I haven’t had to do this much self reflection since I was applying to college. Even then, I wasn’t reflecting upon myself so much as I was reflecting upon my best achievements and qualities. With each piece of writing that we created this semester, I was forced to look at the entire essence of me. Identity was at the core of each project, and I found myself struggling to really be able to open up to myself.

I wasn’t expecting this class to challenge me in the way that it did. Generally, I’m a fan of structured writing because I’m…


The college application process in America has been completely commercialized to the point where high school students have to pay upwards of thousands of dollars just to be considered by the schools they wish to attend. In general, but most prominently at highly selective schools, people with more money are heavily favored. Ironically, it is these same upper class people that tend to not rely so heavily on their education to succeed in the workforce. Money opens up leaps and bounds of opportunities in the US, so, theoretically, an ivy league education would have the least benefit for people in…


My mom has always made the college experience seem like some kind of elusive enigma (less so my dad considering that he was subjected to the rigors of the Air Force Academy). She boasts about it being the “best time of her life” because it’s where she made her lifelong friends, ended up meeting her lifelong spouse, and didn’t even have to take on lifelong student loan debt. Attending my first year of college online, I knew I had no hopes of any kind of college experience whatsoever; but, even if I end up on campus next year, I’ve realized…


People love fitting into groups. We try to categorize ourselves the best that we can so that we feel we have a place to belong to. Especially when certain things become a trend, we feel drawn towards it because we want to conform to a majority. Thus enter the “aesthetic”; what was at first a word to describe anything cohesively visually appealing has evolved into a definitive category that we use to represent ourselves via clothing, music taste, room decor, etc. Pinterest and TikTok tend to decide what aesthetics are trendy, what each one entails, and which ones are on…


As a teenager, I’ve become all too familiar with the following conversation:

“Omg your shirt is so cute, where did you get it?”

“Okay, I know it’s bad and please don’t cancel me but I got it from SHEIN”

Ethically, we all know supporting fast fashion is bad. Fast fashion companies are built around the business model of rapidly producing inexpensive clothing in response to current trends. There are a variety of issues with this, first of all being the massive environmental impacts. According to the Princeton Student Climate Initiative, the fashion industry is responsible for 10% of industrial water…


From what I can remember of my earlier childhood, a lot of what I learned about what it means to be a girl was collected from a variety of sources. Even though my own parents tried to avoid enforcing certain gender stereotypes, certain ideas made their way through the playground and nestled into my head (figuratively and literally). The very first friend I ever made taught me how pink and purple were girly colors, and blue and green boy colors. Barbie doll commercials were sparkly and glittery and lego commercials were fierce and dramatic. …


It’s no secret that social media, Instagram in particular, is one of the worst environments for anyone who struggles with their own body image. Our social media profiles are places that we use to create a visual brand for ourselves, and many people use it as a way to display their physical appearance when they’re at their best. There is a certain dread associated with summer where the feed fills up with bathing suit pictures of perfectly toned men and women. Especially now that everyone has been stuck in quarantine for over a year, there is an unwritten expectation that…


For context, here are some quick statistics: Bainbridge Island, Washington; 25,000 residents; 5 miles wide and 10 miles long, 65 square miles in total; one public high school, 1,300 students; one bridge; one ferry terminal, a 30 minute ride to Seattle. If you can’t already tell, one of the most commonly heard phrases is something along the lines of “Ugh, there’s literally nothing to do here.” Our community is completely disconnected from the rest of the world. This is especially evident when you reach the age where you want to create an identity separate from your parents, but you lack…


All of these photos came from two locations: two water towers next to a trail through the woods and an old abandoned building known as the graffiti house. Although there are places to find graffiti hidden all around the island, both of these places are well known and full of decades of layers of paint.

Samantha Turpen

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