Monthly Archives: October 2015

Love Your Body, Love Yourself

1You only have one body. Your body, your one and only body, is the house of your brain, mind, soul, and spirit. Without bodies, we could hardly exist. Though who we are is absolutely more than our bodies, it is important to treat our bodies with kindness, love, respect, and care. However, in the age of Instagram, Facebook, and other mass media, it often feels like an individual’s appearance is constantly being judged, liked, or scrutinized. Our friends, the media, and ourselves can all become sources of negative self-talk about our bodies. Just look at any magazine cover and you will probably find some message about how it is time for you to change your diet, how you exercise, or some other aspect of your appearance. Though everyone seems to be talking about how should look, very seldom do people celebrate the body!

Despite having only one body, many people are often convinced by the bully that is the media to wish they could have a different body. You may, in fact, be thinking right now that you wish you had a different body, or can recall a time where you had wished your body was different. When we compare ourselves to others, it becomes increasingly difficult to practice self-love. Luckily for you, the Body Image Peer Educators (BIPE) are here to help. BIPES can be found all over campus at various events advocating for positive body image. Here are a few tips from the BIPES on how to increase your love for your body.

Question Expectations From The Media

UntitledRecently, and historically, Victoria secret has been under fire for completely photoshopping out a models butt cheek and chuck of her right arm. This glaring error somehow made it to press, and highlights how twisted the media’s perception is of what bodies should look like. Indeed, 100% of magazines are photoshopped in some way. If you’re interested in learning more about how the media is influential in our cultural in how it impacts concepts of body image, health, influences eating disorders, and body satisfaction, check out the film The Illusionist coming to Towson University on November 18th at 6:00pm. Be sure to RSVP online!

Be Your Body’s Biggest Fan, Not Its Enemy

One of the best ways to practice self-love is to think of your body as a friend. Before engaging in fat talk, or negative self-talk, consider if what you’re saying to yourself if something you would say to your friend. If not, maybe reconsider what kind of message you’re sending to yourself. Some days we might feel badly about our bodies. On days like this, remind yourself how much you love your body by putting notes of affirmation on a mirror or somewhere visible. Remember, you are worth more than your appearance! Keep a list of the things you like about yourself (not including your appearance). Consider this: your skin replaces itself once a month, your stomach lining every five days, your liver every six weeks, and your skeleton every three months. Your body is extraordinary—begin to respect and appreciate it.

Get To Know Your Body

3As busy students, we often forget about our body’s needs. We might eat on the go, or event forget to eat. We might sit in the same position for several hours studying or writing papers. We might lose sleep over assignments. All of these are unavoidable in our college years, but it is possible to practice small steps that allow us to be good to our bodies. Be sure to be kind and to listen to its need without judgment. Stretch, and listen to the part of you that needs a break from school work. Eat when you’re hungry. Sleep when you’re tired. Learn about how YOUR body works. One of the best ways to becoming more in touch with your body is through meditation, mindfulness, and yoga. Stuck on campus? Campus Recreation Services often offers yoga classes, Zumba classes, and other fun options to help you get in touch with your body. The Counseling Center also offers a meditation room with an audio guided meditation available.

Loving our bodies can be difficult. When I am struggling with loving my own body, I remember a few words from an old song

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can
Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it
It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own

Visit the Counseling Center for more information on Body Image Peer Educators. And remember, love your body, love yourself!

Alex Shiflett
Graduate Assistant
Counseling Center

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Good Grades No Scam

seuss1The semester is underway
Halloween’s coming soon
Here’s a few tips to study
You can start this afternoon!

Grab your binders and your books
Notes, highlighters, and pens
Get your studying in now
So you can hang out with your friends!

Not sure where to start?
You’re not the only one
Just keep reading along
And visit the AAC when you’re done!

Study Buddy

Do not: Study with your best friend in his/her dorm while listening to music and getting visits from the other people on your floor. You will literally get nothing done.

Perhaps the best study buddy is someone who is close, but not too close. Someone you get along with, but not someone who is going to distract you. “You can’t study with best friends because you end up talking, listening to music, and you can just get easily distracted unless everyone is on the same page, like ‘oh we have to study’ but other than that…” Ori Onazi, Senior Psychology Major. Unless you are on the same page, you cannot study with someone. Seriously though, you cannot go over the same information unless you are looking at the same page…

Anyway, I digress. Find someone who is compatible with the way you study best. Like any other relationship, don’t be afraid to try it out. Date your study buddy (not literally). Try it out, if it works, keep it going. If it doesn’t, break it off. Find someone who matches or compliments your learning style. Also, like any other relationship, you can’t rush perfection. If you can hold each other accountable, you are more likely to stay on track, and more likely to succeed in your goals. Set a solid time aside each week, and walk yourselves to Cook to be more productive.  There are group study areas on the second and third floors.

Hate to Wait

Procrastination is one of the easiest things to do for any student. When you know you have weeks, sometimes longer, to complete assignments; it’s easy to get side tracked and think you can still get your work and studying done on time. Then, as the days go by, you start to remember that you have other things to do and more assignments keep popping up and all of the sudden, you don’t have time to finish everything. This can cause tremendous stress and never ends well. Remember that the semester, and college in general, is a marathon not a sprint. You can’t learn everything you need to know for the test or write a paper in one night. Take it from someone who has done both; it never ends well. Even if you think the grade you got on the test was good enough, there is a difference between doing well on a test and learning your craft. Practicing good habits of planning ahead and learning for retention will serve you very well in your future job and in life.

Prudent Student

To be a great student, you must excel to get the grade! You should start by utilizing all resources that are available on campus; whether that is tutoring, the writing center, or the counseling center. If you are able, you should go to meet with your professor during their office hours, or before and after class. Always plan on attending every class, sit up front, and take lots of notes. Lastly, do whatever it takes to get the A!

Boats of Notes

Note-taking is an essential part of all of your courses.  There are many different styles out there and itsuess2 is important that you find a style or styles that best suit your own personal learning style.  You will need to adapt the way you take notes based off of the course that you are taking notes for.  Your notes for a science or math course will look different than your notes for your history class.  There are also plenty of apps available for your phone, tablet, or computer.  The one most utilized by the Academic Achievement Center is Evernote.  Evernote allows you to organize your notes in an online platform that you can access anywhere with an internet connection.  If you are looking for more information on note taking stop by one of the Note-Taking Methods workshops that we are hosting this week on Monday, Wednesday, or Thursday.

The moral of the story is: have a plan! Make a study schedule and stick to it. Pick a study buddy who will help you achieve success, not necessarily your best friend. Take full advantage of the academic recourses on campus to help you excel in class. And above all else, don’t procrastinate! Get the assignments done ahead of time and you won’t feel as stressed.  The earlier you finish assignments, the more time you have to edit and revise your work. The earlier you begin studying, the more prepared you will be for the test and the more you will be able to commit the information to memory for long-term use. In the wise words of Dr. Seuss, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

Graduate Students
Kristy Gustavson, Steven Hand, Marissa Insinna, & Eddie Lomash

Learning Specialist
Tabatha Beck & Jeremy Boettinger

A Writing Center Story: Tina Writes a Paper

Tina Belcher knows how to write. When it comes to her first college paper, though, she has a bit of a crap attack. She doesn’t even know where to start. As she hopelessly wanders the halls of the Liberal Arts building, she finds her way to the fifth floor and sees something that stops her in her tracks completely.

1

She walks into the Writing Center, and a receptionist asks her if she’s here for an appointment. After a brief silence and a long “Uuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhh,” the receptionist assumes she doesn’t have an appointment and consequently helps her schedule one.

“There’s someone available tomorrow at 12. How many pages is it?”

“Oh my. I don’t have anything written yet. This was a mistake. I’ll go. It’s not you, it’s me. Maybe we can still be friends? Never mind. I don’t want to seem needy.”

“No, wait, you don’t need to write anything for an appointment! We can help you figure out your topic and a rough outline. Sound good?”

“Really? I can’t believe I was so quick to give up on us. Please forgive me. Tomorrow at 12, let’s make it a date?”

“Not me, your writing assistant. Your writing assistant for your appointment.  But yes, you’re scheduled for 12 tomorrow.”

“Oh, right. Okay, cool, bye, I guess.”

Tomorrow comes, and Tina crosses the threshold to begin her journey. She gives herself a pep talk. Come on, Tina. You’re a smart, strong, sensual woman. You can do this. Just put on your ‘everything is okay’ face.

2Okay, So she’s a little nervous. But half of life is just showing up, right? She sits down with her writing assistant, and it’s show time.

“What’s the assignment?”

“It’s a research paper on a current issue. It can be anything.”

“Alright! Have you chosen something?”

“Uuuuuuuuuuh?”

“I think we can work with that. What do you care about?”

“Horses.”

“Interesting. Do you know about any current issues surrounding horses? If not, we can figure something else out.”

“Actually, there has been a huge dispute in recent years about the ethics of the horse racing industry. Horses are raised for racing, their racing conditions are extremely dangerous, and they are typically euthanized as soon as they’re injured beyond recovery. It’s a mess.”

“Sounds like you know your topic.”

Tina is hugely relieved. She looks at her outline, and lingers for a moment while basking in her
Brittnee and Meg web cover resizednewfound academic confidence. She can’t wait to write a paper on something she actually cares about.

This will be easy. “Time for the charm bomb to explode all over this assignment,” she whispers to herself in anticipation.

What a day. On a roll, Tina goes to the library to start her first stage of research. She strolls over to the research help desk and gets advice from a librarian on the school’s databases, optimizing her scope of scholarly horse-related articles.

Finding a computer, she realizes the only keywords she has thought of so far are “horse racing” and “ethics.” Apparently researching is no simple task, because she’s not getting the results she needs. This is it. This is the end. I think I’ll just lie down on the floor.
IMG_2692Suddenly, a research assistant walks over to answer another student’s question about the relevance of a source for his paper. Once again, she is saved. She gets up from the floor where she was laying and patiently awaits his help.

“Hello. I need help with my research.”

“Great. Let’s look at what you’ve got so far.”

“Alright. Hey, if we’re doing homework together, does this mean we’re friends now?”

Life is good, and Tina is crushing this essay. She comes up with a first draft, and calls the writing center for another appointment.

“How many pages is this paper?”

“Five pages, but it may be more if I can manage to interview a horse for my topic. How can we talk about horse issues, but never ask the horses how they feel? It’s time for a change.”

“Alright, you’re scheduled at 12 with a writing assistant who specializes in ethics. Sound good?”

“It’s a date.”

Rock on, Tina. You’ve got this! We know you’re no hero, you put your bra on one boob at a time, just like everyone else; but, with your newfound “friends” at the Writing Center and beyond, we know your writing will be more than just doodles on a page. If you believe you’re a scholar, you will be. You already are!

Becca Hertl and Abby Murphy
Writing Assistants, Writing Center

Me, Myself and I! Why Self-Care is Essential, and How to Practice It

Untitled-1

See if this situation sounds familiar: On my day off last week, I knew that I should read for class, start writing a paper, do some work for a club I belong to, finish a task for work, and then get to bed early. I was already tired and frazzled from the week so far, but I had a busy weekend ahead, so I wanted to get a lot of work done that day.

Typical college day, right? We’re pulled in many different directions; classes, work, clubs and activities can feel overwhelming very quickly. But there is a mindset that can help us feel more balanced and relaxed: self-care.

self-care-calvin-n-hobbesHere’s what I actually decided to do on my day off: I slept late, made some tea, read a magazine, started reading for class, got tired of the reading and took a nap, cooked an actual dinner, and then finished the reading. The next day, I felt more prepared to tackle the work that was left, and I felt more “at peace” about what I could and couldn’t get done.

Did I do all the things that I thought I “should” do? Nope. But did relaxing still benefit me? Absolutely!

What is self-care?

Self-care is just what it sounds like: taking care of yourself. It sounds simple, so why is it so hard to practice? It’s because self-care requires us to do three things, which don’t always come naturally:

  1. Be aware of what we need in order to feel better.
  2. Understand that it’s okay for us to take care of ourselves.
  3. Commit to doing the things that make us feel better, on a daily basis.

Let’s break these things down:

  1. Being aware of what you need can be a very enlightening experience! Sometimes your body tells you very clearly what you need (like sleep if you’re tired, food if you’re hungry), but sometimes you have to look a little closer. A few examples:
    • Does eating a certain type of food energize you, or make you feel sluggish?
    • Does being physically active amp you up, or calm you down?
    • Do you need some time alone to recharge, or do you feel best when you’re with a group of people?
    • How much sleep do you usually need to feel OK the next day?

Self-awareness requires us to pay attention to how we feel, which can feel strange if you haven’t done it before. But once you start paying attention, it’s amazing how much you can learn about yourself!

  1. Once you know a few things that help you feel better, what’s next? The second step requires self-value. Self-value or self-worth is the idea that you feel as if your presence plays a valuable role in the world around you. It is very easy to let other people’s needs and expectations of us (professors, supervisors, co-workers, classmates, family, and even friends) seem like they shouldWhile being responsible, generous, and team-oriented are still important, it’s just as important to help yourself feel your best. It’s like the safety notice on an airplane, telling you to put on your oxygen mask before helping someone else; to be able to do anything else, you have to keep yourself safe!

Take my example. If I stayed tired and frazzled, I probably wasn’t going to do my work nearly as well as if I was relaxed or refreshed. So I might as well attend to my needs, knowing that in the end I’ll be better prepared for whatever else I have to do.

  1. The last piece of self-care is making a commitment to practicing it. The good news is, you’re going to feel better when you practice it! The not-so-good news is, it’s hard to do, even when you really want to do it. To use the airplane example, it’s very easy to help someone else put on their mask first, especially if you’re used to doing things that way. Sometimes, it can also feel like something you do for self-care is just one more thing on your way-too-long to-do list.

It takes a commitment, one day at a time, to remember to put yourself first. It takes a commitment to change your perspective. Self-care doesn’t have to be a task to get done. Self-care is a tool to help you feel better about yourself, and to help you perform that much better at all the other things you do in life.

There’s one big thing to make clear: self-care should not be confused with procrastination. They may seem similar, but self-care is a proactive effort to nurture yourself; procrastination is an avoidance tactic.

So the next time you’re in the middle of a jam-packed week, take a few moments to think about what you need in order to feel better. Then think about whether you’re worth it (here’s agy59mufeoslekbtiq1iv hint: you are). Then be brave and take care of yourself! Maybe not everything you wanted to get done will get done. But how important were all of those things? I’ll bet they weren’t as important as feeling better! So take that nap, or drink that tea, or catch up on your favorite TV show, and be proud that you’ve chosen to take care of yourself!

Lauren Drinkwater
Graduate Assistant
The Counseling Center

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