Listen Up: Top 5 Podcasts

Story By: Madeline Baker

As the school year winds down, many have already started asking themselves, “What will I binge watch during exams when I really should be studying, but who am I kidding no time to study when I have all this free time?!!!!” We all do it, so let’s stop pretending we are all in the library “studying” for 12 straight hours. No, we’re catching up on Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO GO, Showtime Anytime, Hulu and whatever other streaming service there might be out there. I love my shows, and have already promised myself that I will get around to finishing Westworld, but for those of you who don’t care to watch shows, there is a plethora of really entertaining podcasts that I am sharing now for your exam-season listening pleasure. I prefer to listen to podcasts at night when I’m about to fall asleep, or when I’m on a long run and I want to focus on something other than the intense pain radiating through my body. Here are a few of my favorites, just in time for your all-nighter in Clem 1.

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Sarah Koening, the host of Serial. Courtesy of

Serial: Season 1

If you haven’t listened to the first season of This American Life’s acclaimed series, you probably didn’t pick up on a lot of pop culture references in the winter of 2014. This series changes the way you think about the American justice system and the idea of “innocent until proven guilty.” The podcast is just as the saying suggests, a serial, a story told week by week about a murder that took place in Baltimore in 1999. This podcast also brings a whole new meaning to the term “plot twist,” and I was brought to tears during some episodes, not necessarily out of sadness, but more out of shock and frustration. Anyway, get with the times and listen to this show.

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Iris Reading List: Immigration

Iris reading list

Compiled by the Iris Team

If you’re anything like us, you love to read (and you love to read Iris, am I right?). We read because literature, regardless of content or style, is a gateway to thought and passion. Language tells stories, and stories are powerful little entities that can shape and reshape mentalities, take us to faraway lands, allow us to fall in love and hate, and force us to feel. And I mean, force, because you have no choice in the matter – If you are reading, you are feeling, and that’s non-debatable. So, the Iris team presents our latest column: “The Iris Reading List”, the top 5 pieces you should be reading on a variety of topics.

So, here we go…

To start, let’s talk about immigration. Regardless of how you feel (or how you thought you felt) about immigration policy and law, we are (mostly) all realizing that we may know a lot of immigrants, but we know very little about them. You may know a friend, a hairdresser, a barista at a favorite coffee shop, a favorite pediatrician recommended to you by your older and wiser sister, a neighbor, a man or woman who was not born in the United States. You may know that today, America is their home. But you may realize that you know very little about anything in between those two facts. You know they are this thing called an “immigrant” or a “visitor” or a “foreigner,” but what does that really mean? Stories can help us figure this out. Because immigrant stories are so personal, it is often difficult to encounter comfortable spaces for sharing experiences. Literature gives us that comfort, and lets us find, tell, and share stories that define the “other.”

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So You’re Looking for an Internship…?

Story By: Madeline Baker

It’s spring semester at UVA, and it seems everyone has one thing on his or her mind: internships. Whether an internship is paid, unpaid, summer or year round, it’s a great way to get real world experience. If you know anything about internships, though, you know that these positions are limited and really competitive. You could have a stellar GPA, awesome references, and hold a number of leadership roles on Grounds and still find yourself in intense competition for any internship. With internships this intense, why would anyone accept one that wasn’t crazy fun with super rewarding opportunities? If this criteria is describes what you are looking for, then search no further and check out the Women’s Center internship program! These year-long internships are a chance to take part in real social change on Grounds and provide participants with valuable opportunities to get involved at UVA. If you still aren’t convinced, here are 5 reasons to apply to the Women’s Center internship program for the 2017-2018 school year.

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Story By: Kimia Nikseresht

You know that feeling when your heart drops, your hands start shaking, and the whole world seems to disappear as you try to read that blurry “we need to talk” text through your uncontrollable tears? It might be due to the lack of oxygen, because you’re already crying so hard you physically can’t breathe through your runny snotty nose, or it might be that your body knows what your brain doesn’t want to accept yet – you’re about to get dumped.

At this point it doesn’t matter if you met this guy a week ago, or if you’ve been in love with him for an eternity. It’s a shitty feeling. Now imagine if you were finally dating your dream guy, the guy that you have literally dreamed up a future with, beautiful babies and coordinated cars included, and it’s that much worse. You suddenly find yourself talking to the mirror trying to explain to yourself that your best friend wants to be just your best friend, and the romantic trip to Maine is not going to happen. He might have memorized your mom’s number, but he’s not going to use it anytime soon. And you might have exchanged a trillion pictures of Gabrielle Union and Dwayne Wade (because let’s be honest, they’re #CoupleGoals) but that’s them and you’re you and they’re not the same thing.

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#ShootYourShot2016: Top 5 Relationship Lessons from 2016


Story By: Kimia Nikseresht

December is always the month of reflection, as we attempt to make sense of the last 12 months and, feminist or not, come to terms with that fact that we are one year older and don’t feel that much wiser. In fact, this January, we may actually feel dumber – think about it… We don’t have a female president. We don’t have peace in the Middle East. We don’t even have decent wifi at UVa. 2016 isn’t looking too good.

2016 was unique, though, in that it was also the year of the hashtag. We #PrayforParis (and some of us #PrayforIstanbul too), we recognize that #BlackLivesMatter (and some of us still insist that #AllLivesMatter), and yes, we still follow #Kimye. But 2016 also challenged us to shoot our shot – loosely stated, to go for it, whatever “it” may be. Submit that application. Purchase those thigh-high boots that you don’t think you can pull off. And send that text.

I shot my shot in 2016, and nearly suffered a heart attack because of it. But about 5 minutes of recovery time later, I let that shit sink in… my best friend is actually my boyfriend now. The one person in the world who has seen my ugly, witnessed my crazy, and watched me literally fall down a flight of stairs because I still don’t know how to walk in heels (some feminist, huh) actually likes me. He actually freaking loves me!

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Top 5 Shows to Binge-Watch Over Winter Break

Story By: Taylor Lamb

Happy finals season! The beautiful time of year when the people who haven’t visited a library all semester (me) are suddenly there every night this week (me) and are getting dirty looks from the people who were there all semester and now have to fight for space (not me). This is a time of stress, all-nighters, and if you’re not careful, burnout. However, the one thing about finals season that should put joy in the hearts of every girl and boy is that winter break is right around the corner. A whole month free of classes, tests, papers, deadlines, and stress. A whole month to hang out with family and friends, sleep without an alarm clock, maybe make some extra cash, and most importantly…. watch TV. If you’ve been feeling like you don’t have a show to watch over break, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here are 5 shows you should binge-watch to your heart’s content. (Side note: Am I the only one who noticed that no one calls it “marathon” anymore?)

1. Jane the Virgin


picture1I’ve been watching this show since it premiered my first year here and have been loving it ever since. Loosely modeled off of Spanish telenovelas, Jane the Virgin is a comedy about Jane Villanueva, a virgin who gets pregnant through a medical accident. Hijinks ensue. Despite that unrealistic, comedic, premise, the show manages to shed light on a lot of important issues such as U.S. immigration laws and societal expectations regarding female sexuality. What’s more, the relationships among the three generations of Villanueva woman are so beautifully portrayed. You’ll want to go hug your mom. In fact, I definitely would recommend watching this one with your mom. You can find seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix.

2. Scandal

2This is a show I’m sure you’ve heard about, though maybe you’ve needed a push to finally give it your attention. Consider this article your push. Scandal is a political thriller about Olivia Pope, a badass political fixer with her own crisis management firm that helps her DC clients resolve all their dirty secrets. Also… she happens to be having an affair with the president. Five seasons in, the show has definitely become about a lot more than that, but I won’t spoil it for you. I was originally drawn to this show when I heard that Kerry Washington (Olivia Pope) was the first black woman to lead a network TV show in almost 40 years (and the second one ever)! After one episode, I was hooked. Not only by the incredible acting of the entire cast, but the character Olivia Pope, who, in my opinion, is one of the most amazing characters on television. And I’m not just comparing her to women, either. Not convinced? The first season is only 7 episodes, so you can definitely give that a shot when you’re in your food coma the day after your holiday dinner. Find it on Netflix.

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