September 11th shook a nation — it still haunts the USA today. This memoir piece marks an emotional journey, and the physical complication of flying a few days after the terrorist attack to a memorial service of someone killed in the second plane. It is a reminder that life is temporary, and to live fully despite this.
What experiences shape our life trajectories and sense of self? What roles do family heritage, state formation, and linguistic and cultural barriers have in creating a person? Are we just byproducts of events and nature, both outside our control? The following personal essay focuses on the author’s background as a refugee from the former Yugoslavia and makes the case for why we should think of the ‘refugee experience’ as a distinct category from the larger ‘immigrant experience.’ The author argues that because refugees are forcibly displaced from their home countries, they have a unique relationship both to the places from which they had to leave as well as the places in which they ultimately end up.
How does art act as an indication of societal upheaval? This unique piece combines personal narrative and art history to remind us the roles we play are often conditioned by the structures we rail against.
Depression seems like an obvious flaw in the human condition. The symptoms of depression (everything from apathy, social isolation, and anhedonia to emptiness, sleeplessness, and ruminations) can make engaging in daily life absolutely impossible. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote: “Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not.” Despite what seems like an obvious evolutionary handicap, research has shown depression has a variety of hidden benefits, such as encouraging attention to detail, creativity, empathy, and resiliency. By acknowledging depression’s hidden benefits, we can alter the way it impacts us individually and societally.
Travel can open our eyes to experiences we never could have dreamed of — but, how important is exploration to personal growth? Can experiencing other cultures and societies serve to unite us or alienate us? Travel can make our world feel Infinitesimally small or boundless and immeasurably vast depending on perspective.
The most defining feature of the human condition is our ability to be resilient, especially in the face of extreme challenge. This makes us human.
To be considered “evil,” do we have to actively contribute to corruption in the world or is our passivity enough to make us complicit? When do we become Infidels? Who do we caution against the neglect of responsibility? How can songs be used to warn the listener?