As a GenZer fresh out of college, I’m not ashamed to say that, more often than not, I’m glued to my phone, my computer, and other pieces of digital tech. I recognize the value it adds to my life. At this stage it helps me connect easily with others, learn new information, and be more efficient. That’s one of the reasons I was thrilled to start my first job after college at Hopelab, a social innovation lab that creates behavior-change tech for people my age. …


A few nights ago, I found myself reflecting on my friendships during a FaceTime call with a close friend:

“I don’t know, it’s just so weird. Most of my friends from childhood are White and most of my friends from college are Black. But I couldn’t imagine life without either group because they cater to different parts of my identity that I need,” I told her candidly.

It’s a privilege to say that some of my closest friends from childhood are still my girls for life. Attending all-girls school together for most of our life is what sealed the deal. Starting from elementary school, we ate together at lunch religiously and we had frequent sleepovers where we stayed up all night in our sleeping bags laid in a circle on our parents’ living room floor sharing “secrets” throughout the night. We made it a point to be front and center during sports games and dance recitals and celebrated each and every birthday like it was the last — with cards, baked goods, and Facebook posts decked out with kind words and throwback photos. As we got older, this established bond became more pertinent: we didn’t just like to hang out, we needed each other. We defended each other in front of bullies and popular girls, we counseled each other through every crush and heartbreak, and we felt the magic of our bond. And although we had our fights, as the one of the only Black girls in the squad, I can truly say that I’ve never felt tokenized, I’ve never felt overlooked, and I’ve never felt that different, with this group. I was wanted and I belonged. …


On the afternoon of Saturday, May 30, 2020, the world watched two moments write themselves into history: Black Lives Matter protests spread from Minneapolis to across the country and around the world and SpaceX’s Crew Demo-2 launched into space.

For those who don’t know, SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies Corp.), is an aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company founded by tech-mogul Elon Musk, in 2002. Musk’s goal for SpaceX is to create more affordable (relatively speaking) commercial flights to space in order to eventually colonize Mars and advance towards becoming a multi-planetary species. SpaceX got their big break in 2009, however, when NASA announced that they would be suspending their space shuttle program that had been sending astronauts directly to orbit since 1961 and to the International Space Station (ISS) since 1998. Since then, American astronauts such as, Christina Koch and Nick Hague could only access space through the Russian space program and by flying on the Russian Soyuz vehicle which costs the U.S. $80 million per seat. Musk, recognizing that SpaceX could be the venue that revitalizes a space shuttle program that sends astronauts to orbit from the US again, decided to develop early versions of SpaceX’s main rocket (Falcon) and main space vehicle (Dragon) by transporting cargo for NASA to the ISS. Over those 11 years in particular, Musk has created something truly incredible (other than Tesla): Falcon 9, the two-phase rocket used to push the space vehicle into orbit, and Crew Dragon, the space vehicle that can fit up to seven passengers to take to and from Earth’s orbit, making it capable of soon becoming the first private space vehicle to transport humans to and from the ISS (at the foreseeable staggering price of $200,000–$2,000,000 per mission). …


Exiting the plane and dragging my suitcase through the thinly stretched corridor towards the arrivals gate at Milan Malpensa Airport in Italy, I felt my chest tighten and my heart beat louder and louder. This feeling of distress was familiar, but that did not make it any easier. On the walk, I nestled into the sea of white faces that had also exited the flight from Prague, Czech Republic and I just knew it was going to happen again. …


What do you want to be when you grow up? This is the famous question that every little kid is asked at least once during their childhood.

When I was 10, I wanted to be a culinary artist because I loved designing art and baking with my mom. When I was 12, I wanted to be a humanitarian/philanthropist having enough influence and money to save the world one day. When I was 14, I wanted to be a neurologist so that I could help kids heal from brain injury the same way doctors had helped me when I had multiple concussions due to sports. When I was 16, I wanted to be a lawyer because I wanted to help people in the same way that my sister was on track to do. So many people, places, and experiences shaped how I understood myself and what my role in society would look like. …


  1. You cannot move faster than time.

During the summer of before college, I worked as a camp counselor for six long weeks. Those long monotonous days where I was busy at every waking hour made me want to just jump to August when I would be packing up and boarding the plane fresh and ready orientation. Freshman fall, I had my sights set on declaring my major in cognitive science immediately and to solidify my study abroad plans as soon as I could. I was afraid that I wouldn’t get (or worse) have the opportunity that I had been dreaming about. But what you have to realize is that your future is bright; what’s yours is already yours for the taking. So make the most of the constant drag of needing to get past excess “time” in order to grow, before the opportunity you’ve been dreaming about. …


“Gracie, you’re so brave! I don’t know how you do it,” my Aunt told me one day over lunch. The sweetness and well-intent of my best Aunt (like a best friend) can not be looked over, but this word, “brave,” still vibrates on the tip of my tongue, as I try to figure out where to place it in my mind. It feels dominating, like a treasure that has just been placed inside of us and we’re expected to use when we really need it. No, but really, where does it come from? Here’s my story:

I would like to say that I’m addicted to adventure but scared of it at the same time. I’m the type of person who will talk endlessly about my dreams and aspirations, convince myself to go on a safer or easier path, and then, in just the nick-of-time, I decide, “No. I’m going with my dream.” …


I ASKED MY DAD TODAY IF THE CHERRY BLOSSOM TREES WOULD BLOOM THIS YEAR — and he said “of course.” I looked up at him from the floor of my driveway where I had been watching the bare trees to see if any pink petals were peeping from the stems and squinted my eyes. “But, Dad. They haven’t bloomed yet. Isn’t it kind of late?” I asked him skeptically. Putting his hands on his hips, exhaling, and looking around at the trees in the yard he said, “Yes, but each and every one of them — they always bloom. Give it until this week or next week. They will bloom. This one will probably go first,” he said pointing at the tree in front of us “then that one. You’ll see.” “Look at that one” he said pointing behind me. …

About

Grace Greene

East Coast native, West Coast transplant. Recent college grad writing about her identity. I cannot be defined. My thoughts exactly:

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