Top 10 List

Virginia Military Institute’s Top 10 Most Interesting Activities You Will do as a Freshman (or in our case a Rat)

July 1, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges, Events, Top 10 Lists

At the Virginia Military Institute, your freshman year is far from fun. You will have an experience unlike anyone else at a civilian college but it will be an experience you will never forget nor trade for anything in the world—I know I wouldn’t.

1.      Matriculation Day/Hell Week

Matriculation day is your first day. You receive your uniforms, move your stuff into your room, say a heartfelt goodbye to your family, and then march up towards the barracks to the sound of a bagpipe band, thus marking the beginning of your week of hell. Your first week as a rat is known as hell week and for a very good reason. You arrive a week before all of the upperclassman do in order to be instructed on how to conduct yourself during the school year. Your hair is immediately cut off, guys get a buzz and the girls get a short bob. Your 18 hour days are filled with physical training (PT), rifle manual instruction, instructions on how to set up your room, learning the rules of the institute, and receiving your uniform items. This is the beginning of the end.

VMI matriculation day marchoffVMI matriculation day marchoff

2.      The Crucible

At the end of hell week, you are put to the test to see if you are even worthy to start the school year. The last day of hell all of the rats go through what we like to call the crucible. The crucible is a day filled with challenging obstacles and harrowing feats. Once you have completed the crucible, you march up Superintendent’s hill (Supe’s hill) to the sound of the Regimental Band and into the barracks where all of the upperclassman are moving into their rooms. Thus begins, the academic year.

Rat Crucible

Rat Crucible

3.      The Charge at New Market

In September of your rat year, you participate in what is known as the charge at New Market. Virginia Military Institute is known for fighting in the Civil War Battle known as New Market. As an entire rat mass, you visit the battle field, go through the museum, take the Cadet Oath and then charge with rifle and bayonet across the battlefield replicating the battle scene. This is a very special tradition at our school and one which signifies a step to becoming a cadet.

New Market Charge

New Market Charge

4.      Visiting the National D-Day Memorial

In the Fall, the entire rat mass goes to visit the D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA. This is a worthwhile experience and one I found to be quite fascinating. This memorial is honoring the soldiers who fought on D-Day. The statues and monuments are thrilling to look at but really make you step back and appreciate those that served and who are currently serving now.

National D-Day Memorial

National D-Day Memorial

5.      Rat Olympics

In November, the rats participate in an event known as Rat Olympics. Throughout the semester, each Tuesday and Thursday after classes the rats partake in activities known as Rat Challenge. Some of the activities include rock climbing, rappelling, pugil sticks, and a bunch of obstacle courses. This gets them ready for Rat Olympics. There are nine companies of rats and they compete against each other in order to win Rat Olympics and everyone does at least one activity. It is a great bonding experience with your classmates and also a bit of a stress reliever.

Rat Olympics

Rat Olympics

6.      20 Mile March   

Also in November, before Thanksgiving break, all of the rats go on a 20 mile march. During my rat year, we were bussed 20 miles out from the New Market battlefield and then had to march the 20 miles there. Once we got there, we had to charge across the battlefield again just like earlier in the semester. It is a very humbling moment and one that really makes you appreciate the amazing things your body can do, even when it is exhausted. Unfortunately, the past two years the rats did not get that privilege of marching to the battlefield on account of the costs of transportation but they still marched the 20 miles at a different location.

20 Mile March

20 Mile March

7.      Sweat Parties/RDC (Rat Disciplinary Committee) Workouts

As a rat, throughout the semester you will get a chance to go to many parties unlike any you’ve ever been too. This type of party is the only party you’ll be attending your rat year. A sweat party is a term for a strenuous 15 minute workout you receive by upperclassmen in which you will be drenched in sweat by the end of the workout. These parties happen every few weeks while you are a rat. In addition, RDC workouts are somewhat the same thing. They are rigorous workouts each weekend that last a couple of hours long. You will not be in this great of shape again.

Sweat Party

Sweat Party

8.      Breakout

This is the best and probably the most exciting event you will do your rat year at V.M.I. Breakout is the momentous occasion where if you survive the day, you will no longer be called a rat and instead a fourth classman and cadet. This is when the entire rat mass is finally recognized as a class—but you have to get through the day first. Your day starts off around 5 in the morning when you are woken up by the sound of canons and gunfire. The rest of the day consists of harrowing physical feats. You are broken down to the point of exhaustion. At the end of the day, once you have completed all of the events you get to go to dinner with your senior mentor and then do a yell for your class in barracks. It will be one of the best days of your life—if you can make it.




9.      Jonathan Daniels Movie

In March, not too long after breaking out there is a memorial for an alumnus from the class of 1961. His name is Jonathan Daniels. The fourth classmen get to watch a documentary about him and what he did for the Civil Rights Movement. Jonathan Daniels was down in Alabama participating in a voter rights demonstration in 1965. He was arrested and put in jail because of being involved. Shortly after he got out he was at a local store with two young African American teenagers. A man came up aiming his shotgun at one of them. Daniels pushed her to the ground to protect her and he was killed instantly. The institute honors him every year for his selfless and heroic act.

Jonathan Daniels

Jonathan Daniels

10.  Fourth Class FTX (Field Training Exercise)

In May, once finals are over, all of the fourth classman go on a field training exercise in the George Washington National Forest. Throughout the Spring semester, you participate in New Cadet Military Training (NCMT). You learn skills such as how to shoot a rifle, make a fire, land navigation, and basically how to survive in the wild.  These skills are put to the test during FTX. You are put in groups of about five or six with one person as the leader. You are dropped off in the forest for a weekend. You are given a map, compass, the check points, and one Meal-Ready-to-Eat (M.R.E.). You have to build your own fire, which is extremely important because it gets really cold at night, find your way to the check points throughout the day, and avoid the enemy forces, which are upperclassmen on the lookout to take what little food you have. This is another good bonding experience with your classmates and one in which you learn things that might come in handy someday.

Fourth Class FTX

Fourth Class FTX

Longwood University’s Top 10 Most Exciting Things to Do as a Freshman

June 20, 2014 in Campus Life, Colleges, Top 10 Lists

1.  The G.A.M.E.

Basically as a freshman you are almost forced to do this during New Lancer Days.  But, the G.A.M.E. is where you will receive your first Longwood scarf, create memories, and meet new people.  So don’t be intimidated by the long walk, and get excited for the Greatest Athletic March Ever.

2.  Do the “Buffalo Shuffle”

We have all done it; and as a freshman, this will be one of the most memorable things you do during your first year at Longwood.  So put on your party clothes and get ready to walk up and down Farmville’s most famous street!

3.  Volunteer in Farmville

There is F.A.C.E.S., the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts (LCVA), Relay for Life, The Big Event, the S.P.C.A. and various clubs at Longwood dedicated to volunteering and service, for example, Alpha Phi Omega. Get involved, help out the community of Farmville, and become the citizen leader Longwood encourages you to be.

4.  Attend a Major Longwood Tradition

Color Wars, Convocation, Oktoberfest, Spring Weekend, Snow Ball and Rock the Block are must-attend events.  With rocking concerts, cool guests, and awesome food, these events are called Longwood traditions for a reason.

5.  Go to a CHI Walk

At Longwood University we have 2 secret societies called CHI and Princeps.  Over the course of the semester, CHI hosts “CHI Walks”, where the senior members of the organization walk and pass out CHI droppings to students.  These walks are a wonderful reminder of the many traditions that unite Longwood University.

6.  Walk the High Bridge Trail

It’s beautiful and scenic, and a great workout.  This trail is a popular attraction for students and visitors and is definitely worth the experience.

7.  Join a Club or Organization

Whether it is WMLU, Ambassadors, the Student Government Association, Humans vs. Zombies, Greek Life, Psychology Club or whatever floats your boat, join at least one of the 200 clubs/organizations that will change your life. Find that one place where you fit in, and run with it.  Clubs and organizations at Longwood are the perfect avenues to find your niche and make great, lasting friendships.  Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there!  Make a lasting impact on the organization, on Longwood and on your life. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

8.  Attend a Frat Party

Two things will happen after you knock this off your list.  One of which will be, you will hate frat parties and think they are gross, and the other is that you will love them.  Well, you will never know unless you try!

9.  Attend the Longwood vs. Liberty Men’s and Women’s Basketball Games

Basketball is our favorite sport here at Longwood, and Liberty is our biggest rivalry.  We are Division I in the Big South Conference, and these match ups are the highlight of the basketball season.

10.  Attend the New Student Leadership Program Retreat

This happens at the beginning of each school year in the fall, and is sponsored by Student Educators of Active Leadership (S.E.A.L.).  It is also said to be one of the best moments attendees have had during their time at Longwood.  It is also a great way to make friends and build yourself up to be a better leader right from the start.


Concert during Spring Weekend

Concert during Spring Weekend 

The Top 10 Freshman Countdown

April 25, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges, Events, Sports, Top 10 Lists

Everything’s bigger, better and more opportune at college. There are more things to do, more things to see and more things to be a part of than in those high school days. So where do you start? How do you work your way through the labyrinth that is your freshman year of college? Well we’re here to help, and this is The Top 10 Freshman Countdown of things to do and see before the year’s out.

10. Attend social events

Whilst you are in the less taxing classes of your freshman year, it’s a great chance to attend social events. There will be a number of events scheduled throughout the calendar year ranging from athletic barbecue’s to hand-craft art fairs. The best way to tackle this is to try new things and visit as many events as you can. By not being set in your ways you can potentially meet new people, try new things and find new passions.

9. Play intramural sports

Unless you are a student-athlete, playing sports during college may not happen too often. So, if you are the active type, the best way to keep playing is by competing in intramural sports. They usually happen in the Spring semesters and can range from golf to soccer, and from volleyball to swimming. Not only do intramural sports give you the chance to keep active, but they can also serve as a good time to make new friends, and enemies.

8. Go to a house party

Try to forget everything you thought you know about house parties because a college house party will blow your mind: Drinks, dancing and solo cups everywhere. After partying into the early morning you’re bound to say “never again,” but as you tuck yourself into bed with your ears still ringing it won’t be long until you’re planning your next pre-game.

7. Explore the local area

Moving away for college comes with the added uncertainty and lack of knowledge about your local area. The best way to tackle this, and eradicate any homesickness, is to go out and explore. You can find your new favorite restaurant or movie theatre; the more you find out about your new home, the more you will forget about missing your permanent home.

6. Play beer-pong

Even if you have played beer-pong before moving to college you simply have to try it in your new setting. Not only will you have the chance to party with your new friends, but new rules and techniques will make you appreciate the college party-life even more. If kept in balance with your school work, the party lifestyle of college will bring you the very best of memories later in life.

Beer-pong proves popular with college students

Beer-pong proves popular with college students

5. ‘Swag’ college clothing

Supporting your college and it’s sports teams is a great way of fitting in at college. You can show your passion by donning university clothing or accessories. As long as you don’t own every single item the bookstore has to offer, you’ll fit in great around campus. Alongside this, college apparel and accessories can make great small gifts for friends and family when you return home for summer/winter.

4. Decorate your dorm

Being away from home can be challenging, especially if your dorm room resembles an Alcatraz prison cell. So pin-up some posters, hang lights or photos. Anything that can brighten up your dorm room and make it feel more like home is a good thing, decorating your dorm can do this. Being comfortable in your new setting gives you one less thing to worry about when the stresses of college sweep in.

3. Join an organization

One of the biggest opportunities you will have during college is being able to make pathways and connections in regard to your career. Many of the university’s organizations will hold career fairs and banquets where you can meet potential employers. Joining an organization will not only put you at the front of the line with potential employers, but can also make you the first to hear of scholarships and internships that become available. You may want to stick with an organization that is tied to your major as to not overwhelm yourself, but the business groups tend to be the most active.

2. Go away for spring-break

College spring break’s often highlight a freshman’s year: Parties all-day and all-night, on and off the beaches of America. Spring break occurs in March for most colleges nationwide and lasts up to one week. Most students flock to the sun-flooded beaches of Florida, particularly Panama City Beach, Fla. This line of beaches plays host to thousands of college students throughout March and is definitely somewhere to visit as a freshman.

1. Do new things

All-in-all college is about going outside your comfort zone. It’s a four-year experience that will fly by and so every moment must be cherished and capitalized on. By doing new things you will grow as a person and will also have some great memories to look back on. So go to that party, talk to that girl/guy and do things you normally wouldn’t; you don’t want any regrets.

Top 10 Most Epic Activities for Freshman at UNH

January 30, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges, Top 10 Lists

I was once a freshman in my younger days.

I remember being jam packed in a dorm of wild freshmen, prepared to conquer the University of New Hampshire.  I lived on the 6 floor of Williamson, a red brick dorm made up of hundreds of freshman. That year my floor had become somewhat of a family. Are rooms were so small that we lived and breathed each other’s air. The size of each room could be described as a jail cell, but we had come to understand our rooms as are own tiny paradise.College had become my heaven, a place I would begin to call my new home.

Now, as a wise and experienced senior I can tell you the top 10 most epic activities a freshman should experience at UNH. You’re lucky because this knowledge is usually forbidden, but I want to share the love.

1.  Eat a slice of cheese pizza from Durham House of Pizza

You will hear students talking about a place called DHOP. You will not know what they’re talking about because you don’t understand that DHOP is an acronym for Durham House of Pizza. DHOP lies in the center of downtown Durham. Late at night on the weekends DHOP is a crammed pack with wasted students. Students can be seen shoving pizza into their faces, delighted with the grease and cheese taking over their souls. If you are lucky you could see a fight break out over two hard faced bro’s that don’t like the look on each other’s faces. The line can sometimes plunge out the entrance at prime time. Pizza can sometimes be seen flying across the seating area, and if you’re lucky you may catch a girl crying over some sort of relationship issues. Drunk UNH students can’t resist DHOP’s greasy, cheesy, and crispy pizza slices. I believe this has caused many students to wake up the next morning wondering why the roofs of their mouths hurt so much.


2. Climb on top of the wildcat statue and ride it like a wild bull

Walking to the Whitmore Center you cannot miss the beautiful wildcat statue. The prowling position of the wildcat makes it a perfect platform for student get on top of the statues hard stone and straddle it. If walking by the statue at night, you might notice a student straddling the wildcat, while one of their friends snaps a couple of pictures. From experience on the wildcat, I can tell you that it was a magical experience. I think the feeling of straddling our school mascot gave me a spiritual feeling of pure victory. Ultimately, once you straddle and ride the wildcat there is this overpowering feeling that will stay with you and guide you through the rest of your journey at UNH.

3. Be prepared for Homecoming

UNH’s homecoming is a huge deal. Around the beginning of October is when the whole student body and Alumni’s arrive at the football stadium at 6am to begin tailgating for the football game, which is around 12pm. When I was a freshman I didn’t even realize it was homecoming and missed the whole celebration. This year as a senior I was at the football field before 6am showing my school spirit by celebrating with grilled food and beer.

4. White out the Whittemore Center at a UNH hockey game

The UNH men’s hockey team is considered a national powerhouse and is the most popular sport to watch on campus. Tickets for students are free, but make sure to go days before the games before they get sold out. Student tickets tend to sell out during rival or big games. The atmosphere inside the Whittemore Center during a game is full of energy and chants. The first game you go to, you will realize all the chants the students have acquired from going to the games. There are the normal college hockey chants, but there are some that are unique to UNH. For example, when UNH plays Boston University, students would chant in sync: “Sucks to B-U, Sucks to B-U, Sucks to B-U.”

5. Befriend someone who has a car

Most freshman at UNH don’t have a car because it’s very expensive, and your spot would be in the most inconvenient place. Freshman year I didn’t have a car and neither did my friends, which I thought took away from my freshman year. I wasn’t able to explore the town of Durham, and also surrounding towns as much as I wanted to. The beach was only 25 minutes away, but I had no way of getting there to go surfing. Once I moved into an apartment my junior year and was able to have a car, I was able to go explore on the weekends. UNH’s campus is very close to a large estuary called the Great Bay. Once I had my car, I explored so many different beautiful spots along the water to relax with my friends.

6.  Devour a JB at Franz’s food after a long night

When you wake up Sunday morning feeling like the creature from the black lagoon, go to Franz’s Food located in downtown Durham to grab yourself a JB. Franz’s Food is a tiny breakfast and lunch bar inside of a Laundromat that heals student’s hangovers every late Sunday morning. A JB is a large breakfast burrito consisting of two fried eggs, cheese, bacon, and a crushed up hash brown. When waiting in line you will sometimes notice a mad man working behind the counter… yes that is Franz.

7. Try out all 3 delicious dining halls

Even though you live right next to Philbrook Dining Hall, doesn’t mean you should always eat there. UNH’s dining halls are pristine and have a large range of delicious and nutritious food choices. I have found that students don’t use the dining halls to their fullest potential. Give yourself some time to explore each dining hall and understand what types of food can be where. If you are a picky eater, I found that my first two years at UNH I learned to try a lot of new foods.

8. Leave your dorm room open when you are there

A great way to meet people in your dorm is to keep your door open when you are hanging out in your room. Doing this gives off the impression that you’re open to meeting new people. I left my door open my freshman year and met so many new people, some that I am still best friends with now! You never know…you might even might that special someone.

9. Go to a frat party

There is no better way to start off freshman year by dancing your butt off in the grimy basement of a frat house. Frat parties are so big at UNH for freshman because that’s one of the only place’s freshman can go party. You guys aren’t old enough to live in an apartment or house…so your only choice is to find yourself in a Frat’s slimy black lit basement.


10. Go to the fall and spring concert

My freshman year I saw Passion Pit in the fall and State Radio in the spring. These were awesome shows. I had an amazing time with my friends, even though I wasn’t a particularly a huge fan of these two artists. Lately UNH has been slacking on good concerts, but as a freshman experiencing a concert at UNH is a must!


Top 10 Looks From The Golden Globes

January 13, 2014 in Style, Top 10 Lists

Last night was the 71st Golden Globes, which honor both television and film. I laughed at the hilarious Tina Fey and Amy Poehler’s jokes, cheered when my favorite actors and actresses won awards, but I was mostly in awe of the beautiful dresses on the red carpet. Here is the list of my ten favorite looks from last night’s award show.

1) Margot Robbie in Gucci

Margot Robbie

2) Amy Adams in Valentino

Amy Adams

3) Emma Roberts in Lanvin

Emma Roberts

4) Olivia Wilde in Gucci

Olivia Wilde

5) Emma Watson in Dior

Emma Watson

6) Lupita Nyong’o in Ralph Lauren

Lupita Nyong’o

7) Naomi Watts in Tom Ford

Naomi Watts

8) Reese Witherspoon in Calvin Klein

Reese Witherspoon

9) Mila Kunis in Gucci

Mila Kunis

10) Julie Bowen in Carolina Herrera

Julie Bowen

Honorable Mentions

-       Jenna Dewan-Tatum in Roberto Cavalli

-       Amber Heard in Versace

-       Leslie Mann in Dolce & Gabbana

-       Kate Beckinsale in Zuhair Murad

-       Giuliana Rancic in Lorena Sarbu