How To Survive That End-Of-Semester Slump

Skipping class to do work for another class is only really necessary if you have a major project or paper to finish.

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We all struggle trying to get through the last few weeks.

This post was originally published for The Odyssey on November 14, 2016.

It is getting to be that time of the semester where we all feel like giving up. We struggle to get through the weeks; we spend our hours counting down the days until the weekend, so we can finally get some sleep. Many of us are coming down with colds which are mostly caused by stress. It is becoming more and more difficult to wake up to our alarms, go to class, and study for the exams that we wish would just end already. I know how hard it is to motivate yourself, but do not give up! Here are a few ways to survive this end-of-semester slump!

1. Nap whenever possible.

Some people say napping really is not an option for them, however, I think if you tire yourself out enough, you will find a way. Take that 30 minute power nap and nap on the weekends. Just do not skip class to nap and try not to nap in class.

2. Remember to eat.

When you do eat, try to eat something healthy. Shoveling junk food into your mouth and treating your body like a trashcan generally is not the way to keep energy.

3. Form study groups.

Talk to people you do not even know; ask them if they want to study with you. The only way you will survive this is if you do it together. Worst case scenario, you all go down with the same ship.

4. Keep going to class.

Do not skip. If you do, you will form an addiction. Skipping class to do work for another class is only really necessary if you have a major project or paper to finish. Do not let it turn into a habit.

5. Keep your head up.

Maintain a positive attitude, listen to all your favorite music, and take a break every once in a while. Take nice showers. Meditate. Do yoga. Watch an episode of Netflix every now and then (that does not mean every five minutes).

40 Movies Of The 80’s You Have To See

Make a list, and have a marathon! Trust me, your parents will thank me for this one.

You may have been sleeping on some of these classics.

This article was originally published for The Odyssey on November 8, 2016.

We all know the usual 80s movies that air on daytime television, like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, “Sixteen Candles” and “Goonies”. What about all the other classics? Make a list, and have a marathon! Trust me, your parents will thank me for this one. Enjoy the movies and their associated gifs!

1. The Breakfast Club

How could I not make this number one? After watching this movie, you may just want to land yourself a detention to see if you’ll have as memorable a Saturday as these five teenagers did.

2. Pretty in Pink

As an alternative to the favorite “Sixteen Candles”, Molly Ringwald wins our hearts over in this class ’80s film. No other movie male comes close to the Duckman.

3. Back to the Future

If you haven’t seen all three of this movie franchise, you need to seriously get your life together. Marty McFly never gets old.

4. Footloose

If you’ve seen the remake without seeing the original, you’ve truly sinned. The original soundtrack is also better, just saying.

5. Ghostbusters

Absolute classic. No offense ladies, no one will ever be able to top this cast dynamic. Akroyd, Murray, Ramis, and Hudson, not to mention Sigourney Weaver and Annie Potts? Truly beautiful.

6. The Princess Bride

This is one of the most iconic films of all time. The tactical brilliance of the script alone is enough to keep fans coming back for more. This movie takes chivalry to a whole new level.

7. Raiders of the Lost Ark

Really all the Indiana Jones films are grade A, but Harrison Ford is the best. Who else gets to say they’ve played two of the most iconic characters in two major film franchises?

8. Fast Times at Ridgemont High

A sexy, silly and super Spicoli-filled, this film will stick with you.

9. The Lost Boys

This is the most eighties-Halloween movie I have ever seen. Corey Feldman and Kiefer Sutherland? Sign me the heck up.

10. Heathers

Even if you only watch it once, Winona Ryder and Christian Slater are crazy-amazing.

11. Beetlejuice

If you don’t say it three times, are you even a real fan? This is a spooky one and may not be suitable for younger viewers, but it’s so great. Can’t go a year without watching Beetlejuice.

12. Weird Science

Sometimes it bewilders to find that so many people have never seen this film. Not only is there the fantastic track by wonderful one-hit-wonder-band “Oingo Boingo” but also, there is a hot supermodel, a biker gang and bullies who learn their place. What’s not to love?

13. St. Elmo’s Fire

Similar to The Breakfast Club, you may wish to have a crazy group of unstable friends like in this movie. Featuring more members of the Brat Pack, Emilio Estevez returns for us and we get to enjoy Rob Lowe in several tank tops.

14. Return of the Jedi

Again, all the Star Wars Movies are gems, but this one is a particular favorite.

15. Who Framed Roger Rabbit

With all the makings of a children’s film, this movie actually has several adult tones. Jessica Rabbit really changed the game.

16. Caddyshack

There are so many scenes in this movie that are worth referencing. If you understand them all, that’s a hole in one!

17. Adventures in Babysitting

There will never be a more badass babysitter than Chris Parker. Don’t F*** with the babysitter!

18. Gremlins

Seemingly creepy, Furby-looking, furry little creatures somehow take over the world? It’s a must-see. Gizmo was a real one.

19. One Crazy Summer

I could make an entirely separate article about my favorite John Cusack movies. I’ll try and just stick to this one for now. Grab your popcorn and take a seat, this movie is a wild ride.

20. Real Genius

Speaking of popcorn…you’ll want to put on your lab goggles for this one.

21. Weekend at Bernie’s

Another great one featuring Andrew Mccarthy (the heartthrob from “Pretty in Pink”)

22. Dirty Dancing

You’ll have the time of your life watching this.

23. Good Morning, Vietnam

Relive Robin Williams’ comedic genius with this fantastic film.

24. The Blues Brothers

If you take nothing from this list except this movie and “Ghostbusters”, I will be totally okay with that.

25. Xanadu

What do you mean Olivia Newton-John isn’t actually a goddess? Or a muse? Or both?

26. Dead Poets Society

Trigger warning for this one. If you can handle it, don’t forget the tissues. Brilliance and tragedy often go hand in hand.

27. Flash Gordon

There are some movies you may not understand on this list. Lump this one in with “Xanadu”.

28. Grease 2

Way better than the first one, in my truly honest opinion.

29. The Sure Thing

I broke the John Cusack rule, but also, I will never stop equating the name ‘Elliot’ with ‘the kid who eats paste’.

30. Valley Girl

For the love of Nicholas Cage, watch this movie.

31. Stripes

Bill Murray and Harold Ramis, back at it again.

32. Some Kind of Wonderful

John Hughes was a genius. Mary Stuart Masterson is the best.

33. Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Sarah Jessica Parker and Helen Hunt? Sign me up.

34. Cannonball Run

Lump this in with “Caddyshack” and the “Blues Brothers”, because the cast in all these films is amazing.

35. Heaven Help Us

A bunch of prep-school boys and a love story. Andrew Mccarthy makes a return once again. Also, young Patrick Dempsey.

36. Scrooged

This is more of a spin on the Christmas tale but is the best rendition.

37. Breakin’

The first ever step-up movie.

38. Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Steve Martin and John Candy will have you peeing your pants.

39. Die Hard

Bruce Willis made this series as iconic as possible and he did not bore us for a second.

40. Coming to America

I had to put Eddie Murphy on this list.

 

When The Phrase “I Love Myself” Becomes Foreign To You

It’s not easy, it never will be easy, until you figure out a way to speak for yourself.

Self-love isn’t easy, but it’s worth the fight.

This article was originally published for The Odyssey on October 25, 2016.

I have never looked at myself in the mirror and thought that I am beautiful. I have never seen myself in a reflection and thought that I was a prized possession. I cope with jokes about self-hate and acting like I don’t care, but the truth is, self-love has never been easy for me. I know I’m not alone when I say this. I know there are millions of other people who don’t see their own worth, and that blindness we direct toward ourselves can be detrimental to our health and our futures. When the phrase “I love myself” becomes foreign to you, know that you are not alone.

We live in a world where body image isn’t always presented in a positive way. Both females and males are pressured to look a certain way, depending on what is portrayed in magazines, in Hollywood, on television, in movies, and in everyday life. Lacking confidence when it comes to your personal image can begin at a very young age. All it takes is someone more attractive than you to waltz down the school hallway, and that one thought that speaks, “I wish I could be like them.”

I recognized my lack in confidence early in the middle school years when I was never the one that boys were flocking to. So many girls had boyfriends and first kisses already, and I was the weird girl that was too loud for her own good and had literally no sense of fashion. Any guy I ever had a crush on always had a crush on my best friend, whoever it was at that time. I wasn’t even a second or third choice, it was like I wasn’t even considerable enough to be a choice. I still feel that way sometimes.

It’s when we recognize these flaws or mistakes, as some consider them to be, and we let them control us, that we enter the danger zone. We see there is a problem that we cannot fix and do not know where to turn. Some of us resort to self-harm, some of us resort to self-medicating and some of us resort to something much worse. The narrative surrounding self-worth becomes the only topic we’re ever thinking about. We begin comparing ourselves to just about anyone we can. We beat ourselves down and tell ourselves there’s no point.

Insecurities aren’t easy to discuss. You’re basically telling someone, “Hey, I don’t like this about myself, and I think that damages my self-worth.” It’s embarrassing. Especially because that person will either tell you that you’re wrong, you’re crazy or they’ll take pity on you. Allowing your insecurities to control your self-worth opens the door for other people to start preying on your insecurities and your vulnerability. The bullies get what they want and you’re left feeling empty inside because you aren’t what you consider perfect.

Sometimes support isn’t easy to come by. Your family looks down on you, your friends aren’t equipped to handle that level of self-hate yet and you certainly don’t know how to ask for outside help. How can you continue to go on living when you don’t feel comfortable in your own skin? How can you go on living if you feel like a stranger inside your own body?

You reach out and take a hand. Any hand that you can reach and grasp, you take and you take it hard. It’s not easy, it never will be easy, until you figure out a way to speak for yourself. Do not let your insecurities win. Fight for yourself, fight for the self you aspire to be. You deserve to love yourself. You deserve to accept yourself. You deserve to be someone you’re proud of.

When you own up to your insecurities, the first thing anyone ever says is, “Well why don’t you just change yourself then?” While it may be easy for some people to make a change about who they are and escape their insecurities, this is not the case for everyone. It can be difficult to untangle yourself from the roots your demons have instilled in you. That’s when you need to fight as hard as you can to get what you want.

I’ve always had an issue with my weight. I’ve tried exercising, I’ve tried body positivity, I’ve tried to stop caring. Someone told me to ‘fake it ’til you make it’ and that didn’t really work either. I got to a point where I was tired of hating myself. I didn’t have the capacity to hate myself anymore. I didn’t have the time to dwell on self-pity. So I stopped. It wasn’t easy and I still don’t love myself, but I don’t hate myself anymore. Maybe this is what acceptance is like?

I recently saw a video from The Scene, a news platform that reports on fashion, food, culture, and comedy across the world, that inspired me to write this article. Two best friends write down their insecurities about their bodies, then say them to one another and direct them to one another. The video not only made me tear up, but also made me want to immediately share it with my friends whom I know also struggle with insecurities.

When you are saying all those terrible things about yourself, all those hateful things your insecurities drive you to project onto yourself, imagine you are saying it a best friend. Alternatively, I once saw a campaign that asked you to imagine you were telling your younger self all the things you hate about yourself.

I think ultimately the best way to tackle a positive personal image is to treat yourself like you would someone else. Be a best friend to yourself. Be a positive role model for yourself. All in all, take it day by day. Embrace yourself whenever possible. Celebrate the way your body looks, even when it changes. Erase the word ‘perfect’ from your vocabulary. Become someone you’ll be proud of, and become that person for yourself, not for anyone else. Love parts of yourself, even if you can’t enjoy the whole thing. Take it step by step.

Maybe today we don’t like ourselves, and maybe tomorrow we won’t like ourselves either. When we do finally get to the day where we can drop that L word to the mirror, it’ll be a mountain climbed and conquered. We’ll know it was well-worth the trek.

We’ll get to that comfortable place someday, and we’ll get there together, as long as you continue to reach out and grab that hand. Fight for yourself and your future. When the phrase “I love myself” becomes foreign to you, know that it won’t be like that forever. It may take time, it may take space and self-love, but there will come a day when you’ll feel comfortable in your own skin.

When the phrase “I love myself” becomes foreign to you, remember that it will become familiar again. Remember that you deserve the right to love yourself. Remember there are always people willing to support and love you, every step of the journey.

 

To The Person Who Tries To Fix Everything

Stop trying to save the world and the world may just end up saving you.

Some things are meant to be broken. You can’t save everyone.

This article was originally published for The Odyssey on October 18, 2016.

Maybe you have a superiority complex, or maybe you’re too compassionate for your own good. Us fixer-uppers think that we have an adverse effect on everything we do, and everyone we meet. It’s not necessarily thinking that we’re the center of the universe; rather, instead, it’s more like thinking we have the ability and the power to change things for the better or to fix things. As much as I hate to hear it, and have trouble realizing it myself, you can’t fix everything. You can’t save everyone. In times of tragedy, trauma and stress, you have to save yourself before you try to save the world.

Disney movies and children’s television shows have instilled this sense of empathy within us. We seem to think that someone has to be saving the world, and although this may not be possible on a large scale, changing someone’s world is a more tangible feat. If you’re like me, you have a deep empathy for those that struggle beside you. You sometimes miss the line between helping them and trying to save them. Sometimes it’s too late before you realize. Sometimes someone is lost along the way. Sometimes that someone is you.

We aren’t trying to fix everything because we have a huge ego. If only it were that easy. We’re trying to fix things because we either have a very guilty conscience or have learned to shoulder burdens that we shouldn’t. For instance, I try to fix the world sometimes because I can trace everything that is wrong with a certain situation back to myself. Well, my candidate didn’t become the nominee, and it’s because I got my absentee ballot in too late. Even though there are millions of people who vote in the primaries, I am able to connect myself directly to a problem that I am not directly at fault for. In other situations, some of us have learned to shoulder others’ responsibilities, baggage and burdens. We’ve been in toxic relationships where people literally depend on us. We’ve had to shoulder not only our issues but someone else’s as well. Maybe several other people. We’ve become an expert at it, even though we shouldn’t have. It’s kind of sad when you think about it, but taking on other people’s problems may become second nature to us.

This guilt and these burdens can be the death of us. We think we can handle it, but we can’t, no matter where the source is. Whether it’s someone else blaming you, or you’re putting the blame on yourself, the guilt is heavy. Whether it’s someone else unloading their problems on you, or you taking on too much, the guilt is heavy. It’s a lose-lose situation. The weight of the guilt and the burdens can be debilitating. It can have a negative effect on our personalities, on our health and on our relationships. Sometimes, we go so far that we are forced to make a decision. Who gets out clean here: us or them?

I’ve had to make this decision too many times. Making the decision actually contributes to the problem, because if we choose them, we’re choosing to forgo ourselves for the sake of someone else who probably doesn’t appreciate us as much as they should. Toxicity will rise. If we choose ourselves, we’re blatantly leaving someone, who wasn’t our responsibility to begin with but later became one, out to dry. Neither path is easy to choose, nor easy to endure.

I have trouble hearing it, and if you’re a repeat fixer-upper, you hate it too. You can’t save everyone. You shouldn’t try to save everyone. Other people are not your responsibility. You are your main concern. Never stop putting yourself first.

It took me a long time to read and actually process those statements above. I mean, I got it, but I didn’t really understand how I was leading myself into danger. Toxic relationships can be blinding. That’s what is terrifying about them.

You really can’t save everyone. I’ve learned this the hard way. Some people and some things are meant to be broken. Some people and some things are meant to stay broken so that they can fix themselves. Some people and some things will stay broken forever. Though we may blame ourselves for this, it is not our fault. We weren’t put on this Earth to take care of everyone else. If we were, we’d have to learn self-care first, before putting forth the best quality of love and care toward anyone else.

Be your own anchor. If you’re going to sink, make sure you’re not sinking because you won’t let go of another sinking ship. If two ships sink, no one makes it out alive. One ship has to stay afloat. You are your own ship. You are your own anchor. Take care of yourself, and put yourself first, always. No matter what, you are your first priority. It’s not selfish, and even if it was, it’s okay to be selfish sometimes. If you aren’t selfish when it comes to your own mental health and well-being, you may want to try being more selfish. Being selfless all the time is not healthy. Treat yourself. Know your limits. Practice self-love. Stop trying to save the world and the world may just end up saving you.

16 Headaches Every Theatre Kid Knows All Too Well

Going from an actor, to stage manager, to director, I’ve seen it all.

This article was originally published for The Odyssey on October 2, 2016.

I’ve been involved with theater since my freshman year of high school. I’ve been involved in both acting and behind-the-scenes work and let me tell you, we’re all in this together when it comes to #theaterproblems. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the very beginning stages of a show or standing up there after the final curtain call, these headaches are sure to arise in just about every show you sell your soul to.

1. Casting

Whether you’re waiting to hear back or you’re the one who has to decide how to divvy the parts, casting can be a major headache. There are so many questions that can come up for directors when casting, such as: did enough people audition? What if too many people auditioned? Why do we have more girls than guys? What if they don’t accept their roles? Waiting to hear back is filled with just as many possibilities, like, what if they didn’t like my monologue? What if someone else had the same monologue? What happens if I’m overthinking this? What happens if I’m not thinking about this enough? It’s nerve wracking for both parties, let me tell you.

2. Tech week

If everything goes smoothly during tech week, you’re doing it wrong.

3. When someone forgets several lines during the show

As a former actress, I know this can be rough. Especially if you don’t catch on that your castmate has forgotten at first, so then you’re caught off-guard too. Depending on how long they struggle to remember, you may have to jump in and improvise, which then prompts that same character and other characters to improvise too. As a former stage manager, I can confirm that this is terrifying, because if the actors aren’t following the script, how am I supposed to know when to cue the end of the scene?

4. “I’m sorry, I can’t. I have rehearsal.”

You sold your soul to that show when you auditioned. That’s life.

5. Quick changes

And I mean getting-out-of-a-pantsuit-and-into-a-wedding-dress-in-under-a-minute quick.

6. Late nights

Spending all night in the auditorium sounds fun until you have to do it every day of every week for three months. Those late nights aren’t spent just lying around either. You’re rehearsing or you’re costuming or you’re painting. It can be exhausting.

7. Stage makeup

You’d think stage makeup would be simple. Cleaning brushes is one of my biggest headaches, to be quite honest.

8. Having a blackout when you’re not supposed to

Someone messed up, or maybe it’s the ghost that haunts the theater warning you not to premiere this show. Theater kids will take anything as a bad omen. Regardless, the actors are left on stage wondering who turned out the lights and someone is probably cursing.

9. Missed cues

There were many a time when we had to just keep the lights down and the music going while SOMEONE was apparently DAYDREAMING backstage. This also affects the rest of the cast on stage at that moment and time negatively.

10. When someone catches a cold

You know that bug is going to spread faster than softened butter. Please do not come to rehearsal when you’re sick. I know you don’t want to let people down, but you need to get better. Go home.

11. Mental breakdowns

It doesn’t matter if you’re the one having a breakdown or not. If it’s happening in the auditorium, it’s affecting everyone.

12. Organizing curtain call

Especially with larger casts, it’s like, do we really need to practice this a hundred times? Yes.

13. Schedule changes

As an actor, this can be super annoying because you’ve cleared your schedule for this show, and if that schedule changes, well, you could have been doing homework or something more important than sitting around. As a director or stage manager, this is a headache because it’s almost always out of our hands. The schedule changed because there was a snow day, or something broke, or for some reason the building is closed. If it is the production team’s hands, know that they are probably just as stressed out as the cast. Try to take it easy on them.

14. That one person in cast who thinks they’re better than everyone else

Look, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter that you’ve been acting since seven years old, that you’ve worked in a community theater, or if you’ve taken eight theater classes. We’re all here for the same purpose and we’re all here to improve; you can never stop improving as a theater kid. So, please, for the love of the Theater Gods, remember that this is not a one-man-show, and put in the work to be a part of the team.

15. When you have to miss rehearsal

Sometimes, ship happens. Maybe you have a test make-up or a job that won’t let you alter your hours, or perhaps a more personal situation. You know that missing rehearsal is a sin because you’re making someone read for you, which can be a hassle, and you’re setting back your stage partners, who aren’t acting with you. If you’re on the production team, you feel ten times worse because you’re making someone else tend to your duties, which are responsibilities you signed up for. Try not to feel too guilty and don’t make missing rehearsal a habit.

16. Having post-show depression

All the breakdowns, the tears, the angry outbursts are almost worth it when you see the cast standing on that stage, taking their final bows and lifting their arms to thank the crew for their assistance. In that moment, everything we sacrificed to make a great show was worth it.

40 Of The Best Bands/Artists I’ve Seen In Concert

If you’re a concert enthusiast like myself, you know how amazing it can feel to be in the center of a crowd, seeing some amazing performers, singing and entertaining for your entertainment.

Narrowing it down was actually pretty tricky.

This article was originally published for The Odyssey on September 25, 2016.

Concerts are my life. If you’re a concert enthusiast like myself, you know how amazing it can feel to be in the center of a crowd, seeing some amazing performers, singing and entertaining for your entertainment. It’s crazy how exhilarating it can be to stand with hundreds, if not thousands of people who share the same music taste as you at least in one way. I have been to over a hundred concerts and have seen so many fantastic artists and bands that I’ve made a list. I’ve narrowed down my favorites to 40. Maybe we have some of the same favorites! So in no particular order, with a favorite song from each of the artists, here are my top 40 favorites that I’ve seen perform live!

(As a disclaimer, I want to say that I don’t own any of this music, all rights are reserved to their original owners and rightful owners – and I’ve marked songs with explicit language/meanings with a ‘NSFW*’ warning in the descriptions of each song it applies to.)

1. A Day to Remember

I had to put one of my absolute favorites down early on in the list. I have now seen A Day to Remember three times in concert. They absolutely blow my mind every time I see them perform. The energy that they bring to the stage is so crazy, I love their crowd and I love the way they pump up the crowd. They are absolutely one of my favorite bands, and I just saw them this summer with Blink 182!

2. Duran Duran

Duran Duran was one of the first concerts I ever attended with my mom. I instantly fell in love with their music and have actually seen them twice. This is definitely a band that I have bonded with my mom over and we definitely fangirl over them together. The last time I saw them was at the Tower in Philly with Neon Trees!

3. Bruce Springsteen

BRUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCCEEEEEE. If you haven’t seen the boss, definitely add him to that bucket list and get out there and see him. He is so fantastic live! I have seen him only once and was completely blown away. I have family and friends that see him every single time he’s in town and they cannot get enough of him.

4. Peter Gabriel

If you ask literally any of my friends, they will tell you that I may have a slight obsession with Peter Gabriel. I am so super obsessed with the song ‘In Your Eyes’ that I have seriously considered becoming an interpretive dancer just to create a routine to this song. I saw Peter Gabriel with an orchestra at the Mann in Philly a couple of years ago with my family, and although he did not play much of his eighties music, the crowd was super ready for it when he did. I’ll never forget the guy in the back right corner shouting, “Play ‘In Your Eyes’,” after every song that wasn’t, in fact, ‘In Your Eyes’.

5. Billy Joel

Another classic you have got to see if you’re about that life. I would go see Billy Joel a thousand times, and that is not even an exaggeration. That man could sit on the ground the entire time and hum his songs, and I would still pay a regular price for tickets, which are NOT cheap. Even as he gets older and older, Billy is jumping around like he used to when he was younger. He is still so full of life, so full of heart and emotion. A fantastic show, it’s almost like he never stops singing! Billy Joel has been super prevalent in my life. I used some of his lyrics for my senior quote. This particular song is a song my mom and I call “our song” because it came on the radio while she was driving me home from the hospital as a baby.

6. Journey

This one is pretty recent, I just saw Journey with Arnel Pineda, the new singer, last summer! Before you go and knock the new singer, I encourage you to go see them! Arnel sounds so eerily similar to Steve Perry and if you close your eyes, it’s almost like he’s there. It’s so crazy how energetic and happy he can be on stage. I came from the show feeling so incredibly happy with good vibes consuming my entire being. It’s so wonderful for someone like me to be standing in the crowd and seeing someone up there completely living the dream. Obviously, all artists are living a dream, but Arnel was literally picked up out of nowhere for his voice sounding similar to Steve’s. He was picked up pretty one night out of nowhere and is now touring with his favorite band all over the world. That’s crazy! You can definitely tell he’s in love with it!

7. The Go-Go’s

If you don’t know the song ‘Vacation’, you’re living under a rock. My mom got me tickets to The Go Go’s one year for my birthday, and it was such an awesome show! I know I keep saying that about every show, but seriously the Go Go’s were such a cool thing to see, especially since they are now on their very expensive farewell tour, which means I got to see them before they essentially put the musical life down. That’s so wicked and rad to be able to say you saw a band before they left the tour life and settled into the shadows.

8. Paramore

This is it, my absolute favorite band on this list. Paramore. Paramore first came into my life in the seventh grade and I instantly fell in love with the music. I got to see them for the first time with one of my best friends and it was such an elaborate experience, I’ll never forget it! I saw them again during Monument Tour with the next band, Fall Out Boy and fell in love once again. I keep up with all the members of the band, including the departed ones, since we’re down to just Hayley and Taylor now. Picking a song for this song was so hard because I have so many songs that I live by that come from Paramore, but I decided to go with my absolute favorite off of Riot!

9. Fall Out Boy

NSFW* I saw Fall Out Boy during Monument Tour with Paramore as I just mentioned, and it was so great. I went with my brother, mom, aunt and friends. I saw them in Hershey and had the most amazing time. The Monument Tour is one of my favorite tours that I’ve ever been to; I’ll honestly never forget it. I’ve decided to add this song because I feel like it’s so underrated and it has Elton John in it, I mean come on, what’s more legendary than this?

10. Three Days Grace (With Adam Gontier)

I felt it was necessary to add this because the year after I saw the band, Adam Gontier left the group. Matt Walst now tours with the band. To be able to see a band in full before such a pivotal member leaves is so crazy to me. It just goes to prove that every concert you go to will never be the exact time in another time and place. Each moment during a concert is so fleeting and so unique because those exact moments will never occur in that same exact way ever again. To be able to see Adam with the group just a year before he departed really makes me feel thankful for my timing.

11. Earth Wind and Fire

Do you remember the twenty-first night of September? I saw Earth Wind and Fire with my mom a couple of years ago and the concert was fantastic. They are all so full of life and good vibes and are still so in love with the music, it makes my heart happy. I love concerts where you can dance and really dance with other people, and that was definitely one of those concerts where everyone was shaking it. This song is my favorite because I’m a huge fan of ‘Muppets In Space’ and really identified with Gonzo as a child. This song is in that movie.

12. Glen Tillbrook of Squeeze

I adore Squeeze. My parents and I saw Glen a few years ago with this awesome local band and though he played a lot of solo pieces, he also played a few Squeeze songs, which was so cool. It’s awesome when people go solo and still play the songs of their previous band. We saw him at World Cafe Live and even met him afterward, which is so super cool to have been given that experience. This is another song I’m sharing from the ‘Mom and Casey Greatest Hits Playlist’.

13. Styx

My mom and I go to all these concerts at the American Music Theater in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and it’s so great because you have the option to meet the bands at the back door for autographs and pictures. Most of the time they are more than willing to oblige and are so nice. I met Styx at the ‘stage door’ of AMT and I’m so thankful for these experiences. The show was so riveting, I can’t even believe they still have the willpower to move around and still rock as much as they do when I get winded going up stairs. I love this song. It comes on my iheartradio station and I get so hype when it comes on.

14. REO Speedwagon

Another band to add to your bucket list if you haven’t already. Kevin Cronin blows me away every time I see him on stage anywhere, nonetheless live. He is so small but he really moves and jumps around a whole lot for a man in his sixties. They are so fantastic live and so nice – I’ve met them at the stage door as well. None of them look like this anymore, but they still sound exactly the same I promise! I think about this song a lot, especially when I’m feeling pretty down. Total mood-changer.

15. Pvris

NSFW* If you’ve never heard of Pvris, you have got to look them up right now. Made up of three people, they are so amazing live. I’ve seen Lynn and the guys twice now and each time they were so energetic and so passionate about their set. Their music is catchy and electronic, making it a good beat to dance and sing to. This is my favorite song by them, but the entire album is a banger. Definitely give it a listen if you’re interested.

16. The Who

I’ve been so fortunate to have been able to go see all these amazing acts live, including The Who. My entire family trekked out to this concert as well, and it was well-worth it. To be able to say that you’ve seen The Who is monumental. They are killin’ it up there, let me tell you. Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey are both in their seventies and I kid you not, they played for almost three hours. A three-hour set for seventy-plus-years-old men is not even impressive, it’s just insane! Here’s my favorite song by them and also a song that reminds me of my dad every time I hear it. Don’t get me wrong, Baba O’Riley is a jam too, and definitely a pick me up, but we have to remember our roots here. If CSI didn’t jumpstart a millennial’s obsession with The Who, what did?

17. Panic! at the Disco

NSFW* I saw Panic! for the first time at my college, Shippensburg University, last September. It was so cool to be able to see them in the Field House and it was definitely one of my favorite shows. I only wish I could have seen them last summer with Weezer so that I could have heard their new album live, but they’ve just announced a new tour! Unfortunately, it’s also during school, so who knows if I’m going to be able to see them. I truly believe every album that Panic puts out is gold. I love Too wWierd to Live and adored Death of a Bachelor. It was hard to pick a song to put in this article, but I had to go with a classic.

18. Ed Sheeran

For another amazing birthday present, my mom and I went to see Ed Sheeran at the Mann in Philly. It was honestly one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. It’s just Ed up there for a couple of hours with a guitar and a couple of pedals. He does everything himself! He sounds the exact same on stage too, so cute and so British.He’s another artist you can tell is totally in love with what he does. Ed was fantastic and so passionate. I am so thankful for my mom and her showing me the world of concerts and helping my addiction by bringing me and buying me tickets to the greatest shows I’ve ever been to. I am truly blessed to have had so many opportunities to see the people I have. Multiply was a fantastic album. I definitely recommend it.

19. Have Mercy

I first stumbled upon Have Mercy after a friend played a song casually in the car on the way to another concert. I immediately fell in love with the song and the band. We were so fortunate to have seen them at Warped Tour the same year that I discovered them and I’ve seen been following them pretty closely. Their album ‘A Place Of Our Own’ is one of my favorites. I could listen to it over and over. Have Mercy is just one of those bands that seem like they’ve been through some stuff, and they get it. I appreciate that. I’ve been obsessed with this song lately.

20. Rise Against

My love for Rise Against stems back to middle school. They are one of my favorite bands and place third behind Paramore and A Day to Remember. I saw them two summers ago with my brother and it’s one of my fondest memories of a concert. They don’t tour on the east coast too much, so I definitely felt the whole time and place feeling while at that concert. It was such an energetic crowd and they played all these great songs, including some of my favorites. There are so many songs that are great, it’s so hard to find one to post. I chose one that my brother and I hold pretty close to our hearts.

21. Twenty One Pilots

I just saw Twenty One Pilots this last summer and had an absolute blast. Never have I been in a crowd where the band actually comes out into the crowd to play. I think it’s so crazy that Tyler and Josh do that several times during a show. I love that Tyler scales the sides of buildings and climbs things, and I love that they end each show with ‘Trees’ and play the drums with the confetti on them. They are another group that is so energetic and passionate, it’s hard not to love them. Ten out of ten, I would recommend seeing them in concert, if not for the music, for the experience alone. There is so much love and positivity in the crowd. It’s touching. This is my favorite song from their album ‘Vessel’.

22. Bring Me The Horizon

I love Bring Me The Horizon so much, I’ve seen them a total of three times now. I feel like they can do no wrong. If I liked their screamo in middle school, I’m bound to follow them through whatever. I loved ‘Sempiternal’ and have especially loved ‘That’s The Spirit’ even though a lot of people did not feel the same way about the most recent album. I think all of the songs off both albums are bangers, I like the new direction they went in. They hinted at in Sempiternal and I am always willing to give new things a try. I’ve seen them perform their new and old stuff and each time I am still in love with the band. This was one of my favorites off the new album, but definitely give the whole album a try. Give ‘Sempiternal’ a try as well, both are fantastic.

23. Blink 182

NSFW*(video) Like I mentioned before, I just saw A Day to Remember and Blink 182 this summer, just a few weeks before I left for school. It was such a great concert. Even though I had lawn seats, it was practically a sold out show and they were so loud, it was like we were right up front. Matt Skiba wasn’t my favorite but he seems to contribute better vibes than Tom DeLonge ever did. Mark and Travis are still chiseling away at the dream and having a blast on stage. It was unreal to have been able to see them, they put on a great set. They opened with this song.

24. Hollywood Undead

I saw Hollywood Undead at Rock Allegiance last year and had a blast. They played at the same time as Papa Roach and were on a third stage outside fo the stadium, so there weren’t as many people there as I had thought there would be, but I’m so glad I went to see them while I could. They put on a great set, and played only one song I didn’t recognize. I’ve always just admired their raps and their personalities. ‘Desperate Measures’ was a large staple for me in middle school. It was an album that I listened to every day. Just a warning that this is their only song that isn’t explicit.

25. Howard Jones

My mom and I saw Howard Jones earlier this previous summer and actually met him afterward. My mom was so excited, she had been listening to him forever and was totally starstruck, it was so amazing to see firsthand how generationally important music can be. I realized that I had also been listening to Howard since I was a baby and recognized a lot of his music. He’s still very energetic and brings a lot of good energy to the stage with him when he performs. This is my favorite song by him.

26. Chasing Safety

NSFW* Okay, if you haven’t heard of this band, that’s okay, because they are a local band from New Jersey. I’ve been lucky enough to stumble upon them twice at two shows I had no idea they were performing at. The first time was seeing them at the Chameleon Club in Lancaster, where I was seeing Framing Hanley. The second time, I was at the Voltage Lounge seeing my friend’s brother rap and there was a rock show before, in which they were performing at. I knew after the second time I had to definitely check the guys out and ended up loving their music. They put on a great set both times that I saw them and definitely have enough energy to make it out there in the big time. I would not be surprised if we see them in the Warped Tour lineup in a couple of years.

27. Pat Benatar

Pat Benetar is a gift to society. If you don’t love her, you need to reevaluate your life. I’m only kidding, well sort of. Pat Benatar is amazing and a total feminist icon. She is all about girl power and on top of all that is a rock queen. She and her husband Neil are the dream team. Together they are the most badass rock duo I’ve ever seen. Buy all of Pat’s albums. Gain confidence like you would have never even thought you could.

28. Real Friends

NSFW* I love Real Friends so much it’s hard to put in words. I found them in a time in my life where I felt that all their songs were directly speaking to me. I’ve seen them live once at Warped and they were amazing. I will literally never forget that crowd. This song means so much to me and so much about improving yourself. I can’t even tell you how much I love this song. This will always be my favorite song by them.

29. Beartooth

Beartooth is another band I feel like came into my life exactly when I needed them to. I’ve seen them now twice at Warped Tour both times, and both crowds have been crazy amazing. A little rough, but friendly throughout. The first album they put out, the first full-length album I should say, was beyond words. My brother and I both love it so much, we probably wore out the physical CD by playing it so much in the car. I enjoy their second album as well, though I think some people may think it to be a little too similar to the first one. I disagree, I think both are good. The first one is definitely more of a favorite than the second one, though.

30. Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Time to get funky here. I saw TSO a couple years back with my family and really enjoyed their concert. I’m not sure that I’ll ever go again, but they have some pretty alternative Christmas music out there. Their music is just so creative and unique that you have to give it a listen if you haven’t already. It gives all the metal heads and alternative kids a chance to enjoy holiday music without looking like a ‘loser’ or that was the ideas in middle school when we cared too much of what people thought of our music taste.

31. Taking Back Sunday

I saw TBS a few years ago with Tonight Alive at the Tower in Philly and am so glad I convinced my brother and friend to go. It was so much fun! Here’s a favorite of mine by them.

32. The Amity Affliction

I’ve seen Amity now twice. I saw them once a few years ago at Warped Tour and actually just saw them two weekends ago at Rock Allegiance in Philly. They are always so great when they perform, it’s like they are having the time of their lives up there on stage. They sound the exact same live and their crowds are always crazy awesome. This song is really important to me because I love the lyrics and love the video.

33. Rick Springfield

I saw Rick years ago with my mom and could not have been happier. I think it’s so cool to go to concerts of acts that were huge when my mom was growing up, and then seeing those same people who grew up with his music still rocking out and getting down at the shows. I think it’s a large stereotype that the older people get, the closer they get to sitting in the chair and clapping, if that, at concerts, but I think you just need to go see the right people live. I’ve been in love with this song since I was little.

34. Foreigner

Saw Foreigner not too long ago with my mom and it was so cool. It was awesome to say that I got to see Mick Jones, who has not been in great health lately, jumping around like he was young again. Foreigner rocked the house. This is my favorite by them.

35. Falling in Reverse

NSFW* I regard only two bands as having the craziest, craziest crowds, and Falling in Reverse is one of them. It sounds fake because most of the people that attend these shows are young, small girls, but it’s crazy how many of them are crowd surfing and jumping around. If you don’t get injuries at a Falling in Reverse show, were you even really there? That being said, I’ve seen them twice, and both times the crowd was ridiculously amazing.

36. We The Kings

I fell in love with We The Kings in middle school and maintained a long-distance-like relationship with them afterward. A few years ago, they were on the Warped Tour lineup and I knew I had to see them. The crowd was so hype and so full of energy, it was one of the best sets I have ever seen. I immediately bought their new album and learned it just for that set. It was crazy amazing. Here’s one of those tracks off that album.

37. Slipknot

NSFW* I also started listening to Slipknot in middle school, around the same time my brother started listening to them in high school. I saw them a couple of years ago with Korn and it was so cool. They put on such a great show, it’s like Corey Taylor never ages.

38. Seether

I’ve seen Seether twice I believe, once with Three Days Grace at Rock Allegiance in 2012, and once at the WMMR BBQ a couple summers ago in Camden. They are great live. Here’s my favorite by them, because the version with Amy Lee I think takes away from the meaning of the song.

39. The Offspring

So the other band that has the craziest crowds is The Offspring. I just saw them two weekends ago at Rock Allegiance in Philly and they totally blew me away. Their crowd was so packed, the most I’ve seen the stadium packed all day, and the crowd was so fluid with their movements, it was almost impossible to gain your footing. As they started playing, several pits opened up and my brother, his friends and I all got tossed separate ways. There were at least a hundred crowd surfers. The pit was breathtaking almost. It was so cool!

40. Avenged Sevenfold

NSFW* Avenged Sevenfold is a great classic, and they rarely tour the east coast. We also saw them two weekends ago at Rock Allegiance and we are so lucky. They went over their set time and still came back for an encore. They played all these great songs and then some. Even though my feet felt like they had fallen off, I am so happy I went.

Why Concerts Are My Happy Place

I used to think that concerts were a pivotal moment in every teen’s life, but the more I meet people at college, I am realizing a lot of people still haven’t experienced the amazing feeling that concerts give me.

After being at a concert all day and then heading home, the Post-Concert Depression is too real.

This article was originally published for The Odyssey on September 19, 2016.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve had a passion for music. Not playing it, though I did have quite a few adventures attempting to learn the guitar and piano; no, I was more interested in listening. As I sat in my car seat as a baby, my mom and dad would play their latest mixtape filled with music from the 1970s all the way up through 1990s. I grew up listening to all the classics: rock, pop, new wave, rap, grunge and disco. It all began with a mixtape and an overly enthusiastic baby. Now my concert addiction has been amplified, and as I grow older, it just keeps getting better.

I don’t remember the first concert I ever went to. That’s a question for my mom, she remembers everything. I can barely remember the last concert I went to. That’s how many concerts I have attended. I’ll go see just about anyone I possibly can live; I keep a running list of all the artists and bands I’ve seen, from local schmucks to famous sell-outs like Billy Joel. There are over a hundred people on my list.

Due to the fact that my parents raised me on so many different types of music, my taste isn’t limited to just one genre. I’ve seen many people from The Oakridge Boys to Ed Sheeran to Rise Against to Hall and Oates. My list is pretty vast.

I used to think that concerts were a pivotal moment in every teen’s life, but the more I meet people at college, I am realizing a lot of people still haven’t experienced the amazing feeling that concerts give me. You may have heard other people mention that concerts are their happy place. I’m pretty serious when I say that concerts are my life. I am purely a music enthusiast; someone who appreciates listening to music so much that they practically depend on it and so concerts truly are my happy place.

The rush of happiness and thankfulness I feel before, during and after a concert is unreal. It’s like everything I’ve ever done has led up to this moment and every moment after it. I know some people don’t enjoy crowds, but being in the center of a crowd is a rush of excitement for me. I am instantly overcome with adrenaline. There’s so much energy in a concert crowd, it’s almost impossible to miss. Being squished like a sardine is such a cool concept to me. I love knowing that even if I fell for some reason, I couldn’t, because that’s how tightly packed it is.

During a concert, I am full of smiles. What’s more thrilling than knowing that time is fleeting? What’s more astonishing knowing that nothing will ever be the same as it was at that exact moment? Sure the band will play the same songs in another city, but there won’t be a couple next to you swaying, there won’t be a girl to the left of you tying her shoe and more importantly, you won’t be there. Being at any concert is a pivotal moment in time, simply because you are present.

Concerts and live music are so important to me. They are essential aspects of my life, my well-being and coincidentally enough, my sanity. Just being in a crowd with so many people allows me to feel so free. Think about it: you’re in a crowd with hundreds or thousands of people, and there’s nothing separating you or dividing you, because you’re all there for one reason, to listen to music you all enjoy. You’re all there to let the music bless your ears, to see the people you listen to on a device usually and most of all, to sing those lyrics as loud as you possibly can. Though I truly believe that concerts are for seeing not hearing, I do indulge in taking a video here or there solely for the purpose of being able to relive the amazing concert-sensation again later. We all want to relive the electrifying moments we experience at these shows. Concerts are a place where we can all come together, share and equally enjoy a sacred space, simply because the performers sound good to our ears.

I probably overthink the whole nature of concerts, but they truly mean so much more to me than just some people playing some tunes. It’s not that simple; it’s never been that simple. When the singer(s) get on stage and ask how everyone is doing, it doesn’t matter if you’re having the worst day ever, you’re going to shout and hoot. The music revving up as you jump up and down to your favorite songs is enough to lift your spirits, even if only for the duration of the song. The amazing feelings you can obtain from attending a concert thrill me. The feeling you receive from the extremely loud, pumping bass, like you don’t know if you’re listening to music or your own heartbeat; it’s exhilarating. I adore feeling everything shake and tremble as the music begins, like, you never knew collarbones could vibrate until that exact moment. When the singer points the microphone at the audience and all you hear are your collective voices singing the lyrics, I swear time comes to a standstill. I swear that in that moment, there is nothing more astonishing, more breathtaking, more impressive than knowing that this music isn’t just a band or a song, it’s a movement. In that moment, as all the hairs on your body stand on end, you realize you are not small, you are not just one person. You become part of something bigger, more exciting and of course, more important.

I’ve been to Warped Tour, I’ve been in mosh pits and I’ve experienced all the dangerous elements concerts have to offer, yet my opinion still stands. There is no place I’d rather be than standing in a large crowd of a band or artist I enjoy. Last weekend, I went home to attend Rock Allegiance, happening in Philadelphia on Saturday and Sunday. I was super sick, with a head cold, an unbearable stuffy nose and a sore throat but I pushed through. I blew my nose in approximately 100 napkins. I took cold medicine with me to the show. That is how much concerts mean to me.

At the end of the day, music is what moves us. I’ve been to a hundred concerts and I’ll go to a hundred more, a hundred after that and so on. I will go and see just about anyone I possibly can, cost depending. (Despite being an avid concert-goer, money does not, unfortunately, grow on trees, and as a broke college student, I definitely feel that Post-Concert Depression when I can’t afford a ticket to a certain gig.)

Music is my life, and I don’t say that lightly. Concerts are and forever will be my happy place. If you haven’t been to a concert before, I honestly feel as though you are missing out on a part of your life that could be so amazing. If you feel even a sixteenth of what I experience while at concerts, I promise you it will be so fulfilling to attend more. I am living proof that concerts and live music are the most amazing environments on Earth. If concerts aren’t your tempo, what is? Where’s your happy place?