Category Archives: Arts & Entertainment

Review: The Maine’s ‘Lovely, Little, Lonely’ New Album

by Thomas Redding

The Maine is a pop-rock band from Phoenix, Arizona, who just released their sixth studio album, “Lovely, Little, Lonely,” that has received positive feedback.

The band released the album with no help from a record label or distributor. The physical copies were only available as pre-orders on their website and on release day at select locations in the US.

Despite having a lack of promotional tools, the band managed to chart the album at #15 on the top 200-album chart in the first week, and #3 in vinyl albums sold. “Lovely, Little, Lonely,” features 12 tracks, totaling 34 minutes and 13 seconds.

The first track, “Don’t Come Down” starts the album off right with an ear catching guitar riff that leads into a catchy, hard-hitting chorus. The lyrics to the song make it a perfect, bittersweet anthem for any teenager in love who doesn’t want the flame to burn out.

The second track was the first single released back in January, titled “Bad Behavior.” The band noted that this was the best transition track into their new sound for those who heard their previous record, “American Candy.”

The first single from that album was titled “English Girls,” and the new track feels somewhat like a sequil. It has similar vibes, but a little more rock influenced and they both dive in to the ideas and feelings behind intimacy.

Track three is a 34 second instrumental track titled “Lovely,” that consists mostly of soothing tones created from a sampler or keyboard and features a guitar riff similar to that of the next track. It’s short, sweet, and builds suspense for the listener.

If listening to the album for the first time, it can catch listeners off guard when “Lovely” bleeds right into “Black Butterflies and Déjà Vu,” track four. One loud snare hit followed by a loud, fast section of the full band playing abruptly awakens the soothing sound of “Lovely.”

The song has an interesting spin on normal songwriting techniques the band typically follows. The chorus is actually the softest part of the song, and features the same ambient sounds form the previous track, while the verses feature the guitars and drums pounding with loud vocals to match the amplitude.

Track five is one of the more “emo” songs on the album, yet still has a somewhat positive message. The song is titled “Taxi,” and vocalist, John O’Callaghan, sings about being there for someone who believes that their sadness will never leave them.

It’s a reminder to be there for loved ones, no matter the situation. The track starts in a more somber style with just acoustic guitar and vocals that helps focus listeners on the lyrical content, which is the strongest part of the song.

Leading off side B of the vinyl is “Do You Remember (The Other Half of 23).” This song is one of the more positive ones in the aspect of the lyrics and overall feeling. It was also the third single to be released. This track’s arrangement resembles a track from their previous album titled, “Am I Pretty.”

However, “Do You Remember” is much more of a rock song. The use of crunchier guitar effects and more guitar feedback make this song one of the only pop-0punk influenced songs on the new record.

Through seamless transition, the next track starts when the guitar from the previous song ends. The drums bleed into the next song titled, “Little,” another transition track, similar to “Lovely.”

It features the same type of ambient keyboard but with a spoken word poem edited with a deep, monster sounding vocal effect, and some of the lyrics from the next track softly layered in the background. The track ends with just acoustic strumming, and runs right into the next song.

Track eight is titled “The Sound of Reverie.” This track is about things changing so fast that they may just miss them and the idea that with age comes forgetting who real friends are. They may lose contact with a person, and that person then becomes a stranger.

O’Callahan sings about not blinking or to not miss anything. This could refer to that passing of time or even as a sign of negligence. The track has acoustic guitar during the verses as well as an undertone to the electric guitars during the chorus.

The acoustic feel of this song make it another bittersweet one. The band had noted in an interview that they were trying to make a “Happy Sad” album, and these select songs that I’ve noted really push that agenda.

Up next is “Lost In Nostalgia.” This song is instantly recognizable by its infectious bass line. The song is the grooviest, most pop influenced song they’ve ever written. Its instrumentation consists mostly of keyboard arrangements and soothing sounds. The vocals are highly edited to fit the ambient vibe.

The track ends with an arpeggio of keyboard sounds that sends listeners into a long section of guitar feedback that gets interrupted by the sound of soft playing drums.

Next up on the track listing is “I Only Wanna Talk To You.” This is the only full acoustic song on the record, but still includes drums. It has this creepy guitar riff in the intro that leaves everyone wondering what’s next. It’s the most romantic and intimate song on the album, and the message is direct in reference to the lyrics.

As it builds up toward the end of the song, the vocals get louder showing the passion in O’Callahan’s voice. It’s a great love ballad for fans of non-cheesy love songs. The song ends with the same feedback that started it, and this runs over into the next track.

The second to last song is called, “Lonely.” The title corresponds with the feeling of the song very well. He sings about feeling weightless and alone in deep water, yet it all turns around. This could be taken literally because the album art features two hands submerged in water, which is represented by empty black space.

It can also be taken metaphorically, yet has a sort of dissonance that makes it difficult to understand what he might truly mean. This song is mostly piano with the addition of a drum machine in the later end of the song.

Also making a later appearance are ocean sounds, which further pushes the theme of vast water and emptiness. Hearing the actual sounds that they recorded of the ocean next to where they recorded the album lets you feel exactly what it was like to be in that emptiness that he was feeling. It makes the song exponentially more intimate. The next song, whose vibe is the exact opposite, abruptly cuts off this track.

The final song of “Lovely, Little, Lonely” is called “How Do You Feel?” This track is about living your life to the fullest, and not really caring about what other people think. The track’s instrumentation is similar to track six, “Do You Remember.” It has more of a rock vibe, and more positive lyrics, which highly contrast the previous four songs.

It was definitely the best decision for a closing track because you never would have expected this loud song to come after these four softer ones. It’s uncomfortable, yet works seamlessly.

The album speaks to what the band believes in. At every show, they tell the crowd to live in the moment and not care about what’s going on in their lives and let the music bring everyone together.

The fans have received the album better than any proceeding record, and the release of “Lovely, Little, Lonely” is important to the band because of this. This can be a pivotal point in their career, but it is definitely not nearing the end. The band has been making music for 10 straight years, and said they will for as long as they can. If interested in purchasing a physical copy of “Lovely, Little, Lonely,” it is available on their website www.wearethemaine.net. It is also available digitally on iTunes and Spotify.

I would rate this album a solid 10/10. Not only is it great music, but it is rare to be able to feel what a band was feeling when they wrote the songs The vibe and overall feeling of this album will make listeners a little happy and a little sad, but in the end like a better person.

Foreign Languages Celebrated At CCSU

by Lorenzo Burgio

CCSU’s Spring Week Wraps Up With Spring Concert

by Matt Balogh
To top off a week full of fun events for Central Connecticut State University’s annual Spring Week, was this year’s spring concert that ended the week with a bang.

Catering to a music taste centering around hip-hop and trap, CCSU put on a show with headliners Lil’ Yachty and Tory Lanez. Both fairly small artists currently, they have each been gaining more and more popularity in the past few years.

Along with an opening set of local and underground rappers, the show was jam packed with non-stop pumping hip-hop, accompanied by multi-colored flashing lights.

The openers tried to get the crowd going, playing covers of popular songs in hip-hop and a heavy reliance on crowd interaction.

After about an hour, Lil Yachty took the stage: trademark beaded dreds and all. The 19-year-old rapper lit up the stage, hyping the crowd by singing bits and pieces of his various songs.

With the audience warmed up, Yachty went into a performance of his hit “Wanna Be Us,” to which jumping and singing erupted within the room.

Performing songs like “I Spy” and “Peek-A-Boo,” Yachty kept the excitement going throughout the night, filling gaps between songs by addressing the crowd individually and often calling out certain people in the crowd.

Going with the monotonous “lil boat!” tagline that his backing DJ repeated between songs, Yachty appropriately tossed both opened and closed water bottles into the crowd.

To complete his set, Lil Yachty ended with his hits “Minnesota” and “1 Night.” Being his two most popular songs, other than his feature on D.R.A.M.’s “Broccoli,” the crowd peaked with excitement, following with a thunderous sing-a-long that Yachty finished off with.

Tory Lanez came on to close the night after Yachty. CCSU students speculated a cancellation from Lanez, based off his recent arrest for a charge of possession of a concealed weapon without a license. This charge, however, was dropped and Lanez was able to perform.

Tory Lanez played fan favorites to please the crowd, including “Traphouse” early on in the set, getting intimate with the crowd during the break. Lanez explained that he never made it out of high school and honored the crowd by expressing that they are doing well by going to school.

“Alright f*** all this sad shit,” Lanez shouted into his mic, signaling a shift in his setlist in an attempt to get the hype to spike once more-which worked.

Prior to starting the next song, Lanez challenged the “fellas” and the “ladies” to a game of who can be the loudest. The apparent winner of the duel would get the dedication of the next song. The beats drop, the crowd roared and it was a good time to release some steam.

“I love the artists. All I can say it was fun and I enjoyed it,” said senior Latisha Baker.

“This was my first concert ever, actually,” said Daniel Duong, a freshman that looked to get involved more on campus throughout his first year at Central. “I was happy to see that they managed to get someone who is pretty popular now.”

“This concert was the best one in years since Kendrick Lamar,” said sophomore Media Studies major Brandon Callender. “It was jam-packed, with energy from start to finish.”

Thanks to Central Activities Network and the Student Government Association on campus, this event could be made possible.

“A total of 10 representatives, five from CAN, five from SGA discuss our budget and who we can get,” said Chris Cappiello, former SGA Vice President.

While negotiating with an outside company that presents the artists, CAN and SGA made a list of the artists that their budget could manage, and from there, the pick was selected by general consensus.

Considering that almost every university in Connecticut has a spring concert around the same time, if not the same day, the list of artists can be scarce.

Eastern Connecticut State University happened to have their spring concert the same night as CCSU, which Cappiello believed could have affected the tickets sales.

ESCU had hosted Mac Miller, a popular rapper that has been around for a lot longer, based on past events, it is likely that the choices could have driven some people away.

“We sold about 2000 out of 3000 tickets,” explained Cappiello, citing the turnout for this year.

“I thought Lil Yachty was very high energy and fun to watch. He got the crowd going and even stopped a fight that happened in the crowd,” said Ashley Nafis, a freshman Education major.

“Overall, I thought the concert was good, said Christine Perry, a freshman Criminology major. “I’m a big fan of Tory Lanez and it was amazing to see him live, but I didn’t like how everyone was pushing and moshing because someone could of really gotten hurt. I think at one point a fist fight broke out. Security should have been a little more tighter,” said Perry.

Spring week events had been getting a large amount of attendance year after year. From comedy acts such as Dulce Sloan and hypnotist Jim Spinnato, to student-hosted events such as the Mr. CCSU competition, the week offers a delightful escape from projects and schoolwork that usually stresses most people out before finals.

‘Into The Woods’ Concludes The Theater Season

Kyra Culup as the Baker’s Wife and Kyle Riedinger as the Baker

by Kayla Murphy

Once upon a time… a local college transformed a BlackBox theatre into a desolate and dreary woods from April 25 to April 29

For those familiar with the comical, fantasy tale of “Into the Woods,” one can recall it’s “Disney-fied” themes of pretty colors and whimsical material. Not this time!

Imagine a set inspired by machinery, technology and industrial revolutionizing fashion. Mix 19th Century British Victorian era with American “Wild West,” and add a dash of post-apocalyptic future, one has themselves a steam-punk dystopian take on classic fairy tales.

“I was really attracted to the desolate isolation feel of our version of the story instead of your typical fairytale,” said scenic and costume designer, Christopher Hoyt.

Mike Ruby as Jack

Costume pieces included brass goggles, flight helmets, pirate bandanas, steel-boning corsets, bell skirts, ruffles, lace, different types of cloaks and jackets, lace, beads, bangles and embroideries.

Freshman Psychology major, Sara Courtemanche, who played the role of Little Red Riding Hood, was elated that this was her first production at Central Connecticut State University.

“I auditioned for Into the Woods because I’ve always wanted to perform in a Sondheim Musical, and Into the Woods is one of my favorites! I was most excited about the dystopian steam punk idea behind our version of the show, and I was really excited to see it all come to life,” said Courtemanche.

In the show, Courtemanche was adorned in her well-known cape, as red as blood, that was decorated with different pins and buttons that created the steampunk look that the designers wanted.

“Steampunk has no rules,” said associate costume designer, Christine Quinones.

Kendra Garnett as the Witch

Quinones explained the hours of research she did to fully understand the concept of steam-punk. Having to build most of the costumes from scratch, “was a lot of fun to create. I learned not to limit myself with materials. The point of theatre is to create,” Quinones said.

“My favorite part of the show was figuring out the costume aesthetic,” said Hoyt. “Our goal was to visually have unified elements. The sound, lighting, set and costumes all came together. This show is really dark and funny, and we wanted to capture that conceptual look through our story telling.”

The story follows a Baker and his wife, who wish to have a child, Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King’s Festival, and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk.

When the Baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a Witch’s curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse. Everyone’s wish is granted, but the consequences of their actions return to haunt them later with disastrous results.

Director Mike Backes is no stranger to the stage or screen. Since 2001, he’s been acting professionally. It wasn’t until this past summer that Backes wanted to try his hand at directing. “Into the Woods” is one of Backe’s favorite Stephen Sondheim musicals.

Cecilia Gigliotti as Cinderella

“The ‘Woods’ to me symbolizes leaving what you know, trying to make your life better at all costs, and risking everything to get what you want,” Backes said. “True, it’s also saying ‘be careful what you wish for’, but I think it’s deeper than that. It suggests being careful what you do with your wish when you get it. Take care of it, whatever it may be.”

“Into the Woods” concludes CCSU’s Theatre Department 2016-2017 season. After summer break, check out www.ccsu.edu/theatre for updates on the latest CCSU Theatre news.

Disclosure: the author of this article took part in the production of the play and is enrolled in theatre classes

Dom McLennon Has Every Reason To Be A Star, Without The Pressure To Become One

Don McLennon is a name to look out for on the local rap scene

by Andre Early

It’s around 3 o’clock in the afternoon, and in the passenger seat of my faded green 2001 Honda Accord is Dom McClennon.

He’s spending time in his hometown of East Hartford, Connecticut, visiting family and friends before he eventually needs to travel back to Los Angeles, where he’s recording music with his collective, or “boy band” as he prefers to call it, Brock Hampton.
While the ride was certainly awkward at moments, it was memorable, to say the least.

My faulty stereo could have been to blame, and because of this, the only sounds emitted throughout the entire 45-minute ride to and from a local recording studio came from sporadic segments of conversation, or the cell phone that sat in between us blaring out a variety of Chance The Rapper songs.

Still, accepting that as the source of the awkwardness would only be a partial truth.

McClennon is simply an awkward person. Not the type of awkward that stems from a social media addiction, but the type of awkward expect in a silent elevator with Donald Glover.
Unlike the many pseudo-intellectual individuals who regurgitate whatever has come across on their Facebook feed in the last twelve hours, McClennon is a guy who actually knows what he’s talking about, and is more than willing to share his world views.
“The biggest threat to the system would be if everyone were to just be like ‘F**k bipartisanship!’ Now that would really get you shot,” McClennon said, when speaking of Donald Trump and the 2016 election.
At around 3:45 p.m., we pull up to his friend Justin G, or “J.G.’s,” studio, which has become a musical hub for emerging local artists like McClennon and Lonny X, who achieved a considerable amount of recognition after headlining a set on the Boiler Room, a popular YouTube-based music platform.

Being inside the studio was an experience all-in-itself. Pink and Purple lights illuminated the room, as the energy was very mellow, woozy and intoxicating.

At last, McClennon  appeared to truly be in his comfort zone. The studio is his natural habitat; no tension, no fear, no anxiety.

In the midst of me setting up for our interview, he randomly decided to perform three unreleased songs, which were striking and left no choice but to pay attention and record them all.

The songs he performed were thought-provoking and detailed, but the second song he performed was personal and idiosyncratic.

“You can’t disturb the vibe. It’s on another level, this self-destructive time, I don’t think I can settle down anymore,” said McClennon. “By observing JG, I knew that his words served their purpose.”
McClennon is not just a rapper. He’s a painter who carefully strokes the surface of his canvas so delicately that there’s absolutely no room for error.

This is not a hobby to him. This is his profession, and he wanted to make sure that is understood.
“Everyone needs something, not only that they can focus their energy on, but something that they can focus their energy on that they’re passionate about,” McClennon said.
His passion, along with the passion of those in his “boy band” Brock Hampton, has reached the ears of celebrity DJ A-Trak, who has signed them to his record label “Fool’s Gold.” This label has respectably housed artist like Danny Brown, Chromeo, Kid Cudi and Run The Jewels.

Brock Hampton has had a number of notable accomplishments, including performing together at Fool’s Gold Day Off, acquiring a sponsorship from Ray-Ban and releasing their debut mixtape “All-American Trash” early in 2016.
“They’ve been there for me plenty of times when I literally had nothing… Those are the people who give me the least amount of anxiety more than anything else. At any point and time, I know I can pass an idea to them and they’ll give me their best, their honest opinion, and best feedback and I know they’ll have my best interest at heart when they say it,” McClennon said.
All the members of Brock Hampton have a unique sound, which is a part of what makes them so captivating, individually and as a whole.

The collective may be his biggest claim to fame, but McClennon has the potential to be huge on his own, especially in a day and age where anyone with a progressive agenda, strong work ethic, and a zany outlook on life seems to have some sort of lottery ticket into the world of viral stardom.

He has the talent, the audience, and just as much support as he wants. The world waits on him now.

A Fresh Approach: Exploring Art In Teacher Preparation

DR. Clark and Dr. French’s diversity leadership course with CCSU leader candidates on the university campus.

by Courtney Leblanc

In a bright room, abstract art is plastered on the walls and scrapbooks and gifts from past students lay scattered along the window sill. Photos fixed to the walls showcase teacher candidates and their participation in the arts, while student-made masks captivate all who enter the unconventional workplace.

The atmosphere of Dr. Barbara Clark’s office reveals her dedication and love of teaching. On March 22, her lifelong hard work had paid off. Clark was notified that she had been chosen as the recipient of The Board of Regents Teaching Award. As an alumnus and professor of 12 years at Central Connecticut State University, Clark was humbled to receive the honor.

“I was really surprised because the chances of getting something like this are, you know, I would say pretty slim because there are so many great professors at CCSU,” said Clark.

The award is given to outstanding faculty who distinguish themselves and have promoted improvements to their educational programs. With that said, Clark has proven that her appreciation of the arts and its integration in education has had an everlasting impact on many.

In Clark’s early years, she had a dream to become an artist and live a romantic life in the city. However, when Clark’s parents suggested that she get into the education field, she respected their opinion. She found that she can take her love for the arts and transform the classroom environment.

“I consider what I create in schools a form of conceptual art,” said Clark. “I created programs for schools to teach the adults how you can change a school environment to improve community, behaviors and friendships.”

As a young teacher, Clark worked in a variety of school districts. She noticed the vast differences between urban and suburban communities.

As a result, she wanted to show that unique and cutting-edge programs can potentially inspire students who are below grade level.

In using her skills and strategies, she is determined to show teacher candidates what they can achieve as an innovative teacher.

“Dr. Clark has had a tremendous impact on the way I practice teaching,” said Allison Tuohy, one of Clark’s past students. “I am currently teaching kindergarten and I often incorporate things I’ve learned from my prior professor. I use music and art to teach my English language learners. I try to unmask the possibilities for each and every student.”

Clark’s pursuit to educate future teachers does not end here. She hopes to further her career by training in-service educators as well.

“I have this dream of having a program for teachers where they would find their imaginative voice and their creative spirit,” said Clark. “Then they would be more likely to know how to use those methods with children.”

As a piece of advice for future teachers, Clark tells her students not to settle for the status quo. She urges them not to simply work out of the curriculum book, but to use ideas that truly inspire them.

With the help of her co-worker, Dr. James French, Clark wrote a book titled, “Hearts and Mind Without Fear: Unmasking the Sacred in Teacher Preparation,” in hopes of extending the teachings of her research to future educators.

As Clark says in her book, “teachers must know how to be social- and eco-justice advocates that teach children love and respect so that they are truly peacemakers as they move throughout their lives.”

Meet The A Capella Society: Fermata The Blue

 

Fermata the Blue’s first EP is now on iTunes and Spotify

by Jacob Carey

Fermata the Blue is an all-male A Capella group on Central Connecticut State University’s campus. They are a group of fun loving guys who enjoy to sing.

They are founded on the belief of brotherhood, as Tevin Jourdain, the group’s Assistant Director said, “we have a sense of comradery.” He further explained how an older brother can make fun of their siblings, but when someone else tries to, the older brother stops it, specifically what is to be expected from this group.

They are a very close group of guys that joke around with one another, while being there for each other as well. This fosters an environment that inspires creativity within the group, as no one feels that they are going to be judged. This allows the group as a whole to push the limits on what they do, and always attempt to try new things that will “wow” their audience.

Even though these guys love to goof off, when it comes time to perform, they know how to put on a show. They frequently start off their concerts with a comedic video created by the members of the group. On top of that, their music is well performed and hits an emotional core. They do an excellent job of picking an array of songs that displays their vast talent, while also taking their audience on a journey. On top of that, they are very particular about who they would like to arrange a piece, as they want to make sure the song gets proper treatment. They often will pick very popular tunes that pulls their audience in. Once they have control of their audience, they sing an incredibly emotional song that brings people to tears. They are not afraid to show their emotional side, which audiences love.

Looking to the future, they are excited to grow as a group by continuing to attend Boston Sings (BOSS), and possibly competing at the ICCA’s again. Additionally, they are looking to compete more in general. They hope to continue to get exposure so they can get feedback as a group, using those critiques and applying it to develop their sound. This is an important technique that they use to make sure that the group keeps a fresh sound, and to make sure that they continue to put on high quality shows.

The “Boys in Blue” recently released their first EP on iTunes and Spotify. They are currently trying to raise the money to record and release another EP in the future. Make sure to check out their EP, as well as follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Their next concert is Monday, Apr. 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Torp Theater. If you cannot make the concert or just want to hear more, you can also check them out on YouTube. If you are interested in auditioning, feel free to contact them, or go to the A Capella Society’s “Welcome Back Concert” in the Fall, and check out all the groups on campus and sign up for auditions.

Beecher Hall Presents 7th Annual Condom Carnival

by Matt Balogh

Catharine Beecher Hall is one of nine residence halls on Central Connecticut State University’s campus. Among the smallest of the buildings, it functions as co-ed housing for both upper and lower classmen. In the “down-the-hill” section of the campus, Beecher is the only co-ed residence hall that does not require an addition charge to housing, and is open to all grade levels.

Started in 2010, both the E-board and Beecher residents came up with a program to promote the practice of safe sex and the use of contraceptives, known as the Condom Carnival. The event primarily focuses on spreading a message of usage of condoms and the prevention of STDs.

Seven years later, the Beecher Hall E-board has brought back the idea to continue the annual event last Wednesday. “Along with continuing the tradition, this event is crucial for education on practicing safe sex, something that many college students may not know much about,” says Brian Ngork, Vice President of Beecher Hall. “People have enjoyed the program every year, and it’s always a great thing to see,” Ngork continued.

This year, both the RAs and E-board of Beecher Hall have set up many booths and games on Vance Lawn to go along with the theme. Beecher had reached out to other halls at the Inter-Residence Council (IRC) meeting, to which Sam May and Seth North Hall agreed to participate in.

Games were assembled to teach facts about STDs and contraceptives, such as a dart game in which the dart represents your chances when having sex of contracting an STD. If the dart hits a balloon with a specific color of beads in it, the colors correspond with a certain STD that you have a risk of getting.

With an attendance of over 350 people each year, Vance Lawn gets packed full of students playing games. Each booth provides the participant with a red ticket, various prizes, and condoms, of course. Once each person gets three tickets, they were allowed to get a free Condom Carnival shirt from the booth. Outside booths, such as participants from the ASAP Center, provided blue tickets for students to get free food with.

The event even included live music, as well as music provided by the campus radio station, WFCS. A cappella groups Fermata the Blue and Chromachord performed, along with rapper T-Hurt and Indie Rock band Static Charmer. The inclusion of live music helped attract people that happened to be walking by between classes, offering a wide variety of music so everyone could find something to enjoy.

“The Condom Carnival is a perfect way to interact with people from all parts of campus,” Beecher Secretary Sean Tarascio mentioned. “It is a real eye-opener to something that is usually considered a touchy subject.”

Fortunately, the bad weather had held off until the very end of the program. Compared to past Condom Carnivals, this one had been less windy, but also a lot less sunny. No news yet on if Beecher Hall plans on continuing the carnival for next year, but there is a strong possibility that the tradition will live on.

End The Semester On A High Note

by Venus Zahid

Thankfully, the end of the semester is nearing with only a few weeks left. Whether you’ve been here for two semesters or two years, it’s never easy finishing the semester with the same motivations in mind that you had while writing your New Year’s’ resolutions. I’m here to let you know that you got this. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “believe you can, and you’re halfway there.” Take advantage of the small accomplishments in order to achieve maximum success at your goal.

Although you may think everyone on campus is gearing their focuses for that 4.0, not everyone is made for that lifestyle. Make sure to take advantage of the resources on campus such as The Learning Center, that has designated hours for tutoring. In addition to academic coaches, if you feel you are falling off track, Copernicus Hall also has BMS tutoring if that’s a poor subject for you.

If you need a quiet place to go study, try looking around your residence hall and see if you can go in the basement or a lounge area. If you’re a commuting student or need a change of scenery, check out the quiet floor in the library, or if the weathers nice, you can take your work outside on the library’s balcony or Vance lawn.

Make sure to get an A on your next test by studying with friends. Personally, I tend to learn better with friends explaining the tougher content to me. Get together with a few friends and dedicate some time to prepare for your test, followed by treating yourself with some frozen yogurt or even ice cream from the dining hall.

The end of the semester doesn’t have to be cram time. Make sure to make some time to have fun with your friends before you go home for the summer. Benefit from waking up early in the morning and go for a run, or to the gym with friends followed by brunch afterwards. Plan out your day with the intent to not only study and get work done, but to also enjoy the day and our beautiful campus and  surrounding attractions. Plan a picnic and photoshoot at Stanley Park. Take a short drive to Mill Pond Falls in Newington for a chill day near the water. End your day with a movie in the comfiest couch seats at the Plainville movie theater.

Most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself. The majority of college students aren’t getting the proper amount of sleep they need. Plan out your day accordingly so you aren’t exhausted the next morning in class, finding yourself unable to focus. Also, keep in mind what worked and didn’t work this semester when planning out your class schedule for next semester. If you know you’re going to be having classes in the morning and working 8 hour shifts everyday next semester, make sure to plan accordingly to get in everything you need to get done while maintaining a proper sleep and eating schedule. Don’t forget to factor in your family and social life.

It’s important to constantly remind yourself of your goals and the degree you will receive at the end of your time here at CCSU. Hang in there, you’re always making progress.

Will Project Scorpio Be Enough To Save Microsoft?

by Dillon Meehan

In May of 2013, then-head of Xbox Don Mattrick, unveiled the Xbox One, Microsoft’s successor for the Xbox 360.  It was supposed to give the company a leg up against their competitors, specifically Sony and their system, the PlayStation 4. However, it was the opposite.

The rumors of mandatory Kinect usage, the need for the system to always be connected to the Internet and the banning of used games from working on another system, were all true.

It was a PR disaster for the company, by mid-June after E3 – the video game equivalent of the Super Bowl – the Xbox One’s grave was already dug. Their competitors, Sony, had a slightly more powerful system that did not require constant Internet activity. It allowed gamers to share used games with their friends, and didn’t require a camera that was always listening to you even when the console was “off.” To top it all off, it was $100 cheaper.

Less than a week after E3, Microsoft – with their tail between their legs – backtracked on their ridiculous demands.

A few weeks later on July 1.  2013, Don Mattrick had left Microsoft to join Zynga and become their CEO, a position he would resign from a year and a half later.

In March 2014, it was announced that Phil Spencer had been selected as the new head of Xbox. The former intern-turned executive, had spent nearly three decades with the company and promised to turn the company in a new direction, and he has. But the damage was already done.

Fast forward to early 2017, the PS4 has outsold the Xbox One nearly 2-1.  The estimates are around 50 million PS4s in the wild, compared to 30 million for Microsoft.

However, Spencer and the rest of the Xbox team plan to change that with Project Scorpio. At the end of Microsoft’s E3 presentation in 2016, a sizzle reel teased an upgraded Xbox One with the code name “Project Scorpio.” It was touted as the “most powerful console ever,” that would deliver native 4k graphics and be set to release in “holiday 2017.”

In the first week of April, Microsoft gave Eurogamer and Digital Foundry an exclusive look at the system. So far, it has lived up to the hype. The system is four and a half times more powerful than the original Xbox One that launched in fall 2013, and nearly twice as powerful as the PS4 Pro, Sony’s more powerful version of their PS4 which launched in fall 2016.

For Microsoft to make this system a massive success and to try to cut down on Sony’s lead, it needs to have a $400 price point. Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen. Since it’s announcement, it has repeatedly been referred to as a “premium” system for hardcore gamers.  In English, that means $500.

Now maybe that is simply Microsoft attempting to be coy, then have a massive reveal at E3 with a $400 price point. However, that is very unlikely. During their tech reveal, Eurogamer estimated $500 as well.

Apart from price point, there is also an issue about exclusive games.  Software sells hardware, it’s that simple. Nearly 20 years ago, Steve Balmer purchased a Bungie from Apple so that Halo could be developed for Microsoft’s first game console, the Xbox. The rest is history, as the Halo series became a staple for their systems.

But that was 20 years ago, as Microsoft is now in dire need of exclusives and their new “killer app.” The Halo and Gears of War franchises are still strong, but not what they were during the days of the Xbox 360. Apart from those, the only games Microsoft has that cannot be matched by Sony are the Forza series and Insomniac’s Sunset Overdrive.

While Sony doesn’t have games in the first or third person shooter genre that match up Halo or Gears of War, they offer plenty more than Microsoft. They have the Uncharted series, The Last Of Us, Horizo: Zero Dawn, Neir: Automata, Bloodborne as well as the upcoming Spiderman game as well Hideo Kojima’s newest game, Death Stranding.

On June 11, Microsoft will have their last chance to win fans over for this generation. Not only will they need the right price point, they will need the right games as well.