On Embodying the Upside-Down Smiley Face Emoji

Some thoughts on Mental Health on an Ivy League campus. By ALAYA AYALA Upon going through old text messages recently, I counted an extraordinary 103 uses of the upside-down smiley face emoji over the past week. This may just be an expression of my lack of creativity when it comes to using emojis, but I like to think it’s a pretty accurate reflection of where my mind has been recently. I’m definitely smiling, but it’s not for happy reasons, if you catch my drift.   Last term, quite frankly, was hell for me. On the outside I’m sure I looked …

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The Relay for Life

Harvard and MIT team up for American Cancer Society event. By ALAYA AYALA   On April 7th Harvard and MIT will be hosting an event called the Relay for Life. People across the nation participate in local Relays to help raise money to support the endeavors of the American Cancer Society. This year, the Harvard-MIT joint committee for the Relay for Life has been fundraising, recruiting, and planning in anticipation of the event. Each committee member that I’ve spoken to is involved with the Relay for Life for many reasons, ranging from wanting to be involved with a good cause, …

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Symptoms of a Broken Mirror

A short story By ALAYA AYALA The cold tore through Her jacket like some beast, biting at Her skin, wrapping itself around Her, making it hard for Her to breathe. She barely noticed. She was freezing on the outside, Her leather jacket and thin leggings not doing much to prevent the onslaught of the bitter wind, but it didn’t matter. On the inside, She was incandescent, She was blazing. Had it been weeks? Months? Since that last outing, since She had last allowed Herself to let go of the reins that She always clutched in a vicelike grip? She couldn’t …

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10 Blocking Group Stereotypes You’ve Probably Encountered This Spring

New Freshman Class, Same Old Stereotypes By JAYCEE YEGHER and ALAYA AYALA With the beginning of Spring Term came Blocking Fever™. Everywhere you looked there were frantic freshmen trying to figure out who they would be living with for the rest of their Harvard lives. The stress of it all was overwhelming, but there was hope for all of us. We all went through a blocking group or five over the course of the second semester, but settled down somewhere tolerable at least. Perhaps you landed your dream blocking group, or maybe you or a loved one ended up like …

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Battle of the Matchmakers: Tinder vs Datamatch

The Independent attempts to figure out which matchmaking site is preferred by Harvard students for solving those Valentine’s Day woes. By ALAYA AYALA   This year, in honor of all things having to do with free food, hookups, and Valentine’s Day, the Indy put out a survey asking Harvard Undergraduate Students their opinions on how Tinder and Datamatch compare. The survey was created by the Independent, and attempted to compare two common online applications, before taking a step back to speak with those who refrain from both. The results of the survey were as follows: Of all respondents, 51.5% were …

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The Sex Ed Class I Always Wanted 

Sex Week at Harvard.  By ALAYA AYALA    What comes to mind when you think of Sex Ed? Does a Mean Girls quote ring in your ears? Do you picture some teacher rolling a condom onto an innocent banana?  Regardless of what you’re imagining, I’d bet that your Sex Ed class sang the benefits of abstinence, and most certainly did not tell you how to have safe, non-hetero sex.   This is problematic, of course, if you were one of the thousands of teenagers that identified on the BGLTQ spectrum and didn’t know that gay sex wasn’t inherently safe just because they omitted to tell …

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Shana Tova

Religion among the intelligentsia. By ALAYA AYALA   Picture this: You’re sitting in class discussing a novel that you were assigned to read. The conversation is going great, everyone is making great points, and the ideas are flowing. Then someone brings up the moral implications of the novel. Suddenly, the conversation isn’t going as well. Left and right, your peers are stating their opinions, starting off with “well, I’m not religious, but…” or “Well, I am religious, and…” There’s nothing wrong with what is being said, in fact, people are still making good points. The problem is the tension in …

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