A Dummy's Guide To Everything

A Dummy's Guide To Everything

The REAL guides we all need to rely on.

It seems like people struggle more and more everyday to do simple tasks, or they lack the motivation to get up and be productive. Whether it's not knowing how to be social and talk to people, or unaware of their surroundings when they drive, people have gotten -dare I say it- dumber.

If only there were some manuals or guides on how to improve certain skills or necessary requirements for basic survival. These are the most influential "A Dummy's Guide To" that most people should be reading.

1. "How to Drive A Car Properly, A Dummy's Guide to Driving."

I grew up in Miami, and learned to drive with some of the world's worst drivers. No turn signals, not allowing others to merge while they run out of road, and randomly stopping in the middle of the road for no apparent reason were just some of the things I learned to deal with while driving. Trust me, this book would be a crucial part of some people's study material for a driver's permit.

2. "How to use Proper Grammar when Writing and Speaking, A Dummy's Guide to the English Language."

This one is aimed at the people who only speak one language, their first language, English, and yet they can't spell, nor can they tell the difference between "they're, their, and there" or "where, we're, and were." We've grown accustomed to typing in acronyms or strange abbreviations for everything, and it's begun to seep into our everyday speech. This guide would benefit a portion of college students that still haven't quite mastered basic grammar, and who think "your shit" and "you're shit" are interchangeable.

3. "How to Dress According to the Weather, A Dummy's Guide to Not Freezing in the Cold."

Shout out to all my girls that sacrificed their health for their Halloween costumes. If the weather channel says it's a chilly 52 degrees out, there is no need to wear half a top or just a skirt without some kind of tights to keep you from freezing. I know, it's so hard to choose between looking good and feeling good, but sometimes you've got to listen to Mother Nature and dress in a warm fashion. And to that guy on campus that wears shorts and flip-flops when everyone else is bundled up and says, "it's not that cold," just stop and put a damn sweater on.

4. "How to Take a Hint, A Dummy's Guide to Getting Turned Down."

The girl at the bar has turned away from you at least three times already. The guy that texts you sporadically because he's "busy" has only been responding with one-worded texts. This is a guide for those that need to learn how to take a hint. People are trying to be nice and let you down easy. They're either not interested or in a relationship, and most likely aren't looking for any more friends. So take the hint and back off before you get hurt.

5. "How to Blend in, A Dummy's Guide to Not Being Out of Place."

We've all been there. Your friends invited you out somewhere, and you know you'll stick out like a sore thumb. Maybe you were the only Freshman at the Upper Class party, and everyone knew it. Maybe you showed up to a tailgate without any knowledge of the sport. This guide is to help those awkward moments of not blending in by demonstrating the simple steps on how to blend in: act calm, be cool, stay collected.

6. "How to Keep Your Mouth Shut, A Dummy's Guide to When to Shut Up."

First time meeting your significant other's parents. You can't stop rambling about things your S.O's parent's don't know about. This book would be the Bible to those moments of "oh God I can't believe I just said that." Or you're trying to pick up a girl at a party, and every word out of your mouth is making her want to run away, just not with you. Know when to shut up, and when to act.

7. "How to Do Your Groceries When You Live on Your Own, A Dummy's Guide to Being an Adult."

Grocery shopping is hard enough as it is, with all the brands offering the same products for different prices, but now you have to shop for your groceries on your own, for yourself. This guide book would teach the basics, including the food pyramid, which we all same to forget whenever we shop, or how much pasta we really need to buy.

8. "How Not to Spend All of Your Money on Useless Crap, A Dummy's Guide to Saving Money."

A majority of people have no idea how to budget, and proceed to spend their life savings on useless crap, like fuzzy socks for your dog or buying shots for the whole bar even though you only showed up with two friends. Budgeting is a huge deal, and a guide on how to budget would be a smart investment for most people.

Cover Image Credit: John Arnold & Michael Becker

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I'm That Girl With A Deep Voice, But I'm Not Some Freak Of Nature

I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man.


My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I joke that rather than getting higher, my voice got lower throughout puberty.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when my family members say "Hi Todd" when they pick up the phone when I call. Todd is my brother. I am a girl.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to laugh when I have been asked by other females if they're "in the right bathroom" when I tell them "I'm not in line" or "someone's in here" when there's a knock on the stall.

Keep in mind that in most female bathrooms, there are no urinals present and there is a sign outside the door that says "WOMEN." Quite obviously, they're in the correct bathroom, just thrown off by the octave of my voice.

For the girl who asked me if she was in the right bathroom because she was "caught off guard and thought I was a boy," I'm just wondering...

What part about my long hair, mascara, shorts not down to my knees, presence (small presence, but a presence none the less) of boobs, and just my overall demeanor was not enough validation that you are, in fact, in the correct restroom?

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. I have learned to hold back tears when someone tells me that I sound like a man. Or, when someone calls me over to talk to their friends so they can see how "offsetting" my voice sounds to them.

My favorite story is when I was in a store, and I asked one of the women there a question about a product.

This woman had the audacity to ask me when I "went through my transformation."

She was suggesting that I was a transgender girl because of the sound of my voice. Please recognize that I respect and wholeheartedly accept the trans- population. Please also recognize that I was born a girl, still am a girl, always will be a girl, and asking someone if they are a different gender than they appear to be is not the best way to make a sale.

Frustrated, I told her that she should find a better plastic surgeon and walked out.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be.

And, to make matters worse, I am not your typical "girly-girl."

I die for the New York Rangers, have maybe two dresses in my closet but three shelves full of hand-me-down sweatshirts from my brother and Adidas pants. I do not own a "blouse" nor do I plan on owning one except maybe for business-casual occasions.

Naturally, when a deep voice is paired with a sports-oriented, athletic short-loving, sarcastic girl who couldn't tell you the difference between a stiletto and an average high-heel, I GUESS things can seem "off." However, regardless of the difference you see/hear, no one has the right to make someone feel bad about themselves.

What I always struggled with the most is how (most, moral, common-sense) people will never tell someone they don't know, who may be overweight, that "they're fat" or that they don't like the shirt that they're wearing. Yet, because my voice is not something physically seen, it has become fair game for strangers and acquaintances alike to judge and make comments about.

I used to break down into hysterics when I heard a comment about my voice, whether I was six years old or seventeen years old.

There are times that I still do because I am so fed up and just completely bamboozled by the fact that at the age of twenty, there are still people who just have a blatant disregard for others' feelings and a lack of understanding of what is okay to say and what is not okay to say.

But, just like I ask those people not to judge me, I suppose I can't judge them on their lack of common sense and respect for others.

I'd be lying if I said that the hundreds of thousands of comments I've heard and received targeted at my voice growing up did not play a role in my life. I used to want to be a sports broadcaster. I no longer want to be heard on the radio or seen on TV; snarky comments about my voice being one of the reasons why (among others, like a change of interest and just overall life experiences).

I'd be lying if I said that my struggle with public speaking didn't partially stem from negative feedback about my voice.

I'd be lying if I said that there weren't days I tried to talk as little as possible because I didn't want to be judged and that I am sometimes hesitant to introduce myself to new people because I'm scared my voice will scare them away.

I would also be lying if I said that my voice didn't make me who I am.

I joke constantly about it now, because half the shit that comes out of my mouth mixed with my actions, interests, beliefs, etc., would sound absolutely WHACK if I had a high-pitched "girly" voice.

My voice matches my personality perfectly, and the criticism I have and continue to receive for my "manly" sounding voice has helped shaped me into who I am today. I have learned to love my voice when people have relentlessly tried to make me hate it. I have learned to take the frustration I felt towards my voice and turn it into sympathy for those who have something going on in their life, and therefore feel compelled to make a comment about me, a stranger's voice, to make themselves feel better.

I've learned that to laugh at yourself is to love yourself.

And, I say this not for sympathy. Not for someone to say, "Wait, Syd, I love your voice!"

I say this because I want it to be a reminder for people to watch what they say, and use that noggin before you speak. I say this because I also want to be the voice (haha, get it, 'voice') for those who feel like they've lost theirs.

My voice is deep. Always has been, always will be. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

So no, I would not be a good alto in a choir because I think I'm tone deaf. And, when you call MY phone number, it is very unlikely that it is my brother or dad answering. Just say hello, because 99.9% of the time, if it's ME you're calling, it's ME that's answering.

Dr. Suess said, "A person's a person no matter how small."

Now I'm saying, "A girl is a girl no matter her octave."

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10 Thoughts You Have During The Best Month Of The Year, AKA October

How can you NOT love October... oops, sorry I mean Monstober.


October is seriously the best month of the year, and if you disagree, well you're just wrong. I mean seriously, between the sweater weather and Halloween prep and the smell of pumpkin, the month of October is truly a gift.

And of course, a month this incredible brings about a million and one thoughts about what it will bring and how it will be AMAZING! However, a million thoughts would be a lot to capture so I'm going to tell you about the ten that were most prevalent for me on October 1st.

1. "Where did September go?"


I mean September really only is Pre-October, and I'm happy that it's over, but what? Wasn't it August yesterday?

2. "How soon is too soon to hang up Halloween decorations?" 


It's never too soon. You've already come so far by waiting till this very day. Go ahead and get your pumpkins and black and orange streamers!

3. "Do you think I can still use my Harris Teeter discount for pumpkins?"


This got me so excited until I realized that the Harris Teeter student discount doesn't apply after a certain amount of time, and that's just unfair.

4. "Wait I hope they haven't moved on from Halloween and onto Christmas decorations in stores yet."


This is a serious problem. What if I need to add to my Halloween collection? I'm sorry I didn't remember to in August when Halloween decorations were out.

5. "Okay, I'm already behind on Halloween costumes. What am I going to do?"


Halloween costumes are a big, if not the biggest, deal, and they take lots of brainstorming and planning. There's so much to consider, You have to look cute and be original; not everyone can dress up as a boxer or an alien AGAIN this year.

6. "Wait, how many days of Halloweekend are there this year?"


Here's where costume planning gets complicated. Not only do you have to plan for one day, but Halloween itself is a several-day celebration that you have to be absolutely completely prepared for!

7. "Pumpkin spice is finally acceptable!"


And I'm not just talking about the lattes. Pumpkin muffins, ice cream, bread, pie, etc!!! Sure, September is technically fall and therefore pumpkin spice season, but I'm a firm believer in October as the true start to when you can stuff your face with pumpkin spiced foods all day everyday without judgment.

8. "Is it social acceptable to start eating candy corn again?"


The candy corn debate is ongoing, but October is truly the only time when candy corn lovers can indulge with no judgment.

9. "Netflix better have "Halloweentown," or I will sue!" 


The "Halloweentown" series is only one of the greatest series of Halloween movies of all time; they're classics. For us college students who don't always have time to watch movies when they air on regular TV, Netflix is a go-to for Halloween movies. But if Netflix is lacking in the best Halloween movies, we're going to have a problem.

10. "How much homework do I have for tonight? I can make time for a Halloween movie marathon, right?"


There's always time. It's important to your mental health. Your professors won't mind.

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