ATTENTION: Social Media Contest Starts Tomorrow!

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ATTENTION: Our social media contest will begin tomorrow!

Enter for your chance to win a special treat.

What you have to do is simple:
1) Must like the photo on Facebook
2) Must follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

That’s it! This contest starts tomorrow and will last until this Friday, the 31st.

We will pick the winner on Friday and post a video of the results. The lucky winner will be receiving a $10 Starbucks gift card + stickers.

So, what are you waiting for? Go enter for your chance to win!

Best of luck to all!

With love,

The Orange and Blue Staff

Mending a Broken Heart

By Alexandra Booth

Dear Broken Heart,

I know what you’re thinking right now – life sucks.

It’s hard not to think that way since a part of your life is different now. Someone that you were close with, who you gave your time and affection to, is no longer in your life.

Or maybe this is not a romantically broken heart, but broken from experiencing the loss of a loved one. Someone who didn’t leave out of your life willingly, but suddenly. Maybe this is heartbreak from a friend, a person that you trusted and who knew your deepest, darkest secrets. Someone who you drifted apart from over time.

The reason why your heart hurts so much is that there is a ‘last’ moment with this person. There will no longer be questions to ask or stories to tell. No more laughs to share or tears to shed, and no more plans to make with this person. This suddenness makes everything seem that much more final. These people meant something to our lives, and now they’re gone.  

Believe me when I say I know what heart break feels like. I’ve lost family members, friends, and boyfriends that I loved. I feel like I tried everything to get over the feeling of heart break. From having immediate rebounds to going on workout binges to show him what he’ll never have again to wallowing in bed for days surrounded by a sea of tissues, I realized nothing was going to get better overnight. I had to give it time.

Now, there seems to be no limit to the amount of advice thats out there if you Google “how to fix a broken heart.” The Huffington Post writes that your feelings matter, release those feelings and seek out support. The Daily Mail advises that you change your habits and thoughts for a fresh start. Even WebMD weighs in and suggests using music and journaling as ways to heal.

Truthfully there is no right way to fix a broken heart. Each individual is different with how he or she copes. Just know that you will get out of this funk. Give it time and you’ll see. 

This change can be hard, but it will make you stronger if you allow it. To one broken heart from one thats been fixed, it’ll all be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end. lkj

Long-Lasting Effect of a Student-Teacher Relationship

By Aileen Mack

As a student, you experience many different teachers throughout the years. Some you loved to pieces, some who bored you with their voice and subject, and some you did not like whatsoever. But good quality teachers are hard to find. It takes a special teacher to motivate and inspire students, and in my case, the effect didn’t wear off easily.

I’m a senior journalism student at the University of Florida, and I sat in her classroom nearly eight years ago. I was 14, awkward and still trying to understand the world, but we clicked. In the later part of the school year, I began to talk to her about things other than school, like life and whatever seemed to pop into my head.

Harmony Couillard, my eighth grade language arts teacher, through her dedication and passion, helped me fall in love with reading and writing. She’s enthusiastic, passionate and cares about her student’s success. She assigned difficult and thought-provoking assignments because she knew students could handle it and was constantly pushing them to be their best. As a result, I still use some of the skills and vocabulary I learned in her class today.

We built a connection through our interactions, whether it was briefly in the hall switching classes or over email. Through the things she said and how she said them, I could tell she genuinely believed in me. Over the years, teachers have told me I’m a good student and smart, but I typically brushed it off as something they said to everyone. Since she knew me a bit outside of what I showed in the classroom, I believed her when she told me I was a great writer and that she could picture me as a writer or a journalist. It’s stuck with me ever since.  

Throughout high school, I noticed I started to enjoy English more, even writing those essays on topics I didn’t really care about for a grade. When I first got to UF, I took different classes to try and figure out what I wanted to major in, including a programming one and telecommunications. But I always had a hunch it was going to be journalism. I genuinely think I wouldn’t have had the confidence to pursue it if it weren’t for Ms. Couillard. Because she believed in me, I started to believe in myself.

 
This connection has become invaluable to me, and I still do my best to keep her updated on school and what I’m doing a few times a year. I am incredibly thankful for the impact she’s had on me. I would not be the person I am today if it weren’t for her.

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Rivalries Bring People Together (And Apart)

By Nina Cusmano

Photo by Taylor Stone (used with permission)

If you grew up in Florida, you have likely encountered the rivalries of Florida State and University of Florida. The Seminoles and Gators are an example of an innate hate for another team that is inherited for some at birth and others when they chose the school they will attend. Whichever sports team you support and for whatever reason you support it, having a loyalty to a team makes being a sports fan so much more enjoyable.

The rivalries reach beyond the field and manifest themselves in behavior at places like the grocery store, where it’s common to share a meaningful nod with the person strolling by you on the cereal aisle who’s also wearing a Gator t-shirt. Growing up, my dad loved saying “Go Gators!” to anyone in clad in Gator (or Seminoles, for the opposite effect) gear. He used to tell me stories about Mr. Two Bits and sang gator chants to my brother and me. I grew up in a culture of friendly rivalry and pride to be a Gator. When I became a Gator, it strengthened my bond with my dad and added even more meaning to the football chants and the colors, orange and blue.

Between my brother and me, our rivalries showed through our favorite soccer teams, a sport we both love to play and watch. Being the younger sibling, I wanted to be different and prove I could think for myself. So, when my brother proclaimed his favorite English Premiere League team was Manchester United, I began my search for a team I could call my own. I eventually decided Tottenham Hotspur would be my team, and although traditionally the Manchester and North London teams are not considered rivals, we created our own personal competition anytime they played.

Whether you were born into a rivalry, chose it in spite of your sibling or just wound up in the middle of one somehow, a rivalry can bring out all the best aspects of sports culture. The highs of competition, celebration and camaraderie among other fans are even more extreme, and the lows of disappointment and loss hurt even more with pride and bragging rights at stake.

In my family, rivalries and team pride can bring you closer to someone who you share a passion with, or add a new dimension to an ongoing sibling rivalry.

From “Brace Face” to Pearly Whites

By Ariana Brasman

When I walked into my fourth grade class, the looks I received from my classmates were hard to ignore. They just stared at me as if I was some kind of outsider.

To make matters worse, my teacher decided to call on me to answer a question, and as I started to speak the students shouted, “Brace face!”

Back then, not many students had braces, and I was the first person in my class who got them. After the initial humiliation and embarrassment, I learned to embrace the word.

When a student would call me “brace face,” I would look at them and say, “thank you.” Saying this took them by surprise, and often they didn’t know how to respond back. Deep down I knew this was a temporary thing. I realized it was a situation I had no control over, so to get myself through this time, I thought I might as well make the best out of an uncomfortable situation.

I started out with four braces on my top and bottom front teeth, along with headgear. Headgear is often used to fix overbites or underbites. In my case, it was an overbite. A good example of headgear can be seen in Katy Perry’s music video, “Last Friday Night.”

I thought my worst nightmare was about to unfold. My orthodontist originally told me I had to wear the headgear to school! The thought of having braces was hard enough, but to wear headgear to school on top of that? I was going to be considered the school nerd and the humiliation would have been too much to handle. So, I didn’t wear it.

During my next appointment at the orthodontist office the following week, they reexamined my teeth and realized they made a minor mistake. My orthodontist informed me that I only needed to wear the headgear piece at night and NOT to school. A feeling of excitement, relief and relaxation engulfed me. Once I realized I only had to wear it at night, I made sure to be very disciplined with wearing it each night. Headgear was still a bit of an adjustment, though. It was painful, extremely tight and hard to sleep with.

When I went in for my last headgear checkup, I thought it was also my last braces checkup. I was unaware that I would need to have my braces on all throughout middle school. I thought I would only have them on for 1 to 2 years tops.

Right before I entered into sixth grade, my orthodontist sat down with my parents and me to explain that since all my adult teeth finally came in, I’m probably going to need braces for the rest of them later on. So, he suggested I get more braces, and my parents decided the sooner this can get fixed the better, even though I disagreed.

100_4947So, I started middle school with a full mouth of braces that lasted into the end of eighth grade. On the bright side though, I was finished with my headgear. Ultimately, I wanted to have my braces off before I entered high school since they couldn’t come off before middle school. Well, thankfully I was able to get them off right before my freshman year of high school.

Although the four years felt like an eternity, they paid off. My teeth both felt and looked wonderful. Minus a few cavities I’ve encountered since my braces came off, my teeth have been in excellent condition, and I plan to keep it that way.

Memes: The Internet Revolution

By Elise Engle

Meme.

Pronounced \ˈmēm\.

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Defined by Merriam-Webster as “an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture” and “an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media.”

We’ve all seen memes, and they certainly aren’t a new trend. However, where did they begin? What was the meme that started it all?

In 1976, Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist and author, coined the term in his book “The Selfish Gene.” Since then, the popularity with this term has been on a steady upward climb as it reaches out to more and more Internet users.

The original memes were content spread through early online mediums, such as emails and message boards. Unlike past forms of media, which aimed to simply be consumed, memes began to encourage social interaction. Every memes’ purpose is not only to be enjoyed, but to be shared and connect people who would not have been connected otherwise.

Memes pull content from across decades. Media created in the 70s, 80s and 90s could easily resurface at any time as a meme. The “Dancing Baby,” which became popular in the 90s, is still often seen across timelines today.

Recently, the “white guy blinking” meme took over the internet. Oddly, the gif came from a 2013 video. What caused the short clip to suddenly gain popularity? Who knows. This is a perfect example of a seemingly random and obscure piece of media becoming a meme and quickly going viral across social platforms.

When searching for the first meme ever, I discovered that it’s hard to pinpoint exactly where it all started. In a lot of ways, memes are like art. They’ve gone from their “cave painting” to “Mona Lisa” to “Campbell’s Soup Can” stage, but they’re all important in their own right.

However, they do have one advantage that art does not – they are easy to create and share. As a result, they have had an unexpected cultural impact, and they are leaving a trail that will absolutely have future scholars totally confused.

Why Yosemite is My Happy Place

By Li Stalder

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If you ask me where my favorite place in the world is, I would say Yosemite.

Family ties root my deep connection to this famous national park in California. My grandma owns a cabin, which is where my aunt and uncle reside, in Wawona. My aunt runs her own property management business where she rents out cabins to happy vacationers.

Search through our family photo albums, and you’ll see many photos of a 4-year-old me happily playing in the snow or sitting on a seesaw with my younger sister. I can’t remember those memories from that far back, but the succeeding trips we took once I was older have always been the most unforgettable.

In 2012, we went back to California for the first time since moving to Florida five years prior. Our homecoming trip was packed with seeing the desert, coast and mountains. We stopped by Borrego Springs, where I spent my elementary school days. Then we visited Grandma in the outskirts of LA. My older sister flew in with my nephew, and we took a road trip up to Yosemite.

During our stay this time, we swam in the same swimming hole my mom and her sister used to play in as kids in the Merced River. We went down to the Valley, took short hikes and met up with my dad’s brother and wife. One of my favorite parts of the trip was the cabin we stayed in because it had a lot of games and books to satisfy us during down time. On the way out, we even saw a bear down the hill off the side of the road.

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However, my last trip to Yosemite in August of 2015 was my absolute favorite trip I’ve taken so far. The whole family was there again, and we even stayed at the same cabin. But this time, my mom, two younger sisters and I faced the challenge of hiking Half Dome.

We were up before the sun at 6 a.m., and drove down to the Valley. By 7 a.m., we started our journey at the trailhead. Not even a mile in—before seeing Vernal Fall—I panicked. The incline was steep, and I was already huffing and puffing. But I was determined to stick it out. I had been looking forward to this hike for months, and I couldn’t just quit then. I stuck in my earphones and played Harry Potter music for motivation (yes, it did help).

This 16-mile, 14-hour trek was the most physically and mentally challenging task I’ve done. We made it to the infamous cables. But by then, I was exhausted, and I knew deep down, I could not climb the last 500 feet to the top of the dome. My youngest sister and mom made it, while I stayed behind with my other sister. It was disappointing, but I needed to save energy for the way down. I was still super proud I had made it that far, considering the rocky start.

Realistically, will I do that hike again? Maybe.

Do I want to? I certainly would like to make it to the top one day!

Yosemite is famous for its natural beauty, and I could not agree more. The views are breathtaking, and I always feel at peace when I’m there. I can just unplug from all technology and enjoy life at its best. I wholeheartedly recommend that it should be on everyone’s bucket list of travels.

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