Not at your service

Off the Beat

I can’t remember the exact day I was first told to smile when I worked as a customer service representative in a pizzeria, but it quickly became routine. Throughout my job, I continued to deal with male customers who were disturbed by my naturally stoic resting face. They confused my natural facial expression with the idea that I am angry or upset.
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Be kindr to Grindr

Off the Beat

I realize now how essential access to LGBTQ+-centered spaces — online or in person — is to queer and questioning youth. Online communities provide us with the education, support and affirmation the rest of the world does not offer us.
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A picture-imperfect holiday

Off the Beat

My holiday season always begins the same way — I sit impatiently in an almost-empty BART train car hurtling itself away from the chaotic streets of Downtown Berkeley to the sleepy suburbs of the South Bay. Phone in hand, I scroll absentmindedly through my Instagram feed, sifting through perfectly filtered
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A tale of two Christmases

Off the Beat

I’m dreaming of a (non)white Christmas — two of them, actually. Being Coptic Christian means that my official Christmas falls on Jan. 7. But my family has adopted a tradition of having a small Dec. 25 Christmas, too, a way of making a Western holiday our own. Our wooden dining
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Unpopular opinion: I hate the holidays

Off the Beat

Content warning: Sexual assault and suicide As a child, the holidays were magical times filled with love and good food. It was the time of the year that I got to reconnect with family, creating memories that I would cherish until the next year brought new ones. The holidays meant
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Settled in myself

Off the Beat

Three summers ago, I stood in my neighborhood and watched a strip of fire burn on the distant mountainside across the San Fernando Valley. Last winter, we felt the threat of fire as dry winds blew our windows open and the Thomas Fire burned in nearby Ventura County. With each
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Families are not escape plans

Off the Beat

It feels odd to write my goodbye to Berkeley without having graduated yet. Next semester I will be braving the forces of an East Coast winter and moving to Washington, D.C. as part of the University of California, Washington Center internship program. My job search, much like other areas of
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Chasing dreams as a first-generation Pinay

Cal in Color

These spaces — spaces like UC Berkeley — were never created for people like me. Retention rates of Pilipinx students at UC Berkeley always frustrated me, but at times like these, I was numb to the idea of becoming a part of those statistics.
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What’s in a name?

Off the Beat

I realized our names don’t define us — instead we fill them with our own identities. My name has nothing to do with my dad and I’ve reclaimed it as mine. In the end, I’ve decided I don’t need to change my name. I’m happy with just making it my own.
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A half-white Christmas

Off the Beat

All I want for Christmas is to stop being asked what I am. As someone of multiracial heritage, navigating the concept of “otherness” prevents me from fully immersing myself in the festivities and experiences of my cultures.
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