Wednesday, February 19, 2014


            As I sit here writing this post, Student Parking Only is only a handful of page views away from reaching 50,000.  It’s been a long ride, and not an easy one, as we saw from last week’s Facebook explosion.  Over the past 2 and a half years I’ve had the chance to do a lot of thinking.  I’ve achieved levels of introspection and an appreciation for the world around me that I could never have nourished by simply sitting in a classroom or walking around a campus.  Not everything I’ve written has been well received, and not every idea that I’ve presented has been novel, but I do believe that I’ve accumulated a small wealth of knowledge and insight that I think is worth sharing.  More than anything, this post is to show appreciation for my readers, writers, supporters, and haters.  You guys are the ones who keep my life interesting and my blog relevant, and you are as much responsible for this milestone as I am.
            So, without further ado, here’s my advice for living life to the fullest, whatever that means to you:
  1. Love life.
  2. Smile.
  3. Don’t strive to be perfect; strive to be happy.
  4. Thank your critics—they’re your best friends.
  5. Reach out to the people you care about.
  6. Call your mom every once in a while.
  7. Relax; everyone could use a break.
  8. Take a step back; see the world from a new perspective.
  9. Explore your surroundings.
  10. Seek out experiences, not rewards.
  11. Don’t worry too much.
  12. Take risks—calculated ones—you can’t get a hit if you don’t swing.
  13. Hold the door open—you never know who might be behind you.
  14. Be generous with compliments, not with money.
  15. Dare to be bold.
  16. Don’t be easily embarrassed.
  17. Always keep your options open.
  18. When one door closes, open another.
  19. “It’s all about the networking”—A. Max
  20. Be different.
  21. Know who you are, and perhaps more importantly, who you aren’t.
  22. Stay in touch with old friends or they’ll become old acquaintances.
  23. Don’t burn bridges.
  24. Take a breath of fresh air.
  25. Eat breakfast—your health teacher wasn’t lying, it makes all the difference.
  26. Never stop being a kid.
  27. Know the proper time and place.
  28. Embrace change.
  29. Don’t fight with your friends.
  30. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
  31. Have positive expectations.
  32. Forgive; don’t forget.
  33. Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.
  34. Don’t try to make life too simple—it’s not.
  35. Appreciate nuance.
  36. Try something new.
  37. Go to a baseball game, especially if you hate baseball.
  38. Climb a mountain—it doesn’t matter how big.
  39. Step out of your comfort zone.
  40. Read the classics.
  41. Spend a day with a Rubik’s cube.
  42. Take lots of pictures; moments are easy to forget, impossible to recapture.
  43. Don’t judge a book by its cover.
  44. Respect is the key to success.
  45. There’s no better feeling than making a good first impression.
  46. Be honest.
  47. Be brave.
  48. Make mistakes.
  49. Fix them.
  50. It’s never too soon to start writing your memoir.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Life Isn't Black & White–It's Grey

            I write a blog.  What does that even mean?  What purpose does it serve?  Who is my audience?  These are all questions that I have to consider when I sit down at my keyboard and write a post.  I certainly did not intend to solicit the explosion that has hit Student Parking Only in the past 24 hours, but I’m glad that it happened.
            The truth of the matter is that my rhetoric was less careful than it could have been.  My intended audience was narrower than usual.  I made assumptions that were not universal and I offended many people.  That’s okay.  In fact, that’s great.
            What happened last night on SPO is something that doesn’t happen enough anymore.  One short post blossomed into a heated dialogue between complete strangers.  A dozen awesome points were made, and a dozen awful points were made.  People attacked, defended, laughed at each other, and laughed at themselves.  Liberals read what conservatives had to say and vice-versa.  Men and women both spoke.  So did academics and athletes alike.  Therein lies the heart of the issue.
            “Life isn’t black and white—it’s grey.”  After all, this wouldn’t be a proper post if I didn’t quote from Freaks & Geeks.  Seriously, though, when I published “For The Boys” last night, I didn’t mean to offend anyone.  I’m happy I did, though.  The voices that have risen out of this controversy are exactly the ones that we don’t hear from enough.  Sexism, the proper use of memes, and awareness of others are all fantastic topics for blog posts—prompts for real thought and discussion.
            When I write a blog post, I try to address topics that I think my audience can relate to.  My goal is to share my personal experience in a way that is relevant to other students.  Nonetheless, my experience is just that—mine.  I can’t always please everyone.  I have to try my best to address as many people as possible in a voice that remains honest to who I am and what I’ve perceived.

            So, if you hated my post, that’s awesome.  Write a response and I’ll gladly print it.  No one’s opinion is universal—especially not mine.  Here’s my request to share yours.  Feel free to send in any thoughts or comments at  If nothing else, this has opened the door for many great posts to come.  Last night is proof—you all have voices.  Let’s hear them.

For The Boys

Girls aren’t going to like this post, but that’s okay.  I’m not writing this post for girls.  I’m writing it for that side of every guy that secretly (or sometimes not so secretly) loves nothing more than being with his boys.  Whether it’s pledging a fraternity, playing on a basketball team, or going out for wings and a beer, sometimes guys just like to do their own thing.  Every guy has a subconscious urge to be “for the boys.”
That being said, society has trained us to see our world as dominated by sex, and in many ways it is.  From ad-campaigns to job interviews, men and women are judged and treated based on their gender every single day.  Sports Illustrated sells its brand with models in swimsuits. advertises with raunchy, near-nude celebrities.  Hollister does the same exact thing with tight t-shirts.  The bottom line is that everyone is drawn to a sexy image, and these icons often dictate our actions and decisions.
The heart of the issue lies in the false perception of happiness.  The illusion that if we use certain products or spend time at certain places we will magically become better iterations of ourselves is all around us.  Anyone who believes that axe body spray is an effective replacement for deodorant has fallen prey to this constant pressure to impress the other sex.
I’m not saying we don’t love our girlfriends, or our mothers—trust me we do—but once in a while every guy has to shut out the female persuasions that constantly influence his thoughts and actions.  The beauty of a true manly relationship—platonic by definition and immune to the influence of exterior concern—is the genuine affection that stems from somewhere deeper than the necessity to reproduce.
Not often enough, these days, do I truly take the time to appreciate my boys.  It’s second nature at this point to buy a girl a drink at the bar because society tells us that’s the easiest way to start a conversation.  The act is a means to an end—perhaps well intentioned and kind—but a loaded act nonetheless.  An act for the boys represents another sentiment entirely.  We relate to each other in a way that no girl could possibly understand or replace.

So next time you’re out, forget about short skirts and low cut shirts for five minutes.  Tell your lovely lady friend that you’ll be back in a few.  Throw on some Blink-182 (don’t pretend you’re too cool for All The Small Things), grab your boys (you’ll know who they are), and enjoy the moment.  Because when your girlfriend dumps you, or your hot date walks out with another guy, these are the people who will always have your back.  We don’t need constant attention or bold gestures; we’re bigger than that, but a little acknowledgment can go a long way.  I’m not entirely convinced that this post is even interesting, let alone insightful, but that’s okay, because I wrote it for the boys.

Monday, February 3, 2014

There's ALWAYS A Silver Lining

This is a guest post submitted by a writer who chose to remain anonymous:

I’ve only lived 19 years on this earth, but I feel like I can say I’ve been through a lot. I’ve had interactions with all sorts of people. I’ve had a plethora of experiences—some shared, some individual, some good, and some bad. All things considered, my life is great and I really should have no reason to complain, but, it’s all relative, and recently, it seems as if tragedy has struck more than good fortune. Fortunately, while tragedy continues to hit hard, it’s taught me one valuable lesson: there’s always a silver lining.
Consider this: a close relative of yours passes away. It’s sad, that’s certain. There’s no possible way you can replace them or even recreate any semblance of their existence in your life. You’ll always have the memories, but their actual physical existence no longer remains. So as it goes, family comes in from all over the state, country, even world to celebrate or mourn the life lost. Relatives, friends, neighbors, acquaintances—even people you don’t really know well or people whom you have lost contact with completely—may go out of their way to say something to you or even join you and your family while you mourn. Are you starting to see the silver lining here?
Now, lets explore another situation: your parents get separated. It’s not quite a death, but it sure as hell feels like one. Whether it was expected or not, this tragic occurrence can’t be sugar coated…it sucks. The two people you love unconditionally, look up to, and someday want to be, simply draw apart and distance themselves from one another. This not only separates your family physically, it tears them apart mentally and emotionally. That one sense of solidarity and unity you have in your life suddenly disappears, and you’re expected to live life like nothing’s changed. You and your siblings are crushed, but you’re there for them, physically, mentally and emotionally. You support one another. It’s something you get through together. Even if you leave temporarily, you continue to text, call, and Snapchat them everyday. You start learning things about them that you never had known. You see a side of someone so close to you that you’ve never seen, even after living with them for all those years. A little clearer, isn’t it?
It’s all relative, everything in life. If you’re reading this you have it so much better than most people on this planet. However, it’s understandable that you, just like all of us, have experienced similar life changing and tragic events. A family pet passes; you lose a close friend, whatever it may be, try to look past the sudden shock of sadness. It hits hard, and fast—immediately to be precise. But, I promise there’s some good in all evil.  We may not be fighting to survive everyday, but we are still constantly dealing with our own issues and looking for positives in life. The truth is, there’s always a silver lining, no matter how dire the situation, and your only job is to find it.