Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions!

It’s the same story every year: you whip up a list of New Year’s resolutions, swear that this time you’re going to stick to it (really!), and last just under a month before giving up (until next year, that is). Well, fear no more! Part of the secret lies in how you set your resolutions – and we’re here to help!

Step 1: Get Specific

For example: “In 2012, I am going to exercise more,” though admirable, is incredibly vague and, therefore, hard to stick to. Very broad resolutions are difficult to keep because they are hard to measure.  How much is “more” exactly? If your goal is immeasurable, you will have a difficult time noting your progress.

“Before” Resolution: I am going to exercise more.
“After” Resolution: I am going to do cardio twice a week and lift weights once a week.

With our guide, you'll be keeping your resolutions straight through to 2013!

Step 2: Be Realistic

According to the online Goal Setting Guide, setting realistic resolutions helps to avoid the frustration and lowered self-esteem that accompany falling short of a goal. New Year’s resolutions should be part of a step-by-step process that is meant for self-improvement. Be ambitious without going over-the-top.

Before Resolution: I am going to exercise every single day.
After Resolution: I am going to exercise 3-4 days a week.

Step 3: Find a Cheerleader

Sometimes when we lose motivation for ourselves, all we need is a pick-me-up from someone else to get us going again. Find someone reliable and positive, whether it be your mom or a good friend, and ask them to keep you motivated if you start to lose your drive. They’ll most likely be happy to help and you’ll be happy for their help!

And lastly…

Step 4: Don’t be afraid to re-evaluate.

Determine a timeline to check-in on your progress.  Vow to evaluate how well you are doing every 3 months, or every month if necessary and don’t hesitate to tweak it if you have to. Struggling with a part of your resolution? See if there is a way to alter it a bit without losing sight of your goal. Feel like you’re ready to take on more? Add a little extra and work towards that!

Before Resolution: I am going to do cardio twice a week and lift weights once a week.
After Resolution: After 3 months, I’d like to add more to my exercise routine. I am going to do cardio three times a week and lift weights once a week.

You’re all set and ready to take on the New Year! With these guidelines, you’ll be keeping your resolutions straight through to 2013. Have any questions, suggestions, or other helpful advice? Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with us below!


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Freaky Friday: Temple University

As someone who ‘misplaces’ things often (No, Mom, I didn’t lose my phone, I just can’t find it right now!), I found the ghost in this story from Temple University to be extremely helpful. Whether there is truth behind this tale or not, I will be heading into the New Year hoping to encounter a ghost like this one!


The Conwells

During the early days of Temple University, founder Russell H. Conwell lived in a house on the site where Peabody Hall now stands with his wife, Sarah. Three years after her passing in 1910, Conwell began seeing her spirit in their bedroom. At first he was convinced that his long work hours had caused his eyes to play tricks on him. After several weeks of continuing to see his wife in their house, he finally sought treatment from two different doctors, both of whom attributed the visions to his hectic work life.

Desperate to prove that the vision was real, he asked the spirit for assistance in locating his army discharge papers, which had been lost for 25 years. With the spirit’s help, he located them, stashed behind a bookcase in their library, in a box that had belonged to his late wife.

To further prove the spirit’s existence, he next asked a servant to hide a gold pencil where he wouldn’t readily find it. When his wife came back, she was able to locate it for him on a shelf in their medicine chest.

Sources say that the last time Conwell saw his wife’s spirit was during the same year when she first appeared to him. My guess is that she was there to help him recover what he had lost and when her work was done, she went on her way. What do you think about this story? Do you know other ghostly tales from Temple University? Tell us about them!

More Freaky Friday

Freaky Friday: Marymount University
Freaky Friday: Northeastern State University
Freaky Friday: University of South Dakota
Freaky Friday: Yale University
Freaky Friday: University of Colorado at Boulder
Freaky Friday: Ohio Dominican University
Freaky Friday: Brooklyn College
Freaky Friday: University of the Cumberlands
Freaky Friday: Saint Martin’s University
Freaky Friday: New Mexico State University
Freaky Friday: The College of New Jersey
Freaky Friday: Ball State University
Freaky Friday: University of Tampa
Freaky Friday: Emporia State University
Freaky Friday: University of South Carolina
Freaky Friday: College of the Canyons
Freaky Friday: West Virginia University
Freaky Friday: Park University
Freaky Friday: Texas Tech

Freaky Friday: William & Mary
Freaky Friday: Columbia University
Freaky Friday: University of Rochester
Freaky Friday: East Tennessee State
Freaky Friday: Washington State University
Freaky Friday: USF Tampa
Freaky Friday: Pacific University
Freaky Friday: Franklin & Marshall
Freaky Friday: University of the South
Freaky Friday: Point Park

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The IT List: New Year’s Eve Style

The end of the year is rapidly approaching and with that comes the harrowing task of choosing what to wear during the Final Countdown of 2011. New Year’s Eve poses a difficult balancing act in terms of outfit selection. The key is to pick a festive ensemble with just enough sparkle that doesn’t make you look like a walking disco ball. Luckily, we’ve compiled some quick, budget-friendly ideas to propel you through to 2012 in style.

Jewelry, Jewelry, Jewelry! – What’s the easiest way to instantly add a bit of glitz to your outfit? If you couldn’t tell by the heading, it’s jewelry! Mix up a few sets of bangles for a bold statement or slide on an oversized cocktail ring (like the one below) for a look that is trendy, without being overpowering. Guys can add a touch of glitz to their look by adding a shiny watch.

Bold statement pieces give a whole new meaning to the phrase "RING in the New Year!"

Put Your Best Foot Forward – The old saying “the shoes make the outfit” is particularly true on a night as big as New Year’s Eve. Pair some metallic flats with a solid ensemble or glittery heels with a black dress and enjoy the intense shoe envy of your companions. Feeling extra daring? Try one of these wild styles, just remember to practice walking in them before heading out! Neon Converse adds the perfect amount of color to a guys’ all-black get up.

Hair Accessories – Create your own sparkly headpiece with a sequined headband or glittery barrette. These pieces add some fun to what you’re wearing without going over the top. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, get creative and make your own. Not sure how to wear your hair? The fabulous CollegeFashion has 3 simple yet sophisticated styles that celebrities are embracing this season. We love the Topknot – it’s perfect for dancing the night away plus you can easily add some sparkle with your homemade barrette!

The most important thing to remember is that it’s not what you wear, but HOW you wear it. Embracing what you have on is the ultimate stylish maneuver! Stick with these low-cost, high-impact suggestions and you’ll be sure to have a ball this New Year’s! Have any ideas of your own? Share them with us below!

Take a look back at all of the trends that made this year’s IT List. What style statements do you think will rock in 2012?

The IT List: Burn Out
The IT List: Dolman Sleeves
The IT List: Floral Accents
The IT List: Crewneck Sweatshirts
The IT List: Beach Chic
The IT List: Summer Leggings
The IT List: Rain, Rain, Splash Away
The IT List: Hot Pink is Queen

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Keep in Touch During Winter Break

Winter break is a great opportunity to reconnect with friends and family that you’ve missed while away at college. But what about your roommates and all of the new friends you have made at school? Keep your friendships alive even when you’re not all in the same dorm with these perfect-for-winter-break tips.

Start a Facebook or Email Thread – This is a great way to keep in touch with multiple friends at once! You can share funny stories, jokes, or videos you find whenever you feel the need and stay updated according to your own schedules.

Picture Message! - In the world of smart phones and tablets, photos can be shared anytime, anywhere. If you see something that you just know your roommate would find hilarious, don’t hesitate to snap a picture and send it to them!

I snapped this photo and thought my roommate would love it.

Plan to Meet Up – Texting and emailing are great, but don’t produce the same fun as seeing your friends in person. Whether it’s a convenient midpoint like a restaurant or mall, or spending a weekend at someone’s house, plan a get-together (or two!) with friends and enjoy each other’s company like you would at school.

Send a Holiday Card – Whether it’s for the New Year or a silly holiday you read about, send a card to a friend or two over the break. They’ll see the humor in it but also appreciate your effort.

Need even more fun ideas? Take a look at our ‘Creative Ways to KIT’. What are some ways you keep in touch with friends, both near and far? Share your ideas with us below!

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Freaky Friday: Marymount University

Months of researching ghost stories have made me aware of some telltale signs of ghostly activity on college campuses: unexplained noises, flickering lights & mysterious dorm visitors are just a few. Not all of the students at Marymount University are convinced that their campus is haunted, but those that are have made a believer out of me! Watch this video & tell us what you think of their hair-raising stories in the comments below.

Do you know anything about the alleged ghosts at Marymount? Are there spooky tales on your college campus? Share your stories with us and we may feature them here! Full posts →

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Tis the Season…for Viral Videos!

After the launch of ElfYourself a few years ago, viral videos have become a great way to fill your holidays with merriment and laughter. We found some of the season’s best – and funniest – viral videos that we are sure you’ll want to watch again and again. From absolutely awful presents to holiday lights gone wild, you’ll be laughing straight into the New Year.

Jimmy Kimmel’s YouTube Challenge – I Gave My Kids a Terrible Present

Funny man Jimmy Kimmel is at it again with the follow-up to his hilarious Halloween prank (If you somehow still have not seen it, prepare to have your life changed: Jimmy Kimmel’s YouTube Challenge – I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy). This time, parents are asked to surprise their children a few weeks early with a “Special” aka “Terrible” present. As you can imagine, what ensues is an adorably comical mix of tantrums and confusion.

Christmas Lights Gone Wild

Is there a house in your neighborhood that takes holiday lights to the extreme? We’re thinking of Danny DeVito’s character in the movie “Deck the Halls” and trying not to blink. The decorations in this video rival anything we’ve ever seen as holiday lights take on a life of their own. Set to “Wizards in Winter” by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, it’s like watching a musical number performed by hundreds of light bulbs. We will never think of seasonal lights in the same way again!

Food Court Flash Mob

Tired of seeing the same old dance numbers featured in Flash Mob videos? Then you are in for a real treat with this one. This viral sensation features a new take on the classic flash mob – with a holiday twist!

Have a favorite seasonal viral video of your own? Share it with us below!

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Finals Week Made Simple

Preparing for dreaded finals week is so stressful! Here are some tips to make the week easier for you.

  1. Put together study packets for all of your classes. These packets should include notes, decks posted by your professor and practice problems.
  2. Make a schedule to map out when you are going to study and what specifically you are going to work on. This will help you allocate your time between classes. I’ve found that whenever I make a study schedule I instantly feel less stressed. It helps me to know what I need to do and when I need to do it rather than just feeling like I need to do everything at once.
  3. If you are unclear about any material, visit your professor during his or her office hours. I have gone to my computer professor’s office hours so many times this semester! At first I thought he would be annoyed with me, but he actually said he appreciates that I’m so dedicated to doing well in his class.
  4. Be sure to take study breaks. If you study too long without taking breaks, it will be harder to focus. During my study breaks, I love to watch music videos on Youtube. Right now I’m obsessed with all of Adele’s videos!  Here’s one I particularly love: http://bit.ly/tybChW
  5. Take care of your body with exercise, a healthy diet and plenty of sleep. This will help you focus and also help you avoid getting sick. I try to walk briskly for at least 30 minutes a day (it helps clear my mind and get my heart rate up) and eat scrambled eggs and fruit for breakfast on test days.

Good luck and remember the end of the semester is almost here, so study hard now and then you will be able to relax and enjoy your break!

~ Guest Blogger Natalie B., Indiana University, Finals Week Hero

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Best TV Shows For Your Study Break

You’ve been studying in the library for more than four hours now, expired your stash of peanut M&M’s and Baked Lays, and are desperate for a break.  Mobilizing out of the stacks and to your bed for a nap requires too many moves and takes up too much time.  Not to worry—here’s the perfect solution for you: the 20-minute TV show!  Throw your ear buds in your bag (with the rest of your study essentials) and you’ll be set for a long day at the library.

Here are some of the best 20-minute television shows:

  1. 2 Broke Girls: CBS’ new show, starring Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs, will keep you cracking up for the entire twenty-one minutes.  Two women in their 20’s work at a diner in Brooklyn, saving money to launch their goal of a cupcake business.  Dennings & Behrs engage in witty banter, pushing the limits of cable television.  Check it out…but don’t laugh too loud on the quiet floors.
  2. Modern Family: Reflecting on the lives of three absurd families, ABC’s TV show is one that cannot be missed.  You will laugh harder than ever before while watching the unique personalities of each family member.  The absurdities that come up seem nonstop!
  3. Parks & Recreation: Parks & Rec on NBC is a hidden gem.  Right before The Office (another must-see but not as good without Steve Carrell), this humorous comedy follows the Parks and Recreation Department of a small town in Indiana.  The unexpected location provides a hilarious twist to the show, giving viewers a taste of the American town.  Amy Poehler, Aziz Ansari, and Rashida Jones all star in the TV show, bringing you unlimited amounts of fun.

~ Guest Blogger Melanie B., Emory University, Future Movie Critic (watch out Roger Ebert!)

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I’ll Be Home For the Holidays…Maybe!

Just like Buddy said from Elf, “First we’ll make snow angels for two hours, then we’ll go ice skating, then we’ll eat a whole roll of Tollhouse Cookie-Dough as fast as we can, and then we’ll snuggle.”

December is a time of gift giving, messy snowstorms, the infamous Santa Claus, scrumptious food, loving family, and holiday movie marathons on television. It may be ‘the most wonderful time of the year,’ however here at Mason, ‘it is the most stressful time of the year.’

Once Thanksgiving hits, Christmas music plays all over campus. Students, bundled up, try and weather the cold, trekking across campus to libraries to cram and study. Everyone waits until the last day of finals to celebrate and pack to go home. The famous quote, “home is where the heart is,” stood out to me, when I traveled home for the holidays my freshman year. Everyone has a story, but my story could win a Pulitzer prize.

My name may be Melissa, but my nickname is, “BAD LUCK.” On December 20th, I packed my winter clothes, wrapped last minute gifts, and lugged my suitcase down three flights of stairs with no elevator. Sounds fun right? Keep in mind, it just snowed a few days prior and the ground was a slippery sheet of ice. It was now 2:30pm and my bus home to New Jersey was at 5:00pm. I start walking out of my dorm with my suitcase and purse, and “BOOM.” I had suddenly slipped on black ice, got up, and started walking like no one else witnessed it.

I finally made it across campus to catch the Mason to Metro Shuttle, which was a zoo. Fairfax County, known for their horrendous traffic, never fails. Traffic was bumper-to-bumper all the way to the Metro and time was ticking away. TICK…TICK….TICK… I finally arrived an hour later. It was now, 3:45pm. I quickly bought my metro pass and ran to the Orange Line, which was backed up as well. What a surprise! I arrived at Union Station at 4:45pm and sprinted as fast as I could to the MegaBus with my huge suitcase trucking behind, and in my opinion, managed to make record timing. Boy do I wish someone had recorded that. Thankfully, I didn’t fall again! I walked further and took my first step on the hot and crowded bus at 4:59pm. Right there, was transportation at it’s finest. I arrived home at 9:30pm, exhausted, aggravated, and starving. HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ME!

The movie, “Planes, Train, and Automobiles,” sums up my entire ride home. Being a freshman, I was lost, confused, and oblivious to the world. I was finally stress-free from finals and research papers, but later faced the stress of transportation and other weather-mishaps. I was home for one month and got to visit friends, family, malls, Santa and his reindeer, elves, and Frosty. I truly believe the Grinch was watching my every move on my way home that day. Winter 2010 was a defining moment to the start of my college career. “Home is truly where the heart is.”

~Guest Blogger Melissa M, George Mason, Extreme Holiday Traveler

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Freaky Friday: Northeastern State University

The first lead I had for this story came from a website called Haunted Oklahoma, which has a list longer than Santa’s Nice List of supposedly haunted places in the state. Given its length, I was immediately skeptical that there would be any truth behind these claims, but as my deadline approached, I decided to look at one anyway – and I am certainly glad I did.

As luck would have it, I had stumbled upon an extremely well known haunted spot on the campus of Northeastern State University; Seminary Hall. The university not only acknowledges the presence of the unnatural on their campus, they seem to encourage students to explore the legend.

In an article on the school’s website this September, annual tours of the building were announced, led by the Languages and Literature Graduate Student Association. The article said that “ghost hunters have allegedly photographed orbs around the structure – which they deem evidence of spiritual habitation. There are sometimes odd smells, and puzzling sounds are almost the norm. There have also been reports of an occasional ghost sighting, usually a woman in a black uniform or a wedding gown.”

The spirit is said to be Florence Wilson, a woman from the 19th century who dedicated her life to educating women at the Cherokee National Female Seminary. With her strong ties to Seminary Hall in life, it is widely believed that she remained behind centuries after her death.

We want to hear from you, Northeastern State! Have you taken a haunted tour of Seminary Hall? Did you find Florence or other ghostly spirits waiting for you there? Share you stories with us in the comments below and you could see them featured here!

More Freaky Friday

Freaky Friday: University of South Dakota
Freaky Friday: Yale University
Freaky Friday: University of Colorado at Boulder
Freaky Friday: Ohio Dominican University
Freaky Friday: Brooklyn College
Freaky Friday: University of the Cumberlands
Freaky Friday: Saint Martin’s University
Freaky Friday: New Mexico State University
Freaky Friday: The College of New Jersey
Freaky Friday: Ball State University
Freaky Friday: University of Tampa
Freaky Friday: Emporia State University
Freaky Friday: University of South Carolina
Freaky Friday: College of the Canyons
Freaky Friday: West Virginia University
Freaky Friday: Park University
Freaky Friday: Texas Tech

Freaky Friday: William & Mary
Freaky Friday: Columbia University
Freaky Friday: University of Rochester
Freaky Friday: East Tennessee State
Freaky Friday: Washington State University
Freaky Friday: USF Tampa
Freaky Friday: Pacific University
Freaky Friday: Franklin & Marshall
Freaky Friday: University of the South
Freaky Friday: Point Park

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