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Contrubited by: Keenan Connery
  1. Try Progressive Relaxation:

    go all the way from your fingers to your toes, releasing each muscle group in your body (your lower arms, upper arms, chest, back, abdominals, face, etc.) because once your body is able to relax, your mind will soon be able to relax..

  1. Meditate:

    if stress has you anxious, tense and/or worried, consider trying meditation. Spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calmness and inner peace

  1. Breathe deep:

    taking a deep breath has been shown to lower cortisol levels, which can help reduce stress and anxiety. Breathing deeply also relaxes the mind and body and brings clarity and helps to clear the uneasy feelings from your body.

  1. Listen to music:

    music has a unique link to our emotions and therefore it can be an effective stress management tool. Music has been found to improve the body's immune system and reduces stress. Music also reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

  1. Laugh it off:

    laughter increases the endorphins that are released by your brain, therefore triggering a feel-good effect. It also activates and relieves your stress response. A lively laugh starts up and then cools down your stress response and increases your heart rate and blood pressure and the result is... a good, relaxing, feeling! Laughter also can stimulate circulation and help in muscle relaxation, which both help to reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress!

  1. Do an Art Project:

    art therapy can potentially reduce stress-related behaviors and symptoms, and it can take your mind away from what is stressing you out.

  1. Take a Walk:

    a quiet, meditative stroll can do wonders for stress relief! Walking can help you recapture a calmer and more centered state of mind.

  1. Write it Out:

    keeping a journal may help to relieve stress-related symptoms due to its meditative and reflective effects. Also, a gratitude journal can help you to put things into perspective during stressful, or non-stressful times.

  1. Drink Tea:

    a study found that drinking black tea leads to lower post-stress cortisol levels and a greater feeling of relaxation.

  1. SLEEP:  

    trying to keep your memory sharp? Try getting plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep will throw your whole system off balance.  If you're feeling stressed out, getting enough sleep should be one of your top priorities. After all, Rest = Better than Stress!

3 Tips for Post-Thanksgiving Finals Domination!

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Contributed by: Savannah Young

Worried about returning from five blissful, pumpkin-saturated days of Thanksgiving break to a mountain of unconquerable finals stress? I think I would be lying if I said you were alone. While the two week period following Thanksgiving is plagued with presentations, papers and exams, it can end up being the best part of your semester if you stick to the following tips for ultimate finals and stress-busting domination.

  • Find a space (and stay in it). Whether you prefer to work in your room, at the library or in a tiny, hole-in-the-wall café, you should choose a study space that best fits your learning habits. Do you need absolute, horror movie silence or extreme Common Grounds chatter? Bright overhead lights or the simple ambiance of a single desk lamp? Whatever your preferences, make sure you pay attention to them to optimize your study experience!

  • Find a friend (and stick with them). Even if you prefer to work or study alone, consider finding a study buddy to hunker down with during finals. Nothing beats a second pair of eyes on your final paper or someone to run through your vocabulary flashcards (again and again). Be sure to choose your study buddy wisely - both of you should be able to be productive in the same space. A solid buddy can not only help you study or edit papers, but also hold you accountable for crushing your finals goals!

  • Find a time (and use it). Since finals week is less structured than the rest of the semester, find an hour or two each day (at your designated study space and with your study buddy) when you will only focus on your finals work. Choosing this specific time will not only get you up and going every day, but will also guarantee a base level of finals preparedness. And if you end up spending more time than allotted on your finals, then consider yourself an over prepared finals dominator!

A Night in Heaven

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What's up, Clauds? is a new series that chronicles the funny, off wall, and sometimes reflective experiences of Claudia, a Simmons Student just trying to make it to her next class.  



November, November, how I loathe thee.

November is a hard month. November means Thanksgiving, football, family, and the light at the end of the fall semester tunnel...but getting there means slogging through group project upon group project, paper upon paper, exam upon exam, and the chill that starts to creep and settle into your bones; for surely, winter is coming and there is no escape.


This November has been particularly distressing thus far; I've been in bed sick for the past week with a vicious "virus" (translation: we have no idea what's wrong with you, we know that you're practically coughing up a lung and your blood pressure is abysmally low, but you're not currently dying so...sorry, can't help you) and as I write this post I am, naturally, neglecting the assignments that have piled up during my absence.


There's one assignment I haven't neglected, however; for one of my classes (more on this later, I promise), I was required to write a critique on a professional dance performance. Perhaps knowing that I needed an advanced lesson in fine art, the Boston Ballet scheduling gods smiled upon me - the masterfully redone Swan Lake has been showing at the Opera House all November.

The Boston Ballet, being a nonprofit organization, has wonderful incentives for the community that I will shamelessly plug for the rest of my life: namely, student rush tickets. $20 gets you whatever seats are left in the house at 2 hours before showtime, and they are often fantastic ones - for last year's Nutcracker performance, my friends and I had rush tickets that were worth well over $200 each. Unfortunately, Swan Lake's (and principal dancer Misa Kuranaga's) popularity meant that I dragged myself out of my sickbed for nothing on Thursday night; it was sold out minutes before rush. My friend and I made the valiant trek downtown the next day, and we (finally!) scored tickets. They were the nosebleeds of the nosebleed seats (to explain this reference - nosebleed seats in football stadiums are so high above the field that you get a nosebleed from the dryness of the thin air), but there are no terrible seats at the Opera House.



Stressed is Desserts spelled backwards

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Contributed by: Julie Nickerson


As October flew by and November quickly turns into December, students succumb to the pressure of deadlines and are forced to face the stress of finals. Stress is a topic countless students are faced with, and many even struggle with it on a daily basis.

If not properly handled, stress can show up as cognitive, emotional, physical and behavioral symptoms and can lead to detrimental health issues. Many of these include exhaustion, chest pain, loss of sex drive, nervousness, frequent illness, irritability, depression or general unhappiness according to Web MD.


The most important piece of advice many doctors and teachers frequently tell college students is find a way to cope with your stress. For some this could be a casual stroll in the park while for others it involves a rigorous workout routine. Another form of managing stress is through sleep.

Apple Polisher? No, just a Simmons student.

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5 tips on being successful in the classroom:

  1. Take notes

Record what stood out the most/concepts that you will need to know for later on in the semester!


  1. Ask questions

Don't be afraid to speak up and ask clarifying questions when you don't understand something or offended by what someone said.

Creative Hands

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Contributed by: Danny Boucher

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Do you remember the first time you realized your hands could make something beautiful?


I do.


As a high school student I wanted to take a graphic design class but a prerequisite to the class was a black and white film photography class. Disgruntled, I signed up for the class in hopes that it would not bore me to death. Two weeks in, though, when I was standing over the developer waiting for my first ever photograph to develop, a familiar feeling came over me. I had felt it when I was a kid and made cards for my mom, or built things with my dad. In that one day of photography class, I came to the understanding that this class was not just a prerequisite; this was something I was quickly falling in love with.


Fast forward two years to me as a senior in high school. I had just put my deposit down at  Simmons college the papers were signed. I was going to Simmons to be  a Pre-med major. Simmons has this funny requirement, though, of fulfilling modes in different areas of study than your major. One of the modes is art. Being a typical first year took the easy way out, I knew how to do black and white photography and I wanted a class I knew I could get an A in. Poetry of Photography was my one way ticket to success. Three weeks into the class my professor looked over at me and asked in her kind voice what my major was again? I reminded her of my path to be the next great trauma surgeon. She looked at my contact sheet one more time, looked me dead in the eyes and said "you're not a Pre-med major. You're a Graphic Design and Photography major."

Craving Contemplation

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Whats up, Clauds? is a new series that chronicles the funny, off wall, and sometimes reflective experiences of Claudia, a Simmons Student just trying to make it to her next class.  


First, I just want to take a moment to acknowledge the reception my last post (remember, the one about Mean Girls?) received. The responses I've received so far have been overwhelmingly positive, and I just wanted to take a moment to say this: thank you, so very much. Thank you for leaving positive comments, sharing this post with your friends, chatting me up in the Fens, or really just for reading. I've never really known what it's like to have other people reading my writing (besides professors and the Simmons College Admissions Committee), so this has been a new and different experience. Thanks for being the real MVP's, and I hope you'll keep reading the blog (and not just my posts - check out the awesome things my fellow bloggers are writing about, as infrequently as they come - we're all busy people!) even if I'm not making obscure pop-culture references.

Chances are, even if you've only been at Simmons for a year now like I have (or even a month and a half), you've probably run into me somewhere on campus. (If not, you've definitely seen me watching football on the first floor of Morse or giving tours on Friday afternoons.) If you've been fortunate enough to be spared from "that girl who writes a blog, seems to know everything about Simmons, and haunts Morse Hall," i'll summarize myself for you pretty quickly: I'm an extrovert. While I generally despise stereotypes about extroverts and introverts, the general traits ring true: I gain energy through and thrive on social interaction, I process most of my thoughts externally (i.e out loud), and I like to talk. A lot. Combined with being a busy college student juggling classes, 2 jobs, and more extracurriculars than I can count on one hand that I can't actually remember on a regular basis, my extroverted tendencies are often cranked up to 11. To say it's kind of annoying is a slight understatement; even I give myself headaches from talking to people and doing stuff for 9-10+ hours nonstop every day.

Stuff is a very broad term, and I use it here intentionally; most days my calendar looks like a random mush of whatever I can fit in a day, even if none of it is remotely related to what came before it. Wednesdays are particularly heinous; I wake up at 7:30 to go to work, then class, lunch with my department faculty (aka the people I see at work, which is basically like being at work), maybe a quick 30-minute trip to a study room before I go back to work, then I go to Judicial Cabinet (not every Wednesday, though). I get my pre-ballet class warm-up in as I play Frogger across Brookline Ave during rush hour, and I end my day in a 1:1 with my RD over dinner.

And when I finally get back to my room, it's only 7:30, and I haven't even had a chance to process everything I've done since my alarm angrily serenaded me 12 hours earlier. Yikes. When I finally get to bed by midnight (maybe), I feel accomplished - my work is done for the day, my assignments are prepped for tomorrow, and I remembered to pack my spandex in my dance bag. (Or maybe it's just the spandex I was wearing today; whatever - nobody's going to notice, right?)

Of course, I don't need really to tell you any of this, because you all know what it's like. We're college students; it's what we do.

This is a PSA

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Whats up, Clauds? is a new series that chronicles the funny, off wall, and sometimes reflective experiences of Claudia, a Simmons Student just trying to make it to her next class.  


This is A PSA


Today, I'd like to interrupt your irregularly scheduled midterm study break to make an announcement.

This originally started off as a snarky Facebook status (more on that later in the semester), but as someone close to me pointed out, outright complaining does nothing. I realized that a Facebook status was an appropriate way to convey my message if I wanted it to be a throwaway, something that others would nod about in empathetic agreement and "like", aka subsequently forgetting about it 5 minutes later. I don't want what I have to say here to be a throwaway; this is something I want you to remember later today, tomorrow, next week, forever.


You need to stop comparing yourself to other people.

Survivors on the Yoga Mat

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Contributed by: Zenaida Peterson

Sociology professor, Becky Thompson, recently published her book "Survivors on the Yoga Mat," discussing issues of trauma, race and yoga. On Tuesday September 23rd, 2014 she had a book signing at Brookline Booksmith. The event was wonderful, people throughout the Simmons Community as well as yogi's and booklovers filled the basement of the independent bookstore to celebrate Becky Thompson's book and get it signed. Professor Becky Thompson was one of the first professors to take an interest in my academics and like many other professors, she has been a huge part of what has made my Simmons experience exceptional. Professor Thompson has taught many of my sociology courses including Sociological Theory and Working for Social Justice, the latter I became a TA for. She has showed me that my potential is limitless. I am so happy that I chose to come to Simmons to be a part of this incredible network of activists, teachers and friends. Thompson's book signing is an example of many ways that the Simmons community is deeply entrenched in Boston's academic culture.


Contributed by: Chloe Davis


It's only October and you have a set schedule for dining, chicken on Monday, pasta on Tuesday, salad on Wednesday, stir-fry on Thursday, and pizza on Friday. Your plate is no longer bright and colorful and piled sky-high as it was early on in September but now boring and lackluster. You say "it's just not the same" as a home-cooked meal, and you are right, but that does not mean that with a few tips and tricks that you couldn't change it. Here are the top 5 ways that I turn the dining halls at Simmons into my own dining room the best I can. With all of the options that have come within the last several years in Meyer's, Common Grounds, Bartol, and Quadside (now Bartol Late-Night), dining services is making it much easier for students to put meals together that work for them and can be modified to their tastes and dietary restrictions.