Studying Do’s And Don’ts

I am currently recovering from adrenal fatigue. I spent the last week quite literally hunched over at my desk in my bedroom (obviously not of good posture!). Now, my poor back is suffering the consequences. And my brain still feels like it’s on fire and is burning to a crisp.

This is because I just survived and actually did thrive in my first week of nutrition school. I’m taking anatomy and physiology right now in my applied nutrition program and I’ll admit it, it’s not simple. It’s not algebra. Case studies, however are so much fun, and it’s not just because I get to put my writing skills to use. I learn about the body and nutrients that do the body wonders, and I learn about things such as skin aging. Did you know that redheads supposedly don’t age? I’m lucky in that regard.

Anyway, I was sitting at my local coffee shop, trying to copy everything that was in my online textbook. What I ended up learning is that simply copying and memorizing is not a good way to study. I wound up emailing my professor, asking my biology-master friend (hi Cyrene!), then finally I watched this video on YouTube.

I’ll also admit to the fact that how I studied in high school… didn’t work in college, and in high school? I drove myself batshit crazy trying to memorize everything.

Another “do” is to follow this method: read, cover, write what you remember, repeat!

This can go for any subject whatsoever, not just anatomy.

Don’t stay up all night working. You need your beauty sleep! Do cap the studying at say, 11:00 p.m.? Maybe sooner?

With that being said, life gets busy, so do make a schedule. Don’t just say, “oh, I have some free time! I’ll work!”

But please do remember that you are human, and that life takes its twists and turns. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t finish a topic or assignment “on time.”

Do take breaks because you need some social interaction and some much needed relaxation. Don’t force yourself to work if you’re tired.

Let me know if I missed anything or if there’s anything that you and I can benefit from! I’d love to hear feedback in the comments.

xoxo,

April 💕

RELATED ARTICLES: What I Wish I Knew As A First Semester Senior, What I wish I knew before starting college, What’s In My Backpack?, Things You Will Learn In College, As Told By A Second Semester Senior, For the College Student(s) Having Doubts, Week In The Life of a Blogger/Busy College Student!

The Truth About ‘Overnight Success’ | How To Be

I opened up an email from renowned fitness trainer Jill Coleman today, and it was my personal dose of tough love. The quote I’m about to share with you should be, too.

“A life spent looking for shortcuts is a long road to nowhere.” –Naval

Picture this: you’re young and at the park, and you’re on the monkey bars. You jump down halfway through because your hands hurt. Then you just walk to to the other side of the obstacle. 

I don’t blame your hands for hurting, but this is the thing about all areas of life, including your health and well-being (and even manifestation!): you have to build the calluses on your hands and on the trauma you’ve experienced. You can ruminate on what you could’ve done differently all you want, but you can’t change who you were yesterday. 

View the whole Instagram post here.

There is another quote I’d like to share that Natalie Portman quoted in this video (a speech she gave to Harvard graduates); “To be or not to be is not the question; the vital question is how to be,” said by Abraham Joshua Heschel. This will certainly question your thoughts and what you’ve learned about Shakespeare’s Hamlet, which is why I LOVE to question things that mildly brought me to tears (and not in a good way) (LOL). I love questioning the world around me in general, which is why I will forever be a lifelong learner.

I don’t just learn from books and podcasts, I learn from my past mistakes and I learn from the people around me — digitally or via in-person connections. That’s the beauty of the digital world, specifically social media and the ever-growing metaverse.

Let us think about how to be, shall we?

We’re taught from a young age about how to live our lives, mainly from our parents and the environment we grow up in. Let’s take Liz Murray for example. I’m continuously fascinated by her story. She is the brave young woman in the famous not-so-overnight-success-story “Homeless To Harvard.”

As a young girl, Murray lives with her sister Lisa, their drug-addicted, schizophrenic mother Jean, who has AIDS and their father Peter, also a drug addict but also has AIDS, lacks social skills, and is not conscientious. She is removed from the home and put into the care system as her father cannot take care of her.

At 15 she moves in with her mother, sister and grandfather who sexually abused her mother and her aunt. After a fight with her grandfather who resultantly hit Liz, she runs away with a girl from school named Chris who is also being abused at home.

After Jean dies of AIDS, Liz gets a ‘slap in the face’ by her mother’s death and begins her work to finish high school, which she amazingly completed in just two years. She becomes a star student and earns a scholarship to Harvard University through an essay contest sponsored by The New York Times.

In a nutshell, we can succumb to our environments as real-life victims of naturalism, or we can live our best lives. But we must put in the work to do so. It’s about building the calluses around who we used to be and the trauma we experienced and making things better for ourselves.

This, my friends, is strength and courage. I said this before and I’ll say it again, Elle Woods was right when she said, “passion is the key ingredient to the practice […] of life.”

This is also why people call me the #QuoteQueen. 👑

xoxo,

April 💕

RELATED ARTICLES: The Truth About Feeling Guilty | What Can We Do About It?, The Truth About Self-Esteem, The truth about second-guessing yourself | End of my first year of grad school reflection, The Truth About Writing Full-Time | You Have A Purpose, An Abridged Guide On What To Do If You Just Simply Don’t Know What To Do

How To Activate Your Goddess Potential Part 2: Believing You Are Worthy

When I was a junior in high school and going through bouts of depression, my mom had sent me a quote by someone whom I cannot remember now. But the quote itself said, “My favorite Disney character? Daisy Duck. Because she goes after what she wants and deserves.”

I was on a call two days ago with a woman who was trying to recruit me for a coaching program. As she was asking me questions, she asked me what it is I wanted to do with these degrees I planned on getting in the future (masters and eventually doctorate). I told her straight up, “to get credibility in what I do.” That is actually the first time I was stopped to think that maybe I was going for them for the wrong reason — to have myself go into debt that was not smart, to have control over basically no outcome and to just work for someone else for the rest of my life. I knew I did not want that. Some people pursue an advanced degree because they want accelerate in their career, which is the right reason. The “science” behind the fact that I wanted to pursue something “science-y” just to prove to my freshman-year-of-college self that she CAN “do” science — not a good reason. Also, I convinced myself that my writing career was going nowhere — not true. I wouldn’t be continuing this blog and this series if I still believed it [my writing career] was going nowhere.

Yesterday I made the mistake of putting my size-8-foot in my mouth by announcing I was, in fact, going to [insert ivy league school here] to rekindle my master’s degree. That can’t happen for another year, unfortunately because I then realized, “there’s no way I can afford it right now.” However, if I didn’t believe that I was worthy of a possible degree at [insert ivy league school here] or any of them for that matter, would I have gone for it? I talked to a good friend of mine (hi Katarina!) and she told me that setbacks are good for redirection. Slowly but surely, I am reprogramming my mind to thinking that I am in fact worthy of any degree, even if I choose to go back to Emerson to pursue an MFA instead of finishing the MA. Katarina then asked me, “what are you hoping to gain?” And I told her, I gained this particular mindset.

So, my point is, if you’ve always wanted to do something but never believed you were worthy of it (e.g., a law degree, a PhD, or any advanced degree, anything at all!) Another fact is, you don’t necessarily need one degree on top of another just to feel worthy or credible. This woman who I spoke to two days ago made me realize that, and it almost brought me to tears because it took me God knows how long to realize that I am in fact, credible as is, as a coach, as a writer, as anything at all. I am worthy, and so are you, my dear, regardless of how you identify.

If you missed the previous blog post, read it here. And keep a lookout for a brand new podcast episode every Tuesday and Thursday!

xoxo,

April 💕

You’re Not A Failure, Everyone Starts Out As A Novice

I’ve never told anyone this because this is still roughly fresh in my mind, but I didn’t completely graduate with my masters degree… yet.

My diabetes diagnosis became a day job for me, as opposed to my schoolwork. I had to take three incomplete courses because of it and couldn’t handle any of them. I wound up withdrawing from Emerson.

ABBA sang it best, “Mamma Mia! Here I go again!” If you know me, you know I intend to go back and forth between what it is I want to do. This morning I felt so drained because I thought I wanted to go back to being a writer. Why do that when I committed to getting my MSAN – Dietetics at UNE? Emmett from “Legally Blonde” said it best to Elle when he said, “what if you’re trying to be someone you are? The hell with Callahan, stay.” And that’s what I say to myself: “the hell with imposter syndrome.”

Then Professor Stromwell said to Elle in the beauty salon, “if you’re going to let one stupid prick [in my case, imposter syndrome] ruin your life, you’re not the girl I thought you were!”

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t putting my all into this blog either, even after I monetized it. (After six years, I thought it was time.)

I must’ve said it a hundred times in the 150 blog posts that I’ve made, but imposter syndrome really is a huge b**ch. I remember feeling this overwhelming sense of it after “graduation.” But that amazing feeling you get after a really intense spinning class, or any workout, is the same feeling one gets after helping someone accomplish their goals. I became a nutrition coach, and am in the process of getting my nutritionist certificate and I get to have my OWN PRACTICE via Therapute! How amazing is that!?

Here’s the thing, and the overall message of this post: how are you going to help others if you don’t feel good about yourself? Think about it. Even my therapist seldom follows his own advice. Even when I first started my pharmacy technician job, I felt like a failure because I had this one pharmacist tell me I ostensibly “didn’t listen” when I hadn’t been trained in something.

When I withdrew from Emerson, I felt like the biggest failure. But why? I was doing something that was going to benefit me in the long run. Besides, I get my second chance at another master’s program in a month and I’m already so excited. 😆

I watched a Facebook live hosted by a friend from high school (hi Ali!) and she touched upon mindset around food, particularly carbs. Then she said, “imagine you’re trying to push a boulder up a really steep mountain.” Essentially, the message was that you could either give up because it’s “too hard” or “strategize.” I wish I could’ve given myself that pep talk when I was nearly failing the sciences freshman year of college.

Here’s the secret: it is with strength, mental endurance, and courage even when we don’t feel like our best selves that we carry on. Cry the tears if you must, just don’t let them drown you into a rabbit hole.

You’re not a failure. You’re a novice. Everyone starts out as a novice at first. Don’t listen to those stories about composers like Mozart who started playing a tune on the piano when he was just two years old. In a perfect world, that would be realistic. It’s not.

Imposter Syndrome After Graduation

As of May 7, 2022, I am a master of publishing and writing from Emerson College. I miss it already, but at the same time, I am ready for the next chapter of my life. The whole world is wide open and I love it. But I’m not going to lie when I say I had a prolonged moment of imposter syndrome for the last week. I felt like I didn’t deserve anything I’ve ever gotten to this point in my life. But why would that statement be true? I felt like Elle Woods when she first started law school at Harvard. The truth is, no one EVER told me I was “not smart enough for my masters degree.” Even I know that’s total B.S. even if someone were to actually say that to me.

Immediately after I got home, ate McDonald’s (yes, I can still eat that, as a diabetic), I started looking at PhD programs… as if I have any idea of what I want to be a “doctor” or “philosopher” in. Right now, as I write this, I enjoy being a philosopher of life and writing. I remember the words of the keynote speaker, Kim McLarin, “you are now masters and teachers of your field.” As I was nearly passing out of starvation central, that didn’t stop me from wondering, “my therapist was right; it was hard to complete this masters degree, but I did it.”

Then later on Sunday night, I got to thinking about all the trials and tribulations I went through in the last year alone. I had an unfortunate COVID breakthrough in October, moved to the city (which was hell on its own), and the following semester? You guessed it. Diabetes. All of these events made me feel like I didn’t deserve my masters. My therapist asked me today, “what sacrifices did you make for your masters?” And I said, “I don’t feel like I made any.” The only other thing I could say was “time.”

It’s true, I didn’t feel like I made any actual sacrifices. All I know is that I felt like I didn’t deserve a moment like I did when I crossed the stage to have my hood put on, close my eyes, and bask in the spotlight when my name was called. I felt like I deserved none of it, which is upsetting to me. I can’t help but wonder, is it a lack of validation? Or is it what I think people think of me? Do people think that getting my masters was a waste? Or do I think it was a waste? Personally, I think not. I’m almost 26 years old. I was 23 when I committed to Emerson. I was 24 when I started with unfortunate technical difficulties. And now, it’s just a matter of “what are you doing, April?”

Imposter Syndrome can stem from many forms, such as lack of empathy from people, anxiety, and trauma. A million people can have faith in you, but you have to have faith in yourself. You deserve a day in the sun. Life is not going to be “sunshine and rainbows” all the time, but life doesn’t have to suck. After all, your thoughts create your reality.

And by all means, if someone thinks you “can’t do it,” do it twice, maybe even a third, and take pictures.

“Where Do You See Yourself In 10 Years?”

I remember answering this question when transitioning to fifth grade. I said, “I am taking a cruise to Australia” because Australia was where I wanted to go, being the animal-lover that I am. Little did I realize that my teacher knew I was going to be a writer and not the next American Idol (the fact that I had a plan to audition when I turned seventeen makes me LOL).

I didn’t think this question would be relevant until this very day. I am sitting in my bedroom, in a completely different state, and things are certainly better than they were ten years ago. I had gone to a Catholic high school. I had gone to college to earn a bachelor of fine arts in creative writing. I am now in my final semester of my masters program in publishing and writing. All of this did not take place in Australia. I’ve never even been. But I have been to Paris and Barcelona and I can say they are my two favorite cities in the world.

I had finished the book, Rules For Being A Girl by Candace Bushnell, whose life story I discovered recently because she birthed my bible, Sex And The City. I thusly created a “Feminist Book Club.” We held our first meeting on a January afternoon on Zoom, while a blizzard was blanketing the ground with a heresy of snow and the wind blowing our air conditioner cover off. Little did I know the topics of gender and feminism would be imperative in my writing career. Speaking of my writing career, I published two books thus far: Resilience, The Disappearing Act, and the brand new Whispers of Daydreams which you can purchase here.

There were an additional three things I didn’t know would happen: 1) I would have two blog brands: The April Diaries and Gals Gotta Eat; 2) I would develop a chronic illness; 3) my writing career would also manifest into a corporate environment, working as a digital content writer for the oldest insurance company in the USA.

You can say I’m reaching a height in my career, but as my fifth grade idol, Miley Cyrus once sang, “it’s all about the climb.” I’ve met Vogue editors who said they haven’t even had that “I made it” moment yet (which I find odd considering it’s Vogue).

Moral of the story: life has its twists and turns, but everything happens for a reason. Yes, I am aware there are countless debates on that. I’m not sure if I believe that everyone has a “destiny,” per se, but there are some people who always have a certain inkling that they “know” what they’re supposed to do in life. For me? That’s to own a publication that inspires people. Now, at twenty-five-years-old-going-on-twenty-six, I am proud to say I have two of those.

Happy International Women’s Day to all my readers. You can aspire to be anything and achieve it, too. 💗

xoxo,

April

BLOG-MAS: What’s Your ‘Why?’ The Purpose Statement

I write this after completing my second-to-last semester at Emerson College’s MA in Publishing and Writing program. Wow. What a milestone! I feel an overwhelming spurt of emotions, mostly happy and I’m not fearing the future quite yet. It’s all about living in the moment, and I couldn’t be happier with where I am in life. But hey, I don’t have that degree in my hand quite yet as I embrace my boyfriend and my family.

I remember when I was taking part in virtual orientation prior to starting classes, and the vice president of the college was talking about what we had written for our purpose statements. I hardly remember my purpose statement, but I do remember it having to do with inspiring others, along with a few mentions of my undergraduate career and how I got here. Essentially, it also incorporated resilience (which is coincidentally the title of my first poetry book). It didn’t take me long to write mine, but it did require some thought.

The statement of purpose isn’t necessarily autobiographical, but it should highlight your greatest strengths and some of the activities you’ve done that would (hopefully) benefit your career at your school of choice. For example, I was a part of RWU’s literary magazine, Mount Hope and I was additionally the Editor-in-Chief of the English and Creative Writing Department’s online zine, Voices. I also had two internships under my belt at the time, one of which was at Rhode Island Monthly, which was a great asset and leg-up to have. This is also a great opportunity for your grad school to see how well you write. I can also add that having a little personal something-something (without belaboring it) in your statement is beneficial because schools also want to imagine you outside of school.

Not only that, but schools also want to know your literal purpose for completing a master’s or PhD. What is your “why?” What you eventually put on paper and send to your school might change as you’re in your program. This world is crazy and so is life. But still, why [insert school here]? Why [insert program here]? You could also incorporate, why now?

Consider this a part two of BLOG-MAS: Reasons To Go To Graduate School. Also, one “don’t” I’ve learned from a professor doing my recs was to not include the location of the school because it’s considered insulting. So yeah, don’t do that! That shouldn’t even be a reason or a part of your “why.”

BLOG-MAS: Reasons To Go To Graduate School

I can hear Taylor Swift’s “…Ready for it?” playing in my head as I write this.

I knew wayyy before I was a senior in college that I wanted to go to graduate school. I had a reason behind it. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school because I knew it would give me a “leg up” in my professional career. The question was, where would I go? What would I do? If you read previous posts, you’d know that I had it narrowed down to law and publishing. I then knew I had to go into publishing for my love of writing and aspirations to one day create my own magazine. I couldn’t let that go to waste! I’ve had people express their preference for me to go into law because I could be successful. But guess what? I’m 25 with a heck of a resume that was possible due to my publishing program at Emerson College.

Some people could have totally wrong reasons to pursue a graduate degree. Yet, at the same time, there are better reasons to go to graduate school.

DO go to graduate school to advance your career.

DON’T go to graduate school just because “it sounds cool.”

DO go to graduate school because you know what you want to do.

DON’T go to graduate school because something like business or law “sound glamorous.”

DO go to graduate school because you want to.

DON’T go to graduate school as a “last resort.”

For some people it’s a quicker decision than others. There’s the ever-popular argument that “everyone is doing it.” Newsflash: not a lot of people do it, and it takes time for some people. You needn’t know what you want to do right when you get out of college. I know people who get their MBA even after getting their first master’s degree, or even their PhD! Whomever said it’s not okay to change your mind clearly doesn’t know this process.

What I Wish I Knew As A First Semester Senior

Chances are you were a first semester senior this past semester, or you’re about to be, depending on where you are in your college career. I remember when I was a first semester senior in college; and I wasn’t completely sure of what I wanted. I didn’t fully know what I wanted until I was a second-semester senior and I was accepted at Emerson College for my MA in Publishing and Writing. For the first semester senior, I’m sorry I took so long writing this post, but even as winter break comes, these are some things you should know now:

  1. Early bird gets the worm for graduate school.
  2. Early bird also gets the worm for law school. So, start early.
  3. It’s okay to dabble in different area of extra curricular.
  4. It’s okay if you don’t do well in math, especially if it’s algebra that you decide to take. Math is hard!
  5. Ask and you shall receive!
  6. You can do anything with a humanities (arts, writing, history, etc.) degree.
  7. It’s okay if you don’t have a secure plan right after college, but make sure you have a job! (No matter if it’s retail, etc.)
  8. You should have an internship secured for your last semester.
  9. Don’t beat yourself up if you thought you were in ostensibly “the wrong major,” no one is in the “wrong major,” so embrace what you know. Everything you learned comes in handy.
  10. You don’t have to make highest honors.
  11. You don’t have to go to graduate school.
  12. Save your money early.
  13. Not everyone will like what you choose to do after college. But in the end, it’s up to you.

Merry Blog-Mas everyone! (:

xoxo,

April

How To Get Your Dream Job/Internship

When I was younger, I had dreams… I still do. I am a girl with dreams that turned into visions. These visions became reality. I dreamt of being a fashion designer, a lawyer, a doctor, now I’m living my dream as a writer.

I recently got a job at… drumroll please… MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)! That’s right, I am going to be working in their communications department and I’m so excited to continue my career in content creating at one of the top higher institutions in the country.

How did I get here, you ask? Well, my first internship was actually in HIGH SCHOOL. So that’s what brings me to my first tip:

  1. Start Early: I said this in a few posts, and I’ll say it again: your major in college is bound to change. However, when you’re in high school, you’ll have interests in mind. My first internship was at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, which I LOVED! I was picked out of 30 applicants to be a volunteer intern, not just due to my high grades and GPA but due to my experience, as someone who lives with a cancer patient. With that being said, I worked in their oncology department. I thought, at the time, that I was going to be a chemistry major with a pre-law background. That was not the case at all. Again, things change, and everything happens for a reason.

2. Take Advantage of Every Opportunity in College

If there is something that is up your alley that you want to do, go for it, by all means necessary. Plus, employers like well-rounded students, so it’s 100% okay to have a lot of interests, as long as you’re not exhausting yourself. Me? I was involved in student politics and Title IX and I’m working in publishing.

3. Any Major Can Do Anything

There’s no doubt that with through every phase of your career (i.e. grad school, undergrad, PhD) that you’re going to wish you did something different. I mean come on, when I was in my first year of grad school, I thought I wanted to work at a veterinary clinic and actually looked into UPenn’s Veterinary program. As I was looking through the majors of the 2020 cohort, I noticed that some were English majors! But no matter what the prerequisites are, you better work b*tch. You want biology and chemistry courses? Take EdX courses! Better yet, these courses have certificate options so you can most definitely add those to your resume!

4. Just Go For It, Even If You Don’t Feel Qualified

I was a sophomore (for the second time) in college when I transferred to RWU. More than anything, I was wanting to write. And I wanted to write for a publication, a magazine at that. Most of you know that I interned for Rhode Island Monthly, and it was indubitably one of the best summers of my life. Having been in Rhode Island for a year, at the time, I wanted to write and edit for one of the premier magazines in the country, and nonetheless a household magazine. I even befriended Lily Herman, who was someone I looked up to greatly because she had her words published in elite publications (e.g. Teen Vogue). With that being said, NETWORK. Even though I felt slightly unqualified, I was getting ready to “kill or die” for an internship (yes, I did use that line — it worked).