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Falling into Autumn #OutrageousOctober

16 Oct
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This is my goal!

Bring on the Fall! For once in my college life, I am completely aware the seasons are changing and autumn will be among us soon! Every year, I somehow let October slip through my fingers and by the time November hits, I question if October even occurred. From Halloween fun, to Midterm stress, and my father’s (and my) birthday, this month is probably the most hectic time for me. However, THIS October will completely different. I am preparing for my favorite season and going to fully embrace the fall. Below I have made a list all of things I am going to do to welcome the new season and I invite you to embrace fall with me!

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I NEED this! I wonder if it smells better than other pumpkin ones I’ve tried.

1. Make my home smell like Fall
I love candles to the point where my boyfriend says I shouldn’t buy anymore, but I do it anyways! They are so peaceful and also gives my home an amazing smell, which is always nice. This one is also a great and simple way to embrace the wonderful season because anyone can do it – if you can’t use open flames, there are diffusers, plug ins, sprays, and so many more options! If you like the aroma of fresh-baked goods, the woods, or other autumn scents, I can guarantee it is out there!

From online shopping to your favorite grocery store, there is always a section for candles, incenses, and air fresheners, which has all of the smells. There are seasonal fragrances that are great to fill your home with in order to enjoy the seasons even more. This year, I want to buy candles that smell like apples, cinnamon, and even find a pumpkin one. Unfortunately, I have not had any luck at finding a good smelling pumpkin candle, so if you know a good one, please let me know!

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My inspiration!

2. Update my wardrobe to match the changing seasons
Do not be mistaken when I say, “update my wardrobe”. I am not trying to change my whole wardrobe around to make it all fall attire because: 1. I am a college student who has bills and 2. I don’t have time for that. All I want to do is incorporate a few pieces that can give off a fall vibe like cute booties, a few shirts with dark fall tones, and maybe (if I’m feeling adventurous) a fun scarf with plaid on it. I think this is always a fun thing to do because you don’t have to spend a lot of money on changing your wardrobe. Just buying a few things that are something you don’t typically wear, vamp up your whole wardrobe. 

This doesn’t exactly relate to wardrobe, but I also want to incorporate fall colors and Halloween images into my nails. I use to do this all of the time when I was in high school (because I had time then), but I definitely want to at least change my nails twice to match the season. Also it’s a little difficult to do this now because I am a sculptor and my nail polish chips off WAYY too soon. 

3. Dye my hair to fit more in with the fall colors
This one is probably the most bold, reckless, and permanent thing to do on this list, but too late, I already did it! The reasons I wanted to dye my hair in the first place were: I’ve been really into changing my hair lately, I’ve never tried an auburn/red/orange color before, and Pinterest. There were so many creative things that were popping up on my feed to embrace fall colors with hair and I could not resist. Also, with my blue eyes I knew I had to give it a shot because it would make them stand out A TON.

After four hours of sitting in a salon, two ladies drying my hair at the same time, and a little pricey bill at the end, it was TOTALLY worth it! I love my new hair and to my surprise I love it more than my natural hair and all of the other experiments I have tried (blonde and purple balayage, for example). This new look also gave me a huge boost of confidence and a little more sass throughout the day. If you have ever been skeptical about changing your look, just go for it! Worst case scenario, if you’re not in love with it, express that to the person who did your hair and they will change it for you to like it once again. You may also find you love yourself with a new look and it will bring you more confidence than you had before. 

4. Eat/Drink all things pumpkin

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I love PUMPKINS! This turtle is too cute 🙂

Okay, okay. I know everyone thinks pumpkin spice is very overrated and “basic” when fall season hits, but I have no problem indulging in pumpkin anything. At first, being the cool person I am (just kidding), I did not want to participate in purchasing pumpkin items because I disliked that everyone went overboard with it, but after trying my first pumpkin spice latte, because my friend made me, I actually loved it and still do today. It brings warmness and nostalgia whenever fall comes around because I treat myself to this every autumn.

Other than the typical Pumpkin Spice latte at Starbucks, there are other goodies out there that are great to enjoy in this fall season. For the first time, I found pumpkin pie ice cream at the store, which was to die for! Not only did it taste exactly like pumpkin pie, but there were also pieces of pie crust which was a lovely surprise. There are pumpkin spice Oreos (?? which I guess is a thing now), pumpkin creamer (if you like to make your coffee at home), and pumpkin spice cereal (lol who knew?) out there to try. Unless you’re allergic to pumpkin, I would suggest trying some of these new pumpkin items if you haven’t already. Even though it is overrated, you may actually find you like pumpkin things and that’s great!

5. Go ALL out for Halloween
Usually I am putting together Halloween at the last-minute and last year it got so bad to the point my boyfriend and I got our Halloween costumes the day before. This year, it is not going to be that way. Because I am a planner (good joke), I have already took the initiative to plan what I am going to be this year with my boyfriend and started putting up Halloween decorations. We are going to be creepy clowns this year, thanks to the inspiration from IT (even though we haven’t seen the new one yet… lol)! Being an artist, I love to have costumes that incorporate face paint. For example one year I was a scary bunny, a skeleton, and a wolf. All of these costumes, I went all out on my face paint and it was a lot of fun! The Halloween fun does not stop there! Like I said we have started to put up Halloween decorations up (thanks to my boyfriend’s mom for letting us use some of hers). We are going to have scary decorations up for the majority of October, which might be terrifying or bring in more holiday cheer. 

The decorations will be perfect addition to our small get together we love to do every Halloween where our friends come over all dressed in costumes. In the past, we lacked the decorations because we shopped for Halloween last-minute and it was a little weird that the only Halloween aspect of our part was our costumes…but this time will be a lot more fun! I am also going to tap into my baking skills for this event to make Frankenstein cupcakes and Ghost cookies!

Another aspect that ties into the Halloween theme that I love to do is watch scary movies. Rob Zombie has incredible movies he produced, the SAW movies are intense, and The Nightmare Before Christmas is a classic and great because you can watch it over the course of two holidays! Other Halloween favorites include Hocus Pocus, Halloweentown, and Casper the Friendly Ghost (I know they’re kids movies, but I just can’t resist). Watching scary movies really gets me in the Halloween and October spirit, especially when there’s actually a Friday the 13th this month!!!

6. Take time to enjoy it all
Last, and especially, not least I am going to go out of my way to actually enjoy this month. With my hectic schedule (and I am sure you can relate) time goes by way too fast and I hate it. Honestly, I can’t even get over the fact we are already in the third month of the semester; where did the time go?? I am going to try my hardest to enjoy each and every day of this month to not only celebrate the fall season, but to also make the time go by slower. 

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I hope this blog inspires you to try to embrace the fall months, even if this is your least favorite time of year. It is great to at least try to enjoy every moment of the year, especially when you are in college. These years you are spending in college will go by quickly (trust me, this is my last year) and it is important to enjoy the path rather than to try to race to the finish line

Enjoy the Fall Season!
Courtney 

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#FearlessFebruary: Parting With My Hair

22 Feb

WARNING: THERE WILL BE A LOT OF PICTURES OF MY FACE IN THE FOLLOWING BLOG

Proceed with Caution

For this Fearless February, I decided to do something I haven’t done in a long time. Change my hair.

For some people, this small change is something that is no big deal. But, for me, someone who hasn’t dyed their hair in 8 years, it was a pretty big change.

The first step was to scavenge the entire internet for something suitable to show the stylist. I spent hours and hours all over Pinterest and Instagram before I finally found a couple of options. I had settled between some subtle highlights from some random photo of a girl on Pinterest and an all over red color that one of my favorite Korean actresses, Park Shin Hye, has been supporting lately.

After many, many opinions and countless pros and cons lists, I decided to go with the second picture of some light highlights. I really liked the all over red hair color but with the amount of maintenance and money I would have to put into maintaining my hair,  I decided the second option was best.

The next step was to decide where I would go to get my hair done and with whom. My mother suggested a stylist named Victoria Adams in Phoenix at R Salon, so I made a reservation two weeks in advance and waited for the fateful day.

Two weeks went by so quickly that I almost felt as if I needed to catch my breath. As the days before the appointment started getting closer, I started growing nervous. I know it sounds silly since getting your hair done is something so common, but I really was afraid it wouldn’t turn out how I pictured.

Finally, the day came, and I made a quick trip to Phoenix to meet my stylist Victoria. It was my first time in this particular salon, and also funnily enough one of the first times I had been to an appointment without my mom. As she sat me in the chair I showed her the picture I wanted and asked her how long it would be.

“About 3 and a half hours”

My jaw dropped at the sound of 3 hours! I had no idea it was going to take so much time for some simple highlights. However, as she started the process, I quickly realized she was going to need all the time she had said.

Victoria was super nice, and once I told her I was doing this, partially for myself, but partially for work purposes, she told me to ask her any questions I had. As she began to prep, I knew I was finally parting with my old hair.

The entire process looked something like this.

  1. She separated my hair into 4 parts and began to tease the ends.pic 2.jpg
  2. Then she started to mix the dye in with separate sections of my hair and diffuse the dye with a bit of water to create a nice transition in the highlights. This entire section of the process itself took close to an hour since she took her time deciding where the color would start and end. By the end of this part in the process I had over 40 pieces of foil in my hair protecting the dyed color from my untouched hair that would blend into a mix of colors. pic-3
  3. After sitting for an extra 25 minutes, waiting for the color to absorb, I sat patiently reading a magazine. After the 25 minutes were up she told me that we would be washing and conditioning my hair. After washing out the dye I had to wait another 20 minutes with toner in my hair. This part is where I started to get a bit nervous since she said the highlights looked very orange when they were first dyed, a common occurrence since the cuticles of your hair are being opened up. That is why she applied a purple/blue toner to defuse the orange and yellow tones in my hair.                                                                                   pic-4
  4. After this step came the fun part –  the cutting and styling of my hair. When I first stepped in front of the mirror, I noticed no change in my dark wet hair. I kept quiet since I was unsure if it was just the light in the room or what, but I did think to myself I better see some results since nearly 2 hours had passed. As I sat in the chair, Victoria spun me around and smiled so I was facing the wall. She told me she wasn’t going to let me look at her drying my hair since the color would start to peak out as the moisture from my hair was released. Another painstaking 45 minutes passed as she dried and styled my hair. She knew the tension was building as we approached the three-hour mark, and I just really wanted my hair to be done with at this point. Right before she finished the top layer of my hair, several stylists made their way over to comment how nice my hair looked and how different it looked from before. Finally, after nearly 3 and a half hours I was done! The moment had finally come and this was the result!

Although the results don’t look too different in the picture, I assure you my hair is A Lot lighter now, and even the days after the appointment I noticed my hair lightened a lot as well. I was so nervous about changing my hair, but now that I have I am SO excited and happy with how it came out. Victoria did a fantastic job and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience!

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In the end, I am so happy with the decision I made to finally change my hair! And although believe me, it was pretty scary, I think making changes in your life is totally worth it!

~ Mandi

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Do something that scares you! You might be surprised!

 

Work Smarter, Not Harder

15 Jan

super_strength-512Spending Time on Strengths

Everyone is their own worst critic and we often have unrealistic expectations of ourselves. While we challenge those expectations in college, it’s important to keep it real and use our time in school wisely.

It’s hard for us to see a weakness in ourselves and accept it as is. This makes it very tempting to work harder on our room for improvement instead of maximizing our strengths.

To work smarter, not harder in college, we have to identify our strengths and focus our energy on developing them even further. Weaknesses will fill in and follow suit over time while you evolve as an individual.

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Finding your Strengths

We all want to succeed, that’s why we came to the U of A. We hear a lot about “following our passions” and “doing what we’re best at”, but how do we discover these things? How do we know when our passion has been ignited, or when we’ve found our niche?

It sounds like we should just stumble upon these hidden strengths and know them when we see them, but it’s not always so easy to pinpoint. One way of finding out about this is by looking at a challenge and your skills to meet it.

When a challenge presents itself, our response to that challenge tells us about our skills in that area. For me, just a few minutes of algebra problems are enough to remind me that math is a weakness of mine. On the other hand, ask me to draw you a picture and I’ll handle the task with a smile on my face. You might be a person who is very comfortable with math, but stressed out by creative demands. Stress is just an indicator of how we evaluate a challenge, and how we think our resources can meet it.

When it comes to school we can identify areas of strength and weakness in ourselves by monitoring the challenge level and the skill level we experience from different subjects.

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Getting in the “Flow”

According to the “Flow” model presented by positive psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, the ideal scenario is a high level of challenge met with a high skill level. According to this model, a person can perform at their best and achieve their highest under these conditions while experiencing fulfillment from the task. He adds that you must have clear goals, visible progress, frequent feedback, and confidence in your abilities.

Keeping track of your grades can help with setting clear goals and watching visible progress. Visit office hours for frequent feedback, and keep up the hard work for more confidence in your abilities!

-Amanda

 

The Gen Ed that Won Our Hearts

13 Nov

It was 5:45 AM as I turned off my alarm clock and greeted registration day with bleary eyes. I had been waking up at 4 AM to do my homework all semester, but this particular day, I had a case of the dreaded Mondays. My laptop had died at my bedside during the night, my roommate had taken the last Frappuccino and my favorite sweater was nowhere to be found. Things weren’t going my way, but I accepted my fate, plugged in my laptop and logged on to UAccess.

The wifi was crawling along like molasses, leaving me with nothing to see but a bright white page that made my eyes water. Refreshing the page, I looked over the handwritten list of classes my advisor had given me, my academic security blanket. The classes had been in my shopping cart for weeks, but my advisor warned me to be prepared for anything.

Sure enough, my student center looked like text-salad nightmare and the wifi crashed completely. By the time I logged in again 20 minutes later, a disheveled heap of stress at the café, all of my classes were full. Admittedly, I freaked right out.

If you find yourself in these shoes, it may seem like your academic sky is falling, but don’t panic! Make the schedule you can make with the course options you have left and talk to your academic advisor about it. There are still a few ways to get you on track and into the schedule you hoped for:

1. Get on the wait list, when available

Two of my classes gave me the option of being put on the waiting list. This may seem like a bleak land of limbo, but it’s not. So many students change, swap and drop their classes before registration ends. With the wait list, you’re already in line to take those spaces as they open.

2. Check on the class religiously

If there’s no wait list, keep checking on the class and accomplish the same thing manually. Keep your fingers crossed for the green circle to take the place of the angry blue square next to your class in the class search. As long as registration is still open, there’s still hope for an open seat.

3. Beg your way in

Showing up to your desired class on the first day with a Change of Schedule form is not a bad idea. Some classes are more rigorous than others about attendance, so you may even get lucky on your first day. In one class I wanted, anyone who didn’t show up for the first day was dropped from the roster so the wait-listed students could take their places.

4. Talk to your academic advisor

At the U of A, your advisors are the music makers and dreamers of dreams. They know what’s possible and they can help you see the glimmer of hope in any academic disaster. Ask them for ideas if you get stuck. They’ve seen degrees completed in the most unconventional of ways and can always help you navigate your obstacles to gain that academic success you so deserve.

My registration nightmare ended with a less-than-perfect schedule, but it resulted in the best set of classes I could have hoped for. It threw me off my 4-year plan a little bit, but overall, I still got all of my requirements knocked out without any extra semesters added onto my academic career.

If you find yourself in this position, keep calm, bear down and hang in there! That which doesn’t bend can break under pressure, so take it as an exercise in adaptability, jump the hurdles that are thrown at you and keep on keepin’ on. The commitment you’ve made to your education is a commitment to yourself, and that makes it worth the struggle. Use the resources all around you and don’t be discouraged. You may be forced to take a gen ed at an awkward time, it might shift a prerequisite over to a different semester, but overall, you’ve got this!

-Amanda

 

Essential Essentials

15 Aug

Here you go, off to college, finally going to be on your own! You have probably been waiting/ dreading this moment all summer, but now it’s finally here! Here are a few things that we think are essential for Wildcats to bring to make living away from home comfortable.

Residence Hall

Living in the residence hall is an experience unlike any other. You simultaneously get a feeling of immense freedom, followed by slight suffocation. A common mistake first year students make is bringing too much stuff all at once. Trust me, you do not need your entire semester’s stock of food in your room the first day you move in. Try to plan your meals ahead of time, that way you know exactly what you need to buy at the store and nothing goes bad.  You also don’t need to bring pots and pans because you will be able to check them out from the front desk in your residence hall. But you will want to make sure you have dish soap and sponges to clean your borrowed equipment. The biggest thing to remember when living in the hall is the importance of preserving space, so instead of bringing your entire wardrobe with you, try to bring clothes that are seasonally appropriate and swap them out as you need them. Having a printer in your room will be welcome, but you’ll want to find a small one because space is limited!

Apartment

Living in an apartment is completely different than living in a residence hall! You will again be tempted to bring absolutely everything you own to your new apartment, but you should think about that first. While this new space is larger than a shared room in a residence hall, it still has a spacial limit. You should try to coordinate with your new roommate(s) for kitchen items such as pots and pans, dishes, and storage containers. It gives you an opportunity to reach out to your roommates before you move in and prevents you from having to buy, pack, and lug all of your own stuff. No one needs three sets of pots and pans! If you are living in a student apartment, chances are it comes furnished. If you aren’t, then that will be another necessity for you to think about.

The overall theme here is don’t get carried away. Bringing too much stuff to your new place will make it feel crowded and messy, and no one wants to live in that! Leaving some of your stuff at home will also make it nicer when you visit!

-Chrissy

What’s One More Language?

8 Jul

To the eyes of a child, summer is the epitome of freedom. There’s no school or homework, they can sleep in and not have a care in the world. Unfortunately, the older a person gets,the more they wish they would’ve done during those long glorious summers. I am not going to sit here and say that I have utilized my summer to the max and not wasted a single minute, because let’s face it, I have spent a good amount of time vegging out in front of my T.V., but I have also begun something I vowed to do three years ago: I am teaching myself German!

Some might ask why I don’t just take German as my second language in school, but as it stands I am already taking both Greek and Latin and adding anything else onto that would be too much (trust me, I tried it).

Why German you ask? Originally it was because I really liked the way it sounds. I also figured it might be easier to learn since English is based off of it, I was wrong in this aspect. It did not hurt that I was informed I would have to learn it in grad school, and so learning it now would provide me with a leg up!

Actually learning the language was interesting. I found a surprising amount of similarities between it and Greek and Latin, this was a relief since I know those languages. As with all languages, the hard part was the vocabulary. I am an audio learner, and so not having an instructor was hard. This was more of a problem because unlike my other two languages, this one is not dead! While I feel like I am starting to understand the language, there is quite a bit more I need to do before I am proficient, none the less, I am proud of the progress I have made and I think I will keep casually learning the language!

Auf Wiedersehen zur Zeit! (Goodbye for now!)

-Christine

Top 20 Movies to Watch Over The Summer

10 Jun

 

Shannon’s Picks                                                              Chrissy’s Picks

Action:  

 The Bourne Identity                                                          Dracula Untold

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Adventure:

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows                       Bridge to Terabithia

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Animation:

How to Train Your Dragon                                            Lion King

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Comedy:

The Hangover                                                                    The Intern

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Drama:

Cast Away                                                                            Sense and Sensibility

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Family:

The Sandlot                                                                         Howl’s Moving Castle

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Fantasy:

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey                           Harry Potter

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Horror:

The Shining                                                                         Shrooms

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Romantic Comedy:

The Wedding Singer                                                         The Ugly Truth

rom

Science Fiction:

iRobot                                                                                    Blade Runner

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Chrissy’s Summer Reading List

10 Jun

Summertime,  the most relaxing word a college student can hear, say, or think. Summertime opens up a plethora of opportunities that are not available during the school year: sleeping until 1pm, going on random road trips, and of course reading fun books. I don’t know about y’all, but I find that during the school year I am way too busy reading the various assigned readings to  actually get any fun reading done! So, I made a list during the school year of all the books I would like to read during them summer and I am now steadily working my way through them! Here are my top 10 books that I would like to have read by the end of the summer. I included short summaries of the books that I found on the publishers’ websites.

Please note that most of these contain adult themes and violence. Please read at your own discretion. 

10. Ella Enchanted: Gail Carson Levine

How can a fairy’s blessing be such a curse?

At her birth, Ella of Frell was given a foolish fairy’s gift—the “gift” of obedience. Ella must obey any order given to her, whether it’s hopping on one foot for a day or chopping off her own head!

But strong-willed Ella does not tamely accept her fate. She goes on a quest, encountering ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters, fairy godmothers, and handsome princes, determined to break the curse—and live happily ever after.

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9. Dracula: Bram Stoker

During a business visit to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania, a young English solicitor finds himself at the center of a series of horrifying incidents. Jonathan Harker is attacked by three phantom women, observes the Count’s transformation from human to bat form, and discovers puncture wounds on his own neck that seem to have been made by teeth. Harker returns home upon his escape from Dracula’s grim fortress, but a friend’s strange malady — involving sleepwalking, inexplicable blood loss, and mysterious throat wounds — initiates a frantic vampire hunt. The popularity of Bram Stoker’s 1897 horror romance is as deathless as any vampire.  Its supernatural appeal has spawned a host of film and stage adaptations, and more than a century after its initial publication, it continues to hold readers spellbound.

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8. The Blood of Flowers: Anita Amirrezvani

Both a sweeping love story and a luminous portrait of a city, The Blood of Flowers is the mesmerizing historical novel of an ill-fated young woman whose gift as a rug designer transforms her life. Illuminated with glorious detail of Persian rug-making, and brilliantly bringing to life the sights sounds and life of 17th-century Isfahan, The Blood of Flowers has captured readers’ imaginations everywhere as a timeless tale of one woman’s struggle to live a life of her choosing.

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7. The Iliad: Homer

Dating to the ninth century B.C., Homer’s timeless poem still vividly conveys the horror and heroism of men and gods wrestling with towering emotions and battling amidst devastation and destruction, as it moves inexorably to the wrenching, tragic conclusion of the Trojan War. Renowned classicist Bernard Knox observes in his superb introduction that although the violence of the Iliad is grim and relentless, it coexists with both images of civilized life and a poignant yearning for peace

The iliad

6. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep: Philip K. Dick

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? was published in 1968. Grim and foreboding, even today it is a masterpiece ahead of its time.
By 2021, the World War had killed millions, driving entire species into extinction and sending mankind off-planet. Those who remained coveted any living creature, and for people who couldn’t afford one, companies built incredibly realistic simulacrae: horses, birds, cats, sheep. . . They even built humans.
Emigrées to Mars received androids so sophisticated it was impossible to tell them from true men or women. Fearful of the havoc these artificial humans could wreak, the government banned them from Earth. But when androids didn’t want to be identified, they just blended in.
Rick Deckard was an officially sanctioned bounty hunter whose job was to find rogue androids, and to retire them. But cornered, androids tended to fight back, with deadly results.

Do androids dream of electric sheep

5. 13 Reasons Why: Jay Asher

You can’t stop the future. 
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker—his classmate and crush—who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.
Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

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4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.

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3. Brave New World: Aldous Huxley

The astonishing novel Brave New World, originally published in 1932, presents Aldous Huxley’s vision of the future- of a world utterly transformed. Through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, people are genetically designed to be passive and therefore consistently useful to the ruling class. This powerful work of speculative fiction sheds a blazing critical light on the present and is considered to be Huxley’s most enduring masterpieces.

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2. The Other Boleyn Girl: Philipa Gregory

When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of the handsome and charming Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane, and soon she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. With her own destiny suddenly unknown, Mary realizes that she must defy her family and take fate into her own hands.

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1. Poison Study: Maria V. Snyder

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace- and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dusté and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear—.

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Vacation vs. Staycation

12 May

Every summer I am met with the same struggle, should I spend a ton of money going on a vacation and having fun with my friends, or should I stay at home and work. Let’s be honest, usually I stay home. Not only do I not have the money to go on vacations, but vacations, at least mine, tend to be more trouble than they are worth.

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It doesn’t matter who I go with, whether family or friends, there is always so much drama that I would not have had to deal with if I had stayed home! I don’t know what it is about vacations, but they tend to bring out the worst in people. This year though, I have decided to brave the dreaded vacation, but only for a weekend. I am going to go to California for 3 days with a few friends, and hopefully it won’t be a huge mistake.

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Usually though, I have a staycation. For those of you who do not know, a staycation is a vacation you take without going anywhere. I tend to be a bit more strict with my staycations than most, I don’t allow myself to use social media, I do not watch T.V. shows that are currently on; instead I re-watch classic movies, I get caught up on books, and I sleep and sleep and sleep. Now, my staycation only lasts about a week because I take summer courses and work, but for that one glorious week I have no worries and no one can bother me. I am not trying to say that you have to do your staycation the same way I do, that’s the beauty of the staycation, it differs for every individual!

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The rest of my summer is usually spent working and taking classes which for some is not relaxing, but having the same routine I have during the school year is quite nice for me. I tend to take online classes so I can do my homework by the pool or while watching A League of their Own for the thousandth time, and work tends to be a bit more relaxed in the summer, so in the end I do have a nice relaxing summer.

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Now, whether you choose to vacation with family or stay at home and relax there, just make sure you do relax a little bit this summer. Students really do need the time to reenergize themselves.

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-Christine

#AdventurousApril: Archaeology Adventures

18 Apr

April is one of the hardest months in the school year. Everyone is ready for school to be over and yet there is still a ton to do! Added on top of all this is registration for classes, which inexplicably comes with thinking about the future.

Personally, I have always known what I wanted to do both for my bachelor’s degree and my master’s degree, but suddenly out of almost no where, I was not so sure. Essentially it started with my school tour last month. It got me thinking about things, always dangerous, I know. What it really came down to was that I did not think I could be happy being a Professor for the rest of my life, not that I did not want to teach, but I did not want to do research (a big part of being a professor).

Equipped with this new-found information, I had a decision to make: what the heck was I going to do now? I had come into college with a sure-fire plan of what I wanted to do, and now here I was at the end of my JUNIOR year with no idea about what I want to do?! So, I did what anyone would do: I stayed up all night watching Ted-Talk videos trying to come up with a semblance of a plan.The videos actually ended up helping because during one of the videos, I heard someone talking about classical preservationists, who preserve ancient artifacts. I started researching the requirements for this job, and it turned out that all my hard work in my undergrad would not go to waste! I would need the exact same classes that I had already taken, so I was not as hopeless as I thought I was.

The truth of the matter is that most students will change their minds about what they want to do sometime during their undergraduate career, it is just a fact of college. As we grow as people, we find out more about our interests and limits and have to adjust for that. If you find yourself in my shoes, with no idea about what you want to do with your life, don’t fret. Start researching, do some personal digging and figure out what interests you. Take a class that sounds interesting, you never know… maybe Psychology is your thing, maybe you were born to be a Criminologist!  Whatever excites you, go for it!

Christine Ellis