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Vivian Lam

A love letter to Arrillaga Family Dining Commons

Dear ‘Llaga (I can call you that, right?), I can’t quit you. Ours is a love that few can understand. It’s a love that cannot be measured by daylights, sunsets, Late Nights or cups of coffee from your new flavored caffeine powder machines. But it could be measured in the decibels of laughter resounding in…

The pre-med drop out

If you complain about chemistry, major in biology or human biology, petition for 22 units twice a year, get aneurysms thinking about our disintegrating healthcare system, and/or wear strangely wet scrubs to class, you’ll inevitably be asked: “Are you pre-med?” Depending on how many years you’ve been at the grind, your affirmative will either be…

Me, an intellectual: On “Academese” and accessibility

If there’s anything that captures the zeitgeist of modernity, it’s definitely the memes. Browsing on Tumblr, an incredibly credible source of contemporary sardonic and graphics-laden critique, two memes created in 2016 proffered a rather apt take on academia: The first, “Me, An Intellectual,” according to the de facto meme repository of the internet, Know Your…

How to deal with existential angst

Do you get stricken by unadulterated paroxysms of existential despair from time to time? You know, the ones that hit you when you’re laughing with your friends and leave you slack-jawed with the weight of the inherent meaninglessness of life and the vacuity of all human endeavors in the face of the eternal suffering, struggle…

The Stanford Fig Tree, or what to do with your life

The “real world” looms nigh, in the shape of caps and gowns, disposable income and questionable domestic policies. With each passing year, more and more of the decisions we make will make a significant and probably irrevocable impact on the trajectory of our lives (e.g. voting, eating pizza every day for lunch, binge-watching Netflix with…

Email: The lost art

Writing an email is a subtle science and an exact art. For the most part, we can apply the basic principles of writing to the email — brevity, clarity, rhythm and, most importantly, controlled passion. Both personality and pathos can be conveyed in the versatility of the blank page of the email — rainbow font,…

Sanivation: Fill your stocking with shit, for a cause

Who knew that poop could be so powerful? Sanivation is a social enterprise in Naivasha, Kenya that aims to provide sanitation services to not only improve the environmental health of the urban poor, but also serve as a source of sustainable fuel production. The service involves free toilet installation in people’s homes coupled with an…

Life after rollouts

I heard you didn’t get into that thing you wanted to get into. There, there — have a scented, multicolored luxury tissue. Take a seat, make yourself comfortable. No need to hold back the tears, or bottle up those feelings of inadequacy that will more than likely haunt you for the rest of your life…

On the fuzzy-techie aesthetic divide

Continuing with our trend of viewing the world in binary on an all-or-nothing scale, the fuzzy-techie divide, once a mere apparition of doom, has been theorized and think-pieced into bona fide psychological reality. In the throes of industrial revolution (circa 1834), the word “scientist” was coined as a counterpoint to “artist,” reflecting “the growth of a self-conscious sense of professional identity among those who studied the natural world.” In 1956, an early instigator of the schism, English physical chemist and novelist C.P. Snow, described what he called the “two cultures” spawned by the British educational system’s overemphasis on specialization. He condemned the intellectual monopoly of the “traditional culture” (or “literary intellectuals”) as a source of the marginalization of science and engineering. Snow attested to the moral necessity of scientific study, for it is scientists who push the boundaries of human knowledge, who function as the “directing class” of “new society.”

Lock Your Doors, Lock Your Windows

Dear friend, I heard your laptop got stolen. My deepest condolences for your loss. In the wake of a slew of AlertSUs about sufficiently convincing and personable R&DE impersonators and the outstanding burglary attempt of the week, suffice it to say that you are not alone in the phantom pain of reaching into your backpack and…

Single AF in Spring

Dear friend, Ah, Spring and its subtle manifestations of fertility: from the heady smell of burgeoning flowers, to the musky moistness of morning mist, the swollen oak knobs lengthening into sturdy branches for birds to perch and caterpillars to dangle at mouth level, the light sheen of sweat on our foreheads glisten under the sun…
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