A Break In Your Scheduled Broadcasting

Just a quick note!

As this blog is public, I assumed that the people reading it would be more random passersby, and this blog was really more of a way for me to express things on my own mind in a quasi-legitimate format (which I still plan to do, and am learning to figure out how to do more often and formally).

Nevertheless, there are things I flippantly post about here that I am not as of yet comfortable talking about with my family or peers, specifically regarding my long, ongoing struggle with depression, social anxiety, body image, and disordered eating.

I’m not a huge fan of the romanticization of depression and other mental illness online, and because of this, until further notice, all posts documenting or at all detailing any of these concerns with regard to my own life will be password-protected.

I don’t believe that the answer to seeking help is pretending like it doesn’t exist or mitigating the severity of depression, etc., however, for personal and privacy reasons, I would like to be in control as to how I reach out to others about these personal issues.

Thanks!

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puzzle piece, etc.

they got this puzzle with over 1700 pieces

they start with the corners and edges

even though they’re on the outside

they’re not cast aside, they’re necessary

 

scattered across the table are the remaining pieces

sorted based on color, shape,

and interesting traits,

separate from the whole, but together

 

the pieces slowly begin to come together

the puzzle is almost complete.

they all fit so neatly in the board

except one. they try to jam it in

it won’t fit.

 

Noam Chomsky, I Adore You

I killed an ant stuck in a crevice in my alarm clock this morning. I believe it was a metaphor for our global order, let me explain.

Anyway, I finally found the answer to my prayers, a man who has most profoundly influenced my own political and social viewpoints on the world. Obviously, by the title you could tell it was the legend himself, Noam Chomsky, the only person who could make me regret and actually want to go to MIT, until I remembered the much more extensive list of reasons why I wouldn’t set foot on the campus in the first place.

 

noamchomsky

The most wonderfully brilliant bastion of hope this world has ever given us…

 

Anyone who knows of this guy, may probably be thinking right now… “So she considers herself a socialist now, big whoop. Doesn’t every kid going off to college come out as an ultra-liberal?”. And to that, I say, well you may be right, but not quite and I’ve always been very liberal so I have no idea what you’re talking about “suddenly becoming” one. To make things clear, I’ve always been skeptical of anything I read that has ties to politics. Behind every article, there is someone with a political perspective that they hope to win over all the others, and the concept of that in its essence is not necessarily a bad thing. What’s frightening is the propaganda and lies spread that convinces people that any means can justify a particular end, but we can’t even define what this end is or whether it’s good for us or not. Back to Noam Chomsky, I recently picked up a few of his books a couple weeks ago on a trip to Barnes and Noble where my mother and I were trying to entice my little sister to read more… she’s allergic to books apparently. Anyway, I’m a huge classics-turned-linguistics nerd and so naturally I go into the section that houses their like 10 linguistics books and I pluck them from the shelves, seeing that my buddy Noam makes up about 50% of the section. Not satisfied with the amount of books in my basket, I go over to the international current affairs section because I thought it was high time that I know more about the geopolitical mess we have on our hands at the current moment.  Now the, international affairs section is much more “well-endowed” than the linguistics section so as an amateur, I try and look for anything familiar to pique my interest (mind you I’m not a total novice to this stuff as a debater for four years, but I personally believe that a lot of debaters, minus extempers, kinda have tunnel vision when it comes to what’s going on with the world, due to the nature of their events). Of course, my favorite linguist also just so happens to be a prolific social critic, and it was love at first sight, but not quite.

So throughout my senior year, I didn’t really have much of a chance to read many books for pleasure, given we were pretty much always reading different books for English anyway. Also, I’m a lazy senior so that too. The one book I picked by Noam Chomsky from this section, “Profit Over People”, was my personal challenge. I needed to finish this book within a short period of time to get back into the swing of reading. Thankfully, I actually accomplished my goal, but what I got from the book was so much more than a check on my personal summer bucket list.

Essentially, the point of the book was to argue about the doctrines and the development of a pro-corporate system of economic and political policies that restrict the public arena and support private power, while also highlighting the harmful effects of policies that are prescribed to poor countries from institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization and the World Bank. He rails against neoliberalism in its entirety and strongly criticizes the neoliberal policies made by former President Bill Clinton, a man who I’d never criticized that harshly before, among other leaders. Chomsky enlightened me to how much our government’s policies work against the interests of the common people and how pervasively the propaganda that gets us to go along with their plans extends. The most eye-opening parts of the novel for me concerned our foreign policy in Latin America and how far the United States’ government is willing to go in order to protect their profit interests, effectively destroying the stability of countries in order to maintain the cash flow. Mind you, this book was written pre-2007 housing market crisis and Wall Street bailout, and Noam Chomsky is still very much vehemently opposed to the likes of Donald Trump and his reckless political scheme.

happy bill

How I felt about Bill Clinton BEFORE reading Chomsky…

sad bill

…and after

There was little, if anything that I disagreed with in this book, but unexpectedly, reading this book also made me question my own beliefs. I didn’t just read Noam Chomsky and 100% devote myself to his philosophy, nor did I discount everything he said. Rather I realized that while I agreed with many of the things he was saying, I also began to reflect for myself the pros and cons of so many decisions our global society makes and I know it’s not so easy, and it’s kind of sickening to realize how hard it is to rid ourselves of the deeply embedded “corruption” and debauchery that’s rooted in countless international and domestically based organizations. Who is going to the represent the people, for the benefit of the people? It’s a depressing thought to think about as I’m going into the real world, but it’s also hopeful to know that I’m not alone and that maybe, I can empower, and be empowered, to change the status quo.

Or maybe I’m just too young and naïve to understand how the world works, and in any quest for power and success, I too will have the wake-up call that I must squash all people inferior to me on such a quest.

Kind of like that ant on my alarm clock.

What the &#&^*! Is College Anyway?!

 

You know, the shitstorm that was the college application cycle was a lot of things, but you know what it was really good at? Blinding us from the reality that college is real. It isn’t just this arbitrary concept that we were all aspiring towards like a trophy. No sirree, we don’t even the tiniest ounce of what shit we’re walking straight into.

Between you and me, there’s a lot of things that I love about becoming a “college student” and a lot of things I haaattteee. For one thing, I hate the fact that the name of my school overtakes me whenever people ask where I’m going. As soon as the word “Stanford” (Surprise, for those that read one of my earlier posts!!!) fleetingly slips out of my mouth, I know exactly the stock responses about to be uttered and the precise thoughts subsequently racing through their minds. To people around my age, I get everything from #1) misplaced “awe” as their worship of the school itself is projected onto me as the conversations quickly shift from being centered around my personal education, to the ACT score I needed to get in or the acceptance rate for the regular decision round or #2) people who, despite never speaking to me about college before, have already decided that I’m conceited and belittle the school I’ve chosen as my future alma mater since they assume I chose it for name alone, and not the fact that they have both amazing biology and computer science programs with a flexible curriculum (not as restrictive as Columbia, not as loose as Brown) and much more laid-back and less cutthroat environments than my other options. Basically, the minute people find out where I’m going, it’s like I’ve lost control of how people perceive me, but even worse, every time I talk about Stanford, I still feel sick in my stomach. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t get regret my choice whatsoever, and I’d probably feel the same way if I had chosen a lot of my other options, but the problem remains that I still harbor unresolved guilt over the whole matter, but also for the first time, I worry that my choice in college may have been affected by my internal need to always prove to people that I’m capable (I blame 3.5 years of being disregarded and underestimated by #debateboyz for that one), but also that the problem is simply covered up, not erased by the fact that I’m going to a big-name hotshot school, which leads me to my next thought…

College is unbelievable, but the process reads like an Agatha Christie novel.. It doesn’t help that I still have no tangible idea of what my schedule could look like for next year, who my roommate will be, or where I’ll even be living. Maybe it’s my insane jealousy and anxiety that 99.9% of all of my friends are on the semester system (make that 100%), but it really sucks being exactly two months away from move-in day and have no idea how you’ll get your belongings on campus. It’s not that I don’t have the resources to figure this stuff out, but it’s still too surreal, and it probably won’t feel real until I get there, but it’s still too far away to grasp.

Speaking of my soon-to-abandon-me friends. I’m afraid of how much, or more precisely how little, I’ll still keep in contact with them. I didn’t have that many friends in school to begin with. I made my way by being civil and nice, but I was never warm enough to a lot of people and I’m just the girl “people knew in high school”. Those people, the ones who were either friends with me by association or convenience, aren’t the ones I’m worried about. I’ve made my amends with the fact that I wasn’t the most likable person in school, and part of it was my fault. Sometimes, whenever I think I’m getting too close to someone, I feel as if I must be a nuisance and sometimes I back off, which inevitably leads to the friendship deteriorating into oblivion. But that’s beside the point for now, I’m worried about the people I consider “my best friends”, in the loose definition of the word I know today. When I was younger, I had one or two “best friends”, but the difference between them and the friends I have today, is that we only had each other. We did everything together because we were all each of us had, but it’s much different now. Unfortunately, we’re all less close now, precisely because we no longer had JUST each other, leading to my new friends of today. While we’re still close and I wouldn’t want to lose contact with them, I’m afraid the distance will hurt our relationships more than I can even imagine. My friends are so much better at making friends than I am, to the point where I wonder how people even become friends with me in the first place. I’m awkward, shy, cynical, spineless, and so much more, but not qualities you look for in a buddy to join to catch a movie or go on a walk through the park. And as they find people who could replace me in a heartbeat, I’ll be left thousands of miles away, in an unfamiliar place, by myself, trying to figure out how to initiate conversation or appear more approachable. Furthermore, one of my best friends I’ve made in high school, has become much more distant to the point where we haven’t talked in weeks, and I have no idea what initiated the tension. Their disappearance in my life hurts most precisely because I could feel it a little bit earlier in the year, but couldn’t understand it and did nothing to rectify it. And now, I have no idea how to reconcile what we’ve lost, and worry I’ve just lost a dear friend forever. I desperately don’t want the future to keep taking the friends I have now away. Besides, who’s going to tell the abundant embarrassing stories about me at my future wedding?

And to top off my mini-howling on all things relating to the never-ending anxiety that is college life, is the number-one thing I’m there for, my studies. What I do from here on out has the potential to define my entire life. Getting a B in a class derails my chance at getting into a top-notch medical school. Not securing a good summer internship ruins my shot at having a successful career in tech or software engineering. I already feel like I’m coming in from behind, and I desperately want to have everything laid out for me in a simple four-year plan, but I know, especially from my experience in high school., that I will never get anything in life that easily. I’ve tried the past few weeks to improve myself, given my rocky senior year and depression diagnosis that I don’t completely understand and I can tell my mom either wants to ignore or doesn’t have the time to take care of, since I’m so used to handling my own problems aside from matters of money or life-or-death situations. Look at any college meme page and it’s littered with light-hearted jokes that poke fun at the depressed culture of students over finals weeks and problem sets and not doing well enough, but what if I fall prey to such a stereotype. Everyday I repeat to myself that I will rise above it, but if I couldn’t do it in high school, how can I do it now, especially with my terrible work ethic. In senior year, I could count on one hand the number of times I studied for a test, and two hands the amount of times I actually did my homework before the morning it was due, if I did it at all. Yeah, I was that kind of kid, except not many people knew how bad it was. I was a girl people mistook to be “put together” and whenever anyone caught a small whiff of my true ways, they were honestly surprised and shrugged it off. I should’ve been self-destructive, but I still ended the year with straight A’s, even as a second-semester senior (#senioritis). Thing is, I was really good at handling my bad habits. Compared to people I knew who I could tell were letting work slide, I knew what I had to do to maintain appearances, because that’s what I’ve been doing for the past two years. I don’t know if it was just a severe case of burnout that never truly settled itself out, or if I really do have a problem, but I can’t jeopardize my future by letting this happen again and again in college. I want to be perfect like some of my friends so that I can achieve what I want without being recklessly irresponsible or screw everything up like I usually do, but I’m so far from it. Finish it off with the fact that nearly every teacher I had throughout my four years of high school saw me as mediocre and nothing special, no matter how much I admired them in return, made me feel mediocre myself, despite being enrolled at a school where I’m surrounded by absolutely extraordinary people. Will I ever even fit in?

I have no idea how long the list of anxieties I have about college are, but you know what’s also entirely unknown?

What the #@$!% college is anyway.

I Just Can’t Win: A Diatribe on Misplaced Guilt Over College Acceptances

Holy shiitake mushrooms.

So the past week (or weeks….or months, sorry for the hiatus in writing) has been dramatic and stressful and all around crazy and exhausting, and I’ve felt as if everything is just barrelling down this hill and I’ll get flattened before I even make it to graduation. But in this long, arduous journey that is the second semester of my senior year of high school, I received a rare piece of good news in what seemed like several weeks of disappointments.

I got into Columbia AND Duke.

I was super excited at first. Like, SUPER excited. Like, I wanted to scream it to the world. But, the night after I found out up until only a day or two ago, I’ve felt sick about it. I felt (and still feel) like I personally didn’t deserve to get into either of those schools. I didn’t feel like I did as much as my peers or that my other peers were more qualified or smarter on paper than I could ever be.

I can’t accurately assess what part of my application was so noteworthy that Columbia or Duke would accept me (and let me know early), and as much as I want to talk about it, every time I do, a bitter taste of arrogance, guilt, and shame lingers in my throat. I don’t want to brag, but I keep racking my brain as to all the things I could have possibly done (and in my opinion, it’s not much), and I re-read my essays (which, in my opinion, are pretty mediocre) and I go over my application over and over again and I can’t figure it out. It’s even more troubling for me because both Duke and Columbia I did at the very last minute possible. I didn’t even proofread my Columbia writing supplement, and it took me approximately 40 minutes to write (I pasted it below, in case you thought I was kidding, I really didn’t proofread the thing). I’m not proud of that fact, in fact, I worry I will get rejected from colleges I actually spent time working on applications for, and I can’t even share this sentiment, because my options are two great schools, that I’m only moderately enthused about. As much as I want to discuss it with my friends and family, I feel as if they’ll be annoyed with me and think I’m looking for an ego boost.

I don’t love the predicament I’m in. I admit to being paranoid, imagining and assuming more people don’t like me than do, even among my own friends. I worry that people think I’m dumb and can’t think for myself, and that feeling often acts as an inappropriate motivation for me. I don’t seek superiority, nor do I feel inferior to any specific person (this is shade btw towards a specific individual who won’t even see this), but rather I seek to be seen as an intellectual equal, or at least just competent, yet, no matter how much reassurance I receive, I still sense that people think I’m inadequate everywhere around me. It’s these reasons why I want to leave high school so badly. I want to start anew with a group of people who may perhaps treat me like their equal, and we can all learn from each other.

But for now, despite feeling blessed for the opportunities set forth for me, I’m stuck in high school in suburbia, where getting into Ivy League schools and their near-peers still aren’t enough to prove that maybe, just maybe, there’s a brain under this short little afro of mine.

From your least favorite potential Lion/Blue Devil who unfortunately looks terrible in blue,

O.A.


And the promised mediocre writing supplement, because at some point, I’m going to have to learn to make fun of myself and not be bothered.

What aspect of the Columbia community, outside of the classroom, would you most want to impact and why? (150 words or less)
It is already well established that Columbia and the city of New York is a cultural melting pot. As a girl living in the suburbs, I desperately want to meet, learn from, and debate with people whose views and experiences are outside of my own, however, I not only feel just out of reach of all the rich and disparate cultural influences a city has to offer, but I’m also subject to homogeneity of political opinions and lack of enthusiasm for any form of activism. Columbia has dozens of varied political and activist organizations ranging across a wide spectra of platforms that allow me to share my own voice and expand my own intellectual horizons as I learn from those who can introduce me to new topics of contention and attempt to understand those who disagree or challenge my beliefs, all opportunities difficult to take on in secluded suburbia.

List the titles of the required readings from courses during the school year or summer that you enjoyed most in the past year.
Oedipus Rex and Antigone by Sophocles; The Republic by Plato; East of Eden by John Steinbeck; Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison; Brave New World by Aldous Huxley; The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka; Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller; A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess; The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde;
Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor Frankl

List the titles of the books you read for pleasure that you enjoyed most in the past year.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi; Cannery Row by John Steinbeck, Electra, Women of Trachis, and Philoctetes by Sophocles; The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde; A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, and A Storm of Swords by George RR Martin; Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray; Persuasion by Jane Austen; Neverwhere and Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders by Neil Gaiman; And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts; The Color Purple by Alice Walker; The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards; The Oresteia by Aeschylus

List the titles of the print, electronic publications and websites you read regularly.
Farnam Street Blog, Makezine, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Following Hadrian, TIME Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, Twitter, Popular Science, Discover Magazine, The New Yorker, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Quora, The Brookings Institution, Teen Vogue, NPR Online

List the titles of the films, concerts, shows, exhibits, lectures and other entertainments you enjoyed most in the past year.
Matilda the Musical; The Nutcracker; The Formation World Tour – Beyonce;
The Dickson Prize Lecture / Science 2016 Game-Changers Conference; Pittsburgh Speaker Series at Heinz Hall – Dave Barry and Panel Discussion: Racism in America; Pittsburgh Arts and Lectures Literary Evening Series – Daniel James Brown;
Ai Weiwei’s Zodiac Heads, Building Optimism: Public Space in South America, and 50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic, at the Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History; The Revenant, Deadpool, Hail Caesar, Eddie the Eagle, Kubo and the Two Strings, Me Before You, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Edge of Seventeen, Doctor Strange, Moana, Star Wars: Rogue One, Finding Dory, and Fences

Please tell us what you value most about Columbia and why. (300 words or less)
This world isn’t static. As time progresses, our world becomes increasingly more dynamic and complex, accompanied by the problems that plague it. Time has proven to us that the leaders of tomorrow can’t simply be engaged in one single discipline to make effective, sustainable, and responsible decisions. In a time where even the most reputable news sources and public figures fall prey to aggrandized claims, “fake news”, and sentiments of intolerance, a well-rounded education and an open-minded and culturally diverse environment can equip students with the necessary tools to fight ignorance and sensationalism as we enter adulthood. Columbia College’s Core Curriculum ensures that all students are well-prepared for the challenges of the future as they’re exposed to disciplines outside of their concentration. Exposure to this type of curriculum and educational philosophy teaches and enables students to approach problems with understanding and tact rather than react irresponsibly out of fear or abandon their efforts entirely, both reactions that can jeopardize critical situations in need of delicate solutions. Additionally, Columbia’s location in New York City is an environment where students are bound to come across varied cultural and political perspectives and backgrounds and ultimately learn to become more tolerant and understanding individuals. Coupling Columbia’s unique curriculum with its urban location, also home to countless research and internship opportunities, the university is a unique haven for students who are looking for more than just a strictly educational experience in their intended major, but also an intellectual transformation.
As the students of today begin to enter the public spotlight, it is our civic duty and responsibility to envision and promote a more tolerant, respectful, and advanced vision for the world. Not only does Columbia prepare us to take on that challenge, but these values already are already embraced at the core of the university.

For applicants to Columbia College, please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section. If you are currently undecided, please write about any field or fields in which you may have an interest at this time.
I’m lucky to consider myself an acolyte of both the ancient and modern world. And while my interests don’t necessarily cross paths, they have been instrumental in my own intellectual and personal development as well as a foundation for my future educational endeavors.
Nearly everything in our modern society has some connection to the civilizations of ancient Greece and Rome. Studying “dead languages” became one of the liveliest parts of my high school career as my grasp of the English language improved through learning how it derived from the words and grammar constructions of both ancient
Greek and classical Latin. Beyond the language, understanding how the ancient civilizations provided the foundation of our own modern democracy and republic allows us to critically examine our own government and laws and become more responsible private citizens and voters.
Although I enthuse about the Greeks and Romans, my career interests primarily involve biology and computer science. For me, studying biology fuels my innate sense of curiosity, for learning more about the behaviors of the cell is like switching between objective lenses and viewing a specimen in even greater detail. Yet, my enthusiasm for biology is often juxtaposed against my aptitude for computer science, where, as I learned how to code, I realized my own propensity for approaching problems systematically and efficiently and comprehending most subjects in terms of boolean operators and conditional statements. My interest in both biology and computer science was, however, refined and conjoined as a result of a research experience I had through the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute. Creating rule-based computational models of my particular cell signaling pathway while also performing immunofluorescence experiments in the lab enlightened me as to how I could combine my interests and pursue a career in research and medicine in the future.

lil’ sad poems for lil’ too happy campers

a fable about a cub and a bear

a cub estranged from father bear

cries and screams and pulls her hair

and as father’s fury is joined by roar

at least this tale is only lore

 

rag doll 

 

rag doll, rag doll on the floor

body slammed into a door

struck with hands wrought in steel

dragged around by desperate heel

 

hate

i know what hate is

i know i know

i can feel it

in the essence of my bones

it tingles in skin

it crawls up my spine

and it just so happens

its origin is

thine