Allison Acquaviva

Public Relations Major. Junior.

Writing Center Tutor. Circle K Member.

I'm a 20 year old Junior in the field of Public Relations. When I'm not blogging or on campus, I enjoy hanging out with family and friends, listening to music, watching Duck Dynasty & volunteering at the local animal shelters in & around the area. Animals are my biggest passion & someday I hope to make a difference in their lives.

Easter: How Utica Makes Our Traditions Unique!

Apr 20, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

Tomorrow marks my favorite day of the year (no, not my birthday): Easter.

Even as a child, Easter has always meant more to me than just about the Easter bunny, chocolate, or candy. Don’t get me wrong: I always made sure I had fun, but I was raised to know that the holiday was about so much more.

I come from a wonderful family that have taught me so many special traditions during this time of year. To us, Easter is not just a day. It’s a season. Starting on Ash Wednesday and lasting until Easter Sunday, my family and I do various activities that showcase the true meaning of Easter.

Every Friday during Lent our Church holds Stations of the Cross.

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My mom and I have gone for years and continue to go. This is something that I cherish greatly, and at times, have taken it for granted. Doing this together creates a special bond that only my mom and I can understand. I will always hold this close in my heart, and, when the time comes, will carry on with my children.

Once we enter Holy Week, our traditions are in full bloom. We begin by attending mass on Holy Thursday. Then on Good Friday, the cooking and baking begin. Since I come from an Italian and Polish heritage, the food is beyond delicious to say the least.

First my mom will begin making sausage pie. That’s an Italian tradition (my dad loves it!) Then, my mom will bake another Italian food, Easter Dolls. 

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And, boy are they delicious! They are quite time consuming, but so fun to make. Each year, I watch my mom make them & attempt to help out as much as possible :)

After Good Friday liturgy, my family and color our eggs. (Hint: Forget the store bought stuff, food coloring works amazingly!)

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Ever since I can remember, my grandparents always came back to our house to color eggs. Recently, my grandma taught me how to use beeswax to paint the eggs. That is totally a Polish custom, and trust me, they look beautiful when they’re completed! I’ll always thank my grandma for passing that on to me :)

Holy Saturday is by far my favorite day of Holy Week! My parents, grandparents and I all take our food to be blessed. That too, is a Polish custom. We head to Holy Trinity Church which is a beautiful, cathedral church in Utica.

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Each year, we gather in the gymnasium at the school next door to the church to get the food blessed. People line up their baskets filled with various special foods and the Priest says a Prayer and blesses them with Holy Water.

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After the blessing is done, we head inside the Church to sit in Prayer for a bit. Holy Trinity is truly unique – not only in its looks, but in its customs as well. Starting immediately after the Body of Christ is placed in the tomb, St. Michael’s Lancer’s stand guard until Easter Sunday morning when Christ is Resurrected. It truly is a beautiful and awe-inspiring sight.

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After we say a few Prayers, my mom and I head to Chester’s Flower Shop in Utica. Now, this is neither a Polish or Italian custom, but it is so fun to do. If you’ve never been to Chester’s before, you must go – especially at Easter. They have the most beautiful flowers (my favorites being lilies and tulips!)  They also have some precious little duckies that are worth checking out too :)

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We end the day with Holy Saturday Mass, which is so amazing. The blessing of the Holy Water, the blessing of the fire, it all is just so peaceful.

On Sunday, of course we start the morning with Easter Sunday Mass at our Church, St. Marks.

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Starting Easter morning with mass, celebrating Jesus’ Resurrection is a great start to the day. There’s something about it that signifies new birth, new life and gives such a sense of hope. How can you not be happy and rejoice??

Of course, we end our holiday with a big, family dinner filled with foods of all sorts.

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As I said, the sausage pie and Easter dolls are part of my Italian heritage. Kielbasa, the butter lamb, potato salad, rye bread, babka and beet soup are all part of the Polish heritage. Everything is so yummy. It’s like a second Thanksgiving for us!

I posted this to simply give you all an insight into some of the wonderful traditions that Utica has. I also posted this because I am so thankful for my family, and for the strong traditions that we hold. These things will always mean more to me than any material item and I will always follow them as I get older and eventually have my own family. Some people don’t hold onto traditions, and I honestly don’t know why. I think they really bring a family closer together.

So, what do you do to make your holiday special?

 

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The Truth about All-Nighters

Apr 12, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

Uh oh. Finals are coming up. Research papers are due. You procrastinated studying and researching. What do you do now? Well, most people would do the obvious….All-nighters. The thought of pulling even one gives me the creeps.

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When I graduated high school, the one thing I always heard was “Ah, you better get used to those all-nighters!” Well, I’m now going to be ending my Junior year and I have YET to pull one.

The truth is, you really don’t need to pull an all nighter. Not if you prioritize and don’t procrastinate. The way I see it, why would you give up precious sleep? Why not get your assignments done ahead of time? Granted there are some uncontrollable instances where an all nighter might be needed, but know that it is avoidable. It’s not part of the college life!

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Like the picture above says….that truly is the most important lesson you’ll learn in college. See, your mind and body need approximately 8 hours of sleep each night in order to be fully rested for the next day. It may not seem like it, but balancing homework, work, social life, and sleep really is not that hard….if you know how to do it right.

Way back when I took UC Seminar during my freshmen year, I was surprised to know that 95% of the time when a student is pulling an all-nighter, they actually aren’t doing their school work. The temptation of social networking eventually overtakes them, and bam. They’re up all night with only a bunch of “all nighter” statuses and tweets to show for it.

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So long story short, save yourself the stress of an all nighter by following these simple steps.

1 – Don’t Procrastinate: Write your paper ahead of time. You are more likely to write a quality paper that may get an A, instead of a quick paper that might only pull a C. When it comes to testing, study ahead of time. That way, not only will your brain absorb more information, but you’ll be more relaxed and well rested when it comes to test day.

2 – Prioritize: figure out what needs to be done first and do it. The most effective way of doing this is by making a list.

See how easy it is? Sure, we’re all guilty of putting things off until the last minute, but let’s not get into a habit of doing this. Finals week is the most common time when students pull all nighters – which is why it’s often called the nightmare week of the semester. But, it doesn’t have to be that way. Remember that.

Happiness. Do You Make Time For It?

Apr 12, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

Everyone knows that this part of the semester is so busy and stressful. The weather is getting nicer, the semester is winding down, papers, projects, tests, etc are being thrown at us left and right…..it is so hard to make time for all the things we need to do right? So, inevitably, in the midst of all the chaos surrounding us, we tend to not only lose our focus, but our happiness and positive attitudes too.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that optimism is key. Maintaining a positive attitude is crucial in daily life. I know it can be difficult, different circumstances and situations can really offset our mood. The challenge is to never lose our joy.

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Right now, I’m doing something called “The 100 Days of Happiness Challenge.” One of my friends actually showed me the idea and I LOVED it. The object is to pick one or two things each day that has made us happy, and the ultimate goal is to start slowing down and enjoying the little moments in life. With everyone’s hectic schedules, there is less and less time to simply enjoy the moment and environment you are in.

Sounds like an easy thing to do right? Picking out something that made you happy that day…no problem. Wrong. 71% of people tried to complete this challenge and quit because of time. Those people didn’t have time to be happy. My question is: do you? And if you don’t, what can you do to add a little happiness to your life?

1) Find something that inspires you.

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Joel Osteen inspires me in so many ways. If you’re unfamiliar with him, he is a preacher at Lakewood Church and a phenomenal motivational speaker! (Seriously, check him out) I owe a world of thanks to my Aunt for introducing me to him. He has a half hour broadcast every Sunday night and I ALWAYS make time for them. I also start each morning with a devotional from him. That helps set the tone for the day! His words are so uplifting and have honestly changed my thinking.

2) Let go of things and people you can’t change.

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Unfortunately, there will always be people and circumstances that will try to destroy your happiness. The key is to never let those things get to you. This is a tough one. But, instead of bringing that negative energy in, do everything in your power to let it all out. You can’t change people, and sometimes you can’t change your circumstances, but you can always change your attitude toward them!

3) Relax with your favorite hobby.

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One of my favorite hobbies to to kick back and relax with music. I love plugging my headphones in and forgetting the stress of the day! In fact, I’m blown away by how much music can change my entire mood :) (See what I did there?)

4) Appreciate the little things.

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Even if you’ve had the worst day possible, I guarantee you can find at least ONE thing that made you smile. Sometimes, taking a step back and reflecting on all of the good moments of the day can make your mood better. Remember a little perspective never hurts.

I love the little things in life, and since I’ve started doing this challenge, I’ve become more aware of them. I’ve also realized that my “bad” days….really aren’t that bad after all. So, if you’re feeling down or stressed, try this. It’s NOT easy, but it is worth it. Half of our problems can be solved with a simple change of attitude.

Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light.” - Albus Dumbledore

Technology: Why it’s OK to Step Away.

Apr 4, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

Ahhh good old technology. What would we ever do without it? It’s hard to imagine life without iPods, iPhones, iPads, and of course social media.

But, guess what? We survived long before these inventions came around, and we can do it again.

Reasons why it’s OK to step away from the phone AND social media

1) RESPECT

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This should be an obvious one. Unfortunately, it’s not. Nothing bugs me more than seeing people constantly on their phones, especially when they’re supposed to be engaged in a conversation. How on earth can you be paying attention to what someone’s saying if you’re mind is on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram? Granted we’re all guilty of this, I know, Technology and social media are addicting, but when you’re around other people, be courteous.

2) Health – Physical and Mental

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I think the picture sums it up pretty well. Think about it. How much of our time is consumed by technology and social media? Too much. It’s becoming unhealthy. I learned in one of my classes this semester that people spend an average time of 4 hours per day watching tv, and double that on social media! I can’t say I was surprised, but how healthy is that??  Not very. I’ve heard that people spend more time “instagraming” their food then just eating it. Not even kidding! Eating can’t even be technology free time anymore. The mind and body really need a break from all of that media don’t you think?

3) Focusing on Phones = Missed Memories

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That statement could not be more true. By spending time on your phone, iPad, etc can really take away precious time spent with your family and friends. All of my best memories do not involve technology in any way. It is so incredibly healthy and relaxing to spend time with those that love and care about you without having your phone attached to your hip. (And don’t give me the excuse that you use it for pictures….you can use a simple camera for that! ;) ) My point is….instead of connecting with Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, connect with your family/friends instead and see how much more enjoyable it is. Miss someone? Call them on the phone, drive out to see them, go out to breakfast/lunch/dinner…well, you get the idea. Don’t miss out on memories that will someday, mean the most.

4) Future Generations

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Sadly, this is what the future is looking like for the younger kids of America today. Playing? What’s playing? Talking? What does talking mean? It’s amazing how kids aren’t pushed more to socialize. But, it’s not their fault. They grow up thinking that this is the norm. What kind of example are we setting for the young kids today? I think we need to realize that it is okay to socialize. Not everything needs to be done behind a screen and not every conversation needs to be done through text.

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5) No Technology, No Drama

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We all know the dangers of social media. Someone posts something, or someone texts something and it’s taken out of context, BOOM. An argument starts and relationships, as well as reputations are ruined just like that. Is it worth it? My answer would be no. Want to hold a conversation without worrying about someone’s tone? Pick up the phone and call them then. Cyber bullying has unfortunately taken a rise, and social media and technology is to blame. Words hurt. Seeing something posted online about you hurts. A lot of people may think it’s “over-sensitivity”, but it’s not. It’s downright cruel. So, safe yourself from that negativity. It’s okay to participate in social media, and it’s okay to text, but don’t be so engrossed in it that you eventually become part of the drama.

Don’t get me wrong, technology is not all bad. When used properly, It can be very useful. So, what’s the point of this post? Just lay off technology. Put away the phones. Give your brain a rest from the tablets. Start interacting with people. Trust me, you’ll find your life will be much more healthier and happier.

 

 

 

The Disney College Program

Apr 3, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

I thought I’d post about something a little different today…

Everyone’s always talking about how they are looking for new, fun experiences when they’re in college. And, rightly so. College is supposed to be a time to try new things and step out of the box. So, I’d like to share something that is definitely on my bucket list, and maybe it’s on yours too…

How would you like to have this view every single day on your way to work?

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If you’re a Disney fan like me, then you would JUMP at the chance to work at the place where dreams come true! (Or at the happiest place on earth!) Did you know that Disney offers an incredible opportunity for college students?!

It’s called The Disney College Program and it is offered in both Disneyland in California and Walt Disney World in Florida. 

So what is it? As a full-time college student, you have the opportunity to make an incredible life-changing experience with this company. The Disney College Program offers college students from ANY area, from ANY background, the chance to live and work for 4 months at Disneyland or Disney World.

Here’s a few, brief, yet important things you need to know about The Disney College Program. Of course, all types of more detailed information is located on their website: http://cp.disneycareers.com/en/about-disney-college-program/overview/

1) Applying is NOT easy, but worth it.

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Like anything, there is a large application process. Unfortunately, this program is not too easy to get into. The Disney Company is looking for specific people with specific qualities and talents – as any employer would. There’s the original application – where you register online and fill out a form (much like an online job app). Then, it will be determined if you move on to the next step. If you do, you’ll receive a web based interview. If you pass that, next comes a phone interview until finally you’re either accepted or denied for that semester.

Caution: The application process may not be easy, but it is so worth it once you get accepted. It takes A LOT of patience and determination, so do not give up if you get denied the first time around. Also, this program only offers specific times that you can apply. For the Fall Semester (August – December), applications typically open in July. For the Spring Semester (Jan – May) applications open in November/December. Follow The Disney College Program on twitter, facebook, or check their official site for the specific dates.

2) ANYONE can apply!

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No matter what major you are or what college you go to, The Disney College Program does not discriminate against anyone. Yes, there are obviously certain rules and regulations that participants must follow, but if you really want it, you’ll do it. Period.

3) The Benefits

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Be aware of all the benefits that surround this program. You might be thinking “Okay, so I go live in Florida or California for a semester….what happens with my courses?” Good news. You can gain college credit by doing the Disney College Program. Along with working in the parks – which alone gives you benefits just learning how to work in a professional environment – you take several seminars that are geared toward your major. So, you can’t lose. There is also so many wonderful opportunities to make new friends and meet people from all over. People come from all over the world to do this! Talk about the chance to make lifelong friendships! Plus, as an added bonus, doing this program looks FABULOUS on a job resume ;)

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Still having doubts about the program? Well, lucky for me, I know someone who did the program in Florida a few years ago (and, he influenced me to check it out) and I had the chance to sit down with my friend Andrew Derminio to talk about his experience. Here is what he had to say:

1) What made you want to apply and eventually, do The Disney College Program?

“It’s actually a funny story, my buddy was telling me that he planned on applying for this internship at Disney, and that got me thinking, that would be an awesome experience. So I asked him, Hey you think I could apply for that still? Sure enough I did and I got the accepted letter and him and I ended up rooming together. It was one of the best experiences of my life.”

2) What was your experience like? If good, explain a bit.

“The Disney College Program was unlike any experience I have ever had in my life. I had a lot of fun, learned a lot, met a ton of cool people, including people from all over the world, and the best part was I got to go to any park whenever I wanted when I had time off. I would recommend this program to anyone. I love it.”

3) What was your favorite part about doing the program? Why?

“My favorite part of doing the program was all of the useful leadership and customer service skills I learned. Being a Disney cast member teaches you how to be disciplined in regards to work. Again I also learned useful tools on how to deal with people which has helped in every job I have had since. The best was meeting people from all over the world. You never know when that kind of networking could come in handy!”

4) What was your position in the program?

“I worked at the quick service restaurant, Pecos Bill’s, in Magic Kingdom. I did everything from bus tables, work in the kitchen, help with crowd control (Pecos is the 3rd busiest quick service restaurant in the world), cash register and basically every job at the restaurant. I also got to make people’s day by giving them free stuff and singing to them on their birthday, anniversary, newlyweds, etc. Those are called magic moments.”

5) If given the chance, would you do it again? Why?

“If I was able to do the Disney College Program Internship again, I would in a heartbeat. The people you meet, the friends you make, the fun you have, and the knowledge you gain is unlike anything I have or probably will ever experience. If anyone has the opportunity to take a few months to go down to sunny Florida to work and live, DO IT!”

So, there you have it. As part of the Disney College Program, you get to have outstanding, once in a lifetime kind of experiences. You get to meet so many people, make so many friends, and gain so much understanding of what makes Disney so special and magical for kids of ALL ages! Again, for more information, definitely hit up the website by clicking here!

REMINDER: Spring Farm CARES Run/Walk for the Animals!

Apr 2, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

Hey everyone!

This is just a follow-up post from my 2nd blog – which can be found right here (give it a click, if you haven’t already :))

If you are looking for an amazing community service opportunity, or if you just simply want to participate in an outstanding event then please consider doing the Spring Farm CARES Run/Walk for the Animals on Saturday, May 3rd!

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For those that are not familiar with this place, Spring Farm CARES is a non-profit, non kill, local animal shelter up in Clinton, NY. Spring Farm CARES houses several dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, and even goats! Some of these precious creatures are up for adoption, while others have permanent residency at the farm due to their special needs.

For more information on who Spring Farm CARES is and what they do, please check out their website here: http://www.springfarmcares.org/

As for this event, it is a 5K run beginning at 8:00 AM and a 1 mile walk around the village of Clinton beginning at 8:30 AM. At the finish line, there will be TONS of refreshments and entertainment available (and if you don’t want to run/walk, they could use some volunteers to work the entertainment booths too! :))

Since my last post about this, just one thing has changed. The registration fee. Registration has been open since March 1st, and the fee is now at $22 until the day of the race. IF you wait until race day to register, the fee will be $25. Of course, children 12 and under are allowed to walk for free :)

You can find out more information on how to register right here!

Also, do you want to help, but can’t make it to the event? Not a problem. Spring Farm CARES accepts any and all donations. All proceeds go to benefit the care of the animals – especially the permanent residents who have a lot of medical expenses! If you’re interested in sending a donation, you can either do it online here or mail it directly to Spring Farm CARES – the address can be found on their official website above.

Please consider participating OR donating to such a wonderful place. As I’ve said many times, I have volunteered there frequently and have seen firsthand just how loved and cared for these animals are. Plus, my parents and I sponsored a sweet, little cat last Christmas and it was one of the BEST things we have ever done. Seriously, how could you look at these faces and NOT want to help them out??

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*Thanks to Spring Farm CARES for some of these pictures.

I hope to see a spectacular turnout this year! :) If you have any questions, feel free to comment or catch me on twitter!

How Disney Characters Can Inspire You :)

Mar 25, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

Now that Spring break is officially over, we are entering what I think is the BUSIEST time of the semester. The weeks literally fly by and there is so much to do! Some of us may have midterms to take, research papers to tackle, and projects to start. Just thinking about it is exhausting right?!

Well, if you’re anything like me, you know how challenging it can be to find motivation to get things started! You look for inspiration. Then, once you find it, you are DETERMINED to let nothing distract you…..until, something inevitably does. So, how do you stay motivated? How do you possibly stay focused on that study guide that you made for that test? How do you get started on research for that long paper?

Well… for me, believe it or not, Disney – yes, I said Disney – characters have a way of keeping me motivated! I know, it may sound strange, but read on.

As a child, I grew up with a passion and love for Disney and that has continued today. **Come on now – who doesn’t love Disney???**

I’ve seen pretty much every Disney movie and after watching them, I’ve found little tricks and tips from a few of my favorite Disney characters that have kept me motivated and focused (or have inspired my attitude…especially when it comes to big projects!). If you’re a Disney fan too, they might help you out :) Here’s some things to remember when tackling the those tedious assignments for the rest of the semester!

1) Be Tough…Like Gus. 

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Ahh….the famous mouse from Cinderella. Gus is tough as nails and is ready to kick some butt! Be the same way when it comes to assignments. Say to yourself, I WILL do great on this assignment! I WILL study so I can ace my test and be proud of myself. I WILL conquer the challenges of my class so I never have to take it again. I know, easier said than done….but, when all else fails, picture this little mouse. I guarantee he’ll make you smile :)

2) Procrastination = Trouble

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Now, I’m not saying that if you procrastinate, a band of thugs will come and hound you like they did Aladdin. But, as Aladdin got into trouble, so will you if you procrastinate. If you have a research paper, chances are you know about it at the beginning of the semester. Don’t wait until the week before to start doing your research and whatever you do, DO NOT wait until the night before it’s due to type it. Really, this applies to anything…tests, projects, etc. Motivate yourself to do your best work, and that certainly doesn’t come from procrastinating.

3) Don’t Be Afraid to Learn

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Don’t you want to know what the people know? (<— movie reference) Ariel wasn’t afraid to learn, so why should you be? Ask questions, get some answers. Study. Remember: The more you know, the more you can do. Try to motivate yourself and know that by studying and focusing, you will be able to answer questions correctly, ace exams, and just be more well rounded. Knowledge is power my friends. (and, good grades does good for the ego too ;))

4) Go the Distance

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Hercules went the distance. Can’t you? Find your confidence. Having a positive attitude towards assignments and tests can really make a world of difference. If you approach anything with a negative attitude, the results are usually the same. Believe in yourself and know that no test, quiz, paper, etc will stop you from doing your best. If that doesn’t work, listen to this song. It’s definitely empowering.

5) Hakuna Matata

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Timon and Pumba say it best, right? Hakuna Matata. And in case you’ve been living under a rock, this wonderful phrase from The Lion King means no worries. Ok, this is not to say be careless. It’s your life, remember that your actions DO have consequences, but really, don’t stress. Stress is undoubtedly the worst motivator. Actually, it doesn’t motivate you at all. All stress does is make you nervous, cloud your mind or make things bigger than they really are. Save yourself the hassle of that mess! Take on the no worries attitude. Motivate yourself by thinking that no assignment, grade, test, or paper, will bring you down. You can handle it.

Careers vs. Jobs…Use Your Degree to Fuel Your Passion

Mar 17, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

Let’s face it. At 17 or 18 years old, fresh out of high school….who honestly knows what they want to do for the rest of their lives? Sure, there are those lucky few who know right from small that they are destined to be a doctor or lawyer or teacher. But, for majority of people, the choices are confusing and at times, overwhelming!

When the time comes to pick a college or choose a major, you’ll always hear things like “what do you plan on doing with your degree?” or “you better choose a degree that will make you money!” Stop right there. Get those thoughts out of your mind. While of course it is so important to be able to be financially secure, it is also important to be happy too.

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After all, it is your life. Don’t settle for anything less than what makes your happy. Now I know this is easier said than done. Some of us have passions that unfortunately, can’t transfer over into degrees. Me? As I said many times, my number one passion in life is animals. I love them, I respect them, and I want more than anything to help them and work with them every day. In fact, my goal is to open my own rescue/foster shelter someday….much like Spring Farm CARES.

But, like I said, entering college, there was no major for working with animals. So, I had to stay content with volunteering and try to find something else that I could use to fuel my passion. That’s how Public Relations started for me. I realized that though my days couldn’t be spent in the company of my furry friends, I can use this degree toward spreading awareness about shelter events, adoptions, etc….and that makes me happy.

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So, this post is basically for anyone who feels stuck, or feels like they just can’t find their place. Here’s a few tips that I did, that worked for me, and may work for you too :)

1. Think. Think about what your passion is and build around it. If your passion can be made into a career, or used as a degree, GREAT. Do it. If not, focus on how you can make your current situation better. Focus on what you can do to use a degree toward your love. Think on it. Pray about it. Act on it.

2. Ask advice. It’s not wrong to ask for help. It’s hard making a big decision by yourself without any guidance. Don’t be embarrassed. Talk to your parents (trust me….they know more than you think) or talk to a close friend, relative, adviser…..anyone who you trust and that you know has your best interest at heart. Be cautious though. Too many opinions can lead to more confusion. Stick with one or two people.

3. Don’t listen to everyone. OK, I know that contradicts everything I said in #2. But wait. While it’s great to get advice from someone (actually it is needed) you have to remember that ultimately the choice of what you want to do, is still yours. If you get a pull in your heart that you know feels right….DO IT. Follow it. Don’t let others dictate your happiness.

4. Don’t stress. Plenty of people go through the same thing every day. Plenty of students change their major at least once. Just because you feel a little lost, overwhelmed or confused, doesn’t mean you won’t figure things out. Trust me. Don’t let the money, the degree evaluation, and the estimated graduation date make you nervous. That will all take care of itself in due time :)