Saturday, November 15, 2014


Wow, it's been so long since I've posted. I may not be active here that much but I'm still active on other social media. Check out my photo blog of adventures on Instagram (@verus_animus). 
Just stopping by to say hi.

Colleversity Tips: How I write Essays/Reports/Research papers

I've developed an excellent way of writing undergraduate-level papers.  This is a very basic method that has helped me out a lot.  I will outline my basic steps.

  1. Open up two Word documents.  One will be your actual paper, complete with the formatting and such. The other will be your brainstorm document.  Alternatively, you can use scratch paper but it's more efficient to use a Word doc because you can save/edit/copy/paste with ease.
  2. Research your topic. Gather any and all specific links and put them in your brainstorm document. Categorize as necessary. Be sure to include the URLs and Dates Accessed.
  3. Write your paper.  Have the necessary pages open alongside your actual paper and start writing your paper.  Whenever you paraphrase or cite information, create a Comment Box on that text in your actual paper and paste the URL into that comment box.  When you're done, you will be able to cross-reference this source with your brainstorm document when creating your reference page.
  4. When you're done with your paper, go through your comments with the URLs and add your references as necessary
  5. You're done! 
  • These steps may seem vague, but this is intentional.  You should follow these basic steps and then add your own style of writing to create an excellent college paper.
  • Everyone's writing style differs. This method may or may not work for you. It works very well for me. 
  • Be sure to read through your paper for mistakes. Double checking is important.
  • Finish your paper early then come back later and read through it again to make any changes or modifications.
  • Be sure to always save and back up your documents
Good luck with writing your essays/reports/research papers/etc.!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Love at First Listen

You hear a song. You fall in love with it (well, you really, really like it). It never gets boring for you, no matter how many times it's played on the radio, no matter what others say, no matter what event happens, no matter how many times you replay the song, no matter how old it is. They always bring you good feelings and potentially good memories.

My Love At First Listen Songs (as of Sept 2014):

Hero - All Insane Kids
Gravity Hurts - Cryoshell feat. Niels Brink
We Will Meet Again - John Siegler
Welcome to the World - Kevin Rudolf
Realm Overworld - Nintendo (TLoZ: Spirit Tracks)
Stereo Hearts - Gym Class Heroes feat. Adam Levine
Gerudo Valley (25th Anniversary edition) - Nintendo (TLoZ: Gerudo Valley)
Ballad of the Goddess - Nintendo (TLoZ: Skyward Sword)
Hyohaku + Kokuten - Naruto Shippuden
Summer Forever - Megan Nicole
Summer Love Jon Brian feat. Shayan
Lost (Jazz Instrumental) - Frank Ocean
Dark World Overworld - Nintendo (TLoZ: A Link Between Worlds)
Am I Wrong - Nico & Vinz
Take Ü There - Jack Ü

Honorary Mentions:
Biggest Part of My Life - P.J. Lequerica
Tennessee - Kevin Rudolf feat. Baby
Bramble Blast - Nintendo (Super Smash Bros. Brawl)
There I Go Again - Bruno Mars
Talking to the Moon - Bruno Mars
Happy Up Here - Röyksopp
Bravado - Lorde
Chandelier - Sia

Original Tweet


#LoveAtFirstListen #InfiniteLoveAtFirstListen #LoveAtFirstSound #LoveAtFirstHear

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bass Drop KOs | aka #BassDropKOs or #BDKO

At the beginning of this summer (Summer 2014), my younger brother came up with something creative while playing Super Smash Bros: Project M. [Note: Project M is simply a mod of Brawl].

The thing my brother came up with is the Bass Drop KO.  It requires LIVE MUSIC with drops (preferably dubstep). Keyword: LIVE. It involves making an awesome KO during the match at the point the bass drops.

Here is a simple technical definition I came up with:

Definition of Bass Drop K.O.: A smashing K.O. that occurs at the Bass Drop of a dubstep song that is playing LIVE (or equivalent beat for non-dubstep, upbeat songs...but then it wouldn't be a Bass Drop KO anymore, would it?).

It's fun to play with these songs.  We would mute the TV and play our own music to the game.

Here is one of the first LIVE Bass Drop KO videos we recorded:

More Bass Drop KO videos can be found on my sibling channel: Wecantify.

For the full playlist of #BassDropKO videos, click here. *Note: It is on Wecantify's 2nd channel. We don't want to flood the main channel with #BDKO vids so we put the others in the 2nd channel.

Enjoy the Bass Drop KOs and if you make any, be sure to tag with with #BassDropKO or #BDKO and share it with me!


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Joy of A New Haircut

Don't you just love new haircuts?

Check out a comedic transformation video I made back in Summer 2013!


Monday, September 8, 2014

iPad Glitches

I've had my iPad 3 for two years. Lately, I've been finding numerous glitches with it.  It's not a bad thing - I think those glitches are cool.

My iPad is jailbroken and it is still running the iOS 5 software.
The following are glitches I've discovered and recorded directly (via a jailbreak recording app) from my iPad.

Self-Moving Photo Glitch on the Camera Roll (This is the coolest glitch I've found)

iPad Glitch: Infinite Zoom Out Glitch [Google Chrome App] 

iPad Glitch: Invisble Square Icon in Camera Roll 

iPad Glitch: Blank Photo Icon Glitch on Camera Roll 

Enjoy the glitches! I'll probably update this as I find more glitches.


Friday, July 18, 2014

How To Upload Unlimited Videos to Vine Free (Jailbreak Method)

Yes, you can use the "Vine Uploader" app to upload videos.  But unless you buy the app, there is a limit to how many videos you can upload.  Watch this video to find out how to upload unlimited videos to Vine for free!

Be sure to share this video and follow me online!

Vine, Instagram, Twitter: @Verus_Animus


Saturday, July 12, 2014

My Awesome 3D Printer

During spring quarter, I built a 3D printer.  It's awesome!  Check it out with the provided videos:

Unboxing my 3D Printer:

Building my 3D Printer:
3D Printing playlist:

- VerusAnimus

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Importance of Keeping Journals [Backup Your Life]

It is important to record the important events of your life; it is a great way of documenting your life.  Whether you believe it or not, you deserve to have your life be remembered; especially if you are for bringing goodness to society and the world.

Buy multiple journals or composition book.  Or create a special folder on your computer or USB for your .txt or .docx life logs. You can call it a diary, a journal, or a log.  It's up to you - just make something in which you can store your entries.

Use one for your creative ideas.  Whenever a creative idea pops into your mind, write it down or type it up.  Put the date, sign your name.  I don't recommend sharing your creative diary so that you can patent and copyright your ideas in the future.

Use one for your personal life.  Record everything that you find memorable. Write down or type up your thoughts, your ideas, your observations, your memories, and everything else that you deem to be of importance. Date your entries.  Sign them.

Use as many journals as you need; make as many files as necessary.

Protect your physical or virtual journals.  Back them up, email them to yourself, hide them with your scrapbooks, buy a safe for them.

Don't share them unless you really want to.  Maybe you'll decide to make some entries public when the time is right.  Maybe you'll let people find them in the future, as if it were a hidden treasure.  Or maybe you'll just keep them a complete secret.

Your entries will be something that you can look back at when you grow up.  The passage of time overwrites and modifies human memories. With your journals, you may find something you can smile or reminisce about. Your journals will be something that other people can discover about you when you are older or even when you're gone.  They will become your written legacy.

Whether you it digitally or physically, always remember to backup your life.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Colleversity Tips: Stress Relievers

Life in college and university can be very stressful.  There's the pressure of work, homework, labs, projects, exams, relationships, and many other things.

If you push yourself and stress too much, you'll only end up hurting yourself.  Stress weakens one's immune system as well as lowering one's performance.  Stress messes with your mind and can cause an overall negative chain-reaction.

I'm not saying that all stress is bad.  Stress can be good - it can be used to motivate you to stop procrastinating and get your work done.  However, there is a limit on how much stress you can handle and once you approach or pass that limit, the things in your life start to deteriorate.

When you are negatively stressed, you just need to take a step back and reduce your stress levels.  Here are a few things that will definitely help reduce stress:

  • Exercise.  Run outside, play a sport, or work out at the gym. Whatever it is, exercise is one of the best stress relievers.  Exercise for at least 30 minutes to an hour.  You should exercise everyday but that may not be an option.  So make a schedule and follow it; you can exercise 5 days a week, on MWF, on days where schedule isn't busy, or whatever other days work for you.  While it's ok to exercise at night, it's best to exercise at noon and even better to exercise in the morning.  That way, you'll feel fresh the whole day!
  • Sleep.  Getting plenty of sleep is necessary.  If you're feeling stressed, maybe all you need is a little nap or a good night's sleep.  If you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep, time will wash your stress away.  If you take naps, don't make them too long - 30 minutes to an hour should suffice.
  • Walk outside.  Taking walks are an excellent way of clearing your mind.  If you're feeling stressed, you should leave your baggage behind and take a stroll outside.  You can walk in the morning or at night; in the city or in a more natural place.  I recommend talking walks in nature rather than the city because the city can still be very stressful.  The best nature places to walk are on trails, in a forest, in a garden, by a beach, or any place that enables you to escape the city.  Breathing in fresh air, hearing birds chirp, and feeling the breeze on your skin will definitely take away your stress.  
  • Take a break, do something you enjoy.  Sometimes you need to take your mind off whatever is stressing you out.  You can do this by engaging in your favorite hobbies.  It may include watching movies, watching TV shows, or watching Internet videos.  It may include reading, playing video games, or playing music.  It may even involve exercising, sleeping, or walking outside.  Whatever it is, make sure that don't spend too much time doing whatever it is your doing or else your 30 minute break may turn into a 3 hour break!
Being stressed can be good because it helps you to perform better under certain situations.  However, an excess of stress can be detrimental to your health.  If you are feeling over stressed, these are a couple tips that will definitely help you to relieve stress. #GreatImSoHappy


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Colleversity Tips: Email Yourself Reminders

This is a tip that comes in handy in nearly all situations, especially if you check your email often.

Emails aren't only used for communicating with others.  Emails are a handy way of planning things and staying organized.  You should use it as a supplement to post-it notes and planners.

The tip is simple: email yourself any reminders or to-do lists.  Don't open it right away or it defeats the purpose of being a reminder.

I find it helpful to email myself reminders before I sleep since I always check my iPad's notifications when I wake up.

The next time you check your email/iPhone/iPad/etc, you'll notice your unread-email notifications.  This should instantly remind you what your email was about...or if you forgot what you had to do, all you have to do is open the email to be reminded again.

It's that simple.  Whether it's important documents, reminders, or to-do lists, email yourself.  Just do it.


Monday, April 21, 2014

Colleversity Tips: Take Naps Often

This piece of advice is short and simple:

You should take naps often.  This may be very easy for some.
For others, you may have to find some time to take naps.  College/University will definitely keep you busy and it may be hard to find some time to rest.

At least 30 minutes of napping is sufficient; just don't go over an hour and a half.  Napping helps you to recharge and it also helps you to retain the information of what you recently learned in your mind.

There are many places where you can nap: libraries, desks, benches, your own room, and anywhere else that is quiet and safe enough to keep your belongings secure.

Just try not to nap during class!




Thursday, April 17, 2014

Colleversity Tips: Post-it Notes, Post-it Notes Everywhere

Post-it notes are nice.  They let you instantly write notes and attach them to almost any surface.  They are excellent for reminders.  No matter who you are or what level your education is, you should use Post-it notes.

Digital Post-it notes are excellent because they are shown to you every time you enter your computer.  You can easily edit and "discard" digital Post-it notes.  These are handy for typing up quick notes and reminders.

Physical Post-it notes are just as good and aren't restricted to your screen.  You can post these notes everywhere.  You have something of utter importance, post your notes in places where you'll always see them, such as on your computer screen (on top of your digital Post-it notes) or on your phone screen.  Post them on your room door or on your mirror.  Post them on your friend's walls and share them with everyone.  Use them as dividers in your textbooks and labels in your notebooks.  There are so many useful applications with Post-it notes.

Post-it notes can be used similar to planners.  The difference is that Post-it notes can be easily placed in various places and they can be easily discarded.

In conclusion, Post-it notes are an excellent way of making color-coded reminders and notes.  You should find ways to implement both digital and physical Post-it notes in your life.  They are extremely useful for succeeding in college, university, work, and everywhere else in life.


post-it toy story woody buzz lightyear

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Colleversity Tips: Transfer vs. Direct [My Point of View]

If you decide to further your education for another 4+ years after graduating from high school, you often have two main choices: Attend community college and transfer to university or go straight to university.

I took the path of attending community college first and then transferring after obtaining an Associates in Science and Engineering degree.  The following is my perspective about the pros and cons about becoming a transfer student.

  • The cost is cheaper.  In college, you must take prerequisite classes in order to obtain your Associates.  If you go straight to university, you must take the EXACT same prerequisites before you can officially declare/enter your major.  The difference between the two is that you pay thousands more for the university version.  Even if you are covered by financial aid, you still end up saving more if you start at college.  Additionally, book and housing are often cheaper if you start at community college.
  • Classes are easier. Some community college have good programs and some don't.  I was lucky enough to attend a college that was ranked #19 out of all community colleges in the nation by the time I graduated (Skagit Valley College).  Even after transferring and beginning my year at university, I discovered that classes at college are easier, no matter what rank they are in the nation.  I also heard stories from my classmates who went straight to university - they took the same classes I took at college but they had a more difficult time.  For example, for a linear algebra class they considered it to be one of the hardest classes they took as a pre-major student.  However, when I took linear algebra at college, I easily got 100% in two tests and I still learned the same things that the university students learned.  Please don't take this wrong way - that community college are inferior to university classes.  This isn't often the case.  It all depends on how much a student is willing to learn and the quality of education of the individual schools.  I think the reason that classes are easier in college is because the class sizes are smaller and teachers have a more personal one-to-one relationship with their students.  In university, this rarely happens with large classes.
  • It's easier to win scholarships.  This is a win-win.  By attending community college, you save on LOTS of money.  Also, if you are one of the top students of your class, you can easily win scholarships.  So not only do you spend less for your education, you actually gain more money by winning more scholarships!  Of course, you have to use these scholarships for education and they will especially become useful for paying off the high costs of tuition once you transfer to university.  The reason why scholarships are easier to win is because the applications are so much simpler and less strict, the community often sponsors the scholarships, and it's easy to stand out in college if you were an excellent high school student.
  • Convenience of transportation.  Transportation usually isn't a problem, especially if your community college is in your home community.  If it isn't, you may still have to travel a large distance to get to class (in this case it's better to dorm there or get an apartment).  However, whether transportation is an issue or not depends on how far your school is and if your are willing to travel everyday or live near campus.
  • Type of education.  This goes back to the bullet point I mentioned above.  College level classes are often easier than their university counterparts.  This doesn't mean that the college is inferior.  It may mean that the teachers aren't good or the students aren't trying hard enough.  There are definitely some colleges that are better than university.  However, as a general case, universities have better quality classes because they often have better quality professors.  There's a reason why universities are higher up on the academic hierarchy compared to community colleges.  This doesn't mean that you wont be a success if you become a transfer student.
  • Adjusting from college to university.  This is the most difficult thing I had to face when transferring from college to university.  At my college, I was at the top 10% of my class of over 200.  Everything was so easy.  I felt confident about starting university.  Perhaps I was a bit overconfident.  When I transferred and started university, I felt as if it had sucker punched me.  I was extremely humbled after my first quarter.  Teachers were very strict and classes and labs were more difficult.  A university-level class is in a whole different ball game compared to college.   I'm not saying that hard courses are bad - they aren't.  I'm just saying that you shouldn't be caught of guard with easy college class one moment and the difficult university class the next.  It took me a while to adjust to this completely different world and adapt to the university's strict but orderly process.  Take this as a warning if you decide to transfer to university: Don't be overconfident.  Learn the ways of your school and adapt quickly. 
Other Things to Consider
  •  The environment.  This is all based on one's perspective.  Some may find their college environment more friendly and less stressful then their university environment.  Others may find it the other way around.  That is why it is good to visit and tour campuses before attending them.  Regarding my school, Skagit Valley College, I personally liked the main campus over the one that was near my home city because it was more "isolated" in nature - it was right next to one of Washington's mountain ranges.  The view was nice and the air was always fresh.  This isn't to say I don't like my present campus at the University of Washington.  I actually like both since they are located in the less-polluted state of Washington.  My SVC campus had a more "nature" setting and my UW campus is in the city. 
  • Living.  This is the similar to the environment.  It all depends on what your area is like and what the school and its inhabitants are like.  Whether you like one campus over another depends on the type of setting you prefer.  I personally like both the nature and the city setting.  I also like how both SVC and UW are very multicultural.  I think both places are nice to live in.  Click here to see a post I made about my opinion about living in a dorm or an apartment.
All in all, starting at community college to complete your prerequisites before transferring to university is a great idea, especially if you need to save on money.  Just be warned that courses are harder at university - so don't take this as a surprise.  Remember, harder classes are good things because you get to learn a lot more.  I wonder if people who go straight to university have an academic advantage over people who transfer to university.  While I think it all depends on the individual and their learning experiences, I am also sure that your starting school plays a role in affecting how much you learn.  When considering if you want to transfer or go direct, research the type of school you want and their academic programs and factor that into how much you are willing to spend.

Verus Animus

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Walking Dead Zombie Apocalypse & Escapism [VerusAnimus' Reflection]

The following reflection is inspired by The Walking Dead.  In addition to being a form of escapism for me, I have contemplated on a world where zombie apocalypse is real.

While I enjoy horror movies, nothing stands out like the horror that zombies bring.  A couple of other zombie action-adventure movies I enjoy include the Resident Evil movie series and World War Z.  Additionally, while not a zombie genre movie, I enjoy the psychological horror-adventure presented by the Silent Hill movies.  A few months ago (October, 2013) I started watching The Walking Dead.  Ever since then, I've been attached to the show.

Other than being horror flicks, what do all the movies/shows I mentioned have in common?  While the characters and storyline are definitely important, there's something more.  They all have the thrill of adventure - a journey through a familiar yet unknown world.  There's the need for survival in a world where all odds are against you.  It may seem odd to others but I view the post-apocalyptic scenario as more than just survival.  It's also about adventure, making the best of what you are given.  This is my ideal view; who knows if it would change in a real life scenario.

Anyways, I like to immerse myself into this alternate horror world.  The people around you aren't human anymore.  The dead rise again - and not in a good way.  The places you used to see everyday and found comfort in are no longer inviting.  Wherever I go, I imagine how that area would be in a world overrun by zombies.  I imagine how different things would look.  I look at buildings that could potentially provide shelter and I mentally take stock of how much a group of survivors could live in a particular grocery store.  I imagine about the adventure I (and any survivors I pick up) would have in a post-apocalyptic zombie world.  It's a fun way to pass time.

I can trace my desire for adventure back to my childhood.  The three notable ones that fueled my spirit for adventure (whose symbols I have edited to create the background for my blog) are Pokémon, Bionicle, and Zelda.  When I was younger I would immerse myself in the innocent adventurous world of Pokémon.  I would let my imagination run free with the adventures of LEGO's Bionicles.  To pass my time, I loved adventuring through the The Legend of Zelda  universe while listening to its heroic tunes.  These aren't the only influences on my love for adventure.  The Ender's Series (both the main and parallel stories) as well as many other books and video games have played a role.  There's also the fact that I have always enjoyed traveling across North America.  The sense of adventure has followed me through the years and now it has seeped into the horror-style adventure that zombies bring.

Presently, watching The Walking Dead temporarily takes me away from all the stress and troubles in the real world and places me into a fictional world with its own set of problems.  Sometimes I wonder, if the world were given a choice, which would it prefer?  A new World War or a zombie apocalypse?  I have thought about this.  Neither is desirable.  Both would cause so much pain in their own ways.  Both would damage the world and society in a way that would be difficult (if not impossible) to reverse.  There are too many people living contently with their lives.  It would be selfish to wish for an event that will disrupt the lives of many.

Some may argue that a World War would improve various country's economies, help control the population, and maybe solve some status-quo conflicts around the world.  However, no one ever wins in these sort of conflicts.  Is it worth the destruction and pain to the environment and the generations of humans to come?  Nope.  Is it worth the tension that may build up between countries?  Hardly.  Peace is something everyone should strive for but unfortunately, there are always some people looking to incite hate.  Regardless, war is always undesirable.  It is unfair how the innocent, present and future, are almost always directly or indirectly affected.  Here's to that day when all types of wars, cold or hot, will cease to exist.

A zombie apocalypse would potentially prevent world wars.  If anything, it should unite humanity against a common foe.  However, this isn't bound to happen due to the disruption of all sorts of technology.  While there will be people who strive for good in a world without any order, there are just as many, if not more, evil-hearted people.  The psychological effects of being dropped into a world that was comforting one day and hostile the next can bring out the evil in people.  Is living in a world full of bandits and cannibals just to experience the joy of adventure worth it?  I don't think it's worth disrupting the lives of happy people to wish for something such as a zombie apocalypse.

Nevertheless, given the choice between only those two scenarios, which would better for the world?  I wonder...

To conclude (and back to the original topic), I am the type who enjoys adventure.  The type of fictional adventures I escape into has transformed over the years.  The Walking Dead is the latest and darkest world I have been introduced to.  Although I know that the existence of zombies is scientifically impossible (at least not in the way presented in the show), I still enjoy imagining what Earth and our society would be like if it were real.  While I focus on graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering, so that I can positively contribute to society and the world, I find it nice to occasionally escape the stresses of reality.  Presently, the world of The Walking Dead has offered me a thrilling, new, adventurous world to escape into every once in a while.  I like it.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Colleversity Tips: Make An Organized Planner ASAP

The end of Spring Break is approaching and that means it's time to return to school soon.  For those of you in college or university, it may be the start of a new quarter.  This fresh start means you have a new opportunity to succeed.

Something that I found extremely helpful in all my years of college and university is to organize a planner ahead of time.  From my experience, I have discovered that there are three parts to making a successful planner.

The first part of making a successful planner is to write down all your classes for that quarter on each day you have that class.  Do this before the quarter begins.  For the first week or so in your planner, include the times and class room numbers as an aid for getting the times and locations of your classes ingrained into your mind.  
For example, if you have three classes: Math, Science, and Writing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and labs on Tuesdays and Thursdays, then write "Math: (Time, Location)" followed by the rest of your classes in chronological order for each day.  Repeat this for your lab sections and any other important topics.

The next part to making a successful planner can be fulfilled once your teachers have provided their syllabus.  The class syllabus is very important - it is the key to success.  Once you have your syllabus, immediately write down each assignment start and end date, each project due date, and each exam location and time.  Don't delay doing this!  By writing out your schedule early in the quarter you will have a clearer visual plan of how to have a successful quarter.  You will gain a head start over students who aren't as organized as long as you constantly look ahead and refer to your planner.  Be sure to update your planner daily as necessary.

The last part of making a successful planner is to include any and all other important dates and notes.  Whether it's someone's birthday, a meeting, a concert you want to attend, or a reminder to purchase something or ask someone a question, put it in your planner!  Put every important note and detail you encounter  (or have plans to accomplish) in your planner.  Fit it on the sides, use different colored pens, use sticky notes; just do whatever you need to do in order to be successful.

You can follow this guideline or you can modify it to fit your personal taste.  Whatever you do, just make a planner.  Here are examples of the format I found helpful over my college/university years:

I don't recommend spending money on expensive planners; cheap ones suffice and free ones are even better. A personal story: My old college (Skagit Valley College) always gave away free planners, no matter what year you were in.  My university (University of Washington) only gives planners to freshmen and transfer students.  So after completing my year junior year (my transfer year), I reverted back to using SVC planners.  Oh, the nostalgia!

Some people prefer digital planners over physical ones.  I prefer physical ones because it's easier to modify (such as drawing arrows from one date to another) and it's neat looking back at my planner at the end of a successful school year.  You can hang onto your planner as if it were a long lost diary and look at it in your future years.  You'll revisit old memories; you'll be amazed at how your college/university life was, all the events you went to, and every other nuance you probably forgot about.  Not only are planners extremely useful for doing well in school, they are also an excellent way of documenting portions of your college/university life. 


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Lent and Self-Discipline - [VerusAnimus' Reflection]

I enjoy lent.  I look forward to it every year.  I see Lent as a way to "restart."  It is a reset button for living a better life (similar to how New Year and its resolutions are a restart for a new year).  I personally think Lent's "restart" effect is more profound.  For those who don't know, the season of Lent is the forty days before Easter starting from Ash Wednesday and not including Sundays.

During Lent, you give up something earthly and personal.  It can be something you're addicted to or something you use a lot.  For example, you can give up candy, TV, video games, or even FaceBook. The point of giving things up is to build self-discipline.  By continuously rejecting things you "can't live without," you are building your self-discipline.  Your goal is to make it to Easter without failing.  If you make it, you will emerge a stronger person - both in will and in character.

I know this effect is real because I have been participating in Lent ever since I learned about it in my high school's youth group.  During my last few years of high school as an upperclassman, I gave up music.  To be specific, I gave up music from the radio, from iTunes, and from the Internet.  I am an individual who loves music and I wanted to challenge myself.  Giving up music was definitely a challenge!  To up the challenge, I included Sundays - so I effectively gave up music for about 6.5 weeks.

A side story: during my first year of giving up music (2009), I posted a song (Boom Boom Pow) from the Black Eyed Peas on my channel.  I have never listened to that song.  It was their first song since their last album in 2005.  I wanted to listen to that song but I stopped myself.  So I posted it on YouTube and left it alone.  Next thing I knew, I was getting millions of views on that video!  I finally listened to it after Lent and that song became one of my favorites by them. (((My YouTube Channel)))

Anyways, giving up music was literally muting my life.  Every single day I wanted to listen to music but every single day I had to resist the urge to play music.  I even asked my family to not play music so that I could accomplish this.  In retrospect, asking my family to give up music along with me was a bit selfish, which is why I don't give up music if the season of Lent falls during moments when I'm home for the majority of the season. Regardless, during Lent, my self-discipline grew.  I guess I can also attribute the growth in self-discipline to my family values, my church values, and growing up in a military town.  Nevertheless, by the time Easter arrived, I was so excited to listen to music.  However, since I was so used to not listening to music, I also didn't want to - I wanted to make a "new record" for not listening to music.  In the end, I ended up playing Boom Boom Pow and I got back into the music world.  I became more appreciative of music.  40+ days of being deprived of something you enjoy makes you appreciate it so much more.

This year I have given up different distractions: social networks such as Instagram and Twitter.  I find it really important to give those up because they are a complete distraction from school.  I'm in my last year of university and having constant access to these social networks brought my performance down.  That is why I couldn't wait for Lent to begin so that I would be forced to stop using those accounts.  Once Lent began, I hid my distracting apps using a Cydia app.  The app is available only on jailbroken iDevices.  In this case it is useful because it literally hides the app's existence from my iPad.  I could easily "unhide" the apps but I wont - the point of Lent is to have the self-discipline to avoid whatever I give up.

One may ask, "why do I have to wait for Lent?  Why can't I just stop sooner?"  Well, I could.  A lot of people could.  However, there's a psychological factor that comes along with Lent, something that makes things official.  It's easy to say you give up something and simply relapse back because it's not "official".
For example, consider this: an individual asks a roommate to pay rent for one semester because that individual can't afford it. The roommate agrees and they shake hands on it. However, a day before payment is due, the roommate backs out.  The individual argues that the roommate promised to pay.  The roommate says that it wasn't official and there's no proof because the agreement wasn't in writing.

There are probably better examples out there but this is an example I could come up with at the top of my head.  You can agree to giving something up but if it's not "official," you don't have a psychological obligation to follow through.  Yes, you may have your own code of honor, which would be nice.  Perhaps it's a side-effect of the society we live in but in some cases, people consider that things have to be "official" before any action is taken, or at least effort to take that action is made.

All in all, Lent is important because it builds self-discipline.  It helps individuals to build character.  It enables people to take their focus off their "addictions" and to turn their sights to other aspects of life, whether it's their family, school, or new hobbies. By making people realize that they don't know what they have until it's gone, Lent makes individuals more appreciative of the big and little things in life.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

How To Make A Pet Rabbit

It's that time of the year!  Easter is also around the corner.  Here's a Throwback Tuesday to a video I made last year.  It features my pet: Rabbit the Osome Sage, who used up the last of his life force last October after living a great 10 years.

Enjoy the video!


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

iPad Life Hack: Instant Photo Scroll

Are you the type that takes thousands of pictures on your iPad?
If you are, don't you find it annoying when you enter the Camera Roll app and it brings you to your oldest photo when all you want to see is your newest photo?
Well, those annoying days are over!
With this simple trick you can instantly scroll to any location in your Camera Roll!  

Check out my video for a demonstration:

Thanks for reading/watching!


Please note: I am not sure if this works for iPads on iOS 6 or 7.  I will update this if I ever find out.  My iPad is still on iOS 5.  I don't want to update it because I'll lose my jailbreaks. (I already updated my iPod to iOS 6 and I can't get back any of the jailbreaks...for the meantime at least).

Friday, March 21, 2014

Colleversity Tips: The Origin of The Tips

I have always wanted to make a blog.  I just didn't know what to write about.  Additionally, I had video ideas since last November about making University Survival Guide Vlog videos.  I eventually decided against that.  I had an opportunity to combine those ideas and create a blog after I enrolled in my first ever online class, Bioresource Science and Engineering 211, at the University of Washington.  This is a class that teaches students to expand on their creativity.  In this class, students were given an opportunity to make one of their creative ideas a reality.  With this assignment (the midterm), I finally had something to write about; it is thanks to that midterm assignment that I was able to give my blog life.  The following is the first draft of my midterm.  The final draft only had to be two sentences.  I didn't want the rest of my work to go to waste so I decided to make a blog entry for it.  
Here is the reason why I make my Colleversity Tips.
What is something creative I can do to contribute to society, particularly to incoming college and university freshmen?  I can make a blog that provides creative tips on surviving the college and university experience based on my experience. 

What is needed as the first step to make this idea a reality?  First and foremost, I need to create a blog – this is easy as there are many free and reputable blog-providers online.  A potential name for my blog is “Colleversity Survival Tips.”  The next step, which is truly the first step to making this idea a reality, is to gather my experiences from my college and university years and be able to present them in a creative way that viewers will find helpful.

Who is this the intended audience of this blog?  When this survival guide idea popped into my mind, my intended audience was my brother.  However, I want others to read my guide, hence the reason why I am bringing my creativity online.  I feel that by making an online blog, not only can I help out my younger brother, I can also help out many incoming college and university freshman in the years to come.  Perhaps sophomores, juniors, and seniors will also learn a couple new ways of doing things if they happen upon my blog.  

Why do I want to make this blog?  The main reason why I came up with this idea is because my younger brother is graduating from high school this year and I want to creatively give him tips on how to survive college or university.  By providing college survival tips, I will be able to analyze how I reacted to particular experiences and I will be able to better prepare my brother for the future.  Additionally, I hope that by sharing my personal experiences in the classroom and on campus, I can inspire others to do well during their four-plus years in college.

When will I post blog entries?  I plan on posting blog entries as often as I can.  I will gather as many creative college survival tips as I can and post weekly blog entries with possible entries in between weeks.  I hope to have numerous entries posted online by the time my brother graduates this spring.  

When did I obtain the experiences I plan on sharing?  I obtained my experience over the past four years.  I have attended both college and university (which have very different environments).  I have lived in both an apartment and in multiple dorms.  I have lived alone and with roommates.  I have learned the tips and tricks necessary for doing well in and out of class.  I have had my successes and my failures.  I learned from my experiences and used my creativity to prevent future mistakes.  Overall, I believe I’m qualified to share survival tips on an online blog.

Where have my experiences taken place?  My experiences are directly from two accredited academic centers in Washington State: Skagit Valley College and the University of Washington.  My experiences in each environment are unique and extensive.  It is important to note that while my advice can apply to any college and university around the world, some tips will be localized to these two Pacific Northwest schools. 

How exactly do I plan on making this blog successful?  I know there are already abundant amounts of college and university survival tips online.  My plan on making this blog a success is to share advice based purely off my experiences.  By sharing tips directly from a university student, I believe that my blog will have a more creative and personal twist.  I am confident that some of my tips will have applications that extend beyond the academic environment.  Regardless, I would consider my blog a success if it helps out incoming college students, particularly my brother.

In conclusion, something creative I can do to contribute to society is to create an online blog that provides advice for making it through college and university.  By sharing my personal experiences and giving creative tips on how to survive the college and university life, I hope to have a positive impact on as many students as possible.
As you can see, my blog has taken this idea, modified some of my original plans, and transformed into something more. 


Monday, March 17, 2014

Colleversity Tips: Save on Eating Utensils, Condiments, Napkins & Drinks

College can be expensive. One way to be resourceful and save your money is to collect complimentary eating utensils, cups, and napkins.

It's simple, really.  This type of money-saving method might be common knowledge.  However, if you don't know about this method, keep these bullet points in mind:

  • Whenever you eat out, go grab a couple extra plastic spoons, forks, and knives.  
  • While you're at it, get some extra napkins for your car and home.  
  • Don't forget the straws!  
  • If you like condiments, be sure to collect some extra packets of ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, salsa verde, salt, chili peppers, and whatever else you like!
  • If cups are free and there are a lot, go get some. 

Doing this will save you a lot of money in the long run. It will also keep you will supplied for unexpected moments.
Example scenarios for when collecting these items will come in handy:
- You never know when you'll need a couple straws or napkins in your car.
- If you run out of vinegar, at least you'll have an extra stash of vinegar packets ready to go.
- You want less dishes to wash so you use plastic utensils.  However, please note that it saves resources to wash and reuse your plastic eating utensils.

Before you do this though, it's important to determine if the establishment has any written strict rules against obtaining complimentary items.  Also remember not to be obnoxious and take too much.  Leave some for other people.  They need to build up their complimentary stash too.

When it comes to drinks, if your school has a water fountain specifically designed for bottles, simply reuse your plastic bottles!  No need to buy any fancy water bottles.  You can reuse Gatorade bottles, the water bottles that come in packages, or even an iced tea bottle.  If you want, you can change the bottle you use every few days or every week.  The point is that by reusing what you have, you will save you money as well as help the environment.


Monday, March 10, 2014

Colleversity & Life Tip: Getting Food Out from Between Your Teeth

Do you carry dental floss with you wherever you go?

Probably not.  If you do, then that's great!  You can keep reading this or you can do something else.

This post is for people who get food stuck between their teeth and don't carry dental floss.

Depending on the food you eat, you are bound to get food stuck between your teeth.  It can be awkward and embarrassing talking to someone later on with chicken or spinach sticking out of your teeth.

So what's an easy and cheap way of getting food out between your teeth that doesn't involve floss?

The answer is simple: Water.

  • What you do is go to a bathroom and take a mouthful of water. 
  •  Keep your mouth close.  
  • Then, using the pressure from your tongue and mouth, push the water through the portions of your teeth that have food stuck in it.  
  • You may have to direct the water with your tongue if the food is in your front-left or front-right teeth. 
  • Spit out the water and repeat as necessary.
It's that easy.  Just be sure you are satisfied with the cleanliness of the sink's water supply.  

This tip works well everywhere, from school to the malls.  As a bonus, if you don't have water, feel free to build up your saliva as an alternative!

Thanks for reading and don't forget to actually brush and floss.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Colleversity Tips - Take Care of Physical & Digital Valuables

It is VERY import to take care of all your physical and digital valuables.  This may seem obvious but you would be surprised at how many people still aren't careful with their things, regardless of how many times they are told to take care of their physical and digital valuables.

It is very important to keep your physical belongings with you at all times.  Whether it's a laptop, a textbook, or any sort of bag or purse, always keep them within eyesight.  

It only takes a few seconds for a thief to inconspicuously steal your things. 

If you have to go to the bathroom or answer a call outside or something of that matter, ALWAYS bring your belongings with you.  If it is inconvenient to bring your things with you for a couple of seconds/minutes, ask someone to watch your things.

NEVER leave your things alone.  The risk of losing your valuables, the financial impact, the trouble of contacting authorities, and the emotional pain that comes with losing your things isn't worth it.  
You can prevent all this pain by not taking risks and ALWAYS keeping your valuables with you. 


Just as it is important to keep your physical valuables with you at all times, it is also important to constantly protect your digital valuables.  Digital valuables include important files, homework, email, social networking accounts, and other personal data.

When editing any digital document, ALWAYS save your files.  Afterwards, backup your files by saving it to your USB, emailing yourself a copy, and saving an extra copy on your laptop.  You never know what will happen to the original file and you may find yourself in need of the file when you don't have Internet access or you don't have your USB on you.  In fact, you should always keep extra backups of all sorts of important digital files, not just the ones you've edited (such as pictures, videos, "version 1s" of essays, pdfs, and so on).

Additionally, ALWAYS log out of your accounts.  Whether it's your email, your social network profile, or your school account, log off.  If you are logged in at a computer lab and you have to leave for awhile, ask someone trustworthy to watch your computer if logging out will be an inconvenience.  

Lastly, NEVER forget to leave your USBs plugged into public computers.  It may be easy to forget so a simple solution is to attach a lanyard to the USB and then wrap something you always carry with you to the lanyard such as your keys or your headphones.

Take care of your digital files, they can be copied, shared, and deleted instantaneously.  More often than not, it is impossible to reverse any negative occurrences that results from negligence.    

ALWAYS TAKE CARE of your physical and digital belongings.  Make it a good habit. You know how important it is to take care of your teeth and your physical and emotional health right?  Well, for slightly different reasons it is just as important to take care of your physical and digital valuables. 


Monday, March 3, 2014

Colleversity Tips - Elevator Kindness

I live on the top floor of my dorm.  I like the top floor because of the nice pseudo-aerial view.

I came up with a good act of kindness a couple months ago. It involves being considerate to people who haven't arrived at the lobby elevator yet.  This act of kindness applies to dorm/apartment buildings but it may apply to other elevator scenarios as well.  

Elevator kindness is simple.  I take the elevator all the way to my top floor.  If no one is waiting to use the elevator at the top floor, I push the "Ground/Lobby" floor button and proceed to my room.  This way, people at the lobby don't have to wait for the elevator to go all the way down.  I don't like to wait for the elevator to come from the top floor, so I decided that other people shouldn't wait either.

However, there is a problem to this: what if the coast is clear when I exit the elevator at the top floor and push the lobby button and then someone appears to take the elevator but it's already doing down?  This is where your personal discretion comes into play.  It is up to you if you want to press the button or not.  I often do this act of kindness in the morning/afternoon when the majority of students are in class.  That way, when they get out of class they can easily go back up.  I would recommend spreading this act of kindness if you know there are more people wanting to go up than people wanting to go down (and the upper floor lobbies are clear).

Additionally, I ALWAYS take the stairs down, so I don't have a problem with the elevator going down.  Perhaps other top floor students can do this too since it is so much easier going downstairs than it is up.  I understand if they don't want to - elevators are more convenient.  I personally like the extra little exercise.  

So there you have it.  A little act of elevator kindness I came up with this school year.  It may or may not seem kind to others depending on if they get the quick lift or if they are left behind.  As long as you time things right, you might end up making rather than breaking people's days!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

How To Easily Gain Instagram Followers - The VerusAnimus InstaFollowMethod

There are many articles online about how to gain Instagram followers.  I came up with a creative and easy way to gain Instagram followers.  I'm still fairly new to Instagram - I only became active at the end of summer 2013.  The following method looks takes a psychological/statistical point of view.  I came up with this idea simply through observation who interacts with my Instagram account, experimentation, and creative thinking.  Maybe someone else has thought of this idea but as far as I know, I discovered it myself.  I thought I would share my discovery with you all.  I like to call it the VerusAnimus InstaFollow Method.

Please note: If you follow my instructions then this method has very high probability of working - it has worked consistently for me.  The reasons for it not working is if you "travel" through an unpopular #hastag, it's not a busy time of the day and you don't like enough pictures.  This method is significantly better and simpler than many of the methods out there.

I have noted that there is a trend on Instagram where if someone "likes" your photo, it is common courtesy for you to "like" theirs back.  This sense of reciprocity is especially apparent when people like multiple pictures.  Of course, not everyone "likes back."  Anyways, this InstaReciprocity is the basis for my method.

The basis of my method is to creatively and inconspicuously advertise my account.  It selectively targets people.  For most people, it is fairly easy to receive a single like and not like back.  However, people have a higher probability of liking back when they receive two or more likes.  I begin my InstaFollow method by initiating InstaReciprocity.  Here are the steps for easily gaining more followers:

  • I choose a hashtag that tends to have lots of pictures.  I “travel” through cyberspace to places such as #Seattle, #Vancouver, #trees, #snowy, or #railway.
  • Once there, I choose a type of picture to focus on.  For example, I focus on scenery pictures.  Of course, you don't have to focus on any particular picture.  I have discovered that having a genre to focus on makes the process go faster.
  • I scroll through the hashed pictures and tap the ones that fit my focus.  I like that picture and enter the user's page.  I check if they have a ratio in which their "following" is greater than their "followers."
  • If they fit that requirement, I like one extra picture.  I only like one extra so that it's not obvious that I'm advertising my channel and so that I can speed up the process of targeting more users.
  • If the hashtag I'm in doesn't have the proper ratio, I travel through a different hashtag and try that out.
  • While I have gotten followers from around the world with foreign hastags, I tend to use local hashtags since "local" people are more likely to follow other who post pictures of similar interests. For example, #Seattle, #Washington, #Oregon, #PNW, #PacificNorthwest, and #forest works well for me. 
  • Please note: I discovered that sometimes Instagram automatically "unlikes" some pictures if you double tap too many in a row when entering from the hashtag portal.  Just be careful about this.
  • Anyways, since I like at least two of the user's photos, they would have a higher chance of feeling committed to enter my account and like my pictures back.  Remember, not everyone does this - that's why I have to repeat this process for multiple pictures for about 15+ minutes.
  • Since the targeted users have a higher "following" to "followers" ratio, they have a higher probability of entering my account, liking my pictures, and following me.  
That's it.  It's that simple.  If you do this for multiple pictures for an extended amount of time, you are guaranteed to gain comments, likes, and followers.  I have gained numerous likes, followers, and comments every 40 minutes.  Sometimes I wait longer because I like to see the mass notifications.  This may not seem like much to some people but for me, it's a lot since only a couple weeks before writing this I had less than 70 followers.  

Remember, this can be time consuming.  Don't get stuck doing this.  There's a whole world out there to explore!

Some may note that this method is similar to the "scroll down and like everything you see" method.  In some ways it is and in some ways it isn't.  That method doesn't really attempt to gain followers.  It just likes every single picture.  My method is more streamlined in that the target is people with a higher "following" to "follower" ratio.  This method may take a couple more seconds per photo but at least it will result in easier followers.  

The whole process is a creative method I came up with by using lateral thinking after observing human psychology behavior on Instagram.  For those who think this is cheating, it's not.  All it is is very good "advertising."  I don't spam people's accounts an I don't force anyone to "click my user name" and follow me.  I don't want people to feel obligated to follow me.  All I do is make my account available to them so they have the free will to follow me if they like my pictures.  It's different and it works.

Thanks for reading this and good luck gaining more followers!  If you use the post in any way please credit me by citing my blog, my Instagram (@Verus_Animus), and my real name (Joel S. Atienza).

Also, check out my video for a real-life demonstration and proof that I gained 120+ followers in one week! 

If you like this article and/or it helped you, be sure to share it and follow my main Instagram at @Verus_Animus.

Shoutout to all my present and future followers!  Thank you! I couldn't have done this without you all.

Joel S. Atienza aka VerusAnimus
Electrical Engineering student
University of Washington

Bonus: Food account: @JVerusSAnimusA
Bonus for reaching the end: If you still have trouble finding the followers (which you shouldn't), then perhaps my followers will follow you. Hint hint. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Colleversity Tips - Types of Schedules

Once you begin college/university, your schedule can vary from quarter to quarter.  It is definitely different than high school where you go to the early morning and then go  home mid-afternoon.

You should consider the types of schedules you choose.  Sometimes you have no choice but to take early courses or late courses.  However, when you do have a choice, it may be better to choose the slightly early classes.

These are the types of schedules I have observed:

  • Morning to noon schedules (Classes/labs are typically from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm)
  • Noon to late noon schedules (Classes/labs are typically from 1 pm to 5:30 pm)
  • Spread-out schedules (Classes/labs are spread out throughout the day)
  • Mix of the first and third or second and third schedules.
Personally, I try to avoid spread-out schedules.  The reason for this is because I find it very inconvenient having to go to class then wait around for an hour before going to another class.  While the break is sometimes needed for catching up on sleep, getting some studying done, or eating, I still like to take my classes consecutively.  That way, I finish all my classes and I'm free for the rest of the day.  No need to worry about going to class later on.

This leads me to the other types of schedules.  Noon to late noon schedules may be advantageous to people who like to sleep in.  However, I don't like these types of schedules also.  The reason for this is because students with late schedules have the tendency to sleep in.  If you sleep in (let's say until 11 or 12) and then wake up just to go to class, you already missed out on half the day.  Of course, if you are the type who gets up early then this may be the type of schedule for you.

My personal favorite is the morning to noon schedule. The reason for this is because I'm forced to get up early.  I finish all my classes by noon and I am free for the rest of the day.  I think I am most productive and stress-free with these types of schedules. 8:30 -9 is a bit to early for me.  I prefer classes on or after 9:30. 

These are the basic types of schedules.  There are also mixed types of schedules.  For example, there is the mixture of morning/spread-out schedules, where you have two classes in the morning and one in the afternoon.  These classes are fine to since you already finished the majority of your classes in the morning.  All you have left is either a class or lab in the afternoon and you are free for the rest of the day.

The type of schedule you choose is ultimately up to you.  There will obviously be times when you can't choose the times you want and you will end up with undesirable schedule times.  Nevertheless, if you had an option of choosing class/lab times, I would recommend taking earlier classes so that you are free for the rest of the day.  You can accomplish so much more, both in and out of school, just by waking up early - even if you sleep late.  Yes, you may lose sleep but that's what weekends are for!

- VerusAnimus

Monday, February 24, 2014

Colleversity Tips - Staying Awake in Class

In college and university, you honestly don't get much sleep.  It can be difficult for most students to get even 7 hours of sleep during the weekdays.

As a result, students end up sleeping in class, no matter how hard they fight to stay awake.  This is obviously a bad thing since you are missing out on lecture and it gives the professor a bad impression of you.

So how do you stay awake?  There are a couple things that can help you to stay awake.  I will be sharing my personal strategies for staying awake.
Please note that the results may vary from person to person and some strategies are more effective than others.

Things to avoid:
  • Being near the air conditioner.  The cool breeze may be so relaxing that you just drift off into lullaby land.
  • Coffee.  It gets costly and addicting.  Make it a challenge to stay awake without coffee!  If you really need coffee, fine.  But try the items on my list first.  
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Other things that can induce sleep in you.
A list from least effective to most effective based on my personal experience:

  • Stabbing yourself with a pencil.  I tried it.  It only worked for a few seconds. 
  • Wetting your face with cold water before class.
  • Having your classmate beside you wake you up whenever you nod off.  This sort of works but from experience, it doesn't help if your classmate falls asleep too!.
  • Think about something to get your heart rate up.  This isn't for everyone.  However, I have discovered that you will stay awake if your heart beats faster.
  • Exercise.  Whether it's before class or the day before, exercising often gives you the energy to stay awake
  • Drink during class.  
  • Eat during class. Bring candy or some other quiet snack.  Eating will help you stay awake.
  • Plenty of rest the night before.  I know this may be hard but this is the best solution for staying awake.  Plus, getting plenty of rest helps you retain the things you learned.
As you may have noticed, I didn't include anything about coffee because I don't drink coffee and I don't need that to stay awake.  From my experiences, the most effective methods of staying awake are eating during class and getting plenty of sleep.  

Hopefully these tips help you to stay awake during class!

- VerusAnimuzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Colleversity Tips - Save All Physical & Digital Documents

It is good to always back up your things.  This tip is about backing up everything throughout your college and university years.

What should you back up?

  • Homework assignments (often in PDFs provided by the teacher)
  • Your homework 
  • Homework solutions
  • Lecture notes/slides
  • Practice midterms and finals
  • Midterms/finals solutions
  • Lab specifications
  • Lab reports
  • Data, Excel spreadsheets, relevant pictures
  • Codes - intermediate and final
  • Everything else
Additionally, if you know what classes you are taking in the future, you can visit those class websites and save the important files from those websites if need be.

How do you back up your files?

  • Download the files
  • Be sure to label them appropriately with the course number
  • Email the files to yourself and organize them in online folders, or
  • Save the files onto a USB and organize them there
I personally prefer backing up my things via email because I can access it from any computer without having to carry my USB around or worry about losing it.

- VerusAnimus

Monday, February 17, 2014

Colleversity Opinion - Housing Preference - Dorm vs Apartment

During my four years of college and university, I have lived in both the dorm and apartment settings.

For my freshman year, I lived at my house since the college was only 20 minutes away.
For my sophomore year, the campus was farther and I chose to live in a dorm.
In my junior year, I transferred to university and I lived in an apartment for one quarter than moved to two other dorms.
Presently, in my senior year, I still live in a dorm.

The following is a personal reflection and an explanation of why I chose to live in a dorm rather than an apartment.  Maybe this different perspective will help prospective students decide where they want to live.

(It is important to note that my opinion stems from the fact that I don't like wasting time and I try to spend as little money as possible.  I'm an Electrical Engineering major and I like to discipline myself when it comes to spending time and money.)

Why do I choose the dorm life over the apartment?  The main reason is convenience.  While apartments can generally be cheaper, if you are under financial aid (or if you win enough scholarships), your dorm is pretty much paid for.

Also, dorms are often closer to campus then apartments.  I personally don't like wasting precious study time so with dorms, I can get to and from class quickly.  You save on gas and you get exercise from all the walking!  Obviously there are apartments within walking distance as was the case with the apartment I lived in.

I compared the cost of when I lived in an apartment and my present dorm setting.  Taking into account the food  and rent of an apartment compared to the dining plan (I signed up for the lowest), snack food, and cost of a dorm, I actually saved a couple hundred dollars living in a dorm despite the fact that I lived in a singles room in both scenarios.  Maybe I was just lucky.  I know this isn't the case everywhere. I also know it's definitely cheaper if you can get an apartment with a roommate.

Perhaps the best reason why I prefer a dorm over an apartment is because you can be more "lazy."  With an apartment, you have to pay your monthly/quarterly bills.  While this is good practice, it's not hard to learn and there is plenty of time as an adult to pay your bills.  I'm trying to put that off as long as possible.

Additionally, when you live in an apartment, you have to buy and cook your own food.  Buying your own food can generally be cheaper than a dorm's dining plan but it all depends on how much you eat and if you can go shopping and find some good deals.  For me, the shopping and cooking takes up precious time.  The downside to this is that you can't really eat whenever and whatever you want because you have to budget yourself (this is good practice though).  My solution: I get snacks/extra meals for a fridge I have in my dorm.
Doing the laundry is the same with both the dorm and apartment.  However, you do save a lot if your parents do the laundry! ;)

All in all, whether you choose a dorm or an apartment all comes down to personal preference, what you can afford, and the location of the dorm/apartment.  Maybe students wanting a different perspective on housing preference will find this entry useful.  If not, then at least now you know the general reason why I moved out of an apartment and into a dorm.

- VerusAnimus

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Colleversity Tips - Scan All Your Homework

Something I found useful during my University years is to scan all my homework before turning them in.  I suggest students do this as well.

When I do my homework, I often write extra techniques or steps on the sides that aren't found in my notes.  Because I scan my homework, I don't have to worry about putting it in my notes or losing my thought process after turning my homework in.  

Another reason for keeping a scanned copy of your homework is this: in case your professors don't return the homework in time for an exam (or they don't return it at all), you will at least still have a reference file you can come back to for studying.  

It is also a good idea to back up your homework via a scan in case you lose or damage the physical copy.  Plus, in the long run, keeping digital copies of your homework is better than keeping stacks of paper!  

- VerusAnimus

Monday, February 10, 2014

Colleversity Tips - Always Keep Your Keys With You

Note: I'm still new at blogging so I'm still trying to get the hang of this.

The following is a little handy trick I learned for never forgetting your keys.  This may or may not apply to you if you live in an apartment or dorm with a roommate.  This tip mostly applies to people who can be forgetful (especially when in a rush to get to class).

I learned this trick when I was in college. On a cold winter morning, I woke up a bit late for a midterm. I quickly took a shower and as I was entering my room, I found out that I forgot to bring my keys.  I also didn't have my cellphone as it was locked in my room.  If I had a roommate I probably could have solved my problems then.  But I lived in a singles room.  My only option now was to go outside and look for the residential adviser.  Luckily, I happened to bring clothes to with me.  I ventured into the outside cold and found the adviser.  Eventually, she let me back into my room and I made it to class on time.

I was in a rush so I forgot my keys.  A couple days before I was thinking, "What if I accidentally left my keys in my room? It'll never happen."  Turns out, I jinxed myself.  Where I lived, there is a penalty for locking yourself out multiple times.  I wasn't about to pay any penalty for forgetting my keys.  From that day on, I decided to do this:
Whenever I sleep, stick my keys in my socks. My keys consisted of only the room/mailbox keys so it wasn't that bad.  When you wake up, you don't have to worry about finding your keys (unless you kick your socks off while sleeping or you don't wear socks...).  In the morning, simply clip your keys to your pants or put it wherever you put your keys and carry on with your day.  Repeat.  In general, the common sense thing is to always put keys where you habitually check every morning and night so you never forget them.

It's been two years since this incident and I now live in a different dorm at university in a singles room (with penalties for locking yourself out).  My strategy hasn't failed me since.

If you like this strategy, I recommend using it.  If not, that's fine. Just don't forget/lose your keys!

- VerusAnimus

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Enter Verus Animus

Hello world, I think I'm going to try out blogging.  This is my first blog ever so I'm still learning about how to write good blogs.  After a few entries maybe I'll get the hang of it, practice makes perfect!

Who am I?  I am Joel, known online as Verus Animus.  Presently, I'm an Electrical Engineering student at the University of Washington in my senior year.  I enjoy traveling around the world, taking photos and recording videos.

What will I be blogging about?  I'll be blogging about many things.  I hope to give advice about various things I've experienced in college/university and life in general.  I also hope to talk about whatever is on my mind.

Why do I want to blog? I want to be able to share some of my adventures, provide you with some entertainment, and give you some advice based of my personal experiences.

How's that for an introductory first blog?

Joel S. Atienza aka VerusAnimus

Connect with me: (this account is a wasteland but you can still like it =] )