These are 20 things to do that aren't too extravagant or energy worthy, but will pass the time throughout your day!
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History that you actually want to read about in your free time.
The traditions of Halloween have come a long way from their ancient origins. Originating around 2,000 years ago, a tradition known as "All Hollows' Eve" began at the end of the harvest season. The ancient Celts would dress in costumes and light a bonfire to ward off evil spirits. Back then, with the cold brought death, and it was a way they believed to keep them safe.
So how did the holiday make its way to America? Well, in the first half of the nineteenth century, it was not a very commonly known or celebrated holiday. It was mostly limited to colonial New England. When the customs of the colonies combined with the customs of the Native Americans, new traditions formed, such as parties that included stories of the dead, fortune telling, dancing, and singing.
Still, the holiday was not celebrated everywhere in the country. It wasn't until Irish immigrants came to America that the holiday was popularized. Irish and English traditions combined to form, you guessed it, trick-or-treating.
The evolution of Halloween in America didn't stop there. In the late 1800s, a movement began to make Halloween a more family-friendly holiday — i.e. fewer witches and ghosts and more candy and games. Parties began focusing on festive costumes, food, and games. No more spooky stories and fortune telling!
So, that's the history of the holiday we know and love. Now you know Halloween was not invented by the candy companies!
I’ve done my fair share of trekking around the world; however, I forgot a few important things as I embarked on my journey to move to Paris, France, for a couple months. I feel blessed to be in this place known for its good food, beautiful architecture, historical artifacts, and lights. I feel nervous to be in this place, but I have already learned a lot that I will hopefully continue to expound on as I live my daily life here.
I had the privilege of my mom traveling with me for a week, and when I waved goodbye to her at the metro station, it was like the scene in “The Lizzie McGuire Movie,” when her mom starts to cry, so she starts to cry. Yeah, mom and I both did our share of crying—unbeknown is who started crying first. It was probably me. Anyway, I realized something very important on my way back to the flat: I am actually living here. I am a resident of Paris for the next two months—what an amazing opportunity. It felt more like a trip while my mom was here, mostly because we did so many fun things. Now, however, I get to be one of the “natives,” walking to and from work every day.
The thing that is different about me from the rest of the actual natives is that I realize that my time is limited here. I have this disease, or blessing—however you decide to look at it—where I tend to want to make the most of everything. A ride on the metro is not just an everyday ride on the metro for me. It is a time to be a light, to enjoy the sights I see through the window, to listen to the different languages all around me, and to reflect on the events of the day or the week. I like to think that I have this goofy grin on my face because of the light that Christ shines in and through my life—if it weren’t for Him, I would have nothing, be nothing, and I certainly would not be embarking on this adventure.
Something I seemed to overlook was the language barrier. There has been more than one time that I said “hello” to someone, or wanted to say “gracias.” People have assumed that I am an American before I even open my mouth, so most of them will speak English to me. When I ran into people who don’t know how to speak English, my very little knowledge of Portuguese and French only gets me so far. I offered a girl speaking Portuguese some chocolate, but when she shook her head no, I didn’t know what to say. I always have a lot to say—my fiancé, family, and apartment mates can all attest to that. Not being able to speak to someone is such a hard thing for me. I just try to smile and point and gesture and hope that they understand. I am thankful that the school I am teaching in is an American school; although, as I am writing this, everything is being said in a British accent in my head. Perhaps I am watching too much “Downton Abbey,” along with only hearing English spoken with a British accent. Maybe I will return with a British accent; I guess we will have to see.
My mom did make sure that I did a ton before my actual teaching experience begins. We say the Eiffel Tower, went to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, explored the Muse D’Orsay, prayed in Notre Dame, enjoyed Disneyland Paris, and were enamored by the Palace of Versailles. That was Monday through Thursday, a different adventure for each day. All were amazing, and all involve stories too long for this article to house.
There are many more stories and adventures to come—stay tuned. Whenever you combine teaching with anything or travel with anything, the stories you hear are bound to require your ears to wrap themselves around each tale. I am thankful. I look forward to my time here. I look forward to why God wants me here. I hope to bring His light to the City of Lights.
Or any smartphone, for that matter
I am 21 years old, and I do not have a smartphone. While my peers have gone through countless phones, upgrading the moment Apple or Samsung releases a new model, I have only owned three phones. I’ve used my current phone, a Samsung Intensity III (a slide phone with a keyboard), for about two years.
Throughout high school and college, friends have asked me, “When are you going to upgrade your phone?” To be honest, I don’t know, and I don’t care. When I bought my current phone, I had the option to choose a smartphone and turned it down. At the Verizon store, I had hoped to find the same phone I’d already been using (I didn’t want to learn how to use a new one) when my dad mentioned that I could get a smartphone — but only if I paid for the data plan.
So, I’ll say it: I’m a college student. That phrase is usually synonymous with “I’m broke.” While that isn’t necessarily true, being a college student to me means that I’m at a stage in my life when I should start saving money. Eventually, I’ll go to grad school, pay rent, and shop for my own groceries. Saving now can really help later.
While phone shopping, I weighed the costs and benefits: Buying a smartphone meant that, on top of the usual texting and calling plan, I would have Wi-Fi and Internet access. Though that is well and good, I had a functional laptop I could use for the Internet. If I didn’t really need the Internet, was the price worth it? My data plan would have been about $30 a month — so about $360 a year. That’s a nice chunk of change to still have in my pocket. Prices may have changed since then, but for my family, our four-person phone plan costs more a month than our heating bill. I’d rather be warm than have data.
Money aside, I have more personal reasons for not upgrading. It drives me up the wall when I hang out with my friends and they spend most of that time texting, Snapchatting, playing games, or scrolling through Facebook and Instagram. If they have such harsh separation anxiety with their boyfriends and can’t say, “Hanging out with friends — I’ll talk to you later,” then their time is probably better spent with their boyfriends than with me. Do they text their friends that much while with their boyfriends? No. What happened to sisters before misters?
People joke about how a dozen people can sit together at a restaurant and all be on their phones, but that’s a real problem. I have suffered more than a few awkward lunch breaks at work, sitting at a table and holding my sandwich with two hands while my coworkers double-task — one hand picking at their fries as the other scrolls through social media. The silence is only broken when a frustrated employee joins the table with a new horror story.
The real horror story is the reaction people have to their phones. In Lucie Fink’s YouTube video “5 Days Without a Cell Phone,” several people say how they would feel if they didn’t have a phone. Most said they would physically fight another person. One girl actually said, “Why talk to people in real life when you can just talk to them on your phone?” What? Compared to Lucie’s positive outlook on losing her phone, those people’s comments seemed that much more profound. Similarly, I applauded Prince Ea’s video “Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?” He preached exactly what I think: People are so busy trying to connect to others virtually that they begin to lose their real relationships.
I don’t have a smartphone, because I don’t want to become another one of these media-crazed people. Not that I will never get a smartphone — when I graduate and find a job, I understand that I will need the constant Internet access to keep track of work matters. For now, while I still have the luxury of free time with friends over winter and spring breaks, I’m going to spend them actually talking to people face to face. A phone won’t define me — I will.
For the student who used to get straight A's in high school without even trying
In high school, I felt like I didn’t need to study to get good grades. But in reality, I tried so hard in high school. I never skipped class, I never took a zero on an assignment and I paid attention in class. So yeah, when it came test time, I barely needed to study.
This is why college is a slap in the face to a large amount of straight A-high-school students. In high school a person has complete structure and responsibility. Yes, college students have this too, but it is more lenient.
Below are my top 5 reasons why college is challenging for recent high school graduates:
College students have too much freedomPhoto by Manny Moreno on Unsplash
College students have freedom, which is a responsibility in itself.
In college, if you don’t feel like going to class — you can just skip. No one will call your mom. You won’t have to sit out of the soccer game you have after school (this was a rule at my high school – if you have an unexcused absence for school you cannot participate in sporting events that day).
College courses are harder
In college, the course work is harder, you don’t have a mandatory study hall period every day to do homework and study. You also have more free time to spend with your friends or to spend on your hobbies.
In high school, my schedule was so packed with extra circular activities, I didn’t have time for leisurely things like Netflix. Having more free time allows college students to procrastinate. Also, you want to hang out with your new dorm friends.
More homework in high school than in collegePhoto by Tim Gouw on Unsplash
If you think about it, you probably had a lot more homework in high school than you do in college. I know I did. In college, a professor does not want to grade hundreds of written assignments every day.
Most college homework is to read a unit for a possible pop-quiz, but let’s be honest. We are going to skim it even if we read it at all. Most of the course points in college are from midterm and final exams.
Phone is more of a distraction in college than high school
When you do go to a college class, no one cares if you sit there on your phone the whole time. In high school, I left my phone in my backpack during class, and didn’t even really think about it.
In a typical large college lecture you can see several people on their laptops watching Netflix during class. You can tell a lot of students are there only for attendance points. I’m guilty of zoning out during a boring lecture to play Candy Crush countless times.
Denial and procrastinationPhoto by Michael Discenza on Unsplash
Many of these straight-A-in-high-school students play it off as no big deal because, “I’m smart. I always get good grades. It will be fine.” But then it is finals week ...
College is all fun and games until you realize you have to learn a whole semester's worth of course work in a week.
A listicle that gives just a little insight into beloved things in Israel.
A is for Aroma
B is for Bamba
And you thought Cheese puffs were the best of the best, meet the snack champ.
C is for Challah
D is for Dead Sea
Everyone says they float. You see pictures of people floating. But trust me, you won't believe it until you're there, floating!!!
E is for Eilat
With it's boardwalk and boat rides, Eilat is a magical city in Israel unlike any other.
F is for Falafel
G is for Golan Heights
H is for Hebrew
Even if you go to Israel and can't speak a word of it, you'll pick up on a handful of common sayings and words while you're there. In just a few days you'll be saying "toda" (thank you) and "s'leecha" (excuse me) like you've been living there your whole life!
I is for IDF
The Israeli Defense Force. The army of soldiers that protects and serves Israel with love and dedication every day. Anywhere you go in Israel, you'll see soldiers. Not only are they strong and brave, but they are also kind and friendly. Israel's mandatory draft brings 18 year olds into the army for two to three years, depending on gender. These people are wise beyond their years, and just talking to them is an experience you'll never regret or forget.
J is for Jerusalem
K is for Kehillat-Kadoshah
Jewish Community, something that is filled with love and pride.
L is for Love
M is for Masada
N is for Negev Desert
Spend a night in the Beduin Tents in the Negev desert. Never in your life will you see a sky with more shooting stars or a more beautiful sunrise.
O is for Old City
In Jerusalem, Old City is the home of the holiest cites of the Jewish people.
P is for Pop Rock Chocolate
Q is for Quality
Everything, from the food to the people, the owners of shops in markets and tour guides, everything about the country is top notch!!
R is for Red Sea
Right between Israel and Jordan, the Red Sea is absolutely beautiful (and very fun to go snorkeling in!)
S is for Shuk
Machane Yehuda, Shuk HaCarmel, and so many more amazing markets with food, boutiques, jewelry shops and soo much more!
T is for Tzfat
Looking for an opal hamsa necklace? Bracelet? Earrings? This is your spot!
U is for Unleavened Bread
V is for Vivacious
Nowhere else in the world will you find a country with as much pep in their step as you will find in Israel.
W is for Western Wall
X is for eXcitement
Because what's more exciting than being in Israel?! The place of your people, this country is simply amazing.
Y is for Yad Vashem
There aren't words to explain what it's like walking through this museum. Unlike any other museum dedicated to the memorial and remembrance of the holocaust, this museum literally walks you through the horrors and suffering of those in the holocaust.
Z is for Zikaron
As in Yom Zikaron, Israeli Memorial Day. Parties and parades in the street, Israeli flags draped over balconies and shoulders, it's a celebration unlike any other.
1. Brittany Morgan, National Writer's Society
2. Radhi, SUNY Stony Brook
3. Kristen Haddox, Penn State University
4. Jennifer Kustanovich, SUNY Stony Brook
5. Clare Regelbrugge, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign