How to Prepare for Your Freshman Year in College?

Asher Roth’s I Love College is more than just a catchy-tune that placed on Billboard’s Top 100.

It’s the anthem for many college students, because… well, you gotta listen to the song.

But besides the partying, attending football tailgates, and meeting new people aspect- college is hard. Words cannot describe what it’s like to pack up and move to a totally different place, with someone you’ve most likely met before, and being completely on your own. While the idea of this excites most, us college students would be lying if we said we weren’t at least a little spooked about not having Mom and Dad there.

College is a totally different world, and over one’s four years of attending university, they somehow get prepared for the real world. The amount of maturity that takes place while in school is drastic, and it’s an understatement to say that it’s life changing. I say this in the least dramatic way possible.

So to answer the question, “how to prepare for college?”, I have one answer: you can’t.

College is not a biology exam or a driver’s test. It’s a stage in many American’s lives that, if fortunate enough to attend university, determines the majority of what happens in an individual’s life after those 4 years are up. For a lot of people, college is where people meet their lifelong best friend, their soulmate, and their career path. These are concepts so big, it’s nearly impossible to prepare for it.

Don’t fret, however! Because that’s exactly what college is about– the unknown and the unimaginable. The mystery of what can happen over those four years is overwhelming, yet exciting. The world really becomes your oyster, and the only way to prepare is to except that things will not always go to plan.

You will not always get an A on every exam. Your freshman year relationship may not survive the tenuous month-long semester breaks. Being able to endure these realities, whilst being open to the many opportunities and experiences college will offer, is the only way to truly prepare for university.

Promzillas

Is it even prom season if your Facebook feed isn’t drowned in prom photos? Doubtful.

Ahh, prom. Many of us remember ours as if it was yesterday. That’s because it is a staple moment in our life; a transition from adolescence to adulthood. For many, prom was their second big event- first being their wedding. And yet, some treat prom as importantly as many would their “big day”.

For most 16-18 year olds, this is their first major event. Their first gown, or tuxedo debut, must make an everlasting impression on all of Mom’s Facebook friends. But we all know that one prom goer who took matters to the extreme. Or maybe you were the prom-zilla yourself!

While may people can find affordable, flattering, in-style gowns for less than $500, prom-zillas usually shoot or the Sherri Hill, $1,000 gowns. Or they go custom-made. And that’s just a part of it…

There’s still manicures and pedicures, $100.

Sometimes, spray-tanning, $100.

Shoes, $50.

Hair, $150.

Makeup, $50.

And let’s not even get into the price of prom tickets, transportation, corsages, etc.

Prom is expensive s is, but to many prom-zillas, that’s not of concern. Prom is made out to be some big, gala-like event in just about every way imaginable. It’s idealized to be some fairy-tale like night, when in actuality, it’s just a final dance for high schoolers, their friends, and their dates.

So please, if you happen to come across some prom photos [and trust me, you will], be sure to commend the prom goers on their efforts & expenses. We all were going to prom at some point, too. And if you happen to be a prom goer- R E L A X. Enjoy your night! If your hair isn’t curled to perfection, or your dress isn’t as much as someone else’s, it’s okay. Prom is for the memories, not the price tag.

Millenials & Obesity

When I was your age…

…is a phrase said too often nowadays. It is more coined around the judgement towards millennials, and how different their generation is from ones prior. A big difference between millennials and previous generations is their level of activity- or lack thereof.

Millennials grew up around technology. Rather than an actual park, Wii and Xbox was their playground. Many millennials do not know the feeling of being hit in the ankle by a Razor scooter. Many do not know how to spot poison ivy. Most disappointingly, many do not know the rules to games like Four-Square, double-dutch, or manhunt.

Millennials have more familiarity with the technological aspects of life. While many 7 year olds may not know the basics of kickball, they are able to reboot the Wi-Fi in a blink of an eye. This is important, of course, because our future leaders of tomorrow must be advanced and technologically aware. However, in terms of things like obesity, being able to access the Wi-Fi doesn’t help too much..

Of course, not all millennials are unhealthy, out of shape, and obese. There are still some kids who can be found playing outside, enjoying exercise and burning off energy. However, over the recent decade, there has been an alarming increase in childhood obesity- and it can be traced back to the same, general generation. The same generation that grew up heavily reliable on Nintendo, instead of on hopscotch.

As stated, technology is important. It would be silly to assume that by confiscating all the gadgets we give our kids, the problem of obesity amongst millennials would be solved. While the gadgets have influence over this generation, it’s the lifestyle that must be adjusted.

Kids do not long for adventure like before. It is becoming more and more rare for boys and girls to find an interest in going camping or hiking, when the comfort of their home is more accessible. It is our generation’s duty to spark interest into the youth. Maybe it’s the example we set. Being lazy is easy. True work comes from using energy and getting active. Our kids mimic us, right?

If we want the future of tomorrow to get active and explore the world, we must continue to do that ourselves- despite the many responsibilities that come with being an adult. If we log off Snapchat and go shoot some hoops, the rest of the neighborhood kids may join in. Maybe peer pressure isn’t so bad after all?

 

Getting in Shape for the Summer 2.0

Does the thought of running make you cringe? What about exercise videos like Insanity– does that give you a headache?

If you said yes, then congrats. You’re like majority of Americans.

But what if I told you that there was a way to exercise without ever touching a treadmill? That you never have to feel bossed around by some jacked guy in your TV, ever again? And no, this is not a lie.

While our friend Amy [to the right] had a very creative idea to avoid traditional workouts, there are more result-worthy ways out there. Some are even…*dun dun dun*… fun!

Working out is not limited to prancing on a machine, or doing crunches. Exercise has such a negative connotation nowadays, that we feel that if we aren’t sweating bullets, we aren’t ding much. However, that could not be further from the truth.

Behold, exists are things like hot yoga and zumba, which to many, seem more like a social event than a workout. But unbeknownst to many, workout concepts like these can get you results even quicker than running. Why? Because you’ll love it so much, you’ll want to do it more. And more. And more.

The key is to find a workout plan that works for you. Someone else’s “go-to” may be at the top of your “absolutely not” list, and that’s okay. Focus on your strengths, and what you feel is best for your body. Whatever exercise is most enjoyable and comfortable, do that.

Healthy Eating: Making it a Habit and Fighting Cravings

Oh, boy- it’s that time of year again. Everyone starts to switch out their oversized sweaters and puffy jackets, for sleeveless tops and shorts. Why is, though, that many find themselves hesitant for this exchange?

Let’s think back to Thanksgiving, shall we? It’s days like this that have us seriously regretting that second helping of Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie [with all the works]. Around this time of year, when youthful bodies start showing more skin, we become more crude of our cellulite and more harsh of our stretch marks. And yet, despite the suddenly high levels of remorse, we still find ourselves victims to the same temptations? Rita’s Opening Day, March 20th, is a great example of how our guilt for unhealthy eating is overcome by the cravings we all face. Because let’s be honest: who says no to free Italian ice? *crickets chirp*

Exactly. But believe it or not, there is a systematic formula for rejecting junk food tolerance…aka, to eat healthily. And no. it does not involve dieting pills, Jenny Craig, or anything advertised on Dr. Oz. It’s simply self-tolerance.

The key to healthy eating is to make it habitual. Salads and water should not just be a seasonal diet, but rather, something that your body consumes year-round. While we all love to bask in the feasts of the holidays, it is important to get as much [if not more] greens and fruits in our bodies, as it is to “help Grandma” finish the last of that oh-so-savory pie.

Being able to say “no” to indulgences is the other half of the battle, however, this becomes easier and easier the further along habitually healthy eating goes. Healthy eating promotes a lifestyle change– one that is definitely for the better. When one begins to fall in love with homemade tossed salads and farmer’s market fruits, the McDonald’s drive-thru starts to see them less and less. Ergo, these cravings [like the cellulite and stretch marks] begin to disappear.

It is important to note that there is nothing wrong with a cookie every now and then. Sugar in one’s diet is as important as grains and proteins. The ideal thing is to balance the junk food with the healthy stuff, in order to offer your body [and taste buds] variety! Have a slice of cake every now and then. Do not be too diligent and feel bad for treating yourself. Remember- everything in moderation, but healthy eating is DEFINITELY an obligation!

Breast Cancer Awareness

stxuuvjcOctober is dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness.  Did you know that here in the U.S. this disease is the second leading cause of death in women. There are over 230,000 new diagnosis each year in which 40,000 or more women will die from this disease. Which means that 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with Cancer in their lifetime. Men however, are not exempt as they are diagnosed as well, but it is very rare.  It is estimated that 2,350 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer and 440 will die.

Because this disease can be unrelenting the entire month of October is dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness and raising funds to help conquer this horrible disease.  We can do our part to help, such as, donating at the grocery store, buying a pink ribbon, a pair of pinks socks etc. every little bit helps.  

Don’t forget that an early diagnosis is the k
ey and a monthly breast exam can save your life.  Make your appointment today for your Mammogram Screening as this is the first step in Breast Cancer Prevention. 

So, go out and grab your pink headband, bracelet, socks or whatever it is and support this cause!  To find out more information please visit www.nationalbreastcancerfoundation.com  

 

Freestate Staff

It’s Football Time!

We are now in the midst of the Football season.  Fans across America are glued to their televisions watching the sport or participating in the game one way or the other.  Either way we are extremely involved!  This fascinating game has evolved several times since yesteryear.  Then Football was a rougher sport than now.  Don’t get me wrong it is still a rough sport, but the way that the game is played today has changed dramatically. I say this because there are new rules that are in place today that were specifically established to protect the player as well as their newly designed equipment.  Nevertheless this favorite past time is still a very passionate sport. 

Since the new rule and equipment change, has this made the game any safer? I would venture to say absolutely yes!  Recently, there has been a lot of discussion as to whether this sport is to rough for kids today.  Some jurisdictions have even taken this sport out of their school program. I really don’t understand that decision as other sports are just as physical.  We need to support this football so that it doesn’t disappear completely from the schools programs.

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The Color Run at Night

Do you like to run for fun?  Then The Color Run at Night is for you!  This organized 5k paint run is known as “the Happiest Run on the Planet”.  This particular paint race promotes healthy lifestyles, improving wellness and is fun for all ages, backgrounds, and fitness levels. This fun run has grown to the point that it is hosted in over 50 plus states and has 300 events per year.  This event has been in existence since 2011. They have raised donations for more than 80 local and national charities since 2012, giving more than $4 million to charity to date. The color run organizers choose charities in the area that are hosting them, then in turn they will donate that money to a chosen charity.  All in all, it is a way to stay in shape, have fun and to help a great cause!

As a staff member here at Freestate my experience with The Color Run at Night in Baltimore, MD was held downtown on Camden Street.  It started on time at 7pm and then we were off. During this run we had to go through different levels of fun obstacles. We also ran through four color zones. At each zone, bystanders were waiting to splash us with several colors of chalk.  One of the obstacles was a bubble machine on steroids, these bubbles were everywhere and we had to literally swim through the sea of bubbles. However, towards the end there was a section that had only black lights. The chalk that was thrown on us previously, was all neon! Needless to say, when we ran underneath the black lights we were now all glowing runners!

At the end of the run there was a celebration that was geared towards the children that participated in the race. The organizers of the event invited all of the children to go on stage to dance, sing, and continue to enjoy the festivities of the evening. To bring the evening to an end they started to countdown from 3 and when they reached the number 1 everyone threw their chalk into the air!  The whole parking lot became a wonderful kaleidoscope of color! I had such an awesome experience that I can’t wait to do it again next year.  I can only hope that you will join us then!IMG_20150906_094908

What Exactly Is A Baby Boomer?

A Baby Boomer is a generation of people who were born between 1946 and 1964 in the U.S.   As WWII ended many of the soldiers returned home, married and started families.  This lead to a great increase in births which continued through 1964.  It is said that there were over 79 million births during this time period which earned this generation the name "Baby Boomers". 

The Baby Boom was caused by many people beginning to look forward to the future after surviving the “Great Depression”.   This generation of people are the only in history to have witnessed man being put on the moon to todays technological age.  It is no wonder that this generation is the most influential of any time as they are great trendsetters. 

As the Baby Boomer nears retirement age many have no plans on retiring.  The first group of Baby Boomers have turned 65 while others are nearing 50.  Because this group of people are so innovative it is hard for many of them to see themselves as aging.  Think of it, over 75 million people who in their younger years were an economical force to be dealt with.  They were pushing the rates of homeownership, consumer spending and, employment.  Many are striking out on their own and are becoming self-employed since they hit their peak in the 1990’s and are destined to retire later in life than that of their parents. 

The majority of this age group are committed to stable relationships and some are happily married to their high school sweet hearts. But, most of the boomers have been married and divorced more than once which elevated the divorce rate by more than half and made it appear normal. 

The Boomers are now at the age that they are enjoying life with no thoughts of retirement in their future. They have plenty of great years left to thrive!

 

Freestate Staff

 

What is Mental Illness?

  There has been a lot of media attention

on Mental Illness lately. What is Mental Illness and why are we afraid to talk about it?  Many are afraid to talk about mental illness or even admit to having a problem due to being labeled insane or even crazy.  Most mentally ill people will go without treatment because of this.  They are afraid of being shunned, laughed at, or worse, losing everything they’ve worked for, because of the stigma that is attached to this disease. 

Mental illness has affected millions of people.  It can hit at any time, affect anyone, as it has no prejudices or any preconceived notions as to who it affects.  The people that it affects are our friends, neighbors, parents, anyone.  We lost Robin Williams a couple of weeks ago due to mental illness.  Why is this disease so complex?

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) one out of four families has a family member affected with mental illness.  The term mental illness is vast and encompasses so many diagnosis from Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar Disorder, Anxiety, Panic Attacks, Depression to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) to name a few.  These disorders are so common that 1 in 4 people can be diagnosed on any given day.  This is why so much attention is being drawn to the disease as it affects all of us in one way or another.

Help is so easy to get today as there are so many programs that are structured for almost every diagnosis.  Between therapy and the availability of programs today, most can sustain a healthy and productive life. Treatments and therapies have grown leaps and bounds from the bloodletting of the early 1700’s.  Now help is only a phone call away.  For more information you can visit NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill) www.nami.org

 

By J. Gee