The Connected Issue Is Out on Stands Now

The day has finally come: The Connected Issue is officially here!

Back in January, we brainstormed themes to explore—eventually deciding on “Connected.” Over the course of this semester, we’ve been working hard on content that redefines this word. From the relationship you have with your dog to the connection you feel with someone you’ve never met, you’ll discover how we interpreted many different types of connections we make in our everyday lives.

You can find a copy of the magazine at these locations:

On-Campus

  • O’Connell Center
  • Gator Dining
  • Weil Hall
  • Weimer Hall
  • PATH Office
  • Turlington Plaza
  • Broward
  • Norman garage
  • Commuter Lot
  • College of Dentistry bus stop
  • East Hall
  • Springs bus stop
  • Law School
  • Peabody Hall
  • Beaty Towers bus stop
  • UF Bookstore
  • Reitz Union

Off-Campus

  • Several locations in Haile Plantation
  • Garden Gate Nursery
  • Hippodrome Theater
  • Maude’s Cafe
  • Copper Monkey (Jonesville location)
  • Tioga Dental
  • Patticakes (both locations)
  • 3 Natives
  • Karma Cream
  • Beach Break
  • Sweet Culture
  • UPS
  • Bagel Bakery
  • Target Copy

Thanks for joining us on our journey this semester. Our entire staff worked diligently to bring you insightful posts about how to find connections all around you and with the things you love most. It’s been a pleasure being your blog editors for this semester, and keep following Orange & Blue Magazine on social media to see what’s in store for you next!

With love,

Ariana and Li

Oh, the People You’ll Meet

By Li Stalder

Dear Baby Gator,

Congratulations on joining the Gator Nation. Soon enough, you’ll be taking your first steps onto campus as an official student during Preview. Before you know it, you will meet so many new people and will be bombarded with what seems like an endless amount of opportunities.

As my time at the University of Florida draws to a close, I want to share some of the most meaningful connections I’ve made throughout these past four years, and why it’s worth building and maintaining each of these relationships.

Your Freshman Roommate

Ah, I’m sure you’ve probably heard horror stories about roommates, but it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, your freshman roommate will most likely be one of the first people you will meet. This doesn’t mean you have to be attached to each other’s hips, but make an effort to explore campus and Gainesville together. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up living with each other for the following years? At the end, it’s interesting to see where you both end up. I’m still good friends with one of my freshman roommates, and it’s crazy to see how much we’ve grown since moving into our small Beaty suite.

A Major Buddy

Finding someone in each of your classes to exchange notes with in case you’re absent is good. But finding someone who takes all the same major classes as you do is even better. I was fortunate enough to have a major buddy, and we somehow managed to take at least 10 classes together. So-called “weed-out” classes can be tough, but you don’t have to suffer alone. Your major buddy is automatically your go-to study partner and someone you can lean on for support—whether it’s getting a fact error, failing an exam or celebrating the news of getting an internship.

Club/Organization Members

You’ll probably test the waters and join as many clubs and organizations as you can. Sometimes committing to a select one or two can be just as rewarding. I was active in only one club—Spoon University UF. I was able to get to know the other members really well. When senior year came around, I was confident enough to apply and accept the role of editorial director, which helped me come out of my shell and gave me valuable experience.

Professor

While asking for help in office hours sounds intimidating, it really isn’t as bad as you may think. Professors teach for a reason: to help you succeed. However, you don’t need to be struggling either in order to develop a connection with one of your instructors. Interested in the class? Stop by and talk to them about how you’re looking forward to the rest of the semester or just discuss career goals. My magazine and feature writing instructor and I once talked about the cool things I was doing for Spoon University, and even gave me tips to improve my writing.

Co-Workers

Many students work part-time, so the likelihood of having co-workers around the same age as you is pretty high. They can also be cool people to hang out with outside of the office (or wherever you work). It’s funny how I met one colleague while we both worked at Charlotte Russe, and then a few months later, she got hired at my second job. She’s even a journalism major, so we bonded over shared classes as well.

So, those are just a few of the many types of people you may encounter. Friendships can blossom and professional connections can help you out later in your collegiate career, or even post graduation. You’ll probably hear this a lot, but make the most of your time here and enjoy every minute. Go Gators!

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There’s No Place Like (Your Childhood) Home

By Nina Cusmano

We moved into the Jupiter house with a big yard and a chicken coop, complete with six chickens, when I was six. When we were younger, my brother and I liked the house because it had a laundry chute. In high school, we liked it because we got our own bathrooms.

The woman who lived there before us was an artist and had a unique decorating sense. She had sponge-painted watermelons across the kitchen walls and glued seashells to the mirror in one of the bathrooms.

Our house has a big yard with plenty of space for our dogs to run around and for my brother and me to play soccer. The house eventually was painted green, a shade of green that became my favorite color.

In elementary school, I would ride my Razor scooter up and down the driveway or catch frogs in the yard. My friends and I would make up games with the laundry chute, such as letting stuffed animals slide down it and then running down the stairs to get them and do it again.

In middle school, my bedroom walls changed from pink to lavender, and my best friend helped me cover my ceiling in posters of our favorite Disney Channel stars.

By the end of high school, when I wasn’t on the soccer field, I spent my time working on college applications. I wrote my college essay for UF in that house, and later celebrated my acceptance with my dad there, too.

Every time I come home from Gainesville, I drive down the dirt road that leads to my house and stop at the metal gate at the end of my driveway. I’m always flooded with memories from second grade through high school. I’m reminded of Louie, the dog we got when I was in fourth grade that is no longer around. Instead, our new puppy greets me at the door. I’m reminded of all the ways this house grew and changed as I did over the years.

As my parents think of downsizing and prepare to be empty nesters, I cherish these memories a little more every time I’m home.

The History of Photography

By Alexandra Booth

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Basically every smartphone comes with a camera now a days, and the quality just keeps getting better. Phones aren’t the only way people take an picture though, from DSLRs to the re-emergence of the Polaroid, a person can get as high or low tech as they want to capture what they see.

It’s interesting to take a look at where photography originated and the timeline of how it’s changed in connection to the technology we know today:

  • The basics of what would soon become photography started in the 5th century, involving a ‘dark chamber’ and ‘pinhole light.’ This process, called the camera obscura, wouldn’t be detailed however until the 11th century, according to the History Channel’s website.
  • In the 1600s, Sir Isaac Newton discovered and demonstrated that light was the source of all color.
  • In 1826, the first ever image that didn’t fade quickly was taken.
  • This led to the creation of Daguerreotypes in 1837, the first successful form of permanent photography, according to ShutterStoppers. This required copper plates with silver and iodine to be exposed to light for a period of time. Daguerreotypes eventually led to emulsion plates, which led to dry plates.

Years past and people experimented on different devices and lens, along with giving presentations on the art of capturing images. However, this new technology was only available to the scientists who studied it. Photography wasn’t available to the public, until the mid 1880s.

George Eastman created flexible film that was rolled to fit into a portable camera, which he also created along with his company, Kodak. This small model allowed photography to be accessible to amateurs.

The appeal to the instant power of a camera made the first Polaroid camera very popular, where a chemical could develop the film in under a minute, according to The Spruce. This popularity has been brought back recently due to the introduction of the Fujifilm Instax Mini Instant Camera.

In present day, companies like Apple are trying to advance the capabilities of what a cellphone camera can achieve. According to Wired, in 2015 Apple bought LinX, an image-sensor company. This helps enhance the sensor on smartphones, which enhances light a photo has (or doesn’t have), along with sharpening an image.

We are pretty lucky to have such amazing technology at our fingertips. We can capture any image we desire and connect to the world around us. Cameras won’t stop getting more and more hi-tech until smartphones rival the quality of DSLRs. Until then, keep snapping away!

How You Can Overcome Your Anxiety and Conquer Your Worries

By Ariana Brasman

The seven-letter word that impacts people’s lives so drastically: A N X I E T Y. It can be a short-term feeling of nerves you experience before going into a job interview or standing up in front of a class to give a presentation. Or it could be a long-term feeling of constant worry and insecurity about yourself. An anxious mind is filled with worry, self-doubt and constant questioning of your own decision-making. Below is a list of the top three ways to overcome anxiety and take back your life.

1. Remove yourself from the person or situation causing the anxiety.

Anxiety comes with multiple emotions. It could be the worry you feel right before walking into an exam or during your exam. It could be the feeling of embarrassment in front of the boy or girl you like because you feel that you acted stupid or weird around them. When anxiety hits you, take a minute to sit back and breathe. When you feel anxious, the best thing to do is to walk away from the person or situation that is making you feel that way, if it’s possible (you can’t just walk out when taking an exam). Take a moment to be with yourself and de-stress. Then you can go back in feeling refreshed and recharged.

2. Believe in yourself.

What if I handled the situation this way? What if I spoke to my significant other in a calmer tone? What if I failed my exam? Anxiety is made-up of “what if?” questions when you ask yourself about situations that could have played out differently. Whatever the situation may be, anxiety leads us to question ourselves and constantly analyze our own behavior and actions. So, how do you overcome this? Start by trusting in yourself, even though it may be easier said than done. When you start questioning things, worry builds up. Believe in yourself by trusting in what you’re doing, what you’re thinking and how you’re acting. Stop focusing on the ‘could have,’ ‘should have’ or ‘would have’ and focus on the present. Stop dwelling on the situation or person who made you feel anxious and move forward.

3. Accept that you cannot always control the situation.

For many people, when they lose control of a situation or it doesn’t go as they planned it out in their head, they don’t know how to handle this change and begin to worry. Relaxation is key. When a situation doesn’t turn out as planned, instead of worrying about it just go with the flow. Accept the change with open arms and think positively. Take a deep breathe, tell yourself the situation is out of your control and stop obsessing about how to make it right.

Journaling Strengthened My Connection with Myself

By Aileen Mack

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Keeping a journal reminds me of my younger days. Journaling makes me think of my summers when I would write about my daily activities and travels. In more recent years, I only journaled when I had something to write about, something on my mind or something particular going on in my life. But since the beginning of this semester, I started to journal again five days a week for at least 30 minutes with the guidance of prompts/explorations from the book “Writing and Being: Embracing Your Life Through Creative Journaling” for one of my classes.

Journaling gives you the chance to spend alone time with yourself and be with your thoughts. While that may be a scary thought to many people, myself included, it’s actually really important. Like any other relationship, you’ve got to nurture it and make time for it. Spending some quality time with yourself can be invaluable. One benefit I gained from journaling is that I’m ok with being alone in public. For the first time this semester, I went to see a movie by myself, and it was an enjoyable experience. I was able to get wrapped in the movie without having to worry about anyone else, even subconsciously.

With my final semester coming to a close at the University of Florida, I’m dealing with stress from various sources, so getting to journal every day has helped me manage my stress and worries a lot better. Being able to write them down and explore these feelings has been therapeutic. Sometimes when you start writing about one thing, you just can’t stop. You’re able to admit freely to yourself the things that you wouldn’t have otherwise. You’re able to understand yourself better and build that relationship you have with yourself. I’m able to process my emotions and not brush them off  by telling myself to ‘get over it’ and ‘it’ll all be fine.’ I acknowledge and accept these feelings, which allow me to recognize that all my feelings are valid.

According to Thai Nguyen and The Huffington Post, journaling also has other benefits, including stretching your IQ, strengthening your self-discipline and sparking your creativity. Doing ‘stream of consciousness’ writing can bring out thoughts and ideas you didn’t know you had in you and loosens up the expressive muscles. While you write, you may get the urge to find new words and increase your vocabulary while doing so. Writing in your journal can take you into a state of mindfulness while frustrations and anxieties lose some of their power in the present, and Nguyen wrote that there’s a strong connection between happiness and mindfulness.

Admittedly, I have yet to read back anything more than a week old, but it will definitely be interesting to see my perspective and thoughts from this time in my life later on. I highly recommend giving journaling a try because it has helped me during this stressful time in my life.

How To Ask For a Favor Through Email

By Janine Wolf

The art of writing an email is just that—an art.

I remember when I drafted my very first professional email, which in reality was anything from professional. In fact, I am afraid to look for it in my history of sent emails.

Since that cringe-worthy time in my life, I have come a long way with writing effective emails. In order to craft ones that are engaging, yet empathetic, I have done a fair share of research on the subject.

Through a combination of readings, seeking advice and trial-and-error, I have collected many of the do’s and don’ts of email-writing.

In an attempt to summarize how I approach email-writing now, I provide you with a template for how to ask someone for a favor or request (e.g. letters of recommendation, interviews, etc.). However, this template can be easily adapted to fit your specific purpose.

So, here we go:

The Subject Line

Let’s start with the basics. Now, I’ll be honest: this is still something that I am learning to master. But, I have found that the shorter and more to the point, the better. (This may seem obvious, but trust me that not everyone has it down yet.)

To ask for a favor, try: “Favor To Ask: [insert short one- to two-word line here]”

To ask for a letter of recommendation, try: “Favor: Letter of Recommendation”

To ask for a coffee date with someone important, try: “Coffee Meeting: [day of requested meeting]”

A pointer: if you can’t think of anything, don’t make the mistake of not writing a subject line at all. It appears as “blank” in the email inbox and looks incredibly unprofessional.

The Email

Now, comes the good stuff.

Here is a template you can easily adapt to your email request:

Dear [Professor Bob],

I hope this email finds you well.

My name is [name here], and I am [relationship to the person here]. I am writing to you to ask [favor here] because [explain why you want them, and not anyone else, to assist you].

I would be more than happy to meet with you to discuss further details. Please let me know of a day and time that works best for you [if this is something that requires a meeting, be flexible].

Thank you so much, and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Best,
[Name]

Pro-tip: I would highly suggest including your contact information, as well as your social media handles in the signature area. It eliminates any future awkwardness when the other party tries to get in touch with you, but realizes that he or she can’t.

As I mentioned before, writing a solid email is an art, which requires paying attention to your recipient’s interpretation and edits. But once you master it, I guarantee you will achieve your intended goals.