Why I Quit Everything

Why I Quit Everything

This year I quit everything.

Okay, maybe not everything, but most things.

I came into college wanting to do things. Every single thing in fact. I spent much of my college career actively involved in every student organization, every event, every opportunity that I could be. I was checking off boxes. Boxes on a checklist called the ‘perfect college experience.’ My Google calendar looked like a checkerboard, every hour accounted for, color coded, segmented into perfection. My life was made up of little boxes. Suddenly, everything felt like an obligation. Things that I used to love, I dreaded. I wandered from box to box, waiting for it to be over. I was thinking 8 boxes ahead at all times, I was never existing now.  My life was a to-do list and as soon as I checked one thing off, I added three more. I was losing at my own life. And I was choosing it.




For a long time, I didn’t ask that question. I accepted that this is what I had to do to succeed. I slept less, I was sick more, coffee ran through my veins at the speed of light. I was buzzing, electrified and miserable. Ambition had turned into obsession. I had almost completed the checklist, I was ‘succeeding.’ And I realized after 3 years, this was not my checklist anymore, it was someone else’s.

I think that we often confuse busy-ness for success. I thought a colorful GCal meant I was doing something right. I had places to be, meetings to attend, projects to finish. But at the end of the day, I was not sparkling, I was exhausted. I had accomplished almost nothing in this frenzied chaos to succeed. My mind was messy, not meaningful. I had no clear direction, I was spiraling in a million directions and to be quite honest, not doing particularly well at any of them. Productivity doesn’t mean much if you don’t really care about what you’re producing.

What I want to tell you is: STOP. Stop, breathe, calibrate. Look at your day, divided into pretty colors and think about whether any of that actually added any value to your life or to the world.

If you cannot talk for more than 15 minutes about why you are doing something, stop doing it.

Here are some quick reasons that are not a valid why:

  1. everyone else is doing it
  2. you think that you ‘should’
  3. it will look good on a resume
  4. you are able to do it
  5. someone told you that you need to
  6. you want to look good to other people

If any of those things are your why: quit it. Drop it. Gone.

Rest itself is an action, not a lack thereof. There is nothing glamorous or impressive about burnout. Trust me. Free time is so, so important. It’s when I create, connect, rest. Free time shouldn’t be a rigid obligation, penciled in between everything else where you finally remember to eat a meal. Free time doesn’t count if it’s you eating a meal of pretzels while multi-tasking on your laptop.

My senior year I quit everything that was not adding value to my own life or to the world. And I have never been happier. The world did not end, no one hated me, most people probably didn’t even notice I was gone and I was finally, finally free.

I’m still busy. But with things I love. None of it feels like an obligations. I stopped “should-ing” and started choosing. I have time to read books, to write, to sleep, to think, process, plan. All of the things I had forgotten that I needed to do. I am better at everything I do now. I’m moving in a steady and consistent direction towards a career I’m really, really excited about. I feel balanced and at peace for the first time in maybe my entire life. Cool things keep happening because I’ve decided to attract cool things. I’m happy, healthy and for the most part, I’m pretty sane! Do more by doing way, way less.

Our time is so finite. Our energy is so precious. Stop handing it all out like cheap candy. Be picky. Hang on to your magic and disperse it effectively on things that make you happy to be alive. There is nothing lazy about laying on the couch and regaining your sanity. It’s brave. And so necessary if we are going to keep fighting the good fight.

I have finally chosen my life and it’s a beautiful, liberating feeling. Please, please choose yours.


A Thank You Note to the World

A Thank You Note to the World

They tell you to never travel alone. Especially if you’re a girl. Especially if you’re only 21 years old. It’s not safe. It’s dangerous. It’s irresponsible.

And they’re probably right.

But what they fail to consider when they tell you that well-meaning advice is that is not an super realistic way to live an entire life. To never be alone. To be so limited by by gender. That I must change my habits because others cannot change theirs. And it is often unavoidable. A flight delayed, a ticket booked for the wrong day, meeting a friend in a different country.

Wo this is not your mom giving advice now: if you have the chance, go it alone every once in a while. It is the most liberating and terrifying feeling in the world. To know not a single other soul in an entire country. To figure things out for yourself, by yourself, with only yourself to revel in the success. To get from one country where you don’t speak the language to another where you don’t speak the language. That is what strength can feel like.

And you will realize how good the world can be.

This is an open thank you to the old woman in the Philly airport who told me she would pray for me, to the friendly man in the Milan metro station who showed me how to buy a  bus ticket, to the nice lady on the airport bus who told me this wasn’t the right stop to get off at, to the airport worker in Columbus who asked me if I was okay because I was tearing up saying goodbye, to the kind woman in Copenhagen who pulled over to help because we looked so confused. There are so many good people.

When you travel solo, you never really travel solo. There are people pulling you up and out and whatever direction you need to go. When they tell you that you shouldn’t be alone they’re right. Because I never felt like I was.

I have never made it anywhere completely by myself. It is with the help of an entire planet.

You Are a Feminist

You Are a Feminist

In college, I’m surrounded by many bright young women. Many of these bright young women believe they themselves are not feminists. I’m not going to quote the statistics about the wage gap that you may not believe exists or cite The Feminine Mystique. Those things are there but you already know about them and you’ve already decided what you think about them. I just want to talk about our experiences. There are moments in your young life that you became wholly aware that you are female. Being a woman was not something I consciously thought much about before college. In high school, I identified myself as cheerleader, clarinetist, NHS member, cross country runner, class officer, sportsmanship committee member, academic team participant, homecoming attendant, any number of arbitrary high school things that I loved. I did these things and laughed and ran and created and lived in the privilege that gender was never really something I had to think about on a daily basis. But in college, I was repeatedly told I couldn’t walk home alone in the dark. I was told I could get into all the bars easier. I was told to never accept a drink from a stranger. I was told there wasn’t a women’s bathroom on the entire first floor of the engineering building. I was told a lot of things based on a trait I didn’t pick out. And so were you.

You were told to smile sweetheart. You were told that he liked your hair, but don’t worry he’s not hitting on you in the line at the gas station. You were whistled at from passing cars. You were nervously clutching your pepper spray walking back to your dorm at midnight. You laughed at misogynistic jokes that weren’t funny because you were trying to play cool. I did too.

You are a feminist every time you are angry when someone grabs your lower back to push you aside at a bar without asking. You are a feminist every time you comfort your crying friend who did not say yes. You are a feminist every time you succeed on your own, for yourself, by yourself. You are a feminist every time you question these rules and these structures or every time you are scared, purely because you are female.

You may not realize it. You are not crazy or man hating or bra burning and you probably shave your legs. But if you believe you are more than what is between your legs, you’re feminist. If you believe women should not be working for free past October 26th, you’re a feminist. If you think that your voice matters just as much as the person beside you, you’re a feminist. I hate to have to be the one that breaks it to you but odds are despite that Odyssey article you shared on Facebook or the fact that you’ve never heard of Roxane Gay– you are a feminist. Revel in it.


art by @artsyalexx



Veganism has taken the nation by storm. It’s a commonly googled term, a cultural trend embraced by well-dressed bloggers and your favorite celebrity probably swears by it. There are cookbooks, tv shows and bumper stickers dedicated to a lifestyle without animal byproducts. For over a million people in the US, this is a dietary choice that allows them to live better, feel better, do less harm to the planet and protect animals.

But I have seen this trend of plant based eating and stringent routine sometimes go from healthy to dangerous and I think we need to talk about why.

Eating disorders are also taking the nation by storm. Eating disorders are a mental illness categorized by an unhealthy relationship with food. While most of us could stand to eat a few more vegetables and a few less Oreos, people who suffer from eating disorders live lives impaired and made difficult by the simple act of eating food. According to dosomething.org, more than 24 million Americans struggled with an eating disorder in 2017.

The thing about veganism is that it is intended to be a healthy lifestyle choice. However, for individuals predispositioned for disordered eating, veganism can be a vice or alternative form of extreme restrictive dieting. It can slow heart rates, deprive muscles; it can quite literally kill.

I am definitely not claiming that all vegans have an eating disorder or that all diets are harmful– not even close. Don’t mess that up! But any dietary restriction can go too far. For those among us who suffer from body dysmorphia and disordered diet tendencies, these trends can go from healthy to dangerous really fast. The temptation of restriction, calorie counts and control can take hold. And they do not let go.

I think we need to start redefining what health looks like as a society. Health isn’t eating only carrots; health is a consistent and constant heart rate. Health isn’t drinking all of your meals; health is having enough energy to get through the day. Health isn’t necessarily being able to see your ribcage; it’s being out of the hospital and into the world.

We need to be mindful that eating a salad for lunch is not simply a task to check off a to-do list for everyone. We need to be aware that a restrictive diet is not an option for some people and shift our language to involve that. We need to understand that shaming is triggering. We need to know that some well-meaning advice or that crazy fact you learned on Food Inc. is not always helpful. We need to stop turning a blind eye to self-harm in the name of health because I don’t think it is a coincidence that we live in a country facing both extreme obesity AND an influx in eating disorders. Our crippling fear of obesity is beginning to become just as dangerous as the threat.

Someone very close to me has been fighting this battle for years. I’ve watched up close and seen how something as essential as food can destroy us from the inside out. These diseases are often not taken seriously and only 10% of people battling eating disorders ever receive treatment (dosomething.org). It’s scary; we need to be scared. We need to look for the signs and support eating what makes you feel good and stop eating dairy if we want to and use better language for looking good and prioritize health over appearance and eat chocolate if we feel the need and do things for the right reasons and reach out when something feels wrong.

To be Full.


Cool Resources: 



Magazines and Mirrors

Magazines and Mirrors

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Does the objectification and oppression of women in modern culture stem from advertisement portrayal or do we portray women in advertisements as objectified and oppressed because of our modern culture? Does it matter which comes first if we are not willing to admit this phenomenon exists, much less consider changing either?

It is no secret that advertisements impact our perception of the world. That is after all, their intent; to convince, convey, persuade, interest, tempt us into paying money for whatever it is they are advocating. You can argue the philosophical morality of persuasion but ultimately it is happening almost every second of every day. Advertisements bombard us on billboards, buses, social media platforms, television, magazines, benches, t-shirts, digital screens of all kinds. Advertisement is not a new concept by any means, it’s been happening as long as entrepreneurship has existed. However, we have never had more constant exposure to this pressure.

In advertisements, we see a female portrayed as young, beautiful, thin and typically white. If all of humanity was to be wiped out and millions of years later, a life form came to earth and found all of our advertisements, they might assume that human females were never older than 25, never more than 120 pounds, never of color, and never in control. This is the way that we have portrayed women for almost the entire history of our nation. It is inaccurate and isolating of every woman who does not fit that small, select demographic—which is most of us.

We are visual creatures with eyes that take in incredible amounts of color, shape and depth. This is a crucial aspect of our evolution that allows us to create art, build buildings, escape predators and navigate our beautiful planet. However, this need for visual pleasure leaves us with a human flaw of a deep craving for visual perfection. While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, society at large decides who that beholder is for us all. The western definition of beauty is accepted as fact by many of us. We are not taught to question this concept of beauty for much of our young lives. It is not inherently wrong to love beautiful and wonderful visuals, this very longing is what built the Taj Mahal, gave inspiration for the Mona Lisa, painted the Sistine Chapel. However, defining what beauty means for an entire continent is a limiting and dangerous concept.

We have idealized thinness in our country for the past 40 years. Our perception of the ideal body type has ebbed and flowed with the time period. In a country facing the worst obesity epidemic of all time, it is either ironic or very rational that we romanticize extreme thinness. To be thin in America is to have conquered the ultimate enemy—food. But when we demonize food, the very thing that keeps us alive and moving and glowing, we create problems that have and will kill people. Anorexia, bulimia and other similar disorders are on the rise in our country. We have fat-shamed to the point that even perfectly healthy people see themselves as undesirable in the light of day. The thing we don’t often talk about is that perfection can sometimes quite literally kill you. As children, we do not question if our bodies are perfect. We are running and jumping and swimming and pretending and playing and imagining. We are too busy, happy and full to question whether our thighs are too big. Eating disorders do not solely impact women, another stigma we must fight to overcome. But the number of women that suffer from eating disorders is disproportionate to that of men. The common denominator? Exposure to media and images that put this singular idea of beauty into our young and impressionable minds.

We harm women not only in the choice of the type of women that we choose to portray in media, but also the way that we portray women in media. Docile and dominated, women are used as props and objects to sell product. Submissive pose after submissive pose, ingrained into female and male minds alike.

We continue to wonder why sexual assault on college campuses is an epidemic. We question why domestic violence occurs again and again. We are horrified when a husband violently murders his wife after a long pattern of abuse. We berate women for scandalous outfit choices. We let rapists walk free. We do nothing to change the laws that allow these occurrences to go unreported, unnoticed, unknown. And we continue to pose strong women in a position of vulnerability. We have made victimization beautiful. The romanticization of the thin, starving, sad model permeates modern fashion modeling. I am not trying to prove causation. But it is difficult to deny a level of correlation.

In advertisements, women’s body parts are used as props to sell. When we cut women into pieces on an ad spread, we segment women into parts rather than a whole. Bodies become decoration rather than human beings with souls and laughs and lives. These body parts become our defining characteristics. Not only does this lead men to believe that women are nothing but the sum of their parts but it also convinces women of this falsehood as well. Physicality becomes a measurement of our worth.

I’ve heard the counterarguments. The same sentiments that perpetrate any contradiction of feminist theory. “It happens to men too.” “We all are attracted to beauty, why is this bad?” “Just ignore it, it’s not a big deal.” But it is a big deal, a huge deal actually. When the narrative is switched, it is not the same. We notice it. We look at it and realize something looks wrong.

Why don’t we see that the other way around? It is undeniably different. Power plays a large role in the significance of perception. Women have been overpowered by men for centuries, physically and politically. This context gives momentum to the destructive manner in which women are portrayed. One is not independent of the other.

I argue that we cannot continue to blame the media for all of our societal problems. We cannot continue to point fingers and then plug our ears when responsibility must be taken. These are not “they” problems, they are “us” problems. Companies advertise to sell their products and increase their profit. They are not doing it out of malice or hatred. This is the nature of a capitalistic society. A private company’s objective is to make money, to sell goods. I think it is time we look ourselves in the mirror and ask why is this selling? Why is it so effective?

The media is us. We are society. We are choosing to consume these products, to buy these magazines, to believe the narrative that they are selling to us. It is a conscious decision and as conscious consumers we must protest, speak out, draw attention to redesigning the appeal. In a patriarchal society, this is not a simple demand. But I believe the tides are capable of changing, that the wind is blowing from a new direction. I choose to believe this because I have to believe this. Because it is too terrifying to think anything otherwise.

[photos property of Vogue]





Introvert is a Loud Word

Introvert is a Loud Word

Growing up, I was shy. Like hide-behind-my-dad’s-legs-everytime-a-human-looked-at-me-shy. But by middle school, this innate fear of people wore off, I came out of the shell and actually got moved to “Siberia” for talking too much in Spanish class in high school.

So yeah I like people, I like parties, I like socializing. But not all the time.

Introvert does not mean shy. Shyness is often outgrown, introvertism is a way of existing. Extraversion and introversion reference the way through which we re-energize, relax, rejuvenate. For many people this is done through hanging out with friends, dinner with family, drinks with co-workers, social activities. And as much as I love all those things, I will remain exhausted. I find energy through quiet and independent things such as reading, hiking, watching a movie, going to the grocery store alone, whatever, as does roughly 25% of the world population. These are times to be in my head, uninterrupted, resting. Introversion is “the state of or tendency toward being wholly or predominantly concerned with and interested in one’s own mental life”. Introverts do not need to “break out of their shell”. Introverts are not sad. Introversion does not need to be cured.

Like many things in the world, extraversion and introversion occur on a spectrum. Most of us fall somewhere towards the middle, slightly leaning one direction or another. A few fall directly in the middle, call ambiverts. But understanding and acknowledging how you draw energy is vital to living fully.

Much of our societal structure is not well designed for introverts, specifically college or most of our education system. College is a noisy, crazy, engaging fest of never ending stimulus, that I truly do love. However, we reward speaking often in class with participation points, speaking often in clubs with leadership positions, and speaking often on campus with the label of leader. We often treat extraversion and capability as synonyms. But by doing so we could miss out on a lot of incredible beings; Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Rosa Parks, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, JK Rowling, Hillary Clinton, Elon Musk, Barack Obama, and Frederic Chopin– all introverts, to name a few.

This is a call for educators and leaders to understand that vocality does not always positively correlate with intelligence. This is a call to listen to those with the good ideas. This is a call to lead, even if you do so with a whisper, if you’re the one with the good ideas. And don’t feel weird if you’re the only one not yelling.
Don’t just take my word for it, here’s people who know more:





Featured photo from the Women’s March 2017

That’s How It Is

That’s How It Is
(Photo by Maeve Scully Photography)

darkness plays on darkness

and we pretend we don’t hear

we don’t feel

we don’t know

and that’s how it is.

and the questions 

without question marks

where were you


what were you wearing


what were you thinking




they start and don’t stop 

and that’s how it is.

mothers’ daughters

who might one day

hold daughters 

and fear for their own different 

dark corners and fuzzy lights. 

and that’s how it is. 

and the act of walking 



in the dark

is a sentence

a line crossed

a fault

because you are a girl 

and he is a boy 

being a boy

and that’s how it is.

lips that drip poison



and another set 

unable to form no

and that’s how it is.

our bodies are our own

until he gets drunk

then the lines are blurred

and smudged 



and that’s how it is. 

and I heard a girl

tell a girl 

to just not think about it

that it was okay

but it wasn’t 

and we knew it. 

and we dried her tears

with pieces of hope and 

easy words.

and that’s how it is.

we ignore

and pretend

it’s not real

it doesn’t happen here

it will never happen to me

until it is 

and it does

and it could

and that’s how it is. 

words are not


pushes are not

green lights 

nothing is not


do you hear me 

but that’s not how it is. 


photo by: Maeve Scully

[pronouns are replaceable at your own discretion; 
this is from my personal perspective]