31 Things I have Learned that are Valuable in Life (both Holy and Non-Holy)

  1. Try to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. My boyfriend Treston taught me that from his pilate-instructor mom who is so in shape. It’s super helpful – when I make sure I eat good stuff, usually I tend to eat less junk food too! But fear not – I still eat plenty of ice cream and cookies in addition to my fruits and veggies.
  2. Drink tons of water. Like tons. If my pee is colored I’m like – dang, I should drink more water. It’s good for you – “healthy and hydrating” in the words of a man, maybe woman idk, who insisted I chug my water at Starbucks.
  3. Spotify premium is a worthy investment. It’s like $5 a month for students – then use every function available and your musical diversity will sky rocket. The “Discover Weekly” list is made just for you each week with songs in the style of those you normally listen to. It’s flawless. Usually.
  4. Do resistance training. Like lift weights and stuff a couple times a week or find a yoga routine on YouTube – my back and neck used to randomly hurt but it’s gotten way better since I started getting stronger. A strong core helps with literally everything you do
  5. Cry it out, then ask advice. Treston has taught me this one. He holds me when I cry, validates my feelings and listens, then asks what I think Jesus is teaching me through this situation. Ride the wave of emotion, then listen to wise and biblical counsel (usually they see the situation a bit more un-biasedly than we do!)
  6. Apologize first. This one sucks, but it’s so biblical to forgive and to love actively. Getting along with my supervisor has been hard, but when I beg Jesus to change my heart and then apologize (even if I don’t think I did anything wrong, or think he wronged me first), things always end up better.
  7. See your on-campus doctor. These medical services are WAY CHEAPER in college – trust me. It never hurts to make an appointment and take like under an hour of your time to talk to someone about what hurts. It’s way easier to catch things early and prevent them then to go in once your hip finally falls off and ask how to glue it back on (me exaggerating me in February 2014).
  8. If you think something encouraging, tell them. My best friend Emma taught me this one – sometimes I’lll be talking about how great or talented or Godly a person is and then realize what a blessing it would be if I shot them a text or told them next time I saw them! Never hurts
  9. Try running without headphones. This one seemed brutal, but ended up awesome. My church development program talked about silence and solitude a couple weeks ago – exercise is a great time to silence the many voices of the world and remember the joy of setting your mind on Jesus and keeping it there. I try to do shorter runs this way – it’s so restful
  10. Classic rock is called that for a reason – it’s fantastic! Listen to “Barbara O’Reilly” by the Who. Then listen to “Best Song Ever” by One Direction. Shed a tear or two as you recognize that good music began like over forty years ago. Also to clarify – I love One Direction and still listen to “Drag Me Down” on loop. Their new album is on point.
  11. Find good books and read them. I super mega highly recommend anything by Francine Rivers – she is a fiction author who loves Jesus so her books have really neat biblical under/over/all around tones. Also I’m getting real into Elisabeth Elliot – she’s a baller. So is Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
  12. Buy clothes that fit and take your scale and send it to outer space. I learned this one in therapy – remember that God straight up doesn’t make junk and we are like actually literally all bearers of His image. So if you gain weight, lose it, or don’t go anywhere – wear things that make you feel pretty and comfortable 🙂 Also numbers on the scale make you anxious and food-conscious. Booooooooo.
  13. Save money and tithe! Don’t freak out and save every cent – obviously, money needs to be spent on critical things like nail polish and coffee. Get in a rhythm of always giving 10% to Jesus because He gave you 100% of it! And save a little bit here and there so you can be prepared for what God throws at you 🙂 And so you can bless the tar out of people whenever possible. When you make more money, it’s just as hard to give money because our appetites for things grow too. Get in a habit of giving now so one day when you make more, you are eager to continue giving!
  14. Say yes to a first date and no to a first date-like thing that he’s not willing to define. Boys are weird. If they never ask you on a date, it is because (AND I SWEAR IT I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP) God either has freakin’ awesome plans for your singleness or is asking you to be patient while blind and confused boys stumble around trying to figure out where all the Jesus-loving girls are. But if he loves Jesus, say yes even if you’re not sure–I did this with Treston and that turned out well
  15. Study hard! I never looked back on college and was like “dang I wish I would have slept more during finals week.” I was like DANG GINA SO GLAD I WAS UP LATE BECAUSE I GOT AN A IN THAT CLASS. (Or B+ or whateva). Sometimes, it’s worth it to work hard! People are also worth losing sleep for – coffee shop late night study dates were my saving grace
  16. Become a regular somewhere. A coffee shop/study spot where you can get to know people just because you are there all the time! I still love that I know a lot of the baristas at Mozart’s! This is also a great way to be missional – by letting people see your friendliness and generosity and building a relationship to get to know and love them! Then maybe share Jesus if they are open
  17. Erin Condren and May Designs are your best friends – but enemies of your wallet. I find that I use things when they’re cute – so I got a super cute Erin Condren planner and it has helped me be so organized! I got a May Designs budget planner that is also super fun! Good investment for those like me who can’t really focus unless things are colorful and nice-looking
  18. You only college once so don’t major in something you don’t enjoy – take opportunities to shadow and get experience in your field! I got in touch with random friends’ parents who I knew were doctors and shadowed them – it was awesome! Junior or senior year, try a part-time internship somewhere to see what a day in the life of your potential career is actually like. If you hate your classes, it doesn’t hurt at all to take a semester and take some random classes to see if you discover something you love! Online classes are your best friend – knock out core requirements during the summer and winter breaks so you can take really great classes at your university.
  19. Subscribe to the Skimm.. It is my exclusive source for news honestly. They email you every day – a really easy-to-read and funny and young professional woman-centered summary of current events. Flawless. Also free.
  20. Create input goals. I read an article one time about this and actually incorporated the idea into the conclusion of my Plan II senior thesis! Set goals for behavior, not necessarily for outcome. For example, if your overall goal is to get up earlier, set mini-goals of things that will help you get there: going to bed sooner, setting out your clothes the night before, not drinking caffeine after a certain time, etc. I wrote my thesis on weight loss, for which input goals are super important! Setting a goal of losing twenty pounds can be super frustrating if you don’t see fast results; rather, set goals of eating a fruit at every meal, or drinking 64 ounces of water each day! This way, you can tangibly measure success at achieving these mini-goals, which is a great encouragement on the way to achieving larger goals.
  21. See a therapist – it’s worth it. I saw a therapist for months while recovering from an eating disorder. When I was going through a hard time at work, I met with her (she loves Jesus so much!) to talk through what was frustrating. It’s always great to hear a different perspective, especially from someone who has such an advanced knowledge of the way we work! And she gave me so much wisdom which has helped me make big decisions!
  22. Identify things that leave you feeling filled and not drained. A lot of times, I feel drained after being with large groups of people or watching TV shows for too long. But I feel fantastic after going for a run or baking cookies! Take time to figure out what things fill you up – and then do them! For example, it is a lot easier to sit and watch TV for a long time, but I know that I will feel more filled if I do something creative or work on learning new Spanish words!
  23. Turn off the radio for a few minutes. We are constantly barraged by sounds and things that vie for our attention! But in the silence, we get to focus on Jesus. Just like running without headphones, driving without music is a sweet time to focus on prayer. Listening to music is my favorite! But it’s so sweet when I discipline myself enough to cut out even a few minutes a day to reset my mind on things above
  24. Homemade facemasks. They’re the bomb. Way more fun than spending a lot of money on beauty products! I usually look on pinterest or google and then use things that are already in my kitchen – like honey, bananas, cinnamon and lemon! Homemade face masks make your face feel and look great
  25. Put your phone away. This is one of the many things I learned in therapy! When we are constantly on our phones, we teach our minds to be a million different places at once. This makes it super hard to focus when we actually want to! So when you don’t need your phone, keep it out of sight! Maybe even turn it off for a bit while you are reading or working! Even better – I usually leave my phone in the car when going to spend quality time with people. This way I am not tempted to let my mind be elsewhere – instead I can fully engage with them.
  26. Get up and move! I was the healthcare policy intern for a think tank for a semester my junior year of college. I learned quickly that I can never do a desk job. Like every hour I would get up and go to the bathroom. I had to pee maybe 30% of the time; I just needed to move. But studies show that taking a short little walk can do great things for your focus and attitude! Even better – every hour or so take a few minutes to walk outside. This gets your blood flowing and nature is proven to help improve mood (probz because it’s like straight up the creation of the God of the Universe!)
  27. Take advantage of time with neat people. I learned this one as a Baby Ruth at Pine Cove in 2011. We would have dinner with someone or a couple each week and our Mama Ruth would tell us to glean wisdom from them. This has stuck with me – when I talk to doctors, I always ask for advice and insight! We can learn so much from people! Old people have such cool life experience – ask to hear about them! Also this will probably make their day
  28. If you don’t understand something, learn about it! I’ve used this a lot in sports – I have learned a lot about football by asking questions while watching games and then literally googling “football for dummies.” My boyfriend and brother love football, so it’s been super valuable to take the time to improve my knowledge and understanding of the game so I can be a part of their conversations!
  29. If you have a heart for a certain people group, start learning the language now! I will be in San Antonio for med school and several doctors I talked to said they wish they had learned Spanish. I’ve been working on it – using Rosetta Stone, reading a side-by-side Spanish/English bible, putting myself in places where I’ll communicate with native speakers, looking for classes, etc. When I went to South America on mission trips, it meant so much to the kids that I could speak like a really teeny tiny amount of their language and that I would try to use it! Jesus came down and lived among us, walking our lives and speaking our language ya know? It’s really neat to be able to invest time and energy and money into reflecting that element of the Gospel for people who speak other languages.
  30. Refine your skills! If you have a knack for something, use it! Like if you are athletic, it’s so fun to take time to play in an adult league or coach or something! I have an artsy bent and it’s been really neat to find online lettering tutorials and test out my painting skills! I played piano all my life, but always wanted to learn to play guitar! I downloaded the Yousician app and it’s been helpful! But it takes time to get good at things – I learned this with piano. I started when I was five and I’m 23 now – but the first few years were kind of a grind. But it was SO worth it to be able to play so effortlessly now! If you have a bent for something, take the time to develop that skill – it’s such a joy to get to be able to use the things you’re good at
  31. Read those emails your college major/workplace sends out. I found out about some sweet opportunities just by reading them! 🙂

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