Catherine Kwon

Affirmations and Letting Go

By Angelique de Rouen


It’s a new year, and I feel lighter. Literally. My appendix left me at the end of last year right before Christmas and I haven’t been the same since. He didn’t even send me a breakup text, no goodbye, nothing. I guess he just got mad at me for some reason, but I still don’t know why. I tried to treat him right, I gave him everything: my good bacteria, my blood and my unwavering support. But he was being too toxic, so my doctor said: “It’s time to let him go.” 

This loss got me thinking, and I think I’m going to change my mindset. Gorgeous, gorgeous girls know that 2022 is the time to tap into our spiritual sides because the girlies know that we can’t let missing organs get in the way of that. Now, we’re going to lead the way with positive affirmations and lie to ourselves speak our deepest hopes and desires into existence. Here are a few affirmations you can use or modify:

I am not overwhelmed.

I am healthily glued to my bed.

This is a normal college experience.

My time management skills are stronger than my obsession with Wordle.

I do not say “MATERIAL GWOORRLLLL!!!!!!” an unhealthy amount of times.

These are just a few ideas, but the power they hold is simply immense. I am so glad that I am entering this semester with these new realizations and life lessons. If you’re reading this, I hope you have a happy, healthy new year, with or without your appendix. And remember, sometimes you just have to let go of your attachments, internal and external. 


Asking More Questions

By Mahesh Agarwal


I’ve always assumed that conversations are supposed to be symmetrical. If I ask for your name, I expect you to ask for mine in return. If you ask me whether I believe in aliens, I’ll give you my theory and then mirror the question back: do you think they’re real? The premise is that we’re both courteous narcissists. We both enjoy sharing our own thoughts but are self-aware enough to realize that gifts must be reciprocated. Conversational equality is so universally valued, it seems like a matter of basic etiquette; if someone spent an entire night interrogating me or launched into a monologue, I’d reflexively label them as anti-social.

Last semester, I was loitering in Bass when an acquaintance told me about an article she wrote arguing that the education system could play a more substantive role in inspiring political reform. Described using the TED-talk language of  “empowerment” and “reimagination,” the idea initially struck me as vague. But my classmate’s optimism made me suspect that there was a more elaborate vision underneath that she was hesitant to unload. I was curious: what is this person thinking and where does it come from? I asked the first-year about the goal of schools, her own experience as a student and how her mindset toward education influences how she approaches Yale. In response, the budding writer traced her belief in intrinsic-motivation to her experience attending a gap year program in Alaska where students influenced their own curricula and combined outdoor education with the liberal arts. She then connected this perspective to a set of theorists she’d read who framed education as a laboratory for social change and explained how this fit in with the political ideology she’d developed as an activist in high school. The first-year told me how arriving in New Haven has reinforced some of her skepticism towards educational orthodoxy but that she is unsure whether she’ll be able to maintain her outlook after four year habituating the style of university classes.

That evening in the library didn’t give me a comprehensive picture of this specific classmate’s mind or even her philosophy of education—I learned only a snippet of her views and even these I’ve likely misrepresented. Nevertheless, the discussion showed me that not every conversation needs to be a perfectly symmetrical game of trading questions for comments back-and-forth. There’s value in trying to understand how people think on their own terms.

I’m surrounded by people whose stories I’ve oversimplified. One friend of mine is a self-described technocrat who disagrees with democracy but, so far, I’ve attacked this opinion before he’s had a chance to unravel it. I don’t know what he believes should replace democracy, and I’m not sure when his political views began to form or what inspired them. For the past ten years, I’ve rarely seen my twin-brother without an obscure fantasy novel in his hands but I’ve never actually asked what he’s reading. I wonder what the most memorable stories and characters he’s encountered have been so far. Are the books he’s reading now similar to what he’s always gravitated toward or has he cycled through different sub-genres along the way? In 2022, I want to ask these questions and, although it seems to break every law of the universe, it’s okay if they don’t ask all of them back.

Mahesh Agarwal writes for WKND. Originally from New Hampshire, he is a sophomore in Branford College tentatively majoring in either history or environmental studies.