Radiating Sunshine: January 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Research Tips in College

research. research. research. 

The story of every college student's life... before college if someone were to tell me that I would be conducting three independent research projects that went beyond the literature review I would have laughed it off. I probably would have said that isn't such a big deal and would have felt totally confident going into the project. Well two and almost three research studies later, I've realized that research is a big thing. Everyone has an ethical requirement to do research well and for most college students performing research will come up at one point in their college career. 

So, here is what I have learned over the years when it comes to research: 

create a plan... if you have a topic that interests you or you're given a topic that you have to study creating a plan and developing a strong thesis/ hypothesis will be your best friend. Know where you stand and continuously work towards accomplishing that. 

staying on track... the best thing to do after creating a plan is sticking with it. I try to dedicate 2 hours of my week to research and I almost always have a check list of what I need to be focusing on. It really helps me stick with any and or all deadlines and I feel so accomplished. Also, the hours upon hours of work that pile up after you procrastinate isn't really an issue. 

analyzing your results... don't be threatened by this aspect of research. Find a mentor (someone who is really smart) and work with them. Explore different options and ask them questions on what statistical tests you should run. My mentor is really great and simply talking to her makes me feel better!  

getting insignificance... y e a h... not the greatest feeling in the world! But, it might be something that you will face. Don't be discouraged by this. Just because your findings were insignificant doesn't mean they're not important. In the world of statistics and research there is a concept called the "file drawer" problem meaning, that non-signifcant studies get placed in the file drawer where they collect dust and never get revisited. Don't let this happen to your study! Whether someone is looking to replicate a study or is doing a content analysis your study is important. 

writing it all up... I wrote all of my papers in stages which, I would highly recommend. It makes writing a lot easier and you'll have a great finished product. You also won't feel as overwhelmed, as you would if you did it all at once. 

presenting... this is my favorite part of the research process, but I know a lot of people dread it. Everyone who does research has a responsibility to report their findings so, why not do it in a creative way. Make your poster or presentation colorful and aesthetically pleasing. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

5 Reasons Why I'm Not a Fashion Blogger

So, this is kind of a fun post to write because it is always enjoyable joking about yourself on social media! Anyways, I have been reading a lot of posts recently about fashion and I discovered some very interesting things. I AM NOT A FASHION BLOGGER... although, I feel like I have some basic fashion sense and I wear some nice clothes, I am far from the fashion blogger world. Now, don't get me wrong I definitely care about my appearance and I work hard to look "cute" but, I can just never pull off a fashion blogger look, why?

1) 50% of my wardrobe is from Good Will or a Hand-Me-Down so, I could never really site my clothing source. I love reading posts where people write about where you can buy what and sadly that would never happen over here! 

2) Backgrounds... I literally stink at picking backgrounds for photo shoots (see below). I don't know why but, whenever I am in a particularly scenic place I either never remember to take a picture of my outfit of choice is just not blog worthy. 

3) Taking solo pictures... now, I won't say I never take a selfie but, I rarely ask people to take photos of myself. It just feels weird to me. Not sure why but, I would much rather take pictures with other people!

4) I'm a plain Jane... My favorite outfit consists of jeans, boots, a nice shirt, and my pearl necklace my parents gave me a few Christmases ago. I usually only wear mascara and my curly hair is always either up and down. I'm happy with that... but, that is also pretty boring. 

5) I don't have the time... to plan, to buy, to execute super cute outfits! I really wish I did and I seriously look up to all of the fashion bloggers out there. I would love to blog about professional attire if/when I get a big girl job but, for now I'll just be me! 

I would love the opportunity to be a fashion blogger, one day! But, for now
I'll stick with what I'm good at and leave the fashion posts to the rest of y'all! 

Monday, January 26, 2015

Weekend Recap 1/26/15

Another fabulous weekend has come and gone. But, this one was extra special because it was my college's homecoming weekend! Homecoming is such a fun time of year. Since my university doesn't have a football team, our homecoming is in January and we cheer on our basketball teams! So, what did this weekend look like:

After a busy day at work, Josh picked me up from the office with the greatest news! HE IS GOING TO BE AN RA!! A few weeks ago, I said jokingly that he would make such a good RA. Well, my words really meant something to him because he applied, went through interview weekends, and was given a position! I'm so proud of him and I was jumping with joy when he told me. He is such a hard worker and is so caring. He got stationed on a floor with all Freshmen boys and I know he will do wonderful things. 

I was on rounds Friday night, so after sleeping in a bit I woke up and got ready for my building's face painting program. I don't have a lot of experience face painting, but the residents really trusted me to create something fantastic. I mostly just painted MSM and blue stripes. One kid even let me do a mustache!! 

Josh came to the program and after it ended we left with some of the residents for the game. We sat in the student section and cheered on the Mount. I have never sat stood in the student section before so, it was a really great experience. 

I loved seeing so many familiar faces and we really got wild! Both the men's and women's teams won their games so, it was just a fabulous weekend all around. We only stayed for the guy's game and as soon as it ended we boogied on out in the hopes of making it to church by 4:30pm!

After church we ate pizza with his parents and then played ping pong for awhile. Later that night, we met up with a bunch of my friends and played cards. It was so nice getting to spend quality time with family and friends in one night.

Alex and I at the Homecoming Game!
After sleeping in, Josh and I headed down to Frederick to meet my parents for lunch. I haven't seen my mom in awhile and it was really nice catching up with them. We ended up staying there for 2 and a half hours and I never even ate dinner. Once lunch was over, Josh and I ran some errands and came home.

I ended the night by doing some reading for classes while Josh watched the Pro Bowl! The weather is being a little spotty so, the big question is whether we will have classes tomorrow or not. I'm predicting we will... but, maybe we'll have a delay. The forecast just keeps changing so much. I wouldn't be surprised if we end up just getting all rain.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

15 Things I Miss About Europe

Lately, I have really been nostalgic about my trip to Europe this past summer. I keep finding myself looking at the photos and remembering all of the good times. While I was in Europe, I really got a taste of a whole different world. Time almost moved slower over there. So, I knew that this week I wanted talk about my study abroad trip on the blog. 

I originally titled this post 10 Things I Miss About Europe... and after going through all of my pictures I realized that "10 Things" was just not enough. So, here are the 15 Things I Miss (the most) About Europe! 

#15 All of the beautiful churches and getting to sing in a German mass before leaving to come back to the USA!
 #14 Living in the cutest yellow building I have ever seen! I love the color yellow. I feel like the color can just brighten up anyone's day, so it was an honor getting to live in such a happy building. 
 #13 Walking around everywhere! My friends and I walked everywhere and it was so nice. By walking to new places and exploring mountains, I had a greater appreciation for nature. I also realized how painful endless amounts of blisters could be. 
 #12 All of the pretty gardens. I really wish America invested in nature as much as Europeans do, because it was wonderful seeing gorgeous parks and gardens everywhere. 
 #11 Old and beautiful fountains. Salzburg was covered in old timey and historical fountains which really added to the culture of the city. This was also the fountain featured in the Sound of Music and I loved it endlessly. 
#10 The delicious food and desserts. I have an enormous sweet tooth so, I felt so spoiled being able to dine on some of the sweetest and natural food around. The fresh markets and the lack of preservatives in food really made eating even more fun than it already is! 
 #9 All of the hidden beautiful spaces... While in Europe I felt like I was constantly uncovering God's beautiful masterpiece everywhere! Königsee was definitely my favorite spot. 
 #8 Being a tourist and not caring. I feel like one of the pieces of advice I always read while preparing to go abroad was "don't act like a tourist" well, forget that because being touristy was the best!
 #7 Seeing this beautiful landscape of downtown Salzburg every day! I can't tell you guys how many times we would walk into the city on this green grass path and just admire the view!
 #6 Trying different types of beer. I'm not an expert beer analysis or connoisseur by any means but, I loved trying different ones and discovering the ones I can't live (but, am currently living) without! 
 #5 Gelatoooooo.... everyday.... and not caring.... need I say more?
 #4 My wonderful roommate Noelle! I seriously am so thankful for this lady and for her always being around for when I need to remember all of those good times!
 #3 Pretending to be a model, but really just taking awkward pictures with a cute German dress on! I have never really worn white, but when I found this dress I knew it would change my fashion senses forever. 
 #2 Pretzels & Radlers... and buying the pretzels at a fresh market and drinking a radler at a beautiful beer garden on top of a little hill with the view you see below. 
 #1 All of the incredible views... Julie Andrews was right in the saying "climb every mountain" because chances are you'll find an incredible view and a beer garden on top! 

So, basically I miss Europe (Salzburg) like crazy and all I 
want to do is take my family there and show them everything too. 
Happy Thursday!!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Why I Don't Miss High School

Check out that awkward hand action I got going on!
 Last November, Josh and I were taking pictures before his Ring Dance. While, we were coming up with different photo ideas I couldn't help but remember the awkward stair pictures that everyone always insisted that you take with your date. So, Josh and I tried to recreate said-stair-picture... and let me just tell you, WE COULDN'T DO IT! I don't know why or how but, all of our stair pictures were just terrible. The nightmare of that failed photo shoot might haunt me forever... any who, I started reflecting about High School and all of the things I used to love and it got me to chuckle a bit.
the best one we took...

Senior Year Me O.o
I went to a private Catholic school and we had to wear uniforms, which I remember kind of enjoying. It was nice not having to pick out your outfit every day and my uniform was fairly comfortable (navy blue polo and a khaki skirt). But, now thinking of wearing a uniform every day would be awful. I love getting dressed for classes and work. I really enjoy pairing different pieces together, so I'm kind of glad my uniform wearing days are over.

Classic Mirror Pic in the Nordstrom's Bathroom
A couple things... First, huge shoutout to my two friends Molly and Sara! We were partners in crime throughout most of High School and so many of my high school memories were made with these ladies. Anyways, now on to the topic at hand: MIRROR PICS. I literally have hundreds of mirror pictures from High School and I seriously don't even know why we found this to be the coolest trend. 

Last but certainly not least... prom. There was so much "proma" with my group (probably because of the size) but, anyways I really don't miss the prom scene. I feel like prom is kind of a clique of High School. Everyone always thinks that prom night is going to be the best night, but honestly when I look back at it all I think about is the $150 dress I'm never going to wear, $100 plus tickets we had to buy, the boutonnières and corsages that looked good for photos, and tons of prom pictures. I think my fondest memory of prom was the post-prom party held at my High School. Now, I'm not saying a High School student shouldn't go to prom. It was a great time and I made great memories but, I definitely don't miss it. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

Weekend Recap 1/19/15

I'm so excited to be officially back on the weekend recap train! I feel like it has been so long since I wrote about my weekend. I love blogging about the weekends. It is so nice to reflect on all of the fun things I did with friends, family, and Josh.

Wednesday night: 
Was college night... and I don't usually go and or blog about College Night but, this college night Alex and I were celebrating because we just booked our Spring Break vacation to the Dominican Republic. So, the countdown has officially begun. 

Thursday night: 
Josh and I went bowling. I still have yet to beat him in a game which is motivation for us to go more regularly. We had a blast bowling and the entire alley was full of Mount students for the Mount bowling night. It is my personal goal for this semester to go to as many campus events as possible so, I'm glad I started the semester off with some bowling with my favorite guy! After bowling, Josh took me out for some ice-cream at Sheetz. It was fun sitting in his car until 1am just talking and eating ice-cream. There are just so many little moments like that, that I know I will cherish for forever.

Super blurry picture but, who cares anyways!
 Friday night: 
Josh picked me up at 6pm for a surprise date! All I knew was that dinner was involved and I should wear jeans. It was a really exciting date and I loved the unknown of it. I'm such a planner so it was really nice for once just going with it and having him work out all of the arrangements. He made us a mixed cd of all of our favorite songs and we had a wonderful evening. We ate in Downtown Gettysburg at The Pub (which, neither of us have been to) and then we finished up date night at a French Cafe with some dessert.

I had the creme brûlée and Josh had that delicious peanut butter chocolate pie. 
Came way too quickly and early! It was RA Interview Weekend so, Noelle and I had to conduct interviews on Saturday morning. We woke up bright and early and went to Dunkin Donuts for a big coffee and some breakfast.

After conducting interviews all morning, I met up for lunch with a few RA friends, went to Alex's and then Josh picked me up for church. After church we made pizza and hung out at his house. I helped him fold his enormous collection of t-shirts and then we just watched TV for awhile.

I had to help conduct more interviews on Sunday afternoon so, Josh and I drove back to school and got ready for that. Josh is actually in the process of applying to be an RA. So, while I was interviewing candidates, he was also being interviewed. To celebrate my last RA interview day as an RA and his job well done on the interviews we went to BJs in Frederick.
 I absolutely love BJs, which I think I have discussed several times on this blog before. We sat in the bar area so we could watch the NFL games and we ordered a pizookie for dessert. Let me just say, my favorite dessert combo is something warm and sweet with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. I'm so proud of Josh for doing such a great job preparing for his interview and I know he will do so many amazing things.

After he dropped me off, I met up with some friends to play board games before Senior Piano Bar. I literally have the greatest time with my RA friends and I'm so thankful for such a fun and supportive group of people.
I wore a one shouldered black top to the piano bar!

Senior Piano Bar was awesome. The guys that performed did an incredible job and I think all of our voices were a little hoarse from all of the singing and shouting into friends ears. It feels a little bitter sweet knowing that was the last Senior Piano Bar night for the Class of 2015. I have made so many great friends and the best memories and knowing in a few months we will all go our separate ways just kills me. But, for now I'm going to cherish this time I have and I'm going to make the most of this senior year!
With Alex and Maria! Two ladies I have known since Freshmen Year. 
Life is good! And this weekend just showed me how thankful I am for all of the experiences I have had. I have made the greatest friends, I have the world's nicest boyfriend, and I have been able to do so many amazing things. I'm thankful for everyone in my life and I hope that everyone finds joy in the little things.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Home: Maryland

At work today, I'm kind of having a dress down and cozy up outfit type of day! I don't have a dress code for work (one of the major benefits of being a student worker). I'll dress up occasionally when I have an important meeting or something, but for the most part I get to wear nice jeans and a cute top (what's not to love). For Christmas, my mom bought me a Maryland Home tee! It is so cozy and I love representing my home state. I know that after graduation there is a pretty good chance that I'll be leaving Maryland goodbye... so, I'm going to represent MD with all the MD pride I can. 
My mom got the shirt from this little boutique near us and I wish I could have one in every color. I'm not a big t-shirt fan but, there is nothing better than this shirt or a classic v-neck with some jeans. As far as work goes, I am loving my new internship with the Housing Department. I get to create most of the marketing flyers and plan events for this upcoming Housing Selection. I have already learned so much and I've only worked two days!

Jeans- Express
Maryland Home Tee- Small Boutique
Sweater- Hand-Me-Down
Ugg Boots
I'm not a big fashion blogger so, I apologize if this post showed my lack of experience but maybe I'll start posting about my outfits more regularly! Most of the clothes I wear aren't really name brand so, I feel like I wouldn't do a good job posting on where I got them from... but, I'll give it a try. Have a great Thursday :)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Be With Someone Who Helps Your Being

Throughout my life I feel like I have "wasted" a lot of time with people who have not made me a better person. I put "wasted" in quotations, because obviously I learned a lot from those friendships and (or) relationships. But, seriously for awhile I just surrounded myself with negative people and people who just did not have the same interests that I did. 

So, when I got to college I decided I would work really hard to (a) discover who I am and (b) surround myself with people who are just good people. You're probably thinking... "why did it take her until college to make that decision" and to answer your thought it's hard to discover your identity in middle or high school. I have done both of my senior capstone projects on emerging adulthood and identity development, so I kind of have an understanding on how students discover themselves. 

Lately, I have had a lot of conversations with friends and residents and I have had to help them realize that you don't just wake up one day knowing exactly who you are, what you want to do with your life, what you like, how you feel about social issues, what type of people you want to associate with. It can definitely be easier for some people to discover these things but, I definitely believe that in most cases you don't just instantly know. Why? Because life is always throwing your curve balls and making you rethink things. 

As you discover who you are and what you want out of life, you can start creating friendships with others who bring out the best you. Life is way too short to waste time with people who make you want to be someone your not. I feel like often times we are just so focused on comparing ourselves to others, when really we should be focusing on how great we already are. 

 As I stated previously in college I have tried to surround myself with people who bring out the best me. I have made so many friendships and have lost friendships too. But, I think one of the most important friendships I have made, that I really value and am thankful for is my friendship with Josh. I feel like it can be rare when you find someone you can just be silly with. I have found that I'm a better listener, I'm more understanding, and I'm more giving with Josh in my life.

So, who in your life brings out the better you? Is it a significant other? A best friends? A pet? Whoever it is, make sure you always remember to value them. Because surrounding yourself with someone who makes you a better you or as Rumi says "be with someone who helps your being" is seriously the best way to go!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

My Last RA Training

as an RA... Hopefully, I'll be returning to the graduate school world and will get an opportunity to work with RAs again but, for now I am sitting here realizing that I just completed my last RA training (which feels so bittersweet). Anyways, this RA training was a blast. We covered conduct, student concerns, and programming.

We actually just remodeled our programming so that all of the programming proposals are done entirely online. I'm really glad we switched because before we wasted so much paper. We're still working out all of the kinks but, so far I have really been enjoying the online version. We basically just use google forms and all of the programming information gets placed into a document that I read over and transcribe into my spreadsheet so I can track programming points.

All of the Senior RA/DAs!
 During training we participate in different competitions. Some of these competitions include karaoke, minute to win it challenges, and the traditional lip-sync! Lip-Sync is a winter training tradition and the different buildings all get songs and get really into it.

This year we changed things up and allowed each staff to choose the song that they wanted to perform based on professional staff members. Some of the songs that were chosen were "Girls Just Want to Have Fun," "Sharped Dressed Man," "You Don't Know You're Beautiful," and my staff's "I'm the Man" by Aloe Blancc. All of the lip-sync performances were incredible and my staff had a great time putting together "I'm the Man." Sheridan-Pangborn actually won the contest, so I couldn't have asked for a better way to celebrate the end of training.

It was a fabulous last training and I'm really excited to see what the future holds for RA training!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

2015 Goals

I know I'm 7 days late on posting this... but, you're never too late to write about your hopes and dreams right? Anyways, 2014 was an amazing year and I hope 2015 will be just as amazing. So, below are my 2015 Goals & Dreams!
Blog Goals: 

200 GFC Followers - Last year my goal was 75 GFC followers! Well, I am over the moon knowing that I gained a total of 188 followers in 2014. So, thank you to all of you who regularly visit my little blogopshere. It means so much to me that you all continually come back and catch up on what's happening at Radiating Sunshine. 

New Signature Line - I have had the signature below for quite sometime now, so in 2015 I would like to kind of remodel the signature and maybe change it up a bit!

Blog 3-4 times a week- Last semester I got really bogged down with academics, RA Life, work, and making time for my family and friends... unfortunately my blog kind of took a hit, so I would like to post more regularly and really get back into blogging. 

Personal Goals: 
Travel - I started 2015 with a trip to Pittsburgh with Josh! I hope I can continue traveling... maybe during Spring Break take a vacation with my girl friends and over the summer visit a new place! 

Stay Connect with Friends - Now that all of my High School friends and College friends are graduating I really hope I can stay connected and maybe visit them at their new jobs and stuff like that. 

Live in the Moment - Although its nice to think about the future and get excited for what is to come... I really want to live in the moment and be thankful for everyone in my life and for everything I have. 

Academic Goals: 
Figure out my post graduate school plans - I don't know what those will be! I applied to several graduate schools and a few jobs so, hopefully I'll hear back from them throughout the upcoming semester. 

Graduate with some from of 'cum laude' or with honors - Throughout these past four years I have worked really hard on maintaining a nice GPA. I am not a 4.0 student by any shot, but I think come May I'll be able to graduate with 'cum laude' and i want to continue that throughout my future schooling. 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Great Way to Start Off the New Year

I don't know about you, but my 2015 started with a bang of excitement and new places. Like seriously every part of so far has been amazing. On New Year's Eve, Josh and I went out with my parents to their friend's house. After ringing in the New Year we held our annual New Year's Day party and watched bowl games.
Earlier last week I got the idea that we should go to the Ravens vs. Steelers game in Pittsburgh! I have never been to Pittsburgh and it is Josh's favorite city, so after the Steelers won against the Bengals we started to make arrangements to go to the game.
So, Friday night we left for the city! I'm so thankful that Josh has family up there so we got to stay at their houses. Anyways, we got to the city around 5pm and Josh, his brother, and I explored the city. It was really nice having him show me landmarks and his favorite spots. The city itself is absolutely beautiful. Like seriously the bridges and the buildings were remarkable. We're hoping to go up during the summer time to see the pretty fountains.
We got in the stadium really early so we could get the free terrible towels! For dinner we got Primanti Bros cheesesteaks. If you're ever in the city I would definitely recommend going to there for lunch or dinner. It was probably one of the best sandwiches I have ever had.
So, we were probably the luckiest fans ever. All week they were forecasting rain for the game. We packed our ponchos (I went incognito so that way I didn't get harassed for being a ravens fan) and we were ready for the storm. But, it never rained and it actually started to warm up as the night went on. I couldn't have asked for better weather and I'm seriously so blessed that we stayed dry and warm the entire game.
I absolutely love this poor quality picture with my favorite guy!
Unfortunately for Josh and fortunately for me, the Ravens won! I couldn't really celebrate while at the stadium because I was surrounded by a bunch of Steelers fans. Josh was a good sport and the other fans were really nice. We had a blast road tripping up to Pittsburgh. We listened to good music and sang our favorite songs. 
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