7 Ways to Keep In Touch with College Friends Over Winter Break

One of the hardest parts about going home for winter break is missing all of your new college friends. I speak from experience when I say spring semester is much closer than you think, but just to make sure you don’t lose touch, here’s a few ways that I’ve found make it easy to stay in contact.

  1. GROUP TEXTS – After the ‘Hey! How are you?’ part of the text conversation, it can be really hard to find things to talk about in a one-on-one convo. Especially, if you speak with your best friend every day. I find that group chats are infinitely entertaining, even if you don’t have time to participate other than a quick emoji or ‘lol’. The more people involved the better! Create multiple conversations with each of your groups of friends. You’ll never be bored and you’ll find that you can keep in touch with very little effort. *Thumbs Up Emoji*


  1. SEND POSTCARDS OR LETTERS – Going on a trip? Keep it old school and send your friends postcards from your vacation destination. Or if you’re staying home for break, write a plain old notebook-paper letter and send it off. It will be just like the good old days of passing notes in the hallway of your HS. Feel that? It’s the 9th grade nostalgic experience you never thought you’d have.


  1. COLLAGE BLOG – Think about what interests you and your BFFs share. Anything from exercising, to cooking, to music, to crafting, to reality TV – literally anything! Use this as the theme for your group blog. Choose some topics to write about and set a schedule (everyone posts once a week, twice a week, etc.) for your site. Blogging can not only help you keep a connection with your friends, but it’s a way to express yourself and potentially lead to opportunities in your future career. That’s what I like to call a win-win situation.


  1. VIDEO CHAT – Whether you choose to set up Skype dates or host impromptu FaceTime sessions, video chatting is the simplest and most personal way to keep in touch with your long-distance friends. It’s about the closest thing you can get to being together, and depending on your app of choice you may be able to set it up with multiple users and/or use it for FREE. Isn’t technology the best?


  1. GCHAT DURING TV SHOWS – Undoubtedly, there are one or two or ten shows that you and your bestie go insane over. (We’re talking turning off phones, locking doors, not speaking a word and barely breathing until it’s over kind of insane.) To keep the tradition going and to get your QT in, set up a GChat on your laptop before the show. Somehow typing to your BFF (ONLY during commercials) is the single form of acceptable communication during such an event. Again, technology, you’re saving our lives here! <3


  1. SOCIAL MEDIA – At least once a day, make it a point to send your friends a snap, post to their FB page, or tweet at them (preferably something ridiculous). It’s a fun, but short and sweet, way of keeping in touch. It will keep a flow of communication going back and forth, and some of your other friends may even join in. Plus, who doesn’t love the feeling of notifications waiting on your social accounts? I just need to be poked, darn it.



  1. PLAN A TRIP – If it’s doable, save up some money and plan a visit. Trek out to your BFF’s house, have him/her come stay at your place, or plan to meet in the middle for a spontaneous little adventure. It’s always fun to experience new places with great friends, plus there is NO better time to travel! Commence wanderlust…

That’s it! Pick one or more of these options for keeping in contact with your college friends and before you know it you’ll be back at school. How do you keep in touch over the holidays? Have any more recommendations? Let us know!

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Winter Break Must-Haves

Ahh, winter break. What could be better than that feeling of pure relief after finishing your final exam? Knowing that you are on your way to a month+ of winter vacation before the all-too-quick arrival of spring semester, of course! This year, I have prepared a very special list of holiday must-haves that will ensure that all of my long-term lounging goals are fulfilled. I introduce to you, my Winter Break Wish List!

  1. EAR BUDS* – These are simply a non-negotiable for literally every situation, but especially for an extended stay at home. You can play video games silently in the middle of the night, listen to music while working out around the house, and even tune out irritating family members for lengthy periods of time. DO NOT LEAVE LIVE HOME WITHOUT THEM.


  1. COLLEGE HOODIE* – A fluffy, over-sized school sweatshirt is another winter break necessity – certainly a must-have for achieving optimal cold weather comfort. I like to think of mine as a friend that’s always there to give me a hug.


  1. HILARIOUS COFFEE MUG – Winter break is always filled with hot holiday drinks – ideally served in a sassy coffee mug. Pour a cup of hot cocoa, drop in some marshmallows, and let the wave of sweet nostalgia wash over you. This is home. Find yours at Zazzle.


  1. SUBSCRIPTION TV – The winter weather forecast calls for a morning of Hulu with an afternoon and evening of heavy Netflix. When the snow is falling and youare clearly not going anywhere, subscription services are there to save you from the impending boredom that awaits you. Pop on a season of 30 Rock and binge-watch the night away.


  1. SLIPPERS – What could anyone hate more than cold feet? Absolutely nothing. I’m sure of it. Slippers, as everyone knows, are the perfect compromise between the comforts of shoes, socks, and bare feet. No adult human should go a winter without a pair – even if you typically sport footed-pajamas. You know who you are. Slip into something cozier at ThinkGeek.


  1. GOOD BOOK – Winter break is the perfect opportunity to finally get to that book you’ve been dying to read. Find a cozy corner and let your imagination run wild! My pick for this year – The Andy Cohen Diaries: A Deep Look at a Shallow Year – because I just don’t know where I would be without BravoTV in my life. Order yourself a copy here.


  1. BEANIE* – Never underestimate the power of a great beanie. Besides looking cute on all girls and guys, they can save you from the roughest of hair days. Frizzy? Unwashed? Good ol’ beanie has you covered. Bonus: they keep your ears warm!


With these 7 amazing items, you will undoubtedly have the best winter break yet – I know I will! Did we miss anything? What’s on your wish list?

*Check your B&N College bookstore website for available options.

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Five Things You Don’t Know about Me

Five Things You Don’t Know About Me with Frank Warren

Frank Warren is the founder of PostSecret. It is a community art project in which people anonymously send in their secrets on homemade postcards, some of which will be featured on the PostSecret website. Warren has also put together several PostSecret books and speaks at events across the country.

Frank Warren is arguably the biggest keeper-of-secrets in the world. As the founder of PostSecret, he holds thousands of deep, dark secrets scrawled across homemade postcards. Who better to share some of his own secrets…


1. When my mother discovered that I was asking strangers to mail me their deepest secrets on postcards, she called the idea, “diabolical”. It wasn’t until she watched me talking about the PostSecret books on Today and saw that Meredith Vieira appreciated the funny and heart-breaking secrets that she began to accept it.

2. I have one of my secrets in each of the six PostSecret books.  The second book, My Secret was a book I created based upon how I felt in high school and college.  I selected postcards that would have helped me during those times when I felt isolated and without direction. My Secret is the book I wish I could have handed to my younger self so I wouldn’t have felt so alone with my secrets.  This is the postcard I made for that book:


3. In my previous life, before PostSecret, I was never that person who people would tell their secrets to, so for me it feels like such a privilege to have received a ton of secrets on postcards from around the world.

4. Some of the secrets I receive are about personal struggles with mental illness.  When we believe we are carrying a secret by ourselves, it can feel like a great burden… but I know that is only an illusion. No one is alone with their secret and if we can find the right ways to release them [our secrets], they go from being walls to bridges.

During the ten years of the project, the PostSecret community has raised over $1,000,000 for suicide prevention and I have worked closely with two non-profits that offer young people hope and leadership in moving our national conversation about mental wellness forward: Active Minds and IMAlive. Find more info about each of these great organizations here:

Active Minds


5. My email is secret, but sometimes people find it and send me messages. This message might have been my favorite:

Dear Frank,
I have made six postcards all with secrets that I was afraid to tell the one person I tell everything to, my boyfriend. This morning I planned to mail them to you, but instead I left them on the pillow next to his head while he was sleeping. Ten minutes ago he arrived at my office and asked me to marry him.
I said yes.


Be sure to get YOUR copy of Frank’s newest book, The World of PostSecretFind more postcard and app secrets than ever before PLUS get the inside scoop regarding some of the most controversial and compelling secrets to come through. Order your copy here.

And don’t forget to check out all of the secrets that come through on PostSecret.com.



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3 Thanksgiving Recipes to Try (No Culinary Expertise Required)

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and you know what that means… FOOD. As someone who is a proponent of all things tasty and has referred to mashed potatoes as her “best friend” on more than one occasion, you might say I enjoy a good Thanksgiving meal. However, as what I can only assume is fate’s cruel joke, I have never been much of a cook (i.e. still growing my eyebrows back from last Thanksgiving). SO! For this year’s Friendsgiving, I have prepared myself with the easiest, most delicious, and Thanksgiving dishes. Read on for a fool-proof step-by-step guide to great grub for your Gobble Gobble Day.


GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE – Approx. 20 minutes, Serves 6



  • 2 cans (1 lb. each) green beans, drained
  • 1 can (10¾ oz.) condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • ¾ cup of milk
  • 1 can (2.8 oz.) French fried onions
  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper
  1. Combine green beans, milk, mushroom soup, pepper and ½ can of fried onions and pour into ½ quart microwaveable dish
  2. Cover and microwave on HIGH for 8-10 minutes (turn and stir halfway through)
  3. Top with remaining fried onions
  4. Microwave uncovered on HIGH for 1 minute


CRANBERRY-GLAZED SWEET POTATOES – Approx. 30 minutes, Serves 8



  • 6 medium peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 3 lbs.)
  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce
  • Orange rind (optional)
  1. Microwave potatoes in a covered 2-quart casserole dish on HIGH for 10 minutes or until tender
  2. Combine sugar, margarine, OJ, and salt in a 2-cup glass and microwave on HIGH for 3 minutes (stirring every minute)
  3. Add mixture to cranberry sauce and potatoes, toss gently
  4. Microwave on HIGH for 10 minutes or until heated through (baste in sauce twice during cooking)
  5. Garnish with orange rind


PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE MUG CAKES – Approx. 7 minutes, Serves 2



  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons brewed espresso coffee, or very strong coffee, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup pancake mix
  • ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Whipped cream
  • Ground Cinnamon
  1. Add melted butter, egg, espresso, and pumpkin to small bowl and whisk
  2. Add sugar, pancake mix, pumpkin pie spice and salt to mixture and mix until incorporated (may be lumpy)
  3. Divide batter between 2 microwavable mugs and microwave uncovered on HIGH for 2 minutes
  4. Top with whipped cream and sprinkled cinnamon

…and enjoy! You are now officially ready for Thanksgiving, no matter who you spend it with or where you celebrate. Be sure to sign up for our Thank U Sweepstakes and let us know why you’re thankful for your education! Enter here: http://bnc.pgtb.me/v9dV8f

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Barnes & Noble College Asks Lena

To most people, Lena Dunham is known as a star on the hit show, Girls. To Lena, however, she has always identified herself as a writer. In this BNC Edition of #AskLena, find out her thoughts about writing a book, drawing inspiration, and going through the revision process.

#BNCAsksLena!Q. Do you feel like you had a good sense of what writing a book was like before you jumped into it? Was it easier or harder than you thought?

A. It was harder! I think I thought it would be like writing a movie: you puke it out (at least I do) then let a bunch of smart people read it and you fix it accordingly. But a book is so much more unwieldy than that. Every time I added I had to take away and vice versa. The essays themselves were a jot to write, but the form of the book as a whole was a bit elusive. I had to trust myself and my beloved editor and hope that the thickening page count meant something good was happening. I cried when I saw it printed for the first time, happy happy tears.

Q. Do you think of yourself as a writer first?

A. I do. Always have, always will. It’s how I answer if someone on an airplane asks me what I do and I hope it will be the focus of my obituary.

DUNHAM_NotThatKindGirl_COVERQ. In the introduction to this book, you write about taking inspiration – as a writer and someone who believes her story is worth telling – from an old self-help book you found during college in a Goodwill store by Helen Gurley Brown. What was it about that book that struck a chord, and how did it inform NTKOG?

A. I loved her honesty, and the way she shared her process and habits with the reader. She made it clear what had worked for her, what had given her a new lease on life and a sense of personal power. She was the original over-sharer, lifestyle guru, and icon for aspiring professional women. And that freaking hair-do, sprayed within an inch of its life and sitting high on her head like a cinnamon roll.

Q. Talk to me about the revision process. Do you enjoy it? What happens for you between draft one and the final version?

A. Revising is pure joy. You’re working with existing material so it’s hard to get discouraged. And if you trust your editor, you have a little path of bread crumbs leading you where you need to go.  I embraced revising in a new way on this book and felt the work sharpen, felt my own positions crystallize. In college I always got in trouble for not revising and I’d be a total punk, like, “my style is to be immediate. Haven’t you ever read beat poetry?” I wish I could punch my 19 year old self. Like, “it’s not selling out to add a comma and fix the tenses.”

Find more insights from Lena Dunham in her brand new book, Not That Kind of Girl – available in Barnes & Noble stores and at select Barnes & Noble College campus locations! Find your bookstore here!



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#CareerNow: Getting on Track

CareerNow Generic ImageI know you may feel like you are just starting to get settled on campus, but this is also the time to get focused on your career. If you are the type of student who is motivated by success and making a difference, then it’s important to start your career strategy now.

Students can experience a lot of anxiety and pressure about transitioning from college to their dream careers. So, with your campus bookstore, we want to help set you up for the success you deserve and help you showcase the talents you bring to the table. Time flies by quickly in college so it is important to build experiences and skills that will help you stand out in the workplace and your community after you graduate.

If you are taking the time to read this then you are most likely the type of student who will:

  • Do what it takes to maximize your career resources
  • Get experiences that will help you stand out from a crowd
  • Invest in your future

And this will pay off for you as you build a competitive advantage in the job market!

Launching this term, I’ll be sharing tips and advice; connecting you to helpful resources online and on campus; hosting twitter events and live workshops from campus bookstores across the country all about career prep. We will tackle the topics that you’ve told us are on your mind:

  • Networking
  • Personal Branding
  • Finding Mentors and Sponsors
  • Getting Organized
  • Internships
  • Developing skills that get you hired
  • Leadership and Influence
  • Managing stress and prioritizing your health

Send us your feedback and questions to yourcareeradvice@gmail.com or tweet me @joansnyderkuhl so we can bring you the resources that matter most to you! Even if our workshop doesn’t make it to your campus, we will make sure you have access to the information and strategies to launch your dream career right here on The College Juice.

Let’s kick this off with a must do list for your first 2 weeks back at school:

  1. Find a Mentor – a faculty member, leader in your academic department, a Dean, Graduate student or an Alumni are great people to get to know (It’s never too early to understand the value of building relationships with Mentors and Sponsors)
  2. Book an appointment with your Career Center (even if you are in your 1st year on campus) Learn more about your school’s resources, career fair schedules for internships and full time positions, employer and alumni connections. Develop a relationship with a career advisor so they will keep you in mind as opportunities and events arise around your interests.
  3. Get involved – on your campus AND in your school’s community. Most schools host a student activity fair within the first couple of weeks back to school. Make an effort to meet and get to know different organizations. If you don’t see an organization that matches what you are looking for then start your own!
  4. Plan to drop by Professor office hours – Prioritize the two courses you feel will be most challenging for you this semester. Introduce yourself and ask for their advice and expectations around best mastering this subject and staying ahead of assignments.
  5. Send a note to introduce yourself and share your excitement for being a part of this school to one of its top leaders– could be a Dean, President or Chancellor…Trust me, they want to hear from you and could be great sponsors throughout your education experience.
  6. Stop by your bookstore – check out the Career Section and the area with titles related to your major. Maybe pick up a journal to record your student and career goals to remind you how important it is to plan ahead.

Stay tuned to The College Juice for more tips and information. And we want to hear from you! If you have any questions, reach out at yourcareeradvice@gmail.com or tweet Joan directly @joansnyderkuhl

Written by Guest Blogger, Joan Kuhl

Joan Kuhl - Headshot
 Joan is a millennial career expert with more than 16 years of mentoring and coaching experience.  She has worked with students and young professionals around the world helping them achieve their potential.  Her efforts are focused on helping students to maximize their college and early work experience to accelerate their success. Joan launched Why Millennials Matter to help employers and organizations adapt their culture and programs to be sources of innovation and inspiration for future talent.
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Why I Love the DUO Binder (And Why You Will Too)

When I heard about a new student-designed binder, I couldn’t wait to find out more information. As a student, staying organized is always at the top of my mind. It is my great honor to introduce my fellow students to the coolest organization system out there: The Duo Binder! The Duo Binder is perfect for organizing notes, syllabi, and other worksheets for all of your classes. Each binder has three rings to hold loose-leaf paper for your notes and an expandable folder system that can hold various other papers. They don’t call it “Duo” for nothing, folks! It’s the perfect way to stay organized because everything fits comfortably in one binder. No more forgetting important papers in your dorm! Keep reading

The Duo BinderWhat might be the coolest thing about this product is that is was designed by an actual college student! Kelly Harden, an intern for Noble from The University of Central Florida, designed this binder with her fellow college students in mind.  She came up with the idea at a company-wide brainstorming meeting. Employees were discussing unmet consumer needs and she emphasized something that was affecting her personally: organization. Kelly envisioned one “grab and go” system to keep all of the pieces together. As a college student who knew what it was like to feel overwhelmed and disorganized, she felt that there needed to be a better way to organize paperwork, syllabi, etc. It’s no surprise that her school experiences helped her focus on what students really need.

I would definitely recommend investing in a Duo Binder (or 5…). They are available at select Barnes & Noble College bookstores, so check with yours! Happy organizing!

Written by Guest Blogger, Ilana S. of Rutgers University

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College Tip: Rent an HDTV with campusTVs

It happens every year: that awkward conversation between you and your roommate(s) about who is going to get a TV for your dorm or apartment. You consider splitting the price of a TV, but then realize…what are you going to do with it at the end of the year? You consider skipping the TV altogether, only to discover that Homeland, The Walking Dead, and American Horror Story are all coming back for their new seasons this fall. To avoid all this hassle and confusion, campusTVs has come up with a solution.

With campusTVs, you an07.28.14 Campus TVs Final Creatived your roommates have the option to rent an HDTV for the year! This way, you can split the cost without worrying about what will happen come the end of the semester. You know how we feel about rental textbooks, and we have a good feeling about rental televisions too! On top of the obvious convenience factor, they also offer free delivery, setup, and pick-up so you don’t have to worry about transportation logistics – especially nice if you live far from school.

And for those of you that can’t live without your Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black, you can upgrade to a Smart TV by adding a Roku Box. This allows you to stream to all your favorite TV shows and movies right from your Netflix, HBOGo, HuluPlus accounts and more! Just remember to study in between!

Plus, signing up is simple. Head to campusTVs’ website and select which options work best for you! Then, sit back and relax – your TV will be delivered, set up, and picked up for free!

Just imagine, you won’t have to deal with those difficult conversations between you and your roommate(s) and your TV will be delivered, setup, and picked up for free!

Written by Guest Blogger, Kat P.

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An Interview with Marvel Editor-in-Chief, Axel Alonso

We had the opportunity to pick the brain of Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief, Mr. Axel Alonso. He gave us the inside scoop on everything from the changes coming to some famous Marvel characters to advice for college students pursuing their dreams. Keep reading to find out what else we learned from one of the most important people in the Marvel Universe.

He may not be one of the actual Guardians of the Galaxy, but he’s definitely one of the most important people in the Marvel Universe. Two of our very own Barnes & Noble College interns got to chat with Mr. Alonso about some of his advice for college students, the new Guardians of the Galaxy film, and how he got to where he is today.

Marvel Entertainment Interview - Header

Chloe will be graduating from Penn State University in May, while Dan is a rising sophomore at Emerson College. Both are interning with Barnes & Noble College this summer.

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C: Guardians of the Galaxy is hitting the big screen, which opens up the “cosmic” part of the Marvel Universe. How were the Guardians selected for their own feature film?

A: The Guardians provide a doorway into the cosmos and an opportunity to tell widescreen space opera stories. It effectively broadens the canvas of the Marvel  Universe that’s on the big screen. Plus, they’re diverse and they’re fun and they’re family friendly. Especially Rocket and Groot, who I expect will be break-out characters by the end of summer.

D: It seems like comic book fans feel very connected to these stories and characters – perhaps more so than in other genres. Why do you think they feel that attachment?

Marvel - Character QuoteA: Marvel characters endure because people can relate to them. People fall in love with the character inside – the tights, the costumes, and the powers are just window dressing. If you take a look at the biggest Marvel characters, their interior lives are every bit as dramatic and fascinating and appealing as their super hero lives. Tony Stark has an insufferable ego and is vice prone, Thor has daddy issues, Peter Parker won’t stop sulking about the fact that he got his Uncle Ben killed and he’ll never atone for that fully. I think that these are human journeys, universal journeys and it’s because the characters have warps, because they have flaws, that there’s virtually a character in the Marvel Universe for everybody.

D: That’s very interesting. Do you think that this sort of connection that fans feel with these characters contributes to the success of the movies and the comics?

A: Without a doubt. I think what Marvel Studios has done a wonderful job of doing is translating decades worth of stories into one digestible, easy, Cineplex-friendly story. If you had told me that virtually everyone in the world would know who Iron Man is ten years ago I wouldn’t have believed it, would you? He was a second- or third-tier super hero, and now is so perfectly real on the big screen that virtually everyone knows not only what his powers are, but what makes him tick when he’s not wearing the armor. Marvel Studios never lost sight of the fact that it’s the characters in the costume that matter most. The characters aren’t defined by what they can do, it’s what they do do. 

C: As Editor in Chief, it’s your job to make sure the comic books are at their best and that the characters’ adventures across each page keep readers coming back. How involved is your team when it comes to the film-making process?

A: Senior editorial staff, we contribute to the creation of what are called character bibles at the pre-production phase…which is to say we’re consulted to discuss what you call sort of like the immutable truths of each character in their universe. What are the essentials – if you’re going to do Iron Man movies these are things you can’t lose: these qualities, these ticks, these supporting characters. We do that and we frequently read pre-production notes, see designs, and read script drafts at various stages. On occasion we provide feedback notes, but we don’t have any authority over any aspect of production – that’s Kevin Feige and his crew. That’s their domain and they’ve done a real terrific job of… translating our characters to the big screen.  That’s the way it works. 

D: On the topic of those characters, Marvel has never shied away from diversification – which we love. Thor will now be featured as a strong female hero. Captain America – formerly The Falcon – is African American. Is that diversity a decision made within the book’s story line that is carried over to film? Or is that a decision made for the film only?

A: It’s made for print. I keep my job based on my ability to work with my staff and our writers…to tell enticing stories that bring people to our comics and wanting more.  Any changes that we make as a group are made with print in mind. What Studios wants to do, that’s up to them. That said, these changes, the female Thor and Falcon becoming the new Captain America, they were not an editorial edict. These came about because the writers had ideas for a shake-up that they thought would make for cool stories. What they did is that they sold those ideas to their direct editor, who in turn sold it to me, who in turn looped in my boss – the publisher. They said, “this is what we want to do, yes people might yell, yes it’s controversial, but here’s why.” Those changes came about to affect publishing. Whether or not they make it to film, that’s for the studio to decide, but I’m sure they’ll be watching the public response to what these publishing moves mean to see how fans react. I know that the actor who plays Thor [Chris Hemsworth]… at Comic Con when he was asked about the female Thor [he] said “that would be my Academy Award”.  I think it’s safe to say that Studios is aware of what we’re doing.

D: Speaking of actors, you mentioned you don’t have control over what the studio does. But as a personal preference, do you have any actors/actresses in mind that – as an editor – you think would fit these roles?

A: To be honest, no.  Every once in a while it might happen, but I’m hard pressed to think of an example where a particular actor has come into focus. Obviously, some writers in their scripts might specify, “think Sean Penn” or what have you. Apart from Mark Lewis saying that Fury might look like Samuel L. Jackson, we don’t really get that specific. 

C: Are there any Marvel characters that you’re hoping will eventually make it to film?

A: For me, yeah there’s a bunch. But I’ll start with Black Panther.  He sports the best costume in all of comics, it’s all black. He’s always been one of my personal favorites. He’s a little stronger than a really strong man, super athletic, he’s brilliant and he’s got lots of gadgets so he’s a little bit like MacGyver with superpowers. I really like the Black Panther and I would love to see him on the big screen. 

D: As someone who has so much experience in this industry, you’ve probably seen it go through a lot of changes. With technology evolving, how do you make sure you stay relevant and innovative?

A: You stay relevant by not being afraid to take chances. In this case, by not being afraid to embrace technology and being an early adapter. Marvel’s always been an early adapter on the digital front. We were one of the first to embrace traditional digital comics as a format and we’re currently the only ones pioneering a new comic book form called Infinite Comics which are comic books made specifically for hand held media devices. They’re not digital comics, they’re not just comics reformatted for a tablet…sized down for an iPad screen. They’re comic books that use the tablet as the canvas and all the digital tools like a paintMarvel - Tune them Outbrush. The writer and artist collaborate to take a look into everything digital has to offer and the result is a thoroughly unique reading experience. The reader scrolls through the comic book and there’s panels and captions and balloons and we’re even experimenting with audio, but the reader controls the pace of the reading experience. They are reading, it’s not animation. It’s about motion and special effects that just aren’t available on printed page. That’s one prime example of how we’re experimenting with technology to tell stories and we’re not afraid to make mistakes, we’re not afraid to spend money, we’re not afraid to lose money as we get better and better at doing this.  

C: As someone who has worked on characters such as Spider-Man and the X-Men, is it still exciting for you to see them come alive in film or in these new digital media apps?

A: To be honest it’s not that surprising, at least now. This is modern mythology featuring characters who really capture the imagination of 7+ generations of readers…and this is across multiple media platforms, comics, novels, animation, TV – live-action TV of course – and now the perfection of the movies that technology has caught up with. It stopped surprising me once Ironman stuck, if that’s a good way of putting it. Once we saw how a character like Ironman could stick I ceased being surprised. It started being like a rolling stone at that point…independent movies that function like puzzle pieces of a larger whole…I just think the sky’s the limit.

D: Before you got into this industry, were you into comic books?

A: When I was a little boy I was way into them. I used to buy two comic books every Friday afternoon when my grandma would pick me up after school….and that’s how I got introduced to comics…I loved them up until my pre-teens when I discovered girls and basketball. So I got out of comics for a while, although, truth be told, I did find copies of the Heavy Metal comic book being put out at the time and I kind of liked that it was crazy fantasy. And I rediscovered comics when I was in college and I’ve been back ever since. I never ever dreamed of working in comics, but I was a fan. I especially think that when I got back into comics in college, I happened to wander into stuff like Alan Moore and Frank Miller – who were, of course, seminal creators…so it was good timing for me to fall back in love with comics.

C: When it comes to editing comics, what process do you go through? How do you eventually land on a final product?

A: Speaking as an Editor, I’d say that the most important thing is that I look at a character and ask myself what types of stories are there to tell…obviously, if you have a character named Captain America who is dressed in red, white and blue, you’re probably going to tell stories that have something to say about America as opposed to the cosmos or Norse mythology…Apart from that, there is a rule I live by that there is no one way of doing things…for me I think that it’s really about just understanding that you have to trust your gut and start by understanding who the character is in the world and then what story you want to tell and then sticking to it.

D: You mentioned that people relate to characters because they can see a piece of themselves in them. Which character do you most relate to?

A: *Laughs* My quick answer to that is the Hulk because he has anger management issues…but I don’t know that I relate to any one character. I do know that when I got into comic books, my favorite characters were never what you would deem the most popular at the time…the Black Panther, Shang Chi, Luke Cage, Iron Fist…their powers were more downsized, more street-level, maybe a bit more realistic….But, I usually related to characters that were a little bit smaller scale-wise and a little bit more of an outsider.

C: Being Editor-in-Chief at Marvel Comics is what a lot of people would call a “dream job”. What are some challenges you faced when working to get where you are  today?

A: I’ll start off by saying that as a kid I never considered that comics…were a career option. My education and career path took me into journalism and from there I landed at DC Comics…and through fate I ended up at Marvel. …the initial challenge was working for low-pay and long hMarvel - Work Hardours and feeling overqualified – because it was a very weird move to go from being fairly successful in journalism to starter-level in comics. But I stuck with it…If I think about the challenge you always face in the creative field, it’s just sticking to it. You’re always going to hear a lot of chatter, you’re always going to hear a lot of voices…angry at you, who question your judgment, who don’t like what you’re doing…and you’re going to hear them loud. And I think you just have to tune them out…do what you think you should do and trust the voices of a few people whose judgement you trust. You’ve got to be willing to get fired to get promoted (*Laughs*). If you play it safe, you’re never going to get anywhere.

D: At Barnes & Noble College, we work with a lot of students. What advice would you give to them about chasing their dreams and staying motivated?

A: Everybody’s different. I tell them pretty much what I tell my son, who is 11…work hard at something you love. If you love doing something…you’re going to put in the hours and get better and better at it, simply because it won’t feel like work. You put in those hours, which means you’ll get better…you’ll hear it…you’ll get rewarded for it. Bottom line, boiling it down – work hard at something you love. 

Sounds like some MARVELous advice (sorry, we couldn’t resist!). For those of you who are new to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy series, we suggest kicking off your adventure with Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Avengers (sold in all Barnes & Noble Superstores and select Barnes & Noble College Bookstores – see your store for details). 

Marvel Entertainment Interview - Where to Start

Do you have a favorite Marvel character or series? Post a comment below and let us know which is your top pick!

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Back to Campus Checklist

The new semester is slowly – but surely – sneaking up on us. It’s easy to procrastinate when it comes to preparing for the new term, but we’re here to help you get ready sooner rather than later. Avoid the last-minute scrambling and take a look at our checklist below. Then, when it really is time to head back to school, you can focus on fun (rather than stress).

First, things first…

Before You Get to CampusThere are a few things to get done before you even set foot on campus. Afraid you’ll forget something? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s get started:

1. Order your textbooks.

2. Create a packing list to stay organized (look below for a great list to get you started!)

3. Purchase the items on your list that you don’t already have.

3. Spend quality time with your friends and family.

4. Eat at your favorite restaurant at home.

5. Make a picture collage to hang in your dorm room.

6. Talk to your roommate and get to know each other.

7. Schedule (and attend!) all necessary doctor appointments in and fill out any forms you may need.

8. Take a relaxing day off and enjoy a day trip to the beach.

9. Get a fresh new haircut.

10. Decide if you need a credit card or debit card.

11. Update your music.

 Next up…

Time to PackPacking to head back to campus can be stressful. What’s the good news? It doesn’t have to be! Check out our list below to help you get started…

Packing ListNow that you have a general idea of what to pack, you need to think of how to pack. Packing efficiently will save you time and precious space in your suitcase.

Packing Tips!

  1. You do not need to bring every single thing in your closet! Chances are you will get a bunch of free t-shirts during freshman year; so don’t feel the need to pack every single one. Additionally, there’s a good chance you’ll visit home during Thanksgiving or Fall break, so hold off on packing all of your heavy winter items until then.
  2. Be practical when you are packing! If you didn’t wear something in high school, you probably won’t wear it in college. Consider donating unused items instead.
  3. If you can, keep your clothes on hangers when transporting them to school! It will save you so (re: SOOOOO) much time by not having to un-hang and re-hang all your clothes.
  4. Check to see what your school provides! For example, some schools may provide a microwave in a common room. Knowing this will save you money and space in your car when packing.
  5. Coordinate with your roommate. Make sure you know what he/she is bringing so that you don’t bring duplicates.

You’ve done all of the planning. You’ve packed your suitcase(s). Moving on to…

When You Arrive on CampusYou made it! You’ve arrived on campus and you’re ready to start the new semester. However, there are a few things left do before the new term kicks off.

  1. Pick up your textbooks. The campus bookstore often gives you the option to pick up your order in-store…for free!
  2. Get your student ID card if you don’t have it already.
  3. Organize your room. Make sure everything is in order for the first day.
  4. Map out your classes so you know exactly where to go. Avoid the terror of walking into the wrong lecture hall.
  5. Keep your door open and start meeting new people!
  6. Check out your college bookstore and get a new t-shirt to display your school pride.
  7. Look at your school’s calendar for upcoming events, like homecoming.
  8. Think about how you will get involved! Check out different clubs, sports, or Greek life and see which interest you.

You’re all set! Get ready for a great semester ahead.

Written by Guest Blogger, Kat P. of Elon University

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