I scroll through Tim Caston’s old Boylan Blog posts and see “Watching the Semester Roll by.” I resolve to write my own version as a farewell to my friends, both inside and outside the internship office, who are leaving this semester. See you, nerds. I love you.

With a clunk the vending machine dispenses my Cherry Pepsi. It’s cold. The first interns’ meeting isn’t supposed to start until 5:05, so I should be a few minutes early. I push open the door to the English Majors’ Counseling Office and a room full of twelve gorgeous faces stare back at me. Everyone is better dressed than I am, and I am the last to arrive. The only open seat is next to Professor Natov. I sit there.

I’m nervous and sweaty. I’m wearing my winter coat and it is unbearably hot, but as we go through the syllabus for the Internship, I don’t dare take it off. Don’t want to make noise and interrupt. I carefully watch Professor Natov’s face from the side and make sure to look away whenever I think she might turn my way. When she asks who wants to run the Writer’s Circle this semester, my hand raises itself on its own, and I’m already mentally anguishing over the added responsibility.

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It’s Ice Cream Season!!!

I love summer. I love the weather, but really I love summer for the endless days of relaxed and idyllic bliss. I love the freedom that comes with having nothing to do- that’s when everything and anything can be done. I love adventures and not knowing where the day may take me. I love the absence of schedules and stress. I love picnics and ice cream and boating and watermelon and ice cream and beach days and ice cream and barbecues and clear skies and ice cream and people watching on my front stoop and ice cream and hiking and movie nights and ice cream and stargazing and ice cream. And did I mention ice cream?

I love the burst of cold air I feel when I walk out of the sun and into an ice cream shop. I love spending twenty minutes deciding which flavor I want. I love that I always end up choosing triple chocolate. I love spending another ten minutes deciding on a topping before I once again acknowledge that triple chocolate ice cream is perfect just the way it is. I love the race to eat my ice cream before it melts down my hand. I love finishing off my ice cream, vowing that I could never again eat ice cream again and craving some more only five minutes later. I love that I never seem to gain weight from all the ice cream because running after ice cream trucks is a serious workout. I really love ice cream.

The end of finals and the start of my infinitely many ice cream escapades could not come any sooner. Somehow, this semester has been the shortest and longest one yet. It’s just nutty. And it isn’t even over. Finals week is definitely going to be one rocky road. I have the urge to just make like a banana and split. But I know that we can do this, for sherbert!! We’ve got to milk this semester for all it’s worth because the end is always bittersweet. And when summer vacation finally comes, don’t let your life become vanilla. Shake it up a bit, add some chocolate and most importantly enjoy some ice cream.

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The Channels of the Universe

My soul craves music every second of the day. Whether I am taking a break from essays, walking to the train, or cleaning, I accompany the simplest tasks with music. I put my headphones in, open up the Spotify app, and take myself out of reality. It feels pretty good.

However, recently, I have been learning to plug myself out of my Spotify playlists and tune into the channels of the universe.

Channel 1: Mother Nature

Despite the polluted air our lungs breathe in and the tall buildings that tower over us, we are still surrounded by the beauty of the universe. One of my favorite parts about spring is the atmosphere that arises on campus. I think many would agree that Brooklyn College has a beautiful campus. One thing that I love to do is come on campus early just so I can peacefully sit by the Lily Pond and take in the subtle sounds around me. While sitting at the Lily Pond, I have grown to love the gentle crackling sound of the wind fitting itself between the spaces of the leaves on the trees, it gives me a peace of mind in the morning. The soft vibrations of the koi fish navigating around their home make the corner of the lips reach the bottom of my cheeks. I just find the koi fish really cute.

Even when I am not on campus, the beautiful sounds of the universe still follow me. Occasionally I am lucky enough to tune into an episode of Birds Got Talent and hear the various unique songs the birds sing one another. Sometimes their songs are better than the ones that I hear on the radio.

When the clouds are gray and the raindrops bounce against the windows, I look forward to hearing the drumbeats of the sky. Although I do admit that thunder does frighten me once in a while. Nevertheless, no matter how loud or how soft the sound is, so many wonderful sounds surround us and we have been so accustomed to them that at times we forget to appreciate them.

Channel 2: The People Around Me

I love the sound of people’s voices when they form their words with a smile. Words sound differently when you speak as you smile. They are fueled by radiant energy and they spread sunshine as they are spoken. So with that being said, I like making those around me smile as much as I possibly can.

I love the way you can hear excitement fill one’s vocal cords as they talk about something they’re passionate about. Whether they’re talking about their favorite show, movie, song, or band, I think it is really beautiful the way you can hear the fireworks exploding in their soul as they speak.

I love the sound of laughter. I love it when people laugh to the point that it sounds like they are whistling. That sort of laughter is really contagious. Even if you don’t know what they found funny, you are simply their joy with them.

I really love when people are happy.

Channel 3: Me, Myself, and I

I am a person who feels her emotions very strongly… A little too strongly. I tend to feel millions of strong emotions at once and sometimes it gets overwhelming. Sometimes, I don’t know what I should feel or if what I am feeling is normal. Everyone always says to listen to your heart, but sometimes the thoughts in your mind and the people around you fade out the messages your heart is sending you.

Recently I was asked out on my first date. When I was asked out a part of me was saying “YAAAAS SAM. Your first date. You’ve been waiting for this to happen,” meanwhile another part of me was saying “Sam, you don’t really know him. You know your heart is not in this, don’t do it.” I knew deep down I felt it was wrong to agree to it, but I didn’t listen to the messages the depths of my soul were sending me. I didn’t pay any attention to the sound of the heavy sigh my lungs out when I agreed to go on the date. I went against the subtle sounds of my soul directing me the correct way.

However, the day of our date, I paid a lot of attention to the deep breaths I was taking to avoid having an emotional breakdown in the library. The day of our date I paid a lot of attention to the sound of my rapid heartbeats as I sat there asking myself what I got myself into. The day of our date I paid a lot of attention to the sound of my friend’s voice as she comforted me as I was crying because my feelings were so conflicted.

Two hours before our date, I paid a lot of attention to the ding my phone made when the boy texted me: “Hey I caught a fever last night. I can’t hang.” When I read the words I paid attention to the sound of a sigh of relief I let out, and the feeling of light that entered my soul. Considering that it was my first date, I should have been upset that he canceled, but I wasn’t. I felt relieved, and I felt relieved because deep down, right from the start, I knew I should have never agreed to it. However, I learned that when you don’t listen to your heart and soul, there will be prices to pay.

So with that being said, always listen to your heart. Or else you’ll end up crying in the library cafe like me.

A lot of the time I like to get lost in my thoughts and escape reality, but recently I have been learning about the importance of tuning into the channels of the universe. Take a moment or two to listen to the rustling sound of the leaves and the soft raindrops, always listen to your heart (even if there are other sounds blocking out the messages), and don’t forget to check out your neighborhood bird’s mixtape on Soundcloud.

– Sam

In Times of Great Distress

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It is true when they say that the world continues to spin when your own has halted. And it is true as well that bad things happen in threes. It is true that dwelling on the past does nothing for your future. And it is true that all good things must come to an end. All the proverbs and witticisms and advice passed down through generations are true- but they don’t make the experience of living anything less than exactly what it is.

In times of great distress I try to compartmentalize my feelings. I try to sort and label and rationalize them so that I know exactly what I am feeling and why I am feeling it. I like to believe that if I have the exact words to define my emotions I can somehow spare myself the actual process of feeling. But sometimes word’s aren’t enough. Sometimes my thoughts are muddled and intertwined and confused and there is no rationalization that might make them easier to endure. In those times, I must remind myself that feeling is okay. That it is necessary.

We all have more or less the same experiences. We fall in love, we fall out of love, we choose the right friends, we choose the wrong ones, we try new things, we seek fulfillment, we art hurt, we are lost, we are found, we endure, and we continue. We share these universal experiences, yet every loss is tragic. Every victory is euphoric. Every experience, regardless of its universality, is felt fully and profoundly. No proverb or saying or wisdom will ever be enough to completely convey the experience of grief or love or fear or unadulterated happiness.

All I am trying to say in this post is that it is necessary to feel and to do so without shame or inhibition. It is okay not to understand why you are feeling a certain way. It is okay not to know. It is important to allow the mind and body to express itself- to cry, scream, laugh, run, jump, dance. Sometimes we feel the way we do and the reason is unimportant. To be human is to be alive. And to be alive is to feel. And sometimes, we are simply and amazingly human.

-Sophie

[You open your eyes to another unimpressive Monday morning. Grey daylight streaks in through your dirty window. Wiping the phlegm from your eyes, you notice a blinking red light from the desk in the corner of your room.

It’s your workstation and home to your computer.

As you sit, the cool black of the workstation’s main menu fills the screen.giphy.gif

A blinking message in the upper right corner notifies you that you have 7 unread messages.]

[MAIL]>>BOYLAN BLOG]

From: M.C.
>>To: Agent Smith
>>Subject: This is the Greetings

Smith,

It’s me. Somehow my last two accounts got banned. There are dark forces at play here, working to keep us apart–never doubt that.

Too much heat on street level. Had to abandon the surface. Other than the rats nibbling at my boots, I’m alright. I’m working on reconstructing my cork board in the sewers. Without it, we are lost.

The mission is nearing completion. One week stands between us and success. Don’t get lazy on me now.

I dug up some intel for you. 

>Thursday, May 9th, 12:30-2:00PM: The English Majors’ Tea is happening in The Gold Room, SUBO. They’ll be revealing the winners of the English Awards and generally celebrating student achievements. The Junction is being released there, so come and get your copy–otherwise they’re being distributed at the English Majors’ Counseling Office at Boylan 3416.

>Thursday, May 9th, 12:30-2:00PM: Stuck in the Library is having their publication event on the 5th floor of SUBO, in the State Lounge. They’re fantastic events. Copies of their new magazine will be distributed, and stick around for an open mic.

>Monday, May 13th, 6:00-9:00PM: The Junction Function is happening in the Occidental Lounge in SUBO, on the 5th floor. Come celebrate the end of the semester at our fabulous Open Mic event. There’ll be free food. It’s the publication event for the Spring 2019 edition of The Junction.

Counter-intelligence operatives must be working hard to keep this info from you, as it’s not on the events calendar for Brooklyn College. Worry not, my friend. I’ve got your back.

Delete this message.

-M.C.

Counter-intelligence operatitenor.gifves are working hard to keep this information from you. It’s not on the event calendars for Brooklyn College, but don’t worry. I

 

Love Thy Neighbor, Not Thy Book

*Disclaimer: News pieces, generally speaking, are supposed to don the hat of subjectivity. This piece does not. This piece takes that hat and throws it into the nearest fireplace and laughs while it burns. This piece is personal.

The battle for the rights of LGBTQ+ citizens feels like it should be long over at this point. The Marriage Equality Act was put into place over four years ago, the whole debacle with that cake lady ended, and the general air in our NYC environment is decidedly pro LGBTQ+. But it is important to take a step back and realize that we are generally an exception to the rule. In most small towns, and hell even most states across the U.S. the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals are being hotly contested by religious focus groups who main goal is to allow the dehumanization of marginalized people to continue.

Such is the story and reality of what is happening in Austin, Texas.

The Texas senate is looking over Senate Bill 17, which would allow “licensed professionals” to discriminate against LGBTQ+ individuals by denying them services. This bill would include professionals from far flung fields, from electricians to athletic trainers, who would all be allowed to tell a person that they won’t perform their services because of their clients sexual orientation/gender identity. The impetus of this bill comes from Texas Values, a group dedicated to “protecting the religious liberty” of Christian Texans who are now mad that they can’t be hateful towards people that make them uncomfortable anymore. The group, led by Jonathan Saenz, feels as though the government shouldn’t be able to tell a business who they can or cannot deny service to. This is bullshit, clear and simple. A cursory look at the New Testament shows how the acts of Jesus, who these people claim to model their lives after, represents the exact opposite of what these people believe. Jesus ate with the destitute, traveled with prostitutes, loved the miserly, and fed the masses without asking who they were going home to afterward. Love thy neighbor as thy self as it is written in Mathew: 22-34. I turned my back on religion a long time ago, but I still try my best to live by that sentiment. And if this bisexual/atheist/heathen can do that than you’re damn sure that the so-called “Christian” community of Texas can to (that is if you actually believe them when they say they’re filled with the well-spring of Jesus’ love. I, for one, think they’re crock-full of shit).

But the story in Texas happily doesn’t end there. A group of business leaders (a term I hate, but that’s an article for another day) have banded together to fight against this bill. This group is led by Mike Hollinger, an executive at IBM who stood before the Texas state senate to fight against this bill and what it represents.  This group is also backed by big name national companies such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Now are these multi-national companies acting purely out of self interest because an obviously hateful bill like this being passed would damage business prospects in the area? Probably, I personally doubt that very many of them would care if it didn’t hurt business. But their support is an important step towards creating a world that is safe and welcoming to the LGBTQ+ world community.

I am not writing this article as a way of showcasing the hate in this world, or even  to show that some semblance of good exists either. I’m here to say that the fight for the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals is still on-going. It didn’t end in 2015 and I doubt that it will be over by 2025. It is important to keep in mind that the birth of this movement was a riot, and we must hold onto that history and it’s impact as dearly as we possibly can. We must hold accountable everybody who stands in the way of equal rights for all and contest them at every juncture. The will to fight can be easily lost in this wonderful bubble we call NYC, but a movement started here, and we will continue it.

Love thy neighbor.

-Tim Caston

 

Content Warning: Rape Culture In Greek Life

 

There is no other symbol of college life that is undeniably recognizable than Greek Letters. Greek Life exists on most college campuses with organizations built on principles that reflect the ideals of their founders. Often, these are ideals of nobility and these organizations emphasizes on philanthropy/community service and ofcourse, networking to make sure members have an easier career path. Being Greek equals power; a platform that those who lacked voice and foundation can now benefit from.

Despite all of this, we have to acknowledge that there are people who will abuse these platforms. We have to acknowledge that rape culture is deeply intertwined with Greek Life and College Campuses usually sweep it under the rug.

I follow NowThisNews on Instagram and they posted a video of a Swarthmore University Fraternity that was glorifying what they called a “Rape Attic” in their Frathouse. Along with this, came an exposè where someone leaked their minutes. In this 116 paged document, provides receipts of homophobic, racist and rape positive acts the Phi Psi Fraternity was conducting. Delta Upsilon, another frat into this mix on Swarthmore’s campus, in their minutes in 2013, states “Your parties suck, you have both a rape tunnel AND a rape attic (gotta choose one or the other).” in reference to Phi Psi.

According to USA TODAY, “Dozens of students have been protesting the Phi Psi chapter at the private liberal arts school in suburban Philadelphia since Saturday. Demonstrators held a sit-in at a building owned by the college and leased to the fraternity used mainly for Phi Psi parties and other social activities.”

Swarthmore eventually suspended the Fraternity after days of protest and of course, media exposure.

– WIB

 

The Smiths

When I first heard The Smiths, I was exploring random playlists on Spotify in hopes to find music that spoke to my soul. The first song I came across was “I Know It’s Over” from their album “The Queen Is Dead.” The moment the song started I instantly fell deeply in love with the lead singer’s, Morrisey’s, voice and fell deeper in love with the meaning of the song itself. The song reached for my soul and I knew that The Smiths would be a band I would grow to love.

For those who don’t know, The Smiths are an English band from the 1980s. Their songs are quite dark. When you listen to their songs you are immersed in an emotional experience that makes you think very deeply… Well, at least it does that for me.

Though there are several wonderful songs by The Smiths, I think it’s important to shine a light on these:

“I Know It’s Over”

This was the song that started it all for me. Morrisey truly has one of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard in my life… Seriously. The way I understand this song is about a poor soul who is completely suffocated by heartbreak. The opening line, “Oh Mother, I can feel the soil falling over my head” suggests the agonizing pain one goes through when they lose their lover. The lyrics that get to me the most are: “If you’re so funny/ Then why are you on your own tonight?/ And if you’re so clever/ Then why are you on your own tonight/ If you’re so very entertaining/ Then why are you on your own tonight/ If you’re so very good-looking/ Why do you sleep alone tonight.” I feel that these lyrics are so relatable. What us single folks tend to do when we get lonely is question every little thing about ourselves and blame ourselves for the loneliness we feel. Besides the moving lyrics, this song is filled with so much passion and emotion. It is one of the most beautiful songs ever recorded.

“Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me”

The title really gives away with this song is about… The protagonist in this song dreamt that somebody loved him and felt the warmth of being in his lover’s arms only to wake up to a cold and lonely reality.  The lyrics that stick out to me the most are: “No hope/ no harm/ Just another false alarm.” These lyrics are quite simple yet they perfectly capture the dire pain the protagonist feels in the entirety of the song. The combination of the melancholy-toned piano chords and the captivating, yet very gloomy lyrics make this song a true masterpiece. You will surely be needing tubs of ice cream and tissues when listening to this one.

“Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now”

This song is one of The Smith’s most well-known songs. I find this one particularly funny. The lyric that makes this song as extraordinary as I perceive it to be is when Morrissey sings: “In my life/ Why do I smile/ At people who I’d much rather kick in the eye?” It gives me a good laugh. This one is a true classic.

Simply said, The Smiths are quite incredible. Their songs are not the feel-good songs to listen to if you want to cheer yourself up. Their songs are the type of songs you listen to as you roll yourself in a blanket burrito and think very deeply about life. Regardless, each song by The Smiths is filled with immense passion, heart, and emotion. They are a band worth listening to.

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– Sam