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Photo collage of students

Students of Nevada

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Every day on campus you pass by random strangers. Perhaps you’ve seen them before or maybe not. Ever wonder who they are and what their life is like? Each student at the University of Nevada, Reno has a story to tell. Each has a unique life, perspective, and outlook not only as a student but each as a person with different life experiences. Take a look at the second series of Students of Nevada. A project that snapshots the lives of randomly selected people here on campus.

I have a pottery studio in my garage. I basically just like playing in mud.

-Jillian Walmsley

I want to be in PR because I think it’d be really cool. I don’t know exactly what they do, I’m trying to figure that out. I think it’s funny because my older brother actually graduated from the J-School and I didn’t know what his degree was until I declared mine. So he told me a little bit about it and I actually thoroughly enjoy it.

-Brooke Enochson

I’m a fourth year engineering student. I helped start FarmHouse Fraternity because I think fraternities should be non-secretive, community based and helpful. We’re holding a philanthropy event to raise money for leukemia research on October 11th.

-Brett McMahan

My name is Leo. I’m a freshman and I’m a political science major. So far, I’m having a lot more fun here than I did in high school. Oh, and I’m single.

-Leo Thai

I’m a neuroscience major. I’m in musical therapy club, so I like playing music and stuff like that. I wish everybody in the STEM majors would be a little more open. I think it’s too competitive; it’s very cutthroat. I think everybody should just relax and enjoy themselves more.

-Ivan Lopez

I started drinking at the age of 14–just having a beer here and there. At 15, I went and studied abroad in Germany for a couple months and that really blew my mind. I love alcohol, but not college binge-drinking; I like to enjoy it. I’d like more people to understand that drinking is a privilege. If people started drinking at a younger age, but it was controlled, it wouldn’t be as dangerous when they started driving.

-Eric Banavong

I went to Australia on a USA Golfing Team. I got the nomination, and it went to [my] school and everything, and at first I was like, “Are you sure you got the right person?” I started my freshman year, so as a junior to be able to do that showed how much work I put into it, so that was really cool.

-Holly Kulh

I’m an international affairs major. I like that teachers here always give both sides to the story. But they’re also open to having conversations about what’s going on.

-Sabrina Nuttall

I’m just here trying to get an education because I have a five year old son and I really want to show him that we can make the world a better place and we don’t just have to stay stagnant. He deserves progress.

-Grace Leval

compass on top of a map

The Gap Year

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As May has quickly come and gone you may be feeling pressure to land your dream job the moment after graduation. But what if you have no clue what, where, or how you’ll be getting any job related to your major? What if you’re not sure about your choice of major at all? You hit the panic button as you reevaluate the ten year plan you’ve laid out for yourself. Don’t be scared because there’s a little something called the gap year that’s here to save you.

What exactly is a gap year, and what does it mean for you?

A gap year is one academic year in which the student, you, steps away from your career to travel the globe, figure out what you want out of life, and what career path you actually want to take, rather than just panicking after college graduation.

No, a gap year after college is not a symptom of being a lazy, unmotivated, or unsuccessful student after graduation. Don’t worry if you haven’t planned your whole life out by the age of twenty-two. The gap year is a time for you to reflect on what you want out of this world while also gaining many personal and career benefits. It’s a time in your life to take a breath and enjoy it before you may become a working slave in the corporate world.

Believe it or not, taking a break from work may actually increase your workplace performance amongst your return. Throughout your gap year, you’ll develop greater career ambitions and goals for yourself.

When you eventually do return, you won’t take your first real job for granted. It won’t be something that’s just landed in your lap, because you’ve already taken the time to explore your options and find what best suits you. You took the time to work for this job and prove your worth. You will have greater work ethic than your coworkers.

Maybe during your time trekking around the world you had to wait tables or wash dishes to make ends meet. Perfect. It’s another life skill you’ve added to your resume. There’s no shame in this. Everyone in their life should experience having at least one or two of these gigs before landing the job of their dreams. It teaches you how to work hard, like work your ass off hard. Yet, you may also find that along the way you gained a sense of appreciation towards people who always have jobs like this. You’ll no longer take the custodian or barista for granted because you’ve learned what it takes to work hard.

Amongst your return, you’ll feel more motivated to jump back into things because you’re not feeling burnt out. It can be rather difficult to pound the pavement right after you’ve spent the last four years studying hard in college. But with a slight mental break, you’ll feel fresh and rested enough to put all of your energy into your new career.

A gap year is also a great resume builder in many ways. During your time off you may learn a new language, a new skill set, or experience a new culture that will change your perspective on the world. You’ll be more adaptable to new situations than someone who hasn’t taken a gap year because you’ve experienced a different culture than that of your own. Living amongst a different society will give you different perspective on things, which will make you a valuable commodity. Your experiences of traveling abroad will give you unique ideas about people and places around the world.

In addition to the numerous perks a gap year will add to your future career, time off will provide you with many personal benefits as well.

If you’re not that college graduate who has your whole future planned out, then that’s ok. This is your time to figure out which path you want to take personally in life and with your career. Or this can be the time for you to reflect on, and confirm your decision of your academic major and future career plans. It’s that extra bit of reassurance that will destroy any doubt in your mind that you had before graduation.

Being young, healthy, and adventurous is also a great time to give back to the world through volunteer work. You’ll be making a huge impact on the local communities you serve by working on many projects that matter to them. Many volunteer programs offer housing to live abroad and volunteer for an extended amount of time. This will be an experience you can always look back and reflect on. Again, it’s something that will give you insight and a greater perspective on the world. Taking time to volunteer abroad will humble you and will make you an all around improved human being. Plus, it’s always better to volunteer now before you’re tied down by a mortgage payment, future children, or your career.

Speaking of kids and careers, this is your time to find out what you want out of life. Time alone by yourself in a different country allows for much self-discovery. Without anyone or anything there to influence you, your mind will have a lot of free time to contemplate what will make you happy in the future. Those who rush into a demanding career right after graduation but are still confused about what they want life often run into problems like an identity crises later in life. You’ll never get this time of reflection in your life back once the ball gets rolling. Take advantage of it while you can.

Sometimes when rushing from one phase of life to the next it can be easy to lose track of what’s truly important. Taking a gap year allows you to learn about what’s really important in the world at a very early age which sets you up for success. Being a twenty-two year old college graduate and knowing about pressing global issues rather than being upset about losing a round of beer pong or having a crappy blind date is colossal. It puts a good perspective on the whole scheme of things.

As we all know, life moves pretty fast. Yesterday it seemed like you were just starting your freshman year, and today you’ve graduated. You need this time to slow the clock down, and soak in the beauty of life. Trust me, you won’t look back at this time in your life when you’re eighty years old, sitting in a nursing home, unable to travel and think, “Man I sure regret exploring the world when I was young.”

As scary and daunting as taking a whole year off may seem, it will teach you so much about yourself and the world. Not having your shit together may be a gift in retrospect because after it’s all said and done, you’ll be confident in who you are as a person and what you want your life to be.

The KC and Parking Garage of UNR

How to Have the Best Semester Ever

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The start of a new semester is always rough. You have to dive back into the grind of school with new classmates, new professors, and new workloads. It can take a toll on anyone, especially when trying to figure out how you’re going to tackle the semester. Fear not fellow students, here are some tips on how to have the best semester ever and get those good grades.

Divide and Conquer: One of the best ways to stay on top of your coursework is to break it up in bits. Always write down when all of your assignments, tests and projects are due. Having a planner or calendar is great for keeping track of how much time you’ll have. Keeping track is vital for success. After writing it down try diving up your workload into little chunks to do each day and see how it works for you. Many of us are prone to putting things off until last minute to be then left sitting there asking ourselves why we do this to ourselves over and over. Breaking up your work this way can be a nice way to ease some of the stress of big workloads.

Set the Scene: Although getting comfortable in bed is always fantastic, realistically it probably isn’t the best place for you to do your homework. When sitting down to start your work you should do it in an area you know you’ll be able to stay focused and productive in. We’ve all heard it before but it’s probably best you put your phone away for a bit. Got to stay focused my friend! Also, don’t be afraid to try out new areas to work in. Go out, explore. See what works for you! Maybe you’ll find you love getting work done in a coffee shop or sitting out by the quad. Maybe you’ll even find a little love for some soft Beethoven in the background while you’re at it. Always remember to take breaks and allow yourself time to recharge! The more focused you are the more productive you’ll be, and the more productive you are the sooner you’ll be done, just remember that.

Try new techniques: There are lots of different study/homework methods out there, and the internet is a great way to find them. Whether it’s flashcards or notes, they’re all worth a try! One of the best study methods I have discovered is to try and teach someone what you learned. So maybe go over to your roommate, your dog, even your wall, and try to teach them what you’ve been studying. Then while you’re teaching, if you find any holes in your own knowledge you can go back and look over it. Speaking about the subject out loud is a great way to help retain information!

Read the readings: I know, I know. Readings suck. Some teachers just stack pages upon pages for us to read, making us all look down at it like “Yeah… I don’t have time for that.” Well, now’s the time we try and make time. If you have a few moments to spare between classes, break out the readings instead of scrolling on your phone. Just try to squeeze in some reading time whenever you get a chance. Maybe wake up a little earlier or plan a trip to a tea shop to let yourself sip while you read. Just try to get the jist. If you can’t read it all try seeing if there is a summary of it somewhere online or read the beginning and concluding paragraphs to see if you can get the jist of what the author is saying. Just by getting an idea of what the author is saying you’ll be better equipped for class the next day.

Do the Extra Credit: Guys, always do the extra credit if your professor is nice enough to offer it. It can be just what you need to push that grade up a notch or help cushion the blow of a bad grade on an assignment.