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Kema Christian-Taylor

More by Kema Christian-Taylor

An Open Letter to Guys About Valentine’s Day

2/12/2014

Dear College Guys,

If your girlfriend has told you how lame and cheesy and commercialized Valentine’s Day is, we promise you she is doing exactly what she did that time you ran into each other in the dining hall after hooking up for the first time: playing it cool. This is the one time we will go on the record for saying this: do not listen to her. Because if you don’t do anything special for her on February 14th, she will take it as a measure of how much you care about the relationship and, by extension, her… (Read: You will be in Taylor Swift Picture-to-Burn kind of trouble.)

Maybe some of you are already cringing, since you equate Valentine’s Day with having someone read Twilight to you, cover to cover. I have three words for you: get over it. I mean, my gosh, we sat through three games of Black Ops with you screaming “Press A!” at us the whole time. Chill out: no one’s asking you to pull a Sweet Home Alabama and rent out Tiffany’s. And only 30% of us want you to belt Adele’s “I Won’t Go” in the middle of our dorm courtyard.

Valentine’s Day Ideas: 10 Creative Things To Do For Valentine's Day

1/30/2014

Valentine’s Day, Single Awareness Day, or as Liz Lemon would call it, Anna Howard Shaw Day. Whether you anticipate, dread, or attempt to ignore February 14th, one truth remains: that no matter how sweet this holiday was intended to be, it has the stigma of being completely cheesy.  It’s no wonder that everyone thinks of those same cheap red chocolate boxes, candlelit dinners, hallmark cards, and tiny fuzzy bears wearing mini t-shirts that read “I heart you.” But collegiettes, it’s a new year, and this year February 14, 2014 is not going to get cheesy.  Why? Because HC is here to help make it creative.  Here are 10 creative things to do for you, your boyfriend, and all your friends to do on Valentine’s Day.

1. Chocolate Making

We know we just put chocolate in the cheesy category, but making your own? That’s creative—and not to mention cheap! How many times have you seen that golden Godiva box and just walked away because it was too pricey?  No more, collegiettes. You and your boyfriend (or your girls!) can bond over tasting too much of the recipe before it’s finished, or even adding your own ingredients to the mix. And hey, if the recipe goes awry, switch to plan B: head to your favorite bakery and pig out!  Find a chocolate recipe here.

2. Scavenger Hunt

From Facebook Official to Single Status: The Online Manifestation of a Break-Up

1/24/2014

Breaking up sucks. Taking down your Facebook relationship status and having people comment, “Ohemgee, why?? Call me!” is arguably even worse.  Your ex-relationship with your ex-boyfriend can turn into a grey area online. What do you do with all those photos of you two kissing right after he won his big game or all dressed up at your sorority formal? Do you stop following him on Twitter? You don’t want to be too dramatic, but at the same time, you really, really don’t want to see photos of him and that girl who was just his “friend” snuggling up at his frat party.

We here at HC are going to take you through all the specifics of a break-up online, step-by-step so that you can be prepared to handle the situation like the cool, calm, and collected collegiette that you are.

Updating your relationship status

Whether you had “in a relationship” or nothing there at all, switching to single can get pretty public, especially in your timeline, where top moments are literally magnified on the page (so unnecessary). If you’re thinking about changing your status to “single” but don’t want all the attention (like that creep who’s been stalking you since freshman year commenting, “So, coffee sometime?”) you basically have two options: you can either change your status at a time when you know traffic to Facebook is low (like the wee hours of the morning) or you can simply hide the news from your timeline. When you’re trying to move on, it’s usually a good idea not to have your break-up be the talk of Facebook town. It will only perpetuate the sadness or anger you feel about the end of your relationship.

The 5 Best Questions To Ask Your College Interviewer

1/5/2014

Imagine this scenario: you get to the end of an amazing college interview—your dream college interview, to be exact—and your interviewer asks you if you have any questions. You could shake your head with a polite, “No, you’ve answered everything!” But that response won't leave a lasting impression.

Why ask questions? You’ve already shown your interest in the school by going through the arduous application process. But imagine if you walked into an interview and weren't asked any questions?  Besides being really awkward, you would get the impression that the school didn’t really care much about you as a prospective student.  So in the same way that the interviewer is trying to figure out if you’re a good fit for their school, you should ask the questions that allow you to see how well you’d fit in.  Your interviewer has a wealth of personal knowledge—why not use it? After all, what better way to convey your enthusiasm for that open spot in the class of 2017?

Before you read on for HC’s pick of post-interview questions, here are a few dos and don’ts for interviewing your interviewer:

Do show that you’ve taken something from the conversation. Something to the effect of, “You mentioned there are ways to start a club outside of the school. Have you ever done this? How easy or difficult is that process?” This will show off your listening skills and your interest in the school.  

Don’t bombard the interviewer with questions. You want to be enthusiastic, not aggressive. About two to three questions should be your goal.

The 7 Best Reasons To Be Single For Senior Spring

1/2/2014

It’s spreading faster than the flu in the fall: senior FOMO. And if you’re recently single, you probably feel like you’re missing out on the one person you always imagined would share all those final college memories with you.  But don’t fret, collegiettes, because by the end of this article, you’ll realize that breaking up may not have been all that great at the time, but it was perfect timing. Here are HC’s top reasons for why second semester of your senior year is the best time to be single and ready to mingle.

1. One less emotional goodbye

Let’s be honest here: goodbyes suck and they’re pretty much inevitable. I’m already coming up with avoidance maneuvers and I’m realizing that I’ll regret every one of them about a month after graduation. Without a significant other, that’s one less tear to shed, one less person to miss, and one less Facebook profile to stalk about a month later when you’re feeling nostalgic. Not to mention one significantly happier collegiette!

2. Total dating freedom

The Top 10 Signs He’s A Player

12/6/2013

Think of John Tucker in John Tucker Must Die: He’s smooth, good-looking, popular - the ultimate image of what we think of when we hear the word “player.” And as fabulous as it would be to form a payback plan with three of your closest friends and give him a taste of his own medicine, not all players are this easily identifiable. They can be anything from mediocre-looking nerds to angsty artists trying to find themselves to prep-school elites who look like they’ve walked straight out of a Brooks Brothers catalog. Sound confusing? That’s because it is—especially when you’re the one being played. But no matter what shape or size or sexy leather jacket a player comes in, one thing is for certain: he’ll do anything in his power to keep you around. (Read: You’re going to get hurt.)

So if you want to protect yourself from his masculine wiles, scroll down to read HC’s list of the top 10 signs he’s a player.

10. He has wandering eyes

Let’s preface this by saying that no guy is going to have the stalker-like attentiveness of a certain vampire from Forks. You don’t have to have someone hold your earrings every time your guy notices other girls, especially if he’s just looking every now and then.  But if you’re starting to realize that every pair of legs induces a full-body check out plus head swivel, then maybe a few pages from Twilight would do him some good. (No, on the real, please don’t bring that book back.)

How Not To Let The College Application Process Mess With Your Friendships

11/22/2013

It gave a whole new meaning to the rejection hotline.

“Kema? This is Katie and Sarah and Danny. We didn’t get in. Did you?”

It was March 31st of our senior year of high school, the day most colleges sent out their final decision emails. Three out of my four closest friends had gotten rejected from or waitlisted at their dream schools, NYU and Georgetown.

“Guys, I’m so sorry. And, um…yeah…I did.”

Cue an uncomfortable moment of congratulations and the addition of another one of my friends to the call, who, in the span of 2 minutes, went from complaining about not getting in anywhere to opening her long-awaited acceptance letter to Columbia. Screaming ensued on her end, followed by more uncomfortable congratulations.

“Hey, guys, I’ve got to go,” I managed to get out in between shrieks.

In hindsight, this moment should never have happened. Everyone should have had time to process his or her reaction so that such immediate moments of joy didn’t clash with such immediate moments of sadness. I felt sorry for my friends, but I also wanted to celebrate my acceptance, just as I’m sure they could have used some alone time, too.

Luckily my friendships stayed strong after the stressful, competitive and anxiety-ridden college application process—but other collegiettes weren’t so lucky. That's why Her Campus is here to help you set up a plan so you can get through this process with your friendships intact!

Be Open and Honest

It’s totally fine to be private about your applications, but if you realize you and your friend may be applying to the same schools, it’s better to be upfront about it so that you avoid a sticky situation later.

Getting Tested For STDs: Everything You Need to Know

9/6/2013

According to HC’s Ultimate College Girl Survey Results from 2012, 68% of collegiettes have never been tested for sexually transmitted infections, more commonly known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Considering the fact that the same survey revealed that 57% of collegiettes are sexually active – and that the majority of that percentage lost their virginity before they were college-age, we could all benefit from a quick breakdown of why, when, and how you can get tested for STDs. Getting tested may not be the most fun aspect of being sexually active, but there’s no denying that it’s important to be informed, so let’s get down to business so you can be in the know.

Why should I get tested?

Because when it comes to your health, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. By age 25, about 1 in 2 sexually active people will test positive for some type of STD. And because vaginal sex isn’t the only way these diseases can be transmitted—oral sex, anal sex, and even just touching an infected area can jeopardize your health—it makes sense that getting an STD has become such a common occurrence.

Should I Go To Therapy? 4 Collegiettes Who Are Glad They Did

6/28/2013

We took our SATs, our ACTs, our APs, and college-level courses. We stuck by our college counselor’s side and rubbed elbows with college reps, and once we got those long-sought acceptance letters, we started preparing for our freshman fall course load not long after graduating from high school. Yet none of that could have prepared us for the wear and tear college would have on us—not just academically, but emotionally and mentally. Somehow, even though it took 18 years for us to be spatially independent, far away from our parents’ radar, it only takes a mere 4 after that until we are forced to be accountable-for-everything, financially independent, real-world bound adults. Talk about crunch time.

We are thrust into an environment that forces us to experience so much so quickly that it’s likely that we will run into a few bumps along the road. Somewhere in the learning curve, we begin to lose ourselves, as the little things seem more daunting than they should be, as passion turns into listlessness, as confusion becomes a gateway to panic. Time, which is somehow running out faster than usual, becomes our worst enemy.

Why didn’t Asher Roth warn us?

Reaching out for help at a time like this becomes a necessity that is often ignored. Sure, we’ll open up to our friends, maybe let out a small “ok” when Mom and Dad ask how school is going. But what if that’s not enough? What about seeking out professional help?

“Twenty-four hours after I declared that I (and I quote), ‘am the happiest I’ve ever been and I want to live in New York City forever and always,’ I had my first full-blown panic attack. I think it was because fake life had just become real…” – Shaye Winer, HC intern

I Want To Be Fit But I HATE the Gym: 7 Ways to Stay Fit Outside the Gym

6/20/2013

You’ve been spinning on the exercise bike for less than 5 minutes when Sweaty McSmellerson plops down on your right. The odor is too much, but you can’t just leave or else everyone will judge you and think you’re a wimp, right? Case in point, Ms. Going-for-the-Gold on your left has clearly been cranking out the calories long before you got there. So you lean away, you lean back, you turn your head to the left to take in gulps of air until you finally give up appearances and get up, letting Sweaty McSmells win.

Deep breath, let it out: you hate the gym.

Who can blame you? Let’s be honest here, the gym can be gross—unless you’re a germaphobe who actually uses the disinfectant cloths to wipe down the handlebars. It’s also intimidating considering that most of the people there belong in a photo shoot alongside Jennifer Aniston (seriously, can we get a copy of her workout plan?). If you’ve decided to give up on the gym, and—like me—you’re not even into running, then read on—HC has 7 solutions for you to stay fit without setting foot inside the gym!