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Advice to a “Girl”–What I Wish I Knew

By Mary Hoffman, IV Form

Advice to a “Girl”–What I Wish I Knew

(Based on Jamaica Kincaid’s short story)

Always be aware of your surroundings; never ignore your gut feeling; when you don’t feel comfortable in a situation- leave; the police are always there to help; nothing good happens after midnight; learn from your mistakes; you deserve what you tolerate; treat people how you want to be treated; make your bed every morning, it teaches smart habits; clean your room; dress to impress, people will treat you better when you look nice whether that’s right or not; never slut shame- girls are supposed to support each other; friends and family are more important than romantic relationships; don’t gossip; don’t burn (more…)

Willing to Empathize with Another’s “Otherness”

By Hans Zhou, VI Form

Willing to Empathize with Another’s “Otherness”

“Come on, those chicks must be super proud to be portrayed that way,” a boy dismissively interrupted me during a class discussion while I was criticizing the eroticized female images in a magazine that objectifies women for commercial gains. Astonished and silenced, I could not believe what I had just heard. It was my first year in the United States. For a Chinese boy who longed for open-minded conversations in the United States, the all-male school atmosphere was not ideal. Identifying as a feminist only made things worse. I was publicly ridiculed for spreading “stupid feminism” and lacking masculinity. Admittedly frustrated, I was above all baffled. Why would people easily hold on to their prejudices without trying to listen to another perspective? (more…)

To Go Through Hell and Resurface

By Isabella Cruz-Nascimento, V Form

To Go Through Hell and Resurface

Crazy, insane, bipolar, OCD–all terms that have worked their way into colloquial language. Most people use them to describe themselves; “Oh my God, I am so OCD, I can’t handle messy rooms” is a sentence that could be heard regularly among teenagers. However, swap in a teen that genuinely displays compulsive behavior and the declarations turn into murmurs of, “What’s wrong with her?” “She needs to calm down,” “They need to medicate her already”.  Mental illness is inconsequential and intriguing, until one sees its effects in person. In a community like St. Mark’s, being diagnosed with a mental illness can be onerous, not only because of the rigorous environment, but also because of the burden of the connotations that come with having a diagnosis. In an environment that demands perfection, I sometimes feel branded as incapable of success because of my diagnosis. For the majority of the past two years I have kept my dishonorable secret closely guarded. I refuse to do that now. (more…)

“I Am” Poetry

By Miss Amanda Hultin, English & Religion Faculty, and Charlie Mosse, Gillian Yue, Cooper Giblin, Hailey Dubose, Peter Ackerman, & Mark Wang, IV Form

“I Am” Poetry

In the first days of school, there is much that I want to learn about my students. I ask them to write, “How can I be a good teacher for you?” “What do you want me to know about you as a student? As a person?” The answers are read only by me.

I also want my students to learn about each other and to begin creating the learning environment unique to each class. I assign the “I am” poem as an exercise in thinking, writing, and talking about (more…)

Female Value: Dead in the Ashes of McCarthy’s The Road

By Marissa Huggins, V Form

Female Value: Dead in the Ashes of McCarthy’s The Road

In a post-apocalyptic world, the way of survival is quite literally “every man for himself.” The few humans that survive the apocalypse are forced back to their primitive states of being and live in constant fear of death. Some survivors, known as “the bad guys,” change their perception of human life and become morally limitless with their methods of survival. The “bad guys” either kill or capture people, depending on the perceived threat or benefit. Thus, the post-apocalyptic world’s culture is one where everyone’s purpose is to sustain his or her own life. Unlike most of the survivors in McCarthy’s The Road, the father and son have a co-dependent relationship that often promotes their survival. While the father may have been upset that his wife killed herself, his wife was wise to end her life and escape her life of imprisonment. (more…)

Intersecting Struggles

By Brittany Bing, VI Form

Feminism: a word so heavy it often feels like an elephant in the room when mentioned amongst a group of people.
Feminism pisses people off. Feminists are supposed to be man haters and bra-burning idealists who think that women are superior to men. As ridiculous as the stereotype sounds, the true modern feminist doesn’t believe that women are inherently better than men. Unlike misogyny, feminism simply refers to one’s belief in the equality of the sexes. Of course, feminist ideals are exponentially more complex than just wanting equality. Over the summer, I explored these concepts in depth at the Independent School Gender Project held at the Hotchkiss School.

As a veteran conference attendee, I knew what to expect. ISGP is a small, all-women’s conference (more…)