Multicultural Groups: Self-Segregation Or Finding A Community?
College Life |  Source: N. Leeper, Shutterstock

Multicultural Groups: Self-Segregation Or Finding A Community?

A personal journey of finding where I belong.

You know the old saying, "birds of a feather flock together," right?

There's also "opposites attract," although I think we probably just made these phrases up in order to justify the behavior we saw around us, and in reality it can go either way.

But something I noticed ever since coming to college (my campus has around 30% diversity - no comment for now whether this is negative or positive) was that the people of color almost exclusively hung out together.

I pose this question as a multiracial, multicultural person coming from a 98% white hometown: is joining and actively participating in multicultural groups (such as an African American society or Asian students association or Latinx American student group) self-segregation, or is it simply finding a group of people who understand the finer points of your culture and speak your language?

I say "joining" and "actively participating" because I am a repeat offender of "joining" clubs and groups and getting emails about events and meetings... and never attending.

Active participation means you seek out the members of the group, become friends with them and maybe even spend time with them outside of meeting times.

The members of my family have expressed differing opinions on whether joining racial or culturally affiliated groups is a good idea. I remember excitedly reporting to my older sister that I had just signed up for the African American society, and I was surprised when she responded that she had been invited to join the one at her institution, but declined as it was self-segregating and she wanted to expand her social circles.

As time went by, I stopped attending African American society and Asian student association meetings mostly because I was far too busy.

I remained on the email list, kept up my friendships with the people I had met, and often went to the large events. I noticed that the black, Asian and Latinx students were clumped up together in the dining hall (except the athletes of color, which is another interesting can of worms).

My friends, who are also for the majority people of color, and I had realized that POCs stuck together. I can count the number of close white friends I have on one hand. Of course I have several more peripheral white friends, but my good friends are almost exclusively POC.

I continue to grapple with this question as I attend race talks, events and workshops. Am I isolating myself, and is this indirectly causing problems like mistrust and stereotyping? Or am I discovering that I'm not alone in my experiences, building a support network, learning about race relations and making sure my voice is heard?

Maybe it's both - and the real issue is how to balance it all.

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Finding The Upside In Our Russia Connections

It's not actually upside.

Over the past few weeks, we've seen report after report of Russia blatantly interfering with the 2016 presidential election. With those reports came the inevitable denying/blame deflections by either Trump himself or his press secretary Sean Spicer.

Now, the AP has reported that Trump's "former" campaign chairman Paul Manafort was at one point on a 10 million dollar per year salary from a Russian billionaire in order to forward the interests of Vladimir Putin.

With our imminent Russian takeover on the horizon, I find myself trying to find any possible upside to the situation. Here are the best of this worst case scenario:

Russian vodka is downright incredible. Whether it be Stolichnaya, Smirnoff, Zyr, or just Russian Standard, it's getting us delightfully shitfaced. Just last night, my friend and I easily split a fifth of Stoli and I woke up only slightly hungover.

Vodka is a beautiful, beautiful thing, and Russia's influence would mean more brands to choose from! I wouldn't complain.

These Furry Hats
Turns out they're called ushankas. I had no idea. Either way, you're gonna tell me that an influx of these isn't gonna be the best thing to ever happen to winter? I'd have one for every day of the week.

Never again would I have to feel the literal pain of my ears being too cold, because they'd be too busy being engulfed in some poor dead animal's fur. I'm sure that animal would be pleased knowing it's keeping me warm though.


The Ability To Tame Bears
Okay, I could be making this up, but I really don't think it's that far fetched. Fact: grizzly bears are awesome as cubs. Another fact: they're scary as shit grown up, and nobody wants to fuck with them.

So the ability to raise a bear cub as my own is definitely an upside to Russia taking over our country.


Immediate Induction Into The Russian Mob
I am positive this is just how it works. You know how cool it would be to be in the Russian Mob? That's just your job.

To be a mobster and illegally be in charge of different parts of cities. That's SICK. All you gotta do is speak broken Russian, and you're in.

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College Life |  Source: N. Leeper, Shutterstock

Finding My "One Word"

A review of "Your One Word" by Evan Carmichael.

As a senior in college, I'm coming to the realization that I am going to be diving headfirst into the "real world" very, very shortly. A burning question comes to my head: how I will find a meaningful, sustainable career that I love?

Yes, we'll likely all get jobs. However, it's difficult for lowly college grads to feel like their beginning careers matter all that much. I had the pleasure of reading Evan Carmichael's ground-breaking book, Your One Word, which taught me that it doesn't have to be that way.

Evan Carmichael, entrepreneurial expert, encountered rock-bottom early in his career. He quit his dream job and was hopeless at one point before waking up and asking himself what on earth he wanted to do with his life. Not wanting to live with regrets, Carmichael decided he wanted to continue with business, and to find momentum.

Carmichael created the idea that there is One Word that defines who you are, connects everything in your life that makes you happy, and helps you escape mediocrity. Once you begin modeling your business and life around this One Word, huge amounts of potential are unlocked.

The book itself is divided into three parts. Part one, Core, revolves around discovering your One Word. Part two, Campaign, focuses on how you can build a movement and plan success. Part three, Company, dials in on more of the business-related aspects of driving yourself and your company forward.

OK, so what if I'm a nursing major, or a PT student? This book is useless. I'm not trying to start a business... This is what I, an English teacher, thought as I began reading. I told myself that I'd give this thing a try, even though I wasn't trying to become a millionaire entrepreneur.

First, Carmichael instructed me to create a list of everything that makes me happy. I began brainstorming. Writing. Music. Guitar. Food. Cooking... teaching, singing, the color blue, hiking, my family, cats... until I had filled a page.

Intrigued, I kept reading to step two. I was to find a common theme that connected all the things on my list. OK... how on earth do I connect my love of cooking to playing the guitar? Or to the color blue? To answer this question, I had to create another list, this time of all the things I HATE.

I played along again. Ignorance. Intolerance. Stubbed toes. Loud noise. Interruptions. Off-key music.

Where was the answer? I became frustrated and was about to resign to the fact that I did not have a One Word. I looked again at my "hate" list and became depressed because everything on it was so destructive. Destructive.

LIGHT. BULB. If everything on my hate list was destructive, then what was the opposite of "destruct"? That was when the word "create" came into my head. I create music. I create new recipes. I create knowledge when I teach. My family creates a sense of belonging. Everything on my list was either a creation, or created something positive. I boiled down everything on my list to some form of the word "create". I had found my One Word.

Again, I'm not a business major and will likely never start my own company., but I've spent the last couple weeks thinking of how I can embody #Create in my classroom. How can I #Create new ways for my kids to learn? How can I #Create enthusiasm in my students? Having One Word to guide my goals has opened my eyes to a whole new way to envision my career.

College students can apply Carmichael's book to whatever career they end up pursuing. If you're still skeptical, take one look at the wildly successful phenomenon that has resulted from Carmichael's book and ideas. I dare you read it and surprise yourself, just as I did.

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College Life |  Source: Subbotina Anna (edited)

Finding Your Identity In Your 20's

What I learned from Jason Bourne.

Last weekend, Universal Studios released the fifth movie in the popular Jason Bourne series. For those of you who haven't seen any of the movies yet, you totally need to get out from under your rock and watch them.

Although all of the movies need to be viewed at least two times to be fully understood, the basic plot line goes something like this: Jason Bourne is an elite assassin for the CIA. He loses his memory and identity when a mission goes terribly wrong. The CIA tries to kill him because they are afraid that he will regain his memory and spill their dirt. He spends the next four movies trying to find out who he is and what all happened to him, all while evading other CIA assassins.

If you didn't fully understand all of that, don't worry about it. Matt Damon (who plays Bourne) made a video to explain it more fully. The important thing to remember is that Bourne was completely lost without his identity.

Not only does he not know his past or who he is, but he doesn't know his purpose. He risks his life many times throughout the movies in his effort to discover who he is. Without knowing anything more than his own name, he drifts from place to place in search of something he isn't even sure of.

As I was refreshing my knowledge of the plot so that I wouldn't be completely lost when watching the fifth film, I started thinking about how our identity is highly crucial to being human, especially in an individual's 20's. A friend of mine calls the twenties the "swampy years," when everything is constantly changing and it can be hard to tell where to step and which direction to take.

During this time of our life, it's so important that we have a strong root in our identity. Without knowing who we are, we would be like Bourne, drifting from place to place with no real direction. (Except I really hope you aren't shooting people up, risking your life, and crashing cars.)

Now I'm not saying that you should be immovable in your beliefs to the point that you don't ever change. The 20's are all about growing and developing your personality.

But if we do this without a strong understanding of our background, history, and morals, we end up getting caught up in the ever-shifting tides of society. We get immersed in the latest internet trend or social movement. While those things can be good, they are detrimental if we let them dictate our identity.

What is something that you believe in that you know will never change? What makes you want to get up in the morning? What puts a smile on your face? What cause are you passionate about? Where do you find peace? What makes you mad? The answers to those questions will get you closer to finding your identity.

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College Life |  Source: NEC Corporation of America

Can Going to Community College First Make You Happier?

Community college is less intimidating.

What do you think, could going to community college first make you happier? If you're like me, you believe community college is a stepping stone for a life-enhancing university experience. I did attend a community college before heading off to a university. And I'm glad I made that decision.

I understood that my workload there wouldn't be as demanding as a university workload would have been. This gave me more time to think about what career path I wanted to take. More time to explore the beautiful possibilities of education beyond high school, but with less pressure.

As a first-generation college student, I definitely needed less pressure. I'll admit that transitioning from high school to college revealed weaknesses I had regarding my choice in classes and managing money. But I know the not-so-good consequences of my choices would have been more severe at a university.

For example, I gained enough financial gifts at my open house to put myself through community college. Students loans weren't needed, although I use them now. Yep, tuition, textbooks, transportation, and everything else was taken care of. Cheaper classes made this possible. Community colleges generally have cheaper classes than universities.

If you plan on attending college soon as a first-timer, I suggest you go to a community college before a university. You can save yourself some serious money. I'll speak more on that later.

Besides cheaper classes, enjoy smaller class sizes. On average, my classes contained about 20 to 30 students. This gave me more opportunity to interact with my professors. I was less likely to be over-looked and more likely to get the help I needed. Getting involved in class discussions was less intimidating.

Now, don't get me wrong, universities do have similar class sizes, but they also have those with room for over 100 students. Kind of scary, right?

As for saving serious money, you may be able to transfer a bunch of earned credits over to the university of your dreams. That is, of course, if you avoid getting an associate's degree. You could put them toward your bachelor's degree. Doing this is less expensive than taking the same classes at your university.

The key is to focus on getting your general education requirements completed as much as you can. Then you can focus on the advanced courses elsewhere since they are less likely to transfer over. Once you are a university student, you'll have your bachelor's degree partially completed - no need to start from scratch! Talk to an academic adviser beforehand.

While getting your general eds out the way, don't forget to use free college textbooks when you can. Community college is the perfect place to use them since they typically cover introductory courses. Give Saylor Academy a try! Over 100 high-quality textbooks are listed for you to download. This means more money in your pocket.

As for my answer, yes, I do think going to community college first can make one happier.

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College Life |  Source: @kirsty

Finding Your Drinking Limit

How many drinks is TOO many drinks?

Ah, college. The perfect place for all of us to figure out how much we can drink before we feel like dying.

For many people, their limits are found on purpose. They drink until they absolutely cannot drink anymore and then they feel like shit. For others, their limit is found "accidentally".

Now, you can't really drink accidentally, but you CAN accidentally go way overboard, especially when playing card drinking games or Power Hour type games. The problem here is that the drunker you get, the harder it is to tell when you need to stop. Here's some signs that you are probably coming up on your limit and need to chill TF out.

You've lost count of your drinks.
My friends and I are pretty good about helping each other count drinks, but there always comes a time where that friend becomes a total DAB and suddenly you're the only one keeping track. It's up to you to always know how many drinks you've had, even when you have a friend helping out.

Sometimes we lose count just because we weren't paying attention and maybe you're not that drunk, but usually if you're under four drinks you can remember. So if you have absolutely no idea how much you've drank so far, maybe take a breather.

Your friends are taking drinks out of your hands.
This is a pretty big red flag, especially in my case. My friends go HARD, so if they're taking drinks out of your hands, that really means you need to chill.

Pay attention to which friend is trying to take the drink from you. If it's your cute lil lightweight friend saying, "Omg give me that you're crazy" in that cute lil drunk voice, you're probably fine. However, if your friend who shot guns five beers back to back and then proceeds to play Gauchoball (or "Rage Cage" for you non-santa barbarians) is trying to take your drink, maybe listen to them.

You're really tired.
This is a bit of a hard one. Of course partying is exhausting and everyone's tired afterwards, but there is a slight difference between being tired because you're partying and being tired because you're too drunk.

If you've been downing shots left and right and you start to feel exhausted, it's probably time to stop. You've crossed the barrier of getting more energy from drinking. Honestly, half the time this feeling means you're probably close to blacking. Basically, you leave the fun zone on the drunk scale, which brings us to the next sign:

You've become physically uncomfortable.
This doesn't necessarily mean that you're throwing up. It's more referring to the feeling of leaving the "happy fun zone". If you've ever said the words "I am too drunk right now" or have just lied on the floor and made uncomfortable noises, you've probably crossed this threshold. Once you're not having fun anymore and you start to feel uncomfortably drunk, it's a good sign you've hit your limit. Congrats! Now chill out.

Lastly, throwing up is a big one. However, this doesn't count as reaching your limit. If you're throwing up, you have CROSSED your limit. Don't be that dab at the party. Try to be aware of how you always feel right before you take that last drink that puts you over the edge. No one likes the person that barfs everywhere. Seriously.

Most importantly, have fun and party hard. Just try not to be the dab of the group.