My college experience: an open letter to myself

College can be overwhelming. Well, actually it is overwhelming. It’s full of life changing experiences that are both: positive and negative opportunities to learn. Maybe, if you are near to graduate like me, have learned a lot from failure and success that you wish you can travel in a time machine and give some advice to your “past you”.

Also, if you are reading this, and you are about to start college maybe you can learn a few things from my experience and avoid going through the tough situations I put myself into.

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Keeping that in mind -and reflexing about the last three years- I think it’s a good opportunity to write down a letter to the 17 year old Valeria that was just about to start her career.

Dear Valeria, (it sounds so cheesy! But I’m terrible at starting letters haha)

You have just graduated high school and already believe you can eat the world. Don’t lose that fierceness, never. When you are feeling like you will not be able to finish a project or complete your practice hours, recall that optimism you had at the beginning.

Don’t forget why you are there, why you chose that career. Even when you know it’s going to be hard to find a job. Remember that passion can’t be bought, and in the end you will dedicate your life to do that job, so better be one you are happy at. Nothing it’s sadder than knowing how many people chose a job without be truly passionate about.

Also, be financially stable it’s a priority for you and I know that -and it’s going to be that way for the rest of your life. But right now you shouldn’t be worrying about paying your debts. I mean, working and studying it’s so hard (and you will eventually give it a try haha) but you will figure out there are other options for you, like refinancing your study loan as many of your friends will. Don’t let this to distract you from your goal.

You will meet people from different places, cultures and opinions than yours. And that’s awesome. You will have the opportunity to go out of the bubble in which you grew up and open your mind to the amazing diversity that it’s out there. Give yourself the opportunity to work with them and knowing more than just their faces, in a few years you might regret it.

Independence it’s a great responsibility you are now up to. It’s not easy but it’s worth it. In college you will never stop challenging yourself. And it’s ok if you fail, but never give up.

Please, please, surround yourself with people that see and appreciate your worth and help you to reach the best version of yourself. I know right now you are afraid of not making friends, and you feel alone. But trust me, God will put in your way the friend you have been asking for so long, and you will never feel that way again.

Finally, never settle or conform to a “success”. Get out of your comfort zone and explore your abilities and virtues. During this years you will get to know yourself more than never. Sure, you are going to be afraid, and it’s the perfect opportunity to be brave. Trust me, you will never believe where you going to be in 3 years!

I really hope you enjoy this journey. There are no magical recipes to make it “perfect”, but I’m sure you will remember with nostalgic that first week ever on college and all the crazy stories and memories you lived.

Well, the truth is college it’s an unpredictable time of our life. And as I was writing down this letter I was super curious in 3 years from now what would I say to my present self?

I really love making this type of posts that make me think and make changes in my life! I hope that sharing my experience may be helpful for anyone who’s thinking enter college and it’s afraid of how their life can change -specially monetary.

valeria-firm

5 Things to do before this year ends

We are few days away from finally finishing 2016. What a year has been.

I, personally, had moments of extreme joy, tears, frustration but mostly- moments of personal growth. I learned so much about myself this past twelve months & speaking to others about how they year went the answer was almost the same. And I couldn’t be any happier for you, for finishing this year & surviving it. The struggles and difficulties are part of our life, as I wrote (almost a year ago) in this post.

New Year’s Eve it’s kinda emotional for me (and I don’t even know why). I have an especial “ritual” or a list of things I like to do before December 31st ends every year, and I thought that maybe they can help you to settle your mind to receive 2017 in the best possible way!

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Organize & clean

Through the year we use a lot of stuff and then we put it somewhere to be organized later, the problem is… we usually don’t. After some weeks our closets and desks are full of things we don’t even know where they came from. In my case, during college I made a mess of my computer desktop and I have thousands of files everywhere!

There’s no better feeling than starting a new year with your house organized because it helps a lot to keep your mind organized too.

 

Cross out achieved goals

As I have said it before, I love to cross out the things I’ve done (usually on my ‘to do list’) because I get an indescribable satisfaction. New Year’s Eve it’s not the exception, I cross out every goal I achieved during 2016, and so I begin the new year feeling extremely productive and unstoppable. You should definitely try it.

Settle new goals

Because how are you gonna do the last point if you don’t have a list!?

Also, let me explain myself of the importance of settle new goals each year (even though I think it’s pretty obvious). You are gonna built a house, you know the construction starts in a determined date; but you get to the lot without machines, engineers, money, nothing & still expect the house to be ready in a couple of months (?)- ok, maybe it’s an extreme example but you get the point.

If you want to have a sucessful year you need to know what are you gonna be working for, mark yourself a north to follow.

“If you are not planning for sucess, then you are planning for failure”. 

Make decisions

We make some bad decisions this year (and the year before, and the one before too…) but that doesn’t mean we can’t have  a fresh start and make some new good ones.

New Year’s Eve it’s the perfect oportunity to say “Ok, starting from now on I’m not going to…” or “I will start to… this year”. Everyone around you it’s making decisions so you get motivated to commit to them and make actual changes to improve your life.

Planning new habits

This one it’s new for me, so maybe you will want to join me! Last year I proposed myself to start drinking more water… and I failed- kinda actually. But I also wanted to get a habit of writing and I nailed it (because I started a journal).

So, the point is, habits change your life and sums up positive consequences. Excercising, reading, drinking water, healthy eating, writing, saving money… anything you know you did wrong during the past year and/or you want to start doing; it’s the perfect time.

I hope this “rituals” I have helped you to have a better start for 2017 (because 2016 was wicked…). Also, I pray that you have the best New Year’s Eve and spend it with your loved ones. See you next year!

valeria-firm

Benefits from keeping a journal and why you should start one

Hey everyone, it’s december already and that means this blog it’s almost one year older. It is amazing how time flies so quickly.

This year was a 12 month learning adventure in every area of my life. College, faith, relationships and myself (especially). And one of the things I learned was the importance of having a journal.

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(I took this photo myself, and I am so so proud haha)

It’s kinda funny because I am not a very constant writer and every time -as a kid- I tried to keep a journal I lost interest in two or three days. But, as a grown up I found out it was different. So, I thought it would be amazing if I can share the benefits I got from keeping a journal and invite you to start one too!

  • First benefit: I de-stress A LOT. 

I spend most of my time stressed out about so so many things and I can’t describe the relieve I got when I wrote down my thoughts. It doesn’t actually solve anything but it’s satisfactory to clear your mind that way. Let’s illustrate it this way -and apologies in advance for been a potterhead.

  • Second benefit: It’s easier writing than talking. 

If you are just like me and have problems sharing with others your thoughts and worries it’s “safer” to write them down. I usually believe people don’t actually get interested in my fears and concerns-and even opinions- so I tend to be very close-mouthed about them.

The good thing about a diary it’s that you can write WHATEVER you want without been worried to hurt someone’s feelings or been misunderstood; plus you get to externalize (sort of) what’s going on in your mind. It’s a win-win.

  • Third benefit: It can calm you down. 

I remeber one day I was so nervous before a visit from my supervisor (as a part of my professional practice) that I was close to throw up and I already had went to the bathroom like 3 or 4 times. So I sat down in my desk, took a deep breath and wrote down in my journal ALL that was crossing my mind- because I am the queen of overthinking- and after that I felt 1000x better. Plus, it is an awesome way to kill time during stressful and anxious moments.

  • Fourth benefit: You can put your week/month in perspective & learn from yourself. 

This is mainly focused in personal growth because you can see how your concerns change through time, how you can set new goals and as in my case you can say “Ok, I worried so much about this situation and I turned out to be so silly” and you learn to next time not freaking out that much haha.

  • Fifth benefit: It can drive you closer to God.  

At least in my experience this happened (since I’m a believer), but it was funny to see myself writing down my problems, whining and just liberating my thoughts- and then suddenly I was asking God to gave me strength, patience and telling Him how much I wanted Him to be in control of my life. Basically, I started praying without I even noticed. A BIG plus, for sure.

I hope my experience with this whole journal/diary thing actually helped you to open up your mind a little bit to how can improve your life, because honestly now I carry my journal everywhere I go.

Also if you are not a writting person but you want to experience the feeling of be in control and have a tidy mind I can 100% recommend you to try a bullet journal.  I, personally,  got a little bit addicted to it- which is is my opinion one of the greatest inventions humans have ever made in order to keep things organized. I will probably in the near future blog about it and how it changed my life. My friend Becca from Life As a Dare have an amazing post about it so you can learn more and join the Bujo community all around the world!

See you, hopefully, next week and have an amazing week! Feel free to email me for anything you might need.

 

Life update!

Well, Hello! Since I’ve been absent for-I don’t know… centuries already- I feel I should introduce myself again. LOL!

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Honestly I’m so so sorry I disappeared for so long and without an explanation. I tried, as hard as my human energy let me, to keep on blogging weekly or at least monthly. Sadly, and as you probably noticed, I failed.

So, since you have been so so patient with me and keep on reading my posts (& making me extremely happy for it) I felt I had to share with you this part of my life I’m going through and the reasons why I’ve been gone for this past months.

Okaaaay, let’s get to it:

1. I started working!- and quit.  

Before you can judge me let me explain myself. First of all, I wasn’t looking for a job -since I’ve always been really into be a full time student- but my college was hiring a receptionist (like a 9-6 pm worker WHOA!).

Long story short, I had an scholarship (for the last two years and a half) and they asked me if I wanted to work with them. And I said yes!

Of course when I started to work I had NO idea how tired I was gonna be and how much I was gonna miss my “me time”. Seriously people, working & studying (+ mantaining a social life) it’s not a piece of cake at all!

I really enjoyed my job, don’t get me wrong. I was so happy on my desk, helping people and I even woke up motivated everyday. The point is, I wasn’t in college to become a receptionist and working- even though was a incredible income for my family- wasn’t my priority.

After a few months I had to decided between keeping my job or finish my Bachelor on time. I guess you already know what I chose.

2. I’m currently on my last three courses for my Bachelor! 

Linked to the last point… I WILL ACTUALLY GRADUATE NEXT FEBRUARY! (Well, if I pass this last courses- but yeah, you get the excitement).

And of course, as you can imagine, I have tons of work to do daily and the triple to do during the weekends. Seriously, it’s crazy.

Since I’m studying special education I need to do a professional practice. In my school that implies I have to do a total of 150 hours of practice, from which 120 are me giving classes to the kids. And ladies and gentlemen I can only translate that into two simple words: STRESS & ANXIETY. But I’m just 6 weeks away from finishing! 😀

3. Adulting it’s hitting me like a tsunami. 

If you are going through these years you will definetely understand what I’m talking about. Responsabilities are tough, you have to learn to balance all the areas in your life (by yourself!), you have to make a ridiculous amount of decisitions and have to manage to look like you know what are you doing- but let’s be honest, NOBODY knows what they’re doing.

So, yeah… I’ve been trying to figure out how to settle my life these past months.

I admit during this time crossed my mind the idea of closing this blog, but I also realized that I didn’t wanted to throw away all the effort and time I put into it. Plus, I really like -and enjoy- writing and sharing my life with you! I can’t give up so easily! So here I am!

For sure I can’t promise I will post two times a week or so… but I’ll put my best effort to post more frecuently and work harder for this blog! Again thank you so much for your patience and support during the ten months this page has been up! 😀

 

 

God is… holy

I know I’ve been completely absent for like a month… And I can’t be more sorry about it. But thank you for been patient this time and keep reading & visiting my blog 😀

May have just passed by and I didn’t post the devotional of the “God is..” series! Today I will share with you this awesome characteristic – better late than never- of God which is: His holiness.

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When I picture something “holy” I  think of something white, pure, with no flaws, saint. And it makes a lot of sense God been holy himself.

But you know what doesn’t make any sense? Him asking us to be holy too. Like SERIOUSLY?

In 1 Peter 1:15 says:

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do.

I am really far away from consider myself a saint. I sin a lot, daily, all the time. I haven’t finish sinning when I am sinning again. I am not perfect in any aspect of my life. God knows my evil nature, He knows all my failures past, present & future. Still, He asked me to be holy just like He is. WHAT?

Most of you may know I am majoring in special education + also work with kids from first grade to sixth grade. I spend hours and hours teaching them, learning from them and also getting to actually know them.

So, from this experience I had an idea of why was God asking me to be holy. When one of my students it’s struggling to understand something, to make an addition or to write a word properly I cheer them up and tell them how capable they are and that even though I might had problems with that content too while I was in school- they can reach their goals and overcome their obstacles.

God ask us to be holy because, despite our flaws, He actually see our potential- what we are capable of reaching. He sets the mark high because He knows we will put effort in order to get there. He actually know us. Just as I know what my students can or can’t do.

And remember:

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Why turning 20 was so important to me

Birthdays are important, they are supposed to be celebrated. But, they were never a big deal for me. I used to just go out for a dinner or a birthday cake and that’s it. One year older, who cares?

This year it was different for me. I did a countdown to my birthday since new year, I pinned a lot of ideas of birthday parties and I was expecting my big date with a big excitement.

Why? At first I didn’t know. Then, as months went by I realized turning 20 was kinda big thing! The day came and I got a growing up crisis – just like the one Rachel had at Friends.

I mean, 10 years ago I was at school learning of geometry and 10 years from now I’m gonna be married and have kids. It was overwhelming…

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My grandpa died a week before my birthday. It opened my eyes of how fragile life was and how life can change from a day to another. I decided I was gonna live the fullest, in the most responsable way – of course. I decided I wanna to focus on the important things and set priorities. I want to make memories that actually last.

I guess turning 20 it’s important because you aren’t a teenager any more. You are an adult, and hey! adulthood really hits you. You get a lot more responsability, either way you choose those responsabilities or they just get to you. But now, you are no longer a young kid, you are a young adult.

Also during your 20s you define who you want to be, you take decisions that are going to set your path for the person you will become some day. For me it’s like a fresh start, where you can decide -again- what you want to keep on doing, what you want to change, the places you want to go, and many other questions only one can answer.

I have been twenty for almost two weeks, and I’m surviving. I had the time to realized how much I’ve grown since high school, how much a person can learn about life in a couple of years. So, let’s say I’m excited for what this decade has for me, the places I’ll visit, the people I’ll meet, the decisions I’ll have to take, all of them are experiences I’m ready to face. I am not in crisis anymore, I accept my adulthood – I guess.

Let me know in the comments what are your favorite things about been 20?

See you soon!

 

What I’ve learned about social media while blogging

First of all, let me apologize for be absent during these past weeks. My life turned upside down in a matter of days and until now I am finally getting back to my track.

I got a job, I am on my last weeks of college and during this adjustment time I wasn’t able to manage all the blogging responsabilities (instagram included!), and I am so so sorry for that. I am working into improving, promise.

Now, let’s get into the point.

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What I’ve learned about social media while blogging. As a normal, regular, not-blogger person I am the definition of anxious and for me social media just adds more stress. But posting got a whole new meaning the moment I decided to start this blog.

Sometimes trying to others “like” your blog it’s overwhelming. And during this four months I’ve been posting I have learned a lot. That’s why I want to share it with you and maybe- just maybe- you can relate to me (:

  1. People want to know you, not just your content. This advice I read changed my instagram account. I used to upload photos – ONLY- about my blog posts. Then when I started uploading content about my daily life, food, plants, experiences; people liked. Liked much more than my lasts posts.
  2. You can’t compare yourself. I must accept I am guilty of this. I wanted so bad to be like the other bloggers I follow, with tons of followers (some of them in just a few weeks).Truth is, every case is unique and you gain nothing worring about how many likers you had; blogging is about enjoying the process of growth and learning NOT to waste your energies and mind.
  3. Phantom followers are real. Let me explain myself. Some people actually like your blog or account, but others are just hunting followers. They “follow” you just for you to follow back, then they unfollow you. At the start I got really mad about it, I perceived it as unloyal and even as cheating, then I realized that I should worry about them but should worry about my real followers.
  4. Don’t be too obsessive over what you instagram about. It’s really easy to get “like-drunk” (if that expression even exist-LOL). I learned that been posting all the time can actually separate you from the one’s you love, also it can unfocused you from posting – what it’s all about.
  5. Enjoy meeting new & different people. This have been my favorite feature about blogging, meeting people from all over the world and actually get to know them through the web.

This have been a part of what I have learned over this time. I have much more facts and lessons social media taught me over my journey, I would love to hear your own experiences and what you had learn.

What does “God is omnipresent” mean?

Guess who’s back? After loooong 12 days without blogging -blame college for this- I am back to continue with the “God is…” series we had been studying during this year.

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We have already studied different God’s characteristics until now. Like His truth and power  and now it’s time to go a little bit more deeper into His presence.

The key Bible verse this time is:

Where can I go from your Spirit? 

Where can I flee from your presence?”

Psalms 139:7

Have you ever tried to hide from God? Like Adam & Eve did? Like Jonah did? I had and is useless. Sometimes we take decisitions or do things we are not proud of and hope no one is watching, but HEY! God is A L W A Y S there. Not to condemn us but to redeem us.

But truth is Why God will spend His precious time with me? Following me all day long and listening to my thoughts -they aren’t even funny. Well because of four main resons:

  1. I am His creation
  2. I am part of Him
  3. Because He let His Holy Spirit in me and therefore a part of Him in me
  4. Just because He has the power to

What actually blows my mind rely in the fact that He does not only is with me wherever I go (like Jonah, Joseph or Daniel), but also it mean He is with me whenever I am -past, present or future, He is there. As you know, God is not limited by our physic laws. So basically time does not exist for Him.

This got me thinking for days of how we worry so much about when, how and where things are going to happen, but we forget that God already know the answer to all that. He knows what is going to occur, where and when and as a plus: HE IS WITH US through all the way.

As a motivational quote I once read in Pinterest “Whenever you feel unimportant or insecure; remeber to whom you belong”. Yes, I belong to an Omnipotent, Omnipresent and The One true God. I definately feel better now.

 

6 Lessons you will definitely learn in college

Since I was small I dreamed of college; I wanted so bad to be a “grown up”. When I finished high school I had so many expectations of how my next year was gonna be. I started watching videos in youtube of how to study succesfully, hacks for college, how to decor your notebook, etc. You can picture how anxious I was of finally start my freshman in college!

Of course, my college experience had been different from the one I planned for me three years ago. Some of the videos I watched were useless or just didn’t fit my situation. Seriously, it’s hard to find tips or advices that work for everyone, but I realized that no matter your major, your college characteristics or the country you belong there are lessons that you learn through those student years.

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Photo from Wanderlass.com, isn’t it just perfect or what? 

Now, I want to share with you some of those lessons I have learned that were not included in the course contents (LOL).

  • You will have more extra time than in high school BUT you will spend that time doing assignments. It can be a class of 4 hours and a homework of 2 + a project of 8 hours or even more. It’s endless.
  • You will have less money than expected. I don’t know why but at college we spend more money on food (maybe because we are more anxious). Still, you will have a lot more to pay like the bus, food, books, presentations, materials, etc.
  • One’s bestfriends as an adult are usually made during college BUT they are a small percentage. You will meet many many people in this years, you might even like them, but truth is that during this years a lot of  situations can happen and as a result you and your friends can take different paths.
  • You find yourself doing things you didn’t know you could. Like organizing a fair and a festival, write a enormous essay, work half-time, read a couple of books during a month, or make choices (a lot of them, actually). At the beginning it might be hard to manage the time and one can feel overwhelmed, but as you overcome all the obstacules and you look back: the satisfaction it’s incredible and you also learn a lot of what you are capable of  do.
  • Professors are very different from high school BUT you can learn much more of them. I have been in courses with good and bad proffesors, both can teach you a lot of your career and about yourself. Some teach for your intellectual development and some teach you about life. Having a lot of proffesors can actually be something you can take advantage and learn more about patience, the kind of professional you want to become, effort, tolerance, respect and how different people can be in their opinions.
  • THE WORLD BECOMES BIGGER! Before college I believed I knew about how life was, how people lived; I thought I knew the answers to all the questions, that I had my life solved, that I had experienced all that was out there. One person told me when I finished high shool “there’s a whole new world that you don’t know, it’s so big and different you will not want to come back to this one”. And he was SO RIGHT! You meet new people all the time, you experience new situations every day, you have to take decisions -and they aren’t easy by the way. You are now an adult and the world sees you like one.

College can be overwhelming and take time to adjust yourself to the changes it brings, it is a big responsability but those are the best years of your life -yet.

If you know from your experience more lessons you learned in college (or that you are currently learning) please tell me! I will update the post.

See you next week, and good luck in your classes!

3 Wrong ideas I had about love that hurt me

wrong-ideas-i-had-about-love

“We accept the love we think we deserve”
-Stephen Chbosky

Those words were constantly on my mind as I cried on my psychologist office. I had hurt the one’s I loved the most because I haven’t love myself enough (and first). It might sound cheezy but we can’t love others if we don’t have any love to give! Sadly, I learned the lesson in a tough way and I wished I’ve known it before.

I grew up in a place where love wasn’t usually expressed in a tangible way. No because we didn’t love eachother but because we weren’t quite expressive.

Even though I was taught that way, I am a romantic and loving person. I had some issues, I had to solve, but I did not on time.

It’s never too late, I am a proof of that, but I wish I had worked on myself before those issues turned into problems and lastly on offenses to the one’s I cared the most.

Now, had been say that. I can tell you some of the WRONG ideas about love I had, that were intoxicating me and my relationship with others.

  • “You must give yourself up”. I am a single mom daughter and I grew up watching my mom work so hard to give me what I needed. Often she told me that she loved me so much she had to work for us to be okay. Now, as a young adult, I understand what she meant. But I  translated that unto my life and, as a teenager, I became everyone’s keeper. I believed I had to give everything I was (both physically and emotionally) to the boy I liked so he may feel loved. WRONG. The result? I went dry and empty. You should never give the love you have for yourself to other person. No matter how much you love them, you can’t love someone more than you love yourself.
  • “If God had let me to be with him, it’s because he is the one”. Now I read that phrase and I laughed at myself for saying it so many times! I can’t defend myself for this, I was so blind to see it and I didn’t want to accept the fact that I had made a wrong decisition or maybe I just wanted to avoid the reality in which I was living. So, I excused myself and used God as my excused.
    Funny! Because at the beginning I didn’t prayed God to guide me on my relationship but then I was “blamming” Him for my situation.
  • “I can’t say no”. As I child I was taught to say yes to any favor and do it with a smile. Even though I wanted to say no. My mom and grandma were always runnin’ and in a hurry to do favors all the time. I guessed, as a child, that’s how it was supposed to be.
    Until almost two years ago I was unable to say no. I felt guilty when I did. In consequence I was doing thigs I didn’t want to for people I “liked” or just felt pity for them (I must admit the list include dates, kisses and unpleasant favors).

I can’t say everything was wrong in my love life. I fell inlove-and hard. I was being loved back-and a lot. But I wasn’t capable of accepting that loved, because I didn’t even know what love was truly about!

After I cheated my ex boyfriend and hurt not only him but a few more people and myself. I realized I had to do something. I started a psychology process that, honestly, changed my life and saved me from the path I was going. I learned about those unsolved issues I had and actually solve them. I started a real relationship with God, that helped me to know who I really am and what love is.

It have been almost two years since I divorce from my old self. I have a new relationship with God, me, family and my caring boyfriend. Now I can love with a more healthy love, and I honestly have never felt more loved. So, yeah! We actually accept the love we think we deserve.