Stirring the Pot: Stayin’ Studious Without Losing a Screw

Trying to survive in college is stressful in and of itself; add exams, lack of sleep, and anxiety to the mix and you’re in for a rough time. Here are some helpful tips to stay sane yet studious.

Typically, I like to do investigative pieces — this is a bit of a deviation from my normal style but I found it quite fitting as we’re finishing off midterms and on the cusp of finals season. Yep, the exams and deadlines are here and we’re all in a frenzy of stress, anxiety, and a lack of sleep (which we all know we desperately need). The eyebags are forming, and so is the long, expensive list of Venti Starbucks Nitro Cold Brews, Monsters, and Guayaki Yerba Mates. But to be honest, I just hope you’re all doing okay. Or at least surviving. Anyways, I just thought I’d share some ways to not go completely batshit crazy from all the damn stress you’re probably facing right now. (And trust me, I’m  quite knowledgeable on the subject, as I’m a literal human ball of worry.)

ORGANIZE!

I know this isn’t a fresh, new idea, but it’s honestly the best way to assure you don’t feel as if you’re literally drowning in an ocean of papers, projects, and deadlines. And it’s a lot simpler than it seems — you don’t need to buy an expensive planner or be a bullet journaling master to tackle time management. Simply get a piece of paper (or use your phone notes app if you prefer) and just write out everything that’s stressing you out — all the things you have to do, and when they need to be done by. Literally just spill your brains out onto the page.

By releasing everything from your head to a documented place allows your mind to be relieved from all the pressure of remembering these tasks. Then plug them into your calendar! Plan out the week day-by-day and suddenly your tasks will seem much less daunting: as long as they’re spread out into time chunks — cramming is not the move! 

PRIORITIZE YOURSELF!

Assure you’re keeping your best interests in mind when making decisions. If you know you have a fat paper to write in TWO days that you have yet to start, then it’s probably in your best interest to take up your friend’s last-minute, yet extremely enticing offer to go to that party. Let yourself have enough time to complete your task without the pressure of the deadline waving over your head — pulling an all-nighter while chugging two sour apple reigns from the 7-eleven across the street is not the best situation to be in (coming from personal experience!). Not only can this lead to a mental breakdown (guilty), but it means you’re not doing your best work. But I know you’re still going to procrastinate, so to assure your all-night cram/work session won’t completely destroy your health, make sure you’re taking short breaks in which you leave your workspace and take a stretch or stroll. If you’re going to consume high quantities of caffeine, make sure to balance your water intake with the caffeine (not only will hydrating keep your mind sharp, but it will make the caffeine much more effective and long-lasting). Also, assure you’re eating healthy snacks — some of these could include nuts, berries, granola bars, or yogurt. NO TAKIS. PLEASE.

SLEEP!

Sleep is a precious gift. I know us college kids cherish (and I mean CHERISH) our sleep despite sacrificing it constantly. I know all the doctors tell us we need roughly 8 hours of sleep but honestly, I know I’m not getting it and it’s completely MY FAULT. Sleep is extremely crucial if we want our mental health to be in tip-top shape — one way to combat the lack of sleep I know we all have is by taking power naps. No, not four-hour naps that send us into another dimension of time, I’m talking about 15-20 minute naps in between classes. This short bit of sleep can give you the power to push through the day and be productive when you’re feeling like you can’t keep goin’ anymore. But make sure to be self-disciplined: don’t keep hitting snooze, but give yourself an incentive to get up, such as a good ol’ cuppa joe.

BALANCE YOUR TIME!

One of the most important tips I can give you is to just be self-aware of your productivity. If you know you’re overworking yourself, make sure to give yourself time to relax, let loose, and have fun! Reward yourself for your hard work when you know you deserve it. Make plans with friends or just let yourself sit back and veg on the couch! But this goes both ways: if you know you’ve been slacking a bit and you’re stressed from your lack of productivity in the face of a million daunting tasks, don’t be too hard on yourself.

Beating yourself up and calling yourself a failure isn’t going to do you any good. Remind yourself that you are capable of doing great things, pull your bootstraps on, and get your shit done! Take it little by little, assuring you’re not trying to get too much done in a short period of time. Honestly, the hardest part of doing anything is just starting. Type out that title page, start that outline, pull out that textbook, and break out those highlighters. Tell yourself that the task is NOT bigger than you and that you can take it.

Make sure to stay focused though — as I said before: if you know you haven’t been too productive lately, make sure to be intentional about how you’re spending your time. Don’t lay in bed for six hours if you know you have things to do, even if they’re stressing you out. In the end, your lack of productivity will make yourself feel MORE stressed in the end, and can affect the way you view yourself, which has a direct correlation to the quality of your mental health!

LOVE YOURSELF!

I hope some of these tips help you out. But honestly, give yourself a damn break. You’ve got this! You’re doing great. I know all these things are easier said than done, but just make sure you’re taking it all little by little. It’s not the end of the world if you mess up. We all do it – none of us are perfect students – or perfect people at that. Just try your best, plan as much as you can, and make sure you’re doing everything that’s in your best interest. You’ve made it this far, and honestly, that’s a huge achievement in itself! And as I’m sure you don’t hear this enough, I’m proud of you.

Written by: Olivia Flores
Featured Image: Prescence.io

Sunflower Seeds: New York, New York

New York, New York, I love you! I know that last time I was ranting about how I left Chicago to start a new life in San Diego, but I would move to the East Coast in a New York Minute.

I have never been to such a fast-paced city with so much passion and excitement. Now, before I go off tangent on how much I loved the New York, NY, the Big Apple, Times Square and all those other goodies, I would like to talk about my trip from the beginning.

Approximately 16 of us arrived at the JFK airport after an exhausting morning flight. Some of the fellow travelers had been to the city before, but I would be losing my New York virginity. By the time we got our luggage, we were eager to finally head to our hotel. Unsurprisingly, I somehow managed to lose all 15 other travelers and ended up wandering the subway for an hour. Mind you, I had never been there before, I had no cell phone service, and I wasn’t wearing my glasses/contacts so I was off to a teriffic start. After a few deep breaths, I figured out where I was going and fortunately met up with the rest of the group at our hotel.

I lived in an atrocious, filthy, and cockroach infested apartment this past summer (that is another seed to tell), but this seedy New York hotel was just as bad.

As soon as my three other roommates and I stepped onto our floor, we knew this was going to be awful. The outside of the room doors looked like coffins, so we knew we were entering death. There was mold covering the heater, and the bathroom looked like it was straight out of a horror movie.

One morning I showered so I could refresh after a long night out. I was relaxing and laying down on the bed when I saw something move out of the corner of my eye. I looked up, and what do I see, a RAT!!! This wasn’t a cute Ratatouille situation (even though the rat might have been looking for one); this was a very big problem in my eyes. Frantically, I called the front desk and they let us move up two floors to another room that wasn’t too spectacular either. The appliances didn’t seem to work in this one, but at least it was rat free to my knowledge. Out of my entire time of being in the city and on the subway, the only rat I saw just so happened to be in my room! Needless to say, not a lot of time was spent in that ratty hotel.

Later I ventured out to Central Park with one of my roommates to escape the the rat drama.

We were so shocked as to how elegant and captivating a piece of land in the middle of a major city could be. It had snowed the night before, so it looked like it would be in a Hallmark Movie scene. It was pretty cold, but I kind of missed the brisk air in a nostalgic way. Oddly enough, it was refreshing to be bundled up in three puffy jackets. In the park there is a John Lennon memorial. As an overall big Beatles fan, I was overjoyed to be there (I might have shed a tear or two).

I did a ton of exploring in the city and began to feel a bit like Carrie Bradshaw, but only now can I see why she would love the men there. They all seem driven, and honestly their were some of the most attractive men I’ve ever seen (I really dig a man in an Italian suit). The only thing I didn’t care for was the cost of everything. I might have spent a remarkable amount of money on drinks, and my bank account surely suffered, but I had the time of my life so who can really complain.

There are not enough words to explain how marvelous New York was. I loved it because of the liveliness and motivation the city seemed to breathe; overall, the atmosphere was very energetic and the people seemed to be incredibly hard working. Here, I don’t think anyone could ever be bored, for there is always something to see or somewhere to go. It was bright, it was loud, it was New York City. Like Frank Sinatra, I want to wake up in a city that never sleeps.

Written by: Nina Capuani

Sexcapades: Losing Your Virginity Is Not Magical

Sexcapades

Don’t believe what they say – losing your virginity is the stuff of nightmares.

In my sexual awakening sophomore year of high school, one of my friends was dating a senior, whom she lost her virginity to. She described her first time as if fireworks and confetti shot out of his penis. While other girls awed, blushed and clasped their hands in excitement and slight embarrassment by the word ‘sex.’ I skeptically sat there contemplating if your first time is really a big deal.

From that moment I began imagine how I’d like my first time go down. I didn’t want it to be with someone I was dating, I didn’t even want it to special or good for that matter. Well, I inherently knew it wasn’t going to be good. I just really wanted to get it over with. I felt like there would plenty of more times for improvement and fireworks.

There Will Be Blood: My virginity story

As junior prom approached, my mother (who must have picked up my thoughts on becoming more sexually active) put me on birth control. A very smart, progressive and rational decision on her part. At the time I was talking to this boy C.P.* who I somewhat liked but at the same time I felt like it wasn’t a right fit. We had been sort of talking, we’d hang out sometimes, text and snapchat all the time. We were both virgins and were thinking about “losing it” to each other during prom weekend.

I’m violently vomiting everywhere at the fact I wrote the phrase, “losing it.”

If you don’t know what prom weekend is, it’s the weekend following prom where juniors and seniors from the high school rent motel rooms at the infamous Anchor Motel in Seaside Heights, NJ. Long story short that is not what ended up happening. It was the second night and there was a bunch of people in my room. One of the people was this kid who I know from sports, Pete, * and he was flirting with me. A close friend of mine noticed the flirting and being a good wing-woman ushered people out of the room as he disappeared to the bathroom. When he emerged, I was alone and shaking because I didn’t know what to do. He looked a bit puzzled and I was hoping he couldn’t see the anxiety in my face. It all happened so fast, but the only thing that came out of my mouth was, “I don’t know where everyone went, but do you want to take more shots with me?”

One thing lead to another and we ended up having sex. Well sort of, his penis barely went in and it hurt so bad. The only thing on my mind was that I couldn’t believe I actually manifested this whole experience. It was exactly how I wanted it to go down! Shout out to my fairy Godmother looking out for me.I wanted to be daring for my first time so I decided to get on top but, when I looked down there was so much fucking blood. In my dramatic mind it looked like a murder scene.

I should have been mortified but all I did was laugh. Like hysterically laugh because something was bound to go wrong. Pete immediately rushed to my aide and asked if I was okay. I was fine and all I really wanted to do at that point was take a shower and get drunk more with my friends. When I came out he was still in my room, and I was all shook because I’d thought he’d bounce. Nope, he was still there, which I guess was kind of nice. I honestly don’t know how but we ended up cuddling and falling asleep? Yeah, it was weird and then my friends ended up kicking him out, which is hilarious. Love them, thanks guys.

It was actually in this point in time where I learned I hate cuddling, especially with someone I don’t even like!

Anyway, that’s my virginity story, it wasn’t magical, there were no firework but, of course, there was blood.

Submissions from unsatisfied women, I’m so sorry ladies.

Part of the reason why I started this blog was to give people a form and open a door for people to talk about the kind of sex they have. I create a submission form which I sent out to my close friends who then sent it to their friends. I was really nervous that I was going to no response but I ended up getting a few. These brave souls shared their embarrassing and hilarious first time stories, so I’ll let them have the floor now.

Happy Birthday Mom! From Small Dick Epsilon

“I came into college as a virgin and for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to download tinder. So, I match with this guy and we talk and plan to hang out. He bailed like five times so, clearly, he’s a fuckboy. Eighteen-year-old, virgin me was determined to meet up with him. We finally meet up for the first time, I drove forty-five minutes to see him. He takes me to his frat, no dinner, nothing! We literally said five words to each other and then fucked. Worst three minutes of my life, no foreplay or anything! He stuck his four-inch penis in my dry, tight-ass, virgin vag. It hurt like a bitch. So, I sleep over and the next day we get Chipotle. He really tried to make me pay for myself, I said to the woman ringing us up ‘oh we’re together.’ Like you really want me to pay for myself after you stuck your small dick inside me all last night? Not. A. Chance. Basically, my first time having sex was not like they make it seem in the movies. I was in a crusty, ugly, rude ass fuck boy’s room losing my virginity…on my MOM’S BIRTHDAY.  In a frat house nonetheless. Worst daughter in the world.” -Anonymous

Oh, Gravity is working against me

“So sophomore year in high school I had sex with this man-child who had better hair products than me. Basically, he turned on John Mayer’s Gravity and attempted to put on a condom. Five minutes go by, he’s still struggling to put on this fucking condom and I’m lying there like a dead fish. All while contemplating my life. Even better, I guess he specifically wanted to lose his virginity to that song so when it ended (he was trying to put the condom on) he frantically grabbed his phone to replay it. When he finally got the condom on he struggled for another ten minutes trying to get his dick in me. He had to be in me for at the most five seconds. It ended with me saying ‘did we even have sex,’ probably not the thing a guy wants to hear. Whatever dodged a bullet on that one because he ended up lying about his dad having terminal cancer to break up with me.” – Anonymous

Parting Words           

First times like first impressions can be tough. If you spend so much time trying to make it perfect, then you’ll end up hyping it in your head and being really disappointed when it doesn’t happen the way you want it. Just be natural and go with the flow, it’s not that big of a deal. I believe that when you find that right person you want to settle down with, that is all the magic and fireworks you need. Until then, keep on fuckin’.

If you have a funny, enlightening or educational sex piece that you’d like to submit, fill out this form.

Written by: Julie Cappiello
*All of names for this story have been changed from privacy reasons.
*Submissions stories were formatted to have correct grammar, spelling, punctuation and were edited to have a readable flow. Submissions were asked to be labelled anonymous by participants.

Sexcapades: You Should Have Shameless Sex!

An Introduction to Sexcapades:

Let me start my sex blog by saying this: I love to talk about sex. I don’t mind talking about sex, sex education, sex positions, sex toys, sex kinks; if it’s a good story I’ll listen. Even among my friends, I’m always the first to bring up my latest sexcapades. I have a few iconic stories that really solidified me as being sexually open; we’ll get to some of those later. I just have one request for my readers: be open-minded.  Please, don’t shame people for whatever type of sex they do or don’t have.

Speaking of shame, I was re-watching Big Mouth (If you haven’t watched it by now, what are you doing?) recently. In the episode titled “The Shame Wizard,” Andrew confides in his Rabbi about his shame in masturbation. The Rabbi tells Andrew to talk to the Catholics about shame. That line really stopped me in my tracks. If you know me, you know I am not religious and that I wasn’t raised that way. However, my parents and grandparents were raised Catholic.

My Shame:

In my teen years, I can recall a few sexual encounters where I felt shameful. There was the time sophomore year of high school where I vigorously made out with a senior at a party. Another time where I made out with that senior’s cousin in my friend’s boyfriend’s basement. And, the time I gave my first blowjob.

Sophomore year was a real sexual awakening time for me. It was a very fundamental time for me, my sex life and figuring our who I was. I felt like every coming of age girl should: powerful, sexy, strong, sometimes insecure and, of course, shame. I don’t understand why sex needs to have a blanket of shame that weighs over it. Yet, we’ve all felt it. Is sex shameful because of religion, is it the way we were raised, the society we live in or the media depictions that we are bombarded with?

I think the reason why I feel shame toward sex is from an ancestral pattern I inherited from my maternal lineage. My grandparents grew up in a time where sex was a taboo discussion. During that time, people only had sex to reproduce. Today, we have this hook up culture where we crave a no strings attached engagement.

Additionally on that side of the family is history of sexual trauma, or in other words, abuse. Not to mention, one of my great-aunts was forced into the convent because her parents thought she was promiscuous. Therefore, one could suggest that shame runs in the family.

My Triumph Over Shame:

Patterns like this influenced the way my siblings and I were taught about sex. Don’t get me wrong, I was taught proper sex education. Yet, I felt like I was bad for having these unspoken urges, like, I was deviant. As I matured, became self-aware and sexually awakened I tried different ways to break my ancestral pattern. This is one of those ways, writing about sex for the world to read. Similar to a modern day Carrie Bradshaw, but minus the city (though I miss it, dearly) and less fashionable outfits.

Another way I continue to break my shameful sex pattern, is being open and unapologetic for the way I am. Why should I be sorry for the way I present myself. Bobby Brown said it right, “I see nothing wrong, spreading myself around.” It is me being my authentic self. I am not trying to gloat that I have so much sex—I definitely don’t—but I don’t mind talking about it. It is a part of who I am. If talking about sex or your sex life is not for you, rock on, my dude.

Biology says its normal:

Say this to yourself: “My reason for shame does not define me!” Now scream it! You should not feel gross or guilty immediately after engaging a sexual activity. It should not make you feel that way — it should be consensual, and a time where you feel the most in your body. Your sexuality and sexual-ness makes you human.

We’ve all learned in biology that sex is natural, or at least seen some Planet Earth episodes where the animals have sex. The male bird makes a specific sound to attract mates, the Baboon presents its butt, female dogs go into heat; whatever it is, animals “do it” too. Bonobo chimpanzees and dolphins have sex for pleasure, just like humans. If the animal kingdom is having their cake and eating it too, why should humans forbid others from doing it?

Parting words:

I know it seems like I am asking more questions than answering them, but I want you to think about it for yourself. How do you feel about your sex life? Do you enjoy it? Do you feel shame? Do you feel powerful? I like to reflect every so often about my recent sexual experiences. I don’t think all sex has to be a casual, one-night-stand. Nor do I think that all sex has must between two people in a committed relationship. It is totally up to you about how you go about your sex life. Make sure it’s safe, consensual, mind-blowing and—of course— shameless.