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  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Lifestyle, Mental Health, School, Tips

    Staying Motivated in School

    Lisda Kania Yuliani on Unsplash

    School can eventually begin to feel like a chore you don’t want to do. The days can blend together and you get tired of having to do homework or tests every day. While walking through the halls, you can often hear someone comment on how much they despise school or hate the subject in which they are learning. In reality, no one truly hates school. It can be exhausting, but it can also be a fun, learning experience. Not only to learn about what you’re passionate about but to discover yourself. School enlightens us about our strengths and weaknesses and shows us just how strong we are. We often think we’re much weaker than we are, and when we actually try it can be rewarding.

    People learn in different ways and different paces, so when they don’t understand something, they determine the reason is that they’re not smart enough. This is usually a common obstacle in every student’s life and can be hard to overcome. That’s why motivation is a big factor in staying successful in school. Motivation is the key that helps you when you don’t know how to unlock a door.

    The question everyone asks is how they continue to stay motivated throughout the school year. The first thing people’s mind goes to is studying. But this is not the most important thing, sleep is. In fact, according to Nationwide Children’s, teenagers need approximately nine to nine and a half hours of sleep every night. Those who do not get enough sleep are more likely to have behavior problems, such as noncompliance and hyperactivity. Inadequate sleep may result in problems with attention, memory, decision making, reaction time, and creativity, all of which are important in school. Setting up a sleep schedule and turning all electronics off can help prevent irregular sleep schedules. Getting enough sleep not only improves memory and health, but it also motivates you to try harder and not feel as groggy.

    In addition to sleep, reward and punishment is a good system to stay motivated. While studying for school is essential, having fun should be too. It is okay to let go every once in a while or simply take a break. Studying too much can be boring and lead to frustration, which in return, can affect your schoolwork. It’s mainly about balancing your homework and study time and your activities outside of school, whether that be clubs, sports, or hanging out with friends. The motivation to power through school overall depends on how determined you are. If you don’t put in the work, you don’t get the reward.

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Goals, Mental Health, School, Stress, Tips

    Are You Managing Your Time? Or Is Your Time Managing You?

    Staying organized and keeping your schedule up to date is a tricky skill to master. It takes a lot of trial and error, in addition to finding what works for you personally. Without knowing how to properly manage your time, it becomes really easy to fall behind on your assignments and responsibilities. Thus, giving the potential for stress and anxiety. A big part of time management is the ability to prioritize and know when to ask for help. Prioritizing different aspects of your life that require your time is essential to be able to contribute your best effort in each area. Assigning priority can be difficult when it comes to things like personal life or hobbies.

    How do you really know how much time is appropriate to use on certain activities? Remember, trial and error is okay. In a larger sense, prioritizing is about assigning meaning and importance to the things that matter and that you need to accomplish in your life. When thinking about priority and time, you must consider things like deadlines and value. For example, say you have a 100 point final research paper due tomorrow that you’ve been working on for several weeks, that might take priority to finish first over something small like finishing up your BFF’s birthday gift. Finding out what is important to you as a person, and what’s worth your time, will help you make prioritizing an easier step. Keep reading for some extra tips and tricks to ensure you will stay on track and be organized! 

    Tip 1: A Killer Planner

    A good solid planner is critical. There are endless shapes, sizes, colors, and layouts to choose from. Find which works for you! Some people do better seeing their month to month planned out, and some people do better working week to week. Some planners even offer both, it’s up to you. When you think about size, think about how often you want to use it, and how many places you want to be able to take it. Do you have a large bag, where size wouldn’t matter? Or do you need a pocket-sized portable planner? Think about these things when you pick one out. Have fun with it! TJ Maxx and Marshalls are great spots to find discounted fun and effective planners! 

    Tip 2: Highlighters and Post-It Notes

    Using highlighters and Post-It Notes can help catch your eye for reminders, and allow for yourself to leave a visual cue. Similar to the planner, you will find endless colors shapes and sizes. Some people prefer bright neon colors, some respond better to more mellow colors. Sharpie has a great selection of colored highlighters! Post-It Notes have a wide size and color variety. Maybe Post-It tabs work better for you, to serve as a reminder to flip to a certain page or maybe full-sized ones to leave on the mirror to remember things in the morning! These few supplies can go far in your organizing world! 

    Tip 3: Making Errands Fun

    Errands can drag. Spending extended time getting small yet necessary tasks done can be unmotivating and difficult to bring yourself to do. There are a few things you can do to make the time pass and get a little enjoyment. Try bringing a friend along! A lot of times you can find a friend that needs to get some similar stuff done, and the company always makes time go by! Next, bring your headphones! Going grocery shopping? Plug in and focus on that list! Bringing a pair of headphones to the store can make the time go by and give you the choice of what you want to listen to! Finally, don’t feel guilty to reward yourself. If you’re driving around to a bunch of different stores, check out the clearance rack, find yourself a little trinket! Or if you’ve been doing chores and homework all day, make yourself a snack and turn on your favorite show. Taking small breaks is so important to maintaining a productive day. 

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, School, Tips

    Learning a New Language

    learning a new language

    Learning a new language can be both fun and challenging. In my experience, it has been extremely rewarding to know how to speak more than one language, and these skills let me communicate with a wider range of individuals and have broadened my understanding of different cultures and ways of life. 

    I have been bilingual for most of my life, and I enjoyed learning a third language, Spanish, in middle school and high school. I am definitely not fluent yet, but over the years, I feel like I’ve gained a good grasp of the language. I love it when I hear people speaking Spanish in public and can understand their conversation, or when I’m listening to a Spanish song and can understand the lyrics. I’ve enjoyed my language classes in school, and being exposed to a different language and putting effort into learning it has been an exciting process.

    However, learning a language is not just book work like learning tends to be in many other classes. It requires a lot of interpersonal communication practice and exposure to the language in formats like cultural activities, podcasts, and music- not just your standard writing and grammar exercises.

    Here is a list of ways to gain a better grasp of the language you are trying to learn:

    Find People to Talk to Using the Language:

    The best way to improve your speaking skills is to practice speaking the language! If you are taking a class in a traditional school setting, you will have to communicate with your teacher and classmates using the language multiple times (if not daily) during the course. Take advantage of these opportunities!

    The beauty of being in a language class is that everyone is there to learn and no one is an expert. So don’t be afraid of making mistakes! Make the best of these opportunities, and always know that it is okay to mess up. Not only are you learning from your errors, but your classmates will be learning from them too.

    If you are not taking a course on the language, or it isn’t a traditional course in a classroom setting, find speaking opportunities for yourself so you can practice the language. I would recommend finding a friend who either knows the language or is learning it too. That way you can speak to them in the language on a regular basis to get better at these skills.

    If you aren’t able to find such a person or don’t feel comfortable practicing with someone you know, go to your local library or get in contact with local community centers so they can connect you with resources and opportunities where you can practice these skills. I know students who’ve volunteered in classrooms at local elementary schools with Spanish speaking students and have been able to immensely improve their speaking and communication skills.

    Attend Cultural Events and Take Advantage of Opportunities Nearby:

    Whether it’s visiting a traditional restaurant and speaking to your server in the language or attending festival celebrations, it’s always a good idea to get involved culturally. These opportunities will not only give you an outlet to practice speaking the language. They allow you to gain a deeper understanding of the language by expanding your cultural knowledge and perspectives. This will further motivate you to learn the language since you are able to place it in a cultural context. In addition, you will get to know more people and broaden your social network. This is can come in handy if you are looking to gain experience in the future.

    Finally, if you are given an opportunity to travel abroad and are able to do so, I highly encourage it! Being in a setting where you are able to experience a culture and practice a language at the same time is super nice, and is a very fun and helpful way to quickly pick up and get better at a language.

    Listen to Podcasts or TV/Radio Broadcasts:

    Listening to podcasts and TV/radio broadcasts gives you exposure to the conversational dialects of your selected language . Oftentimes, when languages are taught in a classroom setting, skills are taught in a traditional manner. However, this isn’t always the way the language is commonly spoken. Additionally, you will probably notice that people speak faster in podcasts and TV/radio broadcasts than you are used to when listening to audios in class.

    Do a simple Youtube search to find options or visit this website for potential resources that may help you.

    The great thing about podcasts and TV/radio broadcasts is that you can do other things while listening to them. That is, if you are still able to follow along with what the audio is saying. If you aren’t at this level yet, allocate time in your schedule to listen without distractions.

    Books/Music:

    If you are able to find picture books or chapter books and/or simple songs in the language you are trying to learn, I would highly recommend doing so! These are really good resources for helping you practice your reading and listening skills. In terms of books, I would recommend doing a Google search to find books that professionals who teach the language you are learning would recommend for different levels. Often times, these books will have readers’ resources, such as keywords defined in English or a simple summary of each chapter, so you are able to get a general idea of what is going on in the story even though you may not be able to understand every single word and sentence.

    As for music, Youtube and Spotify will help you. Start off with slower songs and move to faster ones as your listening skills improve and you are able to better comprehend what is being sung.

  • Articles, College, GirlSpring.com, Tips

    How to Choose Your College Major

    college major

    So you’re going off to college! You’ve finally found the perfect school, been through the exhausting application process and have been accepted (yay!), but where do you go from here? Although it may not have seemed like it before, that first step is easy. Now comes the big question… what do you want to do with your life? 

    Yes, that’s a truly loaded question. Perhaps you had a favorite subject in high school, but is that something you could see yourself doing every year, every day for the rest of your life? 

    Don’t stress out now– it will be okay. Although choosing a major is a big decision, if you keep these in mind, the process will be smoother.

    This decision isn’t the end-all-be-all.

    Just because you think you want to major in one thing now, doesn’t mean that you can’t change your mind in a year or two. I’ve even switched. As you grow into yourself during college, you’ll find subjects and paths that cater more to who you really are. 

    And a major isn’t the only education you can get. You can minor. You can double-minor. Heck, you can even double-major. You can join clubs and take online classes that have nothing to do with your major at all. Even when you narrow it down to one specific field, there will always be more information and opportunities to learn. 

    Choosing your major and taking classes aren’t the only facets of college life. “Welcome to the College Life” explores the other aspects of college we sometimes forget.

    Explore your options. 

    I went into college as a journalism major with a degree in creative writing. While my true passion is writing, I took a computer science course in my freshman year, and I fell in love. Now I’m minoring in computer science, all because of one requirement in my college career. 

    You’ll never know what you like unless you try. In high school, I could’ve never imagined working with computers– writing was the only thing I wanted to do. By taking out-of-the-box classes, exploring interesting activities on campus and tagging along with friends to their meetings, you can fall in love with a subject that was never even on your radar. 

    Once you’ve done all that, narrow it down. 

    More often than not, our interests can be combined in one way or another. In my experience with writing and computing, I thought there was no way the two could crossover– that is until I discovered the world of coding and website design. 

    There are truly more options in college than you could ever imagine. By engaging in a little bit of research (and a little bit of soul-searching), you’ll find your perfect major in no time. Even if you don’t, however, keep in mind that it’s completely normal to change your mind once or twice. Everyone’s college experience is a little different, but as long as you’re sticking with something you truly love, then your major is right for you.

    Still need help figuring out what you want to do in college? Check out Best College’s “Student Guide to Choosing a Major!”

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Tips, Travel

    Packing Hacks

    packing hacks

    Do you find yourself, moments before you have to leave for the airport, cramming things into your suitcase, jumping and sitting on it, just praying that it’ll zip up? 

    Well, I do. In fact, more often than I’d like to admit. I travel pretty frequently and almost every time I find myself in this situation. Not only do I tend to overpack but I also tend to put the chore off as late as possible. The outcome of my packing procrastination is almost never good with forgotten necessities, wrinkled clothes, and popped zippers. 

    Soon I’ll be leaving for a three-week-long trip. For this trip, I have decided to push myself to break these packing habits. In order to do so, I am planning out my packing with lists of everything I need to bring, giving myself plenty of time, and testing and utilizing several packing life hacks I found online. 

    Packing Checklist

    The Hack:  Create your own checklist or Google a checklist online.

    My Opinion: This was super easy. All I did was Google a packing list. Being able to visualize everything that I pack is super helpful. I got to feel satisfied as I completed the checklist and make sure that I packed everything that I needed. (Here’s a really great one!)

    Packing Cubes

    The Hack: Essentially, these are containers that help organize your suitcase by compartmentalizing all of your belongings. 

    My Opinion: I really enjoy these because they allow me to stay super organized while traveling. The cubes make locating everything in my suitcase super fast and simple. Also, unpacking the cubes is super convenient. Additionally, the cubes help to use up every bit of space in my suitcase, so I can maximize the amount of stuff I pack. In short, I will use these for my trip.

    Here is a tutorial on how to use them:


    Rolling Your Clothes

    The Hack: Roll your clothes like burritos instead of folding them. 

    My Opinion: I quite like this hack because it seems to save a bit of space as well as prevent wrinkles that folding can cause. I plan to use this hack in combination with the packing cubes. 

     Plastic Wrap On Toiletry Bottles

    The Hack: Place plastic wrap over the opening of your bottles/containers then recap the bottle. 

    My Opinion: I have been using this hack for a while now and it definitely is effective in preventing the contents of the bottles from leaking out everywhere. Although, I would prefer a hack that is more environmentally friendly and can be reused.
    If you like this idea, here are some other ways you can use plastic wrap while traveling.

    Travel Size Toiletry Bottles

    The Hack: Reusable bottles that can hold your toiletries.

    My Opinion: I like these a lot because they are reusable and come in a size that is TSA-approved. Transferring more viscous substances, such as lotion or moisturizer, into these bottles is tricky but possible. I recommend the bottles without sharp corners because the product tends to get trapped in those corners. Also, I recommend labeling the bottles. 

    Dryer Sheets

    The Hack: Place dryer sheets in your luggage to prevent odors.

    My Opinion: I found that the dryer sheets helped to keep my clothes smelling nice and fresh. Also, by placing a couple of sheets with my shoes, any odors from my shoes were kept in check and not transferred to my other belongings.

    Final Thoughts

    In conclusion, packing under a reasonable time frame and with optimal organization makes the whole experience way more enjoyable. Traveling is definitely a stressful experience, but the stress can be reduced with proper time management and preparedness. 

  • Articles, GirlSpring.com, Health, Mental Health, Tips

    Why is a Positive Attitude so Important?

    positive attitude

    I’m not going to lie; there have been moments in my life where I’ve been a negative person. From being convinced that I could never get my driver’s license because of my terrible parking ability to complaining about my confusing math proof assignments, I have had my fair share of frustrating experiences that I’ve let myself get far too carried away with.

    Through all these experiences, however, I have learned that negativity has never led to positive outcomes.

    Having a negative attitude has prevented me from being able to face my challenges head-on. It’s also caused others around me, like my parents, to not be as supportive because they do not appreciate the way I am choosing to handle my problems. Positivity is key to accomplishing anything good in life. Therefore, it is very important to always try to stay positive- even in times when things aren’t looking so great. Here are eight reasons why a positive attitude is so important:

    1. Energetic, Active Mind: It is a fact that people who maintain a positive attitude are more curious and aware of the world around them. These individuals can see past themselves and gain a better understanding of the way life around them operates. Therefore, they are able to be better thinkers and are more creative.
    2. Ability to Develop Meaningful Relationships: People like being around positive people. Individuals who radiate positivity are able to make themselves and others feel good about them. I always love when my friends are positive about both themselves and about others. It lets me know that they are confident and proud of who they are, and are able to appreciate others. It is a good balance, and I think this type of outlook is important for any good relationship.
    3. Better Mood: When an individual has positive thoughts, Cortisol levels decrease and the brain produces the neurotransmitter Serotonin. This helps boost mood by creating a feeling of well-being and safety. Having a good mood makes everything seems to go well. This motivates people to continue to work toward doing positive things.
    4. Better Health: People who have a positive attitude tend to have lower stress levels and other issues in their lives. They stay healthier and maintain a better sense of well-being because they see taking care of themselves and seeking out a good life that they are satisfied with as important.
    5. Better at Overcoming Obstacles: People with positive attitudes are able to view obstacles as regular parts of life that everyone goes through. A positive attitude allows individuals to overcome these difficulties in life and increases people’s ability to persevere. As the saying goes “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” True to that, having a positive attitude can help an individual face anything that comes their way with good spirit.
    6. Increased Productivity: When individuals have a positive attitude, they are able to set goals for themselves and work towards achieving them. Staying positive allows an individual to believe in themselves and their abilities, and work towards overcoming obstacles as they come. This reduces procrastination and leads to more productivity.
    7. People See You As Valuable: In today’s hyper-competitive, stressful world, nearly everyone appreciates positivity. When someone shows that they are able to stay positive in tough times, they will be considered valuable by potential employers. An employee with a positive attitude is a great asset because they can get along with others and be productive.
    8. Greater Satisfaction With Life: With positivity, people are able to appreciate themselves and the things around them better. Individuals with positive attitudes are able to take a greater amount of self-control over their lives, and they are able to live their lives the way they want. This would allow them to follow their dreams and achieve their definition of success. What is life if it’s not worth living?

    Sometimes, you need a little bit of a push to be more positive. That’s where “Perfect to Me” by Anne Marie comes in. Check out the song and instantly feel uplifted about yourself and the journey you’re going through.

  • Tips

    My favorite body and hair brand

     

    Love Beauty and Planet is my latest obsession. Their products are centered around your hair and body. My favorite products are the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. It smells so good and the smell is so strong that it lasts throughout the day. Not only do the products smell so amazing, but they are also good for you. They use natural ingredients and avoid using harsh chemicals that do damage to your skin. The shampoo and conditioner make your hair feel so soft and smell so good. You can tell that the products are organic and healthy for your hair and body.

    This company is positively impacting you and the world around you:

     

    Good for the planet

    The bottles are recyclable and biodegradable. They are reducing the carbon footprint that plastic is causing on the planet.

     

    Good for your skin

    Sensitive skin is not an issue. These products have got you covered and will nourish your skin no matter what type you have. There are no sulfates, parabens, silicone, or dyes. All of those can harm your body so you using these products will not leave you worried. They are vegan and made with organic coconut oil. The products are moisturizing and the ingredients have a positive effect on your skin.

     

    Good for animals

    These products are cruelty-free and not tested on animals. So, you can use this product guilt free.

     

    You can find this brand at Target or Publix. It has been life-changing to my shower routine! If you need other ways to up your shower routine check out our article on skincare tips

    Here is a link to their products.