“Commit yourself to lifelong learning. The most valuable asset you’ll ever have is your mind and what you put into it.” Brian Tracy

This past semester I took a Spanish class just for fun. I had taken four years of Spanish in high school, but didn’t take it at all during my undergraduate years. Partially because it wasn’t offered at my undergrad and partially because I didn’t make enough of an effort to take it through the college down the road. My interest in learning another language, specifically Spanish, was re-sparked over the summer when one of my really good friends and I went to visit my brother, Jeremy, in the Dominican Republic. (Shout out to Maria!!) Not being able to communicate very well with anyone and seeing him interact with everyone led me to talking to my supervisor about the possibility of enrolling in a Spanish course.

Since it had been 5 years since I had taken any Spanish, I originally signed-up for Spanish 101. Once my professor found out that I had taken Spanish in high school, though, she had me take a placement exam. I somehow tested out of Spanish 101 and landed a spot in Spanish 102. At first, I was really excited that I did well enough to be bumped up a level as I found the placement exam to be super hard. After the first day of Spanish 102, I was significantly less excited! We started on Chapter 6 and I didn’t remember as much from high school as I would have liked let alone what was covered in Chapters 1-5 in Spanish 101!!

Luckily, having class every day and with a little extra studying, what I once knew came back to me relatively quickly and I was able to keep up in class and not be too lost. I definitely learned a lot this past semester including a slew of new vocabulary and a couple of tenses. I even had the opportunity to take part in some outside of the classroom learning. In early December I volunteered at Santa’s Workshop, which was sponsored by a local church, and it gave low-income families an opportunity to pick out clothes and toys for their children for the holidays. They needed some volunteers to help translate for families that didn’t speak English. I was a little hesitant to sign-up at first as I was not confident in Spanish-speaking abilities. I was able to assist several families, though, which was a huge confidence booster. This experience also opened my eyes to ways that I can use the little Spanish knowledge that I do have to help others.

Although I wont be taking Spanish this next semester, due to taking an extra graduate level course, I do plan on continuing to study Spanish in the future! Since I didn’t have any pictures of my class or volunteer experience, I have included a few of my favorite pictures from my trip this past summer to the Dominican Republic as that is what led me to taking this Spanish class for fun!

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“Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.” Proverb quotes


I would not say that I have a lot of bad habits, but one that I have been trying to kick for quite some time is biting my fingernails. One of the reasons it was so hard for me to quit is because I did it mindlessly when I got nervous or anxious about something or if I had extra time to be fidgety. The reason that had the biggest impact on me not succeeding in stopping before, though, is that it didn’t bother me enough to focus on quitting. Sure, it was something that I did that I wasn’t particularly fond of, but it wasn’t something I found worth devoting my time and energy into stopping. Furthermore, my love for athletics and for playing the piano made having short fingernails desirable as then I didn’t have to worry about accidentally injuring myself or an opponent and I didn’t have to listen to the click of my nails on the piano keys.

As I was creating my Day Zero Project it caused me to think about things that I had always wanted to do or to stop doing that I never quite got around to. Hence the reason stop biting my fingernails made the list. I originally thought that this was going to be a hard thing to cross off my list since I had always been a nail biter, but surprisingly, that was not the case. In fact, it all started because I was having a conversation with a friend about biting my fingernails and just decided that now is as good of time as ever to quit. Once I made the conscious decision to stop, it was actually really easy! There are still a few times when I catch myself in certain situations start to mindlessly pick at my nails or cuticles, but once I am conscious of it, I stop.

Since I have stopped, I have a new found appreciation for painting my nails! As a child, since my nails were so short, I never really got into what all the hype in painting your fingernails was all about. I understand it now. 🙂 I have also found that it is a great way to bond with staff members and residents! Below are some pictures. Shout out to Ayla and Lex for an awesome nail painting party.

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