Denison University is an Animal Crossing Town

Denison University is an Animal Crossing Town

I found myself surprised as well.

When you spend enough time around a person or a place or even a thing you begin to notice your surroundings. You pick up on mannerisms, dialects, and lifestyles. You draw conclusions that make for useless but interesting observations, and that is exactly what happened to me after playing hours of Animal Crossing one afternoon (I do my homework, Mom and Dad. I swear).

Anyway, I began to notice that Denison University and the lovely video game franchise that is Animal Crossing have some cute similiarities, with the most glaring being...

1. The Swasey Chapel Bells vs. The Clock Tower Bell

Every hour on the half hour, Swasey Chapel bells ring a number of tunes ranging from Amazing Grace to Part of Your World from Disney's The Little Mermaid. I hear their resounding chimes as a distant alarm clock if I am still in bed, from the window in a classroom, or on the way to my next class. I always like figuring out if I can guess what song Denison's secret society of bell ringers decided to play. My enjoyment of listening to the chapel bells ring true (no pun intended) to the clock tower bell in Animal Crossing games, which ring every hour on the hour.

2. Small College vs. Small Town

Animal Crossing may have updated gameplay mechanics over the years, but if there is one part that remains constant, it is the size of your town, which just big enough to pull all of your weeds in one day if you have not played in months (guilty). In the same way, Denison remains a small campus, perched on a hill with no off campus housing. Speaking of off campus...

3. Going Off Campus vs. Leaving Your Town

Unless you own a car on campus, trips off campus are far and few between. Travelling requires someone else who has a car or renting a ride through a carshare program. The struggle remains in Animal Crossing, as oftentimes to go into another town, someone else has to have the game, and you both have to be in close proximity to each other in order to maintain a strong connection signal.

4. Occasional Returning Visitors

Every now and then, special characters will visit your Animal Crossing town and (typically) sell you goods or services. Redd sells (typically) counterfeit paintings and overpriced furniture, and Saharah who sells wallpapers and carpets for your home. Like Animal Crossing, Denison also welcomes frequenting visitors, such as the Bohemian jewelry and clothing tent set up either near the flagpole or inside Slayter.

5. The Roost vs. The Nest at The Roost

Both Denison University and Animal Crossing have a place called The Roost. Well, Denison had a place called The Roost until the place was renovated and renamed into what current students call The Nest. Petition to rename it back to The Roost so to strengthen my case.

6. The Best Coffee Around

While The Roost at Denison is no more, The Roost in Animal Crossing is very much alive and thriving as the best (and only) place to buy a cup of coffee. The drinks are cheap and apparently very tasty according to my villagers, and because I can't take a sip of coffee made from code I will have to take their word for it.

Denison's coffee on the other hand I can taste, have tasted and loved. Whether I order a frozen hot chocolate from The Commit Grounds in Slayter (remember to bring you own mug for a discount), to Village Coffee lattes to a River Road mocha, I know I cannot go wrong.

7. Tom Nook's vs. CVS

Need Medicine? Low on cash? Looking to renovate your space? Well, both Tom Nook's and the CVS in Granville can provide. Being in a landlocked town among the thralls of the Midwest, options are pretty limited in terms of places to go (see number 3). Forgot something from home? Chances are I will be headed to CVS.

Tom Nook's is the only place to shop for home decor, save for the expensive GracieGrace Boutique in Animal Crossing: City Folk. He is also the only seller who provides medicine for those annoying bee stings. So yes, I will pay 400 bells for medicene and yes, I will pay $12.99 for an 8 capsule box of Nyquil. What other choice do I have?

Cover Image Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

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To All Student-Athletes Beginning Their Respective Seasons, Remember Why You Play

You are going to get tired. You are going to get worn out...


Dear athlete,

The season is by far the most exciting time of the year. Big plays, good memories, traveling new places, and winning championships... But yet another promise is that season is also exhausting.

You are going to get tired. You are going to get worn out...

But remember that this season of your life doesn't last forever. Remind yourself why you play.

You play this sport because you love the game. You love the competition, you love your teammates and the friendships that you've formed, you love the lessons you learn aside from the physical aspect.

So each day, continue to choose the game.

It's not easy. But if it was, everyone would do it. But discomfort is where progress happens.

Quit dreading practices, quit wishing for rain, quit complaining about conditioning, and quit taking for granted a busy schedule that is literally made just for you. Tens of thousands of young girls and boys would do anything to be in the position (literally) that you are in. Take advantage of being a role model to those young kids who think the world of you.

Freshmen, this is what you have wanted for so long. Take advantage of the newness, take advantage of the advice, encouragement, and constructive criticism that your older teammates give you. Soak it all in, four years goes by really quickly.

Sophomores, you now know how it works. Be confident in your abilities, yet continue to learn and grow mentally and in your position.

Juniors, prepare to take the lead. Use this season to, of course, continue to sharpen your skill, but also recognize that you're over halfway done, so mentally and physically ready yourself to take the seniors' lead next year.

Seniors, this is it. Your last year of playing the sport that you love. Be a good leader, motivate, and leave your mark on the program in which you have loved for so long. Encourage the athletes behind you to continue the traditions and standards set by the program. Lay it all on the field, leave it all on the court, and leave your program better than you found it.

Take the season one day at a time and, each day, make it your goal to get better. Get better for your team, for you pushing yourself makes everyone else work even harder. So even if you don't get a lot of playing time, make your teammates better by pushing yourself so hard that they have no other choice than to push themselves too. And when a team has every single player pushing themselves to the max, success happens.

Take advantage of this time with your teammates and coaches, for they won't be your teammates and coaches forever.

No matter what year you are and no matter what your role is this season... GROW. You are an integral part of your team and your program.

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A Little Glimpse Into What It's Like To Grieve In Your 20s

Debunking the stigma behind grief in the everyday young adult


A few days before last semester my little brother, Ethan, took his life. After years of him struggling to find his place in the world, he put his troubles and sorrows to rest. I had just moved into my sorority house to begin my Junior year, and a few days later I awakened late at night with several missed calls and messages. My dad texted me saying, "Ethan passed away Blair, dad is so sorry." When I first read the text, I had to keep reminding myself that it was real. Shortly after receiving that, my parents and family friends came to bring me home from school.

The next few days were filled with a roller coaster of emotions. I was reuniting with old friends and community members for days on end while we were all trying to understand the immense pain that my brother had felt. Soon, I went back to school because I knew that even in times of tragedy, life goes on. Above all else, I knew it's what my brother would have wanted. Being back at school is/was interesting. I felt like I was being judged by everyone for returning to school so early. I was in no way ready to discuss my family's recent tragedy, and I am still not ready to discuss it, yet people insist on asking for information regarding my brother's death. Despite this, the people around me continuously promised to support me when I was feeling sad or hopeless. The weeks after Ethan's death had me in a complete fog, making it hard to focus even to this day.

Fortunately, not many people have to deal with the death of a sibling at such a young age. Subsequently, many are not sure how to handle such a thing. I am often at a loss for words for what this experience feels like. Often times I feel bad that people don't know how to respond to me. Grief is something I would never wish upon someone.

Even on the days I feel alone, I know that there are people here to support me.

It means the world to me when people reach out and ask how I am doing, or to meet up with me for something as simple as ice cream. I appreciate this more than one knows.

On top of dealing with my brother's death I was dealing with rejection from a boy for the first time. Rejection of any kind is difficult, and is something everyone experiences in their life. Although I have felt rejection in many forms, especially being an aspiring actress, this was the first from a potential suiter. The loss of any friendship has been so hard after losing my brother. It has been hard to process other aspects of my life, and especially the crazy life of dating and being a 20-year-old in college. Moving on, and separating my grief from that rejection has been no easy feat.

As my semester was coming to a close, I ran into the boy I was interested in at a holiday party. This time of year had proven to be hard for me when I thought of the happy times spent with my brother during the holidays. That night was the first time I was unable to compose myself and put my best face forward being the actress I am. I couldn't hide my emotions anymore and I was overcome with grief. I had hit rock bottom. This journey has consisted of immeasurable self-doubt and soul searching.

Soon after the holiday party, I was told by someone who has been an authoritative figure to me, that "I was grieving weirdly" and that I "should go home for the rest of semester and take an incomplete". There were only two weeks left of the semester and my grades were great. I was so deeply offended by this notion, and that they had the audacity to judge the way I was grieving. I have been trying my best, and that is all that I can do. Despite this toxic conversation, I finished out the semester strong and took my well-deserved three-week break. My break was filled with much needed respite, creative inspiration, and time to collect my thoughts.

Coming back to school, I had an open conversation with my community on the reasonable steps they could take to support me in my journey for the rest of the school year. All someone that is grieving asks, is for you to sympathize with them. Thankfully, it was received well and I look forward to my upcoming semester.

There is often a stigma behind people who are actively grieving. Yes, I am going through a lot, yes, I am sad. But that doesn't mean I am incapable of loving life and experiencing things going on around me at school or in my life. This especially includes dating. I have learned that it is okay to embrace my feelings and express them in whatever way I deem fit. Grieving the loss of my brother has also made me stronger than ever. I can handle anything and I am ready to make my impact on the world.

Everyone experiences pain, struggle, grief, etc. What matters most, is how they come out of it. I want to continue the message of kindness. I am so grateful for my newfound bravery and at the end of the day, I will always miss my brother's unique perspective and outstanding sense of humor. If he were here today, first he'd probably roast me and then I know he would only want the best for me. In the end I plan to live my happiest life.

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