The Echo Recommends – December 2021


Aarti Gupta

In the December 2021 edition of The Echo Recommends, we share some suggestions of how to relieve your finals stress and winter break boredom.

Stressed over finals? Unsure what to do over break? We’ve got you covered.

Jason Verdin – Shoot film photography

Film photography is a buzzing industry, again. Although it can be expensive, it is a fun way to get into taking photographs. Try starting with a point and shoot disposable camera. They are still sold in most convenient stores. Ask around in your family, too. Chances are someone has an old film camera that they haven’t used in years that is just dying to be wound and cranked with a fresh roll of film. Once you finish a roll, get it developed and dive into the nostalgia of your memories.

Aarti Gupta – Any oversized blanket hoodie

Whether you purchase a Snuggie or buy an off-brand version from a local retailer, an oversized blanket with sleeves and a hood is a must-have for the winter. I recently purchased one from Costco, and it’s all I’ve been wearing around the house. It’s soft, long and warm, and I honestly wish it was socially acceptable for me to wear it to school. Most of these hoodies also have huge pockets in the center which are nice to carry around your phone, AirPods and even a book. Most sellers generally put them on sale as the weather gets colder, so I’d recommend buying one soon.  

Ben LeGrand – Watch “The Wire” on HBO Max

HBO’s critically acclaimed crime drama depicting the inner workings of the drug trade, police department, port, politics, schools and newsrooms of a corrupt Baltimore is my personal favorite show of all time. The character development and depiction of the stark reality of the dirty underbelly of an American city is intriguing. I found myself slowing down my binge watching, wanting it not to end. 

Peter Wujek – Crosswords

I recommend doing crosswords in your free time. It’s a fun way to test your brain, and I enjoy the challenge. Some are much harder than others, but the New York Times Mini is a great place to start. You can also use and play with friends.

Abby Apeland – Showing appreciation for your friends

Surprise your friends by gifting them something special that shows your love and appreciation for them. From making posters with your favorite photos and jokes to a scrapbook commemorating your journey as friends, simply let your friends know how much they mean to you. 

Jason Appel – Build a snowman

Build a snowman if it snows. Do it with your siblings or make a challenge with your friends to see who can make the best snowman with what little snow we will probably get. Spend time outside and have fun. 

Jaclyn Bobbe – Drinking some hot cocoa

With the freezing cold weather outside, the best way to beat the cold is to cuddle up by the fireplace with a good book and a cup of steaming hot cocoa. Hot cocoa goes with every food (I can debate with you on this), and you can put many things in it such as cookies, marshmallows, peppermint and much much more. This is why hot cocoa is the perfect dessert or drink to have whenever it’s cold. 

Logan Brown – Buying someone a gift

While it may sound cliché or basic to some, buying a gift for someone, especially during the holiday season, is a great way to show that you care about them. It doesn’t even need to be spectacular or expensive. You can give a gift to whoever you want: friends, family, your S/O or anyone who you feel grateful to have in your life. It feels great to give a gift and make someone in your life feel happy and cared about.

Viraj Desai – Put up the Christmas tree

What better way to spend time with your family during the holidays than to put up the Christmas tree? By looking through ornaments and lights and putting them on the tree, it really makes you commemorate the memories you had with your family, and it’s just a fun thing to do as well. You can also collect ornaments from different places and put it up on your tree to show where you have been around the world. 

Olivia Durcan – Making a blended playlist with your friends from Spotify Wrapped

Spotify Wrapped 2021 is finally here and with everyone posting their top artists and songs from this year on their social media, there are other features from Spotify Wrapped that you can explore. Via a shared link with one person, Spotify can create a combined playlist of songs you and the other person listened to in 2021 together and also see how similar your music tastes are. All that you have to do is click on “Your 2021 in review” on your Spotify homepage, scroll down, and under “2021 Wrapped: Blend,” click on “Create a blend.” From there you can invite a friend and share a link with one other person. 

Mahika Gupta – Spend time with family and friends!

It’s been a hard year, and winter break is just around the corner, and, apparently, just what we need. If you’re not close to your family, or if you just don’t have enough time to spend with them because of school or other activities, the break is a fantastic way to get you closer to them. Sit down and chat for a while, maybe watch a movie, go shopping for warm winter clothes, go out for coffee or for lunch, breakfast or dinner; all the things you weren’t able to do with the pressures of grades and other things.

Lily Ha –  Make holiday cards

It’s officially the holiday season! As the month of December is known for all things merry and bright, take this time to create holiday cards for your friends and family. Whether your designs are simple or exquisite, these small yet meaningful cards will bring warmth and cheer to those around you.

Adam Hristov – Playing video games in the winter 

I believe that the best time to play video games is in the winter because there is really nothing better to do. Playing video games in the winter just feels so right, especially when it is snowing or raining. If you have lost interest in video games in the last couple of years, I recommend you to redownload them and give them another try during the winter season.

Lucas Lombana Arias – Take a mental health day when you need it

Pressures from school and extracurricular can get overwhelming. Taking a day off from everyday pressures is extremely beneficial. It helps you recharge and rest when you really need it. I recommend spending time with family, going out on a walk, and meditating. Just make sure you can easily catch up on the work you have missed.  

Udhay Nallapati – following @pampam.mp4 on Instagram

As life becomes more and more stressful for students with finals approaching and multiple tests the week before finals, a little laughter is much needed. This is exactly what the Instagram account PamPam.mp4 comes in. With funny videos and memes inciting anything from a slight chuckle to a fit of laughter, PamPam helps relieve stress post by post.

Sanchali Pandey – Bake and decorate sugar cookies with friends

As the holiday season is approaching rapidly, what better way to celebrate than baking and decorating sugar cookies? Nothing screams winter like the delectable smell of warm, sugary cookies coming from your oven. And what’s even better than baking cookies? Decorating them! Gather up your friends and have a sugar-cookie decorating contest, seeing who can decorate cookies the best! The prize? Winner takes all the cookies home! 

Jake Panek – “Disney’s FastPass: A Complicated History” by Defunctland

“What do you know about lines?” Defunctland, a series about extinct theme parks and themed entertainment experiences, has always been an incredibly underrated channel on YouTube. But Kevin Perjurer’s most recent video, a feature length documentary covering the long and rough history of Walt Disney World’s FastPass system, is his magnum opus. All of the dry wit, concise narration and extensive research is here, but this goes far beyond any of Perjurer’s other videos in its massive scope and the real-world connections and conclusions it draws—and no spoilers, but the Shapeland segment and reveal has got to be one of the most ingenious things I’ve seen all year. If you have an hour and forty three minutes to spare, check this out.

Ingrid Reginato – Make an abstract self portrait

It doesn’t matter what your skill level in art is, you should make a really messy and expressive portrait of yourself. Use a lot of color. Scribble, emphasize certain lines, distort one side of your face. Don’t focus on trying to make it look like you. Once you’re done, your masterpiece will look really cool, and might show you aspects of how you view yourself. You’ll also have a really cool and personally significant picture to put up on your wall. This is a great way to release feelings that you may have had trouble putting into words, and a great exercise for your creativity.

Sabrina Sabatin – Prince Arcades

Located in The Promenade Bolingbrook, Prince Arcades is a fun place to play classic video games such as pinball, pacman, space invaders, etc. My personal favorite is to rock out on Guitar Hero and maybe battle against a friend. With late hours and $15 all day admission, it’s a no brainer to take a weekend visit. 

Mahima Shankar – Rewatching “Titanic”

We are all familiar with the iconic classic, “Titanic,” with the everlasting love birds Jack Dawson and Rose Dewitt Bukater. The winter can be a pleasant time to rewatch this classic; cozy blankets, warm cookies and a box of tissues by the side can make a perfect evening. “Titanic” is a 3 hour and 14 minute movie, based off of the true story of the luxury steamship which sailed across the North Atlantic, and unfortunately happened to hit an iceberg during the voyage. This caused the steamship to sink to the bottom of the North Atlantic, and “Titanic” tells the story of the sinking, as well as the tragic star crossed loving story between Jack and Rose. 

Ryder Stejskal – Lamps

Get some lighting for your room that isn’t just overhead or any old lamp. Invest in a good lamp. A real unique one. A scandalous leg type. The fandom-sparking kind. Don’t get something basic either, really invest in this. You can have those star projectors and all those LED bulbs and strips, those are cool, but invest in a good lamp.