Trying New Things

Camp has always been a place that pushes me out of my comfort zone. You won’t find many people who hate cheesy icebreaker games more than me. Doing silly things with strangers is not something I usually enjoy. Team building games at student council camp were more enjoyable for me, but they were incredibly frustrating to do with people I didn’t know. I am a creature of habit and don’t really like new things. However, camp definitely taught me that stepping out of my comfort zone is when I grew.

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Icebreakers and team building gave me a lot of skills I didn’t know I would need. Now, as a reporting student, I am a lot better at striking up conversations and figuring out how to conduct interviews with different types of people. I have a much better approach to problem solving and leading committees within my sorority. I also learned how to speak up and not be the quiet girl waiting for the game to get back around to me. There are a lot of ways I apply these uncomfortable experiences in life. I cherish the fact that camp made me step outside of my comfort zone.

It’s always good to try new things, even if it’s uncomfortable. I still hate doing it, but I grow when I try new things.

I decided to try my hand at dip calligraphy pens since I love using regular pens to do hand lettering. Now, this hasn’t been a huge growing experience like camp, but it’s still trying something new. I thought I would be able to pick it up and make some really beautiful things. I was very wrong.

 

I learned a lesson in patience today. Trying to figure out how to work the different nibs (the part you dip in the ink) properly was frustrating. And I definitely didn’t figure it out in one day. You can see that from the photos.

 

The point is, I did something with a different approach than I usually do. It was a reminder that I’m not going to succeed at everything right away. Beautiful things take patience. Even though it was small, stepping out of my comfort zone still taught me something.

I still hate trying new things. This was frustrating. My advice is to do it anyway. The rewards outweigh the fear of failure.

I think failure was the real reason I always hated the games at student council camp. Beautiful friendships came out of that camp though because I pushed that fear of failure down and stepped out of my comfort zone.

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People Take You Places

One of the most important things I have learned is that camp doesn’t happen without other people. It’s not a solitary activity. All the fun, growth, reflection, and everything else cannot happen unless you have people doing it alongside you. Sure, you can do those things all by yourself. But, the camp setting proves that the results are magnified when you’re doing it with other people.

I believe that you learn best from other people. Something that someone else says or does often sparks a new thought inside of you. This is a cycle. That’s why student council camp was so effective for me. You can’t learn leadership qualities without people to lead you and without people to lead. At church camp, spiritual growth happens by learning from others’ stories and talking through life with them.

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I feel it is extremely important to keep this mindset year round. The past few weeks I have been extremely busy and often try to spend any free time I have taking some time for myself. I am a firm believer in personal time to keep your mind healthy. However, I realized once I got a free weekend that I was continuing to be stressed because I hadn’t been spending enough time with other people.

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My friends forced me to take some time off and go hiking and hammocking with them. They got my mind off of everything. We just sat in peace and talked about life. I always stress how great it is to foster relationships, but I sometimes forget to maintain those myself.

Without people I get caught up in my head. I get concerned with my successes and failures, when my biggest failure is actually missing out on time with the people I love. This past week was a good reminder that people make me happy and help me get through life. Life is a team effort. We need others to grow and learn, but also to keep us focused on enjoying life as we go.

Don’t take the people who love you for granted.

April Organization

I am going to share my April bullet journal layout and how I adapted it based on what I learned from March. My first month of using the bullet journal system was awesome. I felt like I had it all together. My list of things to do was way more productive and fewer items slipped my mind.

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I kept the monthly intro page with goals. I always will, but I’m still not sure how I feel about the monthly goals part being on it. Maybe I’ll start to put memories here next month.

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I also left the calendar and habit tracker because they definitely worked for me. Obviously, I still don’t have time to do a lot of things I would like to. I mean, look at that April calendar.

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I also left the gratitude section mostly unchanged. It’s still very grounding to look back on the days and know that something good does come of every one of them, even if sometimes it doesn’t seem like it.

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Here is where I started switching the layout up a lot based off what I learned in March. I condensed the Waiting On section. There is no reason I should be ordering a whole page of packages, and I fail to keep track of emails and calls because I make so many. I added a Big Verses section. This allows me to kind of keep track of what was important during the month and helps me look back and re-center myself in the Word. I left the memories section, though I need to get better at using it. That’s a goal this month.

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I combined the Wins and Learning sections and took away the weekly reflection part of them. I didn’t need all that space and didn’t use it well for March. It might come back once I get better at using it. I also added the #RockYourHandwriting challenge in to keep track of. I am bad about doing it, but hey, baby steps.

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I also decided to add in the use of fun embellishments. I got these in the dollar section at Target, but they’re perfect. They allow me to keep notes that I don’t want to randomly scribble on pages.

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Here’s where some honestly comes in. I am not perfect at using my bullet journal. April began while I was on Spring Break, which is why I opted not to put my updated bullet journal layout on the blog. However, after I came back I learned a very important organization lesson. I had messed with the layout, but got distracted on break and didn’t necessarily need it. When I got back, I was not prepared for the week I had thrown at me.

As you can see above, I skipped a few days. Or a lot of days. I was so overwhelmed with the week that most nights I just came home really late and went to bed. Add in the fact that I had a terrible stomach virus on top of deadline week, a test, a research paper, and Greek Week and you get a disaster of a person. However, not keeping track of my tasks just made it a million times worse. (I also make mistakes, which drives me nuts. Notice the washi tape.)

I got through the week and sat and reorganized my life, almost literally. I learned that I don’t function well with no type of organization keeping me together. My past week was significantly better. I had everything organized and listed in my journal. Everyone has crazy weeks, you just have to learn how to anchor yourself. For me, it turns out I am already bullet journal dependent. Sure, I keep track of things other ways, but this made me feel unorganized. Feeling that way just added a mental mess to the physical mess that was my first week back from break.

That’s a lesson learned and some new goals set. Organization is key to a healthy state of mind.

Happy Hanging

My favorite part about camp? These past few years it has been hammocking. Now, you may wonder why. Why would I choose to sit around in a hammock when I have a whole camp full of things to do?

The answer is simple: It’s what makes me happy.

If I have learned anything from camp, it’s to do what makes you happy. Find your joy and let it fill you up, then spread that joy to others.

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I love sitting in a hammock because I do it with my favorite people. Nothing is boring when you are with people you love. Sitting in hammocks is the perfect way to relax, while getting to have great conversation and learn from other people. It’s an environment where people let their guard down and makes conversations about life and love flow freely. Some of my best conversations have happened 10 feet up in a tree.

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Sitting in hammocks at camp is what gave me the people who are now my closest friends. A couple of us happened to have the same hobby, and over time others who had sat in our hammocks with us got their own and joined us. We got to spend true quality time together. We had no phones at camp, just each others’ company. I think a lot of times we forget what it’s like to just sit and get to know someone. People are the greatest gift there is, and we have to remember to appreciate the people we have while they’re around.

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Hammocking has taught me about relationships. It has taught me to care about people: what they have to say, what their dreams are, what their fears are, and so much more. Sitting for hours in total tranquility with another human being is a greatly undervalued activity in our world today.

It is important to have people in your life who will listen to your thoughts and love you for them. Having people who take common interest in things and encourage you to be a better person is what can make or break a person.

I also love my hammock because I can grab it and go. I can hammock wherever, as long as there are two trees and good company. Spontaneous adventure is better with people you love.

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I have also found that taking my hammock and a buddy and heading off on a trail is my way to cope with stress. When I can’t handle busy weeks on campus, I get out in the sun on the weekend and just appreciate the a beautiful world and the beautiful people in it. Sometimes just sitting in silence and taking in the view is the peace a tired soul needs.

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I hope that everyone can find what brings them joy and peace. I also hope it’s with people who bring joy and peace. Love and laughter may happen sitting in a sunny hammock for me, but everyone should have an outlet where they can just step out of the world for a moment. I have found how incredibly important it is to take care of your soul. You’ve only got one, so don’t wear it out. Fill it with joy, then when it’s full, fillother people’s with joy too.

Plus, who says hammocking is all relaxing? You’ve got to get up there somehow. The fun is often in the climb.

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Pinterest and Goals

Student council camp had a speaker every year who talked to us about goal setting. Now, I went for six years so I just about had this talk memorized. However, it still reminded me year after year that goal setting really is important. The speaker always talked about the acronym SMART. She encouraged us to make “smart” goals.

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I fully believe that these types of goals are important. I often set goals for what I want my semester GPA to be, things I want to get done each day, etc. Those are SMART goals. But I also fully believe in goals that often aren’t attainable or realistic. Kind of like a dream, but slightly more possible. This is why I love Pinterest.

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Pinterest is a place to keep those goals that may not be attainable. They may not fall under all or any of the SMART categories, but they are things that make you happy to think about. My Pinterest is where I go if I need a quick ten minutes of stress relief. I have 13 boards (which is super minimal compared to intense pinners) where I keep a sort of list of things I would love to have in my life at some point.

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The boards can be as simple as things I want to do to my hair someday or items I want to craft (some of which I have), all the way to crazy adventures I would love to go on and what I imagine my wedding will look like.Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 9.46.47 AM

I also have boards that simply have inspirational, motivational, and joyful words on them. It’s sometimes nice to look at when I need some encouragement. I will often doodle these phrases out on paper or in my bullet journal. Another small stress relief trick I have.Screen Shot 2016-04-01 at 9.47.41 AM

The shot above is from my board for style. These are things I would love to see in my closet, but could live without. It helps me kind of lay out my personality in clothing. It ranges from beautiful dresses to quirky adventure shirts. These are definitely attainable, but maybe not realistic because I am a college student on a budget. I feel awesome whenever I can actually purchase something off of my board though. It’s the feeling of a goal achieved.

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The next shot is from my board for my townhouse. I get my first off campus living arrangement next year, so this is where I pin what I am aiming to decorate it like. I have picked my color scheme and basic look. I pin all sorts of things that fall under them that I can combine when looking for the items over the summer. Definitely falls under a few of the SMART categories, but is more of a dream than a goal.

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The last one I’m showing you is actually a secret board. This is my “Mindfulness” board. It is where I keep a lot of organizational items. All of my bullet journal and hand lettering pins are saved here, but also just things that bring me peace in a busy day. This is a great board because I have actually put these pins to paper. My bullet journal is great (I just designed a slightly new setup for April) and helps me set real goals and measure them.

It’s okay to have dreams. People are always telling students to set realistic goals. Set goals that will help you get ahead in life. Well sure, those are important. It’s also important to have a set of goals that aren’t realistic but that bring you joy to think about.