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It's a Girl Thing, Life & Other Drugs

Are You There Empire State Building? It’s Me, Abby

October 2, 2017

Like Margaret did to God, I asked the Empire State Building a lot of questions this summer. Unlike Margaret, these questions didn’t revolve around puberty.

You see, this summer I had a direct view of the Empire State Building from my (summer housing) dorm room window in New York. I had a double room to myself, with enormous windows. And when I say direct view I mean direct view: it was a 10th-floor dorm on 15th and 2nd, right across Stuyvesant Park,* so there was zero obstruction of the building. Continue Reading…

Life & Other Drugs, On "The Hill"

Are You Hungover or Just a Transfer?

September 23, 2017

A few nights ago, I was sitting on my roommate’s bed. As we frantically made last minute changes to our schedules, I suddenly had an epiphany.  

“Transferring schools is kind of like being drunk,” I said.  When I explained my thinking behind this (intellectually stimulating) metaphor, she suggested I write a Rib article on it like ASAP, so this knowledge could be spread with the rest of the world.

So, this article is dedicated to the #nextgen of transfers (otherwise known as transfs), in order to help you navigate the biggest hangover of your life, AKA transferring.  Continue Reading…

On "The Hill", Satire

Confessions of a Keeney RPL

September 20, 2017

Note: The author has since become a senior and a non-RPL and she says HAHA WADDUP BISHES!

I’ve lived in Keeney twice. Once during my freshman year and now as a junior working an RPL job in Archibald (my official title is World’s Worst WPC).

Living in Keeney again has had me deeply reflecting on my Brown experience, especially as I move on to my senior year. A lot has changed since freshman me lived in Keenasty. I mean, do we even call it that anymore?

For example, when I first got to “Jameson-Mead, 1st floor, Wait, oh my god, like, you’re a Ravenclaw, too? We should go to Josiah’s or something!” I still thought I was going to law school. Law school! Three years later, and while I do still plan to be unemployed, it will sadly be sans the JD. Continue Reading…

It's a Girl Thing, Life & Other Drugs, The Tabloids

The Dangers of Online Bikini Shopping

April 27, 2017

I hate online shopping. I don’t understand how people do it. The clothes never look as good as they did online, or they don’t fit, or they arrive two weeks later than they were supposed to, or all of the above. I avoid online shopping at all costs, and would much prefer to waste hours at the mall in order to find several items that I am 100% sure about buying, than to spend 20 minutes accidentally spending crazy amounts of money on 4 pairs of shoes that I most likely won’t be able to squeeze my feet into and will consequently have to return. Also! I hate returning things. Why has no one invented a high-tech solution where you can just snap your fingers and get your money back and be freed from the object you don’t want taking up space in your room. Like are you seriously telling me I actually need to repackage and re-mail this thing I don’t even want all by myself, in order to get my own money back??! The inhumanity. Continue Reading…

Life & Other Drugs, On "The Hill"

Presenting: The Mailroom

April 24, 2017

Brown can be a self-selective place. If you’re a freshman, you’re probably hanging out in Keeney or on Pembroke. If you’re involved in Greek Life you can be found on Wriston, if you’re an athlete or an otherwise ~athletic~ person you’ll often be in the Nelson, and if you’re a senior who’s like “so done with college” you probably can’t be found because you’re holed up in your off-campus apartment.

Even the most popular spots on campus are self-selective. The Ratty is made up of mostly underclassmen, the Blue Room is full of people willing to spend too much money on a breakfast sandwich (me), the Sci Li is full of sciencey people and the Rock is flooded with Humanities kids (also me). Continue Reading…

Life & Other Drugs, On "The Hill"

The Modern Interview

April 12, 2017

So in my never-ending quest to land a paid summer internship (SOS if you are looking to hire someone who produces sporadic articles about IDs and buses, and also has some other kinda cool talents hmu!!), I have stumbled upon a new form of interview: the video assessment.

Idk if this video assessment thing is technically new or not, but it’s definitely a novelty to my group of friends, and collectively we’ve probably completed over 30 of these in the last few weeks. Basically, if a company likes your resume, they send you an email “inviting you to complete the assessment!”

You then click on the link, and realize, with horror, that you are being redirected to a virtual interview. After an extravagant process of setting up your FaceTime camera and making sure your headphones are working (yes, as if this wasn’t already unnatural enough, you have to use your headset), you are presented with a series of questions. In some assessments the questions are flashed across the screen in text format, and in others a robotic voice asks them. Regardless, you are given 30 seconds to think of your answer and then 60 seconds to stumble through your response.

Sound horrible? It is.

But it gets worse! The 30 and 60 second time limits are marked by flashing numbers, so while you’re trying to think, all you can focus on is that there are 14–now 13, nope now 12–seconds left before the camera turns on and you are recorded.

There are no redos, and no chances to watch yourself over again. You are literally selling yourself into an internet black hole (and yeah, I guess to the company too), and you will never know the fate of where this series of videos ended up.

I’ve had friends criticize the companies who do this, calling them impersonal and inconsiderate of our time. But I actually think it’s a pretty ingenious way to quickly weed out a bunch of applicants before conducting the official first round interview. In 2017, it is somewhat important to be comfortable in front of the camera, and this pseudo-YouTube star way of interviewing interns certainly assesses that. So as of now, I’m actually in favor of these interviews.

I mean, if it’s true that millennials have been told our entire lives that we are superstars/god’s gift to the world/our mommy’s pride and glory, then why not use an interviewing technique that reinforces this?! With this method of interviewing, you are the star of the show.

Or…it’s the opposite. Maybe this interview technique is ingenious because in making you feel like you are a legit celebrity who is recording a self-promotion video with the goal of gaining more fans, in reality you are one of ten thousand college students submitting somewhat generic answers and crossing your fingers that someone will “like” you (in a non-Instagram format) enough to hire you.

Ha! Ha! Hope I brightened your day! Now get back to trying to get hired!!

Images via, via, and via.

Life & Other Drugs

21 Years Old and Using my First Tampon

February 10, 2017

I’ve been thinking of getting a tattoo. Right now, the only thing I’ve officially decided on is where it is going to go: on my left ring finger, on the soft skin beneath the knuckle, on the side where it meets my middle finger. The tattoo itself will either be a small neuron – a reminder of my purpose, origins, and composition – or a daisy. While I love (and study, and am going to make a career out of studying) the brain, part of me feels that a daisy would be more meaningful. For one, daisies are beautiful in ways that neurons are not. Basic aesthetic pleasure is important in selecting an image to go on your body forever, as it turns out. Daisies also serve to remind me to be kind to myself. Self-kindness has always been difficult for me, and a daisy would be a visual aid in my quest to treat myself like I treat my close friends or lovers. In the end, no one should be buying me flowers but myself – though, of course, I wouldn’t deny them from someone else. The only person you can rely on is yourself, so be reliable. Be good to yourself. Buy yourself daisies.

In another step on my journey towards self-acceptance and forgiveness, I decided that I would try using a tampon for the first time. I am 21 years old, and I haven’t used one. Now before you get any ideas about why that is, I’ll get right into the explanation. It’s not that I have any convoluted ideas about virginity (bitch, please), or that I wasn’t “allowed” to use them – in fact, my mom begged me to try one for my entire adolescence. No matter how often she told me how much better and cleaner they were than pads, I didn’t budge, and she gave up on it. Truth is, I have struggled my whole life with some pretty fucked up ideas about my body. My vagina and I aren’t exactly friends. The idea of putting a tampon in, much less masturbating, used to viscerally disturb me so much that talking about it just a few years ago would fuck me up. Like, I would need to take a break mid-conversation to go to the bathroom and breathe, or risk full-fledged breakdown in front of my cool new college friends.  Continue Reading…

It's a Girl Thing, Life & Other Drugs

Obituaries of my Fake IDs

February 9, 2017

Can I write about fake IDs now that I’ve been 21 for a few months? Is there like a statute of limitations on having fake IDs where if I pretend ~hypothetically~ to at one point have had in my possession one (or four) of these beautifully bendable laminated cards, I won’t get in trouble because it’s been too many months in the eyes of the law?

Well I’m going to proceed as if this won’t ruin my chances of getting an internship this summer.

Before I turned 21 I often imagined the day after my birthday to include a momentous occasion in which I snipped my fake ID in half, saying good riddance forever. This fantasy, however, turned out to be far from reality: the night of my 21st birthday I had at least four friends who certainly do not have red hair and are probably taller than 5’3 ask if they could have my ID. So, although my last fake ID is somewhere out there in this big beautiful world of College Hill, she is not in fact with me in my bedroom as I write this article, and I miss her dearly.

So in honor of this fake ID, and the other IDs that came before her, I have decided to record their life stories in this article.

 

Fake ID #1: “Beloved First Born” Born May 2012, Died October 2014

Fake ID #1 was hands down the worst ID I have ever had, as would be expected from an exchange in a high school P.E. locker room, in which a wad of cash was traded for a literal piece of plastic with a sticker lopsidedly stuck across it.  I think I used Fake ID #1 only once, as it would have never passed in a liquor store or anything higher quality than a skeevy dive bar filled with old white-bearded men. But hey – having one definitely made me one of the cooler 16-year-olds around, so I guess there’s an upside to everything?

 

Fake ID #2: “Devoted Sister and Friend” Born October 2014, Died August 2015

This one wasn’t actually half bad! My freshman year, my whole floor did a group order, because some kid had a police officer relative in the Chicago P.D. and claimed that we were getting authentic Illinois IDs. Well, when the IDs showed up it was immediately very clear that they weren’t real. But still – they weren’t stickers, and I got to pick my own address! I chose an address in Evanston because I had toured Northwestern once and figured I could name a random restaurant or street to a scary bouncer if need be. Fake ID #2 got me drinks at all restaurants and most bars, but essentially no clubs. I learned this one night in NYC when an unnecessarily cruel bouncer took my ID – and rather than confiscate it, he bent it in half and then handed it back to me. A truly devastating encounter.

 

Fake ID #3: “Favorite Child” Born September 2015, Died May 2016

The death of Fake ID #2 obviously led to the birth of Fake ID #3. Fake ID #3 scanned! And it was from Delaware – and I mean we all know no one actually lives in Delaware! It’s such an obscure state that bartenders, bouncers and waiters alike would never think to question it because it was so rare that they had usually never seen one before. Alas, one night I left my wallet in the Sci Li and woke up to an email from DPS that they had my wallet but had to “confiscate the illegal ID found in it.” I would just like to point out this obvious abuse of authority. The ID was literally hidden behind a gift card. HIDDEN. How can you justify leafing through a student’s wallet?!

 

Fake ID #4: “Cherished Charismatic Cousin” Born July 2008, Died September 2016

The confiscation of Fake ID #3 occurred 4 months before my 21st birthday and I figured it wasn’t worth the money to buy another one, so after some coaxing, I convinced my cousin to give me her old real ID. Oddly enough, no bartender or bouncer ever seemed to care that I was obviously far shorter than 5’7 and did not have blue eyes. I might have committed identity theft (is it still theft though if the person gives you permission to act as them? lmk) but the world of fancy cocktails was opened up to me.

And now I use my real ID. The same vertical California ID that I had no use for during the past 5 years is suddenly proof of my legal adulthood. I mean talk about adulthood being a ~social construct~. I would be hard pressed to find someone who thinks 21-year-old me is any more responsible than 19-year-old me was.

This is devoted to all of the wonderful fake IDs I have had. May your memories be a blessing, and may you all rest in a booze-filled paradise.

Image via.

Life & Other Drugs, On "The Hill"

Hi, I Totally Don’t Know Who You Are!

December 11, 2016

We’ve all done it. You meet a friend of a friend at a party, or your cousin’s new boyfriend, or your roommate’s brother. After talking for several minutes, you extend your hand and say something, like,

“I’m Abby, by the way.”

To which they respond,

“I’m Tom, nice to meet you.”

But you knew you were talking to Tom the whole time, you sneaky thing, you. And you don’t just know Tom’s name. You also know what town he’s from, that he ran track in high school, where he went on vacation with his family this summer, and, if you’re really feeling creepy, where he ate dinner for his 22nd birthday (hey, the location is tagged on his fourth most recent profile picture! It’s not your fault he’s sharing this info with the world!).

Social media is definitely responsible for most I-know-you-but-will-introduce-myself-as-if-don’t-introductions. Ah, the joys of the 21st century.

What’s even worse than just knowing who someone is, is letting them know that you know who they are. This is a confusingly complicated sentence for a simple concept: the accidental like. At one point in your life, you have found yourself accidentally giving that double-tap to your ex-boyfriend’s sister’s 2013 Instagram pic of her dog. You texted her a ~cute apology~ with the embarrassed face emoji, and jokingly told her you missed the dog (you weren’t joking, but whatever). You’ve also probably been on the receiving end of this: like when you woke up to a notification that the guy in your lab who’s literally talked to you twice in your life liked your Facebook status from 2010 (it went something along the lines of “omg so bored, wish there was a Bat Mitzvah this weekend”). 

And these experiences are coming from me — someone who goes through month-long phases of deactivating social media accounts to focus on studying, and religiously uses SelfControl (the app not the actual ability – in case you were impressed). So I can’t even imagine what it’s like for people who are avid social media stalkers. Do you accidentally “like” stuff all the time? Or are your fingers just more nimble than mine? 

On college campuses, the fake introduction often extends beyond social media creepiness. You find yourself at a pregame with the girl you sat across from every single Wednesday in your History seminar last semester, and introduce yourself as if you don’t know exactly what laptop stickers she has. You sit through hours of your friend complaining about her weird Spanish partner, only to innocently exchange names with said weird lab partner at a recruiting event. I know that your sister goes to Columbia, and that you got a B- on your last exam, you think deviously to yourself. This even filters into friend groups, which is honestly really bizarre. Your friend Becca finally introduces you to her friend, Ashley, who she’s been dying for you to meet. You proceed to make small talk as if you don’t already know everything about Ashley, and as if Ashley doesn’t already know everything about you.

I wish I could suggest that we should all be totally honest. Like yaaa let’s tell each other every single thing we know about each other when we meet, right?! No, obviously not. If you’re thinking this is social suicide, congrats, you’re probably correct. But isn’t that a tiny bit depressing?

So, I have a more realistic suggestion. What if we dropped the saving-face, cooler-than-you act, and had a tiny bit of humility. You could say something like, “Oh hey, Ashley, Becca has told me so much about you!!” This is not a weird thing to do. THIS IS NOT WEIRD. This is what grown ass adults do, guys! I promise you will not be any less cool if you admit that you know who Ashley is. In fact, you will probably become friends with her faster.

But yeah, I’m gonna say that this still doesn’t apply to social media. So if you ever happen to see your friend from elementary school’s mom’s cousin’s teacher’s ex-husband shopping at Trader Joe’s with his new wife, you should not run up to him and ask him how his trip to Cambodia was last summer. Just a suggestion.

Image via

It's a Girl Thing, Life & Other Drugs, Love & Romance, On "The Hill"

Porn @ Brown

December 4, 2016

Why beat around the bush? Pornhub isn’t working on Brown’s wifi.

At first, I thought this was a “me” thing. I thought some issue with my phone was barring my access to this beloved porn website, so I suffered in silence; but it came to my attention that this is a widespread phenomenon. Several Brown students have searched for the familiar website on Brown’s wifi, expecting to feel joy; but the joy didn’t come, and neither did they. Pornhub simply won’t load on Brown’s network, and it’s tearing our world apart.
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I did not lie down and accept this turn of events. I did research and tried to problem-solve. I busted out the big guns and tried to get to the site on my laptop, but it was a lost cause. It became clear that Brown wifi is to blame. My phone data has taken a real hit because of this. How do I explain that to my family? How do I look my parents in the eyes and say that their hard-earned savings are being squandered because my university will no longer support my porn viewing?

And just what is my tuition used for if not access to masturbatory material? What is the Brown administration trying to prove here? Has Christina Paxson seen my porn searches? Is that it? She’s seen them and now she’s disappointed in me? Well joke’s on you, CPax! I’m still gonna search ‘em, just on another website.

Or is Brown trying to encourage me to use my imagination? Well, I won’t. I won’t do it, Brown! I’d sooner return to a basic Google search of “Zac Efron in 17 Again.” (What? That was his prime. Back off.) I will get creative, but I am accustomed to a certain lifestyle, so imagination? That, I cannot do.

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Is Brown punishing us? Or is this a really well-planned April Fool’s day prank? Is it a test of students’ commitment to activism? If you thought we were social justice warriors before, see what happens when you take away our porn.

Whatever the reason, I think it’s important that Brown warn prospective students about the Pornhub restriction. This is a serious missing resource, and it might affect college decisions.

The Pornhub block is especially painful because I, like many others, am a loyal fan. Pornhub has been my go-to site since the start of my porn-watching career. The circumstances have forced me to find a new provider, and it doesn’t seem right. I feel like I’m having an affair with Youporn while Pornhub watches, disappointed yet slightly aroused. If Youporn views spike, blame Brown University.

My world is in shambles. Now when I get high, what am I gonna do if not go on Pornhub? Weed without porn is like peanut butter without jelly, or lungs without oxygen. Or should I just stop smoking? Oh shit. Is this all about my drug use? Stop judging me, Brown!

And what’s next for blocking? If Pornhub has been banned, I can only imagine Google is next in line. I basically rely on both websites equally, so it’d make sense.

Students, don’t be afraid to speak out. We needn’t suffer in silence. Access to regulated, legal pornography is a basic American right for which we must fight.

Images via the author, via, and  via.