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  • Coming back from covid

    Coming into the pandemic my friend group thought of the pandemic as early vacation like many other high schoolers at the start of the pandemic phase. As many kids in the city and country it's hard to focus when you have so many distractions around you, that's what me and my got accustomed to going to the park or texting in an Instagram group chat. The reason I bring this up is many parents felt like there was much more of a burden on them as well as students feeling unmotivated to sit down in front of a computer leading to an inferior education. That transition period back into the school building gave me much more appreciation for being in school. My journey went from struggling at the end of high school to beginning of college too little by little finding a rhythm on how to study. To sum up my story is about me going from being anxious and lazy to realizing to take school more seriously and don't worry about others and do what you need to do first before helping others. Essentially don't neglect your important work to hang out.
  • The Effect of Covid-19 on Chinatown and Asian- Americans

    This piece is an Autoethnography about my experience living in Chinatown during the Covid-19 pandemic, as a half Chinese person. This piece details my emotions about rising Asian hate crimes, as well as how Manhattan Chinatown experienced massive financial strain due to stigma and lack of governmental aid, and how the pandemic had affected my family personally.
  • Lonely

    The pandemic made me realize how truly lonely I was and not because I didn't have people around me or people I could still communicate with. I was lonely with myself and my company. This realization hit me during quarantine. It was a very hard truth to accept but it helped me so much. I learned to be content with my own company, to learn to love myself and listen to myself. I know that others have very similar stories of how they had major life-changing realizations not just from outside forces but from within. I think it's very important not to dismiss ourselves once things return to the new normal. We need to be aware of ourselves and feed our souls as much as we nourish our minds and bodies.
  • A Potentially "Deadly" Decision

    The vaccination was a crossroads decision in my life. I hated that people trusted a vaccine that was rushed into existence, forced on the people by exploiting their fears. Although, I did see the benefits of having this on my record, I still had fear that the vaccine would have unwanted effects on my body, but my fears weren't worth putting my fellow man in danger of contracting a disease that could potentially kill others. I had to make a decision in order for my life to get back on track. I was tired of being stuck in a confined space without social interaction. Being away from friends and family wasn't worth it. So I got my vaccine. Thinking about it now, I am thankful that I was able to overcome my anxiety about the covid vaccine, but I hope in the future there will be a better alternative for the current options we have now.
  • COVID-19 Infectious Snowballs

    COVID-19 gave us a tough time, and many of us haven’t had a chance to stop and check in with ourselves about what has actually been happening around us. Coming to New York was a new beginning for me that came with additional responsibilities. I had to balance my personal and academic life, family’s financial needs, extracurricular activities, and work. Just when I felt that everything was going smoothly, I was shattered to hear that it had been three months since my I-20 was terminated because of an academic document transfer issue. I could not go back to my country as I was part of “Hizmet,” a faith-inspired civil society movement, which at that time was facing oppression and persecution due to the bogus allegations of orchestrating a failed coup in Turkey. Therefore, I had to apply for asylum, which caused me a lot of stress, and it affected my academic career as I had to focus on court procedures. Even though due to the pandemic, the scheduled hearings got canceled, prolonging this challenging period, and I lost my job which was the only source for me to pay for my college tuition and support my family, still I tried to engage rather than focus on the negative side of the situation and depress myself. I put all of my efforts into being academically productive and doing something one day I could be proud of by boosting my academic performance leading me get several scholarships, involving myself in research programs, and focusing on advocacy as a student leader. As the responsibilities got heavier and more stressful, I just kept telling myself: "The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory." Life goes on... This funny story comes to my mind when the topic is about COVID-19. This past winter, the weather got really cold and snowy, and the lake behind a rental Pocono house froze over. With all the snow around us, we inevitably enjoyed a good-old fashioned snowball fight where the snowballs were called the "COVID-19" infected snowballs. Once you get hit, you get the virus. However, we soon found ourselves chasing one of our friends on top of the lake due to the ferocity he threw the snowballs with. One by one, we raced our way towards the middle of the lake. It may be obvious what happened next, but it took us all by surprise at the moment. The ice that once was had cracked, and I found my body submerged in the ice-cold water. As I tried to make myself back to solid ground, the image of my other friends frantically trying to stay calm caught my attention. When we finally did make it to safety, I couldn’t help but laugh at the events that just transpired.
  • My life living through the pandemic

    It all started back in March 2020, when we were informed that we were going into lockdown. Schools were going to be remote for two weeks and then we would go back, or so we thought. My initial thoughts were “YAY break” since I commuted to school and it takes me about an hour and a half to two hours to reach school. With the commute being cut off my schedule I was able to sleep in more and spend more time with my dog. Having school at the beginning of the pandemic with it being online was easy and professors were understanding as we were all learning to adjust. My attention span at the time was still good but as the next semester approached it was getting worse, it was difficult to concentrate and it took a lot for me to focus. At the same time, we would see a lot of people getting sick and dying on the news. Although we all took the precautions needed, it always worried me about my family and close family friends that had to continue working. Life was “good” as days went on until April 2020 came around when I lost two family members. It was a tough time for not just me but also for some of my younger family members. We all dealt in our own ways but one was of course being with family and keeping the happy memories alive until this day. It was also hard being isolated because I was used to seeing my friends but we learned to adjust and Facetime became more frequent, but of course, it wasn't the same. Now as we move forward two years later, March 2022, for the most part, classes are back to being in person and we were no longer staring at a screen but once again it was difficult because my body was not prepared to have to commute again. As the days go by it has gotten easier and felt worth going since my concentration is better now that it's in person. Interacting again is also better. It's nostalgic to be able to interact with others again and we are all appreciative to have the chance to share moments face to face with our family and friends again.
  • Everyday Life During Lockdown

    March 2020 when the lockdown first started I was not aware of how big this pandemic was going to be. It was the second half of my senior year of high school and I remember we all thought that the school wasn’t going to close. Our principal was telling us a few days before everything was shut down that the school will not be closing and to not be worried. Next thing you know Spring 2022 is the first time back in person for most of my classes. It was a big change having school online in the beginning, it was difficult to fully concentrate in classes and harder to stay motivated. It is a weird thing to be slightly removed from the fact that I graduated high school and started college because I wasn’t able to do certain things in person. There was at least one positive experience throughout the pandemic though. My family and I would have dinner together every night then go into the living room and watch whatever show we were binge watching at the time. It was a time where we got really close and it was a nice routine to have. It was a way for us all to be together and bring some happiness in that sad time.
  • burnout

    I think these are the years of burnout. I felt so isolated during quarantine. I worked so hard to occupy myself while I heard sirens blaring from ambulances rushing. I worked so hard when things started to 'go back to normal' but people were still dying. It's years later and it's still not over. I'm so tired. Don't want to work when the world feels like it is still ending.
  • A Mother's Anxiety

    My mom worked in a nursing home. For a while, she did her job and came home with gloves and disinfectant. We all kept distance in our small home. One day, she came home with COVID-19. Burnt out by incompetent managers, menopause, and long-standing mental issues, they became tenfold. They all consumed her while she was sick. When she recovered from COVID-19, everything else stayed. She was severely mentally fragile. She would cry every day and wanted to be in the same room with everyone, all the time. She could not be left alone for months. My father did not remain compassionate and sympathetic. My sister struggled to be my mom's friend. I used all my energy to keep her head above tears. The emotional toll on everyone in my family was the worst we have have ever faced. We all struggled to help her. She eventually recovered and not goes on walks everyday, by herself.
  • My Life Changed during the Pandemic

    I've consistently been an extremely outgoing, positive, and optimistic person. There was never a moment when I wasn't socializing and beaming. However, it put me in a depressive condition during the pandemic, where I was downright isolated. Sure I was able to spend time with my family in the consolation of our home; I felt secluded from the universe. I went from someone that was frequently out to be confined to the safety of my residence. From my enthusiasm for learning to gazing at a screen and calling it my daily interaction, the pandemic took away my motivation to learn and my passion for academics. I noticed a transformation in who I was when I hardly woke up and found no inspiration for anything. I couldn't contact the support I needed because a global pandemic seized the world by storm. Most therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists weren't established for online sessions. I attempted suicide in 2021, and I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. I was admitted into a suicide prevention program and was provided daily antidepressants to suppress the desire to commit suicide. Now that the world is gradually yielding to what seems ordinary, I'm attaining my life back. However, the person I was before the pandemic is gone, and I'm still attempting to discover myself every day.
  • What Got me Through the Pandemic!

    The pandemic was a really tough time for me. Apart from not being able to see my friends and visit family, I was unable to work, I was taking care of my sick grandmother and I wholeheartedly took on the responsibility of maintaining a household. I neglected my mental health and ignored my physical well being and overtime the effects of stress were visible on my face. Eventually I started to neglect my responsibilities and would remain in my room for days at a time, not eating, not showering and not speaking. It was evident that I was experiencing some depressive symptoms. To combat this I had to change my habits and began writing these little manifestations and used them as mantras everyday just to get out of bed. I wrote them on a long white sheet and hung it on my closet door because it was often the first thing I saw when I woke up. They really helped me start my days with a positive mindset. Even though this was created during the mandatory quarantine for COVID-19 over the course of 2020, I find that they are still helpful when I am feeling stressed and need a mood boost. NB: this was not created all in one day. The first line was made in July when I was having a really hard day and decided to cut off all my hair. The others were added gradually over the rest of the pandemic with the latest edition being “SAD GIRLZ LUV MONEY” in November 2022 because I started working again but had to be out of bed at 5am every morning. This is the name of a song by Amarae ft Moliy which I played every day taking the train on my way to work as motivation for being on time. In the picture you will see that there's space for lots of additions and I plan to add more in the future.
  • My sisters gift from the hospital: a baby and COVID-19

    Beginning of 2021, my sister went into the hospital to give birth. In this time, COVID was at an all-time high, when everyone was afraid to leave their own home. Three days after she has given birth, she left the hospital. A few days later, she started feeling really under the weather. She thought it was postpartum pains but got tested just in case. Turns out she had contracted COVID from the hospital in the time she was giving birth. The pandemic was around, and no one was able to get away from it. As careful as you were, you never know what is going to happen. Just do your best. That is what my sisters story tells me about the pandemic.
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