Friday, October 21, 2016

Alpha Phi Omega changed my life!

Alpha Phi Omega is an inclusive group, open to all nationalities, backgrounds and genders, and we welcome you to become part of our amazing organization so that together we can pursue a common goal: leading through service to others.

Alpha Phi Omega is a national coeducational service organization founded on the principles of Leadership, Friendship and Service. It provides its members the opportunity to develop leadership skills as they volunteer on their campus, in their community, to the nation, and to the organization. With more than 400,000 members on over 375 campuses, Alpha Phi Omega continues to provide more service on more campuses than any other collegiate service organization.

The brothers here at UAF have participated in many projects and events around campus and the Fairbanks community including Habitat for Humanity, Food Bank of Alaska, The Fairbanks Rescue Mission, UAF All-Hall-o-ween Carnival, Club Wood, Freshman Orientation, Starvation Gulch, campus clean-up, Spring Fest Service and so much more!

It is the VISION of Alpha Phi Omega to be recognized as the premier service-based leadership development organization.
It is the MISSION of Alpha Phi Omega to prepare campus and community leaders through service.
The VALUES of Alpha Phi Omega are to develop leadership, promote friendship and provide service.
The OBJECTIVES of Alpha Phi Omega are Share, Grow, Improve and Invest.

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If you want to know how Alpha Phi Omega has impacted my life and helped me expand who I am as a person, feel free to email me personally at

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Happy (early) Halloween!

Happy Halloween!
filmeditor halloween pumpkin jack o lantern ashley olsencat costume cat costume halloween animals mr tinkles
Well… Happy early Halloween everyone!

I AM SO EXCITED for this wonderful holiday of trick-or-treating, candy, and costumes. Therefore, today I will dedicate my entire blog post to this spooky tradition. Let me start by suggesting some good Halloween costumes. 

#1. Do not be Harley Quinn or the Joker if you don’t want to see 5 other people in the same room as you at all times wearing the same outfit (I do not even know who Harley Quinn is but I can assure you I have heard her name enough to know it will be mega-popular this year).

#2. I say bring the witch costumes back! I know it may not be the most original idea but I say, let’s bring an old tradition back. It will be so in this year! Suggested items: a broom, a witches hat, dark lipstick, a black cat, and a witchy attitude. 
No pun intended.
celebrate halloween

#3. Lady Gaga’s meat dress. (disclaimer: not intended for vegetarians/vegans). Suggested items: Tie dyed white fabric with red bacon-colored dye), wrap shoes in meat-colored fabric as well, extravagant blonde wig, and nonchalant attitude.)

lady gaga gaga iconic mother monster mtv vmas

#4. Jackie Kennedy costume. Intended especially for history lovers/ if you’re favorite color is pink. Suggested items: Pink buttoned formal dress with good texture, pink bonnet hat, pink lipstick, blush, white Michael Jackson-ish gloves, high heels, short brown wig, smirk on face.
Image result for jackie kennedy pink suit

#5. Pumpkin. Suggested items: The color orange. Lots of it. Suggested ways to channel your inner pumpkin: Spray tan (no offense if you do this, I do this myself and I get the occasional pumpkin comment and take it with pride), orange paint, literal pumpkins carved in the middle so one can fit limbs inside, etc.

halloween the office pumpkin dwight schrute i mean the pumpkin should rot off in a month or two

#6. Oscar the Angry Trash Monster from Elmo. Suggested items: A metal trash can with no bottom (so you can fit inside), lots of green fur, bushy brown eyebrows, bulging eyes, green face paint, a sign that says “No trick or treaters”, and a playful but sour attitude.
Image result for oscar angry trash monster

#7. Wilson the volleyball and Tom Hanks from Castaway movie. Suggested items: Everything in this picture. (I promise if you do this one you will be the stars of the show!)

Image result for wilson volleyball castaway costumecast

#8. Elvis. This would make a fantastic costume! Suggested items: Lots of hair gel with black wig, a microphone or mini guitar, side burns, bedazzled white jumpsuit, etc.
elvis presley

These are just some starting ideas! There are hundreds more! The Beatles, Snow White and the 7 Dwarves, etc etc! Get out there and be creative. And last but not least…

Trick or Treat! 

Fairbanks in Fairbanks?

Fairbanks in Fairbanks?
Alina Fairbanks

Image result for welcome to fairbanksMany people ask me if I moved up to Fairbanks because my last name is Fairbanks. They think it’s funny so I laugh and smile every time. “I get that a lot” I say. I moved up here because I wanted to move out of my home town. I am from Bellingham, WA where many people shopped at Co-op and thrift stores way before Macklemore made it cool. I’m 21, and I still see myself as a child who's just starting to live. Personally, I think you grow up the moment you move out of your home town. It’s easy to be too comfortable and live in your bubble.
My bubble consisted of the same group of friends from elementary school, and they still think it’s crazy that I moved up here. Some of them moved to Portland, San Diego, Seattle, Texas and other areas. They imagine I live in an igloo and have a pet polar bear. Little do they know Fairbanks is a lot more city like then they think. They were surprised to hear we have an REI, Fred Meyer, Old Navy and other popular stores. No igloos anywhere to be found.
I was a little nervous moving away, especially out of state. I was interested in UAF as a student at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA. UAF's Fisheries Department caught my attention, although I contemplated if I could endure the intense winters. Little did I know I would absolutely love it here! Fairbanks has a unique sense of community because we are all living in interior Alaska with harsh weather. If you ever have car trouble or need help in any way, somewhere will be there to help in an instant.
Speaking of help, earlier this week I was driving to work at the university. A wandering dog walked across the busy road on Chena Ridge. It was 7:45 in the morning, and I assumed people were on their way to work. Instantly, seven cars pulled over and hopped outside their car trying to catch the dog. It blew my mind! These are the types of people who act in the moment to help someone else. It’s relieving to live in a city where people are incredibly kind. I was in complete awe because I am not use to this humbleness. I believe anyone who visits Fairbanks will easily see the beauty it holds.  

Did I ever imagine I would live in this city? Absolutely Not. Life can be funny that way. Maybe it was meant to be; Fairbanks living in Fairbanks. Although I’m forever grateful I moved up here to explore being on my own and living life outside my bubble.    

The "Me" Millennials

The “Me” Millennials
Alina Fairbanks 
Image result for woman taking selfie            Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube; there are so many social media websites. My Dad likes to combine some and call it “snap gram!” Bless his soul. I understand his confusion though. If you didn’t grow up in this generation, how can you keep up with this technology? “Did you see what (insert name) posted on Twitter? I can’t believe he/she said that.” Next time you’re on Instagram or Facebook, count how many selfies you see. Why do we need self-validation? Why do we receive a thrill from someone liking our photos?
I know I sound like our grandparents who say “back in my day” and “kids these days are so into themselves.” Every time I hear my grandparents say this about me and my generation, I think “but what did you do to piss of your grandparents?” Are millennials narcissistic because it’s a way to express ourselves in a rebellious approach? Every generation has something to complain about the current generation. The roaring 20’s for instance; they knocked on bookcases in hidden libraries to enter a secret bar during the probation. Textbooks, documentaries and class lectures have called flapper girls “rebellious” and “self-absorbed.” Jennifer A. Williamson wrote “The Sentimental Mode: Essays in Literature, Film and Television” and discussed the roaring 20’s and flapper girls. She describes them as “fiercely intensive” and “flapper’s self-absorbed pursuits.” Society thrives off rebellious pursuits: sex sells right?
            Time’s magazine wrote an article titled “The Me Me Me Generation” in 2013. Studies show from the National Institute of Health state that 58% more college students scored higher on the narcissistic scale in 2009 than in 1982. I personally blame all the parents who gave children an award for just participating, even though I was a kid who was always picked last for dodgeball and was beat by everyone in sports. Hey, it’s character building! I look back and wish I didn’t receive a blue ribbon for “Congratulations! You tried!” Every time I did, I would run to my parents and say “look Mom and Dad, I won a blue ribbon!” Oh crap, no wonder this generation thinks we are the best. Our life has consisted of blue ribbons for anything we do.
Maybe the self-absorbed characteristic isn’t always negative? There are many positive attributes about social media and our society today. Small businesses are easier to start. For example, an artist can post his or her art on social media and get recognition. What’s so bad about that? Maybe there are two types of social media users: those that promote themselves or those that promote their passions. Maybe those who promote themselves have always been here; maybe social media is just an easier tactic to show this characteristic. 
Has self-esteem evolved into narcissism? Has narcissism evolved into a rabbit hole that intrigues young men and women to dive into? That rush of many people liking a selfie makes you feel powerful, important and in the spot light. That’s great, but don’t let it get to your head. There is a real world out there, and I personally believe putting a lot of effort and energy into narcissistic social media will become a burden. I’m not hating on those who take selfies, I just want to express that it can be an addiction, almost like a drug. Do you feel antsy when you haven’t posted a picture on Instagram or updated your Facebook status? It’s okay to admit it! Hi, my name is Alina and I am obsessed with Instagram. You are not alone.   

The Favorite Aunt

My favorite picture of  me and my nephew
There are so many reasons why being the youngest child is great, there are several reasons why it is not so great; but one of my new favorite reasons for the being the youngest as I have aged alongside my siblings (one brother and one sister) is becoming an aunt. Not just an aunt, but the favorite aunt... by default... for now.
My sister, Nicole, and her husband had their first child in March of 2014. I loved that kid even before he was born. It was a weird kind of love, not one I had experienced before, probably because I love my family before I could remember but I had lived 18 years of my life not considering that an inherent and automatic love could just one day manifest in me. I think I can pinpoint the moment that I fell in love with this kid to when I first felt him kick my sister's very pregnant stomach, that's when it became real for me. Now he is nearing two years old and is the most handsome kid I know (I'm 100% biased) and is hilarious, with the most adorable laugh. I've loved watching how his personality and autonomy have developed in the year and a half of his existence. It is so bizarre how quickly babies and toddlers grow. And now here he is, practicing for the terrible twos, throwing temper tantrums and whining like there is no tomorrow, and thus I am able to escape as I am, after all, just the aunt. Even when he's throwing a tantrum when I won't let him play with light switches or won't let him toss things across the room, I still love him endlessly. My heart swells when he toddles, with more an more coordination as the weeks and months go by up to me, and throws his hands up in the air expectedly. "Do you want up?" I always ask, trying to encourage speaking. "Yessssssss." he replies matter-of-factly. "Can you say please?" "Yesssss." For him, yes and please are one and the same. He makes me so happy, I can't wait to see the person he turns into and I'm comforted to know that I will always be Aunt Shay... or "Aunt-E" as he likes to call me.
First photo of my niece
Along with my lovely, little nephew our family is growing. My brother, Jake, and his girlfriend are expecting a little girl... in March. They're be making their way to AK once again in a little under a month. On top of the excitement of having my favorite (and only) brother and his awesome girlfriend within walking distance (literally, just down the hall) I also get to be there for the birth of their first child and my first niece. I can't wait to see my bearded brother holding his baby girl, and my parents holding her for the first time. I can't wait to see what it'll be like for my sister to be an aunt for the first time and have a sort of joking competition of who is the favorite aunt (by the way, it'll totally be me). And more than that I'm excited to see how my nephew and niece will grow up together. Being a military child, I spent the majority of my life away from my aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins. I'm excited to see them grow up together and surrounded by the love of their parents, grandparents, uncle, Aunt Nicole, and of course their favorite: Aunt Shay.