Summer Reading Contest Winner, Week 9: On ‘The Best Way to Respond to Text Messages’

We obtained 1,074 entries from college students from world wide for the ninth week of our 10-week Summer Reading Contest. Thank you to everybody who participated, and congratulations to our winner, Bloomy, in addition to the runners-up and honorable mentions we acknowledge beneath.

Scroll down to check out the number of matters — from important race principle and misinformation on Facebook to origami cranes and texting etiquette — that caught the eyes of our members this week. You can discover the work of all our winners since 2017 on this column.

Thank you to everybody who participated!

(Note to college students: If you’re one among this week’s winners and would really like your final title printed, please have a dad or mum or guardian full our permission kind [PDF] and ship it to us at [email protected])


Bloomy selected an essay from The New York Times Magazine’s Letter of Recommendation column headlined “The Best Way to Respond to Text Messages” and wrote:

They say texting is simple, however by way of the eyes of an avid overthinker, it’s an unsolvable, ever-tipping scale between “too much” and “not enough.” In his essay “The Best Way to Respond to Text Messages,” Todd Levin explores the wrestle of responding to a textual content to present sufficient emotion whereas preserving genuineness. As Mr. Levin suggests, Apple’s new “HA HA” tapback characteristic could assist make responding simpler, till it doesn’t. Because it doesn’t take lengthy earlier than folks learn into it. Is the joke not humorous sufficient to warrant an emoji? Does the tapback imply the opposite individual needs to finish the dialog?

In the pandemic age, overthinkers are hopelessly confronted with one million textual content dilemmas, studying into two-dimensional letters and cartoon emojis. We sit with our thumbs hovering over the display, spamming the letters “H” and “A” time and again like we’re simply exploding with laughter, whereas we sit tight lipped, again hunched, eyes dry from glazing over the display for hours. Because the joke isn’t actually that humorous, is it? Or at the least not as humorous as our textual content response suggests. Because the joke is simply letters printed on a display, or a blurry meme you’ve already seen. Perhaps the issue isn’t what number of “HA”s you have to be typing out, however the emotional numbness we really feel from being on-line a lot that we neglect what it’s to actually snigger. Apple can introduce one million options to fight texters’ overthinking, however no quantity of “HA”s will ever appear real sufficient till our emotions are.


In alphabetical order by the author’s first title.

Carolyn on “Sneaky Thieves Steal Hair From Foxes, Raccoons, Dogs, Even You”

Da on “Tracing Freedom to a Pair of Jeans”

Jiayi on “It’s Never Too Late to Play the Cello”

Jingyi on “No More Periods When Texting. Period.”

Siqi on “Marking a Pandemic, One Crane at a Time”

Victoria on “This Flower Hides a Secret: It’s Actually a Carnivore”

Vivian on “The Beautiful, Flawed Fiction of ‘Asian American’”

Xingru on “Teenager’s Snow Cave Enters Canadian Survival Lore”

Honorable Mentions

Arav on “Why are Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos So Interested In Space?’”

Anda on “A Plane in Utah Lets the Fish Fly”

Casey on “The Best Way to Respond to Text Messages”

Christina on “The Life and Death of Your Jeans”

Cynthia on “Poem: The Woman You Love Cuts Apples for You”

Gina on “We Research Misinformation on Facebook. It Just Disabled Our Accounts.”

Gordon on “Back to Normal? It’s a Tall Order as New York City Restaurants Struggle.”

Katerina on “How to Make Your Small Talk Big”

Kobe on “They Waited, They Worried, They Stalled. This Week, They Got the Shot.”

Navya on “A Brief History of Summer Reading”

Sophia on “Why Is It So Hard to Say Goodbye to New York City?”

Sunny on “Critical Race Theory: A Brief History”

Tingxuan on “Simone Biles Just Demonstrated a True Champion Mind-Set”