Taking The L: Failing A College Class
College Life |  Source: ak4.picdn.net

Taking The L: Failing A College Class

Sometimes taking a fat L is necessary to whip you into shape.

This is an ode to all the students who need a reminder that failing or withdrawing from one class is not going to ruin your life.

I came to college from an extremely rigorous girls high school, ranked nationally for its academic excellence, theater and arts, and championship-winning athletics. Although senior year was my vision of Dante's seventh ring of hell (with AP classes and college apps, too!), second semester rolled around, I was accepted into colleges and I could finally say my high school work ethic and motivation paid off

I came to college considering myself a fairly good student -- I was well rounded with high-level courses and a plethora of extracurriculars. Then I physically set foot on campus at one of the top universities in the nation and expected it to be the same as high school.

I thought I could cruise on by doing barely any work, procrastinate as I pleased, and join any and all of the extracurriculars I was interested in. Well let me tell you, I was really fucking wrong.

There are some people that can do it all, but as I've learned, I'm not one of those people. I require at least 6.5 hours of sleep per night, I need breaks for mental rest and I need to do somewhat well in my classes so I don't freak out. However, as a first semester freshman, I didn't have this all figured out and I took the L for it.

Hard work equals time, and that time was spread thin amongst my commitments. One class in particular took an especially hard hit. It required much more work than I was used to putting into a singular class, and it was also just so damn hard.

I didn't have the same individualized support from teachers in college as I did in my tiny high school. I was left in the dust feeling anxious, depressed and failing.

I spent countless nights trying desperately to finish the work on time and understand the material, but nothing I did worked. I was near failing the class and had to subsequently make the decision to withdraw.

One of the biggest fears I've maintained my whole life is a fear of failure, so this was a particularly hard hit to cope with. However, the world did not end. I realized that not doing well in one thing is shockingly OK.

I decided that I would pick myself up and not let this be the end of me. Once I talked to my academic dean and withdrew from the class, I moved the fuck on. I am now living my life as a happy human being.

One college class is no longer taking a toll on my mental health, and I can focus my time on things I am actually interested in pursuing with my other academic courses and extracurriculars. I have time to reflect and think about what I want in my future.

Bottom line, sometimes you put up a fight but you end up taking an L. What's important is that you take something away from your failure and learn from it, then pick yourself up and move on. If I lived after facing my biggest fear, so will you.

Image Alt
College Life | 

Bring Back the Fanny Pack

Taking fashion back from elderly tourists, one fanny pack at a time.

Ahh, the Fanny Pack. For years it has been labeled the tourist fashion faux pas, an unsightly substitute for a purse, a staple in the closets of all uncool moms who couldn't leave the past where it belonged. For years, it has been labeled a tourist fashion faux pas, an unsightly substitute for a purse, a staple in the closets of all uncool moms who couldn't leave the past where it belonged. I've coveted the accessory ever since Season 2 of America's Best Dance Crew, when members of the crew Fanny Pak did gravity-defying choreography full of flips and shit, all while donning the retro accessory. They weren't just talented, they were COOL.

I knew I'd never be able to dance like them, so I resorted to just channeling their fly af style by wearing, you guessed it, the fanny pack. I brought this fanny pack fervor to college with me, and it's definitely caught on. Recently, my school's athletic department hopped on board the fanny pack train and gave them away at a basketball game, and let me tell you, it was a hit. Hundred of students and parents alike were scrambling to get ahold of a fluorescent green belted sacks.

As a proud owner of three fanny packs, I highly recommend everyone join the trend, even A-list celebs are doing it! If fashion moguls Kylie and Kendall Jenner rocking the pack isn't enough to convince you, I've made a list of six additional reasons to bring back the fanny pack.

They're hands-free.
Once you clip it in place, this miracle device lets you eat, drink, and hit the dance floor all while keeping your shit completely secure. Keeping track of your cash at all-day festivals is no longer an issue.

Banish back and shoulder pain.
No more slinging monstrous bags and purses over your shoulder. With a fanny pack, all the pressure is taken off and belted centrally on your body. Plus with the smaller size, you'll be forced to limit yourself to the essentials.

Cover up the beer gut/period bloat/FUPA.
I feel like the whole world must know when I get my period, because I have intense bloating in the oh-so-lovely muffin top region. That, and the whole PMS thing. But with a fanny pack concealing my tummy, I can confidently wear what I want without feeling self-conscious. Because cramps alone are enough to deal with.

Never lose your ID or keys again.
In four years I've purchased ten IDs, called Safety and Security twenty-something times, and twice broke into my own house through the window, simply because I can never keep track of my ID or keys. Fanny packs are the solution for the organizationally challenged like me, and they're conveniently located so you aren't fumbling around in the depths of your backpack while trying to escape the frigid cold.

It doubles as a portable pantry.
My stomach has a mind of its own some days, so I never know when I'm going to get hungry. The size and location of a fanny pack makes storing a snack and eating on the go that much more convenient. Perfect to hold gum and travel toothbrush as well for afterwards.

They are subtle, yet make a statement.
Whether you're going for a neutral look or using it as your prime accessory, fanny packs come in a variety of styles and colors to match every outfit. Even designer brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton are making them. Why limit yourself to just one?

Image Alt
College Life |  Source: N. Leeper, Shutterstock

What The Hell Is A Bullet Journal?

Organize your life.

A bullet journal is the complex--yet simultaneously simple--combination of a diary, planner, sketchbook and to-do list. They've recently had an increase in popularity with everyone from Buzzfeed to Refinery29 covering the bullet journal system.

While the original directions for the bullet journal system include specifics for its symbols and pages, the main thing to remember is that it's your bullet journal. Make it work for you.

Some people leave it minimally chic while others go all out with doodles and designs. The sky's the limit BUT there are a few basic things to keep in mind when making your own bullet journal:

1. Keep it organized.
The entire point behind a bullet journal is that it's supposed to make life simpler, not harder. Try to ensure that everything you put inside your journal has some sort of cohesive look to it. It might be easier in the moment to just write whatever you want when you want to, but when you're looking for something specific, you'll wish you had kept things a bit more organized.

2. Keys are key.
Your key will help you keep track of what's what in your bullet journal. Separate your tasks by their level of completion: started, finished, cancelled, etc. Some people use colors to organize their key, but any symbol works as long as it's simple enough for you to recreate and remember.

3. Mistakes are normal.
We're human, we make mistakes. If you misnumber a page, forget to write one day, or use the wrong symbol, just remember it's not the end of the world. Whether it's by using some whiteout, a sticker, or plain ol' ignoring it, there's always a way to fix the problem. Even the most experienced journalers mess up sometimes. It's okay.

4. Write what's important.
This is where your individuality really comes into play. No two people are exactly alike, so obviously no two bullet journals should be exactly alike. If you're looking to improve your health, consider making a habit tracker page. If you'd like to see how your mood is day by day, why not try a mood mandala? Are you trying to save money? Make a budget page.

5. Learn as you go.
As you continue to bullet journal you'll find out what works for you and what doesn't. If that page from last month wasn't for you, don't include it again. Did you really like that doodle page? Continue with it. Was the layout a bit annoying? Change it!

6. Don't give up.
Even if you aren't artistic or all that creative, you shouldn't be scared of bullet journaling. If you miss a few days or really hate your layout, just keep pushing forward--it'll be worth it when your journal is all filled up and you can look back at how much you've improved.

Image Alt
College Life |  Source: N. Leeper, Shutterstock

The "Unguarded And Unbothered" Movement Is Taking Over Instagram

Encouraging women to love their REAL selves.

As I sit scrolling through the Instagram account I dedicated to fitness, I come across post after post after post of perfectly sculpted, perfectly beautiful, perfectly PERFECT women. Their bodies are lean and strong, with muscles I didn't even know a human could have. My mind floats to my stunning lack of abs. My delts don't pop like hers do. My legs are at least ten times chunkier than that girl's.

Staring at these kinds of pictures daily can wreck a girl's self-esteem. One girl decided to start a movement that ended up taking Instagram by storm: Unguarded And Unbothered.

Desiree Scoggin, a 22-year old certified personal trainer, created the movement to encourage women to see beauty in themselves in a world that often times pressures them to be perfect. She posted the following photo on Instagram, which would lead to a massive wave of women joining in to celebrate their bodies -- their real, beautiful bodies.

This took a lot of balls.. but this is me. ?? Not one drop of edit. No contortion. No sucking in. No glamour shot. 100% me. 100% vulnerable. #UnguardedAndUnbothered I use to hate how I have reddish skin around my eyes. I use to hate the way my belly button looked. I hated how one eye squinted more when I smiled. I use to hate that I got acne everywhere, including my back. I use to hate that my thighs were so big. I use to hate that I didn't have boobs. I use to hate that people called me "broad" and told me I'd be a good football player (lol F off). I hated my eyebrows and how they looked so much I shaved them with a literal razor ??. I USE TO HATE "ME"! Now, I love everything about myself so much I want you guys to see it and *hopefully* love me and accept me for who I am too! ???????? I'm not here to BS anyone, I'm not here to act like I know everything, and I'm not here to inspire purely through fitness. I'm HERE to inspire you through your life! I want to help so many people it makes me emotional just thinking about it, and typing this. I want to make a difference in this world. I WILL make a difference in this world. Take your makeup off, look at yourself in the mirror, forget about what the media tells you, and LOVE YOURSELF! Share your own beauty, I want to see it --> #UnguardedAndUnbothered. ?????? #desbfit #desbfittraining #therealme #bereal #nomakeup #noedit #thriving #pure #realitycheck #fitnessjourney #unbothered #teamhappiness #lit #iamenough

A post shared by Desiree Scoggin (ACSM-CPT) (@desb___) on

The photo is unedited, unfiltered, uncontoured. It's 100 percent real, 100 percent Desiree. In the caption, she laundry-lists all the things that she used to hate about herself, all of which are now things that she loves so much. So much that she wants everyone to see them and accept her for HER. Completely unguarded, completely real and unbothered by the raw truth of who she is.

In the post, Des invited her followers to join in the movement, to let down the guard that covers up their insecurities and to be unbothered in showing their real selves to the world. The #UnguardedAndUnbothered tag currently has almost 1700 posts and grows daily.

Hundreds of women have joined what has become so much more than a self-love movement. It's a proclamation of confidence, of self, of acceptance and of raw beauty. In a society that puts so much pressure on women to be perfect, it's amazing to see so many strong, beautiful women not afraid to show their "flaws" and let others know they're not alone.

I ended up joining the movement a few weeks after Des posted the original photo. I had my hair thrown up in a messy bun. I was wearing my glasses and no makeup. My arms looked skinny, and I didn't have anything resembling a six-pack, but looking in the mirror, I loved who I was. All the bad things I used to pick apart, I realized were what made me... me.

I was terrified at first to post such a raw photo, but I received so much positive feedback and so many encouraging words, and Des herself even left a comment telling me that I looked so happy and confident. I realized being sincerely accepting of and happy about who you are is worth SO much more than an unattainable image of "perfection".

Des has continued to slayyyyy the Instagram game, and now has over 22K followers. She continues to embody her original #UnguardedAndUnbothered message in all of her posts, encouraging those who follow her to do the same.

Des's movement has obviously garnered a ton of success. It has allowed women to come to peace with themselves and their imperfections, and to show the world that they are proud of who they are. This has inspired me to start feeling more confident about myself in general. In my eyes, that's a success.

Image Alt
College Life |  Source: businessinsider.com

Malia Obama Is Taking A Gap Year, and You Should Too

If Malia can, so can you.

Malia Obama, oldest daughter of President Obama, recently announced her plan to take a gap year before attending Harvard University. Harvard, among other top universities, actually encourages high school students to take a year off between high school and college.

Source: giphy.com

Why do this? What do colleges gain by promoting a year off before school? More importantly, what do YOU gain?

I was so excited to finally be a "cool" college student that I not only scoffed at the idea of a gap year, but began school the summer immediately after high school ended instead of waiting until the fall.

Yes, I'm that much of a nerd.

It went great... at first. Everything was new and exciting! College has a very different feel compared to high school and I finally felt grown-up. I did extremely well in my summer classes and made a few friends in the process.

By the time fall semester rolled around, I was insanely burnt out. The idea of going to class everyday was exhausting and I literally gave 0 fucks about homework or studying for tests. My GPA quickly went from a 3.7 to a 2.5.

Source: giphy.com

I was so excited about this new phase in the my life that I didn't want to take a break. I wanted to just jump right in and soak it all up. Well, I did and my GPA suffered greatly for it.

Taking a year off between high school and college is becoming increasingly more popular. The American Gap Association's 2015 National Alumni Survey shows that students who take a gap year have improved college graduation rates and GPAs (among other things) compared to those who did not.

Universities are picking up on this trend and some schools, such as Princeton, are offering financial assistance to students who wish to take a year before undergrad to travel abroad. Pretty cool, right?

Even if your school doesn't offer any gap year programs or benefits, you can still use that time to relax, work (because college is expensive af), sightsee, and learn more about yourself and what you want out of life.

You may end up finding you actually love photography more than you thought and want to switch your major, or that volunteering at a hospital made healthcare much more appealing to you.

Source: giphy.com

Without taking a year to grow and develop before college, you may end up missing out on some really cool things. I wish I had taken time off to take a vacation or saved some money. You don't want to spend your next year at college chasing your GPA because you were too burnt out to care.

Source: giphy.com

Image Alt
College Life |  Source: glistenfit.com

The Badass Workout You Actually Have Time For

A packed schedule isn't an excuse for not taking care of yourself.

High Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, has become all the rage lately. While it hasn't quite reached CrossFit levels of popularity, it's just as likely to get you the results you want. Plus you're less likely to get injured, and you're much less likely to post a video of yourself covered in an unnecessary amount of chalk, jumping onto a box. HIIT hasn't become popular because it's trendy, or it looks cool. It's become popular because it works.

If HIIT sounds complicated, don't worry, it's not. But if it sounds intense, then, well, yeah, it's really intense. But it's quick, and more effective than any workout you're doing right now.

What is HIIT?
High Intensity Interval Training consists of short bursts of activity (45 to 90 seconds), followed by rest (45 to 90 seconds), followed by another short burst of activity. Not including warm-up and cool down time, the intense part of a HIIT workout really only needs to last from 10 to 20 minutes. And 20 minutes is reserved for the truly badass. Ten minutes is definitely enough for a beginner, and after a few workouts, you'll probably settle around 15 minutes.

How intense is "intense"?
We're measuring intensity here by using your heart rate. According to the American Heart Foundation, the average 20-year old's max heart rate is 200 beats per minute (BPM).

The "aerobic" zone is the heart rate zone most people fall into when they work out. A HIIT workout requires you to reach the "anaerobic" zone.

Aerobic literally means "with oxygen," and anaerobic means, "without oxygen."

The difference between the anaerobic and aerobic zone is in the way energy gets released. When you do an aerobic workout your body uses oxygen for energy, but once you reach a certain level of effort, your body uses glucose (sugar).

For example, a marathon runner is almost always in the aerobic zone, while a sprinter is almost always in the anaerobic zone.

You can actually measure which zone you're in based on your heart rate. The anaerobic zone falls between 80 and 90 percent of your max heart rate. So with a max heart rate of 200 bpm, your anaerobic zone is between 160 and 180.

If you finish your interval and you count 16 beats by the time six seconds go by, you're doing it right.

How do I get my heart rate up that high?
This is the best part about HIIT. You choose how to get your heart rate up to that anaerobic zone. Personally, I go to the track and sprint for 45-90 seconds, and take about a minute of rest. Sometimes I jump in the pool and swim 50 to 100 meter sets as fast as I can.

But it's really up to you how you get your heart pumping. Maybe you want to do the most intense set of jumping jacks known to man. Or you can string together a set of calisthenics for an intense minute and then take a rest.

How do I not get hurt?
Don't be stupid. Start slow. Warm up properly. And if you're not sure you can handle this type of exercise, check with a doctor, and work yourself up to it.