All posts by Shelly Hacco

This Weekend, Joshua​ ​Tree​ ​National​ ​Park​ ​Hosts the Night​ ​Sky​ ​Festival​

By Minah Ha

From​ ​November​ ​10th-12th,​ ​Joshua​ ​Tree​ ​National​ ​Park​ ​will​ ​be​ ​partnering​ ​with​ ​the National​ ​Park​ ​Service​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​bring​ ​star​ ​enthusiasts​ ​the​ ​Night​ ​Sky​ ​Festival.​ ​This​ ​is​ ​the​ ​third annual​ ​Night​ ​Sky​ ​Festival​ ​that​ ​the​ ​park​ ​has​ ​hosted​ ​for​ ​those​ ​who​ ​want​ ​to​ ​sit​ ​under​ ​a​ ​sky​ ​full​ ​of stars.Although​ ​this​ ​event​ ​is​ ​free​ ​of​ ​charge,​ ​if​ ​you​ ​decide​ ​to​ ​come​ ​on​ ​November​ ​10th,​ ​you​ ​will have​ ​to​ ​pay​ ​a​ ​park​ ​entrance​ ​fee​ ​of​ ​$30.​ ​However,​ ​because​ ​of​ ​Veteran’s​ ​Day​ ​weekend,​ ​there​ ​will be​ ​no​ ​park​ ​entrance​ ​fee​ ​on​ ​November​ ​11th​ ​and​ ​12th! Joshua​ ​Tree​ ​National​ ​Park,​ ​located​ ​three​ ​hours​ ​away​ ​from​ ​Los​ ​Angeles​​ ​is​ ​known​ ​for​ ​its​ ​unique​ ​Joshua​ ​trees​ ​and​ ​desert​ ​flowers​ ​in​ ​the​ ​day​ ​to​ ​it’s​ ​breathtaking​ ​desert stars​ ​in​ ​the​ ​night.​ ​Because​ ​the​ ​park​ ​itself​ ​is​ ​located​ ​far​ ​from​ ​big​ ​cities,​ ​the​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​urban​ ​lights allows​ ​stars​ ​to​ ​be​ ​clearly​ ​seen.​ ​Thus,​ ​star​ ​enthusiasts​ ​in​ ​Southern​ ​California​ ​flock​ ​to​ ​Joshua​ ​Tree to​ ​stargaze​ ​and​ ​explore​ ​the​ ​many​ ​constellations​ ​that​ ​they​ ​can’t​ ​see​ ​in​ ​their​ ​own​ ​urban environments​ ​due​ ​to​ ​light​ ​pollution.​ ​Many​ ​describe​ ​the​ ​desert​ ​stars​ ​in​ ​Joshua​ ​Tree​ ​as​ ​millions​ ​of specks​ ​in​ ​the​ ​sky​ ​and​ ​when​ ​sitting​ ​under​ ​it,​ ​you​ ​can’t​ ​help​ ​but​ ​to​ ​think​ ​about​ ​the​ ​vastness​ ​of​ ​the universe.

Beginning​ ​at​ ​5am,​ ​the​ ​Night​ ​Sky​ ​Festival​ ​will​ ​showcase​ ​various​ ​astronomy​ ​programs throughout​ ​the​ ​day.​ ​You​ ​can​ ​learn​ ​about​ ​the​ ​different​ ​constellational​ ​stories​ ​and​ ​folktales​ ​that have​ ​been​ ​passed​ ​down​ ​through​ ​storytellers​ ​and​ ​identify​ ​those​ ​stars​ ​in​ ​the​ ​sky.​ ​There​ ​will​ ​be​ ​park rangers,​ ​scientists,​ ​and​ ​astronomers​ ​explaining​ ​the​ ​various​ ​workings​ ​of​ ​our​ ​solar​ ​system​ ​to​ ​all those​ ​who​ ​want​ ​to​ ​learn​ ​about​ ​the ​science​ ​behind​ ​our​ ​stars​ ​as​ ​well!​ ​Additionally,​ ​at​ ​night, telescopes​ ​will​ ​be​ ​placed​ ​for​ ​viewers​ ​to​ ​get​ ​a​ ​clearer​ ​look​ ​at​ ​the​ ​stars​ ​and​ ​possibly​ ​the​ ​different planets!​ ​If​ ​the​ ​weather​ ​permits,​ ​you​ ​also​ ​might​ ​be​ ​able​ ​to​ ​get​ ​to​ ​clearly​ ​see​ ​the​ ​Milky​ ​Way​ ​as well!

Continue reading This Weekend, Joshua​ ​Tree​ ​National​ ​Park​ ​Hosts the Night​ ​Sky​ ​Festival​

Growing Up Bi-Dialectal and Bi-Accented

By Aishwarya Badanidiyoor

They say language is one of the quickest ways to establish personal connections. Having grown up in multiple countries, adapting to new environments was always a priority of mine, and that meant picking up on the (sometimes subtle) differences in communication between the widely varied cultures and societies that I came across. To give you a little background, I lived in Saudi Arabia for the first ten years of my life, and then moved to India for the rest of middle school. I went to high school in Canada, and then attended Engineering school in India. Currently a master’s student and conversation partner here at USC, I have had the opportunity to meet quite a few international students along the way, and one thing that some of us have in common is our ability to speak multiple dialects/accents of English fluently, due to our diverse upbringing.

I grew up speaking a very neutral Indian accent for the first 9 years of my life, due to my stay in Saudi Arabia. Many people are not aware of this, but Indian accents come in varying flavors, which is why when I moved to India for middle school, my classmates and I had trouble understanding each other for the first few months. When I moved to Canada for high school 4 years later, the differences in accents, phrases, word usage, and intonation (amongst many other things) were quite obvious. Within a few months, my little brother and I had already adapted a neutral general North American accent, garnished with a few of the more obvious characteristics of Canadian English.

Once I moved to a different part of India for Engineering school there was a accent divide between me and my classmates once again. Within the year however, I had molded my tongue into sounding more local without much hassle. This brought about some new challenges for me – I regularly conversed with my Canadian friends in my north american accent, and switched to the new Indian one with my Indian friends.

Continue reading Growing Up Bi-Dialectal and Bi-Accented

This Midterm Season, Don’t Forget to Take a Break!

By Colette Au

As the first round of midterms reaches its peak, I find myself overwhelmed by my commitments. Again. It seems that every semester begins smoothly, but time management only helps so much to balance a life that, frankly, is overbooked.  As I learned in my gender studies class, Americans have the longest work week in the world. We can boast of our high GDP and standards of living compared to many other nations, but economic benefits come with hidden costs. This workaholic culture trickles down, and is especially concentrated at a university like USC. People who triple major, invest thirty hours a week e-boarding for several clubs, rushing and pledging in the Greek system, or work a full-time job alongside a full course load are our role models — the hard working ideal. Squeezing maximum productivity out of every day is the norm. Is this mindset of high-intensity social, academic, involvement helpful, or even sustainable in the long-term? Perhaps a dominant narrative negatively portrays a stereotypical American characteristic, rewarding effort without achievement, but I think there is an equally strong narrative that seeks to disrupt this view that Americans are lazy and entitled.

As an American-born Chinese (ABC), I grew up with Asian immigrant parents. Like many of their “tiger” counterparts, they stressed academic accomplishment, but unlike the tiger parent stereotypes, they told me I should also remember to take breaks and relax sometimes. However, in college, there is no one to remind me to put down my macroeconomics lecture slides and simply BE. As soon as I stop working, the guilt sets in. I don’t want to be a lazy and entitled American, I think. So I work harder and I overcommit. And when my laptop’s hard drive fails and I succumb to a bad cold that takes me out of class for a week, my self worth disappears along with my rigid work schedule. Lying in bed with used tissues and a glass of hot tea, I realized how easily my world was reduced to my Google Calendar’s events and task list in the semester’s first four weeks. I had become my commitments. My long-distance relationship was suffering because I was in club meetings, attending lectures, or working for most of my days. This is not what I envisioned for myself, but slipping into the “work hard, play hard” culture that permeates this campus is extremely tempting.

Continue reading This Midterm Season, Don’t Forget to Take a Break!