Category Archives: Personal Blogs

GO:OD AM: Mac Miller’s Moment of Clarity



It has been a long road for Malcolm McCormick, better known as Mac Miller. He shed his coveted independent status by signing a massive deal with Warner Brothers last fall, a move that caught most by surprise. He is no longer the wide-eyed child from his early mixtapes, rapping about the youthful freedoms of smoking and skipping class. He is no longer the apathetic, self-loathing, drug-fueled shell of himself we have seen on his most recent projects. He comes to us on his newest album GO:OD AM with razor-sharp focus and clarity, a head space that fans have not seen in him yet. Following over a yearlong silence, which is comparable to a decade in the short attention span of the digital age, he gives us a beautifully crafted and carefully planned update on his whereabouts.

It does not take long for him to tell us what he’s been up to. In his lullaby-like introduction “Doors,” he explains to fans

“[I] didn’t mean to cause you pain, I just needed to escape.”

It’s a simple explanation to a complex search for happiness, which he assures fans he has discovered. He raps, “They’re saying that I’m sober, I’m just in a better place,” using the album’s songs to take listeners on his journey through the process of finding clarity. Continue reading GO:OD AM: Mac Miller’s Moment of Clarity

My Advice for Next Year’s Freshman (PERSONAL)


As I come to the end of my freshman year of college, I’ve begun to reflect on my first two semesters, thinking about where I once was and where I am today. My dorm room is the same; empty beer cans and piles of clothes lining the floor. But everything outside of that room has changed drastically. In the past seven months, I’ve gained and lost more acquaintances than I could possibly name, formed more habits and routines than I’ve ever had in my life, and most importantly, I have come to learn that the University of Maryland is, at least for seven months per year, my new world. My new ecosystem, my new society, and my new home. This, I believe, is the single most important mindset that one has to have when they come to college; this is your life right now, so you must embrace it entirely and not waste time thinking about home.

High school seniors dream about college, especially if they’re going to a school like UMD, where we clearly know how to have fun. There are few things I have ever been more anxious and excited for than driving down to this school on that hot day in late August and beginning my life as a freshman Terp. UMD is what one would call my “dream school,” and as much as I missed my life at home, I knew Maryland was going to be really sick.


Continue reading My Advice for Next Year’s Freshman (PERSONAL)

Sean Taylor: More Than Just A Mural


The graffiti mural of former Washington Redskins safety, Sean Taylor, was restored this past week. The mural had been defaced by someone protesting the government and promoting their political blog. The mural sits alongside the pavement beside the tracks at the Brookland-CUA Metro Station in Washington, D.C.


Continue reading Sean Taylor: More Than Just A Mural

How To Prepare for a Half Marathon


Courtesy of
Courtesy of

With my second half marathon approaching in six short weeks, I started thinking about two years ago when I decided to run my first half marathon and what motivated me to sign up. After I graduated from high school in 2012, my fitness level consisted of the occasional cardio workout, a Zumba class here or there and maybe a walk or jog outside. My fitness level was average at best.

If this sounds like you, I can assure you with time and dedication, you can accomplish any fitness goal you set your mind to, including a half marathon. Before diving in though, here are eights things to consider. Continue reading How To Prepare for a Half Marathon

Dear Ratsie’s

Dear Ratsie’s,

It seems the time has befallen us. A moment University of Maryland students dating back to the 90’s have come to dread because if there was ever a pizzeria catered to college students, it is you. The more than 30 years of service you have bestowed to all who enter your seemingly dated walls knows no other than the merit of an institution.

You felt our devotion most during the late midnight hours as we trickled in, sometimes with some much needed support, after a night out on the streets of Route 1 getting into who remembers what. We were met with a line worth waiting for because although Baltimore Avenue is greedy with pizzerias, we cannot call ourselves a true Terp without having visited you.

You are a central meeting place to reunite before heading back home: “Yeah, I’ll meet you by Ratsie’s!” because everyone know where you are. There is no recollection of good times in College Park without the mentioning of an outing to Ratsie’s, especially if it included a fight or some PDA between two strangers that met eyes under your dreary lights. The employees knew you by name and your order.

I feel sorry for future Terps who will go on without the experience of going out to catch a calzone alongside some sketchy people, but all the while melting in the fact that you knew you were capitalizing on one of Maryland’s greats. There can be no other to replace how much of a symbol you mean to the university, its students and alumni. Yes, you don’t look quite the same as we remember during the daylight’s exposure, but still—you are Ratsie’s.

For the memories, for the food, and for an icon of our college experience we will miss you.

Sincerely yours,

UMD Terps


The Saving Grace of Music (or how Barry Manilow saved my life)


I define myself by very simple terms. I am a human first, male second, and Barry Manilow fan third. These are the things that are at the core of who I am—basic things. All other affiliations—nationality, religious denomination, political party—are secondary to these primary traits. The primacy of my humanity and masculinity probably doesn’t require much explaining, but I imagine that third trait—“Barry Manilow fan”—raises a few eyebrows.

How could a person’s love for an over-the-hill pop star be at the center of who he is? To put it bluntly, I owe my existence to Barry Manilow. Now, I don’t mean that in the crude sense that my parents just happened to get busy while “Mandy” was playing in the background—though, let’s be honest, Barry does inspire animalistic lust. No, unfortunately, it’s a little darker than that.

Courtesy: Pictured: animalistic lust
Pictured: animalistic lust

I was a chubby kid in middle school. I mention this characteristic only because my peers loved to remind me that it was my defining characteristic. I was bullied, and as you might expect from the kind of kid who listens to pop stars who haven’t been relevant since the early 80’s, I didn’t really possess the social grace to properly handle this kind of treatment. I became depressed, and this eventually led me down a very dark path. I came very close to doing things I would have most certainly regretted. But I didn’t do these things. Why? Continue reading The Saving Grace of Music (or how Barry Manilow saved my life)

To be, or not to be productive on a snow day


I know you’re all probably planning on laying in bed all day and catching up on your weekly dose of reality shows, but I urge you to try to throw some productivity into your routine on this special day. Before you wince at the term productive, take a look at a list of things you can do to add a little bit of productivity to this glorious snow day!


Yes, contemplate whether or not you want to be productive today. Just sit for a second and ponder at the fact that you’ve basically been handed a day to get your stuff together, stuff you didn’t do over the weekend for whatever reason. Ah ha! I see the wheels turning and I’m starting to make some sense!

Continue reading To be, or not to be productive on a snow day

My 22nd Birthday Wish


There is no one who has had more of an impact on my life than my little brother.

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Ted Mwatha, named after one of my father’s role models Senator Ted Kennedy and my maternal grandfather Eleazar Mwatha, is autistic. In case you don’t know, autism is a complex developmental disorder that impairs a person’s area of social communication. It’s a disorder which is growing rapidly and affects one in every 68 children in the United States.

My brother is non-verbal and can only say a couple words at a time. It’s difficult to communicate with him because his brain is not fully developed to the capacity of a non-autistic human being.

I try to hang out with him as much as I can but he prefers to be secluded. He doesn’t like to be disturbed, doesn’t like to be touched and can be stubborn at times if you don’t get him what he wants or aren’t able to understand what he is asking for. He loves to listen to music and loves it even more every time someone tells him to turn the volume down because it’s too loud. Continue reading My 22nd Birthday Wish

The Quarter-Life Crisis

Cardo's Couch

*Puts on venting hat* I’m at that point in my life where I’m DESPERATELY in need of figuring out my purpose. Discovering my reason for being placed on this beautiful planet we call earth. Am I here to accumulate wealth? Was I born to help others progress in life along with me? So many times I find myself staring off into space and wondering, “Cardo, why are we even here dude?” Now I’m not speaking from the perspective of self-doubt. It’s more of an eagerness, to know when I go to sleep at night; that I already know what the mission is for me the next day. We constantly go through life expecting a “sign” to show us the path we should take, but are these magical signs something we should chase or allow to come naturally?

I mean, I have dreams, but no one ever explained that life itself…

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A typical Solo hair day

by ASHLEY MARTIN aka “Solo”

Some of the beautiful women who follow my blog have asked me to do a tutorial on my hair. Don’t ask me why because I don’t see it. I’m one of the million women who rock the natural style. I’ve been natural since I was 17. I forsook perms because I just wanted fuller looking hair. Without really having the real intention to be “natural,” I just stuck with it and eventually went to wearing my hair curly 95% of the time (I straighten my hair twice a year).

So here is a typical Solo hair routine. Yesterday was sort of a “wash day,” even though I did more of a conditioning treatment. My curls needed it after all this crazy Maryland weather we’ve been having! Continue reading A typical Solo hair day