Sophia: Why We Still need to Talk About Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka

Happy autumn, Terriers! Hope everyone’s enjoying the wonderful weather and all the amazingness that is fall baseball (shoutout to my boys the Red Sox for clinching the AL East Division Title #proud). There’s been a lot on my mind in the world of sports lately, so enjoy a long-winded rant about the Serena Williams/Naomi Osaka debacle.

While the fairness of the events that transpired between Serena Williams and umpire Carlos Ramos during the Women’s US Open this year is debatable, this simple fact is not: the outcome of high caliber sports matchups should never be the result of questionable officiating.

We’ve seen this happen before, and we’ll see it happen again. One of the most contested sports moments to this day remains the infamous “Fail Mary” call of a Packers-Seahawks game in 2012 (Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson threw a Hail Mary that was caught by both a receiver and a defender. One referee called it a touchdown, the other an incomplete pass. Ultimately, it was ruled in Seattle’s favor, and fans are still pulling their hair out over it five years later). So my only question is this: why is the world acting like they’re surprised?

Fail In The Face GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Serena Williams had a rough year. While her fans will will be the first to remind the world of her strength and determination as one of the greatest female athletes ever, they’ll also be quick to point out her troubles this year as a mother. The narrative for this US Open suited her just well. Look at all that Serena can do! She can be both a mother and an athlete; simultaneously tough and feminine; career driven and conventionally fulfilled in her personal life; competitive, even at the highest level, even after enduring years of sexism and criticism, even while pregnant, even while in pain, and even after an emergency c-section threatened the life of both her and her child; and she can win a 24th Grand Slam title, tying the record for most Grand Slam wins ever. Yes, the narrative was on Serena’s side for this match, all right.

But Naomi Osaka had a narrative too, albeit a lesser one. Osaka, the ruthless underdog, was going to beat out Serena Williams and secure her place as the first Japanese tennis player to ever win a Grand Slam. Osaka was vocal about her admiration for Williams and her desires to beat her, to prove to herself and the world that she could. The matchup between the two would be legendary regardless, a fierce competition between two top female athletes looking to make history.

Serena Williams GIF by WTA - Find & Share on GIPHY

That is why the Ramos call will rival the Fail Mary in the Questionable Officiating Hall of Fame. Not because he undisputedly pushed the Grand Slam in Osaka’s favor by docking Williams a whole game, but because he made this match about something it was never intended to be about: him.

While the Ramos call in of itself can be looked at and learned from in the world of tennis, it cannot be separated from the Williams/Osaka narrative that made this Grand Slam the sporting event it was already cracked up to be. If you were to show someone who didn’t know anything about tennis the match itself, most would agree with Ramos. But when you consider all that Williams (and Osaka, too) has fought against in the world of tennis, all the Williams has done despite her personal battles that the very establishment of tennis has thrust her into, there is no room for anything other than disappointment and frustration at the complete disrespect shown to both Williams and Osaka by Carlos Ramos that day.

Honest Serena Williams GIF by Mashable - Find & Share on GIPHY

The negative coverage that Ramos received from mainstream news outlets and tennis junkies alike accurately reflects the true absurdity of the situation itself. You cannot separate the penalties received by Williams from her narrative as an athlete or tennis’s sexist past. A match that was predestined to one of the greatest between two of the world’s best female athletes in is now about a call made by a male referee, a fact that is more than just irritating and disappointing, but completely disrespectful to Williams, Osaka, and the world of sports itself.

Sophia: The Typical “I Am Abroad” Post!

To quote fellow CA Tyler from his blog last week, “Yes, I am abroad, but I don’t want to give you the standard ‘I am abroad!’ post.”

Good for you, Tyler. Except here I am, about to give you the most typical, basic, eye-roll-inducing “I am abroad!” post of all time. So take that! Ha!
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Point is, abroad is as every bit exhausting, delightful and life-changing as everyone makes it out to be. I know, I know: when you’re living in Europe and traveling to magical cities every weekend, how can it not be? But until you come abroad (or in my opinion, specifically to Europe), you never fully understand why no one shuts up about it until you’re two weeks away from leaving and are already feeling nostalgic. Yeah, it’s that bad.
Because everyone’s abroad experience is so different from each other, it’s hard to pin point exactly what the best parts of. I remember that before I came here, I asked so many people what the absolute must-dos of abroad were, and everyone had different answers. But, because this is MY blog post (mwahaha), I’m going to give you the must-dos that I’ve taken away from my time in the London Internship Program.
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I only have three suggestions:
1) Eat everything.
This one is self-explanatory.
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I truthfully think food is the best thing in life (like genuinely, try to name something better than food, because I never can. Love? You can’t survive off of love! Sleep? Pfft, I’ll sleep when I’m dead!), and to have so many authentic dishes as close as a train ride away is the best part of being abroad. I won’t lie, I haven’t loved all of the food that I’ve tried, but I’ve still tried it. And then, there was the food that I was hesitant to try and ended up LOVING! I used to feel kind of ‘eh’ about Spanish food, but turns out it’s my favorite European food…and that out of Italy, Scotland, France, Sweden, Germany and London. I can’t count Greece because that’s where my family is from and my normal diet consists of the best Greek food ever, so it seems unfair to pit other countries against it. Still, not once have I ever regretted spending money on a meal, even the ones that I didn’t like. Order everything!
2) Work your tush off at your internship. 
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My internship is at the Evening Standard, a large scale publication in London. As a journalism major, I had known of the Evening Standard well before even deciding to come study abroad, so when I was placed there, I was more than delighted – I was, somehow, terrified, thrilled, anxious and eager all at once. I had many expectations coming into my internships, and I am delighted to announce that so far, all of them have been met. In fact, most of them have been surpassed.  Having worked for a publication before (Boston Magazine), I was used to writing on tight deadlines, pitching ideas and working in a fast-paced news environment. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was the freedoms and responsibilities that were given to me by this publication. In Boston, my pieces had been carefully calculated, planned out precisely with my supervisor down to the very detail, edited and re-edited again and again until they were finally published. But at the Standard, I was published within my first day. In fact, I had published seven articles after my first week’s completion, articles that I had pitched myself and been given barely any afterthought before publishing. “We know what you’re capable of,” my supervisor had told me after my initial surprise. “We trust you, we trust your words.”
And really, I have been treated since then as a full-time employee in the best way possible. The days seem to zoom by; I have my own desk, co-workers who respect me and take me seriously, a supervisor who trusts my ideas and an editor that does my words justice. It is an idealistic set-up, a dream-come-true, and it’s reignited a fresh fire in my pursuit of a journalist career. Having this experience did more than just give me an international resume boost…it reignited my fire.
3) Be bold.
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Okay, hear me out: I’ve jumped into so many bodies of water abroad in the cold, and honestly, it has completely revolutionized my outlook on life. We’re only this young once, and there are only so many times in your life that you are actually able to jump into the freezing cold Loch Ness without the obstacles of life stopping you. It sounds so silly, but every day that I’ve been abroad I’ve tried to do something bold and whimsical, and coming from such a renowned school like BU that can feel so overwhelming at times, it was the best way outlook to have when waking up in the morning.
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So go, try some weird Scottish food, surf in Barcelona, work hard at your internships. This experience gives back what you put into it, so don’t be afraid to go all in.

Sophia: Best Holiday Episodes from Your Favorite TV Shows

As soon as the clock turned from 11:59 on October 31st to midnight on November 1st, I turned my speakers up and pressed play. “All I want for Christmas is you” blasted from my room and into the kitchen, and my roommate, used to my holiday antics, rolled her eyes.

“Sophia,” Georgia said, exasperated. “You can’t just skip Thanksgiving and go straight to Christmas. That’s not how it works.”

But, oh, that is exactly how it works.

I was ready. Ready for the Starbucks red holiday cups, the Michael Buble Christmas albums, the “Home Alone” re-runs, and, of course, constant replays of TV’s best holiday episodes. From “The Office” to “Lizzie McGuire,” there’s a holiday episode out there to cure everyone’s frigid-Boston-blues. Here are my favorite.

The Office, “A Benihana Christmas”

Okay, this one’s easy. I have never met a single person who isn’t entertained by Dwight Schrute’s bizarre antics, especially in this Christmas fav.
New Girl, “Christmas Eve Eve”

If you’re not already in enraptured by “New Girl”’s leading man, Schmidt (Max Greenfield), this episode will surely do the trick. This episode highlights the gift-giving pressures of the holiday season and pokes fun at Christmas traditions, such as Secret Santa.
Friends, “The One With The Holiday Armadillo”.

If you haven’t watched every episode of friends, are you even a real person? This episode is all about Ross trying to figure out a creative way to explain Hanukkah to his son, Ben, while still being as entertaining as the man in red himself.

Lost, “The Constant”

This episode is widely regarded as the best one created in the infamous sci-fi series, so it’s definitely a must-watch anyway. But its underlying themes of family and unconquerable love are sure to get you feeling as mushy as watching a wood-lit fire. Characters Desmond and Penny finally reconcile on Christmas Eve after years of separation, and their reunion is sure to make your heart burst.
How I Met Your Mother, “How Lily Stole Christmas”

As another classic sitcom, HIMYM is more well-known for their Thanksgiving episodes, so if you’re like Georgia and don’t want to skip Thanksgiving, maybe take a look at one of these. However, this Christmas episode came out early on in the show’s life when the characters were still establishing themselves, making it one of the series’ most important.

South Park, “Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo”

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I totally get it if South Park, like, isn’t really your thing. It’s a smart, satirical show, but it is laced with plenty of dumb humor that really turns people off. But they really are a hilarious show, and they’re so popular for a reason. Their Christmas episodes never fail to entertain (and offend) viewers, so check this out if you’re looking for some holiday-induced laughs.

Spongebob Squarepants, “Christmas Who?”

If you spent your whole life wanting to see Patrick’s famous picture of Spongebob at the Christmas party, then look no further than Spongebob’s first Christmas episode ever. It’s hilarious to go back to the earlier seasons of Spongebob, but this episode is truly adorable. It’s all about Spongebob bringing Christmas back to Bikini Bottom, and if you don’t find that entertaining, I’m not sure what you will.

Lizzie McGuire, “Xtreme Xmas”

There’s nothing quite like the lessons taught from old Disney Channel shows like “That’s so Raven” and “Lizzie McGuire.” This episode is all about Lizzie choosing selflessness instead of selfishness. The same choice that many find hard to make when the holiday seasons roll around. However, Lizzie and her friends always seem to make it out okay.

Sophia: Why I’ve Seen “It” in Theaters Three Times (and may even go again)

To be mainstream, or not to be mainstream. That is the question.

As a communications major (and especially as a journalist), I am enthralled by this inclusive, all-encompassing, addicting world we’ve created on social media. Gen X and Baby Boomers are constantly stumped by Instagram and Twitter, citing them as silly and egotistical. But we’re really not that hard to figure out! Every choice that millennials make can be traced back to one underlying desire: inclusivity.

It’s the reason we buy Kylie Jenner Lip Kits, post incessantly about current events, tag our friends in memes and Snapchat every part of our weekends. Some call it mainstream conformity and mindless following, but I don’t think that’s it at all. It’s not that we devalue individualization — it’s that we’ve created this web of people, people who share the same humor and desires and political views, and it’s an absolute thrill. It encompasses more than just our immediate circle of friends — it encompasses every millennial who has a computer, a Twitter, a voice. And it’s incredible.

It’s why people hop on board so quickly when shows like “Game of Thrones” go viral, or start hashtagging #TakeAKnee when the National Anthem gets sung during the Patriots/Texans game. We are all eager and excited to be a part of this culture, this movement that we have created on our phones in between classes and fostered in every group chat we’re in. We’re all a part of this grand, collective something on social media. It’s not definable, and it’s not quite tangible, but everyone feels it bursting from the ends of their fingertips as we type quickly, deliberately, clumsily, not quick enough.

“It” is another one of those cultural phenomenons happening right now, but this one is special. Just like “Game of Thrones,” it’s success is based off of the fact that it thrives as a cross-generational adventure. I can remember so vividly my Dad reading Stephen King novels on the beaches of Cape Cod, a native New Englander finding pleasure in between the pages of someone who shared such a similar upbringing to himself, and I can remember the first time I read the pages of a King novel myself, the book “11.22.63” sitting heavily in my hands. And although there are things about his generation I will never understand, and things about my generation he will never understand, “It” is where we come together.

So, why have I seen it three times? Because of the soul of this film: the Loser’s Club. These kids, these kids, these kids. The boys (and Beverly, of course, played by Sophia Lillis) are not only hilarious and awkwardly adorable, but the Loser’s Club is jam-packed with a group chemistry so special it’s unmistable. As someone who spent her entire upbringing hanging out as the only girl with her older brother and his friends, this cast’s humor, friendship and weirdness resonates with me hardcore. And I’m sure it resonates with others hardcore, too — running around outdoors, summertime freedom, mischief and trouble-making, childhood crushes and timid first kisses. But these themes are timeless and faceless. There is a reason why both my Dad and I can find common ground in the land of Derry, New Hampshire, the film’s setting. There’s something more to “It” than just hilarity and nostalgia — it’s this feeling that, no matter what, we’re all in this together.

That is why we are addicted to films like “It” and talking about films like “It” and blogging about films like “It” and re-watching films like “It.” We are a generation of inclusivity, relatability and discussion. We are a collective voice, a voice heard over social media and through our earphones, and our culture feeds off of this cohesive, collaborative, fluid network of the people like us. And we invite everyone, no matter what generation, to join in on this web of something that we’ve spun.

So, to quote Richie (Finn Wolfhard) at the film’s climax, “Welcome to the Loser’s Club.”

Sophia: The Sophomore Slump

“Why am I always so tired?” I had grumbled last week, taking a seat next to my friend in Mugar. However, she just ignored me and continued working, her pen scratching across the notecards in front of her. As a senior, she did not like to feed into my academic-based complaints, especially when I came to interrupt her in Mugar (which was often).

“I mean, come on,” I tried again, nudging her elbow with my own. “I just feel so, like, done with it all lately.”

My friend sighed, put her pen down, and finally looked up at me. “That’s because you’re in your sophomore slump,” she said.

“Sophomore slump?” I asked.

“Yup, sophomore slump. It happens to the best of us. Even me.”

I had remembered thinking that that was hard to believe as clearly there was no way this girl, a second-semester senior who still chose to study in Mugar, could ever have a ‘slump’ of any kind.

“You, Marcela? You had a sophomore slump?” I had asked her, my disbelief evident.

She then glared up at me, choosing to pick up her pen again and continue her work. “Yes, I did. I know, shocker,” she had dead-panned, averting her glare down to her notecards. “But it’s a real thing. The best and worst part about going to school in Boston is the fact that it’s in Boston. We all get a little lost in the city sometimes.”

And she was completely right. As I let her go back to her notecards and pulled out my own work to begin, I pondered how my sophomore slump had come to be. Was it the academics? No, I always looked forward to all of my COM classes and projects. Was it my social life? No, my sorority had given me plenty of friends and activities to keep myself occupied. Was it the long winter? Doubtful, seeing as I had grown up in New England my whole life and had never gotten the winter blues.

Then what was it?

I considered what Marcela said: “We all get a little lost in the city sometimes.”

And there was my answer.

Boston is one of the most incredible cities in the world, and it was a rarity for a day of my life to pass without any acknowledgment of how much I adored this city. Everything about Boston and BU seemed to beckon me to go here in high school – Fenway, T Anthony’s, the Charles River — but I really fell in love with BU because of the faculty I couldn’t wait to learn under, the thought of being on a real news broadcast for BUTV10, and getting published in an established and acclaimed collegiate magazine and newspaper. Sometimes, I found myself getting lost in my sheer amazement of this school, but more so, I felt intimidated.

So many times, it’s so easy for COM students to get swept up in the brilliance of this school, its faculty, and the endless opportunities this school provides you to produce great content for the world of media. As a sophomore who is involved in a lot of different clubs on campus, I still find myself getting lost in the vastness of BU and Boston sometimes, just because I’m constantly surrounded by such incredible people who have accomplished such incredible things. It’s easy to get lost in the magnitude of what we do as COM students, sometimes – but it’s easy to find your way through it all, too.

The COM faculty, while super impressive, is also super friendly and approachable. They’re teaching because they want to, and are great resources to help get yourself grounded. They’ve helped me a ton in my years so far, and I can’t wait to get to know other faculty and build those relationships with them, too.

BUTV10, the Daily Free Press, the Buzz, the Tab, and all the other clubs here at BU are groups made by your peers, for your peers, and establishing those connections with other students like yourself is something that has helped me establish myself as a student and media professional. BUTV10 is my favorite thing on campus, and the friends, mentors, and experience I’ve gained from it is absolutely priceless.

And, of course, you are your own best friend. You know what you can handle – you know when you’re burning out, ready to take on more, or just need some Nutella and a nap. If you are good to yourself and try your best in COM, COM will always be good to you right back.

My sophomore slump happened for a lot of different reasons – and it may even be happening to some of my other COM peers right now, too – but you can always find your way back to COM, back to BU, and back to Boston with a little help from the wonderful people around you.

Sophia: Valentine’s Day deals for the cheap, single folk at BU

The best part of Valentine’s Day is the obnoxious (and amazing) amount of discounted food and crazy, silly events available for the young and in love.

Except this year, you can get all these amazing perks by having a healthy sense of humor and love for yourself, your friends, and free food.

Here are some super cool (and cheap) things for you and your gals to do on V-Day this year in Boston. Love yourself, ladies.

1) Want free Mexican food? Buy a burrito and then share a totally platonic kiss in Qdoba to get a second one for free. Sounds like a sweet deal to me.

2) Grab a friend and head over to Faneuil Hall for some churros and chocolate. For just $10, Taza will give you and your gal pal a hot coco and churro each. LITERALLY what more could you want?!

3) MODERN LOVE! Okay, this event is already sold out so I feel bad mentioning it here, but this event is going to be BANGING. Us COM people can appreciate New York Times “Modern Love” editor Daniel Jones orchestrating a night of laughs, storytelling and love right here in Boston. Give me a sec while I geek out.

4) Explore the MFA. Yeah yeah yeah, this one is totally obvious and you might have to endure loving couples interrupting you and your gal pals’ artistic ponderings, but it’s no secret that your BU I.D. gets you a free pass into this great place. Instead of falling in love with someone else, fall in love with the amazing art and history that this beautiful museum holds.

5) Check out some old schools flicks at the Brattle movie theater in Cambridge. Couples get to choose between classics like Casablanca and the Princess Bride to enjoy on the big screen.

6) This one make me so happy, yet also reminds me of my struggles in AP U.S. History junior year of high school. It’s actually a little bit on the pricey side, but for $60 a couple can go to a live read-aloud of all of John and Abigail Adams’ letters sent to each other during their 50 years of marriage. Both Abigail and John were known for their romantic prose, so this event set in their hometown is great for both the literature and history geek in all of us. Usually events put on by the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum cost around $40 a person, so comparatively this Valentine’s day deal is a steal!


7) Salem’s Anti-Valentine Tour is always a huge hit, and it’s also where you’ll be finding me and my gal pals this Valentine’s day. Take a train outside of Boston to enjoy a spooky retelling of all the love stories of Massachusetts gone wrongs. Hear about the horrific doings of murderous husbands, scorned wives and dark, dreadful relationships. Definitely a funky twist on this loving holiday.