How A High Schooler Changed The Way I Lead My Life

Last June, I met one of the most courageous activists I’ve ever known. In the weeks and months that followed, we got together frequently and learned about one another on a deep level. Our conversations taught me about a world I knew nothing about and forced me to ask difficult, uncomfortable questions about myself and my surroundings. This person who rocked my world wasn’t a colleague, a partner, or a friend. She was a seventeen-year-old student, Sofia*, with whom I spent eight months preparing college applications. We specifically focused on…

How My Dog’s Death Changed the Way I Make Memories

My dog died eight months ago. Though she was cremated the next day, I can still see her whenever I wish — on Twitter, Instagram, or my camera roll. Just a glimpse and I can feel her presence. Smell and hear her. A single photo brings back a wealth of memories that are pleasantly nostalgic and abundantly beautiful. When she was a puppy, I got her a wooden box and patterned it with clouds and dog bones. I used the box for her favorite dog treats. After she died, I kept the box as a “souvenir,” replacing the dog…

How Little Things Create Big Change

Three years ago, I was assigned to mentor a remarkable individual. She was entering the leadership program I had recently completed. Our conversations started as obligatory 1:1s during which we covered a list of topics (and I grappled with the self-inflicted pressure of providing life-changing advice). Somewhere along the way, these meetings changed. They no longer materialized from recurring calendar invitations but instead from a genuine desire for one another’s company. Our relationship transformed from one of professional commitment to one of mutual mentorship. Of friendship. Though the change in our relationship…

“A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life.” -CoCo Chanel

Until I was seven years old, I wore Band-Aids like accessories. The same way you would put on your light-up sneakers or snap-bracelet, I would put on a Band-Aid. Neon, block pattern, and sometimes even that boring plastic tan one. I remember one family dinner party in particular when two of the dads were sitting with me on the couch. “So which ones of these are real injuries?” One dad asked. I looked at him with those wide eyes that said, “You’re not very smart for an adult.” “They all…

“Change everything except your loves.” -Voltaire

“The moment at which Magwitch like reveals himself to Pip demonstrates Dickens’ views on the relationship between society and man.” “Why don’t you try that again?” “The moment like at which Magwitch reveals himself –” “Uh-uh-uh.” I still remember a particular exchange between my 8th grade English teacher and me during our unit on Great Expectations. I had raised my hand to answer a question about social commentary in the work, but teacher seemed uninterested in my response. After a few more attempts like the one above (all in front…