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By Lindsay Nielsen, VI Form
On a Life as an Asian-American & Embracing That with Open Arms
The worst activity of my freshman summer was taking six-hour classes of drivers’ ed for five days straight. The only thing that made it bearable was that our teacher let us watch the world cup instead of parallel parking videos, and we were let out early on the last day because my teacher’s daughter suddenly went into labor. Before she got the call, my teacher passed out our graded permit tests. “So..” she said, “it looks like Peggy Chen got a perfect score. Please raise your hand and grab your test” Pause. Let me tell you three things. 1. I knew no one in this class. 2. I did not earn a perfect score and 3. When she told the class Peggy Chen scored a 100, every single person, including the teacher, looked at me expecting me to raise my hand. After trying to tell them my last name was actually Nielsen, a shy, Asian, Peggy Chen out-stretched her hand from the corner of the room to claim her test.
Believe it or not, this is a usual occurrence for me. And definitely not as weird at the week before when a middle-aged woman walked up to me in Best Buy asking how the definition of a 4k tv differed from a curved model. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I don’t work here.” A few awkward stares were exchanged. “Oh…” she said. She looked at me puzzled as if all Asians roaming electronic stores were automatically employees. She then walked away.
Race wasn’t always a prevalent component of my life, but once I knew others were attentive to my race, it started an onslaught of experiences relating to being Asian in what was to me: a largely Caucasian world. In my personal experience, I will explain how I went from of state of oblivion, to self-hate, to self love all in a short period of 18 years. (more…)
By Cooper Sarafin, VI Form
An Analysis of Alienation: The Natural Estrangement of the Individual
Alienation is a natural state of human beings. We are set in an environment that leaves us with a sense of inadequacy and ineptitude and no matter what extent to which we alter our facades and wear a mask of falsity; we will never be able to cross the glass ceiling that is our expectations. From the very moment we are conceived, we are being classified and divided among throngs of opinions, preferences, and expectations. We are expected to live up to this normality of society, the ever prevalent quest to “fit in”. To be amidst the general populace and succeed in a manner relative to the ideas of said society and government that preside over our specific demographic. We are expected to succeed in the realm of capitalism and to move further up this hierarchy and supersede the ranks of the proletariat in turn for the bourgeoisie. We are expected to develop social relationships with everyone we meet and to be liked by them. We are expected to achieve great things and to do what has never been done before. In the aftermath of all this expectation, what is left for us to expect for ourselves other than that which has been told to us? In that we are governed by these (more…)
By Abby Peloquin, VI Form
Patriotism Is My Life and Flag: I Support the Troops
Patriotism, to me, is far more than saying “I am an American” or putting a flag on your front porch. To be a patriot is to understand the past and present of this country, both good and bad. It is learning the history of our nation, from the pilgrims to George Washington to WWII, and accepting that even the greatest countries have their faults. It is seeing a veteran in Walmart and, although you’ve never met them, saying thank you. Patriotism is putting your hand on your heart for the Pledge of Allegiance every morning at 8am, even when you don’t quite understand the words yet. Being a patriot is a lifelong journey, and the people who understand that more than most are the members of our armed forces. (more…)
By Cooper Sarafin, VI Form
Something Less Depressing –– A 10-Minute Play
Editor’s Note: In the VI Form elective “Writing for Actors,” the assignment called for students to write a stageable one act play, beginning with a dramatic problem. Cooper workshopped his play several times in class, culminating in a staged reading at the end of the third window. He then took it upon himself to revise it once more before sending it out to a national forum, “Trade a Play Tuesday” , where another writer read his play and provided feedback.
SOMETHING LESS DEPRESSING
By Cooper Sarafin
Cast of Characters
James: Individual who prefers the company of himself as opposed to that of others. Doesn’t care what others think of him.
Lily: A friendly girl who likes to get to know many people.
Amy: Stereotypical popular student, superficial and self-obsessed.
Opens with a Lone Figure sitting at a lunch table in thought. In the corner is a vending machine.
James begins talking into a tape recorder
Such a stigma around this, sitting alone. Why must it be regarded as entirely wrong? As something to be undesired? I see them all sitting together, absorbed in mindless conversation, unstimulating, quite boring in fact. Not to say I haven’t been counted part of them, for that’d be inaccurate. Such times as I have attempted to interact with them I joined only to have been left feeling more alone than I do now. It’s my opinion that sitting here alone, my mind to roam free, is much less lonely than to be trapped in your own head with nothing to say. Isn’t it rather lonely to be the only person who doesn’t seem to care? To be an irrelevant bystander, in close proximity, yet so far removed. For me, to exculpate myself is not a decision, but the only reasonable course of action. For alone by choice is far better than alone by force. (more…)
By Steven Li, VI Form
To the 2017 Graduates of Elite High Schools
For seniors, graduation is approaching us faster than we think. In addition to celebrating the payoff of our hard work, our departure from elite schools, particularly independent schools, also means we are about to enter the society that it has sheltered us from. This society is not very friendly and accepting. Truth be told, it has never been this divisive since the Vietnam War and never this irrational since the Red Terror. Disagreement escalates into hatred, frenziness replaces reason, and worst of all, we as a society struggle to find a common moral standard.
In such circumstance, people criticize the elites of our society, blasting them for not caring about voices of general public, being selfish in their decisions, and to sum up, causing all the social disorders from their high ground in Capitol Hill, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley. Secretary Clinton calls “Wall Street Elites” a threat to the “Main Street” for ordinary American people. And, President Trump criticizes the rigged political system since the first day of his campaign. These voices have definitely raised society’s hatred toward elites. And the US is definitely not alone in this case. Back in my hometown, Beijing, it’s impossible to get a taxi ride without hearing the driver complaining how his livelihood is ruined by selfish elites. In my second hometown, Hong Kong, tens of thousands of anti-establishment protesters set up camps on the main street of Hong Kong island, right outside my dad’s office building. Because of that, by the way, he was forced to walk 30 minutes everyday to work. Surrounded by nothing but bad news, he was somewhat reassured by losing some weight. All in all, there are different causes behind these people’s discontent, but the common ground is that they attribute the wrongs of our society to the failure of elite leadership. (more…)