Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I did alot of brainstorming today, and tried to organize the topics I want to use in my essay. I am posting my thoughts on the book Single Mothers and Their Children. I picked out some quotes and started to see where I would go with them:

“Divorce rates started increasing in the 1960’s and did not level until the mid-1980’s” (Single Mothers and Their Children).
“Researchers during the 1970’s and 1980’s viewed high divorce rates and rapid rise in the number of single parent families. As an indicator of society’s movement toward a more equitable, open atmosphere” (Single Mothers and Their Children).

These two statements exhibit the swift in the ways society perceive divorce. In the span of twenty years, divorce and the way society thought about it had dramatically changed. In the 1960’s divorce was becoming normal to society, and continued onto the 1980’s. It was mainly during span of 1970 thru 1980 that society accepted divorce as a change to gain an atmosphere that accepts change. From the 1980’s, society did not look down upon for a married couple to ask for a divorce. Accepting an open atmosphere was the basis of obtaining a better outlook upon divorce itself.

Paraphrase of a quote:
With social changes on the rise, social scientists felt unhappy couples should not feel like they had to stay together. Women had reached a point where they were finally able to do away with oppressed relationships. They were given the opportunity to fulfill their own needs, and find a relationship that would be satisfying for themselves. Divorce gives adults that leeway, if they are unhappy and miserable with their marriage. It gives forth the decision for the adults to make for themselves, and ultimately benefiting the atmosphere in which their own children will grow up in to. Keeping divorce as an option gives marriage options if needed, and achieving an environment without parental conflicts. Divorce brought upon changes for the parents and children. The instability was perceived as being a temporary thing just until the family members become comfortable with the new situation at home (Single Mothers and Their Children).

“Some people argued that low income is the only problem confronting families headed by single women. They claim that this type of family is a viable alternative to the nuclear family form, and that if incomes were the same, the life opportunities of children from one-and two-parent families would also be the same” (Single Mothers and Their Children).
This quote was very interesting in the sense that the main problem families’ face is income. Of course it would be hard for single parent families because they only have one income as opposed to two if they still have a nuclear family. Therefore, the government should do something about the economic struggles that a single parent family must go through. Child support and alimony should not be a thing that a single parent lives off of. Both of the checks a mother receives from child support and alimony comes from the father. Single mothers should not depend on the money they obtain from their ex-spouse. A single parent mother most likely returns to work, leaving their children to care for themselves. If the children are too young to leave at home, then a lot of the income she brings to the table goes to child care.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Dowd, Nancy E. In Defense of Single-Parent Families. New York University Press: New York: 1997.
The part of In Defense of Single-Parent Families I found most important was indeed the couple of chapters because it really cleared up a lot of myths that single parent families receive by society. Coming from a single parent family I have really picked up on a lot of stereotypes, but never really thought too much about them. It was in this book I was able to understand the different between myths in chapter 1 and then in Chapter 2 I saw the realities of single parent families.

Edin, Kathryn, and Laura Lein. Making Ends Meet: How Single Mothers Survive Welfare and Low-Wage Work. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1997.
Making Ends Meet really illustrated the struggle that single parent mother have to experience in the workforce. Single parent mothers are “unskilled and semiskilled mothers who try to support their children by working are hard-pressed to find a job that pays a living wage.” It really puts life for a single parent family in perspective because they are working long hours in order to provide for their children, except they are not being paid a wage that is going to allow themselves to afford everything that their family needs. Yet, single parent mothers are more equipped to understand what is perceived as being responsible for their children.

Fagan, Patrick F. and Robert Rector. “The Effects of Divorce on America.” World and 1. (Oct 2000): 15.10. Expanded Academic ASAP. Thomson Gale. Randolph-Macon College. 22 February 2006.
The article “The Effects of Divorce on America,” states that divorce is hurting the society of America, and is devastating the lives of our children. Research has shown that the effects of divorce will continue into adulthood, and then become apart of the next generation. They point fingers at society because they still embrace divorce through laws, and sending the message that it is okay. The article pinpoints specific examples that show how divorce affects children. The argument that the article really holds to is that if we do not do anything about divorce in America, we will continue into a downward spiral of social decay. Later on in the article, they suggest that Congress should step in and take care of the problem. They hope to attain a number that will allow divorce to be reduced by 1/3 percent. Congress wants to get the divorce rate back to the number it was in the 1970’s.

“family, sociology of” A Dictionary of Sociology. John Scott and Gordon Marshall. Oxford University Press 2005. Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Randolph-Macon College. 27 February 2006. http://oxfordreference.com/views/ENTRY.html?subview=Main&entry=t88.e807
This dictionary of sociology really expressed the fact that a “family is an intimate domestic group made up of people related to one another by bonds of blood, sexual mating, or legal ties” It made it clear that the beliefs of the systems of family are changing as we are starting to understand the diversity of family life. I think that his definition will really help because it opens the audience’s eyes to perceiving family in a different way, which to some people is hard. I think this definition will be helpful in order to tune in the children that have not experienced divorce first hand.

Garfinkel, Irwin, and Sara S. McLanahan. Single Mothers and their Children: A New American Dilemma. Washington, D.C.: The Urban Institute Press, 1986.
Single Mothers and their Children, has been very beneficial with the understanding of single parent families headed by mothers. It goes into details, and presents the facts that single parent families struggle with, such as poverty, social instability, and the dynamics of a mother-only family. The book really gives a visual indication to the readers showing the percentage of families headed by mothers with tables and figures. The tables in fact give a breakdown of the average income of while and black families in 1982 according to the type of family.

Grall, Timothy S. “Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2001.” October 2003. U.S. Department of Commerce: Economics and Statistics Administration. 21 February 2006. http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/p60-217.pdf#search='custodial%20mothers%20and%20fathers%20and%20their%20child%20support'
Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2001 is the United States Census for the year 2001. The census was done in order to survey and show which parent was actually the custodial parent of their children. In 2002, there were a total of 13.4 million custodial parents. After the figure was found, the U.S. Department of Commerce then took the 13.4 million parents and broke it down into the amount of children under the age of 21, living with their mother or father. The census showed that 5 out of every 6 custodial parents were mothers, and then 1 out of every 6 custodial parents were fathers. The overall findings stated that about 27.6 of children under the age of 21 lived in a single parent family.

McLanahan, Sara, and Gary Sandefur. Growing up with a Single Parent. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1994.
Growing up with a Single Parent gave me a more clearer picture as to how children are affected by divorce. For example, a lot of the facts that I have been seeing did not go into great detail but this book did. Going along with, the belief that children are most likely going to drop out of high school. I have seen this in a lot of journal entries, and also books. In Growing up with a Single Parent, the book gave figures that illustrated the amount of children who graduate from high school, 73 percent of children from a single parent receive a high school diploma, 12 percent get a GED, or General Equivalency Diploma. With a grand total, of 15 percent of children dropping out of high school.

Miller, Naomi. Single Parents by Choice. New York: Insight Books, 1992. 111-25.
Single Parents by Choice offered examples taken from real people. In the examples Miller set the stage, giving details as to how their own personal experience with divorce looked like. Then under that it illustrated their take on things, and how they felt while they were going through divorce. It made it clear that divorce happens to a lot of different kinds of people, and we all deal with it differently. This book will be useful when I want to use the people’s own experiences in order to get my point across to the audience. I think that using example really makes my points stronger.

Nelson, Patricia Tanner. “Single-Parent Families.” Journal of Extension. Winter 1986. Vol 24. Num. 4. 23 Feburary 2006. www.joe.org/joe/1986winder/rb2.html
The focus of the article, “Single-Parent Families” was based on the belief that single parent families hold a different position in terms of society. It suggested that single parent families have a high rate of poverty, low education, and are on the move. Single parent families have a little status in American society, and are a group that is pressed with economic and social needs. It talks about the drop of income that mothers receive after divorce. The article made some interesting points about the effects that divorce has on children. Children of single parent families are two times more likely to drop out of high school as children who are living with two parents. Another fact is that children who were raised in a single parent family are likely to have their marriage end up in separation or divorce. They are also at a higher risk for having children outside of wedlock.

Simmons, Ronald L. & Associates. Understanding Differences Between Divorced and Intact Families: Stress, Interaction and Child Outcome. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications, 1997.
The title Understanding Differences Between Divorced and Intact Families: Stress, Interaction and Child Outcome really speaks for itself. This book has been a huge help in finding direction to my topic. It really gives a lot of the points I find important to single parent families, the effects of divorce on adult and child adjustment, the maternal stresses that are placed upon our parents. It discusses the ways mother parenting, father parenting are playing into the outcome of their children. Furthermore, it discusses the relationships that siblings have, which I find very important to the family.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Clarity Summary

The English language has a lot of principles of clarity. As writers we are supposed to write clearly, but there are a lot of rules in order to follow. The chapter describes the rules in a very informative way, stating the rules and then giving examples illustrating the correct and incorrect way to use the rule itself. The main point of the chapter was to make the rules known to writers. At the same time it makes it clear that each writer has their own way of writing. Like we all have been learning in class, we all have our own personal way in which we write, which the book never says that you can not have. It just makes it a point to state that we are to find a balance between the rules and our own touch. As writers we can not get attached to following all of the rules because we will loss sight of our own techniques.

I really liked this chapter because it made me aware of the rules, and I felt that the way that the book expressed the right ways to use them was very beneficial. I think that it gave me some insight as to the rules that I myself use. Yet I did see some points that I should improve on. The best way to go into reading this chapter of the book is to understand that as writers we are entailed to our own personal take of writing, and still write in a way that the audience will understand the points the writer wants to express to their audience.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Why do we play hard to get?

So why do we play hard to get? This weekend I was introduced to this guy at the party I was attending and thought that he was very cute. My best friend introduced me to him; we exchanged names and did the casual talk. Throughout the course of the night, he asked me to come over and talk to him, and I flirtatiously turn around and walked the other way. At another point in the night I made eye contact with him, smiled and started talking to the guy standing beside me. I looked back and he then grabbed the nearest girl and engaged in conversation. I continued to make eye contact with him, but never gave into the fact that he was calling me to come over and talk to him from across the room. I thought to myself that is just too easy. He then started to make his way over to me, and asked if we could be beer pong partners. I hyped back with oh I am sorry, I am playing with Jake. He was oh well then maybe later? I said maybe.

I was surprised at the simple fact that the guy was being consistent in getting my attention, so I continued on with the whole scheme of playing hard to get. The eye contact and the effort to gain my attention by screaming across the room continued while I shot down each attempt on his part. I thought that the guy was attractive, so it was not that I was not interested. I did not want to fall onto his every word, or attempt. I will be honest and say that I have done this before, but never really had a successful attempt go as well as this one did. The way that the game of playing hard to get ended was quite interesting, to say the least. The guy I guess finally saw through the game I was flirtatiously playing with him, and walked over to me complimented me on the color of my eyes, and planted one on me. I was in complete shock.

So back to the question…why is it that we play hard to get? I did not play hard to get because I was thinking to myself he will kiss me. It just happened, but girls play hard to get because they want the guys to want them and then make an attempt to do something about it. So there it is, I thought the guy was cute and I guess I wanted to test him. I wanted to see how he would handle the situation. I do not think I stand alone knowing that we all have done this in the course of our lives at some point, right?

Friday, February 24, 2006

Road Trips

With each passing minute the farther you get from the starting point of your trip. There is something about being on the road, knowing that you are ultimately going to end up somewhere else. Windows down, hair blowing in the wind, sunglasses on discising us from the unfamiliar faces that we pass on the interstate. We put in the latest mix of our favorite songs, or better yet a really old CD that you listened to years old. It is in that moment that we are able to be somewhere else. A place where we are able to find peace, escaping the place where we started from, and ending up in another town or even state. With our favorite music blaring from our stereo, we sing along to the words. Escaping once again not only into the open road, but the lyrics that put you somewhere else. We are on the road, heading to a place where we will find comfort within family, friends, or even ourselves.

Something about the open road, whether it is a trip that has been planned for weeks or a more or less spur of the moment one. There is some drive within ourselves that is tugging us away from the comfort of our everyday routine, pulling us into another world. For a couple of days, we are able to just be in the place where we want to be outside of our safe spectrum. We are loss in the ability to be somewhere else, yet the world continues on even when we are not apart of the community we live in.

Not all road trips are fun filled, some are in order to become closer to a part of our lives that is no longer existent. Funerals, for example. We travel miles and miles in order to mourn the loss of our loved ones. Searching for some relief as we quietly hope for some clarity as to why our loved ones are no longer apart of our lives.

Weddings, a celebration of the joining of two loved ones. Makes for a road trip filled with love and happiness. Driving for miles, with this joy felt knowing that a person you hold close to your heart has found someone to spend the rest of their lives with.

Spring Break trips, college students have countdowns going for months at a time. As they count down the days until they are on the road, becoming that much closer to the nearest beach that holds relaxation.

Whether is it a trip that holds fun, or mourning we all have to make the trip. We pack our bags, and hit the road. Somewhere between the red and green lights we have hope. We escape the reality of our everyday lives, and drive. Drive until we finally get to the point where we are someone else. Another town, or state.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Grey's Anatomy

My new favorite show is Grey’s Anatomy. I bought the DVD yesterday and have watched 3 episodes already. I am in total amazement as to how the interns handle everything. These interns have had to experience first hand how stressful life is in the ER. Watching this show I have seen just how precious life really is. Doctors, surgeons and interns have people’s lives in their hands everyday. Each show is about the patients they come in contact with, but really the show is more than that. The people on the show have things that push them outside of work. The basis of the show is the relationship between the intern, Meredith Grey, and the doctor, Dr. Shepard. Dr. Shepard and Grey met each other at a bar before Grey knew that she would be working for Dr. Shepard. The plot thickens when Grey finds out that Dr. Shepard is married. I don’t want to give all of the details away about the show, but the part of the show I love the most is that each episode has a story to tell. The story is a narration that starts off the show, and the end. The narration plays throughout the show and it what holds the show together. The way that they have done this is by starting the show off with a narration, or a quote that ultimately sets the tone of the episode. I am absolutely obsessed with the show, and I think that the show has a lot to offer. I am hooked on the show, and I thik that it is a combination of the advice, the drama, the action that happens in the ER, or even the cute Dr. Shepard make keeps me coming back every week. Hey I even went out and bought the whole first season on DVD yesterday.

I am sure you will hear me talking about the show again before the year is over with, sorry if you are not a fan!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Republic of Fear: The Politics of Modern Iraq

Here is a section from a paper I wrote for my History class, it was a review on the book, Republic of Fear. Here are my thoughts...

Life in Iraq was just plan horrible. After reading this book, I was honestly amazed at how the people of Iraq lived. I knew that things in Iraq were not good, but seriously things were absolutely insane. Saddam Hussein treated people as if they were some sorta animals. He even had laws that allowed and gave permission to physically induce pain upon people. In August 1994, if you were to repeat a previous crime were your hand had been cut off prior because of theft and desertion, then you were going to be branded with a mark of a X. I couldn’t believe this, and sadly enough this was not that long ago. In order to obtain more power from the people, if a doctor were to attempt to try and go anything about the physical marks on a person, they would immediately have their ear amputated off. This left me in complete in total shock.

The Republic Of Fear is an entire book devoted to all of the stories in which the people of Iraq started to finally see these punishments as being the norm in their society. In Saddam’s eyes, he saw the policy of fear as an art form. It got to the point where people just expected to be tortured under certain things. People were effected everyday, in so many ways. They were punished from cruel public show trials to conditions of secrecy. Later on in the book, it stated the entire reason violence was used in tyrannies and dictatorships was when their authority was being jeopardized (129). In doing so, the political power thought that if the people feared the government, then they higher power had control. I just don’t understand the reasoning in this. This book really frustrated me because I just didn’t understand how someone could feel this was the best way to handle things. Saddam Hussein was a crazy person, who had to have been sick in the head to treat people this way. Seriously what kind of people induces pain upon someone, and by pain I mean cutting their hand off or branding their forehead. I just had such a hard time with this book, but at the same time I got a better understanding of just how much the people in Iraq dealt with on an everyday basis.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

"The Bachelor"

I will admit that I have been following the show, “The Bachelor,” on ABC. I mean come on have you seen Travis? Well for all of you who have no idea who Travis is…he is the bachelor from Nashville, Tennessee. He was chosen to be the person who will be meeting about 40 women, with hopes that one of the women will win over his heart. He is looking for the women who he thinks will best fit the role of potentially being his new wife. For starters Travis is absolutely gorgeous. He is 6’4, and is a doctor in the ER. He flew to Paris with hopes of finding the women really meant for him. I look forward to this show every week, but sometimes I really have to wonder how it really works out. On “The Bachelor,” this guy, in this case Travis, is supposed to choose the women he wants to spend the rest of his life with within a couple of weeks, and on national television?

How is this possible to really understand someone in that short amount of time? Then another thought came to mind, if you initially have that connection with someone, the rest will come, right? Right. I find myself laughing sometimes because people go on the show. Yet at the same time I somehow find myself coming back every week to watch “The Bachelor.” I thought about how I would be if I was a candidate on the show, how would I act? Would being myself on television be difficult? At the same time, I would want to be nothing but myself. I mean the point is I want him to fall in love with the real me. Which leads me to the problem I have with the show, there is no way of knowing if people are being real. We just hope that the women are acting completely themselves despite the fact that they are competing for a amazing man, and being viewed on national television. I know I would want the bachelor to fall in love with the real me, but sometimes people like to play games in order to get the attention they want. I think that meeting people in the such a short amount of time places pressure on “The Bachelor,” and even the women. The women worry about keeping conversations going with “The Bachelor” and looking prefect all of the time. We all know what happens if the women do not make the impression “The Bachelor.” If the women do not receive a rose at the ring ceremony, they will find themselves on a plane that night headed back to the states alone. So they are going back home without the company of the man they traveled across the world in hopes to winning over, but now they are going to be doubtful of themselves and the ability to love another person. With that said, I really admire the women that are on “The Bachelor” for a couple of reasons. They are taking a giant leap of faith in hopes that it will all pay off in the end. They are putting themselves out there all of the time, and hopes of winning over the love of Travis. At the same time, I feel like being on a show like “The Bachelor,” either works out for one woman and they will have a great story to tell their children, or they will be sent home completely uncertain as to why they do not possess the qualities the bachelor wanted.

Yet, Monday night rolls around and you will find me glued to the television at 10pm??

Monday, February 20, 2006

J/ Choose the "controversy" you will be working with all semester. Write a one page, in-depth, detailed description of your controversy AND describe the characteristics of the community that you are examining your controversy as part of. This should be a community to which you belong.

The topic I have chosen for my community is the “single parent family.” I grew up with both parents until I was about fourteen years old. Then it was at that point my perception of my family had drastically changed. From that point on in my life, my mom was my sole parent and provider. Being that young I was not really sure what exactly my new life entailed, but I knew things would be different. My dad moved out, and found a place of his own. My house that I had always grown up in now consisted of my mom and younger sister, and well of course my cat! I soon came to some conclusion that things were changing. I dealt with a lot of situations that a “normal teenager” would never have to face, and as my mom had always told me things were never going to be easy. Here I stand six years later with the same understanding that life is never easy, that perception has not changed at all.

I have heard a lot of things that a child would face when dealing with a parent’s divorce. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that the choices my parents made in their marriage would ever really ultimately affect mine. With some research I have come across a lot of explanation on how coming from a divorced family, or a single parent family would influence me as a person and my future. The first concept that coming from a single parent family entails that “children who grow up in single-parent families are less likely to marry, more likely to divorce and more likely to have children outside of wedlock” (Divorce Reform Page). In my inquiry essay, I would like to obtain a better understanding as to why exactly statistics support this theory. After hearing, this statement I become fearful because I am in fact a candidate. I could potentially become a statistic because I do in fact come from a single parent family. Another striking statement I found was that “children living with formerly married mothers had a 50% greater risk of having asthma in the proceeding 12 months” (“Children & Divorce: A snapshot”). I have a heard time understanding how exactly this fact is proven.

I hope that with more research, I will be able to scope out and obtain a better understanding as to why children coming from a single parent family are more likely to suffer greater consequences in their future. I am still trying to decide what facts I am going to work with specifically.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

In the first chapter of “Style” it conveys two principles, it is important to write clearly, and that we are all capable of doing so. Writers need to formulate their ideas, find the sources to back the ideas up, and most importantly “still express it all in clear, direct sentences, a difficult task for most writers and a daunting one for many” (4). The reason that writing becomes unclear is due to the fact that “writers plump up their prose to impress those who confuse a difficult style with deep thinking…we typically throw up a tangle of abstract words in long, complex sentences” (8). Williams points out that writers are not able to express their ideas is based mainly on that fact writers do not spend time expressing themselves clearly. As a writer, we need to stop and think about how our readers see our writing. It is easy for us to read what we wrote and understand it because it plays out in our mind, but to a reader that does not know the ideas we are conveying it may not be expressed as clearly to them. When a writer is confused about the topic, most likely the reader will be too. We become so wrapped up in the complex topic we end up, ultimately confusing the reader.

Williams notes the best way to avoid confusion strings from the writer. The writer needs to have a strong grasp on the topic. We all have different methods of writing, so whether is be writing it all down on paper or getting it all typed on the screen the thought process must start first. Then after all of the ideas are expressed the writer then must go back and form their arguments and opinions on the topic. With this process of revising, the writer will begin to have a better understanding of the topic, and get rid of any unclear ideas. “[The] more clearly we write, the more clearly we can see and feel and think” (10) really illustrates why writers must convey their thoughts clearly to their readers.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

This week has been recruitment for both fraternities and sororities. I became a member of the greek community a year ago and had never experienced recruitment from the eyes of a sister. I thought that it was one of the most exciting weeks ever! The amount of energy that all of the girls put into the week was really amazing. From the songs that we sang, to the slideshows we watched, and even so with talking to the potential new members I think that the value of friendship, and even sisterhood at that was illustrated well. The four of the sororities really put everything into this week because in the end we all knew that it would pay off on Sunday when we anxiously waited on the porches of our houses waiting for any sign of movement in front of our eyes. Finally, we saw the vision of girls wearing pink and white, and we started singing and running after our new members. It was at that moment I knew that every ounce of energy exerted in getting to know these girls because we wanted them to be apart of the bond of sisterhood. The bond that I share is indescribable, the amount of love that I have for my sisters understood unless you, yourself is apart of it. Sororities are often stereotyped for being fake and at times a joke. The love that we share is real. We are all made of different personalities and that is what makes us unique. Each and every sister has something different to bring to the table, and when we are together we have it all. So the week of recruitment is not taken lightly by any means because we are looking for girls that we know have personalities that really bring light to what our sorority is all about.

Friday, February 17, 2006

I had a really hard time trying to write something something yesterday…so I finally had an idea to write about strike me today. I guess it was just one of those days...

But I had a realization today as to really how lucky I am to have the friends I do. The past couple of days have been some eye opening experiences for me. I have really questioning a lot of things, but with each day I have been constantly reminded of the simple fact that I am lucky to have great friends. Like the other day I was just having one of those days, where you just feel like you woke up on the wrong side of the bed. It doesn’t matter what people say to you, you always take things the wrong way. Or you will read into things way too much. I don’t know I am sure we have all had them before. Well after eventually making it through the day of class, and work. I came up and crawled into bed. It was not too long after one of my best friends come in, and curled up beside me. We did not even talk, we just watched a movie. She is one of the people that understands I just need to know that someone is there for me, and then I will come around when I want to talk. Just having someone beside you, lets you know that they are there for you. Then good old Valentine’s Day rolled around and I am not going to lie, I am bitter about this holiday, but actually was surprised when one of my best guy friends shows up to my room and with a card and flowers. I did not expect anything like that to happen, but I was just in total amazement because I feel like certain things happen at a time when you need it most. This statement goes both ways because in order to have great friends, we all have to put forth some effort ourselves. The other night one of my friends had too much to drink, and got very emotional and I sat there and talked to her until she finally stopped crying, and feel asleep. I just feel like friends are always there when we need them the most, without any explanations. Which brings me to my question…why is it that friends always know the right thing to say or do, when we need it the most? We always joke around about the rules of friendship, but in actuality what are the real rules, and who came up with them? Interesting enough, everyone seems to know the rules and how to play by them. The only response I can come up with is the simple fact that it is human nature, but somehow that explanation does not really answer the question itself. I guess I need to stop questioning it, and really accept it for what it is. And well at the end of the day, be thankful that I am lucky to have friends that will be there when I have a bad day, or even nights when I have had too much to drink. The bottom line is they are always there with the right words, or even gestures at that.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I read Nicholas Sparks’ book, “At First Sight” and was really taken back by the relationship that the two main characters Jeremy and Lexie had with each other. Jeremy Marsh and Lexie shared a love for each other that was unconditional. Their love withstood a lot of obstacles that really illustrated how strong their love was for each other. The couple got married after dating each other for only a few weeks. Jeremy picked up from New York and moved to North Carolina in order to begin their lives together. Jeremy was willing to move without any promises of a job, showing that it did not matter as long as he would be close to Lexie. Jeremy was a writer and was doing really well in New York because there were a lot of opportunities in the city. He moved to North Carolina where there were not very many chances for successful stories. Once moved to North Carolina, Jeremy and Lexie became very involved in finding a house, and planning a wedding. We find out soon after that the couple was actually expecting a child, but did not want the word to get out. They thought that because they lived in a small town they would be judged for getting married because Lexie was pregnant. On top of all of the complications, Lexie also had a run in with her long time friend that has always had a thing for her. Despite all of the obstacles, such as unexpected pregnancy, moving into a new house, planning a wedding, and dealing with trust issues, Jeremy and Lexie somehow pulled through and made the marriage work. The book’s ending which really added to the book were actually what really took me by surprise was the complication with that the couple faced with the baby. The couple went to the doctor for the ultrasound, and that is where the turning point of the book began. During the ultra sound the doctor saw something in the ultrasound that was not supposed to be there. The doctor announced that the baby actually had ABS, Amniotic Band Syndrome. The band is attached to the baby then the baby could be born with congenital abnormalities. I thought to myself as if the couple had not had enough issues to deal with already. Now they were faced with the odds that the child may deal with defects or not be able to make it. The defects would be anywhere from facial deformities to actually dealing with the loss of their child. The couple had to go to ultrasounds every two weeks up until the birth of their child. Each time they went to the ultrasounds the couple dealt with the odds that their child would be non existent or they would have to deal with the fact that they child would be deformed in some way. All of the time between the ultrasounds really put a strain on their relationship because they were always so worried about the outcome of their doctor’s visits. The end of the book had such a tragic ending, one that I had never really been prepared for. Each visit with the doctor went over well; the doctor announced that the baby was going to be fine thus far. He also said that their was a possible chance that the baby sound face some complications at birth if the baby were to come in connect with the tube. Lexie finally went into labor, and abruptly the story came to an end. Lexie died will giving birth to her child. I was in complete shock when I got to that part because I never expected the book to end that way. X gave her life for her daughter so that she would be born. I was in total amazement by this because the baby’s mom gave her life up in order for her baby to survive. The baby was born and the father went into shock and did not really believe that his wife was no longer alive. The nurse brought over his new born daughter and he was not really sure how to take it all in. He was excited to have this tiny baby in his arms, but not too long after he held her he started to question how on earth was he going to be able to love this baby after he had taken his wife away from him. So there it is how are you able to deal with a situation that brings both a loss of your loved one. Yet, at the same time a new life was formed. This was a great book that really made you think because I start their across my bed in awe as to how the book panned out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

J1/ In “Community, Commitment, and Individuality,” Bellah et al argue that community involvement leads to and fosters civic individualism/civic engagement. Think about the example of Angelo Donatello, who found that embracing his individual heritage as an Italian-American compelled him to join not only a local chapter of the Sons of Italy but also inspired him to become a civic leader in Boston. Think also about Cecilia Dougherty, whose sense of civic engagement—her desire to help the “have nots have power that reflects their numbers” (pg. 84)—extends from her awareness of her private life, i.e. the values instilled in her by her parents as well as her struggles as a widowed housewife with four children. Make a comprehensive list of the many communities—large/small, formal/informal, serious/silly—that you consider yourself a part of. For each community, reflect on what has led you to participate in these communities. Did you join a particular community because it reflected the values you were raised with (such as a religious youth group or)? The values/interests you are beginning to embrace on your own (such as a “simple living” club or a “literary society”)? The values/interests of your peers (such as a ‘greek’ organization or a “Maroon 5” fan club)? To what degree is your membership in these communities an extension of private and/or social aspects of your personality? Please explain.

Member of a sorority
I am a member of Phi Mu on campus here at RMC, which also makes recognition with Phi Mu on a national basis. I have been able to meet girls that I know really well. We share a bond with each other that is indescribable. I wanted to join a sorority because I wanted to be able to have a group of girls that really understood me, I found that in these girls. Being in Phi Mu also builds up on the bigger picture, which allows me to be in the whole greek community on campus.

Member of York County
York County was the area that determined what school system I would attend. York County is located in the town I know and love, Williamsburg. Williamsburg was the town that I grow up in for 17 years until the day I packed for college. It is where my mom, little sister, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and 4 cousins live. It is a comfort zone for me because I always run into people when I am out and about. Williamsburg is a place where everyone knows me because I am surrounded by family and people that I have known since kindergarten.

My family
I consider family as a community, because you are born into a family but you have to be willing to accept them for who they are. That is what a community does because they have to understand who you are, and you have to be willing to be accepted in that light as well. The membership into your family is personal because you are related by name and blood to this group of people. You are always going to be around this group of people, and they are always going to love you regardless. I think that the best part about my family is the simple fact that I do not think that I have to prove myself to them. They already understand who I am, and they love me for it.

Class of ‘07
I am a member of the graduating class of 2007. The thing that brings all of the students graduating in the year 2007 is that we are all working towards the same goal…graduation baby! We all have that same focus to get claim majors, and take the classes in order to earn our degrees.

Church community
I do not attend church every Sunday, but I do have religious beliefs. I think that shows that I do have a religious faith, in that I am proud of. I am connected to my beliefs, and attend church when I have the opportunity. So I feel like I am some what of a religious community.

Bookstore Staff

I am known on campus for working in the bookstore on campus. I enjoy working there because I am surrounded by people that I enjoy working with. I have been working there for 3 years, and the people there have become like family to me. I think that the bookstore connects me to the campus as a whole because I am placed on campus as being an employee of the bookstore.

I am having a hard time with a topic...so I decided to post these and see if there were any suggestions for a topic? Anyone??

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

J2/ Growing up, you belonged to several communities, but the most obvious one was probably the community that you lived in...your neighborhood. As a young adult, you are moving away from that community and entering others. Help your classmates and me visualize the communities that you belong to as the neighborhood where “You” currently reside. In other words, if “You” were neighborhood, comprised of different houses with residents inside of them which represent the different communities that you consider yourself part of, what would it look like? From the list of communities that you wrote down for Journal 1, choose 4-6 communities and describe them as houses on “You” street.

“Sorority House”
I am a member of Phi Mu on campus here at RMC, which also makes recognition with Phi Mu on a national basis. Becoming a sister of Phi Mu has allowed me to form lifelong bonds with 40 girls. These girls have become a huge part of my life, and I am lucky to be able to call them my sisters. The thing I love the most about our sorority is that we all have something to bring to the table. We all come from different parts of the world, Virginia, Maryland, Maine, and even Ecuador. Each sister’s age ranges from 18 through 22. Being a part of a sorority we are working towards the same goals: to form friendships that will last a lifetime, take part in giving to the community, and contributing to our philanthropy, Children’s Miracle Network. In order to gain membership to the sorority, they need to show interest in the sorority, and receive votes from the sisters. Then the sorority will give out a bid to the girl, and then if they accept it they will go through a pledging process and become imitated. As with every sorority there are dues in order to be a sister, but the rewards totally outweigh the cost. Being in a sorority different words are used in order to understand the concepts, and references to the sisters. Each sister has a position, and with that being in a sorority the labels and the jobs they entail come along with the position one holds for the sorority. In order for one to truly understand a sorority one must be in it because from the outside looking in you will never be able to understand it. You must live it in order to really understand and accept the love I have for my sisters.

“Beach House”
I say this because I am at peace at the beach; this house represents freedom and relaxation. I feel this when I am around both of my family and friends, so I would have this house in my neighborhood for sure. I think that having my family and friends around me is what keeps me sane. This group is defined by me because I choose the location at the beach, the beach is what makes me relaxed which in other people’s cases it could do the complete opposite. I enjoy soaking up the sun, and listening to the waves hit the beach. I am always in another state of mind when I am at the beach, and I am lucky that I have friends that truly impact my life in the same ways. I have friends that I go to when I need a hug or a shoulder to cry on, then there are my girls that can make me laugh until my stomach hurts.

“A church”

I will be honest and say that I do not attend church every Sunday by any means. But I can say that I do believe and feel the need to have religion in my life. It may not be a in a place of worship, but that does not mean that I do not take pride in following my religion. I think that a church is important to have on my neighborhood because whether or not I attend everyday I still have to pass it on my daily travels. Whether it be a place of worship, or not religious beliefs are something I need in my life. Another important fact a church brings to the neighborhood is unity, and love. In a church, the people that choose that church share the same beliefs and values. It is nice walking into a church knowing that the people there are there for the same reasons you are. I think it is comforting to know that because then there is no pressure to try and prove yourself.

“RMC house”
I think that my school would have to be a house on my neighborhood because I have spent the last 3 years here. I am going to be graduating from RMC and come on that is 4 whole years of my life. The people that I have met here have really influenced me in so many ways. I came here my freshman year, 17 years old, unsure of what I want to do with my life. Here I stand now, a junior, 20 years old, and still unsure yet sure what I want to do with my life. Things have changed since I stepped foot on this campus, almost 3 years ago. Between the classes I have taken, to the friendships I have formed, to my job at the bookstore. I have seen a change in myself. I ate lunch with my roommate from last year the other day, and we sat there and laughed over all of the times we have shared and how much we had changed. Better yet, we talked about how much of an influence we had on each other, somewhere through it all I know that I am going to walk across the stage at graduation and look back at everything with total amazement because we have all changed in so many ways since our freshman year, and I think to myself I still have about a year and a half before I am out of here. So I know that I am not growing up, I am only getting started.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Write a brief persuasive essay (5-8 paragraphs) on "Why you can or cannot teach someone how to be a good writer". Include at least one argument from all of the following: the heart, from values, from character, and from reason. You may also include logical fallacies if you think they will be effective in helping you persuade your reader.
(audience: my dad who doesn't really understand why I love to write so much.)

I think that you cannot teach someone to be a writer because everyone is considered their own being. If a teacher were to stand up and teach us how to write, not everyone in the classroom would be affected the same way. Everyone is considered an individual, and allowed to take things in their own way. The fact is we are all individuals and have unique characteristics that make ourselves who we are today. Teaching someone to be a writer cannot be taught with the expectations that the results will be a carbon copy writer. I think that as a teacher the skills for writing can be taught, but everyone is going to add their own personal flair to their writing.

As an individual we have different issues that will affect us more than others. If a person has been through a personal experience that really influenced them then will be moved more than a person that has no emotional ties to the topic. Writers often write how they feel, or write on issues that they are passionate about. I have emotional ties to dealing with divorce, and often find myself incorporating those emotions when I am writing. Where as, if a person is writing about a death in the family then they would be able to connect to that topic more so then I would be able to. I have been lucky in the fact that I have not had to experience the loss of a close family member. Writing is a talent in which one writes how they feel.

We all come from different locations, backgrounds, religions, and families. Our values are a combination of everything from our past. Taking all of the characteristics we are able to form our own values that we obtain for ourselves. Our values define our character which ultimately shines through in everything that we do. Every experience we come across, and more or less how we deal with them defines who we are. I think that our values and defining qualities really make up who we are. We as individuals have the right to choose our values, and should be proud of them too.

Another defining characteristic that makes everyone an individual is our ability to reason. We all have different ways of assessing things, whether it is a conflict with a roommate, or even why the sky is blue. We are all entitled to our own beliefs which are based on our own judgments. Using situations that have tugged at our heartstrings and incorporating them into our writing makes the writing a personal piece.

Each writer has their own take on things because they are incorporating their own personal values, and reasoning. Writing is something that is very personal to the writer, speaking from the heart and using their own methods of reason. The final product is a piece that they themselves have created, and that is something that cannot be taught in school.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

“Everything happens for a reason.”

I started thinking about how much this quote has really helped me when I am at a time in need. Growing up my mom always nailed that quote into my head when I came home from school upset about something that happened with school, friends or boys. She even would come up to me after our field hockey team loss a huge game against a rival high school in overtime. It was something that I heard a lot growing up, but never really though too much about it. As I went through high school I was forced to deal with a lot of things starting with my parent’s divorce, which led to school, friends and well life itself. Throughout high school I always felt really bitter and doubtful about life. I ended up dating a guy in high school for 3 years. Upon meeting him I though wow where has he been all of this time? My mom’s response was her famous quote “everything happens for a reason.”

When I came to Randolph-Macon, I left behind my family and a boyfriend of 3 ½ years. My relationship with my boyfriend lasted until about January of my freshman year. When we broke up the first person I called was in fact my mom. We talked about all of the positive and negative aspects of our relationship. I remember one of the first ideas that I came to my mind with was the quote my mom had always told me. We both laughed at the fact that I was the one to throw that into the conversation. I think that it was at that point in my life I finally realized that my mom had been right all along, I just needed to come to that conclusion on my own. I thought about it and felt like it was one of those things that you heard all of the time, and just took for granted growing up. I needed something in my life that I really depended on to change in order for me to truly understand the way that quote really plays into our lives. I am in college now with the mindset more then ever that sometimes you just have to relax and let things happen because as you have probably caught onto by now I believe “everything happens for a reason.” I now see the beauty in that quote that my mom was trying to show me. Now a lot of my best friends will come to me with problems and when it all comes down to it, my answer is in some way, shape or form that “everything happens for a reason.” Whether it is a problem with a friend, a boy, a job, a grade, or even a bad day…it is still something that I will perceive as being for what in fact what it is. It is meant to be that way, and that is all there is to it.

I feel really stupid writing about quotes, but they are something that I really love. I know I know I am such a dork. I think it is how I express my feelings; I always look at quote books in bookstores, or even search the web for them. The thing I love the most about quotes is how you can find the perfect one that will just speak to you when you need it. When you find the right one you can summarize your mood or even you life in just a few sentences.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I just want to vent a little bit..sorry guys.

Do you ever feel like some days you really have it all, then others you are just like wow today is NOT my day? Well I guess today it just one of those days where I am like hey…can I get a break over here? I feel really stupid talking about this on here, but this is usually how I deal with things anyway. I am a happy, outgoing, and in most cases a positive person. I am not saying that I have the perfect life because in my world, there is no such thing. I do pride myself on making the best of what I have though. I know I know I feel like I am sitting here feeling sorry for myself, but I am just frustrated with a lot of things happening right now. Things could be better now, but I remember this statement from either a book, or a movie (not sure where it is from)…”life is not a game of perfect.” Nobody has the perfect life and well if they do please inform me as to how you go about it. As I am growing up I am coming to the conclusion that I need to just attempt to let things go. I need to work through the bad times, and really just love the good things in life because it will be those good things that I will remember and keep in mind during a time in need. So here I am now, thinking about my one of my best friends that really made an effort to put a smile on my face the last time that I was having a bad day. I came back from class one day and saw a letter laying on top of my keyboard, I opened it up and there it sat was this two page letter expressing all of the reasons why she thought she was lucky to have me as a friend. Well I pulled that same letter out earlier and it was that letter that really gave me the inspiration to write this. I say that because all day I have just felt like I have been doing and doing and never really getting anywhere. It was then I remember how much that letter meant to me, so I decided to read it again. I then came to the realization that yes we all have bad days, or days where we are not getting anywhere. Then comes the little things like a note I received from my best friend that really can make all of the difference.

Friday, February 10, 2006

J/ Describe your expectations for this class. What do you expect this class to be? What is influencing your perceptions of this class? What do you want to leave this class knowing? What are your goals for the class? What are you looking forward to in the class? What are you nervous about? What is the most important change you want to see in yourself of your writing that you think this course could foster?

I do not really know what to expect from the class, but I feel like I will walk away with a much better idea as to how I write. I have an open mind as far as my expectations of the class. I think that even from our discussion in class I started to see writing in a different light. I view writing as a way for my personal thoughts to be put on paper, but I have already seen the other ways in which writing influences our families, communities, and government. After the discussion, I saw writing as a tool. My views of writing were broadening when we discussed all of the ways writing can be influential to the public’s views. I have always focused on what writing was doing for me, and my personal growth. I do not think that I really had thought about how much freedom and leeway I had as a writer. As a writer, we are able to influence one’s decisions based on the message we relay to the audience. Dr. Malesh gave the example about writing a letter to court in order to explain the reason for not having the proper registration for her vechile. But Dr. Malesh had a great argument about the fact that not a single person at the Department of Motor Vehicles mentioned the need for the sticker, so as a new resident to the state of Virginia she was not aware of the law. Her argument was strong, and with the choice of words, and structure she was able to set up a fair argument. It the way in which she choose to write the letter, and with the Randolph-Macon seal paper her argument was well presented. Both of these put a lot of weight on how important it is to write well. After hearing how Dr. Malesh was able to use the education, and smart tactics I know she was successful, I am starting to have a new way of viewing writing because I know that the English skills I am developing will defiantly be helpful in the future.

I am excited about this class for many reasons. I am hoping that I will understand myself as a better writer. I find myself writing about the experiences currently happening in my life, and I want my writing to incorporate more then that. I hope to find and understand my writing style because I currently do not know exactly was that includes. I want to become a better writer and improve the ways in which I communicate to my audience. I know that I am able to get my ideas across to an audience, but I would love to really fell like I am able to fully communicate my ideas. I think that I have always felt as if I wrote papers in classes because I had to. My English freshman teacher thought that I was a great writer, but I have found that lately my feedback is not as always as positive. I am hoping that I will get back to the ways in which I am happy with the works that I create and turn in. I sometimes feel unsure as to the paper that I wrote, and become nervous before turning it in. I think that more than anything I need to concentrate on brushing up my skills, and again begin to develop confidence in my ability to write. I hope that I am able to become a better writer that is the part that does make me nervous. I have always felt like I was capable of writing but when you get papers back that have grades which no not reflect the grade you thought will question your ability. I am looking forward to make strides in becoming a better writer because I think that with writing everyday, I do not see how it can be possible to not become a better some what of a better writer. I am not going to take things personally because I am here to benefit from all of the criticisms in order to better my writing skills.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

J/Discuss your experience with writing. How do you understand yourself as a writer? What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your writing techniques/process (i.e. Do you do any prewriting? Are you are compulsive drafter? Do you wait until the last minute? Do you use paper or a computer to compose? Do you follow any formulas for writing?)

Writing was something that I picked up at a hard time in my life, and it has just stuck with me every sense. In my freshman year of high school my parents announced to my little sister, Amy and me that they were getting a divorce. Being a freshman in high school, I had no idea how to react to the news. My dad left us, forcing my mom to go to work, after being a stay at home mom all of her life. She found a very time consuming job, she worked almost 80 hours a week. Here I was a freshman in high school, and I was supposed to step up and play a mom to Amy. Adjusting to the ways of high school was already hard enough, now I was in charge of taking care of my little sister too. Throughout the whole change I was experiencing I found myself writing down all of the things I was feeling. It was just all I knew to do in order to deal with all of the overwhelming emotions. I have always used writing as a way for me to dump my thoughts on paper, it clears my head. I find myself usually writing when I am stressed out, or just unsure of the ways of the world. I see it more or less as a mechanism which allows me to write whatever I want. After I see it on paper I somehow find some relief knowing that I poured it all on paper. It brings a peace within me.

I find my strengths in that I am able to get my feelings across when I write, I do not mind talking about how I feel. They always become clear paper easily. I feel a sense of confidence in what I write because most often it is personal. I think that I write better when it is something that I feel passionate about, I have a hard time writing about something that I do not have some feelings about. Which I think can be considered a weakness in some ways because I like to have some personal take with it. With that said, I always have a hard time writing about some paper on a topic that I do not have an interest in. If the paper is a topic that I enjoy I do not wait to the last minute to write it, but I find myself waiting for the last minute on topics that are not important to me. I seem to work well under pressure, and I am thinking that it could be either a positive or a negative trait.

As far as a writing process, I can not say that I have a strict way of doing things. I will just start writing all over paper, and start to form some sort of train of thought. Then other days I will go straight to my computer and type away. I like to type out my drafts because I am not the best speller, and I am always changing my thoughts around. Using a computer is just easier to me. I would not call them formulas, but they are things that have to be done before I can write. I usually clean my room before I start writing. It is pretty stupid, but I can not think when my room is a mess. I always play music when I am writing, it helps me think.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006