The Selfie Experience

The Selfie Experience

What is to be a true selfie taker

Taking a photo of yourself or producing a selfie is typically frowned upon because of its narcissistic nature and self-centered stigma. I am here to advocate against these theories and encourage everyone to join the selfie taking experience.

In 2005, Myspace made its debut and declared its role as "the largest social network in the world" well into 2008. Through this, the world was introduced to the Myspace pic, which is equivalent to what we know today as a "selfie".

Not following too far behind was Facebook. Created in 2009, this new and improved Myspace and the next big step into the social media world eventually gain a majority of Myspace's traffic with its unique features and profile picture quality.

In 2010, Apple released the iPhone 4 which had a front camera allowing users full control of their selfies.

And then there was Instagram. Instagram introduced an entirely new dynamic and unique approach to social networks. It allows users to post and edit their photos to almost perfection. The photos are then rewarded by likes, comments and a great networking experience. Instagram was named the "home of the selfie" when in 2013, it had 150 million users and over 16 billion photos.

Finally, in 2013, the word "selfie" was officially added to the dictionary. It was defined as "a photograph taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media."

The selfie allows you to be in the moment and express yourself through a photo. On average, I may take about 20 selfies daily. Problem? I think not.

Selfies have become a virtual way to get in tune with our inner selves. A selfie takes practice. You are not only capturing yourself in a moment, but you are learning your different angles, how to enhance your features, all while being able to control when the camera takes the photo. Everyone has that "good side" that they show when someone is taking a picture of them. A selfie however, gives you full control so that you never miss your good side in a picture. Don't know what side is your good side? Try taking a selfie.

A selfie gives anyone a chance to throw out any photo taking insecurities and become the creator of their own masterpiece. Rather you feel photogenic or not, always remember that you are the one behind and in front of the camera. Give yourself that "WATCH OUT WORLD!" feeling and have fun with your selfies. They tell your story, they reflect your personal emotions and quite frankly, no one is in charge but you.

Think of the camera as your audience, or even your crush. You always want to look your best. However, your best is what you say your best is and not what other choose to capture. That is the true power of a selfie. It encourages one to unlock their inner and outer beauty and capture all in one picture it at their own will. Join the selfie experience. Have fun with it, find your perfect angles and lighting and snap away!

Cover Image Credit: Playbuzz

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What It's Like To Take A Class With Professor Yuri Urbanovich

My experience taking a class with one of the best professors at UVA.

I have taken multiple classes with Professor Urbanovich during my time at UVA, and he is one of my favorite professors. Not only does he genuinely care about his students, but he also pushes them to learn more than humanly possible in the span of 50 minutes.

Seriously, I have learned more in his classes about Russian history and politics than I could have ever imagined. Professor Urbanovich’s thick Georgian accent and recalls of personal experiences also make his classes more personal, allowing students to understand the nation’s history and politics on a completely different level.

No wonder his classes fill up in a matter of hours when course registration begins!

The best part of Professor Urbanovich’s class is the many repeated quotes that one can uncover during his lectures. I am currently taking a J-term course with Professor Urbanovich and I have noticed that he says some things a lot throughout the course of his lectures, which makes them that much more interesting and fun.

If you’re interested in taking a course with Professor Urbanovich, which I highly recommend, be aware of the fact that Urbanovich will say the following things a lot.

1. My friends...

Professor Urbanovich does not refer to his students as “you guys” or “ my students,” but rather “my friends.” He often starts his lectures with “my friends,” making the class more intimate and welcoming. He welcomes various thoughts and opinions and treats his students in a way that makes it seem like you really are friends with the professor.

I have only taken two classes with him, but he always remembers who I am (a rare occurrence at a large university).

2. It is inconceivable

Professor Urbanovich often says that certain events or occurrences are “inconceivable”, and when he does, you know that the even matters a lot in terms of Russian history. It’s sort of like a marker for the things you should absolutely remember after any given lecture.

Earlier this week, one of his students quoted Urbanovich’s “inconceivable” phrase during a presentation, and the entire class, including the professor, started laughing. It just goes to show how welcoming and fun his classes can be.

3. I mean, can you imagine...

This is something along the lines of “inconceivable”, but it happens on rare occasions, usually when Professor Urbanovich is comparing the US to Russia and explaining how various events that occur in Russia would not be welcomed in the US or any other nation.

For example, the Pussy Riot fiasco that occurred in Russia was a stab at the religious values present in Russia, but we idolize it in the US. If something like this had happened in Israel or any other nation with strong religious values, we would most likely look at it in a different light. I mean, can you imagine…

4. I am so proud of you

Professor Urbanovich values education over number grades, often telling students that he is extremely proud of the work they’ve done and that they will go far in life. He does give exams, homework responses, and various projects, as any professor would, but he often makes students feel accomplished and successful after the completion of any assignment.

His comments on most essays are very constructive and provide guidance toward the development of better writing skills and the creation of more ambitious future projects.

5. Don't throw potatoes at my head

On the first day of my J-Term class, Professor Urbanovich compared our class to a large group of protestors as a joke, saying that we shouldn’t throw potatoes at his head if we did not agree with one of his statements.

Throughout the course of the past two weeks, he has repeated this phrase several times, especially during lectures that might have sparked opposition among students. Professor Urbanovich says this in a joking way of course, and it makes the class seem less intense than it is, almost as if we were not learning 1000+ years of Russian history in the span of 10 days.

Cover Image Credit: UVA

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21 Things To Do On Your 21st Birthday

You’re officially legal! It’s time to celebrate!

You’ve been waiting for this day for, well, 21 years! It’s one of the biggest milestone birthdays there is to look forward to. You probably never thought you’d make it to this point, but now that the day is here, there’s so much to do!

1. Drink!

2. Go out to dinner.

3. Go to the Casino.

4. Go on a winery tour.

5. Drink!

6. See a movie.

7. Drink!

8. Eat wine-flavored ice-cream!

9. Buy something for yourself.

10. Scratch lottery tickets.

11. Drink!

12. Go bowling.

13. Throw a party.

14. Go on a cruise.

15. Drink!

16. Dance.

17. Drink!

18. Go to a club with friends!

19. Celebrate with family.

20. Open presents.

21. Drink!

You’ve waited 21 years to legally have your first sip of alcohol, whether it be wine, beer or some fruity cocktail. The moral of this is it’s time to drink, so indulge yourself.

But drink responsibly!

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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