5 Things That Only Happen In College

5 Things That Only Happen In College

College is a weird place, but you know you love it.
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Your time in college is a time unlike any other that you have or will experience in your life. You're kind of an adult, but you're not really considered an adult yet. You kind of have responsibilities, but not really. It's weird. It's confusing. It's hard. It's exhausting. But more than anything, it's so much fun. And needless to say, there are definitely a lot of things that only happen in college.

Here are a few.

1. Getting milkshakes in the middle of the night With people you don't really know

This is especially common at the beginning of freshman year. One time my roommate and I got milkshakes at 1 a.m. with two people we had just met that night. We're still friends with one of them, but we've never talked to the other person since that night.

2. Staying up all night to write a paper

In high school, you probably had your mom on your back all the time keeping you from procrastinating until the very last minute, but in college, that's not the case. And to be honest, you kind of wish your mom was there to bug you about that paper so you wouldn't end up falling asleep with your laptop in your lap and still wearing your glasses.

3. Crying every time you see a dog on campus

Okay. Let's be real. Everybody cries a little when they see a dog, whether they're in college or not, but when you're in college, you don't necessarily get to see a dog every day. Plus, you have to live with the sadness of knowing you're not allowed to have a dog in your dorm.

4. Making friends really quickly

It's so funny. You meet someone, really like them, and then, suddenly, it's two months later and you realize you spend every free moment you have with them. But you love it (and them) so much.

5. Being in a coffee shop more than your dorm

Let's be real. Your dorm is just for sleeping. You're never actually there.

Cover Image Credit: heidigrae

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4 reasons how Drake's New Album May Help Us Fight Mental Illness

Increasing Evidence Points to Music as a Potential Solution to the Mental Health Problem.

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Okay, You caught me!

I am NOT just talking about everybody's favorite actor-turned-rapper— or second, if you've seen Childish Gambino's "This is America" music video. Unfortunately, current research hasn't explored specific genres and artists. However, studies HAVE provided significant evidence in possibilities for music to treat mental health disorders. Now, before you say something that your parents would not be proud of, ask yourself if you can really blame me for wanting to get your attention. This is an urgent matter concerning each one of us. If we all face the truth, we could very well reach one step closer to solving one of society's biggest problems: Mental Health.

The Problem:

As our nation continues to bleed from tragedies like the horrific shooting that shattered the lives of 70 families whose loved ones just wanted to watch the "Dark Knight Rises" during its first hours of release, as well as the traumatic loss of seventeen misfortunate innocents to the complications of mental health disorders in the dear city of Parkland— a city mere hours from our very own community— it's impossible to deny the existence of mental illness. As many of us can already vouch, mental illness is much more common than what most would think: over 19 million adults in America suffer from a mental health disorder. Picture that: a population slightly less than that of Florida is plagued by hopelessness, isolation, and utter despair.

Disease in the form of depression holds millions of people prisoner, as anxieties instill crippling desperation and too many struggles with finding peace. This can be you. It could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your friend, your roommate, your fraternity brother, your sorority sister, your lab partner, or just your classmate that sits in the corner of the lecture hall with a head buried into a notebook that camouflages all emotion.

I hope we— the UCF community— understand the gravity of the problem, but it's clear that some still see mental illness as a disease that affects only a handful of "misfits" who "terrorize" our streets, while the numbers reveal more to the issue. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental health disorder. The problem is so serious that suicide has risen to become the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds. While many continue to ask for more antidepressants and even the occasional "proper spanking," recent studies indicate increases in occurrence, such as one in depression from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. So, clearly, none of that is working.

The Evidence:

If we really want to create a world where our children are free from the chains of mental illness, we need to think outside the box. Doctors and scientists won't really talk about this since it's still a growing field of research, but music has strong potential. We don't have any options at the moment, which means we need to change our mindset about music and to continue to explore its medicinal benefits. If you're still skeptical because of the title, then please consider these 4 pieces of solid evidence backed by scientific research:

1. Music has been proven to improve disorders like Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers sponsored by the National Institute of Health— the country's largest research agency— saw an improvement in the daily function of patients with Parkinson's Disease. This makes patients shake uncontrollably, which often prevents them from complete functionality. The disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine— a chemical your neurons, or brain cells, release; since music treats this shortage, there's an obvious ability to increase dopamine levels. As numerous studies connect dopamine shortages to mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and ADHD, someone could possibly use music's proven ability to increase dopamine levels to treat said problems.

2. Listening to the music has the potential to activate your brain's "reward center."

In 2013, Valorie Salimpoor and fellow researchers conducted a study that connected subjects' pleasure towards music to a specific part of the brain. This key structure, the nucleus accumbens, is the body's "reward center," which means all of you have experienced its magical powers. In fact, any time the brain detects a rewarding sensation— drinking ice-cold water after a five-mile run in sunny, humid Florida, eating that Taco Bell chalupa after a long happy hour at Knight's Library, and even consuming recreational drugs— this structure releases more of that fantastic dopamine. So, with further research into specifics, doctors may soon be prescribing your daily dose of tunes for your own health.

3. Listening to Music may be more effective than prescription anti-anxiety medication.

In 2013, Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin— two accomplished doctors in psychology— reviewed a study wherein patients waiting to undergo surgery were given either anti-anxiety medications or music to listen to. The study took into account cortisol levels, which are used daily by healthcare professionals to gauge patient levels. This "stress hormone" was actually found to be lower in patients who listened to classical music rather those who took the recommended dose of prescription drugs. Sit there and think about that for a second: these patients actually felt more relaxed with something as simple as MUSIC than with chemicals that are made specifically to force patients into relaxation before surgery. Why pop a Xanax when you can just listen to Beethoven?

4. Music may release the chemicals that help you naturally relax and feel love.

Further studies continue to justify music's place in the medical world as results demonstrate increases in substances such as prolactin— a hormone that produces a relaxing sensation— as well as oxytocin— the substance that promotes warmth and happiness during a hug between mother and child. So this study basically showed us that music has the potential to actually make you feel the way you did when Mom or Dad would embrace you with the warmest hug you've ever felt.

The Future:

The evidence I present you with today is ultimately just a collection of individual situations where specific people found specific results. There are a lot of variables when it comes to any research study; therefore, data is never truly certain. We should take these findings as strong suggestions to a possible solution, but we must remember the possibility of failure in our search.

The neurochemistry behind the music and its medicinal properties is just beginning to unfold before the scientific community. In fact, extremely qualified scientists from the National Institute of Health— the organization that basically runs any important medical study in the United States— continue to remind us of the subject's youth with the constant use of "potential" behind any and all of their findings. Therefore, it's our responsibility as a community to look into this— not just that of the scientists at the National Institute of Health.

We're all surrounded by music. It's at the bars. It's in our ears during all-night sessions at the UCF library. It's keeping us awake through East Colonial traffic at 7:00 AM while hordes of students focus on their cell phone screens instead of the paved roads ahead. It's in the shoes we wear, the actions we take, and the words we say. IF YOU'RE READING THIS: it's accessible to you. So, don't be shy, and try to play with your Spotify account, or even just on YouTube, and gauge the power of music. As more and more of us see the light, we can promote the movement and carry on as more research comes out to support us.

Drop the bars, drop those addictive pills that destroy your body slowly, and pick up your headphones and press PLAY.

Just relax, close your eyes, smile, and live.

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi

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Planting Seeds In Life With Purpose

Mean what you say, say what you mean, have a passion in your heart and love like crazy.

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The same seeds we plant in life we get to watch grow.

If someone plants a seed they do so with anticipation waiting for the seed to grow to become something greater, something beautiful.

We do the same thing in the lives that we daily. With purpose and a hope that in the future our lives will be something greater than it already is. When things get rough and tears begin to fall down our faces becoming overwhelmed by fears, frustrations, and grief we begin to water those same seeds we plant in our lives. We begin to grow becoming wiser and strong.

We planted seeds in the souls of the people that we love. We say and do things to watch them prosper. We plant a seed, shower them with encouragement when they need it and watch them grow.

Our parents plant seeds in us. From young ages, they do things out of love knowing that they will get to watch us grow from the seeds they have planted in our lives. Seeds of wisdom, love, prosperity, and passion. Sometimes, we may think our way is best but at the end of the day it turns out that they were right and we were wrong. Those are the types of situations we learn the most from and the next time we ask for guidance because our parents have lived longer lives than us. They want what is best for us, so when they give us advice and correct us it's not because of what they want but because they see our wants and needs in life. They have grown up and they want to help us fulfill our wants and needs. They have planted seeds in us, they just want to watch us grow.

We plant seeds in the people that we don't know. In a crowded room, full of people kind words could be the thing someone needed to have a better day. Those are the types of seeds you want to plant. The seeds that give life.

Everything in life should have a purpose. Whether it be in the things that you do or the things that you say. As people grow old they get to turn around to look at the past to see all of the seeds they have planted big or small and admire what those seeds have become. That has to be one of the most pleasing feelings one can feel. The feeling of planting a seed with a purpose.

Cover Image Credit:

McKenzie E. Lanter

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