Advice

Video Analyses: Being Queer in College

February 7, 2015 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Love

“This is by no means an all-inclusive list of advice. [Also] I’m working with the assumption that you’re going to attend a fairly liberal university.”

“This is by no means an all-inclusive list of advice. [Also] I’m working with the assumption that you’re going to attend a fairly liberal university.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-gc60MSqIU

David Levitz’s Being Gay in College is a concise presentation of suggestions for a gay college student. As he states in his disclaimer, “This is by no means an all-inclusive list of advice. [Also] I’m working with the assumption that you’re going to attend a fairly liberal university.” I want to extend that disclaimer by making it clear that his advice pertains only to the G acronym in LGBTQ+. In this video, David discusses the notion that liberal colleges are, in relation to high schools, wonderful environments in which to come out and perform your gender or sexuality in whatever form you desire. He continues by discussing the necessity to take LGBT courses (As a gender studies major, I absolutely concur), join queer on- and off-campus organizations, attend queer events/parties, and—most importantly—to find a “gay mentor.” As someone who’s watched his fair share of queer advice videos, I haven’t seen many others make that last point—I can’t stress enough just how important it is to find someone in whom you can confide and from whom you can learn.

"While I understand that the video was a homemade, do-it-for-fun video made by two friends, I found the advice a tad-bit over simplistic and, quite frankly, a tad bit problematic."

“While I understand that the video was a homemade, do-it-for-fun video made by two friends, I found the advice a tad-bit over simplistic and, quite frankly, a tad bit problematic.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4M3K8sUJ4A

TheButchandtheBear’s How to be Gay in College provides a brief—and problematic—synopsis of how one should perform their gender or sexual identity while in college. Essentially, the video is literally telling you how to be a gay person—“Be yourself, dress to impress, show a little pride, and surround yourself with other gays.” While I understand that the video is a homemade, do-it-for-fun video uploaded by two friends, I find the advice a tad-bit over simplistic and, quite frankly, a tad bit problematic. Firstly, there is no disclaimer about the limitations created by one’s sexual or gender identity (the tips only work for gay men) or one’s location (spatial recognition is incredibly important when thinking about the social-acceptance of an individual’s identities). Secondly, the tip about dressing to impress stereotypes gay men as always-fashionable and incredibly vain. Thirdly, surrounding oneself with other gays is actually a terrible idea, in my opinion! It’s great to have many queer friends and to participate in social and political organizations related to queer culture, but to only surround yourself with queer friends is a form of segregation—you are telling the world that you don’t want to befriend hetero-people nor do you want the hetero-community to get to know you. I understand the well-intentioned message behind the video, but gay advice videos are viewed by people in increasingly vulnerable positions and conditions, and to make light hearted satire of these vulnerabilities is plainly wrong.

"Why is there a difference between gay best friend and best friend? Can’t I just be your best friend that happens to be gay? Why mention my sexuality at all when you call me your best friend?"

“Why is there a difference between gay best friend and best friend? Can’t I just be your best friend that happens to be gay? Why mention my sexuality at all when you call me your best friend?”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_n4yDnJvuNI

Kingsley’s I Am Not Your Gay Best Friend is a sassy video that I snapped to during its entire run. As someone who performs his sexuality in a very flamboyant manner, I am oftentimes called “the gay best friend.” This phrase makes my blood boil as it does two things: A) Perpetuates the trope of the fashionable and sensitive gay bestie, and B) Puts my sexual identity at the front and center of my holistic identity (Why is there a difference between gay best friend and best friend? Can’t I just be your best friend that happens to be gay? Why mention my sexuality at all when you call me your best friend?) Kingsley hits these two points home when he deconstructs the stereotype of fashionable queer men: “I don’t give a fuck about your clothes…I don’t know anything about the seasons…if you ask me about the season, I’ll say ‘bitch, it’s spring.’” For anyone that’s ever faced this issue (looking at all of you gay men with those annoying sorority besties who think their “gay best friend” is the human-equivalent of a purse or a necklace), this video is top-notch.

Communications Studies at Bridgewater State

November 14, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Career, Reviews

“All of those flavors, and this is what you choose?” When you pick your major in college, there are a lot of stigmas and consequences with this weighted choice. When you think about it, it’s going to dictate exactly what career fields you are going to be eligible to enter when you graduate. This is an extremely difficult decision to make and is actually asking a lot from an 18-year-old, fresh out of high school. If you pick business, you’re supposedly going to make money. If you pick any kind of mathematics, say goodbye to your social life. If you pick theater, you’re probably going to attend a few orgies during your time at college. I personally picked Communications Studies at Bridgewatter State because of their Media Studies concentration they offered. It was the closest thing I could get to being a Film major, and for the price of the school, it was worth it.

However, the problem with this particular major at BSU, that I did not foresee when I was 18-years-old, is that these are studies concentrations and majors. They teach you the theory behind communication and media, but do not offer (too much) of the actual hands-on training in these fields that you would need experience in to succeed. So instead of going out and actually making films, I’m watching 3 foreign films and 2 documentaries per week, just to discuss the aesthetic value of them in 5-page papers. Though this is of course valuable, and is to be expected, its really all I’m doing. So when I go out, looking to make my own films, I have significantly less experience than someone who graduated from a program where they focus on the practical side of the major, not just the theory.

Am I upset with my choice to attend a school that focuses on theory over practice? No, I’m not. Because I’m coming out of this school with a lot less debt than I would have had I gone to any of the regular Film schools I applied to. I’m still going to have a degree, which I can take to several different companies. I have experience and know what I’m talking about because of the theory side of this program. There’s always going to be a place to apply, and there’s always going to be that employer who says “well, I know you really don’t have the hands-on experience, but…” and is willing to give you a shot because your resume looks good.

So, in the long run, yes your major is important. Not only are you going to be studying it and being tested on it for 4 years, but there’s a good chance you’re going to be working in something related to it for years to come. That being said, it’s a good idea to pick a major you’re at least interested in. But I truly believe that your major isn’t going to dictate your life – there are other opportunities that will present themselves, and different paths you can take.

Funny and Helpful College YouTube Videos

October 31, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life

YouTube.com has great videos about college

YouTube.com has great videos about college

In the days of technology, there are so many great resources to get ideas and find awesome things about college online.  One really neat source to find videos is YouTube.  YouTube has many videos and video channels that talk about college and college life.  Here are just a few that I have found to be some of the best and some of the most helpful in surviving college.

YouTube Channels:

College Humor has some great videos that make fun of college and college life.  When needing a good laugh, you can always rely on this YouTube channel to take your actual, real life college experiences and spin them into a funny video that you can resonate with.

College.gov also has a really helpful YouTube channel for college or incoming college students.  There videos ranges from various topics like, “Why Go to College?” and “What to do to Prepare for College?  I found these videos really interesting and helpful, since they come from individual people’s testimonies.

LifeAccordingtoJimmy, is another really fun YouTube channel.  His videos are satirical and funny and they also talk about multiple topics about being in college.  His videos are typically for the male crowd, and are sometimes explicit.  Yet, they are funny and it is one of the most popular YouTube channels amongst college students.

TYT University is another really awesome channel!  It mimics a newsroom and features young college students that make videos on various topics.  Some videos are “Girl’s Guide to Frat Parties!” and “What NOT to Wear to an interview for Girls.”

Awesome Videos:

There is also a great video called, “How to Do Laundry.”  This is probably a shout out to the many college students who go to college without knowing how to do one of the most important things…LAUNDRY.

Another awesome and funny video to check out is “The Freshman 15.”  This is comical Public Service Announcement, which is to warn college freshman about the Freshman 15.   The video has the song “The Freshman,” by The Verve Pipe featured in it.

“How to do A Keg Stand”- Let’s be real, college equals parties.  Therefore, this video proves its importance in teaching incoming (and sometime s already in) college students how to do the infamous keg stand.

Every college student needs s to know how to live on a budget.  Thankfully, a video such as “How to Live on a Budget” is a great way for college students to learn just this.  This video is cute and serious.  It gives really great tips on how to manage money.

Caitlin Bea made a really great video called, “What to Expect at College Parties.” In this YouTube video, she is talking to the camera about what to expect at parties in college, as well as gives her own advice on how to handle the unexpected.

“CollegeTalk #5: 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before College” by katizzzletalks is an informative and opinionated video, in which she talks about what she wishes she knew before college.  I enjoy this video because it is funny and gives some helpful advice to people who might need it.

Mastering your English or Psychology major

September 25, 2014 in Academics, Alive Campus, Career, Top 10 Lists

Choosing a major can be a difficult and daunting task; it can be a challenge to combine your hobbies, interests, and talents, and channel them into one specific field. That’s why it’s a good idea to take a variety of classes in different subjects, so that you are exposed to all kinds of disciplines. If you decide to major in either English or Psychology, here are some tips to keep in mind.

Learn to love reading!

Learn to love reading!

1.    If you don’t already love reading, learn to love it.

This applies to both English and Psychology; be prepared to spend hours each week reading books, textbooks, articles, statements, you name it. Though it can become tedious for even the most avid reader, if you enjoy reading then you will be able to appreciate the texts you are assigned more (and you’ll probably be able to read them faster than the average student).

2.    Be prepared for the essays.

This is especially true for English majors; if you are taking two or three English classes a semester, then you’ll not only be reading a couple hundred pages each week, but you’ll be writing tons of papers about those short stories, novels, or poems. Though psychology classes usually incorporate tests, there may be writing involved as well – especially if you’re taking a class about research.

3.    Write. Write. Write.

If you’re majoring in English because you want to pursue a writing career or journalism, then you have to make time to write. Your language and writing won’t improve if you don’t practice, so you need to set aside time to produce work.

4.    Find an internship.

Internships are the best way to gain experience and knowledge about the field you want to pursue. Not only do they help your chances of finding a job after graduating, they may also show you a specific field you don’t want to work in. If you work at a magazine, you may find that you dislike editing and turn to designing or to revising other genres/types of work. In psychology, you may find that you really hate working with kids and that you’d rather focus on developments in adult psychology. Internships will help hone what you really want to do.

5.    Be ready to work with people

Both English and Psychology require interacting with other people; learn to communicate and know when to step up or take a step back. It’s important to know how to listen to other people’s ideas but also to advocate for your own.

6.    Don’t get discouraged.

To those of you who are writers – your work will get rejected and torn down innumerable times. Don’t get discouraged. Keep writing, keep submitting, and keep improving your writing.

The same goes for those in psychology; you will take classes that cover a huge amount of material and concepts that seem to go right over your head. The best thing to do is to go to your professor and talk with classmates – the best way to see if you actually understand something is to explain it to somebody else. Also, if you’re doing research, many of your experiments will prove insignificant. That’s normal: you have to weed through hypothesis’ that are irrelevant in order to find ones that truly make a difference.

7.    Don’t think about the money.

This applies to every field: don’t pursue a career just for the money. The economy and job security are worrisome for everyone, but it’s better to do what you love for a less amount of money, than to be well off and dreading each working day. Money may bring comfort, but it doesn’t bring happiness. Remember: you may have a job in the field you choose for life, so make sure you choose something you will be excited to do each morning.

A career you love > money

A career you love > money

 

Buzzfeed Giving Life Advice: Good or Trash?

August 15, 2014 in Alive Campus, Reviews, Tech

Buzzfeed, the content megaprovider

The Internet is polluted – not just with ads, pop-ups, and porn, but with self-entitled authors of articles for websites that believe they know you well enough to help you better your life. 33 Tips to Trick your Man into Loving You, 42 Reasons you need to go to the Gym Today, 10 Life Hacks for Ultimate Wins (what the hell does that even mean?) It’s all the same. It’s some author, ahem, excuse me, “journalist,” who is being paid to push out bullshit content so the website gets more hits, and they in turn, make more money. It’s ideally the same principle Marvel Studios has been using for to reign supreme over the box office every time they release a new movie. They know it’s a money vehicle, so who cares about the quality of the movie? Someone will buy a ticket.

The good about Buzzfeed:
Buzzfeed is force to be reckoned with; fan, enemy, or unaffected, it is an undeniable fact. I am just as bad as the next person, rolling my eyes at how dumb the articles are, yet continuing to read. Why do we do it? It’s easy and it’s mindless. After a hard workday or an 8-page thesis paper, do you want to read a hard-hitting article on the pro’s and con’s on the Pet and Women Safety Act of 2014? No, you want to look at pictures of food or cute pets until you decide it’s time to heat up that Hot Pocket for dinner. The worst part about Buzzfeed’s success is that it has happened because we (where “we” is mostly college-aged kids) let it happen.

“Journalism” at it’s finest


The bad about Buzzfeed
:
Buzzfeed is a content website, first and foremost. The website definitely has an agena – no way around that, but they want to provide the content, mostly. The bigger reaction they can get from an audience, whether it is positive or negative, is the goal. Just last week, Buzzfeed published 3 different stories regarding a CBS Today interview with Seth Meyers. Three. Why wouldn’t all 3 topics be included in one article? Because a Seth Meyers fan will click on all three, and they’ll get more site hits. When Beyoncé dropped her surprise album back in December, they dedicated a whole post to the “Internet’s Reactions” to her album. The content was completely lifted from social media users. Yes, the users were credited, but the staff didn’t have to do any work to create the post.

In their famous countdown-based life posts, they are guilty of generalizing their audience. Implying that all college students look for the same experience while at school. Just follow these 30 steps, and your college career will be perfect. Except for the million different routes you can take that their “life posts” don’t account for. This causes a large uprise in the comments section, sharing on social media that causes more hits, and more money in the content monster’s pocket.

I’m not saying you should abandon Buzzfeed. I’m not going to. It’s entertaining. But when something is entertaining, that doesn’t mean it is of high quality. It is mindless, it is trash, and it a monster website that isn’t going anywhere any time soon. I hope they enjoyed their free publicity!