Back to school: The Unofficial Welcome/Warning to All Incoming Freshmen


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A year ago (fun fact: it was the first post on this blog) I posted a fun and sarcastic piece about the things most survival guides don’t tell you about college. I’d like to take a moment, after much reflection, and present all you college newbies with some more serious things you wouldn’t otherwise know because no one or no survival guide wants to be the bearer of bad news.

Learn how to check your email more often than your text messages
Professors WILL NOT text you about a quiz getting moved up or a class getting cancelled, they email you. Get into the habit of checking your email at least three times a day, more if you have group work, a demanding class or an online class.

Learn to nap

Yup, basically.

Yup, basically.

If you weren’t a fan of napping before college then you need to suck it up and get into the habit. Because all-nighters and hectic schedules become the normal for college students, taking your spare time and turning it into naptime becomes essential to not passing out during boring lectures.

It’s okay to question everything
Do I really want to be a chemical engineer? A nurse? A teacher? A pharmacist? Do I really like my style? My friends? My dog? Am I gay? Bisexual? Asexual? Am I a liberal? What even is that?
It’s okay.
College, for most people, is the first time away from home and it’s a whole lot of changes at once. When thrust into this world, you begin questioning everything. Here’s a life hint: It’s best to question now and figure yourself out before it’s too late.

College is full of weird people you never thought you’d see
If you’ve ever seen the movie “10 Things I Hate About You” then I would like to refer you to the scene when Joseph Gordon-Levitt is new and David Krumholtz is pointing out all the cliques. It’s a lot like that scene complete with girls talking about how they love their Prada backpack but nowadays it’s either Coach or Michael Kors.

The preppy girls you hated are now called “basic”

Jimmy Fallon's Thank-You Notes for all the "basic" Starbucks lovers.

Jimmy Fallon’s Thank-You Notes for all the “basic” Starbucks lovers.

It may be a popular joke to call a girl basic but for reals, this is like, not a drill. All those preppy girls in high school, the ones who giggled at text messages from the person two rows away and hung out with all the jocks, have given fame to the “basic” phenomenon. They now giggle at completely stupid Snapchats, drink Starbucks lattes (with soy and two shots sugar free vanilla, obvi) and they wear glasses even if they don’t require them.

Budget or die
Cut coupons and watch for sales if you are living in a dorm or a campus apartment. Whether you have a job or have a weekly allowance, budget you money so you have enough to cover essentials like rent, food and textbooks. Partying can be done when you’ve secured your future. Also, check your bank account daily to make sure your card hasn’t been compromised and you’ve paid for someone else’s surfboard.

Credit/debt cards are not invisible money from the bank of mom and dad
Please refer to the above-mentioned “Budget or die” because it is not your parent’s responsibility to pay for every visit to Taco Bell and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Buzzfeed for Ramen hacks (you will get tired of basic ramen noodles)
Especially if you live on campus, Ramen has just become your main dish everyday for the next four plus years. Ramen noodles can get boring after a while though and the need to spice things up, sometimes literally, is all but mandatory. Buzzfeed has come out with many videos on the different things you can make with Ramen including gnocchi, BLTs and cheese sticks.

Plan for a traffic jam
Shout out to commuter students who have to take major highways to get to and from school. You’re not the only driver and not everyone is going to class. Some are on their way to work, some on their way to vacation and others are just taking up space because they’re lost. Accidents happen and construction is inevitable so always plan for the possibility of getting stuck in stop-and-go traffic.

Welcome to the world of politics
It you weren’t politically aware before, you are now! From arguments in hallways to posters on bulletin boards and protests in the quad, college is a petri dish of political agendas slowly growing to the absurd, especially around the times for presidential elections aka this fall! I can’t wait to see the many Donald Trump posters and memes around campus.

Don’t sign things unless you’re really passionate about the cause
Half the time when someone is asking you to sign a petition supporting animal rights or to impeach a president, you either need to submit your email to receive never-ending forwards and graphic pictures but also your name is now on a government watch list. Everyone take a moment to wave at the NSA!

You’ll end up with at least seven pocket Bibles by the end of your first semester
It’s hard to escape the very nice older generation of people who appear on campus multiple times in the fall and spring armed with small green Bibles that easily fit in your pocket. Maybe it’s because college is known as a breeding ground of debauchery but expect to have a Bible shoved, yes shoved, into your hand when you come out of a parking structure stairwell, out of a building, walk across the street, walk into Starbucks and, no joke, try to get your lunch from a food truck.

Things are about to get drastic
Anything that was holding you back from being you in high school has been lifted. It’s like magic! Or at least it’s like magic that has been weighing you down and your senses need time to adjust. Chances are you’re going to be inspired to get healthy and cut out gluten for no other reason than Twitter said everybody else was. You’ll want to join 7 a.m. yoga because a survival guide said it would improve your energy for the day. You’ll want to dye your hair a pastel color because the guy who sits behind you in your bio lecture convinced you you could pull it off. Newsflash: Very few can.

Your professors really have heard it all

Jenna Marbles giving an example of excuses.

Jenna Marbles giving an example of excuses.

If you don’t do an assignment, don’t make up and excuse to get an extension because your professor could write a series on the ridiculous things students have come up with from a death in the family, mass Wi-Fi failure, rabid animals, murder and police. Just be upfront and say you forgot and/or ran out of time. Chances are they’ll be nicer about the situation.

Truthfully, college is easy but the change and responsibility is what throws students for a loop. Chances are you have a job, live on your own and have people to answer to. Basically, it’s your first time adult-ing and it’s terrifying. But remember, #itgetsbetter.

Fashion hair colors: color upkeep


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Fresh out of the salon, the highlights were subtle against my black hair.

Fresh out of the salon, the highlights were subtle against my black hair.

I had wanted to do something “drastic” with my hair color for quite some time but had never found the time to go to a salon. I’ve been dying my hair black since I was 13-years-old and have always wanted some purple or red to add some spice and pazazz. The problem? I didn’t trust myself enough to bleach my hair at home.

On May 7 this year I finally took the leap and went to the salon to get a fun color put in my hair.

To start, I would like to point out I take care of my hair. After nine years of dying my tresses black multiple times a year, I’ve learned a few things along the way. First, don’t wash your hair every day. This is a general trick used by people whether you’re trying to keep your dyed hair hydrated or your natural hair healthy. Second, my conditioner, Wen, helps keep my hair hydrated as well. Third, don’t dye it immediately. I usually let the roots, or my truth as I call it, come in a few inches before re-dying in order to avoid adding layer upon layer of dye to “fresh” hair. I don’t use any product in my hair either and can probably count on one hand the amount of times I’ve had to use hair spray.

All of this has helped keep my hair from feeling like straw or even, in more drastic and pun-ny terms, dying.

I had just switched salons in March and liked my hairdresser. Because I had been growing out my roots (to the point of my hair looking like it had been dip-dyed) she asked me about my natural hair color and as she sheared off the old black I told her about my desire to put some blue highlights to stand out against my normal black. I was lucky because my hairdresser loved the challenge of “funky” colors, particularly the ombre hairstyles.

Here, two months later, two of the highlights are visible against my faded hair.

Here, two months later, two of the highlights are visible against my faded hair.

My present to myself after another semester of college down was getting teal peekaboo highlights. For anyone not familiar with peekaboo highlights, they are highlights between layers of your hair. They don’t sit on top but they’re not the bottom layer like what was so popular a few years ago. They literally are a peek of color.

After an hour of bleaching and re-dying I was walking out of the salon with dark teal/blue highlights peeking out of my black hair.

And here’s where the purpose of this blog post comes into play.

At the salon as my hairdresser was putting bleach into my hair, the receptionist came over with a clipboard, a pen and what looked like a release stating I understood by getting a fashion color the salon was not liable for the quick fade. I had already planned out how I would keep up with the color but, as explained to me by my hairdresser, many girls come in getting a fashion color thinking it will last for months without fading.


Fashion colors usually last a couple of shampoos and start fading quickly, kind of like a slippery slope of fade. Some ways you can avoid it are using cool water when washing your hair and a color save shampoo but in general you only have a few weeks with peak color. The salon had everyone who was getting a fashion color sign the release in order to prevent angry customers from threatening litigation over their hair.

Because they would likely be laughed out of any judge’s courtroom.

So from May 7 to today, July 22, I have still managed to keep my peekaboo’s in pretty good shape.

When I brush my hair back, the highlights are fully visible.

When I brush my hair back, the highlights are fully visible.

First of all, I kept my normal rule of not shampooing my hair everyday; your color can’t get up and walk away unless you give it the means to. Second, I bought Redken’s Color Extend Shampoo as soon as I left the salon. Third, I use started washing my hair with cool water but have gradually made it warmer. By no means is the water hot but it is basically lukewarm. Fourth, I don’t go into the sun as a general life-rule so I don’t have to worry about the sun naturally fading my hair.

And you know what? My highlights look great two months later.

I did buy a semi-permanent teal hair color to do touch-ups if necessary but I’ve been lucky enough in not even opening the bottle yet. I’m sure other colors fade faster no matter what precautions you take, like red for example, but I’ve been exceedingly lucky. Maybe it’s the formulas she used or maybe it’s just the color but my black dye has faded more than the teal.

A letter to those who do not understand the “Harry Potter generation”


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The words that changed a generation.

Dear muggles, squibs, half-bloods, purebloods and everybody else who doesn’t know what I’m talking about:

I feel bad for you.

There are various reasons why you may have never watched a Harry Potter movie or read a Harry Potter book and for that I feel like you’ve lost out on a generation’s greatest icon. Maybe your parents wouldn’t let you watch it. Maybe you didn’t have an interest in the genre. Maybe you live under a rock. It could be anything but I want to let you know why it was a cultural phenomenon and such a huge part of the 2000s because I’m sure you’re scratching your head and asking why.

We grew up with Harry Potter, literally. For those kids who started reading the first book when it came out in 1997, chances are they were around the same age as the protagonist, Harry Potter, and when the next book came out they grew a year older with Harry. In the films, Harry, played by Daniel Radcliffe, starts off as a young boy and as every movie came out he was a bit older just as we were.

The first time they saw the Hogwarts, we saw it too.

The first time they saw the Hogwarts, we saw it too.

The same went for all the characters. As they aged, we did. As they struggled to make new friends, we did. As they went through their awkward phase, we did. As they found love, we did. As they fought their demons, we did. As they came of age, we did. Nearly every year since 1997 we had either a book or movie we looked forward to; the two exceptions are 2006 and 2008.

Most of us dreamed of receiving a letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, sitting in front of the student body in the Great Hall as the Sorting Hat told us what house we would be in and most of us hoped we would be in any house but Slytherin. We dreamed of watching Professor Sprout pulling up Mandrakes and Professor Flitwick teaching us the “swish and flick” movement as we cast spells. We wanted so badly for Madam Hooch’s yellow eyes to watch over us as we rode a broom for the first time and Madam Pomfrey to mend a sprain obtained during Quidditch practice. We vowed to stay out of the Dark Forrest and out of the third floor corridor because we could get killed or worse…expelled.

Harry getting his wand at Ollivander's.

Harry getting his wand at Ollivander’s.

I still dream of getting to go to Diagon Alley and getting Mr. Ollivander to help me find my wand, getting fit for robes at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, getting my books from Flourish and Blotts, getting my first cauldron from Potage’s Cauldron Shop and finally getting my own owl at Eeylops Owl Emporium.

The worst part of Harry Potter for most of us was walking out of the theatre after watching “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” and realizing there was nothing after to come. No more books and no more movies. It was literally like a huge part of your youth had shut the door on us as reality rained down.

Granted, in the time since the final movie was released J.K. Rowling, the author of the series, has teased a possible continuation of the series and put never before read details of the Dursley family on Pottermore. There is hope for the future.

To all those who turn their nose up at the Harry Potter series and all it’s fans, you’re basically turning your nose up at a generation of kids who wanted to be accepted and wanted to have the same courage as The Boy Who Lived.

Neville Longbottom getting a Remebrall from his grandmother so he wouldn't forget anything.

Neville Longbottom getting a Remebrall from his grandmother so he wouldn’t forget anything.

Shall I get you a Remembrall to remind you of that?


The girl still waiting for her letter from Hogwarts