Design by Sarah Chung

Everyone grows up. It’s the inevitable consequence of life ticking forward one second at a time, but just because we grow up doesn’t mean we are grown-ups. We all come of age distinctly, surrounded by different people and existing in different circumstances, but we are united in the fact that growing up sucks. It’s a beautiful, disgusting, painful, euphoric process that asks us to strip ourselves bare, raw and vulnerable before building us back into the person we are meant to become. Like every other difficult experience in life, the best way to explore coming of age is through art. This B-Side is a gallery walk through eight wonderful writers as they explore where coming of age intersected with their lives. 

— Mik Deitz, Senior Arts Editor

The enormity of 17 has no space for sickness by Managing Arts Editor Lillian Pearce

Seventeen is the idolized coming-of-age age. It’s not representative of a number necessarily but of a concept. The idea of 17 has been explored and exploited in Hollywood since 1965 — “You are sixteen going on seventeen / baby it’s time to think / Better beware, be canny and careful / Baby, you’re on the brink.” Seventeen is notable because it’s between two symbolic ages in American culture.

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‘Big Mouth’ puts the ‘coming’ in ‘coming of age’ by Daily Arts Contributor Maya Levy

Created by childhood best friends Nick Kroll (“Kroll Show”) and Andrew Goldberg (“Family Guy”), the series is a profane retelling of their own experiences in middle school — acne scars and all. Now in its fifth season, the series has developed a complex cast of tweens accompanied by an array of personified, monstrous pubescent emotions. Where most coming-of-age stories show how things might get worse before they get better, in “Big Mouth,” things just keep getting worse, forcing us to endure the extreme (and often graphic) truths of puberty.

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Hindsight is 2020: A look back on ‘(500) Days of Summer’ by Senior Arts Editor Katrina Stebbins

The older I get, the less I like hindsight. I know that since we’re only the sum of all of our past selves, that self-reflection is healthy and so on. However, there are moments when I think back to some of the things I wore or liked or did or believed when I was younger and I vow to never reminisce again. When I think back, especially to high school, I’m forced to recognize that I was probably a pretty fucking unbearable teenager.

Read more here.

Self-Love and ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ by Daily TV Beat Editor Emmy Snyder

Hot take: I hate syllabus week. 

Better known as “sylly week,” the first week of college classes in a semester is often referenced affectionately as the final week in which a student could condone their laziness and theoretically couldn’t yet be behind. For some students, it’s purgatory at worst, party time at best. For me, though, sylly week (and its single day high school equivalent) is misery. Every semester, I feel as if I am staring up a mountain, lacking both the desire and proper equipment to climb.

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Lessons on loss: A defense of Holden Caulfield by Daily Arts Writer Andrew Pluta

My TikTok feed has only ever dabbled in the literary subgenre of BookTok. I’ll get a book recommendation once a month, at most. But for whatever reason, I get a disproportionate amount of content hating on J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye.” Some creators criticize the work as a whole; others go to great lengths to tear apart its protagonist, Holden Caulfield. After seeing so many nearly identical angry takes, I caved. I bought a used copy of “Catcher” to re-read it and get to the bottom of why so many grown adults were insistent on verbally berating a fictional 16-year-old.

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My own Mr. Keating: Why I love ‘Dead Poets Society’ by Daily Arts Writer Hannah Carapellotti

“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life. To put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I had come to die, discover that I had not lived.”

I first watched “Dead Poets Society” my junior year of high school; its poster taunted me, sitting unwatched in my watchlist. When one of my classmates learned I had never seen it before, she was outraged. “Why not?! Your mom is an English teacher, for crying out loud!” I watched it shortly after and loved it, just as she knew I would. I then recommended it to another friend who hadn’t seen it, who came up to me days later and told me it made him cry.

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The ‘Minecraft’ soundtrack is the soundtrack to a generation by Daily Arts Writer Jack Moeser

About a year ago, I ran into an old friend during the commute home from one of my classes. Given the state of the world in 2021, that commute was, of course, entirely virtual, and consisted merely of moving a cursor from the big red “Leave Meeting” button on Zoom to the power down button on the Windows start menu. But during my cursor’s brief virtual transit across the screen, it passed by a familiar face, somehow unchanged in the years since we’d first met: the “Minecraft” launcher icon.

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Crying in a car alone: Coming of age just like in the movies by Daily Arts Writer Erin Evans

“And I had a feeling that I belonged. I had a feeling I could be someone.”

As this quote from Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” evokes in its magnificent and haunting chorus, there is something about flying along in a car that makes you feel like you can leave what you know behind and do anything. While the narrator of this song does not drive the car herself, it is still the object that both literally carries her away from home and figuratively carries her into a new chapter of her life. One where she belongs. One where she can “be someone.” Like so many songs and stories describe, my coming of age coincided with the time I learned to drive.

Read more here.