Winner of the UMBC English Department's Malcolm C. Braly Prize, this piece depicts a high-school camping trip gone wrong. It captures a young man's longing for belonging, and his failure to ever get there. As we follow the five kids on their trip and watch the anticipation and excitement turn to disillusionment and disappointment, we too wonder what we have to do to belong.
This essay engages with the problem of discussing race in the United States. Too often it is ignored, swept under euphemism or impracticality. After a conversation two cashiers had about a pregnancy, it became clear that people from different socioeconomic backgrounds have had entirely different life experiences. This provocative essay encourages the conversation to continue, not to be hushed up as it has in the past.
As we lead our lives, we will our heads with dozens of contradictory ideas. For example, we might have to reconcile how we feel about a hot-button issue with our personal attachment to an individual involved. Service jobs bring one of these contradictions to the fore: the need to juggle personal sympathies and a fanatical devotion to enforcing policy. This piece chronicles an interaction between an irate customer and a student employee. It outlines the struggle between individual empathy and corporate unfeelingness, leaving the audience unsure of whom to side with.
This started out as an essay about a place, but as it was being written it became an essay about a person. In the sweaty days of summer, a bad summer job and a bad summer friend became somehow start to matter. As you'll see, there is nowhere like the water park in summer. The screaming kids, the mist of sunscreen, and the clash of young people whose brains are still developing come together to make an excellent summer, and one crashed golf cart.
A death story, for someone very special.
This piece explores the protagonist's relationship with his father. As he begins getting his own ideas, going out on his own, and learning to drive, he reflects back on the times they spent together, bonding in and around the car. But they've both changed, and he can't go home again.