When surviving is just the beginning: Lessons from my experience with terminal illness may help those dealing with post-COVID trauma

Compelling personal stories
told by the people living them. I fall into this thought experiment from time to time where I imagine what it would be like if I jumped ahead in my life by exactly a year to the date. I performed this thought experiment at the end of April 2019. I was about to exit one phase of my life and enter into an indefinite period of unemployment. However, I had some plans in store, ranging from grad school to teaching overseas.

After misdiagnosis and relentless symptoms, I’ve felt the toll of RLS on my mental health. We need better care.

Compelling personal stories
told by the people living them. Editor’s note, trigger warning: The essay discusses suicidal ideation. If you or someone you know are struggling with suicidal ideation, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255), or message the Crisis Text Line at 741741. The programs provide free, confidential support 24/7. The author's full name is being withheld to protect his privacy.

What does it mean for my humanity as an Asian-American woman when you can only see me as an object?

Compelling personal stories
told by the people living them. At the beginning of this year, I became obsessed with foraging for vintage objects. I spent hours perusing Facebook Marketplace. Unsatiated, I started following vintage Instagrammers in Pittsburgh; one bio described their account as selling “joyful and thoughtfully chosen thrifted home goods.” Local Pittsburghers sourced thrift stores, estate sales and their grandma’s attics, populating my Instagram feed. I found myself impulsively buying a Le Creuset Dutch oven shaped like a tomato, delicate beaded grapes and pears, and a mid-century modern wooden cheese plate.


As a Han Chinese woman in Pittsburgh, I see the Atlanta massacre exposing how media, government and academia fail Asian women

Six weeks after I moved to Pittsburgh to begin a graduate program, a mass shooting took place at a synagogue 2 miles from my apartment. Six weeks before my departure, another mass shooting hit close to home. 

This time, the hate crime took place in another state, but it targeted Asian women. On March 16, eight people were gunned down at three Asian spas in the Atlanta suburbs – two Han Chinese women, four Korean women, and two white bystanders. The victims’ names are Tan Xiaojie; Feng Daoyou; Yue Yong Ae; Kim Suncha; Park Soon Chung; Hyun Jung Grant; Delaina Ashley Yaun; and Paul Andre Michels. A ninth bystander, Elcias Hernandez Ortiz, remains in the hospital.

Changing the lesson plan: A Pittsburgh teacher looks back at the year of teaching online

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A great lesson starts off with a plan — a sequence of steps methodically followed and strategically simulated with an end goal in mind. Sometimes, these lessons are  nationally mandated. Other times, they’re crafted by an academic coach or dictated by district curriculum. In my opinion, as an 11th- and 12th-grade U.S. history and social justice teacher at Pittsburgh Westinghouse, the classroom teachers are best suited to create such plans for the children that sit in front of them. They — we — can tailor to our students’ specific learning styles and needs.

Luke Chinman, 17, photographed outside his home in Squirrel Hill. He is a senior at Taylor Allderdice High School. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

Pandemic isolation helped me better understand my queer identity

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Social isolation changed the way we communicate. When my family and I began to quarantine last March, shifting my junior year at Taylor Allderdice High School online, suddenly every single social interaction I had was intentional. Every exchange was with someone I knew very well—I wasn’t striking up a conversation with a classmate in the minutes before my physics class would start or running into an old friend inside the Rite Aid down the street from my house. I was only keeping in touch with those closest to me, and, like most people, I wasn’t making an effort to reach out to the people I kind of knew. 

But that distinction, at the time, felt like a drop in the bucket of societal changes brought by the worsening spread of a deadly virus. As the days of quarantine dragged into weeks and then months, it manifested itself in different ways: Some people cut their own bangs, tried their hand at home hair dye, shaved slits in their eyebrows.