If You Don’t Try, You Will Never Know
Freshman year is quickly coming to an end with only four weeks left. It feels like just a month ago I was packing my bags into the trunk and crying out the window as we left my driveway. That was one of the hardest days of my life. I knew it was a new chapter in my life that would be the beginning of a new story but I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to leave my closely-knit family and experience dorm life. I don’t like change. I was excited but scared, sad but curious. Saying goodbye to my friends who had been there for me for the last ten years of my life, to know fun times would turn into memories and that everyone would be departing their own way and finding a new path was unimaginable. Everyone was so excited to leave the small town of Petaluma and leave their nagging parents and strict rules. I wasn’t. I just wasn’t ready. Still don’t know if I am.
Maybe that was the reason my transition was so hard. Maybe that is why I couldn’t open myself up and accept these changes. It was hard, probably one of the hardest times of my life so far. Being far away from home where I had no family or friends, where I couldn’t just go home for a nicely cooked meal and where support wasn’t just in the next room over. That was hard. I just wasn’t happy and all I wanted was to be happy again. I missed my family and friends, I missed my home but most of all I missed comfort. There was none here for me and I wanted to get out of here so bad. I began transfer apps and other options. I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to come back for second semester. It was just too much change at once.
Second semester began and completely turned things around. I was done being upset, I was done crying to the point where I couldn’t stop, and I was just done with it. I came back for second semester with a new attitude, an idea that things could and would get better and they did. I can’t really explain how and why it happened but things just started coming together. Unneeded relationships from home were ended and my soon to be best friend entered my life. I am a strong believer of that quote, “when you have enough courage to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello” and that is exactly what happened. I guess things really do happen for a reason and I can honestly say I am the happiest I have been in a while.
Even though first semester was terrible, people were worried about me and I felt so lost and weak, like it was out of my control. But it taught me a lot and as much as I wanted to give up and go home or transfer, I am so happy I stuck through it because it changed me as a person and taught me a lot of good lessons. It taught me that no matter how hard things get, that they will get better. And I am honestly so proud I got through some of the toughest months of my life. It gives you a feeling that you can conquer anything. This experience showed me my true friends and family and how grateful I am for them. It also just made me a stronger person all around. I feel determined and lucky to be here now. You can tell it’s a good sign when you look forward to the future! The difference between semesters is night and day, my whole world changed around and I am so grateful for that. I am capable. Sometimes people need to fall down and get back up to realize that.
Twisted with thoughts
Alone with fear
Confused by words
Hurt by silence
Fuzzy like the black and white films from the past;
Hazed like cloudy December days.
Warm butterflies, soft heart, comforting arms
Jealous feelings, sharp stabs, unexpected twists
The inconsistency, the tormenting, the daunting ideas,
The compassion, the hope,
The dream that this may last forever
Fear holds us back, holds us from that feeling.
Fear embodies the brain and empowers it.
Fear of rejection, fear of love, fear of dishonesty, fear of trust
But, if you don’t try something you fear, how will you ever know?
It is powerful and weak,
It is scary and beautiful
We may be lost with it,
But really we are lost without it.
“Think about it: a time when newly graduated college kids could come to New York and get paid to write. We had no clue what were embarking on careers that would vanish with a decade.”
Nick and Amy from Gone Girl were both writers who lost their job. In the first couple pages of the book, Nick explains his magazine career that soon vanished with the creation of the Internet. This quote was taken directly from the text when Nick explains the large change in the writer’s world. This idea stuck out to me because my Dad works in the magazine business in New York City and he is experiencing similar issues.
He graduated with a master’s degree in Journalism and lived in the heart of magazine business, New York. When he first started, the magazine business was a high and acknowledgeable business to be in. It was flourishing. When I was a young child he was working in the US weekly and then New York Magazine. He was a writer and wrote and edited articles for the magazine. He noticed the shift in the business as time progressed.
He moved to Colorado about seven years ago because he was done with the city life and he adored Colorado for the weather and the number of active people. A couple years later he decided to move back to New York to make money and get a career again. This time, it was harder, a lot harder. Finding a job in the magazine business was struggling because they weren’t hiring a lot of people and their businesses were falling. He finally got a job as an editing manager and is still involved in that business but he sees the dying business first hand and says, there won’t be magazines pretty soon. A lot of Dad’s work is for the online publication of the magazine. He says that with the creation of Ipads, the magazine business has taken a turn for the worst. People aren’t buying hard copies of magazines because they can just get it on their Ipad or computers. This business like Nick explains, is coming to an end. Something that was so amazing and popular is dying because of the technology advances. Some say this is a good thing and others don’t. It will save trees, that’s for sure, but people like my Dad and Nick will loose their job that was once high paying.
Gone Girl (pages 3-65)
The thickness of the book was worrisome to me. A four hundred page book can be intimidating, especially with all of your other classes as a college student; reading a hundred pages a week is a lot. I am not much of a reader, never was, but just the beginning of the book was a breeze. I usually want to pull my hair out after reading 60 pages in one night, but I actually enjoyed it. The author’s structure keeps the reader on edge because it’s different. His choice of alternating perspectives and times through each chapter is interesting. One chapter is told from the husband in the present perspective and the next chapter told by the wife where you learn about the past. The structure and choices the writer makes really captures my attention, along with the intense plot and blunt diction.
The imagery and comparisons made throughout the writing emphasizes the language. His use of simile and the thoughtful adjectives he uses creates power: power through diction. As an example, Nick explains the intricacy of Amy’s mind by saying “her brain, all those coils, and her thoughts shuttling through those coils like fast frantic centipedes.” This sentence could have easily been written saying ‘her mind is complex with a lot of thoughts constantly running through her mind’. Both relay the same message, one is just more affective. As a writer, I think the author does a stellar job of creating emphasis and strong images. This simile the author uses has impact, instead of saying her thoughts are fast, the frantic centipede relays the image and idea much more effectively and creatively.
The tone of the novel is somewhat conversational, which helps the readers be attentive and engaged. It’s not like reading a Shakespearian play where most of the language is completely foreign to you. That is challenging to even pay attention to, let alone comprehend. The author’s uses of swear words allow the words to jump out of the page. You can actually hear him saying the phrase in your head as your reading the words across the page. I find it that the use of conversational tone and swear words makes the literature more personable, which than again makes it more engaging and interesting for the reader.
In addition, the author does a good job of making the reader believe one thing, when really that may not be true. For example, the deep descriptions about Nick and Amy’s profound and intimate love and the “soul mate” references make the reader believe their love is genuine and real and that nothing could come between them. However, at the end of the reading Nick explains his reaction that came out of no where, “a killer smile.” As the author has done all this preliminary work to make the reader believe Nick would never do anything, this foreshadows and leaves the reader purely confused.
Finding a Way to Create More Positive Affects of Social Media
As I was trying to start this midterm research, I caught myself on Facebook. I was looking through pictures, commenting on statuses, not even remotely engaged in finding research. This is when I decided to change my original line of inquiry and focus on how the social media affects academia and education. I am confident each student, at one time or another, has sat in class and has been checking Instagram or twitter, or even texting and looking at Facebook simultaneously in the library when they are supposed to be studying. It happens to the best of us, especially in this modern day and age. Facebook had over 500 million users documented in 2011, meaning 1 in 13 people use the social media of Facebook (“Facebook Statistics, Stats & Facts For 2011”). The vast amount of Facebook and other social media users are increasing, partly as a direct result of our tech-savvy generation and the advances and accessibility to all technology. College students are challenged by the temptations of twitter and Facebook since they are available immediately, any time and day. Research indicates that social media impacts education positively and negatively but what does this mean for our culture and educational system today?
A negative effect of the large social media on education and learning is that students are tempted to multi-task; they will be checking social media sites while claiming to study and while attending classes. This reduces academic performance because it is almost impossible to be actually doing two things at once (Dunn). This is a huge distraction to the learning intake of students. A study completed by University of Massachusetts released their findings that reported about 48% of students claim to check their Facebook and other social networking sites consistently and another 19.47% said they checked theirs one to two times a day. Also linked in this survey was how often they worked out and the majority of students (25.58%) said never. This contributes to evidence that the sites are creating distractions and less activity to get the brain and blood flowing in the body.
The social media has also brought upon a whole new approach to language that affects the English language, written and spoken. Much of the writing done on in social media is abbreviated or is incorrect grammar or spelling. A lot of students today rely too much on a computer’s spell check such that a student’s ability to write and spell things correctly has plummeted. Although media helps relay information quickly, often immediately, it impedes a student’s ability to gain the skills of writing, spelling and grammar. What is expected in an English course and what is expected to be your next Facebook status is extremely different in word choice, structure and often, spelling. Because of the large amount of time students spend on the social media, it is affecting the way they write academically and professionally. Some students don’t even have the skills to write professionally and this creates downfalls in education and the work field.
Another example is when I, or another students or individual, texts or emails someone for questions, concerns, change of plans, or criticism. I know when I am texting someone, I am much more bold and brave and tend to say things that I wouldn’t normally say if I were in person. I am sure everyone can relate to a time when you wanted to cancel plans to attend a party or a trip to the store but didn’t want to actually call the person because it is easier to hide behind the words of a text message because you fear how they will react. Social media has created this fear of contact and constant worry of how people will view you or react to you.
This contributes to the lowered levels of face-to-face communication. Students are spending more time on social media sites instead of socializing in person and this has caused students to be less effective when communicating in person (Dunn). For example, social sites for online dating have caused older people to depend on the Internet and website profiles in determining if they want to date a person or not. This takes away from the face-to-face meeting and romantic attraction towards one another. Psychology Today refers to it as “artificial contact” (Sun). Many of the problems faced on online dating sites are that people have different motives and attitudes on these sites and it is a challenge to find someone looking for the same things as you. Some may purely want a hook up friend while others may be looking for life-long partners. It is difficult to conclude what someone may want out of this through text on a screen. In addition, the majority of people only emphasize the good qualities and attractive photos of themselves that don’t reflect the genuine interpersonal behaviors of this person. Therefore, it is hard to predict the effectiveness or success of any relationship on these sites because your whole and authentic self is not portrayed, only those things you want to emphasize.
Instead of using the black board with chalk we have technology advances such as the website Prezi to efficiently relay information to students in the classroom. More and more lectures are posted online along with videos and podcasts on YouTube to help demonstrate a skill. YouTube is used regularly in academic settings, 40% of educators report having an account and 9% use it to communicate with other educators while 21% of them use it to even communicate with students (Nielson). A lot of students find this helpful because some teachers will provide them with the lectures beforehand, others may find this way of teaching challenging due to the lack of concrete material in front of them, depending on how your learning style works.
The social media has increased collaboration among students. This has also increased productivity (Dunn). Specifically, last semester we had a semester long business project with a random group of students. Facebook allowed us to make a group where we communicated, shared ideas and set meeting times. It was really beneficial for sharing websites and files with the group. The connections built in social media sites allow people to learn skills in creating and maintaining cyber connections. In addition, the amount of time spent on cellular devices and on the social media and Internet familiarizes people with the newest technology. Since technology is so prominent in businesses and education it is very important and helpful (Dunn).
In this Writing the Mind course, our writing is done online in a blog. This is using social media in an educational setting. This allows our teacher and other students of the class to see our writing and give comments and critiques on how to improve it. This helps create an audience for the students and teaches them how to write and adapt to different audiences.
What Does This Mean?
How do we address the problem? Social media may be a smaller issue for the social aspect of human relationships, and it can be defined as an issue in relationship to education and communication. In an interview with a Chapman professor, she states that social media makes us “more connected globally, yet more isolated personally” (Shukla). We are disconnecting ourselves from face-to-face interactions but connecting with those peers and people through a website or cell phone. This doesn’t make sense. Social media has created this overlaying pressure for everyone to know what’s going on at all times. In the girl’s world, if you don’t know what is happening with the Kardashians, you obviously didn’t check your Twitter lately and you missed the whole scandal and gossip. There is this constant fear of being left out due to social media that it forces students to be checking their phone in class, while studying or even while talking to another person. This is a big distraction to our studies and skills, to our interpersonal relationships and in our society and generation such that we are so familiar with this that people don’t see it as an issue.
In regards to education, the fast-pace and immediate relay of information through social media sites and the Internet have made students expect to learn or get information immediately, instead of taking the time to learn or read to actually research and find information. We expect things to just be so readily available that our culture doesn’t have the desire to work for things. This also leads to the “lazy” reputation Americans have.
The social media has also created an easy access to bullying, discrimination and feelings of hatred that feeds into schools and universities. So why are we letting it dictate so much of our lives? For example, Chapman University had a Facebook page called “Chapman Compliments” and someone thought it would be a hit to create a “Chapman Insults”. Shortly after it’s creation, particular students and staff saw this as harmful and offensive and it was directly linked to this university.
The amount of time spent on these social media sites and the amount of power of these media sites is the issue. Social media may be an effective way of communicating in some cases and it will be the new trend for our education systems and business world. However, if social media were used in moderation, if scientists and spectators didn’t see social media as a possible form of addiction, if we didn’t spend the vast amount of time scrolling through, then it wouldn’t be of such great concern. Students, including me, are “obsessed” and use these sites to portray an image of themselves. It also limits their activities and interactions with people. Social media would bring more positives than negatives if it were used in restraint. Our social world wouldn’t need to put so much emphasis on it and it could actually enrich connections. “For social media to be a truly effective communication vehicle, all parties bear a responsibility to be genuine, accurate, and not allow it to replace human contact altogether.” (Tardanico) Social media has potential. However, people are using these sites to replace effective face-to-face communication and intimacy and this is where the problem arises.
If schools or the media put some restrictions or less importance on these sites than we could address the problem for future generations. It would make social media less of a commitment and more of a leisure activity. While students are obsessing our elders are asking why? I know for me, my grandfather is always yelling at us to put our phones away and contribute to conversation because that is so normal for his era that he can’t seem to comprehend the need to be on it all the time. The next step to try and fix this issue it to find a way to reduce the amount of time spent on these social media sites. This would ensure that online sites do not replace offline communication and it would create a healthy compromise for our future students and generations.
As I was trying to start this midterm research, I caught myself on Face book. I was looking through pictures, commenting on statuses, not even remotely engaged in finding research. This is when I decided to change my original line of inquiry and focus on how the social media affects academia and education. I bet we can all relate to a time in classes when we are checking instagram or twitter, or even texting and looking at Face book simultaneously in the library when we are suppose to be studying. It happens to the best of us, especially in this day and age. Face book had over 500 million users documented in 2011, meaning 1 in 13 people use the social media of Face book (“Facebook Statistics, Stats & Facts For 2011”). The vast amount of Face book and other social media users are increasing, partly to do with our generation and the advances and accessibility to technology. As a college student who is challenged by the temptations of twitter and Face book at hand, research shows that the social media impacts education positively and negatively.
A negative effect of the large social media on education and learning is that students are tempted to multi-task; they will be checking social media sites while claiming to study. This reduces academic performance because it is almost impossible to be actually doing two things at once (Dunn). The social media has also brought upon a whole new approach to language. Much of the writing done on the social media is abbreviated and without correct grammar or spelling. A lot of students today rely too much on a computer’s spell check that student’s ability to write and spell things correctly has plummeted. In addition, the language and communicating done on these sites have caused students to avoid face-to-face communication. Students are spending more time on social media sites instead of socializing in person and this has caused students to be less effective when communicating in person (Dunn).
Private information that is posted to the social media is never anonymous even if they say it is on private settings and it can be seen even after deletion. Students and everyone connected to the social media forget to filter the information they post. Many colleges, future employers and internships are looking at your facebooks and social networking profiles before interviews. This can potentially be detrimental to your chances of acceptance now and several years down the road. 37% of employers look you up on facebook before making any decision (Messieh). Students, especially college students, need to be consciousness about the image they are creating for themselves on their social media sites.
Another negative effect the social media has on academia si that students today rely on the internet and the information displayed on social media to provide answers. This results in reduced focus on learning and retaining information (Dunn). This can also be seen as beneficial because it takes less time to get research and information. It has definitely come in handy while doing this research project. Having information handy is more time efficient and allows students to get their work done timely and in any location they want, instead of being forced to search through libraries and books.
Now let’s look on the positive side, instead of using the black board with chalk we have technology advances such as the website Prezi to efficiently relay information to students in the classroom. More and more lectures are getting posted online along with videos and podcasts on YouTube to help demonstrate a skill. In regards to YouTube, 40% of educators report having an account and 9% use it to communicate with other educators while 21% of them use it to even communicate with students (Nielson).
The social media has increased collaboration among students. This has also increased productivity (Dunn). In regards to a specific example, last semester we had a semester long business project with a random group of students. Facebook allowed us to make a group where we communicated, shared ideas and set meeting times. It was really beneficial for sharing websites and files with the group. The connections built in social media sites allow people to learn skills in creating and maintaining connections. In addition, the amount of time spent on cellular devices and on the social media and Internet familiarizes people with the newest technology. Since technology is so prominent in businesses and education it is very important and helpful (Dunn). In conclusion, the social media helps build skills that are essential for school and even after we graduate. It allows connections and creative works to be published.
Just in regards to this Writing the Mind course, our writing is done online in a blog. This is using social media in an educational way. This allows our teacher and other students of the class to see our writing and give comments and critiques on how to improve it. This helps create an audience for the students and teaches them how to write and adapt to different audiences. Technology advances have brought upon beneficial effects, along with limitations. However, with the continuous advances in technology and social media sites, it seems crucial to familiarize yourself with it. It is hard to argue that social media sites are huge distractions and contribute to procrastination but this allows students to figure out time management and setting priorities.
Dunn, Jeff. “10 Best and Worst Ways Social Media Impacts Education.” Edudemic. N.p., 11 July 2011. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
Hepburn, Aden. “Facebook Statistics, Stats & Facts For 2011Â |Â Digital Buzz Blog.” Digital Buzz Blog. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
Messieh, Nancy. “Survey: 37% of Your Prospective Employers Are Looking You up on Facebook.” TNW Network All Stories RSS. TNW The Next Web, 18 Apr. 2012. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
Nielson, Jonas K. “How Social Media Is Changing the Education Industry [infographic] | Mindjumpers.” Mindjumpers RSS. N.p., 11 Apr. 2011. Web. 18 Mar. 2013.
In regards to how social media affects education and the academic life, I interviewed my grandfather Donald Baughman, who was a high school teacher for 20+ years and then a high school principal at New Rochelle High School. His career forced him to pay attention to the social media and technology imbedded in schools and teens today. His opinion stands strong when regarding social media and its impact on education.
“Cell phones, facebook and whatever else is out there, distracts from the learning environment. The majority of issues that came into my office were regarding excessive cell phone use during class and repeated offenses. I personally believe cell phones shouldn’t be allowed in school at all because they aren’t used to just call people anymore, you have the whole social media at your hand now a days.”
Baughman’s intake on the social media affecting schoolwork is strong. He even complains when his grandchildren are on their phone during holidays. He feels that it limits conversation and the drive for knowledge. People aren’t seeking to learn because they can google whatever the need to know now. Social media and technology has taken away time from books and encourages people to take the easy route.
I interviewed a fellow student at Chapman University, Mikey Hamilton, who believes there are positive and negatives to social media. He see’s where Mr. Baughman is coming from but also believes it helps students interact and build a positive learning community.
“Facebook itself has allowed me to connect with fellow students that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to get ahold of otherwise. It also allows you to form online groups where we can communicate and share ideas. I have done this numerous of times. But I agree students tend to be on their phones looking at Instagram or Facebook during class and that takes away from learning and involvement in class.”
Both Baughman and Hamilton discuss the large distractions social media have on students and their school work. Their work would get done a lot faster and possibly in better quality without these distractions. As my interviewees brought up, there are benefits and downfalls to the growing trend of social media.