spring issue 2022

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table of con ten ts THEAES THETI CSOFACADEMI A

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GUI DETO PROCRAS TI NATI ON

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THESECRETBEHI NDTI MEMANAGEMENT

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ASUMMARYOFDWAYNEMORGAN

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三( S AN)

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CLAY

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S TENCEOFADDI CTI ON THEEXI

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MYBELOVEDSPRI NG

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LI FEAFTERLI FE, BLOOMSOVERBLOOMS

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WHYWENEEDI NDI GENOUSTRUS TEES

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WORDLE!

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ANEW ERAOFCI NEMA

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THEONLI NEEXPERI ENCE: THEVI RTUALS TUDENTSOFRHHS

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The Aesthetics of Academia As a non-STEM student who doesn’t particularly enjoy homework, I’m not sure why I find studycore and the academia aesthetic so appealing. Growing up in a world where grades define you (it's grown increasingly difficult to dispute this claim, unfortunately) changes your perspectives on education. Scoring high on tests and maintaining a GPA that would guarantee a good university placement is important to us. While this sounds depressing on its own, people have found a way to romanticize and make it more palatable for a broader audience. We’ve seen the Notion templates and the advice videos. We’ve seen the to-do lists and the resulting acceptance letters. We’ve seen the pastel mechanical pencils and matching sticky notes. Most importantly, we’ve seen the appeal. Studycore is a popular aesthetic that involves a lot of organization and pastel colours. It features students taking perfect notes and using a lot of cute, often expensive stationary. They listen to lo-fi beats and sit at their desk by the window, studying for the next day’s class. This is an ideal for students - to be calm and collected yet successful and happy. An ideal which we’d all probably love to achieve, which is probably why it appeals to us so much. The way many of us study is a combination of frantic note-taking and stressful texts to classmates, asking for help with the assignment that they didn’t know was due tomorrow. We’d love to live vicariously through these studycore bloggers. They have sticky notes in all the pastel colours and some of them even have the time for a bullet journal. And what do we have? Anxiety levels that are higher than our hydration levels. This notion of the perfect straight-A student doesn’t stop at homework ideals. Academia is a fashion aesthetic that takes the concept of a posh, private school student and raids their wardrobe for peplum & tennis skirts. Pretty girls in neutral-toned sweaters flood the Pinterest boards of academia enthusiasts. The recent reemergence of the sweater vest and the plain white button-up is a direct result of this aesthetic. Major brands like Zara and H&M have caught on to this trend, making the aesthetic slightly more affordable for public school students who want to achieve that private school look. Academia and studycore have their inherent faults - the romanticization of school, materialistic ideals, and . But for a minute, consider why these trends exist. Is it because we as students wish that studying was easier or more fun? Or because we need these bells and whistles to motivate ourselves to keep going? Do these aesthetics even help you get better grades? I don’t know the statistics behind that, but I do know that I enjoy having a well-organized Notion to keep track of all the homework I don’t do.

//TIA HARISH PHOTOGRAPHY//JOLLY YAN DESIGN//LYNN HE //CANVAS//UNSPLASH


The The Secret Secret Behind Behind Time Time Management Management I’ll give you a spoiler—there isn’t one. Nevertheless, what else can we do as helplessly sleep-deprived and coffee-dependent students? There is no bigger “good problem” than having too many things you want to do. I would go as far as to say that it is in no way, a problem. That is, if you have an effective system of balancing everything. As a student, musician, athlete, and teenager who values her social life, I have had my fair share of late nights and exhausted mornings. Morning rehearsal, to a full school day, to band rehearsal, straight to my badminton club, and then back home to complete my too-high pile of homework. I know that others out there leading additional lives after the exultant end-of-school bell would agree that burnout sucks.

Everything that I do holds different values in my life. So, how can we balance these multiple lives? I know Some things I spend more time on than others, because for a fact that I would spend a lot more time playing I know it is and willbe more important to me. Tragic as it is, random piano excerpts than completing accounting I have had to skip badminton training to catch up in my homework. The straightforward answer? Coffee—a classes… In that sense, there is no magical formula for perfect lot of it. Just kidding (mostly). But in all time management skills; there is simply accommodation seriousness, it all starts with the mindset. Why and adjustment. are you doing all the things you’re doing? What are you gaining from all these Amidst the many lives I lead, I constantly find fulfillment in each commitments? Well, whether it’s because you of them. And to achieve this sense of fulfillment, I evoke productivity enjoy them, or because you want to get good as best as I can. Of course, not under the context of overworking myself. grades for that acceptance letter, you must There’s nothing I love more than relaxing with a cup of iced coffee keep that motivator in mind. (forgive the irony) and the newest K-drama I’m watching. Through trial and error, I have learned how to manage my multitude of responsibilities while still having lots of time to unwind and rest. My final verdict? When an intense surge of motivation arrives, take advantage of it. When an indolent swell of laziness appears, just relax. Trust me, it works. // ELAINE WANG PHOTOGRAPHY // IVY LUO DESIGN // YOYO SHUM

For all of you out there with many passions, hobbies, and talents: treasure them. Nourish them, protect them, and be thankful for them. Because there is no greater gift than the feeling of ecstasy from doing something you love.



A Summary of Dwayne Morgan Few poets can speak naturally to an audience and even fewer can move one.

Dwayne Morgan can do both. What’s more, he can make it seem so easy. Yet, it’s not. Because for a poet to move an audience, they must speak with shakingly real authenticity and vulnerability. Morgan did just this when he spoke to the students of Richmond Hill High School.

His presentation showed the perfect mix between a motivational speech, an autobiography, and a spoken-word poem. He was honest with his audience from the beginning, explaining that, unlike most others speaking during Black History Month, he would not discuss Black history in the context of slavery. This clever subversion made most of the audience apprehensive at first (history is bound to repeat itself when forgotten, right?) but worked incredibly to Morgan’s advantage.

He refused to discuss this history not because he did not feel it important, but because its discussion was the antithesis of his presentation He wished to view oppression not as a thing of the past, nor as just one in the form of slavery, but as an ever-present issue that continues in our society. For as progressive and diverse Canadians think we are, there is still much to learn.

He elaborates this through a haunting use of prose, describing intimate details of the Black experience interspersed with his personal life stories.

//LEAH BEL BEN-TZUR PHOTOGRAPHY// SARAH JAGANI DESIGN // ISAAC SO


In one segment, he effortlessly dismantles the idea of “luck” as shown in contemporary society. We often perceive our favourite celebrities as “lucky” for achieving what they have; this is fueled by the ignorance of suffering that we misplace onto those we deem privileged. Our favourite rappers, for example, are not “lucky” for meeting actors we always fantasize about meeting: they had to give up so much to be in a place even slightly more fortunate than the one they started in. Morgan’s point is only aided by his humour, with the hints of comedy in such dark discussions giving a wave of relief to the audience (and a few laughing fits among my classmates that spread like wildfire to the rest of us.)

In the next, he reveals the fear he had when he had his child, a fear that many would not even think about: he was worried his child would be a boy. And while, at first, this makes no sense, Morgan explains the systemic racism that motivated this belief. Black men, as he explained, were practically targets to be shot at by police going through “bad days.” Deer that needn’t have been hunted with licenses. Black women, therefore, had slightly more value and security against acts of brutality.

For those who couldn’t attend (and arguably, lost out on much more than an hour of their time), he had a daughter. It was hard not to cry when he announced the news.

His presentation ended on a dignified, impactful note: one that came in the form of the best homework assignment most students in the school were ever given. He asked that we truly love ourselves. That we embraced the person we saw in the mirror enough to treat them with respect. That we stop vicariously living through those we don’t understand from afar. That we act on that which we want to. That we truly believe that the sky is our limit enough that we aim for it.

And then, for as fierce and passionate as he made the school feel in that fleeting moment in time, the presentation ended.

There was silence.

There was thoughtfulness.

There was an unspoken connection.

There was a moved audience.

And then, there was applause.



I love myself. What was there not to love? I was the Amazing San after all! I succeeded in everything I tried with ease, my looks were above average, and I had a big group of friends to boast to. I was confident in every way.

I hated myself so much to the point that I couldn’t even say what it was that I hated in the first place. Was it the narcissism of the Amazing San, or was it the incompetence of the Real San? What did I hate? Or more so, who did I really hate?

“Wow, you’re so talented. How did you do this?” my friends said when I presented my artwork.

After a long while, I pushed my head off the sink. And in front of me was San. Or was it the Amazing San? I couldn’t tell anymore. When I blinked, he blinked. When I reached out to touch his face, so did he. Beneath my fingers was a cool, smooth glass that left behind fingerprints on its surface. I curled my fingers in a fist and took a deep breath.

I laughed my haughty laugh, “Hahaha! I’m just that amazing!” Yes, I was the Amazing San. Unwavering confidence, an abundance of natural talent, and good looks – the true embodiment of amazing. I was the perfect reflection of the child my parents shaped and moulded with their bare hands. Snapping out of my thoughts, I heard a muffled voice in the neighbouring classroom, “Jesus, does San ever talk about anything other than himself ?” I leaned against the door, body frozen as if I was a small child being scolded by my parents. Wasn’t it obvious that everything I say is simply part of an ironic joke? How had I fooled everyone but myself ? After all, how could anyone possibly love someone like me? Selfish, untalented, incompetent – the Real San. The me I was too ashamed to show to anyone because I was sure they’d laugh at how insecure I am. They’d laugh at how I overthink every little thing I do, or how I work so hard to live up to everyone’s expectations only to fall short every single time. How I’ll never be enough no matter what I do. But no one wanted to see that, right? The weak, pitiful, insecure part of me that I tried so hard to change. Yet the only solution I could find was the Amazing San, who embraced who I was and chased all those insecurities away. The essence of who I longed to be overtook my body because the Real San didn’t deserve to be seen. I felt like throwing up the lunch I didn’t even eat. I ran to the nearest washroom, hoping no one would see me in this state, and I hurled over the sink, panting. I closed my eyes.

I…hate myself.

I punched San with all my bundled up feelings in a pit of fear and spite. Glass shards came flying past my head, as I left a spreading crack on the mirror, now reflecting a distorted image I could barely recognize. Suddenly, the distorted reflection began to dance in a most carefree, childlike manner. Swinging his arms around without a single drop of fear for judgment. Ah, I get it now. I could no longer control the Amazing San. At some point, the persona I embraced had fallen into the grasps of the people I tried to impress. And now, I was left with the Real San – no, not the Real San, but Me. Just plain old me huddled up in the corner of the bathroom, with a tear-streaked face and a shaking demeanour. The me that loved to paint for no particular person to see. The me that had been within me this whole time, but was rejected for someone else I perceived to be better, more accepted by my parents, teachers, and friends. The me that was made up of all the personas I took on, but also the parts of myself I never showed anyone. I let out a big sigh of relief because I can finally say, “I wholly accept myself.”


PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING //LEAH BEL BEN-TZUR FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT IMAGES//GOOGLE SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT DESIGN//LYNN HE WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK //CANVAS COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER has it become more relevant thanSPIRIT in contemporary society to keep moving forward.RESILIENT In a society SURVIVIAL plagued ESILIENTNever SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER EVERwith disease, war, and oppression, the world has learned not to look back and instead press onwards. Society’s PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT resilience, its capability to change in such weathering conditions for the betterment of the whole, is similarCOMPELLING to a HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK story I, and many other children taught of Jewish pain, learned at a young age. FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT TheEVER-PRESENT golem. WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK The story of the golem has remained the same since its conception: thereSPIRIT is a threat to the Jewish community and in COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER response, the golem is made as to their determined protector. It is always made out of necessity and, as such, is ESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVERnever perfect. It is HARDWORK scraped together haphazardly with clay andRESILIENT mud, broughtSURVIVIAL to life in ghettos, basements, orWILL atticsSPIRIT PRESENT WILL SPIRIT COMPELLING FURTHER EVER-PRESENT where resources are already scarce. But that is what made the golem beautiful. That its protection was not HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING conditional, that itsSURVIVIAL mind was focused on the survival of its familyHARDWORK and not of its COMPELLING skin. FURTHER RESILIENT EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT The story of the golem has remained the same since its conception: there is a threat to the Jewish community and in WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT response, the golem is made as to their determined protector. It is always made out of necessity and, as such, HARDWORK is COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER never perfect. It is scraped together haphazardly with clay and mud, brought to life in ghettos, basements, or attics ESILIENTwhere SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVERresources are already scarce. But that is what made the golem beautiful. That its protection was not PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT conditional, that its mind was focused on the survival of its family and not of its skin. HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING My favourite retelling of such a EVER-PRESENT classic story, the one that SPIRIT truly symbolizes FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL WILL HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER society’s innate willingness continue even when itCOMPELLING is in spite of theFURTHER world SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILLto SPIRIT HARDWORK RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT COMPELLING RESILI itself,HARDWORK is one I heard as a child in Hebrew school. As a child, I thought the taleEVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL WILL SPIRITFURTHER HARDWORK SPIRITCOMPELLING HARDWORK FURTHER COMPELLING of the golem was odd and, as a young adult, I realized it was necessary. COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWO ESILIENTInSURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVERthe story, a Jewish community is kept within the tight walls of a ghetto by yet SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WI PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT another misinformed army. It is believed by the army that the Jewish community FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL E HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING is responsible for a series of crimes occurring. COMPELLING RESILI FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHERFURTHER RESILIENT SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING “Listen to us,” they pleaded then, screaming in the face of corruption, the face RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWO of theHARDWORK absolutely powerful, “listen toFURTHER us.” Their words reverberate across EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT COMPELLING RESILIENT SURVIVIAL WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WI countries still today, the faces only withered with unrelenting age, just behind COMPELLING FURTHER FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL theSURVIVIAL flashing colours of sirens and feedback of microphones. RESILIENT EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-E COMPELLING FURTHER RESILI PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT The people’s pleas were unheard, but they, as so many do now, did not have the SPIRITHARDWORK HARDWORKCOMPELLING COMPELLING HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER privilege of being shocked by it. RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWO FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WI SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT As such, the community’s leader, one HARDWORK that had warnedCOMPELLING of the consequences to FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL E WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER SURVIVIALone EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK the army, creates a golem, one so tragically human.RESILIENT It held a consciousness, COMPELLING FURTHER RESILI COMPELLING FURTHER SURVIVIAL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER built on curiosity andRESILIENT an indescribable amount ofEVER-PRESENT want to protect itsWILL creators. SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING RESILIENT EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVERAsSURVIVIAL the story continues, the army grows more furious at the ghetto,COMPELLING provoked by FURTHER WILL SPIRIT HARDWO PRESENT WILL SPIRIT RESILIENT EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT the knowledge of theHARDWORK golem, at the COMPELLING manifestation of FURTHER the fight against systemicSURVIVIAL PRESENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WI HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT HARDWORK COMPELLING discrimination so palpable. The golem, they believe, is a danger to them and, as WILL SPIRIT FURTHE FURTH FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILLthe SPIRIT such, must be eradicated. The army decides then to storm gatesHARDWORK of the ghetto COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-P SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT COMPELLING RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT and the golem, so fueledWILL by itsSPIRIT want toHARDWORK protect its people, moves to theFURTHER gates COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIEN RESILIE WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK and keeps them closed.COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER F Hands clenched into fists and teeth grit from the strength of the army, from PRESENT WILL SURVIVIAL SPIRIT HARDWOR RESILIENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT EVERtheSURVIVIAL strength of theEVER-PRESENT tear gas. SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRITWIL In some iterations of the story, the RESILIENT golem dies. In this one, it survives. It RESILIENTCOMPELLING SURVIVIAL EV HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILLFURTHER SPIRIT HARDWORK survives because it does not bend to the will of oppression but rather makes its COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIEN RESILIE FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT will ever-present. It survives because it is a reminder of how the human spirit SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENTF can never truly be defeated, how everyFURTHER attack against it only compels it further. PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWOR WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WIL COMPELLING FURTHER EVER-PRESENT I am reminded of the RESILIENT golem again SURVIVIAL with the resilient people around WILL me, SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EV RESILIENT WILL FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVERtheSURVIVIAL ones who areEVER-PRESENT so carefully carved fromSPIRIT clay andHARDWORK rock, from dirtCOMPELLING and COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIEN RESILIE PRESENT SPIRIT COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT mud, WILL from sweat andHARDWORK sanitizer. HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT SPIRIT HARDWORK HARDWORK COMPELLING COMPELLING F The golem is those who work after hours, gloved hands shaking and masks PRESENTFURTHER WILL SPIRIT HARDWOR FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING RESILIENT absorbing tears, all to prevent the spread from those who cannot survive it. SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WIL SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT The golem is those who storm the streets with posters and megaphones FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORKEV demanding justice for the ghettos so tightly upheld (Jewish, Black, COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIEN RESILIE COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER Indigenous voices echo in their footsteps, in their chants.) SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-F PRESENT WILL SPIRIT PRESENT WILLhad SPIRIT HARDWORK RESILIENT EVER-PRESENT WILLHARDWOR SPIRIT The golem a conscious; when I COMPELLING look at activists FURTHER getting up from asphalt SURVIVIAL SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WIL HARDWORK FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING and theCOMPELLING progress humanity is so firm at propelling, I am assured that FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT EV humanity does as well. COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIEN RESILIE SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT WILL SPIRIT HARDWORK COMPELLING FURTHER RESILIENT SURVIVIAL EVER-PRESENT

CLAY



There is no one in the world who is not a terrible person. She thought as she walked the unchanging path home under a translucent moon and a dim and livid sky. The vibrant city lights illuminated the inky heavens. The best time of day was when the oblivion sky had not yet signaled the end of another day, but not quite overpowered by the indifferent force of daytime. The City that Never Sleeps, as always, is bustling with an unyielding essence of life. “Spring is coming.” She whispered, her breath being carried away by a chilly fog. She approached the dusty playground that always welcomed her on her walks home. A perfect, peripheral place amid a lively ubiquity. The playground swing she sat down on creaked rhythmically as she rocked back and forth. She took a deep breath in and slowly exhaled in a cloud of frosty mist.

… She recalled the voices she heard, the feelings she felt, and the tears she shed. The wave of unyielding guilt and sorrow consumed her yet again. The guilt of bringing pain to others to relieve her own. The sorrow of having to live with that. And as she looked up to see the narrow stream of glittering stars coupled by the colossal skyscrapers that dominated the city, she basked in the sheer triviality of her existence.


She burned so long and so quietly that even the Winter wind stood no chance. There is a certain bitterness the season emits that envelops one in a veil of shattering dread. There is a sense of being closed in. And when she felt she was closed in, she only dreamt bigger. She dreamt and she wished and she hoped for something bigger than what she was. In the end, winter only brought upon a bittersweet ending. But such is the consequence of time.

And as spring appears, she waits patiently for the drifting minty leaves that once again display a horizon of green. She waits to hear the harmony of the rustling leaves and the melody of the chirping birds. She waits to see the sunlight bounce off the endless rows of buildings, before showering her in a warm embrace. She waits to hear the lively chatter of people chatting at coffee shops and the joyful laughs of children running around playgrounds. Spring would bring an incandescent light like no other, and so she keeps dreaming.

// ELAINE WANG PHOTOGRAPHY // VAISH SHANOJ DESIGN // YOYO SHUM


Life over Life Blooms over Blooms Life after life, Blooms over blooms “Up, down, up, down, up, down…” I sit on the swing in the huge, yet soon-to-be silent park, following the pattern of movement and the rhythm of the “cling, cling”s of the metal chains. I sit there, watching the clouds turn orange, then red as the sun hides behind them, disappearing behind the horizon and the shape of a crescent becomes increasingly clear on the opposite side of the pinkish-blue sky. Children shouting goodbyes, scurrying home closely behind their tired parents.

It’s dusk. I never liked dusk; it leads to an inevitable end — the night. In less than half an hour, the sun would be completely masked by the clouds, and the sky would turn to a beautiful shade of indigo with the moon high up at its center. There would be no trace of the existence of a once bright and happy day. 10 minutes. The sun is almost completely gone. I look up to find the last two children leaving the park together holding hands, chit-chatting with laughter that fills the entire neighborhood. It looks oddly familiar. It’s the same two girls from yesterday and the day before and the day before that… I knew two girls who were like them. Not quite the same, but… they were best friends. They’d chat and goof around just like those two. They’d talk for years and never run out of words. They’d spend afternoons and afternoons together without ever feeling drained.


Unlocking my phone, I finally pluck up the courage to go through the archived posts. Behind every single one of them hides you. The pencil case on that desk, your peace offering for the time we fought over something irrelevant; we became friends after. That notebook with the turquoise-coloured cover, your birthday gift to me, that we used to write our own novels. The magazine with an anime girl cover, our favourite; TUMS, technically a medicine, but something we secretly sneaked into our mouths anyways. Lastly, the Pinterest boards that we created together and revamped over and over again as our fashion sense improved. Just looking at the names we put so much thought into pains me: life after life, blooms over blooms, the English name of our favourite CDrama, a very beautiful name indeed.

I’m still not quite over the fact that we were no longer friends. To be blatantly honest, I still have tears in my eyes when I go through all those memories. You were one of the most important people in my life and will continue to be. Sometimes, on a dark, silent night, beside a window showing only the faint yellowish streetlights, the heart-warming memories are still ours. I look around. In less than 5 minutes, the sun would be completely hidden behind the clouds, and the sky would turn to a beautiful shade of indigo with the moon high up at its center. There would be no trace of the existence of a once bright and happy day. But after every night, there will be another day and another and another…

// JESSIE DENG PHOTOGRAPHY// SARAH JAGANI DESIGN// ROMINA POURJAFAR DEHKORDI // CANAVA


Why We Need Indigenous Trustees //TIA HARISH DESIGN // ISAAC SO


I sat down the other day with YRDSB’s new Indigenous Trustee, Holly Schlamb, initially to get a sense of her position and what her goals are. I thought it would be a simple back-and-forth style Q&A, nothing out of the ordinary to report, perhaps I’d just publish a transcript. I left that interview with a better understanding of Holly’s experiences as an Indigenous person at RHHS.

Holly Schlamb is the new Indigenous student trustee for YRDSB and is currently a Grade 11 student at RHHS. Like many FNMI (First Nations, Métis, Inuit people) her Indigenous identity is incredibly important to her. Being able to comfortably identify as Métis was a much more difficult journey than it should have been. Holly briefly explained her journey to self-identifying, saying that she had to provide genealogically documents and prove her cultural ties in order to obtain a Metis Citizenship Card. Self-identifying, she said, is difficult for many of today’s Indigenous youth. Due to the diversifying of Indigenous people via generations of inter-ethnic marriages, it is difficult to trace roots, out of which comes difficulties in finding community. Getting more FNMI kids to self-identify is one of Holly’s goals during her tenure as the Indigenous student trustee because it’s something she struggled with as well.

Being White and Mètis is a double-edged sword for Holly. Those who take but a glance at her wouldn’t know that she was Métis, and therefore she is exempt from harassment that other Indigenous people who look conventionally Indigenous have to deal with daily. This shield is as harmful as it is seemingly beneficial because people like Holly have to constantly prove their ethnic background in order to be taken seriously as FNMI. People are dismissive of her identity because she doesn’t fit the stereotypical pictures.

This notion of what FNMI are supposed to look like is far from the truth. FNMI are ethnically diverse, and as a result, don’t look the same or necessarily have similar experiences. Understanding this is something all of us need to work on because we may ignore FNMI voices when those speaking don’t align with the skewed ideas in our heads.

This is one of the many reasons why having an Indigenous student trustee and an Indigenous student council is so important. The council and the student trustee position have only been around for 2-3 years. It’s fairly new, and subsequently, many people may feel that it is simply performative activism. Holly’s response to this is that people need to give the council a chance to succeed. As settlers, we have a responsibility to listen to the FNMI people of Canada and respect their voices. Indigenous students are often given the burden of educating their peers and teachers; a responsibility that other minorities may recall being thrust onto them by situation rather than choice, so when some FNMI students are choosing to educate others, we owe it to them to listen.


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The internet has been newly infested by green, yellow, and grey squares. These shapes are the vessel through which we Wordle players brag to peers about how proficient we are at guessing five-letter words. Others may care minutely, but you share with them your Wordle results. Every day. The premise of Wordle is simple: you try to guess a five-letter word, and you are given hints until you reach the correct answer, which is the same for every person playing the game on a given day. Wordle’s rise to fame can be attributed to its simplicity and shareability on top of the fact that it requires very little commitment — it is an unexpected paragon of trendy internet culture

I believe Wordle is a good trend, with more positives than just expanded vocabularies. Wordle strives simply for the player’s enjoyment. Unlike most games, Wordle doesn’t want your money, and by extension does not care to sustain your attention. There are neither overt nor covert attempts to make money through advertisements or microtransactions. On an internet full of pages constantly competing for your limited resources of time, attention and money, Wordle is refreshing in its simplicity. Wordle connects people. When you share your Wordle game, others can see exactly what steps you took to achieve your score. This transparency garners interest, and sharing allows players to invulnerably initiate conversations; instead of putting yourself out there to ask someone how their life is going, you can just brag about your Wordle score... and subsequently, take the opportunity to talk about things that matter. It’s not easy to be open, but with the power of Wordle, more people can try.

Wordle is addictive, obvious from the spawning of many variations of the game, such as Nerdle, Semantle, and Octordle. Despite this, it is almost impossible to get addicted to the original Wordle, in the general sense of the word. When you think of game addiction, the image comes to mind of someone playing for hours a day, unable to stop. Unlimited content in games can be enjoyable, but it can also be overwhelming. Wordle has no bells and whistles; I wouldn’t call it much more than a fun game, but that’s also what is so lovable about it. Wordle is no more but no less than a fun, small part of your day, and you don’t need to grind for hours to be good at it. It feels great to guess the daily word in two or three tries, but Wordle is good for more than an ego boost. Wordle is a simple game that connects people and offers fun, no-strings-attached structure in times when many are tired of the mandatory structures and simultaneous converse unpredictability of days. So go share your Wordle score with someone you care about — and maintain that daily streak.

// KAREN ZHOU PHOTOGRAPHY// RACHEL LIU DESIGN// ROMINA POURJAFAR DEHKORDI


Back in 2019, the critically acclaimed director, Martin Scorsese, made the controversial statement that Marvel movies “just aren’t cinema” and that they are “closer to theme park rides” than traditional films. After receiving heavy criticism for his comments, Scorsese wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times, stating that a key issue he had with the genre was that superhero blockbusters tended to take up more theatre space, leaving little to no room for “art” films that Scorsese highly regards. Many prominent and iconic Hollywood directors share Scorsese’s views, accusing Marvel Studios of stifling creative freedoms and possible emotional experiences for its audience. In my opinion, as your friendly neighbourhood movie-enthusiast and theatre employee, I think that this argument is petty and pretentious. The movie theatre business has been struggling due to the threat of COVID and the ease of consuming media at home. However, the one thing that has been driving people to the movie theatre has been, that’s right, superhero films. Spiderman: No Way Home has officially become the highest-grossing Hollywood film released during the pandemic. The hype that surrounded this movie and its exclusive theatrical release, drew in huge crowds. Attendance numbers spiked, as people who had once avoided the cinemas due to COVID anxieties were finally returning to the theatres. While I was at work at the cinema, it was magical to witness the buzz and excitement these movies generated among audiences. I remember vividly standing in the wings of the auditorium watching people’s visceral reactions to the post-credit scenes, and thinking how wonderful it was that these “theme park movies” could connect and bring so many people together.

For as much as I enjoy the films Scorsese tends to classify as “traditional cinema” the reality is that those movies just don’t drive in audiences the way they used to. Films with star-studded casts such as Guillermo Del Toro’s Nightmare Alley or smaller indies like Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza have lower attendance numbers than superhero blockbusters. Thus, these movies get pushed to the smaller, limited auditoriums while Marvel movies often claim the Ultra AVX, IMAX and 3D screens. Without Marvel movies keeping audiences engaged and theatre venues full, I’d wager that traditional films and the theatre industry itself would suffer greatly. As much as movies are an art medium, they are also a business. People come out to the cinema because they want an experience. Marvel Studios has figured out a formula that entices audiences to cinemas even during a global pandemic, by creating a cinematic multiverse, with beloved characters and narrative threads that overlap. Thus, superheroes have become ingrained into our pop culture, showing how much these movies matter to people. To those directors blaming Marvel for disrupting the movie industry, I’m sorry you feel unappreciated as a filmmaker. However, rather than complaining about the fall of your beloved traditional cinema, perhaps instead you should be congratulating the superhero genre on getting more people excited about the movies. After all, just because something is popular, doesn’t necessarily make it bad.


The Online Experience:

As Told by the Virtual Students of RHHS

For the 2021-2022 school year, the York Region District School Board (YRDSB) introduced a hybrid model of learning, allowing students to choose between in-person or remote classes. Many students at Richmond Hill High School opted to continue with online learning due to COVID-19 anxieties as well as the growing numbers of Omicron cases. “I originally wanted to do in-person classes,” said Mary Liu, a Grade 9 student, “but after a discussion with my family, we decided that it was safest for me to be doing online since there were so many COVID cases.” Some students also reported feeling more comfortable attending classes virtually. Khushi Dhalla, a Grade 12 student who has been taking online classes since March 2020, felt that online learning helped to reduce her anxiety.

“I think being online, I'm just a little bit more relaxed compared to if I were actually in the school environment,” she said. According to the YRDSB website, the hybrid learning model aims to keep remote students connected to their home schools, while having teachers instruct both online and in-person students simultaneously. Although virtual students admit they feel more at ease online, many have confessed to struggling with communication with teachers and peers.

“I think it can get a little frustrating sometimes, cause you might ask your teacher something and while she's answering everybody else, you're kind of the last in line because you're online,” said Khushi. Seila Bak, who switched to online learning for the remainder of semester one, compared being a virtual student to being a middle child.

“You just get ignored. You always get sidetracked. You're like the middle child,” she said, “it’s like unrequited love, the online students are desperately trying to get the teacher to notice them.”

// SARAH GRISHPUL PHOTOGRAPHY// SAM ABDI DESIGN // ISAAC SO


Some teachers made additional efforts to include their online students. Khushi recounts having a teacher that would actively engage with both the online and in-person students.

“I actually really respected the fact that she would come into class almost 15 minutes earlier every single day just to set up technology for us,” she said.

But overall, it has proven a challenge for remote students to receive the same amount of attention as in-person students, especially when there are only a few online students in a class.

“I was talking to some of the online kids, one guy had to have two math tutors because he wasn't learning anything online,” Seila said.

While the school board believes that the hybrid model will help “promote positive mental health” many virtual students are disappointed with the isolating environment remote classes foster. Eshal Naqvi finds the lack of participation in online classes “very dry,” and she admits that “you don't really have much incentive to talk.”

“I think sometimes you feel left out,” said Khushi, “After a point, it just feels like [the in-person students are] kind of super happy, engaging with one another. And now I'm just starting to feel a little bit like I'm missing out on certain connections.”

When asked how they would improve their online learning experience, many virtual students requested that there be more interactive opportunities for them to participate in group work with both in-person and online students. As well as having more one-on-one time with teachers, and for them to consider students’ emotional wellbeing.

“[In] online school, it's already hard to pay attention,” said Arghawan Bakhsh, a Grade 12 student,

“so, if no one acknowledges your existence, why would you care?”


COVERPHOTOGRAPHY/ /RACHELLI UANDRACHAELPENG


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