Angles / 2010

Exemplary Writing from Introductory Writing Subjects at MIT

Dedication
Remembering Umaer Basha
Foreword
From the Editor
Pakistan, A Narrative  
by Umaer Basha
Writing from Experience
Aromatic Memories   by Paulina Mustafa
I locked the front door of my purple house every day at seven forty in the morning, plus or minus a few minutes. As I walked down Rue de Saint Jean, the main street running through Haut Ville in Quebec, I was always five steps ahead of myself, knowing exactly what I would see in the unchanging window displays.

The Element That Made and Maimed Me   by Sahar Hakim-Hashemi
Every now and then we hear someone say, “You never know what you've got until you lose it.” The saying usually applies to the loss of a situation, a person, or a way of living. Despite that, the only time I truly felt that phrase with all my soul was when I lost language. Yes--I lost language and then myself.

The Workbench   by Curtis Clemens
The workbench was overladen with what might appear to the casual observer as detritus: motley scattered tools, an old metal tackle box filled with comparably old electrical components, and always, a big mess of something in the center.


The Undercurrent   by Kellie Young
The tires crunch heavily over the rocky path, crackling in the still morning air. The truck's headlights flood the darkness in front of us, slicing through the heavy veil to illuminate an unpaved road overshadowed with sweeping branches.

Love, Peace, and Hair Grease  by Merricka Livingstone
Every other weekend this hair-washing ritual would take place. I would grab the huge bottles of shampoo and conditioner, my towel and the stool, and head to the sink. I tried not to hyperventilate as the sink swallowed my head.


The Significance of a Change of Clothes   by Chris Welch
I grew up with the neighborhood kids in an area that is technically neither Pasadena nor Arcadia, but the bland and impersonal Unincorporated Los Angeles. We were the group of boys people saw playing in the street because we knew ours had the perfect dimensions for kickball…
Fast Food, Living Fast   by Anita Nelson
One ounce of mustard. A handful of chopped lettuce. Three tomatoes. Four pickles. Sprinkle diced onions. Peel a slice of cheese, place it neatly over the bottom bun, slap it atop the patty on the grill, and slide it on top of the veggies. Toast another bun. Light mustard. Chopped lettuce. Three tomatoes. Four pickles? Sprinkle onions. Cheese, slap, boom, slide.


Truth Lying in the Tundra   by Stephanie Thompson
A friend once advised me that the smartest way to success was to pick the right battles, the easiest ones to win. In that case, I thought, I chose the wrong battle coming to MIT instead of staying at home and going to college in Alaska.

Derailment   by Gabriel Blanchet
As my peers grew concerned over SAT scores, GPAs, and extracurricular activities, I realized that I didn't want to worry. I didn't want to go to college, like all of them. Not yet.


Arco Iris   by Katie Inman
“Dad, wait; I think she thinks we are Dr. Alan with the church van. Turn around; she looks like she needs help,” I said as my father checked the rearview mirror for the young woman I thought had flagged us down.
Writing about Contemporary Issues
It's Massachusetts; I Was Bound to Have a Liberal Yuppie Moment at Some Point, Right?   by Carlos Greaves
Since I am responsible for… my own food now, the things we are learning in class could not possibly have come at a better time. The main book we are reading, called In Defense of Food, is particularly fascinating because it defines food in a way I'd never thought about before.


Greasy Goodness   by Shuang Chen
Picture a nice hot bundle of crispy French fries fresh from the fryer. If your stomach starts gurgling vigorously, then keep on reading. It seems that a love of fried food is one thing that bridges cultures: rich and poor, black and white, Chinese and Mexican––you get the idea. I, for one, am obsessed with fried chicken, and don't even know why.


Being Latino   by Miguel Flores
First I look to my parents, the origin of my heritage and the color of my skin. Both my parents are immigrants; my mother and father come from El Salvador and Mexico, respectively, and arrived in the United States in the 1970s.


Child Labor in India   by Srikanth Bolla
Everywhere in rural India there are children begging in the streets; even small children are cleaning the coaches of trains and the aisles of buses, asking for coins.

The Reality Behind Reality TV   by John Yazbek
I was always amazed and intrigued by reality television shows. The idea that simple, ordinary people might become TV stars fascinated me. During early childhood, I grew up watching cartoons and movies whose far-fetched scenarios seemed distant from my life.


Crash   by Drew Dennison
Last summer, I installed a new printer on the family computer and everything seemed to be working fine. Then a few weeks later, the computer ran a system update and would not start without an error. Every time I rebooted the computer, about one-quarter of the way through, the monitor would turn an all-too-familiar shade of royal blue…
Writing on Science, Health, Medicine and Technology
Scientific Discovery: Engaging and Teaching Science to Elementary Students  
by Graham Van Schaik

Polyester lab coats breathe about as well as aluminum foil. The humid 98 degree South Carolina heat makes my situation worse as I carry boxes of supplies from my car to the classroom where, in one hour, I would teach. The year: 2006. The month: June. The time: 11:00 AM on a Monday.

Individual Rights vs. Public Health: The Vaccination Debate  
by Mahesh Vidula

A pediatrician enters Examination Room B, ready for a routine check-up with a two-month-old infant. He greets the mother, and begins to discuss the next step in infant care: receiving the required vaccinations. As he starts to ask the mother to schedule an appointment with the receptionist, she interrupts, “Sorry, doctor. My child will not be immunized.”

Should Physician-Assisted Suicide Be Legal?  
by Ho Yin Au

“So I guess I'm ready for the medicine,” announced Craig Ewert. With his wife by his side, Ewert, who suffered from amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), calmly sipped a clear liquid from a small cup. Nearby, a representative from Dignitas, a Swiss organization that advocates for the right to die, videotaped Craig's death as proof… that no foul play was involved.

Review of the Efficacy of a Variety of Smoking Cessation Methods in Adolescents  
by Michelle Rybak

In the United States as well as the United Kingdom, up to one in four teenagers smoke, and worldwide between 80,000 and 100,000 young people start smoking every day. Most adolescents with established smoking habits continue to smoke as adults and incur both short-term and long-term health consequences, including premature death.

The Cult of Soy   by Anna Falvello Tomas
Ah, soy, the “protein in a seed”… and any crop grower's dream come true. Yes, even if a crop grower doesn't eat soy he, too, greatly benefits from this miracle plant. “Why?” you might ask. Well, first let me ask you; is soy one of today's most widespread monocultures because it is healthy, or is soy promoted as healthy because it is one of today's most widespread monocultures?
Reviews
Seeing the Whole: A Review of In Defense of Food  
by Nidhi Kulkarni

Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food…is an engaging, eye-opening analysis of the American food industry and the anxiety-riddled relationship many of us currently have with food.

Critical Review: Nova Science Now: Sleep  
by Sean Faulk

In … Sleep (2007), executive producer Paula Apsell blends these elements--photography, animation, language, music, sound--into a carefully crafted piece that both fascinates and, more importantly, educates the viewer.


Assignments for These Essays