Briana Johnson: A Summary

Let’s just say, I struggle to create witty titles. It’s not really my strong suite.

Also get ready to get visual.

My name is Briana Johnson. I grew up in Port Huron, Michigan. I’m an only child who grew up watching a lot of Sidney Poitier, Marilyn Monroe and Gene Kelly. My dad was into a lot of New Wave music, so, think like Wham! or Blondie. He really shaped my heavy interest in media studies and music, which is probably why I ended up as a Communications Major (even though he likes to tell me my taste in music is weird, his are literally the same in comparison). 

I call my mom Marilyn. To a lot of people that’s weird, and disrespectful. Which, honestly, started out from a place of disrespect. My mom and I were at each others throats almost every day when I was in middle school (yeah, I know, all moms and daughters are at this time). I started referring to her as Marilyn with such contempt, that I think people actually thought I hated my mom. Like really hated my mom. But I definitely don’t. Now I just call her Marilyn because it stuck.

Mom and I, always posing for the camera.

She’s probably one of my favorite people to talk to. Most of our conversations end up in fits of laughter, both of us red in the face and crying. In a lot of ways, I’m just like her. We both have this odd knack for attracting conversation, whether we want it or not. Every time we leave the house, my mother runs into someone she once knew. And let me tell you, these conversations last forever. Although at first I didn’t notice it, my friends have pointed out that the same shit happens to me. Thanks mom, I’m definitely a talker. 

A lot of the time when I tell people I’m from Port Huron, Michigan, people give me that glossy eyed “oh okay, I don’t really know where that is but I’m going to pretend I do” look. But lately, a shock to me, Port Huron (and its surrounding areas) have been sending a lot of its students to Michigan. There was a moment where I was walking down the street last year with a friend, when I said “You know, it’s weird, Port Huron doesn’t really seem the type of place to breed Michigan students, but I keep meeting a bunch of people from there,” to which a boy walking in front of us whipped his head around, smiled brightly, and said “hey, I’m from Port Huron!” I kid you not.

Port Huron sits across from this thing called Chemical Valley. A lot of people hate it. Although there have been reports that it’s perfectly safe to be living across from a chemical plant, it’s still a bit unnerving to hear drill sirens wailing at midnight on Mondays. Since we sit right on the water, and Chemical Valley is across from us, you can take a drive up the one main road that goes straight through town, and gaze at it in all its glory. When I was little, I called it the fairy city. I mean, what child sees a distant land of twinkling lights, and wouldn’t think that? Right?

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Nice, right? Like our own little city…full of chemicals and wonder! So, basically just like the city. 

Honestly, Port Huron is the type of place to either a) lock you in completely, or b) cause so much emotional damage to you that you have to get away. Or at least that’s what I’ve noticed. It’s a small town, not a lot of diversity. I was one out of about 7 or 8 black students in my graduating class. The number was a lot lower for other ethnicities. There isn’t much to do either. Besides sitting at the bridge late at night, or sitting in the Meijer parking lot (change of location is nice sometimes, yknow?), or spending hours wandering the empty carcass that is downtown Port Huron, the younger crowd of Port Huron is bored out of their minds.

I’m so tiny! In the young sense, and the physical sense.

So, naturally, I began to draw. Yeah, kind of weird place to stem off. But I honestly think the lack of social interaction I had as a child, combined with my overwhelming library of media, and the fact that Port Huron had (or maybe still has…) nothing really going for it, that I became the art kid. When I was little, it seemed like that’s all I did. Heck, in highschool that IS all I did. I did it so often and well enough that I got my art on billboards throughout the county. After a stressful 7 months, I got a 5 on my AP art exam. On the side, I was a section leader in marching band. I got straight A’s. My friends and I were happy together. I got my first boyfriend. I breezed through highschool, barely even breaking a sweat (kind of). My life was seemingly perfect.

Near the end of my senior year, I started working at the local Ruby Tuesday. It’s where I met my second family. For my first summer there, I hosted.

My coworker, and best friend, Carolyne, once called me out for constantly having a coffee in hand. I’m still working on it, okay?

A lot of people knew me as the quiet, secluded girl who did art (and as Bryan’s daughter, because my dad was there a lot). I got my first nickname, Pearl, because I wore pearl earrings every day. They were the only fancy earrings I owned, which were passed down to me after my grandma died that year. But when I came back from college for my second summer there, people learned I was anything but quiet. I became a waitress and things changed drastically. I got into fights with people, cursed under my breath a lot more, and was physically assaulted by a customer. I saw one of my coworkers get addicted to opioids and go back to rehab. It’s where my caffeine addiction started. I was eating a lot more than I used to and gained 20 lbs. I stopped drawing. I had my share of depression.

A watercolor I did freshman year before my sophomore year of hell. 

My world pretty much fell apart.

During my sophomore year I almost, comically, lost my mind. I got into a lot of friendships that probably weren’t good for me, and I wasn’t a good friend. I depended on people a lot, I overshared even more. I didn’t really know what I was doing. But like someone stranded in the ocean, I drastically thrashed to stay afloat. My art didn’t seem as good as it was before. I lost an eye for it. I was a lot less passionate about my passion.

I fizzled out. I spent a lot of time by myself.

But I wrote a lot of edgy poetry, and that’s something I found that I like a lot.

After the hellride that was sophomore year ended, I was horrified that I’d be damn near hysterical for my last summer at Ruby’s. But I wasn’t. I was fine. I found myself laughing with people, getting along with customers (as much as one can get along with customers) and drawing a lot more. Ruby’s taught me a lot about what it actually means to grow up. At first I was super cynical about it. Drug addiction is depressing, weight gain is depressing, depression is depressing. But I learned so many coping mechanisms during time there. The art of oversharing was something I had mastered in my previous life, but now I know how to share just enough. How to say fuck it, today, I’m going to try and be happy. No matter if I eat a little more than I want, or I learn something that sends me into a bout of cynicism, I’m going to be aware of it.

I’m allowed to make mistakes.

The quality on this is significantly worse than on my phone. Lame.
A self-portrait from an art class I took last semester.

Anyway, that was a rant that got really deep, really fast. And it’s pretty disjointed, so if you have questions, ask I guess.

I’ll probably have more to share in other blog posts.

So, here’s more of my art.

And my roommates that I don’t want to go too deeply about, but they’re really great and I love living with them. They push me to be a better person.

I can’t wait to get to know all of you this semester! 





Max Marcovitch introduction

Hello fellow minor in writing students,

My name is Max Marcovitch — or as you might prefer to call me: “that one guy in the class.” When I’m not writing in class, I’m probably writing outside of class. I’m heavily involved in the Michigan Daily as one of the sports editors, covering the football team. Last year I covered the basketball team, and got to travel with them all the way to the Final Four. If you watched some of their games, you might remember where you were when Jordan Poole hit his game-winning shot. I was about 15 feet to his right. (There’s a photo at the bottom from that trip)

In case you haven’t gathered, I like sports, but that’s enough about sports.

I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia (I’m actually the fifth-generation on my mom’s side from ATL). I’m majoring in Political Science, and have been involved in a few campaigns in the past. I’m also minoring in History of Law and Policy. Do I want to go to law school? You’re only the 100000th person to ask. But this isn’t a forum to recite my resume. I like to think I’m a personable, friendly guy, and always looking to make friends. So come talk to me about politics, sports, existential life questions, pop culture, music, whatever. Looking forward to a fun class!

Amanda Rudolf Introduction

Hi everyone!  My name is Amanda Rudolf, and I am in Julie Babcock’s Gateway into the Minor in Writing class.  I am a sophomore, and my major is currently undecided.  I am from Long Island, New York, which is one of my favorite places to be!  Close to New York City and also the beach, I am always eager to be outside or see something new.  I’m sad that the summer is over because it’s the time when I get to do my favorite things like swim in my pool or tan by the beach, but I’m happy to be back in Ann Arbor.  My older sister graduated from the University of Michigan last year, so for the past 5 years of my life Michigan has been an important aspect of my family’s lives.

One thing that I knew for sure was that I wanted to pursue writing in college.  I’ve always loved to write, and through the classes I’ve taken here at the University of Michigan I was able to realize how important it truly is to me.  Whether it’s writing for an academic course or just jotting down my thoughts in the notes app on my phone before bed, I love to use writing as a way to express myself.  I enjoy taking initiative and feel comfortable talking in front of a crowd, but I definitely think it is an important skill to be able to put my thoughts and words into writing.  I am excited to see what I can learn from this course!

Hello Minor in Writing Community!

Hi everyone! My name is Natalie, and I’m from San Francisco, CA. I’m a junior majoring in biomolecular science. As of now, I’m planning on a career in the pharmaceutical sciences. Since freshman year, I’ve been involved with BLUElab, research, and the Michigan Club Synchronized Swimming Team. Last year on the team, I got to compete in USA Synchro’s National Collegiate Championship in Arizona! I also enjoy reading books and exploring new places. And of course, I am pursuing a minor in writing. I really want to develop as a writer and am excited to begin with the Gateway course!

Exploring a city just outside my hometown!

Marissa Thompson Introduction

Hi everyone, my name is Marissa Thompson and I am a Junior in Julie Babcock’s Minor in Writing Gateway course. My family currently lives in Los Angeles but I grew up in the suburbs of New York City until I was 15 years old. I like to think I’m a genuinely upbeat and positive person, who loves spending time with friends and family. I spend my free time seeking out new music and exploring the outdoors. When I am home in Los Angeles you can usually find me at the beach or in the sun.

I am really excited to be taking this course and exploring this minor because writing has always been an outlet for me. I think naturally my life as a Michigan student doesn’t allow me to self-reflect and use introspection as much as I should. I have found that the English and Writing classes I have taken at this university have provided me with that space and allowed me to not only grow my writing but my self-understanding.

Thanks for reading! 🙂





The picture on my right is home (Pacific Palisades, CA)!

Sophie Kalt Introduction

Hi! My name is Sophie Kalt and I am in Julie Babcock’s gateway into the Writing Minor class. Writing has always been a passion of mine so I am excited to broaden my writing skills and creativities in this class. I am a junior at the University of Michigan majoring in Communications and minoring in Writing and Sales. I have lived in Chicago, IL my whole life. My great grandfather, grandfather, and my parents went to Michigan, and now me and my younger sister go to Michigan. Having so much of my family go to the University of Michigan was a reason why getting in was such a dream for me. I have grown up going to Michigan football games and eating Zingerman’s sandwiches. I also have a 1 year old puppy named Penny, who is a huge part of our family. She is like the fourth sister in my family.

I love to read. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. Two of my favorite books include, The Nightingale and Once We Were Brothers. I also love to run. I ran track and cross country in high school and running continues to be something I do daily. At school, I am a brand ambassador for a spin studio on campus, as well as a writer for Her Campus. Over the summer, I interned at a recruiting technology company called Built In, where I was able to write articles weekly about tech news happening in Chicago and other major cities. This internship gave me great exposure into the content and marketing world and helped me better know what I want in my career.

Hello, Sweetland, my new friend, I’ve come to talk to you for the first time

Hi, I’m Kayla and the title is my attempt to be funny and original. It’s my version of the opening lyrics to “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel, as opposed to the over-memed Adele song. If you’re not familiar with it, I’ve included a link here to the YouTube video, feel free to listen, or not. Either way I promise I won’t be offended.

Alright now onto me, because that’s what this is all supposed to be about. I’m currently a junior here at the University of Michigan. I’m majoring in Biopsychology Cognition and Neuroscience (basically Psychology, it just sounds more pretentious) and doing a minor in writing (that probably wasn’t necessary, I’m just excited about it so I thought I’d mention it here).  Here are some of the most important things to note about me:

  1. I love food, like a lot.
Casually eating tapas in Spain.
Buffalo Wild Wings had a killer deal too good to pass up.











2. I have a passion for pillows.

I think I have 11, and yes that is my dog in the picture, which brings me to my third important fact (these are in no particular order).

3. I am slightly obsessed with my dog. Okay, not slightly, I am totally and completely obsessed with my dog (in fact I’m using her as a desk as I write this).

Unfortunately, as you can probably tell, the feeling isn’t exactly mutual.

4. My friends are great, a little wacky at times, but great nonetheless.

My Mighty Michigan Mates!
My best friend Kayla! Yes we share the same name. Yes that is why we’re best friends.











5. Finally, at least for this post, my family. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without them!

My crazy cousins, please excuse the blurriness of the picture. (Not pictured: Mom and Dad, Grandparents, Aunts and Uncles, I love you guys just didn’t want too many pics and not enough words)

Anyway, that’s me. As you can probably tell I’m a little bit crazy, but it’s okay, I’ve accepted it. That’s all for now! Hope you learned more about me and I look forward to learning about my fellow writing minors!