Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Graduation!

Hey.

Life is a crazy ride.  This Monday I graduated high school and officially entered a new chapter of my life.  My family came to celebrate my successes, even after all I have put them through.  It has been a great blessing to have been given the opportunity to have such an amazing education and now be headed towards another institution to continue studying the subjects I love and enjoy.

Here are some photos from graduation:








It was an amazing experience and it went by so fast, I barely remember it.  Honestly, a lot of students were sad to be leaving behind four years of memories and friendships but I feel prepared to step into college and build new friendships, new experiences, and new opportunities.  High school was difficult but college will be something completely new as I step both into a new environment and into adulthood.

This summer, I hope to sew more and learn to make new clothing as well as visit my family in Puerto Rico and do some exciting things such as hike into the rain forest and go zip lining.  Hopefully I will make new clothes and be able to share them with all of you.  

I am so happy to be back to my normal self and feel much better since my last post.  

Quick story about my cap because it holds great meaning for me:
After the incident with choosing my university, I became very sad as I mentioned in my last post.  I was confused and lacked faith that God had a good plan for my future.  So I went looking for bible verses and stories and blog posts that would help calm my soul, things that other people experienced that would set me back on the path to prayer.  That is when I cam across the bible verse Jeremiah 29:11.  After I wrote it down, I kept it in my journal for a while and when it came to decorate my graduation cap, I wrote it.  As I showed the progress of my decorations to my family, my aunt noticed the verse and said it was the same as the one on the card she gave me. In disbelief I retrieved the card only to realize it was the verse in Spanish and a chill went over my entire body.  This was the sign that the Lord was present and ready to be part of my future.  He will take care of me and ensure my future.  

Image result for jeremiah 29 11

A.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Envy.

Hey.

Recently, I came across a troubling realization.  I am envious.

My mother is probably reading this and flipping out because envy is such a terrible thing and its one those seven deadly sins and its just generally not good.  But, we all do it.  We all envy.

In today's society is it so easy to go online and peek into someone else's life.  It is so simple to see all that everyone has, all of their material possessions, all of their relationships, their lives essentially.  It is incredibly easy to compare what you have to what they have.

Personally, I was really depressed about having to make the tough decision to enter FIU rather than move to Washington DC for college.  I had a difficult time finding a reason to get out of bed.  Sometimes, I lost my appetite and even lost a few pounds over my saddness.  I didn't really tell anyone about how I felt until one night I just couldn't hold it in anymore and I walked into my parent's bedroom, sobbing like a child because I felt everything in my life had gone wrong.

Truthfully, life just isn't always perfect. Things were not going my way and seeing everyone around me so happy, filled with so many amazing opportunities and new experiences, I felt like I was being held back from reaching my full potential.

Then, out of nowhere, all the signs that I kept praying for came to me.

It all began prom night.  Prom was incredibly expensive.  Don't get me wrong, it was an unforgettable experience and I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to be part of the tradition that is "Prom" but I regret paying so much for one night.  I regret feeling like I had to be beautiful for everyone around me rather than feeling beautiful for myself.  I mainly regret feeling sad for myself about not having a date because despite being dateless, I had an awesome time with my friends.

That night taught me that I was so concerned about what others thought about me that I did not stop to think about what I thought of myself. I needed the elegant dress, the beautiful hair, the long nails, everything had to be perfect (@ Sharpay Evans).  By the end of the night, my makeup was streaking down my face, my hair was frizzy, and my heels were in my hand.  None of the other stuff mattered because I danced with my closest friends and had a good time while still being sober.

After prom, I realized I didn't need a mans nor did I need all of these excessive and expensive things to make me happy.

Then, the following night I went to church and a lady went up to my mother and started speaking to her about a new radio station which led to the conversation about a Puerto Rican prayer group and then led to the conversation about a young adult ministry.

One of my main concerns about going to FIU was that I would not be involved in my faith as I would be at CUA, especially considering my recent hindrance in my faith (we all have moments where we question ourselves and our connection to God, but that's a whole nother topic).  When I found out that there was a youth ministry near me of students my age that sought the Lord in the same way I did, I knew it was a sign.

So, the point of my anecdote was not to spark sympathy, because I am getting better, but to show you that sometimes life sucks.  Sometimes, we see that others are enjoying their lives and we see all that they have but even once we reach a similar point we still see what we don't have rather than all of the blessings around us.

Look around you.  Right now, you are probably envious and jealous of someone who has more, who has more money or more friends or more time to relax.  Let it go (@ Frozen lol).  Focus on all the amazing opportunities, even if they are small.  Things may not be going your way right now, but if you continue striving for your goals you will have all that you need to fulfill your own journey towards happiness.

It is so difficult with all of this negative energy and this push to lead an idle life but God calls us to keep pursuing greater goals.

Today, I am focusing on the small victories of just going to the gym and the sun shining beautifully outside because life is too short to be envious.

A.

P.S. - I looked like a little princess at prom and I had such a fun time!


Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Science.

Hello

My two favorite subjects in school have always been science and mathematics.  As a young girl, I was often teased and bullied for doing well in school and enjoying these subjects (even when I myself did not understand them).  Females are told from a young age that they do not belong in the STEM field because of their gender, because of women's predetermined role in society.  Furthermore, the entire discussion of science is seen as something to be discussed by people who lack the knowledge to be adequately part of the conversation.

Obviously, I consider myself a laymen, someone who lacks proper specialized knowledge in a particular subject.  I am still a student, still in the process of learning.  But this makes my role in the conversation that much greater, it makes me and all other students part of the future.

This weekend the March for Science was held in more than 600 cities across the world on Earth Day.  I learned more about the subject, as it is directly related to the field of engineering in which I plan on going into.  The movement is based "on informed advocacy, community building, and accessible education" (according to the March for Science website homepage: https://satellites.marchforscience.com).

Instantly, I thought about the great impact science and learning has on our community.

It is so important to be part of a conversation and to establish a connection with the world around us in a more coherent and specialized manner.  So, I encourage all of you reading this to become more aware.  Science may not be your best subject, sometimes the material is difficult to grasp and the lessons are hard to apply but it impacts every single one of us on a daily basis.

Learn. Be present.  Establish yourself as a member of society.

This world, it is not going to be here forever.  We must learn not only to care for it but to evolve in it.

If you have any topics or things that you wished to be discussed, please leave them in the comments below.

A.

P.S. - I wrote this a while ago and simply forgot to post it (lol) but I still believe the message is pertinent and hopefully sparks a discussion.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Evolving.

Hi.

Recently, things in my life have changed.  I have changed.  My perspective, my priorities, everything about me has matured and grown up into a small, concise package that is Ana Valentin.  When I began writing my blog, I made it in the hopes that I could share some of my high school experience as well as my love for fashion and other super girly things.  As crazy as it may seem, I am not the same person I was as a freshman in high school.  I have grown up a little and honestly, fashion is no longer a priority of mine (mostly due to lack of funds, but we will ignore that).

There is so much more I want to discuss and put out into the world (even if the only people that read this are my parents, hi mom and dad :).  Point being: my blog is a piece of me that will continue evolving as I do.

Quick Update:
So yes, I have chosen to change my blog and eventually the style and look will change too.  As I go into college and face the real world, I will have new experiences with new people and a whole new life.  Right now, things are changing drastically and not in the way anyone expected them to.  I will be remaining at home, living at home, commuting to college, studying biomedical engineering, while *hopefully* working part-time nearby.  No, I haven't decided if I will go to medical school or grad school or anything else for that matter.
But I am getting a new car and its beautiful, I will share at a later date.

Some of you may be wondering, why has Ana suddenly decided to make such a drastic change? Well my dear reader, because a drastic change was made in me.  I want to have fun times and be goofy and at the same time be able to uphold a meaningful conversation with another person, and I want my blog to reflect that.  I attempted to emulate people with a totally different life perspective than mine previously.  Now I am creating my own content that makes me happy and sparks a discussion that I want.

For a long time, I did not use my blog or write anything because I did not know how to tie in my life to my blog.  This time I can share my life, the reality of what college is like from my perspective and make a place where my ideas and my thoughts can flourish and my experiences can be shared without the overwhelming need to make everything perfect like all other social media seems to force us to do.  I realize I am not attending a college like Stanford where different minds come together in a melting pot of brilliance, but I've come to the conclusion that anything you do in life is up to YOU to make the most out of it.

I hope you all can support me in my decision to change this blog into a more lifestyle-discussion piece.

Thank you for all the loyal few that continuously read my work, and to the new readers I hope you stay to find out what I am all about.

A.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Being a Leader


Hello Lovelies!

As I have stated before, I am in a position of leadership at my school as the Battalion Commander of  Junior ROTC program of 250 cadets.  This past year has taught me so much about being in charge of a large group of people and being held accountable for everything that happens concerning the group. Leadership is so much more than just delegating and commanding people, it is so much more than just telling others what to do while you sit back and take the credit.  I am held responsible for all the good and bad that happens in the Gator Battalion.  So, stemming from this experience that is about to end in less than a month (wow, that's actually crazy) I wanted to let you all know some of the lessons I have learned this past school year!

~ 1 ~
Always be part of the process, but learn to delegate.
So, the majority of the time people that are placed in high authority have type A personalities.  From a psychological perspective dealing with stress, type A personalities are more competitive and self-critical.  It is important to know, you cannot control every little detail.  But that does not mean you must delegate every single task to someone else and just watch them do all the work.  Have a balance between delegating and doing thing yourself.

~ 2 ~
Be passionate about what you do.
People around you, particularly those underneath your leadership, will notice any changes in your enthusiasm and will mimic whatever you do.  If you are having a bad day, they will have a bad day as well.  If you lose passion for what you do, everyone around you will feel the same way.  I have watched projects fail because the participants lose passion due to bad/lack of leadership.  Remember, you are the foundation of whatever your in charge of.

~ 3 ~
Comparison is the thief of joy.
Whatever you do, never compare yourself to other leaders.  There is a stigma that you must be better than the last and you must be the best in your group, but that is not necessarily always the most optimal viewpoint.  You are not in a competition with anyone but yourself.  So focus on what you have to do and do the best within your own capabilities and everything will turn out fine.

~ 4 ~
Learn from those around you.
Despite being chosen for the position of Battalion Commander, I take the time every day to speak to the freshman in the program and converse with them as I would with a friend.  This is something that so many leaders overlook, the power of the smaller majority.  Everyone underneath you is dependent on you and it is important to know who they are and to learn from them.  They have ideas and concerns and they can bring a new perspective to the table. Do not underestimate anyone.

~ 5 ~
Trust yourself. Only yourself.
I once said, "Loneliness is an easy thing to come by on the road to success." That is true.  Being in charge and accountable for everything that occurs to a group of people forces you to make certain sacrifices.  My best advice is to keep things to yourself concerning the leadership role you are in because many people will want to see you fail.  Obviously do not hold things in and speak to trusted advisers but be careful about who you choose and acknowledge that you are in a position others want and may envy.

~ 6 ~
There is more to life than what you are leading.
As much as people tend to make their entire lives about work or about something very important to them, it is essential to maintain a balance among all aspects of life.  There is still family, religion, friends, and simple daily tasks that can be put on the back-burner.  Do not feel bad or selfish for occasionally saying no or taking a day off.

Leadership is such an important skill to have in life and I think everyone should have the basics of leading a group of people.  I hope this post will help some of you out in any upcoming leadership roles you may encounter.  If you have any questions or need some advice, I am always available so do not hesitate to ask.

Have a blessed day!

xoxo, Ana

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Cardinal Preview Day 2017

Hello Lovelies!

As you are all now aware of, I will be attending the Catholic University of America in the upcoming semester.  This past weekend I attended Cardinal Preview Day in which I got to explore the campus, speak to prospective students, and check out the Biomedical Engineering program.  I absolutely loved the experience and it really confirmed my choice in attending that institution.

I will be getting back into blogging as I've truly been missing writing and want to share the college experience with all of you.  Lots of things will be changing as I enter university, obviously I will be moving from Florida to Washington D.C. which is a completely different world.  This is incredibly exciting and I am honestly really happy.

Here are some pictures from the trip:










I really hope that I will be given the opportunity to remain consistent on my blog and hope that all goes well throughout the next four years.

xoxo, Ana

P.S. - Not sure if you noticed, but I did cut and color my hair.  I still have mixed feelings but I may go blonder next time!!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy 2017: I'm Back and I'm Better

Hello Lovelies!

It has been so long since my last actual post.  I honestly feel as if I have abandoned one of my favorite aspects of my life.  I have been extremely busy.  There has been many events that have occurred since we last spoke.  I want to quickly fill you guys in on some of the things that have occurred since I last wrote before I let you all know about the future, especially concerning my senior year of high school! :D

Well, I have participated in countless events such as the Freedoms Foundation Valley Forge trip as well as an awesome program called H2O to Go at Florida Atlantic University.  Those were more educational trips concerning history and marine biology, respectively.  I also went to Washington DC for Academic Team and made 16th in the United States.  Then, as a senior in high school so much has happened.  I am the Battalion Commander of my JROTC program so that's been so much work but I have also done Raiders (we made it to states! :) and other events throughout the year.  It has been very stressful but rewarding.  In my personal life, I had a boyfriend and then realized that neither was prepared for that kind of commitment and broke up with him shortly after.  Now I am spending time with my closest friends.

The biggest news has to be my acceptance into The Catholic University of America in Washington DC.  I have placed my enrollment fee in and will officially be attending in August 2017 in the school of Engineering to study Biomedical Engineering with a focus on pre-med.  I am super excited for the opportunity to study at such an amazing and religiously fulfilling institution.

The year 2016 was really difficult for me and very enlightening.  I am ready to go into 2017 with a new perspective and insight into what life is really about.

I hope you all had an amazing new years and holiday season and are prepared for another year of new experiences and obstacles.

xoxo, Ana