Culture, culture, culture

January 22nd, 2015



Prepare yourself to hear this question more than you’d like over the next couple of weeks: “What’d you do over winter break?”


If you’re thinking of asking me that question and expecting me to say something cool like I went back to Europe, don’t. Because I didn’t.


I read books and watched movies during winter vacation. That was the highlight of my break.


And, I’m not even mad about it. Trust me, I’ve seen the breathtaking beach pictures and the jealousy-inspiring party pictures on Instagram. I know what I missed during our three-week break. And I’ll say it again – I’m not mad. Nope.


Maybe it’s because I’m naturally a homebody. Maybe it’s because I’m adopting grandma-esque qualities early on in my life, like hating big crowds and wanting to drink chamomile tea and sleep for 15 hours instead of getting bleep-faced every night. Or, maybe it’s because I’m content with just culturing myself.


Yes, I know I sound like some kind of hoity-toity artsy-fartsy snob. As fun as it is to say those words, I’m not either of those things. I promise. However, as a soon-to-be college graduate about to enter the real adult world, I feel it’s time to culture myself. By that, I mean engaging in things like books, movies, music, art – whatever distinguishes cultures from each other.


I like to think of myself as fairly well-read. But, then again, I’m not an English major. So, that’s probably a delusion. I’ve always enjoyed reading books ever since I was a child. And, honestly, I can’t tell you why I stopped. Maybe it was because I’d rather goof off during my free time than do anything remotely productive that resembles schoolwork. Maybe it was because I didn’t want to be that girl who stays in her room and reads instead of socializing with friends.


Regardless of the reason, I stopped reading for fun for a long time, and I’m sad that I did. Because, as it turns out, reading is the most entertaining form of education. It helps you to relax, escape from the stresses of reality and improve your vocabulary and writing skills all at once! Seriously, how much better could education get?


I get it, some people really just aren’t into reading.  As I previously mentioned, it does closely resemble schoolwork. It does require a little bit of mental power (or a lot, depending on what book you’re reading). That’s why movies can also be a good substitute.


Disclaimer: “rom-coms” don’t count as an appropriate substitute.


I’m not saying this to upset the population of basic females out there, but romantic comedies tend to be on the mindless side of entertainment. Granted, there are some classics that have come out of the rom-com genre. But, I swear if I see one more with Patrick Dempsey or Drew Barrymore, I’m going to lose my mind.


The movies that are appropriate substitutes for books are the ones that emotionally grip you. They pick you up and spin you around again and again. They slap you across the face and grab ahold of your gut. They force you to see a side of life that you’ve never seen before, and maybe have never wanted to see. They either leave you in tears or deep, contemplative silence.


Most importantly, they make you relate your own life to what you just saw, considering how drastically different life could be if just the smallest detail had been changed.


It’s all about broadening your perspective of the world. If we continue to watch movies that reinforce what we have always known and believed, then nothing gets accomplished. However, if we choose instead to challenge our own views and personal experiences by subjecting ourselves to the opinions of others, we become that much more involved in the world.


So, read a book every once in awhile. Watch a movie that isn’t about some complicated love triangle. Pretend you’re artsy-fartsy for once. It might actually change your life.