A Life Update | The Final Year

So, it’s been a little bit of time since I’ve gotten the chance to sit down and write for myself. Senior year is no joke! I went into it with a rather large senioritis complex that was immediately shot down when I had to write a 15-page paper within the first week. Yeah, not what I expected. In order to help me chronicle my senior year (and force me to make more time to write for myself) I want to start somewhat of a series entitled “The Final Year.” It will be something I can look back on and also hopefully help others as they enter their final year of college & all the stress that comes with it.

Coming back to school was a lot weirder than I expected. I put a lot of pressure on going back to school, hoping it would make the transition home from Disney a little easier. What I didn’t think about was how weird it would feel to be back on campus. I low-key felt like a Freshman when I was walking around and re-associating myself with ETSU. It wasn’t until I started hanging out with friends and getting to know my classmates better that I actually began returning to a semi-normal human being.

Things have been overwhelming as I tried to balance classes, working two jobs, dog sitting, and trying to force myself out of the funk I’d been in all summer. Some of the classes I thought would be fun electives to take were turning out to be WAY more busywork than my senioritis expected. In the same sphere, I am loving my capstone class this semester. We’re getting hands-on experience working with clients and I have two of the best professors I could have hoped for co-teaching the class. When I found that out, I was SO excited!

I’m finally finding my rhythm again and am starting to feel more normal. The post-DCP depression also seems to be lowering its toll on my life. I still get feelings of sadness and missing my favorite place on earth and all my friends who are now scattered across the country, but Johnson City is starting to feel more like home again. I’m hanging out with friends more and forcing myself to get out and stop sitting in my room watching DCP vlogs all evening.

Other than post-DCP depression, my time at Disney has also given me a renewed sense of passion in what I’m doing. I actually joined my department’s club that I’d been meaning to join since Freshman year, am an account executive for my group’s capstone project, and overall am thinking more and more about where my niche and desire to be is in the world of Advertising, Public Relations, & Communications. I’m also considering grad school, which if you could tell freshman me that I would have laughed right in your face. By the end of the semester I may be singing a different tune, but it’s something I’m looking into as a possibility for after May.

Some other fun life updates:

  • I got new glasses & have actually worn them on a consistent basis. Apparently, what normal people could see at 100 ft away I have to be 20 ft or close to see. Whoops! So, sorry if I’ve squinted at you from a distance recently. It’s not that I was judging you, I just couldn’t see who was there!
  • I still miss Disney. I’m still hoping to return to work for Disney. I’ve been looking into Professional Internships for post-grad life, but I need to take a pause from overthinking it all and try to enjoy this semester and the time I have left before applications open in January.
  • Along with working at First Christian Church again, I have accepted a position with Trinity Arts Center helping create and manage social media content! I have a lot of love for TAC as it was my second home where I danced six days a week for eight years of my life. It’s really refreshing to be back and in a new way utilizing what I’m studying! Super grateful for the opportunity!!
  • One of my best friends, also known as my DCP twin, Emily is coming to visit me in my hometown next weekend!! I’m so excited to show her around small town, Southern USA and just be able to spend time with her before she moves back to Australia in January.
  • I’m back on that pet sitting grind so I’ve gotten to hang out with a bunch of adorable furry friends!
  • I may or may not have a return trip in the works to hit up a Disney Christmas Party…fingers crossed!!
  • Despite the animosity I have towards the impact it’s had on my tuition, I finally went to an ETSU football game! Figured so much of my money went into building that stadium I should at least sit in it once.
  • I’ve started learning how to cook like a real adult! If you know me, you’ll know this is quite the accomplishment as I usually burn scrambled eggs. Shout to Hello Fresh for making it super easy & fun!

Coming home from Disney was a way bigger challenge than I’d expected. While I’ve been struggling with anxiety, panic attacks, chronic illness, and general adjusting, I think I’m finally getting to a place of normality again. I’m discovering new passions, reviving friendships, and finding ways to help my mental health. I hope that whether you’re facing a similar season of challenges, you see a light at the end that is pushing you towards something better!

❤ / Bail

The People and Places I’m Thankful for

Ahh, Thanksgiving. I have a lot of mixed feelings when it comes to this holiday. It’s a day to be thankful and eat all of the delicious food that you can stuff safely inside your body. However, for college students, it is also a last hoorah before finals kick in and our lives get devoted to the closest library. Anyone not in college probably starts to feel the busyness of the Christmas season kick in around Thanksgiving too. Despite the lingering stress, it is a good day to relax and be with the ones you are thankful for. That is what the holiday is all about, right? In honor of that, I want to dedicate this post to some of the people and places I’m thankful for. This in no way includes everything I’m thankful for (that would take days upon days of writing that I don’t have) but it’s a good summary.

My sister, Mallory. It just so happens that this holiday is also very close to my younger sister’s birthday. What a great few days of celebrating! My sister is someone who I am very thankful for. We’re only 18 months apart in age, which means she’s basically my built in (some might say forced) best friend. She’s someone who I can always laugh with, ask for fashion advice, dance to the Mamma Mia soundtrack with, and someone who can call me out when I’m being a baby. Thank you for being my built-in best friend. I lava you!

My parents, Pam and Bart. The people who gave me my name, my DNA, and my life. Without the two of them, I wouldn’t be where I’m at today. They support me through school, encourage me to do my best, and push me to go after my dreams. I don’t have all the right words to totally thanks my parents for everything they have done and continue to do for me. I just hope I make them proud and that they know how much I love them!

My extended family. The Walkers & the DeVores are some extraordinary people. Even though we may not get to see each other as much as we’d like, I’m thankful for every laugh shared, delicious food eaten, hug given, and love spread. Y’all are the best!

The Dory to my Squishy, Sarah. I’m so thankful for that day in 7th grade when we were sat at the same table in Mrs. Cromie’s Geography class. From Wellness class snacks, to dance classes, to sleepovers filled with Very Potter Musical, to HSM car jam sessions, and all the Menchie’s dates in between. I could not be more thankful for your friendship. Thank you for always being there for me, providing endless laughter and love, and being the person you are. I thank God for you always.

My coworkers at FCC. You all bring so much joy and love to my everyday life! I feel so lucky to be able to work with such amazing people who help me grow and put what I’m learning in school to use. You all have affected my life more than you’ll ever know, and I’m eternally grateful for all the opportunities I’ve been given. You people are the best and have become some of my closest friends! Also, the whole FCC congregation is just an amazing group of people.

My CC gals. Things may not have ended the way we would have liked last year, but you all still mean so much to me. I’m thankful for all the laughs and good times we’ve shared, and continue to share! Let’s have a reunion soon. Christmas gettogether?!

My professors & classmates. I’m not gonna lie when I was graduating high school I wasn’t thrilled to be going to ETSU. Now that I’m there, there’s no school I’d rather be at! I absolutely love everyone in the media + communications department, the professors I have who have helped me learn so much and increased my confidence that I’m in the right field of study, and the classmates who help keep me sane. There’s never really a day where I dread going to school, and for that, I’m very thankful.

My TAC family. Trinity Arts Center will always feel like another home to me. Although a large majority of us may have gone in different directions, I will always carry the sweet memories we share in my heart!

Those I’ve lost. Even though you may no longer be here with me on Earth, I’m thankful for those who are watching over me from Heaven.

EVERYONE I KNOW. You have all affected my life in one way or another, and for that, I will always be thankful. Each person I’ve had the pleasure of knowing is a blessing.

I’m thankful for everything and everyone that God has placed in my life. I am undoubtedly blessed in every way! I can’t even begin to imagine the amazing things to come that I know I’ll be thankful for. The world we live in is crazy, so it’s important to take time to reflect on the things we are thankful for. Make sure to tell someone how much they mean to you this Thanksgiving!

❤ / Bailey

MENTAL HEALTH DAY

First of all, I just want to start by saying I’m sorry if my recent blog post about caring for yourself while caring for others made you worry about me. I didn’t write that post with the intentions of causing worry or even talking in depth about the pits of my mental state. I was simply trying to get everything that’s been going on lately off of my chest, and after getting some feedback from those around me I realized it may have been perceived a little differently than I originally intended. October is mental health awareness month & today is mental health day, so it feels only fitting that I go into it a little bit more on my mental health. Being quiet does nothing but make it worse, and we need to accept and talk about our mental illnesses to get better.

I did realize that maybe I scared a few people with that blog post because I haven’t really let my anxiety show that much. I’ve dealt with over-worrying and anxiety for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I was super socially anxious and shy. In the sixth grade, I was voted “most quiet” out of the whole class. I went through phases where my anxiety got the best of me with no known cause, like when I didn’t eat for several weeks because I was afraid I was going choke and die or because there were tapeworms in my food (we can thank a documentary on Animal Planet for that second one). Another example would be when I was petrified of ghosts and would sleep with my blanket all the way up over my head for nights on end (if I can’t see them, they can’t see me, right? Expert logic!) and not to mention the lack of sleep I got every Christmas due to my deep fear of Santa Clause.

Over the years, I have been able to manage my anxiety, fears, worrying, and paranoia. I’m an extrovert at heart who loves people, so the social anxiety part is mostly gone after forcing myself to talk to random people every week while greeting at Church on Sundays. I don’t fear to talk to new people, although sometimes walking into a crowded room can still get my heart racing. It’s virtually impossible for me to walk into a crowded room late. I do still also have a lot of random fears and paranoid spells. I will do everything humanly possible to avoid stepping foot in an elevator or on an indoor ride. I constantly worry people are judging me and that I’ll never be good enough. I need a lot of reassurance to build up any sort of confidence in myself.

Yes, my anxiety has been increasingly worsening over the last month, but there’s been a lot going on so I know that’s probably why. It’s nothing that I am majorly concerned with right now, and after talking about it with some lovely people (you know who you are and how grateful I am for you) I realized that it helps me be less anxious if I actually opened up about everything that’s swirling around in my head and didn’t try to hide it with a fake smile. I could just keep pushing on like nothing’s wrong, but that wouldn’t be in the least bit healthy.

I am looking forward to soon having a break. My fall break from school is next Monday and Tuesday and I’m thankful for the opportunity to also take off work to spend those days recuperating. I’m not gonna sugar coat it, this semester has not been the best. Like I’ve mentioned, a lot has been going on and I cannot wait to have a few days to rest and recover from it all. I plan on doing nothing but Halloween decorating, watching Hocus Pocus and Scary Godmother on repeat, and (hopefully) catching up with some friends and family. It feels like this is what my mind and soul needs, so I’m listening to it.

Make sure you take some time to take care of your mental health. I know it can be easy to forget, but mental health is just as important as your physical health. Rest, do some of your favorite things, and listen to what your brain is telling you! Know that you are loved through the struggle & despite what you may think, you are an amazing human being who is doing great things in this world!

xx,

Bailey

HOW TO CARE FOR YOURSELF WHILE CARING FOR OTHERS

It’s no secret, I love helping people. I’m often the friend that people turn to when they need a shoulder to cry on or some advice. A lot of times, I was known as “the advice giver” and I love being that person! It explains why my number one trait when I took the Clifton StrengthFinders Assessment was Developer. I see the potential for improvement in people (not in a cocky kind of way, but in an “I want to help you” way) and it’s hard for me to fight the urge to let them talk to me and give them advice.

Lately, I’ve been carrying a lot of other people’s burdens. There’s been a lot going on for family and friends and I want to be there for them with all that I have and help. I’m realizing though, that I can’t sacrifice my own mental state to help someone else because that just doesn’t work. All of this came up when I remembered something my mom said to me recently:

“Everyone always comes to you with their stuff, but who do you take your stuff to?” 

Mom wisdom coming through. She wasn’t wrong in saying that & definitely shook me up a little. Of course, because I wanted to maintain my put-together “I’m fine” self I said, “I have people that I talk to.” Which, isn’t completely a lie. I do tell my best friend most of what I’m going through, but I definitely don’t share everything. It’s super hard for me to open up to people and let down my guard. This isn’t because I don’t trust people, it’s because I’m afraid if I do then people won’t want my help anymore because I won’t seem as strong. I now realize this isn’t the best logic and I shouldn’t let it be a guiding force in how I live my life.

This is particularly important to remember in the current season of life that I am in. I’ve had a lot going on with my dad having multiple foot surgeries and working way out of town so I hardly ever see him, starting Junior year and taking on fifteen credit hours of classes, and learning how to balance everything with working 29 hours a week (I’m used to only working around 20 hours during the school year), and trying to maintain whatever social life I can grab on to while making sure I stay in touch with my friends and family. It’s definitely a busy season, and I’m not at all complaining about it because I often thrive in busyness.

However, I do need to take a step back every now and then and evaluate my own well being. I tend to forget to eat or get enough sleep because I want to just keep on doing all the things I have to do, but that’s not healthy. Plus, while all these things are going on I need to make sure I’m aware of my mental health. I’ve been really anxious lately worrying about school and all of the issues people around me seem to be facing and I’ve kept that to myself. It’s starting to become apparent though by my constant lip biting or picking of every scrap of the blue polish that I had on my nails last week that I need to take a minute to relax. I actually became a bit of a moody monster last week due to it all, so sorry to anyone that I may have sassed or heard me belting songs from my “rainy day vibes” playlist. Special thank you to the person who called me out on it so I could learn to watch it and realize my sass wasn’t helping anyone (although sometimes my sass can be really funny).

All this to say, make sure you don’t forget to care for yourself while caring for others. It’s not selfish, even though that anxious voice in your head might try to tell you otherwise. You can’t fully be there for other people if you’re not at your best and you drive yourself to a breaking point. Have a “you day” where you do some of your favorite things to chill you out. Here are some of my favorites if you need some inspiration:

  1. Take a walk around Target. There are so many cute things to look at! Just make sure you have some money with you because you’ll more than likely end up spending more than you intended on home decor or clothes.
  2.  Drive around with no particular destination and sing some of your favorite songs.
  3. Have a long talk with a friend. I know many of us Millenials don’t remember that phones weren’t made just for texting, but sometimes it’s soothing to hear someone’s actual voice.
  4. If you don’t feel like talking to another person, talk to your pets! They’ll never interrupt or judge you and are great listeners.
  5. Plan something. I’ve been adding so much stuff to my Halloween & Christmas boards on Pinterest. I’ll probably only ever execute one or two of them, but it’s nice to think about. One day I’ll embody my true Pinterest self.
  6. Lay on the ground and stare at the sky. It’s really quite mesmerizing to just watch the world go by. Just don’t stare directly at the sun!
  7. Binge watch something on Netflix, Hulu, or whatever entertainment provider you prefer. It will provide some much needed chill time.
  8. Stretch your body through yoga or do some dancing. Whatever type of exercise you like to do, do it. If your body feels happy then you’ll feel happier.
  9. Eat your favorite food. Everything is fine in moderation, so have that one slice of pizza!
  10. Read a devotional or inspiring book. A little heart help goes a long way.

I could go on forever (thanks to my love of lists) but I’ll stop here for now. Hopefully, some of these can help those of you like me who often forget that it’s just as important to care for yourself as it is to care for those around you. It makes a world of difference!

Peace & blessings,

Bailey

 

NEW SCHOOL YEAR, NEW GOALS

As the first week of my third year of undergrad has come to a close, I’m beginning to realize that this year feels a lot different than my previous two of college. First of all, how am I already a junior? It hit me that I’m halfway through and so much closer to my degree! That’s crazy to me. It seems like just yesterday I was starting college as a baby freshman who kind of knew what she wanted to be and where she wanted to go, and now I’m starting to get questions like “Where are you going to go after college, are you staying in Johnson City?” and “What exactly is it that you want to do in your field of study?” LET’S SLOW DOWN THERE. While I have some idea of where I want to go and who I want to be, I keep having to remind myself that a lot can change in my remaining two years. No isn’t necessarily the time to be making those decisions.

Despite the thought of graduation looming closer over my head, this year just feels different as a whole. I’m not sure if I’m just carrying more confidence being an upperclassman, but the start of the school year didn’t scare me (I’m talking first-day anxiety jitters) as much as usual.  I didn’t feel the need to obsessively look at the class lists online ahead of time to find a familiar name or worry about my professors being sticklers. I went in knowing whatever was thrown my way I could handle, and I had a really good first day! At least, much better than a lot of other people at my university. I only have classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays (but that does mean an 8 am and staying way later than I’d appreciate) and on the Monday that the university actually opened, there was a lockdown due to a weapon on campus. I wasn’t there, but I was getting all of the alert texts and started texting all of my friends who were on campus to see if they were okay. It was definitely an interesting first day of the fall semester, but luckily no shots were fired and everything turned out okay. Aside from that craziness, the first week back went really well. All of my professors seem really nice & I’ve made friends in all of my classes where I didn’t know anyone & reconnected with some of my friends who are in the same program & class as me.

That being said, let’s set some goals for this year. Since this is my third year of college, I’m going to set three main goals.

1. Make the Dean’s List…again! YAY! One of my goals for the previous school year was to make the Dean’s List & I did. Now, I want to do it again. Especially since I now know that I can.

2. Join as many clubs & extracurriculars as possible. I’m really determined to get more involved on campus this year, and one way I see that happening is through clubs! I didn’t get to join very many clubs for the last two years because working retail meant most of my nights were booked. Now that I have a job with consistent hours where I get off work at 5 pm every day, I can actually do things in the evenings. Specifically, I want to get involved with a campus ministry and the club for my major. I haven’t decided which campus ministry yet, but I’ve got plenty of great options to try out!

3. Bring as much joy & positivity to my fellow students as possible. College is a tough time. It’s hard enough trying to stay on top of all of your assignments and studying, throw in working, trying to figure out who you are as an adult, and all the utterly crappy stuff that gets thrown at people and that pretty much describes college. We’re all just a bunch of kids figuring out how to become adults. We need constant encouragement & support to make it out somewhat sane! So, I want to be really intentional about lifting up those around me at school. It can be really easy to focus on my own assignments & issues, but it’s important to remember the impact you can make by taking a minute away from yourself to help a friend with an assignment or simply look up from your phone while walking from class to class and smile at someone. Nobody truly knows what other people are going through, especially in college, so being a light in the darkness is a powerful thing.

To all of those people reading this who are also returning to school, I wish you the best of luck. Remember to drink lots of water, make as many friends as possible, and study as hard as you can. Just do your best and have a good time! College is a time to make memories while figuring out who we are meant to be.

xx,

Bailey

PS – Go Bucs!

 

A SUMMER OF GROWTH

What a summer this year has had in store. I can’t believe that school starts in one week and that the summer of 2018 has come to an end. It’s been a crazy ride that has gone by seemingly too fast. At work, I gained more responsibility in my position, got to do some really cool graphic design/logo work, tried my best to keep things smooth sailing within my time, created a 27-page booklet from digital design all the way to print, wrote a lot, and somehow managed to do it all while keeping my sanity & social life intact. We took a family vacation to Fells Point, MD & Harrisburg, PA where I got to visit an aquarium, conquer a little piece of my irrational fear of ghosts (I don’t know if I believe they’re real, but staying at the Admiral Fell Inn sure made it seem like they were), see Harry Styles live on tour, eat a lot of Amish pretzels & pierogis, spend time with two of the cutest little boys in all of PA, & spend precious time with my family. I got to pet sit for many different friends & basically spent over half the summer living out of other people’s homes. Overall, this summer was packed full of growth and learning. To wrap it all up, here is a list of some of the things I learned:

  • Saying goodbye is okay because more than often you’ll see that person again if they are someone who’s meant to be in your life.
  • It’s okay to hand things off to other people and not try to juggle everything by yourself. You’ll likely lose your marbles if you try.
  • Mama Mia 2 is a great movie, but it will make you want to cry like a baby.
  • Any sort of baby fever can be squashed when you spend a week with a 2 & 3-year-old. They’re exhausting!
  • Adobe Illustrator is not my friend, but I’m determined to make it my friend one day.
  • When proofing the same content over & over again, a change of scenery can definitely help.
  • Distance sucks in all types of relationships, but it’s worth it to do what you can to stay in touch.
  • Dreaming big is important, especially with a God who can move mountains.
  • Follow through is SO important. Saying you’ll do something doesn’t mean much if you don’t put words into action.
  • Don’t forget to make specific time for resting.
  • Time away from your phone is good for the soul.
  • Having artificial nails is all fun and games until you try to take them off yourself and it hurts.
  • Never let your age define you. You can be mature beyond your years and ready to take on the world.
  • No creative idea is stupid. It may take some rearranging or really good planning to execute, but that’s how some of the best things are created.

I’m pretty sure this summer is the best one I’ve had so far. I definitely had rough days, but overall I’ve been filled with immense joy in what I’m doing, the people in my life, and the direction God is taking me. I’ve grown in myself and my skills in what I’m studying to do. It’s been a great reminder that I absolutely love the industry that I’m studying to be in, and already getting into it. It’s got me thinking more about what exactly where I want to go career-wise. I know I want to go into PR for a company that’s putting out positive messages, but other than that I’m not sure. I know God’s got a great plan and this summer was for sure a part of it.

What are some of your most memorable parts of this summer?

xx,

Bailey

WHEN WORRY BECOMES RELIEF

A few posts ago called April Showers – Month In Review, I mentioned something scary that was going on in my life. At the end of April, I found a spot on my breast. It wasn’t one of the typical lumps that would cause a person to be thinking cancer, but with both my paternal and maternal grandmothers having face breast cancer I wasn’t taking any chances. I went to see my primary care physician who prescribes a weeks worth of skin lesion antibiotics. The spot improved some but what was still there. Two weeks after that and nothing had changed, so back to the doctor I went. I had a full breast examination and wad referred to a dermatologist to see if it could be a skin issue. At this point, I just wanted an answer. I was starting to let my brain get inside of itself and would assume the worst of the situation. What if I had cancer?

This question circulated my thoughts several times. Both my paternal and maternal grandmothers had breast cancer, so it isn’t unlikely that I’ll have my own issues with the disease. Even so, my mind started racing with thoughts at the idea that I may have it, “I’m too young to get cancer, I’ll be strong enough to fight it, I’ve never been to a hospital or had surgery how am I supposed to go through chemo, what if they can’t get a diagnosis soon enough, what if I need a mastectomy.” These were all some of the thoughts that floated around in my skull in the darkness as I’d try to fall asleep. During the day, I was fine! I went to work, laughed with friends, and lived my life. It’s the quiet darkness where your mind begins to wander and slip into the bad, paranoid thoughts that are usually suppressed during the day. Some might say *cough* my mom *cough* that I’m an over-worrier when it comes to health-related issues and should never be allowed on WebMD. I think in this case I had somewhat of a right to be worried.

After two months of having this undiagnosable spot, I was referred to a dermatologist. The word “cancer” had been thrown around by my primary care a few times, but she wanted to see if it was a skin issue before sending me to have a breast ultrasound. The day before my birthday I went to the dermatologist. In under a minute of meeting the doctor, she said: “Alright, let’s get you numbed up and we’ll cut into this to get to the bottom of it.”…. yeah, not what I wanted to hear. Regardless, I laid back, had three needle pokes and waited for the numbness to kick in. The doctor came back in and sliced into me. Happy last day of 19 to me. Some happiness did kick in during this slightly traumatic experience because she said it was just a cyst. I never thought that having a cyst would make me feel relieved, but in this situation it did.

I can still feel the heavy sigh of relief I let out on that day. In the same sense, I honestly wasn’t sure how I should feel. I felt bad for everyone who didn’t get the same turn of events that I had received, which made me feel selfish for being happy for my own good news. I felt bad for everyone who has battled cancer or had someone close to them who has. Knowing how scared I was living with the slight possibility of having it made my heart break for everyone who actually does or did have to deal with it. I am praying for each and every person who is afflicted by cancer. I pray for strength for those afflicted, wisdom for those who are working to treat it, and compassion for those who can help. My worry was able to become relief, but that doesn’t happen as much as it should for everyone else. I thank God for each and every day I get to live a healthy, happy life. I just hope I’m using the time I have to make people smile, spread the good news, and be a positive force in this seemigly chaotic world.

xx,

Bails