Friday, August 22, 2014

STL, Katy Perry, and Settling In

What do St Louis, Missouri, Katy Perry and Settling In have in common?! They have all been a part of my transition from the small towns of South Dakota to Illinois State University. I've only been here for a grand total of 11 days and it feels like at least a month. My days have been packed with orientation, social gatherings, classes and a great deal of paperwork. Within the next few months, I will actually be a resident of Illinois. How crazy is that?!? Goodbye old license plate and driver's license! Along with busy weekdays, my roommate Abby (who also came from SDSU) and I also ventured off to St Louis. It was my first time ever to the city. Abby had won tickets to the Katy Perry concert. Talk about perfect timing and luck! We had a blast and had basically lost our voices by the end of the concert.

For my Friday post, I thought I would simply share a few photos from my past 11 days.
Our first official picture as roommates

My Redbird card...buh-bye Jackrabbits

Ready for our first day as interns...Orientation!

New besties..aka the dietetic interns (minus 2 of us)

My California girl, Desiray

Exploring St Louis

The arch

Kacey Musgraves was one of the openers for Katy Perry

Katy knows how to make an appearance

You'll never guess which song this was! :p

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

You are Good Enough

As I enter yet another year of school, I often become overwhelmed with all that is ahead of me and I ask myself, "Are you sure you are good enough for this? Everyone else seems so much smarter than you, are you sure you are capable?" No matter how many things I have accomplished in my college career or how successful I have been, there is always that voice in my head questioning what I am able to do.
This is no different for graduate school, if not worse.

However, as I have grown older and hopefully more mature, I have learned some ways to quiet these doubts in myself. One of the main reasons that we often have uncertainty in our capabilities is because we are so apt to compare ourselves to those around us. Comparison often consumed my life when I was growing up, especially in high school. In the world of GPA, sports, and competing for scholarships, comparison is difficult to avoid. One concept that I have come to realize is that we are all comparing the aspects of our lives to those around us. Even the person next to you, whom you think is perfect, has their insecurities. When I begin to hear myself comparing myself to another person, I have begun to reframe my thoughts. Instead of automatically assuming that the person next to me is better in all aspects than myself, I remind myself that we all have our struggles. Whenever I think of this concept of perspective, I always am reminded of a particular Nicholas Sparks quote from his book Dear John:

“When you're struggling with something, look at all the people around you and realize that every single person you see is struggling with something, and to them, it's just as hard as what you're going through.”

Realizing that nobody is perfect and that we all face our challenges and insecurities makes it so much easier to realize that you are good enough.

Another way in which I remind myself that I am "good enough," is by reminiscing on the past several years of my life. When I am feeling down on myself, I will often think about all that I have accomplished over the course of the past few years--no matter how big or small those things might be. I also think about all of the people who believed in me along the way. For example, earlier this week, I was feeling a bit nervous about graduate school. However, I reminded myself that I wouldn't be here, at Illinois State University, if the dietetic internship selection committee hadn't seen something special in me. The same concept goes for the people who wrote my recommendation letters for the program. Sometimes we must take a step back and examine our lives from the eyes of the people around us. Often the people in our lives believe in us even when we don't believe in ourselves.

Finally, my faith is always there for me when the above techniques fail at times. One of my favorite Bible verses comes from Jeremiah 29:11
"For I know the plans I have for you" says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."
While God's plan for each and every one of us can be confusing at times, it can also be quite comforting. I take comfort in knowing that the adversities and struggles that I face each day are all a part of God's plan for me. We are always good enough for the plan God has set forth for us.

So as these thoughts of "Am I good enough?" flood your mind, remember these things:

  • Everyone compares themselves to others.
  • Everyone faces challenges and insecurities.
  • Someone believed in your capabilities in the past...So you should too!
  • Have faith in God's plan for you.
And always, always remember that you are good enough.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Catch Some ZZZZZ's

First of all, I have missed you all! (Well, that's assuming I have some readers out there...) I have been so bummed that it hasn't been very convenient for me to follow my blogging schedule the past couple weeks. Between transporting my Taiwan friends from point A to point B and moving to Illinois for graduate school, I have not had much spare time to devote to writing. However, now that I am slowly settling into a routine, I should be on here more regularly. Knock on wood.

Before I talk about my health-related topic, I just need to share a couple pictures of my new dietetics BFF's (we are missing a couple in these pictures). I don't think I could have wound up with a better group of interns. Go Illinois State Dietetics! 
My roomie, Abby and I

For today's Monday topic, I decided at the last minute to discuss the importance of sleep. In my Research Methods class earlier this evening, we were asked to share any research experience we have had in the past. It just so happens that I worked on research regarding sleep duration and BMI in my undergraduate program. As I was sitting in class (daydreaming a little...oops), I realized I've never discussed the importance of sleep. So here goes nothing!

How much sleep do I need?
The amount of sleep a person needs depends on a person's age category. Whereas teens need 9-10 hours of sleep, adults only need 7-8 hours each night.1

Wake Up! And realize the Negative effects of insufficient sleep
Insufficient sleep, or poor quality sleep, can affect people in a wide array of ways. While some people are able to function well without obtaining the optimal amount of sleep, others tend to need more than the recommended amounts. With that said, there are some general negative findings associated with lack of sleep. Studies have shown that sleep insufficiency has been linked to motor vehicle crashes, medical and occupational errors, and industrial disasters.2  It's not rocket science. Most of us are able to recognize, within our own lives, how much better we are able to perform when we are well-rested. 

In addition to performance, there are a number of health concerns. People who do not receive sufficient sleep are more likely to have hypertension, obesity, diabetes, depression, and cancer.2 

Tips on Catching more Zzzz's
The National Sleep Foundation has devised a list of recommendations for promoting more healthful sleep habits. Here are a few:3
  • Go to bed each night at the same time and wake-up at the same time, as well
  • Be aware of your sleep environment. Keep your bedroom between 60-67 degrees, limit noise, and light.
  • Exercise each day. 
  • Adopt a bedtime routine. Set aside time to unwind before calling it a night.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine close to bedtime.
  • Steer clear of bright devices right before sleeping. 

Sleep deprivation is a subject that often hits home for many college students. Between studying for exams and maintaining a social life, how are we suppose to find time to sleep? During my undergraduate years, I often put sleep at the bottom of my priorities. However, now that I am transitioning into the "real world" as a graduate student, I plan on making good sleep habits a priority. As a new school year kicks off, I encourage you to do the same!

  1.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How much sleep do I need? July 1, 2013. Accessed Aug 18, 2014. Retrieved from 
  2. Institute of Medicine. Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2006
  3. National Sleep Foundation. Healthy Sleep Tips. Accessed Aug. 18, 2014. Retrieved from