MLK D.C. Homelessness Presentation

For Martin Luther King’s day, while I was back at home in D.C., I attended an MLK “Day of Service” presentation at my old high school that focused on homelessness. My dad and other individuals who work for non-profit organizations discussed homelessness in the D.C. area. With my dad having worked in affordable housing for the homeless for the past few years, I was very interested in learning more on the subject.

The presentation expanded my notion of being “homeless”. The presenters discussed some of the most damaging forms of homelessness like the condition of being chronically homeless, in which individuals suffer from a mental disease preventing them from getting the help they need. For a long period of my life, I really wondered what drove my dad to work in a non-profit field like in the various homeless coalitions that he had worked. What I witnessed growing up was that the hours are long and that the people you work with aren’t the easiest to deal with.

At the presentation on MLK day, a student asked one of the presenters, who runs a company to find affordable housing for formerly homeless clients, what inspired them to do their line of work. That presenter pointed to his residents as inspiring him to keep working at his job. The selflessness and honestly of his answer struck me, and triggered me to reflect on what I really inspires me in a career of medicine. As I thoughout about what to discuss about my academic and personal life in my medical school interviews (“how to say this” or “when to say what”), this presentation showed me that the most important thing is to stay genuine.

Exploring shifting perspectives through writing (read: plz help!)

For my capstone, I’ll be exploring the idea of shifting perspectives through creative non-fiction writing. It sounds so simple when I put it that way, but as I’m sure many of you know, this capstone project is far from simple. The project needs to solve some sort of problem or question, and though mine will certainly explore multiple perspectives, I feel like I need to narrow down my problem even further.

For some background information, I plan on going to places around Ann Arbor where I can sit and observe someone for around 20-30 minutes. As I sit there, I will write notes for a small creative nonfiction story, likely around 600-800 words. My story about the stranger will undoubtedly be different from other people’s stories, however. That is why I will be enlisting a few friends to come with me on these journeys. They will take field notes as well, and afterwards, we’ll discuss what we thought we saw. After discussing and looking over their notes, I will write a second creative nonfiction story about what my friend saw. There will likely be a large juxtaposition between the two stories, and that explains how a perspective can influence a story. At the end of it all, I will publish my story, their notes, and then the written story of my friend’s notes.

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One of the issues that I have is that I need more ideas for places to visit where we’ll be able to observe a variety of people. I don’t want to observe just college kids, for example.

My second issue is that I feel as if I can incorporate a second topic into my project. For example, I could work out some of the problems that technology and social media pose on interactions between strangers and people watching in general. I would be willing to bet that most people my age wouldn’t know how to observe a scene or a person for a full half hour without looking at their phone.

I would appreciate any suggestions or comments you may have!

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Grad School?

Decisions, decisions, decisions… Today, I must decide if I will attend grad school in the fall or join the workforce. Come on, why must I decide? I can barely decide what to eat for dinner let alone my future.

Since sophomore year, I had planned to take a year or two off break from education and then attend grad school. Thus, I accepted a full-time position at a company starting immediately after graduation. This was my plan until I randomly got accepted to grad school…

Last semester, I got one of those “you must apply” to our program emails, and I fell for it. I clicked on the linked and was like “oh ya I should apply.” Meeting none of the qualifications, I submitted an application. A few weeks later I was accepted.

So, I told my family that first I applied and that got in. Instantly, my mother was like “OMG that is amazing! You must go!” Controversially, my father was like “do not go, go work for a year, save some money, and then go to grad school. ” Ugh, mom and dad why can’t you guys give me the same advice? Just like all responsible young adults, I was like ehh whatever I have plenty of time to decide so I put off making the decision. Well, that is not the case anymore. Today, I must decide. I have no idea what to do. So instead, I write. I am write my thoughts to a community I cherish. Hoping that writing will give me some inspiration. Hoping that an answer will magically appear. Please Sweetland blog, give me some advice.

Unfortunately, the Sweetland blog has not magically told me the truth. So instead, I am going to go for a run and eat some food. Maybe, hopefully I will decide by midnight…

Do you have an alter ego?

For my capstone project, I want to explore the idea of “alter egos” both on social media and in physical situations. I think that there has always been pressure in society to be someone other than yourself, but I think that the use of social media has significantly changed this societal pressure.

What do you share in-person versus on Facebook or Snapchat? Who do you interact with on different forms of social media? Do you feel constrained to the social dynamics of certain social media platforms versus others? These are some of the questions I want to address in my project. However, I’m hoping to gain insight from my peers on why this topic is especially relevant and important.

In order to reach this understanding, it would help if you all could comment your opinions on this topic. Do you act differently on Facebook versus Instagram? What about Snapchat? How do you act around your roommates versus in class, and how does this compare to your presence on social media? Do you feel you have an alter ego on social media, and why? Is it because your Grandma has a Facebook so you’ve learned to censor your posts aka blur out the red cup in your Gameday pics? (Shoutout to Betty White). How do you manage the broad range of audiences on these platforms? Do you alter your ego to match these requirements?

An article that really inspired me to research this question further was one for my social media marketing class, about the era of Facebook: http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/13/5488558/danah-boyd-interview-the-era-of-facebook-is-an-anomaly

Thanks in advance for your input, and in the meantime, please feel free to be inspired and #blessed by Beyoncé’s twin pregnancy. Beytwicé amirite?

Cheers,

Anna