Check In: My Last First Day of School

This past Tuesday was one of the most confusing days of my life. Why? Because it was my last first day of school. Like…ever. That’s right, I have now officially begun the last semester of my collegiate career, and I am, to put it lightly, completely freaking out.

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How was I supposed to feel? Happy? Sad? Nervous? Confused? Excited? Stressed? Relieved? A combination of all the above? Because those are all the emotions I experienced at some point on Tuesday.

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Believe me, beginning the last lap of college is a very bizarre feeling. At this point in my life, I have more on my plate than ever before. I’m taking all 400-level courses that actually challenge me — in a good way, I can see the finish line (and therefore the beginning of the rest of my life), and yet, I want to try to enjoy my last few months of being a 22-year-old, freeloading college student. Somebody, please send help.

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As I walked around campus Tuesday, saying hi to new and old friends, and reading the syllabi of the last college courses I’ll ever take, I noticed a few things.

First, I am more sure of myself and what I’m doing than ever before. That includes last semester. It seemed that some miracle occurred on Tuesday where the stars lined up and for the first time ever, nothing phased me on my first day of classes. I knew exactly how to handle everything that was thrown my way, and I felt confident about myself.

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Second, I noticed that I began thinking about my experiences during my very first week of college in August 2010. The first day of classes that semester coincided with my 18th birthday, so that day brought strange feelings of growing up in several ways at once. This past Tuesday, I remembered exactly how I felt the first time I saw my college campus — the dorms, the student union, the quad, and so on — and I wondered if any students passing by me were experiencing the same emotions. I tried to start thinking of my current experiences on campus as being my last. That way, when I look back on my time in college — whether it be in one year or fifty — I will have snapshots in my mind of more than parties and late-night study sessions; I will have memories of the seemingly mundane experiences, like walking around on campus and grabbing lunch in the student union.

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Finally, I realized that there will never be another time quite as perfect as this. I feel great about my major, I have plenty of friends and connections on campus and in the community, I know exactly what I want to do with my life and how to get there, and yet, I still get four months to live a quintessential college lifestyle. I’m not yet a part of the real world, so my responsibilities seem relatively miniscule, but I have no doubt that I will succeed in the not-so-distant future.

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Everything is perfect at this point in time, so I want to ensure I make the most of it. My goal for this semester is to not make excuses for anything, but instead, to try everything. You’re only in college once, so now is my time to experience what I haven’t before. Everyone says that your last semester goes by the quickest; let’s hope that I can have a little fun along the way. It certainly doesn’t hurt that I’ve already booked my flights for spring break!

How were your first few days of the spring semester? Tell 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…

Reno's annual Italian Festival

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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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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How To: Deal With a Hangover on a School Day

So, you did it again. You went out on Thirsty Thursday knowing full well that you have class on Friday mornings. Side note: If you have Friday classes and you aren’t an engineering major or a freshman, you seriously need to reevaluate some of your life’s decisions.

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Fridays aren’t the only days when this can happen, however. Wine Wednesdays inevitably lead to Throbbing-Headache Thursdays. At some point, each of us partakes in a regrettable Tuesday Booze Day. Some people may even start their weekends as early as Monday because, you know, Mondays…

Consequently, there will come a morning when you are startled by the sound of your 7:30 alarm, blink in confusion at the clock, and wonder why on earth anyone would be so cruel as to schedule a class before noon.

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Unfortunately, professors tend to not be too sympathetic when you have a “24-hour flu,” or whatever fake illness you might have come down with. That’s why, even though you believe it might actually kill you to do so, you know that you have to magically transform into something slightly resembling a person and drag yourself to class. (Staying awake while there is not mandatory.)

With a few years of practice in the matter, I have perfected the art of overcoming even the worst of hangovers, getting myself to class, and fooling others into believing I actually had a restful night of sleep.

Step 1 | Just Get Up Already

I know that at this point, you aren’t even positive you are capable of moving your limbs anymore. Sure, if you didn’t have a class to attend at some point today, you might stay in bed for the next 24 hours, eating leftover pizza and loathing sunshine. Sadly, you do have class, and the longer you stay in bed, the less time you will have at your disposal to actually pull your life together.

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So, as much as it might hurt, as much as you will absolutely hate doing it, just get out of bed, even if it means literally rolling your body onto the floor. You may think the covers are your friend, but they are a cruel, deceitful enemy.

Step 2 | Hydrate and Replenish

This should not come as a huge shock to you. In fact, water was most likely the first thing you thought about after waking up and coming to the sad realization that you have responsibilities to deal with. Now that you’re up and out of bed, dragging yourself into the kitchen shouldn’t be much more difficult.

Alcohol has a dehydrating effect, so drinking plenty of water after the fact is a crucial step in restoring your body. Depending on how much and how many different types of alcohol you consumed, you may want to pour yourself anywhere between two glasses-worth to all of Niagara Falls-worth of water.

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Alcohol also flushes the electrolytes (which help regulate how hydrated your body is) out of your system, so, after chugging all of that water, reach for either a sports drink or all-natural coconut water, both of which are ample in vital electrolytes. Alternatively, I’ve known some to swear by Pedialyte, an electrolyte-packed drink designed to rehydrate children after they’ve experienced severe illnesses. In addition to downing these electrolyte-filled drinks, consider eating a banana. These potassium- and magnesium-filled fruits will aide in your body’s ability to restore necessary hydration, while its natural vitamins will give your immune system and energy levels an extra little boost.

If, after consuming all of this your stomach still feels off, have a small bite to eat. Many argue that the best cure for a hangover is to eat greasy foods. While I love a good morning In-N-Out run as much as the next person, the truth is that greasy foods put a strain on your digestive system, and can actually make your hangover even worse. Instead, opt for a lighter, more balanced and easy-to-digest breakfast, like avocado toast with eggs. It might not seem all that appetizing at the time, but your stomach will thank you later.

Step 3 | Energize

Staying out late while drinking wears our bodies down for a few different reasons. The first, and perhaps most obvious reason, is that we simply aren’t getting a good night’s sleep by staying out late. Our body typically needs between eight to ten hours to feel fully rested, so if you’re out doing tequila shots at 3 in the morning on a Wednesday, you’ve already taken away precious sleeping time.

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Second, the process of metabolizing the sugars in alcohol can actually be very draining on your body. So, not only are you getting less sleep than normal, but, in order to rest your body properly, you actually need more sleep after drinking than you would on a normal night.

Finally, in case you haven’t noticed, drinking in college isn’t something you typically do while sitting idly on a bar stool. No, you’re likely standing, talking, laughing, dancing, singing, yelling, hazing, competing, and participating in a number of antics that go along with the initial act of drinking. Though you may not feel it at the time, all of this physical activity is very draining on your system.

So, depending on how much time you have and what you find to be the most effective method, make sure to energize yourself the morning after drinking. If you have some time to spare, get a good workout in. Nothing helps a hangover like getting your body moving; so go for a run, hit the gym, downward-dog your way through a little vinyasa yoga, or even whip out 100 jumping jacks. I won’t lie to you — this will feel terrible at first, but don’t give up. I promise that you will feel immensely better after you’ve sweated out all those toxins.

Exercise

If you’re running short on time, or simply “don’t do exercise,” have a quick fix of coffee or green tea. Some say that coffee makes hangovers worse. Personally, I’ve never had any issues with it, but you should get to know your own body and what works well for you. If you’re sick of taking in so many fluids, try eating an apple instead, as they’re known for providing sustainable energy.

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Finally, don’t skip on the vitamins! Consuming multivitamins is essential to our overall well-being, and will ultimately help your body recover from those eleven kamikaze shots you had last night. Regrettably, only time will help you recover from the shame you now feel from performing Bon Jovi karaoke last night.

Step 4 | Go Through the Motions

Perhaps the easiest step of them all — after everything you’ve just done to counteract the negatives of drinking, you need to allow time for your body to stabilize. As you go through the motions of your daily routine, your body will begin to absorb all of those vitamins, and you will slowly feel yourself return to (semi) normal. So, brush your teeth, scroll through Twitter, or do whatever you would normally do on a school morning. Doing such mindless things may even allow you to forget how you felt when you woke up, as well as all of the embarrassing things you might have done last night.

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Step 5 | Beautify

Gentlemen, just because this section reads, “Beautify,” does not mean it does not apply to you. This is the time for all of you to pamper yourselves in order to look and feel your best!

Start with a steamy shower. If your previous workout didn’t get all of those toxins out of your system, a nice, hot shower certainly will. Steam also helps to open your pores and give you a nice glow. Besides, nothing is more motivating than the feeling of being clean.

Shower

If you’re really running late at this point, and you had to forego your shower (I won’t tell anyone, I promise), at least make the time to wash your face. You won’t believe the difference that it makes on the way you look and feel when you have a fresh, clean face in the morning. This is especially true for the ladies whose mascara is now on their chin because they were too lazy to remove their makeup before falling asleep. No judgment here; we’ve all been there.

Just as alcohol dehydrates your insides, it really takes a toll on your skin, as well. After getting cleaned off, don’t forget to use a gentle, natural moisturizer on your face and a mild lotion for the rest of your body.

If you’re currently suffering from baggy, puffy eyes, combat it with a de-puffing eye roller, like Clinique’s. Ladies, when it comes to looking fresh and clean after a night of drinking, just remember, in regards to makeup: less is more. Stick to your basic foundation and mascara, then dust highlighting powder under your eyes, and outward onto the tops of your cheekbones. This will allow light to reflect off of your face, creating the illusion of a healthy glow.

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Nothing gives away a hangover quite like a head of messy hair. Regardless of how you choose to wear your hair today, please be sure to run a brush through those locks first.

Finally, don’t skip over the details! I can’t imagine anything worse than trying to deliver an important presentation in front of my professor, only for my sleeve to bunch up, exposing the stamps on my wrist from Tuesday happy hour. This should be a given, but double check that there is no incriminating evidence on your person of yesterday’s shameful run of events. (Ahem, wristbands).

Step 6 | Dress for Success

The logic behind this step is reasonably straightforward: no one is going to assume that the sharply-dressed student sitting next to them is hungover. Seriously, it’s that simple.

Perfect

Fortunately, your professor is likely to have the same mindset. So, if you truly want to trick others into believing that you got a full night of beauty sleep, wear an outfit that doesn’t make you look like a slob. I’m not suggesting that ladies wear floor-length ball gowns and gentlemen wear tuxedos to class — though, if you do, bravo my friend. I am, however, encouraging you to overcome your strong current desire to slip into your baggiest, comfiest pair of sweatpants. Not today, sweats, you do not win today.

If you’re not quite sold on the idea of getting gussied up today, consider what it was like being a five-year-old child in your dress-up phase. Think of how happy you were when your mom let you wear your favorite princess or superhero costume while you ran errands with her. Research suggests that your attire can actually affect your mood, so, depending on how you feel about particular articles of clothing, you may be able to compose an outfit that makes you both look good and feel like a million dollars.

Step 7 | Finishing Touches

It would be a shame if you managed to get all ready for class and arrived, only to realize that you forgot your homework or notebook at home. Double check that you have all your necessities before you walk out the door.

Discount Double Check

This may prove particularly difficult if you happened to lose your phone, wallet, or keys at some point last night. If that’s the case, put them out of your mind, and opt to worry about their whereabouts after class. They will still be missing in a few hours, and your mental state will be much better suited to strategically search for them at that point. Your mission at this point is to simply make it to class on time and prepared. So if, say, your car is still parked blocks away at your friendly neighborhood bar, well, it looks like you’ll be getting a second workout in this morning. Knees to chest, champ.

On your way out, grab a water bottle so that you can continue to rehydrate while sitting in class. Nothing is worse than getting dry mouth while trying to pay attention to a lecture about John Winthrop and the English Puritans. If you still feel like you need to, consider popping two or three ibuprofen before class.

Hangover 2

If all else fails, remember the old saying about the hair of the dog; grab a buddy and stop into your local watering hole after class. Hey, it’s Friday. You earned it.

Notes

This post has satirical elements. Please keep in mind that there is a chance alcohol could still be in your system, and evaluate whether or not it is safe for you to drive. If you do continue drinking while hungover, remember that “the hair of the dog” is an expression, and will not actually cure your hangover, but rather delay the negative symptoms until a later time.

The best way to cure a hangover is to prevent yourself from getting one in the first place. Before you start drinking, have a light, well-balanced meal and two glasses of water. Keep track of how many drinks you’re consuming and try to stick with just one or two types of alcohol in an evening. Alternative alcoholic beverages with glasses of water throughout the night, and have another glass of water before bed. Taking a B vitamin and eating a light, easy-to-digest snack before bed will also help to thwart a hangover.

I am not a scientist, esthetician, or life coach, and I do not claim any of the above methods to be scientific or fool-proof. I have simply found the above methods to work for me, and hope they will help you as well. I do not recommend attempting to use this method the morning of a big exam or presentation. Please get to know your own body and limitations, and always drink responsibly!

Remember, don’t let prior obligations prevent you from going out on a weeknight. Life is short. Cheers!

Is there anything I missed? What are your go-to remedies to cure your nastiest hangovers? Tweet them at me, and I might retweet you!

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