2016: The Year of the Meme

2016: The Year of the Meme

The best and worst moments of the hottest year on record.

I think we can all agree that 2016 was a shitty year- so much so, that John Oliver, host of "Last Week Tonight" dedicated the season finale episode to just how terrible it was. Despite popular belief, it wasn't all bad, and we have the memes to prove it.Here are all the best and worst things that happened this year.

January 10 - Musician David Bowie died of cancer at age 69.

January 14 - Actor Alan Rickman died of pancreatic cancer at age 69.

February 19 - Harper Lee, author of American classic To Kill a Mockingbird, died at 89.

February 28 - Leonardo DiCaprio finally won an Oscar for his leading role in The Revenant. And he used his acceptance speech time to talk about climate change. Bravo, Leo!

March 26 - 32 people were killed in terrorist bombings in airports and metro stations in Brussels, Belgium.

April 21 - Music icon Prince died of an overdose at age 57.

May 28 - The infamous gorilla, Harambe, was shot at the Cincinatti Zoo when a child fell into the gorilla enclosure, leading to widespread controversy and, of course, memes.

June 3 - Boxer Muhammad Ali died of Parkinson's disease at age 74.

June 10 - The Voice singer Christina Grimmie was shot and killed during a meet-and-greet following a live performance in Orlando. Her brother tackled her killer, preventing further gunshots

June 12 - The worst mass shooting in American history occurred at a gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, Florida. 49 people were killed and 53 were injured.

June 14 - A two-year-old boy was killed by an alligator in Disney.

June 19 - Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov in Star Trek, died tragically at age 27 when he was pinned between his vehicle and the gate to his home, after driving friends to their homes.

July 6 - Philando Castile, a black man, was shot dead by a police officer after being pulled over for a broken tailight, and was live-streamed via Facebook by his fiance and passenger, Diamond Reynolds. Their four-year-old daughter was in the backseat.

July 7 - A march against police brutality was held in Dallas, during which five police officers were killed by a sniper.

July 14 - A terrorist ran people over with a truck during the Bastille Day festival in Nice, France. 85 people were killed.

August 9 - American Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps breaks the 2,186-year-old record for most individual gold medals, set by Leonidas of Rhodes in 152 BC. Phelps completed the Rio 2016 Olympic games with 23 gold medals, and 28 medals overall.

Rio 2016 was probably the best part of America's summer this year. With all the tragedies happening at home and around the world, focusing on the Olympics and celebrating American wins, including our amazing Final Five gymnast team, was a relief to most. The memes that came out of the Olympic games were comic relief, too.

August 13 - Kenny Baker, who played R2-D2 in Star Wars, died at 81- despite the fact that he was not expected to live past his teenage years due to his physical condition; he was 3 feet, 8 inches tall.

August 29 - Gene Wilder, AKA Willy Wonka, and the subject of the famous meme, died at age 83.

September 1 - San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was widely criticized for kneeling during the national anthem.

November 2 - Chicago Cubs win the World Series for the first time in 108 years. The last time the Cubs won the World Series was in the year 1908.

November 9 - After Donald Trump is elected president of the United States, protests break out across the country and #NotMyPresident begins trending.

December 4 - New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady becomes the "winningest" quarterback of all time with 201 wins in 248 games, beating the previous record set by Peyton Manning: 200 wins in 293 games.

December 4 - After months of protest, #NoDAPL wins; the permit to drill the Dakota Access pipeline at Standing Rock reservation is denied.

December 13 - Actor Alan Thicke, father of Robin Thicke, died of heart failure at age 69.

December 25 - Musician George Michael died of heart failure while home alone on Christmas morning. He was 53.

December 27 - Carrie Fisher, AKA Princess Leia, died of a heart attack at age 60.

As 2016 (finally) draws to a close, let's look back at how far we've come. So many deaths, both of celebrities, and of civilians randomly attacked by violence and terrorism, occurred this year. But I truly believe we're in a better place as this year comes to a close than we were in the midst of all its craziness. In the words of John Oliver...

Good riddens.

Cover Image Credit: Getty Images

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Empowering Mantras That Soothe The Soul

Learn and repeat these mantras to center yourself.

January is the month of change. We can decide to change at any time during the year, but the start of the new year pushes us to be our best self. If you have something you want to stop, or start doing, now is the time. As I sit in Spain far away from my family, friends, and peanut butter (which is shockingly impossible to find in Spain), I’m confronted with a new challenge and a new opportunity to grow. Although studying abroad is an incredible opportunity and I am more than grateful, I would be lying if I said there aren’t moments of crying in the shower and longing for my body pillow at home (his name is Maxwell and he is pink, and no, I’m not pregnant).

Whenever I get overwhelmed I find it extremely helpful to stop, take a deep breath (or sixty) and repeat calming mantras to myself until the feeling passes. Mantras can be words or sentences and phrases that you can repeat to yourself anytime, although traditionally they have been used during meditation. The goal is to help focus the mind internally and block out any external distractions. It helps to center you and mentally decongest. Scientifically, the benefits are incredible.

The repetition of mantras have been linked to a decrease in heart rate, brain waves and the ability to slow down breathing.

“I am enough”

Fake it till you make it. Believe it or not, say it over and over again. We are what we think, so think positive.

“This too shall pass”

Life goes on even when you think it can’t. We have to experience the peaks and valleys to live a full life. Remember that in a bad moment, it will pass and a new feeling will replace it. And treasure and revel in the good moments because you know what you have overcome and what you may face in the future.

“I am grateful”

Your nail breaks, you spill your coffee, you tumble down a flight of stairs. Plenty of things happen throughout our days that may cloud our overall perception. Challenge yourself in those negative moments to list three events or people you may have overlooked that made your day brighter. Gratitude literally alters the way our brains process our emotions and thoughts and the best part is that we are in control of making our thoughts positive.

“Let it Be”

Time and time again we learn this lesson. It is what it is, what will be will be. That’s not to say it’s always a graceful moment of acceptance, but there’s a certain freedom in knowing that so many things are out of our control.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/buildings-city-exercise-girl-374632/

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5 Must Things To Do During Second Semester

Looking for things to do during this winter season? This list has got you covered.

For many of us who have just started our second semester, or are about to, the stress of college is about to come at you full force and smack you in the face. Personally, I find second semester to be much more difficult compared to first semester.

First semester is filled with tailgates, football games, hayrides, pumpkin patches, Thanksgiving, Halloween, the list can go on and on. Due to the fact that there's so many more activities to do first semester than second, that can lead to a semi-dull second semester. With that being said however, here's a list of things you can do to prevent all that boredom.

1. Go to other sporting events that your college offers you

College sports are one of the best parts of living in America so you might as well take full advantage of them. Even though football season may be over, hockey and basketball season are in full swing right now. Also, by end of March and beginning of April, baseball will start as well. Going to games as a student is a great way to have fun with your friends while not having to bust open the piggy bank.

2. Pajama and movie nights

A simple enough idea, but has the potential to have tons of fun if you decide to give it your all. During the winter, especially up north, it can be brutally cold so staying inside is priority majority of the time. But that doesn't mean there's not a way to enjoy all that cold.

Curl up with your best friends whether it be in your dorm room or apartment while showing off the funniest or best pajamas you own. Pick out your favorite movies and settle down for a night full of laughter, gossip, and memories.

3. Enjoy the outdoors

Even though I just said that winters up north can be brutally, there's still plenty to offer when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors. Go ice skating and watch all of your friends struggle to stay upright and fall down, or go skiing/snowboarding and enjoy the beauty of the snow while getting a great workout in.

Or, you could be like my friends and steal dining hall food trays and use those to sled down some hills. Having these options can help you look forward to the winter and enjoy activities other than staying inside.

4. Go to a museum

Learning about different cultures or parts of history can be a lot more fascinating than people would like to admit. Go to your local college museum and check out cool facts there or drive to a city around you to check out other museums as well. If you're close to a moderate to large city, you will usually be able to find a history museum, aquarium, or some type of science museums. These are fun ways to learn new facts about the past, present, and future of our world.

5. Day trip

Spontaneous (or not spontaneous) day trips can be a blast with your friends or significant other. Choose a random place to go and drive there. Find something to do wherever you go. You'll make some great memories that'll last you a lifetime. It doesn't even have to be far, it can be only 30 minutes away and still be just as fun. Where the destination is doesn't matter, it's who you're going with that matters.

I hope these 5 ideas of what to do in the winter will help you enjoy your second semester of college while still having as much as first semester. After all, you're only in college for four years, so take advantage of everything you can do while you can!

Cover Image Credit: Maddie Blank

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