As I returned to Yale from winter break, I was greeted by frigid weather, broken dorm plumbing and, most alarmingly, a new suitemate.

Affable and kind, the new guy had just returned from a semester-long leave of absence — a troubling thought, as this might imply problematic mental instability. But the real reason for the new suitemate’s semester away from Yale seemed, oddly, more surreal and more troubling than it would have been if he had spent the entire time away popping anti-depressants. The new guy was working for the Democratic National Committee, and now that he’s back, enthusiastic but with a palpable sense of disappointment, it seems as though he will have to somehow redefine much of what lies at the core of his belief system.

As the memories of the election begin to fade from our collective consciences, we too must begin to decide what we will make of the first time in our lives when we were truly active and present for something that our future depends on. And yet, it seems, that when you look at what was said, and what continues to be said, about the youth involvement in politics, all you get are images of P. Diddy’s boisterous “Vote or Die” campaign. In our cover story, “Seven Steps to Votergasm,” Amanda Ruggeri investigates the vulgar extreme of the campaign season, an experiment to induce increased youth voting through promises of election night sex. Witty and irreverent, Ruggeri nonetheless uncovers the gaping holes that lie at the heart of what it means to be a youth, and specifically, what it means to be a youth that actually seems to care about the world around her. Like my new suitemate, Ruggeri and the votergasmers have to contend with a world where best efforts may not actually add up to all that much. And when you are left with the question, “What next?” it becomes extremely difficult to figure out what the answer should be.

We have made an effort this issue to encourage an even greater diversity of voices and writing styles. In “The Quest For The Perfect $800 Shoe” Jen Harris plunges into the surreal world of cutting-edge, trendy shoe obsession. What she uncovers is a unique subculture, with different rules, rituals and a wholly distinct system of values.

In addition, Jessica Feinstein takes a look at the growth of Adderall use on campus, Zach Jones explores the controversy surrounding the impending execution of Michael Ross, and Alberto Masliah and Sarah Mishkin chart the revival of Christianity on campus. Smita Gopisetty’s photo essay offers a unique perspective on the weekend institution we all take for granted: the dynamic, ridiculous and indispensable Yale party.

I truly hope that you find this second issue clever, thought-provoking and unique. I would also like to thank our Business wing for providing the extra pages needed to make this magazine a reality.

–Jeremy Kutner