Grading Papers About Drake While Knowing Nothing About Drake
Start writing a post

Grading Papers About Drake While Knowing Nothing About Drake

And other adventures in Canadiana.

Grading Papers About Drake While Knowing Nothing About Drake
Whitney Thompson

Eleven months ago almost to the day, I moved from my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I’d lived for twenty-three years, to Hamilton, Ontario. Living abroad has been a learning experience in a lot of ways, and not only because I specifically came up here for grad school. But I have to say, I didn’t anticipate that during the course of my TA job, I’d have to learn about Drake.

I was peripherally aware of Drake, of course, in my typical information sponge way. I read all the hot takes on the sexist lyrics of “Hotline Bling” and watched as bold-italics-Helvetica took over the Internet. I’m sure I occasionally heard snatches of his songs on the radio in high school or college. But I don’t think I’d heard one all the way through, let alone watched any of his music videos, until I had to grade about seventy undergraduate papers about performances of Canadian identity, a large swath of which were about Drake. How is Canadian identity performed or expressed through one of these videos we discussed in class? the prompt asked. Hell if I knew. I’d been in Canada for about five months by the time those papers rolled around, and though I was able to articulate much more about Canada to my friends back in the States than simply “maple syrup and moose -- mooses -- meese?”, I had no blessed idea what actually constituted Canadian-ness. Nevertheless, I waded through probably ten Drake papers before finally getting curious and watching the music video for “Started From the Bottom.”

I’ve had the feeling for a while that adulthood is, in essence, a feeling of constantly missing someplace, of feeling split -- and that’s the exact feeling I got from the “Started from the Bottom” video. Parts of the video are set in a generic luxury vacation paradise, a standard (I suspect) for rap music videos, but the “bottom” to which Drake refers is Toronto. The city logo is emblazoned on a soccer field four seconds in. The video’s storyline features past-Drake being promoted at a Shoppers Drug Mart, and though the store’s layout doesn’t look familiar, I nonetheless can’t help but feel as if I’ve been in that exact Shoppers before. Drake rides in a helicopter past the CN Tower later in the video; the first time I saw that, I felt a strange rush of pride. Toronto isn’t my city exactly -- I don’t even live there (yet), I just go there sometimes -- but that doesn’t stop me from feeling as if it’s one of my cities.

With all that said, I actually forget I’m in Canada on an embarrassingly regular basis. I always tell people that it’s just similar enough to the States to where I can forget easily, but then I notice the smallest difference -- a Second Cup on the corner instead of a Starbucks, Caramilk instead of Caramello, an extraneous “u” in a Facebook message from a classmate -- and the Twilight Zone theme starts playing in my head. For the most part, though, it doesn’t occur to me at all.

And then sometimes it’ll hit me all over again. I’ll be standing in front of Union Station in Toronto, typing busily in one of my many favorite coffee shops, walking home from a bus stop, or moseying down King Street in Westdale, and while waiting for a walk sign to light up, I’ll realize: damn, I moved to Canada. It’s a reassuring feeling above all, because sheesh, even if literally the next thing I do is crash and burn, who cares, I moved to Canada. I moved to Canada, and it welcomed me, and now I’ve got another place to eventually miss.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less

Take A Look At The Extravagant Lane Woods Jewelry Collection For Valentine's Gift Ideas

So if you are currently looking to purchase jewelry for yourself or as a romantic gift for your S.O., you should definitely look at the marvelous and ornately designed Lane Woods Jewelry collection


Just like diamonds are a girl's best friend, so are pearls, rubies, gold, emeralds, and any type of luxurious jewelry you can get your hands on! A woman is incomplete without a piece of jewelry on her and it is a gorgeous accessory required for all occasions. So if you are currently looking to purchase jewelry for yourself or as a romantic gift for your S.O., you should definitely look at the marvelous and ornately designed Lane Woods Jewelry collection.

Keep Reading... Show less

50 Iconic Quotes From 'The Golden Girls' That Will Always Make You Laugh

"People waste their time pondering whether a glass is half empty or half full. Me, I just drink whatever's in the glass."


"The Golden Girls" created history when it first premiered in 1985 setting the stage of strong-willed female characters who are aging gracefully with dignity. It is a treasure trove filled with humorous scenes and situations that will always be relevant to watch. I still rejoice in watching these spectacular women embrace life with full stride and the way they always strive to focus on the brighter side of life.

These 4 dynamic and awe-inspiring women taught us that age is indeed nothing more than a number and that we can set out to accomplish anything our heart desires at any time.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments