Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Struggle with Motion Sickness

I don't know if I've said yet, but I'm prone to motion sickness. I have been ever since I was little. I've wanted to make a post about it for quite some time, but more recently I've been able to collect my thoughts in a way that made writing the post easier.

Recently, I went on a weekend road trip with one of my friends (who does not get motion sick) and I assumed that it would be perfectly fine because I would be in the front seat and able to look out the windshield. However, much to my dismay, my friend (who was driving) would ask me to do various tasks that involved turning around, cutting up fruit, making sandwiches and *puking noise* scrolling through the songs on her iPod. Long story short, I was green with anticipation for the end of our trip.

For the journey home at the end of the weekend, I ended up taking 4 Dramamine pills and I slept for several hours.

After this experience, I realized how little people who aren't prone to motion sickness know about it. I've been at the end of several nasty arguments with teachers as well as random others about the extent of my motion sickness and my need to leave the room, close my eyes, or open a window. Now, I know for a fact that I'm not an expert on the subject, but I do know some of the things that cause motion sickness, and some tricks on how to help manage it.

For me personally, there are a lot of things that cause me to get motion sick. Subtitles, ceiling fans, swivel fans, roller-coasters, car rides, things moving in the corner of my eye, flashing lights, reading while in a car, watching videos or movies that have a shaky camera, etc. (The things that cause motion sickness can vary depending on the person.) To the extent of my knowledge, things like that cause motion sickness because they confuse your mind/body. What your brain says you're doing movement wise, and what your eyes says your doing movement wise conflict with each other, resulting in vomit and other uncomfortable upsets.

The best way to prevent and to relieve motion sickness is to sleep. Now, I know that this isn't a very good way to handle it in some cases, because you can't sleep during a class or when you're supposed to be working, but it's something that I think is extremely important to know. I've gotten home and taken a short nap in order to stop my motion sickness so that I'd be able to do homework, or read in my room, or function at all for the rest of the day. But, if you're on a bus or going on a road trip, sleeping in the vehicle is the best way to avoid getting sick. Also, if you haven't gotten a full night's rest, you're going to be more likely to get motion sick. A fatigued body isn't going to fight off sickness as well as a rested body.

I've found that, when I'm thinking about motion sickness and what's happening in the moment that leads to motion sickness, I get sicker and am most definitely going to throw up. So, if possible, try not to think about it (Which is easier said than done). When I think about it, I make the effects more prominent, and a few times I've caused myself to gain some of the upsets just by deciding that something I was experiencing would cause them.

When in a car, try to sit shotgun or drive (the driver is the least likely to get motion sick). Look out the window in front of you and focus on one thing directly in front of you. When you get close to or pass the "one thing", pick another one. If you're doing that and you begin to feel the pangs of sickness, roll down your window and kind of lean into the wind. (This is especially effective if the air is a little bit chilly because it's more refreshing and calming.)

If you're watching a movie, or if there are fans, or something moving in the corner of your eye, closing your eyes helps the most. It gives the opportunity to concentrate on your breathing, and allows your body to relax and stop reacting to the conflict. In cases like this, fresh air can also be a good option if having your eyes closed isn't helping enough to prevent puking.

In my own experience, I've found that counting or singing a song in my head that has a consistent beat helps to take my mind off of the events at hand, and allows me to focus on something positive. While breathing deeply and singing in my head, I've prevented vomit several times.

The last thing I want to explain is the importance of eating good things. If you know you're going to be in the car a long time or doing some other activity that would cause you to get motion sick, don't eat a bunch of greasy foods that will upset your stomach sooner.

There have been times on bus rides and during videos in a class when I've explained that I'm motion sick and had people get angry with me anyway for not looking at them, looking out a window, having my eyes closed, or asking to leave the room or have a bit of time outside of the vehicle.

What are things that make you motion sick? How do you handle it? I'd love to know!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Don't Get Discouraged

A lot of things have been on my mind recently, one of which was the Major that I've chosen for myself for school. Now, I know what you're thinking "If you don't like your major, just change it! Pick something else", but I actually love my major very much. I've known my whole life that I wanted to go into Animal Management to be a Zookeeper in the future. My parents always knew too!

When I was growing up, I was given lots of dolls to play with, and (because my mom and my grandma sew) I had matching outfits with all of my dolls. My dolls and I both had full wardrobes. However, I didn't think that dolls were any fun. I'd change their clothes to match mine, and then I was bored and didn't know what to do with them. My whole life, I gravitated towards stuffed animals and pets. I'd have tea parties where I'd put all of my stuffed animals in a circle around me and gave them all miss-matched cups. Ever since my parents let me, I've had fish and hamsters and frogs and more hamsters and guinea pigs and hermit crabs! I've gladly taken care of our neighbor's chickens and dogs and cats! So, despite being so young, I had it all worked out.

Now that I'm older and actually beginning on my journey to becoming what I always dreamed, I've started to get discouraged. Although I know I'm good at it, I still feel as though I'm behind the others in my same area, which makes me wonder if I really did pick the right path for me. The cost of it all doesn't help. I got in to one of the top schools for this subject, which comes at a top price. It is worth the cost if I'm really not as good?

When I was in the 5th grade, we had a lady come in to our class every day for a whole week, whose entire job was to help us determine what we should be when we grow up. On the first day, she went around the room and had each of us say what we wanted to be when we grew up! I knew exactly what I wanted, so I was perfectly ready when it was my turn. But, to my utter disappointment, this lady (a professional) told me that it wasn't a real job, and that I should pick something else. Now, that sounds harsh, but I know that's what she said. It's bothered me for a very long time, so I hear it as clear as day in the back of my mind sometimes.

That all sounds very sad, but while thinking back on these things, I remembered a TED Talk that I listened to a long time ago (I went back and found it, I'll put it on the bottom of this post). In this TED Talk, Amy Cuddy talks about how it's possible to "fake it until you become it", and how you can achieve everything that you want to by doing a few simple poses.

I've been working on my confidence anyway, which wasn't helped by the discouraging feelings I've been having around school and what I'm trying to achieve, but I found this information really important. It also helped that one of her main examples is about her in college and another college student who felt like they were out of place in the school. When it comes to feeling discouraged, I've realized that I should use it as motivation to work harder and to do those Wonder Woman poses in my room and to go to class to have the best comment ever!

So, if you're feeling discouraged or out of placed, remember to "fake it until you become it" and nothing can stand in your way. As you've probably guessed, I'm definitely putting this to the test myself.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Chance To Travel: Follow-Up

So, as it turns out, travelling to work with Elephants wasn't as easy as I had originally thought.

The program had a really low cost, which is originally what made me so excited about it (most travelling volunteer programs cost thousands of dollars). It appeared as though the entire costs were the flight tickets. However, upon further investigation, it was revealed that I'd have to pay for my own air travel in order to attend, as well as paying for the program costs (which I'm now assuming cover food and lodging).

In addition to the newly discovered, extremely high cost, it was revealed that the group would only stay for about 4 days to work with the elephants, and the rest of the time would be devoted to sight-seeing and other adventures that would actually cost an additional fee.

Even though I was accepted into the program and had originally been really excited to go, it hasn't turned out at all how I pictured, so I won't be going to Asia this summer. Hopefully, in the future, other opportunities will pop up that will allow me to work with the animals that I love so dearly in a less costly way.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My Job

As you know from reading someone of my previous posts, I had a very hard time finding a job in the summer, and eventually got one at school. My job at school is as a Service Worker, where I direct traffic and help at various other events.

So far, I've worked mainly at football games checking in the Alumni who have come in their RVs to attend the games. I work very long hours; on Fridays I work from 2:30 until 10:00 pm and on Saturdays I work from 5:45 am until about Noon depending on whether or not the person replacing me is on time. For the most part, people have been extremely kind, several have offered food, extra jackets, and blankets while I've been working (I haven't ever accepted because I'm not allowed to while working). There have also been some rather interesting people offering me alcohol while I'm working, which I of course said no to.

There have, however, been some people who were less than happy about me and my job. These types of encounters are the ones that really make the job hard. There's nothing more aggravating than being told you can't park somewhere, or that you can't take your car into where your RV is because you don't have a pass for your car. However, I wouldn't be very happy if I got in trouble for letting them in and lost that job that I worked so hard to get.

I think that the hardest part for me is the fact that I've never actually been trained. On my first day of work, I was given a radio and paired with a few people who, for the most part, knew what they were doing. At one point during my first shift, I was left on my own, which proved to be an interesting time for me. There were a lot of people asking for directions and asking where the general/free parking was, but because I wasn't trained, I had no idea how to help them, or where to tell them to go!

Later on in the job, after denying someone access to the lot because they didn't have a pass, I was informed that if they knew their check-in number that I should check them in manually and allow them to go into the lot... Oops... The rest of the time I was working that day, I did indeed enter in the check-in numbers for the people who hadn't printed out their passes and hoped that the people I had turned away would come back so that I could apologize and check them in. (They never did come back.. At least not while I was working.)

So far, I really love the people that I work with. They're all very understanding and upbeat people that are really nice when I ask them a million questions about the job. I also really enjoy being able to see so many fans of the school that I love so much, and to be able to take part in their cheers as they head to the games. I also enjoy that bagels that we get when we come in at 5:45 am on Saturdays.

Autumn has Come Once More

The days are beginning to get colder, and pumpkin spice lattes have once again because a staple accessory. People are pulling out their sweaters and boots, and the trees are beginning to take the hit and drop their leaves. I've started to consult the weather more because most days are starting off cold and ending fairly hot. When it comes to beverages, I've been gravitating towards hot chocolate (because I don't like to drink coffee) and so I've already broken into the big cylinder of mix that I brought with me when I moved in! My reserve of popcorn has also started to be used up. I joked to my mom the other day that my birthday presents when I'm home in November will probably consist of more hot chocolate, more popcorn, new shoes (I get a new pair for my birthday every year), and a box of those hand warmer pouches. My mom laughed and happily added that they'd probably get me some socks too.

I absolutely love the Fall, not because it's colder or because the days seem more calm, it's because I love the colors. Ask anyone, and they'll tell you that I've got an eye for colors. I don't know how, but I can always tell what the differences in colors are. (One time, I was with my dad picking out brown bathroom rugs and I held up two options, one that was more yellow, and one that was more gray. Later on that day, I found out from my mom that he'd been really impressed by the fact that I'd been able to tell how the two colors were different even though they were both brown.) So when all of the leaves start changing into deep oranges, vibrant yellows, and chocolaty browns, I could couldn't be happier!

When I was out and about, I took a moment to take some photos of the different leaves and trees so that I'd be able to share the glorious colors that I adore when this season rolls around every year.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A Chance to Travel

In both my Animal Science class and my Biology class, a woman came in to talk to us about a volunteer program that takes groups of people to various places around the world to work with kids, or animals, or construction for two weeks in the summer. Being the animal lover that I am, I went onto their website to see the kinds of trips to work with animals that they're planning for this next summer.

To my absolute delight, they had a trip planned to go to Asia to work with Elephants! I absolutely love elephants! They're not my favorite animal but they have a lot of meaning to me. So, after staring at the application for a long time, I applied!

A few days later, I got an email saying that I was accepted into the group for the trip, and they had attached all the other information that I needed.

Now, that's all super exciting, but as soon as I read that I was accepted, I had this attitude of "Just kidding! I don't really want to do it!" because it's such an intimidating idea to me! I would love to go, and I would love to work with the elephants, but it would be such a long flight to a place that's really far away from people that I know and love.

When I was talking to my mom she said that my reaction to being accepted was really common, and that I shouldn't let it stop me if I do indeed want to go.

I've had friends who have gone of similar trips like the one that I applied for, but they were never working with animals. One went to help teach children English, another went to work in an orphanage to help with health care, and another went with her church to help set up church buildings in another country.

However, I've never been out of the country before! Which sounds kind of sad, but it's true. I've actually only been to a handful of states (the ones close by my own state), and I've only been on an airplane once (It was a 2 hour flight in a tiny plane). So if I did officially decide to go on this trip and pay them the flight costs, I'd be leaving the country for the first time and going on my first long air plane ride.

I'm not very worried about having access to electronics, because obviously I won't be able to use my phone while I'm there anyway because my phone plan only covers the United States. As long as there's a place to charge my camera batteries, I'm golden! It would be pretty cool if I could also make blog posts about it while I'm there, but I'd survive if it waited until after I got back.

I'll keep you guys updated on what happens with it!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Hot Yoga - Bucket List for College #4 Update

Before starting school, I made a list of things that I wanted to do during my first year. On that list of things, the 4th one that I had was to Take a Class (as in a fun class that's purely for my own enjoyment). I looked on the school's website for the Athletic Center to see what classes were being offered there since I had no desire to add another class on that counted towards my credits, and I saw that they had a ton of Hot Yoga classes for beginners.

After spending tons of time reading through all of the times and days, I finally found one that worked perfectly with my schedule. Excited, I signed up and put the class times in my planner. Before my first class, my dad helped me figure out where the building was on campus, and I laid out the clothes I was planning on wearing, my yoga mat, my water bottle, and my towel.

Then, the day for my first class finally arrived, and I excitedly loaded up all of my things and made it to the class 20 minutes early. I signed in and happily laid out my things in the front of the class, and waited for it to start.

What I wasn't aware of ahead of time was exactly how hot the room would be. Just sitting on my mat waiting for class to start, I was sweating like a pig! I wasn't even moving around yet!

After the class got started, I wished that I was in the back, because it turned out to be one of the few classes that wasn't actually for beginners... Oops! So I spent a majority of the class watching other people and sweating a ton. I can't imagine anything weirder than having a really sweaty girl starting at you for an entire hour!

However, after my instructor caught on to that fact that I was new, she started to describe the different yoga positions so that I didn't have to stare at other people as much. My instructor is really really good at what she does! By the end of the class, I felt so awesome! I was pretty stinky and sweaty, but I felt good!

After my first several yoga classes, I got a lot better at it, and I got better at remembering what the positions are so that I didn't have to worry as much about the descriptions or looking at others. However, I did discover that I'm not a very balanced person, so I have to readjust a lot throughout class to keep from toppling over.

There's something strangely satisfying about doing yoga in a really hot room... When you're dripping with sweat and holding a really hard pose, you feel really powerful and in control. It's like you've just run a marathon, and you're feeling the benefits of it. Does that make sense? It also makes your shower afterwards feel ten times nicer, because you really feel like you're getting a deep clean. You sweated everything out, and then you washed it all off.

I'm checking #4 off of my college bucket list! Hooray! I can't wait until I get to go back to my yoga class next week. I'll be so sad when it's over! I'll have to sign up for another one, I guess.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Red Lipstick - Being Brave

I wore dark red lipstick today. Proper red lipstick! And I wore it! On my lips!! For the first time in my life, I went out into the world with that very noticeable color on my lips. I've always viewed lipstick as the sort of thing that people wear when they're going out on a date, or going to a play. To me, it wasn't something that was wore casually or every day. So, because of my view of lipstick, I never actually knew that much about it. I didn't know what colors looked good on me, or how to apply it, or how to make it last for long periods of time.

Before coming to college, my friends and I went shopping for makeup. One of my friends didn't know what colors of eye shadow she should use, so we spent a majority of our time looking at palettes and single pots and at eye shadow primers as well. While we were there, I asked my other friend (who loves makeup, and is a wizard at applying it) to "teach me how to lipstick", which she was happy to help me with. She helped me pick out a lovely light pink shade (Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in the shade Elusive Insaissable) that she claimed would be good for everyday wear. Excited by this new revelation, I was eager to buy the lipstick. Jokingly, my friends picked out a dark red lipstick (Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm in the shade Standout Remarquable, which also happens to be the color I wore today). I decided to buy that one as well, because my friends said that it would like nice with my complexion. However, it was the bravest color I had ever seen. I bought it with the intention of only wearing in private when I was feeling very daring.

Today, in my second week of college, I felt the right amounts of daring and confidence to be able to put it this dark lipstick on my face and wear it out into the world. After putting it on, before leaving my dorm room, I gave myself a bit of a pep talk in the mirror.

Ddddaaannnnnggggg, I look good! This color really does look nice on me. Hmmm... *smiles* Nope, none on my teeth. OOooooo It makes my teeth look super white! Ahh Yeah! *pose* Come at me world, I look great!

Then, I actually left my room.

Was that girl staring at me? I wonder what she thought... Right, gotta smile to show off how great this lipstick makes my teeth look. But wait... What if I got lipstick on my teeth after I left my room and I smile? Would someone tell me? Okay, no smiling until I can check. 

Yeah... So that's how my day went, for the most part. I count this as me being brave. It seems rather lame to be like I'm so brave because I wore red lipstick!, but for me personally, on my scale of not brave to brave, it was brave. I'm hoping that, eventually, the range of my scale will shift at some point so that wearing red lipstick doesn't seem as daring, and something like traveling across the global will be at the Brave end of the spectrum.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Leadership Camping Trip

At my school, I recently joined one of the leadership programs that's offered. The goal of the program is to receive a leadership certificate from the school, which really is only valid at the school, but I thought that it would be a good way to make friends without going too far out of my comfort zone, so I signed up!

This past weekend, everyone in the leadership program went on a camping retreat, which was super awesome, and way colder than expected! At the meeting to prep for the retreat, they stressed the awesomeness of the water activities that were available, and the beauty of the nearby woods that we could hike in and explore during free time. 

However, after we actually got to the campsite, it was about 50 degrees, which was quite the change after having 90 degree days for the rest of the summer. We got off the buses in our shorts, sandals, and t-shirts, and were immediately rushing into the cabins to warm up. I don't think I've ever been happier about packing a sweatshirt and a heavy duty sleeping bag!

Fun fact, I did indeed bring a sleeping bag with me to college. Like, a legit sleeping bag that you'd use for real actual camping. I brought it because, when I visited my friend who was at her school's summer advantage program, she had a sleeping bag, which made it more comfortable for me to be there on her dorm room floor. I don't know how soon my friends will be coming to visit me, because it's an extremely long drive, but I figured that it wouldn't hurt to just have a sleeping bag in my possession.

Now, the type of camping that was happening on the retreat was no cell service, with the bathroom with working plumbing and electricity is a bit of a walk from the cabins. It wasn't at all the kind of camping where no one showers, and you become "one with nature".

We were split into groups based off of where we live on campus, so I was able to befriend the 19 people in my group who all live fairly close to me, and participated in a bunch of icebreaker activities that were out of my comfort zone.

We did the Human Knot game, where you get into a fairly large group and grab hands with the people across a circle from you to get your arms in a huge knot, and then you have to work together to untangle your arms while still holding hands.

Basically, you stand uncomfortably close to people who all (hopefully) smell nice, and hold hands with them while you argue about who should go under who's armpit to untangle your arms. Which, for me, was more uncomfortable and awkward than funny.

One of my favorite activities that we did was when we were split into group of people who were the same leadership types as us to build a tower out of spaghetti noodles and marshmallows. We all figured out very quickly that it's really hard to make things work out when you're in a group of people who are the same type of leaders as you. All of the people who have the mindset of "I should lead. My way is the best way. Follow what I'm doing." all got frustrated and started working on individual towers by themselves.

All of the more free spirited leadership types ended up making a small "house" that they colored on with pens. Theirs fell over, and they viewed it from the perspective of "Oh well! It was fun to do, and we at least tried it".

I was in a group with people who are very organized, analytical, and quiet leaders (Just in case you didn't catch that, it's my leadership type). We spent the whole time organizing our noodles from tallest to shortest, drawing out what we wanted out final tower to look like, and then spent the rest of the time breaking up the noodles to be the right lengths and deciding how to break up the marshmallows so that we had enough to attach the noodles together.

After that activity, I was kind of amazed at the fact that it was so hard to work with people who were really similar to me. Clearly, I was wrong when I went into the task with the mindset of this is going to be perfect because we'll all understand each other and look at the situation the same way. 

What that activity taught me is that everyone in a group is a leader, they're just different types of leaders, and in order for the group to actually function properly, it's important to have someone from each of the different leadership groups.

Now, I know you're all wondering how the water activities that were stressed so heavily worked out when they were actually allowed to happen.

The day of, it was raining. We were inside the whole morning instead of outside because of the intense amount of rain that was pouring down on us. However, when swimming time came around, the rain had stopped! Everyone rushed to get into their swimsuits, and went down to the water as quick as they could. Several people immediately went up to the Zip Line that ended in the water. Much to their surprise upon jumping off the dock or going down the Zip Line, the water was freezing cold because everything about being outside while we were there was cold.

Most of the people who got into the water got out of it pretty quickly, and substituted swimming for paddle boarding, or canoeing that are more out of the water. Several people went down the Zip Line once, and then they had their fill of the water and went back to their cabins to change into warmer clothes.

I was one of the smarter people who didn't want to get pneumonia that stayed on the beach and watched people go down the Zip Line. I also took tons of photos, which I really enjoyed! When it comes to water activities, there's an endless amount of things to take photos of. I'll be posting some of the photos that I took in my next post on Thursday, so be looking out for them! 
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