Tips for the Writing Majors

July 2, 2015 in Academics, Alive Campus

Choosing the right major is probably the most essential part of college. Some students immediately know what they want to study, while some may switch it around 10 times before finally being sure of what they want to do. Either way is completely okay as long as you eventually find your track. I am currently an Editing, Writing, and Media major at the Florida State University, preparing to enter my senior year. After being a part of the major for 3 years, it’s safe to say that there are both pros and cons to the major, just like any other. I chose to study this during my college application process when I was a senior in high school, and never even thought to switch over to another major the past three years. Fortunately, it’s something that I’ve always been set on studying.

The major itself is fundamentally for those who want to go into some form of publishing, whether that’s with magazines, digital websites, etc. Internships that several students experience at FSU are usually within publishing houses, and it’s actually required that we have at least one internship that we receive school credit for prior to graduation if we choose to study EWM. My suggestion is to do an office internship in addition to a digital internship so you can experience both and see what works best for you.

The major is not necessarily difficult like that of organic chemistry, but it’s extremely time consuming since it’s mostly all papers and intricate digital projects that involve programs like Photoshop and InDesign. The several assignments are essentially what your grades are based on as opposed to tests like that of most majors. The positive aspect is that you don’t have to stress out over one simple test affecting your grade, but this can also be a good or a bad thing depending on how good a test taker you are. The most important thing to remember is to not pile yourself with all writing classes in one semester, or you will be swamped every night writing some type of paper or reading 300 pages a night. Spread it out and take your electives as you’re doing your major classes each semester. By doing so, you have at least one class that doesn’t involve so many time-consuming assignments.

There will always be classes in each major that seem pointless, and EWM is no different. I’ve had very helpful ones that improved my writing and digital skills drastically, but I’ve also had history of writing classes that weren’t very beneficial to what I plan to do in life. Unfortunately, if it’s required within the major in order to graduate, it has to be completed. The major also requires a minor to go alongside it since it’s it does not take up an abundance of credits, so some students will even choose to double major. I chose the route to have two separate minors- Italian and Communications, since I wanted to study both and have variety of areas of study to include on my resume. It’s also important to note that the major requires you take three years of one language. My suggestion is to stick to languages like Italian or Spanish, unless you’re passionate about learning the more difficult ones like French or Chinese.

What I personally like about this unique major at FSU is that it’s not exactly Journalism. It strictly focuses on writing and digital work within the media, while Journalism is generally broader in that it includes radio and television as well. Editing, Writing, and Media does not. If you want to go into professions like reporting or television, then Communications is probably the better option. The two are certainly different from one another, so it’s something to keep in mind if you specifically are interested in writing and publishing.

In the end, I’d say that EWM is the perfect major for what I plan to do in regards to my dream profession. I currently have an internship at a major publishing house in NYC, in which I am receiving school credit. Remember that it’s not unusual to change your major several times before settling. It’s just another part of the whole college process!

Choosing a Major

Choosing a Major

4 Millennial Movies That Depict the Best and Worst of Greek Life

January 11, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Reviews

DISCLAIMER: This article is filled with spoilers. If you do not want to read spoilers, I suggest you watch the movies listed and return.

When I began to entertain the idea of college, I knew that Greek Life was going to be a part of my college searching process. The unfortunate situation is, my idea of Greek Life was shaped by the media. I had it in my head that many fraternities and sororities hosted crazy parties, hazed, contributed to social ranking and many other negative things. It wasn’t until I got to college, that I realized that some frat and sorority houses do have that ( though they are often reprimanded), but there is also good in joining one. I eventually chose a campus that did not host Greek Life, but, I was able to meet someone from a fraternity that shaped my idea in a much more positive light.

Here are are four media influences (movies), that shaped my negative and positive opinions of Greek Life. Once again, I do summarize the movie in regards to how Greek Life shaped the plot, as well as explain how the actions of the houses effected my view. In short, spoilers.

21 & Over (2013) (US)

The day after his 21st birthday, Jeff Chang has the most important interview of his life. However, the day of his birthday, his friends, Casey and Miller, take him out for what was supposed to be a “few drinks” and ends up in a night long debauchery session. When he passes out from drinking, his friends must search all over campus and town to find where he lives so he can be ready for his interview in the morning.

Casey with Nicole, sporting a sweater with her sorority’s name

As they search for Jeff Chang’s home, they follow the idea that Nicole, a lady Casey met at the first bar, knows Chang so maybe she’ll know where he lives. However, they can only guess that she lives in a sorority house because she was wearing a sorority T-shirt, and they begin to stumble around campus to find her.

Nicole is a part of “Sigma Zeta something” for the majority of the film. They encounter Sigma Zeta Theta first, and after a cold reception at the door they decide to break in. We find two sets of pledges. The first set is wearing dry erase boards around their neck because their forbidden to speak. The second set of pledges are blindfolded in a dark room and are waiting to be paddled by the pledgemaster. They are taken advantage of by Casey and Miller, when Miller paddles them and later orders them to make out. When the pledges discover the three, they are chased out of the sorority house, where they find Nicole and her house, Sigma Zeta Phi.

Casey and Miller at the mercy of the Sigma Zeta Theta sisters.

Later in the movie Casey and Miller are kidnapped by the girls of Sigma Zeta Theta. They are blindfolded, stripped naked (except for a sock on their genitalia), shackled, and spanked by robed, masked sorority girls and later commanded to kiss. They are dumped in the morning and forced to walk around campus in just the socks on their genitalia towards Health Services, where they need to “rescue” Jeff Chang.

This movie does not depict Greek Life in a positive light in any manner, nor does it depict a positive outlook of Greek Culture by the non-Greek Miller. He demeans the pledges by forcing them to kiss, thus perpetuating a stereotype.

An Extremely Goofy Movie (2000)

Max Goof is off to college and with it carries the dreams of competing in the X Games with his buddies. When Goofy Goof loses his job, he returns to college -the same one Max goes to- in order to obtain a degree so that he may re-enter the working world.

In the movie, many Greek Life houses are depicted on “Frat Row”, but, only one is expanded on. Gamma Mu Mu brothers ( shortened to just “Gammas”) act as the main antagonists throughout the film. It is unclear if the entire fraternity is depicted, or if only a portion are selected to compete in the X Games.

Bradley Uppercrust III, leader of Gamma Mu Mu

The Gammas are lead by Bradley Uppercrust III. Bradley approaches Max in the film and asks him, and only him, to join his fraternity and ultimately, his X Games team. When Max refuses, Bradley takes it personally.

The Gammas are completely loyal to Bradley,do whatever he says without question and are often happy to do so. In the coffee shop scene during Max’s attempted recruitment, they stand straight and at-the-ready when Bradley snaps his fingers. They also “fetch” and “play dead” according to Brad after Bobby asks. Throughout the games they are seen cheating in order to win the X Games (such as hurting Max’s friend ‘accidentally’, dislodging the bolt of Max’s team’s bicycles, and more). In the end, Bradley activates a rocket on the end of Max’s skateboard which causes an accident, nearly killing his fraternal brother, Tank, in the ensuing damage. Not only does Bradley not try to save Tank, but he pushes ahead in an attempt to win the race as Max helps him out of the rubble. Tank becomes the new Gamma leader after he kicks Bradley out for his treachery.

Gamma Mu Mu vs. Team Max for the X Games

In this movie, fraternities are not depicted in the best of lights and it more than likely attributes to the poor attitude towards them in media. Yes, loyalty is prized in most fraternities, but, not to the extent (trained dogs) that this depicts. And, I believe, that most fraternities would not condone the acts that the Gamma Mu Mu fraternity did during the games.

Legally Blonde (2001) and Legally Blonde 2 Red, White & Blonde (2003)

In Legally Blonde, Elle Woods is depicted as a member and president of sorority Delta Nu. She is a fashion major and loved by her sorority sisters. When her boyfriend breaks up with her because he is going to Harvard and he is looking for another type of girl, Elle is determined to get into Harvard and become a law major in order to win her boyfriend back.

The ultimate depiction of the “dumb blonde” stereotype detracts from the minor image of the sorority in the film. However, what is applaudable of the Delta Nu sisters is their firm bonds of loyalty and dedication to each other and especially to Elle. The Delta Nu sisters help Elle study for her exams to get into Harvard, and help her make her admission’s “essay-video”.

Delta Nu Sister's Celebrate Elle's acceptance to Harvard

Delta Nu Sister’s Celebrate Elle’s acceptance to Harvard

Upon entering law school and entering her internship, Elle tells Brooke, accused of murdering her husband, that she is from Delta Nu sorority. Brooke was a Delta Nu in her college days, and this affiliation automatically earns Elle Brooke’s trust. Elle uses her sisterly bonds to speak with Brooke on a personal level and obtain an alibi as well as other information. Two Delta Nu sisters fly from California to the New England area to witness Elle’s first court appearance as a lawyer.

In the end of the movie, Elle uses her experiences in the sorority to prove that Chutney is lying on the witness stand.

Elle Wood’s Delta Nu necklace

Delta Nu Ring on Congresswoman Libby Hauser’s hand

In Legally Blonde 2 Red, White and Blonde, Delta Nu plays an even smaller role. Elle uses her experiences in Delta Nu to introduce the “snap cup” to her team in the Boston law firm and to ultimately break down some of the negativity that surrounds her. Later in the movie, she discovers that Congresswoman Libby Hauser was a member of Delta Nu and Elle reveals herself, which earns Congresswoman Hauser’s support of Bruiser’s Bill. Below, I have a link to the pivotal scene where Elle discover’s the Congresswoman’s affiliation with her sorority.

Delta Nu Bond

While the “dumb blonde” stereotype of Delta Nu certainly detracts from its minor appearance, the sisterly bonds that Greek Life applauds are used as strong tools to help Elle in her massive endeavors. And ultimately, I hope that if I do make Greek connections- that by joining an organization I can use the networking abilities to contact strong alumni.

Monsters University (2013)

The prequel to Monster’s Inc, Mike and Sully are pictured at Monsters University, home of one of the best scare programs that feeds into Monster’s Inc. In this movie, fraternities and sororities are pictured for the majority of the movie and play a huge role.

OK Picture

The Oozma Kappa Boys

The audience follows Mike and Sully as they are evicted from the Scare program at Monsters University. Both join Oozma Kappa (OK) in order to compete in the Scare Games, while wagering the dean that if Oozma Kappa wins the Scare Games, they can rejoin the Scare program.

The Scare Games is a part of Rush Week, and is only available to the fraternities and sororities of MU. The goal of the games is to promote fraternity and sorority bonds, allow the freshman to engage with the upperclassmen, and finally, to crown the best “Scarer”’s at MU.

Sully is thrown out of Roar Omega Roar (RΩR) for being kicked out of the Scare program, because RΩR is only for the top Scarer’s in the school. It is also hinted at that each member is from a long family line of top Scarer’s, like Sully’s family. RΩR is the main antagonistic fraternity in the movie and is depicted as the “popular circle”. They bully and pick on the members of OK and are firm believers that some monsters are built for scaring and that a monster who doesn’t look scary, can’t be a Scarer. This mentality seems to be held by certain faculty as well as other houses.

Roar Omega Roar Fraternity Picture

The RΩR Boys

When Mike and Sully join OK, the are quickly inducted via a hazing ritual. The power to the frat house is cut, and among the darkness and candles, robed figures of their fraternity brothers make them swear an oath while paddling them (until Sully breaks the paddle).

At the mid-point of the movie, OK is invited to a mixer party. At first, they are hailed as awesome people who have extended their social status- then gallons of paint, flowers and glitter are dumped on them and pictures are taken. The next morning the picture is in the school newspaper, hung from the clock tower, pasted in the quad, and sold on t-shirts and coffee mugs. And once again, OK is the laughing stock of the school.

Something that the movie does well though is highlight the bonds of brothers and sisters in Greek Life. Each house is fiercely loyal to each other, and usually not in the “trained” way like An Extremely Goofy Movie depicted. Each house works together to compete in the Scare Games, cares for each other, and helps each other with basic college skills (such as studying).

This movie does well to highlight both the pros and cons of Greek Life in the media. Each house depicts a specific stereotype including jocks, preps, athletes, popular kids, unpopular kids and goths. Each house is “ranked” in social status. And certain houses participate in hazing, and humiliation of other houses. But, is does emphasize the core beliefs, that I believe, Greek Life tries to encompass: loyalty, friendship, and excellence.