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:
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.
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.)
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.
Ah, the city school. There are so many upsides to attending a college in the heart of downtown: the exciting nearby events; the discounted access to museums and fancy cultural stuff; the jaw-dropping number of CVS franchises in a one-block radius. (It is truly mystifying that so many identical retail pharmacies can exist in such close proximity to each other without any threat to business whatsoever.)
However, with all upsides come downsides. Such is the way of the universe. There are two exceptions to this rule: the film Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, which is perfect, and the food known as the buttered popcorn jelly bean, which is one hundred percent downside and so unabashedly evil it is concrete evidence of the existence of the devil.
Going to college in the city has a downside, and it is this: it is expensive to live in a city, so unless you live on campus, you might have to move to the outskirts. And moving to the outskirts means spending a lot of time on transit. Here are some of my hard-won strategies to surviving my time on the train.
Coming into college, I experienced some of the worst anxiety of my entire life. The tiniest of problems set me off, sending me spiraling into a fray of worry. I start to sweat, and my heart begins to beat so fast that I feel like I’m running a marathon. Even as the semester comes to an end, I still worry about minor things like whether or not I’ll get to class on time, if I’ll have enough time to do all of my work, and if the library printer is going to have paper (which is a valid worry here at Emerson to be honest).
Some days are worse than others. At times, I’ll spend an entire day almost anxiety free. These are usually the days when I feel most in control of my life, when everything goes exactly to plan. However, there are those days when almost everything falls apart, and I spend every waking hour panicking, a slave to my brain’s irrational worries.
For chaotic days like these, I’ve come up with three foolproof “hacks” that help me manage my life, and thus my anxiety. Please note that these tips won’t work for everyone, and that if you’re dealing with a serious form of anxiety, consult with a medical professional or therapist. However, if you’re looking for some simple ways to try and reduce moderate anxiety throughout your day, keep reading!
Let me paint you a word picture. Remember fall/winter of your senior year of high school? Ah, memories. Memories mainly of the grueling, painful, next-level difficult college application process. Perhaps you did not vehemently hate applying to college, and perhaps even did not irrationally procrastinate doing so whenever possible, but if that is the case then you and I are not the same.
Despite this immense struggle, I persevered and applied and got into colleges and accepted one with great joy and relief and thought that was over and done with.
But then I got to college, promptly helped myself to a heavier and more all-encompassing workload than the one I had in high school, and thought, Hey. You know what would be fun? Doing my least favorite thing I’ve ever had to do again, while also having a barely feasible amount of work.
Thus I started up that glorious process again, while living it up in the second semester of my freshman year of college! It was an utter blast, and I definitely didn’t stay at the library until closing three nights per week or anything.
In all seriousness, there is no human emotion on this Earth quite like logging into the Common App website as a college student. I have never experienced full-body disgust like I did at the moment I was forced to enter the abyss of the College Board website and once more pay $15 to send each AP score to each school on my list. (What on this great green earth could those fifteen dollars possibly go to? They don’t even have to print anything! Just inform four post-secondary institutions of the grade I received on a U.S. History exam I took three years ago, please!)
I am already way more excited about Emerson than I was about my last school (air of mystery here so as not to start any drama), which makes that terrible period of my human existence worth it. However. Things did not suddenly become easy, which was a disappointment because I hope constantly that life will abruptly transform into a 24/7 walk in the park.
Being an Emerson student is pretty great so far, but being a transfer student can be hard. It is often like being a freshman, but with none of the youthful glow and optimism. All the knowledge you built up about your last college is suddenly totally useless. (I haven’t needed to keep up a mental ranking of preferred shower stalls in the second-floor communal bathroom of my dorm building in five months, and yet here I am today, constantly aware that the one closest to the window is by far the best in terms of amount of space and adaptability of water temperature.)
But this breadth of knowledge is not the worst thing that does not transfer, because if you start attending Emerson YOUR GPA DOES NOT TRANSFER. This is truly the worst thing I can possibly imagine. Not only does it feel like all the work I did last year has disappeared before my very eyes, but I have much less time and fewer data points now. In other words, a required class I didn’t want to take in the first place suddenly matters a whole lot.
If there is one thing in the entire world that rivals the loss of my existing GPA for unpleasantness, it is having to make friends once again. As a process, it is so hard and weird! But here I am in a new city, at a new school, and apparently socializing is expected, or something. This is especially difficult because it is very tempting to lay on the floor and use Snapchat and Instagram to watch the lives of my friends from my last college and/or my friends from home as they happily begin their second year at the same school. With friends they’ve already made. What a luxury!
But even with all of those mildly depressing negatives, I still really recommend transferring if you feel unsatisfied. Because we all pay wayyyy too much money to get anything other than the best four years of all time.
College. It’s supposed to be the time when you find yourself, when you make your lifelong friends, when you come to terms with the fact that you’re going to be in debt forever and you’d best get used to the taste of ramen noodles because that’s about as close to luxury as it’s going to get for the next couple of decades. Yes, college is all of these things, but college is also something else.
It’s a two-to-four year period when you have so much assigned reading that it feels like if one more word is transferred from the page to your brain you may explode. So how, pray tell, is reading anything not listed on a syllabus possible when every day is an increased risk to your body’s stability?
It requires sacrifice. But not soul-sacrifice, thankfully, because the ability to find time to read for pleasure would be a fairly mundane thing for which to sell your soul. Save that for the big leagues.
1. Prioritize Reading
Between homework, studying, essays, socializing, and some light witchcraft, free time can be tough to find for a college student. This is already horrible because free time is the best time, but it’s even worse because getting free time when you aren’t used to it is a weird amount of pressure. For me, it usually goes something like this:
I have some time! Sick. I’ll just check in on a few things on my laptop….Oh, three years have passed? I’m now legally missing? So much time has gone by that the motivation to search is fading in the hearts of those who love me? Right, of course.
To avoid this Rip van Winkle-esque experience, pick up a book immediately. Your phone can tear that book from your cold dead hands.
You may even have to pass on social plans in order to read, which is always weird. RSVPing “nah” in order to read is so profoundly dorky that the person you are politely rejecting may struggle to conceptualize just what this means. But the only way out is through, my friend, and if you just keep on being a full-on dweeb once in a while your loved ones will take the hint. And maybe even remain in your life if you’re lucky.
2. Carry a Book with You
There are approximately one million pockets of time during the typical class day during which you can read at least a couple paragraphs. Examples: arriving to class early, one of those weird breaks very kind professors occasionally grant midway through a class, when that one student who answers every question finally fulfills their dream of forcing two dozen sleepy young adults to listen to them for a few minutes. This can be prime reading time if you have a book, or an e-book app on your phone, if you happen to be a person who reads for the content and not for the experience of a physical book.
One fact of life is that people go places. If you are ever going to a place and you are not controlling a vehicle or the movement of your own legs, this is a good time to read. If you live off campus and commute to class on a train or bus or whatever – boom, reading time! If you live far away and find yourself on a plane – that’s reading time, baby. Take advantage!
4. Keep a List and Read Good Stuff ONLY
This point really only needs to be the length of a link, and that link is goodreads.com. Learn it, live it, love it. Make a list of 500 books you’re excited to read and then realize you’ll never have time to read all of them.
5. Try Different Formats
Audiobooks are technically books, and you can do more activities while you read them. You can keep e-books on your phone or laptop or even an e-reader if you time traveled from 2007, and then they’re everywhere you are. Two win-win situations.
Really, finding time to read is a personal thing. This is my way of saying, “Do not blame me if this doesn’t work. You have to do this yourself, and also I just tricked you into reading this whole entire post only to find out that it may not help you at all.” But I hope it does. Happy reading!
I could not be happier about the doughnut invasion that seems to have taken over the food world over the past year. I was never that into doughnuts because they are so decadent. But, boy oh boy, how times have changed. I have experienced the doughnut craze in cities all over the world and not one doughnut has left me unsatisfied. I am going to recall some of my fondest doughnut memories, some of which are in New England that you must try if you haven’t already.
1. The first time I fell in love with donuts was at Blackbird Doughnuts, located at 492 Tremont Street. This location is not far from Emerson’s campus at all. If you are an Emerson student and have yet to visit Blackbird, shame! They change their flavors weekly which always keeps people (especially me) coming back for more.
The flavors tend to be seasonal, so in the fall, expect pumpkin spice inspired donuts and fresh, fruity ones in the summer. One of the best doughnuts I have ever had was at Blackbird last summer. They had a peanut butter and jelly doughnut that changed my life forever. I’m serious. The brioche dough was so fluffy like a cloud with a perfect balance of the peanut butter and jelly filling. I hope they bring that flavor back one day because it was one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth….ever. What is cool about Blackbird is that there is a glass window where you can see right into the kitchen to see live doughnut magic. Blackbird is a little slice of heaven, right in the South End.
2. As if doughnuts were not amazing on their own….now there is the “cronut” craze. Let me do a little math for you. Croissant + donut = cronut. I never thought my first cronut experience would be at the Barcelona airport but when I saw it staring at me from behind the case of baked goods, I knew it had to be mine.
This Oreo cronut with marshmallow filling was everything I hoped it would be. The Oreo crumbles and flaky crust of the croissant paired together perfectly, and the filling was just enough sweetness without overpowering the entire ensemble. As I sat in the terminal awaiting my flight, I knew I made the right decision. I have yet to come across a cronut in the states but I am sure they are out there and it is my mission to find one.
3. My most overwhelming doughnut experience happened at Camden Market in London. Camden Market is one of my favorite places in the entire world, filled with artists displaying local work and food vendors with dishes from all around the world. What really caught my eye at Camden Market was an unbelievable doughnut cart. A cart a mile long, with any doughnut you could ever want. You could smell the sweetness wafting off the cart from a mile away.
Never before had I seen so many different shapes, sizes, and colors of doughnuts. I accept every doughnut for who they are on the inside, not physical appearance. I decided to go for the most ridiculous doughnut I saw that was bigger than my head. A buttercream filled, chocolate dipped, sprinkle covered, doughnut. A triple threat doughnut.
I could only conquer about five large bites before throwing in the towel.
4. PVDonuts in Providence, Rhode Island is another one of my favorites. I went there for the first time last week and was impressed by the organization they maintained behind such a small counter. Having to choose just one flavor was nearly impossible so I grabbed six to go so I could share with my family. Some of the flavors were banana split, cereal milk, piña colada, and maple bacon. My favorite had to be strawberry cream, a doughy pillow of pastry filled with fresh strawberry jam.
The atmosphere inside PVDonuts is super cozy and they even have donut pillows to complement the couches. They even have a sign on the wall that says “Treat Yoself!” which makes me feel even better about stuffing a doughnut the size of my head into my mouth. One important tip for PVDonuts is to get there early because they sometimes sell out of doughnuts by noon. These doughnuts are most definitely worth the drive, so make the journey down to Providence ASAP!
There is always a new doughnut adventure to be had, so go out and explore the doughnut craze for yourself! I promise, you will NOT regret it.
Being at Emerson, it’s likely that you’re constantly surrounded by freshmen with more on their resumes than your parents. That’s just the way it is here, which means there can be a lot of pressure to build up your own portfolio through internships or other professional experiences. However, as we all know, starting out can get a little tricky—especially when you don’t get that call back from a position you really wanted. The truth of the matter is that sometimes things just don’t work out, but fear not. Even if you didn’t land the perfect internship position, there are still a lot of ways to stay productive this summer. Here are just a few ways that you can make the most of your four months off from school.