Be Proactive, put yourself in the driver’s seat of life and take responsibility for your life. That was an obvious declaration in order to push my life forward, nothing will change in your life if you allow yourself to wallow in a deep sense of pity. I never did allow myself to just give up on all my hopes and dreams. I recited the quote from Finding Nemo “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming,” and continued to go with my unfailing optimism: failure is only a stepping stone on the path of success and rejection will only bring you closer to a yes, when I attempted to complete my video interviews for the group sociology project. I sang to myself just put one foot in front of the other. I continue to attempt to be proactive by applying for scholarships, getting a job, trying to save money for a car and learning how drive from a friend but all that came to a screeching halt, as it seemed I had only made a bad situation worse.
Dearest mother sent me to a college that she couldn’t afford and one that I had no interest in going. I took full advantage of the experience as best as I could. I always sit in front of the class, did my work, paid attention, got a job, did community services, joined a bunch of clubs, and took a break from all the clubs. Now, I was thinking of rejoining the different clubs and getting a second job as an English Tutor in order to save money, to buy a used car, because being trapped in Tuskegee and having to walk is not an enjoyable experience to say the least. The proactive voice in my head could not prognosticate this future. My single-parent family makes too much money. My mother supposedly capable of raising eight children on her paycheck and her son working a job wasn’t helping at all. The result is two-thousand dollars is removed from financial aid. The adjective irate doesn’t suffice my frustration, when I heard the trite statement from my parents “You don’t listen!” It was like college, was an unending torturous experience in the twilight zone. Just the thought of the self-entitled adults, whose parents could afford to pay ridiculous amounts of money, for sub-par effort from there children made me angrier than the abusive boyfriend in a lifetime movie.I hate depending on people and being a dependent to tax services was a problem.
Depending on others to me, was waiting to be disappointed. “If you want something done right, you gotta do it yourself.” It was a quote that had been instilled from a young age as a need for independence and formation of self-identity grew within; however, it was silly at the same time. In this world of travel, foreign goods, and interpersonal relationships: no person is an island and synergy was in great demand in this technologically advanced world. America would be the perfect example, it consume a large percentage of goods per year yet hardly produce anything. I often felt a glass-ceiling in what I could I accomplish due to a strong need of self-reliance. I hated above all, asking for help. This strong need of independence is what has always surfaced in the manifestation of looking for job, doing things on my own, being completely alone and partly because I didn’t know any different way to operate.
I now face two possibilities, these being that I wouldn’t be able to enroll for a semester of college and have a six-month break, where I would vigorously work to save money, for a used car along with finally obtaining my driver’s license. The other possibility is that I would be enrolled in college for spring semester; however, this was dubious as result of not being able to pre-register for my classes due to financial holds, and most likely not being able to obtain the classes I need and being trapped in Tuskegee for another semester. Definitely something I didn’t look forward too. As you are reading this it’s probably obvious which option I prefer; nonetheless, I hope for the best, yet am trying to get myself prepared for the worst.
Reality television is a paragon of American the guilty pleasures, if there was anything that was a guilty pleasure of mine it would, be mint-chocolate-chip ice cream, but reality television would definitely be the runner-up. Reality television has changed the entertainment industry with both enlightening, informative, pieces of film, and damaged the entertainment industry with absolute garbage that has served as a modern roman gladiator fight, where combatants are not fighting to death, but fighting to find out the trite, question: Who’s the baby daddy? The question becomes, which do American viewers tune into: the disrespect, and moral decay of Jerry Springer, or a classical favorite of mine: The Next Food Network star.
Rock of Love, The Real World, Jerry Springer, Maury, Flavor of Love, and other garbage has served as pieces of entertainment, in my mundane life. These shows all have the same idea behind it: drama. Watching people fight, argue, scream, and yell, as a little bit of Carl Jung shadow spills out, enjoyable from the comfort of our couch. These characters behave as modern day gladiators viciously combating each other, for the prize of a man or woman’s attention as they spurt out utter nonsense about true love. The entertainment industry in some parts, has given its mind-numbing pictures that brings nothing of actual substance to its audience and that’s perfectly fine. I can’t pose an argument, against because it would be hypocrisy, as I continue to watch the drama unfold between housemates in The Real World series. Reality televisions was like the labeling on potato-chip bags to me: nobody just eats one, just like nobody is just going to watch one episode, something about this kind of reality television drags the viewer back, mesmerized by it all, giving people something to talk or obsess about.
Even with the infamous side of reality television, there is a side that’s informative, educational and a positive experience for viewers, the Amazing Race, Dirty Jobs, and Cake Boss. Buddy Valestro deals with his family, his passion of baking, all in the same place leaving a family man impression on the viewers, while he intrigues the audience with pieces of creative work, involving modeling chocolate, frosting, wheels, and art. The product is called a cake but with secret compartments and contraptions that go well beyond, that of which we call a cake at the local bakery. Dirty Jobs as Mike Rowe takes Americans to see jobs, they’d hate to have, and laugh as Rowe has to shove his entire fist down in a cow’s anus. The Amazing Race take viewers to look across the world, in a competition to see who can get their fastest, and simultaneously take the viewer on a ride of different cultures, while are ethnocentrism serves as a judge. Finally, reality television has brought both, interesting pieces of television varying from educational, inspirational and to that of moral decay that gives future generation’s bad role models, it all depends: what do you prefer to watch?
If there was a subject most of American’s held strong opinions on it would be abortion. Abortion is viewed in some cases as a child’s right to live and others a woman’s right to her own body. If the argument is defined properly the writer/speaker cannot lose. Politicians speaking complete nonsense on illegitimate rape, because women enjoy the oxymoron of legitimate rape. Women on the other-hand using abortion like it’s the McDonald’s drive through, billions and billions served. Someone has to draw the line in all the madness. Questions spring up on the chalkboard of my mind, that have ambiguous answers depending on the audience asked. When do we call it a baby, when the sperm hits the egg, when it develops into a fetus, or in the third of second trimester? In what cases is it acceptable for a woman to have an abortion? Why is abortion becoming a common practice in America?
I believe that abortion is unacceptable in almost all cases; the only case in which abortion is acceptable is when the woman’s life is in danger. Life is held in a mother’s womb. The possibilities of life are truly endless that baby could be the next Einstein, Martin Luther King, Bill Gates, Socrates, Hillary Clinton, and Oprah Winfrey. When a woman chooses to abort a baby it’s ending someone’s life before it ever began. I hold true the idea: It’s not who you are now, but what you can become. The strongest case against abortion I ever scene was a billboard, with the simple words: Your mother was pro-life. The thought festered inside of me like, a deep well had been sprung gushing open with new thoughts, a new viewpoint. I had never had a strong opinion on abortion before, but that billboard had changed my thought process.
What if I had never been given the gift of life? What if I never got the chance to live? What if I was never born into this world? Questions I think every man must consider, before thinking about convincing his spouse on aborting a child, and every woman must ponder. Though I am not a woman, and I could never fully understand the experience of PMS, or having a living entity inside of your body, I believe that life is a precious gift. I disagree a woman should not get an abortion even if she was raped, rape is a horrible experience, I agree, but life is one of the greatest experiences ever. Though life can be challenging, difficult, frustrating, and down-right disturbing, it’s through the challenges and struggles that each of us face that, makes us grow stronger and the small moments, of joy that is shared in conversation, pursing hobbies, learning new things, that makes it worthwhile. If a woman cannot afford to have the child, there is a loving home out there that will take care of that child. (or at least I hope so maybe I’m being idealistic) I continue to look at the big-picture for ever woman who’s womb is swollen, she holds the future, she holds the greatest and brightest stars inside, of her, she holds: philosophers, engineers, artist, dreamers, musicians, lawyers, and above all she hold precious life.
I read in my sociology book Society The Basics by John J. Macionis“A recent national survey asked a sample of adults the question “Should it be possible for a pregnant woman to obtain a legal abortion if the woman wants it for any reason? In response 42 percent said yes (placing them in the pro-choice camp) and 54 percent said no (expressing the pro-life position); the remaining 4 percent offered no opinion (NORC,2011:399). (Macionis,148). I found this shocking, that it was acceptable to 42 percent of participants to throw away another human being’s life.
-Are there actually loving homes out there for children to be adopted too?
-At what stage of pregnancy is a woman no longer allowed to abort?
-How many abortions happen in a standard abortion clinic per year?
“Practical Wisdom entails the sort of common sense that can get things done.”
Jay Heinrichs Thank You For Arguing, (Heinrichs, 67)
I still remember the first, and only time that I’ve every cheated on a test. It was a spelling test, and I was caught looking at another classmate’s paper in grade school. I was placed in a small-corner by myself, sitting away from my grade-school class; I burst into tears, like a great dam, had broken, and flooded an ancient unknown civilization under the Pacific Ocean (sounds like the beginning of a novel). I still remember that moment vividly, and since then I have never cheated on any assessment despite, the many urges. The thought of just getting caught, and that moment in grade school paralyzes me, from every committing the action. In highschool friends devised elaborate ways in order to increase their grades on tests, and assessments, before the class period they actually had to take a test a student would, ask another student simply: What was on the test, and then cram shortly to get the best possible score. The most unique way a friend devised was using his digital wristwatch, by typing the answers into his digital wristwatch, he could score perfect 100’s (had to get 92’s and 95’s don’t want to look to suspicious) on every examination. Friends used their well-writing friend (Deshawn Marshall) essay’s, and tweaked, few words here and there in order to write an essay, and give the excuse, “We wrote are essay together.” The question becomes is it cheating or is it Practical Wisdom?
In one of my sociology class, the professor instead of grading the test himself, he chose to have the class grade their own tests. If this doesn’t send of the RED-FLAG of cheating, dishonestly, and making false scores, nothing will. Students are suppose pass the test to other classmates, making sure that their test doesn’t end up in their own hands, however, if ethos has taught us anything, their a major issue of lack of disinterest. Scholarships at risk, parental allowance may cease, and above all privileges may be revoked. When interest is high like die-hard Robert Patterson fan’s melodramatic attitude of Kristen’s love scandal, people can’t be trusted as a reliable source without some sort of bias. Cheating in college is like Courtney Love taking a breathalyzer test (why do we even play this game, when we all know how it really ends). I was no angel either; a student with an open book graded my test, while using the student behind him as a shield. I had earned a 98, but I earned it, but I didn’t deserve it. I’d rather honestly fail, then to cheat my way to success, if the professor cared though he would’ve of graded it himself. A student asked for their test so they could change their grade. I gave them their test, back and I didn’t feel responsible, one person can’t stop an entire class from cheating, and it wasn’t the performance of others that mattered, but mine & mine only. The last thing I needed was a goody-two shoes profile like Sandra-Dee in Grease.
The obvious justification classmates used was: This isn’t a part of my major, however, the whole point of education, was personal improvement in human capital, skills, and learning to learn not because of a grade, but because of personal search for edification. College is different than education, the main purpose of college was establishing a credential in order to separate the individual among thousands, in order to say “I survived the college experience, and came out with a degree!” College was different for every-individual for engineers it meant long nights doing excessive amounts of works, and solving equations, while to others it was a place of sexual immortality combined with drunken debauchery, that would make Greek God Dionysus blush. To some students going to class and homework assignments were merely background annoyances that didn’t require any attention. In general most of the student population fell between the two extremes. Student might choose to cheat on assessments for a range of reasons like: Is this class necessary for my major, is the time taken to study for the test going to give good results, does anyone truly understand the material in this class?
Practical Wisdom is looked as showing off your experience, bending the rules, and appearing to take the middle course. Practical Wisdom was demonstrated by students, who choose to cheat, by definitely bending the rules in their favor. The reality is that college is: stressful, with time constraints, friends, assignments, projects, papers, and extracurricular activities. Cheating serves its purpose to efficiently gain high-marks on examinations without the time requirement, or drilling jargon that ultimately isn’t related to the person major. What if the professor didn’t supply supplementary material such as a: study guide for students to learn the material? What if the professor never made notes, or presented the material in a fashion that was easily accessible to their students? In a perfect world professors, would perfectly teach the material, and student would perfectly learn the material, but this isn’t the case. Teachers and students all make mistakes.
Cheating is the new practical wisdom when used, correctly. Was it acceptable to ask students to learn such trivial data such as: What percentage of minorities don’t have health insurance with answers like
an entire book full of statistics, and trivia studying for the test, becomes a year-long quest of preparing for when Alex Trebek on Jeopardy asks a series of impossible questions. I didn’t blame my peers when they cheated on tests, in some cases. Life is full of responsibilities, expectations, deadlines, pressures, and problems that must be solved, and I couldn’t step in each of their shoes to examine their personal situations. I was jealous in some cases that I would never cheat. While I honestly, got an 77 others got higher grades like 82’s, 87’s, and 95’s with test teamwork. What did this grading system turn education into? Education where the effort and the actual higher level knowledge gained didn’t matter, but the score on a paper, that supposed demonstrated how much you learned was main priority, and with some of my professors negligence, I couldn’t blame my classmates for bending the rules in their favor.
From the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, MIDDLESEX by Jeffrey Eugenides
“And when I got tired of Homer, I started reading the walls. That was another selling point of the basement bathroom. It was covered in graffiti. Upstairs, class photos showed rows and rows of student faces. Down here it was mostly bodies. Sketched in blue ink were little men with gigantic sexual parts.And women with enormous breasts. Also various permutations: men with dinky penises and women with penises, too. It was education both in what was and what might be. Over the gray marble this new, jagged etching of bodies doing things, growing parts, fitting together, changing shape. Plus also jokes, words to the wise, confessions. In one spot: “I love sex.” In another, “Patty C. is a slut.” Where else would a girl like me, hiding from the world a knowledge she didn’t quite understand herself—where else would she feel more comfortable than in this subterranean realm where people wrote down what they couldn’t say, where they gave voice to their most shameful longings and knowledge?”
As I stared and pondered about the bathroom wall, I had several questions running through my mind: Why would someone write on the bathroom wall? Who does Tuskegee University accept as its students? Was the bathroom wall a creative way to express one’s idea’s in a sort of avant-garde, rebellious teenagers fighting against modern societies rules scenario or was it just a shady neighbor hood’s back alley, that expressed the ideas of objectification of women as sexual objects, homosexual encounters, a plethora of profanities, and signs of ignorance and disrespect to one’s community?
Is bathroom wall writing a form of creativity or art? It might be, but in most cases it didn’t seem to be the case at Tuskegee University. I remember watching Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist a few times and being absolutely engaged in the experience. One of the most interesting parts (besides when the blond retrieves her gum, from inside the toilet) was the bathroom wall being an indicator of where to find band “Where’s Fluffy” showing symbols of a rabbit running around the stall walls, along with all the other interesting graffiti and thoughts. I thought of a bathroom wall as a collage of interesting pieces of artwork with meaningful statements instead of dirty, confession booth, where everyone decided to admit their sins, minus the catholic priest. I guess the bathroom wall is a reflection of the thoughts belonging to a strange and mysterious sub-culture community. I saw statements that stated “List of Hoes, leave your hoes here, and other unseemly content,” and those of complete parallel opposite professing biblical scripture
1. Oh the Joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked or stand around with sinners or join the mockers.
2. But they delight in the law of the Lord meditation on it day and night.
What is it about those three small walls around the porcelain throne that gets people talking like there on Dr.Phil?
Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. Those who were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, “Behold! The bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!” Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the wise answered, saying, “What if there isn’t enough for us and you? You go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.” While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins also came, saying, “Lord, Lord, open to us.” But he answered, “Most certainly I tell you, I don’t know you.” Watch therefore, for you don’t know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. — Matthew 25:1-13, World English Bible
I couldn’t be an atheist, and I couldn’t be agnostic, I can’t remember all the countless times I prayed to god, both daily and in moments of crisis. I don’t necessarily understand religious views of others, but I don’t have to understand, but only have to accept their views are different from mine, and that’s what keeps the world interesting. I’ve prayed to solve problems ranging from silly to dire in my life such as: Why haven’t my books come through the mail yet? How on earth am I going to pass this test? I prayed when my glasses broke, and was still unable to purchase school books for the semester. I remember losing my wallet with my social security inside, and I had prayed to God, that I would find it.
Literally it felt my world was over. Just the thought of telling my parents about my blunder, and losing all forms of my identity, and sources of money in the same time period sent a flood of shame that ruminated on possible consequences. Thankfully, I reclaimed my lost wallet with my bills still inside. Though many Americans think of life as a melodrama of problems (including me), it will never compare to the struggle of acquiring basic necessities in third world countries, where survival is the main priority, instead of the quality of life. Whenever I think of my life as a horrible experience, in which a sadistic God laughs, in ecstasy at my frustration, my thoughts do a dramatic paradigm shift to instead think about sweat-shop labor and working for pennies a day. God is magnanimous and kind; it’s not luck that I live in America, but a miracle, which is often taken for granted by the general populace. God is who I pray to when my anxiety hits a spike on a roller-coaster, when I’m literally screaming and praying: save me Jesus! I was a Christian, still a Christian, and always will be a Christian, but I always questioning some of my decisions. Am I a burning inferno Christian, or a nighty-nine cent store cigarette lighter Christian?
I’m quite perplexed at certain decisions I make as a Christian that I knew were wrong, but I proceeded often to make the same decisions anyway, not attending any religious service whatsoever, not loving my enemies (but ignoring their existence entirely) making the same mistakes repeatedly over and over again. I definitely not perfect-at-all, but then nobody is. Christ serves as a guide out of this dangerous trap-filled labyrinth known as “life”. The objective I had most of the time was to simply make decisions that were in my best-interest, and would reap best rewards in the long-run. I’m always supposed to be on point, all the time, as a Christian, and emulating the life of Jesus Christ.
I’m not a fan of organized religion that for sure. I find myself bored to tears, when attended my church’s five-hour long religious service. I understood the message when the preacher announced it, and usually after the first-five minutes any speaker will lose their audience attention, thus my mind would wander, on its own, on different subjects to occupy the time. I wanted to be closer to God, but I guess that wasn’t the right approach for me. I decided to experiment with different types of religious service, instead of choosing the same approach. I aimed to read the bible on the daily basis, but some days it happened and some days it didn’t occur. My biggest worry, that the on-campus religious services I walked by (while doing homework in Bio-ethics) were all opportunities God had for me, but I just couldn’t put the letters together on the Wheel of Fortune to spell out: fellowship. Is it wrong to prefer to study the bible independently instead of in a group? I couldn’t be an agnostic, and I couldn’t be an atheist, because I cried to God, prayed to God, told God my wishes and dreams, and above all I feared him like, the scene of a childhood belt-whipping waiting eagerly for the child as they arrived home from school. My life was full of worries, doubts, homework assignments, friends, incessant use of the pronoun I, and a disturbing thought: Will I be ready for the rapture?
What if life were really like the matrix? My youth leader described life being a dot on the plane of eternity, and continuing forever in the realm of the afterlife. In Christianity there were two options in the afterlife: live in eternal paradise with Christ, or burn suffering from eternal damnation. If humans had a choice between eternal paradise and eternal suffering the obvious choice would be eternal paradise, except for crazy masochists. Are society’s choices and decisions coherent with God’s expectation? Are we all living the life, and making the decisions that God wants us all to make? Of course not, humans make mistakes, but a key part of life is not to make same mistake, and the path to success along with righteousness is not a straight line ascending upward like a standard y=mx+b linear equation, but zig-zags, parabolas, circles, steps forward and back, as result from the temptations, and the struggles of life, but the questions we must all ask ourselves, what do I believe in? Am I living a life that obeys my religions ideals? Will I be ready for what awaits on the other side?
There once was an eager student who wanted to gain wisdom and insight. He went to the wisest of the town, Socrates, to seek his counsel. Socrates was an old soul and had great knowledge of many things. The boy asked the town sage how he too could acquire such mastery. Being a man of few words, Socrates chose not to speak, but to illustrate.
He took the child to the beach and, with all of his clothes still on, walked straight out into the water. He loved to do curious things like that, especially when he was trying to prove a point. The pupil gingerly followed his instruction and walked into the sea, joining Socrates where the water was just below their chins. Without saying a word, Socrates reached out and put his hands on the boy’s shoulders. Looking deep into his student’s eyes, Socrates pushed the student’s head under the water with all his might.
A struggle ensued, and just before a life was taken away, Socrates released his captive. The boy raced to the surface and, gasping for air and choking from the salt water, looked around for Socrates in order to seek his retaliation on the sage. To the student’s bewilderment, the old man was already patiently waiting on the beach. When the student arrived on the sand, he angrily shouted, “Why did you try to kill me?” The wise man calmly retorted with a question of his own: “Boy, when you were underneath the water, not sure if you would live to see another day, what did you want more than anything in the world?”
The student took a few moments to reflect, then went with his intuition. Softly he said, “I wanted to breathe.” Socrates, now illuminated by his own huge smile, looked at the boy comfortingly and said, “Ah! When you want wisdom and insight as badly as you wanted to breathe, it is then that you shall have it.”
Motivation in general is a struggle. I first remember looking at this quote in high school as I read the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. In order to gain something, in order to accomplish any goal, or milestone the individual needed motivation to initiate the task, and follow through till completion; however, my motivation wavers, between moments of extreme urges to accomplish task, to an idle slow sloth, for a large duration of this semester my motivation has been complacent, waiting for something, or someone to sound the horn, launch the missile, call in reinforcements, and whatever other maxim can be thought of. Hard-work, determination, and perseverance where key traits needed to be successful in life, but how did we create these urges, these needs to continue forward to push ourselves to are full potentials? A important aspect to always remember in college: nobody is watching. College allows individuals to create their own self-identities separate from their parents, and in some cases being a microcosm representing a dog-eat-dog world (yeah the saying is trite). I couldn’t say I didn’t have any motivation, but the motivation I wanted was the do-it-now mentality. Leaders know to give assignments out to busy people, why? Busy people are always getting things, and work done, while people, who have large amounts of spare time, tend to procrastinate to infinity. I guess I just have to find my do-it-now motivation again.