As Featured on News Cult: 5 Reasons Why You Should Study Abroad

I’m a firm believer that if you have the opportunity and means to study abroad in college, you should. Here are my top 5 reasons why.

1. Travel

You get to kill so many birds with one stone by studying abroad. It’s really just an excuse to see the world. It should just be called “Abroad,” because you’re not going to be doing much studying. Especially if you go somewhere in Europe, since the rest of Europe is so easily accessible once you’re already in one of its countries. Traveling is good for the soul–it broadens your experience, and consequentially, your mind. It shows you that the whole world doesn’t think, act, dress, speak like wherever you’re from. It opens your eyes to diversity, and that’s an important thing if you don’t want to be an asshole. #Characterbuilding

2. People

You are going to meet so many people and make great lifelong friends. And, most importantly, people from different places. You’re never going to have access to such a diverse crowd of people your age ever again. And, if you’re American, this means, most importantly, you’re going to date so many men who are 1000x sexier, smarter, funnier, more considerate, and more insightful than American men. #Priorities

3. Food & Booze

Perhaps the most important perk of studying abroad, you’re going to eat and drink so much great food and alcohol that’ll be new to your palette. Again, this will be most impactful if you’re American–there’s a reason the rest of the world isn’t dying of obesity–they’re not shoving their pie holes with processed junk food. They’re savoring their food, which is often homemade with fresh ingredients and love. That said, still a firm believer in shoving your pie hole with processed junk food–just allow yourself another type of culinary experience for 6 months–3 AM fast food emotional eating runs will still be here for you when you get back. #Thereisnocomfortquitelikeaburgerandfries #Andamilkshake

4. Education

Okay, okay, I admit the education factor is at least marginally important. Taking classes at a university that’s different from what you’re used to is really fascinating. It’s eye-opening to see how other countries treat education. You’ll learn so much you otherwise wouldn’t, not least of which is about the education systems in other parts of the world. And, again, if you’re American, hopefully you’ll be able to prove to your classmates and peers abroad that we’re not all complete idiots–yes, most of us are, but there are a few who are willing to learn from and listen to non-American points of view and aren’t narrow-minded lemmings. #UndoingtheworkofGeorgeWBush #ActuallyundoingtheworkofvirtuallyallAmericanpoliticians #ThankyouMr.Presidents

5. Culture

This encapsulates all of the above factors and is super broad, but I can’t stress the importance of experiencing other cultures enough. Not just the food, alcohol, people, and education, but everything–transportation, healthcare, interpersonal customs, music, dance, art, and so on. You’ll gain an understanding of how other cultures operate firsthand, and will probably end up incorporating some of their traditions into your own life, if not even deciding to try to move wherever you studied/traveled permanently. Most importantly, you’ll get to refer to yourself as “cultured” in conversation with people. #Douchebagsintraining

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=55733

As Featured on News Cult: How to Survive Panic Attacks

The dreaded panic attack. Such a burden. As if we don’t have enough problems already. Like, we already have to shave our legs, pretend to work at work, and completely fail at navigating the painfully awkward dating scene–and now we have to be overcome by panic about it all, too!? A panic attack is like a bad boyfriend–it comes when it’s not the right time, stays too long, is driven by irrationality, and makes you feel like crap. But DON’T PANIC GUYS (self-five for that one! Yeahhhhhhh)–I have solutions. Whether you’re prone to completely paralyzing, disruptive panic attacks that stop you from functioning like a normal person in society (not that you ever really do), or more mild, less disabling bouts of anxiety, here’s how you survive them.

Breathe

It’s such a cliché, but it’s one for a reason, just like stereotypes–it’s TRUE. Focus on your breath–take one inhale and one exhale at a time. Imagine you’re breathing in the aroma of a freshly baked Funfetti cake, or the scent of coffee/salvation in the morning, or the smell of fear as your nemesis cowers in the face of your superiority and fabulousness.

Feel your feet on the ground

If there’s one thing panic does, it makes you feel like you aren’t solidly grounded. But you ARE–stand firmly and focus on the sensation of your feet rooted to the ground. You may feel completely thrown off, but the beauty is that the panic is in your head, and if you can squash it there, it can’t invade the rest of your body. Walk around if you have to–anything to prove to yourself that you’re here, now, and you’re not going anywhere–if only because you don’t weigh an insignificant amount, and as much as we wish we were light as a feather and could just float away like a balloon, we’re more like an anchor. Made of plutonium. The size of  Shaquille O’Neal.

Cry

Crying is the best–it’s such a release. Instead of trying to fight it, just let it out. I don’t care if you’re in the middle of a work presentation, or on an airplane, or in line at Starbucks–EXPRESS YOURSELF. Everyone can deal with it. Just wail. You literally feel like you’re dying, so get that overwhelming sensation out of your mind and body. Get it out, and eventually it will subside. And, bonus–if you happen to be in a public place, people will now think you’re extra psycho and will go even more out of their way than they already were to avoid you. #WINNING

Think of something funny

You’re going to find it hard to sustain your panic if you recall the time you ripped your pants sitting down at your desk first thing in the morning and had to spend the rest of the day walking backwards, or the time you spelled your own name wrong when submitting it to your college registrar for your diploma, or the time you showed up for a blind date and mistook the waiter for your guy, so when he came to your table to greet you, you stood up and hugged him.

Run in place

Similar to crying, this is a good way of expelling all the pent up energy that panic attacks entail. Plus, we never exercise, so we’re really killing two birds with one stone here. I’m really proud of our efficiency. It’s commendable, frankly.

Engage denial

Perhaps my favorite coping mechanism, denial is a proven, trusty, reliable fail-safe. Just start pretending that everything’s fine, and there’s no need to panic, and nothing is wrong. Take a page out of your parents’ book and act like there’s no problem that needs addressing and everything is perfect and everyone is happy and it’s Christmas goddammit so SMILE AND ACT LIKE YOU LOVE YOUR FAMILY. Talk yourself through the process out loud if you have to–“You are panicking–but don’t worry, there’s no need to. You didn’t completely just fuck up that assignment, your boss isn’t going to notice, your frenemy didn’t overhear you shit-talking her at lunch even though she was standing right behind you in line to order, you don’t have AIDS despite the fact that you slept with a questionable (at best) guy last night whose name you don’t remember but you feel like it definitely started with a ‘G,’ and you’re not sure you used a condom but, hey, it’s the 21st century–people do this all the time, right? and like ok, so you accidentally sent that confidential email about someone who was never supposed to see it to that person, but we’re all going to die one day anyways, so does it really matter?” 

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=55440

 

As Featured on News Cult: 10 Halloween Costume Ideas

We’re sort of approaching the Halloween season (not really but I couldn’t think of anything else to write about), but in any case, isn’t it always better to be prepared for things ahead of time (just kidding, procrastination is my religion). But whatever, we’re here so we might as well discuss Halloween costume ideas. Here are my suggestions for you.

1. You are what you eat

So in our case, this could be one of three things: bacon, donuts, or pizza.

2. A piece of shit

For inspiration, reference your middle school choir director, last 3 bedfellows, or any of your neighbors.

3. A stop sign

Because if we could choose to be anything other than human, this would be it. Our favorite thing to do is to tell people to stop. You’re pouring your heart out to me? Stop. You’re driving in front of me and have a “My child is an honor student at [No One Gives a Fuck] High School”? Stop it. Oh please, DO tell about your relationship woes–just keep talking and talking and talking about yourself, I can’t get enough. NOT–ready, set, STOP.

4. Your mom

Not yours, but the universal “your mom.” Use your discretion to interpret this one. But please just try to be as stereotypical, offensive and judgmental as possible.

5. Alcohol

If there’s one thing we know, it’s booze. Put that expertise to use.

6. The middle finger

Self-explanatory.

7. Your pet

AKA your soul mate, life partner, love of your life. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Maybe then they’ll love you as much as you love them (unlikely, but a girl can dream).

8. A priest

Could there be a more logical choice in costume? I mean, they’re always trick or treating with children anyways.

9. Someone taking a vow of silence

The perfect excuse to ignore people and not have to talk to them! WE’VE BEEN WAITING ALL YEAR FOR THIS.

10. Zac Efron

HAHAHAHAH just kidding you don’t have the abs for that. Now, Seth Rogen, on the other hand, we can do. We’ll knock that shit OUT OF THE PARK. The resemblance is uncanny.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=55157

As Featured on News Cult: How to Deal with Interns

 

A necessary evil at most jobs: the intern. And, of course, we end up being the ones who have to manage them because why wouldn’t we. Theoretically, they are supposed to make our lives easier. But in reality, they don’t. It’s not because they’re awful, or maybe they are. They could be the smartest, most qualified, nicest people in the world–but at the end of the day, managing them is a job, and if there’s one thing we know, it’s that we don’t like to do work. So here’s how you deal with them.

#Prayingforyou.

Keep them busy but out of your hair

Give them projects that, at the very least, won’t fuck up what you’re trying to do. Coffee runs (with the simplest orders possible–say goodbye to your two pump sugar free vanilla no water non fat extra hot latte), shuffling papers around, rearranging the fridge, reading the operating manual for the scanner, dusting–whatever they can do without actually doing anything. Avoid assigning tasks that require any explanation or evaluation on your part–the goal is to minimize your workload, which is the goal all day every day regardless of interns, so we’re certainly not going to let them derail us. We have ASPIRATIONS, OKAY?

Don’t be approachable

You don’t have to be a complete jerk, but don’t be warm and fuzzy either. We don’t need them asking us questions, or thinking we’re there to socialize or, God forbid, teach them things.

Pawn off leadership responsibilities

Oh, you’re wondering how that certain aspect of the business works? Why don’t you ask my co-worker, Steve, who I hate with the passion of Bill O’Reilly when the teleprompter malfunctions?” -Or- “You need a performance evaluation? Allow me to refer you to our head of HR–I’m just not sure that’s in my purview–but she can totally do it. Just make sure to catch her in a manic phase.

Pawn off things you don’t want to do

Ok, of course this includes everything. But since interns aren’t qualified to do everything, only pawn off the things you don’t want to do and that they have a higher chance of not completely ruining–like organizing receipts chronologically for expense reports, or clearing paper jams in the copier, or mailing things. And that way, if those things get fucked up, you can point the finger of blame at someone else, legitimately for once (because obviously we never accept responsibility for anything that goes wrong ever, even if it’s technically our fault–so this way, we’ll at least have a clearer conscience. HA JK we don’t feel guilty blaming others when the blame should fall on us because SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST GET USED TO IT).

Discourage them from entering your field

The more you exhibit hatred for your line of work, the less likely the interns will be to want to pursue it, which means the less likely they’ll be to ask you questions about it and advice for how to get where you are, not to mention the less eager they’ll be–we HATE eagerness–like, have you not lived yet? Because if you have, you know that life is TERRIBLE and there is absolutely no reason whatsoever to be eager ever in the world–and the less you’ll have to talk to them, which is ALWAYS the goal–minimal interpersonal contact. Plus then you’ll have less competition from young and hungry, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed college grads who would probably shine a light on how terrible your job performance is and would force you to kick it into gear which is the LAST thing we need–to actually work at work? Ugh no THANK YOU–we’ll stick to mooching off the company snack supplies and using the printer to print our boarding passes and watching Netflix all day at our desks.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=54936

 

As Featured on News Cult: Monogamy: Let’s Discuss

The elephant in every relationship: monogamy. When are you going to be “official”? Are you “dating” or just “seeing each other” or merely “hooking up”? WTF do those things even mean? How do you refer to each other when making introductions? “Mom, this is Jack, the… guy I’m occasionally having mediocre sex with?” Or, “Everyone, this is Sarah–I think she’s my girlfriend but that hasn’t been explicitly stated yet so I’m not really sure. I know that I would like her to be, but I don’t know her feelings on the subject.”

To be, or not to be, monogamous–that is the question. It seems like American society and culture overwhelmingly promote monogamy when it comes to marriage, but anything short of that, it’s a free for all. There is no given–just because you’re going on dates with someone, or having sex with them, does not make them your monogamous partner. It seems like there has to be a conversation that establishes the rule of monogamy in order for it to actually be understood. Which, on the one hand, is good, because it promotes direct communication. But isn’t it also kind of sad–that you could be giving so much of yourself to someone, with what seems like an obvious understanding that you’re committed to them, and they could be taking it not just from you, but from Sheila in Accounting, Shelly the hairdresser, Crystal the bartender, and Jane the “artist,” too?

I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong when it comes to monogamy. I know that the concept of monogamy is off-putting to me, because it seems unnatural and unrealistic, but I also know that the alternative is equally off-putting. Which, as we already know, probably means I’m going to die alone. But let’s take a minute to explore the pros and cons of monogamy in more depth.

Yes, it seems bizarre to limit yourself to one partner, because there are SO many people in the world, and why cut off opportunities to meet and explore relationships with them? Not to mention that after a while, don’t you get bored with the same person, day after day? And their stupid, annoying flaws, and all the compromises you have to make, and the emotional energy required of you when maintaining a healthy relationship? Like, you actually have to talk about your feelings, and their feelings, and you have to pretend not to find theirs completely ridiculous, unjustified, and laughable. And you have to comfort them, when compassion is not your strong suit, and, frankly, you don’t even think they deserve yours because they’re being an idiot.

Not to mention sex–sex with one person until you die? Or until you break up? The sex would have to be really good to justify that, and we all know that 95% of people are not having really good sex. They’re having ‘lie there, pretend to be into it, but really just sneaking side-eyed glances at the TV while also fantasizing about the perfect banana split, and having sex with not the person they’re having sex with‘ sex. So it follows that with monogamy comes the laborious effort of having to ‘work on’ the quality of your sex life, which could not be more of a turn off. Plus, we’ve already been over how we don’t care to communicate, and working on our sex lives would mean we’d have to be upfront about our ‘sexual needs,’ which, again, is the least sexy thing.

However. The thought of having multiple partners is also a turn off. We haven’t liked to share since we were kids and our dads would eat OUR yogurt from the fridge even after we SPECIFICALLY labeled it with passive aggressive sticky notes with our names on them, and we’re not about to start now. Seriously–the thought of sharing a connection with someone that they’re also sharing with someone else cheapens it, I think. Maybe it’s unrealistic to only have eyes for one person, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying for. Personally, I would rather put the majority of my energy into building one relationship than spreading it thin over several. And I would appreciate the same effort from whoever’s basket I’m putting my eggs into.

Not to mention sex–the thought of having sex with someone, and them having sex with other people, is kind of gross. Even if you’re using protection–protection doesn’t cover everything. Don’t get me started on the things the condom fails to protect against–I could go for DAYS. And I know that personally, it makes me feel like I’m being undervalued when I’m having non-monogamous sex. Shouldn’t we, as ourselves, be enough for someone? And vice versa–I feel equally weird having multiple sex partners myself. Yes, germs play a huge factor in that, but also emotionally, I feel like I’m being disingenuous. I know sex is basically a physical urge. But it also has great potential to be really emotionally fulfilling, so I think it’s worth cultivating that with one person who you trust, and who trusts you, and knowing that you don’t have to worry about where you stand in that dynamic, because, at least for now, you have a mutual agreement to build something together, just the two of you.

I think, the more terrible dating experiences I accrue, the more I’m starting to lean towards pro monogamy. I want to be with someone who’s accountable to me, and who I am accountable to. Not being monogamous means there’s virtually no accountability obligation. And if you’re going to give of yourself emotionally, physically, sexually, whatever–whoever you are giving that to shouldn’t take it lightly. They should treat it responsibly and considerately. That doesn’t mean you have to rush into something serious too fast–I think you can be monogamous while still being smart about taking things slow. It boils down to valuing yourself and your self-worth. Engage with people in ways that value you and the other person.

Of course, monogamy isn’t for everyone (please see: Mormons and Tiger Woods). I believe that people can have non-monogamous relationships that are still built on respect, though. And while I personally feel more respected in a monogamous relationship than a non-monogamous one, I think, ultimately, the most important thing is to have a mutual understanding and agreement with your partner, that you’re both actually ok with–don’t sacrifice what you want if it’s going to devalue you. Because then you’ll have to get a lot of plastic surgery to cover up your disdain, hatred, and bitterness towards your husband, who cheated on you with 14 girls (hey, at least they were all of legal age) but you decided to stay because you love each other that much, and also for the children.

Featured on News Cult: http://newscult.com/?p=54696