Anonymous asked: How should I deal with a dirty roommate?

I’m so sorry you have to deal with this, but unfortunately, a lot of us do. We all know how it starts: You sign the roommate agreement, both promising to take turns cleaning the room and putting your dirty dishes away, but as the semester wears on, you find you’re the only person doing any cleaning. It sucks to have to clean up after people, especially people who promised to keep tidy. Maybe you get so angry mopping the floor that you snap your Swiffer in half, which is understandable, but before you make any moves, take some time to cool off. It’s important not to approach this situation with a hot head, no matter how upset you are.

Think about what would make the situation better. Which chores need to be done? Does your roommate sometimes pick up after themselves or never? Is the problem located in your room or the suite? Consider what you want to ask your roommate to do. When learning about conflict resolution, we are always told to use “I” statements, which holds merit. Saying, “I feel our space isn’t clean enough,” is a lot nicer than saying, “You’re a slob.” If you’re friends with your roommate, handling this could be a lot harder because you’re worried about hurting their feelings or damaging your friendship. The truth is that some friends just can’t live together, and if you’re really friends, you can understand that truth without letting your relationship be marred by it. It might be rough for a little while, but it’s not the end. If you’re not friends with your roommate, remember not to get carried away and say anything mean. You still have to live with them. Your roommate has more chances than anyone else to kill you, which is not to say that they will, but that you should treat the relationship with respect.

Once you’ve figured out what to say, you have to actually talk to them—yes, talk to them, not leave a note (guilty) or send a text (also guilty). I know confrontation is scary, but the truth is that it’s a lot harder to be mean to someone’s face, so even if your roommate is pissed that you ask them to clean up after themselves, they probably won’t say it to your face and rather do what you ask. If the conversation goes south and gets aggressive, try to keep your emotional distance. If you two really cannot have this conversation without it getting ugly, your RA should be available to act as a mediator.

You may have to have this conversation multiple times, which I know is annoying, but you must weigh the importance of cleanliness against the imposition of asking them to clean. All of this is a lot easier said than done, so I wish you all the luck in the world dealing with your dirty roommate. Remember, the semester always ends and you will have the chance to live somewhere else.


Image by Whitney K. Davis

When I was younger, I had something very specific in mind when it came to podcasts. They were talk shows and news stories, all focused on current events. They were boring, monotonous white guys talking about absolutely nothing. Podcasts were what I was forced to listen to as my dad drove me to school or just what you listened to if you couldn’t sleep. They weren’t funny, or weird; they were all just people listening to themselves talk. It wasn’t until I was exposed to a new genre of podcast, however, that I became interested: Fiction. Now, I recognize that podcasts are so much more.

Fiction podcasts are programs that instead of talking about the news, or some niche interest, create a story for a listener to immerse themselves in. Similar to an audiobook that updates every week or so. These podcasts can be scripted, improv, or both. For someone that spent their childhood obsessing over fantasy novels, it was perfect for me.

The first podcast I ever listened to was The Adventure Zone, a Dungeons and Dragons podcast by the McElroy brothers along with their father, Clint. The McElroy brothers are well-known for their comedy-advice podcast My Brother, My Brother, and Me, and have been incredibly important to the podcast community for almost a decade. The Adventure Zone uploaded its first episode December 4th, 2014. The listener gets to learn about the logistics of D&D along with the McElroy brothers and also laugh at the hilarious banter. What starts off as a goofy game eventually turns into an incredibly immersive story that at times has brought me to tears. While D&D is a strategic game centered around rolling dice, there is also a narrative element that the podcast immediately takes advantage of. Griffin McElroy, who acts as the Dungeon Master, builds an incredibly intricate story. Travis, Justin, and Clint also do a beautiful job of giving dimension to the characters they play within the game. The Adventure Zone tells an amazing story, one that comes from a collaborative way of thinking. It’s immersive, heartfelt, incredibly funny, and overall just a well-done podcast.

Hello, from the Magic Tavern was the next podcast I was hooked on. Hosts Arnie Niekamp, Adal Rifai, and Matt Young transport the listener to a hilarious fictional world with their magical improv skills. The Chicago based actors never break character and manage to emphasize what really makes improv so special. Hello, from the Magic Tavern takes the structure of a common podcast and breaks boundaries. In the story, Niekamp, playing himself, has fallen through a magical rift behind a Burger King and is now stuck in the fantastical land of Foon. Every week he hosts a podcast with Co-hosts Chunt the talking Badger, and Usidore the Wizard. The podcast becomes addictive, with new characters and creatures being introduced every episode. Hello, from the Magic Tavern has good rhythm, and unlike a lot of other podcasts, understands what it’s all about.

Fictional podcasts challenge preconceived notions about what podcasts should be. Whether scripted like Welcome to Nightvale, or completely improvised, fiction has allowed creators to push boundaries and redefine the podcast medium. Listening to podcasts gave me an entirely new perspective on how narrative should function, and it excites me to see people finding different ways to tell their stories.


Illustration by Maria Useche

A list of reasons why Spotify makes the soulmate we always had but never knew we needed.

They’re A Cheap Date

You try to rationalize with yourself that the $10 that Spotify Premium costs isn't that much to pay for the love of your life. And you’re right— that is a great deal. But as any college student knows, you don't settle on the list price. And with Spotify, you don't have to.

For students, Spotify Premium is 50% off, and a Hulu and Showtime subscription comes with it. The Family Plan is another great deal, where you pay $15 every month for six individual profiles. So now Dad can listen to his classical music and you can listen to your moody songs with the knowledge that you’re saving money that can go towards your life insurance.


They're Not Clingy

Spotify knows that you need your me-time and your friend-time.

Through Friend Activity tab that exists on the desktop application, you can see all your friends and what their most recent listen was. Don't want the world to know that you're about to have a One Direction jam session? So exists the Private Session option that allows you to listen to music without judgement from your friends. It will just be between you and your boo.

If you ever want an open relationship, Spotify will support you. You can sync your favorite tunes to your dating apps so your potential partners will know that you great music taste and a healthy existing relationship.      

They Take You On Adventures

The Multiple Devices feature allows you to control the music of other devices through a main device. This is helpful if you want to play music through your desktop speakers but control it from your phone.

You can get those butterflies beyond the screen, too. On each musician’s Spotify page, there is the Concerts tab. Find out if that obscure band you just discovered is having a concert nearby and easily access ticket websites, all through Spotify.

They Broaden Your Horizons

Spotify pays attention to your likes and dislikes too— they have sneakily added a small playlist to your collection called Discover Weekly. Every week, your soulmate looks at the music you listened to and gathers recommendations based on your taste. Several other ways to find music exist within the application, such as Release Radar and Create Similar Playlist. They also work with the music-identifier application Shazam to gather the songs you try to recognize and transport them into your Spotify Library.  

For all the musicians out there, Spotify helps you get discovered and encourages your dreams. A song I found on my Discover Weekly, entitled Breakfast Table by Hero Magnus, only has 194 views on YouTube; however, on Spotify, it has 67 thousand listens. Similarly, Eponine by Penny and Sparrow only has 1,500 views on YouTube, but over 600 thousand plays on Spotify. Their algorithm works.

They Can Hold A Decent Conversation

The podcast section within the application is extensive. They have also collaborated with the lyric annotation site Genius to educate you about your favorite songs. As a song is playing on your mobile device, Spotify will provide not only the lyrics for efficient karaoke singalongs, but also trivia and hidden meanings behind the lyrics to expand your knowledge.

They Keep You Grounded

After all of that exploration, Spotify brings you back to your roots by creating multiple Daily Mixes for you— collections to remind you of songs that you used to love.

So what are you waiting for? Why spend another second without the only love you will ever need in your life?

Illustrations by Amber Liu and Maura Kelly

Unveiling gaze

Unveiling linkage

Between the contents

Of a structuring for

Seeing; an opening

Inside; surrounded

S/He lifts

S/He examines

Light, lay on

Dark, rest beneath.

The Hierophant is the illuminating link between our most cherished beliefs and the actual living of those beliefs in our day-to-day lives.

As I write this, I am fresh out of a three hour, in depth, expansive conversation with one of my dearest comrades. I could never hope to recreate the itinerary of our vocalised mental wanderings in relation to each other, but I have to say that I am the most grounded I have been in quite a while.

For some time, I’ve felt a closing in, my self in other dimensions closing down, going to sleep, losing their ways to my center (or maybe I am losing my way to theirs). In speech, I found that I can begin to agitate the rubble lining the connecting, constellating, pathways. I come closer to the Lacanian being: a speaking-being. I close the gap between self and surface. I drain away the detritus. However, it remains a provisional accomplishment which promptly recedes as soon as I cease sending air across my vocal chords, transforming inner rhythms to physical vibration.

S/He is a trusted advisor.

I have twelve windows open on my laptop as I type this (fifteen, if you want to count Spotify, email, my VPN, and an Apple Software Update which does not make a whole lot of sense to me since I have a windows computer). Two of those tabs are devoted to collecting information on Pamela Colman Smith, illustrator of the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck(often referred to as the Rider Tarot Deck, Rider-Waite Tarot Deck, or RWS).

Colman Smith was born in London and attended Pratt Institute where she studied art under  Arthur Wesley Dow, before returning to England, without parents (her mother died in Jamaica and her father passed shortly after) or a degree (Colman Smith left Pratt due to health complications).

In England, she proceeded to grow a prolific body of illustration work, from The Illustrated Verses of William Butler Yeats to collections of Jamaican folklore, such as The Annancy Stories (the Jamaican iteration of the African stories of Anansi the Spider).

In 1909, Arthur Edward Waite published Colman Smith’s tarot deck, which he had commissioned. For the first time, the pip cards (the tarot version of the suits) were illustrated with complex narratives,  which Colman Smith brought to life outside the bounds of Waite’s design of the major arcana.

Despite her revolutionary contribution, Colman Smith’s name, image, and even coloration of the cards is often absent, rendering her invisible, like so many other women of color. Yet, she is an undeniable, essential link in the lineage of tarot, illustration, and history; while her presence often went unnamed, she did not disappear, and her contributions, and self, gradually return to their rightful position.

The Hierophant asks you to honestly assess how well your convictions translate to words and actions. It will undoubtedly guide you toward inner harmony.

Honestly, I don’t remember the last time I did a tarot reading (probably around the last time I felt like I didn’t have 12 networking universes swirling through my head).

The kitchy conclusion would be that I should be more on myself about exploring the play that I have previously cultivated.

But how would that be play?

Maybe, instead, the more apt intention speaks to a metaphysical throwing my hands in the air and seeing where the cards land.

i.e. Just playing.

Following my intuition, as it forever is the inverse impression of that to which I subject myself.

And knowing that tarot has and no doubt will continue to have a space in guiding me to that location of wonder.

Oh, of course, and going to the Pamela Colman Smith exhibit in the Pratt Library, to which I have existed in close proximity for the last few months--both in and out of the library’s walls--to pay a much needed visit and expressed neverending gratitude for her place in this mystic vein of the world.


Graphic by Katie Vogel

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