By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving break that was ultimately way too short for my tastes. I spent mine with two crazy adorable little girls, so I can’t say it was too bad. Hopefully you all had equally wonderful vacations.
Does anyone else find it annoying that we have to come back for about two weeks? It’s honestly the worst because I can practically feel winter break, but of course, there are the dreaded finals to worry and stress over.
Instead of giving you all tips and tricks to study better (because let’s face it, if you don’t have the skills to study by now…well, good luck), I’ve been inspired to write about the name of this blog.
I find it extremely ironic that I haven’t written about actual life hacks throughout the course of this series of posts. So, without further ado, here are my top five life hacks that I think are worth mentioning:
For freshman, the only way we can even dream of getting scrambled eggs is by either going to the dining hall or going to the McDonald’s down in Kenmore. I offer you a solution that will let you stay within the comfort of your own dorm.
All you need is a coffee mug, eggs, cheese, milk, and non-stick cooking spray and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. The coffee mug is a staple you should already have in your dorm room, and the salt and pepper can be found in packets at the GSU. Yes, you’ll have to buy the eggs, cheese, and milk but scrambled eggs (I feel as though that’s enough of an explanation).
2. Make-shift TV
No TV? Never fear. This one is for those of you who have tablets, or iPhones if you can deal with such a small screen.
Remember those nifty little 3M hooks your mom bought you at the beginning of the year? Take two and stick them on the wall so that your tablet can rest on them and voila! Lay back, relax, and enjoy your favorite TV shows on your new makeshift TV.
If you don’t have the hooks, you can buy them at CVS.
3. Chip bowl
Imagine you have a bag of chips. You get to the point where you’re coating your arm in flavoring because the chips are at the bottom of the bag. What to do.
Of course, there’s a life hack for that. Simply roll the bottom of the bag so that the bag itself becomes a bowl. You can refer to this infographic for more information.
This eliminates the need to get unnecessarily dirty and the need to get a bowl. A win-win situation.
4. Fairy lights
This hack automatically makes me think of Ellie Goulding’s Lights or Peter Pan due to the whimsical look of the jars.
These jars can act as a night light for when you get back to your dorm late at night, when your roommate is sleeping. This will allow you to see where you’re going without waking up him or her up.
Take a mason jar, glow stick and diamond glitter. Cut open the glow stick into the mason jar and sprinkle the diamond glitter in it. Put the cap back on, and shake thoroughly. That’s all there is to it! This is a great alternative to the Christmas lights that most people put up.
5. Dorm-made coffee
Without the coffee maker. That’s right – it is possible to make coffee without a Keurig. Although it does seem primitive in comparison, when you’re broke, you got to do what you got to do. Am I right?
Here are the instructions. The best part? Absolutely nothing about this can get you in trouble with an RA. Get your coffee fix for cheap. You can even make scrambled eggs and have a full blown dorm breakfast.
If you do decide to try these life hacks, let me know how they go!
And there it is, folks – the last post from yours truly for 2013. It’s been wonderful (hopefully) helping you all become savvier young freshmen at BU. Have a wonderful winter break, and hope to see you all in the new year. Don’t go too crazy!
By Shivani Patel, Staff Writer
It’s that time of year where Halloween decorations may still be up, but advertisements for Christmas gifts are already coming out. It seems as though some forget that we have this holiday during which we celebrate the American Indians and the Pilgrims coming together.
Honestly, I think we should be giving this holiday a bit more credit. Do we get a whole week off for Halloween? Didn’t think so.
I think we all need this break because let’s face it, some of us are losing steam and getting overwhelmed due to a lack of sleep and massive amounts of stress. Luckily, Thanksgiving is the perfect way to rest up and come back stronger than ever for the last month of your fall semester (where did the time go?). But before you go postal, here are a few things to remember:
1. Realize that you don’t have free reign
This especially applies to those of you going home to your immediate families. College is wonderful in that you can do whatever you want (for the most part) because no one is going to tell you “no.” This is your time to be young, wild and free; but remember that your parents are still your parents. Telling them that staying up till 4 a.m. and waking up at 3 p.m. is normal probably isn’t going to fly with them. Do yourself a favor and tone down the independence – they want their baby back too!
2. Adjust to your audience
For those staying with your distant family or friends, remember that they let you in out of the kindness of their hearts. Don’t take advantage of them by being a complete slob. Instead, offer to do the dishes or help cook. After all, it’s the least you can do because, think about it – they’re saving you from spending who knows how much money on BU’s vacation housing. Plus, you get a home-cooked meal. After dealing with dining hall food for almost a full semester, I’m sure you’ll appreciate that very much.
3. Be thankful
It is, after all, Thanksgiving. Appreciate where you are and what you’ve been given. You’re going to one of the best colleges in the Boston area. Not everyone gets the opportunity to do so. We’re in such a beautiful place with some of the best people I’ve ever met. There are so many things to do and so many people to meet that it’s almost overwhelming, and it’s something we can easily take for granted. Take the break as a breather from BU and use it to realize all the opportunities you have. If you haven’t done much here, do something! Get pumped, you still have the rest of the semester to do something awesome.
Cheesiness aside, I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with great food and loved ones, whether they be your family or your friends.
By Katrina Uy, Staff Writer
The end of November is approaching and that means one thing: it’s almost time to head home and spend some time with family and friends for Thanksgiving. Or is it?
If you’re hardcore enough to participate in Black Friday year after year, then you may be excited to hear this: according to a recent article by the Huffington Post, some retail stores such as Target and Best Buy are planning on opening even earlier this year for Black Friday.
Target plans on opening at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, an hour earlier than when it opened last year, and Best Buy plans to open even earlier at 6 p.m. The reason for these earlier openings is because of the peculiar way this year’s calendar is set – compared to last year, the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas are six days shorter.
Black Friday has traditionally been the day after Thanksgiving, when hundreds upon thousands of shoppers flock to major retail stores at the crack of dawn in order to snag the best deals and kick off the holiday retail season.
But with the increasing pressure on retailers to open even earlier than usual, some say the tradition is ruining Thanksgiving. These earlier openings mean less time to spend with family on a day meant for filling our bellies with delicious food, watching football and staying as far away as possible from that weird cousin lurking in the corner.
For some die-hard shoppers, the excitement of Black Friday is wearing off.
“Now that there is no longer that stress factor of having to plan out the best time to start lining up at stores, Black Friday isn’t as fun as it used to be. One year, I lined up at 4 a.m. at J.C. Penny with my mom in fifth grade. We even waited in the snow. But now that stores are opening sooner, the adrenaline rush is not really there.” Elly Hu, a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences said.
“Black Friday shouldn’t get in the way of Thanksgiving, a holiday meant to share with family,” Hu added.
While it may seem like consumerism is taking over the holiday season, fret not. There is still some good in the world. Some retailers, such as Costco and Nordstrom, are choosing to stay closed on Thanksgiving Day.
Not everyone may feel the need to go shopping on turkey day, but the option is there for those who do. The lines between holidays are blurring, whether we like it or not.
By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
Despite finals week quickly approaching, I cannot help but constantly think about my winter break back home. As a transfer student, this is my first time away from my family, and yes, I may slightly sound like a baby, but okay, fine―I do sound like a baby, but baby it’s cold outside, and I’m so ready to go back to my 80-degree weather and palm trees. Things that I have despised about my former city of Miami have now become characteristics of a place I’ve longed to be apart of again.
I’ll admit, Christmas in Boston is probably more of a classic white Christmas. It’s something I’ve always wanted, but never experienced, and this cold weather really is wonderful. When it does snow, I feel like I’m walking in a winter wonderland, but home is home. Wouldn’t you agree? No matter where home is, that’s where your Christmas is as well. It doesn’t have to be snowing where I’m going, and I don’t have to walk by bare trees, either.
What is getting me through these final weeks of school is the image of walking off the airplane ramp, collecting my luggage and being embraced by home. The Spanish of Miami, the warm wind, the carefree atmosphere, my mothers’ hug. It’s home.
I think going home for the holidays is keeping everyone as sane as possible. Unlike Thanksgiving vacation, not everyone was able to fly home either because of ridiculously expensive flight tickets or living internationally, but for this one time, Boston’s student population will desert this city and fly back to the coop.
So while I’m stuck in my room wearing baggy sweats with my hair disheveled, a textbook in one hand and a jar of peanut butter in the other, my mind drifts back to the homeland. I just keep reminding myself there’s only ten more days till I return home. Wherever home is for you, it will have cheerful, holly feel, filled with chess nuts, candy canes, mistletoe, home cooked meals (yum!) and an ever-present love for your loved ones and love for your hometown. Keep that in mind to keep you going.
By Heather Goldin, Staff Writer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Kind of hard to believe with the stress of finishing up class and studying for finals. And on top of finals season, there’s the stress of holiday shopping for friends and family. Whether it’s a white elephant gift exchange with friends, a gift for your roomie or shopping for your family at home for when you finally get to see them after the semester ends, the amount of people you get gifts for adds up
along with the price. How are we supposed to afford buying gifts when we spend all of our money on coffee and comfort food? Fear not, there are options.
The closest supermarket:
Think Shaw’s or an equivalent. What is your friend’s favorite candy? Make a study snack pack for your roommate. One year I got a hot chocolate mug that came complete with hot chocolate. Needless to say, I was stoked. Your fellow college students understand what it means to be a broke college student. Try having a gift exchange with a low budget set so one feels obligated to spend a large sum of money. Note: This might not work for bringing home in your suitcase because most food is perishable, obviously.
Good for more than funny costumes and ugly sweater holiday parties, thrift shops of any sort are sure to have the perfect present at a low price. The key to Goodwill is shopping when there are good donations. It can be hit or miss, but when you do find a great gift for your sibling you can be sure no one else will get them the same thing. Check out Goodwill’s website for the location nearest you! Just remember that one man’s trash is a college student’s potential gift idea.
It’s in the name; the dollar store is a college student’s best friend when it comes to the shopping season. Obviously you get what you pay for, so you probably won’t find high quality gifts here. However, think about the dollar store as the finishing touch to your gift. Wrapping paper, bows, the whole nine yards. You might even find a cute key chain or stickers to make your gift even better. Everyone loves stickers.
Handmade the old-fashioned way:
This one is for your dear parents. They of all people should understand the financial situation you are currently in. It is certainly a great gift just to have you home for the holiday season, so why complain? It’s the thought that counts, so give mom and dad a heartfelt card made with love. Put a little humor into it and draw a picture of what you wish you could afford to buy them this holiday season.
‘Tis the season for gift giving and finishing off the semester strong!
Check out what people had to say about about shopping on a budget on Storify.
By Jasmine Ferrell, Staff Writer
Hundreds of movies have been made to celebrate the holidays. Many are timeless classics that are intended to teach young children great lessons on the true meaning of Christmas. Whether a movie focuses on generosity, selflessness or the importance of family, it highlights the best of human nature. But then there is another set of lessons taught from these movies that are often neglected: the literal lessons. These are the lessons that no one ever considers because they are so obvious.
The Santa Clause: This movie contains many lessons that concern the business aspects of life. For one thing, it’s never a good idea to put on someone else’s clothes. It will most likely lead to vigorous weight gain and a new home completely isolated by mountains of snow.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas: Now, if you didn’t realize this before, this movie teaches you that one should never trust and try to befriend a giant, green hairy man because nothing good will come from it. In fact, he’ll probably steal your favorite holiday… which kind of sucks.
Rudolph: Don’t judge others based on their appearances, especially if they happen to have a very bright nose. More often than not, that person you picked on will become some big hot shot and while they get a whole song dedicated to them, you become the generalized enemy.
Frosty the Snowman: Whenever you see a snowman, talk to it. That day could be that snowman’s last and just like anyone else they probably want some company. So feel free to sing with it, throw a broom at it, and you know, just treat it like your best friend. It’s completely legit. And not weird at all.
The Nightmare Before Christmas: If you’re feeling bored and want to shake things up a bit, try not to rob someone of his or her stuff. Even if it’s a really flashy holiday that is as tempting as Las Vegas. The general populace isn’t going to respond well to change, and it’ll only get worse once they see that you’re a skeleton giving out killer toys.
These lessons should be taken seriously and kept close to your heart, because they are as vital to to a happy life as knowing how to decorate a Christmas tree. Or you know, pretty close to that vital.
By Sanah Faroke, Staff Writer
Each year, around this time, my mailbox begins to fill more than usual. Dozens of letters and cheesy photo cards pile in from many people I haven’t spoken to in months to wish me a happy holiday! But why partake in this yearly tradition of holiday cheer?
Well, for one, I am obsessed with buying holiday stationary. What? You thought grandma was the only one who stalked the aisles of Barnes and Noble to find the perfect stationary? Snail mail isn’t only for the elderly, and it’s not only for the holidays either.
Snail mail has been a tradition I’ve had with friends who moved away or I didn’t get to see as often. Now that I’ve transferred from the tropics of Miami to the wintery Boston, writing letters has become more prominent in my ways of communicating.
In this ever advancing world of technology where everything is becoming so instant, it’s kind of hard to keep hold of reality. Yes, sure, it can be extremely hard to write out a letter to my friend about what is going on in my life, school, love interests and stresses and have to wait weeks for a response when I know I can just text or call her. But that’s the beauty of it. I’m one of those people who want things instantly, but with writing letters, I force myself to regain some patience that many of us have lost with technology.
And while I wait for a response, I manage to do other things instead of being glued to my phone, like I usually am. I’m sure (I hope) I’m not the only one who takes pleasure in sliding a hand over the handwritten scribbles on a page or actually spraying perfume on the pages being sent. I love mailing little things such as nail polish, CDs, photos and even the New England leaves. It’s something I’ve gathered and put together for my friends before I mail it, and a lot goes into what I send. Anyone can send an e-card for Christmas, but you can’t really do much with it or remember someone by it.
Getting the mail becomes so much more fun throughout the year because I have something to look forward to, something tangible and real. It reminds me of home and the loved ones who never stopped loving me while I was away. So yes, snail mail brings me joy―joy during the jolly holidays, joy during a random week in December and joy even during finals week. It’s possible.
By Ryan Galindo, Staff Writer
My obsession with snow began when I was very young. I always thought snow was essential to the Christmas season. Like, it just isn’t Christmas if there isn’t any snow. I remember my earliest Christmas memory. I waited and waited for it to snow. Screw Santa—I just wanted snow. But when Christmas flew by without a single snowflake, I was left disappointed.
Of course, now that I’m older I know better. But that yearning for snow never left, and experiencing four seasons was one of the top reasons why I chose to move to New England. Like I’ve said, Guam is sweltering hot, and I just wanted a change of scene. But deep inside, I wanted to play in the snow.
When I confirmed my enrollment to Boston University, I was so excited partly because I knew that I would get to experience that cold, icy, powdery substance people call snow in a matter of months. I wanted be in a snowball fight, make snow angels and build a snowman.
As you all know—and if you don’t, let me remind you—Nov. 7 marked Boston’s first snowfall of the season. Yes, I have that engraved in my memory because it was the first time I had ever experienced snow.
I was at my job at 100 Bay State Rd. I walked to work that day and it the rain was pouring. It was super freezing. Little did I know that those clouds pelting me with icy water would soon drop snowflakes and give me what I’ve been waiting for so long to try: snow. At 5 p.m., I looked outside the window and saw that everything was covered in white. It was amazing and I was in disbelief. Snow, really? Wow. I couldn’t wait to get off work that day. My body couldn’t contain my excitement.
When I got off of work at 6 p.m., I went out with my friend to take my first step out into the cold. It was a glorious moment, touching snow. It feels so soft. I can still hear the crunching of snow under my shoes. And I can still feel the numbness of my face as the hostile winds pelted snowflakes in my direction.
That night I threw my first snowball and had my first snowball fight. I was so enthused that I forgot to make snow angels and build snowmen. I also slipped on my butt a couple of times. Okay, so maybe it was a lot of times. But it was all good.
And call me crazy, but that evening I walked all the way from 100 Bay State Rd. to my dorm in West Campus. I still can’t believe I did that and neither do my friends:
“You walked all the way there?! And you’re from GUAM?!”
Despite the fun I was having in the snow, the biting cold finally got to me, so I called it a day and went to bed, excited for more snow adventures the next day.
But wow, was I wrong. Everything started to melt the following day. I mean, who would want to play in wet slush? No way am I making snow angels in that. And now, I look outside my window and see that everything is dry. It’s as if the Nor’easter didn’t happen at all.
What a tease. Oh well. I guess I can hold building snowmen and making snow angels until the next snowfall. After all, I did wait several years for my first. What’s a few more weeks?