Summer

Getaway Spots for College Students

April 15, 2015 in Alive Campus, Travel

Taking weekend trips is ideal for college students looking to break free from the stress of school. There are so many different and exciting places FSU students have the option of visiting when they wish to escape from the beloved city of Tallahassee for just a few days. I personally love to travel during breaks or simply for a weekend trip when my wallet is intact. Here are a few suggestions for affordable and exciting getaways:

Universal: Universal Studios has recently expanded their attractions significantly by adding an entire new Harry Potter section, which connects via train ride from the Islands of Adventure Harry Potter side. I went recently for my spring break and was baffled by how realistic they’ve made these attractions in comparison with that of the movies, so be sure to visit! Florida residents and FSU students receive discounts on tickets, and hotels are always generally reasonably priced. If you stay at the on-site hotels, you receive express passes all day to skip the regular lines. It’s certainly worth the extra money!

Harry Potter World

Harry Potter World

Disney World: Disney is probably my favorite place in the entire world, despite all of the little kids running around screaming for Mickey and ice cream. Florida residents and FSU students often receive discounts on hotels and tickets depending on the time of year, so take advantage while you can, because those Disney prices certainly are not going down! But I promise, it’s still worth it. It’s only about a 3 and a half hour drive from Tallahassee, which calls for a long weekend getaway.

Music Festivals: I attended the Tortuga Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale this past weekend, which consisted of country bands playing all day on the sunny, sandy beach. It’s a two-day event in which singers such as Kenny Chesney, Zac Brown Band, Jake Owen take the stage. Beer and food is sold all day long, but be prepared to wait because it gets absolutely packed. Music festivals are great for the spring and summer months, especially for college students who enjoy the party scene and dressing in funky clothing.

Tortuga Music Festival

Tortuga Music Festival

Cruises: Several students will go on cruises during their spring break, usually on Carnival Cruise Line since they offer great prices and the food is all-inclusive. I have been on Royal Caribbean cruises during my spring break quite a few times and would highly recommend it to other students. The cruises usually leave out of Tampa, Miami, or Ft. Lauderdale, so you will have to drive if you choose this route for summer or spring break.

New York: I always go home to New York for winter and summer breaks. However, several students who live in Florida fly there around Christmas time to see the tree/ lights/ etc., which is always a great choice for vacation. New York City never gets old. There are two airports to fly into in NYC, making it easy to find an affordable price if you search hard enough. My suggestion is to drive to a city like Jacksonville or Orlando since the Tallahassee airport has sky-high prices.

New Orleans: While I have never personally been to New Orleans, I know several FSU students that have gone for sorority and fraternity retreats, or just for the weekend. Mardi Gras is a huge event that students will take advantage of during the month of March.

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras

Panama City Beach: This is only for those who enjoy the party scene at its best. At about a 2-hour drive from Tallahassee, students will go for either spring break or spring weekend. Spring weekend occurs in the middle of April and is basically just a weekend full of students drinking on the beach.

Transportation: FSU students are always open to carpooling in order to save gas money. There’s even a page Facebook specifically for FSU students looking for rides to south Florida for those who want to go home for the weekend or fly out of another airport. The Red Coach bus is also a convenient way of traveling to and from south Florida. It has free wifi, outlets, and tvs for entertainment during the long ride, in addition to recliner chairs. It’s a little pricey, but well worth it.

Red Coach Bus

Red Coach Bus

With a variety of options to choose from, it’s time to start planning your next getaway! Next stop: summer!

Summer Classes: Something To Think About

November 7, 2014 in Academics

Summer Classes: Pros/Cons

By now, you’re maybe registering for your second semester/spring semester of college. Now you’re prepping to get requirements in/get into the thick of your college semester. Personally I had an easy first semester of freshman year, but some of you may not be so lucky (those who are in the sciences, I’m sorry). Someone in your family is going to bring up what you’ll be doing over the summer, which of course, none of us know. We’d like to work, but at the same time we may not be able to get that job. In that case, some will choose to go into a summer class to keep themselves busy. After taking one over the summer, let me lay down my pros and cons list for this particular topic.

Pros:

You worried that your family is going to be on your case about doing something with your summer? No problem, you’re busy enough taking extra units to potentially graduate early! That’s an easy fix. If you’re doing a class for your requirements/getting stuff out of the way early, you’re showing a proactive attitude towards school, very desirable to employers and overbearing parents. You’ll also get that one silly class of whatever subject you didn’t want to take at school and probably did it in a month and a half instead of a full semester class. This is good later down the road when you have more elective openings and you can take that potential art class you always wanted to delve your skills into. As someone who is graduating a semester early, taking the extra classes was a positive. However, it also became a negative.

Cons:

Whether you believe it or not, college classes are a lot of stress on the mind. Even if they are low level requirement classes, you still have to take the brain power to come up with work you may not necessarily be interested in. In my brain, that’s a lot more of my energy being dedicated to a class than something I am passionate about. When I transitioned into a summer course, I felt like I went straight back into the world with no real break. There was homework, a routine, and homework. This was good for the first week or two, considering that’s what I liked to have, a routine in my life. However, it slowly became tedious and made me question why I was continuing to take summer courses. It’s not that I didn’t want to take a class in the summer, it’s that I wasn’t actually learning anything from this course, making it way more work than I needed to put in.

When taking a summer course, you should always lay out the pros and cons of that specific class. If you want to take something for fun, really understand why this is the specific class you’re taking for fun instead of dedicating your energy to a job/internship or a personal project. Even yet, you could hang out with friends instead of doing more homework all day! Remind yourself that even though this was my personal experience, how would you benefit from this class?

College Break Plans

September 26, 2014 in Travel

Spring Break

College Break Time plans

College break time is a great way to get away from campus and have a good time. For many students, it’s a time to travel, vacation, or to participate in the notable beach week experience. For me spring break or any break is a time when I get to catch up with my family. While Living out of state, I miss out on the experience of coming home for the weekends. Winter, Spring, and Summer break are definitely times to come home and enjoyed what I’ve missed. During spring break I love to take advantage of the places of entertainment around my hometown. For me every break is a different opportunity for a fun filled experience. Because I attend a college out of state I tend to spend each break in a different manner in order to make the most out of my short time at my hometown.

Winter Break Time
Winter break is definitely a time to stay indoors when’re I go home for break. With the weather being cold I enjoy sitting on my couch with hot chocolate in my hands while watching the television inspired Yule log. Despite the excessive cold weather during winter months, I enjoy to once in awhile invest in outdoor activities. Ice skating is a perfect activity to participate in around the holiday season. Some ice skating rinks offer outdoor ice skating for a different experience. During winter break shopping is definitely a must. Many stores have sales around the holidays intended for individuals looking to buy gifts. A number of stores even have after holiday sales for example Black Friday and after Christmas sales.

Spring break fever

Like most college break experiences Spring break is more relaxed for me. It may not be as long as Christmas break but it is a time to get reacquainted with old friends. Since I attend a university outside of my home state, I often lose touch with old high school friends. I take advantage of the one week break by spending one or two days to get reacquainted with friends. Going to the movies is a usual activity for me during Spring break. The university I attend is in a small rural town therefore any movie theater or recreational center is miles away. I definitely cannot forget the beach. I’m sure every college student has heard of the beach week experience somewhere. Staying in a hotel or renting a house by the beach for a week is an experience college students should try one spring break.

Summer break

Summer break gives students the opportunity to spend extensive amounts of time taking advantage of the stressless days ahead. During summer break I spend a few weeks preparing for the course load ahead of me. Even though I do have much free time during the summer, getting ready for the school year keeps me in check. Many students find obtaining a summer job an advantage to preparing for school year finances along with summer vacation finances. Despite my high work ethnic during the summer days off from college, I do squeeze time for entertainment. I mostly participate in smaller activities versus parties and other large forms of obtaining entertainment.

Vacations: Think Small, Not Big

August 7, 2014 in Alive Campus, Travel

Road Trip

Road Trip

One question I’ll ask myself again and again when I see Facebook pictures of people vacationing in London or the Bahamas is: how the hell can they afford that?

My family is probably on the lower end of the middle class. We haven’t gone on a big vacation since I was in Kindergarten, and we went to Disney World. I know how hard my parents work, and I’m content with not having any fancy vacations. In fact, some of the best vacations I’ve been on are the low budget, and closer to home ones. In middle school, I stayed in my Uncle’s cabin in Maine for a week or two with my cousins, and I’d definitely go back.

This summer, my friends and I decided to stay at my friend’s aunt’s house in South Yarmouth in Cape Cod for a few days. Only two of us could make it, but our low expectations for the weekend allowed more room for fun. My friend Michael and I had decided to drive up on Fourth of July morning. Keep in mind that there was supposed to be bad weather that weekend, and possibly a hurricane. Despite that, we got in Michael’s car and left. It started off fine, but then there were torrential downpours, relentlessly covering the windshield. I screamed at Michael to pull over, but he refused, saying people wouldn’t be able to see us, and we’d get hit. Anyhow, we went slow, the rain eventually cleared up, and we made it mostly in one piece.

“Look what the cat dragged in,” Elizabeth’s dad said as we came in, bags in hand. We laughed and greeted her family. We put our stuff down upstairs where we’d be sleeping, and drove to the beach nearby to see the sand sculptures Elizabeth had raved about.

I used to vacation on Cape Cod with my family. We’d rent a cottage with family friends, go to the beach, and eat lobster until we felt sick (no exaggeration). So, going back made me feel like a kid again, and I know Michael and Elizabeth felt the same way. We played Ladder Ball outside, hung out at the beach, went to a cookout, and oddly enough played many games of Monopoly, most of which were not played by the rules. We also went mini golfing at Pirate’s Cove, staying local and low key. The entire weekend I barely spent any money. Elizabeth’s aunt cooked for us, and we went to the cookout. I only paid for mini golfing and chipped in for gas.

A vacation like this is for the average person. Most people I know don’t have enough money or time for an elaborate one. If you don’t have time for a few days, a day trip is always an option. What was supposed to be a simple local beach trip with my friends from school, turned into a drive to Newport for the day. A friend of mine goes there often and lives nearby. She showed us around and we drove by the beautiful mansions. We even saw a few couples getting married, which we bugged out about and obviously tried to see as much as we could. We went to the beach and ended the day with much needed seafood and burgers. Again, there wasn’t a lot of spending involved.

When people think vacation, they tend to think big, but a vacation can be anywhere. Somewhere old or somewhere new. As cliché as this sounds, who you’re spending it with will really determine how much fun you have. Smaller trips can be better than bigger ones because you won’t be spending your life savings, and there is room for more than one trip. Smaller vacations come with low expectations, small budgets, and almost no itinerary. Forget blowing money on plane tickets, and map out a spontaneous road trip.

by Amanda

Breaks, Holidays, and Long Weekends: How to Waste Them

July 19, 2014 in Campus Life, Colleges, Events

Holidays and breaks of any kind are ALWAYS welcome on a college campus. How you spend those breaks though can be some of the most or least memorable moments of your college experience. The fact that, despite a want/need for more, breaks don’t come that often so making them count really does matter a lot. So how do you spend your breaks to make them count so you don’t ruin your chance at some really awesome college memories?

  • Long Weekends

Long weekends like Martin Luther King Jr Day or Memorial Day are pretty much down for whatever. Most students just spend them hanging out with friends or family. MLK Day has a lot more service project options such as community clean ups and things of that nature. However, Memorial Day tends to be a bit more of a party weekend. Despite these being obvious options, I mostly find myself back home with my family (though that happens less and less with each year I’m in college), spending some quality time with friends I don’t get to see that much due to conflicting schedules every other day of the semester, or even a nice relaxing weekend just spending time catching up on lost sleep or homework.

  • Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a bit different. Though it’s only about half of week (for SFA at least), it’s pretty different from a long weekend break. A lot of students, whether they live in residence halls or apartments, will go home for the break so they can spend that time with their families. There are those who choose to or have to stay in town due to home being too far or just not wanting to go home. SFA has an option to stay on campus for that time for a bit of an extra fee. I personally go home to spend time with my family and to generally get out of town so that I don’t get tired of it.

  • Christmas

Christmas break is one of my personal favorites. As opposed to Christmas break in high school, you get an entire month off from class. It’s a good time to get in some extra hours if you have a job, some time with the fam, or even some much need rest after a stressful week of finals. Personally, I stay at my apartment until about the week of Christmas and then head to my home town to spend that time with my family. This year, however, I will going to Austin for New Years with my roommate to celebrate the New Year and my birthday. It’s a nice little change of events, which is needed every now and then so you don’t get bored during break.

  • Spring Break

Spring break is probably the biggest and most talked about break in most colleges. It is the most notorious holiday for college students is almost like a rite of passage for most people. It’s not really a break most people do unless they’re in college, so you might as well live it up while you can. Most people I know seem to plan at least one summer at PCB (Panama City Beach) but honestly that just isn’t my style. The past two spring breaks I’ve spent doing nothing really. The first was spent with my family, but because my sister is in high school, she was in class, and both my parent’s worked, so I was pretty much alone all day during spring break. This past year me and my roommate went out of town on a day trip to a zoo and shopping. Still nothing too adventurous, but this year we have plans for something much bigger.

  • Summer

Summer break is a perfect time for a job or internship. I personally have a job helping my university introduce freshmen and new transfer students into our campus. It’s been amazing and I couldn’t ask for a better job. Though not everyone gets such an awesome opportunity, it is a good time to get some experience under your belt.

Don’t be afraid to go out and get a job or just to sit around the house or whatever you choose to do with your breaks. When it boils down to it, the memories you make are your own and no one else’s. Do what makes you happy and you’ll have the fondest memories to look back on.