A Week of Miracles

miracle week

Aztec Dance Marathon is one of hundreds of Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon events that take place across the country (and Canada). Each of these dance marathon efforts benefit a local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital, this one being Rady Children’s of San Diego. The year long initiative comes to fruition at the overnight dance marathon where participants or,”dancers” are on their feet for 15 hours in honor of and celebration for the kids who cannot. They have raised over $120,000 for the hospital in just two years on campus, making them the highest fundraising philanthropic organization at SDSU.

miracle week

SDSU’s Aztec Dance Marathon celebrates a week of astonishing achievements as the highest fundraising philanthropic organization on campus

While the third annual official event is scheduled for February 2017, this week offered a series of events on campus promoting their mission, values, purpose, and encouraging students to join the movement. Miracle Week can be closely compared to a homecoming week of sorts. It was presented as a time to unify students under one cause. The week began with an inspiration day where members of ADM wore and distributed gold ribbons to celebrate awareness for childhood illness. With an initial goal of registering 250 new dancers and raising $10,000 throughout the entire week, they astonished the campus as the organization went above and beyond all expectations. On recruitment day the group managed to oversee over 1,000 participants who created an online fundraising page, pledging their commitment to collect funds and participate in the event this spring. Education day was a time to really get down to the core of dance marathon and the patients it serves. Members of the organization hosted an event in the Aztec Student Union with giveaways, music, and an opportunity for anyone interested to learn more information.

miracle week thermometer

This is the final thermometer posted from the Aztec Dance Marathon social media pages, although I’m sure a new total will be revealed at the end of the 24 hour mark.

With the fourth day of Miracle Week: Fundraising Day rapidly approaching, fundraising chair Mackenzie Kahl was nervous about maintaining the momentum of the week throughout this “Push Day.” She confessed that the burden of reaching such an ambitious goal of “Five K in One Day” was weighing heavily on her, but she had faith in her team and the dancers they recruited. In one day alone…and really just about 12 hours, the organization raised an overwhelming $13,000. These thermometer posts were revealed throughout the day, keeping followers updated on the stance of their efforts. The overall goal of dance marathon is $101,000 and the final fundraising total will be revealed in the final hour of the overnight event on the morning of February 25th. There is still another day left in Miracle Week, focused on offering recognition and appreciation to registered dancers and everyone who has contributed to the cause. For more information about Aztec Dance Marathon, or if you want to contribute to the cause, feel free to visit their Facebook page or any of their other social media accounts.

How to Get Through the Week: A 3 Step Guide

It’s no surprise to anyone that this past week has been nothing short of stressful and emotional, for everyone. Whether it be because of the recent political news, to ongoing civil rights movements, to something as simple and common as midterms, it’s been quite the ride for everyone.

So, with that said, here’s a three step guide to how I’ve gotten through the week, in hopes that it’ll lift your spirits and help you get through yours:

Make a playlist (Or five):

I have a tendency to make playlists based on what I’m feeling. Going out for a run or a good workout? Definitely have a playlist lined up to get me pumped, ranging from Fall Out Boy to Eminem. A little mellow on a rainy day? Nothing but jazzy tunes with Michael Buble and some good old Frank Sinatra. Lately, I’ve been needing a bit more of a positive boost of motivation and patriotism due to how our politics have been, and the Hamilton soundtrack never fails to get my day started.

(Disclaimer: I definitely try and rap along with the song, but it’s not exactly easy following in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s shoes.)

Bingewatch your favorite show:

Thank god for Netflix, right? You can’t go wrong with any form of a Netflix original series, from the recent hit, Stranger Things, to documentary series like Making a Murderer. Personally, I’ve been experimenting with series that have been around for awhile, like Mad Men and Scandal. But easy go to’s are always the Marvel Netflix series. (Here’s a hint: if you want to watch the “properly” the order is how the shows were released. Daredevil’s season one and two, then Jessica Jones, and finally Luke Cage. Definitely try to catch up before Iron Fist and The Defenders premieres sometime within the next couple of years.)


(Source: Netflix via thumbs.mia.com)

And lastly, pick up something new.

Whether it be a new hobby/show/music choice or food, picking up something new is always a refreshing way to mix things up in your life. Because I work at a bookstore, treating myself to a new book is always a mood booster. Despite the continuously growing stacks of books in my room that I haven’t touched yet. Here’s the latest book I’ve added to my collection and currently reading through. Sam Maggs novel, “The Fangirl’s ‘Guide to the Galaxy” is not only 100% appropriate to have and own in my personal library, but it’s relatively accurate in the writing and just cute and empowering overall.


(Source: Amazon.com)

And with that, I hope these little tips and tricks help you get through the week. Whether it be because of midterms or something much greater, let’s all just do our best to help each other grow and succeed in life as much as possible.

Also, if you found this topic interesting, or at the very least appreciate my subtle nerdy references and puns, I host an evening talk show on Saturdays at 7 PM PST! The show is called “Bingeworthy”, and I cohost the show with my friend Kentaro Kawasaki. Come tune in Saturday nights and follow us on Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Soundcloud at @KCRBingeworthy.

(Header image source: Nickelodeon via Spongebob Squarepants)


Battle of the brothers gets ugly; SDSU tops Hawaii, 55-0

It was a special night for San Diego State football’s sophomore linebacker Ronley Lakalaka, as 60 family members were in attendance to watch him square off against University of Hawaii senior running back Steven Lakalaka, Ronley’s older brother.

Unfortunately for those in attendance, Steven landed on the wrong side of a one-sided affair, as the Aztecs dismantled the visiting Rainbow Warriors, 55-0.

“Ronley has got bragging rights for the rest of his life,” SDSU head coach Rocky Long said.

With the win, SDSU has now defeated 16 consecutive Mountain West opponents going back to their 2015 season.

The Aztecs clinched the MW West division title later that night, as the University of Nevada, Reno’s loss to the University of New Mexico pushed the title into the hands of SDSU.

SDSU’s defense was lights out once again, causing 4 turnovers (all interceptions). Also, the Aztecs’ held Steven, Hawaii’s lead back on the night, to just 42 rushing yards on 14 carries, successfully ending his seven-game streak with a touchdown.

His older brother played a large role in SDSU’s defensive effort.

Ronley accumulated four combined tackles and hauled in his second interception of the season.

“We’re playing very well right now but we’re not satisfied,” Ronley said. “We have a great defense because we feed off of each other and game after game we get better. It all starts at practice with preparation, and (head) coach (Rocky) Long does a great job at getting us lined up and ready to get physical with the other team.”

The Aztecs started off the game in a typical way, scoring on the open drive for the third consecutive week, and they never looked back.

SDSU sophomore quarterback Christian Chapman completed 7 of 15 passes for 76 yards and three touchdowns, which speaks to an offensive game plan loaded with play-action passes, flat routes, and dump off passes out of the backfield.

Junior wide receiver Quest Truxton brought in one of Chapman’s touchdowns to give him a score in back-to-back weeks, effectively extending his role beyond just his punt returning duties.

In contrast, the Rainbow Warriors’ colors appeared faded on offense, as Hawaii sophomore quarterback Dru Brown landed on the bench after completing 9 of 16 passes for 60 yards and two interceptions through the first two quarters of play.

Hawaii redshirt freshman Aaron Zwhalen replaced Brown for a majority of the second half, but even he couldn’t find the pot of the gold for the Rainbow Warriors. He completed 3 of 10 passes for 32 yards and an interception.

SDSU senior cornerback and captain Damontae Kazee accumulated four combined tackles, two interceptions, including one touchdown, passing former SDSU defensive back Kack Kaiser as the Aztecs’ career interceptions leader.

Redshirt freshman cornerback Ron Smith followed suit, as he registered career highs across the board, including seven combined tackles and an interception returned for a touchdown in his first career start.

“I just had to make sure that I got back because I saw somebody coming out,” Smith said in an effort to describe his interception. “I was kind of baiting him to see if they were going to throw it over and then I saw the ball in the air and just had to make a play. I was excited. When I got the ball, at that moment I knew I was ready to go. I’m happy I made that play.”

Offensively, senior running back Donnel Pumphrey, a Heisman contender who leads the nation with 1,581 rushing yards, was held out of the end zone for now two consecutive games.

SDSU’s backup running backs picked up the slack.

Freshman running back Juwan Washington and junior Rashaad Penny combined for 170 all-purpose yards and three total touchdowns.

Though he was held scoreless, Pumphrey inched closer to passing former Memphis running back DeAngelo Williams as the NCAA’s 4th all-time rushing leader.

With Pumphrey’s 112 rushing yards against Hawaii, he only needs 174 more rushing yards to pass Williams.

SDSU will look to add to their momentum on the road against Nevada November 12.

Indecision Starts (And Ends)…Here

undeclared logo

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking with Paul Justice in the Division of Undergraduate Studies: Undeclared Students here at SDSU. He shed some light on one of the more misunderstood, but ever important parts of our academic programming and advising.

In our interview, Paul informed me that at any given time there is anywhere from 800-1300 students who fall under his jurisdiction of “undeclared.” Majority of these students are freshmen, however there are instances where students change their mind or fail to meet the requirements for a major and rescind into undeclared. This is far from a negative thing. Paul reiterated that being undeclared opens students up to resources that would not be as readily or easily available to the average student set in their respective departments. He revealed the best tool for undecided students that he developed and updates regularly…an Excel spreadsheet. This sheet cannot be found elsewhere and includes: every department’s unit requirements, advisor contact information, trial courses to take if interested in the major (before having to declare), GPA requirements, and more. This is a living, breathing document that he plans to never perfect, but continuously grow and adapt.

For those who are unaware, San Diego State University offers a degree program that is rather unique and coveted by other universities. This was designed to assist students who are unable to meet course requirements for a particular major, or who have decided upon a major that SDSU does not offer. Interdisciplinary Studies allows students to work with three different major departments to craft a personalized field of study. Paul oversees this program within Undeclared. He understands that students may become discouraged or want to transfer schools when they cannot seem to find a department or major that is right for them, Interdisciplinary Studies is the answer.

Lastly, Paul wanted to make sure that I let everyone know (especially parents of incoming students) that it is okay to be unsure. He insists that not having your mind made up at 18 is far from radical, and his department will offer the tools needed to get you where you (eventually) want to be. More than that, he has started a program for students who were once Undeclared, but found their home at SDSU. These students now have the opportunity to mentor current undecided students. Paul leads workshops with the assistance of these mentors. Each month has a different theme and they are open to all students interested (undeclared, or not). The purpose of these is to build and maintain a sense of comaradarie. or a “cohort” as he likes to call it, where students can develop a connection to each other and the university. Feeling connected to the university is something that, previously, these students were lacking. Sometimes this led them to transfer schools, or have a diminished Aztec experience. The hope is that this program will alleviate both. It is for these reasons that Paul is confident that indecision may start in the Office of Undeclared, but it will end there also.