80’s Pop, Peanut Butter, and Positivity: the 3 P’s of Winter Quarter Survival

Let it be known that winter quarter has felt like quite the journey to me. I guess fall quarter felt that way too though, but something about the combination of having to maneuver my southern Californian ass through the bitter winter weather along with what I had going on in my classes resulted in a unique period of growth within the timeline that is my college journey of self-discovery. The goings weren’t always the most pleasant, but luckily along the way I was able to find some distinct resources that would make things more bearable and help me power through. My “tool kit” of sorts was composed of the conveniently alliterative items of 80’s pop, peanut butter, and positivity. These are things that I have always thought of fondly in the previous chapters of my life, but in these past 10 or so weeks they have come to fruition as total superstars within my own personal realm of whimsy.

Needs more glitter, but inspiring nonetheless

One of the four classes that I took was the freshman rite of passage that is English 101. This class built itself upon 3 main projects that were worked on over the length of the quarter (with the last project being what I am currently writing and what you are currently reading. I am not fully out of the woods yet!!). Overall, I think the coursework provided a substantive amount of challenges that really provoked me to utilize my often purposefully neglected critical thinking skills. But there were times when my motivation to start on these projects dwindled dangerously low. Mostly because I was completely clueless on what I wanted the subject matter of my work to be, but also because I am a human being and I much prefer leisurely activities above all else. This is where our first power player comes in: the gift to society that is the pop (and rock) hits of the 80’s. OH MAN let me tell you, nothing soothes my weary 19 year old soul more than the sweet, sweet synths of the 80’s. One of my dreams is to go back in time and go to an 80’s high school prom, wearing a dress with sleeves puffier than my head and more glitter than a Michaels craft store. BUT that’s besides the point. Really, I just want to acknowledge what a mood booster 80’s music is for me. Whether it be while working on class assignments, or just walking to campus, my 80’s playlist on Spotify served as delightful background music that fueled my spirit with its outrageous kitsch. So shoutout to Madonna for providing me with “Material Girl” as my semi-ironic anthem, to Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Let’s Groove” for transporting me to a care-free, disco ball illuminated dance floor, and to Crowded House’s “Don’t Dream it’s Over” for making me shed a single nostalgic tear for a decade I never got the chance to experience. (PS take a wild guess at what I’m currently listening to)

God bless America. God bless peanut butter.

Comfort. Indulgence. Natural ingredients. These are the things that I crave ravenously, especially after spending a class impatiently watching the clock like an airborne vulture. When the hour finally does strike, I spare no time in hauling ass back to my dorm, eyes on the prize of relishing in as much sanctuary as one can have when sharing a small living space with 4 other people. Once I finally arrive, the snacking commences. In particular, there is one culinary delight that has really rocked my world and reached god tier for me this quarter: peanut butter. More specifically Wild Friends Sugar Cookie peanut butter (not sponsored). Sugar cookie! PEANUT BUTTER!!! It’s insanity in a jar! Not to mention it’s high in protein, made with whole ingredients, and non-GMO verified! Now this is one of Wild Friends seasonal flavors, so after the holidays came and went, these babies went on sale for an earth shattering $4.00 off (they are normally priced at about $6.00)! Now this is barely a hyperbole when I say that I’m pretty sure I’ve consumed more peanut butter since starting college than I ever have in my life. And I am not ashamed. We’re talking healthy fats here people, good for not only the soul, but your pumpin’ and thumpin’ heart too! Whether smeared on toast, plopped into a smoothie, or just straight up shoveled from jar to mouth, peanut butter provided me with the much needed caloric fuel I needed to sustain myself this quarter. But now let’s take a moment of silence as the sugar cookie flavor has finally left the shelves for the year. Keep the moment of silence brief though, because Wild Friends offers plenty more enticing flavors that I can’t wait to try (once again I can only wish that they were paying me to say this).

The third and last P of winter quarter survival is a little more serious: the practice of positive thinking. What’s not so serious is how my motivation for continually doing so has stemmed from a dorky inspirational quote desk calendar that my mom had sent me. Now, I have slowly been gaining a better grip on sustaining a positive mindset since my junior year of high school, and at this point I can happily say that I am pretty proficient at doing so. I no longer let myself dwell on any negative thoughts, and whenever I do think something pessimistic, I remind myself that it’s complete BS and do my best to extinguish the flames of any bratty moods before they grow to being more detrimental to my mental health. But so back to the whole desk calendar thing, each month a new motivational quote is presented in a font tasteful enough for me to not have tossed it straight into the trash from the get-go. Since 2017 has started, I have employed each monthly quote as a mantra of positivity, combatting whatever doubts or challenges I need to face. For instance, January’s quote was “have faith and believe yourself”. While this does not stand as a particularly groundbreaking proclamation, it was just the words I needed to hear diving into both the new year and a new quarter. I repeated those words in my mind on the first day of the new quarter, before having to speak in class, and in the middle of an audition for a dance show. Low and behold, I was able to make it through all those things. Heed my words: don’t underestimate the power of a good motivational quote.

As winter quarter draws to a close and sunny weather beckons itself a little closer, I send it off with the tip of my hat and a raise of my glass (probably filled to the hilt with a chocolate milkshake). I wouldn’t call this quarter my friend, but I respect it. I’ve been reminded of the therapeutic properties of music, the supremacy of a good-quality nut butter, and the life-changing act of only allowing yourself to look up and ahead. What will spring quarter bring? There’s no way of knowing that for sure, but with whatever happens, I’m going to take a cue from March’s motivational quote and just go with it, because “a truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour”.

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