NNNN Episode #26 With Journalist Matt Berg

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I’ve been sitting on this episode for a while now for no particular reason other than sheer laziness (and reading a couple books in the meantime)  but I’m so excited to finally release this interview with UMass Journalism’s boy wonder- Matt Berg.

Matt has an extremely bright future ahead wherever it takes him but he has already had his work featured for The Boston Globe and UMass Daily Collegian amongst others. It was so awesome to finally get the chance to sit down with him.

I don’t think it will disappoint:


Apple Podcasts:


Intro song:

Slippery Slope by Yaw Amp

Outro Song:

Demise by Fellz & Cubie


The Outsiders

By: Nicole Bates Instagram: @nicolebates_

One of my favorite books (and movies), Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, describes high school in a delightfully witty and honest way. When I first read the book, I thought the main character Greg’s categorization of the groups in high school was extremely limiting. But now?

I see there is quite a bit of truth in his descriptions. 

Greg is a bit of an outsider and throughout the whole narrative he is extremely self-deprecating. He shares that he has “[mastered] the languages and customs of [his high school’s] various sovereign states” and from his perspective, “you belong to one nation.” However, he has devised a way to get “citizenship with everyone…just [to] be on low key good terms with everyone.”

In this short post, I can’t do Greg Gaines’ elaborate description of his high school’s social system justice so you are going to have to read the book to learn for yourself. But the gist of his message is that every high school has its basic groups. Most typical high schools have the popular kids, the nerds, the theater kids, the band kids, the stoners and the jocks. Obviously, as with everything, there is some degree of crossover between all the groups. But in high school- associating with one group is sometimes the only way to get by.

Hopefully by now we have all learned that these “social groups” are futile and they don’t really define a person’s identity. However, as a society, we never really stop putting people in boxes.

As the saying goes; high school never ends*.

People like these categories because it imposes order. I mean think about how many times you’ve talked with your friends about which Hogwarts house everyone would be in or what character from The Office you would be. People like to associate things with each other, even if they don’t exactly fit, because putting a title to something helps us think about things more clearly.

I personally don’t think that there is anything wrong with putting people in groups. Obviously when people take it too far and begin to discriminate against someone because of their “social group” then problems can arise, but the beauty of a group is it brings people together who have common interests.

All the “band kids” love playing music, and the “nerds” love to learn, the “jocks” love sports and the “theater kids” love to put on a show. I think it can be a wonderful thing to find a group of people who value the same thing as you do.

However, society’s desire to put people in groups becomes difficult when you are someone who doesn’t really feel they belong in any one group. Then you become a part of a bigger, less unified group of “misfits” or the “outsiders.”

In high school, where people rely so heavily on groups, being a “misfit” or an “outsider” can be really hard. I’d say that’s what Greg Gaines represents; he’s what some may call a “floater.” He’s friendly with everyone, but he doesn’t have a core group of friends to turn to. That’s cool most of the time but what about when it comes to prom or graduation?

Who do you celebrate these big things with?

I’d say in high school that I was a bit of a “floater.” I had solid friends that I stuck with but I liked to float around to different groups of people to keep things interesting. And I loved all the people I hung out with.

But I did sometimes experience that feeling of being an “outsider” because you saw the people with their “friend groups” who they did everything with and I never felt that sense of belonging in a group.

As I have grown surer of myself, I have begun to take this “floating” in stride. I know the kinds of people I want to be around and I know I might not find all those people in one place. I have accepted that it is ok to not have one “friend group” which is all inclusive of everyone I spend my time with. I’ve discovered it’s actually extremely normal to have different friends for different things.

I definitely still feel like a bit of an outsider, but I have learned how to hold my own better when I walk into a room when I feel like I don’t belong. Often times if you walk into a room where you feel you don’t belong, there are other people feeling the exact same way. There is a comfort in knowing that others can relate to your experience feeling like an outsider. In a way, this is a “group” to associate with: the outsiders.

The people who feel they never fit into those narrow categories in high school can form a more powerful category of their own. 

Isolating yourself from other people because you feel like you don’t “belong” is never going to help you feel more comfortable. And it may sound cliché but there is always somewhere in which everyone belongs- no one is truly an “outsider.” It’s all about your mindset, you just have to push yourself to keep searching for the people who make you feel like you belong.

And if you let yourself be open to others- that sense of belonging will find its way to you.


Editor’s Note:

*- Obligatory

NNNN Episode #22 with Taeko Gupta

Awesome conversation with Taeko about:

-UMass Amherst Voices

-Comedy in today’s world

-Importance of History

-Armchair Activism

-Pros/Cons of irony

and more.

Hope everyone enjoys (and shares with at least 2 friends):



P.S- Make sure to check out Taeko’s blog at https://tgupta820.wixsite.com/taekogupta






“There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and The Great Pumpkin.” -Linus


I strolled into class today (fashionably late) only to find out that we would be using the period as a study hall. Some students might question whether there was really a need for class when studying can be done anywhere- but not I! (I didn’t even make a $30,000 study hall joke- credit to me)

With that being said, I didn’t actually do any studying because our teacher threw on “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” for a little background noise.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for academic excellence.

But when Charlie Brown comes on-

You put the books away.

It was probably the first time I’d seen the half hour special in years and I was utterly shocked by some of the scenes in the movie.

Someone has to start the conversation that should’ve been had a long time ago:


“Everyone tells me you are a fake, but I believe in you.

P.S- If you really are a fake, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.”


Hahaha- Linus you dummy! That imbecile spent his entire Halloween waiting for the Great Pumpkin to make their triumphant return. If the Pumpkin hasn’t come back yet what makes his dumbass think this year will be any different? You almost have to respect the blind commitment to the take.


But Pat- what makes believing in Santa any different than the Great Pumpkin?

Because I used to believe in Santa…duh? Also, everybody knows that you should always believe what everyone else thinks. Even if you know there are some gaping holes within that belief it’s better to have blind faith. Nothing can go wrong from believing in something without any evidence to back it up.

George Michael said it best- “gotta have faith”!

Gee Pat- I guess you’re right. It’s a good thing this clip is only talking about the ‘Great Pumpkin’ vs. Santa Clause and not the actual religions of the world. That would be a lot scarier to think about.

Agreed; thank God for that.


P.S- No matter what you believe, give these two clips a watch when you get a minute.


NNNN Episode #21 with Ryan Beaton

Had a great conversation with Ryan that hit on a myriad of topics including:

-His work covering UMass athletics

-Views on the journalism idustry

-Late night TV/Celebrity culture

and of course





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