Friday, April 11, 2014

Texts from the Police

This week we've had three texts about incidents from LSUPD: two about suspicious packages and one about an attempted robbery. Last year we also received a text about a suspicious package. LSUPD even had a robot go in and insect the package just in case it contained a bomb. The "package" ended up being someone's suitcase left in the quad. 

After receiving more texts about packages, it was nearly impossible not to make fun of them. I texted my friend, "I know people are excited about Spring Break, but they should keep better track of their belongings." The suspicious package was actually a tool left behind by a construction company

I won't lie. Sometimes my friend and I make fun of the attempted robbery texts, too. The robberies frequently occur on the west side, which is also know as the ghetto side for multiple reasons. One of those being the run-down low income houses and apartments right off campus on the west side. But that's ok. Honestly, I prefer the west side to the east side. The east side tends to be notorious for housing rich students, especially with the Greek system having houses over there and the Honors College residence hall, which is one of the most expensive ones on campus. (And honestly, I've had more problems dealing with drunk sorority girls on the east side than dealing with drunk people on the west side. In our friend circle, the joke goes, "West Side, Best Side. East Side, Rich Side.) We're essentially making fun of stereotypes that, in our experiences, have been proven true. 

Despite the jokes we make about the texts, I'm really happy that LSUPD has a system to alert students about crime on campus. Letting us know where danger occurs helps us to stay safe and avoid the area. The past year or so, LSUPD has been trying to integrate itself more into the community. They do demonstrations, drive students to their vehicles or residence halls late at night, have "adopted" a residence hall, and seem to have a larger presence around campus in general. I think it's a good thing to have such an active police force, and I'm really grateful that they keep us safe.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Happiness

I haven't been happy in a while. Pretty much everyone tells me that. "You always look so sad." Oh, really? Maybe it's because I am sad!  And that sadness is all my fault. It's my fault for thinking too much, worrying too much about the little things and about what other people think. It's my fault for not accepting the truth until the "truth" becomes what I want to hear. Or so they tell me. It's not like this sadness is from stressing out, doing homework all the time, and sleeping less than 5 hours a night.

"How do I fix this?" is the first question I immediately asked myself. I searched for books on self-esteem, happy thoughts on Tumblr, Pinterest, and articles online. Yet nothing seems to help. In fact, I'm fed up with searching for happiness. Honestly, I think happiness is a by-product of someone's circumstances. It's not something we can hold or pursue. "The Pursuit of Happiness" has got to be one of the worst phrases in the English language that I know of. We can search and search and search and still never find happiness because happiness just happens to be created while we're working hard on something else. It's not a tangible object that can be found. It's a feeling, something that tells us something good happened.

"Just let it go." What do you want from me? The death glare? It's kind of hard to be happy when I'm constantly told my personality traits are wrong. That the way I function, that I prefer to think and have logical answers, is wrong. "You analyze things too much." Yeah, well, this is how I understand the world. If you could stop attacking my understanding, that would be great.

"You shouldn't care about what other people think. You should just care about yourself." False. I honestly think people who believe that someone else's actions and words don't affect other people are ignorant about the way humans work. Why do you think we're told from day one to play nice, to use kind words, and not to bully others? Oh, right. 'Cause our words affect other people. Words and actions can kill a soul without even touching the body. Once that soul is dead, it's extremely hard to resurrect and heal it.

I've always been told I'm too serious, that I need to loosen up a bit. This came from my peers and older adults, such as teachers. And the minute I attempt to be less serious, the minute I feel horrible about myself because I'm faking. I'm acting like someone I'm not. And the minute I go against other people and be myself, the minute I'm "too something" again.

Instead of telling me I need to change, it'd be nice if someone could say that I'm ok just the way I am. Sure, I have flaws, but I'm still a decent person. I like to think that I am. I need improvement, yes, I will agree with that. But I don't I can ever improve if people are focusing on the bad instead of the good.

I know this post could be interpreted as a whiny and needy, and yeah, maybe it is. I have needs; let's acknowledge that. Besides, humans learn things through experience, right. If people have only shown me how to reject myself, but haven't shown me how to accept myself...how can I know how to accept myself? I don't have a foundation on which I can grow and learn. Sometimes, when our foundations are cracking or missing pieces, a friend can help us repair them since they have more knowledge, skills, and resources than we do.

I don't want to be sad anymore, and I'd really appreciate it if people could just leave my sadness alone. It'll get better eventually. Just not right now.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Researcher

When I first entered college, I wanted to be a researcher. Working on my thesis has completely destroyed an inkling or want of being a researcher. That dream was shattered into a million pieces because research wasn't what I thought it was.

I'm still working on the same thesis. It's currently been a year and half since I started reading about English as a second language, designing stimuli, and programming the experiment for the participants. I'm glad to say that I'm finally in the experimental stage. It took me forever to get here, and unfortunately, I only have a month to run about 60 participants. I ran 14 in the first week--Yay me!

However...I seem to be having problems with participants. In my experiment, I'm running native English speakers and non-native English speakers. Native English speakers means that speakers have spoken English as their first language and have been exposed to it since birth. I'm also defining it as someone who only learned English from birth and no other language. Non-native speakers have learned other first languages besides English or they've learned English and another language at the same time since birth. Are we clear? Okay, good.

I have two sections for my experiment: native speakers and non-native speakers. However, native speakers have been signing up for the non-native speaker spots and non-native speakers have been signing up for native speaker spots. And all I can do is sit there with my legs crossed and fingertips pressed together above my chest as I stare at them in disbelief. Do people not know how to read? The definitions for native speakers and non-native speakers are even included in the sections when they sign up for the experiment. It's a bit frustrating.

Besides that, some participants just decide to not show up at all. So, here I am, struggling to get 60 participants. When I see someone signed up, I get excited. Woo! More data! Now my analysis will be more reliable! And when that person doesn't show up, I'm immediately let down. I can't draw conclusions from such a small amount of data.

I think I can appreciate researchers more now because I understand the frustrations with human participants not cooperating or showing up or just not signing up at all. I don't think I'm going to support my hypotheses in my thesis at all. Honestly, it's looking like one giant failure, but I guess that's ok. Science can only disprove things and not prove them.

At this point, I just want to get something. If I can get 20 participants instead of 60, I would be so happy. My final project is differing a lot from my original proposal, but at least I'll have something. I would be so happy if people would just answer my e-mails and show up to the experiment. It's the little things that count when nothing else seems to be going right. Research, you are one heck of a challenge.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Senior Identity Crisis

Last semester in our Peer Leader class, we read and discussed topics on transitions of first-year students. We were expected to use this information to help our students grow in HNRS 1000, a class that we Peer Leaders taught. Along the way, I realized I also had some of the transition issues still although I was a senior. One of those includes fighting external pressure to choose my own place.

A senior, right? I should be the big girl on campus. YEAH! Except...a lot of people tell me I look like a freshman and don't believe me that I'm 21 going on 22 in 3 days. The power structure in college is different from high school. Seniors are in classes with freshmen, and some freshmen have more work and internship experience than seniors. People come in with different kinds of backgrounds and different levels of development. Basically, students have to learn how to tailor their college experiences to themselves, which isn't easy at all.

As a senior, I'm still not entirely sure of who I am. Most of the time I try to claim I don't care and block it out, so I don't have to deal with the frustration and stress of trying to figure out who I am. Except, it doesn't work like that. In the words of Brene Brown, "We cannot selectively numb emotions...You can't numb those hard feelings without numbing the other affects, our emotions."

There is tons of pressure to BE someone, to DO something. In fact, during the Christmas holidays, my grandmaw asked me what kind of job I was going to get with my majors, English and Psychology. I told her I wasn't going to get a job just yet but continue education for a paralegal certificate to increase my changes of getting a job. And her reaction was "What? You can't get a job with your degree? You can't even teach?" Just that simple of a reaction made me feel worthless. I spent four years taking classes on critical thinking, developing writing skills, and discovering how people work all to be told it's worthless because I can't get a job with it. It made me feel like I'm not good enough and that I won't be worth anything until I get a job.

With the world, especially the United States, shoving students into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs, the humanities is left out in the cold. Many scholarships and endowments focus singularly on STEM programs. I guess that makes sense because there's currently a race in technology around the world. But if you don't give money to humanities, then how will STEM students learn to read, so that they can read the problems they face in STEM careers? How will STEM students learn to communicate without humanities?

Finding worth in my college experience is sometimes a struggle. Questions fill my head, questioning my basic personality to my major. I feel the need to please the world, my teachers, my family, future employers, and myself. I can't do that because I can't do and be everything at once. It's impossible. When I first came to college, my dad insisted that I be an engineering major. I could've done it, and I could've earned good grades in those classes, too. I wouldn't have been happy though. Pursing a subject I'm not interested in may have resulted in depression if I wasn't careful.

I could've followed the call of the world: Join the STEM programs! That's where the money is! That's where the jobs are! But that's not where my heart is. I enjoy an occasional math class, but English is where I shine. Accepting that I can't please everyone with my major is like choreographing dance. Not everyone will be satisfied with my performance, but I think how I feel about it is more important. I think the most satisfaction I can get is by working my hardest to create something that I like. It's how much effort and time I put into this to make myself better. Yes, there will always be some people who look down on me because I'm only in the humanities, that I'm not challenging myself by working with tangible numbers. I don't think I can ever please my grandmaw, my dad, or people who look down on the humanities. Instead, I'll have to work through this muck of doubts to create a path for myself.

I think college is more about learning how to stand on my own two feet while tides pull me in different directions. If I get swept away by a current, I might forget who I am and what I want. Transitioning into college isn't easy. You have to handle changing environments, different friends, connections and breaks with the past and your family, and most of us, you have to deal with changes within yourself. Sometimes, it seems like you don't even recognize yourself anymore. The change isn't a bad thing, and it's not a bad thing to stick with what you love either. But all of these transitions and changes take a lot of work. Standing your ground takes a lot more courage, effort, and strength than anyone had ever informed me.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Young Marriage

Any college student may notice a trend...on Facebook. Some of their classmates are getting married. :O GASP. But here's the deal. Most young people aren't marrying early. This blog post: Wander On Wards seems to think that's the case, even citing an article from 1987. If we're to believe Fox News, then the average age of marriage is 27 for women and 29 for men. Huh...you mean not 23? No. Most people, especially those with a college education, are waiting longer to get married. In fact, because we see our classmates and friends getting married on Facebook, we may use the availability heuristic and think young marriage is more common than it actually is. It's true that people who marry younger are more likely to divorce, but it's also true that the 50% divorce rate is a misconception. 50% of all marriages don't end in divorce. And did you know that someone who divorces once is more likely to get divorced again?

Now that we've acknowledged that divorce and marriage statistics are skewed, let's acknowledge another fact: everyone is at different development levels (I prefer the term plane, as in different geometric planes that way it's less hierarchical). Some people know themselves more than others. I know that I want to go to a paralegal program after college, but other college students don't even know what they want classes they want to take next semester. I don't think anyone has the right to judge the development plane in which someone is in at the moment. Let's admit it, some people don't value marriage and they'll probably never get married. Other people value love and monogamy and would do well in marriage. Both can be correct. It depends on the person's attitudes and beliefs. The time at which someone gets married probably depends more on their circumstances rather than their age.
Planes of Identity
Another constant misconception is that after marriage, people automatically choose one house and settle down. Then nothing changes. Not the case. I've seen many married couples rent houses and transplant their families as they change jobs. Some couples take their children around the world with them on vacations or even live overseas for their jobs. It's more expensive to travel as a family rather than as a single person, yes, but it's not impossible. You can still have new adventures with your spouse and family. In fact, I want to grow, develop, and change with someone. I don't think I can be with someone who thinks people don't change. I want to experience and share the world with someone I care for.Who doesn't?

I find the idea that you have to "find" yourself before you marry is bogus. If you're to have a good relationship, I do believe you have to find someone with similar tastes who shares your most important values. You don't, however, have to have a completely formed identity. In marriage, you'll have to learn how to adapt to your partner. If you're stuck in your ways, then that'll never happen. I'm sure there are many older people out there who can explain to younger people that your identity changes as you age. It changes as you encounter new experiences and marriage is one of those experiences. Identities are somewhat stable but never truly solid. Even my 50-year-old parents are still changing over time as they adapt to their lives and sometimes aren't sure about what they want. Life is fluid, probably more fluid than the ocean.

I think whom you marry and when you marry should depend on your values, and those values are different for everyone. It's not our place to judge those who prefer to marry early, in the middle, or late.

If we really want to talk about marriage, I prefer this article on Huffington Post: True Love Need Not Wait.

Instead of telling young people, "Don't get married," we should tell them, "I'm worried about you getting married young. Have you thoroughly talked this over with your future spouse and talked about marriage with experienced couples?"

I'll admit when it comes to marriage, I don't know much since I've never been married. I can only rattle off statistics I've learned from articles and the classroom. I can only describe what I think and learn from watching married people grow. Besides, only about two of my cousins, uncles, and aunts have ever gotten divorce. So I'm not very learned in terms of divorce. Maybe I still have marriage fantasies going on in my head, but I don't think glorifying later marriages should be our only option.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Staying, Staying, Stuck!

It feels like all I've done for the past week is twiddle my thumbs. I can't remember doing anything significant, and everything is a blur. I've ignored e-mails, lazed around sleeping and eating, and just read books. I've been so lazy that I forgot to renew the library book I have and now I owe $0.50. I'll do it later, I tell myself. Aaaaand then I never do it.

I found this: The Go-Nowhere Generation. After reading this, I scratched my head and found it kind of insulting. In a way, the research may prove his points, but since it's based on surveys, I doubt it describes the full picture. Maybe the younger generation is staying in their hometowns because...GASP! They like their hometowns. Maybe they're staying because they value family. And maybe they're staying because they like the weather and don't want to move from hot Nevada to cold South Dakota. Just because a state has a better economy doesn't mean it's a better place to live in. Let's remember that there's not much in South Dakota anyway. Human pleasure doesn't rely simply on money.

However, there is some truth to this article. I feel stuck. I still have a year and a half of college (a semester of undergrad and then a year in a paralegal program). I plan on staying in Louisiana to amass some money so I can move out. I'm aiming for two years and then I plan to move because I need to get away. I love my family, but I just need to go on my own since my values have diverged from theirs. I don't have the money to move or to explore the world yet. I could take a risk and just jump, but I don't have enough connections to do it. Why put my self in jeopardy when I can be patient and make a safer jump later? Jumping the gun when you're not ready isn't always the best idea.

Even though I know what I want, I'm not going for it, not making connections. I'm sitting around on the couch quite happy and content instead of studying about paralegals or technical writing.I want to learn a new language, but I haven't invested any time in it, except for watching TV shows in that language. My to-do list grows longer and longer, yet I park my butt on the couch and I enjoy my laziness. A bum? Oh, yes! Oh, my!

I have to say though--I'm not unhappy. In fact, I think my no-action break is too short. I only have one more week to do nothing and then it's back to work and school for me. Back to my thesis. Back to one more semester and then some.

Oh, well. I'll enjoy going no where while I can. I'm enjoying being a bum. I might be in Go-Nowhere Generation, but it's not as bad as it seems.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Residents and Dorm Staff

If a resident at a dorm: How to Piss off Your Dorm Staff

1. Don't listen when staff is talking to you.

2. Walk in loud and drunk, especially LOUD.

3. While you're drunk, play the piano during quiet hours.

4. Still drunk, put furniture in the elevator and ride up and down with it...two nights in a row.

5. Bring in guests after visitation hours end.

6. Open the back doors, which are alarmed, to let guests in after visitation hours.

7. Say, "Other RAs let us do this," when trying to get away with breaking a rule.

8. Claim that a guest of the opposite sex has no where else to go and has to stay with you because they've been staying with you all week.

If Dorm Staff: How to Handle Residents that Piss You off

1. Put a breathalyzer on the card reader outside the door, and if the residents are drunk, according to the breathalyzer, the doors won't open for them.

2. Place shock devices on the piano keys that activate during quiet hours.

3. After visitation hours end, shoot all guests with water guns until they leave.

4. If water guns don't work, then try tazers.

5. Dress up like a plant from Plants vs. Zombies and shoot peas at guests after visitation hours.

6. Replace the back doors with bricks and then put a prop door over the bricks.

7. Glue/nail the furniture to the floor.

8. Call the police.

Unfortunately, murder isn't an option.

You'd think 18-year-olds would be smart enough to follow rules put in for their safety and for respect. However...that is not the case at all. Instead, they act like children and disrespect the staff members who are only doing their jobs. Now I know why seniors hate freshmen. I don't think some freshmen have enough life experience to realize that to be respected and keep respect, they have to act with respect.