Category Archives: Self-Improvement

Covert Advice: Why I Hate Sexy Costumes


Halloween is right around the corner, and for many of us, that means one thing: finding the right costume. Now trust me, I know how much time and effort goes into choosing the perfect one, but I want to address an important issue before it’s too late to rethink your idea.

As kids, we would battle the cold of a late October’s night, dressed up as our idols. Halloween wasn’t a fashion statement: it was a night of free candy and expressing your creativity for a single night out of the 364 boring others. But somewhere along the way, the tables turned: now, the right costume is the same one you wore when you were a kid, but with half of the fabric and probably half the size. So why, and I mean WHY, are more and more Halloween costumes turning a cheek to creativity and turning up for the half-naked, barely-legal versions of my favorite childhood memories?

Now, if you are wearing the greatest costume in the entire world, and this does not apply to you, then I hope you rock it come October 31.  But almost all of the girls that I hold dear to my heart here at this university have come up to me with their brilliant costume ideas, asking if guys will find them sexy or whether I had an idea for a better (translation: sexier) costume.

This is my response: Continue reading

Covert Advice: On Approachability

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Dear Thoughtful Penn Stater,

A few days ago, you asked me a question that really hit home:

Why do you think cute (and normal) girls don’t get approached by guys? If we’re being honest, I think I’m a pretty girl and I don’t think I’m one of those “psycho chicks,” but I never really get much attention from guys, as in guys don’t ask for my number, things like that. Why do you think this happens? What should I do to be more approachable?

Thank you for asking this question. As all of us begin to adapt to the college environment, many of us forget how to handle a new social scene. Whether it’s a wanting a relationship, a friendship, or just a person to study with, we all need to seem approachable. So let’s dive in. Continue reading

How to Break-Up with a Roommate

BreakUpWithRoommates.MaryDugganBreak-ups are hard. Whether the relationship ended on a bad note or if the decision was mutual, breaking up with a significant other is never a pleasant experience. But, what’s even harder than ending it with a boyfriend? Ending it with a roommate.

Choosing roommates is one of the many idealized events that we have in college. We think it’s going to be easy, that we’ll live with our best friends in a cute little apartment and everything will be great. Well, for some that may be true and to those people we say congratulations because they have reached the unreachable. But for the rest of us, there will often be at least one roomie-break-up before our time at college has ended.

“This is happening to me and my friends now,” says freshman science major Cassie Venditti. “I guess the fears are that they think you don’t like them since you don’t want to live with them, and the awkwardness that is going to follow after telling them.” Continue reading

Apple is the New Pumpkin

ApplesIsTheNewPumpkin_JessicaLaGrecaOkay, pumpkin lovers – we hate to disappoint you, but don’t you think the whole “pumpkin-flavored whatever” thing is getting a little old?

Hear us out – now that everyone is consumed with all things pumpkin, this pumpkin-obsession is slowly turning into a universal sign for “basic.”

So why not mix it up? We know of a great autumn fruit alternative: the apple.

Truthfully, the apple has been put on the back-burner ever since the pumpkin stole its spotlight. We are here to restore the apple to its former glory. Continue reading

Welcome to Covert Advice

Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 10.01.19 AMAs a man, I realize that I will never understand women, no matter how hard I try. There are even times when despite all of the chaos around the world, nothing represents a true war better than the battle of the sexes. Yet at first glance, this war doesn’t seem very logical: shouldn’t we have everything in common? If we’re both human, why are women so confusing? Well, ladies, men are complex creatures of their own, and FAR more complex than we appear to be.

With a tip of my hat to social media, the dynamic of the sexes has completely changed over the past decade: we made new “friends,” published new “relationships,” retweeted our crush’s thoughts and subtweeted our jealousies. So why have I lost some hope in understanding women? Probably because I’m barely able to understand myself and the difference between who I am and who I want my Facebook profile to say I am. Sadly, it’s the world we live in, but there is hope after all: I may not need to understand women, but I understand men. Continue reading

The Five Stages of Online Shopping

OnlineShopping_MeghanTranauskas2It hits you hard and it hits you fast. Before you can even grab your credit card from your wallet, your shopping cart is already full. BOGO, 50% off clearance and new arrivals – it sounds too good to be true. Today is the day you’re going to scratch that annoying itch: you’re going to online shop.

But unfortunately, all decisions have consequences. While expanding your wardrobe is literally the most euphoric feeling on the planet, it can come with some questionable and unprecedented emotional side effects. Check out the inevitable stages everyone goes through while online shopping.


You do not have a problem. You don’t remember the last time you checked your bank statement and was happy with the result, but you don’t have a problem. How else are you supposed to make sure you’re fully clothed? Humans were not meant to be naked, or else we would all have fur on our bodies. Oh, a faux fur vest on clearance? Get it, girl.   Continue reading

Welcome Fall With Pumpkin Crunch Cake

photo 2 (3)While pumpkin-spiced lattes seem to satisfy our inner pumpkin cravings temporarily, this pumpkin crunch cake is sure to put all your cravings to shame. Start off the autumn season with this easy-to-make cake that’s sure to please family and friends.

This pumpkin cake starts with a crunchy pecan layer on top, with a slightly crumbly cake layer below that. And last, but certainly not least, a thick layer of sweet pumpkin custard on the bottom. Just the smell of this cake baking will surely result in a roommate migration to the kitchen.

What you need:

1 package yellow cake mix
1 can solid pack pumpkin
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
3 eggs
1 ½ cups sugar
4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup melted butter
Whipped topping Continue reading

5 Stages of Grief During First Exams

DSCN2181September is in full swing and that can only mean one thing to Penn State students: exams are coming. It’s been a wonderful few weeks of relaxing and doing a few reading assignments here and there, but let’s face it: sylly week is long gone and exams are upon us. There are many emotions we feel when we realize that we’ll be taking exams soon, but most of them can be broken down into Kubler-Ross’s Five stages of Loss and Grief.


We’ve only been back for a few weeks; exams can’t really be starting already. I probably wrote down the wrong date. I’m just going to assume that I made a mistake and go out every night this weekend, because it was just syllabus week, right?


I’ve checked Angel and realized that I didn’t write down the wrong date. I really do have an exam this week. How could my professor be so hateful to schedule an exam when we’ve only been back for a month?! I had plans to watch the entire fifth season of Gossip Girl this week, and now I’m stuck studying. I. Am. Not. Happy. Continue reading

Senior Year Relationships

Hsieh.GettingADate2Is it the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning?

As some students enter into their final year at the beloved Penn State, they find themselves in certain situations that they did not expect. One of the most interesting changes that goes on at the start of senior year is the making or breaking of relationships.

Relationships in college are hard to maintain regardless of the circumstances. Maybe you have conflicting class schedules and can barely find time to see each other, or maybe you even attend different schools and only get one weekend per month together. No matter the situation, it is difficult to commit to someone during these few years.

The fate of relationships during senior year seems to follow one of two trends.  On one hand, two people may finally realize that they are not ready to be together forever. They may realize that after years of being together, they haven’t given the rest of the world a chance. On the other hand, two people may finally see each other with perfect clarity, realizing that they couldn’t dream of being with anyone else.

Continue reading

Common Career Fair Mistakes and How to Correct Them

AnaElmasllari.blogNow that the semester has settled in, it’s time to start searching for jobs. It’s the last thing you want to think about, but it’s stuck in the forefront of your mind, and nothing rushes that reality faster than Fall Career Days.

It’s like a smack in the face when you suddenly realize you have a lot of preparation to do—tweak your résumé, organize a speech, prepare your outfit—who has time for that? So before you pull your hair out, check out Valley‘s list of  common mistakes made at career fairs – so you have one less thing to fret about. 

1. Not doing enough research on companies

This should be an obvious one. Recruiters know when you don’t research their company, so it’s important to get your facts straight.

2. Not coming with enough resumes to hand out

 If you want recruiters to consider you for a job, you should probably have a resume handy to give them. Always bring extra copies, you never know what might happen. Continue reading