Robyn Manning

Exploring the psychology of superheroes

On choosing Marlboro

I decided to come to Marlboro because it’s pretty much my dream school. I had been looking for colleges for about two years after high school when I happened upon Marlboro through my mom’s co-worker. I looked it up, and it was exactly what I was looking for in terms of academic rigor, set-up and everything. I’m from Los Angeles, so it was a huge change, but it was the kind of change I was looking for. And I knew I was going to fit in. It definitely was everything I thought it was going to be.

On academics at Marlboro

The academics here really suit the way I approach school, which is that I get to pursue my interests to the fullest extent with the support of the faculty. It obviously doesn’t work for everyone. It’s a lot of work and requires a lot of responsibility, and I don’t think I would have been able to succeed as much as I am if I had come straight out of high school. I was able to develop my own work ethic, which this place really supports. That is what drew me to this place to begin with and is what is helping me succeed here.

On publishing the literary magazine

The literary magazine was kind of a daunting process because I didn’t have a structure to work with since it had not been published for several years. I wasn’t sure what people were expecting. So I decided to do my own thing, as much as I could, while still making it a literary magazine. I had worked on my high school newspaper for three years. It was something I really enjoyed. I didn’t want to pursue it professionally, but I knew I had the knack for it, or at least the skills necessary to put the literary magazine out again. So I was really determined to make it happen again, and I think it turned out really nice.

On social life at Marlboro

On social life at Marlboro

I made close friends quicker here than I ever have in my entire life. There’s something about being stuck on a mountain with the same people for days on end that really brings you closer together. Socially, Marlboro is close and tight knit, and you lean on the support of your friends to get through the tough winters here. This is something I had never experienced in Los Angeles, just being around the same people all day every day, without really being able to go somewhere else among strangers. So the first winter here was really surprising, but I enjoyed it. I’m not sick of the snow yet.

On studying Batman

I’m studying psychology and literature with a focus on representations of violence and trauma in American comics, specifically Batman. I’ve grown up with Batman my entire life, and I got back into comic books when I started working at a comic book store. I have pretty much seen or encountered everything I could about Batman, from the Adam West show to the newest movie that’s coming out. Video games even. It has all been a part of my exploration. I’m thinking I’m going to be focusing my Plan on a psychological analysis of characters in Batman, and then talking about how violence and trauma are used narratively in creating a structure for these characters.