Does This Costume Make Me Look… Offensive?

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In fall of 2010, I was firmly sitting atop of the world. I had pledged one of the best houses on campus, my female peers were staring to notice me, and like every other freshman on campus that October, I was eagerly anticipating my first college Halloween party. When we got to the affair, the drinks were flowing and the music was pumping as sexy nurses mingled with vampires. Of all of the costumes we saw that night, a handful of them stood out. There was one guy dressed as pimp and another dressed in orange prison attire as a convict. These costumes would be commonplace for a Halloween party with the exception of one little detail; the guys in the costumes painted their faces black. Two weeks, one very uncomfortable campus rally attended by seemingly every black student on campus and tons of bad press later, my fraternity found itself on a seven month suspension.

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Anytime a party calls for a costume, there is always a possibility that someone is going to do something offensive. While culturally insensitive costumes aren’t exactly a new concept, it is kind of baffling why in 2014, given all of the very public and very embarrassing incidents we’ve seen, students continue to offend. Yet, whether it’s the 2012 Mexican Party hosted by the Penn State Chi Os, the self-titled “Racist Rager” put on by Duke’s Kappa Sigma chapter in 2013 or the CMT vs. BET soiree presented by the Phi Deltas and Phi Sigs earlier this year at McDaniel College, it would seem that cultural insensitivity is alive and well. Perhaps I give people too much credit.halloween2

Trying to get to the root of these issues is difficult as there are many “excuses” and “explanations” given. There is the tried and true “I wasn’t trying to be offensive”, which in a lot of cases, I tend to believe. Call me naive, but I like to think my fellow man wouldn’t intentionally participate in harmful behavior. The problem with this excuse however, is that it is usually given in order to absolve one of any responsibility for their actions. However regardless of intention, the damage is still done.

halloween3There is also the “I did it to give my costume a sense of realism”. I’m almost sure that is what Dancing With The Stars’ Julianne Hough was shooting for when she donned blackface to go along with the orange jumpsuit and bantu knots of her Crazy Eyes costume (from Orange is the New Black). This “attention to detail” is usually not warranted.

And let us not forget the “Come on dude, I’m just trying to joke around” crowd. You know them; they were the once who painted bullet wounds on their hoodies last year while holding a can of Arizona Ice Tea and a pack of Skittles. And thank goodness that we had these merry jokesters to help bring humor to the slaying of Trayvon Martin; I don’t know how I would’ve otherwise coped.

Halloween doesn’t have to be a time of ignorance, hurt feelings and university sanctions. With the smallest bit of commonsense, a lot of these mishaps can be avoided. Because I know how much this blog just loves a good list, I present: Tips For Not Offending People This Halloween.

halloween41. If your costume portrays a racial, ethnic, religious, LGBT or cultural stereotype, DON’T WEAR IT.

Have a happy Halloween y’all.

The Perks of Single Life

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1. More Time
Don’t want to choose between a lunch date and studying? You don’t have to! Want to spend the entire night finishing that book you just can’t put down? Or every season of Breaking Bad on Netflix? Or your entire board of recipes on Pinterest? Go ahead. Do it. All of it.

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2. More Comfort
Ladies, don’t be afraid to go on a shaving hiatus until spring. Do you understand how much time this will save? While you’re at it, wear literally whatever you want without having a somewhat significant other pester you on your appearance. “Really? You’re wearing that?”

3. More Freedom
Hang out with anyone you want. Talk to anyone you want. Flirt with anyone you want. Dance with anyone you want. This is the perfect time to meet different kinds of people and figure out what kind of people you like spending time with.

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4. Be yourself
I left the most important one for last: figure out who you are. It’s easy to get wrapped up in a relationship and become “John Smith’s Girlfriend” or “Jane Doe’s Boyfriend” and forget who you are. The most important perk of being single is to learn how to be completely self-reliant and comfortable with being exactly who you are by yourself without having to define yourself or determine your worth based on your significant other.

What are some of the perks of being single to you? Tell us in the comments below!

Bounce Back from Post – Midterm Blues

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Midterms got you feeling down?

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You know the semester is well underway when you’ve already gotten your first midterm grade back. One thing I’ve found after a long summer break – I never do as well on that first midterm fall semester… But, you can’t let a bad grade on an exam, paper or assignment discourage you. Here are some ways to bounce back:

• Remember that this won’t decide the rest of your life.

• Meet with your TAs and Professors to see how you can improve.

• Work in study groups so you can get help from your peers.

• Don’t dwell on the bad grade, because that won’t help.

• Make sure you are getting all the notes and understanding all the homework.

• Try a different study method, maybe yours doesn’t work as well as you thought it did.

• Go over the notes from the midterm you did badly on so that the information won’t be back to bite you on the final.

One last thing to remember after getting a bad test score is that college is HARDER than high school. You will probably have to change your study practices from high school. In college, while getting good grades IS important, it’s more important to really understand the material.

Networking 101

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Networking has become a powerful tool in creating and sustaining connections. These connections can include business professionals, professors, and long lost friends. Not only can these connections open up new avenues for future employment, but it can also pave the way for internships and volunteer work to build experience. What’s most important is the way in which you can develop and build upon professional relationships with multiple people.

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Here are a few tips to building those relationships:
• Let them get to know the real you- It’s important for your connections to get a sense of who you are as a person, as well as your achievements and goals and hobbies. Let them see anything that might be of some importance as it pertains to you. Stand out and be known!
• Discover the ins and outs of your future career- Connecting with people who are already in the career your studying for is a great way to learn about it before you even get there. This way you can better prepare for interviews or gain the necessary experience before you graduate.
• Participate in events/organizations- When you participate, you meet new people and they see firsthand your work ethic and drive.
• Try social networking- place all these connections into social media accounts. LinkedIn and other professional social media websites help you keep track of all your connections. It’s also convenient for getting in touch with people you have met but haven’t had time to build on a relationship in person.

Job Interview Fashion Tips!

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1. Do some research!

jobinterview1Look up the company you are interviewing with and see what they’re all about. Try and see if you can pick up on the feel/vibe of the company and dress accordingly. In most cases it’s best to dress nicer than you think you should because first impressions are extremely important. If you look put together, you will seem put together! For the more creative industries, you might be able to get away with an interesting color or pattern, but choose wisely and don’t overdo it!

2. Invest in a couple of good blazers!

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Blazers dress up any outfit and instantly make you look professional. Make sure to get two or three that fit you really well and in colors that go with everything. Black, grey, navy, and brown are all good options! You want them to be versatile so you get the most out of your investment and if you get the job, you can wear them with loads of different outfits!

3. Cardigans are your friends!

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Cardigans can be dressed up or down and have a similar professionalizing effect as a blazer. You will get a lot of wear out of a cardigan and you can get away with non-neutral colors! The best thing about cardigans is you can wear then out of the office/job interview setting so getting some new cardigans adds to your personal wardrobe as well!

4. Let’s talk shoes…

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Shoes can be the hardest part of picking a job interview appropriate outfit. Simple is better when it comes to shoes in this case. Flats are a safe bet, but make sure to go for a solid color, like black, nude, or brown. You can definitely get a pair with a nice, simple detail such as a small buckle but don’t go overboard. You might also be able to get away with a braver color choice if you keep it simple and elegant. The same goes for heels. Don’t get too crazy with heel height and always go for ones with a closed toe and nothing too strappy! Closed-toed pumps always look professional.
This is especially important for the job interview. If you get the job you can figure out the dress code, but it’s best to play it safe for the interview.

5. Be careful with accessories!

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When it comes to accessorizing for your interview, less is definitely more. Go for one bracelet, simple earrings, and maybe a simple necklace if it works with your outfit. Skip the chunky rings for the interview. Obviously, if your interview is in the fashion industry or a fashion-related industry, you have a bit more freedom for creative expression, but in general it is a good idea to keep it simple and classic.