Entertainment

Domination of the Nomination

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We have seen the word “nominate” a lot recently on social media. Between dumping ice on our heads to harmlessly posting three things you are positive about today, Facebook and other social media sites have become tools to do good.

            I don’t know about anyone else, but I was personally terrified of getting the notification that would inform me that I had been nominated to pour freezing water on myself. I don’t know if I should say this online (for fear someone out there might actually nominate me) but thankfully, I was never nominated. But, should I be thankful I wasn’t nominated?

            We have all been warned about the dangers that social media holds. People use social media to bully others in ways that didn’t exist, let alone happen, in our parents’ generation. “Be careful what you say online.” “Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your grandma to see.”  “Treat others online the way you want to be treated online.” Social media seems like a scary place with all these warnings.

            But recently, these social media initiatives have taken advantage of the global platform of sites like Facebook and Twitter to try and make the world a better place. We are now doing things like raising awareness for diseases that require research, and greatly improving the proceeds that go to this research. We are creating initiatives that require people to be thankful for what they have and put them in a better mood for the day. We are nominating people to go out and do some random act of kindness they wouldn’t otherwise do. And then, we publicize this to the world, showing the good we, as a global community, can do.

            So, as thankful as I am to not have been doused in ice water, I am excited that our global platforms, that can sometimes cause a lot of harm, can also do a lot of good.

Social Media Done Right

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When you’re feeling #bored, many of us gravitate towards social networks to fill time. With the aid of numerous iDevices, your social networks are never far away. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are fun and easy ways to stay updated on what’s going on with your family and friends (especially once everyone has returned to their respective campuses!), share important events, and even advertise. However, with great technology comes great responsibility and it’s easy to step over the line when it comes to social media. When in doubt, follow a few ground rules to make sure you’re not over-sharing.

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1. Never share personal information

This one is a bit of a no brainer, but it needs to be said. Every now and then an overzealous recent grad will receive their first real paycheck and post a picture of it to their Facebook page. Hashtag face-slap. Anything that has your account number and routing number (aka checks) on it can be used to hack into your bank account. Other tidbits of information that should never be shared are pictures of your driver’s license, credit cards, home address, phone number; anything that can be used against you.

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2. The internet is forever

Once you post something, just remember that you can never “un-post” it. Sure, you can delete a tweet or an image on Instagram or even that Facebook status where you described your boss solely with expletives. But in this age of information, it’s all too easy to screenshot or save any post. So even if you think it’s deleted from cyberspace, anyone could still have proof it existed.

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3. Grandma-proof your posts

As a general rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t be comfortable with your grandmother seeing what you are posting, you might want to think twice before hitting that “post” button. This certainly narrows the field of acceptable posts quite a bit, but just remember that future employers, your professors, college admissions offices, and quite possibly your grandmother will see what you say on social media. Don’t give Nana a heart attack. Don’t be that grandchild.

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4. If you can’t say anything nice…

Just don’t say anything at all. What are we: five year olds or college students? Judging by some of the things we say on social media, it’s hard to tell. We are all old enough to be able to mediate ourselves and learn to respect the opinions and viewpoints of others of others, and with the exception of hate speech, there is nothing wrong with voicing our opinions as well.

 What do you think? Are we sharing too much on our social networking sites? Share you thoughts in the comments below!

5 Shows to Watch This Fall

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Now that September is upon us, lots of shows will be returning with new seasons. New episodes of your favorite shows are a great treat to look forward to throughout a stressful semester!  Don’t know where to start?  Here’s a short list of some great shows coming back for all new seasons to help you get started!

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1. Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation will be returning for its 7th and final season.  The Emmy and Golden Globe nominated NBC comedy stars Amy Poehler, Chris Pratt, Adam Scott, Aubrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari, Rhetta, Nick Offerman, Jim O’Heir, Rashida Jones, and Rob Lowe.  The show centers on the Parks and Recreation department of the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana and is in documentary style.  Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, who also created the US version of The Office, created the show.

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2. Modern Family

Modern Family returns for its 6th season on September 24th at 9pm on ABC.  The acclaimed comedy series has won several Emmys and Golden Globes for its first five seasons and is consistently well received by critics and audiences alike.  The show stars Ty Burrell, Julie Bowen, Ed O’Neill, Sofia Vergara, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Eric Stonestreet, Sarah Hyland, Ariel Winter, Nolan Gould, Rico Rodriquez, and Aubrey Anderson-Emmons.

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3. American Horror Story: Freak Show

The 4th season of the FX hit returns October 8th at 10pm with a whole new set of characters.  Each season of the show has its own story, completely separate from each other, so each season functions as a miniseries.  Much of the cast, however, typically stays the same.  This season stars Jessica Lange, Sarah Paulson, Evan Peters, Frances Conroy, Denis O’Hare, Jamie Brewer, Emma Roberts, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Gabourey Sidibe, Michael Chiklis, Wes Bentley, Finn Wittrock, John Carroll Lynch, and Patti LaBelle.

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4. The Vampire Diaries

This CW show is back for its 6th season on October 2nd.  The finale of season 5 was very emotional and fans of the show are eager to see what comes next.  The show stars Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, Kat Graham, Candice Accola, Steven R. McQueen, Matt Davis, Michael Trevino, and Zach Roerig.  What happened to Damon and Bonnie at end of season 5?  Tune in to find out!

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5.  The Big Bang Theory

This CBS show is the #1 comedy on television and it returns for its 8th season on September 22nd.  Led by Jim Parsons, who has won 4 Emmy awards and a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Sheldon Cooper, the show is well received by fans and TV critics alike.  The show also stars Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Melissa Rauch, and Mayim Bialik.

 What shows will you be watching this Fall?  Let us know in the comments!

Spending Time With Your Posse

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Staying on top of your studies is important. Making sure you spend time with your friends is just as important. Maintaining a social life, taking breaks from your school work- these things will keep you from going insane and getting burnt out too quickly.

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There are always things to do with your crew on and around campus. Activities such as bowling, ice-skating or a trip to the zoo are always fun. You could also find an interesting museum nearby or festival happening in the vicinity.

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Find a movie theater nearby campus and see the next big blockbuster with a bunch of friends (Mockingjay: Part 1 comes out in November, people!). See if there are any concerts coming up in the nearby area. Maybe your favorite sport’s team is playing nearby.

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You could also gather a group to go shopping. It can be for school supplies, for furniture you may need, for clothing you may have forgotten or just for the heck of it.

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Last resort? You could invite your friends to come watch a movie in your dorm room or find a lobby and watch the season premiere of that show you can’t believe ended in that INSANE cliffhanger last spring!!

 Spending time with your friends in college is important for your sanity. You should make time to hang out and do things other than sit on a quiet floor of the library all semester!

5 Free Apps to Have on Your Phone

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1. Calm by Calm.com

This app is great to help you de-stress!  Through guided meditation and loads of calming music, this app helps you relieve stress, fall asleep, and relax.  This is a great way to deal with the stress you’ll be under at school.  Whether you’re anxious about a test, midterms, finals week, or overwhelmed by all of your responsibilities, this app can really help you feel calm, focused, and ready to take on the world!

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2. Venmo

 Do you ever find it hard to split the bill when you go out to eat with friends or when you buy groceries with your roommates?  Venmo lets you link up your bank account to the app so you can send money directly to someone else without having to worry about taking out cash or splitting up an odd number.  Don’t worry, it’s completely safe and no one can gain access to your account, but you.  You can even set a passcode for the app itself so only you can get onto it!

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3. Your Bank’s Mobile App (This could be PNC, Bank of America, Chase, etc.)

 This will make your life so much easier!  Many of these apps allow you to deposit checks from wherever you are by taking photos of the front and back of the check.  You can also set up transfers, track your activity, and check your balance.  These apps are so convenient and make it so easy to manage your budget.  It really comes in handy when you’re out and about and need to check your balance!

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4. Airline Apps (United, JetBlue, Southwest, etc.)

 If you fly home for breaks or are going on a big spring break trip, these apps are great!  You can book a flight, check the status of a flight, check-in, and get your boarding pass right on your phone with them.  You never have to worry about forgetting or losing your boarding pass because it’s right on your phone!  You just scan the bar code on your mobile boarding pass at security and at the gate and you’re good to go.  These apps also send you notifications of any delays or gate changes.  You can even change your seats and make upgrades through the app.  And if you make an account, you can get rewards for your miles!

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5. Google Maps

 If you don’t already have Google Maps on your phone, you should download it ASAP!  It has turn-by-turn GPS directions, gives you the option to choose between public transportation, driving, walking, and biking directions, check traffic, and drop pins to help you find your way back if you’re walking, hiking, or lost!  This app is a lifesaver!

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Avoid Your Comfort Zone!

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College is a time for exploration and enlightenment. High school was fun, but
there will be many more opportunities to explore things that you may not have ever
considered before.
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Take an interesting elective class: Use electives as a way to explore subjects that you
may not have been exposed to within your major. Try a science class if you’re a
humanities major. If your major is in the liberal arts, try out a math class. Who
knows? You might even find a field you like even better than your current major!

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Explore a new extra curricular activity: If you are normally drawn to the arts, try a
new sport! Intramurals are a great way to try out a sport without the stress or
commitment of playing on a college team. Similarly, if you’re usually athletic, try out
something artsy! If you’re not quite ready to hit the stage, many school productions
always need help backstage with painting sets, props, etc.

Getting out of your comfort zone will allow you to make new friends, meet different
kinds of people with different viewpoints, find new things to do, and go places
you’ve never been!

How do you stay out of your comfort zone? Let us know in the comments below!

What a Rush!

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As the days of summer continue to melt away, another fall semester is on the horizon. In a few short weeks college campuses around the country, which have been ghost towns for the past two and a half months, will be bustling with life. And for many freshmen males, this will be the beginning of their fraternal journey to enduring brotherhood and networking as rush usually takes place within the first month of the semester. As you set forth on your excursion, here are a few things to keep in mind:

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Do your research: During rush, fraternity guys turn into car salesmen.One phrase you’ll hear numerous times is, “We’re the absolute best on campus at….” And you can fill that blank with pretty much anything; academics, intramurals, crocheting. If you do your homework however, you can better prepare yourself for the week. General information including philanthropies and history can usually be found on national fraternity websites. Upperclassmen that have been around campus for a year or so can also be a respectable resource as they know the reputations of the various groups and can probably tell you a story or two. Also, the parties and social events that are thrown prior to rush are a great way to observe the group in its natural habitat. I remember being so disappointed in a house I once was excited about when I attended their rush party and the guys in the chapter were not friendly and just downright creepy when it came to interacting with the female party guests. Although I still didn’t know which house I would join, I knew it wouldn’t be that one.

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Would I REALLY hang out with these guys?: Your fraternity brothers are the guys you’re going to spend the most time with during your tenure as an undergrad. You’ll do all types of things together from falling out of your boat at canoe regatta to camping trips you’ll find yourself horribly unprepared for. Some of these guys may even wind up standing next to you in your wedding one day. Therefore, it is crucial to make sure you are surrounding yourself with guys you actually enjoy being around. Mute the prestige of the fraternity, the awesome parties, the suburb networking and your father and older brothers urging you to “continue the family tradition” and ask yourself one simple question: “If we weren’t in the same fraternity, would I REALLY hang out with these guys?”  Like putting together a puzzle, rush is all about finding the perfect fit.

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There is no shame in waiting: Although fall rush is typically the main event, there is also a spring recruitment period as well. And while some people are ready to dive into Greek life immediately, some need a little more time to get acclimated to college life. There is no shame in getting your feet on the ground and waiting until the spring (or even a later year) to join. You may actually be doing a fraternity a favor by waiting as spring rush numbers tend to be low anyway.

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If it’s not for you, it’s not for you: Websites like TFM usually find humor in shaming non-Greeks. Although I could write a nine part column on all of the benefits of going Greek. The truth is, it’s not for everyone. There are students that never set foot in a fraternity house and they do just as well academically and socially as the chapter president. One of my best friends aren’t Greek and we’ve enjoyed 5 years of marriage just fine.

7 Things To Do When You’re Broke

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Let’s face it, many college students are usually a little short on cash. Not because they don’t work or have money, but because they use their money on important items, like textbooks and food, which could be a bit pricey. Luckily, there are plenty of fun things to do with friends or alone that will cost next to nothing.

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1. Go for a Hike or Walk

Put on those walking shoes and put in those ear buds because this fresh air will make you feel amazing.

2. Have a Picnic

In the mood to dine out but don’t have the money? Having a picnic changings your regular routine, making it feel fresh and exciting, similar to dining out.

3. Meet at the Nearest Coffee Shop

Bring friends and a few dollars for coffee or tea.

4. Read a Book

Visit your school or public library and immerse yourself in a good mystery novel.

5. Rent a movie

Renting a movie only costs a few dollars and if you’re with friends, they can help front the cost. Better yet, if you frequently want to watch movies and TV shows, Netflix is even better than renting.

6. Play a Board Game

If you or a friend has board games, now would be a great time to play them. Not only is it free but you can spend time with another person or with many.

7.  Make Something

DIY projects sometimes require items you no longer use either around your house or in your dorm. Search the internet or your own imagination and create items into something useful again.

If all else fails, catch up on some school work or if your professors have given you an itinerary for the full semester, start completing work for the following week.

Savoring Summer

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Summer

Now that I’ll be a senior in college this year, I look back and realize exactly how precious this time of the year really was. Instead of really taking the time to enjoy my summers, I complained about how hot it was and shut myself in the house indefinitely. Now, I’m here trying to make up for all those squandered days and nights by doing this list of things I’ve found to be effective when trying to savor summer.

Grab a bunch of friends and do something out of your comfort zone.

                     Do something different! If everyone in the group is out of their comfort zone, you’ll all have to rely on each other to make the experience what it is. I’m currently planning a picnic, and looking up cabin rentals and laser tag specials as possible activities for my friends and I!

Grab lunch from different places around town.

Try not to eat at fast food places. You’ll never know what your local town offers if you don’t step out and try. My best friend and I are currently doing this and have been opened to a world of healthy, cheap foodie gems.

GO OUT.

A lot of us can get caught up in the hustle and bustle of “summer jobs”, but when you look back on your summers when you’re older, you’ll be wishing you did a little more of this and a little more of that on the dance floor when you had the chance.

Pool, pool, pool.

It’s hot. Why not? Grab a bunch of friends, tap into your younger days with pool noodles and goggles, and head down Splishy Splashy Way.

Gym.

  I know, I know. You’re like whaaat? While this may seem like an unconventional summer idea, this the only time you’re away from the stress of school that’s usually the cause of added weight gain. Why not try to get your body right before the school year? From personal experience, working out this summer has helped me gain a new sense of confidence… AND I can walk longer distances without sweating out of my shirt which is a total plus.

Stack that paper.

  Now’s the time to really get those hours in (or build up your resume), so you can ball out during the school year without worry!

Listen: I could give you all the ideas in the world, but it’s up to YOU to make your summer! For some of us (like myself) this is the last summer until true adulthood. This may even be your last summer away from your high school friends. It’s time to own the summer before school, or responsibility, snatches it away!

Must Accomplish Memorial Day Activities

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Memorial Weekend is quickly approaching and it could only mean one thing: Summer has officially arrived!!!

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I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free!

I’m going to be honest here, for the longest time I had no idea that Memorial Day unofficially marked the beginning of summer, I was clueless for so many years! But to be fair I grew up in ‘Military City USA’ (San Antonio, TX) and yes, you guessed it, Patriotic holidays were always a big deal in my hometown. So, whether you’re spending this Memorial Day weekend reuniting with family and friends or sunbathing on the beach, it’s important to remember why we celebrate this very special holiday. Memorial Day is a day of “National Mourning” in which we honor the heroes who have sacrificed their lives to protect our nation’s freedom.

What better way to spend Memorial Day than to celebrate the lives of those who give back to those who served our country:

1) Volunteer to help replace worn out grave markers/flags of deceased veterans at local cemeteries.

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2) Wear a poppy. Purchase them from your local veterans groups (VFW, American Legion) each poppy purchase is a donation towards assisting disabled veterans in surrounding communities.

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3) Take part in Memorial Day Charity runs: It’s a fun way to raise money for your local veterans groups and current military families in your surrounding community while getting your body beach ready.

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4) Reach out to Military families. Operation Homefront and Operation Gratitude are great organizations allow you to give back to those who have given up their lives for our freedom.

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Don’t forget to honor our fallen heroes at 3 p.m. locally on Memorial Day during the National Moment of Remembrance.

Have a safe and fun filled weekend. xoxo!