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If you’re a pop cultural obsessive like me, Christmas isn’t the most wonderful time of the year. That actually comes a few weeks earlier, usually from late November to early December, in the form of list season. You know what it is, if not by name: when every magazine, blog, and online publication throws down their takes on the best movies, music, television, trends, books, and unforgettable moments of the year. It’s a time to feel vindicated when our faves top the charts, and to discover everything we missed while boring stuff like jobs and school kept us busy.
Senior year is canonical. You have the senior slide, the cataclysmic breakdown of some friend groups, and the forging of new bonds that feel like they could last forever. A deluge of camaraderie and legally purchased liquor can melt some (but not all) of the grudges powered by the treacherous climb of student leadership and, of course, the toxic gossip train. But for me, senior year mostly means one thing: I’m not the young talent anymore.
“Because things have changed, and we’re tired of it. More importantly, we’re tired of being lied to.”
Back from abroad, and I’m exhausted. My face keeps breaking out from a combo of soot and sweat, and I’ve got these lingering headaches from a summer cold I keep insisting wasn’t COVID. My body feels like it traveled the world in a cargo plane.
In another universe, Emily White (C ‘23) and I are mortal enemies. Once upon a time, we ran against each other to be editor–in–chief of the magazine you’re reading right now. Back then, they were put off by my skinny white twink demeanor, and I almost threw away any remaining good will over a petty grudge (I lost that first election, if you couldn’t tell). But we’ve both had our time at the helm of Street now, and somewhere along the way they became one of my best friends.
Surprise! It’s you. Yes, you. Congratulations on making it; we know these past four years haven’t been easy, but now here you are, having achieved so much along the way.
By the time she became a senior, Lee Schwartz (C ‘23) had never spent a full school year on Penn’s campus.
It feels cliche to begin any letter about adulting with the phrase “growing up.” I’m going to do it anyway, but here’s hoping that I can get a pass for calling myself out. At the very least, you’ll have to acknowledge my self–awareness.
At Street, we wear our influences and our college student misadventures on our sleeves. That’s why I’ll tell you straight up that the genesis for this article wasn’t fully original. It’s our version of The Cut’s “The New Rules,” which presents 140 etiquette guidelines for modern life post–COVID–19. The difference is our list was written with one specific group in mind: Penn’s graduating senior class. You might ask what business do a bunch of college students have giving other college students advice about the “real world?” To which I’d say you’re absolutely right, and…
Usually the process for writing these letters is standardized. On the eve of our last production night, I’ll set up camp in the Stroffice and bang out a draft in a couple of hours. It’s easier—and somewhat necessary—because of the time frame they exist in: half reconstructing some bygone anecdote, half addressing the reader of a magazine that has yet to be printed.
At the beginning of last semester, I started Prozac. That’s the brand name of fluoxetine, which is an SSRI—selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. Pretty much my brain either doesn’t make enough serotonin, or takes it back up from the synaptic cleft too quickly. My psychiatrist didn’t test for any of this when I met with him; he knew I had a family history of depression, and asked me to describe how I felt in one of my lows.
Tempo is everywhere. Lydia Tár says that “time is the thing,” and she’s right: There’s no music without time. There’s also no us without it. Biorhythms are the cycles regulated by our internal clock: sleep and waking, body temperature, hormone release. But we’re also walking collections of bio–rhythms, that is to say, rhythms within our bodies. Your heartbeat, your breathing rate, the pace you walk at—each operates on a metronome that has to count just so, otherwise whole systems get thrown for a loop. Music can recalibrate those timers. It can amp us up when we’re feeling too lethargic, or calm us down when things are spinning out of control. With that in mind, I’ve collected five songs that each match a biologically meaningful BPM; from one college student to another, I’ve found they can offer some utility when our lives feel totally unregulated … which is often.
Sitting down to write this letter feels kind of like entering the Avatar State. No, not that Avatar. Not the new one either. I’m talking about that generation–defining (and vastly better!) animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Pretty much, our reincarnated protagonist can call upon the skills and knowledge of all his previous selves, pictured as an line of blue spirits stretching out to the middle distance. In my lineage, there’s Emily and Bea looking over my shoulder, then Tamsyn, Annabelle, and before them the predecessors I know only by name—Nick Joyner, Orly Greenberg, Emily Johns.
Since her earliest Bandcamp recordings, Sophie Allison has been painting her songs in increasingly vibrant colors. As the songwriter and lead singer of her band Soccer Mommy, Allison produced the autumn–hued Clean, and released Color Theory, with its sickly tones of yellow, blue, and grey, weeks before the COVID–19 pandemic hit. The palette for her new album, Sometimes, Forever, has the most depth and shade of any Soccer Mommy record to date—thanks in part to a team–up with producer Oneohtrix Point Never—but it hasn’t been an easy road to get there.
Going to college in Philly, we're so often bombarded—on social media and IRL—with seemingly endless options for how to spend our free time. So I’m delighted to announce that Street has done the hard part for you: We’ve rounded up what we think are the can’t–miss events for the month in one convenient place. If I’ve done my job right, there’ll be something in here for every one of our readers, no matter what you like to do with your weekends.
Going to college in Philly, we're so often bombarded—on social media and IRL—with seemingly endless options for how to spend our free time. So I’m delighted to announce that Street has done the hard part for you: We’ve rounded up what we think are the can’t–miss events for the month (and you can expect more of these in the months to come) in one convenient place. If I’ve done my job right, there’ll be something in here for every one of our readers, no matter what you like to do with your weekends.
It’s what you’d expect from the university named Playboy’s top party school in 2014. A makeshift rig of colored lights. Sugary sweet, barely–tastes–like–alcohol jungle juice pouring from a Gatorade cooler. A song blaring from buzzy speakers with the bass cranked all the way up (probably “No Hands” by Waka Flocka Flame, “Mr. Brightside,” or that remix of “Heads Will Roll”). A booze–fueled, nearly wasted mass of bodies, jumping in unison, letting go of their inhibitions to the tune of a Friday night frat party.
Transportive. That’s the best way to describe the experience of listening to the new self–titled album by Florist—less a band than an entity of folk music, conjured by songwriter Emily Sprague in solitude and in communion with a trio of friends. To make this record, the group lived and improvised together in a Hudson River Valley house as an exercise in resynthesis.
Sophia the Robot, Robert Zemeckis’ The Polar Express, and Aldous Harding can all make you feel discomfort. But—barring any technofuturists or early–aughts CGI fanatics—only one has the power to make you feel something beautiful.
Anything you can do, Sam Pancoe (C ‘22) can do better.