College told by the McDade Babes

College is such a unique experience that I do not think anyone will ever have fully figured out. But here is our shot through graduation pictures:

When you see that cute boy around campus and you make it real awkward:

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When people ask what you are doing with your life and you say being a kid forever:

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You will walk and walk and walk and walk the same paths again and again:

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When someone asks you if you want to get food: 

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Sometimes you need to find a new perspective: 

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Crosswalks SUCK as a pedestrian and a car: 

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When you are faking it until you make and your professor has no idea: 

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You may watch your GPA fall like confetti, but you won’t be as happy: 

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When you tell your friends embarrassing stories: 

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When your favorite song comes on at Back Bar: 

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Sometimes college might feel like it is going to kill you: 

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But do not fret, you WILL make it through. A different and hopefully better person:

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I absolutely love these people, this town, this college! So much so that I will be staying around another year. Throughout this bitter sweet time I am choosing to be joyful, because I know that life is just beginning!

Spread contagious Joy & Laughter.

~Carly

[Photo Credit: Noah Granger]

Nixing Exclusivity

Exclusivity.

That’s a word a I do not like. It’s more than a word really; its meaning is much bigger than to be classified as just a word. Exclusivity has the power to evoke so many emotions, usually negative.
Exclusivity creates walls or barriers if you will. The definition states “shutting out all others from a part or share.” I see this word played out best through the illustration of a crowd of middle schoolers looking with disgust at a non-member of their group who tries to join in. The crowd rejects the other middle schooler who is just trying to fit in because they “don’t belong.” Whether it’s because the new person does not dress the same or is not pretty enough or cannot join in with all the jokes, the reasons do not matter. It all just creates a divide.
Honestly, I think it is part of our human nature. We all have a desire to feel as if we belong to something and to feel valued by others and sometimes it does not matter at what cost it takes to get it. Once we attain this feeling we try endlessly to keep it, because we would never want to go back to being the “outsider.” Blinders are built around our eyes blocking out anyone who tries to jeopardize our position, and we forget what it was like to feel like them: lonely, rejected, unwanted. It is sad that we are so forgetful about certain moments and emotions in life that we will so easily create this divide among people. I don’t blame people though, because I know I have fallen to it too.
When you are on the positive receiving side of exclusivity it feels good. You feel popular, valued, purposeful, powerful, etc. But I think it is important to remember that those feelings will eventually become fleeting because they are driven from others’ opinions of you, and opinions change. Once you’re “in” the group it does not make everything perfect or your insecurities go away, instead it only masks them for a while. Now you find that what you once prided yourself in is not longer your answer of relief.
If this has never affected you then count your  blessings, but we have all at least seen it. I wish I could say exclusive groups does not happen after middle school, but this is something we will always face whether it is on a team, in the workplace, at church or so on… But as we grow up what we can do is be more aware that it is happening in order to limit the spectrum.
My message is to promote inclusivity, inviting all people in! Stop building barriers that keep others out. The world alone makes this life hard, so why should we make it even harder on one another too? If we all believe we are pretty cool people with some stellar positive qualities why not choose to show that to everyone? As you go throughout this week let us all try to be more aware of how we exclude others. Put down the blinders and turn up the nozzle of our emotional intelligence to be conscious of how people surrounding us, not in the group, are feeling and acting! Make an effort to spread the joy!
Spread contagious Joy & Laughter.
~Carly

Changing Perspective Changes the Game

When introducing you to this blog I explained that I would be discussing things that I am going through or topics that many of us face and find the joy in each of them. Finding a genuine positive from situations in order to handle situations better, encourage others or just make the world a little brighter by having a new outlook on things. But what I failed to mention was how difficult this choice of action can be.

Currently, I am in a spot where I am frustrated with myself. Not for anything big, but just for how I am reacting to things. Some of these things are out of my control or do not affect me directly, yet I cannot stop myself from worrying, stressing and thinking about them. I’m typically a pretty logical person, meaning I am good at reacting sensibly and can walk myself through situations to find the right perspective. Which is great, but also frustrating at the same time. Mostly, because I know to tell myself to stop putting yourself through the negative feelings and simply have faith it will be fine and trust, but then my mind and my emotions either get either too entangled or all out of whack making it too difficult to listen to my own advice. This is when I have to take a reflective step back and say “Whoa Nelly, let’s get this in check.” If I continued the cycle of unsatisfying feelings nothing good will result. I will be emotionally weighed down and my smile a little less real. Here is where the choice comes in!

Then I choose to learn in stead of stress and grow in trusting the future instead of worrying, which is what I am in the process of doing right now. And in the process my smile spreads bigger and true joy fills me up allowing me to share it with others. Changing approaches and perspectives changes everything!

As you can tell choosing joy is honestly a task that we might never have down pat, including myself. It is something you have to work towards in every situation, everyday. Some might think you are just faking a feeling, but I say that it is bigger than just the choice of being “happy.” It is a mindset that can be life changing because you are choosing to not let the world and the situations thrown at you dictate how you feel and respond. It is like forever being the outlier, but in a good way which is something I love! When norms and standards and sterotypes are flipped and broken for the positive I get so ecstatic! It’s having a secret weapon to use on the world by reacting differently than the normal standards.

So I hope you continue this journey with me knowing it is okay to get frustrated at times and even I do not have it all together, but be encouraged that we are working to make ourselves and the world brighter!

Spread contagious Joy & Laughter.

~Carly

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Live like Jen by Being You!

“This is real. This is me. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be now!…” Go ahead, keep singing the rest because I am sure you know it!

Yes, I did just quote lyrics from Demi Lovato’s song in the ever iconic Camp Rock and you probably started hearing the song in your head too. There is no shame in singing a good tune from your childhood every now and then, right? Well let me let you in on a little secret: this used to be my JAM! As a freshmen in high school I would turn it up so loud on my iPod touch and rock out (no pun intended), dance around and sing both Mitchie’s and Shay’s part. I feel sorry for anyone who had to bear witness, but for me personally it was a great time!

As cheesy as this may be, I really think there is something special in songs like this. The message of “This is Me” was all about finding yourself and being proud of that! I was reminded of the beauty in uniqueness this week as my house mates and I had an entire conversation on the literal steps we go through when taking a shower. Why this topic came up is beyond me, but nonetheless it did. From this I found out two things:

1) My friends have strange, strangggeeee showering habits (I won’t go in to detail because they are probably reading this), but yet they were confused by mine. Like they were surprised that I washed my feet in the shower, but isn’t that normal?

But more importantly…

2) Normal is relative. We all go through some of the same daily task, but we just tackle them differently and that is how it is meant to be! When I get bogged down by insecurities of not fitting in one of my favorite quotes from a friend is “You are called to be different!” The term called is so strong, because it shows that part of my purpose in life is to show my uniqueness! Just this week actress Jennifer Aniston posted about being confident in self-acceptance as well.

As you leave this post and head into the weekend I hope you choose to embrace you! I am fully aware that I am weird and goofy, but I like to think it is just the right amount because it is what I was called to be! There is freedom in acceptance and joy in showing that to the world. Remember, Jennifer Aniston is a person who showers too, making all of us similar, but I bet her shower stays warm longer than five minutes which is a colder reminder that we are still very different. Go blast that song that is your anthem and be YOU!

Spread contagious Joy & Laughter.

~Carly

 

Handling a Case of F.O.M.O.

So you decided to stay home, wrapped in a blanket, just you and the t.v. having some quality bonding time. In the moment you are enjoying every second of your night, especially marveling at the thought of going to bed early, a thought that almost seems bizarre at least in college. Then you make the mistake of checking your phone and social media as soon as you wake up. It starts setting in. It is engulfing your thoughts so quickly… You have just been hit with a case of “F.O.M.O.”

While the above scenario might not describe you perfectly, I believe we all struggle with this “Fear of Missing Out” sometimes. Whether it is unknowingly or very apparent, it happens. It’s a feeling that can make you regret your decision of not going somewhere or perhaps pushes you towards a decision because you are afraid of missing something. But neither one of these things leave us feeling good about ourselves, so why do we let it seep in to our thoughts? We can blame a lot of this on social media because it is now here to document every single event in our lives and display it for the world to see, but it is not the only source. I think even before social media the F.O.M.O. feeling was real, just maybe not so artistically named. Think back to elementary school, when you heard your friends recap the awesome sleepover they had over the weekend that you chose not to attend for whatever reason, that feeling of being left out of memories and stories was still there. This makes me think that it is more innate that we all desire to feel included. I know what you are thinking, “Duh Carly! That’s not profound.” and you are right, but it is something so simple that we forget about and let it affect our lives so much. Here are some suggestions that might help combat F.O.M.O.

  • Identify what bothers you most about missing out on things. Is it because you don’t want to be considered lame for not being there, you don’t want to be left out of conversations, or maybe you are trying to push yourself to do more activities.
  • Find the driving source that ignites the F.O.M.O. feeling. Is it after scrolling through social media feeds or listening to the recap from your friends. Whatever is it, note that and if the feelings arise again maybe you should stop scrolling, tune out or leave the conversation.
  • Know your motivation behind your actions. Make sure you are going out or doing something because you will really want to for genuine enjoyment, not self guilt.
  • Understand that social media is an altered reality. People only post what they want everyone to see, so more times than not it is going to be when they are looking the finest, having fun and living up life. It also, does not have to be in real time. Example: I am currently writing this with no make-up on and my hood over my head, but I could post a picture of me all dressed up at dinner and no one would ever know!
  • Give your mind and body what it needs….rest. You don’t always have to be moving or going to every event to be normal or cool. Sometimes your body needs to relax and your mind needs not to worry or over analyze life. Be okay with that!

F.O.M.O. is so real if you let it be. Trust me, I am bad at it so this post speaks to myself as well. But if we are more intentionally aware of our thoughts and practice reversing F.O.M.O. thoughts to positive ones we can be more satisfied in our own lives and genuinely like someone’s post when we press ‘like.’ Choose to think differently!

Spread contagious Joy & Laughter.

~Carly

“Image: Mean Girls