Category: Brian Eiermann (page 1 of 2)

Nightmare on Haines Street

When I reflect upon my last three years as a member of the UD Honors program, my favorite memories and the best experiences all revolve around my freshman floor. Like all freshman floors, Russell D2 was filled with music, laughter, and the altogether too-frequent late night binges of Freddy’s. It was a place where friendships thrived, where romance blossomed (and then died…and then blossomed again), and where 35 bright-eyed and bushy-tailed freshman were able to call UD their home for the first time.

More so than anything else, though, D2 could be summed up by one word: competitive.

Now, that doesn’t mean that we didn’t all love each other and have fun. We just had fun being the best: our athletes were the strongest, our scientists were the smartest, and our musicians and performers were the most talented. That was all put to the test, however, by the biggest (and admittedly, only) major floor-decorating contest of freshman year: the Halloween contest.

Coming off from a crushing defeat at the Russell Olympics in September (which was entirely due to the fact that A1 cheated at both the balloon-shaving competition AND the ninja game-ask anyone who was there, it’s true), we knew we had a lot to prove. We decided on a live performance, taking the judges on a wild ride through the blood-splattered halls of the D2 crime scene. As the chief detective escorted the judges down the hall, past the disemboweled and mutilated corpses of D2 residents, they were exposed to just about every person from our floor. We were scientists, guards, murder victims, police officers, and patients in an insane asylum, and between the gore, mayhem, and hello kitty stickers (the most terrifying of all the decorations, in my opinion) we gave the judges a fright they’d never forget.

By far the best part of our performance that day, however, was the fact that everyone banded together and had a role to play. As with any group of barely-legal teenagers packed together in close quarters and forced to share a grand total of 6 bathrooms, not everyone on my floor became lifelong friends. Different groups emerged, friendships formed, and occasionally, personalities clashed. Yet, this competition crossed every divide and united us all for a common goal. Regardless of who we hung out with on a Saturday night, we were all one unified floor. Whether it be the blood-soaked (read: ketchup) murder victim sprawled out on the floor, the forensic scientist diligently studying evidence (read: glowsticks) from the murders, or the dashingly handsome, daringly clever, and brilliantly-acted guard to the insane asylum that just happens to write for the Honors blog (read: definitely not me or anything), everyone was able to be heard, and everyone’s talents were valued.

Although many of us have gone our separate ways by now, I’ll always look back fondly on that Halloween decoration contest freshman year. It was the first real challenge that brought the floor together, and it was the start of lifelong friendships. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to college.

(also, we wiped the floor with A1. #revenge)

A first place award and a first rate memory.

A first place award and a first rate memory.

~Brian Eiermann

An Ode to Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits

As a junior who lives off campus and is responsible for learning how to actually feed himself and buy essentials (paper towels, toilet papers, soap, etc) on a regular basis with a limited budget, I will very rarely buy name brand items. Bounty paper towels and Kleenex tissues are a thing of the distant past for me, having to resort to the sandpaper-like paper products from Walgreen’s “Nice!” brand that make every bodily function everything but. Yet, there is one thing that I will always purchase every time it’s available, even if it means that I have no money for napkins and I have to “borrow” a roll of them from Trabant (note: this is rude and quite potentially illegal, so do not do this): Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit Mix.

Red LobsterFor those of you who have never had the mind-numbing glory of indulging in the most delicious food in creation, let me explain. The intoxicating aroma of these slices of heaven will entice you the second you pop them in the oven. They are as soft as a pack of bunnies hopping on a cloud, and will engage senses and tastes that you didn’t even know existed. If that’s not enough for you, here are some other things to keep in mind:

Ease. All you need to create this delightful ambrosia is some water, some cheese, some butter, and an oven (food staples for all college kids who are living off campus). Throw the some cheese, the premade dough, and some water in a bowl, mix it around for a couple of seconds, and throw it in the oven; in a mere fifteen minutes, your taste buds will be exploding in ecstasy. There’s no fuss, no mess, and next to no effort necessary to forge this delicacy.

Versatility. Don’t get me wrong, these biscuits are fantastic on their own, and you really don’t want to mess with perfection. But, if you’re looking to fulfill more than just the grains part of your daily food pyramid, try these on for size:

-Want a sandwich? These biscuits are a perfect substitute for bread! I made breakfast sandwiches using these biscuits, an egg white omlette, and some bacon, and the result could out NDB to shame.

-Looking for something a little sweeter? Substitute the cheese for some chocolate chips and add some Nutella when they’re finished cooking, and you have the perfect chocolate-ly goodness to help fight off whatever midterms stress you’re fighting!

-Looking for a low carb option? These biscuits make for great croutons, as well! Divide them into pieces and throw them in with some lettuce and tomatoes and watch as every bite becomes entrenched with doughy goodness. And, if you want to go the extra mile, mix the Garlic Herb packet with some olive oil instead of butter, and you have the perfect salad dressing!

As I hope you can see, Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits are by far one of the greatest inventions ever thought up by man. Whether you’re just too lazy to make the trek over to Russell, or you’re on your last dime at Superfresh, I urge you all to take the plunge and treat yourself; your lives will change forever.

Intern, Out of Time

The second semester of your junior year can be an absolutely horrifying time in your life. Suddenly, all of your fun loving days of lounging around on the green, taking breadth classes on vampires, and changing your major six or seven times a semester are over. Instead, you’re consumed with thoughts of grad school, offering a piece of your soul to the higher powers to help make sure you can actually graduate in four years, and spending endless hours searching for that age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

career fairParamount to (or at least on par with) all of these is the dreaded search for the perfect summer internship. Whether it’s doing research at a medical lab, working as an analyst at Goldman Sach’s, or teaching one-armed underprivileged orphans English in a rural village in Namibia, what you choose to do the summer of your junior year is critical. It can give you invaluable experience on your resume, get you in contact to network with professionals in your field, or, if you’re really lucky, start you off with a career when May 2015 has come and gone. If you find yourself drowning in a sea of half-written cover letters, resume critiques, and your friends’ Facebook status about how they just got accepted into their dream internships, here’s some advice to help you find safer shores:

  1. Put yourself out there. A lot of people I know are uncomfortable with asking for help. When it comes to job or internship searches, though, don’t be afraid to ask for a little push now and then. Reach out to your professors and advisors. Update your Linked-In account and get your peers and supervisors to endorse you with anything that might appear marketable. Did you see a speaker or read a book that made you feel a connection? Reach out to any and everyone that might be even remotely related to what you want to do and see if they have any positions available. Everyone remembers what the job search is like, so even if they can’t help you directly, chances are they’ll pass you along to someone who’s hiring. And if they don’t, the worst they can say is no…which brings me to my next point.
  2. Don’t be afraid to fail. Finding a job or internship is hard. You might not hear back from your first choice, and you might not get your second. As Honors kids, sometimes it’s hard to remember that failure is a part of life. But, it’s important to remember that life is unexpected, and the path you wanted to take may not be the path that’s right for you. Doors close so windows can open.
  3. Take advantage of resources. Everyone knows that Career Services exists, but have you used them lately? Whether you want to try your hand at mock interviews, need to get a quick lesson on etiquette dinners, or are looking for resume critiques, reach out! I know networking events and career fairs can be overwhelming, but sometimes we have to just put on a brave face and take the plunge.
  4. Breathe. No matter what happens this summer, you will be okay. Whether you find your dream internship, do undergraduate research, work a part-time job, or have daily 10-hour binges of The Office (i.e. my winter session), you will find success and you will find happiness. In the meantime, go lounge on the green and do nothing all day. College goes by in a blink of an eye, so take a moment to sit back and relax. You deserve it.

“No Name-Calling”

Today is a special day. For some, today marks a break from a grueling 8-hour workday or a four-hour long winter session class. For those less fortunate, stuck at home for the endless wintery abyss that is winter session, today marks an extra hustle and bustle as parents who are normally out at work interrupt your seventeen-hour marathon of The Office. Whether you’re enjoying a relaxing day curled up by the fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa or surviving a house that is entirely too overcrowded for a Monday morning, keep in mind the real reason for the season (or, rather, day): Martin Luther King Jr.

All throughout our childhood, we’ve been taught to play nice. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had school assemblies on tolerance, guest speakers who spoke out against racism and sexism, and enough anti-bullying public service announcements to make me start to seriously question Hillary Duff’s career aspirations. We were told that everyone is important and deserves respect. We were taught that being a bystander to hate is just as awful as enacting hate itself, that it’s mankind’s responsibility to rise up and speak out against bigotry and prejudice, whether it be through institutionalized racism or a bully in a middle school hallway. We had these lessons drilled into us hour after hour, day after day, and I just have to wonder: did they stick?

words-can-hurtI was out and about on campus for only about twenty-five minutes today. In that time, I overheard multiple derogatory terms used by passerby over eighty times. It has become a part of our vernacular, girls and guys alike, to tear down those who aren’t afraid to express their opinions or who are comfortable enough with themselves to love freely. Somehow, despite every lesson that we have been taught, misogyny, sexism, racism and homophobia have become critical to our daily lives. And it needs to end.

Now, it’s important to remember that nobody’s perfect. Even the best of us occasionally fall prey to the perverse allures of petty insults and talking behind people’s backs, and that’s to be expected. This isn’t a problem that’s limited to UD, either. Our generation has a duty to ourselves to learn from our parents’ and grandparents’ mistakes and stand up to put a stop to such rampant bigotry. We have to help curb hate.

So where do we start? How can we rebel against prejudices that are so deeply ingrained in our societies and in ourselves? This isn’t something that can be eradicated overnight, or even in a lifetime, but if we never try, nothing will ever change.

I’m asking each and every one of you to join me in a pledge. Today marks the beginning of “No Name-Calling Week” by GLSEN. For this week, I will not use any derogatory language or slurs, nor will I tolerate my friends using them. I will be a model of what I hope our world will one day become, and I will contribute to the creation of a safer society. Stand with me this Martin Luther King Jr. day and continue the fight against bigotry and intolerance. Fight for our future.

(For more information on GLSEN’s “No Name-Calling Week,” please visit: http://glsen.org/nonamecallingweek/planning-resources)

How Your Phone May Shape a War

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, many of us are probably gearing up for some intense Black Friday deals. While stocking up on Red Bull and coffee to survive the night, however, be conscious of what you’re buying. Major companies such as Nintendo, Canon, and HTC are indirectly supporting armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and by passively buying their products you become part of the problem.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is famous for its mineral-filled mines, particularly tungsten, tin, gold, and tantalum. When armed conflict re-ignited in 2009, rebel groups throughout the region seized control of these mines. In order to make a profit, these rebel groups commit a number of human rights abuses, such as child soldiering, forced labor, and gender based violence (resulting in mass rape and genital mutilation). The minerals that are extracted under these abhorrent conditions are then sold to major technology corporations, which use them to fuel gaming systems, cell phones, computers, and everything in between. Because these conflict minerals are so cheap (as the rebel mines don’t have to pay their workers), corporations won’t stop using them unless someone makes them. That’s where you come in.

As consumers, we have far more power than we realize; without us, companies go bankrupt. If we, as a united front, demand action to be taken then there will be change. Some companies, such as Apple, have already heeded their customers’ demands and have invested in conflict-free mines in the DRC, thus helping to support their economy as well as helping to put an end to the gross human rights atrocities in the region. We can use the power of the purse to our advantage; we can shape the world, and we can save lives.

I’m not suggesting a complete boycott of all goods from companies that aren’t making strides to ensure that their modes of production are conflict free (despite my passion for this issue, I have a deep-seeded love for the Pokemon franchise that isn’t just going to go away overnight). I’m just advocating for greater awareness and greater transparency. Don’t be afraid to make some noise, to stand up for what you believe in. Contact some of the biggest offenders, whether it be directly through letters or phone calls or indirectly through your buying habits this holiday season, and let them know that this is something that you’re passionate about. Alone we cannot make much of a difference, but together, we’re unstoppable.

So as you’re starting your holiday shopping over the next couple of weeks, keep in mind the price that some people are paying to fuel that shiny new laptop or tablet. After all, are rape and slavery really in the holiday spirit?

For a more comprehensive list of how your favorite electronic company stacks up against others in terms of conflict mineral usage, check out RAISE Hope for Congo’s evaluations at: http://www.raisehopeforcongo.org/companyrankings

For more information about how we can work together to make UD a conflict free campus, visit: https://www.facebook.com/ConflictFreeAtUd

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