Instrumental music is crucial when studying requires your full attention and vocals are only going to distract you. With nine studio albums since they formed in 2002, God is an Astronaut is a post-rock style band that blends traditional rock instrumentation with electronic features to create an upbeat and vibey sound without losing their authentic rock feel.
If you’re looking for something a little edgier to go along with your late night contemplations of dropping out and moving back in with your parents, Tool’s third studio album “Lateralus” is a great place to start. Classified as an alternative metal band, Tool’s music has an intensity level high enough to keep you alert without having to resort to that third Red Bull.
3. Hans Zimmer Soundtracks
If you’re ever experiencing a lack of motivation while
studying, it never hurts to throw on the Interstellar
or The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack
for a spark of inspiration. Hans is a go-to when responsibility knocks at your
door at the eleventh hour and you have to start a paper you should have started
weeks ago. The forcefulness of the music combined with a dose of Adderall (doctor
prescribed, of course) will make you feel as if you are on a mission from God
to do the impossible and get that A you probably don’t deserve.
Kygo has a lot of great music if you have been walking across campus in single digit temperatures all day and would rather be on a beach somewhere. Kygo’s bubbly sound can help just about anyone keep a positive attitude during stressful times and see the light at the end of the tunnel during finals week. If you’re in need of a pick me up, put on Kygo’s debut album “Cloud Nine” and turn that corner of the library into your own tropical paradise.
A mellower alternative that should not go overlooked is
Emancipator. With a very hedonic and almost spiritual sound, Emancipator’s
instrumentals are a great way to entertain your ears while doing your
schoolwork. To this date Emancipator has released five studio albums, all of
which are ideal for tuning out distractions while checking things off your to-do
And there you have it, get familiar with some of these
artists to help you get through your next big study day!
Quick background: I packed my U-Haul on my 18th birthday and drove here from Seattle. I started college when I was 20 years old after working in retail for two years. Real life smacked me right in the face at 18, scraping by for rent and barely affording food. 40’s and Ramen was my bloodline. One day it dawned on me that if I couldn’t afford my cheap rent, food, and booze how was I supposed to ever save for a house or possibly support a child? Fear of the future is what drove me to go to college.
I decided to aim high, I went straight for pharmacy school. I wanted to make a lot of money and have job security. The issue? Potentially 6 years of school. So I switched to getting my bachelors in Chemistry.
I was constantly worrying about what was after school. Would I make enough money? Would I be happy? Would money make me happy? What the f*ck am I doing? This summer I had what some would say was a quarter life crisis. I woke up one day so extremely unhappy. I hated where I was going in life (I had no dreams of being a chemist or grad school), I didn’t love my boyfriend anymore, and most of all I was losing sight of who I was. So I dumped my boyfriend, switched my major to marketing, and made a pact with myself to never think so seriously about the future again.
Plans blind you.
When I thought I had it all figured out, when I made my 5 year plan, when I envisioned myself in a lab making cool drugs, is when I said no to opportunities. I had tunnel vision. I was only seeing what I wanted to see, I was only networking with people that I thought could help me get ahead. I’ve now fully adopted the philosophy that everything and everyone is an opportunity. Talk to anyone you meet, you never know what will happen.
A few weeks ago I was back home in Washington and took an Uber ride to the airport. He was a retired consultant that drove for fun. He is now my mentor and helping me in starting my second LLC to do marketing for one of his startups. Did I think that would happen from a car ride? Hell no, but here I am and I couldn’t be more excited and scared at the same time.
When someone asks you what you want to do after school, it’s okay to say you have no idea (I do it all the time). Don’t think you have to be the person you set out to be. Make plans but stay flexible. Talk to anyone and everyone. Never say no to a solid opportunity, even if it scares the shit out of you. I know I don’t have anything figured out and I’m finally 100% okay with that.
Two professors from the University of Washington are teaching a class that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, should have to take during their college career. The course is aptly named Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data. Yes, it is an actual course offered for one credit. They have published the syllabus and the reading material used in the course so that students at other universities can take advantage of the opportunity.
Writing can be hard, but it is necessary to formulate your thoughts and to understand the world around you. I once read that, as humans, we don’t write because we understand, we write to understand.
We write to understand, to share, to express ourselves, to heal – to communicate.
Whether you’re writing a blog post about DIY Halloween Costumes or a very personal experience, there a few key factors to note when getting started. Here are my 6 tips to becoming a writer:
Write What You Want to Read
If you don’t enjoy what you’re writing, chances are you wouldn’t enjoy reading it either, so why would anyone else? Austin Kleon writes about this in Steal Like An Artist in the chapter called Write the Book You Want to Read.
He talks about how you should write about what you like. He tells us to think about our favorite writers and then think about what they would create if they all collaborated – Write that.
Make it Engaging
When you write, don’t tell the reader how incredible you felt on the rollercoaster, make them feel it. Or, maybe you’re writing about a painful experience or the most exciting time in your life. Whatever it is, take the reader there. Words exist so that we can express ourselves to others. Are you more likely to be drawn to a piece that just tells you something, or are you more likely to be drawn to a piece that makes you feel something. We read to learn; We read to experience a world different from our own. JK Rowling didn’t tell you about Hogwarts, she took you there with Harry and she did it with words.
We all have the ability to take the reader there, we just have to be creative with our words. If you’ve ever been to an impromptu show, you may have seen the game they play where one person leaves the room and the other stays behind with audience. With the remaining person, the audience chooses an object to describe to the other person when they come back into the room. When the person comes back into the room the audience has to describe the object to them without explicitly saying the name of it. As you write, think about what you are wanting to write about, and then leave it on the page as if you are describing it to the person coming back into the room. That is how you take the reader there.
Have a Point and Maintain That Point
Whatever the topic is that you are writing about, make it a point to have a point. That means that with every sentence, you need to be able to come back to your point. As a reader, have you ever read something that didn’t stay on topic and by the time you get to the end of the piece (if you get to the end of the piece), you wonder how you got from point A to point B? As a writer, you never want to create a piece that doesn’t have a clear journey beginning to end. As you are writing, take time to pause throughout your process and read different bits and pieces and ask yourself if there is a arrow pointing directly back to your point. If not, it probably doesn’t belong.
When people read something, they are either desiring to learn something new or to hear “me too”. Writing a piece that lets the reader know “me too”, is 10X more effective than a “how to”. That’s why local parenting magazine Mamalode is so successful.
CEO and Founder, Elke Govertson, was looking for “me too” not “how to”, but continued to only find the latter. One year, on the night before Mother’s Day, she thew a party in which she called “Mother’s Day Eve”, and invited fellow mothers to come together in the name of motherhood. Out of vulnerability, these moms began to share their experiences with one another – the good, bad and the ugly. For the first time, Elke didn’t feel alone or lost in the perils of Motherhood. Instead, she felt uplifted and empowered and, most importantly, part of a larger community who could say “me too”.
Through her own experience, Elke wanted others to feel the same. She knew from her own frustrations with the “how to’s” that a publication filled with “me too” stories, like the ones shared that night, would create value in the lives of mothers across the country and even the world. Thus, Mamalode was born and is referred to today as “America’s Best Parenting Magazine” across the United States and in various parts of the world; all because of a little vulnerability.
You see, we’re all human. At the end of the day, we’re all made up of the same stuff. We experience upmost joy and happiness, as well as the deepest heartache and pain, all while craving to love and be loved; always wishing for more time. What differentiates us from one another is how we experienced those commonalities. It’s funny how some of the most gut-wrenching topics to write about are ones that every single human on Earth, has or will experience. Think: love, loss (death) and time; the three abstracts that motivate every single human on the face of the Earth. Be vulnerable and write about your experiences with those. Let your reader know “me too”.
Find Your Voice and Embrace It
There is no one like you in this world, and there will never be anyone that is as “you” as you are. That’s pretty incredible. This means that your voice, whether you’ve found it or not, is yours and yours only. We each have our own thoughts and experiences and opinions. If you don’t voice them, no one will because they’re not you. To find your voice you must be willing to be vulnerable (see #4). Sometimes this is the hardest kind of vulnerability to engage in because you are forced to be vulnerable with yourself. You must ask yourself questions like: “What do I truly think/feel about this?”, “What does my voice sound like?”, “Am I being honest with myself?”. Once you’re honest with yourself, you have the key to unlock your voice, which not only helps you to find yourself, but also to discover where your niche is in the world. Maybe your voice sounds at home in humor or dripping in satire, or how to create a multitude of DIY Halloween Costumes. Perhaps your voice is more at home talking about the tough stuff. Wherever your voice is at home, follow it there, put your feet up, get to know it and write.
Actively Pursue YOUR Human Experience
There’s an incredibly metaphoric, on-going scene in the first Princess Diaries movie that is so important to remember when it comes to this tip. Princess Mia’s neighbor in San Francisco is a writer who sits in front of his house every day working on his autobiography. The ironic part of his “autobiography” is that is filled with events that he sees happening in the lives of others within a hundred-foot radius of his front porch.
As a writer, you need to make sure you leave the porch. Pursue and engage in YOUR human experience, because no one else can truly write about that (see #5).
In contrast, there’s another movie called Stuck in Love that hits this head-on. About a family of writers, it follows the life of a father – a writer, who hasn’t written a single word since his wife left him for another man three years ago. He’s raising two teenagers – one of which is publishing her first novel and, the other, a Stephen King fanatic.
Raising both children to be writers from birth, the father gets hold of his son’s journal (a journal he has paid him to keep since he could write, along with his sister too), and tells his son that he needs to really experience life to become a better writer.
To become a better writer, you must actively pursue your human experience; you must really experience life. You can’t do this from your porch.
…And since we’re talking about Stuck in Love, I will leave you with this:
Meg Dowaliby is a Senior studying Marketing at the University of Montana, who has a passion for content creation and storytelling. Meg considers herself to be a “creative” with the objective of evoking emotions that bring people together as a marketer.
Being a broke college student without cable TV, I’ve been around the Netflix lineup my fair share of times. It’s easy to get caught into the same old, same old shows like Orange is the New Black, Stranger Things or How I Met Your Mother (which if you haven’t watched any of those – stop reading right now and go watch them) and it’s easy to forget that there are actually a lot of good shows out there that people just aren’t talking about. So I’ve went and put together a list of shows that I feel are “must watch” if you need a shake-up in your traditional suggested TV shows.
9.2/10 IMDb and 91% Rotten Tomatoes
Many people know or have heard of Sherlock Holmes. This BBC TV series did a great job making this show full of twists and often very funny scenes to keep you totally engrossed while watching. It is brilliantly acted and by far the best iteration of Sherlock Holmes ever to air on TV.
Downsides: Each episode is an hour and a half long so make sure you grab some popcorn because these episodes are basically like a continuous movie.
8.2/10 IMDb – No Rotten Tomatoes score
Everyone seems to be talking about the series “Luke Cage” but I find that not many people know that he was originally introduced in the “Jessica Jones” series! I personally like Jessica Jones over Luke Cage but to each their own. Jessica is a personal investigator who is trying to leave her life as a superhero behind her. Marvel’s Jessica Jones is extremely addicting to watch and a must see in my opinion – if you like Marvel / superhero type stories anyways.
Downsides: None – it’s a great show!
8.8/10 IMDb and 96% Rotten Tomatoes
For some reason Netflix has this listed as 3 out of 5 stars but you have to give it a chance. It is seriously such a good series! Each episode is completely different from the next and no episodes are tied together. They are like little movies with new actors and actresses in each episode, chalked full of mind blowing theoretical future technological scenarios in a twisted, Twilight Zone type of way. Trust me, watch one episode and you’ll be hooked.
Downsides: There are only 3 seasons and the first two seasons only have 3 episodes (but the last season has 6! Woohoo) so you might go through them fast.
Shameless (U.S. Version)
8.7/10 IMDb and 92% Rotten Tomatoes
This was one of those shows that I binged watched all summer long. It’s an honest comedy about an alcoholic father (Frank) who can hardly take care of himself and his family of six children who struggle to keep life going together. Despite the seemingly harsh premise, Shameless is seriously hilarious and it is so easy getting caught up in the Gallagher’s dysfunctional world. Netflix has 6 seasons available so you have plenty of episodes to keep you busy.
Downsides: There is a lot of sex scenes. Like a lot – but you get used to it after a while. Just a heads up haha
8.4/10 IMDb and 88% Rotten Tomatoes
Broadchurch is a British television crime drama. The premise is typical of a crime show in the sense that there are two main detectives that are investigating the mysterious murder of a young boy in a small seaside town in England. Give it two episodes and I promise you’ll watch the whole two seasons in no time flat. Make sure to watch the BBC version and not the U.S. version for this one though!
Downsides: Becuase this show is a British TV series, all of the cast have heavy accents making it, at times, hard to hear what they are saying. Not a big deal but still wanted to mention it 🙂
7.8/10 IMDb and 90% Rotten Tomatoes
Imagine a Hunger Games meets Divergent meets The Maze – That’s what The 100 is like. After living in space for three generations due to a nuclear Armageddon that destroys civilization on Earth, the survivors of the international space station start running out of resources. The 100 is all about a group of kids trying to save the human race. If you can get through the first four episodes, you’ll be in it for the long haul.
Downsides: There are only 2 out of 3 seasons available on Netflix so if you really like it, you’ll have to get your fix by some other means online.
7.9/10 IMDb and 57% Rotten Tomatoes
If you have seen and liked the movie Limitless, then you will definitely enjoy this spin-off. Even if you haven’t seen the movie you should definitely give this a watch. Just like the movie, Limitless is about a young man who is down on his luck until he is introduced to a drug that enhances his mental acuity. While the show and movie parallel each other, they are quite different in their story line (although the TV show does a nice job picking up where the movie left off). Oh, and Bradley Cooper, the main character in the movie, makes appearances throughout the show as well which is pretty cool.
Downsides: There is only one season available right now and last I looked, there is no hope of a second season starting anytime soon. With that being said though, season one has 22 episodes and it wraps up pretty good while still keeping a small door open for a potential second season.
7.7/10 IMDb and 84% Rotten Tomatoes
This is a really easy show to watch. I would typically have it playing in the background while I was getting ready. Nurse Jackie is centered around the chaotic, relentless ER of a busy New York hospital as Jackie maneuvers through her busy work life, one Vicodin pill at a time. It’s a funny and quirky series that will keep you coming back for more.
8.1/10 IMDb and 90% Rotten Tomatoes
Parenthood is a heartfelt family show with some popular actors and actresses in the cast including Lauren Graham and Dax Shepard. The show features the whole Braverman family tree and follows the ups and downs of four grown siblings as they juggle parenthood, relationships, and their daily lives. All six seasons of the show are available on Netflix and I highly recommend if you are looking for a feel good show!
7.7/10 IMDb and 55% Rotten Tomatoes
While this series has the lowest ratings of all the shows on this list, it is still one of my favorites that I felt needed to be included. The Following is a mystery / detective show centered around the hunt for a serial killer who has escaped from death row. This show is full of twists and turns that will keep you wondering and wanting more. Don’t be surprised if you end up misplacing hours of your time while getting engrossed watching.
So there you have it, 10 shows to go watch on Netflix! Hopefully there is one show on this list that you haven’t seen yet that you can add to your queue. Happy watching! 🙂
By: Lauryn Wate – University of Montana student studying Business Marketing