Music at VMI (Virginia Military Institute)

May 1, 2015 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges

The Pipe Band

The Pipe Band

One of the many things I love in life is music. I don’t know where I would be without it. Music has been a big part of my life because I have grown up with it. I have been singing since I was seven and playing the alto saxophone since I was eleven. Additionally, I listen to music all the time. Without music life would not be worth living.

My taste in music is somewhat versatile. However, I do lean towards two specific types. My two favorite types of music are pop and country. However, I like to listen to a little bit of everything. I’m the type of person that if I hear a song I like I don’t care what genre it is, that is why I like the Billboard Top 100 because it has a variety of different songs.

At VMI, our exposure to music is kind of limited. However, that doesn’t stop cadets from listening to music. Cadets love blasting music from their rooms, especially on a nice day or right before a parade in order to get hyped. From what I have heard, most cadets like to blast the top songs and/or country. Sadly, our opportunities to listen to live bands or go to music events are limited. Since we do not have much time for ourselves in the first place, it is extremely rare to have the time to go see a concert. Additionally, most big concerts are nowhere near our school. VMI is located in the Shenandoah Valley with the Blue Ridge Mountains surrounding it. Therefore, almost everything worth doing is about an hour away. The one time I went to a concert as a cadet was during Easter break to see Hunter Hayes and it was an hour away in Roanoke, Virginia. Nevertheless, there are a few small concerts on campus and in the town throughout the year, but they are more of either classical or folk music and most cadets are not into those genres.

Additionally, there are a few music groups within the Corps. We have a regimental band, a jazz band, a glee club, a brass quintet, a men’s acapella group, pipe band, herald trumpets, and the buglers. I am part of the regimental band, the jazz band and the glee club. These groups helped me get through this school because they were my relief from all the stress, especially my rat (freshman) year.

Also, plenty of cadets and professors alike have their own bands or play instruments on the side for stress relief and a form of self-expression. Music is a big part of many cadets’ lives and they use it to help get them through this place. Conversely, when you are a rat (freshman) you are not allowed to listen to music for the first six months, which becomes difficult for a lot of people. One of the many struggles you have to overcome your first year here. So even though we go to a military college, cadets find ways to express themselves musically.

Books, Cafes, and Music: What More Does a Student Need?

December 5, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges

Living in a city like Boston provides endless options on how to spend your time full-heartedly and make plentiful memories. As an adventurer who enjoys discovering eclectic book shops, artful cafes, and everything quirky, I can always be spotted wandering down an alley with a camera in hand, hopping on and off the train, and taking risks that are ultimately worthwhile.

Since childhood, cities have intrigued me. I’m still questioning why a vast and fast-paced environment gets my adrenaline rushing and pushes me to be more spontaneous and creative, nevertheless, metropolitan areas will always have a place in my heart. So how exactly do I spend my free time, when I’m not writing college essays or editing last-minute papers? Number one, books. Number cafes, food. Number three, music.


During the first few weeks of college, I stumbled upon a bookshop while searching for a greek restaurant. Brattle Book Shop was constructed in 1949, making it the oldest and largest antique bookshop in America. It had an antique interior with a wooden staircase that led to the second and third floors. What I most loved were the diverse sections, from poetry and essays to science and history.

Brattle Book Shops offers an outdoor and indoor array of books.

I find myself going back to this bookshop, at least once a week, to read poetry for long hours, admire the shop’s rare but charming condition, and view delicate photos of New England from the 1900’s. This bookshop carries a smell dating back hundreds of years ago, and it never fails to warm my heart.


Nothing says it better than peppermint tea or chai lattes in the winter, along with a toasted blueberry muffin or cranberry scone. Thinking Cup, a coffee shop chain around Boston, satisfies my craving for Brooklyn-style cafes with brick exposure, jazzy music, and a laid-back ambiance. I come to this cafe at least twice a week with a notebook or laptop in hand. Coffee shops are the essential places for creating, people watching, or simply enjoying your time.

Thinking Cup Cafe has a variety of drinks and sweets to choose from.

Other coffee shops that I frequent are Boston Common Coffee Company, Cafe Nero, and Trident Booksellers Cafe. Now Trident is more unique compared to the others, because it’s half cafe, half bookshop! You can’t get more perfect than that!

When I’m craving a Parisian atmosphere, I walk through Beacon Hill. Now Beacon Hill is the place to go when searching for french-style cafes, cute clothing shops, and J.P. Licks Ice cream. When you’re looking for out-of-this-world ice cream, go to J.P. Licks. College students are obsessed with this parlor, and the best part is, vegan ice cream is offered. I recommend the coconut almond or blackberry sorbet.


This is what college students go crazy for: good music on full blast. I’ve recently become fascinated by concerts, and have attended a variety of performances around Boston. Laura Stevenson, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Glitch Mob, and Meatbodies are my top shows thus far. From electronic sounds, indie rock vibes, and heavy punk tunes, Boston offers an array of artists and shows. The Sinclair, Great Scott, House of Blues, and The Middle East are the hot spots to meet bands, meet people, and have an awesome night.

Concert goers live their lives to the fullest at the House of Blues in Boston.

Books, cafes, and music basically sum up my ideas of time well-spent and enjoyed to the fullest. Although I’m on-the-go at Emerson College, especially when it’s finals week, I ALWAYS make time for myself in order to live happily and fully.

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.


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:

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.

“Core” Courses are Off Course

September 30, 2014 in Academics, Alive Campus, Career, Colleges, Reviews

Boston College Core Curriculum

Boston College Core Curriculum

Colleges and universities around the nation and in other parts of the world all structure their classes and academics differently. Boston College requires each student to take classes from a “core curriculum,” which includes two semesters of science, two semesters of philosophy and theology, language, one arts class (music, theater, painting), an English literature class, social science, history, and math. As you can tell, this core is quite extensive; it touches upon virtually every discipline, however briefly. I think that for people who have not been exposed to certain disciplines, or want to learn more about a particular one, this is a very beneficial set up. Those who have not declared a major can get a little taste of each subject and decide what intrigues or fascinates them most.

On the other hand, however, it is quite tedious and can even get in the way of classes taken for one’s major. For example, I wanted to take a particular science class to fulfill my second credit, but it coincided with a class that I needed for my major, so I couldn’t take it.

The bigger issue for me, however, is that the distribution of these core credits is incredibly swayed and focuses more on certain disciplines than others. Coming from a musical background, I advocate strongly not only for all of the arts, but also for music in particular. Music is pushed aside starting from grade school. What was cut first from school curricula when the economy plummeted? The arts. The arts are continually pushed to the side because they are not as valued as science, math, history or english. We study all four of these subjects (and various denominations within them, such as physics or American history, algebra or Russian literature) from the first grade until 12th grade. So why must we take a class about the same thing we have learned for at least ten years?

Don’t get me wrong – science and history are vital subjects, but two semesters of each is overkill, as is two semesters of philosophy and theology. Those are two years of core right there, on top of what you have to fulfill for your major. Instead of taking yet another class about American history or chemistry, we should be advocating more for the arts. People shove arts to the side because they are not moneymaking disciplines. Most artists, musicians, or theatre actors (I’m not talking Hollywood) make very little money, and often have to teach or have another side job in order to support themselves. Business and technology are always relevant and necessary, but they are not more important than the arts. Business, economics, tech are all fields that are relevant right now  but they won’t be important 50 to 100 years from now. Think about it: how many businessmen are spoken about in the course of history, versus how many writers, composers, artists, etc. are crucial, influential components of our world’s past?

Because society shoves the arts to the side and deems them less important than other subjects, people don’t go into these fields. Rather, people may have an interest in music, but realize that they won’t be able to support themselves by simply playing an instrument or painting, so they pursue other careers. This, in turn, causes the four core subjects to dominate and overshadow the arts even more.

It’s not good to ignore any discipline, but the arts are a vital component to our culture and society: maybe it’s time to make the arts a more dominant part of our education, rather than the other way around.

Arts are pushed aside

Arts are pushed aside

The Power of Music

September 26, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Events

Music has become an essential part of my life. I do not compose music, I wish I did, but it doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy music made by others. I prefer to listen to any kind of music especially during my morning commute to school and on my way back home after I finish with my classes. Pop, hip-hop, rock, to Latin pop, and rock are some of my favorite type of music to listen. I even enjoy to listen to music in other languages that I do not speak such as Japanese pop, Korean pop, French pop, and sometimes I like to classical music.

Music is Power

Music is Power! 

At Wheelock College most students listen to the popular American music such as Nikki Minaj, Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea, and Lady Gaga. It varies from person to person in which type of music they listen to and are their favorite, but in general, most people will know and sing a long to current popular songs that are on the top charts on iTunes, Rhapsody, and are playing on Pandora or iHeartradio.

Wheelock College being located in the city of Boston, there are many music events happening every week for students to be able to attend. The most popular place to go to listen to live music is The House of Blues. This place holds various concerts by various artists. Many students at Wheelock go to the House of Blues during the weekend to enjoy a live concert and many recommend this place because it has a great environment and the artists that play there are great to listen to.

There is an event at the House of Blues called Epic Saturdays. Described by the name, each saturday at the House of Blues there is a different band and the place makes sure people are going to have a great time. If you would like to know what bands are playing in the House of Blues on Epic Saturdays visit the following link: (

You would not want to miss this event, I have never attended a Epic Saturdays event, but it sounds like a lot of fun.

There is another event at the House of Blues called Thirsty Thursday where alcohol drinks are served and there is a special drink available to purchase during the night. If you would like to attend this event go to the following link: (  

This is another great event that should be considered, but remember, only 21+ are allowed to attend this event.

There are other places to visit such as the TD Garden where a lot of popular artist come to hold their concerts such as Enrique Iglesias and Maroon 5.Listening music has become a daily part of people’s life and there are a lot of places in the city of Boston to enjoy live concerts and have a great night listening to a favorite band. It is always best to attend a concert with friends so if you want to attend a TD Garden concert visit the following link: