Stress-Free Summer

Summer is not only a break from school and its accompanying stresses; summer allows you to embrace whatever you just don’t have time for the other 8 months of the year.  Personally, my last year at JMU owned me and as a result I have not taken one moment of my freedom for granted this summer.  Earlier in the summer, I formulated a small list of items to accomplish and consistently perform to save me from the terrors of boredom (I’m staying in Harrisonburg for the summer) and stop me from overworking at my internship.  I’d like to share with you my list and hope that you haven’t lost any precious “me” time these past few months.


 1. Travel and explore:  I fear leaving my precious JMU campus on the weekends since I’m only here for four years and I want to soak in all that college has to offer while I still can.  Unfortunately H’burg during the summer is not as glamorous, and a weekend getaway is graciously accepted.  So whether traveling to Charlottesville to try a new restaurant with my boyfriend, or traveling to Maryland to enjoy fireworks on the water, these road trips have opened my eyes to a new style of living and takes my mind off the stresses. 

 2. Read a good book:  I absolutely despise being forced to read.  You give me something to read for an assignment and I will automatically shut down and refuse to become interested.  I really do love reading for enjoyment though.  This summer I joined the local H’burg library and I have become a reading machine, getting lost in stories of people or things and their journeys whether realistic or fiction. With textbook season around the corner I have no choice but to cram all the pleasurable reading I can now.

3. Cook or bake:  I read somewhere at some time how cooking and baking are therapeutic.  The extent of my cooking during the semester is boiling pasta or sticking a frozen pizza in the oven.  So I traded my frozen dinners in for fresh ingredients and as chef Emeril would say, BAM!  It’s sad knowing that in a few short weeks I won’t be able to afford ingredients or have time to cook, because it definitely has kept me productive during this time of the year.

 4. Exercise:  After a long day of classes, club meetings, and homework, the last thing I want to do is go to the gym.  I know it’s good for you and makes you feel great and blah, blah, blah. With this being said, I can proudly say I have dragged my butt to the gym and go 5-6 days a week a minimum!  For someone who finds climbing the stairs to be a physical challenge,
 I would say that’s really impressive.


Just remember to not take the simple moments for granted.  Next time you’re bored with nothing to do read a book, go on a walk, explore a part of town you’ve never been to before, or bake a cake for someone you love.  Just promise me that you won’t live with all the stress and hassles of a semester at college this summer.

~Katelyn Diehl (Executive Assistant)


Well, I’ve been dying to talk to everyone about Inception, so you, blog-reading-person, will be the first to read my thoughts.  But, please be warned, SPOILERS will be abound.  Not that it matters so much, because this movie is so perfect that even if you’re spoiled, the movie only falls into place as you watch it.  Before and after, it seems to slip away from you, like a dream..  Hans Zimmer’s score inspires awe and builds atmosphere almost as deftly as the architects create dreamspace in the movie.  And don’t get me started on the actors… Joseph Gordon-Levitt has come a long way from “3rd Rock from the Sun.”

But I digress; I don’t want to actually review the movie.  I want to discuss it.  Because it’s one of the very few movies that once you see it, you want to immediately talk about it and not stop talking until we’ve covered every single frame.  In an age where I want to order a pizza online to avoid the bleak conversation with the Domino’s order-taker, I actively seek out conversations with people about this movie (for real life examples: my dentist, my parents, my best friends, Mitch so I could write this blog, and then yelling at random people who haven’t seen it yet).  And I think that’s INCREDIBLE!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know this is not the “perfect” movie.  A lot of people will disagree with me and my assumptions about plot/the ending (IT WOBBLED).  But I want to hear it.  I want to hear it all; how you think the hype got to be too overwhealming, why the top doesn’t matter, why Ariadne’s name is extremely important, why it didn’t make any sense, or how from the first shot of Leo on a beach you thought “JACK LIVED YOU GUYS!”

In case you are one of the few people who haven’t seen Inception yet, or you just can’t wait to see it again, don’t worry- Inception will be showing this fall at JMU in Grafton-Stovall Theater!

~Kelly McKew (Film Director)

Doing the Impossible

In my life there are very few instances where I set out to accomplish something that I felt was truly impossible.  At the moment, only 3 of these instances come to mind:

The first occurred senior year in high school, when I very stubbornly refused a car with a manual transmission.  I tried driving it once, but decided never again once I experienced the jolting and screeching of stalling out.  Faced with the choice of driving stick or continuing to rely on my parents and friends for rides, I finally gave in and within days I accomplished the first thing I was ever sure I couldn’t.

Instance 2 happened when I faced Norm Garrison’s physiology class. This was one of those classes- you know what talking about.  After three exams and more coffee than a human being should probably ever consume, I walked out of our final with an A-.  (Insert appropriate oohs and ahhs here!)

 All of this brings me to today, the day I encountered my third impossible experience.  Curtains. I have looked everywhere.  I’ve looked at Obscure Store X.  I looked at Obscure Store Y and Z too.  Did I find any curtains?  Of course not!  Well I did find some, *cough anthropologie-curtains-that-rival-my-first-month’s-rent cough*.  Finally, I reached the point of desperation and frustration, and put one foot in front of the other into JoAnn Fabrics.  From the moment I decided to go the “home made” route, through the moment I carried my beautiful new fabric into my bedroom, my plan involved my mother doing the actual sewing.  This lasted until I looked into my closet, where I saw the last set of curtains my mother made for me; the ones that hung in my room for about a week.  They sit in the exact same spot now as they did when I decided I could not look at them any longer (sorry Mom).  Again, frustration and desperation knocked at my door.  “Fine. I’ll do it.”

Four hours, three re-dos, too many finger pricks to count, and more $^%@#$ than I’d care to admit, one single curtain panel lay completed on my kitchen table.  While I clearly have a lot more work ahead of me, I feel successful in that I completed at least part one of impossible task number three. 

With this accomplishment I have reached a couple conclusions.

 1) Sewing is difficult, but really more a pain.  Either way, if your mother has ever hemmed your pants or created a Halloween costume for you, you should call her now and thank her.

2) Sewing is not a talent I will chose to pursue. Sorry  soon-to-be roommate, if you are reading this…I hope you’re OK with taking the bedroom with two windows.  I only have one panel left in me!

~Courtney (VP of Membership Development)

Kelly McKew in 60 Seconds

Hello JMU!

I’m Kelly, and I’m happy to say I’ll be your UPB Film Director.  No, I won’t be directing movies (although, if I did, they would be awesome and someone should pay me to do it!), but I’ll be helping make sure movie events on campus run smoothly. If you’ve never heard of me before, you’re probably wondering what kind of girl I am (and if you aren’t, well, you know how to skim).  Here’s me:

  • I’m a senior SMAD major with a minor in Political Communication. I’ve been working this summer as both an intern in the Public Relations department at a local community college as well as in a restaurant as a waitress.
  • I love movies.  I consistently spout off movie quotes, expecting people to know them already. I once answered a question in 12th grade English by quoting Tyler Durden from Fight Club.
  • I love TV.  I’m eagerly awaiting the return of Mad Men to my TV this Sunday!
  • Tina Fey is my hero.
  • I love books.
  • I have a voracious appetite for storytelling, in any form. And by any, I mean any.
  • I own video games, comics, novels, nonfiction, historical biography, CDs, DVDs of all varieties: drama, comedy, sci-fi, romance, oscar winning, indie, animated, etc. I do have one rule though: I want quality. If it’s not good, why bother? 
  • My current obsessions this summer are Battlestar Galactica and Stieg Larsson’s Milenium trilogy, both are excellent! (I’m also rereading Harry Potter for the 8-billionth time this summer, to prep for Deathly Hallows, Pt 1). 
  • My friends are awesome, and have become some of the most important people running around my life.

I hope this has been informative… if not, I hope it’s been amusing. Because that’s what life is all about.


Summertime and the Livin’ is Easy

My summers have themes.

Summer of Freshman year’s theme: the pool.

I was a lifeguard for 4 years. Sunshine, swim lessons, whistle twirling, and diving boards filled the days.

Summer of Sophomore year’s theme: the music industry.

 That summer I worked as a Booking Agent intern at Live Nation in DC. I spent the summer running around Nissan Pavilion learning the ins and outs of promoting and producing shows at Northern VA’s largest venue, which is relevant because of my minor and what I ultimately would like to do in life.

Summer of Junior year’s theme: español

I’m pursuing a minor in Spanish (as well as Music Industry), and for the past 6 weeks my home was Salamanca, Spain. Each weekend had a different destination: Portugal, Barcelona, Santiago de Compostela, Madrid, Sevilla, Cordoba, Grenada, and Mediva. Nothing I have done thus far has compared to that experience. Living and studying independently with my JMU companions brought me to levels of understanding about other cultures and languages and their different dialects. This summer opened my eyes to the rest of the world and I can’t wait to see what else life has to show me.

Upcoming this year I will back to Center Stage for my 4th and final year. With the help of my stellar committee, we will spend the next year planning concerts that will excite the student body. Currently we are submitting offers to artists we want to entertain our stage in the Convocation Center and Wilson Auditorium…get excited- this year is going to be great!


Elyse’s Hot Summer

The best word to describe my summer so far would probably be “hot.” In my hometown of Falls Church, VA, days heat up to searing temperatures, sometimes even before the haze has burned off the day.  Luckily, the music class that I teach is sheltered within the haven of the air-conditioned temple.  My job is the greatest job I’ve ever had because it combines my two passions in life: music and teaching.  I work with pre-school through 7th graders, but I love the younger kids the most simply because they say the most adorable things.  For example, when asked what one child wanted to be when he grew up, he simply wrote, “I want to be what I want to be.” Surprisingly insightful for a preschooler, eh?

Apart from my job, the summer has been full of concerts, finger-lickin’ food, friends, and a whole lot of D.C. culture.  Some of the best concerts I’ve been to this summer include The Swell Season, a new local band named Deep River, and an all-girls Led Zeppelin tribute band called Lez Zeppelin.  It was one of the best shows I have ever seen and proved that girls can rock just as hard as Jimmy Page!  Foodwise, I’ve been cooking up a storm.   A bunch of friends come over and we cook up a feast- corn, grilled vegetables, fish, steak, broiled asparagus, and chocolate cake that could melt Betty Crocker’s heart.   Yup, it’s that good.

I’ve also been taking advantage of my close proximity to Washington, DC.  Last week I went to a midnight showing of a brand-new video game musical called “Super Claudio Bros.,” which is based on Super Mario.  It was creative, funny, and sweet…  D.C. also has some great venues for watching art films, including “The Kids are All Right,” which is an excellent film about making mistakes and then living with them. 

 I’d say it’s been a successful summer so far.  Looking forward to JMU starting in less than a month (wow!!!), and I’m excited to see how the rest of my summer will play out.  Much love!

~Elyse (Director of Spotlight Sounds)


It’s hard to believe that Independence Day, the fourth of July, has already passed.  This means we are all halfway through summer.  For some of us this means half way done with our internships or study abroad programs.  However, not only am I halfway finished with my summer, I am halfway done with college…

Property of University.Unions on FlickrIt’s scary to think I’ll be a junior in the fall!  I’m sure many seniors and recent alumni are thinking, “at least you still have two more years.”  You all are completely right.  But as many of my friends and fellow Dukes have shared- time flies.  I can vividly remember Junior year of high school, and here I am again a Junior, but this time at college.  Although I am sad to say summer is halfway over and I am halfway complete with my undergrad career, I also like to look on the bright side as what is to come.  More memories and great times from friends to football games to UPB events; the future awaits!  Although I am halfway done, I still have halfway to go!

-Drew Midgette

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
— Theodore Roosevelt