I believe in the power of a smile. A smile can be a subtle twitch of the jaw muscles or a large grin with both rows of teeth showing much like every one of my childhood pictures when I didn’t even want to take a picture and had been crying just 30 seconds ago. Smiling is like the Ebola Virus, It’s contagious.

That’s why one of my goals every day is to smile, whether to myself or to someone else or even a complete stranger, If I can in any way brighten someone’s day by making them laugh or smile, well then that’s exactly what I’ll do. Although I have to note, smiling at complete strangers sometimes brings undesirable results such as their boyfriend trying to fight you.

Anyways, to sum it all up I believe in making people smile or laugh. Putting a smile on the face of someone who had been and gloomy beforehand is really what I live for. And if I make someone they laugh, that’s even better because it’s nice little confidence booster when someone laughs at my “Why did the chicken cross the road” jokes. It’s sort of like the feeling you get when you get away with shoplifting or that feeling of danger and adrenaline that you get when you miss a step on the stairs. Knowing I brought happiness and joy, even if it was just for a couple of seconds, into anyone’s life really, makes me feel good.

It may not seem like a big deal, but since I could remember I always came home with certificates that state on them, “best friend to everyone”, “easiest to get along with”, “funniest person” or even in some cases more aggressive cases where my parents weren’t happy “class clown”, “Absolute degenerate that never stops talking and keeps making his classmates around him laugh” you know, all that good compliment stuff. But really, all I cared about is that me, as well as the people around me, were having fun, no matter where we were.

In fact, one of my most noteworthy achievements is based on the power of a smile:

A landslide carrying 1 million cubic meters of land, mud and trees. A huge flood. People missing, 20 confirmed deaths, homes destroyed, wild animals roaming the streets of the capital. That was the scene that I arrived to only a day after getting back to my home country Georgia on June 13th, 2015.

It was a brutal scene and the costs were very high. The government couldn’t take control of the situation by itself, so getting the city back on its feet was all up to the volunteers.

Seeing people coming up from the steps of the zoo that day, I could see tens of small children crying and begging their parents to do something about what had happened but, obviously, they couldn’t just go and catch the lion that had run away from its non-existent cage.

I gathered my friends the very next day and headed down to the zoo. It was gone. The landslide had completely scratched the zoo off of earth’s surface. A place of joy was now one of sadness. It was up to us, the volunteers, to rebuild the zoo. The first day we spent looking for possible survivors under debris, the second day it was time to grab a shovel and start digging. On day 5,  10 minutes into the work I heard there was a black jaguar on the loose on a street very near to us, we obviously went after to chase it, but by the time we got there, it had already mauled 5 people and had been put down. My friends and I cleared out an unbelievable amount of earth. By day 7, the debris was almost all gone.

On day 10, I asked the workers at the zoo if my friends and I could help rebuild the historic site, in terms of the cages and all. They accepted the offer as they needed all the help they could get. As they gave us the necessary tools, we went at it. I spent the whole summer volunteering at the zoo. I remember finishing enclosure after enclosure. Still, it was a sad sight, it looked abandoned with no one to inhabit the newly built compounds. I remember thinking that It would’ve been fun to have human gladiator fights in the cages instead, have a little throwback to the golden age of Rome. But the Zoo keeper laughingly brushed my comment off, not knowing I was dead serious.

However, a year after, along with other activists who helped get the zoo back on its feet, I was invited by the administration to celebrate the reopening of the zoo. A place that was silenced by destruction was now filled with laughter. I couldn’t have been more proud as I felt like I’d really made an impact. As I said to me, seeing someone happy with a wide smile on their face is priceless, that’s why I felt that rebuilding that zoo was one of the most noteworthy things I’ve done. Not only had I had an actual difference, but I saw and heard the smiles and laughter of the zoo staff that welcomed me back as well as the dozens of children around me, happy to see the deadly mongoose back in its cage.

A True Kodak Moment

The flash beamed into the eyes of my peers as I wound up the camera for a quick second shot. “Everyone say cheese” as the flash once again made my friends freeze like a deer in headlights. “What the f*** is that Michael?”, but I had no time to explain as I raced around the room looking for another timeless shot. Time was running out as I tried to relive these moments forever.

Kodak Disposable Camera

With second semester of senior year finally eliminating the pressure of college applications and homework assignments, my friends, Max and Ben, and I were finally able to design our project. Throughout high school we always talked about “doing something cool” senior year, but we never figured out what to do. Sharing a passion for all types of art and the vintage aesthetic, we wanted to construct a project that we would remember forever. From creating a short film on a VHS camcorder, to constructing an exhibit of mood boards in our high school, we thought of almost everything, but nothing ever came into fruition. It was not until we were at a party one night that the idea came to us. The three of us walked around and noticed almost everyone posting stories on their Snapchat. With these stories only lasting 24 hours we began to question how one could turn these short moments into timeless memories. The answer was: Point and Shoot Film Cameras. As a famous photographer, Gunner Stahl, once said “there is nothing more natural than an unfiltered film photo” (I Don’t Even Rap, With the power of a simple disposable camera from CVS, we were able to create something much more meaningful than a 15 second low quality clip.

My friend working at the local bagel shop.

From there on out we always kept these small cameras by our side. Whether it was a shot in the cafeteria at school, or at a Friday night party, these special moments can come at unexpected times. Though at first, our classmates would give us weird looks and mock us for our “girly little arts and crafts project”, they were all amazed by the sentimental value each photo held. It was almost as if we were able to relive these experiences once the images were developed on paper.  When we saw this value in a photo that was taken a week before, we began to think about the nostalgic power they would hold 50 years from now. This realization inspired us to give the photos to the people we shot as we found ourselves picking up prints weekly at the local camera store. We would organize our collection of photos based on our peers and leave them in their mailboxes around town. The simple smiles and laughs that each photo created made the time and effort worth it as each photo shared a unique story.

Last day of school.

Everyone at some point in their lives has heard of the phrase “a Kodak moment”, but rarely people take it literally. Though the sheer emotional attachment of these memories grow as we get older, the vividness and accuracy of these moments slowly fade away. With the power of the printed film photos, the three of us were able to create something tangible out of a moment in time. Essentially a memory pasted on a piece of paper, never to be faded and forgotten. Though these prints may be left around in some cabinet drawers decades from now, I am confident they will reappear in everyone’s life at some point, not only sparking the essence of childhood, but also the relationships that were built.

Last time going to lunch all together.
Graduation (Max on the right)
After-prom party
Post party shenanigans
Jaden Smith at Palace NYC
My mother embraces my sister after her return from camp.
NYC (Ben)
NYC (Max)
2nd to last day of school.

TheFaderTeam. “Gunner Stahl – I Don’t Even Rap.” YouTube, YouTube, 20 Sept. 2016,

-Michael Malenfant

A Freshman’s Guide to Course Registration

Although there’s still months before the spring semester starts, freshmen must figure out what courses they plan on taking. It can be very overwhelming, especially since we are in the midst of yet another midterm-filled period of the semester. As a student who’s never missed a PACE class, I’m here to help you compartmentalize and learn exactly what to do in order to get what you want during registration.

The first thing you should do, if you haven’t already, is schedule an appointment with your pre-major advisor. Despite what you may think, they are a useful tool and know a lot about the registration process. Not only that, but you cannot register for courses until your advisor removes the “lock” that was put on your OPUS account.

Emory’s GER subject areas

After you schedule your meeting, you should start to look for the classes you want to take. If you already know what you wish to major in, look at the requirements and see if you can take any of them. If you do not know what you plan to study, you can use Emory’s general education requirements (GERs) as a guide to what you maybe should be taking. Also, your advisor may recommend some courses based on your interests and academic strengths. If you still find that you are struggling to pick what courses you may want, sit down with a friend who has similar interests and see what courses they’re taking. If you both sign up for a course that you don’t like, at least you’ll be together.

So now you may be wondering where you can find all the classes that Emory offers. The Course Atlas (link: is probably the most useful tool for checking out courses. On the website, you can filter classes by subject/department, the GER that they fulfill, or look at classes that are deemed appropriate for freshmen by the faculty. When you click on a class, you will be given information about it including its time, instructor, location, number of credit hours, the GER it fulfills, and a short description of the content in the class. Even though the Course Atlas is packed with classes, it still does not contain everything that Emory has to offer. The Course Atlas only has courses offered by the College of Arts and Sciences, so if you decide to take a class in the Business School per se, you must find its information from the Business School website. This is why it’s necessary to check your major requirements if you know what you wish to major in.

A weekly planner to use

After you have a list of the classes you think you might want to take, add them all to your shopping cart in OPUS. Even if you aren’t entirely sure you want a course, you should still add it just to be safe. There is no limit to how many courses you can add to your shopping cart, so go crazy. Once you think you’ve finished that, you should start to fill in some hypothetical schedules. It may be tedious, but it will save you from having 5 classes in one day and make sure you don’t have any time-conflicting classes. OPUS won’t let you register for courses that are time-conflicting, so you should have everything sorted out before registration time comes.

Intro Psych 1 has 1 seat left this semester

So now that you’ve decided what courses you’re going to take, you need to actually sign up for them. During your first registration period, you can sign up for up to 8 credit hours, and during your second you can add until your total is up to 19 credit hours (22 if you keep a cumulative 3.0 GPA). Keep in mind you need to take 12 credit hours to be a full-time student. Before your registration period begins, you need to make the potentially schedule-changing decision of which courses you should sign up for first. In my opinion, the best way to do this is to check how full the classes you want to take are in this semester. If you go to OPUS and search for classes but leave the semester as Fall 2017, you can view all the sections of the class you want to take next semester. You’ll be able to see the total class capacity and how many empty seats are left. From this information, you can tell which classes tend to be more difficult to get in to, and decide which you wish to register for first. Keep in mind that upperclassmen have already registered for courses, so if you plan to take any classes that aren’t restricted to freshmen, you should check how full they are by using the same method.

Once you’ve done all of this, the only thing left to do is actually register for the courses. In my opinion, the best way to do this is to login 2 minutes before your registration period begins, check off the courses you wish to take from your shopping cart and spam the “enrol” button at the bottom of the page until you either get in to your classes or are told they are full and get put on the waitlist.

My registration periods

I think that course registration is kind of a mess. It makes sense that upperclassmen get to register before the freshmen do, but the first appointment times for all freshmen are different. My appointment time is at 7:30pm, while I’ve heard some people got times as early as 6pm. It doesn’t really seem fair, and I think there should be a better way to do it. Also, I find that the OPUS interface is a bit difficult to navigate, and clicking one bad thing could effectively ruin your chances of getting in to your dream class. When advisor say that not getting the classes you want is a good opportunity to explore new subject areas, it’s just an excuse for the shortcomings of the registration period. Although Emory’s course registration may be flawed, by following these steps you can give yourself as much control as possible over your classes.

NY for the Weekend

It all began with a text I had received from my mom approximately four days prior to Fall Break: “Clear your schedule for this upcoming Saturday,” it read. “We’re going into the City at 5:45 for your final birthday surprise.”

As I had celebrated my birthday just a week prior to Fall Break, it was the very first time I had not been awoken to the sweet aroma of freshly made chocolate chip pancakes, steaming hot coffee, all accompanied by a side of extremely ripe berries, prepared by Mother Dearest. It was the first time I hadn’t been home to see the jolting excitement gleaming from my mother’s eyes as I had turned one year older. Rather, this year had been spent in close proximity to a variety of new friends, new adventurous foods, and a completely contrasting city than my hometown of New York. While all of these factors were of course enticing, and being away from home on my 18th birthday sure had its perks, I maintained an utter void within my heart that seemingly could not be filled.

Bailey & Nala

The days before break truly could not have moved slower, but I had finally arrived home after an exhausting trek through Hartsfield Jackson into Laguardia Airport on Friday evening. I was initially tackled down by my two dogs, and was welcomed into the familiarity of home once again.

“Okay so, I didn’t want to cook too much, but I’ve prepared a few things for your arrival this weekend,” my mom began to emphatically recite every meal she had cooked throughout the past week ~ WITH a broken wrist. “I made you roasted chicken, your favorite Maztoh Ball Soup, sweet potato pie, brisket and a variety of vegetables. Oh, and I also made a Kugel with this new recipe I tried. I also bought a turkey, so you’ll tell me if you want me to make that too, okay?”

Sweet Potato Pie

My mouth dropped wide open and I began to crack up. “Ma,” I said, “you really didn’t have to go through all that trouble. But thank you so much, I’ve really missed your cooking.”

And I meant that sincerely; Becoming a first-year college student has allowed me to recognize and appreciate all that I was granted while growing up, and just how lucky I’d been to have someone in this world who cares so deeply for me. I took a walk through the kitchen, and wow, the aroma truly smelt incredible. I guess since I was absent for the Jewish holidays she wanted to replicate every single meal for me. And, well, that is what she did.

NYC Skyline

As Saturday evening approached, my patience was wearing thin. My mom came into my room with a blindingly bright smile, exclaiming: “I got us tickets to Dear Evan Hansen!!!!”

I was booming with enthusiasm. Up until the age of nine, my annual birthday celebrations would usually entail seeing some form of Broadway Show with my Mom: either Mary Poppins, Wicked, Chitty-Chitty Bang-Bang, and many others. With that thought in mind, I immediately harkened back to those special moments we shared together when I was a child. Excitement prevailed, so we quickly scarfed down some steaming hot soup and went on our way. As we arrived, we made our way to our respective seats and awaited the performance.

As a spectator, I initially noticed the purposeful lighting on stage: blue lighting to represent sadder moments; whiter tones to represent suspense; warm yellow tones to represent happiness. I began to analyze the performativity of the show, not only while enjoying the vibrant song and role play, but to better comprehend the producer’s intended rhetoric for the audience of Broadway.

Momma & I

I had been looking forward to seeing this Broadway show for quite some time. The story line is as follows: Evan Hansen (Ben Platt) is a seventeen year old High School student, diagnosed with an anxiety disorder simply out of his own control. Wearing a striped short-sleeved shirt, he sits on his bed and pecks away at his computer, only somewhat hindered by the hard white cast on his left arm. As he types on his computer — FaceTimes, iChats, Facebook images, and Tweets — are projected onto walls which surround him. But the person Evan is writing to is in the room; He doesn’t have many friends, and on the advice of his therapist, he addresses supportive letters to himself in order to improve his self-esteem.

As a culprit of Generalized Anxiety Disorder, I too felt extremely moved and consistently taken back at how relative and spot-on Ben Platt’s performance was; Tears, laughs, and wales erupted from all members of the audience. Almost every person was wiping their eyes at some point or another. However, what truly struck me was the main actor’s iconic mannerisms: the hunched posture he maintained throughout the show, the facial tics and nail-biting with repetitive worrying of his fingers at the seam of his pants, the way in which he never for a moment lost his finely grained physical expression of Evan, even in the midst of the 11 songs that he performs (three of which are wrenching solos). He conveys such longing, loneliness, guilt and shame in those songs through his vocals – of course – but also through the many pained contortions of his body and face.

Dear Evan Hansen Playbill

It’s hard to envision a character in a musical who is so relatable to so many people in the crowd each night — teenagers struggling with anxiety, parents clinging to whatever fine thread still connects them to their kids, people who are ashamed of something they’ve done or who fear that they are unlovable. It seems like a more intense level of responsibility, psychologically speaking, than most Broadway stars have ever had to bear.

As the show came to a close, my mom and I were emotionally drained. With a look of exhaustion and sadness swept across our faces, this profound performance moved us in ways in which I’ve never really experienced before.

We then took a long stroll to the parking garage and decided to stop for a classic slice of pizza on the way. The show was so moving, insightful, and unique that it truly left us speechless. We shoveled mouthfuls of pizza into our faces and smiled. We weren’t speaking, but we both just happy. My mom maintained her genuine grin and muttered, “I couldn’t have imagined seeing this show with anyone else; It was just so perfect.”

I nodded and agreed, and thanked her for such a wonderfully special evening. As we stepped into the car and took our quick ride back to Long Island, it struck me: I was never able to view just how unique and worthwhile the maintenance of such a close mother/daughter relationship can be. I felt so lucky that night to have seen such a heart-wrenching performance next to a woman with a heart bigger than this world. I will always cherish how close we are, the laughs we share, and the cries we’ve endured simultaneously, as I believe our relationship will remain strong for the rest of my life.

MARTA – Make Atlanta’s Rapid Transit Advantageous!

After a short plane ride back from Chicago, I was left in the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport with one of two options: I could either take an Uber and get back to campus quickly, or I could try to find a cheaper alternative. Using what I learned in my Economics class, I came to the smart decision of taking MARTA. Even though I knew it would take an extra hour to get back to Emory, I decided to go ahead with it. Not only was the trip easy, but it was also borderline enjoyable.

The MARTA station in the airport

I started off by asking the help desk in the airport where to go since it is so massive. Sure enough, they told me to follow the big signs that said “MARTA Station”. After making my way through the terminal, I found some machines where I could buy a ticket. I looked though my wallet only to realize that I had left my day pass, which were so generously given to us, in my room back on campus. However, this didn’t really bother me at all since I knew how much money I was saving. I scanned my ticket, went up the escalator and hopped on a train that was waiting in the station already.

A lovely view of the airport parking lot

Airport station is a terminal stop on MARTA’s red and gold lines, which run north-south. This meant that the only people I saw on the train were airport workers and a lady with some luggage, who seemed to be in my situation. After a solid three minutes of standing still, the train doors closed and we moved out of the station. To my surprise, most of my train ride was above ground. I managed to get a unique view of certain parts of the city from the train, and when I got off I could feel my neck hurting from staring out the window.

The bus to get back to Emory

After 13 stops, my train finally got to my station, Lindbergh Center. I took all my belongings with me upstairs to go catch the bus that would take me to campus. To my luck, there happened to be a #6 Emory/Oxford Rd waiting in the station. I sat down in the back of the bus and we departed for campus. I engaged in conversation with a young man sitting next to me. He told me, “You can get anywhere here for $2.50. I even got on for free because I convinced the driver I have no money, but…” he concluded, pointing to his pocket. Eventually, I started to recognize the area that I was in, so I requested a stop and got off the bus next to the WoodRec. I headed back to my dorm room, very pleased with myself having saved so much money.

Taking such a long ride on MARTA made me compare and contrast it with the transit system in my hometown, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). I was interested in public transit at a young age, so I like taking busses and trains whenever I go someplace new. The first thing I noticed about MARTA was that its vehicles were very clean. There is a no eating or drinking policy on all MARTA vehicles, which makes it less at risk to spills, which probably wouldn’t be cleaned up for a while. Another good addition to MARTA is the “Intercom tour guide”. At every train station, there is an automated announcement that tells passengers the main attractions nearby the station. This is super helpful in figuring out where you are, especially for someone like me who doesn’t know the city at all.

While my experience on MARTA was far from dreadful, I do think that there are some improvements to be made. First of all, I do not think that having overlapping lines is efficient for moving people. It makes stations get more crowded because people have to wait for specific trains, and it leaves only one station (Five Points) for people to transfer between the north-south lines and the east-west lines. In fact, all but one of the green line’s stops are shared with the blue line. I feel like the TTC has done a much better job of figuring out how to effectively get people from point A to point B. One more problem that I have with MARTA is that the bus and train are separated from each other. While the bus stops at train stations, you need to exit the actual station in order to board a bus. The TTC has busses pull into an area which is exclusive for people who have either come off a train/streetcar or paid to enter the station, so no transferring is necessary. This is more efficient for boarding vehicles during rush hour, when there are large crowds. While these are more big-picture problems, there are also some little things that annoyed me, like how the bus doesn’t announce stops like the train does, or how it closes at 12:30 am on weekends.

Map of MARTA trains
TTC’s map of trains

The bottom line is that MARTA is cheap and useful if you have a lot of time on your hands like I did. I personally think that it could use a bit of revamping, since the last time it was really useful was the 1996 Summer Olympics. Even though I may have made out the TTC to be so much better, I am pretty biased. After all, an article on rates Toronto as the fifth worst public transit system in the world, with Atlanta only being fourth on the list. As a college student, I would really like to see MARTA improve so I’d stop having to pay so much for Uber.


Jalopnik article:

Everything’s Bigger in Texas

I’m a Texas girl born and raised. If you didn’t already know, us Texans have an endless amount of state pride. It’s hard not to when you grow up reciting the Texas pledge every morning and have multiple pairs of cowboy boots in your closet.

Every Texas stereotype really does ring true in one way or another. No, I don’t ride a horse to school, but I would be lying if I said I haven’t seen other people riding horses in busy streets. Most people do own at least one pickup, and I am guaranteed to see multiple cowboy hats every time I go out in public.

My sister and me at the fair (with the Texas Star in the background!)

One place that radiates state pride significantly more than others is our prized possession: The State Fair of Texas. Open for only one month out of every year, the State Fair is the Disneyland of Texas. I grew up going to the fair at least once a year, and there is honestly nothing better than fair season. Schools give children a free ticket and a “Fair Day”, a day off of school with no other intention but for students to go to the fair. You will never witness a larger amount of food, carnival games (which are definitely rigged, by the way), or rides in your entire life. It’s truly incredible.

Texas likes to take the most random foods of all time, stick them in the deep frier, and serve them. All of this happens at the fair. Fried cookie dough, fried lemonade, fried butter, and fried chicken noodle soup are only a few of the deep fried foods served.

Just about any type of food on earth can be found at the fair, but by far the most popular are Fletcher’s Corny Dogs. I’m not personally a fan of corn dogs, but Fletcher’s is a whole new story. I crave them for the whole year leading up to the fair’s opening.

Fried cookie dough with chocolate and powdered sugar on top.
Fletcher’s Corny Dogs are definitely the fair’s most popular food items.

Part of the fair experience is trying your hand at one of the games, though each one is purposely impossible. If your goal is to win a prize, it’s best to stick to the booths with the “each child wins a prize” sign on the front.  Rides are also a necessity, whether it be the massive ferris wheel (The Texas Star), the swings, or one of the roller coasters. There’s something for everyone.

The fair is a place I will forever hold close to my heart. I’ve never missed a year of going to the fair, and some of my favorite childhood memories took place there. Ever since my childhood nanny’s daughter, Riley, was born in 2010, it’s been a tradition for us to go together each year. Especially now that I’m in college, this time spent together is extremely important to me, and I hope I continue to keep this tradition up as we get older.

Riley, Rachel, and me jumping for joy on our traditional trip to the fair.

Instead of simply describing my experience at the fair this year, I thought I’d show you instead.

Music: “Another Day in Paradise” by Quinn XCII

Returning to an Onslaught of College Small Talk

I have never been particularly good at engaging in small talk. I much prefer sharing deeper conversations with those who really know me, my close circle of friends and immediate family. During monumental stages in my life, this dreaded small talk was especially, painfully prevalent. Family-friends and community members always managed to bring up my least favorite topics of discussion. In eighth grade, everyone wanted to hear about high school. What were my options? What were the considerations? I was always somewhat frustrated by these questions, as I was not particularly enthusiastic about my choice of schools, and rather wanted to avoid the subject matter entirely. “Ask me about eighth grade!” I always thought, “That’s the grade I’m in now.” The college process brought even more questioning. Where was I applying? What were my top choices? These questions felt higher-stakes and sparked unwelcome stress. The application and decision-making process were anxiety-producing enough, but now I was forced to discuss them with countless members of my community.

As Fall Break approached, I eagerly anticipated my return home and reunion with many of the special people in my life – family friends, neighbors, and even past high school teachers.

Excitedly reuniting with my grandparents.

But carried away by my excitement, I failed to consider and brace myself for the onslaught of personal questions that I would be forced to answer yet again. At every shared meal or community gathering, I was asked the same questions. “How’s school? How’s your roommate? Your friends? Your classes? What is your major? What classes are you taking? Are the bathrooms communal?”. The list goes on. I responded by delivering generic answers with as much enthusiasm as I could muster up. “It’s good! My roommate and I are getting along well. I am undecided right now, but I’m taking psychology, sociology, freshman writing, and Hebrew.” People asked me these same questions so many times that I developed automatic responses to deliver on cue. The pestering continued. “Isn’t it great?” they would persist. “I miss college! It’s the best, I just wish I could go back.” “Yes!” I responded, but I sensed the insincerity in my own answers. Sure, college was going well, but it had only been two months. I was still adjusting to a completely different lifestyle. I was transitioning away from my home, family, and friends, and into a new city, with new people and friends. While I was impressed with the way I was navigating the adjustment, I knew it would take time to feel fully at home and settled at Emory. No matter their intention, these questions gave me a sense of inadequateness. I felt like they posed unrealistic expectations for this stage of the adjustment period, and this sparked doubt about how well I was truly handling myself.

Talking to family friends about my experience at Emory.

My initial inclination was to be somewhat resentful of the people who asked me these questions, putting me on the spot and leading me to doubt my confidence when I was just excited to be home. I tried to remind myself that these frustrating questions come from a place of care. Part of adult life is engaging in these polite interactions, even smiling through them. And returning from my visit, now automatically programmed to answer all of these questions, I am reassured to know that at least my community is invested in my happiness and success.

Scott Mescudi > Everyone

“My whole thing is just to put out positive messages in the music, give people something that can change their lives.” – Scott Mescudi

Kid Cudi performing

Scott Mescudi has changed many aspects in the world of hip-hop. Known by his stage name, Kid Cudi, Scott grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and has paved the way for your favorite new artists. Whether you realize it or not, Kid Cudi is more than just “Day n Nite” and “Pursuit of Happiness”, as he is able to create a new world of defiance and joy in his music. Connecting with the everyday struggles of the younger generations, Kid Cudi’s discography serves as an escape from reality by bringing listeners on the journey of “The Man on the Moon”.  Rather than highlighting the satisfactions found in life, Cudi addresses the darker truths of depression, pain, and sorrow as his music emphasizes the power of realism. By doing so, Mescudi is able to connect with his audience in a deeper and more meaningful way that resembles the influence of Kurt Cobain. With countless critically acclaimed albums and a cult like fan base, there is only one thing missing in Kid Cudi’s legacy: the credit he deserves.

Man on the Moon Volume I (Left) Man on the Moon Volume II (Right)

Kid Cudi is an easy target for criticism. While his music is played by millions of fans around the world, mainstream culture likes to discredit the impact he truly has. Because his music does not easily fall into the norms of rap, many do not like the dark and mysterious path that Cudi follows. Combining grunge rock with hip-hop, Kid Cudi embodies the melting pot that music culture should be. Instead of following the status-quo, Kid Cudi is one of the only artists to fearlessly break creative boundaries and truly show a progression of differing ideas and aesthetics. Whether it is the “Man on the Moon” or “Mr. Rager”, each album is connected to different personal identities that express emotions and relate with various groups of listeners. While Mescudi’s first two albums were praised by practically everyone, there was definitely a turn in his career that hurt his mainstream legacy. Following the Man on the Moon series, Kid Cudi released “Indicud” and “Speedin’ Bullet 2 Heaven”, two albums that were considered disappointments in the eyes of popular culture. Famous music blog, Pitchfork, wrote, “While his diehard fans await his long-delayed Man on the Moon III*,* Kid Cudi opted instead to release a 90-minute, double-disc rock album. Unfiltered, unpolished, and uncomfortable, the album is a failure, and not even a noble one.” While mainstream culture around the world lost its faith in Scott Mescudi, your favorite artists today remained loyal to his vision.

Kid Cudi, Kanye West, and Travis Scott

Whether you realize it or not, Cudi has inspired many of our favorite artists today. I truly believe there would be no Travis Scott, Drake, A$AP Rocky, Wiz Khalifa, and Lil Uzi Vert without the inspiration from Kid Cudi. Travis Scott even said in a 2015 interview that Cudi is a “part of [his] story, part of [his] life. There would be no Travis Scott if it wasn’t for him.” Having multiple credits on Kanye’s “808s and Heartbreaks” and frequently collaborating with techno artists, Kid Cudi is a clear inspiration in the new wave of auto-tuned/techno rap. Mescudi also diverged from the genre of “gangsta rap” and instead embodied the character of a rock star, which artists like Lil Uzi Vert and others have taken. With the influence that Cudi has left behind, one may wonder why he does not receive the credit he deserves. We as people often criticize the unfamiliar instead of embracing it. With experts and artists around the world praising his influence and revolutionary style it is clear that popular culture fails to appreciate the impact of true artistry.

Kid Cudi is performing in Atlanta on 10/12

Click the link to purchase tickets:

Pictures I took at the concert:


“Kid Cudi – The Fearless Artist.” YouTube, YouTube, 17 Oct. 2016″



The Poets of Emory: Past, Present, and Future

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Dr. Marberry  | Dr. Warren | Jericho Brown | Emily Gardin | Christian Blount

A little over a week ago one of my poems, State of Emergency, was published in The Best Teen Writing 2017 by the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards. Every year, they hold a contest, open now, for 7th-12th grade students to showcase their work on a grand stage. Those who earn awards on the national level are eligible to be published in the yearly publication of The Best Teen Writing. Poetry has had a big impact on my life and, in my opinion, helped me to get into Emory. Poetry has also been a great asset to my transition to life here at Emory, so I wanted to explore and bring awareness to the poetry scene around Continue reading “The Poets of Emory: Past, Present, and Future”

A New Home: My First Month at Emory

I have had my heart set on Emory ever since the beginning of my junior year in high school. I attended an information session having never heard of Emory before, partly out of interest, and partly in effort to miss my English class, which conflicted with the session. Every photo and fact about the school that was presented only piqued my interest even more. I left knowing that Emory was high up on my college list.

I attended Emory’s Pre-College Program in the summer before my senior year to take a class in Human Anatomy and to spend more time on campus. I left the program knowing that Emory was my first choice school and that I wanted to apply early decision. I had fallen in love with the brightness and friendliness that radiates off of Emory’s campus, and I knew my heart belonged right there in Atlanta.

Writing my application was stressful, to say the least. After weeks and weeks of ripping up potential essay responses, scratching out grammatical errors, and feeling like giving up, I pressed the submit button, not knowing that the most agonizing part was yet to come: waiting.

I waited and I waited. Finally the day came: December 15. I sat by the computer all day, waiting for the clock to strike 5:00 P.M. And once it did, this is what happened.

The sequence of me getting into Emory.

What came next was just pure excitement that lasted for the eight months leading up to school starting. I found my roommate, I signed up for classes, and I was ready.

Of course, the first few days of college were a little bit difficult for everyone. College is a huge a adjustment–one that nobody is really ready for. I had to say goodbye to my parents, learn how to do laundry, and get accustomed to sustaining myself. But, I was never sad. I never wanted to go home and climb into my own bed, because every single new friend I met made me feel more and more at home. The warm smiles and the friendly faces I was greeted with only served to reassure me that I was in the right place. The people at Emory truly reflect the warm vibe that the campus gives off.

Although I met incredible people all over campus, my current best friends just so happen to live on my floor. These girls are the reason why my experience at Emory has been amazing so far. I go to bed after our daily movie and game nights with a smile on my face, having comfort in the fact that my support system is right outside my door.

Me with some of my hall mates.

My friends and I love to hang out together on campus and have chill nights inside, but when you’re living in Atlanta, some nights you just have to go out and explore. I went to the Fall Festival at Old Fourth Ward Park, the Lantern Festival at the Beltline, and shopping at Lenox Square Mall. For those nights when I didn’t feel up for leaving campus, however, Emory had me covered. I have attended a comedy show by the Upright Citizen’s Brigade, a foam party, and a silent disco–all on-campus and Emory-sponsored. The fact that events such as these happen all the time remind me that Emory really cares about students having fun and being social as much as they care about them succeeding in academics.

Me with my friend Lori at Lullwater Park.

The people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had have been wonderful, but what has stuck out to me the most has been the community support. Everybody is here to lift each other up and encourage each other to accomplish their goals. Coming from a competitive high school, it’s a breath of fresh air to witness others genuinely wanting me to succeed in everything I do. Rather than my classmates secretly wishing I have a bad interview so I don’t get the position I’m trying for in a club, I receive multiple texts from my friends before and after the interview wishing me good luck and asking me how it went. Having such a strong and reliable support system makes me feel at home and as if I really belong here. I couldn’t be more thankful to be surroundedby people who want the best for me, just like I want the best for them.

My friends and I after winning songfest!

So my advice to high schoolers applying to college is this: follow your heart. It sounds cheesy, but seriously, do it. Students from my high school applied to schools based on their rankings and their names, but in the long run, this only hurt them. Just go with your gut. I did it, and I wouldn’t wanted to have ended up anywhere else. It’s only been four weeks, but I can honestly and truthfully say that I am home.

(Above is the beginning of a personal project I am working on. I am recording one second of every day of my first year at Emory–minus a few when I forget–and the final result will be a compilation of my first year in college. I also started about a week late.)

By Kate Monger