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…


My bedroom in my new downtown apartment

And chapters closed…


I turned 22…


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Oh, Zephyr Cove



And caught up on much needed beauty sleep…



There were surprises…






And remembrances…


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


There were big moments…


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


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


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

Little moments…





And sassy moments…




There were group projects…



Early morning classes…



Long days at work…


Long days in the library…



And lots and lots of Starbucks…


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I spent far too much time with this guy…


And not enough time with these guys…





There were quiet indulgences…

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Christening my new apartment with a margarita



And rambunctious ones…











There were Sunday mornings in church…


And Sundays watching football…


There were campus events…




Football games…

















Reno's annual Italian Festival

Reno’s annual Italian Festival


And birthdays…


I added to my stuffed giraffe collection…


And had a few good laughs…


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There were new places…



Familiar faces…















New friendships were formed…




And apparently I took a selfie to commemorate it all!


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!


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



Any true football fan knows that Sundays are for the NFL and Saturdays are for college football. This week just so happens to be one of the biggest weeks in any college football season: rivalry week.

College students and alumni across the nation have been sporting their alma mater’s colors all week in support of today’s big game.



At the Univeristy of Nevada, our rivalry week traditions are simple, but straightforward. First and foremost, there is to be NO rebel red worn on Nevada’s campus during Beat UNLV* week. (*See also: FUNLV, FunLove)

Second, each year, the week of the big game, hundreds of Nevada students gather in the quad, face northward, drop trou, and moon our southern neighbors in the annual Moon Off. Obviously, we take our rivalry with the UNLV* Rebels very seriously. (*See also: Nevada Southern)


Notice the ceiling decorations

Today, in the annual Battle for Nevada football game, my beloved Wolf Pack will play the Rebels in hopes of bringing home the coveted Fremont Cannon and restoring it to its proper hue.


The Fremont Cannon

After watching three years of glorious football victories against the Rebels, I did not take last year’s defeat very well. After all, it was the first time the UNLV football team beat Nevada in nine years, allowing the Rebels to kidnap our cannon and deface it with their hideous red paint.

Although I cannot physically be at the game to see the Wolf Pack destroy the Rebels today, I will be there in spirit, chanting “N-E-V-A-D-A, you say, NEVADA!”


Battle for Nevada 2013 at Mackay Stadium #Selfie

But really, who scheduled Battle for Nevada over Thanksgiving weekend? Probably a Rebel. #WolfPackProbs

Now let’s bring that cannon home!


How does your school show it’s pride during rivalry week? Show or tell me on Twitter and I might retweet you!


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.


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.


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?


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


She Doesn’t Even Go Here

This weekend, I had the pleasure of visiting my dear friend Lexi whom I met while interning in Washington, D.C. this summer. Though she now works full-time in D.C., (Oops, she actually has her life together, graduated in four years, and started a career…) she makes trips back to her home state of Georgia as often as possible. Particularly, she goes home to visit her alma mater, the great University of Georgia.

Having an inexplicable affinity for the South, despite having never been there before this weekend, I did not hesitate to book a round-trip flight to Georgia when Lexi told me two months ago that she would be visiting. I mean, what was I going to do, pass up an opportunity to watch an SEC football game in person? Be serious.


So, this past Friday, I did the unspeakable and woke up BEFORE THE SUN WAS UP in order to drag my tired butt to the airport (Code for: I made my friend wake up at 4 a.m. in order to drag my tired butt to the airport. Sorry Kevin.) just to make the trek from Reno to Las Vegas, from Las Vegas to Atlanta, and from Atlanta to Athens. Now that’s dedication.

Let’s skip over the parts when I shamelessly passed out on my first flight, when I wandered around like a lost puppy in the Vegas airport, then gave up and spent 30 minutes in line at Starbucks, and when I may or may not have shed a tear as I caught my first glimpse of the South from my airplane window while the flight attendant announced that a U.S. soldier on the plane was returning home from his tour of duty.


So we’ve skipped ahead. I grabbed my bag from the overhead bin (Can we take a moment to appreciate that I managed to pack everything into ONE bag?) and practically RAN off the plane. You can imagine how Lexi and I looked when we first saw each other…



Then we headed to Athens. I gazed out my window in awe as we drove by the beautiful Georgia countryside. My heart was happy to see a part of this beautiful nation I’d never seen before. As the sun set on the state of Georgia that day, I felt fulfilled knowing that I couldn’t have dreamt of a lovelier view.

Lex and I talked at a million miles per hour as we tried to cram four months of catching up into a one-hour car ride. It’s almost as if we hadn’t been texting, calling, FaceTiming, SnapChatting, Instagramming, Tweeting, and Facebooking each other all that time. Add the entire 1989 album to this madness and you’ll begin to form a picture of what that car ride was like.

And then we were there. Lexi played tour guide by pointing out the locations of where her college memories took place as she drove. It seemed that each little spot, even the most seemingly insignificant of them, held a little part of her heart; a moment captured in her mind, that when all pieced together, formed the scrapbook of her life in college. Though everything in Athens was new to me, everything there was home for Lexi. All I could hope is that I one day feel the same way about my little college town.

Athens. What an incredible town. The biggest difference I noticed between my university and the University of Georgia is that, whereas the University of Nevada is a university that just so happens to be based in the city of Reno, the University of Georgia is based in Athens — a town built around its university. Everything in that city revolves around its university, especially game days.




EVERYONE in the area is a die-hard Dawgs fan, and even if they aren’t, they wouldn’t be caught dead rooting for any other team. So that was my excuse for stocking up on lots of red gear, even though that’s the color of my own school’s rival. (We may or may not be playing them this coming Saturday.) What, am I not going to flaunt my new spirit jersey? I bought it so that, to the naive passerby, I may give the appearance of actually belonging at the University of Georgia.

Doesn't Even Go Here

And why wouldn’t I? The campus itself is beautiful, with traditional buildings and gorgeous landscaping, it felt like the classic American university. Everywhere we walked, Lexi had some fascinating UGA tradition to tell me about, such as the chapel bell or the Georgia arch.



The Georgia arch is one of UGA’s most recognizable symbols. Built in 1864 (ten years before my university was even established), the arch stands at the entrance of the university, but is only to be used as a walkway by UGA graduates. It is said that any UGA student who walks underneath the arch before graduating will never do so, and that any non-UGA student who walks underneath the arch will encounter bad luck.


UGA’s chapel bell can be rung by anyone by pulling the rope that stretches to the ground. Built in 1913, the bell used to signify the beginning and end of class periods, religious services, and emergencies, but is now rung to mark special occasions, such as athletic victories and graduations. The bell is not, however, to be rung before any sporting event, as it is bad luck for the Bulldogs.


One of the few living collegiate mascots, UGA’s aptly named “Uga” comes from a prestigious lineage of English bulldogs who have served as the face for UGA athletics over the past half a century.


The Dawg Walk is a game day tradition of UGA football players walking through the marching band and a crowd of fans before entering the stadium. Georgia fans come from all around to partake in the tradition of school pride and celebration.

Lexi and I spent the majority of our time catching up with her college friends, touring the campus and surrounding town, and doing quintessential “Georgia things,” like dining at Waffle House. Side note: as a California native, I had never even heard of Waffle House until about three years ago, and even then, I didn’t know that it was a real chain. Any doubt I had of Waffle House’s existence was quickly diminished when we passed nearly 30 on the drive into town.


And yes, the waffles were actually pretty good.

As one of its former bartenders, Lexi wanted to spend a lot of time at Pauley’s, one of the downtown bar/restaurants, which was nice, considering that it is a central gathering place for Lexi’s friends. We sipped on manmosas — Pauley’s speciality drink, which are made like classic mimosas, but are topped with a splash of vodka — and hung out with the bartenders. One thing that I loved about the downtown scene in Athens is how the bartenders are current students, and are not only encouraged to invite their friends to the bar during their shifts, but are welcome to hang out with their friends while bar tending. This phenomenon made the downtown scene very relaxed, and is something I think my college town could stand to mirror.


Double-fisting Starbucks and manmosas with new friends at Pauley’s the morning of game day.

We hung out at Pauley’s at all times of the day — morning, midday, afternoon, evening, and late night — and it was always a blast. I loved how versatile the bar/restaurants of downtown Athens are, in that students can seamlessly move from a low-key dinner with friends into a rambunctious Friday night on the town. Moreover, each bar/restaurant is mere walking distance from another, or a darling boutique, parking garage, or campus building. The barrier between the university and its downtown is non-existent, which allows for a safe, comfortable environment that students can call home.




Although I only visited for a short weekend, I fell in love with the charming city of Athens, Georgia, and its beloved university. I’ll miss the rounds of bombs that Southern boys just love to buy, and the way I could effortlessly walk from bar to bar. I’ll miss the new people I met, from old friends of Lexi’s to Georgia alumni with whom I shared a drink and a spirited “Go Dawgs!” I’ll miss the stories Lexi told me about each new person and place I encountered, and I’ll daydream about what it would be like to park in the Clayton Street garage one morning, attend class, walk to a shift at Pauley’s, and move seamlessly into a night out with friends. I’ll wonder what it would be like to walk under that infamous arch.

But for now, it’s time I return to reality, and prepare myself for a relaxing Thanksgiving weekend at home! Thank you, Lexi, and Athens, for an incredible trip!

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What dream school would you spend the weekend at if you could? Tell me on Twitter and I might retweet you!


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.


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!


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


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/>


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.



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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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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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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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!