Remy Haber: South Beach, Sugar Free

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Photography and Text by Remy Haber

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Sanna’s eyes tell a story. A story of faith and love, a story of hunger and emptiness. For someone her age, he eyes have seen more than most ever should.  While most teenagers measured their years in the thrill of growing some inches or watching their frames change from diminutive to well-rounded, she measured them in how many ribs she could count when she stared in the mirror. Eating – and not eating – was punishment for sins she couldn’t fathom, but ones for which she was always accountable.

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Sanna tried to extinguish her demons on her own. “I’m determined, I’m healing,” she would say, trying perhaps to convince herself more than anyone else. But even on the days she could convince herself that her disorder had crumbled like the pastries she hid in the pantry, it had all but disappeared.

She struggled silently, though.  For all the pain Sanna felt, she desired to heal those around her. As she saw it, self-love could not be achieved until those around her, too, loved themselves.  And when Andy walked into her life, this was no different.

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Andy had watched Sanna for years, quietly loving her from afar.  Neither he nor she knew that they both shared a similar past, fraught with pain, and once they came together they taught each other to love.  Not just the good parts of one another, like Sanna’s beautiful eyes and biting sense of humor, or Andy’s warm heart and handsome face.  Rather, they learned to love the broken parts of one another, the ones that were healing and the ones that might never be fixed. The ribs in the mirror, the crumbled pastries, and the undying compassion for others. Love, to Sanna and Andy, meant being accepting of self and other, perhaps the best healing of all.

 

Photography and Text by Remy Haber, Copyright 2016.

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Portrait of Remy Haber by Kieran Koch-Laskowski

About The Author: Remy Haber is a senior majoring in History at the University of Pennsylvania.  Class of 2016.

Jasmin Smoots: In Between Moments

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Photography and Text by Jasmin Smoots

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In Between Moments

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It’s incredible how our emotions can change minute to minute, second to second, moment to moment. In the blink of an eye, a smile shrinks becoming no more than a distant memory, the eyes lose the intensity they just held, and laughter is replaced by contemplative silence. The reverse is possible, too, just less common.

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Those moments are difficult to seize; they aren’t meant to be seen. But when they are captured, the moments in between the moments, the transition moments, something beautiful rises to the surface. The transition between the moments tells the real story, especially in a sequence of photos. The break moments between each pose, the moments when you think no one is watching so you bite your lip or pick at your nails, let your mind wander to the thoughts worrying you, those moments.

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In those moments, we catch a slight glimpse into the person: their thoughts, the feelings hidden behind their face. In those moments, vulnerability floats to the surface. It emerges through the eyes but the rest of the face enhances the story the eyes tell. These are the “off” moments. The moments when we aren’t “on,” the moments when our mind turns in on itself, forgetting about the outside world.

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But, these are moments in between the moments, the moments not meant to be seen, the transitional moments that don’t seem to really exist. They don’t last very long and they don’t show up the photos we keep to remember the good moments. If you look down or look away, the in between moment will pass unseen as if it never existed.

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Photography and Text by Jasmin Smoots. Copyright 2016

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About The Author:  Jasmin Smoots is a senior Communications major enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania.  Class of 2016.

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Portrait of Jasmin Smoots by Zoe Yun Zou, Copyright 2016

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Hassan Smith: What Lies Beneath?

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Posted on March 15, 2016 by Hassan Smith

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Meet Arielle Winfield.  Arielle is just your average student-athlete at the University of Pennsylvania.  As a junior she has been a member of both the school’s volleyball and track team.  But due to numerous injuries, her athletics career came to an abrupt end.

Meet Arielle Winfield. Arielle is just your average student-athlete at the University of Pennsylvania. As a junior she has been a member of both the school’s volleyball and track team. But due to numerous injuries, her athletics career came to an abrupt end. A series of concussions during the summer of her sophomore year inhibited her from playing competitive sports ever again. When asked about how well she played during her couple of years at Penn, she simply responded, “Average” as if she was unaffected by her minor role on both the volleyball and track team. At first glance, you see a strong woman who is easily able to venture into her next journey in life, but on the inside she suffers. Her inability to leave a profound mark on Penn Athletics drives her crazy because she knows that being average in her family is unacceptable, especially when your father is Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame inductee, Dave Winfield. Although she is not quite known for her production on the volleyball court nor the track, she has been noted by her teammates and peers as the person to go to for guidance. Whether someone has failed an exam or just experienced a terrible breakup, she is there to give valuable advice. She has a solution for almost every problem that they are faced with, but when it comes to her own issues she is hopeless. In order to give her an advantage over her competitors, she was taught that emotion is a sign of weakness. As a result, she bottles all of her feelings inside of her letting them boil like water in a kettle. Since she is unable to express her true emotions, she feels alone in the world.

A series of concussions during the summer of her sophomore year prohibited her from playing competitive sports ever again. When asked about how well she played during her couple of years at Penn, she simply responded, “Average” as if she was unaffected by her minor role on both the volleyball and track teams.

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At first glance, you see a strong woman who is easily able to venture into her next journey in life, but on the inside she suffers.  Her inability to leave a profound mark on Penn Athletics drives her crazy because she knows that being average in her family is unacceptable, especially when her father is Major League Baseball’s Hall of Fame inductee, Dave Winfield.

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Although she is not quite known for her production on the volleyball court nor the track, she has been noted by her teammates and peers as the person to go to for guidance.  Whether someone has failed an exam or just experienced a terrible breakup, she is there to give valuable advice.

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In order to give her an advantage over her competitors, she was taught that emotion is a sign of weakness.  As a result, she bottles all of her feelings inside of her letting them boil like water in a kettle.

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Since she is unable to express her true emotions, she feels alone in the world.  When the pain becomes unbearable she takes a long walk to clear her mind.

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Photography , Text and Videotaped interview with Arielle Winfield by Hassan Smith, Copyright 2016.

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About The Author: Hassan Smith is a freshman enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania.  Hassan is also a defensive back on the Upenn football team. He hails from Los Angeles, California.  Class of 2019.

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Portrait of Hassan Smith by Angela Pan

Tunnel Vision: A Letter to my Junior-year Self

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Photography and Text by Angela Pan

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Tunnel Vision: A Letter to my Junior-year Self

Dear Junior Year me:

College Magazine recently voted Penn to be the 10th most stressful university in the United States. Sometime during your junior year, rumination over your future occupation will exacerbate this pressure. Being a lawyer has always been a dream of yours, so naturally, you will embark on the well-worn path of applying to law school. You, the former social butterfly, are now going to spend the next few months of your life cooped up in your room, pouring over LSAT prep books and ‘how-to’ guides on ‘getting in’. In these few months, you will have tunnel vision.

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As the academic year rolls by, you will submit your applications and wait. Penn has always been a stress incubator for you, but you will feel more overwhelmed than ever before. Exacerbated by news of your friends’ acceptances, an almost dysfunctional level of stress will consume you.

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A poster on your wall that reads “Dream Big” will scream out to you as you open your decision letter. Being accepted into your dream law school is part of your ideal narrative of achievement, but perhaps you’ve dreamed a little too big, this time.

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You are not going to get into your top choice. You will cry, and feel devastated. The high-school superlative you earned of being the “Most Likely to Succeed” is a title you will have to relinquish for the time being.

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Please forgive yourself. It is difficult not to use external standards to measure self-worth, but do not give in to self-doubt. Junior Year is going to be a challenge, but not an insurmountable one.

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The day will come where you find your place. When you reflect upon your journey, you will realize that it is important to dedicate yourself to achieving your goals, but not at the cost of happiness, relationships, health, and wellbeing. Dream Big, but in the right directions.

 

Photography and Text by Angela Pan, Copyright 2016.

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About The Author: Angela Pan is a senior enrolled in the College of the University of Pennsylvania.  Class of 2016.

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Portrait of Angela Pan by Yujia “Alice” Qiu