By Courtney Miller
Right now, I am looking out the window at a row of 6-story brick houses packed together in a continuous line down Harrington Gardens. I myself am sitting in number 35, a late Victorian building in South Kensington, London. That puts me about 3,290 miles away from home and an ocean apart from anything I’d ever experienced.
As a junior in college, I am spending the spring semester at the Ithaca College London Centre. I’ve been set in an explorer’s mindset for the past year (researching, planning, etc) but I was not a traveller. Although I’m an expert at spending 7 hours in a car and criss-crossing New York state, getting off the plane at Heathrow was the first time I set foot outside the USA. It’s insanely thrilling to be living in another country, especially one as rich in hundreds of years of history as England.
So I started with the history. On my first day not filled with orientation, I went to the British Library. Before I could get there though, a very special moment occurred: Courtney, meet British transportation. Red double-decker bus, meet Courtney.
Many say Europe has practically perfected public transportation. Since I have very limited experience with the T in Boston and a terrifying, untimely bussing system at school called the TCAT, I didn’t really understand how subways and buses work, especially when transfers are involved. Many will laugh at that, but I grew up in suburbs and rural areas. I drive everywhere. Yet one look at the first bus stop’s map at Kensington High Street and I was surprised at the ease, relaxed and excited. The tube and busses open so many possibilities across the city, from tourist spots to my work placement to stations with trains to whisk me up north.
There are bus stops EVERYWHERE. And everything from stops to street names is clearly signed. Handily, I got off right at the British Library. The Library holds Great Britain’s literary treasures, including the original “Alice in Wonderland” manuscript illustrated by Lewis Carroll, an early copy of “Romeo and Juliet,” Beatles notes and two copies of the Magna Carta. When I walked into the Sir John Ritblat Gallery (also called Treasures of the British Library), I was in awe.
There is something stunning about being in a single room surrounded by documents that had such impact on the world we know today. Thomas Jefferson was greatly influenced by the Magna Carta when he wrote the Declaration of Independence. The Gutenberg Bible gave hope for mass publishing. Handel’s “Messiah” and the Beatles are two of the greatest contributions to the world of music. In the pit of my stomach was the strange “wow” in the presence of physical history.
For me, this is the semester of living textbooks. There’s no need to flip to page three-hundred-and-something when I can hope a bus. The chance to investigate an incredible real world. For me, that’s London. You?
(Courtney is studying at the Ithaca College London Centre this semester. She’s living in Earl’s Court and plans to see as much of London on foot as she can.)
Instead of buying a bouquet of flowers that will last only a few days after Valentine’s Day, say “I love you” by creatively mixing together some everyday materials. With an old newspaper, old magazine, and some colored tissue paper (from past gifts, store wrapping, etc), not only will a dazzling bouquet result, but also a free and eco-friendly gift that stays fresh all year long.
-Last week’s paper
-Vase or recycled bottle (optional)
First cut varying sizes of “imperfect” circles. Just have fun with the different shapes and sizes. Cut about four circles and stack them on top of one another. With the tip of the scissors, poke a small hole through the middle of the circles. Set aside.
With a page from the magazine, roll the page to make a thin tube, so that it emulates a flower stem. Tape the end so that the stem stays put.
Now stick the newspaper “petals” through the stem. Play around by scrunching and manipulating the paper with your hands to create a flower shape.
Bunch up a small section of the tissue paper to act as the center of the flower. Gently tape the tissue paper to the middle of the floral circles.
Add some leaves to the rolled stem by using the tissue paper as well.
For a little fun scent, gently spray some perfume near the middle of the petals.
Make a few, and gather them for a beautiful presentation on a Valentine’s Day party by putting them in a recycled bottle or gift one to all of your friends knowing that they will have a happy “hearts” day everyday.
Do you prefer to woo or be wooed?
Since when was this ever about me? However, I suppose I can still answer your question. I’m assuming to woo someone would be the same as to court someone, as in pursuing a relationship. There’s no simple way to answer this question.
I suppose I like to woo; to pursue a relationship with a girl by giving her attention and spending time with her. On the other hand, I also like to be wooed. Nothing makes a good day like figuring out that someone is interested in me.
So to be brief, I prefer to woo and be wooed back. I prefer a courting situation where the wooing can be represented by a pong ball in a game of pong (of the Atari variety; I know where your mind went). I will woo you and you will woo me back and we will continue the woofest until we finally decide that there has been an adequate amount of wooage and we can move into some sort of relationship; at least in my utopia.
For all you other girls out there that are more interested in every guys’ opinion on this subject I have this to say: It once again depends on the guy. I apologize for always having to fall back on this reality, but it is just that: a reality.
The shy, quiet type generally prefers to be wooed seeing as how they probably aren’t going to make any moves themselves. It is possible; however, that if you woo first that there is a wooer inside said shy guy (not of the Mario variety; I know where my mind went) just waiting to woo back and sweep you off your feet.
The more confident type prefer to be the dominant wooers, so my advice for dealing with those guys is to make yourself available and let them make the moves, otherwise you might annoy them and/or push them away.
Any guy that is not predominantly shy or confident probably don’t care who woos, and are more in agreement with my pong model. I hope this answers your question and that you enjoyed my conjugations of “to woo” and my use of the verb “to court.” I hope I never refer to that process as courting ever again…
On campus I meet a lot of guys that I find attractive, but it seems to me that we automatically go into the “friends” category. What kinds of behaviors should I look for that tell me a guy is interested and how should I let him know that I’m interested without being too forward in front of his friends?
On any college campus there are going to inevitably be a good amount of attractive people, so this fact does not surprise me. The fact that you automatically go into the friends zone is something I find funny. Not funny in a humorous way, but funny in an ironic way. I see this happen to so many guys, that to find out it is happening to girl is quite surprising.
Girls get put into the friend zone for roughly two reasons: the guy is either spending his energy on some other girl, or he finds the friend zone-e undesirable. One might argue that a girl could get friend zoned because the guy believes their friendship is too important to risk losing. Funny thing is, no matter how often you hear this; it is most likely never true; not if you’re hearing it from guys anyway.
Most guys never think that logically when it comes to relationships; they would rather date someone and risk it than just have a friendship. Now to expand on the idea that you might be undesirable. I’m not saying that you’re unattractive, I’m just saying that for some reason the guy doesn’t desire you.
This could be for any number of reasons: he doesn’t like blondes, he’s not thinking about girls right now, he doesn’t like your laugh, you remind him of his sister, or whatever random reason that you could never plan for. All this is assuming that you are in fact being friend zoned. Chances are you may not be, at least not 100 percent of the time; it’s just unlikely: some guy is bound to at least give you a chance.
First of all, girls seem to view guy-friends than guys seem to view gal-friends. Guys in general will shy away from having gal-friends completely because it’s just not preferable with all the catty stuff you girls like to do. However, when a guy does break the mold and have girls that are also friends they are usually girlfriends of friends or just happen to be in their social group.
I have gal-friends that are inside and outside my social group, so it is possible for this to happen as well. When guys do have girls that are friends they tend to never really let the possibility that they may date at some point leave their mind. Unless you have been friends with a guy for a long while, he will probably entertain the idea of being with you.
I have, and still do think that if some of my gal-friends asked me out I would give it a shot. Me, and guys like me, would almost prefer this because we want to be in a relationship with a girl who can also be our best friend. However unfortunate it may be, not all guys are like me, but I can say that even if they aren’t and you are their friend, they would probably still consider dating you just because you are a girl.
In summary, you may not actually be friend zoned by these guys, and even if you are, all hope is not lost. To answer your question on how to tell whether a guy likes you or not: if he is spending any sort of long term energy on you then he probably is into you. That is, if he is spending money on you, or he is calling you or sending txt messages frequently; if you were to simply ask him to go somewhere then he would probably agree.
A way to show him that you’re interested in him without turning him off? The best advice I can give you is to be straight forward. While there is reward in both parties being coy and playing the relationship game, if you’re straight forward with him then there will cease to be any confusion. The number one problem here seems to be communication, remember that.
So I liked this guy and he liked me back. Stuff happened over break and I ended up texting him that if he didn’t like me that it was okay because I’m not the clingy type and he probably wouldn’t want to date me. He texted me back and was mad, because I think he wanted me to just say that I didn’t like him. When we got back to school he started ignoring me. I still want to be his friend, but it’s hard when he’s ignoring me. According to my friend, his best friend said that he just didn’t want me to like him. Why is he ignoring me? And why can’t guys be friends after stuff like this and breakups?
First of all, I’m sorry to hear that he is being so immature about this situation. There are a couple of reasons why he could be ignoring you. First of all, the fact that he wasn’t very honest with you up front about him not wanting you to like him is very sketchy and means he’s doing something very drastic.
For some reason in his mind you two just don’t mesh. It could have been friends that made him think this, that he likes some other girl or some other revelation. Normally when guys do that; when they blatantly ignore you, it’s not just for you: it’s for him too. He’s trying to disconnect you two ( less of a disconnection and more of a severing) because it’s easier to not talk to you than have to worry about having a relationship with you at all.
Guys can do this thing where they look at two possibilities in the future and when they have to make a decision between the two futures, the immature, but common thing to do is to pick one and then completely stick to it. They will cut themselves off from anything that would have led to the second option. You happen to be the second option.
The reason guys can’t be friends after is because they have the tendency to stick their heads in the sand like an ostrich instead of dealing with a situation. The fact that he let the information leak but didn’t tell you makes it so, in his perspective, you don’t exist anymore, so he can’t hurt you. The only thing you can do, if you truly still want to be friends with this guy is wait and give him a couple weeks, or a month or however long and then hit him up on Facebook or something. Otherwise find cooler, more mature guys, like me
What does it mean if I carpool with this guy to school everyday and he keeps giving me weird compliments like I have a hot bod, I’m the coolest girl, and he offers to buy me an ipod radio for the car and not make me pay him back. He is my boyfriend’s best friend and my good friend as well. What does this mean?
He digs you. Completely. He is so into you, but he doesn’t think that he has a chance right now. That can be seen in how forward he is with his compliments and what he is willing to do. He would probably never try to break up you and your boyfriend, but maybe so beware. He also probably thinks that he would be a better boyfriend than his best friend or he wouldn’t move in on his best friend’s girl.
I wouldn’t worry about it, but he definitely likes you, and not in a just friendly kind of way. He wouldn’t spend that much energy or money on you. I bet he would also say something along the lines of he’ll always be there for you, and if you and your bf ever get into a fight and he finds out I would be willing to bet money that you’ll get a text or Facebook message or something letting you know that he will talk it out with you.
I could be wrong about this, but I’ve seen this scenario and been a part of it myself too many times to not be right. You’re welcome.
by Laura Kuhns
Have you ever realized just how small you are? If you have then you will understand when I say the realization will do more than just send shivers up and down your spine. Stand beside the ocean, or gaze into the stars from an open field, and try to comprehend how vast the universe is. It will blow your mind!
I admit that I often avoid thinking about it because it scares me. However, when I do allow my mind to wander, I begin to feel more like an amoeba on a slide in Biology lab than a human on a planet, or even an ant on a picnic blanket.
Psalm 8:4 says, “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”
Now usually I would blow over this verse, but when you put it in perspective, it’s huge!
Check out the pictures I’ve added (high tech, I know). The first one shows you just how small our home planet is compared to the other planets. The second picture shows you just how small it is compared to the sun. Now pan out and imagine just how big the Milky Way galaxy and all of space really is. And it’s still expanding!
Over the years I have come to realize that God’s view looking down is very different from our view looking up. When I imagine it all from God’s view, the verse from Psalm 8 fits really well. In such a vast universe, why should God be mindful of the sinful human race?
I mean, let’s face it, God does not need us. He is God, and nothing we do or say is necessary to fulfill or sustain Him.
Yet God in His bountiful grace is mindful of us. Not only that, but He makes plans for us, He cares for us and He extends new mercies toward us every morning.
I read in a book once that we live in a pocket of His grace, and how true that is!
Like a toddler learning to walk, I seem to only fall and never really getting anywhere in my walk of faith. The beauty of this pocket of grace I find myself in, however, is that it provides a cushion for me to fall on. Then He reaches down with His hand of mercy and, with never-ending forgiveness, pulls me back up to my feet and encourages me to continue on.
As big as the universe is, God’s grace is even bigger. His grace covers you and me, despite how small we are.
Remember that when you seem to be only falling and you feel as if getting up again is just too much. If God is big enough to create the universe, and still sees you in your struggles, you can bet He will give you the strength to get up and the grace to continue on.
By Laura Kuhns
“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”- 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
I love this passage. I have come back to it over and over again throughout my 20 years on this earth. My life seems to fall into a continuous pattern of failed attempts, uncertainty and sorrow. But every time I find myself in a struggle once again, the Lord brings me back to this passage.
Look at what Jesus says here: “My grace is sufficient for you.”
His grace is sufficient for me; not overly sufficient and definitely not insufficient. His grace is sufficient for me in every moment, and it’s always just what I need at that moment. His grace does not tarry; it does not come even a moment too late.
Believe me, your Heavenly Father sees exactly where you are and what you need for the very situation you find yourself in. I promise He has not turned His head away. His eyes are still focused on you and His hands are waiting for just the right moment to sweep in and cover you with grace. He has not lost control. He is still sovereign and He is still very present in your life.
Because His grace is sufficient and it always comes at just the right time, we can boast in our weaknesses and in our struggles, knowing that He will not delay even one moment too long.
I know it might seem like a strange concept, but we really can face our struggles and our trials with joy, gladness and even contentment, knowing that God’s grace is made perfect in those times of confusion and despair.
My favorite line of the passage is the last one. “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I love it because, by adding one simple word, the passage can be changed to say, “For when I am weak, then I AM is strong.”
Essentially, when I am at the end of my rope, when all my strength is gone, and when I have nowhere to turn, YAHWEH, my God, the great I AM, is made strong and His power can be displayed in my life.
So, what it comes down to is this: my struggles are the doorway to God using my life to its utmost potential.
When I can no longer fight against Him, when I have no idea what I believe or what I should do, then there is nothing standing in His way and He is able to effectively use the situation I am in.
I know, it’s much easier said than done, and the view from your knees or even flat on the floor doesn’t seem to offer much hope of a saving grace. But I promise it’s there and it’s coming.
I know the truth. The truth that the Lord has heard every prayer you have uttered. He sees the tears on your cheeks and He understands the deep sorrow your heart is in.
Trust me. He is never late and His love for you has not run dry.
Hang in there and don’t give up. Always remember that His grace is sufficient for you.
I know sometimes it’s hard to wait for it, and it may even seem as if He is slow in responding, but our God does not delay, He is always punctual and His timing is never anything short of perfect. Though it may be hard to believe, He will come in and save you.
By Katherine J. Chen
The first semester of my freshman year was spent, for the most part, in my dorm. In the evenings, my three roommates could all be found poring over the same bathroom mirror, their faces layered with gloss, powder, and even the occasional glitter. While they slipped on heels and zipped up dresses, I would be sitting at my desk, poring over the stacks of papers, open textbooks, and problem sets stacked neatly in front of me. Every five minutes, I would also feel compelled to check my e-mail, even if I knew that I had no incoming messages to read other than the slew of spam mail waiting to be purged in my Trash folder.
With some assurance, I can say that the entirety of my freshman year was spent half in my dorm and half at home. In both settings I was doing the same thing: working. Whether it was applying for jobs or stressing out about essay deadlines, I was always laboring over some assignment or unfinished task. Even before I entered college, I had already developed a number of disturbing habits. I used to starve myself on purpose until I finished whatever work or tasks I had set out to complete that day. This meant that if there was an English paper, a lab report, and a PowerPoint presentation to work on, I couldn’t eat until I had finished all of my work. There was no exception to this rule, and it was entirely self-inflicted.
As a result of these poor decisions, I began to take meals – usually in the form of cold leftovers tossed in the microwave – at all hours of the day, from midnight to dawn. I began to view food as an award, instead of as a necessity. If I was able to finish all of my homework and other jobs on time, I could sit myself down to a hot meal, even on occasion at the dinner table with my parents. If I broke down from exhaustion before every task was checked off my to-do list for the day, I would collapse on the mattress and go to sleep. Even though I did not realize it at the time, these habits severely affected my health and my weight. It took nearly half a year for me to adjust back to a healthy routine of eating foods earlier in the day and setting up a normal sleeping schedule. It took even longer for me to learn how to put the pencil down and take the initiative of making my own lunch or dinner without my mother asking me every few hours if I was hungry.
At the end of freshman year, my social life was also in ruins. As a workaholic, I was repulsed by the idea of going out with friends or socializing in any respect. I cannot recall a single memory from freshman year which did not involve work. Every trip I took to the city, every effort I made to reconnect with old friends from high school, had been related in some shape or form to the assignments waiting for me back home. An art critique due at the end of the week would prompt me to call up a few close friends of mine on the pretense that I just wanted to hang out. Of course, once we arrived at the museum, I would get right down to business. While my friends took turns posing beside Greek statues to get my attention, I was squinting my eyes, trying to jot down all the information I could on the paintings I needed to see, not the pieces I really wanted to see.
Over the summer, I took the time to significantly adjust my working habits. I resolved to set a limited amount of time each day to working, and at least two to three hours to relaxing. Abiding by a strict schedule actually involved more discipline than working twelve to fourteen hours a day. Surprisingly, I increased both my work productivity and efficiency by waking up at certain hours, eating regularly, and going to sleep at night instead of in the early hours of the morning.
Though workaholism is oftentimes described as a “respectable addiction,” I know firsthand that it is destructive to your health and social life, both of which areimportant aspects of your overall wellbeing. If you cannot stop thinking about work, then it is time to take action and take control of your schedule. Create a to-do list that incorporates both work-related assignments and non-work-related tasks, such as catching up with an old roommate or phoning your best friend after she finishes her last class. Schedule breaks for a few light snacks, or better yet, some rejuvenating exercise. Take a walk around the block, play with your dog, or hit the treadmill! Though work is definitely a vital element to any healthy lifestyle, it is one that can easily take over your entire life if you do not regulate its impact on the other equally important aspects of your daily schedule.
By Katherine. J. Chen
As I type this, I notice that The Norton Anthology of Poetry sitting on my desk is not perfectly aligned with the three or four red-and-green plastic folders stacked neatly underneath it. This prompts me to take decisive action. Leaving my computer unnoticed, I spend approximately five minutes sliding the anthology back and forth until its corners line up with the edges of the folders. While doing so, I touch the anthology with only the tips of my fingers, making sure that I am neither shoving the book too hard nor staining its delicate paper cover with oily prints. In these short but mentally exhausting moments, all that matters to me is the book and the folders beneath it.
Only a few months ago, a cable in my garage snapped loose. It somehow caused an entire wall of tools to collapse on the stone floor, and I remember how my dog began barking and running back and forth between where I was sitting and the basement door leading into the garage. What was I doing? Oh, I was very calmly mending the bent corners of my textbooks with a glue stick, a process which takes no less than ten or fifteen minutes at a time. Books are at the top of my list of items I unabashedly obsess over. I never allow anyone to borrow my books or touch them, and I always carry them separately. Backpacks tend to crease the corners, which is why I prefer tote bags—or even, on occasion, shopping bags—where you can place each one face down on a relatively even surface.
I am OCD about generally anything paper-related. A printer that I once purchased had the horrible habit of creasing the tops of my pages. When I pointed this deficiency out to my mother, she told me she couldn’t see what I was talking about. But I could, and what’s worse, I already knew I would never get over it. Using that piece of inefficient machinery, I would often print out the same document five, six, or seven times in a row until a page came out with the smallest and most indistinguishable wrinkle. Finally, I got sick of wasting paper, and I gave the printer away, wanting nothing more to do with it.
Bags with loose threads. Unpolished laptops. Items arranged in anything but a straight line. Shirts with dust or small bits of hair. Carpets that are left unvacuumed for more than half a day. Labels that aren’t put on straight. Food that isn’t divided in the right way. Bottles that don’t go in order of height or some other type of logical arrangement. All of these things drive me insane. I consider dented or scratched office products to be the worst, especially because these occasionally surface at stores like Office Depot and Staples. I will often just stand in front of a stack of binders, looking for one that isn’t dust-covered or damaged in some way.
I am a general fiend in bookstores, where my OCD awareness is at its height. Oftentimes, I will buy three versions of the same book, so I don’t have to risk carrying them around and exposing them to a volatile environment. This saves me time and energy, and I don’t have to worry about what happens if there is a sudden casualty (i.e. a person knocks a book out of my hands, a teacher bends the spine of a book too far).
Some might find all this taxing and awful, but at the end of the day, I see my obsessive qualities over books and the like as positive. I enjoy the thrill of arranging otherwise disorderly items into a single assembly line. My shelves are immaculate, and a part of me comes alive when I flip on the switch to my Dyson Ball vacuum cleaner every day. What else could a girl reasonably ask for?
By Christine Stoddard
Everyone knows that art students are poor students–or at least that’s the stereotype. Does that mean you have to wedge yourself inside of the cookie-cutter, too? No. Fight it by being enterprising. Directly apply the skills you learn in your studio classes to create your own products. Whether that means crocheting scarves, designing greeting cards, or sewing doll clothes, choose an endeavor that’s enjoyable and profitable. Then start trolling Craigslist and your local newspaper for information about arts and crafts fairs. It’s time to table for extra pennies.
“Tabling” is the act of setting up a table full of your beautiful merchandise at arts and crafts fairs. You then sit at the table to chat up customers, collect money, make change, re-stock your goods, and watch for shoplifters. If you’re set up close to the next vendor, you might have a chance to strike up a conversation with her, too—maybe even make a new friend or business partner. Generally, though, you should stick close to your table and maintain a professional air. At very busy fairs, you might not even have a chance for a bathroom break!
If you have to endure four to six hours without a visit to the toilet, it obviously better be worth it. Here are tips for having the best possible experience tabling at a craft fair without letting it take away from your life as a student:
*Begin with quality products. Customers want goodies that serve some purpose, whether that purpose is aesthetic or the ability to perform an actual function. What’s even better is to combine aestheticism and function; then you’ll almost always win. A cute laundry basket, for instance, is better than just a plain sturdy one.
*Clearly price all of your merchandise. Many people are too shy to ask how much something costs, especially if they’re afraid that they can’t afford your products.
*Set a realistic monetary goal. If you’re just starting out, you can’t reasonably expect to make $2,000 at a single fair. During the first hour, predict how much you’ll make based upon your prices, the number of costumers in attendance, and the demographics of those customers. Example: teenagers don’t necessary buy the same things as elderly women.
*Do what you can to attract people to your table. A craft fair is a kind of competition—a passerby should have a reason to want to stop at your table more than the one next to it. I personally wear an elaborate costume that matches the theme of my work. If you’re not so theatrically inclined, make a big, bright sign, maybe play music, or hold a demonstration for your star product.
*Use your time wisely during the fair. It’s often difficult to guess just how many customers will drop by, so bring something like light-duty homework. Remember that novel you have to read? Or that small still-life you have to draw? Bring a book or a small sketchpad to divert yourself when crowds start to fade.
*Do your part to attract customers by promoting the fair as much as you can in advance. That means setting up a Facebook events page and inviting all of your friends who live in the area. It also means asking the festival coordinator to email you a flyer, printing out copies, and posting them any highly visible area that makes sense.
*Prepare for craft fairs well before they come. It’s hard to table every week when you’re a full-time student, but tabling every other week is possible for many students. Spend your ‘off’ weeks creating and advertising, and then your ‘on’ weeks preparing for the specific event and doing any last-minute advertisements.
*After every craft fair, always reflect about how you can improve your business tactics for the next round. Maybe you should spend less money on supplies next time or build more of something in a certain color. You might even find it productive to keep a journal about your tabling efforts.
With these tips in mind, turn off your computer and start raiding your art supplies. Your tabling empire awaits!
by Angel Neal
The most anticipated time of the year for college students is right around the corner. After a long year of hard work and dedication, it’s time to break away from the chains of feeding the brain; time for a full week to let loose and do whatever you want. Some refer to it as paradise, but the correct term is “spring break.” There are so many things you can do for your spring break, but whatever you may choose you’re guaranteed to have fun. I came up with some ideas to help you decide what you might like to do for spring break 2010.
1. Take a Vacation
Taking a vacation is the most popular spring break choice among many college students. You can relax on an exotic island, go skiing in the mountains, study abroad… the possibilities are endless. Many colleges offer cruise vacation packages for spring break for their students’ pleasure. For example, Florida Agricultural Mechanical University is offering a spring break abroad in Jamaica for only $1000. The price is not half bad, because the cruise includes airfare, ground transportation, hotel accommodations with breakfast, and several cultural excursions. A cruise may not necessarily be for you, but whatever type of vacation you prefer, don’t just sit in your dorm or apartment; live free and explore our beautiful planet.
2. Road Trip
If you’re a college student looking for a less expensive spring break activity, you could always take a road trip. Grab your best friend or your significant other and invest in a map. Road trips are the best you get to bond more with your friends while exploring an unfamiliar place. All you need is gas money, a digital camera, a map, and a suitcase full of just the necessities. Split the money between you and your friends and I promise you, depending on how far you’re traveling you will not spend more than $250. So get to the open road—but please don’t speed!
3. Head to the Beach
If you’re a college student who doesn’t want to spend any money at all, you could always head to your local beach. Nothing says spring break like an album on Facebook full of beach photos with your buddies. Also it’s a great way to meet other college students and create new friendships. Just don’t forget your sun tan lotion!
Interested in doing something out of the spring break norm? You could always volunteer. Some students don’t prefer to use this sacred week to socialize and party; instead, they love to give back. Helping out shelters, nursing homes, and children centers are only a few things you could do. After helping others you will realize just how great your own life is, and feel as though reaching out to someone else is the right thing to do. And the best thing about volunteering is that it is free, so it will cost you nothing but time.
5. Relax Relax Relax
If you’re the type of student who struggles with a course overload, extracurricular activities, and a part time job, don’t fret because spring break is here for you. You can choose to do nothing but relax. You’re not obligated to do anything for your spring break, because it’s your week off. Catch up on some must needed rest, and your body will thank you.
Students around the world enjoy your spring break. Live it up or slow it down—the decision is yours.
by Catey Gonzalez
Recently I was browsing around Facebook, just killing time, and I noticed that a lot of my friends had been busy joining groups and fan pages in support of the disaster relief for Haiti. One blurb on the news feed caught my eye in particular; about 15 of my friends had joined a group titled, “For every person who joins, we will donate $10 to Haiti!” Curious, I clicked the link to the group and found that it had over 200,000 members. At first glance this seems like a really wonderful thing—over $2 million will be sent to help Haiti! However, by the time I clicked on the link, this particular group had no remaining moderators, which means no one to follow through on the promise to donate $10 for every group member. When my friends who joined the group checked up on the status of the donation and found that there was no one left to make it, they were probably left confused and frustrated. What went wrong?
Many people would probably point an accusing finger at the moderators of the group. How could they have jumped ship like that, when they were in such a position to help? But it’s important to step back and look at the realistic picture. The moderators of this group were likely teenagers, and they probably did not anticipate that so many people would join. When they saw how much money they were suddenly expected to come up with, of course they abandoned the cause—how many teenagers do you know who have $2 million lying around? Sure, the creators of this group probably should have thought it through before they made such an outlandish promise, but the 200,000+ people who joined are arguably just as guilty in this scenario; they were engaging in slacktivism.
Wikipedia defines “slacktivism” as “a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction.” According to Wikipedia, the term was originally coined in 1995 but has become more widely used in the last decade because of scenarios like the above example. Most of the people who joined the group in the example above probably had good intentions—to help Haiti in their time of need—but they jumped on what they saw as an opportunity to help without getting their hands dirty.
Slacktivism shows itself in many different forms, including clicking a mouse to show support by joining a group or fan page, or wearing a certain color to raise awareness for a cause. There is nothing wrong with wanting to raise awareness or show that you care, and I certainly don’t want to berate people for doing those things. I would, however, like to offer some other suggestions for people who want to take their efforts one step further, specifically with the recent tragedy in Haiti.
Close to my own heart is the Hands and Feet Project, started several years ago by Mark Stuart, the lead singer of Audio Adrenaline. Stuart’s vision was to build an orphanage to take in the battered children in Haiti who need love more than anything. The Hands and Feet Project nourishes children with food, shelter, and love—the love of people and the love of Christ. Under normal circumstances it is possible to sponsor a child by monthly donations, to make a trip to Haiti to help with construction and care, or commit to a small “pocket change” monthly commitment. The Project was hit hard by the recent earthquakes, however, and their current priority is getting the orphanage back up and running as soon as possible. For more information on helping the Hands and Feet Project: http://www.handsandfeetproject.org/home.php
Also dear to me is Samaritan’s Purse, a disaster relief organization founded in 1970. The organization has been committed to providing assistance and showing God’s love to hurting areas of the world ever since its conception. They, like most, have recently focused most of their attention on Haitian relief, though as an international organization they are always in need of assistance wherever and whenever one is able and willing to give. For more information on helping Samaritan’s Purse: http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php
Below is a brief list of other reputable relief organizations accepting donations towards helping Haiti at this time.
Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org/
Salvation Army: https://secure.salvationarmy.org/donations.nsf/donate?openform&projectid=USN-2008_Search
World Vision: http://www.worldvision.org/
Billy Graham Evangelical Association: http://www.billygraham.org/
It’s a great idea to do some research and choose an outreach or relief organization that you can be passionate about supporting. Feel free to join those Facebook groups or wear those t-shirts, but don’t forget to back your enthusiasm up some action. Also, while it’s a truly wonderful thing to reach out to Haiti at this time, it’s also not a bad idea to turn your attention to your own community to see who might need healing and loving care—ask a pastor or other local leader how you can help right in your own backyard!