10 Things To Start In 2017

10 Things To Start In 2017

Resolutions that are so easy you have to do them
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So, here we are in a new year and everyone seems to be pretty excited and hopeful about it, making the usual new years resolutions that either last the whole year or last this first week. These resolutions do not have to be all they are cracked up to be, I mean you can make them as fun or as serious as you want. One of the hardest parts of a resolution is sticking to it, and I get it, making a new habit or trying to break an old one can be difficult. But, I think this list can help you make your own resolutions that are fairly easy to uphold and have a little fun too.

1. Walk every day

Most college students walk in some form each day whether from the dorm to classes or to some extracurricular activities, so this resolution is an easy one. Last year, I started going on runs a few times a week and noticed I felt so much better in terms of my health and energy, so exercise definitely is a good resolution to make. And, since most of us walk around each day, why not take the long way to the parking garage or take some "you" time and see some nature?

2. Eat more fruit

Healthy eating is a popular resolution too, but since most college dining halls offer some form of fruit, it should also be an feasible resolution. Now I totally understand those who really do not like eating fruit, I am right there with you. But, you do not have to eat actual bananas, strawberries, or grapes, I have orange juice about every day with breakfast. So, it is a resolution that is doable, it just takes some effort.

3. Read more for pleasure

As college students, most of what we read is for classes or assignments, and not that those readings are bad, but I think reading for pleasure is so much more valuable. Not only are you reading a book or magazine you are interested in, but you are improving your vocabulary and exercising your mind at the same time. Academic readings can be fairly difficult in terms of comprehension, and so taking time to read literature that is not so dense is good for you. This resolution is not as easy as it sounds for college students, but hopefully would turn into a habit.

4. Smile more

One of my favorite quotes is from Legally Blonde when Elle Woods claims exercise releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy, so of course, happy people do not just kill their husbands. Elle Woods is right, but you do not have to commit to exercise to feel happier because smiling also releases endorphins. A resolution that sounds simple but will also help you feel happier and healthier at the same time.

5. Take time outside

Sunshine is a source of vitamin D and should be a part of our daily routine, but being a student often leaves little time to go outside other than to class or to eat. Even in the winter season, walking for leisure or being outside is important to our health. This resolution can be difficult for those who do live through winter weather, but taking time to go outside and think is also an effective study break as well as good for you brain.

6. Use less technology

As college students, technology is almost essential, but if you limit your time spent on Netflix and read a book for pleasure or go outside, then you will put less of a strain on your eyes and feel energized too. I mean we all have those days when you just need to binge watch a show on Netflix, but too much screen time can affect your eyes and sleeping pattern. Of course, social media is a large part of technology too, and taking time away from those sites can be relaxing and good for you. This resolution is hard because we use technology so much, but it is one to attempt.

7. Good deeds and small acts of kindness

People tell me chivalry does not exist, but I have to disagree because people hold the door open for strangers, pay for the person in front of them, and other random acts of kindness that make me think otherwise. Of course, these small acts of kindness and good deeds start with people being nice, but nice people make others feel nice too. A resolution to make empathy and kindness important character traits, and to become a better person.

8. Snailmail

A friend from high school sent me a letter in the first semester of college and I still have his letter in my college room. Mail is not as popular today because we have the instant communication, but I think sending and receiving letters is a cool resolution. Plus, writing a letter for fun is so easy and so much fun.

9. Hydrate

As students, we can become pretty busy and sometimes forget to drink water, but water is so important for our health. But I am seeing a lot more people carrying reusable water bottles and plastic ones to class, so keeping up with hydration is the key here. This resolution sounds obvious, but many do not drink enough water, so we should make it a habit.

10. Treat yo self

Everyone needs some "me" time once a day or a week, and even though we can be pretty busy this time is necessary too. Treat yo self is a phrase a lot of people like to use sort of ironically, but I think treating yourself is good for you. And, I mean, it should be every once in a while so when you do feel like you need some "me" time, the time is beneficial and has some worth.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.journalismfund.eu/sites/default/files/_original.jpg

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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A Second Person Has Achieved Long-Term Remission Of The HIV Virus

A second man has had long term remission of the HIV virus.

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Over a decade after the first man, known as the Berlin Patient, was declared HIV-free, another patient may also be cured. Though it's too early for scientists to say for sure, the London Patient has been in a long term remission for around 18 months without the help of medication. Both men were treated with a bone marrow transplant. However, these stem cells carried a rare mutation in the genes that affect the production of the CCR5 protein, which HIV viruses latch onto to enter the cell. The virus cannot latch onto the mutated version of the protein, thus blocking its entry into the cells.

With the transplant of these HIV resistant genes, the body effectively builds a new immune system free of the virus.

After the Berlin Patient went into remission, scientists tried and failed to replicate the cure and were unable to until the London Patient, whose HIV count has reduced into undetectable numbers. While this is extremely helpful, bone marrow transplants are not a viable option to cure all HIV infected people, as it is an extremely risky process and comes with many side effects. Even so, scientists are developing ways to extract bone marrow from HIV infected people, genetically modifying them to produce the same mutations on the CCR5 gene or the inability to express that gene at all, and then replacing it back into the patient so they can still build resistance without the negative effects of a bone marrow transplant. There have also been babies whose genomes have been edited to remove the CCR5 gene, allowing them to grow up resistant to HIV.

This does not eliminate the threat of the HIV virus, however.

There is another strand of the virus, called X4, that uses the CXCR4 protein to enter the cell. Even if the editing of the CCR5 allows immunity against one strand, it is possible for a person to be infected with the X4 strand of the virus. Despite this, immunization against one strand could save a countless number of lives, as well as the vaccine that is currently in the stages of development for HIV. Along with the London Patient, there are 37 other patients who have received bone marrow transplants, six of which from donors without the mutation.

Of these patients, number 19, known as the Dusseldorf Patient, has been off anti-HIV drugs for 4 months. It may not be a complete cure, but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

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