Author: Kyle Massa

The Secret to Being Productive

old_clock_by_neyleI’m entering my senior year at college this fall, and if I’ve learned anything it’s that school is not easy. Between athletics, clubs, hanging out with friends, and generally enjoying the freedom of living on your own, it can be hard to find enough time for academics. Here’s a little secret that I picked up during my school days that might help you stay on top of your work: stop waiting for the perfect moment, because it won’t happen! There will never be that “Ah-ha!” moment when you have all the time in the world to sit down and study and finish projects and write papers. And even if there was you probably would not feel motivated and willing to do it. Just bite the bullet and get started, because it truly is the hardest part.

Rather than hanging out on your iPhone between classes or waiting for a ride, get out some work and get started. Use every second you’re given. I know from experience how important this is, and I can tell you that I’ve made many nights much longer than they needed to be by not doing this. I would get out of class at 4 and have a club meeting at 5, giving me an hour in between. I would decide that I really couldn’t get much done in that time, and instead play a video game or something like that. You’d be surprised at how much you can get done in an hour. Doing work at that time might give you another hour to sleep and trust me, you’ll thank yourself the following morning.

The best way to stay productive at college is to stay diligent. All that work can seem daunting at first glance, but if you stay on top of it, you can knock it out and still have time for all the other activities you want to do.

Share some of your best tips for staying productive in college; we would love to hear!

Campus Life: Should I Bring a Car to College?

A car means freedom. Simple enough, right?

If you’re a college student and you have your own car, you probably want to take it to school with you. A car will let you get around campus faster, and even the surrounding town or city. You might make new friends in a carpool. And from your parent’s perspective, no one has to drive all the way from home to pick you up again. Yes, having a car might seem like a good idea now. However, I suggest weighing your options before bringing your vehicle to college.

driving friends

Take, for example, the cost of your car. If you think you’re broke now, imagine how broke you’ll be when you’re filling your tank up every week. Especially if you have friends that are constantly asking for rides without offering any gas money- that gets old quick! And don’t forget about those expensive oil changes and inevitable repairs. Even minor cosmetic damage can run in the thousands to repair.

Furthermore, being forced to walk around campus is an important part of being a student. You’ll inevitably miss the beauty and atmosphere of your school if you’re zooming by with the radio blaring. Think of all the new people you might meet while leaving your dorm or walking to class. The best part about walking? You don’t have to drive in circles looking for a parking space.

Additionally, you might be tempted to take that car back home to visit your friends and/or parents. This is probably the biggest pitfall of bringing your car to school, especially if you’re within an hour or two of home. Living away from home is a difficult transition for many young people, and the transition can’t happen if you’re constantly driving home on the weekends. Even if you’re homesick, it’s important to tough it out. Otherwise, you’ll never become acclimated to college life.

I’m not saying that bringing a car to school is necessarily a bad thing. On the contrary, I think that having a car can be a different experience for everyone. If your pros outweigh your cons, then by all means, bring your vehicle. Just be sure to weigh your options and if you think bringing your car to college could have a negative effect on your experience then don’t be afraid to leave it at home.

Summer Movie Review: The Place Beyond the Pines

If you’re tired of explosions, superheroes, and hectic action in your summer movies, then head down to your local independent theater and see The Place Beyond the Pines.

The Place Beyond the Pines

The film stars Ryan Gosling as Luke Glanton, a motorcycle stuntman who learns that he has a son with a former girlfriend named Romina (Eva Mendes). Without a way to provide for the child, Luke concocts a plan to rob banks on his motorcycle. Bradley Cooper plays Avery Cross, a police officer pursuing Luke. As the story unfolds, the paths of these two men cross in more ways than one.

This is the second collaboration between Gosling and writer/director Derek Cianfrance, their first being the critically acclaimed Blue Valentine. Cianfrance makes his presence felt in both the script and onscreen; his writing is broad but focused, his direction realistic yet captivating. I particularly enjoyed the setting of Schenectady, New York, partly because I live about thirty minutes from there. It’s a sort of sleepy, wooded area that is captured brilliantly and fits perfectly within the story.

The Place Beyond the Pines features some excellent performances from a well-cast group of actors and actresses. Gosling in particular shines as stuntman turned bank- robber Luke Glanton. He is at first menacing with his imposing physique and numerous tattoos, yet loving and soft-spoken in his scenes with Mendes and his infant son. Newcomers Dane DeHaan and Emory Cohen also provide excellent support, as do Eva Mendes and Bradley Cooper.

That said, the script is definitely the strongest part of the film. This isn’t a traditional, formulaic Hollywood plot. Rather, it is a realistic story told over years and generations. My friend described the plot as “Shakespearean,” and I think this description fits well. You might think you know where it’s going, but trust me, you’ll be surprised. In many ways the film is a tragedy, inspecting what happens when otherwise good people reach too high. And yet I think that there is a certain hopefulness that runs alongside with the tragedy; the idea that even if we make mistakes in life, there is a chance of redemption–if not for us, then for those who come after.

No, this is not a pulse-pounding action thriller with bullets and bodies flying left and right. There aren’t any super powers or incredible special-effects. The Place Beyond the Pines is an sombre, honest study in family and legacy. If you’re looking for a break from the summer blockbuster, start here.

Celebrating Memorial Day the Right Way

For many young people, Memorial Day is considered one of the first marks of summer. The public pools open, barbecues are planned, and those who work get a day off. However, Memorial Day has much more meaning than just a three day weekend. Memorial Day is a national holiday that honors all those Americans who have died serving our country. With Memorial Day just around the corner, now is a better time than any to contemplate the history and true meaning behind the holiday, and think of how you can celebrate Memorial Day the right way this year.

 Memorial Day

There are numerous differing accounts concerning the first Memorial Day, though most agree that it began during the Civil War era. Early observers of the holiday laid flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers, and also paid respect to soldiers who died during the Civil War. The first official Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30th, 1868. General John Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic proclaimed the holiday, and by the late 1800’s, Memorial Day became a national observance. At first, Memorial Day was meant to pay respect only to the soldiers of the Civil War. Around 1890, it was expanded to honor Americans who died in any war.

There are many things that we can do to honor the soldiers who died defending us, and also those who are still living. Consider spending the day with any veterans or current soldiers you may know. It is important to tell them how much they mean to us, and to let them know what their service means to our country. After all, without them, we might not have a day off at all. Another way to show your thanks is to follow the old tradition of placing flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers. I think that this was and still is a great way to honor our veterans. Perhaps we cannot ever truly repay them for what they did, but we can still give thanks as best we can.

If you are wondering how to spend your Memorial Day, consider some of these ideas as well as your own as to how to make the day a meaningful one that expresses gratitude and respect to our fallen soldiers. As long as we give thanks to those who have defended our freedom, we’ve spent Memorial Day the right way.

To learn more information about this holiday, check out for some interesting facts. How do you celebrate a meaningful Memorial Day? Let us know!

Must See Films for Summer Break

Summertime is almost here, folks. You might be wondering what to do with yourself for the next few months. If you have the time, why not go see a pulse-pounding summer blockbuster? Here are three movies I am really looking forward to:

First, try Man of Steel, coming to theaters on June 14th. The latest of the Superman film adaptations, this version boasts an impressive cast, including Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, and Russell Crowe. In addition, the film is produced by Dark Knight Rises director Christopher Nolan, who turned an ailing Batman franchise into a multi-million dollar juggernaut. Judging from the preview, I’d say that Nolan has brought the gritty, realistic style of his Dark Knight trilogy to a franchise that is often criticized for endless campiness. I wonder if they’ll still have Superman change in a phone booth…

THE LONE RANGERThe next blockbuster I’m looking forward to is Disney’s The Lone Ranger, starring The Social Network’s Armie Hammer as the titular character. Johnny Depp plays Native American warrior Tonto, and together they set out to fight corruption. The main reason to see this one is the crew. The Lone Ranger reunites writing duo Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot with director Gore Verbinski and actor Johnny Depp, all of whom worked on the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Yes, the last three installments were stinkers, but the The Curse of the Black Pearl was excellent. If Elliot, Rossio, Verbinski and Depp can recapture the sense of adventure that was at the heart of the first Pirates, I think The Lone Ranger could be a hit. Look for it on July 3rd.

Last but not least is R.I.P.D.: Rest In Peace Department, an action film about two dead cops (played by Jeff Bridges and Ryan Reynolds) who work from beyond the grave to fight crime. R.I.P.D. is based on a comic book, and you can tell from the trailer. The film looks to be chock full of zany action, impressive special effects, and snappy one-liners. And of course, Jeff Bridges is in it. What more could you ask for?

Enjoy your summer, and don’t miss these great films!