Know More November

*takes off spooky mask* Shit, it’s November already?

As October comes to a close and the spookiness around campus start to disappear, you don’t want to end up like that pumpkin on top of Carm that stays there for two weeks until it rots away into nothingness. To keep ourselves fresh as a pumpkin pie straight out of the oven, let’s talk about the things coming up in November and what we can do to keep ourselves healthy and prepared for them.

 

Mo’ Midterms, Mo’ Problems

Some of us are done with midterms, and some of us have midterms until the day before finals. I personally think this is pretty unfair/awful, but I don’t make the rules, I’m just a person laboriously creating fantastic content that probably only two people read. Speaking of which, I already wrote a whole separate post about midterms and how to deal with academic stressors! How convenient!

 

Pawlitics*

*As an Ear, I’m encouraged to remain politically neutral on here, the same way that all of our Ears are required to remain politically neutral on calls. Whether you’re far left, far right, somewhere in the middle, or something totally different, we will accept you and listen to you if you need to talk to us about anything political. 

Oh how I wish we were voting for pets instead of people. Although maybe dogs vs cats might be just as polarized of a discourse? Who knows. Sadly, though, I need to stop looking at how cute Loki the doggo is and write about Real Things™.

Though this 2017 election season might not seem like much, as it’s mostly local elections, it’s still important to a lot of folks and affects people in the long run. If someone you know brings up politics and you really don’t want to talk about it, you do have options other than engaging in a three hour heated debate about it.

If the discussion is over social media, just stay out of it. I know how difficult it is to just sit there and watch as your grandmother posts over and over about her love for X politician, whom you hate and know is morally wrong, but if engaging in a debate over it in the comments is going to do more harm than good for you, it might be best to just let it be. Some people are really set in their ways, no matter how much we want to believe they can change, and expending all your energy on someone who doesn’t care isn’t worth it if you’re negatively emotionally exhausted afterwards. Save your energy for something that you know can better you.

If the discussion is in person or over the phone, check out this surprisingly useful article I found about how to exit conversations without looking like an asshole. If you’re not feeling it, it is okay to leave. If you know that the conversation won’t be good for you, it is okay to leave. If you have any reason at all for not wanting to talk about it, that reason is valid, and YOU ARE ALLOWED TO LEAVE. Let’s do away with the notion that leaving conversations is rude and should never be done–sometimes talking is hard and you just can’t do it! And that is totally, 100% fine. You come first.

 

Not-so-Thanks-giving

If you agree at all with this article about how much Thanksgiving sucks, read on, my friend. Also, stay tuned for an article later this month regarding how to deal with family on Thanksgiving or any other holiday!

So, this holiday has some pretty fucked up beginnings. Thanksgiving, though it’s well-intentioned to be a day of appreciation, is actually based on the destruction of indigenous people’s culture, the genocide of many Native Americans, and the takeover of indigenous land. If you grew up in the U.S., it’s likely this wasn’t what you were taught when you were making hand turkeys and talking about how “brave” the pilgrims were, but it’s the truth. During this holiday season, it’s important to recognize the immense losses that Native Americans faced so many years ago AND all the hardships they continue to face today. Do what you can on Thanksgiving to be respectful of the people who truly made America the place it is now.

Although we can acknowledge the awful origin of Thanksgiving, it doesn’t mean we have to ruminate on it forever. Whether you’re having a terrible holiday or a great one, try to take some time and think about things you appreciate in life. I know, I know, life sucks and 83276456832 things are wrong in the world and all that, but hear me out. Take a second, breathe, and think about what you can appreciate right now. Acknowledge that things may not be great, but still ask yourself: what can I appreciate about this moment? Even if it’s something as small as liking how your socks finally matched that day, find something you appreciate, and build off of it. You might even start feeling a little better.

 

Finals: Aaaalways Waaaatching

As I’m writing this, it’s the day before November 1st, but I can still feel the impending finals at the beginning of December watching me and waiting to strike, like the slug lady from Monsters, Inc. She was so creepy.

It could be September 1st and you might already be worried about finals. Sometimes it feels like you can never escape them. If you feel like the stress is a weight upon your back that never lets up, you aren’t alone. If you start to feel like this, think about what you can do to de-stress and take care of yourself before you get overwhelmed. If you’re out of ideas, try some of these stress relief techniques, but remember that everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for another.

If you can’t shake the feeling of finals approaching, check out mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of living in the moment, appreciating the moment, and attempting to decrease worry or stress about the past or future. Through mindfulness, you can realize that the future is dependent on the now, and you can make the future less terrible by making the present moment better. What I mean is that instead of stress-eating an entire bag of potato chips and watching 4 hours of Netflix to avoid reality (which I have done multiple times!), consider what could be a healthier choice right now, and do that instead.

And, hey, I realize that sometimes that 4 hour Netflix binge might be all you can do right now. 

That is okay.

Take things one step at a time, and make sure Jordin Sparks’ 2007 hit is playing in the background.