Review: Between the World and Me


Thanks for checking back!  Here at Bibliophilia, I’m sharing a book review of Between the World and Me, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates.  This book is especially relevant in today’s world, due to the inequality-charged tension that exists in our society.  Coates writes intimate and honestly raw letters to his son in an endeavor to commiserate with their position as black men in America, but also to explain how and why they are treated the way they are.

What really hit home for me was the allegory of the American Dream and its exclusivity.  As Coates points out, it seems only available to certain skin tones.  It was eye-opening to me that this far-off American catch-phrase is about as realistic for many as finding a unicorn in the front lawn.  The country of the free certainly has a great ability to ignore big portions of its population.

Please note- this isn’t a political stance, this is a stance on human rights.  And what Ta-Nehisi so eloquently comments on is something I agree with wholeheartedly.

The fact that for African Americans, the theme of fear seeps into everything- being pulled over for a minor traffic violation, to playing music loudly from a boom box, even to making eye contact with the wrong person.  It is absolutely appalling to me that his community’s respective body isn’t even theirs to call their own- that at any minute their body- both physical and ideological- can be taken from them is horrifying and something that I know I’ll never quite be able to understand.

Coates taught me a lot about white privilege- not that it’s anything to be ashamed of, but that it’s something we must acknowledge and fight to give others that same privilege.



Ode to the Dishwasher

In honor of my first 10 weeks at college, I’ve decided to take a minute and use today’s post to reflect on what I miss most about living away from home.

Aside from the obvious homesickness for my parents, friends, family, and pets, there are a few random things that I really miss.  And the first, and most shocking, is how much I missed my dishwasher!  It seems weird to say, but I didn’t realize how much of a hassle it is to hand-wash dishes- especially when I use them for at least one meal a day.  Now, before I make a cup of coffee, I really have to weigh out the pros and cons; am I in such a caffeine frenzy that I need that coffee?  Is it worth it to have to wash that cup afterwards?  And often, the answer is no.  It seems ridiculous, but I never truly realized how much I took having a dishwasher for granted: it does all the work and most of the time, isn’t a whole hallway away.

This next ‘craving’ isn’t going to seem all that surprising, especially to anyone who has ever lived in a dorm room.  I really miss my bathroom; the ability to actually take my shoes off in the shower without fear of stepping on something gross and not having to lug shampoo, conditioner, soap, and a towel to the bathroom is so luxurious I almost forgot what it was like!

Lastly, what I miss a whole lot is going to Target.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am a nut for Target!  Most- if not all- of my dorm room decor and storage is from Target, and so are a lot of my clothes!  As one of my favorite stores, it’s been hard to be without it for a few months, but I already have a list ready to go for when I get back home!

But, besides these silly little quirks, I truly am #thriving at Miami.  I found the right school for me, have a great core group of friends, and truly feel like I’m the best version of myself.  Thanks to everyone who continues to support me throughout this process, from care packages to cards- even to texts or phone calls- I know I am loved!

Check back soon for more posts on college life!

Generation Stereotype?

A school assignment translated from its original French.

Image result for millennials on their phones
Picture taken from the article Manager la Generation Y. written by Phillipe Mazuel.

“Back when I was a kid, everything was different!” 

As millennials we hear that exclamation a lot every time we visit our grandparents, still nostalgic for the olden days.  Without a doubt, everyone thinks their generation is better than today’s youth, but, it seems that the disparity between today’s millennials and our elders is more profound than we’d care to admit.

A study, created in May of 2016 for both adults and students illustrates the common stereotypes affecting our generation.  When asking the opinions of both adults and millennials, I gathered a variety of responses, though with surprisingly similar trends across generations.  The results are clear: the problem of technology and young peoples’ constant connectivity is one of the biggest sources of conflict between groups.  But, the millennials aren’t as oblivious as one would think; 30% of those surveyed under 27 years of age admitted that our use of technology for anything and everything is a problem.

“Millennials don’t understand the value of money; their parents gave them everything on a silver platter.” 

We are consistently accused of being a lazy generation, with absolutely no work ethic, who rely on our parents to fund our spending habits, but, when a staggering percentage of our ranks isn’t even old enough to legally apply for a job (93% of those surveyed were under 18), there’s simply no way for us to avoid this stereotype.  In a time when education has a much higher value than manual or physical labor, it’s not shocking that 86% of the surveyed adults aren’t impressed with our work ethic.  One reason for this negative view could be because of newer and more prominent technologies, that allow new members of the work force to complete tasks much more efficiently than those working before us.  In short, it takes us a lot less time to do the same amount of work as before.

“Millennials won’t take advice from or listen to the opinions of their elders.” 

In the same questionnaire, when asking adults to describe young people from the millennial generation, the most frequent response was linked to the lack of respect they seemed to have toward their parents, grandparents, and elders.  However, what I find so ironic is that all generations agree that our generation is one of the most tolerant in history, which both groups would, for the most part, categorize as a positive characteristic.  When we see daily reports relating the struggles of marginalized groups to normalize and promote equal rights for every single being, we can’t argue that there’s at least one aspect of society that IS better today than before, despite those that would critique us.  And, as for the lack of respect that we are typically chastised for, wouldn’t the increased value we hold on human life as a whole seem to contradict the belief that we hold a decreased value for the very people that raised us?

“Young people are so emotionally delicate, and publish their every thought online.” 

I can’t really confirm or deny whether we are a generation with more crybabies than before.  I certainly know my fair share of millennials on both ends of that statement.  Nor can I condemn our online activity- it would certainly seem hypocritical for me to do so as I’m publishing this blog online…But is it really such a bad thing to have formed opinions that we’ve thought about enough to share with an audience ready to listen, and at times, to debate?  Despite the 76% of surveyed individuals who agree that most of the time, young people forget to live in the ‘real world’, I choose to think of us as an analytical generation, who are deep thinkers, even if we are sometimes too honest online for the liking of certain people.  There is no doubt that we make sure that our voices are heard, especially when we are dissatisfied with the world we are living in and, what choice do we have?  When the majority of society would condemn our communal ‘sensitivity’, we don’t have any choice but to broadcast our opinions and messages on a digital platform that is less likely to reject our thoughts.

So, why is there such a discord between generations? 

We could easily imagine that this tension is merely a secondary effect that accompanies any transition between age groups; young people, before considered as ‘leaders of tomorrow,’ are now becoming the leaders of today, which makes the ‘leaders of yesterday’ uncomfortable- and rightly so!

We could also blame our living environment for causing this perpetual conflict, as global developments (technology, cities, lifestyles, etc.) continue to rise.  And, as the world continues to become a stranger and stranger place, at a faster and faster pace, it’s only natural that many in our society experience something similar to culture shock, as societal norms become more alien.  It has often been said that over a mere 40 years, liberals become conservatives without ever changing their beliefs, a statement that rings true, now more than ever, for many in our society.

That being said… this vehement conflict between the dominant social groups does seem to be cyclical; probably existing between every young generation and their parents.  But, if that is the case, wouldn’t you think our elders would be more understanding?  They should be able to remember our situation that is, theoretically, so similar to their own when they were our age.  And, if they do understand the pressure that accompanies our duty to improve our world yet our obligation to keep things traditional for those that raised us, why do they so often feel such pessimism toward us?

Still, I can’t help but wonder if there is something more complex that drives these stereotypes.

Maybe we will never know exactly why 34% of those surveyed have a negative opinion of our generation.  Though, I would be remiss not to mention that it does seem to be those most apt to criticize that did raise this generation as a whole and, if they weren’t happy with our world’s trajectory, they did have about 18 years to forge society’s collective children in a different way.

Like many of my friends, I am proud to be of my generation.  Though many would accuse us of being idealists, I’ll wear that label with pride because to want to do good and make our world a better place, at least for this millennial, will never be something to be ashamed of.


For more information on the survey that I conducted, feel free to contact me on Facebook of

Applications, Anxieties, and Birthday Bonfires – An End Means Another Beginning

Well, I’ve done it.  My Common Application is done, my transcripts have been submitted, and my supplemental essays are written.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m feeling incredibly relieved, but I imagined the feelings, my ‘light shoulders’, and my nearly empty planner to stay as such for a little bit longer.

I guess it just goes to show that the applications themselves are just the beginning, while application anxiety, doesn’t set in until you hit the final confirmation button.  Nevertheless, I’m determined to maintain an open mind; if I attempt to stay relatively neutral in my preferences, I’ll be happy wherever I end up!  Though easier said than done, I’m doing my best.  Now, all I can do is sit back and wait a while, trying to stay patient as admission letters aren’t near as speedy as I would like.

Otherwise, I’ve just turned 18! And what an inauguration it was!  I was surrounded by well-wishes and love from family and friends, and a great sleepover!

Last Saturday, my friends and I spent the night in a big (but very cold) tent, after a bohemian bonfire and great dinner!  I’m so thankful to everyone who helped set up, clean up, and who came to have fun!  It was a great night and I’ll remember it forever!

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-Finally a ‘real adult’

Game Changers Forum, attended by ISI Social Justice Club

“It was an incredible opportunity to enrich our global awareness in regards to human rights and domestic violence through the different perspectives given to us by global figures such as Josina Z Machel.  It was an inspiration and reminder to continue to not take our rights for granted, as well as to keep advocating for the progress of our society.” -Coco Bentaieb

On Monday, October 3rd, the ISI Social Justice Club, lead by Mady Neal, Sonia DiOrio, and Juliette Barrere had the privilege to attend the Game Changers Forum, hosted by the Desmond Tutu Center and SOHO (Saving Orphans through Healthcare and Outreach).  Upon arrival, the 7 students had the opportunity to hear poignant discussions by Josina Z Machel, stepdaughter to Nelson Mandela as she related her personal struggles combating domestic abuse and getting justice for her own story, as well as Gail Masondo, a spiritual leader and psychologist who deals with cases of sexual assault and domestic abuse against women and girls daily.  

Club leaders, (left to right) Juliette Barrere, Mady Neal, and Sonia DiOrio.  Photo included in Indy Star article.

This once in a lifetime event had a pivotal impact on all representatives of the social justice club.  As Felice Brokaw, a senior stated: “The meeting was heartbreaking and eye opening.  One of the most effective ways to spread a message is by being upfront and honest to the point of discomfort… I feel like that is why this forum was so effective, and why those involved will be able  to make a true difference in the world.” Not only did these students have thoughtful conversations between themselves, but they had access to other community involvement and spoke with representatives of various organizations around Indianapolis and the world.  In her interview with the Indianapolis Star, Sonia DiOrio (also a senior) said “these speakers have shown me I can do something. We have a voice.”  And a voice no doubt that will transcend class activities and make a broader difference in the ISI community.  


As I myself have learned, there is hope to a seemingly endless cycle of sexism and belittlement and abuse against women, girls, and men (though afforded even less

Selfie with Josina Machel, guest speaker at Game Changers Forum.  With (from left to right) Mady Neal, Coco Bentaieb, Sonia DiOrio, and Juliette Barrere.

publicity than that of women and girls).  Through events such as these, in which like-minded individuals join together and learn not only of the efforts already being done, but how to get involved on our own; a reassuring feat for those of us entering the collegiate realm that poses many more dangers to women even than high school.  

The Social Justice Club, prompted by the inspirational efforts of Masonda, Machel, and countless other community leaders in the eradication of sexual assault and domestic abuse, is committed to making a change in our high school, and prompting club members and classmates to make the positive difference we aspire to as global citizens.   

I was so thankful to be part of this event, and learned so much about the various organizations that support women and men in difficult situations.

“Student Mady Neal gets a hug from Josina Machel, speaker at the Game Changers Forum.” Photo taken by Suraj Choudhary and included in Indy Star article.


One of the most fascinating topics the panelists discussed was related to the #HeforShe initiative (most famously known for its outspoken figurehead, Emma Watson), and suggested that though women compose half of the world’s population, abuse and domestic assault impacts human beings of all genders and sexes, and we cannot hope to entirely eradicate sexual abuse and domestic assault without the help of men and boys.

Overall, it was quite the experience and I would like to say a huge thank you to my fellow club leaders, Sonia DiOrio and Juliette Barrere, to our club supervisor, Mrs. Detrick, and to the club members that took the entire day to take part in this once in a lifetime event.

Picture of Social Justice Club with Gail Masondo and Josina Machel.  From left to right, Sam Wittman, Felice Brokaw, Juliette Barrere, Gail Masondo, Josina Machel, Sonia DiOrio, Coco Bentaieb, and Edmond Kaela.

For more information, click here, to see the Indy Star article!

*Note, some pictures were taken from the Indy Star article, as stated in those pictures’ captions.

Life Update- 07/26/2016


Hello everyone!

I’m so sorry that I’ve been void of any new posts as of late (it seems as if this blog is almost entirely composed of apologies for my lack of ‘correspondence’)!  So, to make up for the time that has passed since my last post, I’ve decided to write a short life update!

What I’ve Been Reading 

Since summer began, I’ve been doing the best I can to read more- I find that at least for me, I’m my healthiest and happiest when I’m thinking about a good book!  My ‘book boast’ is that I’ve finally accomplished one of my longest goals; to read Moby-Dick!  Due to its intimidating size and worldwide rapport, I’ve avoided reading it until now.  I’m glad that I did read it though, it was definitely a fascinating read!  Up next is Anna Karenina, another monster that has been on my shelf (and beckoning to me) for quite a while.  I’m about 150 pages in and so far, I’m enjoying it!  To see what else I’ve been reading, click here!

What I’ve Been Doing

Three words: Senior. Year. Prep.  This involves a plethora of things that I think can be broken down to the following:

-College visits and ‘investigations’

-Summer reading, paper-editing, and overall studying

-And…trying not to panic.

Aside the above everyday tasks, I got to go to a Panic! At the Disco concert, which was a FANTASTIC experience!  Brendon Urie and the rest of the band really know how to put on a show; from back-flipping off of the stage to drum battles between the lead singer and the drummer, I didn’t stop laughing, singing, and cheering.  I’m so glad I got to go with my friend Addy and be a part of something so fun!

Where I’ve Been Going 

All of next week I will be in Big Sky, Montana, enjoying the sights, smells, and hopefully getting to meet a bear or two!  After a lot of early mornings at work as well as keeping up on my school work, I can definitely say that I’m looking forward to getting to hike some mountains, snap some pictures of the stunning state parks we plan on visiting, and relaxing!  Make sure you check back here for more updates on my travel adventures!


What Movie I’ve Been Watching 

I’m sure I’m really late to the party, but I just discovered the movie When Harry Met Sally.  Since I first saw it, I’ve already insisted on re-watching it 3 more times (sorry Mom, I know you’re getting tired of it)!  Its an hilarious mix of wit, laughs, and karaoke machines (Surrey with the Fringe on Top, no less)!  I laughed, I cried, I laughed and cried at the same time- a really odd mix that I’m still not sure how I feel about.

What I’m Excited For 

I suppose it would be a lie to say that I’m not at all excited for senior year, although I am really nervous for all that this next year has in store for me (*cough, cough* I’m talking to you, IB exams).

What I AM simply excited for is my 18th birthday, the Gilmore Girls REVIVAL, and my college decision, just to name a few.

Thanks for reading, kind-readers-who-aren’t-exasperated-with-me-for-not-posting-enough!  Check back here later for blog posts (I promise!) about my trip and more life updates!

2015 Recap – My Favorite Things!

To ring in the new year (I can’t believe its already January 2016!) I’m making a short list of links that I loved throughout the year!

  1. Gilmore Girls – This TV show explores the always evolving relationship of a mother and her daughter in various stages of life.  Filled with wit, wisdom, and everything in between, this was by far my favorite TV show of the year!

2. – I’m a reader.  So tracking my reading process is a must and this is the perfect website to help me do it!  I read a total of 43 books this year!

3. My Ukulele – In 2015 I learned how to play the ukulele and for Christmas was given a fantastic version of the instrument!

4. Jane Austen Temporary Tattoos – A student of classics, nothing made me laugh harder than this clever temporary tattoo set that I got in my stocking for Christmas!

5. Coffee!!! – Not only can I rely on my daily caffeine fix, but I get to collect cool coffee mugs!

6. 25 by Adele – I’m really loving Adele’s come back album, that has been in the making for 4 years!

Here’s to a happy 2016, with many more lists and favorites abound!