I suck at consistency, obviously

Here is most rant-filled, grammatically cataclysmic post thus far to make up for my three days absence. 

The past couple days have been a roller coaster — a phrase which I can now confidently say is not one word and not hyphenated in AP Style, because of a timed writing I had to do yesterday for my multimedia lab. It was used in a quote by a woman to describe a week during which her first grandson was born, and her husband shot himself with a nail gun (don’t worry, he survived). My week wasn’t quite as macabre, but for some reason, weirdly emotional and sleepless and stressful and just ugh I want to go home. In no particular order, the events of this week that have built up and torn down my faith in humanity.

The lack of indictment in the Eric Garner case. Like actually wtf. I was upset about the way the Michael Brown case turned out and could understand the frustration but could also acknowledge the ambiguity of the witness testimonies. With Eric Garner, I watched the horrendous video (that for some reason news channels have taken the ridiculous liberty of playing non-stop without giving thought to the fact that we are literally seeing a man die over and over again  on television) and broke down crying at work because it was such a moment of helplessness and frustration. I couldn’t deal. I still can’t deal. I’ve never felt so helpless in something I care so much about and that’s such a scary feeling.

Mindy Kaling’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and Other Concerns. I read this book despite the fact that a) I promised myself that I wouldn’t pick up another book until I finished Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone which I have been trying to get through since summer and b) it’s currently finals week so I really shouldn’t be reading for pleasure anyways. That being said, it was great. It reminded me how much work and failure and rejection it takes to get anywhere in life. It made me laugh when I was pissed off at everything. Which, in turn, reminded me how essential entertainers and commentators and comedy are to society. When I was younger, I don’t think I had every very many opportunities to read/experience any form of entertainment media in the U.S. by South Asian Americans. But recently, I don’t know if I’ve become more aware, or if there are actually more by number, I’ve found so many great writers. Atul Gawande, Mindy Kaling, Aasif Mandvi, Abraham Verghese — even seeing that new kid Hassan Minhaj on the Daily Show makes me so happy. It’s so validating to see snippets of your own experience, and acknowledgement of your frustrations, told in the stories of others.

The stupid shooting threat at my school. I can’t stand people who go out of their way to make people feel unsafe. I don’t understand what is accomplished by that and it just makes me mad. So when I got an alert by my school about a Twitter shooting threat, my internal monologue was 1.) “aw hell no” followed by 2.) little bit of fear followed by 3.) John Oliver saying “There have always been motherf***ers, there will always be motherf***ers, but what we can’t do is let them control our motherf***ing lives.” And then I wrote up a story about the threat for USA Today College that got edited and published with a bunch of grammatical errors and typos but got 1.2k shares so I guess it’s ok in the end.

The ridiculous Rolling Stone / UVA rape case drama that’s going down. It’s so frustrating that such basic journalistic standards of ethics were completely ignored, which will, in the long run, harm the already marginalized and stigmatized voices of rape victims. While Rolling Stone may be able to save face with great PR (and they’ve already released statements covering their backs) this endangers so many victims and their willingness to come forward with their stories. Beyond annoyed, beyond frustrated.

My last day of lecture and lab in my favorite class of the semester: Multimedia Writing. I loved this class so much. I could go on for a while about all of the things that were amazing about it. And it’s my blog, so I’ll go ahead and do that. I learned a lot. The construction of the class was ingenious in the way that at the beginning of the semester, we were given a fact sheet and pretty much told how to construct ledes, nut grafs, and all of the the components of a news story — something that most of us were completely unfamiliar and uncomfortable with. But, each week, they would slowly take away some of the help, to the point that now, at the end of the semester, we can confidently interview, write, and get published a story without a rubric, in a style of writing that we literally had no idea how to work with just 14 weeks prior. It makes me love writing so much more, I feel so much more confident, and I’m so much more excited about my future journalism classes. The same cannot be said about orgo chem because jeez that class has just been one massive train wreck from start to end.

The last day of lecture in multimedia, our amazing professor read us a speech someone gave at a 50-year college reunion or something that pretty much listed all of the technological innovations and advancements and events and changes that had happened between college graduation and where they were now. And at first, it was inspiring because you realize how far we have come — in terms of media, communications and technology — in such a short amount of time. But, the more I think about it, the scarier it is. Everything I’m learning about now, everything I care about now, has the potential to become completely and utterly obsolete in just my lifetime. And as inevitable and obvious as that statement is, it’s really disheartening and makes me have all kinds of existential feels that I don’t know how to cope with because I am young and inexperienced and jacked up on caffeine and frightened by the concept of finiteness. Peace out.

I wish I was funny but I guess sassy is ok

I really really admire people who are are able to make people laugh with ease. It’s a weird mix of awe and envy, because I don’t think that I have the eye for that irony and wit that you need to be a genuinely funny person. There’s a certain level of emotional intelligence coupled with acute observational skills that I think funny people seem to inherently possess that I would love to have.

Today, I watched way too many episodes of Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, and was reminded of how much talent it takes to really do well in comedy — a precise balance of uniqueness and relatability. If I could have even half of those skills, I would be satisfied.

I’ve consciously attempted humorous writing only a handful of times, and it feels like such an uncomfortable charade of a person I am not, that I usually end of up deleting it long before any other eyes read it.

The exception was when I made an absolutely disastrous attempt at satire in one of my college application essays, that at the moment I thought to be genuinely funny, but now makes me cringe. I literally can’t get through the first couple sentences without feeling to urge to backhand my awkward and incredibly conceited and self-assured high school self. It was a response to the prompt, “A space exploration has successfully transported the first human colonists to the planet Mars. What are the first three laws that must be put into place, and why?” (Damn you UChicago for your new-agey college application essay prompts) and I named the organization responsible for the successful space exploration “MnogoDeneg” — Russian for “Big Money.” And that’s just the start of my horrible, sophomoric attempts at satirizing the evils of capitalism, from all of the wisdom and perspective of a 17-year-old.

Maybe, by reading and studying enough really great writing, I’ll someday be able to wield the tools of humor as effortlessly as I would like. But the closest I’ve gotten was today, when someone said my latest UF Honors blog post was “sassy.” I guess I can live with that for now.

 

#100HappyDays: A Personal Reflection

On June 21st, I completed the #100happydays challenge on Instagram. Above all else, this challenge proved to me how quickly 100 days can pass. On the whole, there were certain key observations I made of my posts, and what made me happiest. While a lot of these are pretty obvious (name me one person who’s mood isn’t improved by good weather, food, and friends), it was great to recognize the positivity they brought, all the same.

The weather. I feel like this is one of the most underestimated stimuli we encounter on a daily basis. I’ve always identified as the person to love stormy weather– which is easy to do when you spend the majority of the day indoors like in high school. In college however, when you’re trekking across campus in all kinds of weather at all hours of the day, it becomes easy to appreciate a glorious sunny day and moderate temperature. Similarly, it was more difficult to come up with something to post for 100 Happy Days when I was stuck inside for too many hours, so I know that for this upcoming semester I need to make it a point to spend more time outdoors for a mood boost.

Food. Anyone that followed my 100 Happy Days posts on Instagram knows that I posted food a lot. Probably a little too much. Sorrynotsorry. Eating and making good food is great, but I found myself using it as a failsafe if I couldn’t think of anything else “happy” to post for the day. As much as we all love food, I think it’s also a warranted reminder to not use food to cure moments of boredom.

Good company. The posts that were genuinely “happy” were the ones with friends and family– which, I know, seems obvious. But it comes as a good reminder that the company you keep has an incredible impact on you overall mood and general positivity. Even as a self-identified introvert, I realized it was important to remind myself to open up to my closest family and friends, because of the moral and emotional support needed to get through difficult situations and decisions.

For anyone else who’s considering starting the #100HappyDays challenge, I would definitely recommend it. There are some days that it feels pointless, and some days where you end up cheating by using pictures from days past. But on the whole, the experience is great because it forces you to think positive on a consistent, daily basis. One of my favorite blogs, Wait but Why, illustrated beautifully the importance of thinking of happiness and contentment not as “broad brush strokes” of a colorful image, but instead as a single pixel. (Life is a Picture, But You Live in a Pixel) After all, it’s the day by day tedium, the little moments of happiness in each day that make for lasting happiness. Now that I’m back in school, I can use my 100 Happy Days experience to improve my mood on days I feel down, and hopefully make for a productive, successful, and happy semester.

Picture source: vividlife.me

 

 

Pictorial Analysis of Freshman Year Occurrences with Real Quantifiable Data (lol jk)

I know, it feels way too early to even begin wrapping up freshman year. But, with UF acceptances for the class of ’18 already out, as well as future Honors Program students awaiting acceptances, it definitely feels like we are getting pushed out of our “freshman baby gator” status at an alarming pace. So, in honor of said nostalgia, here is a compilation of the tips, advice, and #realtalk that I wish someone had given me before I came to college, for the benefit of all of the future freshies. After extensive research, I bequeath upon thee the data that gives you the run-down on the actual freshman experience. If you’d like to see all of the algorithms I developed and raw data I acquired, you can check it out here.

Slide2

Humility is what will save you a lot of grief as you try to navigate the ridiculously large community of the many passionate, dedicated, and accomplished people on campus. If you keep trying to compare and rank yourself among them, you will always feel inadequate. Sounds crazy depressing, but I promise, it can honestly be a good thing. I am always so proud of, and motivated by the accomplishments of my peers, and just seeing the possibilities and opportunities that are available to students like us is such an empowering experience.

For full post, click here.

Picture source: fc03.deviantart.net

This was the most viewed post of all time, on the UF Honors: The First Year blog! (March 15, 2014)

#100HappyDays

Following suit of my lovely, fellow Her Campus Blogger Network blogger Shannon, I’ve been inspired to embark on the #100HappyDays Instagram challenge.

Created by Dmitry Golubnichy in November 2013, Golubnichy has had over 350,000 people complete his challenge to post or send in, for 100 consecutive days, one thing that made them happy.

We are constantly bombarded in today’s world by so much cynicism and negativity, that the 100 Happy Days challenge seemed like an incredibly refreshing way to remind myself of the little things in each day that I can be grateful for, which is why I decided to take part. If you’d like to keep up with my posts, follow me on Instagram @antarasinha, and I will also be posting them a week at a time in this gallery.

We live in times when super-busy schedules have become something to boast about. While the speed of life increases, there is less and less time to enjoy the moment that you are in. The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it, is the base for the bridge towards long term happiness of any human being. –Dmitry Golubnichy

If you’d like to join me on daily excursion into optimism, check out www.100happydays.com to sign up.

For more good vibes, check out this post I wrote for Her Campus UFL earlier in February, to get through the exam blues!

Picture source: tamicks.net

Confessions of “Blind Girl #2”

My junior year of high school, I had a newfound (probably Glee fueled, not that I’ll ever admit it) obsession with theater. I decided to try out for the school’s Fall production of the 19th century set The Miracle Worker—the audition being the first time I had ever said my lines in front of other sentient creatures—somehow turning a minute monologue into a seven second one. (To everyone who witnessed that, you know who you are, and thank you for never ever acknowledging that monologueever once the nightmare was over) Miraculously (actually, by sheer probability because not enough people auditioned) the honor of playing the unnamed character “Blind girl #2” was bequeathed upon me.

Ok, actually, confession, I wasn’t even “#2.” We were just referred to en masse as “blind girls,” so everyone I’ve been recounting this tale to, I’ve just been lying to you for dramatic effect.

We were on stage for two minutes. I had one line. (“Where’s Alice?”) And that was that. Rehearsals were daily, grueling, and time consuming. Grades suffered, along with my dignity, but for some bizarre reason, I got it in my head to try to audition for our Spring musical production. 

For full post, click here.

Picture source: kidsactingoutwest.com

The 7 Deadly Sins of Instagram: The Pictures We’re All Sick of Seeing

Selfie Sunday. Man Crush Monday. Transformation Tuesday. Something about Instagram makes even the most camera-shy individual indulge in narcissistic selfies and over-documented, mundane breakfasts. Over the years, the following cliché posts have cluttered up our news feeds, and I must say: I think we’re ready for them to stop. Here are the seven deadly sins of Instagram as demonstrated by yours truly!

1. Starbucks For Days
Maybe at some point in time, during the early infancy of Instagram, this was cool. But, like all good things, its hipster-esque appeal has come to an end. We all know what a frappuccino looks like. You don’t have to show us with the enhancement of the X-Pro filter.

2. Lookin’ like Lord Voldemort
This is a common result of layering on too may filters to hide that one pimple on your face that no one would’ve noticed anyway. Let’s be real though… A nose-less, overly whitened face is much more noticeable than a teeny dot. It just looks a little creepy and too reminiscent of our favorite mythical villain.

(For full post, click here.)

This post was a top chapter article on Her Campus, on Nov. 11, 2013!