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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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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The Pack Backs Kaep

As a super senior at the University of Nevada, I am one of the few remaining students on campus who was here during Colin Kaepernick’s reign as the Nevada Wolf Pack quarterback. I was a freshman during his final year on campus, and I can still remember how exciting it was to attend football games with such a talented athlete leading the team.

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We started out the season strong, with two wins at home against Eastern Washington and Colorado State. I couldn’t believe my eyes when we beat UC Berkeley 52-31 at home during our third game. We kept the Fremont Cannon blue with a 44-26 victory on UNLV’s turf. And no one can forget the historic November 26th game when we robbed Boise State of their otherwise-perfect season. #ThankYouKyleBrotzman

Our 12-1 record in the regular season earned us an invitation to the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park in San Francisco, where we defeated Boston College 20-13. With the exception of one away game against the University of Hawaii, our team won every game in the 2010 football season. (FBSchedules) Man, those were the glory days.

Much of the Nevada Wolf Pack’s success that season was due to none other than Mr. Colin Kaepernick. In 2008, he was the only NCAA quarterback to pass for 2,500 or more yards and rush for 1,000 or more yards, and was awarded MVP at the Humanitarian Bowl with a record 370 yards passing and an ankle injury. During his career with the Pack, Kaep was twice named the Western Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, and during his senior year, was ranked first amongst active college football players in rushing touchdowns. He is the only quarterback in the history of Division 1 FBS college football to have passed for over 10,000 yards and rushed for over 4,000 yards in a collegiate career, and the only one to have passed for over 2,000 yards and rushed for over 1,000 yards in a single season three consecutive times. (NCAA FBS Records 2011)

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Seriously, what a star. We Nevada fans were so proud to have Mr. Kaepernick leading our team back then, though we knew that eventually the day would come when he would hang up his Wolf Pack gear to pursue a career in the NFL. We never imagined the tremendous success he would find.

Not only was Colin drafted by the NFL, not only was he selected as the 4th pick of the second round, but he was chosen by Northern Nevada’s closest NFL team: the San Francisco 49ers. Considering there are no professional sports teams in the state of Nevada, most people from Nevada consider themselves fans of California’s teams, including the San Francisco 49ers. This is especially true for those of us who are Bay Area natives.

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You can only imagine the enormous pride we all felt for the 49ers, the Wolf Pack, and Colin Kaepernick when he was drafted in 2011. We watched as Kaep had a fairly uneventful first season, we watched as his second season had a similar start, and we watched as that all changed, when in week 10 he replaced Alex Smith due to a head injury. Though we all felt terrible for Smith and his concussion, we couldn’t help but draw similarities between this occasion and the 2007 Wolf Pack season, when starting quarterback Nick Graziano suffered a foot injury. Both instances led to Kaepernick finishing out the game in lieu of the starting QB, and eventually taking over as the starting QB for the remainder of the season.

Kaep quickly rose to fame during the 2012 NFL season, breaking the NFL record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game. He led the San Francisco 49ers to victory in 8 of the 11 games in which he started during the regular and post-season, and led the team to Super Bowl XLVII, where they were unfortunately defeated by the Baltimore Ravens 34-31. Though it was a tough loss, the game proves Kaepernick’s tremendous potential.

Let us not forget the off-field attention Kaepernick has also received, from a Sports Illustrated spread, to advertisements with Beats By Dre, to a viral trend known as “Kaepernicking.”

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He continues his success with the 49ers today, and win or lose, his fans believe that he can lead our team to another Super Bowl.

 From Saturdays, when I would wear his name on a navy jersey while cheering from the student section of Mackay Stadium, to Sundays, when I now wear his name on a red jersey while cheering him on the big screen, I consider myself a tried and true fan of Colin Kaepernick. I couldn’t be more proud that he’s been the quarterback of my two favorite football teams. Go Kaep!

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Do you have a favorite Colin Kaepernick memory? Tweet it to me and I might retweet you!

Sources:

FBSchedules. 2010 Nevada Wolf Pack Schedule. Web. <http://www.fbschedules.com/ncaa-10/wac/2010-nevada-wolf-pack-football-schedule.php>

NCAA FBS Records 2011. Web. <http://fs.ncaa.org/Docs/stats/football_records/2011/FBS.pdf>

Official Website of Colin Kaepernick. Web. <http://www.kaepernick7.com/>

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Why Homecoming is Simply the Best

It’s that time of year – college campuses across the nation are buzzing with the anticipation of the season’s first home football game. That’s right, homecoming is upon us once again!

As I’ve mused before, being a super senior comes with its decent amount of benefits and drawbacks, one of which is the lingering knowledge that everything you do will be for the last time. While I cannot recommend you be that person who shares each one of their “lasts” via social media, I must stress the importance of recognizing each milestone, as they can pass you by without you getting a chance to appreciate them. That’s why, for my final homecoming as an undergraduate, I’ve decided to reflect on why this time of year is, without a doubt, the best part of the fall semester.

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School Pride

Everyone on campus and in the community is buzzing with the excitement of homecoming week. School spirit is at an all-time high, and everyone partakes in the revelries. From Greek houses, to on-campus clubs, to local businesses and sponsors, homecoming provides an opportunity for the community to join together in celebration of what makes your university so amazing. No one wants to miss out on the fun, and for this one week in time, even the biggest on-campus rivals can unite in agreement on one indisputable truth: that your school is the best.

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Tradition

There is something for everyone to enjoy during the week-long celebration of homecoming. Between bonfires, homecoming court, undie runs, Greek competitions, carnivals, dances, rallies, concerts, picnics, and parades, each university offers its own unique set of traditions that its fans, young and old, hold dear to their hearts. The annual fete is a chance for students, parents, alumni, administration, and local fans to bond over the university’s legacy.

Whether you’re a freshman experiencing these traditions for the very first time, or an 80-year-old alumnus reprising the rituals of your youth, you can’t help but feel overwhelmed with pride as you sing your school’s fight song and watch its colors fly. With each nod and “Go Pack!” or “Roll Tide!” you exchange, you recognize the ineffable bond you share with the past, present, and future generations of students – that you are all one in the same.

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Alumni

Besides sharing tried and true traditions with undergraduates, alumni are notorious for sharing their crazy memories, while simultaneously creating new ones. Homecoming offers the perfect outlet for alumni from far and wide to escape their realities and relive their glory days. Something happens when alumni, new and old, return to their alma maters: they revert into former versions of themselves and attempt to make up for lost time during one condensed, alcohol-fueled, weekend-long bender.

Put yourselves in their shoes: you’ve just stepped foot onto your old stomping grounds and are immediately welcomed by a crowd of familiar faces. Remember, this isn’t just a reunion between undergraduates and alumni; it’s a reunion between the alumni themselves. Add a few boozy brunches and a beer bong or six on top of that nostalgic excitement, and you have a recipe for a successful homecoming.

As an undergraduate, homecoming is inevitably a time when you will mingle with an assortment of eccentric alumni, from the quarterback’s father, to your friend’s 60-year-old uncle who was in your campus’ secret society, to a local celebrity who occupies your dream job. Whether you share a few laughs, a drink, or an intellectual conversation with those you meet, be sure to take advantage of the wisdom they have to offer you.

Shake their hands. Ask what it was like back in “the good ‘ole days,” even if the person you’re talking to only graduated last year. Network and seek advice from those who have been in your shoes, and whose shoes you would like to one day fill. Above all, have fun. Catch up with old friends and make new ones. Listen to the alumni’s stories. And, for the love of all that is honorable, if they hand you a beer, don’t even think twice before piercing a hole and shotgunning it like the champion you are.

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Parents

Similar to alumni, parents make great additions to your university’s homecoming festivities, especially if they are alumni themselves. Even if they aren’t, many parents attend their college student’s homecoming game, which is why fraternities and sororities often align their parents’ weekend with homecoming.

Although it may seem like a buzz kill to have your parents around, it can actually be a blessing. For many students, homecoming marks the first time since the beginning of the semester when they see their parents, who have been deprived of someone to spoil for several weeks. They’re dying just to visit, see how you’re living, and shower you with compliments, gifts, and food that wasn’t heated in a 500-watt microwave. This is your chance to show your parents how well you’ve adjusted to college life, or at least to hide your dirty laundry and burrito wrappers long enough to convince them that you have.

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Football

Last, but certainly not least, is the quintessential element off which all other aspects of homecoming are based: football.

This grand American tradition is what makes homecoming possible in the first place. No matter the opponent, the weather, or the outcome, there is nothing like coming together on a Saturday afternoon in the fall to cheer on your favorite team with good friends and cold beers. Because homecoming marks the first home football game of the season, you are guaranteed excitement as you root on your team to a coveted victory.

And let us not forget, that where there is football, there is a tailgate party nearby.

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This year, may you take pride in your university, revel with friends, old and new, and may your school’s team lead its way to victory.

What are your favorite school traditions? Tweet me a picture from your university’s homecoming festivities and I might retweet you!

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