Blogdock Kollage: Stories from In My White Tee

Dr. Regina Bradley is an Associate Professor of English and African Diaspora Studies at Kennesaw State University. Dr. Bradley obtained her Ph.D. in English from Florida State University with a major area of African American Literature and Culture and a minor area in Gender and Women’s Studies. Her first short story collection, Boondock Kollage: Stories from the Hip Hop South, was published in April of 2017.

Front cover of Boondock Kollage

Last Wednesday, Dr. Bradley did a reading of her book at the Margaret Mitchell House. She read three excerpts from different short stories and the book itself is divided into three different sections: Reaching Back Around, Long Division, and Stitches in Time. One thing we noticed about Dr. Bradley’s style was how she would almost take up a persona in each of the stories. The stories consisted of things that happened to her or people around her, yet she maintained a third-person limited omniscient perspective throughout. We decided that we would structure our presentation in the three different perspective narrative style that Dr. Bradley did during her lecture. Each perspective will focus on a different section coupled with our personal experiences beginning with Reaching Back Around.  

Daquon’s P.O.V

Being that he’s perpetually busy and has a terrible sense of time, it was no surprise that Daquon found himself running late again. His coffee chat with another member of his fraternity went longer than expected and Daquon now had to face one of his greatest fears: Complex! Knowing that he would be late and accept his lack of knowledge of Complex, he preemptively texted one of his group members, Faith, and said: “I’m on my way to complex but I don’t know complex at all and am probably gonna get lost.” He eventually reached Complex and went inside of a small lobby area that had a faint smell of musk and mothballs. Daquon knew if he’d ventured any further, he would be overwhelmed with the feeling of being in the newest Maze Runner film. Luckily for him, he peered out the window to see Faith running up a hill. As he left the foul-smelling lobby, Daquon went around the corner to find both of his groupmates, Faith and Rachel. In a whirlwind, the two girls passed Daquon while telling him that their Uber driver arrived and was waiting for them. With the addition of rain, Daquon knew he was in for an interesting night. One very interesting Uber ride and walk through downtown Atlanta, and the group finally arrived. Daquon’s inner Grinch started to come out when he saw the Christmas light-covered trees before Thanksgiving could even get a chance.

Trees outside the house

Nevertheless, he put his personal pet peeves aside because this was a lecture that he was looking forward to for weeks. And this time, Daquon was not wrong. From Dr. Bradley’s introduction, Daquon knew that he was going to enjoy tonight. He noticed Dr. Bradley’s very warm personality and very relatable demeanor. Dr. Bradley began discussing some of her influences and purpose of the book. When Dr. Bradley said that the book was about southern black identity and how it is often overshadowed by a historicized version, Daquon moved to the edge of his seat because this was literally his life. As she began reading, her tone could even keep this sleep-deprived college student interested. In fact, Daquon took an interest in one of the first stories Dr. Bradley told, Intentions. Intentions told the story of the small town of Albany’s Dream Week, a week inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. that celebrates civil rights leaders, and focused on the experience of the young black protagonist. Immediately, Daquon began drawing parallels to the main character. Every year, though he loved studying black culture/history, doing a Black History project, retelling the same stories, and sharing the same perspectives got a little stale. Daquon is generally a procrastinator, but his procrastination levels always slightly rose around this time of year, just like how the protagonist procrastinated his Dream Week project.

Faith’s P.O.V

“Wya” the text peeked through the cracks on her cell phone screen. Faith had one foot out the door and was about to meet her classmates. “See ya later!” She yelled to her roommate before leaving. Knowing she was running late she sprinted down the stairs. As she burst through the door she was greeted by the rain. “No! It’s raining” she screeched aloud earning her strange looks from bystanders. Realizing once again that she was late, she ran around until she found Rachel. “Rachel! It’s raining!” Faith screamed. “Yeah, I know” Rachel responded. “I wanted to go grab my umbrella.” As they walked down the hill to another entrance of Complex they met Daquon. Rushing, they informed him that their Uber was on campus already and headed towards the car.

Margaret Mitchell House

After a pleasant Uber ride, they arrived at the Margaret Mitchell House. Upon arrival, Faith admired the twinkly lights adorning the trees in the front yard. “The lady who wrote Gone with the Wind lived here” Rachel informed Faith. “Oh, I hated the hour of the movie I watched. I started falling asleep,” Faith said as they walked inside. Once they entered, they were surrounded by Gone with the Wind books. They walked outside to another building next to the house. The building was filled with paintings and photographs. As they looked around, Faith observed the audience. It was mostly older adults and most of them were black. The three of them were definitely the youngest people in the room.

Rachel and Daquon with another piece of art

After waiting patiently, Dr. Bradley arrived. Dr. Bradley was lively with a loud, booming voice. Faith was taken back by her vivacious personality, but she loved it. If she had not read her book with personality, Faith would have quickly lost interest. Anticipating the formation of their blog post, Faith tried to be attentive and took notes. In particular, the story from the section titled “Long Division” stood out to her the most. Bradley, who portrayed herself as a boy, in the story, was forced by her grandpa to apply to the University of Georgia. When her grandpa was a senior in high school, the coach from the University of Georgia was interested in letting him play for the team. Against his father’s wishes, her grandfather went to the practice and was subjected to racism upon his arrival. While we did not get to hear the whole story, she did let us know that the university would not let her father attend their school or play football with them. Although she did not see getting into the school (she received her acceptance letter before her grandpa told the story) as a big deal, it was to her grandpa who could not get into the school when he was her age. Faith found that she could relate to Dr. Bradley about this. It reminded her of mother’s experiences in college when she first immigrated to the country. While her mother did not have an issue with getting into school, she had issues once school commenced. Often her professors would ridicule her mother and expressed their desire for her to be unsuccessful simply because she was black and because she was an immigrant. Now Faith’s mother is satisfied when Faith tells her that her professors are kind, supportive and wishing for her success. The excerpt from the book had Faith interested in the south that Dr. Bradley lived in. Although Faith has heard the stories of what it was like living under Jim Crow and the Civil Rights Movement, Faith has not heard much about what comes next. The age where hip-hop and trap music arrive is not really represented, and Dr. Bradley made a point to say that most narratives about it were not made by black people or people that lived in the places they emerged in. Faith wanted to hear the full stories, but the book was expensive. Despite only hearing part of them, Faith felt that Dr. Bradley successfully displayed the southern black identity and wishes she was not broke so she could afford the book.

Rachel’s P.O.V

Rachel’s day was jam-packed. As she jogged from her history lecture that had ended at 5:30 to the Math and Science building to help out with an event for the short 25 minutes her schedule allowed, she began to ponder how the night’s lecture would go. Her two group members Faith and Daquon were supposed to meet up with her around 6:00 to head out to the famous author, Margaret Mitchell’s, house where the lecture, “Boondock Kollage: Stories from the Hip Hop South” was being held. Like most of the sound of the word “boondock”  Rachel’s mind immediately wandered to the animated sitcom, “The Boondocks”,  a show based off a cartoon about an African American grandfather and his two grandchildren’s cross-cultural experience as they move into a white suburban neighborhood. Smiling as she thought of her favorite character from the show, Riley, Rachel realized; however, that despite the numerous times spent watching the show all last summer she had no idea what the word “boondock” meant. Deciding she should do a little researching pre-lecture she pulled out her phone and found (with the help of google) that the word  “boondock” meant remote or isolated country. Further investigation showed that the term had actually been transformed to a slightly different meaning than originally instated, as “boondock” is also a noun to describe an unsophisticated area. Tucking her phone back into her oversized raincoat Rachel made her way over to the meetup place her group members had agreed upon. Dark gray clouds floated above with the promise of rain to come as she reflected on what her limited research indicated about the upcoming lecture. It seemed this event would be speaking to some form of the cultural experience African Americans from a certain socio-economic background faced. “Hip Hop South” was connotation for “African American” and “Boondocks” was connotation for the “certain socio-economic background”. Fast forward past a lit uber ride with the coolest driver ever and walk through downtown Atlanta, Rachel suddenly found herself spending her Wednesday night enamored with the strong and surprisingly youthful voice of Dr.Regina Bradley.

Sign in front of the Margaret Mitchell House

Having just come from Professor Lipstadt’s  lecture about “The Great Books of the Holocaust”  Rachel was surprised to find that Dr.Bradley’s style was similar. In both lectures the facilitators read excerpts aloud directly from their books; however where Professor Lipstadt let the content of her books speak for itself, Dr.Bradley utilized voice inflections, and occasional side remarks in conjunction with her content to engage her audience. Although at times her readings felt a bit too long, the unerring representation of black dialogue present throughout her shared book excerpts got Rachel through and became especially charming by the third section of the book, “Stitches in Time”, which examined the question “What does time look like in the south”? And how time looks differently for each person. Dr.Bradley’s simple opening remark about how this story had “haunted her” immediately had everyone on the edge of their seats anticipating her reading. Pressed for time we were quickly transported into the world of a young girl undergoing the teenage nuisance of attempting to convince her mama to go to a party her older brother and his friends were attending. The girl’s mother is unrelenting with her decision not to let her daughter go and instead instructs her son to be back no later than midnight. With a groan, the son and his friends leave and all goes well until the young girl receives a phone call from her brother’s friend saying no one knows where her brother is. After her mother comes in from searching for her son and hears that no one knows where he is she wails and -Dr.Bradley closes the book leaving the audience off with a cliffhanger. The interesting thing about Dr.Bradley’s lecture was unlike Professor Lipstadt she didn’t spend time explicitly stating how certain themes tied into her book, which Rachel found somewhat frustrating. After some reflection, Rachel realized that this was due to the differing purpose of each lecture. Dr.Bradley was showcasing excerpts from a book she had written herself and planned to sell thus leaving her theme and book readings open-ended was crucial in order to entrance the audience and elicit curiosity that would encourage them to buy her book. This differed from Professor Lipstadt’s as her readings were from various classical books that she had not written and were somewhat known so her lecture was a bit more explicit. From the short part of  “Stitch in Time” read and the themes Dr.Bradley mentioned Rachel inferred that perhaps this chapter was going to analyze the various effects the same amount of time has on different people, specifically people in the South. Maybe the son is found years later and life has drastically changed for not only him but also his sister and mother but in different ways. Perhaps the son is killed and as time passes the mother and daughter are affected in varying ways. All in all the possibilities were endless, which made Rachel curious about how the story would unfold.

Rachel and Daquon with Dr. Bradley

“You know, I’m starting to get why she didn’t explain how each theme was connected to the story, but what about Hip Hop? I didn’t really feel like it was explicitly present throughout the book.” Rachel pondered this aloud as she walked back with Faith and Daquon to the location of their uber driver.

“I don’t think she meant for it to be explicit, I think the dialogue of her characters and the way they act is supposed to represent the effects the culture of Hip Hop in the South had on children from the post-civil right movement era” Faith replied. Rachel nodded in understanding as immediately her mind went back to the show “The Boondocks”. Just as Dr.Bradley utilized dialogue to convey the riveting effect Hip Hop had on black youth, characters from “The Boondocks” were used to show the negative effect of the same phenomenon. Even Rachel’s favorite character, Riley, was a product of rap and hip-hop culture and represented the manifestation of what cultural stigmas and stereotypes can do to influence black youth in an unpleasant way.


Although we did not get to hear the endings to any of the stories, we strongly believe that Dr. Bradley accurately captured the essence of black southern life. Especially through the use of dialogue, we could hear an accurate portrayal of both youth and adults living in the post-civil rights era. From the tiny bits we heard, hip-hop culture was weaved into the stories. She did not explicitly say this is hip-hop culture, but she just let it exist in the space without trying to shove the fact into our brains. If readers pay close enough attention, they can hear it and see it through the way the characters speak and behave. Dr. Bradley’s book is the perfect alternative to a boring textbook description of what hip-hop culture looks and sounds like. Her use of common situations that we can all relate to, such as applying to college, procrastinating on our projects, and our parents not letting us go out, allows us to learn what we would in a textbook in its proper context. We can step inside of her world to better understand the life she is portraying, which makes it easier for us to learn. We highly encourage you all to consider buying the book if you can. If you want to take a blast in the past, but in a setting that is somewhat familiar to our own, please do yourself a favor and check out Boondock Kollage.

Back cover of Boondock Kollage (Her Website)


Emory’s Got EDGE

Sometimes I think graduate school seems like just another opportunity to accumulate more debt and to lose more sleep, except this time it is more like having a lonely, soul-crushing, full-time job. Although it may not be this intense in actuality, it is a taxing experience that can get lonely at times. Due to this, it is imperative that prospective students find and attend an institution that has an environment they are comfortable in and one where they can find a sense of community. This is especially true for students from underrepresented groups. Attending a school that lacks diversity could make it harder to find a community that underrepresented students can identify with. Fortunately, some graduate schools start initiatives to promote diversity within their programs. Among those schools is Emory University’s Laney Graduate School.

The logo for Emory EDGE

Emory has EDGE, which stands for Emory Diversifying Graduate Education. On their page about diversity, the school claims that “Diversity and community are of highest priority to Emory University and the Laney Graduate School” (Laney Graduate School). How exactly do they do this? According to Emory, there are five ways they try to promote diversity: programming, community, fellowships, outreach and recruitment, and partner organizations.

An old brochure for the STEM Research and Career Symposium

Some examples of programs they have include the STEM Research and Career Symposium, the IMSD: Initiative to Maximize Student Development, the NIH (National Health Institute) Pathfinder Series, and the ELSP: English Language Support Program. In addition to these programs, they have many different student organizations, campus offices and research opportunities and parties that underrepresented students can get involved with to find a welcoming community they connect with. Students can also be part of the Emory Graduate Diversity Fellowship or the Initiative to Maximize Student Development Fellowships (IMSD) which help cover costs of tuition and stipend and travel expenses respectively. Finally, Laney tries to reach out to possible applicants through different mediums that they know underrepresented groups respond to, including partnering with diversity-oriented organizations to connect with these prospective students.

Although the website explains what they claim to be doing, talking to students who have been directly impacted by these things gives us a better understanding of how effective EDGE actually is. Luckily I got the opportunity to interview an African American Ph.D. candidate in English Literature, Justin Shaw.

Justin P. Shaw

Mr. Shaw is an Emory Graduate Diversity Fellow, a Kharen Fulton Graduate Diversity Award Recipient, and a teacher. He also attended Morehouse for his bachelor’s degree and the University of Houston for his masters giving him experience in a variety of social environments that vary in terms of diversity. Our conversation lasted about thirty-six minutes, so below I took a few points he made.

1. What is Emory EDGE and what does it mean to you?

“EDGE is an acronym. It stands for Emory Graduate Diversifying Education. And it started about three years ago. Three or four years ago about, under the leadership of our former director… of recruitment in diversity and community in the Laney graduate school…started by him to Address some of the issues and lack and lacks of diversity and inclusion in graduate school...graduate students tend to already be isolated by research…and then you don’t really have community… [it] has a burden on your work-life balance, time management, and your ability to generate relationships, and even just general friendships and connections with people. And, you know, when you add race and ethnicity on top of that, it adds dimension to it because research suggests that students of color on the undergraduate level already have some things to deal with at a predominately white institution, but on a graduate level its intensified because you often don’t have people working, or who you are working with who look like you. And people working with you and your cohorts are coming from a similar background and understand you and the world in which you came from. The burden for graduate students are at large in terms of acclimating to the atmosphere at graduate school so disproportionately that students of color drop out due to depression, due to feeling emotionally withdrawn from their research and their program. From feeling like they’re not supported in their graduates’ programs because of things not necessarily racism but microaggressions are blatant themes that happen in departments for different reasons.”

2. How effective do you think Emory’s efforts have been in promoting diversity in graduate education? Are they living up to their mission statement?

“I think since the EDGE program was developed like I said four years ago four years ago, it’s definitely been something that the dean all the way down, people have been serious about and engaged with. I think the grad school is intentional about reaching out to graduate students of color to help with recruitment, to help with building community and to help with addressing issues within the community…I can’t speak for the whole university. I don’t know the impact directly that it’s had on the university yet. It’s still a very new program. I mean four years is not a very long time for, to see the effects. I’ve only been here for four years, and this program started when I got here. And I think you have to see a whole cycle of students go through it in order to really start to see the dividends.”

3. You went to the University of Houston to get your master’s degree. How does the environment at UofH compare to Emory’s? How do their efforts to promote diversity compare to Emory’s?

“I’ve seen three different types and I think a program like EDGE works at an institution like Emory and it can work a place like its sister schools… but a place like big public institutions it takes a different model…different kind of institution requires different needs, different students, more students. EDGE is great because Emory’s graduate school is just big enough to do programming that encompasses groups of people, where you can kind of know people face to face. You kind of know who people are. And you can address the need to the student body in a different way, as opposed to the vagueness that could become at UofH.”

4. You are an Emory Diversity Graduate Fellow, and you recently won the Kharen Fulton Diversity Graduate Award. How have these impacted your experience at Emory?

“I think it shows that the school cares and notices…you know one reason why a lot of students drop out of grad school is because they don’t feel supported. They don’t feel like they’ve got community. No one cares. Not even about their research, but about them as a human being. And these things showed me and continue to show me that the graduate school and the university as a whole notices, and they care. And not in a superficial way as the token black kid, but as a person with good ideas, with experience, who can offer something, bring something to the table.”

5. Is there anything that you think Emory could improve in terms of recruiting and retaining a diverse population and promoting diverse environments?

“So one thing I criticize EDGE for, and I don’t blame them, I just criticize it in a positive way, is that is very focused on the STEM disciplines, science, technology, and math. And that’s no fault of their own…the problem in that there’s not a lot of money in that for that as there is in the sciences. There’s not these big grants from the National Science Foundation and institute to health to promote graduate student education in anything else.”

Listen to the whole interview to hear his complete answers and get advice about grad school.

Due to its age, it is unclear to see the long-term effects of EDGE, but presently, I believe that EDGE is doing just fine. So far their efforts to recruit and retain students from underrepresented groups and support them seems to be doing well. While Shaw is not representative of the whole underrepresented student population, this case shows that EDGE is taking strides in the right direction. It is important for graduate schools to adopt the measure so that we can have more people from underrepresented groups with higher degrees. I recently learned that artificial intelligence is now replacing even highly skilled workers (Inglehart and Norris). That means that we need more people to get advanced degrees to keep up with our changing economy. Since, “the white, non-Hispanic proportion of the total population decreased from 73.6% in 1995 to a projected 52.8% in 2050” and they make up the majority of the population of people with postgraduate degrees, there will be a shortage of skilled workers (Bryan). In fact, “by 2028, it is expected that there will be a shortage of 19 million skilled workers to fill jobs in the U.S.” (Bryan). As Shaw stated, if people do not feel supported or a sense of community, they are not likely to finish grad school, so I commend EDGE for doing so. I watched my mother struggle to get her associate’s and bachelor’s degrees during my childhood. I noticed that in her earlier stages of school, she had no community or support, which made school extremely difficult for her. Once she finally found those two things I watched her thrive in school. I can only imagine how much more difficult it will be for her when she goes back to get her master’s without that community going through it with her. EDGE provides this for its students. I think it is safe to say that EDGE is a good fit for Emory… for now.



Bryan, Julia A. “Minority Student Recruitment, Retention and Career Transition Practices: A Review of the Literature”. American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association. N.d., Accessed 29 Oct. 2017.

[EDGE Logo] [image]. (n.d.). [Photograph]. Retrieved from

Inglehart, Ronald, and Pippa Norris. “Trump and the Populist Authoritarian Parties: The Silent Revolution in Reverse.” Perspectives on Politics, vol. 15, no. 2, 2017, pp. 443–454., doi:10.1017/S1537592717000111.

[Justin P. Shaw] [image]. (n.d.). [Photograph]. Retrieved from

[Symposium Brochure] [image]. (n.d.). [Photograph]. Retrieved from 


“If You’re Alone, You’re Sick”

After three hours of chasing down MARTA buses, forgetting play tickets, and interesting uber rides we (Faith and Rachel ) somehow managed to arrive an hour early at the Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta for the showing of the Alliance Theatre on the Go’s Crossing Delancey. Exhausted from the day’s events we didn’t even consider looking up the plotline of the play and instead decided to kill the hour with a conversation about academics, pushy family members, and our loves lives, or more so our lack of ones. So imagine our surprise when the play unfolded to be a young Jewish bookstore owner, Izzy, and her attempt to find love with the unwanted help of her persistent grandmother and matchmaker friend. As the play continued we found ourselves in a pickle with a pickle man, a lonely bookstore owner, her Bubbie, an author, and a matchmaker.

Faith’s ticket

Needless to say, the play, Crossing Delancey, captured our attention and nurtured our interest in generational differences on dating and marriage.

The stage lights turn on and immediately the audience is transported to the tiny home of Bubbie, the protagonist, Izzy’s, very bold and very Jewish grandmother. Right off the bat viewers can feel the endearing love that Izzy has for her eccentric grandmother, despite the conflicting viewpoints the two women discuss over baked goods at the kitchen table. As Izzy stuffs her mouth with Bubbie’s home-cooked delights she is subjected to the lecturing of her grandmother, who insists on getting her married off as soon as possible in order to protect her from the most horrible fate imaginable-life alone. As Bubbie’s speech progresses Izzy becomes continuously more amused until finally laughing in disbelief when her grandmother encourages her to go out on a blind-date a matchmaker set up for her with the local pickle man, Sam Posner. Right away Izzy counters her relative’s statement, defending the mindset of the modern woman’s take on marriage.

Bubbie’s kitchen

She argues that “It’s very different for women of my generation. . . . Everything’s different. We have options. . . . I can do anything I want to do. Go anywhere I want to go. . . . Maybe I don’t want a husband. . . And if I did, he wouldn’t be a pickle man.”  Izzy’s statement stood out to us as a perfect representation of the generational gap present in terms of what marriage truly entails for millennials versus those born before. Whereas Izzy’s grandmother looks at marriage as a means for security, Izzy sees marriage as a unity between two souls made perfectly for each other, which is more along the lines of what today’s young adults are searching for in lifelong partners. Initially, Izzy looks down on the idea of a prospective suitor being someone invested in the business of pickles as it seems to contrast immensely from her passion for books and intellect. However, as the play progresses it is revealed that perhaps not all the ways we millennials go about the dating process are ideal. Crossing Delancey brings up differences regarding the options available to younger generations, the use of technology for dating, and expectations of marriage.

When examining Izzy’s previously mentioned statement there is one word that seems to stand out, “options”. People of our generation, Millennials, and even the generation after us, Generation Z, have far more dating options than our grandparents. We do not have to worry about one lost opportunity because we have plenty of fish to catch in the sea, which we can easily attain with one quick swipe right on our phone screens. Izzy just had Sam the pickle man and the author Tyler Moss, who we eventually learned was only interested in making her his assistant, but that could be more than others had near her. Because the play is set in the 80’s Izzy doesn’t take to any dating apps to talk to her potential suitors; however, we still noted the idea of “options” being translatable to technology today. Technology provides places like the internet with millions of users worldwide, which allow us to connect with numerous amounts of people who could be prospective companions. Dating apps, websites, and even social media are new places for people to meet and form relationships; however, prior to this people were limited to those that lived in close proximity to them. This meant that there were not many places where people could connect and thus convenience played a large factor in who people married at the time. This fact is depicted in the play when Bubbie goes on to describe how she married her late husband. He was ever persistent and had a good job so finally, she decided “why not?” and proceeded to date and eventually marry him. Because Bubbie grew up in a time where traditional male roles of providing for the household were expected, there is a conflict with the way she views marriage versus Izzy. Just like us, Izzy is living in a time of female progressivism and the idea of a woman providing for herself and marrying for love and not convenience has become normalized which Bubbie, just as some members of older generations, do not understand.

Living with immigrant parents that are a generation older, Faith has been acutely aware of these differences as she grew up. Growing up, Faith still remembers being confused about both her parents and her grandparent’s marriage situations. Her grandparents wed when her grandmother was only about fourteen or fifteen, but her grandfather was about thirty. Keep in mind that this was in Africa, and it was and in some places still is culturally acceptable. They basically still see marriage as a source of security. Faith’s grandpa owned a business so he could take care of her grandma, they lived in the same city, shared the same religion, and their families descended from the same tribe, which meant that they should be able to live together comfortably. Love was not the main priority because it could come with time. Faith’s parents married for similar reasons. As she grew up, it was clear that while her mom did want her to be in love with the person she married, Faith could tell based off what her mother said that she prioritized stability and security. Faith, however, is not necessarily worried about security and wants to marry her soulmate, which parallels Izzy’s desires exactly.

Us with Sochi Fried who played Izzy

Another issue that we discovered is that the Millennials and the Baby Boomers are not looking for the same things when it comes to partners and marriage. According to Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg in their book Modern Romance: An Investigation, in the past, people had companionate marriages: they were not necessarily about love, but convenience. Marriage used to be mainly about security; each person had clearly defined roles that would ensure that they produced a good family. For women, marriage meant more autonomy, since they were now only under the authority of their husbands. Since men worked, marrying a man that had a good job was necessary. They were just looking for someone that they could have kids and a stable life with. For men, marriage meant finding a nice girl to have kids with so that you could be the head of a household. In a survey taken in the 1960’s, they found that 76% of women would marry someone that they did not love as opposed to 35% of men (Ansari and Klinenberg 22). Now we are not just looking for these things alone, but we also want a soulmate. In the play, Izzy did not want to marry the pickle man because having a successful business was not enough for her. She wanted someone that she connected with on a deeper level, which is what she believed she would have with Tyler, the snobby author, based off what she read in his novels. Ever since the Women’s Movement, women no longer find themselves needing to rely on a man for stability. This means that it is no longer the biggest factor in pursuing a partner. In the 1980’s another survey was done and they found that 91% of women and 86% of men would not marry someone that they did not experience romantic love with (Ansari and Klinenberg 24). The people want true love and real connections. We found this especially interesting as the play takes place during the 80s where this shift of marital expectations is examined. After reflecting on the play and researching the causes and effects of generational gaps we began to ponder what we learned from this Out on the Town event.

We decided that dating in the twenty-first century can get complicated quickly. At first, it seems simple: Slide into said person’s DMs, swipe right on Tinder, create a profile on Christian Mingle, or just text the kid you like from your math class. While we do have so many options, so does everyone else, which makes finding a soulmate a long and tricky process. It makes us wonder whether or not the “old way” of thinking is all that bad, especially when considering Izzy ends up being with pickle man Sam by the end of the play.

A poster for the play

Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned about convenience when we examine it from the viewpoint of lessening up on our dependency on technology to make connections. And maybe finding a soulmate who can provide security is not so bad if we view security as emotional and mental insurance as opposed to just economical protection. Lessening the generational gap could be possible if we viewed opinions and concepts from a different perspective and simply tried to understand one another. But going back to dating, if you find that you are still looking for love in your life, relax. Despite what Bubbie Kantor says, being alone does not make you sick. It could just mean that you are still in the process of searching for your soulmate, which in the end could make it all the more worthwhile.

Ansari, Aziz, and Eric Klinenberg. Modern Romance: An Investigation. Penguin Books, 2015.

The Perfect Weekend Getaway… Almost

Finally,” I thought “No more class. I can just relax before I have to drag myself to work.” Like any other college student, I had been anticipating the weekend. No more class, no more lectures, just me, my music, and my bed. Swiftly, I jumped onto my lofted bed, propped open my laptop and turned on Daniel Caesar. Next, I quickly pulled my throw blanket over me. Under my blanket, I closed my eyes and dissolved all my thoughts so I could focus on the music.

“What? Uh huh… yeah sure,” Ashleigh, my roommate, uttered into her phone as she slipped into the room.

The girls I went on the trip with

With each word she spoke, my barrier of placidity slowly dissolved until only I laid there desperately trying to regain my tranquility. Lying there made me think of the good ole days when I had my own room and could keep it as peaceful as I desired. I missed being nearly the only person with authority over what happened in my space. After a few minutes, she finally turned and looked at me. “Hey, did you want to go to the beach after you come back from work today? T’ambra’s boss gave her tickets for a club’s anniversary so we can go there on Saturday night too. I didn’t know if you wanted to come or not, but I am going to go,” Ashleigh questioned. A trip sounded amusing, and I needed more fun in my life. Since arriving, I had found myself complaining about not experiencing much and only staying in my room. Now was my chance to have a fun new experience. Quickly, I tried to think of all the reasons why I should not go. Homework came to mind, as well as sleep and the fact that I loathe beaches, but I could not really think of anything else. “You don’t have to go if you don’t want to,” Ashleigh offered.

“No, I want to. It’s not like I have anything better to do,” I admitted.

“Okay, great. We will leave when you come back from work” Ashleigh declared. As Ashleigh returned to her phone conversation I glanced at the time. Unfortunately, I had to leave for work. I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed and set out to the Telefund. Once I returned from work, I found Ashleigh packing for the trip and I began to pack too.

“Hey, did you want to text your mom that we were going to Florida?” Ashleigh asked. I stared at her baffled. Florida? I assumed we would be in another town in Georgia. “Oh, sorry. I keep forgetting you are not from here. Yeah, the beach is in Florida.” Ashleigh stated. Telling my mom sounded like the right thing to do, but I had a strong feeling that she would not approve. I could already see how the conversation would go.

Seashells I found

“Hey, mom. Can I go on a road trip to another state in a car full of strangers so I can go to the club tomorrow?”.

“Ha, oh lord Faith. Why would you want to do that? You have homework you should be doing. You do not know these people or their parents and neither do I. You have no phone. What if someone is trying to kill you? How are you going to call me? Are there going to be boys? And why do you want to go to the club? Remember Jesus and school come first,” my mom would blurt with her Congolese accent.

“So…I cant go?”.

“I don’t have time for this faith, tsk” she would retort before hanging up on me. I made a rational decision; my mom did not need to know.

“No, my mom’s probably really busy. I will just email her later,” I affirmed to Ashleighy. Part of my reasoning behind leaving the state for college was that I would have more autonomy. I wanted to make decisions for myself without the influence of my mom, and that is exactly what I did. After we finished packing we left the Plex to meet Ashleigh’s friends downstairs.

Once we finally squished our bags into the back of the tiny white Honda Accord, we disembarked on our journey. Three other people accompanied us on our trip: T’ambra, Ashleigh’s friend from high school, Jay, T’ambra’s godsister, and Trey, T’ambra’s younger brother. Previously I had met T’ambra, but I did not know anyone else in the car.

The car we went in

“You’re quiet Faith” Jay observed, “are we to ratchet for you?” They were not too ratchet for me, I just did not know them and had never been in this environment before. They seemed like genuinely nice people, but I could not relate to them. While I do admit that I have been in unusual situations before, they were not like the ones in what they described as their ratchet small town. Especially since I spent most of my life in towns with mostly upper-middle-class conservative Christians. Instead of talking, I laughed along at their stories and listened to the mix of gospel and hip-hop music blasting from the car stereo.

After five long hours squished in the tiny car, we arrived in Panama City. Immediately after we checked into the hotel, we went to Walmart to buy food.

Our food haul from Walmart

We purchased food that we never ended up cooking and eventually returned. Once we returned to the hotel, we spent the rest of the night having our own dance party until we all started falling asleep.

The next day, Ashleigh’s dad, who was in Destin, invited us to eat dinner with him and his family to celebrate Ashleigh’s little sister Aubrey’s birthday. Before we went to dinner, we decided to go to the mall. On the way there, I got a better view of the city. Panama City reminded me of Galveston, Texas.

Another view of the beach

The shops and the pier reminded me of all the cute shops and Pleasure Pier in Galveston. In fact, I even saw a Whataburger, a Texas fast food restaurant, and I nearly screamed. I gladly embraced the feeling of nostalgia and let my memories of home slowly drift into my head. Nights spent on the beach with my friends and my drill team came first. This reminded me of Friday night lights in the stadium. I smiled at the thought of doing my drill team officer strut and doing high kicks on the field. Whataburger was always the move after games and I could not help thinking of all the nights I spent there after games and when I was an employee. I never really appreciated those moments back in high school. Accustomed to them, they just seemed like a part of life, and once they were taken away I appreciated them more.

Later that day, we arrived at the seafood restaurant Ashleigh’s family chose for dinner. Seeing the adorable little kids run around immediately made me think of my own little sister. Even though she drove me insane I still missed her. When Ashleigh’s sister ran to hug her, it reminded me of all the days I came home to find my sister, who was two at the time, running to the door eager to see me and ready for my embrace.  Following dinner, we rushed back to the hotel to get ready to go to the club.

At the club, I did not like most of the songs the DJ played. In addition to all the sweat dripping off people’s backs, vomit appeared on the floor in corner of the club. To make matters worse, some creepy Jamaican guy would not stop harassing Jay. Despite this, I am glad I went because I had wanted to experience what it was like to go to a club. After an hour, we decided to leave.

On Sunday morning, we finally made it to the beach.

Where we left our stuff on the beach

Unlike Galveston beach, this beach had blue water. Seagulls and butterfly flew around and seashells covered the sand. Unfortunately, trash also covered the sand. Dirty diapers, cigarette butts, and bottle caps were among my findings.

Trash I found on the beach

Despite the unsettling presence of trash, I did enjoy the beach. At one point a little girl swam up to us and asked if we had seen any mermaids. Before I could respond, her sister blurted, “mermaids aren’t real, stupid”. Although I am not a fan of beaches, I enjoyed taking the time to relax, something I was still struggling to do in my first few weeks of school.

Eventually, we had to leave so that I would get back to school in time for work.

“Only an hour and thirty minutes left,” T’ambra announced. This would leave me nearly two hours before I had to report to work. Satisfied, I stopped worrying.

“Clink, clink, clink,” screamed the car. Next one of the wheels started to wobble. We had to pull over.

“Really God? Not cool man, we were almost there,” I protested. On the outside, however, I maintained a sanguine façade. Unfortunately, we did not have a way to get off the road quickly. Internally, I prayed that someone would come help us so I could still make it to work. Suddenly an RV pulled up. “Finally! We are saved!” I thought. I thought wrong. It turns out the RV had a similar issue. After waiting for an hour, a man pulled up to help us. Once again, I was deceived. Sadly, the serviceman could not help us. As if I did not already have enough problems, my own body turned against me and kept complaining that it had to pee. Since we had exhausted all our options, we decided to wait for T’ambra’s parents to pick us up. While we waited for T’ambra’s parents to rescue us, we decide that we should try to get off the highway.

The tire from the car

Shortly after we left the highway, we spotted a gas station. To our dismay, the gas station was no longer in service. Trey decided to change the messed-up tire. As soon as he finished, he took off in the car without us. Fortunately, after a nice phone call from his parents, he returned. Once he returned, we decided that we should try to get back to Emory. After turning on some gospel music, we took off hoping that we would not die.

A boarded up gas pump

Thankfully we made it back to school safely. Even though I missed work and had to pee behind the old gas station, I am glad I went on the trip. Although the trip did not end the way I had hoped, I still had a wonderful time. The trip made me more appreciative of what I left behind in Texas: a loving family and many wonderful experiences that I cannot find anywhere else. The whole trip made me realize that to some extent I did miss my family, friends and my life in high school. Despite some setbacks, I am glad that I made the decision to go on my own. As I stated previously, my purpose for leaving the state for school was to be more self-reliant. While I do not think it is a problem to get advice from my mom, I think it is time that I learn to do things with as little help from her as possible. Too often I find myself stopping myself from doing things because my mom would not like them. The problem with that is that my mother and I are very different and some things she sees unnecessary are things I enjoy doing.

Me covered in sand on the beach

This whole process forced me to think harder about what I expect to get out of my college experience and how I am going to go about doing it.  Hopefully, more opportunities for me to venture outside of the Emory bubble will surprise me soon.

The Power of Positivity, Happiness, and Friendship in Emory Women’s Volleyball


The team practicing before the game.

Skipping, chanting, and smiles never left the gym on Saturday, September the 9th at the Emory women’s volleyball game. The joyful spirit of the girls lasted for the entirety of the match that they won three sets to zero. Although the athletes’ performance impressed us, their sportsmanship fascinated us more. Not every sports group has members that support each other unconditionally. The girls’ ability to remain positive and show support for one another during their game helped lead them to victory.

When we arrived at the match against DeSales University, there was a concession stand set up next to the gym entrance. The snacks were all overpriced, and probably unnecessary considering the match did not last for very long. As we rounded the corner, there was a small bleacher set up on the gym floor, since the actual court was only in the very center of the west half of the gym. The crowd, neither extremely large or small, consisted of a few interested students and mostly parents who came to watch their daughters play. The crowd remained calm throughout the match, however, not much excitement was needed; the girls produced enough pep to last them through every set. Surprisingly the girls never seemed to have a shortage of energy and did not need to use timeouts like the other team. Smiles remained planted on both the players and coaches faces. Typically athletes remain straight-faced and look serious while they play. Even the girls on the other team looked this way and rarely smiled.

Volleyball Coach

warm smiles on the players and coaches faces let us know that they actually enjoyed playing the game. Clearly, the girls found the game fun and they still appeared to have a passion for the sport. While winning obviously remained their objective, they made sure to enjoy the entire process. This happiness and pure love of the game allowed them to stay positive and cheer each other on that afternoon.

After the first set, the teams switched sides. This almost seemed to have an effect on the girls’ performance because they started to fall behind. Even while the girls were losing, the coach was placid and the girls were smiling. Their attitude is undoubtedly why they were able to easily rally and win the second set. Again, at the start of the third set, Emory dropped some points, but the team found its footing and pulled off the three to zero sweep. No setback ever seemed to faze them. They remained cheerful and positive until they eventually lead the game like they knew they would.

Every team has some form of bond between players that affects the way they interact and play together. On Emory’s team, the girls have a noticeably strong bond. No matter what happened, the girls always appeared to have a united front. Instead of cheering for certain players, the whole group on the court received recognition. Unlike the players from the other team, even when a girl made a serve that did not make it over the net or hit the ball out of bounds, the girls remained supportive of one another.

Doing a team exercise

The girls frequently had group hugs and shared reassuring smiles to comfort each other throughout the game. We could tell that the team members had a very close relationship just by the way they interacted on the court. Even off the court, the girls typically do things together probably as a result of all the time they spend practicing and bonding. This relationship allows them to communicate and play collectively. The girls display trust for each other and belief in the abilities of the team. Studies show that the level of trust and time spent together have a significant impact on team performance. Team members that trust each other perform better because they can work more effectively together (Elsass 137).  When the other team successfully scored, the girls still smiled and cheered each other on because they knew that they had the ability to move past the setback and win the game. Although several girls did stand out as star players, the game did not revolve around them. Each girl playing was given an opportunity to contribute to the success of the team. Emory’s team honestly looks like a huge group of best friends. Friendship and their great spirit lead them to victory.

At the end of the tournament, the girls walked away undefeated. Emory won every game three sets to zero in the tournament.

The end of the final set.

It is worth noting that while all these three aspects of the team led them to victory, the skill set of the girls played arguably the most significant part in leading them to victory. Currently, the team is ranked fifth overall in the NCAA Division III category, previously being ranked second. They have made it to the final four five times, they won the national tournament in 2008, and they have seven UAA championships. In fact, the girls have only lost one game this season. We wanted to look beyond their skills to determine what makes them so successful. Virtually every team has amazing players, but some teams have unique qualities that set them apart from the rest of the crowd. What sets Emory apart and gives them a competitive edge are these three qualities that allow them to work harder and to work more efficient collectively.

Tatiana was able to get in touch with freshman Murphy Powell to ask her about her experiences with the game and with her team:

Tatiana: How would you describe the crowd’s energy level at the DeSales match? How did their energy level affect (or not affect) your playing?

Murphy: The crowd’s energy level during the match vs DeSales this past Saturday was pretty good because I’ve been told the bleachers haven’t been that full in a long time. The crowd’s cheering was a motivation bonus added to our own cheering so it affected our play positively. 

The girls high-fiving

Tatiana: Was there a specific goal you had set for the DeSales match?

Murphy: We wanted to keep them from scoring more than 15 points per set (which we were able to do for the 25-12 set but not for the 25-16 and 25-19 sets) and always have more energy than they did, in which I think we did a good job of.

Tatiana: How well did your team play again DeSales University? Do you consider it a good/bad/average game for your team?

Murphy: It was an average game for our team because we beat them by a hefty amount, had an awesome passing game, but also missed a lot of serves and hit a lot of balls out when attacking.

Tatiana: What is the dynamic between you and your teammates during a game?

Murphy: We all keep each other hype no matter what the score is and we all have positive attitudes throughout warmups and in games.

Tatiana: Are you and your teammates close? And how does this affect your playing?

Murphy: My teammates and I are very close – it’s like a family. This affects our playing because we play harder when we want to play well and win for our “family”.

Tatiana: What is your goal for the season?

Murphy: Our goal for the season is to be national champions!

Watching the Emory Women’s Volleyball Team play was very entertaining. While it is always fun to cheer for the winning team, it is clear that our squad has something special. Their non-stop energy made the game enjoyable for themselves, the fans, and even the other team to an extent. It is very easy to see Emory Women’s Volleyball going to the national finals, and we think they will win this year.

The end of the game.

Priscilla Elsass. “Trust and Team Performance in NCAA Basketball.” The Academy of Management Executive (1993-2005), vol. 15, no. 3, 2001, pp. 137–138. JSTOR, JSTOR,

[Emory Volleyball Girls High-Fiving]. [image]. (n.d). [Photograph]. Retrieved from

[Emory Volleyball Girls Holding Hands in Air]. [image] (n.d.). [Photograph]. Retrieved from

[Emory Volleyball Coach]. [image]. (n.d). [Photograpgh]. Retrieved from

By: Faith Muyoyo, Josh Maisel, and Tatiana Bennett