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Amanda Weisman: Your New Favorite Desk Assistant

 

Amanda Weisman perches on her desk chair in the center of what is known as “The Zen Garden,” which is her fond term for the space she’s created in Colonial. The room may look bare to some, but to Amanda, it’s paradise. The walls are free from any sort of posters, save for a small painting from her closest friend. There is a large clothing rack featuring only black and white clothing in the corner—any clothes with color are strictly reserved for the closet. Potted plants line the windowsill, completing the look that is natural, minimalistic.

Those would be good words to describe Amanda, as well. Amanda is a sophomore Journalism major from Long Island, New York. You can find her working hard at the tap-in desk in Colonial, or strolling the South End for her beat reporting class. She’s a photography enthusiast with a penchant for writing poetry. When I ask her to name her favorite poet, however, she just grins and shakes her head. “A true literary lover can never choose a favorite,” she insists. While she might not be able to decide a favorite poet…or book…or song (“I can pick a favorite on things I’m not so serious about!” she laughs), Amanda is decidedly herself. Here she explains who that is exactly:

B: Let’s start off with the reason we’re both sitting here. Why Emerson?

A: A shorter list of reasons would be why not Emerson! (laughs)

B: Wow, let’s just make you a tour guide already.

A: I feel like if I had to take myself and make it a school, it would be Emerson. After I visited here, every other college felt like a joke to me.

B: Sorry, NYU.

A: I love NYU; don’t get me wrong! But I felt a connection to Emerson because it had what I was looking for. The people here are unlike any I’ve ever met. They’re all so passionate and driven. I love (being around) people who want to change themselves and want to change the world.  Emerson really values creativity and uplifts individuals who are creative and passionate. The city setting we have here was also a huge factor. Oh, and Lee Pelton. Definitely include him.

B: I will be sure to give President Pelton a shout out. He’s actually the only reason I came here. What is the most inspiring class you’ve taken here so far?

A: I would say Research Writing, because that’s the one that surprised me the most. I went in thinking, “oh, Research Writing; bibliographies, works cites, no creative liberty. Then when I actually started the class, my professor, Steve Himmer, was just incredible. He gave us the creative freedom that I was really yearning for. We wrote pieces that were memoirs; he taught us how to write pitches, and he’s just so knowledgeable on so many different subjects. We weren’t just talking about research writing. We were talking about everything and anything going on in the world, from music, to environmentalism, to travel, to nature, and that was really eye opening for me. And since I like writing but I don’t always have that much time to do a lot of personal writing, this forced me to sit down and write from the heart, which I really appreciated.

B: Way to support the first year writing program! If they don’t make you a spokesperson by the time we’re done here—

A: That’s funny because my Dad is always saying that it isn’t possible for someone to love his or her school as much as I do.  #soemerson

B: Let’s talk about music. What makes you so passionate about that industry?

A: There are no words to describe what I feel when I hear a song that I love or I go to a concert. Music has gotten me through so much and I just connect with it—especially in the lyrics. I love writing poetry and lyrics are a form of poetry. Songs can really take you back in time. All I need to hear sometimes is just one note and the memories come flooding back. Music is almost like a time machine in that sense. But also, I just love how music can just uplift your mood. I’ll be having a bad day and I put on my favorite song and my mind will be totally cleared because of it. The concert culture is a huge thing, too. When you’re in a crowd of people who love the music just as much and you’re all singing and dancing together, you feel like a family. Just looking up and seeing this band or musician that you’ve wanted to see for the longest time and then they’re right there in front of you—it’s so surreal!

B:  What made you want to become a journalist, then?

A: I truly believe that everyone has a story. Whether they realize it or not, it’s just a matter of getting it out of them. So, as a journalist, I love the opportunities and unexpected connections it has given me. Ordinarily, I wouldn’t be in a public place and just get to go up to someone and start talking to them and asking them questions—that would kind of creepy! But as a journalist, I’m forced to do that and I’ve learned about so many different people and heard amazing stories that I wouldn’t normally get the chance to. I feel like it’s a gift to be the one to take their stories and share it with the world.

B: You’re working with Your Mag TV this semester! Tell me about that. 

A: I am a host for the style section, which means that I’m in front of the camera. I get to come up with a lot of my own ideas and pursue them. Soon I’ll be heading out to Boston Fashion Week to report on that. Last year, I did a whole bunch of street style interviews where we just talked to people about what they were wearing and what looks they thought were good for the season. I’m really excited to get in front of the camera more!

B: What is your on-screen style going to look like?

A: I own a lot of black and white. My joke is that I’ll go into a store and try on thirty items and what I come out of the fitting room with is always black! I love to dress up. I don’t mind always looking fancy. I would definitely say I have that New York City vibe going on; it’s pretty urban. Another thing I’ve recently gotten into are hats. I feel like hats are not as appreciated as they should be! I have a hat rack in my dorm room. I believe there’s a hat for every outfit!

B: You’ve also talked to me about being a travel journalist. What was your favorite place that you traveled to and why?

A: I’ve been to a few European countries, Panama and all around the U.S., but if I had to pick a specific place, I would say Toledo, Spain. Just because it’s so rich in history and just walking down the streets you can almost feel the past there. It was also such a place of unity because it used to be home to Christians, Muslims and Jews. (I think) when people are coexisting together and can trade ideas and culture, I think that means a lot and even though (Toledo) is changed a lot today, it still has that old beauty to it. I feel like I really connected to it while I was there…and I love speaking Spanish, so there’s that!

B: What do you consider to be your biggest strength?

A: My biggest strength I would say is my drive and determination because you’re always going to have people telling you that you can’t do this or you can’t be this and there are always going to be people looking to change you and mold you, but I think that my biggest strength is that I’ve always stayed myself despite what people have told me. I’ve kept the same morals; I’ve kept the same perspectives. I don’t give up on who I am and I certainly don’t give up on my dreams. I feel like I do know who I am and know what I love.

B: I think so, too. And do you think that strength extends into your personal philosophy?  

A: Yes. I think to compromise yourself is a terrible thing and you have to aim high. Don’t settle. I guess that would be my advice. Don’t settle for anything or anyone. If you work hard and do what you love, that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, as long as you’re doing something that you’re passionate about. I think the greatest gift in life is to know who you are and to embrace it and not be ashamed of it.

 

Future something extraordinaire.
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