Next Stop: UMU

Next Stop: UMU

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Let’s talk about that huge purple elephant in the room; getting ready to leave for college. You should be excited. Moving into this next stage of your life is going to be something that you remember for a very long time and hopefully you have a great time while you do it. As I prepare for my sophomore year at Mount Union, I was asked to do a video on what I might suggest the class of 2015 bring with them as freshman to campus. I realize that some of the things I talk about might not be applicable, but I tried to make broad enough suggestions and share some of my own tips that you will find something unique and helpful here. Be sure to watch the video and contact me if you have any questions.

Google Calendar
This is one of my favorite tools to use. I love Google Calendar because of how easy it is to quickly add anything you need to set a date to. What makes it even better is how accessible it is to people who don’t like getting on the computer, or don’t have smartphone. I originally started using Google Calendar via text message (text to GVENT) to keep track of things I got assigned in high school. It was very easy to get assignments and then quickly text them to the service, but the real value of Calendar is the alert system is sets up for you. Right now, I have it send me a text message 15 minutes before any event I add while I’m on the go. It also sends a daily schedule of my day to my email inbox at 5 a.m. each morning, as if I had a personal assistant dedicated to keeping track of the things I love to do.

Attire
As I mentioned in the video, you will want to bring a formal outfit of sorts for the various events you attend on campus. You don’t need to have a full wardrobe of ties and dress clothes, but a nice suit with jacket, for the guys, really goes a long way when making a first impression with the many faces you’ll be meeting this fall.

Lifestyle
Along with my recommendation of bringing foam earbuds to help you get a good night sleep, I would also encourage you to get shower supplies that either can hang on a bathroom hook, where you can place your towel, or have a suction back so you can stick them to the wall of the shower. The showers at Mount Union are nice, but they aren’t the most spacious ones you’ll ever use. Being able to not worry about your things falling off of the shallow ledges is something you will appreciate as the semester goes on. Leaving for college is definitely going to be something that many of you will have a hard time adjusting to for the first couple of weeks on campus. It’s a big lifestyle change, but if you give it time, it does get easier. If you have any specific questions that you would like to ask me, or just want to know a familiar face when you come in the fall, feel free to send me an email at dregerkq@mountunion.edu. I check my email quite frequently, so I’ll most definitely get your message well before we move in later this month.

The G+ Effect

The G+ Effect

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Interesting that Samantha wrote about Google+ when I was planning to do the same! I guess that goes to show that we’re quite interested in this up and coming social media effort from Google, as well as where it will put our other social networks like Facebook.

Follow me on Google+ here!

google plus

From what I can tell, Google+ (hereon referred to as G+) has been a big hit so far. Lots of people, influential tech people primarily, have jumped on board. I was able to grab an invite from a Twitter user within the first week and have had plenty of time to get a feel for how Google wants to change the online-sharing world. Some thoughts so far:

  • Whatever personal information I had been holding back from Google, or had flat out lied about in the first place, is now correctly updated and proudly sitting on my G+ profile page. Interesting change of events.
  • I take particular joy in adding people to my “Brain Trust” and “Inner Circle” circles. Say that ten times fast.
  • Limiting the content you post to certain circles at the time of posting is insanely easy. It is all done from the keyboard and the implementation of auto-complete is very well done.
  • I use my other social networks more. Not as in a direct comparison to my G+ usage, but more than I use to use them. I’ve found myself around Facebook and Twitter more frequently as of late.
  • Flash, being used for a full-site experience, is dead. G+ showcases, especially with the HTML5 photo upload, that an immersive, interactive experience can be built without the need to call up Adobe.
  • Google is throwing all its weight behind that little +1 button. It is key to its succeess. A Facebook search engine, powered by the “likes” of your friends could very quickly make Google search results seem artificial; partly because they already are. Google, not given access to the huge amount of data on our Facebook pages, needed its own way to begin curating results. You can have the most advance search algorithm in the world, but I will always go off of the recommendations of the people I trust before I turn to a machine.
  • G+ is the result of a lot of vision and hard work. It is very clear that Google put effort into the experience and design. It might be the best looking first-launch of a Google product, that wasn’t simply bought and rebranded, in my memory.

The biggest thing G+ has hurting it right now is the lack of users. Social networks without your friends signed up feel like awkward house parties where the amount of food provided vastly exceeds the capacity of the guests there. Sharing with a circle of friends that only has one or two people in it isn’t very compelling, but every day I get another notification that “so-and-so added you to their circles.” Slowly but surely.

G+ may not be able to dethrone Facebook because it is much easier for Facebook to change up features than it is for Google to establish hundreds of millions of active users. But G+ is the first sincere push at a more social version of Google’s creed to organize the world’s information. I really like G+. But I know I’d like it a whole lot more if all my friends were here.

Bills, Books and Boxes

Bills, Books and Boxes

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As summer is coming to a close and the new school year is almost here, there are so many things that are left to be done.  I just started looking up my books that I need for the new semester and that is definitely time consuming.  My method for looking up books begins by going to our bookstore website (this is how we find out what books we need for each class).

I look at how much the price of the books are at the bookstore, and also write down the ISBN # so I’ll be able to look the books up on other sites.  Then I log onto Amazon.com and Half.com to look up my books and I write down the cheapest copy of the book that I can find.  Then, usually I’ll buy the cheapest one out of the three websites that I looked at.  As you can see, it is a pretty long process.

I was surprised to find out for one of my classes that I need not one, not five, but TEN books.  For one class.  I was a little bit shocked, but I emailed my teacher to make sure this was correct and she said that we will indeed be reading all ten of the books throughout the semester.

I really do love getting new books.  I’ve always been a reader so I really don’t mind buying the books if we’re going to use them.  It just upsets me when some teachers tell you on the first day that it is absolutely necessary that you have the book and then they do not reference it once throughout the semester and you sit there wondering why exactly it was so important to throw away $50-$100 on a book.

Along with the book buying process, I’m going to need to start packing sometime within these next couple weeks.  I need to figure out what I want to take with me this semester and then pack the rest of the stuff away.

I’m going on vacation next week with my boyfriend and I’m so excited to get away from all the work for a few days! :]

5 weeks until school starts! Are you ready?

Have a good one!

-Shannon

Another Scholarship!

Another Scholarship!

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The last thing you expect during your summer break is a phone call from a professor. Yet, that is exactly what happened to me earlier this month when the faculty advisor for the Alpha Lambda Delta honor society informed me that I was selected as a Trow Scholarship recipient. Alpha Lambda Delta, a selective honor society, in which members are chosen for membership based on their first year of college academics. The society gives out approximately 30 scholarships to college students across the nation. Not only was I one of 30 college students in the nation to win the scholarship, I was one of only 10 chosen to receive the highest award. Like I said before, when I won the SME Cleveland Scholarship, every little bit of financial aid that is received is a huge help when it comes to paying off college loans. I contribute receiving this scholarship to Mount Union. All of the professors I have had in my first two years and all the opportunities Mount Union has given me to be involved on campus are the main reasons I was chosen as a Trow Scholarship recipient.

What’s the fuss with Google Plus?

What’s the fuss with Google Plus?

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If you know me at all, you know I adore social media. If you don’t know me, well, now you know :]

I find the whole aspect of “social networking” absolutely fascinating – when used correctly of course.

I believe that each social media outlet (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) all have different pros and cons. These sites also have different groups of people who use them (in both the right and wrong ways).

Think back to the days of Myspace.com. I first made my Myspace profile when I was in middle school — way before every middle school-aged teen had a cell phone or one with a camera. This was way before the days of digital cameras in every family as well. I remember I didn’t even have a default profile picture on my Myspace page — for a while it was tennis-star Andy Roddick because, at the time, that was my favorite picture. Myspace came and went pretty fast, never really taking advantage of “networking.” It was mostly younger kids who had profiles and they just used it and abused it for keeping up with gossip and friends.

Facebook was still quiet around this point, and towards the middle/end of high school I found myself making a Facebook account. I don’t even have to go into explanation as to how quickly and successful the site became. I will say, however, that it is used to make new friends, get to know new friends better, creep on … EVERYONE and keep in touch with old friends. As you know, almost everyone and their mother (literally) has a Facebook account and everyone is sharing pretty much everything. It spread like wildfire, almost to the point where many people are beginning to hate the site because of the amount of ridicule the people on the site produce — that will happen anywhere though. Then of course there are the rumors and stories about how businesses can pay Facebook some big $$ to gain access to someone’s private accounts for hiring purposes, etc.

Then came Twitter (my personal favorite). During my freshman year of college I went to a communication seminar up at Progressive Field where public relations professionals spoke to a large group of us about the importance and positive direction of social media. They absolutely ADORED Twitter and could not stop talking it up. At the time, maybe only two of the people in the entire room had an account and they highly encouraged us all to go home and make one immediately. They stressed the importance of staying professional, showing some personality and meeting new people on this network. This all is why it has become my favorite; you don’t have to personally know somebody to follow them or even to converse through Twitter. Better yet, it is so easy to find local professionals in the field you want to pursue. It works as such a plus (and THIS is why I love social networking); you get to become acquainted with people whom you may end up meeting, working with and needing down the road.

OK, so back to the title of my post: What’s the fuss with Google Plus? (G+)

Think about Google.com … powerful, the best and most used search engine online, growing in talent and abilities, right? OK, now mix that with all of the traits of social media – status updates, picture posting, blog posting, friends and networking.

Google Plus is synced with your Google (gmail) account, which means on your homepage (think Facebook’s homepage), you can access your gmail email account, your calendar, your G+ profile, your G+ account and Google’s search features all while interacting with your friends, or as G+ calls it, your circles and seeing their status updates.

Instead of just accepting or denying every friend request sent, you can pick and choose what “circle” you want each person to go to. The strength of this concept? Hiding stuff you don’t want certain people to see. For instance, your mom gets a G+, simply put her in your “family” circle and when you post your status update about what you did last night, you don’t have to share it with that circle. There are also circles for friends, acquaintances and the option to create your own (i.e. sorority sisters, coworkers, people I hate, etc.) This way, you can pick and choose who can see what on your profile.

Some critics are saying our lives are on social media overload, while this is correct, old ones fade out (example: Myspace) and new ones perfect flaws and step in.

Right now, G+ is on a trial. It is invite-only when it comes to making a profile. Solution? Ask around, find a friend who already has a profile and ask them to send you an invite.

It will definitely be interesting to see where this goes. Google is so powerful and such a smart and capable engine that there can be many great things that come from this new line of social media.

Hope I helped somewhat illustrate this new trend!

Keep cool in this weather! :]

-samantha

Where is the time going?!

Where is the time going?!

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Holy heatwave. This weather is a little ridiculous. It used to be such a treat to work outside at the restaurant but now I dread it! I was scheduled to work on the patio on Monday and I was expecting a very slow night out there. I went in at 4:30 p.m., and at 5:45 p.m., I still had no tables so my manager told me it was fine if I went home. I didn’t really mind it though because I just went home and my sister and I ran a bunch of errands and went to work out! I would have preferred that anyway instead of standing in the heat for no reason :]

This past Sunday was the Johnnycake Jog 5-mile run in Mentor. In my last post I wrote that I was pretty nervous for that because it was my first race of the year. I went out that morning with a personal goal in mind. I really just wanted to make sure my time was under an hour and I would’ve loved to beat my time from the previous year as well. It was really hot Sunday morning but the humidity wasn’t too bad, and I also had a wonderful surprise waiting for me at the finish line. My boyfriend, who lives an hour away, decided to surprise me and wait at the finish line to see me when I got done with the race. My time this year for the race ended up being 48 minutes, which was five minutes less than my time last year! :]

I was really happy to have completed the race and also cut some time off my record. My sister and my dad were there too to cheer my mom and I on during the race, so after we were done, we all went to lunch together. I always get nervous right before the race but after I’m always excited to do it again next year!

On another note, I cannot believe that July is almost over and we have just about one month left of summer. Where did the time go?! There’s still so much I’d like to do this summer so it’s going to be a packed next couple of weeks. I really wanted to visit the beach a few more times this summer, but not while it’s still this hot outside!!

Hope everyone is keeping cool in their air conditioning. :] Have a good week!

-Shannon

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Review

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Review

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By Kyle Dreger

harry potter

Movie reviews are long and often, depending on the reviewer, can be highly biased one way or another. Myself, a frequent movie goer, wanted to start keeping track of the movies that I watch and what I think of them.

A great website called [Review in Haiku] by MG Siegler reviews movies in the standard 5-7-5 haiku format. I love this, primarily because it allows for a quick digestion of the film and it forces the author to really cut out all the unnecessary information; being that you have a total of 17 syllables to work with.

I have adopted this method of reviewing movies and my first shall be the final installment of the Harry Potter series. Many of the people in my grade and above grew up with the books and movies. To have followed the actors and actresses through the past 10 years has been a really fun experience, but now it has come to an end. Final films, especially where it takes two parts to complete, are often hit or miss. Thankfully, the final Harry Potter film did a great job of wrapping up the series. Without further ado, my review:

Final, darkest film
The boy who lived, come to die
Leaves us with closure

Review: Great.

Short and sweet, yet says so much. If you’ve watched any of the previous films or read the books, you owe it to yourself to go and see this one. You won’t be disappointed. Plus, with the cheap (awesome) movie tickets we get right here in Alliance from the Carnation Mall, there is really no excuse not to.

Experience(s) of a lifetime.

Experience(s) of a lifetime.

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Can you believe it is already the middle of July?! Where is this summer going? Perhaps it is my busy schedule that is making the days FLY BY!

As I mentioned in my previous post, last week was the Katy Perry concert! One word – AMAZING! Katy is such an inspirational and talented person and her performance definitely illustrated that. She put on a great show that kept fans entertained from the beginning to the end.

The Cleveland Indians had a pretty long homestand and I was there for every game except the night I was at the concert. If you’re wondering if I was there for Travis Hafner’s walk-off grand slam… yes, yes I was. It was an unbelievable experience, let me tell you. The game was very slow at first, (as in the first 8 innings!) and by the time the 9th inning rolled around, my coworkers and I were getting tired. We were about to head downstairs to end the night when we decided to just wait a few more minutes. We were standing out in the right field seats, Slider The Mascot had joined us, and we were getting excited as the bases became loaded. Just then, I looked over Slider’s head and saw the ball coming right over the wall! GRAND SLAM! It was so beyond exciting! We all jumped up on the right field wall, as part of our job, and cheered with the crowd as the Tribe celebrated on the field.

The Indians are keeping me busy outside of just home games; last night, some coworkers and I headed down to Eastwood Field to join the Mahoning Valley Scrappers during Affiliate Day — all of the Indians’ minor league teams sent representatives to the game to meet the fans and cheer on the game!

The school year is quickly approaching and it is definitely bittersweet. I am so excited to start my senior year but, at the same time, I don’t want this great summer to end!

-samantha

Take caution on the roads

Take caution on the roads

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The temperature outside keeps rising but that hasn’t stopped me from doing things outside :] I’m running in a 5-mile race this upcoming Sunday and I’m excited about it, but also a little nervous too.  I haven’t participated in a race yet this year so it’ll be a little tough, but I’m definitely eager to get back out there and run with hundreds of people.  The race is called the “Johnnycake Jog” and we run through the streets of Mentor, including the busiest street in the city, Mentor Avenue.  I’m going to be trying to get as many miles on my tennis shoes as I can this week in order to prepare myself for Sunday.  Wish me luck!

Also, we had a little bit of excitement this past week as my sister, my mom and I were out on a bicycle ride.  On Thursday, we had a bunch of errands that we had to get done and we figured that instead of driving around in our car, we might as well ride our bikes around town to get some exercise too.  After riding around for about a half hour, we stopped at Arby’s to get a little milkshake for a snack.  We enjoyed those, and then continued down the street towards our next stop.  We were riding on the sidewalk when we saw a small SUV-type vehicle about to turn into the driveway that we were about to cross. My sister was first and she made eye-contact with the driver.  He clearly saw us and was waving us to go through.  I went past him next, and my mom followed a few seconds behind me, and then we heard a huge CRASH.

My sister and I immediately looked back to make sure that my mom was okay since she was behind us and she was fine.  However, the car that was waiting to let us through the driveway was not.  A jeep had come up behind him driving at full speed (and clearly she wasn’t watching the road) and slammed into the back of his vehicle.

The jeep that had slammed into this SUV was completely totaled.  The woman driver was really shaken up and upset but she admitted right away that she looked away from the road for a second so she hadn’t noticed that traffic was stopped.  The two people in the vehicles were okay but it was just a sad situation because the man was super nice and was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.  I guess he normally works at the Verizon Wireless in Mayfield, but he was called in to help out at the Mentor store that day so he said he’d help out.  Also, he was driving a new car.

He was so nice and told us that it definitely wasn’t our fault.  He said that he is a bicyclist as well and he is always cautious to bike riders when he sees them riding around town.  There were also a couple police officers on the scene as well and they also told us that this wasn’t our fault.

I think this is an important lesson to everyone though: If you’re on a bike, always make sure you make eye-contact with motorists so you know for sure that they are aware of you.  And if you are in a car, always make sure you are aware of pedestrians, bicyclists and surrounding traffic.  Things can happen so fast and it is just ignorant to take your eyes of the road to use your iPod, look at the scenery, change the CD player or to text.

I know this was a pretty serious blog post but it’s just so scary out on the roads sometimes and everyone needs to remember to be careful!  I hope everyone is enjoying their week and staying out of this humid, hot weather!

-Shannon

New Turf. New Game.

New Turf. New Game.

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I can’t wait for pre-season soccer to start. If you haven’t been following the pictures posted by our @mountunion Twitter account regarding the new football field turf, you really should be. As an athlete that used the field this past year, I think I speak for everyone when I say that it will be really nice to have a brand new field on which to play.

mount turf

The previous turf looked nice from the stands, however years of competitive playing had worn it down. I’ve been following the construction of the field since they started back when school got out and it’s really coming together now. The new alternating shades of green and fresh new numbers will help reflect the strong dedication our athletes have whenever they step on the field.

plans

Keep an eye on our Twitter feed for more pictures and start getting excited for some Purple Raider athletics. They’re almost here.

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