Wednesday, August 22, 2012

College Safety

One of the most important issues that I noticed was being stressed my first year at college was safety. Expecially as a girl. We were given rape whistles along with our keys and later that day a campus security guard gave us a lecture about where was safe and what wasn't.

I know people who are very nervous about this issue. Many girls I know carry mace or won't walk campus after dark. There is always a concern about which areas are too dark at night. This is despite the fact that we are a small campus in a relatively safe area. Anyone who is not recognizable stands out pretty easily. It makes me wonder what goes on on other campus.

In addition to physical safety, there is also emotional safety to worry about. Many students face threats or harrasment, which can come from people you know and see frequently, or barely know. With the Internet, it seems that no one is safe.

Safety Tips:

1. Caller I.D. is important. If you get a suspicious call, you can report the number.
2. Let people know where you'll be. Tell your roommate when to expect you home, or call another friend.
3. Keep your cell phone with you.
4. Don't overreact. Some people try to take advantage using fear to sell something. Use the same logic you normally would in making a purchase.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Ultimate Summer Adventure

Hi there! I’m B. and I write over at iCantbelieveable; but I’m thrilled and honored that Tricia is letting me hold her readers hostage as I occupy her space today! Thank you for reading! Here’s my tale of an amazing summer vacation:

It was 1995, the year that brought along some of the most amazing things. MTV was still showing music videos, some of the most incredible songs ever came out in 1995 and the year brought out some of the most memorable films. To summarize, 1995 was possibly the best year ever.
It’s no surprise, then, that I also had one of the best summer vacations that year. I was 11 years old and summer officially started in mid-June. My two sisters and I were already in full-swing summer mode within the first two weeks of being released from school. Per the rules of summer - we slept in late, got up in time to watch cartoons and game shows on television and then proceeded to play our SNES and Sega Genesis until a little after lunch which is also known to children as the perfect time to take a shower, get dressed and go outside. These are the rules, so we followed them.
Outside, we naturally gravitate towards where our bus stop usually is during the school year and meet up with all of our friends that live in the neighborhood. We brainstorm ideas on what we should all do. Having already watched TV, played video games and eaten food…the options were slim. Somehow a genius among us recommends we go walking around the neighborhood (in child language, we called it “going on an adventure”).

We decided an exploration seemed most suitable and my sisters and I rehashed a tale of a snake that was found in our backyard the summer before. My parents assumed the snake came from a ditch that ran on one side of our backyard and throughout the yards of all of the houses in our block. Naturally, we needed to explore the area, go through the break in the fence behind my house and follow the ditch to wherever more snakes were living. An adventure is not for the faint of heart, mind you – so the faint of heart all departed to their separate homes claiming “boredom” and just a handful of us brave souls set off for an exciting excursion into the deep, murky depths of the ditch alongside my house.
Outside of the potential snakes, this was a dangerous journey to start with, since the house directly behind mine belonged to an old couple and the man was particularly crotchety. He had a garden in his backyard and if we stepped foot on it, we would surely be eaten by his elusive wife (whom we never saw and imagined she was a dragon that feasted on little children).  We all hurried through the fence, ran fast past the old man’s garden (keeping an eye out for any smoke) and made it past his house and the next few houses quickly. We stayed along the side of the ditch for what seemed like hours until minutes later, we came across a creek. The storm water emptied into the creek a few blocks down. As we followed the creek, we could tell the water was getting a little deeper and more rocks were appearing along the creek, so we climbed up onto a grassy hill that ran along the right side of the water. At the top of the hill, a few feet above the creek water, we came up to what would change our summer forever.
 A fallen tree trunk served as a bridge between our hilltop and the opposite side of the creek, which was another grassy hill that backed up to someone’s large, wooden fence. Without discussion, we knew we had to cross the log bridge and get to the other side. The fate of our adventure depended on it! So, being the bravest of them all, I decided to go first. The log was huge and sturdy; but one glance down at the rushing creek water could cause even the surest foot a little uncertainty. I tried to take my time across, straddling the log between my legs and inching my way across as my sisters and friends cheered me on. When I was nearly to the other side, I stood up…tried to balance myself and took one step forward…all I needed was about three more steps and I’d be the first explorer to cross the creek and declare the other side my own. My Christopher Columbus moment was interrupted by the most menacing dog bark I’ve ever heard my whole life. Apparently, Cujo was living on the other side of the creek and we couldn’t see him (nor he us) due to the huge fence. But we definitely heard him! I was so startled I almost fell over into the creek; but luckily I regained my balance and jumped across to where Cujo was attempting to turn barking into an Olympic sport. I was relieved to find no break in THAT fence and assured the group that Cujo was all bark and no bite so they could venture over. Once everyone reached the other side, we continued to explore (trying to steer clear of Cujo’s fence). While the first part of the creek ran along a street, we discovered that the hilltop and log bridge were kind of tucked away beneath trees and not by too many houses. Basically, it was the perfect secret hideout for a bunch of kids during the summer and we were so happy we were the kids that discovered it! 
During our trip back home, the few of us decided to make a pact for the summer. The Creek was ours. All the other kids that failed to come with us on the adventure would surely want to know about the secluded oasis we found. But we didn’t want everyone to know about it. We pinky promised that we would keep this a secret and if we decided as a group that we’d like to add someone into our secret club, they would have to walk the creek.
For the remainder of the summer, we slowly began to add more kids into our fold. We enjoyed watching newcomers, as a form of initiation into our club, navigate the log bridge and nearly fall into the creek when Cujo “greeted” them (he never failed us). Only one boy fell into the water the whole summer; but we let him in the club anyway since it was so entertaining.
We spent the remainder of the summer dodging dragon ladies, hunting for snakes and walking the creek. We played freeze tag, listened to all the amazing music that came out that year on my walkman and talked about what we wanted to do when we grew older. The trips to the creek stopped when school began and the next summer wasn’t the same with everyone a little older and going off to different camps and family trips – but that summer back in 1995 was one of the most incredible and memorable summers of my life. It might not have been a long road trip, a camp experience or an exotic vacation – but it was one fun-filled summer!

Image Credit: Pic 1

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Studying Abroad

Just about a year ago, I left for my first Study Abroad trip. It was also the first time I was traveling to a different continent. Most of the trip was spent in London, England, although for parts of the trip we went to Scotland, Wales, and I went to Dublin, Ireland while the rest of the group was in Paris, France.  I wanted to share some wisdom that I picked up along the way.

1. Unpack your daily luggage every day. I took my backpack with me everywhere, including our weekend excursions. On the first day I packed some sunscreen and forgot about it. When I went through security, I got stopped and had no idea why. Turns out the sunscreen was more than six ounces. The security guard had to unpack my entire backpack to find it and then throw it out. Luckily it was almost empty so I didn't loose anything, but it could have been a huge waste.

2. Pack lightly during the days. If you are with a group, you can plan ahead so not everyone has to bring everything. Since a lot of the places you'll go have security and bag checks, taking a purse instead of a backpack can save you a lot of time. Some places might not even let you bring in bags bigger than a certain size so you could end up having to rent a locker.

3. Don't take anything personally. All places have a different sense of decorum and what's acceptable. One day I lost my purse and when the security guard returned it, she lectured me about  keeping track of myself. A few times I had to remind myself that these were people with stressful jobs, who dealt with tourists every day and that I just needed to relax and not take anything that was said personally.

4. Take your student I.D. Many places, including restaurants, had discounts if you were a student, it didn't matter where. But it was only good if you had your I.D. Bring it, just in case.

4. Go with a group. Being in a foreign country can be tough, but it's even harder when you're by yourself. It also makes planning easier. My group's chaperon had organized this trip for many years, so he knew a lot of people. He could also get group prices on tickets. So even if it seems expensive, you're saving quite a bit of money. It also takes a load off your shoulders. When I was in Dublin by myself, I was stressed, and didn't enjoy it as much as I expected to. I also made a mistake in ordering my plane ticket.

Studying Abroad, even for the relatively short period I was there, was and experience that I wouldn't trade for anything. I've always enjoyed European history, and this trip helped me connect to the stories that I've read, in a way that I couldn't before. It also teaches about cultural differences. You find yourself explaining things you never thought you would.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Websites you will Love in College (part 2)

Websites that are Useful for Wasting time:

Everyone knows that procrastination is as much a part of college as late nights and Top Ramen for breakfast. So here are some sites for when homework can wait:

  • (Farmville, anyone?)

  • (Internet Movie Database)

  •’s random article button

  • Stumble

  • Postsecret (This one is updated every Sunday)

  • College Humor

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Earth Day Resolution

I'm a big fan of helping the environment, and I always say I'm going to do more, but then I wind up giving up. Well, I found out about a new concept: making an Earth Day Resolution. For awhile now I've been considering the idea of harvesting rain water, as well as composting. With composting, the most I do is through the waste in my backyard. No more. I'm going to make a solid commitment to both of these goals.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Banned Books Logic

Carver 2009 Banned Books Week DisplayImage by mySAPL via Flickr
I didn't become aware until today that this is Banned Book Week. Rather than review a banned book, I've decided to write a little bit about reading banned book.

There are some books that I've only read because they are on the Banned Book list. Out of those, there are many that I'm glad I did. On the other hand, there are a lot of books I've read that I suspect are only popular reads because they have been banned so frequently. Some of Judy Blume's books are good examples of this, such as Deenie. I didn't find it all that believable and I can't help but think that it was written in order to be controversial.

Another example is Sex Education by Jenny Davis. The premise is alright, and starts off reasonably. But some of the characters are over the top and their motives do not always make sense. The ending is not only disappointing but rather extreme as well.

The topic of Banned Books brings up a second moral issue. Is reading a book just because it's banned all that different than not reading a book because it's banned? Also, is there ever an acceptable reason for keeping a book away from readers?

Finally, I would like to know if your school does anything in honor of Banned Book Week.
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