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Hannah Foskett

Highlights from the 2018 People’s Choice Awards

Highlights from the 2018 People’s Choice Awards

And that concludes Sunday’s 44th annual People’s Choice Awards. The show— featuring performances from Rita Ora, Nicki Minaj and Tyga, and John Legend—returned to TV for the first time on E! and broadcasted live from nine to 11pm from Santa Monica. Hollywood A-listers gathered at the viewer-voted ceremony to witness an interesting and memorable group of winners grace the stage. Here are the highlights.

Best movie goes to…

Avengers: Infinity Wars was named best movie of the year. The mega-blockbuster superhero movie also received the Action Movie of 2018 award and saw Scarlett Johansson take home best female movie star for her performance as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow.

You go, Danai

Black Panther’s Danai Gurira accepted the award for Action Movie Star of 2018, besting four of the world’s biggest male movie stars (Chris Hemsworth, Ryan Reynolds, Chadwich Boseman and Chris Pratt). Gurira referred to her fellow nominees as “very beautiful men”, a statement that both inverts the patriarchy and elicits no argument from us.

Queen Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj was crowned female artist of the year and her LP, Queen, was also professed album of the year. It was Minaj’s acceptance speeches that made her an even bigger winner in our eyes.

“I wanna dedicate this award to Kim Kardashian’s ass in that dress,” she said, while receiving the Album of 2018 reward.

The 35-year-old later thanked the designer, Donatella Versace for her outfit, as well as Black Panther star, Michael B. Jordan, “because he’s going to be taking it off me tonight.”

Shadowhunters Sweep

It’s clear that fans of Shadowhunters are devastated that the series, which is based on The Mortal Instruments book series, may be ending prematurely. With the show awarded TV show of 2018 and Bingeworthy Show of 2018, and Katherine McNamara and Harry Shum Jr. also claiming big wins, the People’s Choice Awards has surely given the cast a memorable send off.

Melissa McCarthy, A.K.A People’s Icon 

Comedy actress, Melissa McCarthy, was honored with the first-ever People’s Icon award, acknowledged for her television and film work, which includes roles in Mike and Molly (2010), Bridesmaids (2011) and Spy (2015).

“Thank you for making it possible for me to do something I love more than anything else,” she said during her acceptance speech.

Spice up your life

Victoria Beckham referenced the Spice Girls hit song Wannabe during her acceptance speech for the Fashion Icon Award. Coming after her band-mates announced a reunion tour that would not include Beckham, fans can be sure that Posh Spice’s dedication to fashion and “girl power” will still give them what they really, really want.

“I wanted to show that if I can do it then really anyone can do it, and what you achieve really can be limitless,” Beckham said. “If you really, really—I can’t help it—if you really, really want it.”

Touching tributes

The People’s Choice Awards fell on Veterans Day and many stars took time to honour the veterans in their speeches. Scarlett Johansson dedicated her award to “the men and women of the armed forces who put their lives on the line every day so we don’t have to”.

Blake Shelton donned a red, white and blue ribbon on his lapel in honor of his veteran father, and Bryan Stevenson spoke out about recent mass shootings, the #MeToo movement and racial inequality during his speech for the People’s Champion Award.

“It’s Veterans Day, it’s important that we honor all our veterans, but it’s important to remember that black veterans after World War I and World War II were menaced and targeted and lynched because of this narrative of racial difference, and today we’re still burdened by that history,” he said.

Attendees also frequently touched on the devastating Woolsey Fire, raging less than 40 miles away from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California. Mila Kunis, Melissa McCarthy, and Kim Kardashian West were among many who thanked firefighters for their tireless work.

Accepting a best reality TV show prize for Keeping Up with The Kardashians, West dedicated the award to “all the firefighters, the law enforcement and the first responders, we really truly appreciate what you have done for all of us.”

Winners

With 46 awards lined up and only 22 given out during the red carpet and live telecast, the winner’s list is deliciously long.

The show witnessed Korean boy band, BTS secure multiple awards for their song and video Idol. Shawn Mendes was named male artist of the year, Jim Parsons announced Comedy TV Star of 2018, Chadwick Boseman crowned male movie star of the year, and Taylor Swift and Shane Dawson also claimed wins. When receiving his award for Nighttime Talk Show of 2018, Jimmy Fallon was met with laughs for thanking “my better half, my rock, my soulmate…Justin Timberlake”.

Popular high school drama, Riverdale won best drama show, Fifty Shades Freed: best drama movie, and Incredibles 2: best family movie.

A full list of winners can be found, here.

Further reading: “We Solved it!” Diversity at the Emmys

10 Things I Wish I’d Known In College

10 Things I Wish I’d Known In College

As a recent college graduate, I can look back on my school years with some fond feelings and some memories that I’d rather just forget. So that you don’t have to make the same (many) mistakes that I did, here are the 10 things that I wish someone had told me before I’d set off for the chaos that is freshman year.

Your major will not define your entire life

This is one that I feel particularly passionate about because I seemed to spend most of my college years trying to explain—whether to students who actually had their lives figured out, or to my grandma—why I’d chosen to major in a “pointless” subject like English. This proved pretty difficult considering I wasn’t even sure why I’d chosen to go to college and “but I don’t want to be an engineer” didn’t seem to be a good enough answer. Obviously, the first thing to glean from this is that taking your time to make an educated decision about something that’s going to take up a lot of your time and resources, is probably a good idea.

Luckily, I discovered the concept of transferable skills. Sure, if you major in “Bowling Industry Management and Technology”, you’ve probably got a specific career path in mind. But if you decide somewhere down the line that bowling isn’t for you, you’ve learned management skills that can be applied in any workplace. More importantly, I loved English—and isn’t that the point?

Grades are actually important…

Unfortunately, despite the many transferable skills you might learn at college (like how to do laundry, or perhaps how to sleep and look like you’re concentrating at the same time), employers do evaluate you on your GPA (many companies actually filter applications by GPA). When it comes down to it, you’re at college to learn, so prioritize your studies, work hard and try your best to maintain a good GPA.

But a bad grade is not the end of the world

Throughout college, it was not unusual to find me shuddering over the memory of one particularly terrible grade. The dread and nausea had been made worse because I knew that I’d deserved it—I’d rushed the assignment to spend more time with my friends. With all my plans to graduate and stumble upon a career, it hadn’t really crossed my mind that I could, very possibly, fail college. This grade told my sleep-deprived and caffeinated self that my future was over.

After an extremely emotional and somewhat embarrassing visit to my professor’s office, and a math calculation by a friend who actually understood numbers, I was relieved to discover that this blip had barely affected my average. It turns out that we all have good and bad days, and if anything, this terrifying reality check shocked me into trying harder at everything else.

You don’t have to go to college straight away

One of my biggest regrets is not taking a gap year. With the relentless pressure to go to college, staying on at school can feel like the only option, but the reality is: it’s not. Your college education will still be there when you’ve had a bit more time to figure it all out.

Having a part time job is underrated 

Having something that is outside of school and being surrounding by a completely different type of friend is refreshing. Looking back, the excuse to leave the house for an environment where I had fun and physically was not allowed to study, definitely got me through my final semester. Also, the extra money and experience didn’t hurt.

Make the most of the experience

It can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of college and adult life. Unfortunately, this stress does not stop after college, so you might as well make the most of it while you can. Say yes to classes that intrigue you, join in activities, learn a random skill and always take advantage of fresh air when you can.

Toxic people are to be eliminated from your life

It took me a good few years to get this mantra down. When you go to college, you’re thrown together with random people and forced to make friends or else have nobody to borrow milk from during times of need. This does not a good friendship make.

If somebody is negative, belittling or controlling, or simply brings way too much drama into your life, it’s okay to distance yourself. Toxic people will always drain your attempts to be positive and drag you down with them, which is not part of the college experience.

College can be lonely and that’s okay

Especially in freshman year, there’s an expectation that you should be having the best time of your life. Often on social media, this is reflected by constant partying, social engagements, and people spending money that they don’t have. Whilst I was happy to enjoy this unrealistic way of life for a while, it quickly became exhausting.

Surrounded by a crowd of semi-familiar faces, it is actually easy and normal to feel lonely at college. After moving away from everything you’re familiar with, it’s important to take time out to assess your state-of-mind and recharge.

Stop taking things personally

This is one that I’m still working towards. Being in a competitive situation that forces you to compare yourself to your peers can damage your self-esteem and solicit your defence mechanisms. By knowing your worth, not jumping to conclusions and letting things like a bad grade go, you’re automatically promoted to the master of your own emotions and energy levels.

Being addicted to coffee is totally fine…probably

My dependence on caffeine is definitely helping me now that I’ve graduated and actually have to get out of bed in the mornings. Take this advice at your own peril.

Further reading: 5 Reasons to Have Houseplants in Your Dorm Room

The Midterm Results Are In and This is What They Mean

The Midterm Results Are In and This is What They Mean

Democrats have regained control of the House of Representatives after an eight-year one-party rule in Congress. However, in a “blue wave” that was more of a “ripple”, Republicans have tightened their grip on the Senate.

Despite losses in the lower chamber of Congress, president Donald Trump declared the midterm election a “tremendous success” as Republicans expanded their majority in the Senate, paving the way for a divided Congress.

Promoting himself on Twitter, he focused on the Senate, quoting the following from a commentator:

“There’s only been five times in the last 105 years that an incumbent president has won seats in the Senate in the off year election. Mr. Trump has magic about him. This guy has magic coming out of his ears. He is an astonishing vote getter & campaigner.”

The primary role of Congress—consisting of the House (its lower chamber) and the Senate (its upper chamber)—is to make and pass laws. A legislative proposal only becomes law once the House, the Senate and then the President, have approved it.

Consequently, that the Republicans lost the House to the Democrats could actually mean that Trump’s final two years of term have just become severely limited. Although his name was not on the ballot as a higher-than-usual number of voters elected Congress members on Tuesday November 6, the election was considered a referendum on Trump’s America.

Democrats needed to pick up 23 House seats in tallies early Wednesday, results that could enable the party to block much of Trump’s legislative agenda as well as issue investigations into his administration and business affairs. The Democrats now control the Intelligence Committee—responsible for considering potential Russian collusion in the last presidential election.

It will also be more difficult for Republicans to make changes to health legislation, including Barack Obama’s healthcare law, and could cause problems for Trump’s plans to build a border wall with Mexico. By passing laws out of the House, it will also force Republican senators to consider subjects like minimum wage.

The increased Republican majority in the Senate however, will make it easier for Trump to appoint judges and remake the judicial branch—a branch of government that interprets laws in the name of the state—into a more conservative system.

Democrats also flipped six governorships in the election, including Kansas, where Laura Kelly beat Trump ally, Kris Kobach. Two victorious Muslim Democrats—Ihan Omar (Minnesota) and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan)—made minority firsts, along with elected Democrat governor, Jared Polis (Colorado), the first openly gay man to be voted into the position.

A record year for women, at least 90 female candidates won their elections, the majority of whom were Democrats and at least 28 of whom were sent to Congress by voters for the first time. Sharice Davids (Kansas) and Deb Haaland (New Mexicao) became the first Native American women to be elected. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) became the first woman in her 20s to win a seat, and was later joined by 29-year old Abby Finkenauer (Iowa).

House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, spoke in Washington. “Thanks to you, tomorrow will be a new day in America,” she told supporters.

Trump allegedly called Pelosi “to extend his congratulations on winning a Democratic House Majority,” her deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill tweeted.

“He acknowledged the Leader’s call for bipartisanship in her victory remarks.”

According to an exit poll survey conducted by the Associated Press, healthcare and immigration were at the top of issues expressed by voters, and 64 percent of those surveyed revealed that Trump factored into their choice when casting their ballots.

Further reading: The Midterms Explained: Everything You Need to Know

The Midterms Explained: Everything You Need to Know

The Midterms Explained: Everything You Need to Know

On Tuesday November 6, voters will receive their first chance to weigh in on Donald Trump’s presidency since he was elected in 2016. With the economy doing well but approval ratings falling short, the midterm elections could sway the control of Congress.

Still following? Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming midterms.

What are the midterms?

Midterm elections take place halfway between presidential elections, every two years. On Tuesday November 6, voters will choose new members of Congress—a term that indicates the combined body of the House of Representatives (the House) and the Senate. President Donald Trump’s party, the Republicans, currently control both houses of Congress. However, the midterms are generally considered a referendum on the current president, with the party whose president is in the White House often struggling to secure a net gain.

Who is being elected?

All 435 members of the House are up for election, as well as one-third of the Senate, with members of the Senate serving staggered six-year terms.

36 state governors (similar to a local president) will also be elected, along with dozens of local legislative officials.

The most important question: Can the Democratic Party win control of the House? 

This year, the Democrats believe that they can win control of the House by winning a majority of the seats. In order to do this, they will need to claim at least 23 seats from the Republicans; a feat that many experts believe to be possible.

On average, the party with a president in the White House has lost 32 seats in the House and two in the Senate in every midterm election since the American Civil War. President Trump has also received low approval ratings, a figure that is currently at around 42 percent. On the other hand, generic ballot polling shows the Democrats up by around eight percentage points.

Furthermore, this year, a record number of more than 30 Republicans have retired or resigned for a variety of reasons, with sexual harassment accusations and feelings towards the president among those cited. With representation in the House relatively proportionate to population, and voters usually reluctant to eject sitting representatives, this creates an opportunity for the Democrats to claim seats. Florida and Pennsylvania are two such key swing states where the incumbent will not be standing again.

In the last 50 years, the Democrats have only made a net gain of 23+ seats twice, in 1974 and in 2006. Similarly, the same period of time has seen the Republicans score a net gain of this size three times, most recently in the 2010 midterms during Barack Obama’s first term.

The low voting turnout for midterms (around 40 percent of Americans) has also tended to help the Republican Party, as those who do vote tend to be white and belong to an older generation. However, the “pink wave” of female candidates running for election is hoped to encourage more female voters and increase women’s representation in Congress.

The Senate

35 of 100 seats are up for election in the Senate, with 51 seats needed for control. Republicans have a strong advantage over the Democrats here because the Democratic Party is defending 26 seats, while the Republican Party is only defending nine.

The Senate electoral system also means that each state gets two senators, regardless of how large the population is. These smaller states tend to be more rural and, in the past, rural areas have favored the Republicans.

What does this all mean for president Trump?

With control of Congress comes the advantage of passing or blocking legislative agendas.

If the Democrats win control of one or both of the houses, they’ll be able to limit the final two years of President Trump’s term. For example, they’d be able to block his future Supreme Court picks and investigate issues such as the president’s business dealings or the allegations of sexual assault made against him.

If the Republicans hold control of Congress, President Trump’s key agendas and promises could be revived. The president was only able to sign his overhaul of the US tax system into law because Republicans held majorities in both houses of Congress.

The word impeachment has also been following discussions around the midterms. Impeachment does not necessarily lead to a removal of office—the formal statement of charges against the president has only been presented twice. Both Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were acquitted after a trial in the Senate, and Richard Nixon resigned before he could be impeached in the 70s.

With the Democrats in control of Congress, calls for president Trump’s impeachment are likely to increase. However, Republican senators would need to turn on the president, as a two-thirds majority is needed to remove him from office.

Nevertheless, with a Democrat majority in Congress, the party would have a better chance of defeating Trump in the next presidential election in 2020.

What happens next?

The results of the midterms could shape the nation for years to come. A “blue wave” of Democrat majority in both the House and the Senate would be able to block President Trump’s future plans.

After the midterms, thoughts will turn to the 2020 presidential election. Worth mentioning here is the fact that 26 of the 36 state governors being elected on Tuesday are Republican. With governors playing a large role in supporting their party’s candidates, securing new governors could have a major effect on presidential campaigning.

Further reading: Taylor Swift Speaks up about Political Opinion

Eight Life Lessons ‘Hocus Pocus’ Taught Us

Eight Life Lessons ‘Hocus Pocus’ Taught Us

Say what you like about this campy film that features a talking cat, catchy musical numbers and extortionate levels of cringe, but we think Hocus Pocus is a masterpiece.

This Halloween, the iconic cult-classic that is Hocus Pocus is 25 years old. With the film out-performing other family-friendly Halloween movies in a survey by Redbox, it’s not just the nostalgia of secretly watching this as a child, even though our parents said it would give us nightmares, that makes this movie worthy of its dedicated 90s-kid following.

The story of the Sanderson sisters inaugurates a hanging, a resurrection and a mission to suck the souls out of the children of Salem, Massachusetts. Brilliantly played by Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy and Sarah Jessica Parker, the witches are just a few of the strong characters that helped this movie shape a generation of millennials. Child murdering aside, here are eight powerful life lessons that can be learned during 96 minutes of pure magic.

 Women are awesome

Sure, the Sanderson sisters may kill children, but you’d probably be lying if you said you didn’t want to be a part of their coven when you were growing up. These hilarious witches are quick-witted, powerful and know how to confidently take charge to get the dirty work done.

Sisterhood is definitely, and literally, the word here—each sister has her own unique talents that serve to compliment those of her siblings’. The sisters are the only ones who understand how to calm each other down and, even though they don’t always see eye-to-eye, they unite on their quest to take on modern society. We’re including Allison (Vinessa Shaw) and Dani (Thora Birch)—the brave girls who scheme against these witches—in this, too.

Another great thing about Hocus Pocus is how sexually aware the female characters are. Sarah Sanderson may be borderline inappropriate, but she’s definitely not afraid to express her desires. She flirts, plays with and kisses a variety of men throughout the film for her own sexual pleasure, a trait that screams modern feminist. Also refreshing is the scene in which Max (Omri Katz) lights the black-flame candle that summons the witches back from the grave. Instead of the sweet, virginal girl trope that often dominates horror films, a virginal boy proves that he should have listened to his sister—sorry Max.

Always be yourself

Salem society clearly has its qualms about the Sanderson sisters, and the hair and makeup team were obviously out to get them too. Frankly, the witches couldn’t care less. By embracing their weirdness, they turn being different into something powerful and intimidating. As it turns out, eternal beauty is overrated when you’re faced with the imminent problem of being reduced to dust. The lesson: Always be yourself, unless you can be a badass witch and survive until morning.

Squads stick together

Max, Allison, Dani and Thackery (Sean Murray) vs. Winifred, Mary and Sarah. By sticking together, both sides are able to put up a good fight. Whether it’s providing back-up vocals when a member of the group launches into unexpected song, or drinking a youth-sucking potion so that your little sister doesn’t have to, having each other’s backs is everything.

Reading is magical

Clearly, books hold all the answers; just don’t steal them if you want to avoid child-murdering witches. On the other hand, perhaps if the Sanderson sister’s had made the effort to memorize a few spells, they’d have been more successful. We’ll take knowledge over youthful looks any day.

Tomorrow is a new day 

At the end of the day, you can rest assured knowing that no matter how traumatized you may have become; the day’s problems will be reduced to stardust before dawn arrives. Hopefully, if you don’t die first, or get turned into a cat.

Being young is powerful, and so is being old

The Sanderson sister’s are obsessed with youth, reminding us that being young is desirable and we should probably make the most of it. In fact, whether your duty is to rid society of evil witches or speak out on social media, young people definitely have the power to change the world.

That being said, it is clear that society has burdened adults with the impossible task of reversing nature’s clock. Instead of spending your entire paycheck on anti-aging products and dermal fillers, steal the life essence of a child or refer to the above point: “Always be yourself”. 

Family is the best

If your big brother has ever given up his future with a pretty girl to drink a deadly potion and save your life, then you can undoubtedly relate to this one. Really, Hocus Pocus is about family. Thackery Binx spends 300 years plagued by the fact that he couldn’t save his sister; the Sanderson sisters literally support each other through life and death; and Max eventually realizes that his annoying little sister has been there for him all along and sacrifices everything for her.

This family-film was also the first to teach us how to give our parents a break. Mom and Dad have their own lives and personalities in this movie and even occasionally enjoy dressing up as Madonna for Halloween.

Yabbos means breasts

“What do you call them again, Max? Yabbos?”

Further reading: The 12 Best Netflix Movies to Watch This Halloween

Humans-have-Caused-Wildlife-Populations-to-Decline-by-60-Percent

Humans have Caused Wildlife Populations to Decline by 60 Percent

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) have declared a state of emergency for wildlife after revealing that the world’s mammals, birds, fish and reptiles have decreased by a staggering 60 percent since 1970.

By overusing natural resources, driving climate change and polluting the planet, humanity has not only prompted a cataclysmic decline in wildlife populations, but destroyed the system upon which it depends for clean air, water and every day existence.

The report warns: “Humans are living beyond the planet’s means and wiping out life on earth in the process.”

According to the Living Planet Report 2018, only a quarter of the world’s land area remains free from the impacts of human activity, a figure that is expected to fall to just a tenth by 2050. More than 4,000 species have declined between 1970 and 2014, the most recent available data.

Between 2009 and 2014, African elephant populations in Tanzania fell by 60 percent alone, largely due to poaching. WWF has warned that current protection methods are failing and more needs to be done to protect numerous species from becoming extinct in the near future.

Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF said: “We are sleepwalking towards the edge of a cliff.

“If there was a 60 percent decline in the human population, that would be equivalent to emptying North America, South America, Africa, Europe, China and Oceania. That is the scale of what we have done.”

“We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last that can do anything about it,” added Tanya Steele, chief executive of the WWF. “The collapse of global wildlife populations is a warning sign that nature is dying.”

It’s not just poaching that is threatening the planet. “Exploding” levels of human consumption, over-exploitation of natural resources such as over-fishing, cutting down forests and the use of pesticides in agriculture are having dire effects on the system that humanity is dependent upon. The report highlights food, health and medicines as amenities that rely on natural resources.

“It is a classic example of where the disappearance is the result of our own consumption, because the deforestation is being driven by ever expanding agriculture producing soy, which is being exported to countries including the UK to feed pigs and chickens,” Barrett said.

Plastic pollution is also proving a significant threat. The percentage of seabirds with plastic in their stomach is estimated to have risen from five percent in 1960, to 90 percent today. Plastic can suffocate and injure marine animals and, if mistaken for food, can cause fish and turtles to suffer blockage, starvation and internal wounds.

The report added that around half of the planet’s shallow water corals have been lost in just 30 years, and that the most damaged habitats are rivers and lakes, where populations have fallen by 83 percent due to the thirst of agriculture and the large quantity of dams.

South and Central America are the worst affected regions, seeing a drop of 89 percent in vertebrate populations.

More species referenced in the report as those whose populations are in decline include black and white rhinos, polar bears, African grey parrots, hedgehogs, whale sharks, Bornean orangutans, puffins and the wandering albatross.

“If we want a world with orangutans and puffins, clean air and enough food for everyone, we need urgent action from our leaders and a new global deal for nature and people that kick starts a global programme of recovery,” said Steele.

A 2020 meeting of the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity is expected to make new commitments for the protection of nature.

Barrett said: “We need a new global deal for nature and people and we have this narrow window of less than two years to get it.”

“This really is the last chance. We have to get it right this time.”

Further reading: 12 Years to Halt Climate Change Catastrophe, Warns UN

Time Management 101: Keeping Up with College Life

Time Management 101: Keeping Up with College Life

Now that fall is well and truly here, the novelty of college has probably worn off a little. If you’ve suddenly found yourself face-to-face with reality, completely exhausted and having lost every single piece of stationary that you started with, you’re not alone.

Time management is a big concern for most college students. The flexibility of independence can also make it difficult to prioritise college work, social events, basic hygiene tasks and the hundreds of voicemails that your parents have left you.

Before you decide to give up and take a nap, follow these tips and you could be on your way to having it all.

Organization is the key to success

Whether you always carry the new (and, lets face it, completely blank) planner that you bought at the start of the year in your bag for peace of mind, or you often find yourself frowning at indecipherable reminders on your phone’s notes app, settling on a solid organization system is vital for time management.

Even if you pride yourself on having a fantastic memory, writing everything down will ensure that you know what’s on your to-do list. With millions of productivity apps at your dispense, logging events and setting reminders will lift the added pressure of remembering your homework and help you to generate a productive schedule. Just remember to bite the bullet and prioritize which tasks make it to the top of your list.

Practice makes perfect

Routine and schedule are two key concepts that are fundamental to time management at college, where there is no one to hold you accountable for your whereabouts. Typically, it is expected that you allocate around 35 hours per week for working and studying, including the time you spend in class. With other obligations and social activities in mind, creating a weekly timetable that leaves time for independent study will help you to stay focused and productive. Blocking out leisure time will also give you something to look forward to each day, and you’ll probably work faster knowing that the end is in sight.

It can be easy to fall into the habit of staying up late in order to squeeze in everything on your to-do list, but getting enough sleep each night is one of the most important steps in your routine. Luckily, the idea that everyone needs exactly eight hours sleep is unrealistic—some people may only need six, and some may need nine. Sleep is often considered in terms of 90-minute cycles and you should get at least five whole cycles per night (7.5 hours). Here, the key is to set a time to go to bed every night and stick to it. Every time you change your body’s wake time, it suffers something resembling jet lag, making you feel groggy and affecting your performance, even if you’ve had more sleep than usual. 

Limit procrastination

We’ve all been there. Making the executive decision to take a five minute break and cheer up with a cat video seems like a great idea, until you catch yourself poised to click “adopt” four hours later, only to realize that your accommodation doesn’t allow pets. Cue the panic, self-hatred, stress and eventually a nap to make it all go away, and you probably haven’t achieved a great deal. Breaking up your work into small steps can help you to focus and make the task at hand seem less overwhelming. Create a deadline for each of these steps so that you’re not waiting until the final deadline is near to begin work.

Nobody is perfect—instead of punishing yourself for wasted time, assign rewards for any work that you do complete. Lunch, an episode on Netflix, or a free hour to spend with your friends can all be incentives to be productive. Limiting distractions like your phone, social media and TV will make these rewards even more enjoyable, and seeking out a buddy to hold you accountable will ensure that you don’t break your own rules.

The key to time management can be as simple as understanding yourself. Self-awareness will help you to recognise the times of day when you’re most focused, and whether you’re more productive brainstorming with a group or on your own.

Healthy body, healthy mind

You’ve probably heard this one countless times, but making sure you allow time for self-care is essential for your mental and physical health, as well as your attention-span and energy levels. Eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise per week can literally boost your brain power.

Ask for help

Ever heard the idea that we learn from our mistakes? If you’re struggling to find a balance at college, that’s okay. Adjustment takes time, but you may need to accept that you’re trying to take on too much. Talking to a trusted friend, family member or mental health representative could help to ease some of the pressure and enable you to rationally think through your options and figure out a new plan.

Further reading: 5 Reasons to Have Houseplants in Your Dorm Room

10 Spooky Books to Read this Halloween

10 Spooky Books to Read this Halloween

Whilst I appreciate a good jump-scare horror film, nothing can quite beat the many nights spent reading Goosebumps by the light of a friend’s shaking torch that permeate my childhood memories. Stories have been used to scare us since the beginning of time and it’s chilling in itself to realize that just a few words on paper can stimulate a consuming sense of dread.

Halloween is the perfect time to curl up with one of these spooky books—just make sure to leave the lights on.

House of Leaves, Mark Z. Danielewski

This dark tale is about a family who discover that their new home is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside—and so much more. Deserving of its cult following, the experimental novel immerses you to fumble blindly over color, footnotes, upside-down text and your own nightmares. The only spoiler that I can give is that the dedication page reads: “This is not for you.”

The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson

You may think you have exhausted your tolerance of haunted houses—that is until Shirley Jackson takes you to Hill House. This slow-burning psychological horror was the inspiration for the new 10-part Netflix series and tells the unnerving story of four strangers and their journey into the depths of Hill House. 

Bird Box, Josh Malerman

Interweaving the past and the present, this horror novel follows Malorie and her two young children as they flee to safety. The main problem is that something is outside, and glimpsing it has driven everyone to deathly violence. Blindfolded, Malorie is unable to see what’s following them.

Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn From the author of Gone Girl, comes an even-more-disturbing thriller. Reporter, Camille Preaker returns to her hometown to cover the murders of two young girls and is confronted by her own, twisted demons. If you’re triggered by cutting you should stay away from this one, though.

Pet Sematary, Stephen King 

It would have been rude not to include Stephen King on this list and Pet Sematary is frequently referenced as his scariest book. Set in rural Maine, the suspenseful, slow burning horror features the Creed family and their recent move to an idyllic home. When the family cat dies, they ignorantly bury it near an old pet cemetery. The ending of this one might just leave you too terrified to turn the page.

Silent Child, Sarah A. Denzil

In the summer of 2006, six-year-old Aiden fell into a river during a flood and drowned. His body was never recovered. Fast forward 10 years and when Aiden staggers out of the woods, injured and mute, his mother must attempt to reconnect with her son and figure out who took him.

Shutter Island, Dennis Lehane

Set in 1954, Shutter Island follows US Marshal Teddy Daniels as he arrives to investigate the disappearance of a patient at Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane. The strange case exposes human experimentation, war tactics, a killer hurricane and a protagonist who is left as messed up, disoriented and desperate to figure out the mystery as you are.

The Grave Tender, Eliza Maxwell

This southern gothic suspense novel is beautifully written and haunting. When Hadley returns to her hometown—where she’d witnessed her mother set herself on fire—she discovers that her family is surrounded by dark secrets. This book deals with several forms of abuse and trigger warnings include: rape, incest, domestic abuse and child molestation.

The Last Time I Lied, Riley Sager

If you like to be kept guessing, this spooky mystery is for you. Emma remembers her days at Camp Nightingale, playing two truths and a lie with her friends—until they all went missing. When she is asked to return to the camp as a painting instructor, Emma discovers that all is not as it seems. Her past and present collide as she seeks to discover the truth.

Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel, A W Jantha

Did you know that Hocus Pocus the book and a brand new sequel were released in July this year? You’re welcome.

Further reading: The Most Haunted Universities in the World

Guide to Grooming

Your Lazy Guide to Grooming

Whether you’re male or female, finding the time and energy to make sure that your hair is lying flat before you leave the house can be a challenge. Unfortunately, pausing Netflix to have a shower every day is necessary for maintaining hygiene, relationships and a sense of self. For all the lazy people out there, this doesn’t mean that you have to spend four hours fussing over your face in the morning. Here’s your lazy guide to grooming.

Girls guide to grooming

  1. Body—Brush your hair before getting in the shower. Use a sulfate-free shampoo on your scalp and a silicone-free conditioner on the ends of your hair. Wash your body after your hair to prevent breakouts. If you have dry skin, use a soap-free cleanser. For oily skin, use a water-based wash that helps unclog pores.
  2. Shave—Shaving should be the last step in the shower. Apply a shaving gel and shave with the grain. Invest in a razor that is designed for pubic hair and for longer lasting hair removal, try cream, an epilator or wax strips.
  3. Face—Makeup wipes are a lazy girl’s best friend but always double cleanse with a simple cleanser. You can skip the toner but invest in a good, light moisturiser (even if your skin is oily) and exfoliate one to two times a week.
  4. Trim—Making the effort to get your eyebrows waxed or threaded will save you time in the mornings. Never pluck above the eyebrow but brush the hairs upwards and trim with scissors.
  5. Hair—Frizz-free beach waves that take five minutes: put slightly damp hair into two braids and blow-dry from above, moving down the braid. Undo and apply a little hair oil for added shine and smoothness.
  6. Smell—Leaving your perfume in the steamy bathroom can affect its smell and applying it to dry skin will diminish its scent faster.

Guys guide to grooming

  1. Body—If you have dry skin, use a soap-free cleanser. For oily skin, look for a water-based wash that helps unclog pores. Use shampoo but do not wash your hair every day, as this will dry it out. Wash your beard with water to soften it before shaving.
  2. Shave—Shaving in the shower is a good idea as the heat will soften your beard and provide a closer shave. Use a pre-shave oil and apply shaving soap with a brush to raise the hairs. Always follow the grain.
  3. Trim—Whatever experiment you’re trying on your beard, commit to keeping it groomed. Remember that there should be a gap between your eyebrows and keep an eye on your nails too. If you’re into it, manscaping is also a thing now.
  4. Face—Choose a simple cleanser and wash your face in the morning and at night. Also invest in a scrub (to exfoliate the hangover off of your face once a week). Never skip the moisturiser if you want to see noticeable improvement to your entire face.
  5. Hair—If your hair is in your eyes, go to the barbers. Style your hair before applying a small amount of product. If you have short or thin hair, use light sprays or a paste for separation. For thicker, longer hair, styling creams and waxes will weigh the hair down and add shine.
  6. Smell—Go easy on the aftershave. A couple of dabs or sprays on the neck or wrists is a good amount.

Further reading: The Fade Hairstyle with Men’s Health Fashion Editor Dan Michel

The Most Haunted Universities in the World

The Most Haunted Universities in the World

Are you brave enough to study at one of the world’s most haunted universities? Settle down for some college ghost stories that are sure to get you in the Halloween spirit.

University of St Andrews, Scotland

 As well as being Scotland’s oldest University (dating back almost six centuries), the University of St Andrews is considered one of the country’s most haunted places. The weathered, gothic building is home to over a dozen ghosts, including a piper and a ghost ship.

A phantom monk also protects St Rule’s Tower in St Andrews Cathedral but it is the apparition of the White Lady who is most well-known at the university. Said to be one of the ladies-in-waiting of Mary, Queen of Scots, the grieving beauty resides inside the wall of a desecrated abbey and takes nocturnal strolls across the cathedral grounds. In 1868, stonemasons broke into a sealed chamber where they discovered an open coffin containing the preserved body of a young woman in a white dress…

Gettysburg College, USA

America’s most haunted college, Gettysburg College was the site of the brutal Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Unsurprisingly, ghosts are commonplace at this site, with frequent spectral activity occurring at Penn Hall—the oldest building on campus that served as a hospital and morgue during the battle.

Here, the most popular ghosts include armed sentinels, a little boy with a blue face known as the ‘blue boy’ and bloodstained Civil War doctors that haunt the basement.

University of Toronto, Canada 

The University of Toronto actually conducts haunted tours of the campus, so certain are they of the many specters that parade the halls. The Christie Mansion building was the site of a 19th century illicit love affair and death. The mansion’s owner kept his mistress hidden in a secret chamber behind the library (room 29), where she hung herself with her bed sheets.

Most famously, Russian stonemason, Ivan Reznikoff, attacked his colleague, Paul Diablos with an axe for his affairs with Reznikoff’s fiancé. Diablos stabbed the Russian with a knife and hid the body in a ventilation shaft. The university claims that an axe mark can still be seen and workers later discovered the skeleton of a man wearing a belt buckle with Reznikoff’s emblem in a ventilation shaft, after the building partly burned down.

Heidelberg University, Germany 

Many professors from Heidelberg University were sent to concentration camps during Nazi Germany, and two were also said to have been murdered. The most disturbing part of campus is the University’s clinic, where women who were forced to undergo sterilization under eugenic experiments can be heard weeping and screaming.

Chalkboards erase themselves and mysterious words appear on them over night, even though the halls are kept locked. It is also said that the smell of smoke and burning leather still lingers at the site where banned books were burned before WW2.

University of Northern Colorado, USA

The University of Northern Colorado warns prospective students about its phantom residents with a dedicated page on the university’s website. With a ghost story for every single building on campus, a less scary but memorable account of ‘Stoney Ghosty’, the spirit of a student who overdosed on drugs, claims that he is eternalized by the smell of marijuana.

On the other hand, the presence of another student haunts the attic where she was found hanging. Bullied by her peers, Edith would hide away and play with marbles. Students have reported hearing the noise of marbles rolling across the floor, and her ghost has often been sighted outside the Wiebking and Wilson dormitories.

Nagasaki University, Japan

The ghosts at Nagasaki’s medical school are said to be victims of the atomic bomb released by the US on 9 August 1945. The smell of burning flesh reeks the hallways, accompanied by ghostly figures and the screams of the 800 staff and students who were killed in the blast.

Chinese University of Hong Kong, China 

If you’re a male and you visit the Chinese University of Hong Kong, you could fall prey to the faceless ghost that haunts Single Braid Road, which runs beside campus.

The woman has long, braided hair and, legend has it, had her face ripped off after jumping from a moving train. With a train station at the end of the road, young men who tread the path alone risk being traumatized by the faceless specter. 

Smith College, USA

The largest women’s college in America is also one of the most haunted and has centuries of murders, accidents and epidemics peppered throughout its history. Smith’s website continually updates it’s list of reported ghosts, including a senior who died after forgetting to turn the gas oven off, a little boy who died after being locked in the attic, and a pining mother who cries for the baby she murdered in life.

Another infamous story describes the haunting of the Sessions House, where a British soldier and an American girl would meet on a hidden staircase during the Revolutionary War. The staircase is real, and new students are often set the task of finding it on Halloween. The ghost of General Burgoyne has been sighted wandering Sessions House looking for his love, and other students have seen the pair rendezvousing on the secret stair.

Further reading: Six of the Best Books to Read This Fall