Making The Most of This Summer Without An Internship

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.

Freelance Work

I’m going to let you in on a secret: even though you haven’t graduated yet, your work is good. Whether you’re a writer, visual artist or filmmaker, just the fact that you’re pursuing an arts degree means that you’re skilled at your craft. Believe it or not, companies are always searching for people that can do little projects for them here and there with no strings attached. This means that you can make some pocket money from doing what you love, all while practicing your skills and getting real world experience. Content-based websites are constantly fielding pitches (like VinylMePlease.com or HelloGiggles.com, just to name a few) and if you have an idea about an article, email them! Alternatively, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has become notorious for inspiring young artists to collaborate on his platform HitRecord, a website that gives artists prompts and then eventually publishes the best works (meaning if you are chosen, a check is coming your way!) Just trust your talent, put yourself out there, and you’re bound to make something great for someone this summer.

A Summer Job

We all know college is expensive. We’ve all seen the memes about it and we’ve all cried to our friends and families about the ridiculousness of a 100 dollar textbook at least once. But what can you do about it? The obvious answer—the one that not even I like hearing—is to get a job. I know, this is only a temporary solution to the much larger issue of absurd tuition funds but it wouldn’t hurt to put a few extra bills in your wallet this summer from a part-time job. Besides, working retail can be fun sometimes if you find the right place and can also be a good resume builder if you’re looking to enter the customer service world at any point. Indeed.com can be a great place to find some local listings, so just log on, type in your zip code, and see what happens!

Build A Portfolio

Something I think that all Emersonians forget sometimes is that our art isn’t just our career outlet. At the end of the day, it makes us who we are, it relieves our stress and social anxieties, and it lets us exercise our creativity. So this summer, instead of selling your art, just think about making it (not for anyone but yourself.) If you’re a VMA, then make some short films that aren’t class assignments. WLPs, write some stories for yourself. Then, at the end of the summer, choose your favorite pieces, compile them together, and make yourself the awesome portfolio that you deserve. Make something that represents you as an artist, not as a professional, and hopefully that will be the distinguishing factor that can help you get the job next time.

Training Like A Pro

Sports were never really my thing. Of course I love to cheer on the Red Sox and yell at the referees through the TV during hockey season, but I never got involved with school athletics. I did theatre and dance never stepping foot into my high school’s locker room.

Fast forward three years later and running has become a huge part of my life. If you told high school Hannah that she would be training for a half marathon this summer, she would snicker in your face. My athletic ability is truly being put to the test but I am welcoming the challenge with open arms and fast feet.

Barack Obama running obama run barack obama GIF
Credit: giphy.com

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A Newbie’s Guide to Subletting

For those of us who come from anywhere outside of New England, you understand the added stress of figuring out where the hell were going to go during the four month break we call summer. Do we go home and sit around with our high school friends, work at our old jobs and get antsy as we mark the days on the calendar till we can come back to school? Or, do we stay in Boston work our jobs here, take summer classes or try to even get an internship?

For those of you who prefer to stay in Boston there comes the added stress (and fun) of looking for a place to stay. Some may be lucky enough to have a friend’s guest room they could crash in over the summer. But if you are like me and don’t have that luck, you are forced to sublet. For those who don’t know what a sublet is, it is basically taking over the leaser’s rent for the months you need to stay in it. The time and price depends on what you coordinate with the owner.

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No Internship? No Problem!

You go to Emerson College, so odds are when you think of summer, you’re not thinking about lazy days spent relaxing at the beach or the memories you’ll make with family members and friends. Instead, you’re thinking about resume building: how can I get an internship this summer? And what happens if I don’t find one? That’s when the panic sets in. You’ll then find yourself staring at your laptop screen till all hours of the night, trying to perfect your resume and cover letter. Though it might be scary, I’m here to tell you that there is always something productive you can do with your time over summer break.

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Working ‘Till College Do Us Part

When May is coming, all college students can think of is the potential for adventure, fun and sleep during their summer months. No more homework or projects or whatnots.

Well, at least until your internship starts, you get hired at your summer job, and finding the time to split between your friends at home, from school, and all that family you missed out on during the school year. Suddenly, you’re sick of your own summer. When’s the right time to quit?

For each person this question differs. Obviously the money aspect plays a big role and everyone’s fiscal responsibilities vary according to need, want and current stature. So this question is very personal for many. If you need to keep working or work hours on end during the week, quitting your job early may not be the write solution for you. However, as long as friends and family, a good book or show to binge online surrounds you, you’ll get a little break until the academic calendar offers a little solace.

However, if you do not fall under that category, there are many variables you need to take into account.

Are you happy at your job?

This is a question that has many parts. Are your coworkers nice; are your bosses understanding; are you paid well enough for your task? If your answers to these questions are astounding yeses, then you may be happy to keep working. Considering how rare that is, enjoy it while it lasts. But if you’re counting down every hour from the moment you get in, your bosses haven’t listened or respected your requests, the pay isn’t worth the treatment and work you’ve completed, then maybe you shouldn’t stay there all summer. How many times have you been able to see the friends and family from home since starting work? Have you actually taken time to relax before the academic grind begins? Did you go on an adventure of sorts? Don’t loose your summer to a job.

Leave time to relax, to craft, to see friends, to explore, to do anything your young collegiate heart desires. You’ll be working when you’re back in school. If you can afford it and need it, take some time for yourself.

How much time you need is up to you. If you hate your job, need some more money, but don’t want to loose your time at home to this paid task, why not quit a little before. A week, depending on how many things you want to do. Two weeks if you’re traveling or visiting friends and family. If you need that much time for the amount of events you want to complete this summer, do it. Take a month if at all possible.

Just remember to try and follow protocol. It’s never a bad thing to have another work reference or experience on your resume for the future. So try to at least give two weeks notice, more so if possible. Bring it up when you have their full attention. Tell them how grateful you were for this opportunity, even if you hated every second of it and are imagining the fanfare when you walk out. Explain that you need to start focusing on getting back to school, means it had nothing to do with them or your feelings towards them. And give an exact date of when your last day will be. Then, there will be no confusion of when to start the trumpeters.

Instagram Worthy Summer Adventures

Summer is almost halfway through and thus you may be thinking “what have I even done so far?” Between working or summer classes, it is easy to feel as if you are not making the most of  your “summer fun.” This is especially the case when social media tends to make your friends’ lives seem so exciting. If you feel as if you are wasting away your chance at some summer adventures, here are some ideas to help you make the best of your summer.

Day Trips

Juggling a summer job or internship while trying to still have a social life is not an easy task. One of the best ways to make the most of your limited time of is by going on day trips. Anything less than a two hour drive is a good option. Public transportation is also a great option. Going somewhere you’ve never been before even if it’s not a major tourist spot can still make you feel like you’re doing something. It’s always fun to explore a new town or city, try new restaurants, and experience the culture. You never know what you may discover.

Even if you’ve been somewhere before, there is almost always something new to do or see. You never know what you may discover.  You can always try searching Pinterest or even googling for ideas. Viewing your area from the eyes of someone else can remind you of places you’ve always wanted to go or never even knew existed.

Explore the Arts

Most cities, towns or neighboring areas have some sort of local arts scene. Don’t be afraid to check out a local gallery, nearby concert or theater production. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never heard of the artists or bands. In fact, that’s probably better as it will make the experience more of an adventure. Opening yourself up to new art is always a valuable experience. Local arts scenes also tend to be close knit, so it’s likely you’ll learn about other events while you are there.

Also consider checking out some local museums. Most museums are free or low cost and many even offer student discounts. Museums are a great way to learn something new and get inspired. Even your local town history museum is worth checking out. Typically, the people who work in museums are genuinely interested in starting conversations and sharing their knowledge, so be sure to ask questions and gain as much as possible from the experience.

Explore the Outdoors

Camping is a great way to travel on a budget. Most areas have nearby state parks with tent sites or low cost campgrounds. There is so much to see outdoors, and there are so many adventures to be had. Depending on where you live, there are likely different kinds of hiking trails to explore. If you’re a beginner start out with easy trails and see how you like it. There are also so many other options for exploring nature. Everything from riding your bike to spending a day at the beach can be a great summer adventure. If you don’t have a full day to spend outside, consider going on a picnic. Simply getting out in the fresh air can remind you of the joy of summer.

Record these adventures in photos and journals. You can post about it on social media if you wish, but don’t feel obligated to blog every minute. Remember, this adventure is something for you, not something to use just to show off. Make memories that are powerful and fulfilling without worrying about what your Instagram caption will be.

Surviving Festival Season: Concerts, Tours and All

You’ve waited for months, ever since you saw the lineup and qued up your computer in class to be the first to buy tickets. Congratulations, you’ve finally made it! The summer concert season is in full swing.

A huge gathering of artists sharing their craft for appreciative audiences, what is more beautiful than that? Reaching for your wallet to purchase that CD or band tee to find it missing from bag, is that beautiful too?

Here are some tips and tricks to surviving the concerts and tours with more than you showed up with.

  1. The Perfect Bag

I wish I could tell you all to wear a fanny pack with little locks on them, but even I refuse to do that. I know all of my belongings would be safer, but my pride would be ruined. There’s a certain appearance for each concert and festival one tries to create and attain and we’re not going to just ruin that for fanny packs.

People argue constantly on which is better, a purse or a backpack? When in all reality, if you choose wisely and use smartly, both are very effective and safe.

The first rule in choosing a bag: nothing open. I know you can get things easily, but so can others. Secondly, nothing loose. If your backpack is longer than your back, you’re not going to feel anything going on back there. The same goes for purses, tight straps across your body or smothered into your side. It’s like being your own doorman to your gear, you’ll know exactly who is going in and out of the realm of your possessions. And third and lastly to conquering your safety bag when swaying with hundreds of others to the beat, never keep your wallet easily accessible. At the bottom of your bag is best. If it’s not easy for you, it won’t be easy for anyone else. It’s not like you can’t get it, but you’re being smart about it.

  1. What to Bring?

Let’s think about this for a moment, truly consider the situations and scenarios you most definitely will be faced with and the one’s that could potentially happen. You’re going to get thirsty, fact. You’re going to want money, fact. It will be loud and bright, fact. So a bottle of water is needed, your wallet without a doubt, some ibuprofen would be smart, and sunglasses as well.

You could fall or spend the concert being kicked by overly-enthusiastic audience members so a small first aid kit with cleansing wipes and band-aids is smart. Did you check the forecast the day before? Is rain in your future or wind or shine? Plan accordingly.

The two final things to remember, make sure you have room for basic items you’ll also have to carry around as well. This includes house keys, car keys, back-up phone chargers and some memory cards. And under it all, you should find your wallet.

  1. What to Wear

I understand there is a fashion of tours and concerts, but weather is still a factor. Especially if it’s all day long, if you’re standing, and outside in the sun all day and night. Light and comfortable is best, even better if worn right from the start. If not, have options available. Wearing heels on grass for 8 hours isn’t practical, I don’t care what Sex & The City says. You start out in heels; you better bring flats with you.

Layers are great for winter, during testing seasons and for summer as well. Light layers, like a bandeau, a tank top and sweater are recommended. When it’s scorching and you’re boiling, you’re set until the wind comes flying your way and even then you’re set.

Make-up however, I know you don’t want to go out without it, it’s such a perfect photo opportunity, but if you’re smart, you shouldn’t have a problem. Wearing light coverage concealer, loose powder and sure long lasting products on your eyes will be best. Make sure not to touch your face often, especially if you’re sweating. Otherwise instead of being miraculous with the band, you could be smeared or breaking out from the sweaty make-up being re-absorbed into your pores. And even if all of that didn’t persuade you, how about the fact that the less you wear on your face, the easier it will be to breathe and, as a result, keep yourself cool.

Now go out and enjoy the music!

Summer Blockbuster Sequels and Why We Keep Seeing Them

The movie box offices are crowded with sequels and remakes this summer. If you make your way to a theater you’re likely to encounter a slew of unwieldy, colon-studded titles, including such films as Captain America: Civil War, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising, Alice Through the Looking Glass, X-Men: Apocalypse, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. The Conjuring 2 and Now You See Me 2 both come out this weekend, and a quick count shows at least five more major film releases before August are sequels or remakes of previous movies.

It’s no mystery why the film industry keeps churning these out. Having a built-in audience gives studios a certain degree of security when deciding which films to give the green light. Four of the five top-grossing films of 2016, and nearly 40 of the 50 top-grossing films of all time are sequels. They clearly make money, but what is it about sequels that audiences continue to find so appealing?

One important component that the filmmakers bank on is familiarity. There’s less work to do, on a storytelling level, to introduce characters or premises that the audience has already accepted and enjoyed on screen before. In a way, a sequel is a movie’s chance to be a little bit like TV. The story has the opportunity to respond to audience reactions, it can develop characters and relationships over a longer arc than a standalone movie can, and can potentially build on an already established framework to create more complex plots. It’s a thin line to walk, however, staying true to the spirit of the previous film while still infusing the story with new innovations and putting something real and character-driven at stake.

The quality of sequels in Hollywood varies wildly, from established classics like The Godfather: Part II and The Empire Strikes Back to poorly executed flops like Jurassic Park III. If a movie like Magic Mike: XXL, missing key original characters and with a significant tonal shift from its predecessor, can achieve that ultimate sequel film commendation of being “better than the original,” is there any rhyme or reason to which sequels will work and which won’t? Is it possible to isolate certain necessary components a sequel must have in order to be successful? I am tentative to list any absolutes here, but I believe there are a few important variables at work when determining whether a sequel can be considered a success:

Character Growth

Taking a character on a journey which causes them to grow and change in some way is an essential component of storytelling not only within the film medium, but across the creative spectrum. It’s a thornier stipulation for sequels however, because they don’t start with a blank slate. Their characters have already been on a journey, presumably, and that same familiarity with the character which urged audiences into the seats can also alienate them if they’re presented with a character they don’t recognize, who is in some way inauthentic or inconsistent with the original.

Spectacle as a Substitution for Story

This is a consistent problem with sequels and across Hollywood in general—explosions are easier to translate for foreign audiences than witty banter or philosophical contemplation, or maybe the art direction was stronger than the new screenplay. Either way sequel films, so often part of superhero franchises or other action-packed genres today, seem to suffer disproportionately from over- emphasis on CGI and action sequences rather than the story. I think of Alice Through the Looking Glass, released in theaters last month—it was a visually beautiful movie, with exciting sequences of Alice navigating torrid ocean waters and racing against a physical manifestation of time to save the Mad Hatter, but its prettiness failed to hold up a mostly bland and nonsensical time-travel plot.

It all comes back to story, I think. If there’s a compelling story to tell, one which is driven by character growth and internal conflict rather than relying on external trappings, then a sequel at least has a chance to stand on its own merits instead of clinging to the success of the original.

Dad Hats: From Baseball to Fashion

You’re scrolling down your Instagram when you first see it; the hat. It has a vintage feel or even a pop culture saying that speaks to you. Immediately you know that your wardrobe will not be complete without it. You feel that you must have it in order to achieve the level of cool of the current wearer as well as to add to your personal style. So, you go on a Google frenzy lost in click holes until you find it and make it yours.

Caps, or “dad hats” as many style sites have affectionately begun calling them, have been taking over Instagram feeds and Pinterest boards for months now. These hats have been reoccurring in the fashion scene for several years popularized by Brandy Melville and other brands as well as celebrities such as Gigi Hadid and Kim Kardashian. However, this summer seems to be the summer of the dad hat.

Commonly known as baseball caps, these types of hats have been around since the mid-1800s when they were first worn by the baseball team the Brooklyn Excelsiors. Soon, they became the standard for baseball players across the globe. The hats shield the eyes from the sun which is essential in the sport.

For many decades, fans also embraced the hats to support their favorite team, leading to their association with fathers cheering on their team. Soon, many other brands and logos began appearing on the hats. The hats became common accessories in most wardrobes. However, they were not necessarily always deemed “fashionable.” More so, caps were thought to be reserved for bad hair days or athletic outings. That is, until now. With the trend hitting the mainstream market, these caps are no longer just for dads or even baseball players, the “dad hats” are for everyone.

Caps typically contain a logo or lettering of some sort embroidered on the front above the brim and an adjustable band in the back. Due to their various colors and possible personal options, these hats can be adopted to fit almost any style. The hats even come in many materials from classic canvas to leather. They can be used to show support of your favorite sports team, college, pop culture statement, or just about anything else. In addition, the brims still fulfill their original purpose and can act as a shield from the sun. Thus, the hats can be worn on beach days or for trips in the city, music festivals and everything in between.This combination of functionality and fashionability makes the caps the perfect summer accessory.

Caps can be styled with a large variety of outfits. The classic summer look can include cut off shorts, a tank top, high top sneakers, and your favorite cap. However, caps can also be paired with a skirt or dress to make an outfit more casual or day time appropriate. The material and color of the cap are also important in determining what outfit to pair it with. The right cap can often be worn as a statement piece adding a certain fashionable feel to an otherwise basic outfit. If you have long hair caps also allow for a variety of hairstyles. This includes the classic athletic look of a pony tail sticking out the back of your cap or something more fun like a half up half down look. The ways to wear caps are seemingly limitless. So, pick up a “dad hat” and begin experimenting with your own summer style.

Beating the Rainy-Day Blues

Waking up to the serene pitter-patter of rainfall on the window, or the somehow even more calming deep rumbles of a powerful storm can make it difficult to get up for the day ahead. So we stay in bed for 5 more minutes, checking Instagram or Facebook, until it turns into a whole day of movies and snacking (which isn’t always a bad thing.) For some, the rain might be what gets you going, but if not – when there are errands, and emails, and the to-do list is beginning to run into your line of vision, there needs to be a way to dump the rainy-day blues.

Listen to Music

One of the most motivating factors I’ve found to help in any situation is music. Music is a versatile force, and there’s a track for any feeling, mood, purpose or function. It’s easy to be tempted to let Bon Iver’s peaceful sound set the mood for the day. What a day like this needs is a completely energy-packed playlist. A playlist that’ll make you want to get up and dance, or sing your heart out is what’ll get the day moving, even if you do have to cool it down later in order to focus.

Get Motivated

A lot of the challenge is getting yourself into the mental state of working. In order to be productive it’s important to truly want the outcome that each task is working towards. Give yourself a reason to get up and be productive, instead of playing candy crush for three hours. Think about the brownie points you’ll score with your boss if you get that bit of extra work done. Envision yourself in a Nike commercial, running, lifting, and doing your best work. Feel yourself getting smarter before you even start studying for that big test. Anytime you feel as if you could stay for just a few more minutes in your comfy bed, think about how pleasant it will be when you’re creating your best self.

Remain Healthy

Of course a lot of the struggle is being physically prepared for the day as well. If you haven’t gotten yourself a good night’s sleep, and a belly full of nutrients, then it’ll be a little harder to pull the covers off. So always make sure that you’re taking care of your body above all else! You need it healthy to be successful, and nothing should come before that.

Be Physically Engaged

Physical engagement at the beginning of the day can also help to get your brain in focus! That doesn’t mean you have to drag yourself to the gym and run a 5k before you start your day. Simple getting up and stretching out, maybe doing a bit of yoga, or some quick push ups could be wildly beneficial to your physical and mental well-being. You’ll not only feel energized, but proud of yourself for actually going through with it. If you do decide to go a little harder and work up a sweat, a shower will also help you get mentally prepared for the day ahead!

So throw on pump-up tunes, do some jumping jacks, and envision the outcome! If all else fails, our good ol’ friend coffee will be there to pick you right up.