Monday, December 17, 2012

I'm Back! The Quarter in Review.

It's been MONTHS since I've written a blog post (obviously) and it's nice to finally have some time on my hands! And of course, I have to tell you what my first quarter at Cal Poly was like.

The Food: Terrible. A couple of the dining spots on campus are notorious for food poisoning. And it makes me so mad-we live in the heart of California's agricultural land and yet the vegetables and fruit are poor quality. Next quarter I really need to work on fueling my body right because campus food (except for this one sandwich place) just isn't good for me.

The Campus: Gorgeous! I love everything about coastal weather-chilly mornings and warm afternoons, gorgeous sunsets, scattered rain. We have some pretty amazing views of mountains so every run is pretty. The campus is on a hill (and my dorm is at the top of the hill) so I have to walk up a hill every time I want to get back to the dorm. My butt has benefitted very much from this, lol.

The People: Good, for the most part. Some of the girls can still be kinda clique-y but I've met so many people that I can just go up to and start a conversation with.  Most people are pretty chill here and it sounds funny, but we're just a happy group of people.

The Classes/Teachers: I took General Chemistry 1, The Diversity of Life (a Biology class), and Public Speaking. My chemistry teacher was probably my favorite-she reminded me of my clarinet teacher from home-very petite but full of dynamic energy. She also liked me because I got really, REALLY high scores on my midterms and took the lead in my lab group-I hope I get to take her again.  My biology class was my least favorite. The teacher was not engaging (and didn't seem to be able to answer questions) and the class was at 8:40AM-there was not a day I didn't fall asleep during it.  Public speaking was definitely a helpful class in terms of "when am I ever going to need this?" I got a lot out of it, despite days of flushed cheeks and sweaty palms.

The Rec Center: AMAZING. Brand new equipment, lots of windows, many places to work out-oh yeah. I went 3-4 times/week during the Fall quarter. I have never gone to an actual gym before, so it was cool to learn how to use the stationary bikes, stairmaster, and hip adductor/abductor machine.  The last one was my favorite-my inner thighs have never been so tight in my entire life! The downside to my infatuation with the gym was that I did not run outside except for maybe a handful of times. So this break I've been getting back into running and I had forgotten how strong it makes me feel. That's another thing I'm going to work on next quarter: run more.

The Diseases: College is basically a hormonally-charged melting pot for all kinds of sicknesses. The initial "Poly Plague" went around and then strep and mono followed after it.  I am so lucky to have gotten nothing worse than a slight head cold.  Taking a multivitamin every day, using hand sanitizer, drinking emergen-C, and keeping up on my sleep and exercise really paid off.  There WAS one night that I had the runs, but hey! That burrito did taste a little funky...

I think that's it for now! I'll try to write again before break ends :)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me! And 18 Things I'm Thankful For

I'm 18 today. What a serious number-I can almost feel the cynicism and wrinkles creeping in. But before I get too old, I'd like to recognize 18 things for which I am thankful in this part of my life.

1. A supportive family-though they drive me crazy, I would not be the person I am today without them.
2. Wonderful friends-they fill my life with energy and laughter and I could not wish for anything better.
3. Musical abilities-playing clarinet had done so many great things for me and I hope I never give it up.
4. My perseverance throughout my weight struggles. At my heaviest, I weighed 150lbs at a height of a mere 5'2". The summer before my freshman year in high school I started running, and the pounds came off and have stayed off (aside from the occasional PMS bloat and emotional ice cream consumption).  Now I'm content at a weight of 125lbs and still work everyday on my fitness and well-being.
5. All the teachers who supported me throughout school and who inspired me to achieve my best.
6. Crest Whitestrips and braces. A little smile goes a long way! But of course, more is more.
7. The ability to tell myself "Rachel, don't be a weenie" (doesn't work if others say it lol) and then somehow magically it gets me to try amazing new things!
8. Books.
9. Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling, Charlie McDonnell, the unusually large percentage of good-looking young men in Washington DC, Adam Levine, etc
10. Bride Day on TLC.
11. The opportunity to receive my undergraduate education through Cal Poly.
12. People who make a point to include others and make them feel welcome/accepted.
13. Table manners.
14. Maternal instincts and the ability to really listen to people so that they feel valued.
15. Chocolate.
16. Wisdom gathered from random places.
17. DOGS DOGS DOGS-their fuzzy butts, soft ears, soulful eyes-everything about them.
18. Lastly, I'm thankful to have this blog so that I can capture the positive moments of my life to look back upon in a few years (or when I need some cheering up). As Gretchen Rubin says, the days are long but the years are long.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Happiness Project

This summer I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin-I'm so glad I did. It's so easy to get caught up in just going through the motions of life and this book really helped me stop and think about what I'm really doing with my life. Rubin ends the book with a few questions to think about soooo here are my reflections!

What makes you feel good? What activities do you find fun, satisfying, or energizing?
----I'm lucky to have quite a few things that bring positive energy into my life: playing my clarinet, working out, baking, making an effort to look good, and spending time with my dog/family/friends, but I also enjoy spending time alone.  Reading has become a refuge for me this summer, and sometimes it's also nice just to listen to music and paint my toenails.

What makes you feel bad? What are sources of anger, irritation, boredom, frustration, or anxiety in your life?
----Usually I love going the extra mile for people, but lately the people I've been there for don't give me the time of day except when they want something. People who have bad manners also irritate me (especially when they chew ice or chew with their mouth open). I've also been bored this summer due to my inability to find a job so that's been a sore spot-it just gives me time to think about things that I don't need to worry about.  And I'm often bothered by the fact that despite having a mile PR of 7:28, I can't seem to have a run where my average pace is under 10 minutes.

Is there any way in which you don't feel right about your life? Do you wish you could change your job, city, family situation, or other circumstances? Are you living up to your expectations for yourself? Does your life reflect your values?
---Well, I'm changing cities soon with my move to college! And there's nothing I would change about my immediate family or how my life reflects my values. But living up to my own expectations? Yes and no. I didn't study as hard as I should have in high school and my GPA limited my college selection. But even then, some kids would kill to have the opportunities I had when choosing my final college. It's just  that despite my score of 2250 on the SAT and 3.9 GPA, the vast majority of my friends are the smartest at the school, and sometimes I feel rather quite stupid next to them. But I'm determined to change that in college! I'll be in the honors program and I have a few goals about my GPA. (Best: 4.0 every quarter, Good: Deans List/3.5+ every quarter, OK: 3.0+ every quarter).

Do you have sources of an atmosphere of growth? In what elements of your life do you find progress, learning, challenge, improvement, and increased mastery?
---College is the ultimate atmosphere of growth in all aspects: my social scene/personal life, academics, staying healthy, trying new things but staying true to the people and activities I already love, and doing laundry.

I also thought it was interesting that she differentiated between goals and resolutions. In her words, "you hit a goal, you keep a resolution". For example, I have daily goals of practicing my clarinet, but I've been working on a resolution to make my practice more efficient and productive.

What do you do to make sure that you stay a happy person?