emerson college

Say Hello to the Holidays!

November 28, 2014 in Alive Campus, Colleges, Travel

Let the holiday season and the abundance of delicious cuisine begin! It’s Thanksgiving break, college is out for the week, and students are scurrying back home. Say goodbye to schoolwork and the usual dining hall meals and say hello to the family and mom’s homecooked turkey, sweet potatoes, and fruit pies. Being a Southern California native, used to sporting dresses and sandals in the winter but now bundling up in layers of sweaters, scarves, and everything warm in Boston, I longed to return back home and soak up the rays of the sun. I’m very fortunate to be writing this article as I sit in my backyard sipping a cold lemonade on an 80 degree day. However, because Emerson has a high out-of-state and international student percentages, not all students had the advantage to leave, due to finance and traveling concerns.

Where do Emerson students go for the Holidays?

To be honest, Emersonians go where the food is. This sounds a bit comedic, but it’s true. Fresh, homecooked meals that aren’t associated with the dining hall is all a student needs during the break. Many students who live in New England and along the East Coast go back home for break. They reunite with family, stuff their mouths, and enjoy the coziness of their home. My roommate who is from Framingham, MA (30 minutes outside of Boston) is spending the break with her close family and friends. Although I returned back to Cali, there are very few West Coasters traveling, instead, they’re staying with relatives nearby or spending Thanksgiving with roommate(s). Emerson dorms are also open for Thanksgiving, thus some students have that option of staying in 30 degree New England weather.

Thanksgiving food is the best kind of food!

Prior to college, I was never able to wrap my head around this statement, but now in college, I find it incredibly true. College goes by so fast. It’s already Thanksgiving break, and next week marks the two week countdown for winter break. But instead of one week off, students get one month off! Because Emerson closes during winter break, a large majority of students return home for the holiday season.

What are my plans for winter break? Spend time with my family during Christmas, then travel with my closest friends up to the Northern California. My friends and I have been planning a winter roadtrip for the past few months, similar to the one we did last summer. Because winter break is the second longest (summer being the first), students travel and make the most spontaneous memories as possible. Some go on family trips to Hawaii or the Carribean, others go backpacking up North and enjoy the wildnerness. Either way, winter break is always worthwhile because the semester has ended and no schoolwork is required.

How to Plan Your Breaks?

Are you looking to have a fun and memorable holiday break? Are you unsure of what to do and where to go? Are money or time keeping you from traveling or living up your life? Do you want some fun tips or suggestions on how to spend an unforgettable holiday? If you answered “yes” to any of the questions, read below!

1. Consider your budget - OK, maybe you can’t go to Hawaii or ride horses on the beaches in Mexico, but what you can do is be adventorous and discover new activities and places in your home area. If you live along the coast, consider a roadtrip. For Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington folks, you are home to some of the most bucket list worthy and scenic destinations. Consider Big Sur, Santa Cruz, Yosemite, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Mount Rainer, and Mount Hood.

Last summer, my three friends and I went on a roadtrip from San Diego to San Francisco on a $400 budget, which was perfect. We camped along the coast in Santa Monica, Big Sur, and Santa Cruz and reserved our campsites months ahead of time, to save money and stress. We went grocery shopping days before leaving, brought a mini stove, cooked our food the entire trip, and split the costs of gas and basic necessities. If you’re a nature person, hiker, or traveler, consider this option for a holiday break. Roadtrips usually range from 3 days to several weeks. Just an idea, but a beautiful and truly rewarding one.

The sunset view from my campsite in Big Sur. Consider this breathtaking town for an aestheically pleasing trip.

2. Take advantage of your hometown - If a roadtrip isn’t practical for you, that’s OK. You can still have a memorable break while staying home. Chances are, you haven’t been EVERYWHERE or have seen EVERYTHING in your hometown. If you live in a city, explore! Go on Google Maps and type in theatre, comedy, music, cafe, film, art, museum, etc… Research activities to do and jump on them. Discover hidden gems in your backyard, take the train or subway around the city, go to a few concerts or festivals, try new food in Chinatown or Little Italy, and have a curious mindset! Remember, YOU are in control of your break, no one else.

Always explore your surroundings, dream big, and discover new possibilities.

3. Get a unique job - Don’t grown or roll your eyes. Working can be fun, depending on the uniqueness of the work. My best friend recently told me that she’s applying to work on a cruise ship this winter, and my other friends will be studying marine life in Monterey Bay and working as tour guides at Yosemite National Park. First, ask yourself what you love. Do you enjoy painting, writing, hiking, dancing, or cooking? There’s a special job calling your name in every passion. Volunteer at an art museum, become a camp counselor, attend a poetry workshop or journalism program, work at an exotic hotel or music venue, make pies or sweet treats at a french bakery! The options are endless, and you have the power to decide.

This job may seem scary at first, but being a tour guide is a fun way to earn money, to meet different people, and to gain more knowledge on the area.

Dorm Life: Creativity At Its Finest

November 21, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges

Creative and worthwhile. Those are the two words that basically sum up my dorm life experience thus far, three months at Emerson College. From nights of jamming to Fall Out Boy till 2 a.m., meeting new students while “partying,” and holding American Horror Story marathons, dorm life has been a bundle of memorable craziness, and more is to come.

Music

Being at a college that focuses on the arts and communications, there is a diverse music scene. Students enjoy sharing their top soundtracks and Spotify playlists, holding open-mic events and stand-up comedy shows during the week, and coming together to expand their music tastes. Especially on my dorm floor, the 8th, many residents are part of bands, musical groups, and solo acts. Shoutout to a friend/floor mate who’s the bassist for the alternative band Riverview, and who’s always bringing people together through music!

I remember the first week at Emerson. Students, including myself, were experiencing shock to a brand new environment, unfamiliarity with the area, and nervous contemplations when meeting other students. Though when acoustic guitars began playing in my common (lounge) room one night, students joined the circle and sang along to Fall Out Boy, The Killers, Foo Fighters, and other rock bands. The circle grew from just three students jamming to over 20. This was the perfect way of meeting my floor mates and reminding myself why I’m here. It was a lively evening, an artistic and creative activity that strengthened our dorm floor’s community. We were all united by the commonality of music and the power of the expressive arts.

People gather together and share their love for music.
Photo credits: theguardian.com

Community Floor

Now jamming to music was an entertaining way to meet like-minded students, but playing Cards Against Humanity at midnight is a completely wild story. A moment that sticks out is the first night living at Emerson. I remember hearing bursts of uncontrollable laughter coming from the common room. I opened the door, and was surprised to see over 40 students sitting in one large circle, all playing Cards Against Humanity. To debrief, this is the “party game” that brings humor to death, abuse, race, stereotypes, and anything serious. The game will lead to hysteria, immature jokes, and absolute humor, so imagine what it must’ve been like with college students playing. It was a crazy experience, nevertheless, worthwhile!

One of the many hilarious examples of Cards Against Humanity.

There was a period at the beginning of the year when “parties” or a bunch of students packed in a dorm room listening to electro/club beats and discussing art, music, film, and Boston, were held. Although students did get in trouble for playing too loud music and staying up past “lights out” time or 11 p.m, it was a fun time getting to know other creative students, and of course, making a few inevitable but harmless mistakes. :) That’s college for you, in a nutshell!

Creative Nights

A night I will always remember is attending the Digital Film Club’s meeting where we watched the Woody Allen film “Manhattan” then discussed the cinematography and the director’s intentions at the end. Popcorn, chocolates, a classic film, and a room full of film students… what more can you possibly ask for? Because I have an appreciation for film rather than a critical eye for it, it was rewarding to be immersed with intelligent filmmakers and lighting experts and sound designers, and listen to their differing perspectives on “Manhattan.” A heated debate inevitably occurred at the end: can the viewer separate the artist from their work? Only at Emerson do we have arguments over art and Woody Allen.

The classic image from the film “Manhattan” overlooking the Queensboro Bridge.

American Horror Story (AHS) Season Premiere — this was a spooky night of several attempts in streaming the series online in my dorm room with friends. Although failure overcame success, my floor mates and I ended up watching the first season of AHS, including the pilot, which was terrifying. But thankfully, we had dark chocolate almonds and peanut butter cup ice cream to cure the goriest scenes.

For the record, I tend to stay away from crazy parties and rather focus on the artistic and the creative ways to enjoying my time in college. My “wild” experiences may be different than the typical Emerson party goer or Sorority sister, nevertheless, all the students are 100% Emerson, and the moments we spend together are always worthwhile. “Dorming” at Emerson leads to discovering creativity, meeting expressive students, and unlocking your artistic genius in a city life environment.

Emerson Health and Happiness

November 7, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges, Health

Although it’s easier to avoid the subject than to address it, the freshman 15 is real. Losing touch with daily exercise routines and mental health rituals are problematic when entering college, and external factors like extracurricular activities, time management, cultural and academic shocks, and new social settings only add to the stress. With a few Emerson tips in mind, living physically and mentally healthy and maintaining happiness shouldn’t be problems anymore.

Fight the Urge 

The first few weeks living in Boston are anything but underwhelming. Since Emerson is located in the midst of coffee shops, french cafes, pizza joints, and an abundance of Donkin Donuts, saying “no” to sweets is easier said than done, and fighting temptation can be challenging. If you’re going to splurge every once in a while (which you definitely will) by buying that pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks or frosted donut, remember that a fitness center is available and offers daily workout and yoga classes. Why waste the convenient exercise that’s free of charge?

Deserts are delicious and addicting, and by all means, don’t refuse frozen yogurt or chocolate cookies on every given occasion. It’s just important to remember that what you put into your body is what you get out of it, and most Emerson students become aware of this after spending night-after-night in the dining hall.

Take Advantage

The Emerson fitness center is over 10,000 square feet of state-of-the-art equipment, featuring group excersise programs, personal training, and health workshops. If students feel ashamed or physically unhealthy after sneaking that chocolate brownie or apple pie, they head straight to the gym. And the best part about going to the gym is knowing that other like-minded students are their burning calories as well.

Students enjoy Emerson’s fitness center and take advantage of the equipment.

Living in a city like Boston presents many opportunities to wander, to explore, and to live an active lifestyle. Since Emerson is positioned directly in front of The Commons, students can be seen running alongside the pond, speed-walking through the gardens, playing frisbee on the lawn, or practicing yoga in the grass. Even if you derive from a health-conscious suburban town, like myself, don’t let the preconceived notions of the East Coast and city life fool you. Individualize Boston and create your own life around it.

Like mentioned in the article Experience Boston and the Dating Scene, The Esplanade, a pathway stretching miles along the Charles River, is an excellent workout source to take use of. Not only will your workout be scenically beautiful and overlook Cambridge, but you’ll be surrounded by other runners and joggers… and who knows, you may make a new friend or have an unexpected conversation with a Bostonian.

Students can be seen running through The Esplanade.

Fact, Emerson holds a reputation of not being the most sports-centric college compared to its surrounding competitors like BU, Northeastern, and Harvard, though the Quidditch program excels in combining creativity with athletics. The competitive wizardly sport is an amusing way to pump blood and stay healthy and happy. Emersonian’s take advantage of this sport, among the few, and make fit look fun. For more information, visit: http://emersonquidditch.org.

Happiness and Health

You know the feeling you get after listening to an incredible song for the first time? That feeling that sensationalizes all things and guides extra contentment into your life? That’s the effect of sound. Music is therapy and it holds the power to increase serotonin and reduce stress levels. Emerson students are suckers for good music, whether the genres be electronic, classic rock, reggae pop, or rap, and because Boston is the haven for emerging artists and new waves of sound, there’s always something happening just outside the doors. The House of Blues, The Paradise Rock Club, and The Middle East are all eccentric venues that students flock to.

The House of Blues in Boston is a great music venue to enjoy great bands, dance, meet new people, and feel happy.

Attending concerts is a spontaneous way to enjoy yourself, enjoy Boston, and enjoy the enthusiastic music scene. If music isn’t a strongpoint of yours, other creative endeavors like writing, filming, singing, or dancing can increase mental happiness. Emerson students enjoy participate in many clubs and activities because it keeps them busy, builds their arts portfolio, and gives them inspiration and purpose in life.

Additionally, Emerson’s downtown and theatre central location should not go to waste, for ArtsEmerson produces incredible plays and comedy shows throughout the week at The Cutler Majestic, The Paramount, and other surrounding theaters. The Polish Film Festival is occurring right now, and the play “The Old Man and The Old Moon” will begin Nov. 19. These shows will boost your happiness and make you laugh.

Emerson’s theatre, The Cutler Majestic, is scenically aesthetic and houses outstanding performances.

Do what makes you happy. This quote is cliche, but truthful. Take a walk through the garden, people watch at a coffee shop, experience the cuisine of fried dumplings and stir-fry dishes in Chinatown, browse through a record shop in Cambridge, or go to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park! Don’t let the cloudy weather and dropping winter temperatures build your stress and lower your happiness. All the beautiful things in this world are right in front of you, you just need to embrace them. 

Emerson is an accepting community of open-minded students, staff, faculty, and services. Counselors, psychologists, and nutritionists are available to promote physical and mental healthiness and security. Students aren’t alone, they have Boston and excellent resources!

(P.S.: the song “Find Your Cloud” by Papadosio will make your mind smile).

Experience Boston and the Dating Scene

October 30, 2014 in Colleges, Events, Love

Remember those moments in middle school when holding hands and instant messaging every few days equated to being in a “relationship?” Or in high school when eating lunch together and kissing during sports games meant that you were committed? Here comes college with all its randomness and casual hookups, and we begin to wonder, how serious can dating possibly be during school?

With lively times at parties and unexpected encounters at social events, high expectations of finding love and a “soulmate” shouldn’t be set, at least not freshman year. Instead, living in the moment with friends and having rememberable, no-strings-attached flings will be widely seen.

Speaking for myself and the first-year Emerson community, serious relationships are rarely seen on-campus, especially two months into the school year. Although I have seen my Emerson friends “tie the knot” and commit to each other, the level and the maturity of the relationship depends entirely on the person. Some students are individualistic and simply want to experience Boston while focusing on themselves, while other students are ready for dedication, romance, and emotional attachment.

To accommodate both parties, below is a list of serious and not so serious date-like settings or hangout spots where it’s easy to meet new faces and form countless memories.

The Esplanade

This is the essential meet-up spot on Friday and Saturday nights. The Esplanade, a park and “Adult Playground” located on the Charles River and just a few blocks from Emerson College, is where Emerson, Northeastern, BU, and other surrounding college students meet and greet. They gather together by the dock, which overlooks the river and the city of Cambridge, make a few mistakes, and create memories.

Students and locals soak up the sun and enjoy Boston’s quaint charm on the dock, overlooking the Charles River.

Although this spot doesn’t have to be for informal, laid-back nights. It’s perfect for a first date or romantic encounter: playing Disclosure beats or The Beatles tunes, having a picnic at the park, taking advantage of the playground, or watching boats sail along the sparkling water make for a lovely evening.

The Common and Public Garden

Being positioned directly across from Emerson, these two parks are perfect for not only first dates but group hangouts, social events, guitar jams, or homework/study spots. Some students get takeout from a cafe and have picnics overlooking the duck pond. This can also be a romantic midnight setting of wandering aimlessly through the parks and listening to spooky music (especially during Halloween time).

Late night strolls can be perfect in the garden for spending date nights or time with friends.

Emerson students aren’t the only ones who take advantage of the parks. They’re public and home to all Bostonians, foreigners, and visitors. You never know what’s bound to happen in Boston. The city is a haven for unexpected possibilities, opportunities, and meetings with genuine strangers. Sometimes I sit in the park on warm days, write poetry while eating a burrito from Bolocco, and am approached randomly by people who were admiring my aesthetic or simply asking for directions. Fate is real, and it’s possible in a city like Boston.

Concerts

Speaking of fate, meeting complete strangers at concerts cannot be prevented. Being a music writer for Emertainment Monthly, I attend shows around Boston at least once a week, constantly meeting people from all over New England, and even outside of the country. Students at Emerson take pride in the expressive arts and communications, thus they’re bound to be part of mosh pits at punk shows, dancing wildly to electronic beats, or peacefully absorbing the sounds of jazz and folk bands at cafes. Either way, meeting new faces and having various conversations are expected.

Students, locals, and music enthusiasts having fun during a Chrome Sparks concert.

From listening to my friend’s experiences, they’ve met 20-something-year-olds at venues like Paradise Rock Club, The Middle East, and The House of Blues. Although most of those encounters ended up being “one night stands” or hookups, great memories were formed, adding to the overall college experience and urban lifestyle. I suppose Carrie Bradshaw was right. “People come into your life and people go. But it’s comforting to know that some are in your heart.”

Experience ALL of Boston

That’s the best advice I can give to incoming college students or visitors. Experience, experience, experience! Walk around outside, talk to strangers (obviously not creepy people lingering in dark alleyways), go to concerts, relax at the park, go for a run at The Esplanade, get a mocha at Thinking Cup Cafe or discover your own eccentric coffee shop, ride the train to Cambridge and other surrounding towns. Personalize the city and make it yours to cherish; four years will zoom by before you know it.

Stepping outside and exploring the city are great ways to meet people and spend beautiful days.

Love won’t always be knocking at your door, but patience is virtue and dating shouldn’t always be taken seriously, especially at a young age. In a city like [Boston], with its infinite possibilities, monogamy has become too much to expect. Well said Bradshaw, well said.

A popular quote from “Sex and the City’s” Carrie Bradshaw — one that most college students live by.

The Dark Style of the Moon

October 24, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Style

There’s an equation that college + homework + lack of sleep = lazy wardrobe consisting of an abundance of yoga pants and oversized sweatshirts. Although this is a generalization, the equation would most likely be 99.9% accurate at many other public university’s where sports are the main attractions. Though being at a college where film, art, and writing are the backbones of the school, students embrace the chic, bohemian or “hipster” look non-consciously. I can testify for Emerson in saying that students’ styles contribute to their unique and individualized identities.

Being at Emerson for nearly two months, I’ve gained a somewhat clear representation of the student body and can safely say that no one has an exact style. Emerson is home to exploring passions, testing new fashion senses, and tasting the colors of multiple hair dyes. Creativity is prominent on and off campus, for it is seen in the anime lovers pinned hats, the rainbow-colored hair styles, the headphones blaring music that are rarely removed, and the band tee-shirts worn under jean jackets and heavy scarves. Because the words “budget” and “inexpensive” act as subtexts in most conversations, thrift shopping and embracing non-traditional styles are popular amongst students.

Garment District

This “alternative department store” is home to Cambridge and Boston students and locals, and houses over 40,000 vintage and contemporary garments. The Thrift Shop Club at Emerson occasionally sets foot in this store, spending hours and hours browsing through “quality work clothes at low prices.” There really is something for everyone, and because the clothing is recycled amps up the store’s environmentally friendly status.

The Garment District offers quirky clothing at inexpensive prices, perfect for college students on low-budgets.

An example “casual” outfit that caters to students: high-waisted blue jeans, patterned crop top, leather ankle boots, and a floral print jacket. And for guys: dark jeans, a black leather jacket or flannel shirt, and leather shoes or Converse. For a more hip look, vibrantly-colored dresses with black tights and combat boots is prominent, or a button-up shirt and ripped jacket for guys. Well-rounded styles don’t equate to high prices. Emerson students are conscious of their budget and still manage to pull quirky looks.

Non-Traditional Style

In high school, I was the “non-traditional” or daring student who sported oversized army jackets, lace skirts and black tights, and wrote “teen angst” poetry in my notebook (that’s partially an overstatement). I wore too much make-up and was told, at times, that my style was “artsy” or Urban Outfitters wannabe hipster. I hardly made a conscious effort when choosing my clothes in the morning. Now being at Emerson, I feel comfortable in saying that most students here would think similarly and approach fashion through their own personal lens.

The TV Show “GIRLS” is a close representation of the unique and peculiar styles of Boston students and locals.

The distinctive styles of red and purple lipsticks, band tee-shirts, and laid-back, “I don’t give a f***” attitudes are what lacked at my previous school. Emerson students follow non-traditional styles. They are inspired by music, paintings, film, poetry, and runway shows, and they also invent their own individuated, significant looks. Friends of mine buy items from H&M and Nordstrom’s Rack and recreate outfits, showcasing that invention and creation are more important than fitting in and conforming to society’s traditional clothing standards.

Boston Street Fashion

Fashion is found in almost every large, metropolitan area, being in the midst of eclectic clothing shops, costume stores, and inspiring streets of color and noise and liveliness. San Francisco is known for evolved personal styles and Valencia Street (the city’s Mission District) multicolored shops. New York City is known for Fifth Avenue designer brands and Brooklyn art scenes. What’s Boston known for? Embracing nuance. Students and locals take the casual or simple look and individualize it, adding their own special touches.

Cute student-look seen on the streets of Boston.

So what exactly is Emerson style? No definite label can be placed, though each and every student follows their own intimate look, which gives the school its quirky name and characteristic atmosphere. Embrace “The Dark Style of the Moon” every once in a while and let your uniqueness illuminate.* 

*(If you caught the reference without the help from your parents, congratulations. You’re already half-way there to being an Emersonian).