Wix…

This project was the first time I had used anything like Wix. At first I had a hard time figuring out how to navigate it, but now I think it is pretty user friendly.

I’ve never done a project like this, so I have both struggled and enjoyed it. In the end, I think it will be cool to have an actual website and such a visual final project, versus just words on a page. They say pictures speak a thousand words, and in this case, I think that is true. Although each photo might not tell a lot by itself, the visual aspects of this project absolutely enhance and go beyond what just my words can.

This has been a super time consuming project, but as it is coming together and as I can see the final project taking shape, I am really starting to enjoy it!

Standards…

An interesting question was proposed a couple of classes ago…”what is the point of having standards if you’re not willing to express them?”

I think this can apply to almost everything in life. In friendships, relationships, work, etc., why do we complain about being disappointed in situations or people but we never actually express what we expect and how we want to be treated? I am definitely the type of friend who goes above and beyond for people, and it’s not to say I expect the same in return or that that’s why I do it, but I do get disappointed when people I care about don’t seem to put in effort.

But is this entirely their fault? If they are someone I should be friends with, should they just naturally be that way? Or is it unfair to be upset or disappointed until I have expressed those standards?

What Does it Really Mean to Be Relatable?

There are some things in life that as I get older I realize I have just accepted as truth or as things that just are. When I think of something that is “relatable,” I don’t know if it is necessarily something that is easy to put into words. Sometimes I feel that it is just a feeling of whether you feel understood by what you read or interact with.

With my topic, it is difficult to have it be relatable. People who have not been in prison may tend to see themselves as better than those who have or those that are. With my project, I really hope that I can make people see that all humans have things they can relate on, even if on the surface you don’t see it. I think that once people realize that those in prison are a lot more like all of us than they realize, then maybe that will break the ice and allow people to understand things with an open mind.

The reason I care so much about issues of mass incarceration and criminal justice is because I do not think someone should be labeled and defined by the worst thing they have ever done. We have all done things we regret, but we are all more than one mistake. I hope that through my project, people will see the similarities between us all and realize that just because they may have not been arrested, or put in prison, that doesn’t mean they haven’t broken the law or made a mistake––they just haven’t been caught.

Is the Golden Rule Really All That Golden?

Something that was said in class that sparked my interest was the idea that the Golden Rule we all grew up with might not be so golden after all.

“Treat others as you would like to be treated.”

We were all told this growing up when we didn’t want to share our lunch or our crayons. However, there are many things that seem novel when we are children, yet we come to realize that they aren’t all that they were once cracked up to be. Childhood seems so simplistic once you are out of it. The Golden Rule is no exception to this notion of things that were perfect before you saw the world for what it is.

Is there harm in teaching this rule? Does it really not inspire people to be better people, but rather encourage hypocrisy? Am I naive or too optimistic if I believe that the Golden Rule still stands? Does the Golden Rule backfire when people feel they can treat others poorly in response to how they were treated?

Maybe there is something to be said for the fact that we, at such young ages, learn that we should treat people as we want to be treated, rather than learning to treat people right because everyone deserves it and because we should treat everyone respectfully, regardless of how they treat us.

Patterns

In class, we were asked to look into what patterns (if any) we have noice in or around our topic that have caused discontent. For my topic, I have found frustration with the stigma and politics around this issue. I find it to be an issue of human rights, not one of politics. Additionally, I think many people approach the subject from a close-minded place.

I have also been personally frustrated with the lack of my being able to get first hand information. I have found some good case studies, but it is not the same as being able to get the information yourself and can be limiting in the information you can gather.

Questions

There are definitely some difficult questions surrounding my topic. I think one of the hardest questions I have encountered is the one I based experiment 2 off of: Can you support life imprisonment if you’re opposed to “cruel and unusual punishment”?

This question tells me a lot about my topic as well because it is a complex question. I don’t have an answer to it and I can see both sides of the argument. I think that it takes the concept of capital punishment and life in prison to a new level. It introduces the question of jail as a moral crime rather than as a broken system.

Not an Easy Conversation

What accounts for difficulty in my topic’s conversation is honestly a little bit of everything…Capital Punishment can definitely be an unpleasant/emotional burden and it can also be a complex/cognitive burden.

I have a pretty set stance on the Death Penalty, so I feel less uncomfortable expressing my view in conversation, but when it comes to writing about it, it feels different. When I don’t know my entire audience, I feel the need to be more filtered and more reserved in the direction I can take the writing. I have found it relatively easy to talk about the facts, or the history, or anything more on the black and white scale. I think this is why I’ve had a difficult time coming up with an experiment that I am genuinely excited to explore. The facts are safe, but they’re boring and they’ve been done so many times before. So, without meaning to, the cognitive and emotional burden of my topic has caused me to fall into the “lowest common denominator of effort” category.

There is also a feeling I have along the lines of “what right do I have to even be talking about this topic?” I don’t know anyone directly who has been incarcerated and I don’t know what it is like to have a family member or loved on on Death Row. What right do I have to take part in this personal, emotional conversation? I feel an emotional burden, not so much in the sense of being too uncomfortable to broach the topic, but rather in that no matter how much research I do or how many people I talk to, I’ll never have the right to write something real and meaningful because I don’t understand it firsthand. I consider myself to be an extremely empathetic and compassionate person who can usually put themself in other’s shoes, but its not the same.

The reason I want to be a Civil Rights Lawyer or Criminal Defense Lawyer is because I know what it feels like to be the person who didn’t have a voice and felt helpless to fix their own situation, and I don’t want anyone to have to feel like that. I want to help give people a voice and empower them. I think all of this places a pretty large emotional and cognitive burden and leaves me frozen and unsure what direction to go in.

I don’t have to add to the conversation to be heard

Something that really spoke to me in our last class was the notion of feeling like you have nothing else to add to the conversation of your topic. It also can feel that with such a large topic like mine (capital punishment), nothing I say really matters anyway and all sides have already been argued for decades. However, what I took away from class was thinking about my audience and how I can bridge a gap, rather than fix a problem. There are people out there like me, so what do they want to read? Maybe if I let go of the pressure of trying to figure out how to try and please the most amount of people, I can actually give myself the space to write something that matters.

The Discomfort of Fear

The definition of discomfort is “to make (someone) feel uneasy, anxious, or embarrassed.” We were asked to read some piece of writing outside of what we typically reach for and something that would make us feel uncomfortable to a certain degree. I picked a Forbes article about stocks and bonds. I was confused as to what was being discussed in the article pretty much the entire time. While I think many things factor into why we tend to skip past the articles that seem confusing to us, or the things in life we know we are not good at or wouldn’t understand, to me, the one thing that stuck out the most was fear of failure. I think that we tend to ignore things because we are afraid. That can be fear of not understanding and feeling inadequate or even a fear of learning about something we feel we can do nothing about. Fear of failing ourselves, failing other people’s perception of us, and fear of failing things we wish we could change by not having the power to fix them. I think discomfort comes from our own fears and that the biggest danger in that, is going through life nearly oblivious to the things that create the greatest opportunities for our growth.