Finding My Arc

Finding My Arc

I fear that I may not have a chance to develop new skills over the summer
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As I moved out of my dorm this year, I felt a bit of bitter sweetness.

On one hand, it’s summer and I get to find myself a job and relax without any regrets. Cleaning up the dorm resembled the end of a year which was good, but dragged on in some ways until the end. I lost interest in assignments, started daydreaming, and found myself doing more in leisure than what was necessary.

Yet I also felt sad: I also had some good memories in that dorm room with my roommate. We talked and shared snacks and watched an episode of Friends. We had little issues, but also laughed and smiled and shared a few hugs. But she already left when I got there for the last time, so I wasn’t able to say goodbye to her in person as I cleaned up.

And I thought about the future as I drank some of the leftover sparkling lemonade and ate the last part of the apple pie I bought a week earlier. I saw it as a void of infinite possibilities.

***

Overall, my sophomore year was a good year. My classes were interesting, ranging from Queer Theory to the Planets, and my Chinese classes involved reading stories and discussing issues. I got into the International Studies major, my long-awaited goal, and I have plans for studying abroad.

Simultaneously, said plans are currently in flux. I don’t have many plans for the summer--save for a phone-a-thon job at my high school for the coming week, in which I call alumni to update information and ask for donations to improve Lakeside’s programs. I’ve looked at several jobs and started applying, but I’m starting to find myself becoming lazier and lazier when I need to find someone to advocate for my place.

Naturally, that’s what summer vacation is all about: to decide what to do with the next few months. The negative thing is that when one gets older, one has to think about the future and job experiences at the same time, thus the stories about people getting internships and entry-level jobs. When not that, going to summer school to advance their education and get a few more credits to graduate.

I tried to get an internship in Washington D.C, but got rejected. I also let several others slide across the bay because I didn’t have the commitment to finish the applications, which is a bad excuse, but is my reason nevertheless.

One of the people at my Historical Fencing Club commented how he still needs to find a job, and that this summer would be the last time one can enjoy life before it’s necessary to find a part-time job or to get an internship to accumulate experience for post-graduation life. My uncle told me he regretted not applying for internships while he was an undergraduate student, which would make his job search easier now.

***

So now, I’m searching for what to do in the summer so that I can have fun and do some work simultaneously. My arc is here, but where will it go?

Cover Image Credit: Jessica Peterson / Tetra Images / Getty Images

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Don't Ask Me if it's Real or Not

PSA: Don't ask a girl if her hair is real or not, you may get a response you weren't expecting.

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I am a server at a restaurant in Tampa, and last weekend at work I got asked numerous questions about my hair. Normally, getting asked about my hair isn't a huge issue for me, but it was the comments that were said after, as well as the look of disbelief in this person's face when I answered them.

I walked up to greet my table. Two elderly couples were coming in for drinks and dinner. Putting on my best customer service voice and smile, I introduce myself. As soon as I finish, one of the gentlemen looks at me and says, "WOW. Is that all of your natural hair?" I smile nervously and assured him that this was the hair growing out of my scalp. He then proceeds to add a comment saying,

"It's so big. It looks like you stuck your finger in something and got electrocuted."

I had to sit and pause for a second after hearing this. I think my facial expressions could tell how I was feeling, because his wife jumped in and tried to compliment me on the thickness of my hair, envying it because she didn't have as much hair.

After such an experience, I decided to conduct an Instagram poll, to see what other people's opinions were about this incident, and if it's ever happened to them. Based on the results, people with naturally straight hair don't get asked if their hair is real or not, compared to those with naturally curly hair. Out of those with naturally straight hair, about 76% of the people that voted, have not experienced someone question the authenticity of their hair. On the other hand, of those with naturally curly hair, approximately 82% said they do get questioned about the authenticity of their hair. As a result, 66% of that 82% with naturally curly hair, are of African-American decent or mixed races.

So what's the big deal?

Naturally straight-haired people rarely ever get asked if their hair is real, however, once someone comes along with naturally curly hair and happens to be a person of color, originality is questioned. Why does a certain category of people get asked more often if their hair is real or not? Stereotypes? Ignorance? Genuine lack of knowledge?

Whatever the reason may be, it needs to stop. Wigs and extensions are extremely common in this day and age, but they also aren't restricted to one race of people. Even celebrities of fair skin wear wigs and fake hair.

Whenever I get asked about the authenticity of my hair, people look astonished when I tell them it is all mine. Why would anyone think the hair growing out of my scalp is fake? It is a known stereotype that people of color do have more coarse and curly hair textures, but that also isn't the case for everyone. We need to stop putting people in categories based on stereotypes. This applies to more than just hair texture. Especially when interacting with strangers, you cannot assume things based on what you've heard or any prejudgements you may mentally make. Asking someone if their hair is real or not, is just as bad as asking someone if they got a nose job or breast implants. What if you ask them and they say no? It can be more offensive to that person than you think. I understand there are cases where the person genuinely is uneducated about other hair types, but either way, those types of comments or questions should not be vocalized. As a society we need to be more considerate of the things we say, as well as get rid of stereotypes and negative prejudgments. At the end of the day, we are all the same species. We may look completely different than the person next to us, but that's the beauty of it all.

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