Cultural Criticism

Photo of the interview subject, the author's mother, smiling in a green dress. Photo taken by the author.

Q&A: Mother and daughter

A microphone on a stand in front of a blurred-out crowd. Photo courtesy of Kane Reinholdtsen on Unsplash.

Q&A with Emily Hsieh

A drawing of the author, who has long blonde hair, glasses, and a beard. Photo courtesy of the author.

Understanding mental health: my experience

A view of festival-goers at Boston Calling. Photo taken by the author.

Music festivals and everything in between

The author and his sister embrace. Photo courtesy of the author.

My sister

Photo of the author standing in front of a waterfall in a red rain jacket. Photo courtesy of the author.

What does it mean to be a man?

Drawing of the author's school with poisonous flowers stemming from the roof. Drawing by the author.

The innocent-looking poison

A child wearing a striped shirt sits next to a baby outside. Photo courtesy of Jens Johnsson on Unsplash.

First born

Relaxing by the river in Portland, Oregon. Photo courtesy of the author.

Getting in touch with nature

Class of 2023 SCR Elections instructions to-do list for candidates running in fall 2020. Photo taken by the author.

Winning a class election as the new kid

"2 x 2" written on a hand in black ink. Photo taken by the author.

The approval we need

A group of people playing basketball near Venice Beach, CA. Photo courtesy of Ashwin Vaswani on Unsplash.

Becoming a passer

The AIDS Memorial Quilt in Washington, D.C. Photo courtesy of National Institutes of Health.

LGBTQ+ history is important too

Photo of the author (right). Photo courtesy of the author.

Why the phrase “#NotAllMen” is harmful and problematic

A white chess piece knocking a black chess piece off the game's board. Photo courtesy of GR Stocks on Unsplash.

Sophomore year in a chess game

Photo of two Black women on the beach wearing their natural curls. Photo courtesy of Thought Catalog on Unsplash.

What I feed my hair

Posing wooden figurine. Photo courtesy of Milan Degraeve on Unsplash.

Ingredients for the perfect body

A light purple flower. Photo taken by the author.

Our personal dictionary

A hand reaching out under lighting in the colors of the bisexual flag: purple, blue, and magenta. Photo courtesy of Nitish Goswami on Unsplash.

Are you bisexual?

Haircare products, including ponytails, rubber bands, combs, clips, and a bonnet. Photo courtesy of the author.

Learn to love your hair with 12 easy steps

The author's electronics. Photo taken by the author.

The sorrows of a young high school introvert

Rose Gold iPhone 6S on top of a planner with items written on paper in pen, next to a laptop. Photo courtesy of Jessica Lewis on Unsplash.

A hectic to-do list

An edited image of the author's "failure resume" with school supplies on her desk. Edit created by the author.

My failure resume

A homemade pizza topped with cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms and tomatoes. Photo taken by the author.

Two simple recipes

Image of a black ink pen writing on lined paper. Photo courtesy of Aaron Burden on Unsplash.

A ransom letter series

Open dictionary page blurred besides the word "focus" and its definition.

How to cook

Headphones and a pen next to a yellow sticky note with a sad face on it. Photo taken by the author.

Exam answers from a student during COVID-19

Man running in athletic clothes on a road in front of a mountainous landscape. Photo courtesy of Pixabay on Pexels.

The bliss of exercise and nutrition

Person covering their face with a book. Photo courtesy of Cottonbro on Pexels.

The student loan debt crisis is sinking Americans

Person wearing mask and sunglasses at a protest holds a black sign that reads "#STOPASIANHATE." Photo courtesy of Jason Leung on Unsplash.

Asian American and Pacific Islander hate crimes are increasing. No one is talking about it.

Twinkling string lights. Photo taken by the author.

Mind palace

A Jaiden Animations video on the author's laptop, against a closed windowsill. Photo taken by the author.

Jaiden Animations is the reason I’m in therapy

A person standing in the middle of a lake at dusk. Photo courtesy of the author.

Over the ocean and far away

An open book with words written in Spanish next to a drink in a clear glass. Photo taken by the author.

A tale of two "hobbies"

Close-up image of white boxing gloves. Photo taken by the author.

How boxing helped me try new things

Sunrise over the author's tree-filled Minecraft world. Photo courtesy of the author.

Something about video games...

Two crossed badminton racquets and a badminton birdie against a red background. Photo taken by the author.

The Greatest Badminton Player Alive (for his age)

Two images of the author side by side, one of very young before her social anxiety diagnosis and one of her today. Photos courtesy of the author.

Shy? Or something more?

Seven white doors lined against a wall. Photo courtesy of qimono on Pixabay.

Thinking about my future

Silhouettes of two people playing guitar on the beach at dusk. Photo courtesy of Mike Giles on Unsplash.

You've got a friend in me!

Crosswalk in long exposure. Photo courtesy of Mauro Mora on Unsplash.

Ordinary excellence

Photo of a silver teapot on a counter. Photo taken by Justis Porter.

Love yourself

Photo of the author and her friends, courtesy of the author.

We need diverse relationships

A painting of a silhouette of a free with branches, roots, and birds flying near it, against dark green and yellow-green background. Art painted by the author.

Painting vs. perfection

Drawings of faces in black outlines, with one outlined in red in the middle. Art by the author.

Standing out in a crowd of identical people

A person standing knee-deep in the ocean. Photo courtesy of the author.

"Foster Boy"

The author. Photo courtesy of Christian Klipert.

People need to realize the impact of their assumptions

Blurred purple photo. Photo taken by the author.


The author's family chats outside. Photo courtesy of the author.


View of highway, blue sky, and distant traffic from the author's ride home. Photo courtesy of the author.

The new goodbye

A stack of books in front of the author's window. Photo taken by the author.

Playing pretend

A firework in a dark sky. Photo taken by the author.

Love is like Legos

The author and his quiz bowl team. Photo courtesy of the author.

Reflection and Acceptance of Failure

A graphic of several women with different skin tones. Image courtesy of Coffee Bean on Pixabay.

Brown or Black — You Decide

A collage of text messages the author has received questioning her Hispanic identity. Graphic by Maria O'Malley.

'Not being Hispanic enough'

A bouquet of yellow narcissus flowers. Photo courtesy of Oxana Lyashenko on Unsplash.

It whispered change

A lawn sign that reads "You are worthy of love." Photo courtesy of Tim Mossholder on Unsplash.

Learning to love

A black-and-white photo of water droplets falling into an open hand. Photo courtesy of Geetanjal Khanna on Unsplash.

Mental health in the Latino community

An illustration of two figures, with one telling the other that, "You can do anything you want." ILlustration by Xochitl Tai-Dawson.

Finding the one teacher that understands you can change your life

Digital graphic of a person covering another's face, with two more faces pointed toward them on each side. Illustration by Nathan DeJesus.

Unconditional Love: v2

A pile of polaroids featuring the author and various experiences she's had. Photo by Kasandra Wilcox.


A meme image of Spongebob looking disapprovingly at a piece of paper. The paper is captioned "You need to take breaks." Meme by Justis Porter.

Why I appreciate having a busy schedule

A collage of photos showing off the author's new hobbies including painting and inline skating. Photos by Bethany Soto.

COVID-19; Finding Myself

The Writing through the Distance logotype.

Black women need more mental health support

A collage of photos of the author with a rainbow pride flag. Collage by Maria O'Malley.

Coming out to religious parents

Children in a Classroom. In the back of a classroom, are children about 11 years old with a female teacher talking about the subject - "If Someone in Your Family Has Cancer." Photograph by Michael Anderson, photo courtesy of the National Cancer Institute on Unsplash.

The one-size-fits-all model of public education is failing its members

A student uses a laptop to watch a YouTube video while also on their cell phone. Photo courtesy of Teens in Print's library.

Adolescents and internet access

Grey and white click pen on white printer paper with multiple choice test bubbles on it. Photo courtesy of Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu on Unsplash.

Colleges shouldn’t require standardized testing

Photo of a child and elderly adult walking together on a beach. Image courtesy of Vidar Nordli-Mathisen via Unsplash.

Bridging generational divides

Photo of a red neon sign that reads, "with love." Image courtesy of author.

Relationships hurt, especially in a pandemic

Still from a black and white film with a non-Asian actor depicting an Asian character. Image courtesy of author.

We should watch movies despite Asian stereotypes

A comic-style illustration of a food desert. Art credit to Shirley Cannon.

Food deserts: bringing awareness during the pandemic

Person standing and looking out towards a lake at sunset. Photo courtesy of Lukas Rychvalsky on Pexels.

Mental health and the economy

Photo of American journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Photo by Alfagih at Arabic Wikipedia - Transferred from ar.Wikipedia to Commons., GFDL,

The relationship between Saudis and Americans is ticking away

View of the Boston skyline's buildings lit up at night, reflecting on water. Photo courtesy of Osman Rana on Unsplash.

Boston's gentrification problem

A street lined with local storefronts. Photo courtesy of Mariah Solomon on Unsplash.

Small businesses are struggling in the pandemic: why?

Two people sitting on individual park benches. Photo courtesy of Jessica Yap on Unsplash.

For no longer strangers!

Small white dog with long hair in a tie-dye shirt stands in front of a protest line, where people hold signs that read "NO MORE FACTORY FARMS." Photo courtesy of Jorge Maya on Unsplash.

Vegans just want more positive change

Black and brown dome machine. Photo courtesy of Charlie Seaman on Unsplash.

Alien bedtime story

White thought bubble illustration against a hot pink background. Photo courtesy of Miguel Á on Pexels.


Photo of a portion of a clock with its minute hand near "5." Photo courtesy of Adam Kring on Unsplash.

Go enjoy life

A blue lotus flower. Photo courtesy of Cupcake Media on Unsplash.

Lack of focus

People grilling marshmallows on sticks over a wooden fire. Photo courtesy of Josh Campbell on Unsplash.

June and July

A needle on a pink, blue and white record on a record player. Photo courtesy of Lee Campbell on Unsplash.

On music

Photo of the author on her bed, watching her computer screen. Photo taken and provided by the author.

Hey, Arnold, what’s it like to know you’re loved?

A FaceTime screenshot of the author and her best friend, Alex, holding a plastic frog. Photo provided by the author.


Black and white photo of "Reputation" by Taylor Swift. Photo courtesy of Raphael Lovaski on Unsplash.

All due thanks to Taylor Swift

Black road surrounded by trees. Photo courtesy of Taneli Lahtinen on Unsplash.

Elizabeth Keen's journey

A white firework at night. Photo taken and provided by the author.

Dear Love, from Romeo

Woman holding mirror against her head and face in the middle of a forest, with the green forest reflecting on the mirror. Photo courtesy of Tasha Kamrowski on Unsplash.

To all the stories I’ve read before

Bubbles floating up to the surface of blue water. Photo courtesy of Jong Marshes on Unsplash.

Get over this nightmare

A monarch butterfly on a pink flower, against a blue sky. Photo courtesy of Camerauthor on Unsplash.

Butterfly effect

Photo of the author at seven years old in hockey gear. Photo courtesy of the author.


A photo of part of North America on a globe. Photo courtesy of Sigmund on Unsplash.

Language is the key to a voice

Woman wearing yellow jumpsuit stands in front of Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany. Photo courtesy of Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash.

Berlin and I

A white and red striped blanket crocheted by the author. Photo taken and provided by the author.

Yarn to masterpiece

Photo of author making a half-heart shape with their hand, with the moon in the background. Image courtesy of author, Mabel Chen.

Dear diary

A segment of glacial ice slowly melts on the cold beach of a glacial lagoon in Iceland. Photo courtesy of Joseph Vary on Unsplash.

Why should we stop global warming?

Photo of a person looking in the mirror. Image courtesy of Rex Way via Unsplash.

Be yourself

Photo of a person holding a makeup palette with many different colors. Image courtesy of Laura Chouette via Unsplash.

How hair and makeup can empower women and girls