Miss Musings

A modern miss provides commentary on sociological and psychological issues concerning politics, the media, literature, and everyday observances.

Why it’s Okay to be a Single Millennial

What do young singles and Pringles have in common? They are both a bit salty. 

All jokes aside, it can be unexpectedly difficult being a single millennial. I spent the first quarter of 2015 dating, and entered college single. At times it seems like everyone is in a relationship, operating as half of a whole, and you may wonder if you are as happy as you could be. I know at times I missed the emotional bond and security I felt while I was with someone else, but when I came home for winter break, I had a reality check.

Courtesy of LikeGif.com

Courtesy of LikeGif.com

To quote Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, “We belong to nobody, and nobody belongs to us.” While being in a relationship does not require you giving away your whole self to a person, it is natural to give away your head and heart to your partner. I know personally that it is challenging to put yourself first when you are dating someone, and that dating becomes a bit of an extracurricular at times. It distracts you from you, as you begin to develop alongside someone instead of paving your own way.

Do not be mistaken: I believe relationships are wonderful structures that provide support and comfort. But, there are tremendous benefits to being alone as a young person. For example, my free time is spent on creative projects such as writing, reading, crocheting, and drawing. I can go to class dressed up for myself, or in sweats and a t-shirt. I can make big plans to travel or to lay in bed and read for a week during breaks from school. My life is governed by myself alone, and I am drawing the map that I can choose to follow or discard. Being single warrants freedom, and freedom yields lots of room for self discovery.

There was a time a few months ago when I was desperate to be a part of something, because let’s face it, relationships are gushy and glamorous. There is a reason we all secretly love cheesy romantic comedies and re-read Pride & Prejudice out of our own volition. Yet now, I am comfortable in this state of singleness. It has allowed me to focus on deepening magical friendships, taking care of my family, and finding opportunities to have fun and seek success at my university. While I am not opposed to dating, I am no longer looking for another person to make me feel great about myself. I make me feel great about myself, and there is something powerful about a type of deeply-rooted confidence that will never let me down.

 

14 Sneaky College Life Hacks

I will be the first to tell you that it is normal to feel clueless in college. During the first few weeks, you may ask yourself probing questions such as, “Where is the laundry machine?” and “Does Nutella on a bagel constitute a balanced breakfast?” Your greatest fears may come to mind as you take a lukewarm shower or get drenched in the rain that was not reported on your spiffy weather app. But do not fret – I am here to give you some tips on how to be successful in college, from grades to food to mental sanity.

  1. Listen to music while you grocery shop. This will empower you and make you shop faster in case you have to catch a speedy grocery shuttle.
  2. Do NOT boil an entire box of pasta. Don’t listen to what the box says; you cannot eat all of it.
  3. Go to your professors’ office hours! Introduce yourself and have at least one question to ask each professor. They will remember you, which is priceless for when you go to their offices to inquire about grades or difficult assignments.
  4. Do your laundry in between classes. Unless you would like to volunteer as tribute for the Hunger Games, it is advised to stay far away from the laundry room on weekends.
  5. Stay away from free food. While unlimited free pizza is tempting, you will get tired of the free food after a week or two. Just because it’s free does not mean you should eat it!
  6. Be done with homework by 7PM. If you do homework during the day, you will not have to turn down your friends’ offers to play Cards Against Humanity or go grab Steak & Shake. You will also have ample time to sleep. Speaking of…
  7. Do not sacrifice your sleep. Only rare breeds can manage crazy schedules and get enough shut eye. Prioritize your health above everything else, except going to class…
  8. Actually go to class. Even if you can get an A in a class without attending, it yields good karma to show up somewhere you are paying to be. Your professor will take note of your desire to learn, which could come in handy if you fail a quiz and need to seek assistance.
  9. Don’t stress making friends. The key to meeting people in college is putting yourself out there, not being afraid of being mildly uncomfortable for a few minutes at various meetings, introducing yourself a million times, and eventually, meeting really excellent people who stick with you to the end of the experience and beyond. Do not worry if you don’t have a “squad” or clique right away; just appreciate the people you do have in your life and deepen your most worthwhile friendships.
  10. Carry an umbrella. Everywhere. Always.
  11. Take a spiral-bound notebook to take notes on to class, and then rip out the notes at the end of the day and add them to a massive binder. This way you are not carrying all of your notes around with you every class day.
  12. Invest in a digital watch. You don’t want your professors catching you glancing at the clock, do you? Because trust me, you will.
  13. Shop with reusable bags. Not only is this good for the environment, but it allows you to cram more items into fewer bags. No longer will you have to keep track of ten plastic bags on the shuttle.
  14. Write down everything in one planner. This includes grocery lists, to-dos, finals, exams, quizzes, and fun. Make the planner your lifeline. Become one with the planner.

 

That is it, collegiates: you are now 14 steps closer to achieving success (or sanity) in school.

What is the most important thing you have learned this semester, or during your college experience? Leave a comment below with your tip!

#MissCollege: Finding a sense of place

As I dropped haphazardly taped up boxes of school supplies on my floor and frantically gazed around the white cellar that I now had to call home, I wondered if I would ever feel welcome at the massive University of Central Florida. People were abuzz with joy during move-in day, but I felt on the outskirts of something great.

My first week of college felt like a vacation, competition, and an episode of Big Brother. I attended too many club meetings and had a copious number of awkward conversations that always included the following questions: “What’s your name? Major? Why UCF? Can we be best friends?” I scrambled to meet people with cars and baked a lot of chocolately treats. Oddly enough, I didn’t cry.

After the first two weeks life seemed to make more sense. I didn’t need a map to find my classes, and I pinpointed life-saving shortcuts to get from my dorm to across campus in 7 minutes. I discovered the unpredictability of on campus shuttles and nailed two committee interviews. I even made a few amazing friends. Often I questioned if I was socializing enough, even though I had already committed to too many activities and projects for others. So I kept running to meetings, studying, and scheduling.

Now I am in a comfortable “college rhythm.” A few days ago UCF had its largest homecoming event called “Spirit Splash.” At the event, thousands of UCF students run into the reflection pond and attempt to catch rubber ducks that volunteers hurl into the water. Often Spirit Splash can get violent, as the demand for rubber ducks is ample and the supply is lacking. That day I stood on the perimeter of the madness, awkwardly holding my phone to take video of the brawls, and wondering if I made the right choice in coming to UCF. I stayed close to home and made friends, but I still felt like I was chasing dreams too slowly. Suddenly, rubber ducks started being thrown into the crowd of eager students in the water, and surprisingly, to us, the misfits on the outskirts of the party. Hundreds of hands flew up in the air to catch a duck that apparently had wings and flew toward all of us. I spotted the duck and knew it was going to be mine, and I watched it land right onto my shoulder. Later that day I ran into the middle of the reflection pond, empowered by being wrapped into a tradition. I stopped hesitating. Instead of saying “maybe next year,” I thought, “why not go right now?”

Courtesy of Knight News

Courtesy of Knight News

With that anecdote, I will list of some items to consider if you are trying to find yourself at college or a new workplace.

  1. Take too many risks.
  2. Have an overriding reason to wake up every morning. For me, it’s the idea of working in New York and living among the magic of a big city. When I want to give up on an assignment, I just remember the vague outline of a potent dream and how I can reach it one day.
  3. Talk to people. In lines. At shows. In class.
  4. Make meaningful friends. Having a friend in class to remind you of a deadline or exam will be vital to your success.
  5. Remember that you can’t do college alone.
  6. Allow yourself to break down.
  7. Be vulnerable with a few people.
  8. Work on one big self project in your free time, such as writing a story or painting a mural.
  9. Be nice to everyone.
  10. Wake up earlier and use your mornings to write to-do lists.
  11. Speak louder than usual when you are nervous.
  12. Volunteer to do things you feel you are under qualified for.
  13. Relish the time you are challenged, because you will grow even if you don’t succeed with something.
  14. Join a lot of things and then evaluate what you enjoy most. Then drop.
  15. Don’t make promises or appointments you can’t keep.
  16. Be early.
  17. Do homework the day it is assigned, if possible.
  18. Take one entire day off every week.
  19. Don’t let anyone talk you out of your beliefs.
  20. Don’t let anyone try to define you.
  21. Avoid talking politics.
  22. Be wary of people in competitive environments.
  23. Dress up on exam day.
  24. Try something, fail, and remember why you wanted to try in the first place.

 

College is tricky. It can feel lonely even if you try to get involved quickly. All you can do is work hard and let people come to you. Chase your passions and everything else falls into place. Take classes for yourself and take care of your health. Life is long, and this is just a blip on the screen, so don’t worry about making all of your memories during these four years. This isn’t the highlight of your life; it’s just a moment. Learn from the experience and cherish it. You’ll find your place now and again later as you grow. Be an emotional nomad; life is more fun that way.

 

 

7 ways to cope with an overwhelming schedule

Even though I have been in college for only a month, I am finding my day-to-day schedule to be a bit intense: I have taken on two campus leadership positions, joined committees, began volunteering at a local elementary school, and managed a 16 hour workload and a marketing internship. However, what I have found is that when you stress yourself with lots of tasks, you begin to manage your time quite effectively. Here are my tips for managing an overwhelming schedule, and staying sane while doing it!

#1: Wake up earlier.

Courtesy of GifsGallery

Courtesy of GifsGallery

I never wake up later than 8AM. Sometimes when I know a day is going to be long, I wake up an hour earlier so I don’t have to rush through my morning routine, and so I have more time to think about how I am going to carpe diem.

#2: Eat breakfast.

Courtesy of Giphy

Courtesy of Giphy

Even if you aren’t hungry, you need to have something to eat every morning. Make breakfast a time for you to clear your head: eat at the table, not at your laptop. Enjoy your food and try not to think of anything but you!

#3: Plan one fun thing to do.

Courtesy of Gurl

Courtesy of Gurl

You may not have time some days to hang out with friends or go to the gym, but at least schedule in something enjoyable for that week. Remember not to lose yourself in the meetings and deadlines. You deserve to have some fun.

#4: Have a “today only” folder.

Take a folder with you to work or school. In the folder, throw in any papers you have to turn in, a pencil, and a pen. At the end of the day your folder will be empty and you can look back on all the work you accomplished. Plus, you’ll never have to search through your bag for a pen again!

#5: Carry a notebook everywhere.

It isn’t a good feeling to be the only one at a class or meeting without a notebook. So, bring a miscellaneous notebook in your bag to jot down grocery lists, notes, or contact information. You never know when you will need to write something down.

#6: Take a mental health day.

Courtesy of MisadventuresofaMisfit

Courtesy of MisadventuresofaMisfit

Admittedly, I was not very receptive to “mental health days” when I first heard of them. However, if you are an over-scheduled person who always feels a bit pressed for time, realize that burnout may be on the horizon. Ever catch yourself saying, “I’m fine! Just a bit busy. Hey… when’s the last time I watched TV?” Remember to check in with your feelings and your mental and physical health every once and a while and evaluate if you are pushing your limits too far. Try not to take on more than you have to, but if you have already over-committed, allow yourself a day or even just an afternoon to do something you love. Don’t relate your day to productivity. You should not have to be productive to feel good about yourself.

#7: Dress well.

Courtesy of Imgur

Courtesy of Imgur

In the words of Oscar Wilde, “You can never be overdressed or over-educated.” On days when I know I will be in contact with many people, or on exam days, I always dress up. Do your hair, touch up your makeup, and don a nice outfit. It’s magical what a simple outfit can do for your outlook on your successful life.

The top tip I can give anyone feeling overwhelmed is to halt taking on any new projects or responsibilities. Unfortunately, life can become an unavoidable responsibility. So, I urge you to schedule, plan, and make lists. Reward yourself after trying days, and stay connected with your friends, family, and loved ones. Life can move too fast when you are overloaded, so make sure you keep yourself grounded in your purpose.

 

 

#TreatYourself, epiphanies, and the art of being Elsa

This piece started as a Facebook post, then it was fully drafted in an email with no subject line or recipient. I figured that no one in particular needed to read these thoughts of mine, so, naturally, I posted them on the internet.

Over the past summer I noticed that I was not a very happy camper; I was about to start college (whoo!), but I felt dependent and helpless. I couldn’t drive, I wasn’t taking care of myself, I lost my flexibility, my heart was empty and in need of a rebound, blah blah. I realized that I had completely lost touch with who I was and where I was going. Therefore I did what any lonely girl would do – read inspirational quotes and eat chocolate. I read one quote from a role model of mine, Gloria Steinem, which changed my perspective tremendously:

“We must become the men we want to marry.”

I am not a sentimental person all the time. When people would say “THIS BOOK/QUOTE CHANGED MY LIFE” I would roll my eyes. But this quote you just read gutted my mind. Wow. I was seeking to meet the people, particularly the guy, that I wanted to BE.

Pivotal. I stopped focusing on myself in search of self-actualization… yet I was only distracting myself from my own flawed perspective. Little did I know I had been doing this for at least a year, probably more. I dropped my laptop in surprise (kidding, I love this thing), and got to work on mission: be your own #flawless self, by doing the following things:

1. Yoga. I CAN BEND MY BODY IN COOL WAYS. I CAN FOCUS ON MY BREATHING, EVEN THOUGH I HAVE AWFUL ALLERGIES. EUREKA, THAT IS THE SPOT!!

2. Reading every day. I used to dislike reading because I am impatient, but now I see why I love books: you don’t have to look at beautiful actors and feel self-pity or turn the volume up-and-down. I read fiction, non-fiction, auto-biographies, and the news. I feel mentally fly.

3. Coding every day. I am going into computer science and was always a bit put off by the techy people who knew how to code everything ever. Instead of wallowing, I started using codecademy to learn new skills and brush up on old ones. Now I can make pretty glowing buttons using jQuery! Activate #STEMFemme super powers!!!

4. Learning a language. I signed up for Duolingo and do lessons in French and Spanish every day. Both of these are languages of the United Nations, which I fell in love on my trip to New York City, so I wanted to at least learn to say more than “Bonjour” and “Hola.”

5. Learning to drive. I was bad at driving for three years and just gave up on it, and in doing so, limited my freedom, adulthood, and individuality. So I began driving consistently and got way better at the mechanics of driving – I have even driven to downtown Orlando! Learning to drive has empowered me in unexpected ways, so I urge you to challenge yourself and do one thing every day that scares you (Eleanor Roosevelt quote).

As I heal myself from a life of self-limitation and underestimation, I gain pride in who I am and simultaneously stop caring so much about how I present who I am to others. But enough about me; this post was meant to help you. I am no Gloria Steinem and I am way too verbose, but I thought I’d lend you 26 quick, meme-worthy, sentence-long nuggets of wisdom I have gained during my coding/French/yoga sessions.

  • Instead of learning to shape society, we should learn to stop letting it control us.
  • If you do not try to own something, no one can steal it.
  • Your greatest insecurity will one day be the world’s greatest trend.
  • Just because you can operate properly does not mean you are over everything bad that has happened to you.
  • Venting is restricted flow.
  • Both love and pain are mental constructs, and you can control which one is greater than the other.
  • Just because you pick your battles does not mean you are a doormat.
  • You are not a paradox – you are balanced.
  • Love is flexible and undefinable and not designed for you to understand.
  • Jealousy indicates distrust and should not be felt in love. If it is felt, it is not love.
  • You are your worst enemy and your greatest ally.
  • You cannot change everything or waste energy being mad at social structure.
  • However, you can morph your own structure.
  • Trust that most people are dishonest sometimes.
  • Make yourself feel special.
  • Superheroes have unnatural superpowers… supermodels have?
  • You are not fat. You have fat. Everyone has fat. Everyone is “fat.”
  • Worry about your appearance. Motivate yourself. Then love what comes out of motivation.
  • Accept authority under most circumstances.
  • Stop complaining; it inhibits.
  • Do not settle. 7 billion people. You’ll find “the one” and your true friends.
  • Try not to change, because change is organic. If you try to control who you become, you will make the process of transitioning difficult.
  • Do not ask people not to pigeon-hole you. They will just pigeon-hole you as too sensitive and move on.
  • Pride is not shameful, it’s healthy.
  • I am not defined by how I was born but by what I do every day.
  • I love you. I love me too, though. Maybe me a little bit more. But it is okay because you should love you. Don’t make others do all the work. They won’t.
Finally, love is not about control, it is about relinquishing it. It is about trust. Loving yourself means taking care of yourself and letting yourself bloom out of your own two feet. Loving others is letting them do their thing and knowing inside that they won’t hurt you. I am a control-freak, admittedly, but I am learning to let the leaves change every year and the sun come up every day without my help or personal contribution. The world spins even when your world crashes down, and all you can do is enjoy the ride some higher power takes you on.
Namaste, go with Beyonce, and make like Elsa and –
let it go

#MissCollege: What college freshmen need from their parents

You’re a parent of a soon-to-be-college student, and you are probably feeling lots of spastic emotions right now. You’re hoping your student signed up for the right classes at orientation, you’re randomly asking yourself if you bought the XL twin bedsheets already, and you are fretting over if your child – er, student – should invest in a meal plan. Sally or Bob is begging to live off campus as soon as possible, because s/he will probably be too hip for the college scene, but you are just praying they graduate in the golden four years with minimal debt. Welcome to college, parents.

As an incoming student, I am still figuring many things out. My parents are prepared for my journey into college because my sibling has already endured the random worries and unexpected tribulations that infuse the college experience. So, equipped by a general idea of what you may be going through, as well as my own confusion, I have compiled the following list of things your child really needs right about now and during the first few months of school.

1. HUGS

Courtesy of Huffington Post

Courtesy of Huffington Post

I am a huggy person. Your child may not be into hugs, but trust me, s/he will want to tap into the hug reservoir during those homesick nights.

2. Money

Courtesy of HelloGiggles

Courtesy of HelloGiggles

All kids like money. However, what I mean by mentioning this is that students are often broke and need to have cash on hand to survive. Help them sort out how the ATM works so they can have access to cash when they go to sketchy drive-thrus with their friends. (It’ll happen sooner or later).

3. Care Packages

Courtesy of Amazon

Courtesy of Amazon

I’m talking chocolate bars, that special sauce they can ONLY get at your fave grocery store, and any other random items that are difficult to buy in a college town. Throwing in a cute card never hurts!

4. Financial Advice

Courtesy of Teen.com

Courtesy of Teen.com

One of my favorite things to do with my family is discuss finances. Perhaps my love of Suze Orman has finally flung into full force, because I like to ask about IRAs and checking accounts on a daily basis. Do your student a favor and teach them about how to budget and make good financial decisions. Also, it’s not a bad idea to discuss building credit in college with smaller “big” purchases such as textbooks and laptops, because without credit, your student won’t be able to make large purchases in the future. Goodbye dream house and first car…

5. Reassurance

Courtesy of The Odyssey Online

Courtesy of The Odyssey Online

Reassurance is a wonderful thing… it’s quick, it makes people feel awesome, and it’s FREE. College students are caught in this whirlwind of self-doubt, new situations, and challenging coursework. Your student needs you to be their cheerleader! Go ahead and let your student know that s/he is handling things just fine. Skype them with positivity. Be complimentary over a phone call. We all need a little help sometimes, especially when an entire lifestyle is changing.

So, college parents, keep on helping your students with this capstone transition into adulthood; it’s tough, but you can make it through!

7 facts I learned from Clueless

Iggy Azalea isn’t the only person who idolizes Cher from Clueless. As an avid fan of the iconic 90s film, I can say that Cher has the dream life: the robotic closet, the perfectly straight blond hair, the sassy best friend, the fix-up Jersey buddy, the cute white jeep, and the ability to make everybody fall in love with her.

While Clueless and its star are often deemed to be fluffy “chick flick” material, I have to disagree; I learned an incredible number of things about myself, others, and the world from the film. In honor of its 20th anniversary, here is a list of what I learned from Clueless:

1. Driving in heels is hard – I mean really hard.

Courtesy of Gurl.com

Courtesy of Gurl.com

While my driving skills have improved since I last blogged about them, I attempted to drive in wedges and basically lost all of my abilities as soon as I accelerated. Yet somehow, driving barefoot is even more difficult for me.

2. Don’t get too involved in other people’s lives. 

Courtesy of Giphy

Courtesy of Giphy

People need to be able to make their own decisions, and with those, their own failures and mistakes. Cher makes over her friend Tai only to find that she has created a self-absorbed “monster” with an ugly inside. When she stops worrying about Tai, Cher finds peace with herself, inner empowerment, and respectful love.

3. It’s not always you. 

Courtesy of Tumblr

Courtesy of Tumblr

Often I have realized that the whole “it’s not me, it’s you” concept is perfectly valid on some social situations. Sometimes people just won’t like you for who you are, and you won’t like them for whatever reason. It is important to note that you do not have to change who you are for anyone, especially if you aren’t being disliked for something truly harmful.

4. That said, sometimes you can learn from people. 

Courtesy of Giphy

Courtesy of Giphy

I would not be the first person to call myself “cool,” so I do try to learn from my friends and strangers. There is nothing wrong with changing yourself based on what others say if you are doing it for your own pleasure!

5. It’s alright to wait for something special. 

Courtesy of Giphy

Courtesy of Giphy

I only dated one person in high school, and I am not necessarily searching for a relationship right now. Some people date in a serial manner, which is completely fine, but it’s also absolutely okay to wait to be with someone. Cher was selective in her taste for guys and had to stand her ground when she was asked why she didn’t date. She just wasn’t interested in high school guys; whatever your story is, stick by it and don’t compromise your beliefs for your friends.

6. We should be more accepting of each other.

Courtesy of The Huffington Post

Courtesy of The Huffington Post

Fun fact: I represented Haiti at a Model United Nations conference as an inside joke about the Haitian monologue Cher gave. Moving on…

America is a melting pot of many cultures. Cher makes a great point in her speech about accepting immigrants into American society, as our individual heritages all trace back to immigration.

7. Just don’t forget to turn the oven off.

Courtesy of Celebuzz

Courtesy of Celebuzz

So I guess since I have learned a lot from Clueless already, I don’t have to watch it again, right?

Courtesy of Metro UK

Courtesy of Metro UK

#MissCollege: 11 Must-Have Items for any Florida College Student

As a student at a public Florida university, I can say a few things about our college communities here in Florida: we are all about the sunshine, football, spirit, parties, music, fashion, and collegiate experience. Also, Florida colleges are extremely diverse and attract students from out of state who may not be prepared for the humid climate. To assist Florida transplants and Florida natives alike, I have compiled a list of items you’ll be thankful to have at school here in the sunshine state!

Your college lifesavers

Your college lifesavers, presented my Miss Musings!

#1: A Reusable Water Bottle

Tervis water bottle from Bealls

Tervis water bottle from Bealls

Buying plastic water bottles is an expensive venture, and even if they are reused, they still have to be recycled eventually or wreck havoc on our environment. Also, plastic water bottles can melt in the heat, resulting in plastic particles getting into your drink. Do your health and the planet’s health a favor and invest in a Tervis or Thermos reusable water bottle (I got mine for $15 at Bealls). Bonus Tip: Both Tervis and Thermos products are made in the USA!

#2: An Umbrella

Mini umbrella by totes from Target

Mini umbrella by totes from Target

Umbrellas are CRUCIAL in Florida, especially if you are attending school in the summer. Some umbrellas can collapse to a small enough size to fit in your backpack or purse. I bought my umbrella for $15 at Target, and it fits in all of my bags. Bonus Tip: Stock up on Publix plastic bags and keep some in your backpack to store your umbrella in!

#3: Bug Spray

Plan on going out for a night on the town? Unfortunately, you might be joined by some unwanted guests. Load up on pocket-sized bug sprays to protect yourself from diseases, especially if you are headed out for a barbecue, late night beach trip, or outdoor music festival. Bonus Tip: Some bug sprays contain dangerous chemicals, including N-diethyl-meta-toluamide (a.k.a. deet). Look for a concentration of 15% deet for best results and minimal damage.

#4: Waterproof Mascara

While waterproof mascara is difficult to remove, it can withstand even the worst of the Florida heat. I have stopped wearing mascara just for convenience reasons, but when I do wear it, I prefer waterproof Falsies by Maybelline to all other brands. Bonus Tip: To remove your mascara without using makeup remover, swipe vaseline onto your lashes with a Q-tip and gently dab off the mascara with a soft rag.

#5: Sleeveless Tops

Want to wear your T-shirts all summer long? Think again: T-shirts can lock in underarm sweat and result in some unfortunate stains. Cute tank tops and sleeveless tops are your best bet for maximum ventilation.

#6: Jumpsuits and Rompers

Jumpsuits are all the rage this summer – and for good reason! They are soft, comfortable, and light. Also, the one-piece fashion makes for an instant outfit for when you are running out of clothes or approaching laundry day.

#7: Stretchy Headbands

Simple stretchy headband from a pack from Target

Simple stretchy headband from a pack from Target

In case you have not noticed, there is literally no escape from the heat of Florida. You will break a sweat even during a short walk to class. To avoid sweaty hair emergencies, have some elastic headbands in your backpack. You can throw them on and pull your hair back so the sweat is not so obvious.

#8: Bus Apps

University of Florida and Florida State University both utilize the transloc app, which maps out bus routes on your phone so that you won’t have to walk across campus in the heat of the day. This app could very well protect you from heatstroke or having to walk alone at night. Bonus Tip: Bus routes can also be accessed on your laptop. See if your campus has transloc.

#9: A Canvas Bag

A canvas bag I got for free with purchase

A canvas bag I got for free with purchase

You’ve seen them at the grocery store and might be wondering why you need the trendy canvas bag. These bags are not only good go-to grocery holders, as they are more durable than flimsy plastic grocery bags, but they make great gym and beach bags. Why soil your favorite cute purse or backpack with sand and sweaty gym clothes when you have an eco-friendly canvas bag at your disposal?

#10: SPF EVERYTHING

Softlips lip balm with SPF 20 in Vanilla from Target

Softlips lip balm with SPF 20 in Vanilla from Target

Sunscreen is critical to every college student, but especially those in Florida. If you don’t like the feel of sunscreen, just follow these three steps for maximum protection and minimal grossness: 1. Wear a moisturizer with SPF under your makeup. 2. Spray your body with unscented sunscreen before dressing. 3. Apply SPF 15+ lip balm throughout the day. Even if you are just outside to walk in between classes, you could easily spend an hour unprotected from the sun’s rays. Protect your skin!

#11: Trendy Sunglasses

My fave sunnies from Forever 21

My fave sunnies from Forever 21

These are both practical and fashionable. I wear sunglasses everywhere – when I’m driving, when I’m walking, and when I’m exercising outside. I have had my favorite pair of sunnies since summer 2014, a circular black pair, and I only spent $5 on them. Check out Forever 21 and Target for the most recent styles such as the aviator, the vintage, and the circular pairs.

So go ahead and stock up on these helpful items; you’ll be thankful for them when Fall term rolls around!

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What was the best thing you brought to college? Leave a comment below or tweet me at @sammimorri! 

 

Feminism in the Digital Era

Ever since the advent of the personal computer and information highway, our world has progressed into a globalized mass of information. We are a wired community, connected via social media and shouts into the voids of Twitter and Facebook. Naturally, modern activism has taken a digital turn, leading us to question the crusade of internet feminism. Can a post on Instagram petition for equity? Can sharing a link on Facebook do more than inform a skeptical society about elusive social inequality?

Since the internet is an omnipresent force on our minds, we must focus on what feminist campaigns have surfaced through the platform. One of the more shocking recent movements involved Instagram taking down a photo of a girl with a menstruation stain on her pants. This action outraged many women, leading them to believe that the website was disapproving of female biological processes.

Later, campaigns against the censorship of female bodies occurred in various public areas of New York. The group “New York Women’s Liberation” placed stickers stating “This Oppresses Women” on various ads in subways that exploited women’s anatomy for profit. These ads catered toward a patriarchal society, so activists sought to prove that sexualized images will not work to sell products anymore. Female bodies are not vehicles for third-party money, and will not be trafficked in subway traffic.

However, fighting patriarchy is sometimes passive and accomplished through utilizing a modern internet strategy: empowering young girls. The 2014 Always #LikeAGirl campaign discusses sexist language in our society and how Western idioms, while seemingly innocuous, are often denigrating to women. In the viral commercials, people are told to “run like a girl” and “fight like a girl.” Sadly, they portray girls as weak creatures. Yet when young women are instructed to depict “girly” actions, they exude strength and confidence. The advertisement sought to render the image of the modern girl in a new light; since women are being given more opportunities to excel in all fields, we must change the conversation on how girls should view themselves individually and as members of the modern female network.

“What does it mean to run like a girl?”

“It means to run as fast as you can.”

Perhaps one of the greatest catalysts for the digital feminist movement was The Representation Project. In 2011, the organization released the infamous documentary “Miss Representation” at the Sundance Film Festival, and later launched the hashtag campaigns #NotBuyingIt and #BuildConfidence. The former calls out sexism in advertising and encourages people to photograph examples of problematic marketing strategies, therefore pushing for interactive feminism and instantaneous dialogue. The latter seeks to inform members of the social media community about healthy body image.

While The Representation Project made strides in socially-just social networking, one of the most critical moments of digital feminism was kick started by Emma Watson’s HeForShe speech at the United Nations. The speech has garnered millions of views cumulatively on YouTube and effectively focused on feminism’s impact on underrepresented players: boys and men. Emma pushed for men to be more vocal about everyday injustices against women. She also pointed out a goal that all humans should consider – emotions should not be viewed as weakness. Emma states that the way men are dictated to conceal emotions is unhealthy and can lead to depression and suicide, and that emotional discrepancies among genders can be solved directly by raising our daughters and sons to equally embrace having feelings. In addition, UN Women spearheaded the auto-complete campaign, which utilized Google’s autofill feature for searches that started with “women need to….” With this campaign, the United Nations and Google revealed that worldwide sexism had reached its apex, albeit through digital mediums.

In tandem, several other global websites have been taking action to aggressively fight off the exploitation of women. Amazon has stopped selling shirts with openly hostile sayings. One woman reversed Twitter’s decision to remove the “block” button through an online Change.org petition. She received threats on the website and fought to keep the button for the protection of herself and other people who were exploited, namely other women. YouTube has a wealth of self-defense lessons and feminist vloggers. Twitter is loaded with catchy but meaningful hashtags. Ergo, the internet and the right to the freedom of speech allows for both sexism and a healthy amount of counter-active activism.

Are these campaigns effective? Perhaps to some they are not. Yet regardless of one’s opinion of the internet, one must realize that people are using this cornucopia of data to change our day-to-day interactions. Online campaigns and digital media may be the ideal panacea to patriarchy, chauvinism, and sexism in society. We do not all have to participate via every personal tweet and post, but it is not too much to ask to request the acceptance of these equity achievement strategies.

How I Connect to ABT’s Newest Principal Ballerina

As an 8-year-old girl, I stared in awe at the pixelated-pink-puffy tutus inundating my TV screen. Ballet seduced my soul, and I yearned to wear a dance costume of my own, to support my body on ten stubby toes, and to be art in motion. Subsequently, I enrolled in dance classes and achieved my dancing dreams; but for Misty Copeland, the journey was more arduous and marked by adversity.

For years I danced confidently, and at times haphazardly, to the beat of my own privilege. Conversely, Misty Copeland had to push through the conditions of a lower income household. Needing escape from a poor socioeconomic situation, Misty began her dance journey at the age of 11 at a Boys and Girls Club and later at the San Pedro Dance Center. Within months she began dancing on pointe, which is a technique that normally requires years of intense technical and strength training to acquire. I began my pointe career after five years of technique classes, despite being told I was not properly suited for dancing on pointe due to my poor foot flexibility. While Misty fought to accelerate her career, I fought to continue mine.

Interestingly, both Misty and I were told our bodies were not fit for ballet. Both of us have curvier forms, which are commonly frowned upon in the ballet industry. I coped with this harsh reality by eating drastically less and exercising intensively, hoping parts of my body would melt away and my feet would magically stay on the pointe shoe’s box, but fortunately, I grew out of my obsessiveness and danced for my own pleasure.

While both of us dealt with body challenges, Misty had an additional complication to rise above in the ballet world: her race. I am as white as Odette’s tutu in Swan Lake, but Misty faced some adversity as an African-American ballet dancer. However, Misty maintains a positive perspective on integrating cultures into a traditionally European art form. She recently told E! News, “I wanted to open the dialogue about race in ballet and bring more people in. It’s just beautiful to see the interest that has exploded for such an incredible art form that I will forever be grateful to!” At a young age, Misty even starred in “The Chocolate Nutcracker,” an African-American-centric adaptation of the classic The Nutcracker.

Photo courtesy of NY Daily News

Photo courtesy of NY Daily News

In 2001, four years prior to the inception of my dance career, Misty entered the American Ballet Theater’s Corps De Ballet, already holding the title of National Coca-Cola Scholar and member of the ABT Studio Company. 2001 was the same year the documentary “Living the Ballet Dream” was released, featuring dance students at the School of American Ballet in New York. This was the year Misty gained professional strides and I started to fall for the magic of ballet.

In 2013 I ended my dance career due to the strain it put on my body and my academics. Now, in 2015, Misty Copeland is the first African-American female Principal Dancer of the American Ballet Theater. She has become the new image of dance, and I am enthusiastic to witness her continue her journey as a trendsetter for modern ballerinas globally.