Laptop Stickers are the Windows to the Soul

When I sit in class, I can’t help but wonder what the meaning behind the colorful stickers plastered on my peer’s laptops. Laptop stickers are a means of self-expression and even art. At school, I have seen my fair share of fascinating and quirky laptop decorations. These stickers are often very funny and have even funnier meanings and stories behind them. I decided to hunt down some particular interesting laptops and decipher the meaning behind their decals!


Me! – Freshman WLP Major: I started collecting stickers for my laptop over the summer and going into college. Over the summer I took a trip out west to different national parks such as Yosemite and Death Valley National Park, where I began to collect stickers from each location I traveled to. Travel and the environment are two essential elements of my life that I wanted to be reminded of. I also have a sticker of a wolf which I think to be my spirit animal (I may or may not have taken five personality tests to decipher this as well). Lastly, I put my Yeti water bottle sticker on my laptop to remind myself of the importance of hydration in addition to putting shame on myself for spending so much on a water bottle.


Hind Bakkali – Freshman International Business Major: I found Hind typing away on her laptop at Explorateur while sipping on her latte. Her laptop grabbed my attention; particularly with the very “mainstream” sticker choices such as of Kim Kardashian and Brandy Melville… I wanted to know more. She told me that she was an international student at Harvard majoring in international business, but didn’t specify where she was from. She started collecting her stickers last year when she started college. She described the skull from Brandy Melville as her style, and she identifies with the “queen bitch” sticker because she sees herself as just that. She also had a SoulCycle sticker because she is a fan of this exercise group.


Sallie Bieterman – Senior Theatre Arts Major: Sallie shows her Jewish pride with a sticker with the Jewish phrase “Oy Vey!”, and her love of Scotland with a Scotland sticker. She describes this sticker as “constantly my mood.” Sallie also worked at the women’s march headquarters in Washington DC, (hence her women’s march sticker. One of her stickers actually brought in a fellow stagedoor manor theatre camp participant. The girl saw her sticker through the window at Bolocco and told Sallie that she was going to be attending the camp soon. Ever since then, Sallie has been mentoring this girl.


Eric Doente – Freshman WLP Major: Eric didn’t have much to reveal about his mysterious stickers besides his favorite sticker, the banana sticker. He got it an an Aminé concert which was one of his favorite things he has done in Boston this year. You might know the song “Caroline” from this band.


Cassandra Yany – Freshman Journalism major: Cassandra is from Rhode Island, which is where her anchor and PV Donuts is from. PV Donuts is a popular donut shop in Rhode Island where she usually frequents when at home. Cassandra has a New York City sticker because she wants to work in NYC in a magazine someday. Lastly, she has a “Rep” (Reputation) sticker to show her love and undying support of Taylor Swift.


Jillian Stalker – Freshman VMA major: Jillian’s laptop was definitely the most minimalistic. Jillian admitted that she was very into minimalism, and the googly eyes were representative of her eccentric, spontaneous, and unique personality. I think that the googly eyes are a great conversation starter and are a play on her last name: “Stalker.”

Gaining some insight behind the mysterious stickers that find themselves on every millennial’s laptop proved to be a very interesting project. I always thought that the majority of stickers were random, but actually every sticker seems to have some sort of hidden meaning. The next time you are checking out some of those laptop stickers or buying some of your own, try to decipher the meaning behind them!

Easy Ways to Keep Up with the News

There was probably a time when keeping up with the news was easy. Back in the good ol’ days, when people read the Sunday paper and there was about as much space devoted to the Big Game as to politics as a concept.

Now, there are many reasons it is not easy at all. Such as: it constantly seems like the most insane event in the history of the world just took place, and then three minutes later something even crazier happens. Also, everything has been happening for so long and it’s so hard to catch up and does anyone know what Israel and Palestine comes down to or are we all just too scared to ask. Also also, the economy is so boring.

But there is one thing that makes it unbelievably easy, and that thing is in your hand or pocket or the space between your bed and the wall right now. It is called a smartphone, and it makes it impossible to believe that people ever managed to get their news exclusively from comically large stacks of paper with stories printed in size 8 Times New Roman once a week.

Here’s how I manage to keep up with the news and have bare minimum 18% comprehension on what it means, while also being the laziest individual on the planet Earth.

1. Email subscriptions

There is not a person in the world who enjoys constant emails, but here we are. I subscribe to three email news things, but there are approximately infinity of them if none of these suit your fancy.

One: theSkimm. It goes out every weekday morning at a ridiculously early hour, tries really hard to be funny and #relatable, and comes with celebrity recommendations from the likes of Trevor Noah, Sarah Jessica Parker, and OPRAH. Yes. Oprah.

Two: the Post Most. There are a lot of ways to get the Washington Post in your inbox. The one I went with sends out links to the most popular stories of the day.

Three: the New York Times Evening Briefing. This goes out every weekday around dinnertime and tends to rank stories in order of significance, which is fun for if you don’t have roughly four minutes to read something.

2. Have favorite news sites (and maybe – gasp – pay)

Paying for things is disgusting. But it at least helps to have website preferences for those times when you see something that hints at a news story and want/need to find out more info. For example: When someone says “Did you hear what Trump did today?” and you can sneakily say yes while actually typing into the Safari app on your phone to figure it out.

For sites with paywalls (the New York Times, for example, lets non-subscribers view a mere 10 articles a month), you may want to cough up the cash.

A lot of newspapers offer a student discount, because the Venn diagram between “fan of knowledge” and “needs things to cost less money” is exclusively the currently-in-college demographic. Find a list of them here.

3. Twitter, shockingly

I have a Twitter account. I do not tweet from it, which is surprising primarily because of my obsession with hearing myself talk (reading myself write?). Rather, I use it to follow news sources (the Associated Press, CNN), individual journalists (Jake Tapper, Maggie Haberman), and people whose political takes I like (Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett).

Also every comedian I’ve laughed at even once, and one meme account, for flair.

4. Weekly magazines??

In a twist no one saw coming, weekly subscription magazines still exist. In a double twist, they can be really helpful. And also cheap. I subscribed to the New Yorker for $12, and will get 12 magazines and a tote! Now I can be the pretentious person at the coffee shop with the New Yorker bag who looks like they really have their life together. (There’s also a digital subscription option if you’re a big tree fan.)

The Week, which has funny sections I used to read in seventh grade for some reason, will give you four free issues even if you cancel payment on them like the scammer you are.

5. Podcasts!

I am a huge podcast fan. Granted this rarely extends outside of an extremely narrow niche of LA-based improv comedy and the occasional true crime, but I am a big fan of some political ones too. There’s the Crooked Media empire (Pod Save America, Lovett or Leave It, Pod Save the People, With Friends Like These, and seemingly infinity more); the New York Times’ The Daily; NPR’s All Things Considered; and so, so, so, so, sosososo many more.

Seriously. So many more.

It seems like a wildly daunting task to understand even a tenth of what’s going on current-events wise today, but you’d be surprised. Just a couple of these options can give you baseline knowledge that will make you feel way smarter. Maybe not safer, or less anxious about the state of the world, but definitely smarter.

Also, you’ll be way better equipped when that one friend keeps dropping obscure news stories into the conversation. And honestly, it’s about time for Sarah to realize that she’s not the only one who checks CNN in the morning.

My College Basketball Losing Curse

Now that the basketball season is over, I can openly admit that I might be the reason Emerson lost a few games… Okay, I get how silly it may sound but the curse has been proven. It all started in the game against Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) when they lost by one point in a 74-73 game. After the first time, I did not think much of the loss. It was just unlucky, right? I continued going to games and they continued to lose. Some games by 5 points, some by 20 but it wasn’t until I visited Duke that I actually believed in my curse.

If you aren’t familiar with Duke basketball, it is a HUGE deal. They are known for how many college players end up in the NBA, such as Kyrie Irving. To get tickets for these games, students legitimately camp outside of the basketball stadium for weeks. I thought that my friend was kidding about how intense they get, but then I got the chance to see it before my own eyes and actually got to participate in tenting.


On the day of the game, my friend and I woke up at 7 a.m. to go and wait for the 3 p.m. game. It was exhausting, to say the least. When I arrived at the area of the tents, I was absolutely shocked to see all the trouble they go through for some tickets (which I totally understand now). They would have random “tent checks” which consists of people scurrying from their tents to get ID checks. The trick to these checks is that 6 members must be present at all times. Some people made excel schedule sheets to schedule times to ensure 6 people are in the tent. I got to participate with my borrowed Duke ID (which looked nothing like me). With my friends’ group of friends, I was able to get front row seats at the game against the University of Virginia.


I was definitely excited about the game but by halftime, I was fully in the game. I even learned all of their cheers (but I was kind of forced to or else I would have looked like an idiot on TV). This game was a nail-biter and was back and forth the whole time. The game was predicted to be won by Duke, which gave fans even more anxiety about the closeness of the score. Duke is also known for their record-breaking wins in the Cameron Stadium. The day I attended the game, January 27, was also the first time since 1973 that Duke and UNC lost on their home court. It wasn’t until after that I opened a Snapchat from my friend back at Emerson that said, “you’re bad luck they shouldn’t have lost,” that I really considered being bad luck.

To test out to see if my curse really was true, I attended an Emerson basketball game against Clark. When I arrived it started off as a close half and then they started to fall behind to Clark. I felt increasingly guilty as the game continued so I decided to leave to see if they had a better chance. My roommate was keeping updated play by play and at the last second, the game went into overtime by a 3-point shot to tie the game. After they won in overtime, it was official: I was bad luck.

After my little experiment, I came to the conclusion that I have cursed college basketball teams. As silly as it may seem, I really am convinced that I caused them to lose. Maybe next year I can test out my bad luck theory again but as of now, I am keeping my distance from any and all basketball teams. Hopefully, my curse is only on college basketball teams, I have been too nervous to see if I’ll jinx NBA teams too…

The Bullet Journal for the Lazy

I have long obsessed over the idea of a bullet journal.

I’ve Googled the lined versus dotted versus graph versus blank notebook conundrum. (Google says dotted is the bullet journal way to go.) I’ve gazed at #bujo on Instagram. I’ve filled online shopping carts with ridiculously expensive pens and washi tape and how-to calligraphy books, only to somehow exercise the self-control I’ve been searching for my whole life.

Because I know myself. I lack the creativity, consistency, and straight-line-drawing ability necessitated by the bullet journal. So while I contemplated the idea of making my New Year’s resolution bullet journal-related, I also was extremely sick of giving up on my resolutions a month into the year. (Okay, fine, two weeks.)

Enter: the habit tracker.

Image credit: Sarah Halstead

The habit tracker is a single sheet of paper. If you look up free downloadables, it is already made for you. It requires no more tools than a single writing utensil, no more artistic ability than coloring in squares, plus approximately five minutes of time daily and little to no effort.

It is, in other words, my dream.

A habit tracker is a monthly, well, habit tracker. You write down a certain number of habits – in my template, it’s the nearly unbelievably arbitrary number of 17 – and then you track it every day for a month.

There are a lot of ways you can handle a habit tracker. You can just fill in the bubble if you accomplished the habit that day, or leave it blank if you didn’t. You can give each habit a different color, and then you’ll have a beauuuuuuutiful rainbow. Or you can be like me, and create an elaborate color code that requires a key handily kept on the back. (Generally speaking, light pink is good, hot pink is okay, and that awful brownish red color is VERY BAD INDEED. The weird black lines are school-related tasks I couldn’t start until winter break was over.) See the photo below for visual evidence of my color coding, as well as the fact that I cannot take basic care of myself and need reminders in order to do things like “sleep” and “meals.”


The only way a habit tracker can really become a burden is if you push yourself too far. Give yourself a few habits that will push you, but you’ll be a lot more successful if most of them are already almost habits, or just something you do often but would like to do more. If you have more than a handful of “30 minutes of yoga” and “make your own green juice” type tips and you are NOT Gwyneth Paltrow, this will not be fun at all.

And look! I went easy on myself and kept filling it out all through January. It almost even looks like maybe I improved my habits by the end of the month??

Except my attempts at Duolingo. I forgot that the free language learning site is, in spite of its quirky bird mascot and reward system, the worst website in the world.

A habit tracker is also fun because you’re not locked into anything for more than a month. (Ideal for those with commitment issues.) My February habit tracker looks pretty different from my January one, pictured above, and not just because my pink marker ran out of ink.

So if you feel like setting a mid-to-late February New Year’s Resolution, consider a habit tracker. Time is a human construct anyway.

Emerson 48 Hour Film Festival

Never in a million years would I have thought that I would be watching myself acting on an AMC movie theater screen eating a banana. Low and behold, it happened, and I’m only a second semester freshman. I guess that’s just the life of a film student.

My personal experience during the 48 Hour Film Festival could probably be summed up in two words: exciting and exhausting. You would think that making a three minute film in 48 hours was pretty simple, but it was far from it. Every group was assigned a different genre to work with, so the films all varied greatly in style, mood, and theme. Our team was given mockumentary as the genre, and luckily, our idea for the film came instantaneously. We created a mockumentary about “bro culture” explaining the life of typical frat boys in their natural habitats. It was designed to be an adaptation of the Planet Earth documentary, giving it a tribal atmosphere which was perfect for describing frat boys. Therefore, we named the film Planet Bro.

the flip

I decided I wanted to get involved any way that I could, so I acted. I’m not a good actress, but luckily the entire film had a voiceover in the background, so I didn’t need to worry about actually speaking. My acting experience began at 5:45 in the morning. Waking up super early was definitely not my idea of a fun, but after some coffee and a Dunkin’ Donuts breakfast croissant, I was ready to go.

It turned out that getting our outside shots at 7:30 in the morning was perfect because the lighting was impeccable. During this time, I made my first acting debut in two different shots. One included walking by the “bros” and giving them a judgemental glare while the other one was of me giving the middle finger to a bro. It was pretty easy to do, and hilarious to watch once it was edited together.

Once we got our outside shots done, we made our way over to our director’s house in Newton, MA. Our director, Jonah Kaplan, said that “one of the hardest parts about creating the film was getting a location that would give the film a real frat house appeal. This needed to be done in order to make the whole film aesthetically pleasing.” We ended up transforming his living room and his garage to create a fraternity like setting.

Everything had to be considered, including the lighting, the music, the time of day of certain shots, and the wardrobe. It was extremely important to make sure all of these things were perfect in order to make the whole film unified and coherent.

Everyone played an equally important role in the pre-production, production, and post production of the film. One of the best roles in my opinion was played by played by Jonah Kaplan’s father. He played the Brofessor of Sociology, and became the leader of all the bros in the room. My favorite part was getting to see him walk in with smoke coming out from behind him and induct one of the bros into the fraternity. It was so exaggerated, but yet so perfect at the same time. His willingness to even act the part was incredible as well.

I played the role of the entire female population. This was inevitable because I was one of the few girls that was available to act. So as you watch the film, make sure to spot me giving the middle finger, smoking a cigarette, and eating a banana! Why do I keep bringing up the banana? Bananas were the required object that every group had to incorporate into their production. Every group also had to include the word alcove in their dialogue. After seeing all the films in the AMC theater, I was pretty tired of having to see bananas and having to hear the word alcove.

When it came time to watching all the films on the big screen, I had no idea how our film would compare to everyone else’s, or even if we had a shot of getting any award. There were about 40 groups that competed against one another, each team being allowed a minimum of three and a maximum of six members. Even though we had a max of six people already signed up to work on the film, there were about six other people helping out as well. For us, it didn’t matter who would get the prize in the end if we won, it was just about being a part of the experience.

Others who worked on the film agreed with me. Johnathan Gabert, the main bro of the film said, “Acting in this film made me understand everyone’s skill sets and how one could not have been done without the other. In the end, it allowed for us to create something great.” Jonah added, “Seeing our work become a reality on the big screen in such a short amount of time was definitely my favorite part creating the film.”



Many films got awards like “Most Comedic”, “Best Cinematography”, and “Best Acting”. After hearing all of those awards called and then hearing that our group came in first place overall was a shocking but incredible honor. We couldn’t have been more thrilled about the results. Coming in first place overall, especially as an all freshman group, was not an easy thing to do. No person could had made it possible without the other.

Even though my main role of the film was just an actress, I felt just as involved as everybody else. I had the chance to work with some very talented people and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience. I highly recommend participating in the 48 Hour Film Festival next semester if you haven’t already. I will definitely be getting more involved in the upcoming semesters!

Wag: Tinder for Dogs

The hardest thing for me about moving to college was not leaving my friends, family, own room, or even free food… It was leaving my dog. Sophie was everything to me, and still is. She was, in internet terms, a perfect floofer that I had the liberty of cuddling with when I was having a bad day, or when I just wanted some lovin’. My first week of Boston, I had somes serious pupper withdrawals; symptoms include: waking up in the middle of the night petting your pillow, having every background picture on your devices a picture of your pupper, and calling home and asking to speak with said pupper.

I knew this could not continue, so when I heard about doggo Tinder, (Wag), I signed up immediately. The sign-up process and background check took about two weeks, and after that I was in! I began to get notifications from ever floofer, woofer, and pupper in a 2 mile radius. I could not believe my eyes as countless pictures flooded my phone of dogs who wanted to be walked by me, me! I accepted the first walk that was two miles away in South Boston, (mistake). It took me an hour to get there and I crossed two bridges, a major highway, and traversed through questionable neighborhoods. Nevertheless, I was thrilled about my first walk and was overjoyed to meet Sam, a pitbull mix. I continued to do Wag walks for the next few months, sometimes three times a day.

Wag is easy to sign up for, and it pays pretty well. Wag takes a little under half of what they charge, but it is not bad because you still make $12-$14 for 30 minute walks and $16-$18 for 60 minute walks. Wag also gives you more money if you are walking more than one dog for the owner, and you get to keep all your tips. I get tips 80% of the time, usually $4 or more! One owner always tipped me $4.20. Every. Time. The only drawback of Wag is that the app sucks all the life out of your phone battery, so I got into the habit of bringing a backup battery when I take longer walks. Also, the Wag support line is always busy, so it is hard to get in contact with them if you need help or need to cancel a walk. I would just make sure that when you accept a walk, you are committing to that walk 100% to avoid any miscommunication.

I have gotten to meet the cutest dogs through Wag, and I got to explore parts of Boston that I would have never explored without the draw of a cute fluffer. I needed a place to share the cuteness of these doggos, so I created an Instagram called @emma.walks.dogs, where I post funny pictures and videos of all their furry faces. One memorable pupper I walked was called Savash, who I walked probably 15 times in a period of two months. Savash is a Siberian husky puppy who you bet got ALL the pets from passersby. I once walked two dogs with my boyfriend; a German shepherd mixed with a husky and a purebred husky. These wolfers looked like they were Dire wolves right out of Game of Thrones. I would not have been able to walk them by myself, as they were as tall as my belly button and weighed around 70-80 pounds! Needless to say, Wag is the best experience and definitely something to get involved in if you miss your pupper from home or just want some furry cuddles from a friendly face.

Wag is definitely worth it, especially if your want to make some extra cash by hanging with adorable puppies… What isn’t there to love?

The Best Books of 2017

We’ve reached that time of year again. Tis the season of apocalyptic cold, delicious hot beverages, and songs that are only played for one month out of the year. But most importantly, it’s time for yearly wrap ups. There are approximately one billion book awards. It is genuinely impossible to keep track of them all.

So for anyone who makes it their business to read all of the variously-determined best books of the year, I’ve made a compilation of the big winners. This list includes the prestigious (the National Book Award; the Pulitzer Prize), the popular (the Goodreads Choice Awards), and those that are a mix of the two (the John Newbery medal; the New York Times best books).

Find the twelve best fiction, nonfiction, young adult/children’s, and poetry books of the year below.


Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

2017 National Book Award Winner for Fiction and the New York Times; Top 10 Best Books of the Year

Jesmyn Ward wrote a book in 2013 and it won the National Book Award. Then she took a quick four-year breather, wrote a book this year, and won the National Book Award again. She is the most talented and successful person in the world, probably. Sing, Unburied, Sing is the story of a Southern family, as well as the stories of race, America, struggle, and hope.


The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

The Pulitzer prizewinners are announced in April, so unless you spent the spring living under a rock you have probably heard of this one. The Underground Railroad follows the escape of two slaves in an altered history in which the underground railroad is a literal railroad underground. It explores questions relating to race, history, and oppression.



Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Fiction

If I’ve learned one thing from compiling this list, it’s that people love stories about families. This book follows a few of them, as one couple’s attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby divides an entire community. Lots of gossip and drama and secrets in this one.



The Future is History by Masha Gessen

2017 National Book Award Winner for Nonfiction

It is suuuuper not surprising that this book would be an awards darling this year. Written by Vladimir Putin’s biographer, The Future is History follows Russia’s descent into autocracy as told through the lives of four people with great aspirations and great expectations upon them. It’s a cautionary tale, in other words, and people a) are freaked and b) love it. As if 2017 weren’t Russia-centric enough.


Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction

This guy’s a sociologist at Harvard and a MacArthur Genius grant recipient, so, uh. Reliable source. Desmond follows eight families in the poorest parts of Milwaukee and discovers the role that eviction, and the high housing costs that cause it, plays in modern American poverty.


How to be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lily Singh

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Nonfiction

Hard to believe this is even in the same realm of existence as the prior two, but yes. They are the same genre. Written by YouTube star Lilly Singh (username ||Superwoman|| – do not forget the very important vertical lines), How to be a Bawse is a self-help book that promises to help you become just as confident/goal-reaching/smiley as Lilly herself. In other words, a bawse. So go get those millions of YouTube subscribers – they’re yours by right.



Far from the Tree by Robin Benway

2017 National Book Award Winner for Young People’s Literature

Benway’s newest is a young adult contemporary following three biological siblings adopted into different families. As one puts her own baby up for adoption, she decides to track down her biological brother and sister, launching all three into questions of what family really means.


The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Winner of the John Newbery Medal for most distinguished children’s book

Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a children’s fairytale about Luna, who was accidentally fed moonlight by a witch when she was a baby, thus granting her magical powers. As she approaches her thirteenth birthday, the powers begin to emerge, and Luna must learn to use her new skills, and to protect those around her. (So it’s a coming of age thing except with magic.)


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Young Adult Fiction

Now, we must all say a silent prayer to whatever higher power we may believe in/the Internet/those who cast a vote/the entire literary industry that this book won. Instead of John Green. That man’s life is full enough and I am grateful this award went to a book that MEANS SOMETHING. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, The Hate U Give follows Starr, a sixteen-year-old black private school student who witnesses the death of her unarmed friend at the hands of a police officer.



Half-Light by Frank Bidart

2017 National Book Award Winner for Poetry

Half-Light is a collection of all of Frank Bidart’s poetry, written over the course of four decades. As a poet, Bidart focuses on the human voice in all its diversity, allowing even the most terrible the same empathetic understanding. Bidart concludes the collection with a new volume, one filled with ruminations on his own life.


Olio by Tyehimba Jess

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry

Tyehimba Jess’s Olio weaves fact and fiction to detail the lives of African American performers from the Civil War up to World War I. The result is a look at the struggles of black artists to resist minstrelization, and the resilience it took to keep going.


The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

Winner of the Goodreads Choice Award for Poetry

Unsurprisingly, the mega-popular poet won the most popularity-oriented award. Rupi Kaur is likely the most known writer within the genre known as “instapoetry” or, more colloquially, “Tumblr poetry.” Her second volume, The Sun and Her Flowers, focuses on themes of growth, ancestry, and home.

For more information:

The Goodreads Choice Awards

The New York Times Top 10 Books of 2017

The 2017 Pulitzer Prize Winners

The John Newbery Medal

The National Book Award

Oscar-Worthy Releases of December 2017

December is finally here and so is the end of 2017. In the film industry, most look to this month as being the time when the next year’s Oscar contenders shine. Though there are many other worthy films that came out earlier this year, these are the newest competitors for the 2018 awards season to see later this month. 

Darkest Hour – December 8

Gary Oldman’s interpretation of Churchill has been getting so much Oscar buzz that he is a shoe-in for a Best Actor nomination. Taking place immediately before WWII, Darkest Hour depicts Churchill’s efforts to slow the impending war from happening. Churchill, however, must decide whether he wants to negotiate with the Nazis or follow his own values and rally his new nation. Oldman’s complete transformation into Churchill is uncanny and, because of it, it might finally get him the Oscar he has deserved for so long.

The main contender in Darkest Hour is definitely Oldman in his portrayal of Churchill. Though it’s going to be a tight race for Best Actor, he has been a frontrunner for quite some time.

The Disaster Artist – December 8

Similar to Tommy Wiseau’s participation in The Room, James Franco directed, produced, and starred in The Disaster Artist, a film based on the making of the infamously bad movie, The Room. Departing from the rest of this list, The Disaster Artist is a comedy, which might bring some variety to the Best Picture nominee list. Though it might not immediately be seen as a true contender because of its genre, it has been noted to be a dark horse in the race, meaning this film might just surprise everyone in its success during next year’s awards season.

The Disaster Artist has been receiving a lot of attention, especially towards James Franco, in recent independent award ceremonies. This could be his chance to receive nominations for not only Directo but also Best Actor.

 The Shape of Water – December 8

Guillermo del Toro’s newest film received tons of praise in its festival debut and continues to garner love from critics. The Shape of Water is an unconventional love story between a mute named Elisa (Sally Hawkins) and a sea creature who is in danger from the evil Strickland (Michael Shannon). Though a fantasy – a genre that does not always get enough appreciation during awards season – del Toro’s consistently fantastic art direction is bound to get recognition from the Academy. The Shape of Water’s outpour of critical acclaim puts it in the front-runner’s spot and could be the first fantasy since Return of the King to receive the biggest award of Oscar Night.

For some reason, there has been a lack of nominations for The Shape of Water, much to the dismay of many critics. Nevertheless, the film could still shine not only in the directing and acting nominations – particularly for Hawkins and Shannon – but also in the technical awards like Best Original Score, Art Direction and Visual Effects.

Call Me by Your Name – December 22

Many critics have already noted Call Me by Your Name as being the next best coming-of-age classic. An LGBTQ romance, Call Me by Your Name has the potential to break boundaries once again for the LGBTQ community, as Moonlight did earlier this year. It follows seventeen-year-old, Elio (Timothée Chalamet), in Italy during the summer of 1983. During his time there, Elio meets and eventually falls for an American named Oliver (Armie Hammer), his father’s assistant. Its fantastic casting and beautiful cinematography have also been receiving non-stop critical acclaim, making this film a force to be reckoned with.

So far, Call Me by Your Name has been extremely successful in the awards circuit. Chalamet is the one to beat for Best Actor, as he continues to be celebrated by critics. Call Me by Your Name and Lady Bird is the two front-runners for nearly any award this upcoming year, as both coming-of-age stories have proven themselves as the most worthy competitors of the year.

The Post – December 22 (Limited; Wide Release: January 12)

Merely by saying it’s a Steven Spielberg film starring both Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep indicates an Oscar contender. The Post is a film about the Watergate scandal and the Washington Post’s involvement in the release of the tapes. Streep plays Kay Graham, the country’s first female newspaper publisher, and Hanks plays Ben Bradlee, an editor at the newspaper, as they both work together to form a battle with the government. With his past repertoire of biopics, Spielberg proves, again and again, to do no wrong in this genre. Along with a stellar cast and highly relevant subject matter, The Post is looking to be a major competitor in next year’s Oscar race.

It shouldn’t be a surprise to say that Spielberg has the opportunity to grab a Directing nod and Streep and Hanks to grab their own acting nominations. Though there haven’t been any screenings as of yet, their credibility due to their past credits allows a great probability for nominations their respective categories.

Phantom Thread – December 25

Yet another great film collaboration, this time in the form of director and writer Paul Thomas Anderson and Daniel Day-Lewis, gives Phantom Thread a high probability of being a nominee. Exploring a topic seldom seen in film, the film takes place after WWII in London where a famous fashion designer named Reynolds Woodcock (Day-Lewis) meets Alma (Vicky Krieps), who becomes his muse and eventually disrupts his day-to-day life due to his infatuation. Day-Lewis never seems to fail in his impeccable delivery as an actor and he doesn’t cease to amaze both audiences and critics. Since this might possibly be his final role as an actor, it would be ludicrous to think he would fall short of people’s high expectations. With such a great director also attached, Phantom Thread will be a tough film to compete against.

Anderson’s track record in past Oscar ceremonies would say that he is guaranteed a writing nomination and Day-Lewis always seems to wow the critics. Since reviews have not been released yet, other categories are less certain. However, based on reputation alone, it is apparent that there will be more to be had for Phantom Thread.

With so many great films both throughout the film and in this upcoming month, it might be overwhelming to catch up on all of the contenders.

Boston Bucket List

As the end of the of the first semester is coming to an end, there is still so much of Boston that my friends and I have been wanting to explore. My friend group consists of people from all over: two from California, one from Delaware, two from Texas (including me), two from New York, one all the way from London, and one from Boston. So we discussed with our Bostonian friend some of the things he wanted to do and he replied with “done that” multiple times, but he also sometimes replied, “I haven’t done that.” In a group meeting, we all brainstormed the places in Boston we wanted to go to and we decided to make a “Boston Bucket List” that we are determined to finish by the end of freshman year.

Ice Skating in the Frog Pond 

Now that the Frog Pond has opened into an ice skating rink. What better way to celebrate the holiday season than to go ice skating in the Boston Common. They offer student discounts for ice skating admission, but keep in mind there are skate rental prices and if needed locker rentals.

Follow the Freedom Trail

While exploring Boston, at times we have come across the Freedom Trail. So now we are determined to follow the trail. The trail is 2.5 miles long and passes through 16 significant history locations. On the trail, the history of the American Revolution is told through the trail. After learning about the American Revolution in history class, it’ll be fascinating to see some of the sites in person.

Go to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

We’ve heard so many good things about the Isabella Stewart Gardner, and as Emerson students, we get free admission. Located in Fenway, this museum offers many art collections and interactive experiences. This museum was created by the vision of Isabella Stewart Gardner and offers a homey yet regal feel. On the website, there is a multitude of special events throughout the months that are perfect for groups of people.

Eat at Wahlburgers

 If you’re like me my friends and me, you love a good burger. After seeing the TV show Wahlburgers and numerous Mark Wahlberg movies, I decided that I must go to Wahlburgers while in Boston. Wahlburgers is located all over Massachusetts, but the location closest to Emerson is in the Fenway area.

Go to the beach

Growing up in Texas, I have experienced Texas beaches. Now I want to see what East Coast beaches. When it gets warmer, my friends and I are planning to head to Carson Beach which is located in South Boston. We chose this beach because of the location and because my friend from Massachusetts recommended it. So I guess I will see if the Massachusetts beach beats Texas beaches (which should not be too hard).

Eat a cannoli at Mike’s Pastries

I have always wanted to try Mike’s Pastries, but I have always been too impatient to stand in the long line. Once I am ready to face the line, I am so excited to try one of the famous cannolis.

Go to a fancy dinner at the Four Seasons

Don’t get me wrong, we love eating at the dining hall every day, but every once in awhile it’s nice to eat out. My friends and I have devised a plan to dress up fancy and indulge in a dinner at the Four Seasons for the night.

Go to a Celtics, Bruins, and/or Red Sox game

After living in Boston, I have definitely hopped on the Boston fandom bandwagon (I even got a Red Sox hat and a Patriots shirt). With some of the greatest teams in the leagues, it would be silly to not take advantage of seeing them play live. My friends and I are planning on attending a Celtics game soon even though we will probably be in the nosebleed section… But hey, it’s all about the experience, right?

Here are just a few items on a list that continues to grow. While we are in college in this amazing city, we need to take advantage of all the city has to offer. It’s still crazy to me that we get to go to school in such an amazing city! I hope that you and your friends can enjoy some of the same adventures that my friends and I plan on going on. For more Boston bucket list ideas, I linked some below. Happy exploring!



National Holidays: The Definitive Ranking

It’s November, and you know what that means. The yearly smackdown has arrived. Once more, the weirdly passionate section of the American people has been screaming on the Internet about the respective merits of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

When the clock strikes midnight on October 31, some instantly hit play for the first time out of hundreds on Mariah Carey’s seminal hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You.” Others, meanwhile, plead for some well-deserved attention to be directed to Thanksgiving, apparently completely ignorant to the fact that there are exactly zero Thanksgiving-themed Mariah Carey songs. Some people are still talking about Halloween, because people who love Halloween never stop talking about Halloween, but that’s not even a national holiday so it’s completely out of the picture anyway.

There’s only way to solve this issue. And that’s a definitive ranking of every national holiday on the American roster, from worst to best. (It’s a surprising lineup.)


Columbus Day – Second Monday in October

Nope x infinity. Nooooooo thank you. Goodbye Christopher. Indigenous People’s Day or bust.


Labor Day – First Monday in September

Labor Day will never escape its well-deserved bad rep. It was drilled into every child in (most parts of) America for twelve years: Labor Day is the last day of summer break. Labor Day is for moping, waiting in long lines in Office Depot, and the return of that good ol’ it’s-Sunday-night-at-seven-pm-I-wasted-the-weekend-I-have-a-whole-week-ahead-of-me anxiety.


Inauguration Day – January 20 (every 4 years)

Every four years is BS for a holiday, and also nobody gets off from school or work for this, except perhaps some people who work in certain sectors of Washington, D.C. Also an inauguration can be reaaaaaaal hit or miss. To say the least.


George Washington’s Birthday – Third Monday in February

There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to old GW’s b-day. First, this is the only guy with a birthday marked with a NATIONAL DAY, which is a baller move. But what is really hilarious is that this isn’t actually on his birthday, but the third Monday in February?? Whose idea was that? What purpose does this serve? I have no answers, but this made me giggle and that means it’s getting a boost in the rankings even though it offers absolutely no festivities.


New Year’s Day – January 1

Who cares about New Year’s Day? Do people even do anything? New Year’s Eve is where it’s at and we all know it. I guess it’s nice to have the day off for recovery from the night preceding, but that’s not enough to rescue this day from its total boring-ness.


Memorial Day – Last Monday in May

Memorial Day is cool because it’s summery. Barbecues and stuff. Also, I guess you can start wearing white again? If you follow societal rules like that and stopped? Not really too sure if that’s an actual thing that people do.


Veterans Day – November 11

Always good to pay respect to our veterans and also get a day off from school in mid-November.


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – Third Monday in January

MLK Day was always really awesome in elementary and middle school. In elementary school the second grade always put on a play (it was two-for-one for MLK Day and the approach of Black History Month) so we got out of class for an assembly. In middle school we watched My Friend Martin a bunch of times. Anyway this day is very important and it’s pretty rad and extremely deserved that it’s a national holiday.


Independence Day – July 4

Summertime! Fireworks! Barbecues! Those popsicles where the top bit is cherry and the middle is lemon and the bottom is blue raspberry! Fourth of July is great and involves a lot of red and blue food dyes which is always extremely fun.


Thanksgiving Day – Fourth Thursday in November

Yes, this is the moment you have been waiting for. Thanksgiving only lands second place. It’s made it even to second place only for the following reasons: everyone celebrates it; the arts and crafts potential is magnificent; we usually get several days off for it; some of the food is good. (Yes, only some. Turkey is nobody’s favorite poultry and many of the combinations placed on the feasting table are full on embarrassing. Sweet potatoes and marshmallows?? Green beans and cream-based soups??? Maybe I just hate casseroles.)


Christmas Day – December 25

I am a huge fan of festivities. That is why this list is essentially ranked based on amount of festivities granted to each day. Christmas is, bare minimum, a month-long holiday. There are entire genres of songs and movies dedicated to it. Every self-respecting season of television has a holiday episode. There are one million recipes that are Christmas-exclusive. Also I love cookies and there is no more cookie-centric holiday in the world.



Or, “National Day of ____” things that I believe should be actual holidays

International Ninja Day (December 5)

National Lumpy Rug Day (May 3)

National Just Because Day (August 27)

National Everything You Do Is Right Day (March 16)