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Kaikoura: Hike, Sea Life, and Reconnect

Nestled into a peninsula on New Zealand’s east coast, Kaikoura is simultaneously more and less than I ever could have asked for. More in its amazing scenery, nature, and ability to me bring back to those core essentials. Less because it did all of this with its beautiful, simple charm which reminds me that sometimes we don’t need so much to be ‘happy.’

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friends standing on steps after graduating
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Important Lessons from a Small College

I hate to say it, mainly because of how much I spent on tuition, but most of what I learned at college took place outside of the classroom. So much of life happens beyond books and chalkboards, lettered grades and numbered GPAs. My most important lessons have come from the people and moments around me at my small college.

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students throwing graduation caps
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The ‘G’ Word

As much as I hate to talk about it, graduation is upon us (the olden seniors) and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it. For some people it’s the end, and for others it’s just the beginning. Ending undergrad and starting another four years somewhere else. Entering the workforce. Saying goodbye to the people you’re used to seeing every single morning when you walk out of your bedroom.

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woman standing on scale with weights by feet
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Ditch Your Scale and Break the Numerical Box

I had a doctor’s appointment recently and was forced to take a step of faith onto the ever-ominous scale.

I anxiously watched the numbers toggle back and forth before my eyes. Numbers bounced up and down, folding and unfolding, before falling still on a number that instigated immediate panic. I wanted high scores on my exams, not the scale I was standing on.

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Redefining Happiness and Searching for Joy

After reflecting on 2018 and thinking about what I wanted to achieve in 2019, I decided that, above all, I just wanted to find happiness, whether that’s in my writing, a post-grad job, or anything else. It wasn’t until I ventured down to Florida with my family that I realized just how flawed the word ‘happy’ is in our society and how that understanding has come to affect so many of our lives, including my own.

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pier at sunset
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Best To Do in Lake Worth, FL

Common Grounds’ open mic night

If there were one thing I had to plan my visit to Lake Worth around, it would be this. Common Grounds is a groovy little coffee shop just off the main strip on South J Street. On the first and third Saturday of every month they have an open mic night that will blow your mind. People from up and down the Florida coast come in to perform: singers, comedians, spoken word poets musicians, and more. This spunky little coffee shop has cultivated a vibrant, compassionate environment where all are welcome and everyone is heard.

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sun setting over lake in florida
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2018: The Year That Changed My Life

I guess you could say it’s a silly title. Every year changes my life in one way or another. In 2016 I chopped off a big chunk of my hair and with that, my insecurities. In 2017 I went to South Africa, Namibia, England, and Greece. I’m still trying to figure out how to sum up 2018 in one sentence. Obviously it’s not going well, so here we are, with an entire blog post instead.

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palm tree on road in florida
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Surviving the Road Trip from Jersey to Florida

I can now officially say that I have survived my exams! With the semester finally over, we are sinking into the heart of a New Jersey winter. Most of the time I imagine winter to be scenic and romantic, with towns blanketed in snow and quaint lights lining the street – you know, the typical Hallmark scene. But then December and January roll around and quickly remind me that it’s a lot more bare trees and layers of sweaters than I remember.

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