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Touchstone: On turning 20 and our scorn of growing older

(04/04/24 4:00am)

In 21 days, I will be 20 years old. The notion intermittently fills me with dread and delirium, and then again with excitement and elation. It feels as though 18 and 19 only offer mere tastes of adulthood, fleeting flavors of what life on one’s own might look like and of what it means to become one’s own person, independent from their relationships with other people. 

London Bridge is falling down: Deconstructing the colonialist tourist lens

(03/21/24 4:00am)

I have dreamed of visiting London for a long time. My tenth-grade English literature class left me fascinated with the vivid pastoral descriptions nestled in poems by Sir Walter Raleigh and John Donne. Awash in these idyllic scenes, I yearned for the day that I too would get to relish the city’s treasures.

How to have a good bad day

(03/09/23 5:00am)

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to have a bad day in the spring? As trees flower with iridescent blossoms, forsaking their wintery nakedness; as a supple wind weaves through the dancing grass; and as the sun sweeps over the cold earth, every atom comes alive with new life. Your feelings feel trivial compared to this miracle of nature, and the whole world feels complacent in a conspiracy to uplift you.

January musings: a reflection on my first semester of college

(01/26/23 5:00am)

I was wallowing in anxious possibilities for the first few weeks before I arrived at Duke. Thousands of questions swarmed my mind: would I make friends? What if I couldn’t contend with the social and academic pressures of college? What if certain attributes I possessed made me unlikeable in a more diverse setting, suitable only to the small town that I had grown up in?

A crying shame: conceal, don't feel

(12/08/22 5:00am)

As everyone was crafting exciting new year’s resolutions at the beginning of the year, vowing to go to the gym or to learn how to play the piano, I had a different plan in mind: I promised myself that this would be the year that I reduced my crying frequency. I have always been an emotionally expressive person, but crying seemed to induce a crippling weakness that portrayed me as overly histrionical. No longer would I project such a frenzied image to the world.