Posted in 2015-2016, Culture

The Most Literal Ways To Stay Cool This Summer

By Kaitlin Gertz 

Summer’s here, and so is ninety-degree weather, sunburn, and heatstroke. Of course, the break from school is relaxing, but there’s just no way to stay cool enough to enjoy it. You’re slathering on sunscreen and sweating like a glass of iced tea. Now it’s time to follow your tea and get iced. Take it from the experts at staying cool (like me): there are easy, affordable ways to stay cool this summer, and one of them does include becoming a human ice pop.

The absolute easiest way to stay cool is to stuff yourself inside your fridge. Make sure to clean out any food or drinks that may be blocking your way. This rule also applies to any drawers and shelves that don’t look too important. While you’re at it, have some ice cream. It certainly can’t hurt. An expert tip is to take the ice cream in the fridge with you. Though you may be in a space that’s only 30 cubic feet, you are sticking it to the sun and are more ice-cold than Outkast. (Side effects may include suffocation, hypothermia, panic attacks from claustrophobia, freezer burn, and thoughts of “How could I have been this stupid?”).

In the vein of stupid (which is what your honey might be calling you after this trick) there’s another tip that we can assure helps to keep you cool. Instead of cozying up with dunking-fred.jpgyour boo and smooching, avoid getting heated up. Alternately, you two can do fun couple activities that involve staying cold, like chugging ice water to see who gets brain freeze first. Or if competition isn’t your thing, you can snuggle–just make sure to get a freezable blanket and put it on ice.

Mint is renowned for its fresh, cool flavor. This is your chance to stock up on all things
mint. Mint leaves, gum, candy, jello, toothpaste, scented candles, car fresheners, you name it! You can chew, huff, and smoke all the mint you want if it helps you beat the heat. You may go broke buying all those mint products, but hey, at least you won’t be hot.

 Lastly, we all know being cool comes from the inside, not the outside. The best way to avoid the heat is to put on some shades and rock out to the coolest bands. Some recommendations include Vanilla Ice (and “Ice Ice Baby”), Coldplay, Snow Patrol, and Arctic Monkeys. You have to let the spirit of those cooler than you move through you. Listening to cool bands makes you cooler, after all. But most importantly, you have to chill out and not stress.Tic-Tac-Coupon

So if you’re worried about getting too hot this summer, don’t. There are a plethora of options to help you escape the heat, from stuffing yourself inside a fridge to smoking mint (but not weed; drugs aren’t cool) and listening to the chilliest bands. Whether it be inside or out, you can always be cool.

Kaitlin Gertz is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram


Posted in 2015-2016, Culture

College Sucks and Here’s Why (And Capitalism Isn’t Cool Either)


By Kaitlin Gertz 

In an age where colleges consider factors such as gender, class, race, and sexuality for admission, college isn’t discriminatory on the surface. In fact, it seems like it’s gotten more open-minded as your grade point average isn’t the only thing being weighed next to your entrance essay. So then why do the poorest cities see the highest high school dropout rates, and as a result, lower college admissions? Why do women make up the majority of college students, yet earn less once graduated? If it’s truly unbiased, then why is the percentage of students of color enrolled rising only infinitesimally in private colleges after the ruling of Regents of the University of California vs. Bakke? In this age, college can be discriminatory, even while taking strides to be more diverse.

Though many colleges have starting using holistic reviews for admissions, it still remains a numbers game, no matter how great your admissions essay is. Entrance usually s
tarts with a base SAT score, number of community service hours, GPA, and, of course, how much you can pay. The average year at a public university in-state will costStudent-Loan-cartoon-2bdrn8a a student around $9,410. The average year at a private university is more than triple that, costing around $32,405. Sure, that may sound like a lot, but if you get a job and maybe take out a small loan, you’ll end up in the clear. Unfortunately, that’s not usually the case. Minimum wage jobs are the most prevalent type of jobs amongst students, but they don’t provide necessary funds. Going off of federal minimum wage requirements (keep in mind, this can vary state to state), it would take someone working 25 hours a week to completely pay off in-state tuition. Not too strenuous, until you get to how many hours you would have to work a week to pay off private university: 85. That’s twice the amount of hours of working full time, and is impossible for the average worker, let alone someone who is in college. No wonder so many people end up taking out student loans, and no wonder that in 2012, students nationwide ended up borrowing over 110 billion dollars.

It holds no candle to national debt, but certainly outweighs the student debt forty years ago. In 1970, student loan borrowing only amounted to a paltry 7.6 billion, and a lot of that has to do with minimum wage and the cost of college. For example, the minimum wage was $1.60, and with inflation rates, it would be $9.80 today; already higher than the current federal minimum wage. (But wait! There’s more!) In 1970, a year’s tuition at a public university cost $1,207, which meant it could be completely paid off by working 15 hours a week. So, while minimum wage has slowly and inconsistently been raised, the price of college has skyrocketed, making it almost impossible to afford without taking out loans.

That being said, college has become more and more necessary for obtaining better jobs, and with it, better pay. With just a bachelor’s degree, a person could earn $23,291 more than the average high school graduate. In addition to college, there has also been a lot of focus on unpaid internships to become qualified for jobs. Companies hire college students who are willing to work for little to nothing in order for the students to attain credit and work experience. After all, the more experience you have in a field, the more likely you are to get hired in it. It’s also a way for companies to take advantage of this need and use students for free labor. While unfair, many students see it as a necessity to achieve the career they want. It’s a vicious cycle.


Let’s say you’re born in a well-off family. It’s never an issue of if you will go to college, but where you will go to college. You study hard and get in, but without a scholarship. That’s not an issue. Your parents will gladly make up for the deficit and which means you can avoid taking out student loans or working minimum wage jobs. In the summer, you decide on an internship that will look good on your future resume and find out that it doesn’t pay. Again, to save you the trouble of an internship and a job at the same time, your parents either invite you back home or put up money for you to rent an apartment and buy necessities. After years of this you graduate, and thanks to your internships and your degree, you land a well-paying job. Now your kids will be born into a well-off family, and the cycle continues.

But what if you’re born into a lower-income family? Maybe you’ll go to college if you can. You might earn a small scholarship. Even in high school, you might already be working a minimum wage job to earn money for yourself or your family. Then, you study hard and get into college. Your parents can’t pay for tuition, so you take out student loans. You decide that once you graduate college and land a good job because of your degree you’ll pay off that debt. However, you’re not able to afford an unpaid internship. There’s no way to earn those extra points while also working at a paying job. So after graduation, you’re left with your loans, your degree, and your inexperience. You get a job that isn’t bad, but isn’t the best. It’s going to take you longer to pay off the student loans than you thought, and the interest keeps accumulating. You might not be poor, but you’re certainly not rich. This means your kids will go through the cycle you went through if they choose to go to college, all because you don’t have enough money.

Not having enough money is a big problem, and surprisingly, so is race. Cities like Detroit, Baltimore, and New York City are notorious for their large high school dropout rates, as well as a large population of minorities. While not indicative of a college’s racial bias, it shows that many people of color don’t even have the chance to go. Most universities don’t accept high school dropouts, after all.
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(Detroit Dropout Rate: 78%; Baltimore: 62%; New York City: 59%; U.S.: 19%)


The trend of race relating to a high dropout rate doesn’t signify that a particular minority isn’t intelligent, but rather reflects inner-city life. In fact, the trend seems to stop with New York City, where there are more white dropouts than black. When compared to the United States’ population overall, however, it shows a stark contrast between those cities and the U.S.

Is it simply that college is more biased towards those with more money and discriminatory towards minorities and the lower class? Perhaps not, and as we as a nation bring more attention to inequality as a whole, universities are more likely to change criteria even more. Who knows? One day, they might even make it free (I’m looking at you, Bernie).

Kaitlin Gertz is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram

Posted in 2015-2016, Culture

Humanity’s Fling with Spring

By Kaitlin Gertz

So, what’s the buzz with all the bees (and flowers and pastels and everything spring)? Why are college students migrating to Florida? And what makes people so obsessed with spring that it makes them sick? Spring fever, usually associated with a physical illness, can also describe the intense focus people give to the season. There’s spring cleaning, spring break, and the cheerful alliteration of “spring has sprung!” In all, it seems people just can’t get enough of it.

Traditionally, spring is linked to rebirth and renewal. Youth and fertility are also commonly affiliated with spring; both were extremely prevalent and sought after throughout history. Renewal has heavy ties with religion as well. The Festival of Isis was an ancient Egyptian celebration marking the beginning of spring, as it was held around the Equinox. Romans had a rough equivalent with their Feast of Cybele. Even Christianity plays its part: Easter marks the end of Lent, which means people could then indulge instead of restricting.

The ancient Greeks, however, saw no problem with indulgence, and now lend the custom of spring break to college students. Anthesteria was a three-day festival celebrating Dionysus, god of wine. Everyone, no matter their social status, was allowed to party and get drunk because spring had arrived. Nowadays, we just call it “spring break.” Though the original festival was only three days, it was a chance to relax from the stress of winter and warm up. While winter back then might have meant certain crops couldn’t be grown or business for some would be hard, now it is associated with the pressure of exams and school. Spring break is a chance to forget about your worries and chill — or fly down to Miami and party.

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With modern traditions comes seasonal sports like baseball, softball, and the end of basketball. March Madness, the final championship of the NBA, brings in billions of dollars in bets and millions of dollars in revenue (if that’s not enough reason for the managers to love spring, I don’t know what is). Baseball can be a more twofold sport: not only do the major leagues also bring in millions of dollars, but so do the minor leagues. Money doesn’t translate to renewal, but it’s certainly a reason why people are anxious for spring.

So, spring fever could make you excited for the season, or just make you break out in hives when some designer declares florals “groundbreaking.” Whether you’re honoring the Greeks by partying, or the Romans by eating all you can, or even taking some time to relax and smell the roses, getting sick with spring fever might not be all that bad.

Kaitlin Gertz is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram.

Posted in Culture

New Trend: Old School

By Kaitlin Gertz

The twenties had flapper dresses and swing music; the fifties conjure up poofs of poodle skirts and the start of rock and roll; the eighties bring shoulder pads and long-legged supermodels, and today, we have vague trends of skinny jeans and graphic tees — and countless throwbacks to any decade but our own. Everything has come from the past; from wearing a tie-dye t-shirt to quoting Queen and The Breakfast Club. Thrift shopping is becoming a norm, versus consumer chains or high-end shops. Many people are now shifting their attention to past decades for inspiration in fashion, music, and technology. While passionately lipsyncing to “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “going for a grunge look” is all cool and dandy, the question still remains as to why so many people have decided that going back in time is forward thinking.

img-thingWearing iconic looks from the past is nothing new. Today, you can go into any major clothing store and find a t-shirt with the emblem of some eighties rock band or a pin-up perfect dress. There are a multitude of YouTube tutorials on how to achieve that perfect grunge look, and over twelve million Instagram posts tagged as such. Last Halloween,, an online magazine marketed towards millennial women, posted an article on the top eighties themed Halloween costumes, ranging from Michael Jackson to Pretty In Pink characters. But why replace current trends, like unisex clothing or punk, with something that’s been done before? Some say nostalgia, because we want to bring back values or norms of a certain time period. Others say aestheticism — maybe we’ve started wearing more and more flannel simply because we look better in it.

However, not all flannels were created equal. While mass-produced checks and stripes will add to your nineties vibe, actual flannel from the nineties gives your look more credibility. Thrifting has become a much more popular activity over the recent years, from Salvation Army to higher-end secondhand stores such as Plato’s Closet. As Regina George once said: “Vintage — so adorable.” It’s one thing to buy reproductions; going secondhand is proof the past was real and that you’re wearing it makes your take on the trend more authentic. And going to your local Goodwill is a great way to find old clothes that fit your old-school aesthetic, and double the points if you find some records while you’re there. No matter what style you’re trying to match, buying secondhand has earned certain bragging rights (because no one can believe you got a Jackie O dress for that cheap).

Jackie O isn’t the only sixties thing you’ll find gaining while wandering a secondhand store. There’s most likely some Simon and Garfunkel albums laying about, and they now share shelf-space with many mainstream artists who have started releasing albums on iTunes and vinyl. As with clothes, they’re available in just about every place you look; from chain stores like Barnes and Noble to online. While we’ve all listened to music from past decades without it ever being a trend (it is, after all, just good music), it’s the way people are listening to it that has taken a step back. Whether or not records are better than CDs or digital tracks is a question still contended; but either way, they’re now cheaper and much more accessible.

Polaroid-180-Review-Sample-1.jpgAs is with technology. It’s one of those things that usually moves forward instead of back. We’ve gone from hand-written letters to email to texting in thirty years. Every cell phone is now equipped with a camera, which was once a device only for those who had both money and time. But Polaroid cameras, staples of the seventies and eighties, are now coming back into the buzz. They’re cute, small, and can be purchased at affordable and accessible stores like Target, Best Buy, and Amazon. Over two million posts on Instagram have been tagged as polaroids (as it seems more than two mPolaroid-SocialMatic-Camera-image-002illion people are fans of taking pictures of pictures). It’s the choice between now and then that people can make these days, and it’s that choice that highlights just how far technolo
gy has come within a relatively short amount of time. You can snap pics on your iPhone, or wait for your photos to develop. Either way produces the same result — a picture — you pick the decade.

While we move forward, we also move back. Things such as medical and engineering breakthroughs are always needed whereas improvements to clothing and technology like cameras or music-players aren’t. As J.K. Rowling wrote, “Progress for progress’ sake must be discouraged.” Whether indulging your nostalgia or staying on trend, having an older aesthetic is a movement that will only continue to grow as time passes.

Kaitlin Gertz is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram.

Posted in 2015-2016, Culture

How to Make a Hipster Fall in Love (Ironically)

By Kaitlin Gertz

As we enter the month of February, Valentine’s Day approaches. Every store seems to have ushered in an aisle of anything red and pink and dipped in chocolate. There are commercials on every TV that sell rose bouquets, lacy lingerie, and the feeling that you’re inadequate if you’re not in a relationship. Children exchange cheap pharmacy-store valentines with cheesy sayings. Nobody seems concerned with the fact that Cupid is a businessman, taking money instead of giving love. However, if you’re above the capitalistic-consumerism holiday, there are still some things you can do with your Instagram-met honey.

You and your date can start by ditching a box of chocolates for a seven dollar cup of coffee in that little cafe you’ve been
dying to try out ever since nobody started talking about it. Of course, it’s organic and vegan, but feel free to wear a t shirt that says “Cannibal” ironically. You can assure your date that you didn’t even get it at Urban Outfitters — Goodwill is so much more “authentic.” And when Mac Demarco starts playing, talk about some of his earlier work. Your date will be very impressed.


Or maybe you’re more of a nature person. Going hiking is a great idea: it’s free, you can show off your organic granola-making skills, and show off a flannel out of your extensive collection. Bring along an extra just in case your date gets chilly. Make sure to take a lot of pictures to post on Instagram, too. Better yet, bring a Polaroid and then upload the pictures to Instagram for added effect. Talk about your plans to grow a GMO-free garden, if only your place in Greenwich Village had a backyard. Want some brownie points? Point at flowers and compare them to your date. Or even compare your date to a Sylvia Plath poem.

If you’re into poetry, that local organic coffee shop probably has a poetry slam going on some night. Dazzle your darling with your poetic skills. Compare them to a flower again (but this time, as a simile). With every couplet, they’ll be even more into the idea of you two as a couple. You can even quote John Green — but, of course, only ironically.

Maybe poetry’s not exactly your thing. Of course, you can still show your date a great time in an artistic setting. Buy some tickets to the latest (or earliest) indie band, or maybe even a music festival. Amidst the seas of people bearing sailor and pin-up girl tattoos, look for the merch table and get your honey a record. Whether it will be used as a wall decoration or listened to while discussing the legalization of marijuana, it will always be a reminder of the fun date you had together.

b0cb15df6571971afda63fe309342c92Perhaps the easiest date is one that requires little money and no preparation: a trip to your local Goodwill to try on all the vintage and authentic clothes you can find. Wear those dad jeans with pride. Try and match a turtleneck with your cat-eye glasses. Most importantly, tell your date how cute they look in everything (because they really do). Watch them enjoy themselves as they spend one of the best dates they’ve ever had with you.

After all, you don’t need a big corporate chocolate brand to sponsor your meal, or a generic poem written by someone at Hallmark. You don’t need to buy them expensive lingerie or even an expensive gift. The only thing needed is to tell them about the two different types of love: the one you have for t-shirts labelled “This is a t-shirt” (ironic) and the one you have for them (sincere).

Kaity Gertz is a sophomore at Barbara Ingram.

Posted in 2015-2016, Humor

An Open Letter to Kids on Halloween

By Kaitlin Gertz

Hey, it’s nice to meet you. I’m the teenager you just interrupted. I mean, you did just intrude on my evening with your incessant doorbell ringing and slightly cult-y chants of “Trick or treat!” but I don’t mind. In fact, that’s my ideal night: handing out Butterfingers to a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle who can’t be bothered to put his mask on and an Elsa belting Let It Go. The groans and complaints about how it’s “not the candy I wanted” really give me that warm fuzzy feeling for your generation. Honestly, I cannot think of a more fun time than having to hear third graders on sugar highs screaming outside my door.

Seriously? My front porch lights weren’t on! Why the hell are you ringing my doorbell? Do the machine guns attached to the sprinklers not deter you? What about the Ouija board with claw marks hung over my door? Can’t you see that I’m not enabling your pathetic groveling? I have actual work to do. Being in high school is tough. And you know what makes it tougher? People who haven’t even heard of the SATs banging on my door asking for handouts. I have two things to tell you. One, I’m broke. I can’t even buy myself candy. I don’t know how your Darth Vader costume is going to convince me  to pay for your sweet tooth (although it does have a really cool cape). Two, don’t give me a disappointed look when you realize my bowl is empty. It’s called the real world, welcome to it.

That doesn’t mean the Halloween spirit is over! I’d love to take it back (to two thousand years ago) and start the sacrifices. In fact, the old Celtic All Hallows’ Eve is supposed to be about celebrating the dead. If you run across my yard and litter your candy wrappers, I might just have to get a jump-start. There are sidewalks for a reason; the government does not just waste our tax dollars like that. I might just start lobbing candy at the end of my driveway from my porch so you children can’t possibly mess anything up. You want your candy? Fetch.

I was in your Disney princess shoes once. I know how exhilarating it all is. But teenagers are trapped in a horrible Halloween situation. The days of dressing up and roaming around in the hopes someone will toss some candy in a plastic Jack-o-Lantern held tightly in your grasp are over. We’re too old for them. At the same time, we’re too young to go to “real” Halloween parties; i.e. ones not chaperoned by parents. It’s a miserable time, filled with test grades and college plans and stress instead of mouths of rainbow-colored candy and fake blood and glow-in-the-dark masks. Do you know how much I’d give to be one of you again? I love Halloween. Like That’s So Seventies! Show (before your time) once said, “It’s like we’re too old to trick-or-treat and too young to die.”

So go ahead and have your Halloween fun. Just remember, I’m not the only grumpy teenager who doesn’t need to be bothered by your (completely unnecessary) shrieking. I know you’re having a good time. Try to take a break from being monsters every once and a while and remember some manners. Because if not? Well, that Ouija board wasn’t just for show. Trick or treat, motherfuckers.


A Very Stressed Teenager

Kaitlin Gertz is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts