No other car company accurately tests on female dummies, and that can be deadly.

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Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Women are more likely to die in a car crash. Women are more likely to die of a heart attack. Women are more likely to have their pain ignored. Why? Because testing on human bodies usually means that it’s not really done on a human model, but a male model. Men’s medical symptoms and results have a much longer history in academia. And because of that, women typically have poorer outcomes across the board for safety and medical issues. For many women, living in a world built off of male records can be fatal.

American car companies have attempted to address this, by selectively crash-testing female dummies that are five feet tall and weigh 110 pounds. The average American woman is about four inches taller than the test model, and also approximately 170 pounds. To be fair though, the crash test dummy that is said to represent the 50th percentile for height and weight for adult men isn’t accurate either — anymore. When it became the standard in the 1970s, it was accurate when doing car crash tests, but now things have changed and the average American adult man is nearly thirty pounds heavier. To that, I say that there needs to be a complete overhaul in safety tests for cars, but at least men still have a better outcome in auto crashes in comparison to that of women. …

It wasn’t healthy, but it taught me a lot.

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Photo by Siora Photography on Unsplash

At my heaviest, I was obese. There’s no skirting around the subject or pretending I wasn’t, because I could see it in pictures and feel it in my core. I was ashamed and shy in front of cameras, wished I was invisible in social situations, and hated wearing jeans.

I still struggle with my weight, but my life has changed since those bolded words on my papers from my annual physical. I didn’t just lose weight. I lost my old life. Over time, I learned to love and care for my body while completely overhauling how I lived and how I ate and how I breathed. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to be healthy. I now know that they’re one and the same. …

Writing is hard, but getting people to take a second-glance at your work is harder.

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Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

The clicking and clacking of keyboards have become a regular feature in my life. For the last few years, I’ve always been writing something, whether it’s academic reports, fictional stories, or even a long unnecessary explanation of why Shrek is a brilliant movie. Some of my close friends ask what I’ve been writing recently as a greeting, and sometimes even give me suggestions on interesting topics to write about. Whenever someone asks me what my profession would be in an ideal world, I always tell them, “I would love to be a writer.”

The pandemic unceremoniously dumped that option on to my doorstep, screaming, “HERE!” I joined an online site, tried to get used to the rules and process of a new platform, and got used to the sinking feeling of not having your writing noticed or read. To make it worse, I kept reading articles about how to be successful at blogging within a month of starting, but nothing I threw at the wall stuck. …

I smile when they tell me I’m eating too much

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(Photo by Oleg Laptev on Unsplash)

In Indian culture, we’re told to be either a doctor, lawyer, or engineer.

My brother — the more intelligent one — was going through all the motions to go to medical school, and much to everyone’s chagrin, he opted for the backup of being an engineer. I, on the other hand, chose a hidden option and therefore was even more disappointing. I chose to go to dental school. Yes, technically I’ll be a Doctor of Dental Surgery in four years, but I won’t be treating knee pain. No, according to those aunties, I’ll be yanking out teeth 24/7.

I love hearing what my distant relatives and my parents’ friends think. It really makes me pause and think about my life choices. Recently, my mom told her side of the family about my PCOS, and they were a great help. They urged her to talk to a foreign doctor about my condition, and I was told to stop eating black beans. I wish I had only known that black beans were holding me back from a clean bill of health! Gone are my days of putting black beans in my Chipotle bowls. It’s only pinto beans here on out. …

Seattle, known for having a large homeless population, has been struggling more than you think during the pandemic

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Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash

During my time in Seattle, I learned to empathize. I had lived in a suburb all my life, and even though I understood homelessness in theory, it felt different in reality as I saw men and women wrapped in their sleeping bags as I walked to class. It took a long time for me to realize Seattle was to homelessness as New York City was to terrible commutes. It was an unfortunate part of the city that wasn’t changing, and not enough people wanted to do something about it.

With the Boeing Bust and fires sweeping the town in the 1970s, an area called Skid Road that primarily housed low-income residents was quickly developed and replaced the cheap housing with office spaces and urban projects. At the same time, deinstitutionalization was occurring, releasing mentally ill individuals into the community without much welfare or assistance. The housing crisis grew more and more dire, and while the Seattle Tenant’s Union and the Displacement Coalition was established, there were too many people competing for too little housing. Much of what happened in Seattle in the second half of the 20th century was because of national housing policies and broad social changes. John Fox, housing activist and now Seattle Displacement Coalition Coordinator, explains that, “There were conscious decisions by local elected officials during this era to promote development at the expense of those living there.” …

And why it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done

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Photo by Kalen Emsley on Unsplash

College hit me like a train.

I flew off the tracks after the impact of the first semester. My mind was reeling after trying to adjust to moving across the country. I had no idea what I was doing, what I was trying to accomplish, and what I had to do to even get there. When the dust settled, I picked myself up, brushed myself off, and decided that I would go to dental school. That was three years ago.

But ever since I got my acceptance into dental school, I feel like I entered a limbo. I graduated college a year ago, so I couldn’t throw myself into frantically studying. My job’s hours were cut due to the pandemic. Dental school doesn’t start until autumn. I had this huge hole left in my life, because while chasing my goals and dreams, I never actually bothered to think about what would happen after I achieved them. …

The research says humans probably couldn’t survive the trip to Mars if we launched today, but new technology could change the odds.

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Maybe Mars really isn’t the kind of place to raise your kids? | Photo by NASA/JPL

As an avid watcher of sci-fi shows and films, I have bitten my nails while watching military exercises on Mars in The Expanse, a dust storm destroy Mark Watney’s chances of survival in The Martian, and several close saves of “Little Red” landing on red soil in 2036 Origin Unknown.

The difference between film and reality is that the problem with going to Mars starts as soon as humans attempt to leave Earth. Leticia Vega, associate chief scientist for the NASA Human Research Program, reduces the challenge to this:

“Any theoretical mission to Mars would be the equivalent of ‘four to six individuals living together in a can for three years.’” …

Sometimes, pain is the best teacher.

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Photo by Will O on Unsplash

I remember he was late. So late.

I show up five minutes early to everything. I know, I’m that person. Did it stem from my lacking social life at the time, or did it stem from the amount of control I wanted over my own life? I can’t tell you, even over a year later. All I know is that he was late, but he walked into the cafe, tapped my shoulder, and had an easy, unabashed smile while he apologized for the time.

That night, we laughed over cups of Earl Grey and I felt like we really connected. I found out I was wrong three months later when he vanished into thin air. …

These are girls whose scars run deep in their souls, and last a lifetime

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Photo by Kyle Caraher on Unsplash

I’m not talking about some third-world country. I’m talking about in North America. There are thousands of young girls who are forced into marriages each year. These are girls who have hopes and dreams which are cut abruptly short as they are forced to marry against their will. These are girls who have silence forced upon them, and the people who are supposed to care for their well-being are the ones arranging these marriages. These are girls whose scars run deep in their souls, and last a lifetime.

Genevieve Meyer was one of these girls. She was fifteen when she found herself standing in front of a judge, who started officiating the wedding to the man that groomed her, Malloy, despite him being twenty-eight years her senior. …

How in the world did we get here? And what role does ICE play in our higher education?

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Photo by Michael Marsh on Unsplash

I just wanted a break from work. That usually entails a half an hour scroll through my phone and a snack, but Monday was different. I found an article about how the ICE, or the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, would be forcing out international students this fall, and my break turned into a day-long reading of articles and frustration.

The pandemic has been hard on everyone, but especially students. Colleges and universities shut down across the country, kicking students out of dorms and forcing them online. Many schools refused to change tuition prices, despite the severe change in quality of education. For foreign students, they had to decide whether it would be better for them to ride out the pandemic in the U.S. or in their home country, which is an incredibly difficult decision and many knew that it would impact their education going forward. As of early July, each school system is coming up with different plans for the future fall term, whether it be online schooling, in-person schooling, or even a hybrid model. …


Shruti G

Student and constantly reading research articles.

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