I recently reread an article in The New York Times "Modern Love" column from the Modern Love College Essay Competition 2015. Winner Jordana Narin's essay "No Labels, No Drama, Right?" has stuck with me throughout the first few months of college, popping up, lingering in the back of my mind.
She writes about her "Jeremy... an archetype, a trope, an all-purpose noun used by my college friends to talk about 'that guy,' the one who remains for us in some netherworld between friend and boyfriend, often for years." Jordana's "Jeremy" gives a perfect insight into what modern love often is for millenials: undefined, perpetually confusing, neither here nor there, messy, and for lack of better words, often infuriating.
We never know quite where we stand. You're "friends." You're "just hanging out." You're "dating but not exclusive." At least among my friends, both men and women, there seems to be a never ending quickstep of trying not to step on your "Jeremy's" toes by asking for more or less commitment, for asking for a label, for wanting more than just a hookup.
A friend and I were recently talking about some of the guys she had been seeing. I asked her if she would like something more with one guy who she felt particularly connected to. She paused before continuing: "I would like to take things to the next level with Jeremy. Maybe getting Insomnia Cookies after hooking up. But I'm not sure if that would work." I pushed further: "You don't think he would want to do that? Just getting a cookie?" She wasn't sure.
I held my tongue but felt unduly frustrated after I went back to my dorm. On one hand, hooking up doesn't have to mean deep feelings, love, or affection. We have the right to do whatever we want with our bodies with whomever we want. And yet, I feel like there's something missing here. She isn't even sure if she could ask to get a cookie with him after hooking up? This feels so off.
On June 11th, 2005, my world changed forever. Two days before I graduate from high school will mark the 10th anniversary of my grandma's death. My grammy was my world. She was my everything. She made me feel so safe, so loved, so indescribably happy. She would let me brush her curly hair and paint her nails whatever color I wanted. She would let me sleep in between my grandpa and her in their big bed when my mom was out of town. She would hold me in her arms when my feelings were hurt or when I was upset. Her sweet voice sang out old Irish tunes and The Three Tenors when I came home from school. I think about her everyday. I love her so much that sometimes I think my heart will burst.
On my last day of high school, many of my classmates cried. They cried about leaving friends and school. They cried because ending high school is emotional. It means you are no longer a child; you're an adult. I too cried on the last day of school but privately. I cried because all I wanted was to have my grandma there. I wanted her to see me graduate in June. I wanted her to give me one of her amazing hugs and tell me how proud she was that I made it through the most difficult four years of my life thus far. I wanted to be able to look out at the crowd when I was getting my diploma, and more than anyone else, I wanted to see her smile.
Originally Published in the February Issue 4 of "The Mainsheet"
Remember Valentine’s Day in elementary school? Classroom walls were adorned with red and pink paper hearts. Friends were dressed up in their finest holiday garb with “Be Mine” or “Friends 4 Ever” shirts. And the best part of all had to be the cutesy Valentine cards that you agonized over picking (puppies, princesses or Shrek?) and candy (sweet or sour?) for every classmate: a requirement of inclusion.
Now that I am 18, I understand that Valentine’s Day is not the pink and rosy holiday of my youth. In fact, my friends call Valentine’s Day one of six things:
1) Singles Awareness Day (SAD): A day dedicated to those not in a romantic relationship (usually celebrated in spite of Valentine’s Day).
Originally Published in the December 2014 Issue 3 of "The Mainsheet"
With the recent article on the University of Virginia’s handling of a rape case primarily told through the perspective of Jackie, a currently enrolled student; with the recent video experiment of a woman walking through New York City with a camera following her to show how many times a day she was catcalled, objectified and made to feel unsafe and uncomfortable; with the recent speech by Emma Watson at the United Nations about why men need to be feminists, too; with Barbara Walters’ 10 Most Interesting People list where Amal Alamuddin was listed as the No. 1 most interesting person of 2014 because, with the help of her spectacular wardrobe, she tied down the world’s most eligible, elusive bachelor, I found myself questioning the role of women in our society.
Jackie’s case, whether altogether true or not, shined a light on the fact that female college students are not always safe at college parties, and that highly regarded universities still do not have adequate safeguards in place to handle allegations of sexual assault on campuses.
It is extremely important to speak your mind. I have always admired/feared friends of mine who cut straight to the punch. Friends who say what they want to say and don't beat around the bush.
I chose the GIF above from an HBO show you probably haven't heard of (I joke) called Game of Thrones. The character above's name is Ygritte, and she is in love with Jon Snow even though she knows she shouldn't be. She tells him "You know nothing, Jon Snow."
Now Ygritte, maybe you could inform Jon Snow what he doesn't know. You are being a little cryptic. More on this later.
The importance of speaking your mind cannot be emphasized enough. When you don't speak your mind, you are left with a million unanswered questions. You left with the "what ifs." When you don't say what you want to say, when you don't ask, when you don't put yourself out there, you will never know what the answer might have been.
Some say old habits die hard. I could not agree more with that statement.
Letting go of past habits, past people, past anything can be quite difficult. There is a genuine comfort in things we already know. Even if people disappoint or hurt us, even if habits are destructive and unhealthy, even if the past is not where we want to be, it's known. In other words, letting go of the past means drifting into unknown territory; what a scary thought.
Mustering up the courage to let go of people we once loved (or still love) in favor of a possibly brighter yet somehow murkier future is no easy task. I recently was talking about the idea of letting go of old friends with a close friend of mine. She asked me what I thought about her holding onto a friend who wasn't putting in the same effort into their relationship and to be frank, was no longer honoring her happiness and needs. Should she hold on to the past and let this newer and now constant behavior go, or should she let go of this old friend who still means a lot to her?
I had this to say:
Have you ever seen Shrek and Shrek 2? I hope the answer is yes. Confession: The first two Shreks are two of my favorite childhood movies (the third and fourth Shreks just didn't get at my heart in the same way). So why are the first two Shreks two of my favorite movies you ask? Not only are the movies funny, but the soundtracks are pretty dance party ready, and don't get me started on my soft spot for Donkey.
There are some pretty advanced themes in all of the Shrek movies. For one, the "ogres are like onions" line is pretty rich. It speaks to the fact that we all have different layers and complexities hidden beneath the surface. Second, there is something to be said for having a kick-ass (pardon my french) female lead who doesn't need a man to do her bidding for her (yes, you could argue that Fiona was rescued by Shrek in the original Shrek, but she was really the one that got them past the dragon and through the forest). Third, the fact that Fiona gives up the prestige, money, security, and power with Lord Farquaad to be with her true love Shrek is so romantic. It's refreshing to see a capable, grown woman (okay- she's a princess) deciding her own fate. And lastly, Fiona choosing love and emotional connection over physical beauty (Shrek isn't the prettiest, but that's okay!) time and time again is HUGE. Picking an ogre over THE Prince Charming- the hottie mc hottie of Far Far Away cue swooning is worthy of discussion.
Now, I sort of went on a tangent there, but the part of Shrek that I really want to talk about is the idea of Prince Charming.
Originally Published in the June 2014 Issue 7 of "The Mainsheet"
So it’s prom season, juniors and seniors! While I have previously written on the financial burdens of the school dances, I have decided to talk about the other kinds of burdens that dances inflict on students: the self-esteem burden.
Dances can either be a major confidence boost or a major downer. Maybe that’s a little extreme of me to say, but for many students, dances are a very real form of anxiety. Will I get asked? Who should I ask? What if they say no? What if no one asks me? What does it mean if I ask him or her?
I would like to simplify this whole process. It doesn’t need to be this stressful or hurtful or frustrating. So here’s my Kate breakdown of how to survive prom season. Godspeed to the classes of 2014 and 2015!
Originally Published in the December 2013 Issue 3 of "The Mainsheet"
It’s Friday night. You have finished primping, you smell great, and you feel fabulous. You are ready to hit the town. If you are part of the 95% of the Upper School student body, you aren’t heading out to meet a significant other, or a “thing.” You are probably heading to the movies or dinner with some close friends.
This is a common Chadwick occurrence. Who has time to date? Who has the time and effort to be in a relationship? Who even is there to date?
There are a ton of advantages to going to a small school. Namely the one-on-one attention with teachers, the close relationships you have with your peers, more opportunity for leadership positions, and to try new things.
But there are also some definite negatives. With so few people in the student body, you run out of people to like, to date, and to get to know pretty quickly. Or at least that’s what a majority of students think.
Originally Published in the May 2013 Issue 7 of "The Mainsheet"
As I opened my laptop to diligently start my homework, not intending to lollygag or waste time on Facebook of course, I came across an article on the seemingly immaculate Beyonce Knowles.
Married to one of the greatest rappers of our generation, a new mom with an adorable baby girl quirkily, but creatively, named Blue Ivy, and hit after hit after her groundbreaking girl group Destiny’s Child days, I clicked to read more about one of my favorite pop culture icons.
Queen B, as her fans affectionately call her, is often regarded as a feminist icon of sorts.
Her girl power anthems “Run the World (Girls),” “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It),” and “Irreplaceable” ooze a strong female prowess that demands equal respect and attention in the cut throat music world.
Instead of just singing about broken hearts and failed relationships (hmm Taylor Swift), Beyonce’s songs range from powerful ballads and divalicious dance beats. So I could not help but be surprised when I saw the heading: “Beyonce Announces “The Mrs. Carter World Tour.” What? Mrs. Carter World Tour? Let me explain my surprise.