Category Archives: College

studying college freshmen tips advice

Five Unconventional Tips for College Freshmen | BEDA Day 16

Congratulations! You got into college! You’re probably looking for some advice for your freshman year, right? I’ll save you some time and tell you that a lot of these posts will offer the same advice: set ground rules with your roommate, introduce yourself to new people, consider joining Greek life, pack light, etc. While this is all great advice, I’ve come up with some of my own tips for college freshmen and first-timers over the years. As a recent grad, I consider myself an semi-expert in the field. Emphasis on the “semi.”

1. You DO need to bring your giant teddy bear.

Most articles providing college tips will advise you to pack light, as dorm rooms are pretty tiny. While this is a good idea, it’s important to bring along some of the comforts of home. It’s nice to come back to your thousand-year-old teddy bear and pictures of your friends after a rough exam. Pack things that will make you feel comfortable in your new space, however large and embarrassing they may be. 

2. The weirder the club, the better.

Your school will probably hold an activities fair within the first few days of the semester. Here you can get to know some of the organizations on campus and sign up for their mailing lists. Activities fairs may sound lame, but they’re definitely worth attending, if anything for the (almost guaranteed) free food. Get on the mailing lists of the weird clubs, like the paranormal investigations group or the lightsaber dueling team. You’re bound to meet interesting people here, and even if you don’t join the club you’ll leave the first meeting with a few new Facebook friends.

3. STUDY.

This seems obvious, but so many students write academics off freshmen year. DON’T DO THAT. The grades you get this year do affect your GPA and lay the groundwork for the rest of your academic career. If you build up a solid cumulative GPA this year, you’ll have something to fall back on when have to take harder courses as an upperclassman. Bio 101 may be grueling, but it’s worth it to show up. You may actually learn something.

4. Don’t force a friendship with your roommate.

Unless you’re going to the same college as your best friend from high school or you found the perfect roommate online, it’s likely that the person sleeping in the bed next to you will be a complete stranger chosen at random by university housing. Maybe you’ll have a few things in common, but you probably won’t be best friends forever. This is okay. Focus on living (somewhat) harmoniously with this person rather than forcing them to be your friend. Give your roommate some space and, above all, COMMUNICATE.

5. Be genuine.

College is a time to start fresh and leave your high school self behind – or at least that’s what I’ve been told. Some people see this as an opportunity to craft a new persona far from who they actually are. When meeting new people, be yourself, and be genuine. You don’t have to come up with new stories to make yourself sound cool to the people you meet your first year of school. Cliche as it sounds, the right people will think you’re awesome just the way you are.

Do you have any unconventional tips for freshman? Let me know in the comments! Best of luck next year, future freshbabies! 

Senior Project | Winter (Break) is Coming

instaseniorproj

We’re nearing the end of term and by some miracle I have almost half of my pilot script written. I really didn’t think I would pull it off with everything going on this term. I was way behind deadline-wise for most of November. I got hit by an avalanche of work once Godzilla closed and of course my senior project work fell to the wayside.

I’ve never been particularly good with these independent study style classes. If I don’t have to physically go to class once a week, I tend to push that work to a dark, dusty corner of my brain, only to stumble back into that corner when I have a deadline approaching. This project requires a fair amount of self-discipline and time management, two things I’ve never been particularly good at. However, I think I made some strides in that department over Thanksgiving break. I went into the (all too short) break knowing that I had some pages to deliver in a few weeks time. I made it my goal to set aside an hour or two a day to just sit down and write. I wrote at Panera Bread, in my room, in the car home from Long Island, wherever I happened to be at the time. Even if I just wrote a page or two in those sessions, I still made progress.

My goal for the next few weeks is to finish my pilot script. I’ll be writing over my winter break, so this could be really easy or really really difficult. Sure, I won’t have any other schoolwork to worry about, but it’s so easy to get distracted over break. I’ll be traveling, spending time with family, doing Christmas shopping, and hopefully picking up some part-time work. I’d better start scheduling those writing sessions now. Luckily, I have some really cute coffee shops and a newly-renovated library in my hometown, so I can escape the holiday madness at my house and hang out in the world of my script.

Anyway, on to finals week. If you couldn’t tell, I’m about ready for this term to be over.

Senior Project | A Balancing Act

instalate

Sometimes I look at my friends and wonder how they’re still upright. They do so much more than I do and I feel like I’m about to collapse into a pile of creative project-induced stress. This could also be because I’m fighting off a cold and I walked a 12k for the first time in…a while yesterday, but I do have a lot going on at the moment. On top of my senior project (which should be commanding most of my attention), I have 18 credits worth of classes, a play opening in a week and a half, and my own creative endeavors to worry about. Oh, and my social life and health. Those are important, too.

What I think may be the key to doing my best work on this is blocking out time every day in my crazy schedule to put all the other distractions away and just spend some time with my story. The first deadline for my project was last Friday and I’ll be honest with you all, I was not prepared. I came up with a pretty detailed treatment and bio for my main protagonist, but I definitely need to spend some time creating the rest of the ensemble and tweaking my treatment before I’m ready to write. Luckily, I have a little more time for development.

“Why does that document you’re working on look more like an English essay than an actual script?” you’re probably [not] wondering. That, my friends, is a treatment. A treatment is essentially a detailed outline in prose of the script. I find them to be very helpful because they help me figure out what I want the tone of each scene to be, which doesn’t always come across in an outline. Prose helps me fully flesh out each moment before I actually write it. Plus, I enjoy writing prose. Makes me feel smarter or something.

My goal or this week is to keep working on my characters and outline my second episode. It’s going to be a tough week as I’m just a few days away from Godzilla’s tech weekend, but if my crazy friends can still do all that they do, I think I can make it out alive. As a wise Tumblr post once said, “You have as many hours in the day as Beyonce.”

P.S. If you’re in Philly, come see Godzilla. We open on Halloween!

Senior Project | Thundercats are GO!

I didn’t eat a lot on Friday. Most of my day was spent putting the finishing touches on my pitch for my senior project, the culmination of four years of work on my Screenwriting & Playwriting degree. Anxiety turned into hyperfocus which turned into forgetting to eat which turned into stuffing my face with pizza upon release from my pitch meeting. Pizza is everything. Pizza is the essence of life.

I share that anecdote with you, dear blog readers, as a way to announce that I will be blogging my way through the process of writing my senior project throughout this school year. In these senior project posts you’ll hear about each step of the cycle, my struggles to get things done on time in the midst of my already mad schedule, and hopefully a little bit about the stuff I’m actually writing. And then you will probably run away from the world of screenwriting screaming with your proverbial tail between your legs. If you’re like me, though, you’ll continue down this masochistic path because you just love it so much.

“So, Charlotte, what the hell are you writing this year?” you ask. If we were talking face-to-face I’d probably avoid this question like the plague and say something like, “How about that government shutdown, eh?” However, for the sake of transparency, I will fill you in. I’m working on two episodes (a pilot and second episode) of an hour-long drama with a working title of “The Middle Space”. It centers around a young woman who wakes up in a world occupied by people who are currently in comas back on earth. They support each other while they wait to wake up in the world of the living or enter the world of the dead, not knowing when they’ll move along. It explores themes of bodily autonomy, reinvention, community, and of course death. And yes, I know that pitch sounds depressing as hell. I’m still in development.

That brings us to…development! I’ll spend the next few weeks writing treatments and character bios for the pilot and probably sending a ton of emails to my advisor (sorry in advance). I’m really excited about this script, so my first instinct is to just dive in and start writing. I’ve got some things to work out before I can, though, and I’m learning to love the development process. It’s easier to start writing when you have a clear understanding of who your characters are and the world they live in. So that’s my goal, and I’ll be updating you weekly on my process. If you want to follow my process, you can sign up on the left side of this page or follow me on bloglovin. Let’s get writing, shall we?

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Enjoyment

Blog, I have been ignoring you, and for that I am truly sorry. To be fair, I’m not where I thought I would be when I started this blog a few months ago, so I’m now in the process of figuring out what to do with this thing. It’s time to be honest with y’all. When I created this blog, I was seriously considering transferring to a different university. I was unhappy with how my freshman year had gone and I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stay in the major I chose when I applied to this school. I started this blog as a way to chronicle my transfer process and the transition once I got to the new college of my choice. Upon returning to school, I realized that I didn’t want to leave and wanted to find ways to make the most of my university experience, and that’s exactly what I’ve been doing when I haven’t been blogging.

So, here’s what you need to know about my life right now.

In 58 days I’m going to London to study abroad for ten weeks. I’m incredibly excited and incredibly nervous. Luckily, I’ll be joining several of my high school friends over there, which makes me much more comfortable to go over there. It’s always nice to have some familiar faces when you’re in a relatively unfamiliar place. I’m excited to travel and see everything that London has to offer. I’ll probably spend a fair amount of time stalking British TV stars. Probably not. Ok, I totally will. It’s been ten years since I was last in the UK. It’s time to get back.

While I’m waiting to go to the UK, I’m taking five pretty difficult classes. It probably wasn’t wise to load up on classes while I’m preparing to leave the country, but it was the only way I could stay on track to graduate. Two literature classes in one term is not exactly the best idea, but it had to be done. I feel like a lot of the university process, or at least my experience with it, is waiting. You wait for summer, in my case at least you wait to go on study abroad, you wait to get a job, you wait to graduate. I feel like I need to stop waiting and enjoy the moment. Of course, that’s easier said than done when you have a fair amount of planning to do.

I’ve also been participating in the Channel 4 New Year Revolution for much of this month. The little challenges I get every day have really helped with the whole “staying in the moment” goal. You can check out my videos and posts on the challenges on my YouTube channel and Revolution page.

I’m going to go enjoy the moment by finishing my chicken tikka masala and heading over to choir practice now. You are all wonderful people. I hope you know that.

The Worst Return to Blogging Ever Written on the Face of the Internet

In the last 48 hours I’ve been reminded both of how awesome life can be and how much it can suck. Particularly, the very level of suckage it can reach.

One of my floormates passed away a few days ago, very suddenly and very tragically. Yes, I’m ok (for the most part), thanks for asking. I spent the last two days with my friends and my mom, going to shows, going out for meals, and just basically doing anything to distract myself. And it’s been really helpful and I’m so thankful for the wonderful people in my life.

If anything, this has been a lesson in immediacy. You know, just doing what you want to do instead of putting it off forever. You only have so much time on this earth, why spend it doing something you don’t want to do?

It’s more difficult than that, though, especially when you haven’t a fucking clue what you want to do. Life does take a fair amount of contemplation. You can’t fly by the seat of your pants forever.

As I’m writing this I see that it’s an utterly horrible way to return to blogging and that this blog (or at least the three posts currently on it) is totally depressing. That’s not what I wanted at all. I want this blog to be fun and upbeat, but still thought-provoking.

And not all about me, for God’s sake.

So, that is what it’s going to be. Although, I’m having trouble defining just how it’s going to be that. So, that’s where I need your help. What do you want to see from me?

I’d love to write more about travel and the arts and whatnot, even if it’s just local travel, or mind travel (eat that shit up, hipsters). So, how do I go about doing that? If you have any suggestions or any topic requests or anything at all to say, please let me know in the comments. I want this shit to be interactive, yo.

Yearning to Learn

I don’t know what I’m going to do with my life.

There. I said it. It’s taken me about 3 years to admit it, and I’ll be honest, having it out there in the open feels pretty damn good.

That said, there are certainly things I like to do. I like to write. Well, obviously I like to write. I would be wasting my time making this blog if I didn’t. I like to play the ukulele, but the internet needs another mediocre ukulele player like Heidi Montag needs more plastic surgery. Although, now that I think about it, it’s going to take a fair amount of work to reverse the damage that girl has done to her body. I also enjoy mindlessly tooling around the internet, but I’m not sure how I can make that into a profitable and respectable career.

I felt so much pressure in high school to know exactly what I wanted to do. Of course, most of that pressure came from myself. I saw all of my high-achieving friends doing amazing things and going to Africa and saving the world and getting near-perfect scores on their SATs. I thought they all knew what they were doing. Some of them did, some of them didn’t. I couldn’t imagine them complexly and therefore couldn’t see that they didn’t have it all together. So few of us do at 16 or 17.

So, I sort of picked some subject that I was interested and told my parents, “Here. This is who I’m going to be.” No questions. No doubts. No listening to their concerns. I dove right in.

That never actually works out, does it.

Now, after all these years, I’m allowing myself to dabble. I want to discover things that I had no idea I could love before. I want to see the world. I want to read books upon books upon books. I want to see a musical and attend a lecture given by the number one Proust scholar in the country in the same week, because when you think about it, they’re really quite similar. I want to explore my spirituality, my nationality, my sexuality.

I want to be a student.