Archive for the ‘ Activities ’ Category

Back to basics

Over the Easter weekend, I had the chance to travel to Denver with four of my best friends from school. We had a wonderful time exploring the area, visiting the mountains and spending time with one of the girls’ family.

Since it was an unfortunately brief trip – we were only there four days – and I knew we would be busy with varying activities, I elected to not bring my laptop along. Although I have a smartphone capable of browsing the Internet, we did not have a lot of down time. And when we did have some free time, we enjoyed playing board games or talking to our friend’s family. Social media sites were the last thing on my mind, and I spent four days without checking my Facebook or Twitter.

Sure, I’ll admit I’ve come to love said social networking sites. But I’ll be perfectly honest and say that being free of almost everything Internet-related for a few days felt like a breath of fresh air. Even though I am not obligated to check and/or update my social media pages daily, not a day goes by (at least when I’m at school) when I do not do so. I have become so accustomed to maintaining those sites that it is now part of my everyday routine.

I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, though. Facebook and Twitter are two tools that help keep me posted on local and world news, friends’ lives and pop culture. I enjoy being in the loop, and Facebook and Twitter are two easy, efficient sites that keep me in the know.

But I think every now and then it is important for people – or at least for me – to take a step away from their laptops and enjoy genuine face-to-face interaction. I had so much fun with my friends this weekend. Sure, we were in a fun city experiencing different things than we could at home or in Omaha, but mostly I feel we just enjoyed each other’s company.

I love how the Internet has revolutionized the way we communicate. It has allowed me to keep in touch with people I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. But in the long run, I’m not going to remember my friend’s Facebook status that quoted my favorite song or the tweet informing me of who was the first to show up at the royal wedding. Instead, I’m going to remember the amazing time I spent with people who are important to me. So I will continue to intake the news, celebrity gossip and whatever insights my friends care to share with the world – I’ll just take it with a grain of salt.

All of us in my friend's backyard in Denver

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To infinity and beyond: 1 billion stumbles per month

StumbleUpon now records 1 billion stumbles per month — 200 million more stumbles than last month. I read an article about the stunning growth of stumbles on Mashable, which led me to think about the many reasons I love StumbleUpon.

First, I like that StumbleUpon is so customizable, allowing users to view things they are interested in. After selecting initial categories of interest, users receive an even more unique experience by marking sites with a “thumbs up” or a “thumbs down.” This makes not only the sites more personalized, but also the advertisements.

I find myself stumbling often because of the huge variety of sites to which StumbleUpon directs me. Sure, I could theoretically find every site from StubmleUpon on my own, but the convenience factor is a big plus in my book. In this modern age of technology, users want the best experience in the fastest way they possibly can — and StumbleUpon creates just that. The variety of information, videos, pictures, stores, etc. I’ve found while stumbling is impressive, and keeps me entertained for hours.

Although my productivity rate drops at an alarming rate every time I go to StumbleUpon, I enjoy spending my time looking at new things, which have made me laugh and cry. And if I don’t like somewhere StumbleUpon takes me, I simply give it a “thumbs down” and move on with my life…and my stumbling.

Finally and most importantly, I agree with Charlie White, author of the aforementioned article, that StumbleUpon is fun. I love clicking “Stumble!” button, anxiously awaiting what will be presented to me next. I have read touching stories, watched hilarious videos and tried fun, new recipes all thanks to StumbleUpon. I love the excitement of not knowing where it’s going to take me, and even though that doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s the little things in life that make everything worthwhile.

Just dance

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the upcoming midterms week, I find myself stressed, busy and lacking free time (not like this is anything new). Even though I would normally be freaking out, trying to accomplish everything I need to in a short amount of time, I have barely begun thinking about my exams.

Instead, I spend my time in the Lied Education Center for the Arts in dance rehearsal. As part of the Creighton Dance Company, I will be performing in next weekend’s Spring Dance Show, a collection of dances by faculty and student choreographers.

I was talking with a few dancer friends in between rehearsals the other day about everything dance means to us. One of my friends said, “If I stopped dancing, I would hate myself.” Exaggeration or not, we all agreed our lives would not be the same without dance.

As much time as the daily rehearsals consume, I cannot imagine spending my time any other way. Yes, it’s hard work. Yes, I’m really busy. And yes, I currently have a bruised toe and a cold. But all that is worth it to me–because even though I know I’ll never be any sort of professional dancer, I love to dance, and almost as much as that, I love all the friendships I have because of my involvement in the dance program.

I’ve realized lately that the majority of my close friends are from dance, which is probably not a coincidence. I spend countless hours with these people, and I’m so glad I do. Not only are they hilarious and supportive of my other endeavors, but they are also hilarious and unique. And on top of that, they understand exactly what I’m going through during these crazy busy times.

For me, dance is a passion, a way of life. Sometimes–I’ll admit it–I don’t feel like going to class or rehearsal. But 99 percent of the time, I leave dance feeling happy, uplifted and renewed.

No matter how frazzled I sometimes get around the time of a dance performance, I remind myself of why I keep dancing: Because to me, there’s nothing else like it.

For the love of the game

I’m not going to lie–I spent about 50 percent of last weekend watching sports in some form or another. On Saturday I went to Lincoln, Neb. for the first time ever. While I was there, I visited the state capitol and drove around the historic Haymarket. But I didn’t drive an hour west on I-80 just to visit a new city. I went to watch my favorite team, the Kansas Jayhawks, play basketball against the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Then, on Sunday, instead of writing papers as I should have been doing, I watched the Super Bowl (and wrote the papers later).

Would this time have been better spent working on assignments and trying to get ahead for the week? To some people, possibly. But to almost anyone who is a true fan of any team or sport, there is nothing better than getting to see your team play in person. Well…nothing better, except watching your team win in person.

All these athletic commitments–yes, commitments–along with my obvious obsession with the Jayhawks got me thinking about America’s love of sports. In theory, they don’t sound that great: Sit in a hot, noisy, crowded room for two hours watching a bunch of sweaty men (or women) run around and throw a ball at each other or a net. Melt outside in either sweltering heat or freezing cold for three hours while a herd of burly men tackle each other. Nothing about the aforementioned activities sounds appealing…right?

Wrong. Sure, there are plenty of people who could not be paid to go to a baseball game on a hot summer night or watch a hockey game in the bitter cold of winter. But overall, people can’t get enough. Why? Because sports are fun. Whether you’re playing (I would imagine–my parents knew better than to try to put me in organized sports) or watching, sporting events are so captivating and energizing.

Between the anxiety as you watch your team fight back from a multiple-point deficit, the thrill of beating a hated foe or, yes, the heartbreak of a last-minute loss, sports give us something to care about. The camaraderie between fans brings the most unlikely of people together. I’ve had many conversations with people in various parts of the country merely because one of us was wearing a KU shirt. I made friends with people at the KU/UNL basketball game because of our mutual love of the Jayhawks. And never have I given and received so many random hugs from complete strangers as the night in 2008 when KU won the NCAA National Championship in basketball.

So girls, if you’re annoyed your boyfriend is only half-listening as you complain about how you chipped a nail while he’s trying to watch his favorite team’s rivalry game, give him a break. And boys, if you don’t understand why your girlfriend will stay up until 3 am finishing homework she ignored while watching her team of choice play, I have the answer: She does it for the love of the game.