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On the Simple Things in Life

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 I'm late! I'm late! I'm late! Panicked, I attempted to open my car door while holding a bowl of cold oatmeal and schlepping my backpack and bag. Not only was I going to be late for the trillionth time, but it seemed like I was going to stain my clothes and the rest of my car with almond milk and oats in the process. I angrily tossed my luggage into the passenger seat, carefully set my breakfast into the cup holder and gingerly closed the door to keep any more of my vittles from spilling over the sides of the bowl.

Grudgingly, I turned on my car and looked at the clock. 13 minutes until class! Annoyed at my own tardiness, I whipped out of my driveway and started down the road. As I tried to balance breakfast and progress, I passed my neighbor and his daughter who live across the street. Every morning, they stand outside together to wait for the bus. Before the bus arrives, they always wave to me as I pass them. This morning was no different. The touching sight of beaming father and daughter hand-in-hand brought a smile to my harried face. I was not nearly as grumpy the rest of the way to MC. And the rest of my day went much better than I was expecting it to. They may not even know it, but my neighbors showed me how much joy we can bring just by offering the simple things in life - a smile, a friendly wave, a pleasant attitude. Who knows? It could change someone's entire morning around.


Kimberlee's Friday Eve Selection:

 


P.S. It's been so cool to see the conversation that all of us bloggers are having about the state of things today! Thanks to Tiffany, Sarah and Greg for extending it :-D

 

The World Actually is a Better Place

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by Greg

           As Sarah alluded to, there has been some discussion – prompted initially by Kimberlee’s post - about the state of the world in which we live in.  Specifically, the observation is that people don’t seem to care about each other.  Coincidentally, I just finished writing a paper (hence the late post) on the philosophy of Thomas Hobbes.  Some of his views directly relate to this question.

            Hobbes has a very pessimistic view of human nature.  He believes people are selfish competitors who would kill each other if they were not restrained from doing so by a greater power.  For this reason, people created government with the express purpose of being that greater power that saves us from such a violent existence.  As I was reading Hobbes, I began to wonder how effective governments have been in preventing violence.  I scoured the internet, and what I found may surprise you.

            The world is much less violent than it has been in the past.  From my military education, I already knew that wars claim less lives today than in years past.  Not because wars are less violent – the weaponry is more destructive and deaths more likely involve civilians - but because they happen MUCH less often.  More surprising to me is the drop in crime.  Despite the horrible things we see on TV, crime has been falling in the United States for about 20 years.  (Note to men – you are more than 50% more likely to be a victim than women, so maybe we need walking buddies at night too).  Thomas Pinker, a Harvard professor, wrote a book about this phenomenon entitled The Better Angels of Our Nature, and his TED talk is very interesting and linked below.      

Homicide
     

          There’s a lot of theories about why this is happening.  Pinker offers several explanations: First, commerce.  We trade with people foreign and domestic, so we have an interest in their health.  Next, feminism and increased rationality (via increased education) have offered alternative ways to resolve conflict.  Third, globalization and mass media enlarge our “circle of sympathy” for people different from us.  Finally, Mr. Hobbes recommendation has been followed – governments have more power and do not abuse it as much. 

            So what should we take away?  First, don’t believe media reports that the sky is falling.  On the contrary, things are getting better.  Second, we should promote education (especially for women in the developing world) and an interconnected world, so maybe people drooling over their cellphones isn’t so bad.  Finally, this doesn’t mean that we’re safe.  People probably still are inherently selfish, conflict and competition will always exist, and violence is still too high, so we still must take precautions.

            I know Kimberlee began this discussion with poverty – that’s getting better also, at least worldwide, but that’s a post for another day.    

Another site:  Violent Death Project, here you can compare statistics from different countries. 
            

Bad Moon Rising

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Hi Friends!

There has been some discussion amongst the bloggers this week regarding common sense and the world we live in today. That, on top of a conversation that I have had with my parents numerous times over the years, has got me thinking about safety this week. Specifically, with our immersion into autumn and the ever decreasing amounts of daylight we will get the closer we get to winter, traveling at night.

On Monday nights, my last class doesn’t let out until darkness has already fallen, and although the common rule of thumb is to avoid walking in the dark when possible, sometimes it must be done. It can’t be helped that it gets dark earlier and earlier every day, just like it can’t be helped that we’ve all got to walk to our cars afterward, regardless of whether it is light or dark out. Simultaneously, unfortunate things don’t only happen at night, though they may be more likely to occur under cover of darkness. I’ve been on both very big campuses and very small campuses and I don’t think either is inherently safer than the other, regardless of the time of day.

Obviously, blaming the person who was walking alone for something terrible that was done to them by another is not what I’m trying to do here. I’m simply passing on some information that was given to me as to what can be done when you find yourself in a bad situation. I honestly hope it never comes to that, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared and it never hurts to be vigilant. I find that simply knowing what I would do and how I would react to a threat to my person comforts me, sad as it is that the information is necessary.

In short, be prepared. Try not to walk alone if it can be avoided. Something I like to do, especially in a garage parking facility like ours, is to check my own windows and the windows of any cars parked very close to mine before I get too close, to make sure nothing has been tampered with and no one is hanging around. Lock the door behind you once you get in. Lastly, something that comforts me is letting someone know where I am. I don’t necessarily like to have my phone out and distracting me while I walk, but telling someone I’m heading to my car before I go and then texting them again once I’m safely inside makes me feel a lot better and lets me know that someone is looking out for me if I'm uncomfortable.

We all end up alone sometimes, it’s a part of life. Just try to be as safe as you can when you do end up alone!

Until next time,

Sarah

Here's a few links to some online resources on the subject, should you be interested:
As always, use your own judgement when it comes to taking advice from others, especially regarding your own safety!

And, as always, the music selection for the week:

Happy almost Halloween!

Moving Monday

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house
 

 

Unlike some of the other students, I have not had any sort of writer’s block during my MC blogger journey.

My problem is significantly worse.

I just have way too many ideas. And if you’ve spent any time with me at all, you know that I am a horrible decision maker. If you asked me whether I wanted fish vagina or spaghetti for dinner I wouldn’t put it past myself to weigh the options—despite having been a vegetarian for 6 years. And just generally grossed out by the idea of sea creatures having genitals.

So yes, deciding what to write this blog about was a huge decision. In fact, I still have not totally decided what I’m going to say. Which is probably why I’m still ranting about nothing.

Oops. Here goes.

In the past year and a half I have moved at least four times. And now I am setting myself up to move once more this Friday.  

Actually making the decision to do all of these moves was terribly difficult for me. I thought and thought and thought some more, literally agonizing over each one.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Look Tiffany. What is so gosh darn important about you moving? Everybody moves eventually! Well I’ll tell you what’s so gosh darn important about me moving.

It has helped me come to one of the most crucial decisions of my life.

When I first moved out of my Mom’s house my senior year of high school I was technically homeless. I lived on my brother’s couch for a while. Then I crashed at my friend’s for a few months. And until I found my own place I really did not have a home. Or did I?

At the time I felt supplanted, confused, alone. At least until I realized that the physical space you occupy is not your home. Home is my brother’s couch because he let me stay there until I could figure things out. Home is my friend’s attic because her mom made me dinner and let me talk about my feelings. Home is my single little room because it helped me establish my independence and learn about myself. Home is my Mom’s two story house because she surrounded me with people who love and care about me. And now home will be this new place.


shack mansionigloo


Because no matter where I physically live—whether it’s a shack, a mansion, or an igloo—I have finally made my decision. 

A home is not a house. It's a feeling.    

Happy Monday!

Tiff:)

P.S. My friends and I are volunteering at Homeless Resource Day on November 7th. If you are experiencing homelessness please come by and visit. You are not alone. If you would like to help volunteer for those who are underprivileged, visit your office of student life. They have a ton of opportunities. 

P.P.S. Kudos to Kimberlee for doing her blog about the Walk for the Homeless. It was awesome. If you haven't already, check it out!  

Tiffany’s Monday Music Selection(x2):


 

 

 

Bad Poster, Bad Post

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Hello (sometimes hypothetical) readers. Today I’m going to touch upon inspiration. Inspiration is a mighty hard thing to come by at times. Great artists have cut short their prospective oeuvres due to a lack of it and anyone who has been under the metaphorical gun has at times grasped at straws for it. We often draw from our influences for it. It can be hard to deal with then when a figure that has been an inspiration passes on into the infinity of death. This is I guess then is not quite an elegy to an inspiration. Lou Reed, an artistic and musical giant has died today.

For me Lou Reed and his 60s rock group The Velvet Underground were always the pinnacle of what it means to create art. Prickly, different, dark, personal and pressing against the edges of convention.

Sure, what denotes high art from pop can be subjective and yeah I’m being subjective as hell as I type this, but it great art usually not only comes from pain but manages to translate that pain into an understandable yet ineffable language of feeling.

While it’s true that when an artist is gone their work will live on forever (or until societies crumble the earth heats up and the planets spin out into nothingness). That is part of the draw of trying to be an artist; the artist lives on forever. It doesn’t lessen the fact that a creative person will no longer create. When that happens regardless of the age of the creator we are left to think what could have been next.

I don’t know what I’m trying to say except that I want to listen to a lot more music while I do my homework this week. I think I’ve been forsaking a part of myself this past semester. I’ve been trying to seclude myself from noise, music and feeling as I’ve been fighting hard to stay afloat in a particularly tough class and convince my superiors at work that I’d be a worthy addition to my office once my probationary position comes to an end. We need to enjoy the little bits of life that are there just to please us. Okay this post has been nothing more than a rambling but maybe that’s what happens when you cut out enjoyment from life. It’s way too easy to get caught up in the drudgery of the mundane.

If anyone’s made it to the end of this detoured read of irrationality just remember this; have fun, listen to music, don’t take the little things in life for granted and try to create some inspiration.

 

Listen to some Lou Reed. . . I promise it’ll do some good.        

Career Planning

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Last Friday I mentioned I had a lot of events that I wanted to attend, but I could not do all of them. I made my choice and I decided to attend the NIH Community College Day. I am very sure I made the right choice. It was surprising and it made me happy to see that there were so many students present; about 600 attendees from the local community colleges. I was also proud of the teachers who were concerned about the future of their students and decided to bring them to the conference.

What made me happy was the fact that I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with people who are doing the job that I foresee as a career choice. I had hundreds of questions in mind concerning the medical field and despite the amount of research that I had done online, no information I got was as valuable as the one from the Doctors present at the conference. We also had different skills sessions during which we were taught how to advocate for ourselves and create a professional Career plan.

I am glad I went there with a friend who is also interested in a similar career like me.

 nih

From all the Doctors present, I noticed that they did not all have the same story; one had a PhD, another a Masters in Public health and another, just the M.D degree. This taught me that while I am making my Career plan, I should focus on designing something that is unique to me while incorporating my own interests and skills.

 

On Caring

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On Tuesday 22 October, I was in the midst of grading papers in the hotspot of Germantown MC civilization - the cafeteria. Suddenly, a mustard yellow peacoat-clad person materialized and commenced hopping about and waving her hands to get people's attention. Many an irritated or curious face turned her way to see what she was about. She explained that the Help the Homeless Walk was taking place on campus, and walkers were needed. 

After she finished speaking, most people went back to their original activities, their expressions indifferent. Disheartened, she then went around to various tables asking others to sign up to walk. I saw looks of disgust on people's faces; commentary emerged from at least two tables that they didn't have enough time (as they sat viewing intellectually stimulating episodes of Adventure Time on YouTube) or didn't care about the homeless. Incredulous, I went over to sign up. After taking less than 5 minutes to register, I then took only 13 minutes (I timed it on my handy dandy phone) to walk around campus and complete the mini scavenger hunt. A total of less than 20 minutes. What is that in comparison to the average of several hours we spend on social media, texting and television? The reaction of many of the people in the cafeteria that day got me thinking - what is it about so many people in the 18-35 year old (and older) category that just doesn't seem to care about others? 

Here's what they gave you for participating - a free t-shirt, a button, and candy! Plus, all MC students could participate in the walk completely free. How easy is that?

Yes, there are a plethora of passionate young adults who enjoy helping care for the needy. But some days, it seems like they're outnumbered by those of us who could care less. Is it our youth? Do we think that because we're young, nothing of the sort affects us in any way? Is it because it doesn't affect us that we don't take any action against poverty and homelessness? Do we expect somebody else to do it? The reasons (excuses?) are as endless and diverse as the MC student population.

The wonderful ladies from the MoCo Coalition for the Homeless.

Now, I'm not perfect either. I've avoided eye contact with the homeless people on the median on 355 and 27, and there are times where I selfishly don't want to think about the problems of other people when I have so many of my own (or it at least feels that way...). But at some point, on some level, we all have to care about the plight of the downtrodden. And who knows? One day, we could be one of those in need. 

This reminded me of a poem written by Pastor Martin Niemoller (a clergyman during the reign of Adolf Hitler who was deported to a concentration camp because he would not preach Nazi doctrine) called "First They Came"

First the Nazis came for the Communists and I did not speak out - because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the Socialists and I did not speak out - because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out - because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak out for me.

This is an extreme example, yes, but it reminds us that if we fail to speak up for those in need when we have plenty, no one will speak up for us when we are the ones wanting.


Kimberlee's Near-Weekend Selection:


One of the volunteers from the Office of Student Life at the last stop on the mini scavenger hunt. There were so many sobering facts that I learned in those 13 minutes. For example, it'd take a person working a minimum wage job at least 183 hours per week to pay for the average 2-bedroom apartment in Montgomery County.

How to Handle Success

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by Greg

Yesterday, we got a difficult paper back – it was from the same professor I wrote about a few weeks ago who gives out many Fs.  I worked very hard on it, so I was happy to get an A+, especially considering the grader.  Then I went into my usual act when things like this happen.  I covered up my paper with my body and quickly hid it in the back of my notebook – like I was ashamed of it.  Then the professor told the class I wrote such a great paper that it would be a learning point if I read it for the class.  I almost had a heart attack.  I  meekly retrieved the paper and started reading.  During this, I became sweaty and anxious.  Later, the anxiety returned when my fiancé asked me to blog about the experience.  She said that I have a problem “not claiming my gifts” and I “make myself small.”  In response, I just developed some guidelines for myself on handling success.  I’ll try to use them next time – and to be honest, I’ve violated all of them at some point.  Please feel free to critique or add in the comments.

Rule #1:  Don’t Show Off

We all know the person who asks everyone what grade they got on a test or paper.  A few real friends may actually care about how you did, but most interrogators either want to compare grades because they are in some sort of imaginary competition, or they want you to reciprocate the question so they can tell you how well they did.  Some people just skip the question and profess their greatness to the world.  In the professional world, this is like telling/asking/showing people how much money they have.

Rule #2: Don’t Be Arrogant

Related to rule #1, except now the dark side of success spills over into actions.  Don’t belittle people who aren’t as good at something as you are.  Also, realize that you still don’t have all the answers.  If you are an A student, other students can still teach you something.  Listen to the ideas of others and keep an open mind.

Rule #3:  Don’t Be Afraid to Stand Out

As I was reading my paper, the thought “my classmates will hate me” passed through my mind several times.  Truthfully, there probably is someone jealous or someone who can’t stand my voice anymore.  It might be the same person who would otherwise ask what grade I got.  I need to stop worrying about offending such people.  We don’t need friends who begrudge our success.  On the contrary, there will be people who respect and value us more for the unique gifts we bring into the world.  It’s a fine line, but you can stand out and not be a show-off or arrogant.  

Rule #4:  Use Your Gifts

As I wrote about in a previous post, this is the opposite of arrogance.  If you’re successful at something, help others at becoming better at it.  Consider doing it for a living.  Actually, not putting your gifts to use is wrong.  If you are the person who should lead, but don’t want to stand out and so don’t step forward, someone else will do it and do a worse job than you would have done.  Therefore, if my paper is a good example for other students, I should be okay with sharing it.  Maybe I should be like Madonna and tutor other writers.  Since this was a philosophy class, maybe my thoughts are worth sharing.

Rule #5:  Claim Your Success – When it Matters

This may seem opposite of Rule #1, but sometimes we do need to relate positive facts about ourselves.  There is real, not imaginary, competition for jobs and school admission.  The most qualified people should get coveted positions, and one of them could be you.    Sometimes we need to prove our credibility before we can promote a good idea.  Again, maybe it’s even wrong not to do this.  If we don’t claim a position we earned, someone else less deserving will.

Rule #6:  Don’t Let Success Pressure You into Perfectionism

After graduating from Weapons School (“Top Gun”), I felt pressure to be perfect on every mission I flew and spent a lot of time preparing for them.  Sometimes – during war – this was probably okay, but at home it was stressful and unnecessary.  A new paper is now coming due in this class, and I feel like I need to get an A+ again.  However, I should do my “reasonable best” within the other constraints in my life.

 

 

Hollywood Nights?

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Hello Friends!


So this is me promoting our own promotion! (Does that make sense?)


This past week, the Montgomery College Student Blogging Program was featured on the County Report! If you are interested in learning a bit more about the program or are curious about anything in general, feel free to watch, it’s only a few minutes long.


The link is here: County Report 182

Just skip to about 22 minutes in to hear all about us!


This is another experience I’m going to have to add to my list of things I probably never would have experienced, had I not made the decision to attend MC. If you have never been interviewed in front of a camera, it’s definitely something that’s a bit odd. I had no idea what to expect when I was asked to participate in the interview, but it turned out to be a lot of fun.


Of course, there were some awkward moments, especially as none of us knew what we were doing except for our very kind and patient interviewer. But once we got into the swing of things, the whole process went by very smoothly and ended up being very enjoyable, especially after I figured out how to stop feeling like I was being watched! (Having a camera on you will do that to a person).


If there’s one thing this experience taught me, it’s that it is surprising how articulate you can be when you stop thinking about what people want to hear and start thinking about your honest answer to the question that’s being asked. That would be my advice to anyone who has a fear of speaking in front of a lot of people or a camera. Once I stopped thinking about what I was supposed to say and do, I was able to just be. And the great thing is…that was more than good enough.


Thanks for reading!

Until next time,

Sarah




This weeks selection for music is Bob Seger's "Hollywood Nights" (because I've been on a classic rock kick lately). Here's the link: Bob Seger-Hollywood Nights

environMental Monday

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treehuggerrrr
 

After last week’s mushy blog, I opted to go for something decidedly more logical this week. Or at least a topic that I think of as logical: taking care of the environment.

What you might ask? The environment? What’s that?

Simply the water you drink and the air you breath and the raw materials you use and the toilet paper you use to wipe your dirty ungrateful brown—ehem. Excuse me. 

Yes, most of us do not take very good care of our dear ol’ medio ambiente. But I’m here to tell you that that has got to change.

For tree huggers like me, it’s enough to just think about the effect that our actions have on others to pick up that plastic bottle on the side of the road and recycle it. But for those of you who need more self-satisfying reasons for saving the environment, here you go.

Go ahead and walk over to your kitchen sink. Let that water run… wait stop! What the heckie are you doing?! You may be surprised to find this out but there are plenty of people in the world who do not have access to clean water—let alone running water. Pollution is a major factor that prevents people from having clean drinking water. Dirty water means diseases. But more often than not, places with a lack of clean water also have a lack of sophisticated health care. There are people dying of diarrhea because they drank the only water they had access to and you’re letting yours just run down the drain? What happens when it runs out and you're the one with diarrhea? Are you crazy?


 

Take a huge gulp of air. Mmmm. Breath in those chemicals and pollutants. Do you even know what clean air tastes like? Neither do I. But every time you drive the two blocks down the street to your best friends house instead of walking think about how much extra carbon dioxide is being emitted into the atmosphere. And next time you pick a Chinese made shirt instead of an American one to save a few bucks, think about the factory it was produced in and the ridiculous amount of energy it took to get all the way here from half way across the world.


 

That cell phone that you hold so dear? Yepp, its made from a plethora of toxic chemicals and metals that are mined in third world countries. So the next time you trade out your iPhone 16 for an iPhone 16ssss to the power of 3 think before you toss that baby in the trash. I would personally rather not die from lead poisoning. Recycle that joint!


 

I could literally talk about the environment all day long. In fact I considered giving you my vegetarian spiel, my local/organic spiel, my soil erosion spiel, my renewable energy spiel… I have a lot of spiels. For now I think ill stick with these three basic life necessities—the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the life you live. What would you do without them?

You'd die. So go ahead! Be selfish. Start taking care of your environment. It's just about the best thing you can do for yourself. 

Happy Monday!

tiff:)

P.S. These videos are really cool. Check them out! 


Tiffany's Magical Monday Music Selection:

 


 

 

Halfways and Headspace

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It is best to know oneself. Self understanding, in my opinion is probably the greatest lesson taught in college. It’s unfortunate that the class is not one that can be registered for or even sought. It is learned through trial and error, failures and gradual successes. Ah, I wish I could have learned the lesson years ago. We all have to move at our own paces though and I guess my pace is just a little behind the beat.

It’s easy to define yourself by your mistakes, but the world really doesn’t do the same. It is sometimes just easier to live in your own head for better times and for worse. I’ve learned much about myself in the time it’s taken me to get to a point of near completion of my Montgomery College experience. I’ve taken some great classes that taught me to better understand myself and that have been thrilling. I’ve taken my share (or more) of classes that I’ve dropped, but there have been lessons there as well (at 21 and with zero experience with the Spanish language, I was in no mindset to take a late start Spanish 101 and not in the evening when my mind was already burned out and coming down from a day’s worth of ADD medication). Even so, I still make decisions against my better judgment . . . like taking an online class in modern poetry when I can barely rouse up the understanding and energy some days to drag myself away from Netflix long enough to say  ramble mindlessly about my own personal travails on a simple school blog.  

What’s great though is we’re halfway through this semester and that means a lot in that for better or worse it’s all downhill from here. We’ve come to understand what our classes and our professors expect from us, we’ve gotten a less than desirable grade or two, and we’ve know what we have to do to keep up or catch up (like talking to professors, or getting to know some of our class mates a little better). If we can all just keep our heads up for a few more weeks it’ll be another notch in the belt and another several lessons learned.

What lessons have you learned about yourself over the course of your college careers?  

       

 

Three things I learned from Ghandi

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Just like my fellow blogger Kimberly, I also listened to Arun Ghandi, Mohandas Ghandi’s grand-son’s talk on Monday. I do not want to give you duplicate information but I must talk about what I learned from it. The conference was at Germantown which is a campus that is almost impossible for me to get there. Fortunately, one of my professors offered to give me a ride there and back home. I guess I could not deny that opportunity. It was a great talk and there are many things I learned from it. Mohandas Ghandi is someone that I admire and since Arun Ghandi spoke a lot about him, I felt like I was listening to M. Ghandi.

 

He told us some of the things that Ghandi used to tell him and one of them included the advice that we should never act on our anger in a way that we are later on going to regret. He said that we should learn how to understand our anger and use it in the right way.

 

I also came out of the talk with the knowledge about some four principles needed to have a good relationship with people. This includes: respect, understanding, acceptance, and appreciation.

 

A quote he said his grand-father had told him was that “Education is a lifelong experience. You need to have an open mind to learn from people but do not let them blow your mind up.”

I really like this last one because I have come to learn that everyone we meet has something to teach us but we have the choice to choose which one we want to accept.

 

Since I have a love for learning, I try to participate in events that will teach me something. Next Friday there are three events I want to attend: NIH Community College Day, Maryland Statewide College Leadership day and a Back to School Night party on Campus. I can do the latter one, but I am confused on the previous two. I wish I could do the two, but I have to make a choice. This is hard but I will let you know next Friday on what I decided to do.  

 

On the Practicability of Peace

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Is Peace Practicable?


On Monday (which also happened to be Greg’s birthday!), I had the privilege of going to a talk by Arun Gandhi (Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson) entitled “Gandhian Nonviolence: A Pathway for Resolving Modern Day Conflict.” An author and sociopolitical activist, Mr. Gandhi addressed the various aspects of peace. He told charming stories about his boyhood with his grandfather, and spoke at length about creating a culture of peace, understanding and constructively using our anger, and living out nonviolence. “We assume that peace means an absence of war or violence,” he remarked (an insightful observation, I thought).

Though his talk was fascinating, I did wonder inwardly if what he was proposing was practicable. My musings were voiced when, during the Q&A session, a local businessman posed an intriguing query. He asked it if was possible to have nonviolent competition between businesses and nations. Mr. Gandhi’s answer, which sounded similar to the bulk of his talk, failed to satisfy the man, so he pressed further, insisting that those in business especially were looking for practical solutions. The speaker commented that making billions of dollars a year wasn’t practical, and the questioner was soon drowned out by the applause of nearly everybody in the room.

As much as many in the audience didn’t want to admit it, I think that that man had a valid point. We all love the ideas of peace, love and everybody hugging and singing “Kum-Ba-Yah” in a circle of unity. But when it comes down to it, are those lofty ideals actually doable? Can they realistically be implemented in American culture? With all of the issues that we have as a result of being a diverse country, is it even sane to expect any level of this to come to pass?


I’m not sure yet. What about you? 

Kimberlee's Near-Weekend Music Choices
I love anything that's a mashup of classical and other forms of music. Here's one from the first piece of classical music I ever heard. 


The Meaning of Birthdays

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by Greg

 


            This past Monday was my 37th birthday. My guess is that most new 37-year-olds go through a routine day and are quietly grateful they are not 3 years older.  So probably like many 37th birthdays, on the surface my day was largely unremarkable.  I spent much of the day preparing for a calculus midterm, then at night enjoyed a special dinner prepared by my fiancé, blew out some candles on a cupcake, and finally got some small but thoughtful presents before going to bed.  Yes, to an outside observer it was not a big deal, but internally for me, it was a different story.

            Birthdays have various meanings as we go through life.  For many young children it is a great occasion.  We become the center of the world, receiving all sorts of gifts.  We are made to feel special on OUR day.  As teenagers, birthdays are about getting ever closer to independence.  We can’t wait to get older, because we get more control over our lives.  We can drive ourselves, make our own choices politically and personally, and finally, party as hard as we want.  However, after 21, birthdays become decreasingly narcissistic, and instead of a celebration of freedom, they are just routine days filled with responsibilities.  Every decade, we may have a bigger celebration of a milestone, during which we are told that we are officially old at 30, 40, 50, etc...  Otherwise, a birthday is just a regular day outside the 100 posts on your Facebook timeline.

            But what should a birthday mean?  Actually, I think we get it right on our first birthday.  Yes, the one you do not remember.  The one when the wrapping paper was infinitely more wondrous than the toy inside.  The one when you were a sponge and mostly soaked in the world rather than try to make your way in it.  The one when you didn’t feel overly special, and didn’t care for either freedom or your burdens.  The one when the celebration was really about you being alive.  It was a day when your loved ones were grateful to just have you around.

            On my 36th birthday, my cancer was growing rapidly, and my doctors doubted I would make it to 37.  I eventually switched doctors, but I saw my old ones about a week ago and they were amazed I was even walking, much less staying active and taking classes.  My cancer is controlled, and importantly my quality of life is relatively high.  It could be better and there have been some rough times.  I wish I could work, but learning at MC is fun.  I wish I could have a family, but I love my fiancé.  I wish I would have less pain, but I still have many pleasurable moments.  Truthfully, sometimes I am bitter about what my life lacks, but not on Monday.  A birthday isn’t about getting what we wish for, being the center of attention, being independent, or dreading old age.  It should be about being thankful that we are alive.  So on my 37th birthday I looked like a normal person having a normal day.  However, inside it was a very special day of gratitude.     

Today's song:  Pearl Jam: Alive.  One of these days I'll pick a song from the 21st century... but remember that I'm "officially old."  happy 

 

 

Note: Tomorrow at 1 pm, at Globe Auditorium on Germantown campus, my old economics teacher, Professor Madariaga,  will give a presentation on the relationship between economics, inequality, poverty, and justice.  I can’t say enough about this professor or the importance of this topic.  It will be worth your time to attend.        
 

 

Glory Days

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Hello Friends,

I’m feeling particularly nostalgic this week. This past week, my little sister had her senior game at my old high school. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this concept, let me paint you a picture. 

The Loch Raven High School Girl’s Soccer Senior Night (capital letters necessary!) is held each year in the stadium on the last home game of the season. The stadium is decorated in purple and gold and the underclassmen make up big signs with all the senior players names on them, whether they are starting players or not. The seniors get announced at the beginning of the game and then there is an awards ceremony of sorts after the game, during which the coaches talk about each senior and what she has contributed to the team. Flowers and medals are handed out and then delicious food is eaten.

Basically, it’s a pretty big thank you and farewell party before the post season state championship run begins.

Like I mentioned before, my sister played in her senior game last week and I was so proud to watch her lead her team as a captain. It brought back great memories for me and made me very nostalgic. My older siblings had said to me when I entered my senior year that, after graduation, the one thing I would look back on and miss was the feeling you get when you represent your school under the bright lights of the stadium. At the time, I didn’t think too much of it, too distracted with thoughts of leading my team to the first state championship win in years (we actually were state champions that year, as were our boys). But now, looking back on it, I really do miss it and I really regret not taking a moment to really drink it all in before it was over.

That’s why I have decided that I’m going to do everything I can to make the most of my time in college and to really stop and appreciate what makes my time at Montgomery College great. It’s part of the reason I wanted to write this blog in the first place. So, amidst the tests and the stress, I’m pledging right now to really experience college. And to do my best to share that with you. I hope you’ll do the same.

Until next time,

Sarah


Song choice this week: Bruce Springsteen- Glory Days

Mushy Monday

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Hiya guys!

It’s Monday again and my friend suggested I write a blog about him. I didn’t think that would be fair since I have so many friends—I expect they might get jealous. So instead I’ll give you a little friend making advice from my personal experience.

Now, granted a lot of my friends are more like acquaintances. The guy who sits next to me in Spanish that I probably will never speak to once the class is over, the metro guy who jokingly makes fun of me at work, the man from the cafeteria who I flirt with while he makes my burrito. But the more friends I get the more I realize that I don’t really have one best friend. Instead, I have a huge group of really amazing friends. 

There are the girls I’ve been friends with since childhood (and laurda but you're not in this picture)—we could stop talking for months and when we see each other act like no time has passed at all;

shannsdgi

My brothers and sisters who can be the most annoying people on the planet but I can always depend on;

friends222

The three girls I recently met who welcomed me into their circle of friends without hesitation; 

jftsdfghjlohb

My friend away at college that I still visit whenever she comes home;

 
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My friends from scholars, especially Vichente who I love with all my heart and soul;

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And my coworkers that inevitably make me laugh when I’m having a bad day (and who i have no pictures of).


I always thought that was a weird thing—not having a best friend. But I could never just choose one person. Instead I have a network. No matter where I am or what is happening there will always be someone to turn to. I have a different friend for every situation and… they are all the best.

Friends are a hugeee part of life. They’re especially important during college. So take my advice. Make sure your friends are the best possible friends for you. Who cares if your parents think they’re a bad influence or if they don’t fit in with your usual crowd?

Good friends are hard to come by. But once you have them they’re hard to let go. 

Happy Monday!

tiff:)

 

Tiffany's Magical Monday Music Selection:

We're Going to be Friends by The White Stripes

http://youtu.be/PKfD8d3XJok

 


Reposition for Redemption

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First off, thanks all for stumbling into my blog and double thanks for those who commented on my two most recent blogs. Sometimes, it just feels easier to clam up during times of duress and it’s nice when a person breaks through that wall, to get a little feedback to at least know that the sentiments aren’t just melodramatic catharsis. I think that when life’s stresses get to you it’s easy to feel like the rest of the world doesn’t exists and to want to create a cocoon of denial and withdrawal to escape to. I think that for most of the time over the past few weeks I was trying to hide away. It was nice though to have a place to go to let a few things out of my head. The interesting thing about life though is the shots we get at redemption. I think that for the most part we all (maybe not all, but mostly) want to think the best and the highest of people and think that somewhere most people are at least benign if not altruistic when it comes to the other people around them.

I’ve had in the past (and off and on in the present) an, at best, touchy relationship with my mother. I think that we’ve both become increasingly vulnerable over the past few months. The problem has been that while I’ve been just spewing everything churning in my head out in some form or another, she for the most part has seemed content to keep everything beyond some surface veneer tamped down below the surface. She has always been the type to hold this veneer until the point of cracking and then lash out irrationally at whomever is in her path. It’s almost like watching a cornered animal striking out fangs bared and claws flying. Over this past weekend though I noticed my very estranged parents communicating reasonably civil and, dare I say, fondly. I had written their relationship as over, done and decayed long past any sort of restoration or even civil reconciliation. Now I’m not saying anything more than productive talking can come out of reconciliation, but sometimes we need to patch up out bridges, polish out those mirrors to cross over and look ourselves, our eccentricities, and even our defects in the eyes and accept them as a part of ourselves in order to eventually make ourselves a functioning whole.  


We are all Malala

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On Wednesday, I was in the midst of writing my second Physics exam when my professor wrote something on the board, “Who is Malala” and asked us to take a look at it. At that moment the only thing on my mind was my exam so, that did not ring a bell to me. He explained who she was (the Pakistani 15 year old who survived a gun shot in the head last year by a member of the Taliban because she advocated for the right for education for women and girls). I was like yes, I do remember her. He told us that at age 16 she has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and that this was more important than Physics.

Unfortunately my test did not go that well and I felt terrible. I felt all this school work was getting difficult for me. When I got home, I read an email form my Physics professor about her in which he had also sent us links about an interview with her and her speech at the United Nations.

Seriously, this was just what I needed to feel better that night. This little girl who is two years younger than me was ready against all odds to sacrifice her life to fight for the education for girls like me. I thought about it, and even though it gets hard sometimes, my education is one of the most important things in my life. If something could prevent me from getting an education right now, I (not literally) will not survive. I am grateful that I have the opportunity to go to school and I hope that one day all girls will also have the opportunity not only to go to school, but to also do what they want.

mala

Education is freedom, empowerment, and a human right. I agree with Malala Yousafzai on this and to sum it up; We are all Malala, I am Malala.

I wish you all success in your midterms. It gets tough but there are many people who would die to do what you are doing so, take advantage of it.

 

On Assisting Others (Or, Our Royal Entrance)

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In addition to this being midterm week, we also moved into shutdown week #2. Instead of going into the sociological and economic implications of the Fed closing, I thought I'd lighten it up this week. Living in the D.C. Metro area, I think we all probably know at least one person directly affected by the employee furlough. Getting an indefinite break from work is all well and good, but cabin fever is real. To help compensate, some of the businesses 'round town are offering special deals and discounts just for furloughed workers and their families. Some have been more advertised more than others (Starbucks, for example ). But whether they've received a lot of attention or not, I'm just enjoying hearing all the news about these acts of kindness going on in D.C. of late (which aren't as rare as some believe, methinks). So without further ado, here are a few ways to fuel through the furlough!

 


I hope that these can help you or somebody that you know. Enjoy the near beginnings of your weekend!

Only 1 music selection for this week. I thought it was fitting given the circumstances.


 

The Economics of Studying

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by Greg

            For most college students, time to study is very scarce at two times in the semester – midterms and finals.  It seems like every class has a big exam, a tough paper, or huge project due.  Obviously, it’s that time of year at Montgomery College, and stress levels are rising around campus.

            Fortunately, there is a whole subject dedicated to the problem of scarce resources – Economics.  I know what many are thinking - “That’s boring stuff about money, I’ll worry about it if and when I have to take Econ, for now, I have to study for other stuff.”  That’s what I thought too, until I took Econ 201/202 with Profs Grinath and Madariaga.  Economics applies to anything people wish they had more of: money, time, energy, even clean air to breathe or sexual partners (seriously).  I love the subject so much I want to earn a graduate degree in it.  It applies to almost everything in life – including how to budget your study time.

            The economic principle that applies to studying is called diminishing returns.  This principle states that a person will get less gains out of something the longer he/she does it.  Think about going to the gym.  A person who works out 3 hours a week is in much better shape than if they didn’t work out, but if the same person works out 6 hours, they will not be in twice better shape, and certainly if they work out 12 hours they won’t be in four times better shape.  The same principle applies to studying.  Suppose it takes you two hours of study to get to a 70% or C.  Two more hours will not get you to 140%, or even 100%, in fact, you’re probably only up to a solid B at this point.  It would probably take another 3 hours or so to get to an A level.  So how do we apply this?  I generated the chart below with 3 diminishing return curves (these are random, each curve will be different for every student and class, but these are representative examples).  One is for a subject a student is good at (1 hour studying is a C), one he/she is average at (2 hours is a C), and one that isn’t the student’s “cup of tea” (3 hours is a C).

           


GradesvHours


          

Let’s say you have three exams, one representing each curve.  Here is what you should take away.  

 1)  Achieve the minimum acceptable grade in each subject first.  This should be a D or C, and probably a B in most major’s classes.  If you can’t pull a 3.00 in your major, you need to consider switching.  The minimum acceptable grade should never be an A.  You are being perfectionist… 

2) Avoid perfectionism.  Don’t strive to learn 100% of the material no matter how talented you are at the subject.  Note in the class you are good at, you can get to 90% in four hours, but it will take you much longer to get to 100%. The time you spend getting from 90% to 100% essentially wastes time you could use to study for other courses. Perfectionism is the biggest GPA killer after not studying enough.  Trust me, I learned this the hard way.

3)  This is the counter-intuitive one.  After you meet mins in each class, maximize your GPA by focusing on the classes you are good at.  Many of us focus on our weak areas.  Let’s say you have 5 hours left to study for these three exams and you are already at a C in all 3 classes.  Spend 3 hours in your good class to get an A, and 2 more in your average class to get a B.  Your GPA will be 3.00.  If you concentrate on your “bad” class, you will end up with a B and 2 Cs, or a 2.33.  Spread the time evenly, and you will end up with a 2.67.  If you choose the right major, this strategy will boost your major’s GPA too, which is more important for transferring and graduate school. 

      Of course there are exceptions.  You may have enough time for a 4.00 – if so look at other areas of your life – you may be neglecting one or several.  Maybe you’re just smart – if so that’s great, but put your gift to good use by helping others (see last week’s post).  Happy midterms!  

           


           


Love Alone is Worth the Fight

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Hello Friends,

This week, two of my professors challenged the class, one as an assignment and one in an offhand way, to change something about our everyday lives and see how it affects the people around us as well as ourselves. One professor said that if you tend to find yourself stressed, you should list three things every day that made you happy. I decided to do this and to really try to recognize and appreciate that these particular things had made me happy that day. I honestly did not think it would do much to help me, but I found my lists getting longer and longer and even though we are in the midst of midterms, I felt like I was not getting overly bogged down and stressed about it. 

I’ll give you an example of something I put on my mental list just today. I kid you not, today my high school aged little sister actually came home from school, walked into the house and hugged me. For no reason. She just walked in, straight to me, and hugged me and said, “I have no idea why, but I really felt like doing that”. It’s sappy and disgustingly adorable and all those things but, honestly and seriously, it made me really happy. And it made me happy while I was writing about it. And it made me happy when I added it to my list. And recognizing that it made me happy continues to make me happy. That’s the joy of this particular exercise. You get to keep reliving it every time you add something new to your list and suddenly, things don’t look so rough.

Collecting all of those things that made me happy (even the tiny seemingly insignificant ones) all in one place made me realize just how much I have to be thankful and truly joyous about. So especially during this difficult and trying midterms week, try to find something that makes you happy and really recognize that it makes you happy. You’d be surprised how much something like that can affect your mood, and keep you moving for just a little bit longer, whether it’s studying, working, or just putting dinner on the table. It’s pretty amazing how easily overlooked some things are, if only due to their simplicity.

Until next time,

Sarah


Saw these guys last weekend and they were awesome!

Switchfoot-Love Alone is Worth the Fight

Marriage Monday

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Marriage, that blessed arrangement. 

That dream within a dream. 

Blah blah blah. Yadda yadda yadda. 

Cue the flying doves and cheesey music. 


In my last post I vaguely mentioned my alternative views on love and marriage. Today I thought I’d elaborate a bit... 

News flash, people! You don’t need to be married to be in love.

Most people get swept away by the romance and the wedding only to find out that they’re moving too fast. When they realize that their partner is terrible with money or forgets to flush the toilet or is really bad in the sack they’re stuck in an obnoxiously bureaucratic divorce. Everyone ends up broken-hearted, the kids end up psychologically damaged, and the dog gets cut in half King Solomon style.

That is not my kind of party. 

I, personally, dream about meeting someone later in life, moving in together, having fifty (adopted) kids with them, and then maybe, just maybe, when we’re 83 and have nothing better to do we will walk down to the courthouse and finally get hitched.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have had a serious boyfriend before. I frequently imagine myself gallivanting off into the sunset with Ryan Gosling. And that cute new older guy at work? You can bet your right bosom that I’ll be flirting with him.

But a relationship? Right now? No way, José. All it takes is a little reality check and my inner hopeless romantic is quenched. 


Dear Stupid Self, 

You are both going to school and working full time. You barely have time for you. You have minimal time for your friends and next to no time for your family. How the heck are you going to have time for a clingy-kissy-kissy-goo-goo-ga-ga boyfriend? Nope. Don’t answer that question. Even if you did find the time what will happen when you transfer in a year or two? And then after that when you want to travel and join the Peace Corps and save the world? Why would you ever in your right mind tie yourself down? 

Sincerely, 

Your glaringly intelligent other self


But let’s face it. Love is everywhere. And no matter how much you make fun of all those stupid little twihards or that fat old lady reading “The Devilish Duke and the Delectable Damsel” you can’t deny it. You want it too. 

Love is what we all live for. What is life without love?

When you’re ready for it at least.  

Happy Monday!

Tiff:)


P.S. If you’re one of those people lucky enough to have found the love of your life and have married them more power to you! 


Tiffany’s Magical Monday Music Selection:

Ours by Taylor Swift 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZ34LlaIk88


LIfe. . . Interrrupted by Studenthood

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         Stress man, stress gets me down. I have definitely been feeling it (overwhelmed, exhausted, like I want to run to the hills and never look back. . . oh wait thanks for eliminating that option Maryland) over the past semester. The past year has actually my first the firs in which I’ve been completely serious about my collegiate study outside of music. This has also been the first year that I’ve been burdened with serious bills (car payment and maintenance and the first full year of parental breakup and my parents’ house going into foreclosure . . . Yay, finding a place and renting on a student’s salary). Has it got me down? Not necessarily.  Has it gotten to me? Absolutely.

      Lately, I have been affected both mentally and physically. I have gotten sick more during this semester than any in the past. I have been pushing my body well past its limits (and I don’t mean that in any cool sports sense or lifting cars off of pinned down babies) and it is pushing back. I stay up late doing homework and feel like crap at work, I eat poorly and I gain weight, and I stress out and can’t function like a normal human being. It is all affecting me and I can feel its toll. 

     Its just different because its harder to escape. Unlike childhood problems, stresses in adulthood don’t just go away, and we can’t live with our heads stuck in the sand (but if . . . no). The stress seems to linger and it’s impossible to escape. It hurts sometimes and causes ill will towards others. I get jealous at people who don’t have to worry. Stress just sucks. Literally, it can suck the life out of a person. I guess a person has to look at the long term gains and learn to understand their body and what it wants and needs. . .

Plus, note to self . . . stop over-indulging on caffeine and large blocks of 90s TV neuroses ala Frasier . . . Why are you watching Frasier.   

 


Recieving a King

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In my last blog, I spoke about being involved in many activities and my solution of trying to find meaning in them so this week I want to talk about something that I was involved with and from which I learned something.

Last Friday September 27, the Takoma Park Campus hosted King Peggy, the author of the 2013 One Maryland One Book selection: King Peggy: An American Secretary, Her Royal Destiny, and the In-spiring Story of How She Changed an African Village. I was happy such an event was taking place at the Takoma Park campus and to add to that, the members of the African Students Association of which I am a member, were asked to volunteer some time to usher guests at the event. As Ushers, we decided to dress in our African traditional outfits since we knew that King Peggy herself will be dressed in her African Royal attire.

me

This is a picture of some of my fellow members and I (Some people including our professors could hardly recognize us in our outfits).

The most important part of the evening was obviously listening to King Peggy explain her story of getting a call telling her that she has been chosen to be the king of her village, to acting out her duties as one. After listening to her talk, one thing I grasped was the fact that we all have a calling in life and it might come at an unexpected time but we should be ready to: embrace it, adjust our present life to it, overcome the obstacles we face, and do our best in it.

To all those studying for exams, don’t give up if it gets hardbut do your best. Success!

 

On the Present

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I sat in history class on Wednesday morning, eagerly listening to my professor's lecture. This week has been all about the Revolutionary War. I can't exactly put my finger on it, but there's something about this period of American history that appeals to me. 

Maybe it's that against all odds, the hodgepodge of men in the Sons of Liberty (one of the first opposition groups to form against the British government) were able to help start the Continental Congress. Or perhaps it's because that even after failed campaigns in Canada, and losing domestic ports and cities (Boston, Philadelphia, etc.), General George Washington's ragtag militia was still able to defeat King George III's well-oiled Redcoat Machine (who doesn't love an underdog?). Regardless of the reason, that revolutionary period of U.S. history inspired me to rethink the current state of the U.S. government.

I was a little shocked when I heard the news on Tuesday morning about the shutdown. As the day went on, I garnered more details from my classmates and all-too-gleeful reporters. I found myself becoming  irritated the more I thought about the situation. Why on earth did Congress feel the need to further suspend productivity? Why were they behaving like children, holding their political breaths until they turned blue or had their demands met? Why so much dissent?

And then a little quote from Thomas Jefferson popped into my head. Our 3rd President said this: "I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical. [...] It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of the government" (emphasis mine). Now, granted, I realize that hotheads over the budget for the new Fiscal Year isn't as serious as secession from an empire. But in my mind at least, there's still that basic element of dissension.

I certainly don't like the fact that nearly a million Federal workers have been furloughed (with many more to go this upcoming week). But maybe after the House and the Senate finally pass the budget, we voters will think more carefully about who we put into office. The major political overhaul that happened in 2010 (Republicans took the majority of seats in both the House and the Senate, causing the largest seat change since 1948) may well happen again. And who says that's a bad thing? What's your take on it?

Kimberlee's Friday's-Nearly-Here Music Selection (I feel completely inept at finding correlating ones like my fellow bloggers, so here's a few educational ones instead):


Knowledge, Doing the Right Thing, and Arrogance

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by Greg  

          My favorite class this semester is Political Science 241: Western Political Thought.  This class is a hidden gem at Montgomery College.  It’s not easy, but the content is outstanding and very well taught by Professor Hessami (I’m sure he doesn’t read my blog, so I’m not sucking up).  I’ve had the fortune of sitting in on lectures at Harvard, MIT, Chicago, Duke, Columbia, and of course the Air Force Academy.  The quality of education in this course is on par with those institutions – it is a shame only 10 people registered for it.  We began the semester with an examination of Plato’s philosophy.  It’s difficult connecting 2400 year-old thoughts to day-to-day life in 2013, but some recent events have showed me there is applicability.

             Plato discusses in depth what knowledge is, and also what is right or wrong.  He also connects the two – knowledge and doing the right thing – in his famous allegory of the cave.  In short, he says that most people lack knowledge, at least about most things.  We are like people in a dark cave looking at shadows on the wall without real knowledge of what the shadows really are.  However, a few of us have been outside the cave of ignorance and have real knowledge of the world.  At that point, a person is wise, but not necessarily a good person.  Plato says that a good person goes back down into the cave and enlightens the prisoners there.  In other words, knowledge is good only when we use it to help people.

            To illustrate Plato’s point, I’ve recently encountered people who have knowledge, but don’t connect it to doing the right thing.  I need a medical procedure done at Johns Hopkins, and haven’t done it there before.  I called to schedule it, and the lady yelled at me on the phone because I didn’t do all the paperwork she needed.  Sorry! I am not an administrator at Johns Hopkins – so please help me figure out what paperwork to do.  Another time, I had an IT issue and the guy told me to fix it myself in the source code, without further instruction on how to do so!  Again, sorry I am not a programmer.  Furthermore, I don’t deserve to be talked down to because I am not an administrator or programmer.           

            In 2013, knowledge is abundant.  In fact, there is so much of it, that no one, not even geniuses, can learn everything.  Instead, our society relies on people being experts in different things.  We should realize that when we become experts in something – perhaps in what we learn at Montgomery College – that others need our help.  The right thing to do is offer your expertise.  In return, others offer their expertise to you.  This is not only Plato’s message, but also the core of capitalist society as explained by Adam Smith in Wealth of Nations (Econ 201 shout-out to Prof Grinath).  Unfortunately, sometimes we (including me) get snooty about our wisdom.  We start believing that because we are superior in one human skill, that we are actually better overall humans than people who aren’t as talented in that one area as we are.  We begin looking down on them, don’t help them, fail to see their strengths, and act like a-holes.  This is what I call arrogance.   So please, for all of our sakes, do the right thing.  When you gain expertise via your education or experience, realize that it is only half the battle.  You can choose to be good and use your knowledge to help others, or you can be arrogant.

 

Just My Luck

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Hello Friends!

Well, I must say, I went to an AMAZING concert tonight. My brother was lucky enough to win tickets to a “up close and personal” VIP only show of Imagine Dragons at the grand re-opening of the Hard Rock Café in Baltimore City. The show was stripped, with no drum set and acoustic guitars only, so I will admit that, after seeing them at Merriweather last week in all their amped up glory, I expected the music to be a bit bereft, considering how drum heavy their music normally sounds. I am very happy to say that I was proved wrong quite quickly. They sounded great and more than filled the room, even without giant bass drums to beat on. The band has also has a great sense of humor and fun and the guys were all very humble and genuinely glad to be there. They did their own music, as well as some very entertaining covers and really involved the crowd. The venue was great as well, and very beautifully redone. All in all, I had a great night.

I think this is one of the great things about the location of our campuses. We are right near DC and all that the city has to offer, but we are also not that far a drive away from Baltimore either, which is where I’m from. Being such a close distance to both cities is an amazing perk, and you are never left wanting for good entertainment or a fun night out. Music tends to be my go-to, so my entertainment tends to focus around that, but there is plenty out there if concerts aren’t really your thing. So, next time your are looking for a good time, consider Baltimore as well as DC. You won’t be disappointed!

Until next time,

Sarah

Music for this week, of course, is Imagine Dragons: Imagine Dragons- Underdog


My-Way Monday

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mondayheader3

    
Today in class we analyzed an article written by V.S. Naipaul called Our Universal Civilization. In it Naipaul basically argues that The West is the future of globalization because it allows for individual freedoms. He claims that Western societies encourage individuality when all other societies are ritualistic and encourage uniformity. The West is the best screw the rest, blah blah blah, cue the GIGANTIC generalizations.



west



Um, excuse me? I beg to differ!

Here in the West, from the day we are born others define who we are. If we’re dressed in pink we are girls. If we’re dressed in blue we are boys. We go to Elementary School, then Middle School, and High School. If we drop out we are losers. We are expected to go to college and if we don’t we are condemned to live the blue-collar life. We finish college; we get a job, a house, a spouse. We have children, we retire, we die. This is the western ritual.

All this East vs. West business has got to stop. Yes, there are undeniable differences between cultures. But I’m starting to wonder if the strictly east and west divide isn’t some sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. We think it exists so it does. I mean I love America but jeez Mr. Naipaul. It’s not perfect.

east

Everyday I meet students who hate school. Everyday I meet accounting majors that can’t multiply 7x8 without a calculator. Everyday I meet people who are getting married just because they feel pressure to settle down.They’re just going through the American rituals and doing what’s expected of them. 

But I don’t want to be one of those people.

When I tell people that I’m an anthropology major they laugh. I don’t plan on ever getting married because I think it's a religious ceremony turned financial contract—not evidence of love. I want to travel. I want to learn things because I’m curious not just to get a good grade. I want to volunteer my time and take care of the environment and help people. 

I am not a unique individual because I live in America. I am a unique individual because I want to be. I'm living my life my way. How about you? 

Happy Monday Homies!

Tiff:)


Tiffany's Monday Night (/Really Early Tuesday Morning) Music Selection:

I Did It My Way 

Frank Sinatra

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kF-rtkrcQRg



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