UT Austin

An Ode to Lazy Days

It took me a long time to appreciate the beauty of the lazy day. Simply lying back, watching Netflix, taking a nice warm bath, spending time in nature, just doing what makes you happy without wondering whether or not you’re being productive enough.

Days like those used to give me immense amounts of guilt. I’d wonder if I did enough beforehand to truly warrant not doing anything “productive” for a whole day. It felt like my work was all-consuming and somehow more important than my happiness and peace of mind. Days felt very frenzied and I felt as if I was on the road to academic burnout because I was constantly guilting myself out of spending time away from school work.

Soon, I began to recognize a problem. I was no longer doing work in school with the intent to learn. School was simply a place where I did assignments, and I began to hate the environment because it felt toxic. Now, it’s important to remember that only some of this can be attributed to my mindset. There are so many things about the school system and college admission systems that force a certain unhealthy hyper-competitiveness amongst their students and are simply inherently toxic, but that’s a different conversation for a different day. 

I started recognizing that something about me had to change if I intended on preserving my mental health. The first step, I decided, was to stop basing my personal worth on the grades I received. That was certainly easier said than done, but once I began opening myself up and realizing that there are so many other facets to me apart from my grades, I stopped falling into that toxic, hyperproductive mindset and started trying to spend my free time doing things I love, rather than worry about whether I’m working enough.

This even changed my outlook toward learning and school. When I was constantly thinking about my academic performance, I held lots of ill will toward school because I felt it was the reason I could never relax. Altering my mindset and attempting to distance myself from a reliance on academic validation and allowing myself to kick back once in a while really made me see school as a place to explore new subjects and learn new things.

Naturally, this process is far from linear. Just last month I got a score on a biology test that I didn’t love, and I fell right back into the pattern of guilting myself out of relaxing and forcing myself to constantly study. It’s also much easier said than done, but hopefully my journey can help someone out there embrace those lazy days a little bit more and worry about school a little less.

Featured image courtesy of Canva

5 Crafts to Try Over Winter Break

Winter break is finally here! After all your hard work this semester, it’s time for some rest and relaxation. A great way to release the stress from the fall semester and get into the holiday spirit is to try out some fun new crafts. Crafts are a great way to get hands-on and let your creative side run free! Here are five different crafts you can make during winter break: 

1. Scrapbooking

Photo by Kirk Cameron on Unsplash

A scrapbook is a great way to put all your favorite mementos in one place! We all love a good photo dump or Instagram layout, but taking your photos from online to on paper can be a sentimental way of having all your memories accessible in one place. You can put anything from pictures and stickers to drawings and ticket stubs in your scrapbook. 

2. Knitting

Photo by Rebecca Grant on Unsplash

Winter is a great time of year to get into knitting. You can turn your new knitting hobby into all the winter essentials of socks, hats, blankets, scarves, and holiday gifts. Pick up some yarn from Walmart or your local craft store, check out a few youtube video tutorials, and craft to your heart’s desire!

3. Painting

Photo by Tim Arterbury on Unsplash

Regardless of your painting skill level, painting is a fun hobby that you don’t necessarily have to be good at to enjoy. You can paint something from a blank canvas or try a paint by numbers kit to form your own masterpiece. Paint alone or invite friends over to paint together. You can even spice things up and have a sip and paint with friends and turn it into a party! 

4. Make Jewelry

Photo by Jasmin Schreiber on Unsplash

There are so many ways to make different types of jewelry! You can use beads to make bracelets, clay to make earrings, or metal to make rings, to name a few examples. The possibilities are endless when it comes to new pieces of jewelry you can add to your collection or that of a loved one this holiday season. 

5. Clay Crafts

Photo by Elisabetta Lombardo on Unsplash

The beauty of clay crafts is that you can make virtually anything! Some common clay crafts you can make include pottery, jewelry, figurines, decorative trays, and candleholders. You can even make clay yourself or buy premade clay at Walmart or your local craft store. Clay crafts can be a great way to decorate your space, add to your jewelry collection, or make great gifts!

If you’re looking to try something new over the break, the giant world of crafting is for you! In addition to the crafts mentioned in this list, visit your local craft store to check out the wide variety of options of crafts to try out. Social media sites like YouTube, Pinterest, and Tik Tok are also great sources of inspiration that include tutorials on how to get started. This winter break, enjoy yourself and let your creative side run wild!

Featured Image by Talisa Trevino

My Top 5 Favorite Exercises

Keeping active while balancing school and other activities can be challenging, but it’s a great way to decompress and give yourself a moment to not think about anything that’s stressing you out.

Here are my top five exercises to try out:

1.  Bench Pressing using a barbell

This semester, I took a weight training class, and my favorite exercise was bench pressing! It was one of the first things we learned and I’m so glad it was a part of our workout program!

2.  Goblet Squat

I used to dislike these because they were so difficult for me, but once I got my form down, it was a piece of cake, and I increased the weight every single workout.

Tip: if you’re having the same trouble with squatting form as many people do, pull your hips back before you bend your knees and make sure to keep your spine neutral, instead of bending both hips and knees at the same time.

3.  Deadlift

 I didn’t start doing deadlifts until recently, but I find I really like them. The only thing I don’t like is the pain from gripping the bar. I haven’t had any calluses form, but my google search says I’m grabbing the weight wrong, and that’s something I’ll need to work on.

4.  Pigeon Pose

Okay, I use this one to stretch, not for its exercise, but I LOVE it so much I couldn’t exclude it! This pose is perfect for your hips and back, and I always feel like I can push myself a little harder than usual, especially after killing my legs with lunges.

5.  Jump roping

Of course, I could not forget at least one cardio exercise! It’s really fun when you have a set of earbuds in and jump to the beat of your new favorite song. Besides, it never gets boring since there are tricks you can learn from the pros online.

I like to use an app called Strong (not sponsored, but if you thought it was, thank you because it’s actually very flattering) to keep track of workouts and learn to do more exercises. You can create an exercise template or use one of the example templates instead. There are written steps and videos, and images to help guide you. There is a premium service, but I’ve only been using the free version, and it’s good enough for me.

I’m not going to lie, weight training looks intimidating, but it’s actually so fun challenging yourself to see how much stronger you can get. Jump roping will be more challenging than you remember, but still just as fun! Try some of these out, or look to other people’s gym routines for inspiration. Working out doesn’t have to be the dreaded thing you need to check off your to-do list, and you don’t have to do anything you don’t like.

Festive Christmas playlist

Ready to switch out studying for cozy nights in Christmas pajamas? If so, check out this Christmas playlist to celebrate the jolly season. Listen to this mix of classic songs such as Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” and lesser known songs such as The Killers’ “Don’t Shoot Me Santa.” Get ready to sing along to these holiday jams “Underneath the Tree.”

UT Colleges As Pie Flavors

We all know the holiday season is right around the corner, which practically means it’s the season for pie. Whether you’re staying in Austin or going home for the holiday season, find out which pie you are based on the college you’re in at UT!

Cockrell School of Engineering – Apple Pie

Photo Courtesy Mary Nikitina

What is more classic than apple pie? You love tradition and familiarity. You see the value in what works — like math.

Moody College of Communication – Pecan Pie

Photo Courtesy Roman Odinstov

You’re a classic. Like the pies that drip with sugar, you are sweet to everyone you come across. Your smile and persona can be quite infectious. You’re that one person that people love to see walk into a room.

School of Architecture – Sweet Potato Pie

This pie is characterized by strength. Its constant comparison in looks to pumpkin pie shows that you are different and have something to offer.

College of Liberal Arts – Cherry Pie

Cherries can be sweet or tart. You definitely have a little bit of an attitude but in a good way. You stand up for what you believe in and don’t let other people push you around.

Photo Courtesy Mister Mister

College of Natural Sciences – Lemon Meringue Pie

Photo Courtesy Geraud Pfeiffer

Just like this pie, you’re ambitious. When you set your mind to something you never give up no matter how many times you fail.

College of Fine Arts – Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Photo Courtesy Valeria Boltneva

This pie has bold qualities and its popularity is prided on its uniqueness. You definitely think outside the box and embrace change from modern conformity.

McCombs School of Business – Chocolate Silk

Photo Courtesy Marta Dzedyshko

Chocolate silk is rich and smooth at the same time. You have a knack for looking like a million bucks. You demand nothing but the best, and your friends always look to you as the leader in the group because of your bold nature.

Steve Hicks School of Social WorkBanana Cream Pie

This pie is almost as genuine as you! You always look for the positives in life. And you constantly find yourself putting others’ needs before yours.

College of Education – Key Lime Pie

This pie is full of personality. You’re a natural leader and trust your gut. You love staying busy and keeping yourself on your toes like the bold flavor of this pie.

School of Information – Blackberry Pie

Photo Courtesy Nataliya Vaitkevich

You don’t necessarily stand out in a crowd even though you have so much to offer. You’re a great friend but most people don’t appreciate you the way you should be appreciated.

College of Pharmacy – Sugar Cream Pie

You are constantly slept on. Just like this pie you are filled with sweetness, but are sometimes dismissed for what people see as a lack of creativity.

School of Nursing – Pot Pie

Are you even a pie? Yes, apparently. You’re used to being called a STEM imposter, but you deserve some credit. So own up to the fact you are still considered a pie.

Jackson School of Geosciences – Pumpkin Pie

Photo Courtesy of Karolina Grabowska

You’re a classic..but sometimes considered a homebody. Fall is probably your favorite season and you love sitting at home comfied up in your favorite blanket watching TV.

Regardless of what pie is associated with your major, make sure you treat yourself this holiday season with something sweet because you deserve it!