Candice Kelly

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Humans of UNC Charlotte: Meet Shamar Crosby

Photo By Candice Kelly
Photo By Candice Kelly

The semester is going pretty well; I’ve only had two classes so far but they seem to be alright. I’m just going to press through like I always do and hope for the best. My major is theater and my minor is journalism, so hopefully after I graduate I can use those. This semester I will try to reach out more and use the resources around me to make sure my grades are where I want them to be. They weren’t bad last semester, but I didn’t reach my goal. I’m in four clubs so it wasn’t too bad, but it didn’t help my workload. But I still managed to make it work. I just wish I had pushed a little harder last semester. So I’m just making sure I stay on top of that and don’t spread myself too thin, and make sure everything is in order this year.

Easy Chicken Pasta Recipe

This is one of the easiest pasta dishes I know. Perfect for a simple date night, this five ingredient, five step recipe allows all the satisfaction of a nice dinner while accommodating a college budget. It serves about 2-3 and only takes about 25 minutes total cooking time.

Ingredients

2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper to taste

4 strips Applewood smoked bacon

1 cup penne noodles

½ jar of Alfredo sauce

Directions

  1. Pour noodles into saucepan with a cup and a half of water and let simmer over medium heat until noodles are soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
Photo By Candice Kelly
Photo By Candice Kelly

2. Place bacon strips into skillet and cook until crispy.

Photo By Candice Kelly
Photo By Candice Kelly

3. Wash chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper. Drop into greased skillet and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Photo By Candice Kelly
Photo By Candice Kelly

 

4. Cut chicken into half inch cubes. Break bacon into small pieces with hands and add to pan.

Photo By Candice Kelly
Photo By Candice Kelly

5. Reduce heat to low. Add noodles and Alfredo sauce to pan and let simmer until warm. Add parmesan if desired.

Photo By Candice Kelly
Photo By Candice Kelly

Humans of UNC Charlotte: Meet Siarra Scott

Photo by Candice Kelly
Photo by Candice Kelly

“For Thanksgiving this year I will be with my dad’s side in Holly Springs. My mom is from Costa Rica and my dad is from Jamaica. Because I have a blended family we usually alternate where we go every day. We don’t eat the traditional Thanksgiving foods, except mac and cheese, I can eat that all day long. I’m a part of an organization called girl trek where we try to promote fitness among women. After Thanksgiving, girl trek has a turkey challenge where we encourage people to go out and walk off all the food and spend some quality time together. My family is planning on riding our bikes.”

Make Your Voice Heard

You have seen the advertisements. You have heard the countless celebrity endorsements. By now you know that this may be the most important election of our lifetime, but what does all this really mean? Why is your single vote important?

This election is revolutionary for one pretty obvious reason. Either we will have the first female president, or we will have the first Donald Trump. Trump has proposed policies that will radically change the United States and will probably alter our country forever. And if Clinton wins, her gender alone is enough to be recorded in history books. Whoever wins will continue to radically change our definition of what a president should be, an era

Photo by Tribune News Service
Photo by Tribune News Service

that began with our first African American President.

It is quite astonishing how many people do not support either candidate. They believe both parties would do more harm than good if elected into office, justifying their decision not to vote. Although a majority of citizens identify as either a democrat or a republican; there are other nominees running for president not affiliated with these parties. The independent party is composed of those who don’t want to be tied down to one ideology. There is also the libertarian party and even the green party. These tend to be smaller parties, but they do have candidates running for president if you are looking for an alternative.

What many people don’t realize is that aside from electing the next commander in chief, there are also many local officials that need your vote to be appointed. There are the people running for state level positions and local positions, working directly in our communities. These are the people whose policies have a direct impact on our everyday lives. We vote for the school board presidents who will impact our education systems. We vote for council members and people who will represent North Carolina to make sure our needs are addressed in Washington.

By not casting a vote, you are forfeiting a right that has cost so many people their lives. Throughout history, movements such as the woman’s suffrage and the civil rights fought to allow voting rights for all people, regardless of race, gender, or economic status. Imagine how different this country would be if only the elite class were allowed to vote. We are fortunate enough to live in a country where we have the freedom to choose who governs us. Through our democratic process, we appoint leaders based on qualities we deem as important. Many communist countries are forced to accept whatever leaders are imposed upon them. They have no defense against absolute power. One of the things that makes America such a strong nation is that we are built on the idea that someone just like us can become a government official.

By not voting, you are saying that you are okay with any outcome of the election. You are forfeiting your ability to advocate for a change. It is counterintuitive to not vote then spend the next few years complaining about the incompetence of local and state governments. If you’re going to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk. It is very important that we all exercise our democratic right to vote during this election, and all elections to follow. It doesn’t matter who you vote for, as long as you make your voice heard, and help be the change you want to see in the world. This election will undoubtedly make history and it’s important to make sure you’re a part of it. Which side of history will you be on?

Humans of UNC Charlotte: meet Audrey Rankins

Photo By Candice Kelly
Photo By Candice Kelly

“I chose to volunteer in this election because I wanted to help support my candidates. I am a Democrat, so that is the party I am campaigning for. This is a pretty unique election where a lot of people have an unfavorable opinion of both sides. But it’s still important to vote because in my opinion one choice is better than the other. I am a senior political science major, so for me, it’s more about learning how elections work and gaining a better understanding of politics. But I still hope everyone goes out and votes, I voted the first day.”

NC State Fair Must Do’s

Since its birth in 1986, the North Carolina State Fair has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors from across the state. For a small admission fee, one can get on rides, eat exotic foods, listen to live music and even see some animals. The fair is a unique experience that brings people together from all different cultures and backgrounds to be entertained. If you have never been, I will warn you that it can be pretty overwhelming. The lines are long, the food is expensive and you can forget about getting a close parking spot. But that’s all a part of the experience. After visiting this year, I’ve made a list of the top things that anyone who visits the fair should definitely have on their to do list.

Photo By Candice Kelly
Photo By Candice Kelly

Eat a whole turkey leg

If you don’t come to the fair to eat, what do you really come for? Turkey legs are one of the staple fair foods and you have got to try it at least once. They’re so huge that one can last for a couple days or be enjoyed by an entire family. Just think about it, a thick, meaty leg of meat that’s been slow roasted over an open flame for hours, the thought of it is mouth watering.

Consume something deep fried

In any other circumstances eating a deep fried stick of butter would be absolutely repulsive. But at the fair, anything is fair game for frying. Most people just stick to the candy bars, but some folks have tried to more extreme concoctions like deep fried bacon or deep fried kool-aid. Just pick the most appetizing snack and go for it. Although it is not the healthiest thing for you by a long shot, a warm deep fried treat on a chilly fall afternoon is the epitome of a day at the fair.

Play a game

The fair has some cool games where you try to toss a ring onto a bottle or have someone guess your age and win a prize. Many people think that the games are scams and that no one ever wins, but I disagree. Not everyone wins all the time, but it’s just a part of the experience. The fun part is trying to outscore your friends or seeing how close you can get and if you’re lucky you may walk away with a giant teddy bear.

Ride the ferris wheel

It’s a slow-moving metal circle and it’s the best ride at the fair. The ferris wheel is guaranteed to have the longest line because it is one of the most popular rides. It allows you and three friends to glide through the air and get s great view of the entire landscape. It’s especially beautiful during sunset.

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Photo By Candice Kelly

See an ‘amazing creature’

We have all seen the signs before, “The World’s Smallest Elephant,” “The Lady With The Snake Body” and “The Biggest Rat Ever.” My rational thinking told me there was no way these creatures could be real, yet I was always curious to know what was inside these attractions. Usually it’s only a couple of bucks to enter and I can guarantee it will not be what you expected.

Watch the fireworks

At the end of a fun fair day, fireworks decorate the sky for a beautiful show. It’s so nice to see everyone slow down and really just live in the moment. Take in all of the flashing lights, the music playing in the background, children laughing and riders screaming. Inhale the sausages roasting, funnel cakes frying, chicken grilling. The fireworks were always my favorite part of the fair as a child because it made it seem like a celebration. Celebrating that we are alive and free and able to enjoy such a beautiful event.

Take a fake-cation to take the stress away

It’s about that time in the semester where time seems to stand still. The warm sun-filled days are transforming into dark, dreary fall weather. Classes are ramping up in preparation for midterms and things generally kind of suck right now. It can be hard to ignore that overwhelming urge to count down the days until Christmas break, but fortunately there may be a solution that is both cost-effective and fun. It’s called a Fake-cation, and I

Photo By Candice Kelly
Photo By Candice Kelly

promise you it will change your life. We always start out with big plans for an upcoming vacation, visit a museum, try local restaurants, take lots of pictures. But once everything is said and done, you really only end up with a day or two to relax. Especially if you’re going with a group, so much of the trip is deciding what to do next and making compromises. The whole point of a vacation is to take a break from the hustle and bustle of life and not have to worry about responsibilities. If you can accomplish that without spending hours in a cramped car, or dishing out twenty bucks for a hotdog, why wouldn’t you?

The basic premise of a fake-cation is creating an environment where you can relax and get away from it all without actually going anywhere. This is done by doing a few very simple things. First, you have to find a quiet space that is all your own. If you live with roommates, that may be tricky, but it is very important that you have no distractions. Once you have your private space, the next step is to add something exotic that transforms a simple dorm into a new place. Your exotic element doesn’t have to be extreme; it could be as simple as a poster on your wall or a soft fuzzy chair. For me, I use lighting to create a calm, relaxed vibe. I use a combination of Christmas lights and a multicolor light bulb to fill my room with fluorescent blues, greens, and purples.

After establishing your comfy place, the next thing to do is fully immerse yourself in your fake-cation. Do the things you would normally do on vacation. Read a book, get a massage, have a smoothie inside a pineapple. Find activities that relax your mind and body. Sleep in late, take a hot shower and just use your imagination to get the most out of your experience. Try not to focus too much on deadlines or drama, just take a break and sniff the imaginary roses.

Some of you may be thinking, how is this better than a regular vacation? Well honestly, it’s all about what you want to accomplish. If you are a high-risk big-adventure person who spends days off, rock climbing and jet skiing, this may not work for you. But if you’re like me, and spend your free days curled up with a good book sipping hot chocolate, you might want to give this a try. Things are pretty tense right now, between midterms, protests, and the presidential election, we could all use some room to breathe. Fake-cationing is an easy, cost-effective way to reduce stress and give you a little break from everything.

Interviews 101

After weeks of sending in resumes and asking for references, you finally get that holy grail of emails, an interview. The final step before achieving that well

Photo By Tribune News Service
Photo By Tribune News Service

deserved job. But before the interview it’s important to adequately prepare. Remember, there is no such thing as too much research. Make sure you know who the owners are, where the company is located and some general information about the business. You probably won’t be asked about any of this information but it’s just good to know a little bit about the place you may be working. If you know who is interviewing you, see if they have a profile on the company website.  This may help you feel more comfortable when speaking with this person and you may even find something you have in common. It’s also a good strategy to familiarize yourself with your resume. Many employers will ask about previous work experiences and may ask you about the skills you’ve learned. It may be helpful to explain anything out of the ordinary such as three jobs in a six-month time period. Employers are looking for someone to stand out, going the extra mile can help make you a memorable applicant.

Although it’s always good to stand out in an interview, sometimes it can be for the wrong reasons. When choosing an outfit, make sure your attire is appropriate for the atmosphere. If you are applying for a summer dog sitting job, a full suit is not necessary. Likewise, it is not appropriate to wear your favorite “I Heart LA” t-shirt to a professional interview. Usually the employer will inform you about the type of attire necessary beforehand. If not, here are a few tips that generally apply to professional interview settings. Ladies, make sure that dresses or skirts are long enough to cover most of your thighs. If you wouldn’t wear it to church, you shouldn’t wear it in an interview. Also you don’t want to wear any flashy jewelry that is going to distract the employer from hearing what you have to say. That goes for shoes too, stick to a basic black or nude heel or ballet flats. Gentlemen, this is not a superbowl party, so please leave the jerseys, basketball shorts and Jordan’s at home. A nice button down shirt and dress pants should get the job done. When selecting a tie, try not to get anything too wacky or colorful that will distract the employer. When you look the part, you have a lot more confidence and it signals to the employer that you are a serious candidate.

If you’re still feeling nervous about the big day, the career center here on campus provides an excellent service called Interview Stream to assist students. With Interview Stream, students and alumni can conduct practice interviews online using a webcam. You can select your field of interest, and the automated service will record your answers to a series of mock interview questions. You can then get feedback from family or professors on your answers and work to improve them. There is even an advice section, where job recruiters provide advice on answering tough questions.

It’s normal to be a little apprehensive on the day of an interview, but remember that you have prepared for this. You have looked over your resume. You know the in’s and out’s of the company. You have perfected your outfit and your handshake. You have practiced answering tough questions. Now all you have to do is take a deep breath, go in there and crush it!

Storytime: A freshman reflection

Photo by Candice Kelly
Photo by Candice Kelly

After completing my first year here at UNC Charlotte, I have learned so much. Gone is the naïve girl excited about getting out of the house. In her place stands a resourceful, savvy, more aware person. I believe that college is not just about taking classes and memorizing facts, it’s about learning who you are and what you believe in. You’re are forced into uncomfortable situations where you must make smart decisions and think logically. High school does a poor job of preparing students for the realities of life. These are a few things I learned my first year here.

First, I learned in order to succeed, you have to put yourself above others. I used to think it was selfish or inconsiderate to only worry about your own needs, but it’s the reality of the world. Most people are only concerned about their self-interest and will do whatever it takes to get to the top, so that’s what you have to do too. Now that doesn’t mean you have to be a heartless jerk, but it’s okay to say no to a friend if you have something more important to do. I still struggle with this since I’m a people pleaser. I have to constantly remind myself that I have to take care of myself first before I try and save the world. It really just comes down to little things. Do your errands before you offer a friend a ride,  make sure you take care of your responsibilities before adding more to your plate. This can be harder than it seems. When that friend is blowing up your phone at 2:00 a.m. with a crisis, you want to be there for them. But if that means missing sleep when you have a test in the morning, you might have to leave your friend hanging and if they are a true friend, they will understand.

I also learned how to be resourceful. When you’re on your own, you can’t rely on mom and dad to fix your problems for you. You have to deal with things like an adult and figure out logical solutions when issues arise. I started collecting coupons and really taking advantage of the student discounts. I would always get a few extra napkins and condiments from fast food places so I didn’t have to buy them. I learned to plan for the unknown from a financial standpoint. So many unexpected expenses occur throughout the year like car repairs, or your favorite artist coming to town. You’ve got to be creative with how you handle money. Some students will sell old clothes at Plato’s Closet or Uptown Cheapskate to make some extra cash. Others sell their remaining food swipes. You quickly realize that every penny counts, so it’s good to have a little extra cash saved up just in case the unexpected happens.

The most important thing I’ve learned this year is that life is going to come at you weather you’re ready for it or not. No matter how smart or prepared you are, things are going to happen you can’t control. Sometimes it can get pretty overwhelming. The feeling of hopelessness can overtake you and you will feel like you have no other options.  But there is always hope. Even if everything is going south, you can work through it. No matter what life throws at you, you have to remember who you are and what you stand for. When I first got here, I was so homesick and lonely I just knew it would be a long, terrible year. But eventually I made friends, joined a club and got used to being away. You have to keep fighting through the tough times and hopefully you will learn something trough the trials.

Overall, the first year in college is a big learning experience. You have to figure out what you’re good at and work on the things that need improvement. It’s all trial and error and you’re not going to figure it all out in just one year. But hopefully after a while you will get the hang of things and really understand who you are and where you fit on campus.

Humans of UNC Charlotte: Meet Billy Pickens

Photo by Candice Kelly
Photo by Candice Kelly

“My adventures started in 4th grade when my uncle moved from Sacramento to Charlotte. I always wondered what is it was like being in the car for more than two or three days so that inspired me to want to travel. I asked my dad what’s it like out there, and my dad said how about we find out. So we decided to go to New Mexico that summer. We got on the road on June 27, 2008. We were on the road and he said we should to the Grand Canyon so we took a detour. When we got to Tennessee he decided to go to LA. By that time, we had been to so many states we decided why not go to all 50! And that’s exactly what we did, by August 2012 we had been across the entire country. People asked me what was my favorite state to visit, and I always say there’s no place like home. But I feel like every state is unique in its own way. People don’t realize we have a beautiful country. I’m really thankful for that experience it really changed my life.”

Five reasons why you should climb Crowders Mountain

Photo by Candice Kelly
Photo by Candice Kelly

If you haven’t been to Crowders Mountain yet, you are missing out on a treat. Located about an hour from campus, Crowders Mountain offers a variety of hiking trails that are free and open to the public. Here are some reasons you should get out and make the trek.

It’s a great workout

Everyone wants to stay in shape and be healthy. But gyms are crowded and sweaty and they often make people feel uncomfortable. Trudging up the steep hills can really work the thighs and glutes. Some people push themselves further by jogging up the mountain instead of just walking. Hiking at a steady pace can also burn hundreds of calories. The rugged terrain challenges your body and allows for more variety than simply walking on a treadmill. Also, backpacking or carrying weights while walking can double the amount of calories burned during a hike and will really pack on the intensity.

Fun group activity

Grab some of your closest pals and make a day trip visiting Crowders. There are areas to have picnics along with a welcome center to pick up a map and learn a little bit more about this historic landmark. It’s so exciting to journey with your friends over boulders and around tree branches, following a trail in the woods. It’s like a treasure hunt for adults. You can laugh and tell stories, making a three hour hike feel like 20 minutes. After the hike is over there are many picnic areas where everyone can eat lunch and socialize.

The thrill

The child in all of us still craves adventure and excitement. We want those bone rattling, spine shaking moments that seem to come all too rarely these days. Climbing a mountain and getting to the top is such an adrenaline rush. And though it is very dangerous and not recommended, extreme thrill seekers may want to go off the path and explore the woods along the mountain side.

The view

After looking down on Charlotte from hundreds of feet in the air, pictures just don’t do it justice. The breathtaking view of North Carolina’s lush green terrain will be worth the sore legs and sweaty palms. The clear blue skies are straight overhead and it feels as if you are sharing the air with the birds. The soothing whistle of the wind personifies the beautiful plant life that is so bountiful in our great state. If you look far enough in the distance, Charlotte’s skyline appears, surrounded by tiny streets and tiny residential areas. It truly is a one of a kind experience.

Accomplishing a goal

Climbing a mountain may sound like a monstrous goal, but it’s really not as daunting as it seems. If you’re someone who isn’t used to working out, perhaps going on a few walks first will loosen up those muscles. After finally making it to the top, all of the fatigue will be replaced with a sense of sweet satisfaction. Besides the bragging rights, you will always have the victorious memory to look back on when feeling discouraged. It’s important to celebrate this accomplishment and enjoy the moment when it comes.

The Final Four: Spring Semester

Tribune News Service
Tribune News Service
  1. Finals

Looming over us like a thick black cloud, the dread of finals is almost among us. The all-day study sessions, the nights spent locked in the library, weekends becoming solid chunks of uninterrupted cram time. But finals are a necessary evil in order to earn class credits. If you start studying around late March or early April, it will take away some of the stress during finals week. Also, creating a schedule of what and when you’re going to study will help you use your study time more effectively.

  1. Scheduling

After finishing up current classes, it’s important to figure out which classes to take next semester. It’s very beneficial to meet with your advisor early, to discuss what credits you need and avoid having a hold on your account. When considering how many credits to take, think about your daily responsibilities and extracurricular activities. We all want Friday’s off, but make sure your schedule can allow it. It is recommended that you avoid stacking classes as it can add a lot of stress to the week. A tip that can help make sure you get your desired classes is by having all the classes you want selected ahead of time online. When it is your time to register, all you have to do is submit your choices. Another option is writing down the CRN numbers of the classes you want and just typing them into advanced search on your registration day.

  1. Housing

By this time in the semester, most people have already sent in their housing applications. But there are so many variables involved, roommates, availability, cost, it can be hard to decide. The two biggest factors to consider when choosing a place to stay is whether you want to stay on campus vs. off campus and in a suite, apartment or dorm. There are benefits to all options, it just depends on which is best suited for you.

  1. Summer Plans

After conquering finals, designing your schedule and finalizing housing, the last thing on your to-do list is figuring out how to spend those precious three months off. For some, getting a job is the obvious solution. Or perhaps you have your eyes set on an internship or work study program. If your search is coming up flat, consider some on-campus summer jobs. There are many options available and some offer free or subsidized housing options.

5 Reasons why you should try online dating

  • IMG_1529 (2)It’s less pressure

No matter what age you are first dates are hard. Especially blind dates where you’ve never met or talked to the person before. With online dating there’s no pressure to meet up, you’re just talking and getting to know the person. That way you can figure out if it is someone worth perusing beforehand and weed out any bad apples. And if you do decide to go on a face to face date, you will already have some background about the person so it won’t seem like a total stranger.

  • More options

We’ve all heard the overused cliché “there’s plenty of fish in the sea”, but that seems hard to believe when you’ve met all the eligible bachelors in your town. Unless you do a lot of traveling you don’t get that many chances to meet people from other places. But the internet allows people from all different backgrounds and walks of life to connect and get to know each other. You may find you have a lot in common with someone who lives on the other side of the country or even the world! And that’s part of the fun, not being constrained by proximity.

  • It’s free

Aside from the awkwardness, going on many different dates can be costly. Paying for dinner, movies and other attractions can be expensive, especially for men. You end up spending a lot of money with no guarantee that a relationship will form. There are dozens of free online dating sites that have been proven to provide results. For the sites that do charge, it’s a small fee that can guarantee you meet many different mates instead of spending the same amount or more on a single date.

  • Perfect for introverts

If the idea of meeting new people gives you a mini-heart attack, this may be the perfect solution. Many people assume that everyone becomes a habitual liar online, but studies have shown that most people are more truthful over a keyboard than they would be in person. It’s a lot easier to be yourself around another user because you don’t have all the other factors to worry about.

  • Compatibility

Most online dating websites and even some apps use the concept of calculated compatibility. You fill out a questionnaire about your hobbies, wants and preferences and the site matches you with people who share similar interests and goals.

4 ways to spice up your room

Photo by Candice Kelly

Dorm rooms all start out the same, but that doesn’t mean they have to stay that way. Here are a few simple tips to transform your space from drab to fab.

  • Hang some lights

Christmas lights are an inexpensive way to brighten up your dorm. They sell for eight to 20 dollars online and last for about three years. Hang a colorful string to wrap around your ceiling using command hooks to give the place a warm and cozy feel.

  • Put up some pictures

Having photos of friends and loved ones can really make your space feel like home. Fill your dresser with framed family photos or pictures with a significant other. You can put up posters of your favorite band or movie star. Cover your walls with things you love, it will make you much more excited to be in your space.

  • Scent control

To help avoid the lain drywall smell, keep your room smelling fresh with these tips. Put a car freshener on your air vent, so every time it bows you will be hit with the sweet smell of Hawaiian paradise. If you don’t have a vent in your room, you can use a wall plug in. It sells for about six dollars and can freshen your dorm for around 60 days.

  • Invest in a good comforter

Your comforter can make or break your space. Pick a design that is sturdy, soft and represents you. Target sells many different designs of comforters for a good price.