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A Collegiette's Guide to Life

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    Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced on Friday the indictment of twelve Russian intelligence officers for hacking offenses in the 2016 election. They are accused of making an "effort to hack into the computer networks" of the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic National Campaign Committee as well as the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton and, "release that information on the Internet under the names DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 and through another entity," according to the DOJ. 

    All 12 defendants are members of a Russian intelligence agency, GRU. The DOJ also says that the Russians deliberately interfered with the 2016 presidential election and allegedly spearheaded a continuous cyberattack against volunteers and employees of Clinton’s campaign. They were able to obtain usernames and passwords, allowing them to hack into the DCCC and DNC networks. The indictment reportedly doesn't mention that the crime changed the results of election or that any Americans were conspiring with the Russians, according to NBC Boston.

    “There is no allegation in this indictment that Americans knew they were corresponding with Russian intelligence officers,” Rosenstein said in his announcement. 

    Rosenstein also asked for Americans to hold the defendants accountable for their actions and to put aside partisan over Robert Mueller’s investigation.

    “Partisan warfare fueled by modern technology does not fairly reflect the grace, dignity and unity of the American people. The blame for the election interference belongs to the people who committed election interference,” he said. 

    It was announced back in March that Mueller was assembling a criminal case against Russia for hacking and leaking private information from Democrats during the 2016 election. NPRreports that the Mueller probe has already indicted 20 people including Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort who has been charged with tax and bank fraud. 

    Rosenstein says that the prosecution will be moved from Mueller’s office to the National Security division of the Justice Department. The announcement happened before the scheduled meeting between President Trump and President Vladimir Putin on Monday in Helsinki. On Friday, Trump told reporters on his visit to the UK that he would "ask" Putin about these attacks. 


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    Some people just scroll through Instagram before bed. For you, however, Instagram is a second occupation—as in, you check it at least every 10 minutes. Here are 16 signs that you are head over heels for that #Instalife.

    1. Looking through your Explore page is an all-day task

    I'm addicted, okay?

    2. Your mosaic is on point 

    Instasize for life.

    3. You are convinced unfollowing someone is a huge insult

    Serious shade.

    4. You understand the beauty of a good cameraman

    I need Mom, Dad or a nephew to get those artsy angles.

    5. You cringe when you see unfiltered, unfocused photos

    Um, bye.

    6. Food pics are everything

    Especially if it's Starbucks, or anything colorful, really.

    7. You gotta get the good shot, no matter where you are

    Sometimes getting a pic in the middle of the street is worth it.

    8. You're over seeing more than three hashtags in a row

    Please stop.

    9. Picking a filter is the most difficult decision you make all day

    Okay, but like Clarendon or Valencia?

    10. You wish you had an Instagram husband like Obama

    Why else would I take you with me on vacation? ;)

    11. Your inner monologue goes something like this…

    Constantly questioning.

    12. Every outfit needs to be perfectly cultivated

    Essential.

    13. You judge others' lives based on their feed

    "How many followers does she have?"

    14. Instagram is your stalking tool of choice 

    Forget Facebook—Instagram is the best way to know everything about your classmate's second cousin's girlfriend.

    15. You didn't create Boomerang…

    …but you made it cool.

    16. Being Instagram verified is what your dreams are made of

    My #1 goal.


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    Nearly two years after Caleb Schwab’s tragic death, the Schlitterbahn waterpark located in Kansas City, Kansas is finally tearing down the Verruckt water slide that caused his fatal injuries.

    According to the Kansas City Star, the company plans to begin the removal of the slide after Labor Day weekend of this year. The plan to remove the Verruckt, which is a whopping 7 stories tall and was heralded as one of the tallest slides in the world at its 2014 opening, was announced on July 12 during a court hearing.

    A Schlitterbahn attorney said that the process is "fairly complicated," so removing the slide could take approximately three weeks.

    The removal of the Verruckt follows months of legal hearings and multiple criminal charges placed on five Schlitterbahn employees.

    Schlitterbahn co-owner Jeff Henry and Verruckt lead designer John Schooley are facing charges of second degree murder. Tyler Miles, the former director of operations for the Kansas City location has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and interfering with law enforcement. Maintenance workers John Zalsman and David Hughes have also been charged with interfering with law enforcement. All five have pleaded not guilty.

    The Schwab family also reached a settlement with Schlitterbahn at Thursday's hearing, receiving a sum of $20 million.

    Caleb Schwab died after being decapitated while riding the Verruckt in August of 2016. He was the son of Kansas state representative Scott Schwab.

    "As a family continuing to heal, we welcome the decision of the court today," Schwab said. "This is an important step to our family and believe it is to this community as well."


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    As you've probably heard by now, Kylie Jenner is on track to be the youngest-ever self-made billionaire, as per Forbes. (Whether she can actually be considered "self-made" due to being born into immense privilege is another question, but I digress.) 

    And now, because people are actually the worst, someone has decided they can't wait the estimated year it will likely take for Kylie to reach her expected billionaire status, and has started a GoFundMe campaign to raise the remaining $100 million she needs in order to officially have a net worth of $1 billion. 

    "Kylie Jenner was on the cover of Forbes Magazine today for having a net worth of 900 million dollars, which is heartbreaking," the page's description reads. "I don't want to live in a world where Kylie Jenner doesn't have a billion dollars. WE MUST RAISE 100 MILLION DOLLARS TO HELP HER GET TO A BILLION, PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD, THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT."

    While we're holding out hope that we're detecting a bit of sarcasm in that over-the-top description, regardless of the poster's intent, people are actually taking it seriously — two days into the fundraiser, the page has raised over $1,000. (Truly, you can't make this stuff up.)

    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but are there not, like, 653 other organizations and causes out there on GoFundMe alone that could really use that money?

    Likewise, Twitter caught wind of the campaign and went off:

    Kylie, we love you, but seriously people, can we not?!


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    Remember dancing to Lana Del Ray’s “Summertime Sadness” remix in the basement of some college party? If you’re a post-grad with a new job or an undergrad with a full-time summer gig, the famous hit is probably your new personal anthem right about now. Here are 15 things you’ll recognize all too well if you’re working hard during these hot summer months.

    1. You can’t stay out too late with your friends on weeknights because you have to be at work early the next day

    You have more willpower when resisting a third slice of pizza than when leaving a fun club just as the party’s getting started.

    2. And if you do actually go out, you’re so tired from work that you just fantasize about being in bed

    Cue the point where you start sexy-eyeing strangers to bring back home… to sleep with… as in, literally sleep with.

    3. Or you tend to make plans to go out after work, but get so tired that you end up staying in instead

    But whatever, wine and Chinese food for dinner is way cheaper than tequila shots and diner pancakes at 3 a.m. anyway.

    4. Instead of wearing crop tops and swimsuits, you’re stuck wearing business casual outfits

    Or, if you have a super corporate job… actual suits. The horror.

    5. You feel tons of pressure to do fun things on the weekends and also to relax enough to prepare for the week ahead

    How do you squeeze in naptime, a Six Flags trip, a random Tinder date, a BFF brunch and binge Netflix in only 48 hours?

    6. And as much as you want that “summer bod,” you rely on snacking to get you through the grueling 9-to-5

    If only you could add “eating when bored” to your resume.

    7. You spend more money commuting to work than you do on anything, well, fun

    The majority of your paycheck either goes to loans, bills, gas, train passes, bus rides or tissues to cry into on the way home.

    8. Which is why it physically hurts to scroll through Instagram and see all the fun places people are going

    Meanwhile, you travel to the same bathroom, cafeteria and lunch spot on any given day.

    9. You try not to get jealous of all the snaps you see of your friends at midday happy hours

    You feel your soul being ripped from your body in pointless midday meetings.

    10. You find yourself gazing out of windows a lot, wishing you could be in the sunshine instead of the AC

    The fact that you’d sacrifice frizz-free hair for a chance to smell fresh air is a cry for help.

    11. And seriously, you question whether getting tan is even possible at this point

    You look more like Casper the Friendly Ghost than an actual human.

    12. Nothing hurts you more than having to be stuck inside on a beautiful day when you could be at the beach

    Here’s to swapping tanning oil and salt water for endless emails and stress sweating.

    13. And the routine of all work and no play makes you want to just quit

    You’re supposed to be young, wild and free! Not young, financially distressed and boring!

    14. Money and the drive to succeed in your career are the only things keeping you motivated

    Along with indulging in ice cream, online shopping and watching Riverdale episodes any chance you get.

    15. Not to mention the fact that, after all this hard work, you’re totally going to treat yourself to an epic vacation

    You deserve it.


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    You and your best friend have been inseparable since the first day you met. You almost feel like sisters, but sometimes you feel uncomfortable sharing your deepest darkest secrets or embarrassing moments with them. However, if you can’t tell your best friend about that one time in Taco Bell, what’s the point of having them around?

    A best friend should be someone you completely confide in and trust with all your heart. That means sharing awkward memories and facts about yourself others may not know. It’s about calling them and telling them how horrible your day was, and their first response is to bring you cookies and a card. A best friend is the best thing a girl can have by her side. If you can’t tell them these things, then you need to go on Bumble BFF and find yourself a new best bud.

    1. Relationships

    Everyone has rocky moments in their relationships. It’s super important to have someone to talk to when moments get rough. You don’t want someone pressuring you to break up with your SO just because you fought about who ate the last fry. Your BFF should tell you when you’re in the wrong and if you’re not, they should tell you how to fix a difficult situation. Relationship advice from your BFF is important. Listening to what they have to say about your relationship may give you a whole new perspective.

    Rachna Shah, a freshman at Dartmouth University, has a friend with a unique long-distance relationship with her SO, and while others critique her friend’s relationship, Rachna disapproves of the negativity. “One of my best friends has been dating a guy for almost two years exclusively via social media and texting. They've met once—two years ago—and never once since then,” she says. “Whenever she brings up the situation to her other friends, they often diminish the value of her relationship. Best friends take each other seriously.”

    Best friends should always be there to support you, especially when you’re in hard situations like a long-distance relationship. Friends should help validate your feelings instead of bringing you down and discouraging you from a potentially great, loving relationship.

    Related: 4 Pieces of Dating Advice from the Single Friend

    2. Your goals

    If you’ve chosen your best friend correctly, you should expect them to stick around for decades to come. That includes major career or life milestones. Your BFF should know your life goals and be there for you every step of the way, giving you the motivation you need to keep being your badass self.

    Nicole Betancourt, a senior at Florida International University, says, “I share my goals with my best friend because they won’t judge me; instead, they’ll teach me their honest opinion because they care about me and what’s best for me. Best friends are there to keep you grounded and cheer you on!” A friend who’ll always be honest is important, but make sure their honesty is genuine before you follow their advice on things that may affect your future.

    WARNING: If you have a friend telling you that you work too hard and care too much, they're not going to stick around for very long. Best friends should pick up right where they left off if the other person has become too busy with work or life for a while. A true friend will let go of their selfishness and wish you the best when you have something good going for you.

    3. People you don’t like

    99.9 percent of friendships begin with a mutual hate for someone. Having a BFF means being able to talk smack about other people you guys don’t like. Sure, it may seem like gossip, but if your BFF talks to someone you don’t like, how do you think that’ll end?

    Rebecca Charur, a senior at Florida International University, says, “If I don’t like somone or if someone just rubs me the wrong way, my best friend is the first to know,” she says. “May sound kind of cynical, but you always need that person who will back you up and hate on the person you seriously dislike.”

    If the person you don’t like feels comfortable telling your BFF about all these horrible things or rumors about you, it should immediately bring up a red flag. Why was your friend talking to that person to begin with? Loyalty in these situations will prove who is really there for you when others try to bring you down. Your BFF’s immediate reaction should be to defend you instead of helping spread negative things about you through people you didn’t even like in the first place.

    4. Drama

    There’s nothing like spilling your guts after a rough day over a glass of wine with your BFF. You feel almost like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders as you rant about what’s been bothering you and what’s been bringing you down. Drama can include the passive-aggressive spat you had with your co-worker this morning, or the spilt coffee on your favorite white top your co-worker ‘accidentally’ threw at you after said spat.

    Rachna remembers a friend who was there during some tough times. “Last year, I was having a lot of difficulties with balancing my school work, college applications and maintaining relationships with my family and friends,” she recalls. “I was considering staying in one night rather than going to a party, and my best friend told me that the people who matter to me won't mind and the people who mind don't matter, which was really helpful advice.”

    As your best friend, their response should be to immediately try to make you feel better—which often leads to midnight baking sessions and binge-watching The Office.

    Related: 15 Signs You're Low-Key Obsessed With Your Best Friend

    5. Strange obsessions

    Your relationship with your BFF isn’t legit until you’ve had the “cartoon crush” talk (for the record, Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert from Tangled wins—every time). If you haven’t had a Harry Potter or Star Wars movie marathon together, are you even really friends? Strange obsessions connect friendships on a deep level. Things in common always strengthen a bond, and if you guys started a new obsession together, it’s even better. Just as long as you didn’t watch the new episode without them!

    Whether you’ve known your bestie since you were in diapers, or only for a couple of years, one thing will always ring true: they’ll be there for you no matter what. If you look back on this list and can’t seem to find yourself talking to them about these things, you probably should. Talking about something other than brunch will strengthen a friendship and bring it to the next level.


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    Today may be a normal Sunday to you, but for Aimee Carrero, it’s a milestone: the Young & Hungry actress turns 30 today! We wanted to celebrate her birthday by showing her some love, so here are five reasons Aimee is a total badass and a huge inspiration.

    1. She is the first Latina Disney Princess

    That’s right—Aimee’s been bringing Latina representation to the small screen since 2016 as Princess Elena in Elena of Avalor, a Disney Channel animated series that is a spinoff of Sofia the First. Elena is the protector of her kingdom of Avalor, and Aimee has made the importance of the role clear since day one.

    In an interview with Cliche Magazine, Aimee said, “Latin people have been waiting a long time to see our images represented. What excites me the most about Elena of Avalor is that it features a woman of color in a powerful position, doing a great job. She is a great ambassador; not only for Latin people, but for those who are unfamiliar with our culture and traditions.”

    We’re so inspired by Aimee’s role in creating more Latinx representation on the screen, especially for young girls who can feel empowered by the show. Hopefully Elena of Avalor paves the way for more shows just like it.

    2. She’s woke AF

    We love an informed and involved queen! Aimee has advocated for gun control at the March For Our Lives and proudly displayed her feminism at the Women’s March. She also takes to social media to speak up on issues she finds important, like white privilege and the future of the Supreme Court after Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement announcement.

    On top of that, she also uses her profession as an actress to send the messages she wants people to learn from. When speaking with POPSUGAR Latina about her roles as Elena in Elena of Avalor and Sofia in Young & Hungry, she said, “One of the things I love about them is that they're their own hero. There's not necessarily a love story—there's no Prince Charming, as far as Elena is concerned—and so they're kind of in charge of their own narrative and they're doing what they want to do. That's something that, I think, is a wonderful example for the modern-day audience."

     

    This time last year

    A post shared by Aimee Carrero Rock (@aimeecarrero) on

     

    3. She’s accomplished outside of acting, too

    Aimee graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelors of Science in International Relations from Florida International University in 2008. For reference, she graduated high school in 2006—meaning she got her degree in just two years. Talk about serious academic inspo.

    Aimee also told Interview Magazine that while in college, she studied abroad in Nicaragua and was involved in Model UN. FIU’s MUN team is ranked as one of the top in the country, and frankly, we’re not surprised that Aimee made the cut.

    4. She’s been on all your favorite shows

    Of course we all know and love Aimee as Sofia, aka “Lil So So,” on Young & Hungry, but her filmography includes a wide range of dramatic and comedic roles.

    Her big dramatic break was probably as undercover communist Lucia on The Americans. She’s also had guest roles on Hannah Montana, American Horror Story, The Mentalist and Blindspot, to name a few. We can’t wait to see what else she has coming up after Young & Hungry wraps this season!

    5. She’s super hardworking and passionate about her craft

    Aimee also told Interview Magazine that while in college, she was preparing to go to law school. But her love for acting “just kept calling” to her, and she decided to give up her plan to be a lawyer and return to community theater in Miami. Having that type of dedication is so difficult, especially when your career is possibly at stake, so we’re so inspired by her decision to take the plunge and commit herself to acting.

     

    Show up, show up, show up

    A post shared by Aimee Carrero Rock (@aimeecarrero) on

    And now that she’s put in a lot of hard work and made a career for herself that she deserves to be proud of, does Aimee regret not going to law school? Not one bit.

    “I’ve had moments, because I’m very Type A and impatient, where I get impatient and sick of [acting],” Aimee said, “but I don’t think I could ever walk away for good. If I wasn’t doing it in this capacity, I would be that crazy woman with 17 cats that volunteers at the local theater. I would be doing it in some way or another.”

    And really, we think that’s the only way you can approach the thing you love.

    Happy 30th birthday, Aimee! We love you!


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    Your internship is winding down and you’re beginning to wrap up projects and finalize the details. You’ve had the privilege of learning the ins and outs of your industry and as you prepare to say goodbye, determining the perfect way to show your gratitude for your boss can be tricky. Have no fear: we’ve compiled three gestures that are sure to leave a lasting impact. 

    1. A handwritten thank you card

    While a thank you card might seem like a no-brainer, taking the time to write out a paragraph or two thanking your boss for his or her time and experience can go a long way. The art of putting pen to paper has disappeared, so stand out amongst your fellow peers and put a little effort into saying goodbye, and elaborate on what you learned and took away from your time at the internship. Even include a specific example of something your internship boss taught you. Taking a simple gesture and making it personal is so important.

    2. A small gift that relates to your experience

    Gifts are always nice, but one that is personable and thoughtful always stands out. A gift card to a particular coffee shop or bookstore that your boss frequents is a nice gesture. Or something small like a candle, a desktop organizer, a planner, a business card holder, nice candy or a desk sign, is appropriate and thoughtful.  Rachna Shah, a freshman at Dartmouth, suggets, “Something small and homemade, such as baked goods or something more related to the industry your internship is in, is a great idea.” You don’t have to overthink the gift, but ensure it’s personal and give it your own personal touch.

    3. Stay in touch

    While gifts and thank you notes are always welcomed, remaining in touch with your boss after your internship has ended can be supremely beneficial to your future career aspirations. Mara Hyman, a marketing professional at WBZ CBS Boston, says, “The best way to thank your internship boss is to stay in touch with them the following semester or year via email and let them know about your future accomplishments, jobs or internships you've landed as a result of your time there.” In doing so, you’re maintaining a professional relationship. Hyman adds, “By staying in touch, it will keep you top of mind for any future job openings with the company because you've left things on a positive note!” Maintaining professional relationships is the key to a successful career, so ensure you’re keeping in touch with those who have helped you.

    Gifts you should avoid

    Keep in mind that you want your relationship with your internship boss to end on a high note, so ensure that the parting gift you give, reflects that. A gift that could be perceived as romantic or intimate should be avoided, while a gift that is outrageously expensive, could be perceived as too much. Melissa Solomon, a senior service delivery coordinator at Plannernet suggest, “Any gift you give to a fellow professional colleague should stay under $25. Exceeding this limit is too much.” If you’re unsure about the gift giving rules, check with your company's HR department, or ask someone with a similar position as your internship boss their thoughts on what an appropriate limit is.

    Above all else, keep in mind who your boss is when crafting the perfect farewell gift, and remember that a proper thank you never goes out of style.


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    Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande certainly aren't strangers to the spotlight — but just because they're public about their relationship, doesn't mean they have to put up with negative comments. And Pete just proved he won't.

    On Saturday, he posted a picture on Instagram of Ariana wearing a necklace with his late father Scott's FDNY badge and number. Someone quickly commented, "No girl should ever wear your dad's chain. So disrespectful."

     

    💫🌌🌃⚡️💍☁️🖤🗝

    A post shared by Pete Davidson (@petedavidson) on

    Pete wasn't having it. "For ur information that's not just some girl, that's my fiancé," Pete replied. "She's the greatest person I know. I gave it to her because she has my heart and that is the most precious thing I own. My dad would be so happy and love her so much."

    Pete's father died during the attacks on September 11, 2001 in New York City. He definitely doesn't have to defend his decision to anyone, but it's sweet that he stood up for Ariana. She also recently got Scott's badge number, 8418, tattooed as a tribute. 


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    On Tuesday, all 12 boys and their soccer coach who were trapped inside the Tham Luang Cave in Thailand for more than two weeks were successfully rescued. As they continue to recover at a hospital in Chiang Rai province, the boys filmed video messages thanking everyone who helped them. 

    "Hello, I am Adul," 14-year-old Adul Sam-on said, even speaking in English. "Now, I am very fine. I am very thank you for help me. Thank you so much."

    The others spoke in Thai, but delivered similar messages. "I am healthy," said 13-year-old Panumas Saengdee. "Thank you for worrying about us and coming to help us. Don't worry anymore. I am safe now."

    A few of the boys even shared what foods they were craving — and they certainly deserve their favorite treats, as some of them lost as much as 11 pounds while trapped. 

    "I want to eat [crispy pork belly stir fry]," said 16-year-old Pornchai Kamluang. "Thank you everybody who support us and who send us inspiration. We want to thank you."

    "I am healthy," said 13-year-old Sompong Jaiwong. "I want to eat [stir-fried pork with basil and fried egg]. I want to thank you everybody who give us support and everybody from all over the world who come to helps us. Thank you."

    Though the boys are still recovering, ABC News reported that a majority of them have each gained 4 pounds in the hospital. It's here that they also learned about the death of Thai navy SEAL diver Saman Kunan, who lost his life in the rescue mission. 

    Ekapol Chanthawong, the boys' soccer coach, also spoke in a video. "Now, I am healthy like normal, can eat normal," he said. "Thank you [everyone] who support us and every ministry that help me."

    All 13 are expected to be released from the hospital this Thursday, according to officials at Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital. 


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    Three women and one man ran onto the field during the 52nd minute of the World's Cup final on Sunday, and Pussy Riot— a feminist protest group and band from Russia — is claiming responsibility

    "Hello everyone from the Luzhniki pitch, it’s cool here!" the group posted on Twitter and Facebook right after the stunt, according to the Associated Press. Pussy Riot also released a statement that explained the protest and called for the freeing of political prisoners, the allowance of political competition in Russia, and an end to illegal arrests on rallies, imprisoning for "likes," fabricating criminal accusations, and keeping people in jail for "no reason." 

    Once the four were on the field, the male protester was pushed by Croatia defender Dejan Lovren in an effort for him to be detained. France forward Kylian Mbappe had a different approach: he high-fived one of the women protesters. 

    All of the protesters were eventually detained, and according to the Moscow branch of the Russian Interior Ministry, they were taken to the local police station

    In Pussy Riot's statement, the group also specifically mentioned the case of Oleg Sentsov. The Ukranian filmmaker was an outspoken critic of Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, and was sentenced to 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit terror acts. However, he denies the charges and even began a hunger strike in May. 

    Dmitri Prigov was another name mentioned. He was a Russian writer, artist and a dissident in the Soviet Union era who died 11 years ago. Pussy Riot drew inspiration from his poetry for Sunday's protest. "The heavenly policeman, according to Prigov, talks on the two-way with the God Himself. The earthly policeman gets ready to disperse rallies," the group wrote. "The heavenly policeman gently touches a flower in a field and enjoys Russian football team victories, while the earthly policeman feels indifferent to Oleg Sentsov’s hunger strike. The heavenly policeman rises as an example of the nationhood, the earthly policeman hurts everyone."

    Those who stormed the field were notably wearing police uniforms. 

    Pussy Riot also called the "heavenly policeman" the organizer of the World Cup. "The heavenly policeman carefully watches for obeying the game rules, the earthly policeman enters the game not caring about the rules," the group wrote. "The FIFA World Cup has reminded us of the possibilities of the heavenly policeman in the Great Russia of the future, but the earthly policeman, entering the ruleless game breaks our world apart."

    FIFA has yet to comment on the field invasion. 


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    You probably check the nutrition labels of the foods you buy, but it’s probably not often that you scan the back of your shampoo and conditioner bottles to read the ingredients list. Oftentimes, we remain loyal to haircare brands that we’ve been using for years and don’t think twice about what’s actually lurking in those yummy-smelling shampoos and treatments (not to mention how the ingredients actually affect our hair).

    Sulfate is a chemical commonly used in shampoos and conditioners. You might have heard people preaching about the negative effects of sulfate in haircare products, and it might seem like just another all natural, granola-esque beauty fad, but the benefits of going sulfate-free are rooted in science. So we broke it down to tell you everything you need to know about sulfate and what switching to a sulfate-free haircare routine can do for your hair.

    What are sulfates, and why can they be harmful to some people?

    Sulfates are most commonly disguised in your shampoo as either sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate. According to the Environmental Working Group, an online resource that ranks body care products and ingredients based on their safety, sulfates have an overall low safety hazard when used in small amounts. But over time, side effects of heavy sulfate usage can include skin, eye and lung irritation.

    "Sulfates, particularly sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), are known skin irritants," says Abi Weeds, co-founder of the organic cosmetic and haircare company Odylique. "SLS has been identified as an irritant in ‘leave-on cosmetics’ at anything more than 1 percent concentration."

    Studies have shown that small amounts of sulfates in haircare products are not dangerous to your health—but swapping out your normal hair products with sulfate-free versions can improve the way your hair looks and feels. Here’s what you’ll notice by making the change.

    1. You'll tame the frizz and embrace your waves

    If you have naturally curly or wavy hair, you might want to consider breaking up with your hair products that contain sulfates. Weeds says that shampoos made with sulfates are more likely to cause hair follicles to lift, which causes frizz.

    "Switching to well-formulated sulfate-free shampoos can thus encourage scalp health, smooth the follicles and promote shine," says Weeds. "Shampoos labeled sulfate- or SLS-free generally have less harsh detergents as well as a higher level of naturally nourishing botanical ingredients."

    The good news is that you can test the waters with sulfate-free products without breaking the bank. Try OGX Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo ($5.49 at Target) or Aveeno Active Naturals Pure Renewal Shampoo ($5.99 at Target).

    Sulfate-free shampoo is milder than regular cleansers, which is why it works better with naturally curly hair. You’ll find that sulfate-free products don’t get as lathery and bubbly as typical shampoos and conditioners, but your curls will look and feel bouncier and healthier.

    2. Your hair treatments will last longer

    If you’ve ever had your hair permanently treated or straightened, sulfate-free products can keep your hair looking and feeling its best long after the treatment. This can save you time and money in the long-run by preserving and maintaining what the treatments did to your hair.

    Weeds recommends looking for shampoos that are not only sulfate-free, but that contain ingredients like herbal extracts, which promote healthy-looking hair. “Rosemary, nettle, horsetail and chamomile, which are used in our Odylique shampoos, are great for the hair,” she says. “With all the botanicals, look for the position on the ingredients list. The higher up they are, the better—as it means there’s more of them.”

    Sara Zaghi, a junior at UCLA, says she started using sulfate-free shampoo after getting her first Brazilian blowout treatment and has noticed a positive difference in the way her hair looks and feels. Her favorite pick is Kiehl's Smoothing Oil-Infused Shampoo ($7 to $18 at Nordstrom).

    “I love the smell, and my hair is always so soft after I use it,” she says. “My Brazilian blowout also lasts longer when I use it compared to other shampoos.”

    Maybe you just got your first keratin treatment and want the silky smoothness to last, or perhaps you’re simply looking to strengthen your damaged hair. Whatever the reason, saying goodbye to sulfate can save you a ton of time and money in the long run.

    3. Dyed hair will stay vibrant longer

    Whether you’re rocking highlights or a full head of rainbow dye, sulfate-free products do a better job at keeping your color from fading compared with regular shampoos and conditioners.

    Weeds says that although going sulfate-free can provide many benefits for people with dyed hair, not all sulfate-free shampoos are created equal. "There are several other attributes of a really good shampoo,” she says. “‘Sulfate Free’ may still mean harsh preservatives, fragrance and other potential irritants. It’s a matter of assessing the ingredients left in as well as what has been taken out. We use beauty superhero coconut oil in Odylique shampoos because it naturally conditions the scalp and is one of the few oils that can penetrate the hair and promote healthy-looking locks."

    Sulfates are used in shampoos because they are really strong detergents (just a fancy word for cleanser), but they can sometimes be too harsh, especially for hair that’s been dyed. Sulfate-free shampoo is a better option for people who have colored hair because it’s gentler and won’t strip the hair of color or cause damage.

    4. Your skin will also benefit

    Sulfate-free hair products are not just gentler on your scalp—but your skin may also benefit from the milder formula. We don’t always remember that when we lather up in the shower, whatever we use in our hair is also making its way to our face, neck and shoulders—and depending on the ingredients—this can be harmful to our skin. According to a 2014 report from the American Academy of Dermatology, shampoos with sulfates can pose issues for people who have sensitive skin issues such as eczema.

    Weeds recommends switching to a sulfate-free haircare routine “particularly if you have scalp sensitivity or a skin condition like eczema, psoriasis or are prone to dryness. The skin on our scalp is very sensitive, and on average, 40 percent of people have scalp sensitivity at some point.”

    Since sulfate-free shampoos and conditioners are more mild than typical products containing SLS, they’re less likely to irritate already-sensitive skin.

    Related: 9 College Women Talk About Embracing Their Natural Hair

    Switching from your regular hair products to a sulfate-free routine is a small change that can make your hair healthier, help maintain permanent treatments and save your skin and scalp from irritation. So, the next time you’re scanning the shampoo aisle, keep your eyes peeled for sulfate. Your hair will thank you!

    Follow Darcy on Twitter.


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  • 07/15/18--18:47: Links We Love 7.15.18
  • This girl transformed her body by giving up soda. [Women’s Health]

    Democrats are prepping for 2020. [The New York Times]

    More movies should show teen acne. [Vulture]

    habits to implement when you're stressed AF. [Elite Daily]

    Pete Davidson just clapped back at a fan on Instagram. [Cosmopolitan]

    19 really cute things. [BuzzFeed]

    Peanut butter recipes for every meal. [Spoon University]

    Why is it so hard to stop reading books you don't even like? [The Cut]

    $25 nap. [Racked]

    Elle Woods your way to the career you really want. [Hello Giggles]
     


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    It’s sorority rush season and you want to dress to impress. After all, you could be meeting your future sisters for life. But just because you want your outfit to be on point doesn’t mean you need to dash to the closest Urban Outfitters and empty your bank account. Using pieces that you already have in your closet will help you feel comfortable and confident during sorority recruitment and save you major bucks. Here’s five cute rush outfits you can wear using clothing you already own.

    1. Romper and sandals

    Even if you wore the romper during your summer vacation, you just got to college, so no one here has seen your go-to floral romper. Rompers are carefree in a way that's perfect for philanthropy or sisterhood events, where you're getting to know the sisters and participating in activities.

    As for the shoes, you can pull off classic tan sandals at most rush events. It’s easy to incorporate shoes you already own into your outfits, even wearing the same pair multiple days. Gabby Mahmood, who is in a sorority at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, wore the same pair of sandals for the first three or four days of rush—they were neutral so they matched everything. You don’t need to buy new shoes for the welcome rounds and other get-to-know-you events.  

    2. Sundress and statement jewelry

    We all have our favorite sundress that's comfortable and trendy. Whether it has a sunflower print or a boho look, you can make it work. Dress it up with a statement necklace, ankle bracelet or other chunky jewelry. It’s easy to use outfits you already own, says Sammy Pesick, who is in a sorority at Kent State University. “Any look can be instantly changed by adding a blazer, jewelry or a cool shoe!” Throw on those strappy sandals to finish off your summery style.

    3. T-shirt and patterned shorts

    You may be thinking, "What? I can wear a T-shirt to rush?" No, not just any T-shirt. Some universities give out rush T-shirts during house tours. So you can wear your rush tee and cute shorts while walking through all of the houses. A sorority sister from Illinois State University, Ashleigh Lalla, chose patterned shorts—perfect for staying cool in the heat and easy to pull from your wardrobe. If sororities give out rush shirts, you can pair it with any bottoms from your closet that match, including pants or a skirt if they're more comfortable for you than shorts.

    4. Blouse, dark wash jeans and boots

    If you want to give off a more professional vibe, you can opt for dark jeans, a solid-colored blouse and your go-to fall boots like Dr. Martens. Sammy calls this style "fashionable business casual," which is a good way to look put-together while not looking super formal. Boots are also a great way to avoid those ever-painful high heels. And we all have a pair of no-hole jeans, some sort of blouse from a past job interview and our rustic lace-up boots. A dark shirt will give you a more serious, mature tone while bright colors give off a fun vibe, so choose accordingly. 

    5. Flowy dress and wedges

    You'll need one nicer dress for the final event, called preference night or preference round. It doesn't have to be cocktail attire, but you want to look your best by wearing formal clothing. You may feel pressure to buy a new outfit for this final recruitment event, since it’s the fanciest. This might even merit buying a new dress or suit so you aren't repeating your homecoming gown.

    If you want to save money, it's really easy to use a simple dress, like a white lace or black cotton one, and dress it up with wedges and jewelry. Rummage through the back of your closet and find that old National Honor Society induction dress, a dress from a previous birthday party or your staple LBD. It's more affordable to wear a dress you already have, and if you really want that coveted “new outfit” feeling, you can add new jewelry and a nice pair of shoes, Ashleigh says. Pick up some statement jewelry or chokers, but if you have bold necklaces, just use the bling that's already in your jewelry box.

    As for the wedges, heels aren't usually mandatory. Wedges are formal, too, and are likely something you already own. They're also more comfortable than high heels, and you'll be on your feet a lot during sorority recruitment.

    So should I buy new clothes for rush or not?

    You definitely don’t have to buy all new clothes! Many women wear clothes they already own and maybe buy a few accessories to spruce them up. “I mostly used what I had,” Ashleigh said. “If you wear something you already own, chances are you'll feel more comfortable and more yourself.” The only thing she bought was a nicer dress for preference round since it’s fancy. Gabby also bought some new clothes, but mostly wore pieces from her closet.

    If you do decide to buy new pieces, make sure you choose clothing that’s your style and that you would wear again. Don’t try to be someone you’re not and wind up with a pile of dresses that you’ll never use. “Some outfits I bought for back-to-school with intentions of wearing them for recruitment,” Sammy said. “However, they were all pieces I continue to wear to this day. You can definitely purchase new clothes for recruitment, but I recommend buying garments you would wear again!”

    Ashleigh agrees, saying, “Don't go out and buy something that doesn't express who you are or buy something just because it’s ‘new.’” She also recommends befriending other girls in your rush group—if they live in your building, you can swap outfits or wear pieces from each other's closets.

    There are many tactics to save money on rush clothing without sacrificing your sense of fashion. Good luck to all you ladies rushing this fall!


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    How much could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Well, according to House Speaker Paul Ryan an entire car. 

    On Thursday, Ryan explained to an audience at an event  that an entire family of woodchucks found a home in his Chevy Suburban. That is right, woodchucks have taken over Paul Ryan's car! NPR reports the family proceeded to then eat the wiring of his car, leaving him stranded.

    Since Ryan is a congressional leader, he hasn’t been allowed to drive himself in three years. He has security detail to do that task for him. The car was parked outside his mother’s house in Wisconsin, and it just wouldn’t start. 

    “So I towed it into the dealer, they put it up, and they realized that a family of woodchucks lived in the underbody of my Suburban,” he said. 

    He was at the event to give a speech about Republican policies. He mentioned how the previous years tax overhaul helped the economy and how he disagreed with Trump’s decision to press tariffs on numerous nations. 

    “The rulebook for the global economy of the future is being written right now. The question is whether the United States will be holding the pen,” he said.

    On the bright side, Paul Ryan also mention how after his retirement as House Speaker in a few months he has no plans to run for president any time soon, if at all. He does plan on getting a new truck after retirement. He even renewed his license, so he could drive himself. 


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    I love high school romantic comedies, and I miss them with every fiber of my being. John Hughes left a legacy with movies like The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles in the '80s—and there was a resurgence in the '90s with films like She’s All That. We even had Mean Girls in the early 2000s.

    But it seems I’m not alone in having this hole in my heart. Over the weekend, writer Alanna Bennett started a discussion, down to the details, about why the perfect example of the genre, 10 Things I Hate About You, is such a truly good movie.

    10 Things I Hate About You, an adaptation of Shakespeare’s play The Taming of the Shrew, came out in 1999. It stars an adorable young Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a high school boy trying to get the father of Bianca (Larisa Oleynik), a girl he likes, to relax his rules on his daughters dating. He attempts this by convincing a bad boy (Heath Ledger) to pursue Bianca’s uber-feminist older sister, Kat (Julia Stiles). (If you haven’t seen it, it’s really really good.)

    Fans engaged with Bennett, talking about exactly which of the film’s elements combine to make it such an amazing experience. Some mentioned Kat’s ahead-of-her-time realness.

    People shared lots of love for background characters, like teachers and the father of Kat and her sister Bianca.

    Naturally, people were obsessing with Heath Ledger himself, and his perfect moment of sending the marching band to play Frankie Valli’s “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” and serenade Kat during soccer practice.

    The writers of the movie, Kirsten Smith and Karen McCullah, even saw the Twitter love-fest!

    So I guess we don’t need new high school romantic comedies. We already have the perfect one. Case closed, heart full.


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    Last week, Kylie Jenner was ranked on Forbes’ list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women. Subsequently, the collective internet started discussing the definition of “self-made” and the contribution of privilege. The general conclusion? Kylie Jenner has a famous family who created an amount of wealth and notoriety before her, so she cannot possibly be self-made.

    Kylie’s sister Kim Kardashian, who many say is a main creator of her pre-existing fame and money, disagrees. Kim told Refinery29in an interview, “I really didn’t get it, because she is 'self-made'—we are all 'self-made.' What, because we came from a family that has had success? To me, that doesn’t really make sense...”

    Kim argues that coming from a famous family can often hinder success due to a lack of motivation. “I know so many people like that [who] haven’t turned out to be as successful as Kylie. If anything, I've seen the complete opposite."

    I think Kim misunderstands the criticism of her family. I don’t think anyone is arguing that Kylie hasn’t done a lot of work on her own. It’s just difficult to call anyone self-made when they’re already notable. Keeping Up with the Kardashians premiered on E! over 10 years ago, and in the years following, members of the family have worked collaboratively and separately on their own side-ventures, from owning businesses to televising life events like weddings.

    Maybe Kylie didn’t ask for her family to have done this, but she certainly could not have achieved the fortune she has now without an accumulation of her family’s fame.

    It’s a thought-provoking discussion about privilege, for sure. Good for Kim for sticking up for her sister, but I don’t think many people can be convinced Kylie is self-made.


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    Last Monday, July 9, the British Royal Family gathered for the christening of Prince Louis. Prince William and Kate Middleton welcomed their son Prince Louis into the world on April 23. Alongside their other children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, the royal family blessed us with some royally adorable photos after Prince Louis' christening.  

    Wearing a replica of the Royal Christening Robe worn by Princess Victoria in 1841, Prince Louis has now been welcomed into The Church of England, according to POPSUGAR. The baptism took place at The Chapel Royal of S. James’s Palace. Lucky for us, this now-iconic photoshoot at Clarence House, followed shortly thereafter. Four adorable photos have been released of Prince Louis and his family members.

    Photographer Matt Holyoak took all the photos of the family, which include baby Prince Louis in his gorgeous, intricately designed gown in the arms of his mother. All members of the Royal Family look stunningly posh, of course. Notably, the newly married Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stood together, behind Prince Louis’ immediate family. The cutest addition to the photos, apart from Prince Louis himself, has to be his siblings. Matching along with the rest of the family, Prince George’a blue-rimmed button up and Prince Charlotte’s poofy white and blue dress are to die for. The photo where Princess Charlotte stares at her baby brother while Prince George says cheese to the camera is downright adorable.

    Shortly after these photos made their social media debut, Holyoak released one additional photograph of Prince Louis smiling widely in the arms of his glowing mother Kate Middleton, and we're so glad they decided to put out this gem. Prince Louis is just the cutest!

    All in all, Prince Louis’ baptism was clearly a sweet day for this family. We can’t wait for the next official Royal event so we can get some more darling photos of this family.


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    Unless you’ve been in a devoted relationship since dating apps became popular, you’ve probably installed a dating app on your phone at one point in time. While some of us are active dating app users who are constantly checking Tinder for new could-be lovers, we can’t deny that dating apps aren’t for everyone.

    After all, it can be nearly impossible to actually find love when you’re using a dating app in a college town. I mean, clearly every college student is looking for “the one” at 1:30 a.m., right? While you might periodically uninstall your dating apps whenever you get a crude message—so you know, three times a day—there are several factors that should deter you from using them.

    Related: 7 Dating Apps You Won’t Believe Exist 

    1. You’re getting matched with too many jerks

    Pretty much everyone has come across an unhealthy amount of hyper-sexualized pickup lines or crude messages on every dating app. However, if you’re getting too many of these messages, it might be time to consider deleting your profiles.

    Alex McGuire, an alumna from Iowa State University, says, “I ended up uninstalling a dating app because I realized that people were approaching me not necessarily because they thought I sounded interesting, or had things in common, but because they wanted to know what my ethnicity was or where I was from. I’m multiracial, which apparently means you can start off conversations as insensitively as you want. I never felt more tokenized or fetishized in my life.”

    Unfortunately, people use online and app dating as a way to hide behind a screen, which is why some people think that they can just ask abhorrent questions without any repercussions that would happen in the real world, such as getting a drink thrown in their face followed by a swift knee to the groin.

    While one loathsome idiot shouldn’t deter you from using any dating app, it might be time to save yourself from unnecessary abuse if you start to receive multiple derogatory messages.

    2. You would rather build relationships in person

    Although dating apps might seem like a stress-free way to get to know some potential new suitors, especially for introverts or anyone with social anxiety, dating apps can make it more difficult to interact with your match once you meet them IRL.

    Rachna Shah, a freshman at Dartmouth College, explains that while she’s never used a dating app before, her friends have uninstalled their dating apps “to advance relationships through real-life meetings.” This totally makes sense, because we all need to have chemistry in the real world to be able to stand hanging out with anyone.

    We won’t lie: it’s going to be tough to hold a face-to-face convo, but it’ll be worth it. After all, nobody wants to live a life behind a phone.

    3. You’re using them to boost your self-esteem

    Dating apps can definitely give you a temporary self-esteem pick-me-up, because everyone on every dating app matches with you because they like your face (unless they’re one of the two people who actually read your bio). However, this may just give you a pseudo-boost of confidence, because you're actually basing your self-worth on validation from other people.

    Kayla Düngee, a junior at Georgia State University, says, “I personally quit dating apps because I used them as a quick fix when I was feeling low (break ups, self-image issues, etc). There are better ways to heal yourself rather than seek validation that you are beautiful and worthy through an app.”

    While it might be nice to know that people other than your best friend like you, you’re ultimately just going to feel crappy when you swipe right on a cutie only to find out that it isn’t a match. Now, the app that made you feel momentarily great about yourself makes you feel like you’re less than, but in reality you’re a catch and that person is just shallow.

    Not to mention, some people actually berate their matches just because they didn’t message them back within the minute—you know exactly what I’m talking about. They send you some "witty" pickup line, you don’t respond ASAP because you’re being productive and then they say “that’s okay, you’re fat and ugly anyway.” Gee, I feel so stellar about myself now.

    If you don't believe us that dating apps can negatively impact your self esteem, take it from the American Psychological Association's study on Tinder's influence on self-esteem. Jessica Strübel, Ph.D., of the University of North Texas, explains, “Tinder users reported having lower levels of satisfaction with their faces and bodies and having lower levels of self-worth than the men and women who did not use Tinder." There are plenty of healthy alternatives to using a dating app. Working on some self-love is a much more fruitful way to make you feel better about yourself, without giving you any forced boost of self-worth. Instead of swiping away your body image woes, get your girl squad together, put on some face masks and watch Netflix.

    4. You’re in a relationship (whatever that relationship might be)

    It should go without saying, but just uninstall your dating apps as soon as things start to get serious—whether serious happens before or after that dreaded DTR talk is up to you—between you and bae. Unless of course, you and your devoted other half are searching for a cat sitter on Bumble or a third person to join you in the bedroom choosing a side in your lovers’ quarrels, then by all means use all of the dating apps known to Android.

    However, if there’s no doubt that you and your SO are dating, you shouldn’t even think about installing a dating app on your phone. We get it, you’re obviously just using it to "look at eye candy," but just stop yourself before you even start. Just be normal and watch porn to ogle at your eye candy.

    If you and your boo haven’t had the official—but awkward—talk about what you are, but you still feel like you want to devote your time and energy to this person, then you should still uninstall you dating apps. No matter what you tell yourself, if you’re talking to other people in a romantic way when you’re "in like" with someone else, then you’re probably feeling like you’re hiding something from them. Call it guilt or a selfish way to make yourself look slightly less terrible, but it will make you feel better to delete the apps altogether. After all, are you really going to miss getting those creepy Tinder messages every day?

    5. You’re too busy

    While every college girl boss is busy, some are just especially busy. Some of us need our friends to reserve a spot in our Google calendars just to have a five-minute chat about when we can hang out next. If you’re about to have an emotional breakdown because you need to reschedule your itinerary just to make room for a 15-minute coffee date, then don’t do it. You could just use your dating apps to find a FWB, but you still have to find time to fit them in your schedule. Don’t fret; a vibrator is a busy girl’s best friend. Hello, multitasking!

    Unless of course, you find a stellar person who’s willing to hook up while you’re editing your thesis watch Netflix while you comb through your hundreds of emails. If that’s the case, you better lock that ish down.

    Otherwise, stop dreaming about unicorns and remove every dating app from your phone. If you know deep down inside that you don’t have time for a fling or a full-blown relationship, then don’t try to fool yourself into thinking that you can make time to go on a few quick dates.

    6. You’d rather be single

    In a society that seems obsessed with finding your other half, it might be difficult for anyone to fathom that there are people who just aren’t content with being single, but who live for being single. Regardless, we do exist.

    Whether you just want to be single for the moment, the next ten years or the rest of your life, you shouldn’t download a dating app if you aren’t feeling it. After all, the whole point of a dating app is to talk to someone new and eventually meet them, so don’t put yourself through the stress of combing through prospective dates if you don’t want to date. Seriously, think of everything you could accomplish if you stop yourself from wasting time looking through prospective FWBs or soulmates on Tinder. After you uninstall all your dating apps, you can use the time that you would have wasted on judging peoples’ shameless selfies on Tinder by practicing some self-love.

    After all, nobody is really alone, unless you live in a controlled environment and don’t talk to anyone at all, under any circumstances. Most of us have friends. Even if you don’t have a solid bestie that you spend every waking (and sometimes sleeping) second with, you should at least be comfortable chilling with just yourself. Let’s face it, you’re the bee’s knees and you should love hanging with your single self, so sit down on your clichéd college futon and binge watch your fave Netflix series (without fear of being "interrupted" by someone who wants to "chill").


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    College is perpetually stressful. Whether you're a freshman, a soon-to-be graduate or a forever student (with no foreseeable end in sight), college is hectic for every student regardless of your year, your major or your minor. While it might seem unimaginable for us to even fathom starting our own career while we're finishing our degree, singer and songwriter (and recent college graduate) Brynn Elliott released her debut EP and started building her career in the music industry while she was still taking college courses.

    Brynn Elliott graduated from college on March 24, 2018. Beyond the innately noteworthy accolade of graduating from a university—she also graduated from Harvard University while simultaneously establishing and evolving her career in the music industry. On the same day she donned her cap and gown, Brynn released "Time Of Our Lives." Over the last four years at Harvard, she's spent her time tenaciously studying philosophy and used her coursework to fuel her songwriting inspiration. 

    Even before Brynn enrolled at Harvard, she was writing empowering songs in high school and immersing herself in her musical and academic passions. However, Brynn also found a way to weave the two together. After all, our academic endeavors and our professional ventures shouldn't be mutually exclusive, even if they seem so divergent on the surface level. Regardless, the new grad spoke with us about how she managed her college coursework, graduation and building her personal music brand—and we took notes, because this advice is evergreen and ever-important. 

    Her Campus: Do you think the challenges of completing a Harvard University degree while simultaneously building your music career helped prepare you for the music industry?

    Brynn Elliott: Yeah, I think so. The music industry has a lot going on, and I was juggling a lot of things at once, and I definitely didn't get a lot of sleep. But I would send in papers before I was walking on stage or after walking off stage. I think the challenge itself of [navigating a career and a degree] definitely helped me even as I entered a room. It helped me organize all the things that I needed to do, and all those skills I’ve learned, I’ve been able to develop into a music career. I think just seeing so many amazing people who are involved in the music industry and the music department—that’s been a big part of my music career.

    It's definitely prepared me for the fast-moving pace of the industry, and it's great.

    HC: I know that you majored in philosophy at Harvard to help your songwriting. In what ways do you think your philosophy courses helped inspire your songs?

    BE: In so many ways. I wrote this song called “Might Not Like Me” and I wrote it at this time in my life where I was in college and I was taking this class about women philosophers in the 1600s in England, which wasn’t really a thing. You know: women didn’t really do philosophy at that time. These particular women were like “ no, we have something to say,” so they would write under their own names, which was also typically not something that women did at that time because they'd write under male pseudonyms. So I was taking this class, I was learning about these women, and I was in this relationship where I felt like I was being silenced. I felt like I was being put down for my classes, my music and my drive toward school. It was kind of this weird time in my life, but I think that class, along with my music, really helped me get through it. The relationship ended, and I made this song. I feel like we were always in a very different place and that’s basically where this song comes from. I feel like pop music and philosophy are just so similar, in that you are dealing with ideas and concepts and how people deal with those areas. So, I feel like philosophy is perfect for songwriting because it’s about these universally human ideas and these concepts. I feel like I’m still constantly learning about what I started learning about in college and I think that’s helping me as I write.

    HC: And I know your coursework in general, even beyond philosophy, has been a critical impact on your songwriting. Were there any other aspects that helped inspired your songs, throughout your Harvard journey?

    BE: I mean, I think the biggest part of songwriting—and in all my songs—has been about my experience at college and the classes that I took. My song,“Time Of Our Lives,” is something I wrote on graduation day and the experience of graduating and the feelings of nostalgia. But I was also inspired by my classes, and writing about our experiences and how we deal with our emotions our whole lives. ["Time Of Our Lives"] is sort of this picture of my experience in school and what it would mean to graduate and to say goodbye to my friends and going through that whole process.

    I feel like college really allowed me to experience things on a deeper, emotional level while also being challenged on an intellectual level. And I feel like that’s what makes this song deeper and more personal as well. I think I was inspired by the college experience overall.

    HC: And having that deeper message in your songs also makes it more relatable and more palatable by a lot of different people. That way, they can take their own meaning for it.

    BE: Definitely, and that’s what I really want to do with my music. I write these songs for what they mean for me, from my experiences—but I also write these songs for other people to latch onto and add their own meaning.

    HC: Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians or songwriters who want to break into the industry but might not know where to get their songwriter inspiration?

    BE: I would say just brainstorm and identify whatever interests you, whatever you think about constantly, use that in your songs. I was learning about the Gold Rush in high school, and I wrote a song called "Gold Rush" inspired by that. I would say, first of all, find a style and establish those things in your life that you think about constantly. Even if it’s something really small or something you learned in school or something you see on TV or something you hear in a podcast or an article that you read, those things can lead to your music. I’d say try new things and be open to the different things that this world can offer you and just listen. Then, I would say if you want to be a musician—and most musicians know that making music is a process—it’s about really just embracing the process and the experience, whether that’s facing rejection or just putting your head down and continuing to make music.

    HC: I think that’s so ingenious that you wrote a song about the Gold Rush, after learning about it in high school. Were there any courses that might not have been in the philosophy curriculum that helped fuel your songwriting inspiration?

    BE: Actually, I took a class on Einstein, and it was called The Einstein Revolution. It was a science class, and the professor of the class was very innovative and he was very positive about the creative journey. So, he encouraged students, whether we were learning about Einstein or the motivation behind Einstein’s career and his life, he encouraged us to be creative and to think about something fun for our final project. So I went up to him and was like, ‘I’m a musician. I write songs for pop music. Would it be okay if I wrote a new piece for the class?’ And he was like, ‘Yeah, of course!’ So I started writing this piece based on, I guess, Einstein’s general thought process. I wrote songs about things that he wrote about in his journals and his diaries. So, I just wrote about Einstein’s thought and his [creative] journey and I was just inspired by the things that I was learning it school. That was a really fun class.

    HC: I’m backtracking a bit because I know you spoke about your song “Might Not Like Me” a bit earlier. What are some messages you hope listeners learn from this empowering breakup song?

    BE: For me, that song really is an anthem of empowerment for women, but also for anyone who feels like they’re in a relationship with another person who’s maybe dimming their light or maybe making them feel like they aren’t good enough, or what they want is unfulfilling. So I wrote it as this song that allows you to embrace who you really are and not be apologetic about it—and to just be excited about it. That was definitely my story. When that relationship ended, as sad as I was, it opened this road for me to be who I was, embrace that, and not to feel bad about it or sorry about it. That’s the overall message.

    HC. I think that’s a great message to take on in anything in life, and just getting past all the negativity and going with whatever you think is right for you.

    BE: Definitely. It’s so important.

    HC: I know your songs are very different, but do you have that overarching empowering theme in most of your songs? Overall, are there any lessons that you hope your followers gain from your songs?

    BE: I was just thinking about this the other day, another songwriter was talking to me about finding your overall message—every time I write a song, I write about everything itself. It's just about kind of finding those parts of you that are truly so real. I find that most of the songs that are on my EP are, in one way or another, about that moment and the excitement that comes from that—whether it’s the fears of society or whatever that makes ourselves ourselves. And “Time Of Our Lives” is all about living in your moment, living in the moment, and just appreciating everyone around you. Because sometimes don’t see that moment until it’s past and it’s about just living in that moment for yourself.

    HC: Now that your EP is out and you just released your track “Time Of Our Lives,” is there a piece of advice that you would give your younger self?

    BE: That’s a good question. I’ve probably said this a million times and it’s all about what my music is about, but I would say just to not be afraid of what other people think. If I could go back and tell myself that, or anything, I think that’s the best advice I could give myself.


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