Road to Graduation: Making the Most of the Lasts

Skipping kindergarten has caused me to always be the youngest person in my grade. Throughout middle school and high school, that never bothered me [minus the period when all of my friends got their driver’s licenses and I still had a year to go]. Even when I graduated high school and began my first semester of college, before I turned eighteen, I didn’t feel different than all of the others who were doing the same. However, since starting my third and final year of college, it’s all began to rush towards me. 

After coming into college with some credits from high school and taking 18 or more credit hours a semester during my first two years of college, I’m now graduating early. I came into college with the intention of being able to graduate at least a semester, if not two, early [just one less semester is a couple thousand dollars less in student loans!]. Yet, now that I’ve managed to cut off almost a year’s worth of classes, I’m suddenly realizing how close I am to having to be a functioning adult in the “real” world. Not to mention, the fact that I won’t even be twenty-one by the time I graduate is not helping with the anxiety. How can I be a real adult if I can’t even have an adult drink?

With all of this stress about going out in the “real” world looming nearby, I’m trying to make the most of my last two semesters on campus. This is the first semester that I’m taking less than 15 credit hours and I’m so glad that I made the decision to lighten up on classes. This allows me to better dedicate myself to my on-campus internship and gives me the opportunity to take on bigger roles in the organizations I am involved in on campus. It also gives me more free time to hang out with my friends and to create memories that I know I’ll forever be grateful for. 

I’m only one week into the fall semester, but I already know that it’s going to be a semester that I’ll never forget. I can’t wait to see how I grow during not only this semester but this school year as a whole and all the people I will connect with during my last year as an Ohio University student.

Discover: New York City [In 24 Hours]

Recently, I had the opportunity to take a weekend visit to one of my favorite places:New York City. However, I only had 24 hours in this incredible city. There are endless amounts of activities to do in the city; how could I possibly narrow it down to only a couple, and still make the most out of the experience? Luckily, with the help of my sister, who is a Soho local, I was able to find some cute, unique spots around her neck of the woods.

After three hours of driving, my dad, brother and I arrived around lunchtime and decided to meet up at Baz Bagel and Restaurant to grab something to eat. The small cafe on Grand Street scream “old fashioned” with its black and white tiles and framed pictures [and a basket of free postcards] of vintage female icons, like Celine Dion and Judy Garland. Baz’s menu is filled with healthy soups, salads, and [most importantly] bagels. You can keep it simple and order their homemade bagels plain, or you can get one of their specialty bagels like Baz, Super Nova, or Rainbow Kitty. I opted for the Vegan Avocado Toast, a wheat bagel topped with smashed avocado, cucumber, tomato and Baz’s housemade everything seasoning [think Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel seasoning, but even better]. I highly recommend Baz Bagel & Restaurant— I walked out happy, full and carrying a Barbara Streisand postcard. 

After lunch, we wandered down the main shopping streets of SoHo. If for some reason you can’t find anything to do in NYC, these few blocks of shops could keep you entertained for days. There’s something for everyone, with shops ranging from Glossier and Louis Vuitton to Champion and Madewell. While strolling down Broadway, we stumbled across The Lion King interactive pop up, at Dolby SoHo. Founded in 1965, Dolby was the first company to introduce 5.1 surround sound into the cinema world, and they now focus on expanding that technology from the theater into the home. This free experience featured a number of immersive experiences that Dolby offers, including a four-wall projection of The Lion King trailer and the chance to try out Dolby’s audio mixing program. As a media major, I was immediately intrigued. Not only did it show off the Dolby products that you can buy in stores, like their TVs and headphones, but it showed some of the programs they use behind the scenes to create surround sound and 4k visuals. I’m so glad we stumbled on this experience, and although this one was only in SoHo for a limited time, there are always shops and experiences popping up throughout the city year-round that you could find.

Beginning to lose energy, we decided we needed a little pick-me-up. Instead of going to a coffee shop, my sister took us to one of her favorite places to get a midday treat: a Cha Cha Matcha. This pink and palm tree decorated SoHo café specializes in a variety of hot and cold matcha green tea drinks. Their super-powered green tea has just as much caffeine as coffee but doesn’t give you the anxious jitters and heavy crash afterward. As someone who is definitely not a tea person, I was hesitant to try a matcha drink. However, I tried an iced matcha latte with oat milk and was surprised by how much I actually liked it [after I got over the grassy aftertaste]. I’ll definitely always be more of a coffee person, but I’m happy I’ve discovered this less jittery caffeine alternative.

For the rest of the time we were in the city, we wandered down the streets of Chinatown and Little Italy. We meandered through the crowds, amazed at how many Italian restaurants could be tucked into one block. We eventually decided to stop at a small Italian restaurant that focused mostly on specialty pizzas. I honestly couldn’t tell you the name of the  place, but I will never forget the taste of their pizza. It was a fresh mozzarella and homemade tomato-sauce heaven. If I ever find myself in this area again, I’ll scour every end of Little Italy to find this restaurant. 

When we were looking for something fun to do after dinner, we found the Chinatown Family Fun Center [shoutout to my sister for this secret local hangout]. Tucked in between tourist shops and bubble tea cafés, this arcade is a hidden treasure. It’s full of various arcade games like skee ball, air hockey and at least three separate versions of Dance, Dance Revolution. Stepping inside was like stepping out of the chaos of the city and into a completely different realm, where you could take a minute to relax and forget about the world outside. You could come in for ten minutes on a lunch break or stay for hours trying to beat the highest DDR record, but either way you’ll walk out smiling [and maybe with a 15-ticket-worth plastic dinosaur like me].

Even though I only had the chance to be in New York City for a short amount of time, I took every second I was there to my advantage and got to visit a ton of new places, try new foods and make memories I’ll keep with me forever. If you ever have the opportunity to visit a new place, even if it’s just for a day, I promise that it would be worth it.

Book Review: You Are A Badass

I’ve never really been into self-help books. All of those cheesy, usually religious-based, ideals of the books I’d seen before just never seemed like they would actually be any help to me and my life. But one day, while I was taking my weekly stroll through Target [if you know, you know], this tiny yellow book told me I was a badass …  and I almost believed it. So, I bought it. Since then, Jen Sincero’s relatable and comical writing style has begun to convince me of my true power as a female badass.

“You are a Badass” isn’t your typical self-help book. Using personal anecdotes and easy-to-follow steps, Sincero makes the harder, bigger obstacles in life seem easy to overcome. One of her main tips to becoming your best self focuses on connecting yourself with the universe. By connecting with the universe, you’re able to clear your mind from the daily nonsense and give it the room it needs to focus on what’s important. Sincero even goes one step further and lays out how she personally connects to the Universe through meditation and explains some ways to ease yourself into meditation if you’ve never tried it before. The fact that she actually goes into detail on not just the “what” but the “how” of changing your life is what really pulled me into this book.

Another huge tip that Sincero focuses on is that you have to “believe before you achieve.” You can’t just sit around and want something and hope it finally comes to you; you have to take the initiative to get it.

“Our thoughts become our words, our words become our beliefs, our beliefs become our actions, our actions become our habits, and our habits become our realities,” she says. It all begins with the simplest thoughts inside your mind. If you don’t truly believe you can do it, then you can’t. You can still be anxious and scared and worried about what’ll happen or what people will think, but if, in your soul, you believe that you can do it, then you will. If you believe that you’re a badass, then you’ll be one.

Every chapter in “You are a Badass” ends with a list of steps on how to do or achieve what that chapter is about, whether it be meditation or money. However, a few chapters in, I noticed that every list ended with the same step: love yourself. In the end, this is really all Sincero is trying to teach us. If you don’t love yourself all the way down to your soul, and aren’t strong enough to admit it to the universe, then you will never be at your most powerful and most capable. If you know that you’re a badass, instead of just telling yourself that you’re one, you will hold yourself to a higher standard and stop doubting your greatness.

“You are a Badass” is such a unique and impactful perspective on how to take a hold on your life and I’m so glad that I pushed past my usual “that won’t help me” attitude toward self-help books. I’m someone that usually lacks confidence in my skills, both social and tactical, and it has caused some missed opportunities for me. Jen Sincero has shown me that it’s not bragging or showing off if you truly believe in yourself and your abilities. If you’re like me and you need a push to change your life for the better or a boost of self confidence, then I highly recommend taking a chance on “You are a Badass,” too.