REI's Decision To #OptOutside

REI's Decision To #OptOutside

And the lesson we can all learn from it.
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This year, Recreational Equipment Incorporated, or REI, have come out with an announcement that is seemingly the first of it’s kind. As we all know, in America, "Black Friday" is a huge day for consumerism. People from all over wake up in the early hours of the morning after just spending the day thankful for all of the non-material things they possess, only to wait in dramatically long lines to get the best deals on this year's best items. REI is looking to change that.

Towards the end of October, REI announced the company’s decision to close their doors to shoppers the day after Thanksgiving. REI is remaining closed and encouraging their customers and employees to enjoy time with their families and the great outdoors, while still paying their employees for the day. They have coined the hashtag #OptOutside to encourage people across America to change the way they spend the day after the Thanksgiving holiday.

For as long as I can remember, everyone I know has gotten up extremely early on the morning after Thanksgiving to spend a little less money than normal on gifts for the holiday season. That being said, I never realized just how ironic it is to have spent an entire day realizing how lucky you are to have food on the table and a family to eat with, to then hours later pushing your way through throngs of people to fight over an Xbox. As a company that sells outdoor recreation gear, athletic clothing, and sporting goods and equipment, it seems only fitting that REI would be against the consumerist holiday that takes time and focus away from family and gratitude. Their board of directors made this decision based on the company’s love of adventure and dedication to the conservation of the great outdoors. They believe in the importance of family and they value exploration and adventure over a retail holiday. We can all take a lesson from this.

Instead of leaving Thanksgiving dinner early to catch some sleep before your big shopping trip, take a step back and realize what is truly important. If you’re lucky enough to be celebrating with your family or have a nice meal on the table, just relish in the day and be thankful. Not everybody has the same opportunity. Instead of making a list of stores to go to at 3 a.m., grab a football and toss it around in the yard with your grandfather. Sit by the dessert table and drink coffee with your aunts. Talk about how lucky you are to have each other. Plan your adventure for the next day. The stores will always be there, but an opportunity to spend time with your family might not be. Transform the way you spend Thanksgiving and the days surrounding it by switching your focus from finding a great deal to making memories with your friends and family.

And, if you were planning on saving big this Black Friday at REI, have no fear. They’re offering savings up to 30 percent off until Nov. 23, in order to encourage everyone to #OptOutside.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0CAcQjRxqFQoTCIDh1NXkmMkCFQxyPgodMIULYA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rei.com%2Flearn.html&bvm=bv.107763241,d.dmo&psig=AFQjCNHhGol_V8c1z0dgf5CdfosciGDXVg&ust=1447895307493489

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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Ideas On Proper Social Media Use

Social media, like any technology, should be used in the right way.

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Everyone hears conversations about social media every day. Maybe it is about what a "friend" posted or a funny video that got shared. The one I am starting to hear more is that social media is affecting their health and disturbing their sense of inner peace. At one point, I thought the only people who said something bad about social media were older people, especially ones that dislike new technology. Now, I hear my peers talking about deactivating Facebook or Instagram accounts because of how intrusive it is. I myself have felt the negative effects of social media.

Obviously, there is no black and white answer on how to approach this. But social media is just like anything else we enjoy in life, it has to be used with moderation. Just like social media, you can spend too much time eating, exercising, playing video games, drinking, etc. Moderation is something that every human being has to strive for. Moderation with social media has become an important goal everyone should pursue. I would like to share some of my personal suggestions on ways to enjoy social media in a healthy and wholesome way.

My first suggestion is to limit social media use to the weekends. I began doing this after noticing how much I wasted time during the week checking Facebook. It prevented me from focusing on assignments and studying for my classes. Social media also distracts you from paying attention to the friends closest to you physically. If someone needs to contact you, they have your phone number. As a result, I have been more productive and attentive to my friends and family.

Second, limit the number of posts you read on your newsfeed. Depending on the number of "friends" you have, your newsfeed will have a seemingly infinite number of posts to read. You can't read every single one. Consider that when you also post something to your newsfeed and you don't get a reaction or like. It is not because people don't care, it is because of the heavy internet traffic for social media posts that they skim on their feed.

Third, don't have social media on your phone. In the past, when I made a goal to cut down on social media time, I kept failing because it was on my phone. The temptation was too great. Then I figured it out, uninstall it from your phone, problem solved. I only check social media on my laptop. I understand that there are certain situations where it needs to be on your phone, but I believe those situations are rare. As I mentioned before, if it is urgent, people can call or text you. Give your phone number to someone you think may have to contact you.

Fourth, do not use social media for political or religious discussions! The only exception to this is commenting on a political page, like President Trump's facebook profile or a Democrat Party page. However, I stay away from those anyway because people are insulting each other, never discussing the issue. Either way, social media posts are usually short, which makes it impossible to have a productive conversation or even have your mind changed. Let's be honest, when has a tweet or Facebook post changed your mind on an issue? I used to post about politics in the 2016 election, trying to change minds. And guess what happened? Not one person changed their position. I only had the same people agree or disagree with me. The only wholesome political conversations I have had are with people face to face, not over Facebook. Plus political posts are almost always negative. Why go on social media if it only makes you more pessimistic or angry?

These are just some of my ideas. There are other speakers out there that love to share their suggestions. Perhaps you should brainstorm ideas on how to lessen the negative influence of social media in your life.

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