Category Archives: Advice

How to Write a Blog Article

By Natalie Grace Sipula

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[6 minute read]

Writing is hard. From a pretty young age, I have greatly enjoyed expressing myself through creative writing, and as I got older, I started to enjoy academic writing as well. I would write poetry about things I observed in my day-to-day life, short stories or fragments of prose, and even entered a few essay-writing competitions. Something I noticed pretty early on about writing is that writing the things that come to your mind without method or intent is a lot easier than writing for an audience. I prefer writing while keeping the reader in mind more because writing only for myself lets me pick up bad writing habits, such as not carefully considering my word choice, as the only person interpreting the writing would be me. But writing creatively for a reader is pretty difficult, and academic-style writing for a reader can be exhausting because most college students already have to do that so much for their classes. A form of writing that I had not previously considered before coming to college, however, was blog writing. When I started working at the USC American Language Institute, I tried out writing for a blog for the very first time. One blog that I wrote about rereading Harry Potter with an older perspective challenged me to consider the perspective of both myself and my audience.

Photo by Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash

Writing for a blog is a great way to open your creative energy and write to a wider audience while also being able to maintain a level of informality and free expression to your writing. A blog article could be about anything–your daily routine, a hobby you love doing, your journey writing other things, or aspects of your social life. It is a happy medium between writing creatively or academically for others and dabbling in creative writing or journaling for yourself. This can be good because it allows you to practice writing with a sense of accountability, while also having fun. I have written a few blog articles since coming to college, and I found that I had a great time writing them and was actually proud of my work after the fact. I also realized that I was less judgmental of my own writing when writing a blog article, which made it easier for me to actually finish a writing project I started on. For me, the most difficult part of writing a blog article is narrowing down exactly what it is you want to write about.

What can you write about?

Have you ever had that feeling where you are inspired to write something and then as soon as you sit down in front of your journal or computer screen, your mind goes blank? Or when you know of a lot of things you think you might be interested in writing about, but aren’t sure where to start? This is a very common problem writers encounter, but with some consideration and time, it can be overcome. Some common blog topics to inspire you are: life advice about a specific situation or circumstance, a recipe or instructions on how to do/make something, a list of recommendations, a funny or shocking story and a lesson learned from it, hobbies or goals and how to accomplish them, and so much more.

Continue reading How to Write a Blog Article

Staying comfortable with your own pace in a Reopening world

by Alyssa Delarossa

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[3 minute read]

As the United States and more of our world reopens, the societal pressure to keep up with the quickening pace of life and activities is strong. Many people are no longer wearing a mask if they are fully vaccinated and have started attending crowded clubs and events. Personally, despite this social pressure and despite the fact that I am fully vaccinated, I am remaining cautious and will continue wearing a mask and socially distancing, as both actions have worked so effectively this past year and also due to the Delta variant of Covid-19 that is spreading rapidly around the world and in the United States.

Do I feel a bit weird running around in a mask while lots of residents in my home of Ventura County ( a one hour drive North of LA) have ditched theirs? Yes, absolutely! Peer pressure and the pressure to conform to the current social environment is real. However, the thought of potentially contracting the virus or other viruses helps me keep the mask on and thankfully, I haven’t yet had any problems with staying six feet apart from strangers.

Selfie of me double-masked once I learned about the rapidly spreading delta variant

With that being said, I have started to spend more time with my family. We are not all living together but with the reopening, I have made this exception for them. I also have close friends that I’ll hang out with in my hometown, Santa Clarita (where Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park is). I’m still very hesitant to attend crowded events and places but I will spend one-on-one time with these groups of people I call “my inner circle.”

While I do want and tend to spend time with my “inner circle” of friends and family, I spend even more time absorbed in self-care practices such as meditation, journaling, and exercise. Some of the physical activities I have been engaging in are swimming, skating, and kayaking. I tend to engage in these activities either alone or with my inner circle and the fulfillment they bring is like no other.

My friend and I masked up and ice skating in Santa Clarita, California

Some other fulfilling activities I do alone to fill up my time are cooking and writing poetry. These activities allow me to express creativity which is very fulfilling – not to mention delicious! The poetry I write does tend to be more emotional because for me personally, it’s a great way to release any emotional pain/feelings I may be experiencing at the time.

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My Concert Catastrophe-How to Survive Live Concerts

By Anahi Terrazas

Edited by Natalie Grace Sipula

[4.5 minute read]

Prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, concert-going was one of my favorite pastimes. I’ve been to multiple concerts over the past couple of years (my favorite arguably being the One Direction concert). One of my favorite artists is also Harry Styles, so you can imagine my excitement when I learned that he would be performing during Super Bowl weekend in Miami.

As soon as I heard he would be performing in Miami, I bought tickets—mind you, I didn’t know anyone that I could go to the concert with, so I messaged a girl that I had met at the Women’s March and added on Instagram weeks prior to the concert. It turned out that she was also going to be attending the concert and didn’t have anyone to go with, so we made a plan to meet up at the venue. The concert was approximately a 40-50 minute drive from where I was attending school prior to transferring to USC.

The concert was at 8 pm, but it was open seating, so to get a good seat you had to arrive early. I got there promptly at 5 am the day of the concert. I had driven from Parkland, Florida to Miami. The venue was built specifically for Super Bowl weekend and it was basically on an island that did not have any parking, so in order to arrive you had to park somewhere in downtown Miami and Uber to the venue (this is an important detail for later). I very excitedly arrived at Miami and by around 6:15 am I was standing in line with my friend from the Women’s March.

Standing in line outside the venue at around 6:30 am

While waiting in line, everything was seemingly normal; we made friends with the girls in line with us and chatted about how excited we were. However, when the clock hit 7:30 pm and we still weren’t allowed into the venue, I started to question what was happening. We were eventually led into the venue at around 8:30 pm, and though I was incredibly tired because I had been awake since 4 am, the rush of being able to see Harry Styles perform kept me from getting too impatient. Mark Ronson, a DJ, was the first opening act and by around 10:30 pm, Lizzo, the second opening act, started performing.

My view of the stage once inside the venue

Though I had been to many concerts before, I had never experienced the main act starting so late. After Lizzo’s performance, time passed and there was still no sign of Harry Styles getting on stage. At this point everyone in the pit started to get dehydrated because we had been standing so long without water. People started to ask security for water and question why it was almost midnight and Harry Styles had yet to perform.

View from the pit

Nevertheless, the people around me and I kept our hopes up because it was Harry Styles’ birthday the next day, so we assumed that he was waiting until midnight to perform in order to celebrate his birthday. In fact, once the clock hit 12 am fans started to sing “Happy Birthday” when suddenly, the screen in front of us flashed a message saying that the concert was canceled due to extreme weather and that we had to be evacuated.

Announcement telling concert-goers we needed to evacuate
Continue reading My Concert Catastrophe-How to Survive Live Concerts