How to “glow up” this school year

By: Kerry Ingram, Arts & Life Editor
Kerry Ingram/The Towerlight


It is finally the start of fall semester (as I’m writing this, I’m in awe because I don’t know where the heck the first half of the year has gone to), which means change and newness is upon us. For TU freshmen, it’s the start of the next chapter of your lives. You are now living on your own for the first time, with more freedom than a bald eagle and with the world at your fingertips. For returning Towson students, this semester marks the resuming of your school-life and a fresh attempt at “adulting” while working towards your degree. For all of us, fall 2018 represents the opportunity to participate in one of the latest and greatest trends of our time:

The “Glow Up.”

The idea of “glowing up” has always been looked at as a trendy thing in our society. From classic and cliché movie scenes where nerds evolve into mega-attractive superstars, to throwback pictures of celebrity yearbook photos being collaged and compared to pictures of them in their current state, to you giving a compliment to your best friend about leaving her bangs in ‘09 – “glowing up” is what everyone wants and aspires.

Sounds like the definition of a trend to me.

However, this semester isn’t just for glowing up physically. Although this column is based on beauty and fashion, two very visible and materialistic topics on the surface, the true “glow up” I want to focus on is one that’s internal (cue audience “awww”s in the background.)

I don’t want to get cheesy on you here, but I do want to be honest. As college students, we are in a place in our lives that’s extremely pivotal. We’re discovering more and more about ourselves, still growing as individuals, while also taking on a boat-load of responsibilities and changes. Some of the decisions we make at this point will determine our paths for the rest of our lives. That can be overwhelming, to say the least, and really freaking scary, to say the most.

It’s really easy to forget to live in the moment at our age. Take it from me. I have always been a good student, have managed to make it to my senior year of college despite working multiple jobs, blogging, and interning ON TOP OF an 18-credit per semester schedule, and although I have accomplished a lot, I have also felt as though I haven’t lived the past three years of my life.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve been alive by literal definition, and I have made many friends and memories in these years in which I’m forever thankful for, but I haven’t been truly living. I’ve allowed my age and responsibilities to keep me stressed, busy, closed-off and unobservant of the moments that have surrounded me each semester. When it finally sunk in that this year would be my senior year, I became the real-life version of the Mr. Krabs meme. I was dazed, confused, and unsettled that the first three years of college was spent with me running at constant speed, never taking the time to stop and smell the roses because my mind was stuck in race-mode. But that stops now.

As of right now, I am choosing to live on purpose. Does that change my youthful uncertainty, workload, or responsibilities? No. But that changes my outlook. I am choosing to live each moment with appreciation, humor, and excitement. I am choosing to finish off my college career strong, with confidence in myself and my capabilities despite whatever obstacles I may face.

In short, I am choosing to “glow up.” And I advise you do the same.

An internal makeover is going to look different for everyone. For some people, they are already at ease with life and never stress (if you’re one of these people, let’s be friends.) For others, they may be really good at practicing self-care and self-confidence. What we need to work on will differ, but here are the basic things I think everyone should remember in order to practice this trend successfully:

    1. Stop wanting change. Start making it happen. We often wish and dream about things as if that is our only way of obtaining them. As long as what you want is morally responsible and legal, I say go for it. You can’t expect for your life to change unless you change what you’re currently doing first.
    2. Be open. In college, there’s A LOT of new things and people you’ll be exposed to. Keep an open mind and heart, and don’t judge what you don’t know.
    3. Be positive. At the risk of sounding like every motivational speaker out there, when you think positively, you receive positivity. Ever wonder why when one bad thing sets you in a mood, more bad things seem to happen? It isn’t always life that’s out to get you; sometimes it is a “you problem.” If you don’t believe this will work, I challenge you to spend the rest of your day thinking on the bright side of things and keep track of how many good things end up happening because of it. You’ll thank me later.
    4. Believe that anything is possible. The moment you carry doubt is the moment your possibilities become limited. Truly have faith in yourself, enough to know that what you want it available to you (guys, I’m really starting to sound like I belong on a TEDTalk, I’m proud.) People who dream big aren’t naive; those are the people who end up with brilliant lives. Just look at Oprah. She’s inspiring enough.
    5. Say goodbye to fears and comfort zones. Honestly, what is the point of living in fear? I recently read the book “You Are a Badass” by Jen Sincero, in which she spoke on the fact that fears are irrelevant. Why? Because to fear is to have strong emotions over something that hasn’t even happened yet. I read that and was shook because it’s so true. I’m not saying to go crazy at college and to jump off of bridges and party like it’s 1999. Just branch out. Stop fearing the unknown and embrace it. Try new things. And have fun while you’re at it.
    6. Appreciate everything. Be thankful for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Life’s ups are worth remembering because they’re the awesome moments you’ll cherish forever, and life’s downs are worth remembering because they serve as lessons learned. So start being thankful, y’all. Thanksgiving may be months away, but our gratefulness shouldn’t be.
    7. Love yourself to your fullest extent. There’s only ever going to be one you and life is definitely a lot easier when you decide to love who you are, flaws and all. What you feel towards yourself is what’s most important, so make sure it’s genuine love.

This school year is going to be different. It’s new, it’s fresh, and it’s time for everyone to “glow up” and make the world a little brighter. We can never have too much self-growth and happiness, so if you are to choose one trend to follow throughout this entire semester, I highly suggest it be this one.

I promise: it’ll be lit (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist.)



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