Category: Lists

Top 5 Life Hacks for Students

The stresses of daily life are hard to bear sometimes, particularly if you have an assignment coming up, but frustration can reach new levels when it comes to the tiny annoyances that should be simple but aren’t. Here is a list of life hacks that can make your day easier:

1. How many times have you opened the microwave to be greeted with a spaghetti-crusted mess courtesy of the last person who used it? I’m sure it’s happened at least once, but if not, then the following advice will prepare you if (or when) it happens in the future. Stick a bowl of water in the dirty microwave for 3 minutes; this will cause steam to loosen up the particles and make cleaning much easier.

2. Laptops heating up is a bit of a pain in the ass (or in the lap), especially when you’re cosy in bed and don’t want to have to move during your Netflix marathon. Cooling units that strap on to the bottom of your laptop are relatively cheap, but if you don’t feel like splashing out on one there is a cheaper solution! Buying things in bulk is a smart idea for a cash-strapped student, so next time you’re at Tesco for the weekly shop, pick up a 24 pack of eggs. Spend the day making pancakes/ omelettes, eating the yolks Rocky-style and then place the empty egg pack under your laptop for a makeshift cooler. Simple!

3. There’s no disappointment quite like being told it’s your turn to bring the bins out. I don’t know about you, but random smelly juices have dripped on my shoes one too many times!  A great way to absorb food juices and act as a barrier is if you stick an old newspaper at the bottom of a new bag before anybody in your flat has a chance to throw rubbish away.

4. Trying to fill the kettle but there’s a sink full of dishes in the way? Get a dust pan, stick it under the water at the spade end and fill it that way. Alternatively, you could invest in a small plastic jug and use that to fill the kettle whenever you face obstructions. Anything for that cuppa!

5. There’s been many times when even the five alarms I set the night before can’t get me out of bed. Sometimes you just don’t hear it when you’re in the warm embrace of sleep! An easy way to amplify the sound of your alarm is to stick your phone in a glass and put it by your bed.

What are your best life hacks? Post them below!


How To Know If You’re In The Friend Zone

From the wise words of Ryan Reynolds in that film nobody remembers the name of, you are in the friend zone “when a girl decides that you’re her friend, you’re no longer a dating option. You become this complete non-sexual entity in her eyes, like her brother, or a lamp.”

It seems a bit harsh, but then again most true things are. Some guys are in the friend zone and don’t even know it, desperately clinging to the hope that he and that girl he’s had a crush on since forever will become an item.

To all those guys out there who don’t know whether they’re in the friend zone or not, there are a few signs to help you have that eye-opening moment when you realise. 

Photo captured by  epSos .de [Flickr]

Photo captured by epSos .de [Flickr]

1) You’re always told what a great boyfriend you’d be, for SOME LUCKY GIRL

This is the classic line. She could spend ages reassuring you that you’re the best guy she knows, that you’re a great listener and how attractive you are, but if you hint at a relationship between the two of you and she recoils in horror, it’s pretty obvious that you’re perfect, just not for her.

Photo captured by Mary-Frances Main [Flickr]

Photo captured by Mary-Frances Main [Flickr]

2) You participate in girly activities with her just to make her happy

I’m talking about things like letting her paint your nails, make pot pourri and gossip about what so-and-so did behind the bins with whomever. If you’re the kind of guy that likes that stuff then that’s fine, but if you’re not and you’re putting yourself through it just so she’s around you, then you have a bit of a problem.

Photo captured by Vic [Flickr]

Photo captured by Vic [Flickr]

3) She ignores you when you bluntly tell her your feelings

You could spontaneously go to her house with 12 dozen generic roses to surprise her or pull the moon with a lasso so that it sits just outside her window and it won’t matter. This girl will respond with “Oh who’s your friend?” if you dare to say, “I know someone that likes you…” You either get rejected by telling her your feelings, or you keep them hidden long enough to see yourself enter the friend zone.  

Photo captured by Holly Williams [Flickr]

Photo captured by Holly Williams [Flickr]

4) She says things like, “I love you like a brother”

Unless she’s into incest, you’re not going to have any luck with that one. If you don’t get that she isn’t into you after a line like that, then you need to allow a merciful friend of yours to slap some sense into you.

Photo captured by Magi Edos [Flickr]

Photo captured by Magi Edos [Flickr]

5) She talks about guys with you, and she is not doing it to make you jealous

By doing this, she is sending a clear message that she is interested in other men. The trouble is, you could be a great listener and you actively try to hear what she is saying in a bid to be ‘in the loop’ and work out what she’s thinking. But this could just reaffirm her notion of how much of a good friend you are. When you make other people’s feelings more important than yours then you’re accidentally letting people know that your feelings don’t matter. This could make it seem like you don’t have a high opinion of yourself, which is the opposite of confidence. And that’s just not sexy.

Photo captured by melabird [Flickr]

Photo captured by melabird [Flickr]

6) There’s no sexual tension

This is the crucial deal breaker. No matter how much you may look ideal on paper or how much you are crazy for her, if both of you don’t have chemistry then it’s never going to work. You should realise this now before getting so deep into the friend zone that you think something is wrong with you for not being accepted by her. Chances are there isn’t anything wrong with you (I’m going out on a limb with that!), it’s just that you’re not compatible and the sooner you accept that, the happier you will be.

The 5 Worst Reasons to Oppose Gay Marriage

Recently Rory O’Neill, otherwise known as ‘Panti’, was on RTÉ’s ‘The Saturday Night Show’ with Brendan O’Connor where they discussed homophobia. During this interview, O’Neill stated that he believed some people in Irish media were homophobic. This led to the interview being cut from RTE’s online archive, an apology by Brendan O’Connor on behalf of RTE and a massive cash payout to the ‘victims’ of defamation to the sum of €85000.

These people included John Waters, who once stated that gay marriage was “potentially destructive of the very fabric of Irish society”, Breda O’Brien, who insists a child needs both a mother and a father and the Iona Institute, who are known for actively campaigning against gay marriage. This shameless censorship and the upcoming gay marriage referendum that is set for 2015 prompted me to write a piece on the worst reasons for opposing gay marriage that I’ve heard over the years.

This is a video of Panti giving a powerful speech about oppression and homophobia at the Abbey Theatre:

1: “Being gay is not natural”

This is one of the more ridiculous arguments I’ve heard for denying rights to gay people. Some seem to think that if gay marriage is legalised (cue John Waters) then the fabric of society is going to be destroyed and morality will become a distant afterthought of a more ‘conservative’ time. Other ‘unnatural’ things that people are happily surrounded by in their day-to-day lives include processed food, buildings, blended fabrics, deodorant, make up, shoes, indoor lighting, air conditioning, radiators and glasses to name but a few.

If gay marriage was legalised everywhere tomorrow morning, not one thing would change in the lives of people who are not gay. Perhaps they’d be outraged that it happened, they may feel that society will indeed implode, but it will not affect the running of their lives. At all. It will, however, make a massive difference in the lives of gay people who wish to join together in marriage in front of their friends and family and have that relationship recognised by law.

2: “It’ll ruin the sanctity of marriage”

Like the way divorce has? And interracial marriage has? Or perhaps we should explore Britney Spears’ meaningful 55 hour marriage to a childhood friend or Kim Kardashian’s 72 day marriage to Kris Humphries.

According to Newt Gingrich, “It’s pretty simple: marriage is between a man and a woman. This is a historic doctrine driven deep into the Bible, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, and it’s a perfect example of what I mean by the rise of paganism.” This was said by the same Newt Gingrich who divorced his first wife after bringing it up while she was recovering from cancer surgery, divorced his second wife who was a mistress during his first marriage, and is married to his current wife, with whom he requested an open marriage. Not exactly a shining example of the ‘sanctity’ of marriage is he?

3: “Gay marriage shouldn’t be allowed because it’ll open the floodgates for gay people being able to adopt children”

By denying gay people the right to have children, you are essentially choosing ’no parents’ over ‘parents’ for a child who will otherwise never have them. Somehow I don’t think they’d remotely care if they were raised by two women or two men if they could be part of a loving home.

Abbie Goldberg, a psychologist at Clark University in Massachusetts who researches gay and lesbian parenting, found that, on average, gay parents tend to be more motivated and more committed than heterosexual parents, due to the fact that they chose to be parents. Gay people rarely become parents by accident, in comparison to an almost 50% accidental pregnancy rate among heterosexuals. Research shows that children of gay parents may have the advantage of open-mindedness, tolerance and role models for equality. Not only that, but gay people are likely to provide homes for difficult-to-place children in the foster system, particularly older children who are harder to find homes for, minority children and children with special needs.

This brings you to a page that contains a number of links on studies that conclusively prove that there is no difference between the benefits that children with heterosexual parents receive and children with homosexual parents receive.

4: “The bible says it’s wrong”

The bible does indeed have a few verses where it insinuates that homosexuality is wrong, but using a few verses that you then exploit for the rest of your life to force your own version of morality on another person does not a good Christian make. What happened to, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven”?

The fact of the matter is, you cannot allow your own religious beliefs to influence the lives of other people, and you certainly can’t use the excuse ‘because the bible says it’s wrong’. There are lots of things that the bible bans, yet many people, including good Christians, go ahead and do them anyway. These include getting tattoos, round haircuts, fortune telling, using the rhythm method as birth control, wearing blended fabrics such as polyester, getting a divorce, wearing gold and eating shellfish.

5: “Gay people can just get a civil partnership”

This is a common one for people to say, but they do not understand the differences between a civil partnership and a civil marriage, and if they do, then it is probably because they accept that one status is inferior to the other.

‘Marriage’ does not belong to religious institutions, that is why there is a difference between ‘civil marriage’ and ‘holy matrimony’. There is no reason why gay people should be excluded from a ‘civil marriage’ ceremony. It is a unique legal status recognised by governments all around the world. It brings a host of rights and protections and it is an important cultural institution.

The Irish Government enacted the Civil Partnership Act 2010, with the first ceremonies taking place in the Spring of 2011.  By the end of 2012, civil partnerships had been registered by 965 couples, and had taken place in every county in Ireland. However, a civil partnership does not permit children to have a legally recognised relationship with their parents – only the biological one. This causes many problems for hundreds of families regarding schools, hospitals, guardianship, access and custody. “Loving, committed relationships between two consenting adults should be treated equally, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Same sex couples should be allowed to share the same responsibilities, obligations and respect that marriage provides.”

The children of gay parents are in legal limbo in Ireland. Under the Civil Partnership Act, there is no provision for adoption or guardianship of children who have gay parents. There are also no provisions for custody, access, or maintenance payments for children. Also, a child’s parent may not be treated as next of kin in a hospital or school situation, because they are not recognised as a legal parent – they are effectively strangers in law.

You are of course entitled to your own opinion when it comes to whether or not gay people should be allowed to marry, even if I and many others feel that denying them this right is bigoted and unfair. However, just like people who protested the de-segregation of black and white people and campaigned against interracial marriage, you will be on the wrong side of history, because in the future gay marriage won’t be called ‘gay marriage’, it will be called ‘marriage’.

Iona Institute’s anti-gay marriage video:

Parody response to the Iona Institute’s video:

Do you support gay people marrying? Why or why not?

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