I MISSED MY OWN BLOGAVERSARY!

As I was prepping a post for this weekend I realized, I MISSED THE BEGINNING OF JUNE AND MORE SPECIFICALLY I MISSED MY OWN BLOGAVERSARY! To those of you that are relatively new here, hi, and welcome! 🙂 To those of you that have been here a while, you probably recall that I do a yearly blogaversary or blog anniversary post. Things have been so crazy lately and even though I’ve been doing most things from home lately, things seem to be moving so fast, maybe too fast.

June 7, 2014 was the day my first blog was posted. I was so little then if you think about it. 🙂 Just a naive, little scared freshman in high school. And now here I am, a junior/senior at university getting ready to take a big exam to take me to the next potential chapter of my life. Time does fly! On that day, I didn’t really know where this blog would take me but I did know that I had a love for writing and a strong passion for editing too so I took advantage of the opportunity my dad gave me.

Since that day, I’ve posted almost every Sunday. That’s so crazy to think that I’ve been doing this for SIX YEARS now! Six years of worth of Sundays are quite a few Sundays if you ask me.

One of my favorite things to do is look back and see what my writing was like in 2014 or 2015. I’ve removed a few posts just because they didn’t seem relevant to my blog as much as they did when I was 15 but it has been really interesting to also see where the world was at and where I was at then. I was in a boot at one point and then I was getting ready for surgery and then I was stressed about all three of my AP exams and then I was applying to college and then I was getting ready for college and then I was beginning college and all of the sudden I’m here. Crazy, right?!

Blogaversary

And so it’s a happy belated blogaversary to me! Haha. 🙂 As I post this, my blog has 13,016 views and 300 posts. Thank you all so so much for your time and for letting me share my life story and also my passion for writing. It’s been a blast. 🙂 It’s exciting to see how far I’ve come and I look forward to the many more posts and adventures to come! If you’ve got any ideas or there’s something you really want me to talk about, reach out! I’d love to hear from you!!

Thanks for being here on this journey with me. I appreciate you spending time here. Have a good week and I’ll see you next Sunday!

Let’s Be Mindful

My heart hurts for our country right now. It hurts for those affected by the recent events. It hurts for those suffering from coronavirus. It just hurts. Everything that has happened recently has just made me sad, I find it the most saddening that people think rioting and violence will solve our issues. In my opinion, that does nothing. It creates more tension, more hatred, and it discredits those trying to peacefully evoke and promote change. I believe in peaceful protest and the freedom of speech but there is a HUGE difference between that and destroying your lovely downtown to make a point.

More than anything, I think that the hatred and anger really needs to come to a stop on social media platforms. I understand that social media and technology are an extremely influential and easy way to share information and opinions in our day and age. There are MANY great ways in which social media helps spread positivity and promote change. With that also comes a lot of negatives too. People, myself included sometimes, tend to be a bit more courageous online. People seem to think that there is a barrier between them and the world and that what they say truly has no consequences or repercussions, so they say whatever they feel comfortable saying. There are consequences though! Real people are on the other side of that screen and words you say may not hurt you or that video you post may not bother you, but it may offend others or remind them of past traumas that they’d prefer to not be brought up.

I know that with recent events, MANY people were posting videos that should not have EVER been shared on social media. I understand the anger and I understand the true frustration but videos like those that many people my age were posting on Instagram were triggering. The intent was good, but the impact was devastating and extremely inappropriate.

As mentioned before, I firmly believe in speaking your mind. But I also believe in respect, not only for others but for yourself. I believe in being MINDFUL- mindful of yourself and others. The things you post online, whether that be words, a picture, a video, or even a series of emojis, WILL IMPACT OTHERS. Your intent may be something different from how people are impacted so it is important to be mindful of that.

You don’t have to agree with me on this, but I think that social media shouldn’t be about spreading a political agenda or riling up a bunch of young people to say things that they truly don’t even understand. Social media should build others up and spread positivity. It can raise awareness, but we shouldn’t use social media to “fit in” and we DEFINITELY should not use social media to spread hate and anger, even if that is something that people claim they aren’t spreading. Focus on how that post or that tweet may impact others. Focus on educating yourself on the issues at hand and improving yourself so that we can all make a difference.

Be mindful, stay safe, and have a good week.

Let the DAT Studying Commence…

DAT
Photo by Marten Bjork on Unsplash

This upcoming week is finally the week that things kick into gear. I begin my study schedule for the Dental Admissions Test or the DAT. For those of you who don’t know what the DAT is, it’s basically the SAT or ACT, but for dental school and it’s tough.

There are four sections on the exam, the survey of natural sciences, reading comprehension, quantitative reasoning, and perceptual ability or the PAT. In total, I believe the exam is 4.5 hours and there’s an optional 30 minute break at some point through the exam (Thank goodness!). The highest you can get is a 30 and most dental schools admit students who average a 20 on the exam. From what I’ve heard, the PAT section is the toughest, and based on my study program, that seems to be the case, as there is a lot of focus on the strategy behind that section.

For the PAT, there are 90 questions and you have 60 minutes to answer them. The questions on that section are supposed to include keyhole, cube face, folding, and hole-punch problems that all come with their own twists and mind-breaking characteristics. From what I’ve heard, that section is meant to test how you do with visual things but it’s also meant to destroy you and tire you out mentally. Yippeeeee. I’m most nervous for the other sections.

The survey of natural sciences section is exactly what it sounds like, a survey of all things from basic biology to organic chemistry. The reading comprehension section involves scientific articles and those articles are followed by a variety of questions testing how well you understood the article. The quantitative reasoning section on the DAT is the math section of the exam. As far as I know, it’s supposed to cover algebra through pre-calculus, which is super manageable for me.

To prepare for the exam, I’m going through DAT Bootcamp. It’s a program created by a student who did extremely well on the DAT and has shared their study schedule as well as a BUNCH of incredible resources to crush this exam.

I’m nervous to begin this journey but I’m also really excited because I look forward to the progress I make and all that I get to review and learn this summer. You’re all on this ride with me so let’s crush this DAT! See you next Sunday. 🙂

This Semester is Finally Over!!

semester
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

I never thought this day would come after all that has happened in the past couple of months. I did it, you did it, we all did it! This horribly long and dreadful disaster of a semester is FINALLY OVER.

This past finals week I was supposed to have three exams: one for my physiology class, one for my organic chemistry class, and one for my accounting class. The final for my physiology class ended up being optional and I was fortunate enough to have a high enough grade that I didn’t have to take the final. For my organic chemistry and accounting classes, that wasn’t the case, but both of those finals were open note, which was nice. Both finals went well and I’m going to get the grades I’ve worked for which is awesome, but I still feel like my organic chemistry grade could have been even better. With that in mind, I’m still thankful for what I got, even though I struggled quite a bit with the online transition for that course.

I finished everything on Wednesday which was awesome and around this time last year, I was moving out of my dorm and celebrating my first year of college with my family. I was hoping to get to do that this year, but a little virus named COVID-19 definitely put a damper on those plans. It was a bit odd not getting to celebrate all the hard work my sister and I did this past year at a nice restaurant with my family, but a good dinner at home was still fun. Different, but fun.

With all of the stress that came with my course load and also the switch to online classes as a result of the pandemic, I’ve never felt so mentally exhausted from a semester and I can imagine that many of you are also feeling that way. When I hit that “Submit” button on my accounting final, I just remember feeling this wave of relief rush over me. It was all over. FINALLY.

Of course I’m still taking a summer class, but that won’t be starting until June. I still get a bit of a break though and I’m hoping I stay healthy and that my family stays healthy and that humanity starts to gain the upper hand on this troublesome virus so that we get a chance to start our normal lives back up again and enjoy some of our summer. I’m also studying for the Dental Admissions Test (DAT) this summer so that’ll definitely be something you hear about as my test date approaches in August.

I hope you’re all staying healthy and taking care of yourselves! Take some time to celebrate this weekend, whether you just graduated from high school or college or even if you just finished a semester, like me. 🙂 We deserve it. See you next Sunday!

A Different Kind of Mother’s Day

Photo by nikohoshi on Unsplash

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mamas out there. I hope you feel love and appreciated not only today, but every day of the year. 🙂 This year, since we’re in isolation, Mother’s Day was a bit different. It was still good, but it was just a little different.

As usual, my dad, sister, and I surprised my mom with roses and some of her favorite chocolates with caramel. My dad also went out and got her some cute cards for us to all sign and a really yummy turtle cake too.

Typically, we go out for lunch or dinner on Mother’s Day, but we couldn’t do that this year, since most if not all restaurants are still closed because of the CDC’s guidelines. I always enjoy going out for dinner because we really get to enjoy quality family time together in a different environment, and my mom doesn’t have to worry about cooking for that meal! Since we didn’t get to do that this year, it was a bit weird, but my mom enjoyed cooking both a really yummy lunch and dinner. We had coconut shrimp (one of her favorites) at lunch and then grilled chicken and mac and cheese for dinner. Both were great meals and my family and I still got to enjoy some time together! 🙂

I spent a lot of today studying for my organic chemistry final that’s coming up on Tuesday. Wow am I SO excited to be finishing up this upcoming week. This semester was long enough already and with the isolation, it has just draaaaaagged on. I’m trying to finish strong, so let’s all hope that Tuesday goes well and that my accounting final goes well on Wednesday too.

I hope you all enjoyed Mother’s Day and got a chance to do something special for your moms this year. They deserve a little extra this year, considering that we’re all crammed in together right now. Hug your mom real tight and tell her you love her tonight! Have a good week and I’ll see you next Sunday.

I’ll Never Take it For Granted Again

granted

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had an okay week and are dealing with the stay at home orders alright. This past week at dinner, my sister asked the question, “After all of this ends, what’s one thing you’ll never take for granted?” It was a really good question honestly and it made me think quite a bit. What is one thing I’ll never take for granted again, after all of the social distancing recommendations and stay-at-home orders are lifted?

There’s so much I have now realized that I am extremely grateful for with my sister’s question. For one, I’m thankful that I have a home to shelter in and complete my school work in for the semester. I have a family to go through these strange and uncertain times with and I also have friends that I can remain in touch with over FaceTime, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams. 

As much as I hate it and struggle with it, I have a way to finish my coursework and a quiet place to complete everything for my classes this semester. Online schooling has been absolutely miserable so far, and I cannot imagine the stress that professors are dealing with as we have transitioned to remote learning. I’m honestly not sure who has been more stressed, students or teachers. I’ve felt really grateful to be able to study in my own room at home and know where everything in my room has been and who has been in my room. I know that I can stay healthy and that those around me are also healthy and that is extremely comforting. As mentioned, I have not been a fan of how many of my classes have been delivered for the remainder of the semester, but I’m thankful that I still have the opportunity to learn even in these strange times. My organic chemistry lab has been extremely accommodating and I’m truly thankful for the amount of work that people like my lab TA and our lab coordinator have put into allowing us to finish our semester strongly and also cut us some slack and understand that learning from home is new, different, and weird for most. With the exception of my organic chemistry professor, things have been pretty okay. 

More than anything, I am truly grateful and will never taking being outside for granted ever again. As a result of this whole lockdown thing, my family has been super duper limited in what we can do and where we can go, as have most of you. My life for the past however many days it has been has included going to the grocery store and taking my dog for a walk. That’s all the outside time I have recently gotten. I’m used to walking to class every day or playing tennis several times a week and this lockdown situation completely changed that not only for me, but for all of us! So many of us are so used to being more active and getting outside, especially here in Colorado. Every little chance I’ve been able to get outside, I take it. I absolutely LOVE going for walks with my family and dog every chance I get during this stay-at-home order and I truly wish I were able to play tennis, but for now, that’s not an option, but when it is, I’ll take it up first chance I get. Fresh air, the warm sun, and a gentle breeze are all I need to be happy after all of this is over. 

So Allyson, to finally answer your question, one thing I will never take for granted is the great outdoors. No, I am not a super outdoorsy-go-hunting-dig-in-the-dirt-kinda girl. But I am the type of girl who loves to go for walks and spend time outside with family and friends. Any chance I get from here on out, as long as the world gets healthy soon, I plan to spend my time reading a good book, curled up in a chair on my patio, hitting on the tennis court with my sister, and just living life to the fullest under the sun. Sunscreen will of course be worn. 🙂 

Going into this week, I want you all to think about my sister’s question too. What’s one thing you’ll never take for granted again, after this lockdown ends? If you want to share, feel free to leave a comment or reach out to me at my contact  page! I’d love to hear from ya. Have a wonderful week everyone! Stay healthy and I’ll see you next Sunday.  

Some Music Recommendations for Your Quarantine

music
Photo by Malte Wingen on Unsplash

Happy Easter everyone! He is risen today so I hope today is a day for rest and celebration. 🙂 I am so grateful for God and his son and all they have done for us. God has given my family health and security and comfort in these uncertain times and I truly hope that He has done the same for you. This will pass. We will get through this. Spend time with family, talk with friends and distant family over FaceTime or Skype. Stay active and listen to music.

On a different note, I enjoyed sharing some of my favorite books and movies and TV shows with you all to pass the time as we go through this quarantine and lockdown due to COVID-19. This week, I decided I would share some of my favorite songs as of right now! My taste in music tends to slide more toward alternative, pop, and classic/light rock. I’m pretty open to most music genres with the exception of heavy metal, hard rock, and rap. I can’t deal with that. So if you enjoy those genres, this might not be the list of recommended music for you.

Whether you’re just looking for some music to listen to while you clean, or as you work out, or even just to create some noise at home, here’s some of the music I’ve been listening to as of now, in no particular order:

  1. No Shame by 5SOS
  2. Nightmare by Halsey
  3. Graveyard by Halsey
  4. 7 Rings by Ariana Grande
  5. What a Man Gotta Do by the Jonas Brothers
  6. Tightrope from The Greatest Showman
  7. Last Hurrah by Bebe Rexha
  8. Paper Rings by Taylor Swift
  9. Lover by Taylor Swift
  10. London Boy by Taylor Swift
  11. Show Yourself sung by Idina Menzel from Frozen II
  12. Lost in the Woods sung by Jonathon Groff from Frozen II
  13. All is Found sung by Kacey Musgraves from Frozen II

Maybe this list didn’t really appeal to your taste, and that’s okay! I also really recommend anything by Imagine Dragons, FUN, and Half Alive. They’re all great groups with great sound in my opinion.

There’s also a lot of classical/instrumental music I enjoy listening to. I really enjoy a lot of the music from Game of Thrones, so if that’s a show that you were into, or really enjoy instrumental music, I highly recommend that! I find that instrumental music is great for studying although I typically don’t recommend listening to music while studying since I find it as a huge distraction. If you’re someone that can listen to music and study, then give classical or instrumental music a shot. If you’re just looking to relax a bit more, music without words is the way to go.

I hope you all listen to some good music and take care of yourselves this week. And as a church in my hometown said, keep praying and wash your hands. And again, Happy Easter! It’s crazy to think that we’re in full swing with spring now and here in Colorado, we’re expecting snow. I mean it is Colorado, but it’s just crazy! See you all next Sunday.

Spreading Some Happiness

happiness
Photo by Matt Flores on Unsplash

I hope you’ve all had a decent week. Things have been different and intense and strange but we’re all still here and that’s what matters. This week, I’d just like to spread and share some happiness. We could all use some in times like this. 🙂

I talked about this a bit in my post last week, regarding all of the negativity I dealt with at the grocery stores and Costco, but just to say it again, please make sure you’re kind to those around you. Please, pay it forward and be a kind person.

I can speak for Colorado when I say that we’re in a stay-home order, so for most of us, the only people we truly interact with are family members. And it can be tough to see the same people so often in such close quarters. Cabin fever may be setting in, or maybe it already has, wherever you are. If that’s the case, maybe you feel like you’re going a little crazy and you’re starting to feel irritated. I hope that’s not the case but if it is, there’s a couple of things you can do:

  • Talk out what’s bugging you. It’s better to share than ball up your feelings and thoughts. Happiness doesn’t have to be the only emotion you feel, but you also shouldn’t constantly feel frustrated, annoyed, and all of those other negative feelings and emotions.
  • Plan activities with your family. With my family, we’ve been planning walks and movie nights and Just Dance tournaments on our Switch and various other little fun things we can all do together so that we enjoy our time together and have a chance to let loose and burn off any negative feelings or emotions.
  • Find something nice (and genuinely nice) to say to someone or find something you can help with. Cleaning always puts me in a better mood, so if you’re like me, try that! You’ll feel good for sure, and maybe that’ll lift the moods of those around you too. Complimenting and lifting others always improves the moods of others too. We’re here to get through this together, not bring each other down.
  • Going off of the helping thing in the last point, just ask what you can do around the house. If you’re not preoccupied with other things, ask what needs to be done around the house and help take care of it! In times like this, it’s important to be helpful and do what you can to support those around you.

On a more general note, if you have the opportunity to get outside the house and go for a walk, please remember to stay at least six feet apart from others and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. And please wash your hands for at least twenty seconds with warm water and soap too. 🙂 Say hello to others if you get a chance.

And if you’re not able to go out, hang in there! You’ve made it this far! We’ll get through this together. 🙂

Read books. Hang out with family. Clean the house. Walk. Exercise. Rest. Do your homework. Smile. This will not last forever. Wherever you all are, I hope that you are well and that you are taking care of yourself and your families. This too shall pass and I really hope we all see the light at the end of this tunnel soon. Stay positive, stay in this together, and we’ll see the end of this soon. Spread some happiness, spread some kindness. See you next Sunday. And also enjoy these cute animals while you’re here. 🙂

COVID-19 in Colorado: Our Current Situation

COVID-19 in Colorado
Credits to the artist. 🙂

Maybe you’re all sick of hearing about it by now, but we’ve got a global pandemic on our hands. I think it’s important to stay informed and educated during a time like this and more than anything, I think it’s important to stay positive and driven. Here’s how my story on COVID-19 in Colorado.

As I write this, Colorado is way over 200 cases of COVID-19 and the United States has declared a national emergency. New York, Washington, and New York have been the hardest hit as of right now and I send prayers to all of you reading from those states right now. This whole situation has been unreal.

Colorado is currently in a place where a lot of businesses and services have shut down until late March or April, but I honestly have a feeling that a lot of things are going to be closed for longer. I come from a place of observation, not pessimism when I see this. Seeing how fast the virus has spread in the United States, I just have a feeling that we’re just seeing the beginning of things in the U.S. From what I know, most, if not all schools have switched to holding some form of online classes or provided families with homeschooling content and it’ll be interesting to see what comes from this as far as education opportunities go, once this clears up.

There’s a lot of talk about a stay at home order or shelter in place order. I’m hoping it doesn’t come to that, but if it does, we need to do what we can to flatten that curve. As a biology major, I have been very interested in this entire situation. Of course I’m saddened by the effects this is having on so many people and honestly scared in some ways by the power something that’s not even as large as skin cell can have on the world. I’ve also been so interested in how this virus can survive on surfaces and how it affects our bodies. I’m also really proud to say that my university, Colorado State, has a research center that is currently conducting research to find a vaccine for this little monster that has sent our world into the state it’s currently in.

COVID-19 in Colorado has turned grocery stores into an absolute nightmare now. My family has been trying to find rice and flour for the past week now, and we’ve had zero luck because of all of these people stockpiling their food and additional household supplies. I can understand that there’s a lot of uncertainty regarding our current situation but you do not need the large amounts of toilet paper stashed in your bathroom or all of the frozen foods you can fit in your cart. Trust me. There are some people who haven’t even had a CHANCE to grab any of that and the only food they have is what was in their fridge before this whole mess started, and these stockpilers have left those people with zero options. My mom and sister went to the grocery store this past week and there was this dad there with his son. They were throwing a birthday party and couldn’t find chicken ANYWHERE because so many other people had run in, taken as much as they could, and left. As mentioned before, I understand that this situation is scary to many and new to all of us, but we need to be rational with our decisions and consider others, especially when it comes to what’s available for purchase.

And still on the topic of grocery stores, my mom and I got back from Costco earlier today and dealt with some extremely nasty people. COVID-19 in Colorado has turned some people into monsters, oh my goodness. I understand that this is a tough time and again, it’s scary and new, but no one deserves to be yelled at over barely bumping into someone with a cart. My mom barely caught the heel of this lady when we were getting into Costco and this lady turned around and screamed at my mom, yelling, “WOULD YOU STOP RUNNING INTO ME WITH YOUR CART?!” First of all, that lady rudely asked me before we even entered the store and asked why there was a line. Costco created a 30 person in, 30 person out policy to comply with CDC guidelines. She then proceeded to cut us in the line after we were asked to sanitize the cart and when my mom just barely ran into her, this lady blew up on us. I don’t know what her situation was or what she has been dealing with, but I believe that regardless of whether or not you’re having a good day, you should put your feelings and thoughts aside and be kind to others. No one deserves to be treated with that sort of unkindness EVER and especially in a time like this. Some people were even fighting over the food and stuff available in Costco, which I found ridiculous too. Good Lord, it’s a rotisserie chicken. The sign said that each shopping party could only grab one chicken, so accept it. Those are the rules. And the way that some people treated the employees was absolutely disgusting. The employees are more at risk than anyone because of the amount of people they interact with and you have the audacity to scream at them for there not being any cleaning supplies in stock? That’s just unacceptable.

From this post, my goal is not to scare you or worry you. It is simply to educate you on what we’ve been dealing with in my state. I hope that you all are staying healthy and smart out there. Please take care of each other and listen to what your local and national governments are saying. Stay informed and most importantly, take care of yourselves and stay positive. And in addition to that, we need to be kind. My life quote is “Have courage and be kind.” In a time like this, that is SO SO SO important. We do not have time to be blaming some poor employee at Costco for not knowing where the Naked Juice is. We don’t have the resources to be hoarding toilet paper and napkins and other supplies. We SHOULD be treating each other with respect and lifting each other in this uncertain time so that we can get through this.

So have courage and be kind. Stay healthy too. 🙂 See you next week.

College Life and COVID-19

covid-19
Picture courtesy of the Center for Disease Control

So this past week has been one HECK of a week, let me say that. College life and COVID-19 are quite the combination. I’m now on spring break (thank goodness) but this past week at school, it was very interesting to see how coronavirus (COVID-19) developed and how it has affected everything.

It has been incredible to watch the response to this novel virus strain from the local, state, national, and even international levels. A couple of weeks ago, we received emails here at CSU introducing this current nightmare of a coronavirus. We were told that my university was monitoring the situation and would be updated as new information came up. And that new information came QUICK.

First the virus hit the U.S. and after that, boom. Schools in Washington were deciding to shift to online platforms, and before I knew it, CSU decided to do the same. On Wednesday this past week, our president and executive team made the decision to extend our spring break to March 24th, with classes starting up ONLINE beginning March 25th. We will be in online classes at least until April 10th and as the virus continues to do its thing, my school may or may not continue to use online platforms for learning. We shall see.

On Wednesday, it was very interesting to see the reactions of my fellow students. Some were thrilled classes were moving online and ideas of slacking off and screwing around clearly filled their heads. Others, myself included were concerned. What’s going to happen to my labs? Are all exams online now? Are my exams still going to happen that were scheduled upon return from spring break prior to the COVID-19 pandemic? There are just so many questions we have. Some have answers, but some are still just up in the air.

Now. I keep talking about Wednesday, and now I would like to have a little story time. Wednesday, I was supposed to have an in-person exam for my physiology class, which has become my favorite class this semester without a doubt. I was headed to my accounting class at noon when I received an email that my exam, which was supposed to be at 5 on Wednesday night, was moved to be online and I had five hours to schedule an online exam time. It was a mess and I have absolutely hated working with ProctorU to handle online exams. Read my posts about summer classes to learn more about those experiences. Haha.

And as I now add to this post on Sunday, my university has decided to shut down for the rest of the semester, with all classes finishing online. This will be interesting. Oh boy, will this test the discipline and self-control and focus of students across the country.

More than anything, I want everyone to stay healthy and smart out there. To those of you reading this, please please please take care of yourselves and your family. Please make smart decisions and educate yourself on the current situation. Now, more than ever we need to make educated and well-thought out decisions to keep each of us safe and healthy to the best of our abilities. CO-VID 19 is a fascinating, but clearly contagious and dangerous virus to many people so we need to work together and get through this. I really recommend checking out the CDC page on the virus. I’ll link it for your convenience: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html

Have a good week and stay healthy out there. See you next Sunday!