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4 Reasons Why College Isn’t That Much Different from the Olympics

 

Finally, the Olympics are here!  I enjoy these few weeks every other year and always look forward to seeing athletes from around the world compete.  I’m sure the majority of people have at least once remotely thought about/dreamed/wished they were an Olympic athlete.  As I sat on the couch at my apartment at UE in between class and a meeting, pondering about how tired I was, how I had to do laundry later, and my busy day the next day, I realized—being a college student isn’t toooo far from being an Olympic athlete.  And here’s why:

The (Hopeful) Birth of #Scooter5K

 

It's strange how the best ideas come at the most unsuspecting times. For example, the conception of #Scooter5K probably came at approximately 4:48 p.m. on this past Friday afternoon. I had just sat down on Will's futon when I decided to check my email, and noticed that the intramural department needed help putting on the 5K the next morning...

#Readingseries

 

One of the most exciting things I learned when I visited UE way back in the dark ages (2010) was that each year, the creative writing department hosts a senior coffee hour reading. Which meant that if I went here (which, obviously, I did) I would get to stand in front of people and read my writing. In spite of my general shyness, I'm actually a big attention hog when it comes to reading my work, so I've been waiting three years for this moment (which is still a couple months off, in April).

However, one of the even MORE exciting things that's happening in the creative writing department now is the addition of our #readingseries. Two Fridays each month, three fabulous writing majors give a reading in the back room of The Slice. Pizza and readings? What could be better?

I don't read until April, but it's been wonderful hearing my fellow students' work and spending time out in the real world with we writer types (yes, I consider a place accross the street from my apartment the 'real world').

The writing department has a lot of great stuff going for it, but the best part is that we keep adding new, bigger and better things to our program that not only help us to be better writers, but also create a great sense of community.

I'm sad that I'll only get to experience one semester of the #readingseries as a student, but I'm glad I got to see it start. It's going to be a great thing for future majors to get together and share their work--because, let's face it, we're all secretly incredibly proud of ourselves. As we well should be.

Of course, not only writing majors are invited. If you want to hear some awesome people read some awesome words, here are the dates for the remaning #readingseries events this semester (the readings are always at 4pm):

Friday March 7th

Friday March 21st













The Joy of Cooking: Evansville Edition

 
Yum!

I know it sounds contradictory, but one of my favorite favorite parts of college is my ability to educate myself. I'm on my own, nobody's holding my hand, and so this independence can be used to learn all sorts of new things.

College Is Terrifying (And Why That's a Good Thing)

 

There’s that stereotypical moment of watching your parents drive away after they drop you off at college, when you realize that you’re all alone in the world and will never, ever see them again, and the bottom drops out of your stomach and you kind of want to curl up in a ball and cry.

Intramural Superstars and Taco Bell Fridays

 

One of the favorite activities of college students is playing intramural sports. It's a great way to play a sport you love, or just spend time getting exercise with your friends, or both. Many of our intramural sports also require referees.The referees for the games are typically students looking to make a little (and I mean just a little) extra money. I just so happen to be one of the IM refs, and the only reason I do it is to support Taco Bell Fridays. 

More Than Ramen: How To Survive Groceries on A College Budget

 

It's a pretty common joke, and something we all like to talk about; college students don't have a lot of spare money to buy organic free range chicken and red bell peppers (those are the expensive ones, I would know).

But all joking aside, it really is hard to maintain a diverse diet on a budget that allows for maybe $40 a week on groceries or so. And while some of us have meal plans and get a copious amount of food for that, not everyone has or chooses that option.

So what do we do to survive eating on a college budget without consuming strictly ramen and peanut butter and jelly?

My roommate and I both have become experts at this, and here are some of my tips from our many conversations about this topic.

1) Have A Smartphone? USE IT

There are a TON of coupon and cash back apps available on both iPhone and Android, so if you happen to have a smartphone, you've got a resource for saving money and getting money back for your groceries. That's right, groceries. A few examples are Ibotta and Checkout51, which give you cash back incentives for certain products, Target's Cartwheel, which gives you an extra percentage off on certain products, and Shopkick, which gives you "kicks" for walking in to certain stores, which can be reeemed for gift cards.

2) Make A List

A lot of people tell me they just go to the grocery with a vague idea what they need and grab stuff off the shelves. It makes me feel panicky, because it leaves entirely too much room for impulse buys. Instead, plan out what you're going to need for the week. I usually plan some meals, snacks, and desserts, and get all the ingredients I need for those. That way, I only buy what's on the list, and have already planned out how much I can spend. That's not to say I don't occasionally grab an extra package of cookies or chocolate, of course--you only live one, after all.

3) Sales Sales Sales

Sales and specials are your friends. Sign up for your grocery's weekly ad email and stock up on things while they're on sale (Gina and I, for instance, watch Target's Diet Pepsi prices like hawks). Additional tip: combine store sales with coupons or cash back offers.

4) Take Your Time

Comparing prices and quality of products in the store takes a little extra time, but sometimes it's worth it. The store brands are often--but NOT ALWAYS--cheaper, and often they're just as good as the products you lean towards out of familiarity. Plus, sometimes a certain brand is on sale at the store and has a coupon, like mentioned above, so you can get extra savings that way as well.

5) But Go Easy On Yourself

Do you really, really love artisan bread? Or cupcakes from an actual bakery? Leave a little wiggle room to spend an extra buck or two on something you really like, even if it's not the chepeast option. Treating yourself will make your budget seem less depressing and awful, and thereby make it easier to stick to it.

























I'm thankful for my student loan debt

 

I'm thankful for my student loan debt.  Now I'm not saying that if I won the lottery it would be a bitter breakup with the loan officers, or if for some reason college costs (gasp) decreased I'd be upset.  But for now as I pay for college with a combination of scholarships, loans, and money earned working jobs both over the summer and during the school year, yes, I am thankful for my student loan debt.  

How College Students Celebrate the Superbowl

 

For most college students, the first thing that comes to mind when you mention the Superbowl is a) football b) commercials or c) food. And most likely c) food.

Life-School-Work Balance?

 

                There are two things that college students almost always need: more time and more money. And the worst part is that, in order to get more money, you have to give up some of your time. I spent the morning working at my off-campus job, and now have to read about 200 pages and write a seven page paper, in German, and had to get groceries (quite literally eating up my paycheck!). Besides my work at Old Navy, I also currently have three different jobs on campus, all various forms of tutoring. Those are a little less difficult to balance, because on-campus jobs are obligated to work with your schedule, and I can work in the Writing Center for an hour between classes, or meet with a student before dinner.

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