5 Things You Didn’t Know the VCU Wellness Center Offered

The VCU Wellness center may sound like a bore, but it really has tons of resources for  students to utilize while studying at VCU. You may have known that The Well offers free counseling to VCU students, but did you know about all of the other resources they provide you with? Below are some services you may not have known about.

1. Advocacy Services

VCU prides itself on being committed to advocating for their students. This is why they have such amazing advocacy services at The Well. You can come to them if you or a friend suffers from dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault. They will provide you with resources to offer you the support you need. Some resources will be required to contact the authorities, and others are not. It is important to specify whether you want confidential advocacy, or if you would like to report the offense to VCU Police. They start by believing in you and your story, so don’t be shy, and come down to visit The Well if you have been a victim of dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault- the employees at the Well will never judge you!

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2. Recovery Support

The employees at VCU‘s Wellness center understand that college students require a certain type of aid and encouragement when recovering from drug and alcohol addictions. They have established several recovery programs for students, ranging from individual treatment to group therapy. Their programs have promoted success in many of their participants. The majority of their patients achieve higher GPA’s and retention rates after completing a recovery program at The Well.

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3. Sexual Health Services

The staff members at The Well are equipped with a plethora of resources that they can help you get in touch with. The Well also offers free HIV testing at several points throughout the year, so keep your eyes peeled for a notification of this testing on flyers around campus and on your VCU email. If you are interested in learning more about contraceptive use, you can schedule an appointment with the VCU Health Services, or go through one of the Wellness Center’s partners, like Planned Parenthood of Richmond.

4. LGBTQ+ Resources

If you’re unsure of the different types of sexual orientations people have, the Well’s website lists the definitions in a section titled, “LGBTQIA+ Explained”. There are also sections listed on the website that offer insight on common questions people ask regarding trans people. Not only does the Well attempt to appease all of your burning inquiries, but they also provide resources for members of the LGBTQIA+ community. These resources range from sexual health services to therapy sessions.

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5. Campus Norms

You may think that all of your fellow rams party often, but in reality, they don’t! The Well does an awesome job at construing the different norms on campus through the use of the Stall Seat Journal. The Stall Seat Journal is in just about every bathroom on the VCU campus, and depicts facts about the everyday VCU student. From a 2016 survey revealed in an addition of the Stall Seat Journal, it was found that 72% of VCU students only have between 0 and 4 drinks when they go out to a party. By educating students about these norms at VCU, students are less likely to feel pressured to do certain things like drugs and excessive drinking. They also address sexual norms so that students don’t feel overwhelmed by their abundance (of lack) of sexual partners.

Ram comic by Gwendolyn Wood.

Hopefully, you have gained insight on some helpful resources ready for you at VCU. The Well offers students specialized services, so that you and your peers never feel alone. To find out what other services they provide, check out their website!

VCU Wellness Center website!

Pros & Cons of Being a Theatre Performance Major at VCU

Theatre VCU is one of the most acclaimed theatre programs on the east coast, although most majors are very proud to be part of the program, with every rose, there are a few thorns.

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PROS

1. Acclaimed faculty

From the chair, Sharon Ott to David Leong to Toni-Leslie James the faculty here are VCU theatre is readily available and more than experienced.  These are all professionals in the field who have the drive to teach us their skills that they deem most important for majors to take with them as they go into the business. Most of the professors are critically acclaimed and have their specific concentration so theatre majors could have any questions about any different filed of theatre, and there is always someone available to answer.

2. SOOO many courses

Another positive aspect of being a performance major is all the classes that we are required to take are not just performance based.  Majors take courses in tech, costuming and makeup in addition to our regular performance classes.  These shape them into be better actors and get different experiences in the field. Possibly they may find that they like a different concentration more than performing and that is what it is designed to do. To try to get them not to limit our dreams.

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3. The opportunities are exclusive

A fabulous thing about the program is that they get so many great opportunities that people at other universities do not receive.  On some Friday afternoons, there is Broadway Bootcamp which is orchestrated by the lovely Kikau Alvaro.  He brings in some local or traveling guest artist to either do a Q&A or some workshop with majors.  Most of the guests so far have been either on Broadway, are touring with a national company, or are just AWESOME. Sometimes the guest is all of the above.

CONS

1. Ruthlessness

In my humble opinion Theatre VCU is quite a cut-throat program.  Though the faculty does want you to succeed, most of your peers are always waiting for you to snap and drop out of the program. This can not be said about all, but most.  Instead of waiting for people to lose we should be encouraging each other to thrive and stay in the program. There are some supportive people in the program, yet others can be very harsh and only wanting themselves to succeed.  This is something that you must try to look past and just focus on YOUR OWN craft.

2. Casting in Mainstage productions

Another thing about the program that is broadly disliked is the choice in main stage castings. Apparently, this is not something that we theatre majors have a say in, but when the same person keeps getting cast as the male or female lead multiple seasons straight, it gets very annoying.  This something that can easily be fixed by casting people who may not be the top option for the show, but could bring something a little different. Because when you cast the same male or female in the main lead for multiple productions in a row, it becomes very bland to see the creations.

3. The Man

Lastly, with a program with so much diversity in their faculty, men still dominate. There is a lot of misogyny in the program within the students and faculty.  A lot of female students do not feel as if their performances are graded and critiqued as critically as the males.  They feel as if they are not respected equally, and they’re treated more like children and less as adults.  Even in main stage productions, in a program of talented young women, males are also getting some of their most iconic roles.  This does not go for all of the faculty but just a small proportion. The other men in the program need to wake up to these issues.

Overall Theatre VCU has so much to offer in opportunity and in building relationships. As most theatre majors are proud to be apart of such an intense program, it is not always easy at times.

Quiet and Loud Places to Study at VCU

VCU is known for its diversity in students and faculty, but a little secret is that it is also recognized as one of the most diverse places to study. Whether you like it quiet or loud, VCU has the right places for you.  Finding the perfect fit for a study space is quite hard, but once you see it, you will never go to study anywhere else.

Quiet places to study

1. Third and Fourth floor of the library

 

This is the most obvious and probably the most famous place for the quiet, loving students. All the different little nooks all over the floors it makes it so easy to just get entranced into your work.  It helps most students concentrate and actually get the job done versus when they are trying to study in their room.  You get free wifi and have an endless amount of outlets so you could spend all evening up there.

2. Snead Hall

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This is a building that does at times contain a lot of the hustle and bustle, but it is far enough from all of the students that when it gets quiet, IT GETS QUIET. Another perk is the great Blecker St swipe exchange is available here. Snead is the VCU business building, so it does get a little loud at times, but if you find the right time to go and study it can be one of the most deserted buildings on campus.

3. Community room of your dorm building

 

Your resident hall community room can get quite loud, but when empty it can be utilized as a perfect little study nook. This is close to home, but also you are able to get out of your room and get some alone time.  The best time to go is in the middle of the night when most are asleep so you can get your peace and quiet.

Loud places to study

1. Starbucks on campus

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One of the busiest places to eat and work on campus is the Starbucks in the James Branch Cabell library.  You can get a snack while also grinding out your homework here. There are always people passing through just to get a drink or to sit and talk. Never a dull moment at this Starbucks, it’s the perfect place for those students who need chaos around them to stay focused.

2. The Commons

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With seven different places to grab a quick meal, the commons at VCU is never a quiet place. For those students that want to have a full meal or just grab a little something at the POD to bite on while they work the commons is for you. The Underground in the commons is a little nook that are carpeted steps that you can study with friends or even alone.

3. Market 810

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Market 810 is the most popular swipe place on campus, known to most as “Shafer,” VCU‘s dining hall. This place is crawling with people and food 24/7, never a quiet spot in Shafer.  You are able to swipe into the facility get one meal, study, then have another. TWO MEALS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE. You could easily spend your whole day in Shafer feeding your mind and your stomach.

Whether you need a loud, busy place to get on your study grind, or a quiet, quaint place, VCU has all the options.  You have to commit finding the right place that works for you and your study habits, but once you see the proper place, you will never want to study anywhere else.

What To Do With a Theatre Degree from VCU

When in conversation with someone who is not apart of the arts and you say “Oh I am theatre major at VCU” and most people respond with “Why are your parents paying for you to go to school to become an actor?” This is such a standard response that most majors have begun to ignore and look past.  At VCU majors are acclimated to not just the performance-based work but also opens our eyes to what other routes we can take if performance maybe is not for everyone. There is a multitude of things you can do with a theatre degree, it is not all about just performing, but more about that theatre is influencing your craft.pexels-photo-270837.jpeg

1. Become a Theatre teacher or professor

There are so many great teachers that everyone has had over my years in studying.  It is something that is rewarding but also you get to use what you have learned to help shape the young actors of tomorrow.  This is something that you can do while you are still performing. Many theatre VCU faculty teach while also direct and star in local Richmond theatre.  You need to have the passion for influencing people and helping them with their craft while also still maintaining your own personal desires.1305675722-room-class-school-classroom-teacher-blackboard-college-wallpaper-wallpaper

2. Become a Theatre Therapist

Drama therapy is something that is not as commonly known but is something that is becoming more popular. You are able to use theatre in your practice to help people communicate what they are feeling. This is used a lot with children who maybe do not know how to express the traumatic things that have happened to them or what they think with what is going on around them. Theatre has always been a source of therapy for me, so it will definitely be able to help others with what they are going through. Through your studies, you have learned many things that work for you and do not, and these things can be used in your practice to see how to heal certain people.o-THERAPY-TALKING-facebook

3. Become an Agent

If an actor with a degree becomes an agent, they already have a step up on all the agents who do not know the business on the actor side.  This is probably not the first job that most want to pursue, but by chance sometimes some find that it suits them better.  It is a job with a lot of ropes and in where you have to have your hand in many different hats. You could also still be pursuing your own acting career while doing this on the side. You will feel more connected to your clients because you understand the actor’s point of view.images

4. Become a playwright/ Dramaturg

Most actors and directors are also playwrights, but you can make this your full-time thing.  People with theatre degrees usually are very creative, so these plays and stories could come very easy. Something that also is along these lines is becoming a Dramaturg. Where you help out different shows in their historical text.Photo Courtesy: www.pexels.com

5. Become an ACTOR!

Apparently, this is the ultimate goal of most people who go to college to pursue theatre, but sometimes it does not always work out. But you can still revisit it down the road.  This is the hardest one to become because you have to be committed and driven when all around you is failing.  One of my professors told me once “You have to be so good they can’t ignore you.” this is something that theatre majors need to start engraining into their everyday life. Theatre has to be your only priority if you genuinely want to succeed as an actor.  A degree can help when auditioning and also you will have so many more connections than people who did not go to college.Actors RehearsingHaving a theatre degree to some may seem pointless, but the things that you will learn in my four years here at VCU will all make it worth it in the end.  You have to really want the degree and be driven to actually want to indulge yourself in the theatre.

Why You Should Be an RA at VCU

Becoming an RA at VCU is a straightforward process, and most Rams take advantage of it.  It is more than a job but a lifestyle that so many dream of having.  You are required to apply for the positions, and only so many get offered a spot. Just a select few get chosen so if you are one of the lucky ones you must grasp at it immediately. Being an RA comes with so many perks but also some issues. BUT the great things that go with it totally outweigh not so great things.

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1. Free housing… yes FREE!

RA’s or Resident Advisors receive free housing in whatever building they are in charge of.  This is something that most students dream of.  Housing on campus is one of the most significant expenses that students pay for and if you could get it for free would you? But what would you have to give up to get it? Whether you chose to have a roommate or not can determine if you could get something also for FREE, such as a meal plan or discounted books.  Having no housing expenses can help you financially, but also you are able to put that money towards other things in the future.

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2. Personally rewarding

By you being an RA you are able to help the people on your floor with all sorts of things, such as assignments and job finding. It makes you feel good to know that you are helping 30 or more people on a regular basis just by being there for them.  Whether you become close to all of the students on your floor, your presence could be the most helpful thing for them. A lot of students come to college not knowing anybody and yearning to make friends.  You being their RA can befriend them while guiding them to the right functions to help them make more friends.

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3. Credit towards your Resumé

Say if you want to be a teacher or an administrator becoming an RA gives you so many leadership opportunities.  You are able to kind of have a little group of people to watch over and inspire. This trains you to see if you are able to handle a classroom of people and being in charge of their safety while also maintaining a friendly presence.  It is not something that is for everyone but you are able to test the waters, and there is no negative in just trying.

4. Connection to the university

People who have become RA’s feel a sense of connection to their students and the campus itself.  They do one-month training before the students move in so they are able to get to know all of the other RA’s.  This is an experience that most VCU students to not understand, it is a sense of community.   You get to know the ins and outs of the university more so you have a deeper understanding of connection to the school and the people that surround it.

5. Becoming an RA keeps you in line

Most parents are fearful about their babies going off to college and partying till they can not stand up. But when you become an RA, you are forced to stay in line and follow the rules. You can not get caught being high or drunk at all or else you will be kicked out. Then you will have nowhere to live and be screwed. You can find healthier less illegal ways to have fun with your friends. You avoid getting in trouble while also helping others not get into any unlawful activity.

Being an RA may seem like a huge responsibility, which it is but it is so rewarding in the end. You get to experience VCU in a whole different way while others just get a mediocre experience.  With so many positives the negatives are totally diminished. You can probably ask your OWN RA for their pro tips in their experience of being a VCU RA.

Pros and Cons of THEA 100 at VCU

THEA 100 also known as Technical Production Performers is a required one-credit class for theatre majors at VCU.  It is best to take it in one of your first semesters at VCU, preferably Fall, so that when you are in later years, you do not have to stress about getting it out of the way. By doing so, you can focus on your craft down the line.  This class is when you are apart of either Wardrobe or Run Crew to a mainstage production for VCU Theatre.  You might not want to take this required course, but you will get so much out of the experience.

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Pros

1. Making connections

The first pro is that you get to meet so many other people!! You, in the first couple semesters, do not get to interact with the upperclassmen unless you get cast in a show, but taking this course, you get to see the process of how tech runs at VCU. In addition to meeting other students, you also can meet more of the faculty which is such a plus because these are the people you will depend on over the next couple of years, so make an excellent first impression.

2. Something different

Another great thing about teaching the show is you get to get to learn some new stuff. Some people right out of high school do not have any experience on the other side of theatre. Now you had the opportunity to be apart of the process of making sure the show goes smoothly, whether that is being a dresser or apart of the run crew. You will get to learn different aspects of the business that will be so beneficial down the line in other classes.

3. New friends!!!

Finally the last pro, and in my opinion, the most important one is that you get the chance to make new friends!!! Taking this class, it forces you to make friends with the other people in the class that you are working with.  You spend 3-5 weeks with these people, so you better get ready to befriend them and get to know them. Whether you like it or not you are all in the same boat.  These are also people that could possibly be older than you and give you advice on classes that you will have to take later in the program and they can help you better prepare for those.

Cons

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1. No time to make $$$

A not so great thing about taking this class is if you have a job you have to take off A LOT of time from work. Each show runs for about 2-4 weeks plus an extra week of tech before. So if you have a job, you should just quit now and find a new one.  It is nearly impossible to have a job and also be fully committed to being apart of this course.  Again you can take the class whenever and possibly when you have a smaller course load, but it is tough to maintain multiple hours a week at work, other classes, and the shows.

2. Find a way to fill the time

Something that most run into when taking the course was that there is a lot of wasted time. During tech week, right before the show there is SOOO much sitting around and waiting. Which you will get used to, so definitely bring your homework to work on while you sit there and watch them tech the show super slow.

3. Long days…LONG days…LONG DAYS

Lastly, the days and hours that you are there are immensely long.  If you do a musical, then be prepared to be there for about 5 hours on show days and for a play probably 3-4 hours on show days. BUT, the weekend before the show goes up on Saturday and Sunday you have 13 hour days. YES, 13 HOUR days. You get a break for lunch, but it still is SOOO long.

Overall, this course has so many more pros that can not even begin to be explained. Even with some issues with the class, most end up having a pleasant experience.  It is something that when it is happening you are tired, bored, and annoyed, but when it is over you get very sad and miss it a lot.

5 Places to Get Tattoos Near VCU Campus

Richmond is the third most tattooed city in the United States, so it’s definitely not a shock that a lot of VCU students are tatted. Once you figure out what tattoo you want, the next step is finding the right shop to go to. When you are new to an area, it might be a little scary trying to find a new tattoo shop that you can trust or if you’re getting you’re first tattoo it might be a little overwhelming. There’s a lot to take into account when deciding where to get your tattoo because of different artist styles, appointment policies, and more. Here’s five tattoo shops that you can walk to from VCU’s campus.

1) Lucky 13 Tattoo and Piercing

Lucky 13 is a short walk down Broad Street from campus and is located right past Lowe’s. The shop has been running in Richmond for over 10 years now. They offer both tattoos and piercings from licensed professionals. Whether you’re looking for a custom tattoo or just a walk in appointment, Lucky 13 is the place for you! Their piercing staff also offers after care appointments, help changing your jewelry, and after care products for your piercings.

2) Salvation Tattoo Gallery

Salvation Tattoo Gallery is located on Cary Street, right before you get to the Cary Street Gym. This tattoo shop is more focused on custom tattoos or flash sheets they have in the shop. They have four main tattoo artist, Fred Pinckard, Katie Davis, Josh Autrey, and Nate Moretti, who all focus in different types of tattoos. This shop is more by appointment rather than walk ins.

3) All For One Tattoo

All For One Tattoo is also located on Broad, right by Lowes and Lucky 13. This shop offers tattoos by David Locke, Ben Butts, and Ryan Bailey. You can also get piercings here, done by Cameron McConnell. This shop does both walk ins and custom tattoos by appointment.

4) Heroes and Ghosts Tattoo

Heroes and Ghosts Tattoo is a bit of a further walk down Cary Street, because it’s actually located in Carytown, so it would be smart to make an appointment on a nice, warm day for your walk. This shop has wide variety of artists that you could choose to work with on your custom tattoo by appointment.

5) Unkindness Art

Unkindness Art is located on Broad Street and has an array of artist to choose from, who offer different styles. This shop is usually by appointment for custom tattoos, but walk ins are welcome and sometimes possible.

These are only a few great tattoo shops that Richmond has to offer, so make sure you do your research and find a shop/artist that you really like because tattoos are permanent and can be expensive! Once you pick your shop be sure to check their appointment preferences and be sure that they offer whatever you are looking to get. For example, if you wanted an inner lip tattoo or face tattoo not all shops offer that, so be sure to double check everything. Tattoos are an awesome way to express yourself and are definitely apart of Richmond’s culture, so if you really want one, go for it! Also remember to ALWAYS tip your artists!

10 Phrases Commonly Heard on VCU’s Campus

Whenever you leave your dorm to go out into VCU‘s campus I’m sure you hear a couple of phrases frequently from all different kinds of people. Despite VCU‘s extreme diversity, there is still some things that we all have in common and those can be explained in what we say to each other. Here’s a list of 10 phrases that you have definitely heard if you’re a VCU student!

1) “Do they swipe?”

This is probably the most asked question on VCU‘s campus because anyone with a meal plan is always trying to swipe for food! All the different food places on campus have different swipe days, so you’ll always here people talking about what places are swiping when they are deciding where to eat. Is Canes swiping yet?

2) “What’s the tea?”

Whenever someone at VCU is about to tell their friends some campus gossip they will always start the conversation with, “Here’s the Tea,” or their friend will ask, “What’s the tea?”. Tea referring to the juicy gossip obviously.

3) “Shafer?” “Shafer.”

If you’ve ever been in the compass, you’ve definitely heard this conversation between two friends before. Shafer is always the easiest food option because it’s one swipe and all you can eat!

4) “Peachy as Always”

If you have EVER been to Shafer, you know exactly who this one is about. The nicest VCU employee who usually swipes people into Shafer will almost always greet you and when you ask her how she is doing her response is always, “Peachy as Always.”

5) “Did you see the guy on the compass today?”

Due to the frequent protests in the compass, you have definitely been asked this or asked one of your friends if they saw any of the craziness.

6) “Hit me. Pay my tuition.”

Going to VCU obviously means that you’re thrown right into the middle of Richmond. Just like any other city, there are a lot of intersections, so there’s a lot of jaywalking that occurs on campus. This phrase is something a lot of students use when they jaywalk and a car starts speeding up to rush them across the street. Thats kinda like financial aid, right? Maybe not….

7) “757!!!” or “I’m from NOVA”

These two are definitely more common among VCU freshman, but I’m sure no VCU student is a stranger to hearing an excited 757 being screamed at some get to know you event. People from the 757 are more proud than most. You also hear a lot of talk about NOVA on campus because many students come from there.

8) “I can’t wait to pierce my….”

VCU students are alway trying to stay up to date with different fashion trends and that includes new piercings every once in awhile. You’ve definitely heard a fellow student talk about how excited they are to pierce their next body part. Oh no, I’m late to my appointment at Lucky 13.

9) “Do you want ketchup?”

If you’re a VCU student, then you’ve been to Cane’s and if you’ve been to Cane’s, then you’ve been asked if you want ketchup. But let’s be honest, no condiment can beat Cane’s sauce.

10) “Can you sign me in?”

Dorm life can be really annoying at times. One of the biggest annoyances about living on VCU‘s campus is having to sign guest into your dorm, but that’s why you often hear people asking their friends to sign them in.

Next time you’re walking around VCU‘s campus start listening for any of these phrases and you might be surprised by how often you and your friends use them.

5 Tips on Creating a Resume for Your Next VCU Main-stage/SALT Audition

The time has come, and you’re ready to get booked! You’ve signed your name on the audition list and memorized your monologue, so you should be done…right?

 

Sadly, you’ve still got one factor left- your resume. There are several aspects important to include in any resume. Below you will find a detailed list of items that should be included in your acting resume.

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Centered at the top of your paper should be your name in a larger font than the rest of your resume. Directly beneath your name, be sure to include up to date contact information, like your email and telephone number, so that directors can contact you with callback/casting information. Below your contact info should be any union affiliation and physical attributes. For the physical attributes, mention your height, eye color, hair color, and weight. Notice that age is not listed. This is because the director should assess what age you look like (i.e. what age you can play on stage/in film).

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2. Experience

You should list your experience in two different sections- film and theater. It is important to remember that the order in which you performed each role does not necessarily matter as much as how impressive each role was. If you played a lead in one show, but ensemble in another, put your lead role at the top of the list regardless of if it came before or after the lesser roles. Never lie on your resumes to sound more impressive. It is okay to not have an extensive archive of roles listed on your resume. You’re only a student, just starting out. You are not expected to have done a vast amount of work at this time in your life.

 

3. Training and Education

There should be a section for you to list your training and education. Your training should include any vocal, dance, or acting course you’ve taken. When you list your credit, don’t forget to name your instructor for the class and the organization that you completed your studies through. You should also include your education. Since you are a few years fresh out of high school, it is appropriate to include your high school Alma mater, but after your time at VCU, you should consider removing it.

 

4. Special Skills

Tell the individuals you are auditioning for a little bit about yourself in the Special Skills section of your resume. Here you can include anything from writing to sports. If it is a hobby to you, then write it down! You can also identify how many years you have participated in your particular pastimes. It is important to add these details, because some shows require actors that have special skills. It also shows that you are a well rounded, motivated individual, which are attributes that directors look for when making casting decisions.

 

5. Headshot

Lastly, securely attached to the back of your resume should be your headshot. This photo should represent you, so don’t try to put on a glamour facade for the camera, and just be yourself. Your headshot should show the director your type right now, not who you want to be. In the headshot, you should be wearing a solid dark colored top. Don’t forget, size matters! Your headshot should be printed 8 by 10 in color. Your headshot serves as something to remember you by, so format it correctly to make a good impression.

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First impressions are every thing in the acting business. Often time, your resume is seen before you are by the directors in the audition room. Be sure to impress them all with a clear, neatly formatted resume!

10 Ways to Stay Body Positive at VCU

Struggling with body image and staying body positive is nothing new to VCU students, specifically females. In fact, 50% of female college students feel pressured to be a certain weight. Being at VCU is a time where so much about you and your life is changing, including your body and your relationship with it. Body Image is defined as the subjective picture or mental image of one’s own body. How you feel about yourself is important to both your mental health and it can also affect your school work. VCU is known as a diverse and accepting university, but it might be time to work on accepting yourself, as well as others. 

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1) Stop Being So Hard on Yourself

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You are your harshest critic, especially when it comes to your appearance. When you’re struggling with how you look and thinking about all the things you view as imperfections, stop and do the friendship test. The friendship test is when you think if you would say the same thing about your best friend as you do about yourself. It is not selfish to strive to be as kind or even more kind to yourself than you are to your best friends. Be gentle with yourself.

2) Compliment Yourself

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Think about how many times a day you compliment your friends or even strangers in the compass or in class. Now think about how many times you compliment yourself. There is probably a huge difference, right? Here’s a challenge: everyday when you wake up or before you go to bed, look in the mirror and find just one thing you love about yourself physically.

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3) Stop Comparing Yourself

Whether you’re in class, at the Cary Street gym, walking through campus, or on Instagram stop comparing yourself to the people around you. All bodies are different and all bodies are good bodies! You can always appreciate the beauty of others, but you are beautiful in your own way, so don’t strive to look like other people. Once you stop focusing on other people and what they have that you don’t, it will free you to just be who you are. Be yourself and be proud of it because no one else could be a better you than you!

4) Don’t Judge Other People’s Appearance

While you are working on being kind to yourself, it’s also important to focus on being kind to others. Really think about the thoughts you have about other people’s appearance and bodies on VCU‘s campus or when you scroll through Instagram. Are they positive? What you are putting out into the world about others is what is going to be coming back to you. Once you are more positive about other people’s bodies, it will be easier to be positive about your own. Be kind to each other.

5) Don’t Focus on Your Weight and Clothing Sizes

Never ever define yourself by the number on a scale or by the size of your clothes. You will never ever be happy with how you look if you keep trying to define your beauty with numbers. If it helps you to be more confident, throw away the scale! Instead of focusing on these numbers, focus on the wonderful life you’re living! Focus on who you are as a person. Focus on your classes, your friends, and having fun at college!

6) Accept ComplimentsImage result for body positivity tumblr

On campus or in class when someone compliments you, specifically about your appearance, how do you react both verbally and mentally? Do you try to argue the compliment and become self deprecating? STOP BEING SELF DEPRECATING! When your friends or classmates compliment you, they mean it! You have to start accepting compliments and enjoying them for what they are. Other people’s opinion of you does not define you, but by being self deprecating when given a compliment you are not loving yourself as much as you could be.

7) Be Naked Sometimes!

Whenever you have some alone time in your dorm room after taking a shower, enjoy being naked for a little bit. It is so empowering to just be naked by yourself in your own space and feel happy about it. There’s no reason to cover up so fast when you’re by yourself relaxing after a nice shower.

8) Take Care of Yourself

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It’s obviously important to love yourself fully as you are in this exact moment, but it’s also not a bad thing to want to improve yourself FOR YOU. Whether that means working out, eating better, face masks, being more positive, working harder in class, etc. Improving yourself to become the best you is always an incredible idea and will help you to be more body positive. However, never change anything about yourself to impress other people, you are the only person that matters when it comes to your body. VCU also offers free counseling at the commons, if that sounds like something you’d be interested in! Love yourself first, then work to better yourself and celebrate small victories along the way.

9) Wear Clothes That Make You Comfortable

A lot of VCU students are all about fashion and use their clothes to express themselves. What you decide to wear is YOUR CHOICE and YOUR OPINION is the only one that matters when it comes to YOUR CLOTHES. When you leave your dorm to go to class or wherever on campus, you should wear clothes that make you feel happy and beautiful in your own skin. Express yourself through your fashion and wear things that make you confident!

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10) Surround Yourself with Body Positive Images

Social media is such a huge part of the whole college experience now. It’s a huge way to make friends, keep up with old friends, and also experience things from all around the world. The images and messages you are surrounding yourself with are important and effecting how you view yourself. Try to not subject yourself to content that makes you feel lesser or insecure. Instead, be sure to focus on things that make you feel confident to be exactly who you are!

Body positivity is so important to EVERYONE, but especially VCU students because your self love can directly affect your school work and overall college experience. The less time you spend stressing about your body or how you look, the more time you can spend on classwork or fun times with friends. Always remember that self acceptance and body positivity is a long, rewarding journey, that you deserve to take.

Start yours now!