Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle: Ways to Go Green on Your Own

Even when I was younger and global warming and the environment seemed to be a much more distant problem, I was still constantly told by adults to “go green” and “reduce, reuse, and recycle.” As a kid, my idea of using the three R’s was making a guitar out of the tissue box my mom was going to throw away.

Continue reading “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle: Ways to Go Green on Your Own”

Make the Most of Your Mondays

Garfield famously hates Mondays. If you go to the clothing section of almost any store you’re bound to find shirts that boast how much they hate Mondays. The Cure permanently dubbed Mondays as blue in “Friday I’m in Love.” No matter where you look at it, the world seems to collectively hate Mondays.

I’m no fan of Mondays either. I’m no stranger to being up late on a Sunday night and groaning because I realize what day it is tomorrow. But lately I’ve started to realize that adamantly hating one day of the week might not be the best attitude to have.

Mondays are often considered the beginning of the week because that’s when the work week starts. Monday is a chance for a fresh start and if you have a bad attitude about it, it might affect how your week goes.

I’m starting to think that changing my attitude about Mondays might go a long way:

Schedule Something to Look Forward To

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During this past school year, I always looked forward to Mondays because I had a club meeting at night that I enjoyed attending. If you schedule an activity that you know you’re going to look forward to on a Monday, it might make getting through that Monday grind a little easier. Make plans to hang out with friends on Monday nights or get coffee with someone if your schedules are too busy hang out. Mondays definitely may not have the most freedom as Fridays, but they don’t have to be miserable.

Start at a Reasonable Time

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If you’re in college and you’re able to make your own schedule, consider what time you’re starting on Mondays. You may not want to schedule that 8am class because it’s often hard to get up early especially at the beginning of the week. But it also may not be good to not schedule classes until 4pm. If you don’t have classes until the afternoon, you might not have any motivation to get up until the late afternoon and then your week is off to a sluggish start. Mondays are all about balance and knowing your schedule is key to getting a Monday attitude.

Take it as an Opportunity

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We all know Mondays stink, but if you try to have a better attitude about Mondays, it may help your whole week go more smoothly. Don’t treat it as a hurdle you have to get over just to get closer to Friday, but rather as an opportunity to get things done for the week. If Monday is one of your more productive days of the week, it leaves less for you to do later in the week when you start to anticipate the weekend. I often find it easier to tackle large projects like papers and presentations on Sundays and Mondays rather than on Thursdays and Fridays when the upcoming weekend has taken all my motivation away.

No matter what you do to try to make your Mondays more manageable, just realize that Monday is the start of the week. So if you try to make the most of your Mondays, hopefully the rest of the week will be just as successful.

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Images: Giphy (3), Jim Davis (1)

When Books Become Movies: Why Are the Original Covers Being Covered Up?

“I want the original cover! I don’t want to see Sam Claflin and Emilia Clark on the cover.”

I was in the book section of Target when I heard someone two aisles away complaining about how she couldn’t find the original version of Me Before You, a book by Jojo Moyes which has recently been turned into a major motion picture.

It wasn’t until I heard her ranting about this to her friend that I realized how common this was. As soon as a book is announced it’s going to be turned into a movie, the new covers with the actors faces grace all the shelves. It becomes increasingly harder to find a book with the original cover. I’ve noticed someone who wants to get an original cover of paying extra money for shipping. Some people might not mind, but it is a waste of a trip for someone who was hoping to pick up a book with its original cover only to find the ones released for the movies.

When I was reading The Fault in Our Stars and went to search for a copy of my own around the time the movie came out, if I went into a store like Target or Walmart, I had basically no chance of finding a cover without Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort plastered on it. Bookstores are a little better, but the best chance is usually online.

I understand that the hype paves the way for a lot of marketing opportunities. Now that the characters have actors, they become a brand for the movie. But it also brings up an issue that is not completely unlike the popular books into movies debate. Fans may be upset enough to see their favorite books being made into movies because they’re afraid the movies won’t live up to the what the books have given them.

I’ve always been a fan of books being made into movies. In fact, recently I prefer reading books that I know are going to be made into movies because I like reading the story for myself first and then seeing how the director, actors, writers and others who work on the movie interpret the text differently than I did. It’s taking the books you loved and giving them new life.

But limiting the selling of the original book covers is taking away from what the books used to be. While all the authors whose books are made into movies obviously support the decision for this to be done, I feel like only selling the movie covers is trying to erase where the book came from. The movie trailers always boast that the movie you’re about to see was a book first, so taking the original copies off the shelves seems contradictory to me. When fans read books they build up their own worlds in their heads. They have their own ideas of what the characters look like and what the setting is.

So I understand why a lot of fans wouldn’t want to see the books they’ve read become movies because then they’re losing the world they created. You can separate the books and the movies. You can choose not to see the movie or you can choose to treat it as an entirely separate interpretation, but as soon as the movie marketing starts infiltrating its way into the books, there’s no separation anymore. Those characters are only what they are on screen. You can open Twilight without seeing Robert Pattinson, The Hunger Games without Jennifer Lawrence, Divergent without Theo James.

When these new covers are released, they’re giving the books new life, and that’s certainly exciting too. A lot of people see Emma Watson as Hermoine or Josh Hutcherson as Peeta. I just think the old books should be kept around too, because without the original cover that first made that book chosen by curious readers who searched the shelves for a new book, there would be no movie in the first place.

The Amazing Race 28 Finale

After twelve episodes which covered a race of 21 days and 27,000 miles in ten different countries, the 28th season of The Amazing Race finally came to end. While the show usually has a random selection of contestants, this season kept it interesting by having all social media stars and their families race around the world to compete for the million dollar grand prize.

Since I’ve  faithfully watched the show since its fifteenth season, I was eagerly awaiting the finale. This season was especially exciting for me because it was the first time I knew of a team prior to them joining The Race. So it only increased my support. I had been rooting for Tyler Oakley and Korey Kuhl before the season even began, so you could imagine my excitement when they made it into the final three.

As always, this season of The Amazing Race was, well, amazing. Teams took mud baths in Mexico, played Tejo in Colombia, built a swiss army knife in Switzerland, identified flags at the UN, collected dynamite to cause avalanches in France, stitched ornate carpets in Armenia, performed on stage with the Georgian National Ballet, raced against camels on bikes in Dubai, faced a U-Turn, harvested salt and jumped off cliffs in Indonesia, looked for landmarks in Window of the World in China and then finally traveled back to the United States for the finale.

After the first four episodes when teams Darius and Cameron, Marty and Hagan, and Brittany and Jessica had been eliminated, I made predictions for the remaining teams as a fun way to see the teams’ progress throughout the season. Here was the result:

Predictions:

1. Tyler and Korey

2. Kurt and Brodie

3. Burnie and Ashley

4. Dana and Matt

5. Sheri and Cole

6. Zach and Rachel

7. Erin and Joslyn

8. Scott and Blair

Actual:

1. Dana and Matt

2. Sheri and Cole

3. Tyler and Korey

4. Burnie and Ashley

5. Kurt and Brodie

6. Zach and Rachel

7. Scott and Blair

8. Erin and Joslyn

The finale was jam packed with tension as always. Teams had to fly from China to Los Angeles for the final leg. Once there, they were instructed to go to Angelus Plaza, where they had to jump off the building and try to catch a clue that was suspended a few feet from the building. If they missed their clue, they had to start all over again. Then they took a helicopter to Santa Barbara where they had to maneuver a boat and find a specific boat to get their next clue.

In probably the hardest task I’ve ever seen done on The Race—though the teams made it look effortless— they made their way to Gibraltar Rock. One team member had to drag themselves across the canyon, while the other was rappelled down the rock. They had to synchronize their pace so that they could each grab half a clue. Then they had to make their way back across the canyon or up the rock and put their clues together.

The next and final task was, as always, a memory challenge. For as long as I’ve been watching The Race there’s been a task in the finale where they have to remember information from every leg of the season. This task took place at Grassini Family Vineyards where they had to arrange letters and hashtags on the wine barrels to spell out the names of the cities in the order they visited with the corresponding hashtag they were given in their clue for that leg.

After racing through this task, Dana and Matt made their way to the finish line, where all the eliminated teams as well as host, Phil Keoghan, were waiting for them. Sheri and Cole came in not long after and then same with Tyler and Korey. The entire season was very close and all the teams were very strong and competitive. While it was disappointing to have been rooting for Tyler and Korey all season and not see them win, this still became a season of The Amazing Race I will  never forget.

Bleeding Blue in Beantown

When I was younger I told my mother I would never live in Boston. It wasn’t because it was a city. It wasn’t because it was far away from home. No, it was because Boston is where the Boston Red Sox play, and as a stubborn Yankees fan, I wasn’t about to subject myself to that city.

Fast forward and I’m visiting Emerson College with my mom and my aunt. I’m wearing my Yankees sweatshirt and the T worker glares at me as he tries to explain to us how the T works. My mom claims that more people were receptive to us when we asked them for directions when I took off my sweatshirt, but I wasn’t about to relent.

Most people would probably pack up all of their New York Yankees gear when traveling to Boston, but I saw it as a sign of pride. I’m proud of my team and I’m a constant upholder of the rivalry. I’m not afraid to joke around with classmates and friends about their Red Sox gear because I know I can trust them and it’s not going to get too serious.

Here’s the thing about any rivalry: it’s all in good fun. I wear my Yankees hat because I like baseball and they’re my favorite team. And sure, I almost killed my friend the time she was staying at my house in New York and she told me she was a Red Sox fan, but at the end of the day, I know how to respect people. I’m not going to shame people for their interests, and I also know that I’m in the minority in Boston and sometimes need to keep my mouth shut.

So if you’re a Yankees fan in Boston, or a sports fan of any kind in the minority, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Be Proud. (But Not Too Proud)

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I’m still waiting for the day the Yankees win the world series while I’m in Boston, so I can run around and gloat, but I also know that if that happens I probably won’t do that too publicly. It’s one thing if I text a friend about it but it’s another thing if I run through the streets of Boston and yell that the Red Sox stink. That would probably get me arrested. I am usually pretty safe wearing all Yankees gear at Emerson because I’ve actually become friends with more Yankees fans than Red Sox fans at college. This is because everyone is from different states.

Be Respectful, It’s a Game

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This really goes for any sort of interest. It’s best to just be the bigger person sometimes and just let it go. I never really tease anyone about the Red Sox unless I know them or they start it first, and it’s usually in good fun. I’ve heard stories about fans taking things too far and I never want to be that kind of fan.

Never Give In

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I had so many friends and family members talk about how I was going to become a Red Sox fan when I went away to college, but I laughed at all of them and told them that wasn’t true. I’m loyal and stubborn. (After all, I am writing an article about being a Yankees fan in Boston. I’m kind of taking a risk here.) I will be a Yankees fan as long as I live and I respect Red Sox fans for liking their team, even if the Yankees are better.

Images: Giphy (3)

Pub Club’s Spring 2016 Book Launch

One of the perks of being a student at Emerson is all of the organizations there are to take part in. No matter your major or interests, there’s probably an organization where you can express your interest and hone your skills outside of a classroom setting.

Undergraduate Students for Publishing, more commonly known as Pub Club, is an organization that operates less like a college organization at times, and more like its own mini publishing house. Pub Club publishes two manuscripts per semester and each manuscript is written, edited, designed and marketed by Emerson students. At the end of the semester, when the books are published all proceeds from book purchases go to the charities of each author’s choosing.

As the spring semester comes to a close, Pub Club is ready to launch two more books for the Emerson community to buy and enjoy.

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Gay by May, written by David Carliner, is a funny and honest account of some of his life stories. True to the title, many of the stories are about Carliner navigating his love life and figuring out his sexual identity. The book also breaks up a lot of the personal essays with lists and tweets for a fun and quick read. Carliner’s novel can be reminiscent of many of the novels that have been written by comedians lately, since Carliner is a comedian himself and brings a lot of that humor to his book. Carliner has chosen True Colors Fund, a nonprofit organization that seeks to end homelessness among LGBT Youth, as the charity he wishes the proceeds to go to.

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These Thoughts That Hold Us, written by Sarah Cummings, is a collection of interconnected short stories that are woven together by the common theme of mental illness and what seems to hold people together when everything else is falling apart. Cummings connects the five narratives by having the characters appear in each other’s stories, no matter how small the role may be, to establish that mental illness can affect anyone and it’s all connected. Cummings has chosen that the proceeds from These Thoughts That Hold Us go to Active Minds, a nonprofit organization that helps raise awareness and provide a safe environment for students to discuss mental illness.

When asked about advice he would give to aspiring writers, Carliner says, “Write a lot – obviously quality is important, but quantity is too. The more you write, the more you can parse the good from the bad.” When asked the same question, Cummings says, “The most important advice I could give is don’t give up and don’t stop submitting your writing, even when you fail. Also, it’s okay if your story isn’t going in the direction you planned, and it’s okay to give up control and see where it takes you. It’s also okay if you find a story just isn’t working anymore. It sucks, but if you’re at a dead end, it’s okay to put a story away for a while. You’ll either eventually be drawn back to it or you’ll come up with something that works even better.”

Pub Club is holding the launch for these two novels on April 19th at 7 p.m. in the Bill Bordy theater. The launch will also feature the 9th issue of Generic, which is Emerson’s only genre fiction literary magazine. The launch will have copies for sale of both books, and both authors will be answering questions as well as reading excerpts from their books.

Revising Your Opinion About Revisions

When I was in high school I stared at the red, failing grade of an essay I had written for English class, trying to read the scribbled comments my teacher had given me so I could somehow connect the grade to my writing. I thought I had understood the prompt. I thought I had studied. I thought I had managed my time well.

That was the problem. The essay was written in class and since our periods were only forty minutes long, I had that short amount of time to read a passage and write a cohesive five-paragraph essay in that time. The essay was only going to be as good as I was in those forty minutes and then the grade was final; never to be revised again.

There were a few opportunities in high school where I was given the chance to revise essays for better grades, but those chances were few and far between and even when they did arise, I never took advantage of them. In my AP English class, my teacher was very big on revisions, but I noticed I would always revise the tests and quizzes, but I would never take advantage of revising the essays. I used to say to myself that it was because I was happy with the essays, but as I watched myself getting seventies on essays and leaving them alone, I realized that probably wasn’t true.

I was pleasantly surprised when I came to college and in-class essays became almost completely obsolete. All the papers I had to write were done on my own time. Essays in high school were sprints; no matter how you prepared for them, time was still your biggest enemy. Papers in colleges are marathons; you are responsible to train for them and you’re given a longer time to go at your own pace and get to the finish line. I liked papers much better in college, until it came to the revisions.

I found myself doing the same thing I did in high school, except these revisions were required. I would write my first draft and receive comments on it, but then when it came to the chance to revise it, the revisions would be minimal. It seems irresponsible to not take advantage of revisions when you’re getting feedback from professors and peers that can help raise your grade, but I believe I am not alone on this.

Even as I was writing more fiction, which is what I love, I still found myself burying my stories in the bottom of my desk drawer without ever revisiting them again. If the revisions were required, I would do it of course, but once the stories were done, I never touched them again.

I feel like we often grow up with the idea that words are permanent. If we write them down; they stick forever and it’s a shame to revise them. I often found myself discouraged that I would never be a writer because I couldn’t sit down and write the next great American novel during my lunch period. When comments on my paper said that my essay was “too repetitive” or “didn’t make sense” I interrupted that as meaning that they were bad.

I’m still stuck in the old habits where revisions will be at the bottom of my to-do list, but I also have a totally different outlook on revisions. No one is perfect. Even as a writing major, I often have other friends tell me that writing should be easy for me. It’s not easy for me because writing isn’t easy. William Zinsser, the author of On Writing Well had a lot to say about revising and how writing isn’t easy:

“There are all kinds of writers and all kinds of methods, and any method that helps you to say what you want to say is the right method for you. Some people write by day, others by night. Some people write their first draft in one long burst and then revise; others can’t write their second paragraph until they fiddled endlessly with the first. But all of them are vulnerable and all of them are tense. They are driven by a compulsion to put some part of themselves on paper, and yet they don’t just write what comes naturally. They sit down to commit an act of literature, and the self who emerges is far stiffer than the person who sat down to write.”

But sometimes, the first step between being a good writer and being a great writer is realizing that not every word you write is going to be perfect, and that revisions aren’t something to be shamed about. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

I’ll Never Grow Up: Kids Activities Made for Adults

I remember being at a gathering at a family friend’s house in middle school. The adults were standing around talking and the kids were at a table coloring. I didn’t fit in with the adults because I was too young to partake in their conversations. The kids were all younger than me; elementary school or younger so I didn’t really fit in with them either. But still, I remember sitting down, taking a coloring book from the middle of the table and beginning color in the first picture I turn to. Then, an adult walked by and told me that coloring was for little kids, but I didn’t understand why. The little kids didn’t even stay in the lines.

I’ve found that this is not only evident in coloring. Similarly to how society often dictates which interests are acceptable due to gender, I’ve often found that I’ve been told I can’t do something because I’m too old. However, much like the adult coloring book craze, a lot of activities that were popular when you were a kid are being remade into something that is “acceptable” for adults.

Bath Bombs

When I was younger, I used to get into the bath with my bubble bath and bath crayons and doodle on the walls as my mom probably attempted to get me clean. However, when I got older, baths became a thing only for relaxing and even then, I never heard of adults taking baths that often. With the growing trend of bath bombs, an invention from Lush that turns your bath into an array of colors and smells, I see people taking pictures of their colorful baths more than ever before. However, bath bombs are a little expensive, so if you enjoy baths there’s no shame in using regular bubble bath.

Escape the Room

Modeled after a series of online games where the objective is to click around a room and find ways to discover clues so that you can escape the room your are trapped in, Escape the Room allows you to go with a group of people and experience this challenge in real life. I always thought that group events like this were only for kids, but since this game puts you in a slightly high pressure situation and requires you to work together, it’s more geared towards adults.

Coloring Books

I grew up thinking that coloring books were only for little kids, even if I thought that they were therapeutic and calming. I got both excited and a little upset when I saw the trend of adult coloring books increasing. I have my own and think they are really fun, but they’re also a little difficult to color in some times because the designs are so intricate. I’ve also realized that maybe a big reason that coloring books are so popular with kids is because they have the time to color and I often find I never have time to sit down and relax and color if I want to destress.

Hula Hoops

I used to hula hoop a lot when I was younger, but the only time I ever saw people hula hooping was at birthday parties or block parties. When I got older I realized that hula hooping is good for exercise and you can get a weighted hula hoop which increases the weight you’re putting around your waist so that it helps burn fat faster.

Alcoholic Desserts

I’ve often seen traditional foods I’ve eaten as a kid being turned into alcoholic beverages for adults. There are alcoholic versions of milkshakes, Jell-O shots, and even Egg Nog. I often remember being around family members and thinking they would be making milkshakes, but they were actually concocting Mudslides that looked no different than a chocolate milkshake to me.

I think the big thing to realize about this trend of having old activities that were stereotypically meant for kids turned into ones for adults is that adults are allowed to have fun too. If you want to use a Spiderman coloring book or play laser tag with your friends, nothing should stop you from having fun the way you want.

Get Org-anized

“I’m going to a meeting. And then another one after that.”

“Didn’t you just have a meeting?”

“Yeah, but I have more. And another one tomorrow.”

This is kind of how it goes for me. Being a member of four organizations, it’s not uncommon for me to have three meetings in a week. One night I even had three meetings in a row. At a school like Emerson, sometimes it’s hard to say no and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the stress that your organizations are adding to your already busy workload. Here are a few tips from someone who knows this stress firsthand.

Get Organized

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If you don’t already have a way of organizing all of the work you do, that’s your first step. Since college is so busy, it’s best to have a place to keep everything that you need to do in one spot so that you know all of your obligations. It might be easier to rank assignments and meetings in order of priority or due date so that you know what to do first. I usually highlight all of my assignments based on class or organization so I can quickly spot what I need to have completed for everything I’m involved in. If there’s a lot of things you have to do, it’s only going to be worse if you don’t hand things in or forget deadlines.

Prioritize

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If you find that you’re too stressed, consider doing less next semester or maybe dropping a club that same semester if you can. There are certain clubs, like magazines, where it’s harder to do that mid-semester because you’re on the staff. But if it’s a club where the only requirement is to go to meetings, it might be beneficial to take a few weeks off to get a hold of things or even drop the club entirely. You can always rejoin next semester if you think the workload will be lighter.

Focus on Yourself

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It’s so easy to compare yourself to others, especially when it comes to all of the activities that your peers are involved in. It’s easy to go on Facebook and see the films your friends have worked on or the articles your classmates have written and feel you’re not doing enough. I know I’ve often looked at classmates who are more involved than me and had the thought that I’m not doing enough, even when sometimes I’m way over my head. Having a heavy workload forces you to learn a lot about yourself, about what you can and cannot handle. Focus on what you can handle and not what everyone else is doing. That person in your class who’s in seven different organizations may look like they’re doing okay, but they probably barely have time to breathe, and if you can’t handle that (because honestly who can?) it’s okay to take a step back and reevaluate what you’re involved in.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No

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Don’t be afraid to say no. Emerson students are especially bad at this because everyone around us is always doing so many amazing things. It’s easy to feel like you’re underachieving if you’re not in seven different organizations. Every person is different and you know what you can handle. If your workload is too much, don’t feel pressured to stretch yourself too thin. It’s okay to miss a meeting or two every once in a while if you’re feeling too stressed. People will be understanding as long as you’re responsible about it.

Take Time to Destress

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If it’s 1 a.m. and you’re in between writing a paper, reading for a class and trying to prepare for meetings and classes the next day, maybe take a deep breath and take a minute to yourself. Take a long shower or watch an episode of a TV show to give yourself time to relax and decompress. The paper will eventually get done, but you probably won’t be successful if you’re too stressed or tired. Remember that your health is your first priority.

Sometimes it seems like attending an arts school pressures students to think that if they’re not doing well in all their classes as well as taking on multiple organizations, then they’re not getting the most out of their college experience. I have friends who go to more traditional schools and they may take more classes that have a larger workload, but I feel like the pressure to be involved is a lot less. It’s okay to not be involved in 101 things; just do what makes you happy and enjoy your college experience the way you want to.

Images: Giphy (5)