Trying to raise an informed electorate in institutions void of political discussions is a double-edged sword.

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Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash

One of the first things I do when I move to a new neighborhood is to join its Nextdoor community. Nextdoor describes itself as a “neighborhood hub for trusted connections and the exchange of helpful information, goods, and services.”

While it’s been a great resource to find out about local community services and the occasional garage sale, it’s usually riddled with drama that just seems inevitable in online gatherings of people.

A few weeks ago, a concerned parent of the local high school posted about, what she claimed was, an unsettling sort of “indoctrination” in her child’s AP Government class. She said that she had listened in to the class over Zoom and had heard the teacher discussing the presidential debate with a heavy bias towards one party and that she was “fanning the flames of hate.” …


The pandemic made me say such an abrupt farewell to a way of life

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Photo by Alan Shaw on Unsplash

Taking a stroll through my town’s main street, you could hardly tell that we’re in the midst of a pandemic. Tables and chairs have migrated from inside restaurants to the sidewalks where fresh air circulates freely. On weekends, crowds struggle to stay distanced while they wait for tables and reservations. The diners, maskless and unbothered, are the most obvious indications of the life we used to have before the pandemic.

When I pass through these crowds on my daily evening walk, I can’t help but notice the servers. Their eyes betray a harried and exhausted look behind their plastic face shields. …


When you’re constantly surrounded by those who have it all, it’s hard not to feel like you have no control

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Photo by niklas_hamann on Unsplash

While the pandemic has given me a lot of time to rest at home and enjoy my family, sometimes it feels like it’s given me too much time to dwell. And with all this thinking, I keep feeling a sense of stagnation in my life right now.

I want to put in a good day’s work towards a larger purpose — and most of all — I want to see clear signs that my efforts aren’t in vain. But I’m starting to fall into the trap of feeling I’m mediocre for not living up to subjective standards. …


I thought I’d be overwhelmed by nostalgia but I felt anything but that.

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Photo by Robert V. Ruggiero on Unsplash

My daughter and I carved pumpkins today.

I remember the few stray tears that came with a sob she tried to muffle when I told her a few weeks ago that Halloween was unofficially canceled. For her sake, I’ve been trying to cling onto any bit of normalcy that we can. We decorated the front porch with swaths of fake cobwebs, a menacing fake spider, and a string of lights. And today we carved pumpkins.

I scoured the house, looking for any spare candles we could put in our jack-o-lanterns but I came up short. …


We need to prioritize giving our children a love for literacy now more than ever

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Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

With all the extra time I’ve been spending at home, one of the benefits I’ve reaped is being able to read more to my daughter. Being an avid reader came naturally to me when I was her age because it was before the internet was a common household utility. Now, the internet provides an endless stream of distractions. Screen times are skyrocketing while the practice of literacy is declining within the general populace.

I’m the first to admit that my daughter would much rather play video games than read a book and I’ve accepted that for what it is. …


Nathan Apodaca’s viral video entered our collective conscience when we needed it most.

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Screenshot from video created by @420doggface208 on TikTok

Imagine you’re on your way to work and your car sputters to a stop on the side of the road a mile away from your workplace. With fifteen minutes left to clock in on time, you’d hardly think that it’s the time to make a TikTok video — but this is what sets Nathan Apodaca apart.

When Apodaca found himself in this predicament, he grabbed his longboard and jug of juice out of his car and started riding the mile left he had to reach the potato factory where he works as a laborer. …


The consuming fear that comes with these attacks is just fueled more by my panic to hide them from everyone

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Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

If there’s anything I can be grateful for in terms of having panic attacks, it’s that I become more and more knowledgable each time I have one. I’ve learned to recognize the symptoms.

The first time was sheer terror. I remember the feeling of my chest tightening as I frantically took in gulps of air. My left arm started going tingly from the shoulder down and I was convinced I was having a heart attack. My daughter was sleeping in bed next to me and my brain frantically told me I couldn’t die, not like this. …


Some teens have been catapulted to fame online, but are they headed down the road of many child stars before them?

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Photo by Gian Cescon on Unsplash

I’m a millennial that became a parent very young, and I never expected that I’d find myself in a situation of feeling like an “old” parent. With the pace of the internet as fast as it is, I feel like I’m trying to swim along with a rapid current that just keeps jostling me. And as my reluctance to use social media grows with my age (and for the sake of my sanity), it’s only gotten harder to keep up.

I’ve done my best to keep my daughter as removed from it as is possible — or as removed as a child in this era can be. While I tolerate her enthusiasm for online video games, I’ve tried to keep her away if social media if possible — the kinds of social media where you post photos and videos, connect with “friends,” follow and are followed, etc. That’s been made exponentially more difficult this year as she began to discover TikTok through her friends who were raving about it. …


The ‘claw is the law’ because it followed some laws of its own

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Photo by Cyrus Crossan on Unsplash

It was during the nationwide shortage when I first heard of the iconic hard seltzer brand — White Claw. Determined to see what all the fuss was about I set about finding a case, but I could indeed see that the nationwide shortage was no exaggeration. Having never tasted an alcoholic seltzer before, I settled for a Truly’s just to get a taste of what it was, but what I was really waiting for was a genuine White Claw.

When I got my hands on a case, I wasn’t disappointed. It was crisp and refreshing. It was sweet and fruity but not overly so. I felt the buzz of beer without the bloating. …


I can’t even afford to save for my own retirement, and you want me to do what?

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When I graduated high school I eagerly set about my plans for a new life hundreds of miles away. I was going to go away to college, something I had worked towards with excruciating effort because, to be frank, I kind of never wanted to see my parents again.

I’ve spoken before about the abuse I went through growing up as a child. The sole focus in my mind when I even applied to colleges was to apply to the ones that were as far away as possible. …

About

Janice Bae

I enjoy writing about society and culture, especially of the internet variety. janicebaecopy@gmail.com

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