by Sumner Lewis

people at theater
Photo by Monica Silvestre on Pexels.com

(Spectators wait for a theatre show to begin).

The very first musical I ever saw was The Lion King. I was five and I can clearly remember the amazement I felt as I watched the performers on stage. My family and I sat in the first row of the mezzanine at the Bushnell Theater in Hartford, CT, right next to a little platform where actors would occasionally come and make beautiful birds dance in the air over the audience below. 

I fell in love that day with the concept of a musical, which I saw as an art form that enveloped me, inspired me, and made me want more. I didn’t just want to watch the show unfold before me; I wanted to be up there in the hoi polloi.

The next show that caught my attention was Wicked. I was seven when my mother saw it for the first time and brought back the cast album for me. I learned every word, note, and harmony on that CD. It became my dream to one day play the role of Elphaba. Idina Menzel’s voice spoke to me. Elphaba understood me.

Idina_Menzel_Defense.gov_Crop

(Idina Menzel gained prominence due to her role as Elphaba in Wicked).

If you’re into musical theater, you can’t deny that you’ve wanted to play every single character in your favorite show. I’ve gained a larger appreciation for Glinda as I’ve grown older and I want to challenge myself with playing different kinds of characters. But then I remember that she is blonde and I’m not. Where did anyone ever see a blonde Black girl in the late 2000s/early 2010s? Nowhere. So that also rules out ever being Elle Woods from Legally Blonde.

I inherently knew from a young age that race was everything in theater casting. Not as well as I know that fact now, but young girls need to see people who look like them inhabiting the spaces that they want to be in. Representation is everything. The more musicals I got into, the more I understood the subliminal message that there wasn’t a spot for me in a show except for playing a green witch that I love so much. Even in The Lion King, the performers are mostly darker-skinned, much darker than my tan, biracial skin.

In 2015, my discovery of Hamilton caused a revolution for me. I saw people on that stage who reflected me and my life experiences, a phenomenon which had not happened within the sixteen years that I was alive before that time. It didn’t matter what race you were as long as you were a person of color. Read that again. It didn’t JUST not matter what race you were, the casting directors WANTED people of color. That stage was a celebration of the skin tones that have historically been labeled ‘other.’ I finally saw a show I could actually be in.

The problem doesn’t solely lie on the shoulders of casting directors. There is simply a lack of characters being written for broader people of color. Sure, there are some Black characters, some Latinx characters, a couple Middle Eastern characters, but I, an ethnically ambiguous person of color, don’t get to play any of them because they have a distinct ethnic heritage to display. I’ll never be Nina from In the Heights (although I really, really want to be), Jasmine in Aladdin, or Nala in The Lion King. 

My most recent role was Ronette in Little Shop of Horrors. The show has four female roles; three are reserved for women of color. However, the leading female role is the single white woman in the cast. The other three women are the cast’s backup singers. We worked as a trio, three harmonies that would be lost without the others, but it meant that we were more of a conglomerate than we were individuals. 

Only two people of color showed up to audition for a show with three spots available for someone with that description, so it wasn’t even a competition to get a role. Sometimes I wonder if I got the part based on my own merits or if they didn’t have enough people to fill a historically Black role. We almost didn’t have enough people to fill all three spots and had to hold another round of auditions, to which only one person showed up. She got the role.

On top of that, the urchins are written as the stereotypical sassy Black girls. There are so many different ways to be Black. The only requirement is to wake up with your Black skin every day. Playing a sassy character can be loads of fun, but when it plays into racial stereotypes, one has to wonder why they were written that way.

I’ve always said that Hercules should be adapted into a stage musical just so I could play one of the Muses (and now it has, last year for a short run at The Public Theater). I love the strong, Black women with incredible harmonies and powerhouse voices. They are a Greek chorus, and they work as a nameless group behind the scenes. No one Muse exists without the others.

I want to see more diversity in the theatre community. We need to see characters on that stage that reflect who we are a society and the world we wish to be. Take Hadestown for example; it is written and cast in a way that any person, no matter the color of their skin, can play any character in the show. It is art used for a purpose. It encourages the dreamers, those of us who see a better world in our future. I see a better world where, even if my dream of performing in shows professionally doesn’t come true, I can share my love of theatre with my future children and they will see themselves represented on stage, celebrated, no matter the color of their skin.

By Catherine Duffy

Lunches with grandma, birthday celebrations in our favourite diners, and late night drinks at the bar have all been activities I’ve missed during the quarantine. As of June 8th 2020, the province of Saskatchewan announced that restaurants could open their doors once again. While residents may believe that their dining experiences will remain the same as they were before the pandemic, there are several changes they must stay aware of.

Having recently begun working in a restaurant myself and having taken the opportunity to eat in my favourite restaurants since their reopening, here are some of the changes I’ve noted.

1. Restaurant staff will be wearing masks to protect not only customers but also themselves. Busy kitchens and interactions with dinner guests make physical distancing impossible so masks serve as the next best thing to prevent catching COVID-19.

Source: Pexels

2. Hand sanitizing stations have been set up all around restaurants to remind people to clean their hands as much as possible. Staff members have set up timers to ensure they are washing their hands regularly.

3. High touch surfaces are getting regular cleaning treatment. This is a restaurant manager’s way of making sure they are doing everything that they can to prevent a second wave.

4. One-way traffic has become mandatory inside certain restaurants and there is always one door for entering and one door to exit. While this might make the walk to the bathroom longer, it helps guests avoid coming within six feet within one another.

5. While many may be eager to return to their favourite restaurants, by law, they can only operate at half capacity. Reservations may be the best way to guarantee a table for two on a Friday night. By operating at a limited capacity, restaurants can ensure that people from different social circles stay apart by placing a few empty tables between parties.

5. Your food may be placed at the far end of the table to avoid a waiter having to reach across the table and come in close contact with restaurant goers. While the service may seem incomplete, it is in the public’s best interest.

6. Though servers are usually prompt to clear away dirty plates, some may walk away from your table leaving them behind. This is to avoid cross contamination. Bussers have been hired to handle the dirty dishware.

7. Finally, while it may seem like the perfect chance to get together with a big group of friends, whom you haven’t seen in months, parties are limited to six guests per table, by law.

Source: Pexels

Dining with these new guidelines in place is a new reality and while some may be excited to return outside again, others may believe there is still too much of a risk and stay inside. Though it may seem like going out to eat has become a chore with many rules to follow, if everyone follows government implemented guidelines, people may begin to socialize again while still physically distancing and ensuring the safety of their fellow citizens. 

by Abbey Ross

image1

(A girl looks at her phone with a sense of fear)

If you are a technology user living in 2020, you have undoubtedly seen tremendous amounts of troubling and stressful news stories during the past few months. Television channels are clogged with their usual politics, crime, and celebrity news, but now an entirely new topic has crammed its way into the already overwhelming news cycle. Yes, you guessed it: COVID-19.  As if turning on the news wasn’t stressful enough, we now have more portable—and more intrusive—forms of technology that ding and beep at us as soon as the death toll rises, a gaggle of gun-wielding protesters emerges, or a politician makes a statement on Twitter. 

If you are like most people, including myself, who feel like they’re drowning in a river of events and notifications, you’re probably looking for a way to get some air, to escape the never-ending rapids. How are you supposed to do this, though, when we live in such a quickly evolving world where it seems like every hour brings another devastating wave of events? 

For some people, the solution is to just turn it all off. They take their phones and hide them in another room, silence notifications, and escape into the world of Netflix or a good novel. In all my efforts to do this, however, I’ve felt suddenly and alarmingly disconnected. What if my sister calls or my friends need my advice? What if my boss emails me or a vaccine is found today and I miss it? I have listed some things that I have done when I just need to step back and take a break. They help me feel more grounded and less anxious while allowing me to maintain a healthier level of connectedness.

image3

(Being in front of a laptop can cause you undue stress)

Listen to Your Brain and Body—feelings of anxiousness can manifest in many different ways.

Be kind to yourself and be open to the sometimes subtle signs that your mind and body are overwhelmed. These can include anything from changes in appetite and sleep patterns to sudden tiredness, loss of motivation, loss of memory, and other mental and physical symptoms. For example, back in March at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, I convinced myself I was sick because of tightness and pain in my chest. After a week or so, though, I noticed that I only felt these symptoms while reading or watching the news.

Communicate—tell your loved ones what you’re doing and why.

When you start to feel overwhelmed by being tethered to your phone or computer—whether by news alerts or lengthy debates in a group chat—don’t be afraid to let your loved ones know how you’re feeling. A simple text explaining where your head is at and that you will be stepping away for a little while should suffice. Your friends and family have surely been dealing with similar concerns lately and will likely support your choice to take a break.

Example: Hey guys, I hope you all are having a good day. I am a little overwhelmed with what we’ve been chatting about/the state of the world right now/my notifications, so I’m going to put my phone away for a bit and do something else. I’ll talk to you later.

Set Up an Alternative—find a less intrusive method of communication where someone can reach you if they really need to.

 If you are concerned about being completely disconnected from your phone (a very reasonable concern in this day and age), include in your message that someone can reach you if something urgent comes up. If you’re living at home right now like me, giving your friends, coworkers, or family members your home landline phone number is a great alternative.

Make it a Habit – set aside some no-phone time on a scheduled basis.

 By doing this, your contacts will be aware of what you’re up to every day from 3-5 pm, for example. They will know not to worry if you don’t answer right away, giving you some peace of mind to escape and relax.

 

image2 

(Exercising is a great way to retreat from technology)

Use Your Free Time Wisely – once you have identified feelings of anxiousness and established some time away from the noise, make sure you really appreciate the silence.

Now that you have created some space for yourself to retreat from the endless stream of news and notifications, make sure you allow yourself to fully occupy this space! No sneaking looks at your phone or flipping on the news (even if it’s just for five minutes)! Do something that makes you feel calm and centered; for tips on mindfulness, exercise, yoga, and new activities during quarantine, check out these other BTP articles: 

Quarantine Activity: Learning a New Language

   Stretching it Out: Keeping Connected Through Yoga

   Staying Fit During a Pandemic

   Rediscovering Reading During Quarantine

   Meditating in a Time of Crisis: A “How-To” Guide in Clearing the Mind

 

 

 

By Andy Chau

Bored? Still need NEW things to do? Look no further!

  1. Watch the “Tiger King” docu-series on Netflix (if you haven’t already)! 

Tiger King documents the journey of Joe Exotic and his run-ins with an interconnected society of supposed “tiger conservationists.” You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to watch it! 

  1. Reorganize your room.

Don’t go Marie Kondo mode and throw away everything! Only declutter what is necessary and take it slow to ensure you don’t throw away anything precious/valuable. If you need assistance, check this out: Abundantly Minimal

  1. Send a cheer card to a special patient!

The isolation occurring from shelter-in-place orders has significantly limited the amount of visitors allowed at hospitals. Why not send a positive note to a patient, especially to kids in need? 

Go to the link and send one now! Send a Cheer Card

  1. Learn what items can be composted. 

Apparently, there are 163 things and MORE you can compost on your own! *DISCLAIMER* PLEASE look into other ecological sources of sustainability. 

Follow the link to know more: 163 Things You Can Compost

  1. Watch the entire “Everything Before Us” series from Wong Fu Productions (cuz why not?) 

From cheesy lines to serious moments, Everything Before Us captures a society in which EQ gives advice for everything in your life from college admissions to securing a loan. Watch it now before it becomes offline again!

Everything Before Us | Chapter 1: Everything Before Us | Chapter 1

  1. Start becoming financially responsible.

It’s not too late to start your emergency funds or pay off your student loans! Whatever your financial situation may be, right now is the perfect time to trial and error your budget while planning for the long-term. Here is an article from Ally Banking to help with your budget planning: Savings by Age: How Much to Save in Your 20s, 30s, 40s, and Beyond

  1. Create art from magazines. 

Nowadays it seems as if art has become an underrated venue for expression. We have our photographers, but where are the painters, drawers, visual artists, and others? Well, you can become hip by collecting or reusing magazines. You can then clip the magazines and piece them together as some form of artwork. It is up to your imagination and creative drive. Give it a try and post it on your social media. 

  1. Volunteer for Be My Eyes

Seeking to satisfy your samaritinary desires? Want to volunteer but can’t do it in-person? Be My Eyes is an app that has you register as someone in need or someone who can help. As someone who can help, the app lets people in need call you for assistance amongst their everyday tasks. To learn more, Google search “Be My Eyes” and click on their official website. It’ll direct you to their About page and FAQs if needed. 

  1. Polish your resume. 

The job market for 2020 will be difficult to navigate. Luckily it won’t stay that way for more than a year and, regardless, this is the chance to be proactive. Being proactive can start with polishing your resume. If your resume is outdated, filled with unnecessary content, or is missing key descriptions, then go, go, go! 

  1. Take 10x More NAPS!!! 

Don’t feel like doing anything? Go ahead and take those naps. Rejuvenate yourself and try again. No one is stopping you except yourself!! 

By Eleanor Kelman:

One thing that Instagram has made abundantly clear to me is that everyone I know is baking delicious goods these days except for me. It seems like the whole world has acquired a passion for baking all at once, but the end product of baking has always appealed to me more than the process. It’s just so time-consuming, and my mile-a-minute brain is not suited for labors of love. However, there is something I have found time for myself to experiment with: beverages.

Like any good twenty-something, I miss being able to go to the Dunkin’ Donuts on campus (Boston really does run on Dunkin’) and pick up a large decaf soy latte with raspberry shot whenever I needed something to sip on while doing homework. Even now, with Starbucks opening up slowly but surely, I’ve been sorely missing having fancy coffee and tea drinks at my disposal. The only solution I’ve come up with was making my own (without the methodical ratios required of a real cafe to label a drink a “latte”, an overly pedantic term that I like to use to refer to all milk-and-other stuff hybrids), and that quickly transformed from a necessity to one of my favorite things to do everyday.

So, here is a quick introduction to one area of study I’ve devoted quite a bit of research and a whole lot of passion to.

The easier beverage to master would be coffee, so if you already have a taste for it, I’d recommend starting your latte journey there. There are a hundred different ways to brew a cup of coffee, but the simplest method is just… use a coffee maker. Although it’s one thing I cannot wait to purchase, I don’t have an espresso machine or even a french press, so I make do with my dad’s coffee maker. Simply take some ground coffee beans (we have owned this one grinder for about as long as I’ve been alive), pack them into the machine, and turn it on. You might have to fiddle around with the ratios, but I’ve found that just following the most basic of directions brews a pretty decent cup of joe. And, voila! Your coffee base.

[Sometimes I’ll decorate my drinks with a sprinkling of cinnamon or another spice for some flair.]

Tea, on the other hand, is a bit less forgiving. First and foremost, there are different types of teas and tisanes (the latter being herbal mixtures not from the tea leaf, Camellia sinensis1). All “tea” (white, oolong, green, etc.) come from the same plant at different levels of oxidation. While the actual process behind tea harvesting is fascinating, the most important information is more based in trial-and-error. While all tea is wonderful in different uses, more robust teas, such as green or black tea, tends to handle additions better, and that includes the necessary milk to create a latte. They also just so happen to be more convenient to find in the United States, although the other types are certainly worth seeking out if you want to sip tea in its unadulterated form! Unless you want to invest in a tea strainer (mine looks like the Loch Ness Monster sticking out of the hot water; I call her Nessie), tea bags are your best bet. Black teas and tisanes such as rooibos or chamomile are hardest to mess up; just stick one in a cup with boiling water and let it steep for four or five minutes. Green teas require a bit more finesse, with slightly cooler water, and should not steep for longer than two-ish minutes. You’ll know instantly if it is overstepped, as it will taste incredibly bitter! Matcha is a slightly different beast, being powdered green tea rather than whole leaves and requiring frothing in a small cup of water, but there are a host of videos online showing how to create matcha in the most beautiful settings that just writing it in a blog would not do the process justice. Whether you prefer the strong bergamot notes of earl grey or the delicate nuttiness of genmaicha, making a latte with a tea base is a worthy meditative process.

[Nessie the Loch Ness tea strainer in her natural habitat.]

Now that you have your caffeinated (or decaffeinated, if that’s more your style) component prepped, it’s time to pick your milk. I prefer soy milk, as I enjoy the environmentally-friendliness of non-dairy milk, but will use the skim milk the rest of my family drinks in a pinch. In all honesty, milk is entirely up to personal preference: Maybe you like the creaminess of coconut milk, the nostalgic texture of whole milk, or the trendiness of oat milk. Different milks have different strengths, and whichever you choose (or if you forgo milk and just use a creamer) is going to turn out delicious. As a slight word of caution: If you want to froth your milk (an optional step I sometimes do for the aesthetics), dairy milk is going to work a bit better. I’ve found that whereas some dairy milk whipped for a few seconds with my milk frother then microwaved for twenty seconds to stabilize it will hold an insane amount of foam for what seems like hours, soy milk just doesn’t have the same “soapy” ability, although it does make a lovely foam in and of itself. The microwave step is essential to really increase the longevity of the milk foam, but obviously I skip it entirely when making an iced latte. As well, while I use a handheld frother, anything from a devoted machine to just shaking some milk in a covered jar for a while will make a snazzy display.

Finally, we have reached the moment to finish our latte! Just take your coffee or tea and add your milk. If it’s just too hot out, add some ice before your other ingredients. If you’re a rebel, add your milk first then stir in the rest. If you want beautiful latte art, me too. I haven’t unlocked that level of barista yet.

Although most days I just make a simple drink, sometimes I like to spend more time working on my lattes. It becomes a creative outlet for me, and while not every creation is particularly successful, all give me a sense of accomplishment. I have two Torani flavored syrups at home, unsweetened vanilla and unsweetened raspberry, and I plan to purchase more when these are used up. Both go great in coffee and I’ve found some good combinations with teas. An earl grey latte with some vanilla makes a delicious London fog, one of my go-tos. Any warming spices, such as ginger or cinnamon, play very nicely with coffee and black tea (there’s a reason masala chai is so popular!). I finagled the Turkish coffee my dad is always making on the stovetop into a latte, albeit a very assertive one. I’ve stopped getting the side-eye when icing it down and throwing in a ton of soy milk, despite it being a very, very Americanized take on my Middle Eastern roots. Once I even made a tangentially-related drink, horchata, a Latin American dessert drink made from rice, milk, and some spices. I could only drink a bit at a time (it’s so sweet), but I was very proud of myself for devoting an afternoon to it! On the other hand, my attempt at bubble tea didn’t turn out nearly as tasty as what I would buy from a cafe, but learning that tapioca starch and water make a sticky non-Newtonian fluid was a fun experience. I also quickly found that the fluffiness of dalgona coffee, despite being very popular online and stunning to look at, simply cannot be mixed into milk. It sits as a pretty layer of mediocre-tasting foam atop plain milk. I also discovered that the medicinal smell of almond extract is a lot to overcome, even when I balanced it with a good squirt of honey. And mixing hibiscus tea and milk is an absolutely horrid experience. Just… learn from my mistake with that one.

[Did you know that boba pearls are naturally white? I was surprised to find out!]

The best part of making a latte for me isn’t even always drinking it. While it is, of course, nice to reap the rewards of my labor, putzing around in the kitchen thinking of new and creative ways to make a drink or finally getting around to that recipe that had been saved in my bookmarks for a while feels really good. While the sense of accomplishment when a drink turns out cafe-worthy can make my entire day leagues better, making lattes is such a low-stakes game that even when I mess up three times over I still feel like I’ve been productive. So what if the latte of the day is quasi-inedible and I’m just drinking it out of spite? I still put time and effort into something, and that’s worthy of applause in and of itself.


1https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea

By: Abbey Roth

May 25th, 2020 is a day that will be written in the history books: the day America was awoken in a way it has never been before. The unjust killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd within three months acted as the straws that broke the camel’s back in a long history of disproportionate harm to the black community in this country.  Protests in every state ensued shortly after the death of George Floyd, manifesting themselves as  beautiful displays of the power of the rage and hurt that an inherently discriminatory society has birthed inside the black community for nearly 400 years. For the first time in many young peoples’ lives, they are being forced to confront their individual complicity in a deeply white-centric and racist system. It has introduced the dire need for self-reflection and contextualization of everyone’s privilege.

The product of this much needed self-reflection has reared its head in public social arenas; social media has been overwhelmed with black squares, attention-grabbing infographics, and lengthy paragraphs full of statistics and opinions. The Black Lives Matter hashtag has been used over 21.9 million times. The awareness of police brutality, racism, and white privilege is expanding, knocking on the doors of those who have been able to hide away in the comfort and familiarity of their online social circles. While there’s no doubt that opening up the opportunity for discussion is crucial to breaking down barriers and deconstructing our defective system, we must examine the genuinity of the common Instagram story. Can the occasional post truly ever be enough? In order to answer this question for yourself, you must consider the poster’s intention, past behavior, and their concerted efforts beyond the social media sphere. 

Any intention other than to educate, to spread awareness, to convey hurt and anger, to present statistics to support a fully-believed argument, or to amplify Black voices, feels disingenuous. Posting to be included in a viral trend needs to be seen as an insidious act, as it seeks to feign support for a cause that desperately needs genuine involvement and commitment. It does not exist to be paraded on your feed. It exists to bring to light the injustices institutionally built into our nation that have cost real human beings their livelihoods, their lives. The poster who suddenly appears as a vocal proponent of the issue after a history of silence, complicity, or blatant racism also must be regarded as suspicious; is what we are seeing representative of personal growth and education, or is it their underhanded attempt to blend in and erase their historical lack of empathy for people of color? Are our peers hiding behind a facade of social media activism to absolve themselves of guilt? In either of these cases, a desire to be accepted by society as conscious and empathetic of the plights of Black people overshadows their need to actually act to help resolve the issue. Both of these cases are unacceptable forms of speaking out. Beyond the poster’s own personal beliefs, we must be critical of the extent to which they actually support the cause they claim to. Sharing is important, speaking up is important, but action is imperative. To feel strongly enough to post, but to forego any further use of the same technology to enact actual change–to sign petitions, to share and use resources, to call and email local officials–is a flagrant expression of laziness, privilege, and discomfort that acts to undermine any support, fabricated or not. 

As a young mixed American woman of both White and Black heritage, I have felt an immense sense of duty to challenge myself to use my voice to have difficult conversations with my loved ones. To face those individuals who were responsible for my first-hand education of racism and microaggression. To scrutinize my behavior in hindsight; how I personally allowed these microaggressions to permeate while simultaneously using my comparative white privilege to duck away from uncomfortable situations while my Black brothers and sisters could not have had the luxury of avoiding this distress. For me, just a post will never be enough. Another’s post will never be enough.

However, one of the most genuinely touching things that I have personally witnessed to come from this is the massive outpouring of true allyship from around the world. Gatherings of people in every major city across the globe speaking out about injustices of their own is a profoundly important display that lets us know that America is not alone in its systemic racism and mistreatment of Black citizens. Not only are Black individuals in the UK, France, New Zealand, and beyond conveying solidarity with the struggles of many Americans, but they are using action and movement to express a deep empathy and understanding that should disturb us deeply, as well as inspire us to spark change beyond the Facebook wall and Instagram feed. 

by Fiona Rose Beyerle

Some may think landing an internship or job in college is impossible unless you have a stellar grade point average (GPA), outside connections, or amazing experiences. However, this is not true! Very few people are extremely impressive in every quality.  Think of it this way: you are not better or worse than your competitors; you simply offer different qualities. Sometimes you may not be what employers are looking for, but that does not mean you are not talented. I will be the first to admit that my GPA is not stellar and I came in with no connections or relevant experiences in my field when I started looking for my first internship at my university. Still, here are a few tips I have used that helped me land an internship in a lab my first quarter at my university, an undergraduate job in the health field, and some other opportunities! 

  1. Always be open to any and all opportunities.  

This is KEY!  Too many times when talking to my peers about gaining job experience, I hear someone say they are “waiting for the perfect opportunity.” Being open to many different opportunities will open doors for you. Waiting for one experience you think is “perfect” limits your potential. By choosing to wait for said experience, you may be missing out on other amazing experiences to help you grow not only in your field of interest but as a person. I am not saying that you should take absolutely any opportunity that comes your way, but when opportunities come to you, even if they seem trivial, give them a chance.  Do you have an opportunity to work in a lab, but it’s not exactly what you want to study? Give it a shot! Working in one lab could be the stepping stone to get to the kind of lab you want to work in.

2. Always bring a notebook to an interview. 

This is not my own idea, but I read this online somewhere and have been shocked at how rarely people actually do this. I am not joking when I tell you that at my last job interview (I got the job, by the way), I brought a notebook and the interviewers spent five whole minutes talking about how impressed they were that I actually brought a notebook and how I was the only person they interviewed for the job that did so. That may sound so minor, but trust me when I say that the small things add up! Showing a lot of interest in the job and bringing a notebook to write down questions or notes about the job will demonstrate how dedicated you are.  People will notice!  

black notebooks and packing stuff
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

(Bringing a notebook and taking notes during an interview is sure to gain you respect).

3. Always bring a book on another subject to your interview. 

This one may sound a little peculiar but I have actually found that this tip is a great way to showcase your diverse interests and skills. Employers and colleges desire well-rounded individuals, but it can sometimes be difficult to discuss other interests and talents in a short interview. I am a biological sciences major and art history minor and at all my interviews, the interviewers are always interested in hearing about my strengths in both seemingly different subjects.  However, this does not always come up in conversation during the interview. Because of this, I bring an art history book to the interview. By reading it while I wait and placing it next to me during the interview, it is another opportunity for employers to notice and ask about it. Try it! 

4. Always write a letter of intention. 

When applying for a job or internship, sometimes the company will ask you to write a letter of intention, which is essentially a small essay explaining why you want the job and what you can bring to the company. However, not everything you apply to will directly ask for this. Write one anyways! Demonstrating your desire to get this job will not hurt you. I often write about my previous applicable experiences, life goals, and how this opportunity will help me reach those goals. Be as clear as possible about why you think you are a good fit for the position and company. Employers will be impressed that you went the extra mile to show how much you want this position.    

crop woman taking notes in notebook
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

(By writing a letter of intention, you prove your interest in the position).

5. Never underestimate yourself! 

In your life, you have probably heard the saying, “don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” This can be a good reminder for those who are sometimes overly optimistic; however, if you are like me, you may find it easy to doubt yourself when competing with others who may seem like a better fit for the position than you. When you catch yourself thinking negatively after an interview or when you are waiting on a response from a job, pause and remind yourself that everything will be okay. You are worth more than you think, and no one job (or loss thereof) will be the end all be all. Be confident and open-minded when applying, and do not count yourself out before anything happens. You will not be sure if you are chosen for the position unless you try.  

Thank you for reading my tips and I hope you find these useful for your next job interview or application process! As always, opportunities are around you if you do some digging and never give up! You got this!

 

by Lia Weinseiss

In the current times, it can be difficult to uphold friendships in ways that we have become accustomed to. We can’t share a dinner, go for drinks, and/or hang out at each other’s houses. It seems cruel that in these times when our mental health seems to be at its most fragile, we cannot even see a portion of our support system.

So what can you do? You can text, arrange Zoom calls, send letters, and send gifts. You can show your love and support by checking in every once in a while. While it is certainly a different, modernized form of friendship, it is possible. We do, after all, stay in contact with our home friends when we are at school and with our school friends when we are at home.

However, in these times when our mental health is so fragile and we are doing our best to keep our own heads above water, how much do we find ourselves with an obligation to ensure our friends are doing well? Is a weekly text enough or should it be daily? Are we bad friends if we can’t bring ourselves to do those Zoom calls?

man having a video call on his phone
Photo by Edward Jenner on Pexels.com

(Zoom is a popular method of calling, and people use it when they are distanced)

We are all going through different struggles, some of us more than others. “Family therapist Catherine Lewis says communication can be fraught when friends are experiencing the pandemic differently.” (Noveck, Jocelyn) If some of us are struggling more than others, it can often be difficult to have the will to reach out or even incite feelings of jealousy if some are dealing with isolation better than others. This can make it even more difficult to keep up friendships, especially if you are in the position of the one expected to keep up contact. 

Being alienated from friendships that used to be a part of daily life can create unexpected rifts because “people are now having to pick and choose what works in a friendship, and what’s maybe no longer a good fit.” (Noveck, Jocelyn) Without seeing people in person, we can easily read texts in a negative way or think that a lack of Snapchats means that a friendship is now lackluster or unimportant. A simple lack of communication can lead to rifts and the eventual fading away of a friendship. With extra time, self-reflection can help us realize that people who used to be in our lives may not have a place there anymore.

 To put it bluntly, this time can make or break a friendship; so, what are some tips you can use to stay close with your friends even if you can’t communicate with them?

  1. If you have a problem, address it.

In a time where verbal communication is one of the only tools we have, letting issues brew because it feels like there is more time to solve them is not the answer. Ignoring your friends or pretending things are normal will only amplify the issues – quarantine or not.

2. If you can check in, do it every now and then. If you can’t, let your friends know why.

Communication is key, though you are under no obligation to text your friends every day. That being said, in times when people are often struggling, texting a friend when you can will have an impact on their day. If you are unable to communicate daily, texting your friends and being honest can often avoid issues that are likely to arise by complete silence.

3. Set up Zoom events.

Though setting up Zoom meetings can sometimes feel like a burden, they can also be a beneficial way of bonding. A simple quiz as a reminder of enjoyable past moments can help bring back to life a friendship that feels largely online.

4. Set up a book trading system.

pile of books on green summer lawn in park
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

(sharing books is a great way to stay connected)

Being able to send books to one another not only lets you and your friends know what each other are thinking, but it also gives you more things to read and do. I’m not going to list out all of the benefits of reading, but it can definitely help.

5. Listen to your friends if you can.

If they are having issues, and you can take on the mental capacity to listen, do so. Talking out situations with your friends can often help strengthen a bond that might be fading because you cannot see one another face-to-face.

6. When asking friends if they have an ear to listen, ask if they are able.

Dumping issues on your friends when they are struggling themselves can create an unintended issue in a relationship. Just checking in with them to ensure they are okay can ensure that you create healthy boundaries in your relationship.

 

by Jacob Woo-Ming

At the time I am writing this, it has been almost two weeks since the murder of George Floyd. Yet, it feels like months have quickly passed by.

wall with the text i can t breathe
Photo by ksh2000 on Pexels.com

(A building is graffitied with “I can’t breathe,” George Floyd’s last words before his death.)

I am half Black and half Filipino/Chinese. Because I am ambiguously brown, I’m always terrified whenever I hear of another Black person dying at the hands of the police.

It reminds me of Treyvon Martin, Walter Scott, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, all of my other Black brothers and sisters, and those in between.

This time, though, we are fed up. At a time where most of the nation is harmed by the pandemic, we are even more sick of this racism and brutality flying under our noses and going unseen. Despite these troubled times, I have felt threads of hope seeing my friends educate and support each other.

My Black friends are teaching about racism and its systemic origins. My Asian friends are striving to empathize with my Black friends. My White friends are using their privilege to get out and protest.

I feel like I have seen more cooperation and empathy about Black lives in the last week than I have in my entire life. I’ve seen more resources for educating people about racism than in my college classes that are dedicated to these issues. It’s beyond overdue. 

Many people are scared about what they see in the news, but think about how scared we are being born into a society that wouldn’t want to trade places with us for even a day. Remember that we didn’t get civil rights, LGBT rights, or even taxation without representation without rebellion.

people protesting and holding signs
Photo by Life Matters on Pexels.com

(Protesters walk with signs saying “BLM” and “Black Lives Matter.)

We aren’t just fighting for George Floyd. We’re fighting for the millions of innocent people we have lost to systemic racism, police brutality, and the prison system. We’re fighting to make a difference and we’re in the middle of history being made. We can’t stop now.

Get up, get informed, get your mask on, and donate to the cause! 

 

by Nicole Mattson

Like many people who have seen the video of George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, you might be wondering what you can do to be actively anti-racist. You might show your support by protesting on the streets, by donating money to organizations who need it, or by donating supplies such as food and toiletries to those on the frontlines who are protesting. If you are unable to protest, or don’t feel safe leaving your house during the pandemic, an easy way that you can begin becoming anti-racist is by educating yourself. This is a key component of being anti-racist, and putting yourself in the shoes of black, indigenous, and people of color. When you acknowledge that racism exists and is harmful, as well as that everyone has an implicit bias of some sort, helps to promote change in your own community. To be anti-racist means that you recognize people’s differences and you actively seek to change past beliefs–it is more than just being sympathetic. One way you can educate yourself is through reading. Reading can shine a new light on your perspective of what has been happening–not only the past week or past decade–but the past couple hundred years in the United States. Listed below are five books to consider reading to help you better understand what marginalized people have been through.

  1. A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, edited by Sun Yung Shin (2016), is a collection of essays that explore the infamous “Minnesota Nice” and how a culture of passive-aggressiveness can hurt black, indigenous and people of color. Even if you don’t live in Minnesota, it is worth the read, since chances are, you have experienced passive-aggressiveness at one point in your life or in your community, or have been passive-aggressive.

Link to purchase: https://www.mnhs.org/mnhspress/books/good-time-truth

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (2017) is a well-known young adult book that even older adults should read. It is about a black teenager, Starr Carter, who attends a white high school, who also experiences her friend getting shot. It garners perspective as to what it is like to grow up as a person of color in the United States in the modern era. It was even made into a film in 2018 starring Amandla Stenberg as Starr Carter.

Link to purchase the book: https://www.harpercollins.com/9780062498533/the-hate-u-give/

Link to The Hate U Give film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3MM8OkVT0hw

  1. Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? By Alicia Garza, Maya Schenwar, Joe Macaré, and Alana Yu-lan Price (2016) is another collection of essays about the history of police brutality in the United States, with its origins going back to slavery. It talks about the effect on families these killings have. It discusses the origins of the Black Lives Matter movement. It also mentions that the media is starting to focus on police violence this past decade. It questions why police exist and what their purpose is- do they just protect white people? 

Link to purchase: https://www.haymarketbooks.org/books/941-who-do-you-serve-who-do-you-protect

*Free e-book download until June 5, 2020!

  1. White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo (2018), has a pretty straightforward title: why is it so hard for white people to talk about racism? Are they afraid to stand up to racist family members? How do we fix that? It dissects why racism exists through media representation, daily life, and more. It is important to have a conversation about race, and DiAngelo’s book will help with that by discussing racial justice.

Link to purchase: https://robindiangelo.com/publications/

  1. The Bluest Eye by award-winning author Toni Morrison (1970) is the oldest book listed here. It’s about Pecola Breedlove who is a young black girl in the Great Depression. Pecola thinks she isn’t pretty enough because she doesn’t have blue eyes, and thinks having blue eyes will make her life better. It does not help when people make fun of her too. Morrison’s fictional book discusses white beauty standards and how hurtful they are to society as a whole, and readers (especially white readers) will be able to gain a perspective on the effects of these standards. Although this story is fifty years old, it is still relevant to readers today.

Link to purchase: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/117662/the-bluest-eye-by-toni-morrison/

*Most of these books can also be checked out for free at your local library–or you can ask a friend to borrow their copy!

Of course, these are just a few books that can give you a different perspective. There are many more out there that you can explore. Some of my favorite black authors are Toni Morrison, who has written many books such as Sula, Beloved, and Song of Solomon, and James Baldwin, who wrote If Beale Street Could Talk and Sonny’s Blues. Reading books by black, indigenous, and people of color opens up a whole new perspective on racism and what they have gone through all these years, and by educating yourself through these pieces of literature can give you a foundation for standing up for others in your community.