Heart Map Series: Jess

1. Politics: I like to say that I love politics, even when I don’t like politics. The current political climate is obviously not ideal, but that doesn’t mean I have any less of an interest in the study of politics and government. I make an effort to learn as much as I can and to keep up with current events. If I could pick my dream future, it would be one where I have a career in which I get paid just to write about politics.

2. Netflix: I chose to highlight Netflix on this list because the majority of TV shows I watch are Netflix originals or at least ones available for viewing on Netflix. I’m an avid House of Cards fan and am anxiously awaiting its return this May. I also enjoy Stranger Things and Orange is the New Black. Just last week, I finished 13 Reasons Why and while I have some complaints about how the show handled difficult topics, I can’t say I wasn’t hooked on it.

3. HBO: Okay, I’m also an HBO fan. Currently, I’m a big fan of both Game of Thrones and Westworld. If you know me personally, there is a good chance I’ve already attempted to coerce you into watching Westworld, which I believe to be an amazing show. There are plenty of other HBO series I hope to tackle over the summer including Veep and at least the first season of True Detective.

4. Overwatch: I also talk about and play a lot of Overwatch. Overwatch is a first-person shooter game created by Blizzard, which I am currently and have been obsessed with. I love the game’s lore and how it involves superheroes and robots — two things loved by nerds everywhere. As the only video game I have ever gotten invested in, I can say that Overwatch holds a special and unique place in my heart.

5. Star Wars: At seven years old, I was introduced to the Star Wars series by my brother and my world changed. The original trilogy was my first true experience with genre, since the world of Star Wars is so fantastical. Soon, I began writing my own stories and crafting my own characters thanks to the example set forth by George Lucas. I remain an avid fan today, having seen The Force Awakens six times in theaters alone, though I don’t think that’s something to brag about. 

6. Stationery: I love stationery! Pens, paper, washi tape — if it can make organizing my school and work agenda more exciting, I’m into it. 

7. Coffee: Before college, I was never much of a coffee drinker. Now I drink at least a cup of coffee a day. I don’t love coffee to the point of obsession, but I do depend upon a warm cup of coffee from my suite’s Keurig to wake up each morning. I’ll usually treat myself to an iced coffee from Dunkin’ or Starbucks, regardless the season.

8. Writing: If I didn’t love writing, I probably wouldn’t be studying at Emerson with a major in Writing, Literature, and Publishing.

9. Theater: Before I arrived at Emerson, I was a theater kid. Performing in plays was a constant of my elementary, middle school, and high school years. My experiences with my high school drama remain some of my fondest and it is through theater that I was able to gain confidence and make my mark in my local community.

10. YouTube: When I’m bored, YouTube is my ultimate resource. I’ll find myself in a video black hole, where I keep watching random videos for hours. Casey Neistat is my favorite YouTuber, as I consider him to be the greatest vlogger to ever exist. No vlogger can ever match the talent of Casey Neistat. No vlog can ever match the superior quality of a Casey Neistat vlog. Casey deserved a special shout out on this list because although I am not a filmmaker or Casey Neistat, I find his videos and overall demeanor to be very inspiring. But, I still just love the site in general.

11. Art: I no longer draw as much as I should, but art has always been important to me. At an early age, I started drawing and it was the first talent that I was ever given recognition for. As the years have passed and my interests have expanded, I don’t devote as much time to making art anymore. However, I hope to change that this summer.

12. Dogs: If you know me, this isn’t surprising: I love dogs. Any type of dog, it doesn’t mad. Big or small, old or young.

13. Friends: The friends I have made at Emerson have genuinely changed my life for the better. I am not sure who I would be without them. I’m not the type to say this often, but I feel blessed that I’ve been able to find such incredible friends and confidantes. Even though I don’t have the time to hang out with them as often as I would like, the truth is that there is no place I’d rather be than in a common room (our choice hangout spot) with them.

14. Emerson: All of us here at Atlas are Emerson students, of course. But, I wanted to take a moment to talk about what the school means to me. I knew Emerson was my dream school as early as my sophomore year of high school. Since starting at Emerson, I’ve never doubted I made the right choice. I’ve learned a lot thus far in my Emerson career and I look forward to what my future at Emerson will bring me. 

 

Challenging the Literary Canon

After years of being assigned books to read for school, have you ever wondered why the same authors find their way onto every English teacher’s syllabus? I can still remember most of the books I was assigned in high school, throughout my years of Honors and AP English classes. As a freshman, I can recall reading Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. My sophomore English syllabus emphasized Shakespeare, Hemingway, and Victor Hugo. Junior year was my AP Language course, which consisted primarily of analyzing speeches from great men of times past, such as John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln.

All of the works I have mentioned so far were authored by white men. I can only remember women and/or non-white authors being a significant part of my class curriculum during my senior year. That year, we were treated to an entire unit on Toni Morrison. Song of Solomon by Morrison was even our summer reading assignment. Later in the fall, we were tasked with writing a research paper on Morrison and her writing. But, it’s tragic that Morrison is one of the only black writers I can remember being taught in high-school. Why should a school English curriculum only emphasize one type of author? White, male, straight, cisgender — why is that considered the story worth reading?

When somebody mentions the literary canon, they are referring to the set of authors or works seen as the epitome of greatness. The books you are exposed to in middle and high school typically belong to this canon. That canon overwhelmingly features authors from those categories I already mentioned. This is how we all end up reading and reminiscing over the same “sacred” works. That isn’t to say, though, that there isn’t value in reading Shakespeare. I love Shakespeare. It’s just that we need to make an effort to allow other voices to be heard too.

Race, gender and sexuality are three areas where this diversity is most lacking. As already mentioned, most famed authors are white, straight, cisgender men. Writers who don’t fall into those categories rarely garner that same recognition, yet representation in literature and the arts is incredibly important for marginalized groups. It is important then that as consumers of media we make room for those marginalized voices.

Undergraduate Students for Publishing, a student organization at Emerson, recently hosted a speaker series titled Decolonize the Canon. As its name suggests, speakers at the event spoke about challenging the lack of diversity in the accepted literary and art canons — not only in regards to what artists receive recognition, but as well as what stories they are allowed to tell. Different ideas were discussed, including the importance of challenging what is perceived to be art and the importance of representation in literature. 

Knowing that the accepted canon typically only features certain authors of certain backgrounds, it is necessary to challenge that canon. Engage with the works of authors of diverse backgrounds and experiences and encourage a more inclusive literary canon. As readers, that’s the least we can do.

An Evening With ‘Our Revolution’

On March 31st, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Ma) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt) took the city of Boston by storm when they spoke at the Our Revolution rally at Boston’s Orpheum Theatre. Given the impending Nor’Easter, the crowd at the event was tremendous. Most of the seats in the theater were filled by rally-goers. The orchestra was filled to the brim, and the second-level of the theater was at least ¾ of the way full. Overall, the event boasted an impressive turnout, despite the weather. Online, about three-thousand people RSVP’d—less than the number of people who actually turned out for it, but 3,000+ people would have been far too many people for this rally anyways.

For the people who were there, it probably seemed like a peaceful, easy event to attend. Unlike the rallies I saw during this past election cycle, attendees were able to sit comfortably in the theater and listen to the speakers onstage. Concessions were on sale in the lobby, like you would expect from a space like this. The line to get inside became more chaotic as the night moved closer to the event’s start time, but I’m doubtful anyone was turned away at the door. Anybody who wanted to see Bernie, Elizabeth and the other speakers that preceded them onstage were more than welcome to enter the theater and take a seat.

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Inside Emerson’s New Dorm Building

This past year, there’s been plenty of talk about the construction happening on Emerson’s Boylston Street campus. From the building of a new dining hall to Little Building being closed for renovations starting this May, to a new dorm building with its entrance in the Boylston Place alleyway—change is definitely coming to Emerson. But, how much do Emerson’s students actually know about these construction projects? Particularly, how much do students know about this new dorm building? Many students will call 2 Boylston Place their home come next semester, and yet they might not know much about what the Boylston Place dorm will really be like.

As a student who is now a junior, even I’m a bit confused about just what is happening with this new dorm building, regardless if I might not have the opportunity to live there. Still, I’ve been watching this construction happen since I started at Emerson. The sounds of drilling and workers shouting over the noise of their equipment have become all too familiar to my peers and me.

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Can A Superhero Movie Really Be a “Good” Movie?

I love superhero movies, but I don’t love all superhero movies. For instance, although I’m a fan of most of the Marvel movies (as in, the films released by Disney-Marvel Studios), I was sorely disappointed by Avengers: Age of Ultron. I hated the romance added between the Hulk and Black Widow, which was a sub-plot that genuinely came out of left field. The movie, overall, felt like it was holding back from reaching its potential—because Disney was opting to save their best content for Avengers: Infinity War, set to be released in 2018. Though a fun movie that I enjoyed watching, Age of Ultron was a let-down, and that was the consensus I saw online as well.

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No Internship? No Problem!

You go to Emerson College, so odds are when you think of summer, you’re not thinking about lazy days spent relaxing at the beach or the memories you’ll make with family members and friends. Instead, you’re thinking about resume building: how can I get an internship this summer? And what happens if I don’t find one? That’s when the panic sets in. You’ll then find yourself staring at your laptop screen till all hours of the night, trying to perfect your resume and cover letter. Though it might be scary, I’m here to tell you that there is always something productive you can do with your time over summer break.

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Elizabeth Warren is the Politician We Need

Permanent Massachusetts resident or not, it’s likely that you know Elizabeth Warren’s name by now. She’s currently the senior US senator from Massachusetts and is a very prominent figure in the Democratic Party. There’s even talk that she might put in a bid for the presidency in 2020. And for many Emerson students who lean to the political left, the possibility of Elizabeth Warren becoming president in four years is the hope they need right now.

Having grown up in Massachusetts, I have watched Warren rise from a Senate hopeful to a leading voice among the country’s Democrats. Though I might be biased given my political party of choice (hint: I love the color blue), Warren’s journey has undoubtedly been an incredible one. I’m glad to have witnessed it firsthand as a Massachusetts resident.

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Why You Should Care About Senior Dogs

There are few pleasant places left on the internet, save for the Facebook page belonging to Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary (OFSDS). I first discovered OFSDS sometime last year, after seeing the organization mentioned in one of the many dog-friendly Facebook groups I’m a part of. After finding their Facebook page, the rest was history. I became enamored with the organization and the dogs it takes care of. As the name of OFSDS might suggest, they absolutely create a sanctuary for senior dogs. While senior dogs are often abandoned or euthanized, OFSDS provides them a second chance. Besides the fact that the dogs are cute, the good that they do is the real reason you should be supporting them on social media.

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Backstock for Standing Rock with Pub Club

It has always been important to take action, but now is an essential time to be advocating for social and political change. That includes taking action here on Emerson’s campus, in the greater Boston area, or beyond.

But, sometimes advocacy can mean showing solidarity. Or fundraising in support of an issue or movement. That’s why Undergraduate Students for Publishing (or Pub Club) has decided to spend a week selling its back stock to fundraise for Standing Rock. If you’re unfamiliar with Standing Rock, here’s a brief summary: The Standing Rock protests are in response to a proposal to build the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). If built, the pipeline would threaten the water that many indigenous people in the area depend on. Despite the freezing weather, protests have continued at Standing Rock for months now.

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Upcoming Changes to the Emerson Campus

If there is one thing Emerson students are accustomed to seeing, it’s scaffolding. I don’t remember a time that Emerson’s campus wasn’t dominated by rows of scaffolding that hang ominously above as you wait to cross at the Boylston-Tremont intersection. Scaffolding has been a fixture outside the Little Building (LB) for a long time now. This is to be expected, given it’s an old building desperately in need of some sprucing up. Thankfully, Emerson will begin the renovation process of LB next semester. Starting in January 2017, though, the lower-level of the building will be closed. This means that both the campus fitness center and the Cabaret (at least in their current locations) will be closed as well.

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