Opening Our Eyes as Newborns

imaginationAlthough we are unable to remember the first moment of opening our eyes as newborns, we can come close to reliving that moment by traveling. There is infinite curiosity and genuine appreciation for the new setting and the things in it. However, there is also a sense of vulnerability of being a guest. This year I had the pleasure of traveling internationally twice. This isn’t bad for a girl who once believed that life simply could not exist outside the U.S.

My first trip was back in March.  It was an internship with my school and we spent a week in The Netherlands. It was the best week of my life! We did so much in a limited amount of time, and the experience was unforgettable.

For my second trip, I went to Guyana, which is in South America near Venezuela. This was the complete opposite of my first excursion because it was a mission’s trip. We spent five days in Guyana and once again, my experience was life changing.

In preparation for my first trip, I, of course, had to get a passport. This process was less intimidating than I anticipated. I went to the U.S Department of State building, then printed and completed the online paperwork ( I also brought my driver’s license, a money order (they do not take cash or card) and my birth certificate.

They retain your original birth certificate for verification purposes; however, you will receive your birth certificate back in the mail before receiving your passport.  It takes about three months to be processed, which is the standard.  One last tip: when signing your passport; use a regular black or blue ballpoint pen, no gel pens.

To acquire the funds needed to travel, save a little as you go, and work more often than normal. When you receive a paycheck, remove a portion to save for your trip. Scholarships are another good way to fund your trip. Since my trip was with my school, I received a scholarship that significantly reduced the final amount. There are tons of scholarships and organizations eager to give money to qualified individuals.

However, most people, I included, can be lazy and neglect this very helpful resource, by simply not putting forth the effort to achieve a specific GPA or writing an essay.

Go Fund Me is another great resource for fundraising.  I hate fundraising and the whole idea of harassing people for money, but provides an indirect approach while publishing your message across various social media outlets. People can easily donate their money via web; however, the site takes out a portion for each contribution.

Now that you have the money, it is time to plan your trip accordingly. Since I have only been on two international trips so far and both with large groups that scheduled the itinerary, I would recommend that you either do the same or hire a travel agent.

Whenever you choose to embark on your first international exploit, pack light; take one carry-on and a personal item. You are about to experience a new adventure; you do not want to be held down by baggage. The best part about traveling while you are young: you are only responsible for yourself.

A College Student’s First Emotional Breakdown

emotional_breakdown_by_annoyingcurse25-d5xha5xYou have not become a true college student until you have endured orientation; in other words, endure your first emotional breakdown.  This occurs because of excessive procrastination that digs you into a hole so deep that you can barely see the sun.

Transitioning to college can be terrifying and overwhelming, but also exciting.   All of your emotions excited simultaneously. The key to college and life is balance.  Since many young adults lack this skill, colleges are equipped with a lifeline called counseling centers.   I encourage all students and young adults to take advantage of this free resource.

Such as, Drexel University installed a Kiosk for mental health awareness.  The Kiosk is a free service for getting a “Check-Up from the Neck Up.”  Drexel installed the kiosk for students who may be feeling a little depressed or they may have other mental health concerns. Students can take an anonymous, two-minute screening test to see whether they are suffering from any mental health related issues.

Benefits of Using a Private College Counselor

Private college counselors are for supporting students in an effort to aid them with burdens of stress, anxiety, depression, academics, etc.  Ultimately, a private college counselor will provide a healthy alternative for coping with adversity.  If you are stressed, they offer advice or may even encourage you to enroll in a 1-credit yoga class, amongst other strategies.  You may enter their office consumed with worry/doubt and leave with an unfamiliar peace in knowing that everything will be okay.

A private college counselor is patient and attentive to your questions and concerns. They can also shine light on other valuable information. For example, FASFA, scholarships, trips abroad, and classes required for graduation. All of which are necessities in pursuing your dreams and aspirations.

First-year students overwhelmed with information that does not make sense can seek out their experience, advice, and knowledge.  A private college counselor may offer groups, workshops, and seminars on how to manage poor relationships, roommate discord, and drinking responsibly.

It is always good to have someone to talk to, especially when it feels like you reached a dead end.  Another benefit is that your conversation with your mental health counselor is confidential.  Do not worry about feeling judged, more than likely they heard it all.


I realized that I needed to consult with a private college counselor after a daunting all-nighter my sophomore year. My professor informed us of a 12-page paper at the beginning of the semester that counted as our final. Unfortunately, I did not begin this assignment promptly and waited until the last minute.

Well, the next thing I knew it was the last week of the semester, and I only completed four pages of the essay. Three pages were works cited, and one was a cover page, I had my work cut out for me.

After two Red Bulls and many tears, my final was complete by 6 a.m.  That week I wrote as much as I could; fortunately, it was enough to recover from so much lost time.  Lesson learned no more risky procrastination.

Take advantage of all that your college has to offer, tuition is way-too-expensive not to. Make your college counselor your new best friend for the next four years. Your private college counselor will make your life and college experience easier. Never take your counselor’s advice for granted, but aim to apply it in your daily life.

College is the prime of your life, make an effort not to experience any meltdowns or panic attacks.  Be proactive about your wellness and mental health.  Also, have fun balancing work and play.

College is exciting and for many of us, the best years of our lives.  This is a time the youth is in their prime. Learning more about self and deciding which role is vital for the future. Yet, it is also a vital period for developing the skill of balance. Coping skills, resiliency, and stress management something that many young adults lack.

If you are interested in using a private college counselor, please look at your school’s website and schedule an appointment, you will be so glad you did.

You Can Be Anything You Want

van-renselar-abstract-art-abstract-artSome people are born knowing the destiny of their life while others, such as me get to enjoy the journey towards this mysterious gift. When I was a kid, I took the “you can be anything you want” phrase very literally. I wanted to do all the things that I found to be interesting such as science, history, and art. I had it all figured out.

First, I would become an astronaut while I was still young, then, an archaeologist, and retire as an artist. When I reached middle school, the process of elimination kicked in and after barely surviving sixth-grade biology, science forever lost its appeal. However, art and history made the cut with the addition of writing.

For my senior year of high school, this question haunted me: “what’s your college major?”  I had no clue!  I could barely decide what to wear to school.  I could picture myself pursuing a variety of careers. I envied the seniors who knew exactly what they wanted to do.

I had to be persistent in asking myself questions like: What am I good at doing?  What do I love to do? Love doing so much, that I would be willing to do it for free.

As daunting as these questions are, all roads finally led to marketing.  Finally, declaring marketing as my major motivated me to set other goals that would make me a more qualified candidate for future employment.

For my spring semester, I wrote a list of goals to achieve during the summer, which included getting an internship.  Since I want to be good at marketing, an internship will provide me with the experience necessary for the real world.  After accomplishing this goal, I felt a sense of urgency and enthusiasm to continue.

Each semester I maintained this same goal with better results.  For my second internship, I got to travel to The Netherlands and to think this all began by taking 5 minutes to write down a few goals.  I still live by the “you can be anything you want” phrase because witnessing myself living on purpose makes me believe it even more.

Finding your life’s purpose is an exciting journey, one in which you will conquer your fears, take risks, and eventually lead you to a place you have always dreamed. Everyone is good at something, and it is imperative not to become too discouraged.

“It doesn’t matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop” ~ Confucius.

With my “process of elimination moment”, I knew I was stepping closer to a more passionate future.  Searching for your purpose takes effort, but it will be worth it.  Your self-esteem will boost followed by a pinch of pride and an abundance of joy knowing that you are living the life doing what you love.  Having busy days doing what you are passionate about makes the lazy weekend all the more special and well deserved.  You will appreciate the tough adversities you had to endure.

It is nice doing something with your life, but it is even better when it is your calling.  Your work will display your passion.  It is a win- win for everyone!  Have the passion to live on purpose, and create your destiny.  Enjoy the journey of the “purpose driven life”.

The Beauty of Silence

the-silenceI could not see her, but I knew she entered the room. It was silent. I never felt such solitude in the midst of others. I tamed my mind to concentrate on a simple assignment, breathing. My mind debated back insisting that I choose something less biological. My thoughts were terrified at what could come to mind; the threat of becoming to acquaint with the repressed that lurked in the abyss of me. My senses desperate for a distraction. But it was too late; she stole me with her still grace.

Her presence was rare and often underappreciated. My mind panicked in not knowing what to do in her company. Pure at heart, calm in spirit, she was. I entered a world of a delightful nothingness. It was a secure, peaceful, and inviting refuge. I was outside of myself, my location: Unknown. At the peak of utter euphoria my phone spoke in the distant, interrupting, and she swiftly departed.

I was forced to return to society’s mundane preoccupation. A world where stress is normal, tasks are ever-present, and entertainment is inescapable. I almost met myself beyond the roles I play, but my master said, “not today.”

The Release Magazine