Welcome to Everything But The Bagel, a weekly space to make you feel a little less stressed, and a little more grounded, just with writing instead of cream cheese. By diving deeper into the reality of life as a (remote) Trojan, Everything But The Bagel will help you get through the ups and downs of your college experience. Through relatable anecdotes, interviews, and my curated edit of recommendations, this newsletter will remind you that you are at this school for a reason, further helping you make the most of your time at 'sc.

Dear Beautiful, Imperfect, Intelligent Humans/Baegelers,

I hope you are having a wonderful Wednesday. I know I’m still recovering from the chaos of last night’s debate as well as my day-long fast on Monday––G’mar Tov to those who celebrated! Naturally, I have been eating leftover bagels and cream cheese for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So, full disclaimer: this week you are reading Everything and The Bagel.

All jokes aside, I hope you are all doing well during this confusing and unexpected semester. In one of my Journalism lectures last week, the class had just finished our extensive midterm project and we were all stressed about the work week ahead. Our professor not only asked us how we were doing, but he reminded us that “it’s just school, it’s not that serious,” and that the work always gets done.

Never in the past 20 years of my life as a student have I heard a person in a position of power reassure me that “nothing is that serious.” Weight immediately lifted off my shoulders. Suddenly, I was able to see the power of perspective more clearly than ever before.

This week I had the opportunity to “sit down” with the wonderful entrepreneur, career coach, trained psychotherapist, author, speaker and Trojan (among other things) Priya Rana Kapoor. Kapoor entered the holistic wellness and coaching space to “help people improve their lives and look forward” which is easier said than done during a global pandemic.

More specifically, college students have been promised the cookie-cutter, romanticized “college experience.” But with school, extracurriculars and parties all happening from the confines of our bedrooms, these expectations have been thrown out the window. And it’s uncomfortable. Extremely uncomfortable.

But Kapoor views the situation from a different angle, telling me that this time “is about seizing the opportunity. There is enormous change going on right now. And college students are in the perfect place to be at the forefront and to be the leaders going forward. I mean, has there ever been this opportunity with the technology that’s available? Students in college have the ability to change, they have the ability to see a need, and fulfill that need for other people, even for the country and the world. So to me, I see that students are perfectly positioned right now to live their best life and shape the future.”

Kapoor acknowledges the genuine struggle that many college students are enduring, stemming from a lack of social interaction while grieving their promised college experience. But she also reminds us that “this is happening all over the world” even though we feel like we are facing this pandemic alone.

Yet it still remains hard to take steps forward when many of us are feeling stuck or unable to live life as we please.

Kapoor recommends using those feelings of helplessness to “find what you are passionate about, or what you love, or your purpose” as you never know what that passion project or side-hustle could lead to. Kapoor also advises getting out of your heads and returning to gratitude at every step of the way, “every day, I go to bed thinking about what I was grateful for. And some days, it’s more difficult than others. But if you go every night, oh, I am grateful that someone’s called me. I’m grateful that I actually didn’t watch the news today, or whatever it is, it helps.”

My main takeaway from our conversation was the importance of keeping an open mind in embracing the detours and off-roading of life. Kapoor even went as far as to say that detours are a blessing in disguise."All of a sudden [you] see something you’d never see. So you want off-roading to happen. Because that is going to open up a world of possibilities."

This week, I am challenging you to think of a specific battle or roadblock that is holding you up or that you have been ruminating on. Ask yourself: How can this struggle help me in the long run? What does this detour tell me about who I am and who I want to be in this world? How can I connect with and help other people as I climb up this steep mountain? And how can I allow others to support me during this difficult time?

Wishing you all a week full of self-reflection, reframing and laughter –– lots of laughter

-Ella


Now here’s some of my favorite things from this week:

Quote of the Week:

“This pain isn’t your enemy… It’s your ally — leading you away from a wasted life and pointing a way toward a more fulfilling one.” - Johann Hari

While Everything But The Bagel is a space that encourages optimism, self-reflection and growth, I would be tone deaf to ignore the universal suffering that we are experiencing today. People are hurting. The world is hurting. And let me be frank –– there is nothing that I could ever say or do to undermine or extinguish that pain. But in referencing today’s theme of perspective, let’s use this pain to learn, instead of letting it deplete us. Let’s use this uncomfortability to take 100% responsibility for our life, making conscious choices of the work we engage in, who we surround ourselves with and how we treat others. Because it really is the little things that make the biggest difference.

Digest of the Week

When I am not writing the Bagel, I am sometimes hosting Match Volume, USC’s interview-based podcast. On our most recent episode I interviewed author, activist and transformational storyteller Daralyse Lyons about Demystifying Diversity, her new podcast that shares stories of pain, resilience and hope in an effort to diversify the world. Lyons shares her powerful story of her bi-racial identity and how she navigated entrepreneurship in an intimidating and taboo space. We talk about diversity inclusion and intersectionality in every space and why listening to others is everything––especially on a college campus. The episode is 30 minutes long so take a study break, plug in your headphones and give it a listen!

Something I am working on this week:

Slowing Down.

Monday marked the most important Jewish holiday of the year: Yom Kippur. Also known as the “Day of Atonement”, Jews observe this holiday with a 24-hour fast to apologize to God for their wrongdoings and regrets. This year I used Yom Kippur not only to repent, but more so to slow down. Though mostly virtual, I have recently been over-booking myself and revolving around a nonstop schedule. While keeping busy and sticking to a routine is healthy, I have found it most helpful to also schedule times to slow-down. To do more things that make me forget to check my phone. To conciously unwind before bed. To do a yoga flow before class. You get it. I encourage you to do the same.

Question of the Week:

Every week, I welcome any questions or concerns you may have that could spark discussion/ bring awareness to our community. I will respond to the best of my ability, consulting outside scientific resources to answer them to the best of my ability. Just click here to ask your question! And just remember: No question is a dumb one. If you have it, I’m sure many members of our community have the same one!



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