NACURH and OCM: Strong Together

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nacurh 60 We returned to the office covered in glitter and clothespins, with goodie-bags under our eyes and our feet sore from wobbling. Just another day at the office? Not at all. This weekend, OCM got NACURH’d!!

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire hosted NACURH 2014, and provided thousands of dedicated students a safe, sustainable, spirited and beautiful venue to express their love for college life and community. OCM got to reunite with friends from across the country, and meet hundreds of new ones! We had a blast at this magnificent event! Relive it with us here!

once upon a time

See you in North Dakota! @NACURH2015

It was a weekend full of cheering, hugging, tears of joy and most importantly, learning. As students and advisors return to their regions and campuses with new ideas and new networks of friends, so does OCM. There is not leadership without friendship, and we hope you can find both @OCMonCampus.

To all our friends, new and old, we L-O-V-E you and we L-O-V-E NACURH!

A sincere thank you to those who made this conference all that it could be! NACURH ’14 was an inspiring display of what individuals can achieve when they commit to community and embrace individuality. Thank you for all you shared with us, NACURH.

Let our friendship remain strong, and may it always wobble.

Long Distance Relationships: Stay Connected!

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Doing the Long Distance Relationship Thing Successfully

Don’t be fooled: they’re not easy and, like a new Spanish professor, they take time to understand. But, ultimately, a long distance relationship is rewarding. If you truly care for the one you’re away from (which apparently you do, since you’re in such a relationship) then it shouldn’t be hard to see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel… whether that means getting together in the summertime, over winter or spring break, or for the coming weekend.

Like me, I’m sure you’ve heard these pieces of dating advice before:

1) If it’s really meant to be, it’ll work out,

2) Don’t worry, every relationship has its ups and downs, and

3) Do whatever makes you happy.

Good advice, all. But there’s just one thing wrong with these generalities: they don’t really mean anything.

What you need is some solid, tangible advice to put into action; some real tips for making your relationship as smooth, loving and trusting as possible… because that, my friends, is the key. Below are a few ways to really show your boyfriend/girlfriend that they matter.

Communication

If you can’t be honest with each other, then what else is there? I’ll tell you, the weather. That’s it. And that sucks. (S)He doesn’t have to know every minute detail of your waking campus life, but it should be easy to share thoughts, ideas, compliments, frustrations and day to day observations with him/her. Chances are, if you’re holding back on these little things, you’re holding back on much more important things, as well. Here are some really easy ways to keep the lines of communication open:

  • Call. Whether you’re saying goodnight, calling just to say hello or to freak out about straight up acing that final exam, it’s always good to hear your reassuring gf/bf’s voice.
  • Leave voicemails. It’s so easy to hang up just as the automatic greeting comes on, but take those few extra seconds and leave a message. Instead of saying, “hey,  just calling to see what’s up” say something like, “just walked by [insert campus object here] and thought of you. Give me a call back when you get a chance because, well, you’re pretty and you rule.”
  • Send ‘Good Morning’ Texts. When you wake up, send her a good morning text message with some adoration and encouragement for the day ahead. It doesn’t have to be a long, complex love letter, just show her that she’s on your mind.
  • FaceTime. Today, most smartphones have video calling features. This is a game changer for long distance relationships. You can actually see the person you love right there in front of you!
  • Send a Letter or Package. This is super old-school, but a letter could be just what she needs to remind her how much you care. After all, hand written letters are more exciting to receive and feel more personal than an email or text message. Similarly, if (s)he’s really stressed over exams, send her/him an OCM care package with a note for some much needed encouragement.

Freedom

Communication is vital and so is respecting each other’s individuality. This is paramount to any relationship, but especially when it’s long distance. You’ll make your friends, she’ll make her friends, he’ll make his friends and so on. It’s human nature to connect. This is especially true freshman year when everyone is meeting each other for the first time. Don’t spend hours and hours in your room on the phone or crafting an immense email while your friends are out bonding and having a good time. Experience your new environment; don’t worry, you’ll have each other at the end of the day!

Visits

If you’re both from the same hometown and both heading home for break, visits are especially easy. You’ll be hanging out and doing fun things together until the cows come home, or until you have to head back. Bask in this time together; these moments will be great to think about when you’re separated again.

On the other hand, you may go to different schools and live in far-away cities, states or regions (I offer my sympathies to you brave souls). If this is the case, you can easily and affordably plan a trip to meet up over winter, spring or summer break. Whether you decide on a home visit or an adventure, sites like Student Universe and STA Travel make it easy to find student deals on flights, hotels and more.

And if you’re lucky enough to go schools that aren’t too far apart, hop on a Megabus or local train, and make a weekend trip. I promise you it’s worth it.

This is by no means a definitive guide to maintaining a sane, healthy long-distance college relationship. Every relationship is different, and those with 100+ miles between will especially encounter their own twists and turns but no matter what, all relationships take work. However, if you put in the time and effort, it will show and your relationship will thrive; your time apart will fly by; the moments you spend together will make the long phone calls, bus fares and lonely nights worth it.

 

Spring into Ombre, Geometric Patterns and Florals

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Now that the long, grueling winter months are almost behind us, it is time to start looking forward to all that spring has to offer. Of course, the first step in preparing for a new season is to make sure your wardrobe and room decor are both ready for the transition. Welcome the rise in temperature with upbeat colors and, more importantly, vibrant patterns. This spring, dynamic motifs are set to take center stage with floral, geometric shapes, decorative, and polka dots experiencing a surge in popularity. OCM has all the staples you need to make sure your room is reflective of these spring trends.

Floral

Credit: Forever 21

Image Cred: Forever 21

You would be hard-pressed to find a print that speaks more to the essence of spring than a floral design. Choose anywhere from whimsical watercolor flowers to intricate embroidered arrangements for a dauntless, bloomy look. Floral is the quintessential pattern for creating the airy, carefree aura that spring is all about. A tiny, flowery print runs the risk of being overly cutesy, regardless of whether it is featured on a dress or a comforter. Feature asymmetrical designs or more subdued tones like purple, blue and green; much like this Vincent Van Gogh Poster.  Another way you can tastefully insert a floral touch to a room or outfit is with accent pieces. A floral necklace or skirt will add a feminine touch to a mature outfit, and a decorative pillow like this will make a dorm room pop without overwhelming the eye.

Geometric Shapes

Khloe Kardashian Nail Tips!

Khloe Kardashian Nails

In the past year, many trends were brought back to life, yet re-invented with a modern twist. One trend in particular was 90’s minimalistic, represented through structured mono-colored and black and white styles. In spring 2014, the minimalistic trend will undergo a slight re-vamp with sharp geometric shapes.

To incorporate geometric shapes into your attire, seek out pieces with bold color palettes. Zigzags, overlapping boxes, triangles . . . there are seemingly infinite choices for you to choose from. This bold pattern is not for the faint of heart so, if you are unsure that you’re ready to wear a dress or blazer that says “look at me”. You can use this trend to spice up monochromatic ensembles with jewelry, clutches and manicure.

How can you achieve this geometric look for your room? Try using only 2-3 colors throughout the entire outfit or dorm room to create a color-blocking effect. From there you can chose where you want to incorporate your geometric shapes. Embrace nontraditional angles! Many of our dorm room seating options offer crisp lines and contemporary color contrasts for a youthfully dynamic aesthetic.

Abstract Art

Remember when you were in preschool and, instead of painting with a brush you used your fingers instead? Turns out, you were on to something! Whether it is with splattered fabric, hand painted garments or designs that look like they were crafted with a crayon or spray can, the runways are heating up with stylish forms of self-expression. The fashion world loves motifs that evoke a sense of Picasso or Pollock, and so is OCM! This fun, energetic look captures what it is to truly be a young adult nowadays, so give your room whimsicalness with one our many abstract art posters.

Polka Dot

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Nasty Gal Polka Dot Pants

A polka dot print has the ability to lighten any mood, and is the perfect symbolization of springtime joyfulness. Playful and energetic, the circles can be laid out in a uniform pattern to pay homage to the looks of previous generations. For a fresher aesthetic, make the polka dots unevenly distributed for an appearance that suggests both sweet and sassy.

You can add a little pop of the print in a wall decal, or make it the center of attention with dorm room bedding. Either way, a polka dot pattern incorporated into your dorm will help you channel the joyfulness that spring creates.

Gradient

Try a gradient effect in your hair like Lauren Conrad - Her Ombre locks are a must-do for Spring!

Photo Cred: The Trend Diaries

The gradient print has made a rather large splash in the fashion scene as of late, even being imitated in the beauty realm with the ever-popular Ombre hairstyle. The gradient print is perfect for the time of year; spanning from dark to light, it playfully can represent the dramatic rebirth nature goes through during this particular time of the year. Try this look in blue ombre shower curtains, curtains or doormats to create a cool, casual environment.

After surviving a long winter, getting ready for the splendor of spring can be thrilling! The best way to welcome this new season is by transforming your room to include the season’s trendiest patterns.You can get all the hottest spring styles here at OCM!

So You’re Not Going to Your Top Choice? Now What?

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Hearing back from colleges is obviously one of the most frustrating processes to go through, especially in the competitive world that we live in today. After nearly a year of tours, information sessions, applications, guidance counselor meetings, and standardized testing, you finally get a letter from your top pick that hopefully reads something like, “Congratulations! I’m pleased to offer you admission into the Class of 2017!” However, I’m sure many of you have found out by now that it doesn’t always go your way. So now you’re stuck going to your second, third, or even your last choice school and you might still be unhappy. But guess what? You don’t have to be.

So why listen to me? I’ve been through it. I got rejected from my top choice in the early decision round of applicants and I know how much it sucks. Getting your hopes up and then having them crushed hurts, but it’s up to you to not let it keep you down. Now that you’ve found out where you’re going, you have to make the best of it if you haven’t accepted that already. So how do you do it? Here are some ways:

  1. Stay positive-It’s cliche and you’ve probably heard it before, but your attitude does make all the difference. If you go into it negative, then you’re going to try and find everything wrong with the situation, when you could be making the best of it. If you’re acting miserable, people won’t be as likely to go out and befriend you.
  2. You’re not the only one– Just look at the numbers. Schools don’t have a 100% acceptance rate. With the large number of people applying to a select few schools, you are bound to meet others in the same boat as you. So many of my friends, from home and college, were rejected from their top choice schools. If everybody that was rejected went in with a pessimistic attitude, college would be absolutely terrible.
  3. Remember why you applied to this school in the first place– You obviously chose it for a reason. Maybe it had a strong program in your field. Maybe it was in the city that you always dreamed of living in. Maybe it had the school spirit your high school lacked. Whatever the reason is, you didn’t just pick this school out of a hat. If you stay focused on the reasons why you applied, it will make your experience better.
  4. Join Teams/Clubs/Organizations/Greek Life– The easiest way to enjoy your time at school is to make friends. What easier way to do that than by joining a group of people who have a common interest? The more friends you make, the better college will be. If you like a particular sport, try and join that team! Every college has different levels of ability, so don’t feel discouraged if you’re not the best at it. If you want to rush, don’t let anything hold you back. It’s a good way to meet people and create a bond with them.
  5. Accept it– It’s hard to do and it’s a harsh reality, but it’s true. You just need to move on. Forget about all other schools and stop comparing yourself to them. If you just be happy that you were accepted to this school and you try your hardest, it will all work out in the end.
  6. If it really doesn’t work, transferring is an option– As much as I hate saying this, you can leave if you really want to. I was so close to transferring after first semester because I really didn’t give the school a chance. I can’t advise it enough, but you really have to try everything and use this as a last resort. Only transfer after you really have done everything you can to try and enjoy the school because it’s a huge commitment and involves a lot of work.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to make the most of your college years. If you don’t like something, change it. Be aggressive and do what you enjoy because that is what will make you happy in the end. And always remember that if it does get bad, there is always a way out. Whatever you choose to do in the end, make sure it makes you happy.

Summer Before College Series 28: Six Exercise Facts

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Good morning, bloggers!

Are you an “avid exerciser?” If you are anything like me, then you are. Whether you run, go to the gym, or use DVDs, working out is definitely doable at school. Do not think that you have to stop just because you will not have your same route, gym, or television. Working out can be done anywhere; you just have to know how to use your resources.

In this blog I would like to discuss six exercise facts that many incoming freshmen are curious about.

1. Can I still do my exercise routine that I do at home? Yes, definitely. As I said above, exercise is one of those things that you can bring with you wherever you go. Just make sure to bring your equipment (clothes, accessories, shoes, DVDs, bands, etc). Do not give up your exercise routine just because you do not think you will be able to do it at school!

2. Will I have time to work out at school? Yes! If you really love working out, you can always fit it into your schedule! Just set aside time in your planner so that you can still manage your studying and class time.

3. Will my school have equipment? Yes! Most, if not all universities, have at least one gym on campus that is free to access/use to all students. This is great so that you do not have to bring your own equipment-especially if you feel that it will take up too much space!

4. How do I find a good, safe route? This is a common question of many runners/bikers. I would really advise you to do some research on your campus before you go in the fall so that you can get an idea of the layout. Additionally, you could send out a message over social media asking your fellow students for their route advice or even contact your school’s running club. Whatever you do, do not wait until you get to school and explore alone! Take someone with you to avoid any potential dangers!

5. Will my school have classes? Most likely! Give your university a call before you leave and ask! Most schools either offer free or discounted classes to students. If your university does not offer classes, then ask for any local gym information that they have. Then, you will be able to call ahead and find the perfect place for you!

6. How do I find a partner? This question can go hand-in-hand with #4. Send a message out over all social media outlets or e-mail your school’s running club. There are sure to be other students looking for a partner as well!

I hope that these six facts will help you to better prepare yourself for college in the fall. Remember: working out is definitely doable at school; just know how to use your resources!

 

Have any exercise questions that you want answered? Tweet them at us!

Safety On Campus

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Regardless of where you live or attend school, safety should be an area of concern at all times. Crime can happen anywhere, at any time, and on any campus – it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and stay alert to prevent falling victim to any kind of criminal situation.

If you’re nervous about going off to college on your own for the first time and your safety and well being, read the tips below to help keep you informed and alert.

1) Know your acquaintances and your surroundings: First and foremost, college can be really exciting and new for you. You may be meeting tons of people with personality traits that you’ve never even seen before. While you may have a tight-knit group of close friends back home that you can trust 100%, that may not always be the case in college. Since college is all about finding yourself and meeting new people, you should always be open- but alert to every person you meet. If something feels uncomfortable to you, don’t feel pressured to do it or to go anywhere you don’t feel like you want to go. This isn’t a popularity contest, and no one’s judging you. If they do, it’s time to move on to another group. There are hundreds of kids on campus who will make your college experience amazing without trying to change who you are.

If you do make friends with a group of people that you get along great with, hang out with them and stay open to meeting new people at parties and events. Be careful to never put yourself in unsafe situations, and make sure you have a friend or two that you can trust when you go out at night or venture off-campus. If you have to walk back to your room in the dark, make sure you stay as close to well-lit areas as possible where a lot of other people pass through. Try not to walk alone at night by yourself, and if you have to, make sure you let someone know where you are and where you’re going. Text them when you get to where you need to be, and text them as well when you’re leaving.

2) Don’t trust EVERYONE you meet – Living in a residence hall is awesome! There’s so many other students in the hall and RA’s who do a great job of making you feel comfortable and monitoring the hall. The problem is that you get so comfortable that you feel like nothing could go wrong. And, as I don’t think any high-level violence will happen inside your hall, there are some cases of petty theft and broken belongings of students who leave their room and leave the door unlocked. If you want to protect your belongings and your room, lock it when you leave, every time. Even if you and your other floor mates are great friends who are always in and out, if there’s no one in your room, it should be locked.

3) Be Responsible – Getting wrapped up in the college experience is awesome – there’s so many lively events going on around you and there’s always something to do. You may attend some really fun parties where you have a great time meeting new people. And, ultimately, the experience along with your education is what you went to college to encounter. Go out and have fun, but make sure you’re being responsible about your safety. It shouldn’t be a surprise that I’m going to suggest you not get into the car with strangers or accept rides back to your dorm if you’re tired from a long night at a party. Always keep the “buddy” system when you’re out going to the bathroom or leaving to go to another location. If someone’s being irresponsible, don’t get in a car with them and make sure they find another way to get home. You know your limits, don’t cross them.

4) Know where to get help when you need it – If you haven’t noticed them yet, you will: Those blue shining light poles located practically everywhere on campus, with a telephone booth right under them. These are there for your safety. If at any time you feel threatened, unsafe, or worried about your well being you can go to one of these booths and call Campus Police or Security. There should be a quick-dial button on the phones if not a number pasted right on the phone booth, but you should always have the number of these sources handy to call at any time. If you feel like you don’t want to stop and stand at the phone, walk as swiftly as you can to the nearest lit area that’s populated. Carrying any type of device to make noise – a whistle, noisemaker, etc will help you alert others around you that something isn’t right and that you may need assistance. Even if it’s something silly as you tripping over a twig and spraining your ankle, you’ll be glad you have something that can alert others when you need help.

5) Don’t be a victim of surprise – If you felt like something hasn’t been right for a few weeks and there’s one person that seems to be giving you trouble, know where to go to report it to faculty or campus security. In most cases, it will be nothing – but in the rare case that it may be something, it’s good to have it on record. This way, the campus security will be alerted and keeping a closer eye on the situation. By not saying something when your instincts tell you that you should, you’re setting yourself up for a potentially unpleasant experience.

Remember to report anything suspicious or unlawful to campus security at any times. If you’re worried about being found out, you can submit tips anonymously to stay confidential. Most campuses have services regarding safety, and may even provide their students with escorts when they feel unsafe traveling alone. Most colleges now even have safety courses or mobile/email alerts you can sign up for to receive in real time. If worried, take self defense classes and stay alert of current events around your campus.

Do you have any other safety tips on campus? Share them here so that new and returning students can stay informed.

Using Instagram to Explore Your Campus

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instagramLast week, we touched on social media and how Apps like ‘Instagram’ can help shape your professional credibility for landing that first job after graduation (here). Besides using apps such as Instagram to show people who you really are, you can also use it to get to know other people and areas as well. According to this website full of scavenger hunt directions, you can use Instagram to rally up a bunch of different people to explore new places on campus and connect! Since most students use smartphones such as Iphones or Androids, that’s a huge portion of the student body who would be eligible to participate in a scavenger hunt based solely off of Instagram. Those without compatible smart phones may group with another group of students that have one so that everyone can participate.

This idea could be an extremely innovative way to meet new people on campus and give exposure to clubs, organizations or local coffee shops! If you work for your campus doing tours to new and prospective students, this is a great way to get them excited about attending your university. If you happen to run a club or group on campus and are looking for new ways to recruit students or spread the word, here’s a few ways you can use Instagram to make things a little more interesting.

A) Spread the word through social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram to raise awareness of your scavenger hunt! Give it an interesting name to get people’s attention and keep them interested.

B) Work with local coffee shops or stores around campus to offer items to be incorporated into the hunt. For example, alert the baristas at your local coffee shop that one of the steps of the scavenger hunt is to buy a certain baked treat or drink and take a picture and tag it on Instagram. You can maybe even work with the manager for free giveaway or swag for people who show up to those locations before a certain time. Free coffee cups or muffins? College students are always strapped for cash. You provide the sweets and swag, and they’re sure to show up!

C) Come up with a series of #tags that each member must put on their photos on Instagram that they wish to use for the scavenger hunt. This places all entries onto the same contest page and allows admins (or other contestants) to browse through the competition! This is also a great way to keep track of how many entries you have so that you can start putting together a draw or voting system for the winning selection.

D) Throw riddles into the scavenger hunt! So maybe cut-and-dry directions such as “Take a picture with the Chik-Fil-A cow outside of the eatery” is a little too bland and obvious. Why not spice it up a little? Direct your scavengers to the campus library without exactly telling them to go there, per-se. A comment such as “For quiet study when there’s work to do, this place has some novel ideas you should be sure to check out too”. (Clearly corny, but you get the point!). Riddles such as this may catch some of the contestants off guard and allow those who catch on quickly to jet to the location faster. This could be a timed scavenger hunt, offering those who solve the riddles the fastest prizes or swag to scoop up before their competitors have a chance to.

E) Make a list of locations relevant to your group or the history of the campus that are mandatory spots for picture taking. These can be areas such as where your campus statue or school flag are located. Another spot may be the health clinic or cafeteria. Make sure that you include places that are helpful for students to know if they are new to the campus. This is a fun way for them to explore the campus with other students and really get a feel for their university while having some fun on Instagram.

F) Select a winner who was the most creative, timely and covered all of the bases of the scavenger hunt rules. Make sure this individual followed all directions and really had fun with the competition. When they reach their last destination, have a table set up with your other group members congratulating each contestant for completing the hunt. Maybe even have some cookies or baked goods ready for them as a little celebratory treat. If you’re recruiting new members, have some sign up sheets for your group or club, as well as some pamphlets or informational brochures giving them a little extra insight about what your group is all about.

Remember to keep your scavenger hunt fun and interesting! Try not to make your scavengers spend too much money; instead, allow them to visit places and win drinks, food, or even small swag items from shops from checking in on sites such as Foursquare. Try to keep in mind that your players are college students, just like you! Entice them with food and fun and your scavenger hunt will be sure to be a blast!

Forgetting Class Essentials; Don’t be THAT Guy

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Delfonics makes pretty pens and pencils

A pencil. A pen. A piece of notebook paper. Flash cards. A Calculator. An Eraser. Even a paint brush. This is a growing list of everyday items that almost every student needs on a day by day basis for their classes. And even though this is a common list that’s been used since we could actually attend school there’s always that one guy (or girl) in the class who still manages to forget one or at least 2 of the items on this list every single class. If you don’t mind lending out a pen here or a piece of paper there, wait until your classmate comes unprepared for every single class and asks YOU to lend them their forgotten items the entire semester long.

Usually, these people are so scatterbrained that they ask you if they can borrow the item for the rest of the day and give it back to you during the next class. You say yes to be nice, but you know you’re never going to see that item again. That is, unless it’s in another class where your classmate is gnawing on it and covering your pen cap in saliva and teeth marks.

When you lend something to someone, you’re pretty much giving it to them, or at least accepting the fact that there’s a high chance you may not get it back. You end up spending more money that semester buying things for other people to borrow from you than you do actually buying supplies for yourself. And most the times (from my personal experience) those people that borrow stuff all semester long will show up one day with a plethora of all things class materials; pens, paper, erasers that smell like your favorite candy, even highlighters. If you just happen to forget your pen that one day (maybe you accidentally lent your last one out to someone in your last class) and you ask your usually forgetful friend to borrow an essential, they’re always very cautious about their belongings and are more likely to not let you borrow one.

What?

That moment when the person you’ve been lending pens to all semester suddenly denies you even their least used pencil with the chewed off eraser.

Suddenly, you’re the one material-less and the one person you’ve paid taxes too won’t chalk up a measly pencil. Call me protective or just a plain ol’ hoarder, but I like to keep tabs on everything I have. I hate being that one kid in class who has to whisper during the teacher’s lecture asking everyone for a pencil. It’s embarrassing and makes your professor distracted. If your professor has to stop their teaching because you can’t find a writing utensil not only will you make them a bit mad, but you’ll also look unprepared. Make sure that your bag is packed every night with everything you need for class the next day. If you’re allowed to bring laptops to class, make sure you charge your laptop the night before just in case you can’t get a seat near the wall outlet. Don’t forget to pack your charger, and bring a pen and paper just in case. Also always handy to keep around is an Ethernet cable for internet connection and a USB drive to back up or retrieve saved files. While you’re at it, you might as well stuff your backpack with an umbrella, gas mask and two weeks rationed off food. You can never be too safe!