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The Burr Magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

The Burr Magazine

The Student News Site of Kent State University

The Burr Magazine

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Newbie Noelle: How I Incorporate New, Fun Challenges into my Week


Since the spring semester is starting to pick up, I wanted to focus this week’s tasks on the activities I really enjoy but don’t have a lot of time for. I have found that when I deliberately set aside time for myself to do what I love and recognize the positive aspects of my day, the week goes by more smoothly. 

Health and Wellness Task: Drink at least four glasses of water each day. 

Pre-task Thoughts:

Hydration? I don’t know her. 

I really need to get in the habit of drinking more water and I’m hoping this task will help me get started. Even when I drink my normal two to three cups of coffee a day, I still feel like I need a nap. I’m hoping once I get into a routine of drinking more water, I’ll feel more energized and less likely to fall asleep while I’m working. 

Post-task thoughts: 

This task was way more difficult to start than I could have imagined. Halfway through the week, though, I settled into a comfortable routine that made the task easier. Here’s what I did: 

I usually drink coffee before anything else in the morning, so I decided to make coffee an incentive for drinking water. When I first woke up in the morning, it was only after I had a full glass of water that I could make my usual morning coffee. The next glass of water I drank was after I returned back to my room from class (the timing of the second glass differed each day, depending on my schedule). The third glass of water I drank with my dinner and right before bed I had one more. 

That’s it! It’s as simple as that. I recommend incorporating incentives if you’re really struggling like I was. 

Why Not? Task: Take a picture of something that makes me happy.  

Pre-task Thoughts: 

When I was in high school, I had to do a project for my psychology class that involved acts of gratitude. By the end of the project, I felt I had a more positive outlook on my day-to-day life. Since then, I have fallen back into the habit of focusing on all of the negative aspects of my week. This task was inspired by that project. 

I’m no photographer, but taking a few seconds each day to recognize the things that make me happy and documenting it with a photograph should be fairly simple and rewarding. It’s easy to get caught up in the stresses of the semester and I don’t want to forget about the positives in my life. 

Day 1: 

I’m not one to be particularly interested in the outdoors, but lately I’ve been noticing the wonders of winter, and how it isn’t so bad after all.

I was walking outside Taylor Hall and noticed how the trees had frozen. I thought it looked really pretty, and it made me stop in my tracks to look at it. The one fortunate aspect of this weird winter we’re having is that the trees look like this! 

Day 2: 

Behold… The first plant I brought back to life! I’m usually terrible with plants. I can barely remember to drink enough water, let alone provide a plant with some. I was so happy when I saw that I saved this one! If you didn’t already know, aloe vera is a miracle plant. I use the leaves’ juice as a skin remedy whenever I need it. I have to admit, the juice has a smell that isn’t exactly pleasant, but its benefits make it worth it. 

Day 3: 

My sister (and very best friend) gifted me this customized mug for my birthday. The dog in the photo is modeled after our dog, Jewels. I’m on the left, while my sister is on the right. Every time I use it, I’m reminded of how lucky I am to have such a great relationship with my sister. I’m also reminded of my adorable puppy waiting for me back home. 

Day 4:

I’m sort of obsessed with the comic series “Strange Planet” by Nathan W. Pyle that consists of cute aliens mocking human behavior.  My sister’s boyfriend gifted me this pillow for Christmas and I smile every time I look at it. If you haven’t heard of the comics, you should check out Nathan’s Instagram page, because these comics are guaranteed to make you laugh. Merchandise like this pillow can be found here

Day 5: 

Have you ever seen a movie that just changed your world? Rocketman did this to me. Every time I look at this poster on my wall, I think of the time my sister and I went to the theater on two separate occasions to see the movie. We’re Elton John fans, but this movie made us major Taron Egerton fans—the actor who portrays Elton in the movie. This movie is so close to me, and it’s partly because of the memories attached to it. 

Day 6: 

This book, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, has to be my favorite book next to the Harry Potter series. It usually rests on my bookshelf above my desk, and it tempts me every day to just jump back into the island of Guernsey. It’s the most wholesome story I’ve ever read. 

*If you’re wondering where I got the awesome mug also featured in the picture, you can find it at Target! It was a gift from my lovely aunt. 

Day 7: 

I bought my guitar this year and try to play it whenever I have the chance. I’m so glad to have a guitar of my own to have at school. Before this, I was practicing on my sister’s old electric guitar. My acoustic guitar is a much better fit for me. 

Post-Task Thoughts: 

I thought this task would be easier. How hard could it be to find the happy moments in your day? Well, when you’re a stressed college student, it can be very difficult. I’m glad I chose to do this, because this week was especially rough for me, and it helped to point out things that made me happy, if only for a little while. 

Mindfulness Task: Learn a new guitar chord

Pre-task Thoughts: 

I started playing guitar around two years ago. I’ve taught myself the basics (C, D, G, Am, F, etc.) by learning covers online and writing my own songs, but I don’t have advanced knowledge on the subject of chords since I’ve never taken professional guitar lessons. It’s hard finding the time to play, so I’m looking forward to setting aside some time to improve my skills. 

Post-task Thoughts: 

I prefer to play guitar without an audience, which can be difficult when you share a room with someone else. If I do have time during the day to take out my guitar, I usually just play what I know. It was nice mixing it up and learning something new. My goal was to have some more chords up my sleeve to use when I’m writing songs. Here’s how I learned the chords: 

I referred to a book I have,  Mel Bay’s Deluxe Encyclopedia of Guitar Chords. I would flip to a random page each day and select a chord I thought I could learn. I would then practice the placement of my fingers a few times until I was comfortable with the position. I’d play the chord and try to remember how it sounded. The next day, before I moved onto a new chord, I would play the chord I learned the previous day as a reminder and check with the book to make sure I was playing it correctly. Once I got used to this routine, it was quite simple to learn a new chord.

Now I can say I have seven more chords to choose from when writing my next song!

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