How Do You Define Busy?

Apparently my idea of busy does not align with that of others… Depending on who you ask.

I mean, a full course-load (16-18 hours), two jobs, volunteering, a few extra curricular activities/committees, among regular student/sister/daughter/roommate/friend duties–that’s not that much, right?

Yeah… Like I said  (wrote)… Depends on who you ask.

If you were to ask my pre-college self what I thought about my current schedule, I would have been astounded–at my gumption to do so much in the first place and my ability to pleasantly function despite my lifestyle. Three years later, however, and I’ve just found this to simply be my life. I don’t really consider it busy even when others tell me so.

Don’t get me wrong, I recognize that my life is rather hectic (as a side effect of college), but my busyness has become such a constant facet over the years, I’m just used to it and thus unbothered. But do you know what’s really sad? I seem really busy (I’ve been told), but I can think of dozens of fellow students at my school who are significantly more busy than I. Enough that they forego sleep or eating decent meals or other basic life necessities to get all they need done. Granted, they have different priorities and ambitions than I which alters time management and layout of the day, but still… Clearly something is not right in our college system. Or maybe entering your 20’s sparks some sort of hidden ambition gene all humans share… I don’t know, I just find it suspicious.

Even so, I like being busy. To an extent. Not so busy that I feel like I’m about to cry from commitment overload, but enough that I don’t feel like I’m wasting my life away doing nothing (relatively speaking). As a professor of mine says, “I don’t want to feel overwhelmed or underwhelmed–just whelmed.” Whelmed is not an official word (in this context), but I like it and completely identify with the sentiment so I’ll allow it. My whelmed just seems to be everybody’s overwhelmed… Or underwhelmed in some cases. Like most things in life, it’s subjective… Sigh.

What do YOU consider busy or too busy? Do you like being busy or more underwhelmed? Why or why not? Maybe everyone can get some nifty life advice here…

Have a perfectly whelming week! 🙂

UPDATE: I Went on an Adventure!

And I’m back now. And clearly fairly okay if I’m writing this…

I wish I had some sort of surprise ending for you with how everything turned out, but with as many stories that exist, there are just as many endings, and of those, rather well-known endings, so the ability to actually surprise you with my follow-up is pretty non-existent. Unless you don’t possess the talent of easily predicting things much like myself, in which case, prepare to be surprised…or “surprised” (if you already know where this is going).

In my last post, I expressed my mass anxiety in anticipation of the aforementioned adventure (a retreat on diversity and leadership) as well as my lack of confidence in believing I was an ideal candidate for such an opportunity. I experienced these feelings while writing the post and the in the days that followed all leading up to the retreat. And then those feelings became heightened at the beginning of the trip and began to feel fairly justified during the first few hours. I knew next to nobody. I didn’t feel like the right type of person for this sort of experience. I didn’t know what to expect. Ultimately, I felt way out of my element, and thus feared the next couple of days would be absolutely miserable for my mental health.

And then something changed…

I can’t pinpoint an exact moment when my anxiety melted away, when my nervousness was replaced by near giddiness, but early sometime after our workshop began would be a fair assumption. During this time, focus shifted onto the central issues of the retreat–the primary reasons my fellow students and I were in attendance; our objective is to promote both a diverse and an all-welcoming and inclusive environment for students on campus. Priorities transitioned to others and  their needs, and because of that, I wasn’t so worried about myself and sense of comfort or lack thereof. Everyone at this retreat was brought together by a common interest–one about which we are all passionate. From that, connections were formed and vast progress in planning for the future dynamic of our campus was made. *happy sigh* It really was just a great time. 🙂

The only complaints I have are the lack of recharge time for my introverted self (seriously, I was around people for 36 hours straight with no privacy–how I’m still pleasant and functioning I don’t know) and with that, lack of sleep. College students, when banded together, do not seem to like to sleep…

Overall, my adventure did not begin with excitement like that of Bilbo Baggins, but I can say it ended with utter happiness similar to Annie’s and Hallie’s when they found out they were twins. (I know the reference seems kind of random; I was aiming for an adventure/camp vibe here. It works, right?) Very much a success!


Aww! Does that just emanate connections and inclusiveness or what?

…But I shall still no-doubt be overcome with unreasonable amounts of dread and anxiety come my next big adventure! Oh, anxiety, whatever would I do without you?

I’m Going on an Adventure! …Oh, THERE You Are, Anxiety!

Although, by the time you read this, I will be near the end of this particular adventure… Ah, the beauty of scheduling posts… Okay, so.

I’m going an adventure.




And I’m dreading it.




Kind of.


Not this kind of adventure. Though, with a little imagination…

If you recall my post on “Connotations of the FUTURE,” I tend to feel really excited about stuff (like this “adventure”) in the beginning. But then as that event draws nearer, reality begins to set in and I realize: Oh no–a new (social) experience.

No me gustarlo.

What is this super exciting/dreadful adventure, you ask? Well, it’s not a new job or new class or anything as simple as I mentioned in the above post. It’s actually a legitimate new experience; something I’ve never done before: I’m going on a “retreat” for diversity and leadership (I say “retreat” because I always thought retreats were supposed to be outdoorsy and camp-y or something to that extent, but when I asked, I was informed I would “be spending very little time outside,” so…). Isn’t that pretty cool? Yeah, I thought so. And so did my friend who referred me to this workshop, which is why I felt compelled to apply in the first place. I mean, if someone else believes in me, why shouldn’t I?

So I was excited and applied and was accepted (obviously–otherwise I wouldn’t even be talking about this), and it was only then I came to the realizations:

  1. I’m not diverse
  2. I’m not a leader

How exactly am I supposed to do well at this “retreat” thing if I don’t meet the only two guidelines it seems to have? Now, I could unleash my English major arguments on you and say: everyone’s diverse beneath the surface or there are all sorts of leaders, thus, anyone’s capable of taking on such a role, and okay, yeah that’s technically true. But what I’ve gathered from this particular experience and its criterion (without actually having had the experience), the more commonly known connotations of diversity and leadership are what we’re working with. (Oh. Ending on a preposition… Don’t you love my terrible grammar habits in this paragraph just after I noted my English major status? Perks of being an English major: 1. After berating everyone for not following grammatical rules properly, you inadvertently break  them in your everyday speech/writing 🙂 ) So anyways, this is going to be quite the experience. And when I say quite, I’m using the British connotation.

British_Quite (2)

Don’t you feel so educated now?

I know, I know. In the grand scheme of things this will likely all be fine and there will have been nothing to worry about (er, nothing about which to worry). That’s the story of my life. But knowing this is typically how things happen–that things usually work out in teh end, relatively speaking–does not ease ease my anxiety. And if you think this should, you clearly don’t know how anxiety works, no offense (though sometimes I don’t even know how anxiety works…). So even though I’m pretty much destined to have a relatively decent time or to at least learn a lot about others and myself, I still have waste an unnecessary amount of energy worrying until I actually begin this adventure. Lucky for you guys (or maybe not…?), I’ll be sure to write a short update once I return, so you’ll only have to endure this dreary, Debbie-downer post a short while. 🙂

Alrighty, let’s do this.

How Do You Convince Others to Comply When You’re Not an Aggressive Person?

I don’t usually ask for much (I think), but when I do, it’s because I really need help. I’m actually a rather independent person; I prefer my own help unless I ask for that of others. Ironically enough, I have no problem swooping in and helping other people whether they ask for my assistance or not. I know, I make so much sense… My point is I don’t usually ask much of others. However, in the worlds of writing and journalism, you actually need quite a bit from people, despite the view writing is an independent process.

In one of my current work positions, I write feature stories on various individuals involved with my university. Subsequently, to learn more about whatever it is person has been doing, I need to ask them questions, usually allotting an interview of some kind–preferably in person, though not required. That’s not too much to ask, right? Just some spare time and extensive thought to go into putting together eloquent answers to simple questions… Totally reasonable. Or apparently very unreasonable, as more often than not, I’m constantly pestering person (or as we call in journalism, nudging), reminding them of my request so I can move forward with my assignment. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Regardless, this has happened enough times that I’ve begun to wonder, Am I not aggressive in my demands? Am I even aggressive at all?

Most who know me personally would likely say no to the latter; I’m not aggressive. If anything I’m passive aggressive. I filter my anger so it’s communicated nicely–enough that I probably don’t seem angry at all–or I simply don’t express aggression and keep it secured within. (Fun fact: In the aforementioned writing position, when I’m working with someone who does not respond to my initial interview request, I sign my follow-up emails to them with, Thank you for your cooperation. It’s how I get my point across while still sounding professional. I’m actually being rather sarcastic with the line, but since it’s text, it can be left up to interpretation. I know, I’m so deviant. Anyway.) All in all, I admit I am definitely a more compliant individual. I don’t like conflict so typically I go with the flow (to a certain extent), do what others ask of me, and attempt to be kind to others. None of that really screams AGGRESSION. But just because I’m not assertive in the behavior I exhibit toward others doesn’t mean I am not worthy of compliance, right?

The kind should receive cooperation–at least some of the time. The problem is (I suspect) they simply appear “too nice” and, with this sort, others know the nice won’t ever appear assertive in their demands so they presume they can get away with not meeting the demand. Unless doing so benefits them in some way. Although with my writing position that doesn’t really made sense; if others were to comply with my requests, they would get a story written about them out of doing so–who doesn’t want that? Apparently a lot of people… I don’t particularly like this theory in that it portrays people in a selfish light, but as many scholars argue and life experiences prove, it is not an entirely inconceivable possibility.


Always use any excuse to include a “The Princess Bride” reference

Yikes, insulting people to encourage compliance. I’m definitely going to get more cooperation now, right? That’s probably the most assertive I can be in writing. In any regard I’ll probably continue to use the following approach:

  1. State my request while highlighting the benefits the requestee would receive upon doing as I ask (in other words, what I’ve been doing all along)
  2. Hope for the best

What is YOUR advice encouraging cooperation (preferably without being rude or manipulative)?

Sorry for the obscene number of rhetorical questions and parenthetical asides in this post. My English professor would be so disappointed…

Connotations of…THE FUTURE

DUN DUN DUUUUUNN!!! *Insert spacey-sounding music here*

I’ve been thinking about the future a lot lately. I don’t really know why. Seems more appropriate for when I’m closer to graduating college or taking some major life step (which I’m not right now–still got a year left, at least). Maybe it’s because there have been a lot of birthdays in my family recently and everyone is becoming older and one year closer to life’s end and when that happens I’ll be older and in a different place in life and–isn’t the way my mind works just grand? That’s rhetorical. Anyway, future.

When other people around my age hear the term future, that spacey music I mentioned plays, or they envision something to the extent of this meme:


What do you plan to do with your FUTURE?

The future is viewed as this terrifying, unknown time in life–because it’s unknown, uncertain. But, if you ask me (which you didn’t), I say it doesn’t have to be. Now, if you’re following along, something may not sit right here; I have social anxiety–often caused by uncertainty–so I be equally if not more terrified of that “swirling vortex of terror” that is the future, right? Not exactly. Well, kind of.

Don’t get me wrong, uncertain future can seem scary, but what I consider scary regarding the future, likely differs from that of the majority. The future situations that exacerbate my social anxiety are, for one, social, and more of the near-future variety. Say I’ve signed up for a new set of classes for the following semester at school or have just accepted a new job position, I’m likely really stoked about those experiences! I’m going to be learning new things, solidifying my career path, etc.–how is that not exciting? Here, it’s important to keep in mind these situations involve actions that do not have immediate repercussions. Choosing classes for a following term occurs months before those classes actually begin at my school. Thus, excitement ensues. Until time brings me closer and closer to those new situations and then–




What do you know? My new classes/job/other new experience begins tomorrow (or very, very, VERY soon)! This is where the spacey music and Crush meme come into play for me. This is when I begin to experience what the others in my age group have been feeling all along.

My peers are terrified of being thrown into the “real world” after graduation, not knowing which career they’ll fall into, where they’ll be living, how to pay taxes, etc. WAY before it actually happens. I mean, yeah that’s pretty terrifying… I guess… But that seems so way in the distant future to my socially anxious self that these sorts of things aren’t worth worrying about yet, as I spend so much of my time worrying about the more immediate situations–especially if they’re social.

What may seem like an extensive digression was actually an extensive digression, but I did have some advice embedded in there. With my example about choosing classes or beginning a job, I was very excited about both opportunities; I saw the positives in those opportunities. Sure I may not 100% know what I want to do (does anyone? like really, completely know?) and it very well may not be whatever this job entails, but through this experience, I’ll be able to narrow down my interests and figure out what I do want to do with my life. Or taxes. I still don’t know how to do them (at least not by myself) and probably won’t for another couple years, but eventually I will grasp the general concept–enough that I will be able to do this adult-y thing independently. For the most part. And that’s pretty cool, right?

I think the biggest hurdles people face when thinking about the future are its uncertainty and, with that, the potential to fail. Yes, the future is uncertain and yes, that can be terrifying. Uncertainty is the worst. But just because something is uncertain, doesn’t mean failure is the only possible outcome. Unless you’re into the whole self-fulfilling prophecy theory… It all comes down to mindset. If you choose to view the future as a “swirling vortex of terror,” you’re going to be overwhelmed with worry. That’s no fun–trust me. But you can choose to look at the future with eager eyes, envisioning all the happy possibilities in your wake. Or maybe, you can compromise, pulling from both mindsets. That’s likely the most realistic (though not as uplifting),so I’ll leave you with this:


What do you plan to do with your FUTURE (again)?

I made a meme! I know, so exciting! Break has given me too much spare time…

I Don’t Make Sense…

If you’re even remotely familiar with my blog, this probably isn’t news to you. But I’m not talking about my way of thinking or writing style (though I’m sure those could be side effects of today’s topic). I’ll be focusing on just one of the many confusing components of my personality: my introversion.

In a former post when I introduced introversion, I gave a brief description of the concept. But if you don’t feel like poring over all my writing just to find this meager explanation or reading this in-depth exploration of introverted thinking, I will provide another brief description. In short, introverts are the types of individuals who need to spend time alone to gain energy. No matter how outgoing or shy they seem, all introverts require alone time to recharge; peopling–I mean, socializing–takes a lot of effort. Even when you enjoy it.

I recently came across a skydiving metaphor to explain introverts and socializing, which I thought was an effective comparison.

Consider skydiving. If you were to agree to go skydiving, you’d have to plan the experience (time, place, etc.), you’d have to be at least somewhat willing, and would likely have to become excited and channel your energy into following through with your plan beforehand. That’s what it’s like for an introvert to prepare for social outings–ideally. However, most social interactions (like in college) feel like the equivalent of being pushed out of the plane before feeling fully ready and willing to dive through the sky. Talk about a rude awakening…

I cannot confirm all introverts feel this way about socializing (especially the outgoing introverts), but exchanging social outings with skydiving seems like a pretty sufficient comparison to me. But here’s where I don’t make sense (at least in my mind).

I’m what I’d call a very introverted introvert. I need lot of alone time, days even, to recharge from socializing. In college that’s not really possible. I have classes, work, clubs, roommates (whom I love, but still…), so I’m surrounded by people. All. The. Time. And it’s exhausting. Honestly, I’m amazed I’ve survived through college thus far. Because I’m around others more than I’d like, I’m not always the most social–enough, I’m sure I emit a bit of a loner vibe to my fellow students. I spend a lot of time by myself even when around people. I don’t talk a lot. But when I do talk to others it’s like some kind of switch has flipped.


Always the third option

I’ve been told by many I’m fun to talk with, laugh with, that I’m a very personable individual. (Granted, I work in communication and journalism fields so I kind of need to be if I want others to do what I ask so I can do my job efficiently–that doesn’t sound manipulative at all…) Yet, most don’t discover this about me, as more often than not, I’m in total introvert mode and thus don’t talk much–at least not simply for the sake of talking. Thus loner/quiet girl reputation which is perfectly fine with me!

Socializing is such a necessity in the U.S. We’re very social and it seems if you’re anything but, something is “wrong” with you. Not literally, of course, but American standards definitely cater to extroverted individuals (have I not referenced college enough in this post, yet?). The problem is passable socializing (what I call small talk) doesn’t benefit us much. Aside from portraying yourself as a pleasant, polite individual small talk does little in terms of advancing your social life. Strong friendships are not to be had from discussing only mundane subjects like the weather or your job–unless you’re able to delve into the gritty details of those, then maybe… In-depth conversations, however, can play a much more effective role. I want to hear about your thoughts on the origins of the world, your life experiences, your response to scenario x and reasons for such. Do you know how often people offer up that sort of information in initial conversations? Yeah, thought so…

But that’s okay! Because, honestly, learning so much about others increases the attachment I feel toward them which means creating and maintaining friendships, and, as an introvert, staying in touch with more than a handful of people is exhausting. Thus, few (but close!) friends. In college, because of the constant socialization, I tried to exceed my ideal friend limit, which ultimately failed because introversion. Just last week, a friend whom I haven’t seen in weeks asked to hang out for that very reason. And I turned them down. Without hesitation. Because I’m an introvert and make no sense and did not at that time feel tempted to actively maintain that friendship via in-person socialization. Yet, just a few weeks earlier I had been wishing more of my friends would reach out. See what I mean about not making sense? Introverts are complicated. And needy. But AWESOME. As are extroverts too, I’m sure. I just don’t know that lifestyle…

You know what else I don’t know? If this post made any sense to anyone, so just in case I’ve summed up the gist of my writing here (in list form!):

  1. Introverts are vary in type, but all need alone time to gain energy and to prepare for social interaction
  2. The U.S. caters to extroverts primarily which challenges introverts’ ability to thrive
  3. I’m a confusing person

And that’s really all you need to know. But if things are still unclear, well, at least confusion aligns well with this week’s theme. So there’s that.

Happy day, introverts/extroverts/everyone!

Why do they get it for free, when everyone else has to earn it?

Jacob Hunt of Jodi Picoult’s House Rules asks his mother this very question after he is punished for a minor infraction involving a teacher at his school. Respect. He’s talking about respect. Why do teachers receive respect just because they are teachers when the average Joe has to prove to everyone he deserves respect just because he… isn’t a teacher? Well, Jacob, now that I’ve stepped into the teaching role in this scenario I’ve been asking the same question.

I am a volunteer assistant instructor for an English as a Second Language (ESL) course in my hometown (I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned this on here. Wish I had–I think I usually end up getting distracted by some other thought that pops into my head during the week. But anyway, digression.), so, essentially, I’m kind of a teacher–one of those positions that supposedly falls under the professions-that-deserve-automatic-respect category. I’d never really questioned why this is the case, even after I began working in the ESL field.

I’ve always adhered to the rule advising you to respect your elders. Anyone who held a few months or several decades–thus, more wisdom and experience–over my head was to be treated with kindness, civility. And if this elder holds a position of authority, showing respect is especially important. This always made sense to me–until last week in my ESL class.

Even though I’m one of the two teachers in the class, I’m not the oldest–far from it, actually. Thus, the idea to respect elders because they’re… elder is moot here. So then I should be respected because of my educator title, right? Turns out, that’s not much to go on either. Before I delve further, let me just say I love my class and I love my students and the following is in NO way intended to portray them negatively. However, they are not always the most civil with the teachers in the room… There usually comes a time each semester where a class session is dedicated to lecturing students to respect their elders, or in this case, teachers. Usually prompted because they continuously don’t show they’re listening to instruction, or because they interrupt, or talk while the teacher is talking, or a half dozen other reasons. I know the program that offers these ESL courses has looked into education styles in other countries in an attempt to understand our students’ behavior and respond accordingly, but I’m not sure much progress has been made yet. Regardless, normally after this “manners talk” takes place, the students seem to alter their classroom etiquette. But in my current class, there is one student who refuses to change their ways. They repeatedly defy what the head teacher (my boss) instructs the students do, they taunt both of us, and, ultimately, refuse to speak in English during the class. Maybe that last expectation seems presumptuous, but it is an English language class…

After the latest class meeting, I was very upset with how the student had behaved during the lesson, exhibiting behavior similar to that listed above. But in an attempt to examine things more objectively, I considered the central questions of this post–Jacob’s: Why do teachers automatically deserve respect? and mine: Do they in the first place? When I first stepped into my teaching position, I hadn’t done anything to warrant respect, yet until this most recent class meeting, I had seemed to think I deserved to be treated civilly. I’m not so sure, now.

Don’t get me wrong: I certainly don’t think we should be outright rude to people simply because we believe they haven’t done anything deserving of respect. But should we be bestowing the highest levels of admiration upon elders and authoritative figures without at least getting acquainted with their character first? I mean, consider how many people you’re nice to just because society says it must be so. Sure your teacher is your teacher but what if they’re also a serial killer? That kind of qualifies them as a terrible person, right? Jacob’s teacher wasn’t actually a serial killer, but he was a terrible person. Regardless, the school demanded he be treated with respect anyway because he was a teacher. Do teachers and/or authoritative figures turned serial killers still deserve respect just because they were your teacher and/or authoritative figure first? I apologize for the the completely unrealistic, overdramatic (and, if you’ve read House Rules, the sort of but not really ironic) example here, but it is something to think about…

Sorry I never figured out an answer to your question, Jacob. Have a civil (within reason) week!



Where Do You Get Your Morals?

This is what I was asked the other night (more or less–though the question may have been worded differently), because apparently I have a pretty well-established moral compass, considering my current life circumstance (i.e. college). As providing improvised yet thoughtful answers to deep questions and, well, talking, are not my strong suits, I gave a pretty haphazard response about my personality and relating that to inner-motivation and people-pleasing–major ISFJ traits. None of what I said was inaccurate, but I wasn’t really satisfied with my answer. So I’m going to attempt to work out a more elaborate response here.

In all honesty, I’ve never explicitly thought about the origins of my morals. In that respect, I don’t think; just act. I don’t recommend adhering to that life advice in any other situation, but when it comes to following my moral compass, that mindset seems to work for me.

I’m going to reference back to my Myers-Briggs personality to try and exemplify what I’m saying. ISFJs are easily motivated people; we function with a work-first-and-play-later mindset and are motivated by the sense of accomplishment that arrives after completing a task (more on that here). That is simply how our minds are set up. So whenever a fellow student or parent or teacher compliments me on my work ethic, my immediate response is Why wouldn’t you strive to finish your work right away? I don’t make the extra effort to be productive or finish assigned tasks. I don’t think; just act.

In all honesty, I don’t know from where I’m drawing my morals. At this point, what I believe to be right and wrong has been so thoroughly established and followed in my mind, that attempting to stray from that isn’t a possibility to me, as though I was “made” to act a certain way.

With this being said, I don’t actually think everyone is born programmed to follow certain morals alone. But I do think everyone is born with traits that are likely to adhere to particular morals and that those morals can be shaped early in life. At the risk of entering the nature vs. nurture debate, I’d say both our environment and personality partake in forming our sense of right and wrong. As I believe the bulk of this shaping happens early on (though morals are subject to change throughout life), the environment involved in this process would have to be family (parents), some form of early education, and any other group constantly present in your young life.

So naturally, I’d have to conclude my morals were primarily formed as a result of parental and educational influence, which have in turn interacted with my personality and created the moralistic mindset I now follow. I can’t cite a specific lesson or life event that took place in my early years that solidified any of my morals–which frustrates me to no end, mind you; perks of practically non-existent memory–but the above is what I believe is likely what happens to us regarding morality formation.

Now I’m interested: Where do YOU think our morals originate from, dear reader? Family? School? Faith? Something else entirely? I’m curious to learn about other perspectives on this–hopefully yours is a lot simpler than mine…

Have a wonderful week! Keep on following your compass.