First Semester Thoughts As Told By 5 Animal GIFs

First Semester Thoughts As Told By 5 Animal GIFs

An animal for every mood.

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When you can't find the words to describe how you are feeling about something going on at school, try a GIF. For every event, there is sure to be an animal GIF that accurately pictures your thoughts as you're going through life in college.

Doing laundry

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This was me after I spent $12 and four hours doing a single load of laundry, which is a common problem in the residence halls when half the dryers don't seem to try your clothes and some of the washers leave your clothes so soaking wet you have to ring them out.

Discovering a new place to study

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My new favorite study spot at UMD is the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Library. It is quiet and has plenty of different places to study. Best of all, it is close to North Campus dorms where most freshmen live, so it is the perfect option for when I don't feel like trekking over to Mckeldin.

When someone asks if the dining hall food is good

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Not to say that it is all bad, but I would love a little more variety. And nothing beats the food from your own house and your favorite restaurants. A constant conversation between people here is how we just do not want to go to the dining hall anymore. Honestly, it is kind of a bonding point for the freshman.

Registering for classes

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How I feel when I watch classes I want to register for fill up before my eyes. Freshmen, you know the struggle of having later registration dates. You find the perfect schedule, only to have one class get filled up and throw off the entire balance of your schedule.

Enjoying a Friday night in

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Going out is fun, but sometimes a Friday night in with a movie and ice cream is exactly what you need after a long week, especially in the winter when it is super cold. There is nothing better than flopping down on my bed after getting some homework done and just taking a long break.

Animals really can understand our thoughts sometimes. Each one of these animal GIFs represents a different scenario at school, especially during the first semester. Pretty soon, it will be time for second semester, so we will see how these thoughts change!

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Avatar: The Last Airbender Is Still Iconic, And Here's Why

Although it's a children's cartoon from the 2000s, ATLA remains one of the greatest shows ever made.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender ended in 2008, but I've watched the full series at least ten other times since then. I was a big fan of ATLA when it was first airing, but sometimes I marvel at how lasting it's impact is over a decade later. I've seen ATLA bumper stickers and tattoos depicting the four elements, not mention that I myself have a "Jasmine Dragon" sticker on my laptop resembling the Starbucks logo. ATLA was incredible. It's witty, fun, emotionally impactful, interesting in plot, and filled with relatable characters. "Korra" was a nice attempt to follow up on a passionate fanbase, but it ultimately didn't resonate with viewers to the same degree. That said, sometimes people wonder why I'm still so invested in a kid's cartoon from the 2000s. Here's why.

The show referenced a variety of cultures from around the world

If you've watched the show, you've probably realized that there aren't actually any "white" characters in the Avatar-verse. Not that European cultures aren't valid, but it is notable that the show was created as an appreciation of cultures that often go overlooked. The art and music were heavily influenced by East and South Asia, and the different nations clearly reference Asian and indigenous traditions. Earth Kingdom cities were based off of real cities in East Asia, and the culture depicted drew from various East Asian nations as well. The same applies to the fire nation, which was originally modeled off of Japan and China. The water tribes have their foundations in Inuit and Sireniki cultures, and the air nomads are based on Tibetans, Sri Lankan Buddhists, and Shaolin Monks. There are many other historical references throughout "Avatar," including a nod to ancient Mesopotamia in the Sun Warriors.

The characters were complex and relatable

"ATLA" didn't just give us a typical group of teenage heroes, with each one fitting into a typical mold. They were complex and realistic, and that's what made them relatable. We saw Aang balance his role as Avatar with his personal moral philosophy, all while experiencing the onset of puberty and young adulthood. We watched Katara struggle with responsibility as the main female role model in her family after her mother's death. We observed and related to Toph and Zuko's complex relationships with their families, including the influence that an abusive parent can have on a young life. We experienced the struggles of inferiority to "better" friends with Sokka, and even learned about toxic friendships with Mai and Ty Lee. These were all growing kids and teenagers, and nothing could have been more genuine.

"ATLA" gave us some incredible, strong female leads to look up to

Katara was truly the first feminist I ever encountered on television. Not only did she become a master waterbender in the span of weeks, she also taught the Avatar! And the whole time, she reminded us that strong fighters can be feminine too. Meanwhile, Toph showed us that just because a person has a disability, doesn't mean that they are defined by it. In fact, Toph's blindness only enhances her abilities, rather than holding her back. We also encounter powerful female characters like Azula (I know, she's evil, but that doesn't make her any less of a prodigy), Ty Lee, Mai, Suki (and all the Kyoshi warriors for that matter), Smellerbee, and even Princess Yue (who literally died for her people, mind you).

It made a deep, dramatic topic witty and fun

It occurred to me recently that "Avatar" is basically about imperialism and genocide. The Fire Nation decides to take over the world through military force, and it does so by exterminating an entire people and occupying and colonizing everyone else. For such a deep topic, you wouldn't think the show would be quite as fun as it is, but it is. I've restarted watching, and I find myself constantly laughing. With Sokka's sarcastic comments, Iroh's oddities, and everybody else's regular quips, "ATLA" is regularly lighthearted and never takes itself too seriously.

There's some real wise advice throughout

Finally, what "ATLA" is really known for, is its heart. Uncle Iroh provides us with a regular understanding of the world around us, encouraging us to see the world in balance and look for our true selves. His wise words ring true throughout childhood and adulthood. The underlying themes and messages of the show, including balance, friendship, love, and loyalty, all serve the greater purpose of advising the audience.

In summary, "Avatar" was amazing. If you haven't, I highly recommend you do. If you have, maybe go rewatch!

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