Imagine you and your mom are attending the same college at the same time. That’s the synchronous story of Mika Wieczorek ‘24 and Emi Bague, MA ’24.
This past fall, they began their first semester studying at Emerson together: Wieczorek as an undergraduate Creative Writing major, and Bague, the assistant director of International Student Services at the Career Development Center, as a graduate student in the Publishing and Writing program.
“I thought it would be interesting,” said Wieczorek about being in school at the same time. “I remembered when I was in sixth grade and that my aunt was my teacher. It’s reminiscent of that, with having family in the same space.”
The two said attending Emerson at the same time is fascinating because they witness some of the same things, and when they discuss them, they are addressing them from their unique points of views — Wieczorek as an undergrad, and Bague as a grad student, staff member, and Emerson parent.
They talk about world events and can often relate and connect them to experiences among their friends, family, and colleagues, and to the microcosm at Emerson. They openly engage in conversations about social justice, and Bague is involved in related work groups in her department and division at the College.
“If something happens on campus or makes the news, like the protests, we process it among fellow staff, and as a dinner conversation at home,” said Bague.
Of course, they talk about classes and homework assignments.
“Mika has asked, ‘Mom have you done your homework?’ I think, oh my goodness, my kid is disciplining me, and I’m like ‘no’,” joked Bague.
Attending school remotely the last two semesters has given them ample opportunities to discuss schoolwork, sometimes within a few feet of each other. They can review each other’s discussion posts on Canvas for classes, and provide feedback to each other.
“One assignment for my Digital Publishing class was about fan fiction. For me, it’s a theme in the industry, but for Mika, it’s part of their life,” said Bague. “I had Mika read my post to see if my response resonated with them. For me it was theory, and for Mika it was practice.”
While Wieczorek will face the timeless question of what to do with their life after college, Bague seized the opportunity to build a better foundation in the publishing industry, an area of interest for her for many years. Wieczorek is always writing, including their own comics and graphic novels, doing both the illustrating and writing. They can also imagine teaching English in a non-English speaking country after graduating from Emerson.
On the opposite end of the timeline, Bague and Wieczorek remember the day they both knew they would be a great fit for Emerson. Bague was reading an Emerson job posting and college profile to Wieczorek one evening in February 2018.
“Mika said, ‘You need to work there.’ I said, ‘OK, I’ll apply,’” recalled Emi. “So I did, and got the offer. During my first year or so, I would think to myself, ‘I can see Mika here in the future.’ I would talk about it with my colleagues, about how ‘Emersonian’ Mika is.”
Emerson ended up being both their number one choice, and neither planned or expected to enroll at the same time in Fall 2020. There is even a possibility in the future that the two will graduate and walk on the same day.
And the sweetness of attending college at the same time is not lost on the pair.
“I love it. It’s a gift,” said Bague.