All posts by robin3me

After JMU

Its students deem JMU the “happiest place on earth” apart from Disney world. I don’t think JMU is the happiest place on earth; it is a college full of happy individuals. It’s not the windy climate of Harrisonburg or the blossoming quad in the springtime that makes the school what it is, it’s the ability of JMU’s students to find a balance between personal life – what makes us passionate and true to ourselves –and academics.

We are, for the most part, well articulated people, stuck in the in-between of childhood and adulthood. We plug ourselves into activities that match our interests and put everything we have into them, and, yes, we still manage to maintain a passing grade-point average without making ourselves miserable in the library.

I speak for a large population of girls when I say, JMU made us develop a backbone. The large proportion of girls at the university coupled with the normal aches and pains of our first “adult” relationships enabled us to discover what we’re made of at a rapid pace.

If I were to pick one descriptive word for myself after JMU, it would be prepared. That may seem like an awkward choice, but the reality is, a person may have a plan, and the next day it could be thrown out the window. If you don’t have rain boots/an umbrella on a rainy day, you may find yourself simply miserable, but if you are prepared for a storm, you will dance in the rain. So, the only thing that makes happy people succeed in life is being prepared—prepared to be flexible, to experience something new, to fall in love, to make a move, to do a job you never pictured yourself doing.

A quote I really like is “when you can’t control the winds, adjust the sails.” Change will happen, and your plans may take a positive spin that you never imagined. JMU was a different experience than I expected: I am graduating with a degree I did not plan on, I explored every career interest of mine under the sun and ended up with the one I started with, and I made fun of a handful of organizations that I didn’t understand completely, only to end up joining them or being friends with people in them.

My future is not concrete; I still make mistakes, and I am learning every day from them. However, I can promise myself that my personal journey at JMU brought me to a better place than I could have imagined – it strengthened my values of faith, love, and family. These are the three things that I want in my life despite where I live or what I do, and I am positive that they will be present should I continue to be able to adjust my sails.

1, 2, 3, 4…That was what BVI was for

by Molly Robinson

I never would’ve guessed that I would be sailing from island to island in the British Virgin Islands during spring break. Fortunately, someone close to me blessed me with the opportunity to take the trip. Here are some highlights:

Road Town, Tortola

Home to the original Pussers bar—famous for its chain waterfront locations globally and known to attract sailors of all types—and the starting point for many tourists, Tortola gives a small snapshot of island life including white beaches, friendly island-time locals, and palm trees.

Jost Van Dyke, Great Harbour and White Bay

The ultimate beach volley ball and paradise-like views, the Soggy Dollar bar…this location made it easy to forget reality.

Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda

On the way to this location, some of our crewmembers got to explore an under water plane wreck. Others adventured through the caves and pools under the giant boulders of the Bathes. After a long day of sun and water, Little Dix Bay Hotel provided a great way to unwind by linking up with other boats and dancing the night away.


….happened to be in the prime lobster season and is also known for its coral reefs and being a millionaire yacht destination. On the way to setting anchor near the beach, we visitied a yacht club that was, for lack of a better word, unreal, and came complete with an infinity pool and nautical themed rooms.

Leverick Bay, Virgin Gorda

On the way to this destination, our crew snorkeled and dove through a shipwreck. This bay is home to the world-famous bar, Willy Tees. The bar is literally a giant boat with multiple floors playing different music; it’s also known for the crazy behavior of its customers.

Other noteworthy events:
-Someone climbing a coconut tree with his bare hands, with success at retrieving three coconuts; the tree left him with cuts all over his body.
-A dolphin swimming by our boat for two solid minutes.
-Someone catching a barracuda while trying to fish.
-Food staples included endless mac & cheese and hotdogs.
-Boats rafted up next to each other proved to be a an obstacle course. In order for us to socialize on different boats, we had to climb and limp, leaving me with several bruises but lots of good laughs; someone told me to “learn some grace”…ok, thanks.
-Meeting people from at least five different countries including Argentina and Ireland.
-Sleeping on a boat with 7 very different people, with very limited access to showers or real toilets

Yacht week provided us a euphoric experience that simply cannot be summed up to in one blog post. I can tell you, though; I wouldn’t take any of it back. Though I didn’t let my hair down as much as others, I experienced the island life in full and am still recovering from the diversity of stimuli: crystal clear waters, neon colored fish, party animals of all types, and the sweetest of friends surrounding me.

Work It Out

ImageEveryone knows the health benefits of exercise from lowering blood pressure and cholesterol to even reducing the risk of some types of cancers.  For most of us JMU-goers, we were heavily involved in extracurriculars in high school. For me in particular, I was involved in sports, including 2-hour practices for swimming or cross country at least 5 days a week. So, it was hard to find a manageable workout plan when I came to college. I succeeded in routines of running and light weight lifting, however, this grew monotonous. So this semester I tried out fitness classes at UREC –a diverse mix of them.

The experience has taught me that “in shape” means an entirely different thing from  one person to  the next. In different cardio classes, I’ve been taught how to twerk, how to box, and how to cycle. Within their own specialties, all of these instructors are wicked in shape. However, if they had to teach a class outside of their element, they would likely find it difficult. Each class challenges me in different ways—cardio endurance, strength, or coordination. Some classes work muscles that I haven’t used in years. It’s been fun to mix up my routine and challenge my body.

Health professionals say that the habits you form in college will stay  with you throughout your adult life. For this reason, I think it’s important to learn what workouts work for you. For me, this means mixing up different types of cardio and strength training. For others, this may mean hitting the treadmill everyday (an occurrence that would likely make me go insane).  My advice to the average student trying to develop a workout routine?

  • Don’t develop a routine, find workouts that you enjoy.
  • Try all types of UREC group fitness classes– some you’ll hate, some you’ll love.
  • If a workout makes you feel good by the end, it’s served its purpose. No need to compare yourself to treadmill or weight-lifting addicts.
  • Don’t work out every day. Enjoy your life and avoid compulsivity with physical activity.

Find what exercises make you happy, and work it out! 

Popular TV Shows – Why?

by Molly Robinson

I like to watch TV because good shows are a way to escape reality for a while and immerse yourself in an alternate frame of mind. This being said, I want to highlight a few shows that have been extraordinarily popular in the past few months and share my thoughts.

The Bachelor– He’s a single dad, a former pro-soccer player; he’s Juan Pablo. Why multiple attractive girls find it necessary to fight over one guy, no one really knows. Is it too much to wonder why some of these women are still single at age 32? Clare, for instance, basically throws her body at Juan whenever she feels like “opening up.” Whereas Sharleen, the Opera singer, judges everything based on whether or not she feels organic. Who will be the one who “wins” the game of marrying Juan? Does it matter?

Pretty Little Liars– Who is A? Ali is back from the dead, but maybe that’s not necessarily a good thing. Probably the most captivating part of this show is how these girls wind up in the same situations over and over again. When will they ever reach the conclusion that being alone on dark, rainy nights in mental wards, cabins, or deserted schools in never a good idea? Spencer, Aria, Mona, Ezra, Toby, Wren—the range of unique names in the show never ceases to amaze.

Nashville– Is it endless cheating and affairs what makes this show so popular or is it the bad attitude and temper tantrums of main character, Juliette? Sure, the music in the show is sometimes surprisingly good, but is that enough to resolve the horrible family conflicts and secrets?

Breaking Bad– This show may illustrate everything bad in the world in just thirty minutes: drugs, murder, family betrayal, stealing, ect. Props to the creativity of the producers and sincerity of the actors and actresses—I could never pretend any of the content was remotely okay.

If you’re sick of the popular main stream shows check out Castle, a murder mystery show about a comical writer and a female police officer with attitude, or the West Wing seasons on Amazon Prime—I know it’s an old show, but it’s worth it—its captivating, real, and touching without themes of cheating and competition as the main attraction.

The College Balance: On Taking off More than You Can Chew

by Molly Robinson

With over 300 clubs to choose from, lots of cool people to hang out with, and tons of interesting majors and minors to pour yourself into, how do you narrow down what is manageable for you too do well? As a senior at JMU, I can tell you that I’m still figuring it out, but getting closer to what I believe to be a good balance. Below are some guidelines I’ve come up with to help maintain a good balance between succeeding in academics and enjoying extracurriculars in college.

Academics come first. There will always be something you are “missing out on” while studying. Who cares? You will feel better relaxing after your test knowing that you put your all in and did your best.

Pick a major you like. If you are choosing a major for the possible monetary gain in a future career and have no interest in the subject topic, you will hate every class and struggle to have any motivation.

Devote yourself to a few organizations and get really involved. There may be tons of clubs you are interested in; that’s great. In reality, though, you will find it more fulfilling to devote yourself to a couple clubs then to spread yourself thin between five. When you are really involved with a couple clubs, you have more time to give to what you care about with the organization, and you’ll have a better chance at developing meaningful friendships with people who have similar interests to you.

“Rate my professor” is your friend. A professor can make or break your experience in a class, especially if the class is for a general education requirement. Do your research, and make sure you get professor that wants you to do well. *This is more important than getting all Tuesday and Thursday classes.

Challenge yourself, but be reasonable. For the love of Pete, drop a class if you are failing. It’s hard to learn a whole subject area in three months time, and if you are struggling, save your GPA and not your pride. Choose course loads that will allow you to do well; you know yourself better than anyone else does.

Stick with the people who really care about you. College is four years long. Make an effort to find genuine friends who will support you, regardless of what obstacle you come upon. There will always be a large quantity of fun people around, but those aren’t necessarily the friends who will have your back when times get rough—and at some point, times will get rough.

Enjoy. Take it all in. Do the most you can with these years and take opportunity you can to do new things.

Appropriate Places to Snapchat: Is There Such a Thing?

by Molly Robinson

There are certain moments where it is perfectly okay to whip out your phone and take a Snapchat of a notable moment, such as your friend getting pied in the face or a dog doing a ridiculous body movement. But what about those “reply” selfies? Is it okay to Snapchat in the hallway? What about at lunch?

In all actuality, people use Snapchat for different reasons, and I totally agree with BuzzFeed’s 12 stereotypes of friends on Snapchat:

Regardless of your Snapchat use in college, I have compiled a few do’s and don’ts for the appropriate use Snapchat:

1. DO send selfies when now one is watching.
2. DON’T take or send snaps when in class.
3. DON’T take or send snaps while walking; trust me, you will run in to something.
4. DO take group snaps in a public setting—only when you’re in a group. Nothing looks weirder than you making a demented face at your phone while sitting in the corner of TDU by yourself.
5. DON’T open a snap in a public setting, such as class, if you have reasonable cause to believe it will make you burst out laughing.

Happy snapping!

Value in College

by Molly Robinson

There are some hundred of organizations at JMU, some 20,000 students that attend classes, and over 50 majors offered. How does the average student sort through it all and find their path at JMU?Statue of James Madison holding a card that reads "thinking of you"

It all comes down to what you choose to take value in:

  • Family, friends, and close/meaningful relationships
  • Excelling academically
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Fun
  • Work: part time or full time
  • Networking—connections through meeting a plethora of people

The reality is that when in college, you can do everything you want. It is possible to value all the above items; but when push comes to shove, some weeks you will have to choose what is most important to you. Beginning each new semester, students should reassess their goals and rank the above items. That way, when you have an “off” week or weekend, you can look back at what you’re going towards and what you want from your college experience—long and short term. At the end of the day, its better to give your all to a few things then to give little pieces of your time to a lot of things.

If you value getting into medical school, perhaps your organizations will be centered around this goal—from research with a professor, to TAing, and perhaps a biology honors society. If you value having fun and being around others, maybe you’ll choose Greek life or Student Ambassadors. Whatever you choose to value in college, I hope it suits you well. People will notice where you stand in your values and goals, and while college is an opportunity to experiment, it’s also a time to narrow down what you want out of your life!