Why St. Patrick's Day is Special for Irish Dancers

St. Patrick's Day Will Always Be An Irish Dancer's Favorite Holiday

Why this day will hold a special place in my heart forever

Emi
Emi
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My alarm clock goes off at approximately 4:30 a.m. I groggily roll out of bed, far before the sun will even begin to tinge the sky with hints of orange and purple, I begin to get ready for the day. I brush my teeth, wash my face, and comb my hair. Thus ends my normal morning routine. Next, I apply an unusual amount of makeup to my eyes, slather on bright red lipstick, and attach a ridiculously curly wig to my head. I glue poodle socks covered in rhinestones to my legs, bobby pins a crown (again, covered in rhinestones) to my head, and coat my entire body with a layer of hairspray. Today is far from a normal day. Today is St. Patrick's Day.

And I am an Irish dancer.

I begin the day dancing live on a local television network (thus, waking up at 4:30 am), and then I race through the Starbucks drive-through to get an extremely needed caffeine fix before heading to the parade downtown. Before the parade begins, my Irish dance class practices all our dances for the day on the side of the road. We then half walk, half jig our way through the parade route, throwing out shamrock necklaces and Tootsie Rolls to kids eagerly lining the streets. After finishing the parade, the whole dance school changes course and walks to our first performance venue located downtown.

After dancing in the library or science center or whichever location it was that year, we would hop on a golf cart (still in our glittery dresses and curly wigs), and scream as we literally raced downtown to our next show at a huge hotel party. After taking our final bows, we would then hop back in the golf cart and repeat the process until the exhausting yet exhilarating day finally ended sometime in the evening after around an average of seven different performances. My dance class would finish the day by hunting down the nearest McDonald's and sharing shamrock shakes together before collapsing into our beds at night. The night of St. Patrick's Day was the soundest sleep I got all year.

I repeated this process for 11 years of my life, from 2nd grade through the end of high school. I cannot say what exactly drew me to Irish dancing, but I remember falling in love with the upbeat music, the fast-paced steps, and the sparkly dresses. I would watch older dancers and marvel at how their feet could move in such complicated and quick ways without getting tangled together. Somehow, over the course of the years, I turned into the older dancers. I competed in competitions (called a "feis") all around the country. I performed at countless venues, from schools and churches to weddings and huge events in front of hundreds of people. I practiced until my feet were permanently covered in blisters, and I ended up needing ankle surgery on both of my ankles. However, I loved every single minute of Irish dancing. I loved the people in my class that I had the opportunity to grow up with and form forever friendships with, I loved the Irish music and culture I was exposed to, and I loved St. Patrick's Day.

I miss Irish dancing immensely in college. Every time I feel nostalgic, I turn on Irish music and can still perform the steps in my head to this day. I will always be able to decipher the difference between a reel or a jig, and the smells of hairspray and sock glue will never leave me. Irish dancing inspired such a love of Irish culture in me, I plan to study abroad there next year. And while I am there, St. Patrick's Day will just so happen to occur.

I cannot count on many things in life, but I can always count on St. Patrick's Day being my favorite holiday. And I can only imagine what it will be like next year.

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ASU Students Push For A Healthier Dining Hall To Counter 'Freshman 15' Fears

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap.

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Arizona State University students are pushing for change within the downtown Phoenix dining hall as they strive to avoid the infamous freshman 15.

The downtown Phoenix campus offers fewer dining options than the Tempe campus and has a less appetizing dining hall. The freshman 15 is a common scare among students living in the dorms, who are often freshman.

The freshman 15 is defined as a student who gains 15 pounds or more in their first year of college. Studies prove the average freshman does not exercise the right amount, is sleep deprived, has a poor diet, increases their stress level, alcohol consumption, and fatty food intake, which is most likely causing their weight gain.

Lauren Hernandez

Daniella Rudoy, a journalism major and fitness instructor at the SDFC, relived her freshman year as she provided tips for incoming freshman.

"There are a lot of workouts you can do in your dorm room as long as you have access to YouTube or a floor. You can go on a run, a walk, or do exercises that do not require equipment," Rudoy said in support of college fitness.

Rudoy said that mental health, fitness, and nutrition all correlate with one another.

"I follow the saying abs are made in the kitchen. So if you are working out day and night, but eating a giant pizza and chicken wings with a pack of beer when you come home you aren't doing yourself much good," Rudoy said.

Lauren Hernandez

The main cause for weight gain is increased alcohol consumption. 80 percent of college students drink and this includes binge-drinking, which is unhealthy for many reasons.

Students who do not drink are most likely gaining weight because of their exposure to an all-you-can-eat dining hall. The downtown Phoenix campus offers a salad bar as their only consistent healthy option for students, therefore students are left eating hamburgers, fries, and pizza.

"I haven't been to the dining hall this semester. Last semester, I went because I had no other options. I am a vegetarian and the dining hall is not accommodating to those with allergies or food restrictions. I find it very difficult to find vegetarian options," Lexi Varrato, a journalism major said.

Lauren Hernandez

Varrato explained that she believes the freshman 15 is "100% real" and that incoming freshmen should research their meal plans and ask their school how their dietary restrictions will be accommodated before purchasing a non-refundable meal plan.

Megan Tretter, a nursing major at Seattle University emphasized that not every dining hall is like ASU's and that the freshman 15 is "definitely not a problem" at her school.

"I always eat healthy at my dining hall. There are a lot of good and healthy options at Seattle University. I usually go to the smoothie line in the morning, have a salad for lunch, and make myself an acai bowl after work with avocado toast in our floor's kitchen," Tretter said in support of her school's strive for healthy options.

College students across the United States have healthier dining options than ASU, but many colleges still face the same problems that students here are facing.

Tara Shultz, a journalism major at ASU believes she has avoided the "very real" freshman 15 by living at home.

"I believe the freshman 15 targets dorm residence and first-year students who do not live at home as they do not have their parents as a guide and are forced to eat at a dining hall that only serves fatty foods," Shultz emphasized.

Lauren Hernandez

The downtown Phoenix campus offers students access to the SDFC, YMCA, and Taylor Place gym, where students can take group fitness classes, run on a track, play basketball, or swim. Alternative options for students are purchasing a membership at Orangetheory or EOS Fitness.

Most students agreed with journalism major Vanessa Gonzalez that they have little time to work out due to their workload, but many students like Varrato, Tretter, and Rudoy explained that they try to work out every day as it is a stress reliever and it enriches their mental health.

Steve Fiorentino, the owner of Powered Up Nutrition encourages college students to learn what they are putting in their bodies.

"I think it starts with nutrition. Students believe they can outwork a bad diet and I believe that is their number one mistake. My advice is to stop eating fast foods and start eating whole and healthy foods along with supplements," Fiorentino stated.

The freshman 15 is an avoidable curse, but many students will continue to follow into its trap. The campus dining hall is not always the reason to blame as students have the option to decrease their meal plans, become active, and make healthy choices!

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5 Reasons St. Patrick's Day Is The Best Holiday

I promise it's not just because it's my birthday.

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The best holiday debate is a hard one. Do you pick the holidays that are family-centered? The ones with the best food? The ones where you get gifts? Every single holiday is unique. So how do you compare them all in the first place? Well, fear no more because the answer is here. St. Patrick's Day is the holiday that reigns over the rest, and here are five reasons why.

1. The Origin Story

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, actually started out as a slave in Ireland. While there, he converted to Christianity and when he returned to Ireland years later he started to spread the religion. There's also a theory that he made the shamrock popular by using it to teach the Irish about the Christian Holy Trinity. There's also a rumor that he banished all the snakes out of Ireland, but there weren't any snakes to begin with. The holiday began as a celebration of Christianity coming to Ireland and has slowly morphed into a celebration of Irish culture. So there's a bit more to the holiday than drinking and wearing green.

2. The Symbol

We have the shamrock, which St. Patrick used to explain the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. Shamrocks are also seen as symbols of faith, hope, and love. Four leaf clovers are basically shamrocks but they add in luck with their fourth leaf.

3. The Color

Personally I've never seen someone look bad in green.

4. The Festivities

I couldn't even stay out late after turning 21 at midnight because all of the bars were closing early to prepare to St. Patrick's Day. It really is an all day affair. Cities and bars have their own celebrations. There are parades. The Chicago River is dyed green. It's a whole thing.

5. The Atmosphere

You don't have to stress out about buying gifts. You don't have to worry about your entire family being stuffed in one house. The only clothing requirement is that it's green. There's an entire list of why this holiday is the best - but overall the atmosphere of people just enjoying themselves and having a good time finishes it off.

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