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From Us In Charcoal: Puturen

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

Meet Ren Amer (he/him), a videographer for Charcoal since spring 2022. Originally from India, Ren is currently a senior studying Film and TV.

What’s your family background? How has your family background influenced your upbringing?

My family background has influenced my upbringing tremendously. I come from a humble Indian family settled in Nagaland in the Northeast of India. Growing up in a very community-based society of Nagaland, I was naturally inclined towards building strong relationships and functioning as a body rather than an individual. My family instilled strong moral values in me that still now serves as the foundation of my being.

Do you have a favorite cultural celebration or tradition?

My favorite cultural celebration is the Hornbill festival, a seven-day festival celebrating Naga heritage. As a child, I couldn’t wait to go to the stalls that would serve ridiculously delicious Naga cuisines. Although it's been years since I’ve actually attended a Hornbill festival, I’m so proud of what my state people have accomplished in broadening its audience while still maintaining the integrity and true essence of the Naga culture.

How did your journey with Charcoal begin?

I became aware of Charcoal by chance while viewing Gladys Vardas’s Instagram. I was so intrigued by the magazine’s content and layout. When I came to know that it was fully run by BU’s students of color, it was game over. I knew that I had to apply to be in it. When I received the acceptance email, it was like the gates of Eden had opened for me.

Best and hardest part of the position?

The best thing about being a PA at Charcoal were my colleagues. They were all amazing and talented people. My Organization Manager, Jessica Zheng, was extremely warm and helped us be the most efficient we could be at our jobs. The experiences I’ve gained were instrumental in building my social skills and sharpening presence of mind. The only hard part of being a PA was working and catering to the audience during the launch party. It proved to be a bit stressful and I couldn’t fully drink the moment.

Are you part of any clubs outside Charcoal? Do you feel a sense of community in any? Compared to Charcoal?

Prior to Charcoal, I was in an acapella group which was an outlet for my musical interests. However, it was extremely time consuming and energy draining. At the end, the mental and physical exhaustion outweighed my deep love for acapella and I made the very tough decision to quit. However, I still love and miss my acabuddies.

What are your hobbies and passions?

I’m passionate about a lot of things and I’m glad that my hobbies align with them. In my leisure, I like to write songs and record them on Logic Pro and just experiment with different sounds. I love to create. I’m an artist. Imagination and storytelling are the basis of any art that I create. Whether it be films or music, I’m always eager to tell a story – a story that people can connect with. Also, a guilty pleasure of mine is watching TikTok videos on Youtube. I’m currently hooked on Terri Joe’s TikToks.

What’s been the best thing about your college experience?

The best thing about my college experience has been the growth. I‘ve learned that what I say matters. My voice matters. I’m worthy of being heard.

Do you regret anything from your college experience? Would you change anything?

Honestly, the only thing I would change is my time at Charcoal. I would’ve joined Charcoal earlier if I had the chance.

Has there ever been a time when you felt you were struggling or overwhelmed? How did you overcome it? How did you grow/ what did you learn?

Most of my life, I’ve felt an otherness that was projected onto me by people who were threatened and felt like they couldn’t categorize me or put me in a box. I was made to feel not Indian enough, not manly enough, not smart enough. I just had to grow up and learn that I can only present myself the way I am and I have no control over how I’m perceived. And if people feel some type of way, it’s really on them and has nothing to do with who I am.

I’ve learnt that I have so much control over myself. I have control over the choices I make and the steps I take in life. There are things that I have no control over, like my mortality. Like any story, there is a beginning and an end. However, how the story is told is in my hands. The script of my life may have been written but it's up to me to direct it however I wish to. In the end, it’s all about perspective.

How have you changed over the years? From high school to college? From freshman to current year?

I went from being a very shy, chubby kid in high school to a shy young man in college. All jokes aside, I’ve grown to feel comfortable in my skin. I’m much more tuned with what I feel and who I truly am.

I’m more confident and assured with my abilities. I started college with absolutely idea of what I wanted to do. Frankly, I was clueless but now I have the audacity to dream big and live life on my own terms.

Plans for the future (near or far)? What are you gonna do with that $300,000 degree?

Honestly, that amount of money scares me. Like how? I could’ve bought a house in a rural city. But I guess that’s what education is; it’s an investment. I feel like I’m building a foundation for my professional career as I venture into the real world and so far it seems like a solid foundation. Further, I’ve built a community and a safe space here at BU that I can always lean back on. I would love to write, direct and produce my films on a larger scale. A dream of mine is to have people watch my films and be moved by them.

Any Hot Takes?

God is an alien.

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