I Love the Midwest by Viv Bowling


I love the Midwest. I think it is the best place to have ever grown up. I love 10 out of the 11 Midwestern states with a passion. The north is too quick paced for me, the south is too hot for me, and the west is too expensive and over-populated. The Midwest has none of these issues.

These are the pros of the Midwest:

  1. We get all four seasons. It’s hot in the summer, cold in the winter and a happy median in the spring and fall. You have a season to wear every form of clothing you can think of. Plus, once you get sick of the weather in one season, the next season is quickly approaching and nothing hits better than the first feeling of sun after a cold winter or finally being able to wear your favorite jeans after a nice, long summer. 
  2. It isn’t expensive. Of course, they are exceptions to this rule as there are with any rules, but overall the Midwest is an amazingly affordable place to live and raise a family. There is a reason so many families have to move out of NYC or California. Housing is insane there, but not only that. Food is crazy, childcare is ridiculous, travel is pricey, and so on.
  3. Chicago. That’s all. 
  4. B1G 10 is headquartered in the Midwest. It doesn’t even matter if you like sports, I promise if you live near a Midwest school you will feel no greater pride than supporting your big 10 team. 
  5. People are better drivers here and traffic is almost non-existent. I swear no matter what part of New York or Arizona or Tennessee you are driving in there is traffic. You could be next to a field and there is somehow still traffic. Not in the Midwest though. 
  6. People here are better. People in the north aren’t kind, people in the west aren’t smart and the south is just hot. The Midwest has kind and intelligent people and you don’t have to burn alive. It’s great. 

Cons of the Midwest:

  1. Michigan

Notes and Quotes by Jaimee Martin

Food Tech Homework Help! How to Cheat on Homework


As of today, I have about 496 notes in the app on my phone.

Realistically, it’s probably less because of the many floating around with no real content in them. Nonetheless, each word and each note is so incredibly invaluable to me because I’ve documented my life experiences and identity within this little yellow, black and white app since I was 13-years-old. Everything from my to-do list to the dream I had on February 3rd, 2018 to the complex processes of my mental health disorders is contained behind the icon on my screen, which makes it feel so a part of me. It’s the way we can see a physical human standing in front of us and yet they carry an unfathomable amount of intangible thoughts and a life lived within themselves. Of course, I’m not only a naive idealist – I realize an app is just an app and icons are just icons – but symbolism, complex, intricate, amazing themes are the beauty of life. I believe my notes app is beautiful and, for me personally, it’s one of the greatest, most important facets of this symbolism idea I’ve found.

All of this is to say, out of the 496 pieces of me that exist in my Notes app, one of my favorites is my list of quotes. It’s titled quotes (inspired by anna) because surprisingly, this note didn’t exist before she told me about her list. I realized it was a vital part of my writing engagement and self-identity – I didn’t understand how I never saw it before. I have such a strong appreciation for the thoughts and words, yet it wasn’t until after I started the note my sophomore year that I found some mental safety in all the puzzle pieces being clicked together. Here I bring to you a sample of these thoughts and words, from every possible medium they could exist: characters in books, movies, shows, musical artists and composers written songs, real people I’m with daily, even strangers I’ve eavesdropped on. They are all typed in lowercase, just as they are when I typed them, and I leave them without their meaning to me because they stand alone in their own artfulness – happy reading…


“anger is just fear turned inwards” angela montenegro, michaela conlin bones, szn 1


“oh, i wish i loved you like i miss you” camila, all these years 1:05


“here in the dark corners of my mind i feel a strang relief. i am always welcome here in my loneliness, in my sadness in this abyss, there is a rhythm i remember.” ella (mafi) restore me


“and maybe in some masochistic way i kind of find it all exciting. like, which lover will i get today, will you walk me to the door or send me home crying” olivia, 1 step forward, 3 steps back 1:12


“bro if you died i would be like rip jaimee….she was a real one” owen jan 2, 2k22


“i am in the receipt of your electronic mail dated the 14th april and duly impressed by the shakespearean nature of your tragedy. everyone in this tale has a rock-solid hamartia; hers, that she is so sick; yours, that you are so well. were you better or she sicker than the stars would not be so terribly crossed, but it is the nature of stars to cross and never was shakespear more wrong than when he had cassius note ‘the fault, dear brutus, is not in our stars/but in ourselves.'” tifios, peter van houten (green), pg 11


“that’s the choice. i love him, with all that, because of all that. on purpose. i love him on purpose.” alex (mcquiston), red white and royal blue, pg 344


“his eyes burned like hazel stars” (maas), acosf, pg 385


“you find god where you find him, or her” dan malthroupe, cleveland city club


“the single story creates stereotypes and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete” chimamanda ngozi adichie, tedx


“off topic but: what a slut time is. she screws everybody.” hazel grace (green), tfios


“nothing in this life will ever make sense to me but i can’t help but try to collect the change and hope its enough to pay for our mistakes.” juliette (mafi), pg 327


“she had always been drawn to the untamed wild things of the world.” (maas), acofas,


“hi, i don’t even know where to start when it comes to you.” owen


“i will find you again in the next world, the next life, and we will have that time i promise.” cassian (maas), acowar


“if you’re he sickness, i suppose you can’t also be the cure.” carden (black), queen of nothing\


“to the stars who listen – and the dreams that are answered.” rhysand (maas), acomaf, pg 249




Ever-Changing by Sonali Khatri

I feel like my music taste fluctuates with my personal state. Not just mood, but who I am as a person in a given moment. I imagine that’s how it is for most people unless you’re super consistent. My brother, for example, has been listening exclusively to classical music since he was about 10 … nothing else. 

I don’t know if I’m nosy or something, but when I see someone in the hall or on the street with their headphones in, I always wonder what they’re listening to. Does the song match the person? Does it match what they’re doing? Is someone out there lifting weights to Piano Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21:2. Larghetto by Chopin like my brother? 

I’m sure there are more people out there like me who have the same curiosities, so I suppose I’ll put myself on the line: I’m not proud of it but in early quarantine (when I was still a sophomore) I was obsessed with Lana Del Rey. My gateway song was ‘Doin’ Time’ on the NFR album. I never had a “taste” in music prior to quarantine but I think the utter shock of going into lockdown, and not leaving my house ever (except to go on family walks) made me spiral. And so began my “sad girl” era. It was bad. I listened to nothing else except Ultraviolence on repeat. My sisters groaned when I beat them to the aux. I don’t blame them at all, I’m very glad I got out when I did.

Now that I’m in a better place, I’ve noticed I listen to music that lifts me up instead of music that enables sulking. I pretty much listen to whatever sounds good. Something that scratches that itch in my brain. I gravitate towards classic rock, which my dad takes credit for. My favorites include Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, The Velvet Underground, INXS, Blondie, and Led Zeppelin.

Right now, however, I’m in my ABBA kick. I’m not sure how I got into it all of the sudden, but maybe I needed something a little vibrant, to get me through this never-ending winter. The way the voices harmonize, mixed with the instrumentals, and synthy noises has been so satisfying lately. My favorite song at the moment is ‘SOS’. I think bands that were built on drama, rumors, and breakups just have a little more spice. 

I’ve also realized that every year my music preference changes whether I like it or not. I usually become infatuated with a band or some songs and think that I’ll never outgrow them. I put my favorites in a designated playlist, and it becomes my daily rotation. The feeling of having a new soundtrack to my life is always exciting. However, once the shuffle becomes stale, there’s no going back (actually, I started writing this blog about a week ago, and the playlist I was so content with has become the victim of multiple skips). It’s always fun though when you listen to an old song a few months down the line, and it brings you back to a moment or feeling in the past: it becomes a weird moment of escapism.

So when the dreaded day of music unfulfillment comes, I go on the hunt for new tracks. I usually find new material in shows/movie soundtracks, by sifting through my dad’s twelve-hour playlist or going down a spotify rabbit hole. My shazam is always ready.

The Planetarium Curse by El Szalay

Monday, the 30th of August, 2021.

That’s the day I (accidentally) cursed us all.

When I was planning my junior year classes, I decided that between all the options available for science classes, astronomy stood out to me the most. I knew it would be a class that I, an aspiring theatre major, would probably not have the chance to take after graduating from Shaker. So, I decided to take the opportunity while I had it. And let me tell you, I think it was a great choice. Mostly.

A handful of my friends also decided to take astronomy this year, and by some coincidence, we all ended up in the same class. On the first day of school, we immediately sat down in what would become our little cluster that we like to call “The Bane of Mr. Child’s Existence.” We gave ourselves that name for several reasons, the biggest one being that the mysterious Planetarium Curse started with us. More specifically, me.

On the second day of class, we were given a two-foot long strip of paper and asked to draw a scale diagram of the planets of our solar system, except we were not given measuring tools or the actual distances. We had to guess. As I’m drawing all nine planets (because Pluto will always be a planet in my heart), I realize that I need to label them. I’m going down the line: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and I get to Saturn. I write out that label and immediately pause. I stare at it for a second as I realize what I wrote.

I didn’t write Saturn. I wrote Saturm.

I look over to my friends and tell them about my careless mistake, which they all thought was hilarious. I erase it, fix the mistake, and continue on. I go back to label the sun, and I did the exact same thing once again.

I spelled sun as sum.

I felt like a complete idiot for making the exact same mistake twice within five minutes, but then I felt even worse because

I managed to spell a simple three-letter word wrong.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that these two spelling mishaps would actually be the cause of an otherwise inexplicable phenomenon. The next class we had, there were more spelling issues. They weren’t mine this time, but I slowly realize that the Saturm incident had a greater impact than I thought. No one in our area of the room was incapable of basic spelling before. But suddenly, during every class we had in the planetarium, at least one of us would spell something, usually a very easy word, wrong. Spelling Earth as Eearth, sunlight as sunglight, even going as far as spelling our own names wrong.

A whole semester later, awful spelling still plagues our corner of the planetarium, and my friends all blame me. We named this strange phenomenon The Planetarium Curse. I agree that it is my fault, since maybe if I was paying a bit more attention while I was labeling the planets that fateful day, none of this would have happened. But at least I started a trend that would give me one more thing to look forward to in astronomy: a chance to laugh at myself.

Thrifting by Kian Baker


When I was in elementary school, I hated the way certain clothes made me feel. I could feel the fabrics cling to my skin, their scratchy materials itch my body, and their stagnant size seem to always change with the fluctuations of my weight. I would dread getting dressed every day, meticulously picking out every piece of clothing until I was back at one of three outfits I wore in a week. However, I knew that these insecurities didn’t come from my clothes, they came from the way I viewed myself, and what others said about me.

My entire childhood I was overweight. I quit every sport I tried, had an above-average BMI at every doctor’s visit, and dreaded every swim unit in P.E. we were all forced to endure. It wasn’t until freshman year, after leaving the awkward stage of middle school behind, that I started to be a more active person. Although the first two years of high school were tough for a very different reason, it helped that I was able to start loving myself, which motivated me to do the things I found enjoyable, and thrifting was one of them.

When I go thrifting, I have specific requirements that each piece of clothing must meet before I purchase it. T-shirts must have thick collars, soft fabrics, and be oversized. Pants must have straight legs and deep pockets. Sweaters can’t be wool, they have to be a blend of cotton or something else soft and comfortable. I could go on forever, and sometimes I feel like I do. I will stand in every aisle of the men’s section and sift through every single item until I’ve found four or five I’m content with. Sometimes I think it may be a fixation of sorts or a way to cope with how indecisive I am, but I love shopping, so I enjoy doing it. 

However, nothing beats the satisfaction of checking out. Going home with two bags flowing over the sides with sweaters and only spending twenty dollars fills my brain with so much serotonin my head could explode. It starkly contrasts entering urban outfitters with fifty dollars and leaving with a pair of socks and judgmental stares from their teenage employees. Thrift stores are a place to get lost in, a place that’s fun to explore. You can always find creepy knick-knacks and weird rooster sculptures, as well as one strange china doll that stares directly into your soul and probably hosts a demon of some sort.

Thrifting has allowed me to explore different styles of clothing while still feeling comfortable in my own skin. I can dress however baggy I want and show people parts of my personality through the fabrics I display. I still have a long way to go in the realm of self-love, but I think thrifting has been a helping hand on my journey. It’s a great hobby, it’s good for the environment, and whenever I go, I always find what I didn’t know I was looking for.

Summer’s Here! by Lizzy Huang


Blinded by my sunlit room on a Monday morning, I groan as I fold my blanket tight over my body and slither under the covers; and I suddenly jolt awake in surprise.

Wait, we have school today?!

I scrambled to my alarm clock and looked at the time. I had to have been late for school! It was too bright, too beautiful, too *summer* to be 8:00 in the morning in this gloomy, icy, devastatingly cold winter season.

Alas, as I quickly turned by phone over, my mouth went agape with shock. It was, in fact, EARLIER than 8:00, and I had just woken up without an alarm clock!

This was a once-in-a-blue moon kind of situation, and my head was doing cartwheels of joy. The more sunny days, the more blue skies, the more chirping birds I hear in the morning, that means we’re one step closer to spring — and the more steps we are closer to spring, the more steps we are CLOSER TO SUMMER!

And we all know what that means.

No school.


It means waiting in agonizing anticipation for the coming fall in order to willingly embark on a journey of enthralling oneself in schoolwork and no time and reaching exciting new levels of stress.




Going to School Naked by Evan Barragate

Wholesale PPE, Face Masks, Disinfecting Wipes, Shields & Shoe Cover

One of the most common nightmares is going to school or work naked, the meaning behind which is hard to figure out. Nonetheless, it is not an unexpected dream, as dreams are usually embarrassing, terrifying, and gross. What could be more awkwardly frightening than going to school naked? As for me, I have fortunately not had this dream. But today, I faced this dream in real life.

No, I did not actually walk into the building naked, but it did feel that way. For the first time in over a year, I was in the school building without a face mask. It was odd how strange it felt to not have anything covering my face. A year ago, I thought I would need to hold my breath while it was covered to prevent it from wafting back into my nose. Today, it felt rude to breathe too hard without a barrier stopping it from reaching other people.

The strangest part was the feeling of bareness on the lower half of my face. It felt like I was naked and had to pretend like it was normal, and everyone else had to pretend like it was normal as well. After so much time spent with the fabric covering, it eventually began to feel like a shirt––something you know is there and is not part of the body, but feels so natural that you feel even more strange without it.

Without the coverage of a mask, it feels like people will suddenly be able to read my mind and my expressions will reveal all of my secrets. And there is some truth to this; I never realized how much I smile and laugh at people without them knowing behind my mask. I now have to relearn how to put on a poker face, or else everyone will begin to hate me. 

However, this comes with advantages as it is easier to make it clear that you are smiling at someone’s jokes or just their presence, which can make people like you more (unless you differ from me and just smile when you are actually happy). But even though people can see my big, fake smile, they also have to see the pimple on the side of my cheek, and my nose, and my other cheek, which can make this end to the mask mandate that we all looked forward to into something I should have dreaded.

But remember one thing: if humans can suffer through realistic dreams of walking into school naked, we can hopefully learn to be comfortable with the feeling of baring our face after a long pandemic––or the feeling of continuing to mask even if it is not required.

It Hangs On The Western Wall by Reece Turner

Perched in a glass cabinet above the dining room table looms a worn statuette. It’s a caricature of a missile, its midpiece pierced by two lopsided bullet-hole eyes, a skeletal nose and a toothy, maniacal grin, with the entire frame stained the color and texture of  copper-faded-blue-faded-orange-again, its pieces loosely held together like they were made separately, shoved together during production and rushed out the door just before the deadline. It sits with its back up against the wall, in full view of the rest of the room, such that it’s nearly impossible to avoid seeing, even when just passing through. 

Normal, energetic dinner conversation quickly fizzles out when someone accidentally meets its piercing gaze, their sentence screeching to a halt as they try and fail to regain their train of thought. Even when you’re sitting at the head of the table with your back to the bomb, it’s hard to shake the feeling that it’s always there, rattling and chittering while you eat what’s on your plate and go about your day. At night, once everyone has gone to sleep, the rats slink from their crevices and gravitate to the object, understanding little more than the daytime reverence that they’ve observed surrounding it while they peek from their bunkers. Mostly they tend to just watch it from afar, observing it in a sense of hush and awe perverted from our weariness, but every once in a while an impetuous mouse creeps up to it, sniffing its faux-metal exterior before lightly bumping it, causing its off-center base to wobble and wobble before toppling onto the rat, crushing it for its miniscule curiosity.

Every once in a while someone brings up the possibility of getting rid of it, but it’s practically a white elephant at this point, since it’s a gift my brother dropped in our hands before he went off to college, and he’s pretty skilled at avoiding the object whenever he stops by. At this point, we’ve all just gotten used to it, versed enough in avoiding meeting its line of sight and blocking it out of our minds that it’s barely an issue anymore. And so there it still hangs, a tiny monument on the western wall, for now and for ever.