Opinion

Five Apps for the Overcommitted Individual

Confession: I’m an over-committer. It’s not even that people are asking me to do things for them, and I’m just too much of a “yes-man” to say no. I’m amazing at saying no, so that’s clearly not the issue. Actually, I just love the feeling of getting involved in something that interests me and then putting every ounce of my passion into it that I wonder how I’m still a semi-functioning human.

Symptoms of being an over-committer include:

-Questioning all of life’s decisions

-Staying up late at night thinking about what you have to do the next day

-A very messy looking calendar

-Several checklists tacked up on your wall with red yarn connecting them all like a serial killer would do

With the help of some great apps on my phone, however, I’ve finally managed to get all my ish together and organize myself. Some of these apps also help me squeeze a little more “me-time” in my day. After downloading these, I’ve been able to be the ultimate hustling boss lady that I’ve always wanted to be.

For the over-committer with plans every minute of every day, try Calendar Op.2

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Costs: Free, or $2.99 for no ads

At first glance, this app doesn’t look any different from the heinous iOS calendar app that comes with every iPhone. However, I’ve found that it so much cleaner and effective than Apple’s calendar. The calendar screen on this app is a lot more colorful and vibrant, while also maintaining that sleek feel. You can color coordinate your events to denote whether the entry is pertaining to family, work, home, etc.

Unlike the Apple calendar, whenever you have an event that spans multiple days (like a vacation), a line runs through every day that the event is scheduled. It’s a simple difference, but I find it a lot more visually organized. The name of the events also pop up right when you open the app—no more having to click that grey little dot to see what’s going on. It does also sync up with your Apple calendar app, meaning you can view what’s going on in your life across several of your devices.

 

For the over-committer who needs help scheduling a couple of minutes of “me time” into their day, try Headspace

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Costs: Free to download, but need to buy a subscription

I really thought meditation was a bunch of crap that yoga moms in Fabletics were trying to sell me before I tried it out for myself. Meditation actually works, especially for someone like me who suffers from generalized anxiety disorder. Among all the meetings, classes, and writing going on in my life, it’s nice to take about 15 minutes out of my day to just spend with myself. Headspace will let you download it for free and try out its meditations with a ten-day basics course. After that, however, you’ll have to pay for some kind of subscription. Good news, though: there’s a $9.99 a year subscription rate for students.

When you unlock the entire Headspace library, you get access to dozens upon dozens of guided meditations, as well as their section of sleep-related meditations and sound wind-downs, and a new “meditation of the day” that’s updated every 24 hours. There’s also a really nice British man that talks to you in every meditation. The meditations range in time from five to twenty minutes (sometimes even more) so even the busiest of over-committers can do some meditating in their life.

 

For the over-committer who forgets self-care amidst all of their work, try Pacifica

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Costs: Some aspects are free, but others can only be unlocked under subscription

This is another mindfulness/meditation app I use. However, I don’t really use its meditation features, because most of them are only available under subscription, and Pacifica doesn’t currently offer a student discount. However, I do use the soundscape feature when I’m doing some yoga. I throw on a timed, ten-minute burst of scenery sounds while I’m doing my yoga routine, and it keeps me focused on what I’m doing, but also relaxes me.

That being said, I actually use this app just for one of its basic features: a habit tracker. Under the free version of the app, it helps you track three of your habits you want to accomplish throughout the day. For example, I track how many hours I’ve slept, how much water I drink in a day, and for how long I’ve done something that’s not work-or-school-related. You can set goals for yourself, and at the end of the week, the app will send you an overview of how you did. This really helps to keep me on track with making sure I’m keeping up my mental health along with the 72 projects I’m working on.

 

For the over-committer who needs to create and distribute quality content on-the-go, try Canva

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Costs: Blissfully free, no strings attached… unless you’re extra and want to upgrade to their business package

God bless Canva. This app has helped me look hella professional in my everyday life. On this app, you can create and order prints of business cards, resumes, flyers, newsletters…you name it, they got it. You can also create downloadable content for platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. Canva is great for anyone involved in the marketing side of an organization on campus as well. I’ve made tons of event posters and social media posts to promote clubs. They have an incredible online library of templates, pictures, art, and backgrounds.

I will say, the mobile app is pretty clunky. I would recommend creating Canva content on either your laptop or on a tablet. Since you have to create an account to start making content, you can sign in from any device and print your pretty creations anywhere. It’s great to be able to do some quick edits to my stuff on my phone, or to email people my resume right from the app on my phone, without having to open up my laptop.

 

For the over-committer who loses their creative spark in the chaos of life, try Brainsparker

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Costs: Free, but you have the ability to purchase expansion packs that cost $0.99 each

A teacher once told me there’s “dramatic content” happening every moment of our lives, but sometimes you’re so busy with what’s going on in your life that you miss it. When I sit down to write and am straight outta ideas, I open Brainsparker, which is an app of creative writing prompts. The prompts range from quotes to single words, to concepts to get you started on whatever it is you’re trying to write.

The usefulness of this app goes beyond just creative writers, though. I can easily see this being a great way to find inspiration if you’re trying to write a song, an essay, or looking to find something to draw/paint. There are something like 200 cards in the original free pack, and then you can buy expansion packs later on that have specific themes, like journaling, photos, and segments of dialogue.

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Opinion

Grocery Store Cookies: The Definitive Ranking

I love cookies. This fact probably forms one of the cornerstones of my personality, alongside my semi-nocturnal sleep schedule and my hatred of the B line. Another sad fact of my life is that I am debilitatingly lazy when it comes to cooking. Meals I have eaten this week include: half a bagel; three mandarin oranges, paired with a handful of tortilla chips; one of those Chewy granola bars that are basically candy.

Basically, we’re thriving.

All of this means I never have cooking and/or baking ingredients on hand, because they would absolutely expire before I used them up. Which means I am forced to seek out a homemade-esque cookie alternative elsewhere.

That is where the grocery store comes in. Most grocery store chains have some sort of eerily identical allegedly homemade cookie, in the following varieties: chocolate chip, M&M (or whatever generic word meaning M&M suits your fancy), oatmeal chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, sugar, peanut butter, brownie.

In an astonishingly short amount of time, I have managed to try each and every one of these cookies. Except oatmeal raisin. Oatmeal raisin cookies are simply granola bars.

Now, it’s time to rank them. This will be done through a rubric based on chewiness (a must), overall flavor (obviously), whether they are somewhat gross (an occupational hazard of factory-line desserts), and if I could make quick work of a whole bag.

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Opinion

My Crazy Christmas Day Schedule

The Christmas season is, without a doubt, one of the craziest times of the year. There never seems to be enough time to accomplish everything before the big day, and when December 25th finally rolls around, the chaos comes to a boiling point. Little cousins are running around asking someone to open up their brand-new easy bake oven. Wrapping paper and elusive twist ties are strewn about the place. Your weird uncle is too busy talking about the Christmas party he went to last week to pass you the mashed potatoes.

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Opinion

The Unconventional Christmas Movie Watchlist

It’s finally here, guys—we’re in deep into the Christmas season, which means you no longer have to sit on your couch and watch reruns of Law and Order: SVU on your television (I mean, you do you, sister!). It’s time to get holly freaking jolly and break out those Christmas specials.

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Opinion

Amazon Wish List Deep Dive

Halloween has passed and Thanksgiving is upon us, which means I am currently listening to my all-time favorite Christmas bops. Don’t fight me on this—Thanksgiving is cute and all, but I’m really just waiting for Santa to come down my chimney. Let me deck my halls and ring my silver bells while I eat the Figgie pudding so graciously brought to me by those random carolers at my door.

With the Christmas season almost upon us, I figured it would be a great time to revisit my Amazon wish list and see what I might want to ask for. As I scrolled through the list, I really couldn’t help but laugh at myself. While most of it was practical and reasonable, there were some strange oddities on the list that had me questioning my state of mind when I first saw them. They were probably items that I added either at 2am when I was too tired to be rational, or during the 15 minutes before class when I dissociate and just troll the internet.

If you’re looking for a unique, funny gift to give a friend or family member, consider this list a guide to potential gift options. The below items would also be great for a Yankee Swap, White Elephant, or Dirty Santa gift exchange. If you’re just here for a laugh at my expense, that’s quite alright as well. If you’re my mom and you’re reading this (hi mom!), I encourage you to continue reading: great gift ideas ahead!

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Opinion

My Goldfish Journey

Every year, my parents and I journey to Topsfield, MA for the Topsfield Fair, the oldest agricultural county fair in the United States. This October, we continued the tradition and attended the 200th annual fair on Saturday the 6th. At first, the day was like any other time we had gone to the fair: we trudged through the mud and muck of the parking lot to the actual fairground; I pet several baby goats and one hungry horse; my Dad unsuccessfully tried to win me a stuffed animal at the shooting game (it’ll be your year next year, Dad); I gorged on fried dough.

But, as we walked through the Midway—the part of the fair with all of the games—I noticed one particular game booth. The game consisted of throwing ping pong balls into fish bowls. If you got a ball in a bowl, you won a cute little goldfish!

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Opinion

A Pause In The Pouring Rain

Marathon Monday was by no means the way I imagined it. First of all, I thought the weather would be warm-ish at least and I didn’t think it would be pouring rain. Second of all, I thought I would actually watch the race. With team brunch, housing selection for next year, and unexpected job training, I was busy all day long.

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Opinion

How Going to an Artsy College in the City “Changed Me”

The people that you surround yourself with and your environment can truly impact you, and bring out parts of yourself that you never knew were there. Something similar happened to me when I came to Emerson college. As soon as I got here, I realized that there was soooo much more diversity than there was in my small, very white, financially comfortable hometown in Norfolk, MA. For the first time I was speaking with people from countries all over the world, and I had the freedom to truly find myself and discover what really matters to me.

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Opinion

Balancing Being a Kid and an Adult

At the age of 19, I find myself in an odd place between being a kid and an adult. I don’t want to have to rely on my parents but at the same time, there is no way I could be financially stable on my own. Do I act like a kid or an adult? That is a question I ask myself a lot as I continue to tread through college.

My mom always tells me I need to stop working as much and I need to enjoy being a college student. Ok, I guess I can agree with her that I may work a little too much but at the same time I don’t do it because I have to. I work because I genuinely love what I do. I will admit that work can become a coping mechanism for me and way to distract myself, but as I’m growing up I’ve had to learn how to distinguish if I’m running away from my problems or if I am just immersed in my work. When I find myself overworking, I try to take a few steps back and do things that bring me back to my childish nature. I will color in coloring books, go window shopping (yes, I loved shopping as a kid too), or basically anything that doesn’t make me feel like I have to be an adult. 

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Opinion

Tips for Managing Anxiety As a College Student

Coming into college, I experienced some of the worst anxiety of my entire life. The tiniest of problems set me off, sending me spiraling into a fray of worry. I start to sweat, and my heart begins to beat so fast that I feel like I’m running a marathon. Even as the semester comes to an end, I still worry about minor things like whether or not I’ll get to class on time, if I’ll have enough time to do all of my work, and if the library printer is going to have paper (which is a valid worry here at Emerson to be honest).

Some days are worse than others. At times, I’ll spend an entire day almost anxiety free. These are usually the days when I feel most in control of my life, when everything goes exactly to plan. However, there are those days when almost everything falls apart, and I spend every waking hour panicking, a slave to my brain’s irrational worries.

For chaotic days like these, I’ve come up with three foolproof “hacks” that help me manage my life, and thus my anxiety. Please note that these tips won’t work for everyone, and that if you’re dealing with a serious form of anxiety, consult with a medical professional or therapist. However, if you’re looking for some simple ways to try and reduce moderate anxiety throughout your day, keep reading!

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