Winter Break Blues
College Life |  Source: @jacquiecooks

Winter Break Blues

The truth about coming home.

At first coming home for winter break seems exciting. Let's face it. You missed eating real food, having your own room, and not having to fear you'll catch the Bubonic Plague every time you take a shower without shoes. What we forget is that coming home means reentering the world of parents. You'll be sure to encounter the following on your break this winter.

1. The sober curfew.
Goodbye to the nights of stumbling into your dorm room drunk off your ass at 3 a.m., and hello to the sober midnight curfew.
For those of you with overprotective parents like me, I send my condolences to any wild social life you thought you'd have over break. My parents will actually stay up until they know that I have safely returned to the premises.
Heaven forbid they find you even slightly inebriated. You'll wind up hearing the whole, "We trusted you" spiel. Do yourself a favor and sleep over at a friend's house if you plan on being anything but DEAD sober.
2. The sharing of amenities.
Don't even get me started on sharing (cars, bathrooms, the TV). It's all very tragic. You come home expecting your car to be sitting there, waiting for you... until you realize your younger sibling got their license while you were away, and now they've claimed your damn car. Lovely.
Whatever, you'll just watch TV instead. Think again. Someone's decided they're going to re-watch Grey's Anatomy and they've claimed the TV.
You get upset and decide to take a shower. Haha! The bathrooms occupied. I used to think sharing was caring, but sharing is tearing this family apart.
3. The unwelcomed welcomed guests situation.
Lastly, your interactions with those of the opposite sex become quite different. Gone are your late night hallway conversations, random hookups, and sleepovers. You'll be expected to leave your door unlocked or even open if you plan on bringing a boy or girl home.
Inevitably, around 11 you'll get a passive aggressive text from your parent asking when your "friend" is leaving. It's strange, really, going from total freedom to parental lockdown.
Eventually the Winter Break Blues will hit. You'll find yourself feeling a little down and a sense of homesickness which is all very confusing because you're pretty sure you are home.
This is when you know that you chose the right school. You miss your dorm, your friends, and your college. You have a new home now.
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College Life |  Source: L. Smith, Vox

Season 7 Episode 1 Review Of "Game Of Thrones"

Winter is finally upon us.

SPOILER ALERT!

If you weren't in front of your TV last night at 9 p.m. Eastern Time, I'm not quite sure what you are doing with your life. Game Of Thrones made its long-awaited return last night, premiering episode one of season seven, "Dragonstone."

The episode opened with Arya Stark continuing to strengthen her bid as the most badass character on the show. After slaying Walder Frey, keeping true to the promises of her hit list, she used her Faceless Man tactics to poison the rest of the men in Frey's army.

This was a statement of revenge for the Red Wedding and a sign that Arya Stark means business. Leaving the women unarmed, Arya Stark says to Walder Frey's youngest wife, "Tell them [the crown] the North remembers. Tell them winter came for House Frey."

After the opening titles, we see Bran awakening from a vision. He sees the Night King and the rest of the White Walker army walking through a terrifying blizzard, signaling the impending war that is fast approaching.

In Winterfell, Jon declares that men and women between the ages of 10-60 will begin training for the Winter War. He explains that searching for Dragonglass is necessary to kill the Night Walkers. He assigns The Wildlings control of The Wall. Jon and Sansa disagree over a newfound alliance in the North, and this could spell trouble later in the season.

With Jon and Sansa feuding and Littlefinger slithering his way into Sansa's ear every second he gets, The North leadership could easily be dismantled.

In King's Landing, Cersei is still the biggest bitch of all time. She plots military strategy and fantasizes over the idea of conquering all of the Seven Kingdoms. We can see Jaime conflicted over a future decision that probably requires him to either choose his allegiance to his sister or to his brother Tyrion, who is ready for big things with Daenerys.

Arriving at King's Landing, Euron Greyjoy flirts with Cersei and mocks Jaime during a meeting at the throne. Greyjoy tries and fails to persuade the two to join in an alliance. He promises to return with a "precious gift" to swear loyalty.

A large portion of the episode was dedicated to re-introducing Sam's new life in the Citadel. His gross duties and training hasn't been what he had expected.

He reads and stacks books, cares for the old Maesters, cleans shit, delivers food, repeat. Sam sneaks into a restricted section of the library and learns that Dragonstone is home to a mountain of dragonglass. He pens Jon Snow to inform him of this knowledge.

In The Riverlands, we see The Hound steal the episode. To find shelter for the night, The Hound bunkers down on a familiar farm that we saw in season four with Beric Dondarrion and Thoros of Myr. Inside the cottage, we see the skeletons of the farmer and daughter that the Hound robbed during their encounter.

Overcome with guilt, we examine a slight change in the Hound's ruthless persona. His character development has been one of the best in the show, I believe.

Dondarrion and Thoros show the Hound the power of the Light. They force him to look into the fire, and he is surprisingly threatened when he sees the Great Wall crumbling over the inevitable war with the White Walkers. Not only do we see the Hound experience guilt, but we see fear in the same scene. Chilling.

After slaughtering the Frey men, Arya rides South and shares food and drink with some Lannister men. These Lannister men are kind and generous, and the one with a good voice reveals a random cameo by Ed Sheeran. The scene is brilliant and ironic in so many ways.

These Lannister Men are welcoming, not evil and bloodthirsty like Joffrey and Cersei. The men ask Arya what the purpose of her travels are, and she replies, "I'm going to kill the queen." Ed Sheeran, Arya and the other Lannister men laugh at the statement that is truly more a promise than a "joke."

The episode concludes with an amazingly dramatic homecoming. The khaleesi finally arrives at Dragonstone. Her castle is magnificent, and the scene needed just three words to get the message across. As she walks on the shore and up the steps of her new home, we are left feeling thrilled and a tad bit anxious, reminded of the power that Daenerys Targaryen now has.

As she observes the stone map of Westeros, the khaleesi ponders her plan to take over. As the rest of her retinue enter the room, she turns to Tyrion and says, "Shall we begin?"

Episode two airs next Sunday, July 23rd on HBO.

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College Life |  Source: FlockU

6 Ways To Beat Post Spring Break Blues

Beach to books is a hard transition.

The weeks leading up to spring break are rough, but the ones following tend to be far far worse. You've gotten a taste of the good life and now going back to long nights at the library and group projects that you never asked for seems nearly impossible. You've been living the dream for a week only to return to a nightmare. We've all been there.

Luckily, there are ways to prevent those post spring break blues. While the next few weeks will be beach free and cold beer will return to a weekend drink, the second half of the semester doesn't have to be all that bad if you do these six simple things:

1. Plan out the rest of your semester.
Getting back and figuring out what you have to get done over the next few weeks will help put your mind way more at ease. Planing things out and seeing what you have going on will help the eliminate stress and make the rest of the semester sail smoothly. Not to mention this will also give you a chance to look the fun things still to come whether that be big party weekends at your college or a friend's 21st birthday.

2. Get back into a routine.
Sitting around moping about what was is no way to get back in the game. Break is over and as much as it sucks, the sooner you come to terms with the fact that you've got to join the real world again, the easier it will be. Get back in the habit of waking up for class, following a gym schedule, and making time to get whatever else it is you need to get done, done.

3. Find a new playlist.
The best way to get back into the groove of things is with a new set of tunes. Music is the best way to get yourself out of a funk. Luckily for you FlockU has a million great playlists to do just that. My personal favorites being, Your Second Semester Pregame Playlist, the "Hip Hop Artists You Probably Don't Know But Should" playlist, and the End Of The Year Hip Hop Playlist.

4. Search for summer gigs.
The best way to take your mind off something is to put your focus somewhere else. At this point in the semester, if you haven't already, you need to be searching for a summer job or internship. Starting sending out resumes or following up with people you've previously talked to about working for them. Putting your energy towards something positive is a way better use of your time.

5. Plan a summer trip.
If you're really feeling the post spring break blues, then get started planning your next trip. This doesn't mean you need to have hotels booked and a full itinerary planned out, but start to get the gears turning. Do you have a place you've always wanted to go? Friends to tag along with you? Having something to look forward to will make the rest of the semester fly by.

6. Go out.
By now you should have figured out that a night out with your friends can cure just about anything. All it should take is a 15 cent beer night or a Thursday at your favorite bar to make you realize that being back to school actually has its perks.

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College Life | 

Preparing for the Frozen Tundra

Location: Arctic Circle

As hard as this is for me to admit, its effing winter. Christmas is over, it's only January and the freezing temperatures and overcast skies are starting here to stay for at least another few months.

As a senior at Binghamton University--in freaking upstate New York, hello, freezing temperatures--I know firsthand that winters are rough. Aside from the biting cold, everyone is miserable, and craving some serious vitamin D. Unfortunately, there's really no way to single-handedly alter the world's weather patterns, so unless you're planning on transferring down south, here are four things you can do to prepare for the frozen tundra of winter.

Thermal leggings: This item is really only applicable to females, but if there are dudes out there that are into long underwear, no judgement. Anyways, thermal leggings are bae during the winter. They keep you warm in all the right places that your thin, black H&M leggings just can't do, which is why every girl needs to invest in a pair or 2...or 3. Trust me, your freezing ass will be thanking me later.

Text gloves: If you don't have a pair of text gloves yet, get them ASAP and join me in the 21st century. Text gloves are an amazing invention because we get the best of both worlds: our hands stay warm, but we're still able to check Instagram and Facebook. How else are we going to take selfies in a blizzard?

GTFO: In Binghamton, the spring semester is a lot colder than the fall semester. (Ironic, amiright?) So if you're able to flee the country, aka go abroad, do it! There are so many locales across the globe that have study abroad programs that are significantly sunnier and warmer than depressing Binghamton. Plus, I'm sure you're teachers are tired of hearing you use the excuse that you have "seasonal affect disorder" and that's why you can't come to class.

Find a boyfriend for the winter: I'm all about being "an independent woman that don't need no man," but as always in life, there are exceptions to every motto. As tempting as it is to go out to bars in below freezing weather, I for one believe it's just as appealing to stay in and Netflix and Chill. But I get it, we all have needs and desires that aren't going to be fulfilled from watching Game of Thrones solo, which is why you need to lock someone down right before winter hits.

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College Life | 

The Definitive Stages of Winter Break

...I even miss my roommate, who I hate.

Exams are finally over, and you can actually chill for the first time in four months. It's winter break and you have four weeks of uninterrupted binge watching Netflix and swiping through Tinder (turns out your old high school Algebra teach is on it?! And you matched?!). However, is this break really the winter wonderland of holiday cheer it claims to be? Here are the definitive stages of winter break.

The End of Finals

You've just taken your last final. The vast land of holiday freedom lays in front of you like an unexplored new world. These four weeks offer so much promise--old friends, beer, Netflix, home cooked meals, more beer--nothing can bring you down from this natural high. Until you realize you still have to pack.

The Initial Homecoming

Your body doesn't know how to function without leftover pizza for every meal, so you lay on the couch like the dead potato you are. You've forgotten all the joys of home. Full sized showers, 24/7 pantry access, and a bed actually fit for a full sized human.

Reality

After two whole days of nothing but eating and Netflix, boredom sets in. No problem, you'll just call up a high school friend. But, it turns out, nobody else is going to be home until next week. Suddenly, the word feels like a sad, lonely place.

Holidays

Finally, the holidays act as some relief from the boredom! Unfortunately, that relief comes in the form of your great aunt asking you why you aren't in a relationship yet, and if you know what you want to do after college. You consider strangling yourself with your napkin to end the misery.

Post-Holidays

The world seems even bleaker after the holidays. There's nothing to look forward to now. You recently re-discovered how lame your high school friends are, and suddenly you long for nothing more than the chaos of your dorm hallway. You even start to miss your roommate who hates you.

Homecoming

You didn't think you'd ever be this excited to live in a tiny square of a closet/dorm again. You know you aren't going home for spring break, that's for sure.

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College Life | 

UnboxABLE: The Hidden Fees of That Winter Break Trip (Video)

How to YOLO on a budget

Your friends are planning a ski trip this winter break. Unfortunately, you're ballin' on a budget. They're just ballin'. We've got your back.

Presenting UnboxABLE, the series where we unpack all the hidden fees you're likely to accrue when you're busy having fun, and how to cut costs along the way.

Get to skiing, Flockers!

Directed, shot and edited by David Estrada
Post by Taylor Henderson