We all spent a year (or more) weighing our options, waiting on acceptances and financial aid decisions, calculating costs, and making pro/con lists and somehow we all ended up choosing the same place to go to college: Emerson. Many people tend to have high expectations for the college they choose to attend and Emerson freshmen seem to be no exception. This is partly because of how the college experience is marketed to high schoolers. We were told college is a kind of forever home where diversity is abundant, where the food is supposed to be better and the education superior. It was supposed to be where we’d find our niche in society, a place where everyone you meet might become your best friend! Unfortunately, this is not the reality. Sometimes the food sucks, the residence halls flood or lamps explode, and sometimes you’re forced to take a dumb class with bad professors. These are all valid things to complain about and issues we should, as a student body, endeavor to fix. But (you knew it was coming), Emerson College has one of the most dissatisfied student bodies of any college community I’ve observed. This begs the question, is the school the problem or are we? Here’s why trashing on Emerson College isn’t always productive.
There are a lot of methods I’ve noticed that students use when trashing on Emerson college. Most of them take the form of social media, one of which is called shitposting. For those who are unfamiliar, shitposting can be described as posting usually useless or unfunny content on social media but is more often used as a synonym for trashing on something in particular. For example, there’s a whole Facebook group dedicated to making jokes about Emerson called Emerson Shitposting. It’s a private group with almost 2,000 members which, in the spirit of full disclosure, I am a part of. It’s often a place where people post memes and other jokes that are sometimes not related to Emerson at all, but are more often than not targeted at the school, a particular group of students, or the general world of the arts. Most of the time it’s in good spirit and produces some pretty funny content, but sometimes it can serve as a real platform for student dissent. There are also a couple of Instagram accounts like Overheard Emerson attempting to make a name for themselves but none have really taken off.
Comparison with other schools
It’s true, other schools do have similar accounts meant for shitposting and Emersonians are no the only ones trashing on Emerson college. There are many Twitter accounts that go under the name of “Black Sheep” like “The Black Sheep Tulane” or “The Black Sheep FSU” that serve as a sort of comic relief platform for other universities. Some of them have thousands of followers and tweet memes about their school similar to the likes of what is seen on Emerson Shitposting. I’ve discussed these kind of accounts with friends from the aforementioned schools and while they follow them and appreciate the relatability of the content, they don’t consider them an outlet for discussion of important school issues. As for general student dissent, both of my friends who attend Tulane and Florida State University say they have little to complain about and that college is much how they expected it would be, while their schools aren’t perfect. A third friend told me how unhappy she is at Flagler College, and cites racism, religiously influenced policies, and bad food as some of the problems. Flagler is a small, private college in St. Augustine, Florida about the size of Emerson. These are only limited perspectives and can’t account for the entire student body, but are telling nonetheless.
The way a student body feels about an institution is palpable. You can feel it when you’re around someone who is dissatisfied. I see it a lot around Emerson. The College has had its fair amount of public issues in the one year I’ve attended, from discrimination against students of color to problems with the dining hall to tuition raises and I don’t see it slowing down much. I’ve overheard and been a part of constant conversations about everything they’re doing wrong, what they should’ve done, or claims of “I should’ve just gone to NYU.” And while conversation about the problems of an institution are valid and should be discussed, I wonder if we’re mad about issues that a lot of colleges struggle with. The system of higher education in general is overpriced, rigged against people of color and against those of lower economic backgrounds and is often not what it should be in terms of education. We can, and should, hold Emerson as well as the whole higher education system to a higher standard, but can we expect the college to be an exception? Can we productively criticize the university we attend while maintaining a positive attitude and still appreciating the things they get right?
If you took Speech Communications at Emerson, you probably saw that Ted Talk about power posing. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry it’s not that important. According to an article by James Clear in the Huffington Post, positive thinking can “broaden your sense of possibilities and open your mind, which in turn allows you to build new skills and resources that can provide value in other areas of your life.” Basically, positive thinking makes you more productive, more open to new possibilities and essentially opens your mind. These are all good things, especially when our goal is to make our school better. Keeping our minds open to all the possible ways we can improve Emerson can help lead to a more satisfied student body. Trashing on Emerson college every so often can be cathartic, entertaining and sometimes necessary, but we should be careful not to let it overtake our entire view. There are many things to appreciate and hope for a better future!