All Aboard The NaNo Express!

All Aboard The NaNo Express!

The REAL Best Time of the Year, Explained

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Disclaimer: This post is tailored more to non-writers, but writers should read this as well! Also look for more updates for NaNoWriMo! NaNo is basically the best time of the year for me. Even though I write throughout the year, having an entire month dedicated to it is a beautiful time. It puts a deadline in my face and gives me something to look forward to. It also makes me think and plan ahead because I only have 30 days for the actual writing of my story.


If you're reading this and you've never heard of Nano, I'm sorry. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is exactly that. The entire month of November is dedicated to writing a novel. Wait, before you run in terror, take a second to listen! It's not as scary as it sounds. At its core, NaNo is a month where you set a goal, and make time to achieve it. Typically the goal is 50,000 words, but you can set it wherever you think is right for you. You're also not writing a final draft, so the point is to ignore your mistakes (if they bother you, make some notes on what to fix), and push through. It's difficult, but you'll feel great (and a little exhausted) at the end, even if you don't make your goal.


Nano is beneficial for everyone, even if you're not a technical "writer." The novel can be set your favorite genre, fictional or real. This international event helps further existing skills that are necessary in all aspects of your life. Creativity, grammar, and functioning under pressure are all skills that are furthered through this experience. Participating in this can help you discover a passion you wouldn't have realized before, and open opportunities you didn't know about.


You, a 'nonwriter,' are probably asking yourself 'why?'. "Why should I stick this unnecessary book into my busy schedule?" I'll tell you why. Nano is a much more rewarding experience that people give it credit for. Besides coming out with an amazing and unique document, you also come out more creative and more capable of working under pressure. After nano is over, I get a ton of ideas for a second/third book, or a short story, or even a completely new project! Creativity is something that we lose more and more as we get older, and face "the real world." Nano is a good place to earn some of it back. You're no longer restrained to society's rules. You're no longer restrained to the laws of what's possible! You're no longer restrained to the laws of physics, even! Nano helps regain creativity because you don't think about what can be done. If you're writing this story for yourself, you can make it crazy, disconnected, and just the story you want. Without an audience, it's up to you, and what you want. You'll get more and more creative throughout the month, as your writing skills develop, and you start getting deeper into your story.
Now, it's the how. How do I sign up? How do I actually write a novel in a month? How do I protect my mind from snapping like a twig when I'm scribbling away at four in the morning? Well, to sign up, you can either go online to campnanowrimo.org and make an account. Next, you "announce" your novel and set it up. The website administrators put you in a virtual cabin with others like a support group. You can get inspiration from them, chapter title ideas, even proofreading. If you don't like this method, check out your library, it may have an adult or teen level NaNoWriMo 'club', which will do the same thing as the virtual camp, only in the real world. There's also the choice where you can do it solo, writing on your own, but I find it helpful to write in a group, as they challenge you to stick with your schedule.


Writing the actual novel is not as intimidating as it sounds, though there are times that you may want to quit. When you've hit a block and can't come up with ideas, or when you're novel isn't looking as good as you thought, or even when your sleep deprivation is catching up to you (ignore all of the above until after nano). I'll be here throughout the month, posting updates and strategies every week in November. I'll also be posting prep tips, problems writers encounter, and how to overcome them, as well as answering any questions you might have (Send questions to TheMidnightWriter@gmail.com). Other people aren't going to write your story. That's up to you. Go. Write. Conquer.

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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10 Things Economics Majors Want You To Know

For the MOST part, it isn't that bad.

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I decided to become an economics major the day I started college — I know, it wasn't easy for me to decide. Well, technically the real reason why I even chose the major to begin with was that I was undecided when applying for colleges. I was, and still am, an indecisive person.

When I saw economics as one of the majors at Stony Brook, I thought it was something I was interested in. After all, it was the "study of markets and the behaviors of people in that same market." Besides psychology and philosophy (the two majors my parents didn't want me to study), I then chose econ. While it wasn't a piece of cake, it wasn't too challenging either. Here are a couple things we all want so desperately to say.

1. It's not all math, don't worry

While so many people tend to think that economics is all math and no fun, I beg to differ. As I mentioned above, it is the "study of the behavior of people in the market," so while it is equations and statistics, it is also observing how people treat prices and products.

2. It's not difficult to understand

I don't understand why parents think that if you're majoring in econ, you're pretty much signing up to fail all your courses. If they actually took the course, they would understand that it isn't the economic theory you need to understand, but how people react to changes in the stock market.

3. Majoring in econ isn't the same thing as majoring in business

When I tell people I'm an econ major, they immediately say, "Oh, business?" And then I squeeze the urge to yell in their face that I said "ECON, ECON, NOT BUSINESS." Then they continue to say they know someone that majors in business, and then ask if I know the person. The annoyances then continue. Econ is the study of markets. Business is the study of being an entrepreneur. Totally two different things. Yes, they are co-dependent, but they are not the SAME thing.

4. Please don't rely on me to do your taxes or calculate tips at a restaurant

I hate it when everyone just stares at me when the check comes. I regret telling people I'm an econ major at that point. Because I don't know how to tell them I don't learn how to do taxes or calculate tips in class, that's what finance majors do. AGAIN, not the same thing.

5. I know most of us are Asian, but don't be racist

Don't come up to me, ask me what my major is, and automatically assume that I'm an international student. It really sucks. I have to then correct them and say I'm not, and then have them walk away.

6. One of the prime motives is because we want to learn game theory

How we play games is vital to econ majors, and it does involve heavy readings of game theory books.

7. We mostly won't do econ during grad school

Because grad school is a time where we want to actually exercise our skills, it isn't a time to dawdle and major in the same things as we did in undergrad. We're actually adults by then, and we most likely will resort to marketing, sales, or advertising agencies. At least I want to work at Instagram HQ someday.

8. Our classes never have curves

Finals season is always tough on us because it just means we gotta put in three times as much work to memorize formulas, theories, and math terms. Have mercy on our souls. Most professors aren't even nice enough to bring up our grades or give us extra credit.

9. The TAs are too busy with work to help us

Even they understand econ isn't a breeze, and as TAs, they can't really explain stuff to us that they don't understand either. In fact, most of the stuff we learn in class are self-taught, usually late nights with Starbucks coffee.

10.  We actually hate business majors

Because they have it easy. And they don't need math. Everything they do is easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Not gonna lie, I love being an econ major. But some cons can be too much and it does teach me not to do econ in grad. One thing is for certain though, I love what I do and I don't regret choosing it.

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