Cover Story
Avoiding the Hazards on the Road to Higher Education
At the core of the American Dream is education and one’s right to pursue it without bounds—however, the education system is ringed with inequalities for the poor and others lacking certain privileges. These disadvantages widen the gaps between whites and students of color in higher education. 
Most students in pursuit of higher education face a multitude of problems, like the burden of paying thousands of dollars a year. Currently, the total U.S. student debt is $1.4 trillion and growing rapidly each year. In 2017, the average student amassed $37,172 of debt, and every second about $2,858 worth of student debt is accrued. 
For first generation college students, often students of color from non-affluent neighborhoods, this problem can worsen as they are more likely to drop out; drowning in debt with no college degree is a calamity. Furthermore, the cost of books and other materials weighs down students’ growth.
 Shurly Won, a senior at Simmons University studying computer science and biostatistics, faced these overwhelming challenges. “Financially, many of my classmates have told me that their parents have paid for or will pay for their tuition,” she said. “Unlike them, I need to carry my own burden and take out my own loans.” Won’s responsibility for paying for her college education put her in a different headspace from many of her classmates.
 Many students of color have similar burdens, especially when attending predominantly white schools. Won called her financial advisor before attending Simmons and explained her circumstances, which helped her manage the financial toll college education would take on her.
 “For incoming minority students, I would like them to know that if they happen to be in a difficult situation, never be afraid to speak up,” she said. “There are likely other people on campus who share the same situations.” 
Jaelle Sanon, a junior at Cornell University majoring in industrial and labor relations, echoed these same sentiments. “Take advantage of everything and also advocate for yourself,” she said. “The school accepted you, and now they must give you all the resources needed to succeed.” It is also in the best interest of the college to provide these resources and support programs so students’ successful graduation is guaranteed. 
Many students in college feel out of place, disorganized or homesick. For students of color, these problems are only heightened as the cultural dynamic shift is bigger and stronger.
 According to a study by the Government Accountability Office, starting from K-12 education, students of color are plagued with inequalities, with schools serving predominantly black and Hispanic students offering “disproportionately fewer math, science, and college preparatory courses” and experiencing “disproportionately higher rates of students who were held back in 9th grade, suspended, or expelled.”
An educational gap is one of many factors making life different for students of color in the U.S. These differences manifest themselves as huge obstacles in college as students of color are faced with problems they’ve never encountered before.
Students of color need close support from the institutions they’re attending to guarantee success. Sanon goes to a predominantly white institution, or a PWI, and is a first generation college student of color, which makes her experiences very hard at times. “Academically, I felt like I wasn't prepared for Cornell, but it is a learning curve,” she said. “You learn as you go. I had to re-learn how to read, study and take exams. However, Cornell provides academic services, and I have been able to surround myself with friends in my major to help me.” 
 At Cornell, Sanon attended the Prefreshman Summer Program which she credits for helping her transition from high school to college. “The Prefreshman Summer Program allowed me to take classes in my major before I officially started Cornell as well as familiarize myself with the resources Cornell offers for low-income students,” she said. “I also met some of my best friends there.” 
Programs like these help students of color adapt and prepare themselves for a successful four years of college.

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AFH Photo//Yvonne Chen
There was a girl I liked in my health class. One day, I decided to ask her out because I wanted to get to know her more. A little after the bell rang, I walked up to her in the hallway. “Do you want to hang out sometime?” I asked. She looked at me and took a long time to answer. 
“Thanks...but I have a boyfriend,” she replied uncomfortably. 
Later, during lunch, I was sitting next to the girl in the cafeteria. I overheard one of her friends say, “I thought you had a boyfriend.” The girl replied, “I don’t.”
 I got angry. I couldn’t believe she lied. 
The most common thing girls tells me when I ask them out is that they have boyfriends.  Often, this isn’t true. I feel like this has happened to me 300,000 times. If a girl is single and she's not interested, she should be honest with me. She doesn't need to lie about it. 
I think a lot of girls are afraid that if they don’t say they have a boyfriend, I’m going to keep asking them out, but the truth is, I respect their decision. I also think girls are afraid that saying flat-out no is impolite, but actually, I would prefer they be honest. If you don’t like me, just tell me straight up that you are single but not interested. 
 I asked other members of the Teens in Print staff two questions: “Why aren’t people honest when it comes to dating and relationships?” and “What should you do if when you ask someone out, they tell you they are in a relationship?” 
Honestly I think that people use the line to make sure that you don’t get your feelings hurt, but when the news gets back to you, your feelings will get hurt. It’s selfish and you deserve their honesty. -Yasmin Mohamed

I was in a friendship with a boy and ended up liking him. Once I told him, he felt uncomfortable, because he didn’t like me in the same way. The friendship fell apart; he started to ignore me and tell people lies about me. He made me feel like I was less than what I was. What he did to me was a life lesson on loving yourself.  -Seana Fuller 

Being honest with someone is always the best way to go. If you are not interested in someone—or if you are— tell them straight out. With that being said though, I also understand why someone would lie about it to spare your feelings, or if they do not feel comfortable bluntly expressing themselves.-Kiana McLean 

It takes a lot to make me genuinely like someone. So once I do, if I’m turned down, it is usually best if I stop talking to them all together.   -Jacob Downey

I’ve had my fair share of rejecting people, and it isn’t something that I do to make others feel bad or a mockery of their feelings—it’s something that is genuinely not fun to do. You want to say yes, and you want to return the way that they feel, but you can’t. Being rejected is better than being played with or strung along. -Mariella Murillo 

My advice for anyone who gets rejected by this line is to not take it personally. If a girl says that to you, it says more about her than it says about you. Sometimes you just have to forget about her. Just let it be.

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AFH Photo//Delia Fleming

For all you men who proudly proclaim that you’re feminists, I’m here to inform you that it’s more than wearing a cute t-shirt; it’s a way of life. If you really want to wear your pussyhat, you’re going to have to earn it, and you can by following these steps.

Society’s most egregious mistake was teaching men to speak whenever they want. It’s not that I don’t love hearing your voice, but you never know when to shut up. Look, this may be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s not always about you. A man may think that his voice is the most important one in the room, but it’s not. I guarantee you women have something to contribute to the conversation, as they always have, and always will. While this may sound cliché, sometimes the best thing you can say is nothing at all.

Men are plagued by a disease I like to call “Do-Nothing Syndrome”—when you expect a woman to do all your work for you. While it’s flattering that you think of us when you have a problem (because we’re definitely smarter than you) WE ARE NOT YOUR BABYSITTERS! By helping you out, we’ve given you the impression that we’re at your beck and call, when really we’re taking time out of OUR days to serve YOU.


Women don’t owe you anything. In fact, it’s the other way around. Women are not for you to show off, we’re not your arm candy and we are definitely not your trophies. Men do not get to dictate how attractive we are, that responsibility is bestowed onto us. In all honesty, I really don’t think you get to judge considering you’re not all that attractive yourselves. 

Are you scared? Good. Afraid of what your little friends might think? Good.The Feminist Army is not for the weak-minded. It’s for real men only. Are you one of them?


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AFH Photo//Delia Fleming
It starts with a spark, something that piques your interest. Your first practice is hell, knees weak, ribs hurting. You wonder why you even signed up for this sport in the first place. I have been in this situation countless times, but I love it. 
I began playing squash at age 12. Six years later, I am more passionate about the sport than ever before. But this didn’t come easy. There were times where I was sore and too tired to practice and times where I felt like I wasn’t getting better, and that impacted my motivation to continue. But I persisted. 
To become a great athlete, it’s most important to love the sport you play, because you need to dedicate a lot of time to it. I trained on my off days, I asked coaches to do one-on-ones, asked people who are better than I am for advice. Even though I’ve been playing for years, I still do.  
Also, look at videos of professionals and see how they play. Take note of how they pitch, run, or hit the ball, anything that can help you get better as an athlete. Emulate your favorite player—mine is Raneem El Weleily. I’ve always looked up to her. 
To become an athlete is to love what you do. Once you love what you do, everything else becomes easier. Remember the saying, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

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AFH Art//Jennifer Thai
Some people may think I’m delusional when I hold them above my head, wiggle them around as I look at their chubby faces and bright eyes, and then I dare to talk to them as if they are understandinganywords that are coming out of my mouth...but I know what I’m doing. 
Becoming a pro-babysitter isn’t that difficult, but it requires patience and willingness. 
Because babies can’t talk, when things aren’t going right for them, they cry. But that’s not because they’re bad babies or that they don’t like you. Maybe they just don’t like you yet...but don’t worry, pro-babysitter Anilda is here to save the day! 
All babies really need, besides the obvious stuff, is attention. Like any of us, they want to feel close to someone, feel appreciated and entertained. That entertainment does not require much preparation either. Sit with them, talk to them, play with them. Make them feel like they are the only thing you have on your mind. They may seem like they are not listening, but they are—they just can’t respond using words, so instead, they make sounds. These sounds are signals that you are doing your job right. 
People sometimes forget that babies are like us, and talking to them like they can understand you is not anything crazy. It is simply normal. 

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