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Mental Health at NU

4 Dec

This wasn’t supposed to be a “reaction article.”

This was supposed to be encouragement to those suffering to get help, an attempt at reviewing resources, a guide for friends of sufferers and a plea to take care of each other. It’s been drafted and re-edited by countless sources for months now. It wasn’t supposed to be immediately relevant.

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Hey Boy, Whatcha Doin’: One Man’s Confession of New Girl Fandom

2 Dec
via vimeo.com

via vimeo.com

Editor’s Note:  This is a very moving, personal piece. It required months of careful preparation and was written with emotion, courage, tears, and courage.  Please show some respect and share it on your Facebook wall.

Last weekend I was at a party with some friends, and I found myself talking to a girl.  We hit it off really well.  We had a lot of the same interests – but one particular one really stood out.  And that one particular interest carried the conversation.

“I know it’s unconventional, but I like Winston the best…”

My favorite thing she did was when she dressed as an old-timey cigarette girl for that one party at the bar.  Remember that?  That was pretty quirky…”

“You know in my apartment we actually have a douchebag jar?  It’s so funny…”

But then it stopped.  A large, brown-haired, brown-eyed young man came up to me and stared me dead in the eyes. Continue reading

A Reflection On Loss And Community

13 Nov

This is not an article I would ever want to write. It is not an article anyone would want to read. It’s not an article this blog would ever want to publish. Continue reading

How To Get Fired From Your Unpaid Internship

13 Oct

freework.jpg.scaled500

I’m a junior in Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. This summer, I got ‘fired’ from my unpaid editorial internship after The Atlantic published an article that I’d written.

That’s the lead. The full story is a little more complicated. I spent this summer writing for a small weekly paper with a tiny, fiercely dedicated staff, downward-spiraling circulation and five editorial interns, all unpaid. Now that print journalism is on its last legs, working for the weekly felt a little like pushing an old lady in a wheelchair. But I liked the creative and autonomous nature of the internship, which meant that I could walk into the office, write about anything that interested me and publish it on a legit site. Could I write about Nicolas Cage and Disney Princesses? Sure. Walk to a park an interview homeless guys about philosophy? You betcha.

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How to Tell People You’re a Writer (Without Telling Them Anything)

2 Sep

writerIf you’re anything like me, making small talk with strangers is high on your list of least favorite things, just below unpacking groceries and losing a limb. Most people don’t have a lot of trouble making meaningless chit-chat, but then again, most people aren’t socially anxious writers like myself. Even if I wasn’t socially anxious, I’d still be a writer, and therein lies the crux of my small-talk impairment.

Say you’re at a party, bar, or a very boring orgy and someone asks you, “What do you do?” Most of the time the questioner is trying to determine how you make a living, your hobbies, interests, etcetera. Most people can reply with, “I’m a teacher,” “I work for a PR firm,” or “I find money on the ground.” Any of these and countless other responses are perfectly acceptable, and will barely create a blip on the questioner’s conversational radar. However, when writers answer this question, the questioner’s nostrils expand, their pupils dilate, and in some cases, salivation has been known to occur; in short, they smell easy conversational prey, and are ready to put you (the writer) on the defensive.

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Northwestern, I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down

9 Jun

There’s something wrong with me. My stomach has been knotted up like a garden hose and I don’t know why. Why isn’t my brother jumping out from behind the bushes and letting the hose go and spraying me. Why is it still in knots. I’m only five years old.

It’s 9:37 pm on a Friday night. I just got out of the shower and am sitting on my bed, half dressed, for a party I don’t know if I am going to. I check my phone. Nothing. I text my friend, “When are you coming over?” Nothing. No worry, no worry, I’m sure she’s just busy. I watch an episode of The Office. I think about ordering pizza. Check the time, it’s now 10:40. Getting late. She is obviously blowing me off, right? I try to make other plans, send a few trepidatious texts out into the chummy water. Do I want to meet someone at a frat party of course not. It’s October, and cold, and at least a 25 minute walk, and I will hate all of the people there. Do I want to come over and watch a movie and drink wine of course not. It’s a Friday night, I’m 21, I should be out at a party. Crawl into bed, still wearing a skirt and no shirt for the maybe party that I’m maybe going to. My hair is drying into a frizz ball, I don’t notice. My friends don’t notice me. They hate me. Everyone hates me. It’s 11:25 pm before I hear from my friend. “Sorry I was downtown I’m on my way what’s the address meet you there” end text message. By this point I’m already halfway through my Sarpinos order. I finish and curl up inside myself on my bed, feeling atrocious. I deserve this, I had it coming, it’s all my fault. Do I want to be at home alone on a friday night of course not. But I can’t make myself go outside either and there is no one here to push me out the door and hold my hand. I am alone.

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What They Didn’t Teach Me In College (But I Learned Anyway)

5 Jun
I still haven't learned how to throw these properly.

I still haven’t learned how to throw these properly.

When I left for college four years ago, I (like most of you) imagined I would be immersed in an environment full of intellects on their journey to better themselves by furthering their education.

I was wrong.

I soon learned that going to college is really just a lot of procrastinating on the Internet and complaining about classes crammed between drunken weekends. And it was between two especially drunken weekends in the fall of my freshman year that I learned my first lesson: There are a lot of stupid people in this world, and many of them will be more successful than you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

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What Do We Do About It?

13 May

Northwestern_University_Winter

With the resurfacing of mental health discourse on campus at Northwestern, it’s about time we have a serious discussion about priorities. With the shocking death of a third student this year, people are understandably angry and confused. We once again mobilize over the buzzword “mental health,” eager to take action to prevent further tragedies. We point fingers at the lackluster counseling services on campus and cry out for more awareness of mental health issues through implementing a new ENU. But we fail to acknowledge our own complicity as a community.

After each suicide this year, I’ve been struck by community’s shock that anything was wrong in the first place. Now, all Northwestern students sacrifice their health and happiness from time to time to beat the curve, and many suffer in silence. But there are those among us who do not choose our unhappiness for later rewards. We suffer so deeply that the joys of our lives remain out of reach. Yet we too stay silent and go through the motions, even if we have been left void of all feeling, even if it absolutely destroys us inside. I do not wish to put words into others’ mouths, but I can at the very least say that I understand what this is like. Many of you know me as a good friend of the Ave and a leader of many campus organizations, but I am also a rape survivor.

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An Evening With George Saunders

7 May
This guy.

This guy.

Yesterday, Northwestern University’s Contemporary Thought Speaker Series brought best-selling author George Saunders to campus to close out its three-speaker series on the value of a university education in the 21st century.[1]

The Contemporary Thought Speaker Series—known by a very select few as the “intellectual equivalent of Dillo Day,” and by slightly more as “Nerdfest 2K13”—managed to bring out Northwestern’s cardigan-clad intelligentsia from the darkest depths of Unicorn Café to hear the rising literary rock star speak his mind on the moral responsibilities of an educated student. A full Harris Hall gazed intently at two spindly chairs positioned uncomfortably close together on the Harris Hall stage for the writer to bestow his intellectual heft upon us all.

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A Reflection on Death, Privilege, and The College Experience

6 May

When I committed to Northwestern in the spring of my senior year of high school, I imagined a multitude of joys and wonders.  I wanted to make the most of my four years at college; I wanted to make dozens of amazing friends, I wanted to cherish every single piece of knowledge I could, and I wanted to find a higher sense of purpose and calling in my life.

The untimely death of my peers was not something I had included in this idealized perception of my time here. Continue reading