Gifts List by Jaimee Martin


Senior year is one for bittersweetness. It’s turning 18, but leaving childhood behind, looking forward to college, but closing an entire life chapter called ‘home’. It’s a battle between the anxiety of preparing for said new chapter and enjoying the end of the one we’re on. However, I will happily take all of the bitter parts for the sweetest sweet part that truly makes this roller coaster worth it: senior gifts.

Now, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t somehow recognize at least one deeper truth here; I acknowledge my privilege and materialism—perhaps those are one and the same—as I know realistically that’s why I can even be excited about such frivolities. I’m aware of all the complex things all the time, I promise, but in my current identity and in this space, I just want to share a list that fills me with pure, sentimental, bubbly happiness. It’s ongoing and ever-growing, a constant reminder of how short the ‘senior year’ window is, but my “finally, everything i’ve ever wanted” list is the one sweet moment that never dulls.

She’s diverse in prices ($1 – $2000), items (chapstick and hoverboards), as well as seasons (leather winter gloves and hammock). She’s all the materialistic love I want to be showered with until that last summer at ‘home’ ends. In fact, I encourage you to gift me any of the items on this list (anytime within the window) because that’s what honoring this finale is all about; Let me know if you have any questions on what colors I like.

Happy reading (and buying) 😉

– stauffer’s animal crackers

– ipad pro

– apple pencil

– magic keyboard

– chapstick

– icecream scented bubbles

– hardback books (any of my favorite titles)

– birkenstocks (arizona soft footbed cognac)

– silk sleeping mask

– hoolahoop (cardboard or water)

– candles (ccc) scents i like

– cool bookmarks

– polaroid one step 2 (i type color paper/i type color black boarder)

– spa/massage day

– money

– mini silverware

– bamboo back scratcher

– a quality charger

– cards against humanity

– wii/games

– aerie sports bras

– gum/altoids

– pillows thoughtful not random

– rings/necklaces

– knick knacks

– pens the special kind i like

– chameleon party game

– reading light

– whole foods order (cucumber sushi/just tea black tea/blueberry muffin in the case)

– anything from my free people wish list

– unugly fun warm blankets

– fabric scissors

– hammock the one i like that folds

– rana mitter books the one’s i like

– 3-hole punch

– hair appt.

– unugly cotton grommet belts

– pints

– new airpods

– hamper

– jarritos sparkling water

– gift cards places i like/near me in college

– candy (sour harribo strips, soda can fizzy candy)

– bobbi brown beach perfume stick

– hoverboard

– unugly fun socks

– shopping/thrifting day

– neat dude beanie

– actually neat dude anything

– glow sticks

– college tuition just whichever parts you like

– sunglasses

-race entry fees

Images I Love by Reece Turner

Every once in a while I come across an image so incredible I can’t stop thinking about it for the next few weeks. Below are some of my favorites, plus an explanation of each.

Apparently, sharks tend to gnaw on undersea internet cables to the extent that companies have started wrapping their cables in Kevlar to prevent shark-related outages. Nobody knows exactly why they do this, some have theorized that the sharks somehow sense electromagnetic waves or something, but my personal theory is that they just like biting things, and internet cables to a shark are perfectly bite-able. Also, it’s adorable.

Raccoons are fairly unique in that they try to “wash” their food in water before eating it. There’s a video that circulates sometimes of a group of raccoons who try this with a piece of cotton candy, dipping it in the water and looking away while it disintegrates in their hands, only to paw around for their food, lost to a mechanic they didn’t know existed. It’s a tragedy in every sense of the word. But what the video that gets shared tends to omit is the part where the raccoons learn. The picture above shows a raccoon who figures out that the cotton candy dissolves in water eating its well earned food. Really, it’s a story of optimism, when you think about it.

I don’t really have context for this one. It’s kind of sinister, now that I’m looking at it more closely. Maybe because the implication is that the elephant broke into the kitchen, I’m not sure, but it triggers my fight or flight. Either way, it’s a unique image.

I used to work in a dog grooming place, and every time I checked in a borzoi or similarly long-nosed breed I’d have to stop myself from thinking of this picture and bursting into laughter. No offense to borzoi owners, they’re great dogs, but the phrase “why the long face” always makes me lose it for some reason.

Sometimes I feel like this rat. I think it’s a rat, at least. It kind of looks like one of those sphinx cats caught at a bad angle, and I have a soft spot for them too. In any case, the rat pictured above is in its own lane—chilling, some might say—solely focused on eating the comparatively monumental bowl of popcorn below it. Spiritually, therefore, I resonate with this rat.

When I was looking for this picture in my gallery, I think I remembered it looking a lot friendlier than it actually does. Looking at it now, it’s similarly terrifying to the last one. Maybe elephants are just agents of chaos. Disturbing.

A Definitive Ranking of Every Taylor Swift Album by El Szalay

NEWARK, NEW JERSEY – AUGUST 28: Taylor Swift accepts the Video of the Year award (presented by Burger King) for ‘All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)’ at Prudential Center on August 28, 2022 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images for MTV/Paramount Global)

I am a lifelong Swiftie. I grew up listening to Taylor Swift’s early albums, and even as I approach adulthood I am still captivated by her music and lyricism. Naturally, when Taylor announced her new albums Midnights the night before I returned to school for senior year, I went, for lack of a better term, bonkers. But now that it’s out (and be glad there wasn’t school on October 21st, I was insufferable), I think the only appropriate response is to finally rank all ten albums and determine my top and bottom three songs on each.

First of all, a few disclaimers:

  1. This is my opinion. I will not be taking any form of criticism because I am correct.
  2. This may get controversial. Though I am willing to argue with you in the comments of this post if you want, you will not change my mind. And please be at least a little nice. I’m sensitive.
  3. This ranking hurt me too. It pained me to leave songs out of my top three or put others in my bottom three. Just because a song is in my bottom three does not mean I don’t like it, just that I like it less than the others.
  4. That said, there are a few songs that I genuinely do not like, and I will say what they are.

Now that that’s all out of the way, I present to you: El’s Definitive Ranking of Every Taylor Swift Album.

10. Taylor Swift (2006)

I’m definitely not the first person to admit that country music is not for me. Though my dad plays country music at home fairly often, I never really liked it. While Taylor’s early albums are an exception, I’m not a huge fan of her self-titled debut album. I’m not sure if this will change when Taylor’s Version comes out, but it’s not off the table. But for now, this is my least favorite Taylor Swift album by far.

Top three tracks: A Place In This World, Mary’s Song, Should’ve Said No

Bottom three tracks: A Perfectly Good Heart, Invisible, Our Song

9. Fearless (Taylor’s Version) (2021)

As I mentioned, I’m not a fan of country music. However, I like Fearless much better than Debut. Growing up, I listened to this album a lot so there is definitely nostalgia at play here, but it’s also a major step up from her previous work. The vault tracks, namely Mr. Perfectly Fine, made me love this album, though it’s still far from my favorite.

Top three tracks: Mr. Perfectly Fine, Forever & Always, You Belong With Me

Bottom three tracks: Fifteen, Breathe, Change

8. Speak Now (2010)

I’m sure you saw this coming based on my reviews so far, but Speak Now finishes off my bottom three albums. I understand that this is definitely lower than where most Swifties would rank it, but let’s be honest for a minute. Speak Now is great and all, but she’s done so much better, both in terms of lyrics and music since this album. Again, my review may change when Taylor’s Version comes out. But for now, Speak Now stays in my bottom three.

Top three tracks: Better Than Revenge, Enchanted, Haunted

Bottom three tracks: Last Kiss, Mean, Never Grow Up

7. Reputation (2017)

This album constantly moves in my ranking, but it never breaks top 3. I have a lot of mixed feeling on this one, but I love the individual songs (…well, except End Game because it made me listen to Ed Sheeran rap), but I think we can all agree that Reputation is not a cohesive album. I almost never listen to this album in order, but the songs make up for it. However, while this isn’t my favorite album, it is by far her most iconic era. Argue with the wall.

Top three tracks: Getaway Car, King of My Heart, Dancing With Our Hands Tied

Bottom three tracks: This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things, Delicate, End Game

6. Midnights (2022)

I can already sense the people chasing me with their pitchforks for this. But I stand by this. if you were to ask me where I would rank this after my first two listens (the first at midnight on release day, the second at 3 AM when the bonus tracks came out), I probably would have said fourth or fifth. However, after listening to it a lot more in the past few days, I don’t think I can rank it much higher. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Midnights, I just like her other albums better. That said, it loses a point for making me listen to Hits Different through a TikTok because it’s not on streaming services yet. Taylor, if you are reading this, I am begging you to put Hits Different on Apple Music immediately.

Top three tracks: Hits Different, Lavender Haze, Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve

Bottom three tracks: Midnight Rain, Labyrinth, Dear Reader

5. Lover (2019)

I figured I would get made fun of for this when I first started working on this list, and I know putting Lover above Midnights is not helping my case. But frankly, I do not care. Yes, this album forced me to listen to Brendan Urie’s voice on Me!, but literally everything else on this album makes up for it. Other than that, I can’t think of a reason to hate Lover unless you hate fun.

Top three tracks: Miss Americana and the Heartbreak Prince, Afterglow, I Think He Knows

Bottom three tracks: London Boy, You Need to Calm Down, Me!

4. Red (Taylor’s Version) (2021)

I think everyone, Swiftie or not, can agree that this album is a nostalgic masterpiece. If you weren’t jamming to I Knew You Were Trouble, 22, or We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together at some point in your life, you are lying. Some of Taylor’s best and most iconic singles in her discography are on this album, and Taylor’s Version made it that much better. Though I don’t like Red’s vault tracks as much as the ones on Fearless, that’s not to say they aren’t great.

Top three tracks: Red, State of Grace, All Too Well (10 Minute Version)

Bottom three tracks: Run, Sad Beautiful Tragic, Stay Stay Stay

3. evermore (2020)

By far Taylor’s most underrated album. I barely see people talk about Evermore, and that includes Taylor herself. Some of my all time favorite songs are on this album, yet I don’t see people talk about it enough because it lives in Folklore’s shadow. A tragedy, really. If you like sad pandemic music and you haven’t listened to this album, I highly recommend you change that.

Top three tracks: gold rush, ’tis the damn season, right where you left me

Bottom three tracks: willow, evermore, happiness

2. 1989 (2014)

The perfect mix of quality and nostalgia. This was my favorite Taylor album for a long time. I think the singles on this album were picked perfectly. I mean, Style and Wildest Dreams on the same album? Perfection. I’ve seen this album referred to as “the pop bible,” which is a well deserved title. Amazing.

Top three tracks: Style, Wildest Dreams, Out of the Woods

Bottom three tracks: This Love, Welcome to New York, Bad Blood

1. folklore (2020)

Talented, brilliant, incredible, amazing, show stopping, spectacular, never the same, totally unique, completely not ever been done before. She is beauty, she is grace. Folklore is love, Folklore is life. Call me basic for this. I do not care. This isn’t even the type of music I usually listen to, which is a sign that Dr. Taylor Alison Swift struck gold with this one. This should be required listening for everyone who claims to enjoy music. And if you listen to Folklore because of this blog and think “it’s not that good,” I will not be hearing you out and I will never trust your music opinions. Sorry not sorry.

Top three tracks: cardigan, the lakes, august

Bottom three tracks: seven, peace, mad woman

My Current Meal Obsessions By Claire Borden

Traveling through cooking during a year when I was grounded kept me sane -  The Washington Post

I love to cook. I don’t often make complicated recipes, or even use a recipe at all, but I derive a lot of pleasure from making food for myself just the way I like it.  Every couple months I find a new favorite breakfast/lunch/dinner and eat it wayyy too often until I’m sick of it and then I rediscover it a year later and the cycle continues.  The routine is comforting, and I like always having an answer to the question, what should I eat? These are my current breakfast, lunch, and dinner obsessions.


On school mornings for breakfast I have been loving having cheerios, a banana, some kind of black tea, and a blueberry greek yogurt. This is the perfect mix of filling and satisfying and it’s very quick.

On weekends I love to sleep in so my breakfast turns into something more like brunch, and I love spending a little more time making something delicious. Right now I love making breakfast burritos out of scrambled eggs, bacon, a frozen trader joes hashbrown, guacamole, pico de gallo, cheese and hot sauce. I time it so that as soon as the hashbrown is out of the oven, everything else is all made and ready to go so making this only takes about 15-20 minutes. It is SO GOOD!

If I am rushing out the door and I just need something really quick I love heating up peanut butter in the microwave and dipping apples in it. I used to not like this meal, but heating up the peanut butter is a total game changer.


When I am at home I love to make tuna and crackers and avocado toast. There is no rhyme or reason to this combination but it just hits the spot every time. I am a diehard canned tuna lover and I won’t accept any hate for it. I like to add mayo (not too much), dijon mustard, parsley, chives, dill, and looots of lemon and black pepper, and I can only eat it with water crackers. The avocado toast I eat with this meal is also very specific. It starts with a layer of avocado with lemon, salt, and pepper, and then I add two slices of tomato with basil, salt and pepper, balsamic glaze, olive oil, red pepper flakes, and goat cheese or feta if I have it. This meal also has to have a pickle with it, as well as some sort of chips, usually takis. I have been known to rush to CVS to buy takis to eat with this lunch if I don’t have them.

If I am packing lunch for school, I often just root through my fridge and pack whatever is quickest. Sometimes If I am making chicken the night before I will make extra and pack it the next day in a salad with chips and fruit, but that’s about as complicated as it gets.

Another lunch that I love to make if I have some time is pasta with pesto cream sauce. I grew up eating a lot of pasta with pesto, because this was pretty much the extent of my dad’s cooking ability, and as I got older I decided to put my own spin on it. I make this by adding a scoop of grocery store pesto to a pan (I’ve never liked making my own), and adding garlic, red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, whatever fresh herbs I have, a bit of heavy cream, and cherry tomatoes If I have them. I love to eat this with pasta shells, but I’ll do any kind of pasta that I have, except spaghetti. I am staunchly against eating spaghetti/linguini/any long pasta with pesto.


When my mom and I are on our own for dinner and we want to do something quick we love cooking this meal and turning on an episode of our favorite show, Downton Abbey. We make a greek inspired salad with romaine, feta, tomato, cucumber, and chicken. We always save takeout salad dressings for this occasion, so there is often an assortment of dressings in our fridge to use. On the side we eat any kind of fruit we have in the house, and most importantly, frozen grocery store spanakopita with lots of lemon juice. We might add other things to make this meal more filling if we have them, such as soup, roast potatoes, or chips.

Okay this next one is sort of cheating because I don’t make it all that often, but I just wanted to share it because it is one of the best things I have ever made. My family spent Christmas in Connecticut last year with my mom’s side of the family, and we went to this market that had this amazing sandwich. When I got home I decided to try and recreate it, and surprisingly I liked my sandwich almost as much as the original. This sandwich starts on warmed up ciabatta bread, and it includes tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella, pesto aioli, and a breaded chicken cutlet. It finishes in the broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese and crisp up the bread and it is SO DELICIOUS. I would say the elements that make this sandwich shine are a really thin and well seasoned chicken cutlet breaded in panko breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese as well as the pesto aioli which I made with mayo, pesto, fresh basil, garlic, lemon, and red pepper flakes.







Collecting By Rafael Bonilha Van’t Hof

I’m a bit of a collector. There was never any reason for my collecting, I just did it. If I could get large amounts of something I would. My years of collecting have led me to get many things of varying levels of use, but no matter how useful having a large amount of something is, it is always just fun to have things.

My mother is also a collector of things. She started by collecting temporary tattoos that came with gum in Brazil when she was about 7. After that she started a key chain collection that we still have today, I would say that it is rather small compared to other collections in this house. When she moved to New York and met my dad they joined a CD club and started collecting CDs. I would say that this was the first big collection in my family. I included some in the image, but that is only about a tenth of the CDs we have in this house. I would say this is one of the more useful collections in my house because we can actually use these CDs unlike some of the things that I have collected. Most of the CDs reflect the different musical tastes of my parents. My dad has a lot of rock and roll from groups like the Rolling Stones and The Clash. My mother got some classical and Harpsichord CDs, but she also got some of my favorite CDs. When she left Brazil she took some Brazilian music with her and those are still my favorite songs.

Once me and my brother came around, the collecting only intensified in our house. My brother wasn’t that much of a collector but like many children he would fall under the spell of Pokemon. I, too, went through a card collecting phase. I would buy a small collection of Yu-Gi-Oh cards when Yu-Gi-Oh Zexal was showing. I can only imagine how much money was wasted on card games that we never played. Speaking of games we never played, we also got these small figures called GoGos. They supposedly could be used to play a game, but I don’t remember anything about the game I just like how the figures look. We also collect a bunch of shaped rubber bands, I forget the name and also lost all of them so I can’t say much about them. Me and my brother were also big Nintendo fans so we ended up having a lot of video game boxes lying around the house. I believe that we have the most games for the Wii but we also have a lot of games for the DS, 3DS, Wii U, and I have a small collection of Switch games. We also started collecting misspellings of our names, some of which I included in the picture.

My brother was never that big of a collector, but I on the other hand went a little crazy with it. The first thing that I remember collecting was fancy baseballs. Anywhere I went I would always try to get a baseball with a design. My favorite Baseball was one that I got at any Egypt museum in New York. The ball has a sarcophagus design and looks amazing. I also have a lot of figures that function with video games. I have a lot of Skylanders despite only have Skylanders Swap Force. Ninetdo also released a set of figures called Amiibo which were original made for a game called Super Smash Bros. for Wii U/3DS, so as a smasher I had to get some. My favorite Amiibo is definitely the box of Mario cereal. Most Amiibo are actual figures that look nice on a shelf, this one is a literal box of cereal that interacts with Nintendo games. I also got a collection of lanyards somehow. I don’t know how it happened but I just have them and that is all that matters to me. However I have one collection that rises above the rest.

My favorite and biggest collection is my pencil collection. This collection has destroyed two pencil bags and a big sandwich bag. It started in 6th grade when I started looking to the floor and finding pencils. I would pick them up and keep them and eventually it got to the point where I had a full pocket of pencils.  One day I needed a place to put my pencils and my gym teacher told me to get a bag, so I started using a pencil bag, which broke around 7th grade. I got another bag which broke in 8th grade and then got a sandwich bag as a quick replacement. To help me with this my friends put together a box made from the carcass of a Quaker oats box, and was topped with the zipper from my second pencil bag. It is in the image. This is perhaps the single most useful thing to be made in a design class and something I still treasure to this day. Despite all the heart put into this box it could not keep up with my pencil collecting habit and has reached its maximum capacity. Because of this, I had to turn an old shoe book into a second pencil box which is currently not very full, but one day it, too, will be overcome by my collecting.

Seventeen by Jakeia Banks

Sometimes I wonder if there’s a wrong or right way to be seventeen. I often look at my peers and wonder how they’re CEOs of cosmetic companies, speaking to incredibly important people, getting all ready for college, knowing their five year plan… it seems like they have it all figured out. I twiddle my fingers and just wait for something to happen. Maybe if I sit here with my chin out to the world and my eyes as wet as a leaky faucet then the universe will have pity on me and bring me great things too. When I was younger and would never win any school wide raffle contest, I’d complain to my mother that I was unlucky. She’d look at me and say that there’s no such thing as being unlucky, but I knew deep down that she didn’t even believe it herself.
Seventeen is the epitome of the crappy teenage years. At seventeen, everyone just expects you to know everything overnight. “You don’t know how to fill out this government form that’s required for you to work? Figure it out, you’re seventeen! You don’t know how college actually works even though no one really prepared or told you about it? Figure it out, you’re seventeen!”
It’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. The idea that judgment and maturity is just bestowed over a kid overnight is terrifying and I hate it. At seventeen, I know that I am silly. I can’t do laundry in one sitting. I don’t eat peas! I don’t know how to do taxes. I have no interest in wholeheartedly participating in corporate America. I have no interest in hating myself the second the clock strikes midnight on my birthday. I don’t want to grow up to be sad, angry, and cold-hearted.
With so many ways to Be Seventeen, I find myself at a crossroads sometimes. I could Be Seventeen by waiting for the universe to finally look down on me with pity, I could Be Seventeen by crying and feeling bad about myself, I could Be Seventeen by doing what everyone else is. There are heavy pros and cons for each choice and growing up. 
I would love to finish this blog with a sweet message about how I managed to figure out how to Be Seventeen. But I haven’t, and that’s okay. I don’t know how to make good judgment, fold my clothes in one sitting, do taxes, and I will definitely never eat peas. And that is all okay. I’m not unlucky even though sometimes I think I am. I’m just very, very human.

And that’s okay.

Why Is Messing Up In School So Embarrassing? By Matilda Spadoni

A couple days ago, I had a quote quiz on A Tale of Two Cities. When my teacher put the quotes up on the board, I blanked. My head was empty. I chose a quote and ran with it. Making up things on the fly, and hoping that whatever I was writing had something to do with the context of the quote.
After I turned the quiz in, and time was up, I looked up the quote and all hope of maybe getting something right was gone. I was wrong about everything. As wrong as one could possibly be. I could have unsubmitted the quiz, and quickly written the correct answer, but my guilty conscience didn’t let myself.
The most frustrating part of this disaster of a quiz, was that I actually did read. I just didn’t understand. And how could I remember certain lines, if I couldn’t even grasp the main idea? That point alone has a lot of issues in it, I’m aware. Why didn’t you ask for help understanding? Why didn’t you go back and read the parts that didn’t stick? Why didn’t you do anything, to try to understand?
This realization of just how wrong I got it was embarrassing. I couldn’t stop picturing my teacher reading my response in horror and giving me a big ZERO. Maybe it would be accompanied by a haunting “private comment” that would emerge unwanted in my inbox, questioning how I could have possibly messed up this bad? Worst of all, this quote quiz screams that I did not read the assigned chapters. My teacher will likely read my response with the disappointment that another student blew off the reading, when in actuality, I did it!
Fortunately, I can assume that my teacher will not maliciously call me out on my wrongs, and probably will not care as much as I am assigning meaning to the quiz, but this experience begs the question, why is messing up in school so embarrassing?
I had another experience in Spanish class, where my presentation wasn’t as long as everyone else’s. Although I received an A and filled all the requirements of the assignment, I was embarrassed. I was sent into a spiral of “I’m not good enough” thoughts. But why?
Messing up in school, getting things wrong, or failing when you’ve tried your best is looked down upon in school. How are we supposed to grow, if we’re so afraid of messing up? Personally, I don’t answer the question when I only think I’m right, but I’m not 100% sure. I don’t throw myself into a topic if I might be wrong. School should encourage mistakes so that students can improve their problem solving, resilience, and most importantly, their confidence in their classes.

Stop Telling Me You’re Sorry by Beckett Smith

Stop Transgender Military Ban – See Trans Women of Color Collective for more Information –

(There will be definitions of terms and labels at the end)

If there is one thing about me that everyone should know, it’s that I’m transgender. It’s not a secret or something I’m ashamed of. Every introduction starts with “Hi, I’m Beckett,” followed by, “my pronouns are he/they.” There is a trans pride flag in my bedroom window, and I will talk about the complexities of gender identity with anyone or anything that will listen.

My coming out story is long, but comparatively easy. I’d always felt a disconnect from my body, and during 9th grade, I started to realize that I wasn’t a girl. Over the next two years I experimented with a variety of names, pronouns, and labels. I went from genderfluid, to non-binary, to a boy. My gender has never been something I can explain in one sentence, or any amount of words really. It’s deeply personal, but ‘man’ seems to fit with how I want others to perceive me.

Now, of course, being trans doesn’t come without it’s difficulties. I have been fortunate enough to avoid any serious incidents of transphobia, but I’m a feminine guy. I don’t wear a chest binder very often, I make no effort to deepen my voice, and I am at least a year out from any medical transition. All that is to say that I get mis-gendered pretty frequently.

I understand that it’s not from a place of ill intent, and I have a lot of grace for people who are maybe a little newer to the concept of trans people. I understand what I look and sound like. It hurts when someone accidentally calls me ‘she’ but it isn’t the end of the world. At this point, I’m used to it. What I wish people understood is what to do when they mis-gender me. Obviously, I don’t speak for all trans people, but from what I’ve heard, most of us agree on this one.

Here is an example of what you should do when you mis-gender someone:

You: I was talking to her and-

Them: It’s him, actually.

You: Oh! Sorry. So I was talking to him. . .

See how simple that is! Say sorry, correct yourself, and move on. Make an effort for it not to happen again. (Hot tip: stop thinking of that person as their AGAB, but that’s a different conversation).

Don’t pull me aside. Don’t make a big deal out of it. It’s embarrassing and rubbing salt in a wound that I am desperately trying to heal.

genderfluid – an identity in which someones gender fluctuates between multiple throughout a period of time.

non-binary – a set of gender identities that fall outside of the binary scale.

binary – male or female gender identities, trans or otherwise.

transphobia – acts of verbal or physical violence against transgender people

chest binder – a piece of clothing that female-born people can use to create the effect of a flat chest.

mis-gender – the act of using incorrect pronouns or gendered terms for someone

AGAB – assigned gender at birth, can also be ‘assigned female at birth’ or ‘assigned male at birth.’



How Come We Don’t Get 104 Days of Summer Vacation by Sarah Marcus

“There’s a hundred and four days of summer vacation/Then school comes along just to end it.”

As a child, I always believed I had 104 days of summer vacation. However, there were only 79 days between the last day of my junior year and the first day of my senior year. I was given a false expectation of having summer break for over 100 days. Instead, this summer, I was robbed of 25 days (almost a whole month) and was given summer work and college applications to do ALL summer. So here is a list of the 25 Phineas and Ferb-inspired things that I would do if I had 25 more days of summer.

  1. Rewatch Phineas and Ferb.
  2. If I had 25 extra days of summer and $160 extra dollars in my bank account to buy a lego Rocket Launch Center, I would totally do it. Sounds like a nice way to destress from these college applications.
  3. I would go to the zoo and see a platypus. I would then put it in a fedora.
  4. A trip to France would be an amazing way to spend this extra month of summer. If I have to do schoolwork, I would rather it be in France.
  5. While I’m in France, I could attend Paris Fashion Week and model Phineas and Ferb’s classic outfits for them.
  6. I might not be able to build a roller coaster, but I wouldn’t mind a nice trip to Cedar Point, or Disney Land, or Six Flags or Disney World, or all of them because I have 25 extra days.
  7. “Discovering something that doesn’t exist.” You never know if our lack of flying cars is because as a society, kids are not given long enough summer vacations.
  8. Once I make tons of money for “discovering something that doesn’t exist,” I can use that money to spend $400 on a lego rollercoaster set.
  9. Create a blueprint for a machine that ends in “-ator” while wearing a white lab coat.
  10. Learn what the Tri-State area is.
  11. “Surfing tidal waves.” I would love to learn how to surf. I could do this while I’m in Florida/California at Disney World/Land.
  12. Go to a Lindana concert.
  13. Visit Drusselstein.
  14. Or, more importantly, visit “Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated.”
  15. Learn the words to every single song in the show.
  16. While I cannot “[locate] Frankenstein’s brain,” I could finally get around to reading Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.
  17. I could read every book adaptation of Phineas and Ferb.
  18. Become a Fireside Girl like Isabella.
  19. Visit Mount Rushmore and see if Candace’s face is still there.
  20. Spend $30 on the Perry onesie on Amazon and wear it in public.
  21. Randomly shout “where’s Perry” in public.
  22. Finally learn where Perry is.
  23. Have “The Best Lazy Day Ever.”
  24. Get the Phineas and Ferb theme song out of my head. (I know it has also been in your head since you began reading this).
  25. Or, you know, do the summer work I was supposed to do on time. (While watching Phineas and Ferb in the background, obviously).

Tales of Woe from a Womxn in Science by Elliot Rendall

When I found out I would be attending a machining and manufacturing conference, there was an immediate, visceral reaction of pure dread. I have loved science ever since I was little, and that hasn’t changed. But as I’ve gotten older and watched the population of girls in my science classes shrink, the bright childhood passion has begun to fade. So you can imagine why an entire day dedicated to discussing careers in a severely male dominated industry -surrounded by companies that probably would hire a less qualified boy over me- would be frustrating.

Overall, It was a good day, besides the few moments that reminded me, yet again, of what being a womxn in STEM means. One moment in particular stood out to me. When a company representative was asked how she felt about being a woman in a male dominated field.

“You know most of the time, you’re gonna be the only girl in the room. And that’s a good thing!”

I shifted in my chair, looking up from the awful patterned carpet below me, and landing on the one woman in a panel board of men. My eyes searched to find one of the girls in my class, finding the same baffled look on hers that was plastered on mine. We always knew this, that we would have to fight twice as hard to have our voices heard. But having another woman tell us that it’s a good thing felt like a twist of a knife that was already in my chest.

I don’t hold anything against this woman. I understand that she was representing a company, and that it’s important to be proud of how far we’ve made it.

I will celebrate our bravery instead. Our individuality. The fact that we have kept pushing to be let into these spaces. Something I will never celebrate, however, is the fact that we were alone while we did it. That we had to seek out comfort in each other instead of feeling that we were valued as people in our field. That we need to fight just to get into these rooms.

I am proud to be a womxn in STEM.
But I’m not proud to be the only one.