After many semesters of writing profiles of other people (including, but definitely not limited to, taking on the brave task of emailing every chapter in the Her Campus network), I’m excited to give Talia Santopadre, my graduating co-Campus Correspondent, a chance in the spotlight herself! Talia has done so much for our chapter at Emerson, and I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have.
Major/minor: 4+1 Writing and Publishing Major; minor in marketing communications
What is one of your favorite college memories?
Not so much a college memory but a memory that happened because I went to school at Emerson—discovering my favorite bookstore, Brookline Booksmith. This store is one of my favorite places to go, and even though I can’t leave there without a backpack full of books and other trinkets, it will always be my favorite place. The first time I went, I went with my roommate after we went to the Coolidge Corner Theater to see Singing in the Rain, and ever since that day, I have been in love with their selection! I also was able to meet my favorite author Cassandra Clare there, where I was able to tell her how much her books meant to me discovering what I wanted to do for a career. I have a lot of great memories here, so discovering has to be my favorite (since without it, I wouldn’t have had any of the other memories that store holds).
What has been your favorite part of Emerson?
My favorite part of Emerson is the community. I love the way that everyone steps up to help one another, and the way every space feels open and safe to speak in. Growing up, I hardly ever participated in class, but Emerson’s community helped to build me up and make me more confident in my abilities. Whenever I am unsure, I know I can reach out to my peers for help no matter how well we know one another. I think it’s what makes Emerson such a unique place to go to school, since the amount of support is unlike anything I’ve seen elsewhere.
How does it feel to be graduating? How has the pandemic affected your feelings about graduation?
It feels great to be graduating, even though I still have a year of graduate school after this. I think that the difference in the dynamic between graduate classes and undergraduate classes will be a point of adjustment, but I’m excited for this next phase in my life. I think that I am at the point where, pandemic or not, graduation is a huge milestone. I’m disappointed that we won’t get the traditional graduation that I’ve been thinking about for the past four years, but I think that this experience has proven that my adaptability is better than I anticipated, which if this had happened before college, I don’t know if I would have been able to deal with it. While I was really upset a few weeks ago, now that I have had some time to sit with reality, I’m just thankful to still be graduating on time, from the school I love, even if it’s not the way I wanted to do it. So, no, in short, I don’t care that there is a pandemic. I’m still graduating no matter what and that is what really matters.
What are your plans for after graduation?
After graduation I’m going to take the summer to relax and work to save up some money. I will be returning to Emerson in the fall to finish up my 5th year as a graduate student before earning my Master’s degree in Publishing next May.
How long have you been part of HC Emerson?
I’ve been a part of Her Campus at Emerson since the first week of my freshman year. This club holds such a dear place in my heart and has pushed me outside of my comfort zone since the start. It has helped me become a more confident writer, and I’m so thankful for the experience of working with the Emerson team over the past four years.
What has been your favorite part of being part of HC Emerson and/or your favorite HC memory?
My favorite part of the chapter is seeing our writers develop their craft and take on new challenges in their writing. Even though we tend to have an extreme turn over rate, the heart and soul of Her Campus at Emerson has been the same, and I think will continue to be long after I’m gone. Everyone who joins HC Emerson, no matter if it is for a semester or for their entire college career has a drive and work ethic that always amazes me. I’m so thankful to have gotten to work with the members of this chapter. They are all really wonderful and it is my favorite part of Her Campus at Emerson.
What is your favorite article you’ve written for Her Campus?
Oh lord, I’ve written a lot of articles, especially over the past two years. While I don’t think this article is my best article, I would have to say that the article I wrote interviewing one of the Blue Men from Blue Man Group was really fun. Not only did we learn so much amazing information, but we were able to stay and see the show as well. The whole experience is one of my favorite things that I got to do working for Her Campus, so I think that in terms of this question, that would have to be my answer. Honorable mentions would include all the chapter spotlight articles (as time consuming as these became, I loved getting to know all the other chapters a little bit better!), “A Love Letter to My Best Friends” (because I love building up the people who support me each and every day), “An Open Letter To The Women Who Raised Me” (because it’s about the women in my life who mean the absolute world to me—especially my mom!) and really any other article I got to write about cats (especially mine) and musical theatre. Really, I am proud of a lot of the articles that I produced during my time working for HC Emerson, and I’m thankful for the opportunity to be able to work on my writing while producing pieces that people actually want to read.
If someone is visiting Boston for the first time, where would you recommend they go?
Brookline Booksmith! It’s my favorite bookstore in the world and holds a really special place in my heart. If you are not looking to spend money, you should probably go elsewhere though because you won’t be able to help yourself in Brookline Booksmith—I know I can’t! If you want something like that, I have always loved going to the public garden as well. It’s a really peaceful place to write and relax, especially as the weather gets nicer!
Were you involved with other extracurriculars at Emerson and/or did you have any cool internships/jobs in college?
YES! I did a lot of really awesome things while I was at Emerson, including two amazing internships with HC Nationals in their community management department. I loved working with all of the chapters and even ran the sister chapter program while I interned there. In addition to those internships, I also worked on campus as a Desk Coordinator (where I supervise the staff of the Welcome Desks in our residence halls) and as a Resident Assistant (Shout out to my 2B staff for being the most wonderful humans—I miss you all already!). Additionally, I worked as head copyeditor for Emerson’s pub club, and in addition to being the CC for HC Emerson, I was also the Editor-in-Chief for the Emerson Review (Emerson’s oldest—and best—literary magazine)! I’m so thankful for all the experiences that I was able to have during my time here, and I’m really going to miss it!
Did you have any favorite classes at Emerson? Favorite professors?
Yes, yes, and more yes. In terms of classes I loved taking, there are a lot. I can’t say that there were many classes that I didn’t enjoy. Right now, I am finishing up my last semester taking an ethics course (since I put it off) and it is called Free Will, Responsibility, and Agency. This class, and professor Robb Eason, is amazing, and as hard as it is, Robb makes it well worth it. Even if you can’t take this class in particular, you should jump at any chance you can to take a class with Robb. It will be one of the hardest classes you take, but it is well worth it. Additionally, I really enjoyed Applications for Print Publishing and Book Design and Production. The latter I am in now with Lisa Diercks, who is amazing. I really have enjoyed taking her class and if you want to learn everything there is to know about indesign, this is the best way to get tossed in head first. Finally, in terms of literature classes that I have taken, I have to give a shout out to two in particular, since this question is probably solely meant for them: American Literature and Native American Literatures. These two classes were taught by Adam Spry, who is hands down one of the best professors in existence. His classes were so challenging, thought provoking, and quite frankly, life-altering. I am so thankful I was able to take them with him—and I’m sad I won’t be able to take any more with him. I can’t recommend his classes highly enough if you have to take a literature class. These ones will change your entire perspective on life and break your brains a little (in a good way though). You’ll also be a better essay writer than 97% of the student population after taking a class with Adam. If you have the chance, I cannot stress this enough, you HAVE to take a literature class with Adam.
Do you have any advice for younger Emerson students?
Other than taking a class with Adam Spry, my advice would be savor every moment. Four years at Emerson can go by so quickly, especially when you are overworking yourself and anxious. Let the little things go, and talk to your friends and professors. I promise, they will build you up and help you if you are struggling, there is no need to work yourself into a burnout. I wish I had known how fast the last four years were going to go, and I wish I had taken a few more deep breaths and admitted when I was overwhelmed, since I probably wouldn’t have been so stressed if I did. OH, and if you need to—call ECAPS or the Office of Student Success. They are both amazing resources if you are struggling mentally or educationally respectively. There is no shame in asking for help from any of the resources Emerson offers, your professors, or you friends. They are all there to help you succeed and be the best person you can be. Take a deep breath, and enjoy the good things that Emeson—and the city of Boston—have to offer.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Well, since I’m a publishing major, the only real answer to this question is read. I read all the time, and when I am not reading, I am probably bingeing something. Lately I have also been watching a lot of movies, which is new for me since traditionally I don’t really enjoy them too much. I plan on taking up knitting soon and I MAY or may not be working on launching a project of my own that a lot of Emerson students will be interested in, namely WLPs. That project is currently still in the works though, and very much under construction, however, I think it will probably come to fruition much sooner than I originally anticipated.
What are the last good movies and/or TV shows you’ve watched and/or books you’ve read?
I feel like I could write an entire essay, but I’ll keep it short with recommendations! If you are looking for a TV show: The Good Place, Schitt’s Creek, Gilmore Girls, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Atypical, Jane the Virgin, Lucifer, Good Girls, The Goldbergs, Grey’s Anatomy, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmitt, GLOW, and The Handmaid’s Tale (best book to TV show I have ever seen—absolutely great). Sorry, I watch a lot of shows on Netflix/Hulu so this is a big category for me. For Movies, my recommendations would be: The Joker (because it is new and VERY well shot), To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (CUTE), Footloose (a classic that I think everyone needs to watch) and Miss Americana (the best documentary I’ve ever watched and it is about Taylor Swift—how could you possibly go wrong, if you are a swiftie like me, you can also watch the Reputation Stadium Tour on Netflix). In terms of books: The Mortal instrument Series by Cassandra Clare, Pilot X by Tom Merritt, Want by Cindy Pon, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, 1984 by George Orwell, and There There by Tommy Orange. I can keep going with books that I love but it will be even longer than the TV show list, so better that I just stop there, since I think these will keep everyone occupied for a long time if they plan on taking these recommendations.
Dog or cat person? (Or something else entirely?)
I am 100 percent an animal lover, but I would have to say that at least 87 percent of that love is for cats. I have three cats, so I think my loyalties are clearly in favor of the feline variety. HOWEVER, I do love all animals and one of my biggest dreams is to be able to open an animal sanctuary one day. All of my cats were adopted, and I can’t imagine my life without them, so I would love to be able to help other animals find their forever homes.
Slytherin and no one ever guesses that. I swear I’m not evil, but the ambition is strong in this one.
After knowing Talia since I was a freshman, I couldn’t agree more that she’s ambitious, hard-working, and always ready to take on a new task. Working alongside Talia in classes and extracurriculars has been such a core part of my Emerson experience that it feels weird even for me that she’s done with her undergraduate career. Talia has made Her Campus at Emerson what it is today, even single handedly keeping our chapter in the top 5 percent of all Her Campus chapters. Under her leadership, we’ve become a registered organization on campus, recruited more members than ever before, and executed countless programs and initiatives. I’m so excited to see what HC Emerson does next—from all of us at the chapter, we hope to keep making you proud of the club you led so tirelessly.
Talia, I wish you the best of luck with graduate school and everything that comes next. The world isn’t going to know what hit them.