• First-Year Fantasies

    First-Year Fantasies

    I grew up in the Harry Potter generation. I dreamt of careening through forbidden forests on a bewitched broomstick and leading my house in a friendly game of Quidditch—probably akin to how previous generations imagined fighting droids (Star Wars), boldly going where no one has gone before (Star Trek), or… Read More

    Mar 22, 2012

  • A Vineyard Not My Own

    A Vineyard Not My Own

    On Wednesday, March 7, 2007, I was lying on my bed in the middle of the afternoon, eyes wide open, when my cellphone rang. I hadn’t slept much the night before, or the night before that, for that matter. Although I was utterly exhausted, I knew that sleep would not… Read More

    Sep 6, 2011

  • Change of Itinerary

    Change of Itinerary

    Cairo seemed like a sure bet for Sloane Speakman’s study abroad. After all, “no real political movement had taken place in the last 30 years.” My study-abroad experience began much like anyone else’s. I spent months preparing personal statements, making travel plans, and preparing for the cultural transition. I would… Read More

    Apr 7, 2011

  • Zero-Proof 21st Birthday

    Zero-Proof 21st Birthday

    Think back to a day you may or may not remember so well: your 21st birthday. For most, it’s a day celebrated with a drink. About a month before my Sept. 8 birthday, I was already thinking about “drinking” on my birthday—but not in the way you might think. For… Read More

    Dec 6, 2010

  • Peaks and Valleys

    Peaks and Valleys

    A few years ago, ohana—for me—basically meant my mom, my dad and my brother. Since losing my mother to a rare form of cancer, ohana has come to mean much more. As a child I was constantly afraid that one day I would wake up and my mom would be… Read More

    Aug 22, 2010

  • How I Play

    How I Play

    Baker is one of six students accepted last year into Vanderbilt’s M.F.A. program in creative writing out of a pool of 374 applicants. One game my best friend and I used to play was this: We were castaways on an island where we were trapped with a horrible monster. We… Read More

    Apr 7, 2010

  • Defining Poverty, Designing Solutions

    Defining Poverty, Designing Solutions

    What is poverty? And what is the best way to treat it? While the second question seems to be the more important, a poor fundamental understanding of the first obscures poverty’s underlying mechanism, often resulting in an ineffective and insensitive treatment. Unlike medicine, which often relies on discovery to… Read More

    Nov 23, 2009

  • Shot in the Arm

    Shot in the Arm

    “So, what is med school anyway?” I could have brushed the question off. I could have answered sarcastically or changed the subject. But the assertive innocence of this 8-year-old girl compelled me to come up with a serious answer. She and her mother were patients at the Shade Tree Family… Read More

    Aug 5, 2009

  • Traveler at a Crossroads

    Traveler at a Crossroads

    It is hard not to feel slightly out of place now that I have returned to Vanderbilt’s campus. War is a difficult reality to face, and the experience brings irreversible changes within a person.  I am a senior in the College of Arts and Science, with a major in… Read More

    Mar 16, 2009

  • Where Few Dare Tread

    Where Few Dare Tread

    I was sitting in the Peabody Library last semester when I overheard a conversation between two students that ended with one saying to the other, “Well, I guess public school isn’t for everyone.” This sentiment was spoken with what I judged to be irony aimed at humor. The fact that it… Read More

    Oct 31, 2008

  • Tarof and Sweet Tea

    Tarof and Sweet Tea

    Photo by John Russell Turning 21 seemed like it was going to be a big deal. After all, I was finally reaching the governmental “go-ahead” that teenagers and college students across the country seem to long for. And yet April 24, 2008, turned out to be nothing special–only a… Read More

    Jul 13, 2008

  • Leveling the Playing Field

    Leveling the Playing Field

    Photo by Steve Green For children ages 1 to 4, the Susan Gray School provides intimate classes where typically developing children learn, play and grow alongside children with special needs. The education and environment at SGS are acceptance-based and allow children at all levels of physical and social development… Read More

    Mar 11, 2008

  • Reality Bites

    Reality Bites

    The day of the Virginia Tech shootings, I realized that the weather was gorgeous in Nashville– almost as gorgeous as it was on Sept. 11, 2001, in Washington, D.C. There’s something sick in the fact that I made that comparison.Why couldn’t I just focus on the thing in front… Read More

    Nov 1, 2007