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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

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#MiddlingMarch: Chrissy Gets Her Groove Back

29 Mar

Of all the breaks and days off we have, Spring Break is the worst. It is just long enough that we delude ourselves that we can put off doing school work for a few days, but not long enough for that to actually be the case. Please, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Spring Break, I cherish the fact that I don’t have to be at school at 7:30 in the morning everyday, but coming back from break is always the hardest thing to do.

Personally, to avoid the awkward phase of getting back into the swing of school, I do school-type things over the break. This break, I visited the University of Washington to check out their graduate program. I was able to talk to the Professors I could potentially be working with to get my PhD. Doing this helped me refocus my vision. Throughout your school years, you might forget why you came to college in the first place, and it is a good idea to remind yourself. If graduate school is not in the books for you, spend some time talking to people in your field. Sometimes you have to focus on the end goals a bit to stay motivated.

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Of course, I did not visit Seattle without visiting the sites! I was there for three days, and while one was spent at the University, the other two were spent touring around Seattle. I visited the Chihuly Glass Museum, the Seattle Aquarium, Pike-Market Place (where we saw them throw fish at customers) and of course the Space Needle. It was the right amount of school and relaxing.

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It’s not always easy to flit off to schools you’re interested in, but looking up programs is a great way to focus your mind on the future and to remind yourself what you are working toward. It is never too early to start planning your future!

-Chrissy

5 Things I Love About This Place: Oregon

29 May

At this point in the break, we are beginning to immerse ourselves into our summer plans, whether they involve prepping for summer courses, becoming one with our living room couch while binge-watching Netflix, or even leaving Tucson to visit loved ones. Personally, I finally have the pleasure of kicking off my shoes in my own house, which happens to be located in a small town called Corvallis in the state of Oregon! Yes, that is right. Though I do reside in Tucson, Arizona, the place where I can truly hang my hat is in this wonderful state. And I just wanted to take the time to list some of the things I most admire about Oregon, both as a home and a vacation spot 🙂

1) The Weather

Though I live in Arizona, I am a HUGE fan of rainy, overcast weather. I love the smell, I love the chilliness, and I love the sound of rain. I was born in Anchorage, Alaska so I would like to think that’s partly why I favor this kind of weather.

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rainy weather

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2) The Scenery

I try to take my dog, Scout, on walks as often as I can when I’m visiting my mom’s house. Just down the road, there’s a covered bridge that we get to walk through each time. Corvallis is on the small side, so there are more trees and grass than buildings and pavement. Plus, my lungs can’t get enough of this crisp cool air 🙂

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On a drive throughout Portland, we decided to pull the car over.

3) The Places

In Portland, we happened to stumble upon this really cool coffee shop. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name so I am unable to send out a solid recommendation to you all, but I promise that if you ever get a chance to visit Portland you’ll come across a few gems yourself 🙂

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coffee 24) The Food

Seafood! Seafood! Seafood! The best seafood that I have EVER had is in Oregon. Mo’s is only located in 6 cities on the coast throughout the state, the two photos that I have included below are of the two restaurants in Newport. Mo’s is famous for its clam chowder, which I love getting in a bowl made out of sourdough bread. I would recommend the shrimp skewers, fish tacos, and one of their delicious hamburgers (not seafood, but they’re really good!).

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MosAnnexRestaurant_360_360_905) My Family

I live in Tucson, my mother lives in Oregon, and my brother Cole is currently serving in the Air Force in California. So when we get the chance to all come together, it makes me very, very happy. We’ll usually drive to the coast, walk around Newport or Seaside, and explore Corvallis.

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My brother Cole and I

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A family friend (Jennifer), my mother, and I.

I invite all of you to share your “5 Things” that you LOVE about the place you’re currently visiting or planning on visiting this summer in the comments below 🙂

Best,

Casey

#MiddlingMarch: Breathe in the Wild Air

10 Apr

Let’s be real. By spring break, the majority of us were mentally fried. Just ready for a break. Personally, the week before spring break I couldn’t even think straight.

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All I cared about was a week away from classes, homework, work, research, and even campus (which is kind of sad considering the fact I live on campus).

So in my desire to get away from all of it I fled to the one place that has never let me down: nature.

My plan, originally, had been to behold the beauty of our very own Niagara-style falls here in Arizona: Grand Falls or Chocolate Falls. However, my lack of planning for this journey resulted in a fail as we couldn’t go. Apparently, they require a permit to go visit them and well, I didn’t get one. Should have listened to my girlfriend earlier in the month when she was nagging me about looking into the visit more in-depth.

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So me being the brilliant planner that I am, paired with the fact that we were already up in Flagstaff and probably shouldn’t waste the opportunity, I mustered a Plan B. Don’t want to toot my own horn, but let me just say this plan was genius!

We ended up going to Oak Creek Canyon, halfway between Sedona and Flagstaff. So the trip down to the actual trail we were undertaking was a beautiful, winding drive down. The scenery was beyond breathtaking! See for yourself:

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We started off strong! I had my new hiking boots on and was ready to take on the world (or this trail)!

 

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At the very beginning we crossed a lovely bridge. I was obsessed with the bridge and this one tree at the end of it, so I took a picture on the way back.

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There were also some ruins of a lodge that had been there in the past. Pretty sweet pictures came from that.

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As we got closer to the actual starting point, we encountered this sign:

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I don’t know about you, but I ain’t about to fight a bear.

So we went on and on, crossing the creek several times (we did 9 out of the 13 crossings in total). Remember those new boots I mentioned earlier? Well, they were waterproof and that made me ever so happy! My girlfriend, on the other hand, wasn’t so stoked about crossing the creek in her sneakers. Sucks to suck.

About 3 miles in, we decided maybe completing the hike that day wouldn’t happen. It was already 4:30pm and the sun would start setting soon making it dark and cold. So we turned back. We finished around 6:00pm as the sun set. On the way back, I took a million more pictures.

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After leaving the trail, we decided to hit up Sedona. I LOVE SEDONA! The beautiful rocks, the artsy environment, and the awesome food! I am determined to retire there when I am older.

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That same day we drove to Phoenix, where we managed to meet up with my best friend, and explore some fun places there.

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Later on in the week, I went to the Catalina Mountains for some good ole camping and some restoration volunteer work. This was part of the Honors College Alternative Spring Break, so this was a great experience to learn about nature, help it out, and bond with a great group of friends!

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So as you can see nature is my form of rejuvenation. I am absolutely happiest when immersed in nature and I am more than okay with that! Find your passion and happy travels 🙂

-Lucero

 

– Lucero

Adventure Is Out There!

7 Apr

If you are anything like me, you have high hopes and dreams of one day being able to travel the world and experience new cultures. However, every summer I find myself sitting on my living room couch snuggling with a bag of Cheetos while watching America’s Next Top Model reruns.

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Summer can be a hit or miss vacation for some people; it can be two months of Netflix binge watching, adventures, or perhaps both. Experiencing college, I have realized that I am in need of adventure, which is why I have taken the initiative to apply for a summer study abroad program!

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Study abroad is an incredible opportunity offered by universities around the globe. This experience allows students to complete university credits while also immersing themselves in a new culture. I personally wanted to go to a country with a language I am unfamiliar with and whose culture is vastly different from my own: I chose South Korea.

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Although I have yet to hear on my acceptance status, I know that if accepted I will have an experience of a lifetime. All too often it is easy to fall into a cycle of everyday stress. College is a stressful time, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun! Try new things and learn about the world that we have in front of us while you can!

Adventure is out there, Wildcats!

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-Zuri

#AdventurousApril: Nature is Neat… Neature…

5 Apr

When people think of Arizona, they think of hot weather, cactus, and the Grand Canyon… but there is SOO much more here. I just got back from the neatest nature adventure! 

We started at Tonto National Bridge Park. Unfortunately due to high water level and poor planning  on my part, we were unable to really explore the park. 

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It is a bridge, I promise!

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This tree was half hanging over NOTHING!

Up next, Sedona. Sedona is a beautiful place that has something for everyone, no matter what you’re interested in. The town is super cute and there are a bunch of shops and restaurants to explore. There are also so many hiking options. The entire area is so beautiful and no matter which adventure you choose, there will be an amazing view!

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No adventure in complete without a selfie.

Then I took a surprise trip to Page, Arizona. Right next to Page is the Navajo reservation. We went with our guide into the Upper Antelope Canyon… this place was spectacular! 

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Horseshoe Bend is a little spot along the Colorado River and it is only a few minutes away from Page. The view is gorgeous and it’s a wonderful place to spend a few hours!

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My final big adventure was to Bearizona in Williams, Arizona along Route 66. There are two parts to Bearizona. In the first, you get to drive through the enclosures of  wolves, bears, bison, and deer. Then you can park and see baby bears, otters, beaver, and some birds. 

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Arizona has a lot to offer, so get out there and enjoy! 

–Elena 

The Top 5 Lessons I Learned my Sophomore Year of College

27 Feb

The transition between freshman and sophomore year may not seem like that big of a jump, but the changes that it entails are definitely worth mentioning. Here are the 5 lessons that I took away from my sophomore year in college:

1. Cooking is a thing!

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Living in a dorm my freshman year, my food choices consisted of the campus food court and any meal that had the word “instant” in its title. However, finally having an apartment with a kitchen opened a whole new world of food for me. It was like stepping through the wardrobe and into Narnia, if Narnia was full of delicious food.

2. Friday nights are best spent with the Bae

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I feel like freshman year was surrounded by the misconception that in order to have a good time in college, you need to go to parties and paint the town red. What I learned my sophomore year is that having a good time does not depend where you go, but rather who you spend your time with. I found that some of my favorite college memories have been spent with my close friends, some pizza, and Netflix. There is no need to feel pressured to go out every night just to say you are living your college years to the fullest.

3. It’s okay to let go of some of your high school pals

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Freshman year of college, I felt almost obligated to keep in touch with the friends that I had from high school. At the time it made sense not to let go of the friendships considering we had seen each other every day for the past four years. However, I had to come to the realization that people change and it is perfectly normal if you go onto a different path than some of your friends. To this day, I only really keep in touch with a handful of people from high school, and even that is occasional.

4. Study what your passionate about

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All too often it becomes easy to forget why you are in college in the first place. I was lost my freshman year, and found myself stuck in a major that I was not enjoying. It wasn’t until my best friend asked me “if you could go into any field of study and money was not an issue, what would you study?” that I began to realize that I wasn’t happy in my major. Now, after changing my major, I look forward to my classes and the career that lies ahead!

5. Explore! 

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College is such a great time to explore, not only what kind of person you want to be, but the world too. Sophomore year is a perfect time to begin looking into study abroad opportunity and opportunities that simple let you travel within the nation. Take advantage of your time as a student, especially before you begin taking those upper division courses. Get to know the world we live in!

-Zuri