In the midst of another week of classes, the increasingly rushed and cyclical nature of student life was met by a blissful hiatus where all students were encouraged to break the facade and share an array of poetry and art. On Thursday, Oct. 7, the McMullen Museum of Art hosted an open mic night administered by Boston College publications Stylus and The Laughing Medusa.
Students looking for ways to get involved with the BC community and its lively arts scene can easily participate in either of the clubs. The Laughing Medusa is a literary magazine geared toward female-identifying and non-binary members of the BC community, and Stylus is both the oldest club and longest-running student publication at BC. These two clubs actively seek poetry, prose, and art submissions from the student body. They also help those looking to connect with other creative minds and give a voice to those who need to be heard.
Additionally, open mic events like the one hosted at the McMullen Museum of Art offer a welcoming environment for students to share their own works in a public arena. These events “[create] a space that people can go and find a little comfort in the chaos,” Laughing Medusa editor-in-chief Lexi Slotterback (’22) commented. Stylus member Grace McPhee (’23) shared her poem “Dublin” for the first time after writing it her freshman year. She encourages other hesitant students to read their works, telling The Gavel, “I write poetry on a daily basis and I don’t often share my works in progress, but when you are in a community full of writers and creative people, it is really comforting to share something you are unsure about and get feedback.” McPhee’s comments were reflected in a diverse cast of participants at the McMullen event. Each presentation captured the inclusivity of BC, as those in attendance cheered for the writers who shared eagerly and nervously.
Set under the stars on Brighton Campus in the sleek McMullen Museum, the first in-person event put on by either of the prestigious publications was a smashing success as the turnout exceeded expectations. The audience was treated to deeply personal and vulnerable works by fellow students, as well as more jovial works that evoked laughter from spectators. Events like these emphasize what the BC community has been deprived of over the past year and a half in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the students who chose to spend an hour of their Thursday night at the open mic event glimpsed the genius and uniqueness that disguises itself in the student body at BC.
Ultimately, the event is worth as much as the students attending put into it. After some initial hesitation to the mic being opened up to the audience, a procession of students stepped up to share. The works delivered from their lips added an unreproducible impact and emotion to the night. The next time you find yourself disconnected from your peers, take a look at the posters that garnish the stairway walls around campus. The events advertised, like the open mic night, offer numerous opportunities for students looking to feel connected and get more involved throughout the year.
After a night of open hearts and minds, this semester looks promising for the two publications. Yet, beyond involvement and looking for an opportunity to build resumes, events like the McMullen open mic night present a rare opportunity for like-minded students to share in the emotional vulnerability seldom seen on campus. Things may not always be the way they seem. BC’s culture of overstretched commitments is incredibly draining, especially when placed under smiling facades. Open mic night presented an escape from such over-involvement woes and allowed those invested in their work to share in these pleasures with fellow BC writers.