2 UF faculty selected to attend program that teaches how to tackle tough social issue conversations

A research organization chose two UF faculty members to work through social issues that don’t have explicit solutions.

Michael Spranger and Muthusami Kumaran, both from the UF Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, will join a program through the Kettering Foundation, which promotes conversations about issues such as poverty, obesity, public safety and environmental concerns, known as “wicked issues.”

For full article, click here.

Picture source: ics.ufl.edu

“Good writing is re-writing”

Today was the first day of my Reporting class and it was great. I am so pumped. Slightly nervous. Definitely a little bit anxious. But, for sure excited. Just in the first day of lecture, I feel like I’ve picked up so much writing advice that I am ready to try out and work with. Current attitude: bring it on. It’ll be interesting to see how that’ll change as the semester goes on — because let’s be real, it definitely will.

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That being said, I’d like to add a new goal to my already extensive list of goals for this year: stop complaining. I don’t want to be that person who’s most defining character trait is “tired,” because I feel like that’s what I hear from a lot of people when you ask them what’s up. We’re all students, we’re all busy, and we’re all tired. It’s not a point of pride to brag about how tired you are, and it’s not impressive or pleasant to spend a conversation listing off the reasons you’re so exhausted. It’s — dare I say it — tiring. So from this day onwards, I’m going to work on minimizing the word from my vocabulary. If someone catches me doing otherwise, I’m going to need them to call me out.

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Another high point of today, besides Reporting, was finishing an 8 mile run this morning. I’m still in disbelief because whenever I see the milage slowly increase one at a time on my health app each week, I keep remembering how before I started running, I would have to stop to catch my breath the moment the treadmill hit 0.6. I keep waiting for shin splits to come back and ruin my life like they used to, but *knock on wood* it hasn’t happened yet. This half-marathon may actually happen — who would’ve thought? Definitely not high school me. Maybe not even college freshman me.

Ok pEaCe oUt for now. This week is so far panning out nicely and can’t wait for the semester to start rolling.

Inspiration, a fresh slate, and general good feels

Ok, time to get back to my corner of cyberspace that I’ve been badly neglecting. Updates: winter break is over, and tomorrow begins spring semester filled with horrors such as ~*rEpOrTiNg*~ and *~oRgO cHeM~* — both notoriously difficult classes for which I already may have a tiny knot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach.

But, it’s ok. I feel good. Even though I know it’s just the naiveté that comes with the beginning of the semester, I just have to remember what this moment of motivation and purpose feels like to pull me through the rough days. Easier said than done, I know, but all I can do is try.

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The goals: 1) Emerge from this semester fully satisfied with what I’ve accomplished and the work I’ve put in. No ra-grets. 2) Get some bomb-ass clips out there in different styles of writing that I’ve always wanted to try my hand at. Maybe even creative writing???? We’ll see. 3) Be healthy and happy with who I am. This running thing is going pretty well so far, and with the end in sight (my first half-marathon in February) it’ll be exciting to set new fitness goals. 4) Be fearless. There are so many things I am hesitant about publishing or pursuing because I’m stupidly speculating how it’ll be received and am wary of judgement. I don’t have the time or energy to waste on that pettiness anymore.

That’s the dream for 2015. I love this feeling of a fresh start, and can only try to make the best of it. Also, like most writers, having blank notebooks excites me to an almost irrational level, so that’s always a major plus of starting a new semester of school. ‘Til tomorrow!

The 8 Best Parts of Coming Home for Winter Break

Winter Break is so close, and we’re all anxious with anticipation to escape the confines of our campus. Fed up with final papers, presentations and exams, we Gators are just about ready for this semester to come to a close. Here are just a couple of things we’re most looking forward to about being home this holiday season.

1. Food that doesn’t require multi-step microwave instructions

After weeks of food that’s frozen, dehydrated, canned and every form of preserved, nothing tastes as good as a home-cooked meal. Even meals that you might’ve groaned and complained about as a kid evoke a certain nostalgia and appreciation as a college student returning home. Make sure to enjoy every meal because it’ll be back to microwavable insta-meals in what’ll feel like the blink of an eye.

For full post, click here.

Picture source: hovercraftdoggy.files.wordpress.com

This post was a top chapter article on Her Campus, on Dec. 18, 2014!

 

The 9 Most Annoying Conversation Starters You’ll Hear During Winter Break

Oh, the holidays. A time when you’re reunited with all of your beloved friends and family to catch up on college life and hear about months of missed gossip. This usually leads, however, to a very predictable and tired list of conversation starters that get old very fast. Here are some of the most annoying ones:

1. “Wow, you’ve really gained/lost weight!”

Said by: Complete random family friend at a holiday party who you are in no way comfortable holding a full conversation with and have probably been trying to avoid the entire time.
What you want to say: “Can we not comment on the physical appearance of my body, please? After the hell that is finals week that weight gain or loss wasn’t intentional nor was it pleasant, and I’m already aware of it.”
What you’ll actually say: “Yeah, that dining hall food, am I right?”

For full post, click here.

Picture source: http://www.staticweb.maine.edu

 

I wish I was funny but I guess sassy is ok

I really really admire people who are are able to make people laugh with ease. It’s a weird mix of awe and envy, because I don’t think that I have the eye for that irony and wit that you need to be a genuinely funny person. There’s a certain level of emotional intelligence coupled with acute observational skills that I think funny people seem to inherently possess that I would love to have.

Today, I watched way too many episodes of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and was reminded of how much talent it takes to really do well in comedy — a precise balance of uniqueness and relatability. If I could have even half of those skills, I would be satisfied.

I’ve consciously attempted humorous writing only a handful of times, and it feels like such an uncomfortable charade of a person I am not, that I usually end of up deleting it long before any other eyes read it.

The exception was when I made an absolutely disastrous attempt at satire in one of my college application essays, that at the moment I thought to be genuinely funny, but now makes me cringe. I literally can’t get through the first couple sentences without feeling to urge to backhand my awkward and incredibly conceited and self-assured high school self. It was a response to the prompt, “A space exploration has successfully transported the first human colonists to the planet Mars. What are the first three laws that must be put into place, and why?” (Damn you UChicago for your new-agey college application essay prompts) and I named the organization responsible for the successful space exploration “MnogoDeneg” — Russian for “Big Money.” And that’s just the start of my horrible, sophomoric attempts at satirizing the evils of capitalism, from all of the wisdom and perspective of a 17-year-old.

Maybe, by reading and studying enough really great writing, I’ll someday be able to wield the tools of humor as effortlessly as I would like. But the closest I’ve gotten was today, when someone said my latest UF Honors blog post was “sassy.” I guess I can live with that for now.

 

Thanksgiving break is literally the worst thing ever

Thanksgiving break is horrible. It’s as if someone made the conscious decision to mercilessly taunt us poor college kids with a few days of the warmth and comfort of family, food, and friends – only to toss us back, headfirst and still recovering from food comas, into the depths of hell that is finals week.

For full post, click here.

Picture source: www.gowaynecounty.com