Friday, April 29, 2016

Supporting your Child's College Decision

Hi everyone! With today being the last business day before the May 1st National Enrollment Deadline, I wanted to talk to all of the parents out there about how you can support your child as they make their college decision.

While all the attention is on your child as they make the announcement of which university they choose to spend the next two or four years of their life, its also important to recognize yourself during this time. Being proud of your child is important, but you should also be proud of yourself for raising such a great child. You instilled in your son or daughter the skills that they used throughout their high school career to bring them to the precipice of college! Their leadership in the classroom, on the athletic field, in the art studio, and at their jobs is because of the way you raised them and supported them through their last 17-18 years on the planet.

As your child makes their decision on which college to attend, as a parent what is most important is that they choose a college or university that fits their needs and desires. While being a legacy to your alma mater is cool, it is more important that they choose the school because they like it and see themselves succeeding there. If your child chooses to attend another institution that isn't your alma mater, please don't think that they did this on purpose or to be malicious. They are choosing to pursue their own desires and live a college experience that is completely, 100% their own, so be proud of that!

Start thinking of opportunities to visit them on campus - -
Family Weekend, Dance Recitals, Academic Ceremonies

It may be scary to think of your child heading off to college in a few months, but this is what you've been preparing them for! They are about to embark on an experience of lifetime. They will mature, meet new people, gain some culture, change their views, and start building the life they will live for the next 50 years ... how amazing! Knowing that college is the gateway to all of those things, you should definitely be supportive of their decision. They are choosing to start their pursuit of life and experiences, so don't slow them down because you disagree with their choice of a school.

Just as you have supported them in school since Kindergarten, it will be no different once they enter college. They will need your phone calls, care packages, visits, and video chats to keep themselves sane, calm, and focused throughout college! So, don't let their choice of a university, if you disagree, get in the way of supporting your child through the most difficult, yet exciting, years of their life. Be there for them!

enjoy the chase,

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Creating a Professional Wardrobe

Hi everyone! Happy #NationalSigningDay to all of you who are enrolling at your university this weekend. This is such a fun and exciting time - knowing what the next 2-4 years of your life will be ... the uncertainty is over!

As you are transitioning from high school to college or even college to career, it is really important to think about creating a professional wardrobe. Now, this is not something that needs to be done over night, but rather is something you can work towards in the next couple of years. (Personally, it took me until December (yes ... five months ago) to complete my professional wardrobe ... it's a process!!)With job and internship interviews unexpectedly popping up or exciting leadership opportunities coming, it is important to have a nice wardrobe for work and for those special events, so start planning for it now!

Here are my suggestions on staples that you should have in your first professional wardrobe!

Black/Brown Pants - These are your great every-day pieces that you can build on. Especially for guys, you will want to invest in some good quality black pants. For girls, you can find black or brown as they are the easiest to find tops to go with. These also can look really professional and nice for interviews, so invest in a good pair!

Blazer/Jacket - Now, I just invested in a blazer, but having one on hand is great for when you need to cover your shoulders, but yet don't want to wear a full-on coat either. Guys, definitely invest in a good suit jacket in black. It will go with any colored pants you wear and dresses you up for those more formal events! Make sure you try these on before you buy so that they fit you just how you want them to!!

Creme Shirts - Have some white or creme shirts in your wardrobe too. These are good for when you have a pair of funky colored pants or a really eccentric skirt. It keeps it looking professional while still letting you show your personality with your bottoms!

Black Dress Shoes - Invest in these now so that you can break them in and feel comfortable wearing them. Guys, it is so important to have nice dress shoes on hand, you don't know how many times I have seen my classmates come to induction ceremonies and celebration dinners wearing sneakers because they don't have any dress shoes ... don't be that guy! Ladies, if you're not used to wearing dress shoes, start now so that your feet get used to the way they feel. You can try a heel, wedge, or just a flat, but make sure they fit your foot well and will go with many different outfits!

Accessories - These will help you dress up or add personality to any outfit you wear. Girls, you can add personality with your necklaces and bracelets, so if you find an inexpensive necklace or a cute bracelet, pick it up so that you can add it to your wardrobe! Guys, when you see a tie or a bow-tie that screams you, pick it out. You'll want to have one professional looking tie, but feel free to add funny ones in there too! This is where your personality and uniqueness can shine!

There are many other staples that you should add to your wardrobe, so feel free to check out my video on my YouTube channel here where I explain all of the items you should add to your professional wardrobe!! Is there something else you think should be added or is there a go-to store where you get your 'dress clothes'? Then comment below with your thoughts and suggestions too!!

enjoy the chase,

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Finishing the School Year Strong

Happy Sunday everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend and are spending today prepping for the great week ahead! This is my last week of classes for my grad school career, so I am trying my absolute hardest to finish out with some motivation and to end it on a strong note!

As some of you may be finishing up your school year in the coming weeks, I thought I'd share what I'm trying to do to finish out the semester strong and in charge!!

1. Give your last papers and exams one more look through. Make sure you're taking the time to do one last proofread and edit for any final papers, projects, or essays! It will only take 5-10 minutes of your time and it could be the difference between getting a B+ and an A-. Who wouldn't want to go up a letter grade for a few extra minutes?

2. Meet with any administrators, teachers, or professors that made a profound impact on you this year. If you haven't talked with them in a little while, catch them up on everything going on in your life and your exciting summer plans! Who knows, they may have an idea on a summer job or internship. Also, make sure you thank them for everything they did for you this year.

3. Plan a get-together for all of your friends. Do a short weekend trip or a fun night out with your friends. Whether you're going mini-golfing or out dinner, spend time with each other before the summer comes and you won't see each other for a few months. You'll cherish these memories until the next get-together!

4. Don't skip school or your classes just because it is almost over. Like I said, finish it out strong, so don't miss any classes unless you absolutely have to. Some high schools have requirements for attendance if you are graduating this year and some professors will drop you a letter grade if you miss the last few classes (That would be going from an A- to a B-, simply for not showing to class!). You might also miss some exam review or valuable hints on questions!

5. Meet with the clubs you're in charge with to make a plan for next Fall. In high school and college, as soon as you are elected to a leadership position, you want to make sure you plan out for next fall. Start thinking of events you want to work on and if you all should meet at some point during the summer. This will help create the vision for next year and help you and your peers get started on planning the events!

6. Just hang in there! Your school year is almost done, so if you hate all of your classes or are just ready for something new, you're almost there! While you don't want to wish the remainder of your school year away, if it helps you to finish out strong and staying motivated, then do it!

I hope you all have a great week and start your plans for finishing out the school year strong!

enjoy the chase,

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Wish I Knew Wednesday

"I wish I had thought about grad school when applying to undergrad and that, especially for my program, it is easier to get into a grad program when you are already in their undergrad program." 
Cole F., 21, St. Johnsbury, Vermont

This is a somewhat difficult concept to advise upon - applying to your undergraduate education focused on your graduate. While it is important to be aware of the long-term goals and expectations in your chosen profession, it is not a necessity that you plan for graduate school as a junior and senior in high school! I do have a few suggestions though.
  • There are certain professions where getting a graduate degree like a Master's or a PhD is inevitable (Education, Psychology, Engineering ... etc.). In these cases, I would definitely be aware of what the universities you are interested in offer for graduate programs and how you go about doing that. This could be as simple as doing a search of "graduate programs," on the university's website. So do a little research on it if you know that a Master's degree will be in your future plans after college. 
  • Some universities offer 5-year programs which is a combination of a Bachelor's and a Master's Degree being completed in 5 years. Typically how this works is you apply for admission to the program as a Senior in high school. If you meet the GPA and test score requirements for the program, then you are admitted and you can complete your Bachelor's degree while maintaining their minimum GPA requirement. Then, in your third or fourth year, you will apply to the graduate phase of the program. The requirements may be more strict, depending on the program and it is a possibility that everyone in your cohort is not accepted, but that is a conversation to have with your Admissions Counselor when you are on campus. 
      • I had no idea about 5-year programs until I began graduate school, but if you are in a field that requires it like Education, a 5-year program may be a positive and smart choice for your education!
  • Your career path and desires could completely change by the time you enter your 2nd year in college, so planning out your graduate school plans before this point would be kind of counter-productive. Choosing a university or a program for the future and for a possibility is not going to help you adjust and enjoy your years as an undergrad student. 
      • If I had chosen a university so that I could get my Master's Degree in teaching while still in high school, I would have wasted all of that time and energy on something that I realized I didn't want to do. There are always options, such as graduating after the Bachelor's degree portion, but it is important to be weary of making a solidified ten-year plan at the age of 17. 
  • Don't feel like you need to attend the same college or university for both your undergraduate and graduate career. While some people do, it also makes you look more well-rounded when you apply for jobs post-graduate school that you were able to adapt well to two different campuses, faculty members, and curricula. 

Overall, you need to trust your gut instinct when planning for your undergraduate and graduate education. It's important to recognize that your career goals could change over four years as a college student, and that's okay. So don't cut yourself and your opportunities short because you want to plan well-into the future! Take your years at college to explore and take part in new and exciting opportunities that expand your knowledge and assumptions of the profession you choose to enter!!

enjoy the chase,

P.S. Are you thinking about graduate school and wondering what your options are for the future? Feel free to tweet or e-mail me with your questions!!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Life Will Continue

Hi everyone and Happy Monday! Here in Northeast Pennsylvania it has been gorgeous recently and I am definitely excited that we are coming into summer weather! I do want to apologize for my lack of posting recently. While I plan out each post that I plan to write, sometimes life continues on and hurts my timing a little bit .... okay a lot. Because I put a lot of personal anecdotes in my posts, I wanted to give you all an update on my life.

1. I am about to graduate with my Master's Degree! Ahhhhh! I am so excited to be done with school work for a little while once I graduate in May! Don't get me wrong, I love school and learning, but when you are doing homework for 20 straight years, trust me, you'd be ready too! :)

2. I'm on the job hunt! While so exciting and hopeful, searching and applying for jobs takes a lot of time and devotion! As this will be my first "big girl" job with a salary and benefits, I want to find a university and college that is going to be the right fit (Just like all of you are doing or did with your undergraduate university). So, this takes up quite a bit of time to craft new cover letters and constantly critique and rework my resume for each job.

3. Work is busier than ever! So, for those of you who don't know, during the day I have two "jobs." The first one is working in an Admissions Office as their Graduate Assistant and my second is working in the Office of Disability Services at the same institution as a Graduate Intern. We just finished out last Open House for the school year on Saturday, which was a lot of planning and preparation, and now I am gearing up for Final Exams in my internship! **When you're on your college campus, never forget how much work and effort a lot of people do to make your experience on that campus amazing, both as a visitor and a student.

4. I'm engaged!! Over Easter Break, my boyfriend of 6 years asked me to marry him, so my mind has been on overload thinking of all of the engagement things we need to do and of course all of the ideas for our wedding! In the future, I would like to do a post about our relationship and how we have made it work through college and graduate school, so let me know if that is something you would like to see!

5. I'm planning exciting future posts!! With my classes ending in a few weeks, I am hoping to get a jump start on some exciting stuff for the blog. For my graduation gift, my parents gave me a nice new camera (since I take all of the photos on this blog), so I am thinking about traveling a little to some new college campuses that I've never been on and also possibly filming some videos for the blog. I know personally, I love to read blogs and watch Youtube videos on a variety of lifestyle topics, so I am hoping to plan some videos with a college/young professional theme to them! Let me know if you have any suggestions or things you'd like to see!

6. Family is still my major priority! In my birthday post back in September, I said that one of my goal's for my 23rd year on this planet was to move south. Because of this lofty goal, I am trying to spend as much time with my family and my fiance's family before we potentially move south start our "new life." I've been traveling a majority of my weekends to go back home to spend time with everyone, so that has been time consuming but so rewarding! **Always make your family a priority! While you're out there spreading your wings, making new experienced, and creating tons of memories, don't forget about your loved ones who will always be behind you and support you!!

I guess the moral of this post is that life will continue on, while you may want to stop and celebrate those exciting moments in your life like graduation or a new relationship, or you want to stop and ask life to slow down, life will always continue growing and evolving to bring you many more exciting things!!

enjoy the chase,

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Spring Cleaning: College Edition

Hi everyone! So Monday's post gave me some inspiration! I thought I would also talk with you all who are in college about some ways that you can clean and organize your college life before beginning Final Exams and returning home for the Summer!

Old Textbooks
While this may seem weird, go through any old textbooks that you've been saving or have just forgotten to sell back to the bookstore to see what ones you still want to keep for future classes or those you are okay to part with. Textbooks take up a lot of space, so if you aren't going to use it in the future, then sell it back to your university's bookstore or a private book buyer. TIP: If you have a comprehensive exam at the completion of your 4 years, you will want to keep all of those relevant textbooks!

Old Notebooks and Portfolios
Also use this time to go through your old notebooks from this year to see which notes are going to be relevant for the future and which sets you can use for your end-of-the-year bonfire! Also, if you completed any portfolios or collections of assignments, you will want to go through those as well. Either to combine the ones you like or simply organize the materials by topic or date! 

Rearrange your Room
While you are dusting and vacuuming your room for the general spring cleaning, you may also want to rearrange it. If you have another month or two to go, why not try out a new arrangement of your furniture to see if you and your roomie like it. If you only have another week or two to go, you may want to arrange it back to the way it was when you moved in. TIP: A lot of universities require you to arrange your furniture the same way it was when you moved in or they will charge you for it. Don't leave campus without doing this!

Clean out your Clothes
I mentioned this in Monday's post, but truly take this time to clean out the clothes in your closet. Old uniforms, dance costumes, t-shirts from events, shoes that fell into the pond on campus ... there are so many things that need to either be washed or just thrown away!  Also, take this time to consolidate your winter clothes or send a group of items to the dry cleaner!

Organize a Lawn Sale
A great program event for you campus leaders is organizing a lawn sale or clothing swap in your building or on your campus the week or two before Final Exams. A lot of students will have clothes they want to get rid of, decorations, and upperclassmen usually have furniture that they plan to throw away. In my years as an RA, so many students have left behind nice office chairs, small futons, and comfy chairs just because they don't want the hassle of moving it back home. If you reach out to all of the students on campus and plan something in the quad for the week before Finals Week, it could be a really big hit. This could even be a fundraiser for an event or something too! 

Clean out your Car
If you have a car on campus that you use a lot or if you are a commuter, I'd definitely suggest cleaning out your car this Spring. You can throw away old soda bottles, tests with not-so-great grades on them, you might be able to find that pair of shoes you thought you many great things can come out of cleaning your car. If you need to move back home, it will also free up all of that space for your belongings to fit on your final drive home!

I hope you all liked this college edition of Spring Cleaning! Use this time of year and the warmer weather to go through all of the items in your dorm room and your college life so that you can feel renewed for when you return home or graduate! 

enjoy the chase,

Do you all have any important spring cleaning habits that help you through to Finals Week? Share them below in the comments!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Spring Cleaning!!

Hi everyone! It is that time of year when we need to talk about SPRING CLEANING! While visions of washing window blinds and cleaning out closets come to mind, it also applies to college prep and college life!

The start of Spring is the time when you can wash away all of the harsh and coldness of Winter and look forward to the sunny future! It is necessary to bring this mindset into all of the important things you are dealing with. Here are some things you should work on as we continue through April!

Cleanse Your Thoughts
Use this new season as a chance to chase away all of the negative emotions or experiences from a rough winter so that you can enjoy the completion of your school year before you leave for Summer. You'll want to squash any drama you have with others and you will want to remain positive as you prepare for final exams. If you go into the last part of your school year with a positive attitude, it will help make your Summer even more unforgettable!

Gain Last-Minute Experiences
The last semester of my high school and college career were my favorite because I embraced many more experiences during the last few months. I made it a point to spend more time with my friends and family, as well as, take on new experiences that I never thought of doing before. Use this Spring as a chance to reconnect with an old friend and go on that day trip you've always wanted to or go to the museum across town! Also, if you get the opportunity to shadow a job or complete a short internship with a program or festival, take advantage of it! 

Start Packing
Whether you are in High School or College, Spring is good time to start packing. If you are completing High School this year, when you put away your Winter coat, your sweaters and your snow gear, pack it away in a plastic tote so that next year when you come home from college, you can pack that tote right up and take it with you for November and December! If you are in college, pack up your Winter stuff now too. If there is anything you are not using or don't plan to use in the next month or so, pack it up and take it home. This will make move-out after Final Exams A LOT easier and less stressful! 

Clean Out Your Closet
Use Spring Cleaning to do exactly what you think ... spring clean! Clean out your closet at home and (if you're away) at college. Go through all of your t-shirts, sweaters, pants, sweatshirts, and shoes to get rid of whatever you haven't worn or doesn't fit. Over time, you will amass two separate wardrobes, one for home and one for school, so if you can donate the items that you aren't wearing anymore, it can help save space when you are at home! If you can't bare to get rid of something, pack it away and then next year at this time, if you didn't think about it or want to wear it, then go ahead and donate it! 

Pick Up a Park
Now that you're done cleaning for yourself, clean for someone else! Volunteer with a group of your friends or with your family to pick up a neighborhood park that needs some TLC. A lot of young children will be playing in that park as it gets warmer, so it would be a great gesture and positive thing to help your community! 

I hope you all have a great week and can start your Spring Cleaning now to prepare for an amazing and unforgettable summer!!

enjoy the chase,

P.S. Follow Chasing College on Twitter: @Chasing_College

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Jump Starting Your Career in High School

Hi everyone and Happy Thursday!! I don't know about you, but I am particularly ready for the weekend ... only two more days!! Today, I want to talk to you all about how you can get started on building your career while you are still in high school or college.

Oftentimes, I feel like students are really excited about their future career and want to jump start into it right away. I was no different as a high school and college student. Because of this passion for the field you plan to work in, you should certainly channel some of your energy, time, and focus into it if it is your passion! So, here are some of my tips and ways that you can build your career while you are still a student!

1. Start a Blog - Blogging is not just for the experts and professionals, you too can get started building your career by creating a blog that caters to a topic you are interested in. Every career is applicable but especially: education, business/marketing, fashion and style, engineering, writing/communications, and the arts. For some of them you may need to brainstorm a little harder, but creating a blog that helps you learn about your future career, as well as, establish that you're hardworking and passionate is especially amazing. This can connect you with other people in the industry and expose you to other opportunities in your future field!

Starting a blog about something your passionate about only helps
your knowledge of the subject grow!

2. Find a Summer Job - While this may be fairly obvious, finding a summer job that fits the career you would like is a great way to jump start your career experience. If you are interested in studying art, try working at an art store or gallery. If you are interested in business, any position in retail or sales can really help you gain general experience and understanding about the business world, which will be incredibly helpful. Babysitting is always useful if you plan on working with other people in the future (think: education, speech pathology, social work, psychology ... etc.). These jobs can set you up for even more opportunities once you get into college!

3. Create a Business - You don't need to be 30 years old with a college education to start your own business. Think about what you love doing and what you may be able to offer your community or the area surrounding your home. If you love photography and want to study it in college, offer to take pictures of area families or set up an Etsy account and sell your favorite photographs. If you want to be a mechanic or retailer, offer to help out family members with odd jobs in their vehicles like changing the oil or cleaning them! This gives you customer service experience and great references for once you officially apply for full-time jobs! ( My boyfriend was 15 years old when he started a lawn mowing business, once he had a few clients in his community, he opened it up to other lawn work and landscaping projects!)

4. Volunteer - I talk about volunteering a lot (Check out this post and this post) but it is truly amazing how you can start your career just by simply volunteering with someone once a week. If you want to study Hospitality, volunteer with Relay for Life or with a festival near your hometown, if you plan on studying Education, then offer to help a teacher or tutor some students. The opportunities are endless, if you want to work as a dance instructor or choreographer, volunteer with a local theater troupe and your dance studio! Truly, it is without a doubt a great way to get a jump start on your career and make connections for future internships or job opportunities!

These are just a few ideas, but when you are only 16-17 years old, your opportunities may be limited, so make sure you get creative and ask family members if they have any suggestions. All of these opportunities will not only help you gain knowledge on your career field, but it will also help you gain those skills (active listening, time management, customer services) that are going to be necessary no matter the career you follow. Just remember, you are never too young to pursue your passion!

enjoy the chase,

P.S. If you are thinking about starting a blog or finding an opportunity in your community and aren't sure where to start, feel free to contact me and I would love to give some ideas or suggestions that may help you!! You can reach me through my contact page!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Handling a Denial Letter

Hi everyone! If there is anything that I have learned throughout my past 6 years of chasing college, it is that your dream plan does not always work out. While it can be disappointing, it is undoubtedly a significant part of life.

Being denied from a college or university that you applied to can sting ... really badly. Whether they were your first choice institution or your fourth, being denied admissions to a university is something that is difficult to handle. Because this is an unfortunate side affect of choosing to attend college, I wanted to devote a post to it.

First things first, it is perfectly normal to cry when you receive that denial letter and don't let anyone tell you otherwise! Especially if it is a first choice university, your response is perfectly normal. In life, you will face disappointments - bad grades, missed job opportunities, relationship break-ups, and even more difficult moments. In all of these, it is okay to be sad and to show your emotion. What is important though, you can't sit in that sadness for the rest of your life or the rest of your senior year. Take a few days to grieve the disappointment and then make your new future plan from there!

Telling the important people in your life about a denial of acceptance will be just as difficult as reading the words in the letter, but it is important to do. Tell your close family members, friends, and teachers, but don't feel like you need to blast it over Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I would also share the news with your school counselor so that they can assist you with reworking your plan for the future.

Next, you will want to review your overall plan for the future. Compile all of your acceptances (if you applied other universities) or a list of other universities where you can still apply.

  1. If you have other acceptances, then start looking at financial aid packages, overall campus climate, opportunities in your major, and potential extra-curricular experiences. Doing this will hopefully allow you to see a bright side in another university. While it may not be the same as the one that you were denied from, it can still provide you with an amazing college experience!
  2. If you did not apply to any other universities, you will want to look in your local area or in the area where you are interested in attending college to find which universities have rolling admissions. Universities with rolling admission accept applications throughout the school year and into the summer for a new incoming class, so there would be no deadline to adhere to! Even if your only option is a community or junior college for right now, still pursue it because you can always look into transferring after the fall or spring. 
From that reorganization, you should be able to create some new plans for your upcoming future. It also doesn't hurt to talk with your school counselor or even the Admissions Counselor from the university. It could be that your grades are the reason behind your denial, so spending a year at community college to help your grades improve could give you the opportunity to enter as a transfer student! 

When I was younger, there was one university in this world that I wanted to attend more than anything. It was so prestigious, I loved the feel of the campus, and I looked good in the school colors. I chose not to apply as an undergraduate and instead waited to apply as a graduate student to their School of Education. I didn't necessarily think I was a guaranteed acceptance, but I thought my GPA, GRE scores, and experiences would at least permit an interview. So, I was crushed when I received my denial letter through e-mail ... I literally spent ten minutes crying in my car after I was done with Student Teaching because I was so upset and disappointed. However, looking back on it, there was no way that I would have been able to afford the university, afford living in the city where it was, nor could I have a social life while there. So, while I was disappointed and I needed to make new plans, the outcome and the opportunities I have had not at that university have provided me with so many more learning opportunities!

So just remember, if you do receive a denial letter, it is okay to be upset and sad, but it is also a new opportunity to rework your future goals and plans!!

enjoy the chase,

Friday, April 1, 2016

Establishing a Safety Plan in College

Hi everyone and Happy April! I cannot contain my excitement for it being April already ... hello warmer weather! I hope you all are doing well with your classes and are enjoying your social activities! Today I want to talk to you all about establishing a safety plan when you are in college. Whether you are planning to go to university in the Fall or are there now, it is never too early or too late to make one!

So you all may be wondering what a safety plan is and it is a document that is usually used in a clinical and educational setting for people to determine specific strategies when they notice behaviors in themselves. This can very easily be adapted to making your own personal safety plan while you are away at college. A personal plan can help you cope with all of the stressors of college life: relationship/dating troubles, problems or difficulties in your classes, lack of performance on the athletic field, or the general feelings that come when you transition into college life. DISCLAIMER - this is very general and is meant to help you handle the common/simpler stressors of college life. If you feel that your stressors are getting worse and you feel that your behaviors are becoming more and more unhealthy, please visit your Health or Counseling Center to work through those behaviors!

Here are the items you should include in your Personal Safety Plan.

1. Triggers - These would be things that can lead you to being stressed out or upset. For example: studying for exams, losing a basketball game, receiving a poor grade on a project, fighting with your roommate or girlfriend, or being on social media. When I first started college and into my sophomore year a huge trigger for me was social media. I missed my boyfriend and my family, so seeing them posting about the exciting things they were doing always got me a little down. So, if you know what triggers you to get upset, it is a little bit easier to calm yourself down or to try to avoid it at all costs.

If you think social media is your trigger,
take a brake from it for a day or two!

2. Problem Solvers - You are going to want to identify some coping strategies for when you get upset or when you are feeling stressed about college. Oftentimes when you have these simple stressors, you can't really solve them you just have to move on and work towards the next best thing in life. For myself, distractions were always good at helping me to get my mind off of a disappointment. Usually I would go to the dance studio for an hour, talk with my sister, color or watch some new videos on Youtube. This could also be painting your nails, playing  a pick-up soccer game, or watching a little television. If you're concerned or stress about your schoolwork, some solving skills may be to create a list of everything you need to work on, look over your syllabi to better prepare for future assignments, or just shake it off and study more for the next assignment.

3. Friends and Places - Within your safety plan, you should also include some people who you can go to to talk about anything that is bothering you or who you would feel comfortable going to if you feel overwhelmed. These can be a close friend, a family member, an administrator at college, or a faculty member. You should feel like you are able to ask them for help or just talk about what's going in your life! Another great thing to identify is a place where you can go that provides a distraction. Like I said earlier, for me it was the dance studio. It could be an art gallery, a park, or a favorite store. No matter who or what places you decide on, you will want to have access to them to help you through whatever is currently stressing you out!

My college dance studio was my distraction zone.
It gave me a chance to de-stress and relax.

4. Environment - A final aspect of your safety plan is making your environment conducive to reducing your stress. So think about your dorm room, the building where you live, and the people that surround you. Whether it is a dirty room, a window that faces the road, the people on your floor or your friendship circle, try to change your environment so that helps reduce your stress. While it probably isn't a possibility to change your dorm room or residence hall, it is something to keep in mind for next year when you pick your living arrangements! Whatever it is, do your best to make it easier for you to cope with those common stressors and live a better life at college!

Like I said before, if you feel that your behaviors are becoming extreme, you should definitely seek more help from a counseling professional. They can offer you great strategies to handle your stress, as well as, provide with you another person to talk with about anything that upsets you!

Without a doubt, learning how to cope with stress in high school and in college is super important for your well-being and I hope establishing your own safety plan is a great way to do that for you! Is there anything at the top of your list that you do when you feel stressed or upset? Feel free to add it in the comments!  Have a great weekend everyone!

enjoy the chase,