Christmas Fun Facts!

Merry Christmas! Ahh finally it is winter break! I hope you all are enjoying your break so far! I have amassed some fun Christmas festive facts for you all that I thought you might enjoy as a quick, fun read. Have fun and stay warm 🙂

1. December 25th is assumed to mark the birth of Jesus Christ. However, there is apparently no mention of this date in the Bible. In fact, most historians claim that Christ was actually a spring baby! As a result, it might be that December 25th was chosen because it coincides with the ancient pagan festival called “Saturnalia.” This festival celebrated the agricultural god Saturn with parties, gambling, and exchanging of gifts.

2. What about the tradition of the pine trees that we decorate and consecrate as Christmas trees? Well, actually this tradition is also rooted in the Saturnalia festival. The pagans used the branches of the evergreen trees during winter solstices to symbolize the strength of the Sun gods during the spring season.

3. Germans are considered to be the first to bring the concept of “Christmas trees” into their homes in the holiday season.

4. Even though Christmas trees did prevail in America in the 1830’s, it wasn’t until 1846 when Queen Victoria and Germany’s Prince Albert were sketched in front of a Christmas tree that the real hype for Christmas trees started!

5. A War on Christmas? Five months into World War I, the troops took a “Christmas break” to sing carols to each other on the battlefield. German and British troops started wishing each other “Merry Christmas” and even exchanging cigarettes as gifts. This event was later known as the “Christmas Truce of 1914.”

6. Christmas in the Colonies! Did you know that Christmas was not even a big deal in the mid to late 1600’s? In fact, if you showed any Christmas spirit in Boston, you would be fined five shillings!  That’s right! Christmas used to be illegal! Congress did not even bother to give a day off! They even decided to hold their first session on Christmas in 1789!

7. The first American batch of eggnog was made in Captain John Smith’s 1607 Jamestown settlement. The word “nog” comes from “grog” which means any drink made from rum!

8. Did you know that the famous myth of Santa travelling across the skies in his reindeer sleigh was actually first inspired by Washington Irving? Yes, this is the same Irving who authored the “Headless Horseman.” In The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Irving described a dream about St.Nicholas soaring in the skies in a weightless wagon.

9. How did Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer come about? Both these festive characters were the advertising industry’s gimmicks! Rudolph was used to lure shoppers to Montgomery Ward Department store. Frosty the Snowman was used in alcohol ads!

10. NASA’s enigmatic Christmas sighting? In 1965, two astronauts spotted an unidentified object in space and frantically called Mission Control. It was actually a prank by the two astronauts who later began playing Jingle Bells on the harmonica, which is now on display at the National Museum.

11. Kissing under the mistletoe originated in the Celtic and Teutonic legend in which mistletoe is believed to have magical powers that can heal wounds, increase fertility, bring good luck, and keep away the evil spirits.

12. Christmas around the world is quite different! The Portuguese hold a feast for the living and the dead on Christmas. Meanwhile, people in Greece believe that goblins called kallikantzeri roam around during the 12 days before Christmas. Also, the Greeks don’t exchange gifts until January 1st, St. Basil’s Day.

Well I hope you enjoyed this post! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

It’s All About the Christmas Spirit

Today is the day after Christmas. December 26.

After all the countdowns and all the advent calendars and all the anticipation, Christmas is over. This one day came and went so quickly. But is Christmas just about one day? Yes and no. From reading the SASHP Bloggers’ collaboration post, I realized that Christmas isn’t only about December 25, but about the season as a whole, and the spirit that accompanies it.

Despite finals ending so close to Christmas, the anticipation of being done with the semester and the accompanying joys of the season — such as gift shopping, baking, decorating, music, etc. —  add to what Christmas is all about.

More importantly, its the time with family that really makes Christmastime beloved. Family travels from different parts of the state, from different countries, to spend time together and catch up on the family gossip. And to also celebrate the birth of Jesus? While this may be an important, and founding part of the holiday, I think that reuniting with family is really what Christmas is all about. Even those who do not identify with the religious undertones still celebrate this time of the year as one for gathering the family together, and even exchanging gifts as a sign of love and appreciation.

But does Christmas have to occur on December 25? Sure, that’s the designated date, but I celebrated Christmas on Thursday December 22. It didn’t feel any less Christmassy, less holiday spirity, but it was as if it were actually Christmas. I was with all of the family from my mom’s side, we ate A LOT, exchanged and even opened up a couple presents.

“OMG opening presents before Christmas?!?!”

Omg yes we did, because it was Christmas for us. Because Christmas is about the joy, the love, and the family.

As we near the New Year, carry this happiness and appreciation for family and friends with you into 2017. Christmas is not just for December.

The Importance of Advisors

I’ve been trying to figure out what it is I want to do with my life. Ever since I gave up the premed life way back in August, (and posted about it in September), I’ve been drifting. And that sort of drift, that sort of lack of focus and goals, can be debilitating. You can be stressed unconsciously. That’s a hard lesson I learned this year. And I felt, especially when I walked away from premed, that I had failed some unwritten lesson, even though I felt relieved at the prospect of cutting myself off from all that unnecessary (for me) stress.

So this is the part where I tell you this: Advisors are the best thing to ever exist, if you find the right ones. Go and talk to them!

Let me repeat that again, because of how important that is: Advisors are the best thing to ever exist, if you find the right ones. Go and talk to them!

I want to start on this topic by saying that I did not have great experiences with advisors my freshman and sophomore years. But that might also be because there’s a stigma attached to premed students that I didn’t realize existed until I separated myself mentally from that group. We’re all a little too idealistic and enthusiastic, and we feel like its the end of the world when a specific thing doesn’t go our way in the beginning. Feel free to contest me on this, but take a hard look at yourself if you’re young and premed or when you were young, and you’ll see what I mean.

That’s not to say that that’s entirely a bad thing; we have every right to be the way we are, because that’s what youth is. Our experiences shape us, so we have to be hopeful to want to experience different things.

So when I went looking for newer experiences to find what I wanted to do, I found myself standing in front of the Deans of the Honors Programs.

And let me tell you, they are wonderful Deans. I’ve never found a community of staff that cares so much about its students before. Not only did they guide me and help me find a path to follow, but they also offered advice for the future that I knew would help me for years to come.

We don’t trust our elders enough, I think; when we enter college, we feel we’ve got it all figured out. It’s our time to decide how we want to live our lives. But we forget that our parents, our Deans, our advisors, our instructors–our elders–have often gone through many of the things we’re going through right now. It’s so unfortunate that we don’t utilize these resources enough. If you could save yourself a world of pain and mistakes by speaking to someone who has gone through what you have and solved the issues, wouldn’t you speak to them? Wouldn’t you glean all of their knowledge?

So go. Go and talk to all of your advisors.

And if you have no idea what you want to do with your life, do yourself a favor and go see University Career Services. The advisors there were the main driving force in helping me find what I was interested in as a career, which happened to be UX Design. Wikipedia defines it as, “the process of enhancing user satisfaction with a product by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product.”

And they, too, were some of the kindest and most helpful people I had met.

Kind and caring people are hidden in pockets around campus. Go out there and find them. Find yourselves! And don’t forget to fail a little bit too, just for the personal growth.

This Year’s Fun Reads

As the semester, finals, and the year 2016 come to an end, I thought it would be worthwhile to close it off by talking about some of the things I personally like to do when I don’t have exams. A December without finals seems like it should have occurred a long time ago, but somehow I have managed to recall some of my favorite books that I have completed as a past time. In case you were wondering, reading is not my first choice of a hobby after exams. I don’t just go home and crack open Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species the minute I finish a bio or chem exam. In fact, I’m lucky even if I finish a book within a few months,  which is my personal record. But since many have talked about their favorite shows on Netflix, popular Youtube videos, or great video games that I personally miss playing (Assassin’s Creed to name a few), I thought it would be nice to go through some of the biggest classics I’ve managed to finish over the past two years to give a glimpse of the adventures, tragedies, and horrors that preceded our generation and still leave an impact on the reader after they finish reading.

Before I get started, I want to note that there will not be any spoilers for those of you who haven’t read these books yet, if you plan on ever doing so.

So let’s travel back in time to…

1. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

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Okay, maybe this one wasn’t that far back, but Book One of George R.R. Martin’s series A Song of Ice and Fire, on which the show is based,  was the one I most recently completed before school started this past summer. I kept hearing about Game of Thrones throughout high school, and personally I have liked medieval fantasies in the past, and some of my friends and family members really like the show, more than they like school, and when I found out it was based on a series of books, I thought I would give the first one a try to see how the story flows and whether I still possessed the medieval mindset. When I finished, on July 30, I was exhausted. Every detail was spelled out precisely and each chapter began with another character’s perspective and I had to adjust to fitting into my mind each one’s storylines, and the overall plot quickly became complex within the first 100 pages. But it was still remarkably captivating, and when I finished the book, I wanted to know more, but was too tired and anxious about the new school year that I decided to start watching the show instead (sorry fans who insisted I read the books first). Maybe I might read the next books anyway, because even watching the episodes proved to be quite a task at times, and I’ve tried not to look at spoilers to ruin my experience. I am far behind, currently on Season 4 , and plan to catch up as soon as possible. I told myself I wouldn’t watch any more episodes until finals are over, but keeping that string tied has been as difficult as studying for multiple tests at once. I must fight!

 

2. Dracula by Bram Stoker

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Going further back this time, I now present the 1897 Gothic horror classic by the Irish author Bram Stoker. I never considered myself really into tales about vampires or anything too supernatural, but since I read Frankenstein in English class during high school, I thought I would go back to the original story of the other Halloween-favorite,a monstrous blood-sucking creature that is still portrayed in today’s society. Although the story had some lapses in progress at times, it was still pretty scary to read some of the letters and messages written by a few of the characters, and one particular part had me wanting to sleep with the lights on and I hope that writing this now hasn’t reinstated that fear. But not to scare all you future readers, the story does pick up at the end, and each character has left a different impact on my view of the overall horror genre during the Gothic period. This is a new kind of horror that is different than the ones I see in slasher or paranormal films. It is the type that is not meant to scare by action, but by setting and character development, a horror that I did not experience as much in Frankenstein, whose tale I walked away from with more a sense of sympathy than fear or uneasiness, but that was compensated for by this book, which I hope I won’t be too scared to read again.

 

3. Beowulf by ???

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The original author is unknown, but the 1999 English translation by Seamus Heaney (from really Old English) leads me to this epic poem in alliterative verse of a godlike hero who fights monsters. The story sounds simple, but is actually a complex tale of survival, pride, and religion that dominates the land of the Danes and Geats in the story. Beowulf is the upholder of hope for a number of ruling families who are seemingly helpless when dealing with various supernatural entities that threaten their existence as rulers and as warriors, and also as people. However, ultimately, there will always be a final battle even for the greatest of heroes, but for me the adventure and suspense associated with each of Beowulf’s undertakings on each of the three monsters in the epic is what led me to finish what we had started in English class junior year, in which we only examined snippets of the story. As the only full length manuscript of Old English literature still around, this story is truly unique in its delivery of the tale of a courageous warrior with superhuman capabilities. Good luck to you folks who decide to try and read the original text. You’ll be left wondering how our own language has evolved.

 

4. Moby Dick by Herman Melville

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I now go to the tale of the monstrous white whale Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Spoiler alert: This story is mostly about whales. Over 800 pages exist of the crew of different classes of the Pequod chasing down the whale who chewed off Captain Ahab’s leg, with cetology (the study of whales) taking over the middle for a solid portion. It took me a good nine months to chew through it all, and I was left wondering whether it was worth it. There is a story, but it took a lot of patience and perseverance to understand the conflicts on the ship along with the mysteries that the sea holds. This was a great read because personally I was curious to find out what life on the sea in the 1800s would have been like, especially since it would be different from a modern-day cruise, and since none of my family knows much about fishing or whaling. It was quite an adventure to explore the sea side of literature and learn more about Nantucket and the various other ships the Pequod comes in contact with. I wouldn’t be lying when I say this is a difficult book, but I personally admire Melville’s passion and style of writing like a textbook author, especially since he himself spent a lot of his life on the sea. But honestly, I don’t think I will be reading the book from beginning to end again any time soon. Looking back, I wonder now how I actually managed to do it the first time.

 

5. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

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I haven’t read this yet, so I can’t really say anything about it.

 

These books were only some of the handful of memorable ones that I remembered reading over the years. I initially didn’t consider reading to be anywhere near fun in high school, but during the summer before my freshman year of college I was charged with a sudden new curiosity about the classics and their impact on modern literature and other media. Somehow I felt that I started at the right time, as college, being a time of exploration, allows one to go beyond oneself, and delving into the classics has been a journey that showed me new perspectives I wouldn’t have gained simply by taking science courses or choosing a career in medicine. With this broad new knowledge of the world from different angles I hope to extend my interest and curiosity to more classics to develop a bigger picture, after finals are done of course. My next one will most likely be The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

As the first year of my blog post writing comes to an end, I want to take the time to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year, and of course, good luck on final exams!

I hope this post wasn’t too distracting.

Winter Break Book Recommendation

I recently read Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel, Americanah, for my Black Novel class here at Rutgers with Professor Cheryl Wall. It is, by at least 35 years, the most contemporary book I have ever read for an actual academic class, including all the books I read for my classes in high school. Not only was it unexpectedly refreshing to read something younger than I am, but the novel proved that you don’t have to go back generations to find a book worth discussing.

Americanah is a coming of age novel about the challenges of immigration, the notion of race, and the search for one’s own identity in today’s world, which includes the complications of online media. Ifemelu, the main character, immigrates to America as a college student, determined to escape the constant strikes that interrupt her studies in Nigeria. The novel follows her as she struggles to navigate the United States, with passages from familiar places such as Philadelphia, Trenton, and Princeton. My personal knowledge of some of the places Ifemelu experiences made the novel come alive.

Another fascinating aspect of Americanah is the way in which Adichie uses digital media to tell the story. Ifemelu starts a blog when she is in America, and through these blog posts, the reader comes to understand her struggles with race and identity in a new place. She is not used to being seen as a black woman, her identity defined solely by her physical characteristics. In America, she has her first white boyfriend, who seems to “collect” foreign women; she is asked to give the “black perspective” in her classes by professors that assume her life experiences based on the color of her skin, and she becomes invested in the election of Barack Obama and the importance his leadership as a black man holds for many of her close friends.

The novel moves through time and space, not only charting Ifemelu’s experiences in the United States in a non-chronological manner, but following the life of her old college boyfriend from Nigeria as well. Obinze and Ifemelu seem to be meant for one another, but after she moves to America, they cannot help but to grow apart. Obinze has always wanted to go to America–he idolizes the culture of the country, only reading American books, only watching American films, and staying up-to-date in current political and social issues there. However, when he is given the opportunity to leave Nigeria, he has no choice but to go the England. His experiences there are very different from Ifemelu’s in America, and the contrast between the two is striking.

The transnational scope of the novel gives the reader the unique chance to read about the issues of immigration, race, and class from several different perspectives. Americanah is a book that addresses the issues of race and identity in American, questioning the notion of belonging. It truly is one of the most unique novels I have ever read, following the characters and they cross borders and deal with the challenges of finding out who they are in a completely unfamiliar space.

If you are looking for a great novel for the next few weeks of winter break, I cannot stress enough how fulfilling of a read Americanah is. Though it is long (almost 600 pages!) it reads quickly and easily, and is definitely worth it. Check it out!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

As we all — students, faculty, and staff alike — prepare to finish up the semester, it’s hard to stay focused when the Christmas and holiday season is around us.

Taking a break from our studies, some of the bloggers have written a little about what they enjoy best about this time of the year.

 

 

featured-teAs a Muslim, I don’t really celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah. I celebrate Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha, both of which are at different times of the year because the Islamic calendar doesn’t match up with the Gregorian calendar (the one we all use). But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the atmosphere. I love the Christmas songs on the radio, the lights on the houses, the pies, the idea of the mistletoe, the ugly Christmas sweaters. I love all of it, because I just love the joy it brings. And I love the idea of giving gifts. The only people I give gifts to are my closest friends from my hometown: we’ve had a gift rapport since middle school, when I first met them. The best part is seeing the joy on their faces when I surprise them with something they love. That makes everything worth it. It’s one of the many things that makes life worth living.
— Nida Saeed

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So, I’m not really a festive person. My sister gets mad at me because on any holiday I make sure to avoid the festive colors, for no particular reason really. Perhaps it’s because of teenage angst and rebellion– young whippersnappers these days with their punk music and black instead of red on the holidays (even though Starbucks had issue with red cups and Satanism last year which I thought was hilarious). Despite that though, I like getting gifts for people. My mom is Jewish and my dad is Catholic, so I don’t really care when and what type of gift I get, but I like giving people things. And now that I have a job I can get people whatever I want really, which is pretty cool (despite being Jewish due to maternal lineage, the urge to spend a lot of money on presents for friends and family is overwhelming. I’m doing the whole stereotype wrong, truly a tragedy among my people). So I guess that’s what I like about the holidays, I can be nice to the people I that I think truly deserve it. That and sugar. I’m so into holiday cookies and cakes.
— Becky Kowalski

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If you know anything about me, you know that I love to bake. And with this festive season upon us, my normal Diasy perfume is now replaced with the scents of vanilla and cinnamon. My favorite thing about the holidays, besides gift-giving and getting of course, is the endless dessert recipes available. December lets me be more creative than usual, making everything from reindeer pretzel/chocolate treats to homemade cinnamon apple cider to peppermint brownie bark. My kitchen, this time of year, is covered with baking trays, sprinkles, cupcake wrappers, and a constant aroma of gingerbread and fresh-baked cookies. And I’m loving every minute of it.
— Fairooz Khondker

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Because classes and finals at Rutgers end so late, ever since coming to college, I have felt as though the holidays sneak up on me. I’m always too focused on papers, presentations, and exams to notice how close Christmas actually is. The long-standing tradition in my family is to celebrate with the cousins on my dad’s side the weekend before, then with just my immediate family on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and finally with relatives on my mom’s side the weekend after. We always joke that Christmas celebrations never end in my family, and it certainly feels like that. Now that I’m always so stressed during the time leading up to the holidays and miss out on a lot of the preparation, including tree decorating and baking. I appreciate how long my family’s actual celebrations last because it allows me to feel included in one of my favorite times of the year.
–Madeline Padner

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With exams and assignments crawling all over as the semester ends, I feel it’s necessary to be connected and to constantly be assured that everyone is in this together, to provide motivation for me and others to do well. I feel like Christmas is that time of year that effectively brings to life the festive and outgoing spirit in many people, even during a tough time like finals. I honestly do not feel as close to my friends here at Rutgers, my friends back at home from high school, or even my family as much as I do come Christmas time, especially because I get to spend time with them in a less stressful setting when I don’t have any assignments due. Ending the semester with the people I feel close to and have known for a long time, and doing activities that I would not have time for otherwise is one of the best parts about Christmas. Christmas is also the perfect time for me to listen to my favorite music, holiday or non-holiday related, and sit down and watch movies, either new ones like Star Wars or my favorite holiday classics like Home Alone or Home Alone 2, all while eating my favorite foods, which of course include cookies and sweet treats. Whoever invented cookies and sweet treats was absolutely a genius.
–Neelay Inamdar

tumblr_mdhhck1cfb1qm4we9o1_1280I love the festive atmosphere that accompanies the Christmas season. As the temperature drops, it starts to feel like Christmas in more ways than one. Twinkling lights start appearing on houses, decorated Christmas trees glimmer through open windows, animatronic miniature Santa’s appear and “dance” on a shelf in the office. Christmas time opens the doors for a slew of themed activities to occur, such as the tree lighting in Rockefeller Center, SantaCon bar crawls are planned on successive weekends leading up to Christmas, parks where you can drive/walk through the lighted displays open up, ugly sweater party RSVPs are sent out, and many more. While the cold makes me want to cuddle up under some blankets and watch Netflix all day, all these events are exciting and they motivate me to plan things to do (around finals) during this time of the year. There is this winter village in Bryant park that I want to go to; there’s ice skating and shopping there and it looks like a nice place to spend a few hours. Hopefully I make it out there instead of falling prey to the comforts of my bed!
–Stephanie Smyczek

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One of my favorite things about the holiday season is how happy everyone seems to be. There’s something about this atmosphere of good cheer and high spirits that makes me feel like everything will be okay, even if I have papers to finish and finals to study for. I just have to keep reminding myself that as it gets colder, break gets nearer (:
–Meg Tsai

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When I was a kid, the holiday season felt like a month long event. Marathon listening to Christmas music, watching a ton of claymation shorts, and going to look at every over-decorated house I could find. Unfortunately, as I got older, there was less time to do these things. I can still marathon listen to music, but there’s barely enough time to watch all my favorite shorts or go on a hunt for Christmas decorations. Yet, for the four days of the month when it’s wall to wall gatherings of family and friends, it still feels the way it did when I was a kid. That’s when I realized that, while I really enjoyed all the trappings and decked halls, my favorite part of the holidays is driving all over Jersey, overeating a ton of great homemade food, and, of course, seeing the relatives I don’t normally see. The older I get, the more I realize that’s what makes the holidays what they are.
–Kim Peterman

 

I hope this was a nice little study or work break for you.

From all the SASHP Bloggers, Good luck with finals, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year, and Happy Break!!

How Not To Do a Secret Santa

“My life is a money garbage disposal,” is quite possibly the greatest and most relatable quote to ever come out of Buzzfeed’s “Ladylike” series and I quote it at least once every day.

With it being the holiday season, in the past few weeks I have seen a drastic change in the amount of money in my bank account. Unfortunately, this drastic change is more negative than positive.

Fortunately (depending on how you look at it), a good portion of the people I would want to buy gifts for is made up of broke college students so we’re all more or less in the same boat.  

The solution to the lots-of-love-and-little-funds problem is the good ol’ Secret Santa, which is code for “You guys are great, but last week we fought over a quarter we found in a puddle, so here’s a fun excuse to only buy one person a gift this year. Yay!”

I really love Secret Santas, you guys. I like the feeling of not knowing and I love the feeling of surprise you feel when you discover who was your Santa and I love the look on the face of the person who discovers their Santa was me. They’re nice feelings. Good and pure and feels like the magic of the holidays has entered the dorm that hasn’t been clean since August.

Last week, my roommates, our honorary roommate, and I exchanged our Secret Santa gifts and while everyone was super excited about the gifts, everything about the exchange was an insult to the very name the Secret Santa. I was morally offended.

So here’s how not to do a Secret Santa.

Learn from our mistakes, children.

First, make sure no one (NO ONE) finds out who you have. Because it’s a secret.

I mean, making sure the person you’re getting a gift for doesn’t know who you are just makes sense. It’s called a Secret Santa for a reason. Just like curiosity killed the cat, curiosity also kills the core principles of the Secret Santa. Because once one person finds out who you have, you find out who they have, and then you learn who everyone has, including who has you, and, well, there goes the surprise.

Second, make sure the person you have DOES NOT find out what you got them. Because it’s a secret.

When your roommate, whom you lovingly bought a gift for, goes into your room, rifles through your drawers, picks up the present which you wrapped in Monday’s newspaper, and then shakes it, we have failed, morally, as a society. Is nothing sacred?

Must curiosity destroy everything? I swear to God the last words that will ever be said by a human being will be “What’s this button do?”

We were not made to last as a species.  

Obviously I was a bit upset that everyone in my Secret Santa group knew who had them and more or less what they were getting. Perhaps irrationally so. Some would say there was yelling and an impassioned and incoherent speech about the “magic of Christmas” and the “sanctity of privacy” involved, but if those certain people want to tell their skewed and biased version of the events that transpired last week, then they can go ahead and write a blog post about it.

But, you know, at the end of the day, even though there were no secrets involved in any aspect of this Secret Santa, there was still surprise and fun and holiday magic. I mean, I’ll devote a disturbing amount of energy into making sure that the next Secret Santa will actually be a secret, but whatever happens will happen. Secret Santa not being a secret doesn’t destroy the sentiment.

“You’re a person I enjoy being around and I spent two weeks thinking about who you are and what you like so I could make you happy.”

It’s That Wonderful Time of the Year

Did you think I meant the holidays? Or perhaps winter break? Or maybe you thought I was talking about the last minute Hunger Games-style sport of finding parking at the mall? Unfortunately, before you make it to any of those, let’s talk about that other time of the year. You know, a little week we like to call FINALS.

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Oh yeah, that wonderful time of the year.

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So with these next two weeks upon us, remember to get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated, and break up your work so you’re not trying to tackle everything all at once. I now want to share with you how I tackle finals week, and I promise I do much more than just look up and laugh at memes all day. (Or maybe I shouldn’t make promises I can’t keep?)

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Well first, I try to make sure I do not look like that meme pictured above. And to do that, I like to use Google Calendar to schedule out my exams, projects, and final papers so I can see when everything is due in a timely fashion. By having that calendar prepared, I can allocate which days I will study for what, and also block out chunks of a day for studying. So not only do I have a planned out deadline schedule, but I also make myself break down when and what I will be studying.

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The next thing I do is pick my study environment. This is a personal preference; everyone has their own environment that they perform their best in. For me, I work best in places that are not completely silent, however, I do not work well with people loudly chattering around me. That is why I prefer not to go to the popular libraries on campus (such as Alex) to study as you never know what group will be situated at the table right next to you. Rather, I go to to designated “quiet space” areas such as the computer labs or go to lesser-known libraries, such as Sage Library.

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The final method I have for tackling finals week is coffee. Plenty and plenty of coffee. Of course, I’m not saying you have to be a coffee-drinker to get through finals; that is entirely not true. Rather, find what energizes you and use it – whether it is listening to music while studying or rewarding yourself with a quick Facebook food recipe video after finishing a chapter. Don’t let finals make you think you have to give up the little pleasures in life; you just have to do everything in moderation. For many, getting up during a cram session to wait in line and buy coffee is a hassle – for me, it is an efficient study break. You have to get up and stretch your legs every once in a while and sometimes you have to take a break just for the sake of getting fresh air and a view that is not your textbook; so use that break to get food, to fill up your water bottle, or to send a “Kill Me” bitmoji to your group chat.

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So with that, I leave you to be the awesome, motivated, bright minds you are that will do awesome on their finals. You made it this far, what’s two more weeks?

 

Good luck and happy holidays everyone!

If I Could, I Would Procrastinate My Own Death

So. I need motivation to study. I lack that motivation. I will study eventually I’m sure, like in a panicked frenzy tomorrow after wasting the entirety of today (I’m writing this on a Saturday, just so you know. I could evenly split my work. That’s not how I roll). Because I am currently lacking in necessary motivation, I am watching a lot of YouTube. I would read, but even that’s too much work and I’m procrastinating reading for entertainment; I seriously have a problem, I have at least 12 books I want to read, 10 of them lent to me by a friend, haven’t touched them once. So, I’m going to talk to you about YouTube channels I think are worth watching, and maybe aid you guys in your procrastinating endeavors.

I feel like I’m going to get yelled at by some people for admitting I watch gaming channels, but meh. Let’s be clear, I don’t think I’ll get hate for being a girl and liking video games, like no one actually cares or thinks that’s weird behavior (truth be told I don’t even play them all that much, all my consoles died, and again the lazy factor be real. I liked Dante’s Inferno, but that was the last proper video game I played and I don’t even remember how it ended or if I actually finished it). But I know people who don’t like the big gaming channels because they’re very formulaic and have a lot of subscribers for not doing all that much. I personally can’t say because I’m not them, I don’t know how much work they do in a day, but my opinion is people watch those channels for a reason, and the people in charge of those channels make a lot of money because of that, so good for them. I’d make a lot of money doing YouTube if I thought I could, you kidding me? I’m all about that money.

Anyway, I enjoy the popular gaming channels: Markiplier and Jacksepticeye are both relatively entertaining and seem like nice people. I never got into PewdiePie, but he seems nice enough and a lot of people like him, so watch him if you want. The channel that makes me laugh the most though is the GameGrumps, so if you want to laugh watch any of Arin and Danny’s videos. My favorites are the stupid games they played like “Imagine Party Babyz” and “Amazing Frog”, like I actually laughed really hard just because of their reactions to whatever complete nonsense was happening in the game.

For vlogging YouTubers (that don’t just plain vlog, but do skits sometimes), I enjoy watching Danisnotonfire, AmazingPhil, Onision, and Shane Dawson. Yeah a lot of what they talk about is stupid, but I have my reasons for enjoying them. Dan and Phil are precious and act very natural with each other, which makes for amusing and calming entertainment. If you want suggestions, any of their baking videos are perfect. Onision can get offensive and whinny, but again he’s amusing. His “10 Things I…” videos are always pretty funny. Then Shane Dawson is just an old time favorite, as I watched him when I was younger. In my opinion all his old skit videos are funniest, so I recommend those if you are interested.

Then there’s Buzzfeed and Facts. I was up until 7am watching a disgusting amount of Facts. videos last night. When I say I have a problem, I mean it. You just get sucked into a hole when you watch those videos, man; it starts when you’re watching Buzzfeed’s ridiculous video where people are eating a $169 hot dog, and then five hour’s later you’re on Facts.’ “Irish People Watch 16 and Pregnant For The First Time”. The reactions are just so entertaining, for seemingly no reason. Whatever though, I’m not gonna judge how my mind decides to spend it’s time, it’s not like I’m in control of it anyway. Oh, wait. Uh, let’s just say I’m not in control of it, yeah that’s why I’m not studying, hahah….ha…

Now, for my favorite channel as of late: Maangchi. This is an adorable women who cooks Korean food, and she has about 1.4 million subscribers, and she’s precious and the love of my life so watch her if you want. Serious, look at her, she’s so cute:

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Really all she does is cook Korean food, posts about once a week, but she’s so sweet and actually seems excited that people want to learn to cook her recipes. She has a cookbook and a blog too, if you want to learn to make her stuff but are too lazy to watch a 10 minute video (which believe me, I understand). I’ve cooked some of her stuff and it’s actually really easy to follow and usually pretty tasty (so long as I use the right ingredients instead of replacing stuff because I don’t have Korean hot pepper flakes). So, if you’re interested in cooking, watch her. There are also fun channels like How To Cake It, but you don’t really make anything she bakes, so much as stare in awe at her amazing decorating skill and aspire to one day make a decent looking regular cake because at least that’s a doable goal, unlike her masterpieces.

So, that’s what I’m doing. How are you guys procrastinating? Or are you actually studying, cause if so tell me your secrets please.

I also feel like I wasn’t as funny as I usually am in this blog because I didn’t really have opportunity for jokes, so I’m just gonna tell a joke. (Found on short-funny.com)

Me: “Do you think it’s strange that you talk to yourself?”

Me: “Nah.”