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Things To Do During Christmas in College

Being in college only allows you to get out more during the Christmas spirit. It’s time to take a break during this winter season and get out with your friends who are also stuck in their dorm rooms. With more freedom, you can explore the Christmas lights during throughout the night and plan Christmas festivities during the weekends. Here a just a few things that you can do during this Christmas time while in college:

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My Thanksgiving College Haul

My small Kanken backpack, a small duffel bag, and a medium suitcase. All filled up except the suitcase.

Now, why would I need all this for a 5 day Thanksgiving weekend? And I only traveled about 4 hours from Boston to New York City. It may have looked like I have overpacked, but that’s not the case. The suitcase was designed to bring back all the things that I have been craving and needing in the past 2 or 3 months that I have not been home. So, as unravel my suitcase back in my dorm, let me give you a little Thanksgiving break haul.

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The Christmas 2018 Gift Swap Guide

It’s finally December, which means there’s probably one or two fated gift swaps looming on the horizon for you. Whether it’s between family, friends, suitemates/roommates, or classmates, gift swaps can be incredibly stressful.

The anxiety can be even worse when you’re the one organizing a swap. Geez, I can just feel the sweat dripping down my back from thinking about it. Between all the bureaucracy and scheming that goes on during a gift swap, there’s definitely lots to be worried about.

With that in mind, I’ve devised to create a 2018 gift swap guide to help alleviate the unwanted, unnecessary stress associated with this Christmas gift-giving staple. Gift swaps might look complicated from the outside, but don’t let them fool you—they’re actually not as daunting as they appear to be. Read ahead, and learn to conquer your fear of gifts swaps—you’ve got this, sweetie!

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When Your Roommate is Your Best Friend

I hate making new friends. It is awkward, and stressful, and involves “putting yourself out there” and “taking risks,” two of my all-time least favorite activities. Also, like most things I hate, I am bad at it.

Which is why after my freshman year of college, I decided to leave a place where I was comfortable and had friends and knew people and was so close to home I could go home any weekend. It makes complete sense that I would abandon that for a city six to eight hours away where I knew no one and would be living with total strangers.

Especially considering the fact that I handled my first new-college experience very well. (Narrator: She did not handle it well.)

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How to Stay on Top of School (Without a Mental Breakdown)

When it comes to school, I have precisely two modes. Either I am living my life as if I have never before attended school, as though for all intents and purposes I am the human equivalent of a tumbleweed, drifting through life with no burdens or responsibilities; or I am a sleepless zombie editing the same sentence of a paper that isn’t due for three days until the sun rises. There is absolutely no in between.

Since high school, I have dedicated all of my energy to making sure that I do not revert into Anthropomorphic Tumbleweed Mode, which means it’s been all school obsession all the time. In the hopes of preventing a mental breakdown or two, I’ve been trying to chill out a bit. Here are some of the ways to maintain that balance.

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How to Transform Your Desk Space

Just a few days ago, I came into my dorm to find my suitemate doing her homework on the floor of her room (love you the most, Katie). I was pretty confused until I took a look at her desk; it was in absolute shambles, with books, papers, clothes, and random Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup wrappers strewn about.

Now, this is not a roast of my suitemate, because I feel like 90% of the dorm rooms desks I see are in the exact same shape. When I ask people why this is, the answer most often has to do with how boring and bland dorm room desks are. And, if you’re not creatively inclined, or don’t have any clue as to how to decorate and organize a desk, you’re at an even greater disadvantage. It seems that when a desk isn’t “homey” or conducive to productivity, people are less likely to work there.

Conversely, I do a majority of my work at my desk, but that’s only because I’ve made it an environment that I want to work at. While I keep my desk strictly organized, I have also added some little knick-knack things that remind me of home and that make me smile whenever I look at them. I’m here today to give you a sneak-peek as to how you too can make your desk a space that you actually want to work at.

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Campus

The Parent Weekend Getaway

Like many of us Emerson students, you may know what happened this weekend. And no, it’s not Halloween, that’s next weekend. But it’s almost similar to move-in day, where there’s a swarming crowd of your loved ones getting to send you off into this new world of adult life. Some have long awaited this moment. But if you haven’t guessed it by now, it was Parents Weekend. Whether you’re an international student or it’s too expensive for your family to come to visit, your weekend might just consist of staying on campus. With many of your friends and roommates out with their parents, you wonder what could you possibly do. For those won’t be expecting a visit from their parents this weekend, there’s still plenty of things for you to do.

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The Beginner’s Guide to Surviving the Train in Boston

The Boston Train system, known fondly as “the T” to us locals, has become my second home.

I take the train back home every Friday to good ol’ Lynn, Massachusetts. You can find me squished between the gentleman in the wrinkled business suit and the old woman knitting a scarf. I hop on the Green Line at the Boylston station, take a train to Government Center, then connect over to the Blue Line. From there, I sit tight all the way to the last stop: Wonderland.

I’d like to consider myself a professional T rider at this point. While I’m most accustomed to the Green and Blue Lines, I’ve also traveled on every single other line at some time or another. It’s taken me a long time to be comfortable taking the T—I’ve only had one panic attack in a T station this whole year, and that was because I’m weak and couldn’t lift my suitcase on to the train (I decided I needed to bring home several pairs of shoes that week).

Being the aficionado I am, I decided to come up with a list of the five best tips I have for taking the train in Boston. Listen up, rookies:

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Campus

Emerson 48 Hour Film Festival

Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be watching myself acting on an AMC movie theater screen eating a banana. Low and behold, it happened, and I’m only a second semester freshman. I guess that’s just the life of a film student.

My personal experience during the 48 Hour Film Festival could probably be summed up in two words: exciting and exhausting. You would think that making a three minute film in 48 hours was pretty simple, but it was far from it. Every group was assigned a different genre to work with, so the films all varied greatly in style, mood, and theme. Our team was given mockumentary as the genre, and luckily, our idea for the film came instantaneously. We created a mockumentary about “bro culture” explaining the life of typical frat boys in their natural habitats. It was designed to be an adaptation of the Planet Earth documentary, giving it a tribal atmosphere which was perfect for describing frat boys. Therefore, we named the film Planet Bro.

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Campus

Movie Websites for the Bored

Winter has officially hit Boston. With the cold spells in the city over the past couple of weeks, it has become harder to be outside than during the warmer months, which means staying inside for long periods of time. With this, figuring out what to do all day can be unbearable, especially if you have nothing to do.

However, there are some solutions. For all of my fellow movie lovers, in particular, there are many websites to get addicted to when trying to pass time. So, here are some different sites to check out this winter when we’re stuck inside all day.

Keep Track of the Movies You’ve Watched

Letterboxd

For those like me who like to rate movies and keep track of what you watched, Letterboxd is the best website for you. Unlike merely rating and writing a review on IMDb, this goes beyond that, as you can makes lists for yourself and the community, you can follow other reviewers, and it even tells you where the movies are available to watch. It’s an extremely helpful tool for those who care about knowing what they’ve watched in the past and, at least for me, it’s fun to look back at what I’ve seen.

Flickchart

While not as sleek a website as Letterboxd, this is a website for those who are completely bored. Flickchart is a film ranking website where two movies are put head-to-head and you have to choose which one you like better. In this way, it keeps track of what you’ve watched, and, overtime, it’ll tell you what movie you possibly like best, based on how many times you thought the movie was superior to its opponent. For some strange reason, it’s super addicting and lures you in as soon as you choose the first poster displayed on the site. When you eventually get out of the routine of ranking, looking at your own statistics makes it seem worth the trouble of spending time doing such a mindless act.

Figure Out What to Stream

JustWatch

Have you ever wanted to watch a movie, but it wasn’t on Netflix? Well, maybe it’s somewhere else that you didn’t think to look. But, instead of forcing yourself to go through each streaming service, JustWatch can tell you exactly where to find it. Just type in the movie and it will tell you exactly where you can stream, rent, and buy the movie. It’s extremely helpful and simple for those looking for something to stream and even does TV shows for those looking for something to binge.

What the Hell Should I Watch on Netflix?

I found this website years ago and whenever I use it, I’m not disappointed. All you have to do it indicate what genre you want to watch, and it will generate a movie for your viewing pleasure. You can also choose Random if you want a complete shot in the dark, but that’s up to you. While that does seem pretty risky to immediately go for the first movie it shows, it also allows you to choose a different random film it should generate. It mostly consists of fairly unknown films, so there’s a chance that you’ve either never seen it or even never heard of it. To fix that, they provide a trailer, brief summary to entice you, and even its Rotten Tomatoes score to prove that their recommendation has had some critical praise. It is, of course, not a perfect solution to the question “What the Hell Should I Watch on Netflix?” but it’s a good way to find out about new movies that were not quite as mainstream.

Before the Theater

RunPee

I’m sure we’ve all been in this situation: you’re sitting in the theater, having already finished the liter of water or soda, and you feel the sensation of having to go to the restroom. Unfortunately, though, the movie just started. So, the question becomes, “When should I go to the restroom?” RunPee gets information from people who have already seen the movie and tells you the best timeframe to go to the restroom. It’ll even give you alerts if you choose to tell you when a good scene to skip is coming up.

Does the Dog Die?

This a little sillier than the rest, but is nevertheless helpful, especially for those who don’t want to see a specific thing in a movie, TV show, or book. Though it started with just answering the question of whether the dog dies, it also has other categories like whether it has clowns or jump-scares or other possibly fear-inducing or triggering things. It’s always updated, so be sure to check this out before you watch the movie in the theater or at home.

While these websites are great to browse for when you’re bored during the winter days, they can also be helpful in keeping track of your watching habits and knowing what you’re about to watch. Hopefully, these websites will make your viewing experience just a little more fun.