186 South College

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Hen’s Kitchen by Carly Patent

As college students, I’m sure we can all agree on one thing to help us get through long days, busy schedules, projects, assignments, tests, quizzes, homework, reading, meetings, relationships, and everything in between. And, no, sorry to say, but that one thing is not Netflix, puppies, or the Starbucks in Smith, instead, it’s food.

We never really pay much attention to the effect that food has on our overall happiness, but I’m here to say that there’s something quite magical about an ice cream cone rolled in rainbow sprinkles or a slice of ooey gooey pizza. Oftentimes, college students, myself included, take for granted how important it is to eat right – especially during those weeks when your professor decides to assign a fifty-page reading in the last five minutes of class, when your calendar looks like a game of tic tac toe, and when you can’t even remember what color the carpet in your room is. Focusing on the elements that you can control – such as how much sleep and exercise you get and what you put into your body – is a starting point.

Living on campus the past two years, I had the luxury of a meal plan. Whenever I was hungry, I could walk the fifteen or so feet to my nearest dining hall, head up to a station, grab a plate, sit down, and enjoy. I never had to think about meal planning, grocery shopping, preparation time, or washing dishes. Now, however, having moved into an apartment, I now must consider all of these things – on top of my schoolwork, commitments, and activities. Knowing that I am not alone in the boat of college students who came to college with experience making maybe one or two items – scrambled eggs and toast, anyone? I’m here to share what I have learned. And with that, let me present some tips and tricks to guide you when it comes to making healthy, satisfying meals that are not only easy on the wallet but will make you feel like Rachael Ray or Emeril…BAM!

 

Plan Ahead of Time

There’s nothing worse than going to the supermarket on an empty stomach. Anything and everything will be tempting, and anything and everything will make it into your cart and back home with you. The dinosaur chicken nuggets? A necessity. A jug of chocolate milk? Can’t live without it. A family size bag of Cool Ranch Doritos? Ah, toss it in. If you write out a set list of exactly what you need for that week’s meals, you’re less likely to fall into the trap of a growling stomach. Before heading to the supermarket, look through your fridge and pantry to see what you have, what you need, and what you absolutely want. What really helps me, surprisingly, is having limited space to store my food. If I don’t have room for it, then I can’t buy it. Take a cue from Santa; make a list, and check it twice!

 

Make Healthy Choices

When living at home, it’s easy to eat healthy when your mom nags you to eat your vegetables! But, when you have the freedom to instead stock up on taquitos, waffles, and Easy Mac, getting your daily dose of greens might take the back burner unless you think wisely. First, read nutrition labels. I know that we were all taught how to do this in middle school health class and have most likely tried to forget about that time in our life – Juicy tracksuits, hair feathers, Axe, and Silly Bands. Knowing what to look for when shopping for ourselves, however, is important. Items that we consider “healthy” such as granola bars can actually be loaded with sugar. Taking the extra time to read the labels can help you prevent that Freshman – or Sophomore, Junior, and Senior – Fifteen. Second, sneak in your vegetables. We always hear of parents tricking their kids into eating mashed potatoes with cauliflower and zucchini in their muffins. So why not do the same? Throw a handful of spinach into your morning smoothie or add some veggies to your omelette. You can keep eating what you love, but with some simple switches, what you love will show the love in return!

 

Be Creative

While I consider myself to be a decent cook and an avid watcher of the Food Network, before coming to college, I had quite limited experience actually planning and making my meals. The first week or so, I resorted to making the same few dishes, and while they are still my favorites, as I got more comfortable cooking for myself, I began to branch out and try new things. There are literally millions of recipes out there to try so that you’re not stuck eating the same things every night. When I first made chicken – something that oddly enough freaks me out thanks to a not-so-pleasant experience with undercooked chicken – I felt like a true adult and rejoiced in my roommates’ praise for conquering such a task! I think it’s important to recognize that while the kitchen can be scary, coming from someone who has dealt with some minor burns and cuts, it can also be freeing. Trust yourself and your ability to try new things so that you can break free from the Ramen Noodles that are holding you back!

 

Treat Yourself

My final piece of advice for transitioning to the added responsibility of cooking for oneself is to value food for what it is: a story. Every time that we eat, we tell a story of where we are in life, who we are with, and what we value. We all have that one meal that is ingrained in our heads: a meal that we shared with someone we love, a meal that went terribly wrong, or a meal that we would pay millions of dollars to relive. Whether it is the taste of your mom’s caramel brownies or your favorite restaurant’s lobster macaroni and cheese, food has a transformative ability. It can help us connect with those around us. It can bring us back to a special moment. It can heighten our moods. The power of food should not be underestimated. And, for that reason, treating yourself to a nice meal – whether prepared by yours truly or picked up on Main Street – is a valuable act. I’m not sure that there’s anything a warm chocolate chip cookie can’t fix!

Food can take many forms, and not just literally! It can be a warm hug, a much-needed reward, a call home, and a memory. As college students juggling hectic lives and trying to balance everything that we’ve signed ourselves up for, food is one of the many things that we can control, and for that reason, it becomes much more important. For all of my fellow Blue Hens who have recently made the transition from meal plan to apartment kitchen, I hope this blog post has inspired you and made your stomach rumble. We have a lot on our plates, pun intended, so let’s at least make sure that we’re filling them up with something that would bring Guy Fieri straight to Flavortown! (Can you tell that my roommates and I have been watching too much Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives?)

Long Distance Friendships: The Struggles of Being Abroad by Jenna Newman

In my two-and-a-half years of being at the University of Delaware thus far, I have had the opportunity to spend time abroad twice. The first time was my freshman year and I spent about six weeks in London during Winter Session. Currently, I am two months into my four months abroad in Cameroon pursuing an internship. I’d be lying if I said that being away for so long didn’t take a toll on my relationships back at home. Especially “college friends” because you are so used to spending practically 24/7 with those people, however, I threw together some tips, tricks, and advice to best manage these friendships.

#1 Recognize that every friendship is different. I have some friends that I need to talk to regularly or else I know we are going to drift apart. Then I have other friends where we can not talk for months and then when we see each other again, we pick up right where we left off. One of my closest friends is AWFUL at showing emotion over text message, so when I was in London for Winter Session I barely heard from her. When I got back to campus that spring she ran up excitedly to see me. I admitted that I wasn’t even sure she missed me. All of that is to say that it’s important to recognize the differences in friendships and respect that not every relationship is going to look the same or have the same upkeep methods once you go abroad.

#2 Know that your real friends will stick around. Some of your friendships just aren’t going to last when you’re not around each other all of the time. That’s just the reality of life. My philosophy has always been that if I can keep one or two close friends from each stage of life I am in, then I’m doing something right. Time abroad will be a good way to tell who your real friends that are sticking around are. The real friends will be the people that check in to see how you’re actually doing, not just how the picture of you at the Eiffel Tower portrays you. They’ll be the friends that when you get back want to hear every single detail of every single day, not just ask you, “how was it?” expecting you to summarize your four month immersion experience in Africa in a sentence.

#3 It takes two people to maintain a relationship. It’s easy to get caught up in whatever is going on while you’re abroad and almost set expectations on your friends to be the ones to reach out to you. However, they could be feeling as though you’re so busy that you’ll just reach out if you have time. This could then lead to just not talking for way too long. It’s important to remember that it takes two people to maintain a relationship and it could be good to set up times that you can talk and catch up. A close friend and I pick a two-hour time frame twice a week that we’ll make sure to be paying attention to our phones so that we can text for a little while.

Long distance friendships can be hard. Especially when you’re used to doing even the mundane, like brushing your teeth, together. However, with a little hard work and determination you’ll be able to enjoy your time away and still come home to a great group of friends that you can pick up where you left off with!

Whitewater Rafting with the UD Outing Club by Brittany Connely

Before the school year began, I made a list of all of the things that I wanted to accomplish within my four years here at the University of Delaware. One of the most important goals I wanted to accomplish was to try many new things. So when the opportunity arose for me to be able to go whitewater river rafting, I quickly rushed to sign up. Little did I know this adventure would allow me to experience more than just river rafting.

We left on a sunny Friday afternoon with a ten hour bus ride ahead of us. I didn’t know anyone else going on the trip, which scared me just a little. I had been used to going on trips without knowing many people, but this was the first time I had done anything like this while I was so far away from home. Therefore those ten hours mostly consisted of me attempting to do homework and napping. When we arrived, I came to my first brand new experience: trying to set up a tent when it was dark and pouring rain. I was used to setting up tents from being in Girl Scouts, but it was freezing cold and all of us were exhausted from the long ride. Luckily with a group of three other girls, we set up our tent and attempted to get a bit of sleep for the long day ahead of us.

Then came the actual whitewater rafting. I expected only to be going into lower level rapids, as this was many of our first times out on the river. However I discovered that we would be going down level five rapids, the highest level anyone is allowed to go down recreationally. Not only did we have to sign waivers with a page full of warnings, but the instructor kept repeating that we could die today. While I knew this chance was slim as we were going with experienced instructors, I still knew that accidents could easily happen. I have always been an adventurous kind of person, but this was the first time I had done something this daring. When we got onto the boat and went through the first series of rapids, I became less worried and was having a great time. Until we made it to our first level 5 rapids. When we were in the middle I remember paddling hard and then just seeing this huge drop of waves before us. We all stopped and just looked at it in shock. After we made it through the drop, we all just started laughing. Even though we still had a bit of fear, it was such a thrilling experience. Making it through these rapids together and spending the day on the boat, brought me so much closer to this group, though I had never met them before.

Later that night, after warming up and eating a delicious dinner, we went to a music performance celebrating the last weekend of the camp, before it closed for the season. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Being from the west coast, everything just felt so different. Being here for the band was no exception. There were so many different people there enjoying the music. There was a old man dancing like there was no tomorrow. A little boy who danced so hard he had to take a break and get water in between the sets. A lady who was aggressively whipping her scarf to the beat of the song. These were only some of the many different people I saw there. I felt like I had become part of a different community, something that I had never truly experienced.

Even though it had been such a short journey, at this point I felt like I had gained so much. I became friends with people that I had barely met a day ago, and we talked as if we had been there for a week rather than just one day. This expanded my horizon, as many of my friends have been honors freshman from living in Redding. These people were from all different places, majors, and years. Hearing their experiences not only made me excited for the future, but made me want to continue going on trips, just so I could continue hearing from people whose lives were so different from my own.

Now that I have gotten this kind of experience, I want to continue putting myself out there, trying things that scare and challenge me. After all you never know what you’ll learn from trying something new until you do it.

My Greatest Lesson: Navigating Ambiguity by Carlos Benito

College presents us with the greatest density of resources that we will ever know. Experts in any field reside here and the university is brimming with advisors and support staff whose sole purpose is to help us succeed. There lies the greatest enigma that no one can help answer, what is success? How do we define it now and how will our definition change in a time where every dawn brings a new disaster? No one can answer that for you, but I believe everyone faces at least one common obstacle on their quest for success – ambiguity.

Ambiguity is that fog of uncertainty that clouds the path to success. If any of us hope to find success, we must learn to chart our way through this fog. As noble as it may seem to storm in, suffer then finally succeed, there is an easier way. Ambiguity, despite its inherent nature, is always composed of the same few components. If you can anticipate these components and come ready with your response you will find success with less strife.

Component 1: Chaos

The universe is defined by entropy, and our lives within it are no different. We know our lives are most commonly filled with a specific flavor of chaos: disorganization. If we know we will encounter disorganization we must preemptively prepare a response. For us at UD, that response comes in the form or advisement. Everyone at UD has unique and useful knowledge, from a student’s review of a professor to an advisor’s wisdom in course selection, no one’s experiences can be disregarded as “worthless”.  Talk to students who have taken the course you wish to take and ask them what they thought of the professor. If you understand how the professor runs his/her class you can format your actions accordingly.

Component 2: Human Error

We all know people are not perfect but few actually take that into consideration before taking action. When a class is composed of a professors, TAs, preceptors, lab coordinators, and other staff, you can anticipate having at least some errors or inconsistencies due to miscommunication. If you know that will happen, prepare for it. I combat this by meeting with each staff member separately to understand what they value academically and emotionally as well as how they communicate with the other members of the staff. If I know how one person grades or one person is consistently out of step I can anticipate problems and clean up issues before they arise. This does not make any specific person’s knowledge, time, or opinion any less valuable. All it means is that it will take extra effort on your part to understand their thoughts and more often than not you will benefit from that extra effort.

Component 3: Failure

This is by far the hardest component of ambiguity to come to terms with. The failure we face can be caused by many factors, but I choose to look at failure on my terms. It can be easy to say failure came from human error or disorganization on the part of others but in the end it doesn’t affect them nearly as much as it affects you. With that in mind, you have to look at every failure as a consequence of your actions. It doesn’t matter whether it was or not, but you only have control over your emotions and your actions so anger towards anyone else is not useful. Sometimes failure is truly a consequence of your actions. When that times comes – and it will – you have to be ready. That preparation comes in the form of building a reputation of dedication, hard work, and responsibility. If everyone understand the values you stand for, even in your darkest moments they will still stand behind you. Then it relies on you to modify your plan to better prepare for a similar scenario in the future.

It is my belief that every person’s success is determined by their actions. With that in mind, you must make it your duty to make use of your support and sail forth towards ambiguity and towards your idea of of success. Safe sailing my friends.

A Study Guide for the Midterm Elections by Sarah Blum

I know the midterm in your next class seems really important to you right now, and it is. It’s gotten to the point of the semester when college students everywhere are taking advantage of the library and all of the caffeine that coffee can offer in preparation for their next midterm exam. The problem is, a lot of those same college students ignore an even bigger midterm that’s coming up – the midterm elections. If you’re reading this, you’re probably at least 18, and you’re hopefully registered to vote. It is important you realize that the right to vote is not something you should exercise only every 4 years.

Midterm elections are exactly what they sound like: they are elections that happen in the middle of a presidential term. A lot of people assume that if they aren’t going to be voting for the president, then their vote doesn’t matter, but they could not be more wrong. During these elections, you can vote for who you want to fill ⅓ of the seats in the U.S. senate and 435 of the seats that make up the U.S. House of Representatives. The people you vote for essentially control congress, and congress essentially controls the direction of the country. And that’s not all! There are also many local elections you may be eligible to vote in depending on which state you are registered in. For example, this year, 36 states are holding elections for governor. Local policy change dictated by these elections can have a huge effect on your day-to-day life – especially for students, when topics such as “tuition-free college” are being discussed.

This year seems like a really promising one for young people to make a change with their votes. The problem is, especially in the midterms, young people don’t actually follow through. Just because you don’t “follow” politics does not mean that politics don’t follow you. I urge you to figure out where and when you can vote as soon as possible. If you are lucky enough to be within your district on election day, you can quickly search online to see where your voting location is. If not, you are able to vote through an absentee ballot, but you’re on a bit of a time crunch. In most states, you can still apply for an absentee ballot up to a week before the elections, but you should check online to make sure. Vote.org is particularly useful website for all information regarding how and where to vote in your state/county.

It is quite possible that this message got to you a bit late. I know many students who did not bother to order a ballot because they didn’t have enough information, or they simply felt like their vote wouldn’t matter anyway. In terms of being unaware, the best thing you can do is educate yourself for the next time you are able to vote. After Election Day, there may be certain special elections within your individual state or local government in which you can vote. Websites like TurboVote.org will tell you fairly quickly all of the upcoming elections you are eligible to vote in- they’ll even send you text reminders. As for your vote being unimportant, the short answer is that it’s not. Young people especially seem to believe that their votes won’t change anything, but it is this frame of mind that keeps everything at a standstill. The only time when your vote doesn’t count is when you don’t cast it.  

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