University of California - Santa Barbara

For as long as I can remember, my parents have always been insistent on taking photos whenever they got the chance. I used to find it annoying, always having to look at the camera, smile, and pose on demand, but now I realize the value of those...

Ohio State University

As January snow fluttered outside the window of the hospital where I was born, my mom carefully chose a Chinese name to give me. While I go by Carolyn in America, I am Xuě Líng in China. Years later, my mom told me that my second name translates...

Ohio State University

Every winter break, my siblings and I snuggle under the fuzzy Eeyore blanket in the bonus room, watching Avatar: The Last Airbender. As the December blizzard shrieks outside, we find warmth in following the wholesome, familiar banter between the...

Middlebury College

My grandfather found himself in the yellowed pages of a Bible, my father in the South African anti-apartheid movement. I found myself in a 2004 Scion xA hatchback nicknamed Oliver.

Writing flash-fiction until my hand ached, reading library books...

Georgetown University

When I’m on my drumline, I can sense the power of rhythm; drums show me how a consistent rhythm can guide people to work in unison. Our drumline requires the extremely cautious cooperation of nine of us at once, so it has sharpened my ability to...

University of California - Santa Barbara

My mom loves to tell the story of when I was a baby, and I would pull the biggest book I could find off the shelf and into my lap, tracing my fingers over the words and pretending I knew what I was reading. Since the night I came home from the...

University of California - Santa Barbara

Raised as a figure skater, and indoctrinated into believing that thinner thighs produced higher jumps and faster rotations, I started my first diet as a ten-year-old. Meals were replaced with protein shakes, and childlike innocence devolved into...

University of California - Santa Barbara

My eyes glistened as I watched a documentary on Korean Pop Stardom. The trainees were subject to strict diets, inflexible rules, and practice from morning to midnight. The video intended to reveal the supposed horrors of the industry. Yet, as a...

New York University

A year ago, my mother casually said that if I had a brother, I would receive nothing from her. Distraught, I had asked her to clarify. However, she coldly maintained that she always believed that sons are superior to daughters. Every time I make...

Emory University

One late night I was alone in the house and struggling, as usual, to fall asleep before my mom came home. The thought that I might be considered a "bad boy" unsettled me. As the 472nd sheep jumped over the fence, I finally heard the front door...

Occidental College

Eating-disorder-related issues are not acknowledged in the skating world. From a young age, I was taught the minimum amount of calories my organs required, tips for suppressing hunger, and methods of hiding malnutrition-induced alopecia from...

Duke University

When I was four years old, my newly divorced mother transplanted us into uncharted territory: a sunny locale called “Florida.” I was too young to understand the magnitude of this life-changing event. Initially, money was scarce and the...

Davidson College

I fell in love with Davidson the moment I stepped onto the campus.

It was the fall of my junior year; back home in New Hampshire the trees had been stripped of leaves, the ground was frozen, and people were walking around bundled in enough clothes...

Rice University

I’ve always enjoyed taking my homework outside. Rice’s thousands of oak trees and expansive quads provide an excellent study environment, and perhaps I’ll sit under one and review notes from my Approaches to Social Policy course. Between outdoor...

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

“Eww, what is that?” were words I remember as I brought out the bento box my mom had packed for me.

My middle school lunch consisted of typical Japanese cuisine, and I didn’t see anything wrong with it when I was 13 years old. Hurt by those words,...

University of Wisconsin - Madison

"Someone must watch, it is said. Someone must be there."

When I first read this Kafka quote, young and ambitious, I set my goal as an artist to be "the watchman "of the world - to reveal the truth to the audience. Like many children, I was brought...

University of Virginia

As I read The Odyssey one rainy summer night, the book became a prism that reflected a fantasy world free from the restrictions of reality and took me on a voyage of giants, monsters and gods. Its stories challenged me to embrace a viewpoint...

Arizona State University

For most of my life, I was seen as a very skinny kid and sometimes I was mocked for it. There is a rising concern for boys who have body positivity issues and experience toxic masculinity. I for one can speak from personal experience on what it...