TEXT BY SOPHIA JENNINGS, CREATIVE DIRECTOR ('16)
PHOTO BY RICK MANAYAN, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ('17)
I returned from abroad to a conversation about the privilege of METHOD. Which I understand. As a freshman, METHOD was once compared to a “cocaine-lifestyle brand,” a print magazine flaunting a Gatsby aesthetic in the middle of rural Connecticut. It was a social group rooted in escapism, Russell House parties with boys in suits and girls pouring glasses of champagne. It felt like a secret society but so, so, so much louder.
This is where we started. Since then, Ben Romero and I have turned METHOD into an online magazine. During the spring of 2014, we ran (more often fell) around campus asking everyone we knew to send in articles. Some of our most successful pieces came from outside of staff, like the series “On Grieving at Wesleyan” and “On Class and In Class.” Personally, I love “A Field Guide for Non-Residential Aliens,” discussing post-grad life sans citizenship. These are all pieces that were submitted to METHOD for publication.
METHOD is a growing organization, and as we grow, we make mistakes. We’re new. This is our third semester as a functioning online publication and our editorial progress is still improving. We’re the freshmen wearing the lanyard, in the scheme of things. Articles are uploaded without every editors’ approval; we make jokes to and for ourselves. Most of the time, we thought people weren’t paying attention. To our great surprise, you were.
There’s a post in the Wesleyan Class Confessions page that criticizes complaints beginning with “I don’t pay 61k.” I wrote that post in response to nearly three years of hearing “I don’t pay 61k to not get in to the film major” or “I don’t pay 61k to live in a triple.”
I wrote that post because I think some of Wesleyan needs to be more aware of most of Wesleyan. I was born into money and then we lost it. I’ve argued with students for assuming I pay full tuition, unaware that I have a single mom living check to check. This isn’t to say I’m not privileged. I am. This is only to say that I’ve been in the position of discomfort over issues of class, and I, in no way, want METHOD to be a perpetrator of such behavior, or any behavior that fosters an atmosphere of exclusion and elitism.
With my ears full of criticism for the Method “aesthetic,” I turned to alum writer Rachel Lim for advice. “All magazines are privileged,” she told me. This is true. To have the opportunity to publish our thoughts is a frivolous privilege. But, with your help, we can use it to tell more stories, to make Wesleyan a more aware community.
As we enter the new year, we’re holding ourselves to ever higher standards, working towards a METHOD we can be proud of. In turn, I challenge you to join us and write your own stories so you too can sit in the privileged seat of being heard.