Journalists: be prepared to get your world rocked…

That’s what they should warn journalism majors before they start their program.

Be prepared to get your world rocked, because you will write something that you think is really good and then your editor will rip it to shreds.

I’m still getting used to having my work torn apart by editors, and I’m a graduating journalism senior. Such fun!

I suppose getting harsh reviews is supposed to help you do better and build up your work as well as strengthen your skin against criticism, but sometimes I’m a big softy.

I just wrote a blog post for my internship, and I thought it was pretty good. It was about new bills on the floor of the House of Representatives that seek to cut off funding for family planning and reproductive health. I sent my blog to my supervisor, who proceeded to strikethrough nearly everything I wrote. Case in point:

Talk about rocking my world. She told me my writing was still good, and it laid a framework for what she edited into the new blog post. But still, less than 10 percent of what I originally wrote was intact! I survived an editorial run-in.

It just goes to show you that no matter what sort of confidence you may have about a piece, it is still subject to the editor’s appeal. Just a reminder that I shouldn’t get overconfident in my writing, as well as I should prepare myself more for constructive criticism.

Real life 101 note: you may think what you wrote as a journalist is the cat’s meow, but just remember, you’re writing for an audience, and if your editor doesn’t like what you wrote – don’t take it personal when they completely scrap your work. It’s just the life as a journalist after all.

Embassy protesting: just another day on the job

I am so much in love with life right now. I truly am. La vie est tres tres tres bonne! Je l’aime tourjours!
I’m having a blast being down here in D.C. It’s an amazing city with tons to do. Just the other night we were at a place called Madam’s Organ (seemingly a former brothel), for a fundraiser for Amnesty’s Mid-Atlantic Region. It was a good time hanging out with interns and such. Afterward we went to a hooka bar where we hung out with our friends from the Middle-East while we watched the news about Egypt.

This weekend I just went skiing in Pennsylvania with my brother and dad, and that too was a blast. Just a note, though, whoever lives in Pennsylvania – I’m sorry. Your roads are the most poorly marked roads ever! Honestly, who puts exits 40 miles from each other without warning you that if you miss your exit you have to drive an hour just to turn back and drive another hour to get back to where you were coming from! Sheesh. This is near Pittsburgh too. I think the Steelers lost the SuperBowl because Pennsylvania roads are bad. Just a thought.

Anyway – my internship is going great. I spoke to a lot of Congressmen and women this week to get them to sign a letter to Secretary Clinton urging her to tell the Mexican government that they need to stop abusing human rights in their country. We’ve also been doing a lot with Egypt. We’ve had press conferences, press releases, interviews, rallies and more all covering the past two weeks of mayhem in Egypt.

Here I am with a fellow intern, Heba (whose family lives in Cairo and was giving us updated information):

photo courtesy of Lanna Ripp.

We got to protest outside of the Egyptian embassy in D.C. to encourage them to help maintain human rights in Eygpt.

Here’s a picture of us with Aasif Mandvi from the Daily Show:

photo posted on Facebook.com by Maggie Carroll.

So, good news is that President Mubarak has decided to step down as president of Egypt. After 60 years or however long he was in power, it’s about time for change. The only thing we’re kind of nervous of is that the military rule will be something undesirable and too strict. We’ll see. We can hope for a strong democracy in Egypt for everyone’s sakes, but most importantly the Egyptian people’s sakes.

One month into the internship, woot! Wish me luck! I’ll keep you posted.

Oh, yea. Here’s another picture of me that a Reuters photographer took at the rally.
Photo credit: Molly from Reuters

Re-located to D.C.!

So, it’s been very long since my last post, but life as a senior is hectic!

UPDATE:
I am now located in Friendship Heights in Washington D.C.! Woot. I’m on the Northwest border of “The District,” and I’m living with an associate pastor at a Presbyterian Church down here. It’s pretty exciting.

I live down the street from the Mazza Gallerie, where there are tons of shops like Saks Fifth Avenue, Nieman Marcus, New Balance, etc. Hoity toity stores that I can’t afford, unfortunately.

But, there is a Steinmart and TJMaxx where I just bought some business casual clothing for the start of my internship. Yay!

As to what I’ll be doing down here for the semester, I have an internship with Amnesty International USA with their Government Relations team. I will be working on passing this International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA), and other things dealing with women’s rights around the world.

I don’t have a LOT of experience with this, but I am interested in furthering the economic capacity of women! (i.e. making sure that all of the work they do is reaping some sort of economic recognition). So, all in all, this should be a wonderful experience.

Also, it’s AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL! Hello!!!!!! It’s pretty much the Harvard University of the world of NGOs (non-governmental organizations). Amnesty has the most pull out of every NGO in the country, arguably the world, to effect change and to get the UN to pass resolutions and work on foreign policy.

So, I’m VERY excited. I will keep you all posted!

Greening the conscience

Today is the day after Black Friday, and I must admit that this year’s Black Friday deals and hoopla seemed to be a lot more than they were last year. Every time I opened my browser to the news, all of the articles popping up had to deal with which stores are giving the best deals. Where can you go to get the most for your money?

Black Friday honestly disgusts me. It’s the most primitive expression of our obsession with consumerism and how we’re being brainwashed into thinking that we need to pay less and less for what we get. The items that are featured in the sales range from TVs to gaming consoles to computers to cookware to clothes to shoes to tools and more. What we don’t realize is that our demand for lowest prices creates a vicious cycle for those who make those products.

Most of our electronics come from parts of Asia like Taiwan, China, Japan and Korea. Because technology is constantly updating itself, our current electronics are outdated within a year or two so we discard them and get new ones on days like Black Friday where we could get the best deal for them. Have you ever heard of something called E-waste? E-waste is electronic waste that is discarded in developing countries where they are taken apart to salvage metal from them.

60 minutes did a feature on e-waste talking about how in China this is a huge pollutant and cause of certain human health concerns. “Following the Trail of Toxic E-Waste”. This e-waste comes from developed countries, like the U.S. and the EU.

So, how can we help stop this e-waste problem in developing countries? Our companies in the U.S. get away with exporting this waste to other countries under the pretense that these computers and electronics are “second-hand goods” for re-sale. Most of them are just junk computers and TVs.

The American consumer needs to think twice before buying new technology just because the deals are cheap. We need to choose wisely when buying new computers and such and make sure that it’s something that we actually need and not just want. We want to help save the environment by demanding less “new” stuff every year. But, if we HAVE to buy something new, we should think of how best to dispose of our waste and to make sure that it is going to the right place. Instead of just leaving the electronics on the street corner, we should pay attention to centers that do the recycling in-country. A simple Google search will help us find nearby locations.

Most of all, Americans need to remember that the holidays are more about family and togetherness rather than buying, buying, buying. When outside cultures look at our culture, they see a bunch of spoiled American consumers who are always buying something or shopping and who have so much stuff. Let’s change that for the sake of our dignity as Americans and for the sake of our environment.

Join us in Buying Nothing. Buy Nothing Day – Adbusters.org.

Do you care about the environment? I want some answers :)

Hi, everyone,

So, a lot of the work I do on campus and via blogs and articles and such is to promote environmental living. But, I feel like when people hear the word “environmental” and “sustainable” they shut down or they just write it off as a movement. I’m just curious though…. how many people really care about the environment and if you do care, what issues do you care most about and what gets your attention?

This is kinda like a poll: I’d like to know what sort of environmental issues you guys care about and that gets your attention if you run across it in the news or in general conversations.

Please let me know :) I’m SO CURIOUS!

* How much do you care about pollution?
* What do you think about trying to find renewable resources instead of relying on oil? Does this even cross your mind?
* What do you think about recycling, do you do you it when it’s convenient (like the bin is right next to you), or do you go out of your way to recycle, or do you even recycle at all?
* When you hear about climate change, do you think it exists? Same thing about global warming, do you “believe” in it?
* If someone asked you to mention an environmental problem we are facing RIGHT THIS INSTANT, what would you say?
* Do any thoughts cross your mind during the day that are along the lines of “wow the environment is kinda getting bad,” or “I wonder what all this talk is of climate change?,” or “why is all this trash on the ground?”
* What would you say are the top five environmental problems facing us right now?

Some questions about your involvement:

* If you see trash on the ground, do you pick it up? 1) always, 2) sometimes, 3) rarely, 4) never (that’s gross!)
* Do you recycle or compost or buy organic or from a farmer’s market?
* Do you talk about environmental problems with your family or friends?
* Do you care about the environment and not know what to do? Or do you just don’t care because you a) don’t think it’s a big problem, or b) don’t think that we can do anything about it if there were any environmental problems

For those of you who take the time to look at this note, I REALLY appreciate it. I am so curious, like I said, and I want to know if all the work I’m putting into informing people about the environment is actually worth it..

Thank you so much everyone :)

ALANA Peace and Unity Walk!

EVENT: “Peace and Unity Walk”

DATE: Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010, 9:30 a.m. gathering, 10:15 a.m. walk

PURPOSE: The African, Latino, Asian, and Native American coalition’s (ALANA) “Peace & Unity Walk” aims to build positive and lasting relationships (personal/professional) among college students (of multicultural backgrounds) at SUNY Oswego and the Oswego community.

TIME: We will gather Sunday, September 19, 2010 at approximately 9:15-10am.
Speakers will address the crowd from 9:30 – 10:00 a.m.

The walk will start at 10:15 a.m. and will end at 11 a.m.

ROUTE: The walk will begin at Oswego’s City Hall (W. 1st St) and will end at SUNY Oswego’s Campus Quad. The walk will be the length of Route 104 West (Bridge St.), up the hill, either Rte. 104 or Washington Blvd., as designated by the city.

WHO: Will include the SUNY Oswego College campus (students, faculty, administrators, etc), Oswego community members and any others.

(Oswego, N.Y.) – People of all backgrounds and ages are invited to assemble in Oswego on September 19 for a peace and unity walk. The walk, put on by the SUNY Oswego African, Latino, Asian and Native American coalition (ALANA), is designed to foster lasting relationships across multicultural boundaries. The march will start at the Oswego City Hall on West First Street and will end at the SUNY Oswego academic quad. All are invited to come celebrate diversity in Oswego during this powerful walk for peace and unity. For more information contact the Black Student Union (BSU) at SUNY Oswego: bsu@oswego.edu.
-30-

Contact information: Quindell Williams at bsu@oswego.edu for information on the event. At event: 315-278-8951.

Back to school, what are you looking forward to this year?

Welcome back everyone!

So I moved into my apartment on E. Second. It’s a one-bedroom and pretty nice. The stove is a little wack: aka the flame goes out but the gas keeps on pumping. I think I’m going to replace it with one from home (don’t ask why we have an extra stove).

My second day in my apt by myself I wound up getting a stomach bug. So painful. I couldn’t keep anything down all day yesterday. I think I got it when I was in Arkansas visiting friends this week. The bad thing about living by yourself is that you can’t get anyone to go to the store and get you Pepto. I managed to get some, and I’m feeling better today. Getting ready for school in the morning!

I have to get up at 6 a.m. to get to Cooper Dining by 6:45 a.m. I was gonna ride my bike, so I’m giving myself extra time to see how long it takes me to get to school. I think it’s about 2 miles, so maybe 15-20 min depending on stoplights and traffic.

The thing that I’m most looking forward to tomorrow are my classes. I’m one of those weirdos who loves new classes and going to school. I’m a nerd and love it. I’m so excited for my classes, in particular: international law, mass media and the law, third world politics, and Chinese 101. My other classes: graphic design, choir, and journalism practicum come in at a close second :)

So what is everyone else looking forward to this year? Is it hanging out with friends again? Being on your own? If you live in the Village, I bet you’re excited just to be there. That place is AWESOME! I kinda wish I was living there. Good thing I have friends who live there that I can visit. Those things are niiiiiiiiice.

Are there other nerds out there who are looking forward to your new classes? Maybe starting in on your major classes finally after getting all of your gen-eds out of the way? That’s what I like. I’m getting in-depth into my global studies and journalism, which is really exciting.

I bet for some people are looking forward to the parties? You can admit it. I already had some fun Friday night! Just remember that you’re probably going to go out more in the beginning of the semester because once classes start in full swing, you’ll probably be in the library or working on projects late into the night on the weekends.

Let me know what you’re thinking about: what’s the thing you’re most looking forward to this year?~

How is it senior year already?

Graduation is imminent!

The summer has flown by! I can’t believe it’s halfway through summer! I wish that I had more time to work for the summer, but I also can’t wait to go back to school. I’ve been having the weirdest dreams about being late for journalism classes with Professor Gilligan, who I’m not even taking classes with next semester! I think that comes from being late for Investigative Reporting a couple of times and freaking out until I realized that Prof Gilligan was later than me, luckily.

In thinking about the summer flying by, I think the past three years have flown by, actually. For me college has been a blur of staying really busy and doing a million things, and now, all of a sudden it seems, it’s senior year! In less than a year, I’ll be out of college and into the workforce. Holy cow!

My first year, I started out as a freshman at Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks. I remember moving in all anxious about meeting people, but excited to start studying (I’m such a nerd). I had already been to boarding school my junior year of high school in Arkansas, so I wasn’t afraid of being away from home, but there were those moments of “am I going to fit in?”

The nice thing about PSC was that there were 800 students there. And there was a ratio of 7:2 guys to girls; that was very beneficial :) Overall, people were very warm to me because of the size of our community. I loved it there. The students are fun, and the teachers are great. I miss it there sometimes. I left because the program wasn’t the strongest – environmental writing. I had my fun, but moving on to Oswego was a good decision.

Sophomore year came and went. I got used to the bigger size of Oswego and the weather. The classes are my favorite part of Oswego (nerdiness once again). Also, I really enjoy the ability to connect with other people on campus, whether they’re faculty, staff, or students. I feel like with the size of Oswego, there’s the opportunity to build close-knit groups, despite the thousands of students. You find your niche with people of like interests, and you gravitate toward each other, but that takes a little more time than I expected.

I feel like Oswego has been cliquey, though. It’s a lot harder to make friends at Oswego than it was at PSC because people aren’t as open with each other. Where I knew nearly everyone’s name at PSC (no joke), at Oswego my sophomore year, I felt a little lost in the masses at Oswego. It wasn’t until this past year, junior year, that I finally felt like I found my own niche.

The problem I think that I had was that there is only a relatively small group of student activists who have similar causes as I do, despite the thousands of students. Oswego has a lot of divisions from fraternities and sororities, who can tend to seem solely exclusive for members of Greek organizations, to sports groups, who seem to be exclusively for athletes, to the members of Humans v. Zombies, who tend to be just for those who enjoy LARPing (live action role playing).

Maybe it’s just my Southern background that makes me feel like the people at Oswego are a little more separatists than unitarians (in the literal sense of the words_, but, maybe that’s just college life. Anyway, tangent aside, I feel like my time at Oswego has been really great. I’ve made some friends and done A LOT of activities on campus. I’m just looking forward to life after college for a little bit. The time of living for partying on the weekends has been over for a while. I’m ready to start doing what I love as an occupation, and then go back to school in a couple of years.

Tantalizing mind games

Ghana just beat the U.S. in the 2010 World Cup :) My friend Jenny who I met in Ghana is at the World Cup; I hope she saw it. My boyfriend and family says I have no national pride, which is slightly true. I was rooting for Ghana because I want to see a country whose main sport (arguably only main sport) is football succeed at what they do best. I get annoyed with the inherent winner-take-all attitude of American athletics. Why do we HAVE to be the best at every single sport in existence? Ghana beat the U.S. in two consecutive World Cups. Should we have hard feelings because the U.S. lost or should we be proud that a country whose intense focus on football reaped winnings?

I choose to sympathize with Ghana and give them as much congratulations as they deserve. I hope they win the World Cup!

Moving on to the title of this blog, “Tantalizing mind games,” I’ve been racking my brain recently with trying to figure out what I’m going to do with my life in the next year. A lot of good things have happened to me over the past couple of months. Got several big-ticket scholarships, got to go to Scotland, got to see the family in California, got my summer job back, and got to move in (partially) to my apartment in Oswego.

It’s hitting me every day: holy cow – I’m going to be a graduated senior within the next year, and I’m going to have to figure my life out!

I have so many thoughts running through my head, hence the mind games. I’ll think of possibilities for employment, where I’m going to live, how I’m going to afford everything. It’s like chaos in my head. I love to plan things out from week to week and have intricate details about what I’m going to be doing. The problem with planning for my life after college is that I can’t plan out what I don’t know!

I’ll be graduating with a journalism BA and global studies minor (which sounds good on paper but doesn’t actually count for anything concrete). I KNOW that I want to work as a writer/communications person for a nonprofit that works toward equal human rights/eco-justice/environmental justice. I want to be with my boyfriend, Josiah. The problem with that is that we have to wait until he finds out where he’s getting into law school. The options are: UCLA, UC Berkeley, San Diego Law School, possibly Georgetown, San Francisco School of Law, and others. This means that I have to find a job wherever he’ll be located. I wish I knew so I could start looking!

I also want to go to grad school for either journalism, nursing, environmental science, or global/international studies/diplomacy. They’re related, right? Sounds near impossible, but I think that our generation will be one where everyone has five careers or something. Hopefully.

Do you see my predicament? This is a dysfunctional blog – just like my creative non-mathematical mind on Sudoku. Sometimes I naively plead: why can’t this be easy?! Growing up is definitely not easy. I look forward to figuring out what I’m going to do. Hope these mind games clear up!

Holy cow semester and Scotland!

Jeez Louise..

I am just catching up with the end of the semester now, about two weeks after it officially ended! The month of May just FLEW by, and every single class decided to take up every little second of my life.

BUT, it proved fruitful when I just checked my grades yesterday. Got some badass grades! Much better than expected. I was worried about Investigative Reporting and French 202, but I managed to succeed. Woot!

Late last Wednesday night (the 26th), I got back from SCOTLAND. Sick, right? I went with GLS 316 Fermentation Science a.k.a. learn how to make whiskey and beer and then consume it to make sure it has the right consistency.

It was a quarter class, started right after spring break and met once a week for 2.5 hours. My professors, Dr. Schneider and Dr. Raymond (not related to me), were the best teachers. We had a lot of fun in the class, but tenfold the amount on the trip.

We left the 17th at night. At first we were nervous about flying because of the ash delays that closed Heathrow airport in London 12 hours before our flight was supposed to go off. Luckily we managed to get out of JFK and in London without a hitch. Then, we flew to Glasgow where we would spend the next two days.

We got to tour around the city and see the sights, but we also got to visit a brewery – West brewery – and do some taste testing. I’m not a huge fan of beer, but I found two out of the four that we tried that were pretty good.

Then, we went to Oban, which is right on the west coast and about three hours by train from Glasgow. It was GORGEOUS there. Foggy shores, green rolling hills, historic fishing village buildings, and Scottish people with their awesome accents.

In Oban we got to visit a distillery, which was pretty cool. The Scotch Whisky is pretty good. Pretty flavorful, especially if you know what to taste for. Then, we went to the Isle of Mull where we visited the Tobermory distillery. That was a lot of fun. A lot of traveling too, but still cool.

The drinking age in the U.K. is 18 :) Needless to say, all of us had our full share of imbibing alcoholic liquids. What was pretty exciting was that they sold liquor in the grocery stores, unlike in the States. They also sold pre-mixed mixed drinks. You could buy a can of Jack and Coke, or you could buy a Margarita (just add the salt and ice). Delicioso!

Our group got along really well. We had a blast. I recommend anyone who wants to study abroad but either can’t afford it or doesn’t have the time in her/his schedule to take a quarter class. You learn a lot, you get to take a vacation that’s filled with learning and fun, and it’s a fraction of the cost of studying abroad.

I’d like to do it again next spring. There might be this comparative media class that goes to Paris. That would be bomb. Anyway, my personal computer is broken, so I have to wait to put up pix! Stay tuned!