The Problem with Emerson Attendance Policy

We’ve all been there. You open your eyes at 9:20 am, knowing full well you have your elective at 10. But you also know that your head is pounding, your throat is drier than the Sahara, your nose is running faster than your legs ever could and you feel like ten bricks were just chucked at your body. Nope, you’re not hungover; you’re sick. But you also know you only have one unexcused absence left and…there are two months left of the semester. Groaning, aching and melting in your own skin, you reluctantly roll your limbs out of bed and begin your routine.

Emerson’s attendance policy is, needless to say, strict. It’s said that most professors assign a policy of 3 unexcused absences and unlimited excused absences. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve had professors only allow 2, 1, or even no unexcused absences for the entirety of the semester. And when the pool of reasons from which excused absences can be drawn is so small, it becomes increasingly difficult for Emerson students to maintain a good grade in class while still tending to their physical and mental needs.

I have never before experienced such a hard-working, dedicated environment of students who will go to class through so much. I myself have sat through classes even with treacherous stomach bugs and eye infections. The scary part to me is that it seems the school would prefer we come to class with our contagious illnesses than stay home and rest. It’s clear the quality of our work in class is greatly diminished during these instances, and yet, we still push through.

I find it absurd the inconsistency between professors’ policies. I’ve had professors who have excused people for public transportation issues, colds and picking up extra shifts at work, as well as professors who have refused to grant excused absences for family deaths, funerals and weddings. As adults between the ages of 18 and 22, students should be given enough responsibility and respect to come to class on their own terms. With such strict attendance policies, it feels like the college doesn’t trust us to manage our own educations. And it’s saddening that professors will often assume dishonesty or laziness, no matter the excuse a student gives.

When a professor once addressed my class on the first day with “You will be given no excused absences. You are adults, and if you want to come to class, you will,” it was unbelievable to me. Being absent from class is so much more than merely not wanting to come. We as adults understand the economic toll our education has on our lives, and we know to take it very seriously. Yes, there are days when we are tired, bored or hungry and don’t feel like going to class, but professors need to start taking our health more seriously. Nothing, no not even your hour-and-45-minute-long seminar, matters more than our health.

At the end of the day, students are in control of their education. They will take as much, or as little, from it as they desire. It is not a professor’s job to force students into their classroom; if a professor is being respectful and fair, then students will naturally want to come to class. It’s as simple as that. Health is wealth, and us Emerson students are going to be needing some major wealth if we dream of funding our expensive undergraduate educations.

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Fun and Cheap Adventures for Summer 2017

If you’re anything like me, you like trying new things and visiting new places. Even if you aren’t as inclined to branch out, summer is a great time to try new things and visit new places. New adventures don’t necessarily require lots of money and preparation, you can have a lot of fun in and around your hometown to spice up your summer and discover some hidden gems. Trust me, growing up in a small town has forced me to get very creative when I’m bored.

Whether you’re bored on a rainy day, or sick of going to the beach on your day off, these ideas can help you find something different to do this summer.

Public Parks

Acadia National Park

The best vacation I have ever been on was to a national park. Last summer my family visited Acadia National Park in Maine, and the sights were breathtaking. I have never seen such natural beauty and it made me want to go on a national park road trip. Wherever you live in the world, there are public parks, hiking trails, and lakes that many people don’t know about. A lot of them are free entry, too! If there is a daily fee, the money goes back into environmental efforts to keep the parks open and thriving.

There are numerous parks in Massachusetts alone, and thousands across the country. Many offer kayak and canoe rentals, camping grounds, and scenic walking trails. Parks are a great way to bring out your inner adventurer and spend time outside.

They are also perfect for your furry friends to enjoy.

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Aren’t into climbing mountains? Have no fear! Pack up a nice lunch and go sit by a beautiful lake or overlook, I promise you will not be disappointed. Lunch with a view is always a good idea.

Parks can be packed during the summer, but there are multiple trails so nothing ever feels too crowded. Getting out into nature is great physically, but also mentally. The warm summer air and the sound of birds chirping in the trees creates a natural zen environment. There is something so peaceful about sitting in a quiet park and taking a step back from a fast paced life. Every time I visit a park I feel happier and more relaxed when I leave.

Secret Beaches

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If you live near the ocean, I’m sure you’re familiar with the local beaches. But do you know all of small, secret beaches that aren’t crowded with a million umbrellas and coolers?

I am living on Cape Cod for the summer and I have started to discover multiple tiny beaches that are nearly empty. Most don’t even have parking lots and consist of a tiny path on the side of the road that leads to a little slice of heaven.

These beaches can be tricky to look up online because people like keeping their secret sanctuaries private, so doing field research may be your best bet. They are usually close to public beaches, unmarked and down a side road. Getting to them is an adventure in itself but once you reach the destination the serenity is well worth the journey. If there isn’t a sign that says “Private Property,” put your towel down and make yourself at home.

One of my favorite “private” beaches on Cape Cod.

When you find a place like this, shhhhh! It’s a secret beach for a reason!

Give your tastebuds something new and different

Coconut latte from Jaho Coffee

One of my favorite things to do over the summer is try to find the hidden gems of the food world. They are everywhere! So many restaurants in the U.S. are inspired by places all across the world, bringing an international food experience right to your hometown. Yelp is a great place to start and gives a reliable outline of what kinds of dishes to expect. It is particularly helpful to read reviews of dishes you aren’t used to before making the trip.

I like branching out to find different food because it is easy to get sick of the same things. I fell in love with Indian cuisine through my summer research and I thoroughly enjoyed being able to go to somewhere so new and different with so many amazing flavors I have never experienced before. My taste buds were happily surprised.

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Picky eaters can enjoy new food too, most places can create dishes that are fairly mild if that is what you’re comfortable with. No matter what kind of cuisine you are trying, try to choose something on the menu that sounds different and exciting. If you discover you really like it, try making it yourself at home! Fill this summer with new food adventures and maybe discover a new love for cooking.

Grabbing some friends and visiting a funky place for dinner is an awesome adventure and summer is the perfect time for it.

Unusual Sports

The category of sports encompasses a lot more than baseball and football. No running is involved, just fun! Whether it’s ziplining, whitewater rafting or bubble soccer, there are many wacky activities out there to try this summer.  

One place I have really been wanting to go the past year or so is a treetop adventure park near my house. Definitely find one of these places near you if you want to feel like a monkey! This park is a course of ziplines, tightropes, rope walls and more. It has been built in the woods so you really feel like you’re a tree animal! I went ziplining once before in New Hampshire and absolutely loved it and I am yearning to check this place out.

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Bubble soccer is another funny one that has become somewhat recreational in the Boston area. Once you put on the “bubble” you look like a hamster ball with legs. It is hilarious to watch but looks like it would be so much fun to try. There are locations and variations of this activity all across the U.S. and it would be perfect to rent some for a party, or just for fun with friends!

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The Zoo

The zoo is so underrated. I absolutely love the zoo. You can find me there, standing next to a seven year old, just as excited as they are to see the giraffes walking around. They are fairly cheap to visit and showcase amazing, exotic creatures.

If you live near Washington D.C., the Smithsonian National Zoo is free!! It also happens to be the best zoo I have ever been to…they have giant pandas, lions, elephants, and so much more.

Giant Panda at the Smithsonian Zoo.

The zoo is a great summer day trip, and I definitely recommend going on a weekday if you can because it is a lot less crowded and easier to get up close to all of the animals. Some zoos also allow you to bring in your own food and drinks, so you can save money by packing snacks from home.

In addition to the zoo, go to the aquarium! So many beautifully colored fish, penguins, seals, and other water creatures that are amazing to see up close. The aquarium is a perfect adventure for a rainy day.

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I hope this list helps you kickstart an amazing, adventurous, memorable summer. (:

 

Doughnut Overload

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I could not be happier about the doughnut invasion that seems to have taken over the food world over the past year. I was never that into doughnuts because they are so decadent. But, boy oh boy, how times have changed. I have experienced the doughnut craze in cities all over the world and not one doughnut has left me unsatisfied. I am going to recall some of my fondest doughnut memories, some of which are in New England that you must try if you haven’t already.

1. The first time I fell in love with donuts was at Blackbird Doughnuts, located at 492 Tremont Street. This location is not far from Emerson’s campus at all. If you are an Emerson student and have yet to visit Blackbird, shame! They change their flavors weekly which always keeps people (especially me) coming back for more.

Me eating a Lemon raspberry donut from Blackbird.

The flavors tend to be seasonal, so in the fall, expect pumpkin spice inspired donuts and fresh, fruity ones in the summer. One of the best doughnuts I have ever had was at Blackbird last summer. They had a peanut butter and jelly doughnut that changed my life forever. I’m serious. The brioche dough was so fluffy like a cloud with a perfect balance of the peanut butter and jelly filling. I hope they bring that flavor back one day because it was one of the best things I have ever put in my mouth….ever. What is cool about Blackbird is that there is a glass window where you can see right into the kitchen to see live doughnut magic. Blackbird is a little slice of heaven, right in the South End.

2. As if doughnuts were not amazing on their own….now there is the “cronut” craze. Let me do a little math for you. Croissant + donut = cronut. I never thought my first cronut experience would be at the Barcelona airport but when I saw it staring at me from behind the case of baked goods, I knew it had to be mine.

This Oreo cronut with marshmallow filling was everything I hoped it would be. The Oreo crumbles and flaky crust of the croissant paired together perfectly, and the filling was just enough sweetness without overpowering the entire ensemble. As I sat in the terminal awaiting my flight, I knew I made the right decision. I have yet to come across a cronut in the states but I am sure they are out there and it is my mission to find one.

3. My most overwhelming doughnut experience happened at Camden Market in London. Camden Market is one of my favorite places in the entire world, filled with artists displaying local work and food vendors with dishes from all around the world. What really caught my eye at Camden Market was an unbelievable doughnut cart. A cart a mile long, with any doughnut you could ever want. You could smell the sweetness wafting off the cart from a mile away. 

Doughnut cart!

Never before had I seen so many different shapes, sizes, and colors of doughnuts. I accept every doughnut for who they are on the inside, not physical appearance. I decided to go for the most ridiculous doughnut I saw that was bigger than my head. A buttercream filled, chocolate dipped, sprinkle covered, doughnut. A triple threat doughnut.

The doughnut monster at Camden Market.

 

I could only conquer about five large bites before throwing in the towel.

4. PVDonuts in Providence, Rhode Island is another one of my favorites. I went there for the first time last week and was impressed by the organization they maintained behind such a small counter. Having to choose just one flavor was nearly impossible so I grabbed six to go so I could share with my family. Some of the flavors were banana split, cereal milk, piña colada, and maple bacon. My favorite had to be strawberry cream, a doughy pillow of pastry filled with fresh strawberry jam.

The atmosphere inside PVDonuts is super cozy and they even have donut pillows to complement the couches. They even have a sign on the wall that says “Treat Yoself!” which makes me feel even better about stuffing a doughnut the size of my head into my mouth. One important tip for PVDonuts is to get there early because they sometimes sell out of doughnuts by noon. These doughnuts are most definitely worth the drive, so make the journey down to Providence ASAP!

There is always a new doughnut adventure to be had, so go out and explore the doughnut craze for yourself! I promise, you will NOT regret it.

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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.

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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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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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Emerson Alumni: They Went Here?

Anyone who attends Emerson is probably well-accustomed to hearing about the different celebrity alumni that have walked the school’s hallowed halls (although Emerson has changed campus locations numerous times over the years). Yes, Emerson loves to talk about its Emerson Mafia. Of course, an impressive list of alumni is something for the college to be proud of. It’s nice to know, after all, that a good amount of people who have attended and graduated from Emerson have gone on to do incredible things.

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Pub Club’s Fall 2016 Book Launch

What is Pub Club exactly? Pub Club is short for Undergraduate Students for Publishing, which is one of several publishing organizations operating on Emerson’s campus. The organization provides students who hope to work in the publishing industry the chance to gain some valuable experience while at Emerson. One of the ways Pub Club does this is by publishing two books a semester, under the name Wilde Press.

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Back to Campus: Quelling College-Related Anxiety

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Last August, I was terrified to start college.

On another hand, I was also excited to get to campus. Soon, I’d be taking classes in the areas of study that most interested me. My roommates and I had already become well-acquainted through the power of Facebook, which ensured I would not be entering my college years alone.

Still, I had lived in the same comfortable, yet boring, town for the majority of my life. Though my most valuable friendships were not made until high school, I had gone to class alongside the same students for years. My school wouldn’t be too far from home but I recognized that college would still bring tremendous change to my life. And, unfortunately, change can be scary.

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