It's College Weekend Time! (Plus The Quick 10: The Best of College Weekend)

It's been a while, but it's finally time for another College Weekend! If you're a college student "“ graduate, undergraduate, beauty school, PhD, we don't care "“ here's your chance to get your mug on the mental_floss home page. Send your story ideas and a paragraph or two about yourself to

What better way to spend Spring Break, right? Mexico or mental_floss"¦ I know what I would choose. Oh, and Huskers need not apply. (I'm kidding, I'm kidding.) If you need some inspiration, check out the College Weekend archives. Some of our past stories have been wildly popular "“ here are 10 of our favorites.


Elephant1. 6 Curious College Donations by Katie Kelly from Princeton. That elephant in the picture? Yep, that was a donation to Tufts University. College Weekend has the scoop on other wacky things bequeathed to schools.
2. 5 Mind-Numbingly Long Movies by Andy Luttrell from Eastern Illinois University. When you need a sleep aid and don't have any Tylenol P.M. in the house, just check out one of these - literally. The #1 movie on the list is called The Cure for Imsomnia and clocks in at 87 hours long.
3. The Origins of Your Favorite Video Game Friends by Nick Cannon from Elon University. Why does Mario have a mustache? Nick Cannon has the answer.
4. The Stories Behind Your Favorite Cereal Mascots by Nick Hansen of Saint John's University. Get the sordid backstory behind Horatio P. Crunch's rise to cereal stardom!
5. TV Characters Who Suffered From Chuck Cunningham Syndrome by Patrick Hildebrandt from Temple University. CCS is a terrible illness that seems to afflict minor sitcom characters. One day they're on the show, healthy as a horse, and the next day they've disappeared into the boob tube great beyond.
6. 5 Things You Didn't Know About the NYC Subway (not relating to that mysterious smell) by Tess Baldwin from Hunter College. I'm sad that the NYC Department of Transportation no longer holds "Miss Subways" competitions. Can you imagine how great/awful that would be today?
7. How Much Do You Really Know About the Presidential Candidates? by Abby Shepherd, Temple University. What's really interesting about this post is seeing who the front runners were a year ago.
8. When Nuns Meet Sports by Jason Plautz, Northwestern. This roundup of athletic holywomen makes you wonder when the first-ever IronNun will be held.
9. 4 Lost Civilizations (and what might have happened to them) by Nathan Johnson from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. You have to admit, entire civilizations just disappearing without a trace is pretty creepy.
10. 4 Celebrity Band Geeks by Steven Clontz from Auburn. As a former band geek myself, I particularly enjoyed this one.

5 Subtle Cues That Can Tell You About Your Date's Financial Personality

Being financially compatible with your partner is important, especially as a relationship grows. Fortunately, there are ways you can learn about your partner’s financial personality in a relationship’s early stages without seeing their bank statement or sitting them down for “the money talk.”

Are they a spender or a saver? Are they cautious with money? These habits can be learned through basic observations or casual questions that don’t feel intrusive. Here are some subtle things that can tell you about your date’s financial personality.


Casual conversations about finance-related topics can be very revealing. Does your date know if their employer matches their 401(k) plan contributions? Do you find their answers to any financial questions a bit vague—even the straightforward ones like “What are the rewards like on your credit card?” This could mean that your partner is a little fuzzy on some of the details of their financial situation.

As your connection grows, money talks are only natural. If your date expresses uncertainty about their monthly budget, it may be an indicator that they are still working on the best way to manage their finances or don’t keep close tabs on their spending habits.


If you notice your partner is always watching business news channels, thumbing through newspapers, or checking share prices on their phone, they are clearly keeping abreast of what’s going on in the financial world. Ideally, this would lead to a well-informed financial personality that gives way to smart investments and overall monetary responsibility.

If you see that your date has an interest in national and global finances, ask them questions about what they’ve learned. The answers will tell you what type of financial mindset to expect from you partner moving forward. You might also learn something new about the world of finance and business!


You may be able to learn a lot about someone’s financial personality just by asking what they usually do for dinner. If your date dines out a lot, it could be an indication that they are willing to spend money on experiences. On the other hand, if they’re eating most of their meals at home or prepping meals for the entire week to cut their food budget, they might be more of a saver.


Money is a source of stress for most people, so it’s important to observe if financial anxiety plays a prominent role in your date’s day-to-day life. There are a number of common financial worries we all share—rising insurance rates, unexpected car repairs, rent increases—but there are also more specific and individualized concerns. Listen to how your date talks about money and pick up on whether their stress is grounded in worries we all have or if they have a more specific reason for concern.

In both instances, it’s important to be supportive and helpful where you can. If your partner is feeling nervous about money, they’ll likely be much more cautious about what they’re spending, which can be a good thing. But it can also stop them from making necessary purchases or looking into investments that might actually benefit them in the future. As a partner, you can help out by minimizing their expenses for things like nights out and gifts in favor of less expensive outings or homemade gifts to leave more of their budget available for necessities.


Does your date actually look at how much they’re spending before handing their credit card to the waiter or bartender at the end of the night? It’s a subtle sign, but someone who looks over a bill is likely much more observant about what they spend than someone who just blindly hands cards or cash over once they get the tab.

Knowing what you spend every month—even on smaller purchases like drinks or dinner—is key when you’re staying on a budget. It’s that awareness that allows people to adjust their monthly budget and calculate what their new balance will be once the waiter hands over the check. Someone who knows exactly what they’re spending on the small purchases is probably keeping a close eye on the bigger picture as well.


While these subtle cues can be helpful signposts when you’re trying to get an idea of your date’s financial personality, none are perfect indicators that will be accurate every time. Our financial personalities are rarely cut and dry—most of us probably display some behaviors that would paint us as savers while also showing habits that exclaim “spender!” By relying too heavily on any one indicator, we might not get an accurate impression of our date.

Instead, as you get to know a new partner, the best way to learn about their financial personality is by having a straightforward and honest talk with them. You’ll learn more by listening and asking questions than you ever could by observing small behaviors.

Whatever your financial personality is, it pays to keep an eye on your credit score. Discover offers a Free Credit Scorecard, and checking it won't impact your score. It's totally free, even if you aren't a Discover customer. Check yours in seconds. Terms apply. Visit Discover to learn more.

Where Do Birds Get Their Songs?

Birds display some of the most impressive vocal abilities in the animal kingdom. They can be heard across great distances, mimic human speech, and even sing using distinct dialects and syntax. The most complex songs take some practice to learn, but as TED-Ed explains, the urge to sing is woven into songbirds' DNA.

Like humans, baby birds learn to communicate from their parents. Adult zebra finches will even speak in the equivalent of "baby talk" when teaching chicks their songs. After hearing the same expressions repeated so many times and trying them out firsthand, the offspring are able to use the same songs as adults.

But nurture isn't the only factor driving this behavior. Even when they grow up without any parents teaching them how to vocalize, birds will start singing on their own. These innate songs are less refined than the ones that are taught, but when they're passed down through multiple generations and shaped over time, they start to sound similar to the learned songs sung by other members of their species.

This suggests that the drive to sing as well as the specific structures of the songs themselves have been ingrained in the animals' genetic code by evolution. You can watch the full story from TED-Ed below, then head over here for a sample of the diverse songs produced by birds.

[h/t TED-Ed]


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