when life gives you melanie

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  • Halloweekend: Being Prepared {Her Campus BU}

    While last weekend you probably were carving pumpkins or shopping for your best costume ever, this weekend is reserved for “trick-or-treating.” I’m referring to Halloweekend, which is the weekend before, the week of, Halloween, and typically several days afterwards. Although this time can be a fabulous way to stun people with your creative costume ideas, other parts of the weekend may be trickier than a treat. Whether this is your first Halloweekend in Boston or simply another for the books, below is my list of essentials for the Halloweekend festivities!

     Before going out:

    1. Eat a square meal! According to Student Health Services, “Food in the stomach slows the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.”
    2. Safety first! Set up an account with Uber or Lyft, both of which you can download in the app store for Android and iPhones. Remember, the T closes at 12:30 AM, so be sure to save reliable cab numbers in your phone or download those apps! Make sure if you do choose to take a cab, that you call a cab company that is well-known for their safety and service. It is important to be cautious of fraudulent cab companies
    3. In addition to setting up a plan of getting back “home,” grab a group of friends who will stay with you from start to finish. Never travel alone at night.
    4. Wear comfortable shoes that will prevent you from spraining your ankle. Because you might be walking far distances, sensible shoes could save you from bad blisters or even a trip to the emergency room.

    When you go out: 

    1. Bring your dorm essentials! Be sure to have your room key & Terrier card to return to your building.
    2. Don’t forget to have your cell phone fully charged.
    3. Come up with a “get-out-of-here” signal with your friends and a meeting spot in case you are separated from one another. This way you have an easy way out of an uncomfortable situation, as well as the assurance that you won’t be left alone while you’re out.
    4. Safe (and consensual) sex is the best sex, so make sure you bring protection. 
    5. Carry some cash for the cab ride home. Single bills are important if you wish to tip the driver.
    6. If you feel unsafe, utilize the blue lights on our campus or contact Escort Security Service at (617) 353-4877. Reference the telephone numbers on the back of your Terrier card as well— it’s better safe than sorry. 

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  • This is TODAY!!!!

    This weekend, The Center for Gender, Sexuality and Activism (CGSA/Center) will be celebrating itsFIFTH birthday. The party will begin at 7 PM on Friday, October 25th in the lovely space, located in the basement of the GSU. The CGSA will also be hosting an Alumni Brunch on the next day (Saturday, October 26th) from 2-4 PM.

    Here are some reasons why you should attend the birthday party:

    +This event is totally FREE but bring cash to win some exciting prizes in the silent auction and purchase some comfy sweatshirts (see below).

    +Veggie burritos, corn chips, salsa, and guacamole are on the menu… because the event will be catered by CHIPOTLE.

    +There will be vegan and gluten-free goodies served. And they will taste SO DELICIOUS!

    +Queer singer/songwriter, Evan Greer will be performing an acoustic set!

    +Center members will be performing some of their own spoken word and music.

    +There will be a silent auction in which a huge basket of toys from Good Vibrations, dates with lovely CGSA members, and more are up for grabs!

    +The Center’s logo got a makeover! The new design will be printed onto Union-made sweatshirts — available for purchase at the event.

    +There will be a photo booth set up in front of the Center’s chalkboard so you can practice smizing or just be silly.

    If you’re not quite convinced, here are some fun facts about the Center:

    +The CGSA’s mission is to create a safer space for individuals of all genders and sexualities through a social justice framework.

    +Thanks to 1960’s and 70’s student activists that preceded the organization, what used to function as a storage closet is now a space with its own library, resource board, and super comfy couches.

    +The CGSA is one of the few centers in the country completely run by student volunteers. (That meansyou can get involved!)

    +The Center has its own incredible programming. That being said, you should definitely attend this year’s New England Women’s Center Conference.

    +The Center is also a space for groups to meet! If you’d like to learn more, sign up for the email list or send an email to cgsa@bu.edu.

  • Even a sociology major can’t figure out why this pink glittery chair is in the classroom…

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  • Perks of standing on Marsh Plaza every Friday giving out Free Hugs: getting free stuff in return! #asos #earrings #urchin #applestoapples

  • How to De-Stress for Midterms {HCBU}

    Starbucks cups are piling on my workspace, my hand is cramping from creating hundreds of flashcards, and at this point, I’m writing “the the” twice.  All this is a result of studying for five hours straight. I probably have five more dreadful hours. Sound familiar? Thought so. If you’re as stressed as I am about exams (or papers, if that’s what is stressing you out), get inspired by the following list!

    • Downward-facing dog sure will get your blood flowing and your mind off the books. Any kind of yoga practice will induce relaxation and awareness—both of which contribute to de-stressing and staying focused!
    • Speaking of dogs, look at pictures of baby animals for a good half hour to remind you that there’s more to life than grades and school. Cute kittens await you!
    • Treat yourself to something delicious. Piping hot tea and pumpkin bread does the trick for me. But, for you, it may be a new pair of heels. Reward yourself for your hard work, honey!
    • Create or find aplaylist that either lets you either chill out or amps you up. Usually, I go tosongza to find a playlist that is sure to match my mood and environment. I’ve also recently discovered a site called Rainy Café that provides you with a café and/or rainy ambience.
    • In the midst of all this real difficult studying, it’s never a bad idea to watch a movie. This past weekend, I watched Ferris Bueller’s Day Off one night and saw Don Jon the next. Both movies were much-needed distractions from reality.
    • Get physical! Schedule a dance break, run along the Esplanade, or release some endorphins in the bedroom. Your body and mind will thank you.
    • Go outside and get your nature on. Explore the Arnold Arboretum, get lost in the history of the Freedom Trail, or just walk down Bay State Road!

    Most importantly, take a lot of breaks. You’re more likely to sustain a study session if you block out some time every now and then to get a meal or simply close your notes. Also, take into account theresources that Student Health Services provides, including the fact sheet below. 

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  • How to be Assertive With Sexual Partners

    How to be Assertive with Sexual Partners

    The US government may not know how to make up their minds, but you sure do. Well, maybe not. Making a decision can be difficult, especially when it comes to sexual endeavors. But, fear no more! I’ve got you covered with a step-by-step guide to the best communication techniques before, during, and after you enter the bedroom (or wherever you have sex)! 

    Ask yourself questions. Knowing what you want is the first step to being assertive. Here are some sample questions to consider: What do I like? What do I not like? Do I want a casual hookup a monogamous relationship? Do I prefer to be sober? Do I prefer my partner to be sober? Is it important that my partner recently has been tested for STDs/STIs/HIV? Jot down the answers on paper or keep them stored on your phone.

    Construct a standard system. According to the answers to the above questions, construct a system of standards for a sexual partner. Consider creating a checklist of your standards and priorities. Note: If your partner doesn’t respect your standards then they aren’t worth your time.

    Ask your partner questions about their preferences and boundaries. What do they like? What is a major turn-off? Is it okay to touch (insert place here)? However, the most important question to ask is “Do you want to have sex?” You will not know if your partner is on the same page if you do not ask!

    Communicate your own preferences and boundaries. Express yourself through words, gestures, or –if you’re feeling scholarly— written word!

    + Reflect on your experience. So, maybe your partner isn’t the best at meeting your needs. Continue the conversation and look for solutions to any problems or discomforts that came up. Maintaining the personal relationship with your wants and needs is essential to fulfilling your sexual desires. Check back with yourself once a month to see if your answers, priorities, or standards have changed.

    And if all else fails, recite Maya Angelou -

  • This Dinner-and-a-Major menu actually made my life a lot easier… #SociologyIsVegan

  • The Importance of Self-Care in College

      College is an exciting time to discover your true passions, whether they are based in research, leadership, or community service. But, all of that could become exhausting. In extreme cases, students get so caught up in doing everything that they lose sight of their own wellbeing—myself included. That’s why self-care is so important: sometimes you need to dedicate an hour or two of your daily jam-packed schedules to simply be youYou in total silence, complete serenity, or just free of other responsibilities. Check out my tips below to start your journey to effective self-care that rejuvenates and energizes you!

                + If you already set up times for meetings and classes in your calendar, why not set aside an hour for self-care? Save ME TIME in your calendar — and you can’t call off the meeting!

                + Meditation is always a great way to refresh your mind before (or after) a busy day. Apps are available to get you on the right track to mindfulness. This article lays out the best ones on the app market. Youtube also has a great selection of soothing playlists and guided meditations.

                + Be electronic-free when you eat your meals. This way, you are able to focus on the delicious food rather than the dreadful emails you need to go through. Mealtime can (and should) count for me time!

                + While human interaction could be transformative, sometimes we need space even in our own living spaces. If you live with roommates, request a moment to yourself.

                + Participate in activities (solo) that are energizing! Go for a run on the Esplanade, window shop on Newbury Street, or sign up for a PDP that strikes your fancy.

                However you choose to incorporate self-care, be sure to check in with yourself at all times. I find many times in lecture, I need to take a break from being in “student mode”. Even on the weekends, I take frequent breaks from assignments and homework to care for my own being. Self-care comes in many forms, so remember to integrate it in a way that will benefit you best. In the words of Tom and Donna from Parks and Recreation, “Treat yo self!”

    (Source: hercampus.com)

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  • Blogging and Sunshine and Awards, oh my!

    I received a Sunshine Award nomination from a fellow Her Campus Blogger, Alyssa, who has her own blog called My Life’s a Cup of Cake. Not only is she part of the Her Campus Blogger Network, but she also contributes to Lucky and is a member of the Clever Network! Thank you SO MUCH for the nomination! I’m truly honored!

    Anyways, now I shall follow “Ze Rules” of the Sunshine Award:

    -Include the Award Logo in your blog post

    -Link to the person who nominated you

    -Answer 10 questions about yourself

    -Nominate 10 bloggers and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog
    My Ten Answers to Alyssa’s Questions:
    1. If you could meet any person (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
    Starting off with the tough ones, eh? I would want to meet Justin Timberlake (and Jimmy Fallon) so we can speak in #hashtags. (See video for reference.)
    2. If you could be any animal in the world, what would it be and why?
    Of course I would want to be a puppy. I’m a Boston Terrier after all!
    3. What is your all-time favorite song and why?
    Oof, another hard one! “Hallelujah” never gets old.
    4. Describe yourself in three words.
    Ambitious, creative, philosophical.
    5. What is your biggest fear?
    I’m working on reducing my fear of failure.
    6. What are the goals for your future?
    Be like Alyssa and contribute to rad magazines. But also work in non-profit.
    7. What are your top 2 baby names for a boy? For a girl?
    Well, I cannot be sure that my children will fall into the gender binary system or even the sex binary system, so gender-neutral names would be my best bet: Harper, Kelsey, Devon, or a combination of my name and my partner’s name.
    8. Staying with the names, if I gave you a puppy (or a kitty) right now, what would you name it and why?
    I would name it according to its personality. 
    9. If I gave you a million dollars right now, what would you do with it and why?
    Well, I gotta put some money in my bank account. Then, I would choose wisely what charities to give it to. Oh, and my student organization is in debt, so they could use a couple bucks!
    10. If you had to live life in one color (the only color you will ever see again), what would it be and why?
    Do you mean like I will experience everything with a certain tint? Or do you mean what I wear? I’ll just answer both of my questions :) I would want to live life in orange so I’m always energized; but I would want to stick with a black wardrobe.
     
    My Nominees:
    1. Harper at Harper Honey
    3. Elyssa at Miss Manhattan
    4. Tricia at Beauty & a Blog
    5. Hannah at The Fro-Yo Diaries
     
    Breaking the rules and keeping it to 5 lovely bloggers. y’all deserve it!
    My Questions:
    1. What’s your number one go-to for brightening up your day?
    2. What have you done recently that brightened someone else’s day?
    3. What song brightens up your day?
    4. If you can pick anywhere in the world, what’s your favorite sunny spot?
    5. What’s your favorite accessory to protect you from the sunshine?
    6. How do you transform dark, rainy days into energizing days?
    7. What movie brightens up your day/night?
    8. What would you say to a friend who needs some sunshine in their life?
    9. What place in your proximity elevates your mood?
    10. What’s the funniest joke you heard recently?
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  • The war on drugs is a war on us. www.schoolsnotprisons.com

  • The Problem with the Arrest-First Policy {Her Campus BU}

    The Problem with the Arrest-First Policy

    Posted Sep 19 2013 - 12:00pm
    TAGGED WITH: bubupdpoliceunderage drinking

    A recent BU Today article announces a new “Arrest-First” strategy to further enforce the Boston University Police Department’s policing of alcohol-related violations in the Gardner, Ashford, and Pratt Street (GAP) region. According to the article, “Boston police operating in the BU area will make arrest the ‘preferred response’ to drinking law violations.” While the article supports the policy in terms its effective efforts to decrease hospital transports, there are many more questions raised in terms of how the BUPD’s strategy will affect the student body.

    The first problem that arises in constructing such a policy is the automatic criminalization of students. I would hope that students attending Boston University, and attending off-campus parties, are not doing so in order to go to jail. It is my understanding that college students are in college to receive a degree and eventually get a job in their field of interest. Criminalizing students for underage drinking or noise violations will not result in complete seizure of the drinking culture on campus.

    Also, by making this policy a priority, the police are dismissing the idea that criminal activity in and outside of the party-scene in the GAP region still occurs. Enforcing the Arrest-First policy may fail to criminalize perpetrators of robbery, trespassing, or other violations of campus conduct. I personally believe that the criminal activity is worth equivalent attention, as it can also produce dangerous results. 

    Lastly, BUPD may be overlooking the idea that students are in need of medical attention or rehabilitative help for their drinking behaviors. The BU Today article addresses the effects of excessive drinking in a way that assumes drinking is to blame for things such as declining “academic performance” and promoting “sexual assaults”. This is not the case. Excessive drinking could be a result of tolerance to the drug; which is also a sign of alcoholism. This is often linked with mental health issues. Criminalizing students for their mental health or substance issues is not the solution. 

    Instead of criminalizing students for exploring the college drinking culture, failing to enforce areas in which criminal activity is abundant, or disregarding the idea that excessive drinking could be linked to mental health problems, BU should do the following: 

    1. Await the results of the new AlcoholEdu for College program. 
    2. Disperse BUPD officers in the event of another emergency or criminal activity in need of enforcement. 
    3. Consider the effects of Drug and Alcohol Policies that do not align precisely with Massachusetts’s Good Samaritan Policy. Read more on campus policy here.
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  • Thanks Co-Ed Supply! {Sponsored Post with PROMO CODE}

    Today, I received a #bigorangebox from Co-Ed Supply, a company that curates a box of college essentials starting at twenty bucks per month!

    This month, Co-Ed Supply sent me a sampler CD by Wallpaper, a Magnetic Black Dry Erase Board by EXPO (with neon markers!), delicious snacks from KIND and Nature’s Bakery, and a bright orange Co-Ed Supply water bottle, to name a few of my favorite goodies! 

    I’ve already posted the Magnetic Dry Erase Board on my wall, nibbled on the YUMMY Raspberry Fig Bar by Nature’s Bakery, and listened to the music sampler. Oh, and I sprayed some natural “supermint” breath spray to freshen my breath.

    Above is a picture of the mini box Co-Ed Supply sent me to pass along to a friend, stranger, or classmate. Who wouldn’t want fresh breath, hot music, and delicious food?

    You can receive $10 toward your #bigorangebox of goodies like mine by September 30th by using the code “hercampus” at checkout!

  • thefavecast:

    In case you didn’t know, we recently launched the newest version of Favecast— Favecast 2.0. What better way to celebrate than host a Favecast Friday at Sunset Cantina?

    image

    Although the grill is primarily a hot-spot for Boston University students, Favecast brought together students…

    The startup for which I am interning hosted an awesome event on Friday. I wrote a short post about it for their blog :)

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