Why I love “Y’all”

This post was originally written by Sarah Weller and published on June 23, 2011.

I am not southern. I was born far to close the Mason-Dixon to ever be considered southern, however, as a northern transplant to Chapel Hill, I’ve found myself adopting some southern tendencies (and I don’t just mean my obsession with Carolina BBQ and sweet tea). The longer I’ve been here the more I hear “y’all” edging into my day-to-day vocabulary… to my family, “Are y’all ready yet?” To my friends “Do y’all want to go to the store now or later?” At work, “Have y’all seen the stapler?”

At first it sounded a bit strange coming out of my mouth, but now I like it, especially as I think about why y’all really is a better way to address a group than the alternative, “you guys”. But “y’all,” which is the combination of the words you+all, is gender neutral. Think about it, saying “you guys” implies you’re talking to a bunch of men, it’s not really accurate if you’re addressing a mixed gender group, but y’all it’s all inclusive!

Just look at the multitude of uses of y’all found via the wiki site (that’s right, “y’all” has a wiki!)

  1. A replacement for the plural of you.
    • Example: “Y’all can use the internet at the same time!”
  2. An associative plural, including individuals associated but not present with the singular addressee.
    • Example: “Y’all can come over at around 10:30,” Stephanie says.
      • Stephanie explains to John that John and John’s friends, who are not present at the time, can come over at around 10:30. Stephanie is speaking to John, but treats John as a representative for others.
  3. An institutional plural addressed to one person representing a group.
    • Example: “Y’all sell the best candies, Mrs. Johnson.”
      • Y’all is received by Mrs. Johnson who is the representative of a small candy business.
  4. A form used in direct address in certain contexts (e.g., partings, greetings, invitations, and vocatives)
    • Example: “Hey, y’all!”
      • A greeting that addresses a multitude of people without referencing a singular identity comprising that multitude

Oh and who could forget, the classic… “Y’all come back now, ya hear!?”

FLASHBACK FRIDAY: In Someone Else’s Words

Sometimes the best advice – the most meaningful nuggets of information – are all packaged up in a sentence or two. So with midterms upon us (eek!), I thought I’d share some of my favorite quotes, some funny, some serious, some motivational. Thus, today I’m not actually really going to write anything (apart from this introduction that is), instead enjoy someone else’s (wise) words:

 “Happiness is anything and anyone that is loved by you.” — Charlie Brown, of Peanuts

“Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Some days even my lucky rocketship underpants won’t help.” — Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes

“We learn wisdom from failure much more than success. We often discover what we will do, by finding out what we will not do.” — Samuel Smiles

 And of course, the CWS favorite: “Don’t stop believing” — Journey

PS. I lied, I am going to write more (but just a little more). If you enjoyed these, there are tons of quote databases online (like this one) with a wealth of great quotes. Also, please share your favorites with us via comments!

Sunburn and Your Skin (OUCH!)

Here it is! The requisite summer blog on sunscreen! There is something about the summer heat that just makes my wellness brain say, “You know Sarah, you should write a blog on sunscreen.” So, okay wellness brain, here we go…

Doing a little digging, blogger Dave wrote an amazing blog on sunscreen last year. In it he covers SPF, reapplication, expiration dates, cosmetics and hydration, complete with a  Jersey Shore clip. Clearly I can’t compete with that. So, if you have questions on  SPF, reapplication, expiration dates, cosmetics, hydration or the Jersey Shore, I highly suggest you check out Dave’s aptly named blog, Sunscreen (Complete with a Jersey Shore clip).

Instead, I decided to explore sunburn, i.e. the result of not wearing sunscreen. Continue reading

Get Creative!

There’s no recommended age on creativity!

Almost a month ago I was helping out at this year’s PASS event, and while talking to some fellow students about blog topics one really caught my attention—creativity through arts and crafts. As an avid pinterest-er (yea I admit it), I have recently renewed my love of all things crafty. With all the hustle and bustle required from my master’s program, I’d nearly forgotten the simple joy and satisfaction that comes from creating something. This was actually quite a shame, because as soon as I rediscovered this, I realized that I find some catharsis in creating something myself. The simple act of watching the pieces of something come together – of smoothing paint over an uncolored surface of my masquerade mask or cutting out bunches of felt flower petals – puts me in the zone.

Arts and creativity are a personal joy- the activities that make me happy are not always the same activities that are going to bring satisfaction to anyone else. Instead, we each can explore to find ways that help you to express yourself. I have friends who paint, sew, scrapbook, sketch, scribble, and knit for their creative release. You don’t have to limit yourself to the visual arts. You could try some auditory  stimulation by picking up an instrument or singing. What about writing? Grab a journal, jot down your thoughts, and perhaps scribble a poem. Or maybe your interest is culinary creativity? Try grabbing some pots and pans and whip up something tasty!

There are tons of websites and venues out there to get you inspired on your creative journey. Here are  just a few Continue reading

True or False: Cavities are Contagious?

TRUE (kinda).1,2

While we usually blame sugary foods as the main culprits for cavities, it’s actually bacteria that are the root cause. These bacteria form a sticky film on teeth, called plaque. These bacteria feed off of food particles left in your teeth, with a special gusto for sugary foods. When these bacteria consume sugar, they create an acid, which in turn harms teeth and causes cavities. Like the bacteria that cause the common cold, these bacteria can be passed from person to person, specifically through the exchange of saliva containing cavity-causing bacteria. And just in case you’re thinking it, yes kissing has been linked to the spread of cavities.

“Kissing between couples can also cause the spread of harmful bacteria. Smigel has seen many patients, particularly women, who have clean, healthy mouths, discover a cavity or two after entering into a relationship with a man who has cavities, gum disease or hasn’t been to the dentist in several years.”2 Continue reading

No More Pencils, No more Books…

… No more teacher’s dirty looks.

Remember the amazing energy and promise of the last day of the school back in Elementary School? Clamoring onto the bus, singing “no more teachers,” maybe throwing paper airplanes out the window (not that I ever did that or anything) and thinking about all the amazing things you’d do over the summer without all that darn homework to do? Well I’m not going to lie, I kind of feel like doing that now.

With classes wrapping up and the weather warming up, I’m starting to think about all the possibility and promise that summer offers. Despite the fact that summer break in college comes with some strings attached—summer jobs, internships and perhaps summer classes—for me it’s always entailed a sense of adventure, relaxation and promise. I’ll be working pretty hard this summer, however; I’ve already begun to plan some little adventure here and there that I never had time for during the school year. For example… laying by my pool (with sunscreen on of course), learning to grill a really great steak, finally going to Asheville and, hey, maybe I’ll make a few paper airplanes just for the heck of it.

So, on behalf of all of us here at Counseling and Wellness we’d like to congratulate you all on a year successfully completed here at Carolina, whether it’s your first or your last (woo class of 2012!). Enjoy your summer, have an adventure, or don’t, whatever you fancy. But, the bottom line is, take some time relax and enjoy—it’s your summer and you deserve it!

Here at Counseling and Wellness we’ll also be relaxing a bit, but we’ll still be blogging! Make sure to stay tune in for new blogs on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Have a suggestion for a topic you’d like to see? Submit it anonymously, using the anonymous submission box on the right hand side of the screen.


Avoiding the Stress Competition and 6 Other Tips for Surviving Finals

Finals period! Oh what a wonderful time of year!

Sike. Let’s just be blunt. Finals. Period. Sucks. It’s a stressful time of year. End of story. There is really no way that a 2 week period testing your knowledge on ALLLL the things that you learned during the past 14 weeks could be anything but a little stressful.  But there are some ways to make it suck less, and maybe to even harness some of that stress for good.

  Above all- Don’t Engage in the Stress Competition at all costs!!!

Person 1:“I’m so stressed. I have 2 papers, and 3 finals to go. I’ve been up since, like, 6:30 this morning.”

Person 2: “Uh, me too. I’ve had like 6 cups of coffee today. I only got like 3 hours of sleep.”

Person 1: “Oh yea, I only got like 2.5. I had to finish that take home we had due for biochem.”

How often have you been hanging out with friends during high-stress times like finals period and suddenly found yourself in a similar conversation, wherein, one person’s stressors just feeds off the other’s. BEWARE! While this might seem like simple commiseration, it only serves to perpetuate an atmosphere of stress! In fact, let’s all actively FIGHT the stress competition. When you find yourself beginning to engage in a Stress Competition, immediately say something nice. Something positive. Do jumping jacks. Make a scene. ANYTHING but engage in the stress competition- for serious.

Oh and here are 6 other handy tips for finals times…

1.       Make a Schedule: Sound familiar? You’ve probably received this advice on repeated occasions, but it’s a good suggestion, so it bears repeating. Many times, stress stems from trying to squeeze too much into too little time. By setting out a schedule, you help to structure your time, ensuring that you’re not left at the 12th hour with 20+ pages to read/write. (Bonus: By creating a schedule and using your time wisely you have more time for #3 and #4!)

2.       Prioritize: Much like making a schedule, prioritizing helps you to avoid that last minute cram.

3.       Avoid Productive Procrastination (Or Procrastination At all): Personally, I often try to do smaller easier tasks, while ignoring my looming larger assignments, something a friend of mine calls productive procrastination. While this might seem like at least I’m getting something done, it really just causes me extra stress when I have to scrabble to finish the BIG assignments in the end. Those little assignments aren’t going anywhere, and they’ll be just as easy when you’re done with the big one. Same thing for procrastination at all. It’s only going to sneak up on you in the end. Facebook, Twitter, that trip to Taco Bell will still be there when you’re done (and can even serve as a pleasant reward for finishing!)

4.       Take Care of Yourself: I CANNOT repeat this enough. If your body is not well, your mind is not well. Deprive it of the essentials– sleep, nutrients from good food– it’s just not going to perform the way you want it to, and you’re not going to perform the way that you want to. So treat your body right. Take care of yourself.

5.       Don’t Forget Balance: Staying balanced during finals period can be hard. But don’t forget to intersperse some of the activities that really make you happy in between papers and study sessions.

6.       Set Realistic Goals: Know what you can and cannot do. Finishing an X page paper in X amount of time might be realistic for some, but not for you. Use this knowledge to help guide you in #1 and #2.
Any other great suggestions on avoiding finals time stress?

Creating a Happy Space (An Earth Day Post)

(FYI: This is an Earth Day Post, it might not seem like it, but wait for it, it’s coming!)

I recently went through the painful process of searching for an apartment. I knew exactly what I wanted. One bedroom, good light, clean, preferably with a porch. How challenging can that really be? Pretty challenging, apparently. For some reason, apartment after apartment just didn’t feel “right.” The space didn’t make me happy. I finally found a place that vibed with me. Regretfully, I am paying a little more for it. But heck, what’s a little more for happiness?

For me, my foray into apartment hunting drove home how  important space is for my mental health. Then, through the strange maze of circuitry in my brain I began thinking beyond just my personal space, but bigger. About how the environment as a whole impacts my mental state. Living in a clean environment definitely makes me a happier, more pleasant person. Look at these two pictures. Which one do you think would help you achieve peace of mind?

 Beach A?  
Or Beach B?

 With all that trash on Beach A, I know I would MUCH rather be on Beach B. My personal take-a-way from this is: If I want to spend time on beaches like Beach B, shouldn’t I be helping to create them? All that trash on Beach A had to come from somewhere. How much am I contributing to problems like this?

To answer these questions I turned to the trusty internet! There I found all sorts of information, but one resource in particular I think is worth sharing: the Global Footprint Network’s, Footprint Calculator. The Global Footprint Network is a nonprofit organization, “established to enable a sustainable future where all people have the opportunity to live satisfying lives within the means of one planet.” Their Footprint Calculator, helps individuals to determine what exactly their “footprint” is, i.e. how much of earth’s resources are consumed during their regular day to day activity. After answering a series of questions like “How often do you eat beef?” or “How much trash do you generate?” the calculator will tell you how many earths it would take if everyone on the planet live the same as you. (Mine was embarrassingly high and I refuse to share).

Never fear though, the calculator doesn’t simply give you information and set you on your way. is the site includes tons of information about how to reduce your footprint. Something as simple as taking the bus once a week or cutting meat from your diet (Meatless Monday anyone?) is a start!

That’s why this Earth Day (see it’s there), I’m pledging to redouble my efforts to be Earth friendly and reduce my own (embarrassingly) large footprint.

My Learning Style and Why I Need to Learn to Knit

This blog is dedicated to everyone who’s ever been told:

“If you would just listen you would understand.”

“Just look at the diagram, it makes sense.”

Or “Stop moving around, sit still and just study already.”

Were you never able to just listen? Look? Stop moving? Well, I’m here to validate you, using science (fancy, I know), so the next time that someone tells you to just  _____. You can respond:  “That’s just not my learning style!”

What? Learning style? That’s right. The theory of learning styles was developed by  psychologist, David Kolb, in the 1980’s to explain how and why different people acquired knowledge differently.  Kolb outlined four different potential learning styles based on how learners engage with material by feeling, doing, thinking and/or watching. I won’t delve too deeply into the theory here, but if you’re interested you can find a more detailed explanation here.

Instead, I’m going to focus on the three most popular learning styles categories1, 2: Continue reading

Q: What do the Facebook timeline and liver have in common?

facebook logo
(Credit: marcopako)

A:  I don’t like either.

Yesterday I logged into Facebook and I was not pleased. Want to know why? Suddenly, my Facebook had switched to timeline! I did not want this. I joined Facebook in 2005, back when you had to have an .edu email to join, there was no such thing as an app, and there wasn’t even such a thing as an album. As time has passed, I’ve tried to be open to the changes.  Facebook albums—okay cool.  News feed—eh I can deal. A million different app requests to ignore—slightly irritated. Timeline—this may be the last straw.

Why am I so opposed to the timeline? Continue reading