Posts Tagged ‘your 20s’

Creating the Best Version of Yourself

Friday, April 5th, 2024
Sunset car drives with friends

Every morning at 5:05 am, I stare at my reflection in the mirror when I wake up. It is sometimes a glance, but there is so much I see. Some days, I see someone ready to face whatever the day brings, excited to practice to push myself or learn a unique topic in class. On other days, I see someone who is sleep-deprived and stressed, too caught up on daunting tasks or future plans. These phases are ones that many face throughout their college years and beyond—the feelings of passion, drive, and eagerness, but also self-doubt, resentment, and fear. I, too, have recently felt many different emotions nearing the final stretch of my second semester as a sophomore, edging closer to being halfway through college and closer to the real world. 

I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who is nearing the last semester in college as a senior. She’s soon facing graduation and the start of her job working with a startup in a new city halfway across the country. Talking to her made me realize it is a frightening future to face the unknown, leaving behind what is known as a student to face all the world has to bring as a twenty-something adult, but also full of possibilities and excitement. She says it is a new path she’s ready and eager to begin. It is the mindset I admire and always strive to attain—the ability to seize the moment in a way that is most beneficial to my growth in all aspects of life. 

Creating the best version of yourself comes with various methods and philosophies, each valid and helpful in its own way. Doing a quick search online would come up with an overwhelming amount of information, such as “read more,” “be more physically active,” or “practice kindness.” As someone who uses all of these techniques and sometimes fails, I know  there is something crucial about setting your intentions and mindset, focusing on yourself, and your “why.” There will be voices providing information on the best way to attain your goals or aspirations, but the most important voice to listen to is yours. 

I have slowly learned the necessity of being in tune with your body and emotions. There are long days where practice would be particularly strenuous on both my mind and body, and I would have a full day of three to four classes in a row. On these days, though it sometimes feels unproductive to take time for myself to decompress instead of checking tasks off my list, it would benefit me in the long run. The next day, I almost always feel more energized and eager to attack the day. Listening to my body’s needs has made me better at reevaluating and reflecting on my day and my emotions at the end of the day. If I’m feeling drained and irritated, I can acknowledge possible stressors and take small steps, such as a mindset shift, in tackling these obstacles. 

Throughout it all, always remember to look at the bigger picture. Next time you are outside walking to class or around your peers in class, take a second to recognize how much gratitude and passion there is in all that you do. Knowing this will launch you into whatever life has in store for you next, ready to face setbacks and successes with the best version of yourself you have in the moment.

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By Lecia Sun

Lecia is a student at Tufts University studying Classics and World Literature. When she is not reading, she can be found attempting the New York Times Games, trying out a new creative hobby, and dreaming about her next great bake. 

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College Savings: How to Afford a Study Abroad Trip as a Broke College Student

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Whether my friends ask me if I want to go to the movies or out for an expensive meal, my answer is always the same: “I’m a college student.” This is the universally known phrase meaning, “I’d love to, but I can’t. I’m broke.” College expenses can really weigh down on my desire to have a social life. Between tuition, books, Metrocard fare, and food, there’s really no wiggle room for anything extra and I’m always trying to find college discounts wherever I go. When I learned about study abroad options through CUNY, my friends asked me where I wanted to go. “China,” I replied smiling. “But I’m a college student.”

Eating a bowl of noodles in Nanjing, China that cost 7¥ (yuan): less than $1.50!

Eating a bowl of noodles in Nanjing, China that cost 7¥ (yuan): less than $1.50!

Studying abroad, although costly, is not necessarily as impossible as one might think for the ‘poor’ college student—and it certainly has its perks. One way to help pay for your study abroad trip is to get scholarship money. Just like when you were applying for college, scholarships are diverse, obscure and available to a multitude of people. You just need to be willing to look for them. One great place to start is CEA Scholarships, which are scholarships specifically for students who want to study abroad. There are multiple merit based scholarships available and also financial need based scholarships.

Often times when applying for these scholarships you are required to write a personal essay. In order to get the money you need to make yourself stand out. Write several different essays, share them with your writing major friends, revise, and edit. The more work you put into your essay, the better chance you’ll have at getting that money. Other scholarships to look into for studying abroad are the SIROCS scholarship and the SASA Travel Abroad Scholarship.

You never know when you're going to stumble upon some interesting souvenir like a Communist Obama Tshirt!

You never know when you’re going to stumble upon some interesting souvenir like a Communist Obama Tshirt!

Don’t be afraid to go and contact the financial aid office at your college. Even if you don’t think you qualify for financial aid, go anyway. Sometimes the financial aid rules and regulations differ for certain study abroad programs and it never hurts to ask! Taking out student loans might also be a viable option to look into. Loans are a really great way to give yourself some time to save up your money after you take advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Start saving up now! Even if you get fully covered by scholarships or financial aid, there’s still the matter of having spending money in a foreign country. Whether you want to buy a cheap bowl of noodles, or a memorable souvenir, you’re going to end up wanting to spend some cash on your trip. In Shenzhen, China I came across an amusement park called Windows of the World. I was definitely glad that I had some cash to pay for the admission. Get a part time job while you wait for the start of your program and put that cash aside. You’ll be happy you did once you get to your new temporary home. You want to be able to take care of yourself while you’re away and have some fun too!



My friends on the train ride at Windows of the World in Shenzhen, China.

My friends on the train ride at Windows of the World in Shenzhen, China.

Sam Levitz is a graduate of Brooklyn College and went on the CUNY Study Abroad trip to China the summer of 2013. Follow her on Instagram: slevitz

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