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My roommate Kinsey and I had been counting the days until fall break. For the first time, we had two days off school, and we had an increasing desperation to escape from the four walls we live and work in. As the semester neared its midpoint, our work ethic declined so rapidly that it was practically a resident of the Underworld. We decided we needed to get away, and we picked Philadelphia as our destination.
I turned 22 on Monday, and a friend casually asked me what my three goals are for the next year. This probably shouldn’t have caught me so off guard — Jan. 1, the first day of school and your birthday are the only three acceptable times in the year to set goals, after all. But eight months into the pandemic, I haven’t thought about long-term goals all that much.
“Sometimes, when you've a very long street ahead of you, you think how terribly long it is and feel sure you'll never get it swept.”
I have been trying to practice gratitude. Throughout the day I tick off on my fingers all the benefits of being home and taking college classes remotely. I don’t have to be away from my family or pets for months at a time. I get to have my mom’s cooking. I can attend all my classes while wearing pajama pants. Tick, tick, tick.
There are vampires at this party — plastered in black garments, hair spiked with gel, mascara running down their cheeks like black tears. No one wanted them here, but they are, so someone must have invited them. By this point, it’s too late to kick them out, and I know better than to be rude to party guests, so I am letting them stay for now. And yet, they’re taking up all the space on the sofa and eating all the raspberry tarts and finishing what’s left of the sparkling apple cider, and I am getting sick of it.
I finished The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller yesterday. I began the book unsure of what to expect from a Greek myth adaptation, but by the end, I was in tears. In addition to evoking a sense of sadness, this beautiful and poignant story has reawakened my long-term interest in Greek mythology.
What makes you feel at home? I’ve been asking myself this question a lot. I’ve never felt as homesick as I do now, and I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly changed to make me feel this way. After weeks of uneasy mornings and motivation gone out the window, I’ve finally settled on an answer: people who make me feel safe. I don’t mean physically safe; I mean safe in the I-can-let-my-guard-down sense of the word.
As soon as the canola oil and butter begin to sizzle at the bottom of the pot, I add half a cup of flour and feverishly stir the mixture with a wooden spatula. I keep the flame on high and wrestle with the resulting roux to keep it from burning. As it begins to change hue from bright blonde to dark chocolate, the green pepper, onion, celery and garlic — all finely diced — make their triumphant entrance. I then add the chicken and sausage, which I preemptively cooked brown on a neighboring stove with salt and pepper. This is followed by cajun seasoning, paprika, thyme and a few bay leaves.
In pop culture, we see a physicist surrounded by boards, with a handful of integrals scattered everywhere and math operations we have never seen in our entire life. Perhaps this is true of some physicists but certainly not all. I think a major reason why physics seems like an unapproachable subject, studied only by a few presumed to be smart(er?), is precisely because of this pop culture approach to physics. Physics is not a subject that only a few should enjoy. Physics is certainly not a subject that only a few should understand. Instead, physics should be for everyone.
According to my mother, I was not a very difficult child, but I had my moments of being difficult. The story she always gives as an example of one of those moments is from when I was two years old and spent the night away from my parents for the first time. They were going to a wedding, so they dropped me and my older brother off at my grandparents’. I put up a bit of a fight when they tried to leave, but ultimately they succeeded.
There are a lot of terrible things happening right now, and it’s difficult to know how to acknowledge that while also putting something a bit more uplifting out into the world.
On Sunday I attended an event hosted by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Metropolitan Baltimore) called “Hear Our Voices: Personal Stories of Mental Health.” The event was part of NAMI’s campaign, #IWillListen, for Mental Health Awareness Week. I wanted to share my experience to hopefully encourage you to attend a future event like this and get involved in the conversation around mental health awareness, a topic very close to my heart.
On Thursday, Sept. 24, my alarm blared at 5:30 a.m. Today I was going to pay my respects to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
It’s hard to believe that a month of college has passed. In my first article, I wrote that keeping track of time during quarantine had become a hobby; certainly in this first month, that hobby has become a sport.
Here’s a good one: You find a pile of quarters in a room. In order to keep the coins, you need to separate them into two piles, each containing an equal number of quarters with ‘heads’ facing up. Unfortunately the lights in the room go out and you can’t touch the coins, so you can’t tell which side is heads or tails. Before the lights went out, you counted 20 quarters with heads-side-up. How do you divide the coins without looking at them (Answer at the bottom)?
What a year it has been so far, and we still have three months to go. One thing that the added time from quarantine has allowed me to do is binge-watch pretty much every show ever made. But it also has given me the opportunity to learn about various productivity methods. As the summer days kept passing, I became more aware of how much time I could be using in a productive manner, and so I began to set up a desk.
I will shamelessly admit that I am one of those people whose camera roll and Instagram stories are filled with sunset photos. The beautiful blend of warm and cool palettes against the city landscape never fails to give me a sense of peace and a reminder of how beautiful the Earth can be, especially after being stuck inside for so long. Sunsets usually signify the end of a long, tiring day and a time for a bit of rest.
On the afternoon of March 13, I got my admissions decision from Hopkins. I opened it in my car, parked in the mostly deserted senior parking lot of my high school. Some track athletes were talking a little ways off. When I read “You’ve been admitted,” I hoped they couldn’t hear the screams coming from inside my Mazda. I double- and triple-checked my portal, and when I was partly convinced my acceptance wasn’t a mistake, I drove home floating.
I am a romantic in every sense and in particular, regarding the idea of love.
It is hard to sit still enough to write. It is hard to be still. There is some nervous energy that runs through my body, making my heart beat faster than it should, my mind race faster than it should, and making me unable to write in a manner that would be of any value.