Archive for the ‘Summer’ Category

There’s something else you should know about me, dear readers. I am Slovenian and proudly so. While many of my friends know nothing of their heritage, I can proudly say that I’ve seen my “homeland” three times already and that it really does feel like home. I feel particularly grateful for all the family I have over there. At least if I ever end up lost in Europe I have somewhere to go. But here’s the funny thing about Slovenia… No one knows where it is.

People I first meet often wow over my very Slovenian last name- Strgar (pronounced Struh- gar) and sometimes they’ll even tell me I have an accent. Funny, considering how I was born in Minneapolis and grew up in the Northwest for most of my life. Then they’ll ask me where my last name is from. It’s Slovenian, I tell them. Where’s that?

Let me tell you. It was the first part of Yugoslavia to secede in 1991. It’s a tiny country settled right on the northeastern corner of Italy. It’s the size of New Jersey and has a population of nearly 2 million people. It’s bordered by Italy, Croatia, Austria, Hungary and the Adriatic Sea. But then again, the article in the New York Times on Saturday could’ve told you that.

What it also could’ve told you (unless you’re an avid soccer fan) is that Slovenija (as it’s really spelled, at least in Slovenian) has a really impressive soccer team. According to the article, Slovenia is the smallest country vying for the 2010 World Cup. However, that hasn’t stopped Slovenia’s team in the past as it qualified for the 2000 European championships and the 2002 World Cup.

The team has only let in 4 goals during its qualifying run, mostly thanks to 25-year-old goalie Samir Handanovic who also plays for Italy’s Serie A. Slovenia is blessed with 21 other players who play for foreign club teams. The 11 starters play on teams such as Belgium, Poland and Germany. Although the Slovenian team has a couple players in their early 30s, the majority of the team is in its mid-20s.

It was an unexpected victory for Slovenia, however, despite their strong team. Slovenians worldwide will be routing for this small, but mighty team. Whether they have the manpower to defeat powerhouses like Spain or Brazil, it is still hard to say. The fact that they made it is enough of a national morale booster.

For me, the fact that Slovenia will be playing is enough for me. I wish I could be in Slovenia at such an exciting time. I guess I’ll have to settle for the Slovenia vs. US game.

The blog assignment is officially over. The school year of 2009-2010 is practically over. Summer is so close I can taste it (and the fact that I’m buying country music en masse again proves that). I believe I told you all before that I fully intended to keep this blog going, and, well, that’s as true now as it was then.

I’m so grateful to my professor for giving me this opportunity because I honestly wouldn’t have taken the initiative to do near daily writing. However, now that I have the space, I figure I might as well use it.

Thus without further ado, here is my foolproof guide to studying for finals, and, well, how to survive.

In my opinion, spring quarter finals (and I’m talking about those on the quarter system here) are the hardest to take. You’ve already had two other sets of finals, summer’s coming (although the weather here in Oregon doesn’t show it), and it’s just that time of year when you really don’t want to be in school. I feel ya. So here you are, the ways I survive finals.

1) Breathe: No, I’m serious. It sounds really cliche, but it’s true. It’s really easy to get caught up in minute details and forget to breathe. Breathing is important. Try some guided meditations and fall deep into your center.

2) Focus: When it comes right down to it studying for finals is all about time management. Set aside strict study time and stick to it. Try and do it in the middle of the day when you’re most awake, rather than those wee hours in the morning when you really should be sleeping.

3) Sleep: Although finals is notorious for re-arranging sleep schedules until they’re practically non-existent, now is not the time to give up sleeping. Sleeping is essential to mental health and dreaming helps you process your every day experiences. So catnaps won’t cut it.

4) Exercise: Another thing that’s easy to fling out the window once finals come a knockin’ is exercise. It’s hard enough to find time for it normally, but even harder during finals week. Don’t let it go! You’ll feel more in tune to yourself and just as Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde “Exercise gives you endorphins and endorphins make you happy…” What more advice could you need?

5) Eat (Well): You’re spending 5 hours in the library and it’s easy to just take a huge bag of chips to snack on, right? No. Ever heard the phrase, you are what you eat? Well, it’s as true as ever. Finals is a time when you should be eating a lot of really good food and taking vitamins. No need to get sick now!

6) Relax: Remember how I was talking about time management earlier? You should also schedule in some relaxation time every now and then (even if it’s just for an hour). I know, I know, it’s easy to say to yourself, “I’ll get all this done and I’ll have all summer to relax.” No, relaxation time during stressful events is also critical to your mental health. Therefore, don’t feel bad about lounging on your bed, having some friends over, or watching a movie. You need it.

And finally, remember that nothing lasts forever… Especially finals. So good luck, everyone. I know you’ll do great!