Happy Halloweekend!

Ah, Halloweekend. An occasion observed primarily by undergraduates across our nation, this weekend-long celebration of Halloween (see: getting drunk in costumes) is upon us again. This year, the gods smiled down upon the campus coeds of the western world and placed the main event (actual Halloween night) on a Friday, as it should be. Why is this so important? If you don’t know, then you’ve clearly never tried mustering up the energy a Halloween party requires…on a school night. Thanks a lot, Halloweens 2010-2013.

The concept of Halloweekend is truly an anomaly. Who, in their right minds, would drag out the already-debauched holiday of Halloween into a three-night, alcohol-fueled, polyester-rampant, slopfest? College students, that’s who.

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First of all, we college students have no chill. We celebrate any and all occasions aggressively. Christmas? Let’s get grandpa drunk while wearing excessive amounts of tartan and listening to Mariah Carey on repeat. Aced, or failed, your final exam? Go ahead and grab that beer can out of your backpack and shotgun it while maintaining eye contact with your professor. It’s Tuesday? Kegger.

On top of that, we just do not care. About anything. College students are always willing to push the envelope from barely-socially-acceptable to “You need church, man,” which is exactly why on Halloweekend, a college student might dress like Woody from Toy Story one night, an Amish person the next, and Miley Cyrus a la the 2013 VMAs on the third night. Gender-specific costumes? As if that matters.

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Everyone knows that Halloween is the time when you can transform into literally anything your heart desires. You want to be a Playboy bunny? Sure. An insensitive societal reference? I’ve seen it. Twerking banana? Go for it. The result of all these random drunken costumes coming together in one place at one time is the most marvelous kaleidoscope of madness you’ll ever behold. Anything goes.

When else can you see Forrest Gump lifting up Lieutenant Dan’s wheelchair so that he can do a keg stand, while Gumby shmoneys with five Britney Spears from different music videos, and Bill Clinton shares a cigar with a nun?

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So…why not do it three nights in a row?

…That’s the thought someone actually had when collegiates of a former generation held the inaugural Halloweekend.

And thank goodness they did. Halloweekend is one of the best weekends during any undergraduate’s school year, and this year, we have been #blessed with the gift of Halloween on a Friday. A weekend like this does not come around often. Cherish it while it lasts.

Please remember to be safe this weekend as well! Drink responsibly and remember what your mother taught you about stranger danger.97438_v1

What are you wearing this Halloweekend? Send me pictures on Twitter and I might retweet you!

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Partner Post: You Don’t Have to Drink in College

This weekend, I abstained from drinking to test what a sober weekend in college is like. I was also lucky to be graced with the presence of my wonderful parents, Randy and Janet, this weekend. You would think their presence would make my sobriety vow easier, but then again, you don’t know my parents. #FamiliesThatDrinkTogetherStayTogether

Watch as I share what it was like staying sober for one weekend in college, the pleasant surprises, and what I learned:

It was certainly refreshing to discover that I do not need to rely on alcohol to have a good time with my friends and family. At the same, I believe there is a time and a place for everything, and when it comes to learning about the positives and negatives of alcohol, college is the perfect time and place. In college, you’re old enough to drink legally, yet your responsibilities outside of class are scare. You have a community of people who are going through the same things, so you can easily recover from your mistakes. Once you graduate, these factors change. Often times, those who don’t learn their limits in college will still have a wild phase, but likely at the inconvenient age of 30 or 50.

While I now highly recommend everyone discover the internal bliss that comes with abstaining from alcohol, I also encourage you to let loose every once in a while. Just check in from time to time and ask yourself, “Am I drinking out of desire, or out of habit?” Now go ahead and crack open that box of wine in your kitchen. It’s about to be a long week; you deserve it.

Special thanks to @KehoeFromReno for help with my blog tonight! Update: Brian’s blog, The Sober Semester, is now located on Tumblr.

What would you do during a sober weekend? Tweet Brian or me about it and we might retweet you!

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The Birth of a College Town

It’s been discussed for quite some time now. Early believers whispered about a changing face of downtown Reno, though many of us were skeptical if it would ever happen or not. Then suddenly, it did.

It’s seems like overnight, every Reno resident began talking about Reno Rebirth, a plan to rezone the city and develop new businesses, which has been in the works for some years now. Many believe the project got it starts with the development of Reno’s booming midtown district, which is now home to dozens of locally-owned bars, restaurants, and boutiques.

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The development of the midtown district was spearheaded by one of Reno’s mayoral candidates, Hillary Schieve, owner of Plato’s Closet, located in the midtown district. Both Schieve and her opponent, Ray Pezonella, have worked on the Reno Rebirth Project in order to change the look of Reno’s downtown and expand the university campus south of I-80.

The Reno Rebirth project would ultimately hope to see businesses such as pawn shops, tattoo parlors, and souvenir stores removed from the downtown district, to be replaced by bars, restaurants, and boutiques that cater to the university community. Expanding the university into the downtown area would be beneficial for Reno’s economy, and would give the city a more cohesive feeling.

Downtown at night. Reno, Nevada, USA

With the building of three new on-campus, state-of-the-art facilities underway — the William N. Pennington Student Achievement Center, Peavine Hall, and the E. L. Wiegand Fitness Center — and the announcement that Tesla will begin building a multi-billion dollar battery factory in neighboring Sparks, the Reno Rebirth movement couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Other possibilities that have been discussed are the renovation of downtown hotels into upperclassmen and graduate student apartments, and the building of a new Wolf Pack football stadium south of I-80.

One main concern for students, faculty, and city council members is the safety of students. Currently, most students do not walk downtown past dark, especially alone, out of concern for their own safety. In response to this concern, some have suggested the installation of more street lamps in dimly-light areas between the university and downtown. With the lamps, students would feel free and safe to move seamlessly between the current university campus and downtown area, which, with time, will hopefully blend together.

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With all the change taking place in Reno, I am excited to one day return as an alumna and see what has become of my beloved alma mater and its hometown. After learning about college towns such as Chico, California and Athens, Georgia, which entirely revolve around their respective universities, I began wishing Reno had a similar ambience. Beside its negative reputation (which is thankfully trying to be salvaged by the Biggest Little City campaign), Reno’s biggest issue is the blaring divide between its university and the rest of the city. If we can rid the city of its outdated mini-Las Vegas-wannabe reputation, and instead cultivate a town that lives, eats, and breaths Wolf Pack, we can forever change both the University of Nevada and the City of Reno for the better.

What are some changes you would like to see in your college town? Tweet them to me @misserincollins and I might retweet you!

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Advice from a Graduate: “Take Your Time”

It’s a conversation that I am all too familiar with. Someone asks me, “So, are you graduating this semester, or…?” leaving the question open-ended, as if I don’t have a plan for my future, or as if I’m somehow ashamed that I’ve chosen to remain in school for a fifth year. I find this conversation amusing for a few reasons.

First, I actually feel more confident now than ever before in regards to what my future holds. Maybe this victory lap is exactly what I needed to realign my priorities and figure out what’s next. Second, I find that the people who ask me this question tend to be the same people who don’t have their own lives quite in order yet. How about we take Miley’s advice and not judge each other, kay? Thanks.

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The thing I find most amusing about this conversation, however, is the general reaction I receive when I tell people that I’m in school for a fifth and final year. The general consensus tends to be, “Take your time!” *See also: “There’s no rush,” “Stay as long as you can,” and “That’s normal.”

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Among those who reassure me that my life is not some sort of disaster-in-the-making is my good friend, and former Van Wilder himself, Elliott. Elliott graduated from the University of Nevada in May 2012 after an impressive six-year college career, when he was a member of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. He now resides in San Diego, Calif., where he works 50 hours a week at a PR agency, lives with his girlfriend, Lisa, and often reminisces on his college days.

Being just two years removed from the college scene, Elliott is in a perfect position to provide valuable insight to undergraduates who want to make the most out of their college experience.

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EC: What does your typical week look like nowadays?
ES: Work from around 8-6ish, go home, eat dinner with the girlfriend, usually catch some TV or play some video games, then get in bed around 10. Occasionally I’ll go to happy hour with some of my coworkers from the agency, but that’s only about once a week.

EC: Compare that to your typical week as an undergraduate.
ES: I was also working most days the last year or so, so I would be going to work and class all day Monday through Friday, but I would be going out a lot more often on weeknights. Also, I was doing university and Greek events throughout the week — always kind of running around.

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EC: If you could, would you change anything about your college experience?
ES: I honestly wouldn’t change anything. It’s funny how, looking back, a lot of things you stress out about in college can end up being insignificant. The experience you get both inside and outside of the classroom is the most important part of attending college, and I definitely feel I made the most of it.

EC: Be realistic, there isn’t anything you would change?
ES: I guess I wished I had a better idea of what I wanted to do earlier so that I wouldn’t have taken so many unnecessary classes.

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EC: Do you think that college students should try to graduate in four years?
ES: No. 4 years is just too quick. Don’t be in a rush to leave college and start the rest of your life, because the rest of your life doesn’t start right after college. It’s a rough road going from graduation to career, and you need to be ready for that.

EC: If you could give just one piece of advice to undergraduates, what would it be?
ES: My advice would be to talk to your professors — actually get to know them because they’re there for a reason. That, and you should definitely skip class at least once a month just to hang out and get drunk before 11 a.m. Take your time.

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What are your thoughts on my conversation with Elliott? Tweet them to us @its_elliott and @misserincollins and we might retweet you!

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Group Projects, As Told By a Super Senior

We’ve all been there. You’re in some class that your major requires you to take, surrounded by 34 other bozos who are all just trying to get by. You do your best to simply show up, takes notes, and pass the class; when suddenly, your whole world changes. Your professor forces you to actually MAKE CONTACT with some of the other people in this class who you DON’T EVEN KNOW in order to do some sort of group project. Greattttt. Here we go again.

Unfortunately, the best advice I can give in this situation is to work hard and try to get along with everyone. Some professors really try to gauge how much effort each person put into a group project and base everyone’s grades off of that, while others simply give a flat group grade. Either way, you’re better off doing as much work as you can. So, while you’re taking a break from all that work, enjoy my take on the monstrosity known as a “group project.”

1. The moment the professor announces that there will be a group project.

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At first, you may think back to your younger years when group projects were blessings that meant a lot less work for everyone involved. They were essentially an excuse to hang out with your best friends. Enter college. Now, group projects are nightmares where you end up doing all of the work for people you will never see again. YOU’RE WELCOME, CHAD. YOU’RE WELCOME FOR THAT DIPLOMA.

2. When you see the names of the other people in your group.

Who Are You

3. The initial meeting.

Nothing In Common

4. When the roles of each team member becomes apparent:

The Team Leader

Julius

Everyone actually likes this person because their ideas don’t suck and they get things done.

The Know-It-All

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We get it, you’re, like, soooooo smart. Shhhh.

Little Miss Bossy

Shut Your Mouth

Acts like they do all the work, but really they just have to insert their voice into every conversation.

The Team Cheerleader

Stop Talking

Might think they’re helping, but really, everyone else just kind of tunes them out.

The Person Who Agrees with Everything

Confused

Honestly, how are you helping? Do you even know what you’re agreeing to? You’re literally just saying the word “yeah” after each person offers an opposing view in a disagreement.

The Kid Who Has Excuses for EVERY Group Meeting

Take Responsibility

Oh really? Your car died again? How inconvenient, considering you work 80 hours per week and just came down with Ebola.

The One Person Who is Just Kind Of…There

Doesn't Even Go Here

Guys, did we assign him a task? I literally can’t remember his name. Is he even in our group?

The Kid Who Actually Does What They Say They’re Going To Do

Real MVP

For the most part, this kid just keeps their head down. That’s cool, man. Thanks for not being a terrible human being. You the real MVP.

The “How Can I Help?” Guy

Why So Stupid

By not asking how you can help every ten seconds, that’s how. Just grab your laptop and get to work.

The Slacker

Let Me Down

This person doesn’t do anything, but feels entitled to judge the outcome of the project. No, no, you did not earn that right.

5. The first time you attempt to work on the project and you realize you’re in way over your head.

Scared

6. When you meet with your group a second time and you realize you’re down to half of the people you started with.

All In This Together

Pause, not.

7. All Nighter #1.

Diet Coke

IhatemygroupIhatemygroupIhatemygroupIhatemygroupIhatemygroup.

8. When you sneak a peek at some of the other groups’ projects and you realize how terrible both your group and your project are.

So Jealous

Are they hugging? Oh my gosh they’re literally going to be in each other’s weddings, that’s how well they’re getting along. Why don’t they just go ahead and submit their project for a Nobel Prize because I AM SO DONE RIGHT NOW.

9. When you meet with your professor to calmly “address some concerns” you might have with your group’s ability to complete the project in a timely fashion.

Isn't Fair

Code for: “THERE ARE THREE OF US DOING THE WORK OF TEN PEOPLE RIGHT NOW AND IT’S NOT EVEN FAIR BECAUSE LOOK AT HOW YOU STACKED THE OTHER TEAMS AND I DIDN’T SLEEP LAST NIGHT AND I WANT TO DROP OUT AND I’M DYING.”

10. When the professor assures you that everyone else is going through the same feelings right now and that you’ll get it all done.

Don't Believe You

11. All Nighter #2.

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12. When you’re just so done with the project and you realize there’s still so much more to do.

Duct Tape

Does anyone else want to help me or…?

13. The day before the group project is due when everyone is freaking out via group text/e-mail thread.

Surrounded by Idiots

You want to be like, “THIS IS WHAT I’VE BEEN SAYING FOR WEEKS.” But instead, you’re just like:

Whatever

14. All Nighter #3.

Don't Deserve This

I’ve had five hours of sleep in the last 72 hours and at this point I’m not sure where reality ends and my dysfunctional imagination begins.

15. When you give in and decide to go to sleep for two hours, wake up early, and finish the project.

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16. WHEN YOU WAKE UP AND YOU’RE SO FREAKED OUT THAT THE PROJECT ISN’T DONE SO YOU JUST JUMP OUT OF BED AND START WORKING BECAUSE YOU JUST HAD TWO WHOLE HOURS OF SLEEP AND OMG YOU’RE NOT SURE IF YOU’RE DELIRIOUS OR YOU ACTUALLY HAVE ENERGY BUT OMG THE PROJECT IS DUE IN FOUR HOURS.

Wake Up

17. The sweet, beautiful moment that you thought might never come when the project is actually complete, and you just kind of stare at it in disbelief.

So Beautiful

18. When your group asks to see the project before you turn it in, and they all thank you for your hard work.

One Man Wolfpack

And they’re waiting for you to thank them for their hard work, too.

Don't Be Cocky

19. The sense of relief you feel when you hand in the project.

Dying

Internally, you’re still freaking out over one last thing you could’ve perfected, and on the other hand you’re like, “NOT MY PROBLEM ANYMORE.”

20. That first long nap you take after the project is over.

Nap Right Here

21. When the professor tells you that you will be evaluating your team members based on their performances.

Revenge

Karma, my friends.

22. When people from your group still try to get everyone together after the project is over. Um, no.

We're Not Friends

23. When you finally receive your grade.

Self Five

In the end, somehow, it all seems worth it. You remember that you’re in school to make good grades, earn a degree, and find a solid career. More importantly, it’s obvious to others who the hard workers are in life. If you’re one of those people, you’ll go far. If you’re a slacker, well, I’ll take my fries Super-Sized, thank you.

via Twitter

What are some of your group project horror stories? Share them with the hashtag #BanGroupProjects2014 and I might retweet you!

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Proper Sidewalk Etiquette

When it comes to the veins of a university — its sidewalks — there are certain unspoken rules that we all follow. Unfortunately, there seem to be many people who have never come across a sidewalk in their entire lifespan, and thus, do not understand how the flow of a sidewalk works. It’s ridiculous that I even feel the need to post this, but I’ve borne witness to this travesty for far too long.

Because I believe that the good people of this world shouldn’t have to suffer any longer, I’ve developed six simple rules to proper sidewalk etiquette. If you don’t want to be loathed by your peers or end up like this girl, read, memorize, and live by the following rules.

 Sidewalk Etiquette

If you see someone committing a violation of the sidewalk code, Tweet me a picture of it, and I might retweet you!

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An Ode to the Tumbler Cup

 

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Oh tumbler cup, my tumbler cup. You truly are the one.

With Starbucks logos, chevron patterns, and Lilly prints, so fun.

With my monogram in the middle, or my sorority letters down the side,

You help me to express myself, rather than to hide.

In pink or in lavender, in mint or maroon,

With sequins or with glitter — for you, I nearly swoon.

Made for hot beverages or cold; with you it does not matter.

Though, if I had to make a choice, I’d probably choose the latter.

For iced coffee, juice, and tea — the options never end!

And let us not forget, my dear: our chilled, fermented friend.

For all the reasons to love tumblers, wine’s the greatest of them all.

For they conceal wine in the winter, spring, summer, and the fall.

For lounging around the house, or for taking on the run,

No others will suspect you’re carrying 24 ounces of fun.

I always have you with me, my tumbler cup of “juice.”

There really is no limit to your endless amount of use.

Oh tumbler cup, my tumbler cup. You take away my stress.

You’re the reason I can relax, sip, and say, “Cheers, betch!”

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