Students Attend Honors Program Conference In Chicago

November 19, 2015

Students from the Honors Program recently traveled to Chicago where they attended the National Collegiate Honors College Conference (NCHC).

Six students — Michael Santoro, Alison Tobin, Kate Culverhouse, Molly Malinowski, Joe Fisher, and Megan Carignan — were in attendance, as well as Program Manager Lisa Cavallaro and Program Director Kerry Johnson.

While at the NCHC Conference, the students presented twice. In one presentation, labeled “Branding an Honors Program through Intentional Marketing,” the students presented about student-led public relations and marketing initiatives. The other presentation, titled “Managing the Cubs and the Bears: The Importance of Peer Mentors for First-Year Students,” was about the Honors Program Peer Mentoring Program.

In addition, Social Media Coordinator Alison Tobin, and Print Editor Megan Carignan accepted a second place award for best student-run newsletter for their Honors Program newsletter “In Company of Friends.”

“I was able to connect with people from honors programs from schools all over the country by seeing them present their ideas or ways that their honors programs do things,” Tobin said. “I talked to people about their online newsletters since I am trying to get that up and running and I got so many good ideas for different honors program events we can have, different classes, and newsletter ideas. I was also very glad to be able to be there to accept our newsletter award.”

Along with learning how to better the Merrimack Honors Program through several different learning sessions, students and faculty were given the opportunity to travel around the city.

Santoro expressed, “We got to explore the city in a program called City as Text put on by the conference and go to several different tourist destinations, architectural landmarks, parks, and museums! We saw Mamma Mia! The Musical one evening, as well.”

Attendees will meet together next week to gather their notes, discuss what they learned at the conference, and how they can use their gained knowledge to improve the Honors Program.

OnStagers To Star in Black Comedy This Weekend

November 19, 2015

Students from the OnStagers club on campus will perform Black Comedy in the Rogers Center for the Arts this weekend.

Directed by Kathleen Sills, the OnStagers have been working on the show since September. The cast includes eight actors and actresses, all students at Merrimack College.

Written by British playwright, Peter Shaffer, Black Comedy is a comedic show about a man named Brindsley Miller, an artist, and his fiancée who are visited by a number of folks as their flat’s power goes out, resulting in an interesting turn of events.

OnStagers’ publicity chair, Moriah Goldblatt, stated, “The show has a lot of physical comedy, fun accents and even funnier characters. If you’re in the mood to laugh, make sure to see the show!”

Black Comedy will be performed in the Rogers Center for the Arts on November 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m. and November 21 at 2:00 and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $5.00 for students and $10.00 for general admission and will be available at the door before the event.

Get Over Starbucks’ Red Cups Already

Most are aware of the recent outrage against Starbucks’ red cups, but here is a short summary if you are not:

Every year, Starbucks unveils its seasonal offspring to the coffee-obsessed universe. These red cups, as the name tells, are typically decorated with winter-themed cheer and adornments; designs that have included trees, snowflakes, and ornaments in the past.

This year, they’re not.

Many are unhappy with Starbucks’ choice to go pure and simple. This year, the red cups are simply red, missing the usual quotes, snowflakes, reindeer, and ornaments that typically adorn them.

In a statement on Starbucks’ official website, Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks vice president of Design and Content, stated “This year’s iconic red Starbucks cup features a two-toned ombre design, with a bright poppy color on top that shades into a darker cranberry below. We have anchored the design with the classic Starbucks holiday red that is bright and exciting. The ombre creates a distinctive dimension, fluidity, and weightedness.”

As Fields mentioned nothing of the sort, it is evident that Starbucks is not trying to mess with the religious beliefs that have important meaning during the Christmas season. So, why are some saying that Starbucks is out to start a war?

An article on Breitbart News Network headlines “War on Christmas: Starbucks red cups are emblematic of the Christian culture cleansing of the west.”

According to Raheem Kassam, “The Red Cups are now an anti-Christmas symbol, with Starbucks declaring their formerly Christmassy cups to be “holiday beverages” and shedding any sign of Christmas from them.”

News flash: The Starbucks cups are still red and green (colors that have commonly been identified as Christmas colors).

Joshua Feuerstein, “an American evangelist, internet and social media personality,” wants to start a movement that stems from the idea that Starbucks employees are not allowed to say “Merry Christmas,” which, by the way, is common in several retail locations. Feuerstein’s Facebook video’s description states that “Starbucks REMOVED CHRISTMAS from their cups because they hate Jesus … SO I PRANKED THEM … and they HATE IT!!!!”

Did you ever hear or see an announcement where Starbucks declared that they hate Christmas, Christmas beliefs, and Jesus Christ? Did Starbucks ever imply that they hate Jesus Christ? I didn’t see that anywhere, but if you find it, let me know.

I find this to be completely unfair to Starbucks, as they have only changed their red cup designs to allow customers to tell their own stories while enjoying a coffee drink. Sounds good to me. This allows customers to sit down together in a peaceful location and talk about what the season means to them, not Starbucks.

I also find these statements completely unfair to Christians all around the world. I know that not all Christian believers are angry with Starbucks, and that most of them are angry with the recent posts that have been circulating on social media about the ones who have made their opinion known on this topic (such as Feuerstein).

“In the past, we have told stories with our holiday cups designs. This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories,” Fields stated.

We live in a diverse world where everyone has a different story. Just because Starbucks went for a low-key design does not mean that they are against Christmas (or Jesus, for that matter). It means they are looking for more diverse customers from all over, trying to sell their products that will appeal to the majority, and creating a simpler design. People are reading into this topic more than anyone ever should have.

I don’t believe that Starbucks was out to start a “War on Christmas.” They were looking for a simpler and better way to mass market their products. For those who believe these cups are starting a war on a beloved holiday, these cups serve for marketing purposes only. Customers see the red cups, they buy the red cups, and then they Instagram the red cups. It’s as simple as that.

Candace Cameron Bure posted her thoughts on the red cup controversy, and I agree 100 percent:


Doesn’t this make perfect sense? Kudos to you, Candace.

As I mentioned above, today, we live in a world of diversity. We are a diverse country (we are a diverse world, even) and many people of many different religions look forward to the Christmas season regardless of their religious beliefs. Christmas has a different meaning to everyone.

After all, Christmas isn’t over because Starbucks didn’t decorate their annual red cups with a “Christmassy” design. People are still drinking coffee!

These cups aren’t changing the way your coffee tastes, right?

20 Dos And Mostly Don’ts For Being A Praiseworthy Restaurant Customer

November 9, 2015

Being a server can be fun, but only at the right work place and with the right group of co-workers. Some customers make the days seem longer, the tips seem like they’re not worth it, and the stress undeniably constant. But not everyone is a horrible customer; some are very pleasant.

There are only a select few customers who are praiseworthy, and they don’t come about very often. Lots of restaurant-goers think that they deserve perfection. Yes, customers always come first, but not when they expect the world from one person taking care of over twenty others. I’ve been both fortunate enough to have amazing customers and unfortunate enough to have terrible ones. If you would like to be a relatively pleasing customer, here are some dos and don’ts you should take into consideration before going out to lunch.

1. Don’t ask for a different meal or side five minutes after I already took your order.

Chances are that I’ve already put your order into the computer. If you want a different order, I’ll have to go talk to the kitchen. In case you didn’t know, the kitchen doesn’t exactly like conversation, especially when it’s any type of busy. They get stressed, just like servers do, and yelling at them through the window isn’t all that peaceful.

2. Do tell me “don’t worry about it.”

Sometimes I’m having a bad day. Sometimes I have too many tables at once. And sometimes I have eighty tables to serve at the same exact moment. Your kind words when I’m stressed out actually mean something.

3. Don’t tell me “I didn’t order that.”

You actually did order that. How do I know? I wrote it down and proceeded to ask you if you wanted mayo on that five times while you were busy talking to your friend and ignoring my questions.

4. Don’t walk into a restaurant and choose where you want to sit.

Restaurants have hosts and hostesses for a reason, and tables are split into sections. Each section is for a different server. If you decide where you want to sit, I get no money. Thanks.

5. Don’t tip off a discounted total.

If the total of your bill is $50.00 and you have a coupon for $20.00 off, your new total is $30.00. You should be tipping me off the bill of $50.00 (those are the prices of the meals you got, you know).

6. Do tell me your allergies upfront.

I don’t want to be the reason why you had to make a pitstop to the emergency room on your way home from dinner. Please let me know about your allergies as you are placing your order. Servers always have to check with both management and the kitchen before entering your order.

7. We close at 9:00 PM. Don’t come in at 8:50 PM.

If you come in at 8:50 PM, at least order a simple sandwich. Don’t order a three-pound lobster with five sides. Just don’t.

8. Don’t wave me over to your table.

Guess what? I’m probably taking care of someone else’s order and I can’t just drop everything I’m doing to sprint over to you.

9. Don’t leave me a pile of pennies and nickels as a tip.

Most likely, that money will be just be taken out of my pocket and given to another customer.

10. Don’t tell me that you want separate checks after you and your eight friends have ordered multiple drinks, appetizers, and meals.

Tell me before. Then we can be friends.

11. Don’t tell me that you’re in a rush.

I can’t walk into the kitchen and tell them that YOU need a meal A.S.A.P. Sorry, but it doesn’t usually work that way.

12. Don’t have the greatest conversations with me and then leave no tip.

Compliments are not tips (sorry).

13. Don’t tell me your entire meal was awful when you ate the whole plate.

And licked it clean.

14. Do listen to everything I have to say.

Don’t cut me off mid-sentence and tell me that you want iced tea. The one thing I was probably going to tell you is that we ran out of iced tea.

15. Don’t get mad at me that your meal tastes awful anyway.

I didn’t order it and I didn’t cook it.

16. Do clean your section of the table when your food is coming.

How can I put your plate down when you have your phone out on the table, a laptop hanging off the edge, and your purse to the side? Do you want to eat?

17. Don’t get mad if we can’t get to you the second you sit down.

If you see me delivering drinks to another table, chances are, I’m a little busy. Only a little, though.

18. Don’t ask another server that is not your own to get something for you.

Just ask your own server! That is their job, you know.

19. Do fill out comment cards or surveys that I pass out to you.

Especially if you like me.

20. Don’t tell me your “soup is cold.”

I actually tried it two minutes ago in the kitchen and I burned my mouth. But you’re right, it’s freezing cold.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. If you’re good to your server, they’ll be good right back.

Students To Travel To The Dominican Republic For First-Ever Honors Immersion Experience

November 5, 2015

From May 28 to June 4, 2016, students from the Merrimack College Honors Program will be traveling to the Dominican Republic for the first ever honors service immersion trip offered at Merrimack College.

Partnering with Outreach 360 and the Grace J. Palmisano Center for Campus Ministry, Merrimack students will be teaching at local schools in the Dominican Republic and taking part in a “cultural experience day.”

This trip was proposed by Merrimack students of the Honors Program and is considered a pilot program for the school.

The student trip coordinators, Megan Sheppard and Tyler Andrade, both sophomores, have been planning this trip since April and are excited that this student-run trip is official.

“Planning this trip included contacting different volunteer organizations, researching countries and social justice issues, creating a trip proposal presentation and figuring out a budget. After the planning was done, we went into finding our participants. We interviewed almost 20 students, from whom we picked 10 total honors students to join us on this experience. During the interview process, we looked for those that were passionate about the social justice issue at hand, youth education, and would be able to work well in a group environment and adapt quickly to change,” stated Sheppard.

The honors group will be traveling to a town called Monte Cristi. There they will create lesson plans and teach English to local students throughout the day.

Dylan Scott, a sophomore who will be traveling with the Honors Program, is also looking forward to seeing local schools in the Dominican Republic and seeing what the culture has to offer.

“Our main goal is really to get the kids we are working with to expand their minds and the horizons and to empower them by encouraging them to realize that where they come from does not restrict them from moving forward in their education and in life,” Scott said.

A total of fourteen will be taking part in this trip, including coordinators Megan and Tyler, ten Honors Program students, Father Keith Hollis from the Office of Campus Ministry, and Lisa Cavallaro, who is working on this trip as part of her grad project.

Another Merrimack student, Amshula Divadkar, a junior, was also accepted for this cultural immersion trip. Dividkar feels fortunate to have this opportunity and already started fundraising. She has a GoFundMe account and is preparing fundraising ideas with other trip attendees.

Megan also mentioned that Merrimack students should be on the look out for events next semester. “We will also be holding fundraising nights throughout next semester in order to help raise money to support the cost of our trip, and we hope many members of the Merrimack College community will come out and help support us!”

Merrimack Is Not Shopping For Houses, But It’s Bought Two

October 22, 2015

Merrimack College has recently bought two houses in the neighborhoods surrounding its campus, one on Rock Ridge Road and the other on Elm Street.

According to Jim Chiavelli, Associate Vice-President for Communications at Merrimack College, one of the homes “was identified by neighbors during public meetings through 2014 as a longstanding eyesore, and we agreed it was not a good ‘entryway’ to our campus.”

Decisions to buy these homes were based off facts regarding appearance, safety, and “securing the grounds.”

Although these homes are close to campus, Merrimack currently has no plans to use the land these homes are on to build.

“We haven’t determined what we’re going to use the land for, though a student residence hall on these two sites is not plausible from a land-use or regulatory standpoint,” Chiavelli said. “More likely might be office space, but again: We are interested right now in making the properties look better and ensuring they are secure.”

The homes are older and have not been kept in the best of conditions. Right now, Merrimack is cleaning up these homes and working to secure their boundaries, which includes cleaning up objects such as old televisions and furniture left in the homes, fixing up the yards, filling the pool and fixing the roof at one home, and cutting down branches and messy shrubs or plants.

When visiting the two Andover homes, Chiavelli made it obvious that Merrimack is most certainly not searching, shopping, or continuing to look for homes they can buy. A representative informed Merrimack that these two Andover homes were on the market and asked if they would be interested in taking a look at them. Merrimack took them up on the offer and the houses were sold to the college.

Neighbors have been informed about the two homes in their neighborhood being under the college’s ownership.

As construction continues and Merrimack continues to add new residence halls on land located across the street from these homes, there were questions about what these two homes and the land they are on would be used for.

Currently, Merrimack has no plans to use the land these homes are on to grow the size of campus, but instead “looking at ways to better use what we have.”

Waitlisted Study Abroad Applicants Given Second Chance

October 22, 2015

With the surge in applications that Merrimack’s study abroad office recently received, students were accepted, waitlisted, and denied from studying abroad for the upcoming spring semester.

This past week, many waitlisted applicants were given a second chance.

Dan Ulrich, a junior at Merrimack, applied to study abroad in Galway, Ireland. He stated “I was very surprised when I was initially waitlisted, but I believe that the Office of International Programs was put in a tough situation and really had to work to get more spots available for the students that met all of the requirements needed, and I really appreciate all the work they did.”

Another student at Merrimack, Maria Tashjian, previously waitlisted but now accepted, said she has “no idea why I was waitlisted over other students. I met the criteria and applied at the same time as other students and they got accepted over me.”

Many applicants thought they had it in the bag. Tashjian, like many others, believed they were guaranteed a spot upon filing their applications. “I believe that everyone who has the opportunity to go abroad should and if they can only accept so many people they need to make a bigger program or go to schools that are willing to accept more people.”

According to Merrimack’s study abroad page online, Merrimack’s vision includes the opportunity to “enable all students to have access to study abroad and provide them with support before, during, and after their experience.”

Junior Brianna Byam was accepted to study in Galway, Ireland next semester, as well. In a letter to The Beacon, she asked “If ‘all’ are being enabled why is the majority of students who applied being denied? More importantly, why are the students who meet all of the requirements both Merrimack and API have set being denied?”

Many students who were accepted, waitlisted, and denied have been concerned about this issue. Byam also noted “When myself and several other students addressed the study abroad office they informed us that the situation is in President Hopey’s hands and it is not their decision. They then locked their doors and are not making appointments with students.

This was before waitlisted students were accepted. Many students were accepted into their programs on Tuesday, October 20th.

When asked about how administration worked to handle waitlisted applicants, Associate Vice President of Communications at Merrimack College ,Jim Chiavelli, said that administrators did some tweaking to allow more students to go abroad next semester.

He stated, “Every junior who met the criteria is able to study abroad in the spring.” He also mentioned that some changed their minds about going abroad which opened up a few spots and that sophomores who applied this year and were not accepted will be at the top of the list of applicants to study abroad next year.

When asked in an e-mail about the surge in study abroad applications, Lauren Bent, the Assistant Dean of Campus Life and Director of International Programs & Education at Merrimack College, did not reply.

Julia Pierce, another student who applied to study in Rome, was waitlisted and then just accepted on Tuesday, October 20th. She said she received an email on Friday, October 16th that stated “Due to the large amount of interest – especially in programs such as England, Ireland, Australia, and Italy – we are not able to accommodate all the requests for all sites.”

Pierce, as many others were, was upset and lost all hope for studying abroad.

Pierce made sure to recognize, as all applicants have, that they feel fortunate that Merrimack has given them a second chance and accepted them into their respective programs. “The last thing I would like to add that I learned from this experience is that worrying about something that has not even happened yet is not worth your time and energy. I wear a bracelet every day that reminds me ‘What’s for you will not pass you.’ Stay positive. If your intended plans do not work out, try again!”

11 Reasons Why You’re That Annoying Person Who Loves Christmas Too Early

November 2, 2015

Christmas decorations have been out in Target since mid-October, eggnog has been in my fridge twice already, and my Christmas Pinterest board is starting to get full (again). With Nov. 1 right around the corner, I can officially rub my love of Christmas into everyone’s faces with the ongoing music played on my radio and light Christmas-scented candles like Sugar Cookie and Christmas Tree every day. It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year, and here are some reasons why you’re that person who annoyingly boasts about their love of Christmas way too much. But hey, all is right with me.

1. But really, I’ve already had eggnog in my refrigerator twice, and it’s only October.

The second vanilla eggnog went on the shelves was the second it was in my hands. I never plan on leaving my fridge free of vanilla Christmas-flavored goodness during the weeks before Christmas. That is why mid-October is the perfect time to stock up. While most people wait until November, I don’t, and so buying eggnog has already given me a chance to indulge in my love of Christmas and think about the eggnog recipes I want to make. There really is nothing better.

2. You skip right over the Halloween aisles and head straight for the beginning of Christmas decor hidden in the back corner.

At this time of year, if you go to the store, most are enjoying picking out costumes, stuffing their faces with Halloween candy, and hanging up spooky decorations. While they are doing that, you can sometimes hear them complain and ask: “The Christmas decorations are out already?”

Yes, yes they are.

The best thing about Christmas decor in October is that it stays until December. Sorry, Halloween, but I’ve already kicked you to the curb. It’s time for Christmas.

3. You forget that Thanksgiving is coming and look forward to Black Friday instead.

Thanksgiving is fun and all, but the day after is better. Thanksgiving leaves you sleepy, full, and well-rested for the most exciting shopping day of the year. Maybe, if you’re like me, you don’t even buy anything on Black Friday, but go out to the mall anyway. Crazy people are everywhere, so people-watching is a must on this day.

4. You’ve had ABC Family’s 25 Days of Christmas schedule saved on your phone since the day it came out.

Because nothing on that list can be missed.

5. You’ve already watched “Elf” a total of ten times before Thanksgiving even hits, but plan on watching it 50 more.

And to top it all off, you know every line before it’s even spoken. Still my favorite Christmas movie of all time.

6. Your love of wrapping presents starts when your first gift for someone walks in the front door.

Wrapping presents takes time. In fact, it’s a special talent that I enjoy very much.

7. You have a list of gifts to buy loved ones that you’ve been keeping since approximately July.

Printable pre-made lists such as this one are super helpful when it gets to be crunch time. But who am I kidding, my shopping is done in November. If someone says they want a new jacket in July, you bet it’s already written in the Notes of my iPhone.

8. You beg to get the Christmas tree weeks before it should even be bought, just to see it dry out before December 25.

Picking out the Christmas tree annually is so much fun. It means Christmas is on its way and decorations can officially come out in full swing. I always want to get ours the day after Thanksgiving, but we end up waiting… because, well, that makes more sense.

9. Christmas music has been playing non-stop since November 1.

No one ever changes the station.

10. All of the nights leading up to Christmas include cheesy Christmas Hallmark movies, cozy PJs, and hot cocoa.

Because the cold winter nights just aren’t the same after Christmas has come and gone.

11. It takes you hours to decorate for Christmas just because you have to analyze and reminisce over every single tree ornament and decoration.

This is a long process, as it should be. While you probably never forgot what ornaments and decorations your family has, it’s fun to act like you do.

No, College Won’t Be The Best Four Years Of My Life

October 27, 2015

Growing up, we are often told that college will be the best four years of our lives.

I don’t think it’s true.

We end up waiting for high school to be done and over with just so we can start a new chapter of our lives, with new friends in new places, at a college hundreds of miles away from the place we call home.

College is exciting and usually very interesting, but it’s not forever. It teaches us a lot of what we know. College teaches us about how much we miss our family and those we love, true friends, quality morals, and our own personal values. Those are reasons why I refuse to believe that college will be the best four years of my whole entire life.

If college were the best four years of my life, I would be almost done with the best part of it. As a junior in college, I would hate to think that my life would be over in a little more than a year and a half. This has always driven me nuts. No, random woman working at the grocery store or nosy man sitting next to me in the waiting room at the dentist’s office, college just won’t be the best four years of my life. It’s exciting and all, but I have a whole life to look forward to still.

It might have been the best four years of your life, but you made that choice for yourself. Stop telling me that college will be the best years of mine.

I haven’t experienced life after college yet, but I know that it isn’t boring. I’ve seen it unravel right in front of me. There are those who post “Me! Me! Me!” on Facebook (we all do it) and the ones who are too bashful to share their big news, but it leaks anyway. Life doesn’t go downhill and fall into pieces. In fact, life is what you make it, and it requires you putting all of the pieces together. That includes putting pieces back together, even if they have fallen apart.

Sure, every day will be different. It will start to pour right when you’re driving to work, but you left your raincoat and umbrella at home. You will spill red spaghetti sauce all over your favorite white blouse, and you’ll be late to a very important job interview because of unexpected traffic on the highway. The real world can be scary, upsetting, stressful, and frustrating.

The real world is life.

Life is what you make it, right?

It turns out, you can make your own life how you want it.

So go to a city you’ve never been to and fit in as a local. Sit down in a cafe and try a meal you’ve always sworn you’ve hated but never really had a true bite of.

Go to the bookstore and surround yourself with good books, because books will make you smarter; they’ll make you appreciate people and life as your own true story.

Go back to that cafe another day and go to lunch by yourself just because you can. There’s no need to worry about what others will think of you.

Quit your job if it’s not what you’re looking for. Money is something, but it’s not everything.

Branch out from your comfort zone and introduce yourself to someone without the help of social media. You’ll make honest connections that way.

I plan on hating some of my days and loving most of them, because that’s what learning what you love is about. College isn’t the end of an era; it’s the start of a new one.

Enjoy your college years while you still have them, but don’t look at college as the end of your life. It’s only the beginning.

15 Reasons Why Target Always Gets The Best Of Me

October 18, 2015

Let’s face it. We all have a miniature, if not large, obsession with the store that we have all come to love: Target. With its cute clothes and killer savings, there’s no doubt that shopping at Target is everybody’s guilty pleasure. I have been known to make two or three Target trips per week, usually just for the sake of it, but sometimes because I make it a point to actually search through all of the weekly hidden gems that Target has to offer. Here are some reasons why Target will forever and always get the best of me.

1. The clothes are too cute to pass up.

I can’t just not walk by. If you shop right, the clothing gets marked down not too long after it’s been put out, but I’m too impatient; I have to get it right then and there. In fact, Target even has a mark-down schedule for all of their products. That’s where all of my money goes. Sometimes, I like to justify my choices with the idea that Merona or Mossimo clothing is 10 percent off on Cartwheel. At least it’s some type of discount, right?

2. The dollar spot welcomes you when you walk into every Target store.

This section is specifically addicting when a holiday is coming. Just kidding, it’s always addicting. Cute and simple decorations and pencils for cheap are my thing, and you bet that I will probably buy them all. All of the items in this section are usually no more than $3, so there’s no way you can feel guilty or bad about yourself when buying a few decorations or items that will probably actually never be used, because why not? The dollar spot practically yells “FREE!”

3. There’s always a clearance section of kitchen items.

I know this, because I’ve spent my fair share of time in Targets across New England, and it’s always there. It’s most certainly a go-to when I’m spending an afternoon indulging in my Target obsession. Those red marked-down price stickers are everything!

4. My mom shares the same obsession as me.

Actually, I get my Target obsession from her. We are all set to go to Target for hours without even trying to get each other to leave. It’s just that fun. Thanks for teaching me your Target ways, mom!

5. The holiday decorations are always out months before they really need to be.

Why not buy Christmas decorations in October? We can skip right over Halloween. I don’t mind.

6. Target has the BEST shoe game.

Somehow, Target always has knock-off Converses or Keds (and they’re still cute), so I end up with them all. They are always a decent price, and there are usually plenty of shoe sales on Cartwheel. Plus, they keep up-to-date with their flats game. What’s not to like?

7. Happy back-to-school time from Target!

I’ve had my first day of college three times now, but I still find the time to find new blankets, lamps, plastic bins, and picture frames that I know I don’t need. That’s why Target is my best friend. They always have a special theme and colors for back-to-school bedding and storage, which makes it so exciting to go shopping. All of these items can be found in Target’s lookbook, which is typically sent out in the mail every summer. Even the notebooks are pretty, so I get my back-to-school to-do list done in June.

8. Target always seems to put me in a baking mood.

I always want to bake, but something about shopping in Target always makes me want to bake everything. It’s where I end up buying more sprinkles, pink frosting, and the holiday-themed funfetti cupcake mix, so maybe that has something to do with it. Either way, I’m okay with it.

9. It seems like I always take a stroll through the beauty aisles, just because.

Then I end up with face soap, nail polish, and ChapStick that I want but don’t need.

10. The gift-wrapping aisle is a necessity.

Especially when you actually have to buy wrapping paper or gift bags for a present. They have gift bags in every single color and size. What more could you ask for?

11. What better way to begin or end a shopping trip to Target?

The answer? With a Starbucks drink in hand. Plus, Starbucks even has wicked cool cup holders made specifically just for your Target cart. How convenient!

12. Target REDcards save me money.

I have a Target REDcard, which means I get 5 percent off all of my purchases at Target. This means I’m always saving money, even when I feel guilty about buying that sweater. Its so easy to sign up for too.

13. Target promises to make sure you always get the best deal.

I’ve personally never tried it, because there’s too much I love at Target to wait and “buy it later,” but their website confidently boasts about their “Price Match Guarantee.” Of course, this only goes for qualifying items and websites, but still, how awesome is that?

14. Every Target store in every location looks exactly the same.

And that is a total win. Every time I go into a different Target store, I still know exactly where everything is. The holiday aisles are tucked in the back corner, the women’s clothing is nestled right next to the front entrance, and the home decoration aisles are always sandwiched in the middle. Target knows how to keep a person organized, and you have to love it just for that very reason.

15. Target keeps me out of Wal-Mart (which I’m very thankful for).

I can’t help but seem to notice that all Wal-Marts are the same, just as all Targets are the same. Wal-Mart has disorganized parking lots with crazy and awful drivers, unhappy customers, and is generally far too busy for you to navigate a shopping cart. Target is different. The parking lots are better designed, the customers always seem to think they are on vacation while shopping, and the aisles are wider, so you are able to successfully navigate a shopping cart without running someone over. Target makes life easy.