In Character

I wondered, aside from the fever, what had caused me to empathize so fully, to transplant my selfhood into Anna? And even more troubling — why had I enjoyed it, the metallic shuddering, the billowing steam, the overwhelming sense that everything was about to end?

Chase Introspection

I started a job at a local independent bookstore. Work didn’t fix my loneliness, though I’d secretly hoped it would.


It was the first time anyone had acknowledged we were doing the work of grown-ups, that we could change our peers’ lives. Editing, arbitrating, and publishing meant playing God while still a child.

Walking in Step

For the previous year or so, I’d been oscillating about whether or not to serve an 18-month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Harvard and Me

I was the only person I knew of coming to Harvard from South Africa, and, in turn, I was to everyone in South Africa the only person they knew going to Harvard — which is to say, I became Harvard.

Leaving the Church, Keeping Its Ties

I have no idea why I chose to go back to Utah. When my parents called me a few weeks earlier and asked if I wanted a ticket, I said yes on autopilot. Later, I felt dishonest. I was embarrassed to be flying home for a religion I was supposed to have completely disavowed.

Skating Beyond Legacy Lines

You can only circle an area so many times before the joy dulls into monotony.

A Pathetic Aesthetic

The aestheticization — dare I say fetishization — of female pain reaffirms the conditions that made girls sad in the first place. Simply put, the Sad Girl reeks of complacency.

Learning to Fail

Is it vulnerable or honest about the reality of being at this school? Or is it playing to an aesthetic standard of what a Harvard student is supposed to be: personality, friendships, and academic success, all in one? These performances feed into a perception, however misguided, of students at Harvard and other elite universities as universally capable and flawless super-students, without even the possibility of failure.

Taking the Bait

College admissions for selective institutions have no longer become a competition of test grades or grade point averages, but a race to the bottom to demonstrate prodigious authenticity.

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