I’d Take This Over a “Night Out” Any Day

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It started out innocently enough. About three weeks ago, just before I was about to embark on my week of spring break craziness, my little invited me over for a nice dinner at her parents’ house. She informed me that a couple her parents were friends with, and whom I’d met before at a previous dinner, would be there. It seemed like a nice, relaxing evening — the perfect “calm before the storm” that would be my week in San Diego.

Boy, was I wrong.

On the evening in question, I joined my little, her parents, and family friends for a truly lovely dinner over a few glasses of red wine and champagne. Who could complain, honestly? And as pre-dinner cocktail hour, game hour, dinner hour, and post-dinner cocktail hour came and went, the family friends realized it was time to head home. The rest of us, however, were just warming up — my little’s parents included. So we did what any normal, fun-loving people would do: we invited more guests over.

Unfortunately for my little’s parents, that particular evening was a Sunday, meaning most of the working adult world had to get up and go to work the next morning. In other words, none of them were down for a little late-night Sunday Funday. Luckily, my little and I knew of a ragtag bunch of college students who were.

See, at this point in the semester , several of our friends had already departed for their own spring break excursions, and those of left in our college town formed a makeshift crew of misfits, dubbed the “Reno Spring Break Crew.” Side note: I was swiftly kicked out of this group text the moment I boarded my plane for San Diego.

Fast forward to the crew arriving. We showered them with the leftovers of the evening’s preceding events — remnants of food, wine, and dessert to catch them up to speed. Those of us who had been there the entire time (Ahem, yours truly) continued at the pace we had been all evening. Needless to say, things got out of hand pretty quickly.

Before we knew it, someone spilled red wine over a white table cloth, and my little’s dad got it in his head that he could complete that trick where one pulls a tablecloth off a table in one swift motion, as to leave the table setting completely intact. The first try wasn’t all that successful, nor was the second, or fourth, or tenth. By about his thirtieth attempt, however, my little’s dad was getting the hang out the maneuver, and by about his eightieth time, he had all but mastered it.

This continued for hours, and none of us grew tired of it. (Okay, maybe my little’s mom was slightly wary at first, but even she joined in the fun.)

By the end of the evening, we were sitting around the bar in their home, sampling shots of expensive foreign liquors, pretending to be interested in the “bouquet of flavors,” or whatever. The evening was perfect.

Fast forward to yesterday, Easter Sunday — exactly three weeks after the previously recounted evening. The same group of friends (plus those of us who had since returned from spring break), gathered at our friend, Taylor’s house for a day of brews, brunch, and bunnies.

After our Easter services ended, we all slowly began to trickle into Taylor’s — bringing with us an assortment of brunch foods, desserts, and drinks. We spent all day laughing, playing games, and enjoying the splendor of togetherness. As the day went on, as they all do, the crowd whittled away. By about 5 p.m., what was left was a core group of eight best friends (many of the same ones from the first evening), who spent the next seven hours bonding together.

Until about midnight, the eight of us sat around Taylor’s outdoor fireplace, reliving cherished shared memories, making plans for the summer, laughing together, and talking about the future. We shared blankets in the cold, downed a few beers, ate far too much food, acted silly at times, and grew closer than ever.

Those are the kinds of evening you can never replace, and you will never forget. Those are the types of evenings you can’t get from going to a bar or a nightclub. Not that I have anything against bars or nightclubs, but they can never produce the types of memories, love, and friendships that our friends made yesterday.

As my time in college winds down, I’ve realized that it’s not the college bars or the massive parties that I’ll miss. What I’ll truly miss are the irreplaceable nights with the people I’ve grown so close to. They say you can’t choose your family, but I know the friends that I’ve made in college are just that — my family. The core eight of us rely on each other on a daily basis, and operate as one. We believe in each other, support each other, and spend as much time as possible together, even if it means doing nothing for hours.

For anyone who thinks that people see college as the best years of their lives because of downtown nightlife, I urge you to reconsider your friends. Are they people you only drink with, or can you actually talk to them about real problems? Do you only see them on Friday and Saturday nights, or do you study together during the week? If, by the time you graduate, you don’t find yourself surrounded by a group of incredible, loving, fun people, then you haven’t taken advantage of what college has to offer.

To me, a home is only a home because of the people there. That’s why it was so hard for me to leave my parents’ home, because everyone I loved was there. Now, as I get ready to leave my college town — my other home — I find it difficult because it means leaving my other family behind. I’d give anything for another day like yesterday.

What does home mean to you? Tell me on Twitter and I might retweet you!

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Sprang Break Forever

This is it, people. It’s the week we’ve all been waiting for since the first day of fall semester. It’s the week that we, as college students, are #blessed with each and every school year. It’s epic. It’s famous. It’s hard to describe. They’ve made movies about it. This week is…spring break.

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As an award-winning spring breaker (literally, I’ve earned medals), and a fifth-year veteran of the affair, I’ve mastered the perfect recipe to create the PERFECT spring break. Let’s examine:

By now, we’ve all been eating salads and working out non-stop since December 26th, getting our booties in tip-top shape for a week of wearing nothing but bikinis. And now that we’ve reached our #bodgoals, we can finally let loose and have all the beers and burgers we want.

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School is out for ONE WHOLE WEEK, so you don’t have to think about classes, or even remember what your major is, for that matter.

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You’re about to take SO MANY SELFIES and cute pictures with your besties and spring break squad, and both your Instagram and SnapChat story are about to be ON *clap* POINT *clap*.

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If you’re like my friends and me, you have spring break-specific alter egos that you’ve been using since freshman year, and you are all well-accquainted with each other’s back stories so that you don’t call each other by anything else while there, especially out at the bars…

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For the entire next week, you have nothing on your calendar or to do list. Except…

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Wake up *drank* beer bong *drank* breakfast *drank* mimosas *drank* beach time *drank* volleyball *drank* ocean *drank* bikinis *drank* tequila bong *drank* boardwalk *drank* bro tanks *drank* flip flops *drank* snapback *drank* sunnies *drank* fanny pack *drank* uber *drank* 40 *drank* beer pong *drank* flip cup *drank* sunshine *drank* palm trees *drank* sandy cheeks *drank* shotgun *drank* *drank* pass out *drank* wake up *drank* jello shots *drank* burgers *drank* hot dogs *drank* tacos *drank* power shower *drank* beer bong *drank* weirdness *drank* car bombs *drank* party *drank* red cups *drank* dancing *drank* jello shots *drank* clubbing *drank* dennys *drank* late night *drank* beach time *drank* kisses *drank* pass out *drank* repeat *drank*

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And sometimes questionable people may ask you to do some questionable things…

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But then after a second you’re like…

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And the next morning you wake up like…

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And you repeat that all every day for an entire week, so by the end of it you don’t want to leave and you’re like…

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Remember, you only get four (or five) (or six) (maybe seven) spring breaks in your entire life, so with that being said…

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Where are you headed this spring break? Tweet me photos of your spring break and I might retweet you!

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The Torture of Waiting for Spring Break

 So unless you’ve been living under a rock or something, you know that NEXT WEEK IS SPRING BREAK. Which, of course, means that this week is one of the worst of the entire semester. I know that you’re probably just as done as I am right now (which would make you 500% done, by the way) so let’s skip the nonsense and jump right into why this week is the literal worst:

1. Midterms

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Exams, papers, projects, presentations, and generally hating life. There is so much to do, so little time, and literally none of me that wants to actually do anything. Midterms may even be more stressful than finals because I still actually kind of care at this point in the semester. Kind of.

2. Daylight Savings Time

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Why does this have to happen right before spring break EVERY YEAR? Beside the fact that we’re all exhausted, over-worked college students who don’t get enough sleep as it is, now, during the worst week of the year, you’re going to take away a whole hour of precious sleep from us? No, it’s fine. Why don’t you just announce a worldwide shortage on coffee while you’re at it.

3. What is sleep

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Okay, so this one is kind of a combination of numbers 1 and 2, but SERIOUSLY WHO HAS TIME FOR SLEEP THIS WEEK? *Sobs uncontrollably*

4. Thinking of all the other fun things you could be doing right now

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My spring break group text will not stop blowing up, my weather app says it’s 80 degrees and sunny in San Diego, and all I can think about is how in seven days, I will be lying in my new bikini on Mission Beach with a margarita in my hand and not a care in the world. Not to mention, the three-hour season finale of The Bachelor is on tonight (#TeamBecca), there is an entire new season of House of Cards I have yet to allow myself to watch, and with the nice weather the West Coast has been having, it’s PRACTICALLY DAY DRINKING SEASON ALREADY. Sigh. These will have to wait.

5. Dieting

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Dear Girl Scouts, why must you insist on selling cookies right before spring break every year? I currently have twelve boxes of Thin Mints sitting in my freezer, begging to be eaten, but I can’t even touch them until March 22nd, when I can drown my sorrows of returning to the real world by eating an entire sleeve in one sitting. Not mention, it’s Lent, meaning I can’t have chips or candy. PLUS, hello, I’ll be in bikinis all next week, so there goes any chance of me eating carbs anytime soon. I guess I’ll just cry and eat some carrots.

6. So close, yet so far away

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Everyone knows that spring semester is inevitably not as great as fall semester. There’s no football, and therefore no homecoming, and the general thrill of returning to your beloved college campus has worn off. This year has dragged on since August and we are all completely worn out. What we need is just one week to let loose and blow off some steam, but that week will come just about one week too late. In the words of Miley Cyrus, “I can almost see it, that dream I’m dreaming…” And that dream is spring break, and this week of pure torture is the only thing standing in my way. SPRING BREAK PLEASE COME SOONER.

Want to share in my glorious misery? Tell me on Twitter what your spring break plans are and I might retweet you!

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Your Guide to the 2015 Academy Awards

February 1st was perhaps one of the saddest days of the year this year, as it marked the official end of the football season. Baseball won’t start for a few more weeks, and honestly, who cares about basketball? With that being said, there is one good thing about this time of year, and that is award season!

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My favorite of the awards shows is the pinnacle — the Academy Awards — or as some of you miscreants prefer to call it, the Oscars. With eight incredible and diverse nominations for Best Picture, and five über-talented stars for both actor and actress, the 2015 Academy Awards are shaping up to be an exciting event. Let’s break down the nominations:

Best Picture

American Sniper — An intense drama about an American Hero with a beautiful family. And, um, hello Bradley Cooper! You can’t go wrong.

Birdman — A washed-up actor struggling with regret and ego problems? How original.

Boyhood — All you need to know about this film is that President Barack Obama named it his favorite film of last year. Do with that information what you will.

The Grand Budapest Hotel — If you saw The Royal Tenenbaums, then you saw this film. Next.

The Imitation Game — Fascinating. Enthralling. Brilliant. I only understood about half of it. Give it an Oscar.

Selma — I had such high hopes for this film, but unfortunately, I believe the filmmakers relied too much on Oprah’s celebrity to boost the film. Not enough artistic value to win an Academy Award in my opinion.

The Theory of Everything — A bit long, but beautifully done. This movie shows the untold romantic version of Stephen Hawking’s life. I would not be sad if this film won.

Whiplash — I’m sorry, which movie?

Best Actor

Steve Carell, Foxcatcher — It’s always a bit off-putting to see comedians switch into serious roles, but Steve Carell does an amazing job in Foxcatcher. A+ for sure.

Bradley Cooper, American Sniper — Very, very good. Better acting than I could ever do. But, dare I ask, Oscar worthy?

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game — Again, another great film, but I’m not sure Benedict Cumberbatch’s acting quite lived up to the brilliant writing and directing of The Imitation Game.

Michael Keaton, Birdman — I mean, yeah. I can see it.

Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything — HE PLAYED STEPHEN HAWKING SLOWLY DEVELOPING MOTOR NEURONE DISEASE AND IT WASN’T OFFENSIVE. IT WAS INCREDIBLE AND TEAR-PROVOKING. YES. A THOUSAND TIMES YES.

Best Actress

Marion Cotillard, Two Days, One Night — Snore.

Felecity Jones, The Theory of Everything — Yeah, it’s impressive the film was nominated for so many Academy Awards, but her performance was nowhere near as phenomenal as her costar’s.

Julianne Moore, Still Alice — I am not going to lie, I did not see this one. I won’t even try to fake a review.

Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl — Seriously? This film was way too Hollywood blockbuster to be worthy of any Oscars in my opinion. And her performance was just so…bleh. I think the Academy just threw it in there so both Best Actor and Best Actress would have five nominations.

Reese Witherspoon, Wild — She essentially carries the movie. The movie is just her, and it’s still riveting. This is a no-brainer.

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall, The Judge — Eh.

Ethan Hawke, Boyhood — No.

Edward Norton, Birdman — Yes.

Mark Ruffalo, Foxcatcher — Double yes.

J.K. Simmons, Whiplash — We. Are. Farmers. Ba ba dum da da da dum.

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette, Boyhood — Eh.

Laura Dern, Wild — No.

Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game — Eh.

Emma Stone, Birdman — Yes.

Meryl Streep, Into the Wild — What’s new?

Best Animated Feature Film

Frozen did not come out last year, so who cares?

Best Cinematography

Please, not The Grand Budapest Hotel. We get your weird style of filmmaking, Wes Anderson. We get it. Go home.

My vote: Birdman.

Best Costume Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel or Into the Wild. I would say Maleficent, but I don’t want anything associated with Angelina Jolie to win. #TeamAnistonForever

Best Director

Anything but The Grand Budapest Hotel. Okay, I really didn’t hate the movie, the style of it just drove me nuts. Like…why did I never feel settled into its plot or characters? Ugh.

…Beyond this point, who really cares? The only other part of the Academy Awards worth watching isn’t even officially part of the show — it’s the red carpet! Personally, I can’t wait to see what everyone wears.

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If you’re not into the cultural aspect of the Academy Awards like I am, you can still enjoy by playing a fun drinking game, like this one from BuzzFeed. The Academy Awards start this Sunday, February 22 at 7 p.m. EST. Lights, camera, action, cheers!

Who do you think will win in each of these categories? What are your Oscar party plans? Tell me on Twitter and I might retweet you!

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A Look Back at This Semester

It seems like just yesterday that I returned home from Washington, D.C., moved into my first apartment, and embarked upon my last Fall semester as an undergraduate. Sometimes, we all get so caught up in school, work, clubs, our social lives, our families, our relationships, and our daily to-do lists that, before we know it, an entire 16-week semester has passed us by.

If you read this post, you know that I love taking time to reflect. So, in the spirit of personal reflection, let’s recap this semester, shall we?

There were new beginnings…

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My bedroom in my new downtown apartment

And chapters closed…

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I turned 22…

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Oh, Zephyr Cove

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And caught up on much needed beauty sleep…

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There were surprises…

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Celebrations…

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And remembrances…

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In memory of the lives lost during the 9-11-2001 attacks

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There were big moments…

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Serving as the Chapter President for the College Republicans

With Reno's Mayor at the time, Bob Cashell

With Reno’s former mayor, Bob Cashell

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At the Nevada Governor’s Mansion before walking in the Nevada Day Parade

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With Nevada’s 2nd District Representative, Congressman Mark Amodei

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Presenting my “idea worth spreading” to the University of Nevada

Little moments…

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And sassy moments…

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There were group projects…

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Early morning classes…

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Long days at work…

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Long days in the library…

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And lots and lots of Starbucks…

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via Twitter

I spent far too much time with this guy…

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And not enough time with these guys…

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There were quiet indulgences…

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Christening my new apartment with a margarita

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And rambunctious ones…

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There were Sunday mornings in church…

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And Sundays watching football…

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There were campus events…

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Football games…

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Weddings…

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Festivals…

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Reno’s annual Italian Festival

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And birthdays…

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I added to my stuffed giraffe collection…

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And had a few good laughs…

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There were new places…

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Familiar faces…

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New friendships were formed…

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And apparently I took a selfie to commemorate it all!

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Looking back, I’m reminded of all the wonderful memories I made this semester. When all is said and done, I think this semester was a successful one, and maybe even one of my favorites. Clearly, I had a lot of happy moments, and I learned from my moments of doubt. I reminisced on the time I spent in D.C., and I made a little home in my new apartment. I must say, however, that my favorite part of this semester was being surrounded by such incredible people.

Now, I have one final semester of college to look forward to! Ahhhh, that feels so weird to say!

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What was your favorite part of this semester? Show or tell me on Twitter and I might retweet you!

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I’m Thankful For…

Last year, I decided that Thanksgiving is actually one of my favorite holidays. Compared to Christmas or Valentine’s Day, which each come with unrealistic expectations perpetuated by Hollywood blockbusters, Thanksgiving has relatively low expectations. Still, everyone in the nation is given anywhere from four to ten days off of work or school to relax over this All-American holiday weekend.

For college students, the day before Thanksgiving, commonly referred to as “Blackout Wednesday,” is all about reconnecting with high school friends at hometown bars we used to only dream about getting into.

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And let’s not forgot that the day after Thanksgiving is the official start of the Christmas season.

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But today, Thanksgiving day, is all about a few things: food, football, and family. Oh yeah, and giving thanks.

Being it my last year in college, I am thankful for the wonderful time I have spent at my amazing university, which I have come to love so dearly. I am thankful for this brief moment in time that I will one day view in hindsight as my college years. I am thankful for the here and now. I am thankful for the opportunity to actually be in college, furthering my education in pursuit of a career. I am thankful for all the doors that college has opened for me. I am thankful for everything I’ve gotten to do in college, and for getting to experience it all one last time.

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I am thankful for the friends I’ve made, the incredibly wise professors who have supported me, and for all the things I’ve learned from each of them. I’m thankful for those things I’ve learned outside of the classroom, which have helped me mature into the woman I am today. I’m thankful for each of the little ups, downs, twists, and turns that college has thrown at me because they taught me that I was strong enough to survive them.

Mostly, I am thankful for my parents, and all that they have given me. I am thankful for them providing me the means necessary to receive a higher education. I am thankful that they have always believed in my dreams, and that their dream is for me to be happy. I am thankful for the times they pushed me to keep going when I didn’t believe I could. I am thankful that they’ve always known I could. I am thankful for them answering my late-night phone calls, for helping me through my mental breakdowns, for proofreading my essays, and for helping move me in and out of my dorm room, sorority house, and very first apartment. I am thankful for the occasional Sunday morning money transfer. I am thankful that I can tell my parents anything, that I’ve always known that I am loved, and that my parents are proud of me, no matter what.

I am thankful that, for now, home is only a four-hour drive away, and that my agenda for the rest of the day consists only of cheering on the Niners and helping Momma Collins in the kitchen. Do you think she’ll like this turkey recipe I found?

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What are you thankful for this year? Tell me on Twitter and I might retweet you!

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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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