NGUYEN | The Tale of Cornell’s Broken Housing Market

How did a humble college town in upstate New York become one of the least affordable zip codes in the United States? To piece together some answers, I turned to a number of local historical and academic sources. What I unearthed was a loose narrative of a small town warping under the weight of student demand.

NGUYEN | My Spring of Surrender

It wasn’t until I untethered myself from our culture of excess that I was able to unearth the bounties that so many student organizations had promised me as a freshman: connection, community, interest development and identity formation. It’s almost like I can hear myself better in this quiet, like I can finally breathe without the congestion of my old commitments. It’s been in this spring of surrender that I’ve felt the freest.

NGUYEN | Talking Bodies

These days, impossible what-if’s over my appearance infest my thoughts like ants swarming a picnic basket. They dig themselves into my head all day long. As I’m getting dressed in the morning. Before I step into lecture halls packed with classmates. Whenever I catch my reflection in the Four Seasons window on my walk up to campus.

NGUYEN | In Which We Grow

Not to mention, once we’re hurtled into the whirlwind of college, it’s hard to even realize whether or not we’ve changed over the years. College itself feels like a long breath held in, like a pause between adolescence and adulthood. And as our youth hangs still, suspended for four hazy years, we get swept up by the motions of day-to-day college life. Our Google Calendars quickly grow populated with classes and commitments. We get lost in academic tunnel vision.

NGUYEN | When Creativity Fades

Creativity tumbled down my priority list. Was it worth it to make art when it wasn’t attached to a grade? Was it worth it to create when I knew I wasn’t destined to become a prodigy? I no longer spent my days writing or sketching or building. Slowly but surely, that glowing orb of creativity dulled.

NGUYEN | My Platonic Awakening

But, the optimist in me as loud — and I’m doing my best to listen. If the pandemic taught me to value platonic touch, maybe post-pandemic life will watch me put that lesson into practice. Once it’s safe, and with respect to my friends’ personal boundaries, I’m excited to rewrite my approach to social interactions. To give hugs and hold hands, to link arms and lean on shoulders. To fill my moments with the warmth of physical touch. To embrace the people I love with the new language I’ve learned to love with.

NGUYEN | ‘The Last Airbender’: A Case Study on Tokenism

this isn’t a singular issue confined to The Last Airbender. A coming-of-age film isn’t diverse because it pairs a white protagonist with a black best friend. Including the stereotype of a “gay best friend” doesn’t automatically equate to LGBTQ+ representation. Strategically placing a person of color onto a promotional pamphlet isn’t diversity if there aren’t institutional changes that tend to all students.