Being The Change

The events that took place in Charlottesville, Virginia last week are nothing short of appalling. Watching the news has made me feel so incredibly sick. I’m upset, angry, and looking to make a change. As a young adult in the world today I am in an important place of power. I have the power to control the future of our nation by speaking up about important issues. I encourage you to do the same because every voice is valuable!

Take an inside look into what happened in Charlottesville by checking out this documentary created by VICE. The footage gives great insight into the minds of some of the individuals involved with the rally and how their actions affected those around them.

I hope this film made you just as upset as it made me. Getting enraged is what will spark the fire to make a change. I wish I could show this film to every single person my age to create a reaction. It is one thing to read a tweet about what happened in Charlottesville, but taking the time to put yourself in the shoes of those who were there when it happened creates a whole differe

This past Saturday there was a free speech rally in the Boston common, and I have never been more proud of my city. Hate was met by an outpouring of love. The counter protest consisted of at least 30,000 individuals marching to fight bigotry and hate. The rally was for the most part peaceful and no extreme acts of violence were reported by the Boston police. There is just as much room for love in this world as there is for hate.

Boston “Free Speech” Counter Protest – Aug. 19, 2017

I was feeling down and upset last week but after Saturday I felt my body fill up with hope. Boston proved that love can overcome hate.

As far as what you can do, reach out to Republican state reps and speak up about the change you wish to see in our government. Every voice is important and speaking up is the best thing you can do at this time. We must bring these issues to the attention of local officials who have the power to invoke greater change. Every individual can impact a bigger change.

Check out this link for more information: https://hastebin.com/tosetacemo.coffeescript

Resist, resist, resist. Combat hate with love. Persevere. There are things going on everyday that inspire me to take action and I hope that more young people will educate themselves and get involved because we are the change.

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Chicago in 3 Days

 

Looking to explore a new city? Want to experience a breathtaking skyline that’s also right on the water? It may be time to look into visiting Chicago. This past week I went for 3 days and really fell in love with the city. There are great deals on Expedia that will make it easier to travel on a budget and this guide will help you get the most out of your trip. 

Chicago Cubs

If you’re a Red Sox fan, Wrigley field will feel very familiar to you. It is the second oldest ballpark behind Fenway and has an awesome old timey feel. Wrigley is a beautiful field with great a great view from every section. There is history packed into the stadium and fun facts posted around the park to read up on the history of the Cubs. Awesome food, die hard fans and ice cold beer. Basically Boston, right?

The Bean

The Bean!

An icon in Chicago, the Bean can’t be missed. Located in the heart of the city in Millennium Park, it could not be easier to get to. Grab a Chicago dog from a nearby food truck and sit by the Bean for an hour or so. The perfect place to people watch and snap some fun pictures. There are other sculptures and artwork scattered around the park to check out too. Research restaurants around the Bean because there are many cool food joints hidden around the downtown area!

Art Institute

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by George Seurat

After you’re done with the Bean, move on to the Art Institute of Chicago to explore an incredible selection of artwork. The institute carries an impressive collection of pieces from Seurat, Monet, van Gogh, Warhol and so many more. It is not hard to spend an entire day here exploring every wing of this beautiful museum. Be sure to check out the modern wing upstairs for very funky, contemporary paintings and sculptures.

Navy Pier

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What is better than an amusement park on a boardwalk?! Navy Pier is a fun place to visit while in Chicago, even if it’s only for half a day. On certain days over the summer they feature outdoor movies on the pier along with other cool activities. There are many fun restaurants, carnival rides, and boat tours to explore. The Navy Pier ferris wheel is the perfect way to view the entire Chicago shoreline from end to end. To make thing even better, the shuttle from downtown to the pier is always free and runs about every half hour! Grab a bite to eat and enjoy the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan.

John Hancock Tower

Sunset from the top of the 360 Observatory.

The top floor of the Hancock tower hosts the most amazing view for a sunset. An elevator takes you 94 floors up in less than a minute. When the doors open, you are greeted by floor to ceiling glass windows showcasing a 360 view of Chicago from a bird’s eye view. It is so peaceful being in that beautiful tower and a perfect way to relax at the end of a busy day exploring the city. You pay for admission to the top of the tower and can stay as long as you want. There is a fun new feature at the top called Tilt! where you lean against the glass at the top of the tower and hang out above the city. Very scary, but worth it for the thrill!

Chi-town is my new favorite city and maybe it will become yours too!

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.

What It’s Like To Have Anxiety

It’s like a shiver, growing in strength as it climbs from the tips of your fingers to the top of your shoulders. A fizzing of carbonated drinks rumbling right under the surface, with every pop follows a shiver. All you can do is imagine your bed and comfortable blanket and sweatshirt waiting for you at home, mere miles and hours in your future. “You can get through this,” you tell yourself. “Just keep going,” you say as you move through your necessary operations. You look at everyone else, envy building within your bones that they seem to be at ease. Maybe they’re nervous about an impending job interview or national test their future relies on, but their skin hasn’t broken out in cold telltale hives of your anxieties.

Continue reading “What It’s Like To Have Anxiety”

Working ‘Till College Do Us Part

When May is coming, all college students can think of is the potential for adventure, fun and sleep during their summer months. No more homework or projects or whatnots.

Well, at least until your internship starts, you get hired at your summer job, and finding the time to split between your friends at home, from school, and all that family you missed out on during the school year. Suddenly, you’re sick of your own summer. When’s the right time to quit?

For each person this question differs. Obviously the money aspect plays a big role and everyone’s fiscal responsibilities vary according to need, want and current stature. So this question is very personal for many. If you need to keep working or work hours on end during the week, quitting your job early may not be the write solution for you. However, as long as friends and family, a good book or show to binge online surrounds you, you’ll get a little break until the academic calendar offers a little solace.

However, if you do not fall under that category, there are many variables you need to take into account.

Are you happy at your job?

This is a question that has many parts. Are your coworkers nice; are your bosses understanding; are you paid well enough for your task? If your answers to these questions are astounding yeses, then you may be happy to keep working. Considering how rare that is, enjoy it while it lasts. But if you’re counting down every hour from the moment you get in, your bosses haven’t listened or respected your requests, the pay isn’t worth the treatment and work you’ve completed, then maybe you shouldn’t stay there all summer. How many times have you been able to see the friends and family from home since starting work? Have you actually taken time to relax before the academic grind begins? Did you go on an adventure of sorts? Don’t loose your summer to a job.

Leave time to relax, to craft, to see friends, to explore, to do anything your young collegiate heart desires. You’ll be working when you’re back in school. If you can afford it and need it, take some time for yourself.

How much time you need is up to you. If you hate your job, need some more money, but don’t want to loose your time at home to this paid task, why not quit a little before. A week, depending on how many things you want to do. Two weeks if you’re traveling or visiting friends and family. If you need that much time for the amount of events you want to complete this summer, do it. Take a month if at all possible.

Just remember to try and follow protocol. It’s never a bad thing to have another work reference or experience on your resume for the future. So try to at least give two weeks notice, more so if possible. Bring it up when you have their full attention. Tell them how grateful you were for this opportunity, even if you hated every second of it and are imagining the fanfare when you walk out. Explain that you need to start focusing on getting back to school, means it had nothing to do with them or your feelings towards them. And give an exact date of when your last day will be. Then, there will be no confusion of when to start the trumpeters.

Instagram Worthy Summer Adventures

Summer is almost halfway through and thus you may be thinking “what have I even done so far?” Between working or summer classes, it is easy to feel as if you are not making the most of  your “summer fun.” This is especially the case when social media tends to make your friends’ lives seem so exciting. If you feel as if you are wasting away your chance at some summer adventures, here are some ideas to help you make the best of your summer.

Day Trips

Juggling a summer job or internship while trying to still have a social life is not an easy task. One of the best ways to make the most of your limited time of is by going on day trips. Anything less than a two hour drive is a good option. Public transportation is also a great option. Going somewhere you’ve never been before even if it’s not a major tourist spot can still make you feel like you’re doing something. It’s always fun to explore a new town or city, try new restaurants, and experience the culture. You never know what you may discover.

Even if you’ve been somewhere before, there is almost always something new to do or see. You never know what you may discover.  You can always try searching Pinterest or even googling for ideas. Viewing your area from the eyes of someone else can remind you of places you’ve always wanted to go or never even knew existed.

Explore the Arts

Most cities, towns or neighboring areas have some sort of local arts scene. Don’t be afraid to check out a local gallery, nearby concert or theater production. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never heard of the artists or bands. In fact, that’s probably better as it will make the experience more of an adventure. Opening yourself up to new art is always a valuable experience. Local arts scenes also tend to be close knit, so it’s likely you’ll learn about other events while you are there.

Also consider checking out some local museums. Most museums are free or low cost and many even offer student discounts. Museums are a great way to learn something new and get inspired. Even your local town history museum is worth checking out. Typically, the people who work in museums are genuinely interested in starting conversations and sharing their knowledge, so be sure to ask questions and gain as much as possible from the experience.

Explore the Outdoors

Camping is a great way to travel on a budget. Most areas have nearby state parks with tent sites or low cost campgrounds. There is so much to see outdoors, and there are so many adventures to be had. Depending on where you live, there are likely different kinds of hiking trails to explore. If you’re a beginner start out with easy trails and see how you like it. There are also so many other options for exploring nature. Everything from riding your bike to spending a day at the beach can be a great summer adventure. If you don’t have a full day to spend outside, consider going on a picnic. Simply getting out in the fresh air can remind you of the joy of summer.

Record these adventures in photos and journals. You can post about it on social media if you wish, but don’t feel obligated to blog every minute. Remember, this adventure is something for you, not something to use just to show off. Make memories that are powerful and fulfilling without worrying about what your Instagram caption will be.

Navigating Your College Career Goals

I’m someone who likes to have everything figured out. I like to know that what I’m doing is ultimately helping me accomplish one of my long term goals, or at least moving me toward something – like a degree. Every class we take at school, every paper we write is moving us toward that little piece of paper that employers love to see.

Lately it seems that everyone knows what they want to do for the rest of their lives, and exactly how they’re going to do it. Lately, I feel as if I’m heading in the exact opposite direction. I write articles, blog posts, poetry, and anything that interests me really. But this past month, I had been questioning the lifestyle and career choices I’ve been making. I let a couple of political arguments on Facebook with family members change how I felt about being a writer. I wanted to put my skills to good use and switch majors and make a bunch of rushed decisions in order to do something I thought was more noble, or useful. I’ve spent the last month throwing myself into things that could’ve permanently locked me into something I didn’t want to do.

Most of us go through phases, when it comes to the big question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” 7-year-old me might have said a singing space-bus driver. 15-year-old me might’ve said a lawyer or paralegal. Now, at 19-years-old, I still don’t have it all figured out. But I did figure something out. It’s okay to not have your life plan mapped out! And I figured something else out too! Writing is a skill that every employer likes to see on a resume. Words have power, regardless of profession.

I didn’t reach this conclusion alone, however. I reached out to many trusted friends, family, and even coworkers, having active discussions on what the options were when it came to my career and my major and all of them pretty much said the same thing. If you ultimately don’t know what you want to do – a degree is still a degree, and most employers will still value it even if it doesn’t exactly match the job description. They were right. A degree in X, Y, Z doesn’t bind you to a career in X, Y, or Z. Chances are, most of the alphabet is still up for grabs, as long as you have the necessary skills and experience to land it.  

Do not do what I almost did and make rash decisions to make up for the lack of direction. Do things you enjoy now – make connections with people who share the pleasure of doing those things. Do not build the roof of your house before building the foundation. Direction will come when everything settles. We may not know now where we’ll be in five years, but look around and you can see where you are now. Work hard, love harder and take life one step at a time.

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!

12 Not-to-Be-Missed Music Remixes

In honor of our “Remix Issue” launching in just a couple of weeks, our co editor-in-chief, Marlo Jappen, shares her top 12 favorite music remixes! 

Releasing a cover takes guts. It sets the artist up for comparisons, criticism and the oft-repeated phrase: “Nothing beats the original.” But, music hits us all in different ways and remixes capture that. In anticipation of Atlas’ “Remix Issue, ” I rounded up 12 of my favorites.

1) Kiesza, “What is Love?” (Haddaway)

Kiesza’s powerful vocals give the song a sense of depth and emotion that’s lacking from the bland 90s original.

 2) The Weekend, “Drunk in Love”(Beyoncé)

Queen Bey should never be covered.  The Weekend, however, proves you should never say “never.”

3) A Day to Remember, “Over My Head” (The Fray)

What happens when a metal band covers The Fray? Excellence.  Pure, head banging excellence.

4) The White Stripes, “Jolene” (Dolly Parton)

Jack White’s passionate, haunting rendition lends a rock-and-rock edge to the country anthem.

5) Janis Joplin, “Me and Bobby McGee” (Kris Kristofferson)

A few days before her death, Joplin recorded this single and it became her only one to hit number 1. Her raw talent is on full display here, but I can’t help but wonder how she only topped the charts once.

 6) Lorde, “Don’t Tell ‘Em” (Jeremih)

I can’t listen to this song just once. Lorde’s hypnotic singing—and awkward dance moves— will lure you into pressing “Replay.”

 7) Yo Preston and Kelly Kiara “Love Yourself” (Justin Bieber)

I hate to admit it, but I’ve jammed to Bieber’s version. But, Preston and Kiara’s take is unique because it shows how there are two sides to every story. Bonus: You can listen to it in public without being judged.

 8) Johnny Cash, “Hurt” (Nine Inch Nails)

I was under the impression that this was a Cash original. If that’s not a sign of an effective cover, I don’t know what is.

 9) Bayside, “Movin’ Out” (Billy Joel)

Both artists hail from New York and they won’t let you forget it. That’s about the only similarity this punky garage band shares with legend Billy Joel.

 10) JoJo, “Marvin’s Room” (Drake)

“Marvin’s Room” reminds us how music is an ongoing conversation. Whatever happened to JoJo? She’s releasing her latest album, “Mad Love,” sometime this year. In the meantime, I revisit her oldies-but-still-goodies.

11) Keri Hilson,”Turn My Swag On” (Soulja Boy)

Hilson’s killer confidence stands out in this empowering song. Her version brings a touch of girl power that makes it her own.

12) Blake Shelton, “Footloose,” (Kenny Loggins)

“Country” is the yellow Starburst of the music world. So many people are adamant about disliking it, which is why it fosters a vibrant, tight-knit community. When a country artist breaks the wall by covering a mainstream song—even if it’s a tune from a delightfully cheesy 80s flick— the result is distinct and memorable.

 

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

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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)

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(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

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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

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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

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(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!