El Fin Para Ahora

Oh my goodness. I took AP English Language and Composition. I completed all assignments. I¬†passed the class. And more surprisingly, I’m alive. I think that a round of applause and a huge party is in order ūüôā .

The school year is approaching its much anticipated¬†end, so it seems like an¬†appropriate time for reflection (specifically with regard to my AP Language and Composition class). At the start of the year,¬†we were asked to come up with some skill that we hoped to improve throughout the course of the class. I wrote something down‚ÄĒI think I said that I hoped to improve my essay-writing skills‚ÄĒbut in all honesty, I¬†was just taking AP Lang because I’ve always been good at writing, and everyone was taking an AP then. Looking back, it¬†strikes¬†me how much this class has impacted me‚ÄĒmy essay-writing has improved greatly, especially in terms of how I use logic; my vocabulary has expanded, so now I can sound like a pretentious jerk when I talk; I have been exposed to wonderful pieces of literature, two of which hold a special place in my heart: The Scarlet Letter and Into the Wild; and ultimately, this class gave me the chance to exchange ideas, connect, and grow closer to my classmates. I am absolutely blessed to have been able to read¬†others’ works and observe how diverse and beautiful each person’s thinking and writing process is.

My take away from this class is this: live through your writing. Living includes interacting with other writers and exchanging ideas, not being afraid to venture into unknown territory, and actually caring about what you write. Additionally, I think that this class showed me the importance of having a good work ethic.

Thanks to all of you who were forced to read my posts and write comments‚ÄĒyour suffering has been much appreciated ūüôā .


*cue “See You Again” by Charlie Puth and Wiz Khalifa (I cry every time)






Negative Effects on the Child?

In recent years, the topic of the LGBTQ community has become one of the most prominent in our society. Reactions to talk of¬†homosexuality or being transgender, etc. are quite diverse. From those¬†horrified by the very idea that one could “so blatantly defy God’s word” to¬†those who are extremely supportive of the LGBTQ community, much conversation is to be had surrounding this controversial phenomenon. Out of this conversation rises a question that I will address in this post‚ÄĒdoes having¬†same-sex parents affect the child negatively?

Gay parents

I will first address the side against same-sex parents.¬†One report that I read¬†discussed a study showing that kids raised in a traditional family reported low statistics of drug use, unemployment, and depression, and that kids raised with a gay parent received less education and more sexual partners (Carey, “Debate on a Study Examining Gay Parents”). Another negative effect mentioned in several articles is bullying that often occurs to the child as a result of their parents’ sexuality.¬†One article that I read discredited research that proved positive effects of same-sex parents. This¬†was done¬†by presenting the fact that “nearly all the research published to date on same-sex child-rearing is conducted on lesbian homes of largely white, middle-class moms in larger urban areas, using mothers who have volunteered to participate in such studies” (Stanton, “Are The Kids Really All Right?”). This addresses gender and cultural bias present within pro-same-sex parent studies which may have skewed results of the study.

The opposing side‚ÄĒthe pro-same-sex parents side (that’s a mouthful ūüôā )‚ÄĒpresents several good arguments too. Addressing studies that show that children are better off with traditional families,¬†proponents of this side state that “differences that exist in child well-being are largely due to socioeconomic circumstances and family stability” (Pappas, “Why Gay Parents May Be The Best Parents). This means that various negative effects on well-being cannot solely be attributed to being gay. Socioeconomic status varies from person to person, and a heterosexual couple has an equal chance of being poor as does a homosexual couple. A benefit that this side presents is that having same-sex parents promotes tolerance, open-mindedness, and acceptance (Pappas). Additionally, same-sex parents are less pressured to fall into gender role stereotypes; rather, they take on roles “that suit their skill sets [instead] of falling into those gender stereotypes” resulting in a more peaceful family life (Huffington Post).

Both sides have good¬†points,¬†however, the articles I read for either side¬†failed to address correlation versus causation in their arguments. Not addressing this resulted in confusion toward the information presented. My view on the issue is this:¬†I think that same-sex parents shouldn’t automatically be associated with “negative effects on a child” because multiple factors that play into a rough childhood can be present whether a couple is¬†homosexual or not. I also don’t like that this automatic association implies that same-sex parents¬†are different or any less loving than a heterosexual¬†human being is. I feel like much of the research is inconclusive and uncertain.

At the end of the day, research conducted on same-sex parents and individuals is still very new, so more concrete results are yet to come.





A Deadly Disease

“Jealousy is a terrible disease. Get well soon.”¬†


I finished reading Othello a few days ago and I found that this play serves as an ¬†extremely powerful¬†warning, especially for myself. I often find myself held¬†captive¬†by¬†jealousy, and I hate how it feels. Whether I’m jealous of someone’s outfit or body or how much time they spend with someone else, whether I’m jealous over something small, I feel like I don’t have any control over¬†myself. Jealousy has the potential to be a fatal sickness, seizing all aspects of one’s life unless one finds the strength to defeat it. Jealousy infects the soul, and if cultivated, festers until it completely poisons the heart and tramples any intention of clear thinking or good will.

This loss of control due to jealousy is one of the central conflicts in¬†Othello. One of the main characters, Othello is led by the play’s villainous mastermind, Iago, to believe that his wife has been cheating on him. As a result of Iago’s plan, several people are killed. In the end,¬†Othello ultimately kills his wife. The question I will address in this post is on who the blame should be cast upon for this play’s tragedy‚ÄĒIago or Othello? My answer? Othello.

It is easy to think that the tragedy lies squarely on Iago’s shoulders because¬†he manipulated Othello and caused him to get jealous. Yes, Iago played on Othello’s feelings and insecurities and yes, Iago orchestrated many of the events that shaped the play’s tragedy, but Othello had will and the ability to exercise that will. Regardless of how much someone threatens you, it is always your¬†choice to give in or not.¬†Regardless of how many lies someone feeds you, you always have a choice to¬†question those lies and seek the truth for yourself. Othello had this choice, but instead, he allowed himself to be¬†exploited by Iago.

We can see the extent of Othello’s suggestibility in Act 3, when Iago plants seeds of doubt in his¬†heart¬†against¬†Desdemona’s loyalty. Othello goes from a¬†trusting husband to¬†a¬†doubting Thomas in a matter of minutes. One¬†could attribute this¬†to Iago’s skillfulness in rhetoric. However, I attribute it to Othello’s weak will and insecurities. When¬†Desdemona requested to be heard, Othello ignored her pleas and denied her a chance to explain her side of the story. His jealousy took total control and resulted in making him extremely blind and¬†close-minded.For someone who seemed so completely in love with his wife, Othello’s willingness to turn on his spouse that quickly shows not only that he wasn’t¬†as in¬†love with her as he thought, but that he was greatly susceptible to Iago’s ploys. Othello did not fight to exercise his will and consequently, he did not fight to¬†seek the truth.

If Othello actually tried to find out what was going on, the scene in which he killed Desdemona wouldn’t have occurred, and in turn, Emilia wouldn’t have been in the same position (physically and situation-wise) to accuse Iago and get killed. As for Roderigo’s death, we can credit Iago with that (but that’s only 1/4 of the tragedy and Othello can be credited w/ 3/4 ūüôā ) .¬†Ultimately, he¬†ended up murdering his wife and killing himself because he allowed jealousy to overrun his life.

“O beware, my lord, of jealousy! It is the green-eyed monster, which doth mock the meat it feeds on.” -Iago (lol, the irony¬†ūüôā )


Flawed Logic

Logical fallacies are commonplace in much of the daily discussions that we all take part in, such as presidential debates, petitions, or periodicals.With so many words and noises surrounding us, it is often difficult to observe the impact of the logical fallacies that take root amidst the jumble of conversation. I just read an article on the  controversial issue of legalization of prostitution, and realized that logical fallacies have a profound effect on an argument.While reading the article, I pulled out and elaborated on two of several logical fallacies that the argument consisted of.

The article¬†starts by providing¬†evidence to back up its main point. Presenting one of the sources of¬†evidence, the author writes, “Editors of the top medical journal, The Lancet, wrote that there is ‚Äúno alternative‚ÄĚ to decriminalizing sex work in order to protect sex workers from HIV.” The logical fallacy present in this piece of evidence is black or white fallacy. The evidence, and consequently the author, make it seem as if there¬†is only one¬†way to protect sex workers from HIV. The evidence presented¬†furthers¬†the author’s position,¬†but fails to acknowledge¬†substitute options, resulting in an argument that is one-sided and incomplete.¬†By saying that there is “‚Äúno alternative‚ÄĚ to decriminalizing sex work in order to protect sex workers from HIV”, our options appear limited, when really, other opportunities may be¬†present.

The second logical fallacy that I observed is the Texas sharpshooter. The author uses several¬†examples to explain lessened worker exploitation, human trafficking rates, and increased¬†economic benefit¬†of prostitution legalization. The majority of these examples are taken from Germany. Germany fits all the good points about prostitution that the author wants to make, and by using Germany almost exclusively¬†as an example, it seems like the author tailored the examples in her favor. This¬†sharpshooting fallacy makes the article seem lacking in support because most of the backing¬†is taken from one place, rather than a variety of places, which would’ve make the author’s¬†claim better supported.

It is important to consider the presence and impact of logical fallacies in one’s work. Carefulness is warranted because without awareness toward these fallacies, many people make the mistake of thinking that these fallacies¬†strengthen their argument, when in actuality, the opposite is done.





Underestimating Effort



All of us are bombarded by a wave¬†of expectations on a daily basis. Ranging from friends who want to hang out more often, to parents who threaten to disown you if you don’t manage to get at least a 3.9 GPA, the weight of expectations takes its place on the shoulders of many. Thus, the reach for excellence is a journey shared by many.

Remember running races in elementary school? Remember how, just before the race, a¬†freakishly optimistic teacher would gather up the whole class and say, “Kids, I want you all to know that the most important thing is- say it with me- having a good time, not winning. Get out there and enjoy yourselves!” (or some other variation like- “It’s not whether you win that matters, it’s whether you tried your best”)? I remember¬†how, at the end of a¬†race, I was completely distraught¬†because even though I tried my best, I didn’t win. I remember wanting to hate Miss Ella (bless her heart) because of her useless advice.

I find that the pursuit of excellence is almost exactly like elementary races: regardless of how many times we’re told that giving our all is what matters most, putting in effort¬†isn’t¬†enough for us. We aren’t content with putting in tremendous effort and getting something other than a win from it. The value of winning has been ingrained in our heads for the longest time, but perhaps we need to re-define what winning is or shift the value that we place in winning into the extent of our effort.

We are often told to “reach for the stars”. But what if the stars are guarded by undefeatable¬†demonic, steak-eating moons? It’s all good and well to have a positive attitude, but there comes a time when we must realize that we can’t conquer everything. Not even the demonic moons. Excellence has a limit. There is a point at which the line between pursuing¬†excellence and pursuing perfection blurs. I think that the world has wrongfully lumped¬†excellence into a category similar to perfection.¬†There is definitely a difference between the quest for excellence and that of perfection, and that is that excellence is actually attainable. We should be careful not to end up chasing perfection because it never satisfies.

Excellence is commonly¬†defined as the state or quality of being exceptionally good or skilled in an area, however, I believe that we should define the pursuit of¬†excellence as¬†simply doing one’s¬†best in whatever¬†they’re doing. We regularly underestimate the significance of our effort and fail to see that it may signify an even greater sense of excellence than what society has deemed as “winning”. People may say that they know that trying their best does matter, but do they truly¬†believe¬†that? Do you?

– Angel



A few days ago, I asked a good friend what he thought makes a r√©sum√© effective. “Basically, all you do on a¬†r√©sum√© is lie and mold yourself to the expectations of a potential employer,” he answered. “R√©sum√©s are stupid.” While he didn’t exactly answer my question,¬†his words replayed over and over in my head while I was researching¬†r√©sum√©s.

Many of the¬†articles¬†that I read about writing impressive¬†r√©sum√©s included information like, “Tailor your experience to the job’s descriptions and context” or “It’s a good idea to leave out any controversial positions you may have held”. These aspects of¬†r√©sum√©-writing do make it seem as if a¬†r√©sum√© is a platform on which you modify yourself and your experiences just enough in order to catch an employer’s eye. My question to you, as you read the following r√©sum√© do’s and don’ts, is: do you believe that it is entirely possible to compose an effective r√©sum√© without compromising who you really are/what you have experienced?

resume ooh

Do’s and Don’ts:

1. Do try to make your résumé pop as much as possible. Most hiring managers spend as little as 20 seconds, and at most, 10 minutes, reading through a résumé. You want to ensure that your résumé is one that grabs their attention, rather than one that they toss aside.

2. Don’t clutter your r√©sum√©. Make it as pleasant and easy to read as possible and use simple fonts, formatting, concise but pertinent paragraphs, etc. Again, hiring managers will literally zip through your¬†r√©sum√©,¬†so make it easy for them to get¬†to the core of what you have to offer.

3. Do provide the skills you possess that are suitable for a specific skill set; also list specific accomplishments and experience appropriate to the desired job.

4. Don’t include topics, for example,¬†hobbies, that are unrelated to the position desired. Let’s say, for¬†example, that you’re a champion¬†League of Legends player. Regardless of the prestigious position you may hold in the gaming world, if the job description is looking for a marketing analyst, don’t¬†include League on your resume. I doubt that- “In my ten years of experience playing League, I¬†single-handedly¬†defeated Aatrox and Akali and rose to the highest rank in the war” (or whatever it is that you do in League)- is relevant¬†information for an employer¬†looking for a market analyst ūüôā .

5. Do list volunteer work and small projects if applicable to the position you seek.

6. Don’t¬†copy words or phrases¬†directly¬†from the job description in an attempt to sound like a good fit. Many hiring managers use ATS- a system that scours your¬†r√©sum√© for key wording and significant phrasing and it’s usually obvious when an applicant copies words.

7. Do provide a short summary encompassing key elements of your background.

8. Don’t skip over periods of unemployment- address this period and explain what you did during that time. For example, “I was unemployed from 2010 to 2011 due to a budget cut. During that time, I became a significant figure¬†in the black market selling white Vans” (hehe).

9. Do include contact information- email, number, name, etc.¬†It’s an obvious yet often forgotten aspect of¬†r√©sum√©s.

10. Don’t use colloquial terms (unless applicable), but at the same time, don’t go overboard with formality. Strike a comfortable balance between the two.

A few final tips:

*Only provide a clear, intentional statement describing the nature of the job you seek when making a big job change (i.e. switching from distributing weaves to becoming a fashion editor).

*As with most writing, it is better to show, not tell

I’m not an expert in any of this, but hopefully, you were able to get some useful advice from this list.
















A Poet in Metaphors

Recently, I have been studying the work and life of Naomi Shihab Nye, an American-Palestinian poet. I have grown to love this poet as well as¬†her writing, and my hope is that out of this post, you will be able to get a sense of who she is and how she writes. The following list is comprised of metaphors capturing what I think key aspects¬†of Nye’s works and personality are.

1. Plant:

Climbing vine. Every word in Shihab Nye’s¬†poetry is marked with intentionality and has the aim of¬†finding connections between people of different ethnicities, cultures, beliefs, and parts of the world¬†just like how a¬†climbing vine is a assortment of different strands¬†(what are individual pieces of vines called?),¬†all interlocked as one.

2.  Color

Indigo. Shihab Nye loves variety in people, in ideas, and in scenery, which can be seen in the wide array of themes that her poems cover, demonstrating her respect and contemplation of variety. She embraces mixtures, similar to how indigo is an embrace of the mixture created by blue and violet.

3. Fragrance

Reminiscent of comfort, home, and simplicity, Shihab Nye is the smell of vanilla- warm and inviting tones infuse her work.

4. Architecture

Naomi Shihab Nye is the Taj Mahal. Her intense devotion and passion to her beliefs, as well as to her occupation is not only evident in her poetry, but in the organizations she supports and in her interactions with people- much like how the Taj Mahal embodies the pure commitment and love that its commissioner held toward his wife.

5. Word

In her work, Shihab Nye reforms ordinary items, actions, and people into symbols of significance and shares her desire to re-discover humanity. She is reclamation.

6. Decade

Naomi Shihab Nye- inspired by the belief that we should seek beauty and enjoyment in life, seeing it for all its vibrancy,texture, and meaning- is the 70s: colorful bell-bottoms, shimmering disco-balls, tie-dye headbands, mood rings, jackets with fringes.

7. Game

Tug of war. The two heritages present within her- Arab and American- are like two warring sides, given all the conflict between them. Although Shihab Nye writes about conflict among others, the fact is that conflict presides within her. Both sides push and pull and she doesn’t know which¬†she should identify with the most.

8. Romantic Gesture 

A lover of pause, reflection,¬†and careful analysis of her environment, Shihab Nye is a moonlight stroll. ‚ÄúPoetry calls us to pause. There is so much we overlook, while the abundance around us continues to shimmer, on its own.‚ÄĚ- Naomi Shihab Nye. ¬†

9. Natural Phenomenon

Naomi Shihab Nye is a hurricane. She rages for change through her actions and words (the violent winds and waters of a hurricane),  yet is peaceful at heart ( the eye of a hurricane).

10. Article of Clothing 

Lingerie. Shihab¬†Nye’s¬†poems create an intimate connection with the reader. Additionally, she is¬†has no reservations toward¬†laying her life out for others to see.

11. Age Group

Child. Much of Shihab Nye’s¬†work ¬†is often described as imaginative, playful, and daring.

12. Dessert

Her work adopts simple diction, an interesting contrast to the complex and deep meaning woven throughout the lines of her poetry. Shihab Nye is tiramisuРsimple yet underscored by layers of flavor, meaning, and depth.

13. Hobby

Naomi Shihab Nye is an antiques connoisseur– she appreciates history, views it as a part of who she is, and makes its presence known throughout her work.

14. Type of Conversation

A ranting session between close friends. Shihab Nye’s¬†thoughts, sorrows, joys, and passion for change are poured out in pages through her work, similar to the cascade of words exchanged between friends in discourse. The reader quickly becomes a confidant¬†to Shihab Nye, a person privy to her¬†conflicts and views.

15. Literary Character

If Naomi Shihab Nye was a literary character, she would be Nancy Drew. Throughout her work, Shihab Nye searches tirelessly for connections between the past and the present, the relationship between culture and identity. She works to solve the mysteries of strained relations as well as the odd tensions that infuse her writing.



*You can’t deNye the power of poetry (hehe ūüôā )

Conditional Belonging


Colleges around the world, most notably in North America, the Philippines, and various countries in Europe have adopted Greek Life as a major part of campus life. These schools are home to fraternities and sororities, of which some have roots reaching all the way back to the late 1700s. Formed on the basis of fostering family, service, and social unity, involvement in fraternities and sororities were seen as prestigious positions in which one could better their communities and experience family life within a group of housemates.

Greek Life (specifically modern Greek Life) has become extremely popular within Western culture, a main factor of this popularity being the renowned tradition¬†involved. Traditions originating from earlier chapters (the term given to “dynasties” of sororities/fraternities) of Greek Life organizations¬†such as secret handshakes, meetings, and passwords have been extended to include¬†an vast¬†array of unpleasant practices. The focus of my post is on the extremities of those unpleasant practices.

While tradition, challenge, and competition are among the¬†valuable elements of several¬†unions, Greek Life organizations that take these aspects¬†too far are shown to be not only the originators of fatal situations, but the twisted reality¬†to¬†which “family” has been associated with.

Hazing is defined as “humiliating and sometimes dangerous initiation rituals, especially as imposed on college students seeking membership to a fraternity or sorority” by Merriam-Webster dictionary. Hazing takes on different forms- forced streaking, being assigned a derogatory name, solitary confinement sans food, water, and bathroom privileges, etc. While hazing, a practice that has been around for ages, is often seen as¬†merely fun and games, it is this mentality that leads people to underestimate the consequences that their “fun and games” can incur.

The¬†danger of hazing can be seen in countless documented cases. For example,¬†Chun Deng, who died after being shoved in the snow and injuring his skull during a scavenger hunt ritual in¬†a¬†Pi Delta Psi fraternity.¬†Or Jack Culolias, who was “accidentally drowned” in a river after enduring “Hell Week”, the initiation process of the¬†Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.¬†Or a girl who was¬†beaten with paddles in the¬†Sigma Gamma Rho sorority after she was told it would “humble her” and create “love and trust between sorority sisters”.

It angers me that belonging and friendship¬†have been warped into such conditional and terrible concepts. It angers me that Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s mission statement is to “promote the highest standards of friendship, scholarship and service for our members based upon the ideals set forth by our Founders and as specifically enunciated in ‚ÄúThe True Gentleman‚ÄĚ “,¬†and yet, it is hailed as one of the most notorious fraternities¬†associated with death. It angers me that people think that preservation of hazing is preservation of tradition.

I realize that not all hazing has deadly results.¬†I also realize¬†that getting made fun of or being bullied is a¬†part of life, but why does it have to be? How many stories have been told of kids who were killed or committed suicide as a result of “harmless taunting”? I believe that the miscalculation of others’ words and actions upon an individual is a grave mistake.

There have been over 56 fraternity/sorority¬†related deaths since 2000¬†in the U.S. There is a fine¬†line¬†between camaraderie and utter absurdity. Why does¬†acceptance entail¬†injury, embarrassment, or in the extreme, death? Since¬†when is it okay to preserve “tradition” at the cost of causing¬†brotherhood or sisterhood to lose their¬†meaning?



*While many colleges have adopted Greek Life, several do not tolerate hazing. My intention is not to generalize, but to call attention to schools that continue to ignore it.












Into the Wild


I rarely read literature with a focus on nature and exploration, which is why I am still surprised that not only did I finish reading Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer, I found it oddly captivating.

Jon Krakauer tells the story of Chris McCandless, a young, enigmatic man who strives to live a life of purpose. In an effort to do so, Chris decides to leave home and journey into the wild, away from all people, away from expectations, away from reality.

Throughout this book, Krakauer employs stories of other explorers (including himself) as parallels to the main focus on McCandless.¬†Kraukauer also draws upon the accounts¬†of those who knew Chris, as well as how Chris’ death affected them. Because of this, I believe that Krakauer’s purpose was to convey that while we all need a break from the overwhelming congestion of conversation, technology, and discontent¬†in our lives,¬†humans are simply not meant for long-term isolation.

From time to time, Krakauer¬†addresses Chris’ journey¬†with an attitude of reverence and respect, highlighting the importance of pursuing one’s passion relentlessly. However, while this book is filled with fascinating adventure, tones of caution underlie the text.¬†Krakauer uses McCandless and the many other travelers mentioned as examples of how our untamed fantasies¬†can foster¬†foolishness and consequently, death. Dreams are cast in a somber light as Krakauer depicts the dangers of constantly living in a state of reverie.

I believe¬†that Krakauer’s target audience was dreamers. People who refuse to fully take heed of reality or people unexposed to the risks of stubborn solitude. While¬†reading this book,¬†I was stunned at how alike the main character, Chris, and I¬†are. Two people full of¬†restless energy, often detached from others, drawn to the allure of a fanciful life. Ultimately, every one of us is at one time or another possessed by the possibility of a life of freedom, impulse, and exploration.¬†Into the Wild is a book that¬†others can see themselves in, perhaps making it all the more an experience of introspection and learning.



A Desired Life


I don’t like thinking about whether I’m living an intentional life. This is due largely in part to the fact that I know I’m not living my life to the fullest.

I live a life confined by walls that come in different forms. A good life, but nonetheless, a life often subdued by silly things and at other times, things that I cannot control. And the more I think about it, the more I hate the reality of it.

Hate is a strong word. But, in this moment, it perfectly captures my feelings toward the limitations that hinder an intentional life.

I hate that I care so much about what others think of me. I hate that I’m often unable to see past my seemingly endless imperfections. I hate that even though there are so many people who have blessed my life,¬†I neglect¬†to tell them a simple “thank you” or “I love you” because I’m too shy. I hate being a prisoner of schoolwork, living my life in accordance to the ticking of clocks. I hate that I hate what life has ceased to become.

What do I wish- want– my life to look like? I want a life in which I wake up everyday because I’m excited for what lies ahead.¬†I see myself constantly surrounded by people who love me and make me smile. I want to make time to be immersed in God’s Word. I picture days filled¬†with so much joy and belonging, that I¬†never once look at the time in fear of a deadline. I want a life that allows me to¬†get a score higher than a 50 in the¬†dinosaur-jump game that appears in the absence of internet connection :).¬†I see myself sleeping for 9 hours every night.¬†I see myself free of¬†the anxiety and worry that arrives¬†with the train of expectations that people have of me.

I wish with all my heart that I could be the owner of this beautiful, fanciful life, however, I don’t know exactly where to start to make it¬†possible. What fills me with a sense of anguish¬†is that I¬†don’t have confidence¬†that¬†the entirety of this dream is possible right now.