How to Keep in Touch with College Friends Over Break

The bonds you create when you share a bathroom with someone or many someones are powerful. You become so close with people so quickly that being ripped away from them at the beginning of summer break can feel like having a piece of your soul missing. Though it’s never the same, there are a lot of fun ways to keep in touch with all of your college friends over this long, hot dry spell.

Netflix and Skype

I don’t know about you, but for me one of the worst things about going home is that I have no one to binge watch with. I start watching shows with about 5 different people and then suddenly it all comes crashing to a halt when break starts. It’s too tragic to keep watching the show without each other, so you just wait until next semester when you’ve already forgotten all the characters. Well, there’s another way! You and your friends can make Skype dates to watch your shows together. This way you can experience the drama together rather than waiting to recap the show four months later. Or if Skyping while you watch the show is too inconvenient you can Skype afterwards, or text and/or Snapchat during.

Go on a Trip

If you have the means and the opportunity, a great way to ease the separation anxiety is to take a trip to visit each other. One great thing about going to college is you get to meet so many people from diverse backgrounds. What better way to get to know your friends better than going to see them in their hometown, or having them come visit you. You can even plan a grand tour with some of your friends and take a road trip to each person’s hometown. Now all your friends will know how good that local restaurant you’ve been talking about really is. Or if you don’t live far from each other or don’t want your college friends to collide with your hometown friends you could go on a road trip together. The summer is a great time for a weekend-long beach getaway!

Snapchat

Snapchat is a game changer when it comes to communicating long distance because it’s as convenient as texting and you still get to see each others’ faces. It can be really hard to communicate effectively without facial expressions, and Snapchat gives you the opportunity. Sometimes I just can’t convey how hard I’m judging my roommate with words! It can also be a fun game to see how long you can keep your fire going when you’re not around each other all the time.

Send Letters

There’s no question that social media has eased the pain of separation exponentially by making communication so much more convenient, but sometimes it’s worth it to return to the classics. Becoming pen pals with your college buddies can be a fun way to feel like you have an intimate connection with a person when they’re thousands of miles away. You can send each other postcards from your travels or just from your hometown. You could even send each other momentos like a flower from your backyard. I’m always up for the opportunity to pretend I’m from the 1800’s.

Try out a few of these tips, and by the time school rolls around, it will be like no time has passed at all. Your friendships will start right back up where they left off with minimal recovery time!

Advertisements

Where to Study When You’re Sick of the Library

The time to spend hours studying for finals is quickly approaching. Most students hunker down at their desk or at the library for hours every day. But in your room it’s so easy to get distracted by all the other more enjoyable things you could be doing, or your roommates coming in and out. And it can get really monotonous to spend hours in the same boring library surrounded by a hundred other stressed out college students and the smell of procrastinated essays. Sometimes, especially when it’s getting warmer out, it can be really refreshing to get a little change in scenery while you do your work. So here’s a list of some places in the Boston area that will add something new and different to your studying routine.

The Boston Common/Public Garden or the Charles River Esplanade

IMG_2362

If you’re an Emerson student the Common and Gardens are hardly more of a treck than the library. And when it finally gets warm they, especially the gardens, are a beautiful place to sit on the grass and read, or even bring your computer because they have “Wicked Free” WiFi. The Esplanade is more of an adventure, but the view of the Charles is absolutely worth it, and the calming sound of the river is the perfect background noise for studying.

The Boston Public Library (BPL)

17190085799_41e0474b77_z

(Photo by Deirdre Murray)

Yes, it’s still a library. But it’s a big, beautiful library. And in addition to the rooms full of tables it has a little courtyard. So if you’re in it for the long hall, you can spend a few hours inside and a few hours outside to change things up and make you feel less like you’re dying inside. The BPL is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. It is right across from the Copley T Station on the Green Line.

George Washington’s Tree

IMG_4537

IMG_4534

So maybe it wasn’t actually George Washington’s tree, but he did supposedly start the continental army under it. Now if that doesn’t inspire you to study some American History, I don’t know what will. This tree is in Harvard Square/Cambridge Common, and you’ll be able to find it by looking for the large, stone plaque next to it. It’s the perfect place to sit and contemplate how much history we are surrounded by everyday while you hit the books. And when you get an “A,” you can thank our founding fathers for your college success (and your freedom.)

Secret Garden on Top of a Parking Garage

IMG_4554

Having a fun adventure like traveling to a secret garden will take your mind right off how exhausted you are. This garden is on top of 4 Cambridge Center Parking garage in Kendall Square. It is very close to the Kendall T stop, and it says Kendall Garden Rooftop Garden on the outside. It is a beautiful, little garden with lots of benches and picnic tables. It ‘s the perfect secluded place to have a study date with a friend and look out over Cambridge.

Coffee Shops, Ice Cream Shops, or Restaurants

CaffeNero.jpg

(Photo courtesy of www.dgrubs.com)

Coffee shops are essentially another version of a library. They are a great place to go when the sterile quietness of the library starts to freak you out and there are a few great ones nearby like such as the Thinking Cup and Boston Common Coffee Co. which have great coffee, but unfortunately no wifi. However, Jaho Coffee and Tea and Caffe Nero both have free wifi! The Thinking Cup and Caffe Nero are both pretty small and can get crowded so you might have trouble getting a nice spot, but Jaho and BoCoCo are both very spacious and not nearly as crowded. And if you want to try a little something different, JP Licks has free wifi and incredible ice cream. Just be careful about the temptation to stress eat. Trident Booksellers and Cafe is a great bookstore with a large restaurant attached if you need actual sustenance while you study and they also have free wifi.

All of these lovely locations are great places to grab a coffee or pack a picnic lunch. You may even have such a nice day that you almost forget you’re studying!

Social Media’s Role in Times of Turmoil

When it comes to terrorism, social media seems to be a double edged sword. In the recent attacks on Paris and Brussels, social media has played a huge role in building momentum for the terrorist groups before the attacks and in helping victims recover from them.

There are many ways in which social media helps in the face of a terror attack by allowing people to reach out in a way they previously couldn’t. One great advancement was how victims or people in the area were able to use a Safety Check feature on Facebook in order to show their family and loved ones that they were safe. Another benefit of social media is that people can show their support for those across the world through social media campaigns, such as after the Paris and Brussels attacks when people could post using hashtags like #JeSuisBruxelles. Hashtags also played a role in helping refugees of these attacks find shelter such as #PorteOuverte (“open door”), #ikwilhelpen (“I want to help”) and #BrusselsWelcome. Social media also has the ability to circulate awareness and opportunities to donate to relief funds such as a GoFundMe campaign that was started for the victims in Brussels.

However, just as social media can inspire people to support terror victims it can also inspire people to join terrorist causes. Terrorist groups are able to create propaganda that calls people to action using Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Before the attack in Paris, ISIS released several videos encouraging young Parisians to join their terrorist group. Even before these recent attacks in Europe, ISIS began using social media to create fear and raise support, such as on August 19, 2014, when they uploaded a video onto YouTube of one of their members beheading an American journalist named James Foley. According to CNN, the video also shows him reading a message that “his ‘real killer’ is America” before the murder. Using these platforms, terrorists are able to raise fear and bring others into their cause.

This calls into question what tech companies can do to fix this situation and if they should. Many companies including Google, which owns YouTube, have algorithms that allow them to sift through content to prevent the posting of things like copyrighted material or child pornography that might be applicable to a search for terrorist propaganda. So why don’t they?

It turns out to be much more complicated than that. Some believe that it is worth this material being on the internet if it can be used to help government officials find information about the terrorists based on user profiles or information embedded in the content. However, according to an article on Forbes, it is not worth the risk of escalating recruitment because we must “consider that jihadis who post this content are fully aware that it is being monitored by Western security agencies” and thus would be careful not to reveal any useful information.

Others believe that allowing the government to search through social media would be an invasion of privacy. Emma Llansó, director of the Free Expression Project at the Center of Democracy and Technology, said in a Morning Consult article that “If the government were to patrol social media websites and decide what is or isn’t suspicious, that could veer into censorship.” She seems to think a better solution would be “if private companies report content they find suspicious to the government; it’s less like censorship and more like a business simply overseeing its customer service.”

There’s no denying social media has a lot of influence. “Going viral” seems to be the only way to make history these days. Social media can create a sense of community by raising awareness about issues and inspiring people to help. On the other hand, this power to spread a message can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Social media is a powerful weapon and there is a lot of controversy about how to control it. And ultimately it is up to us to make sure it is used for good.

All The World’s A Stage

While sitting in the audience of a production of “Twelfth Night” during a particularly hilarious scene, I saw a hand creep into my field of vision. The hand was inviting me to come with it onto the stage and a jolt of fear ran through my body. Though dubious, I ultimately decided to follow its command and found myself on the stage dancing and singing with two of the main characters in the play. When I didn’t think it could get any more bizarre, the ushers started running through the aisles and onto the stage with boxes of pizza. This, my friends, is the magic of live theater.

As essentially an English major I’ve read a lot of classic plays. Even if you are not cursed with a literature class every semester you’ve probably taken at least one, or remember having to read some plays in your high school English classes. And, as you’ll recall, it’s pretty hard to get into Shakespeare when you’re listening to a teacher you probably don’t like all that much talk about major themes in the least interesting way possible. Unfortunately, that is the way most of us are exposed to great plays rather than seeing them on stage as they were meant to be. And without that opportunity, some never get to experience the way a production can breathe new life into something everyone thought they knew inside and out and make you experience something entirely new, like two plays I have seen recently.

The first was an ArtsEmerson production of “Twelfth Night.” I went into this play not realizing how different it could be from my experience of reading it out loud in my high school Shakespeare class. It was almost as if it was an entirely new play despite them using the same words my classmates and I had stammered out two years before. There was no real set to this production, just a few musical instruments placed in a semi-circle around the stage. These instruments were used throughout the play because there were many random outbreaks of rock music when the characters would suddenly stop and dance for a while in between monologues, giving this production an entirely different atmosphere than that expected of a Shakespeare play.

All the characters except for Sir Toby Belch, the comic relief of the play, were in casual contemporary clothing. This made everything Toby (who was in period garb) did a lot funnier and all of the other characters much more accessible to the audience. The audience participation also added a new dimension to the play. For example, the main character, Viola, decides she must dress up as a man and asks the audience if anyone has a men’s jacket or hat that she could borrow. She was then thrown a men’s hoodie and a beanie that served as her costume for the rest of the show. Another great moment was during one of the play’s opening scenes. The characters threw balls back and forth with the audience and caught them on velcro joker hats. This production made Shakespeare entertaining in a way that some people don’t believe it can be.

Recently, I also saw a one woman production of three short Samuel Beckett plays: “Not I,” “Footfalls,” and “Rockaby.” Though these are not plays that are usually read in English classes, some of his other work is much more popular such as “Waiting for Godot” and “Endgame.” This production in particular disoriented the audience, because the entire 55 minute performance is a blackout. Every light in the theater is off, including the exit signs and the actress is the only thing lit up. 

In the first monologue, “Not I,” all the audience can see is the actress’ mouth floating around while she babbles her speech so fast it’s almost incoherent. This use of blackout added a very intense element to the production. In the words of an audience member, “the words are everything” because in the darkness all you have to focus on is the words. It was an extremely intense experience that I could could never have gotten from just reading these plays.

Plays seem to be in a unique position to be so incredibly enhanced by their productions.  Live theater has the opportunity to bring something new to every performance because it interacts live with the audience. “Twelfth Night” pulled the audience right on stage. The darkness of the Beckett plays allowed the audience to in some ways become alienated and unified in others. No one can see anyone else–so if anyone coughs it’s shocking and disruptive–but on the other hand you feel unified by such an intense experience. As well as many other aspects of performances such as the use of music when you wouldn’t expect it, unusual costumes, or a unique lighting choice can mean a world of difference to how you experience a play. Both of these plays show how small elements of a production can turn words on a page into something entirely new.

The Internship Search Simplified

The deadlines for applying to summer internships are quickly approaching, but it’s hard enough to find them, let alone apply. So here’s a guide to the minefield of finding the perfect internship for this summer and beyond!

Use Your School’s Resources

One easy thing to do is check your email. If your major is anything like mine your the department sends you five emails a day, and if you’re anything like me, you ignore a lot of them. However, some of them are definitely worth paying attention to because they contain internship opportunities, and if the company is going through your school directly you probably already have a better chance!

Most schools also have some kind of “Career Services” where they have resources, such as career advisors, for students and alumni looking for jobs and internships. Emerson’s Career Services has walk-in hours for short appointments Monday though Friday from 1-3, and if you want to schedule a longer appointment their number is 617-824-8586. Some schools also have an online database of companies and people that might post internships or allow students to make connections with them over the website. Here at Emerson, ours is called LionHire, where students can make a profile that includes their resume, cover letters, references, etc. and allow them to search for internships in their field and submit their resume through the website.

Lots of schools also have networking events and one of the biggest resources are internship fairs. Emerson has one every semester and on March 23rd we are having a Career Expo from 1-4 at the Courtyard Marriott Boston Tremont Hotel. They also have a lot of workshops before the fair on March 15th and 16th from 3-6 p.m. in Campus Center 118 including: Skype/Phone Interviews at 3 p.m., What to Wear at 4 p.m., Networking at 5 p.m., and General Interview Prep and Q&A session with Career Services.

And for those who have trouble finding the ideal internship in their college or hometown and think that they might have better luck in New York, Emerson offers an annual networking trip to the big city, called New York Connection. This is a one day trip where students can pick companies to visit and learn about the career path employees took and what working in New York is like from the perspective of four different tracks. And if you do make a connection on the trip, or find an internship in New York , you can use EHSa housing organization for students with internships in New York City.

Use the Internet

The internet is a ubiquitous source of resources and internships are no exception. Internships.com and Looksharp both allow you to search by company, city, or category-such as, Graphic Design, or Marketing Internships, etc. and then narrow down your search by city, season, the type of company you want, whether you need it to paid, and several other criteria. Glassdoor has a lot of the same search options but provides you more information about the companies like an option to search for salaries and company reviews. YouTern has a lot more specific search options like more specific categories, preferred hours per week, whether or not you prefer a virtual/ telecommuting job, etc. It also allows you to upload your resume onto the site, and apply directly through the website. If you’re looking for experience with a non-profit you can go directly to Idealist.com. However, beware of the inevitable email overload when you set up an account with any of these sites. As someone who’s been burned before, I would suggest having a separate email for these kind of sites so you don’t have to go though 10 a day in addition to all the other emails from school and the ten thousand other things you’re doing. And if all else fails, Google it! You never know what you might find by simply googling internships in your field.

Use Social Media

When you think of social media you don’t usually think of career planning, but it is a great tool for searching for jobs and helping you get the job. LinkedIn, is obviously the first social media site that comes to mind for networking, however it is also great for finding jobs and internships. The first step is, of course, having a great profile. LinkedIn profiles allow you to expand on things that you can’t fit in your resume and include links to all of the projects that would impress future employers and make you more than just words on a resume. LinkedIn also has a job search function where users can search for job titles, companies, or keywords in specific cities. To get ideas for things to search you can look at other people you know at school or people with job titles you think you might want and see where they got internships or what company they work for. If nothing else, it gives you a chance to lust over your classmates’ beautiful resumes or their amazing internships, and hopefully inspire you to create your own incredible resume and get your own perfect internship. 

Another social media site, that is a much less conventional place to search for job opportunities is Twitter. Many companies, especially if you’re looking at jobs in a communication or tech field, want to see that you can use social media effectively. On Twitter you can share your work and hopefully get other people to talk about it and share it with their followers. You can also follow and share things from companies that you care about or are interested in getting a job with. Who knows, they might even post job or internship opportunities with the company!

Depending on your career field of interest you can also use social media sites like Instagram and Tumblr to show off your work.

Do an Internship Abroad Program

A lot of study abroad programs have internship options, and some of them even find the internship for you! For instance Arcadia University offers internship abroad programs, and they take your preferences and experience into account and find an internship for you. There is also a website called Global Experiences with programs in 11 cities, so you can get your ideal internship somewhere like London, Paris, Shanghai, or Sydney! Once you are accepted into the program and go to your chosen city you will be connected with a Program Advisor, who will assist you with your resume, cover letters, and interview skills before sending you to interviews with selected employers from their database.

Finding internships is a ridiculously stressful process, but it can be a fun one as well. All of these resources show the wealth of opportunities at your finger tips. Whether you do an internship in your hometown, abroad, or in a city you’ve never lived in before, there are endless opportunities to grow and learn new things that might help you in your future career!

What is Orthorexia Nervosa?

Recently there has been a big healthy eating craze with a shift from traditional fast-food to more “fast-casual” dining with much healthier options, and many pushes toward eating organic, vegetarian or vegan diets. This is a great thing, however, for some people it can also become an obsession called orthorexia nervosa. Similar to other eating disorders, it starts as a simple desire to eat healthier, which then grows into an unhealthy obsession on food quality and purity. At its severest it can consume one with constant thoughts of what, when, and how much to eat; prevent them from eating out with friends because restaurants don’t have things they believe they can eat; and cause them to spiral and self-punish if they eat something not “healthy” enough. This leads an orthorexic’s diet to eventually become so restricted that it deprives them of nutrients they need, and not only impairs their life and relationships, but, ironically, their physical health.

Though orthorexia is similar to other eating disorders, like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, it is not officially recognized by the DSM-5, the fifth Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The term was first used by Steven Bratman, MD in 1996, to help explain to his patients the idea that what they deemed as “healthy” eating may not always be what is best for them. The term has recently gained popularity with an increase in patients with similar symptoms.

Another reason for it’s recent popularity growth is a popular health blogger who found herself with the same condition. In an article with the New York Daily News Jordan Younger, originally known as “The Blonde Vegan” said she began to notice that her attempt to eat healthy was becoming an obsession that was effecting her daily life. It started effecting her health, including her menstruation, and eventually she decided that  something had to change. She told the Daily News, “I just didn’t want food to control me anymore. I saw the people around me who I loved very much just able to enjoy their food in a way that I wasn’t doing anymore.” After that she became devoted to recovery and even changed her blog’s name to The Balanced Blond.

Orthorexia is similar to anorexia and bulimia because it actually becomes much less about the food and much more about control. The NEDA, National Eating Disorder Association, says there are many “underlying motivations, which can include safety from poor health, compulsion for complete control, escape from fears, wanting to be thin, improving self-esteem, searching for spirituality through food, and using food to create an identity,” for why eating healthy may become a compulsion for some people and not others. A lot of these pressures can come from personal problems, or societies constant pressure to look a very certain way, and a newer pressure to eat a certain way.

It is important to remember that just because you strive to have a healthy diet does not mean you are orthorexic. However, if you or someone you know match these guidelines from the NEDA it may be a good idea to talk to a doctor:

“1) It [eating clean] is taking up an inordinate amount of time and attention in your life. 

2) Deviating from that diet is met with guilt and self-loathing.

3) It is used to avoid life issues and leaves you separate and alone.”

Food Renegade also has a quiz to help those who think they might be orthorexic. 

While orthorexia is not a condition that a doctor can diagnose, they can often help with recovery, or refer you to someone who can. Many clinics, such as Futures Palm Beach can help those affected discover the roots of their condition such as low self-esteem, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder with extensive therapy and give them a safe and comforting place to detox. 

Get Cultured on a College Budget

As any college student knows, an education doesn’t come cheap! It costs a lot of money to become a well educated and interesting person. So when opportunities to get cultured for a free or reduced cost fly by, you’ve got to grab them and hold on tight. That’s why every college student in the Boston area should know about these great perks from local museums.

Museum of Fine Arts

The MFA is free with any valid student ID! They are open on Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.-4:45 p.m., and Wednesday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-9:45 p.m. They have an extremely wide variety, with art from all over the world, including the Americas, Oceania, Africa, Europe and Asia. They also have Contemporary Art, photography, instruments and jewelry; as well as changing exhibitions such as visiting masterpieces like a selection of Picasso paintings there from Feb. 13th 2016 to June 26th, 2016. It even has it’s own stop on the Green Line so it’s almost impossible to get lost on the way there!

Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is right next to the MFA, so you might as well hit up both the same day! And if your college participates in the program, which Emerson does, you can get in for free with your ID. They are open daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m., and on Thursdays until 9 p.m. This museum is full of the personal collection of Ms. Gardner herself. Her collection is full of over 2,500 pieces of paintings, sculptures, rare books, etc. from the ancient Rome, Medieval Europe, Renaissance Italy and many more. It has a much more selective collection than most of these other museums, and let me tell you, it is great for if you feel like making fun of some really old looking babies. 

Harvard Art Museum

The Harvard Art Museum is $10 for non-Harvard students, a five dollar discount from their normal rate for adults. They are open daily from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. They have seemingly any and every kind of art imaginable, from Uruguayan to Roman Imperial, made from chalk to chocolate and everything in between. Also as part of such an immensely important learning institution, the museum also has a large learning component with a Art Study Center where visitors can request to see objects not on display in the galleries, as well as research centers.

New England Aquarium

The aquarium might not seem like the ideal place to get a lot of culture, but seal culture is always worth observing! Their regular price is $26.95, but for students with a valid ID it’s $24.95, which is a small discount, but every penny counts when you have a desperate desire to look at turtles. Students also get a small discount for the Simons IMAX Theater, so they can get in for only $7.95.  They have lots of great exhibits including some where you can touch the animals like the  Shark and Ray Touch Tank, and an Edge of the Sea touch tank.

Institute of Contemporary Art

The beauty of the ICA starts on the outside. It is located on the Boston Harbor at the Seaport District and has a beautiful glass wall to look over at the harbor through bleachers outside. There is free admission for universities with a membership, including Emerson! In 2015, they also held their first college night where they invited all students with a membership to come and enjoy art with a DJ, a photo booth, and free food and drinks. They are open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m.- 9 p.m. The museum features large exhibitions and pieces from leading and emerging contemporary artists.

MIT Museum

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a great museum that combines art with science. Any non-MIT college student is given $5 admission. They are open daily from 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. Many of their sections are things like architecture, holography, and robotics. If you love science, or could never get into traditional art, this might be the perfect place for you!

Harvard Museum of Natural History

Like the Harvard Art museum, this museum is also open to non-Harvard students for $10. It is open from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily. It has exhibits on animals from all over the world, Earth and planetary  sciences, marine life and even a hands-on exhibit.

Boston is full of many great museums and great discounts to take advantage of while you’re still in school.

Five Independent Bookstores to Visit

I would be a liar if said I didn’t love my Kindle.  Sometimes you just need millions of books at your fingertips. However, nothing can really compare to the feel of walking into a real-life bookstore and experiencing the magic of being surrounded by so many books and fellow book lovers, and with so many charming and unique independent bookstores in the Boston area, there’s no excuse to not be enveloped by the smell of printed paper every now and again.  

Trident Booksellers and Cafe

338 Newbury Street, Boston, MA 02115

IMG_4414

Trident is definitely a favorite because it is a bookstore as well as a cafe, so you can look at books, and then eat, and then look at books some more. You never even have to leave the store; a true come dream! The cafe has a very unique and extensive menu. They serve everything from breakfast (served all day long) through desert, and their entrees vary from quesadillas, to ramen noodle bowls, to butternut squash tacos. They even serve bubble tea! Among the shelfs of great books they also have a section called “Gifts and Goodies,” full of  adorable trinkets like fun socks, cute mugs, head massagers, and games. They also sell little themed gifts for each holiday. Their books are very well organized; on the first floor they have many traditional sections like, Science Fiction, Mystery, and a very large Fiction section. They sell more literary fiction then most bookstores seem to and most of their books have several different cover versions. And if the first floor full of great books isn’t enough for you, the second floor has more specialized sections such as cooking, photography, psychology.  

Brattle Book Shop

9 West Street, Boston, MA 02111

IMG_4357

Brattle is one of America’s oldest and largest antiquarian book stores, meaning that it sells rare and antique books. Brattle is definitely one of the most unique bookstores I’ve ever been in; it is absolutely the place to come when you want to feel surrounded by stacks and stacks of stunning old books. When the weather is good, they even have a parking lot full of books on the side of the store. They sell their books by the foot so decorators or set designers can come in and order any style of book to decorate with. However, it is definitely not the place to go for the newest cover of a bestseller you’ve been wanting to check out. Most of their three floors are stacked with antique histories and classics. They have sections such as “Espionage,” “Massachusetts,” and “Napoleon;” a whole shelf on Egypt; a shelf dedicated to Shakespeare; and a shelf of Irish writers featuring Joyce and Yeats. It is definitely somewhere to come when you have a lot of time to browse, as their organizational system is a little confusing and there are too many beautiful books stacked on top of more beautiful books to not spend an hour looking through each section and listening to other patrons discuss their favorite historians through the stacks.

Pandemonium Books and Games

4 Pleasant Street, Cambridge, MA 02139

IMG_6909

Pandemonium is a special bookstore for the science fiction fans of Boston, because they only sell science fiction, horror, and fantasy books, as well as used books, all of which are on the ground floor of the store. Their books are mostly divided into paperback and hardback; however, they do have a section of autographed books, three shelves of just books in the Star Wars universe, some comic books and graphic versions of popular novels, and even a display of books with female main characters or books about feminism in geek culture.  The basement floor is almost entirely board games, collectible card games (or CCGs,) role-playing games, and war playing games of all kinds. They host regular events like author signings and tournaments for various types of gamers and the basement floor is mostly taken over by tables where anyone can come in at any time to hang out and play a game.

Raven Used Books

23 Church Street, Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA 02138

IMG_6837

Raven is a small intimate used bookstore that has a very academic feel. It has no popular fiction, and instead it’s shelves are entitled things like “Literary Criticism,” “Physics,” and “Legal Studies;” their “Philosophy” section is almost as large as their “Fiction” section. Its shelves are mostly filled with history and they have sections from Medieval Studies to Anthropology, and even a section on almost every major country. They also have a shelf of rare and antiquarian books. And most importantly, they have great deals! I got three books for under $25 and they even have a small shelf outside of books for $2.95 or less.

Harvard Bookstore

1256 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138

IMG_6858

Harvard Bookstore is an quaint, adorable bookstore right next to Harvard University. They offer a large selection of new, used, and remaindered books, which are books that have been liquidated by the publisher because they are no longer selling well and are sold at very reduced prices. They also have a great author series where many writers come in and read or discuss their books. The best thing about Harvard Bookstore is their humongous selection; they have an entire first floor of everything from popular, literary, and young adult fiction to philosophy, and from children’s books to poetry; as well as an entire basement floor, almost as big as the first, full of used books. Their bookstore feels very personalized, as they have a shelf of books popular with their customers. They also have many very nicely written staff recommendations, adorable merchandise, like bags and t-shirts, and even litographs, which are images made from texts of novels. Harvard Bookstore is definitely a place for book lovers of all kinds.

All of these bookstores are incredible in their own way and all are worthy of a nice afternoon spent browsing their shelves. And though it is much easier to order books from the comfort of your own bed, if you have the opportunity, it is always worth it to support a local, independent bookstore. You might even find some great deals in the process. 

The Importance of Voting in Primaries

The presidential primaries have begun and are fast approaching in many states. People, especially those in the younger demographic, often do not vote because they see politicians as a bunch of old, primarily white men, arguing with one another. Although it may seem like voting can’t really change anything, voters actually do have the power to change the conversation.

Political primaries are the elections of each party’s candidates that then go on to run in the general election. A few states have a different form of voting system, called a caucus, which you can read more about here.  These were created in order to give the population more influence over which candidates were running in the general election, instead of the party leaders deciding who would run for their party. If only a few vote in the primaries, the candidates in the general election and the issues that they are fighting for do not truly represent the majority’s values.

The issues that are important during the primaries define the issues that will be important during the general election. Though it sometimes seems like all the candidates from each individual party must have the same stance on the same issues, they actually vary widely. By being aware of the issues and voting for the candidate who most closely represents your ideologies, you are showing all the candidates, and all politicians, what issues matter to you.

Even if the candidate that you vote for doesn’t win their party’s election, the amount of votes they do get before dropping out of the race are likely to influence the winning candidate’s platform in the general election. Meaning the thoughts of each voter are ultimately integrated into the general election, even if the candidate they chose doesn’t make it past the first round. This is why it is vitally important for voters from every demographic to take part in politics because politicians base their campaigns around the issues important to their constituency.  Since many young adults do not take part in primaries or even general elections, candidates frequently do not integrate the issues that are important to them into their platform because they do not believe that those policies will win them any votes.

Here at Emerson, it may seem like the entire campus is “feeling the Bern,”but before you make your choice you should know the facts about all the candidates. Here are some of the front runners for each party.

Democrats:

Bernie Sanders

Sanders is a self proclaimed Democratic Socialist. His main platform is dismantling the one percent and getting rid of big business. He stands for the working class, saying on his website that “Nobody who works 40 hours a week should be living in poverty.” He believes in taxing the wealthy and large corporations and increasing the estate tax as well as increasing the national minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour. he also wants to make public colleges free and provide national healthcare for all.

Hillary Clinton

Compared to Sanders, Clinton is much more moderate. As potentially the first female president, Clinton has come out with strong policies on women’s issues such as freedom of choice and equal pay. She also has an extensive policy on preventing sexual assault on campuses. She believes in expanding ObamaCare, but not in creating a Universal Health Care System right now. Her stance on gun control is also a lot stronger than Sanders’.

Republicans:

Ted Cruz

The front page of Ted Cruz’s website states Cruz’s slogan, “Join the movement of Courageous Conservatives.” Cruz, in extreme opposition of Sanders, believes in ending corporate income tax and introducing a flat tax. He also believes in blocking any current effort to allow undocumented immigrants to become legal citizens and plans to repeal Obamacare. Cruz is very conservative on social issues and believes that states should be able to define marriage as between just a man and women. He also supports strict restrictions on abortion.

Donald Trump

Trump’s catchphrase “Make America Great Again!” can frequently be heard rolling off people’s tongues on campus, usually in a mocking fashion, but none the less, he is popular with right wing voters. However, few people actually know his policies. Trump has been particularly outspoken about his policy on deporting all undocumented individuals in this country, freezing green cards and banning all Muslims from entering the U.S., at least temporarily. He has several other conservative policies, such as wanting to limit abortion and send U.S. troops in to target oil rich areas of Islamic States. He even says that he would allow torture of accused terrorists. However, he also has some more liberal policies, such as replacing Obamacare with a more universal healthcare system and placing restrictions on the buying and selling of guns.

Marco Rubio

Rubio is only a slightly more moderate candidate. He plans to work towards securing the border, possibly granting citizenship for undocumented citizens, and calling for more careful vetting of refugees. He supports the cutting of corporate taxes by 25 percent and severely cutting the taxes for the richest 10 percent of the population. Although, he personally believes that marriage is between a man and a women, he recognizes that the Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage is the law of the land and should be abided by.