Surviving Finals

Some of my blogs have talked about the importance of managing mental health. With finals here, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. With stress, I sometimes feel exhausted from studying and completing several projects on time. With depression, I may not be motivated to prepare for exams or have no hope to pass them. With anxiety, I would get super nervous before taking an exam if I know I’m not prepared. Having these feeling makes it hard, but not impossible to get a good grade. Having some tools to combat these thoughts and feelings also make a huge impact too.

First tool is time management. This is a concept everyone has heard about. It’s annoying being told that I need to work on managing my time wisely, but it’s true. With summer right after finals, it’s easy to get distracted from studying. When it’s time to turn in assignments, it can be very stressful working on things without taking a break. There are also those times when projects are due the same day. When this happens to me, anxiety kicks in. It feels impossible to work on so many things at once. Then I remember a quote my mom always says which is “How do you eat an elephant?”. It’s a weird question but relates to time management. You can’t eat an elephant in one sitting, it’s impossible. It’s better to eat it in several, smaller meals with breaks in between. In this case, the elephant is school work. It’s important to finish assignments, but it’s also important to take a break every so often. So, no matter how daunting the elephant might be, it is still possible to finish it all, just take it one step at a time.

Second tool is communication. Talking to others could be exhausting or scary, but they could also be helpful. This could be parents, siblings, friends, professors, etc. You just need a network you can look to for advice. For me, talking to my mom or friends is a great stress reliever and allows me to vent about issues. They give ideas on how I should approach a project or problem. They motivate me when I feel sad about a grade. Something I learned this year is that it’s important to reach out to my professors and TA’s. When a concept doesn’t make sense, I email or talk to them in person. Most professors are happy to help their students during their office hours. If you have a professor that’s not very helpful, go to another professor teaching that class or the many resources offered at VCU. It’s easier to deal with college when you have a support system.

It’s important to have good mental health, especially during this time of the semester. These tools can help keep your sanity during finals. Do the things that make you happy whether that be doing a hobby, exercising, or just hanging out with friends. Remember that when the world seems to push you down, there is always a way to get back up. You can survive finals.

Being a Role Model

My freshman year has taught me a lot. From my professors to random strangers, every person who I have interacted with has left an impression on me. Some of these people I now look up to as my role models. The lessons or values these role models have shared now influence me and my way of thinking. I know what it means to look up to someone, but, what does it mean to have someone looking up to you? What does it mean to be a role model? I have been thinking about this question recently. I define a role model as someone who has values and traits that others would want to embody. Generally, a role model presents positive values like integrity and compassion. I think anyone can be a role model to another person no matter the age.

I was always told that I was a role model for my younger brother and cousins. I was the oldest of the children, so all the kids had their attention towards me. My brother, when he was younger, would come to me asking questions and making sure something he said was right or wrong. He looked up to me for answers and guidance. Anything I did would eventually be copied by him. Any misbehavior would be traced back to me. I somewhat understood the general concept of a role model but never fully comprehended what it meant to be one. I think in middle school was when I started to realize what that title means. Teachers would start encouraging you to think about career options. Never asked how you were going to do it, just what do you want to be when you are older. When I told my brother I was thinking about doing something in the medical field because I wanted to help people, he started thinking about helping others and also doing something in medicine. Now that he’s a senior in high school, he is looking towards being a physical therapist. I don’t think he remembers that interaction, but I believe my own values have influenced him.

It’s not just my brother who I am a role model too. People from my youth group, school, and friend groups have also look towards me for guidance. They ask questions relating to college, relationships, and general life advice. They look up to me for answers. I know my actions will impact another person’s life. Anyone can be a role model, even if they are not aware of those who admire them.

April Showers

The saying “April showers bring May flowers” seems to be true this year. These past couple of weeks have been filled with very rainy days. Virginia has always been known for humidity and unpredictable weather. In these warmer months, there is a possibility of seeing rain in our weather apps more often. With rain comes different feelings or thoughts. Especially with finals around the corner, everyone could be acting differently when there is a storm. Everyone also has an opinion about the rain.

Many, including myself, can enjoy the rain. From a light drizzle to intense thunderstorms, it is possible to feel a sense of calm. I don’t know why, but just hearing a downpour can be super relaxing for me. If a storm goes on for hours, I will have my window open and listen to it. During a thunderstorm, my brother and I will guess how long it takes for us to hear thunder after seeing lightening. Whoever guesses right wins. These of course are my own experiences with rain. Others who also like rain have told me there is a refreshing feeling after a storm. Imagine, after days of high humidity there is finally a storm that seems to wash away the sticky air. I also know kids who are excited to go outside and jump into big puddles while it’s raining.

There are also reasons why a person does not like the rain. The dark clouds and wet weather can make a person feel sad or depressed. During heavy storms, a person may feel trapped in their home or place of work. This trapped feeling could get worse if the person loses power during a heavy storm. People can also get bored quickly during a long storm. Someone could also have a fear of lighting and thunder (astraphobia) and feel panicked during thunderstorms. People will also dislike streams of water and flooding that occurs during heavy storms. If your forced to go outside during a storm the feeling of wearing wet clothes is terrible. These are just a few reasons why rain could not be enjoyable.

These examples of why a person may or may not like the rain can differ depending on their feeling and experiences. I enjoy the rain, but I don’t like the feeling of wearing wet pants and shoes when I must walk somewhere. Rain can impact our lives in ways we don’t think about like emotion. With the Virginia being so unpredictable, I can only assume that there could be more April showers in the near future.



The Many Faces Of Game Players

Even on the off chance I play them, I love games. There is an unlimited amount of board, card, or dice games to enjoy. I love games like Uno or Clue because they bring different elements to the game to make it more exciting. Games, when they get intense, also bring different personalities out of people. Sometime these personalities appear slowly, other times they show up out of know where. I think anyone who has played a game will understand these personalities.

First, there is the strategist. This is the person who, no matter what game, has a well thought plan of success. Usually, they can be too over confident while playing. Strategist are also the most patient of players. If they know they will win in the next five turns, then they will just wait. They can also be slow, taking too much time per turn to think of the best move or action for the game. I think strategists benefit most from board games or certain card games because they involve planning.

Second is the overly competitive player. These are the types of people who bring tension into the room. Sometimes, these are the players who might start yelling out of nowhere during a fast-paced game. Overly competitive players will force themselves into situations where they fight another player. This in the hopes of gaining points, money, or any other values. If they win, the player may brag too much on their successful fight. If they lose, overly competitive player may react negatively and sometimes turn into sore losers. You can find an overly competitive player in any game.

Third, the board/dull player. This is the person who finds no excitement in playing the game. Most likely, they will watch, only play one game, or have no interest whatsoever. They might draw their attention to something else like their phone or TV. You can find a board player anywhere unfortunately. It also really depends on how a person is feeling that day. They could be tired or have other things on the mind. They also just may not like the game you’re playing.

Finally, there is the alliance. These are the players who team up to mostly benefit themselves. In board games, people may help each other if they see points in the future. In card games like Uno, players may work together to take down a winning opponent. However, the biggest flaw is alliances can change quickly depending on the game.

When a game gets intense, people can change. These are the player types I remember the most. I know there is more but these to me are the most popular personalities. I think it is also important to mention that everyone can have these personalities, including me. Some of these personalities can make the game even more fun. They can create memories, connections, and more entertaining game play. These are the many faces of game players.