Chasing the Rabbit

Kasper is my sister’s little dog back home–small, white, yappy, and extremely cute.

Every single morning, Kasper stares longingly out the window. He yips and he yaps and he scratches at the door with his little feet. His eyes are fixated on a minuscule bush just outside our back door–a rabbit takes shelter there every single night. Kasper wags his tail and whines, begging for the chance to chase that rascally rabbit. We always open the door and let the little beast loose. He springs to action, stretching his pudgy white body as he gallops after the rabbit, the escape artist.

Kasper does this every single morning. Kasper also fails at catching this rabbit every single morning.

We, as imperfect humans, can learn a lot from this seemingly dim little dog. Even though he fails–and he fails miserably I might add, Kasper is an extremely non-athletic little dog, poor thing–he tries each and every day. He never loses his optimistic tail wag, he never loses his zeal for pursuing the bouncy bunny, and he never, ever gives up.

Kasper tries. Even though he fails, he tries.

Kasper isn’t lazy. He doesn’t lie around and waste the day (he might do this a little…he is a dog). Kasper works for success–his success has yet to be realized, but he keeps trying.

Maybe Kasper just needs another game plan. Maybe it’s time to ambush the rabbit, or set a little trap. One thing is for certain: as long as the rabbit is within Kasper’s reach, he’s going to try to catch it, no matter his past failures.

I think something very valuable could be learned from little Kasper. Don’t give up, no matter how many times you have failed. Keep trying, and trying, and trying. If things don’t work, go at it from a new angle.

You never know; one day you might catch your own rabbit.

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“I Can and I Will”

If you’re a college student, there’s a good chance you started classes this morning, like I did.

It’s cold. It’s windy. It’s gloomy. But none of that matters–it’s the first day of a brand new semester. I love the beginnings of anything; the feeling of knowing that endless possibilities and opportunities to succeed exist without you even walking out the door. Failure hasn’t happened yet, and success is just at your finger tips if you put in the work. It’s comforting and exciting.

My morning actually started at 6 AM for my last first day of volleyball offseason. Ever. It’s incredible how fast time flies. It just feels like a short while ago that all I cared about was getting a volleyball scholarship–now I begin my last year as a student athlete.

This semester also marks the first of the two semesters I have left to earn my degree in English literature. I cannot tell you have excited I am about this semester’s classes. I love everything about school: the material I get to read, the fresh supplies, the blank page of a notebook, the meticulous upkeep of a planner.

Here are some of my tips of staying organized and motivated for school:

  • Keep a planner. Seriously. Do it. I happen to have a Kate Spade agenda, and I absolutely love it . It was worth every penny–I write down everything. Assignments, personal appointments, holidays, birthdays, my volleyball schedule, the days the movie I want to see comes out. I recommend writing these in ahead of time, in the space allotted for the day that event falls on.
  • Use highlighters for scheduling your busy life. I color code accordingly: yellow for school, pink for personal, blue for volleyball, and green for work. I can take one glance at a week and have a pretty good idea of what I have on my plate.
  • Take notes. I have five classes I am taking this semester, so I just bought one five subject notebook. I’m telling you people, taking notes simply keeps you engaged in the class. Even if you don’t use these notes later on, actively participating helps you pay attention.
  • Have a folder for each class. This keeps papers and assignments separated; I’m all about compartmentalize-ing.
  • If you have an online class, set a time for each day/week to work on your assignments. I plan on pretending I have my Intro to Film class (which is online) on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the afternoons for about an hour and thirty minutes, instead of trying to cram all of my work in on Saturday night at 11:00 (my assignments are due at midnight Saturdays).
  • Find what works. All of these tips work for me, but we are all different people. Experiment.

I hope everyone has a bright, shiny, wonderful first day of the new semester! Arm yourself with coffee and the right attitude: to quote Gina Rodriguez, winner of the Golden Globe for best actress in a television series (comedy or musical):

Today is going to be a great day. I can, and I will.” 

Have a great day, friends!

When You Wish Upon A Star

When most people hear the classic Disney tune shown above, most don’t think of work ethic,  perseverance, or resilience. They think of princesses sitting back and waiting for all of their wildest dreams to come true–a prince mounted on a white steed, a glittering castle positioned on the picturesque horizon, and a grand wedding day.

I love that aspect of the song. It’s idyllic. It’s filled with unexplainable hope. But my favorite part are these words that I tend to interpret a little differently than most:

“When your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme.” 

When I hear this lyric, I don’t think of wishing with all of your heart. I picture working, or doing everything in your power, your heart, to make your dreams a reality. Wishing won’t cut it. Working for the things you want is simply the only chance you have.

I write about a lot of leisurely things, but when it comes down to it, I’d like to think I work my hardest everyday.

I’m short. I’m not an absolute ball of muscle. I wasn’t a D1 recruit by any means–but, somehow, I became a college volleyball player, a dream I have had ever since I was in the sixth grade. Becoming a college athlete was all I thought about for a solid seven years of my life, and I’ve been able to live that dream for the past three years. It’s amazing to think about–all those camps, clinics, backyard peppering, club practices, tournaments, rides in the car, doing homework late after practice to maintain a 4.0–every long, stressful day was a step toward realizing my dream. Of course, I couldn’t have done it without the people in my life who supported me every step of the way. It’s amazing how many hours my mom spent driving to and from tournaments, sitting with me through club volleyball meetings, encouraging me when times were rough. Without her–without her meticulously “packing my parachute”–I would be nothing.

Volleyball will soon become a lesser part of my life–I have one more season left to play, and after that I don’t know what I’ll do. I just know to get anywhere, anywhere at all, you have to work. Maybe I want to write? I can’t just wish for free lance jobs to pop up; I have to put my practice in every day and go for the jobs I want. Maybe I want to be a clown? I have to practice my nose-honking, merry-making craft everyday (I don’t want to be a clown, but kudos to those who do). Working hard–that’s how you get the grades, the job, the life you want. Let’s be honest, though. Sometimes life isn’t fair; you won’t always get what you want, even if you pour your entire heart and soul into it.

Work hard anyway.

“If your heart is in your dreams, no request is too extreme.” Have your heart invested in the things you want –work for that dream job, work for that scholarship, work for that 4.0. If you want it, don’t just sit back and wait for it to happen. Go get it.

Walt Disney (the man, the myth, the legend) said about his precious Cinderella:

“She Believed in dreams all right, but she also believed in doing something about them…When Prince Charming didn’t come along, she went over to the palace and got him.” 

So you see? Cinderella believes the same thing I do. Putting your “heart in your dreams” doesn’t mean wishing with all your heart. It means doing something and working toward something with all of your heart. Even if all of your wildest dreams don’t come true, at least you will know that you tried.

As Meredith Grey from the incredible Grey’s Anatomy said, “Even the biggest failure, even the worst, beats the hell out of never trying.”

Work. Try. Fail/Succeed. Repeat.

“Behind Every Successful Woman is Herself”

Isn’t it funny how a little quote can get your mind racing and your heart inspired?

I found this nice little quote while perusing the Zulily shopping app last night, a guilty little pleasure of mine. It was a print I found in the “For the home” section–a glossy, simple print with messy letters and artfully placed smudges and imperfections.

I could care less about the design of the thing. I fell in love with what this decorative piece had to say.

I am all about being independent. I’m single right now, which is honestly the best thing for me at the moment. I can focus on myself and myself alone, be a little selfish when it comes to doing the things like to do. Nothing is tying me down after I graduate–I can go anywhere and do anything without having to compromise or justify myself. Of course, I don’t plan to swear off men forever. Every little girl dreams of marrying the man of her dreams, her own prince charming.

I just don’t need a prince charming at this very moment. I’ve got all the time in the world.

I am in no way saying being in a relationship is a bad thing–I think it’s an amazing thing if it makes you truly happy and content. I just don’t feel the need for a relationship at this precise moment in my life.

Now. I didn’t just derive the word “independence” from this quote–it’s just one of the few things that started circulating my thought process when I happened upon one of my new favorite mantras. Here are the some of the other facets I believe successful women possess:

  • Belief in oneself. You and you alone have the power to write your own incredible, fulfilling life story. You have to believe you can create a bestseller.
  • Bravery. Being successful means being brave enough to try. And fail.
  • Work ethic. Working your tail off day in and day out for the things you want.
  • A voice. Having the gall to know what you want and what you believe in.
  • Knowing that you’re on your own, for the most part. Your parents and loved ones want your dreams to come true, but the rest of the world could care less. Go for it anyway.
  • Loving yourself. Every little bit of yourself.

I think that last bit is the key to acquiring those characteristics I listed before–how can you go after what you want without loving who you are and what you’re becoming?

I’ve been into watching Sex and the City lately–definitely not for the, well, scandalous bits. What I can’t help but love is Carrie Bradshaw and her authentic voice when she writes. Some of the bits of wisdom that come out of that show amaze me. As I was thumbing through Pinterest tonight, I came across a classic Carrie quote:

“The most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you that you love, well, that’s just fabulous.” 

This. I feel like this is exactly what I feel when trying to explain all the thoughts that accumulated when I came across my Zulily find (that I didn’t purchase, by the way–self control at its best). To be successful–and not successful in the conventional money, husband, white-picket fence kind of way, but in a way that you are the own judge of your success–you have to first find yourself and become the person that you and only you want to be. A woman must be her own biggest fan when pursing her dreams.

“Behind every successful woman is herself.” Be your own advocate when it comes to your life. Drive your own car. Write your own story. Be yourself, because only you know what you want. And if you find a person along the way that “love[s] the you that you love,” that’s great.

What makes life fabulous, however, is achieving–no, make that striving for–happiness and success without compromising yourself and what you want.

Be fabulous, my friends. I’ll try and do the same.