Avoid the same old: seeking out a new spot in your hometown

If you’re back in your hometown for the summer, it can be easy to get stuck in a rut: you go to the same spots as you did in high school, and do roughly the same things. This is particularly true if you’re under-21 and can’t yet explore your hometown bar scene. However, after about a week, revisiting the same old places can be pretty mind-numbingly boring–here are some times for finding new spots.

  • Hit up Yelp: If you’re looking for a new place to do something you know you like, check out Yelp to see what new places you can do it in. You don’t have to go to the same coffee shop every week–search for a new place in a different neighborhood, for example. Yelp’s also great for telling you if there’s something interesting (like a street festival) going on nearby that you can check out.
  • Take a class: If you’ve got the cash (or you can find a free lecture series), take a class in an art of some kind–perhaps music lessons. This will allow you to pick up a new skill, meet new people (if it’s a group class), and perhaps explore a new part of town if you pick an unfamiliar place for the class to be in. Read the rest of this entry »

Feed Yourself Without Putting on Pants (Dorm Food)

The ramen in the stone / Jordan Sitkin / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Anyone who’s grown up with American pop culture knows the cliche: college students feed themselves on cup ramen and coffee, slowly developing scurvy and arteriosclerosis. However, bad-for-you food has come a long way since the days that sitcom comedy writers were in school, and the market for easy-to-make food has improved. With that in mind, I present four cheap, easy options for feeding yourself without leaving your dorm room, because dining is best when you don’t have to put on pants:

  1. Instant Oatmeal: Cheap packets of instant oatmeal can be prepared with nothing more than hot water from an electric kettle. They’re nutritious (by instant food standards), low-calorie, and sweet–they make for the perfect in-dorm breakfast during the winter. A six-pack of the generic brand will run you about $3 and will keep you fed for a week.
  2. Annie’s Instant Mac and Cheese: I’m giving a shout out to Annie’s brand pasta (the one with the bunny on it) because it happens to be organic and, unlike the blue box competitors, the ingredients list has four things on it. The company sells boxes of five individually packaged meals, and they can again be prepared with just an electric kettle to heat water for the noodles. Though it’s probably chock full enough of sodium to kill a small horse, instant mac and cheese allows for vegetarians (and those who don’t want their noodles deep-friend) to join in on the dietary fun in a way ramen does not. Read the rest of this entry »

Keep Yourself Entertained While DD-ing

Designated Driver and Driving / MIke Kline / CC BY 2.0

If you are a member of a group of friends, and you are not an asshole, you will occasionally find yourself ferrying about your less-than-sober friends. You may realize that this is necessary, and good, and lowers drunk driving fatalities (all really good things!), but that doesn’t change the fact that drunk people are sometimes really freaking annoying. With that in mind, and several memorable DD-ing experiences under my belt, I bring you five ways to entertain yourself as the designated driver:

  1. Play 90’s music on the car ride home: The mid-to-late 90’s are the period in life before people grew up and potentially quit listening to the radio as part of their “developing good taste in music” phase. As a result, everyone that you ferry home will know “Bye, Bye, Bye,” “Hit Me Baby One More Time,” and the entire Destiny’s Child Greatest Hits CD. If you play this music while they’re drunk, they’ll belt it out and–bonus points!–quit talking about whatever just happened at the party.
  2. Try to convince your friends to recite the entire PowerThirst commercial: Will they be able to do it? No. Will their failure be hilarious? Yes. Read the rest of this entry »

Allying 101

I’m one of those kids that falls at the very end of the LGBTQIA spectrum–an ally. If you’re not using the alphabet soup acronym, this basically means that I’m a straight kid who hangs out at GSA/Pride events because it bums me out that my friends from the first chunk of the acronym don’t get treated the same way I do. In college, this has worked out pretty well–the Pride kids support the feminist programming that I try to get pushed on campus, and I’ve made some entertaining, progressive friends through the club (plus I met my roommate for next year there, so that’s a plus).

But it wasn’t like this at my high school’s GSA. There, the club managed to be almost nothing but allies, and the LGBTQI kids split from the club because the allies , though well-intentioned, weren’t exactly providing the support they needed to. So, with that in mind, here’s a list of what I’ve learned about the etiquette of being an ally:

  1. Don’t freak out if someone assumes that you’re not straight: As an ally, you’re actually not the primary intended audience for the club. When people come into a GSA/Pride group, they’re typically assumed to be LGBTQI until they identify as something else–just like they’re probably assumed to be straight until proven otherwise in every other situation. Don’t freak out if other people make the pretty reasonable assumption that that’s why you’re in the club. If someone brings it up, the right way to correct them is something along the lines of, “I’m actually here as an ally,” not, “Ohmygod, why would you think that? I’m cool with gay people, but I’m straight.” Freaking out implies that you’re intolerant.
  2. Don’t try to control the agenda: Again, as much as you may be excited about joining a progressive organization whose goals you care about, you don’t get to control what the group wants. If the club on your campus is more focused on acting as a support group rather than an advocacy organization, that’s their prerogative. If they want to deal with getting gender neutral housing on campus rather than working towards gay marriage, there’s a reason. Feel free to ask why the priorities are what they are, but be aware that if something seems like a big deal to the non-ally club members but not to you, you’re probably rocking some straight privilege. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Woody Guthrie’s World, and I’m Just Living in It

Woody GuthrieWoody Guthrie / James Ratcliffe / CC BY NC SA 2.0

This guest post comes from Anna Keneda, our resident music person.

I am writing a paper on the influence of music as a tool of cultural identity in immigrant communities (pretentious, right?), but it has made me reflect on how music has changed my perspective of who I am and the people I come from.

First off, I am from Oklahoma, the land of Garth Brookes; Mr. “we’ll put a boot in your ass ’cause it’s the American way” Toby Keith; and (most importantly) Woody Guthrie. I was lucky enough to have parents whose tastes lead me away from the musical gem that is Toby Keith (if you can’t already tell, he is the bane of my existence) and towards the original working man’s music of Woody. As a pre-schooler I memorized the little known third verse of “This Land is your Land” that says:

As I was walkin’ – I saw a sign there
And that sign said – no tresspassin’
But on the other side …. it didn’t say nothin!
Now that side was made for you and me!

Read the rest of this entry »

A Playlist for Hating Spring

This guest post comes from Anna Keneda, our resident music person.

“Every year, back comes Spring, with nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off and the ground all mucked up with plants.”

–Dorothy Parker

On days like today where the wind is blowing just right and all I want to do is sit on a swing and listen to music, I am disinclined to agree with the ever-optimistic Ms. Parker. She has a point about the “nasty little birds yapping their fool heads off,” but in my case they are gossiping freshman on the quad. Not to worry, just stick in your headphones, give the freshmen a glare and listen to this spring mix to optimize your time before all of the flowers bloom and the yellow clouds of pollen rain down.

Here’s the whole playlist on Grooveshark. Click the cut for Youtube videos for all the songs.

Read the rest of this entry »

The perilous process of graduation

After almost four years of classes, papers, coffee, group work drama, transportation fun,  budget cuts and the hullabaloo of getting a football team, my time at Georgia State is almost done! This, of course, means it’s time to graduate. You would expect this to be easy, right?

Read the rest of this entry »

I’m an Adult on the Internet

The internet is preparing me for adult life. No, really. (Image courtesy of Randall Munroe. Licensed under CC 2.5)

[image source]

In my Sociology class yesterday (a panel presentation on screen media), the professor–after making the case that screen media shortens our attention spans, removes the market for great literature, and generally degrades society–asked us a pointed question:

“What that you do on the internet prepares you for being an adult?”

I was the first to answer, because I do not have a healthy sense of preservation and so enjoy challenging tenured faculty members with whom I’m taking two classes. (This is what we call a poor life choice.)

But really? The internet–Fleshbot and 4chan aside–prepares me a lot more for adult life than school has. On the internet, I write for several sites. One pays me in crazy interview opportunities for my resume. Another pays me with plain-Jane taxable income. A third goes with the income and the idea that trees will die for students to read what I think about colleges. All of these opportunities started through the internet and most of them stay there; I’ve only met two of my “coworkers” in person. Read the rest of this entry »

You might be a freshman if…

This makes me feel old. (From JoeInSouthernCA on Flickr, Creative Commons license)

Hi folks. Riot Campus’ new Senior Correspondent here…no, literally, I am a senior–class of 2011–now if only GSU would approve my graduation application! I’ve known Emily and Ruthie since we were hustlin’ at the Druid Hills High paper together. Good times. (I’m now with the Signal at GSU and love it…always try to work for your school paper if you are interested in journalism!!)

I digress. I present a little humor as my first contribution to this blog. You know Jeff Foxworthy’s goofy “You might be a redneck if” schtick? Well, let’s morph that into a college-friendly one. YOOOOOU might be a freshman if!

DISCLAIMER: We were all freshmen once. I know. I even committed one of these fashion faux pas once. It’s okay–you can still learn!

You might be a freshman if…

…you still wear your senior class T-shirt or high school hoodie, even though the campus bookstore would be more than happy to sell you college spirit wear.

…you wear your dorm room key around your neck on a lanyard instead of in a bag or pocket.

…college’s more relaxed dress code means spaghetti-strap tanks and the shortest shorts known to humankind (for ladies).

…college’s more relaxed dress code means jeans/shorts slung so low people can see all of your underwear (for gentlemen).

…you go to class in pajamas. (Perhaps this is just a GSU thing but our school is in the middle of downtown Atlanta, surrounded by the seats of both state and county government as well as other businesses. It doesn’t look right, dadgummit! I’m old.)

…you honestly think the campus bookstore offers the lowest prices on books.

…your school hasn’t found some surprising and inventive way to mess with your head yet. (Yet.)

Got any more to add? :)

Teacher Don’t Teach, I’m In Trouble Deep


Are these notes even helping? Image courtesy of Lower Columbia College. Licensed under CC 2.0.


Today in Organic Chemistry, somewhere between writing out the mechanism for acid catalyzed reactions with carbocation intermediates and the mechanism for reactions with halonium intermediates, I realized I had no idea what I was writing down. And this got me thinking.

Why do I have what at this point basically amounts to $100,000 in student loans so that I can sit in a classroom and have some guy write some stuff on the board, not explain it, and expect me to read and learn it out of a book? Why don’t I just buy the $200 book, read it, and learn it myself? Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of “teach yourself” style classes before, but never to this extreme. Never to the point that I am actually clueless as to what’s going on for the entire 50 minute duration of the period. Never have I felt like I’m writing in some kind of hieroglyphic and just completely lacking any kind of Rosetta Stone to translate it all. The acidic hydrogen does what to the pi bond? Or does the pi bond do something to that boron molecule? The process of hydrobor-what?

But maybe I’m the one with the wrong idea. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t like to put in my leg work beforehand, but that’s because I’d rather just hear someone else tell me what I need to know and fill in the couple of gaps myself, not try to construct the whole idea myself and have someone tell me I’m right. I wonder if this has to do with sheer laziness or just the fear of building the entire idea wrong? And if I do put in all that work and get the wrong idea, doesn’t that make it worse than not having any idea at all? Because I’m fairly certain that the grade I got back on this last Organic test is telling me LOUD and CLEAR that something about the way this guy is teaching just isn’t doing it for me. Let’s just say that if my grade was my age, I’d be waiting in line at the DMV, and this would be the most exciting day of my young life. Freedom! Too bad I’ll be stuck in my apartment teaching myself Organic Chemistry for the next two semesters instead of out enjoying that freedom.