Five Reasons College Students Should Buy a Fitbit Alta

Getting healthy has been on my brain for a while now. I’ve only recently gotten more serious about it. A couple weeks ago I had the closing shift at my job (1:30 a.m.) and then I decided to stay awake with a best friend because we needed * needed * to go to Academy Sports and buy a hammock, that’s a different post for a different time. As I was trying to stay awake until Academy opened ( which was 8 a.m.) we went all over the place (there’s not a lot open between the hours of 2 a.m. and 8 a.m. in Stillwater, Okla.). One of the places we went to was Wal-Mart. To get to the point, I’ve been thinking about getting a Fitbit for a while now. They just seem like a cool tool that I can utilize.

Fitbits have been pretty much all the rage for a while now, at least everywhere that I see (Oklahoma isn’t the thriving tech capital of the world). A lot of people wear them and a lot of people like them.

Here are my five reasons to buy and use a Fitbit Alta.

1. It’s effective

Being active is never the foremost thought on my mind. The Alta (and most likely the rest of the Fitbit devices) tell you 10 minutes from the hour that you have a certain amount of steps left to reach the hourly goal of 250+ steps. The device sends little reminders that help motivate you to reach the desired goal.

2. It’s fashionable

They have different bands for different lifestyles. They can be cute or they can be strictly for utility.

3. It teaches

I’ve learned a lot about my sleeping habits and how much I actually move during the day.

4. It motivates

Just having it on my wrist makes me want to get up and move.

5. Add friends

You can challenge friends to a step-off and see who walks the most miles in a day or who is the most active during a week. It’s a fun way to get in shape or stay in shape.

Five Stages of Computer Failure College Students Go Through

I’m a millennial. I grew up with computers and I always thought that I could fix whatever problem I had with whatever electronic. There were a few times where I would root my android phone and add different ROMs to it or my laptop would malfunction and I could fix it via google and my technological intuition.

Today was a bad day for my computer-science-wannabe-self. I messed up laptop yesterday after a stupid decision to reset it after a failed attempt to connect to the WiFi. I don’t even understand what happened or why I did it but something corrupted my version of Windows and now I’m sitting using a borrowed Macbook Air (first world problems right?). I’m starting to calm down from my depressive state of no laptop but it still hurts.

1. Denial

The denial that your computer has the blue screen of death or won’t even turn on.

2. Hope

“I can fix it. I can fix it.” The hope for finding the cure to your broken device.

3. Denial

This step is repeated a few times during the course of the computer meltdown.

4. Expectation and Disappointment

There’s a point where you think it’s fixed or you just stop trying to make it work and you sit there expecting it work again.

5. Surrender

You finally concede the fact that you can’t fix it and you sit there in defeat while planning your route to the IT department and how to not get rain damage on your $1,000 laptop.

13 Reasons Why… College Students Are Excited About Summer

I’m not a summer person normally. The only good thing about summer to me is my job and the fact that I take one or two classes rather than five. Summer is a great time to catch some rays (while also drowning in sunscreen) and for getting cut up and bitten by things that lurk when you’re hiking. Here are the 13 reasons why I’m excited about summer.

1. Summer Job

My summer job is full of people I know and love. I’m a counselor at a day camp my church puts on. We talk care of around 80-100 kids Monday through Friday eight weeks of the summer. Sure there are times where I want to cry and pull my hair out but there are also times where I want to cry from how awesome the kids are.

2. The Lake

One of my favorite places. Lake Tenkiller (the best closest lake to my hometown) has become one of my most favorite places to go in the summer. It’s relaxing and an adventure each visit.

3. Family

Going nine months without seeing my siblings constantly is kind of difficult, of course, it changes when you only spend time with them and it’s for three months. Then I’m ready for the next nine again.

4. Parking

I constantly worry about parking when I’m at school. It’s a pain and it stresses me out when there is no need for stress. At home, I can park whenever and wherever -besides handicap, duh.

5. Summer Blockbusters

Good movies come out in the summer.

6. Barbecues

Getting together with friends and family over a plate of ribs and grilled chicken is a great way to end a weekend.

7. Fourth of July

The pyro inside me loves when things go BOOM! in the night. The buildings around my house have great acoustics for the boom of fireworks, it reverberates throughout the neighborhood.

8. Stressless Bingeing

Everyone starts a show in the summer. Most start a few different series or they re-start old flames. Either way, you don’t have to worry about watching a new series with homework piling up on your desk.

9. Sleep

The few weeks I have before and after my job starts are blissful. Going to bed at 6 a.m. (don’t ask me why) and waking up at noon or 1 p.m. is a great feeling after waking up for 8:30’s or 9’s and so on. I, personally, need a break from waking up in the morning.

10. Cooking

I live in a traditional dorm so I have no kitchen. Being able to whenever and whatever I want is something I dream about.

11. Family Vacation

The past couple of years my family has gone to Florida for vacation. Last year was the only time I got to go because they planned it around my work schedule. It was an amazing time. We had a condo that was within sight of the beach and it was quiet and wonderful and I’m so excited to go back.

12. Pool Parties

I don’t personally own a pool but I have a couple of friends who do and it’s an awesome feeling when they invite me to hang out and swim for a while.

13. Tan

My family does have a history of skin cancer but I still appreciate a good tan.

I Didn’t Drink Soda for a Week and it Taught Me Self Control

This week’s challenge was simple: no soda and no desserts.

It is supposed to be simple, right? It’s straightforward and easy, there are no “is this allowed?” or the like. I’ve detoxed from soda a few times already but I always go back. Either with once a week, or once on special occasions or (when I’m home) maybe a can twice a day. My mom is an avid drinker of Diet Coke (aka watered down coke) and my dad enjoys a Pepsi -with real sugar- every once in a while. I am coke lover with the occasion vanilla thrown in. So my parents buy soda and they always think of me and what I would like when I come home. Since I’m the only one that drinks that specific soda I feel bad if I do not, but it is all self-control and lack-thereof.

Desserts are another story. I do not divulge myself after every meal but I do like the occasion “scrappy cake” or a sour gummy worms. Going without those this week was a trial. I like having the ability to eat candy when I want.

The actual challenge for me this week is self-control. I knew I couldn’t eat candy or drink soda and it made me want it more.

I went all week without it, I only gave in Friday, which is when we decided to end the challenge. It’s weekday challenge, Monday – Friday, weekends are not a part of it so I did not lose!

We also decided on having three cheat desserts. I’m not entirely sure why but you can’t just quit eating copious amounts of sugar and then stop cold turkey. I used two cheat desserts, one was an oreo brownie thing that I was introduced to by a coworker and it was sweet and chocolatey and now one of my favorite uber-sweet desserts.

I am not going to relent my daily food intake because that isn’t what matters. I just ate two of the stupid Oreo brownies and the rest of the time I ate lots of carbs and found other ways to indulge myself other than sweets.

I learned about self-control this week. I learned that I need it because, for the most part, I have none. I have known that for a while but it is about changing habits as well. Letting myself have whatever whenever isn’t the way to go through the change I’m wanting.

I also realized that I do not partake in dessert all too much when I think about it I want it but if I keep my mind off of it then I can live without it. So keeping myself busy is key to gaining self-control. Thinking back on the week I know that I can go longer without eating sweets. I do not think I am going to make it another “challenge” but it will always be in my head that I can do it and I do not need to eat candy or desserts in general. Sure something sweet every once in a while is fine but not every day. *insert thumbs up emoji*

I Barely Survived A Week Without Fried Food And I Bet You Can’t, Either

OK, week two of taking food challenges.

After the failure that was last week (it was also fairly enlightening) we – me and a couple co-workers of mine – decided to go without fried food and candy this week. One of the co-workers decided to just go without chips for the week.

It wasn’t as difficult as I was expecting. There is more than one option for food in the Student Union, or anywhere actually. I could eat baked chips, that was it. No french fries, no regular potato chips. That was my only struggle, trying to find a good side for my main dish. I didn’t need a side but it was a habit to eat something along with a sandwich or whatever it was.

No fried chicken was tough. I ate ramen noodles, grilled chicken sandwiches and TGIF’s hot wings (the frozen kind in a box).

I also ate a Lean Cuisine fettuccini alfredo plate. And more ramen. And more hot wings…

I told my dad about last week and his first question was “do you feel any better?” My answer was a simple, “no.” It was most likely because I didn’t cut out all bread and I cheated a few times. This week I’m asking myself that question. The answer I came up with is… sort of. It might be a mind thing but I feel better than I did before I started. I feel better after eating the “better” kind of chips and not eating fried chicken or french fries at least once a day.

Break down of my week without fried food and candy:

Monday

Lunch: Grilled chicken pesto sandwich with oven baked barbecue chips.

Dinner: Beef flavored ramen noodles.

Snacks: included – beef jerky, Chex mix (which are baked BTW), a chocolate chip brownie and a couple chocolate chip cookies. Obviously not healthy things but it was tasty.

Tuesday

Lunch: Chex mix and beef ramen noodles

Dinner: TGIF’s hot wings and fettucini alfredo

Snacks: included – jalapeno cheddar cheese dip, Tostitos oven baked scoops, vanilla frozen yogurt with hot fudge and cookie dough bites (which I and my friends decided were not candy).

Wednesday

Lunch: Grilled chicken pesto sandwich with baked barbecue chips

Dinner: Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and a vanilla coke. So I accidentally cheated on this meal, my friend decided to make me dinner and I didn’t know until she was making my plate that it was fried chicken. It was super tasty but I felt bad because I failed.

Snacks: included – a slice of chocolate cake

Thursday

Lunch: Teriyaki chicken ramen, Tostitos oven baked scoops, and jalapeno cheese dip

Dinner: TGIF’s hot wings, baked barbecue chips and a cherry coke zero (it’s all about that calorie count isn’t it?).

Snacks: included – Chex mix, beef jerky, and chocolate cake

Friday

Lunch: corn dog (nuked in a microwave) and mac and cheese

Dinner: grilled chicken tacos with rice, chips, and salsa. I also failed today… the chips were fried and I loved every crunch. I also had sweet tea. And I had a second dinner five hours later that consisted of McDonald’s french fries and chicken nuggets. I concluded that my “week” was done.

So I failed again, but not as bad as last week. I’m still proud because I thought it was technically easy and I didn’t really miss fried food. Except for Friday, I craved McDonald’s.

My Conclusion

I’m going to try and make this a normal habit in my everyday life. It wasn’t difficult to find alternatives to a meal that is fried and it would be OK to have a “cheat meal” once a week or once every other week.

Fried food isn’t good for you (duh) and I know that if I keep it up it would change me a lot for the better.

Why Taking a Mixology Class in College is a Great Idea

I recently took Overview of Mixology aka HRAD-4850 if you’re an OSU student. The class requires you to be 21 or over and your willingness to try different alcoholic beverages.

I’m newly 21. I celebrated at midnight on February 5 and enjoyed every minute of it. A few friends suggested that I take this class now since the majority of them are over 21 and taking it. It’s two Saturdays starting at 8:30 a.m. and ending at 5:30 p.m. It’s a disgusting eight-hour class, with a one-hour lunch break. But it’s super fun.

The first Saturday I learned a lot. I also tasted a lot of drinks I wouldn’t normal make or consider ordering.

Blood Mary’s, Ramos Gin Fizz, Queens Park Swizzle, the list goes on. We had about 12 “straw fulls” of mixed drinks and cocktails.

We started off with a taste of Bourbon which, in my opinion, is disgusting. Before we actually took a drink, one of the instructors for the class, Joe Breaux owner of Bevworks, told us to hold our hand over our cups. The room already smelled of the brown alcohol and I wanted to cry. The smell and taste will haunt me for quite a while. When we held our hands over the cup the smell dissipated and we got a breather. He told us the three steps to drinking a cocktail.

1. Presentation:

How does it look? Does it look appealing and things like that?

2. Smell:

He told us to stick our nose inside the cup and take a big whiff. I took maybe half a whiff and the grimace was back on my face.

3. Taste:

Does the drink taste harmonious with all of the components inside the drink? Is it balanced?

Some people downed the tiny shot in one gulp whereas others, like me, took a sip and put it back down while simultaneously shrinking back into their chair.

A few drinks made me want to spit it out and there were a few drinks that made me want to take the “taste” cup for myself. According to Breaux, drinks aren’t bad. The palettes that people have to taste with varies and something that tastes really good to some people could taste bad to others.

The main point of the class was to teach students about the business of owning and running a bar or lounge. Breaux taught lectured about using spreadsheets and having pars in place so you know what to order and when you should order. Pars are based on your backstock of bottles and they typically range from 1- however many you need.

At more prestigious bars and the bartenders are taught to make the action of mixing your drink a show. They are taught to have everything within arms reach so they can properly engage with their customers. It’s also important for the bartender to make the cocktail photo ready every time.

“You want people to Instagram your drinks,” Aaron Post, founder of Valkyrie, said.

Post was the main cocktail producer for the class. He is also knowledgeable about nearly everything there is to know about mixed drinks and their components. When a student would ask him a question during his portion of the lecture, he could answer it in detail. There were also times when he would name multiple drinks as an example of one family or what garnish can go with what cocktail family.

This class had more appeal than just getting booze during the day. My great grandmother owned a bar and since I heard her story I’ve aspired to be like her. This class gave me more insight and knowledge into what actually goes into the business of running and maintaining a bar.

The prep work that goes into it can be extensive depending on what you make in-house. The prices can be steep or you can just be scraping by with what you have to offer your clientele.

Thinking of those things are what make it that much more fun to start a business where you serve people who are incredibly happy or heartbroken and make them happy.

All in all, this class was a great start to turning 21. It was an in-depth experience that took a total of 13 hours over two Saturdays. If you have the option to take this class or a similar one, don’t hesitate. It’ll truly broaden your horizon of the alcohol business.

I Sort of Did the No Bread Challenge, So You Won’t Have to

So here’s how it started…

I work the closing shift on Sunday nights. A few of my coworkers-turned-friends decided – at the end of our shift – to go breadless for a week. I was in the process of buying a “scrappy cake” (basically a slice of cake jammed in a cup), and my friend on register asked if I wanted to join them and go breadless for the week.

My first thought is, sure, I need to get some kind of diet going. I also didn’t really know what exactly bread was, what did it entail?

“You can’t eat that starting tomorrow,” my cashier friend said, and I looked at my cake-in-a-cup and frowned.

“Okay, I’m down,” was my reply as I tear open the lid and proceed to devour the cake.

When I got off work (1:20 a.m.) and got ready for bed I googled “What is considered bread.” The results I found were kind of painful:

The first link was to a CrossFit site that listed foods you can and cannot eat during a “No Bread Challenge.”

Here’s what it said specifically about bread:

So, as I’m laying in bed trying to shut my brain off from the day I was reading what the week had in store for me.

Pasta is one of my favorite meals, if not the favorite. So when I saw that I couldn’t eat pasta I wasn’t too surprised but it still stung a little. Cereal wouldn’t be too big of a deal since I don’t eat it on a regular basis anyway, maybe once a month. Rice and cake and pizza, on the other hand, were a little more difficult.

The first day, Monday, was not too bad. I ate Chic-fil-a nuggets and fries for lunch. Sure they were breaded and fried but I didn’t want to count it since I had no other choice. Everything else in the OSU Student Union had something to do with bread unless they were just veggie and fruit trays and that’s not my thing. For dinner, I ate these weird Tandoori chicken nuggets. They weren’t breaded and they were the only thing in the frozen section of 20 Something that wasn’t breaded. I also ate Funyons because I’m weak.

Tuesday was the original exception because I eat pizza with my BFF every Tuesday afternoon. Dinner was more breaded chicken and fries but from Slim Chickens. I also found out that I was going too extreme with my thoughts on the challenge. My coworkers thought it was just bread. Not everything that bread is a part of. So when she told me that I breathed a sigh of relief that I wasn’t completely failing.

Wednesday was my downfall. I ate a bacon burger from the Union with the full intention of taking off the bread. It just so happened that I saw a friend while I was there and I sat and ate with her and completely forgot to take off the bread. Oh well. Dinner was Panda Express; chow mein and white steamed rice, orange chicken, and mushroom chicken.

Thursday wasn’t too bad; lunch was general Tso’s chicken and fried rice. Dinner was McDonald’s (it was the cheapest option for me and my BFF), nuggets and a burger. The burger was a habit of ordering and I was hungry.

Friday was filled with coffee and TGIF’s hot wings from the box and lean cuisine noodles. Dinner is chicken tacos and chips and salsa and queso.

So the week wasn’t as bad as I was expecting because I can’t stick to a plan for more than three hours. I’m a terrible creature of habit but I know that if I stick to no bread then I can make it work. I haven’t had a sandwich all week (burgers aren’t sandwiches, right?).

I’m going to try again next week and see what I can accomplish now that I know how our version of the No Bread Challenge works.

The Life of a Fruit Cutter

My part-time job while at school is a diverse one. There are multiple facets to what I do in the 15 hours I am there. One day I could be a normal stocker; walking the numerous aisles. Looking for missing spots where merchandise should go. Writing down what I need and finding it in the back store room. Walking back to the place it belongs and restocking it. I am also a cashier, in the constant state of “Hi, how are you?” and “Have a great day!” with a smile plastered on my face. It is a rare occasion for the customer to be happy and answer with a matching smiling face or a fraction of my enthusiasm, it is also rare when a customer says nothing or throws their method of payment down on the counter and demand a plastic bag to hold their ice cream and condoms (which has happened, among other combinations of items).

Another position I hold at my store is Fruit Cutter. I wish it had a more appealing name, but it suits it perfectly.

For five hours, usually every Sunday and Monday shift, I cut fruit. Pineapples, cantaloupe, strawberries, and on the extremely rare chance, I get to cut broccoli. I box all of the items I slice and tear apart.

Five pairs of gloves per shift, the constant numbing of my fingers from handling fresh refrigerated fruit with one to two-minute breaks sprinkled in whenever you grab a new box of produce.

Spotify and Snapchat are my only friends usually. Being in the back of the store no one walks by, and that’s only when they need something from the back stock room. I’m not complaining one bit, I love my job as Fruit Slicer. I like working by myself and being away from customers so I don’t have to pretend that I’m having a good day. Not that I have bad days but the attitudes of fellow employees and other people affect you a lot.

Whenever a coworker decides to visit you in the cold back kitchen prep area you get super excited and talk to them for however long they’re able, it’s also weird for me to go from an independent dynamic where I control everything to an dependent moment where I converse with someone besides myself and contribute to a dialogue. Then they leave again and it is back to quietly singing along to your Spotify playlist and thinking.

After knocking out four or five boxes of pineapple and a random box or two of strawberries it’s time to thoroughly clean your work area. Sweeping, mopping, bleaching the counter and washing all of the utensils by hand with hot water, which puts the feeling back into my fingers. I dump the mop water and take the clean dishes back to their rightful place. I go back to the front and visit everyone in the front stock room as we wait to mop the rest of the floor to complete our closing procedures for the night.

This job is still one of my favorites jobs and I’m forever grateful to have it.

The Struggle Of Recruiting For A College Organization

Alpha Phi Omega is a national co-ed service organization, who focuses on leadership, friendship and service. I was recruited the fall semester of my freshman year in college and I have stuck with it ever since. I’ve held a few executive positions and chair positions over the six semesters I have been involved with the organization.

My first position was the Public Relations chair where I gained our chapter’s facebook page views and followers by fifty (simply by being more active and uploading photos of events and the like). After that, I was the Secretary and I took notes and emailed information to other members.

Then I was the Fellowship Vice-President. I was in charge of coming up with events for the chapter to do that were fun and team building. I planned our Chapter Retreat, which was camping at Lake Perry, it was cold and there was an attacking goose but it was a great time that I will remember for years to come.

I am currently the Membership Vice-President. I am in charge of retention, recruitment and making sure the current and future members pay their dues and complete their requirements.

Recruitment is always a stressful time for everyone in the organization but mostly for the recruitment committee. Spring semesters are always difficult to recruit for because there are not freshman trying to find clubs anymore, most of the people who are on campus know what they want to do and are already involved with clubs.

Recruitment, in general, is an easy task to plan for and have ideas. Putting the ideas and plans into action and having something to show for it is the difficult part. Having information sessions and fellowships and service projects that are planned around getting people involved is a lot harder than you would think. It also does not help when you do not have much involvement from the current members or if something you planned for does not go as it was intended to go.

School organizations are not meant to stress people out. They are meant to push you out of your comfort zone and become an active person in society. They teach you to be a working member of a team and help you understand that without you, your organization could fail.

Joining a group that has the same outlook on life or the same goals in mind, is a heartwarming experience. Being with people who have the want and need to serve others and have fun reminds me that I am where I belong and I want to keep this camaraderie for as long as I can.

Alpha Phi Omega – Theta Sigma is a great organization to join if you are interested in meeting people, hanging out and serving your community. (Was this whole post about getting someone to join? I’ll never tell but feel free to email us at apo.okstate@gmail.com if you have any questions!)

Working on campus is the best choice for students

Working on campus is both a blessing and a curse. You sleep near your place of work so you’re never late, at least you shouldn’t be, but you can never really leave either. You meet so many people. You see someone you have a class with or work with someone who has the same major as you. It’s a neat experience to see like-minded people in the same close area that has passions for various things but they all still have one goal in mind – graduating college. It’s interesting to see how a strategic communications major (me) and an aerospace and mechanical engineering major (best friend) or a sports media major (another best friend) have in common. Management is another beast entirely. It’s nice to work for people who understand that I don’t want to work in this store for the rest of my life, or retail in general. You learn to be an adult and you gain real job experience when you have a supervisor or a crew of people counting on you to do your job, which rarely happens in my case.

Working on campus is great when you live in the same building complex that your job is in. On the days you don’t have class but you’re scheduled to work, you don’t have to brace yourself for a walk in the weather, you can walk down the stairs and be there in two minutes; unless you’re me and it stills takes you five minutes because the elevator is evil and you’re too stubborn to give up and take the stairs.

Working on campus usually takes away the hassle of planning for traffic and trying to find a non-existent parking space that is free or not five miles away from your workplace. Walking to work has its ups and downs but it mostly has ups.

Working for people who don’t truly care for their employees is easy. It’s a cold relationship to have but it’s doable because there are the simple pleasantries rather than working for someone you’re friends with. If you’re friends with your boss it’s difficult to leave niceties as they are and try and think of the business side of the relationship. Worrying about your personal relationship, not the dating kind, with your superior is too stressful for a job that lasts five years tops. You just have to be nice to your boss, they’ll be nice to you and you can go on your way.

When I was in high school, my first real job was at Braum’s, an ice cream and burger fast food chain. It was a horrible experience and I refuse to work for fast food again, or food in general. Looking back now I was probably being over dramatic but I only have bad memories and I still can’t willingly eat there. A convenience store is a next step in the “first job chain.” It’s still not an ideal job but it gets you money to pay off credit card bills and the Bursar. 

Working on campus has been one of the best experiences in my college career. I’ve had the same job for three years and I don’t regret it. I’ve met two of my best friends in this workplace and there’s so many great co-workers who care for your and they’re funny and they make the job go by quickly. If you can find a job on-campus, I highly recommend it.