Wrapping up the semester

Hi all! I feel like I’ve been just posting at random. This semester has been a loaded one and I’m going to get into this a bit.

First off, pictures from what I did on Thanksgiving… Hiking in the Presidential range with a very dear friend.

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Oh hey there

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Decisions decisions…

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True friends are the ones who fulfill our souls

YES, I spent my holiday in the mountains. YES, it was amazing and I’m beyond grateful to have re-united with this gem of a human. NO, I wouldn’t trade this day for the world. And YES, I’m hiking every holiday for now on because I believe holidays should be spent celebrating what we are thankful/grateful for, appreciative of, blessed to be a part of.

Deep belly laughs, mountains, hand-warmers in my pants, friends, sunshine, and frozen sandwiches = the perfect day.

This break has been much needed. This current fall semester is a full plate and while I’m legitimately loving it, it remains taxing. I think having re-charge time is essential, for everyone. I realized I haven’t really talked about the semester much yet, and it’s ALMOST DONE. What am I up to this semester? Well, I’m taking four classes, two of which are independent studies and one of them is fulfilling my capstone (think senior project?).

  1. Independent study/TA for psychobiology
  2. Independent study/TA for sports nutrition
  3. Sign language 1
  4. General education course

My schedule however is great, I have classes M/W/F and have T/R to meet with students, grade a bit, work on my classes, work, let my brain chill. I’m very fulfilled. I’ve been teaching some and have subsequently fallen in love. I’ve realized that I’m “doing it right”, life that is… my path. I’m doing what I am meant to be doing, for me.

I’m happy. I am on a path which I feel 100% good about… Not 99.9%, 100%.

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But… really

Never would I have thought in a million years I would be happier with my education as a psychology major and nutrition minor than as a neuroscience major. Never would I have thought that “casually” pursing a career as a therapist would be my path. It was always doctor or physical therapist. Well, maybe the story changes. Maybe I realize that I am so extremely passionate about mental health and than I want to work with people from a different angle. Regardless of career specifics (e.g MD, DPT, ect…) I’ve always wanted to work with female athletes dealing with RED-S, female athlete triad, anxiety, ED’s, over-training, stress management, ect. SO, just maybe, instead of being a doctor, I can work with these individuals in a different capacity, as a therapist. A novel approach (insert sarcasm). I understand from a first-hand perspective how key having a support system is, and how essential a therapist who “gets you” is.

On the other side, solidified by this semester, I totally dig teaching. It’s fun. I like the process of preparing to give a lecture, lecturing, and *hoping* to receive questions (you know, the ones that you know the answer…). I’m thankful I’ve been given the opportunity to teach in both of my independent studies and that each lecture has gone well and shown me that teaching is something I’m not only interested in but enjoy doing.b73bef1adf3f8167dd580f8f09485639

So, what’s the plan? Well, for one I’m going to keep casually winging it as I like to call it because it seems to be working wonders. For seconds, my eyes are on a PhD in clinical psychology. I’m not saying this is 100% what I’m going to do. I’m terrible at commitments, hence why winging it has worked so well. But, for me, this feels right. And for the few close individuals I’ve taken time to discuss this with, their feedback has been all of the positive and uber supportive type.

I feel like there is so so so much more to talk about… because there is. I’m not going to bombard the blog with a 20 page life update and will rather keep this short and sweet (not long and spicy?). Things on my mind for the next few posts: what recovery feels like, why I like casually winging it, and what the heck am I doing (e.g do I still lift or just climb mountains).

“All good things approach their goal crookedly.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

XO, S

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Prioritize your needs

Hi all! As promised I’m back with a post between the spring semester ending and summer classes beginning. I literally cannot believe another semester is done. It feels like just yesterday I was frantically deciding whether to change my major from Neuroscience –> psychology or outdoor education and last minute sneaking my way into classes.

The decision was made and I’m good with it. While I’m extremely interested in a outdoor education, having a solid background in outdoor adventure groups and communities growing up it’s something that I’m really passionate about. On the other hand, it isn’t something that I felt like I wanted to major in “enough” to put myself in a position of taking that many more classes. The way I see it is, if that is the direction my life is meant to go it will happen regardless and psychology is also a great background to have for the field of outdoor ed/adventure therapy.

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Throwback to Mt. Isolation (september 16′). 12 miles, 5k vert gain. One of my favorites thus far. The suck was real but so was learning to love the process.

One year left, one year left. I keep telling myself this on repeat and it helps. It’s not that I’m “bad” at school. I’m for the bulk of my college career a straight A student minus the period I attempted balancing school + work + treatment. Rather, it doesn’t feel right. I enjoy learning, I love it and feed off of it. Increasing my knowledge base and understanding of both the material I’m studying and the world in general makes me feel grounded. However, sitting in a class full of other students with numerous stimuli and distractions doesn’t jive well with my brain. I can rarely focus and while that was okay the past two semesters, I’ve been apprehensive about the upcoming school year. So I’m doing something about that and choosing to be proactive and supportive of my needs rather than just being in la-la land and pretending I’m a perfectly productive student in the classroom.

. Four FULLY ONLINE summer classes. There is the money honey. I honestly dig online classes, I feel that I’m able to grasp the material equally as well if not better than in-class lecture format because I’m not wasting time sitting in classes unfocused and angsty only to go home to teach myself everything I supposedly just learned in class. I feel very uneasy in classes/on campus which fascinates me because it’s only been like this throughout my time at my current university. It could be the school (size), it could be that my mental health is in a different place now than before and I tend to actually feel my feelings, not feeling like I fit in AT ALL, a combination, or none of the above.

Life is said to be this balancing act – a see-saw if you will. I agree with this, there are good days and bad days, days of growth where you thrive and break down walls, then there are days when the going gets tough and honestly I think the best way to manage these days is being able to take care of yourself. Life isn’t giving in or giving up. It’s not hiding from the world or holding yourself back. It’s owning up to yourself, being present, and showing up in the world.

As I mentioned in a couple posts back when discussing the process of overcoming an injury, “count your rainbows not your thunderstorms.” – Alyssa Knight

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In addition to this, I think it’s being capable of accepting and honoring where you are at now, which may be an entirely different place than a month ago, a year ago, or two months in the future. As human beings we constantly are growing, evolving, and increasing our depth of understanding – having the mental flexibility to allow this and accept/be okay with it is HUGELY IMPORTANT.

I am not where I though I would be at 23, almost 24 years old and that is okay. There is no universal law saying that I need to be doing X or have accomplished Y by the time I’m 24. These are my own self-imposed guidelines/goals/expectations. They are the feelings that strip enjoyment out of life. The feelings of being a failure because I decided that I don’t want what I once thought I did, or wondering why I’m unable to roll with the punches the way society expects me too.

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I’m not abnormal. Heck, what even is normal?! I’m working with who I am to develop the best version of me.

There are days where I have to take a step back from everything and just try to enjoy the little things. Focusing on small stuff helps keep the big stuff more manageable. In the past year I’ve come a ways in terms of being able to recognize when I need to do this instead of keeping pushing through which inevitably leads to either becoming burnt out and/or increased anxiety/panic attacks.

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Enjoying the little things – favorite space in my bedroom – lilacs, star dish with sea shells and tea bag quotes, a few pictures, my globe (in the back), and a card a dear friend gave me.

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Close up. Oh hey Panda 🙂

SO what have I been up to in my week off from school? A whole lot of nothing. I’ve worked pretty minimally, enjoyed the sunshine and warm temps, spent time with friends, and given myself space to prepare for the hefty load of classes in my near future (tomorrow!).

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Sports psychology/mindset reading

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I biked and she ran 🙂

I think that while I still deal with anxiety on a regular basis I’m much more accepting of it and I understand it better than I ever have. Taking time to just be and really pursue the things which light my soul on fire have been absolutely essential to my mental health. That and forcing myself to do things which while sometimes uncomfortable are only going to help me grow. I believe that there is a difference between doing things which are uncomfortable but promote growth versus things which are just not good for our personal needs (e.g online vs. in-class courses). I believe understanding where to draw the line for yourself and prioritizing this is the base of the pyramid in terms of self-care.

Prioritizing is knowing what you stand for. What are your goals? What makes you tick? What are you willing to put up with, sacrifice, leave behind, etc. etc. Learn to maximize everything that will help get you to your end goal. Look at the end goal and determine what needs to happen to get from now –> then. Focus on that stuff.

“Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos — the trees, the clotuds, everything.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh

Updates and new opportunities

Hi guys! It’s been a while since I’ve posted. First off, Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

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Christmas 2015 at my work. Yearly dress up extravaganza.

Spring classes: so far I know I’m taking Eukaryotic Cell and Developmental Biology (it’s called “cell hell” at my school and I’m fairly certain that’s the most pure and honest description), Neurobiology, and Eastern Philosophy which I’m really looking forward to – all about meditation, enlightenment, and the culture and religion around those and related things. Me and my stressed out but lover of meditation self should find the course pretty beneficial. There will be a fourth (and fifth, yes) class in the mix as well. At my school “senior” is defined by 90 credits, and I need that for next year as I will be doing my senior thesis that year versus my “super senior year”. With taking the past fall easy I’m at 63, will be taking 9 over the upcoming summer, which leaves me needing 18 this upcoming semester. I know I can do this with the right 4th and 5th courses/schedule and keeping my focus, it’s doable. It will be all mental. I’ve got it and I can’t tell myself anything but that. January 26th – May, send all positive and uplifting vibes (and coffee) my way. Please and thank you.

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With the full course load (cell hell will be the only lab course) and being in a new lab starting in like a week(!!) I know I am going to really need being on campus. I have a friend whose current roommate needs a sublet for the semester and it’s going to be financially tight but it’s also a pretty good deal and will have me living about 5-10 minutes walking from every building I will need to be in on campus. Plus, I figure I’ve always just lived at home with school because it’s never not been an option and it saves a heck of a lot of cash – but it’s time. Time to explore new things, live at school, be a bigger part of that community and meet new people. I find that commuting, while there are some perks, keeps me fairly isolated as when I’m done classes I want to go home and relax before studying which is a pain. Also with my lovely GI issues and needing a bathroom for more time than I want to admit having a place of residence on campus will be a huge benefit. I’m excited for this new opportunity and I think it will be really good for me.

Major change possibility… OK so this is a bit complicated, well not really, but it sounds it. I’m currently Neuroscience and Behavior – and while I love the neuroSCIENCE side of the program I honestly dread the work around behavior. It’s not really my jam and I don’t want to be in classes for my major that don’t get my excited to be there. I think I need to sit in on one of the behavioral neuro classes before ultimately deciding but the swap wouldn’t be much of a hassle anyways. Most of my course work at this point is science (bio, chem, anatomy), general elective courses and some university elective courses – so nothing that wouldn’t be able to be used for another major. A couple major courses (psychobiology, neurobiology) are electives for the other science majors which works out. Still get the neuro stuff without having to take additional behavioral neuro classes. I know it ultimately doesn’t really matter which major I end up with as long as I do well and complete necessary pre-requisite courses for graduate programs.

Another update and I’m going to keep this one fairly brief right now – as any long-term reader of my blog knows, I have some legit gastrointestinal issues. I’ve been working with a new to me physician and after a couple different extensive tests he has found a plausible theory as to why I’m found in the bathroom 2-6+ times a day ranging 10-45 minutes a pop. Yep. Uh huh. I should really start studying in there with that time commitment. Oh wait, I’ve definitely done that. Zero shame. Nada. That’s about all I’m putting out for now.

I think that about covers my life for the past few months! Other than school it’s been full of lifting, working, some me time, and social life. Lifting is going really well. Work is work and I seriously can’t believe I’ve been there for over four years. Solid resume builder at 22 years young.

I hope you all are doing well, thriving, kicking ass, and living life. I’ll be back soon!

“You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you.” – Isadora Duncan

Thinking out loud: 2/5/15

Hola! It’s Thursday, which means it’s time for thinking out loud, aka the unfolding of a solid rambling session. Sounds good, am I right? Who isn’t game for life ramble here and there? I know I’m game, let’s get started.

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1. LOVING school. I literally can’t explain to you guys how happy I am to be at a University instead of community college. It’s so much different. I love the campus (expect the mad amounts of snow and freezing my tush off walking to class). It’s nice to see a larger community compared to community college which is all in one building… it felt like high school. My classes are awesome too! Psychobiology is definitely my favorite, it’s an introductory course to cognitive and clinical neuroscience. So cool!

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2. Acceptance. This is a big one, and something I’ve been working on a lot lately. Accepting that I’m not capable to do every.single.thing all at once. I can’t work a lot with being a full-time student while also pursing my NASM-cpt certification while also living at the gym and trying to blog more and keep a social life. Priorities have been set. They go something like this: 1. health, 2. school + NASM, 3. gym/personal time, 4. work, 5. friends + family, 6. blog. While I would love to blog more than 1-2x a week, it just isn’t feasible. I am more than capable to get two posts out most weeks though with the exception of heavy hitting exam/paper weeks! I would also like to put work higher on the list, while I am still able to do 10 hours a week (which happens to be 8am-6pm every Sunday), it’s not happening. Going from a part-time student to a full-time neuroscience at a new and much larger school is a considerable journey. I have enough money from working my behind off over the summer saved to get my by when needed and well, I live at home so my cost of living is substantially lower. Thankful.

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3. Sarah time. When I can, this is the best. Reading, yoga, gym, journaling, meditation. It all helps. It’s the little things. I need the little things and I have to remember to give them the time they deserve and be grateful.

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4. This stuff. Which side note, I’m convinced is actually laced. It’s so tasty. I’m sure you’ve seen this on many other blogs as it has become quite a hit all over creation. I’m not surprised either. Do yourself a favor, buy yourself a jar. Eat it by the spoonful. Don’t hate yourself for it. OK, cool?

nuttzo 6. Candles. For secret santa at work this year my co-worker gifted me some candles from a local spot where they hand make them, no dyes, all real stuff. I dig it and they smell amazing. I especially like to have one lit when doing yoga at home or even if I’m working on notes at home. It helps me keep calm.

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7. Figuring out my gut. This is a long time coming and I’m still not there. I’ve struggled with digestive issues since childhood and then after years of not taking care of myself my body definitely needs the extra help. I think our bodies are constantly giving us hints whether we choose to accept them or not, about what is going on inside. I try my best to accept them, but I’m not perfect. I drink more coffee than I should. I eat more vegetables than sometimes feel good. I don’t always drink enough water. I’m human. I tried to figure out what I could possibly post a picture of here… probiotics? I just swapped back to this hefty-dose one. Deal with it.

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What are you thinking about (or loving) lately?

 

Make sure you don’t start seeing yourself through the eyes of those who don’t value you. Know your worth even if they don’t.” –Thema Davis

xo, S