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10 songs from our childhood that still slap

For many individuals like me that grew up during or around the 2000s, it’s a good time to be alive. The Jonas Brothers reunited last month, igniting the type of nostalgia capable of making all the childhood memories of their fans and observers come flooding back. In the era (and closely surrounding eras) of the Jonas Brothers, they and their contemporaries produced some teeny-bopper bangers that are still vibes today. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and remember the songs that added magic to a generation.

The Jonas Brothers- “Year 3000”

Why not start off the list with the group who has reignited this new wave of childhood nostalgia? “Year 3000” is actually a cover of British band Busted’s tune of the same name, but the Jo Bros added their own touches to the song, making it one of their staples. The track’s infectiousness will have young-adults belting out the chorus just like they did when the song’s video premiered on Disney Channel in 2007. And as people rock out to this 2000s banger, don’t be surprised if a debate ensues over who the cutest Jonas brother was.

Taylor Swift- “You Belong With Me”

A mega-hit from Taylor Swift’s classic album Fearless, “You Belong With Me” is an anthem about unrequited love that resonates with people across the ages.The iconic video for this song was relatable then, and it remains relatable now.

Miley Cyrus- “The Climb”

It’s got heart, it’s got soul and it’s got truth. The ultimate karaoke or singing-in-the-shower song, “The Climb” doesn’t get old. Talk about an anthem that could motivate anyone with the Monday blues.

Zac Efron as Troy Bolton- “Bet On It”

One of the best songs from High School Musical 2, “Bet On It” was fun then, but with the rise of memes, it’s even better now. Also, who doesn’t love an angsty, theatrical jam about a teenage identity crisis? And Efron’s pirouettes and hardcore parkour on the golf course? Still legendary.

Justin Bieber- “Boyfriend”

“Boyfriend” marked a new era for Justin Bieber. The slick production on the track, Bieber’s vocals and those lyrics that made tween girls swoon are still so smooth —smooth enough to make everyone forget that the singer actually included the line “swag, swag, on you, chillin’ by the fire, while we eatin’ fondue” in the song.

Victoria Justice- “Best Friend’s Brother”

Victorious produced a lot of great tracks, but this one resonates the most. The hook is just so catchy.

Zac Efron/Drew Seeley  and Vanessa Hudgens as Troy Bolton & Gabriella Montez-“Breaking Free”

When one thinks of High School Musical, “Breaking Free” has to come to mind. Whether it was attached to the movie or not, this track would still be pop gold. Zac Efron’s vocals aren’t actually featured in the song, but it’s still a classic that remains enjoyable today. Plus, the scene when the song is performed is so darn cute.

Cheetah Girls-“Cinderella”

Name a fiercer girl group than the Cheetah Girls. “Cinderella” is catchy and sassy. That kind of formula transcends time.

Aly & AJ- “Potential Breakup Song”

Who didn’t scream these lyrics to their non-existent significant other that did them wrong? Now that the kids from the era in which this song was released are all grown up, they can sing the song to their real significant others. Aly & AJ were truly ahead of their time.

Lemonade Mouth- “More Than a Band”

Lemonade Mouth was one of those sleeper Disney hits. Who would’ve thought this movie would produce such good music like the track “More Than a Band”? This acoustic gem still has the power to put anyone in their feels.

Growing up is hard and becoming an adult is strange. But the cool thing about music is that it’s changeless, taking people back to times past and never getting old.

The Black Eyed Children: Don’t Let Them In

Honestly, kids are terrifying. I’ll be the first to admit that if I had to choose between being stuck in a room with a shark, or a room full of eight year olds, I’d pick the shark. Children are full of rampant emotions, void of any type of filter, and constantly finding a way to get themselves into trouble. It’s no wonder I avoid them at all costs. But pile some creepy, demonic presence on top of everything that already has me shaking and I’ll be on a bus out of town within an hour. The Black-eyed Children are one of the most frightening urban legends I’ve ever encountered, and their story originates in Abilene, Texas.

The Origin Story

In 1998, Brian Bethel was on his way to pay a bill. He was parked, filling out a check, when two boys approached his car. An uneasy feeling kept Bethel from completely rolling down his window as  they asked for a ride home. Their conversation persisted through the smallest crack, and Bethel didn’t even realize it, but he was reaching to unlock the doors to let the kids in. His hand crept closer and closer to the lock, until something snapped him out of his daze and he quickly pulled back. It was after this sudden break from his semi-hypnotic state that he realized the children had pitch black eyes. No pupils. No irises. Just a deep abyss meant to entrance their victims.

And so naturally, he floored it out of there.

Other Reports

Since then, there have been several reports of the Black-eyed Children, and each account gets creepier than the last. From dream-like encounters to actual death experiences, the children from these horror stories are bound to give you goosebumps.

Pit Stop Gone Wrong

One of the most interesting accounts I found comes from an article on Mysterious Universe, that quotes a victim who was at a rest stop in Nevada. When three kids that appeared to be 18 approached, the man pulled a knife for defense and began to open his door. The kids did the rest for him. They yanked him out of the car, and in a panic the man fought back. He stabbed one of them twice, but there was no reaction. Or blood. Instead, the Black-eyed Child merely told him “next time” and they walked off.

Invitation for a Home Invasion

And if being jumped by potentially demonic beings isn’t enough to freak you out, maybe the next story will be. Just outside a rural town in Vermont, a woman made the mistake of inviting the Black-eyed Children inside. Late at night, the woman and her husband heard a knock on their door. When they answered, two unnerving children stood at the door. They asked to come inside and said their parents would be there soon, and so the woman let them in. She owned four cats, all of which went into hiding immediately after the children entered. And to make matters more bizarre, her husband suddenly felt dizzy. It was after her husband spoke up about feeling poorly that she noticed the black eyes, and as the children realized they were compromised they asked to go to the bathroom. While the husband and wife were alone, the husband’s nose started to bleed. The final stage was the power going out. Soon after, the children said their parents were there and left.

But the couples’ biggest problems didn’t come until after they left. The husband was abruptly diagnosed with an aggressive form of skin cancer caused by extreme indoor-tanning. The husband had never gotten an artificial tan before, and his wife claims he doesn’t work out in the sun that often. And now the woman is plagued with dizzy spells and nosebleeds, and insists she’s in the “worst condition of [her] life”.

Some Theories

The rise in sightings with these peculiar children since 1998 has led to various theories of where they come from and what their intentions are. UFO and Ancient Mysteries Networking TV has a whole video over them, which covers a few of the more prominent assumptions that have been fabricated from interactions with these demonic children.

Something out of This World

The first follows the idea that these are alien kids. David Weatherly, one of the men interviewed in the video, researched for clusters of UFO sightings around the time these children were spotted, and came up short in research. You might think that would debunk the theory entirely. However, other sources have pointed out the kids’ similarities to Men in Black, the men who supposedly knock on doors late at night to threaten people into silence who have seen aliens (but that’s a story for another time). The connection in mannerisms, such as appearing late at night, and only coming in if invited, and the similarity in dress code, makes it apparent to some that these children are not from this world.

A Spiritual Guide of Sorts

One trait most of the victims of these children have in common is that they have recently departed from their faith. For many, after they come into contact with these Black-eyed Children, they begin practicing their religion again. This pattern noted by a large percentage of the victims makes it seem plausible that these children are perhaps evil spirits sent forth to preview a world without faith to encourage people to stay connected to their beliefs. In this theory, the people who do not re-commit end up dead.

Vampires That Don’t Bite

Finally, the last of several theories we’ll be acknowledging is that these children are some variant of vampires. Ever since the realization of vampires, several constants have followed them through their journey of scary stories and pop culture novels. One of the key pieces in this instance is that they can not enter a private space without being invited. In Bethel’s tale of terror, one of the kids’ began to shout at him to let them in, but fortunately, he’s heard of Stranger Danger. Not everyone has been quite as informed, and when invited in; bad things tend to happen. While it’s not the equivalent to having your blood sucked right out of you; dying animals, sudden cancers, and an overall spooky aura tends to stay with the victims long after the children are gone.

The oddity of the Black-eyed Children is definitely one for the books. It’s disturbing to think of a possessed adult, but children? They’re scary enough without the soulless eyes. And the more research I’ve done on this urban legend makes it seem less like someone making up a story and more like one of those unknown threats to the world we live in. Whether you believe or don’t, though, whether you agree with a theory or not, there’s one thing I think we can all agree on; don’t let them in.

How To Make Your Space Feel More Like Home

Living in Austin is exciting. The city continuously hums with the sound of traffic and conversations, as thousands of people shuffle around one another on their way to classes and work. The movement is constant and there are always things to do, tasks to complete, and places to travel. What we often forget is that the hustle and bustle of it all can be just as thrilling as it can be exhausting.

Most individuals return to their tiny spaces seeking relaxation and debriefing from their tiresome days. Unfortunately for us college students, even our homes can be carriers of stress and exhaustion. They are reminders of the laundry we are too busy to wash, the groceries we forgot to buy, and the desks we need to unscramble with all of our assignments and readings. Inhabiting a messy home leads to a lack of productivity, and it can be overwhelming even when you do finally attempt to clean. If you can relate to any of these struggles, continue reading to learn simple ways to keep your space as clean and comfortable as possible.

Separate Work & Play

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Late nighters and crashing for an exam are often done in the comfort of our own home. There, we sit in our beds with our laptops in our noses and our books at our feet. While completing school work in your comfortable bed might seem like the best idea to engender your productivity, it might just do the opposite. Doing homework in your bed can without a doubt make you feel drowsy, lazy, and possible allow for too many phone breaks to check instagram and snapchat. This is because your bed is associated with relaxation, something that makes concentrating on homework very hard. If you were to shift your late night cramming over to your desk, you would quickly realize that you are much more motivated to finish the work so that you can earn some much needed rest. In general, your home should be associated with an escape from the stressful events during the day. Making an effort to keep the most comfortable and relaxing places of your house for debriefing only will provide you with a stress free zone to let loose.

Personalize Your Space

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As college students it can be hard to for the space you’re living in to feel like home. From horrendous roommates to tiny closets, there are a million things that make living arrangement uncomfortable. Although some of these events are unavoidable, creating a space that you love to be in can ease the burden off of your shoulders. The best way to create your own space is to surround yourself with all of the things that make your life feel full and happy. A great way to start is by hanging up pictures of you and your friends making your favorite memories, or displaying all of the sweet notes you’ve received from loved ones. Pin your favorite quotes, song lyrics, or life mottos to a bulletin board as daily dose of positivity and warmth. Hang up fairy lights, buy soft and warm blankets, and make your room feel like a sanctuary. Find simple and unique ways to turn the blank walls and stiff bedding into a space that you want to live in. Odds are the more thought and energy you place into decorating your space, the more you will strive to take care of it and keep it clean. A personalized room can make returning home more enjoyable, rewarding, and productive.

Keep Up to Date & Stay Organized

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The biggest contributor to a messy space, schedule and life is lack of organization. It’s a never ending cycle of feeling unprepared and stressed for the day that leads up to a clutter of clothes on the floor, a pile of dishes in the sink. The less we keep up with our mess the more time we need to clean it. Being proactive about the events on your schedule can lead to a more clear head and room. Invest in a desk calendar where you can write the dates of due homework assignments, tests, and social events. Also, consider adding a to-do list to your wall of thing that need to get done throughout the week to ensure that you don’t forget about the minuscule tasks that often get swept under the rug. It is always a good idea to use multiple calendars and reminders to help you stay on schedule. Making organizational space in your room can lead to a more productive and thoughtful outlook on your week.

Don’t Over Clutter

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The worst space to come back to is a place full of impractical and useless items. Although the snow-globe collection you have had since you were twelve is sentimental and belongs in your room, finding enough  space for every single one of them and for it to not become cluttered is difficult. This can encourage a messy room from the start, because when it is filled it to the brim there is no space to accumulate new things to bring you joy. A simple way to start decluttering is to go through all of your things and donate the clothes that you’ve outgrown or items that you don’t have the space for anymore. Not only is this beneficial for others who can find use out of your unused items, but it will help simplify your space and make organization seem more manageable than ever. Being intentional about the items that are in your space can make your home more meaningful, overall increasing your productivity and ability to relax inside of it.

Display Your Passions

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Burnout is a common issue college students feel throughout the semester. With so many hours lost to studying in the PCL and tests constantly appearing on your radar it is easy to feel overwhelmed and like the work you’re doing is meaningless. This is when you lose sight of the bigger picture and you no longer remember why you started or what goal you’re working towards. A great way to avoid burnout is to turn your home into a space that reflects your dreams and motivators in life. Display a vision board of the careers you hope to pursue, the places you want to travel, and the people that are helping you get there. Understanding the endless amounts of opportunity and possibilities ahead of you will push you work hard and never limit yourself. Your space will transform from a living space, to a home where you envision your future and productively work towards it.

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wearing west campus

Loving where you live and loving the things around where you live are normally two different stories. My home town is Frisco, Texas and I despise a lot about it; its overcrowded (thanks Toyota), we have far too many schools, there isn’t a lot to do unless you have a nuclear family, but I love the food and how many places there are to shop. Sacrificing your home for an affordable place to live often means you have to sacrifice what’s around you, but that’s definitely not the case for West Campus.

Signing my lease for next fall was the most exciting thing I did last semester and it was 100% because of west campus. Not only do I have the cutest apartment (with a balcony !!!!) that’s not going to completely break the bank, but I also am finally adulting AND am walking distance from literally everything.

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure: Thrifting

Everyone wears the same clothes and has the same apartment decorations from Urban Outfitters (if they can afford it) and the Dobie Target. I take pride in how I look (minus my 8 am, yikes) and I can confidently say that over half of my clothes are from some dedicated thrifting.  No surprise here, but West campus and Austin, in general, have some of the best places to thrift in the state.

Buffalo Exchange:

While Buffalo Exchange is more on the expensive side of thrifting, it never fails. Not once have I walked out of Buffalo Exchange empty handed, even if my wallet was begging me to. 

Photo by Kara Fields

From a wide range of men and women’s clothing BE has everything you need for a formal date night to a night of watching The Bachelor in your sweats. Even their jewelry section is top notch. Not to mention, they don’t provide bags to help the environment and you get a token after each purchase to donate money to one of three charities of your choice. 

Ragstock:

Now I wouldn’t say this is in West campus, but if you go to UT there is a chance you’ll be near this anyway. Ragstock is in the bottom of Dobie and is one of the best resale stores. They have some quirky weird things that work for nearly any UT party. Need a tutu and wig? They have it. Need something for St. Patty’s Day? Don’t pass up Ragstock.

Photo by Kara Fields

Now, I may be biased because this is where I got the beloved denim jacket that I wear literally every day, yet they have a whole rack of jackets that are pretty cheap. Additionally, they have things for every season that most people on campus won’t have. Christmas sweaters, rain jackets, button ups, dresses, jackets, t-shirts and everything in between Ragstock is the place to go.

Photo by Kara Fields

Music to My Ears, Literally

Antone’s Record Store:

While some people may say I am jumping on the bandwagon with owning a record player, I genuinely love being able to put a record on and go about my studying. The worst problem I have is finding records. Everyone gets their records either online or at Urban Outfitters, but look no further than Antone’s Record on Guadalupe. A whole store of current and vintage records can have you spending an afternoon flipping through vinyl.

While West campus just isn’t about shopping, and you’ll be hearing more from me later about this, but it’s central to some of the best thrift places in Austin. From affordable apartments and shops to a place for everyone, I can’t wait to call West Campus home.

How to Keep a Positive Mindset in the Face of Stress

If you’re like me, not only are you a full time student, but you’re also juggling a job, being involved in organizations, homework, creative projects and somehow finding the time to have some iota of a social life. College, really just life in general, is rough and the stigma around mental health makes it all the more difficult to face. In case you’re unfamiliar with the topic, mental health is somewhat taboo in most social situations so people tend to put it on the back-burner.

To quote the words of a popular Vine, “That is not correct”. Our mental health is just as important as our physical health, if not more so. We all have issues that we’re doing our best to conquer on our own. (And you go, queen, you’re doing great.) But just in case you think you need some advice or help from someone who is struggling through the same thing, here are some tips that help me to get through those especially rough days.

Make a list; of things that matter and things that don’t, of things you’re thankful for, of things you know you want to change.

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I know it sounds cheesy. But I did this my freshman year, when I was feeling especially overwhelmed for the first time and it helped me to take a deep breath, both mentally and physically. I made a list of all the good things in my life and all the things that weren’t going too well for me. Then I went through the latter list and wrote out why they weren’t important or how I could make those things better. This could go downhill very quickly so be sure to pay more attention to the happier list and not put too much importance on the troublesome list. Or, better yet, only make a happy list. I’m personally more of a realist so I like to consider both sides but if you’d rather look at the optimistic side of things, you do you, boo.

Take some time for yourself

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It’s hard to get away from responsibilities. For some people, i.e. me, it’s hard to say no when people ask you to do things so you end up with too many rolls on your metaphorical plate. However, it’s important to take care of yourself as well as others. Take some time out of the day, or at the very least once a week, to do something for yourself. It could be as simple as taking a break from homework to having a bubble bath and reading your favorite book while a face mask soaks your skin with all kinds of moisturizers. Is it obvious which one I’m fantasizing about more?

Surround yourself with things you love

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Because so much time out of the day is dedicated to schoolwork/things we have to do, I think surrounding yourself with things you love when you can becomes even more important. By this, I mean that you should find things that bring you more joy than anything else. If you’re stuck in an organization that only stresses you out, maybe it’s time to find another place to spend your time. If you’re in a relationship that doesn’t make you happy, maybe it’s time to move on. And this doesn’t have to involve people; in fact, sometimes the things you’re surrounding yourself with aren’t people at all. If you want to go to your room, close the door and read books for hours on end, then that’s what you need to do. Not wanting to be around people is completely normal and is something I find myself wanting often. Although, it is important to note that you should be careful not to push away people that care about you. There are ways to be alone that don’t hurt those who want to spend time with you. It’s all about communication and letting them know that it’s not them, it’s you. Unless you’re breaking up with someone…then you should never use that line.

Exercise, exercise, exercise

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Trust and believe that I know how awful this sounds. I hardly have time to exercise, let alone want to. My mom always told me to do this in high school and I blew her off due to the simple fact that I didn’t want to. However, now it’s one of the most effective strategies I use to battle anxiety and stress. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercise and other physical activities reduce fatigue, improve alertness and concentration, and enhance overall cognitive function. It doesn’t even have to be as time consuming as going to the gym; meditation, going for a walk, even just taking a really deep breath is enough to release those sweet, sweet endorphins. One of my best friends does yoga right after she wakes up and she swears by it. It’s not about having the time but about making the time.

*My Chemical Romance voice* Sing it for the boys, sing it for the girls…

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SINGING! Jamming is the best form of self-healing. Unfortunately, I don’t have any reliable statistics to back up this theory. But I have years and years of personal experience that I could share, if you cared enough to ask. Blasting your favorite songs and belting out the lyrics either in the car, with your friends, or whilst performing in the shower is one of the easiest and most fun ways to occupy your time and your mind. Or, if you ever need a good cry, create a sad playlist (or you can use mine) and cry out every failed test, dead pet and broken heart you’ve ever had. You’ll feel much better afterwards. My roommates think I’m crazy for suggesting it but it’s therapeutic to me.

Find some time to get sh*t done

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It sounds simple but it’s really not. We get overwhelmed and flustered and then, next thing we know, our eyes burst open at 2 o’clock in the morning because we forgot about that essay that’s due tomorrow. So, find some time in the day to sit down and feel productive. It can be as easy as sitting in the Union and cracking out a few emails or writing your thesis for that paper you’re dreading. Hopefully this will make you feel more confident in your work and inspire you to continue your progress when you get home. But, if not, it’s a way to justify binging Game of Thrones when you should be working on homework.

Watch your favorite movie/tv show

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I’m a film major so I’m fairly biased when it comes to this. However, transparency aside, it’s hard to overthink when you’re not thinking about anything at all. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, sit down, put on your favorite movie and let the actors take you away. My particular favorite is when you decide to watch a movie from your childhood. That’s when the nostalgia hits you in the gut. But it’s a love punch so it doesn’t hurt.

Find healthier outlets that don’t involve mind-altering substances

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You know the saying: say nope to dope. This is definitely not to shame anyone who decides to partake but if you’re dealing with stress or anxiety, it’s really not a good idea. A popular myth is that some drugs, such as marijuana and alcohol, help you to forget about your problems and just make you feel g o o d. The truth of the matter is that these things can make you feel better for a short period of time but in the end, you just feel worse than before you started. It may be tempting but it’s always better to just say nay. Instead, have a talk with some friends or try any of the other tips on the list before resorting to this option.

Write

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Again, I have no statistic to back this up and this is completely a subjective opinion because I personally use the title of “writer” to describe myself. However, there is a reason that every cheesy teen pic has a character that keeps a diary. Writing out your feelings helps you to sort out your inner workings. Not to mention, writing is fun. Keep a daily journal, either by writing or typing, and chronicle your day in the life. You can write about anything you want, from what you had for breakfast to which professor you have a crush on this semester. What better person to vent to besides yourself?

Find a puppy. Or a cat. Or a giant lizard.

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Finally, there is my personal favorite: PUPPIES! If you’re like me, you had to leave your dogs back at home and from time to time, you go through dog withdrawal while at school. The easiest cure for this is to find a pup to love on in their absence. You could find a family member or friend to dog sit for or you could even volunteer at a local shelter, if you have the time. Regardless, it’s hard to be upset when you’re loving on a cuddly mammal. Dogs are support animals for a reason. Of course, not everyone is a dog person. This is also applicable to cats, birds, hamsters and, if you’re like my roommate, giant lizards. Animals are almost always better company than people anyway.

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As much as I want them to be, none of this advice is foolproof. Life is hard and sometimes it takes more than advice from a 20-year-old to help you feel better. Please, check out these links if you’re going through a rough time and are in need of professional help. Remember: you are not alone and you are loved. You’re doing the best you can.

Suicide Prevention Hotline

Anxiety and Depression Association of America

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

National Institute of Mental Health

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

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