Tag Archives: college

5 Ways to have a good day with mike

Everyone loves the UT Parking Guard Mike from PTS for his uplifting personality and inspirational quotes (especially when we’re having a rough day). But I wondered how he’s so cheerful all the time — And how can the rest of us have a positive attitude like him?

I sat down with Mike to ask him what tips he has for students to have a better outlook on their day.

1. Have Longhorn Pride!

Have pride because we are here to represent what the longhorns are about — what starts here changes the world. It does if you understand what changing the world means. The change comes within the part that you can play within the University of Texas. We want to take you from where you are now to shock the world.

2. Slow down and smile!

Not everybody is smiling, so you have to figure out ways to reach people. So that was when I came up with the ‘pound,’ the ‘high five’ and ‘fist bump’. Just getting students to do some type of activity because if you watch them, they’re in their own world, their zone. Why? Because they study all night, they’re under pressure. So my thing is trying to get the students to slow down and realize where they are at that point. 

3. Life is stressful but that’s okay!

I want students to understand you are going to have a lot of tests here at UT. When you go to take a test, you always have to prepare. Poor preparation means poor production. But also in preparing, you have to realize you always have to take care of yourself. It’s not about how much you can stuff into your mind; it is about how much you can retain. There is always going to be some stress, life is full of stress, but it is how you achieve going through the stress and coming out on the other side.

4. Strive for an A!

You did not study to get a C; you studied to get an A+. So that’s your drive. Go into class with that drive. Go into class and get that A. I wanna give you that winning mentality.

5. Follow Your Heart — Your heart will be with you always.

Understand what your heart does for you. Without your heart, your body doesn’t work. So understand how much of a role your heart plays within your life. Understand that everything that comes out of your mouth and out of your mind has developed in your heart. So focus on your heart.

Whenever you need an uplifting piece of advice or just a solid fist bump — you can stop by and say hi to Mike during the school week by the parking post off 24th Street and Whitis Avenue. 

Featured Image by Katie Shanina

Mid-semester Madness: A Personal Reflection

Tired and overwhelmed — the two perfect words to describe how I’ve been feeling lately. 

There’s a certain sensation that buzzes around in the October air that looms around for quite a while, almost pulling and tugging at you as you try to live out your day: Midterm season.

It seems like just yesterday you were opening your syllabus for the first (and hopefully not last) time. Then, all of the sudden, we’re mid-semester. While it’s nice to be able to say that you’re halfway through your semester, it’s also scary to think about how much more there is to come. 

Midterm exams, projects, deadlines, registration and literally everything else makes the never-ending to-do list even longer.

While I’m now in my junior year of college, it somehow feels like the hardest one I have experienced thus far. Having spent my first semester completely in-person pre-COVID and my second fall semester completely online, it seems like this weird hybrid semester has been so much worse.

Whether it’s because of the difficulty of my classes as an upperclassman or just having to get used to actually attending my classes in person and not from the comfort of my bed, this semester has been a different beast altogether.

To be frank, I started this semester with such high expectations considering the fact that I registered for five classes, became involved in three organizations, added a second major and even got a job. While I was somehow able to juggle all of that only a few months ago in my spring semester, this became a struggle this school year. 

I’m not too sure if maybe it’s just me feeling this way or if others can relate at all but it hasn’t been very fun. 

On the other hand, there could be much worse things happening. While I’m struggling this semester, there’s still a tomorrow. 

While my professors and peers may not be too thrilled about my performance this semester, there is still in fact more ahead of this. 

Everyone has a hard time at some point in their college career and it just so happens that this is my struggle semester. So, it’s absolutely okay if this is your struggle semester, too. 

We will all get through this weird, difficult period together.

Featured image by Lucero Lopez

Why You Should Watch HBO’s Succession

In the words of Keep It podcast host, Ira Madison III, HBO’s Succession is “white excellence.”

Succession follows billionaire Logan Roy (Brian Cox), the head of a fictional global media and entertainment conglomerate called Waystar RoyCo, whose children are fighting for control of the company. His children include Connor (Alan Ruck), Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Sioban aka Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Roman (Kieran Culkin).

The show also features characters outside the Roy family, including longtime legal advisor Gerri Kellman (J. Smith-Cameron), Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun), a distant family member later employed by the company and Shiv’s husband, Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen), who becomes a Waystar executive.

A friend of mine recommended Succession to me during the summer, and I became unexpectedly obsessed. In honor of season three starting earlier this month, I compiled a list of reasons to start watching and following this dysfunctional family known as the Roys.

Uniquely Timely

Ever since I started watching the first season, I felt like Succession was the type of television show that matches the current state of the world. Whether or not that is a good thing about the world we live in remains unanswered.

Succession is a story about power, specifically who deserves to wield such power, and who struggles to hold onto it. It is also about loyalty and respect, as well as the consequences of power moves made by characters.

Something else that caught my attention early on was the various businesses at Waystar Royco, including media outlets, entertainment, parks/cruises and resorts. The company also has a fictional, conservative-leaning news network called ATN, which might draw on the Murdoch family and their public battles over the years. While the show isn’t necessarily political, its fictional world and characters are inspired by real-life prominent families and their problems.

Chaotic, Satirical and Comedic

In a scene from the second season, Logan tests the loyalty of some executives and family members in a humiliating mind game called “Boar on the Floor”. In the sadistic game, Logan orders three employees to oink like piggies and fight for sausages. He also leads the other employees and family members to chant “boar on the floor.”

It is a hilarious but demeaning game without any rules except Logan’s demands. However, it is also an example of the media mogul’s insidious ways to wield power against those below him.

In another scene from the second season, Cousin Greg and Tom are locked in a safe room (actually just a small random office) after a gunshot goes off in the building. Trapped and waiting to be released, Greg confesses to Tom that he no longer wants to work at ATN, suggesting they have a “business open relationship” instead.

However, this conversation does not go over well, as Braun explained with GQ Magazine, “Greg has failed to do this conversation correctly… so he now has to try and backpedal.” In a fit of anger, Tom pelts water bottles at him. While Greg attempts to dodge his attacks and call a security guard for help, Tom stops him by shouting, “This is executive-level business.”

Its messy, chaotic energy makes this scene a personal favorite. Tom doesn’t want to lose Greg and feels a sense of protectiveness over him. However, Greg admits he’s not very happy working in a workplace environment like ATN. It is just a pure mess, and I love it.

Opening Theme and Background Music

I always love when a television show has an opening theme that hits incredibly hard, and Succession is a perfect example. With its soothing sound reminiscent of falling coins, its richness matches the show perfectly.

I will never press the “skip intro” button when watching an episode of Succession. It is just too good to not hear and enjoy.

Just like the opening theme, the background music during episodes is also top quality. Music often sets the tone of a scene and composer Nicholas Britell who wrote the soundtrack for the show nails this. Britell has also scored Barry Jenkins’s “Moonlight” and “If Beale Street Could Talk,” earning him nominations for Best Original Score at the Academy Awards.

Best Swearing and Insults

In its two seasons, Succession has become known as a gold mine for iconic quotes and brutal insults. From addiction problems to childhood trauma, nothing is off-limits and nobody is safe from a cruel put-down. Typically, you will hear Logan call out his children by shouting, “F*ck off.”

In the second episode of the first season, the Roy siblings argue over who should run the company while Logan is unfit. Though Kendall is the presumed successor, he often struggles to prove his worth to his father, partially due to his substance abuse and difficulty maintaining a relationship with his estranged wife and two children.

The siblings feud back and forth throughout the episode. At one point, Roman crosses the line after he tells Kendall, “I think [Logan] meant to say he wished mom gave birth to a can opener, because at least then it would be useful.”

In the first season, Kendall works with a college friend, Stewy (Arian Moayed) to organize a hostile takeover of the company. In the end, Kendall backs out of the takeover, and Stewy is fueled by rage. When they see each other for the first time in the second season, Stewy snaps at his old friend saying, “F**k you, you pusillanimous piece of f**king fool’s gold. F**king, silver spoon a**hole.” It is such a beautiful, angry and unstated intelligent line.

The Worst Family in America

Often when a television show or film has an unlikeable character who is in the lead cast, I find it difficult to root for them. This is not the case for Succession. While these characters are terrible, you will love to hate them.

Ultra-rich people who love to shove their wealth down everyone else’s throat are obnoxious and annoying, which the Roys are especially known for doing. On the other hand, there is something so entertaining about watching a dysfunctional corporate family be such a mess all the time.

Credit: @nocontextroyco on Twitter

Not even a weekend-long family therapy session at Connor’s ranch in New Mexico can salvage a tiny bit of the Roys. Once again, it is a pure mess, and I enjoy every second of it.

An Amazing Cast

Besides its compelling characters and sharp dialogue, Succession is full of talented performers. At the 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards, the dysfunctional media dynasty drama scored 18 nominations including individual nominations for a majority of the main cast.

Jeremy Strong won for outstanding performance in a drama series last year but after the first episode of season three, I am already on board for his 2022 Emmy campaign. I still love my Emmy losers, Sarah Snook and Nicholas Braun, I am also rooting for them to win.

As a fan of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, watching the cast all together (well, minus Jeremy) get interviewed by him was a major serotonin boost. I am not being dramatic, it has some wonderful moments that I just love. 

For instance, Sarah says she’d like to play Roman if only she could play him as good as Kieran, to which he tells her to f**k off because he can’t take a compliment. He acts so much like his character, which makes the moment better. To top it off, Brian and J. Smith-Cameron attack him to accept the compliment.

Final Thoughts

HBO’s Succession has become the type of television show I didn’t know I needed. Now caught up on both seasons, I have so much excitement for season three and what the Roys will bring me next. If you need something new to watch and have a subscription to HBOMax, consider giving Succession a watch!

Credit: @nocontextroyco on Twitter

The first two seasons of Succession are available to stream on HBO Max. New episodes air Sunday at 9/8c p.m. on HBO Max.

Featured image courtesy of HBO

How to start couponing as a college student

As a college student, I know how important it is to save money and stay on budget. One way I’ve been able to save money is by couponing for necessities like toothpaste, toilet paper and shampoo. If you want to learn how to save money, then here’s some advice on how to start couponing. 

Places to coupon 

My go-to places to coupon at are Dollar General, Walgreens and Family Dollar. All these places have big coupon communities on social media, so it’s easy to find deals each week posted online. 

They’re beginner-friendly couponing stores because they have digital coupons on their websites and apps. All you need to do is click each coupon on the app and enter your phone number at the store, then you’ll see your price start dropping. 

Digital coupons

When you think of couponing you probably think of that one show about extreme couponers and their giant folders full of paper coupons. Cutting out paper coupons and finding them around the city is definitely a big time-waster and not college student-friendly. 

Instead, I want to welcome you to the world of digital couponing. To start digital couponing, all you need to do is go to the store’s app or website, create an account and start clicking coupons. When you get to the store that allows digital coupons, like the ones I mentioned, all you need to do is punch in your phone number when told and your coupons will be added. 

How to find deals

When you open the app or website you will probably be overwhelmed by the amount of coupons available. Some stores may limit the amount of coupons you can have saved onto your account, so you want to make sure each coupon you clip matters. 

The reason I recommend starting with the three stores I named is because of their large couponing community. Join Facebook groups, follow TikTok couponers or follow Instagram couponers to learn about deals everybody else is doing for that week. 

In these social media communities, people will usually post the exact items they bought and post pictures of what coupons you need to save in order to get the price they did. This is probably the biggest advice I can give, so go follow some couponers on TikTok!

Best days to coupon

There is really no set day to coupon, you can go to the store whenever you have freetime. However, certain days do have better coupons than others. 

Dollar General has a $5 off when you spend $25 coupon that is only eligible on Saturdays. Lots of people stack this coupon with other coupons to get everything cheaper. Make sure you check if any stores carry coupons available for only certain days and that are stackable. 

Items you can coupon 

Popular couponing items are mainly household items and toiletry. Toothpaste, toilet paper, laundry detergent and air fresheners are the popular items you can get couponing. You use most of these items on a daily basis so it’s a good idea to stock up on them with coupons. 

Couponing may seem intimidating at first, but once you start doing it you learn quickly. This is a great way for college students to really save on things used on a regular basis, so go online and start couponing!

Feature image by Morgan Scruggs

feeling sophomore slumped? you’re not alone

I threw up the day I had to leave campus and return home at the end of my freshmen year. I didn’t want to leave my college bubble and had actually avoided going home that entire year. I left freshman year feeling accomplished both academically and socially. Once I returned to Austin for year two, I figured this feeling of excitement and community would return. I’d be ready to work harder, make more connections and more memories. 

The minute I returned to campus something felt off. I felt drained before the year even began, but blamed it on the nerves of beginning a new school year in person. Weeks of classes went by yet something still felt wrong. I wasn’t motivated, deadlines passed without submission, talks of the wonderful internships I could soon apply for filled me with dread, I withdrew from friends, and walks to my beloved turtle pond didn’t excite me as they used to. I started longing to go back home. Even the tower, which was once a landmark representing success and anticipation to me, became just another building. I didn’t know why I felt this way until I came across the phenomenon known as “the sophomore slump.”

Though it has many components, and everyone feels it differently, the sophomore slump is a period of disconnection from college life for second-year students. The excitement of independence and “firsts” from freshman year has worn off and you’re left feeling dejected. Students find it hard to maintain their college enthusiasm and live up to the academic and social successes of year one. They may feel emotionally detached from their college towns, pressured to declare a major and make big career decisions, or confused on what they want out of the ‘college experience’ overall. 

Second year journalism student Ileana Fernandez agreed that there’s a “slump in the air”.

“My school work has been piling on and it seems I can never catch a break,” Fernandez said. “A two-day weekend is barely enough time to catch my breath. Balancing my job and academics while still attempting to have somewhat of a social life drains me. To be honest I’m just trying to make it through the week, every week, again and again.”

Especially after the pandemic hindered the normalcy of freshman year for the class of 2024, many students came into sophomore year without social groups or familiarity with the campus. Fernandez and sophomore Daja Dansby both stayed home last year. While many classes are still online this semester, Dansby said zoom learning can make school feel non-existent. 

“When you learn online it’s so easy to pretend like school doesn’t exist. Like the black boxes on zoom aren’t real people, and like you aren’t really working towards anything,” she said.

“I didn’t know the sophomore slump was a thing until recently,” Dansby added. “I think the fact that we all lost a year to COVID has a lot to do with our collective lack of motivation. This stage in our lives is just a difficult one. We’re away from our friends and family for the first time, we’re messing up and learning lessons, losing friends and making more; we’re experiencing everything that comes with entering young adulthood. Pair that with living during a pandemic alongside the pressure of still needing to strive and succeed. It’s a lot, I’m not surprised we’re all going through it.”

There’s no vaccine for this illness ailing the sophomore class. This phenomenon of collective unmotivation is felt so widely by a myriad of students that it was given its own name. It’s important to remember that the sophomore slump is, indeed, collective. It’s not new and it’s felt by students everywhere. College combined with figuring out who you are as a person, and what you want in life is overwhelming; burnout is inevitable at one point or another. Learning how to cope can be difficult. There’s always hobbies to relieve yourself like podcasts, painting, journaling or exercising, but counseling is also a viable resource. Appointments can be booked at the CMHC to get whatever you need off your chest.  This is a battle not fought alone.

“To anyone feeling the same way, please know that there’s nothing wrong with you,” Dansby said. “You aren’t behind, you aren’t dumb. College is just hard. It’s okay to mess up and get stuck in slumps, it happens to everyone. You’re learning, which is what we’re all here for. You’ll get where you need to be eventually. Be gentle with yourself.”

Featured Image by Tara Phipps