Friday, November 5, 2010

Connections: Sophie's World and College Visits

There is a certain mindset you have to put yourself in while on college visits. I was able to find the perfect mindset while reading the novel Sophie's World in humanities class. Sophie is an adventurous existential thinker that does not let things get in the way of her looking at the broad picture of things. Sometimes, when I try new things or am in new places I forget to keep an open mind and know that not everything has to be in the perfect set out order that I have them.

When keeping an open mind, it was easier for me to look at the qualities of each college and know my likes and dislikes for it. I was able to see myself walking around campus, living in the dorms, and going to class at any particular college I just happened to be at. By being able to put myself in the students shoes I was able to make a well informed decision about whether I wanted to go there or not.

In the novel, Sophie has a very open mind. She is able to ask hard questions about herself that a young girl is not usually able to answer or even question. Just like Sophie, on my college visits I made sure I asked myself the hard questions like, "can I really see myself living here?" or, "would this place really be conducive to my future and my goals as a powerful woman?" through these questions, I am able to learn a lot about myself and what I want in the coming years for my future. Just like Sophie, I want to ask myself the hard questions so that later in life I won't regret not knowing the answer.

Monday, November 1, 2010

iMedia: YouTube/The Girl Effect

The Girl Effect: Video

The power of YouTube, is so much more important than it has ever been. Through media, we can make a difference, spread awareness, show people that there is something we can do to improve the value of life. The power of video, can reach the heart. It can help people visualize what a problem is and do something about it.

I believe that by using media that people around the world utilize every day, we have the power to change the world. This video speaks for itself and me talking about it gives it no justice, you just really have to watch it. I dare you to not want to make a difference and give a girl a better life by the end of it.

The power of media is immense. It is extensive in all ways. I am not going to shut down the human race by saying that we do not utilize media enough because truthfully we do. But I will say that I feel like all the junk we put out in the media needs to go away. There are more important things such as 'The Girl Effect' and other organizations that deserve more recognition than the dirty gossip and backstabbing that the media is being used for now.

The Girl Effect proves that a powerful message or video can make a difference.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Carry it Forward: Born into Brothels

This past week we have been watching the documentary Born Into Brothels in humanities class. I can honestly say that it is one of the most upsetting movies I have every watched in my life. And the fact that it is a complete documentary and that everything in it is real makes it even harder to watch.

Throughout the movie you meet a group of young kids that live in the brothels of the red light district. A woman comes to teach them photography so they might have a chance of getting out of the horrible future plans they have set for them. It is so disturbing that at the age of thirteen a girl who has just started puberty would be put on the line to be sold as a prostitute. And the saddest part is that this is the only life they know. They do not know that there are other choices and ways to get out. But on the other hand it would be so hard for them to get out because it would mean leaving their families which most of them seem very dedicated to.

When I started thinking about how I am going to carry this idea forward, I did not know what I was going to do. There is little action you can take when trying to help these innocent children without actually flying there and doing something (which trust me, I would in a heartbeat if I had enough money for a plane ticket and a plan for how to get them all out). But then I realized, carrying something forward does not only imply taking action on that specific thing. It can also mean carrying it forward into your own life, into the lives of those around you. To carry the message I have received from Born into Brothels forward, I plan to spread awareness. I had no idea that this horrifying crime to innocent life was happening anywhere in the world before we watched this documentary. I cannot imagine how many of my friends, family and people I work with have no clue about this issue either. It scares me that something of this magnitude could go on for so long, maybe not unnoticed, but sure as hell unattended to.

In a perfect world, I would love to bring all of the children and their mothers out of the red light district and into warm loving homes in the US but that would be culturally unsound. I also believe that it is wrong to take people out of their culture forcing them to adapt to a new one. So in the second most perfect (and a little bit more practical) world, I would want to just bring all of the children to America or just away from the red light district, and find them homes so that their children can have healthy, happy futures.

"You don't have to be great to get started. You just have to get started to be great"
-Les Brown

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Metacognition: QE Essay

Throughout our first quarter essay, me and the rest of my eighth period humanities class were given a very strict structure to follow. Whether this made things easier or harder, I am not sure yet. But I am about to figure it out!

So basically we had to write the essay in three sections and hand them each in separately and then all together at the end. As I am a very logical and math brained type of person, I started off the essay thinking that so much structure would help me a lot with the issues of creativity that I usually had while writing and essay (not to mention that I was writing about the obstacles of creativity) but back to the point; structure is my thing. I am fairly disorganized so when structure is handed to me, I pounce.

The amount of structure given to us ended up being both a good and a bad thing though. On one hand I was able to finish the whole paper without feeling too rushed because I needed to have the other parts finished ahead of time, but on the other hand I felt that my creativity was being completely blocked out because we were being made to write a certain way. I guess my brain works different than others because I have almost never started a paper from the beginning. I always work from the middle out. Get the meat and bones of the paper and then decide what I want to introduce it with so i can make it as relevant as possible. With the way we were asked to turn in our papers though, it would have been nearly impossible to do this.

I must also add that trying to be creative about writing a paper about creativity is much more difficult than one would expect because you end up analyzing everything too much because it is what you are writing about in your paper!

As I tried to relay in my paper, creativity can take time. Sometimes when you get a spark of creativity it can be amazing and you can just drill everything out in a short amount of time. But other times it takes careful thinking and analyzing. I am not going to lie- between work, after school activities, and all of the other homework I have, I frankly just have no time to sit and analyze the amount of creativity I am about to put in a paper. I wish I could have made it the best it could be, but it is discouraging to write an amazing paper when you have hours worth of math homework sitting on your other side.

Overall, I enjoyed writing the QE essay. I wish it had a little bit less structure, but after analyzing how much stress I've had in the past couple of weeks, I don't think I would have made it through the whole thing without it.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Blogging Around

First, I decided to take a gander at Becca's blog. As I suspected Becca was able to easily find the deeper meaning to the music we listened to in class the day that we actively listened to the beautiful piece of music. When she blogged about it she was able to not only capture the emotions of the music but also her own emotions as she listened to it.

This is what I posted on Becca's Blog:

Hey Becca!

It was very interesting to me to find out that you did not pay attention to music as closely as you do now. I always thought of you as one of those types of people that got carried away by music. From reading your blog though, it seems that with Mr. Allen's influence you have now been able to do that! I have to agree though, usually when I am listening to music in my car or while doing homework I am not actually paying attention to what is going on in the music. Not just the lyrics but what the artist is trying to convey by the whole tone of the piece. I also agree that when I do end up taking the time to pay attention to what I am listening to I enjoy it so much more. I can tell you have a deep appreciation for music and I remember after this lesson in class you were very excited about taking it further into your regular life. Reading your blog was almost poetic, like a song.


Next, I wanted to see what brilliant work Nicole came up with. I have read some of her writing in the past and knew she would have something great to say in her blog. When I saw that she wrote about The Sea of Information article we read I immediately wanted to find out more because I enjoyed it a lot. She wrote about how the article inspired her to find the deeper meaning of things in life and not take reading for granted because there is always something you can learn from a good piece of literature.

This is what I posted on Nicole's Blog:

Just by reading your blog I can tell you are a very careful reader. That is something that I tend to struggle with a lot because I try to read things fast and not take in the meaning of the reading enough. With that said though, I completely agree with your point of view on the The Sea of Information passage that we read. It was so different than many other things that we have read before and inspired me to take more time in life to think about the little things. You noticed a lot of small details that I would have never noticed without reading your blog so thank you for the insight!
P.S. your ultimate goal in life is very inspirational!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Metacognition: First Mindbook Page

As like any other high school project, I had waited to even start my first mindbook page until midnight the night before it was due. Mind you, we had almost a week to complete the simple task, but had I taken advantage of the other 99% of the time we had to do it? Nope. As I sat in my room contemplating why I had waited so long instead of getting a move on and getting things done. I finally got my second wind of energy and was able to begin the creative task.

This is when I realize, "I am actually extremely creative late at night!" YOWZERS! I start cutting and pasting and coloring and writing and everything is flowing together beautifully without me having to think twice about it. Which is when I come to my second realization, "maybe.. if I fall asleep right after I get home from school and then wake up around 11 and do all of my homework I will actually pull out more creative and quality work!" Which would have been a feasible idea if it were not for the massive blue bags under my eyes the next morning and the agony I felt as I lifted my head off of the pillow. I could not have been more proud of the creativity I had embarked upon the night before and also more remorseful that I had chosen to stay up so late.

I just wish that I could harness that creativity and use it whenever I would like to, but I can't. Why does it take a weak brain to create such a beautiful mind?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Best of Week: Writing College Essays

College essays. Two words that bring teenagers so much stress and are supposedly actually very simple. "Just be yourself", " talk about what is important to you", "they read thousands of these, so yours has to stand out". So much pressure! For some reason, at least for me, it is so much easier to just write what i think the admissions person wants to hear. But after all I've heard,I realize that if i do that then they really might admit me for the wrong reasons. So then i think to myself, "What is something in my life that made me who I am" and twenty different scenarios come to mind but none of them more defining than the last. This leads to confusion which in turn just leads to much, much more stress.

But you see, this is where Mr. Allen comes in to the rescue! This week in Humanities class the most important day was the day we finally learned how to write these stressful college essays. Although we did not learn literally step by step how the structure of the essay should be, we learned something that in my eyes was much more important. We learned how to focus our thinking and choose a subject to write about that is important to us and gives the admissions person the feeling that we are real people and not just another kid trying too get into college. I know that the information I learned that day will help me progress to my future. In twenty years I will remember that the reason I got into the college I wanted to get into was because of what I learned from Mr. Allen about writing essays.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Connection: The Talk of the Town and Conflict Resolution Class

Ignorance. Controversy. Judgment. Radical views- All words that are all too familiar in society today.

In Humanities class last week, as a tribute to 9/11, we read a compilation of articles that were written within the first week of the terrorist attacks on America. We were to analyze the articles and search for inconsistencies with what we know are facts today. I realized that people had much more radical views on the attacks and were not as willing to question what they knew. Most of the articles had the same theme of fear for the strongest country in the world. If we were going to be attacked like this, what other catastrophes could happen? The authors all made blanket assumptions about what happened on 9/11creating controversy within our class. Were these people just in shock because it had all just happened a week ago? Or are
Americans just arrogant in general, never asking enough questions to get the facts and assuming we are right?

The last question is one of the main topics that we discuss in my 'Conflict Resolution in the Modern World' class. Although America is the home of the free and the brave, there are many people here that neither feel freedom nor bravery when they are ridiculed for being different. From articles and media stunts related to what we read and talked about in humanities, immigrants from other countries (specifically the middle east) now feel threatened. In Conflict Resolution we talk about the causes of conflicts such as what we like to call the 'fallout from the 9/11 attacks' (basically the ridicule that middle easterners now see because of what happened that day). Most of my class agrees this ridicule was caused by people not knowing and not wanting to find out the facts of why what happened that day happened. I am not trying to justify the attacks, just protect completely innocent people that do not deserve to be treated as they are. When world conflict occurs and people get scared, they immediately turn to their 'judgment' side. Proof is in the articles that we read in English. There are nine different articles written by nine different authors all having different radical judgments about what happened without knowing the facts.

One of my favorite sayings is, "you never know what a person is going through before you take a walk in their shoes". From both of the issues I talked about, I have realized that it seems to be human nature to make judgment before thinking about how the other side must feel.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Change of Mind: My Life as a House

Before watching the incredible movie 'My Life as a House', I took my father completely for granted. To me, he was an important man in my life who was essential to my living, but nothing had ever happened that made me realize how much he really meant to me. In the movie, George (the main character) finds out he has three months to live. He decides that he wants to spend the last few months of his life with his son, Sam. Sam is a very troubled sixteen year old who enjoys letting everyone around him how much he hates his life. I am not saying that I am as troubled as he, but everyone has their flaws. Throughout the three months, Sam realizes his love for his father and doing things for others. Once he finds out that his father is dying, Sam's view on life changes completely. It was through Sam's change that I realized that I do not want to wait until my father is dying to be close to him. I've since realized things that my father and I have in common. We both love to debate, over analyze, and pick apart other people's words.

Whenever I act like a stubborn teenager and say "I love you" to my mom 'like I don't mean it' she always retorts with, "Elyse, what if i died today and you would always remember that the last thing you said to me was "I love you" and you don't even sound like you mean it". Since watching My Life as a House I have really understood the importance of making a lot of the things I say to my parents meaningful because if anything ever happened to them I would not want my last memory with them to be an arrogant statement.