Winter Blues

As the snow and cold descend upon Ann Arbor, it’s easy to be affected by the weather. At least for me, I know that the earlier darkness and bitter cold make it harder to get outside and leave my warm bed. It can be difficult to both literally and figuratively see the sunshine.

It seems as if the first autumn leaves had just dropped, and winter is still more than a month away. Yet, you can’t escape the ice when walking to class. I am a fan of snow, at first–the beautiful flakes falling from the sky, the jubilance upon seeing the first blanket of white. After a few days, it becomes a nuisance to clean and avoid the dirty slush piled up on the sidewalks.

Of course, there are good things about winter, like any other season. There’s the holiday season, cheesy movies, and the coziness of cuddling up in a big blanket with loved ones. Every season is distinct, yet provides a different perspective on life. Even though winter may be dark and cold, it’s important to remember the positives: it harbors a period of change. Spring will bloom after the storm.

Some reminders to carry you through the winter: bundle up, listen to your favorite music, cozy up with a hot beverage, spend time with friends and family, and remember to get some exercise and eat well. Although the seasons change every few months, be sure to enjoy them while they last!

Not a Blue Wave, But Historic Victories

credit: NowThis/itsjarms

I’m sure you’ve been paying attention to the recent midterm elections, which occurred this past Tuesday. I certainly hoped you exercised your civil rights to vote (no matter how screwed you think we are or aren’t)! People have said that this election cycle could change the future of America and perhaps even democracy itself. Many Americans are worried about the future state of the country, including myself. When tyrannical presidents threaten the nation into near fascism, it’s essential to speak up and effect change.

Tuesday marked a landmark election day, even though the supposed Blue Wave was not as successful as expected. In one of the most watched Senate races, Texas conservative Ted Cruz claimed re-election over the Democrat Beto O’Rourke, who lost by only a few percent. While Republicans maintained their hold on the Senate, Democrats claimed the majority of the House. With the majority blue, possibilities for impeachment become closer to reality.

Despite the undermining of democratic institutions in today’s harsh political climate, there were unprecedented wins for diverse candidates: voters were able to send the first Muslim women, Native American women, and LGBTQ+ women to Congress. The first openly gay man was elected Governor in Colorado. These historic wins represent a tide turning in the United States. Maybe people are more accepting than previously thought, and can look beyond ideological differences to vote for candidates who present political competence. We can work toward a more inclusive, democratic, and informative political environment. And hopefully, real changes will be made effectively and quickly.

The Umich Bucket List

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Almost everyone has some sort of bucket list–a list of goals to accomplish, places to see, or things to do within your lifetime. In my second year at Michigan, I’ve begun to think of all the wonderful things I’ve done or have yet to do before I leave. There’s so much to explore on campus. Here’s my (wholesome) Umich bucket list; maybe you can add a few items to yours!

  • Cheer in the student section at a game in the Big House
  • Attend a performance at Hill Auditorium
  • Watch a movie at the State Theatre
  • See a famous person speak
  • Explore the artwork at the UMMA
  • Feed a squirrel
  • Ride a Boober
  • Paint the Rock
  • Float down the Huron River
  • Stroll through the Botanical Garden
  • Ring the carillon bells at Burton Tower
  • Enjoy a meal at Zingerman’s
  • Experience dinner at a plethora of Ann Arbor restaurants
  • Have a picnic at the Arb

Image: SeeJH

High School Musical’s Alluring Nostalgia

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High School Musical: a vestige of 2000’s pop culture. Known to nearly all Americans of Generations Y and Z, for me, the film trilogy has been a staple of my childhood.

I recently re-experienced the nostalgia of quirky musical numbers, spontaneous choreography, and a bright, humorous cast when thinking about Halloween costumes. (Yes, I am going to be Troy Bolton this year). Whether you related to Troy, the jock heartthrob, the “einsteinette” and love interest Gabriella, the popular queen bee Sharpay, or the shy but gifted composer Kelsey, there was always a favorite character for every kid.

For those unacquainted with High School Musical, it comprises a story of a boy struggling to reconcile his love for both singing and basketball, and being with Gabriella while some of his friends become unsupportive. The second movie deals with the friend group’s adventures working at a country club over the summer, and the third deals with the stress of senior year before college. Overall, the films are fun, energetic, and sometimes even show deep emotion. Although some have scorned High School Musical as lacking depth and musical complexity, it is quite literally an adolescent series intended for young fans. With that in mind, I believe the films address topics such as the discrepancies between love, family, friends, and passion.

With a series of three movies spanning from 2006 to 2008, High School Musical was a smash hit among children and tweens alike. Some even likened it to a modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. If you want a nice, nostalgia-filled pick-me-up, consider watching High School Musical and immerse yourself in that sweet, sweet childhood.

Monday, 7:30 AM

The alarm blares, dragging my groggy mind back to a harsh reality: it’s Monday morning and I have to get to class on north campus. I quickly turn off the ringing and glance over my shoulder to make sure I haven’t woken up my roommate. I’m safe.

I roll over, carefully slinging my pajama-clad body over the side of the bed, my toes landing on the cold wood floor. I open the drawers of my dresser, begrudgingly selecting a sweater and jeans. After running a brush through my unkempt hair, brushing my teeth while my suitemates slumber, and lacing up my sneakers, I pick up my backpack and head out.

Moments later, I saunter over to the dining hall, a familiar morning welcome. There’s a spread of students enjoying a solitary breakfast. I grab a mug, filling it to the brim with hot tea. I load my plate with eggs, and plop down at an empty table.

Although no one generally likes Monday mornings, especially when the sky is still dark, I find these early minutes calming, and an opportunity to just relax before a hectic week. While I gulp down hot tea, I find a few seconds to clear my mind. Releasing stress and energy from the weekend, I feel my thoughts floating. It’s hard to describe, but I am free in the moment.

I look at the clock–8:10. It’s time to go. I get up and put my dishes away, grab my things, and walk outside into the brisk autumn air. The day begins.

Designer Spotlight: Aaron Draplin

Aaron Draplin, a prolific graphic designer and author, has been a person of interest to me for several years now. Ever since I became intrigued by the world of graphic design, Draplin has served as an inspiration. The Portland-based designer is known for his bold, colorful, retro-looking style, and founded Draplin Design Co. in 2004. He has worked with Nike, Red Wing, Patagonia, Wired, Ford, and many other global brands. To add to his impressive resume, he created the brand Field Notes, a line of simple notebooks, and regularly creates educational design content. Below, I’ve included some photos of his work. Take a look and be captivated by his stunning artwork!


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