The College Guide 2015: Getting outside of the college bubble

Last year's City Paper College Guide, put together by our interns, was subtitled "Rise up and #InternsUnite." It had to do with what interns Ryan B. Harrison and Dana Guth called "meritocracy on crack," in which college students are expected to stack up internships on top of internships and then maybe, just maybe, obtain some kind of job out of that in something that sort of ties to your major or "career path." The issue last year then was about revolting against that system and seizing City Paper, which was part of the problem—we did not pay our interns then and meanwhile, demanded most of their summer time. Plus, we're in the rather dodgy publication business, so the odds of a job, let alone a stable one, suddenly popping up available to one of our hard-working interns isn't all that great. Although it should be noted that three staffers, Performing Arts Editor Maura Callahan, Visual Arts Editor Rebekah Kirkman, and Managing Editor/Eats & Drinks Editor Anna Walsh, all started out as interns, that seems more like a carrot we are dangling in front of them than a sincere possibility for more than a few of their futures.

This year, there is still plenty of frustration with college life and the systems it forces you to navigate—our interns seem painfully aware of how they are in many ways, grist for the college mill, walking talking products as far as the college industrial complex is concerned—but the theme is a little different. For one, some of that justifiable rage is gone because City Paper does now pay its interns. And the many shifts in the city following the Baltimore Uprising, it seems, have left our interns realizing more vividly than ever that they exist in a kind of "bubble"—protected from many of the realities of Baltimore and just adult life in general by their universities.


So Emma Day and Carley Milligan, the interns who were selected to edit this issue, decided to explore the contingencies of the college bubble. In the issue, there is Mr. Whine, a play on the City Paper's usual Mr. Wrong column, by Si Yeon Lee, who shares his grievances about the whole shit show that is "dorm life" and also wrote a piece on life for local student musicians who are trying to finish school and make a name for themselves. Two of our writers share personal stories about what it's like to go to school far from home: Seola Lee details the experiences of an international student and Reginald Thomas II (who also contributed the gorgeous photos throughout that document college life) talks about being a Baltimore native in school across state lines at a Historically Black College during the Baltimore Uprising. Olivia Adams outlines where Baltimore colleges and Universities fail and succeed when it comes to sex education. Jessica Kim Cohen explores the "fear bubble" that Baltimore students seem to get stuck in when they move to the city and questions whether the source of the fear comes from the institutions or the students themselves. Milligan looks into reducing the mental health stigma on campus, and Day explores the rights of students who live both on and off campus. Lastly, our go-to funny man Max Levine lets you know how to steal shit on campus. The cover illustration is by MICA student Nan Cao. (Brandon Soderberg)

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Olivia Adams went to high school in Baltimore County, but fled after four years to attend the University of Chicago in Hyde Park. She's majoring in Arabic, and gender and sexuality studies. When she's not freaking out over dwindling career prospects for such majors, she writes for the South Side Weekly, the only newspaper in Chicago that exclusively covers the city's South Side neighborhoods. Her actual major is probably finding the perfect ratio between protection against frostbite and stayin' cute during Chicago's infamous winters. In the spare, spare time that she finds at the bottom of the washing machine, she's playing video games to blow off steam or brunching with the ladies.

Jessica Kim Cohen is a senior at Johns Hopkins University. She's majoring in sociology, with a focus on neighborhoods, cities, and urban issues, in an effort to inform her interest in local news. When she's not studying, she can either be found spearheading awareness campaigns as the public relations chair for JHU's student-run Sexual Assault Resource Unit, or pursuing her "actual major," coffee shop studies, aka solitarily visiting as many coffee shops in Baltimore as she can before graduation.

Emma Day graduated from Goucher College in May with a pretty diploma that announces her competency in English with a concentration in creative writing, but not her honed ability to wake up late and still manage to make [insert obligation] on time. Post-graduation she moved to Baltimore, where she now splits her time between writing in various capacities and forgetting which side of the street to park her car on overnight in order to avoid street-cleaning-related tickets. She does many other interesting things, including but not limited to: occasionally locking herself, and in some cases her roommates, out of their apartment, talking smack to whoever challenges her at Mario Kart, and then proceeding to lose to said opponents.

Carley Milligan is a senior at Towson University where she is majoring in English with a minor in mass communications. She serves as the editor-in-chief at The Towerlight, Towson's student-run newspaper, as well as a contributing editor for Tote Magazine. She hopes to someday spend her days traveling the world and writing about incredible people, places, music, art, wine, and food, unless of course she ends up as a Starbucks barista/novelist, like all of the other English majors. With a hectic day-to-day schedule it's safe to say that she is actually pursuing a major in perfecting the 15-minute power nap by crashing wherever she can for a few minutes so that she can keep up with her work, friends, family, and adorable puppy Luna.

Seola Lee is a writer/doodler/translator who, in addition to this paper, currently contributes to BmoreArt and Smartish Pace. Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, she moved to Baltimore to pursue a degree in The Writing Seminars at The Johns Hopkins University. Since her graduation in 2014, she's been writing poems, stories, reviews, and essays in either Korean or English, whenever she manages to pull out her feet from the aphasic limbo between the two languages. Spending most of her time as a human burrito wrapped in a blanket, she specializes in overthinking and panicking, a skill set she has cultivated throughout her college life. She also shows proficiency in screeching out loud and dancing in the shower to The Smiths' 'Bigmouth Strikes Again.'

Si Yeon Lee is a senior at Johns Hopkins University who spends an unhealthy amount of time re-watching Derrick Rose buzzer-beaters and reading Complex articles on Kanye West. The junior editor-in-chief and one of the few readers of Zeniada Magazine, he is currently double-majoring in writing seminars and "reading debates on YouTube comment boards." He is proud to say that he's from Toronto, except for every time someone mentions Rob Ford, who he only secretly kinda likes. He plans on being a novelist, but really, who's he kidding, eh?

Max Levine is a graduate of Ithaca College where he majored in cinema and photography. He recently received tenure for being The Worst. He is so bad at everything that a team of scientists decided to send him to the moon so he wouldn't mess everything up for the rest of us. Every five minutes he slips on a banana peel right in front of a girl he thinks is cute, which is basically impossible unless you are a cartoon. What an absolute farce of a person. Wow, what an incredible dummy.

Reginald Thomas II is a senior sociology minor at Norfolk State University. While most of his classmates are being groomed to pursue careers in criminal justice, Reginald has been pursuing a career in communications. He is the deputy multimedia editor for The Spartan Echo, Norfolk's student-run newspaper, and also works for Sports Information. You can find Reginald at any of Norfolk State's home sporting events with his camera in tow. If he's not taking photos, he's in class engaging his professors and colleagues in debates concerning respectability politics. He tries to maintain an air of mystery, posting only one selfie a semester for only 20 minutes. He carries a 3.7 GPA, but struggles to find grants and scholarships since he's not a STEM major. While he spends most of his time taking sociology courses, Reginald is actually pursuing a dual degree in Netflix engineering and YouTube music studies with a concentration in early 2000s neo-soul.