I wish I could be writing this under different circumstances. In an ideal world, we’d all be moving into our dorms and apartments and houses excited to see our friends again and resume college life. We’d be excited for class (sort of), ready to read through each syllabus with a rising fear as we review the semester’s every assignment, ready to walk through bubbling Durham filled with apprehensive freshman making new friends and upperclassmen finding their niche a little bit more, ready to feel the palpable excitement that rings through a college campus with the start of each school year. I’d be stoked to hold our first meeting in the newsroom, welcoming both new and old faces to what we do here at Main Street. The problem is, we don’t live in an ideal world; the world is kind of crumbling around us everywhere we look, and all of the things we thought we knew are now a little more unclear.
Among the dis-ease of a social-political era defined by the re-definition of truth emerges a new disease... literally. In the past few weeks, COVID-19 has flooded our worlds swiftly and completely. As we settle into this new chaotic normal full of boredom, debris makes its way into our homes: fear, confusion, and a new class of universal memes. Tempting as it is to see this worldwide humor as a product of technological advancements, I’m inclined to believe otherwise. I like to imagine Sir Issac Newton, while in quarantine from the bubonic plague in 1665, writing a letter to a friend:
Safety tucked away from this Black Death that infects the earth, I find my mind drifting. When Trinity College closed its doors I joked that I would spend my time looking at bits of light and staring at apples for long lengths of time— well, my friend, the fruits (I jest) of my boredom have been truly luscious.
I want to talk about allowing yourself to not be productive.
During all this time at home, I’m sure you’ve had this same dilemma. Once you finish your work for the day, you go and give your brain a break for a while. But then, guilt kicks in. I’ve been watching Netflix for 3 hours and it’s not even dark yet. Maybe I should do something productive. There’s a fine line between a well-deserved break and being lazy, right? Normally, yeah. But something we need to realize is there’s been a new normal lately.
The situation we’ve been in has offered us time that we haven’t had in years. But what’s more, the emotional toll it’s taken has drained us of any energy we maybe would’ve had normally. You know that feeling you get when Friday hits and you remember that you’re going out with your friends tonight? The zing of energy that comes from stuff like that is something we’ve been lacking.
The coronavirus has unexpectedly interrupted all of our lives. All of us at UNH were obviously saddened and sullen to hear from our administration that our temporary two-week absence from campus would be extended for the rest of the semester. It was an unfortunate yet necessary precaution to take as we heard from the news about developing cases across the country. Words never heard before like “social-distancing” and “self-quarantine” were adopted into the public lexicon seemingly overnight, and we braced ourselves for a moment truly unprecedented in our personal experience as Americans.
My greatest hurdle through the first weeks of the shelter-in-place mandate was the incredible task of staying home all the while maintaining my sanity. I was almost never home during high school. After school, I’d work. And after work, I’d be with my friends. I spent more weekends at my best friend’s house than my own during high schoo...
“A bad day in London is better than a good day anywhere else!”
I left my study abroad program in London due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 15. At this point, almost two months after leaving London in a hurried mess, it all feels like it was a fever dream. My time in London was exhilarating, wild, and transformative. When I decided to study abroad there last September, I never could have predicted how great the people would be or how profound the experiences. From the moment my plane landed at Heathrow, gazing out on the sun rising over the city as the plane landed, I felt overwhelmingly secure and calm. I am an anxious person; I overthink and overanalyze every decision in my life. But for once, when my newfound friends and I deplaned and made our way to Regent’s University London, sitting in a black taxi cab squished between our suitcases, I was confident that this decision was going to result in the best experience...
"We have this idea that someone's phone will reveal their life, that if you found an iPhone on the streets you'd have access to photos, e-mail, notes, texts, videos, apps. Each of these would project an angle of light that would gradually illuminate a whole person. But the truth is nothing like that. The truth is that a phone will help you build something like a hologram, and if you tried to touch it, your hand would breeze right through the image." - Kate Fagan
We tend to care a lot about our phones and social media. Always worrying about what to post, what filter will make us look more appealing; always putting our best self out there for the world to see. This isn't to say our social media doesn’t reflect who we are as people or that we aren't our most genuine selves on social media; you can be. What I – along with many others I'm sure – believe is that no matter what you have on your phone or post on social media...
Note: One rainy night, I was the victim of a “ding dong ditch.” As I grumpily looked across the front yard of my parent’s house, I noticed a mysterious package on the steps. It had been weeks since my friend, who loves his anonymity, dragged me into the woods to try to find bigfoot. I confess that I thought he was crazy, and then he almost choked to death on a granola bar. After that night, I avoided my friend for a few weeks, even before the quarantine. But I’m sorry to report that the package contained my friend’s field notebook. There was a note to me in there, asking me to present the final passages in the notebook to you. I have faithfully carried out his final charges, now all that remains is what you do with it.
If you are receiving this correspondence, dear editor, I am afraid that the inevitable has happened. Like Icarus, I have moved too close to the proverbial sun. The powers that be have noticed my w...
“I’m really sorry to have to tell you this,” my manager at a Portsmouth hotel told me in March, “but I have to cut hours. It’s nothing personal.” And just like that, I morphed in to an unemployed older dude. Still a graduate student at UNH Durham (even though I will be completing my MFA on Zoom), still an Army Reservist (even through the drill dates are pushed to the right, and conducted virtually), still a sports fan (although with March Madness cancelled, I am conjuring up YouTube videos of past college basketball tournaments and sports documentaries), still a supporter of the undergraduate students here (although I have to stand back a safe distance when I meet their parents and wish them well, as they stream back to campus to pack their things and leave again). I am still all these things, and yet, I feel as dysfunctional as when I was 17 years old and needed to decide what I was going to do with my life.
Christopher Edwin Breaux, better known as Frank Ocean, is a storyteller before all else. His songs often tell an intricate tale in a matter of minutes. On the artist’s sophomore studio album Blonde, he uses his narrative ability to reflect on his own life. On one track in particular, “Self Control,” he sings of love, loss, and bad timing. The songwriter uses literary devices such as juxtaposition and flashback to weave a plot sad enough to leave listeners winded. In this essay, we will unpack “Self Control” and analyze the methods Ocean used to craft one of the most heartbreaking ballads in music’s recent history.
So what makes this song so goddamn sad?
Before diving into our analysis of Frank Ocean’s “Self Control,” there is something that must be understood. Throughout “Self Control” – and the rest of Blonde – Ocean transitions between his normal voice and altered, high-pitched voices. The varied voices are more than...