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4 Ideas for Celebrating Thanksgiving at College

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Large dining room table beautifully set with a full thanksgiving dinner spread

As COVID-19 cases surge in the United States and travel becomes more difficult,  many college students are making the decision to remain at their university for Thanksgiving break. With many families making the safe decision to cancel any gatherings, many students will celebrate the holiday in an unusual fashion this year. However, there are still a number of ways to get festive this year, even with an abnormal climate surrounding the holiday season.

1) Zoom Thanksgiving Feast

By now, Zoom and other video apps have become a go-to solution for friends and family looking to connect amid the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. With its easy accessibility, large capacity for meetings, and simple design, Zoom has quickly become the staple home for meetings and classes. Family gatherings don’t have to be an exception.

With everyone able to join a video call, Thanksgiving meals can be shared over the phone. While it might be difficult for college students to cook the more elaborate dishes of a traditional Thanksgiving meal, students can hopefully make do with what they can find at the local grocery store. Additionally, there are countless ways to get creative with a dormitory microwave, especially with simple potato recipes and the now-iconic mug desserts that can be easily manipulated into the resemblance of a classic Thanksgiving pie.

An old recipe for rolls, on a stained lined paper, a recipe that has been in the family for years and modified over time.
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Because of the pandemic, the distance between college students and their loved ones is highly impacted, making, gathering for Thanksgiving dinner complicated and, for many, unsafe. However, by making use of today’s video technology, students can still share the upcoming holiday with their loved ones, no matter where they are in the world.

2) Pass on Traditional Recipes

One of the classic traditions associated with Thanksgiving is the food. No other holiday sets such a precedent for its meals, and Thanksgiving has established some of its dishes as once-a-year meals. With the distance between individuals at this time of year, it can be difficult for everyone to share their favorite recipes, but perhaps it’s a sign to pass on these traditional recipes to the next generation, who can create their own versions. 

The aforementioned dormitories can make this trickier for students, but there are still plenty of ways to get creative. While a whole turkey is difficult for anyone to perfect, some of the smaller recipes can be easily recreated with a little time and thought. Of course, guidance from parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles would be appreciated, and it would create an innovative tradition for these unusual times.  

3) Express Your Thanks

For some, this might be an obvious idea. Still, it can never hurt to express your gratitude a little more. This past year has drained everyone, so we must be especially aware and appreciative of how much we still have left. We’ve learned how much we take for granted, so now is the time to show love and gratitude, ether for one’s health, friends, family, home, or even work. On the days leading up to and following Thanksgiving Day, we should be sure to share our appreciation for the people closest to us and thank those who help make our lives a little easier.

A person in a blue shirt, standing and holding the fortune from a fortune cookie towards the camera, with the caption
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Many families go around the dinner table at home and share what they are most thankful for. For those celebrating together this year, that tradition can continue as planned. However, for those practicing social distancing or staving off the long trip home this week, there are several ways to show your recognition for the things that make your life better.

Again, Zoom and phone calls can play an important role here, but there are still plenty of opportunities to branch out for a long text, giving yourself a moment to think about what you want to say to precisely describe your love and appreciation for your friends and family. A mailed letter can be just as effective and even more personal. Even modern Facebook and Instagram posts can be shared with everyone. Regardless, it is all too important to show your love for those closest to you, especially at this time of year.

4) Delivery Meals

With social distancing being an important part of limiting the spread of COVID-19, many families will limit their gatherings or even forego them entirely this year. Traditionally, the week and day of Thanksgiving would involve all sorts of sharing of food. To maintain safety measures, our ability to do that has decreased substantially. However, it’s still possible to share the feast with our friends and family without gathering together in one place.

With just a few plastic Tupperware containers, you can easily package up Thanksgiving dishes for at-home delivery. Simply let the recipient know to expect it (or don’t, for a surprise!), drop it off at their door, and share the home-cooked food that is a custom of this holiday. This can especially be a treat for other college students living nearby, as many don’t have access to cooking their own meals in the dorms.

Regardless of how you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday this year, it’s important to maintain safe practices and social distancing when possible. College students are acutely aware of the danger that comes from scattering nationwide for a week. With these few ideas, you can help to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 while still celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday.

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College Life

5 Current College Fashion Trends You Need To Know About

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five fashionable college students sitting and smiling

Fashion is in the eyes of the beholder, and every new generation adds its own flair to the definition. The 21st century has college fashion trends new and old, like ‘90s grunge mixed with ‘80s colors in the early 2000s, or California and New York-style trends that filled the 2010s.

Now, some seasonal fashion is not everyone’s ideal. Maybe they dislike the colors, but blacks, browns, oranges, and reds can be styled in so many ways. From shoes to flannels, let’s talk about some current college fashion trends.

1. The Boots

Boots are the essence of winter college fashion, with plenty of variations to suit your style. Heel or no heel, ankle or knee-high, black, white, brown, or pink— boots come in every form imaginable. Women tend to wear boots more often than men. I wear a “hiker’s style” pair of boots, or the name brand Timberland. However, a new style is coming into modern fashion: the Chelsea Boot. You can find a lot of these, laced and unlaced, in every store imaginable. In fact, I just bought a pair for $35 on Amazon!

2. The Denim Jacket

Denim never truly goes out of style, and more than ever, denim jackets are in style. The possibilities are endless, with all the different colors, fits, and layered outfits you can make with a denim jacket. Even in the south, layered outfits are in. So, if you want to feel trendy this fall and winter, get a denim jacket, wear a hoodie underneath, and feel like a runway model.

3. Sweaters Galore

Sweaters and crewnecks have enjoyed newfound popularity this year. With the uproar of Tik Tok “e-boys”, the trend of collared shirts under crewnecks is a hit. Both patterned, plain, and printed crewnecks are becoming the rage. If you want, throw on a denim jacket on top for that fantastic layered look. Floppy sweaters and cardigans are also back for another year of dominating the scene, especially with dark colors.

For example, maroons, reds, oranges, and browns will be found all over the country. Let’s be honest: sweaters, cardigans, and crewneck sweatshirts are, and will always be, a staple of fall fashion. However, make sure to take note of the vintage prints that are being offered at places such as H7M, Pacsun, or American Eagle.

4. Faux Fur

Faux fur is another fast-hitting trend of this year, although it has always floated in and out of college fashion throughout the decades. These days, faux fur is flashy and bright, to offset other pieces of your trendy outfits. Make sure to pair them with black jeans, rolled or cuffed. Keep your jeans tight on your legs to offset your flowy faux fur.

5. The Trenchcoat

The 21st century, especially 2021, is seeing a huge increase in 1950s fashion trends. Between the rise of leather, wayfarer sunglasses, and slicked-back hair, Elvis’ time has returned. The trenchcoat is not something commonly “rocked”, but it’s made a resurgence. Mostly beige, khaki, or black, the trenchcoat is a large overcoat, usually wool or cotton, that serves as a layered piece. If you throw together boots, jeans, and a trenchcoat, your “fashion sense” will be upped with almost zero effort.

It’s an investment for sure, and one that will have many functions.

A girl wearing a tan trench coat

I’ve listed just five new fall trends for this season’s new catalog. However, these items are just scratching the surface, and very generalized. Fashion, as previously stated, is unique to every person. So naturally, “fashion” is what you make of it, with your own custom thrill. Take what I’ve offered, get to shopping, and DIY! Get going on your fashion sense for the year in college!

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College Life

Life Lessons You Learned In College in 2020

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Four college students walking and smiling

The year, 2020 is finally over, the new year has been rung in and with it, the most abnormal semesters are, hopefully, in the past. Almost every college student can let out a collective exhale of relief from the anxiety of this past year. But through all the challenges we faced, we also learned many life lessons.

Zoom became the college student’s new reality for most or all of their classes this past year, and in particular cases, for the foreseeable future. And even with the COVID-19 vaccines being distributed, college students continue to adapt to life lessons you learn in college. Unsure decisions and stress around time management with more free time cause challenges in adjusting to online courses. But it’s not just students; professors who are at risk must continue to teach remotely, along with their students. One thing is for sure: this past year forever changed the dynamics of the purpose of a college education.

Everyone faced their own challenges as a result of normal in-person courses moving to online classes. I was definitely one of those people that always had technological difficulties in my three semesters studying almost completely online, in addition to other students I know. But of course, for every student, there were new major life changes, especially in how they dealt with time management. A fellow student at my own university shared her experience with doing online courses this semester. Her quote has a lot of meaning as isolation and stay-at-home orders became an irritant for many students. 

“I had to focus on self-discipline and making sure I split my time up for each class. I also appreciated group messages a lot more, it was a good way to be held accountable.”

For me and several of my other classmates, a large-scale dilemma was facing the obvious risks versus benefits of being in in-person classes during this last semester. Having to go back and be in a place that wasn’t behind a screen after eight months was beyond strange. However, because of the conditions and new reality, it felt like I was able to give myself a lot less pressure. Knowing there was nothing perfect about the infrastructure of these classes, and that they are oftentimes improvised, I had to just remind myself that I handled months of being afraid to even breathe the air outside, and handling coursework wasn’t that deep. So turning in assignments or taking breaks was okay throughout this semester, because both I and my professors were in new territory. 

College student leaning on a stack of books on the table.
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Prior to March, everything had to be done to others’ expectations, which was a rather harsh and tiresome use of my energy. After this last semester, there was time for me to catch my breath, especially seeing that professors can become just as low and frantic as us students, despite their constant pestering to achieve the ‘perfect standard’ they expect college students to be at. For me, that was enough to stop wanting to be perfect, because they weren’t going to see my work that way, let alone being someone who needed to figure out what fit their rules. And classwork for my major had begun to dwindle, interest- and creativity-wise, so I just didn’t have much inspiration. Being at home almost full-time gave me back that mentality of learning without having to be perfect.  

“There are far better things ahead of us than anything we leave behind.” 

This quote by author C.S. Lewis was a constant reminder for me to enjoy the ride of progressing, and that not every detail has to be figured out at the moment, because it causes stress, and limits new ideas. If anything, imperfection after these last few semesters is obvious and shows that our current learning system is flawed but necessary, especially within higher education. It’s okay to not be sure every minute about things being perfect for college students.

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College Life

Choosing a College Major in 2021? Easy Ways to Make the Right Decision

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college girl with her hand on her chin, thinking about college major

Choosing a college major in 2021 is probably one of the most important decisions of college careers. In actuality, the journey in choosing the major is the fun part of the college experience. The pressure students might face in picking a major as soon as they enter college is something that is best ignored. Take your time and choose a major based on your comfort and affinity for the subject. 

Here are a few tips to help narrow down a choice of major in college.

Who are you picking this major for?

First of all, you need to assert dominance in your academic career. It may sound unnecessary but make sure you choose a major that you want and are comfortable with. The outside pressures may be very persuasive, but they will not be doing the coursework or be committing to the many years of research and study in that field. Seek advice from others who may know you well, but this should be YOUR decision.

Changing Majors is not the end of the world, but seem strategic.

College is a combination of both working hard and working smart. When we think about our major there are obvious factors such as course load, career opportunities, and to some degree, satisfaction. If you choose a major and don’t find it to be super fulfilling, check to see if the problem stems from the department or the professors teaching for that major.

Departments are a prominent factor in student satisfaction.

Therefore, when searching for schools, having a vague idea of the career path you are intending to pursue might help you look for departments with professors who are experts in your interests. This is one of the most helpful tips because depending on the department, the same major might look different.

Is money everything?

Money is important. Financial stability is the holy grail. Deciding on your major based on how much money you would make may not be the best way to go. Work ethic trumps all. Opportunities for some degrees may be more obvious than for others. Overall, your willingness to make your degree work will make your choice, in turn, work for you as well. A quick search will yield many personal anecdotes for people who secured their dream job with a ‘nonsense degree’. The major factor of success in a major is a strong work ethic because truthfully, the job market is hard in general – no matter the major. As much as we want to base everything on earning power, the people who have degrees that they feel passionate about, have more enthusiasm to just “see where it takes them” while they take every opportunity seriously.

Use the vibe check.

If it feels off, don’t do it. The major you choose is more than the salary or the job title you will receive after. The major consists of the students, the professors, the coursework and how much you vibe with all those factors. When your time in college is complete, you might need letters of recommendation to move upwards.

Do you connect with any of your professors enough to ask them for an honest letter of recommendation?

Have you formed connections with the other students in your major?

If you are unsure or responded with “no” to either of these questions, you might need to rethink your major decision. Considering you may be relying on those professors to help you achieve future career goals and those students to maintain relationships with you as an adult, you need to consider your current connection with them. 

How far do you want to go?

Stress, exhaustion, a Zoom overload… this year has been mentally or physically challenging for students. If you are at a crossroads with your academic career, this might be the time to reevaluate your relationship with your major. If you are tired of reading and writing, maybe switch to something with more numbers. The beauty of having too many majors to choose from is that there is always a new and different major to choose instead. Finding that niche major is better than fitting yourself in a department that does not feel right. If you want to get an advanced degree in a certain major, remember the work only gets harder. Therefore, choose wisely.

A lot of thought goes into choosing a college major. It’s common for people to have no idea what they want to do. No one should feel pressured to have it all figured out at the beginning of their college experience. Keep in mind that if your major does not bring you joy, you will be miserable for a long time, so consider it wisely. In this day and age, a little happiness goes a long way.

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