What do the judicial system and slavery have in common?

Slavery still exists in the United States. It lies directly beneath, yet above us, and is continuing and expanding every single day. The judicial system is our new slavery, and the poor are our new slaves. This has become some kind of messed up common knowledge amongst researchers and professionals alike, yet we have done nothing to stop it. In true American fashion, we won’t go down without a fight, or even a war. When will it come to this? My estimate is soon. We cannot continue to exist in a society where discrimination runs rampant and instead of building an equal society we label the lesser as criminals and put them into a system designed to betray them. These are not criminals, they are not murderers, and they are not less of a human than you or me. But if you were to put any of us in the situation that they call life, we would have no choice. I will not continue to manipulate the unspoken as a way to make profit. I will not stand for police brutality, unequal education, or the continuation of this prison system, and neither should you. This chapter will illuminate why we are in the place where we are, the people who are truly suffering from these decisions, and how we can do something.

The adventure…

Feet, shuffling.

Pavement, buildings, people. People. Everywhere.
The transition from city to city should be easy right? Just water moving down the river slowly until reaching the ocean… wrong. 
Moving with uncertainty to uncertainty with no solace between was not “distracting myself,” it was only furthering the crater I had begun to dug.
And although I am happier than ever I am still sad, because the freedom of summer is freedom no more, even though I am free.
I have begun to realize that as life goes on, I have continued to move from pillar to pillar. I have sought challenges and met them, often failing. But I have immediately set new challenges – larger than the others – more impossible than before.
I never allow myself to relish in my accomplishments.
Maybe that’s the reason why compliments are so hard for me to “take.” I nod my head, slowly, quietly thanking whoever is speaking. Yet inside, within, I am coming up with excuses to continually stay humble…
… you were just lucky; others helped you succeed; it really wasn’t a large accomplishment.
And now I”m sitting here, happier than ever but still not satisfied. Craving the accomplishments while celebrating the failures.. Where is solace?

Busy Yourself.

Opposite of many students, it would seem that the busier I get, the more productive I am. How contradicting it would seem that as you add more to my workload, the accuracy and quality increases? This is how it has always been. People are always quick to ask, “what do you do in your free time?” What free time… I respond, and they laugh, jokingly. But I am without a hint of sarcasm, for it is the truth that I don’t value free time.

I love being busy.

But the difference between myself and others is that I work and immerse myself in areas that I’m passionate about. So what others would call “free time” to destress and do what they want to do for a short period, is what I’m already doing.

All of my friends become annoyed when I tell them that I had “so much fun” at my job last night, or that I was “so intrigued” in a logical reasoning problem for my LSAT course. It’s the truth! I absolutely enjoy working 9-12 hour shifts on my feet, sitting in a classroom for 4 hours going over hundreds of LSAT questions, and attending 9AM meetings for Panhel.

However, I don’t solely choose opportunities and classes and jobs that I’m passionate about. Sometimes it can seem that something really isn’t for you, that it’s too difficult, useless for the future. But for me, I can always find a way to become passionate about something. This is because it doesn’t always have to be about me. If in this opportunity  I have the chance to benefit someone else, to make their lives better, to have them be passionate about something, that is enough for me.

Being busy doesn’t have to have a negative connotation. I love being busy, I enjoy not having free time, and I value the opportunities to work hard. It’s not a personal preference, it’s a way of looking at life.

 

One For The Books.

It can be easy to get lost in the thrill of a new semester. New classes, new friends, new awkward ice-breakers, but most importantly; new knowledge. This semester has already started off as one of the most intense, yet rewarding times of my life. At the end of last semester I was elected as President of the National Panhellenic Association on campus. In short, I act as the liaison between the Panhellenic sororities (all 17 of them), and the University of Michigan. This job was not at all what I expected, however the experience has been exhilarating. My life has gone from occasional all nighters and the library and working 20-30 hours at a local restaurant, to limited sleep and constant meetings and emails. On top of all of this, I am starting an LSAT prep course in the middle of February. This will be a task that I have never endeavored before, but that I am welcoming with open arms.

I’m the type of person who loves to be busy, but this new constantly stressful lifestyle has taught me a lot about myself:

  1. Put yourself first. Not in the sense that everything I choose to do has to be selfish, but in the sense that my health and wellbeing is essential to keep everything I do running well. If I am not putting myself and my needs first, I will fail at all else I try to accomplish.
  2. Honesty is the best policy. No matter what situation I’m put into, no matter who is in the room with me, and no matter who I will potentially hurt; honesty is the best policy. If I am to leave a legacy and my “mark” on my community, I want it to begin and end with honesty and integrity.
  3. Utilize your connections. When you’re involved in as many organizations and ventures as I am, it can be easy to get lost in all the connections you hold. However something that I have found to be crucial is leveraging your connections and now shielding them selfishly from others. Sharing connections with others opens doors for collaborations, connections, and potentially innovative ideas.
  4. Be mindful of others. Working in an environment consisting of many nationalities and being a person of Hawaiian descent, I always considered myself mindful of others. Yet I found that as a culture we speak and act in ways that are not openly offensive, yet still cause harm. I have put it upon myself to be mindful of the way in which I speak and act towards all individuals, to create a respective and welcoming environment.
  5. Break stereotypes. Ah. The number of times I’ve told people that I am in a certain sorority or a member of Greek Life and they have said “what? but you’re so down to earth?” is quite sad. Greek Life has a reputation of wealth, disrespect, sexual assault, and risky behaviors. Although this may be a cultural phenomenon or the act of a few individuals, it is my goal to break stereotypes everywhere I go and to encourage others to do the same.
  6. Leave a legacy. Now, this bullet point is a bit more difficult to write. Solely because the word “legacy” carries such a heavy weight and the need for substantial change or impression. Yet, I believe leaving a legacy can be as simple as making friends who speak highly of you, creating one program that really speaks to a sorority, or just helping one person overcome a mental health disorder. I want to leave a legacy.

The semester has started, but my intentions and hope for the future have only begun.

Blogging is hip.

Blogging is still a concept that I’m not entirely sure of. I think there is this connotation of blogging as solely an online journal – where I picture tumblr users talking about their problems or an eager traveller documenting their photos and adventures. I’ve never thought of blogging as a process. But really it is.

Blogging can be whatever you make it, which is what I love about it. I’m so used to writing having to be aimed at some specific end-goal (a paper, a poem, an A in a class), but in this way I’ve come to forget the processes behind writing and my thoughts about what I’m doing. Blogging is a way for me to synthesize the process of writing, rather than just the piece that I’m working on. I really like this aspect of blogging, because it isn’t forced and it doesn’t have to be professional, it just has to be me. I even started my own private blog to document my life, in a non-diary way, yet more-so as a process of growing as a person. I agree with Sullivan that blogging can be really a scary connection to the world since it is instant and draws negative feedback many times, but also I believe blogging can be a private reflection. I disagree that a successful blog has to balance itself between a writer’s own take on the world and others, I think blogs should be someone’s place to be completely themselves. We have enough conformity and give-and-take in the real world, blogging shouldn’t have to follow these rules. I would be happier if all blogs were truly their own writers, not writing to try to follow a norm or so that others will read it and you will become blog-famous.

I’m not saying that opinions can’t change, because obviously they can, based on new research or perspectives, however we shouldn’t force bloggers to change their views to fit their readers. This follows Didion’s view of “Why I write,” where he begins by stating how that phrase is so lovely because of the use of the sound of “I.” He goes on to say that writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other people. I agree, I think writing is a way of expressing your beliefs and opinions in a way that is individual to yourself and your experiences (which also goes along with Orwell’s Why I Write).

At first I thought blogging was a way to become noticed, to have your thoughts change opinions. But this isn’t true, and I wish more people would view blogging as a process of becoming an individual, of synthesizing your own thoughts rather than trying to conform to others. This is what I’ve come to see of blogging, and this was really furthered after I started my own blog (which I hope no one EVER sees). It has been a learning experience for me.

My face if anyone ever finds my blog:

hands

Pank No. 7

After reading the drafting and designing your project chapter, it has become easier to envision my Eportfolio and more importantly the drafting process. I look at drafts many times and consider them to be close to the final version of my projects, essentially I view them as completed mini projects. Then, when I receive feedback I am reluctant to take into account any of the advice because I consider my draft to be final. This is a problem I’ve had for a really long time, I don’t take advice well on my writing solely because I become too connected to certain phrases or paragraphs or thoughts and I feel that the project wont’ be the same without them.

The chapter helped me to create a new version of a rough rough draft, the rough cut. I like the idea of having a rough cut because it helps me bridge a gap between thoughts and a final project. It was also really nice to visualize how difficult it can be to edit rough drafts (that have been edited too much and shortened, etc) that have been completed too much already. For example in the chapter it talks about how students might ask to see more of a video, however if you have already condensed the video into a 2 minute clip you’ve limited yourself.

For me, the difficulties with my remediation project will come with the overall editing of a video. I don’t have much experience with apple video editing software and I’m nervous that I’ll cut something or make changes that others think should be different, and I won’t be able to get the full clips back. I’ll have to do a lot of research on apple editing software. I’m also nervous that I won’t be able to create a professional video due to my overall lack of editing knowledge. I know what I want the video to look like but the execution will be difficult.

(me in the Diag tomorrow trying to interview people)

cameraman falling

I also saw many similarities between the “preparing for rough draft feedback” section on page 110 and the reflections that we create for our eportfolio projects. Discussing who the intended audience, purpose, sources, design choices, mode and media, and genre convention were in my project is a great summary of what the reflection covers. These in-depth sections in the book greatly help guide how to write the reflections for my portfolio.

Furthermore, the visual with the Pank No. 7 poster was a great example of how to use constructive peer feedback for revisions. I liked that in the poster the revisions didn’t have to be huge, the peers were able to give small advice that made huge differences. I love giving advice and ideas to others so it was great to see how to go give constructive feedback, and I hope others will do the same for me. The Pank No. 7 poster showed how it can be simple to enact advice from others, a problem that I have that I discussed earlier in this blog.

Who looks good on camera??

So an overview – for my remediation project I am thinking about taking my open letter to Michigan students and turning it into a news report/video. I’ve edited videos before and combined them, however I have never recorded my own video and edited it. So the first problem I’m going to encounter is getting a camera and finding someone to either record or be recorded. The next issue I’m having is what I want the genre of the video to be. Do I want this to be a rant, a documentary-style piece, or a commercial? These are all things I need to take into consideration. I’m very very nervous about the time commitment that I’ve set for myself. If the next few weeks are anything like the last couple have been, I will not have a ton of time to devote myself to this project. This is something I want to prioritize however, because I’m really interested in creating something unique and (hopefully) publishable.

Where do I even start this project? Do I create a storyboard and a script? What do I want to say? Will I be reading a document or speaking freely or memorizing something? Will even be the one speaking or do I want someone to represent my ideas for me? What do I even look like on camera speaking to people…

Will I focus this video solely on Michigan student’s reactions and opinions regarding school shootings? How will I interview enough people?

There are so many ideas running through my head. I need to organize my thoughts and realistically come up with a project that I will be able to complete. I’m nervous that I’ve already bitten off more than I can chew.

Here is a link to a video that I find particularly moving: http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/democracy-eyed-as-way-around-nra-on-gun-laws-547620419548

I think I might want to model my video off of her, with a few key changes.

  1. I want to include interviews from other students around campus to bring the topic closer to the viewer.
  2. I want to speak less as a rant and more as an eye-opening voice
  3. I think the video would be more moving if it was filmed outside of a known U of M building instead of at a desk.

Overall, at this point, I would love some feedback on what students would want to watch in regards to this topic. Would you be more likely to click on a news video posted somewhere similar to the Michigan Daily or a video from the Odyssey or a viral video off youtube? What would you want to see in this video? What would draw you in as a viewer?

Here is my favorite Halloween gif to cheer up all of the people out there who are struggling through midterms (mostly myself).

pumpkin gif

Being a perfectionist sucks.

Do you know how at the beginning of a project you have such high hopes and expectations for yourself? Only to realize halfway through that you have 3 exams and 4 other papers and pages of homework to finish at the same time? I do, and in addition to this I have the distinct pleasure of being a mega perfectionist. I know when I’ve created and written something that I’m proud of, and right now I’m not where I want to be with my open letter. In a sense I needed to get to this point to realize what I really wanted to get out of this project (albeit I never actually wanted to reach this point), and now that I’m here I’m pretty lost. I’m so stuck on a vision of creating something amazing that I didn’t realize the time and work that I would have to put into it. I’m so used to writing research papers in a span of 3 hours that when I sat down to write my open letter and allowed myself one day; I was grossly unprepared. In fact this is very prevalent in the “open letter” that I wrote, since really it is just a research paper.

The first aspect of my open letter that I need to revise is the layout. When looking at my project, one would be more inclined to believe it was a weird variation of a research paper rather than a highly persuasive letter. The second aspect that I need to change will help the layout – I need to find a better way to cite my sources. My use of in-text citations currently is distracting and not feasible, so I am actively looking for an alternative option (perhaps hyperlinks?) The third aspect of my piece that I need to revise is my personal voice and argument. I have so much evidence and research in the open letter that I forgot to say what all of the information meant to me. I saw that in a lot of open letters there was some sort of personal connection to the topics (the writer was involved in something or had family members involved in something). However I don’t have a personal connection to my topic which makes me less credible in the eyes of the reader. Therefor, my argument and my writing has to be that much stronger to make up for my lack of involvement.

Overall, I feel that I am in a place where many people become stuck while writing. I have something written that I could submit and be done with, but that I’m really not proud of. My open letter is full of research and full of great points but that are poorly organized. In addition, I’ve spent so much time researching and constructing what I have that I am afraid to delete or get rid of sections. I need to take a step back and think about what I ideally want from this piece, how I would be proud of the writing, and how to execute these ideas. I know what needs to be changed (citations, layout, my personal voice and my arguments) and now I am at the point where I need to actually do things out of my comfort zone to accomplish what I want. Like I said, being a perfectionist sucks.

 

My rant on the Oregon school shooting.

As many of you may have heard, this week there was another mass school shooting in Oregon.

The moment the notification showed up on the corner of my computer screen, my entire body was covered in goose bumps. The heading, which read “10 dead and 20 wounded at Umpqua Community College, shooter unknown” was only the beginning of the barrage of news articles which followed. “Shooter still on the run,” “Christian students targeted,” “Gun law reforms,” “Obama’s speech on Oregon Shooting,” were only a few of the titles which were continuously displayed on my screen. I’m so sick of this. How sad is it that when I was designing this project I was thinking that there hasn’t been a mass shooting in a while? How sad is it that the moment I saw the headline I knew this was going to spark a heated debate. Even as only a few minutes passed and the bright red headline shown across the top of my screen did the numbers shift. One news site said that an upwards of 20 people were killed, one site said the gunman had been killed in a shootout, one site said that 8 were missing. In the background of these articles were photos of young students running out of buildings, one of the most repetitive photos on multiple sites was a person who had been shot lying on a stretcher. It was dramatic, it was on the front page, it was shocking. As more information was found about the shooter it became known that he was obsessed with the fame mass shooters receive after death. Are you kidding me, I thought to myself, as his information was plastered on every news media site. This is exactly what he wanted. Kudos to the Oregon state police for stating that they refuse to refer to the shooter by name for his cowardly act. And to the news sources, do you not realize the irony in plastering this person’s name all over the web so they get exactly what they wanted? Who benefits from knowing his name? Who benefits from hearing his plans? Who benefits from seeing his disgusting face in a photo? No one. This needs to stop. I want media sites to see what they’re doing, what they’re encouraging, and what they’re upholding when they blast this on the front page.

I saw a great post on a web-hosting site that I’ll paste here.

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It sums up my thoughts pretty well on the topic of mass shootings. We give individuals an initiative to become famous and encourage copy-cat shootings by doing all the things mentioned above. This is such an easy fix, and yet we continue to propagate news and exaggerate situations because news sites are selfish and people don’t even see what is really happening. This mass shooting made me realize all over again why I want to write a news article and why I wrote my open letter in the first place 2 summers ago. My project needs to be effective and needs to be informative because I need things to change. I want to write an informative and moving open letter or news article that addresses so many concerns in our society regarding media yet is research based and convincing. I want people to see it. I don’t want to write something just for class, I want to write for the public.

JSTOR is Life.

Everyone hates me when I tell them I love to do research. I don’t know why, but reading about other people’s thoughts and hypothesis is so interesting to me as a student. However, when I write, I never really consider who I am writing for. I think this is because I’m always in the back of my head writing more for myself than for anyone else. I believe the Craft of Research Writing never really addresses how to find your audience. It speaks about understanding your audience and finding a mode of writing that tailors to your audience. However, I am unsure of how to find my audience to begin with.

When it comes to researching, all too often I create a question that I feel so strongly about answering, that confirmation bias crowds my note taking. Confirmation bias is simply finding information that “goes along with” or agrees with your hypothesis. I think everyone does this to a certain extent. For me, the problem is that by the time I’m gathering data I already have a question that I feel strongly about and that (usually) a teacher approves of. So when I go to do research and find that every single articles completely contradicts what I wanted to say, I look for the one article that agrees with my point instead of asking a new question.

confirmation bias

I had never thought about turning major points of an article into a question to be answered. I think this is a great idea because you are able to see that research stems from questions, and tracing back the questions can lead to new questions formed. I always get stuck in this belief that when reading research, the authors were never wrong and had perfect questions and answers from the start. However this is not true, and authors often have to ask new questions or alter their questions based on the data they receive from studies. This becomes obvious many times in articles where the data and the approach to the study doesn’t actually represent or test for the hypothesis at all. In the article, the author states to utilize and keep track of this information, stating that “you learn what counts as write by accumulating representative examples of what goes wrong.”

When it comes to note taking, I’ve never been very good at organizing notes (or my thoughts for that matter). So the idea of grouping together notes based on ideas rather than articles was brilliant to me. Most of the time I “note take” by copying and pasting quotes (sometimes paragraphs long) into word documents and just leaving them to sit. I never actually use any of those quotes, but in my head it just seems like the right thing to do. I loved the idea of keeping track of your four different kinds of quotes, using different font styles and colors to distinguish the data. This point was furthered later in the article when the author states that “As your research progresses, you may experience a moment when everything you have learned seems to run together.” This pretty much describes all of my research ever. Then the author goes on to state “when this happens, you are probably accumulating data faster than you can handle them.” I think many college students can relate to this part of the article. We are constantly told to find more sources or cite more or have more data, but this comes at a cost. The more data and articles we’re told to find, the more notes we have, the less we read for logical arguments, and the more confusing sorting becomes. I’m going to try to stick by the author’s approach of summarizing and organizing data at every opportunity and always coming back to the central question/hypothesis that was created at the beginning of the project.