Police Magnum OC-17 Pepper Spray in a pink carrying case with a matching pink cat self defense keychain were gifted to me in my Easter basket the spring before my first fall semester at Ohio University. When arriving at school, I had both keychains attached to my lanyard.
Let me set the scene:
It is opening weekend and I had just moved in on Friday. The university plans multiple events for students to meet each other and bond with their roommates. These activities include a comedy show at the Convocation Center, Party at Ping (food, animals, photo booth, caricatures, etc.), academic college welcomes and the president's convocation amongst other activities.
I was going to go to the comedy show with my roommate at the time and planned to head back to the dorm after. She decided to go to a news viewing and was nervous about walking home alone, so I let her borrow my pepper spray and gave it to her before the comedy show.
Before we were let in, security checked our bags and found the pepper spray, saying it could not be taken into the Convocation Center. I took one for the team and took my pepper spray and did not go to the show.
Every since this "event", I left my pepper spray on my desk. I figured that I rarely walked alone when it was dark out and I still had my other defense keychain. I felt safe.
Second semester starts and I feel confident in my classes, dorm situation and overall wellbeing. This all changed when I was getting out of the shower and heard a guy in the bathroom (he was not someone who lived in my dorm and apparently did not understand that it was a women's bathroom). Of course when he heard me he left, but it brought that fear that is always in the back of your mind right into the open. All I would have to defend myself was a plastic defense keychain and frankly I do not think I would have been very successful in defending myself in that situation.
I do not want to become a statistic. I now carry my pepper spray everywhere I go.
It truly is a sad society in which we live in where I need to carry self defense keychains in order to be safe. I noticed when complimenting a girl who had a decorative glitter can of pepper spray that girls should not have to be taught to carry pepper spray in order to protect themselves. Instead, society should be teaching others to not attack each other.
After my first semester at Ohio University, I am able to look back to see the memories and success that came with it. Going to college is not only an important time of education and a road to a career, but it is a time to learn about yourself and who you really are as a person.
Making the transition from high school to college was hard but ultimately beneficial. I know things now that I would have never learned without furthering my education at OU. Here are 6 things that I discovered about myself:
1. I can live alone
After a week of classes, my roommate decided to move out due to differing viewpoints that had been assumed to be different before picking each other to room. While I have a new, awesome roommate who moved in the weekend before Thanksgiving, this left me living alone in a double sized dorm for multiple weeks. I learned that I can live completely alone. Yes, everyone is technically living alone and away from their parents when they go to school, but it is different being alone in a room when you had imagined to be living with someone for almost 6 months prior. I didn't have a roommate to depend on if I was locked out or for cleaning the room.
2. I can do my own laundry (barely)
The first time doing laundry completely alone was at OU. While I survived, I try to avoid the situation as much as possible. I went almost all semester without ruining clothes until finals week hit. The university gave everyone 4 free loads of laundry for the week so I decided to do my laundry before coming home for break and wash my blankets. While in the dryer a blanket melted leaving a purple plastic material and many of my clothes.
3. I don't eat as much as I thought
I am on a meal plan that gives 14 meals a week (2 meals a day). I originally thought that this would be just enough when in reality there has been weeks where I have 5-8 meals left over to use in the market because I didn't get a meal in the dining hall.
4. I live in the same couple of outfits
While I brought multiple cute outfit options to school, I find myself gravitating towards the same couple shirts and sweatshirts (a lot of OU apparel). I realized that I live in a clothing cycle and will rotate my clothes and where a lot of the same stuff. Let's be honest, why would I ever think I would wear a sundress running to class? Wearing comfortable clothes is much more manageable and can often double as pajamas if it is a late night.
5. I'm a bed creature
I not only sleep in my bed, I eat, study, watch Netflix, talk to friends, talk on the phone, etc. I personally do not like to study or do homework at a desk. I do my best work while sitting in my bed. I even have a comfy butterfly chair that I rarely sit in. Mostly my friends sit in it while I sit in bed. I just love being in my bed no matter the occasion.
6. I'm a late night shower-er
While living at home, I showered early so that laundry could be done, and so that I could go to bed early or that's what my mom thinks (sorry mom). This first semester, I learned that I love taking a shower late at night. The fact that nobody else rarely showered at that time was also a bonus. Showering marked the end to my evening. I had finished homework and studying for the evening and it was time to get ready for bed.
I hope that everyone has a successful second semester and that even more things are discovered about our own selves.
Check out my 2017 slideshow where my first semester is showcased!
As the ball began to drop representing the start of 2018, I sat with my New Year's crown on my head and champagne in my glass ready to cheers my friends and family as the countdown reached zero. HAPPY NEW YEAR! Fireworks could be heard... or was that the sound of resolutions already being broken?
Looking back on 2017, I had an amazing year of change and celebration, but I cannot even recall if I made any resolutions (and if I did, I clearly did not follow through). This made me think, "why make a resolution for 2018?"
Long story short, I didn't make a resolution this year for many reasons. I just do not understand the point and frankly never have.
I personally know that I won't keep a resolution if it is just a goal I am telling myself I want to complete. After a week, I would have already forgotten what I "wanted" and if I am honest I am terrible at commitment when it comes to anything outside of my main focuses (school, career, wellbeing). If I want something bad enough, I will work to make it happen.
To start a goal just because it is the start of a new year is ridiculous. A goal can be made and kept at any point of the year. You can become organized, work out more and eat differently in any of the twelve months.
There has been a lot of personal success without making a resolution these past couple of years. I have graduated high school, received scholarships, enrolled in my dream school and had a successful first semester even getting on the Dean's list. I did all of this without a resolution. Setting a goal and being focused is all it took. I know what I want and I don't need a resolution starting the first day of the year to keep it.
While you can say this is a classic "Hannah Rant" against another social construct (which it 100% is), I honestly do not see the point in making a resolution that won't be kept or is a goal that can be started at any point of the year. Why push off a goal until the new year when it could have started earlier?
Hit the gym, eat healthy, study hard and let 2018 be a great year. Don't let a resolution define what the year can and can't hold. If you didn't start on January 1, 2018 that does not mean it can't start on January 2, 2018 or any day of the year.
Happy New Year!
Check out my slideshow from 2017!
After completing my first semester at Ohio University, I reflected on my dorm as I packed it up for the month long break. Before moving in, I had found every dorm hack and "necessary item" list online. Within five months, I have realized what "hacks" have been helpful and what have never really worked like it should have. Here's my list of what worked, what didn't and what I have mixed feelings on.
My favorite hacks
1. Clip on everything
Clip on fans and lamps to put on the bed or desk are a life saver. When my roommate is sleeping, it is so nice to be able to turn my clip on lamp on to work on homework. It is extremely helpful to have on when turning the main light off before bed so I can find my way and avoid stubbing my toes. The fan is nice for when it is too hot and there is little control of the temperature within the dorm.
2. Crate as a shelf
Knowing my desk would have no shelf, I bought a wooden crate from my local craft store for around $10. While it could be embellished or painted, I left mine natural. Within the crate, I have books and games and used the top as a shelf to place my mugs and instant coffee.
3. Comfy chairs
If the room allows for it, having a comfortable chair such as a bean bag or butterfly chair makes a huge difference. It's a nice place to sit and relax, do homework or somewhere for friends to sit.
4. Homemade mac-n-cheese
While easy-macs make mac-n-cheese in the dorms easy, they get old after a while. Through our market at OU, I purchased cheese sticks, milk and macaroni with extra meal swipes. Simply add water and macaroni to a mug and cook in the microwave for 4-6 minutes, stirring regularly making sure to not let the water boil over. Once cooked, add about a tablespoon of milk and 1-2 cheese sticks depending on the amount of macaroni or personal taste. Let the hot macaroni do the work and melt the cheese. Finally give a good mix and you have homemade mac-n-cheese in the dorm.
1. Brita filter
While having clean water within the room is helpful, having to constantly refill the Brita took too much time and frankly I am far too lazy to do it. While this may work for some, I find that I'm not a true fan.
Having comfortable and decorative pillows are a must. However, having too many pillows creates an issue because there is not a spot for them when it is time to go to bed or space to sit on the bed once it is made. Having a couple pillows is fine, but make sure to not go overboard like me.
3. Travel mugs
In my mind, I saw myself making coffee in the dorm, putting it in a travel mug and going to class. I haven't done this once all semester. At OU, you can have flex points which can be used in the cafes on campus. If I wanted coffee, I used my flex points. Having a travel mug is handy, but I personally find them to just be taking up space on my desk.
1. Bedside caddy
The bed side caddy was the most seen thing I personally saw when looking up dorm hacks before moving in. I don't use it. It is not strong enough to hold things like my laptop, which is what I am on most nights before bed, and it muffled the sound of my alarm on my phone in the morning. I will not be using this again in the future.
2. Car air freshener on air conditioner
To get a fresh scent in the room, simply clip a car air freshener to the air conditioner or vents. While I did this, and the room did smell good, it lasted for only a maximum of one week before there was no more liquid left in the clip and no scent came out at all. Using a spray air freshener is just as effective.
When I thought about college while in high school, I always imagined myself making huge amounts of microwave popcorn and that it was just the natural thing to do. This entire semester I have made maybe two bags of popcorn. If you don't eat tons of popcorn at home, you do not need to bring tons of microwave popcorn to school because chances are, it won't be eaten.
It has been one hell of a first semester. I have learned a lot about myself and hope that my thoughts on dorm living can help someone else in the future when planning their dorm room.
All gifs courtesy of Giphy
"Is this school for me?"
When asked this question, I think of myself and how I made this decision. It is hard to decide at such a young age where you will spend the next four years. What I found most beneficial was to make your own personal check list of what you want in a school. Once a list is made, it will be easier to pick a school that fits into what you want. Hopefully this little list will help you decide if you are making the right decision!
Distance From Home-It is very important to decide how far you would be willing to be away from home. Do you want to be in state or out of state? Close to your hometown or as far as possible. A good way to figure out what you want, is to think the logistics of every option: will you be coming home often, what is your mode of transportation home, do you have family nearby?
Campus Life-Depending on your hometown, this may contribute to your decision if you want to be in a rural area, city campus or more of a suburb "college" town. You may also want to look into what the campus offers you for living accommodations. What are the dorms like, can you park your car on campus, what are the dinning halls like, what is there to do on and off campus?
Money-Something to consider when looking at schools, is the tuition and room and board. If you can afford a school or will need to take out loans should play a big role in picking a college. If a school is willing to give you a scholarship, you should also consider this when making the final decision on a school.
What You Value-What exactly are you looking for in a school? Are you going for sports, a specific major or educational program, the different clubs or the all around college experience at a specific school? Figure out what your priorities are that you want at your school.
Have faith that you are picking the right school. Typically, when you visit the school, you will know that you want to go their or not based on the "vibe" you will feel. If you feel at home, you will probably want to make it your home for the next four years.
That's right folks. To be considered for many scholarships and financial aid, many college applications are due November 1st to be enrolled in the fall 2017 semester. Since I am your local overachiever, I have already applied to my colleges and have done my research to help you get through this stressful time.
Eeek! Due Dates
What is scarier than Halloween this year for high school seniors? College application due dates. What you must first do, is figure out what colleges you will be applying to. Once you have this list, decide if you are doing early decision, early action, regular decision or rolling admission. Do your research! Depending on what you choose, the deadlines for applications will change. Early decision and early action are typically due by November with acceptances and the unfortunate rejections coming in December or early January. Just remember that applying with early decision means you will be obligated to enroll while early action gives you until May for your final decision. Regular decision applications are due around January and February with a response from the college in March. Rolling admissions give many months to apply, but you will not hear back from a school for a longer period of time. Schools however will continue to accept students as long as they have open space.
Applying: Common App vs. Directly
With your list of schools and your application deadlines now in your heads, it is time to start applying. Look into your schools and see if they accept the Common App or only accept applications directly through their website. If your schools accept Common App, I HIGHLY suggest that you take advantage of it because it will make applying 100% easier I guarantee. By using Common App, you will only need to fill out the main application once and then just little bits of information specific to each college you apply to. If you do have to apply directly through a college's website, investigate what information you will need so that when you do sit down to apply you have everything readily available.
While the actual application is generally not stressful, if you need an essay, that is a whole different story. When researching schools you are interested in, look into whether you need an essay, multiple essays or what the essay is on. Common app provides three "common" essay prompts that schools accepting the college app will accept. Personally, one of the colleges I applied to did not need an essay, but the specific school that I was applying to within the college had a specific essay that I had to turn in with my application.
Letters of Recommendations
You are almost at the finish line when you realize you need letters of recommendations. Even if your school does not need letters of recommendations, depending on the competitiveness of the school, it is highly recommended that you get at least one letter. Depending on your high school this can be done through sites like naviance or can be turned in directly to your school of choice. When picking teachers, DO NOT wait until the last minute to ask because they have MANY other students asking for letters. Also keep in mind what your major will be when getting letters. If you plan on majoring in Journalism, have an english teacher, journalism teacher or school newspaper advisor write you a letter. If you plan to major in political sciences, have your government teacher write you a letter. When you ask, be polite, do it in person and have a résumé with where you want to go and major ready to give them. When a teacher completes and turns in the letter that they wrote you, send them a thank you. You can email them, bring them a gift or what I did was printed the attached file, cut the sides down and taped it around a Hershey's chocolate bar and left it on my teacher's desk with a hand written, personalized thank you on the back.
But Wait There's More: Honors College
PLEASE figure out if you are applying to your school's honors college. Often times, schools require separate applications, essays and letters of recommendations for their honors college. Do not miss the deadline because you did not do your research. Other times, schools will request/suggest you apply to their honors college after you have applied and been accepted based on your grade point average, test scores or other factors.
Please remember in this stressful time of your life to stay calm, cool and collected because this is not the end of the world. Relax, millions of other seniors are going through the same process and before you know it, you will be packing up your car to move into your dorm.
When you finally get that acceptance letter, celebrate fam you have earned it!
(All photos courtesy of Giphy)
Homecoming for those of you who do not know, is a tradition mainly found in American schools to welcome back students in the fall. While every school has different customs, many have a sporting event (football), spirit week, pep rally and dance. Homecoming should not be confused with Prom which is a dance that occurs in the spring often held only for upperclassmen or seniors, while Homecoming is in the fall and held for all students.
It is the week before the big game and dance. Most schools will participate in a "spirit week" in which everyday has a different theme for students to dress up. This helps "pump up" students for the big weekend often ending the week with a pep rally before the game that features games, cheers and different events to get students excited for the game. Some common themes that schools pick are USA day, Disney day, extreme weather day, twin day, hat day and pajama day. As a current senior, I know for a fact that it is fun and okay to let loose for the week and dress up. I extremely regret my freshman year spirit week in which I believed for whatever reason it was not "cool" to dress up. Trust me, whether you are a freshmen or a senior, it is cool to dress up during spirit week. Plus who would skip pajama day? You can literally wake up, get out of bed and go straight to school.
Football game before
Photo courtesy to Strongsville High School
Friday night football games. The themes. The chants. The rivalry between schools. All of this is elevated to the next level the night of the homecoming football game. Even if you are one who does not like or go to the football games, the homecoming game is one you will not want to miss. Get dressed up to the theme, join the packed student section in chants and hopefully see your home team win!
The perfect outfit
The perfect dress, shoes, hair and makeup does not just appear overnight. If you are planning on attending the Homecoming dance, plan ahead. Find the perfect dress that makes you feel great, shoes you will be comfortable in and hair and makeup that you know you can do yourself unless you are getting it done at a salon or by a friend. As someone who has gone to three almost four homecomings (after this year), finding the perfect dress is hard and often times expensive if you get a new dress, new pair of shoes and get you hair or makeup done professionally. To avoid this, you and your friends can trade dresses or shoes from different years. No one will be able to tell or remember from years before and your wallet or your parent's wallet will be thanking you. You can even do your own hair and makeup or have a friend do it to escape the costly salon fees.
Before the dance
Before the dance, form a group of friends to all go together. Whether everyone has dates or not, you will still have a blast going in a big group. What I have always done is gone in a big group. We meet at someones house, we all bring food to eat and take pictures either at that house, a park or another persons house. If we are being 100% serious, taking pictures is mostly for your parents. While it is nice to have pictures for yourself, your parents are the ones who want 1,000 pictures of you that they will cherish forever. While you may get annoyed when your mom or dad are chasing you with a camera, just let it happen, you will be thankful to have pictures of your homecoming in years to come.
Date vs. Dateless
Proposals, color coordinating, corsages, boutonnières, posed pictures and the sometimes awkward slow dances are just a few of the aspects of having a date to homecoming. While having a date can be a fun time, especially if you like each other, are friends or are dating, having a date is not everything. It is 100% okay to go to the dance without a date. You are not the only one. Go in a big group of friends and dance the night away. If you do have a date, then great enjoy the night with them. No matter if you have a date or not, you will surely have an amazing night as long as you allow yourself to have one. Don't pout because you do not have a date, just live in the moment and have fun the night of the dance.
Congratulations! You have survived getting your outfit perfect, a group together (possibly even a date), dinner and pictures and now you made it to the dance. Enjoy the night, dance, take pictures, have fun with friends, make memories and most importantly avoid high school drama that will always try to sneak into the dance.
Let the party continue
The dance may have ended, but the party does not have to stop. Whether you go to someone's house and eat food, go to a restaurant or hangout with your date the night does not need to end. Have fun, be safe and do not get yourself into any trouble after the dance.
Most importantly, do not stress, stay organized and stay calm because it is not the end of the world, it is just a high school dance. Have fun and be safe during your homecoming!
(All photos courtesy of Giphy)