It’s the end!

Yay, it’s almost the end of the school year. The AP Language and Composition class has been an absolute joy, it has challenged me in oh so many different ways and pushed me to think critically, be more attentive, analyze different texts, read with a keen eye and also speak more confidently. I took this class to improve and grow in my ability to write and also to think more critically, and it did just that and much more. This class has helped me to see the world in a different way and to pay more attention to even the little things. I have come to admire and appreciate everyone in this class, who have inspired and encouraged me though their writing. My vocabulary has also expanded and I feel like Ross from the TV series Friends, always correcting peoples English during conversations.

Timed writes, however much I dreaded them at the beginning of this year, have really helped me improve my writing and allowed me to organize my thoughts quickly and present them in a coherent way. And looking back at my previous writing, I can tell how much I have improved. Moreover, I have always admired the people who had blogs and when we were required to start our own, I was very thrilled. I am definitely going to miss sitting by my laptop every Sunday evening and contemplating what to write for each prompt. Writing blog posts every week has helped me to develop my own style of writing and to express my own opinions and thoughts.

It has definitely been a challenging journey with lots of obstacles but I am so happy that I took this class, surrounded by people that have the same passion and eagerness for writing and learning. This class has increased my love for writing and nurtured a love for literature, and I hope to take everything I’ve learned in AP Lang into my future writing as I continue my journey. Goodbye dear readers! I hope you have a fabulous rest of the year.

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The Power of Entertainment

Watching TV, listening to music, stalking friends on Facebook or playing video games are all different forms of entertainment. Entertainment, requires little effort and allows people to relax and escape from the busyness of life into a world of make-belief peace and rest. After a long tiring day of school, all I want to do is get on my bed, turn on my laptop and watch something, and let my mind escape into a place where the stress of life is but a distant memory. Although entertainment, in its many forms, provides an excellent outlet for people and takes our mind off the hardships of living also poisons it and has the potential to destroy.  Entertainment can cause procrastination and can lead to a sedentary lifestyle, it simply drains away time that could be better spent fulfilling your passions, spending time with family or friends, or well, doing homework.

In today’s generation, we can see and experience the tremendous social impacts of entertainment. More and more people are communicating through text messages, snapchat, Facebook and relying on games and movies on their phones and computers for entertainment while less and less people are communicating by person and interacting with one another. A sense of community is lost when people are constantly stuck inside their entertainment bubbles.

Moreover, entertainment has an compelling ability to alter the thoughts and decisions of individuals and that can be detrimental for society. For example, TV networks are creating shows like “America’s Next Top Model,” and giving people the idea that in order to be beautiful you have to be dangerously thin, put on lots of make-up and look like a model. This causes poor self-images, and causes people to be unhappy. So many people want to imitate what they see on TV’s and what they read in magazines to be happy about who they are.

Music, for example is a sneaky way of planting and engraving new thoughts in our minds. Also, many various celebrities are getting cosmetic surgery’s which plants the idea in people that they shouldn’t be happy with who they actually are, and that in order to be happy, they have to waste tons of money on unnecessary procedures. Entertainment portrays false realities that have potential to crumble social aspects of society. Also young children are exposed to the ideas of swearing, drinking, and sex on television from extremely early ages, which can poison their minds and morals and cause them to engage in these activities younger and younger as time advances.

However, it is not true that ALL entertainment will cause the downfall of society. If entertainment is used in moderation and people learn to make the distinction between entertainment and reality, then it can be an enjoyable and relaxing experience. But because all people don’t do these things, entertainment does have the capacity to “ruin society”.

 

 

 

Approach to Abortion

The topic of abortion, is, without a doubt one of the most controversial global topics today. Whether you are pro-choice or pro-life, this topic generates many emotions among the people. Politicians use this subject to get votes, while others avoid it so they don’t lose votes.

Pro-lifers wish to preserve and save the lives of unborn children while those in the pro-choice side wish to protect a woman’s right to her own body. I think that there are ways in which we can both protect life and protect choice rather than being on either extremes, either shouting that all abortions amount to murder or that women should have absolute freedom of control over their own bodies including having virtually free access to abortions at any time during pregnancy for any reason.

The solution to the abortion debate is to approach it in a reasonable, intelligent and nonviolent way. Some of the worst ways people argue for pro life is through threatening to kill abortion clinic staff or physicians, vandalizing and bombing adoption clinics or protesting violently and holding harsh, demeaning posters. Donald Trump, when asked about abortion during an MSNBC town hall with Chris Matthews said abortion “is a very serious problem and there has to be some form of punishment for women who have an abortion”. Any of the above mentioned ways of approaching the abortion debate should be condemned as the solution is not to react with violence because it only makes matters worse.

There are much safer and far better ways to approach abortion and find a solution. Women’s rights and the lives of unborn children do not have to be in conflict. Through providing good health care facilities, potential mothers would have healthier and safer environment for them to give birth to healthy babies. In both rural and urban areas, by providing a safe and healthy environment for these babies, both medically and financially, women don’t have to fear of having a baby they can’t care for. Furthermore, teaching people about safe sex and providing the means for them to do so would result in fewer abortions. If everyone had means to birth control pills and condoms, there would be less unwanted pregnancies. Moreover, for those that cannot afford to raise a child as a single parent or for those that believe having the baby would interfere with their education, alternatives options  such as adoption services would result in reduced abortions.

The best way to finding a solution to the topic of abortion is not through violence or punishment but through increased health clinics, adoption services and sex education.

Who would you blame?

Othello, like all of Shakespeare’s plays, specifically the tragedies, is brilliantly complex and painfully intriguing. Throughout the play, Shakespeare allows the audience to experience the extremes of pity and fear, sympathy and repulsion, sickening hope and dreadful expectation. Before going on to discuss the play, please note that this post contains spoilers so I would suggest reading Othello first, before preceding any further.

Othello is a play of malevolence and manipulation that focuses on unfortunate events that eventually end in multiple deaths including that of the tragic hero, Othello. So who is ultimately responsible for the tragedy in Othello? Who is to blame for the gloomy and bloody end, for the death of Roderigo, Desdemona, Emilia and Othello himself? Is it Iago, the devious manipulating villain? Or perhaps, is it Othello himself?

From the beginning of the play until the final scene, Iago plots and maneuvers to bring the people around him, especially Othello, to doom and destruction. He manipulates just about everyone else in the play. Some may argue that Iago, the diabolical villain boiling with pure evil, and master manipulator is to blame for the tragedy while Othello is simply an innocent hero who becomes a mere pawn, blinded by hurt and corrupted by Iago’s evil. While Iago does play a predominant role in causing the tragedy, I believe that Othello is the one responsible for the death of Desdemona and his own suicide, because he allowed himself to be manipulated by Iago and his own insecurities and overwhelming jealousy took control. And at the end, it was his own choice and decision to kill his own wife. Othello is a strong and valiant leader, self-assured in his ability to handle military matters, but he is insecure with his personal qualities. He is a black man in a new city and he marries a young and beautiful women whom he loves but does not know well. He is unsure why Desdemona would choose him for her husband, and can only fathom one explanation, “She lov’d me for the dangers I had pass’d.” (1.3.167).

Othello never actually goes and asks his wife and/or Cassio of their affair. He blindly believes what Iago says and the premeditated evidence presented to him, such as Desdemona’s handkerchief found in Cassio’s bed chamber. Othello, completely overtaken and consumed by jealousy only trusts Iago, because Iago’s actions make him seem like he is the only one who cares. Jealousy forces Othello’s mind so tightly on one idea, the idea that Desdemona has betrayed him with Cassio and eventually his obsession displaces his reason, his common sense, and his respect for justice. Like Iago plotting his course of destructive action, Othello too plots the death of Desdemona:

Ay,let her rot, and perish, and be clam to-night;for

she shall not live. No, my heart is turn’d to stone. (4.1.178-9)

Ultimately, though, Othello is responsible for his own actions, and is therefore at fault for the tradegy.

Logical Fallacies

In many articles we read, videos we watch or speeches we hear, arguments are masked in logical fallacies that lack objectivity and aim to strategically manipulate and fool the audience. It is important not only to avoid using logical fallacies in our arguments but also to notice and recognize logical fallacies that are sneakily used by politicians and the media. Recently I read an article arguing anti-abortion called “10 Reasons Why Abortion is Evil & Not a “Pro-Choice”” (the link to this article is provided below) and I noticed the use of a few logical fallacies.

Ironically, the subtitle for a paragraph in this article was titled “The Slippery slope” and indeed it fits the title. This paragraph argues that “yesterday it was contraception. Today it’s abortion and same-sex “marriage.” Will it be widespread euthanasia tomorrow? Then what…? Once abortion is universally accepted, what logical arguments will stop euthanasia and other forms of murder and brutality?”. This is a clear example of “the slippery slope”, a logical fallacy that suggests that if one action is taken, then it would lead to similar actions, ending in results that are negative and undesirable. However, the problem with this type of fallacy is that it detracts attention from the main issue and focuses rather on very unlikely and extreme hypothetical propositions or statements that remain unsubstantiated. This fallacy captures the audience as it appeals to emotion by instilling fear and doubt upon the reader. No one likes to embark on something that inevitably leads to disaster, but one should always investigate how likely such a slide truly is. The fact that something could happen doesn’t necessarily mean that it will, or even that it is likely to happen — not every action opens the floodgates so be careful of the slippery slides.

Another example of a logical fallacy used in this article is “hasty generalization” :“[Pregnancy termination] forsakes natural law, and has left America as a country unable to repopulate itself without the aid of mass immigration.” In this statement, the author generalizes that America as a whole can not repopulate itself because of pregnancy termination and fails to show any statistic or data to back up the claim. This statement is not only incorrect, but also detracts from the main argument and talks about mass immigration, which is completely irreverent to the abortion argument.

Moreover,the author uses a logical fallacy very commonly used for the anti abortion argument known as “Begging the question” in which the conclusion is based on an unstated or unproven assumption and provides insufficient evidence:“Church teaching on abortion is clear and unequivocal: Abortion is murder. Since life begins at conception, abortion is akin to murder as it is the act of taking human life.” Here, the author provides no concrete proof that life begins at conception and fails to properly provide enough evidence to support his argument.These are just a few of the logical fallacies that are used in this article about abortion. I know that sometimes, without knowing even I use logical fallacies in my daily arguments. So dear readers, as you make and encounter arguments, be careful to avoid these logically incoherent arguments.

Link to article: http://www.tfpstudentaction.org/politically-incorrect/abortion/10-reasons-why-abortion-is-evil.html

Pursuer of Excellence

For me, to pursue excellence is not to strive to be perfect but to work at something with all my heart and do everything to the best of my ability for the glory and honor of God. I think one of the great challenges of giving my all and doing my best at everything is making peace with what I can and what I cannot achieve. So many times in my life, I feel worn out and exhausted, I struggle and I face so many difficulties and failures. But I am reminded that part of being a human is having weaknesses, limitations, imperfections, and making mistakes. The fact that I get tired, scared and need to rest is a daily reminder that I am not God. If I never got scared, if I never failed, if I was always strong and I could handle  anything that came my way by myself, then what is the need for God?

The adversities that I face and the mistakes that I make teach me a lot; it is in the darkest times, the times that I feel helpless and weak, when I see the need for God the most. I learnt that I am not perfect and I may not be able to handle certain situations in life that I encounter by myself, but God certainly can. It reminds me not only how much I need God in my life but also how ever-present He is in my life and how much He desires for me to ask for His help. God wants me to rest, to cast all my worries and anxieties on him because He cares for me. He wants me to depend on Him, to find rest and strength in Him.

Many times, I have fallen into the trap of perfectionism, of needing to be perfect, of wanting to be the number one at everything that I do. But often when I strive to be perfect, I feel devastated by failure and keep dwelling in the mistakes that I make. The difference between a perfectionist and a pursuer of excellence is that the pursuer of excellence learns from failures and corrects their mistakes. Often, I feel very discouraged when I don’t get the best grade at something even though I have tried my hardest. But its part of life and I think it’s very important to accept that perfectionism is an unattainable goal; we cannot do everything by ourselves and we will experience failure and disappointment in our lives but we must not be discouraged, but simply rely and depend on God. I think to pursue excellence is not to value myself by what I do and the things I achieve but by who I am.

To conclude, my definition of excellence is pursuing and doing the best I can with the gifts and abilities God gave me and doing it for the glory of God. Pursuing excellence is not a quest for superiority, its not about being the best, but being my best.

 

Secrets to an effective resume

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I always thought resumes were pretty cool. Probably because I never had to write one yet. After doing some research, I’ve discovered that it’s not so easy writing resumes, actually it is an often frustrating task that requires a lot of thought, time and effort. If you want to increase your job hunting effectiveness as much as possible, you would be wise to learn to write a spectacular resume.

First let’s take a look at why we need resumes and why they have to be good. Many job offers usually attract a lot of resumes and there can be a lot of completion as to who gets an interview. An executive would have to go through each of these hundreds of boring resumes which clearly doesn’t sound very interesting. Imagine this person flipping through this stack of resumes, half asleep, slowing nodding off to sleep when he suddenly stops and looks at your resume. And as this person reads, they are more interested and are suddenly no longer sleepy but excited to see you for an interview. That should be your aim. The purpose of a resume is to simply win an interview. So what is it really? Resumes are basically ten second advertisements. Many executives glimpse at or scan a resume for ten seconds before rejecting it or accepting it. Ten seconds is not a lot. That means you have to win them over fast, like really fast. And how would you do that? Listed below are just a few effective do’s and don’t’s of getting yourself noticed by prospective employers and winning an interview.

1) The top half of your resume will either make you or break you: It is always important to start off well to make a good impression because those first few lines would have either caught an employers attention or made a further contribution to their dozing state. So make sure to list your strongest skills and qualifications and most recent credentials in the first half of the resume.

2) Who cares if you can lift twice your body weight and do 35 pull-ups. Because that’s essential for working in finance (surprisingly this actually happened, an NYU grad student named Mark included this in his resume and also added “ Egos can be a huge liability, and I try not to have one.” Riiiiiiight… sure.) Anyways, moving on, please do yourself a huge favor and make sure your skills and qualifications are relevant and tailored to the position and job for which you are applying. Don’t includes hobbies and irrelevant jobs you held many years ago.

4) TMI:  I think many would agree that too much information is never a good idea. It’s particularly bad when it’s put in front of  busy, tired employers who quite frankly are not going to read your resume word-for-word. If you put too much information, recruiters are most likely to not read it at all or just scan it quickly.

5) Honesty, probably a good idea. You do not need to hard sell or make any claims that are not absolutely true. But sometimes, you do need to get over your modesty and unwillingness to toot your own horn in order to impress prospective employers .

6) A professional blogger not booger: Make sure that your layout is clean and professional with absolutely no typographical or grammatical errors. My dear readers, I hate to say this but spell check is NOT your friend, please proofread and let someone review your resume because I would assume that you wouldn’t want to be a professional booger.

Even though I am not an expert on this topic, I hope this helps. 🙂 Have a nice day!

 

Metaphorical Gwendolyn Brooks

Hello there dear readers, for this post, I will introduce you, through using metaphors, to one of my favorite, and a truly inspiring poet, Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000), who was the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. As part of a research project, I have been studying the life and works of Gwendolyn Brooks and I hope that through these metaphors, you will gain a brief understanding of what Brooks was like.
1. Plant: Passion plant (Passiflora)– A passion plant is an evergreen climber with exotic looking flowers that are vibrant in color. Similarly, Gwendolyn Brooks had always been energetic and passionate about writing and her interest in poetry began at an early age. By the age of thirteen she published her first poem in the magazine American Childhood and by the age of sixteen she had published over seventy poems.

2. Article of Clothing: 3D Glasses Whether Brooks was celebrating the bittersweet dignity of the impoverished or commemorating the youth in her neighborhood who embraced gang life as a means of survival, her purpose in her poems was to encourage critical thinking and expose readers to different perspectives just as 3D glasses expose viewers to see films from a different dimension. Through her poems, she shows us the major historical landmarks of the twentieth century through the 3-D lens of the lives of ordinary people, often ones the American mainstream would dismiss.

3. Day of the Week: Sunday-  “One wants a Teller in a time like this”- Gwendolyn Brooks. A mother, preacher, prophet, and journalist were all ways of specifying the role of Teller. These are roles that Brooks would intermittently invoke and inhabit throughout her career as a poet. Another way to be a Teller that she was drawn to was the role of a reporter or journalist, she published her poems in The Chicago Defender Newspaper.

4. Food: Beans- In many of her poems, Brooks sought to portray the everyday life of poor people who suffer from economic inequities that plague America. In one of her poems called The Bean Eaters, she makes a social commentary about the poor by painting a picture of a poor old couple eating beans everyday, one of the cheapest foods.

5. Color: Black- In an speech, Brooks told the audience that she preferred to refer to herself as “black” rather than Afro-American or African American because “black” is inclusive of all peoples, cultures, and races. It allows all people of African descent spread throughout the world, even the ones who cannot trace their roots precisely to any one African country, tribe, or language, to become a part of a larger extended family

6. Geometric Shape: Rhombus- With the shape of a diamond, Brooks shone bright and brought light to the black community. She always has a bright and glowing smile.

7. Fragrance: Onion fumes and trash– Brooks evoked the sights and smells of the ghetto with enviable precision, producing art that speaks to the black community and that captures the complexities, joys, and pains of black culture.

8. Type of Building: Kitchenette building– Gwendolyn Brooks wrote a poem about a kitchenette building which is small apartment building with lots of one-room apartments where several families share kitchens and bathrooms. She wanted her readers to see the crowded, stinky, and rundown places where many African Americans were forced to live because they were black and poor and had no other choice.

9. Word: Concerned- When I first came across her poems, I saw her as a compassionate, loving and a deeply concerned person. She was concerned about so many issues and her poems depicted vivid and powerful descriptions of poverty, social inequality, death, and spiritual loss.

10. Musical Instrument: Low Saxophone– Brooks is best known for her short poem “We Real Cool” which reads like the lyrics of a jazz tune. In this poem, her voice produces deep vibrations like a low saxophone.

11. Season of the Year: Summer- Brooks is warm and loving and her words bring to life her most enduring legacy which is her unconditional love and respect for black people and their struggles to survive amid adversity

12. Appliance / Machinery: Loud speaker- Like a loud speaker, Brooks spoke out against the injustices in America and in other countries, such as the system of apartheid in South Africa.

13. Natural Phenomenon: Rainstorm- Like a rainstorm, Brooks themes for her poems very often serious, powerful and gloomy like racism and poverty, life in the American family, the trauma of world war, and the search for dignity and happiness in a society that is often unjust and oppressive

14. Planet: Pluto– Although she was well known, Gwendolyn Brooks lived a quiet life. She would be Pluto, a dwarf planet because said her greatest interest was being involved with young people and she loved children so much.  She spent time giving readings at schools, prisons and hospitals.

15. Movie Character: William Wilberforce in the movie Amazing Grace –Both Wilberforce and Brooks were very passionate and concerned about the black people, they both expressed anger about racial injustice but both were considered to have a gentle spirit and a very giving nature.

Love.

What is wrong with the world? What is that one problem that leads to a snowball effect and causes all problems?

We live in a world that is so competitive, where everyone’s goals and purpose in life seem to be about achieving more, succeeding more and wanting more. But is that what truly matters? Corporations tell us to “Buy Buy Buy,” and that “to fit in with society, you must get this and get that, you must follow the fashion trends”. We begin to change our self to fit the expectations of others, to define our self with the clothes we wear, the likes we get on Facebook or Instagram or the grades we get.

But when we look within us, we all share a common goal: happiness. We all search for true happiness, for joy and for truth. We tear the world apart trying to look for joy, for that true happiness, without ever looking within ourselves. Are we so happy with our iphones, our branded clothes, fancy cars, big houses and long vacations? We aim to get good grades, get good careers and accumulate more and more wealth in our belief that wealth is the pathway to success, to fame and to happiness. We idolize people we never met and try to imitate them instead of just being ourselves. We try to find happiness in the money, the worthless pieces of paper that we depend on to feed us, move us and entertain us. But in reality, many of the happiest people are those who own the least.

Why is what’s popular more important than what’s right? Why is it so hard to accept those unlike ourselves? Why don’t we recognize that just because something’s different doesn’t mean it should be treated differently? Why are good deeds only done when there is a profit? We wait for the change we want to see, but all we need to do is stop, and to “be the change you want to see” (Mahatma Ghandi).

What can we do? What is the solution? Love. I know.. very cliché. But Love, real love, boundless love that lasts forever and ever is the solution. The unconditional love, love that’s not selfish, love that continues to give and give and give. Instead of trying to change others, lets start by changing ourselves. Truth is, the Human race survives because we work together. Ever since we were born, we had to depend completely on someone else to survive, to be a human. It is when people are concerned that change happens. Lets spread that love. The love that brings happiness, love that never fails and love that touches our hearts and causes us to change. To be the change. The love that makes people happy. That love is the answer. To all the wrong in the world, to the greedy, the proud, the selfish and to all evil.

Lets master the joy of living, lets live a life of happiness by loving.

 

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