Bypassing Writer’s Block
By Emily Chance
I couldn’t count the times that I decided, “hey, I want to write a short story or maybe even a book!” and I sit down at my laptop and open up a blank document. As I stare at the curser, every idea I’ve ever had about writing disappears in .35 seconds. Or worse, I get an idea, and I can’t figure out where to go from a certain point, and I end up killing off the main character or someone vital to the story line, and have to end the story at their deaths. Here is a list of ideas that I’ve found that help in these extreme cases of writer’s block!
1. Unreliable narrator. An unreliable narrator is someone the audience cannot fully trust or doesn’t tell the full story. A master of this technique is Edgar Allen Poe. While writing A Telltale Heart, he wrote it from the perspective of a mentally ill man who is unable to control his impulses. If you haven’t read this short story by Poe, I highly recommend it. I have found that by writing from an unreliable narrator’s perspective, you can craft many ideas you want to write about in one story. If you kill off a character and decide you shouldn’t have done that, you can say, “sorry, what actually happened was…” Examples of unreliable narrators are: mentally ill, compulsive liars, or someone biased in “their side” of what “really” happened in a dispute.
2. Continuation of the story. If you kill off your characters, you can still continue the story! After all, a popular topic that many are interested in is life after death. If you kill off the main character, you can give readers your own spin of the afterlife. Are they transported to another place? Another life? Are they stuck screaming at the people in their lives with a feeling of desperation of needing to be heard?
3. Start with the character’s death. If you wish to write a story about a character and you end up killing them, you can always start with their death and then work backwards so the person who died retells the events leading up to their death. A book which has an idea similar to this is Sara Shepard’s The Lying Game. The television series adaption has absolutely nothing on the book series. This book series is one of my personal favorites.
While writer’s block is no joke, there are still several ways to bypass the issue. If worst comes to worst, you can always write about a writer who has writer’s block (I used this very subject when I had to write a sonnet in high school. I considered it one of my greatest works). If you are still having issues with writer’s block, then you can go take a walk, go get some ice cream, or procrastinate some more while angrily staring at the screen.
Edited by: Kristina Drendel
I Don’t Regret Community College (and Neither Should You)
By Kristina Drendel
I used to hate telling people that I went to community college before transferring to a four-year school. There was nothing inherently shameful in going but I often felt like this was something that would forever tarnish my reputation. It seemed like for some reason, whenever I told someone that I had committed to my local community college I was met with blank stares, or worse: “Oh, well, at least you’ll save money”. I was far from a slacker in high school and yet, the second I mentioned the words ”community college” to my peers, it seemed like I suddenly became a second-class citizen to them. Even my closest friends advised me against going to a community college and told me that going would be settling and putting too few expectations on myself. I was “too good for community college” they said, but somehow there I was a second-semester senior committing with nowhere else to go. Let’s back up. I had been fortunate enough to have gotten into a high-tier university, but my momentary joy was quickly shattered when my parents broke the news to me that there was no way I could afford it. My heart was broken and the other school I had been accepted to I had absolutely hated upon visiting the dreary central Illinois campus. The only option I had left was my local community college.
The day my friends moved to their respective campuses I cried my eyes out. I specifically remember feeling this huge sense of dread that I had just made a huge mistake and had no way of fixing it. Eventually, this feeling settled, and I started college with this absurd attitude that I was too good for it because that was what everyone had relayed to me. I started community college with the assumption that I would naturally excel in all my classes and there would be no need to study. I could not have been more wrong. My first semester, I took a course in Environmental Biology. I had taken A.P. chemistry my senior year of high school, so I figured a biology course at a community college would be a walk in the park. I cannot describe the shock that ascended me when I realized I would be ending the semester with a B in that class. I had done all the homework, gone to all the labs, and even did the extra credit assignments! Getting a B in a course that was, in my erroneous expectations, supposed to be easy hit me with the stark realization that community college does not offer easier courses than other colleges, and that the courses offered were of the same caliber as the ones my friends at their “prestigious” universities were receiving, for a mere fraction of the price.
Going to community college helped me grow immensely as a performer and allowed me to feel ready to continue my growth as a performer after I transferred. Throughout my two semesters, I participated in all three of the mainstage productions and was graced with the opportunity to take a master class from two prestigious musical theatre performers. My second semester, I even served as vice president of my college’s Performing Arts Club, and participated in an open mic night. Before going to community college, I was extremely insecure in my talent and often gave poor auditions. My time at community college gave me the confidence to pursue a career in musical theatre, and my experiences there allowed me to walk into auditions without having panic attacks anymore. If I had not gone to community college, I truly believe that my fear would have held me back from pursuing my passion.
Looking back, I find it incredibly pompous and absurd that I ever thought I could be too good for community college. My time there only prepared me to go on to great things in the performing arts, but also helped shaped who I am as a person. A year ago, I never would have thought I could go to karaoke and enjoy myself or walk into an audition with confidence, and yet today, I am able to accomplish both tasks with grace. It’s time we stop with the stigma surrounding community college that causes students to feel like they are second-best to their peers at other schools. Ultimately, the only thing that matters in the decision process should be where you feel happiest and most likely to succeed, NOT based on the opinions of other people. Oh yeah, and I also did end up saving a lot of money like everyone told me.
Edited by: Emily Chance
My Top 10 Favorite Jokes
By Elizabeth Dubos
Recently, I been through numerous unplanned, stressful situations and started to notice that it was taking a toll on my overall sleep. I wasn’t sleeping, eating, and I started to feel sick. The stress started to compromise my immune system and I was stuck with a fierce cold for two unfortunate weeks. During my sick time, I decided to put research more about stress management because I am not a person that can de-stress by one simply saying, “chill out” or “calm down.” During my research, I stumbled across a Mayo Clinic healthy lifestyle article about stress management. The article was titled, “Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke,” The article listed the short- and long-term benefits from laughter to relieve stress. According to the article a short-term benefit would be to stimulate your organs to release endorphins. A long-term effect would be to improve your immune system. The Mayo Clinic Staff stated, “Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses.” After reading this article, I decided to give laughter as a stress management tool a shot. This lead me on a journey to find jokes that made me laugh. I ended up printing up some jokes and placed them around the house. Every time I saw and read one, it made me giggle. Here is a list of my top ten favorite jokes. If you want to read more about the benefits of laughter as a stress relief tool, I will leave a link below. Maybe laughter could be a stress management tool for you too?
Mayo Clinic Laughter Article Link: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456
1. Question: What bow can’t be tied? Answer: A rainbow!
2. Question: What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire? Answer: Frostbite!
3. Question: Why couldn’t Dracula’s wife get to sleep? Answer: Because of his coffin.
4. Question: What kind of cereal do they serve at Hogwarts? Answer: Hufflepuffs!
5. Question: Why did the Death Eaters cross the road? Answer: The Dark Lord ordered it.
6. Question: What kind of vehicles do Disney characters drive? Answer: Minnie vans.
7. Question: Why do people go to Disneyland? Answer: So, they can get Goofy!
8. Question: What does Mickey Mouse use to browse the web? Answer: An iPad Minnie!
9. Question: What was Grumpy’s favorite fruit? Answer: Sour grapes.
10. Question: What do you call a low-fat Pokémon? Answer: Butterfree.
Here is a link to where I found the jokes: https://www.quickfunnyjokes.com
Edited by: Emily Chance
Jeffree Star Valentine’s Day Mystery Box Review
By Elizabeth Dubos
Before: I don’t own any of Jeffree Star’s merchandise and very little of his cosmetics. I currently own the Mini Nudes Lip Bundle: Volume 1 and the Mini Red & Pink Lip Bundle. Additionally, I own the Conspiracy & Mini Controversies palette. I have been wanting to buy more of his products, but didn’t know where to start, furthermore, I wanted to purchase a mystery box because then I would be surprised. According to Jeffree Star, the 2019 Holiday Mystery boxes were problematic, and he wanted to make up for it with the 2020 Valentine’s Day Mystery boxes. He claimed that these boxes would be the best ones yet. I was very intrigued and decided to look at the prices. The Premium box contained 4 items (3 exclusive) and cost $60 (value $105). The Deluxe box contained 8 items (3 exclusives) and cost $100 (value $199). The Supreme box contained 12 items (5 exclusive) and cost $145 (value $285). When I bought the Conspiracy palette in November 2019, I figured out that between shipping and taxes cost an additional $20; Therefore, it would be a better deal to purchase something over $100 because then you get free shipping. I didn’t mind spending the extra money because I wanted the money to spend on products rather than shipping and taxes. In the end, I ended up selecting the Deluxe. The mystery boxes launched on January 31, 10 a.m. PST.
During: It was officially January 31, 12:58 p.m. and I was almost done getting my nails done. DARN NAILS, DRY FASTER! It was 1:08 p.m. when I had access to my hands and phone again. I immediately logged onto the website. When I got to the mystery box page the drop-down button wouldn’t work, so I couldn’t select which size box I wanted. I tried to maintain my cool in public, so I looked on Twitter to see if anyone else was having this issue. They were; Other Twitter users suggested switching the phone to “Desktop Mode.” This immediately fixed the issue, however, due to the technical difficulties I had missed out on getting the Supreme box. I didn’t feel too bad because it was too much money. At 10:31 a.m. I successfully purchased my first Jeffree Star Mystery Box! I purchased the Deluxe Edition; Only the Deluxe boxes featured a t-shirt, so I selected a medium size.
After: I received my Jeffree Star Mystery box on February 6. I didn’t even know it was coming on that day because I didn’t receive any shipping information. On February 5, the tracking number informed me that a label was created and was currently at the California warehouse. I was pulling onto my road from work when my neighbors stopped me, they informed me that a new mailperson was looking for my house because they had to deliver a package. She verified my address and put the package into my Jeep. I was ecstatic to have received it! It came in a red mailer box with hearts and the Jeffree Star logo. As soon as I got home, I opened it up. I thought the inside packaging was gorgeous because everything was individually wrapped, so it looked like a present! I carefully unwrapped all of my 8 products and was pleasantly surprised to see what I received. I received a t-shirt with hearts on it, a pink baseball cap, metal green straws, the Mini Breaker Palette, the 24 Karate Highlighter Palette, a white star mirror, a mystery velour liquid lipstick, and the Legends Only lip gloss. Since I never purchased a Jeffree Star shirt before, I was a bit nervous to see how the sizing would work. Of course, I measured myself and used the sizing chart, but I always air on the side of caution. I was impressed that the shirt fit my waistline and was long enough to cover my butt; The shirt wasn’t baggy and was rather flattering; I am excited to wear it! The only one I am weary about is the 24 Karat Highlighter Palette because they are a bit dark for my very fair-pale skin. However, I watched other Beauty YouTubers with fair skin use the highlighter palette as eyeshadow. I think I am going to experiment with it rather than sell it because it was still an exciting item to receive in the mystery box. Overall, I am extremely happy with the items I received because I can, and will, use most of them. My shipping experience was a bit harrowing. It wasn’t until February 8 that I received an email stating that my mystery box was delivered. This made me apprehensive about purchasing future mystery boxes. What if I wasn’t home in time to receive the delivery? What if another neighbor took it instead? I am very grateful that I received it at all! I would give my experience 8/10 stars. I would highly recommend buying a Jeffree Star Mystery box if you don’t know what to buy from his cosmetics line.
Edited by: Emily Chance