Stephanie Kocer

Writer. Editor. Grad Student.

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Paper Proposals


I have two very specific obsessions as of late; “The Morning Show” and my seminar paper proposal. My two favorite things; writing papers and thinking about how underrated Jennifer Aniston is.

We’ve been watching “The Morning Show” an episode at a time, drawing out the already drawn out first three episodes of the show. For me, the semester seems to be taking forever to get to the next act as well. In my class we have to write a 20-page final seminar paper. It’s due during finals week in December, but first we must present a paper proposal our classmates edit, followed by turning in a draft for classmates to edit again, before turning in a final draft. This is my first official seminar paper of grad school. And it’s strangely terrifying.

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I Decorated For the Holidays Early

My dad had a very strict rule growing up; we were not allowed to decorate for Christmas until the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Not a single light or ornament was to go up in the house before then. Holiday decorations in the stores? Look away. Early Black Friday ads in the local paper? Just throw them in the trash. This rule has stuck with me into adulthood. Don’t rush past November my dad would say. The holidays have become far too commercialized anyway.

But the best thing about being an adult is making your own decisions. Sorry, dad. I decorated for Christmas today. Continue reading

What I Learned This Week: Always Manage Your Time Wisely

I told you I would be trying to write more! When I sat down and really thought about it, I realized that I’m learning things in grad school every week. Sometimes I learn about politics and religion. Sometimes I learn about a new author. Sometimes I learn about a new way to analyze a text or a way to write the perfect paragraph talking about that text. Other days I learn I still have, well, a lot to learn. I’m still trying to get the online school thing just right. I struggle with feeling inferior to my classmates every day. I’m still terrible at note taking. But I’m learning.

What I was reminded of this week is that you have to always manage your time wisely.

Sure, that’s a given in most adult situations, but in grad school it takes on different meaning. The reason I learned about this phenomenon this week is because I found myself with too much time on my hands. With one of my classes already over for the semester, I only have one class left to work on. And with the month of November sneaking up on us, the semester is nearing it’s stressful end already. The only problem is this week my professor isn’t requiring our usual discussion assignment (I’m guessing she’s out of town at a conference) and the only thing I have to do right now is finish reading our last novel. Easy, right? Continue reading

What I’ve Learned in the First Semester of Grad School

As you can imagine, I am exhausted. Graduate school is everything everyone told me it would be and absolutely nothing like what anyone told me. I have late nights. I have stressful dread lines. I read constantly. I write constantly. I have group discussions over Google Hangouts and one-on-one video chats with professors at a time of night that works for both of our schedules.

And when I’m not doing those things I’m working full-time. Being an adult is hard. Being a working adult trying to earn another degree seems like a terrible idea. But, I have to admit something. I really love it.

I love talking to like-minded people who love literature as much as I do. I love coming home from a long day of work and writing a paper or reading half of a novel. I feel more like myself when I do those things. Sure, it’s a lot of work, and I have no idea what I want to do after I finish the degree, but I feel more fulfilled than ever before. Continue reading

Here We Go Again

When I graduated from college I told myself I was done. I was burnt out. I didn’t want to see another assignment or read another book that I didn’t pick out myself ever again. I was going to have my 9 to 5 life and my free time back.

But the thing was, a year into working full-time in journalism I felt like there was something missing from my career. I still loved writing, but it no longer felt like I was being able to flex the right writing muscles. I got to read books again; books I had selected for myself! What was I missing?

It took me awhile to figure out that the thing I was missing was school. No matter how cool I try to be the truth is I’m a nerd. I love writing papers. I love being in class and discussing things written a hundred years ago. There’s something about that academic setting, how literature can lead to a discussion about culture and politics that made me want to stay in school forever. So that became the new goal.

My fondest memories of undergrad studies were spent in English classes discussing In Cold Blood and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. I wanted to have those discussions all over again. But this time I wanted to be leading them.

Maybe I would become an English professor.

It wasn’t an easy conclusion to come to. And I truthfully didn’t know much about how someone actually becomes a professor. So the research began, casually at first then more serious, looking into schools. Then I had to be realistic. I couldn’t just quit my job to do a doctorate. And what if I got there and discovered I was wrong and I hated it? Would I be stuck? And most importantly, how the hell was I going to pay for another degree? Continue reading

“When the Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Running”

Blind Runner Completes Boston Marathon, Encourages Others with Disabilities to Get Out of Their Comfort Zones

I thought I would share an article I wrote at work. There’s a lot of terrible news out there on the daily. I feel lucky enough to work for an organization that helps tell stories about the good in the world. It was an honor to get to write about Rachel and her incredible journey. We can all learn a little something from her.


Why ‘The Dirt’ is Better Than ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

Look. I’m only going to say this one more time: “Bohemian Rhapsody” was not a good movie. It gave little to no thought to Freddie’s real truth and it tried to convince us that “We Will Rock You” was written in the 80s. What a bunch of Hollywood bullshit.

It’s too bad, because Queen is one of the most important, influential rock bands of our time. They deserved better. Freddie deserved better. “Bohemian Rhapsody” deserved Nikki Sixx.


“The Dirt” dropped on Netflix on last week. It tells the story of the most legendary dirtbag band of all time: Motley Crue. Based on their 2001 memoir of the same name, “The Dirt” explores the Crue’s rise to fame in the early 80s, their hard-partying, drug use, and girls, girls, girls. And I’m happy to report that “The Dirt” is a far better biopic than “Bohemian Rhapsody.”


Now before I really get going into hair metal fangirl gush mode, let’s state the obvious. Queen was a far better, far more important band than Motley Crue in terms of influence, art, and their lasting affect on pop culture. Motley Crue has their triumphant moments (hello “Wild Side”), but their music was still just hair metal. Popular, of course. But more brawn than brains.

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Oscars 2019: What is Going On?

Some people make bets on horse races. Some people lose their minds over the World Series. I like talking about the Oscars. The Academy Awards are Hollywood’s biggest pat on the back and they’re ridiculous. I don’t know if I’ve seen an Oscars as ridiculous as this year’s. No host? Announcing they wouldn’t televise certain categories, only to take back that decision after people complained. Not to mention there’s no clear winner in like any category. It’s the wild west this year. So buckle up because I have a feeling it’s going to be a really bumpy night.

Here’s my attempt at some predictions:

Best Picture
Should Win: This is a tough one. Call me a sucker but I loved “A Star is Born” even with its flaws. And man, not enough people are talking about how great “BlacKkKlansman” is. And then there’s “Green Book,” the feel good choice that, even ridden with controversy, still seems to win a lot. But dear lord let it not be the flaming dumpster fire that is “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Will Win: “Black Panther,” because the Academy has a history of giving people what they want after enough complaints.

Actor in a Leading Role
Should Win: I’ve wrestled with this one all year. I love Christian Bale and his Dick Cheney was great, but I don’t think Bradley Cooper will ever have another performance like “A Star is Born.” Everyone has been talking about Gaga, but B. Coops outshines her in every way. I know he won’t win. But damn do I wish it for him.
Will Win: Rami Malek. Listen, playing Freddie is a hell of a task and no one could be expected to get it right. Rami came pretty close even if the movie as a whole sucked. What would have been better is if the movie had been a hard R so we could have seen the whole story. Maybe then he would deserve this one.

Actress in a Leading Role
Should Win: Gaga. I don’t want to hear your arguments because you’re wrong. She did what Barbra only dreamed of doing.
Will Win: Glen Close, because it’s time. Continue reading

Galentine’s Day


Today is February 13, the day before Valentine’s Day, otherwise known as Galentine’s Day thanks to forever perfect sitcom “Parks and Recreation.”  Those that know me know that I despise anything that has to do with Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t have to do with the fact that I happen to be single on Valentine’s Day this year, either. It’s just the simple idea that we’re told we need a separate holiday to tell someone we love them. Shouldn’t we love every day of the year, whether there be flowers and pointless stuffed animals?

Leslie Knope believed that Galentine’s Day was more important than the day that followed because it was a chance to celebrate the women in her life. So for the next two days I’ve decided to do the same. I’ve been blessed with an array of smart, sophisticated, badass ladies in my life who have been there during the hard times and laughed with me in the joyous moments. As you get older you get better at realizing you can pick and choose your adult friends. I’ve been able to choose wonderful female friends who give nothing but love and support. Real life isn’t “Mean Girls” and real women know that female friendship is as important as breathing.


For some reason Galentine’s Day always reminds me of my all-time favorite essay, Why Women Aren’t Funny by the late Christopher Hitchens. It ran in Vanity Fair in 2007 and was met with a lot of backlash from, well, women. Hitchens was famous for his opinionated essays and really liked to push people’s buttons (he wrote a book called God is Not Great, so there’s that). The essay essentially argues that men historically have had to be funny because that is what impresses women. On the other side, women just need to be pretty to attract men, so there is never a need for us to be funny. Hitchens argues that all our lives we’re told by our mothers and grandmothers to sit up straight, look nice, and never curse or tell a dirty joke because men don’t find that attractive. As a result, women aren’t ever expected to be truly funny and as a population, we would rather watch a man be funny than a woman.

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The Mule Review

Boy oh boy. Remember when Clint Eastwood said he wasn’t going to act in his movies anymore? Yeah, me neither.

“The Mule” is his latest film that depicts the real-life drug mule Leo Sharp and his years of running product back and forth from Mexico for the Sinaloa cartel. Sharp was 90 when he was caught and plead guilty to everything. It’s a pretty crazy story for anyone that say, has a grandparent. I couldn’t imagine either of my grandfathers doing something like that.

In the film, Sharp’s name is changed to Earl. We learn pretty much everything we need to know about him in the first 10 minutes of the film. He grows flowers for a living and is very proud of them; he’s estranged from his family because he’s a terrible father; and he’s a womanizer. A mixture of these things lead Earl to be broke. In a desperate move he uses a contact he makes at his granddaughter’s engagement party to help move drugs for the Sinaloa cartel. It’s meant to just be a one-time thing, but Earl makes a big chunk of change from the cartel for his services so he continues to make runs for them. Eventually DEA investigators get wind from a snitch that there’s a mule running drugs. Enter a disappointingly clean cut Bradley Cooper who is trying to catch Earl. The surprise on his face when he finally does catch the mule and finds out he’s a 90-year-old man, almost makes up for the fact that B. Coops is no longer a scruffy addict rocker. Continue reading

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