Ishmael Farooqui_online

Keep looking

Off the Beat

When I look through a pair of chestnut rimmed spectacles, I can see. I can see the fine details of life. The wood of my desk, at a glance through my tortoise-shell lenses, reveals its indentations, shades of variation, rippled lines and dark splotches.
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Alex Yoon-Hendricks_online

Smelling the coffee

Off the Beat

Say it with conviction: it is difficult for you to respect the barista behind the counter with the soiled apron, beat-up sneakers and tired face. As someone pursuing dubious humanities degrees and employed at a coffee shop to pay her rent while she writes “on the side,” I am a
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Melissa Wen_online

The beginning of unbelief

Off the Beat

My mom is perpetually late, but not on the morning of her daughter’s fifth-grade graduation. Because an elementary school promotion is the sort of thing in life that you show up on time for. Or so she told my dad and me in an urgent, rising voice as we sat
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Addy Shih_online

Life according to Dante

Off the Beat

“In the middle of the journey of our life I found myself within a dark woods where the straight way was lost.” So begins the epic by Italian poet Dante Alighieri. “The Divine Comedy,” split into three parts, tells the tale of the proverbial Dante and his quest through hell,
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Rayanne Piana_online

Backpacking across time

Off the Beat

Two years ago, in a typhoon of mixed emotion, I left all I knew and moved clear across the Pacific Ocean to pursue my college education. When I first got to Berkeley, backpack and overstuffed luggage in tow, I was overwhelmed by the excess of the unfamiliar. Everything and everyone
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Karim_mug-web

Brave in the attempt

Donny doesn’t like to run. For the last three years, I’ve been a coach at a week-long sleepaway Special Olympics sports training camp, and perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is that Donny doesn’t like to run. Frustratingly, Donny signs up for track every year. It boggles my mind
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Jeanette Zhukov_online

Instagram in Paris

Off the Beat

With summer coming to a close, all that seems to be left is you flipping through the comment section of your Facebook album labeled “Summer 2015.” But school is starting, and now those precious hours previously dedicated to capturing where the light best hit the side of your chocolate croissant seem worthless as you’re studying for the ever-looming GRE.
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taylor honda online

Breaking the language barrier

Off the Beat

I hear various Cantonese phrases being hurled across the room. My friend and her mother are arguing about something I’ll find out about later only when she explains it to me in English. I sit there listening, envious of the way their native language rolls off their tongues so smoothly.
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karen-Lin_mug-250x302

Off the beat: Fearing our robot masters

Robots with simple brains are harmless. When I competed with a First Lego Robotics team in elementary school, our robot’s “brain” was a brick computer called an RCX, to which we would attach arm and leg extensions. The RCX could memorize only four programs at most, and our “code” featured
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joshuabote_mug

Off the beat: What my reflection shows

Breakups are mirrors. Or, at least, they’re the emotional equivalent of stepping in front of a mirror naked. You examine yourself brutally, point out all the little flaws — the stretch marks and flabby bits of your personality that past partners just didn’t really care for. Early this summer, I
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