Headed to Universal in Florida? Here's five musts for you.

Universal Studios’ 5 Musts For Your Next Visit

After visiting Universal Studios in Orlando, FL in October, I realized I missed out on quite a bit growing up.

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This was my second trip to Florida in 27 years…where have you been Mike? After four days in the sunshine state, here are the major tips if you are going to Universal in the not too distant future.

1. Go on as many rides as possible (especially The Mummy and Harry Potter's Forbidden Journey).

The part of universal that makes itself so unique is the virtual ride experience and the different rides. Even if you're not wearing 3-D/4D glasses, the rides tend to feel incredibly real even if you're in front of a screen: that to me is a very rich and worthwhile experience even if you have to wait 35 minutes for a three-minute ride.

2. Consider visiting during the fall season - you'll be able to do an evening of Halloween horror nights

Universal changes its entire experience starting at 7 p.m. for what they title Halloween Horror Nights. This includes some different walking scare zones and about 8 to 10 different themed haunted houses. The key to this is making sure you get there early or stay inside the park to avoid massive entry lines. I went to one haunted house, and I'll be quite honest with you, I can't remember the last time I went into a haunted house. This particular house was titled slaughter cinema. And each room had my heart pounding as I walked in until the only way I could cope with how scary everything was to laugh.

Get a frozen butterbeer and Simpson's doughnut

Michael Kocourek

Out of all the sweet treats, candies, and fast food items you could purchase in the park, the butter beer from Harry Potter's Diagon Alley is an absolute must. The concoction is a slushy with vanilla and butterscotch flavoring. Even if you don't like butterscotch (because I don't); it still tasted awesome. As for a food item, go with the Simpson's doughnut. It will be the size of your head, but the pink frosting and sprinkles taste delicious. Trust me on this one: Chicago is spoiled with donuts, but this one is a serious contender.

4. Make sure to take time to sit down for lunch or dinner (your feet will thank you)

There are a variety of different restaurants throughout the park. You'll find somewhere no matter the type of food you're craving. My suggested pick is the Cowfish's Bacon Burger Sushi. The outside may be a little crispy with the potatoes; with a little ketchup and mustard you're in for a real tasty spectacle! The honorable mention goes to the brunch French toast burger at the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium.

5. Try a ride that you normally would not consider

And so after 27 years, I finally went on my very first roller coaster. It was a better experience than I anticipated. I didn't get sick, I had all of the chills and excitement, and before I knew it, it was all over. So, I went back three more times!

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Top 50 Things You'll Hear A Southern Say

Y'all.
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For those of you who may need a little help understanding the slang of a southern, I made a list of the top 50 phrases and sayings, along with their translations.

1. Bless your heart.

My favorite saying. It is an empathetic phrase that is usually uttered when the speaker believes the recipient to be sweet, but misguided or stupid. It can also be used if the speaker believes the recipient needs to grow up and deal with it, when the speaker says it in a sarcastic tone.

2. Barking up the wrong tree.

Means being misguided or mistaken.

3. Aren't you precious?

Mostly this saying is used in a sarcastic tone in response to someone being offensive.

4. Britches.

Pants or underpants.

An example would be, "Your britches are too short, you can't wear those".

5. Coke.

Regardless if it's Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola, or another carbonated beverage, it's called Coke here in the South.

6. Fixin' to.

Simply means that you are about to do something.

7. Get the short end of the stick.

This phrase means that you basically got an unfair deal or cheated out of something.

8. Give Me Some Sugar.

Simply means give me a kiss.

9. Hissy Fit.

A hissy fit is a grown-up version of a temper tantrum that is as bad as one that a toddler would throw.

10. Hold Your Horses.

Be patient.

11. Holler.

When you say "holler" you are basically letting the other person know something.

Example: Holler at me when you are ready to get something to eat.

12. If the creek don't rise.

This saying simply means that if nothing bad happens, everything will go as planned.

13. You're as slow as molasses in the wintertime.

This phrase means that you are being EXTRA slow.

14. Muddin'.

Off-road four-wheeler riding with the intentions of getting mud everywhere and possibly losing control.

15. Skat Cat.

A phrase that can be used instead of saying "God bless you" when you sneeze.

16. There's Not A Pot Too Crooked That A Lid Won't Fit.

There is someone for everyone.

17. Pitcher.

We mostly mean a plastic container that holds sweet tea, not the position of a guy on the baseball team.

18. Reckon.

When you say "I reckon", you believe that something is true.

19. Hoot With The Owls, Soar With The Eagles.

This simple phrase means that if you are going to stay up all night, you should be able to get early in the morning.

20. Too Big For Your Britches.

Simply means that you take yourself too seriously.

21. Stompin' Grounds.

Your hometown or where you grew up.

22. Back In The Day.

Back in the day could be a month ago, a year ago, or 20 years ago.

23. You're A Spitting Image Of (Insert Family Member).

Yes, I know I'm a spitting image of my mother. "Spitting image" simply means that you look just like someone.

24. "Darlin, Sugar, Sweetheart"

These words are simply terms of endearment.

25. Buggy.

A buggy is a cart/basket at the grocery store.

Example: Who wants to push the buggy?

26. Quit Crying Or I Will Give You Something To Cry About.

This phrase simply means to quit crying and if you didn't then more than likely you got a spanking,

27. Where You Raised In A Barn?

If you are from the South, you have probably been asked this more than once, especially when you left a door open.

28. Close The Door. You Are Letting All The Good Air Out.

This southern heat is nothing to play with. It simply means to keep the door closed so the air (or heat if its winter) stays inside.

29. You Are Going To Make Me Lose My Religion.

When you say this phrase to someone, it more than likely means that person has done something to irritate you or made you mad. Thank goodness Jesus saves.

Example: You are going to make me lose my religion.

30. You Look Like A Chicken With Your Head Cut Off.

This is said when you are running around like a crazy person. It can be said if you are looking for something that you are searching for or if you are just really busy.

31. Y'all.

The southern way to say "you all".

32. You Can't Carry A Tune In A Bucket.

If you've ever been told this, it means that you can't sing.

33. Have Their Feathers Ruffled.

You normally have your "feathers ruffled" when you are pouting.

34. Two Peas In A Pod.

When you and someone else are "two peas in a pod", it means that either you almost always together or that you two are almost identical in the way you think and do things.

35. Well Butter My Butt And Call Me A Biscuit.

This saying can be used when you are surprised or excited.

36. Don't Let The Door Hit Ya Where The Good Lord Split Ya.

When someone say this they typically mean to get out and don't let the door hit you on the way out.

37. You're As Good As Gold.

When you are "as good as gold", it means that you are well-behaved and obedient.

38. It's Raining Cats And Dogs Out There.

This simply means that the rain is really coming down hard. It's not actually raining cats and dogs, people.

39. I'm Full As A Tick.

This phrase means that you ate too much food.

40. I'm Sweating More Than A Sinner In Church.

When someone says this, it means that they are really hot and sweating A LOT.

41. Pot Calling The Kettle Black.

This phrase is used when one person is guilty of the very same thing of which they accuse another person.

42. There's More Than One Way To Skin A Cat.

It means that there is anyways more than one way to fix something.

43. Shut Yo' Mouth.

Means to be quiet or hush up.

44. Whatever Floats Your Boat.

This saying means to do whatever you want to do.

45. Slap Yo' Momma.

This phrase means that something is good.

Example: This BBQ is slap yo' momma good.

46. She's Like A Bull In A China Shop.

When you tell someone this phrase, you are telling them that they are clumsy or careless in the way that they move.

47. Cuttin' A Rug.

Cuttin' a rug is used to describe dancing.

Example: Let's go cut a rug tonight.

48. Clicker.

A clicker is another name for a TV remote.

49. Slow Your Roll.

This also means to be patient.

50. You're A Hot Mess.

When you tell someone that they are a "hot mess", you are simply telling them that they don't have it together.

Cover Image Credit: silhouetteamerica.com

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Valuable Takeaways You Will Get From Studying Abroad

The things you'll remember most won't be the "crazy parties", but memories much more meaningful than that.

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Everyone who studies abroad always comes back saying the same cliche things, such as how study abroad absolutely changed them or how they feel like they just belong in the place they studied in. Others will boast about skipping all their classes and partying every other night, which in a way, are also unique experiences. After 4 months abroad, I can assure you that although there is some truth in all of those statements, the reality is more of a mild mix of all of them. You will create unforgettable memories with friends and spend time partying it up in the city, but you will also come to genuinely appreciate your city for its small quirks instead of the major touristy activities. Regardless of your experience, however, here are some lessons everyone will have taken from their time abroad.

1. More Independence

No matter how well traveled you were before starting this semester abroad, when you're thrown into a foreign country with no one familiar, you'll be forced to grow up quickly. From figuring out how to interact with your non-student neighbors to figuring out meals every single day, studying abroad will help you grow up quickly. This may be the first time that you'll be away from everyone you know for more than a few weeks, and you'll have to find ways to cope with it.

2. New Perspectives

After spending more than 10 years in the American education system, learning about events like World War II and the Global Financial Crisis from a non-American perspective can be extremely eye-opening. Interactions and discussions with international students from other countries will leave you baffled at how many major things in history that your public high school education back in America never taught you. Picnics with your classmates will reveal new foods that you have never been exposed to, but that you now love and must eat once a week. The world is a diverse place, and it required you to get out of the country to truly realize it.

3. Travel opportunities

In the US, you could drive 7 hours from Los Angeles and still end up in California. In Europe or Asia or any other place, transportation methods under that same time can get you to another country or even multiple countries. Instead of a weekend trip to the mountains in the same state, you can take a train from Paris and end up in London a mere two hours later. With different countries so close together, take as many chances as possible to explore as much as you can. That being said, don't forget to travel within your own country and thoroughly explore the place you're living in!

4. Lifelong friendships

Even if you're an introvert, you'll find someone you can get along well with while abroad. Slowly but surely, you'll make that study buddy, gym buddy, boba buddy, or whatever-else-you-do buddy. Realistically, you won't be able to meet up with these people anytime soon after your time abroad, but you'll become so close to them during these few months because you're all on your own for the first time. Every few years, you'll still be compelled to meet up and catch up with them. Every time you visit a country, you'll be able to hit up the friend you made while studying abroad who lives there.

Everyone's study abroad experience will be different, but as long as you put yourself out there and make the most of your time abroad, you will come home with some of the fondest memories of your life.

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