Family · Life's Milestones

A Tribute to my First Dog

When I was four years old my parents and I picked out our first family dog. We drove for hours until we arrived at the dog breeder’s house where we went down into the basement to meet all the puppies. Although I was young, I remember the day as if it were yesterday. All the pups were in a small room in the basement playing with each other, except for one who sat at the gate and watched my family. There is a saying that you do not pick your dog, your dog picks you. With my experience, I believe it. There he sat, the newest addition to our family, Bruno.

Recently, as a college student, I was asked to write a paper on someone the we used to be, but no longer are. The paper had to be based off of a picture. The picture that I chose was taken on the day we picked Bruno up to take home with us. A little, four-year-old version of me with pig tails and a frilly dress sits on the stairs of the basement, cuddled up with a teddy bear. At the bottom of the photograph, there is a set of hands holding our tiny black lab puppy next to me. My face is burrowed into my teddy bear with just my eyes sticking out at the top, peeking over Bruno next to me. Despite being extremely excited to get a dog, the picture does not show it because I was jealous. My father took a picture and held our new puppy first and I was not happy with that. Being the youngest child in the family, I had a tendency to be a bit of a brat when it came to getting what I wanted.

Looking back at this photograph today and thinking about all the memories made over the past fifteen years brings me to tears. I am reminded of all the days that I took having my dog for granted. It brings me back to summers swimming in the pool, non-stop playing fetch and even his begging and panting at the table while we ate. Most of the time, Bruno was, as we nicknamed him, a mouthy. He liked to pester, beg and he loved to jump on the counters to steal a loaf of bread. He demanded to play fetch, barked when the Patriot’s scored a touchdown and refused to eat his breakfast without a splash of milk in it. If Bruno taught me one thing, it would be to always be persistent, after all, we would eventually end up throwing him the ball and getting caught in his never-ending game of fetch. At the end of last semester, Bruno sadly passed away after being hit by a car right down the street from our house. At this point in my life, the picture is accompanied with many different emotions. I feel happiness because I was blessed with the best dog anyone could ask for and got to spend my entire childhood growing up with him. At the same time, I feel sadness because my years of making memories with him have come to an abrupt ending that no one had expected.

Although everyone understands that dogs have a shorter lifespan than people do, you never truly know just how much happiness a pet brings into each day until they are gone. Mentally, my family had been somewhat prepared that Bruno did not have many years left, being fifteen he had already surpassed the average dog lifespan. However, I had not been prepared for him to pass away from anything other than old age. It is hard to think that had he not escaped the yard, he would have still been in our home. I would not be here writing a paper about my memories with him. A few months back, I read an article about a little boy who had to put down his dog. The family wondered why animal lives are shorter than human lives. The little boy answered with “I know why, people are born so that they can learn how to live a good life- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right? Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long”. There is no doubt that Bruno loved everybody and loved life with us. He never failed to make us smile and laugh, to watch the fort while we were not home and most importantly to love us unconditionally every single day for fifteen years. For this, I want to thank my dog for growing up with me. I would not be the person I am today if I did not have you.

Rest in the sweetest peace with all the treats, tennis balls and of course never-ending love from your family here at home. We will always love and cherish the memories we made together. We love and miss you.

Love Always,

Your Human

College · Funny

Sleep Deprivation 101

With finals week *QUICKLY* approaching this is a subject matter most college students are discovering to be a reoccurring problem. That problem being sleep. Or in a college student’s world, getting more than a few hours of sleep. Or just being able to function slightly after getting barely no sleep.

For some unknown reason professors tend to pile on the work in the last couple of weeks. And by pile on the work I mean you have five finals, four exams, three four page essays, two projects, one research project, and ZERO time to do any of it.

Here are some tips that I found helpful during final exam week (aka final exam month):

  1. At the beginning of the course you were given a syllabus which outlined the entire expectations of each course for the entire semester. Make sure you keep this piece of paper as it is very useful in planning out which exams you have and when. It saves a lot of stress because you can either plan ahead of time or clear your schedule to make time during a busy week.
  2. Don’t start studying the night before an exam or wait until the last day to write your paper. The night before the exam should be used to review the material and see how much you know. Don’t stay up until three in the morning studying or writing your paper due at nine that day. Papers need editing! And three am you is not going to want to edit a five page paper, nor are you going to notice the corrections you should change. Start studying two or three days before the exam. It gives you more time and makes the night before much less stressful.
  3. Create a study guide of the material you need to know. Usually professors give you their “study guide” to what is going to be on the exam a week or so before. Make sure you at least look at this paper, since it has literally all the topics of the exam on it.But also, take the study guide to the next level by adding more details to it while you are studying.
  4. Create a calendar. In my dorm I have two and a planner that I take to my classes with me. I have a whiteboard calendar which I love and a paper calendar. Its helpful to have a handwritten calendar so you can physically see what days are going to be more busy than others and plan finals week around the non-busy days.
  5. Eat healthy and regularly. I know this is pretty simple and seems slightly silly to be on the list but eating regularly, meaning three meals a day, helps to regulate brain function. You’ll remember the materials, be able to study and pay attention better since your brain is functioning off the food it needs in order to run properly.
  6. As unrealistic as the next one seems, it is possible. Put away your phone and other electronics while you are studying. They only serve as distractions while you are studying or doing homework. I read somewhere once that for each time you look at your phone while doing homework, it takes twenty minutes to get back into what you were doing before.
  7. Here’s a simple one, sleep. Everyone needs on average eight hours of sleep each night in order to be able to function the following day. If you don’t get enough sleep the only thing you’ll be thinking about in class is how much you want to be in bed. So don’t stay up all night and make sure you get plenty of sleep before exams.
  8. Take breaks. As important as studying is it is also very important that you take breaks in between studying. One way some people recommend is 50 minutes of studying with 10 minutes to relax. Your brain can’t absorb all the material constantly for hours on end, give it a break from time to time.
  9. Don’t wait until you feel like studying. Chances are you’ll never feel like you want to study. So take you’re free time and study whether you feel like it or not. In the end, you’ll have do to it eventually and you don’t want to do it all the night before.
  10. Quiz yourself. Whatever your studying style may be, flashcards, online quizzes that the book offers, making a quizlet for yourself, just test yourself on the material. It helps you figure out what you know already and what you should spend more time reviewing for before the exam.

Lastly, make sure at the end of a long finals week you reward yourself for all your hard work and dedication. Congratulations! You made it through the week!

College · Relationships

Dating on a College Budget

For some reason everyone thinks of hookups when you say you have a boyfriend in college. Why is it assumed that the only relationship you can have is one that is not in the least bit a commitment when you go to college? Here’s a little bit of a disclaimer: you can have a committed relationship in college, and honestly at age in your life. The trick here is actually being committed, surprise. Yes of course, there are people out there that only want hookups. However, there are also people that want a real long-term relationship, you just have to be able to find them.

For me, I have never been the type of person to lead another on or just be together for a short amount of time. There are tons of other girls out there just like me. In fact, most girls want a long-term relationship. It seems to be the men out there that just aren’t into commitment. It can be a pretty scary word for guys to be honest. Anyways, I am a freshman in college right now. For the years after sophomore year, I took a break with relationships. Girls, this was honestly such a good decision. Until this year (well just a couple of months ago) I was single as a Pringle, as they say. The time alone to myself helped me to decide what I want in a significant other and also what I didn’t want. Let it be known, that I also didn’t compromise with my expectations of what qualities I wanted in a boyfriend once college came.

Back to the topic on hand, dating in college for one is ulimately no different than dating at any other age. Yes, we are both broke college students but there are always things to do on campus or near campus for us to do together. The blog is going to be a list of activities that college couples can do together, other than the typical going out to party “date”, if that’s what you call it. Here are just some of the activities my boyfriend and I have found on or near our campus so far.

  1. Walking Trails- Right behind our campus (actually in the woods of our campus) there are a couple of small pond. We had heard of these and the walking paths that bring you there and decided to go on an adventure. Our campus owns these walking paths and there is actually a group that goes on weekly “Wellness Walks” on them. Chances are most campuses have something similar that you and your significant other can explore the outdoors together in. *Hint* Make sure you wear sneakers and dress for the weather because it could end up being longer than you think it is.

    A picture from our nature walk together (we also took the feature image on our nature walk!)
  2. Watching the Sunset- This kind of goes hand in hand with the walking trials since we walked to the ponds to watch the sunset together. The weather app on the iPhone actually tells you the exact time that the sun sets which is super duper helpful. Again, make sure you dress appropriately for the weather since it does get chilly after the sun sets.

    The sunset at the lake on campus
  3. Get Involved with a Group on Campus Together- My boyfriend and I joined an organization on campus called Program Council. This organization is basically the one that plans all of the events on campus such as homecoming, springfest, and even smaller activities like karaoke and bingo. Usually there is something similar to this at each campus. Joining together has given us the opportunities to attend the weekly meetings together, go the the events together, and even volunteer to help run the events together. It’s a great feeling to know that you both have similar interests in the same organization and it’s even better to make a set of friends together.
  4. Watch Netflix- This is one that probably every couple does. This was mainly our first month of being together since it was a cold winter. When the weather is bad and there’s nothing else to do, you can’t go wrong with a romance movie or binge watching the Fuller House series.
  5. Dining Hall Dates- Okay, I realize this is super cheesy and cheap for a “date” but let me explain. Typically, I go to the dining halls for meals with more than one person, my roomie, my friend, my boyfriend, or other people in the building since we’re all in the same friend group. However, it is also nice to have a dinner with just your significant other, yes I know it’s at the dining hall and not a fancy restaurant but time with your man doesn’t have to include spending money. Reminder, how much are you spending for your meal plan again? Use it. Go on dining hall dates. End of story.

I’m sure that there are plenty of other events and activities that at the moment I’m forgetting on this list so please comment the “dates” you’ve discovered on your campus! Also let us know in the comments whether or not you’d like a “Dating on a College Budget 2”!