Every Stressed College Student: Stop and Read This Now

As the perfectionist I am, I like to act like I have it all together.

It’s the last week of classes before “dead week” and finals at Fredonia. I am going to be a senior in college in four months. I will be 21 years old, an adult in all meanings of the word, in 26 days.

I am no where near having it together.

As the semester comes to an end, take a moment to breathe and know that you’re on this planet for a reason. You can and will do this.

“Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” – A. A. Milne

Thought Catalog

The Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games

Before you read this, take a moment. Make a list of 5 things (simple things) you are grateful for.

Ready, go.

Now read:

Dear fellow academians, nerdy engineers, hopeful future doctors, lawyers, movers, and shakers of the world, college students enduring the final round of hunger games (higher education edition), this is your reality check:

It’s finals week and you’re all stressed to the brim of your intellectual capacity. You have 4 exams, 3 papers, a thesis proposal, research presentation, and 975 other things you’d rather do, all weighing you down like an anchor strapped to your waist. You’re stressed, and you’re anxious. You may be at your breaking point, and if you’re like I was this morning, you may be crying into your morning Americano at the Starbucks in the city’s center over the fact that your life is just a shitshow extravaganza right now. If…

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First Stop: Chicago Tribune

As my fellow journos and I made our way through the streets of Chicago, we stumbled upon a huge, church-like building.  Let’s not talk about how many of us it took to actually figure out that it was indeed the Chicago Tribune… even though it says “Tribune Tower” above the door. IMG_0170

When we finally figure out we were at the correct building, we had some time to wait before we could be brought up to the newsroom (if you’re not early, you’re late).

The lobby walls were adorned with famous words about the press:

To the press alone, chequered as it is with abuses, the world is indebted for all the triumphs which have been gained by reason and humanity over error and oppression.

– James Madison

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

– Thomas Jefferson

Once inside, we had the opportunity to attend a “page one” meeting. This is basically where the head honchos of each department come together to discuss what’s hot in their neck of the woods for the day. Most of what goes on in that meeting is pretty top-secret though, so you’ll just have to schedule your own trip to Chicago to find out what really went down behind the closed doors!


Leaving the Tribune Tower, on our way to our second stop of the day, we had the opportunity to see a little world history in the most peculiar place; stuck in a wall!

Check back for my next post to find out what the journos found!

Conquering Life Presents: Seena and Ben from The Onion

Get a taste of what it is like to sit at the same table as the Sports and Managing Editors of The Onion!

Conquering Life

“Chicago’s okay,” said Mr. Seena Vali, Sports Editor of The Onion.

“It’s a city,” offered Mr. Ben Berkley, The Onion’s Managing Editor.

“It’s definitely a city. If you look out there, there are buildings,” said Seena, gesturing to the window in the conference room which overlooks Chicago.

“It’s certainly a city,” said Ben.

Breaking news from The Onion Chicago headquarters: Chicago is, in fact, a city.

I can’t say for sure, but I definitely hope, that talking to editors of big-time publications is the meaning of life. This past Friday, I had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Seena and Ben with a group from my college, and during that one hour period of time, I had so much wisdom dropped on me.

“And the murder rate has gone up,” added Seena.

“Since we’ve been here?” asked Ben.

“Ya since we came here,” replied Seena.

“Weird coincidence.”


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Chicago: The Preview

Sunday night, my fellow SPJ members and I returned from a 4-night/3-day trip to Chicago, Illinois. There, we attended a page one meeting at the Chicago Tribune, got a tour of the WBEZ Chicago NPR studios, visited “America’s Finest News Source,” The Onion, and (of course) did all the touristy things foreigners do while in unexplored territory.

Over the next few days, I’ll be chronicling our adventures in the windy city.

For now, I present – Chicago: The Preview

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This Is Why You Should Own Up To Your Regrets

Last night, our jam-packed 12-seater van pulled onto Ring Road after a 9-hour journey from Chicago to Fredonia. We returned to reality.

For just a moment, I lived in a huge city. I was where I want to be.

In the blink of an eye, it was all gone.

What if I had gone to school in a big city? Would I have become a journalist? Could I have had an easier time landing an internship? Would people notice me if I went to NYU or some other money-sucking prestigious school?

Life is full of “what ifs.” Ignoring them gets you no where; you never learn. Hanging onto them and letting them tear you down doesn’t help much either.

Admit your regrets and move on. Learn from your mistakes and allow them to help you become the best you that you can be.

Thought Catalog

Flickr / micadewFlickr / micadew

So often I hear people preaching that we should live our lives with no regrets. However, I disagree. I have regrets-hundreds, perhaps thousands. And so may you.

Regrets are how we learn. If you don’t regret a poor choice you made, or a mistake, the reality is that you’ll probably repeat them.

Have regrets. Own them. Forget this line of, “Live your life with no regrets”. Regret your screw-ups. Regret those missed opportunities. Regret that time you locked eyes with a person you really wanted to meet, but let them pass you on by. Go ahead and regret these things. With regret, comes knowledge. Learn from your regrets and remember them, so that you can side step the next potential window for regret.

Regrets are part of life. We don’t always make the right choices. Sometimes, we make mistakes- some big, some small. But every one of…

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When The Ice Cream Man Stops Coming

Five years ago, I woke up on Easter morning and received news that absolutely destroyed me.

I opened my door, looked directly into my dad’s eyes and knew immediately that something was wrong.

“Gram passed away this morning,” he said, reaching his arms out to offer me a hug.

For a moment, I just stared at him. I didn’t want to believe it. How could such a strong woman just slip away like that? I was angry. It wasn’t fair.

Who was going to practically force-feed me Oreos after dinner? Whose loud, Polka voice was going to shout through her big, red farmhouse, telling me to stop running on the stairs, if not hers? Would the ice cream man still come to her house with Popsicle Snow Cones?

In journalism, it is often considered incorrect to refer to someone as having “passed away.”

They died.

Sure, that big, red farmhouse has since been sold to another family, and, come to think of it, I haven’t had a Snow Cone in nearly a decade.

But, my Gram did not die. She is still very much alive:

When I find peace in sitting on my porch and just watching the world go by – that’s my Gram.

Every time I feel the need to yell things that could most certainly be expressed in an inside voice – that’s my Gram.

When I go out of my way to help another person – that’s my Gram.

If I utter “Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” – THAT is definitely my Gram.

As a dedicated nurse and medical professional for the majority of her life, she constantly put the needs of others above her own. She always believed in, and fought to maintain, the right of the elderly to have a full, dignified and complete life, regardless of age or illness.

I may not be able to sit at her feet and (be forced to) watch the PGA tour for hours on end, or play (and always lose) card games with her at her oversized dining room table, and the ice cream man may not come, but my Gram is not dead.

To this day, this woman inspires me to be the best damn person I can be, and to care for each and every person I meet equally, no matter who they are.


Rest in the most blissful peace, beautiful. I love you to the moon and back.

Kelly Clarkson Talks Weight Criticism With Ellen DeGeneres

Not every influential person in my life is a journalist.

I’ve been a die-hard Kelly Clarkson fan since she first graced our ears with her heel-stomping, confidence-boosting “Miss Independent” in 2003.

The passion Clarkson has for her art, and the amount of love she has for her family and fans are incredibly admirable.

Regardless of the criticism Clarkson has been facing from the media recently, she continues to hold her head high and walk and perform with confidence. She has not let the negativity she faces on a daily basis affect her.

Having faith and confidence in your work and yourself is essential to being a successful journalist. There will always be people who question your work. You need to be able to stand up for yourself and know that you have presented the news in an unbiased, truthful way.


Kelly Clarksonrecently had a baby, got married and joined the cast of American Idol as a mentor. But even with all of her recent successes, it seems people can’t stop focusing on her weight. Luckily, the singer doesn’t really care what anyone thinks (remember when she responded to those horrible body-shaming tweets?), and she addressed her critics in a recent interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

When asked about the negativity she’s received regarding her weight, the 32-year-old told DeGeneres she’s been on the receiving end of these comments for years. “I love how people think that’s new — like, ‘Welcome to the past 13 years,’ ” she told the TV host. “Yeah, I was the biggest girl on [American Idol], too. And I wasn’t big, but people would call me big because I was the biggest one on Idol, and I’ve…

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