first week. second year.

Almost a month has gone by since I’ve been back in Boston, and almost a week has gone by since the first day of classes. RA training brought me back in the beginning of August for a whirlwind of 13-hour-days, staff bonding, and incoming freshmen. This jumpstart to the year gave me an opportunity to slowly transition from summer to school. Unlike other upperclassmen, I was quickly settled in my cozy (albeit tiny) room, back in the rhythm of living on my own, and ready to start classes with excitement rather than anxiety.

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After the official end of summer and the official start of classes, my feelings are of gratitude and anticipation. My RA experience has, more than anything else, reminded me how fortunate I am to be where I am and who I am. I’m also resoundingly thankful to have wonderful friends and professors who I can turn to and rely on during my time at BC.

This semester, I planned on taking Political Behavior and Participation and Computer Science, but a stressful life-planning-spreadsheet moment towards the end of the summer led me to drop those classes and switch them for Social Movements and Macroeconomics (both of which count towards my International Studies major whereas the other two classes don’t). And so far, I am pleased with my updated schedule, which also features Online Communication and Global Society and Western Cultural Tradition (my Honors Program class).

My new plan for college consists of two main priorities. First, I was accepted into the International Studies major at the start of summer, so finishing the major (and the 12 classes I still have to take for it) has become my number one priority. My number two priority–and I’ve previously gone back-and-forth on this–is to study abroad in London for the entirety of my junior year (which essentially eliminates a year of International Studies classes).

A year is a long time. And being back in BC this second time around has been so amazing that I’m already sad about it potentially being my penultimate year here. I will miss so many people. And for my close friends who are currently juniors, I will miss their senior years!

But going abroad is my priority. Not because this is my only chance to travel, but because it’s a rare chance to immerse myself in an entirely different culture (across the Atlantic Ocean) without actually paying to live there as a full-time adult. I want to experience living in a variety of locations and countries while I am still relatively free of responsibility, and this will be my first way of doing that. Plus, I will be physically closer to family than I am right now.

My convictions may waver this year, as the date for applying to study abroad rapidly approaches and my time at BC ticks aways, but as long as I stay true to my core values, remain connected to those around me, and do what feels right in the moment, I am confident that my college experience will continue in a positive direction.

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fair trade. really?

fairtrade

All throughout cafes, supermarkets, and even clothing stores, “Fair Trade” seems to be a catch-all term for: this product is ethically made. But what if that wasn’t the case?

This summer, I have had the privilege of interning for bonJOY, a subscription box startup that features fashion, beauty, and lifestyle goods that support survivors of human trafficking and empower women globally.

Part of my internship was to research topics within the realm of ethical shopping and human trafficking that particularly interested me. One of the questions I sought to answer aimed at discerning the true meaning and impact of Fair Trade, in the context of Fair Trade certification.

bonJOY recently posted my findings on their blog in this article I wrote. Essentially, what I found was that the Fair Trade label isn’t enough. Not only does it not guarantee that all workers along the supply chain of that product are fairly reimbursed (migrant laborers are particularly at risk), but also Fairtrade International is not the most transparent organization out there.

As consumers, we must be vigilant in discerning what is truly good from the marketing buzzwords and labels that make us feel like we are doing our part.

As a side note, I also loved that I could utilize my new watercolor calligraphy skills to make the graphic for the article!

 

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