Thursday, January 16, 2014

Draft Letter of the Whole Semester

As a writer, this year has been a good one. I think I've really developed my voice and descriptions. I've also come to realize that the only way to finish a piece of writing is to work on it. I've learned to pound out my rough draft as quickly as possible so I can get all of my thoughts out, then to go back and revise carefully or rewrite. I'm currently fifty or so pages into my first novel, and it's really taught me a lot. Also, having three writing classes has helped me a massive amount. I've struggled with staying focused. One huge problem when working on anything is being distracted by social media. I've managed to fight against that somewhat by finding out I can play music while writing which keeps me focused. Another issue I've had is rarely knowing what I'm writing about before I start. When I write, I just write, and basically see what happens as it goes. It can be a good approach on certain projects but in others it is a definite problem. I've succeeded in learning when to plan and when to take the approach of just letting whatever happen, happen.
The first piece I included in my portfolio was my personality profile. I chose this piece because I thought it was one of my best. I did a good job with everything and spent a good amount of time on it. The process was rather simple. I started first off by deciding I wanted to interview my mom, because I was interested in her line of work and her life, which I don't know much about. Then, I developed some key questions to ask which would help me in writing my piece. Finally I actually interviewed her and got down everything she said. Then I sat down and simply wrote everything out as fast as I could. The end result was a bit messy and all over the place, so I did a significant amount of editing. I think the piece's strengths lie whithin the honesty of my subject, "I'm motivated by my desire to help people and my belief that everyone deserves the best medical care possible." And I think my angle in the piece is very effective and warms the reader to the piece: "As always, one of her most important dreams is giving her family a good life."
The second piece I put in was my career interview article. I chose this because it was my favorite piece to write, and despite it not being my best grade I really enjoyed the process and thought it was worthwhile. For this, I followed the same basic line as the personality profile in the steps I did. I made questions, decided who I was interviewing, and interviewed, finally writing the article itself.
I think the strengths of the article lie whithin my personal interest in the subject matter, which really comes through in the writing. "I only hope I can do the same," is a line showing my aspirations. Also, I think my subject had an interesting life, which made the article worth reading.
At the beginning of the year, I wanted to develop my voice, an understanding in journalism, and become a capable article writer. I think I did reasonably well in all three places. I did very well with my voice. I think I could have done better with an understanding of journalism, but I definitely got the basics.  I think I also learned how to effectively write an article as well. I'm still working on all of the goals I set for myself, because I believe that all of those areas can be improved upon no matter how good you think you are.
My hopes and plans for the future are to be an author and also learn more about journalism. I want to further my understanding of the industry and improve my writing as much as I can.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Career Profile

I find Mrs Hunter organizing papers in the half period study hall following my AP environmental science class. I approach her and ask if she would like to answer a few questions about her career, as I've been assigned to interview someone whose career I am interested in. Her eyes light up when I mention my own interest, and I can see she is very enthusiastic. AP environmental has always been one of my favorite classes, due to both parts to my own interest in the subject as well as my teachers enthusiasm. I look forward to finding out a little more about my teachers field of work, as I know she has worked in the sciences, as well as getting to know more about her.
 Sitting down, I begin my interview by asking whether or not she had always been interested in the sciences growing up. She considers it for a moment.
"Growing up, I can't remember too much particular interest in science. When I got to high school and college is when I first noticed I really enjoyed science, after taking biology and chemistry. I actually went undeclared until sophomore year in college."
I'm actually rather surprised that she decided so late. As someone who has been attempting to single handedly plan my entire future for the past several months of high school, I am relieved to hear about someone else who was unsure about their path, and ended up in a satisfying career. I ask her several more questions about her inspirations in college and so forth, and eventually ask her about the kind of work she did once she was out of college. "When I was first out of college, I was actually a ski instructor for a few years. Then I decided to get a different job, and with a science degree I found a genetics lab. Genetics was a very big thing back then, as the field was just opening up, and I quickly found myself working in different laboratories in a few different places." I can see she enjoys talking about her career. I'm interested in how she got caught up in the genetics field. I can remember learning about genetics in biology and im interested in it myself. I begin to wonder why she went from genetics, something she seemed to be interested in, to being a teacher.
"When I worked in these labs, it was very interested work. However, in all but one of the places I worked, I was working alone in the lab. I had very little social interaction at work. So, I decided to go back to college to get a degree in education, because I really wanted more social opportunities and I had always known I might want to become a teacher eventually."
Social interaction. This is something I had actually rarely considered, when plotting out my own career in writing and science. I'm vaguely concerned to hear it can persuade one to switch careers entirely. However, I'm reassured by mrs hunters apparent happiness and contentedness with her path. One thing I notice is how when she talks she appears happy with the decisions she's made and the path her life has taken. I hope that one day I can look back with the same amount of satisfaction she seems to feel. I finally ask her the question that's been begging to be asked. Do you enjoy teaching?
"I love it," she responds with a smile. "I love the social aspect as well as being able to teach people different things that interest me. Also, it's a very interesting job because of how much current information I can incorporate into my classes. So much is always changing in the field of science, and it's interesting to bring these new things to the classroom, and I don't get bored. I also really like working with students and the staff here."
Having been impressed with this answer, I ask her one more, pertaining to my own interest. If she had any words of advice for someone looking into a science career. She let me know that biology is such a wide field that I could enter it and end up doing many things. She said to let one thing lead to another. I'm happy I got the chance to find out more about my teacher and the career I'm interested in, and I hope that someday my own career leads to a place where I am happy.

Personality Profile

Evan Tims

I find Brenda as I usually do, sitting at the table, looking perpetually busy. This time, popping olives and cheese into her mouth. After a long day at work, such appetizers are one of her favorite vices.
She looks at me quizzically when I mention I'm interviewing her.
"About what?"
I reply it's for a journalism project, and mention I plan to focus on her work. She asks if the interview couldn't possibly take place later, as she is tired after work, but I persist. Finally, she relents. I start by asking about her career. At work, she's always been very skilled, and a lot of her patients grow very attached to her. I'm curious and I want to find out why she she began nursing in the first place.
"Well, it had a lot to do with my family. I also wanted to help people. I was also always very interested in the science of medicine, and the study of illness."
I know that almost all of her family has been in the medical profession, including her mother and three of her sisters, so certainly her family helped. She grew up with very little money, but her mother always worked hard at her nursing job. I'm sure that she acted as a good role model.
I can see her motivation and interest as she replies to my questions. It's apparent not many have asked her this before. I want to find out more about what drives her.
"I'm motivated by my desire to help people and my belief that everyone deserves the best medical care possible," she begins. She continues about her values in terms of care for the sick. I've noticed that she's always been a very caring individual, helping others as much as possible. Nursing is certainly a near perfect profession for someone who cares for others and wants to make a positive impact in their lives. "I'm also very motivated by my family and my desire to give them the best they can get in terms of education and resources."
I can't help but feel the last bit is pointed, as I have just been complaining about not being able to go shopping. Even so, I'm impressed with the answer. I've always admired her work, and many of her patients and coworkers have spoken highly of her. I want to find out a little more about her family based motivation, as I know she grew up poor with little in the way of materialistic values. "When I was growing up, we had next to nothing, but I always knew my mother loved me a great deal. I guess her love imprinted the same desire in me to make my children feel the same way."
This is certainly true. My grandmother raised her and four other children in a massive, ramshackle farmhouse and worked almost constantly to support her family. My mother, the youngest, also had the benefit of three older sisters attempting to raise her as well. She must have gotten a great deal of love from everyone in her family. I decide to find out more about her career as it is now, and how her motivation affects it. I ask her what her work is like.
"In the past, I was a visiting nurse. It was a very rewarding job, because I got to meet people hands on and I really felt like I was helping people. However, it was very sad, as some of my patients were very old or terminally ill and passed away. I recently switched to working in the office, coordinating home visits and doing paperwork. I miss going to people and helping them but I also like this job because of my back problems, and I still feel like I am helping quite a bit. Coming home at the end of the day and knowing I'm working to help my family is one of the most rewarding parts."
I'm unsurprised to hear the last part. It is apparent that her family is what drives her in life. I know that her mother always worked very hard for her growing up, and I can't help but feel that this is what has led her to be the way she is today, caring so much for her while having so little to give.
Her response is, "My mother definitely led to who I am today by showing me such love growing up, while we had so little." I am definitely impressed, and I hope I end up the same way.
After learning all of this, I'm also curious to hear what her plans are for the future. She could do quite a bit, as she has always been popular with coworkers and patients. Patients have actually asked for her by name quite frequently. When I ask her what she plans on doing in the future, she replys that her main desire now is to give her children the resources they need to make it in life, and discusses her desire to help me and my sister find happiness. She also says, "At this point, my main focus is no longer my career, it's my family."
As always, one of her most important dreams is giving her family a good life. It seems like even though much of her passion comes from helping people, often, these people are her family. Like her mother, with little money but a lot of love, she is driven to help her family and give her children a better life by working as hard as she can and showing as much love as possible.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Issues with Instagram

I think people put far to much effort into depicting their lives through social media. So many people want their otherwise average existences to appear interesting and exciting, so they work hard to get perfect shots of vacations, pets, activities and themselves. And after all, what use is any of it? Nobody is going to see those pictures and say, hey, I want to be friends with that person. Nobody is going to look at your latest food picture and want to offer you a job or a meaningful life. No, it's useless, quite frankly. Instead of making somebody feel good about themselves, it causes them to over anylize their life, searching for meaning and worth in the form of material objects to show off.
There are many things wrong with looking forward to events just to post photos afterward. Instead of living in the moment and appreciating their life as it is, an individual just wants to rush in to get that perfect shot. Afterward, they will feel I satisfied and wonder why. If a person just wants to somehow show off to people, saying they have it better, then they actually won't, because they are spending their time attempting to show people rather then enjoying themselves.
I agree that people shouldn't post trophies or expensive things. I think people should use Instagram for posting artistic photos, of nature, things not normally seen, art. Not food or airlines or other ways of making others feel useless.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Opening moment.

Recent data has suggested that about twenty percent of stars in the Milky Way have a planet that 
is roughly earth sized and orbits in the habitable zone. This zone is the distance from the star where
 liquid water can exist, meaning that twenty percent of the stars in our galaxy could have life. This 
has enormous implications. One hundred billion stars exist in our galaxy, meaning twenty billion 
could potentially have life bearing planets. Despite that many more things are required for life to 
succeed on a planet as we know it, such as a magnetosphere, this still means that there could be 
billions of planets out there that are habitable. In terms of ourselves, this can spur future space 
Exploration, along with proving to people that life almost certainly exist off of our planet. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Curing death

The benefits of the breakthroughs necessary to promote longer lifespans are almost impossibly huge. To extend aging, it will be necessary to develop a way to stop or even reverse body degeneration. Being able to stop the natural aging of cells or certain body parts, or reverse said aging, would mean we could potentially cure any injury or degenerative disease. Learning to control aging would require a massively improved understanding of the inner workings of cells, and would result in drastically improved medicines for a plethora of diseases and injuries.

That being said, the question of whether or not this technology should be made available is a difficult one. An issue the author failed to address is overpopulation. With the population rising rapidly, and possibly having already overshot earths carrying capacity, do we truly need more people? Of course, the morality of this question is difficult, but necessary. We would not only lose jobs for young people, but space for them as well. I cannot offer an opinion, merely point out the necessity of considering this factor. The other issues, in regards to jobs and health care, appear to be ignoring several realities. Any increase in aging would result in an incredible increase of medicine and treatments, and would make them cheaper as well. Medicare would not rise drastically, as care itself would be cheaper with these new technologies, yet another factor the author failed to note. Also, millions of jobs could be created with this technology, as any other new discovery. Whole new industries could spring up, focused around these treatments and care for the elderly. While not perhaps filling the gap necessary for every young person, it would certainly help. 
All of this being said, I believe that the benefits outweight the costs. However, I do not believe this technology would truly be available to everyone, only the rich for some time. This would lead to a large class divide and a new sociological phenomenon that would have to be carefully watched. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

First Impressions 

What are your first impressions of Truman Capote? Is he likeable? Why/why not? How is your first impression of him affected by knowing that he was a real person?

My first impression of capote in the movie was that he was rather likeable. He appeared socially awkward with a good heart, and I warmed to him. He didnt seem manipulative in the least, only kind and happy. Later, however, my opinions changed as I saw him lie repeatedly to his subject in jail. He lied easily and rather intelligently, making me think perhaps my other impressions of him were based on falsehoods. This is of course largely affected knowing he actually exists, as his easy lies may have been due to a talented actor. Of course, the action itself is most likely true. Anyways, from the movie I recieved the impression he is manipulative but emotional and goodhearted, and I believe these things must be true in their basic form as any movie based on real life will strive to have an accurate character.