that could happen is that it’s not for you. Even then just try something else out! I promise you won’t regret it!
  2. Go to class. Let me just go ahead and tell you now, it is REALLY easy to skip class in college. Most of my professors didn’t care if I was in class or not, and you don’t have parents there to make you go. Just don’t do it. Once you start skipping, it’s really hard to stop, and I promise you that your grade will be much better if you go. Without a doubt, every class where I skipped classes I ended up getting a grade that was worse than I could have gotten. Eventually, you’ll regret it.
  3. Be yourself and allow yourself to make new friends. I have to say this is the biggest regret I have about college. I was going through a lot at the time, and instead of allowing myself to make new friends, I desperately tried to hang on to the ones I already had. Now, there’s nothing wrong with keeping up with your high school friends, but you have to allow yourself room to grow. Most people change a lot in college, and before I knew it, I hardly recognized the old friendships I had. Unfortunately, by the time I recognized that we had grown apart, it was already my last year of college, and it was hard to start over.
  4. Recognize the signs of depression and anxiety. This one is a bit sadder than the rest, and hopefully you will never have to experience this, but the facts are that a lot of people become depressed in college. I know so many people who have gone through it, and it’s so important that you recognize the signs in yourself or your friends and get help. There’s no reason that anyone should have to go through college depressed when there are so many resources to help. Make sure you know the options that the school offers for dealing with depression (most have counselors available especially for this purpose), and above all do not feel ashamed about it. It’s something many people go through, so you are not alone. I promise getting help is better than trying to deal with it alone. 🙂
  5. Enjoy college!!! Above all, your college years are short, so have fun with them! You’ll learn and grow so much in these four years, and it’s so important that you try and make the most of them. There will most definitely be hard times, but you are not alone. The important thing is to keep getting back up!

All the best!! 🙂

 

 

 

Counselors and Makeup

When I first started going to counseling for depression, I looked at it the same way I looked at makeup when I was 10. I had pale skin, freckles, unruly not curly yet not close to being straight hair, and glasses. Makeup sounded like my cure. Makeup commercials promised me that if I just could put on a little bit of foundation I would be beautiful. Concealer would cover up my freckles and make me happy.

Then came the moment my mom actually let me try makeup for the first time. It was a girls sleepover and my mom’s friend the makeup artist promised to give us a makeover. I was beyond ecstatic. I not so patiently waited my turn for beauty, and then the time came. I sat in the chair feeling the soft brush strokes over my face and my many insecurities melting away. When she was done, I emerged from the chair feeling better than ever before. I practically ran to the mirror and looked expectantly and full of hope in the mirror just to have it crashing down around me.

What awaited me in the mirror was the opposite of what I had expected. My freckles were still there staring back at me, if just a little subdued. My face was still just as pale as ever and not in the least bit model like. I just couldn’t understand it. Why didn’t I look as good as the makeup commercials had promised? I honestly felt completely defeated and hopeless.

Now, looking back I feel absolutely silly thinking that makeup would make me look like a completely different person, but at the time, I truly thought that would make my life completely different. I was so devastated that I never even tried makeup again until prom. I didn’t see the point. The problem was that I was looking to makeup to solve a much bigger problem, my poor self image.

The same was true for counseling. I went into counseling thinking that my counselor would be my savior. She would fix me, and all I would have to do is let her….like my makeup, that wasn’t what happened. I quickly realized that to truly help my depression, I would have to confront parts of my past I didn’t want to ever look at again. Despite how hard I tried to forget them, they just won’t go away. They’ve become a part of me without me realizing it. They dictate where I go, what I say, who I choose to talk to, and how I live my life, and until I face them and deal with them once and for all they’ll always be there affecting me in ways I never even thought about.

The problem is that the thought of facing those past hurts again terrifies me.

Change

Let me be the first to admit how much I hate change. I really just can’t stand it. Believe me, I have tried to like it, I’ve pretended to like it, and I’ve tried my best to embrace it, but no luck. Just to give you an example of how much I hate change, one year my family decided to change up where we went for breakfast on the way to the beach (we ALWAYS go to this restaurant called Cracker Barrel), and I spent the entire eight hour drive refusing to talk to anyone.

Wow….that really makes me sound like a brat. Honestly, it wasn’t that I didn’t get to go to my favorite restaurant that made me so mad. It was just the fact that we changed up what I was expecting, and I didn’t like it. That probably makes me a control freak, but I suppose the first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one….or something like that.

I really think that’s the reason I’ve been having such a hard time this year. So many things in my life have changed, and it scares me…. People I thought would always be there are now gone. Family members I thought I would have for at least a couple more years have passed away. Friends that said they would always be there, that said they would never hurt me, have done exactly that. You know how people say that you’re starting a new chapter in your life? Well, I feel like I’m starting a whole new book.

I think there are a lot of good things about familiarity. After all, isn’t tradition doing the same things over and over again? Traditions can be passed on from generation to generation and connect you with the past. It makes you feel safe and secure.

One thing I’m starting to realize, though, is that as hard as change can be, it is necessary and good. Here’s why I think change is good, and for those of you like me who are resisting change, here’s why we should work together to let it happen.

  1. You learn more about yourself. I’ve heard people say that travel makes you learn more about yourself, and I think the same is true about change. After all, travel is a lot of change: new surroundings, people, cultures, etc.. When things change and times get stressful, you meet a part of yourself you might never have seen before. For me, I learned that I have a tendency to try and make things go back to the way they were even if it’s bad for me. I try and replace people who are gone, and I try and make my circumstances as close to they way they were at the beginning. In other words, I’ve learned that I hate change. LOL.
  2. It might be for your good. Sometimes when people exit your life or your circumstances change dramatically, it’s actually better for you. For this one, I’m not really talking about loved ones passing away. I’m talking more about when your long term boy/girlfriend breaks up with you, your best friend moves on, or you’re starting at a new college. Recently, this has happened quite a lot for me, and I’ve found myself trying to bring them (or memories of them) back into my life when they don’t have a place there anymore. Because of my extreme dislike of change, I’ve tried to bring people who have hurt me back just to keep things the way they were. Which brings me to my next point.
  3. You’ll miss out on a lot of really great NEW things if you don’t. Looking back on my college career, I’ve realized that I’ve done this a lot. I missed my old friends so much that I didn’t make new ones. I missed my high school clubs so much that I didn’t join new ones. Recently, I tried to hold on to an old relationship I wanted to mean something so bad that I almost ruined the one I have now.
  4. It gives you a chance to grow. This one kind of goes along with the other one, but if you stay in the same places, with the same people, and in the same time of your life, you’ll never give yourself the chance to grow, learn, and explore.

See! Change isn’t all that bad! ….I’ll just keep telling myself that. 🙂

Fear

I feel like I have let fear run most of my life. Looking back, it seems as if I’ve made all of my decisions based on running away from things I think might hurt me than running towards opportunities to make me happy. When I decided to go to college, I chose a college four hours away from my hometown just so I wouldn’t have to see anyone from my old high school. When I quit gymnastics, it was because I felt like I was losing my best friend and instead of fighting for the relationship, I ran from the sport I loved. When I quit band, it was because all my friends graduated the year before and instead of trying to make new ones, I left.

Anyway, you get the picture. During these decisions, I never realized I was making my decisions based on fear, but looking back, I know that I did. The problem is that making decisions based on fear usually doesn’t do anything but cause regret. It may seem like it’s saving you from pain in the moment, but usually it just causes more heartache. Instead of facing the problem, you run from it. I wonder what my life would have been like if I had been more courageous.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing that you can do to change your past. The best thing you can do is look forward and change your future. I’ve decided that I don’t want to run anymore. I want to be able to take chances and deal with the consequences either good or bad. I want to fight for things instead of running away at the first sign of trouble.

With anything worthwhile, though, I know that it’s not going to be easy. Whenever you try to change something about yourself, there are times that you slip up and slide back into that old habit, but I’m trying to work for this. I’m tired of living in fear.