sassy semester endings

And suddenly, I am at the midlife crisis of my college career.

It is an invigorating idea – there are so many possibilities ahead! Summer, travel, my 21st birthday (it’s the most wonderful time of the year! oh wait..) and of course another two years of fun, friends and fiascos.

So what the hell is everyone so worried about? Seniors are stressin’ hardcore over jobs, living with the ‘rents (scary thought) and all that grown-up shit. Juniors are jittering about becoming the “oldies” on campus. Sophomores? Hah. We’re relishing in the sweet spot of being halfway through with school and yet still having two more years of goofing off. I mean, studying.

Campus is buzzing – and not just from these last few nights of fratting for the year. Lines linger outside book returns, Ellis is at max capacity with caffeine-crazed procrastination pros while Truman’s pond is finally open for all the sun-bathing slackers (aka me. but really, I brought flashcards!!)

Finals may be the last battle before freedom, er, summer, but I have to admit, I’m going to miss campus. Freshman year was all about adjusting, but sophomore year I came into my own. Closer with friends, more composed and confident, I’m ready for everything that life has to offer.

So while others sweat under the pressure of tests and the long, unknown future ahead, I’m going to kick back on the quad and watch the day go by. What do I have to lose? I’m 20. I’m healthy. I’m energetic and enthusiastic. I’ve got my whole life ahead of me to be a responsible adult. For now, I’m just ready for the next hoorah. Who’s with me?

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heart-to-heart

As I’m gearing up to study abroad, I am getting more and more excited for the “writing-on-the-road” style of journalism I’ll be doing over the summer. Since I was a little late on the whole blog fad, every past trip I’ve been on is still locked away in a journal. So, in order to prepare myself (and psych myself up!), I decided to rewrite my past experiences traveling on my online journalism portfolio.

It’s taking a little longer than I had planned, as my writing style has changed in the past few years and I don’t remember details as well as I would have the day I wrote my journal entry. But, all in all, I’m really excited. Travel writing is all I’ve ever wanted to do and now I have a chance to do it, even if there’s no financial benefits (broke college kid, check).

Life has been passing so quickly now that spring break has passed. It’s like these last couple weeks just *snap* were gone. And although sometimes it felt horribly long (especially on testing days and all-night cram seshes), it’s amazing that there’s only two weeks until finals. I’m halfway through my college career, when just yesterday I was graduating from high school. Funny how that works.

A close friend gave me some advice yesterday. She and I were talking about future plans and college, you know, one of those heart-to-heart moments. When I jokingly told her I don’t want to grow up yet she replied, “Just because you grow older doesn’t mean you have to grow up.” And it hit me how right she was – the happiest people in my life are the ones who laugh every day, who goof off, go on adventures and love life. They are open to everything, keeping their positive attitude and knowing that good things always seem to happen to good people. I realize, my true goals aren’t really about acing my next test or getting that dream job – my goal is simply to enjoy myself, to meet great people and to keep my youthful passion for life. If I can do that I think I’ll be just fine.

So this is what I plan to do in Florence, Italy in the next few months. I am so thankful that I am able to experience living abroad and I intend to appreciate every single moment of it. I hope to take a page from the Italian’s book, be boisterous, adventurous and embracing. Their taste for life is so sweet – they give themselves vacations not as a treat for working hundreds of hours a week like Americans do, but because life is precious and shouldn’t be wasted behind a desk all day. They eat slowly because they take the time to savor every bite, knowing the care and passion behind the plate in front of them. And they smile and welcome people with open arms because love and kindness are the best qualities we can share. My only hope is that I can learn from these incredible people and may my life be just asĀ dolce as theirs.

Infographics

I was reading through the newspaper this morning (it was one of those rainy mornings, complete with strong coffee and the Times), when I noticed how helpful infographics are. Instead of using up half a page with paragraphs describing research statistics, it was summed up in a basic bubble graph.

My anthropology professor always stressed the importance of communication and visual responses to the human species — it just hit me how right he is. We are a people attracted to color and designs. When you look at the front page of the paper, the first thing you notice is the big blocky colored photo in the middle of the page. Infographics capture us the same as those images – except they express a lot more factual information.

Made to be simple and visually stimulating, infographics draw us in and present easy-to-access information. I hope that in future graphic design classes, professors will teach us how to create the different types of infographics to further explain our main story. Without them, our feature is just a couple boring columns of black text with a complete lack of visual appeal. Who would want to read that?

Canning for a Cause

Towers of aluminum scatter throughout Lowry Mall as the Greek community builds can castles for a cause from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 11. Sororities and fraternities group together to collect and display the donations for their beneficiaries. Kappa Alpha Theta sorority creates a grandma in a rocking chair to symbolize its Grannys House fundraiser. A total of 1,300 cans have been collected for Kappa Alpha Theta alone.

“It brings awareness to a lot of beneficiaries in the Columbia area and I think it’s a really positive thing for the Greek community to do,” says freshman Katelyn Rudolph of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.

Students will be building their can creations until 1 p.m. when all hands stop for final judging. Designs will be deconstructed and the cans transported to donation boxes by 5 p.m.

“It’s cool to work hard and play hard for a good cause,” sophomore Kappa Alpha Theta member Noelle Medina said.

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a time for technology

Almost every day we hear the term “there’s an app for that,” but it just hit me how true that statement really is. Today I was browsing Facebook and I found this post:

“I simply love technology! Putting up shelves and didn’t have a level, so I just downloaded one on my phone and used that!”

I think we take it for granted how much we use our phones – on a 15 hour trip to Florida over Spring Break, our GPS decided to lose signal (granted, this was on a backroad in middle of nowhere Alabama). What were we to do? Pull out our phones and use the map app.

IPhone 4 gave us Seri – a techno personal assistant who will answer literally any question you might need to ask. Where is the next gas station? What is there to eat around here? She even has a sarcastic answer to any jokingly sexual question with, “I’m not that kind of personal assistant.” Anything you want to know is at the tip of your fingertips, and all you have to do is press a button and ask.

Now, the industry spits out new products every few months – keeping us all anxiously awaiting the next gadget, the new “cool” item to hit the market. But what else could they possible think of? I bet if we dropped our IPhone back in the 1800s they’d think it’s a gift from god. We have come so far, but how much farther can we go?

We watched a video a while back in class of these flying drones that could record (video and audio) as a tool for journalists to collect information in potentially dangerous locations. These robots can be programmed to work in group formations or independently. There is now an Ipad program that allows you to hold the Ipad in front of a picture in the newspaper and on the Ipad screen, that picture will turn into a video. A girl behind me exclaimed, “Holy shit! It’s like Harry Potter!” What we deemed only possible in a magical realm is now actually possible – and as with everything else in our generation, easily available and accessible.

So where do we go from here? Holograms? Transporters? I guess we’ll all just have to wait and see. Who knows, we might be the next generation of the Jetsons.