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College Blog Editors on StageofLife.comRead below for a welcome message from our College editors.  While thousands of writers and bloggers contribute their stories and essays to StageofLife.com, we work closely with several college editors who are here to comment on your blog posts, lend a helpful voice, and answer your questions about StageofLife.com. If you would like to meet all of our Editors working on the Stage of Life initiative or apply for an Editor position, please check out our Staff page and Contact Us.

 

Weekly Message from the Editor

College Editor's Welcome: July 25th-30th, 2013

Cannot Forget About Summer Fun

By Raisa Garcia, College Editor

It is summer time!! Unlike in undergraduate school, however, summers during graduate school are not really periods to do easy summer jobs and spend time with friends and family. This summer in particular, I work fulltime with internships, have two courses for summer school, and come face-to-face with the reality that some friends and family members are moving to different locations in order to pursue their dreams. This does not mean that I cannot have some rest and relaxation in enjoying the bright presence of the summer sunshine. (Oh how I love it!) I know I cannot spend as much time going out as I used to, but I would like to do specific things to make the most of my summer, especially with my loved ones.

-          Watch a movie at the outdoor theaters (this has seriously been a long-time bucket list item)

-          Have a day of hiking and setting up a picnic

-          Go to the beach (when was the last time I saw the ocean??)

-          Host a backyard party with homemade potluck items

-          Take a double-decker bus tour of the city (there is nothing wrong with being touristy in your own city!)

-          Finally complete one of my major goals of the year—complete a half marathon

These things might not be so “simple” as they require planning and getting people together, but at least my summer moments will be of quality than quantity. I remember the days of attending an outdoor concert every other week, or exploring a new city every weekend. For many college students, summer time signifies a break from the study routine. Regardless of the responsibilities lined up this year, however, remember to take time to have some fun!

And don't forget to enter our monthly writing contest for college students.

College Editor's Welcome: July 6th-10th, 2013

Writing Advice from Pro Screenwriters

By Justina Tran, College Editor

Last week, I attended an eight-hour screenwriting seminar hosted by the Writer’s Guild Foundation. The seminar featured a number of established screenwriters including John August (Charlie’s Angels, Frankenweenie), Edward Ricourt (Now You See Me), Evan Daughtery (Snow White and the Huntsman), and others. Studio executives and film festival judges also made appearances at the seminar! Needless to say, the event was jam-packed with useful and practical information regarding what it takes to break into the entertainment industry.

I loved the part of the seminar when the screenwriters explained how they generated their ideas and why they wrote what they did. Here are my top four lessons from the seminar:

1) Dare to write badly. The screenwriters constantly emphasized this piece of advice. The best ideas sometimes come after a slew of terrible ones. Moreover, most writers are too self-critical of their own work, but you don’t have to perfect everything on the first draft! That’s what revisions are for.

2) Don’t censor yourself… accept your quirks. Everyone has a unique style of writing. You should embrace your own voice even if you think others may not like it. Trust your writing intuition!

3) Read books, scripts, poems, etc. and write down why you like and don’t like certain things. By doing this, you’ll develop your voice. How do countless writers come up with their ideas? By reading! Even my screenwriting professors reminded us to read everything. You’ll never know where you may chance upon inspiration.

4) Don’t be just one thing, be a hyphenate. I actually had to look up what a hyphenate was, and Merriam-Webster says, “a person who performs more than one function.” A plethora of writers often become associated with just one genre. However, when you experiment with other genres, you won’t be pegged as just one type of writer and thus feel the need to limit your writing.

And don't forget to enter our monthly writing contest for college students.

College Editor's Welcome: July 1st-5th, 2013

The Fourth of July

By Megan Tyson, College Editor

While July 4th for many American’s is an excuse for a b-b-q packed with good food, friends, and fireworks, there’s a greater reason behind this holiday.

When I was younger, I never really understood the reason behind this day. I always just remember watching fireworks being set off somewhere locally or staying up late celebrating at a party with A LOT of food. Now that I have friends who have left high school or even made this decision to join the military in college, I see how much more of an impact this day holds.

I’ve seen people give up their time to ROTC to eventually make that transition over into some branch of the military. I’ve literally seen someone have to leave in the middle of this past school year because they were being deployed over in Kuwait. I watched them leave, not knowing if I’d ever see them again. Someone else I know won’t be finishing out the full school year this upcoming year because they’re going off to basic training in the spring.

I applaud this amazing men and women for what they do. The country they serve would not be the same without them. If you see a solider, thank them for what they’ve done. They’ve given up their life to protect yours, and they probably don’t even know you. America is the home of the free, because of the brave.

And don't forget to enter our monthly writing contest for college students.

College Editor's Welcome: June 25th-30th, 2013

Keep Pushing, Climbing, and Flying Like a Champion

By Raisa Garcia, College Editor

This message is on the “late train” for the students on the semester system, but I hope this reaches those on the trimester schedule. Finals are here and the road can be rough, but I just want to say, “Keep pushing, climbing, and flying like a champion over your obstacles!” Below are a few motivational words of wisdom that can hopefully help with studying. They all get at the same message, so take one you like and live and breathe it.

“Don’t be so quick to claim your limitations when you’ve never truly tested them.” – Kevin Ngo

“The start is what stops most people.” - Don Shula

“The country is full of good coaches. What it takes to win is a bunch of interested players.” - Don Coryell 

“Everyone has the desire to win, but only champions have the desire to prepare.” - Author Unknown

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” - Bruce Lee

"Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever." - Lance Armstrong

"I hated every minute of training, but I said, 'Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life a champion.'" - Muhammad Ali

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” - Jerry Rice

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” – Abraham Lincoln

And don't forget to enter our monthly writing contest for college students.

College Editor's Welcome: June 21st-25th, 2013

Graduation

By Amanda Perlmutter, College Editor

She was always five in my eyes

Then I blinked twice

And surprise

Nearly three times older now

And a different person somehow

That nasal voiced, long blonde haired, silly girl

Is nearly my height; hair crimped, colored, and curled

She cries…then again she always did…

But before it was over who got which doll

Now she steps carefully and tries not to fall.

Sometimes I think she won’t need me anymore

Or that she only calls upon me for this or that chore

But I know she’s still not ready to head out on her own

Big sister here won’t let her be hurt and alone

Oh my Lia, how you’ve grown

I wish I had never blinked

Even though change can be good I think

And don't forget to enter our monthly writing contest for college students.

College Editor's Welcome: June 6th-10th, 2013

Tips from a Stressed Student

By Justina Tran, College Editor

This is a tale about a girl who bit off more than she could chew during a certain spring semester (and although she was sick to her stomach, she continued to chew as best she could).

Last semester, I took on two editorial internships (one that required eight pieces of writing a week and another that required three a week), enrolled as a full-time student,  wrote for two online magazine, and served as a Stage of Life college editor. Although I was happy to finally be busy (I’m used to having a lot of free time), I soon became unhappy because I sacrificed adequate sleep and my social life. (I actually didn’t mind not having a social life, but my lack of sleep took its toll on me.)

I was once the type of person who would say, “I can handle any amount of work—I just need to prioritize. I’ll make time for work and school since everything else is secondary.” I don’t say that anymore.

At first, I handled all my responsibilities without feeling the effects of my horrible sleep cycle (I would sleep for about three hours at night, go to class, take a nap that lasted a few hours, and then work on internship stuff late into the night… I somehow managed to have food and bathroom breaks). I kept my positivity up by listing three things I was thankful for everyday. I also kept a daily journal and recorded my thoughts and feelings. The idea that kept me going through all the sleeplessness was that all my work, sacrifices, and pain would someday pay off. I was truly an optimist!

When the last two weeks of school rolled around, my energy ran out. I stressed out and worried about my final projects and essays. I realized that even if I were to forgo sleep altogether, I couldn’t manage to finish all my schoolwork, internship duties, and extracurricular work. Even more unfortunately, I had a problem admitting when I was unable to handle something. Consequently, I didn’t tell my internship supervisors that I was bogged with finals and that I had to soon move out of my dorm. Instead, I just neglected my internship duties and took a break from the internet for a few days.

Although all of that happened last month, I have come away with a few important reminders that I would like to share with you. Firstly, make sure that you have enough sleep every night. This is so important! Without sleep, you won’t be able to function optimally, and your mood will most likely be affected by your fatigue. Please don’t compromise your sleep time! Secondly, if you’re having trouble balancing all your work, social life, and sleep time, you should talk to someone about your dilemmas. You could share your thoughts with a close friend or even communicate with your professor about what’s stressing you out. Your professor might be kind enough to understand and could possibly give you an extension (my friend who’s graduating from MIT did that and he received extensions on all his projects and essays). Lastly, please remember to enjoy life. I was so busy with my work that I soon forgot what it was like to have a fun time by myself or with friends. Life is too short to spend it feeling miserable!

And don't forget to enter our monthly writing contest for college students.

College Editor's Welcome: June 1st-5th, 2013

Online Classes

By Megan Tyson, College Editor

I have never taken an online class before, let alone two at one time, and I will hopefully never take one again.  My two classes are Applied Statistics and Environmental Biology which both run from the middle of May to the middle of June.  When scheduling these classes during the semester, I already thought that they would give me a bit of a challenge.  I don’t work during the regular school year, so just about all of my time goes into the five classes I usually have scheduled.  However, now that I’m home for the summer, I work about 40 hours per week.  Add two classes on top of that, which cover the same amount of material in 6 weeks that would usually be covered in 16 weeks. 

All of that isn’t too bad, I just needed the first week to get the time management under control and I’ve hit every due date on time so far.  I would honestly have to say that the worst part of taking an online class is when I have questions, especially for the math class.  If I’m working on my homework or taking a quiz, I can’t just raise my hand and ask my professor.  I can’t just go to their office hours if I don’t understand something and need further explanation.  It is set up that there is a discussion board to ask the professor questions, but it’s very informal.  I had posted a question in there once, and all I got in response was to reread a Lesson.  Completely unhelpful.  I had read the Lesson the first time, so rereading it just frustrated me even more because I already didn’t understand it. 

While there is a lot about online classes that I’m really not a fan of, I do like that while I’m home for summer not really doing anything to further my education, I’m using these two classes to get ahead to make next year not as busy for me.  I also like that I can do the class at pretty much my own pace, other than meeting due dates.  I get to take as much time as possible on my work over being rushed with class times. 

I don’t discourage anyone from taking online classes, just look into them and make sure you’re up for the challenge before scheduling them. 

And don't forget to enter our monthly writing contest for college students.

College Editor's Welcome: May 25th-31st, 2013

Dream Jobs

By Raisa Garcia, College Editor

We all go to college in pursuit of a degree. That degree can serve many purposes. One person may want a degree for a career that will help sustain a certain lifestyle. Another person may pursue a degree in a subject matter he or she is just interested in. And of course, another person may use a degree as a way to do what he or she truly wants to do for eight hours a day for the next several decades (or perhaps just years). My sister, cousin, and I often have conversations about life's purpose, service, and the meaning of happiness. The three of us obtained degrees of our personally chosen majors. We also work in our respective fields. Despite this, one question recently raised among us was, "What is your dream job? If you did not have to consider money, location, relationships, level of mastery, and all other circumstances, what would you want to do?" We surveyed our friends and got some interesting answers.

- A soon-to-be-accountant would be a manager for a rock band.

- A soon-to-be-medical student would be a teacher.

- A soon-to-be-law student would be an Olympic athlete.

- A corporate human resources analyst would be a television producer.

- A health financial analyst would be a dolphin trainer.

- An elementary school teacher would be a journalist for the National Geographic.

- A corporate accounting clerk would be a lingerie designer.

- A property manager would be a humanitarian.

Naturally, there are factors that are preventing these individuals from pursuing these dream jobs. Nonetheless, it is not a bad idea to keep the idea in mind and conceptualize it as a goal that will be met in the future. It is also a good idea to reflect why such a job is a dream job. What does it say about your personality and what are the implications for the path you are on now?

What would I be? I can honestly say I have always dreamed of being an influential writer J

And don't forget to enter our monthly writing contest for college students.

College Editor's Welcome: May 21st-25th, 2013

Perfectly Imperfect

By Amanda Perlmutter, College Editor

Luci Shaw once said “A poem is a little lens through which we can examine at close range some of the details of the universe.”  Poetry has grown to be timeless, and broad in style. It can be structured or free verse—and it can be about any topic you choose. Regardless of its ambiguity, majority of poems both old and contemporary, are about romance or love. I can’t complain because I’m a hopeless romantic and I completely eat these words up. People who are more cynical toward romance, more power to you, but I can settle down with some love poetry even on my worst day.

“If ever two were one, then surely we. / If ever man were loved by wife, then thee;” (lines 1-2 “To My Dear and Loving Husband” by: Anne Bradstreet”)

“I know exactly what I want to say, / Except we’re men. Except it’s poetry,” (lines 1-2 “For J.W.” by: Rafael Campo).

Though the first poem is written by a woman in 1678, and the second is written by a gay man in 1994, I feel like without having known those facts, I could find a connection between the first 2 lines of both of their poems. Anne is speaking to her husband, and Rafael is speaking to someone he expects to share his life with in the moment where they first met. However personal every romantic experience in poetry is, isn’t the romantic audience always the same person; your love? Whether Anne was writing to her husband or Rafael to another man, they could both theoretically be talking about the same scenario. The same amount of passion can go into either direction, whichever they follow.

To say each poem was different because one was written by a man and one by a woman (regardless of sexual preferences) is kind of unjust because in many cases if you read a poem without knowing the sex of the author, it takes some deduction. In the case of these two poems, it is spelled out in both, who they are speaking to, which can be seen in those same intro lines I spoke of earlier. Other than direct clues of audience, the speaker’s styles are different from each other. I can’t really say if that’s specifically gender oriented, or if it’s due to the 316 year difference in publication. Poetry is timeless but poetic style can perhaps show its age based on the richness of language. That is really displayed in comparing these two poems because Anne uses words such as “thee” “thy” “doth” and “ought”. Rafael’s poem is more contemporary and none of those words appear but we do see “potato chip” “paper plate” “porch” “fizzing”. That’s why I wouldn’t say their poems vary based on gender; the language really depends on the era.

Another thing I found interesting is the approach each poet took. Anne’s poem started off with a good, strong intro and let it build up to an ending that was meaningful and even more powerful than the intro. It went uphill. Rafael’s poem had a through line and basically stayed at the same level the entire time but in language it came full circle.

“The while we live, in love let’s so persevere, / That when we live no more, we may live ever.” (lines 11-12 Anne Bradstreet)

“And poetry is too precise. You know / That when we met on Robert’s porch, I knew.” (lines 3-4)

“I want to comfort you, and say it all. / Except my poetry is imprecise.” (lines 24-25 Rafael Campo)

Anne’s last line is saying that she wants her & her husband to love each other so much that they’re love will survive even after they both die. The concluding lines evolved immensely from professing her love of her husband in the introductory lines. As for Rafael, the key words that stood out to me were his use of “precise” in the first stanza and “imprecise” in the last stanza. It visually and mentally draws that circle of your journey from reading the whole thing through. To put it mildly, it almost comes across as playful and cute. Even though he wrote this beautiful poem, he acknowledges within the poem itself that its far from ornate and elaborate, its slightly above colloquial, but that’s what makes it charming—its “imprecise”.

Poetry has grown to be timeless, and broad in style. These days you can write like Anne “thee” “thy” “doth” or you can write like Rafael “potato chips” and “paper plates”. As long as you can convey your feelings in a way that will appeal to readers, then you’re a poet. Poetry is not about precision, it’s about being perfectly imperfect.

And don't forget to enter our monthly writing contest for college students.

College Editor's Welcome: May 6th-10th, 2013

Regrets

By Justina Tran, College Editor

“What is your greatest regret?” is probably my new favorite question to ask people. I’m aware that the question has a slight negative connotation, so sometimes I switch it up with, “What’s one mistake you made that you learned from?” Either question yields wise answers!

This past academic year, I was fortunate enough to meet with my college’s alumni who have “made it” in their respective industries (i.e. entertainment, marketing, publishing, etc.). I did not hesitate to ask them my favorite question.

One alumna (who happened to work for The Rachael Ray Show) answered that she wished she hadn’t let her unhappy demeanor and facial expressions demonstrate her negativity while she was an intern. She said that when she had to do menial tasks like filing or organizing papers while her peers completed more interesting duties, her attitude and appearance made her jealousy and discontent apparent. Consequently, she advised that it’s better to focus on being grateful for having the opportunity to intern rather than thinking about the mundane task at hand.

Somebody who worked in the publishing industry said that his greatest regret was taking on too many jobs at once. He explained that when you focus entirely on quantity, the quality of your work suffers—it is better to pour your time and effort into a few projects than try half-heartedly on numerous projects. (Unfortunately, I’m starting to learn this lesson myself. I shall elaborate on a future post!)

Lastly, a former Disney Fellow informed me that his greatest regret was not working harder. He said that he did work hard, but he wished that he could have invested more effort into his work and tried out different activities.

I’ve committed all three of these mistakes! But it’s seldom too late to learn and change. As for my own greatest regret, I couldn’t tell you yet. But I’ll keep you posted!

And don't forget to enter our monthly writing contest for college students.

Read Past Editor Letters