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college student

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This semester I’ve been in a photojournalism class- ask anyone who’s been around me throughout it, and they’ll tell you how much I dreaded it. Until today.

I enrolled in the class with the hope to learn more about the mechanics of photography, which I did. That part of the class I loved. The parts I hated were basically everything else. This was not a photography class, it was a photojournalism class, and believe me, they are two very different things. We had very specific criteria for each assignment; trying to take pictures that met these criteria in daylight hours (because flash photography is not allowed) was almost impossible on top of my other classes and obligations. The class discussions went off on tangents that really never had anything to do with what we were supposed to be learning. And on top of all of this, it was a two-hour class where I had to sit in a semi-dark photo cave room pretending to pay attention. Overall, the experience was pretty dreadful.

We wrapped up the class today by talking about the same thing we discussed on the first day- the goals of photojournalism. Our professor told us on the first day these goals were:

Control your background. Fill your frame. Capture moments. Care.

On the first day of class, all of these made sense because we related them to photography. Control your background- make sure it isn’t too busy so that your subject stands out. Fill your frame- don’t have anything unnecessary in your photos, crop out what isn’t important to the story. Capture moments- wait for the right moment and take a picture of it then, don’t take pictures of things that don’t matter. Care- make sure the photos you’re taking benefit the community in some way by letting the public know what is going on. Take the time to build a relationship with your subjects and show them you care.

But today we put a different spin on these goals.

Control your background- don’t do anything you’re going to regret later in life. Keep your record clean, you never know where you’re going to end up and what someone might be able to find out about you.

Fill your frame- kind of contradictory to controlling your frame, but take advantage of every opportunity that is given to you. Make your Monday mornings be just exciting as your Friday afternoons. Don’t turn down something because it might be risky. Take the risk. Fill your life up with things that matter, the other stuff isn’t important.

Capture moments- don’t spend your life on things that don’t make you happy. Think about what you’re doing before you do it, and find moments that matter. Why waste your life away on moments that aren’t important?

Care- make sure your life has meaning. Take the time to care about the people around you, because that is the only way the world is going to get better.

And with that, as much as I disliked my photojournalism class, I liked it ten times more. As the last official day of classes this semester comes to a close, and my life after college is starting to begin, this advice is something I’ll take with me forever. By controlling my background, I’ll be able to fill my frame with moments that matter and moments that show others how much I care. If there is one thing I’ve learned during these four years it’s that having a fear of failure is not an option. You can’t spend your life wondering “what if?”, and you can’t control what other people think about you, so do what makes you happy.

College is all about learning who you are and what you want to do with your life. Some people find it and some people don’t, but none of that really matters – what matters is that you learn something that puts you one step closer to finding it one day. While the entire semester in photojournalism might have seemed like a waste, it was definitely worth sticking it out until today.

We ended class with the ### symbol, which is a traditional symbol at the end of a copyedit that simply means “it is finished”. Even though my time at the University of Georgia is coming to an end, I’m not ready to write my three pound signs. There is so much left I have to do, and I plan on spending the rest of my life filling my frame with moments that matter. The pound signs will have their glory, but not until I’m done having mine.

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4 Tips to Cooking Lighter Even a College Student Can Do…and reasons why they work.

Plain Greek yogurt is now your substitute for sour cream in all situations.

Not only do they taste virtually the exact same, but they have similar texture, protein, vitamin and mineral content…the yogurt just has less calories and less fat per serving. So ask yourself again why you’re still using sour cream. You really have no excuse. Greek yogurt is just as versatile as sour cream; it can be used in baking, for dips, sauces, and everything in between. The important thing to remember about replacing sour cream for yogurt in baking is that the yogurt has less fat which means you might need to add a little more oil or butter to your recipe to keep your product tender. By no means is the yogurt going to make your end product tough, you might not even be able to tell a difference in most situations! However if your taste buds are extremely picky, go ahead and add a few tablespoons of extra butter. The calories and fat of the added butter still won’t equal the calories and fat of the sour cream. So next time you go to the grocery store for sour cream, don’t. Head to the yogurt aisle instead.

Could I have a side of salt with that please?

It’s almost impossible to find something without a TON of sodium in it in this day and time. However with this added sodium and the recent health kick of Americans, many canned goods and processed items are beginning to feature “lower sodium” or “no salt added” versions of their products. Buy these whenever possible. Sometimes you might have to pay a few cents extra, but its becoming more and more common for brands to offer lower sodium versions now, thus making it cheaper to buy the less salty alternative. I always think it’s better to add my own salt to my dish, not let the processor do it for me.This way I can control my sodium intake, and save room for these calories at dessert. On that note, I prefer sea salt over table salt because of the coarser texture and less processing. Always purchased iodized sea salt, because salt is one of the main sources of iodine we receive.

Olive oil is called Italian butter for a reason.

When I’m sautéing, broiling, stir-frying, or basically doing anything except baking sweet dishes nowadays, I use olive oil instead of butter. Butter is a saturated fat that is higher in calories than olive oil, a monounsaturated fat. Saturated fats can lead to heart disease whereas monounsaturated fats are “good” fatty acids that can actually help your heart in moderation. I’m not saying to replace the butter in your pound cake with olive oil, but whenever possible, try using olive oil instead. But caution: olive oil (or butter really) is not good for deep frying. Olive oil (especially extra virgin) has a low smoke point because it has not been processed, and therefore it should not be used to deep fry.

Fresh/frozen is cheaper than canned, and better for you too.

I always try to buy fresh or frozen produce over the canned stuff when I can. Don’t get me wrong, I stock up on the canned foods in the winter and for when I’m in a time crunch. But when veggies are in season I almost always buy fresh. Canned products have a lot of added sodium (even when you buy the lower sodium versions) and since they have been partially cooked and are stored in water, they have lost a lot of their water-soluble nutrients. If you’re cooking for one, like I usually do, its cheaper to buy fresh than canned because you can choose your own portions. Frozen is good too because you can buy larger quantities and continue to store what you don’t use. When considering nutrient content, frozen is actually better than fresh because it was picked at peak ripeness and quickly frozen. It has had the least amount of water contact (fresh veggies get the scheduled hourly “rain storm” in the grocery store), and the more water contact, the less nutrients the product will have. That being said, since the frozen produce will have ice crystals on it, it will have a somewhat mushier texture because the crystals will cause the cell walls to break in the veggie/fruit. So it’s up to you to decide and compromise over convenience, texture, and nutrient content. No matter what you decide, a vegetable is a vegetable so it is good for you regardless.

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