How to Survive at UCF Without a Car

Her Campus

Originally published on April 18th, 2018, on Her Campus UCF.

So you got into your dream college, and you can’t wait to escape your hometown and curfew. Moving away from home, making new friends, and learning how to live independently are all exciting adventures that await your future, and you can’t wait to learn! You’ve packed up your clothes and your favorite photos of your besties, but one thing missing from your college survival kit: the freedom of transportation. If you’re moving away from home and realizing you’ll no longer have access to borrowing your parent’s car 24/7, don’t sweat it, I promise you will survive!

I’ve spent the past two years at UCF without a car, and I’ve compiled my best tips to help you get around without that fresh set of wheels that are missing from your dream.

Live On Campus

You might have your heart set on the luxurious, yet bank-breaking, apartments a few miles down the road from campus, but living at school had its perks. Other than being able to walk everywhere you need to go, you’ll be able to make friends with the residents in your building, and be able to sleep in extra 30 minutes before class. I spent my freshman year living in Lake Claire, and it was one of the best places for me to walk to class every day. UCF has a huge campus that acts as a mini-city, and I was able to do and see so much without ever having to leave. But when we can’t stay here forever, there are other options available.

Take the Shuttles

The shuttles are a gem that don’t get the recognition they deserve. UCF shuttles are free and run to all different parts of Orlando. Need to get groceries? Head on the grocery shuttle that comes every Tuesday to stock up on your favorite snacks. Want to go to Disney? Take the shuttle that runs to the Rosen campus, and your Über from there will only be around $10. Want to grab a bite to eat off campus? Take the different apartment route shuttles that drop off near restaurants, such as Plaza and Colligate Village Inn. Plus if you DO live off campus without a car (currently me), you’ll already be a pro at knowing how they operate.

Be Nice to Your Roommates

If you build up a strong bond with your roommates, I guarantee they will offer to drive you places in times of need. But make sure to hit them with some gas money as a thank you for their favor.

When All Else Fails, Über

What a great age it is that we are now encouraged to go against our parent’s wishes of getting in a car with a stranger. Yet Über and Lyft are powerful tools that will get you where you need to be, without the hassle. UCF even offers 50% off rides Friday and Saturday (k)nights to make sure we stay safe!

Being car-less might seem to be the biggest inconvenience out there, but it has humbled me to think outside the box when it comes to getting around. Remember that when the glorious moment comes that you do get a car of your own, be sure to pay back all your friends in the form of rides to thank them for putting up with you the past couple of semesters.


Two Years are Better Than One

BLOG, Reflections

A year ago, I woke up and had a beautifully typed out blog post ready to be published, celebrating the ups and downs of creating my first blog. June 10th, 2017 marked the one year anniversary of stepping out of my shell and trying something new, and that something just so happened to change the entire way I view life. This morning, I woke up and went through my daily routine, and noticed on my Timehop, that today, in fact, was June 10th, and the day I get to celebrate my blog turning two. Just goes to show you, no matter how hard you plan your life, somethings just sneak up on you. Unprepared, and with my eyes still adjusting to the light of day, I just wanted to take a moment to reflect on “Lena Dani” and all that has happened these past two years.

When I created this blog after high school graduation, I wasn’t sure where it would take me. I just wanted to keep busy for a day and try something new. In my first year publicly writing to a small audience of family and friends, I was able to discover the power of a post, and how many people actually do care about my small adventures in life. Rounding into this second year, I embarked on some serious journies (i.e. my Disney College Program), and my posting fell near the wayside (i.e. non-existent). No worries there, because I brought her back to life in January to fill in all the blanks.


During this time I was able to perfect my leadership skills and eventually be offered the role of incoming President for Her Campus UCF. I also was given the opportunity to write for the employee section of our Bluegreen website for the internship I am currently on, all because my managers discovered this blog. I truly believe I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am without the creation of this blog.

I recently have also been given the opportunity to work with several different promotional campaigns over social media as well as here at “Lena Dani”, that you can look forward to seeing soon! I accepted invitations to join Influencer Collectives, and go to meetups with fellow Orlando bloggers. I’m even heading to New York City this summer to attend a conference dedicated to girl bosses in the media.

So yeah, you could say that this blog has done a lot for me. I know sometimes that I get too caught up in life to document everything that I experience, but having the opportunity to just highlight on a few different aspects is the reason why this is such an amazing outlet for me.

Cheers to two successful years of “Lena Dani”, and here’s to many, many more!


Songs to Get You in the Summer Mood

Her Campus

Originally published on April 17th, 2018, on Her Campus UCF.

The sun is shining, your windows are down, and some of the best songs ever made are blasting out of your speakers. Summer is the perfect time to create playlists that radiate pop and positivity! Whether you are gearing up for a long road trip with your friends, or a chill day by the pool, everyone needs an epic soundtrack to back up the life-changing memories made during one of the most adventurous seasons of the year. Here are 13 tunes that you’ll want to max out the volume for all summer long.

1. “Sit Next to Me” by Foster the People

If you loved jamming out to “Pumped Up Kicks” in 2010, you’ll be obsessed with Foster the People’s newest single “Sit Next to Me” that radiates good vibes.

2. “American Dreamer” by Kyd the Band

You’re probably unfamiliar with Kyd the Band, but there’s no way you’re unfamiliar with the American dream. Add this to your 4th of July playlist to keep your party fresh.

3. “Heart Starts Beating” by Coasts

If you’re looking for the perfect song to put your positive emotions into words, look no further with “Heart Starts Beating”, plus who could go wrong with a band named Coasts

4. “Jungle” by Tash Sultana

If you’re more of a fan of progressive rock, Tash will blow you away with her guitar riffs and vocal skills.

5. “Rollin” by Calvin Harris ft Khalid

“Location” singer, Khalid, takes the vocals by storm on the perfect song to accompany your long drives ahead. The uplifting beat and techno beat from Calvin Harris will put a huge smile on your face.

6. “Kamikaze” by Walk the Moon

Walk the Moon is known for their nonstop bops, and Kamikaze is no exceptions. Turn this one all the way up for positive stares from drivers around you.

7. “Weather is Warm” by Manwolves

It’s summers, so chances are that the weather is warm. The chill beats mixed with melodically rapped versus makes this song a crowd pleaser for listeners of all genres.

8. “Always Been U” by Phangs

Techno indie-pop artist Phangs is new to the music scene, but if you’re a dedicated fan you might know front-runner Jake Germany is also a member of Reliant K. “Always Been U” will have you dancing all night long!

9. “Feels Like Summer” by Panama Wedding

Of course, it feels like summer when this song is on repeat. Panama Wedding’s upbeat vibes and feel-good soul will create the perfect soundtrack for your day at the beach.

10. “Made In Hollywood” by LANY

If you can’t make it to California this summer to live out your west coast dreams, LANY will bring you there in just under 4 minutes.

11. “California” by Wilder

Another mental road trip will take place while jamming out to this bop. The intro guitar riffs will have you dreaming of days in the sun.

12. “Beach Boys” by Weezer

A modern classic by the band that brought us past summer hits, such as “Island in the Sun” and “Beverly Hills”

13. “Permanent Vacation” by The Academic

Of course, we all wish we could live in a permanent vacation, and fortunately living in Florida is the perfect excuse to scream this song at the top of your lungs.

Whether you’re road-tripping it to the beach, or stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on your daily commute to work, this playlist will have you rolling your window down and dancing in your car so obnoxiously that others around you will stare. Nothing but infectious good vibes as we enter the carefree days of summer.