• How I'm staying positive while staying at home

    by Natalie Farran

    blog image alt text

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be spread every day. This virus does not know young from old – anyone can be affected by it. Yes, we have a stay at home order in Michigan, but it will help things get better. Meanwhile, this does not mean we can’t have fun. To face these hard times, I have several activities I try to complete every day. These help me maintain a positive outlook and attitude.

    • Creating a schedule to stay on track. It’s easy to fall behind in online classes. I allot daily time for studying, homework, and taking care of my family.
    • Drawing and writing as much as possible. It serves as a creative outlet and brings me joy when I am in a bad mood. 
    • Video-chatting with my family members who are in Italy. 
    • Meditating because it helps me to sleep well and lifts my mood. 
    • Getting outside in the sunshine as much as possible. 
    • Putting on my favorite outfit and going for a drive, while playing my favorite music. 
    • Running in the empty park because I enjoy smelling the fresh air.
    • Looking to reliable sources for news and information. I check reliable websites like the Center for Disease Control.

    Outside of these things, I always make time for fun. We all get busy with work and school, but making time for activities you enjoy usually lifts your mood. I make sure to start every day with a smile. This simple gesture reminds me to think positively.

    I know by following proper safety protocols, things will get better. I try to stay strong for my friends and family who do not have this option. Together, we will get through this. Despite social distancing, love can still be spread. So, continue to spread love and care in your everyday life. 


    read more
  • Starting over: College students can manage stress to achieve success

    by Natalie Farran

    blog image alt text

    Many college students experience high levels of stress throughout the semester. Dealing with feelings of anxiety and sadness can get in the way of achieving academic success. It is OK to not feel OK, but learning to manage stress is an important skill for all college students to develop. Remind yourself that this isn’t forever and to try to make it better tomorrow. Happiness begins from within yourself and doing what you truly love. Being selfish sometimes is necessary for your well-being.  

    I used to be the kind of student who focused only on the grades I received. I would make myself sick trying to get all A’s. Any time I earned a B, I would feel so guilty. A little voice in my head would tell me I wasn’t smart enough and I felt like a failure. This stress and anxiety began to affect my health. I gained a lot of weight and wasn’t able to sleep well. I forgot to take care of myself in exchange for studying. 

    Finally in the summer of 2019, I decided to change my lifestyle. I realized that I was not happy in my major and I questioned why I was in it. I decided to start over by changing my major and changing my mindset. Choosing happiness was my new philosophy. I worked hard to change my thinking and started a new chapter.

    Studying is still something I have to do, but I’ve learned that my best is good enough even if my score isn’t perfect. Your life is more important and loving yourself should be the first priority. Here are some tips that have helped me and may just help you as well. 

    • Surround yourself with positive people that value you. You deserve to be loved for who you are.
    • Stay rested. Work on developing good sleep habits. 
    • Let go of perfectionism. School and grades aren’t everything, so don’t make it your entire life. 
    • Reward yourself when you do great things. 
    • Create a study plan and stick to it to help manage your time.

    Do what makes you feel happy, try your best, and don’t worry. It can be stressful, but remember that grades don’t define your life.  College is a beautiful time in your life so enjoy it. 


    read more
  • Helpful tips for college success

    by Natalie Farran

    blog image alt text

    When I first got to college, I could see myself struggling and didn’t understand why. With the help of friends and professors, I soon realized that a lot of my problems stemmed from not being organized and not having a routine. Once I started using a planner and following a schedule, my grades quickly went up and I felt more confident in everything I did. Here are more tips I follow that have helped me succeed throughout college and may just help you as well. 

    Lecture tips

    The first step for having success in your classes is to be on time and be prepared. If you know what you are going over that day and have read ahead, you will know what questions you may have. Another way to stay focused is to stay off your phone; this will help you avoid being side tracked. You may even want to turn it off. Success in your classes also comes from actually attending class. Make it a point to be at all the lectures you can. If you can’t make it, ask a friend for notes from that day. Overall, you want to be fully there in your lectures and focused on the professors.

    Study tips

    Studying doesn’t start right before each test, it starts from the beginning. It is good to make a study outline after every lecture. This will make it less of a hassle once test time comes. If you don’t understand something, visit your professor during office hours. They want to help you and see you succeed so use them before it is too late. There are also tools you can use to help better understand the material. You can use flash cards, questions from your book, and even online study guide tools to help remember things. Finally, after each test reward yourself. You have worked hard and deserve it!

    Lab tips

    Labs are here to help you better understand classroom concepts. They are in a smaller setting and a great place to ask questions. There are always things to do beforehand, so make sure you are prepared with readings and videos. Make friends in your labs because you may need them later on with help for lectures or labs. Tests in labs are just as important as tests in your lectures so prepare accordingly. Overall, labs can be a fun way to learn materials. Use your time wisely and have fun with it.

    Time management tips

    Keeping a routine can be hard, but once you get it set, it can make a world of a difference. Strive to keep school and home separate. You can study at the library, with friends, or even at a desk. Staying off the bed or couch can help you be more focused. Also, try studying during the day so you can have more time at night for family and friends. Once you have a schedule, stick to it to stay on track!

    College can be hard, but staying organized and having a schedule brings calm to the chaos.  It will help you to stay motivated and to get better grades. Always remember why you are doing it and look toward your goal!


    read more
  • Finding Your Sunshine: Identify pillars of support to help achieve collegiate success

    by Natalie Farran

    blog image alt text

    When I started going to college, I found that the subjects got a lot harder than in high school. I began to feel that I couldn’t pass, make good scores, or even finish all of my homework. But through it all my mom was always there to help me and held my hand when I needed it. I have found my sunshine through her.

    My mom likes to tell me how much she believes in the quote, “the roots of education are bitter, but the fruits are sweet.” She never got the opportunity to finish her education, but pushes me to continue mine in order to accomplish my dreams. It is because of her that I feel I can do anything.  Whenever I need support I always turn to her because I know her words will soothe me.

    While college can be a great time of finding yourself, it can also be a time of big challenges and stress. A little light shining in can help you keep moving forward. Whether it be a person or activity, there needs to be something that drives you and pushes you to be better. My mom always says that college is not easy, but nothing in this life is easy. Work hard and fight for what you believe in.

    She also always said that I never need to change to please anyone. It is important that whatever you may choose to pursue doesn’t change you along the way. College is where you learn a lot, but you can get lost in the shuffle of things. Hold firm to your values and beliefs so you don’t lose your way.

    I believe all college students need to feel supported. We have pressure to conform, change, or even give in to failure. We all need to feel that there is someone or something who can help and encourage us to keep going. It is imperative that you find what helps make you shine by putting you up instead of tearing you down. So if you ever find yourself discouraged, think about what keeps you going and don’t look back.


    read more
  • Manage Your Smartphone or It Will Manage You

    by Natalie Farran

    blog image alt text

    The use of technology negatively affects interpersonal communication skills because it limits social interaction and development. This is important because it affects our future jobs, relationships, and health. Allowing our phones to kill our real communication will damage our relationships. Access to the world through technology leads us to spend hours sitting in front of a screen without us noticing. Here are some ways that can help you stay off your phones and stay connected to the real world.

    Set Timers

    There are many apps and settings on your phone that allow you to set time limits for social media and other apps. When you have reached the limit,  your phone locks you out and you have to go back in and change the setting if you want to keep using that app. This makes you more aware of how much time you are spending on your phone and keeps you more accountable.

    Play Games

    A lot of times when I am with friends, it feels like everyone is always on their phones. A way we have learned to stop that is keeping our phones in the middle of the table and the first person that grabs theirs loses. They could have to buy everyone pizza or deal with the fact they lost. Another way to keep everyone engaged is to play games together. It is hard for people to be focused on their phones when they are trying to win. Either way, these are good ways to keep talking together and not talking over the phone.

    I have experienced being ignored by my friends and even left my own house without them noticing. They finally realized their mistakes and apologized, but it taught a valuable message: don’t allow your phone to take you away from those you love. It can become an addiction, but if you stay on top of it, your phone won’t take over you.


    read more
  • Teacher Appreciation: My North Star

    by Natalie Farran

    blog image alt text

    When considering a professor who inspired me, the one that really stood out to me taught my Anatomy and Physiology class, Dr. GK. He is the professor that has helped and supported me the most in my time at college. He has been there when I needed encouragement and I know he has been there for others as well.

    His office door is always open to any of his students about questions they may have about class or life. Once I shared with him my dream of becoming a biology professor, but how I wasn’t sure because of how much I was struggling. He surprised me with his uplifting words saying that he struggled as well and he had to study a lot to get where he was now. He urged me to continue working hard and to think positive because it pays off. Those words were exactly what I needed to continue pushing forward.

    Dr. GK is funny, honest, and always tries his best to help all of his students in and out of the classroom. Most of all he is friendly while being professional at the same time. I believe these are the qualities that all professors and teachers should possess and ones I want to implement in my future classroom. I want to be successful because I have a great role model whose footsteps I want to follow in. I believe that the right role can be like your North Star to guide you when you are lost and put you on the right track.


    read more